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Duplicitous Atiku Commends Jonathan On 2nd Niger Bridge, knowing full well that it is a scam.

Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, said, Monday, that the flag off of the construction of the second Niger Bridge by President Goodluck Jonathan was belated, “as the project ought to have been completed before now.”

Atiku stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 16th annual conference of African Council for Communication Education.

The conference was entitled “Communication, Children and the Youth in the 21stcentury,” and was hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

At the time Atiku was speaking at Nsukka, President Jonathan was in Onitsha, Anambra State, flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge.

The former vice president, however, commended the President for eventually flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge after long years of wait.

He said that when completed, “the bridge would boost economic activities and transportation in the South-East zone and environs.”

In his address, Atiku urged participants at the ACCE conference to find solutions on how best to ensure that 10 million out-of-school children returned to school.

“The participants should also seek solution to the high rate of unemployment facing youths in the country,” he said.

He tasked the media on content that would promote the Nigerian economy, which, he said, has diverse sources of revenue and employment generation. “We don’t have to depend just on oil, but on agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and services”.

He said, “The media as an agenda setter should promote ideas for building the 21stcentury robust economy. You also have the responsibility to promote an education system mix of academic and vocational training, so as to cater for diverse needs of the youth and the emerging economy.”

Atiku, a presidential hopeful in the All Progressives Congress, advocated that federal schools be handed over to states in which they were located, saying, “It would help in administration and management of the schools.”

He added, “The Federal Government should also focus on setting regulatory standards and insist on implementing these standards.

“It will save cost as well as make it easier in management if federal schools were handed over to the states.”

The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Prof. Bartho Okolo, expressed appreciation to the former vice president for honoring the invitation.

Earlier, the Head, Department of Mass Communication in the institution, Dr. Ray Udeaja, explained that the aim of the conference was to continue to advance evolution of communication education in Africa as well as guarantee the dignity of young Africans in the coming days.

“We are aware of the faith our society reposes on those of us who are in the academics. This is why we organise such conferences as these to enable us contribute to sustainable development.

“This conference targets young Africans who are our successors on this planet,” he said.

Udeaja added that the ACCE 2013 annual conference held this year (2014) because of the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities strike last year. [Vanguard]

(From Biafra Galaxy)



massob pLATE

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, over the weekend, launched new Biafra motorcycle plate number in Enugu.

MASSOB leader, Chief Raph Uwazurike, who performed the official launching in Nsukka called on Ndigbo to see the new Biafra plate number as their identity and as one of the criteria for the realization of freedom.

Uwazuruike, represented by Chief Larry Odimma, Aba Regional Administrator of MASSOB, enjoined members not to be afraid of purchasing the plate number.

“I am here on the mandate of our leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike to launch this plate number, which is aimed at identifying Biafrans and forestalling criminal activities among people who hide under our name to perpetrate evil”, he said.

According to Odimma, the plate number would be sold to people with unquestionable character.

He said, “the national leadership of MASSOB applauds the freedom being enjoyed here in Enugu State unlike what we witness in places like Aba, Ontisha and Umuahia, where our members are constantly harassed by security agents”.

He sued for continuity of peace and harmony in the conduct of MASSOB activities in the state

“We urge you to continue in our vision of non- violence and non-arms carrying as we march towards the take off of Biafra government”, he added.

In his remark, the Regional Administrator of MASSOB in Nsukka, Mr. Kenneth Okwudili said the region expects everyone who shares in the dream of MASSOB to comply and get the plate number

“We expect every true and honest Igbo man with motorcycle to come forward and buy the plate number; this is our identity as Biafrans and we have to embrace it”, he stated.

He further noted that since the creation of Nsukka into a region in 2010, they had managed and sustained the struggle of MASSOB, adding that the launching of the plate number was part of their contribution to the sustenance and struggle for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.
“MASSOB members will continue to partner and support the ideas of the Joshua of our time, Chief Dr. Ralph Uwazuruike in his course of maintaining non violence in actualizing Biafra”, he assured.

DailyPost learnt that the MASSOB plate number costs N1, 500.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Through Udi Hills To Ombatseland (2) By Patrick Naagbanton.


By Patrick Naagbanton

At the mechanic workshop I heard loud roars of cannon from one of the nearby villages. I turned to the man, and said “It is not gunshots, but cannon”. “You are right, there is a burial going on in one of the nearby Igbo Etiti villages as we are talking”, he replied me. “Just yesterday (Friday, 27th September), the burial of Justice Regina Nwodo of Court of Appeal, Abuja took place at Ukehe community near here (he pointed his fingers in the air in the direction of the community). All the big men and women in Nigeria were here. They blocked everywhere with their big cars and security men with big guns. You are lucky today, ”he added. Justice Regina, wife of John Nwodo, Nigeria’s ex-minister died in a London hospital of cancer in early August. Diseases like HIV/AIDs are increasingly reducing the Nigeria’s population. Muslims who were our passengers had converted one side of a filling station under construction there into a mini mosque.  They faced the east to chant their prayers and had prayed three times before six o’clock.

After my extensive interview with Jacob Ngwu Paul, I disappeared into the Igbo Etiti area to go in the direction where the sounds of the cannon came from. I eventually found the village. I returned to the mechanic workshop minutes after six p.m. and was told the Plateau Riders driver came with a wheel bearing with oil seal which didn’t fit the car. The two young newly recruited soldiers came to me at the Ogbede junction where I was standing like a disgruntled traffic police officer, watching moving humans and cars. One of them gave me another military salute. They never believed that I was not a military officer. “Sir, when our driver comes, you should allow us to beat him,” they said to me. ‘I don’t think the man intentionally did it. He is an old man and humble. He is working for somebody, lets endure he will come soon” I said to calm them down.  “Okay, Sir”, they chorused deafeningly in a special military way.

I later followed them to the workshop side where some of other passengers were talking angrily about the driver. I didn’t want any person to beat up the poor driver. I appealed to them. I looked at my watch and it was twenty minutes before seven p.m. The driver had just arrived with another wheel bearing with oil seal. This time, it was the correct one. Jacob, the auto mechanic had promised us that he won’t shut his workshop until he fixed the car no matter the time. He kept his promise. In less than twenty minutes, he fixed the car. Dark clouds had started falling like a waterfall from the mouths of hills, mountains and trees around. The driver apologized to all and charged us not to fear and that Allah will lead us through the night to our destinations.

As we entered the bus again, we had sailed for about two minutes when I told the passengers that I wouldn’t travel by night and would stop over at Obollor-Ofor. Some of the passengers were not happy. Few of them expressed their desires to do so, but they didn’t have the means. They had used all the monies to pay the fares. Travel writing is not just about the pleasures or displeasures of traveling, but that about correctly depicting conditions, geography and environment at a given time. I needed to know where I will travel through. I took phone numbers of some of the passengers. I enjoyed traveling with them. They were conversational and humorous. I said to them that if they encountered any trouble on the way, they should call me.

Twenty minutes after we left Jacob’s workshop we passed Umuana community, Asaba and Nsukka junctions, on the far north, the road to the university town. At the Kpokpo junction ahead there was a vertical container of burning fire placed on sandbags. Members of the anti-terrorist squad of the police called ‘Counter Terrorism Unit’ (CTU) had raised an instant checkpoint for the night. The Red Beret police as the anti-terrorist police are usually called moved slowly around the checkpoint with their Kalashnikov assault rifles checking vehicles. After there, we stopped at a filling station to fuel our vehicle. The strong smell of fuel from there was nauseating. The night seemed to make the odour stronger. As we approached Obollor-Ofor the driver started over-speeding. I warned him to drive carefully. I dropped off few minutes after.

I strolled to No. 1, New Markurdi Road where I found a two-story hotel called the Obollo Lodge Limited. I paid two thousand naira (less than fifteen dollars) for a room on the last floor for a night. The stairway to my room looked like a path to a barren rock top. A dark, narrow corridor littered with cigarette filters and ashes from it led to my cubicle. The small room also smelled of cigarette smoke.  Obollo-Ofor is a border town. There are two Obollo-Ofors, one by the roadside and another traditional community whose natives are prosperous farmers and traders located off the road. I was at the Obollo-Ofor by the roadside; a much-loved district for tanker, truck, trailer and bus drivers as well as commercial sex workers (CSWs).The Obollo Lodge is the kind of hotel that befits that kind of rough neighbourhood. All over my hotel sides and beyond were brothels with half-naked, gorgeously costumed multitude of CSWs dangling their stock in trade to attract their potential clienteles. Obollo-Ofor is one of their havens.

It would have looked suspicious to be carrying my big black bag around the area, so I dropped off my bag in my hotel room. I used my security padlock in addition to the hotel’s padlock, to lock the door. It was time to explore the Obollo-Ofor exclave, not for nightly enjoyment but to satisfy the curiosity of an adventurous travel writer. I took a motorcycle and sailed through the old Obollo-Ofor town. My distressed t-shirt, jean trousers and shoes were soaked with the red Enugu dusts and I looked more like one of those drivers of huge vehicles (trailers, truck or tankers). After that I returned to the new Obollo-Ofor by the wayside. I visited few brothels and joints. At an alcohol joint located a kilometre to my hotel, was a brothel behind. A small radio set was playing the Nigerian born Iyanya Ft Wizkid’s “Sexy Mama” song- “Let’s go! Sexy mama—/see the sexy lady/she blow she blow my mind/ this girl she one of a kind/her nyash dey make me mega/Baby shake it—–.”Apart from Wizkid’s tunes, other erotic records by some new generation Nigerian musicians were played too. Several sex workers dressed in sexually provocative attires were pouring in the joint like flood to purchase monkey tail and hunt for ‘customers’ (men). Monkey tail is a concoction of kaikai or ogogoro, (a highly alcoholic locally brewed gin derived from palm wine) mixed with fresh marijuana leaves and seeds in a bottle. Monkey tail was sold on demand, as it wasn’t among the gins displayed there at the joint.

I sat at a small dark corner with two guys who were smoking cigarettes and same time had a cupful of monkey tail in their hands, discussing in Pidgin English.  In my hand was bottle of water mixed with Coca-Cola to give an impression that I was taking something similar to monkey tail. Those guys were trailer drivers. They were chatting about how to siphon fuel from trailers and sell to make money that they will spend in December. One of them offered me a half glass of monkey tail. I thanked and told him that I would have to take pain killer medicine when I get to my room. While there four sex workers came to our side, one whose eyes shone fearfully like a restless lioness, seemingly in her mid-thirties, tall in height, dark and slim came towards me. Her lips were heavily painted and she wore a transparent spaghetti dress with a mere pant on which exposed her hips and breasts.  She was drinking some monkey tail from a plastic glass cup.  She danced briefly in front of me just to impress me.  She later walked up to me and offered me one full cup of it. I thanked her, and said am taking something too. She said that I should take monkey tail because men who took it performed miracle in bed.

I take moderate alcohol but not monkey tail and not in a crazy environment like Obollor-Ofor by the roadside. “Cus(short for customer) come make we go to my room I go do you fine  . Not too much money give five hundred naira(less than three to four dollars) you go enjoy me”, the CSW pressed her mouth to my ear and told me in low tone. “Don’t worry, make we stay here”, I replied her. The trailer drivers later left us, leaving me and the lady. She initially said her name was Rose. I knew that’s not her real name. It was an adopted name for the business. She later told me her real native name and more details about herself. I knew the part of Nigeria she comes from. At intervals, I kept vanishing from her sight to take notes and check my tape recorder under the guise of urinating. She was the third child in a family of nine and dropped out of secondary school in junior class because her poor parents couldn’t afford it. She has a five –year-old baby girl who stays with her mother and she has to be cared for from proceeds from her commercial sex work. The Nigerian economy has been too harsh; it has pushed her citizens into all kind of monkey trades for survival’s sake.

I left the sex worker for my room. The hotel generator was switched by twelve p.m. I had put on my small rechargeable lamp to illuminate the small dark room. I slept for about three hours (from twelve pm- three a.m.). However, woke due to the noisy footsteps of men and their sex workers on the cemented corridor floor and echo of chewing gums from their mouths, and vehicles either heading down south or north on the road and gunshots. I don’t know whether the gunshots came from the nearby CTU checkpoint or elsewhere. I couldn’t sleep again. I was studying maps of Nigeria and the various places I had sailed through, and places to travel through again and also checking my notes and coordinates from my Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Around four fifteen a.m., one of the passengers in the nocturnal Plateau Riders called me to say that they had just arrived Jos, Plateau State capital safely. There is no dull moment in the life of Obollo-Ofor town by the road. HIV/AIDS infection will certainly be high there. Obollo-Ofor is in the Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Six fifty-five p.m., on Sunday, 29th September, I woke up from the small bed in my hotel room with more determination to sail to Lafia. I pushed aside the dirty, torn curtains on the small window to have a spectacular sight of the Obollo-Ofor vicinity. The cold September Obollo-Ofor breeze kissed my heart. I drew out my bigger Fuji film camera to take a snapshot of the aerial view of some shanty settlement within. I took a cold water bath. I left the hotel later and walked some two kilometres away, to a spot where a white Hiace bus written all over, “Udenu Local Government Mass Transit” was parked. There were scores of young girls and women with several metal and plastic trays and basins on their heads, containing ripened bananas, palm oil, pears, and coconuts; cooked groundnuts (peanuts) fried cashew nuts, oranges, paw-paws. They had overtaken the roadside and sometimes spilled into the main road, hawking their goods. They ran after cars making a quick stop over to either buy fuel at the nearby station or purchase their goods.

I was the first real passenger to arrive there and sat inside the vehicle. Though there were four men in the vehicle, but they were not real passengers. They were part of the transport company. They sat there to give the impression to incoming passengers that the car was about to fill up. I knew the tricks as I had seen it in several motor parks, mostly in southern Nigerian. One of the fake passenger’s face, stomach and legs were swollen. He had an elongated moustache which spread to cover his wide mouth.  I am not a doctor, but I guessed that the middle-aged man must be suffering from kidney, heart or liver diseases. I sat beside him in the vehicle. The aggressive odour of kaikai was radiating from his mouth that early morning was irritating. We spoke extensively and I advised him to see a doctor. He said his problems are not medical as he had visited various hospitals and they couldn’t diagnose anything wrong with him.

He said that both Christian prophets and priests of the African Traditional Religion (ATR) had revealed to him the cause of his problem which was his senior brother. He accused his senior brother of having used black magic to inflict the sickness on him. I advised the man to sell one of his lands in Obollor-Ofor since he said he inherited many from his father, and use the money to get better medical treatment and also obey medical advice and stop drinking kaikai. His condition was quite critical when I saw him. Such is the misfortune of a superstitious society like Nigeria.

By ten thirty a.m. after paying one thousand five hundred (less than ten dollars) we left Obollo-Ofor. We were fourteen passengers. The driver, a dark, muscular man with rolling eyes, and a very energetic and humorous person, was in his mid-sixties. The man was a Biafra infantryman during the tragic Nigeria-Biafra war (1967-1970). Because of that he was nicknamed, “Old Soldier” by his colleagues at the motor park. We made a quick stop over at a filling station to buy some fuel. The man had collected money from another passenger and put his load in the vehicle’s boot. He was to put the man in the car when we stopped at the fuel station, but I stirred up resistance to that. The young man was made to join another vehicle. The Udenu Local Government Mass Transit was overloaded too, with goods of passengers and the boot couldn’t close, but it was not as horrible as Plateau Riders. The driver avoided traveling on the northbound Obollo-Ofor – Utukpo Road. He didn’t want to be caught by either police or officials of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the road for over-loading the car.

The youth-looking driver took us through one un-tarred bush path through the Amala village on the northeast. A big vulture had descended from the skies to snatch a rotten bush rat in the middle of the road, but our advancing bus chased it away. The driver slowed down a bit, and spat his saliva in the direction of the fleeing vulture. “ Tufia!” He exclaimed. The wind pushed parts of his saliva into our faces. “Tell them you didn’t see us”. ‘No shaken. I have destroyed his powers’, he said while tossing his head. I couldn’t hold back my laughter. I shouted, “Old Soldier”. Other passengers burst into a prolonged laughter too. That must have been one of Old Soldiers’ comic performances.  Few minutes afterwards, we were in the Orokam area in Benue State, one of the states of north-central Nigeria also called the Middle Belt State. Some Benue people preferred to call their state Greenbelt because it contributes a lot to the country agriculturally. We passed by the Orokam Police Station and diverted south-east. The vegetation on both sides of the new, but poorly tarred road was fine, a mixture of tall trees and grasses. It remained just thirty minutes before twelve noon.

A tall, lanky man who introduced himself as a member of the Deeper Life Bible Church, one of Nigeria’s churches cried,” Brethren praise the Lord.” Three passengers sluggishly responded, “Halleluiah…!” “Jesus Christ is coming soon.” He stammered. “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow/because he lives, all fears is gone/because I know he holds my future/—.” The preacher raised his right hand to the bus roof, while using his left hand to clench strongly his small dark-coloured Bible and opened his mouth widely and sang fervently.

Few more joined him to sing the chorus. After the “because he lives” song, he led another, ‘ I love the man of Galilee/For he has done so very much for me/He has forgiven all my sins/And send down Holy Ghost to me/—.’ After the songs, the man asked everybody to close their eyes to pray. I and the driver didn’t close our eyes. The real preaching followed after. “Where will you spend your eternity? Will I see you in heaven on that day or only in this bus?” he said while shaking like one suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

‘Please come to Jesus I can see him in this bus. Heaven is real and hell is real too.” The man preached for about forty minutes and ended as we approached the Ogbadibo zone. We passed Aifam, Okoga and Ugwu-Okoga communities. It was noon and the weather was releasing hot air and I was feeling it through the bus window. The journey continued until we got to the Okpokwu Local Government Area. Nearby here, were signs on the road, “Slow down Bump Ahead.” There were several holes on the road.

We passed Adum Akpo Otukpo, heading northwards of the state. Around there, some young men, numbering about fifteen sat under a big tree were drinking some alcoholic drinks which looked like Kaikai and shouting at one another. There were lots of elephant grasses on both sides of the road ahead, no settlement.  About ten minutes after we were at Otobi-Akpa, some few metres into the town, the driver suddenly pulled the car to a stop on the right opposite the Federal Government College.” If you want to pour water (urinate), shake your legs and bodi. Do so now ooooo,” he announced in Pidgin English, in his strong Igbo ascent. All the passengers got off, and did as Old Soldier said. Old soldier brought out a small rounded brown container which contained snuff, a dark-coloured, crushed tobacco substance and beckoned on me to his side. I walked up to him. He dipped one of his right fingers into the snuff container, took some quantities and pushed into one his nostrils and raised his head to the scorching sky and inhaled it. He turned his face to me. “. Hope you nor angry for what happened at Obollo. We are colleagues, but I am your senior. Which barrack are you?” He said, while extending the snuff container to me to have some snuff. I smiled and said,” thank you old soldier. I nor get problem with you. You be good driver. I nor dey take snuff. Just drive us well. Thank you, Old soldier. You are my man,” I said to him and he smiled.

There was no radio in the car. The bus was an old one. The speedometer was not working. He drove at high speed, but we don’t know the speed level. The driver like most commercial drivers in Nigeria usually doesn’t fix their speedometers. They don’t want any person to know the speed they drive and caution them when they over-speed. We later drove out. The road through Obollo-Ofor – Otukpo highway would have been shorter but for the corners we took to avoid law enforcement operatives. We passed by the site of the Otukpo multi-purpose dam project, a few metres away was a police checkpoint but there was no police officer there. Around Asai Otukpo was tiny water channel by the roadside, about ten women and their children overcrowded there, bathing and washing clothes. Ahead on the right along the road was a massive compound painted white, and with the inscription, “25th Way Resort.” There was a young man, apparently mad and wearing dirty and torn shirt standing opposite it. He was dancing and clapping his hands and laughing loudly under the hot Benue sun. We got to Alade Road. Some parts of the road were bad. There were sign boards, “FERMA Project – Federal Road Maintenance Agency.”

There were policemen on the road, few metres away was a Hilux jeep, on it was written, “Operation Zenda”, some soldiers stood by the roadside. A few minutes later, we were at the Taraku community. There were lots of bad spots. On both sides of the road were many houses and people. A truck drove past us; at the back was the label, “No Standing- Holy wood”. I brought out my camera, shot my head through the car window by my side and snapped it.

Naagbanton lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

•    To be continued.


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

“If Another War Broke Out We‘re Not Likely To Do Anything Better,” Says Chinua Achebe.



By Rudolph Okonkwo

On January 25, 2008, I had what would be my first and last interview with Professor Chinua Achebe. At that point, he was no longer eager about granting interviews. But I approached him with a matter that was dear to his heart: the memoirs of Professor Chieka Ifemesia.

At that point, I was conducting a series of interviews with the professor of history as he prepared to write his memoir. Several times the name of Professor Chinua Achebe came up in my conversations with Professor Ifemesia. By the time Ifemesia and I started to talk about the writing of the Ahiara Declaration, we both agreed that I should talk to Chinua Achebe. I was fascinated with the Ahiara document as a blueprint of the Biafran essence. I had questions about the timing of its pronouncement because it did not make sense when viewed in the context of the state of the Biafran struggle and world geopolitical realities at the time. So I was determined to talk to as many of the writers who contributed to the speech as possible.

That was the premise under which I negotiated for an interview with Achebe. The novelist said he would give me 5-10 minutes. But once we started, the interview lasted for almost one hour. It helped that I hail from Nnobi, the town where Achebe was born, and my wife, Edna, from Ogidi, Achebe’s hometown. I quickly noted the author’s sense of humor. He told me that it was his father who introduced rice as a food item to Nnobi people. He also revealed that one of the wives of the legendary Igwe Ezeokoli 1 of Nnobi was his god mother.

Five years after, the content of my interview with Chinua Achebe has not been published anywhere. Not even during the controversy surrounding Achebe’s memoir, There Was A Country, did it occur to me to find the interview and listen to it. Now that I have looked at my notes, I am amazed at how much he revealed in that interview – much of the revelation even absent from his memoir. He gave a fascinating answer about why people like him and Ifemesia ended up questioning Christianity and having a love-hate relationship with the religion, even though they were products of missionary education. He gave a candid criticism of Igbo people, weighed in on Okonkwo, the hero of his classic novel, Things Fall Apart, and spoke about the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. When I asked him, “What is it like to be Chinua Achebe?” he said nobody had ever asked him that before.

As I thought about how best to say farewell to Chinua Achebe, it occurred to me that there was no better way than to give people the opportunity to hear him in his own words – straight from my notes. So, here goes.

“What happened that brought us (Ifemesia and me) together at Nsukka was the Nigerian crisis and the civil war that followed. At the beginning of the crisis, many Igbo academics at Ibadan left for the East. Now I left my job as the Director of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (External Service) and returned home. After a while it occurred to me that I couldn’t just sit in the village. Even though I was disappointed in Nigeria, what I wanted was to stay at home and wait for the shock to sink in.

“It was clear that the crisis was not going to end anytime soon. So I looked toward Nsukka, the one university we had. So I asked for an opening in African studies. I was eventually invited for an interview at the African Studies department. They very happily appointed me as a resident, like Executive Service

1. It was while I was engaged in one of the committees in Biafra that Ifemesia and I worked [together].

“It was a committee work. I was the chairman. There was Ifemesia, at my insistence. I also had Dr. [Emmanuel] Obiechina. If my memory serves me, Ikenna Nzimiro may have been part of it. The key members, however, were Obiechina, Ifemesia and myself.

“I cannot try and justify what was done in the name of Biafra because we did what we felt at that time we had to do. There were many people scared of anything that sounded like socialism. They were not necessarily right. There were also people who rhetorically talked about socialism who did not understand what it meant. Opinion will continue to be divided. But I tell you, as someone who was basically there and first stayed away – I am not a war-like person. And if it had been possible for the situation to be resolved without [war]… but when the pogrom, the massacre began to happen, there was no way to get the Igbo people to accept to calm down and receive truck loads of dead people. The people were angry. Anybody who talked about peace was called a saboteur. You have to be made of a different kind of human not to be sympathetic to what was happening to us.

“Long after it had ended, you could say maybe you should have made this confession or another. I don’t want to be a defender or supporter. It was clear.

“When you were asking me about the account of the civil war … what you were asking is like someone saying to me how is it that you let Okonkwo to be abandoned by his people. And I said to him, it wasn’t really me who let anything happen. Okonkwo by nature wanted to make his own will paramount over that of his people. He looked down on so many people, his father, women… he looked down on compassion.

“At that point the Igbo people were trying to understand what to do with the white man when Okonkwo came in and killed the [white man’s messenger]. Okonkwo is a hero [as in the] Greek [tradition]. Heroes are never comfortable people to live with. Yet, without them the life of their people would have been less profound. Without heroes, human societies diminish. I was not suggesting, by having Okonkwo as a hero, that he was a typical Igbo. It is difficult to find anyone you can call a typical Igbo. You have to believe in the whole varieties of Igbo man.

“The work is not finished. This is why I still keep talking about our old culture. For that is where you go to attempt to understand the root of Okonkwo’s difference. That is why we cannot stop being Igbo people no matter what is happening in Nigeria.

“If another war broke out we are not likely to do anything better. That is because there is a flaw in our conduct. There is a consuming desire to be successful in whatever we do and whatever we are. And while we are doing that, we are not paying particular attention to what you can call the essence of our history. If you bring together those who were present in Biafra and tell them the story of what happened then, many of them would say, hey, O’kwonu eziokwu – It’s really true!

“It is because we do not want our memory to be active. We are impatient to do well in Nigeria. But you cannot prevent people wanting to succeed. All kinds of successes are not really good. There should be things you cannot compromise on. Our people had that. There were things they considered abomination. There were things we were not allowed to do. Let’s keep attempting to tell our people what our essence is.
“You have to insist on getting that knowledge. There is really no way out. We have to hold the past and present together. Any one that is lost is lost forever. It is not a small matter. It is not one that one should take lightly. One should take it as if it is life or death.”

“(On whether Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is his literary daughter as is being said by some after the publication of Half of A Yellow Sun– an impression that’s partly as a result of the blub Achebe wrote for the book) I wouldn’t be able to say something like that. For someone of her age and background to be able to get hold of the information she used for the crisis that happened before she was born is a good sign. That’s all. I don’t think I need successors. But I was excited. Number one: she is so young. And number two: she’s a woman. She got herself into the story. Others can do the same or better. What do you make of that novel? (I told Achebe that I gave the book two enthusiastic thumbs up) That was all I wanted to say. I hope I didn’t appear too eager, for it is possible to get carried away. Anybody who writes, even the smallest part of our story should, we should find a way to let it be known and that way we slowly try to get back what we almost lost.”
Daalu, Nna Anyi. K’emesia!


Witches, Demons, and Power Outage By Leo Igwe.

By Leo Igwe

It was shocking to read that a  former University Vice Chancellor, Prof Nebo attributed the cause of power outage in Nigeria to ‘witches and demons’. Witches and demons? Nebo made the declaration at a screening session on the floor of the Senate. According to him, ‘“Some highly placed Nigerians believe that when there is outage, it is caused by witches and demons.’  I mean this is incredible. Nebo did not specify who these so called ‘highly placed Nigerians’ were.

“If the President deploys me in the power sector’, he declared at the screening session, ‘I believe that given my performance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, where I drove out the witches and demons, God will also give me the power to drive out the demons in the power sector.”

It was a great disappointment to read this ‘amatuer sermon’ as Nebo’s diagnosis of the cause of power outage in the country and how he testified to his achievement as a University Vice Chancellor. Attributing the challenges in the power sector to witches and demons is utterly meaningless. It is a clear indication that he had no  idea of the problems at stake and what the solutions would be.

The screening session was really an opportunity for him to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues, articulate these challenges in very clear terms, and then tell the Senate Committee how he would address them. But he blew away the opportunity. Nebo did not give any clue at all of how he would tackle these problems in the power sector. I mean what does driving out the demons from the power sector mean? Is he a faith healer? Was he being nominated to be a minister or an exorcist?

Definitely, this is not a kind of statement one expects from an intellectual and scholar on how to go about addressing the critical challenges in the power sector. Nebo does not give one any hope that he has some meaningful contribution to make in this important sector of the Nigerian economy.


Rights Commission Condemns Reported Abductions And Rapes by Military in Abuja.

Mobile policemen beating up a Man’O’War volunteer on Ozurumba Mbadiwe, VI, Lagos
By SaharaReporters, New York

The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) is demanding an internal investigation into reports that soldiers acting with impunity, abducted and raped women in Abuja who they later claimed were prostitutes.

Executive Secretary of NHRC, Bem Angwe, pressed the Chief of Army Staff and the Commissioner of Police FCT Command, Abuja, to update the commission on any and all steps to find the delinquents who committed the outrageous actions towards women, reported on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria on Jan 14.

According to the radio report, soldiers driving in a black Hilux van around Wuse 2 in Abuja abducted the women, beat them and took them to an unknown destination where they were violently raped.

The matter is already before the Federal Secretariat, Abuja police station, according to the NHRC which pledged to ensure that the rights of the victims were enforced. When contacted on the development, Army authorities said they had since ordered the Guards Brigade to investigate the matter. THey promised not to shield anybody found to have engaged in any wrongdoing, promising that the culprits will be adequately punished if the allegations are found true.

The International Federation of Female Lawyers has also taken up the case.

FIDA National President, Hauwa Shekarau, said: “The association is worried at the seeming silence, nonchalance and outright complicity of law enforcement agents in addressing the high rate of violence against women, especially rape, assault, sexual harassment as well as defilement of young girls, even as these acts are crimes already codified in our law books such as the penal and criminal codes.

“The impunity with which women and girls are raped, defiled and violated in this country is completely unacceptable. It is quite sad and ironic to see people who are paid from state coffers and charged with the responsibility of protecting citizens and maintaining law and order being the same people that are perpetrating crimes against the same citizens.

“A situation where the bodies of women and girls are seen as objects to be acquired willy-nilly by men without their consent leaves much to be desired. FIDA Nigeria, therefore, calls on the leadership of the Nigerian Army to investigate and ensure that the perpetrators of these dastardly acts are fished out and made to face the law.”

“No stone should be left unturned until the perpetrators are brought to book and the course of justice is served; we wish to emphasize that justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done. This should serve as deterrent to others.”

Rape is widespread in Abuja and convictions have been few if any. In November, a woman was drugged in a taxi, abducted and raped and threatened with blackmail by her abductor. Rapes have also been reported of children and elderly women, most recently in Opi, Nsukka, Enugu State.



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