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Zambia’s patron of the arts

Mulenga Kapwepwe has single-handedly created an explosion of arts in Zambia.

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Mulenga Kapwepwe has single-handedly created an explosion of arts in Zambia.

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USAfrica: Basil Nnanna Ukegbu lived a life of excellence. By Emmanuel A. C. Orji

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A TRIBUTE TO BASIL NNANNA UKEGBU

By Emmanuel A. C. Orji

Special to USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com  @USAfricaLIVE

It is with a deep sense of loss that I received the sad news of the passing of a fellow Patrician, Basil Nnanna Ukegbu, who did our alma mater, Saint Patrick’s College, Ikot Ansa, Calabar (SPACO),  proud.

“Excellence is a difficult concept to communicate because it can easily be misread as neurotic perfectionism or snooty sophistication. But it is neither. On the contrary, it is the stuff of which greatness is made. It is the difference between just getting by and soaring – that which sets apart the significant from the superficial, the lasting from the temporary. Those who pursue it do so because of what pulsates within them, not because of what others think or say or do. Authentic excellence is not a performance. It is there whether anyone ever notices or tries to find out.” According to Aristotle, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but, a habit.” And so it was with Basil.

A personification of habitual excellence, Basil Nnanna Ukegbu, PhD(Lond), born 88 years ago,  under very ordinary circumstances at Immerienwe in Ngor Okpala Local Government area of Imo State, had always manifested excellence since his infancy. His studies at  St. Patrick’s College, Ikot Ansa, Calabar (SPACO), brought out the best in him. Whereas students spent five years ordinarily to do the Senior Cambridge School Certificate examination, Basil sat for and passed London Matriculation (known to be superior to Senior Cambridge School Certificate) after only three years sojourn in SPACO,  a  rare academic feat. On leaving SPACO, he took up teaching appointment, while studying for a degree by correspondence. In record time, he sat for and passed the Bachelor of Arts degree of the University of London.

A great believer in education, rather than join the civil service, as was fashionable at the historic time, he founded a secondary school modeled after SPACO at  his home town of Immerienwe. The great and broad mind that he was, rather than name the school after his home, he called it Owerri Grammar School, a clear manifestation of his largeness of heart.

In furtherance of his life ambition to promote science and technology in Africa, it is on record that he was the first Nigerian to think of a private university and in fact opened a technical university at Immerienwe. However, lack of vision, jealousy and ignorance conspired to sabotage his efforts.

A man that was always  driven by his own conviction, he moved at his own pace ignoring all distractions and defying all negative forces and scaling through all obstacles in his avowed belief that we can be beaten not by circumstances,  but only by ourselves, and that if we fall down seven times we should get up eight.

In public service, he excelled demonstrably beyond all Nigerian expectation. As Chairman of the Governing Council of the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, he proved that, in Nigeria, public money could be judiciously used, when he built the many hostels in the college at about half the cost of those built before his tenure. He accomplished this feat within six months through his resource conversion efficiency maximisation strategy. Impressed by that performance, the Academic Board decided to name the hostels after him,  but he rejected the offer on the ground that it would be immoral to do so while he was still in office. Thus, when he was rigged out of election that he contested for governorship of Imo State, those who blocked him out of the office were the greatest enemies of  progress in Imo State.  He would have made all the difference through his well articulated economic  programme which could have struck a miraculous chord.

His life ambition was to lead a bloodless revolution to transform Africa to catch up with Europe and America technologically in this millennium. Even as he  aged and  progressively wore a frail body, the revolutionary fire in him did not dim.

Basil was an indefatigable civil right crusader and he started being so from SPACO where he resisted corporal punishment by his immediate senior students of just one class above his own (of which I was one),  which he saw as a violation of his fundamental human right. When Abacha frightened Nigerians, Basil dared and defied the brutish maximum dictator when he staged a one-man demonstration by even sleeping in the open opposite the Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri.

As a member of the Federal House of Representatives, he was a fearless legislator who presented his views with courage borne out of knowledge and patriotic conviction.  On January 12, 1966, even as Chief Whip of the then ruling party, he moved a vote of no confidence on the government for failing to address a serious security situation in Nigeria of  the historic time. Three days  after he moved that motion, on January 15, 1966,  the army struck. A man of principle, he rejected a ministerial appointment offered to him by the then Administrator of the East Central State, Ukpabi Asika, himself an old boy of SPACO.

To summarise, Basil was an erudite scholar, a patriotic parliamentarian, a fearless and selfless leader of people, a human right crusader, an accomplished academic giant, a man full of what President Bush the father calls “the vision thing”, a practical community worker, the best governor that Imo State never had, and above all,  a Patrician among Patricians,  who did SPACO proud by living up to the highest ideals of our college motto: cor mundum, manus firma, verbum constans (Clean heart, strong hand, reliable word).

May the good Lord who heals broken hearts take care of Basil’s family and all those who are touched by his death.  May He help and comfort them always, increase their faith, dispel their fears, revive their hope and lift them from the darkness of their grief to the light of His presence, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And may the soul of Basil and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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USAfrica: A Tribute to Dan Orji of Peacocks. By Mazi E.A.C Orji

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A Tribute to Nze Dan Chukwuemeka Orji.                                                                                                                               By Mazi E.A.C. Orji (and the Orji Chima Family of Aro-Orji, Urata, Owerri North LGA, Imo State, Nigeria)

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247 

“In the midst of life, we are in death.” The unexpected and sudden demise of Nze Daniel Chukwuemeka Orji aptly confirmed the truth of the quote above taken from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.

In the language of literature, arts and music,  Dan Orji (as he was popularly and widely known and called), was a great classical musician. The  beauty of his works and the wisdom expressed in them have continued to hold out massive appeal to people of different ages and in differendan-orji-usafrica-web2-chidot countries. People of all ages that have tasted the lyrics and music of his songs have continued to want to read or hear them over and over again. They never seem to get tired of discovering new beauties and new truths in the works of this artful musician, insightful composer, versatile arranger and inimitable vocalist.

Born on December 6, 1945 to Maazi Joseph Chima Orji and Orihe Cecilia Nwachi Orji at Aro-Orji, Urata, Owerri North Local Government area of Imo State of Nigeria, Danny was educated in Orji Town Primary School where he manifested great musical talent by singing at social events around Owerri. He had his Secondary education at the prestigious Saint Patrick’s College, Ikot Ansa, Calabar, where he played meritoriously in the College Band.

At the end of the Nigeria/Biafra war in 1970, he played a major role in the founding of the famous Peacocks International  Guitar Band. It was while with Peacocks that he produced some of his greatest hits, including the ever popular and classical SAMBOLA MAMA, which earned a gold, and sold more records in Ghana than in Nigeria, demonstrating  the wide appeal  of his compositions, a further proof of the truism that music knows no boundaries, as well as the English saying that ‘ good wine needs no bush’( which translates into Igbo as ahia oma na ere onweya). When the Peacocks International Guitar  Band disbanded, he founded the Skylarks Universal Band of Nigeria in 1976.

Nze Dan Orji’s abundant natural musical endowment was inherited from his mother, who was a good singer, and his maternal uncle, late J. U. Kamalu  of Umuonyeche, Owere(which the British called Owerri), who played the Accordion with great skill. Danny’s natural musical endowment was enhanced by his incredible capacity for hard work that is easier imagined than described. Little wonder that he  produced such classical masterpieces and dominated the music scene for more than four decades. Danny  had a large and generous heart and was always quick to forgive. Although his works have been severally plagiarized, he never exercised his rights  under the existing Copyright Laws to sue for compensation.  Rather, he would chuckle  and say that those artists may continue to plagiarise his work if that would make them survive in life. What good spirit ! What bonhomie !

Danny was a good family man, a great family builder, who would resist any temptation to compromise the peace and progress of the Orji Chima family of which he was a proud member. His talent was not restricted to music alone; he was also an accomplished builder; and this was not surprising because architecture  has been defined metaphorically as ‘FROZEN MUSIC.’ Danny was also a committed farmer. Indeed,  he was a versatile talent who excelled in whatever he focused his interest and attention. Full of initiative and drive, Danny had the capacity to carry anything before him.

During  his lifetime, Danny was conferred with a lot of accolades. He was made an Nze with the title Aku Jeshiobi ike of Orji. During the interregnum that followed the demise of the first Eze of the Orji Autonomous Community, Nze Dan Orji served as the Vice Chairman of the Orji Regency Council. The Arochukwu Kingdom conferred its highest honour, namely, Ugwu Aro, on him. And until his death, Nze Dan Orji was serving his second term as Chairman of the Aro-Orji village meeting.

We shall all  miss Danny’s wisdom which was ever spiced with humour and profound imagery. The more you saw Danny, the more you admired him; the better you knew him the greater you valued his friendship. He had the knack for knowing peoples great needs and when they needed them most. In concluding, I seek understanding;  and if I appear to write with the affection of a brother, I am just one of a large number.

Danny did not live long.  He did not reach the biblical age of three scores and ten (indeed, he was to have been 70 years old on December 6, 2015!). But we are consoled by the fact that it is more important to live well than to live long. The quality of life lived takes precedence over its length, for life is a matter of art rather than mere duration. “Life is not a matter of counting years. It is a matter of making years count.” Danny did make his years count in blessing. Although we shall miss Danny physically, he will continue to live in the memories of all those he has left behind.

We prefer to end this tribute therefore, with the following immortal words of United States hymnist, Ira David Sankey (1840 – 1908):-

“Fading away like the stars of the morning,

Losing their light in the glorious sun,

Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling,

Only remembered by what we have done.”
Thank you for sharing our moment with us. Shalom.

Maazi E. A. C. ORJI is the head of the Orji Chima family.                                                                                                       August 12, 2015

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USAfrica names Okey Ndibe African Writer of the Year 2014

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USAfrica names Okey Ndibe ‘African Writer of the Year 2014’

Special to USAfricaonline.comCLASSmagazine,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfricaLive and Twitter.com/Chido247
Houston, Texas, December 28, 2014: The international multimedia networks and public policy organization, USAfrica, has named Okey Ndibe, prolific commentator, professor of English/African Literature and author of the highly-acclaimed 2014 novel, Foreign Gods, Inc., as the African Writer of the Year 2014.
A statement issued from Houston, Texas, by the Founder & Publisher of USAfrica and the first African-owned, U.S.-based professional newspaper published on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, Dr. Chido Nwangwu, notes that “the trinity of Okey Ndibe’s contributions as a critical commentator, a first-rate scholar and a novelist validates USAfrica editors’ decision to recognize his outstanding skills. The riveting testimonial to his creative capacities is fresh and evident in Foreign Gods, Inc., which I had the privilege of reading in its advance/pre-publication galley in 2013.”
The novel tells the engaging story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian, college-educated cab driver who undertakes a trip to his natal hometown in order to steal the statue of an ancient war deity and sell it to an arts gallery in New York City.
According to USAfrica founder, Dr. Nwangwu, “Foreign Gods, Inc. continues to draw warm reviews for the author who holds the inept or corrupt Nigerian political class in contempt. Prof. Ndibe began his journalism career in Nigeria, but relocated to the US in 1988 to serve as the founding editor of the defunct African Commentary magazine (co-owned by the great writer Prof. Chinua Achebe). Ndibe has written commentaries on diverse topics, including corruption, failure of public/governmental agencies, Biafra, youth unemployment, religious hypocrisy and exploitation, and the abuse of female students by male lecturers in Nigerian colleges and universities. He has served since 1995 as a contributing editor of USAfrica (print) and USAfricaonline.com. He also writes for the Daily Sun newspaper (Lagos) and, from 2006, for saharareporters.com.”
Ndibe, who earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, is the author of another novel, Arrows of Rain, and co-editor (with Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove) of Writers, Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa.Arrows of Rain was first published in 2000 in Heinemann’s African Writers Series. Soho Press (New York) will release an North American edition of the novel on January 6, 2015. Ndibe, who has taught at Brown University, Connecticut College (New London), Trinity College in Hartford, Simon’s Rock College (in Great Barrington, Massachussetts), and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright lecturer), is currently working on a series of memoir vignettes titled Going Dutch and other American Mis/Adventures.

USAfrica — with almost 23 years of professional journalism and multimedia publishing business from its headquarters in Houston, Texas — has been acclaimed by the CNN, The New York Times, international scholars and public policy leaders as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks.
VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public policy networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu.

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Forthcoming 2017 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives
Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”

 

He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia Chido_Nwangwu-speaking-jan11_2014specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and former adviser on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans.         e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com wireless 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436).

IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary, exclusively, at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

USAfrica: BOKO HARAM’s latest killings sharpen divide for security team at Nigeria’s presidency. By Chido Nwangwu
http://usafricaonline.com/2013/10/21/usafrica-boko-harams-latest-killings-sharpen-divide-for-security-team-at-nigerias-presidency-by-chido-nwangwu/

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Dancing with “ghosts” of BOKO HARAM, President Jonathan, Sultan Abubakar and Nigeria’s national security. By Dr. Chido Nwangwu
http://usafricaonline.com/2013/04/05/dancing-with-ghosts-of-boko-haram-president-jonathan-sultan-abubakar-and-nigerias-national-security-by-chido-nwangwu/

Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )

There’s a compelling political trinity to Nelson Mandela: the man, the messiah and the mystique. http://usafricaonline.com/2013/07/18/mandela-95-hearty-cheers-to-his-footprints-of-greatness-by-chido-nwangwu/

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Lupita effect: Inspiring Kenya

CNN’s Soni Methu explore how Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o is inspiring members of Kenya’s creative arts industry.

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CNN’s Soni Methu explore how Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o is inspiring members of Kenya’s creative arts industry.

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Obiano: My 100 days in office

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Obiano: My 100 days in office and where I want to take Anambra State

Special to USAfricaonline.comCLASSmagazine,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at  Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247

June 25, 2014: It gives me great happiness to see you here today. As we all know, today is a very important day in the life of my administration. Yesterday, I made a Special Broadcast to mark my first 100 Days in office as your governor. Today, I will offer you an insight into the scorecard of my administration in the past 100 Days. Beyond that, I will also show you a roadmap to the future of Anambra State.

  • Ndi Anambra, the Vision of my administration is “for Anambra State to become the 1st Choice Investment Destination and a hub for industrialization and commercial activities.”
  • Our Mission is “to create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes & foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State.”

     

To realize our vision and mission statements, we have evolved what we call the Four Pillars of Development. The Four Pillars are the vehicle through which accelerated development will be delivered to Ndi Anambra. They include – Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade & Commerce and Oil and Gas.

Interestingly, the Four Pillars are firmly supported by what we call the Enablerswhich include – Security, Education, Health, the Environment, Social Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Tourism, Youth and Sports Development, Security & Social Welfare and Administration and Local Government among others.

Ndi Anambra, 100 days down the road, we have laid the necessary foundation for growth. I will now give you a brief overview of what we have done –  

In the Area of SECURITY, we have reclaimed our cities and communities from kidnappers and armed robbers. We have arrested 177 kidnappers out of which 97 are currently undergoing prosecution. We have destroyed their warehouses where they keep their victims and cut off their weapons supply lines and now, my beloved Ndi Anambra can sleep with both eyes closed.

In AGRICULTURE, we have started a revolution that will increase food sufficiency and create massive employment. In partnership with the Coscharis Group, we have commissioned the Coched Farms Project to produce 120,000 metric tons of rice per annum and generate 1000 jobs for our youths.   

In ROAD CONSTRUCTION, we have flagged off the construction of 14 new roads across Anambra, totalling up to 167.494 kilometres. We have also commenced the construction of 3 flyovers in Awka and one bridge that leads to the oilfields of Aguleri.

In TRADE & COMMERCE, we have rolled out a 10-year Industrial Development Plan and commenced the development of new markets in Ogbunike, Oba, Awka and Umunze.

In OIL & GAS, we have commenced plans to ensure that Anambra is recognized as Nigeria’s 10th oil producing state.

In LOCAL GOVERNMENT Administration, we have cleared all outstanding arrears of pension and gratuity to 644 pensioners totalling up to the sum of N946, 571, 926.46k.

In EDUCATION, we have upwardly reviewed the staff salaries of Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe and approved the payment of N10m to ensure the completion of the NUT House in Awka.

In HEALTHwe have performed a number of highly successful free surgeries in Umueri General Hospital and established a Maternal and Child Health clinic in Nanka.

In the ENVIRONMENT, we have launchedOperation Keep Anambra Clean and aTree Planting Campaign.

In Building a BEFITTING CAPITAL CITY, we have flagged off the construction of 3 flyovers and a 3 Arms Zone in Awka and set up the new Awka Capital Territory Development Board with a view to transforming Awka into a super-modern city that we shall all be proud of.

In INFORMATION, CULTURE & TOURISM, we have taken the necessary steps to develop the historic Ogbunike Cave into a world class tourist destination and appointed new MD/CEOs for Anambra Broadcasting Service ABS and National Light newspaper.

In YOUTHS DEVELOPMENT, we have commenced a comprehensive collection of data on Anambra youths with a view to placing them in gainful employment. 

Ndi Anambra, in 100-Days, my administration has done all these and more. A more comprehensive detail of what we have achieved will be sent to your mailboxes after this ceremony.

We have tested our own strength and seen that indeed, like our fathers before us, we are capable of great things.

But we have also realized that if we build only roads and bridges and forget the building of our social and psychological consciousness, our foundation for future greatness would have been laid on quick sand.

For that reason, a major part of our ceremony today is devoted to the formal awakening of what I call the SPIRIT of ANAMBRA.

The Spirit of Anambra is the inherent kinetic energy behind the numerous accomplishments of our people in education, commerce and industry, sports, literature & the arts, politics and science and other fields of human endeavour. It is the light we bear to every corner of the world in pursuit of happiness and our readiness to absorb or be absorbed into diverse cultures of the world. The Spirit of Anambra is a high-achieving spirit that finds motivation in itself and fulfilment in the achievement of others.

It is the spirit of Egbe belu, ugo belu!

Ndi b’anyi, before I lead you into the symbolism of lighting up the Spirit of Anambra, I shall attempt to define the essence of Onye Anambra.

Who is Onye Anambra? 

We are a great people of extra-ordinary heritage. Our heritage has been enriched by a profound clash of civilizations in the later stages of the 18th Century and the bitter experience of a civil war. 

We are a proud, hardworking and proud people with a capacity to adapt and flourish in any part of the world.

We are individually brilliant but collectively we have yet to put our individual brilliance together to produce a mighty beam of light that will announce our presence on earth as a group. And that is why we are performing this segment of the ceremony today to mark the beginning of our collective quest for excellence as a group.    

 Along these same lines, we have held fruitful deliberations with the leadership of the Anambra State House of Assembly for the immediate passage of a parliamentary instrument that will facilitate the adoption of the new symbols of the socio-cultural identity of Anambra State.

They include a new emblem, a new anthem and a new flag as well as distinctive colours that will be synonymous with Anambra State.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ndi Anambra, I present to you the soon-to-be-adopted corporate symbols of Anambra State.                                                                                                     • Chief Obiano, a retired banker, is the Governor of Anambra State of Nigeria

 

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CHUBA OKADIGBO: Philosopher, scholar, strategist and mentor (1941-2003). By Chido Nwangwu

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Dr. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1941-2003)Philosopher, scholar, strategist, wordsmith, publisher, activist, orator, traditionalist (Oyi of Oyi) and former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
                                                               
 By Chido Nwangwu,  Founder & Publisher of  USAfricaonline.comCLASSmagazine and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston.  
 

USAfrica, Houston, September 26, 2003: A big tree fell in the political and intellectual landscape of Nigeria; and indeed Africa. Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, philosopher, master of political intrigues scholar, publisher, activist, orator, traditionalist (Oyi of Oyi), and former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Thursday September 25, 2003, at the age of 61, in Abuja. He was vice presidential aspirant of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) with retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, as leader of the ticket.

Chuba, a hard-nosed political operator, was a bridge between the transited “old brigade” of the Azikiwes and Awolowos and the new, unsophisticated, impatient new breed of politicians in Nigeria. He was colorful, flamboyant and sometimes controversial in his activist life. But one of his misadventures was the oft-cited statements where he allegedly said that Dr. Azikiwe’s opposition to the NPN “victory” of 1982 could be “likened to the rantings of an ant.”

On many issues, he showed rigor and lucidity in intellectual discourses. Chuba was in Kano for an ANPP rally on Tuesday in Kano where federal police sprayed tear-gas to disperse their opposition to the Obasanjo presidency and “reelection.”

Okadigbo, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, had a health record of respiratory issues.

Meanwhile, a key member of Okadigbo’s ANPP in Kano State Hajiya Naja’tu Mohammed has told the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service the former senate president may have died from the impact of of an “offensive liquid” which the Nigerian police poured on ANPP leaders dignitaries at the same rally in Kano. “Immediately Okadigbo inhaled the offensive liquid, he was not himself again and party men started administering first aid on him to revive him…. It was something else, I and Okadigbo were soaked, even Buhari was soaked by the offensive liquid. The Police will not say they don’t know Buhari. That was the beginning of Okadigbo’s travails, because he started behaving like an asthmatic patient.”

On his part, durable journalist and nationalist Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu pointedly said that Chuba’s death is a “national calamity which was sure to embarrass President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Inspector General of Police (Tafa Balogun). It is a national calamity. It must be an embarrassment to the president and IGP that the police in Kano had to throw teargas at a rally being addressed by the Governor of Kano State and the Presidential candidate of the ANPP (Buhari) and his running mate (Okadigbo). There should be a revisit to the constitutional provision for freedom of Assembly without police molestation. This death is a kind of incident that can bring the North and the East together because they share a common sense of grief. Things like that should not be allowed to happen. The death of Bola Ige is shocking enough, Okadigbo’s death is even more bizarre. There should be an investigation regarding the real cause of death, which is now being attributed to police teargas in kano. I don’t believe he died a natural death. It seems like a respiratory collapse arising out of poisonous gas.”

Also, the Kaduna State chairman of ANPP Alhaji Kabir Umar has said his party “vehemently object to the way and manner Okadigbo was tear gas(ed) during the Kano rally…the death of Okadigbo was unfortunate, this is because we believe that his sudden death is not unconnected with the use of tear gas fired by the police. If they know that a man like Okadigbo was asthmatic and the security men still went ahead to fire tear gas in that environment, what did they expect?”

USAfricaonline.com contacts indicate that Dr. Okadigbo was taken to his Jerome Udoji Close residence in Asokoro, Abuja, the city where he has a home, to get additional medical attention and some rest. He was also planning for next day to see if could make another court appearance in the ANPP’s electoral-legal challenge to President (retired (Gen.) Olusegun Obasanjo’s controversial reelection of May 2003. The petitioners, the alliance of Nigeria’s political parties, the European Union, Human Rights Watch, and many international observers have since described the “reelection” in various terms as “rigged, unfair, and not credible” – citing certain cases of vote inflation and violence.

Chuba’s police orderlies were withdrawn recently and he has been getting threatening calls. A number of his supporters are outraged by his sudden death.

Chuba told me in an interview during the 2002 World Igbo Congress in Houston that “Nigeria’s President Obasanjo is sorely lacking in the mannerisms of running a democratic government. We fell out because I insisted and worked constitutionally on the principle of separation powers. He believe he owns the government. He’s a soldier and acts like one. But this is a democracy.” He fell out with Obasanjo and the party, PDP, and said the following in Nigeria “Now, the Nigerian polity is sick of second term syndrome, a threatening political cancer. Sadly, I must say that the PDP, which had been a big party of the people, is fast becoming a problem party for Obasanjo and his associates, which is run by his sycophantic cronies. They now lie prostrate in the trauma wing of a political hospital. Some good persons have been trying to nurse the PDP back to good health. But Obasanjo and his cronies are unwilling to let go, due to their ‘second term’ mania. So, what next? We all know that nothing succeeds like failure….”

Before then, Dr. Okadigbo informed USAfricaonline.com in another brief interview after his election in 1999 as Nigeria’s 7th Senate president that “we’ll continue to place the overriding interests of all Nigerians at the top of our legislative agenda. We’ll return quickly to the task of rebuilding the country and its democratic institutions.”

Chuba was key negotiator for Nigeria’s government led at the time (1979-1983) by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in securing the return of Biafra’s leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. He was Shagari’s political adviser. On the same issue of Biafrans and rehabilitation into Nigeria, he argued in 2001 that calling “ex-Biafran soldiers traitors is nonsensical, as it is inflammatory and unpatriotic….it is an attempt to boost up this anti-Igbo sentiment.”

On June 24, 2002, as he was planning to be president of Nigeria, he said “I do not wish to be a South-East nor an Igbo President. Nor do I wish to be a Southern President. I wish to be a Nigerian President, because I am thoroughly Nigerian, very Nigerian. I want my fellow Nigerians to accept me, to endorse me, to vote for me, because I will run a programmatic government which will get things done for Nigerians and for Nigeria and thereby, Move Nigeria Forward- positively.”

On the issue of the Presidency of Nigeria, and a subtle dig at retired Gen Obasanjo, Chuba said elsewhere the same month that Nigeria “As a country, we have been endowed by God Almighty with so much resources and potentials to be great. However, we have to free our Nation from direction-less, authoritarian rulers who are suffocating our democracy and have arrested our growth. What we need to do is simple- with our votes; we can free our nation and free ourselves.
Nigerians, free yourselves and fly!
Nigerians, free yourselves and fly!”

Regarding the ruling PDP which he co-founded with Nigeria’s vice president Atiku Abubakar, and others, later joined by Obasanjo, Chuba said, pointedly, “Sadly, the PDP has been unable to manage victory. The party has burst at the seams and has been in persistent trouble, no thanks to self-inflicted wounds. The problem began in June 1999, when President Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP induced Senators in the opposition parties, namely, the All Peoples Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to defeat the PDP candidate for the post of Senate President in the person of Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. Thereafter, discord between the executive and legislative arms of government began.

“Next, Obasanjo engineered the ouster of the PDP National Chairman, Chief Solomon Lar, whom he replaced with Chief Barnabas Gemade, whom he again replaced with Chief Audu Ogbe. Then. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo made it known that he wanted a second term as President. So did all PDP Governors and Local Government Chairmen. The APP and AD Chief Executives have followed suit. Now, the Nigerian polity is sick of second term syndrome, a threatening political cancer. Sadly, I must say that the PDP, which had been a big party of the people, is fast becoming a problem party for Obasanjo and his associates, which is run by his sycophantic cronies. They now lie prostrate in the trauma wing of a political hospital. Some good persons have been trying to nurse the PDP back to good health. But Obasanjo and his cronies are unwilling to let go, due to their ‘second term’ mania. So, what next? We all know that nothing succeeds like failure. What may happen next can be anybody’s guess. Bearing in mind the fact that success has many friends whereas failure is an orphan.”

In an address to Nigerians in London on July 14, 2002, he directed his sharp mind to the issue of Incumbency as factor in Nigeria’s politics, and what Nigerians should learn from the U.S. He noted that “Incumbency is a two-edged sword. It can be quite raw. It can cut an opponent and it can also cut the holder of the sword. If the holder is a good performer, he can use the relevant performance as a sword of incumbency. But if he is a bad performer, that same sword can cut him, even to pieces. In the contemporary Nigerian setting, it all seems that incumbency will hurt many of its holders, due to dubious performances. Remember that George Bush, Snr, was an incumbent President of the United States when Bill Clinton defeated him. Bush led the US to fight and defeat Saddam Hussein and Iraq in 1990 but the American thought he did not perform at home. They turned out to be right in that Bill Clinton gave America eight straight years of unprecedented prosperity and peace.”

He continued: “Similarly (at the time) incumbent President Kenneth Kaunda, incumbent President Kerekou and incumbent President Gerald Ford were defeated at one time or the other, when the incumbency sword cut its holders in favour of opponents. When voters are appalled by bad performance and when they are vigilant, watch out for change. Moreover, change is the only thing that does not change. Every thing else is subject to change. No one, no class, no nation can stop the mind of change from blowing when it must and none can halt change itself when it is in real motion.”

With an erudite mind and powerful political connections, Okadigbo achieved most of his ambitions. But he could have even been more with just a little more discipline.

Fact is: like or hate him, you cannot ignore Chuba Okadigbo and his imprints on the sands of Nigeria’s politics. Thank you!

Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica (Houston)

Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica (Houston)

Finally, I offer you the gift of the wise words of my Aro elders: Oyi of Oyi, Ikenga Iguedo, may your lineage endure!!


Dr. Chido Nwangwu,  author of the forthcoming 2013 book titled ‘Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness’  www.MandelaAchebeChido.com, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1993, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com;  CLASSmagazineAchebeBooks.comIgboEventsNigeria360 and several blogs. He has been profiled by CNN International for his pioneering work on the news and public policy interests of Africans and Americans.  Chido, former adviser on Africa business to Houston’s ex-Mayor Dr. Lee Brown, appears as an analyst on CNN, London-based SkyNEWS,  NBC, ABC, CBSNews and other platforms. e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com.  Follow Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/MandelaAchebeChidoFacebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247

•• The preceding tribute appeared first at http://usafricaonline.com/chubaokadigbo.chido2003.html


 

A thumbnail biography of Okadigbo’s and some of his thoughts will include, the following:

Birth: December 17, 1941

Marital Status:
Married to Margery Okadigbo (they have children and he has other kids before then)

Education :
Diploma in Trade Economics Blankenburg College of Technology, Germany, 1963.

Master der Philosophie Karl Marx Universitaet, Leipzig, Germany, 1967.
Master of arts in philosophy the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA, 1972.

Post-doctoral fellow of politics the catholic university of america, Washington. D.C., USA, 1973-1975

Teaching experience :
Assistant professor, later adjunct associate professor of philosophy University of the District of Columbia Washington D.C., 1973-75.

Adjunct assistant professor of politics the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., U.S.A, 1973-75.

Adjunct assistant professor of politics Howard University, Washington D.C., U.S.A, 1974-75.

Director-general centre for inter-disciplinary and political studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975-1978.

Lecturer in philosophy University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975-78.

Professor of philosophy Bigard Memorial Senior Seminary [Roman Catholic Mission]. Enugu, Nigeria, 1975-77.

Academic visitor and research scholar [visiting professor] London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Government. London, United Kingdom, 1984-1987.

Author:
Logic for Black undergraduates,

1973 on Hegel’s treatment of Egypt: the middle-point between nature and spirit,

1973 Time for change,

1978 The mission of the NPN,

1979 Consciencism in African political philosophy,

1985 Power and Leadership in Nigeria,

1987 Transition to Transition: a senate profile,

1995 -several articles in national and international journals, magazines and newspapers-

Politics :
Organizing secretary, later administrative assistant, NCNC national secretariat. 2 Ikorodu road, Yaba, lagos, 1959-1962.

Secretary, academic board of NCNC, 1960-1963

Assistant publicity secretary Zikist National Vanguard lagos branch 1961-1963

Special correspondent: the Cock monthly newspaper of the NCNC, 1960-1963

Founder/Secretary, Lagos municipal tenants movement, 1960-1961

Founder/President, Nigeria Tenants movement, 1961-1963

General secretary Nigeria Union of students, East Germany1964-1966

General secretary NCNC, East German branch, 1964-1966

Vice president NCNC, East Europe wing, 1964-1966

Elected member, constituent assembly federal republic of nigeria, 1977-1978 (which framed the constitution of the federal republic of nigeria 1999).

Deputy national secretary later, acting national secretary national party of nigeria [npn], 1978-1979

Special adviser on political affairs to the president of nigeria, 1979-1983.

Secretary elders council [national] social democratic party [sdp] 1990-1992

Senator of the federal republic of nigeria 1992-1993

Chairman, senate foreign affairs committee dec. 1992-nov. 1993

National vice chairman [south east] Peoples democratic movement [pdm], 1993-date

Proponent of the name and title “peoples democratic party [pdp]”

Proponent of the flag of the pdp [green, white, red]

Proponent of the motto of the pdp [power to the people]

Co-proponent of the symbol of the pdp [umbrella]

Chairman pdp national publicity committee, 1998-1999

Re-elected as a Senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999

Chairman, senate foreign affairs committee jun.1999- nov.1999

President of the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria. nov.18, 1999 – Aug. 8, 2000.

Founder/chairman Institute of civic affairs, July 2001 till date

Chairman, senate committee on Riots, crises and conflicts, sept. 2001 till date

Honours:
Ekwueme of Ogbunike, 1976.

Ikenga Iguedo, 1980

Oyi of Oyi, 1992

Ikenga Omaballa, 1999

Okwuluoha Ndigbo, fct, 1999

Orji [okeosisi] of Anambra state,

1999 Ijelle Awka, 1999

Ezeudo na Ihembosi, 2000

Okaome Ndigbo [Orlu], 2000

Ode jim jim [Okigwe], 2001

Enyi Nawfia, 2001

Order of diplomatic merit, gwanghwa medal of distinguished international service of the republic of korea, 1980.

National order of the Republic of Guinea, 1981.

Chuba had his way with words. Remarkable, among many, is an excerpt from his interview with erudite journalist Lewis Obi, in the Concord newspaper in July1982, on Statistics: “Statistics are useful, indeed necessary. But you must examine, indeed re-examine statistics before you take really rational decisions. Let me put it another way. Statistics are like bikinis. What they show are quite interesting. What they conceal is even more interesting. In other words, you must look deeper &endash;beyond the first flash of statistical data.

On Ideology:
An ideology is a world outlook or world view, a Weltanschauug to be more scientific. From the stand-point of government, you can call it a framework or the mirror of a leader or ruler for looking at the State and the world generally. In the specific case of Nigeria, there is an ideology in the form of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, given in Chapter Two of the Constitution. Take note that every councillor, chairman, legislator and executive in Nigeria must take an oath of office wherefore he swears to maintain the Constitution. This is mandatory. In ADDITION, A LEGISLATOR, RULER OR LEADER SHOULD ADHERE TO THE MANDATE given in the manifesto and Constitution of the party on whose platform he came into office. Usually, they do NOT contradict any Constitution of our Fatherland. The central point is that Nigeria should be a welfare state, as originally ordained by the Founding Fathers of Nigeria and their political parties. Nevertheless, there is room for particularisations and rationalised ordering of priorities, according to existential circumstances. This must include the reality of free competition, marketi-sm, and the reward of Merit in the contemporary world.

On Money and Power:
Every body needs money to live and cope with life. You can use money to do good and you can use government money to do good for the many. But as they say, money is the root of all evils. Like the incumbency sword, money can cut both ways, the giver or taker, the rich or the poor. The worst part of money is to have more than you need. With respect to power, the greedy but very important personalities (VIPs) who seek or have more money than they need are among the shamelessly corrupt. They can do any thing bad to stack money and to induce any body to do evil. In business, some persons who worship money are fraudsters, while others may even sell drugs to little, innocent children. Some of the moneybags have often told me that the only way to get power is have money or to be a slave of moneybags. I did ask them how much personal money they think or know that Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Alhaji Tafawa Belewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mallam Aminu Kano and Alhaji Shehu Shagari had to be Heads of State or Governments. Also, I told them that it is God, not money that gives or takes power to who He wills. Furthermore, I know that God provides money through good men to any one that He wanted to give power.

On Travails and setbacks:
“When one door closes, another opens”. A man may rise or fall. Otherwise, he is static and this can be very boring. When you rise, try to hang in there but never abandon principles. When you fall, stand up, dust up, and move. In addition, I always remember the deep British thinker, Rudyard Kiplins, when I rise or when I fall. He wrote: if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same…if you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it &endash;And which is more-you’ll be a Man, my son!” during a chat with students in Umuahia, June 2001.

On Foreign Policy:
At the beginning, Nigerian foreign policy was non-alignment, with either the West or East, as power blocks and as capitalist or communist nations. In 1976, this policy was revised, wherefore Africa became the centrepiece of Nigerian foreign policy. Thanks to this doctrine, Nigeria facilitated the independence or liberation of a host of colonized African countries, including apartheid South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Recently, this policy was made to include military intervention for unity and peace in troubled African states, such as Liberia, Sierra-Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This has been overly expensive, in terms of money, human life and property. This spontaneous policy review is in search of yet a more rational review. In addition, the world is no longer as ideologically divided as it was before the fall of the Soviet bloc of nations. It is no longer bipolar or multipolar. The world is now unipolar. This is an additional rationale for some inevitable but dynamic review of Nigerian Foreign Policy. Therefore, I should propose an All Nigerian Foreign Policy Conference, as distinct from any unilateral and undemocratic decision by any ruler or group.

On Nigeria’s Budget
…In his Budget Address, President Olusegun Obasanjo aptly observed in page 2: “for this Government and most Nigerians, our hard-won democracy is yet to translate into significant improvements in our lives.” I completely agree with this. But why? The major reason for this pitiful failure was given by several Senators who spoke yesterday. To wit: The Y1999 Supplementary Budget and the Y2000 Budget, with all their Amendments, have not been properly implemented by the Executive, whose two hands were totally free to implement. You will recall that a highly placed public officer in the Ministry of Finance has been quoted as saying that less than 30% of budgeted money for projects in Y2000 has been spent! Ironically, the Senators, after all, are right at last.

Mr. President, I hereby suggest that the political economy approach, as opposed to the bookkeeper, is the best way for budget formulation and costing in Nigeria. From this standpoint, our national budget must be made to be consistent with the federal principle. In this connection, no state or zone may have more than the other, excepting when and where the Rationale are clear, empirically verifiable, and socially/morally defensible. Unfortunately, in the Y2001 Budget, there are many manifestation of disproportion, with regard to the allocation of fluids and projects to our Zones and States in several particulars. For example, I cannot find any justification for the reduction of my Zone, the South-East, to the sixth and lowest position in the Y2001 Budget of President Obasanjo. Why can’t all Zones have equal share and why must the South-East be at the very bottom of the ‘Zonal Distribution of Core Projects’?

——
Why Obama’s late to symbolic, historic meeting with Mandela.  By Chido Nwangwu.  http://usafricaonline.com/2013/06/26/obamas-late-to-symbolic-historic-meeting-with-fit-mandela-by-chido-nwangwu/

VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu.   http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn  

——-

Forthcoming 2013 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary livesMandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”

He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )

There’s a compelling political trinity to Nelson Mandela: the man, the messiah and the mystique. http://usafricaonline.com/2013/07/18/mandela-95-hearty-cheers-to-his-footprints-of-greatness-by-chido-nwangwu/

——- ——

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

——

 Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )
ACHEBE Lives As an Immortal Writer In Our Hearts and Minds. By Chido Nwangwu.
USAfrica, May 22, 2013:

——–

POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication’ by Chido Nwangwu

Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                    

FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

 

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Taiye Selasi’s ‘Ghana Must Go’ novel raises vital diaspora life issues. USAfricaBOOKS review by Nneka Ezenwa Chiazor

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Taiye Selasi’s GHANA MUST GO novel raises vital diaspora life issues

 

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USAfricaBOOKS review by Nneka Ezenwa Chiazor

@Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

USAfrica, June 4, 2013: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi presents a vivid and engaging story of a modern day African family in the United States of America grappling with the triple thorny issues that continue to beleaguer most Africans living in the diaspora: finding one’s identity in the valley of being neither fully

taiye-selasi_novelist

taiye-selasi_novelist

Western nor fully African; once finding it, learning to accept and embrace that reality of bifurcated existence, and dealing with the challenges and implications of economically-driven family separation and in some cases, outright abandonment.

As a London born, Massachusetts-raised Ghanaian-Nigerian, Ms. Selasi instinctively unveils her intriguing characters adorned in a silky swaddle of complex situations – abasement, lust, love and more.  Scintillating, this page-turner and her debut novel, is sure to make you think about the complications of some of those issues.

The young writer tells the story of Dr. Kweku Sai, a general surgeon with a fetish for slippers, who meets his untimely end at his abode in Accra, Ghana.  His death gives way to the story of his estranged family: Fola, his first wife, first love and domestic engineer (a.k.a housewife) who is Ghana-must-go-cover-of-novel-by-taiye-selasiholding down the fort in America with his four children – Olu, the eldest son, also a doctor and married to an Asian girl, the twins, Taiwo and Kehinde both reeling from their father’s absence and pressures of trying to fit into both African and American societies that don’t understand them, and Sadie, the last child saddled with being born after the twins and struggling to find her place in a family that was, but could no longer be whole. Kweku loses his prestigious job at the hospital and feels so much like a failure that he abandons his wife and children and moves back to his ancestral home, Ghana.

This leaves Fola, who sacrificed her career ambitions to become Kweku’s housewife, to care for four young children- Olu, Taiwo, Kehinde and Sadie.

Fola in her desperation and typical Nigerian fashion of wanting to keep up appearances sends Olu to a private school and ships the twins to her brother in Nigeria where they face shameful horrors.  Sadie, the youngest is stuck to her mother’s side and never really gets a chance to bond with any of her older siblings.  Fast forward sixteen years and Kweku dies, which reunites the family while reopening the wound resulting from his absence.

Selasi brings her scholastic aptitude to bear (Yale Bachelors and Oxford Masters) in this well written novel has been released in the U.S early summer 2013.

Evidently, the 25-years old Selasi who was selected by Granta as one of Britain’s Top Young Writers in 2013, is poised to be a leading writer for her generation.
•Nneka, a telecommunications executive and African creative arts specialist in the U.S., is a contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine Houston.

WHY I CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORKS OF NELSON MANDELA. By Chido Nwangwu   Mandela&Achebe-byChido_cover-01

ACHEBE lives as an immortal writer in our hearts and minds. By Chido Nwangwu

Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )

POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication’ by Chido Nwangwu

 

Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-grouphttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin.  By Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale.

 

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Chinua Achebe’s work on earth was magnificently done. By Chike Momah

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TRIBUTE TO CHINUA ACHEBE (IKEJIMBA) 1930-2013

By CHIKE MOMAH

Special to USAfricaonline.comAchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  Nigeria360IgboEventsUNNalumni,  and CLASSmagazine Houston.                                                                    Follow USAfrica Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Twitter.com/Chido247

 

Chinua Achebe was a compelling figure, straight out of a Biblical saga. He was also, rather more prosaically, a friend who was so close, he was like a brother. A few hours after his death was blazed around the world, I received a condolence call from a member of our Dallas (Texas) Igbo community. This friend asked me if I was sure Chinua and I did not share an umbilical cord. Another person, this time a Reverend gentleman, expressed his condolences in rather more risqué language. “Your friendship with Chinua,” he said, “reminds me of the biblical story of David and Jonathan.”

Chinua-Achebe_holding-his-headI would be lying through my teeth if I said I was not flattered by the language in which the two condolences were couched. But while I gloried in the way my friendship with Chinua was perceived by these two gentlemen, two things struck me about the manner their perceptions were expressed. The reference to Chinua and I sharing an umbilical cord will be easily recognized for what it was: a humorous turn of phrase. But when the clergyman reached for his Bible in search of relational equivalences, he lighted on one of the most emotional passages in Holy Scripture: David lamenting the death of Jonathan, whose love for him, David sang, “was wonderful, passing the love of women!” The love of women? I ask you!

The clergyman’s Biblically inspired phraseology also set me thinking in an unusual direction. I thought about it for a long while, and then – eureka! – it hit me. Chinua Achebe’s story, the saga of his life, is a story of almost Biblical proportions. He rose so far above his humble birth, and above his innate humility – as a human being, a classmate in school, and a friend – that nothing about him seemed ordinary. And, amazingly, his stratospheric rise to greatness, fame and universal acclaim was, at least, twice predicted: first, in 1943, by his and my primary school Headmaster, Mr. Okongwu, as sagacious an observer of humanity as you are likely to meet; and, about a dozen years later, by Chinua himself, albeit innocently.

Chinua did not prophecy, in so many words, that he would, one day, be a great man. But, about two years BEFORE he even began to write his epochal novel (THINGS FALL APART; published in 1958), he wrote the following words to a mutual friend: “Yes, there may be many stars in the firmament, but some shine brighter than others.” My memory, at my fairly advanced age, is like a sieve but, as near as I can remember, those were his exact words. I know this because I saw and read the letter he wrote to the friend, and I was involved in the sequence of events that led to that innocent prediction. The mutual friend, I am happy to relate, also achieved considerable success, in his own right, as a novelist. Glory be!

Headmaster Okongwu’s prophecy was couched in more straightforward and unambiguous language. In 1943, as I was sweating over my preparations for the entrance examination to Government College, Umuahia (G.C.U. – a boys’ high school), along came my Headmaster. He regarded me for a moment or two, and then uttered his immortal words: “If,” he said, “you do well enough in the exam to gain admission to the school, I predict you will there meet a boy called Albert Achebe, and Albert will make the rain that will drench you!!! (This was a boy he last saw in 1940, when Chinua was ten years old.) In the upshot, I gained admission to GCU. Chinua also did, on a merit scholarship! This was in January 1944.

The rest is history. In the middle of 1944, our first year in high school, Chinua was promoted, with five other boys, to class two. First drenching! From then till his high school graduation in 1948, he was the best student in his new class. That same year, he won a merit scholarship (one of only six or seven awarded that year) to the University College, Ibadan (U.C.I.). To study MEDICINE!! U.C.I. was then the only institution for tertiary education in the country. He changed courses at the end of his freshman year, and I caught up with him one more time. This was in 1949. We both graduated, Bachelor of Arts, in the same subjects, in 1953. Throughout those four years, our professors and lecturers, again and again, let us know that Chinua was, not only the best student in the class, but also the best writer of English. He achieved the best result in our degree examination. Second drenching!!

I need not belabor the point. More drenching followed, fast and furious! Within five years of our graduation, Chinua published THINGS FALL APART. Other novels followed, and success followed hard on success. The inevitable consequence followed. Chinua, force majeure, began to shift out of my orbit. He discovered, as his friends did too, that he had been drawn onto a world stage – to all of humanity, and not just to a narrow circle of friends and admirers.

He was, as I have dared to proclaim elsewhere, the best writer of English that I think I have ever read. He is, for me, its most mellifluous exponent. If the reader disagrees with this spectacular claim, I plead that beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I speak for myself and, perhaps, for a continent. There is no writer, living or dead, who has demonstrated, in greater measure than Chinua, the ability to weave a tapestry of words taken from the Queen’s English and from the proverbs and aphorisms of his own mother tongue, Igbo.

He certainly rose above the British colonial quagmire to which our people were condemned for a century and more, to write the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Stevenson and, yes, even Conrad, with a mastery that takes the breath away. When we were reading those authors, in high school and in college, we did not think – we dared not think – that we would produce a Chinua Achebe. Later, he was to pick a bone or two with Conrad’s racially slanted writings, but that is another story!

I might have sometimes been tempted to look at Chinua, and think (again, Biblically): Is this not the carpenter’s son? But I can say, truthfully, that I never succumbed to that temptation. He bestrode my world like the colossus that he was, and I rejoiced with him as he scaled the heights of literature to its pinnacle. No, he was no mere carpenter’s son for me.

During the years Chinua and I were in high school and university, my contacts with the senior Achebe were few and far between. My memory of him is, at best, very sketchy now. But Chinua’s old man was no carpenter, though I have no doubt that he was largely responsible for chiseling Chinua, in his formative years, into the exquisite product that has dazzled the world for more than half a century, since THINGS FALL APART was published in 1958.  

Chinua should have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Prize committee members are probably the only persons, on earth, who know why he was denied this recognition of his literary stature, and of his influence on more than two or three generations of African writers. And on other writers worldwide! Tony Morrison (the Nobel laureate) acknowledged Chinua as one of her main literary inspirations in writing about her own people. Chinua’s most celebrated contemporary and fellow Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel laureate, also acknowledged Chinua as a trail-blazer. Enough said!

Chinua now belongs to the ages, his work on earth magnificently done. No one could have asked for more from even a genius of his breath-taking dimensions. Regrettably, Chinua had to live out the last twenty-three years of his life wheelchair-bound – the result of a vehicular accident in 1990. This is the reason, above all else, that my wife, Ethel and I (and Chinua’s other friends) are especially appreciative of the love and devotion of Odozi-ngwulu, his beautiful wife, Professor Dr. Christiana Achebe – Ana to Chinua himself, Christie to the rest of us!

My appreciation also extends to their children, Chinelo, Ike, Chidi and Nwando, of whom one is a medical doctor, and the other three achieved doctorates in academia. Apropos of this, Ethel sometimes teasingly told Chinua he was the least educated member of his family!! I was his best-man when he married Christie, and he was godfather to my son, Chukwudi (Chidi).

His last book, There Was A Country,

Chike-Momah-wt-kolanut-pixkwenu

Chike-Momah-wt-kolanut

the story of Biafra, and of man’s inhumanity to man – was like a concluding and thunderous exclamation mark on his life as a writer! The buzz it generated has scarcely died down, as I write this.

I stand, in humility, in the shadow of Chinua Achebe’s greatness and, yes, of his almost Biblical stature!!! In the language of the Bard: when comes such another?

Nnabuenyi Momah’s tribute is his second revision of a piece (Reflection on Chinua Achebe) which he wrote in 2000, and revised in 2007. Achebe’s passing, in the third week of March 2013, has necessitated this update; sent to USAfricaonline.com from his base in Arlington, Texas; April 2013.  He is the author of several novels and retired international agencies staff. His book review-exclusive interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu was published here on USAfricaonline.com and across the platforms of USAfrica e-groups on March 7, 2012. http://usafricaonline.com/2012/03/17/usafricabooks-profile-chike-momah-on-his-novels-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.comAchebeBooks.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247 

Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                                                                                       By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com


WHY I CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORKS OF NELSON MANDELA.
 By Chido Nwangwu
  http://usafricaonline.com/2010/07/15/mandela-why-i-celebrate-his-life-works-by-chido-nwangwu/

Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-grouphttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

Jonathan’s Boko Haram problem and firing of Ringim. By Chido Nwangwu
http://usafricaonline.com/2012/01/25/jonathans-boko-haram-problem-and-firing-of-ringim-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

http://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 

Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos

310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html

http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson

In the light of an icon, my mentor Stanley Macebuh (1942-2010)By Chido Nwangwu  http://usafricaonline.com/2011/03/07/stanley-macebuh-tribute-by-chido-nwangwu/  

Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChidoFacebook.com/USAfrica247 n Twitter.com/Chido247

—- 

• Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 http://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Jonathan’s Boko Haram problem and firing of Ringim. By Chido Nwangwu http://usafricaonline.com/2012/01/25/jonathans-boko-haram-problem-and-firing-of-ringim-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

 

Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson

——

In the light of an icon, my mentor Stanley Macebuh (1942-2010). By Chido Nwangwu  http://usafricaonline.com/2011/03/07/stanley-macebuh-tribute-by-chido-nwangwu/

The greatest Igbo ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s great farewell in Aba. By Chido Nwangwu   http://usafricaonline.com/2012/02/28/the-greatest-igbo-odumegwu-ojukwu-farewell-in-aba-by-chido-nwangwu

USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).

I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.

To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.

We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood…. •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.

News: At Ojukwu memorial in Dallas Texas, USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu challenges the Igbo nation to say never again like Jews.

Ojukwu trouble and Ikemba titles. By Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale. 

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin.  By Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/

 

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Street kids turned acrobats

In Zambia, thousands of children live on the streets, many affected by HIV. But Barefeet Theatre is a group of former street children that uses performing arts to educate homeless children in Zambia and help keep them off the streets.

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In Zambia, thousands of children live on the streets, many affected by HIV. But Barefeet Theatre is a group of former street children that uses performing arts to educate homeless children in Zambia and help keep them off the streets.

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AFRICA

The prophet Chinua Achebe’s immortality affirmed with grand apocalyptic valediction. By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

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The prophet Chinua Achebe’s immortality affirmed with grand apocalyptic valediction.

By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu.

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston.                                                                 @Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

“Never explain, never retract, never apologize. Just get the thing done and let them howl.” – Nellie L. McClung

 

Chinua Achebe appeared on the world stage in grand style by way of the epochal novel Things Apart. He left the stage in the grandest style ever possible through his release of There Was a Country – A Personal History of Biafra. Some people who mouth controversy should learn the words of Oscar Wilde: “The only

Chinua Achebe at his 70th birthday. Photo by Chido Nwangwu/USAfrica

Chinua Achebe at his 70th birthday. Photo by Chido Nwangwu/USAfrica

thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” What strikes me most instructively in There Was a Country is Achebe’s deposition that he could not see any of his so-called friends come to the rescue of the Igbo people when they were being hounded and killed at will across the country before the start of the civil war. The venom with which Achebe’s book has been bitterly attacked in certain quarters has made me to edit the characters I call my friends!
Actually There Was a Country has created the world record of having more critics who had not set eyes on the book, let alone read it. Some of the critics of Achebe’s There Was a Country actually called for the outright banning of not just the book but also Things Fall Apart! It is of course simply beneath me to dignify septal palace intellectuals of man-worship with a response. So let’s make progress along the lines of Achebe’s wise words…

Achebe does not waste words. His warning in There Was a Country rings true that there may be no Nigeria if his urgent message is not addressed. It is an apocalyptic valediction from a prophet. Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer of South Africa understands the great import of There Was a Country as she writes thusly: “Chinua Achebe’s history of Biafra is a meditation on the condition of freedom. It has the tense narrative grip of the best fiction. It is also a revelatory entry into the intimate character of the writer’s brilliant mind and bold spirit. Achebe has created here a new genre of literature in which politico-historical evidence, the power of storytelling, and revelations from the depths of the human subconscious are one. The event of a new work by Chinua Achebe is always extraordinary; this one exceeds all expectation.”
Yes, any new book by Achebe becomes an instant classic. Chinua Achebe’s oeuvre is indeed intimidating starting from the legendary Things Fall Apart in 1958 and grandly lapping all the way through No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, Girls at War and Other Stories, Beware Soul Brother, Morning Yet on Creation Day, The Trouble with Nigeria, Chike and the River, Home and Exile, Hopes and Impediments, The Education of a British-Protected Child etc.
There Was a Country can in a sense be seen as the encapsulation of the great man’s lifework. Achebe starts out by reiterating his favourite Igbo proverb that “tells us that a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.” For Achebe, the rain began to beat Africa upon the “discovery” of the continent by Europe some 500 years ago. Achebe follows through history to the Biafran war that changed not just the course of Nigeria but more crucially and cataclysmically the history of Africa. According to Achebe, “It is for the sake of the future of Nigeria, for our children and grandchildren, that I feel it is important to tell Nigeria’s story, Biafra’s story, our story, my story.”
Born in Ogidi in present-day Anambra State on November 16, 1930, Chinua Achebe who was baptized as Albert was indeed a child prodigy from the very beginning such that his academic feats was known far and wide culminating to his lifelong buddy Christian Chike Momah, alias Papa Ada, confessing that he and his mates were warned early in life that one Albert Achebe from Ogidi would send them to the cleaners in the regional school exams!
It was therefore no wonder that Achebe was early in life given this nickname: Dictionary. He passed his school certificate exams at the top of the class with five distinctions and one credit, and the one credit was paradoxically in literature that would eventually earn him worldwide fame. In the nationwide examination for entry into the University College, Ibadan which had just been established Achebe came first or second in the entire country and thus won a major scholarship. His alma mater Government College, Umuahia was so proud of his achievement that they put up a big sign that stayed on the wall for many years.

At Ibadan he did not feel like studying medicine after all and thus lost his scholarship. Upon graduation from Ibadan he fell in love with Christie Okoli while working at the then Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) in Enugu. When Achebe eventually transferred his services to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in Lagos he began his journey with destiny by writing Things Fall Apart. He then in a “quite naïve, even foolish” move posted the only handwritten manuscript he had to a typing agency in London after paying the then hefty fee of 32 pounds sterling in 1956. It was through the help of a former BBC Talks producer, Angela Beattie, who had been seconded to NBC Lagos that the typed manuscript was eventually recovered from the typing agency after about two months of nerve-wrecking panic and delay.
Achebe in his humble manner labels his time “A Lucky Generation”. He lived through the march to Independence in 1960 and the exploits of great politicians such as Zik, Ahmadu Bello and Awolowo. “Here is heresy:” Achebe writes. “The British governed their colony of Nigeria with considerable care.”
Achebe’s novel A Man of the People which ended with a military coup was published on the cusp of the January 15, 1966 military coup, “something Nigeria has never really recovered from.” Achebe was one of the last Easterners to flee from Lagos after first sending home his then young family of wife Christie, daughter Chinelo and son Ike.

 

Achebe reiterates his deposition in The Trouble with Nigeria “that Nigerians will probably achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo.” He delves into the pogroms against the Igbo, the July 29, 1966 countercoup and the assassination of the Supreme Commander JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi. The failure of the Nigerian team to accede to the Aburi Accord would in the end lead to the Civil War. There has been the argument that Biafra was not ready for the war, but one should not wait to be properly armed like the bully before fighting back for one’s life. Only a very poor student of history would not know that somebody like Fidel Castro, for example, did not wait to have as many weapons as Fulgencio Batista before confronting the evil regime in Cuba. Castro was captured and jailed after his first attack in 1953, then he was betrayed and ambushed in 1956 only to fortunately flee from Cuba but he eventually succeeded in ousting Batista in 1959. In South Africa, in circa 1961, the African National Congress (ANC) decided to take up armed struggle to battle the gargantuan arsenal of the Apartheid goons, and here is what Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom: “I, who had never been a soldier, who had never fought in battle, who had never fired a gun at an enemy, had been given the task of starting an army. It would be a daunting task for a veteran general much less a military novice.” Mandela and his comrades thus set up Umkhonto we Sizwe (The Spear of the Nation). According to Mandela, “The symbol of the spear was chosen because with this simple weapon Africans had resisted the incursions of whites for centuries.” Mandela reminds us that the Communist Party in Cuba under Batista had felt that the appropriate conditions had not arrived to wage the war but “Castro did not wait, he acted – and he triumphed. If you wait for textbook conditions, they will never occur.”
Achebe lived as a refugee in villages such as Ezinifite in Aguata local government. He sends up what he labels “the Triangle Game: the UK, France, and the United States” in the war effort. Achebe’s Enugu house was amongst the first places to be bombed in the Biafran enclave. The publishing house Citadel Press Achebe set up with his bosom friend, the iconic poet Christopher Okigbo, took possession of the manuscript of Emmanuel Ifeajuna, the leader of the January 15, 1966 coup but Achebe had reservations about the writing which Ifeajuna’s colleague Chukwuma Nzeogwu dismissed as “Emma’s lies”. The killing of Okigbo put paid to the publishing dreams, but the duo had worked assiduously on the manuscript of How the Leopard Got Its Claws by Chinua Achebe and John Iroaganachi containing a poem “Lament of the Deer” by Christopher Okigbo.
Achebe’s role as the head of the team that wrote the Ahiara Declaration marks him out as a conscience of the new nation. He was a roving cultural ambassador in the course of the war. He does not flinch from delving into controversial issues such as the Asaba massacre, the Calabar massacre, the vexed issue of propaganda, the media war, refugees, world champion boxer Dick Tiger as a Biafran, Biafra’s taking of an oil rig Achebe-There-Was-A-Country_A Personal History of Biafra-by-Chinua-Achebe2012in the so-called Kwale incident, the role of international writers, and of course the question of genocide. Once the former Nigerian president Zik switched over to Nigeria the war was as good as over. In the end the Biafran leader Ojukwu had to flee to Cote d’Ivoire and thus “robbed Gowon of closure and complete satisfaction in victory.” Beyond the book, it is indeed remarkable that Gowon, like Ojukwu, needed a state pardon to make a re-entry into Nigeria.

All hell has since broken loose in the Nigerian media because Achebe quoted Awolowo’s argument that “All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war” that eventually led to “eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations.”

The slanging match is evenly matched between defenders of Awolowo and backers of Achebe alongside the well-worn ethnic Nigerian divide. It suffices to say that the national catharsis is well worth it. Achebe delivers what we used to label in primary school as “one blow, seven akpus”, to wit, delivering one punch to a person’s face that leaves the hapless fellow with seven bumps on the selfsame face. Achebe has this to say on Igbo reintegration, or lack thereof, after the war: “The Igbo were not and continue not to be reintegrated into Nigeria, one of the main reasons for the country’s continued backwardness.”

 

Achebe goes beyond the war to when the civilian regime of then President Olusegun Obasanjo took sides with criminals to kidnap the governor and burn down government buildings in his native Anambra State which made him to publicly reject the national honours awarded him. He tackles the issues of corruption and indiscipline, state failure and the rise of terrorism, state resuscitation and recovery.

He sees Nelson Mandela as the shining example for every African and indeed all mankind at large; incidentally Mandela has the highest regard for Achebe as “The writer in whose company the prison walls fell down.” This well-annotated book that is interspersed with poems has done the great duty of getting Nigerians reading again and actually debating, even as the critics are only interested in uncouth abuses.

 

Irony is the great power of Achebe. Some may read the book, like the New York Times reviewer, thinking that Achebe meant there was a country called Biafra without understanding that Nigeria is at bottom the purview. Achebe’s marriage of history and memoir in There Was a Country has raised a very high stake in the discourse of Nigeria.

It is akin to a new birth for the country that must return to school, not unlike the birth of Achebe’s son Chidi who gave me the book, as limpidly limned in There Was a Country: “On May 24, 1967, in the midst of this chaos, my wife went into labor. I sent my close friend, the poet Christopher Okigbo, to the hospital she had been admitted to find out when the birth would take place, and then to call me at home, where I had briefly returned to rest and take a shower. In characteristic Okigbo fashion, he waited for the delivery, went to the nursery to see the baby, and then drove back to convey the news to me that my wife had delivered our third child, Chidi – ‘There is a God’ – and that the way his baby locks were arranged, he looked like he had had a haircut and was ready to go to school!”

 

At barely 28 years of age Chinua Achebe published the novel Things Fall Apart in 1958, and it has in its 55 or so years of existence proven to be the single most important piece of literature out of Africa.

The 50th anniversary of the 200-odd page novel was celebrated all over the world with festivals, readings, symposia, concerts etc. The novel which has been likened to epic Greek tragedies has been translated to 50 languages and has sold over ten million copies. It is taught not just in literature classes but in history and anthropology departments in colleges and universities across the globe. The archetypal theme of the meeting of the white world and the black race makes Things Fall Apart an epochal event in the annals of world literature.

 

The book works at several levels, and can be read at any age from 10 to 100. As a child one can enjoy the incidents such as the match with Amalinze the Cat, Unoka’s dismissal of his creditor, Okonkwo’s attempted shooting of one of his wives, the visitation of the masked spirits etc. Later in life the many ironies in the book come into play such as the joke on the District Commissioner thinking that Okonkwo’s story can only end up as a paragraph in his planned book, The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger, without knowing that one Chinua Achebe had taken the thunder from him by giving Okonkwo an entire book in which the story is narrated from inside!

It is not for nothing that Achebe is celebrated as the father of African literature. He has changed the perspective of world literature from the gaudy picture of Africa as painted by Europeans such as Joseph Conrad, Joyce Cary and Sir Rider Haggard to the authentic telling of the tale by the Africans. Unlike earlier African writers like Guinea’s Camara Laye, author of The African Child, who painted a romantic picture of the continent, Achebe is relentlessly objective in his narration, telling it as it is, warts and all.

 

It is because of the remarkable success of Things Fall Apart that the publishers Heinemann UK launched the African Writers Series (AWS) in 1962 with Achebe’s first novel as the first title. For many years Achebe served as a non-remunerated Editorial Adviser of the series in which the majority of African writers got their breakthrough in publishing. Things Fall Apart reputedly accounted for 80 percent of the entire revenue of the AWS.

 

Former American President Jimmy Carter numbers Achebe as one of his favourite writers. The rave reviews for Achebe’s most famous novel have somewhat dwarfed his other novels such as No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe won the Man Booker Prize for his lifetime achievement in fiction writing, beating a formidable shortlist that included Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, V.S. Naipaul, Ian McEwan etc. He equally won, as the first African, the American National Arts Club Medal of Honour for Literature in November 2007.

Things Fall Apart has earned its uncommon distinction as a modern classic and was in 1992 adopted into the esteemed Everyman’s Library of world classics. The Igbo world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which Achebe limned in Things Fall Apart has become the global picture of Africa writ large. At the turn of the 20th century the book was voted as Africa’s “novel of the century”. Achebe has in the book given the world a new English language which paradoxically portrays African life without facetiousness or affectation. He lays bare the brute masculinity of the age without bending the knee to latter-day political correctness or gender balance. The truth happens to be Achebe’s sublime weapon in telling the immortal African story.

 

It is remarkable that Achebe worked beyond the African past by depicting the corruption that is ravaging Nigeria and indeed all Africa in his second novel No Longer At Ease. He delves into where angels fear to tread, tackling the ignoble Osu Caste system. His landmark Arrow of God can be likened to the tensions bedeviling the six geo-political zones of Nigeria in the manner the six villages of Umuaro met with tragedy. The shame of Nigerian partisan politics has its best illustration in literature in Achebe’s A Man of the People which predicted the advent of coups and counter-coups. Achebe extends his grand discourse of life in his assessment of the segments of struggle in his last novel Anthills of the Savannah.

 

The issue is always raised that Achebe never won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well, the following writers who were still writing after the Nobel had been bequeathed did uzor_maxim_uzoatu-pixnot win the prize: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Ibsen, Conrad, Twain, Brecht etc. Then these are the names of the so-called writers who won the Nobel Prize: Carducci, Eucken, Heidenstam, Reymont, Karlfeldt, Laxness etc. In short, the Nobel Prize does not the great writer make.

Chinua Achebe belongs with the gods. He is indeed immortal.                                                                •Uzoatu, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine (Houston) is based in Lagos Nigeria. A poet and author was the 1989 Distinguished Visitor at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of Western Ontario, Canada and was nominated for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008 for his short story “Cemetery of Life” published in Wasafiri magazine, London.

 

WHY I CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORKS OF NELSON MANDELA. By Chido Nwangwu  http://usafricaonline.com/2010/07/15/mandela-why-i-celebrate-his-life-works-by-chido-nwangwu/

Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-grouphttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

 

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale. 

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin.  By Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/

Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                                                                                       By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

Africa’s most acclaimed and fluent writer of the English Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions, cultural 

USAfrica-CLASSmagazine-special.cover Vol. 5.8 Achebe080808-chido

custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the Eagle on the Iroko, Ugo n’abo Professor Chinua Achebe,joined his ancestors a few hours ago, at the age of 82, in a peaceful and graceful transition in the warm company of his family.

Reasonably, Achebe’s message has been neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He’s our pathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans and lovers of the fine art of good writing. Achebe’s cultural contexts are, at once, pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literary contextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igbo or Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.

His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of the true essence of his/our Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing and disposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures) this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce, juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of the vitality of the individual/self. 

In Achebe’s works, the centrality of Chi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology… it is a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude while taking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.

I’ve studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, the rigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed in most of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, because I share the same Igbo ancestry with him.

Permit me to attempt a brief sentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here, folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle on the Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one like you! Ugo n’abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!

FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

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Mandela, others send tributes mourning Achebe

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston.                                                                 @Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

The death of the grand-father of modern African literature Prof. Chinua Achebe is drawing several messages from some of the world’s leaders, Nigeria’s president, his friends, contemporaries and writers.

Achebe-n-Mandela. via USAfricaonline.com
Achebe-n-Mandela. via USAfricaonline.com

A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa has been sent to the family of the late renowned writer Chinua Achebe. It conveyed, on behalf of the Chairperson, Board of Trustees and staff of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, “our condolences to the family of Prof. Chinua Achebe, a great African writer and thinker, who passed away on 21 March 2013 at the age of 82.”

Nelson Mandela, a friend of Achebe’s and an avid reader of his works, notably once referred to Prof. Achebe as a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down” — a reference to Mandela’s 27 years in apartheid South Africa jail.

Both men are known for their principled positions on issues of justice, opposition to bigotry, discrimination and commitment to fairness to all persons and support for progressive pan Africanism.                                                                                                                               By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

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Eight lessons of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. http://usafricaonline.com/2009/11/01/chido-8lessons-rwanda-genocide/

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