Monday, December 31, 2012

The Kidnapping of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Mother

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
No matter the very strong views many Nigerians hold about the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, it is difficult not to sympathize with her and her family on the recent kidnapping of her mother, Mrs. Kamene Okonjo, by heartless criminals.  Mrs. Okonjo, 82, a retired sociology professor, is the wife of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha LGA of Delta State. 

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Her
 Mother, Mrs. Kamene Okonjo 

The five days Mrs. Okonjo spent with her captors must have been one long traumatic period for the members of the family. Now that she has been freed and is back home, I must join several other Nigerians to congratulate the finance minister and her family on the happy end to this horrible nightmare. 

It has been quite difficult to determine how exactly Mrs. Okonjo’s freedom was secured.  The public has merely been treated to a cocktail of speculations even by those who ought to have the facts. Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan thinks that the kidnappers may have been panicked by the sudden, heavy presence of security agents in the area and so decided to release the woman.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Chinua Achebe Colloquium On Africa Communique

Being The Communiqué Issued At The End Of The Chinua Achebe Colloquium On Africa (December 7-9, 2012) At Brown University, Providence, U.S.A.

The fourth edition of the Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa convened by Nigerian novelist and humanist Chinua Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, was held at Brown University on December 7-8, 2012, at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.

With its theme as “Governance, Security and Peace in Africa,” the 2012 colloquium attracted leading experts from academia, business, non-governmental organizations, and governments from Africa, Europe and the United States. The Colloquium was well-attended by delegates who actively participated in two days of intense deliberation and exchange of ideas on the importance of strengthening democracy and peace on the African continent. The Colloquium featured panel discussions which highlighted the complex security issues that confront African nations, security challenges surrounding the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, homegrown terrorism, and the persistence of ethno-religious insurgency. The colloquium noted that these were serious concerns that challenge the establishment of institutions and principles of good governance on the continent. 

Highlights of the Colloquium included four keynote addresses by Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the promotion of good governance in Africa; Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the executive governor of Lagos State, Nigeria; General Carter F. Ham, Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany; Ambassador Bisa Williams, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Niger; Professor Emma Rothschild of Harvard University, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, South African anti-Apartheid activist and former managing director of the World Bank.

The Colloquium acknowledges the fact that the main driver of conflict in Africa is poverty originating from the failure of leadership and governance. Among the resolutions advanced at the Colloquium are:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Achebe's 'There Was A Country' Discussed At The House Of Commons

Chinua Achebe's There Was A Country: Reflections from the Nigerian Diaspora

DATE: Monday 10 December 2012
TIME: 6.00-9.00pm
VENUE: Committee Room 8, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
(Please allow for at least 15 minutes to clear security when you arrive)
Chinua Achebe's recently published memoirs, There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, have controversially reopened discussions on Nigeria's past – especially the events leading up to the first coup and the aftermath of the Biafran War. These events have had a profound impact on Nigeria and continue to critically impact developments across the country today.

Chinua Achebe
This event aims to bring Nigerians together to debate the key legacies from the coup and civil war in the context of Nigeria's present realities and future trajectory, and hopes to explore how the coup and war have:
  • adversely affected peacebuilding and state-building across Nigeria (with reference to reconciliation, integration and equality)?
  • shaped the relationship between the Nigerian State and ordinary Nigerians?
  • influenced broader understanding of how to tackle the deep and growing levels of economic and social inequality polarising Nigeria?
  • affected access to justice, transparency and accountability as well as tackling state impunity in Nigeria?Chair: Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Science & Digital Infrastructure 

  • Donu Kogbara, Print and broadcast journalist and Board Member, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority
  • Dipo Salimonu, Eirenicon Africa and founding partner of Ateriba Limited
  • Onyekachi Wambu, Director Policy and Engagement, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD)
  • Dr Muhammad Jameel Yusha'u, Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics, Northumbria University  
    There are a limited number of places so if you would like to attend, please RSVP by email to:
 Download the report (170 kilobyte PDF)

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