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Buhari’s insensitivity to massacre of Biafra activists and a dream deferred

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Buhari’s insensitivity to massacre of Biafra activists and a dream deferred

By Jane O. Ikezi

“What happens to a dream deferred?                                                                           

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes

Over the years, since 1967, the Biafra dream arose in different forms and each time, it was violently attacked by the Nigerian government and was forced to be deferred. Now, that dream has reemerged, rearing its nonviolence message, creative heads in multitudes, with brazen courage and an adamant refusal to be deferred.

In President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech at the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, on the 19th of September 2017 (where he represented Nigeria), he called for the establishment of a Palestinian State, as well as, an end to the murdering of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. On the contrary, The retired former general and military dictator Buhari neither acknowledged the plight of indigenous people of Biafra, seeking sovereignty, nor did he acknowledge the mass killings of Christians and indigenous people of Biafra across Nigeria. Why then, must this dream be further deferred?

Despite losing the 1967-1970 War of Genocide and starvation against them by Nigeria, the indigenous people of Biafra moved forward to build Nigeria, promote its name around the world and kept their heads up. Losing the war did not mean losing our dignity.

Despite all our efforts and contributions to Nigeria, we have been marginalised and treated like disposable reserve, not equal citizens. “One Nigeria” remains an illusion.

Hence, I strongly implore and call on the Nigerian government led by  Buhari  and all Nigerians, particularly those of Igbo extraction, who do not understand the reason for the latest “agitation” for the right to self-determination for the indigenous people of Biafra, to consider the questions raised in this poem critically.

Why?

This thought-provoking poem by Langston Hughes challenges the reader or listener to “truth-telling and soul searching.”

The Nigerian government’s systemic erasure of the true and accurate history of its war against Biafrans  (1966 -1970, pogrom included) from its books; and failure to recognise the lives lost, has not succeeded in eradicating the deeply rooted dream, which was deferred at the end of the Nigeria~Biafra War.

Despite many innocent lives taken, that dream was never killed, only temporarily deferred.

 

Some people say that those who seek a sovereign state of Biafra did not experience the war and as such, are disillusioned or naive. You do not have to experience war or be part of that history in order to understand the cost of war. For many Igbo people, the price of war was paid by each family. Many people lost loved ones. Some families talk about the war and some find it too painful to discuss.

There are no monuments or dates of remembrance for the war, or pages in Nigeria’s history books immortalising the war. However, that did not deter the dream for self-determination.

We may debate on which line of Langston Hughes’ poem aptly illustrates the status quo of Nigeria, with respect to the Biafran situation. Has that deferred dream dried up like a raisin in the sun? Has it festered like a sore? Does it stink like rotten meat? Is it syrupy sweet? Or does it sag like a heavy load?

That dream has not dried up like a raisin in the sun. That dream will not be syrupy sweet until it is actualised. That dream has been festering like a sore for years and is now beginning to stink like rotten meat, sagging like a heavy load on the government of Nigeria, which is currently experiencing the explosion of a Dream Deferred.

Jane O. Ikezi,  New York based attorney, is a columnist for USAfricaonline.com

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EDITORS PICK

Saraki: Flagrant persecution by Buhari’s government forced me to quit APC

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By Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
President of the Senate of Nigeria

Special to USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com

I wish to inform Nigerians that, after extensive consultations, I have decided to take my leave of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is not a decision that I have made lightly. If anything at all, I have tarried for so long and did all that was humanly possible, even in the face of great provocation, ridicule and flagrant persecution, to give opportunity for peace, reconciliation and harmonious existence.

Perhaps, more significantly, I am mindful of the fact that I carry on my shoulder a great responsibility for thousands of my supporters, political associates and friends, who have trusted in my leadership and have attached their political fortunes to mine. However, it is after an extensive consultation with all the important stakeholders that we have come to this difficult but inevitable decision to pitch our political tent elsewhere; where we could enjoy greater sense of belonging and where the interests of the greatest number of our Nigerians would be best served.

While I take full responsibility for this decision, I will like to emphasise that it is a decision that has been inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist.

They have done everything to ensure that the basic rules of party administration, which should promote harmonious relations among the various elements within the party were blatantly disregarded. All governance principles which were required for a healthy functioning of the party and the government were deliberately violated or undermined. And all entreaties for justice, equity and fairness as basic precondition for peace and unity, not only within the party, but also the country at large, were simply ignored, or employed as additional pretext for further exclusion.

The experience of my people and associates in the past three years is that they have suffered alienation and have been treated as outsiders in their own party. Thus, many have become disaffected and disenchanted. At the same time, opportunities to seek redress and correct these anomalies were deliberately blocked as a government-within-a-government had formed an impregnable wall and left in the cold, everyone else who was not recognized as “one of us”. This is why my people, like all self-respecting people would do, decided to seek accommodation elsewhere.

I have had the privilege to lead the Nigerian legislature in the past three years as the President of the Senate and the Chairman of the National Assembly. The framers of our constitution envisage a degree of benign tension among the three arms of government if the principle of checks and balances must continue to serve as the building block of our democracy. In my role as the head of the legislature, and a leader of the party, I have ensured that this necessary tension did not escalate at any time in such a way that it could encumber Executive function or correspondingly, undermine the independence of the legislature. Over the years, I have made great efforts in the overall interest of the country, and in spite of my personal predicament, to manage situations that would otherwise have resulted in unsavoury consequences for the government and the administration. My colleagues in the Senate will bear testimony to this.

However, what we have seen is a situation whereby every dissent from the legislature was framed as an affront on the executive or as part of an agenda to undermine the government itself. The populist notion of anti-corruption became a ready weapon for silencing any form of dissent and for framing even principled objection as “corruption fighting back”. Persistent onslaught against the legislature and open incitement of the people against their own representatives became a default argument in defence of any short-coming of the government in a manner that betrays all too easily, a certain contempt for the Constitution itself or even the democracy that it is meant to serve.

Unfortunately, the self-serving gulf that has been created between the leadership of the two critical arms of government based on distrust and mutual suspicion has made any form of constructive engagement impossible. Therefore, anything short of a slavish surrender in a way that reduces the legislature to a mere rubber stamp would not have been sufficient in procuring the kind of rapprochement that was desired in the interest of all. But I have no doubt in my mind, that to surrender this way is to be complicit in the subversion of the institution that remains the very bastion of our democracy. I am a democrat. And I believe that anyone who lays even the most basic claim to being a democrat will not accept peace on those terms; which seeks to compromise the very basis of our existence as the parliament of the people.

The recent weeks have witnessed a rather unusual attempts to engage with some of these most critical issues at stake. Unfortunately, the discord has been allowed to fester unaddressed for too long, with dire consequences for the ultimate objective of delivering the common good and achieving peace and unity in our country. Any hope of reconciliation at this point was therefore very slim indeed. Most of the horses had bolted from the stable

The emergence of a new national party executives a few weeks ago held out some hopes, however slender. The new party chairman has swung into action and did his best alongside some of the Governors of APC and His Excellency, the Vice President. I thank them for all their great efforts to save the day and achieve reconciliation. Even though I thought these efforts were coming late in the day, but seeing the genuine commitment of these gentlemen, I began to think that perhaps it was still possible to reconsider the situation.

However, as I have realized all along, there are some others in the party leadership hierarchy, who did not think dialogue was the way forward and therefore chose to play the fifth columnists. These individuals went to work and ensured that they scuttled the great efforts and the good intentions of these aforementioned leaders of the party. Perhaps, had these divisive forces not thrown the cogs in the wheel at the last minutes, and in a manner that made it impossible to sustain any trust in the process, the story today would have been different.

For me, I leave all that behind me. Today, I start as I return to the party where I began my political journey, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

When we left the PDP to join the then nascent coalition of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014, we left in a quest for justice, equity and inclusion; the fundamental principles on which the PDP was originally built but which it had deviated from. We were attracted to the APC by its promise of change. We fought hard along with others and defeated the PDP.

In retrospect, it is now evident that the PDP has learnt more from its defeat than the APC has learnt from its victory. The PDP that we return to is now a party that has learnt its lessons the hard way and have realized that no member of the party should be taken for granted; a party that has realized that inclusion, justice and equity are basic precondition for peace; a party that has realized that never again can the people of Nigeria be taken for granted.

I am excited by the new efforts, which seeks to build the reborn PDP on the core principles of promoting democratic values; internal democracy; accountability; inclusion and national competitiveness; genuine commitment to restructuring and devolution of powers; and an abiding belief in zoning of political and elective offices as an inevitable strategy for managing our rich diversity as a people of one great indivisible nation called Nigeria.

What we have all agreed is that a deep commitment to these ideals were not only a demonstration of our patriotism but also a matter of enlightened self-interest, believing that our very survival as political elites of this country will depend on our ability to earn the trust of our people and in making them believe that, more than anything else, we are committed to serving the people.

What the experience of the last three years have taught us is that the most important task that we face as a country is how to reunite our people. Never before had so many people in so many parts of our country felt so alienated from their Nigerianness. Therefore, we understand that the greatest task before us is to reunite the county and give everyone a sense of belonging regardless of region or religion.

Every Nigerian must have an instinctive confidence that he or she will be treated with justice and equity in any part of the country regardless of the language they speak or how they worship God. This is the great task that trumps all. Unless we are able to achieve this, all other claim to progress no matter how defined, would remain unsustainable.

This is the task that I am committing myself to and I believe that it is in this PDP, that I will have the opportunity to play my part. It is my hope that the APC will respect the choice that I have made as my democratic right, and understand that even though we will now occupy a different political space, we do not necessarily become enemies unto one another.

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AFRICA

Zimbabwe’s presidential election offers opportunity for post-Mugabe progress. By Wilf Mbanga

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Today, Monday July 30, 2018, Zimbabweans [went] to the polls to elect Robert Mugabe’s successor. For pretty much the average life expectancy of many Zimbabweans, one man has ruled the country with an iron fist. Eight elections were held during his rule – and every time, that fist ensured victory for Mugabe.

The current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, the man who finally ousted Mugabe in a bloodless coup last November, has also crushed his enemies ruthlessly in the past – but his iron fist lies within a well-padded velvet glove.
Mnangagwa goes head to head at the polls with Nelson Chamisa, 40, who took over as leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after Morgan Tsvangirai died earlier this year.

Whoever wins, this election heralds a new dawn for Zimbabwe. Mugabe has gone. Things will never be the same again. Certainly, Mnangagwa brings a lot of baggage from the Mugabe era – having been the former president’s righthand man.

But he is different in many significant ways – today, Mugabe even urged voters to turn their backs on his leadership, and went so far as to wish Chamisa well. Most importantly, Mnangagwa understands business and is determined to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s moribund economy and give the people what they so desperately want and need – jobs.

He is primarily a soldier, having left Zimbabwe as a teenager in the early 1960s for military training in China. He has fashioned himself after the former communist leader Deng Xiaoping, who modernised China and laid the foundations for the economic powerhouse it has become, while maintaining a strictly authoritarian regime.

Deng abandoned many orthodox communist doctrines to incorporate elements of the free-enterprise system. Mnangagwa seems determined to do the same for Zimbabwe. He is a wealthy man in his own right, having run Zanu-PF’s and his own businesses since the early 1980s. He has been mentioned in a UN report on the plundering of mining and logging resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo together with General Sibusiso Moyo, who is now the foreign affairs minister.

Over the eight months since he took the reins from Mugabe, Mnangagwa has given clear signals of a clean break with the past – actively courting the west, preaching and practising peace instead of violence, eschewing corruption, meeting business leaders and white farmers, and generally projecting himself as a reformist. He has met personally the many business missions that have visited the country this year, and has promised to get rid of the cumbersome bureaucracy that currently stifles new investment. He has suspended Mugabe’s populist indigenisation act, which required foreigners to cede 51% of their shares to locals (ZANU-PF, of course) in all sectors except gold and diamond mining. He has even made it his election slogan – with party supporters everywhere sporting T-shirts proclaiming “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

While Mugabe was a consummate manipulator, skilfully playing people off against each other and weaving a complex web of patronage, Mnangagwa is a much more of a strategist. He will be prepared to make tough decisions that could ultimately benefit the economy. He has certainly been more successful in attracting foreign investment in the short time he has been in power than Mugabe was in decades of berating the west.

 

The MDC’s Chamisa is just as pro-business as Mnangagwa, and to his credit has surrounded himself with several capable technocrats. There is no whiff of corruption about him and he has been drawing massive crowds in many rural areas which, under Mugabe, were no-go areas for his party. And of course the MDC’s democratic and human rights credentials are well established – while those of Zanu-PF are a constant cause for concern.

Should Chamisa win the election, there is no doubt that the world would welcome Zimbabwe back into the fold with open arms. But Mnangagwa is smart enough to realise that international recognition of his government can only come if this election is acknowledged as free and fair by the global community. While Britain has been unswervingly supportive of the post-Mugabe regime, the US has reserved judgment – recently renewing its sanctions on Zanu-PF leaders and companies, but promising to lift them once credible elections have taken place.

And there’s the rub.

Many believe it is impossible for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run a free and fair poll. It is accused of rigging every election since it was established in 2004; it is still staffed largely by the military and Zanu-PF loyalists; and it has shown shameful bias towards the ruling party in recent months. For example, the law says the ballot paper should be in alphabetical order, which places Chamisa second on the 23-person list. The commission cleverly formatted the paper into two lop-sided columns, in order to place Mnangagwa at the very top of column two.

So this election could bring three possible results: if Mnangagwa wins, the MDC already has enough ammunition against the electoral commission to cry foul.

If Chamisa wins convincingly, it will be a new dawn indeed – but the military might not accept this, as the Generals have already invested a lot in Mnangagwa.

But if there is no clear winner, the most sensible way forward would be for the two protagonists to agree to a marriage of convenience – otherwise known as a government of national unity.
• Wilf Mbanga, once falsely classified by Mugabe’s government as ‘enemy of the people’, is the founder, editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean weekly, published in the UK and Johannesburg

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CHIDO

USAfrica: PDP, Obasanjo and Jonathan failed Nigeria. By Hafsat Abiola

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Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com  • @Chido247

(slightly edited for context by USAfrica)

Please nobody should abuse my late father (MKO Abiola).. with this sudden noise that “Buhari was playing politics” (by honoring MKO through declaring June 12 as Nigeria’s democracy day).

When did it become a crime for politicians to play politics? 

Were they not voted in to play politics? 

Will it be wrong to develop our roads, infrastructure, free education, return oil blocks to the State instead of individuals? 

What is this noise all about? 

Jonathan was voted for by the South West in 2011, the same SW voted for Buhari in 2015, what is all this noise all about the SW going for Buhari? 

Former president Obasanjo, the direct beneficiary of #June12, is from the same State with MKO; why didn’t he play politics and declare June 12? 

Jonathan  had opportunity for 5 years to do same, he rather gave Abacha from the North posthumous honor, pardoned ex-convict from the West, Alams from the South… 

What do you call that? 

Is that politics or chemistry? 

16 years opportunity to acknowledge #June12 they refused to use the #PoliticalUndertone…

So are you expecting Buhari to use Biological or Chemical undertone to take such decision? 

Why are you guys fixated about those supporting Buhari, is it not a choice and must you dictate to others? 

You brought up religious sentiments prio to 2015 election, yet blamed Buhari fr being the religious bigot….

Jonathan was running from one Church to another, Sambo openly told them in the North that they must not vote for Buhari because Osinbajo is a Pastor of a big Church….Who is a religious bigot here? 

I mean, who was running from one religious organisation to another in 2015 because of politics? Pastor Bosun came up with that sudden apostasy, wrapped up Jonathan PDP politics in the name of “wake up call” message.

I’m happy that I’m still here. I asked him when most of you were analyzing that heretic message that “Jonathan is fulfilling prophecy”…..

I asked a simple question: “Which prophecy is Jonathan”? Pastor Bosun went ahead to say “even if the Islamic party (APC) presents a Christian Governor in Lagos, you must not vote for him, you must vote for the other party (PDP)….” Wait, who was using religion?

Obasanjo removed Senate Presidents at will, removed any opposing voice, removed Fayose for a small insult, removed Ladoja with thugs in Ibadan…. Who are you calling “DICTATOR”? Muhammadu Buhari……… 

Obasanjo withheld Lagos State fund for 3 years, not minding how Lagosians would eat. President Yar’adua [Obasanjo’s successor] got there and released the funds.

Nigeria’s National Assembly [NASS] members are abusing Buhari openly, messing up everything at will, Fayose has been abusing Buhari for 4 years now….. 

Not a single State in Nigeria has been denied their constitutional rights because of politics till date, all their funds, Paris fund, bail out, FAAC etc… But who is the DICTATOR? BUHARI. 

Jonathan ensured that NASS opposition members were locked out including Tambuwa the Speaker of the house. They had to climb gate to gain access…..

Jonathan empowered OPCs in Lagos and they were destroying anything in Ikorodu to Ojota that looked like opposition party. Orga of DSS was used to invade APC secretariat, Journalist arrested and Newspapers siezed, we forgot all these….

Ekiti was militarised, Fayose was given power from Aso rock to order Military guys at will. Fayemi the incumbent at that moment was rendered powerless that he was shouting when Police commissioner was used by PDP and a guy was shot…All these videos and pictures are still here (google is your friend)…

But who is the dictator? BUHARI. Jonatahn met FX+ECA at $62 billion+. He DEPLETED it to less than $30 Billion in 5 years Jonathan sold crude oil for 5 years at an average of $100 per barrel of 2.2 million daily (2010-2014). Did he add a DIME to Nigeria purse in 5 years? NO. 

Buhari the ILLITERATE sold oil at an average of $50 of less than 700,000 barrel at some points because of militancy, yet had moved that FX to $47 Billion in 3 years. Don’t say how much did he borrow if you don’t even have the figure borrowed between 2010-2015 without adding a dime to FX. Who is the ILLITERATE? BUHARIIII. 

Jide Omokore, Aluko and oil goddess Alinson made an oil deal of N1 trillion and chose not to remit to Nigeria under GEJ. Did anyone raise eyebrow? INTEL of Atiku refused to remit to NPA, not until last year that “ordinary” Hadiza the NPA boss challenged INTEL and insisted the funds must be remitted. 

A Christian Professor had been leading JAMB all through Obasanjo to Jonathan; yet for 40 years of JAMB, only N52 Million was remitted to FG….A Muslim Professor who was appointed just in two years of handling JAMB remitted over N15 Billion……FIFTEEN BILLION.

So who is following after righteousness?

For five years [of the Obasanjo and Jonathan’s different presidencies as Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi] Okonjo Iweala was paying over 45,000 ghost workers unabated, yet just within 3 years, “ordinary” Kemi Adeosun removed such nonsense.

 

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CHIDO

USAfrica: Since Nigeria’s World Cup pipe-dream has exploded, time to return to issue of killings

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Rejoinders to the Tuesday June 26, 2018 World Cup soccer photo editorial comment by USAfrica Publisher Chido Nwangwu, titled ‘ARGENTINA ENGAGES HAND TO BEAT NIGERIA.’


By Patrick Nwadike, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com

The better team won. Argentina outclassed Nigeria in all departments: ball control, consistent incursion  into Nigeria’s side/18 meter and skill.

In the 2nd half, Nigeria midfield completely collapsed, yet, Nigeria’s coach didn’t bring in fresh legs up until just about 3 minutes to end of match and Argentina was ahead. 

Nigeria tried, but it’s time to go home and face what is most important: the wanton killing of citizens everywhere, last of which was in Plateau state. Were Nigerians getting their priorities right, the shouldn’t have played in the 2018 World Cup.


By Emmanuel Kanu Ivi

Including engaging the Hand of God; because even God is angry with Nigeria for the massive killings of innocent Christians in Nigeria by Fulani Jihadists masquerading as herdsmen.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is saying nothing and absolutely doing nothing. Plateau state, Benue and North Eastern States Christians are still being killed in large numbers even as this World Cup fiesta is going on.

We don’t need to be celebrating any victory when those people over there are wailing in pains and in the graves. 

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CHIDO

#WorldCup Nigeria’s superstar Musa predicts he’ll sink Argentina with 2 goals. By Chido Nwangwu

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Nigeria’s superstar Musa predicts he’ll sink Argentina with 2 goals

By Chido Nwangwu. @Chido247

The most popular man and soccer player in Nigeria – the next 10 days – is Ahmed Musa who scored two scintillating goals against Iceland on Friday. Those points propelled the country’s Super Eagle to 2nd place in the group.

He blasted the ball 49th minute flawless connection from artful right-wing striker, Victor Moses, to secure the first goal. And, again, at the 75th minute, Musa, the former Premier League club Leicester who is concluding his new deal with CSKA Moscow froze Iceland.

Immediately, he became Nigeria’s all-time leading World Cup scorer with four goals. Next Tuesday, Nigeria.will take on the psychologically frazzled Lionel Messi-led Argentina.

Meanwhile, Musa has predicted “It’s possible I’m going to score another two goals.” If he does, a new superstar will be etched into the collective memory of Nigerians, Africans and the world’s soccer history.

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CHIDO

Nigerian democracy and June 12: case for Abiola presidency

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By Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa

Special to USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com

 

For a nation that seemed to be in denial for 25 years, monumental history was made in Nigeria this week of June 12, 2018, as the country’s leadership awakened to face the truth of its recent struggles for democracy.

On June 12, 1993, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a civilian democratic President. The election was generally adjudged to be peaceful, free and fair but the official result was not released. The military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida [IBB] cancelled the elections using all kinds of subterfuge or so it seemed. A motley group of cash & carry politicians led by then irrepressible but now silent Arthur Nzeribe, connived with an equally cash & carry judiciary to give IBB an alibi to cancel the elections. The nation, especially, Southern Nigeria rose up in protest against IBB and his henchmen. I fully remember late Dr Beko-Ransome Kuti, Barrister Femi Falana and the trade unionist Frank Kokori leading protests which many of us joined on Ikorodu Road and Airport Road marching to Alausa in Lagos.There were bon fires all over Lagos and other parts of the South West and for the real first time in modern Nigerian history since the women riots, a full blown civil disobedience was in full swing dragging economic activities to a halt for weeks. Many Nigerians panicked, afraid that another civil war was imminent causing many to relocate( Oso Abiola).

The Peoples ‘pressure’ compelled IBB to step aside, enthroning  Chief Shonekan’s interim National Government (ING). Nigerians were not sure whether to support Shonekan or not despite the very spirited efforts which his government made to reset the nation for a new phase of economic development. The empaneling of the Vision 2010 committee was one of such Strategic initiatives by Shonekan. Sensing that Nigerians were ambivalent regarding the interim National government and perhaps more in keeping with written secret scripts held between IBB and his man Friday, Sani Abacha, Shonekan was forced to resign and with it his government came crashing. Abacha, the ultimate dictator assumed office. It is on record that Chief MKO Abiola the then presumed winner, but now confirmed( by PMB)of the June 12 1993 election was one of the earliest persons to pay a courtesy call on Abacha.

Why he did so? Only historians will tell. But some of us suspected that Abacha played a fast one on him. Perhaps he naively believed Abacha was going to’ restore the kingdom to Israel ‘. Rather, Abacha locked up MKO as the man made efforts to claim his victory. Abacha latter died after he had seized and put Nigeria in his pocket but God delivered Nigeria. Soon after Abacha’s death, hope was raised that MKO would be sworn in as President.

But that was not to be.

The nation woke up one day,to hear that MKO Abiola had been despatched to his ancestors. I thought the Nation was going to burn. Only a tepid response perhaps similar to the one David made when his son born out of adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife died. While the Child was sick, David was in visible agony,refusing to eat or bath. So when the child eventually died, his aides thought he was going to kill himself. But the guy thought otherwise. No need to cry over split milk. He shaved, had his bath and ordered a sumptuous meal. Nigerians moved on with the fast transition to civil rule plan of Abdulsalami Abubakar or so it seemed.

Former military ruler, Gen.  Olusegun Obasanjo was thrust on the Nation by the Northern military establishment led by the irrepressible IBB himself.

Against all odds including sidelining those who midwifed the new democracy and who prepared to assume the Presidency, people like late Dr Alex Ekwueme and Chief Olu Falae, OBJ, past military head of State returned as a civilian democratic President of Nigeria. It was said that the North gave the presidency to the West to appease them for denying Abiola the presidency. But was the West appeased? It did not look so, as the West at first,essentially, did not seem to have supported OBJ. In the 1999 elections, it was predominantly the North,the Middle belt and  the East that gave OBJ victory. The initial hostility of the West led by Bola Tinubu’s Alliance for Democracy(AD) continued almost through OBJ’s 8-year tenure. Whether this was the main reason OBJ never paid any attention to Abiola and the June 12 movement, one may never know. But through out his tenure OBJ hardly brought Abiola or June 12 into any discussion and one could conclude he wanted the issue buried and forgotten .

President Umaru Yardua’s health did not give him enough time to pay attention to several critical national issues and so it is difficult to say if he would have had a different view about Abiola and June 12, even though the national honor he gave to Gani( which Gani eventually rejected) showed a softness to human right activists. Jonathan,who was in my view the first and perhaps till date the only true democrat in this 4th Republic to rule Nigeria showed more understanding to the June 12 issues. It is on record that he decided to Honour the memory of MKO by naming an important national institution after him- University of Lagos.Again the AD now turned ACN political movement of the South West Nigeria mobilized very strongly to oppose that honour. The democratic Jonathan retreated and perhaps that laid to rest any other plans that he may have had.

Then enter President Muhammadu Buhari( PMB) under the political amalgam called APC as arranged between Tinubu’s Southwest dominated ACN , Buhari’s Northern dominated CPC and the Bugaje/ Amaechi/ Saraki minority belt-led nPDP. This party paraded democratic principles at formation but as at now has become a Democratic Party with very few true democrats if any at all. Much of the promises it made during the campaigns, including those in its manifesto have been largely ignored or denied. Majorly, it promised to restructure Nigeria but came to power and became the major obstacle to restructuring Nigeria. Because of the apparent poor performance of PMB, in its chosen key Result areas- Security, anti-corruption and the Economy, it has lost some of its most ardent supporters. Prominent among these are the leading lights of Nigeria’s Military establishment – IBB, TY and OBJ. In addition, the Country seems to be slowly descending into a dictatorship with the unfolding erosion of the powers and relevance of the Legislature and a patently evident repression and intimidation of the main opposition Party- PDP. As last week closed OBJ issued a statement claiming that his freedom and life were in danger essentially because of his criticism of PMB’s lackluster governance performance. As I read that statement, my mind went back to the Abacha days and I asked my self: are we seeing the reincarnation of Abacha?

It is in this charged political milieu where we were wondering how we got here that PMB sprung the greatest surprise of his tenure. In a twinkle of an eye, he rewrote history and did what Napoleon could not do. According to the media reports,he acknowledged for the first time that Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memory actually won the June 12, 1993 elections. To demonstrate this, he awarded MKO the highest National Honour of the Nation- GCFR , reserved for only Heads of State of Nigeria. Abiola’s Vice-Presidential candidate Babagana Kingibe was awarded GCON- the Honour for Vice Heads of State or Vice-Presiedents as the case may be. He also gave similar Honour to Gani Fawhenmi, the late  human rights crusader and democratic icon. To cap it up, he changed the date for the observance of Nigeria’s democracy day from May 29 to June 12. These are issues which the June 12 movement, other pro-democracy groups and Abiola’s family have consistently canvassed over these many years.

Since this surprise was sprung, there have been several comments in the media. The consensus is that this is a good move but done with a motive to score political points( cheap or costly).And then I ask, what is wrong with that? My wish is that PMB would score many more of such political points. How wonderful it will be for us to wake up tomorrow to hear that a man from the South East has been made the Inspector-General of Police for example!( please this not to say that I have joined the Senate to fight IGP Idris and I pray that this my humble suggestion is not mischievously transmitted to him). Or how will it be wrong to hear tomorrow that he has accepted the recommendations of the 2014 political conference and ordered immediate implementation or agreed to drastically restructure Nigeria using the six -geopolitical zones as federating units for example. Let him score all the political points( cheaply or costly).For one thing, they will help write off his current political deficits and perhaps place him on the positive. Won’t that be a good thing for Nigeria?

Additionally I have heard suggestions that he should do more than what he has done. People have suggested that Abiola and Kingibe should be paid arrears of their salaries as President and Vice President. This is only fair. Others have suggested that Kudirat Abiola who died in the struggle for her husband’s mandate should be equally honoured and I agree. Others are requesting that Government should help rebuild Abiola’s businesses that have failed. I demure on that. Indeed I am hoping that other heroes of June 12 like Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Tony Enahoro, Balarabe Musa, Ndubuisi Kanu, Yinka Odumakin and comrade Kokori should also be honored. In similar manner, Nigeria must not forget the sacrifices of Leaders like General Thomas Aguiyi- Ironsi, Col Adekunle Fajuyi, Shehu Musa Yardua,Alfred Rewane, Dele Giwa and many others who have died in the bid to bring peace and unity to Nigeria. They and their families and businesses need recognition, honour, resuscitation and restitution. What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander!

But for me really, to bring this June 12 matter to a full and final closure, I suggest we should go the whole hog and inaugurate an Abiola Presidency. Since Babagana Kingibe survived MKO as VP, he should by the enforcement or re-enactment of the doctrine of necessity by the Senate be inaugurated as the President and he can choose a VP, perhaps the Chairman of SDP in 1993 or his Vice, if the chairman is indisposed . Alternatively, MKO’s first son can become the VP. If this my ‘revolutionary’  idea is acceptable to the good people of Nigeria, we can inaugurate this government on June 12 next year. In which case we will not need to go through the pain, torture and expense of holding presidential elections next year, which if care is not taken and we continue the way we are going as today may run into painful hitches. Can some one please stand to support this motion?                                                                        •Ohuabunwa, recipient of Nigeria’s national award, OFR, is a leading public policy analyst who contributes commentaries to USAfrica. His email is sam@starteamconsult.com

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USAfrica: Trump warns Buhari on “christians are being murdered, killed in Nigeria… we can’t allow that to happen”

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Trump warns Buhari on “christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria… we can’t allow that to happen.”

@Chido247

U.S President Donald J. Trump, this afternoon Monday April 30, 2018 at the White House, told visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that his government is not only monitoring but outraged by  “very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria.”

The transcription of Trump’s statement by USAfricaonline.com reads:

“We’ve had very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem; and working on that problem very, very hard… because we can’t allow that to happen.”

Buhari, a retired army General and dictator/ruler (1984-1986), attempted to minimize those issues when he claimed, contrary to video evidence and eyewitness accounts, that the “farmers and herdsmen” only carry stick and machete; not AK-47s and other deadly weapons. Across the social media, Nigerians share pictures/videos of them brandishing weapons.

Obama administration and Buhari’s started a deal for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for almost $600 million.

By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston], USAfricaonline.com and author of the 2018 book titled MLK, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Power, Leadership & Identity

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USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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USAfrica: Martin Luther King’s message and Trump presidency. By Chido Nwangwu

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By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, Houston.                                                                            •Follow Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido

 

Today, April 4, 2018, as we mournfully mark 50 years since the killing of the foremost exponent of a global reality of social justice and the equality of the races, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr., it is important to bear witness to history and assess the present.

On July 15, 1994, I visited the Martin Luther King Jr.  Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first time as a member of a committee of a few African ambassadors, African-American professionals and a handful of continental Africans assembled by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, longtime advocate for equal rights for South African and American Blacks, to plan aspects of the 1995 African and African-American summit in Dakar, Senegal.

As I walked the premises with the late Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, my mind’s eye recalled Dr. King’s vision, his unique poetic cadence, the flowing timbre of his voice, the inimitable rhyme and rhythm that punctuated his manner of speaking.  Amid those memories, I recalled the shattering staccato of angry exchanges between many members of Jewish and African-American communities in far away New York, Chicago and Massachusetts, carrying on in ways that would have made Dr. King recoil.  At least, he would have spoken with the calming ointment of mutual respect and Solomonic wisdom.

Into 2018, what do we see along the trajectory of what I’ll simply characterize as The Power and Permanence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr.?

First, the U.S President Donald J. Trump’s inflammatory stoking of bigotry and mainstreaming of the offsprings of the messengers of hate constitute,  substantially, an existential moral threat to the works and legacy of the truth-teller and prophet.

Trump should take an iron-clad stand (not made-for-tv retakes) against the assorted confederacy of skinheads and neo-Nazi thugs in Europe and corners of the United States. As well as against the radical jihadist merchants of death in Nigeria called Boko Haram and other transporters of hate, mayhem and bigotry.

Second, for all it’s worth, these times and the 21st century truly require leaders with a King-size vision, temper and courage. For example, South Africa’s late president Nelson Mandela towered beyond bitterness to live and work with his repentant apartheid jailers. His response to hatred from his apartheid oppressors mirrors King’s timeless example: be forgiving, remain noble, foster racial harmony and be fair-minded. I witnessed part of the King-Mandela sense of grace, first-hand, at the Robben island. I was part of the U.S media team with President Bill Clinton during the closing days of March 1998 when he visited Southern Africa.  I highlighted the spirit of forgiveness of Mandela in my forthcoming 2018 book  MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent.

Third, 50 years since his assassination, I believe that the global alliances of family, faith, character and social justice,  representing the rich tapestry of our ethnic/racial origins as Indians, Caucasians, Blacks, Jews, Asians, and a multitude of other backgrounds have advanced Dr. King’s vision.

Fourth, on the critical issue of race, racial identity and politics, in the course of political fights in Washington DC and locally, we have listened to the impassioned partisan drivel that Dr. King fought for a “color-blind society.” From my researching King’s view on this issue and having discussed the same question with one of his sons, the claim that the late but revered King worked and died for the emergence of a “color-blind society” amounts to nothing more than grandiose distortion and arrant nonsense.

It is sociological misleading since multi-ethnic and multi-racial societies will have their “color” components.  Therefore, the ideologically misleading mantra pretending to establish a “color-blind society” merely serves as a wedge issue and fund-raising code for contortionists of King’s vision and work which fundamentally and specifically sought the recognition of our backgrounds and even our racial origins.  He specifically demanded that we neither be judged nor discriminated against because of the color of our skin.  He underscored that we rather be judged by the content of our character.

Fifth, as a continental African in America, a recent immigrant and citizen of the United States of America who has been blessed by the graciousness, business opportunities, global breadth and hospitality of other Americans, I have cause to be thankful for benefiting from the vision, personal sacrifice and peaceful soldiering of the late but great Martin Luther King,Jnr. I salute this prophet for enabling a moral and social justice compass which fosters harmony, fair scales of opportunity and acceptance of all our unique talents and racial origins.

Sixth, 50 years since the killing of the evangelist of character first, we should do more by utilizing technological tools, networking our strengths, building family, exercising personal discipline, empowering religious and community organizations to fight all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Seventh, the believers in King’s goals must deal with an increasing challenge, specifically: the hordes of unemployed (soon unemployable in the robotic computer market) inner-city youths who, frankly, do not care so much about whose holiday is celebrated, when and by whom. They prefer to connect with the “hustle”; but there has been an increase in the high school, first degree numbers and the numbers of healthcare professionals.

Dr. King saw the inequities of his time, but it did not stop him from rising to the challenge of the day and charting a moral, visionary road map for tomorrow.

50 years ago, the King was killed!

USAfrica Publisher Chido Nwangwu, pix Jan11 2014

50 years after, long lives the King!!

50 years ahead, long shall the king live!!!

———

•Dr. Chido Nwangwu is Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com;  and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards. He has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. He worked previously for the Nigerian Television Authority, Platform magazine, and the Daily Times of Nigeria; and has served as adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Brown. USAfrica, CLASSmagazine and USAfricaonline.com are assessed by the CNN and The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks. USAfrica established May 1992.


 

2018 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”

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

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USAfrica: Mandelas say Winnie sacrificed her life for the freedom of South Africa

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WINNIE MANDELA, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, died a few hours ago, today April 2, 2018 — following a long illness especially an infection of her kidney. She was 81 years old.

The following is the full text of the statement by the Mandela family on the death on Monday April 2, 2018 of Winnie Mandela.

 

Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 •  @USAfricaLive

It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa, on Monday April 2 2018.

She died after a long illness‚ for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid. She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions‚ eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State.

She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation.

The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing‚ we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable woman.

The family will release details of the memorial and funeral services once these have been finalised.

 

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

—  2018 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”

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

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