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.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Commissioner of Police - Enugu State: A Widow's Petition Against Nkem Owoh


The Commissioner of Police - Enugu State: A Widow's Petition Against Nkem Owoh
The widow and the kidsin front of the demolished house

Petitioning The Commissioner of Police - Enugu State

Just click here to share the petition on Facebook. 
This petition will be delivered to: The Commissioner of Police - Enugu State by Zahara Women Foundation



FCT, Nigeria
The Commissioner of Police
Enugu State Police Command
Enugu


Dear Sir.

WILLFUL DESTRUCTION OF MY HOUSE @ PLOT 11 EMEHELUAKU LAYOUT, TRANS EKULU ENUGU BY MR NKEM OWOH (OSUOFIA) AND HIS AGENTS

I know that you have a listening ear and would hear the cry of an oppressed and helpless widow. I know that your intervention will enable me get justice from those who think they are stronger than me. I believe that my cry to you for help will not return without getting the proper assistance
I woke up in the morning of Monday October 1, 2012 only to hear that a house I am building to provide shelter for my little children at Plot 11 Emeheluaku Layout, Trans Ekulu, Enugu, has been destroyed by Mr Nkem Owoh (also known as Osuofia) and his agents.
Like thieves, they came at night to rob me of the only possession I am saving to be home for my children in the future. When neighbours called me to give me this information, I thought it was not true but on getting to the site, my heart broke as I saw my labours and toils and savings and sacrifices of several years completely destroyed by a man who have for sometime been persuading me to part with the said plot of land.
My encounter with Mr Nkem Owoh began shortly after my husband, Mr Ben Ayogu died in December, 2004, just months after we purchased this plot of Land. Being a teacher, I had saved with my husband to buy this particular plot of land and we were already making plans to build on it when the cold hands of death stole him from me, leaving me to look after our very little children, the oldest of whom was just five (five) years old then.

Israeli policies of dispossession reminiscent of South African apartheid - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Israeli policies of dispossession reminiscent of South African apartheid - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Heidi-Jane Esakov
Heidi-Jane Esakov
Heidi-Jane Esakov is a researcher at the Afro-Middle East Centre, a Johannesburg-based think-tank.
Israeli policies of dispossession reminiscent of South African apartheid



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The implementation of the Prawer Plan is expected to uproot around 30,000 bedouins from their homes [REUTERS]
During the forced removals of the South African suburb of Sophiatown in 1955, around 65,000 residents were moved and "dumped in matchbox houses" in black townships. Only a few years before that, in 1948, Bedouins of Israel's Naqab/Negev region, who Israel had not expelled, were also forcibly moved "from their ancestral lands into a restricted zone called the Siyag (literally, 'fenced in')". And, just as Sophiatown was completely bulldozed, the Negev village of Al-Arakib was recently razed to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest.
As a South African it is particularly difficult not to see the stark parallels between the experiences of black South Africans under apartheid and of Palestinians today.
Haunting echoes of apartheid's forced removals

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The 2013 Budget Speech of His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

“Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth” by His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Delivered Before a Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja, Wednesday, 10th October 2012

 

PROTOCOL

1. It is my pleasure and honour to present the 2013 Federal Budget Proposal before this esteemed Joint Session of the National Assembly. I am particularly delighted to present this Proposal to you earlier in the year, and soon after the commemoration of our national independence, to signal our commitment to evolving a new Nigeria. This Proposal is the product of extensive consultations with key stakeholders and would further translate the Government’s development plans into concrete actions.
2. When I presented the 2012 Budget, you will recall, I emphasized the fact that it would be “a stepping-stone to the transformation of our economy and country in our walk to economic freedom ...”. I am glad to report that we have made progress in this regard. Today, in the face of critical resource constraints, the defining moment of our work is in actualizing our promises to Nigerians. We need to create a structured economy where everybody plays by the same rules, and contributes their fair bit. That is the Nigeria our heroes past craved for; that is the Nigeria we believe in; and that is the Nigeria we are building together.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS

3. As we build this nation and walk the path of development, we must be mindful of the realities of our circumstances and those of the changing global economy. This Budget Proposal was therefore designed against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty. By the end of the second quarter of this year, the global economy was recovering but at a very slow pace. Growth in a number of major emerging market economies, has been lower than forecast. Overall, global growth is projected at 3.3% in 2012 and 3.6% in 2013.
4. The uncertainty surrounding the global economy, which could have adverse effects on commodity prices, highlights the downside risks for our economy. The oil market is well known for its volatility. We recall the 2008 experience at the height of the global economic downturn when oil prices fell almost overnight from $147 per barrel to $38 per barrel. This threat of oil price volatility remains constant and underscores the need to rely on a robust and prudent methodology to estimate the benchmark price.
5. The global economic slowdown can also have far-reaching implications for the demand for our export commodities, given that the Euro zone and the USA account for over 50% of the nation’s crude oil exports. These global developments are also being transmitted to our economy through a dampening effect on foreign capital inflows and remittances by Diaspora Nigerians. Fellow Nigerians, these are uncertain times in the world economy, and my Administration is taking necessary steps to mitigate possible adverse effects of the global economic slowdown on Nigeria. I assure you that we are going to build up the necessary savings to protect the economy against a possible global recession or a slow recovery.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Chinua Achebe and the Biafran Saga!

 There are many who have been making comments and criticism of the recent book of Chinua Achebe, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, but have not yet seeing the back cover of the so called Book. Sure, I do not intend to prevent people from sharing "their view" on a book they have not yet seen, but I am just thinking they should adopt the wise adage: "If you do not what to say, you then keep quite". However, not everyone will have the opportunity of laying hand on such a work, but many could also have the opportunity of not only listening to those who read the book, but to those who read and compared the work with their own personal experience of the Nigerian-Biafran war. 

This work, undoubtedly is one of the greatest, most debated and contested write-up in the annals of Nigerian literary world. Here is a résumé done by a Nigerian whose childhood was shaped by the life after Biafran fall.  It is a summary worth reading, at least for all those who have been longing to have a taste of such a golden piece.   Enjoy the résumé! 

 Nigeria is haunted by Biafran war by Ike Anya

Chinua Achebe's new memoir suggests that his country is still suffering from a refusal to face up to its insalubrious history
Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe. Photograph: Craig Ruttle/AP
In our house in Nsukka, the small university town in eastern Nigeria where I grew up, my parents' bedroom harboured a cupboard, reached only by standing on a stepladder. In that cupboard lay a battered brown leather satchel, filled with memorabilia from Biafra. I remember Biafran stamps, currency notes and coins, photographs, receipts, letters and a small green hard backed pamphlet: The Ahiara Declaration.
From time to time, under conditions of great secrecy, the satchel would be brought down and my brothers and I would be allowed to rummage through it as my parents told us stories of their harrowing experiences during the war. We would look at photographs of friends and family "lost" in the conflict, or during the massacres of Igbos that preceded it. We would marvel at the lightness of the Biafran coins. I don't remember my parents explicitly saying it, but somehow it was communicated to us that the satchel and its contents were not things to be discussed outside the family home.
In Nigeria in the 1970s when I grew up, Biafra was only talked about in hushed tones, in an atmosphere of an unspoken fear that talking about it could bring reprisals.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to an early rough-cut screening of the film version of Chimamanda Adichie's book, Half of a Yellow Sun. At the end, in the darkened room in Soho, as I joined others to congratulate the director Biyi Bandele, I found myself hugging him instead and felt to my embarrassment, tears running down my cheeks. As I apologised, avoiding the bemused stares from some of the staff at the venue, I explained to Biyi that I had felt such a powerful reaction because the story he was telling was the story of my family – of my parents and grandparents.
That evening, as on the phone I described my feelings watching Biafran refugees fleeing the university town of Nsukka to my mother, who had herself fled the town with my father and elder brother in 1967, she said "I am glad that our story is going to be told, that the world will remember".

MTN Nigeria’s 43 million subscribers get security numbers By Bukola Adeyemi

The introduction of the  four-digit security number for network protection in Nigeria by the MTN could be a proof that their is the possibility of controlling e-communications in Nigeria. The State Security Agency should find a way of exploiting such a technological advancement to fight the use of phones and The Internet, in scamming, stealing and Kidnapping operations that has rendered Nigerian image unworthy of a giant that she should have been. Here is the presentation of the four-digit security number for network protection.

mtn_logo
 TELECOMMUNICATIONS firm, MTN Nigeria, has provided its over 43 million subscribers a four-digit security number for network protection.
The four digit security number, according to MTN is aimed at significantly improving customer experience on the MTN network by empowering customers to resolve most of their issues using a number of avenues, including telephone and the internet.
Beside, the security number will also protect subscribers on the network against mobile fraud.

Nigerian Female Pilgrims Detained in Saudi Arabia

Nigerian Female Pilgrims Detained in Saudi Arabia

 Discussion on the racism and poor treatment of Black pilgrims to Saudi Arabia needs to be had, and it would have been better to hear more about the predicament from the women who faced it themselves.

Two weeks ago, a dispute erupted between Saudi Arabia and Nigeria over the former’s detainment of more than 1,000 women purported to be travelling for hajj without appropriate male chaperones.
It started on Monday, September 24, when a number of Nigerian women were prevented from entering into Saudi Arabia after landing King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. Subsequent flights into Jeddah’s international airport resulted in more women between the ages of 25 and 35 been stopped and detained so that Nigeria had to put a halt to airlifting pilgrims.
There is a lot of confusion as to why the women were detained in the first place. Some women were refused entry because they did not have sufficient proof of being married even when their husbands were with them. Some of these women had different last names from their husbands, yet others were stopped because the male guardian listed on their visa had already arrived in Saudi Arabia or was to travel at a later date.  The women may also have been detained because Nigeria tends to be “shoddy” when it comes to issues surrounding international travel and immigration. There are many Nigerians who enter Saudi Arabia illegally to seek work.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Fighting corruption in Nigeria requires action not words - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Fighting corruption in Nigeria requires action not words - Opinion - Al Jazeera Englis 

President Goodluck Jonathan must crack down on corruption if he wants to be taken seriously.

Sha
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Despite President Goodluck Jonathan's claims to the contrary, nearly three quarters of Nigerians said they thought that corruption in Nigeria has become worse [REUTERS]
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan recently claimed that Nigeria was the second most improved country in Africa in fighting corruption, citing Transparency International as the source. Unfortunately for the millions of Nigerians mired in poverty, this is not yet the case. But this could change if President Jonathan's government enforced anti-corruption legislation on its books and backed Nigerian's anti-corruption agencies as they pursue high level officials indicted for corruption.
In contrast to what the President said, in the last Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer in 2010, nearly three quarters of Nigerians said they thought corruption......

Update: The True Story Behind the Killing Of the 4 Uniport Students Revealed at Last

As the story of the barbaric killing of four young promising Nigerians university students, by the Aluu community of River State, is seriously moving on, I tumbled on this story narrated on the The Peace Ben Williams Blog and deeming it worthy of sharing I just reported it here in toto.

P/S: This story got to DailyPost as an eyewitness account from the 5th boy who escaped. He narrated this to Ugo and Lloyd’s friend who has pleaded that his identity be kept secret.

Ugonna Obuzor-Geology 200 level;   Lloyd Michael- Civil Engineering 200 level
Tekena Elkanah- Comp. Science 200 level;  Chidiaka Biringe- Theater Arts 200 level
I just got this account from the Daily Post which seems to make the most sense by far compared to the ridiculous versions of the killing circulating the internet.
Their reports reveal that none of the four murdered students were involved in any robbery or any kind of pilfering. An anonymous colleague of the late Lloyd and Ugo said the two boys were both aspiring musicians.
Photo: Lloyd Michael- civil Engr 200 level, Ugona Obuzor-Geology 200 level, Tekena Elkanah- computer science 200 level & Chidiaka Biringe- theater arts 200 level. Our sons, our brothers, four future husbands, four future fathers, four lineage wiped off in a blink of an eye by a community drenched in abject poverty & profound malevolence. Today we declare Aluu community cursed. They shall experience drought from generation to generation. Their land shall be barren. The people of Aluu must bear their guilt, because they have sinned against God and humanity. They shall fall by the sword; their male children dashed to death against the ground. The blood of the innocent cries out until Aluu community exterminated from the  face of the Earth. RIP brothers.(Bianka J)
Ugonna (front) with Lloyd (wearing white shirt behind)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

OBLATION: LEARNING TO RECOGNIZE GOD IN PEOPLE AND EVENTS

The novitiate year was a time specifically set aside to live the intimacy of Jesus and the apostles, during which the future Missionaries were allowing themselves to be formed in perfection: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ…we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”  Ephesians 4:12 -15
I am annoyed that the whole time of the novitiate or at least an entire year is not exclusively devoted to the study of perfection. It is a drawback that during this time we are obliged to tolerate profane studies and even theology… If they do not acquire religious virtues while in novitiate, it is all up for the future.
The study of theology was meant to take place the following year in the seminary, but familiarity with the Scriptures and the catechism were essential:

Saturday, 6 October 2012

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

As the debate and discussion goes on, on this recent Master work of Achebe, There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, I am beginning to think that the best approach could be to, first, lay hand on this book, then go through it, before coming up with critics or appreciations. All the same, I came across this description giving at the Bookdepository.com and wish to share it with those who are yet to go through it. It might, also, be a good thing grabbing this scholarly writing work so as to understand why Achebe waited for 40 good years before breaking his silence on an issue that has always bothered him. I wish you a good digestion as the description, just like the book is really a must read. 

"From the legendary author of "Things Fall Apart" comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war" The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967-1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature. Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read "There Was a Country" is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers--they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, "There Was a Country "is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.
''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.