Friday, October 31, 2014

Remembering The 'Rumble In The Jungle'

By Banji Ojewale

Forty years ago on October 30 1974, the world was rocked by the celebrated fight between Muhammad Ali, ex-heavyweight boxing champion of the world and George Foreman, the title holder. The colorful Ali aptly called the bout the Rumble in the jungle because it took place in thickly forested Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Muhammad Ali
(pix: Reuters)

It was a huge, larger-than-life affair put together by an imperial president Mobutu Sese Seko with many unprecedented features. It was the first heavyweight championship contest in Africa; it brought together two of the planet’s greatest pugilists; it saw Mubutu budget more than ten million dollars to promote the show; it gave the fighters their biggest ever earnings; finally, it offered Africa the rare opportunity to see two of its eminent sons battle for supremacy on their own soil. They had always been forced to do it away from “home”.

The African leader was said to have traveled this expensive route in order to cover up for years of his corrupt era, egregious human rights abuse and misrule, all of which pauperized the country. He did not succeed. He failed to exploit the potential salutary public relations of the fight to improve the lot of the people. Actually it would appear Zaire got the rough end of the stick, because two years later in 1976, the country gave the international community the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Buhari And APC’s N27.5 Million Nomination Forms

Exactly two weeks ago (Thursday, October 16, 2014), the All Progressives Congress (APC) startled decent Nigerians when its national chairman, Mr. John Odigie-Oyegun, announced that the party put the cost of its expression of interest and nomination forms at the cost of N27.5 million in order “to separate the men from the boys.” Another way of saying this is: ‘to separate the wheat from the chaff!’

This statement which almost immediately reverberated across the nation through various blogs and television screens was widely reported in the papers the next day, Friday, October 17. As I write now (about 48 hours after it echoed in Abuja ), neither the APC nor its national chairman has even attempted to “clarify” the very unwholesome assertion or withdraw it in its entirety. This can only mean, therefore, that the party solidly stands by such an outrageous and unsettling statement by its topmost officer. What a sad, tragic development.

Now, to describe a grown man as a “boy” is to dismissively imply that he is immature, inexperienced, inadequate or, worse, irresponsible. And so, going by the statement of the APC chairman, the ability to roll out millions of naira is what qualifies somebody to be a “man” in the party. In other words, even if you are generously endowed with superlative moral, intellectual and managerial   abilities, as long as you are not a multi-millionaire or have multi-millionaire friends who can throw the millions on your behalf, you are in the “progressive” thinking of the APC a mere “boy” – immature and irresponsible, and, therefore, not qualified to contest a responsible position on the platform of the party! 

For a party that has unduly strained itself to persuade Nigerians that it represents a healthy alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), this is indeed a most devastating disclosure and horrendous disappointment! What this, once again, demonstrates very clearly is that whereas the APC has deployed enormous efforts to tell Nigerians how bad the PDP is, it has been most unsuccessful in its attempt to allay growing fears (and conceal the stubbornly reoccurring indications) that it is, perhaps, even worse than the PDP.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fed Govt’s Denial Of Amnesty International Report On Use Of Torture By Nigeria Police

(pix: nairaland) 

By Okechukwu Nwanguma
Reports in several Nigerian newspapers of September 23, 2014 quoted Dr. S. S. Ameh, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the Chairman of the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT), as having dismissed the recent report by Amnesty International (AI) entitled ‘Welcometo Hell-Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria’.

The AI’s report which documented the widespread use of torture by Nigerian Police Force, based on factual and credible evidence gathered over a period of ten years, was released on September 18, 2014.

The report stated inter alia, that “Nigeria's police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 ... Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria's women, men and children by the authorities [that are] supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer.”

It further, rightly observed that “Torture is not even a criminal offence in Nigeria’’ and urged that ‘The country’s parliament must immediately take this long overdue step and pass a law criminalizing torture. There is no excuse for further delay.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tragedy Of Peter Obi’s Defection

By Ikechukwu Amaechi

Peter Obi’s defection from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not surprise me.  

Unlike Bianca, widow of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, I knew the former Anambra State governor was going to take that fateful political step.

Every discerning political observer knew that despite Obi’s protestations and despite his vow that he would quit partisan politics any day he left APGA, he had a crush on the PDP. His body language betrayed him.

 That Obi had the patience to serve out his second term as governor on the platform of APGA was the only surprise.

I did not want to comment on his defection until I read Bianca’s interview in the Daily Sun and Obi’s reaction.   Bianca is pained by what she calls Obi’s “betrayal and unimaginable breach of trust.” She is livid that Obi did not take her into confidence.

Peter Obi receiving an award in Spain from Mrs. Bianca
Ojukwu, Nigeria's Ambassador to Spain, on December 4, 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gov Fashola, According To London Telegraph

Meet The Man Who Tamed Nigeria's Most Lawless City...

 By Colin Freeman


He famously claims to be "just doing his job". But in a land where politicians are known for doing anything but, that alone has been enough to make Babatunde Fashola, boss of the vast Nigerian city of Lagos, a very popular man.
Confounding the image of Nigerian leaders as corrupt and incompetent, the 51-year-old governor has won near-celebrity status for transforming west Africa's biggest city, cleaing up its crime-ridden slums and declaring war on corrupt police and civil servants.
Next month, he will come to London to meet business leaders and Mayor Boris Johnson's officials, wooing investors with talk of how he has spent the last seven years building new transport hubs and gleaming business parks.
Yet arguably his biggest achievement in office took place just last week, and was done without a bulldozer in sight. That was when his country was officially declared free of Ebola, which first spread to Nigeriathree months ago when Patrick Sawyer, an infected Liberian diplomat, flew into Lagos airport.
Health officials had long feared that the outbreak, which has already claimed nearly 5,000 lives elsewhere in west Africa, would reach catastrophic proportions were it to spread through Lagos. One of the largest cities in the world, it is home to an estimated 17 million people, many of them living in sprawling shanty towns that would have become vast reservoirs for infection. To make matters worse, when the outbreak first happened, medics were on strike.
Instead, Mr Fashola turned a looming disaster into a public health and PR triumph. Breaking off from a trip overseas, he took personal charge of the operation to track down and quarantine nearly 1,000 people feared to have been infected since Mr Sawyer's arrival.
Last week, what would have been a formidably complex operation in any country came to a successful end, when the World Health Organisation announced that since Nigeria had had no new cases for six weeks, it was now officially rid of the virus.
"This is a spectacular success story," said Rui Gama Vaz, a WHO spokesman, who prompted an applause when he broke the news at a press conference in Nigeria on Tuesday. "It shows that Ebola can be contained."

Friday, October 24, 2014

The 10 Most Corrupt Countries In The World

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images
Corruption and economic turmoil often go hand-in-hand. In western nations like the United States, and in many European countries, we often see corruption come to light as the result of whistleblowers or journalistic efforts. But in many other areas of the world, however, corruption plays a major role in fostering staggering poverty and broken economic systems in a much more blatant way.
Oftentimes, specific power structures and government architectures provide an easier means for corrupt politicians, businessmen, or military officials to exploit the system. Many governments have their roots in constitutions from generations ago, and have outgrown their current systems. Many other countries are ruled by a variety of independent tribal leaders and often lack a centralized power structure with any meaningful sway.
Transparency International developed a comprehensive list of the world’s most corrupt nations last year, and the countries that top the list probably won’t come as much of a surprise to many. The study ranks countries on a scale from 0 to 100, with zero being the most corrupt, and 100 being the least.
Of course, corruption comes in a variety of forms, so getting a precise gauge is difficult. But perception itself is a very strong tool, and can have a big effect on its own. If the study reveals anything, it’s that the world overall has a huge issue in terms of corrupt officials. By looking at the Corruptions Perception Index, along with the existing power structures and economic systems within each country, the picture does become a bit clearer. That’s why we dug a little deeper, examining the rankings for ourselves.
Although not among the top ten, we’ve included the United States on the list to give perspective as to where America ranks internationally in terms of corruption and economic strife. By Transparency International’s calculations and scale, the U.S. is sitting fairly pretty, although it’s common knowledge that there are definitely issues with how things are run in Washington. Other countries you might expect to see like Russia, Mexico, or Venezuela all have their places as well, and the full list of 177 nations can be viewed straight at the source from Transparency International.
Here are the most corrupt nations in the world, as ranked by Transparency International, with additional insight into the issues and factors plaguing each one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#30 Percent-Or-Nothing#? Not This Generation...At Least Not Yet!

By Nnaemeka Oruh

The #30PercentOrNothing# hashtag is one of the newest to flood social media in Nigeria. From what I gathered, it is a campaign initiated to ensure that Nigerian youths have 30% representation in the next political dispensation. If you do not try to dig deep into it, it appears like all other 'agitations for representation' – a  noble cause. 

To me however, agitations for such representation are simply proof of the agitators' weak status. For most times, they do not 'demand', they simply plead for, kowtow and ultimately make due with whatever hand-out they get. Most times, as soon as the leaders of such agitations are 'settled' the request dies down. So clearly, I am not a fan of such agitations except if they are well modelled as demands and not requests.

Ebola—Open Letter To The ECOWAS Presidents

By Chinweizu

(21 October 2014)

As the spectre of Ebola stalks the world, people everywhere are looking accusingly at the ECOWAS presidents. Like the commandants from whose prison a jailbreak of very dangerous prisoners has just happened, they had better have a damned good explanation of the event or face court martial etc. The citizens of ECOWAS demand no less. How can these presidents allow such a thing to happen on their watch and disgrace all Africans?  Aspersions of all sorts are being cast on us as incompetent to manage our countries. Africa is being demonized as this mysterious human backwater from which strange diseases emerge to afflict the whole world. Before long it will be argued that Africa should be re-colonized by the West to protect the whole world from the deadly incompetence of its corrupt black misrulers. In the meantime, the economies of ECOWAS countries are suffering. Their tourism sector has already been hit by postponement and cancellation of conferences, group tours, private visits etc.  In farming villages economic activities are being disrupted as the people flee for safety. And when the entry bans being urged in the USA and elsewhere are imposed, there will also be the cost of social disruption as family members, barred from entry into America and Europe, cannot visit one another. Students back home on vacation may not be able to return to their campuses abroad, nor will importers be able to make quick trips abroad to buy and bring in goods.  Emergency trips abroad for treatment of other ailments will be affected. Until the epidemic is ended, the economies of ECOWAS will be seriously hit and the economic and social coats will keep mounting. And the epidemic can’t be ended without knowing its causes and therefore the effective ways to combat them. After all, if you don’t understand it you can’t fix it. I, as a concerned ECOWAS citizen-- and I believe many other Africans would join me in this--therefore demand an emergency ECOWAS Summit on Ebola at which the ECOWAS presidents should set up a public and independent Commission of Enquiry comprising eminent international judges and jurists to investigate the event and find answers to some pertinent questions:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ebola: Liberian President Writes Very Touching Letter To The World

Dear World
In just over six months, Ebola has managed to bring my country to a standstill. We have lost over 2,000 Liberians. Some are children struck down in the prime of their youth. Some were fathers, mothers, brothers or best friends. Many were brave health workers that risked their lives to save others, or simply offer victims comfort in their final moments…

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 

There is no coincidence Ebola has taken hold in three fragile states – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – all battling to overcome the effects of interconnected wars. In Liberia, our civil war ended only eleven years ago. It destroyed our public infrastructure, crushed our economy and led to an exodus of educated professionals. A country that had some 3,000 qualified doctors at the start of the war was dependent by its end on barely three dozen.

In the last few years, Liberia was bouncing back. We realized there was a long way to go, but the future was looking bright. Now Ebola threatens to erase that hard work. Our economy was set to be larger and stronger this year, offering more jobs to Liberians and raising living standards. Ebola is not just a health crisis – across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jonathan Welcomes W.H.O. Declaration Of Nigeria As Ebola-Free

Press Release 
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan welcomes today’s declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free after 42 days without any incidence of the Ebola Virus Disease. 

President Jonathan dedicates the certification to the many patriotic health workers, volunteers and ordinary Nigerians who worked tirelessly, some of them paying the ultimate price, to stop the deadly virus in its track after it entered the country in July this year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PDP Faults Buhari's Claims On State Of The Nation

Press Release 

PDP Welcomes Buhari To Presidential Race Faults His Claims 
On State Of The Nation

The Peoples Democratic Party is pleased to welcome to the 2015 presidential contest, the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari who declared his intention today, Wednesday, October 15, 2014.


While we congratulate and wish him well in his ambition, we have noted some distortions and misrepresentation of facts in his speech and consequently wish to put the record straight.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Waiting For Pastor W.F. Kumuyi

By Banji Ojewale 

The people of Kumasi in Ghana did not wait for too long for the much anticipated visit of Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi from Nigeria.

In 1973, Kumuyi had been used by God to set up a Bible Study Group that had radicalized Christianity in a country just crawling from an internecine civil war. The Ghanaians were themselves passing through stormy times, tossed for several years by billows of military regimes.
In 1979, Kumuyi was invited to lead a crusade in the second biggest city in Ghana, the country whose military rulers played the peace maker as Nigeria stood inexorably on the cusp of war.

Was Kumuyi coming with scars of conflict? Was his message going to be relevant to the people of Ghana who were also writhing under the boots of the soldiers? If what his Bible Study Group was offering was healing the wounds inflicted by 30 months of a carnivorous war in only a few years of its existence, let him come and wave the “magic wand” in Ghana too.

The Ghanaians were thinking right. The people needed a healing- spiritual and physical- at the touch of something new, something fresh, something not born of the jaded prescription that had worsened their condition day after day. Those who invited the young Nigerian evangelist (only in his late 30s) to Kumasi accepted the man whose group has since blossomed to become the Deeper Life Bible Church with stable and dignified presence all over the world.

That trip to the land of the Golden Stool and home of popular football club Asante Kotoko has been notched as a reference point in church history in Ghana. Annalists of developments within DLBC have hailed the event as the beginning of the international reach of the church.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Terrorism: Jonathan Meets With Presidents Of Four Neighbouring Countries

Rep of Cameroon President, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o,
 Presidents Thomas Boni Yayi (Benin),Goodluck Jonathan 
(Nigeria), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger) and Idriss 
Deby (Chad) at a one day summit on terrorism in Niamey,
 October 7, 2014 (

President Goodluck Jonathan met yesterday with the Heads of State and Government of four neighbouring countries, namely, Chad, Niger, Benin Republic and Cameroon to "review ongoing collaboration against terrorism and agree on further joint action to curb terrorism and insurgency within and across their national boundaries." The meeting took place in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic. 
A statement after the meeting said the "heads of state regrets the persistence of Boko Haram Islamic sect's atrocious acts of terror on people and security forces in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries," and pledged to pull resources to adequately respond to the challenge of terrorism. 
President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic was quoted as saying that the four nations require "a common strategy and a common operating concept to improve and put together our intelligence capacities and our capacities on the ground (to fight Boko Haram)."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Remarks By US President Obama And Israeli PM Netanyahu, After A Bilateral Meeting

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting 
with Israeli Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu 
in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu back to the Oval Office.  I think I've had the pleasure of hosting him more often than just about any other world leader, and hopefully this will provide just some small measure of repayment for the wonderful visit that I had in Israel this spring.  And I want to thank him and his family and his entire team for the tremendous hospitality that we had when we were there.
The Prime Minister and I were just talking about the fact these are hectic times, and nowhere is that more true, obviously, than in the Middle East.  And so we had an opportunity for a wide-ranging discussion about a range of issues.  
I commended him for entering into good-faith negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in discussing how we can resolve what has been, obviously, one of the biggest challenges for a very long time in the region.  And both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have assigned outstanding negotiators.  They have been engaging in serious conversations.  And our goal continues to be to help facilitate -- not dictate, but facilitate -- the kinds of genuine negotiations that will result in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Those Who Saw And Conquered Ebola – Gov Fashola

(2014 Independence Anniversary Address By Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola) 

Dear Lagosians,
Today, the 1st of October 2014, we are once again celebrating the anniversary of our independence from British colonial rule.

Today marks 54 (Fifty Four) years since Nigeria became an independent sovereign nation, following the germination of a seed that had been sown seven years earlier, when in 1953, Anthony Eromosele Enahoro introduced a private member’s bill demanding self-government.

Governor Fashola At 54th Independence Day Parade

For emphasis and clarity, let me repeat that by records and history Nigeria is 54 (Fifty Four) years old irrespective of what the centenary revisionists say.

We have never celebrated amalgamation day. We have only celebrated Independence day.

When our first Prime Minister mounted the podium on the 1st October 1960 he spoke to an independent and newly born nation. That happened 54 (Fifty Four) years ago, not 100 (One Hundred) years ago.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

President Jonathan's 2014 Independence Day Speech

Fellow Nigerians:
Today marks the 54th anniversary of our country’s independence as a sovereign nation.  This is also the tenth month of our journey into a new century, having marked the centenary of our nation in January this year. 
The first one hundred years were marked by triumphs and tribulations, benefits and burdens, opportunities and challenges.  We made some far reaching advances in building a strong, united and prosperous nation.  We also overcame the forces of disunity that culminated in a debilitating civil war.  We have also renewed our faith in one another, and in our country. We have proven that we are truly a resilient nation.

President Jonathan 
In my address to the nation last year, I did emphasize that we were in a sober moment in our country. We are still in that mood in spite of the many accomplishments of our administration. Our sombreness has to do with the crises of nationhood occasioned by the activities of terrorist elements who have done the unimaginable to challenge our unity as a people. 
On an occasion like this, it is important that we remember all the precious souls that have been lost in the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some parts of our country by these individuals who want to compel us to live our lives their way. They will not succeed!

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