Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The untold story of Nigerian citizens with mental illness

Nigeria is said to be the giant of Africa. This could be true depending on what one understands by the statement "The giant of Africa". In terms of natural or human resources, no one doubts her richness in both areas, but are these enough for her to be the giant of Africa? There is also another way of seeing this so called giant. In terms of negligence or corruption, for example, I am convinced, just like you, that she is not "un-giant" in these areas too. One of those areas a country is evaluated is her ability of taking care of her citizens. Nigeria is a giant also in this area because she builds a rehabilitation centre for her citizens with mental illness. Read what Robin Hammod has to say about his experience in one of those centres.

Photographer Robin Hammond on story behind Nigeria picture

Robin Hammond

Robin Hammond

As 2012 draws to a close I have invited five photographers to talk about the story behind one of their pictures taken this year.
Today photographer Robin Hammond looks at the events surrounding a picture he took at a rehabilitation facility outside the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt as part of an ongoing series entitled Condemned, which explores mental health issues in Africa.
It's a tough piece of work, hard to look at sometimes, but one that shines a light on an important issue so be sure to check out more of Hammond's work on his website once you have read the story in his own words. : www.robinhammond.co.uk

Rehabilitation facility outside the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt
A rehabilitation centre in Nigeria
They are hidden in the dark forgotten corners of churches, live out their lives on the filthy floors of prisons, and lie motionless, chained to rusting hospital beds. They rarely complain - life has taught them that they will not be heard, and they do not ask for help, they know none will come.
I first met Africans with mental illness in countries going through crisis while covering South Sudan's referendum for independence. It should have been a story about a hopeful future, but what I saw was the legacy of a violent and destructive past.
In Juba Central Prison men and women that had committed no crime were shackled to floors.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Review of The "Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home" of Balaraba Ramat Yakubu by Deepa Dharmadhikari


Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a wonderful talk about “the danger of a single story” that you can listen to, online. When you’re handed the first Hausa-language (spoken in parts of Africa) novel translated into English, you can get a sense of the perilous burden of that description.
In an interesting misrepresentation, the publishers seem to have chosen to promote this sense of exotic uniqueness, blurbing the book as “quite unlike anything you’ve ever read before”. There is a world of context to be brought to such a claim.
Are you familiar with the Indian epics? Then you will be completely at ease with the narrative pausing for a chapter or two to elaborate about the ancestry of its protagonists, with miraculous progeny bestowed on parents yearning for children. Are you used to the materialistic itemization of gifts and assets in chick lit, where millinery detailing stands in for romance? If so, your heart will delight in all the matter-of-fact lists: gifts given to an illicit lover; gifts given to a first wife upon marriage to a second; gifts given through your parents to the household of your intended. Are you at home in the microcosmic world of an inward-facing society, as portrayed by Jane Austen, or Enid Blyton, or Shobhaa De? Then you will immediately recognize the insouciant tolerance of the way things are versus the scandal of the things not done (polygamy vs extra-marital affairs, not paying a daughter’s school fees vs not buying her a bed for her marriage).

Sin is a Puppy follows the everyday lives of women in Nigeria

Nneka bouncing back on her "Vagabonds in Power"

One of those engaging and patriotic Nigerian youths that has vowed not to sit down and see our dear nation destroyed by "Vagabonds on power", speaks out in her usual way. Read her and find out by yourself the calibre of woman she is. I admire her a lot!

Courtesy: Nneka performs at the Gothe Zenthrem gardens in Kampala. PHOTO BY FAISAL KASIRYE

 

Q&A: Nigerian singer Nneka calls to ‘Vagabonds in Power’ Hannah Kerman Senior Staff Writer Published: Friday, December 7, 2012

The Herald sat down with Nigerian -German singer Nneka, who is visiting campus as part of this year’s Achebe Colloquium. The Colloquium, which will take place today and tomorrow, features panels and discussions centered on the theme “Governance, Security and Peace in Africa.” Nneka will perform 8:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.
Herald: Are you excited about the concert?
Nneka: I am more excited about the conference, about what all these people want to talk about and how this will benefit us in Africa. This is so far away (from Africa). I want to see what impact this conference has on us and the students, the future leaders of tomorrow. What and where are we heading to? What is the intention? What do we get from all this talk? What are we really achieving from this? That’s my major concern.
Have you visited any other American universities?
I’ve performed at Berklee (College of Music) twice. It’s always very interesting and challenging. They all study music, and I’m like, ‘I never studied music!’ I learned guitar myself — I’m very not professional. A lot of eyes on you, watching you. But I guess that’s my head. If you’re too self-conscious, things don’t work out.
Do you have a set ready for the concert?
It’s just me and the guitar. I still have to see. I’ll go with the flow.
Can you talk a little about your sound?

Achebe and the course of "a nation": Chimamanda expresses her point of view.

Just came across an article written by a mentor, Chimamanda, on an icon, Achebe that I will never cease to admire. It is a piece that all must read as it is an Eagle describing another Eagle. These are just too of those Nigerians that continue to make me dream high and higher. 

Chinua Achebe At 82: “We Remember Differently” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have met Chinua Achebe only three times. The first, at the National Arts Club in Manhattan, I joined the admiring circle around him. A gentle-faced man in a wheelchair.
Chimamanda Adichie
“Good evening, sir. I’m Chimamanda Adichie,” I said, and he replied, mildly, “I thought you were running away from me.”
I mumbled, nervous, grateful for the crush of people around us. I had been running away from him. After my first novel was published, I received an email from his son. My dad has just read your novel and liked it very much. He wants you to call him at this number. I read it over and over, breathless with excitement. But I never called. A few years later, my editor sent Achebe a manuscript of my second novel. She did not tell me, because she wanted to shield me from the possibility of disappointment. One afternoon, she called. “Chimamanda, are you sitting down? I have wonderful news.” She read me the blurb Achebe had just sent her. We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. She is fearless or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made. Afterwards, I held on to the phone and wept. I have memorized those words. In my mind, they glimmer still, the validation of a writer whose work had validated me.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Another Bakassi Penisula?

At UN-backed meeting, Cameroon and Nigeria agree to expedite boundary demarcation process


Special Representative Said Djinnit (centre) with representatives of Nigeria and Cameroon. UN Photo
Representatives from Cameroon and Nigeria ended today a meeting over the demarcation of the boundary between the two countries with a reaffirmation of their willingness to expedite the process in relation to the land-based areas which remain to be identified, according to the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
Members of the so-called Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission had been meeting in the Nigerian capital of Abuja – their thirtieth meeting so far – on the implementation of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment regarding the demarcation of the boundary between the two neighbouring nations, UNOWA said in a news release.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bishop Hassan Hukah and the Nigerian Pastors' Private jet saga

As many Nigerian Pastors join the race to a "better" and luxurious life, El-Rufai on commenting the speech of Bishop Hassan Kukah, also register his name among litany of those sensible Nigerians who marvel at the silent of the "men of God". He asks a question which I judge fundamental. 

Now that Bishop Matthew Kukah has spoken on Pastors and private jets, the bigots will apologise or forever hold their peace....
"Pastors With Private Jets An Embarrassment To Christianity", Says Bishop Kukah-The Nation - November 18, 2012 - By Sunday Oguntola
The acquisition of private jets by Christian leaders diminishes the moral voice of the church in the fight against corruption, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Kukah, declared yesterday.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World by Dambisa Moyo

One of those Africans, who have bravely written there names in the World economic analysis, an area where many Africans were, in the past, not always welcomed, either because of their "incompetency" (a situation subjectively and conventionally accepted) or because they was no opportunity for them to do so, Dambisa Moyo, has giving the economic sector another master piece. She has come up, in her usual way, with another thought provoking book on the Chinese race to World economic monopolization.
Here is the description of this her best selling book which, surely will not only influence the Chinese economic policy but also the attitude of the third world towards all her disguised economic saviours.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pastors and private jets, a new way of understanding God's blessing among Nigerian Pastors

As poor Nigerians are crying for hardship, some self proclaimed Pastors and Bishops are seriously becoming unreasonably rich. How come that those who climb on the pulpit to preach modesty are moving on private jets and Limousines whereas there Christians cannot afford a normal daily ration? 
Here is a serious and critical analysis of this phenomenon which if care is not taken, is going to bring to an end, sooner or later, the glory that most of these "men of God" have always drawn from Nigerians fanatics? 

                         The Nigerian Church Is Losing It’s Purpose By Ayobami Oyalowo

Pastor Oritsejafor’s Wife with her Limousine
There has been a lot of tittle-tattle lately as well as so many discordant tunes on the propriety or otherwise of jets and gifts to pastors and men of God. The debates have been loud and raucous with so many people speaking from a position of little or no information. A lot of emotive vibes and outrage, for or against the perceived or real manipulations by men who supposedly have been given charge over the souls of millions, has become public fodder. Everyone appears to be venting their spleen wherever you turn.

Hosea 4:7-9 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds.

But what exactly should we do or say? Supporters of ostentatious and obviously manipulative men of the cloak are quick to put the critics in check by quoting “touch not mine anointed” lines ostensibly to show that men of “God” are above reproach and as such “lesser” men have no right whatsoever to criticize or condemn perceived wrong doings of these high men of “God.” But is this the case? Are these men truly above reproach? Is it biblical for the “under shepherd” to feed fat on the flock while the flock groans and hopes for a better day? All these we shall examine in this piece. Let me appeal that this treatise may exceed the usual length allowed for articles on this blog as it comes laden with supporting Bible passages, but I assure you, it will be worth your while. Take a sip of water and follow me patiently.
And plead with your boss at work to learn from it as well if he frowns at you. Who knows, your boss may have unwittingly contributed to purchasing a Limo, Hummer or Private Jet for his Pastor lately.
Christianity was first brought to the shores of Nigeria by the European missionaries in the early 1800s. When they came, they built hospitals and schools. In fact, many Nigerians aged late thirties and above, were products of missionary schools, which were either free or came with negligible or paltry school fees. The early missionaries and churches in Nigeria were predicated on love and social services to their immediate communities. Many people in the age range I quoted above got quality education and even health care, courtesy of missionaries and churches.
But fast forward to the present day. Church members are coerced to part with money they barely have, with either a promise of God blessing them in return or with stern warnings of perpetual poverty or even threatened with the danger of hell if they refuse to give “cheerfully”. God’s blessing in church today is now for sale and even your offering must be spoken to, so that it can bring forth plenty harvest.
(remember our local priests “babalawo” have a culture of asking clients to rub their bodies with monies and ask for whatever they wish for).
As a matter of fact, a particular church I know, a few years ago had a special offering called ‘dominion jet offering’, where adherents were made to donate towards the “ministry’s” jet only for the jet to be converted for the use of the self styled Bishop later. *My lips are sealed*
In the course of my research, I discovered that a teacher’s son in a secondary school of one of these various prosperity promising centers, who lives in the church enclave, could not afford to send his son to the school, as a teacher and also a member of the church. His son was rather sent to school in a nearby town. The modern Nigerian church tasks it’s members to donate towards various projects such as universities and elitist secondary schools, but curiously, the poorer members of such prosperity centers can neither send their wards or kids to such schools, neither do the churches have a program to cater for the poor amongst their flock.
Unlike the early missionaries who accommodated both the rich and poor in their schools, it is no longer business as usual for the poor. You either sow and get rich so that your children can also benefit from the schools built by the church you attend or find a lesser alternative, while hoping for a better day! The Church has become a class conscious body.
The passage in Act 4:34-35 which Reads: “(34) Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, (35) and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” has been totally ignored. In Nigeria’s contrivances of prosperity churches, it is survival of the fittest, elimination of the “poor” or unfit. How wonderful, won’t you say? No longer are we our brother’s keeper. Like 50 Cent, we have resolved in churches to get rich or die trying.
From

Linda Ikeji's Blog

We have been told that prosperity is a sign of God’s favor to his own people, but after reading and studying the lives of great men of God– men who brought great revivals in their time– I had to ask if Jonathan Edwards, a man who preached and thousands wept to the altar in one day, yet he wasn’t rich, or Smith Wiggleswort, a plumber whom God used to heal many sick and raised a lot of dead men, yet wasn’t stupendously rich, were missing a trick. Tozer, John Wesley etc were great men of God, who neither built castles nor owned the choicest properties in their time, but they made such differences in the body of Christ so much so that till this day, their works still speak for them. Unlike our spirito-christian magicians, these men lived simple lives, but turned many around towards righteous and holy living. Their time was termed the period of the great revival in history.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Pope appoints Mgrs Fortunatus Nwachukwu as the Apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua

PictureThe Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,  on Saturday 10th November appointed Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu,  as the apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua. The bishop-elect was born in Ntigha, Nigeria in 1960  and ordained a priest on 17th June 1984. 
A priest of the Diocese of Aba in Nigeria, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (Urban University, Rome), and completed a Doctorate in Sacred Scriptures at the Biblical Institute in Rome, before transferring to the Jesuit Faculty, Sankt Georgen, in Frankfurt, specializing in Old Testament textual criticism. He obtained doctorate degrees in Systematic Theology and in Canon Law, respectively from the Pontifical Urban University and the University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He was called into the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1994, after attending the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. He served as Secretary at the Apostolic Nunciatures in Ghana, Togo and Benin, in Paraguay, in Algeria and Tunisia and as Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations at Geneva. In 2006 he became the Desk Officer for human rights and United Nations Organizations in the Vatican Secretariat of State. In 2007 he was appointed Head of Protocol of the Secretariat of State of His Holiness.
His publications include The Birth of Systematic Theology in Contemporary Black Africa, The Courage to Change: Take Off Your Shoes, as well as numerous articles and a number of reflections on theology in Africa, published both in L’Osservatore Romano1.  
 ''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Friday, 2 November 2012

New Evangelization and the Islamo-phobia?

A critical look on this article shows that there is a new, but false, phobia of Islam. From the latest analyses of Jordan Denari, it should be seen from a wider and phenomenological perspective. Here is what he thinks about it: 

After Vatican screening of ‘Muslim Scare’ video, a call for dialogue By Jordan Denari

When he presented an amateur and xenophobic film about the threat of “rising Muslim demographics” a few weeks ago at the Vatican’s Synod to a group of more than 200 prominent bishops, Cardinal Peter Turkson sent an implicit message: religious pluralism and dialogue with Muslims pose an inherent danger to the Vatican’s New Evangelization, a papal call for the renewed sharing of the Gospel message throughout the world.
The video — which has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube — intends to incite fear among Christians by pointing to untrue statistics about Muslim population growth. Insisting that Europe and North America will eventually become “Islamic states,” the film calls on “believers” to “wake up” and “share the Gospel message with the world.”
The video claims that engagement and evangelization are at odds. But as a devout Catholic, I don’t see it that way.
For me, dialogue with the Muslim community during my years at Georgetown University hasn’t pushed me towards conversion nor pulled me away from my tradition. It has actually made me a better Catholic.
My time serving as a board member of Georgetown’s Muslim Students Association, living a Muslim living-learning community, and working at an Islamic advocacy organization actually led me from a dry spot in my Catholic faith life to a place of devotion. Witnessing the committed prayer life of a close Muslim friend and her tight-knit community, I wanted to rediscover those things in my own tradition.
When before I questioned my Catholic identity, I now attend nightly Mass on campus, participate in a weekly Bible study, lead retreats, and organize Sunday services. Engagement with individuals who are different from me helped me fall back in love with the Catholic tradition in which I grew up.
Though my experience demonstrates the power of dialogue to strengthen the faith of Catholics, the unfortunate narrative about Muslim-Catholic relations that has dominated news headlines in recent years speaks of tension and discord.

A new Nigerian youth model, Malala Yousafzai: The courage of a child who stood up against the Taliban

As we continue to insist on the role of the youth in the project of a better Nigeria, we think that there is a need to propose some role models who, for socio-historical reasons, share the same reality with Nigerian youths. From all indications, Malala Yousafzai is one of those youths from whom Nigerian youths can learn a lot. Here is a nice article on this very issue:  

Nigerian girl child and the Malala inspiration By Emmanuel Onwubiko 

THE last couple of weeks have seen the World’s attention focused on issues around the girl-child. Precisely on 11 October 2012, the World marked the first ever special day reserved by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl Child.
Incidentally, while the rest of the World paused for a while to reflect on ways and means of promoting, protecting and enforcing legislative frameworks and laws that safeguard the rights of the girl child, the people of Pakistan were thrown into shock and trepidation over the attempted assassination of a foremost girl child activist, the little Miss. Malala Yousafzai by armed terrorists belonging to the banned Taliban gunmen while returning home in a school bus.
The attempt on the life of this young school girl who has shown remarkable gifts and talents as a good speaker and defender of the educational right of the girl child drew International condemnation.
The inspirational story of Miss. Malala Yousafzai as captured by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has it that she was born in 1998 in the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier province.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Archbishop Onaiyekan receives Pax Christi peace award

(Vatican Radio) The 2012 Pax Christi International Peace Award was presented on Wednesday to Nigerian Archbishop John Onaiyekan for his tireless efforts in promoting understanding and dialogue in Africa between people of different faiths. Onaiyekan, who has been archbishop of Abuja since 1994, was named last week as one of six Catholic leaders who will be created cardinal in a forthcoming consistory here in the Vatican on November 24th.
The Co-Presidents of Pax Christi International Marie Dennis, from the U.S and Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, commended Archbishop Onaiyekan for the important role he has played in building bridges between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria and beyond.The award ceremony took place at the Pax Christi International headquarters in Brussels just days after the latest suicide bomb attack in northern Nigeria killed at least 8 people and injured hundreds more. The attack on a Catholic Church during Mass on Sunday was similar to others claimed by the radical Islamic group Boko Haram.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen talked to Archbishop Onaiyekan about the difficulties of promoting dialogue while churches continue to be the target of such attacks…..
Listen:
"Churches attacked but also markets attacked, Christians killed but also Muslims killed and there is a devaluation of human life which is far more serious than the fact that we are attacked as Christians.....
What is most terrible for us is to hear them say they are doing this in the name of God - for us that is impossible to understand, and most Nigerian Muslims too say, no, this is not Islam....
We have common needs of poverty and disease - mosquitos do not distinguish between Christians and Muslims, HIV-AIDS affects both together - and we find that when religious leaders put aside this attitude of 'us against them,' there's plenty of room for working together"
Source: The Vatican Today
''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Concluding message from Synod of Bishops

The Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation draws to a close this weekend as over 260 Church leaders from around the globe come up with a final list of propositions to present to Pope Benedict for inclusion in his apostolic exhortation. On Friday morning, the bishops presented a concluding message which they hope will inspire all those involved in promoting evangelisation, whether in busy inner city parishes, in secluded monasteries or in the remotest parts of countries where the Church may be only a tiny minority of the population. Our special correspondent Philippa Hitchen was in the synod hall to find out what the bishops had to say......
Listen:
Concerned, yes; pessimistic, no. In a nutshell, that’s the tone of the message that draws together the many challenges and concerns the bishops have been discussing over the past three weeks.
Addressed to all ‘people of God’, the message says it’s not about starting again or inventing new strategies, but about entering into the 2.000 year old history of the Church with renewed enthusiasm, methods and expressions that can speak directly to the hearts of people in our modern, globalised and secular societies. Beginning with the image of the Samaritan woman at the well, who meets Jesus and finds living water to quench her spiritual thirst, it says new evangelisation is all about conversion of hearts – starting with the bishops themselves – so that the church can become a truly welcoming community for anyone seeking answers to life’s most pressing questions and problems.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan was part of the committee tasked with drawing up the message:
“We wanted it to be positive, uplifting and evangelical, we wanted it to be rooted in Sacred Scripture and we thought it would be a good idea to bookend it with the two women, the Woman at the Well and our Blessed Mother.”
Not an easy task though, to come up with a document that does justice to the widely differing cultural contexts from which the bishops are drawn, but there is a paragraph dedicated to each continent and to the Oriental Catholic Churches whose faithful are often struggling to survive. Persecution of Christians in Asia is also mentioned explicitly, as is the difficult situation of many people in Africa, where human rights must be promoted to free the continent from violence and conflict.
As expected, there’s a strong focus on the family, including the so-called ‘irregular situations’ of divorced or cohabitating couples that must be made more welcome in the Church. Lay people, men and women religious, priests, deacons and catechists are all recognised for their dedicated work and witness of Christian lives which always speak much louder than words.Above all though, it seems to me that this wordy document is almost a message from the bishops to the bishops themselves, a stark reminder, in light of recent crises, of their own responsibility to show greater love, charity, solidarity and service to all those in their care. Cardinal Wilfred Napier of Durban, South Africa….
“Two words kept coming up, simplicity and humility, and if you’re going to show simplicity about the mission of the Gospel, then you’re going to have to say I must start with myself, repent and believe”
And if you really do believe, one Nigerian lady, in colourful costume and headgear, told the bishops as they were preparing to leave the synod hall,
“please remember to smile a little bit more – if you do, others will find it easier to believe the Good News of the Gospel too!”
Please find below the full text of the Synod's concluding message:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to release a New Novel by May 2013

Another master piece is about to see the light of the day. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of The Purple Hibiscus, The thing around your neck, and The Half of a Yellow Moon is about to publish her Novel: Amaricanah.

 Chimamanda set to release third novel by NEHRU ODEH

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning Nigerian writer who shot to prominence with her novels, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, is set to release her third novel, Americanah on 14 May 2013. The novel will be published by Knopf.
Americanah, which is expected to make another publishing history, given the successes of her earlier novels, tells the story of Ifemelu, a United States- based Nigerian who is separated from her teenaged love, Obinze because he was denied a Visa. This made her truly conscious of race for the first time.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Keynote Speech at the Nordic Africa Institute

I am happy to present you one of the latest speeches of my great mentor and literary model, Chimamanda Adiche. Just in her normal way of passing information, she has just done it, in this her speech presented in Nordic African Institute. I would not want to bore you with many words since any time you take in reading them will be a delay. Enjoy the company of this great Nigerian literary guru, Chimamanda.

Video: “Why Are We Surprised?” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Keynote Speech at the Nordic Africa Institute by Luso on Oct 24th, 2012

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the acclaimed Nigerian author of Purple Hibiscus, The Thing Around Your Neck and the Orange Prize-winning Half of a Yellow Sun, recently gave the keynote speech at the Nordic Africa Institute, in Uppsala, Sweden, as part of the institute’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Entitled “Why Are We Surprised? Thoughts on Nigeria’s Past, Present and Future”, her speech included a personal account of her homeland, and how she loves a place that also frustrates her more than any other.
Purple HibiscusHalf of a Yellow Sun The Thing Around Your NeckAdichie recounts that she was born seven years after the Biafran war ended, and that her parents had been greatly affected by the war, in which some of their family members had died. Her father never recovered his father’s body, only a handful of dust he gathered at the site of what must have been a mass grave. In the speech she noted that it was in Uppsala that Nigerian and Biafran delegates met to discuss the aftermath of a war in which millions had died, mostly from starvation – a meeting that must have carried the fates and hopes of the remaining millions of people.
Adichie’s speech was intended to point out that post-colonial experiences in Africa often have a basis in the colonial experience itself. She says her father’s generation was “unprepared” for what came next. She asks, “Why are we surprised that countries emerging from colonialism did not develop perfect democracies?”
Adichie’s speech, Part 1:

Chimamanda in Uppsala


Prayer Will Not Change Nigeria by Emeka Opara

Prayer in nigeriaIn their famously controversial book, The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, described religion as the opium of the people which, when taken in right dosage, benumbs the body and soul to suffering, shame and sin. The church, especially in Nigeria, has been so emblematic of the Marxian prognostication and turned otherwise educated men and women into robotic wimps, manipulated by pastor, prophets and prophetesses and recounting sometimes meaningless supplications to a creator, whose methods they hardly comprehend. The same goes for other religions, which have tended to follow a certain pattern that thoroughly negates all the principles of mutual and peaceful co-existence. Just a few days ago, a friend complained that Nigeria is one of those third world countries where people worship all kinds of supernatural personalities and pray harder than they work yet criminals pervade the land and people perpetrate all kinds of heinous crimes even in the most sanctimonious of places and the country is retarded in growth. Meanwhile, some European countries, where less than 15% of the population recognise the existence of any gods and never bother to go to any place of worship, be it Sunday or Friday, are doing good, showing love and prospering as a people. It is this conundrum, which got so flagrantly played up in some of the media reports credited to President Goodluck Jonathan this week that has prompted this intervention.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Who is who in the US Presidential election?

As the US election is seriously approaching, the RFI English presents the known and unknown candidates. Were you away of all these candidates? 

Not just Obama and Romney - who's standing in US presidential election 2012? By Tony Cross

A crowd waits to hear Barack Obama speek in Las Vegas, Nevada Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

More than 40 per cent of people polled around the world would like to vote in American elections. Tough luck! Although whoever wins the 6 November US presidential poll will take decisions that affect the entire globe, only US citizens will get to cast a ballot. But we’re all interested, aren’t we? So here’s a guide to some of the candidates … and not just Obama and Romney.
Special dossier
The Democratic and the Republican parties dominate US politics to such an extent that the whole world is acquainted with them, their candidates and most of those who failed to win the nomination. What divides the big two?

Democratic Party:

President Barack Obama
Vice President Joe Biden




The sitting president is defending his record and, given that the economy is still struggling to recover, promising that things will get better. Pluses: killing Osama bin Laden, withdrawing from Iraq. Minuses: the shaky state of Afghanistan, some demoralised supporters but, above all, 12 million unemployed.


Republican Party:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Congressman Paul Ryan




The Republican candidate is criticising Obama from the right but seems unsure just how far right. Pluses: Obama’s 12 million unemployed, promises to cut taxes, highly motivated right-wing activists who mobilise the vote. Minuses: Flip-flops, gaffes, highly motivated right-wing activists who frighten floating voters.

Although it’s hard to believe from most election coverage, the Obama/Romney tickets are not the only ones.

Over 150 people have declared themselves candidates to be the US president. That doesn’t mean they will get on the ballot paper anywhere. Candidates have to win enough backing to be placed on the ballot paper state by state or, failing that, the right to have voters write their names on it.

The Cardinal designate, Archbishop Onaiyekan speaks to the Vatican Radio


Card-designate Onaiyekan: Simplicity of heart, humility of spirit

(Vatican Radio) “My first reaction is of gratitude to God”, says Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, of Abuja Nigeria one of the six men – the only one from Africa – who will be created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI during the November 24th Consistory, announced earlier Wednesday by the Pope himself.
He spoke to Vatican Radio’s Helene Destombes just after the announcement on the side-lines of the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation.
“I see it purely as God’s grace, certainly not as any reward for any good action. I’m not the best archbishop in the world and God has chosen me. Also thanks to the Pope who has chosen to include me in this very special group of servants of the Church”.
“It means of course that I have a greater responsibility not only for the Archdiocese of Abuja but also as a collaborator of His Holiness. To work with him in his universal responsibility. That is a major issue that I have to pray seriously about.
The Church leader has a wealth of experience in inter-religious dialogue, particularly in the African context. In fact his synod intervention on October 19th concentrated on the idea of evangelisation and religions working together for peace. Nigeria, he notes, is often the scene of violent clashes of both a religious and social origin.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja named Cardinal

Vatican City, October 24 - Pope Benedict XVI is to name six new cardinals, Benedict said in an unexpected move during his general audience Wednesday. There are no Italians among the six, reversing a recent trend towards upping the number of Italians among the prelates who will elect Benedict's successor. The new high-ranking Church officials, in their current roles, are: James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical House; Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Syriac Maronite Patriarch of Antioch; Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, India; John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria; Jesus Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota; and Luis Antonio "Chito" Gokim Tagle, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines. The pontiff said Harvey, an American, was "in mind as archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls". They are to be officially appointed to their new role at a November 24 consistory. Following the death of Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli on September 20, the College of Cardinals has been made up of 116 members eligible to vote in a conclave for a successor to Benedict. His predecessor, John Paul II, named 55 of them, while Benedict named 61. An additional 89 cardinals cannot vote because they are too old.
 Source: Gazzetta del Sud
''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nigeria exports religion, India exports cars BY AZUKA ONWUKA



The biggest country in Africa that the United Kingdom colonised is Nigeria. The biggest country that the United Kingdom colonised in Asia is India (which then comprised the present Pakistan and Bangladesh).
When the UK came into Nigeria and India, like all other countries they colonised, they brought along their technology, religion (Christianity), and culture: names, dressing, food, and language, among others. Try as hard as the British did, India rejected the British religion, names, dressing, food, and even language, but they did not reject the British technology. Today, 80.5 per cent of Indians are Hindus; 13.4 per cent Muslims; 2.3 per cent Christians; 1.9 per cent Sikhs; 0.8 per cent Buddhists, among others. Hindi is the official language of the government of India, but English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a “subsidiary official language.” Interestingly, it is rare to find an Indian with an English name or dressed in suit.

On the other hand, Nigeria embraced, to a large extent, the British religion, British culture – names, dressing, foods, and language – but, ironically, rejected the British technology. The difference between the Nigerian and the Indian experiences is that while India is proud of its heritage, Nigeria takes little pride in its own heritage, a situation that has affected the nationalism of Nigerians and our development as a nation.
MARGARET IDAHOSA Courtesy of Modern Ghana
Before the advent of Christianity, the Arabs had brought Islam into Nigeria through the North. Islam also wiped away much of the culture of Northern Nigeria. Today, the North has only Sharia courts but no Customary courts. So from the North to the South of Nigeria, the Western World and the Eastern World have shaped our lives to be like theirs and we have lost much or all of our identity.
Long after the Whites and Arabs left Nigeria, Nigeria has waxed strong in religion to the extent that Nigerians now set up branches of their home-grown churches in Europe, the Americas, Asia and other African countries. Just like the Whites brought the gospel to us, Nigerians now take the gospel back to the Whites. In Islam, we are also very vibrant to the extent that if there is a blasphemous comment against Islam in Denmark or the US, even if there is no violent reaction in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic headquarters of the world, there will be loss of lives and destruction of property in Nigeria. If the United Arab Emirates, a country with 75 per cent Muslims, is erecting the tallest building in the world and encouraging the world to come and invest in its territory by providing a friendly environment, Boko Haram ensures that the economy of the North (and by extension that of Nigeria) is crippled with bombs and bullets unless every Nigerian converts to Boko Haram’s brand of Islam. We are indeed a very religious people.
Meanwhile, as we are building the biggest churches and mosques, the Indians, South Africans, Chinese, Europeans and Americans have taken over our key markets: telecoms, satellite TV, multinationals, banking, oil and gas, automobile, aviation, and hospitality industries among others.
Ironically, despite our exploits in religion, we are a people with little godliness, a people without scruples. It is rare to do business with a Nigerian pastor, deacon, knight, elder, brother, sister, imam, mullah, mallam, alhaji or alhaja without the person laying landmines of bribes and deception on your path. We call it PR, facilitation fee, processing fee, transport money, financial engineering, deal, or whatever. But if it does not change hands, no show. And when it is amassed, we say it is “God’s blessings.” Some people assume that sleaze is a problem of public functionaries, but the private sector seems to be worse than the public sector these days.

The intervention of Bishop Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Bishop of Sokoto at The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith

Photo Courtesy of Sahara Reporters
For an effective program of evangelisation to take proper root today and for us to avoid the mistakes of the past, a proper reading of our collective national history is inevitable. This phase of history has been so distorted that this now has serious implications today in how Muslims and Christians see one another and read their histories. For example, many Islamic scholars have often created the impression that somehow, missionary activities had a direct connection with western imperialism since both missionaries and the colonialists were seen as speaking the same language, having the same culture, coming from the same lands and so on. I believe that we need to redress these mistakes by re-reading and rewriting our common history. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Intervention of Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo at The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith

"Membership, Places and Means In the Transmission of the Christian Faith," Intervention at the Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith by Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria.

Chapter 3 of the Instrumentum Laboris on Transmission of the Faith reflects on the Membership, Places and Means of transmission in the New Evangelization. I address mainly nos 92-95. I have three points:
1.The Church in Nigeria like other countries in the last decades has lost members, to the new age  and so-called pentecostal churches, although she continues to win others. Catholics have the powerful, efficacious sacraments but we struggle with the fact that their celebration mostly touch and attract those who already have some mature faith. We need to explore the possibility of turning the celebration of the sacraments themselves into efficacious moments of faith impact which can attract non-christians to catechesis and commitment. This can be done if we continually update homiletics and sacramental procedure with engaging art, language, idioms and imagery which can better communicate their power and meaning.

The Intervention of Bishop John Ayah at The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith


An intervention of His Excellency Rev. Mons. John Ebebe AYAH, Bishop of Ogoja (NIGERIA) at The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith

CHRISTIAN WITNESS IN THE FACE OF TERRORISM (BOKO HARAM): THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE

INTRODUCTION

Greetings to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI and to the Synod Fathers  in this gracious year of Faith!
I am glad to share with you the joys and anxieties of the Nigerian Church in recent times as she struggles to witness to Christ in the face of terrorism popularly known as Boko Haram. The situation of terrorism in Nigeria challenges the Nigerian Christian to a particular and deeper reflection and commitment in his or her faith. It demands the Nigerian Christian moves beyond Church attendance and celebration of the Eucharist to Practical Christian witness that expresses true faith in our Lord Jesus who became the saviour of the world through the Cross, death and resurrection. Generally, this situation of terrorism which we find ourselves demands from us an appreciation of the value of martyrdom which the Church holds in high esteem and is also considered as the highest proof of love which conforms to the image of Christ as the suffering Master and Saviour. This is an opportunity for us to be better prepared to confess Christ before the men and women of our time, demonstrating in practical terms our readiness to defend our Faith and leaving a legacy for posterity while following Christ along the way of the Cross through the persecutions and violence which we suffer and must bear.

The Intervention of Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan at The Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith

 VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2012 . - Here is the intervention of Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria. The address was given at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith.

* * * Excerpts. 
Photo Courtesy of Ankwara.com, 23 Oct. 2009
First of all, I wish to thank very sincerely the Holy Father and this august assembly for the concern about and prayers for our country Nigeria, so often in the news about religious and social clashes with considerable loss of lives and property. We continue to count on your prayers for us.
Despite the impression often given by the world media, I want to stress that Christians in Nigeria do not see themselves as being under any massive persecution by Muslims. Our population of about 160 million is made up of Christians and Muslims in equal number and influence. We have not done too badly in living peacefully together in the same nation. We believe we have learnt some lessons which may be useful for the rest of the world on Christian-Muslim relations.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Nigeria and the fate of Human Right Activists

 Even though the Nigerian history is characterized by ups and downs, progress and regression, peace and tumults, development and corrupt practices, the most paining situation and aspect of this history, for me, is the rising and death of Nigerian celebrities. The worst part of it is that the history of fallen great men lasts shortly as their killers are never brought to paper. Most a times, the culprits are almost known, but the law is so weak that it cannot assure their prosecution. 

Among those unresolved puzzles in the series of human right activists murdering in Nigeria is that of Dele Giwa. The death of this great man, who has always remained the symbol of freedom of expression in Nigeria, still remain a mystery after 29 years. Today being the anniversary of his death, Bayo Oluwasan raises the same question that has always remained unanswered for years. Sahara-Reporters has published this question that, I also pose to my dear compatriots and our well wishers.

Who Killed Dele Giwa?

Dele Giwa shortly after he wass killed by a parce
 Today is the 26th anniversary of the assassination of Dele Giwa, the unapologetically brash journalist, the founding editor of Newswatch magazine.
Every October 19 Nigerians are forced to lock their eyes on screaming newspaper headlines: “Who Killed Dele Giwa?”  
For a quarter of a century now, the same question had burned like acid in our brains.  The gory picture of a badly shattered body of Giwa continued to plague our minds after 25 years. And oddly enough, the Nigerian judicial system had successfully tap danced around the question.
Giwa was a flaming journalist with a fiery message of rebuke for the oppressive military regime of Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda (IBB). Giwa was the pioneering journalist in Nigeria who blazed the path for investigative journalism bottled in a weekly authoritative brand known as Newswatch.

The image of Nigeria in the New Forbes African Celebrities.

Nigeria, though, almost over tormented by her ugly and very recent insecurity and corruption, continues to showcase personalities and celebrities. The recent forbes' assessment of the most influential personalities in Africa has shown that Nigeria is not just that nation where Boko Haram, corruption and kidnapping characterize the journal headlines, but also a nation of many personalities and celebrities. It is really interesting to see how they range from writers through musicians. I would want you to discover them yourself.   

The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa, Mfonobong Nsehe, Contributor

The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa
Harvard News Office
Who are the most influential icons in contemporary African pop culture?
In September, I put out a request for nominations for a list of the 40 most powerful celebrities in contemporary Africa. Within three weeks, over 7,500 entries flooded in. This is the result of your choices. The debut list of The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa includes actors, cerebral authors, musicians, movie producers, supermodels, TV personalities and athletes, drawn from all across Africa and traverses the generational divide. Don’t be surprised to meet timeless artistic greats like Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe (ranked No. 1) and Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi listed alongside younger up-and-comers like famed Kenyan crooner Eric Wainaina, Ivorian soccer sensation Didier Drogba (No. 3) and Nigerian screen goddess Genevieve Nnaji. Perhaps not surprisingly, the list is dominated by musicians.
In Pictures: The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Chinua Achebe and the Biafran Saga 3: My apprciation of Usman Zainab's point of view.

This is one of the long waited analysis of what I call, “Chinua Achebe and the Biafran Saga”. Even though I think that this write-up raises many important questions yet to be answered on the Master Piece of Achebe, I am still among those who have always thought that there is a need to have a book of the kind. 
It was just last month, that I was telling a friend that why Nigerian has failed to move on as a nation is because there are many citizens with “unhealed covered wounds”. Let me buttress my point with few facts. Have we ever asked ourselves why majority of Igbos hardly have confidence on the Hausas, and vice-versa? Let’s not shy away from this fact! (I beg the indulgence of the reader of this comment to follow my argument with a non biased mind). Before I continue, let me air my position in the “one Nigeria saga”. I am among those who strongly believe that what made Europe what it is today is because they are United, so Nigerian progress depends on our unity.
I think I am privileged not only because I have passed some of my formation period in the Northern and the Eastern parts of Nigeria, but also because I have been, for more than eight years now, in an Institution that brings together not only Nigerians (from different parts of the Country) but also non Nigerians and people from war devastated Countries. Anyone who knows the History of Sri-Lanka, Indian, Rwandan and Pakistan might understand better what I mean.
From my observations these years, in Nigeria, even among the so called people of the same faith, you hardly see any sign of trust among people of these two regions. All you observe is name callings and back-biting. I am surely not trying to generalize the issue. Outside the Police and other military and para-military sections of our society, how many Nigerians occupy very important positions in the other regions outside theirs? You might not be surprised that even in the religious spheres, outside private churches for example, you find out the same situations.
Do we ask ourselves why in many countries, political games are organized by the interest of the political Party, whereas in Nigeria, it is the contrary? We are only interested in the regional affairs. Do we ask ourselves why whenever, the North is mentioned, many easterners see it in religious points of view and the vice-versa? How many Igbos are disturbed when a Northerner is kidnapped in the East and how many Northerner are in pain when an Easterner is killed by the Boko haram?
What I am really trying to say is that Nigeria as a Nation overlooked the Biafran-Nigerian war as if it did not cause a psychological trauma and division among different tribes in Nigeria. Zainab, you who is a “crisis strategist” know quite well that one of those important tactics in a post war confidence building is reconciliation.
All the same, I think I should state that when I say reconciliation, I mean a balanced analysis of what happened during the war period. so, I do not mean an ethnocentric analysis but “un moment de verité” as the French calls it. Though I am very poor in history, what I did not learn is that there was a moment of reconciliation after the war that nearly brought the Nigeria we know today to a once historical nation.
Nigerians, not just the Igbos, swallowed the war period history without masticating it. What we have avoided for forty-two good years is telling ourselves the plain truth about what happened. Surely, not looking for who is right or wrong but just sitting down together to tell ourselves that the war did not help us. We would have drawn our lessons from the errors of the past.
Lastly, my take on the fact is that, even if Achebe’s book is just sectional, even if it is ethnocentrically conceived, even if it does not relate the truth of what happened during the war, I am just happy that it reminds Nigerians (you and I) that their is a dark part of our history that still hunts us. And that if we eventually redress this issue, we might begin to think as a Nation and not just as groups of individuals under one Coat of arm. Thanks Zainab!

 Zainab's Analysis

Achebe and the Myth of Nigerian Exceptionalism

Professor Chinua Achebe
It has been only a few weeks since the prolific and renowned author, Professor Chinua Achebe’s personal account of the 1967 Nigerian Civil War, “There Was a Country” was published, yet the firestorm it has generated in the Nigerian public sphere still rages on. Admittedly, many, including yours truly haven’t read the book, but the little we have gleaned of it, from the book’s synopsis in the UK Guardian, has driven many into a frenzy and is further straining Nigeria’s fractious unity.
My intention here is neither to review nor critique the book, as others have done a better job of critiquing, deconstructing and disputing some of Achebe’s alleged inaccurate depiction of events and personalities of the Nigerian Civil War. Max Siollun a Nigerian historian questions Achebe’s claims of non-integration of Igbos in Nigeria, Ibraheem A. Waziri disputes Achebe’s jihadist colouration of events, Jumoke Verissimo writing for African Arguments points out the ethnocentric slant to Achebe’s book, Chris Ngwodo analyses the disconnect between Achebe’s generation and the “post-civil war generation” and many others have written or cited credible evidence to dispute a number of Achebe’s claims and one-sided portrayal of events.
However, my particular grouse with Achebe’s latest treatise is that it disappointingly feeds into an increasingly disturbing trend in public discourse on national issues in Nigeria, of a perceived Nigerian exceptionalism, and the deployment of such to excuse the failures of nation-building, socio-economic development and social cohesion in Nigeria.
Proponents of this view of Nigerian exceptionalism (defined as the perception that a country or society is unusual or extraordinary in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles) believe Nigeria occupies a unique place in the world stage because it is an artificial British creation, from an amalgamation of the Northern and Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria for administrative purposes in 1914. This artificial creation is chiefly responsible for the present dysfunction of the Nigerian state, according to this view, and thus, social cohesion and national unity will forever remain elusive as Nigerians are “not one”.
The advocates of this view also assert that certain events in Nigeria’s immediate post-colonial history, especially the 1967 Civil War, its intrigues and aftermath of creating a unitary-federalism have and are still holding Nigeria back, and therefore, it’s necessary to regularly exhume the debris and the horror of these events, as Achebe has done. Thus, we are now in 2012 inundated daily with news clippings of the 1960s Nigeria-Biafra War, sad pictures of emaciated starving children in Biafra over four decades ago and many other horror stories, because the war according to this view was a monochrome event between the forces of “good” and “evil” and nothing else in-between.
These two historical events according to proponents of this view, mostly but not exclusively account for why Nigeria is so “different” from other countries in the world and for its continuous dysfunction.
Sir Frederick Lord Lugard.
On closer examination though, Nigeria is certainly not different and this perception of exceptionalism for all intents and purposes smacks of intellectual escapism of shying away from Nigeria’s most pressing problems, shirking away from complicity in Nigeria’s present challenges and the otherness syndrome that characterizes who we blame for Nigeria’s development challenges. It’s the 1914 Amalgamation, the post-independence elites, key instigators and participants of the Civil War many of whom are now deceased, or as Achebe has recently done, its everyone else’s fault in Nigeria for marginalizing his own ethnic group.  It doesn’t matter who it is, so long as it is someone else, the finger always points away somewhere.
Looking at the basis of this “uniqueness”, Nigeria is obviously not the only “artificial” colonial creation based on arbitrary drawing-up of boundaries. The boundaries of much of Africa, with the exception of countries like Ethiopia and Liberia were artificially created by Britain, France, Germany, and other European colonial powers. The case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is particularly appalling as it was not just a colony, but at some point, it was the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium.
Most countries that make up today’s Middle East and North Africa were carved out of the defunct Ottoman Empire from the 1920s by Britain and France after the latter’s defeat in World War I. It’s the same story in much of South America and South-East Asia and most of these countries are till date grappling with their own nation-building challenges. Take for example, the case of the Kurds in Iraq who have for years, been agitating for their own sovereignty.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chinua Achebe and the Biafran Saga 2: Different views of a Master Piece

 Let's continue savouring the analysis of this great piece of work.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chika Unigwe Consider Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country by Carolyn on Oct 10th, 2012

Nigerian-born writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chika Unigwe differ somewhat in their consideration of Chinua Achebe’s recently released memoir of the Biafran War, There was a country.
There Was A CountryThe Thing Around Your NeckNight Dancer
While Unigwe says in a review in the New Statesman that readers who have waited for Achebe’s personal account on this dark period in Nigerian history have been richly rewarded with the master storyteller’s “candid, intimate interrogation of Nigeria”, Adichie writes in the London Review of Books that Achebe’s recollections are “tantalisingly brief, sometimes oblique”. “I longed to hear more of what he had felt during those months of war – in other words, I longed for a more novelistic approach,” she says.
Chinua Achebe’s first book in three years richly rewards his admirers’ patience. It is the work of a master storyteller, able to combine seriousness with lightness of touch, even when writing about the terrifying events of a war that cost the life of one of his best friends, the poet Christopher Okigbo, and the lives of millions of others. There Was a Country is a candid, intimate interrogation of Nigeria.
Divided into four parts and interspersed with poetry, the book provides an expansive, historical sketch of Nigeria from the colonial period to the present. It also pays homage to one of Achebe’s idols and one of Africa’s most respected leaders, Nelson Mandela.

The fate of Nigerian women pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

After the non religious treatment of Nigerian women pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, the recent death of Nine of those who were not repatriated puts more questions on the importance of such journey in an unhealthy and poor diplomatic situation. What if the pilgrimage is stopped, if not forever, at least for a while? How do we explain the circumstances surrounding the death of 9 pilgrims? Just judge for yourself.