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Posts tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

Lagos : Gleaming New City For The Wealthy Leaves Historic City In Dust.

Jan. 21 (GIN) – As developers rush to complete a dream city of soaring glass and steel high-rise buildings, luxury housing for 250,000 amidst a leafy boulevard with ritzy shops and tony restaurants, hopes for a better future are growing dim for the sister city of Lagos, the largest city in Africa with 21 million residents at last count.

Eko Atlantic, the new project, is rising on Victoria Island – now connected by an artificial land bridge to Lagos which sinks deeper into poverty as its neighbor’s income skyrockets.

Lagos, visited by the Portuguese in 1492, was the nation’s capital from 1914 to 1991. Today it struggles with aging infrastructure, unreliable electric power, fierce traffic jams and sprawling slums. Even in posh neighborhoods, sewage bubbles up from open ditches. Companies squeeze their headquarters into moldy midcentury ranch houses and turn off the lights at lunch to rest electric generators.

Two-thirds of the city’s residents live in “informal” neighborhoods, while more than one million of the city’s poor have been forcibly evicted from their homes over the last 15 years.

Eko Atlantic is a prime example of a trend towards walled-off cities for the very rich on a continent that is still home to the world’s poorest.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Martin Lukacs warned: “Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms.”

He continued: “Protected by guards, guns, and sky-high real estate prices, the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising… This is climate apartheid.”

Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey added: “Building Eko Atlantic is contrary to anything one would want to do if one took seriously climate change and resource depletion.”

The developers, a pair of politically connected Lebanese brothers who run a financial empire called the Chagoury Group, received a 78 year-seal of ownership of Eko Atlantic to recoup their investment.

The Clinton Global Initiative, meanwhile, calls Eko Atlantic “one of the most inspiring and ambitious civil engineering projects in Africa,” according to the U.S. mission in Nigeria website.  Last year, former President Clinton participated in the ground breaking ceremony as did Ambassador Terence McCulley, and Consul General Jeff Hawkins, among others.

Woman To Lead Embattled Central African Republic As New President

Jan. 21 (GIN) – To the sound of cheers from the National Assembly building, the Transitional National Council of the Central African Republic on Monday tapped Catherine Samba-Panza, mayor of the capital city of Bangui, to be the country’s interim President and first woman to hold the post.

As the new leader of a country gripped by a ferocious sectarian war, Catherine Samba-Panza, 58, issued a call to the fighting groups, asking her “children, especially the anti-Balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka. . . I don’t want to hear any more talk of murders and killings.

“Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion.”

Born in Chad to a Cameroonian father and Central African mother, Ms. Samba-Panza is a former businesswoman, corporate lawyer, and insurance broker.  She also led a reconciliation effort during a previous civil war.

Paul Simon Handy, of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in South Africa, called her “a president who can unite both the country and the political elite” but warned: “I am afraid that this process will take longer than her period in office as interim president.”

The Central African Republic has been devastated by brutal fighting since a coup in March 2013 removed the unpopular president Francois Bozize. He was replaced by Michel Djotodia who suspended the constitution. Djotodia resigned this month under intense international pressure as the death toll mounted to over 1000 people and observers feared a genocide was in the works.

According to a New York Times report, “The state no longer exists in the CAR. Civil servants do not go to their offices, taxes are not collected, all the schools are closed. There is no budget, no army, no police force, no Parliament, no judges, no jails.”

Against these odds, Samba-Panza, no political novice, ran a successful campaign and beat seven other candidates for the post. Among them were two women and two sons of former presidents.

Now, her primary task will be to prepare the nation for elections in the coming year.  In addition she will need to temper the extreme animosity between the Christian and Muslim groups in the country.

Central African Republic has to hold a fresh election by February 2015 at the latest. France, however, wants the election to be held this year. Current law excludes the interim president from running.

“Everything we have been through has been the fault of men,” said Marie-Louise Yakemba, in a press interview. Yakemba, who heads a civil-society organization that brings together people of different faiths, added: “We think that with a woman, there is at least a ray of hope.”w/pix of Pres. Samba-Panza

Africa Was A Point Of Pride For Martin Luther King Jr.
By Rush Perez

Jan. 21 (GIN) – At a speaking engagement at Western Michigan University on Dec. 18, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recalled his first trip to Africa with his wife Coretta to attend the independence day celebration of the new nation of Ghana. The couple was invited by the new President, Kwame Nkrumah.

“We were very happy about the fact there were now eight independent countries in Africa,” he said. “But since that night in March, 1957, some twenty-seven new independent nations have come into being in Africa. This reveals to us that the old order of colonialism is passing away, and the new order of freedom and human dignity is coming into being.”

Later, on Dec. 10, 1965 he gave a powerful speech at Hunter College in New York City, where he attacked the Apartheid regime of South Africa, as well as the governments of Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) and the Portuguese control of Mozambique and Angola.

True to form, Dr King utilized powerful language to make his points, beginning first with a deconstruction of the popular narrative of Africa at the time.

“Africa has been depicted for more than a century as the home of black cannibals and ignorant primitives….Africa does have spectacular savages today, but they are not black. They are the sophisticated white rulers of South Africa… whose conduct and philosophy stamp them unmistakably as modern day barbarians.”

He went on to call for an international boycott of South Africa.

After the independence day ceremonies in Ghana, Dr King said in a radio interview that: “This event, the birth of this new nation, will give impetus to oppressed peoples all over the world. I think it will have worldwide implications and repercussions–not only for Asia and Africa, but also for America….It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice and that somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom.”


Jan. 21 (GIN) – An accomplished and much-admired news writer from Ghana was recalled as “the face and voice of Africa – a new young, enterprising, international connected, ambitious Africa, with a can-do attitude.”

Komla Afeke Dumor passed unexpectedly this week at age 41 from cardiac arrest at his London home.

“He was not a praise-singer,” noted BBC Africa editor Solomon Mugera. “He was determined to present a balanced story, warts and all, and to show the human face behind the headlines.”

Dumor was a BBC World News presenter and the host of the Focus on Africa Program. He joined the BBC in 2006 after working for a decade as a journalist in Ghana. He was so popular in his home country that many Ghanaians changed their profiles on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to show a picture of him.

After moving to TV in 2009, he anchored live coverage of major events including the funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il,  the wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the death of Nelson Mandela in December.

Born in 1972 in Accra, Komla Dumor received graduate degrees from the University of Ghana and Harvard University.

Even as a number of African countries were being heralded as among the world’s fastest-growing economies, Dumor wanted to dig deeper, recalled Mugera.

“He knew that a select few were wining and dining in five-star hotels and driving the latest luxury cars, while in the same neighborhood there were families struggling to live on $1 a day.”

The Media Foundation for West Africa, a regional independent, non-governmental organisation based in Accra, shared their deep condolences for the loss of “one of Africa’s best journalists.”

“Komla raised the standard of journalism in Africa, and brought a lot of pride to many Ghanaians and Africans when he joined the BBC Africa Service and later, the World Service…  He was an an illustrious journalist and a trailblazer for many young journalists in Ghana and Africa as a whole. .. We have indeed lost a talented gem in journalism, Komla, damirifa due! Rest in peace!” the statement concluded.

In the words of Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie:  “We have lost a star. Go well my discussant brother.”

Dumor leaves a wife, Kwansema Dumor, and three children. w/pix of K. Dumor

7 Common Mistakes Young Leaders Make.

Young pastor

With experience, young pastors can learn from their mistakes. (Lightstock)

As a person who started off in full-time ministry at the ripe old age of 21, I write the following out of personal experience and not only observation.

We desperately need young leaders to emerge. We older leaders need to help them come forth. That being said, there are some common mistakes young leaders make that could hinder their progress.

The following are seven of the top mistakes young leaders make:

1. Young leaders often have zeal without knowledge. Perhaps the greatest attribute of young leaders can also be their greatest weakness: zeal. The Bible tells us it is possible to have zeal (great energy and passion) without knowledge (Rom. 10:2).

This can manifest in having great excitement and motivation to accomplish a great task, but in that excitement overlooking many of the necessary details needed to ensure success. They see the forest but fail to see the individual trees that make up the forest.

2. Young leaders often neglect the advice of older, wiser leaders. Like Rehoboam (1 Kings 12), the son of Solomon, young leaders often surround themselves with like-minded leaders their own age and neglect the advice of older, more seasoned leaders. Perhaps this is because the next generation always thinks it understands contemporary culture better than older leaders, or perhaps because of a generation gap. Whatever the reason, young leaders make huge mistakes (as did King Rehoboam) if they attempt to lead without the advice and accountability of more experienced leaders.

3. Young leaders often put their work before their families. All young leaders struggle with having balance in this area. One of the main reasons is because young people have an intense need to prove their competency and accomplish great things to satisfy their egos and lift their self-esteem. Consequently, this intense desire often blinds them to the needs of their families, which often leads to emotionally neglecting their spouses and children.

If this is not rectified soon enough, the foundations of their families will be faulty and they may have huge issues in the future. Older ministers have learned that it doesn’t pay to win the world and lose their families.

4. Young leaders often compete with, instead of partner with, other leaders. Along with an inordinate desire to prove themselves comes an intense, subconscious drive to be more successful than other leaders their own age. (Even pastors fall into this.)

Young leaders need to learn not to compare themselves with their peers since we all have unique gifts and callings others cannot easily replicate (2 Cor. 10:12). They also need to understand how partnering with other like-minded leaders will actually maximize their ability to get things done for the sake of the kingdom.

5. Young leaders have unrealistic goals. Often young leaders believe they will be able to see quick results and bring incredible transformation overnight. Their goals are often unrealistic and idealistic. This recalls the words of an old rabbi: “When I was young I wanted to change the world. When I got a little older I modified my goals and wanted to change my nation. Then, as I got older I was content to merely change my city. Then my community. Now that I am very old I would just like to change myself!”

Although I do believe God can use a young person to change their nation and/or the world (for example, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, John Wesley, Charles Finney, George Whitefield and Dr. Martin Luther King, to name a few), for the most part young leaders have to avoid being precocious regarding their goals and be more practical in regard to following a process capable of facilitating their vision.

6. Young leaders lack biblical balance regarding truth. Often young leaders are just focused on one area of truth that gives them passion to the neglect of other areas of their lives. For example, young senior pastors may focus on one subject, such as prosperity, healing, deliverance or evangelism, but if they neglect other truths of the Bible, they will build unbalanced congregations. Young leaders need to study the whole counsel of God and not just areas based on their passions.

7. Young leaders often build without a proper foundation. Often young leaders will build a business or even plant a church without taking the time needed to build a proper foundation. Whether it is having a strong leadership team in place or a plan for sustainable growth, young leaders often put the cart before the horse and may even experience immediate success without long-term fruit. The deeper the roots of a tree grow into the ground, the taller it can grow!

In the beginning, young leaders need to take more time building a proper foundation than being concerned about how quickly they can make money and/or grow their businesses or ministries.

Written by Joseph Mattera

Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more on or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Alveda King: How I Failed Nelson Mandela.

Alveda King
Alveda King

At the passing of Nelson Mandela, I am acknowledging that he was a humanitarian who gave his life to ending apartheid in South Africa and human racism on this planet.

His efforts to do so, especially when he was a young man, certainly included horrendous acts of violence. He and his wife were “vigilantes for freedom.” Their methods of warfare were designed to match and overpower the inhumane tactics of their oppressors. President Mandela was jailed for many years for his “war crimes.”

Young Nelson and Winnie Mandela were radical rebels and following very much in the philosophy of, say, a Malcolm X, who said we must obtain freedom “by any means necessary.”

When I was a young civil rights freedom fighter, we had to deal with Alabama Gov. George Wallace. He was a virulent monster of a man who approved the lynching, burning and bombing of African Americans during those days. I lived in “Bombingham,” where our family home was bombed by hateful people who didn’t want black people to be free.

There are pictures of historical accounts of George Wallace standing right there and saying that he hated people if they had black skin or brown skin. And he wanted to keep us out and called us bad names. But Jesus Christ came into his life, and he repented, and he said that he was wrong.

There was another one, Bull Conner, who reminds me of the same hateful spirit that was driving Adolf Hitler. He lived as a terror, and he is remembered as a terror today. On the one hand, Wallace recanted. On other hand, Adolph Hitler was never jailed for killing millions of Jews, and his horrible eugenics and genocidal practices are alive today.

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood considered Adolf Hitler to be her muse. Unsuspecting people have embraced abortion and killing contraceptives because the slick marketing campaigns of Hitler and Sanger are still alive today. I was once a victim of Planned Parenthood and was once pro-choice. I didn’t sanction the killing of millions of babies, but I did have two secret abortions. I later repented and now am a voice for the lives of babies and their mothers, the sick and the elderly.

There was another man, John Newton, who wrote the song “Amazing Grace.” He was a friend and mentor of William Wilberforce and William Penn. He was bringing black people—African people—transcontinental and bringing them to be sold into the slave trade. It was lucrative, and he was making money. It was horrible, and yet when the spirit of the living God got his attention, reminding him of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, he repented and wrote a song that says, “I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” A wretch like him, his life was transformed.

Again, I had abortions myself. I was pro-choice at one time in my life. I came to my senses. I repented and turned away from the lies. I was blind and now I see.

The apostle Paul was blinded as far as his mind and his actions were concerned when his name was Saul. And he killed Christians. He was there at the stoning of St. Stephen. And yet, on the way to Damascus, his physical sight was taken from him when he was confronted—when he was riding his donkey on the Damascus road. And he became one of the greatest apostles that the world has known and remembered, and we thank God for the ministry of apostle Paul.

Over the years, Mr. Mandela began to become seasoned; humility came into his life, and at 95 years of age, I believe he was a totally different man than the young man who was doing everything he could to ending apartheid but was giving back as good as he got or as bad as it was.

While he sanctioned abortion during his presidency, he was perhaps like me and millions of others who were once deceived into believing that abortion and harmful contraceptives would help our people. I wish I had told him the truth. I didn’t know the truth when I met him in the early 1970s. So I failed him. I didn’t speak to him about our babies.

What is happening now in the battle to end human injustice, to stop man’s inhumanity to man, whether we are women, men or little children, is occurring on a divided battleground. Some battle against racism, based upon skin color or class or rank. Some battle against reproductive genocide, and that is certainly appropriate as well, wherein we fight for the lives of the little babies in the womb, their mothers, the sick and the elderly and demand that they be treated with equality, justice, mercy and agape love. And then some battle against sexual perversion. That in itself also is a very important fight.

Now, if we can see that we are battling a three-headed hydra monster—racism, reproductive genocide and sexual perversion—and get to the heart of those matters and fight them all together with the understanding that we can overcome evil with good, then at the death of someone like a Nelson Mandela, some of us would not feel as though he should just be totally lambasted, ostracized, cast out of history and considered to be one of the most terrible people that ever lived.

And so I do acknowledge the work of President Nelson Mandela. He confronted apartheid, a serious evil during his lifetime. He did some things that were not good. And we pray that he had an opportunity to meet his Maker before he left the planet and that he was able to reconcile those differences.

I feel that I failed President Nelson Mandela because when I actually met him around 1970, when he was released and he came to America, he visited the Martin Luther King Center. I was pro-choice at that time—ended up having a second abortion and a miscarriage related to the harmful contraceptives and all of that.

But over the years, I became pro-life, after which I became repentantly pro-life. I wish now that I had reached out to President Nelson Mandela. I wish that in the 1990s, when he was signing legislation that was going to cause millions or at least hundreds of thousands of babies to be aborted, I wish I had gotten Maafa 21 to him and Blood Money to him. Of course, these films had not been produced at that time, but a little later they and many other great truth- and life-revealing films have been released.

I feel that I failed him by not reaching out to him and trying to get with him and sit down and have a talk about my transformation, how I came from thinking that it was OK to abort a child to knowing that it was wrong because that’s a sacred human life. I failed, but I pray that I don’t fail millions of others, and I pray that that message will continue to resonate across the globe.

So, I thank God for Jesus, for redemption, for an opportunity to acknowledge the good deeds of people and to pray and repent for not giving them information that I had that could transform their thinking, prick their hearts and cause them to include the unborn in their battles.


Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late civil-rights activist the Rev. A.D. King and niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She is also a civil rights and pro-life activist, as well as director of the African-American outreach for Priests for LifeClick here to visit her blog.

Nelson Mandela – The Moses Of Black Africans By Chris Aniedobe.

When a rejected stone becomes the corner stone, it is invariably the doings of God. From improbable to possible, so does God make things and leaves signs for the wise to see his mighty works.

Before Obama became President, I called it. I did not need any Oracle to tell me that when a guy rises from obscurity to prominence like that, that it is the doings of a higher power. To leave no doubt about it, even the elements campaigned for Obama who traveled the most improbable roads: black, African, single parent, community organizer, one term Senator, and then President.

When the Oracles of Egypt foretold Moses and Pharaoh decided to slaughter new born Jewish males, hoping to eliminate Moses, little did he know that he would be raising the same Moses in his household. And through Moses, God humiliated all the gods of Egypt and laid the foundation for the coming of the kingdom of God. These are the workings of God.

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I think “O what a wonderful God we serve. How from age to age he works wonders through the hands of men although many wise men see it not.” From obscurity to prisoner to President to World Leader, only God does things like that.

At 95, Nelson Mandela deserves to sleep. Ages henceforth shall remember him as the black Moses.  Out of the dense fog of racism, he led all blacks across the Red Sea. He was built like a staff, the same staff that Moses carried, the staff of God. Straight and unbendable was his determination to not bow to any indignities and until his death, he bore the highest and the noblest testimony to the human spirit as one created by God to be free from oppression and charged by the same God to live in harmony with all creation.

But there is more. Nelson Mandela wrote the last Chapter in a book in which many Igbo slaves co-wrote. All across the new world, Igbo slaves chose death rather than bow to oppression. They chained their hands, neck and feet, but their spirits were never bound. All that was found in those slaves that chose death over oppression was encapsulated in Mandela as light for a world darkened by hatred and brightened by love.

The last hundred years have seen such great men as Mikhail Gorbachev, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Chinua Achebe, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Mohammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Mother Theresa, Barrack Obama. They all however lived in the age of Nelson Mandela.

Somewhere in another obscure place, God I am sure is weaving another tapestry of improbables, around another improbable human being, to meet the challenges that lay ahead for a world that has turned against itself.  Our legs are no longer tied. Our necks are no longer yoked. Our hands are free but our spirits have become bound by concupiscence and materialism and we have no more need for God. Nelson Mandela smothered the last stronghold of racism, but something greater than racism, more pernicious than hate, more malignant than rabid cells, is permissive liberalism that has shackled the human spirit.


I pray that God who has made human beings the living stones with which he builds his houses and has deigned to make Nelson Mandela a corner stone, will raise from among his living stones, one who will liberate the human spirit from the shackles of permissive liberalism so that as his chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his possession, … and from East to West and North to South, the whole earth might declare the praises of him who calls all people from darkness to light. “No longer slaves,” he said, “I call you friends.” Then Lord, let our spirits be as unbound as you made it even as you welcome Nelson Mandela into your Kingdom of light so that he may join the eternal Chief Priest as priest for all ages of humanity henceforth.





National Conference And “The Fierce Urgency Of Now!” By Chido Onumah.


Chido Onumah

Chido Onumah

“Between an agenda for a national restructuring and 2015 presidential election, my priority will be the convocation of a sovereign national conference.” – Ayo Opadokun

Like many Nigerians I am suspicious of the national conference or dialogue proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan. But unlike some of those who have expressed their apprehension about the conference, I believe in the imperative of the “fierce urgency of now!”

“The fierce urgency of now” was a phrase popularised by Martin Luther King, Jr. clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered fifty years ago on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., Rev. King “compelled a (troubled) nation to examine its conscience and, at long last, take action.”

“This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” he said in reference to the racial injustice that defined the American society then (and still does today). The thrust of his argument was that unless America confronted its national “demon” by addressing the fundamental question of race there would be “neither rest nor tranquility in America.”

More than anything else in Nigeria today, we need to confront our “fierce urgency of now.” The question that we must answer today, not tomorrow, is: How do we secure the promises of nationhood? This nation was founded on injustice and has been sustained through injustice in more than five decades of independence. This is why I think we should pay more than a cursory attention to the work of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue and by extension the planned national conference.

I understand the apprehension of those who argue that we travelled this road before with General Sani Abacha and President Olusegun Obasanjo. But we are in a dire situation today simply because we allowed these rulers to take us for a ride.

I am, therefore, comforted by the robust and well-thought-out memorandum submitted by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO), the Coalition of O’odua Self Determination Group (COSEG) and other groups even though I fundamentally disagree with their main argument that the conference should be centred on our ethnic nationalities.

Now is the time for anybody or group that means well for Nigeria to speak out and make their grievances known. This administration has no choice but to listen to the voice of the people. Nigerians can determine the shape and outcome of the national conference if they are ready to do so.

It is for this reason that I am perturbed by the nature of the debate and the national outrage bordering on hysteria that gripped civil society in the wake of allegations that the country’s minister of aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, had coaxed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, an agency under her ministry, to buy her two bulletproof BMW cars at the cost of $1.6m. My position is that we cannot tackle corruption, abuse of office and impunity in Nigeria – vices that have made us a laughing stock in the comity of nations – without dismantling the very structure that makes these vices thrive.

Let me buttress my point. I agree with those who have identified corruption as our national “demon”; one that needs to be confronted frontally. But there is also the reality that the endemic corruption in Nigeria is not because Nigerians are patently corrupt or fraudulent. That, as a people, we can’t agree on what constitutes corruption or abuse of office, à la Stella Oduah, is emblematic of the unresolved crisis of nationhood that confronts us. That such national tragedy could not get nation-wide traction either because of ignorance, ethnic solidarity or elite manipulation is a reflection of the fact that corruption itself may not be our national bête noire.

Of course, Stella Oduah is not alone. If we look at some of the more recent national heists that have taken place in the name of governance in the country, it is evident that the Nigerian state is a full-fledged criminal enterprise: The $180m Halliburton bribery scandal involving former heads of state; the N155bn ($1bn) Malabu Oil grand larceny allegedly masterminded by former oil minister, Dan Etete; Diezani Allison-Madueke’s Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) non-remittance of N450bn ($3bn) to the federation account because “the NNPC is not subjected to the consolidated fund of the federal government since it runs very capital intensive operations beyond what government can finance”; the Farouk Lawan/Femi Otedola $600,000 oil subsidy bribe-for-vote scandal; the planned arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the sons of the Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, for allegedly laundering over N10bn ($67m); Sule Lamido’s own admission that he informed the president (the presidency has since denied the allegation) of a serving minister that collected $250m bribe; and the latest bombshell by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State that the presidency secretly withdrew $5bn from the excess crude account.

Two years ago, Saharareporters, just as it did with the bulletproof BMW cars scandal, also broke the story about how N20bn ($133m) was siphoned from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The story (details of which are documented in my book, Time to Reclaim Nigeria) involved a land buy-back scam in which the name of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, featured prominently.

The CBN, through its head of corporate communications, did acknowledge that it paid about N20bn ($133m) for a piece of land, originally owned by a government agency, NITEL, to build “a world- class conference centre.” Ms. Oduah, yes the same Stella Oduah was alleged to have collected N7bn ($47m) from the booty on behalf of Neighbour to Neighbour, President Jonathan’s “grassroots” campaign organisation for the 2011 presidential election. Of course just as there are no bulletproof BMW cars, two years later there is no “world class conference centre.” Talk about the “six degrees of separation” of corruption!

What the foregoing illustrates is that governance in Nigeria is a big scam because the nation Nigeria itself is a great fraud. Anyone who is concerned about corruption, about the fact that we haven’t had a credible census since independence, about the wanton destruction of lives by those who claim they want to propitiate Heaven, about impunity – whether presidential, gubernatorial, ministerial or by law enforcement agencies – or about the fact that we can’t conduct “free and fair” election in a single state out of 36, must invest some time to make the quest for a genuine national conference a reality. There can’t be any excuse. We must insist on this by any means necessary.

Talking about election, we can’t allow the 2015 election distract us from this urgent national assignment. For those who say the national conference will “disrupt” the 2015 election, I say good riddance because the election will be rigged anyway (elections in Nigeria have been rigged since independence and things are not about to change) and if necessary declared inconclusive.

If we can call on President Jonathan to sack erring ministers and expect him to do something about corruption, then we might as well go “the whole nine yards” and “force” him to do the right thing concerning the national conference. Let me say, at the risk of sounding repetitious that a genuine national conference is not a silver bullet. But it provides us a template for moving forward as a nation. And nothing can be more important than this. The sooner we hold this conference the better! Some of us are tired of waiting for Nigeria (or the president) to fix itself. It won’t happen.

I end this piece by paraphrasing Rev. King: It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. The whirlwinds of revolt (read corruption, violence, ethnic cleansing, impunity, etc) will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.; Twitter: @conumah


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: The Gospel Personified.


Strang Report photo
L to R: Steve Strang, Naomi King, Dr. Alveda King, Jim Ferrell, Frances Ferrell at Gibbs Gardens (Steve Strang)

Every autumn, Joy and I like to travel north to see the changing of the seasons. We miss that in Florida.

This year, the leaves have not turned yet in north Georgia, but we had a delightful time visiting a recently opened garden east of Canton called Gibbs Gardens. It’s becoming known as one of the nicest private gardens in the world and among other features has the largest Japanese garden outside Japan. If you’re in the area, you must stop by.

This year, I invited my friend Alveda King to visit Gibbs Gardens with us, along with my in-laws, Jim and Frances Ferrell. Alveda loved the gardens, which she had never heard of although she lives only an hour away, in Atlanta. We loved getting to know her and her 81-year-old mother, Naomi King, sister-in-law to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They are both delightful people, full of the love of the Lord and many interesting stories.

Naomi told one story about Dr. King that should serve as lesson for all of us. It was a turning point for the young woman when she saw for the first time the greatness in M.L. (as the family called him). He said something the Bible commands each of us to do: learn to forgive and love no matter how we’re mistreated.

You can watch Naomi King tell in her own words how she visited the King home in Montgomery, Ala., to welcome their first child, Yolanda, into the family in 1955. Dr. King had just been roughed up by the police, who tried to strangle him with his own necktie. When Naomi heard about it, she said she didn’t know what to say and started to cry. At only 26 years old, MLK told her, “The more they mistreat us and abuse us, the more we must love them and forgive them because hatred is very much alive.”

Isn’t that the story of the gospel, to love and forgive? In an era where it seems people are more hostile to Christianity and biblical morality as we know it, we must, like King, forgive others.

Naomi said, “That’s when I knew in my heart of hearts he was destined to be the leader he became. It was because of his commitment and his love and his love for people.”

Naomi also told us a funny story about how she cooked MLK a sweet potato pie (one of my favorites too) when he was recuperating from being stabbed in New York City by a crazed woman. Apparently, he asked for the pie. You can also watch this humorous story about how she talked to him by phone to see how he was recuperating and he told her, “I’m feeling good because I’m eating sweet potato pie.”

I hope you are blessed by these two short videos as I was hearing them live. In a week when I’m on vacation, I felt I would share them with you in my Strang Report. It also lets me highlight the ministry of Alveda King, who is doing so much to support the pro-life cause as well as Christian values in our culture. She has a high profile in the civil rights movement and has a huge influence at a time when it is important for leaders who are not afraid to go against political correctness to let their voices be heard.

From time to time, I raise money for various ministries through our nonprofit partner Christian Life Missions. In the same way you might support ministries that help Israel or the poor overseas, it’s important to support people like Alveda King who are standing for righteousness when many leaders are not. You can make a tax-deductible gift online by clicking here or by calling 407-333-0600 during office hours.

Every dollar will go to Alveda King Ministries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if thousands of Christians and churches would support her as a missionary to the inner cities of America? You can learn more

Meanwhile if you enjoyed these videos or if they made you think, leave a comment or share them on social media.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

Pentecostal Minister Pens Book on Bible Devotionals Sent to Obama.

President Obama in prayer
President Obama in prayer. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

President Obama may not attend church most Sundays, but a new book reveals the Bible verses and prayers that he reads every morning.

The President’s Devotional, released Tuesday by Pentecostal-minister-turned-political-aide Joshua DuBois, is a compilation of 365 of the more than 1,500 meditations DuBois has sent the president since he started working for him in the U.S. Senate.

DuBois, who left his White House post in February, spent his weekends reading and praying over what he would send to Obama’s Blackberry the next week. He drew from the words of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the songs of Nina Simone and Bob Dylan, and the activism of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

DuBois, 31, hopes the meditations “written for a Christian president” might appeal to people of diverse faiths.

“I think the ones that have been most useful to the president were those that focused on knowing God’s love for us, knowing how to love our neighbors and knowing how to start each day with peace and joy,” he said in an interview on Monday.

He continues to send devotional messages to Obama every morning, even though he is no longer director of Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

In one of the dozen essays that introduce a month’s devotional readings, DuBois recalls how Obama took on a pastoral role as he talked with surviving family members of the 20 elementary schoolchildren killed in Newtown, Conn.

“There’s really no other way to describe his outreach other than ministry,” DuBois said of that day in December 2012. “In those dark times, I think he did his best to share the love of God with people who were just facing just a heart-wrenching tragedy.”

DuBois was on the receiving end of Obama’s personal touch when he learned in 2005 that his own father—who had been involved in an insurance scam—had died in prison.

At the time, DuBois was the person who wrote letters to the senator’s Illinois constituents—“the lowest staffer on the totem pole”—but he nevertheless got a call to visit Obama’s office.

“For him to take the time to call me into his office and wrap his arms around me and talk to me about his own dad and give me some words of encouragement in that very difficult moment really showed me President Obama’s character,” DuBois said.

Before DuBois got engaged in May 2012, the president occasionally reminded his then-special assistant that he shouldn’t drag his feet on marriage. Privately and publicly—even in front of the dozen faith leaders gathered in the Oval Office to launch the advisory council to DuBois’ faith-based office—he’d ask, “You engaged yet?” DuBois said it was less badgering and more emphasizing the importance of lasting relationships.

“It took me a while to absorb that point, but I finally did,” said DuBois, who married the former Michelle Duff-Mitchell on Sept. 1.

DuBois, who now runs the Values Partnerships consulting firm, also revealed that he disagreed with Obama and others in the administration on the controversial contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. He wrote that he argued “the government just can’t force religious organizations to pay for things they don’t believe in.”

When the White House carved out an exemption for some religious groups, DuBois said it showed the administration heard and understood the criticism.

“I think the White House over time really got it right and struck the right balance between religious liberty and protecting the rights of women,” he said.

Here are three of the meditations in The President’s Devotional:

May 25

Being Right

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

1 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)

We can do anything today—and we’d probably be right.

Our statements are likely backed by unassailable facts and solid figures. Our postures toward those who have wronged us are probably justified. The judgment we cast on others is likely warranted, given their misdeeds.

But is being right … worth it? Once we’ve climbed the mountain of our own correctness, what great prize will we receive?

Paul, echoed by the poet Maya Angelou, reminds us of what is most important. It’s not our correctness nor the exercise of our multitude of rights. Rather, what is most important is the impression we leave behind on our brothers and sisters, the edification that is left in our wake, and the echoes of our love.

Dear God, let me put first things first—not my own “rightness” but my love for you and for others. Amen.

November 17


Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:22 (NIV)

I would not so dishonor God as to lend my voice to perpetuate all the mad and foolish things that men have dared to say of Him. I believe that we may find in the Bible the highest and purest religion … most of all in the history of Him in whose name we all are called. His religion—not the Christian religion, but the religion of Christ—the poor man’s gospel; the message of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of love; and, oh, how gladly would I spend my life, in season and out of season, in preaching this!

James Anthony Froude, “The Nemesis of Faith

We have to peel back the layers of religion to find Christ. When our churches, our pastors, our leaders point us toward Jesus, toward his word and his love, they deserve our full embrace.

But when we encounter religion and leave feeling less connected with Christ than when we began, we know something’s amiss. That’s when we must return to the basics: reading the Bible for ourselves, experiencing a prayerful communion with God, and engaging in gentle fellowship with other believers.

Religion is either an up-escalator to our Savior or a down-escalator to something else. When it goes up, let’s ride. When it goes down, let’s be sure to get off.

Jesus, be my religion. Help me find the support necessary to grow closer to you. Amen.

December 19

Withdraw and Pray

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

—Luke 5:15–16 (NIV)

We can’t give everyone all of us, all the time. Sometimes, like Jesus, we have to withdraw, and pray.

Leadership is not just physically straining; it taps our spirit too. When the water in the well has drawn low, we must be intentional about pressing pause in our public roles and finding quiet spaces in which we can be replenished. Jesus, after pouring himself out for the crowds, “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” If we’re going to continue at maximum capacity and impact, we should regularly do the same.

Dear God, let me know when to engage and when to disconnect. Help me find my own “lonely places,” where I can go and pray. Amen.


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