Thursday, April 30, 2009

2009 Time's 100 Most Influential People.

The opening shot of Time's 2009 100 most influential people was veteran Democrat Edward Kennedy who was described as the most bipartisan politician in congress, and whose story was told by California Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom the governor called 'Uncle.' Schwarzenegger writes;

"How do I describe Uncle Teddy? Everyone knows him as the Lion of the Senate, a liberal icon, a warrior for the less fortunate, a fierce advocate for health-care reform, a champion of social justice here and abroad and now even a Knight of the British Empire. But I know him as the rock of his family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He's a man of great faith and character."

Time's 100 has an array of lists: leaders and revolutionaries; builders and titans; artists and entertainers; heroes and icons; and scientists and thinkers. The list includes Hilary Clinton, Norah al Faiz, Paul Kagame, Angela Markel, David McKeirnan, Asfaq Kayani, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, The Twitter guys, Ted Turner, Nouriel Rouboum, Oprah Winfrey, the drug addled Rush Limbaugh, Joaquim Guzman and Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) among others.

Read story as told by Schwarzenegger

Spike Jonze on M.I.A.

Michael Elliot on Angela Merkel

T Boone Pickens on Ted Turner

Madeleine K. Albright on Hillary Clinton

Aston Kutcher on The Twitter Guys

J.K. Rowling on Gordon Brown

Tim Padget on Joaquim Guzman

Rick Warren on Paul Kagame

Gordon Brown on Barrack Obama

Photos cortesy of Time Magazine

Friday, April 24, 2009

Main Street: In Da Hood

On Easter Monday, as we usually called it back home, I was invited by a good friend over dinner and some drinks, and some talks. While we ate and drank, we talked about a whole lot of stuff including the new arrivals on the book shelves -- Caught Between Hitler & Stalin; From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women; A Constitution of Many Minds: Why the Founding Document Doesn't Mean What It Mean Before; Founders: The People Who Brought You A nation; ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody; The political Worlds Of Slavery And Freedom; Nazi Germany and the Jews; The Black Death; Engaging The Muslim World; Hitler's Pope; Captives and Countrymen: Barbary Slavery and the American Public; The Irony of American History; Adolf Eichman and many other books that just arrived on the shelves, particularly about the Holocaust. He is disgusted with Nd'Igbo and why nobody is writing with regards to the pogrom.

On Nollywood, we talked about how the New York Film Academy's Film and Acting Conservatory now has locations all around the world except for 'Nigeria.' The New York and Acting Conservatory has locations in United Arab Emirates, Italy, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Spain, Dubai, England, France, Belgium, Germany, and so on. My buddy stressed on how a location in Abuja or Lagos could help produce better movies to meet up with the standards of the Academy Awards after going through the institute's workshop in filmmaking, acting, producing, screenwriting, documentary, cinematography, editing, cinema studies, music video, musical theater, photography and other movie producing essentials.

After some long discourse, I let him do all the talking and too many issues popped up since I was the one listening while he did the talking.

First, in his monologue, he started with what our women have done ever since they set their foot on the shores of this land reminding me of the current debate going on at BNW Messageboard which is actually getting nasty. On these women who have destroyed our cultural heritage, he blamed Oprah Winfrey and said that the 50ish feminist needs to get a real husband to feel how it's like, and that there are certain values money can't buy. He wondered "how can you spend your lifetime savings, paying your dues in this great country called America and ending up being screwed-up by a woman you brought here." He cited Texas as the mother of all craziness and failed marriages regarding 'our women' who'd lost every sense of purpose, ala, destroying our family values in its entirety. He was so pissed he blamed the 'boys' for starting something they could not finish.

On the talk show hosts, media elites and still blaming Oprah, he really doesn't give a "fuck" about Sean Hannity, the drug addled Rush Limbaugh, Larry Elder, George Stephanopolous, Dianne Sawyer, Charles Gibson, and that there's nothing there but commerce. "Without commerce," he would continue, "all of them ain't worth shit." He is critical of all the talk show hosts and commentators, including Oprah whom he dislikes with a passion.

On the global economy, he blamed a retarded George W. Bush and a "fucked-up" Dick Cheney for screwing-up everybody by fighting a useless war in Iraq and squandering all the surplus bad boy Bill Clinton left in the nation's coffers. He insisted Bush and Cheney should be tried for mass murder.

On President Barack Obama, he said Obama should be very careful, even though he's going on the right direction, that the stinking conservatives are doing everything within their reach to see that the president who is yet to mark a hundred days in office and a whole lot accomplished doesn't succeed. He listed Obama haters -- Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Denver's Bob Newman, Bill Cunningham, Chris Baker, Michelle Malkin, and the rest bigots -- as, cough, cough, the airheads who have nothing else to say about the president but trash talking.

On the main subject matter, what we have earlier discussed before my stopping by in da hood to see what was cooking and what the gist was all about, and exactly stuff like that. The gist was Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie's new book, The Thing Around Your Neck, a collection of short stories about what historians describe as the "push factor," the economic and social conditions that compelled us to leave our native land for a better life abroad.

Regarding Adichie and her new book, he paused and scratched his head. He did not scratch his head because of Adichie's book. He was worried Adichie, now 32, and no marriage, might end up sooner or later becoming a hardcore feminist, that at a certain age and a woman not married based on our culture, that she will be scary and that alone turns men off. According to him, early marriage for a woman is evidence of good upbringing and an indication of keeping ones cultural heritage viable and intact. That Adichie can tell all the finest stories out there; and without marriage she has no place in Igbo land, that Igbo tradition from long time ago must be preserved like any other people on Earth, citing the unique culture of the Japanese, the Chinese, the Jews and the Indians.

He said Adichie is now bent on writing books being praised on the literary circle but forgot to realize the dual feminine role of women in our society. He concluded a woman's role is that of mother and nurse, that the moment a woman crosses that line, the sign of failure becomes obvious unless the man in question is crippled.

Boy, I was wondering if this guy was Okay. He brought up the Minnesota incident of Mike Iheme who had murdered his wife in the most brutal way and blamed society for pushing the man against the wall. He talked about other killings and men who have strangled their wives in the Igbo community.

I had to cut in and change the subject before he drags me along with him on domestic violence cases I have never been part of. I decided to review Adichie's new book and he began to listen.

I read Adichie's two previous books, Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2007); and both were good books of narrative politics, life events and storytelling. Adichie's The Thing Around Your Neck is told with familiar names and characters. "Cell One," which is the first story was told in the format of Nollywood casts -- gangs and cults in university campus engaging in all kinds of criminal activities "copycating" American hip-hop and pop culture.

Then follows the northern religious riots against the Christian South and a brief encounter between two females during the fracas; one a medical student of Igbo origin, and the other a trader of Hausa extraction in a mutual order with regards to mankind to resist and overcome the predicaments of tribalism which has led to many deaths. Seriously, an engaging episode where the Hausa market woman relatively indulges the Igbo medical student for a way out of the chaos urging the medical student to do something, begging, "my nipple is burning like pepper." She had shown her nipples to the Igbo medical student in that plea, the plea to stop the violence.

In the case of sojourn to the United States, Adichie enumerated in detail the consequences of culture shock and asks if it's even worth it to embark on such a journey -- especially in a situation the "overclass" Nigerians send their wives abroad to have babies but adjusting to Yakee way of life never becomes easy.

There's also the case of arranged marriages with a Yankee. And it falls out. And sexual favors were denied. And there was anger. And there was the threat to leave on the ground that sex was not part of the deal -- the arranged marriage. And, also, there was the case of Chinaza Udenwa, (The Arrangers of Marriage) who had to change her name to Agatha Bell on the recommendation of her true husband.

Quite some thrilling stories as one reads on. Ending up with no place like home, Adichie concludes by recounting the tale of a boy sent to a missionary school by his mother which eventually turned sour. The woman's granddaughter does the opposite sideling expectations of family and cultural heritage. By the time it was all over she has earned a degree, returned back home and changed her Christian name, Grace, to Ahamefule, and found out the idea of leaving one's country in search for a better life did not add up and was not worth it. There is no place like home. And home has always been the best.

After my narratives on Adichie, he cut in and was becoming erratic. He had a frowned face eager to let off all the stuff in his chest. I knew what was about to happen. I gave him his time. He calmed down, murmured and scratched his head. I found out he was ready to release what had been bothering him. He said, clearing his throat, "are you finished?" I shook my head as a gesture of being done. He began his part of the observations as I questioned.

On Nd'Igbo he said they are -- cough, cough -- finished; that it is too late to start thinking otherwise, that it is up to the newer generation, the ones that do not speak Igbo and have no clue about Igbo culture to take over the mantle of leadership and do whatever they want to do with it; and that it might work since they have no one to favor or anyone to influence them for they have nothing to lose.

On the situations in Nigeria, he said "forget it." He paused and took a deep breath on the ground whenever the country is mentioned he feels like throwing up. He loathes the country for many reasons. A country that is 48-years-old with enormous hunman capital and abundant natural resources yet has nothing to show for its existence since its birth. A country corruption is institutionalized and nothing works except by way of illegal activities.

He spoke with anger regarding Nigeria. That the schools left by the missionaries are vanishing from normal operation. That the industries and infrastructures set up by the "founding fathers" have not been maintained to standard and in some cases left abandoned. That the hospitals are messy with no equipments, questioning the medical errand boys who take credit for doing a wonderful job from their medical missions to save the sick. He said the next fifteen years Nigeria will cease to exist from a whole lot of complications, citing the wrong choice of electing a sick man who coughs persistently and smokes like a chimney, having no time to take responsibility in the affairs of state. I mean, this guy kept talking and talking with bitterness to a point blaming the opportunists who had helped adding insult to injury.

And who are the opportunists when I asked. He paused again and took a deep breath with anger all over his face. The opportunists, according to him, are the errand boys who are here in Diaspora, who use their access as conduits for money laundering and looting of public funds by the "elected" officials, who supposedly should be held accountable for raping the treasury of a people. And that it originated from the fabricated red cap chiefs na eri awoof and that these corrupt "chiefs" have deliberately destroyed all that our forebears left behind.

Boy, this guy never stopped talking. He talked about how bad leadership had made the Naira worth nothing and uncompetitive in the global market economy. He talked about the growing cases of pollution while the civilized world is talking progressively about the green movement. That 'Nigeria' cannot claim to be a democracy when bribery and corruption is still widespread, when government officials and politicians who engage in criminal activities are not prosecuted to the limit of the law, when revenue allocation is not proportionally distributed, and when the power holders are not living up to the creed of a concocted constitution as a result of a failed judiciary.

On the educational system, he said it was a "total failure." That what need is the education when college graduates can't find work or have government assisted programs whereby individuals who feel like running their own businesses can do so under supervisory programs by government regulatory agencies. That, until there is a political revolution or somehow, a radical step, that 'Nigeria' will never be better; and that, to do so (effecting change) "will take men with liver."

He went on to say that a country that tends to forget its past has no history, citing the pogrom in which over two million souls perished, and that up until now, no form of apology has come forth.

Again, citing another era of humankind, he used the Jews as an analogy citing how powerful the Jews has become from the lessons of the Holocaust. That books are published every second about the concentration camps, about Adolf Hitler and his atrocities, about cities in Europe where the deaths were carried out, about Treblinka, about Auschwitz, about Adolf Eichman, about Polish confrontations with Soviet power during the Holocaust, about Nazi rule meaning death to all Jews, and about Anne Frank.

He was bitter and wished Igbo could do something. Nothing was funny, at all. He asked how an infallible and confused bunch of Igbo Diaspora have no legal team to defend its own who's been unjustly incarcerated. And we have "high profle lawyers." And we have "millionaires around the block." And we have "visionaries." And with all that, what do they have to show for it?

It is a tragedy and the saga continues!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ehirim Files Classic: BNW Face-2-Face: Dr. Julius Kpaduwa


On August 11, 2002, Dr. Julius Kpaduwa met face-to-face with BiafraNigeriaWorld and talked about his experience when he was shot during his guber-race campaign to unseat the corrupt regime of Achike Udenwa. He spoke extensively on his plans for medical care if elected governor of Imo State. He also talked about the role women would play in his administration. Dr Kpaduwa runs medical missions and other charity-based projects in Biafranigeria and the United States of America.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Before we proceed, BiafraNigeriaWorld forumites would like to know who you are.

Dr. Kpaduwa: My name is Dr. Julius Kpaduwa from Ezike, Isiala-Mbano, in Okigwe, Imo state

BiafraNigeriaWorld: We know good leadership requires vision and a sense of mission. What is your vision for Imo State for which BiafraNigeriaWorld forumites should hold you accountable if you emerged victorious in the guber race?

Dr. Kpaduwa: The problems that confront Imo State are really not unique. It is the same problem that confronts almost every state in Nigeria, and it's one of economic development. The primary thing or my clear vision for the people of Imo State will be getting all the able-bodied men and women back to work, so that we can begin to have the quality of life that has so far eluded the people of Imo State.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: What is the status of the investigations into the attack you suffered last month, and what do you know about the attackers?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Based on the information that we have, six arrests were made and three were subsequently released.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Was anything said to you during the attack that suggest who was behind it?

Dr. Kpaduwa: No.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Do you know anything about the people that have been arrested for the attack? The name of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume has been mentioned, what is his connection?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I don't know anything about the attackers. Araraume is the senator who represents my ward, Okigwe Senatorial District. I have not been informed of any connection between Senator Araraume and the attackers. I have been told the investigation is still going on.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Now that you have sustained injuries on your attempt to unseat the incumbent governor of Imo State, does your wife worry about your safety?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Of course they do. As a matter of fact, my wife does not want me to continue with the guber race. Since my ambition is to effect change in Imo State I must have to finish up what I started.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: What is the connection of Governor Achike Udenwa people with the attack? Have you talked to or met with Udenwa since you started your campaign?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I don't know of any connection with Udenwa people regarding the attack. All I can say is Udenwa never called me or wrote me after the attack. He knows I was attacked, and he knows how to contact me if he had wanted to.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Tell us what happened during the attack?

Dr. Kpaduwa: On the day of the attack, I had earlier attended a political campaign rally in Eziama, Mbano. When we came back from that rally, my campaign team and entourage spent the night at my uncle's house who lives across the street from my mother's house. I went to bed with the hope that next day's agenda would be met. While asleep, I heard a loud noise which woke me up. I had the feelings it was either armed robbers or political hoodlums. They smashed the windows of my mother's house, forced the door open and held my mother at gunpoint asking for my whereabouts. They pointed their guns to my mother's throat. When they forced themselves in to where I was, they pointed their guns at me saying they will end my political ambition with a "death sentence." They asked me to bring out all the money that I have before they could carry out their "death sentence." I was beaten, brutalized to a point when I collapsed and fell on the ground, they thought I was not going to make it. If it was not for my cousin who alerted the villagers, I could have died when they shot me. I was bleeding and in pains until my campaign team drove me to Federal Medical Center in Owerri.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: You are registered with People's Democratic Party (PDP), right?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Right!

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Why PDP?

Dr. Kpaduwa: PDP is the ruling party in Nigeria. It is the party that I believe has the clout to really change the way things are being done in Nigeria. It is the most popular party, and my reason for joining the PDP is to get my voice in that formidable party, so chances for Imo State and the Igbo nation in general will be much better.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Do you belong to any Igbo cultural organization here in the United States?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Yes, I do. I am a member of the World Igbo Congress. I attend their meetings. I also belong to our own cultural association in our town and I belong to the Imo Union.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Do you hold any post in the organizations you mentioned?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I am one of the board of trustees of our town union.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Do you have an office where you operate from, back home?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Yes I do.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Was your office attacked by the hoodlums?

Dr. Kpaduwa: No.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Have you had any kind of contact or communication with the head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Yes, I spoke with him.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Were you able to see him when you visited home?

Dr. Kpaduwa: No.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: On education, and since the public school system has failed, especially in Imo State with teachers' salaries withheld by Governor Udenwa's administration, would you back privatizing the schools and giving it back to the missionaries?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I am fully in support of privatizing the schools. On the teachers, we need to talk to them, we need to know what concerns them most and their concerns need to be addressed, because the school system would collapse if their needs are not met.

The government can get into running of schools, but I don't think the government should get into running so many schools. I remember in those days when we went to school, the schools were properly managed by both the state and federal government and they came out to be schools of excellence. I don't see why we can't go back to that. By and large, those schools that were formerly managed by the missionaries should go back to the missionaries

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Let's talk about healthcare. The healthcare system in Imo state today is in shambles. I remember the story of a dying patient who could not be treated because he had no deposit. That, for sure, will not happen in the United States. Here, in America, in a situation like this, all one need to do is dial 911 and the response would be available immediately. If elected, how would your administration address the issue, improving the healthcare system?

Dr. Kpaduwa: You have asked the most important question of the night, though I don't know how many more questions you have. I can tell you that for the past four years, my wife and I (my wife is also a physician), we have been organizing and going on medical missions,, a free medical care to all parts of Imo State. As a matter of fact, we just finished one last Friday and we had a whole lot of cases. I was not able to go, even though I arranged it, and my wife could not go even though she was suppose to be part of the medical team. You just have to talk to people from Mbano, and they will tell can tell you what they experienced in our medical missions last week. Not only in Mbano, there were accounts of people who came from Orlu, Owerri and Mbaise trooping to Mbano Joint Hospital for free medical treatments and needs.

In fact, it was as a result of inadequate medical care I experienced during or very first medical mission that drove me to what I am doing now, running for the governor of Imo State, because I found out I could do very little with a stethoscope. I found out that if there was sound, good public policy as far as healthcare is concerned, the people of Imo State would be better off. That's really what motivated me to seek the office of the governor.

I have a plan that is very well laid out in our Manifesto, so to speak. And that plan, basically will guarantee any division of government owned Imo State hospital, standard of community hospital in the United States, if you know what I mean. That means that the operating room has to be fully equipped and functional. There has to be a functioning emergency department. There has to be adequate amount of drugs. And you will ask me how are we going to finance this. We have been doing this without even being in office, completely free of charge. We happen to be in a country--the United States of America--and God bless America that philanthropy is one of the bedrock of society. There is no where I can go to the hospitals that I practice, and ask them for equipments which are still functional and very good, or do a drive around the United States, I will equip every single hospital, functioning without spending a penny. All I need is the transportation. I will train a personnel, an adequate personnel. We will fully compensate the physicians that work there.

The hospitals, nobody goes to them because there is little or no care. We practiced in those hospitals, they are only hospitals in name and it is a shame. If you do not provide the people with minimum wages, decent jobs that will not guarantee them some form of health insurance or any form of health coverage, I believe that the government has the sole responsibility to take care of its own citizens. I don't care where you get the fund from,you go out there and get it until such a time when you have brought out the economic level of the state to a point whereby people can begin to get health insurances from their various jobs.

Under our own government structure, no single individual will be turned away from government hospital and emergency cases because of the inability to pay. It can be done because we will be able to get resources from outside of the country. For complex cases, no individual, for any operation that is needed will be turned away because he or she did not have money. And that is what's going on now. If you don't have money even on emergency basis, in fact, when I was shot and they took me to Federal Medical Center in Owerri, they refused to let me down until I have a police report. This is a gun shot wound, I was bleeding; I was in pain; nobody took the time to access my condition, I could have died. They told us that I cannot come down. So, we went to the police station to get a police report. Under our administration, such a nonsense will not happen.

When we got the police report and went back to the hospital, they refused to attend to me until we are able to pay certain basic fees. I just was lucky my wife's friend who's a physician works at that hospital and she happened to be there when we walked in. She paid all the fees. It's not that I don't have the money, but we just didn't have it on us. You will need a card, you will need this, you will need that in order to be attended, or they won't attend to you. Under our administration, that comes to a full stop. I don't care whether it's a federal medical center or a state hospital.

So the Imo people are in for a treat, as far as healthcare is concerned. That's where they will have the immediate benefits of our administration, because this is not depending on anybody else effort. It is going to be solely our effort. I belong to the Association of Nigeria Physicians in America; they help me run the medical mission in Mbano. The Imo people really are out for a treat; they want decent healthcare and we are going to put a whole lot of money for it.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: In your own view, do you think World Igbo Congress and Ohaneze NdiIgbo should be representing the interest of the Igbos?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Those are Igbo organizations that are formed by Igbos, and from all accounts, Ohaneze NdiIgbo is very well respected in Igboland. So too is World Igbo Congress, that is WIC. I think they do have a right because of their compositions, not necessarily to talk on behalf of Igbos, but at least, to advocate.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Ohaneze, for instance, what is it one would say they have accomplished since Obasanjo's administration?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I don't think if you talk to those individuals who run the organizations, they will agree with you. I am sure they will point out one or two things that they have done.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Again, Ohaneze have done practically nothing to seek resolve in the mess going on now in Igbo States. We are in a state of total anarchy and Ohaneze is watching playing no leadership role. Why are they quiet?

Dr. Kpaduwa: This is where they really need to come out and play a key role, quite frankly. I think Ohaneze and WIC really have the responsibility of ensuring that the Igbo nation has adequate kind of leadership. They need to speak out when things are going wrong. They shouldn't be afraid. It's for the betterment of the Igbo nation, and it is worth fighting for. We cannot achieve this without the right kind of leadership. So they should be at the forefront of identifying the leadership that would move the Igbos forward. Now, if they have not been doing this, which is an area they need to concentrate upon on, because, the bottom-line is that if we don't have good leadership, I don't care how many WICs and how many Ohanezes, there will be no progress.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: There's this talk now about Igbo Charter in every Igbo-related fora or discussion groups. In fact, a group named PICAD has begun conferencing writing the said charter. The gist is that the Yoruba nation and other ethnic minorities have written their own charter and ready to go in the event a national conference emerges. What's your take on that?

Dr. Kpaduwa: Quite frankly, I really cannot comment on that particular issue because I would like to see what they have in the charter; whether it's something that respects the territorial integrity of our country, Nigeria, or if it's something that poses against the betterment of the Igbos, for me to really comment on it.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Now there is talk again about the "Sovereign National Conference." Why a sovereign national conference when we have had series of conferences in the past which reminds me of the Aburi Accord, a more spectacular document?

Dr. Kpaduwa: If you look at the Nigerian polity from the first coup, you will find out that before the first coup we had a true federation, fewer states, and those states had autonomy in many respects, and there was a lot of developments within those particular states. There was competition among the states. The revenue sharing was very different from what it is today.

But right after the first coup in 1966, during Aguiyi-Ironsi's regime, he instituted a unitary system of government which was the worst thing for Nigeria polity. The counter coup in July and the army still clunged on the unitary system of government whereby the federal government dictates everything that happens in the nation, was not the best thing for Nigeria. Now we are back to supposedly the federal system of government, but there are still some unitary elements in terms of revenue allocation and some other things. How do you change those things? There was a constitution that was written, the 1999 constitution supervised by the military. I don't know whether a vast majority of Nigerians participated in it. You will find out that, there are many deficiencies within that constitutional framework.

Now, how do you address this? I think the Nigerian polity coming together and really be able to decide, is a step worthy. First of all, do we stay together or not? And I know the answer to that question is going to be yes. If we are going to stay together, under what system and under what formula do we stay together, something that is equitable to all. Not unless we address those issues, we will continue to have problems in Nigeria for a long time to come. So the issue of having that conference to give Nigerians the opportunity to decide what kind of constitution they want and what they think is the best association for them to move Nigeria, henceforth. If that is not done, we will continue to suffer in the Nigerian polity. I will definitely give my points toward such an enterprise, because I know it's only then I will begin to address some basic issues of revenue allocation and some other things. The federal government cannot develop Nigeria. Nigeria is too big for that. The federal government has to be local. If you hold the states by the throat whereby there is not enough revenue for them, then we will never have development. Every government that encourages development starting from the local government to the state government, which is autonomy, is the only way we can achieve development. If I become the governor of Imo State, I will definitely add my voice to effect the project.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: What role would women play in your administration?

Dr. Kpaduwa: There will be absolutely no difference between men and women. Women will play as much prominent role as the men. One of the things I learned living in America was that the society is very open to any capable individual, and women are no less capable than the men. In fact, they have a special contribution to make. We will encourage to make sure that the female gender is fully represented in our administration.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Have you made up your mind, your choice for a running mate and have you considered choosing a woman?

Dr. Kpaduwa: That is an area I have not even given thought to, because, we are still grapping with the issues of being amicable. We have not have the luxury of considering who the the running mate may be. Now, would I consider having a woman as my running mate? Absolutely. But I want my running mate to be somebody who will be almost a mirror image of my aspirations. Let that person be a woman or man, so that if I am of the scene for any reason, the agenda, the very good agenda we are going to work out for Imo State will continue.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: How would you like to be remembered?

Dr. Kpaduwa: I would like to be remembered as somebody who cared very much for his own people, somebody who did everything he can, who strived to leave a legacy, somebody who did everything possible to make sure that most of the least common denominator in our society is as good as anywhere else in the world. So, quite frankly, my epitaph will read, "he tried to make a difference." That's how I want to be remembered.

BiafraNigeriaWorld: Dr. Kpaduwa, we, members of BiafraNigeriaWorld appreciate the time you took to speak with us. We wish you luck in your quest to unseat Udenwa, the incumbent governor of Imo State.

This interview was held in Dr. Julius Kpaduwa's The Country home in Diamond Bar, California, and published exclusively at Biafra-Nigeria-World Magazine on August 16, 2002.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Opening Shot: Ugandan Model Imat Akelo-Opio

Actress/model/dancer/chereographer/activist Imat Akelo-Opio will be gracing the cover of our debut magazine in an exclusive interview. She has so much going on and stick around for the updates about this extraordinary lady who has taken her career to another level.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nigeria Does Indeed Belong To A "G-"!

By Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

An important development that must not and cannot be ignored… Until last week, 43 years to the day since the beginning of the Igbo genocide perpetrated by Nigeria and its allies, no head of regime in power in Nigeria had ever admitted, albeit unwittingly, the utter worthlessness of Nigeria in the pecking order of the countries of the world. On Nigeria’s non-invitation to the April 2009 G-20 London economic summit, regime head Yar’Adua mournfully noted: “Today is a sad day for Nigeria as a country. This is because we are not invited to a meeting of the 20 world leaders. We have the population, we have the resources and we have the potential.” Predictably, Yar’Adua refers to those hackneyed, bogus indices (“population”, “resources”) that everyone knows obfuscate the immanent fragility, infamy and hopelessness that chart the Nigeria quagmire. In response to Yar’Adua’s pain, Kevin Ani, the lucid analyst, is succinctly upfront: “Even if one extends (sic) this list to G-1000, Nigeria still will not make it.”

It cannot be overstated that the Igbo genocide put paid to any Nigeria pretensions to transform itself to a serious state of global contention. Nigeria, which the Igbo had strategically led to liberate from 60 years of British occupation, collapsed, irremediably, in May 1966. This was when its troops, police, students, teachers, civil servants, community leaders, clergy, alimajiri and the like in north Nigeria planned and descended on Igbo children, women and men domiciled in the region – killing, raping, maiming, looting, destroying … A total of 100000 Igbo were murdered between May and October (1966) in this first phase of the worst genocide in Africa since the previous century. The Nigerians later expanded their murdering zones of operation to liquidate the Igbo by attacking the entire stretch of Igboland (from Issele-Ukwu, Agbo, Anioma, Ugwuta and Onicha in the west to Ehugbo, Aba and Umuahia to the east; from Nsukka and Eha Amufu in the north to Igwe Ocha, Umu Ubani and Igwe Nga to the south) between July 1967-January 1970. A total of 3 million Igbo were murdered during this second phase. Altogether, the Igbo lost one-quarter of their population as a result of the genocide.

On the morrow of this pulverising season of murdering, the only tangible capability that the murderers had acquired was one to commit even more murders – nothing else … definitely, not the more challenging capacity to develop and transform an economy to, in turn, attract and merit the accolades and recognitions from peers elsewhere. The tragedy of the otherwise farcical so-called “rebranding” of the Nigeria state is that this current “quest” is supposedly overseen by an Igbo academic (Dora Akunyili) who presumably is unaware of the history of her people in Nigeria or is probably biding her time to tell her employers the blunt truth of Nigeria’s inexorable cascade into irrelevance.

Yet, contrary to Yar’Adua’s angst over Nigeria’s non-membership of the G-20, Nigeria actually belongs to a “G-” grouping. It is called Group-G and Yar’Adua must know that not only does his country belong to this outfit but it also heads it as its undisputed supremo presently. In this club, the “G” letter stands for the beginning of that dreadful word which Nigeria has at once operationalised and institutionalised as the legacy of its vicious existence and has since exported across contemporary Africa – Genocide.

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (Fortcomung, 2009)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fascinating Igbo Blogs on the Web

"They are all over the web doing stuff telling people their stories; writing about life events; lecturing their readers on literature, philosophy and society; providing marketing strategies on how to succeed in business; writing about their love affair and the ideal man of their dream; analyzing music to a pace unimaginable; teaching on business solutions; reviewing books; talking about the battle wounds and the pogrom; communicating and exchanging ideas; and a profound biography about Nd'Igbo, among others too numerous to mention."

"Here you go again. What's wrong with you, man!?"

"Nothing is wrong with me. I'm just excited about my people."

"Who are your people?"

"My people are my kith and kin that have shown they can do stuff and mean whatever they say."

"What the hell is that?"

"You see, you just don't get it, do you?"

"I sure don't get it. What in heavens places are you talking about?"

"Nothing, but hold on, what's your problem?"

"I don't have a problem. You the one that have issues because you seem to be losing it."

"Losing what?"

"I mean, come on, you are not making sense at all about your ramblings. 'Writing about their love affair and the ideal man of their dream,' what the hell is that?"

"Well, I found out you are nosy and would like to know the goings on. Did I ever tell you about how unique the Igbo people are?"

"No, I don't remember."

"You see, when I say you have a shallow brain, you think I'm talking down on you."

"I know who you are. Your whole thing is to break the country up because you think Igbos are the master race."

"Now, you are quoting Obafemi Awolowo, who, feeling threatened with Igbo pragmatism thought Igbos were the 'master race' during the so-called constitutional conferences of a fabricated state."

"Look, man, I'm not gonna go there with you. Don't even go there, Okay?"

"You are just nuts."

"Maybe, I'm nuts because I am not singing about the Obi of trumpet and Ajoa."

"You see why I called you a knucklehead? How did the legendary trumpeter pop up here, in our conversation?"

"Because he is Okoro like you, and Okoros are known to be mean-spirited people. We call them ajaokuta ma momi."

"You see, that's the problem with you imbeciles, bigots and Igbo haters. When you can't handle the Igbos you start calling them names. What's up with that?"

"Quit man! I thought you brought me out here over some coffee and storytelling. What's the gist?"

"Okay, I gotcha. I am talking about Igbo people and the kind of fascinating stuff they are doing on the web. Some good, good stuff, you know..."

"And what's that?"

"I'm impressed. Finally, you succumbed to knowing what Igbo people are up to and all I can tell you is pay attention and listen carefully. Are you ready?"

"Yes, I am ready."

"Here you go, and this is my story":

For some reason, every now and then while checking out the goings on in cyberspace, interesting Igbo blogs pops up and before you think you are just passing through, you get stuck with what the blog has to offer. It happens to me all the time and it is becoming a habit to figure out what these blogs are up to. I have gone through a whole lot of them, and to be honest, I am really impressed.

About seven or so years ago when I began to blog at Biafra-Nigeria-World and Igbonet until the black hats, the robots catapulted from far away China disrupted the drives of BNW News' blog continent and other weak servers on the web, not many Igbo bloggers had emerged. And this happened when the Igbo haters at Egbe Omo Oduduwa, the Nigerian world website run by North Carolina-based Chuck Odili had savagedly axed my colleagues and I for the fact that we mentioned Biafra in our write-ups. That hatred toward Nd'Igbo led to the origin of Biafranigeriaworld, Igbonet and other Igbo-related websites. And the appearance of the messageboard changed all that. That, it can be done.

But now it is pleasing to know my Igbo folks are doing stuff as bloggers, and they are sending the messages across.

First, it is amazing what my boy, Uchenna, is doing with his Comb & Razor Blog. He has digested every part of back in the day pop music from the 60s through the 80s, the whole stuff is now baked in his genes. It is worthy of mention his digging of every damn thing about the 70s songs including my favorites of that era, while growing up.

Somehow, I wonder how he does it. His list of analysis includes Wings (the one led by Jonathan "Spud Nathan" Udensi), Action 13, Wrinkars Experience, Sonny Okosun, Oby Onyioha, Danie Ian, Ofege, Theodora Ifudu, Nelly Uchendu, Bongos Ikwu, Godwin Ironbar, Ubo Jazz Band of Africa, Benji Igbadumeh and His Okeke Sounds International, Harry 'Mosco' Agada, Jake Solo, Funkees, Joni Haastrup and Monomono, Segun Bucknor, Ofo the Rock Company, William Onyeabor and the list goes on and on. His superbly written piece on Danie Ian got me "crawling," I mean crawling because it was indeed well-done.

Enter my home girl, North Carolina-bred Adaure Achumba whose The World According To Adaure is also intriguing and full of life. Now based in Lagos, she blogs about the happenings in her neck of the woods in Eko, and she has pretty good followings. She's been blogging since June 2005 and the stuff in there is the stuff of life which captures her readers from her style of writing -- clear and concise.

So, too, is this lady who should be writing scripts for the silver screen (maybe she does, I dunno) because she really got it together in her compelling fictionalized stories. I am talking about Essex, Maryland-based Vera Ezimora, the Verastic lady who got her readers glued for her brilliant masterpieces. I love to read her notes. They are quite entertaining. But methink sometimes her stories are based on her life experience, I mean, probably with some dude.

And somewhere in London, my home boy out there has taken his stuff to another level. Who knows? The next Amazon will be popping up soon and Britain's one and only online hip-hop company is just about to do that. 2GEES, the hip-hop company which has gone deeply into selling any product is run by Daniel Ezihe. He's been working so hard he's optimistic 2GEES will eventually be a brand name starting from the streets of London and all across the world. A blog of note is on the website, and has blogging ever been made easier? You bet!

Also, there is this New York-based enterpreneur called Emeka Okafor. He is the director of the award winning TED Global. He runs Timbuktu Chronicles which takes one to another level of discovery and other environmental matters. Technology is at its highest level here and Okafor would go to any length to bring it to you. He is on a mission and the innovation is just amazing.

Celebrating Nd'Igbo got me on my feet as I kept wondering how these beautiful Igbo minds work. A one of its kind biography blog of Nd'Igbo from all walks of life. Names I have never heard of popped up. How he does it, I don't know, and I surely have to give it to him for it has to deal with a whole lot of research. C. Ezeh, the nwanna that runs Celebrating ND'Igbo has done something entirely different and is doing a wonderful job a magazine on Igbo biography should be on the news racks and I'm quite sure he's giving a thought to it, or someone should be doing something about it, for the job he's done there is enormous.

On Professor Chielozona Eze, who teaches African and world literatures at North Esatern Illinois University, his Chielozona offers literature, philosophy and society. And on the literary circle, there is the Okri Blog run by Okri C. Okri which publishes literary work independently. In case you have plans to publish in future, check him out for a good deal and tell him that I sent you.

Lagos-based model Linda Ikeji is amazing, too, and she knows her stuff very well. With her smooth image, she has digested every part of the media on fashion, travel, publishing and environmental journalism. She's so proud to tell the world about her multi-talents and promises to reveal more whenever she remembers. She is a blogger and that's the part that I like. And this is Linda Ikeji.

Another interesting blogger is Dawn Okro who is studying law at Texas Southern University in Houston. She seems to be accomplished and has been blogging since 2006. She is a painter, an activist and all that. Bella Naija is another heavyweight in the Igbo blogosphere. It is run by Uche Eze. She, too, has a significant amount of following. Her website has transcended her blog, meaning progress is being made and perhaps she now hears the distance tapping of fingers in JP Morgan Chase.

Have you heard of "The Long Harmattan Season"? If you haven't, it is a book written by London-based liberal journalist, Uche Nworah, and he created a blog to promote his book, as a result. When you have time check it out and learn more because I can feel it; your brain is getting rusty. There is another one too run by an architect, Ugo Okafor, and co-edited by Chika Okafor and it's about women on planet Earth. It's called Spectrum Women and I know you will jump in there as soon as we vacate this coffee house. Your life cannot hang without women, and that's why.

Elsewhere on cyberspace, you will see one Jude Dibia whose blog is specifically on new 'writings, reflections and reviews.' His blog is doing well catching up with the old guards. At the same time there is New York-based fashion consultant by the name of Adanna Gbulie whose new blog is about Igbo enterprise and culture. I think she is on a good footing trying to figure out a whole bunch of stuff at one time. How she's gonna do it I dunno. That's tough.

Gosh! I almost forgot the one run by my childhood buddy, Teddy. It has all the videos you would love to see and there are many other activities on that site. You can create your own blog right in there and write your own reviews on a movie you watched. It is called Nigeria Home Videos. It's got lots of lots of goodies. Seeing is believing. Youtube will soon be a midget campared to what my buddy, Teddy, is doing out there.

Before I end this session, do not forget to check out the glamorous world of Chinwe Enemchukwu's Victorious Living, Ndi Uwa Oma blog. Maybe, it will lead you to what you are looking for. It's time to go!

"Thank you so much Ambrose. I have learned a lot and have seen what Igbo people are up to. They are a great people. And Ambrose, you, too, a rare gem. Once again, thank you very plenty!"

"It's my pleasure, my boy, and have a great week!"

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Buzz and What's Cracking

Ever since the tragedy in her family, all has just been going on well for this hard working girl whose movie, "Dream Girls", earned her an Oscar in a brilliant supporting female role. The movie, I will tell you, is one of the best I've seen when it was released on Christmas Day, 2006. Jennifer Hudson is everywhere and she is doing stuff. She will be among the lineups for NBC's "Today" summer jams and her appearance will be in June. Expect some damn good stuff when she delivers at Time Square in New York.

I read Emma Okocha's interesting response to David Ejoor's interview "The Reminiscences of David Ejoor..." which has erupted another Igbo-bashing. Okocha set the record straight with facts. I have no beef with Ejoor, but I have a problem with his theme of the said interview which lacked merit; and, all in all, fabricated and full of lies. Ejoor is a midget in the history books of the 'Nigerian' crisis, and for him to insult the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe on the grounds of premiership of a failed state, there must be something he has ultimately not revealed. His angst for a hard working and industrious Igbo is what I'm trying to figure out. But one thing, though, he made it patently clear in that interview that he is an Igbo hater.

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Nas are teaming up for a new release titled "Distant Relatives" which has something to do with Nas and Marley's lineage which relates to Africa. Africa must unite and it all borders on that summer release and a world tour to promote the new album. On the other score, this year's Rock The Bells summer jams which will run across many North American cities including the City of Angels, will also feature Marley, Nas, Common, The Roots, Big Boi and many others. Rock The Bells is a hip hop festival organized every year.

Nas, so excited about his team work with Marley had this to say about Africa in general which was the whole idea of the album due to be released this summer: "As an American, we have so much even in a so-called recession that a neighborhood like Queensbridge or Red Hook is Beverly Hills compared to the way people are living in Nigeria, Sierre Leone, and Ghana. So obviously if we [are] making records with that theme, there's gonna be things I want to build on. I think Africa has a lot to teach us."

And Marley, in his own words; "Africa is the backbone of the world and the foundation of everything and Africans are in a situation where they need help more than anywhere else. We know there are dire situations here in America but when you look at America — with public libraries and free education — these are not opportunities most Africans have. It's a completely different scale of trying to help people. As humans beings, we're part of a human family."

What's going on with my Twitter these days? Methink Twitter needs to fix its infrastructure to alleviate the traffic jams. People wanna be moving and getting things done real quick but with such traffic jams, call it go slow, as the Chief Priest, Fela Kuti, would say, all Twitter need to do now is build more roads to make access to its destination easier. It's frustrating to wait on line to see what fellow tweeting addicts are saying or doing. It's better to know when someone is invoking your name. In many occasions this week alone as I try to check in to see what my fellow twitters are nagging about, I get some kind of strange response while breezing in. "Twitter is over capacity. Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again." Shoo, I wanna check in right away. I'm impatient because ain't nothing out there but tweeting, and that's the fun.

Around town, Seun Kuti's UCLA concert has been cancelled, so the organizes say. Austerity measure caught up with them and we will be missing another brilliant performance by the legendary Chief Priest's son, Seun. Elsewhere, the afrobeat maestro has many engagements in Europe. He will be touring Italy Germany, France and several other cities in Europe this summer. Seun, we miss your show and hopefully you will come back again to see us in the City of Angels.

Just poking around Inglewood, California, yesterday evening, I walked into Varja Books on Market Street and couldn't believe what I saw. Books dating back to the 18th century and vinyl albums from the early 1900s. I walked around and browsed through some books. The one that caught my eye was the LPs (vinyl albums). I went to the jazz section and combed through. Louis 'Satchimo' Armstrong, John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, J. J. Johnson. Shorty Rogers, Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), and a whole lot of albums I haven't seen or heard were all stacked with price tags. Armstrong's album was selling for 700 bucks, John Coltrane 675 bucks, Coleman Hawkins 400 bucks, J. J. Johnson 455 bucks, Shorty Rogers 480 bucks, Ella Fitzgerald 395 bucks, Benny Carter 685 bucks and the list goes on and on, and on.

Now, guess what? I bumped into Theodora Ifudu's 1981 classic "This Time Around" and it was selling for 800 bucks. Azigbakwa!

That's "The Buzz and What's Cracking."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Seun Kuti To Rock Los Angeles Again

Yes, the youngest son of the legendary Chief Priest, Seun Kuti, will be storming the grounds of UCLA in Westwood on Saturday, April 18, 2009, on the campus' Royce Hall where his dad once performed. Hugh Maskela has performed there in many occasions, and Maskela was his dad's best friend and they did play together. Like his last year's brilliant performance at the California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, this one at UCLA, and I know, will be another hell of a show.

But on Saturday, April 18, Seun, in his second appearance here in the Southland, will be unveiling more of his father's craft, the one he started learning at age 9, and I will be there live and at backstage to dig it. And, for sure, I will dig it!

LA is the place and it rocks!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Da Week and Da Happening

Whoo boy, what a week that had begun from checking out an eatery and learning a whole lot about the cowardice Yoruba nation that collaborated in slaughtering my kith and kin to ending up in a forum I have been asked to play a significant role in organizing The Fat Waller Musical Show conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz; and musically staged and choreographed by Arthur Faria. The Tony Award winning Fats Waller Musical "Ain't Misbehaving" at the Ahmanson Theatre on Temple Street in Downton Los Angeles will run through May 31, 2009, and then following would be the Summer jams and the line-ups.

Well, it's good to know that Ronke Bernadette, owner of Lagos Cafe, has admitted showing some improvements after my visit there a week ago. She has been paying homage to the local churches here in Los Angeles invoking my write-up that God sent me. Patrons have been flooding her eatery ever since that piece, "Lagos Cafe's Arrogance and Horrible Services is a Culinary Disaster." I hope her customer relations has improved, too, because it was zero during my visits. It's time to appreciate the fine work of investigative journalism even though the dummies who had no idea what they were writing about will never realize that.

There has been talk that Seun Kuti will be visiting the City of Angels again following his fantastic and successful performance last Summer at the California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. I'm yet to confirm that but when I'm in the know, you surely will get every detail. Seun is just the carbon copy of Baba, the Chief Priest, Fela Kuti, and the flow of his music is awesome.

With a series of activities as the summer jams approaches, a Jewish friend of mine did not find it funny why I missed the Fun and Wacky Passover Adventure at the Shalom Institute in Malibu, California, last week. The event featured Carl Weintraub and music performed by Robbo and Cindy Paley. This guy is a fellow we hold intellectual discourse into the night about the Holocaust six million Jews perished and the pogrom in which the Hausa-Fulanis in collaboration with the Yoruba nation that stinks slaughtered innocent civilians, eviscerated pregnant women, and coerced and stole Igbo properties. Like a Jew learning from the Synagogue that "to forget is to proclaim Hitler innocent," so also is to forget is to proclaim the Hausa-Fulanis and the Yorubas innocent after slautering my people in the most brutal way.

The Twitter nation is waxing strong by the second. It is the real deal. It is the talk of town. Even my good friend, Austen Oghuma, talks about it all the time and how America is a great nation with its brilliant pattern of creativity. That I agree. He is hooked to it and so is everybody. It's Twitter and nothing else. If you follow me, I will follow you. How about that and a way to connect?

For some reasons, I haven't been following up with the few remaining games in the NBA and I'm quite sure it's because of Lakers' inconsistency, allowing King James and his gang to take the lead, overall. But I still pick my LA Lakers to come out smoking, in the long run. We'll see, as the whole drama unfolds. Go Lakers, go!

Oh, before I forget, Ugandan model, actress and performer, Imat Akelo-Opio will be gracing the cover of our debut magazine in an exclusive interview.

Bruce Springsteen who turns 60 in September is now on the road with his E Street Band to support their latest project "Working on a Dream." I haven't watched the guy live lately but I sure do have the ticket for his April 16 jam at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. I will be there. That's my hood and I know it's going to be a hell of a show knowing Bruce for his activism and the way he's loved.

That's da happening and whatever happens keep on twitting. It's good for the soul.