Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Jam and Santa Monica Pier Fest

The 24th Annual Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier, California, seems to be giving me some kind of buzz and I'm really having a blast at this beautiful beach resort. Everything is just happening. I have been asked quite often when I will slow down and stop hanging out like a party animal. My answer: Life is too short. Just play it hard. Yes, play it hard and have fun; and that's what life is all about, like the saying goes: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Well, the Twilight Dance Series in its 24th year of Summer jams is as usual with some line ups that is quite interesting with its opening June 26, showcasing The Bonedaddys and the Crown City Rockers.

I have been paying much attention in the last couple of days to Creed Taylor's production in his Kudu years when legendary jazzy musicians in the likes of Richard Tee, Hank Crawford, Grover Washington Jr., Joe Beck, Johnny Hammond, Ralph McDonald, Bob James, Eric Gale, George Benson and the rest added gravy fusion that would change jazz forever. I'm not sure if today's jazz performers have enough talent to produce in that mood. Whatever it is, they should be given some props.

But anyway, what's more intriguing at this years Summer Jam and this famous pier is the line up and another opportunity for me to see among others, Oliver Mtukudzi who performs live on August 7 alongside Rocky Dawuni who would be opening the show that night. It's going to be a whole lot of fun as 'am already getting exhausted partying and smelling the sweet breeze of this fine ocean. Meanwhile, Mike Farris appears tonight and before it escapes my mind, my favorite record store Amoeba Music which sits in my neck of the woods are proud sponsors of this elegant event.

Adding more flavor to the festival, Toots & the Maytals who added soul seasoning to reggae music will wrap everything up on August 28. That's the one show I'm really looking forward to and I'm quite sure it's going to be a hell of a show because methink 'Reggae got Soul.'

August 14 has Juana Molina, The Midnight Shivers featuring Samantha Crain on the line up while August 21 has Gerry and the Pacemakers before the closing ceremony August 28 when one of my childhood favorites Toots stomps with the showdown. I'm just having a blast and it's all good.

Editorials (Nigeria) Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nigeria’s Last Teachers

THE teachers’ strike is not a national emergency. The best the Federal Government has done, after leading the teachers into believing it was to issue a circular for their new pay scales, was to claim it never had such powers. [VANGUARD]

Killing the tyre industry

Dunlop was until the announcement, the only remaining tyre manufacturing company in the country that was producing. The rest of them have closed shop, on account of several reasons including inclement business environment, mostly the energy crisis, policy summersaults and product dumping from other economies, where production infrastructure are taken for granted. [DAILY CHAMPION]

The attack on Abia State governor's convoy

LAST week, the convoy of Theodore Orji, Governor of Abia State was attacked by suspected hoodlums on the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway. The attack took place at 7.45a.m. in a village, Ngwanyiekwe in Abia State. [GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS]

The lingering power emergency

Hopes for a quick resolution of the power crisis via a declaration of an emergency in the sector have again been dashed following an announcement of the postponement of that initiative. [DAILY SUN]

News Desk (Nigeria) Thursday, July 31, 2008

One survivor, five corpses recovered

THE House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, over Monday’s collapsed building in Abuja, with the minister himself constituting a committee to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident. MORE>>>

Police recover N359m, $50,000, £2,000 from robbers in Rivers

THE Police in Rivers State, Tuesday night, recovered N359 million, £2,000 and $50,000 from a gang of robbers who had earlier in the day robbed a bullion van in neighbouring Imo State. Also recovered from the gang were assorted weapons. MORE>>>

Senators, others want fresh pact, referendum over Bakassi

NATIONAL Assembly members from Cross River State where Bakassi local council is located are angry over the killing of Nigerian civilians by Camerounian troops (gendarmes) and the political intrigues preceding the handover of the oil-rich enclave... MORE>>>

PDP To Conduct Fresh Congress In Anambra

Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) 14-member congress committee made up of its Chairmen and Secretaries from Southeast zone arrived in Awka on Tuesday to conduct a fresh congress for Anambra State PDP within 30 days. MORE>>>

Niger-Delta crisis: Atiku holds the ace, says Yahaya Kwande

For a permanent solution to the intractable crisis in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government should seek some urgent counsel from former vice president Atiku Abubakar, so says Nigeria’s former ambassador to Switzerland, Yahaya Kwande. MORE>>>

Soldier, militants killed in another attack

Rival militant factions in Niger Delta have clashed in an apparent supremacy fight, leading to the death of a soldier and three militants, security officials said on Wednesday. MORE>>>

Declare state of emergency on federal roads

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Julius Ucha, while paying a courtesy call on the Governor of Edo State, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor, on Wednesday, decried the poor state of the roads and called for urgent steps to address the situation. MORE>>>

Friday, July 25, 2008

Editorials (Nigeria) Friday, July 25, 2008

CBN, wonder banks and the law

AT the behest of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) earlier this month gave judgment shutting down some 30 companies which were found to have been operating illegally as fund managers. [GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS]

Nigerians abroad and investments

One of the dire consequences of the economic down-turn in the country since the introduction of the structural adjustment programme (SAP) in the 1980s has been the mass emigration of Nigerians with any skills at all to other lands in search of greener pastures. [DAILY CHAMPION]

Deaths At Immigration Recruitment Exercise

Just how desperate the unemployment situation in Nigeria has become was evident a fortnight ago as thousands of citizens, flaunting degree, Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE)and diploma certificates, besieged recruitment centres of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)in different parts of the country, only to face death and hospitalisation in emergency wards. [DAILY INDEPENDENT]

Tackling Niger Delta unrest

To tackle the violence in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government should take the following steps: Initiate a credible, sustained dialogue on control of resources with Niger Delta civil society groups, including militants, activist leaders, religious leaders, women and youth drawn from nominees submitted by councils of ethnic groups in the Niger Delta states. [THE PUNCH]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Living and hustling in Nigeria

The above pictures were captured by Idowu Ogunleye of The News Magazine. What a life!

News Desk (Nigeria Early Edition) Friday, July 25, 2008

Isoko threaten to shut down Shell

The isoko in Delta State have threatened to shut down the operations of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the sack of over 1,500 workers, some of whom are indigenes. The Isoko Survival Synergy (ISS), a pressure group, plans to cripple the company’s operations in the two Isoko Local Governments - Isoko North and South - to resist their kinsmen’s sack. MORE>>>

Pregnant woman, 8 others burn to death in Lagos - 2 fuel tankers explode - 8 vehicles, 12 shops razed

AN early morning inferno caused by oil spillage from a tumbled petrol tanker at Orile-Iganmu in Lagos on Thursday left at least nine people burnt to death with many others severely injured. MORE>>>

MEND denies receipt of NNPC’s funds for pipeline protection

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta on Thursday said it never collected any money from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the protection of oil pipelines. MORE>>>

How we attacked Ibru, others —Sgt Rogers

Barnabas Jabila aka Sgt Rogers, a prime prosecution witness in the on-going attempted murder case against Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, former CSO to late Gen. Sani Abacha and three others yesterday told an Ikeja High court that he shot at Mr Alex Ibru, in an attempt to kill him in 1996. MORE>>>

Parties sue Yar'Adua, others over unity govt

THE Government of National Unity (GNU) of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua may be 13 months old, but a group of political parties yesterday filed legal action at a Federal High Court, Abuja Division, challenging its constitutionality and legitimacy. MORE>>>

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Militant Group to Destroy Oil Pipelines within 30 Days

While the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has admitted paying a lump sum of $12 million to what they claim were some militant groups in the Niger Delta, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)has swiftly reacted to NNPC's claim issuing a strong statement to blow up pipelines in the Niger Delta region within the next 30 days. MEND has accused the Delta State Governor for using the alleged gangs as front.

Related Links:

Nigeria oil militants threaten Bonny output

Nigeria rebels deny being paid by oil firm, vow more attacks

Nigerian Militants Vow to Destroy Major Oil Pipelines

Nigerian militants: We'll destroy oil pipelines

News Desk (Nigeria) Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NNPC pays militants N1.4b

It may not be news that government or its agencies reach out to militant groups who take hostages for ransom. What may be curious, however, is the price paid to pacify some of the deviants like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's (NNPC) experience. MORE>>>

Reps Discover N1.5tr Unremitted Funds By MDAs

A total N1.5 trillion that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) failed to remit into the Federation Account between 2003 and 2008 has been discovered by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance. MORE>>>

Police docks ex-Gov Mbadinuju over forgery

THE Police yesterday docked former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju at an Abuja High Court, Gudu, over a two-count charge of conspiracy and forgery.
Specifically, he is facing trial over alleged forgery of police documents relating to the murder of a one-time chairman of Onitsha Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Barnabas Igwe and his pregnant wife, Amaka about six years ago. MORE>>>

Ribadu in court, denies ownership of $3.9m mansion in Dubai

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he neither owned a house in Dubai nor in Abuja as alleged by two lawyers. MORE>>>

Obasanjo’s govt blew N25b fertiliser fund, ex-minister tells Senate

The Senate Committee on Food crisis yesterday heard how the Obasanjo administration blew over N25 billion on fertilizer without anything to show for it. Former Agriculture Minister Mallam Adamu Bello said many farmers did not benefit from the fertilizer. MORE>>>

Monday, July 21, 2008

At The Movies and Gotham City

Christopher Nolan has done it again with 'Dark Knight' which grossed a whopping $155.34 million at the box office for a three day weekend. Watching the movie at The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, I'm not sure if the movie should be given that much credit even though it shattered records of Summer releases. Heath Ledger as "The Joker" was awesome but Jack Nicholson's 'Joker' stays on top of my list.

News Desk (Nigeria) Monday, July 21, 2008

MASSOB militants plot against Britain, over N/Delta

Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has warned Britain against sending troops to the Niger Delta, saying that MASSOB will join forces with the militants to fight such foreign troops. MORE>>>

Nigerians protest at British PM's office

NIGERIANS in the United Kingdom (UK) have continued their campaign against Britain's intervention through military support for the Federal Government in the Niger Delta. MORE>>>

Chevron MD tasks N-Deltans on peace

FOR Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), a new initiative of multi-nationals to stem conflicts in their areas of operation to be very effective, an appeal has gone to people of the the Niger Delta to promote peaceful values. MORE>>>

Buhari Wants NJC, Supreme Court To Probe Tribunal Judges

Presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Muhammadu Buhari, has demanded an investigation of members of the Osun State Elections Petitions Tribunal, to be conducted by the National Judicial Council (NJC)and the Supreme Court. MORE>>>

Zimbabwean wins African journalist of the year award

Rugoh-Chin’ono, founder and film director for Television International, Zimbabwe, won the award for his story, ‘Pain in my heart’, which was chosen from among 1,912 entries from a record 44 nations across Africa. MORE>>>

Editorials (Nigeria) Monday, July 21, 2008

Power Sector Reforms Report Says Nothing!

THE 17-member Power Sector Reform Committee the President inaugurated on September 7, 2007 has submitted an important report that contains nothing new.Under, the heading GENERAL, the Committee made the following observations, "The power sector requires urgent government intervention to save it from collapse..." [VANGUARD]

Politicians and death threats

AFTER what looks like a break from a vicious past, there are indications that the nation could return to this barbaric era, going by the recent outcries by some political office holders that assassins were after their lives. [NIGERIAN TRIBUNE]

Delayed election appeals

FEW issues have as much potential in defining a country as the state of its justice system. While conflicts and disagreements are inevitable in human transactions, the hallmark of law and order derives from a society's capacity to resolve such conflicts speedily and justly. [GUARDIAN]

Tinubu and Yoruba leadership

We have read and heard of many views on the issue of Yoruba leadership and the vacuum created after the demise of our former leader Senator Abraham Adesanya. If we may deduce from the various opinions of some of our leaders who have spoken on the subject matter, we will see that they have been ambiguous in their statements on who actually should take the mantle of leadership of the virile and politically conscious race. [DAILY SUN]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Britain, Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Africa


Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Despite the unprecedented overdrive of its diplomatic pressure on African heads of regime during the recent African Union assembly in Egypt, Britain failed abysmally to persuade the summit to condemn Zimbabwe’s June 2008 rigged elections. For the Brown administration, this failure was a disappointing anticlimax in a season of sustained publicity blitz across Britain in which the state and media found a rare common purpose and a convergence of opinion on the subject of the demonisation of Robert Mugabe. The typecasting was unmistakeably swift and assured: Mugabe became the purveyor or indeed inventor of election rigging in Africa, the grotesque human rights violator, the quintessential, fiendishly-sutured African dictator. Even provincial newspaper editors and commentators as well as their radio and television counterparts, usually concerned with more mundane local issues, became instant experts on Mugabe and Mugabeism – such was the frenzy of the times! Thanks to this bizarre British offering of “African history” of the past 50 years, the plaque of shame that lists the cabal of Africa’s notorious heads of regime and genocidist personages of the age appear casually erased for the occasion: Muhammed, Gowon, Danjuma, al-Bashir, Idi Amin, Mengistu, Bokassa, Awolowo, Buhari, Compaoré, Aminu, Eyadema, Haruna, Mobutu, Toure, Enaharo, Abubakar, Akinrinade, Patassé, Obasanjo, Are, King, Habré, Adekunle, Ayida, Ali, Babangida...

The irony of the awkward bind in which Britain currently finds itself in the Zimbabwe saga is fascinating. Britain is absolutely right that Mugabe rigged those elections. But everybody knows that. The African “leaders” at the Sharm el Sheikh summit also know that. More importantly though, they also know that, like Mugabe, each and everyone of them (total of 53 heads of regime), except, possibly, the leaderships of Sénégal, Botswana, Ghana and South Africa, is presently head or beneficiary of a rigged election/no-election regime. Not even Hosni Mubarak, the host of the gathering, could distinguish between a rigged election and one designated “free”/“fair”. It is therefore not surprising that, on the eve of the conference, Mugabe dramatically capitalised on these well-known facts on bogus elections-that-“elect”-bogus leaders in Africa and dared any of his fellow summiteers to criticise his own signature of poll rigging!

Hardly anyone of them took up that challenge. In the end, it was left to Britain, a supposedly non-member of the AU, to lobby delegates hard in hotel suites, conference hall, committee rooms and corridors to sign up to its “Mugabe illegitimate re-election” resolution quest but without success. For African “leaders” and quite a few other observers, Britain still had to explain the rationale for its policy of pick and choose from Africa’s rigged-election catalogue. Whilst it recognised and fraternises with the regimes that emerged from the rigged elections in Nigeria (April 2007) and Kenya (December 2007), it demonises and wants the rest of the world to ostracise the regime that took power after the rigged poll in Zimbabwe (June 2008).

Yet, no independent assessments of the three “polls” have shown that the charade in Zimbabwe was any worse than either the one in Nigeria or in Kenya. This is the case if one evaluates the comparative data available on the three countries focusing particularly on such key indices as a competitive environment for all contestants and their affiliate organisations, genuine and free access to vital campaign resources including the ability to form independent political parties, raise finance, access to publicly-owned media outlets for party broadcasts and advertising, access to private media institutions, unhindered campaigns in time and space, intimidation, pre-“poll” levels of violence, “poll” day/post-“poll” day levels of violence, number of persons murdered, number of persons injured, homes/other properties damaged or destroyed, displacement of persons, and the overall state of stability and security within the country in the aftermath of the “poll”. On the very crucial subject of fatality in these “polls”, for instance, more Africans were murdered in Kenya than in Zimbabwe; more Africans were murdered in Nigeria than in Zimbabwe. Finally, it should be stressed here that for the regime in Nigeria, unlike its counterparts in Kenya and indeed Zimbabwe, its April 2007 “election” was nothing short of a military campaign – aptly, albeit ominously code-named “operation do-or-die” by regime head Olusegun Obasanjo, a genocidist general in the Nigeria army during the 1966-1970 Igbo genocide. This was Obasanjo’s third election rigging in eight years.

Except Britain is perhaps much more concerned with the destiny of Africans in election-rigging Zimbabwe than those in the rest of other equally election-rigging African countries which include Nigeria and Kenya, the June 2008 rigged presidential poll in Zimbabwe does not, in itself, sufficiently explain the basis of the present British hostility to Robert Mugabe. One of the myths peddled along the stream of mutual propaganda by both sides in this crisis is to exaggerate the timeframe of the “confrontation”. Contrary to current popular perception, Mugabe has generally had a close and warm relationship with successive British governments during most of his 28 years of absolutist power. Few African “leaders” of comparable disposition have had such ties with Britain in recent history.

We mustn’t forget that the overwhelming majority of victims of Mugabe’s ruthless rule, right from the outset, have been Africans. In 1982-83, two years after he came to power following the “restoration” of Zimbabwean independence, Mugabe ordered the notorious Gukurahundi or the 5th brigade of his military forces to embark on a devastating, murderous campaign against the Ndebele people in the south of the country. A total of 20000 Ndebele were slaughtered during the pogrom. Mugabe essentially assumed supreme political power across Zimbabwe after these murders. The Ndebele were the core electoral constituency for the ZAPU liberation movement, which, in alliance with Mugabe’s ZANU, had won the pre-“restoration” of independence election organised and supervised by Britain.

At the time of the Ndebele massacre, the British still exercised some administrative “oversight” on Zimbabwean security and land resources, an important feature of the “restoration” of independence settlement worked out in London in 1979/early 1980. Britain was therefore fully aware of the Ndebele atrocity. The Gukurahundi campaign was comprehensively and extensively covered across the world’s media then. In 1984, barely one year after the Gukurahundi outrage, the prestigious Edinburgh University awarded Mugabe an honorary degree for “services to education in Africa”. Ten years later, the Zimbabwean “leader” made an official visit to London. The British state used the grand occasion to crown its special relationship with Mugabe by awarding him the prestigious knighthood, Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Bath (Following the June 2008 revocation of this honour, there was consternation and disappointment among some in African-centred intellectual circles in Britain who were unaware that Mugabe had all along, until very recently, been a proud recipient of British knighthood!).

This cosy relationship began souring in the late 1990s. The Blair government that took office in 1997 reneged on making the annual British financial payment to the Mugabe regime (that had been paid since 1980 – part of the London pre-“restoration” of independence settlement) to enable it engage in the perverse venture of “buying back” African lands expropriated by the British invasion of Zimbabwe during the course of the previous century. Mugabe responded by implementing a “land recovery programme”, which should have been part of the strategic goal of the liberation project back in 1980. The Mugabe “version” being executed 20 years later was clearly opportunistic, a hardly disguised stratagem for the personal survival of a dictator! The compelling lesson of the belated Mugabe-British discord couldn’t be clearer: Mugabe could murder and murder as many Africans in Zimbabwe and trample on their other human rights as he deemed fit but there was a “red line” he mustn’t cross – harm Europeans in Zimbabwe. For Britain, Mugabe’s “land recovery” exercise was just “land robbery” that harmed Europeans in Zimbabwe. He had crossed that “red line” and must be punished.

It is not inconceivable that Britain decided to focus on the rigged Zimbabwe poll, rather than address all the others in Africa, as the start to challenging pervasive election-robbery in Africa. After all, one must start somewhere! Maybe Premier Brown wants to re-launch a new “ethical foreign policy” that focuses on Africa after the disastrous collapse of the one initiated by his predecessor (Blair) in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Under the aegis of the former, paradoxically, Britain, in the August-September 2001 conference on racism in South Africa, vehemently opposed African peoples’ calls for reparations from Britain for its central role in the pan-European execution of the African holocaust and the phenomenal wealth it accrued in the process. In the same period, Britain emerged as the leading arms exporter to Africa, now earning at least US$2 billion per annum. At the height of the dreadful wars in the Africa Great Lakes region in 2000, Britain sold weapons to both sides of the conflict. Charles Onyango-Obbo, the respected Ugandan journalist, recalls:

Britain is supporting both sides – it just robs them of any moral authority and a lot of people rightly do despise the British government in this affair.

It is never too late to establish this moral position, even after 500 long years ... If indeed Brown’s intention on his Zimbabwe “confrontation” is to embark on a British policy of amends in Africa, the following steps would be profoundly rewarding:

1. Britain has to expand its branding of the Mugabe regime “illegitimate” to encompass the two other rigged elections that occurred in Africa since April 2007 – namely, Nigeria and Kenya. Brown will soon be hosting Umaru Yar’Adua, a key participant and chief beneficiary of the April 2007 rigged election in Nigeria, in a London summit. Should Brown be hosting Yar’Adua while ostracising Mugabe? If so, Brown must clarify his position to an understandably highly sceptical world

2. Britain would need to stop its present “convenient” reading of African recent history on the question of election rigging. Britain inaugurated election rigging in Africa during the closing days of its formal occupation of the continent. This was its policy of perpetuating its control of politics and economics in Africa even after “withdrawal”. James Robertson, the British occupation governor, rigged the 1959 pre-“restoration” of independence legislative and executive poll in Nigeria to ensure that power went to pro-British clients in the north region who strenuously opposed the liberation of the country led by Igbo people. There has been no free or fair election in Nigeria since then. Three years earlier, Robertson, then occupation governor in the Sudan, had rigged the poll there in favour of the Arab minority population who are still entrenched in power till this day.

3. Britain was central, along with the Nigerian state, in planning and executing the Igbo genocide of 1966-1970. A total of 3.1 million Igbo, a quarter of the nation’s population then, were murdered. It was the foundational genocide of (European) post-conquest Africa. It was Britain’s “punishment” of the Igbo for daring to lead the struggle for the freeing of Nigeria that began in the 1940s. Twice, during that struggle, the British occupation had casually watched two organised pogroms against the Igbo in north Nigeria (1945, 1953), which were dress rehearsals for the subsequent genocide. As I argue in my Biafra Revisited, Britain must apologise to the Igbo for its involvement in this crime against humanity. It should pay reparations to the survivors and lastly, but surely not the least, support current efforts to bring individuals and institutions in Nigeria, Britain and elsewhere involved in this genocide to justice. A number of prominent Nigerians involved in the genocide are still alive and must be indicted unfailingly in international criminal courts: Danjuma, Gowon, Buhari, Babangida, Haruna, Are, Enaharo, Aminu, King, Abubakar, Obasanjo, Akinrinade, Adekunle, Ayida, Ali …

4. A fortnight ago, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, a permanent secretary of the regime in Abuja, made an astonishing declaration to a meeting of the country’s senate committee on transport. Baba-Ahmed said that the strategic Onicha-Asaba Bridge, linking east and west Igboland would “collapse” soon. He added, quite lackadaisically, and that there wasn’t anything his regime could do about this unfolding grave emergency. Millions of Igbo and others use this bridge annually. Successive Nigerian regimes have always regarded Britain as their “most reliable” foreign ally. It is therefore incumbent on the British to advise their Nigerian friends at Abuja, the occupying power in Igboland since 1970, of their international responsibilities on this bridge. The current “leadership” in Abuja and the previous one should have no doubts whatsoever that they will individually and collectively be held responsible in the international criminal courts for any consequences brought about by the collapse of the Onicha-Asaba Bridge on Igbo life, Igbo property, Igbo income, Igbo opportunities, environmental degradation, etc., etc.

5. Britain is the premier arms exporter to Africa. This is what keeps Africa’s genocide state, the bane of African social existence, very much alive. In turn, this state organises mass slaughters of peoples and nations, asphyxiates opportunities for its citizens, fuels the rigging of elections ... Britain can singularly begin to change this dreadful dynamic by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on all countries throughout Africa. Brown is not required to go to parliament to seek approval for this historic move. The measure can be taken in the next Thursday, weekly cabinet meeting. This Thursday 24 July 2008.

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is a leading scholar of the Igbo genocide, 1966-1970

Friday, July 18, 2008

Editorials (Nigeria) Friday, July 18, 2008

Nelson Mandela at 90

TODAY, Mr. Nelson Mandela, the first black African President of a democratic South Africa and Nobel Laureate, attains the age of 90 years. Born on Thursday, July 18, 1918, at Mvezo, a tiny village on the banks of the Mbashe River in the district of Umtata, the capital of the Transkei, Nelson Rolihlahla ('troublemaker') Mandela was the son of a Xhosa-speaking Thembu chief, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa. [GUARDIAN]

Nigeria As Private Estate

ONE of the growing nuisances of our politics is the tendency for people in authority to personalise their offices. The dangers in these moves include the collapse of all activities related to that office if the individual so dictates. The commonest rights are awarded at the pleasure of the superintending officials who make a song of their least efforts - they are doing the people a favour. [VANGUARD]

Development in Anambra

Sometimes when I sit in the secrecy of my bedroom, I think about so many things. As an indigene of Anambra State, I think also about my state. It is painful to imagine what Anambra State degenerated into due to bad leadership. It is most painful when the cause of the degeneracy is just a clique that has allowed itself to be used by outsiders. [DAILY SUN]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That N80b for Naija Diaspora

I had engaged a journalist friend of mine about what plans the Umar Yar'Adua's administration had lined up for Nigerians in Diaspora with expertise. A package of a whopping N80b, billions in any currency for sure, had been scheduled for a program to enable Diaspora Nigerians who would commit and provide efficient services to help reshape the country by way of Western standard, in other words, organized society with a thorough system is quite challenging.

According to the report;

"The money kept under the National Resources Fund (NRF) is meant for local capacity building, technology transfer, product standardisation to create overseas' market for Nigerian goods, among others.Ugwuh said that the government was keen on exporting manufactured goods to Germany to change the current situation where raw materials (mainly crude oil) are exported to Europe's biggest economy"

The question here is, how would a vulnereable Diaspora and a crooked citizenry achieve such a gigantic project? How is it possible for a nation corruption is baked in every gene?

Let's hope it works out, but as my friend would say "lai lai to lai lai, that one no go happen." Knowing what Nigerians are up to, he may be right. We'll see how it unfolds.

Monday, July 14, 2008

News Desk (Nigeria) Monday, July 14, 2008

Immigration recruitment drive claims 13

PLAN by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to beef up its staff strength has claimed no fewer than 13 lives across the country, with eight in Enugu, Abia and Anambra states, four in Asaba, and one in Bauchi. MORE>>>

Teachers strike: Varsity lecturers threaten to join fight

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has thrown its weight behind the on-going nationwide strike by public primary and secondary school teachers. MORE>>>

Accountant-General lists points of corruption in govt

GORGES from which the country's resources find their way into private pockets have been identified by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwabo. MORE>>>

Govt woos Nigerians abroad with N80b investment funds

THE Federal Government has taken its investment campaign to Nigerians abroad. And to demonstrate its desire to assist its citizens, the government has designed a funding package. MORE>>>

Investment tribunal shuts down 30 ‘wonder banks’

The Investments and Securities Tribunal has granted the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission to close down some 30 companies popularly known as ‘wonder banks’ from operating as fund managers across the country without SEC’s authorisation. MORE>>>

Julius Berger pulls out of Niger Delta

JULIUS Berger Plc. is pulling out of Niger Delta because of the deteriorating security situation there, a senior company executive said on Saturday. MORE>>>

Nigeria, Others Rake In $671b From Oil

Energy Information Administration (EIA) has disclosed that Nigeria and other 12 members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have raked in $671 billion in net oil export for 2007. MORE>>>

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Naija Comedy: Clint The Drunk

I had to laugh my head off after watching this for the first time and thought about how talents are wasted in motherland. This is hilarious and part two takes one to another level.

It sure takes one to back in the day when John Chukwu took stand up comedy to a whole new level. Enjoy and keep cracking up!

News Desk (Nigeria) Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mark's pending court verdict forces Senate on leave

THE Senate unexpectedly proceeded on a two-month recess yesterday, for what insiders called a solidarity move ahead of tomorrow’s judgment of the Court of Appeal, Jos on the election of the Senate President, Chief David Mark. The Benue State Electoral Tribunal had nullified the election. MORE>>>

EFCC to stop corrupt govs from stealing federal allocation

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, Tuesday said, plans are underway to prevent corrupt State Governors and Local Government Chairmen from diverting federal allocation into their pockets. MORE>>>

Gambari quits, G-8 to help on Niger Delta

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who attended the Group of Eight (G-8) parley in Japan with six other African leaders, will turn global attention on the Niger Delta and the energy crisis in Nigeria next week as he meets with British officials in London. MORE>>>

Robbers kill five policemen in Enugu

WHEN they struck almost at the same spot near the Oji River, along the Enugu-Onitsha Highways some months ago, three policemen on duty at the checkpoint were killed. Their guns and all the cash in the bullet-riddled van heading for Enugu were carted away by the robbers. MORE>>>

U.S. Moves To Stop Arms Inflow To Niger Delta

America has promised to assist Nigeria to curb the inflow of arms into the Niger Delta, but has ruled out the use of its military personnel to achieve the objective. MORE>>>

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

News Desk (Nigeria) Wednesday, July 09, 2008

FG, UK in £50m malaria deal

UK Minister, Gillian Merron who will be in Nigeria from today 9th June until Saturday 12th to sign the agreement on behalf of the United Kingdom would also visit DFID funded projects such as The Girls Education Project. MORE>>>

Orji threatens to deploy soldiers to Abiriba over communal crisis

Umuahia—Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State yesterday threathened to despatch soldiers to Abririba community where intra-communal crisis has been raging for weeks. Already, scores of mobile and regular policemen have been deployed to the area. MORE>>>

Presidency directs Soludo to re-present naira redenomination

After nearly a year after its suspension, the Strategic Agenda for the Naira mooted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may now get the approval of the Federal Government. MORE>>>

Govt gets N7b World Bank loan

NIGERIA yesterday secured about N7.2 billion ($60 million) new World Bank loan for the construction and maintenance of rural roads and river crossings in Kaduna State. MORE>>>

Reps okay bill on 360 members’ diplomatic passports

The 360 members of the House of Representatives may henceforth carry diplomatic passports, if a new bill is passed into law. The development followed a unanimous second reading, on Tuesday, of a bill seeking to amend the Passport (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. MORE>>>

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

News Desk (Nigeria) Tuesday, July 08, 2008

They want to kill me, Clark cries out

FIRST Republic Federal Information Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark, alleged yesterday, plan by people he did not name to assassinate him and then blame his death on armed robbers. He said the plot was on account of his crusade against injustice and corruption in the Niger Delta. MORE>>>

N19.5bn aviation fund: I released only N2bn –Okonjo-Iweala

A former Minister Finance and Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that only N2bn out of the N19.5bn aviation intervention fund was released before she left the ministry on June 21, 2006. MORE>>>

70 Nigerians await execution in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia

Few days after the Indonesian authorities executed two Nigerians, Samuel Iwuchukwu and Anthony Nwolisa, for their alleged involvement in drug-related offences, another 20 are said to be on the death row in that country. Also, another 50 are awaiting execution in Saudi Arabia and other Asian countries. MORE>>>

Diesel Heads for N200 per Litre

Nigeria’s energy crisis may further worsen as indications have emerged that the price of diesel – on which the economy is heavily dependent – may soon hit N200 per litre. MORE>>>

Monday, July 07, 2008

Comedy: Basket Mouth (Malic)

Now go bust that tube!

Editorials Monday, July 07, 2008

The kerosene at N50 per litre initiative

THE plan by African Petroleum Plc to retail kerosene at N50 per litre has enjoyed much media fanfare and its launch late last month attracted a presidential representative, Petroleum Minister of State Odein Ajumogobia. [Guardian Newspapers]

Federal Government Without Budget

THE national budget must be very important, otherwise, it would not still be debated six months to the end of the year. The final debate on the budget will start with President Umaru Yar’Adua’s decision to amend the version passed last April, after contentions that had nothing to do with the well-being of ordinary Nigerians. [Vanguard]

Zimbabwe's Election Saga: The Way Forward

With the recent swearing in of President Robert Mugabe after a sham of presidential runoff elections in which he contested against himself, the octogenarian president is in for another controversy. Last Tuesday, African leaders rose from a two day summit in Cairo adopting a resolution calling on Mugabe to enter into negotiation with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who withdrew from the runoff election on the grounds of violence against his supporters. [Niger Delta Standard]

News Desk (Africa) July 07, 2008

Mugabe crisis infecting Africa – Miliband

The crisis in Zimbabwe is “infecting the whole of southern Africa,” the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said after visiting refugees. During the visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, he said victims of political repression were fleeing there in their thousands, the BBC reported on Sunday. MORE>>>

South Africa releases Mandela 90th birthday coin

The new five rand coin is South Africa's largest coin, worth about 65 U.S. cents. It shows Mandela in one of his signature patterned shirts and is the latest in a series of events honoring the anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. MORE>>>

Obama granny’s day out with envoys and top politicians

Initially, many thought that it was a joke when it was announced that Mrs Sarah Onyango Obama, the step-grandmother of US Senator Barack Obama, the 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate would grace the event — America’s Independence Day celebrations. MORE>>>

Hepatitis kills 67, infects 4,000, in north Uganda

KAMPALA (Reuters) - An outbreak of highly infectious hepatitis E has killed 67 people in northern Uganda since late last year and made more than 4,000 others ill, a government official said on Monday. MORE>>>

News Desk (Nigeria) Monday, July 07, 2008

Court decides Enugu gov’s fate tomorrow - Group alleges plan to postpone ruling

FEAR and anxiety have literally gripped scores of loyalists to Governor Sullivan Chime and the pro-Senator Chimaroke Nnamani group as the Appeal Court sitting in Enugu rules tomorrow on the petition brought by the state chief executive challenging the nullification of his gubernatorial election by the Election Petitions Tribunal also in Enugu. MORE>>>

Marginalisation: North plots against South

The South may have got more than what it bargained for over its recent protest of being marginalised by the President Umaru Yar’Adua-led administration as the North now appears ready to take up arms to defend the distribution of appointment so far made by the administration. MORE>>>

Governor poisoned, says Chief of Staff

ABEOKUTA — GOVERNOR Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State was recently poisoned and had to be flown abroad for treatment, his Chief of Staff, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, said yesterday in Abeokuta. He, however, did not say how and in what circumstances the governor was poisoned. MORE>>>

Foreign reserves drop, banks' lending rate rises

NIGERIA'S foreign reserves has dropped by more than $2 billion from $61.4 billion in the middle of May this year to $59.3 billion as at July 2. A survey of the movement of the reserves record at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday which indicated this, however, did no give the reason for the decline in the account. MORE>>>

Teachers’ strike: Mass action holds Thursday

In a press conference yesterday at the Nigeria Labour Congress headquarters in Lagos, the National Co-coordinator of LASCO, Comrade Abiodun Aremu said that Labour and Civil Society Coalition have decided to put their weight behind the plight of the teachers since government is proving stubborn. MORE>>>

Senate Rejects New Revenue Formula

The Senate has returned the new revenue formula to Aso Rock because of technical defects. President Umaru Yar'Adua had sent in the document two weeks ago, proposing that the Federal Government should get 53.69 per cent of federally collected revenue, states 31.1 per cent, and councils 15.21 per cent. MORE>>>

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Night of a thousand laughs Vol.9 (Maleke) I Feel Good

How about this brilliant stuff? Enjoy!

Campaign Desk Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Obama urges expansion of faith-based initiative

"The challenges we face today—from saving our planet to ending poverty—are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach," Obama said at a news conference outside a community ministry in Zanesville, Ohio. MORE>>>

John McCain observes anti-drug efforts in Colombia

"Drugs is a big, big problem in America," McCain told ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning from the port of Cartagena. "The continued flow of drugs from Colombia through Mexico into the United States is still one of our major challenges for all Americans." MORE>>>

News Desk Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fani-Kayode, Borishade: Senate rebukes EFCC

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) drew flak, yesterday, from the Senate for Monday’s arrest of two former Aviation Ministers, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and Professor Babalola Borishade, as well as one-time Managing Director of the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Roland Iyayi, within the National Assembly premises. MORE>>>

Fasehun, Sylva want Anyaoku, global bodies to steer N'Delta talks

A PEACE deal in the strife-torn Niger Delta that is to be brokered by the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku or international bodies, was canvassed by two prominent Nigerians yesterday. MORE>>>

Constituency delineation: Protests, requests greet exercise

THE ongoing delineation of constituencies has run into protests in Enugu and Osun states where interest groups are alleging inadequacies in the exercise. The Independent National Electoral Commission is currently delineating constituencies across the country. In Osun State, opposition parties alleged that INEC was colluding with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. MORE>>>

How I spent N12bn Aviation fund –Fani-Kayode

Former Minister of State for Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has given graphic details of how he spent N12 billion of the N19.5 billion Aviation Intervention Fund (AIF) approved by the presidency but presently under probe by the Senate Committee on Aviation. MORE>>>

Defence Corps recover N114m black oil from bunkerers

The petroleum product known as low pour fuel oil (LPFO) of about 694 metric tons and stored in four different big boats, three wooden and one iron-made, was recovered from the bunkerers on the high sea in Oke-Ogun Odofin River between Epe and Ibeju Lekki local government areas of the state. MORE>>>

Obasanjo, Odili named in case over N2b grant 2/7/2008

There is more than N19.5billion aviation intervention fund to account for by officials of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, it emerged yesterday. The Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) got N2billion in 2006 but there is little to show for it, the Senate Committee on Aviation learnt. MORE>>>