The whole wide world is celebrating Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar and Golden Globe nominated international and sensational movie star on his superb and protagonist role in ’12 years a slave.’
Nigerians and Africans were happy and excited to see one of their own receiving such acclamation and glowing recognition from Hollywood and Academy Award. It was easy for everybody to recognize that his name CHIWETELU EJIOFOR is not Asian or European but African.
Chiwetelu Ejiofor is proudly an Igbo name that comes from Igbo people of Nigeria. Nigerians and Africans do not have to scratch their heads to figure out his heritage with his outstanding Igbo name.
‘Chiwe’ Ejiofor was born in England to Nigerian immigrant parents Arinze and Obianuju Ejiofor . His parents were of Igbo heritage of Nigeria and they maintained their Igbo culture, name and heritage which they successfully passed down to their son, Chiwetelu Ejiofor.
But who is Zain Asher?
Chiwetel Ejiofor in the middle flanked by his sisters with Zain on right
She is Chiwetelu Ejiofor’s younger sister who works as a financial reporter for the network news CNN. Zain Asher is an Igbo woman despite her non-Igbo name. Both siblings have same parents with same Igbo heritage. One chooses to keep his Igbo name; another chooses to drop her Igbo name.
This is becoming common to many Nigerians and Africans especially those born in Western world and actors in Nollywood. Most of the time , the parents are poor cultural and heritage ambassadors because some of them believed that native, tribal and country of origin’s name may be a barrier to a successful career in Europe or America. But they failed to understand that the psychology of name can be a source of pride and joy that makes one to be dedicated in upholding the integrity of one’s heritage. Take away the pride of native name and one becomes generic, assimilated and uninteresting.
The rush to assimilate and to be acceptable may contribute to the dropping of native names and gushing for western names. The anatomy of this evolving peculiarity may also be rooted in inferiority complex and colonial mentality. The believed that everything western is progressive and civilized while anything outside curtains of western socialization be it African or Asian is regressive. But such a perception is not the truth
It must be highlighted or noted in some cases some people chose a name that is alien or different from their heritage simply because they happen to like it and nothing is wrong with that provided there is no ulterior motive.
But what’s in a name?
The modus letters are enumerated
The way it’s voiced
Or to whom it belongs
Then, what’s to a name?
To the history it belongs
Or how larynx fickle with it
Is it the way it looks?
Appears lazy … fast before the eye?
Or is it the way it sounds?
handsome, antiquated, oddity or strange?
Can it sound positive?
Can it sound melodious?
Can it sound timid?
What’s in a name?
… pronouncing or spelling ?
Or unbearable attention it summons
What’s it connotes
Good or bad, beautiful or ugly
What’s in a name?
… the name or the person ?
What is a name ?
Yes… it’s the language
No . . . it’s the yesteryears
Do tongue know . . . anymore
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Speaks to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, on On Tuesday, 16th April, 2013
“Nigeria Is A Poor Country” – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
AMANPOUR – Introducing the interview segment
Welcome back to the program. Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, is full of promise. But fulfilling that promise is sometimes a struggle. Plagued by corruption and mismanagement, the resource-rich country has a poverty rate of over 50 percent. Maternal mortality is shockingly high. And more than half of Nigerians don’t have access to electricity.
Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, can’t even escape the power problem himself. Here he is on Easter Sunday, delivering a speech to his people only to have it disrupted by a blackout. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says that she and her president want more for the country. She’s Nigeria’s finance minister and she’s been lauded as just the kind of reformer that Nigeria needs. She was a runner-up to lead the World Bank and “Forbes” ranked her as one of the world’s most powerful women.
But even she isn’t immune from Nigeria’s problems. Her own mother was kidnapped for a terrifying five days before being released. I spoke to her and I asked her about her country’s uphill struggle to transform Nigeria’s resources into a better life for all the people. We talked when she was here in New York for the Women in the World Summit.
And as you watch, we look forward to your tweets using #amanpour.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, welcome to the program.
NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Great to have you.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Nigeria is a huge and important country. We have many, many viewers from Nigeria, always very active and very interested. So it’s great to have you here.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You have said and others have said, that 2013 is going to be a real game-changing year, a turning point year for Nigeria, particularly in your area of finance and economics.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Well, it’s going to be a game-changer and a turning point, because this is the year we are going to produce results. And we’re already producing results within the administration.
First, on the economic side, I just want to say that macroeconomic stability has been restored. Now, nobody should minimize that. Remember, there were two lost decades in Africa, in the ’80s and ’90s, where there was so much macro instability that people could not even focus on sectors that could create jobs.
Now things have gone right. We’ve got growth that is at 6.5 percent last year and we’re projecting for 2013, also, around the same number compared to average 5 percent on the African continent.
Now, I just want to say that when you mention GDP growth, people immediately say we can — in my country, they say we can’t eat growth; because we have unemployment challenges, we need to create more jobs. We have a challenge of inclusion. We have problems of inequality.
All those are challenges we face.
AMANPOUR: You are obviously a passionate defender of your country. You are a person who calls for transparency and honesty and best practices. There is a huge problem with corruption in your country. The president promised to address this stuff. And the latest is that an ally of his, a former governor who was convicted of stealing millions of dollars, has been pardoned, embezzling $55 million in public funds. Now, the U.S. calls that a setback for the fight against corruption. I mean how do you answer that?
OKONJO-IWEALA: How do I answer that question? OK, listen to what I have to say on corruption. And I think I have quite a bit to say. I wrote a book recently where I also had a whole chapter on that issue called, “Reforming the Unreformable.”
Nigeria does have a problem with corruption. And so do many other countries, including developed countries. I don’t like the fact that when people mention the name Nigeria, the next thing they say is corruption.
This is a country of 170 million people; 99.9 percent of them are honest, hard-working citizens who just want to get on with their lives and they want a government that delivers for them.
What we’ve said is that in order to help block any leakages and help to, you know, stop any attempts at corruption or taking monies, we must build electronic platforms. We must distance people from the money.
These things were recommended by the World Bank and the IMF. I used to work at the World Bank. We are doing them.
And I strongly believe that we lack institutions. We lack processes.
Now, what President Goodluck Jonathan has done now is to call the judiciary, the legislature and the executive arm for the first time to meet together on this issue and say, this is not just about government, this is about all of us coming together, because even if you catch somebody, they go to the courts and they are let off lightly.
The president can’t do anything about that. The judicial system also has to be strengthened.
Legislators also have to crack down. They themselves have to work at also being transparent and helping the executive.
But for me, also, in addition to doing that, we need to stop talking and identify the specifics, like you mentioned oil leakages. Let me mention two things quickly.
The first one is the oil theft that is 150,000 barrels a day –
AMANPOUR: Which is huge.
OKONJO-IWEALA: — a month — which is huge. Yes. I admit that. And we can’t afford — I’ll tell you; my thesis on corruption is we are still a poor country. We cannot afford any leakage.
We also need the international community to weigh in. We have — Mexico and Nigeria are suffering from this problem, you can check. Mexico has (inaudible) losing 25,000 barrels a day. And they found (inaudible).
In our case, we have international people who also buy that stolen oil. We need them to treat this stolen oil like stolen diamonds, the blood diamonds. Make it blood oil. Help us so that those people don’t have a market to sell this stuff.
That’s one. And we ourselves should commit to fighting — and we are fighting that.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about that, because you also have challenges with electricity. You mentioned you’re very rich in oil and people just simply don’t understand why there still seem to be so many problems with electricity.
And it might seem, you know, weird to pick on that one thing, but it is very prevalent. I asked your president about this during an interview I did by satellite when he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Let’s just see what he had to say to me.
GOODLUCK JONATHAN, PREISDENT OF NIGERIA: That is one area that Nigerians are quite pleased with the government, that’s a commitment to improve power. It’s working. So if you are saying something different, I’m really surprised. That is one area, one area that we will — civil society members agree that government has kept faith with its promise.
*end of video clip*
AMANPOUR: Now, that interview caused a bit of a hullabaloo, as I think you know, in Nigeria. And yet, the World Bank has said that half — more than half the Nigerian population doesn’t have any access to the power grid.
OKONJO-IWEALA: As you know, Nigeria became a democracy again when President Obasanjo came into power in 1999. Two decades prior to that, there was hardly any investment in electricity. If you’ve neglected a sector for that long, you’ve not invested, you’ve not even maintained your basic facilities, it’s not going to happen that fast. It takes time. That month, when you interviewed the president, the polls showed, independently, scientifically (inaudible) that they are in technical partnership with dialogue. That 54 percent of Nigerians felt there was some improvement. They do it monthly. Now this month, they’ve surveyed and they’ve showed this going down, because 800 megawatts has been taken off the grid, which is while they are maintaining the grid.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, because businesses apparently say that this problem with electricity is causing them to, you know, be reluctant to invest.
AMANPOUR: They need this investment…
OKONJO-IWEALA: Nigeria is not the only country. Almost every developing country has a problem with power, as you know. India has it. South Africa has it. South Africa is far better off because they’ve invested much more.
But many developing countries, even China, they are struggling with keeping up with infrastructure.
Now, what we are doing in Nigeria? We have accepted that the government is not the best place to run the power sector, that if we want this country and this economy to do better, we just have to get out. And Nigeria is pursuing one of the most sweeping privatization programs in any country in the world. We are selling off everything. The generation capacity, the distribution capacity in the country, government is only retaining one thing — transmission.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that note, Madam Minister, thank you for joining me.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you, Christiane, for having me.
VIDEO interview here
"NO TERROR CAN SUBSUME OUR PRESS" - Gbenga
Nine months ago, insurgents struck with terror at journalism practice in my country- Nigeria. Zakariya Isa, a journalist with the government owned Nigerian Television Authority was shot dead in front of his home in Maiduguri. Zakariya left widows, children and other dependants.
Three months later, Eneche Akogwu, the 31 year old, set-to- wed vibrant reporter with a private television station, CHANNELSTV, Lagos was also shot dead while covering the activities of the insurgents in another city – Kano. Eneche left aged parents and a distraught fiancée. I doubt if those gentlemen had life insurance cover.
It is a running story: in April, three newspapers, Thisday, SUN and The Moment were bombed simultaneously in Abuja and Kaduna. Boko Haram have claimed responsibility for the killings and the bombings. They have threatened more assault on free press and free speech.
The insurgents want to determine the content of our media. They threatened : you either report our activities wholesale or you do no report on us at all. And if you must keep our stories out of your press, then you are barred from reporting security and government activities concerning us. Otherwise, you are also an enemy.
The insurgents do not discriminate in their attacks on the press. Practically, everyone who does not perform to their description of what is accurate news report is in danger. Periodically, threats are issued via the Internet against the press.
But I tell you, that is a mistake.
The Nigerian Press is too sophisticated to be so intimidated. Our story has always been that when the press is threatened, it comes out stronger. Our press which survived the most brutal of military dictatorships and wears the battle scar as a badge of Honour, now complemented by a fast growing social media will surely survive this current assault on free press and write the story thereafter.
I want to thank CNN and Multichoice sharing of our pains. Thank you for the empathy. Thank you particularly for the symbolic support for those left behind by Eneche and Zakariya
This solidarity can only push our press to be more courageous, daring and professional. On behalf of everyone, I want to make you a promise: the Nigerian press will continue to report the truth and speak truth to power. It is the minimum that we can do to the memory of the
courageous two who have fallen, in active service.
Thank you for the recognition.
President, Nigerian Guild of Editors
September 30, 2010 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
This is a transcript of an exclusive interview between CNN's Isha Sesay and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Palace in Abuja.
Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) -- -- Isha Sesay: President Jonathan, thank you, so much for sitting down to speak to CNN. Nigerian is celebrating 50 years of independence. I want to get your thoughts on what you think the country has achieved in that time.
President Jonathan: Within the past 50 years as a nation just like as a child that is starting developing, when you get to the age of 25 you look back and compare yourself to your peer. By the time you get to the age of 50 you also look back at what you have achieved.
One thing that I know and I feel Nigerians will celebrate is continuity and peace. Yes we experienced civil war that lasted 13 months. Some other countries experienced civil wars that lasted for years. We have our own challenges that government is confronting but still we play significant role globally.
Whenever they talk about Africa they want Nigeria's voice. So you can still see that Nigeria (can) still play a unique role globally and we are still united and confronting our challenges. That alone is enough to celebrate.
Isha Sesay: You talk about the unity and stability that Nigeria has as a feature at 50 years. Another feature is the high poverty rates and infrastructure issues that remain. These are two elements that exist in a country that over 50 years has established itself as a world leader in oil production. There is a lot of money in this country, I have been here several times and spoken to a lot of people, yet you are still dealing with these issues. Where has all the money gone?
President Jonathan: If you look at the money coming from oil vis a vis the population you see it is quite little. When you talk about the oil wealth you compare nations. There are some nations with less than five million people. Nigeria has 150 million people. I cannot say that all the money earned from oil since 1958, when the first drop of oil was exported from this country to date, that the money has been effectively used. I am not saying there are no leakages.
Isha Sesay: I want to look forward now. There are many who believe that with your decision to compete in the election you are going against the zoning agreement which states that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south every eight years. The late president Yar'Adua was a northerner. He died in his first term. There are those who feel that you are putting personal ambition ahead of the stability and peace of Nigeria. Is that what you are doing?
President Jonathan: Definitely not. The argument about zoning and the presidency of Nigeria is like the philosophical argument of the egg or the hen. Who is older through the evolutionary process, who came first? In the first place if this country had agreed the presidency rotates between north and south I would not be the president today. I couldn't have been if there is an agreement in this country that it rotates between north and south. I couldn't have been the president the day Yar'Adua died -- another northerner would have taken over and I could have continued as the vice president.
Isha Sesay: You are effectively saying if I understand you that the zoning agreement doesn't include the presidency. You are effectively saying it includes other secondary issues, because many disagree with you, even the former vice president Abubakar is not the case. They site a 2002 meeting in December, a caucus meeting where they say there was an expressed decision to say it should include the presidency. Be that as it may, I ask you this question: should violence break out, which you can never rule out in Nigeria, unfortunately it is a reality. Should violence break out as a result of your decision, because the northerners are aggrieved, will you take responsibility for what plays out?
President Jonathan: I can tell you very clearly that violence will not break out because of my interests. I can tell you very clearly.
Isha Sesay: So categorically you say there will not be violence?
President Jonathan: We have security challenges, we have our challenges. If my interest would have instigated crisis that day the signs would have showed. If anybody thinks he will fuel crisis we will take him on.
Isha Sesay: What do you stand for? What are your policies?
President Jonathan: We want to lead a country where people will be less greedy. Where people will know that the commonwealth of Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, where people's wealth depends on the people around you. If you become a rich person and everyone around you is poor you are very poor.
I want to live in a country where we no longer live as prisoners. Why do we have excesses of criminal activity now? Because the thinking is that the wealth is not uniformly distributed. A lot of young guys who have no jobs and they have no hope so they take to ammunition as some kind of anti-social living. We want to refocus Nigeria to make sure that basic infrastructure is provided. The environment is created for private investment, both within and direct foreign investment. So jobs will be created. That is my dream for Nigeria.
Isha Sesay: So you are saying you represent what? You represent what? Future change, what do you represent?
President Jonathan: I represent a group that is saying this country must be transformed. I am not saying that those in the past didn't do well. They tried, but using the capability of Nigerians. If you come to this country they are talking about brain drain. Well-trained medical doctors and engineers leave Nigeria to the developed countries. We want to reverse that.
Isha Sesay: Let's move on and talk about corruption. It is one of those issues here in Nigeria that every time there is an election, politicians stand up and say they are going to tackle it and get rid of it. That is just the ugly truth. Why should people believe you when you say that you will do something about the problem? Will you do something lasting about the problem?
President Jonathan: You can never play politics with the development of Nigeria. Yes the issue of corruption is a major challenge especially in developing societies not only in Nigeria. Even in developed societies, frankly speaking, it is just because their laws are so stringent and they (are) monitored.
Most of the people who create big corruptions here, especially the companies, they are not Nigerians. But the laws of the land and the he institutions that are set up to enforce these laws are up to the task. And what we have to... It is not me, Jonathan Goodluck, that will go and catch a corrupt person. But we will strengthen the institutions to do their work. That is what happens in developed societies.
Isha Sesay: I want to talk about the Niger Delta and what your plans are should you become president after the 2011 elections. What are your plans to permanently deal with the issues there?
President Jonathan: It is challenging especially now that resources are limited. But we must provide basic infrastructure. Second is the education. We must focus that area and make sure that the young men and woman from that area have an opportunity to be well educated. Because someone who is well educated, their orientation changes. And when you now educate the people they will now play a key role in the oil industry.
So if you provide the basic infrastructure, which can't be done overnight, you provide good education and you make them play a role in the long chain of the oil industry you will see that this restiveness will begin to get reduced gradually.
Isha Sesay: A place like Somalia for instance, if you are called on to submit troops to contribute troops?
President Jonathan: We cannot go to Somalia for peacekeeping. We must go to Somalia for peace enforcement. So if the day I (am) moving troops to Somalia I am going with all the force that will require. Now the UN must change the rules of engagement to allow us to defend ourselves. I will not allow one Nigerian soldier to be killed by anybody. But the rules of engagement create problems where you have very militant and non-cooperative militia group(s) who will see the UN troops as their enemies when they should see them as their friends.
Isha Sesay: So you would be looking to change the mandate, effectively?
President Jonathan: Yes. And we will go. We must not just send one. We must send enough and we must provide them with enough platforms for them to operate.
Isha Sesay: So the kidnapping of a school bus of children in Abia state earlier on this week. What is happening?
President Jonathan: That part of this country must be under control. I am not telling you too much but it must be under control. And the kidnappers have a very short history. They will celebrate their victories for a few days more.
Isha Sesay: But is an operation underway?
President Jonathan: We are on it and definitely we will get them out.