Sunday, October 22, 2017
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ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Items filtered by date: September 2017
 
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AllAfrica News: Latest
All Africa, All the Time.
  • Ethiopia:Several Killed in Communal Violence in Western Ethiopia
    [Addis Standard] Several people were killed, many of them hacked to death, in yet another communal violence, this time in Illu Aba Bora (Illubabor) zone of the Oromia regional state in western Ethiopia, according to two sources who spoke to Addis Standard by phone. The news has been confirmed this morning by Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia regional state communication affairs bureau.
  • Africa:Africa Rising to Meet Future Population Challenges
    [Deutsche Welle] Meetings like the Rebranding Africa Forum bring together some of Africa's most vibrant and innovative young minds to discuss future challenges facing the continent. But when does the talking stop and the action begin?
  • Nigeria:Police Inspector Detained for Shooting Three Farmers Over N50 Bribe
    [Vanguard] A Police Inspector in Ondo state is in trouble for allegedly shooting three farmers on commercial motorcycle, popularly called Okada over N50 bribe (Egunje).
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:01

GOV. OKOROCHA AND THE N650M PENSION THIEVES





The bar clock ticked. Jane stubbed out her cigarette, lit another and dropped the pack on the table. I stared at her. She had a perpetual smile which never reached her glassy, expressionless eyes. On my left was Sunny. I still have not worked out why he is so attached to her though he has told me she could cook. She smokes like mad. Here she is, scattering cigarette ash on the floor in spite of the ring of ash trays around us. She was on her third bottle of beer, Heineken of course. Unlike her, Sunny is a non smoker and a non drinker but he loves fruit juice. Although he is in his fifties, he kept himself in a nice trim. He is tall and lean. We were having a good time in Owerri. Bills were not on me. Wink!




Looking up, I saw “Hamper’’. That is his Nickname.  He was seated four tables away from ours. Hamper is a  young man in his forties . He was putting on short sleeves, a hat and a nice trouser and was busy with his phones. His fat face was expressionless and on his table was a can of beer. He looked harmless though he has grown pot belle. I was told  that the Governor of Imo State mentioned him in a N650M pension scam and claimed to have him and his accomplices  arrested. He has been in the Pension Board in Imo for the past 10 years. You see, I have always told you how big men and women are stealing millions upon millions of  Imo state  monies. Like Fela Kuti I have exposed some evils in government dealings in Imo. I have called some persons ‘ITT -International Thief, Thief’’, “VIP -Vagabonds in Power’’.  I  cry out  because In the midst of oil money, Imo  working masses live in abject poverty. The majority of Imolites are kept in unstable and difficult conditions while a tiny fraction have exclusive access to things and comforts of life.






Sven Johnson once wrote “before you speak, your intentions must pass through portals three, one of each kind in letters bold to see: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? “This saying has been attributed to Buddha.  Though claimed as been one of the sayings of Buddha, there is no documentary evidence to support this.  Some say it was first formulated by Rumi, the 13th century Persian mystic. Still there is lack of documentary evidence.  Some say it came from Abraham Lincoln. But in all, it was Mary Ann Pietzker who made the saying popular in 1872 in her book “Miscellaneous Poems’’ But I have my  own ideas about this. For me, things I say must be true and necessary. I don’t care if they are unkind. I have put myself in jeopardy several times due to things I say. There are times, though, when a person must be willing to put himself in jeopardy with others in other to give of himself, whether it is to another person or to an animal. And because he is willing to take this on in order to give a service of love, he receives God’s protection.






Recently, a few highly placed civil servants and some government officials between themselves and their accomplices tried to steal over N650m of pension funds in Imo. Unfortunately for this set of looters, their case was made public by the governor of Imo. Like late Fela Kuti's song in one of his radical albums, Imolites continue to remain "original suffer head" while the cabals  continue to steal our money. We were told how they discovered six hundred and fifty million naira, pension cheque fraud and that  some persons had been arrested in connection with the fraud. We all know that this talk of arresting persons over pension fund fraud by the Okorocha’s administration  is just a ruse. The governor  does not only permit corruption, he  encourages and even glorifies it. Hamper who was mentioned in the scam is already in Ibari Ogwa Village, Owerri  having a good time. So also are others.







In  2013, I exposed pension scam in Imo. I pointed out that the primary reason for the embarrassing state of absurdity as per pensioners  in our State was a  “profit first” capitalist aide of the  Governor .He had a gang of pension thieves at the Pension Board. I spoke of how they  looted 1billion naira pension funds in the State when he was the Board Chairman. That year, I condemned in strong terms the insensitivity to the plights of pensioners in the state. I mentioned his name and sent copies of my discoveries to the Governor.Fortunately for this man, his matter was not investigated and he was rewarded with the number three position in the state. It was because of same man that Commercial banks operating in Imo State shut their doors against their customers for some days. I exposed how when he was the Special Adviser to the Governor on Internal Revenue Generation (IGR), he  collected millions of naira from commercial banks in the state as tax but diverted the monies into his own  pocket. The State government later demanded the same tax that he had  collected from the banks  and the banks had to go on strike for excessive taxation.







When I made these revelations, Okorocha’s  praise singers and professional spin doctors called me all sort of names . Now in September 2017, the Imo State Governor claimed  he  handed over some Pension Board staff to the Personnel of Directorate of Security Services (DSS) over monumental fraud dictated in pension cheques amounting to N650 million naira. Who is fooling who? He should start his investigation and  arrest with the man I exposed in 2013. Former  Senate President, David Mark, once  placed a curse on some pension thieves. Early in 2014, at the commencement of a probe into pension funds administration by the Senate, Mr. Mark declared that “pension fund administrators pilfering funds meant to pay pensioners are accumulating “blood money.” He lamented that many people had gotten rich on “blood money while pensioners were left suffering and dying. He declared, “for any living human being to have stolen the money of those who have laboured for this country, I think it is only God who can decide their fate.” “But, as human beings, we have just made our recommendations and hope that the Almighty God will see them to hell,” Mr. Mark concluded.  Like David Mark I share the anguish and anger of the ordinary Imolites against this kind of capitalist looting. To me even the stoning of persons that stole money belonging to pensioners would not be sufficient to compensate the affected pensioners, if on retirement they could not receive their pensions. Many pensioners have died in Imo after years of waiting for their pensions. When they were  paid little percentage recently, the amount was too small.






The greatest mistake, the brunt of which the people of Imo  had to bear was , no doubt, the voting of the present corrupt and duplicitous government of Okorocha. I say so because of the administration’s clumsiness in handling our affairs .We will never forget the governor’s tenure of nothingness, the years of embezzlement, the reign of misplacement of priorities, the rule of ineptitude, the term of enthronement of cronyism, the period of crass nepotism, the era of corruption. A government  that destroyed  the houses and businesses of the citizens without compensation. A government that could not conduct council election. A government  of thieves and without plans or focus. Do you want to tell me that a Governor with focus will take 14 days  just to celebrate his 55th birthday? He even gave N5.5M of Imo money to a Facebook blogger  from Afikpo  just to play “betnaija’’ with Ndi Imo.  I still don’t understand the fanfare currently going in the name of  55th  birthday celebration  and stagnant performance in office. Sidney Barima once   cried ‘ Our money, wonna money eh , Africa money eh, Oga dey chop am fuga fuga. E dey steal am nyaga nyaga’ .


-Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State and  can be reached via 08037982714

President Donald Trump congratulated a group of African leaders Wednesday for providing the means by which his friends are getting rich.


Speaking at a luncheon, Trump said, "I've so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich, I congratulate you.



President Donald Trump on Wednesday was met with silence when he congratulated the leaders of African countries on the continent's economic progress, telling them, "I've so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money."



Trump delivered the remark at a luncheon he hosted with the leaders of many of the 54 diverse nations on the African continent. And while Trump almost certainly meant it as compliment, and even seemed to pause for applause, not one attendee clapped.

Image result for trump african leaders


For centuries, Europeans and Americans have exploited Africa's natural resources and labor force, not least during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the post-Colonial era, the U.S. government has supported dozens of authoritarian regimes on the African continent, while American companies have made billions of dollars from deals with dictatorships.




Since taking office in January, Trump has nominated ambassadors to only around a dozen African nations, despite having recalled all Obama-era ambassadors before he was inaugurated. This means that the vast majority of nations on the continent do not currently have a U.S. ambassador with whom they can conduct bilateral diplomacy.



During the same speech, Trump also mispronounced Namibia as "Nambia," saying very clearly that "Nambia's health system is increasingly self-sufficient."



A White House transcript confirmed that Trump meant to say Namibia.


Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates, welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city as a representative of the American people to address the people of the world. As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.





Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time, and it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly.






Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today, but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed. We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve. But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terror but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.





Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances, that prevented conflict and tilted the word toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people, force dislocation and mass migration, threaten our borders and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens. To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair. We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.





This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars, to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity. It was in the same period exactly 70 years ago that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those these beautiful pillars, they are pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity. The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As president, Truman said in his message to congress at that time, our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations.




The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity, and peace, for themselves and for the world. We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government, but we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.




This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is the foundation for cooperation and success. Strong sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. Strong sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God. In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.





This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law. The greatest in the united States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are "We the people." Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country and of our great history.





In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.




All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. But making a better life for our people also requires us to with work together in close harmony and unity, to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.





The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America's interests above all else, but in fulfilling our obligations to our nations, we also realize that it's in everyone's interests to seek the future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.




America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America's devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all. For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope.




We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideologies. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goal, interests, and values. That realism forces us to confront the question facing every leader and nation in this room, it is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face, or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow.





If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.
And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threatens us with chaos, turmoil, and terror. The score of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle that the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.





No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime's deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.





We saw it in the assassination of the dictator's brother, using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country, to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea's spies. If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.




No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do.



It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. But we must do much more.
It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior. We face this decision not only in North Korea; it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.




The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian live, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.




This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East. We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it. Believe me.




It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers.



Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again? The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance, and in Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.





We will stop radical islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists' safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nation. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries whose support and fi — who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people.




The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people. Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.




In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. We seek the deescalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person. No society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.





We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations' agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict. The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.





Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.




We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.




I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their home. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflict in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief, in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.




We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, and the Women Entrepreneur's Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.





We also thank — we also thank the secretary general for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble end have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.





The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it. Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems. The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.





In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own region. That is why in the Western Hemisphere the United States has stood against the corrupt, destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.





My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms. We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.





This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation — prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.





As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people. The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.





We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors. I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.





From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity. In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.





For too long the American people were told that mammoth, multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules, and our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.




While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government, the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America's strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today. If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the independent strength of its members. If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substantive for strong, sovereign, and independent nations, nations that are rooted in the histories and invested in their destiny, nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer, and most important of all, nations that are home to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.




In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.



This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America.

Thank you very much.

God Bless Texas - Standing strong against Harvey

By Emeka Chiakwelu

Image result for harvey hurricane in texas

A meddling dew night

Disastrous darkness shrouded in duplicity
Destabilizing wind deepen with wrecking flood


But what are you?
Wind, rain and Yes a flood - a voracious evil
Multidimensional devilish character


Houston is in its place – beautiful and evergreen
So is our Texas
A beauty that beckons the singing of angels
Then the enemy came

Roaring like a mountain lion
It came as a wind
It came as rain
It came as flood


Our LORD set a bulwark
Because whom our LORD has blessed cannot be cursed
Creating a bulwark against the enemy
Texas triumphed – Yes Houston shines
We came to together to defeat the enemy


Spirit of Texas simmering, glowing
Lone star energy - wax stronger
Yes! Love of freedom capacious

As the root endures
and leaves blossom on embrace of Texas sunshine
God bless Texas and Houston - the strong one!

By Emeka Chiakwelu on Harvey Hurricane

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu


Dr. Victor Ide-Okoye is a first-class Chief in Igbo land and a cultural icon who has earned numerous chieftaincy titles from different traditional rulers in Igboland. But he says that the recognition that gives him the most joy was the prestigious “Ichie” title that was conferred on him by his ancestral home town, Umuoji. The “Ichie” title is solely reserved for men of honor and impeccable integrity.  Dr. Victor Ide-Okoye holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management; an MBA in Global Management; MBA in E-Business and a doctoral degree (PhD.) in International Business from Argosy University.   At present he resided in Boston, Massachusetts with his family.  Afripol‘s Mark Wooten and Emeka Chiakwelu conducted the below interview.



“I am a first-class Chief in Igbo land” - Dr. Ide-Okoye



QUESTION
Good day Chief.  It is a pleasure being with you today. Afripol seeks this interview because of your relevance in the Nigerian American community in the United States and especially within the Igbo community. Sir, first and foremost, could you tell us about yourself?


Ide-Okoye : My Name is Dr. Victor Ide-Okoye.  “Ide of Umuoji” “Ichie Idejuogwugwu” I was born in the Eastern part of Nigeria, Anambra State. My home town as you can tell from my title name is Umuoji. I left Nigeria after secondary/ High School in the 1980s, and arrived Boston, Massachusetts, as a young man to pursue my University education, and as they say, the rest became history. I have been here in Boston for over 30 years.  So, you can basically call me a Bostonian.





QUESTION
Looking at your resume, you have been in the business world for many years. How did you transition from academics into the business world?

Ide-Okoye : Great question! As a young man growing up, my father told me that every Igbo man is a business-man. Honestly speaking, I have not really worked for anybody. I have told this story many times; but wouldn’t hesitate to re-tell it again. I took a business course that dealt with writing a business plan and somewhere during that class, I learnt that the staffing industry in US was a multi-billion-dollar industry. At the conclusion of that class, I was convinced that I would write my own business plan and start my own staffing Company, and that was exactly what I did. The truth of the matter was that I established my business before graduating from undergrad and guess what, I am still in the same industry today. so, essentially, I was running my company and pursuing my academics work as well.




QUESTION
Your educational background is quite impressive. How were you able to do it, in spite of all the challenges of being a recent immigrant to USA?



Ide-Okoye : My brother, it was a serious struggle, basically combining everything together. Glad, you brought this question up, I always tell my children how we used to struggle in those day; trying to balance doing business or working full time and combining same with school sometimes, on full time basis. I am pretty sure that this sounds familiar to so many of us immigrants. The struggle is real for sure.

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QUESTION
At a point you became interested in Nigerian politics and you tried your hands in it. What was your motivation? How do you assess Nigerian politics?


Ide-Okoye : Yes, indeed! My brother, I did run for Senate in Anambra State, Nigeria under PDP in 2007. It was perhaps the biggest sacrifice given that I had a really young family at the time but bottom-line was that I did it for “love of country”. It was an eye-opening experience.

 

 

"A country where the election results were tallied even before people go to the polls and for the most part, their votes are not even counted"




How do I assess Nigeria Politics? Well, politics is the realm of the rough and tumble but politics in Nigeria is at a whole other level of the rough and tumble experience. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria politics is extremely dirty. And I don’t really think that we actually practice true democracy in Nigeria. When I ran for senate, people loved my platform and message and if it was a true democracy where people are allowed to vote, I honestly believed that they would have voted for me. The system is so corrupt, and I am beginning to think that it might take a literal miracle as in “an act of God” to save us from what is happening to our country. Look at what is happening in Nigeria now, the same group of people who rob us blind, use the stolen money to maintain power. They use the army to subdue and intimidate the people. Most of those guys are so corrupt and that is why I had to cut ties with some of them after my senate-run experience. The purported elections held in Nigeria are mostly a sham. A country where the election results were tallied even before people go to the polls and for the most part, their votes are not even counted. Sometimes, I wish I could blanket from my memory some of the things I saw when I ran for senate.



QUESTION
Will you ever dabble into Nigerian politics again?  Do you have any future in politics?

Ide-Okoye : People always ask me if I would run for any office again in Nigeria and my answer is always, “never say never.” For now, I have no interest as I’m busy now raising family and establishing more businesses.




QUESTION
You have been known as a man of culture and tradition. You are a titled chief - Nze and Ichie   bestowed from your ancestral home town of Umuoji in Idemili, Anambra State.? Tell us about it


Ide-Okoye : I am a first-class Chief in Igbo land. Yes, my title name is “Ide of Umuoji” and my Ichie title name is “Ichie Idejuogwugwu 1 of Umuoji”  I have numerous chieftaincy titles from different Igwes in Igbo Land but the title I enjoy most is the prestigious Ichie Title that my town conferred on me, a title strictly reserved for men of honor and impeccable character, so I value that title tremendously.


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QUESTION
Recently, Umuoji Improvement Union (UIU) USA elected you the president general of the union in North America.   What are your plans and agenda for UIU in America and Nigeria?


Ide-Okoye : Yes, I am the current National President of Umuoji Improvement Union of North America, UIU/NA.
We have a slew of things on our agenda. We plan on visiting some of our branches, opening more branches, creating a UIU North America Youth Wing, and embarking on more Medical missions in Umuoji and possibly build another health Center in Umuoji. Also making sure that we do what is necessary in terms of security to keep our folks in Umuoji safe.


Afripol : Chief, we thank you for your time.


Ide: You are  welcomed. Thank you too.

 

ggggMark Wooten,  Afripol cultural and Entertainment Analyst conducted the above interview with Emeka Chiakwelu.

Monday, 11 September 2017 17:32

Amaka Anku: EurAsia Point woman for Africa


Ian Bremmer founded Eurasia Group in 1998.  The organization is devoted exclusively to helping investors and business decision-makers understand the impact of politics on the risks and opportunities in foreign markets. Ian's idea—to bring political science to the investment community and to corporate decision-makers—launched an industry and positioned Eurasia Group to become the world leader in political risk analysis and consulting.


Amaka Anku is a senior analyst in the Africa practice, where she follows West Africa, with a specific focus on Nigeria and Ghana. She analyzes how politics, policy, and markets interact and the short- and long-term ramifications for investors.



Amaka has on-the-ground experience working in 12 different African countries with organizations such as the African Development Bank and the International Crisis Group. From 2011 to 2015, she practiced law in the international arbitration and litigation group of global law firm Shearman & Sterling, LLP, where she represented multinational corporations in multimillion-dollar, cross-border disputes throughout the region.


Amaka is a regular commentator and speaker on Nigerian and African affairs. A native of Enugu, Nigeria, she is fluent in Igbo and French. Amaka holds a bachelor's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and doctor of law degree from Harvard Law School.


Ian Bremmer with Eduard Shevardnadze, then President  of Georgia 1999

 


Euroasia starting with a staff of one based out of a cubicle in the World Policy Institute in New York City, Eurasia Group grew into a company with offices on four continents, providing insight for the world's top corporations and financial institutions. As our name suggests, the firm's original focus was on the emerging states of the former Soviet Union. Since then, we have broadened our expertise to both developed and developing countries in every region of the world, to specific economic sectors, and to the business and investment playing fields of the future.

Nigeria is an interesting country, most of the time her thinking and perspectives are warped and lopsided. In the 21st century of innovations and technology, the country’s minister of technology was promising Nigerians that in the nearest future Nigeria will start producing pencils. While others are assiduously tinkering in space technology, feeding their people plentifully and building modern hospitals – Nigeria is talking about fabricating pencils.



But why is Nigeria lagging behind?  Take a look at quality of her education.



Education is most important component for development and economic growth. But Nigeria is busy lowering her standard of education while importing inferior technology and products from China. 


JAMB for its 2017/18 session has lowered the cut-off marks to 120 for universities and 100 for polytechnics. When concerned Nigerians question their decisions, JAMB insisted that the lower cut-off marks will deter the students from not going abroad for their studies, thereby  conserving foreign exchange. JAMB is not Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with monetary policy responsibility; its function is to be a standardized test facilitator in educating and training the finest work force.


JAMB a ‘cartel’ bequeathed with responsibility of offering standardized test for admissions into the higher institutions has turned into a mercantile agency that negotiate quality of education as in free market. Yes, I called JAMB a cartel, because it has metamorphosed or rather morphed from an examination agency into an economic arrangement with supposedly fiscal coordination with the government. Educational standard cannot be negotiated or you will pay a price at long run. 



JAMB has also become a social engineering agency that has become a tool for administering of quota system by the manipulation of cut-off marks. This has slowly but gradually introduced the rise and practice of mediocrity at expense of meritocracy. In the finality, mediocrity has fully eclipsed meritocracy in the JAMB sphere of influence.


When I read their reason for lowering cut-off marks, I could not believe what I was reading.  Wonders can never cease happening in Nigeria, so now the value and standard of education must be undermine to conserve foreign exchange that a corrupt politician will readily embezzle. Nigeria has finally lost her senses of making a rightful decision. 


Why will a country deliberately destroy the quality of her education? This is antithesis and antithetical to building a modern nation and economy. JAMB is not aware that with a high standard of education, Nigeria can attract foreign students and that can be a source of earning hard currency for the country.


Before Nigeria began her quest to kill quality of her education in tertiary institutions, she used to be the envy of the world. In those yesteryears Nigerian students and graduates can compete with anybody regardless of their countries.  That was the good old days, when degrees from Nigerian universities carry respect and recognition. 


Not anymore, now there are cut-off marks to appease everybody and every group in Nigeria.  The cut-off marks have been deployed for quota system and affirmative action.  There is no generic cut-off mark for the whole country but different cut-off marks for different states in Nigeria. To further sweeten the pie, a graduating student needs to score 30 percent of the grade point average (GPA) for convocation. This is the end of education.


Nigeria must learn from the words spoken by the former president of Harvard University Derek Bok, “If you think education is expensive try ignorance.”



Image result for emeka chiakweluEmeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning, including tagteam Harvard Education. www.afripol.org, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

For advert placement Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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