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ideas have consequences

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For now it has been taken for granted in American political sphere that racial minorities stand with the political Left and vote for Democratic Party.  It's like a gospel truth that most Blacks and Hispanics always identify with liberal policies and recent immigrants are expected to follow put.


But it is beginning to change in Nigerian American community and some of them are stripping away their liberal identity and replacing it with GOP conservative cards and MAGA caps.  With their status as the most educated community in America and income exceeding the average national benchmark, these changes are bound to happen.



Despite the stereotype of Blacks as liberals, Nigerian Americans on paper are quintessential conservatives, but they still vote in great numbers for Democratic Party.  But slowly and steadily, it is changing as considerable numbers of them are commencing to reflect their ideology and are now voting GOP. 
A prime example is Ejike Okpa, who has become a staunch member of GOP.  

Image result for Ejike Okpa and trumpPresident Trump and Ejike Okpa


“Ejike Okpa, a Ni­ger­ian American commercial real estate developer in Dallas who started a PAC called Africans for MAGA, gave his first major political donations to Trump’s reelection: $35,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018. He has always preferred nontraditional candidates, he said — he gave $250 to Obama in 2008 — and he likes that Trump is a fighter and disrupter in Washington.”



“Okpa is now a bundler for Trump Victory and boasts a collection of selfies with the president’s family, a signed copy of Donald Trump Jr.’s book and an autographed thumbs-up photo with Trump. “



“What he stands for, the way he has approached doing things for America, just kind of intrigues me,” Okpa said. “I vote, but when you match that with a financial contribution, it’s an additional show of support and commitment.”


So, what’s happening?


Besides the driving forces of religion and economics; the most important and  greatest compelling momentum for the political locomotion in the community is self independence.  Nigerian Americans in general and especially those of them with Igbo heritage pride themselves as independent thinkers and abhor herd mentality, to them individualism is everything.




Because minority communities are expected to vote one way will not compel average Nigerian American to follow suit.  The confidence of self reliant, hard work and independent can be vividly  buttressed on the educational attainment of the community.



"According to U.S. census data, 37 percent of Nigerians in the U.S. had bachelor's degrees, 17 percent held master's degrees and 4 percent had doctorates. In contrast, the same census data showed only 19 percent of white Americans had bachelor’s degrees, 8 percent held master’s degrees and only 1 percent held doctorates"


And “among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services, the 2016 American Community Survey found, and many are professors at top universities. Nigerians are entering the medical field in the U.S. at an increased rate, leaving their home country to work in American hospitals, where they can earn more and work in better facilities. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building tech companies in the U.S. to help people back home."

 

Many Nigerian Americans are now in higher income bracket and are venturing into private business. Therefore conservative economic policies become attractive especially on taxes and regulations. Nigerian American community is mostly ecumenical Christians which started from their original country and are now passing it to their American children.   To certain extent, those liberal subscriptions including abortion on demand, redefinition of marriage   and removal of Bible in schools never sit well with majority of Nigerian Americans  even among those that vote for liberal candidates.

Despite all these developments,  it will  still take some work to adjust the liberal voting pattern  of the community.


Image result for emeka chiakwelu Emeka Chiakwelu,  Principal policy strategist at AFRIPOL


President Trump administration is planning to add Nigeria and six other  countries - Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania - to its travel ban list, as reported by news network Reuters.


According to Wall Street Journal , "Some countries could be banned from participating in the diversity visa lottery program, which awards green cards to people in countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S. President Trump has called for an end to that program, saying it lets undesirable people into the U.S., and he has proposed reorienting the existing visa system toward skilled workers instead."



Nigeria, for example, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, is a U.S. anti-terrorism partner and has a large diaspora residing in the United States.




"A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on U.S. immigration.





The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment.



Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visas."



WSJ reported that visitors overstaying their visa duration maybe partially driven the ban to include Nigeria and others. "In the 2018 fiscal year, 24% of Eritreans on business or visitor visas overstayed their permits, along with 15% of Nigerians and 12% of people from Sudan. Those compared with a total overstay rate in the category of 1.9%."


Speech delivered by Professor Wole Soyinka at the “Never Again Conference” organised by the Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo, to mark the 50 years after the Nigerian Civil War on Monday, January 13 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos).
Image result for Wole Soyinka @ “Never Again Conference” - 50 years after Biafra Civil War



Last year October, about a week after the nation space that we have generously agreed to refer to as Nigeria, celebrated her 59th year of Independence from colonial rule, I found myself at the Athens Democracy Forum, Athens being of course that former nation-state that claims the honour of pioneering a system of governance that we all today, celebrate under the name – Democracy.




I have no intention of challenging Athens on her claims. What is of note in that claim is simply that the Greeks consider this system of socio-political arrangement of such primal validity, despite numerous challenges and setbacks, that they continue to flaunt it at the rest of the world as the ideal to which all of humanity should aspire. What is even more striking is that much of the rest of the world continues to fall in line, join in the exercise, and propagate its virtues. Two weeks after that conference, I was back on this soil of our own continent on an allied interrogation of history generated concepts. The venue of the second encounter was Dar-es-Salaam, the occasion, the bi-annual Conference on African philosophy.





My remarks today derive largely from issues raised by those earlier exchanges. There is a coincidence of timing and relevance for our present gathering here, both thematically and historically, a coincidence that almost qualifies as a gift of Providence, since all three encounters are geared towards the historic search of humanity for existential choices based on the exercise of collective wisdom. I do not speak of wisdom as an abstract pursuit, a lofty aspiration that exists in a rarefied realm of its own, but wisdom as the very manifestation of the human ability to seize both phenomena and experience by the throat and squeeze them of any lessons they have to offer us in amelioration of human existence. 






That claim is justified by the very theme of this encounter: NEVER AGAIN. It is not the first time most of us here have heard that expression. It is, unfortunately, also not the last time such an exhortation will echo in human caucuses, structured and/or casual, organized or improvised. It is both sentiment and pragmatism, an admission of an error, of an anomaly, of a less than desired expectation of ourselves, what we believe we are capable of, what deficiencies in judgment we consider we are capable of transcending. It is, to sum up, an indication of our capacity for vision, a refusal to be stuck in a mode of thought that discountenances the possibilities of human transformation, of possibilities of transcending present limitations. 



That resolve may emerge from an individual or collective experience. Let me bring it down to the most mundane, accessible level.  Let us say, in a foolhardy moment, we have exceeded the dictates of prudence in spending, overshot one’s budget. What do we swear when the moment of realization descends? Never Again!  Or perhaps – a more literally sobering experience – who still recalls his or her first hangover the morning after a night of over-indulgence? The very first words that emerge in that first flush of sobriety? Again, the two words: Never Again! 


The trouble, of course, is that humanity tends to forget such lessons too soon, and will be found pursuing the same course of action again, all over again and again. We become inured to what we consider our capacity for recovery, even boast of our increasing resistance to the effects of the night before. However, we know only too well that, side by side with that seeming capacity for recuperation, there is a steady erosion of the physical constitution that comes from excess. Sooner or later, the liver – among other vital organs – will take its revenge. That latter analogy is quite deliberate. Power intoxicates and, in that drunken state, human beings become mere statistics. 



Some people remain in a drunken stupor for years, alas, intoxicated by the sheer redolence of power and cheap access to the instruments of force. And so I evoke that analogy to bolster those sober and anxious voices that warn, from time to time, that no nation has ever survived two civil wars. The claim that no nation has ever survived two civil wars may not be historically sustainable but, it belongs to that category of quest that I have referred to as the pursuit of wisdom – in his case, we may equate it with the wisdom of not holding a banknote over a flame just because the Central Bank claims that it is fireproof. Or attempt to hold an exposed electric wire, just because NEPA is notorious for electrical incapacitation. 






Correspondingly, our analogy is sternly directed as a mirror to those contrary voices which boast: “I have fought a war and put my life on the line to keep this nation one, and I am ready to do it all over again.” That bravado, by the way, conveniently overlooks the reality that a parallel, often more devastating toll in human lives and lingering trauma is also exacted from untrained, unprepared non-combatants, burdening the future with a more unpredictable, indeed even irreversible hangover. And that introduces us conveniently to my second conference in Tanzania for which my contribution was titled: WHEN IS A NATION? – with the sub-title, Power, Volition and History’s Reprimand. I believe you have begun to grasp the connection.





If not, let me remind you that Tanzania was one of the five nations that recognized the breakaway Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. Finding myself in that setting, among products of a very special historical formation – pre- and immediately post-colonial African – despite variations in detail, it was an opportunity to interrogate what, if any, could be considered a philosophical or ideological extract from 




a human event that consumed – it is estimated – two million and a half lives within two years. One of the preoccupations of philosophy is of course to immerse its processes in what actually makes humanity – tick. So, there we were in Tanzania, a crucial player in the Nigeria – note, I do not say Biafran but– Nigerian tragedy. Regarded as a progressive nation, with a track record of support for liberation causes both within the continent and outside – such as the Palestinians struggle for nationhood – serving as a front-line buffer against apartheid South Africa and thus incurring punitive attacks from that racist enclave, Tanzania nonetheless chose to go against the tide of opinion within the then Organization of African Unity.





She recognized a secessionist state at a time when such a position was not only unfashionable, but was even regarded by many as an act of race treachery, a rupture of the not-for-discourse, not-for-consideration political ‘absolute’ named: African Unity. ALSO READ: 50 years after: Let’s review issues that caused civil war ― Gowon, Soyinka, Utomi, Anya, Akintoye Yes indeed, that was the conjure word: African Unity. 




Unity as in non-fragmentation, non-divisible, was a proposition in transcendentalism, an Absolute. A modern continent, offspring of multiple rapes – or indecipherable trading treaties – and externally imposed distribution lines, was to be weaned on the milk of a foster mother named – African Unity So let us consider the implications of that collective position. In objective terms, what exactly was it? A historic irony, I propose. 

We are introducing here a very plain issue that goes to the heart of national coming-in-being of any people, that issue being a polarity between volition and – dictation. Perhaps you will now admit the relevance of my commencing reference to that other conference that occupied itself with the ancient socio-political system known as – democracy. The Yoruba have a proverb for that implicit lesson in contradictions – it goes:won ni, amukun, eru e wo, o niat’isaleni. Translation: The knock-kneed porter was told: that load on your head is skewed. His reply was – ah no, the problem lies at the base, in the beginning, not, in the consequence. And so, the question is thrown open as a fundamental proposition: is democracy itself not vitiated, not a sham where the roots of coming-in-being of a people spell dictation, coercion as opposed to – choice? 





Volition? Consent and Participation? Those are the building blocks of Democracy. Democracy is manifested in the act, not in the rhetorical flourish. That is the irony to which I refer, an irony that commenced when the Organization of African Unity adopted the very protocol of the inviolability of national boundaries – that is, the sacrosanctity of given boundaries, dictated, imposed, arbitrary and artificial boundaries, and its members resolved to defend those boundaries to the last drop of our blood. Now, a pause here is mandated. Tomorrow, I know that I shall open the pages of the newspapers and read that Wole Soyinka has advocated the breakup of Nigeria. 




One reporter will educe that from an underlying principle I have just enunciated, jot it down in his or her notebook, and others will copy that conclusion verbatim. Too bad for the nation’s Intelligence Quotient – known as I.Q. I have long given up and will proceed  – as I always have – on my own terms, with my uninterrupted dialogue with history, and in my own mode of expression. Those who wish to catch up can do so in their own time. My extract from that civil war remains what it always was – a simple self-interrogatory: Have we been had?





Absolutes tend to resound with clarity, an exclusionist proceeding that does not tax the brain. Absolutes readily corral even millions into comfort zones of unquestioning receptivity, simply from fear, or even just from the way they sound, not for the implications of their content. Absolutes however remains what they are – glorified sound-bites such as: The sovereignty of this nation is non-negotiable. Yes, what exactly does that mean? We know what it meant for the first-comers at the helm of affairs in the Organization of African Unity. It meant: to each his own, as exists at this moment of history. This is a club of leaders, let us keep things the way they are by respecting one another’s turf. No trespassing. No adjustment of givens. No agitation. No negotiation. 





Again, I warn against reductionism. I do not belittle the passion, the sincerity, the dedication to the liberation of the continent from external control as diligently pursued by a number of those leaders. I do not belittle the ideological determinism of a handful, the will to transform, to catch up the rest of the world and redress the history of enslavement – both by the Eastern and Western worlds, the humiliating racism for which we are on the receiving end, even till today. I do not for a moment underestimate the self-sacrifices and `I do not ignore the vision of a few individual leaders.




I do insist however that protocol of sacrosanctity of colonial boundaries was a self-serving power mechanism of internal control and domination that had nothing to do with a structured, programmatic concern for the African masses who bore the brunt of effects of colonialism and its later, camouflaged successors – including internal colonialism. And thus I continue to ask: Have we been had? Are we still being well and truly had? Do we continue to lay ourselves wide open to be cheaply had?  Well then, consider the state of the world, at that very time that the conference in Tanzania was holding, just last October. Let us take a look over the continental wall and instruct ourselves. 




That conference was taking place, 60 years of modernity after the Nigerian civil war, simultaneously with an ongoing upheaval in a distant continent, Europe, is a former colonial power, Spain. Yes, that power, Spain, was embroiled in a secessionist move by a province known as Catalonia. The initial, dramatic proclamation took place in Catalonia’s own provincial parliament earlier that year, echoing that other allegedly retrogressive move thousands of miles away on this very continent, in this very nation, in a region abutting the Bay of Biafra – that is, history was being replayed full 60 years after the precedent that was set in the Bay of Biafra. 





In between of course, need I remind you of the dismantling of the monolith known as the Republic of Soviet Unions – with the nearly forgotten acronym of USSR? Hindsight or foresight, irrespective of what triggers off recollection, it is all part of our humanity to call history to account from time to time, and most especially in those moments when its obscured fault-lines are exposed. And so we proceed to an even closer scenario – closer that is, even intertwined with our own history as former colonials – the United Kingdom, a fellow Commonwealth nation. 




I refer to the attempted breakup of that once colonial power whose policies in the first place certainly contributed to a violent, devastating resolution on the Nigerian testing ground. The Brexit movement is taking place within a loose organization, so one can claim it is not quite the same as that ugly word, “secession”. However, Brexit did lead,  with remorseless logic, to a renewal – repeat, renewal of the calls for Scottish independence. It is a recurrent agitation that actually resulted in a referendum in 2014– just six years ago – after a motion in the Scottish Parliament. That motion, like Brexit, obtained the assent of the union government in Westminster. 





The UK government under David Cameron found that it had to campaign hard to swing the votes for a “No”. Some here may recall that even Lawn Tennis had a cameo role in that drama since the referendum took place close to the Olympics, and collateral anxieties built up– would Andy Murray compete as a Scot, or as a Brit? If only such weighty issues of governance and nation-being could be reduced to benign proportions such as the uncertainties of the game of tennis! On a personal note, let me reveal here that I was in that very parliamentary house not long after the failed referendum where I addressed the International Society on European Enlightenment. 




It gave me the greatest pleasure to sympathize with members of the Scottish parliament on their abortive act of secession. Closer home, of course, we have undergone the break-up of Ethiopia and Eretria, after decades of human wastage. There is, of course, the resolution of a Sudanese separatist uprising in negotiated divorce. When – or if at all – will a verdict be objectively delivered on whether this was ‘one giant step forward for humanity’, or one harrowing step for socio-political retrogression? 




What matters for those of us committed to a humanist mode of thought is this:  a direction was finally agreed upon in favour of the survival of Sudanese humanity, the termination of its decades-long agony, and the annulment of the unwritten pacts of mutual decimation. Let my comments during a eulogy to our own homegrown secessionist leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was once violently excoriated, later absorbed, after his military defeat, into the bosom of a “united” family – let those comments stand for some of the wider implications that derive – not to all, necessarily – but indisputably from some such events of dubious associations, even of the most benign. 





My eulogy went as follows: “On that day, May 30, of the year 1967, a young, bearded man, thirty-four years of age in a fledgeling nation that was barely seven years old, plunged that nation into hitherto uncharted waters and inserted a battalion of question marks into the presumptions of nation-being on more levels than one. That declaration was not merely historic, it re-wrote the more familiar trajectories of colonialism even as it implicitly served notice on the sacrosanct order of imperial givens. It moved the unarticulated question: 




“When is a nation?” away from simplistic political parameters – away from mere nomenclature and habit – to the more critical arena of morality and internal obligations. It served notice on the conscience of the world, ripped apart the hollow claims of inheritance and replaced them with the hitherto subordinate, yet logical assertiveness of a ‘people’s will’. Young and old, the literate and the uneducated, urban sophisticates and rural dwellers, civilian and soldier – all were compelled to re-examine their own situating in a world of close internal relations and distant ideological blocs, bringing many back to that basic question: Just when is a nation? Throughout world history, many have died for, but without an awareness of the existential centrality of that question. The Biafran act of secession was one that could claim that people had a direct intimacy with the negative corollary of that question.




Their brutal, causative circumstances – I refer to the massacres, the deadly hunts – could provide only one answer to the obverse of our question, which would then read: When is a nation not? In so doing, he challenged the pietism of former colonial masters and the sanctimoniousness of much of the world.




He challenged a questionable construct of nationhood, mostly externally imposed, and sought to replace it, under the most harrowing circumstances, with a vital proposition that answered the desired goal of humanity – which is not merely to survive, but to exist in dignity. Even today, many will admit that, in that same nation, the question remains unresolved, that more and more voices are probing that question – when is a nation? – from Central Africa through India/Pakistan to Myanmar and the Soviet Union – enquire of Cherchnya and the siege of Beslan! Innumerable are the casualties from contestations of that facile and unreflective proposition that whatever is, is immutably ordered, which confers the mantle of a divine ordinance on those spatial contrivances, called nations, even as they continue to creak at the seams and consume human lives in their millions. 




Such arch-conservationists, sometimes imbued with a high sense of mission, see only a sacrosanct order in what was never accorded human approbation, as if it is not its very human occupancy that confers vitality on any inert piece of real estate. Julius Nyerere was too astute not to know that his gesture of recognition was futile. That leaves us one extract – arguably others, but I wish to fasten on just one – symbolic. Translated into the language of propulsive thinking, impelled to extract a lesson from an unrelenting cycle of human wastage, that lesson would read: 




Humanity before nation. Indeed, Nyerere’s justification of his action implied as much. And, when we finally met, during a North-South conference that took place in Lisbon after his retirement, at a critical phase of the anti-apartheid struggle, he reaffirmed the rationale behind his decision. Well, it does not matter whether r or not that alone constituted the rationale for his position – we know he was a politician, and political motives are predictably multiple and interchangeable. What does matter for us today, is the imperative of a ‘revisionist’ attitude, even as a purely academic exercise. For example, ask ourselves questions such as: What price ‘territorial integrity’ where any slab of real estate, plus the humanity that work it, can be signed away as a deal between two leaders – as did happen between Nigeria and Cameroon. 




You seek an answer to the claims of territorial integrity? Ask the fluctuating refugees on Bakassi islands just what is the meaning, for them, of ‘territorial integrity’? Again, I feel obliged to emphasize that this has nothing to do with whether or not one side was in the wrong or right, nothing to do with accusations of a lack of vision, of pandering to, or resisting the wiles and calculations of erstwhile colonial rulers, or indeed, taking sides in a Cold War that turned Africans into surrogate players and the continent into prostrate testing ground for new weaponry. 




No, we merely place before ourselves an exercise in hindsight – with no intention however of denying credit to those who did exercise foresight – we propose that the loss of two million and a half people, the maiming and traumatization of innumerable others and devastation on a hitherto unimaginable scale, by a nation turned against itself even as it teetered on the edge of modernity, provokes sober reflection. That’s all. Sober reflection. A re-thinking that is unafraid, especially as such scenarios, considered in some cases even worse, more brutish, have since followed. 



Need one recall Rwanda’s own entry into that contest in morbid pathology, one that surpasses the Biafran carnage when comparatively assessed in duration and population parameters? All remain active reminders to haunt Africa’s collective conscience –  the existence of which, I know, is an optimistic presumption – and appears to elude the ministrations of politicians and/or ideologies, or indeed theologians. I propose that we borrow a leaf from our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.





I have no qualms in reminding this, or any other Nigerian audience that, such as the ingrained slave mentality of the contemporary progeny of those who sold those exiles into slavery in the first place, that some in this nation actually consider it a duty, even honour, to take up cudgels on behalf of the denigrators of our own kind, of our own race. 




Thus, they proceed to insult those who respond in their own personal manner to such racists, however powerfully positioned and no matter where on this globe – but let that pass for now. My intention is to jog your memories regarding that spate of serial elimination of our kind – the African-Americans – by white police in the United States at that very time, an epidemic that merely actualized the racist rantings of the current incumbent of the White House as he powered his way to the coveted seat in the last United States elections. 






The African-Americans, tired of being arbitrary sacrificial lambs, the victims of hate rhetoric, went on nation-wide protest marches, carrying placards that read: Black Lives Matter. Adopting that simple exhortation enables us to include the millions of victims of failed or indifferent leadership on this continent who are more concerned with power and its accruements, who see the nation, not as expressions of a people’s will, need, belonging, and industry, but as ponds in which they, the bullfrogs of our time, can exercise power for its own sake. It is they who militate against ‘nation’, not – I shall end on this selective note – not the products of migration from purely nominal nation enclaves who perish daily along the Sahara desert routes, who drown in droves in the Mediterranean. They are the ones who confronted the question with, alas, a fatalist determinism. 





They asked themselves the question: When is a Nation?  And the answer of those desperate migrants is clearly read as: not when we left where we called home! As long as our humanity opts for unmarked graves in the Sahara desert, or in the guts of the fishes of the Mediterranean, their answer remains to haunt us all.





Yes, indeed, let us internalize that Africa-American declaration as statement of a living faith, an expression of our humanity that may compel leadership to pause at critical moments of decision, thereby earn ourselves some space where we can re-think those bequeathed absolutes that we so proudly spout, gospels of sacrosanctity, pre-packaged imperatives or questionable, often poisoned“truths” that incite us to advance so conceitedly towards the dehumanisation and decimation of our kind. Any time that leadership, on whichever side, is about to repeat yet again the ultimate folly of sacrificing two and a half million lives on the altar of Absolutes, any absolute, we should borrow that credo, paint them on prayer scrolls, flood the skies in their millions with kites and balloons on which those words are inscribed: 
African Lives Matter!



 

Former 2019 Presidential Aspirant Okey Samuel Mbonu has thrown support to the concept of “community policing” as enunciated by the Southwest Governors, via the Amotekun project.  Mbonu in a statement released from his current base in Washington DC, United States; stated that community policing is an inevitable aspect of true federalism which Nigeria purports to practice.



He further explained that community policing in the US arose from the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, which gave all citizens the right to bear arms, for the security and defence of their local communities, against unbridled attacks and potential terror.



Mbonu stated that since the numeric strength of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), is only 350 Thousand, for a population of 200 Million, that it is not rocket science that there’s an array of criminal elements, having a field day all over Nigeria, with rampant kidnapping, robbery, and banditry ravaging both north and south Nigeria.  It is also an open secret that more than half the NPF are busy guarding politicians, their wives, and their children, thus making the rest of the population vulnerable with one police personnel per 3000 to 5000 persons.



Mbonu stated that the FG should be congratulating the Southwest Governors, and encouraging the Southeast, South-south, and Middle-belt governors to form their own Community Policing units to augment the NPF, just like the Hisbah Police, and the Civilian JTF.



Mbonu also asked Nigeria’s Attorney General to understudy the US Federalism that Nigeria adopted, where Policing is strictly a state and local government affair, with every one of the 4000 counties (local government area) in the US, having its own police, along with City Police Departments for the various cities across the US.



Further, Mbonu said that the US Federal government technically does not have a “domestic” police force, because policing is a state affair, and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which is not a “uniformed” service, is only there, to aid in investigation of major interstate crimes, at the request of state officials, or due to some other serious issues.  In any case, the FBI would work closely with state police when invited to each of the 50 US states.



He stated that Amotekun would protect all citizens in their particular domain, whether they are Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw or Efik, and urged the FG to retrace her steps, and embrace dialogue with the states, to work toward a common purpose of securing Nigeria domestically.  Once the nation is secure domestically, the national military will then truly focus on the self-professed enemies of the country.

 

Foreigners hoping to adopt children from Africa will have to strike Ethiopia off their list.

The country’s parliament has pulled the plug on international adoptions by foreigners in a bid to protect children from possible abuse by their new parents. That possibility was highlighted in 2012 when, in a grim trial, an American couple were jailed for the death of their adopted 13-year old Ethiopian daughter. The couple was found to have beaten and starved the girl, who they had adopted in 2008. (She died in 2011.)

The Huelsman family — Brad and Niki with 3-year-old Girma and 6-year-old Isabela Kalkidan — arrived back in Ohio from Ethiopia in January. The couple may be among the last Americans to adopt a child from Ethiopia.    Courtesy of Niki Huelsman


International adoptions from Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa have been long-running but they seem to have gained popularity as major celebrities, including Hollywood and stars Mary-Louise Parker, Angelina Jolie and pop veteran Madonna adopted African children. But the popularity of adoptions has also raised fears over the possibility exploiting the process for human trafficking. In 2016, Denmark banned adoptions from Ethiopia, claiming a lack of data on the origins of children adopted from the country could facilitate trafficking. Some other countries have also set up more stringent rules for the international adoption process. The US suspended adoptions from Ethiopia last March. Instead of letting foreigners adopt them, Ethiopia’s parliament says vulnerable children should be catered to by state’s children services. However, there are doubts over the sustainability of that arrangement.



Ethiopian getting richer day by day - "Even if we are poor, it's better to be with our society"


Instead of letting foreigners adopt them, Ethiopia’s parliament says vulnerable children should be catered to by state’s children services. However, there are doubts over the sustainability of that arrangement.

The bans on adoptions have adversely affected US-based adoption agencies which process thousands of adoption requests. Between 1999 and 2016, a total of 15,317 Ethiopian children were adopted in the US, according to data from the US department of state. But with business starting to slow down some agencies have been forced to shut up shop.

This past December, I spent two weeks working at the Insider Inc. headquarters in New York City. Visiting the city has been a lifelong dream. As a journalist for Business Insider South Africa in Johannesburg, I've always imagined what it would be like to work in the Big Apple.



I imagined commuting on the subway to work, grabbing my morning Starbucks, and running in Central Park. I dreamed about being a part of the rush in the city that never sleeps. However, after two weeks in New York City, I started noticing weird plants on sidewalks and strange behaviors of the city's inhabitants.





Here are the 10 things I found strange about working and living in New York City.





The first thing I noticed when I arrived in New York was the massive food portions.
One pizza slice was the size of half an entire pizza pie in South Africa. From oversized chips portions with burgers to the suffocating pizza slices and ginormous Frappuccinos, everything was huge.

image14




People wash their dishes by keeping the tap running. This makes no sense. 
In South Africa, where large parts of the country are facing droughts, we plug the sinks and fill it with water to wash dishes. Like a reasonable person would.


image12



On the subway, you're considered a human danger if you dare talk to someone.
It is not strange to strike up a conversation with fellow passengers on public transport in South Africa. So it was quite a shock when the first woman I greeted on the subway on the way from JFK Airport abruptly stood up and walked to the other side of the carriage.
image10




Everyone wears black.
It was surprising how, in a city with a reputation as a fashion capital, black is the most creative thing New Yorkers ever wear in the winter. The yellow jacket I bought in a department store in Cape Town, South Africa, was often the brightest thing in the room.

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There are choking signs everywhere.
The first time I spotted the choking sign in a Chick-fil-A, I thought it was a joke. But then I found versions of the same sign in every single takeaway restaurant, warning everyone of impending doom. It turns out New York City laws require all restaurants to have these signs, something I haven't encountered in South Africa.

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And for some ridiculous reason, taxes are never included in the item listed price.
The listed prices are misleading!  In the two weeks I spent in New York, I was never able to work out the sorcery behind how the city adds tax on products and therefore never really knew how much I would be spending. Why not just advertise products with the tax included?



At restaurants, you always write in the 20% tip at the end of your meal.
It's way too complicated. In addition to expecting and telling customers to pay a 20% tip (and not 10%, as in South Africa), restaurants also ask customers to write in the tip amount on the receipt after they've already paid. It can add some unnecessary uncertainty to the situation: How will I be sure the server didn't write in whatever amount they want after I've left? Why do I have to do extra math to figure out the total amount?



People drink iced coffee while it is snowing.
It's too cold for this. Yeesh. On my first day in the city, I laughed at the barista when he asked me if I wanted an iced Americano while it was snowing outside. Only when I was exiting did I see the string of hipsters leaving the warmth of the store, armed with their iced coffees while the crisp snow fell on their balding foreheads.





New Yorkers think cabbage plants are appropriate decorations.
They're one of the few plants that can thrive in New York City winters. Every single sidewalk or piece of open land was, for some reason, covered in cabbage plants. They were just everywhere. Purple ones, even.  Everywhere!  Is it for relish?

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And finally, the sun sets at 4 p.m.
I visited New York in December. If the iced coffees in the ice-cold temperatures weren't enough to make me miss sunny Cape Town, leaving the office in what felt like midnight convinced me that I am lucky to be South African.

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari), has nominated Dr Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.  He will replaced outgoing  Dr Joseph Nnanna. 
The nominee’s name has already been forwarded to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, for confirmation by the Senate.



In the  statement signed and released by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesinas reads , “President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the name of Dr Kingsley Isitua Obiora to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.



“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007. “Dr Obiora, upon confirmation by the Senate, replaces Dr Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.



Dr Obiora holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a Masters in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a Doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan."



At the moment  Dr Kingsley Obiora  is the  Alternate Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, United States of America. His boss is  Godwin Emefiele ,  the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since June 4, 2014. .

Nigeria’s public debt stands at N26.2trn as Buhari govt moves to borrow N10.8trn

 

According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s external debt as at June 2019 was $27.1 billion, with the 36 states and Abuja owing $4.2 billion. Domestic debt level as at June was $56.7 billion, with the states owing $12.9billion . In Naira terms, external debt stood as N8.3 trillion in June and domestic debt was N17.3 trillion.



And  In addition  to the monstrous debt,  the Federal government of Nigerian  is proposing to borrow  additional 22.7 billion dollars



Based on the findings and compilation by Brookings Institute and World Poverty Clock, “Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country's population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.”



When Nigeria’s economy was rebased in 2014, the country’s Gross domestic Product (GDP) stood at USD 510 billion by the end of fourth quarter the gdp rose to USD 568.5 billion  making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa.  The economic development engineered by monetary and fiscal policy was pro-growth was principally driving the economy.  The gdp was rising and growing up to 7-8 percent was realized. With the containing and out rightly taming of inflation rate at less than ten percent, coupled with the speaking up of Nigeria’s brand, the country was a steady growth. I guess good thing never last forever especially in Nigeria.  Then in 2016 the negative growth stepped in and devastated the economy until early quarter of 2017.


Central Bank of Nigeria employed monetary policy tool to mop up liquidity at monetary base due to high inflationary trends. CBN did maintained already jacked up interest at 14 percent  to tame the rising inflation rate which was exceeding 11percent. This scenario triggered illiquidity and credit crunch in the market because borrowing became very expensive.

Below is the further analysis by Bloomberg :

"Budget Woes

The government will need to fund its 10.6 trillion naira ($29 billion) spending plans at a time when economic growth is faltering. Revenue has fallen short of target by at least 45% every year since 2015 and shortfalls have been funded through increased borrowing. In its latest credit report on the country, Moody’s Investors Service warned that the state is likely to take on even more debt and the budget deficit is set to widen further.


“One of our concerns is the authorities seeking central bank financing to fund part of the deficit,” Yvonne Mhango, an economist at Renaissance Capital, said in an emailed response to questions. “That would add to inflationary pressures.”


Inflation reached a 19-month high in November and increases in the minimum wage and power tariffs are adding to price pressures. The west African country has also shut its land borders since August to stem smuggling of items like rice and frozen products, causing food prices to rise by 15% from a year earlier.



Currency Pressures
The risk that the naira will have to be devalued is mounting. The central bank has sought to maintain high yields as an incentive to foreigners to invest in debt denominated in the local currency, attracting large dollar inflows in the process.


While the naira remained relatively stable in 2019, the country’s external reserves are down to a year-low of $38 billion. Yields on naira-denominated debt dropped to an average of 13% at the end of last year, from a peak of 18% in 2017, diminishing their attractiveness to fund managers who are concerned about a possible currency weakness.



“The Central Bank of Nigeria’s de-facto naira peg will likely continue to be under pressure in the near term due to widening imbalance in the current account, which has increased external financing needs amid weaker portfolio inflows,” Omotola Abimbola, an analyst with Lagos-based Chapel Hill Denham Securities Ltd., said by email. “We believe the CBN may be forced to review the market structure in the second half of 2020 to address investor concern.”



Banking Blues
Banks in Africa’s most populous nation ramped up lending in response to pressure from the central bank to raise their minimum loan-to-deposit ratios to 65% by the end of last year, increasing the risk of defaults. And the problem could get even worse if the regulator follows through with plans to increase the minimum ratio requirement to 70%, Abimbola said.
A high proportion of loans have already been restructured, masking the real levels of problematic debt within the banking system, according to Moody’s. "

 

credits: Afripol, Bloomberg, Guardian


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HOUSTON °F
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