On Democracy Day, Rev. Jesse Jackson joined the Jonathan government in towing the infamous path of ignominy as he danced to the macabre steps of the Jonathan administration’s mid-term scorecard of the Transformation Agenda. Jackson said it was obvious that the ship of the Nigerian Nation is sailing in the right course describing the transparency of President Goodluck Jonathan as unequalled in contemporary democracy. My first thoughts were to let it pass, but in the course of my interaction with concerned Nigerians in the diaspora, particularly in the US, we saw a need to bring to public knowledge Rev. Jesse Jackson’s clandestine scheme of grand deception in which his visits and long association with the country’s leaders has been shrouded.
Over the past two years, the present administration has resorted to window dressing and the former shadow Senator for the District of Columbia has being the trumpeter on the international scene. The Baptist minister, tried to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians during the mid-term performance report of President Jonathan. The sight of Rev. Jackson on that day was reminiscent of former President of the United States, Carter, working in the same capacity for ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Jackson’s affiliation with the present administration can at best be described as a relationship of congruent characters.
When in America, he challenges the US government to be inclusive, to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. Across the Atlantic to Africa, he endorses corruption, unemployment and undemocratic proclivities of an elected president. His speech had nothing to suggest that he is an advocate of economic and social justice, but instead, it smacked of the familiar vibes of a political hireling.
As a civil right activist, his activism must be people centred. Any government that has failed in its responsibility in providing basic infrastructure, employment, security of lives and property is not deserving of such high praise. The rhetoric of President Jonathan and his fawning ministers does not translate to realities on ground when citizens are inundated daily with unprecedented corruption, rising unemployment, deteriorating security conditions, decaying infrastructure and impunity, brandishing useless figures in the faces of Nigerians that translates to nothing makes a mockery our democracy. Rev. Jackson, as an international activist, ought to have known better that nowhere in the world is achievement on paper equated to hard facts on ground more so when Nigerian politics and politicians are involved. The scorecard of a Nigerian President must be scrutinized before making pronouncement on it.
In Bayelsa state, the two-time United States democratic presidential nominee backed the federal government’s amnesty programme for Boko Haram. Consequently, he was lampooned by Nigerians for supporting the misguided and unfortunate amnesty offer. I will begin to take Rev. Jackson more seriously if he voices same sentiments to President Obama that al-Qaeda, AQIM and other members of dreaded terrorist cells on US soil be granted amnesty. He cannot feign ignorance of the stance of America on terrorism. The United States do not negotiate with terrorists let alone grant amnesty. Rev. Jackson should be in a better position to advise and campaign against amnesty. There is no justice in rewarding terrorists who have turned places of peaceful gatherings to an abattoir, law abiding citizens are prey as they have continued to perpetrate their dastardly killings with unrestrained fervor. The Boston Marathon bombing in which not more than five people were killed resulted in a manhunt for the perpetrators, putting Boston in locked down until the suspects were apprehended. But for whatever be the reason the government brought Jackson to Nigeria, it is clear it was for name recognition rather than substance of thought or theory. Jackson must strive to understand the peculiarities and complexity of issues in Nigeria before making his comments.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson with President Goodluck Jonathan in church, Bayelsa State
Can the American political activist aver that his several visits to Nigeria spanning decades reflect the ideals of his Rainbow PUSH coalition in the US where good governance is put on the front burner? His long years of friendship with some of Nigeria’s tyrannical military rulers has been fraught with umbrageous intents. Snippets revealed he once told a group of African diplomats in New York City in 1997, that Sani Abacha was the visionary leader Nigeria needs "at this(sic) moment," same Abacha whose regime was widely considered as an international pariah. Of Ibrahim Babangida in 1992, he said he is "The most progressive military president Nigeria deserves". These were military dictators who have been accused of murder, embezzlement, institutionalizing corruption, men who have done everything in their reach while in power to put Nigeria out and send Nigerians to hell on earth. Rev. Jackson fought hard in the international community against economic sanctions on Nigeria when the UN was suggesting such a move in 1996 to speed up democratic changes and return the country to civilian control. It is same Jackson, who didn’t see anything wrong fraternising with a dreaded dictator that is enjoying a democratic Nigeria today. If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, certainly, he would have disapproved of Jackson's ties with the discredited soldiers of fortune and his eccentric international activism. Reason why Jesse Jackson has lost relevance in his country cannot be farfetched.
The image of a prosperous and corruption-free Nigeria is being painted by a motley figure like Rev. Jesse Jackson to the world and Nigeria stands to lose a lot if we allow him get away with such.
Since the inception of the President Barack Obama-led administration in 2008, Rev. Jackson - the Greenville, South Carolina born advocate - has made spirited attempts to launder the image of Nigeria to America that it is deserving of a visit by President Obama. But he has been unsuccessful in his latest mug’s game. On Obama’s second trip to Africa, he has once again boycotted Nigeria, choosing rather to stopover at countries who have demonstrated commitment to democracy, good governance and has upheld human rights. Expectedly, President Obama does not acknowledge him as a serious politician. He is no longer considered an elder statesman in the US. So, Nigeria and other third world countries is the way to go. If the intentions of Rev. Jackson were genuine, why has he failed to work with other Nigerian activists in Nigeria or US over the years?
Jackson’s visits to Nigeria underscores the thinking of some “friends” of Nigeria in America who find it difficult to disconnect from the wealth they see in the Nigerian political elite. For them, that only is important. They care less about the intricacies and the dynamics of control of its resources. They see Nigeria and all they want is to be part of the few who milk the country dry.
Well, to the Jackson crowd, we have a duty to remind them that the struggle for civil rights, democracy and good governance by Nigeria’s activists of yesteryears and today is not in vain.
When President Obama and the first lady travel to Africa at the end of this month, they will receive a rapturous greeting. The president's deep roots in Kenya, the land of his father, resonate throughout the continent. His success in the United States evokes pride and joy in Africa.
I write this from Nigeria, a country that has just celebrated its 14th year of democracy. President Obama's election enabled Africans to see America in a new light. I hope his visit will enable Americans to see Africa with new eyes.
We know the problems of Africa: its poverty, corruption and conflict. After 246 years of the slave trade, 100 years of colonialism, African suffering and struggle are known. But perhaps the president's visit will enable us to see the possibilities.
Africa is the second-largest continent in the world, larger than China, the United States and Europe combined in land area. Its peoples number about one-eighth of the world's population. It is a richly endowed continent, providing some 22 percent of the world's gold, 55 percent of its diamonds, and 12.5 percent of its oil. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. It is still marked by poverty, but extreme poverty has been declining at about 1 percent a year.
Nigeria has twice the population of any other African country. It is growing at 7 percent a year, and will be Africa's largest economy within the decade. It is a major supplier of oil to the U.S., and potentially a major trading partner. Nigeria's GDP is three times that of any other West African country. It is the largest destination for foreign direct investment on the continent. It sends 7,100 students to the U.S. for university programs. Its democracy is taking root. The sun is rising in this land of potential.
Nigeria still has deep challenges to overcome. Its infrastructure is outmoded; its health care and education systems inadequate; corruption remains a curse, and 60 percent of the population remains below the poverty line. Like many African countries, it struggles with an exodus of professionals.
The president will visit Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa with a large delegation of business leaders and investors. Tanzania and Senegal are among the fastest-growing economies on the continent. The U.S. is not the only country interested in these new possibilities. The president will arrive in Tanzania three months after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit. Americans will get a new understanding of how aggressively China has reached out to Africa, providing aid, investments and securing supplies of oil and other raw materials. For economic, national security and humanitarian concerns, America has every reason to open up closer ties with the nations on that continent.
Independent Africa is still young. It was only 57 years ago when Kwame Nkrumah founded Ghana, its first independent nation. Now there are young, growing democracies, moving from the struggle for independence to the struggle for legitimate governance and economic development. Think of the United States 50 years after its historic revolution. Our institutions were still being formed; we were still trading in slaves, denying women equal rights, headed toward a violent civil war.
Democracy and development are roads with twists and turns. In Africa, as the president's visit will expose, the turns are now positive. We would be well advised to contribute to the progress, to invest in the promise, and to bolster the push for human rights, development and democracy.
Rev. Jackson, the founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and he twice ran for presidency in United States.Keep up with Rev. Jackson and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at www.rainbowpush.org.
The American pastor and onetime presidential candidate was honoured at a ceremony with Amon N'Douffou V, king of the Agni people of the Krindjabo kingdom. The crowning ceremony was attended by bare-chested women. The king rules over a million members of his tribe, which venerates Michael Jackson after making him their prince after he visited the kingdom in 1992. Villagers deep in the rainforest launched a search for a successor to the singer who was crowned prince of the Agni people 17 years ago. The tribe held an extravagent two-day royal funeral for Michael Jackson. Traditional dancers and lookalikes of the dead singer paraded before the king and 2,000 mourners. Tribal chiefs appealed to the US embassy to press Jackson's family to bring his body to the west African country for a burial in accordance with the local tradition of the Sanwi kingdom. Jesse Jackson was on a three-day visit to the Ivory Coast, invited by the association of "Young Patriots", who are supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo. He found himself feted by the tribe and has now inherited the the title of prince - or son - of the Agni from the late star, who was not a relation. Krindjabo lies deep in the tropical rainforest in the southeast of Ivory Coast. Most people survive by subsistence farming or hand-panning for gold. The crowning ceremony attended by bare-chested women. Source: The Telegraph
The American pastor and onetime presidential candidate was honoured at a ceremony with Amon N'Douffou V, king of the Agni people of the Krindjabo kingdom.
The crowning ceremony was attended by bare-chested women.
The king rules over a million members of his tribe, which venerates Michael Jackson after making him their prince after he visited the kingdom in 1992.
Villagers deep in the rainforest launched a search for a successor to the singer who was crowned prince of the Agni people 17 years ago.
The tribe held an extravagent two-day royal funeral for Michael Jackson. Traditional dancers and lookalikes of the dead singer paraded before the king and 2,000 mourners.
Tribal chiefs appealed to the US embassy to press Jackson's family to bring his body to the west African country for a burial in accordance with the local tradition of the Sanwi kingdom.
Jesse Jackson was on a three-day visit to the Ivory Coast, invited by the association of "Young Patriots", who are supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo.
He found himself feted by the tribe and has now inherited the the title of prince - or son - of the Agni from the late star, who was not a relation.
Krindjabo lies deep in the tropical rainforest in the southeast of Ivory Coast. Most people survive by subsistence farming or hand-panning for gold.
The crowning ceremony attended by bare-chested women.
Source: The Telegraph
This week Jackson paid South Africa another visit
When Reverend Jesse Jackson, one of America’s leading civil rights leaders, marched alongside exiled ANC President Oliver Tambo in London’s Trafalgar Square on November 2, 1985, South Africa was a global pariah.
The townships back then were restive and Nelson Mandela was still in prison.
The 120 000-strong demonstration marked one of a series of events mounted by the anti-apartheid movemement in a push to bring the segregationist system to its knees.
Little did Jackson know that by 2010 South Africa would have marked its 16-year anniversary as a democratic state and played host to a spectacular World Cup, the first to be held on African soil.
Jackson, 69, has made countless trips to South Africa and he remains close to the country.
Apartheid was no different to the policies of racial discrimination and other violations that bedevilled black people in America, leading to the emergence of the US civil rights movement in the 1960s in which Jackson featured prominently and stood alongside the likes of Dr Martin Lurther King Jr.
This week Jackson paid South Africa another visit.
Among his engagements was delivering a keynote address to the annual investment conference of the Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) in Johannesburg last Wednesday.
On Saturday he was scheduled to speak in Groutville, north of Durban, home of Chief Albert Luthuli, the president-general of the ANC from December 1952 until his death in 1967, and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960.
Jackson used his ABSIP speech to celebrate some of the country’s achievements since 1994, but also took time to showcase its current shortcomings, one of which is growing inequality.
While every South African now had the right to vote, he said there remained formidable obstacles to economic opportunity for a majority of South Africans. “We are free today but we are not equal,” said Jackson.
“Luthuli marched for freedom, (President Jacob) Zuma must fight for equality,” added Jackson.
He suggested that black people must come together and apply a global strategy to deal with global banks and leverage their strengths.
“Black groups need to buy shares in large multinational corporations so that they can attend global banking group shareholder meetings to raise issues.”
He said the management of these companies needed to be asked who they used for their professional and other services.
As an agitator for social change you would expect him to be some sort of fire spitting preacher but, if anything, his speech at ABSIP showed that Jackson is more nuanced and strategic.
In December 1996 he formed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), whose mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.
Jackson said that there was still apartheid in finance, healthcare, education, trade and shipping among other sectors.
“We are free, but we aren’t equal. Who manages the pension funds? This is another dimension of our struggle,” said Jackson.
He told ABSIP members that everyone had to understand that: “Every bank and shopping centre is for sale, if you have the money”.
He urged black people to come together and leverage their strength to gain access to strategic economic spheres.
“There’s more to the car than the ride,” entoned Jackson, wondering why black people were not involved in the production of the many thousands of parts that constitute a car – from the alternator system to the windshield.
He made the same point about all industry sectors in South Africa.
“There’s more in the Coke bottle than the taste.” - Weekend Argus
A reconstruction plan and massive aid for Africa
The one-time US presidential candidate and civil right leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Nigeria and called for African version of the Marshall plan, a reconstruction plan and aid given to Europe at the end of Second World War. Rev. Jackson said that Africa deserves a massive assistance as a result of damage done by colonialism and naked aggression that has left the continent poor and downgraded.
Jackson was in Nigeria to address Kuramo biennial conference, a dialogue on law and developmen in lagos state, Nigeria. His words, “In order for countries to overcome disparities, they need to get fair trade and favored-nation trade status to cover the ravages of war and occupation and colonization. The formula was good for European reconstruction - it should apply to Africa."
“The Marshall Plan, put forward by the U.S. to rebuild Europe after the war with the Axis Powers, cost roughly $13 billion at the time. Jackson offered no estimate on what a similar program aimed at road, sewer and building construction would cost across the continent, but said Western nations had an obligation to the countries they once occupied.”
Associated Press reported that,“Jackson acknowledged that he once benefited from Nigeria's largesse: he toured South Africa to protest apartheid in the 1980s with the financial backing of then-military dictator and current presidential aspirant Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida left power in 1993 as a reported $12 billion in oil revenues went missing.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson is not a stranger to issues affecting Africa and he has been a vocal supporter of Africa. In the era of his presidential candidacy he did call for debt cancellation and lower interest rates on the loans given to African nations.