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Posts tagged ‘Kenya’

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

The Gutless Eunuch And The Lion King By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

On 26th September 2011 in an article titled, ”On Goodluck Jonathan, David and Goliath” I wrote the following-

”A few days ago President Jonathan proclaimed as follows- ‘I am not David, I am not a general, I am not a lion- I will defeat the Goliaths in our land’. These are deep and instructive words yet I do wonder whether Mr. President understands the spiritual and practical implications of what he is saying.

I say this because if he says that he is not a David how can he then possibly slay the Goliaths in the land? If he says that he is not a general how can he be an effective Commander-in-Chief who commands the respect and confidence of his army and his officers? If he says that he is not a lion how can he overwhelm the animals in our jungle that seek to destroy and ravage our land?

Every king worth his salt must have the spirit of the lion and the warrior in him to a certain extent. It is a fundamental pre-qualification for good quality and inspirational leadership and that is what distinguishes the pretender and the usurper from a real king. May the spirit and weakness of the biblical King Ahab not be our President’s portion even though his words seem to have ensnared him. History proves that weak kings and weak leaders always end up pulling down and destroying their own empires and kingdoms simply because they are incapable of providing strong and decisive leadership. Always remember, whether you are a king or a subject, that courage is the greatest of all the virtues. This is wisdom. Would someone please tell our President?”

With the shooting of opposition leaders like Senator Magnus Abe and the killing of some APC youths by policemen in Port Harcourt on January 12th 2014, the attempted murder of the father of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and the cold blooded slaughter of some people that were with him in Kano on January 7th 2014 by people that are suspected to be agents of the Federal Government, the killing of twenty four people in Borno state by Boko Haram insurgents on January 8th 2014, the  shooting and hacking to death of 30 villagers and the burning of 40 houses by fulani gunmen in Shonong village, Plateau state on January 6th 2014, the bombing of a High Court in Port Harcourt by unknown persons a few days ago, the killing of 91 children by Boko Haram in Damatru a few months ago, the slaughter of 200 Nigerian troops by Boko Haram in Borno state a few weeks back, the massacre of 41 school children in Borno state by Boko Haram four months ago, the burning to the ground of 53 churches in Borno state by Boko Haram in 2013, the mass murder of no less than 7000 thousand Nigerians by Boko Haram in the last 3 years, the burning to the ground of an army barracks with it’s attendant slaughter of the family members of army officers and military personnel in Bama in December 2013 and the raging war that is going on in the north-eastern part of our country between Boko Haram and our military today those words and that counsel that was offered two years ago seem even more relevant now than they were even then.

I believe that the carnage that we are witnessing in our country today has come as a direct result of the manifestation of weakness at the top. When a President tells the world that Boko Haram are his ”siblings” whom he ”cannot move against”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble. When a President keeps offering Boko Haram amnesty even when they kept rejecting it and whilst they were murdering his people, as he has been doing for the last three years, he is asking for trouble. When a President installs and supports a party National Chairman, by the name of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who describes Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble.

When a President announces to the world that he is ”not a lion or a David”, as he did approximately two years ago, no-one should be surprised when his people are killed like flies before his very eyes. May God bring us a real leader that can save our nation and may He take away this one who feels no pain and has no empathy when Nigerian blood, nay even the blood of innocent children, is shed with impunity. Under the tenure of our ”lamb” President more innocent Nigerians have been slaughtered by terrorists than at any other time in the history of our country except during the civil war.

What a mess and what a record. I continue to ponder about one thing though- would the President have been so unperturbed and detached from the whole thing if the children that were killed in their school just a few weeks ago had been from his Niger Delta area. It appears to me that simply because those kids were northerners this President just ”doesn’t give a damn”. What a tragedy. Whether christian or muslim, northern or southern these are only children and they are NIGERIAN children each of whom is entitled to the full protection of the Nigerian state. I have said it before and I shall say it again, Nigeria has become an abattoir of human flesh and blood under the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all those who support him should bury their heads in shame. The blood of all those innocent people is on his hands because he swore to an oath before God and the Nigerian people to protect them from such evil.

Permit me to make a painful observation here. I was thoroughly appalled about the fact that when our President was asked about the latest round of killings during his live ”Presidential Media Chat” programme a few months ago he not only told a lie to the world by claiming that only ”21 or 22 students were killed” at a time when the BBC and CNN had confirmed that at least 45 bodies had been found (almost 100 were to be discovered later) but he also failed to express his condolences to the families of those that had lost their loved ones. He made the same omission when he failed to commiserate with or express his condolences to the families of the 200 soldiers that were killed in Borno state a few weeks back whilst fighting Boko Haram simply because they ran out of bullets during the course of the battle.

By way of contrast not only was he quick to offer his condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrible carnage that was inflicted on them by Al Shabab just one day before when 68 people were killed at a Nairobi shopping mall but he was also quick to offer the Kenyan government military assistance.  I guess that to him Nigerian blood is not as expensive or as important as foreign blood.

If President Uhuru Kenyatta ever decides to accept his offer let us hope that our President will provide enough bullets and ammunition to the soldiers that he will send. Our boys are deeply courageous fighters and they certainly deserve that much. They also deserve to have a Commander in Chief that inspires them, that watches their back, that truly cares and that gives them the very best.

The question must be asked – does our President have any balls? And if he does just how big are they? Is he really a man? Does he have what it takes to fight a war against terror or is it that there is more to this than meets the eye? Is there a sinister plan to ensure that elections do not hold in some parts of the north-east in 2015 given the fact that those areas are very hostile to the suggestion that Jonathan should return to power that year? Is this whole thing planned and contrived or is it a case of chronic incompetence, ineptitude and weakness? Does Jonathan believe that it is in his interest for the north to burn and for northern blood to be spilt? Is the mindset of those that are pulling the strings of the view that since the problem has been (to use the President’s own words in his last media chat) ”localised” and ”contained in a certain area” the government can sit back and watch the locals slaughter themselves whilst they continue to drink champagne and kai-kai in the Villa? If that is the case has it not occurred to them that their fellow Nigerians live in those areas where the problem has supposedly been ”localised” and is the blood of those fellow Nigerians not red as well? Are they less Nigerian because of where they were born and who they are? Are the people that live in the villages and countryside not as important as those who live in the towns and cities?

Whatever is really going on God sees all and anything that is not of Him will surely fail. If it is nothing but weakness and incompetence that has resulted in this unprecedented carnage the President will answer before God for violating his solemn oath to protect the Nigerian people from enemies within and from enemies without. If it is a conspiracy to encourage and create turmoil and chaos in the north just to ensure that they are excluded from the vote in 2015, both Jonathan himself and Nigeria as a whole will reap the consequences. It is worth noting that that is precisely what happened in Mali in the elections that took place before the north was taken over by the islamists and it led to a full scale civil war.

Any attempt to exclude any part of this country from participating in the elections in 2015 under the guise of lack of security or Boko Haram will result in the same thing with catastrophic consequences for Nigeria. Yet as Napolean Bonaparte once said, ”we must never account to conspiracy what can easily be explained away by incompetence”. It is more likely than not that the situation that is unfolding in the north-east and the feeble fight that our government is putting up against Boko Haram over there is down to Jonathan’s weakness and nothing more. So when asked the question is our President capable of fighting the war against terror my answer would be that I am afraid that I doubt it very much. He just doesn’t have it in him. As the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair once said about John Major, his predecessor in office, he is just ”weak, weak, weak”.

I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that has always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country. Love him or hate him one thing is clear- not under Obasanjo’s watch would 7000 thousand innocent Nigerians be massacred at will in the space of just two years by a bunch of murderous and heartless terrorists. He would have known exactly what to do and how to do it to put a stop to such callous lawlessness and anarchy right from the start. Equally significant is the fact that such was his love for Nigeria that regardless of the region, ethnic group or religious faith that the victims came from, espoused or belonged to, his response to the terrorists would have been swift, decisive and utterly ruthless. He would have had Boko Haram in ”shock and awe” and the whole world would have marveled at it. This is because in Obasanjo we had a President who not only had balls but who also had the courage, heart and guts to match them.

The greatest error that we as a people ever made and the worst tragedy and misfortune that has ever befallen us as a nation is the fact that a lamb ended up taking a throne that was designed and prepared for a lion. The unfortunate consequences of that tragic error and misfortune are there for all to see. The shedding of the blood of even the youngest, the most innocent and the most vulnerable in our society by Boko Haram on a daily basis is an eloquent testimony to that unsavoury fact.

The fact of the matter is that Nigeria is in dire need of a real ”Asiwaju” to lead her. She needs a man with the spirit of the ”Jagaban”- a ”last man standing” who has an iron will and who knows no fear. She needs an ”Ebora” and a ”Balogun” all rolled into one who is ready to confront evil, defend our nation, protect our people and crush the enemy. Sadly we do not have that today. Instead what we have is what the Yoruba describe as an ”olori oko tio lepon”. Roughly translated that means ”a President without balls”. May the Lord take the leadership of this nation away from the gutless eunuch and give it to a lion king.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Scribes Take A Look Back At 2013 – GIN.


By Global Information Network

Taking a breather from the coverage of wars, political shenanigans, and climate change, journalists from around the continent gave thought to some of their favorite stories of the year – some familiar to Americans, many not.
The BBC picked the story of Africa’s “extraordinary success” at the Venice Biennale – also called the “Olympics of the art world.”

Out of 88 contenders, Angola won the Golden Lion award for the best national participation. “This year is amazing,” commented Raphael Chikukwa, curator of the Zimbabwe pavilion, “because in the last Venice Biennale we were two African countries – South Africa and Zimbabwe – and now we’ve been joined by Ivory Coast, Angola and Kenya. The visibility of African countries this year has increased.”

Others featured at the show this spring were J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, 83, one of Africa’s best known photographers. For decades he has been documenting women’s hairstyles in Nigeria.

Kenya’s Africa Review highlighted the new ranking of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) becoming fourth among 100 top African universities.

UDSM comes behind the University of South Africa, University of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch, all of South Africa, according to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.

“With the assistance of the government, we have managed to add more lecture theatres and other necessary academic requirements that have led to performance improving significantly in recent years,’’ UDSM Vice-Chancellor Rwekaza Mukandala. “We have raised the bar in terms of the quality of research and lecturers. This has contributed immensely to the university’s improved ranking.’’

Africa’s new millionaires and billionaires caught the eye of much of African media. In a piece titled “Who are Kenya’s wealthiest?”, the African Review cited Vimal Shah and Naushad Merali who made it to this year’s Forbes list of Africa’s richest. Shah, 53,  the chief executive of edible oil firm Bidco Oil Refinery, along with his brother and father, were ranked 18th with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Some of Bidco’s products are popular bar soaps which are distributed in 14 countries across Africa, bringing in revenue of over $500 million, according to Forbes.

Mr. Merali, 62, made his fortune of $430 million from investments in agriculture, tire manufacturing, construction and finance. He was ranked 48th this year, a drop from last year.

For the third year running, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote was named Africa’s richest man with a fortune of $20.8 billion. Globally he is ranked 43rd. The youngest billionaire on this year’s list, at 38, was Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji with a net worth of $500 million from real estate, diversified interests and inherited money.

The oldest is self-made Moroccan billionaire Miloud Chaabi, 84, worth is $1.9 billion.

Two women were on this year’s list – Angola’s Isabel dos Santos and Nigeria’s Folorunsho Alakija, 62, with assets totaling $3.5 billion and $2.5 billion respectively.

Despite becoming an important player on the international stage, Africa is still poorly understood by the rest of the world, observed columnist Lee Mwiti in Kenya’s Africa Review.

“It’s not all the media’s fault,” he notes. “Until recently there has been little data about the continent… but with the advent of the popular ‘Africa Rising’ narrative, there has been a scramble by everyone from multilateral lenders to eager ‘Pan-Africanist’ students writing up their theses to beef up available statistics.

Still, he cautions, “it should still be a while before we start hearing of the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau and Eritrea as disparate countries, given how sexy ‘Africa’ and ‘Swahili’ sounds especially to those ubiquitous western tourists.

“But we will wait, patiently… We do have the Chinese to keep us company though.”

Finally, Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey, in a year-end sum-up, posted this on Facebook:

“2014 has dawned in a mix of fireworks, natural disasters, wars and twisted politics. Will the year see us digging deeper into the holes of crises or will peoples around the world rise up and declare a collective NO to predatory politics? A collective NO to climate crimes? A collective NO to extractivist impunity over the planet and peoples?

“Whatever your answer, welcome to a fiery New Year.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

NCP Raises Alarm Over INEC’s Plot to De-Register More Political Parties.


The National Conscience Party (NCP), founded by the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, has voiced concerns that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was plotting with the National Assembly to de-register more political parties in order to suit the interests of those already in power.

 

In a state-of-the-nation address to the press yesterday, the party’s national chairman, Yunusa Tanko, alleged that INEC was requesting the powers from the National Assembly to reduce the number of political parties in existence. The party condemned a move by INEC to acquire the power to disqualify candidates, adding that disqualifications should be left to political parties. Mr. Tanko advised INEC to focus on addressing rigging and other electoral problems.

 

 

Earlier this year, the NCP had filed a court case to stop INEC’s moves to de-register political parties.

 

The NCP also criticized INEC’s decision to uphold a law that allows office holders to defect after an election. The party asserted that, once a candidate obtains a mandate on a political platform, it is dangerous to allow that candidate to trade that mandate at will. The NCP describe the practice as inimical to a viable democracy.

 

According to the NCP chairman, partisan defections cause the loss of internal discipline and result in arbitrary behavior by officials, especially those who are already in public offices.

 

Mr. Tanko condemned INEC’s search for enabling legislation to be able to de-register parties, saying that the measure would serve the interests of the parties currently in power.

The chairman cited Kenya and Benin Republic as examples of countries with a much smaller population than Nigeria, yet with more political parties.

 

“Nigeria has only 25 political parties with over 171 million people while Kenya has 59 political parties with far less population, and also Benin Republic has only 9 million people with more than 100 political parties,” said Mr. Tanko.

 

On former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s now famous public letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Tanko stated that the message in the letter was more important at this time than the messenger. The NCP chairman condemned the alleged training of snipers by President Jonathan to silence opposition elements, adding, however, that he did not excuse Mr. Obasanjo of culpability in the same offence during his tenure.

 

Reacting to the exodus of key PDP members into the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Tanko said it confirmed that some parties exist out of sheer interest to stay in power and be in charge of the nation’s resources, without having any ideological identity.

 

“NCP remains the only political party that cares for the masses and has a genuine manifesto,” Mr. Tanko asserted. He denied that the NCP had any intention or plan to merge with other parties. Rather, he clarified that NCP may consider alliances with some parties that share similar ideologies.

 

“A merger means parties will lose their individual certificates and come under one certificate, but alliance means we can come together to achieve certain programs together without losing our partisan certificate to the arrangement,” he explained.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Terrified that Nigeria exits in fews days Baba OBJ Cries Out to Jonathan, Save Nigeria, Keep your Reply.


 

Obasanjo-02

As the Presidency prepares a reply to the 18-page letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan on the state of the nation, indications emerged, yesterday, that the former leader was not expecting any reply but action from Jonathan.A competent source told Sunday Vanguard that Obasanjo was more interested in Jonathan addressing the core issues he raised in his letter rather than getting a reply to his damning missive, entitled, ‘Before it is too late’.
The source, which also denied any breakfast meeting between Obasanjo and Jonathan in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, said the story was made up by those who tried to play down the importance of the former leader’s letter.The source said,”The truth of the matter is that former President Obasanjo is not expecting President Jonathan to reply him. Absolutely no. The President did not consider it needful to respond to previous letters privately written to him by the former head of state and he does not expect any reply to this one.“I can tell you that Obasanjo wrote the letter with the best intentions for Jonathan and Nigeria and what he wants from the President is courageous and timely actions to save Nigeria from the brink. That’s all.“Obasanjo will be a happy Nigerian if appropriate steps are taken by President Jonathan to address the burning issues of corruption and other challenges that threaten to bring this country down.“There is absolutely no reason to expect a reply from the Presidency when previous letters written to him were not even acknowledged.”It was however learnt, at the weekend, that presidential aides have drafted a response to Obasanjo’s letter.
The response was said to be awaiting Jonathan’s approval.Asked to justify the breakfast parley between the former President and Jonathan in Kenya on the day the bromide of Obasanjo’s letter was feasted on by the media, the source said there was no meeting between the two leaders.

The source said that Obasanjo and Jonathan only met by chance and exchanged pleasantries as they lodged in the same hotel in Nairobi.Obasanjo stirred controversy when he wrote a letter to Jonathan drawing his attention to myriad of issues capable of taking Nigeria to the brink if not addressed.But the Presidency fired back, describing the letter as inciting, provocative and self-serving. Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, who’s issued a statement, indicated that Jonathan would make  a formal response but did not say when he would do so.

 

By Soni Daniel

Source: Radio Biafra.

Pastor Overcomes Personal Tragedy to Help Needy Children.


 

Operation Holiday Hope
Operation Holiday Hope will reach nearly 150,000 children in the U.S. and around the world this Christmas season. (Courtesy of Metro World Child)

Metro World Child announced Wednesday the launch of Operation Holiday Hope, the international humanitarian organization’s annual campaign to provide Christmas gifts to inner-city children in need.

Through donations of just $10 per child, Operation Holiday Hope will reach nearly 150,000 children in the U.S. and around the world, providing need-based gifts alongside a message of salvation and love.

“Far too many children in New York City and in urban centers around the globe are facing the challenges of poverty, abuse, violence and hopelessness,” says pastor Bill Wilson, founder of Metro World Child. “Giving a child a gift at Christmas—whether it’s a new, wrapped toy or a much-needed hot meal—lets a child know he or she is loved and that there is hope for a brighter future.”

Metro World Child is a faith-based organization that serves nearly 100,000 inner-city children each week with after-school programs, Sunday school services, child sponsorship, personal home visits and special programs like Operation Holiday Hope. The organization is committed to providing hope and building futures for children living in adverse conditions around the world, helping them find a new path through the life-changing love of Christ.

With Operation Holiday Hope, children receive a need-based gift after attending a fun, interactive Sundayschool program. Among the more than 121,000 children who received gifts last year were 35,000 children living in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods, who received a new, wrapped toy. For many children, it was the only Christmas gift they received. In other parts of the world, gifts take the form of hot meals where children are hungry or warm socks and boots where winter temperatures are below freezing.

In the past four years, Metro World Child has provided nearly a 1/2 million gifts through Operation Holiday Hope, reaching children in India, Kenya, New York, Philippines,Romania, Somalia and South Africa. As the Operation Holiday Hope 2013 fundraising effort gets underway, Metro World Child asks supporters to visit its website, operationholidayhope.org to donate and help the organization reach even more children this year.

What We Could Learn From the African Church.


African church
We could learn a thing or two from the African church.

Last Sunday I attended both morning services at Deliverance Church in the Kasarani district of Nairobi, Kenya. I was dreading speaking at 8 a.m. because early services in the United States are sparsley attended and the energy levels tend to be weak. But this is not the case in Africa.

When the worship began, ushers were busy urging congregants to move closer together so they could pack people into seats. By the time pastor Jimmy Kimani greeted his flock, people were sitting or standing outside—even though there are more than 1,500 chairs in the main sanctuary. Latecomers have to wait until children are dismissed to their morning classes.

Welcome to Kenya, where churches are overflowing and where missionary-minded leaders are planting new congregations weekly. A study done by the Pew Charitable Trust two years ago confirmed thatChristian faith in Africa is growing exponentially. In 1910, Christians made up 9 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa; today the number has jumped to 63 percent. The study noted that Nigeria now has more Protestants than Germany, where the Protestant Reformation began.

I know the African church faces big challenges. I wrote last week about the devastating effects of theprosperity gospel in Africa, and readers are still debating that topic in our online forum. But as I watched the people worship at altars in Nairobi and Lilongwe, Malawi, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “I wish we had this in the USA.”

Here are four things we could learn from Africa’s dynamic church:

1. We could learn a lot about spiritual passion. Only 9 percent of people in Malawi have electricity, and most of them live on one dollar a day. Many of the Christians I met in Lilongwe struggle to find money to catch a bus, buy a meal or send their kids to school. Yet dozens of women who attended our meetings two weeks ago trusted God to help them get there—even if it meant they would go without food.

One of my friends in Malawi, a pastor named Peter, took a four-day bus ride to attend a conference in Kenya because he is so passionate about spreading the gospel in his country. We could use some of that desperation on this side of the Atlantic.

2. We could learn about biblical discipleship. While it is true that some African churches have exploited people financially with a selfish prosperity message, many leaders have rejected that emphasis and are working hard to train mature believers. At Deliverance Church in Nairobi, pastor Jimmy Kimani is surrounded by some of the most humble, godly, discerning local leaders I’ve met anywhere in the world. For years Kimani has emphasized the need for small groups and weekend retreats to encourage spiritual growth, and many pastors are following this model.

3. We could learn about defending biblical morality. Last summer during his three-country visit to Africa, President Obama urged lawmakers and members of the clergy to accept same-sex marriage. But Obama’s strategy backfired. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Senegal’s President Macky Sall and several top church leaders rebuked Obama for trying to impose acceptance of homosexuality on a culture that has long disapproved of it. Even though Africans initially cheered Obama’s election in 2008 because of his Kenyan roots, today many are disappointed that he has bought into what they view as an anti-Christian agenda.

“Those who believe in other things, that is their business. We believe in God,” said Deputy President William Ruto during Obama’s visit in July. “President Obama is a powerful man, but we trust in God as it is written in the Bible, that ‘cursed is the man who puts trust in another man.’”

Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, was more blunt. He told Obama, “Those people who have already ruined their society … let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go. I think we need to act according to our own traditions and our faiths.”

It is the height of Western intellectual pride to think we are the keepers of morality; it is even more reprehensible that Mr. Obama would require African counties to accept his religious views on homosexuality in order to receive U.S. financial aid.

4. We could learn about commitment to Christ in the face of persecution. In September, Muslim extremists in Jos, Nigeria, ordered passengers to get off a bus. They then shot those who identified themselves as Christians. Did you hear about the brutal incident on television? Probably not, because the world yawns or looks away when Christians suffer for their faith.

Persecution has kept Africa’s church strong. I have interviewed Nigerian Christians whose hands and arms were sliced off by knife-wielding Islamic terrorists. I also know African pastors who have been directly opposed by witchdoctors with occult powers. Christians in Africa today are perhaps better equipped to address the reality of Christ’s power in a world that hates the truth of the gospel. They are my heroes, and I intend to learn as much as possible from them.

J. LEE GRADY

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project(themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

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