TranscriptCNN International Interview with Nigeria's President Obasanjo andUSAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu on Democracyand Security Issues
Nigeria,a terrible beauty....

An excuse to kill

By Jonathan Elendu

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com,TheBlack Business Journal and NigeriaCentral.com

Once again, Nigeria's notoriety has grabbed headlines andworld-wide attention. We have shot ourselves in the foot one moretime, and this time before the whole world. Ceaselessly wedemonstrate that we have an amazing capacity to bite off our nose inorder to spite our face. Our excuse this time was the Miss Worldbeauty pageant which was supposed to hold in Nigeria's capital cityof Abuja on the 7th of December. This time we tookthe excuse too far as we killed our brethren while the beauty queensenjoyed the hospitality of the Abuja Hilton.

Everybody blames Isioma Daniel's article in Thisday newspaper forthe Kaduna riots which started on Wednesday 20 and lasted till Friday22nd. By the time the riots extended to Abuja, two hundred andfifteen residents of Kaduna had been killed. Churches, mosques andbusinesses lost their buildings to arson caused by the rioters. Thehoodlums also burned down Thisday newspaper offices in Kaduna. Let usbe clear, Isioma Daniel did not start this riot. There was nothing inher article that should have sparked off such vandalism. She is novillain, rather an unfortunate scape-goat.

The riots were programmed to happen. One is surprised that it tookthe Nigerian government by surprise. Some officials of the ObasanjoAdministration have accused the international community, especiallythe media, of having conspired to take the pageant away from Nigeria.I agree whole-heartedly. But we must also add that the ObasanjoAdministration was part of the conspiracy. Why did it accept to hostthe pageant in the month of Ramadan? The Nigerian government isfamous for its ineptitude, naiveté, and timidity. The handlingof this beauty pageant and the riots is a further confirmation of ourassessment of the government. Where were our intelligence agencies?Had they been alive to their responsibilities, the riots would havebeen nipped in the bud.

Time and again, Northern elites have used the common people tofurther their diabolical agendas. The idea that some almajiri's readan article in Thisday and took to the streets is ludicrous. Anybodywho has lived in the Northern Nigeria knows that the common man onthe streets of Kaduna would not pick the Thisday newspaper to read.It is also an established fact that most people, who read newspapers,don't bother with opinion pages. Somebody used a harmless comment byIsioma Daniel as an excuse to start mayhem on the streets ofKaduna.

The Kaduna riot was not about religion either. The religiousleaders of Kaduna know that and they, in their refusal to pray forrioters killed during the mayhem, have made a statement. Theirstatement was that the hoodlums did not die for the cause of Islamand, therefore, were not entitled to the kind of burial accordedmartyrs. It was a statement made by men of principle and we mustapplaud them for it. Islam talks about forgiveness and repentance. Itdoes not support the senseless killing and maiming of innocentcitizens. Thisday newspaper apologized for the offensive article daysbefore the riot started. Therefore, it was sparked by anything butreligion. This was about politics. Politics...northern style. Thepeople, who perpetrated the riots, were used by politicians todestabilize the state. This was an attempt to further somebody'spolitical views and score points. The trial of suspects have startedand this a classic Nigerian situation whereby everybody knows what isgoing on but chooses, instead, to participate in a charade. If theongoing trial does not unmask the people behind the riots, not thealmajiri's, but the power hungry politicians, it would amount tonaught. This travesty cannot continue if the Obasanjo Administrationis serious about checking incidents like this. Unfortunately, thewestern media and the so-called experts chose to see this riot asMuslims rising up against Christians. Northern political elites mustbe made to realize that they cannot continue to impoverish the peopleso that they remain in perpetual bondage, good only for doing theirbidding.

While the rich and powerful take refuge in their mansions, theysend out the children of the poor to kill and die for them.Unfortunately, the common people are too blind to see these schemes.They do not question the fact that the people, who send them on theseerrands that result in destruction of lives and property, neverinvolve their own children in these activities. The police have alsomade themselves accomplices in these acts as they fail to book thepeople behind these wanton destruction of lives and livelihoods. Thistime they must discover the forces behind the text-messaging campaignthat led to the riots. Almajiri's do not carry cellphones and couldnot have carried out a text-messaging campaign that incited people toaction.

Like we stated earlier, some Nigerians including governmentofficials have talked about an international conspiracy againstNigeria. This powerful group started their campaign the momentNigeria expressed interest in hosting the pageant. The likes ofNatasha Allas, Miss World America 2000, who knows little or nothingabout Nigeria, wrote letters and tried to encourage people like Oscarwinner, Halle Berry, to join in her campaign to stop Nigeria fromhosting the pageant. Journalists from the Western world wererelentless in demonising Nigeria. They told the whole world thatNigeria oppresses women and stone to death those found havingextra-marital affairs. Nothing can be further from the truth; grantedsome misguided State governments have adopted Sharia. To date, noNigerian woman has ever been stoned to death. And this will nothappen, because it is unconstitutional.

The foreign conspirators had Nigerian Co-conspirators. Theorganizers of the pageant at the Nigerian end, who did not take intoconsideration the feelings of our Muslim compatriots, made themselvesallies of the foreign conspirators. Beauty pageants have been held inNigeria since the 1960s. However, since this was an internationalevent, and given the Sharia craze of the North, the organizers shouldhave made sure they did not give anybody a reason to forment trouble.The month of Ramadan, especially should not have been chosen for theevent.

Nigeria has lost the pageant and our pride with it. In addition,we have lost hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in income andproperties. The conspirators have succeeded in getting the pageantmoved to London. I believe that as a matter of honor and respect, thepageant should not be held this year. While I recognize that thecontestants and organizers have invested so much in this event, theirloss if the pageant is not held this year will be nothing compared toNigeria's loss. This is a matter of fairness. Rightly or wrongly, theblood of innocent Nigerians flowed on the streets of Kaduna. Thecontest and contestants will be covered in this blood if they go onwith this year's pageant .

If this event had been in the United States and there were riotsin Detroit, a show billed for Chicago would not have been moved toanother country. And if two hundred American lives had been lost as aresult of the riots, the show would have been canceled. To hold thisshow would give the impression that Nigerian lives don't have thesame value as the lives of Americans or Europeans. If this show isheld in London this year, the Miss World Organization would havetaken a prominent place in the people's "Hall of Shame." NatashaAllas and her friends will all be recipients of the shame award.

Joining the "Hall of Shame" are the Nigerian police and thesecurity services. Others include the judge, who sentenced Amina todeath by stoning, the twelve Northern governors, who adopted Sharia,the Kano State House of Assembly for passing a resolution to ban thecirculation of Thisday newspaper in Kano, and Aliyu Shinkafi, theDeputy Governor of Zamfara State. The idiot has decreed a fatwa onIsioma Daniel. What is her crime? She did her job. Nduka Obaigbena,the chairman/publisher of Thisday newspaper made profuse and repeatedapology to Muslims. One cannot argue against an apology to those whofeel they have been wronged, but the tone of Nduka's apology wasobtuse at best. It is a classic case of what Americans call "asskissing."

We recognize that Obaigbena is a businessman; yet, we assume he isalso a journalist. He should know that Isioma Daniel did nothingwrong. One would have expected him to stand behind her and forprinciples. Evil men used her as a scape-goat and her publisherjoined them. Right wing conservative preachers like Jerry Falwell,Pat Robertson and others have said worse things about Islam andMohammed. Yet, American Muslims have not rioted, nor have they issueda fatwa.

In a commentary published a few years ago in Nigeriacentral.com,I had asked that we pass a law for common sense. Maybe time has cometo take that suggestion seriously. We need to save some of thesemisguided people from themselves. That may be the only way to keepour Republic from disintegrating in a hail of daggers and fire.
Elendu is a contributing editor ofUSAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com.He writes everyFriday, exclusively for USAfricaonline.comArchiving of this essay on another web site is notauthorized; only web links are allowed.


OPINION: Destructionof property and human massacres are always traumaticevents in a community, saddening and enraging, but the organizers ofthe beauty contest, as well as the participants, must understand thatthey are totally free of guilt. The guilty are the storm troopers ofintolerance, the manipulators of feeble-minded but murderous hordesof fanaticism. The nation will mourn the dead and render aid to themaimed and bereaved, but that same nation must understand that itwill itself join the graveyard of nations if it fails to uphold theprinciples of plurality, choice and tolerance. The phenomenon ofintolerance is eating up a world that can only survive on peacefulcoexistence.By Prof. Wole Soyinka


DEATH TOLL RISES TO 215 IN LATEST RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN KADUNA, AND ABUJA IN NORTHERN NIGERIA...

Churches burned, cars vandalized and stores looted since Wednesday Nov 21, 2002, when Muslims started a riot over World beauty pageant in Nigeria. Mosques have been added to the bonfire in bloody killings further sparked by ThisDay newspaper article which suggested Prophet Mohammad would have "probably" taken one of the contestants as a wife. Conservative Muslim leaders in Nigeria have sharply criticized the December 7, 2002 beauty pageant, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity. Nigerian officials said they fear the violence could spread to other cities in
Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, especially the region's largest city, Kano, which has been a center of unrest in the past. Nigeria's president, retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (in picture, right) has been criticized for the way he has handled the Sharia issue, and for not halting the violence. ThisDay has since apologized on its front page, twice, for publishing the article. Muslim protesters burned the newspaper's office in Kaduna because of the commentary by a writer. "Some churches have been burned and people have also been killed, but I have no figures," a senior police officer who asked not to be named said."I have counted no less than 10 churches burned," said one resident who toured the city on Thursday. "I have seen and filmed two dead bodies on the streets."



Implications of
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Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu
SAFIYA GETS REPRIEVE FROM ISLAMIC COURT: Safiya Husaini, a Nigerian Muslim woman who had been convicted of adultery under Islamic law and sentenced to death by stoning has achieved a reprieve from a Sharia court in the country. The lady who was divorced in Sokoto when she had her young baby has drawn international interest from civil rights activists and the media. She said what seems a well-known point in northern Nigeria "Others have committed worse crimes, but because they are men and because they have influence in high places, they are not punished."Another Muslim woman, Amina Lawal, has been sentenced to die by a Sharia court at Bakori in Katsina State. She she confessed to having had a child while divorced.
Sex and hypocrisy of
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And the Rocks Cried Out (For Safiyatu). By Effenus Henderson


Why
Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu

DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.

Pope John Paul, Abacha and Nigeria's Christians
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APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."
COUNTERPOINT
Tiger Woods is no Nelson Mandela! By Chido Nwangwu
SPORTS: Tiger Woods makes more history with another golf Masters win. He shot 12-under-par 276 and a final round 71 at Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club event and collected $1,008,000, on Sunday April 14, 2002. With it, the world's golf phenom added another green jacket to his array of championships and titles, placing him, in this instance, in the same respected Masters' league as Nicklaus (winner 1965 and 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989 and 1990). The three are the only men to win back-to-back Masters. At 26, Woods has since become the youngest golfer to win his seventh professional major championship. He was joined by his parents and his 22 year-old Swedish model girlfriend, Elin Nordegren.
Biafra-Nigeria war and history get fresh, critical look from a survivor. By Alverna Johnson and Vivian Okeke.
  'Biafra: History Without Mercy' - a preliminary note. By Chido Nwangwu
ODUMEGWU EMEKA
OJUKWU:"It was simply a choice between Biafra and enslavement! And, here's why we chose Biafra"
Biafra: From Boys to Men. By Dr. M.O. Ene

African Union: Old wine in new skin?
Sharia, Sex and hypocrisy of Gendered Justice. By Chika Unigwe, columnist for USAfricaonline.com
And the Rocks Cried Out (For Safiyatu). By Effenus Henderson
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
NEWS INVESTIGATION: The Marc Rich Oil Deals in Nigeria


Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
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September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Arafat's duplicity, terrorism at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian crises. By Barry Rubin
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa 
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials
Conflicting emotions, feeling of disappointment, timing of revelation that Rev. Jackson fathered a child with former aide lead to charges of "right-wing orchestration."

Nigeria's Presidential Election: Is it just for the Highest Bidder?

Nigeria at 40: punish financial thuggery, build domestic infrastructure
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfricaonline.com contributing editor Ken Okorie. Commentary appears from NigeriaCentral.com
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Why is 4-year old Onyedika carrying a placard against killings in Nigeria?
How Nigeria's Islamic Sharia crises will affect the U.S.
USAfrica INTERVIEW "Why African Catholics are concerned about crises, sex abuse issues in our church" - a frank chat with ICCO's Mike Umeorah
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Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu The Economics of Elections in Nigeria
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
COUNTERPOINT 'Why is Bill Maher spreading racist nonsense about HIV/AIDS and Africa on ABC?
USAfricaonline LITERATURE As Chinua Achebe turned 70, Africa's preeeminent statesman Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, Ali Mazrui, Leon Botstein (president of Bard College), Ojo Maduekwe, Emmanuel Obiechina, Ngugi wa Thinong'o, Micere Mugo, Michael Thelwell, Niyi Osundare, and an army of some of the world's leading writers and arts scholars joined to pay tribute to him at Bard College in New York. (Achebe is in pix with Morrison). Meanwhile, the Nobel committee has, again, chosen a relatively less known (globally-speaking) Chinese novelist, Gao Xingjian, rather than Achebe for the Literature prize. Achebe was seen as a top favorite for the 2000 award. What the Swedish Nobel committee will not give, Achebe has, for well over 30 years, won in the hearts of millions in 53 languages. By Chido Nwangwu
Literary giant Chinua Achebe returns "home" from U.S., to love and adulation of community
Hate groups' spin by Lamar Alexander benefits anti-Blacks, anti-Semites, and racists
Annan, power and burden of the U.N
The Civilianizing of African soldiers into Presidents
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JFK Jr.: Death of a Good Son
'Why is Bill Maher spreading racist nonsense about HIV/AIDS and Africa on ABC?
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ARTS The Life and Irreverent times of Afrobeat superstar, FELA

 

 

TRIBUTE Tanzania's founding president Julius Nyerere    

 

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Community Service Awards bring African-American, American policy and business leaders together with African community at Texas Southern University
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
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Index of Founder's Notes (1)

Index of Founder's Notes (2)

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Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
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Is Obasanjo ordained by God to rule Nigeria? And, other fallacies. By Prof. Sola Adeyeye
Obasanjo was not sworn in merely to
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Obasanjo's 'prayers' and the Abacha path of staying in power. By Nkem Ekeopara

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Reuben Abati's fallacies on Nigeria's history and secession. By Bayo Arowolaju
How Abati, Adelaja and others fuel the campaign of hatred against Ndigbo. By Jonas Okwara
"Obasanjo, secession and the
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Abati and other
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DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy was livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

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HEALTHWATCH
EVA champions efforts to combat AIDS among Nigerian youth. By Jessica Rubin
Pros and cons of the
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TRIBUTE
Prof. Chimere Ikoku: Remembering the legacy of a pan-Africanist, scientist and gentleman. By Prof. Chudi Uwazurike
 
Can Africa live a future without war? An Open Letter to Mandela. By Fubara David-West, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor
INSIGHT
Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.





COUNTERPOINT
Tiger Woods is no Nelson Mandela! By Chido Nwangwu
SPORTS: Tiger Woods makes more history with another golf Masters win. He shot 12-under-par 276 and a final round 71 at Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club event and collected $1,008,000, on Sunday April 14, 2002. With it, the world's golf phenom added another green jacket to his array of championships and titles, placing him, in this instance, in the same respected Masters' league as Nicklaus (winner 1965 and 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989 and 1990). The three are the only men to win back-to-back Masters. At 26, Woods has since become the youngest golfer to win his seventh professional major championship. He was joined by his parents and his 22 year-old Swedish model girlfriend, Elin Nordegren.
Impeachment process shows Nigerian democracy "is alive... being tested." Nigeria's president retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the impeachment process shows that "democracy is alive, is being tested, and being tried.... What they (the legislators) have tried to do in the democratic way, which is not easy, would probably have been done by taking arms or by -- with bullets. So, but with democracy, of course, some people feel that this is the way this should be, and then I have an opportunity to defend myself. There is discussion. There is dialogue. There is a decision. There is fairness." He made these comments when he appeared on Tuesday September 17, 2002 on CNN International to discuss the issues of impeachment facing him, the allegations of corruption, abuse of the constitution and deployment of soldiers ina civilian environment which led to the "massacre of civilians" in Odi (Bayelsa) and Zaki Biam (Benue). On the charges by international human rights organizations and Nigerian media that his government has been involved in actions which have led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerians, the retired General gave a surprising answer. He was asked that "as many as 10,000 people, it's being reported, have been killed in Nigeria (in) communal rivalries, and the number is believed to be increasing. And people are saying that although President Obasanjo has done a lot of good for Nigeria, you're accused of not -- accused of failing to halt that spiraling violence." Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
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RELIGION AND ETHNIC CONFLICT: Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers. By Chido Nwangwu
Nigeria as a Nation of Vulcanizers
Why Colin
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Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets. By Chido Nwangwu
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu


One year after: Reflections on September 11. By Jonathan Elendu
PUBLIC POLICY Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are keys to prosperity in Africa.
The
Civilianizing of African soldiers into Presidents
Maduekwe, Nwachukwu clash over Obasanjo at World Igbo 2002 convention in Houston. USAfrica Special report
USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings. USAfrica FORUM IN THE HOUSE OF MANDELA: A SILLY CRY FOR REPARATIONS By Prof. Chimalum Nwankwo
DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

Steve Jobs and Apple represent the future of digital living. By Chido Nwangwu
Apple announces Titanium
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"killer apps" and other ground-breaking products. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
The coup in Cote d'Ivoire and its implications for democracy in Africa. By Chido Nwangwu
(Related commentary) Coup in Cote d'Ivoire has been in the waiting. By Tom Kamara
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents." These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.' Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president. By Al Johnson
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors game 
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PetroGasWorks Shell picks Leslie Mays as VP Global Diversity
EndGame in Kinshasa: U.S must boot Mobutu for own interest, future of Zaire and Africa
Why Powell's mission to the Middle East failed. By Jonathan Elendu
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Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua's prison death, Nigeria and The Ghost of Things to come ..... 
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