Sunday, September 30, 2007

News Desk Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seven Reps fight for Etteh’s seat

AT least seven members of the House of Representatives from the South-west are now jostling to clinch the position of Speaker if the incumbent, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, is removed from office following the report of the nine-man ad-hoc committee that investigated the N628 million contract scam in the House which indicted her. They include Hon. Dave Salako, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and Hon. Kayode Amusan all from Ogun State. Others are Hon. Lad Alaba Ojomo from Ondo State, Hon. Wole Oke and Hon. Leo Awoyemi both from Osun State and Hon. Festus Adegoke from Oyo State.


Peter, who has not landed a punch in a fight since defeating James Toney in a January elimination bout, was named the interim titleholder, days after Oleg Maskaev withdrew from a mandatory defense against him because of a back injury.
When Maskaev is able to fight, he would be required to face Peter or be stripped. And if he is stripped, Peter’s interim tag would be dropped.

Ibori to appear in London court tomorrow

The eagerness of the elders to prosecute Ibori is sequel to an earlier report that the Metropolitan Police in London had arrested a mistress to the former governor, and one of his sisters, in connection with an alleged multi-million pound money laundering case against him.

Babangida raises the alarm over threat to govt

The government, according to a statement issued on Saturday in Minna, the state capital, has uncovered ”some clandestine moves by some selfish individuals and groups to cause disaffection and mislead the people of the state by portraying that they have the capacity to operate what may appear as a parallel government.

We ‘ve suffered enough —Nigerians

Among the eminent Nigerians who spoke on the Nigeria’s 47 years of nationhood are former Petroleum Resources Minister, Senator Jibirl Aminu, former president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Pascal Bafyau, Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Abdulateef Adegbite, former Attorney-General and justice Minister, Prince Bola Ajibola and an Ogun State-based Islamic leader, Alhaji Munirudeen Nusirudeen.

Yar’Adua Explains 7-point Agenda to Military

President Umaru Yar'Adua yesterday explained his administration's seven-point agenda to the top brass of the military and tasked them to go beyond their traditional defence role by becoming advisers and drivers of the requisite peace and security necessary for sustained economic growth and development.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Address by Pres. Yar'Adua to the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly

Address by
His Excellency, President Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua, GCFR
At the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York. 26th September 2007

Mr. President,

I stand before this Assembly for the first time as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wish to reaffirm Nigeria’s complete dedication to the ideals of the United Nations. We declare our total support for the organization’s efforts at facing up to the multiple humanitarian, social, peace and security, and development challenges confronting our world today.

Mr. President,
At the onset, may I, on behalf of the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, congratulate you and your country, the Republic of Macedonia, on your election as President of the Sixty-¬Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
I assure you of the full support and cooperation of the Nigerian delegation as you lead the deliberations of the Session.

Mr. President,
I wish to formally extend my sincere congratulations to His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on his assumption of office as Secretary¬-General of the United Nations. I commend him for his resolute leadership and determination to carry through the requisite reform of the United Nations system and assure him of the full support of my Government/Administration.

May I also pay tribute to the immediate past Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for the commitment, diligence and courage with which he piloted the affairs of the United Nations in the last 10 years. We are proud of the enormous contributions made to our Organization by this illustrious son of Africa.

Mr. President,
Since coming into Office, my Administration has anchored its pursuit of a re-energized, stable and prosperous Nigeria on the fundamental principles of democracy, good governance, free enterprise, and the rule of law. These are worthy principles which Nigeria shares with the United Nations family.

Mr. President,
The theme of this Session's General Debate, "Responding to Climate Change" is most apposite. The African continent is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In our collective determination to face up to this challenge, African leaders at the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa last January, decided to integrate climate change issues into all sustainable development initiatives at national and regional levels.

Nigeria reiterates its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC). While applauding the successful outcome of the High Level Event on Climate Change which was held here two days back, we affirm that much more needs to be done.

Mr. President,
It has been seven years since world leaders at the Millennium Assembly met in this hall and committed themselves to ridding Africa of its most pressing socio-economic and political challenges, in order to allow the continent move with the rest of the world. While tangible progress has been made in a few areas, the continent is still bedeviled by great challenges.

The continued festering of the Darfur crisis remains a blight on the collective conscience of the international community, one which this august assembly needs to address with utmost urgency.
The Abuja Peace Agreement, which Nigeria helped to facilitate, remains the reference point for a comprehensive settlement of the crises. However, the lack of full implementation of the Agreement raises serious cause for concern and we call on all parties to respect their commitments and help drive the peace process forward. We continue to support the process and reaffirm our support for the AU-UN Hybrid Force in the Sudan

Mr. President,
It is imperative that the concerted fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria, tuberculosis and related diseases must not lose momentum. At the national level, we have consistently taken concrete measures to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to increase funding for the National Action Committee on Aids (NACA).

Nigeria appreciates the financial and material assistance from our development partners in this regard but our continent cries out for even more intensified collective efforts at ridding Africa of this and other pandemics.

Mr. President,
Two years ago, we appraised our performance against the set targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and realized that unless concrete and more determined actions were taken, the over-arching aim of meeting the 2015 targets of poverty eradication would remain a mirage.

We recognize that the primary responsibility for social and economic development rests with individual States. Within the ambit of the African Union’s (AU’s) New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the nations of Africa are practically facing up to the continent’s economic and socio-political development challenges through the adoption and engendering of a new political culture that will be conducive to long-term development. Taken along with the AU’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), our programme of self-monitoring and self-assessment; as well as the institutionalisation of the ideals of democracy and good governance, Africa has clearly defined an assured course to economic regeneration and political stability.

Mr. President,
What Africa seeks from the international community is genuine partnership for economic development. This should be manifested in a global economic system predicated on fairness, justice and equity; one that ensures fair trade terms and recognizes the centrality of mutuality in prosperity. More specifically, Africa requires massive, focused foreign investment in the infrastructural development across the continent.

Mr. President,
Nigeria is wholly committed to the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in the fight against international terrorism. As a follow-up to that commitment, Nigeria has established four counter-terrorism centres in the country in addition to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit which, together with the Central Bank of Nigeria, monitors banking transactions as part of the mechanism to locate and terminate the illegal transfer of funds for terrorist and other criminal acts including money laundering. Nigeria reiterates its condemnation of all acts of terrorism and calls upon the international community to muster the necessary political will to confront and check this menace.

Mr. President,
Nigeria reaffirms its abiding faith in the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Organization. We believe that a strengthened and restructured United Nations would be best placed to address the complex challenges facing our world.

In this regard, my delegation will continue to collaborate with Member States to press for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, including the much-desired expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories in order to reflect the realities of today’s world. The situation whereby Africa is itself totally excluded from the permanent membership of the Council is unfair and untenable and must be rectified.

In conclusion, Mr. President, the challenges which confront our world today call for renewed purpose, renewed resolve, renewed courage and renewed respect for human dignity. Posterity beckons us to a real test of our sense of duty.
We cannot afford to fail this test. I assure you that Nigeria will continue to support the United Nations in our collective aspiration for a safer, fairer and more prosperous world.

I thank you.

News Desk Thursday, September 27, 2007

Panel Report Indicts Etteh, Deputy, 10 Others...

THE nine-man panel set up by the House of Representatives on September 5 to investigate the contract scandal involving the Speaker, Honourable Olubunmi Etteh, submitted its report on Wednesday indicting the speaker and the National Assembly management on the omissions over the contract. MORE>>

We’ve seized N9bn from Dariye, Alamieyeseigha - Britain

THE acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. James Tansley, said on Wednesday that the Metropolitan Police had seized about £34.6 million (about N9 billion) from two former state governors, Chiefs Joshua Dariye and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. MORE>>

Nigeria Improves on Corruption Rating - Ranked 32nd Most Corrupt nation

THIS year’s corruption index report was on Wednesday released by the Transparency International with Nigeria improving on the list. Nigeria, which was named the second most corrupt nation in 2005 and the sixth most corrupt in 2006, improved significantly and became the 32nd most corrupt country in the world. MORE>>

FG Seizes Nnamani's Properties

Sequel to the order of Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Lagos, the Federal Government on Wednesday took over the properties of former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, located in different parts of the state. MORE>>

EFCC Nabs NURTW Chieftain Over N50,000 Bribe

A top official of the Imo state branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) (names withheld) has been arrested by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as he attempted to bribe an official of the commission investigating a case of fraud against his boss. MORE>>

Monday, September 24, 2007

Serah Onyeachor's Hollywood Debut

Raised in Enugu and Abuja, Serah Ogechi Onyeachor had made up her mind she was going to be making movies in the future. I had been called by Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke to come visit the set near Warner Bros Studios in Burbank where Onyeachor was making her debut in acting and directing. Also, filmmaker Pascal Atuma had called me earlier to tell me about it, and had requested I should go and show my support since "she is our own and needs our support" to keep up with the happenings in Hollywood.

I got to this movie set and was greeted by Okereke who said she came to show her support and will be appearing in the supporting cast. Walking around the movie set and seeing all the props and cameras used in making this short movie to be released sometime next year, I was really impressed to see a very young girl driven by passion to achieve her goal in life. Spending two years at New York Film Academy, Onyeachor who studied Communications in England told me the movie industry had been her dream which is why she moved to the United States.

Her debut is about a 17-year-old girl called Amanda, who lost her father to an automobile accident while the agony of that loss made her mother commit suicide because she "couldn't take it no more." Meanwhile the 17-year-old had hidden the death of her parents until she found love to relieve her pains. The movie stars Nicole Clifford, Cheyenne Davidson, Carlos Knight, Rainier Kenny and Travis L. Carter, and featuring Pascal Atuma and Stephanie Okereke.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

BOOK SHELF: The Door of No Return: The History of Cape Coast Castle and the Atlantic Slave Trade

Many lyrics have echoed about the horrific Trans Atlantic Slave Trade on the process of human cargo. In 1974, The O'Jays recorded Ship Ahoy paying homage to Africans who survived and overcame the predicament of slavery and human bondage. Also, Seventies Jamaican Reggae group, The Cimmarons released Ship Took Us Away From Africa, an overnight mindblowing sensation at a time of the reggae boom and Rastafarian prophesy which took roots reggae to newer heights.

William St Clair's remarkable new book The Door of No Return: The History of Cape Coast Castle and the Atlantic Slave Trade, came at the right time after extensive and exhaustive research digging into the archives. It was fifty years ago that on March 7, Kwame Nkrumah's practical and enigmatic leadership achieved full democratic fabric, making Ghana the first West African Coast to gain independence.

I haven't been familiar with a whole lot of stuff regarding the slave trade until St. Clairs in-depth, well-written book which caught my eye at the "Black Township" where I partly engage in African cultural relativism. Very few of us are African-born and most of the people here are aging and are fast-talking in joining the band wagon - homeward bound to motherland. Their focus had been Ghana as the free land offer by the Ghanaian government is attracting every African Diaspora.

Listening to these aging folks talk, I tried to imagine what must have gotten me in this place and why am I trying to figure out why these folks think going back to motherland is the last straw. These are mostly retired men who had thought a whole lot of time had been wasted thinking the land of the free was a safe heaven until now. I also imagine these aging folks, maybe there's nothing out there for them anymore, thus no longer productive in a society where free enterprise is highly comepetitive among the youngish capitalists. Or maybe, the bills are driving everyone crazy while their retirement benefits can afford them all sorts of luxury if they relocate to motherland. Why not?

Talking about enterprise, St. Clair's book noted the entrepreneurship of the slave trade and how detailed and organized it was relying on the archives of the Cape Coast Castle. The castle's first construction was commenced by a Swedish construction company in 1653 at the peak of the Scramble for Africa when for a decade (1653-1663) the Swedes and the Danes were the domineering colonists until the British empire conquered the castle in 1664. It was a game of chess among the European traders and dealers and despite all that, the local kingmakers had the upper hand and determined a good bargain on the people that were being traded for transport across the Atlantic to the shores of America.

The book is entirely drawn from St. Clair's personal research from the archives of the castle. I think from a personal point of view and based on the tedious research project carried out by St. Clair detailing on how the Coastal kings negotiated with European traders and an ensuing warfare as the castle almost got hit by the French in 1756 and the returning of some slaves, for instance, the return of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo who also became a slave trader makes this 282 pages of Blue Bridge Books quite interesting and engaging.

Friday, September 21, 2007

News Desk Friday, September 21, 2007

Reps Exchange Blows as Etteh Defends Self

ABUJA—THE hitherto cold war between the pro and anti-Etteh groups in the House of Representatives over the N628 million controversial contracts snowballed yesterday into physical fighting between the two sides. MORE>>

Militants Get Presidential Amnesty...

ABUJA — FOLLOWING a series of high level negotiations, the Federal Government has granted Presidential amnesty to Niger Delta militants. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, announced yesterday, in Abuja, that the decision to grant militants amnesty was part of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s promise to solve the Niger Delta crisis once and for all. MORE>>

Tribunal Dismisses Yar'Adua's Objection to Atiku's Petition

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday scored a major victory in his battle to invalidate the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua, as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja held that his petition challenging the president’s victory at the April 21 election must be heard against the wish of the president. MORE>>

'Niger Bridge May Collapse Soon'

The Niger Bridge between Asaba in Delta State and Anambra State may collapse soon. The Controller of Works in the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. J.A. Adesina, who spoke to journalist on Thursday, said the bridge lasted till now because of the light traffic on it initially. MORE>>

Odili Sues EFCC, Begs AGF to Stop Arrest

FORMER Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, asking the court to restrain the anti-graft body from prosecuting him over his tenure between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2007. MORE>>

Senate to Probe Sale of Houses

SENATE declared yesterday that it would commence a probe of the sale of government houses and monetization policy of the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo. The probe is coming barely two weeks after President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua revoked the purchase of some government houses by some aides to former president Obasanjo near the villa. MORE>>

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jena 6 Rally @ Leimert Park, Los Angeles

For some reason, I thought Los Angeles area gangbangers had caused a commotion within the Crenshaw Boulevard thoroughfare of the "Black Township." That was not the case as I drove by the area running series of errands. It was the "Jena 6" rally to protest Jena, Louisiana District Attorney Reed Walters charging of six black students with second degree attempted murder for a fight that occured in school premises. A boys will be boys fight notably of teens growing up turns out racial in Jena, Louisiana.

Good thing, I was able to get a glimpse of the action and seeing all the TV trucks with cameras and microwaves recording and reporting the demonstrations, I couldn't but park my car on the huge 25 Cents an hour metered parking lot to get a piece of the action.

Thousands trooped in black to show their support with placards reading "Free the Jena Six," "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," "Slavery is over and racism is back," "No more Jim Crowe Laws," sending a powerful message that America should live up to its creed.

The traffic jam could be seen all the way from the Washington Boulevard Corridor stretching to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall to Degnan Blvd. at 43rd Street where Leimert Park sits. Meanwhile, as the peaceful demonstration was carried out without incident, vendors and store owners around Leimert Park area made brisk business selling t-shirts and other accessories to show support for the Jena 6 and their families. To be honest, I have not seen a rally in recent times where black folks came out enmasse, united to protest the trial of a seventeen year old convicted in an adult court by an all white jury for something that doesn't make sense.

I was really impressed with the move, the togetherness shown by a community that wants freedom and justice to prevail in a democratic society.

To help support the Jena 6 you can sign the petition at Color Of Change and make a donation to the legal defense fund, or buy a "Free the Jena 6" t-shirt. You can also call the Louisiana State Governor at 866-366-1121, or 225-342-7015, telling her to use her executive powers to intervene in the case. There is also the Free The Jena 6 website where you can donate, follow the case, take action and support the cause.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

News Desk Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One Feared Dead, 350 Displaced by Flood

Awka—At least one person has been confirmed dead and over 350 people sacked from their homes in about 10 communities of Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State, when River Niger and Anambra River overflew their banks, submerging the various communities, following a torrential rainfall last weekend. MORE>>

Yar'Adua Pledges To Match Economic Growth With Development

ABUJA—President Umaru Yar’Adua yesterday said his government would take necessary steps to address the problems of Economic Growth without development in the country, pointing out that economic growth could only be real and justifiable if it results in better living conditions of Nigerians. MORE>>

'Liberia Allowance Not Paid Since 2005'

Policemen, who returned from a peace-keeping mission to Liberia two years ago, told the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, on Tuesday, that they were yet to collect their estacodes since 2005. MORE>>

Governor With Four Wives Says No First Lady

Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako on Tuesday said his four wives had equal status in his administration. Speaking to newsmen after a meeting with President Umaru Yar’Adua, Nyako said that there was no First Lady in the state. MORE>>

Boy Beheads Dad For Ritual Purpose

Residents of Bale Ilado village in Morogbo area of Lagos State were on Monday afternoon thrown into confusion when a member of the community was beheaded by his own son. MORE>>

Reliving Holmes-Cooney Bout Tele-Talk

I had called my brother in the United States to see what's really cracking and in cases like this we normally talked about eighties pugilists and flamboyant boxers. Just to make an argument, I had picked Gerry Cooney to whoop Larry Holmes even though I knew Holmes would destroy the white man's hope. I had been reading the The Ring magazine and other boxing journals that wrote extensively about Cooney's power punch and how he had floored Ken Norton in round one at the Madison Square Garden in 1981.

As we talked frequently on the phone, my brother had insisted Holmes would destroy Cooney and that Cooney wasn't going to last. "A no contest," he would say. What do I know, really, other than reading boxing journals and besides, have not watched any of Holmes' or Cooney's fights live on close-circuit or pay-per-view. Each time we talk on the phone, even on other personal and family issues, my brother never says bye without mentioning the Holmes-Cooney fight with all amounts of impunity that Holmes will come out smoking on June 11, 1982.

So, too, the talks around town within the Lagos metropolis gisted about the upcoming bout and where to see it live on close-circuit. The airwaves, though, did a good job. We were kept posted on the press conferences regarding "The Great White Hope" never seen in 22 years after Rocky Marciano whose 49-0-0 record has not been broken.

Eventually Holmes and Cooney digged it out after all that jazzy talks and hypes favoring Cooney on my tally to demolish Holmes. I was wrong. Cooney who graced the cover of Time Magazine and a series of publications did not live to his creed as anticipated. Holmes dropped Cooney in round two sending a signal that Cooney would soon be history. I'm not sure how Cooney did it dragging the fight to the 13th round when Cooney's trainer threw in the towel saying enough is enough. The fight was one of the eighties best promoted bouts.

Just Wondering What Happened

I have not surfed the web the last few days which is really unusual. I have thought, maybe, I'm just losing it and no longer interested in all that cyber gimmick and warfare, apparently a commonplace thing. Without a doubt, cyberology is therapeutic and most surfers have relieved their pains by engaging in all aspects of discourse and other ways and means of seeking help.

My own case is a bundle of tasks. Real Estate has fallen dramatically and homeowners are now on the edge with many living on a shoe string. A record foreclosure in the nation's history has determined it's not rosy at all, and that the war in Iraq has preoccupied the minds of decision makers in D.C.'s Capitol Hill and the White House. But think of it, though, a war president who doesn't give a damn about the plight of his own people means there is something fishing; probably good or bad. After all, Ronald Reagan did it during the Cold War era sacrificing American economy to dismantling the Soviet Bloc. Am I making sense here?

Nevertheless, war is not the answer but somehow it takes care of many problems just like The Red Storm on the Reich and American's victory in World War ll stopped Adolf Hitler from wiping out the Jews, the Gypsis and other ethnic minorities from the face of this planet. After World War ll, the whole world thought it would not happen again. Of course, it happened again, and this time around, on the shores of the African continent. When Yakubu Gowon's-led Genocidal campaign and Obafemi Awolowo's orchestrated Economic Blockade nearly wiped out the Igbo nation from the face of this planet, the entire world thought it was the last straw. It happened again. In Rwanda. In Sudan. In Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The bottomline: War is an enterprise.

Friday, September 14, 2007

News Desk Friday, September 14, 2007

Kalu, AG Stalls Court's Hearing

ABUJA — A MOTION filed by the immediate-past Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu to terminate his ongoing trial at a Federal High Court, Abuja was yesterday stalled after the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) asked for a month-long adjournment to enable him decide whether to continue with his (Kalu) trial or stop it. MORE>>

Attorney General is Absolutely Right - Afe Babalola

Lawyer to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Afe Babalola, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said, in an exclusive interview with DAILY SUN, that the AGF, had every right under the constitution to step into any criminal case he may deem fit at any material time. MORE>>

Police Kill 16 Robbery Suspects, Arrest 780 in Lagos

While briefing reporters at the State Command Headquarters, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar said out of the 780 suspects, 668 had been charged to court. Abubakar said his men recovered 16 arms, 43 ammunition of various caliber, 22 stolen vehicles and 255 motorcycles from armed robbers. MORE>>

N628m Contracts: Director Faults Speaker, Others

The Director of Works and Estate Management in the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Mahdi, on Thursday said that the controversial contracts for the renovation of the residences of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Etteh and her deputy, Alhaji Babangida Nguroje, did not follow due process. MORE>>

PDP Gives Ali, Others Quit Notices

The PDP, which held its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Thursday, said its decision to sack the executive officers ahead of the congresses and the National Convention was in tandem with section 13 (12) of its constitution. MORE>>

Nigeria Moves to Halt US Military

Defence sources, however, told THISDAY last night in Abuja that the Federal Government was already discussing with heads of government of the African Union and leaders of the sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African State, on how to block any move by US to establish a base in the gulf. MORE>>

Ohakim Woos Foreign Investors

Another group in Texas was a consortium of about 12 investors providing different capabilities led by Ray Warren of Deep Southgate Chemical Blending and Manufacturing. Some others in the group include Oil Fields Services Industries, Trinity Industries and Petro Africa. MORE>>

The Ramblers Dance Band 'Hit Sound, Vol 1'

I still remember as a child walking through Kanda Estate to the Ruga playgrounds to watch our local football heroes, The Seekers Football Club play games that attracted surrounding towns showcasing talents never seen before. And I still remember, while my childhood buddies and I walked through the affluent Kanda Estate, the airwaves were all over blasting 'Knock On Wood' and we began to recite that club number released by Ramblers Dance Band. 'Knock On Wood' and probably 'Alome' were the tracks implanted in my brain until now that I started researching and digging out archives of African musical heritage.

Quite interesting and good to know, Ramblers Dance Band came a long way during Ghana's colonial and post-independence era. Tenor Saxophonist Jerry Hansen who had played with several top-notch big bands including E.T. Mensah & His Tempos Band following the highlife boom, Hansen, in 1961, broke up with Ga native King Bruce who led the Black Beats Highlife Band, then a classical, swing and jazzy-fusion blend of big bands. Hansen left the Black Beats with nine other musicians to form a 15-piece band, the Ramblers Dance Band, playing gigs, night clubs and major events all around the shores of Ghana. The Ramblers would be idolized and 'Knock On Wood' would be a national anthem as it echoed all the time at Harlem Cafe in Nima 441, Accra.

Paying attention to the music now, I can feel the originality of highlife music begun by this sensational group led by Hansen. I can also feel a drawing of rock guitar, jazzy tunes and the swing and Latin-American salsa flavors come to life. Though in the 60s, there were great big band influences like C.K. Mann Big Band, Azaga & the Archiboys, African Brothers Band and many other big band jam sessions in Accra, saxophonist Hansen took Ramblers to another level recording 'Knock On Wood,' a "soul-funktified" grooved dance track. The entire CD sounds very persuavive from the rhythmical sense, the chorus very commanding and the remastering absolutely perfect.

Track List:

1. Ekombi

2. Agyanke

3. Ama Bonsu

4.Nyame Ke Nhyehee

5. Nyame Mbere

6. Alome

7. Knock On Wood

8. Onua Pa Due

9. Ima Abasi

10.Betta Ni

11.Gyae Su Na Nkomo Dzi

12.Meda Gbefa

13Meni Nda Obiara So

Original Release Date: September 1995

Label: Flame Tree

Thursday, September 13, 2007

News Desk Thursday, September 13, 2007

ICPC Boss Blasts AG Over Kalu

ABUJA— CHAIRMAN of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, yesterday blasted the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), for the procedure he adopted to take over the prosecution of the immediate past governor of Abia state, Chief Orji Kalu, from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). MORE>>

Yar'Adua Revokes Sale of House to Andy Uba

The house located along Ibrahim Taiwo road in the precincts of the presidential Villa was sold to former president Obasanjo’s influential aide as part of the monetization policy of the president Obasanjo regime. Credible sources at the Villa said the revocation was based on the fact that eight of such houses sold tosome of the former president’s aides did not follow due process. They were all revoked. MORE>>

Ibadan Jailbreak: Why We Struck - Inmates...

IT was revelations galore on Wednesday as some of the injured inmates in the jail-break at the Agodi Prison, Ibadan, related how they were being treated by the authorities of the prison command. MORE>>

No Apology to AGF, says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday said it had not apologised to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, or any other Nigerian over the ongoing trial of a former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu. MORE>>

Lawyers in Diaspora Hail Attorney General

Nigerian lawyers in diaspora have hailed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), for his insistence on the rule of law in the administration of the criminal justice system. MORE>>

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

E. T. Mensah & His Tempos Band

Known as the "King of Highlife" in the 50s and 60s, the swing, bebop and big band leader E. T. Mensah was extraordinarily talented and his music being remastered today tells of a masterpiece. Ethno Music is really doing a marvelous job providing its listeners with vintage African sound.

Mensah, one of the first to introduce salsa flavored rhythms to Africa in the 50s entertained his audience during the colonial era gaining international recognition when he joined the original Tempos Band, taking over as the band leader. His amazing career can be read at Retro Afric in great detail. Brilliant stuff and great compositions in that era.

Vintage African Music

Click here to get your own player.

Listening to some of these tunes takes one aback to those pretty-good-old days of nkwu elu, palwine and storytelling to keep body and soul together. Enjoy!

Hank Crawford's 'Tico Rico'

Wow! I just dug this excellent LP from my stack of obsolete albums never remastered or bootlegged anywhere. Good thing though, technology has made it easier one can turn LP's, 45s, and 78s into CDs and I will be doing just that. I have searched every archive to see if 'Tico Rico' has been remastered and digitally "waxed" but found out the original recordings and studio may have lost the master tape. Not even Amoeba Records or Sterns Records can brag about having the rights to dig 'Tico Rico' out. Rare though, but possible, depending on the term of contract. If organist Johnny Hammond's "Breakout" LP could be digitally remastered during the same Kudu years, why not the legendary Cajun man, Hank Crawford? But anyway, I just thought whoever must have hidden this masterpiece should pop up and turn it into CD. I'm missing listening to tracks like 'Tico Rico,' 'I've Just Seen a Face,' 'Teach Me Tonight,' 'Funky Rooster,' and 'Lady Soul.'

Absolutely one of the best jazz recordings by Creed Taylor and the Kudu years.

News Desk Wednesday, September 12, 2007

13 Killed in Ibadan Jailbreak

IBADAN — NO fewer than 13 inmates of the Agodi Prisons, Ibadan laid dead, yesterday, after the police opened fire on rioting prisoners as they made to break jail. Fourteen other inmates and eight prison officials were seriously injured in the violence. MORE>>

EFCC Insists on Kalu's Trial

ABUJA — THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is pressing ahead with its prosecution of the immediate past governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu, for alleged corruption regardless of the objection by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief Mike Aondoakaa (SAN). MORE>>

Nigeria to Adopt 'Citizenship Diplomacy'

Nigeria has announced a “retaliatory” foreign policy, warning that any country that presents Nigeria as corrupt without showcasing the intellect of Nigerians would be declared a “hostile nation”. The new foreign policy tagged “Citizenship Diplo-macy” was unfolded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, yesterday. MORE>>

FG Stakes N2.4bn on Nigerian-American Hospital

The Federal Government has staked about N2.4bn as its equity participation in the proposed five-star Nigerian-American Hospital in Abuja. The private stakeholders in the hospital said they had just secured $11m equipment financing loan from a Netherland bank for the commencement of the first phase of the construction of the hospital. MORE>>

EFCC Apologises to Attorney-General Over Kalu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally conceded superiority to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), as it reportedly tendered an apology on their face-off over the trial of former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, for corruption. MORE>>

Sunday, September 09, 2007

News Desk Monday, September 10, 2007

Militants Abduct 11 PDP Leaders

Some militants suspected to be members of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta have kidnapped 11 chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State. The incident, which occurred in Arogbo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area on Saturday night, came barely a month after MEND demanded N500m from the state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, for the demobilisation of its members in the state. MORE>>>

FG Orders Tight Security Around Oil Installations

The Federal Government, on Sunday ordered tight security around the strategic oil installations and other nation’s business interests in the Niger Delta region. It was leant that the government also directed a fresh security web around foreign nationals and assets of the majors in the region. MORE>>>

Imo Acquires 1,500 Cabs, Bans Okada

Imo State Government is to ban commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as "okada" from plying the streets of Owerri, the state capital, in the next few days. MORE>>>

Release Uwazuruike Now, Group Demands

Political stal warts in Anambra State, under the aegis: “Andy Uba Campaign Organization”, have called on President Umaru Yar’Adua to effect the release of the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike and other members of the group currently languishing in various prison custodies on or before the September 27 Igbo Day Celebrations. MORE>>>

Yar'Adua Offers Nigeria No Hope - AC

Action Congress (AC) on Sunday described the state of the nation in the last 100 days of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as precarious, saying that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government does not offer the citizenry hope. MORE>>>

Obinne Emmanuel Onyeador's African Treasures

Shoppers and tourists are taking a walk and learning by asking questions regarding artifacts originating from the African continent. Just because the economy is bad doesn't mean people do not have cash to spend, especially when it comes to collectibles rarely found anywhere on Planet earth. "It's been slow this year," Obinne would say, "compared to the previous years when business really boomed." Of course, the economy has been bad, but shoppers are still buying items that they like. The 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire was not an exception. Everywhere you take a look, there is a bargain for one item or the other and Onyeador's African Treasures attracted tourists alike for his original fine art collection, prints, African masks, trade beads, old tribal arts and crafts, fabrics and designers clothes displayed on wholesale and retail.

Onyeador studied criminology at the University of Oregon in Portland and decided his passion was more important to academia. Earning his masters degree in the same discipline and working briefly at the Nigerian Consulate, it was adios. His new career which is trading in African Arts has taken him places and has led him to the idea of maintaining a cultural heritage. He is now more preoccupied working with the African-American community in the Leimert Park area and has extended his gesture all around California marketing his fine prints and artifacts.

It was brisk business all through the cultural faire which started on August 18, 2007 and ran on every weekend until Labor day. Onyeador, who has been trading and collecting artifacts the past fifteen years said business wasn't that bad even though a booth at the event cost a whopping $2,000. On a busy and good market day, one of his prints sold for $800 and $1,500 while the masks and fabrics sold as high as $1,800 and $1,200.

Onyeador's African Treasures Gallery is located on the thoroughfare of "Black Township" at Leimert Park, in Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

News Desk Saturday, September 8, 2007

Union Berates S. African Official For Remarks Against Nigeria

Leaders of two Nigerian unions in South Africa on Friday demanded for an apology from a South African parliamentarian who allegedly made uncomplimentary remarks on Nigeria. MORE>>

Reps Shop For Etteh's Successor

Even before the nine-man panel set to investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversial N628 million contracts for the renovation of the official residence of Speaker Patricia Etteh and her deputy’s, Mr. Babangida Nguroje, as well as the purchase of additional vehicles, Saturday Champion can authoritatively reveal that the House has already started shopping for her replacement. MORE>>

ERA Alerts On Indiscriminate Siting Of Gas Pipelines In Lagos

Lagos may soon witness unprecedented loss of lives and property that will dwarf fatalities associated with pipeline explosions across the country if environmental and safety concerns are left unaddressed in the on-going pipeline projects in the city, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has warned. MORE>>

Armed Forces Allay Fears On Terrorism Attacks

The Nigerian armed forces yesterday pledged to forestall any possible terrorist attacks in any part of the country, assuring that they are battle ready to ward off any attack. This assurance came from the Director of Defence Information, Col M. D. Yusuf, following Thursday's alarm raised by the American Consulate in Lagos over a threat on western and United States' interests in Nigeria. MORE>>

Friday, September 07, 2007

The 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire (8)

It got to be money or else you ain't getting any deal. Yes, ATM machines were placed at all nook and crannies at the 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire which ended on Labor Day. Running out of cash? No problem. Just insert your debit card or credit card and you will be ready to roll again.

Oluchi Onweagba, The Face Of Africa

Ain't she beautiful? I popped her up because she is just too good of a look. Born on August 01, 1980 in Lagos, Oluchi Onweagba has become a household name in international supermodelling. Her career as a model began when the South African television channel M-Net and the French modelling agency Elite organized the inaugural edition of beauty show. Her life, however, would change instantly and the rest would be history. Measuring 34-24-35, 128 lb and standing at 6ft 1in, Elite Model Management awarded Oluchi a three-year modelling contract to kickstart her career.

Moving to New York, her connections in modelling would catapult her to the top meeting and campaining for top-notch designers in the fashion industry. Feauturing in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit she made it three times in a row (2005, 2006 and 2007)making her the first model from her nativeland ever to market for SI Swimsuit Collection. She has also graced the covers of Vogue, ELLE, Marie Claire, Allure and other publications around the world. In addition to her haul of promotions in the international fashion industry, she played a major role in Victoria Secret's "Backstage Sexy."

Still living in New York and shuttling around the world for series of fashion shows, she married Italian designer, a long time companion, Luca Orlandis, in 2005.

You go girl! I like your style!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

News Desk Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Etteh: Reps in Rowdy Session

*Adjourn in honour of Late Enwerem

*Opposition, AC insist on Speaker's probe

*Supporters say she won't step aside

ABUJA—IT was a rowdy session in the House of Representatives yesterday when Speaker Patricia Etteh decided to adjourn proceedings in honour of deceased former Senate President Evan Enwerem. This was against expectation of the institution of investigations into the alleged N628 million contract scam.
The adjournment was abrupt. MORE>>

Yar'Adua Ruling Without Clear Agenda 100 Days After - CNPP

ABUJA—The conference of Nigeria Political Parties yesterday accused President Umar Musa Yar’Adua of running a regime with no clear agenda on several burning issues facing the nation saying his first 100 days in office was characterized by inconsistency, reversal and somersault. MORE>>

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire (7)

As the yearly event ends on Labor Day, The African Television Channel left no stone unturned featuring Los Angeles area kids for some audition and impro at the 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire. These kids performed to a cheering crowd making the audience wanna holler. They were beautiful and energetic. It was an excellent performance.

News Desk Sunday, September 2, 2007

N628m Contract Scam: National Assembly Top Officials Disown Speaker

ALMOST one week after the embattled speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, reportedly, directed the management of the National Assembly to come out with a statement in defence of the N628million contract scam rocking the House, the top officials have practically dissociated themselves from the contract for fear of implicating themselves. MORE>>>

Voters Have Right To Protest If Shortchanged At Poll - Cardinal Arinze

Vatican cleric, Nigeria‘s Cardinal Francis Arinze on Saturday said voters in the country had a right to protest if they felt shortchanged during an election. Arinze, who heads the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments in the Vatican, spoke with newsmen at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Onitsha, Anambra State, on Saturday shortly after he delivered a lecture titled, ”Leadership as Service: The Nigerian Experience.” MORE>>>

Obasanjo Vs. Press: Who Is To Blame ?

The immediate former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made a pathetic statement recently when he openly confessed (The PUNCH, 21-08-07) that reading Nigerian newspapers was not part of his business. Reason? The press, according to him, is in the habit of ”abusing” him all the time. Comparing himself with Jesus Christ, Obasanjo took solace in the fact that even Christ Himself, according to him, was also maligned and eventually ”crucified for no other reason than doing good.” MORE>>>

Why I Fell Out With Awo

Former governor of old Ondo State, Chief Akin Omoboriowo has spoken about his bitter departure from the Unity of Nigeria (UPN) and his subsequent separation from his political mentor and Yoruba sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1983. MORE>>>

Ekweremadu: Nigeria Gets New Constitution Next Year

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwerema-du at the weekend in Abakaliki said the Nat-ional Assembly has decided to initiate a constitution review process which will culminate in the passage of a new constitution for the country next year.
Addressing a special session of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly during a two-day visit to the state, Ekweremadu said the process of producing a new constitution would begin later this year with wide consultations across the six geo-political zones. MORE>>>

The Port Harcourt Situation

THE Niger delta, once also called the oil river, is an intriguing theatre of history. Its complexity resonates in the various struggles to subdue and maintain hegemony over it, as the epicenter of international trade, dating back to the fifteenth century, when it was one of the major ports of the global trade in slaves, followed by palm oil. Far less discerning Nigerians who buy into the current rhetoric by economic conjurers often imagine that “globalization” is a recent thing that began with computers and the World Wide Web. MORE>>>

Man Runs Amok, Beheads 5 Women

Great calamity has befallen the Mbaise community in Imo State where five women of the same family were beheaded at the weekend in Amukwu Onicha , Ezinihitte local government area, by a 30- year- old man, Bartholomew Uzoegbu, whose state of mental health is a subject of controversy. MORE>>>

The 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire (6)

This is not a corrupt bargain. It's not trade by barter, either. It's the 22nd Annual African Marketplace & Cultural Faire where tourists and shoppers of antiquity, African accessories and clothings shopped around for their basic needs. Despite a slowing economy, there was still little change to spare in exchanging goods and services.