Connect with us

LIVING

Bitterness imprisons life; Love releases it….

Published

on

USAfricaonline.com and Chido Nwangwu

EDITORS PICK

USAfrica: Chimamanda, Feminism and her Misrepresentation of Igbo Culture. By Nkem Ekeopara

Published

on

Chimamanda, Feminism and her Misrepresentation of Igbo Culture.         By Nkem Ekeopara

 

USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com  @USAfricaLive

 

Increasingly, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is becoming more known for her far left feminism advocacy than her fiction writing. The writer of the critically acclaimed novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, and the winner of Orange Prize among other prizes is using the fame she has attained through writing to advance her feminism cause. Absolutely, there’s nothing wrong with this except that she is now using it to manifest her extremely poor understanding of people’s culture, including the culture of her own people, the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria.

Still smarting out from the controversy she stirred in the interview she had with Mrs Hillary Clinton where she used the undiplomatic word ‘upset’ to describe her feeling about Mrs Clinton’s twitter bio-data (where the superbly accomplished Hillary proudly listed Wife as a key part of who she is!), she quickly moved on to condemning the practice in Western societies where men open and close doors for ladies. For condemning this practice, which is an important aspect of chivalry, Adichie got a robust response from Dana Loesch. Dana Loesch is the National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson.

She told Adichie that she does not understand chivalry and that she should go back to her country and take up such causes like female genital mutilation (FGM) that is common in her country, Nigeria, rather than worrying about sexism in America. Some people have accused Loesch of racism. However, what I got from her response is a woman stepping out to defend an age long show of courtesy in her society. If in doing this she indirectly implied that Adichie is not part of that society so be it.

One had expected that after these two incidents that Adichie would become more circumspect in the pursuit of her extreme feminism cause. This expectation was dashed when one read a lot of Igbo people on social media strongly condemning her for denigrating Igbo culture. When I sought and understood what the issue was, I felt let down myself that Adichie could display that level of ignorance about Igbo culture.

The latest issue at stake is the rarely exercised culture [as in 1 out of 1million] where an Igbo woman “marries” another Igbo woman into her family for her husband; not for self. In Adichie’s understanding, this could well be lesbianism at play. This is absurd. Was her assertion meant to portray the Igbo society as tolerant and sophisticated? Whatever was her intent, she got it wrong, very wrong this time. Sure, the Igbo are tolerant and sophisticated, but not in that aspect.

As someone who grew up in a traditional Igbo setting, I’m very familiar with the culture that Adichie sought to misrepresent. Unlike what Adichie claimed, the sole reason for contracting such marriages is for procreation. This practice arose due to Igbo people’s obsession with male children and the way they respond to childlessness after marriage. The culture is and was never for the practice of lesbianism as she speculated during her talk as Keynote Speaker at the 7th Igbo Conference. This is the truth! And it’s absolute. I know several instances, but I shall limit myself to two instances of varied circumstances.

The first one is a woman, who had eight beautiful daughters. Even though the couple were contented and expressed this by aptly naming their last daughter Obumnekegwamachi, which literally means it’s not me that creates, tell God, the woman still hoped to have a male child. Unfortunately, the husband suddenly died. As the daughters grew up and got married off, it dawned on the woman that a day shall come when her household will be empty. So, she married a younger woman. Luckily, that woman had two male children for her. Those children are thriving in that family and relating well with their sisters, who are all married now. The thought of these two women sleeping together never sauntered into the mind of anyone in the community, because it’s not who the Igbo are. Indeed, Adichie is the one who has awakened that ugly thought in me. And it’s strange and very unreal to me. It’s strange and very unreal not just to me, but also to many Igbo people judging from their reactions on social media.

The other instance of this sort of marriage I know about is where a woman was married for many years, without having any child for her husband. The woman who was very industrious went and married a younger woman for her husband. She did it for no other reason than procreation. And they were blessed with children.

Presently, this practice is waning in Igbo land. It’s waning for three reasons.  First, the obsession for male children is decreasing. A lot of the Igbo people are beginning to realize that the female child is very important. Now, they crave for them. This is reflected in such names they give them like Nwanyibuihe, a woman is light/a resource. It is even true in the life of Adichie and many other women of Igbo ancestry like Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, late Professor Dora Akunyili, Ms. Arumma Oteh just to mention but a few.  Another reason why the practice is waning in Igbo land is due to advancement in science. Through intro vitro fertilization (IVF), a lot of couples hitherto childless are able to have children. And for those, who cannot afford the cost of IVF, they’re opting for adoption. It will just be a matter of time before this culture becomes extinct. Adichie should not through her feminism advocacy manufacture something unheard of in Igbo culture in its place.

Adichie is quite influential.  Her voice resonates with very young impressionable people across the globe. Her speaking engagements put her before highly esteemed and very powerful persons. Therefore, she should speak with utmost clarity when she wants to use the Igbo culture or any culture for that matter to advance her feminism cause. The impression she created in her referred talk titled, ‘Igbo bu Igbo’ which is the source of the current controversy left much room for speculation as to the real intent of the practice of women marrying women in Igbo land. Her question ‘but how do we know?’ during her talk was needless and almost marred her excellent talk for anyone conscious of that aspect of Igbo culture as this sought to create doubt about the real intent of the practice.  

That Adichie is a writer of note is not in doubt. This cannot be overstressed. So, I don’t believe what some people are saying that she is deliberately stirring up these controversies to attract attention. She already has the attention. She has the attention of the Igbo. She has the attention of the world. And as a person, I’m proud of her and her achievements.

However, she should be humble enough to understand that she is not an authority in all areas of human endeavour. She should consult such authorities or research more on issues and be open and detailed with her findings to avoid future faux pas.

•Ekeopara is a columnist here at USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, US-based newspaper published on the internet.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

LIVING

#Ozubulu and #Tupac

Published

on

USAfricaonline.com, 1st African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

AFRICA

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

Published

on

USAfrica-LOGO

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.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

INSIGHT

Why Nigeria is a country divided against itself and cannot stand. By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Published

on

President-Buhari-of-Nigeria-contemplative-pix
By BAYO OLUWASANMI
Special to USAfricaonline.com
We have witnessed the independence of Slovenia from the former Yugoslavia, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the division of the former Czechoslovakia, and the separation of both Eritrea from Ethiopia and South Sudan from Sudan.

Numerous of successful secessions have allowed people greater freedom and self-determination: Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Hungarian split with the Soviet Union in 1989, Singapore’s secession from Malaysia in 1965, Ireland’s independence from the UK, and countless others.

Nigeria’s impotence as ungovernable, divided, separate, hostile, and unequal nation is apparent for all to see. Nigeria, as we know it, is dead! The country is irrevocably broken along ethnic, linguistic, geographical, religious, and cultural lines. The sooner the Nigerian people accept this, the sooner the break-up and the sooner we can move on.

From time to time, the break-up of Nigeria becomes inevitable to many of us who believe that “In the course of human events, it is necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them.” We’re in one of those periods now, and while the reasons are unique, the historical moment is not new. In 1953, the northerners considered secession from the Nigerian colony that would soon be an independent nation.

The words of our founding fathers that Nigeria is not one country remain prophetically instructive.

Listen to them:

“Nigeria is not a nation. It is mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English,’ ‘Welsh,’ or ‘French.’  The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not,” Chief Obafemi Awolowo said in 1947.

“Since 1914 the British government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country,” Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa said, “but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs, and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite… Nigerian unity is only a British invention.”

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe argued in 1964 that “It is better for us and many admirers abroad that we [Nigeria] should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be child’s play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role.”

The recent proclamation of northern youths and the ultimatum given to Igbo people to vacate the north within three months shed much needed light on why Nigeria is not, and will never be, one united nation. There is no mystery as to how we got to this point. There is also no mystery as to who to blame. There is no need for conspiracy theories. The polarization of public life exacerbated by government corruption and incompetence has become so tense it led to widespread civil disorder, culminating in chaos and crises.

Nigeria is fast approaching a complete collapse. For long, many of us have raised alarm that our government and the way the system is being run are not working, and cannot guarantee delivery of basic essential services. The ominous declaration of the northern youths has left Nigerians in fear of what tomorrow may bring. While all this plays out, Nigerians watch in horror and amazement from the sidelines and wonder when the inevitable will occur.

Inequality between the looting ruling class and the poor has become increasingly intolerable. The native tyrants in the National Assembly, better still, National Asylum, are in stupor of random pleasures and whims, feasting on plenty of food and sex, and reveling in the non-judgment that democracy is civil religion. From all indications, our democracy is in retreat, close to being destroyed by vast corruption, ineptitude, incompetence, and fraud. Those in Abuja couldn’t care less about our people. They couldn’t care less that for 58 years we couldn’t get along.  They couldn’t care less that Nigeria is as good as dead. Nigerians are angry – Igbos, Hausas, and Yorubas. They are all angry for being sick and poor and tired of being cannon fodders. They are tired of being jobless and hopeless. Brother is turning against brother. Killing of families and children are the norm rather than the exception. Nigerians are nickel-and-dimed to death in their everyday life. Workers, if paid at all, are paid peonage wages. The nation’s peonage wage is at subsistence level. This is simply incompatible with self-determination.

With subsistence living, Nigerians are constrained into a desperate state. Their horizon is limited to the present day, to getting enough of what they need to make it to the next. The minimum wage in Nigeria is N18,000 per month. This is criminally below the poverty line. That’s a scrambling, anxious existence, narrowly bounded. It’s impossible to decently feed, clothe, and shelter yourself on a wage like that, much less a family, much less have money to see the doctor,  or pay for your kids college, or participate in any of those good things of life. Down to the peon level, the pursuit of happiness sounds like a bad joke.

The critical mass of our people is kept in peonage. All its vitality spent in the trenches of day-to-day survival with scant or no opportunity to develop the full range of its faculties. That’s why I’m miffed by the numbed-out, dumbed-down, make belief Nigerians who still believe that Nigeria could be saved from falling apart. This is deceptive and uncharitable given our past political history and the present political realities of our nation. Those who see future or unity in one Nigeria are deluded, ignorant, unrealistic. They don’t know what’s real, what’s possible, and can’t differentiate fact from fiction.

How can the proponents of one Nigeria explain the humiliation and insult heaped on Vice President Osinbajo when Buhari’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari referred to him as “Coordinator of National Affairs” instead of Vice President? The freest and fairest presidential election in our history was won by MKO Abiola. The election was annulled by a northerner. He was robbed of the presidency and he was killed.  If Osinbajo and Abiola were Hausas, nothing of such would have happened to them. Examples of such second class treatment abound. We need not bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich as if all is well with a troubled and traumatized nation suffering from history of division and disunity.

Nigeria is a country divided against itself and cannot stand. Nigeria is virtually bankrupt. The clamor for separation is the manifestation of a nation grounded as it were, without hope of moving forward after 58 years. I believe it’s too late to save Nigeria from disintegration. Our union for the past 58 years has produced no peace, no progress, and no prosperity for the poor majority. The only beneficiaries and the loudest advocates of one Nigeria are those profiteers from the miseries of the pulverized poor – the ruling class.

 bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

HEALTH

#USAfrica: #Biafra IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu face mountain-high bail conditions

Published

on

nnamdi-kanu-court-april24-17

Special report by CHIDO NWANGWU USAfricaonline.com @Chido247 @USAfricaLIVE

The harsh reality of the mountain high jump, stringent and extremely difficult to meet conditions ordered today April 25, 2017 as required bail terms for the temporary release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja have forced a rethink of the initial celebrations across parts of the Igbo/south east/south south.

Justice Binta Nyako, a wife of a former top military officer and governor, requires Kanu  to provide three sureties; one of whom must be a serving Senator in Nigeria, a Jewish religious leader and highly respected person, who own land anywhere in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The bail bond was set at N100 million, for each surety.

Kanu was also ordered not to grant any interviews to the media/press, pending the outcome of his trial and should  not be seen in a meeting/gathering of more than 10 persons.

She noted that “The first defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, has appealed to the court for bail based on health grounds and it is only the living that can stand trial. So I am minded to grant him bail so that he can attend to his health and face his trial alive.”

Kanu and several IPOB activists were considered, again, for bail after two years of being held in Nigeria jails for alleged treason, and a dismissed charge of “terrorism.”

 

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

Featured

Pope speaks on “old and new forms of slavery, discrimination”, condemns “oppressive regimes”

Published

on

Pope-Francis-USAfrica

Special to USAfricaonline.com @USAfricaLive

(UPI) — Pope Francis marked Easter Sunday with an address praying for relief for the violence-beset populations of Syria, south Sudan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

The pope appeared before a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square about noon for the traditional Urbi et Orbi — “To the City and the World” — address delivered on Easter Sunday, when the world’s Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Today, throughout the world, the Church echoes once more the astonishing message of the first disciples: ‘Jesus is risen!’ — ‘He is truly risen, as he said!'” Pope Francis told the crowd.

[callout bg=”#163099″ color=”#ffffff” border=”#dd9933″ bt_content=”Click Here” bt_pos=”right” bt_style=”undefined”][/callout]The pontiff said Jesus “takes upon himself all those victimized by old and new forms of slavery, inhuman labor, illegal trafficking, exploitation and discrimination, and grave forms of addiction. He takes upon himself children and adolescents deprived of their carefree innocence and exploited, and those deeply hurt by acts of violence that take place within the walls of their own home.”

The address featured prayers for relief for those affected by ” armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes,” with a specific mention made for “a war that continues to sow horror and death” in Syria, where at least 112 people were killed in a bombing targeting buses evacuating people from war-torn towns Saturday.

“Just yesterday, there was the latest vile attack on refugees attempting to flee, which provoked numerous deaths and injuries,” the pope said.

Francis also prayed for peace in the Holy Land, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as an end to violence and famine in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“May the Good Shepherd come to the aid of Ukraine, still beset by conflict and bloodshed, to regain social harmony. May he accompany every effort to alleviate the tragic sufferings of those affected by the conflict,” the pope said.

Pope Francis earlier broke with tradition and delivered an improvised homily on Easter morning, an occasion when Francis and previous popes have generally remained silent in advance of the Urbi et Orbi address.

Francis affirmed during the homily that the resurrection of Jesus Christ “is not a fantasy.”

“It’s not a celebration with many flowers. This is beautiful, but [the resurrection] is more,” he said.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

Trending

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: