Friday, March 30, 2012

World Bank Selection A ‘Hypocrisy Test’, Says Okonjo-Iweala

... As Financial Times Newspaper Endorses Her... 

Nigeria's Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the process through which a new World Bank president is selected to succeed Mr. Robert Zoellick whose tenure ends in July would serve to determine the "level of hypocrisy" of the rich nations.  



























Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
 “I would really hold the Bretton Woods shareholders to their word, that they want to change the way business is being done and want a merit-based, open and transparent process for the presidency. I just want to see whether people just say things with their mouth that they don’t mean and what’s the level of hypocrisy. So we want to test that,” Okonjo-Iweala told Financial Times (London) in a recent interview. 

Since the World Bank was established, America has always produced its president. And it is always taken for granted that the American nominee will always emerge the winner due to her superior voting power. Already, President Barack Obama has nominated an American health expert and Dartmouth professor, Jim Yong Kim, for the top job. Other contenders are Okonjo-Iweala herself who is backed by the African Union (AU) and the former Colombian Finance Minister, Jose Antonio Ocampo. 

US President Barack Obama, US Nominee For World Bank Presidency, Jim Yong Kim, US Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton, During The Announcement Of The US Nominee In The Rose Garden At The White House On  Friday, March 23, 2012

Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, thinks that since the bank is focusing on development, the weak economies which are the targets of such developmental efforts ought to be allowed stronger voice in the running of the bank. She called for a “contestable process” in the selection of the bank’s leadership. 

“Many developing countries are very desirous to see this. They may not necessarily be saying they support Okonjo-Iweala, but they will be saying we support a contestable process,” she said.  


Okonjo-Iweala is also Nigeria's Coordinating Minister of the Economy. A decision to remove the subsidy on fuel in Nigeria recently led to serious civil crises which paralyzed activities in the country for several days. Most people thought she was the architect of the policy.  But most African leaders believe she is the best person for the World Bank job. And she thinks so herself.  

Time To Say Goodbye: Robert Zoelick: His Tenure
As World Bank President Ends June 30


"I’m not a typical bureaucrat, and not a typical World Banker either. I’ve come in and out. Someone like me can hit the ground running. I don’t have a steep learning curve,” she told Financial Times  

“I think that the World Bank matters so much to many of the world’s poor, it matters so much to emerging market countries, so I think this time they need to get it right. I can’t do better than demand they stick to their words. If they fail then it will be for the world to judge them,” she said.  



Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Being Greeted By Her Greatest
Supporter, President Goodluck Jonathan


Meanwhile, the Financial Times has endorsed her for the job. In an editorial on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, the paper said that the new president of the World Bank “should have a command of macroeconomics, the respect of leaders of both the funding and the funded countries, and the management skills to implement his or her vision. These requirements make Ms Okonjo-Iweala the best person for the role… Having an African woman at the helm of the world’s leading development institution would send a strong signal both to developing and developed countries. … In this less than ideal world, Mr. Kim’s appointment seems inevitable. But if the Bank’s shareholders wanted the best president, they would opt for Ms Okonjo-Iweala.”


Saturday, March 17, 2012

There Was A Country By Chinua Achebe

----------------------------------------------
A Penguin Profile Of Chinua Achebe's Personal History Of Biafra, There Was A Country:

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe masterfully relates his experience, both as he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe’s place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.
























*Chinua Achebe 

AN EXCERPT FROM THERE WAS A COUNTRY
 (c) Penguin Publishers Fall 2012 Catalog


The Nigeria-Biafra War was arguably the first fully televised conflict in history. It was the first time scenes and pictures—blood, guts, severed limbs—from the war front flooded into homes around the world through television sets, radios, newsprint, in real time. It probably gave television evening news its first chance to come into its own and invade without mercy the sanctity of people’s living rooms with horrifying scenes of children immiserated by modern war.
One of the silver linings of the conflict (if one can even call it that) was the international media’s presence throughout the war. The sheer amount of media attention on the conflict led to an outpouring of international public outrage at the war’s brutality. There were also calls from various international agencies for action to address the humanitarian disaster overwhelming the children of Biafra. 



















Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye with the book...

Said Baroness Asquith in the British House of Lords, “Thanks to the miracle of television we see history happening before our eyes. We see no Igbo propaganda; we see the facts.” Following the blockade imposed by the Nigerian government, “Biafra” became synonymous with the tear-tugging imagery of starving babies with blown-out bellies, skulls with no subcutaneous fat harboring pale, sunken eyes in sockets that betrayed their suffering. 

Someone speaking in London in the House of Commons or the House of Lords would talk about history’s happening all around them, but for those of us on the ground in Biafra, where this tragedy continued to unfold, we used a different language . . . the language and memory of death and despair, suffering and bitterness. 
The agony was everywhere. The economic blockade put in place by Nigeria’s federal government resulted in shortages of every imaginable necessity, from food and clean water to blankets and medicines. The rations had gone from one meal a day to one meal every other day—to nothing at all. Widespread starvation and disease of every kind soon
set in. The suffering of the children was the most heart-wrenching.

Aliko Dangote's Biography - Due For Release Soon






ALIKO MOHAMMAD DANGOTE
THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE RICHEST BLACK PERSON IN THE WORLD
9141 SOUTH WABASH AVENUE
CHICAGO, IL 60619
Tel: 773 660 8917; 312 622 4403


March 10, 2012

Dear Sir/Madam,





INTRODUCING THE BOOK

ALIKO MOHAMMAD DANGOTE:

   THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE RICHEST BLACK PERSON IN THE WORLD



























Aliko Dangote

It is our pleasure to introduce to you the biography of the richest black person in the world, Aliko Mohammad Dangote. The book, which has been accepted for publication by a publishing company based in New York, USA will be released to the market in North America in summer, 2012. This is the first and only biography of this exceptional Nigerian, and African. We were in Nigeria for fourteen months for field work on this important book. We visited the ancient city of Kano in Northern Nigeria where Aliko was born, Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Wudil and other important places tracing the many paths of Aliko Dangote and his successful career as Nigeria’s foremost industrialist and Africa’s richest person.

You will agree with us that the achievement of Mr. Dangote as the richest black person in the world, according to the New York-based Forbes magazine should be celebrated by all Africans and the black race. In the book, we traced the paternal family backgrounds of Mr. Dangote to four generations beginning with Mr. Alhassan Abdullah Dantata to Mr. Sanusi Dantata and Mrs. Mariya Dantata-Dangote and Aliko Dangote. We were able to secure rare photographs from the family album in Kano, including the paternal family of the richest black person in the world. Our narrative included the political circumstances that led to the death of Mr. Mohammad Dangote, Aliko’s father in 1965 and the unrest ignited by the removal of Mr. Mohammadu Sanusi, the Emir of Kano and the grandfather of Dr Lamido Sanusi, the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

We had rare interviews with many Nigerians in Kano on how young Aliko grew up in Kano and his formative years in the ancient city. Next, we followed Aliko Dangote’s journey to Lagos as a 15-year old young man under the business wing of the late Mr. Usman Amaka Dantata, Aliko’s uncle born in 1950 and the last born of his maternal grandfather, who was the younger brother of Aliko’s mother. We revealed how Aliko Dangote had his first break in the business world during the celebration of Festac’ 77 and the first business relationship with then 35-year old Lt-Gen Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. We unearthed the secret of Mr. Dagote’s wealth unknown to millions of people and his contribution to the economic development of Nigeria and Africa.

In our book, we present the "complete" Aliko Mohammad Dangote and his private life; the actual number of children he has, his wives and the many women in the life of the richest black person in the world. For the first time, we revealed the "secrets" of the business success of Aliko Mohammad Dangote and draw certain commonalities with other billionaires of the world. Our searchlight did not escape the philanthropic activities of Nigeria’s largest private employer of labor as well, including his political cum business connections with all Nigerian leaders, beginning with Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the current Nigerian president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

In the summer of 2012 as our publishers will release the English Language edition of this blockbuster book into the North American market. Other versions of the biography billed for the market in the summer of 2012 are; Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hausa, Russian and Spanish Languages.






Moshood A. Fayemiwo, PhD                                      
Margie M. Neal, Ed.D











ADVANCE COMMENTS ON THE BOOK

ALIKO MOHAMMAD DANGOTE:
                                                                                                                                    THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE RICHEST BLACK PERSON IN THE WORLD

"Like any other denouements of memoir books, the last chapter is the highlight. As a reader, the denouement always takes the heavier weight of a literary merit for memoirs and autobiographies. Also the book provided a comprehensive historical account of main events in Nigeria which made Mr. Dangote of what he is today. Excellent job! You managed to lead the chapters of seeing the different sides of the world of business to be fascinating yet a serious path toward success--- Ms Lou Fuentes, Publishing Consultant, Trafford Publishing Company, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
 --------------------------


"We here at the Northern Illinois University, African Students Association would be more than grateful to have you come and present he book; "Aliko Mohammad Dangote, The Biography of the Richest Black Person in the World," to us during our association’s week…"--- Mr. Michael Agyekum, President, African Students Association (2011-2012), Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois, USA.


--------------------------



"Congratulations, we have completed our review of your work and you have been accepted as our approved authors---Mr. Tom Wallace, Acquisitions Manager, AEG Publishing Group, Houston, TX, USA.

--------------------------









"A good book based on the preview we have just seen. Great job!--Ms. Shelley Sapyta Bookmasters, Inc. 30 Amberwood Parkway Ashland, OH, USA.

--------------------------

"The book on the richest black man in the world will be interesting. I am looking forward to someday reading the actual book… Warmest regards"---Ms Lorene A. Roberson, M.A. Media and Alumni Relations Coordinator, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.

--------------------------

"I am very happy to hear that you would like to share Mr. Dangote's story with our community as well as assist us in accumulating funds to support our future events. … ACA would love to have you as a sponsor. .. We would include an ad for the book in our program and we could even give you an allocated time to speak in front of the crowd and promote the book yourself. Thank you, for reaching out to ACA. I hope we can work together…"Ms Chinwe Echeazu, President, African Cultural Association, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL USA.

--------------------------
"Dear Dr Fayemiwo, Thank you very much for considering Yankasa Association as a possible site for the signing of your book. Certainly Mr. Dangote needs to be celebrated by all Africans for his accomplishments…"---Mr. Mohammed Mardah, President Yankasa Association of New York, Inc Bronx, NY, USA.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

MOSHOOD ADEMOLA FAYEMIWO
is a former publisher and editor-in-chief of popular Razor magazine and Evening News in Nigeria between 1992 and 1998. A former reporter with the defunct National Concord newspapers; senior reporter, The Herald newspaper, Ilorin; staff writer, with the defunct New breed magazine; staff writer, Sunday Champion newspapers; special project staff writer, the defunct African Guardian; and senior special project writer/reporter, the defunct Times Week (Daily Times). He is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, Nigeria (BA-Education); University of South Florida, and State University of New York (SUNY)-Albany where he earned an MA in Mass Communication, MS in Information Science and Combined MA Degree in African-American History & English Studies respectively His PhD is in Public Administration and Policy. He is the author of Who’s Who of Africans in USA and three other published books in the United States. He was contributing editor for The Informed Constituent newspaper in Albany, New York. He has written for newspapers in Tampa, St Petersburg in Florida, New York and has authored academic articles for scholarly journals in the United States and the UK. He is a member of several professional organizations. His latest work is co-author of the biography of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. He is a writer, author, commentator on local and international issues and a businessman. He is the managing director of Alternative Lifestyle Communication, Inc, and lives in Chicago in the United States of America.

MARGIE MARIE NEAL is a former university professor, an education consultant, and a reading coach/classroom teacher with the Chicago Area School System in Illinois, United States. A graduate of State University of New York (SUNY)-Brockport, where she earned her BS in History, MS in Reading from the Chicago State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned her Ed.D –Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She was formerly, president, Chicago Area Reading Association and committee member, International Reading Association, United States. She is a member of several professional organizations on reading and educational development in Chicago, USA. She is the president of Alternative Lifestyle Communication Inc., Chicago, and lives in Chicago in the United States of America.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wole Soyinka Celebrated At Major Italian Festival

Honoured With The Key To The City Of Pordenone

Begining on Saturday, March 10, at the Teatro Verdi in Pordenone , there will be a dedication as well as a solo exhibition this year at an international Festival in the Italian city of Pordenone focusing on Nigeria's Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka.




















Wole Soyinka At The 10th Calabash International
Literary Festival In Jamaica On May 30, 2010

Poet and playwright, novelist, essayist, lecturer, Soyinka was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Celebrated as an independent thinker, with a gift for intense versatile and lucid prose, he has also been a leader for the quest for social justice and for decades has been at the vanguard of efforts to bring democracy and respect for human rights toNigeria and throughout the post-colonial world.
The programme for the festival includes poetry reading, exhibitions, theater adaptations, workshops and runs through March 24,2012 involving the whole town.


Wole Soyinka


Professor Wole Soyinka, who will arrive from Lagos (Nigeria), will stop in Pordenone until Monday evening and will also attend the Sunday morning opening of the exhibition of fellow Nigerian artist and photographer Akintunde Akinleye.
On Monday Soyinka will receive the Seal of the city at city hall attended by local, state and national dignitaries from all over Italy . In anticipation of the august writer's attendance, over 200 school students from throughout the district have studied Soyinka's work in recent months and that will also have the privilege of an exclusive meeting with the distinguished writer

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tribute to Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

By Femi Fani Kayode

A great and proud warrior. A true son of Africa. The strength and pride of the Igbo race. Tell it not in the north, the south, the east or the west….for how are the mighty fallen.





















Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Taking The Oath
Of Office As Head Of State Of The New Republic Of
Biafra In May 1967 (Photo: AP)


You stood firm and fought hard for your people when it mattered the most. Nothing else counts. A product of Epsom College, Oxford University and the illustrious and wealthy Ojukwu family from eastern Nigeria. The father of Biafra. What an extraordinary and noble heritage. We knew your father and your father’s father. They also made their mark.
They were also great and powerful men. Yet you were the star that eclipsed all stars in the Nigerian firmament.
Unlike many others who have hailed you only in death, you were man enough to stand up and say ”no more” and ”never again” when your people were faced with genocide. The Igbo fought like great men and lions because they were led by a great man and a lion. We shall continue the fight where you stopped Ikemba.









































The Ikemba, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu

The battle has passed to the next generation. May God bless and protect your precious and gallant soul as you join your ancestors in the great halls of Valhalla.

May God watch over your dear wife Bianca and your beautiful children and may your name never be erased from the annals of Nigerian history. You will live forever.
Rest in peace, great and proud warrior.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Ojukwu: The Legend Lives On

By Chinweizu
Copyright © 2012 by Chinweizu
20 Feb 2012

“Ihe eji echeta ayi, n’elu uwa nke ayi no, bu olu, ayi luru”
“What we are remembered for on this Earth, is the work that we do.”
--Line from a song I heard often in my childhood.

In this world, most people are not famous at all.
Some people’s fame is ephemeral, some are famous for 5 minutes and are hardly remembered again. Most persons are not remembered at all a year after their corpse is interred. Remembrance becomes enduring only when one’s life’s work has relevance for many future generations.


















Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu

Why do we mourn Ojukwu’s death? Why should we keep fresh our memory of him? Let us tell the world, as well as remind ourselves, of the man, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and of his struggles on our behalf, and let us note some of the brave services he rendered us in a period of more than 60 years; selfless services for which we are indebted to him and should hold him in highest esteem.
Ojukwu lived a life filled with such deeds as legends are made of. Here are some:
Consider the case of the Zulu hero, Shaka. When he was 13, Shaka attacked and killed a black Mamba snake that had killed a prize bull he was guarding. Like Shaka, Ojukwu as a boy exhibited the bravery and protectiveness that would win him fame as an adult.
Ojukwu: Anti-colonial Defender of the Racially Oppressed
In 1944, when he was 11, Ojukwu was briefly imprisoned for assaulting a white British colonial teacher who was humiliating a black woman at King's College in Lagos, an event which generated widespread coverage in local newspapers.
For a schoolboy to fight a teacher is unusual, and requires great courage. For any black person in a colonial society ruled by all-powerful whites, a society which practices racial discrimination, such behavior required extreme provocation or extreme folly. For an 11 year old black schoolboy in such a society to fight a teacher belonging to the master race required extraordinary audacity. And for him to do so in defence of another black person, and not of himself, showed a precocious race consciousness and a meritorious sense of racial solidarity. Marcus Garvey would have been proud of the lad and recognized him as one destined to do great deeds for the black race. Here was a boy to watch. And, when he grew up, Ojukwu did not disappoint such expectations.


Chukwemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu As Head Of State Of
The Republic Of Biafra Inspecting Troops In Biafra
In 1968


After this event, his father, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a millionaire businessman and one of the richest men in Nigeria, packed him off to England to an elite boarding school. From there he proceeded to Oxford University. After earning his Master’s Degree in History, he returned to colonial Nigeria in 1956 and joined the colonial administration as a District Officer. After serving a year, he made an extraordinary career move. He resigned and enlisted in the Army in 1957, not as an officer cadet, but as an ordinary soldier. Nevertheless, he rose rapidly from the ranks and in 1964, became a Lieutenant Colonel, and was appointed the Quartermaster General of the Nigerian Army. All this he achieved within 7 years in a peace-time army, not in a wartime army where a high attrition rate accelerates promotions.
Soon thereafter political events pushed Ojukwu into political leadership when the coup of January 1966 led to his appointment as the Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria. That was the platform from where he performed the great deeds that have made him famous.
Ojukwu: Hero of Aburi 
The first of these deeds was his brilliant performance in the negotiations at the Conference of Nigeria’s military rulers that was held in Aburi, Ghana, in January1967. Beginning as a minority of one in a Supreme Military Council with eight other members in attendance, he prevailed on the SMC, first to renounce the use of force to resolve the crisis that had brought them to Aburi; and, secondly, to agree on a confederation arrangement for governing the country until a new constitution could be agreed.
Getting his colleagues to agree to the Aburi Accord was Ojukwu’s seminal contribution to Nigeria’s survival and to the security and progress of the entire population of Nigeria. However, the fruits of this fundamental contribution were not to be harvested. When the signatories returned to Nigeria, Gowon and his officials in Lagos refused to implement the terms of the Accord. This deepened the crisis and eventually provoked the secession of Eastern Nigeria and its quest for self-determination as the sovereign state of Biafra.



Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu With His
 Wife, Bianca

Ojukwu: Founder and War Leader of Biafra
The next great deed that Ojukwu did was to proclaim the sovereign state of Biafra on 30 May 1967. Before the new state could find its feet, Gowon, in repudiation of yet another part of the Aburi Accord, resorted to force and sent the Nigerian army to invade Biafra to bring it back into Nigeria. When the Nigeria-Biafra War began in July 1967, Ojukwu became Biafra’s war leader. He led Biafra in a just war of self defence, a war of resistance to Nigeria’s aggression, a war to defend the Biafran People’s right to self-determination and to protect their very lives. With no resources to speak of, Ojukwu still managed to organize the Biafran people and the Biafran Army to resist the Nigerian invaders for 30 harrowing months until Biafra fell and surrendered in January 1970.
In those 30 months, Ojukwu did two other great deeds. To sustain the struggle, he mobilized the scientific manpower of Biafra into the Science and Technology Group (S&T Group) that achieved great things. Secondly he produced a Blueprint for a just Biafran society.
Ojukwu the war leader of Biafra
Organizer of Science and Technology
Finding itself blockaded by land, sea and air, Biafra had to be self-reliant to survive. Its Science and Technology Group (S&T Group) rose to the challenge and, among other things, conceived and produced a type of air defence dust mine for use against MIG jet fighters. In October 1967, when Biafran troops at the Ugwuoba Bridge, near Awka. fired it horizontally on advancing Nigerian troops, its devastating effect earned it the name Ogbunigwe (mass killer).
[See “Beef Was Right, Ogbunigwe Was An Anti Aircraft Missile (pic)” http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-803637.0.html#msg9558595

On March 31, 1968, a Biafran army unit ambushed and, using Ogbunigwe, destroyed a 96-vehicle column of Nigerian soldiers. The humiliating Abagana defeat to Nigerian soldiers prompted General Yakubu Gowon to remove Col. Murtala Mohammed as the General Commanding Officer of the Onitsha sector.
--See -Abagana, wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abagana 
In addition, Biafran engineers built airports and roads; designed and built petroleum refineries; designed and built light and heavy equipment. Biafra’s Research and Production (RAP) unit did research on chemical weapons as well as rocket guidance systems. It invented new forms of explosives, and tried new forms of food processing technology. The Biafra coastline was lined with home-made shore batteries and with remote controlled weapons systems and bombs. Under Ojukwu’s leadership, and in less than three years, a Biafra that was being starved by blockade, achieved a great leap forward in black African science and technology.

[see Wikipedia article on Ojukwu]


























Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Declaring The Republic
In May 1967 (AP)
This achievement remains unique in Black Africa. In their half century of “independence” thus far, no other state in Black Africa has created any Science & Technology organization, let alone one to compare with the one created in Biafra’s 31 months existence. This Biafran achievement remains an inspirational beacon for the Black World in this 21st century. It shows that if Black African states are still not industrialized today, the fault is not in us the people, not in the stars, not in our race, but in our neo-colonialist leaders and their chronic misleadership.
Ojukwu: Proponent of a New Social Order
Even in the midst of war, Ojukwu encouraged the Biafran intelligentsia to investigate and articulate their people’s aspirations for their post-war society. This effort produced a document which Ojukwu presented to the nascent Biafran nation on June 1, 1969 at Ahiara village. It became known as The Ahiara Declaration .The document eloquently and totally rejected the Nigerian social order for its neo-colonialist iniquities and inequities, and outlined the principles on which a radically different and just society would be constructed in Biafra. Ojukwu’s Ahiara Declaration invites comparison with Nyerere’s Arusha Declaration as a blueprint for a just and egalitarian Black African society.
Unfortunately, despite these achievements, the proposed new society was not to be. A Biafran cartoon of the period, captioned “The Truth about the Nigeria-Biafra War”, gave an accurate picture of the war situation: it showed a trio consisting of President Lyndon Johnson of the USA, Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Britain and Premier Alexei Kosygin of the USSR holding Ojukwu immobilized for Nigeria’s Gowon to use as a punching bag. Given that fundamental situation, it was no wonder that Biafra collapsed, after 30 months of fighting a just war. And to save him from almost certain execution by vengeful Nigerian soldiers, Ojukwu’s followers packed him off to exile in Cote d’Ivoire in January 1970, in the expectation that he would live to fight for them another day.
Ojukwu : Champion of Ndi-Igbo Interest
Ojukwu, the war leader of a defeated Biafra, spent 12 years in exile before he was pardoned and allowed to return to Nigeria in 1982. He arrived to a tumultuous hero’s welcome by his people and he plunged into Nigerian politics to champion the struggle for improvement in the hard lot of his defeated people. Alleviating the condition of Ndi-Igbo within Nigeria became his mission until his death in 2011. To do that he joined the NPN, the governing party of that time, and contested for a seat in the Nigerian senate. However, after a vigorous election campaign, he was declared defeated. Undaunted, he continued to be a voice for Ndi-Igbo in Nigerian affairs despite a stint as a political detainee during the Buhari period.
In 1994-1995, at the Abacha Constitutional Conference in Abuja, the Ndi-Igbo contingent, led jointly by Ojukwu and a former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, introduced and persuaded the Conference to adopt the concept of six geo-political zones in which the 36 states of Nigeria are now aggregated. In 2003, Ojukwu joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and became its Presidential candidate in the 2003 and 2007 elections. This was all in a further effort to give Ndi-Igbo a suitable presence in Nigerian politics and to promote the interests of Ndi-Igbo within Nigeria. 
Ojukwu and PRONACO
In the continuing search for a peaceful and better Nigeria, Ojukwu was among the leaders of thought who, in 2005-2006, in consultation with Chief Anthony Enahoro, initiated the Peoples’ National Conference through the platform of the Pro National Conference Organizations (PRONACO) –an alliance of 164 ethnic organizations that believed that a Sovereign National Conference ( SNC) had become imperative for transforming Nigeria and ending its people’s woes. That People’s National Conference, which was a comprehensive revalidation of the Aburi Accord by the ethnic nationalities, produced a Draft People’s Constitution which has been overwhelmingly endorsed across Nigeria as a credible path to a sustainable basis for Nigeria’s survival. As the conference rotated its sittings across various geo-political locations (including Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Jos and Kano) Ojukwu hosted that conference twice in Enugu, in February and in March 2006.



Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
Upon the conclusion of the conference, Ojukwu actively mobilized for the informal referendum to which the Draft People’s Constitution was subjected, resulting in its endorsement by various ethnic blocs. As a part of the process for actualizing this written wish of the peoples of Nigeria, Ojukwu volunteered to be one of the plaintiffs, alongside Wole Soyinka, Anthony Enahoro and Bankole Oki, in a lawsuit before the Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging the legitimacy of the 1999 constitution. This is Suit No. FHC/L/CS/558/09. It is still in court till today. The suit is to dismantle the fraudulent and military-imposed constitution of 1999 and make space for a new order.
All of this shows that while Ojukwu contended for a place within the Nigerian political space, by joining the NPN and running for the senate in1983, by participating in Abacha’s Constitutional Conference in 1994-1995, and then by joining APGA and running twice for President on the APGA ticket, he devoted even more energy towards resolving the fundamental distortions that have brought Nigeria to the dark valley where it is languishing.
That, in brief, is an outline of the life and struggles of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Ojukwu: Unfinished business
No person dies or leaves office without leaving behind some unfinished business. Hero that he was, Ojukwu is no exception. There is the business of transforming Nigeria, a project which is being ably carried on by his younger PRONACO colleagues. While that project is for the benefit of all Nigerians, there is another unfinished business of his which concerns Ndi-Igbo exclusively. Let me now draw your attention to it.
Ojukwu did not finish the vital business of creating an institutional embodiment of the Ndi-Igbo nation, a paramount cultural-political institution for Ndi-Igbo, their counterpart of what the Ooni of Ife is for the Yoruba; and the Asentehene is for the Ashanti of Ghana; and the Kabaka is for the Baganda of Uganda; the Sultan of Sokoto is for Shariyaland, a.k.a. Nigeria’s Far North or Arewa. Or take the example of what the Dalai Lama institution is for the Tibetans, namely, a central focus of Tibetan cultural identity, a symbolic embodiment of the Tibetan national character. Such are the cultural and non-partisan institutions to which a people all give their allegiance and look to for decisive guidance in their affairs. By joining the NPN and entering partisan politics on his return from exile in 1982, Ojukwu skipped his chance to become the nucleus of a neutral institutional arbiter in the world of Ndi-Igbo.
However, he made a belated attempt to correct his error, but did not succeed. His Eze Igbo Gburugburu title, with its notion of monarchy, was probably in the wrong cultural idiom for Igbo republicanism to accept, and so it never gathered widespread or deep acquiescence.
With Ojukwu’s joining of the ancestors, the task of creating this sorely needed paramount institution, and in some effective and culturally appropriate form, is now left for the next generation of Ndi-Igbo, and especially for the leadership cadres that will emerge among them. And it is for the elders of today to guide them to accomplish that vital task.




Odumegwu-Ojukwu's Remains Carried By Nigerian
Soldiers At A Military Ceremony In Abuja
Ojukwu is physically dead, but for as long as we keep fresh our memories of his deeds, the legend lives on. Let me sum up:
At the age of 11, Ojukwu burst onto the scene as a defender of black people when he physically defended a black African woman from humiliation by a white colonial racist teacher. Then at age 33 he became the warrior defender of all Eastern Nigerians when they came under mass murderous attack by their fellow Nigerians. Then after the collapse of Biafra he settled into the role of political warrior defending Ndi-Igbo in the neocolonial dungeon called Nigeria. By the example of his deeds, the Ojukwu legend will live on wherever people, and black people especially, look for an inspiring role model of selfless defence of the humiliated and oppressed; or for a model of when an injured and defenceless people must say “enough is enough” and embark on a struggle for self determination; or for model leadership for scientific and technological advancement; or for a model of how to obtain a Blueprint for a just and equitable social order.
Ojukwu: The People’s Assessment
Let me end this assessment of Ojukwu’s life by quoting some excerpts from what ordinary Nigerians said of Ojukwu after his death, on a website discussing the seminal Aburi Accord:
“Aburi can again help us avoid another Biafra. MIDDLE BELT people are clearly being pushed & provoked without cause.” 
“Love him or hate him, he was one politician that stole no money- check the records.
Adieu, Lion of the Tribe of Biafra!”
“Ojukwu is gone but his life is full of lessons for us to learn: He stood for the truth, fought for the truth and in truth he died. He saw what others could not see - self determination of his people. It took another 40 years for Nigerians to latch on - clamouring for autonomy.”
“We will miss your courage and hatred for injustice. You gave your all for the emancipation of your people.”
“He was distinct, patriotic and fearless. He was synonymous with justice and equity. He distanced himself from the pandemic corruption that has ravaged prominent politicians of his time.”
“He was able to tell us that you can be rich and principled, you can be rich and honest, you can be rich and be a friend of the poor, you can be rich and be a friend of the needy, you can be rich and sacrifice for humanity, you can be rich and remain modest. The list is endless. Ojukwu used his money to pursue people’s course, while our present day thieves we call rulers use our money to persecute us, can you see the difference?”
“Though you are dead, your fighting spirit is still alive to actualise your dreams, and your children in their generation will immortalise and celebrate you in their new nation.”




Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Head Of State And                                                  Commander-In-Chief Of The Armed Forces, Republic Of Biafra
(codewit)

And to that, permit me to add my voice and say: 
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu!      Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu!
Ikemba Nnewi, Laa n’udo!                    Ikemba Nnewi, Go in peace!
Eze-agha Ndi Biafra                               War chief of Biafra
Dike n’aluru ndi ike adighi ogu                  Champion who fights for those without strength
Onye nchedo ndi an’emegbu emegbu            Protector of the exploited
Onye n’ebulite onodu onye an’eleli eleli      The one who raises the status of the despised
Laa n’udo, Ikemba, Laa n’udo!                    Go in peace, Ikemba, Go in peace!
==================




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...