Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

The current state of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s health has imposed a fresh reign of precaution at the Presidency with officials paying extra attention to what they do or say.

In the last few days, the issue of succession and alleged pressure on Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to resign have become subjects of intense discussion by Nigerians, at home and abroad, raising anxiety despite official assurances that the President is responding to treatment at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah... More @ VANGUARD






Nigerian Jungle Blues: Ghetto Life Images III

Okada Wagonia "What's his business with overload"? Afterall, man must wack! Source: PUNCH

Is the world really a ghetto? I guess! "Where did she learn that from" though? Source: PUNCH

I like this one which says it loud and clear to hell with westernization and modernity. Seriously they are saying Westernization my ass, "defying the socio-economic problems" of a troubled nation. Source: PUNCH

This one beats me and it's beyond me. Source: The News

Life hard o according to the struggling Calabar man. Typical hard times in a nation that has lost its sense of purpose. Source: The News

Nigerian police and security detail. Na real wah! Source: The News

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Saturday Cartoons

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research centre, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia...where President Umaru Yar'Adua is being treated for pericarditis

Causes: Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the sac-like covering of the heart. There are many possible causes. At times it could be idiopathic (unknown cause), but often it is the result of a minor viral illness, “cold” or a mechanical injury or trauma to the heart.

If pericarditis occurs after a heart attack, it is known as Dressler’s Syndrome (named after Polish-born American physician William Dressler who lived between 1890-1969. Other known causes include heart surgery, bacterial, fungal or viral infection including HIV, cancer tumours, rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), sarcoidosis, scleroderma and metabolic diseases such as uremia (kidney failure) and hypothyroidism.




Thursday, November 26, 2009

Naija Dailies Cartoons





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nigerian Technocrats and Environmental Team Comes To Los Angeles

The Nigerian Chamber of Commerce (NICOCUSA) and OJI Environmental Services will be hosting an international trade and investment opportunities about Nigeria trade deveolopments with the global community on a variety of issues relating to commerce and industry, at the Premium Hosted Bar, Tanzare, Beverly Hills, on Friday, December 4, 2009; and has among others, a list of dignatries from around the United States and the globe in general.

The ocassion will be accompanied by the exclusive engagement of guest speakers from Nigeria to tailor varieties of business opportunities between Nigeria Diaspora and United Nation's concern on environmental strategies to provide the possibiilities of the Green Movement in conjunction with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the area of projects necessary to Nigeria's infranstratural projects and the enhancement of it's environmental needs as in any advance nation targeting the new millenium and the years ahead.

Exclusive speakers will inlude Dr. O. O. Dada, Department of Pollution Control, Nigeria Ministry of Environment; Mr. Momodu S. Momodu, Director, The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Mr. Alhassan Nuyu, Deputy Director, National Emergency Management Agency; Mr. Victor O. Gbenudu, Comptroller of Customs, Nigeria Custom Service; Mikail Sani, Manager, Dangote Group of Companies and Hon. Christian Iheanacho, President, OJI Environmental Services.

A full-couse dinner and wine service will follow with a question and answer session by the panelists and the audience. Visit NICOCUSA for more details and updates.

For more information and reservations contact: The Nigeria Chamber of Commerce-USA, 468 North Camden Drive, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Phone: 310-860-7622

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nigerian Jungle Blues: Ghetto Life Images II

What a life!

Na real wah! A nation that boasts of abundant natural resources and human capital.

Makes Compton and South Central Los Angeles look like heaven. Of course, Compton and South Central LA is heaven compared to anywhere in Naija.

Who cares? That's what it's all about.

Apparently it all means the world is a ghetto. Scenes from Aba Township. Images courtesy of KEVIN ANI/NSIBIDI PRESS

"Day of Hell in Lagos after downpour": From Ogba to Ikeja, Oshodi to Mile Two, Festac, Apapa, CMS, the story was the same. For those going to Tin-Can and Apapa, it was hell. Commuters who were able to board commercial buses could not get to their destinations eventually as most of them had to disembark on the way to begin the homeward journey early enough. According to them, it was no use continuing the journey since it was obvious they might not get to their offices before close of work time. VANGUARD

Erosion-ridden Anambra, Courtesy of Wazobaa

Abatete: Improper dumping of refuse in Anambra state has heightened the impact of erosion. Photo by Hilary Uguru/IRIN

Around Onitsha Market. Image courtesy of AFRIPOL

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

THE proposed constitution amendment and electoral reforms are the immediate victims of the current face-off between the Senate and the House of Representatives over supremacy. A joint session of the two chambers is required in resolving issues on the two subjects, but flowing from reactions on the matters, it is unlikely that they will see eye to eye until the expiration of Senators / Reps’ term in 2011... More at VANGUARD






Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Culver Club Chit-Chats

Image courtesy of Dissolve

On October 30, 2009, my buddy, classical music basoonist and pianist, Rudolph Porter, had agreed to locate a spot "and we can hang out." Culver Club was the place. He had performed there before. And Culver Club is where West Coast finest jazz pereformers display their arts, and it is a place of hangout for jazz enthusiasts on Fridays, on the Westside. On this particular day while Rudolph and I were poking around the lobby my phone vibrated and a friend's text message had timely popped up on my screen to check what I was up to and how I'm doing.

This fella, Ebere, loves African-related media hyped issues, news and views, and he is so fascinated about it, especially when it comes to show-biz and the tap of fine leather we call Ahia Mgbede.

Knowing my spot, he hopped on his car and found himself at where Rudolph and I were hanging out for the evening. On his arrival, after our bumping fists, he noticed jazz at the Culver Club was alive and well as the November line-up and schedule of performers was all over the place. The Culver Club sits on the lobby of Radisson Hotel's L.A.'s westside, the hub of nightlife and promenades.

The line up for November had some interesting, upcoming gigs: Chris Benneth Quartet; Ernie Andrews Quintet; Dr. Bobby Rodriguez' Latin Jazz "Birthday Dance Party" featuring Justo Almario, Joe Rotondi, Eddie Resto, Luis Conte and Richie G. Garcia; Tony Russell Quartet; Rhonda Benin Quartet; and Ryan Cross & The Soul Funk Band.

The music in the lobby was mellow; some contemporary jazz of 94.7 FM the Wave kind of flow. We talked about a whole lot of stuff over some drinks and good, delicious dishes -- college football, the Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup played in several Nigerian cities, the Orange CAF Championship, Nollywood and African films, Naija politics, Igbo Diaspora, Fela, President Barack Obama's visit to China and M-Net Face of Africa's new season, among others -- becoming one of those evening happenings around my neck of the woods.

Surprisingly, Ebere first raised the issue of Los Angeles Times' veteran music critic, Robert Hilburn's new book, "Corn Flakes with John Lennon and other Tales From Rock 'n' Roll Life." I did not read the book, but I did comb some pages about three weeks ago, I believe, at Borders, while cooling off from a bumper-to-bumper, crazy-dubby Los Angeles traffic. Frankly speaking, I was never a Lennon fan and that does not mean he was not good, but I did love the Beatles'years when the incredibly Liverpool kids -- Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr -- had it going on with a lasting blast that rocked America in the 60s.

Ebere, who loves the Beatles, also, gave most credits to Lennon he said "made it happen for the Liverpool kids." I'm not really sure, though, I did not know Lennon's mom left him (Lennon) in a relatives care for much of his childhood...and reunited when Lennon was in his teens until Ebere gisted us on the excerpts he read from the L.A. Times. I agree with Ebere that the Beatles' years was what changed America and the concept of rock and roll.

On college football, it's obvious no one liked the goings-on with USC's football program this season and a little bit not impressed, he said "all but full of uncertainties with a team that has gone through a whole lot including scandals, on and off campus." Not bad, since USC has lost only two games at the time of the Culver Club Chit-Chats. Coach Pete Carroll's choice of a freshman quaterback as starter was not what we wholly talked about, but that of the offensive and defensive linemen. And what they are saying is that Jethro Franklin's approach has been working wonders for Trojans defense. "I dunno about that."

We talked about college sports in general and how it's good for academia. We talked about how USC has played a very significant role in the renaissance of our hood and Downtown Los Angeles. As one of the nation's finest private research universities, USC is a major contributor to the City of Angel's economic growth, creativity and cultural diversity. An institution that enrolls more international students than any other American university.

We talked about USC being a builder of people and of society with its intellectual capital known to have built enormous bridges. Many of the nation's best doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, dentists, pharmacists, urban planners, and government officials are USC-trained. Compared to Nigerian universities, he was pissed. Check this out;" he would say. "Last year alone, USC's faculty, staff, students, and friends donated $1.1 million through the USC Good Neigbors Campaign to fund education, health, and safety programs for the 16,000 children who live near USC's campuses or who attend one of the 14 neigborhood schools USC has adopted.

"Does such exist in your fabricated nation-state called Nigeria?" he would question sarcastically. "USC's faculty, staff and students also work as volunteers in these programs, tutoring school children, advising enterpreneurs on business plans, bringing high-schoolers into university labs to do hands-on scientific research, providing dental care for young people, and helping neigborhood kids prepare for college.

"Can you say that about your contry's retarded and ill-equipped higher institutions despite its huge human capital?" he would again utter.

On Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup played in several Nigerian cities, he talked about how technology has significantly changed bringing the world so close to our fingertips. "Without physically being in Nigeria, we watch Nigeria Television Authority news live. We read the newspapers online immediately they are released. We watch the movies -- Nollywood Babylon, Pretty Woman, Secret Fantasy, Yankee Girls, Lord of Host, Sister's Love, Escape, Blood on Ice, Keep My Will, War Game, Extreme Measure, On My Wedding Day, Reloaded, Girl's Cot, Women's Cot, Coincidence, Osuofia in London and uncountable others -- in our living rooms without stepping out.

Ebere was very sure Nigerian Golden Eaglets "will pull that one out," and that the Latin American teams would be the obstacle even though there had been upsets in the First Round of the tournament. "Latin American teams are masters of the game and they do know how to finish," he would lament. Again, that I was not sure for a lot of reasons: time has changed and it is a different era. Ebere was wrong. Latin American teams could not "pull that one out" and the Golden Eaglets lost in the Finals.

On the Orange CAF Championship which I did not pay attention to and never had, he was sure the Owerri Heartland FC will lift the African Championship League trophy and its $1.5m prize tag when Heartland meets Congo DR TP mazembe on a homecourt and away aggregate score saying he has faith in Kelechi Emetole and his boys. Heartland lost. Ebere was wrong.

On Nollywood and African films, he talked about Sophie Okonedo's Anthony Fabian directed movie, "Skin," now showing in select theatres, among them: L.A.'s The Landmark on Pico Boulevard in Westwood. He talked much about how Nollywood did improve in its film editing, score, adaptation and visual effects. He talked about the industry being bent on the same concept in its movie-making, that it needs to drift to more creative stuff to allow room for unversal awareness as in the Oscars and other global film festivals that would enhance Nollywood.

On Naija politics, he talked about why Niger-Delta militants shouldn't have given up arms yet, based on the fact that for fifty years the "damn oil" has been flowing from under the feet of the people to the barren and rat-ridden lands of the murderous, northern Islamic Jihadists. He asked "how could fifty years mean fifty years of misery and hopelessness when our own resources is being used to feed fat the northern caliphates and blood-thirsty cannibals? Enough is enough and the fight must continue."

So pissed on nasty Naija politics, he said Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Anthony Anenih, OBJ, Alex Ekwueme, Andy Uba and a bunch of the raggedy ass politicians are all whack, and it sucks. He talked about how Soludo had been in the nation's political gimmicks.

Soludo, a man of high integrity. A financial scholar. A learned man who could have left the ugly political atmosphere with dignity and honor, but rather reduced himself to mudslinging Anambra politics run by greedy bastards and thuggish elements of Chris Uba's ilk. That Soludo is now akin to Anambra political thugs.

Soludo has become an example of infallible men who had thought they got it all figured out in not realizing they had deliberately opened up their vulnerability to riffraffs who had taken charge, including the "profound laws" of the land in their own hands, and not knowing they will be destroying their character and "political career" in a state of empire and anarchy. Such tragedies follow infallible men when they take their political allies and foes for granted. He is paying the prize and has lost every credit.

Of greed and coercion. A volatile "Anambra State." A people without human consciousness. A confused, infallible Diaspora bunch. A case of sad reality and critical situation where fixing the problems of Anambra could only be done by the people of Anambra; and if they don't, they can go to hell and leave the rest of us out of it. Anambra politics has destroyed every aspect of Igbo ideals one begins to wonder if it's the same Anambra we once knew -- the home of Chinua Achebe, Cyprien Ekwensi, Nwafor Orizu, Louis Mbanefo and the rest.

On Igbo Diaspora, he laughed so hard his ribs began to hurt him. Starting from an impotent World Igbo Congress, he said the bunch and casts of money-chasing, pot-bellied "chiefs," the so-called Igbo umbrella are not real. "These are gullible, vulnerable, crumbs-seeking red cap chiefs of an organization that is desperately going to hell and the only way out being dissolution," he would say. A bunch that has lost touch with reality and had no clue what had been done to them by a mouth-watering, misleading "executives" and "board members" who found it comfortable keeping funny books.

On Fela, the Chief Priest, he hailed Baba for all he did in using his music as a weapon to send his message across, fighting a bastardized and corrupt regimes of the military juntas including the civilian embezzlers. Fela is just king and he has been resurrected by Tony Award winning director, Bill T. Jones in a manner that makes the legend more accessible to Western audiences.

Fela's Broadway resurrection takes the audience into the legendary nightclub, The Shrine, where the musical icon and political activist played for several years, perfecting his music and criticism of the military juntas in a fabricated nation-state.

Ebere recited some of Fela's songs and (he) kept talking about the legend. The spirituality in his perfomances on stage. The invocation of the gods and the evils of colonialism -- all in English, pidgin English and Yoruba. The smoking room and spirits. "Fela's the man, ah, baba!" he would continue.

On M-Net Face of Africa's new season, he called it "Africa's media sensationalism," and that it's all hype which do not take the aspiring models far enough to reach out globally. He said it's only the winners that takes it to another level leaving the runners-up and other contestants abandoned and vanishing to the thin air. He did not go further.

On President Barack Obama's visit to China, he brought up the president's half brother, Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, who lives in China, married to a Chinese and has written a new book "Nairobi to Shenzhen," which is about the author's bad memories of his childhood. Born to the third wife of Barack Obama Sr., President Obama's father, Ndesandjo moved to the United States, earning degrees in physics from Brown University and Stanford, and an MBA from Emory University. He plans to donate 15 percent of the proceeds from the book to a charity for children.

Ebere was so excited about Obama's presidency. "Whoever could have imagined that after all the pains of slavery, the separate but equal laws, the Dred Scott Case, the 1890 Louisiana statute -- Plessy Vs. Ferguson -- the Civil Rights movement and things of that nature, that eventually America will do the right thing -- electing a black president?"

On societal ills and global problems, grand and small, he said "Obama cannot do it alone. He will need the unconditional input of global (political) leaders including religious leaders."

Ebere talked about how we should see the poor and how we need to always start with the poor because they are totally left out in today's society. That the poor aren't in our same networks. That they cannot afford our networks. That they do not belong to councils and committees. That the poor don't have access to anything. School is free and so too are other social programs out there; but the poor do not see it and we must reach out to them for them to have access to all the available social programs and benefits out there in the public.

He talked extensively to near exhaustion about teaching the poor help themselves and not by giving them handouts, which goes with the saying "give me a fish and you feed me for a day; but teach me how to fish and you feed me for life." "We should always try to help the poor help themselves." He summarizes his analysis on the poor quoting Pope John Paul II on the Papal's 1988 Encyclical on social concerns:

"Because of our love of preference for the poor, we cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care and, above all, those without hope of a better future. It is impossible not to take account of these realities. To ignore them would mean becoming like the 'rich man' who pretended not to know the beggar Lazarus lying at his gate (Luke 16: 19-31).

Unfortunately, instead of becoming fewer, the poor are becoming more numerous, not onl;y in less developed countries but -- and this seems no less scandalous -- in the more developed ones too. It is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle of Christian social doctrine. The goods of this world are originally meant for all. The right to private property is valid and necessary, but it does not nullify the value of this principle."

On suffering and what it means, Ebere came to the fore of the Holy Scriptures with what most of us, if not all, have encountered in life. The question of why me when every other thing is going on well for others while "yours" keeps going down with severe pain and no end in sight. He goes on to lament suffering being punishment for foolish or sinful behavior; or a discipline, an experience from which we can learn and become better persons; or suffering being for the benefit of others, citing running backs, quarterbacks and athletes in general who sacrifice themselves and their own glory for the good of their team; firefighters who risk their lives to save others; and Martin Luther King Jr. who was killed for proclaiming the gospel of justice and freedom, and his witness having significance for all Americans.

He talked about Nelson Mandela and the suffering and sacrifice to free his people from bondage which bordered on understanding the redemptive value of suffering; that is, the idea that the suffering of one person (or group) may benefit many others.

He enumerated a stretch of biblical verses regarding suffering. Among them: Proverbs 11:3; Deautronomy 30: 15-20; Eccl 7:15; Luke13: 1-5; John 9:3; Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Job 4-37.

He (Ebere) had turned our evening of smooth jazz, lullaby, good feelings and good times into the temple of the Lord, like in a spiritual revival, rejoicing and invoking the name of the Lord. "Jesus is Lord, Amen! Amen!

Finishing his sermons on the Holy Scriptures, he changed the whole subject entirely and talked about what our women are doing to us and what we are in turn doing back to our women. Though I tried not to dabble into what he was about to say regarding the morally outrageous relationships that has become a commonplace thing on the shores of our adopted land -- America -- I asked him if he would marry again since his near fatal bitter divorce.

"Of course, I will marry again, but this time around since I have learned my lessons the hard way, I will keep her ass in my village and she will never smell America, never, and you can quote me on that," he replied.

Ebere's touch was magic but we were kind of getting the buzz when Rudolph chipped in with some more booze as he began to tell his own stories. Rudolph had done all kinds of stuff. He'd sold cars. He'd been Muhammad Ali's special guest when he entertained at Ali's home back in the 70s. He'd played gigs alongside jazz greats -- McCoy Tyner of which he was at backstage when Tyner performed at UCLA's Royce Hall last weekend. He had been everywhere and seen everything. In South Central Los Angeles, back in the 50s, he rolled at then Babe's and Ricky's Club on 50th Street. He's a regular at the historic Leimert Park, the home of World Stage Performing Arts Gallery's jam sessions and voice overs. And according to him, "at 60 I feel great!"

So was such an evening on the Westside around the neck of my woods.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FIFA U-17: Nigeria 2009 Images III

The Showdown --Swiss beats Eaglets 1-0. Photo courtesy of Vanguard

Spain Jubilates after victory

IN CONTROL.. Nigeria beat Spain 3-1 to advance to the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. Golden Eaglets’ Abdul Ajagun (front) contesting the ball with Pablo Sarabia of Spain during the game. Photo: Sylva Eleanya, Vanguard

The dance of death Photo courtesy of Vanguard

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

President Umaru Yar’Adua overruled, yesterday, his defence minister, Major General Godwin Abbe and dialogued with the Aaron team which was set up two months ago by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on the way out of the crisis in the region. Vanguard





Thursday, November 12, 2009

FIFA U-17: Nigeria 2009 Update, Thursday, Nov., 12

Spain U-17 1-3 Nigeria U-17: Golden Eaglets Stay On Track For Fourth FIFA Under-17 World Cup Title

Nigeria defeated Spain 3-1 before a sell-out crowd at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Thursday night to qualify for the final of this year's FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The Golden Eaglets will on Sunday face debutants Switzerland, who trounced Colombia in the earlier semi-final. Spain were aiming to avenge their championship loss to the Africans two years ago in Seoul, but came up short, and will now have to settle for a third-placed match with Colombia on Sunday. Stanley Okoro opened scoring in the 30th minute when the lively Heartland forward darted through the Spanish defence before stroking home from seven yards. MORE

Switzerland books final ticket in FIFA U-17 World Cup

APA - Lagos (Nigeria) Switzerland on Thursday defeated Colombia 4-0 to book a place in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament in Nigeria. With two goals in each half of the match in Lagos, Switzerland proved that its performance in the tournament was not a fluke as it is billed to meet the winner in the match between Nigeria and Spain in the final in Abuja on Sunday. The 13th edition of the championship has been a memorable experience for the Swiss, who are now in the final on their first appearance in the competition. The Colombians simply did not have a clue to the Swiss, who overran them in all departments of the game in the first semi-final match at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos. In a post match briefing, Colombia’s coach Ramiro Viafara admitted Switzerland’s superiority over his side. MORE

Monday, November 09, 2009

FIFA U-17: Nigeria 2009 Images II

South African sculptor Keith Calders' "Goalie" bronze -- one of eleven in his football range. Photo courtesy of Times Live

Iran defeats Netherlands 1-0 in one of the tournaments opener. Photo courtesy of Persian Football

Golden Eaglets i-training at the Esuene Staduium in Calabar to face Korea in the semi finals. Image courtesy of Vanguard

Uruguay's Sabastian Gallegos reacts after scoring his second goal against Iran in the FIFA U-17 World Cup (Nigeria 2009). Photo courtesy of Iran Press TV

Colombia's Jorge Ramos celebrates his header over Turkey's goalkeeper Mehmet to equalize in the semi-final encounter, beating Turkey on penalties. Photo courtesy of El Tiempo/Colombia Reports

US U-17 exit tournament after defeat. Photo by Eric Miller/Getty Images

Iranian striker celebrates after defeating former champions Gambia 2-0. Photo courtesy of ISNA/Teheran Times

The unveiling of U-17 World Cup Eaglets 1n-training with Coach John Obuh. Photo courtesy of 234 Next

Lagos opens its arms to welcome the world for the FIFA U-17 world Cup tournament to be held in several Nigerian cities. Photo courtsey of Vanguard