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USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree

The U.S.-sponsored, leading international christian education college/seminary in Africa and an affiliate of the University of Nigeria (UNN), WATS, during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in Lagos, awarded two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation Chido Nwangwu, and retired Gen. Samuel L. Teidi, member of the Board of Directors of one of Africa’s largest corporations, Dangote Flour Mills….

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ACADEMIC HONORS:

USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu, Gen. Teidi get honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree

Lagos: The U.S.-sponsored, leading international christian education college/seminary in Africa and an affiliate of the University of Nigeria (UNN), WATS, during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in

USAfrica multimedia networks publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu being interviewed by the media after the conferment. Photo by Agbo Agara, USAfrica.

USAfrica multimedia networks publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu being interviewed by the media after the conferment. Photo by Agbo Agara, USAfrica.

Lagos, awarded two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation Chido Nwangwu, and retired Gen. Samuel L. Teidi, member of the Board of Directors of one of Africa’s largest corporations, Dangote Flour Mills.

The keynote speaker at the anniversary is Prof. Pat Utomi, a former candidate for Nigeria’s presidency in 2007 and one of the African continent’s leading public policy analysts. Since 1992, WATS has been officially affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria’s first indigenous university).

Speaking on behalf of he board of trustees of WATS, its founder and acting provost Dr. Gary Maxey, an American missionary, said “it’s such a high honor for an institution with moral and ethical foundations to honor the two who count among Africa’s most dedicated professionals, former former Commandant of Nigeria’s School of Ammunition retired Gen. Teidi and USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu who is recognized and respected as the most influential and authoritative African-born multimedia executive in the United States.”

chido.doctorate2009.Lagos1-300x200It was Gen. Teidi’s second honorary degree; having received a Doctor of Science degree from St. Clement University in Australia.

Dr. Maxey adds that “Chido Nwangwu earns this 2009 Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in respect and recognition of his almost 25 years of authoring, broadcasting and articulating hundreds of original, authoritative public policy advocacies and for his strong and consistent position of fighting authoritarianisms and bigotry in order to foster a better environment for people of all races and backgrounds towards the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and dedication to God’s grace. He actively supports christian education. He served as an advisory board member on international business to the former Mayor of Houston (America’s 4th largest city) and he is the first continental African admitted as member of the 100 Black Men of America.”

The Twentieth Anniversary celebrations will include a number of activities, including a three-day conference tagged “The Power of the African-American Pulpit,” and features the teaching and preaching of Dr. Ralph Douglas West (Church Without Walls, in Houston, Texas), Dr. Maurice Watson (Beulahland Bible Church, in Macon, Georgia), and Dr. Sola Aworinde (Agape Bible Church in Lagos). The other recipients of honorary Doctor of Divinity degree are Rev. Leroy Adams, Rev. Donald R. Plemons, Rev. Bernard Dawson, Rev. B.C.K. Obiako and Alan Bullock.

Dr. Maxey makes the point: “we are honoring, in part, Chido’s 25 years of effectively utilizing the multimedia of print, tv, radio, internet (especially the USAfrica multimedia networks, the CNN, BBC, VOA, South African Broadcasting corporation, Nigeria media outlets and numerous international platforms) to empower and foster a focused transnational exchange between Africans and Americans. We recall that America’s flagship newspaper The New York Times recently cited Chido Nwangwu and his USAfrica networks as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned U.S-based media corporation.”

Chido who is based in Houston-Texas is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S based newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, the e-groups of AfricanChristians, IgboEvents, Nigeria360, NigeriaBanks.com, and other platforms.

Dr. Maxey also notes that retired General Teidi “is being honoured by the Seminary for his contributions to humanity and as a long-time supporter of WATS. For decades Gen. Teidi has made continuous provision for orphans, widows and others in destitute circumstances, including sponsorship of education up to the university level. He is instrumental to the admission of over 850 Nigerians on a subsidized scheme basis.”Teidi, chairman of Overseas Agency Nigeria Limited, was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1969 following his graduation from the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in September 1969. He has since furthered his military and academic training and obtained a diploma from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK; B.Sc. (Applied Physics) from the Council of National Academic Award (CCNA); M.Phil (Atmosphere Physics).

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Congratulations, Chido merits the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree…

By Temple Chima Ubochi

ubochit@yahoo.com

Bonn, Germany

Friday, May 15, 2009 in NigeriaWorld.com, excerpted from commentary

http://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/ubochi/051509.html

Please permit me here and now to congratulate Chido Nwangwu, for the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree he will be awarded on May 23, 2009. Chido will be receiving the honorary award from WATS, which is the leading international christian education college/seminary in Africa, during its 20th Anniversary events May 20-23, 2009, in Lagos. WATS will award one of the two of its first honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees to Chido Nwangwu who is the Founder of the USAfrica multimedia networks and data mining corporation. Since 1992, the WATS diploma and degree programs have been affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria’s first indigenous university).

The founder and acting provost of WATS, Dr. Gary Maxey, an American missionary, said “it’s such a high honor for an institution with moral and ethical foundations to honor one of those who count among Africa’s most dedicated professionals. That USAfrica’s Founder Chido Nwangwu is recognized and respected as the most influential and authoritative African-born multimedia executive in the United States!

I agreed with Dr. Maxey intoto when he added that “Chido Nwangwu earns this 2009 Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in respect and recognition of his almost 25 years of authoring, broadcasting and articulating hundreds of original, authoritative public policy advocacies and for his strong and consistent position of fighting authoritarianisms and bigotry in order to foster a better environment for people of all races and backgrounds towards the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and dedication to God’s grace. He actively supports christian education. He served as an advisory board member on international business to the former Mayor of Houston (America’s 4th largest city) and he is the first continental African admitted as member of the 100 Black Men of America.”

Dr. Maxey went on to say: “we are honoring, in part, Chido’s 25 years of effectively utilizing the multimedia of print, tv, radio, internet (especially the USAfrica multimedia networks, the CNN, BBC, VOA, South African Broadcasting corporation, Nigeria media outlets and numerous international platforms) to empower and foster a focused transnational exchange between Africans and Americans We recall that America’s flagship newspaper The New York Times recently cited Chido Nwangwu and his USAfrica networks as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned U.S-based media corporation.”

For those who do not know: Chido who is based in Houston-Texas, is the Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S based newspaper to be published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfricaTV, AchebeBooks.com, the e-groups of AfricanChristians, IgboEvents, Nigeria360, NigeriaBanks.com, and other platforms.

Chido merited this award and he deserves the very best of awards for his hardwork and service. I know that we will be hearing more of such goodnews for Chido in the future. He has carved a niche for himself. I can only add: Chido nwannaa, jide nke iiji (keep it up). As a fellow lion (UNN alumnus), fellow UNN Students´ Union official during our days at the university (although we served in different sessions) and a fellow Aba brought up, I owe Chido this congratulation. He should accept it.

Chido’s success is a source of pride to many of us. It is good to rejoice with our people who are doing marvellously well in their field of endeavour.

Temple Ubochi

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USAfrica, Houston. June 5, 2009

Dear Temple: I googled my name and saw your kind and gracious notes a few minutes ago, dateline Bonn, Germany. May God bless you for your kind words and encouragement.

We had a very blessed and worthy event. I did not know that so many of our folks, Africans and Americans, had so much respect and appreciation for the modest, growing efforts we make at USAfrica. We are even more humbled by these graces, support and prayers.

I returned from Nigeria n London last Thursday.

Jisie ike, and I will always remember/

Chido Nwangwu, USAfrica.

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From: Lady Mrs. Oyibo Odinamadu, former vice presidential candidate in Nigeria’s 1978-1979 elections; she holds a 1952 Bachelor of Arts in Education, History, Sociology, from the Lincoln University of Missouri, USA; Master of Arts in Education, Columbia University, New York, USA 1953. She is Knight of St. Christopher of the Church Of Nigeria.
e-mail: oyibomail@yahoo.com

Congratulations, my dear son, Dr. Chido!

It is with the greatest excitement and elation that I received the news of the acknowledgement and appreciation of your professional efforts and achievements by the WATS – the foremost international Christian College/Seminary in Africa – with the honorary doctorate Degree of Doctor of Humanities. Also the affiliation of the WATS with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is very noteworthy.

The honor cannot be more richly deserved or better fitted. You have more than worked for it; and I am sure that more of such recognitions are in the pipeline! As I have said before: You are one of the outstanding personalities that make the Igbo population to tick! You have done us – the Igbo, Nigerians and Africans – very proud indeed! Congratulations!

Nno-o! Jisie ike! Ike agwuna gi n’olu! Na gi nwe aka-a!
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On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Oscar Juli8 <oscarjuli8@gmail.com> wrote:

Congratulations!

Chido, I am very proud of you for all your quiet achievements. You are not loud, yet you are heard all over the world. In your near extreme humility you are hardly ever spotted in boisterous events, still you are viewed globally. I believe that your wonderful personality accentuated by your excellent command of both the written and spoken English language have niched you in eminence. It would not be an exaggeration to describe you as a nulli secundus in authoritative US-Africa link authoring. Your candidacy in the forthcoming West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) honorary Doctor of Humanities Award is another star added to your galaxy.

Chido, you are not only a source of pride to the Arochukwu Kingdom, you are more so to all Africans and African-Americans, even beyond to other peoples of the world who cherish literary excellence. Chido, if you do not mind, may I be the first to address you as Dr. Chido Nwangwu.

Okoro Oji.

Mazi ndeewo.
I’m in WashDC; rtn2 Houston in 5 hours/
I’m very deeply touched by your kind words and relentless support; for the prayers and motivation of our family and friends, at all times, whether I’m going thru’ the toughening, tasking path of temporary thunder or propelled by the certainty of the sunshine of God’s grace.
Cheers and to God be all the glory!
Chidozie Nwangwu
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On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Asagwara Ken <Ken.Asagwara@gov.mb.ca> wrote:

My Dear Brother Dr. Nwangwu:

Congratulations…. You are one brother I talk a lot about to my while friends and colleagues directing them to your website. It is needless to say, I am proud of you because I know you know that. Keep up the good works.

Really, I am looking forward to joining your organization in the near future, if circumstance permits it. Till then, keep shooting, my bros.

KC Prince Asagwara, Canada.

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On Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM, Uzo Udemba <udembau@trendtv.tv> wrote:

Chido. I feel very vindicated. I thank  God for the talents  He has bestowed upon you. The harvest is indeed plenty but the laborers are very few….  It is my fervent prayer that God continues to bless us with many more like you.

Keep it up brother.

Uzo Udemba, Chairman TrendTV, Lagos

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Summary/updated bio-profile:


Dr. CHIDO NWANGWU, 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 , is the Founder and Publisher of the influential and respected multimedia networks USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the Internet), the Chinua Achebe project Achebebooks.com,  CLASSmagazine, the pictorial events mega-site with the largest collection of contemporary images/events of continental Africans in America PhotoWorks.TV, The Black Business JournalBBJonline.com, several blogs including Nigeria360e-group, and USAfrica The Newspaper which voted the Number One community newspaper in Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S.) in the annual ranking by the readers and editors of the Houston Press in 2001. 

The flagship of American media, The New York Times of September 23, 2003, noted that USAfrica is America’s largest African-owned multimedia company. The New York Times’ reporter Simon Romero wrote that Chido “Nwangwu recently created a magazine called CLASS for affluent Africans in the United States.” To be sure, it’s not only for the affluent but the willing and deserving. CLASS is the Africans-in-America’s own Ebony and People and GQ – all rolled into one unique product: an ultra-glossy magazine of African style, music, living, fashion and our younger generation interests. He calls the latter group ‘generation Class.’ CLASS is the magazine for successful, pioneering, style-pacesseting and exemplary Africans in America.

He appears as an analyst on the CNN, the Voice of America/WorldNet and the Black Entertainment Televsion (BET), as well a number of local U.S. tv and radio stations. Also, he was the only continental African publisher/reporter who traveled with and covered U.S. President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to parts of Africa, March-April 2, 1998; and covered Clinton’s visit to Nigeria in late August, 2000.

Chido served on Houston Mayor Lee Brown’s international business advisory board (Africa) and has been honored by the Washington-D.C.based National Immigration Forum for utilizing the media to fight authoritarianism and foster freedom of expression in parts of African continent. He has served on the board of the Houston chapter of the NAACP, and was the first continental African to be admitted to the 100 Black Men of America, here in the U.S.

Dr. Chido Nwangwu served as the moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, in Rhode Island.

In 2005, he established one of the most vibrant Africa community e-groups/blogs/community calendars for sharing info/announcements of upcoming and special events, insight to significant dates, festivals, events, resolutions/communique and historic milestones involving (or relevant to) persons, organizations and groups of Nigerian descent Nigeria360, the blog for the Igbo pan-African heritage, called IgboEvents; an Anglican community blog, AnglicanAfrican, and more. They are all powered by the resources of USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com.

Nwangwu speaks at colleges and businesses on technology issues, especially how the unfolding the digital world and the Internet affect Africans, African-Americans and recent immigrants. He served as a panelist at the 2000 British Broadcasting Corporation/Public Radio International global technology forum in San Francisco, California.

He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in the 1989 into early 1990s, 1988-1989 assistant editor of the Platform magazine, African and The World journal. He began his professional career as a very young man in the news, sports and programs production/camera/editing departments of the Nigerian Television Authority. He contributes to The Mail and Guardian of South Africa, Houston Chronicle, and numerous U.S.-based and Africa issues publications.

In recognition of his engaging and pioneering digital design work on USAfricaonline.com and other web sites, Chido was voted the #1 African-American web designer in 1997 by the Houston Association of Black Journalists. He has since conceptualized, designed and maintained through his company, USAfrica Digital Media, a number of web sites, including private corporations and such governmental sites as the Abia State of Nigeria first web site in 2001.

Nwangwu is author of the special report, Clinton’s Africa, and is writing a book on the experiences of recent African immigrants in the U.S.

He has been profiled in the Houston Chronicle (8th highest circulated newspaper in the U.S.), the Orlando Sentinel, Mail and Guardian of South Africa, and a number of other publications. Some of Chido Nwangwu’s works, bio-data and context of his writings were recently profiled in February, 2001 in a report in the Houston Press by prolific essayist and reporter John Suval.

He is the convener of the annual inter-denominational USAfrica Prayer Breakfast, which holds at 9am prompt on the last Saturday of every January, of every year, since 1999. He serves on the advisory board of several community building and international organizations including EVA (Education as Vaccine against AIDS-based in Nigeria and the U.S). He is an active new technologies analyst, television and multimedia executive, cross-cultural business consultant and an artist.


For speaking engagements, e-mail or call 713-270-5500. Wireless 832-45-CHIDO (24436)

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USAfrica: Atiku’s America trip boosts U.S assessment as realistic alternative to Buhari

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By CHIDO NWANGWU, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • ChidoNwangwu.com

The first time I met Atiku Abubakar was the first Thursday of May, 1999 when he attended the world’s largest oil and. gas conference, OTC, as Nigeria’s Vice President-elect, and I co-managed with Chris Mammah his participation on behalf of NAPIMS/NNPC.

Since 2001, somehow, millions of Nigerians believe(d) and spread the allegation that Atiku Abubakar had a “guilty charge awaiting him to be arrested” for criminal culpability, should he “set his feet” on the continental shelf of the United States….

Since 2015, for the opponents of Atiku, particularly outspoken members of retired general Muhammadu Buhari’s  ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), those are “Incriminating evidences” as well as the most visible disqualifiers, open for everyone to see as proof of his “corruption records.…”

But on Wednesday evening of January 16, 2019, in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, the country’s former Vice President (1999 to 2007 during the presidency of retired general Olusegun Obasanjo) packed his bag with his visa. He was ready for the awaited trip to the United States of America, accompanied by some of his advisers. The jet was airborne around 1:30 Thursday morning. He arrived later in the day at the Washington Dulles international airport.

What are the key points and implications from his trip?

First, Atiku, one of the most formidable businessmen in the critical sector of logistics, effectively used the opportunity and platforms to announce to the world that he is the Nigerian free market forces candidate and the champion of privatization! And, it’s jobs, jobs, jobs! Exactly what the American leadership needed to hear. 

Second, with a mix of other factors and aggregation of interests, I think the man left the U.S, operationally enhancing his international bona fides, mid-January 2019, as a realistic alternative to Buhari.

Third, there was no mention of his controversial business tango with some Americans including Louisiana congressman Jefferson (who is in jail.). Plus, no reference to the complications from his multi-nodal transfer of substantial sums of funds into the U.S.

 Fourth, the man’s upfront and non-pretentious interest in State power specifically to become president of Nigeria is likely to draw the admiration of some American political activists and Nigerian-Americans. On the other hand, there are many who still charge him of an extraordinary ambition for apex political power  which led him to move from the PDP to the APC and then back to the PDP. It fueled the flames of antagonism and corrosive questions against him.

On this issue, with deserving regards to history and facts, the cheerleader of the choir which sang all manner of stuff against “Atiku’s character” was his former boss,  Obasanjo.

To borrow the Warri context of the word, it was Atiku who “come provoke” the unforgiving soldier who could have been a great head of state, Obasanjo!

Unfortunately, Obasanjo’s quest for an unprecedented 3rd term distracted him from the higher purposes of good governance; especially his positioning himself as the Nigerian Mandela. I addressed this comparison in my summer 2019 book titled MLK, Mandela and Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity [ISBN 978-0-9893970-0-1]

Fifth, by wrapping up the two-day trip to the United States without any problems, I believe that Atiku has gained an excellent opportunity to refresh his narrative regarding the twin issues of integrity and corruption.

Sixth, by coming to exchange ideas with some of the most influential business executives and public policy leaders here in the United States, the moderate Muslim,  who was born on November 25, 1946, has also enhanced his stature among leaders from the emerging markets.

Seventh, Atiku has began the unavoidable task of clearing the wet blanket of doubt covering the important, strategic and thoughtful manifesto he presented with Peter Obi  over his third attempt to be elected President. •00——————————————•

Dr. Chido Nwangwu, analyst on CNN & SKY news,  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 to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1993, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.comChido is completing the 2019 book titled MLK, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Power, Leadership and Identity.  E-mail: Chido@USAfricaonline.com

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Military coup in Gabon collapses overnight….

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Military coup in Gabon collapses overnight....

Special to USAfrica [Houston\]

Gabon’s presidency said in a statement that soldiers burst into a state radio station at dawn on Monday and called for an uprising against President Ali Bongo, who was recovering in Morocco from a stroke.

Security forces stormed the building, arrested the coup leader and killed two of his soldiers, according to the presidency.

“The secretary-General has always stood against unconstitutional changes of power, especially by force, and in that light, he condemns the attempted coup that took place this morning in Gabon,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Guterres added that calm appears to have returned in Libreville and calls “on all actors to follow constitutional means”, added Dujarric.

The UN envoy for Central Africa, Francois Lounceny Fall, who is based in Libreville was closely monitoring the situation and is ready to offer assistance if needed, said the spokesman.

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USAfrica: Why Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom Gov. Udom Emmanuel deserves reelection in 2019

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By Ini Ubong

Special to USAfrica [Houston] & USAfricaonline.com

There’s every likelihood that Udom Emmanuel, the incumbent Governor of Akwa Ibom State, will continue with a second term in office. Top among the reasons this will happen is the fact that the peace which eluded the state between 2007-2015 has [restored]. It has become the norm, and so, the people that were affected most, the Church in Uyo are now conducting their business unhindered. This is why the church as a body, have cried that, “afflictions shall not arise a second time “.

I was in the state for 11 days and spoke and listened to faith leaders. They want the peace experienced to continue. Udom Emmanuel The Governor is unpopular amongst the civil servants? Yes. There’s a visible anger once you mention his name. He’s not owing them their salaries, but emoluments like several years of leave allowances, pensions etc. In my quest to understand what’s on the mind of the Governor, one of his senior aides agreed that the Governor had a meeting last week with Level 14 and above officers and explained to them the poor financial situation, offering them notarized promotions.

At several instances, I have pleaded poor income for the state, and I was unkindly told that the “Udom boys are living large, buying properties and the good life.”

Udom Emmanuel –as Governor of AKS– isn’t seen as a friendly and humble person and those around him complain he’s not flexible with counsel. Human flaws? Yes, but, there’s been a lot of development in the state, and decorum in managing the finances.

This sitting Governor will return because, the defection of PDP’s Godswill Akpabio to APC has unsettled the opposition’s plans; and successes achieved before his arrival has dissipated. An aspirant of APC swore that they’ll all vote Udom Emmanuel, to “teach APC a lesson.“

Everywhere APC had structures, the uncommon transformer’s entry undid all, leaving the party with bitter tastes in their mouths. Streetwise consensus is that, if Nsima Ekere, the APC gubernatorial candidate was staking his reputation, there would have been a real battle,  the braggadocio of Godswill Akpabio.

Most people of AKS are done with that era. Take for example the primaries of APC in the state. Lives were lost in the process, and even though the process was inconclusive, candidates forced on the people were announced. This again is a relic of our locust years. PDP in Akwa Ibom State seems to be strategic.

When I screamed why Chris Ekpenyong, one time Deputy Governor of the state, who recently was lampooned, cursed and abused by constituents of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district on a radio phone in programme, should be given a ticket to oppose Godswill Akpabio, a senior PDP person suggested that, the party might not be interested in winning that position. Again, the obvious confrontation from the camp of the NDDC CEO, regarding projects in AKS isn’t resonating with responsible adult in the state. The expectations are that, the Federal agency, should have partnered as the provision is, with the state government in determining strategic and important infrastructure to move the state forward, instead of the former behaving like another Governor of the state.

The people of Akwa Ibom State are desirous of the tranquillity that was in the state before the coming of Godswill Akpabio, and whoever is offering that peace, they have elected to petition their Maker for the best. So, the battle to return Udom Emmanuel is also a spiritual one; it is not for Udom Emmanuel himself, but, for the future of the Akwa Ibom people.

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#FLASHPOINT: DRC Congo on knife’s edge as presidential election result is postponed

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Special to USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com

The Democratic Republic of Congo officials on Saturday delayed the announcement of preliminary results from a crucial presidential election, amid growing pressure from world powers and the influential Catholic church to respect voters’ wishes.

“It is not possible to publish the results on Sunday. We are making progress, but we do not have everything yet,” Corneille Nangaa said, without announcing a new date.

The country’s powerful National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), which represents the country’s Catholic bishops, warned popular anger could result in the event the final result were not “true to the verdict of the ballot box.”

DR Congo’s powerful Catholic Church, which provided more than 40,000 election observers, had said Thursday it knew who had won the vote, but did not name him.

In a letter to Nangaa on Saturday, CENCO president Mgr Marcel Utembi said that, given the delay, “if there is a popular uprising it would be the responsibility of the CENI.”

The December 30 vote saw 21 candidates run to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast, conflict-ridden country for almost 18 years.

Among the frontrunners were Kabila’s handpicked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and two opposition candidates: veteran heavyweight Felix Tshisekedi and newcomer Martin Fayulu.

At stake is the political stewardship of a mineral-rich country that has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Kabila had been due to step down two years ago, but clung on to power, sparking widespread protests which were brutally repressed, killing dozens.

The election, preceded by repeated delays, was carried out in a relatively peaceful manner. But tensions have built over the lengthy counting process, amid fears the results could be manipulated to install Kabila-backed Shadary in power.

The electoral commission had promised to announce preliminary results on Sunday, followed by a definitive count on January 15.

But Nangaa told AFP just under half of ballots had been counted by Saturday afternoon, adding: “Next week, we will announce.”

The further delay could stoke tension in the unstable central African nation of 80 million.

Nangaa has blamed the slow count on massive logistical problems in a country the size of Western Europe with poor infrastructure. Since the vote, the authorities have cut internet access and blocked broadcasts by Radio France Internationale, causing widespread frustration.

With international concerns growing over the transfer of power in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation, Western powers have upped the pressure.

The United States and European Union urged Kinshasa to ensure a peaceful change of power.

Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States was sending about 80 troops to Gabon to deploy in the event of election-related unrest in nearby DR Congo.

The African Union, which had sent an 80-member team to monitor the vote, insisted that respecting voters’ wishes was “crucial”.

And Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the DR Congo’s western neighbour, the Republic of Congo, urged restraint in uncertain times to “safeguard peace and stability in this brother country”.

Nangaa wrote to CENCO head Utembi on Friday accusing the episcopal conference of putting out partial result “trends” designed to “intoxicate the population in preparing an uprising,” an accusation the latter turned on its head with Saturday’s letter in response.

In his letter Nangaa warned CENCO would “alone be responsible” for unrest after disseminating “insignificant and partial data.”

The ruling FCC coalition accused CENCO of “seriously breaching” the constitution and electoral law by “illegally declaring voting trends” in favour of a given candidate.

The last two elections in 2006 and 2011, both won by Kabila, were marred by bloodshed, and many feared a repeat if the results this time round were placed in doubt.

In 2006, Kabila defeated former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba in a violence-tainted poll.

Five years later, he was re-elected in another vote blighted by bloodshed, chaotic organisation and alleged irregularities.

The opposition rejected the results.

Between 1996 and 2003, DR Congo lived through two fully-fledged wars that claimed millions of lives through fighting, starvation, and disease. ref: AFP

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Violence, tension in DRC Congo election; Kabila orders internet access shut down

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AFP: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday began counting ballots from a presidential election marked by delays and fears of violence and vote-rigging, straining hopes for its first-ever peaceful transfer of power.

After a relatively bloodless vote, election officials embarked on the marathon task of counting and collating, their work scrutinised by opposition parties for any sign of fraud.

Sunday’s elections went ahead after two years of delays and sporadic clashes in the notoriously unstable country.

But the influential Catholic church, through its national conference of bishops, declared the vote had been “relatively calm”.

Reported incidents included harassment of some election monitors and a clash in the restive eastern province of South Kivu that left four dead.

Two telecoms operators, Global and Vodacom, said the government had ordered them to cut access to the Internet on Monday — a move that opposition supporters said aimed at blocking social-media activism.

The DRC has never had a peaceful transition of leader since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Worries of a new spiral into violence deepened in 2016 after President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, refused to quit when his two-term limit expired.

Tension and suspicion were further stoked by repeated delays, a bloody crackdown on anti-Kabila protests and accusations that electronic voting machines would help to rig the result.

But Kabila late Sunday congratulated the public for voting “in peace and dignity”.

Provisional results are due to be announced on January 6, with final results expected on January 15. The new president is set to be sworn in on January 18.

From Kinshasa to Goma, 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) further east, polling stations already put up first results on Monday morning.

In Kisangani, the country’s third-largest city, observers hired by the political parties slept on the floor or on desks at a polling station to keep their eye on the vote count, an AFP reporter said.

A monitoring mission set up by the Catholic church said some of its observers had been “molested and violated.”

On Sunday evening, violence erupted at a polling station in the Walungu area of South Kivu province after an electoral official was accused of trying to rig the vote in favour of Kabila’s preferred successor, according to an opposition figure.

The electoral official was killed along with a policeman and two civilians, said Vital Kamerhe, who has been campaigning for Felix Tshisekedi.

Kabila’s champion Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and Tshisekedi, head of a veteran opposition party, UDPS, separately claimed victory.

But the scant opinion polls that have been conducted made Martin Fayulu — until recently a little-known legislator and former oil executive — clear favourite.

He garnered around 44 percent of voting intentions, followed by Tshisekedi with 24 percent and Shadary with 18 percent, said Jason Stearns of the Congo Research Group, based at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

Roughly half of survey respondents, he added, said they would reject the result if Shadary — a hardline former interior minister facing EU sanctions for a crackdown on protesters — was declared winner.

The vote for a new president took place alongside legislative and municipal polls.

While turnout failed to reach 50 percent at some polling stations, many voters said they were exhilarated at taking part in the first elections after the nearly 18-year Kabila era.

But there was also much evidence of organisational problems, including with the contested voting machines.

The Catholic monitoring mission said that, as of early Monday, its observers had checked overall tallies of the vote in 4,161 polling stations.

In 3,626 stations, the number of paper ballot sheets tallied with totals kept by electronic voting machines, the observer mission said — a figure that by extrapolation suggests possible discrepancies in 535 bureaux.

DRC’s paradox

A country almost the size of continental western Europe which straddles central Africa, the DRC is rich in gold, uranium, copper, cobalt and other minerals.

Little of that wealth trickles down to the poor. Poverty, corruption and government inertia are etched into the country’s history, along with a reputation for violence.

In the last 22 years, it has twice been a battleground for wars drawing in armies from central and southern Africa.

That legacy endures in eastern DRC, where militias control swathes of territory and battle over resources, wantonly killing civilians.

Insecurity and an ongoing Ebola epidemic in part of North Kivu province, and communal violence in Yumbi, in the southwest, prompted the authorities to postpone the elections there until March.

Around 1.25 million people in a national electoral roll of around 40 million voters are affected. Despite this, elections in the rest of the country went ahead.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Developing jaw-dropping settlement, MTN South Africa to pay Nigeria only US$53.2-million (R777-million) of $8.1-billion (R118-billion) CBN fines, refunds

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Special to USAfrica [Houston] @usafricalive USAfricaonline.com

Christmas [came] early for MTN Group [of South Africa]. The telecommunications operator’s shares are likely to soar when markets reopen on Thursday in Johannesburg after it announced late on Monday that it has settled a multibillion-dollar dispute in Nigeria.

It will pay just US$53.2-million (about R777-million) in a settlement with Nigeria’s central bank, a tiny fraction of the $8.1-billion (R118-billion) the Bank had sought from the group’s subsidiary in the West African country.

MTN Group shares plunged 22% on 30 August when it emerged that the Nigerian central bank had ordered four banks to refund the $8.1-billion it claimed was illegally expatriated by the telecoms provider between 2007 and 2015. Its shares, which trade on the JSE, have failed to recover significant ground since then on investor fears.At these meetings, MTN Nigeria provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances

A second allegation by Nigerian authorities that MTN owes $2-billion in back taxes remains the subject of dispute, however. That matter is due to be heard by a Nigerian court in February next year.

The settlement amount with the central bank — less than 0.7% of the sum originally demanded — is likely to be seen as a significant victory for group CEO Rob Shuter, who took the reins at MTN last year from Phuthuma Nhleko. Shuter joined MTN from Vodafone Group.

In a statement late on Monday, MTN said a series of meetings were held in Lagos with central bank officials in November.

“At these meetings, MTN Nigeria provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances,” it said. Upon review of this documentation, the central bank “concluded that MTN Nigeria is no longer required to reverse the historical dividend payments made to MTN Nigeria shareholders”.

“However, the central bank maintains that the proceeds from the preference shares in MTN Nigeria’s private placement remittances of 2008 of circa $1-billion were irregular, having been based on CCIs (certificates of capital importation) that only had an approval-in-principle, but not final regulatory approval of the central bank.

“The central bank instructed MTN Nigeria to implement a notional reversal of the 2008 private placement of shares in MTN Nigeria at a net cost of circa 19.2-billion naira — equivalent to $52.6-million. This is on the basis that certain CCIs utilised in the private placement were not properly issued.”

MTN Nigeria and the central bank have agreed that they will resolve the matter on the basis that the operator will pay the notional reversal amount without admission of liability, the group said.

“In terms of the resolution agreement, the central bank will regularise all the CCIs issued on the investment by shareholders of MTN Nigeria of circa $402.6-million without regard to any historical disputes relating to those CCIs, thereby bringing to a final resolution all incidental disputes arising from this matter.”

MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter


It said MTN Nigeria relied on “certain commercial banks to ensure all approvals had been obtained prior to the CCIs being issued and to ensure the CCIs were properly utilised in the private placement”.

“MTN Nigeria will be engaging with the banks in relation to the issues dealt with in the resolution agreement,” the group said. Presumably, this means MTN is going to try to recover at least some of the $53.2-million from the banks involved.

The original $8.1-billion demanded by the central bank followed just three years after the Nigerian Communications Commission imposed a $5.2-billion fine on MTN for failing to disconnect unregistered Sim cards. That fine was later reduced to about $1-billion.MTN Nigeria continues to maintain that its tax matters are up to date and no additional payment … is due

MTN Group said it remains involved in legal action with Nigeria’s attorney-general over the $2-billion in back taxes the AG claims are owed. The case came up for “initial mention” before the federal high court in Lagos on 8 November 2018 and has been adjourned to 7 February 2019.

“MTN Nigeria continues to maintain that its tax matters are up to date and no additional payment … is due,” the group said, adding that no provisions or contingent liabilities have been raised in the accounts of MTN Nigeria for the claim.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest and most profitable market. It has more than 64 million customers in the country and it enjoys high profit margins. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the third quarter represented 43% of revenue.  ref — © 2018 NewsCentral Media

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