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You are here:Home>>Items filtered by date: February 2012
 
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Chief Tobias Michael Idika, President of the Ohanaeze, Kano branch addresed Kano residents on late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu's Procession in the ancient city of Kano

"Ojukwu an Iroko Tree who came saw and conquered"

 

Chief Tobias Michael Idika words, “In Igbo parlance, Iroko tree depicts greatness, power and valour. And when an iroko tree falls, it signifies an event of the extra- ordinary. A saying also goes that life is but a walking shadow, a poor player plays and frets his part on the stage, and when heard of no more, it is like a tale told by an idiot but signifying nothing---but indeed, the tales of the life and times of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu --- Ikemba Nnewi, shall continue to be very significant to the present generation and to posterity.

 

Precisely on November 26, 2011, an Iroko tree fell. The world tumbled, tears flew and the talking drums were silent when the news of the death of a foremost world -recognized leader filtered into Nigeria. His own people---Ndigbo and it dawned on them --- Ndigbo that a big gully has been created in our chequered history. Even the sincere elements from the other divide of our country --- Nigeria, knew, also, that a spice has leaked away from the nation’s troubled political ship.

Chief Idika

For the students of history, the contribution of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to the political development of Nigeria can never be underrated. His desire to keep this country as one in the face of mounting ethnic crises was grievously misconstrued and those who look at history with a blind eye erroneously tagged a patriot, a secessionist. For those who did not know, the late Dim Ojukwu was the only officer of the Nigerian Army from Igbo extraction who insisted on dialogue when our people were being massacred like goats and chickens in northern Nigeria without justification.

 

Ojukwu

Even when they failed to implement the Aburi agreement, he also insisted on one Nigeria, but as the Governor – General of the Eastern region and succumbing on the genuine pressure from stakeholders   in that region the late Dim Ojukwu had no choice than to protect his people.

 

As far as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano State chapter is concerned; Ojukwu remains one patriot Nigeria ever had--- a detribalized military officer and a populist. He dedicated his time and resources to fight for the freedom and liberation of his own people who were made slaves and second class citizens in their own country."

 

 

Source of Information: Kolade Adeyemi and The Nation

 

Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:19

Obasanjo offers peace road map to Senegal

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in Dakar to broker peace between President Abdoulaye Wade and the opposition, has proposed a two-year term for Wade, should he be re-elected in the election tomorrow.

 

Obasanjo wearing two caps as ECOWAS and African Union peace envoy believes the proposal will ease tension in Senegal. Under the country’s amended constitution, the elected president has a term of seven years, but Obasanjo now wants Wade, 86 years old, to step down after two years. He is expected to win tomorrow’s contentious poll, as he is seeking to earn a third term in office. He had already spent 12 years.

 

Wade’s bid for third term after manipulating the nation’s constitution has sparked weeks of protests that left six people dead.Speaking in Zambia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “concerned” by the pre-poll violence and urged “peaceful and transparent” elections.Nigeria’s ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo “introduced a new element, a roadmap which states Abdoulaye Wade will only stay in power for two years if he wins,” said Abdoul Aziz Diop, spokesman for the opposition June 23 Movement (M23).

 

“Our wish remains that Abdoulaye Wade loses the election,” he said, noting that Wade has not promised to resign after two years.”It is these guarantees which will carry the coming negotiations with Obasanjo.”Obasanjo’s deal also calls for creating a new constitutional court and independent electoral commission, M23 co-ordinator Alioune Tine told RFM radio, saying the opposition movement was “open to negotiations…to conserve peace.”

 

Obasanjo arrived in Dakar on Tuesday as head of a joint mission launched by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has met with Wade, the opposition and diplomats.His arrival came after days of riots over Wade’s candidacy that turned parts of Dakar into a no-go zone as police fired teargas at rock-throwing protesters who had set up flaming barricades.

 

With polls set to open, the rapper-led youth movement “Fed Up” urged voters against boycotting, encouraging them to get their voter cards and vote massively against the incumbent.”The struggle must continue and will continue at the ballot box. We have been sharpening our weapons, your voters cards. The time has come to use them,” the movement said in a statement late Friday.Wade has already served two terms in office, but argues the changes to the constitution in 2008 extending term lengths to seven years allow him to serve two more mandates.

Music star and political activist Youssou Ndour attended an opposition protest in Dakar on Tuesday. The opposition condemned Wade but still failed to unite behind one candidate to challenge the incumbent [EPA]

 

The country’s top legal body validated his candidacy on January 27, sparking riots around the country and clashes in downtown Dakar.Observers say Wade needs to secure a first-round victory because he would fare badly in the second-round when the field contracts to two candidates.Thirteen opposition candidates are on the first round ballot, including three former prime ministers, but no clear front-runner has emerged.Foreign partners have voiced concern over the unsettled campaign — uncharacteristic for Senegal, which boasts an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960 and has never suffered a coup.

 

The United States has sent its top Africa diplomat Johnnie Carson to Senegal to underline its “desire to see calm, free, fair elections,” the State Department said Friday.Some worry that more than 450,000 unclaimed voter cards boost the prospect of fraud, but the elections body insists it is ready to manage the polls.Roughly 5.3 million people are registered to vote.Paul Melly, an analyst with London-based Chatham House, told AFP that a Wade first-round win could “could produce a further upsurge in protest and anger on the streets.”Wade was first elected in 2000 to great euphoria after unseating the Socialist Party that had been in power for 40 years.His supporters praise him for an infrastructure boom, but his detractors say he has focused on prestige projects while the average Senegalese battles rising food prices and crippling power cuts.Infuriating the opposition are signs he is lining up his son Karim Wade to succeed him.

 

pmnews

 

Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:12

Strangling Democracy in Senegal

SENEGAL was once considered West Africa’s oasis of stability, but now it is a place of deadly repression. This year, at least six people have been killed, dozens injured and scores arrested during protests over President Abdoulaye Wade’s efforts to run for a third term in the election to be held Sunday.

 

Even though the Constitution sets a two-term limit for the president, Senegal’s Constitutional Council has ruled — based on a disputed legal interpretation — that Mr. Wade is eligible to run again. A close look at his time in office, however, suggests that granting him a third term would be terrible for democracy.

 

Mr. Wade was celebrated as a symbol of democracy in March 2000, when he was elected president, ending 40 years of rule by the Socialist Party. He had competed unsuccessfully for more than two decades, but this time the incumbent, Abdou Diouf, failed to gain a majority in the initial voting. That led to a runoff, which Mr. Wade won. Before Mr. Diouf, Senegal had known only one president — Léopold Sédar Senghor — since gaining independence from France in 1960.

 

In his first year in office, Mr. Wade bolstered his democratic credentials by calling for a new constitution, which voters approved in 2001. It set a two-term limit for the presidency. He also abolished a Senate that Mr. Diouf had created and that his Socialists had dominated. Little by little, however, enthusiasm for Mr. Wade was replaced by fear that he was turning toward authoritarianism — especially after his re-election in 2007, when opposition leaders accused him of electoral fraud. Legislative and municipal elections were repeatedly delayed. Corruption steadily increased.Now Mr. Wade seems to be replicating his predecessor’s undemocratic practices, perverting judicial and legislative institutions and restraining fundamental liberties.

 

According to Amnesty International, leaders of the opposition and civic groups, journalists and ordinary Senegalese have been intimidated, arrested, tortured and prosecuted. On Feb. 17, a presidential candidate, Cheikh Bamba Dièye, and the opposition leader Ibrahima Sène were detained on a day when a dozen others were wounded. Last month, the human rights activist Alioune Tine, who has led a movement to deny Mr. Wade a third term, was arrested; he was set free after two days of protests and international pressure. Over the years, other political leaders have been detained for longer periods, including the opposition leader Jean-Paul Dias and his son, Barthélémy Dias.

 

Mr. Wade has weakened democratic institutions that he helped set up and has recreated in an even less democratic form some institutions that were abolished early in his tenure. The Senate, for example, was re-established in 2007, but now the president appoints 65 of its 100 members, with only 35 elected. In the old Senate, three-quarters of the 60 members were elected. In seeking a third term, the president is widely believed to be preparing for his son, Karim, whom he named a key minister, to succeed him.

 

Finally, Mr. Wade controls the judicial system and the Council of State, decides on the careers of judges and appoints the Constitutional Council. Most decisions by these institutions have been in his favor, notably the council’s ruling that he could seek a third term. The council accepted his argument that the term limit did not apply to him because the new Constitution was not in effect when he was first elected in 2000.

 

Still, the decision violates that Constitution’s spirit. In a young electoral system, term limits are a guarantee of continuing democracy. Without them, a powerful president unconcerned about accountability can use patronage to control institutions like the legislature and courts, and through them rig the mechanisms of elections in his favor.

 

After the council’s decision — and in the face of continuing repression — opposition groups united and called for the protests that began in January.

 

The protesters are not alone. A statement from the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, called on Senegalese officials to honor “Senegal’s democratic traditions, which have laid the foundations for its long history of stability and social cohesion.” Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns has said that Mr. Wade’s candidacy presents risks to Senegal’s stability and democracy. And the International Federation for Human Rights has urged authorities to “immediately stop the ongoing repression.”

 

Abdoulaye Wade has a choice: Will he enter history by listening to citizens’ demands and the advice of friends in the international community? Or will he risk being remembered as the one responsible for Senegal’s reversal from an electoral democracy to a facade democracy or, worse, an authoritarianism that destabilizes the country?

 

Landry Signé is a fellow in the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

 

DIM IKEMBA OJUKWU FUNERAL IN LAGOS

"THEY came in superlative terms.  They were all comments used to qualify the late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as a man whose courage, excellence, patriotism and selfless service were beyond compare.  The event was at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos and it was organised by the Lagos State government in conjunction with Igbo in Lagos as part of the funeral activities for Odumegwu-Ojukwu. The roll call of eminent personalities at the event chaired by renowned lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite included Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, his predecessor, Bola Tinubu, former governor of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo, governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Oko monarch and professor of music, Laz Ekwueme and professor of political economy, Pat Utomi.

Others were Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), former Chief of General Staff,  Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), distinguished economist, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Special Adviser to the President on Inter-party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, Prof. A.B.C. Nwosu, a member of the Odumegwu-Ojukwu Burial Central Committee, Chief Martins Agbaso, Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd), Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, former President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Eze Ndigbo Lagos, Eze Raphael Ohazuluike and Chief Christopher Eze. The list included the former Chairman of Diamond Bank, Chief Pascal Dozie, Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Joe Igbokwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Chisco Transport Ltd., Chief Chidi Anyaegbu, Senator Chris Ngige and Chie."  - THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: naijanedu

Ex-colony aiding its old master with Angola and Portugal’s role reversal

Not so long ago, thousands of Angolans were fleeing civil war looking for a better life in Portugal. Now the tables have turned. Angola's remarkable recovery from a poor, war-torn African country to a rising global oil power has been sealed with news that it will provide much needed aid to the debt-ridden country of Portugal.

 

"Angola already has large investments in Portugal's private sector, so they view buying in it as an opportunity," Monica Mark said in an article in the Guardian. The booming economy in Angola has also led many people of Portugal to pick up and move to Angola for business and career opportunities. In the end, the countries are helping each other out, as Portugal's aid from Angola is predicted to increase over the next year and Angola gains more workers.

 

From rags to riches, not only Angola has seen growing prosperity, but so have several other African countries such as Rwanda and Ethiopia. Overall, African economies are rapidly expanding and millions of people have moved into the middle class throughout the last decade. Around 60 million Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100 million will by the year 2015, predicts the Standard Bank. This is good news compared to the low $700 average yearly income of most Africans.

 

"For many of the countries in the [African] continent there is now less conflict, better governance and greater government stability," professor of economics and Director of the Ahlers Center for International Business Denise Dimon said. "At the same time there have been better economic policies that have been more conducive for business growth along with a surge in demand for the commodities that Africa has to sell."

 

All of this has allowed the region to experience prosperity and continually improve development. This optimism only reaches so far, however, because most Africans still live on less than $2 a day.

 

"Food production per person has slumped since independence in the 1960s. The average lifespan in some countries is under 50 years. Drought and famine persist. The climate is worsening, with deforestation and desertification rates rising. Yet against that depressingly familiar backdrop, some fundamental numbers are moving in the right direction," The Economist said.

 

Population trends are also in Africa's favor as well educated young people fill the job markets and the birth rate declines.With more working-age people and less dependents comes increasing growth, and that is exactly what Africa needs.

 

With the growing number of workers comes a strong interest in technology, which is boosting economic prosperity as well. One example of this can be seen with the vast use of mobile technology. Africa has over 600 million cell phone users, more than America or Europe. Since Africa's roads are generally under-developed and unmanageable, advances in communications like mobile banking and other applications have been hugely beneficial.

 

China was the first to see prospects in Africa, and now more than a million Chinese are discovering opportunities for investment and trade throughout African cities and even in its villages. "China's arrival has improved Africa's infrastructure and boosted its manufacturing sector. Other non-Western countries, from Brazil and Turkey to Malaysia and India, are following its lead," the Economist said.

 

"The future [of Africa] is very exciting and optimistic," Dimon said. "I like the quote from Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible until it's done.' Well, the once seemingly impossible is now happening." Africa is now open for business.

Sanusi's CBN should extent its benevolence to Igbo victims

All Nigerians including Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) should call on Sanusi's Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend his corporate social responsibility to Igbo victims who suffered mightily as result of Boko Haram’s rampage in Northern Nigeria. Many of the Ndi-Igbo residents in the north lost their husbands, wives and children together with their sources of income. Many of these residents (not all) have since departed from Northern Nigeria and are back to their ancestral hamlets.

 

It is there for the whole wide world to see that many southerners living in Northern Nigeria especially Ndi-Igbo have lost lives and property to Boko Haram’s wanton destruction. Many of these former residents in north have fled from their residential homes and businesses with their families back to south east. In their departure from north they have abandoned their source of livelihood, occupations, businesses and houses in order to protect their lives and the lives of their children.

 

In most cases the bread winner of the families were killed and widows have to take responsibility of raising the children without help in the absence of their late husbands. It is becoming self-evident that Sanusi's CBN is the only institution that cares for the victims. These families need help and if Sanusi's Central Bank of Nigeria can offer the help as it has demonstrated with the N100 million gift to Kano victims, they do not have any alternative than to make appeal to the CBN.

 

To be truthful, no one can blame another human being for running away in order to safeguard his or her God-given precious life. History has taught many of these fleeing southerners that time is not on their side and that there is no reason to anticipate for the best as lives and property were being destroyed before their presence. When these victims chose to linger around, hoping for the best and if the worst continues, they have themselves to blame. That is why they were precautious and took off because they do not want history to repeat itself and be blamed for not hearken to the voice of reason and not learning from history.  They do not want to abandon their property and businesses, but the threat of terror and its visitation gave them the compelling reason to run for their dear lives.

 

When the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria gave a gift of N100 million to the victims of Boko Haram in Kano, many groups and others including Save Nigeria group (SAG) and  youth wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) were calling for him to be sacked.  It is the prerogative of these groups to make their request for Sanusi's dismissal and to voice out their grievances but their actions are not necessarily fruitful. What they should be asking is for Sanusi’s CBN is to extend its gift and benevolence to the rest of other victims that have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram especially Ndi-Igbo residents of North who have lost everything - life and property.

 

Ndi-Igbo residents of the north love their homes and many of their children have not known another place as home but northern Nigeria. In most cases they have assimilated, socialized and are fluent in Hausa and local dialects. When everything stabilized and when the unrest is finally checkmated, these victims may even decide to return back to their old homes. But at the moment they need help from where ever they can get it from.

 

Instead of these groups (SNG and CAN) asking for Sanusi to go, they should come together and make it known that many other victims should also be taken care of. These groups with their clout can make their case to the presidency and stake holders, appealing to them to have a comprehensive agenda plan to aid the victims of Boko Haram destruction. The sacking of Sanusi is not necessary because it is not going to contribute to making things better. Moreover, the letting go of Sanusi may not be realistic due to constitutional constraints and the independent of CBN from the executive as was promulgated by the Nigeria's constitution. Moreover Sanusi Lamido has executed his monetary policy responsibly and has won many accolades.

 

Igbo widows who came back from north have to etch a living in the absence of the heads of the families. They have to provide for their children and raise these children alone by themselves. And to add insult to the injury, most of these widows were home makers, who stayed at home and do domestic works. Now they have to go out and earn a living by going to training school or start small businesses and they need the funds.

 

Therefore, the federal government including the Central Bank of Nigeria should come to their needs and render the desired and deserved benevolence to the helpless victims. SNG and CAN should also participate in asking CBN and the government to aid the people that greatly need the help. The aiding of Nigerians who are victims of the social unrest bodes well for a stronger and united Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

 

Ex-KBR head gets 30 months in prison in scheme to bribe Nigerian officials for contracts

HOUSTON — A former KBR Inc. chief executive was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and three years of probation Thursday for his role in a scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in return for $6 billion in engineering and construction contracts.

 

Albert “Jack” Stanley pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiring in the decade-long scheme related to the company’s natural gas operations in Nigeria from 1995 to 2004.

Stanley was also ordered to pay $1,000 a month in restitution after he is released.

The 69-year-old will serve a lighter sentence than his plea agreement had outlined, as he had faced the possibility of seven years in prison and $10.8 million in restitution for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act says it is unlawful to bribe foreign government officials or company executives to obtain or retain business or to secure an advantage to getting the business.

 

KBR, a worldwide engineering and construction services firm, was split off as a separate public company from Halliburton in 2007. It was formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root.

 

Stanley was chief executive of KBR until 2001 and chairman until June 2004. He also pleaded guilty to a separate count of conspiring to defraud KBR and other companies, admitting to improperly receiving $10.8 million from a consultant hired by KBR at his behest.

 

Stanley acknowledged in his plea that a four-company joint venture, including KBR and firms from France, Italy and Japan, paid about $182 million to consulting companies that then paid bribes to several Nigerian government officials.

 

Federal investigators focused on a contract for construction of a $4 billion liquefied natural gas plant on Nigeria’s Bonny Island that was awarded to TSKJ, the Portugal-based, four-company consortium where Stanley was KBR’s senior representative.

 

Three years ago, KBR agreed to pay $402 million in fines to settle federal criminal charges related to the case.

 

 

A second man involved in the bribery scheme, British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, was sentenced earlier Thursday to 21 months in prison and two years’ probation. He was arrested in London in 2009, pleaded guilty in Houston a year ago to conspiring and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

 

Tesler, 63, a dual citizen of Britain and Israel, also agreed to forfeit nearly $149 million from accounts in 12 Swiss banks and four from Israel. Prosecutors said the money was traceable proceeds from the bribery.

 

On Wednesday, Wojciech Chodan, 74, received probation for involvement in the same bribery scheme after he admitted helping KBR bribe the Nigerian government to obtain contracts for liquefied natural gas facilities. The British man was placed on unsupervised probation for a year and fined $20,000. Chodan pleaded guilty in December 2010.

 

In December 2010, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency charged current and former KBR and Halliburton executives — including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who at one time led Halliburton — in the bribery scheme. But the charges were dropped a few weeks later after Halliburton agreed to pay a $35 million settlement.

 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed in 1977. Its anti-bribery provisions were broadened in 1998 to apply to foreign firms and persons who directly or through agents allow corrupt payments to take place.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria's Rising inflation rate at 12.6% may dampens economic growth

The latest number released by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics on the rate of inflation in first quarter of this year stood at 12.6%.  The market was not much surprise of the rapid rise of inflation rate in the country knowing quite well that partial removal of fuel subsidy did trigger higher inflationary trends. But the market was expecting something slightly below the recorded 12.6 percent. The inflation rate recorded at the fourth quarter of last year was 10.3 percent in December, although the rising inflation rate was anticipated but danger lies in its propensity to freely escalate. This is going to pose a major problem to Sanusi's Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that is already standing with one leg. CBN option to fissile out the growing inflationary pressure on the economy is to tighten its monetary tools.

 

The application of the monetary tighten policy has its limitations and may have become to wane. How much more can you mop the monetary base liquidity by jacking up interest rate?  At the last gathering of monetary policy committee, Sanusi's CBN retained the benchmark interest rate at 12 percent. Now with this latest number on inflation rate at 12.6 % coming from National Bureau of Statistics, Sanusi and his people at CBN will not fold their hands and do nothing. At least they will make an effort to reassure the market that they are on top of the situation without injecting jittery into the economic community.

 

At this time Central Bank of Nigeria is inclined to be prudent on what do with the interest rate - to retain it at 12 percent as they did last time or to aggressively increase it to checkmate the rising inflation rate next time they meet. That is a difficult call to make; for upward raising of the benchmark interest rate beyond the 12 percent may have a reverse effect and dramatically slow down the robust growing economy. Nigerian economy is in a robust momentum and is expected to grow up to 6.7- 6.9 percent this year below the earlier expectation. The higher inflation triggered by the partial removal of fuel subsidies has reversed the higher predicted economic growth.

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Therefore with high level of poverty in the country and large unemployment rate, the last thing CBN wants to do is to slow down the economic growth. But it is beginning to look like that might be  the  last resort if it sticks to the increasing of the interest rate expect help comes from the fiscal policy of the presidency. In that case slashing spending becomes imminent and fiscal expenditure adheres to the budget constraints.

 

CBN supported the removal of fuel subsidy and Sanusi expected the higher inflation rate to step in when fuel subsidies were removed. The inflation rate will even go higher as subsidy removal effects kicks in. The economy of Nigeria is petroleum based: The farmers, manufacturers and service providers cost of production increases and and they will pass it down to the consumers.

 

CBN revealed in its forecasting that the annual inflation rate of 2012 may rise up to 15 percent and by the next year 2013 inflation will dip below 10 percent. The problem with CBN wild assertion is that it may end up being a fussy math because the economic trends was not grounded on fundamentals but on the prevailing momentum. Nigeria is on a roller coaster and that makes economic  prediction difficult. If CBN expected much a drastic rise in the inflation rate why not find another way other than jacking up of  interest rate to tame it. Again there is no assurance to say for sure that inflation will dip below 10 percent in 2013. This is beginning to show that CBN may not be grounded on logical analysis rather pointing to the direction of the wind. This scenario of chasing the wind does not portray a sound and coordinated manger of risks associated with inflation control in a turbulent economic period.

 

 

Many of the experts and financial groups that expected economic growth similar to last year 7.7 percent growth are rescinding their forecast and expectations. Bank of America- Merrill Lynch that predicted Nigeria's economy growth of 6.7 percent has curtailed it to 6.3 percent. By no means, Nigeria's robust economic growth is not bad at all when compare to the global anemic growth of 2.6 percent according to UN base forecast for 2012. Notwithstanding, Nigeria is a special case due to higher unemployment, surging inflation rate and escalating social unrest, all these factors are not recipe for rosy economic growth.

 

Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. http://afripol.org.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:26

Akunyili vs.Ngige: Tribunal strikes out suit

Awka – The Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka has struck out the petition filed by Prof. Dora Akunyili of APGA against the election of Dr Chris Ngige of ACN for lack of jurisdiction.

Akunyili’s petition, filed on May 17, 2011, was challenging the result of the April 2011 poll in which Ngige was declared winner of Anambra Central senatorial seat.

 

Tuesday’s decision of the tribunal was sequel to the Feb. 14 and Feb. 17 judgments of the Supreme Court on the issue of 180 days within which election petitions could be heard.

 

When the matter was called up, counsel to Ngige, Mr Emeka Ngige (SAN), urged the court to strike out the case in line with the Supreme Court decision.

 

“The Supreme Court has made it clear that 180 days for the hearing and determination of petition under the 1999 Constitution cannot be extended even where it is remitted for retrial.

 

“This brings to fore the provision of the 1999 Constitution which states that the decision of the Supreme Court shall be enforced by all authorities as well as courts with subordinate jurisdiction.

 

“We will not encourage this court to run foul of that decision,” he said.

 

While associating himself with the submissions of Ngige, counsel to INEC, Mr Ositadinma Nnadi (SAN), opined that “where a court lacked jurisdiction, the proper order will be to strike out such petition”.

 

Nnadi urged the tribunal to “do the needful as a debt owed to justice”.

 

However, counsel to Akunyili, Mr Obiora Obianwu (SAN), opposed the application, noting that the decision of the Supreme Court did not apply in the present case.

 

Obianwu recalled that the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, Enugu, had earlier dismissed a similar application on 180 days, saying that the 1999 Constitution made such decisions final.

 

“The matter did not go on appeal to Supreme Court. The decision of the Supreme Court does not apply also because it came subsequent to the final decision of the Court of Appeal in exercise of its constitutional powers.

 

“This case must be dealt with on its own peculiarity. At best, the decision of the tribunal and the Appeal Court can be said to have been reached per incuriam,” he argued.

 

In its ruling, however, the tribunal, led by Justice Onajite Kuejubola, held that the issue of 180 days had finally been laid to rest by the recent decision of the Supreme Court.

 

“We have taken a careful study of the Supreme Court’s decision and there is no doubt that it had been finally settled. The judgment is clear and we are duty bound to hold in that direction,”

 

It further held that previous proceedings from the date the petition was returned from the Appeal Court was  a nullity, noting that other pending petitions before it were also affected.

 

It could be recalled that the petitioner had concluded her case while Ngige was to open his before the Supreme Court’s judgment. (NAN)

Source: Vanguard

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 17:53

Africa: From Black to African History Month

 

African History Month will counter Euro-centrism with historical truth. As well, it is important to embrace our culture and take ownership of our ethnicity.

Every February, Black History Month is celebrated because of one man. In 1926, Dr. Carter Woodson created 'Negro History Week' and in 1976 it became Black History Month. The world in general and black people, in particular, owe him a debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, during his time period, our minds were poisoned against Africa.

This is best exemplified by the following quote. 'Number one, first you have to realise that up until 1959 Africa was dominated by colonial powers. And by the colonial powers of Europe having complete control over Africa, they projected the image of Africa negatively. They projected Africa always in a negative light; jungles, savages, cannibals. Nothing civilised.

 

'Naturally it became negative to you and me and you and I began to hate it. We did not want anyone to tell us anything about Africa, much less call us an African. And in hating Africa, and in hating the African, we ended up hating ourselves, without even realising it, because you cannot hate the roots of the tree and not hate the tree.' Malcom X. Subconsciously we are living the legacy of slavery and colonialism, and solely focus on breaking racial barriers. We must cleanse our minds by learning history from our own perspective to comprehend the present socio-economic conditions.

 

Just as Negro History Week grew into Black History Month to address the changes in society, in the same spirit we must continue Dr Carter's creation by extenuating it into an African History Month. The extenuation would include history of the 150 million blacks in Latin America together with the 50 million in the Caribbean and, more importantly, the history of the motherland.

 

Not only will we build on Dr Carter's great legacy but by adding the motherland's culture and other history that has been neglected. Such as Blacks in Latin America, where 90 percent of the slaves were sent, mostly in Brazil. The extenuation would encapsulate African history from the dawn of time until the present.

 

Most notably, because of slavery and colonialism, the culture has been changed in the Americas and altered in Africa. This constitutes an urgent necessity for its people to learn their history from their own perspective. Moreover, modern history is a reflection of the European conquest, according to their interpretations. Learning African history is more important than ever, because of the diversity, in Africa and Diaspora.

 

In our contemporary world, we have accepted new identities and terminologies. The whole dynamics of Africa, its people and the rest of the Diaspora has dramatically changed. A new geography has been created with the birth of the Americas, over 50 countries in Africa and colonialism has changed the cultural dynamics. It suffices to say that an African History Month would be appropriate. It is essential that we recall our past in order to negotiate the future. The importance of understanding Euro-centrism and ethnicity cannot be over emphasized .

EURO-CENTRISM

Euro-centrism really began in 1493, because the second voyage was a large-scale colonisation and exploration project. Columbus was given 17 ships and over 1,000 men. Included on this voyage, for the first time, were European domesticated animals such as pigs, horses and cattle. Columbus' orders were to expand the settlement on Hispaniola, convert the natives to Christianity, establish a trading post and continue his explorations in search of China or Japan. Moreover, the conquest of their land would provide gold and other wealth to Europeans. Encouraged by their successes, they embraced Euro-centrism, using the gun to conquer and the bible to deceive.

 

Colonialism proved even more successful in later centuries, eventually reaching the level where Europeans could conquer and rule not only the Americas but also Africa. During this process, they realised that forcing their culture on their victims was more potent than their guns.They renamed rivers, cities, lakes, created countries, continents and forced their culture on all of their victims. And European endeavors in all of these continents continued to be hugely profitable. So Euro-centric beliefs seemed to be continually confirmed as both true and useful and they gradually evolved into the Euro-centric world-model of modern times.

 

Euro-centrism's views of Africa were most famously expressed by Scottish philosopher David Hume: 'I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences.' Whilst some changed slightly over time, there were still some who continued to hold these derogatory views. In the 19th century, the German philosopher Hegel simply declared: 'Africa is no historical part of the world.'

 

Later, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Professor of History at Oxford University expressed openly the racist view that Africa has no history, as recently as 1963. When this model was fully developed, in the 19th century, it created its own conception of the history and geography of the entire world. And it became the mirror in which Europeans came to see themselves and their own past. Before the European Conquest, the world was abundant with homogeneous societies. Many African cultures were uninterrupted for thousands of years . All this changed when the slaves were scattered and forced to accept foreign cultures.

 

During the seasoning or the breaking in period, Africans were forced to learn different cultures, speak a variety of European languages, embrace Christianity and were denied any connection with Africa, thus becoming Negroes. In the framework of colonialism, the Africans in Africa suffered a similar fate. That was implemented by their educational institutions and the missionaries. The denial of culture and adisconnection from Africa produced Negroes. 'African History Month' is essential to recognise Euro-centrism in order to counter it with the historical truth. It is important to embrace our culture and take ownership of our ethnicity.

ETHNICITY

Just think: Several generations ago in America, we were known as Negroes. The 1960s' was the era of African revolutionary wars and the Civil Rights Movements. Black was considered beautiful and slogans, like 'We are black and proud' became prominent. Once Negro became stigmatised, black was ubstituted.

 

Imagine it required generations to accept to be addressed as black instead of Negro. Unfortunately, neither word identifies land or culture.Because, there isn't a Negro-land, nor Blackens-tan, nor Black-land. The most important factor is that it disconnects the African descendants from Africa. Most notably, it promotes and perpetuates the divide-and-conquer theme. Just as Negro has outlived its usefulness, so has 'black' because it does not describe ethnicity. It is a colour and nothing more.

 

If we have kinky, coarse or nappy hair and our facial features consist of broad noses, thick lips and our bodies contain melanin, the chemical that defines our pigmentation, regardless of embracing different cultures , the ethnicity still remains the same. Additionally, the term 'from African descent' is rhetorical and serves no purpose because that is seldom mentioned by any other ethnic group. After scores of generations, they are still referred to as the respective cultures: Chinese, Indian, Japanese, English, German and so on.

 

Although, it is impossible to identify the exact location on the motherland, the word 'African' should be used with its appropriate sub-categories regardless of whether it refers to descendants from the Diaspora or those on the continent. Hence, when referencing ethnicity, the descriptive word should always be 'African.' The descendants should be identified by inserting African or Afro before their birth country. The following are examples: Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, etc. And conversely, the motherland's reference would be Nigerian, Ghanaian and so on.

 

Finally, taking ownership of the word 'African' would negate the nonsense that Egypt, Carthage, Great Zimbabwe, Ethiopia or the Moorish civilizations are not black; simply because all of these civilisations are located on African soil. Furthermore, the Japanese, Chinese or Koreans are never questioned about their ethnicity. Most notably, those three cultures are distinctly different. Moreover, neither of these groups identifies themselves as being yellow. They are considered Asians. We must take charge of ethnicity as Africans, regardless if on the motherland or from the Diaspora. More importantly, together with Euro-centrism understanding the importance of ethnicity are both keys to the development of the African History Month.

WHY AN AFRICAN HISTORY MONTH?

In order to compare the present with the past, we must remember the conditions when Dr. Woodson created Negro History Week. Jim Crow segregation and lynching were common. The Berlin conference occurred in 1884 that led to the partition of Africa. Black Wall Street was destroyed in 1921 and Marcus Garvey was convicted of mail fraud in 1925.

 

In this hostile atmosphere, in 1926 Dr Woodson almost single-handedly created 'Negro History Week'. In 1976, it was lengthened into a month-long celebration and renamed Black History Month. Britain adopted this holiday in 1987 when it emerged as part of the African Jubilee celebrations for the Marcus Garvey Centenary. This was an outstanding achievement by one of our greatest heroes. The holiday served its purpose well. Obviously, the issues of Euro-centrism and ethnicity could not be addressed in the white supremacy era. Now its time to pass the baton and extenuate his legacy. By addressing forbidden issues extending the narrative of Black History Month will be

 

inclusive of the motherland history. To set the background for an African History month, a brief encapsulation of history before and after 1492 is required because the geography and cultures of the world were quite different then. In ancient history, the term 'African' would have had no meaning. People defined themselves as members of kingdoms and regions. When you consider the fact that the culture has in some ways been altered in today's modern world, these identities were still of people of the continent we call Africa.

 

The African continent is now recognised as the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of civilisation. We still marvel at the great achievements of Kemet, or Ancient Egypt, for example, one of the most notable for the early civilizations, which first developed in the Nile valley over 5,000 years ago. However, even before the rise of Kemet it seems likely that an even more ancient Kingdom known as Ta Seti existed in what is today Nubia in Sudan. This may well have been the earliest state to exist anywhere in the world.

 

The African continent continued on its own path of development, without significant external intervention until the 15th century of our era. Some of the world's other civilisations such as Kush, Axum, Mali and Great Zimbabwe, flourished in Africa in the years before 1492. In this early period Africans participated in extensive international trading networks and in trans-oceanic travel. Kilwa had established important trading relations with India, China and other parts of Asia long before these were disrupted by European intervention.

 

The Moors conquest of the Iberian peninsular began in the 7th century and led to the occupation of much of Spain and Portugal for several centuries. The Moorish invasion re-introduced much of the knowledge of the ancient world to Europe. However, Spain expelled the Moors in 1492, the same year of Christopher Columbus' voyage. Western culture deliberately omits African history before 1492. The transatlantic enslavement distorted Africa's views of the history and importance of the continent itself. It is only in the last 50 years that it has been possible to redress this distortion and to begin to re-establish Africa's rightful place in world history.

 

It is important to recognise two major omissions in the celebrations. One is that black history began in 1620 when the first slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Completely ignoring the Latin American slaves who arrived more than one hundred years earlier. And the other presupposes that our history didn't exist before contact with the Europeans.The African History Honth will address ancient Africa, the Caribbean and Afro-Latino history. Moreover, history cannot be planned because it's the record of the past. However, it has a tendency to repeat itself in some form or another. Therefore, it's important to learn from the past glories and bitter defeats, especially from mistakes and failures.

 

All the above-mentioned are necessary to prepare for the future. If we ignore history, then we will meander and drift where the world will take us. The purpose of the African History Month is learned from these events and develop a strategy to address our everyday encounters, and this will help guide us in planning our future.

 

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