Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Conversations With Patrick H. Johnson On The Pilgrimage To Elixir

Image: VinZula Kara/Ehirim Files Images

"Join us as we walk to Crenshaw/Stocker to dedicate the mural Elixir to the city. The mural will become a sacred place because of our collective agreement."
------------Patrick Henry Johnson, Artist/Painter/Mural Enterpreneur

I had just noticed Patrick H. Johnson, as an artist, on the Summer of 2010 while pulling out from the Starbucks drive-through on the Washington Corridor in one of my mid-day coffee-break-runs; and Patrick was busy doing his thing: A mural he was setting up by the drive-through to discourage vandalism and graffitti that had been the trademark of the entire Los Angeles area.

Earlier on, I had thought he was like any other would assume, the neighborhood guy one bumps into and exchange some "what's up" kind of greetings as it goes in the Los Angeles/Hollywood road and travel ways. Not until the day of that coffee-break-runs did I know a genius was about to be discovered in the City of Angels, the city with its own kind of drama--where anything goes--and where broken dreams continues apace.

So when I talked Patrick into some talks while the Pilgrim To Elixir was about to begun, he noted the pilgrim was about transformation of himself - about exposure - and time to thank all who collectively helped in the process of putting Elixir in place

Johnson's murals can be found in institutions all around the city: The Central Library, Westwood Charter School, Gardener Elementary School, Bancroft Middle School, Crenshaw Blvd. Leirmert Park, and several other places.

Patrick Henry Johnson Public Art and Mural Video

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kabir Sokoto: Suspects escape from police custody when Igbos are murdered —Nzelu, (SAN)

Daily Sun Interview

‘This is the second time within three years that police officers had unlawfully eliminated Igbo people, while in police custody’

Nigerians were stupefied over the news of the mysterious escape of Kabiru Umar (aka Kabiru Sokoto), the alleged prime suspect in the macabre Christmas Day bombing of Saint Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, which left 43 people dead and many severely injured.

But a legal practitioner of South-east extraction, Amobi Nzelu (SAN), was not jolted over the development. Speaking with Daily Sun in this interview, Nzelu gives a stunning account of how suspects from a certain section of the country, often disappeared from police custody.

How do you see the sudden disappearance of Kabiru Sokoto, the prime suspect of the Madalla bombing?

It is very embarrassing. A major breakthrough in the unmasking of those that are behind the Boko Haram has been scuttled by those given the responsibility to protect lives and property and I feel worried.
Worried in the sense that I have to go down memory lane:

In 2003, one Superintendent of Police called, Gambo was DPO in Nsukka, three men were shot dead by him. He was brought to Abuja in handcuff and taken to Area 10. While he was in custody, which is a loose detention, a DIG came to negotiate for his bail and he was told point blank that it was a murder issue and couldn’t be granted bail.

The man on the excuse that he was going to observe his prayer walked out of the gate of Area 10 and disappeared till today! CSP Abdulsalam Uthman supervised the killings of three Igbos during the Apo six saga - to the glory of God, I was the lawyer in that matter.

I took the pictures of those that were killed in Apo, we took their corpses for burial. The man went into custody of the police. He was detained on the 5th floor and from there we were told he said was going to pray. He came downstairs and an AIG, who later retired as a DIG provided his official vehicle and he was ferreted him away!

Again, the man that committed the mayhem of December 25 has disappeared. The question is, is it only when they killed Igbos that the culprits escape from the custody of the police?

Nobody has the monopoly of violence. If the Igbo aren’t secured in this place called Nigeria, we should be told in unmistaken terms… people shouldn’t frustrate the good work of President Goodluck Jonathan. If there is any mayhem in any part of the country, the victims are Igbos. There is a town in Anambra State, they lost nine people in Mubi; nine corpses were brought to the town during the Boko Haram violence. What has been said about this? The government of the day should protect us; we are an endangered specie in the country.

Because Kabiru Sokoto has a lot of information to give to this country that was why the man has been kept and if you look at the sequence, Zakari Biu is from Biu, one of the towns in the old Borno State that formed Borno and Yobe, apparently the headquarters of Boko Haram, the man arrested him and told the entire country.
So, how do you explain this? This is my 32 years as a lawyer, I did my youth service in Maiduguri, I practised there for 14 years, I married there had my children there; I am a grand father. So, I lived in Maiduguri when there was no Boko Haram, peace-loving people.

Suddenly, from nowhere, Boko Haram was introduced into the whole system. So, to tell us that that kind of man, Kabiru Sokoto, has escaped is most unfortunate. Now, we have to cry out to Mr. President that we are the endangered specie; and to hear that they only suspended Zakari Biu.

For how long?

You see, as I have said , anybody created by God has some percentage of insanity in him, it is only when you develop your own that it becomes full-blown madness and nobody has a monopoly of violence. You can decide to be violent, it depends on how you want to use your life but where you turn us to be guinea pigs of this country, it isn’t healthy.

CSP Uthman is on the run and I shouted at the Okiro Panel that time, put this man under handcuff. I wrote a book, called, “Apo Six + one: the tragedy of a nation.’’ Everything you want about Apo Six is in that book and in that book I wrote in page 75 of that book: “This is the second time within three years that police officers had unlawfully eliminated Igbo people, while in police custody.

The first was by SP Gambo, a DPO in Nsukka, Enugu State, who had killed three Igbo men; he was brought under custody to face charges of murder and escaped while in police custody at the then police headquarters in Area 10, Garki, Abuja. Till date, nothing has been said about it.’’

So, it didn’t start today. This is a book I wrote after the Apo Six and it is being published in London. I have held this book down because the judgment hasn’t been delivered in the criminal trial going on. Six years after they have been arraigned in court, no judgment! August 2005, they were arraigned in court, seven years today they haven’t got judgment on this Apo case. The girl that was one of the victims in that case wasn’t shot to death, she was strangled to death.

Each time I remember that seven years after these people were killed, nothing has been done… Reverend King is an Igbo man; he killed somebody in church, within six months he was sentenced to death by hanging but Apo Six has been there for seven years.

But it isn’t only Igbo that died at Madalla. How many from the other ethnic groups? Does a Suleiman go to church? I am asking. Check the number of the people that died there and you would be shocked that, out of the number 35 are from South-east. The one they killed in Mubi, nine of them were from one town in Anambra State. Nine corpses from one town! The uproar in Borno State, how many Northerners has it claimed? Let us see the statistics. I know some Nigerians are equally involved but the majority at the receiving end are Igbos. If there is bombing today in Abuja, they look for Igbo people shops to go and burn. May God forbid.

of the IGSo, what exactly do you want Mr. President to do now? People have called for the resignation P

(cuts in) It is a cartel, they know what they are doing. It is unacceptable to the Igbo nation, they must produce the man. That man, Kabiru Sokoto, has a lot of stories to tell Nigerians, he has a lot of names to mention that will jolt this country.

government. Don’t you think his fears are reaYou have said it is a cartel but don’t you think Mr. President could be exonerated. He has said, even before this jolting escape of Kabiro Sokoto, Boko Haram had infiltrated his l?

You see, anything that it will take him, he is the president and he must be determined to do the work for Nigerians. We know that within the system, people are sabotaging him, that I must tell you. They are there, they are called AGIP – Any Government in Power, they must dictate to government. They don’t want to leave; they recycle them until they cannot recycle them again. There are no bad governments but bad advisers. The good of Mr. President is being frustrated, left, right and centre.

Because of June 12, 1993 election that was annulled, Yoruba went into trenches, both politicians and professors, they got the mandate to rule this country for eight years, but where are my people? When they massacred the Apo Six, nobody raised a voice. I put my life and that of my family on line for that Apo Six and God said to me, I will pay you and God is paying me. I can raise up my head and say my children are doing fine. That’s God grace.

You as an individual is squealing against the injustice in the system; aren’t you worried that South-east governors aren’t talking?

You see, I have gone through the valley of the shadow of death, I have seen what most of them never saw. For primitive gains, they will say nothing. Not only am I speaking out for now, I have been speaking out in the past. I don’t think I need to cringe before anybody. No, I can afford one good meal a day in my house. I have practised law for 32 years; how many years do I have ahead?

What I am saying is that, once they are within the comfort of the Governor’s Lodge, they forget that they will come out one day to meet us on the streets of Nigeria. I am watching to see them take a stand.

One needs to take a stand. My people, they don’t sustain opposition, Yoruba do. I am an Igbo man by birth, a Yoruba man by education because I went to the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University.

An Igbo man, once his container is arriving at the port, he forgets about what is happening to his brother. That’s the problem we have.

The Yoruba, because Babangida annulled June 12, all of them went into trenches: Bola Ige, Adesanya, Obasanjo, all of them, they went into war and they got eight years to rule. Head, or tail – 1999, that was the only election in Nigeria, head or tail, APP, Olu Falae, PDP, Obasanjo.

That was the gain because they could sustain an aggression. That was why I could sustain aggression myself because I have picked part of their blood but my people will not say anything!

Now, this man has escaped and where is the one that escaped after the Apo Six killings?

But he is in Nigeria, they know where he is. It isn’t healthy. They should give this government a chance and not distract it. Anything short of producing this man isn’t acceptable to Nigerians in general and Igbos, because we went to bury our people that were killed.

But the IG has queried and ordered suspension of Zakari Biu; don’t you see that as indication of seriousness to get to the root of the matter?
Query? You see, there are certain things that when they happen in this country, they are laughable. What are you telling me? They allowed the guy to escape. For a CP, Zakari Biu, to allow a star murderer to be taken to his house, doing what? They might have arranged his escape. That’s uncalled for.

But are you calling for the IG resignation?

The issue of his resignation, the president is competent to handle the matter at that level. All I am saying is that, the man must be produced, let him (Kabiru Sokoto) tell us who and who are behind this thing. They denied us the opportunity of getting to the root of Boko Haram when they killed the leader. Those this boy is working for would be on his trail now and before you know, they will kill him. How can these boys buy bombs? Somebody, somewhere is buying the bombs for them to go and bomb. Something must be done. You cannot continue to keep quiet when you are being slapped. This thing is getting too much. We cannot be guinea pigs in this country. Never.

(Imo-Nigeria): Why Rochas Is Buying 1 Million Shoes - Duruji


The Imo State Commissioner for Information, Barrister Obinna Duruji at a parley with newsmen spoke on the strides, successes and challenges of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State. He also spoke on issues emanating from the Governor’s recent victory at the Court of Appeal.

EIght months in office, what can you say are the attainments of the administration?

The governor on assumption of office declared free and compulsory education in both primary and secondary levels in Imo State which PDP and Ohakim told Imo people was impossible, placement of order to procure one million school sandals and ordered procurement of 600,000 school bags and desks to boost free education in Imo State.

The governor also ordered the payment of backlog of pension arrears owed for over 12 years by the past administrations, establishment of Imo Pension/Senior Citizens’ Club and donation of vehicles to the club, release of N450 million bailout fund to missionary schools in Imo State, increase of government monthly subvention to IMSU from N57m to N100m, revival of the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) abandoned by Ohakim’s administration.

Community speakers

He introduced fourth tier Government and appointment of community speakers, which have brought governance closer to the grassroots, reformation of the vigilante outfits by restricting their operations in the communities rather than using them to fight political opponents, establishment of General Security Council and Local Government Security Council and Local Government Security Council in the 27 LGAs, reconstruction of Commissioners’ Quarters abandoned by Ohakim’s administration.

Reconstruction of ALGON and Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers Secretariats, construction of 405 rural roads at 15km per L.G.A, introduction of Health-at-your-door-steps programme in Imo State, the first of its kind in Africa, upgrading of Umuguma General Hospital to a Specialist Hospital, reformation of the State Civil Service Local Government System, blockage of revenue leakages thus saving billions of naira for capital projects in Imo State, construction of International Conference Centre at Oguta Blue Lake of Treasure (formerly known as Oguta Wonder Lake).

It is worthy of note that the Oguta Wonder Lake project only existed in the internet during Ohakim’s regime. These are some of the tremendous achievements of His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha in less than one year of his administration, which is an eloquent testimony that Imo Rescue Mission has come to stay.

The last administration of Governor Ikedi Ohakim took N18.5b bond from the Stock Market. What does the current administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha intend to do with the bond?

Government is a continuum. We are going to redirect the bond and ensure that it is used for meaningful development projects.

The bond was to be used for the rehabilitation of the Imo state water scheme, rehabilitation and construction of major roads, financing the Imo State government’s equity investment in Imo Wonder Lake and conference centre in Oguta. Okorocha’s administration has started work in all these areas and that’s why I said government is continuum.

There were speculations that APGA was responsible for the transfer of the governorship election tribunal to Abuja. Is this true?

No, we are a responsible government and our priority and focus is the delivery of dividends of democracy. You can see that even on the day of the tribunal verdict on the 12th of November, 2011; the governor was not bothered; he was driving his government bus to various sites inspecting projects.

I was shocked when I came from the tribunal and I saw him at the gate of the Government House in shorts, addressing the crowd and I was curious and I said your excellency are you addressing Imo citizens on shorts, he said it doesn’t matter and that he was coming from the project sites.

So that’s how unruffled he is. His mandate was ordained by God and delivered on the planet earth. It is not our own making. Imo citizens for the first time expressed their wishes and aspirations in the mandate delivered to the Governor.

It was not their making, it was ordained in heaven. So what we saw on earth was the manifestation of the heavenly intervention. So, the governor is loved by his people and those who came to the court were there to show their solidarity to the mandate they gave to him. Neither our party APGA nor government influenced the move to Abuja.

The governor is accused of formulating policies in the state without due process; they cited as example the creation of community speakers without the input of the house of assembly. What is your reaction to this?

He didn’t have to. What people don’t understand is that the only constant thing in life is change. This is a man who is a change agent; he is a catalyst, a facilitator for change and development. He is not going to be held hostage by protocol and mundane understanding of the rule of law.

Law trails development, development does not trail laws unnecessarily, and law trails development all over the world. I am a senior advocate in the Unites States and I do know that law follows development, development does not follow law; otherwise society will not move forward.

As events are happening, law catches up, you don’t wait to make the law for the average human thinking before you can implement, it is only as you evolve that the law trails behind, and all over the world, the due process is a twin sister or brother of democracy.

So the two are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually inclusive. Once you see democracy, the government of the people, for the people and by the people, you are talking about rule of law.

So once he envisions, he conceptualizes and then the legal process takes place. If he does not envision, conceptualize, articulate the polices before the implementation, how can the Legislative house formulate. The House formulates based on the fine prints of articulation of the policies and programmes that emanate from the executive arm whenever necessary.

It is only then that the policy is transmitted to the house for articulation of an enabling law. It cannot be the other way round; otherwise the House will be dictating to the executive. So there is no violation of the rule of law, I challenge any opponent of this administration to come up with a clear indication of where we have violated the law.

Imo indigenes sacked in Abia. Why is the problem still lingering?

Well it is not an Imo problem; it is the South East problem as a matter of fact. But the issue is still pending before the South East Governor’s Forum. So Governor Okorocha has advised us to be cautious in our approach, that dialogue will be a better approach to resolve the quagmire and as obedient servants we so obliged.

Cushioning of effects of the sack

He has also cushioned the effects of the sack, which is our major concern and apprehension about the fate of the Imo indigenes, by assuring us in no mistaken terms that at the appropriate time, if the obnoxious decision is not rescinded, that Imo citizens would be absorbed in the Imo workforce. So that is the last resort and that’s by way of assurance.

What is your reaction to Court of Appeal decision?

Owelle’s victory at the Court of Appeal recently in Abuja is a further manifestation of its divine origin and a revalidation of Imo people’s mandate. The judgment has also rekindled our faith and confidence in the Nigerian judiciary. Imo people applaud the judges for remaining resolute in their determination to uphold Imo people’s mandate despite pressure to the contrary.

Given the wisdom of the tribunal and court of appeal, we are confident that the dismissal will stand Supreme Court scrutiny. To God be the glory.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Q & A Interview With Gerwine Bayo-Martins

Gerwine Bayo-Martins was born and raised in Hamburg, Northern Germany. Gerwin met her sweetheart, Bayo Martins, one of Africa’s finest drummers in the music of the day while doing voluntary work at the Biafran Committee office in Germany. A lover of art and music, Gerwine, in this interview, talks about her growing up in Germany, her marriage to Bayo Martins, her role at the Biafran Committee, her charity work and foundations, the Orphan Childrens Help Nigeria which she founded and chairs and several other fascinating stuff, including her passion, the arts.


Tell me a little bit about yourself

Thank you so much, Ambrose, for inviting me to this interview. I appreciate your interest very much.

What can I say? I grew up in Hamburg, Northern Germany, a big city of about 1,8 million people today, When I grew up, it was under one million. My environment was typically bourgeois; my father a director, my mum a housewife. I was a single daughter. My brother was born when I was eleven years.

How was growing up in Germany like?

(Laughs). A German childhood in the mid-fifties and youth in the sixties was a life of strictness and rules, at home and at school, especially as a girl. You had to obey, do not contradict, children should be seen and not heard, more or less. But changes were on the way, profound ones: students were revolting in the sixties against the stuffy atmosphere in schools and universities. As teenagers, we looked at them with admiration and much expectations. It was during the time of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and then all sort of Black Music and recordings--Jazz, Soul, Motown, ABC, Paramount Pictures, Stax Records and more, if I am correct. American culture was heavily coming on to Germany, to our delight and to the wondering of parents, teachers, grandparents and what had become of its new generation being influenced by American mainstream cultural characteristics in music, the arts and social habits. It was an exciting time of old crusts breaking open and new progressives (so we hoped) popping up and developing.

What were your early influences in your passion for art?

My books from early childhood, their title covers and illustrations. I loved them and knew the artists names and still have many books of that time now. I looked for more in the neighborhood library and always wished for them as birthday and Xmas presents. Then, at home, we always had big formatted wall calendars which I collected and kept for years. Any photo of paintings I saw in papers, I clipped and kept in a scrap book.Those were mostly reproductions of so called “Old Masters” of art, of different centuries, from Italy, Holland, Belgium, Spain, England, France, Germany, and occasional modern ones. Painters like Michelangelo, Murillo, Vermeer, Breughel, Velasquez, Gainsborough, Delacroix, Friedrich fascinated me.

At Primary school and later Junior High and High School, we had good art education. Our art teacher helped us with techniques of different styles.

Since we met, I have known you to be a lover of art. What is a good art?

This is not easy to answer and it is such a wide field. Just let me try a bit. The saying “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” applies to an extent. In classics, there are set of academic standards where great painters of the countries I mentioned before had to study to gain recognition by the standards of their time (i.e. 18th and 19th century), for instance, with names like Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Pissarro. These are only few names. Some were revolutionary and suffered from not being recognized, like Cézanne, all his life; more or less, and Manet, at a time. All were fantastic, outstanding artists and, so many more of different styles.

Good art for me is that which speaks to you when you look at it, that moves something inside you, which you may not even be able to name. It is different for different people. Let me just stop here, as I can keep going and going telling you more about a good art.

I don’t know much about art but I have seen folks splatter paint all over a canvas and they’ll read meaning into their work. How is art read?

Ambrose, this is even a wider field. There are so many approaches to reading art. Just this little bit I’d say here: The meaning of art, we can study in aesthetics. One school that set these standards was the Ecole des Beaux Artes, in Paris. The values then were correct perspective, anatomy, light and shade, figurative painting, and likeness in portraiture. These changed a few decades later when Cubism became the vogue. Often, (meaningful) symbols are used. Art affects the senses, intellect and emotions. This could be done deliberately by the artist or not. Like in all art, there are always new developments, such as new styles and inventions. There is classic art and revolutionary art. We read so much in paintings, the time and it’s history when it was painted, the colors the artist used, and the hues. By the strokes, you can see if there is a master at work. You read the spirit of the time, like in other fields of art, such as sculpting, music, literature, fashion and more.

Today we have what I would call WORLD ART; art from all continents, and from all ages. I could go on and on; this could be a topic for a full seminar…

I was at your Haikus blog and saw one of your magnificent work with the catch phrase, “reminiscence to impressionism.” What are the expressions and meaning?

Well, I said so because of the photo style. It is not a sharp image. Many will call it blurred. With my experiments, moving the camera at times, I try to create effects. Some of my photos look like paintings. In impressionism, an art form starting in France, painters composed their pictures not in lines but in free brush strokes, creating a different effect, they wanted the color to vibrate. This was against “academic” painting I mentioned before. They did not paint details like before but looking for the visual effect. They used the light and captured it to create the effect and painted more outside. You can see this with artists like Mary Cassatt and Winslow Homer. The African-American great painter Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859 – 1937) also painted some pictures in an impressionist style. One is called “On the road to Bethany” where he uses light to express mysticism.

How does one know a good art exhibition before its opening?

Well, difficult question, Ambrose. When the artist is known, then you can be sure of a “good exhibition, provided you like the artist, is one way to “know”…

I read somewhere that you worked for the Biafran Committee in Germany. What was the Biafran Committee all about and what were your assignments?

The Biafran Committee was founded by one German student of Politics, Tilman Zülch. This was in the revolutionary spirit of the time I mentioned above. We were all voluntary workers there. We came after our day jobs and worked there at night. We wanted to help in creating awareness in Germany of this war in Nigeria. We tried this by typing pamphlets which Tilman dictated to us. We designed, painted posters, and, collected money on the streets of Hamburg for the children of then Biafra.

What were your feelings for the committee and what they stood for?

The spirit of working together with others for a cause was a great feeling. I knew Igbo medical students then and they had informed me about the war. They took me to the committee because of my interest and that was how I started to help there.

Let’s talk about your life with one of Africa’s ace drummers, Bayo Martins. How did you become the lucky one?

It was when I was working in the committee, that we met for the first time. He came there with Don Amechi, Easy Kabaka Brown and Olu Igemuna, who is now late. They had arrived from Bulgaria, where they played as a band and represented Nigeria at the Sofia World Youth Festival. A picture of them you can see in my album in Facebook of Bayo’s life. Later he told me that our meeting was spiritual, because, before leaving Nigeria he had a dream seeing me and when he did in reality, he knew I was the one from his dream. We got married after five months.

How was staying married and working with Bayo like?

Our relationship was based on “Love, respect and mutual understanding”. That was our motto. Our love was totally unconditional from the very beginning. We trusted each other always. He went to Nigeria immediately when the war was over and I followed six month later with my almost non-existent information about Nigeria, beginning of the seventies. He had told me a lot, of course, and all, as it was then. I am yet to write more about all these memories, they are in my mind as if everything happened yesterday. Bayo always told me the truth about everything. He showed me his country in her lowest and highest realms. We appeared on the then famous BAR BEACH SHOW hosted by our unforgettable friend Art Alade on TV. I met so many musicians, artists, and contemporary celebrities. We went together everywhere when possible, often in the evening, the traffic was a bit easier then, to see people with whom he was planning events and such. I was always the first witnessing his creative processes. When he had to travel, and he did this untiringly, I stayed in Lagos with the children. He just said “I have to do this and that” and I accepted. We always gave each other time to pursue what was necessary to advance ourselves and things. I sure missed him, but I knew why it was necessary and remained brave. I believe it is the best. When in marriage, you have time to yourself sometimes. We do not own another person. It was the seventies and the eighties and there was neither Internet nor cell phone and we had no land-line at home. We wrote tons of letters to each other; all delivered perfectly to P.O. Box 433 in Yaba, and I have all of them. I carried on with my job,and my writing. My friend, Brigitte Ajagu and I, worked together on founding NIGERWIVES. We created the first cell from where it developed and exists till today.

I went to the Help African Kids website, nothing much seems to be happening. What’s going on?

Oh, this website just shows the flyer of our organization. Things are happening continuously. We have two projects, the orphanage IJAMIDO MOTHERLESS CHILDRENS HOME in Ota, Ogun State. For over 14 years we have helped many children with school fees, university fees, renovated houses, and financed a house, where they have enough space to play and work. My two friends in Lagos visit regularly. We have a project in the Lagos Lagoon, and a village on an island, called Iba Ibeju. These are no orphans but very poor families. We have the primary school repaired, when necessary, especially the roof. We also pay school fees when needed. We trained a medical student. She treats the children when necessary, with vaccinations, worm infested kids, and things of that nature. The organization is an NGO and there are four of us involved in it. Two in Lagos and my friend and I in Frankfurt. I visit there regularly. When invited by organizations here in Germany, I go to introduce the projects, show pictures, talk about it, answer questions, and collect donations. The main funds come from Lufthansa Help Alliance, and we have been a member since Help Alliance was founded.

What would you do differently now if you have to start all over again.

Ambrose, many have been asking me this same question. Nothing I will do differently. The question does not arise for me. Why? The times in our life that we have to make decisions, we do this taking into consideration the circumstances, the time ,and so many other factors…So, these factors are our guide when we make decisions and also, I am convinced our subconscious plays an important part; maybe the most important…

Memorable Images and Time (Jesse Owens)

Heavyweight boxer Joe Louis puts his arm around Jesse Owens, Ohio State University track star and holder of three world's records. They were introduced during a boxing program sponsored by the Colored Elks. Washington, D.C., August 27, 1935.

Vice President Richard Nixon met with Illinois Republicans here 10/14/1958 to open a 6-day campaign tour in behald of GOP congressional candidates. With Nixon is famous track star Jesse Owens, left, now running for county commissioner. Nixon said the GOP campaign is picking up and "we have every chance to upset those who predict defeat." Date: October 14, 1958. Location: Chicago, Illinois

Jesse Owens, sensational track star of the Olympic games, waving to crowds during the "ticker-tape" parade up Manhattan in honor of the Olympic athletes. Fifty-two members of the Olympic squad, last of the 150 American athletes to return from Germany, arrived in New York, Sept. 3 on the liner Manhattan. Others of the squad who arrived last week joined them in the parade. Date: September 03, 1936.

Classic Modeling Shots (Africa) CMS

Isabel Toledo Spring 1986 Show: Tank top and high-waist, belted skirt at the Isabel Toledo Spring/Summer 1986 show. Photographer Bill Cunningham watches from the front row. Date: November 14, 1985. Image: Tony Palmieri/Conde Nast

Bruce Olfield Fashion Show. Bruce Oldfield celebrates with models after his Spring 1974 collection show for Bendel Studio. Date: November 09 1973. Image: Pierre Schermann/Conde Nast

Wanakee and Karen Alexander: Karen Alexander (L) wearing a jeweled collar necklace by Steven Rosen. Wanakee wearing earrings by Gindi and a beaded shirt by Oscar de la Renta. Date: April 1985. Location: New York. Image: Denis Piel/Conde Nast.

Lanvin Floral Trouser: A model wears a sleeveless, cropped top and slim-fitting pants, designed by French fashion designer Jules-Francois Crahay for the Lanvin fashion house. ca. 1967. Image: Lancaster/Hulton Deutsch Collection.

Dialogue With Boko Haram Members, Lam Tells Jonathan

By Adebayo Waheed - Nigerian Tribune

A former governor and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina last Friday disclosed that there are members of the Boko Haram in the army, police and other security operatives in the country.

Speaking when the chairman of the state Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Gbenga Opadotun, who was in his Felele residence to congratulate him on his 73rd birthday, the former governor urged President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with Northern leaders over the activities of Boko Haram.

While noting that the Islamic sect had claimed responsibilities for the multiple bomb blasts in some states of the North, which had claimed several innocent lives, Adesina tasked the president not to pretend to not know that Northern leaders were in the know of those behind the incessant bombings.

He stressed the need for the president to convene a meeting with the prominent and powerful leaders of the North now, if he desired urgent resolution of whatever may be the grievances of the sect.

He urged him to dialogue with all the powerful individuals in the North, including military and non-military personnel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Q & A Interview With Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

Tell me about yourself?

My name is Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha. I hail from Iho-dimeze in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. I live in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. I was born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Godwin Onuoha on the 12th day of the beautiful Month of May, 1984. I attended Golden Nursery and Christopher Memorial Primary School, all in Aba, Nigeria. I did my Junior Secondary School education at St. Bridget’s College, Aba and my Senior Secondary School education at Federal Government College, Okigwe. I gained admission to study Medicine and Surgery at Imo State University and later dropped out.

I discovered while growing up that I have the passion to motivate, inspire and help people make their lives better. When I left school I went and joined my dad in his ladies footwear business at Ariaria International Market, Aba. I later left the business to pursue my passion and fulfill my God-given purpose to make a positive difference and leave a noteworthy legacy. I went into self education by reading and putting into practice the principles and truths I discover in life. The desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives made me to pay the price and go the extra mile to become an inspirational speaker, life coach and a social entrepreneur.

I work and teach people to make their lives better, this gives me joy. I write and share articles on self-improvement, leadership and other topical issues. I like networking and masterminding with great minds because I know that no one can achieve success alone and secondly, iron sharpens iron. I am grateful to God for the great people He brings my way like you, Sir Ambrose, Mr. Anyaele Sam Chiyson and others I cannot mention due to time. I am thankful to all my friends. I enjoy reading, writing, good music and enriching lives positively.

What was the motivation behind writing a book of this nature?

The motivation behind writing this book was to write a book that will humble, inspire and encourage people to arise and achieve greatness. The content will give the reader the Midas touch to lead a better life.

You said “In this day and age, there is a greater call to build your self-assurance, overcome anything that upset your applecart.” What exactly are you saying here?

Here am saying that in today’s world, to make your dream come true you must define your self-concept and understand who you really are. This helps you believe in yourself and stand firm to defeat the challenges of life that want to distort your great destiny.

As founder of Higherlife International, what is your foundation’s goal?

Our goal is to make the world a better place for all by empowering people with the right education to lead their lives and make a success of it.

How did you come up with the title of the book and what convinced you to know that it was the right choice?

The idea was clear that it will be a book that will enlighten, equip, empower, enrich and inspire people in a way that no book has done. I first titled it: "Overcoming The Challenges of our Time," but when I took it to my friend and brother, Anyaele Sam Chiyson, he read the book and said that the title needs to be changed to something more attractive for my audience. We brainstormed on names that will be right for a book of this nature and finally, we arrived at: "OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE."

I was convinced it was the right choice because whoever heard of it would be compelled to purchase the book and learn how to overcome life's changes.

As a visionary leader what are your thoughts on a Nigeria that has fallen from the standards?

Nigeria is a blessed and beautiful country! One challenge we must overcome urgently is corruption because it is one factor stagnating our advancement. As a nation, we need a positive transformational leadership that will put an end to the works of those cabals that are enriching their personal purses and impoverishing our country. The betterment of our country Nigeria requires a collective effort, alone we can do so little; together we can do much more. Let us immortalize our names and make a lasting legacy by coming together to make Nigeria great again.

Did you ever think of yourself writing a book of the subject matter?

There is no way you can embark on a journey without having any destination in mind. Yes, I have to write a book on this subject because I have seen and had challenges and I overcame them. One thing I won’t fail to mention is that as I began writing, doors to greater wisdom and knowledge opened and I thank God for His favors.

What kind of audience did you target before making up your mind on the book?

The audiences were those who want to improve their lives, and I know that every positive person desires to make better his/her life.

Was the purpose of the book to teach, learn and make a difference, or was it for commercial purposes?

I have a passion and conviction to make humanity better. My purpose for writing this book is to educate, inspire and encourage people to make a positive difference and leave a lasting legacy worthy of emulation. This book teaches true leadership, defines integrity and excellence to the reader as well as positive self improvement.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

C. Odumegwu Ojukwu's Press Conference On Aburi Meeting

You are already aware that we have just ended the meeting of the Supreme Military Council in Ghana. It has come to my notice that the public is anxious to have more details of decisions taken.

The meeting opened with a joint declaration by all of us, the military leaders, renouncing the use of force as a means of settling the present crisis in Nigeria and holding ourselves in honor bound by that declaration. That declaration also reaffirmed our faith in discussions and negotiations as the peaceful means of resolving the Nigerian crisis. having regard to the great fear and suspicion on all parts about the use of force, we thought that this declaration should precede any other business; and I am sure that all Nigerians will welcome it as a source of great relief.

The next important matter discussed, and upon which a lot of other things hinged, was the organization of the Nigerian army. Let me say here that our discussions right through went on in a calm atmosphere, understanding, and realism. We in the East have always felt that realism and understanding were lacking in the past in the approach to our problems, and it was very encouraging that our meetings on the two days showed the sincere determination by all to find realistic solutions to our problems.

it was agreed that the army will be henceforth be governed by the Supreme Military Council, the chairman of which will be known as Commander-in-Chief and Head of the Federal Military Government. There is to be a military headquarters on which the regions will be equally represented and which will be headed by a Chief of Staff. There shall be an area command in each region under the charge of an area command in each region under the charge of an area commander -- the regions corresponding to the existing ones. There will be a Lagos garrison, which will include Ikeja. For the duration of the military government, military governors will have control over their area commands in matters of internal security. All matters of policy, shall be dealt with by the Supreme Military Council. Any decision affecting the whole country must be determined by the Supreme Military Council, and when a meeting is not possible, such a matter must be referred to the military governors for comments and concurrence.

Subject to the above arrangements, we felt that the existing governmental institutions, namely, the Supreme Military Council and the Federal Executive Council, as well as regional executive councils, are workable and should be retained.

It was agreed that the Supreme Military Council must collectively approve appointments to the following offices: a) diplomatic consular posts; b) senior posts in the armed forces and the police; c) superscale federal corporation posts.

This particular decision was made as a means of removing friction, it being our unfortunate experience that friction and misunderstanding had in the past bedeviled these appointments. What it means is that no one person will have the right and power to make these appointments alone in the future.

Politically, it was unanimously agreed that it was in the interest of the safety of this nation that the regions should move slightly further apart than before. As a prelude to this, it was decided that all decrees and parts of decrees promulgated since the military regime, and which detracted from the previous powers of the regional governments, should be repealed by the twenty-first of this month. Once this is done and the agreements are implemented, the aim of allowing the regions to operate more independently and of ensuring fairness to all will be achieved.

The question of displaced persons was exhaustively discussed. As regards civil servants and employees of government corporations who had to flee their places of work as a result of the current situation, it was decided that such people will be paid their full salaries up to the end of March this year, unless they have found alternative employment.

On the question of other displaced persons, it was decided to set up a committee to look into the problems of rehabilitation and recovery of property. I took that opportunity to repeat my assurance that those non easterners who had to be ordered to leave the region in the interest of their own safety would be welcomed back as soon as conditions become more normal.

I have hurried to make this statement to you because of the misgivings which I understand are prevalent in the region as a result of this meeting. I recall that just before my departure, when the public did not even know that our meeting was so close, students and other groups of individuals issued resolutions advising me against attending any meeting with my counterparts. You will now be convinced that this meeting was more than necessary and worthwhile. Our duty is to reduce or remove tension, in order to leave ourselves free to tackle the most urgent and constructive tasks of economic and social development, which cannot be possible in a state of tension and fear. I have no doubt that all of us who participated in the last discussions are determined to implement the agreements reached. Once this is done, we shall have gone a long way to relieving tension and banishing fear among us. It is our plan to meet again soon, this time in Nigeria, to consider other matters arising from our last discussions and those which were not touched.

I want here to place on record my personal indebtedness to the government and people of Ghana for making a plane available to convey me to and from the meetings on the two days, and for making other arrangements to make this meeting possible. Provided our aims are achieved, we in this country will have cause to remain eternally grateful to Ghana for their constructive initiative.

For our part in this country, we must keep calm and avoid actions or words which might create difficulties for our progress in the solution of our problems.

God will certainly rescue this nation from collapse and perdition.

January 6, 1967 - Government House, Enugu, Eastern Nigeria

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lunch @ Earlez Grill With Leon Haywood

Years ago at samaka and Deswab Records which sat on the washington Corridor, on the Westside, aspiring Hip-Hoppers and edging rappers alike would pop up to make beats and hang out arranging for the weekend gigs and all that blasts that goes with life in the studios.

During rehearsals, and when the atmosphere is up in smoke, the talks of rival gangs and rival recording studios takes up every discourse and the bad boys of samaka/Deswab would want the challenge to know what's around town with new talents and how to shop around. It was at the time of digging for more acts that I was told Leon Haywood ran a studio not too far from the block - on the Crenshaw Manor thoroughfare, a complex the seventies R&B sensation had bought when the fusion in the blend of soul-disco had waned for a generation, and rap music now dead, would explode from the corners of Sugar Hill Records which gave birth to Sugar Hill Gang, the first rap acts on any record label.

But as it had happened, I never knocked on the doors of Haywood's music and recording studio while overseeing the state of affairs at Samaka Records, until recently when I had thought of series of compilations in all music genre, and when I had scheduled plans to the subjects of my compilations and the liner notes which would need their attention and a one-on-one chat for details during the days of their performances.

I have bumped into Haywood in several occasions but we never had the time to chat. Haywood, born February 11, 1942, in Houston, Texas, is an American funk and soul singer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known for his 1975 hit single "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You", which has been much sampled by Dr. Dre and others. Born in Houston, he listened to the blues as a child and started playing piano at the age of three. In his teens, he performed with a local group and worked as an accompanist to blues musician, Guitar Slim. In the early 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked with saxophonist Big Jay McNeely.

Asking Haywood while we had a bite at the popular Earlez Grille in the hood, on the Crenshaw Manor thoroughfare about his journey through music way back from Houston, he acknowledged the rough road, and the hard times that comes with surviving and overcoming the "hype" that is Hollywood and the music industry.

On music of today, he noted all had changed and that nobody does music for pleasure anymore, or doing music for the "likeness" of it. "Music, nowadays is all about money and that's too bad the culture is gone."

On Stevie Wonder, Wonder was a good pal helping him through the days of figuring out his mission in the early 70s when he began to discover his path before his major hit which catalpulted him to the charts.

On Quincy Jones, he did session work with the studio rat back in the day.

On Leon Sylvers, they all hanged around in the hood upon Dick Griffey discovering SOLAR Records (Sound Of Los Angeles Records) in the 70s.

On why he never came to Nigeria at the time of his breakthrough with the SOLAR crew and other recording artists during Ben Bruce Murray's Silver Bird Promotions: "I didn't wanna go."

On my plans to buy over the studio, his take was "hey, I'm old now and can't do much anymore. Go for it. It's all yours my African brother."

On his hey days at the recording studio, he wrote and produced songs for many artists and, credited with writing the 1981 hit "She's a Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton, which he produced in his own studio. His last R&B chart record was "Tenderoni" in 1984. After a few more chart singles, for Casablanca Records and Modern Records, Haywood disappeared from the charts. In the late 1980s he became associated in an executive/production capacity with the Los Angeles based Edge Records. Since the 1980s, he has produced blues albums by Jimmy McCracklin, Clay Hammond, Ronnie Lovejoy, Buddy Ace and others, all locals, on his own Evejim Records label.

Haywood will be 70 years old in a few weeks and should be entertaining friends and well wishers at his Evejim Records complex where I intend to recruit for the next explosion in musical genre about to emerge.

Since I'm not a soul-food kinda guy, I asked him about the food and he said 'soul food's the deal." Unless I was taking him to Beverly Hills for $50 a plate lunch, that he's cool with what had been on my tab at Earlez. Nice, soft-spoken man who had his time. "Im cool with that." And a whole lot will be changing when Samaka moves in to the neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ghana Seizes Arms Consignment Bound For Nigeria

By Agency Reports - Punch Newspapers

A major amount of arms and ammunition, allegedly bound for Nigeria, was seized by the Ghana police in Accra on Tuesday.

The arms and ammunition, including hordes of AAA cartridges, 10 pomp-action guns and 20 double-barreled guns, were found in a false compartment under the flour plate of the carrier truck.

Addressing the media on Tuesday evening, Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rose Atinga Bio, said she had received a call from an informant around 15:00 GMT (4.00pm Nigerian time) that a truck was off loading what could be smuggled goods in a house at Achimota, a suburb of the capital.

The operation, which could be a major break-through for the police into the modus operandi of arms smugglers in the region, led to the arrest three Ghanaians and two Nigerians.

“Upon reaching there, my men only saw an empty truck branded in coca-cola trade-mark on the compound,” she told the media.

But upon scrutiny, the policemen realised that the flour plate had just been welded at some specific points, raising their suspicion that there could be something unusual under the plate.

The police team ordered the driver to open the compartment and large caches of arms and ammunition were seen concealed under the flour plate.

Bio said Kwadwo Baffoe, a Ghanaian, claimed ownership of the cargo, while two other Ghanaians, Kofi Aboagye and Kwasi Nkrumah, had also been apprehended.

In addition, two Nigerians, Sandy Eze from Anambra State and Amosu Taiwo from Ogun State, were also arrested, the police officer said.

The owner admitted to the police that the arms were being transported to Nigeria in the truck with registration number XA 761-YAB.

“This is the first of its kind since 2009 when I took charge of the region. We are very much alert, especially because this year is an election year, and so we will protect the nation with the force at our disposal,” said Bio.

Goodluck Jonathan and Fragments of a Dysfunctional State

These days and much expected of a Nigeria that is full of uncertainties, there are many ways now to pick up fights, and with Nigeria, unlike her counterparts in cyberspace which did change the way the world thinks and operates, its networking activism as seen the past few weeks to effect change and turn things around in the country is really hard to tell if the cybernation picketers or the normal weak and vulnerable working class populace on the ground have any hope since a federal Nigeria government had declared from its court ruling that the fuel subsidy strike is illegal and therefore the participants in the alleged protests are doing so at their own risk, engaging in what would cost them terribly.

Also, in a hopeless situation with the on the ground picketers, some not sure when the next meal will be available and, at the mercy of President Goodluck Jonathan himself who had nothing to do with all these if it had not been the barrels of the gun begun from IBB (Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida) to structurally adjust the nation’s programs, to OBJ (Olusegun Obasanjo) who spotted GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan), and dabbled him into nasty political tactics that certainly would consume the presidency if Jonathan comes short of taking the next step - meeting to what the people demands and settling his personal score with Boko Haram, the Islamic jihad bloodthirsty nihilists, whose big rolling funding machines are part of his cabinet he patently acknowledged while the media mounted a microscope on him.

Ironically, Jonathan is on the nation’s hot seat. Just that he may have had good intentions to lead the nation to the forefront as a honestly good man and not as a political money launderer or a traditional grassroots political player; he has been called many names in which fights had been picked among his admirers and haters. He has been called a “dumb-ass idiot,” “a dummy,” “a political fool shenanigans follower,” “a OBJ surrogate,” “a clueless Ijaw man whose presidency was not his own making,” “a college professor who should have been in the classroom rather than putting up a political trap that’s about to nail him,” “a figurehead who’s not smart enough to outplay his political foes and the ones that had set him up as a guinea pig in a nation sitting on a time bomb,” and a host of other name-calling slogans.

Jonathan did not know what befell him until the outcome of the strike began to take its toll - where his own police force he had sent out to enforce the law are fatally shooting peaceful demonstrators demanding what they had thought was fair, objecting to his removal of fuel subsidies among other complaints in a nation a do-nothing National Assembly legislators amass wealth on public funds and earns more than any government official on Earth. In a nation nothing had worked on normal settings from its franchise military juntas and dictatorships, to an abnormal, doctored democratic fabric. In a system where the chief engineer Obasanjo begun the Fourth Republic, rigging himself into reelection to the presidency, gathering his cronies to enrich them, to cover-up his own shady dealings amassing incredible wealth, and deliberately handing over power to a sick and incompetent successor with a puppet that lacked political guts as running mate to an ailing president, provides a clue about the way the system works. What Obasanjo had done in his political gimmick by handpicking deadbeats as successors and taking that as a credible succession formula being components of any political system and democratic fabric, and the way Obasanjo stage-managed his acts means Nigeria doesn’t have one - a credible and sound democracy.

Obasanjo had thought of what it would cost him giving up power entirely. He would have been in the dock - he couldn’t have taken it. He would have been made to testify under oath - that has not worked effectively in a state without structure and sound judiciary. He would have been made to face the question of how he legalized his funds and his friends’ ill-gotten funds and assets in the West where bags of cash full to the brim loots are dumped. And what Obasanjo had done in his picks of the political airheads to succeed him was not to bury the OBJ system, but to save it. It backfired. So far, it seems so.

The nation has been perilous on the first day of Obasanjo’s transition from around which Nigerians should have known clearly that in any democracy, no system, much less the deadbeats that he chose, can be stable if it depends on the well-being and survival of one man - Obasanjo - which is why the country is crumbling.

Nigeria is beginning to be the usual sickening joke we had thought was going to be a thing of the past when Jonathan got the peoples votes on his own very playgrounds and, had promised a new dawn, not knowing the onetime college professor who should have stayed where he belonged teaching, had no clue what he was doing in the presidency, and had relied on the misleading counsels of his kitchen cabinet who had taken him as a fool and for a long ride until his admission of the bloodlust Boko Haram being part of his dysfunctional regime that has practically nothing to offer the nation since he took the oath to defend the nation’s integrity other than anarchy.

One would presume Jonathan was telling a bunch of confused Nigerian audience in his thinking that perhaps the not consistent gullible press had not known about his pally with bedfellows who bankroll the Islamic group from public funds to terrorize the whole nation in the name of radical Islam.

What had been going on and especially what happened on Christmas Day, 201i, on that scheduled program to blow up institutions which the terrorists had forewarned, signaled Jonathan's fall. I had carried out a “swing poll” few days after the simultaneous bombings on whether Jonathan should resign on the basis of keeping a staff of traitors who cared less about the country’s well-being, and a staff that do not want his presidency to succeed which leaves him with the choices of quitting or getting rid of his cabinet that’s taking the country to hell.

In that “swing poll,” I had said that by Jonathan not doing much in critical and testing situations, that he is giving credence to the perpetrators of injustice. That his statements demonstrates his lack of sense of leadership and very apathetic about the suffering of his subjects - the Nigerian people. That he needs to show more responsibility to handle every situation protecting Nigerians. That if he cannot perform to secure his own people from his ineptitude, he must resign.

Thus Jonathan should either dissolve his present cabinet staff of cronies that was not his own making but that of special interests who had designed his administration to be a failure, and a staff out to discredit his South-South connections which links him with his protege, the source behind the origin of all the chaos. Jonathan should resign to save himself from further embarrassments. He has not done anything differently except for his willingness to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists whose sponsors helped neutralize the president’s attempt to sought the cells of the terrorists with a tactical move for negotiations. Negotiate with terrorists for what?

That gesture energized and motivated the terrorists to keep up steadfastly with their quest for what they demand - an Islamic state. When the president isn’t doing much independently to use his sense of judgement as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; and, when it’s very clear that the Islamic murderous gang Boko Haram are composed of people he knows very well, what message is he really sending to the Nigerian people?

Jonathan should know that he is sitting on a time bomb. If he has any advisers on this current crisis, which I doubt, it’s about time for him to find a way to diffuse that bomb for his own life and the interest of the nation. And on the striking working class, this is the time he should gather these people, consult with them and give them what they want. This is the best time for him to use diplomacy which should constitute a fair warning to a legislative fraud that power belongs to the people, giving the people what they want for the interest of the country and again for his own life.

C. Odumegwu Ojukwu On The July 29, 1966 Mutiny And Massacre

I have considered with my Executive Committee the very grave events in some parts of the country regarding the rebellion by some sections of the Nigerian army against the National Military Government which resulted in the kidnapping of His Excellency the Head of the National Military Government and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, and the cold premeditated murder of officers of eastern Nigerian origin.

In the course of this rebellion, I had discussions with the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Brigadier Ogundipe, who, as the next most senior officer in the absence of the Supreme Commander, should have assumed command of the army; my colleagues, the other military governors; and the Chief of Staff, Army Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon. During this discussions it was understood that the only conditions on which the rebels would agree to cease-fire were:

1). That the Republic of Nigeria be split into its component parts;

2). That all Southerners resident in the North be repatriated to the South, and all Northerners resident in the South repatriated to the North.

In spite of the fact that the only representations made at these cease-fire negotiations were those of the rebels and and their supporters in the North, and notwithstanding that the views of the people of the Eastern group provinces had not been ascertained, it was agreed to accept these proposals and stop further bloodshed.

The public is aware of the wanton and deliberate massacre of several people of Eastern Nigerian origin in last May’s disturbances in parts of the Northern group of provinces. In view of the very strong feelings aroused among the people of the east at that time as to whether their membership in the Nigerian nation was desirable, I appealed to chiefs and leaders of the people to use their influence to stop any retaliation or precipitate action, in the hope that this would be the final act of sacrifice Easterners would be called to make in the interest of Nigerian unity. However, the brutal and planned annihilation of officers of Eastern Nigerian origin in the last few days has again cat serious doubts as to whether the people of Nigeria after these cruel and bloody atrocities, cn ever sincerely live together as members of the same nation.

I have noted the action taken to stop bloodshed in the country, and I now consider that the next step is to open discussions at the appropriate level to allow other sections of the igeria eple to express their views, as their Northern compatriots have recently done, as to what form of association they desire for themselves in accordance with the ceasefire terms.

As a result of the pressures and representations now being made to me by the chiefs, leaders and organizations in the Eastern group of provinces, I am arranging for representatives of chiefs and organizations in these provinces to meet and advise me.

Meanwhile, I appeal to our people of these provinces not to give expression to their feelings in any violent form but to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities in he assurance that their rights of self-determination will be guaranteed.

I have further conveyed to the Chief of Staff at Supreme Headquarters, my fellow military governors, and the Chief of Staff at Army Headquarters my understanding that the only intention of the announcement made by the Chief of Staff at Army Headquarters today is the restoration of peace in the country, while immediate negotiations are begun, to allow the people of Nigeria to determine the form of their future association.

August 1,1966 Broadcast, Enugu, Eastern Nigeria Government House.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

C. Odumegwu Ojukwu's Diary Of Events July 05 - August 26, 1966

July 5-25, 1966: Appeasement measures by Major General Aguiyi Ironsi continue. Efforts at personal friendship and alliance with Northern Emirs. Sultan of Sokoto visits Lagos. Persistent rumors of Northern Nigeria’s plan to secede from the Federation. Meeting of the Supreme Military Council. The council endorses the Supreme Commander’s plan to undertake and educate the people tour of the country.

July 25, 1966: Major General Ironsi begins national tour with a two day visit to Northern Nigeria. Series of dramatic and bloody events follow in cities and towns of Nigeria.

July 25-27, 1966: Ikeja; A Northern Nigerian basketball team from Abeokuta Barracks arrives in battle order to rehearse and reconnoiter for undisclosed “impeding operations.” Secret meetings of Northern Nigerian army officers with Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon, Lieutenant Colonel Murtala Mohammed, and Major Alao in Ikeja Garrison.

July 28:1966: Ibadan: The Supreme Commander, Major General Ironsi, addresses a meeting of traditional rulers. In Lagos, Lt.-Col. Mohammed, Major Alao, and Major Martin Adamu alert and address the Northern soldiers in secret. This is followed by the disarming of Southern Soldiers, seizure of the armory, and distribution of arms and ammunition to Northern troops. Abeokuta (Western Nigeria): Two sections of Northern Nigeria troops break into a meeting of officers mess and kill Major Obienu, Lieutenant Orok, and Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Okonweze - all Eastern and Mid-Western officers. Ibadan: Southern troops in the Supreme Commander’s bodyguard at Ibadan Government House are removed and disarmed by troops sent by Lieutenant Colonel Gowon. The Northerners among the bodyguards are reinforced by a special contingent of 24 Northern soldiers. Midnight; Ikeja: The stage is set for a coup. The leader of the coup Lieutenant Colonel Gowon, moves into his rebel headquarters at Ikeja Barracks. The code word for the coup is Araba Day - Secession Day.

July 29-30, 1966: Eastern Nigerian officers and soldiers are lined out and shot along with some Eastern Nigerian policemen and civilians. Abeokuta: Northern troops disarm Southern soldiers among the guards, break into armory, arm all northern troops, arrest and detain all Southern Soldiers. The eastern Nigerian soldiers among those arrested are sorted out and shot. Captain Ogbonna (an easterner) manages to escape from Abeokuta and telephone Enugu to alert me of the coup. This is my first knowledge of what is happening. Kaduna (Northern Nigeria capital): Eastern Nigeria Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion, Lieutenant Okoro, is shot by two Northern Nigerian officers, Lt. Gambo and Lt. Buka Dimka. Alarm is sounded early in the morning and all troops assemble at the hockey pitch, which is surrounded by Northern troops. All the eastern Nigerian soldiers are shot dead. Ibadan: Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. I. Akahan, commanding officer of 4th Batallion, convenes a meeting of his officers. When the officers arrive 74 of them who are Easterners are arrested and shot. Looting of property and raping of wives of Eastern Nigerian soldiers by Northern troops begin. Lietenant Colonel Akahan later gives an assurance to eastern Nigerian soldiers in hiding that there will be no more bloodshed. The soldiers came out of their hiding places and are massacred by northern troops. Enugu (Eastern Nigeria): Northern Nigerian troops attempt to seize the armory and arm themselves, to carry out their scheduled assignment in the coup. The attempt is foiled by the precautionary measure of Lieutenant Colonel Ogunewe, who is already alerted by the telephone call from Abeokuta.

July 30: 1966: Some Northern Nigerin political leaders and their Western allies of the Nigerian National Democratic Party hold a series of secret meetings with Northern army officers to finalize plans for the break-up of the country. Lt.-Col. Gowon hoists and flies in front of the 2nd Battalion headquarters at Ikeja (his temporary headquarters) a flag in red, yellow, black, green, andkhaki colors - the new flag of the “Republic of the North.” Telephone conversation with the chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters, Brigadier Ogundipe. He says that the Northern troops are determined to continue the bloodshed until Northern Nigeria is allowed to secede from the Federation. I agree to the terms to further bloodshed. Situation deteriorates. Increased massacre of Easterners by Northern troops. Brigadier Ogundipe flees.

July 31, 1966: Telephone conversation with Lt.-Col Gowon. He confirms the mutineers’ terms mentioned yesterday by Brigadier Ogundipe. I agree. I pledge my cooperation to help stop the bloodshed before we call on the people to decide the future of the country. I warn him that my government does not recognize the mutiny and that he should not announce himself as Supreme Commander.

August 1, 1966: Scheduled day for beginning of the commission of inquiry into May 29, 1966 Pogrom. Thwarted by July 29 mutiny, British High Commissioner, Cumming Bruce, has top-secret talks with Lt. Col. Gowon and sends envoys to Northern Nigerian emirs to dissuade Northern Nigeria from secession. Lt. Col Gowon appoints himself Supreme Commander and Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. In the broadcast, he declares that there is no basis for Nigeria unity. Major Ekanem, Provost Marshall, reporting for duty in response to Lt.-Col Gowon’s assurance of safety, is shot dead on Carter Bridge in Lagos by Lieutenant Numan, a northern Nigerian officer,

August 2, 1966: Release of Western Nigeria army officers who took part in the January 15, 1966, revolution. At the same time, their eastern Nigerian counterparts who were detained in the North are shot by Northern officers at a spot 19 miles fro kaduna.

August 8, 1966: At the army workshop, Yaba, all eastern Nigerian army personnel are ordered to leave on pain of execution.

August 9, 1966: Meeting of representatives of the military governors is convened in lagos to consider what immediate steps are to be taken to stop further bloodshed and reduce the extremely high tension existing in the country.

August 12, 1966: Mass arrest of all NCO’s of Eastern Nigerian origin in Apapa, Yaba and Surulere.

August 16, 1966: Army officers of eastern Nigerian origin are abducted from Benin Prisons and shot by Northern Nigerian troops. The rebel troops at the same time release the Northern Nigeria troops. The rebel troops at the same time release the Northern Nigerian soldiers who are in detention with the easterners for their participation in the January 15, 1966 revolution. Major Daramola orders the shooting of 15 eastern soldiers.

August 18, 1966: Atmosphere of insecurity heightens in the country. I assure a delegation of oil companies of the maximum protection of their business by my government.

August 20, 1966: Following the decision to return troops to their regions of origin, I send for eastern Nigeria soldiers. To forestall this, Lt. Nuhu gives orders for the execution of 22 Eastern Nigerian non-commissioned officers detained by the mutineers in Ikeja barracks.

August 25, 1966: Influx of refugees from all parts of Nigeria back to the region increases by the hour. I give directives to ministries and departments to absorb as many refugees and servants as they can.

August 26, 1966: I set up the Rehabilitation Commission wit an initial sum of 1 million Pounds.

Monday, January 02, 2012

2011 In The Books: My Cousin Daniel And All That Stuff

I was not sure what 2011 was to be, beginning on its first night when clearing all the stuff from my head became a major task. I had not made up my mind what I thought would conform with what I had to do in my literary errands and basically on the idea of attempting a book as had been suggested by many of my friends, colleagues and in particular, my die hard fan, my cousin Daniel, who had insisted he would stop listening to me since I have been ignoring a book call until a book pops out showcasing my works, even though I had argued with him insisting what he had been reading over the years from my literature could be the book in question.

But Daniel who wants a book out soon when I had insisted I am not in a hurry to put together a book of sort on which subject or topic, or title I’m yet to contemplate based on the surroundings that probably could facilitate what the title would suggest and how the project logically should make sense corresponding with the items that gives a book the right outlook as in its title and subtitles as the case may be, have not in his own opinion, based on what he thought from reading all my pieces, covering autobiography, biography, criticisms, drama, essays, fiction-poetry, journalism, interviews, documentaries, music analysis, fashion-modeling shows and book reviews; suggested a title, topic and subject to start working on; even if I may have made up my mind and concluded what area of titles, topics and subjects I should be targeting from whichever project that pops up.

Since I have written on a variety of subjects and covered a lot in my exchange of correspondences with friends, family members, well wishers, colleagues in the literary stock and several others from all walks of life, I had thought of a piecemeal take, and on the average, looked for public opinion by way of exploration and on the last call, after all options had been lost, locate Daniel’s ideals since he’d the one who “wants the book out now” rather than leaving crates of unpublished works for posterity.

On what to be expected with regards to my works out there which had been conceived at a time not much had been saved in my literary chest but stories of life’s endeavors growing up and becoming a man, studying and learning every aspect of our societal being. But Daniel wants something to be done real quick but with my own intellectual ambition and the love I have developed for writing, and the passion, I’m not in a hurry, thus working at my pace for the book release and not conformed to any deadline. I hope that works, Daniel.

On this book release stuff, Daniel seems to have been on my case, and I have just been wondering if Daniel wants a gig of our own bad self, pub-crawling the city, or the days two sisters lured us to the church Rev. Hartford Iloputaife was senior pastor, when our heads were still burning from the heavy metal-disco fever-pure funk-decorum rap years we had committed our lives to, not minding the consequences we knew would follow, and a time gone by. Or does Daniel want me to write about the days of the “melting pot” at Suya Spot, Caban Bamboo, Reggae Nights, and the push me, I push you movement when it became a daily hustle to the music at Astor? Maybe, he wants me to tell more stories of the blast when Ruth Ehirim, her brother and friends stormed that hell of a party jam during his visiting days in Los Angeles. There are more stories to tell than he could imagine, after all these years we evolved.

Daniel is now more of a philosopher, of the back years theory with “socio-capital” contract ideals, of which in our arguments I had talked about change, evolution, revolution and applications of different other methods demanded by change, not relying or bent on the status quo I had written off as archaic, backward thinking that never created any impact on the “new world” besides the dangerous politics that comes along with sex and money which I have always avoided.

And Daniel would confirm my attack on Igbo “elite” for not getting things done over the years, insisting the Igbo had at all times been far better off than her counterparts, the Yoruba-Hausa-Fulani stock, in every aspect of life since the fabricated nation’s founding. And, Daniel would agree with my consistent commentary and analysis what Igbo had on purpose ignored over the years after the post-civil war/”reconstruction-era” and supposedly lessons learned from the pogrom Igbos were massacred from every location they could be found

Daniel also agreed with me in what I have written extensively to near exhaustion; the tale of the anti-Igbo pogrom and evidences indicating that, and succumbing finally, “not sucking up to me,” but would concur to straightening up to the facts. Despite that, the book on the waiting list, the telltale would be the real and done deal with Daniel, when found sitting on the shelves in public and, graded with kind gesture from its long wait.

Daniel is waiting.

Having read too many books over the course of twelve months and reading uncountable newspapers, news-magazines and journal articles and texts in the same period, and having seen series of events all around the world one lives in, it shouldn’t take too much probing to elicit testimony that I have read myself to death and listing some of them makes it clearly so. I read Ngozi Achebe’s book “Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter,” Eeefy Ike’s “Peering Through The Depths Of Life,” and Alretha Thomas’ “Dancing Her Dreams Away.” Going through all the stacks of books I read this year, I found the following African-related books very interesting: Gray Stewart’s classic “Breakout: Profiles In African Rhythm” published in 1992 by the University of Chicago Press as part of my research projects, where the African cultural maestro touched every base of the musical genres that had augured well with African musicians tracing the link of the connections and how it developed, coupled with the formation of Monomono, on a cast of Johnny Haastrup, Ben Okulolo, percussionist Candido Obajimi, guitarist Jimmy Lee Adams and Friday Jumbo. Stewart’s book, “first on African music to examine in-depth” the musicians themselves was a good and fascinating read.

Believe it or not, I read Condoleeza Rice’s “No Higher Honor: A Memoir Of My Years In Washington,” a retelling of what we in the press and public in general have already known from George Bush and his policymakers’ years. I read “Liberia: America’s Footprint In Africa: Making The Cultural, Social, And Political Connections” by Jesse N. Mongrue, where discovering the rich history of Liberia and America, and why Liberia remains relevant today and enriched with interviews of scholars, Liberian community elders and detailed research; “Democracy’s Reconstruction: Thinking Politically With W.E.B. Du Bois” by Laurie Balfour on tales of Du Bois recommending words of his disciple, the Osagefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, saying for “political kingdom which must be sought first, one needed leaders with men and women, who could lead the struggle and expose;” “Life My Story: The Story Of A Girl’s Journey To Womanhood,” by Ebony E. Ferebee, in which Ferebee offers her victory over her own difficult, painful and abuse childhood as an example to offer young women, proving that it is possible to overcome your past and succeed as an adult; “And We Ate The Leopard: Serving In The Belgian Congo” by Margaret Baker-White of 1932, Dr. Lebia baker arrive at a mission hospital far up a tributary of the Congo River in Equator Province and Baker describing the unusual story of her family’s life in the Belgian Congo, and “Mirror Of Our Lives: Voices Of Four Igbo Women - Njide, Nneka, Miss Nelly and Oby - Narrate their stories of passion, deceit, heartache, and strength as they push through life, and each on a unique journey to attain happiness, self respect, and inner peace.

Also, on the list of my reading for pleasure and knowledge were, among others: “Zanzibar Kira Heri: Farewell Zanzibar” by Patricia K. Polewski, on the 1964 African revolt replacing the Arab Government - on Zanzibar and decreed that no unmarried woman could leave Zanzibar without paying 56,000 shillings; “Withches, Wife Beaters, And Whores: Common Law And Common Folk In Early America” by Elaine Forman Crane - Crane skilfully explores how deeply ingrained understandings of law and legal culture shaped the behavior of ordinary people in early America - whether the victims perpetrators, or neighbors; Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions happen,” and Appiah convingcingly points out, the ruling aristocracy was being superseded by a new class of economically successful men saying the popular press, working-class literacy, and democratic sentiments brought all British citizens into a unified community of shared knowledge and values; and “Dying Education: Necessary Reformation, The Nigerian case” by Alphonsus Emeka Ezeoke, stressing most of Nigerian schools are understaffed, especially schools located in remote towns and villages; that teachers shy away from going to remote or local towns and villages, and that the Nigerian nation must tap from its pluralism, and emphasize benefits therein.

Yes, Daniel is waiting on that book release. He do not want crates and boxes of papers somewhere archived for posterity. He wants it now.

I have collected a lot of materials - photographs covering a wide range of subjects, my own articles (published and unpublished), interviews, press releases, and several other related papers over the years, including correspondences I mentioned earlier, and I had thought the materials should be in shape enough for what Daniel had wanted me to do - “write a book” and nothing else. And as it did happen, I had thought of assuming a book as Daniel wants it, I might end up omitting a whole lot of stuff including what I had wanted to be a trademark kind of, something of its own unique style and stuff I always would be remembered for regardless of its take on commerce, flowing with its original intent and avoiding the intellectual mistakes which could be costly and probably diminish the entire process of my profound ideals.

I had also thought of the music industry, hiring musicologists I could use as consultants in the music machine projects starting from the “unconscious” years the vibes begun pumping into my ears and my eyes could not believe what it saw. And with all that on the trail by listening while suspending in “Limbo,” the obvious over the years I could lay claim on of entirely what had belonged to me knowingly, and what I had been known for from that literary point of view which I’d presume was how it should work, supposedly, as an independent thinker.

Independent thinking does not eradicate or suggest anything void of proper counsel. On that account, mainly, on the East-side bands during the post-civil war-reconstruction-era of which I have been well versed to a point being called a musicologist should not be an exaggeration, or hype, on the ground that, I have, too, written widely on the seventies hippie years of my time and culture in which I have been a living witness.

And I have thought of its compilation on a photo-journal kind of format, inviting Uchenna Ikonne, the vintage Nigerian and African music analyst who runs the Comb and Razor Blog and the Comb and Razor Music Group. Uchenna has done so much everyone would agree with me he deserves a national prize for the fact that he dusted off the Eastside bands’ archives and brought into light, vintage Nigerian sounds worthy of mention.

It doesn’t look good at all when much has been said and written about performing artists on the African continent - Dessoui Bosuma, Diblo Bibata, Doctor Dynamite, C.K. Mann, Nsala Mauzenza, John Nzeze, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Joseph Kabesel, Docteur Nico, Antoine Kolosoi, Antoine Armanso, O.K. Jazz, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Sunny Ade, I’ Orchestre African Fiesta, Remy Ongala, S.E. Rogie, Francis Fuster, nana Ampadu, Babatunde Olatunji, I.K. Dairo, Orlando Julius Ekemode, Kanda Bongo Man, Remy Salohmon, Mimi Kazidonna, and the list goes on and on - and a little or none has been said or written about the casts of the Eastside bands dating back from the 1960s when many of the recording artists, too, featured through the Lagos 60s West African musical digest. Not much is known out there about the era’s Eastside bands' sensations of the time

So, if I should be bent to music, where do I begin? weighing back to the nineteen sixties I had yet to know in actuality any of the East-side bands that had begun before it was credited as an original of its own musical genre even though not understood fully in its surroundings within the West African regional coasts.

However, I had thought of running a full time schedule analyzing and interviewing some of the casts from the Eastside, alive today, which would have been enormous task in its capacity, but good to know an analyst had been around in what I thought was a very good development since I had not much travel time undergoing all the projects alone; that is, assuming I did initiate it in a way to involve others, others as joint group/partnership. I had only attempted putting the package through when I created Samaka Music and the Samaka Studios on the West-side of Los Angeles, sitting on the Washington Corridor, waiting for new acts and talents.

In any case, Uchenna had already developed the idea of Comb and Razor Group/Blog and record label on the trail to compile every sound of the era - 60s, 70s, 80s - that be, introducing the vintage years to a Hip-Hop generation with the blend for possibilities to coining a new musical genre for a generation that had been evolving to something else.

I did write some few lines at the Samaka Music Blog until I found no need for it since Comb and Razor, Likembe, Afro Funk Forum Music Blog, Voodoo Funk, Matsuli Music, Steve Ntwiga, Paris DJs, Benn Loxo, African Music, Pan African All Stars and Wrasse Records were spending quality time providing information on the vintage African collections. That break took me elsewhere to explore other areas. Regardless, I did keep up with the tally; attempts to locate Emma China (Wings), Keni St. George (Ozo), Bob Miga (Strangers), Ani Hofner (One World) and numerous other cats of the day. And also attempts for Emma China to release information on his colleagues at the EMI Recording Studios, Wharf Road, Apapa-Lagos; including Johnny Flemming, Charles Effi, Duke, Arinze Okpala, Dandy, Jerry Demua and Emma Dabro - the original casts of Wings during the post-Spud Nathan years, and the years of prosperity for the Eastside bands, which also included Founders 15, Herald 7, Aktion 13, Supreme Cee Jays, Super Wings and Ben Alaka as the best session man ever to play the drums.

Embarking into another area of research was not easy. I had diverted my attention to do something totally different, and this time around, it would take a lot of work; and it would be time-consuming. It also had to do with quality time to get some of the projects well situated.

So in the research for new directions and getting all the facts in order, especially when I had to deal with persons of interests in related interviews on one-on-one basis extracting information everyone needed to know that has not been told; and which as of its time seemingly had been way overdue and could not be told with time going by fast, and the subjects in question expiring and about to take along with them all the vital information they had. It is, in this way, in many occasions, that datas, archives, stuffs in storage for later future use like crates of papers, newsmagazines of years and decades, and other devices that had been used in keeping records, records most valued for references in centuries to come needed for inclusion into new ideas and lines of thought reexamining the importance of the old and the new reemerging on a totally different platform by way of accepting what had been as a new era surfaces.

I have quite often asked why we humans curiously keep the tabs of inventions and things like that, and all the challenges that demands our engagements. And when I found myself in research institutions and places of that nature, even not having to, but all put in a way that calls for directives for something positively drawn to achieve the intended results, and not to generate a premature publication which might be unnecessary like the kind of research projects that pops out and have nothing new or special to say at the moment, ending up a waste of time and resources.

This is what happens when one locks himself in to commit to do things benefiting humanity, as we all, of course, have been beneficiaries from one theory to another; from one invention to another and from one discovery to another, as the list of the purpose goes on and on.

I have mentioned at length the importance of collecting photographs, tapes and interviews which ultimately has been a work in progress, engaging and looking forward to conclude the series of projects which could be in any category, and while pursuing the project with caution for thoroughness, and at the same time “quiz-survey” the applications and objectives if the materials gathered would be good enough and presentable when released and when the whole idea in the long hurdle, is, eventually, known, accepted, endorsed and taken to be a work worthy.

Besides music, photographs and illustrations of sort in that order, essentially notes on historical figures of political, innovations stock, I had thought of including landmark interviews of persons who had shaped our culture in their time and how what they did changed the course of history. But again, I had thought about time, space, and convenience, coupled with what the people may want from the moment of research and surveying, and from the time of completion to general release.

Notwithstanding, I remember in January of a promising 2011, mapping out some strategy and with a little bit of consultation, worked to the execution of what had been laid down for the year, and while with a handful of moderated plans on the suspended works at Samaka Studios, the continuation of music compilation and a possible tandem with Naija Records run by Mike Egi out of the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota; I had also thought of adding a great number of West African musical icons over time even if it had to take series of volumes to put into perspective, and actually being a major score to a level that depicts paying homage to the acts that had brought West African music to the fore.

Musicology, I had thought, in any of my personal endeavors, unless collectively engaged, to be first included either by mentioning it and my fascination with a particular artist or performer, and either from my growing-up-kicking-it days, to the time I had begun to understand music patterns and the genre that accompanied it. Though since what I had originally conceived in January to getting it through as the year winds down, was, a conversion, the blending of music genres to one form kind of display and perhaps with a coinage introducing a revived or new musical genre which would open by testing the market to find out which vibe in what had been a mix would be appropriate and would go with the flow of the time.

When Egi and I had thought about this venture, I had not fancied the idea of “jamming” entirely the old stuff he had propped up when the combination had been realized to the point of adjusting and collaborating with the old stuff, which had to me, become old-fashioned compared to how the changes were wanted to be made. So, too, as Egi had talked about the “revival,” the adage of “old wine in a new bottle” with all that reggae compilation and jazzy tunes I had added to help give the project a different kind of flavor that would meet up with the original composition for our time and an expected blowout on the charts. That in line, I was writing other stuffs of great literature, too, especially, essays and articles related to the political environment of a troubled Nigerian national state, and particularly, the disturbing politically volatile Igbo related states, which happened to be my region of origin. I have written to be exhausted on arising matters in the area, my home state of Imo, and despite the attempt to engage for better management of “governmental” affairs through a compromising deal, it was not hidden that the state was clearly not workable.

Even with my backlog of unfinished and yet to be published essays, articles and journals, I made up time to go through the problems of the Igbo related states, and on the expedition, Imo State in particular, where a new administration/political party won the mandate to run the affairs of state promising a new dawn. We had agreed at a related meeting to be committed and honestly, engaged to make things work from a Diaspora standpoint showing a common bond with the home government for good governance. That aspiration looks more of a mirage and we may never get to find the promised dawn. What we seem to have found had been a continuity of a region still with the desire of state of empire and anarchy, and in retrospect, the very same state that had been previously battered beyond recognition with the hope that lessons would be learned from a regime that patently made it abundantly clear it did not care for the well-being of the state of affairs but rather to go by order of its intent - a succeeding regime to payback its “done deal” guaranteed pledge to hoodlums and political thuggish elements that helped put it in power, which now has the same resemblance by way of its operations - assassinations by contractors and consultants that has tripled in less than ten months of the new regime.

The war apparently is now waged between the state’s self-serving political and landowning classes which includes an “influential Diaspora” bunch that all of a sudden had become the generators of the chaos obviously inflaming the land on the grounds of their own personal interest. They are paying off security agents, night watchmen, the national police forces, their own hired thugs and hoodlums to create and unleash all sorts of mayhem, on purpose, in the state they had once pledged to protect and secure by all necessary means to bring about a governable populace.

Imo State troubles had just begun. When the Los Angeles area Imo Diaspora had gathered on a call for oneness and action for thoroughness of system in the state through its democratic practice, starting all over with a clean slate and with an ideal to make Imo a model of all states among her sister states from a platform allegedly written by its “Diaspora elite” on the basis of the American ideology they are adapting, little was really known that another gangster-like state was about to regroup and rethink its strategies. All the meetings, talks and quests to revive Imo from its bad governing image had been a front by a behind closed doors Diaspora to convince and compel its people that the state’s outrageous record and image was as is, would be a thing of the past.

Imo is a gangster state. The worst had just begun. Governor Okorocha’s hoped for firepower to keep the state in check had been neutralized with emergence of total chaos at an alarming rate and if not apprehended would be disastrously unbearable, and may lead to a state of emergency which could perhaps throw the state into turmoil in its administrative fabric, ushering in a mandate from a federal-run political party, if not a dictatorship by a military junta assigned from Abuja.

The reason I talk about chaos and the possibility of a military junta running the state is drawn from what has been going on in the region over time and as it becomes evidently clear the situation has not shown any sign of getting better rather getting worst and dangerous by the day as all that talk by Okorocha upon being sworn in to make drastic changes for a better Imo State wanes in about eight months that oath of office was taken.

Looking closer at it, Imo has been the worst administered state since the Fourth Republic, and with the combination of twelve years Achike Udenwa-Ikedi Ohakim squandered and an emerged Okorocha that is now full of uncertainties, the people are now concluding the state is going to hell by all accounts, and the assumption Imo was to be a model is definitely wrong and misleading. In as much as Imo has been used on purpose by the machineries that run the affairs of state and in disguise as the ruling party (PDP), in the country since the country’s latest attempt at an experimental democracy when the military juntas ran out of tactical options, Imo has been the guinea pig of the party corrupted from its inception by Obasanjo, it has been clearly understood that the indigenes - Diaspora and homeland - had been the ones to destroy itself, which affects the state, crippling it with the lost of hope and in its condition, no remedy.

By March 2011, every political animal in Imo on a different party affiliation talked about the need to fixing what had been a collapsed state resulting from Ohakim’s-led maladministration even as Abuja would not admit it, and the quest to reclaim the state’s good name from its first cut of the Balkanization process; and the people who made up the place on the set of tearing the Igbo nation apart when all about Imo and Anambra had been intentionally designed as opponents in a knockout game; and the addition of insult to dishonor when Imo had to be torn into two parts, and Anambra, too, having Enugu cut out on a continuation of the balkanization theory, a pattern to create political differences as strategy and a well orchestrated plan for enmity among a people of the same lineage. It was during this time of creating more states in what had been East Central State, even though East Central State, from around it, emerged Rivers State and Cross River State as another plot for division between the minority speaking Igbo states and East Central State that was a full Igbo stock. The confusion, henceforth, would not see an ending.

As very much intended, the March syndrome of being on the crossroads, on the premise of having to put an end to the state’s direction to nowhere, the magic game came into play, which would determine the seriousness of the people when time for the polls draws near to either elect a new governor or have the incumbent continue on the appeal to get the work done on a second term run as concluding part of projects planned to be completed on a “contract” of projected eight years to physically see the work done. It had been the only thing that gave hope to a gullible and vulnerable people, which held them together.

But that hope was an illusion, and with the concept of recycling the same people to run the affairs of state, the much anticipated hope may not come, which is now being seen in Okorocha’s much expected administration of good governance and getting things done in the state; the state’s most indigenes, if not all, gave up and could no longer live on empty promises, counting on Okorocha’s miracles, and that with their predictions of near certainty based on developments around the state, that Okorocha’s miracles of fixing Imo “is just another mirage.” What has been totally confusing is a Diaspora that had waited over the years as bad leadership took its toll on the state. The wait and the hope that all would come to form and play out naturally was a tactic of endurance and playing to the gallery of the handles, of a failed state, deliberately engineered from the center - a folly, inept, and corrupt administration from the moment it commenced operations. And with such attitude, the rest followed the direction of a central government that had no sense of purpose, which is where the center had to be held accountable.

But when Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan isn’t doing much independently to use his sense of judgement as the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces; and, when known that the Islamic murderous gang Boko Haram are composed of people he should know very well, the “untouchable elite” that had thought the nation’s resources including its human capital had been their own personal tool they had every right to use for whatever purpose in demanding what they had wanted, anytime, from the country, and with Jonathan having no clue how to go about a situation only him and his kitchen cabinets could effectively trail and apprehend the moles of the bloodthirsty cannibals harassing the country in its claim of agitation for an Islamic state.

The irony, until the threats which Jonathan’s government should take seriously and the firepower of Boko Haram and other murderous gangs in the country are neutralized, Jonathan’s regime do not have answers, which is wholly mind boggling and, therefore, he should quit so the country can chart a new course. We’ve had enough drama and it’s no longer necessary. I’m sure Daniel would agree on this one while I shop around for publishers.

In my related discourse and exchange of correspondences over the months with Aloysius Duru, on a very old subject, Saint Saviours College and ts alumni that had nothing to show in lifting the image of the school founded in the 1950s by the locals and missionaries. I had argued with Aloy on the same topic that I raised awhile ago at a related forum when a complicated case of misappropriation of funds got into the hands of those trusted with handling of group funds, keeping it intact and viable took the opportunity to embezzle what had been secured with them, keeping funny books, which I questioned.

Aloy had connected me with folks we were all in class/school together at Saint Saviours, but the thought of alumni had been distant in their current trend of thoughts - one of the many reasons most of the schools we left behind are in decay. I had contact with all except Malachy Ijemere whose lead somewhere in Alabama I’m yet to locate.

In fact, very few that I have talked to or encountered by other means of communication have I been able to exchange our ideas and intent on addressing the issues of alumni and Alma Mater, and the areas of academic discipline that needs attention from the time of abandonment no one remembers. I had also emphasized on the need to collect data as much as we could, locating “Old Boys” putting it into perspective and, laying out how to go about the projects and keeping up with tracking the conventions as they may arise. As it turned out, the interest was not encouraging and how the problems could be solved on its own and with such manners, beats me.

With education that has gone down the drain over the years as a result of neglect, coupled with a failed state where nothing gets done; and on the contrast, a whole lot could have been done considering the products of Saint Saviours in key positions and professionally accomplished folks all around the world, and yet, no single alumni or project dedication to show for it.

My final suggestion on a deteriorating Saint Saviours looked at as “none of my business” kind of issue, and much the most important, time for all Saint Saviours Boys to start collectively and publicly, a network of awareness and intentions of projects ahead that would bring to the fore a standard learning academy fully equipped for broader intellectual development, preparing students for further academic pursuits which would generate the kind of orderly communities typical of organized societies with a resemblance of Igbo Republican ideals of our forebears.

Again, enter the cornered world of a memoir and what had been my take in that regard which would reflect all that one had done in the past, and which had to deal with tales of imagination, worlds of fantasy and, realistically, the simple truth. Checking all that list and a haul of accumulated literary works, a memoir’s almost done in my books when the time approaches, that is, if one had planned it that way which probably would fly with Daniel's demands even if as I intend to overlook the concept of commerce and leave it all for posterity - benefiting humankind. Daniel had agreed on that until lately when he begun the movement for a book now campaign to persuade me take the step and get the whole idea of book publishing rolling.

Meanwhile, I am still thinking about a documentary almost done, and which would cover a great amount of area in its capacity beginning from the pre-West African states, conquest, to the present state of the region and what had changed over time. But Daniel haven’t seen anything yet; he wants a not cozy line of thought for me, and also not one that I loathe; but the thing for me is what I had thought in the works of time dealing with issues of the future had been more important and not the commercial success which isn’t a guarantee, as Daniel Likes it.

As it had happened, again, on March 26, 2011, enter George “Olili” Ilouno’s 50th birthday bash at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, while I had already been in communication with Innocent Osunwa, the radical teacher who talks robust Igbo politics and the trending stuff, he talked much about “me,” the subject, and book release that has been way overdue, and that regardless, the collection of essays and related commentaries binding together. It’s been overwhelming and Daniel had not been the only one on my case to pop out my literary works.

What had happened before Olili’s bash almost made me make a sudden 180-degrees about face to the event, asking myself if indeed my works should be more important to put together, or Olili’s one night, hard partying and joyous festivities. My works are a lifetime thing that goes with the territory.

I would be covering Olili’s party for Life & Time Magazine, and upon arrival, the ballroom had the biggest Igbo cultural crowd I had seen in a minute. I met folks not seen before. While partying with folks and exchanging pleasantries with loved ones, I found myself circled by the Los Angeles area house members, like mobsters who had been on a mission. I have committed a crime, so they say. My crime was an article written in July 2010, about an Igbo club in Greater Los Angeles that couldn't live up to its creed. During the time I was circled and a Case management Conference paper served me by Ifeanyi Ibediro, who allegedly had nothing to do with the lawsuit, these so-called house members were bumping fists, taking up hi-fives, bumping chests and jubilation on a case that’s yet to meet panels on the Case Management Conference and how to resolve whatever was Ephraim Obi’s (Plaintiff) beef with the article that I wrote. An article that did not mention his name in any way. I’m not sure what they did. I left it as is, and did not let it bother me or distract my attention for the purpose of the evening.

Also, what had happened that night, house members circling of a photo-journalist carrying out his assignment, covering Olili’s event, did not surprise me, but laughable considering their mood; high spirits of relief that they have got their victim who had been their nightmare.

“Yes, we got him,” they all would say to each other. “Let him write again, We have neutralized his pen writing firepower. He thinks he’s the only one who can write,” they seem to be saying. Like John the Baptist, in the biblical son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, and before Herod, the ruler of Jewish Palestine under the Roman Empire, was imprisoned and beheaded for blasphemy. Like Socrates, the Greek philosopher whose philosophical ideals was alleged to corrupt the youths and when asked to recant his principles which he wouldn’t, was executed. And like Jesus Christ before the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, seeing no crime that Jesus committed, washing his hands off the trial of Jesus who was crucified by the Jews.

Such was the atmosphere at Olili’s bash, in my case with Ephraim whose motive had been to use me as a guinea pig in his years of unproductive law practice in California, and his Case management Conference call as a litmus test, who was at the gathering and part of the circling culture that poured out to see the decimation of my writing career. As it turned out, Ephraim and his clueless gang of law-suing colleagues who as I may presume had no clue of what they had proffered on the basis of contents of the said write-up, wanting me dead or alive by way of subduing my literary work, in their 2011 quest for Igbo elitism and oppression of peoples and denial of the First Amendment Rights.

2011, so to speak, was a year of ups and downs, of turmoil and triumph, of tragedy and blessings, and of new discoveries and fortunes. I learned some tricks though never would get into it, never; on the British press and News of the World in the scandalous phone hacking burst involving the deputy features editor, Paul McMullen, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. It was a tabloid sensationalism and “gutter-snipping” journalism which told how newspaper publishers goes to any length to get its staff paid handsomely digging out the nastiest news-holes out there on the hangers of its reading public.

For 2012, Daniel wants a logical, intellectual discourse on “What Nigeria Owes Nd’Igbo,” “What Nd’Igbo Are Doing To Themselves,” “What America Owes The Blacks,” and “What The Blacks Are Doing To Themselves In America,” which I had thought should be fascinating and on a firmer ground of argument.

On a year, overall, a world in economic crisis never seen before since the Great Depression; a world changed dramatically in technology; a world we now live in, that has become closer and closer; a world full of uncertainties with crisis in all of its surroundings, and a world now armed with weapons of mass destruction with the capabilities to end time, we surely hope it becomes crisis free, hunger free, full of love and a place we all could dwell together.

And let’s begin on that sound note. One World, One People and One Destiny. Peace and no more wars!