Among the 2013 Hollywood motion pictures that are receiving critical acclaim, 12 Years a Slave boasts of three talented African Diasporans. Indeed Hollywood is experiencing a slight fever for the African Diaspora and African renaissance with the nominations of some African Diasporans for various awards. Director Steve McQueen and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong?o, Idris Elba, Yaya Alafia, David Oyelowo, and Barkhad Abdi are in the process of becoming household names in the movie industry. These folks are not just getting awards for British accents but for their amazing talents. These recognitions from the birthplace of the notorious Tarzan movies and Ice Cube?s depictions of Africans appear to be a shift away from the racially biased and stereotypical caricatures of the past. ? ? ?
??????????????? Nonetheless, getting the opportunity to watch the movie- 12 Years a Slave about Solomon Northup the upstate New York gentleman who was stolen and rendered to the capitalist slavery economic system, the forerunner of industrial societies, was hard to come by. This was largely due to the Tinsel town distribution mechanisms and the realization that in a ?progressive state? like Maryland there are certain pockets of resistance and contempt for historical facts that do not match skewed romanticized narratives.? Therefore some counties, cities, and towns, including the largest county in Maryland have gone out of their way to selectively limit the viewing of films like 12 Years a Slave, because it critiques the current world order and makes some folks uncomfortable.
Indeed this epic motion picture stands out because it was able to depict the three S-terminologies which reinforced the physical and mental slavery cycle. The concepts of steal, savagery, and silence were essential in furthering the slavery economic system. Subjects were stolen with brute force (savagery) while labeled as savages, and their kidnappings were effected with strategic precision (silencing of opposition). Moreover, the victims and their survivals were conditioned through social control to remain under the dominance of slavery and other similar formations. The survivors and/or successors of this colonial era have continued to suffer due to past legacies while the elite class from New York to Rio de Janeiro, from London to Abuja, from Dubai to the Cayman Islands is content with mass impoverishment around the globe?
Consequently, the lopsided economies are reflected in recent happenings such as the attempts to silence and intimidate social justice activists about speaking out on racial, economic, political, religious, cultural, social, and environmental issues. Should humanity remain silent when President Obama pays lip-service to subjects like poverty, inequality, and economic mobility while pushing for so-called free trade and market structures that outsource and/or offshore US jobs? Whereas globally people are exploited, resources are expropriated, and environments are polluted for the benefit of few elites reminiscent of the slave era. Why are western corporations investing in using informational, psychological, and brutal savagery to silence the aggrieved opposition whose resources are stolen?
Similarly, some public officials like the United States Attorney General Eric Holder are not fairing any better. Democrats and conservatives want him to remain in his place and self censor his limited progressive policies so that the status quo can remain intact. The NSA needs to continue the surveillance and spying state systems, structural poverty needs to linger, and mass incarceration must stay despite the disparities and unlawfulness of the legal system. There is also the need to single out individuals such as Serena Williams the international tennis champion, Richard Sherman of the National Football League, and the teenager Trayvon Martin by applying social control tools such as stigma and label. These constructs are necessary to distract and abate the reawakening of people and behaviors that will question and confront the inequalities in our various societal systems.
????????????????????????????????????? ???Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the six rebel lawmakers in the state not to go ahead with their plan, whom it alleged want to hold an illegal sitting at the State Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the purpose of impeaching Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
The party in a statement today by its spokesman Chief Eze Chukwemeka said, ?this warning is necessitated by the credible information at our disposal to the effect that this inconsequential minority in a State House of Assembly of 32 members after failing this morning to be smuggled into the State House of Assembly by some hoodlums that will be dressed in Police Uniform by?6am?through eastern by pass and guided by some GDI Officials has changed their line of action by concluding to sit at the Rivers State PDP Secretariat within the week staring from 17th?December, 2013 to impeach the Governor and announce the self-proclaimed Speaker, Hon. Evans Bipi, as the acting Governor of the State while imaginary crimes would be used as an excuse by the EFCC to arrest Governor Amaechi. The resort to sitting at the PDP Secretariat, we understand, is occasioned by the failure of the rebel lawmakers to gain access to the State House of Assembly, to which the police have also denied the majority 28 lawmakers access?.
Continuing, the party said: ?We have never seen where lawmakers sit in a party secretariat to carry out any business of the House and we wish to say in advance that any such action would be null and void and of no consequence whatsoever. We hereby warn Bipi and his co-conspirators to exercise restraint because there is a limit to rebellion. We also wish to call on the police to promptly seal off the Rivers State PDP Secretariat to prevent it from being used to perpetrate this illegality which, if allowed to be implemented, will trigger crisis of unimaginable proportions in the state and beyond?.
Eze alleged that Hon. Bipi, the self-acclaimed Speaker who expressed frustration on why the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu is no longer ready to play game boasted?to some of his aides and admirers that they have been directed to impeach Gov Amaechi within 17th?to 24th?December, 2013 as he must not be allowed to??celebrate Christmas in the Brick House (Government House) of Rivers State for whatever reason not minding whatever consequences it will bring to democracy in Nigeria and the people of Rivers State further stated that ?this task is a task that must be implemented to please our masters in Abuja?.
Meanwhile, the APC Interim State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, has described the statement credited to the sponsor of the rebel lawmakers, the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesome Wike, that the Rivers State crisis is Gov. Amaechi?s way of paying for underrating him as very sad and unfortunate. ?For the lack of a better word to use in the circumstances, Wike has by this statement exposed himself not only as a selfish person who elevates his personal interest above that of the entire Rivers State but also as an ingrate. For goodness sake, this is an individual who benefitted so much from Governor Amaechi and who was nominated as a Minister by Governor Amaechi, who stoutly defended him even when President Goodluck Jonathan queried his nomination. The good people of Rivers State now know that the state is plunged into this unnecessary crisis that has consumed resources that would have been used for the development and emancipation of the people of the state just because of an individual?s vindictive spirit,? Dr. Ikanya said.
The Rivers APC Interim Chairman advised Chief Wike to reflect on the good deeds that Gov. Amaechi has done for him and allow peace to prevail in the state, at least for the interest of the common man and the development of the state.
The suit by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to sack the G5 Governors for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been faulted and dismissed as an exercise in futility.
?The suit is laughable and betrays the ignorance of the PDP leadership about the laws of the land. It is also a further demonstration of the impunity associated with PDP in its disdain for democracy and due process,? erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of New PDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said in a statement issued this afternoon in Abuja.
Eze quoted relevant sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution to prove that the seats of the affected governors, namely, Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa),?Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers),?Alhaji Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto),?Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and?Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara), are safe.
According to him, ?For the education of the confused PDP leadership and its legal team, there is no danger of any of our Governors losing their seats as made clear by sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in relation to the status of members of a legislative house (state and national) who defect from the political parties from which they were elected to join another political party.
?The wordings of the aforesaid sections are in agreement with those of sections 64(1) (g) of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria given judicial interpretation by the Supreme Court in the case of FEDECO Vs Goni (1983) FNR 203. That case was argued by the best legal minds of that era (Chief FRA Williams SAN and GOK Ajayi SAN). The court held that such a member keeps his seat if his defection is as a result of a division or split in his party.
?G5 Governors must be commended and congratulated for standing against the draconian and undemocratic acts of PDP and should go about their normal business as both PDP and its sponsors lack the power to sack any of them. This as well covers all members of the National Assembly who desire to join the Aso Rock-bound train (APC) come 2015.?
Eze said it was not debatable that PDP is crisis-ridden, thus guaranteeing that none of its members who defects can be punished as a result. He quoted and attached a recent letter by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voiding the suspension of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje and Dr. Sam Sam Jaja as proof that PDP is in crisis.
The letter signed by INEC?s Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, was dated November 25, with reference number INEC /EPM/PDP/02/024/Vol.T/161 and titled: ?Re: Suspension of Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ambassador Ibrahim Karaure from the PDP?. The letter, addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, reads: ?This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated November 12, 2013 informing the commission on the suspension of four members of your party.
?The commission notes that some of the individuals so suspended held positions covered by the provisions of section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and that no notice of the meeting which approved their suspension was provided to the commission. ?Accordingly, the records of the commission does not reflect the process and composition of the meeting that approved the suspension of the individuals, as such, the commission cannot establish an informed position on the matter ?Please accept the commission?s highest regard and consideration?.
Eze supported INEC?s position by quoting Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),?which states thus: ?Every registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days? notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act.?
The former New PDP Spokesman accused PDP of mischief for instigating the Houses of Assembly in the affected states to start impeachment proceedings against the defected Governors as being witnessed in Rivers State, where six rebel legislators are desperately trying to impeach Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. He warned PDP to desist from any further act of destabilisation capable of plunging the country into chaos and truncating the country?s hard-won democracy.
Chief Eze asked how come that PDP received Chief TA Orji of Abia State and Chief Ikedi Ohakim former Governor of Imo State that defected from PPA and Alh. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State who defected from ANPP and joined PDP without declaring their seats vacant.
?Now that PDP is at the receiving end of the same medicine they administered on others and they are window shopping for ways to have their cakes after devouring them. What a pity as about seven more PDP Governors will be joining APC by the first quarter of 2014 at that time they will be preparing on how to bury PDP formally by 2015?, Eze concluded.
…Emerging Economies, and the Religion Playbook in Africa
During the mid-1960 to 1980?s the African continent became a test ground or lab for the struggles between communism and capitalism. Hence, in several African countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Congo, Cote d?Ivoire, Cameroun, and Central African Republic, wars were facilitated and/or strongmen were installed to hedge economic systems. These African nations became satellite states for the often twisted machinations of United States and Western Europe on the one hand and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Eastern bloc nations on the other hand. In line with those configurations, the most venerable Pan-Africanist President Patrice Lumumba of the Congo was killed based on US, Belgium, and Congolese intelligent and military conspiracies.
Other African casualties of that era included the indigenous, mixed, and Asian inhabitants of South Africa. The minority fascist and racist Afrikaner government that embraced capitalism was granted the carte blanche to suppress a host of other nationalities in South Africa and the broader southern African region. Former South African President Nelson Madiba Mandela and his cohorts were forced to challenge the socio-economic systems that sanctioned and thrived on Apartheid/racial discrimination, human exploitation, and economic disenfranchisement. The capitalist system won the economic m?l?es in Africa despite the barbarism and brute force that they unleashed on the African people.
In the Congo, Mobutu Sese Seko was propped up as a bulwark against socialism and communism. That strategic blunder has hampered many central African countries for more than five decades. In Angola, where Jose Eduardo dos Santos has reign supreme for 34years the eastern and western powers switched sides in the vicious and recidivist war. Both powers picked sides in order to entrench their hegemony on Angola which was not part of the nonaligned movement. Central African Republic (CAR) which is currently embroiled in chaos but remains a satellite state of France is a classic case of the interlocking of colonialism and the infusion of the religion playbook. Their former ruler or Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa was supported by the French who heralded him as their capitalist partner.
Sadly, the CAR dictator was smart enough to setup the governmental system of internal-colonialism while facilitating Francophone imperialism. Most African elites including the political and military class have simply replaced the former foreign colonial powers with their own nationally derived imperialism that is divided into a threefold ideology.? The first step is to get into power by any means necessary; the second commandment is to loot or steal with impunity, which includes making sure the wealth of the country serves them and their cronies. The final component of the fold is to resist all attempts to relinquish power while making plans to die in power if the need arises.
Consequently, these manifestos of economic and socio political warfare has been waged against the African people with emulation and implementation in all the regions of African continent. But the African people are now cognizant of these playbooks; they are waking up and speaking to each other in record numbers outside of the auspices of the African Union headquarters at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Despite NSA surveillance folks are using the social media and other global frontiers to communicate and protest against the status quo twin evils of internal colonialism and imperialism. As some African economies continue to expand inhabitants are asking themselves when the dividends of this prosperity will be used in addressing the local problems of the majority of the people on the first continent.
Though the critical calls for accountability and action remain cogent and just, there are various forces lining up from within and outside of Africa to impede these demands. Many of the nation states have now evolved into another battle ground for the religion playbook which was used to amazing success, at the dawn of the encounter between Arabs -Africans and Europeans-Africans. To borrow the hip-hop music terminology there is now the ?remix? of fanatical religion in Africa. Religion is now a wedge issue on the African continent and from Somalia-Kenya, Mali-Nigeria, we are now on collision courses. Religious intolerance in this iteration is needed to subvert the interest of the African people while stripping them of their Afro-centered human values.
These schisms are so simple but deduced by the international corporate media as complex, because objective investigations will reveal facts about how weapons actually flow into Africa; the sponsors of these unending conflicts; and what they stand to profit from the pillaging that takes place. For example, CNN might be forced to disclose how some of their multinational sponsors are entrenched with African strongmen instead of the people. These types of ?bread for bible? symbiotic relationships have stifled the interest of people on the continent for centuries. Al Jazeera the so-called Qatari progressive mouthpiece would have to expose the crown princes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar on their charity arms to the poor and the osmotic links to the ongoing Islamic pogrom in African countries.
When these exposures happen the world will then realize that the reported schemes of George W. Bush the former United States president and Prince Bandar bin Sultan the Saudi intelligent chief/ambassador, are as devious as those of the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. During that wintery assembly the conveners and participants ceded various African nationalities to the European powers. It is imperative that Africans reckon back to their history to see how colonialism, internal colonialism, and imperialism have served the interest of our foreign conquerors and their indigenous accomplices. Maybe then they will get up, stand up, and fight for African interests that benefit the people and not be mesmerized by the same old divide and conquer economic and religious interests.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
In his attempt to encourage the Republican Party to bring up the clean continuous resolution (CR) appropriation bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote and approving the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama indicated that the United States was not a Banana Republic and a deadbeat. Banana Republic is the racial pejorative phrase that was coined and used by the British and other western countries to describe the same colonial protectorates that they stole from to enrich their coffers. These countries were left with vast populations of poor people, intractable political difficulties to benefit the chosen ones and the west, with colonial mentality elites who govern with the venial of entitlement and administer resources with the tint of impunity.
An objective analysis of the ?Banana Republic? terminology will reveal the indispensable facts that the United States of America is the current numero uno Banana Republic. This is the country where a small segment of the country led by the Tea Party and Republicans are hell-bent on ingraining their own status quo on the larger society by ensuring that millions of their fellow citizens are without health insurance and coverage. These Republican representatives and Tea Party zealots in congress who are mostly millionaires have hijacked the term ?the American People,? though they represent the minority within the minority that has continued to decline amidst their quest to take their country back.
Although some have called the Republicans the ?21st century economic gangsters? this appears to be the wrong euphemism. To say these GOP members (Republicans) are gangsters is an insult to true gangsterism which made allocations for some norms even within the confines of abnormalities. These Republicans/Tea Party brats are a bunch of hoodlums and petty arrogant suits who will wean off babies from milk, starve families, and sabotage economies because of funding from special interest groups and past enabling from Democrats.
Sadly, the Republican insurrection and intransigencies have been placated by the American people including the Obama?s administration for a very long time. The same folks who drove up the debt and fleeced the nation under the Bush and Cheney administration through war expenditures, tax cuts for the wealthy 1%, and Bush?s Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, are now crying about financial prudence. There is no need to look elsewhere for Banana Republics in this era of the Republican and Tea party coup and attempted coup d’?tat de.
Interestingly, these overthrow and arm stringing of the government is now a well-funded venture.? In search of a Republican vice presidential candidate in 1999, Dick Cheney decided to nominate himself. But that was the beginning of the game plan, as those of us that have actually resided under coups can attest. After stealing the elections through the shenanigans in Florida by refusing to count ballots with the assistance of the Supreme Court and the spinelessness of the American people including the Democrats, they evolved their plans. Dick Cheney and his Republican buddies used the attacks on 9-11-2001, as the pretext to invade Iraq while damning world opinions and protests. Then Mr. Cheney went ahead to allocate bid and no bid contracts to his former company Halliburton.
That fleecing of America is at the heart of the foul cry for deficit reduction that we hear from the right wing insurgents. Some of the same characters in the current government shutdown like the speaker of the House, Mr. John Boehner voted for those high crimes and misdemeanors. The pentagon was effectively used as part of the means for wealth transfer with shipments of minted dollars flown into Baghdad which were disappeared. In the course of that episode the United States? main street press collaborated with the Bush/Cheney administration and only the likes of Ms. Bunnatine ?Bunny? Greenhouse the former chief oversight officer of contracts in the Army Corps of Engineers remained loyal to the nation.
Consequently, the present government shutdown debate is a breath of fresh air. President Obama, the Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi are hanging on to their convictions to fight for the majority of the American people who voted for the Democrat party under the mantra of yes we can. The Republicans and Tea party reps have instituted a partial economic shutdown for the last five years after causing the recession under the Bush/Cheney regimes. They freeze the salaries of federal government workers; refused to pass infrastructure project development bills; introduced austerity/sequestration; whereas insisting on reducing taxes for their wealthy 1% backers. While they go about passing restrictive election laws to try to bully we the people and manipulate the economy, it is time that we stand up and say to them enough is enough.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
Several years ago in Port-Harcourt the garden city and the capital city of the Nigerian petroleum industrial complex otherwise known as the ?bread basket of Naija,? I was introduced to the Nigerian Television Authority NTA. In those days the likes of Mrs. Hauwa Baba-Ahmed and the late Mr. Yinka Craig informed and educated us about multifaceted stories within the African shores and around the globe. Since I was infatuated with the tube as a 9-10year old, my assigned task was to listen to the nightly 9pm national news. My responsibilities were either to analyze the contents of the news with my father or to relay the contents to him if he happened to miss the news. Thus there came a time when I developed personal curiosity for the news and was exposed to some traumatic news reports about the plights of abandoned Nigerian children through the NTA network.
On those nights, NTA introduced Nigerians to mostly United States born Nigerian American children who were abandoned by their fathers in America. Most of these children had boarded a flight to the ?Giant of Africa? in search of their so-called fathers who had giving them up by jettisoning to Nigeria. As a child I was heartbroken to see these teenagers who arrived in Lagos with scant information from their American mothers about their Nigerian fathers. I thought about the courage it took to come to a strange land while looking for a part of you that had opted to deny your existence for whatever selfish, cold, and misguided reasons.
In those days the Africans that came overseas were saddled with the quest of obtaining education and going back to their respective countries upon the achievement of their objectives. Then the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the leading African economies were either greater or on par with those of the Asian tigers. One naira could fetch you a dollar and some cents and a dollar was equal to the extinct kobo. As a result of the good economic situation in the continent and the need for western educated professionals, the motivation of most foreign students were to return home irrespective of the obligations and responsibilities that they developed through their undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs.
Nonetheless the understanding of my childhood observations about child abandonment did not come full cycle until my arrival to the United States as a student nearly two decades ago. As I went on to become a minority for the first time in my life (a black African in a different society) I was thrust into the realization that the phenomenon of child neglect remains a sore factor among black men in the United States irrespective of their extractions. A large proportion of black children in the US are in single parent households with minimal or no interactions with their fathers. This is either due to pop not giving a damn or mom asserting the mantra of the independent single lady.
However, with time the duality of my African and American cultures and/or education has exposed me to some of the underline structures that precipitate these child abandonment epidemics. For example, the pressures those African youths who discard their foreign born children face from their societies of origin. How they seek and compete for approval from families and peers who are often narrow-minded, cold, and unbelievably self-centered? Sadly these black African men are frequently pliable to the aforementioned pressures which they use as justifiable excuses to desert their own flesh and blood. They fail to stand up to their responsibilities and rebuff the need to appease those that could care less about their children whilst encouraging them to abandon these innocent angels.
Regrettably, this cowardice behavior of deserting their children is not unique to the ?so-called? cultured African black men. Instead it is prevalent among contemporary African American men in the United States who are afraid of commitments. Child abandonment has also spurned the lingo called ?baby mama? with the resulting societal ills. We have black men who grasp unto reasons to traumatize their own offspring by subjugating them to generational cycles of impediments for self-actualization to satisfy their own selfish needs and reinforce societal self-fulfilling prophecies.
These reasons may include conservative and liberal policies in the United States such as the crime prevention omnibus laws that promoted harsher incarcerations of black men and some welfare laws that incentivized the breakup of the black family units. There have been other iterations of these policies such as economic deserts among black populations, racial profiling, drug laws, and mass incarcerations all of which are so convoluted in there methodical and intertwined structures. Through these muddled situations we as black men still have the choice to break the cycle by making the determination not to abandon our precious babies.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
These confluents of historical events this week are such that most of us would be twitching our bodies and scratching our heads to resolve, and appreciate for years to come. Indeed the events that have transpired this week would require generational assessment if we desire the relevancy of mankind in the cosmos. Our human race have been saddened by the critical condition of the indomitable voice of the oppressed in South Africa under the apartheid reign and the eventual distinguished leader of the South African people. Most are eagerly praying that Mr. Nelson Madiba Mandela who gave 27years of his life to affirm our collective dignity and humanity will remain with us as we go through these trying times in our various societies.
Human Rights in the United States have undergone rapid developments this week that we have monitored through the main street media, alternative media, and social media a.k.a. NSA swimming pool. With the US Supreme Court?s decision on affirmative action and abolition of section IV of the voter?s right act, one wonders what Mr. Bayard Rustin one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States and a convener of the 1963 Civil Rights march on Washington would say if he were still alive. In making the decision to rescind section IV, it is as though the members of the court who voted in the confirmatory were having their own hurricane Katrina moments. They conveniently disregarded the whole of last year when governors, secretaries of state, attorney generals, and legislatures sort to rig and/or influence the elections from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Texas to Wisconsin to Florida to name a few. These shameless justices practically sanctioned longer voting lines and fewer voting days? policies. Instead of eliminating section IV, the US past and contemporary history necessitates that it should have applied to all fifty states and regions.
Ironically, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Right Act which made the United States a great nation and a beacon of freedom around the world has been guttered on the same week that our homosexual brothers and sisters were spared the indignities of federally sanctioned discrimination. The Civil rights movement and the resultant laws were the actualization of the American ideals, ideas, and promises that are contained in the Bill of Rights. It could be said that the American bill of rights were not worth the papers they were written on until the abolition of Jim Crow segregation laws and those practices that infringed on the inalienable rights, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for a cross section of Americans. At the core of civil rights movement that was led by the likes of Rev. Martin Luther King, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and Representative John Lewis is human dignity and economic empowerment for all.
But in 2013 those so-called jurist in the supreme court ?are of the opinion that close to 300years of slavery and 100years of Jim Crow racial segregation and discrimination can be whitewashed with less than 50years of civil rights, voting rights, and affirmative action. The Civil Rights act and the Voting Rights act were the affirmation of our equality, sanctity of life, and our collective human rights to survive, rather than to squalor with racial discrimination, prejudice, and insidious second class citizenship. Those rights were put in place to mitigate the carnage of lynching, apartheid, economic marginalization, and disenfranchisement in the United States.? These laws were put in place to ensure that companies like McDonalds and others do not trick us with limited black people in their advertisements whereas they use our patronage funds to sponsor organizations such as American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC.
ALEC was the same organization responsible for placing stand your ground laws to shield criminals like George Zimmerman who was enthusiastic about dehumanizing any black life under the pretense of neighborhood watch. ALEC amalgamated corporations and legislators to sponsor laws that busted unions and restricted access to voting. We also need to remember the ALEC connections to the Koch brothers who were also sponsors of the AstroTurf Tea Party groups with their manufactured mass movements. ?Under their schemes, poor households and other minorities should be afforded limited affirmative action and educational financial assistance which is withdrawn for the flimsiest of reasons such as marijuana use. Conversely, it is okay to pass laws that allow African American and Latino boys and men to be subjected to systematic racial profiling. It is also dandy to promote laws that empower people to gun down young boys like Trayvon Martin with intended malice and hate void of any provocation, and wait for mass agitation before the murderer is charged and tried in court.
Other mass movements remain alive and well in places like Brazil and Turkey where the footballing industrial Complex has shown their might like they did at the South Africa 2010 world cup. When the South Africans got frustrated about the cost of the world cup and the dictates of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) they turned inwards and massacred fellow Africans under the guise of overpopulation and economic hardship. But in Brazil and Turkey the focus remains on the culprits of economic malaise and inhumane social justice policies. In Brazil which has excelled in uplifting the poor under former President Lula da Silva and his successor President Dilma Rousseff the question remains as to why more investment on the peoples? economic development has not remained a priority, instead of state corruption and massive investment on FIFA projects like the stadiums.
In Turkey, the masses want to be able to shape policies in their country. They crave for a bottom to top approach rather than the heavy handedness of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Though, Mr. Erdogan has being instrumental in delivering foreign investment in Somali and accommodating the Syrian refugees, the Turks want to be consulted in their domestic matters. They long for a society that would be guided by the aspirations of the people rather than the dogmas of the religious right. Hence like the Brazilians who are protesting right in front of the soccer fields that are the venues of the confederate cup, the Turks are also demonstrating and boycotting the FIFA Under 20 soccer tournament. In both countries they would rather be on the streets than pay the exorbitant fees to watch the football matches.
The Occupy Movements in Brazil and Turkey are producing the next generations of Nelson Mandelas who are speaking truth to power and forcing concessions for a better world. Global citizens in Rio prefer capital expenditures in the favelas that will benefit the local inhabitants without creating artificial inflation and/or bubbles that results in homelessness in the short run and unsustainable growth in the long-term. Those in Istanbul are akin to Mr. Snowden of the United States who resents the power grabbing nature of some of the world?s governments. They want their government to desist from usurping authorities and abusing public trust. These heroes yawn to be part of the progressive public discourses that have been engrained in our collective consciousness this week. Irrespective of our economic systems these protesters and billions around the world long for transparency in government, which has human rights and economic justice at the core.
Source: Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
In December of 2011 after the Christmas Day bombing, President Goodluck Jonathan missed the opportunity to address the Boko Haram issue head-on. Instead of resolving the terrorist problem the administration decided to zero in on taxing average and/or regular Nigerians with the Fuel Subsidy scheme on January 1st, 2012. Shock and Awe policies were rolled out to conflate the oil barons and marketers with ordinary Nigerians and the Islamic fundamentalism with oil subsidies.
Those of us that stood up as Occupy Nigerian Movement protesters have been vindicated over and over again with the exposed corruption in the Petroleum sectors reaching up to the National Assembly membership and the explosion of terror in West Africa. Hopefully, with the eventual declaration of emergency against those that have perpetrated carnage on our homeland, other fights would emerge such as those again corruption, impunity, and unemployment. These scrutiny and measures of accountability should not be reversed for opponents of the regime.
Carnage in Northern Nigeria (article written in April 2011)
Amnesty International, one of the premier human rights organizations characterized the incidents in the northern areas of the United Nations of Nigeria as riots and demonstrations. Thus equating the carnage to the demonstrations in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria where people are currently using peaceful and civil means to petition their governments. This mischaracterization is appalling because what took place in northern Nigeria was hundreds of bloodbaths, lynching, burning of innocent human beings, arson, and gross destruction of properties by Dictator Muhammadu Buhari?s supporters. With nearly 250people dead and close to 50,000 fellow Nigerians displaced, give it up to the perpetrators of inhumanity to remain indifferent. They have mastered the skills of committing mass murders while simultaneously cloaking in victim hood. Similar butchery was the primary reasons behind the Nigerian and Biafran genocidal wars.
Contrary to revisionist historians after the 1966 coup, counter coup d’?tat, and extinction of some southeastern officers from the ranks of the Nigerian Army, our union was still standing. It was days of similar mass massacres like the world have just witnessed from April 17-18th 2011, that has continued sporadically from 1960?s until now, that forced the hands of the South-easterners to head back home to peace and safety. In the process they realized that their safety could not be protected in some parts of the Disunited Nations of Nigeria and were forced to declare independence in 1966. Unfortunately these shameless killings have continued unabated since then. The Nigerian and international press always report about these barbaric incidents as though they began after 1999 when the civilians took over from the military.
However, Enough is Enough! How can northerners continue to preach ?One Nigeria? only when they are holding on to the presidency? The sad reality is that they have controlled and/or occupied the said position for about 40years within our so-called 50years independence. In their time as rulers, the Northern Military Industrial Complex (NMIC) alias Army Arrangement have legitimatized corruption and mismanaged our national resources. The northern elites have set the country backwards about twenty-five years if not more with their incessant coups and dictatorships. This retardation in developments has been felt in every nook and cranny of the United Nations of Nigeria. With the marginalization of the Niger Delta and the assassination of Dr. Ken Saro Wiwa the veils were finally lifted off the eyes of the South-south. The south west including Awoist (who would like to focus on the prediction of Chief Awolowo that a Niger Delta man would become president someday) are beginning to understand that while the Southeasterners might allegedly play you wayo, some northerners are very willing to exterminate their fellow Nigerians.
It is one thing to contest the votes/elections and the tabulations of the result but quite another to execute regional killing orgies. These ghastly acts were done to intimidate the masses who came out in droves to cast their votes all over the country. In the north, President Goodluck Jonathan got more than 25% (http://www.inecnigeria.org/results/states.php) of the votes in nearly a dozen states. So the vitriolic Congress for Progressive Change CPC) supported murdering quads wanted to silence the segment of the northern population that have realized that the Presidency is not the panacea to their problems. The CPC supporters wanted to terrorize the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) who conducted a commendable election. These killing thugs wanted to suppress the announcement of the election results. Why did CPC supporters not wait for the pronouncement of the outcome before going out to threaten and arrest our national security?
Where were these hooligans, their parents, and their sponsors when Dictator Sani Abacha took the whole nation hostage and ostracized Nigerians from the African and global communities of nations? We could not participate in the African Cup of Nations in South Africa and we were suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations not for resisting imperialism but due to authoritarianism. Where were these miscreants when Dictator Abdulsalami Abubakar handed the presidency to Dictator Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999? Why was there no protest when Mr. Obasanjo and his pal Professor Maurice Iwu gave the post to President Umaru Yar?Adua in 2007? But they have the audacity to slaughter law abiding Nigerians. These nonsense needs to stop right now, we have to break the cycle of massacres, we cannot compensate our way out of these man made tragedies.
Notwithstanding the concerns of Amnesty International the Nigerian government has a responsibility to use adequate force to defend law abiding citizens. While the observance of peaceful protest should remain sacrosanct the carnage that we have just witnessed in Nigeria should be prevented and suppressed with commensurable force to safeguard the lives of innocent law abiding citizens. The union of the United Nations of Nigeria cannot remain sacrosanct for long when it is a death sentence in northern Nigeria to be suspected of southern ethnicities, an Ancestor worshipper, a Christian, and a Muslim who votes for a Christian. My own sister (a Christian, an Igbo and Ijaw) supported and campaigned for Dictator Muhammadu Buhari, so what would the murderers do in her case?
Moreover the fact is that people like Mr. Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had sown the seeds of violence before the elections. They purposely used languages like ?lynching? and the ?inevitability of violence? to ginger up their supporters in preparation of the Saturday April 16, 2011 elections. Hence, Buhari did not see the need to call off his supporters from the streets while the killings went on for more than twenty four hours. Alhaji Abubakar wants to pay lip service to the so-called revered indivisibility of our nation when the lives and property of southerners and fellow northerners who voted their conscience is not guaranteed in the United Nations of Nigeria. Our people are nonchalantly orphaned, our parents are rendered childless through brutality, and others are maimed. The sanctity, safety, and respect of lives should be our primary sacrosanct obligation and not nationhood/religion.
Moreover, the Nigerian federal and northern state governments need to bow their heads in shame because of their negligence. They knew that some in northern Nigeria would turn to their tried and true part time of using tyrannical savagery. The stakeholders should have prepared for the worst while hoping for the best which many of us knew was not likely given the antecedents of some northerners. Heads of the Nigerian security apparatus need to immediately tender their resignations. Hopefully, contrary to press reports, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho the Minister of Interior was relieved of his position for the ineptitude in providing security for our young national service coopers and the general public in the north. The expectation is that he was not suspended due to internal political considerations from Imo State. It would be a betrayal of the highest order to the victims if no one takes accountability for this perennial mayhem.
Never Again should people be victimized in such callous ways with impunity. President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and the authorities need to establish the Emergency Response Tactical Teams (ERT) in all northern states that have a past history of perpetrating this carnage. The ERTs should train and practice the needed skills to protect the general public and should never be deployed to disrupt non-violent protest. These teams should be able to be organized within 15minutes of any disturbances when the lives and properties of individuals from the United Nations of Nigeria are under attack. Our governments should mandate the ERT to protect our visitors too. We must protect the sanctity of the African lives.?????
Source:?Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist??????
Hugo Chavez just died few hours ago and yet he has been assaulted by the revisionist histories of western media propagandizing that some around the globe are falling prey to. I am going to analyze Chavezismo based on the contexts of my two homes. The same main street media in the United States that collaborated with Bush and Cheney to deceive us into an unjust war in Iraq and who want President Obama to invade Iran has embarked on the smear campaign against Chavezism, since President Chavez kicked out the oil company cabals, speculators, and monopolies . While Chavez was increasing participatory democracy in Venezuela, setting up business cooperatives, and eradicating poverty, so called democracy agents in the states were busy reducing access to the polling places such as restricting voting centers, limiting days for voting, disenfranchising college students and the elderly in the guise of voter IDs, and requiring voters to wait for 8-9hours before they could cast their votes in 2012.
??????????????? The sins of Chavez include fighting for the self determination of Latinos, Africans, and other people of the world who desire the pursuit of happiness, liberty, equality, and communal actualization. The media portrays him as buffoonish for speaking truth to power and accuses him of wrecking his nation?s economy; these same journalists that are still embedded in the lies that have sustained the invasion, occupation, reconstruction, and fleecing of Iraq. And then and now they seem not to be interested in truth telling about some of the reasons behind our prolonged economic crisis in the United States and the push for austerity when the 1% are still making out like bandits as exemplified by the Miracles on Wall Street.
One of the most hated truths that Comandante Hugo spoke was when he called Bush a devil at the United Nations in New York. What else could he have called a liar that sent young American soldiers to untimely deaths because Saddam tried to kill his papa or Iraq had nuclear weapons, or he wanted to install democracy or the Texas oil barons wanted control over Mesopotamian oil fields. How many Iraqis have since died because of the actions of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz?? Why are they not facing crimes against humanity trials in the United States or at The Hague? But for the so-called American exceptionalism and racism we remain unaccountable to our own citizens and the other inhabitants of the world, hence the escalation to unending global drone strikes and warfare.
In Africa, one wishes that we had just one leader in this generation who would not be preoccupied with their systematic theft of resources and self-aggrandizement but with improving the conditions of the people. A leader or two who would not just allow multinational companies to plunder their nations while accepting crumbs in return like in the days of human slavery and contemporary economic globalization slavery. Chavez was not perfect and should have left the Venezuelan constitution without tamper while training the new crop of leaders, assuming the role of elder statesperson, and taking care of his health. He should have increased community policing in line with the community cooperatives nonetheless if any of our current African rulers can achieve one-tenth of what Hugo Chavez has done, ours would be multiple havens of some sort on the mother continent.
??????????????????????????????? Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
Every weekend in the United States some American parents and grandparents from urban, rural, and suburban areas? take their children and grandchildren out for various family bonding activities such as ice skating, bowling, roller skating, movies, and video gaming to mention a few. These events are so enriching and popular that generation of Americans, immigrants, and visitors have followed suit. Some of these activities like the movies are guided by certain stipulations such as rating regulations. For examples young children and teenagers are not allowed to view certain motion pictures. In places such as bowling parlors there are age appropriate balls to enable each consumer to develop mastery on how to strike their pins. Most of these places rent out bowling shoes and skating shoes so that there is not an avalanche of purchasing these equipment while the kids are in their developmental stages.
These social avenues and vehicles of affections among descendants and friends in the US are not unlike the gun clubs and shooting ranges that offer fun- like junior programs and public traps activities. These entertainment and social clubbing networks are as American as apple pie when compared with the other forms of community and cultural comradery listed above. Hence, very young children are initiated into our predominant culture that strikes the balance between gun play and the culture of violence.? As a result the infatuation with guns and violence is nurtured to conform to the archaic rights to bear arms against a government with nuclear weapons. ?This interpretation/notion of the second amendment are as absurd as other held beliefs of the founding fathers such as blacks are not complete human beings and/or that women do not have the faculty to cast votes.
So instead of advocating common sense gun safety majors that would curtail our gun play and culture of violence that has transcended economic, ethnic, and religious prisms we are left with pseudo arguments that make no sense even to children the ages of the Newtown Connecticut victims. We blame mental disorders among others as the reasons for gun violence instead of our proclivity with guns while making sure that mental health and healthcare parity exist on paper only. But in our rush to label and stigmatize we fail to realize that there are no higher prevalence of mental health disorders in America when compared to other countries but indeed what we have more than any other country on earth within our different strata is the availability of guns and more cheap guns.
Some have lashed out on the issue of religion in the educational system as the vacuum in which these mass shootings occur. These hypocrites wobble in the belief that Americans are any less religious than Europeans, Asian, and any other people on earth. Jesus Christ and Christianity are put forward as the panacea for a self-fulfilling prophecy that encourages public policies that are rigged in corruption and blood to keep the gun industry afloat. Gun clubs and shooting ranges are allowed to certify National Rifle Association (NRA)? ?programs in these clubs to advocate for mass ownership of guns without a thought for the victims that pile up when the safety and security of these guns are compromised. Due to the financial strings attached to the weaponry industrial complex, there are hardly voices that inspire gun rentals in clubs and ranges in place of massive gun ownership/consumption.? Instead we become reactionary when preteens and adolescences murder themselves in Chicago like flies and when babies are slaughtered in cold-blood at Newtown and various American cities.
As Americans we are now in the crossroads of determining whether to become actually civilized or continue in our barbaric heritages of violence. How can we wake up in the morning and force our kids to get up to go to school and our society cannot protect them because of the archaic rights to bear arms? Where these advocates of the second amendment and their so-called militias blind when the Patriot Act passed that gave the government various powers that curtailed our individual liberties? How long are we going to tolerate these senseless murders and think that racial profiling and stand your ground laws are viable solutions? During these periods of introspections we need to squarely address our culture of violence. This should include assessing our national and foreign policies as it relates to gun play and the culture of violence. Why do we manufacture and export more guns than any other country in the globe? We should remember the other angels in Pakistan, Congo, and elsewhere that die due to our illegal drone attacks and other weaponry as we cry and bury our six and seven year old angels.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
As we await the so-called mandate/resolution from the United Nations about the future developments in Mali, Africa needs to ask some critical questions about the increasing chaos and looming regional wars. How did events in Mali spiral out of proportion? What remedies have the African governments and organizations such as the Economic Countries of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) explored and/or endorsed to seek peace. Whose interests are going to be served if West, Central, and North African states are embroiled in regional conflicts that would mirror the situations in the Congo where Central, Eastern, and Southern African countries have been involved in cyclical violence which has facilitated the fleecing of large amounts of raw materials from Africa?
The last time Mali received such prominence in the international arena was way back when Timbuktu was the citadel of higher education and academics pursuits; when the Moorish people took their knowledge and Science to enlighten Arabia and Europe; and when King Mansa Kankan Musa flooded the global market with Malian gold. But Malians, the link between West and North Africa now finds themselves in the crossroads of African and global affairs with some sprinkling of religion, globalization, and geo-terrorism. The Malian government is so weak that is has virtually ceded major swaps of the country to the Tuareg rebels and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb without evidences of sustained armed struggles.
Instead what the world has witnessed in the African Sahara desert are subsets of tactical victories and maneuvers that beg for the answers of the aforesaid questions. Though Mali the land of the Dogon people and Timbuktu Universities has being a tinderbox on some occasions with dictatorship, restive segments, and the much romanticized military coups, the contemporary situation amounts to drastic escalation. After the onset of the Arab/African awakening in Northern Africa that crumbled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, few could have imagined how events in Tripoli the heartland of the self-proclaimed African and Arab Kings of Kings-Colonel Gadhafi would have affected Bamako.
However, the fluid situations in Libya were used as the pretext to setup the present conditions in Mali. When NATO and some Arab states were busy flying drones and sorties in North Africa, deals were made with large segments of the Tuareg fighters within the Libyan military to abandon their allegiance to the maverick Gadhafi and gain save passage to the northern tips of Mali into Western Africa. Ironically, when these movements were going on the international corporate media which includes CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera, was busy reporting the rape and killing of poor Libyans by Black African men in Colonel Gadhafi?s army. It was as though they could only stomach the rape and killings of Libyans by Arab Africans which happened to be the majority of committed atrocities but did not get the sensationalized coverage.
But these melancholy tales with regards to Libya and West Africa is not unique to the contemporary occurrences in Mali that threatens to spill into regional wars. In the late 1980?s the current international war criminal and former president of Liberia Charles McArthur Taylor was hand-selected and mysterious released from the American jails by the CIA and handed to the authorities in Tripoli. Libya was supposed to be under United States sanctions without an official diplomatic relationship. Charles Taylor commenced his training as a guerilla/rebel fighter in Libya and ended up in the Western African forest before unleashing turmoil and wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Before these interferences in West Africa the Libyans and Gadhafi were already infamous for their incursions into the Central African republic of Chad.
The Libyan connections and forays into other African countries have occurred largely due to the vacuum of leadership and vision within the African continent. Some of these strategies would have been rebuffed were it not for the impotence of the various rulers that have come to dominate Africa and the indolence of organizations like ECOWAS and AU. Our rulers are hesitant to provide concrete solutions to the problems in Mali which mirrors those in their respective countries. For example, political structures built to sustain the interest of a very few, unresponsive governments that pride themselves on going against the wishes of their people, and using the security apparatus to repress the few progressive voices in their various countries.
Rather than offer solutions in Africa to assist regular people, the African Union (AU) and the other regional groups are used as mechanisms to reward African Dictators and their cronies with plump official portfolios. Unlike our leaders of yester years such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Mr. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Capt. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, President Sekou Toure of Guinea, our present-day rulers are more eager to line their pockets whereas their people suffer and die needlessly. There are no proposals for regional independent election monitoring units that would arrest the scourge of electoral irregularities in Africa. Nor are there efforts to setup regional and African wide courts that would deter the impunity and corruption within Africa by the African elites, their military backers, and their foreign enablers.
Consequently, what we have in Mali are zealous suggestions of war instead of exhaustive attempts to prevent bloodshed and mass suffering. After the Tuareg rebels were granted passage from Libya to West Africa by the so-called international community, Malian military officers that were training by the same international community planned a coup d’?tat. Their intervention resulted in more acquisition of the country by rebels. For Christ sake Capt. Amadou Sanogo of the Malian army and some of his lieutenants who overthrew President Amadou Toure (who was stepping down for a new president) just months before the elections was training at the International Military Education and Training (IMET).
Subsequently, the quest for the autonomy of the Azawad region morphed into the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb with Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Qatari cash infusion. It is worth noting that these countries are also strong pillars of the so-called international community and are very friendly with the US and Western Europe. These are all petroleum exporting countries and there are reports of oil discoveries in Mali and across the Chadian basin that gives traction to the school of thought that the international petrochemical industries are pulling the strings behind the scenes. For instance, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad are basically client states of the international and local petroleum cabals who are plagued by either massive oil corruption and/or dictatorship.
Ironically, the Africa Sahel/Sahara that is bracing for war also holds some keys to the development of solar energies. According to various scientific studies on global warming and renewable energies, Africa and Europe can be kept afloat for centuries with such green energies with simultaneous reductions in carbon emissions. But maybe Africans would come to their senses before embarking on another avoidable war. As a former member/part of the Mali federation, Senegal could offer an African path to quelling these stampedes. In spite of the domestic challenges in Senegal, President Macky Sall could be the conduit to seeking justice and peaceful resolutions to the international community manufactured Malian crisis.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
? ??After watching the first debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, most progressives and Americans were forced to admit that the president was woefully unprepared for the occasion. Mr. Obama had not bothered to prepare intensively and/or he did not consult people like Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts who revealed the real Mr. Wilbur Mitt Romney during the Democratic Party convention. Instead Obama looked lethargic and perplexed when Romney took his act of etch a sketching into power driver. My seven year old son was in the know that Governor Romney was going to say anything in the Denver debate to the American people to seem reasonable and to appear favorable.
However, the performance of President Obama did not totally surprise some of us on the left. Mr. Obama has only stood up to three entities since he assumed the presidency in January of 2009. These are the real terrorists, the assumed terrorist, and progressives. Indeed he has continued with Bush and Cheney policies and even expanded on them. While Obama receives praises for killing Osama bin Laden, he also ordered the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi without any trial. The Colorado domestic issues discussion did not reckon the drone assassination of 16year old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi who was born in Denver. The young man was targeted by his government 2weeks after his father?s death. The progressives who organized and volunteered their time for the ?Yes We Can? campaign were told to shut up and keep out of sight while the regime placated conservative Democrats like Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Hence, the audacity of Governor Romney to get on stage with the President and proclaim how he was in the race for the unemployed and the middle class, though he was one of the forerunners of off-shoring American jobs, investing in tax havens, reaping astronomical tax benefits in the process, and his definition of middle income earners are those that make close to 250,000 per year. Mr. Obama did not reference either the 47% of Americans that Mitt characterized as irresponsible dependent victims who want government handouts or the fact that Massachusetts was 47% in the country at job creation under Romney?s stewardship. While Governor Romney embellished his bipartisan accomplishments and how democrats in the commonwealth extended hands of partnerships, the President did not once state the Republican obstructionism and their expressed desire for him to fail at all cost even when it resulted in detrimental consequences for the nations? economy.
Our spineless President Obama did not point out that Mitt Romney?s running mate Paul Ryan was in the clandestine meeting planning to derail his economic recovery agenda? on the eve of the his inauguration in 2009 and just before he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that guaranteed equal pay for women. Since the debate was centered on domestic policies Mr. Obama could have easily asked Mr. Romney about his views on equal pay for equal work and/or asked his challenger if he supported the Supreme Court in their denial of Mrs. Lilly Ledbetter?s attempt to redress the economic injustices against her family. On the subject of women?s right the President could have confronted the debate stage bully on his advocated policies to defund Planned Parenthood and the Republican?s party agenda of denying women their right to choose with regards to rape, incest, and clinical life threatening dangers.
During the October 3rd, 2012 debate Mr. Romney became a born-again supporter of some Wall Street regulations, teachers, and unions. Again Obama did not see any need to counter him on these assertions. President Obama could have forcibly questioned Mitt about his support of Scott Walker the anti- union and teacher bashing governor of Wisconsin and rightwing pal of Representative Paul Ryan of WI. But again the left was not surprised because when the police officers, teachers, and firefighters took to the streets of Madison, the White House remained silence and incognito. They did not take a principled stance to challenge the most radical policies of the tea party and the Koch Brothers? handsomely funded astroturf machineries. That is why Romney had the effrontery to be unabashedly mendacious in view of nearly 70million Americans that tuned in for the debate.
Consequently, Governor Sununu was able to castigate President Obama a professor of constitutional law as lazy and detached. Whereas the Romney henchman played up some of his and former House speaker Newt Gingrich?s best hits of racial stereotypes, President Obama has indeed been detached from the concerns of progressives.? He needs to go back and listen to Governor Deval Patrick?s speech at the Democratic National Convention. The salient question that Mr. Patrick asked remains ?What do we believe?? ?What does President Obama believe? When the President fully believes then he would stop playing nice with his opponents. Instead he would be harkening on to the time tested words of Vice President Joe Biden?s mother, ?Joe bloody the nose of those school yard bullies.?
Thus in the next debate on foreign affairs President Obama should look at Mitt Romney right in the eyes and inquire how dare you insist on another war when you claim we are currently borrowing monies from China to service our deficits. He could also ask the governor how a Vietnam draft dodger could be championing relentless wars. An interesting question for Wilbur Mitt Romney could be why none of his 5 sons are servicing the US military in the era of September 9-11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. President Obama must probe Governor Romney in terms of jobs and investment about how much he has made from his 1% ?blind trust? through his investments in China and why his taxes remains a state secret. When the issue of Libya comes up the commander in chief should stand up and stiffen his backbone while informing the governor that the United States is no longer in the business of supporting dictatorships around the world unlike Mitt?s monies and that new democracies always have their incubation periods.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist???????????? ?????????? ??????????????????????????????????Reference??????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/80701.html
The Niger Delta people of West Africa use an infamous Pidgin English phrase, ?Shine Your Eyes Ohh.? ?A quick examination of the aforesaid phraseology might connote the mere opening of the eyes to view ones immediate surroundings. However there is a deeper meaning that warns about using cognition to avoid potential hazards and pitfalls. In other words shinning your eyes is not limited to the sense of sight but involves our entire sensory systems. African Youths need to heed this message and rise up to the momentous task of changing Africa in the present and for the future generations. We cannot keep on looking for our messiahs from the West, East, and Middle-East. The reality is that these entities all have their own narrow and often espoused interests that are the antithesis to the development of Africa. More importantly the African Youths need to revolt against our corrupt and scavenger-like rulers who have persistently shown their contempt for their fellow Africans.
Zimbabwe in southern Africa is a prime example of the woefully imposition of autocracy on the African people and by extension, the African Youths. While Robert Mugabe rants about the antics of the European colonial masters and how they exploited Africa, our present reality is that their escapade does not obfuscate the contemporary atrocities of Mugabe and his henchmen and women.? The irony of an 88year old former liberation leader assuming the mantle of an internal colonialist is disconcerting at best and criminal at worst. Mr. Mugabe has ruled as either Prime Minister or President since 1980 for a total of 32years. Despite trying to exonerate himself from the problems of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe the ?president for life? and his inner circle have hounded critics and laid the country to waste.
Uganda in east Africa has a mirage of peace and economic development but also suffers from despotism in the likeness of Yoweri Museveni. The same man who altered these earth-shattering words ?The people of Africa, the people of Uganda, are entitled to a democratic government. It is not a favour from any regime. The sovereign people must be the public, not the government? in 1986 has used political dissonance and other machinations to hold on to power since then. Museveni has used all the usual suspects in his ploy to remain a dictator extraordinaire. He has fostered strife among the different tribes in Uganda, exploited instability in east Africa, and gleefully and/or halfheartedly (please decide) joined the war on terrorism against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. But Yoweri Museveni is not shabby about using his golden trump cards to hedge his rule. His administration has excelled in exploiting the insecurities from the Lord?s Resistant Army led by Joseph Kony whom he has managed to coexist with since 1986 and the existence of Ugandan homosexuals who must be exterminated like yesterday.
Ethiopia the cathedral/headquarters of our African Union does not have that much good tiding to write home about. Meles Zenawi has evolved strategically from president in 1991-95 to prime minister in 1995 to present. Zenawi is a maestro at camouflage which is exemplified by his simultaneous friendships with China and the United States all the while incarcerating thousands of his own people and forcing many into exile. It could be said that Vladimir Putin of Russia is a student of Meles Zenawi who is two years younger and on his way to decimating all his political opposition. Sadly, Zenawi who has been in power for 21years is also more of a maverick than Senator John McCain the republican presidential candidate in 2008. He seems to be on the first half of his ghastly exploits in Addis Ababa.
Nigeria the so-called giant of Africa is in a state of paralysis due to the cabals that are hell-bent on having their way or burning the damn county to ashes if they cannot prevail. These criminals with political portfolios are adept at using the various skill sets at their disposal, including the dummying of our youths through insufficient education, distractions, and religious terrorism. The situation in Nigeria, the most populous nation in West Africa and Africa is confounded and compounded by the ineffectiveness of the Goodluck Jonathan?s regime. For example the leader of the president?s (Peoples Democratic Party PDP) party Youth Wing is an octogenarian who most people speculate is almost 90years. Nigerians are presented and represented with/by political rulers that have stolen millions and billions of nairas and dollars with protection from law enforcement officers. The Jonathan government appears to be in slumber on the wheels of governance while terrorism is traded as the most important commodity in the western African Sahara from Mali to Niger and to northern Nigeria.
However, we would be remiss to not identify one of the recent examples of how Youthful proactive and progressive actions have yield glowing changes. In Senegal, a country also on the west coast of Africa, another octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade 86year was able to circumvent the constitution but not the resolve of the Youths. When we shine our eyes on Senegal which happens to be a majority Muslim country we see how the Youths arose to demand and grab the required changes. They put their lives on the line with the realization that life it worth more living in dignity, communality, and self actualization than in perennial servitude to either local and/or foreign powers. All over the World, Africa and in the African Diaspora our Youths are experiencing resurgence. There are African renaissance in education, entertainment, and other agencies which must be applied equitably in the economic and political spheres. It is time for us to put our comforts and selfishness aside to purse the promise of the wealthiest continent in the world for our people. When will we get off the sidelines and refute our apathy, spectatorship, and cynicism to demand transparent structural changes?
??????????????????????????????????? Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist??? ???
In his Public Broadcasting Corporation PBS programming show ?Faces of America,? Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. normally presents the triumphs and resiliencies of our genealogical ancestors. However, another side of that same coin that is much less discussed is that of the introspective legacy of mental health disorders. The transitions from old nations to new nations are accompanied by other demanding stressors such as the need to survive, integrate, assimilate, and/or acculturate. These demands are more strident when one contextualizes the scenarios by which some of our forefathers arrived in the United States and the manmade and environmental harshness that they needed to circumvent and overcome in a strange land. Depression appears to be one of those psychological landmines that our ancestors dealt with which is still prevalent today within the larger host societies and especially in the African Diaspora communities.
Indeed some have argued that the awful and inhuman legacy of slavery and segregation has manifested itself in post traumatic stress symptoms and disorders. These stressors continue to present as depressive episodes before evolving and combining with other mental health disorders to confront our family systems and societal (healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice) systems. Another contemporary heritage is that of newly arrived immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. These African Diaspora communities that have arrived within the last 40years find themselves transplanted to other societies while mourning the disruptions in their lives, the absence of close nuclear and extended families. Most times their depression and grieve also extents to the failed state of their countries of origins that might be involved in wars, economic injustices, internal colonization, and globalization alias recolonization.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders otherwise known as DSM-IV, depression falls within the spectrum of mood episodes and mood disorders. The major factor in any depressive situation is ?mood change? which can be a recent episode and/or reoccurring episodes. Depression within the African Diaspora communities like in other communities could run the gambit from mood episodes such as major depressive episode to mood disorders such as bipolar I disorder. The operative key in dealing with depressive episodes and/or disorders revolves around our abilities to identify and address symptoms before they exacerbate. There needs to be the willingness to tackle and/or address depression at the onset of presentation, rather than waiting until it becomes a compound problem which results in other symptoms and disorders.
For example, these three semi-fictional cases which are similar to recent sensational headlines in the mass media might have been resolved if competent and culturally sensitive care were afforded. Thus there needs to be detailed investigations to uncover the relationship between depression and the preceding events. Headline 1: Philadelphia police and the FBI have captured a group of Sierra Leonean men who were in a car theft and car shipping ring. The said young men in their 20?s and 30?s have been known to operate a criminal syndicate with underlings throughout the east coast of the United States. Headline 2: The Washington DC police department took a 35year African American woman into custody today for child endangerment and neglect, after social workers citied her for going to Atlantic City casinos during the weekend (Friday-Sunday). She left her 3year old son, 7year old daughter, and 9year old son under the care of her 12year old daughter. Headline 3: A 45year Nigerian man was arrested in the Cleveland Ohio area for killing his wife and mother of three of his children in the midst of their heated divorce proceedings.
Vignettes: With detailed information and links to Depression: ??
1st Client- Sierra Leonean Men: The Philadelphia men were led by two cousins? 30year old Alfa and 31year old Karim who were abandoned and left to their own devices during the Sierra Leonean rebel wars from 1991-2002. Before the war Mr. Alfa was raised in Bo city by his relatives who focused mainly on the money that was sent back for his upkeep. He resented the fact that his parents were not around and he could only manage to speak with them about five times a year. He was treated like an outcast by family members and was forced to grow up quick. He presented with major abandonment challenges and got involved in the maladaptive city street lifestyle at the age of 11.
On the other hand Mr. Karim was cared for by his mother best friend in Freetown. Despite the necessary clothing and feeding that he received from his caretakers, it soon became oblivious that his situation was special. Within the household he was treated as a third class individual. Karim was responsible for attending to the needs of the other members of the household. They included the three teenage children of the madam and master (Oga) of the house. Karim soon became a punching bag at home and was forced to drop out of school in the ninth grade. After Alfa and Karim met in a camp for displaced people during the war, they travelled to Guinea and Gambia respectively.
Both guys eventually made it to the United States in 2002 as war refugees and settled in the Philadelphia (Alfa) and New Jersey (Karim) area. They were reunited during an end of year party in 2002 and subsequently discussed their difficulties with meeting family expectations. Alfa and Karim lacked high school education and could not excel in their educational pursuits due to their lack of foundational elementary studies, unlike most African immigrants in the United States who are excelling beyond measures. In 2003, both men were working minimum wage jobs and were very despondent with their attempts to climb the US economic ladder and to succeed like others within their communities.
Interestingly, in 2004 Mr. Alfa found employment as a security officer in the Philly area working at an auto dealership. He worked for about one year and decided to use his training as a scout or reconnaissance underling in Sierra Leone and security officer in the US to steal vehicles from dealership lots. Karim and other individuals within their tiny immigrant community were soon recruited into the business and with time they got the stealing and shipping business down to a science. These young men who were outcast and depressed about their family and financial situations became grandiose and histrionic with the sudden influx of dollars. The FBI estimates that between 2005 and 2011 the ?Salone Mafia? as they were fondly called, took in close to $3.5million before their national manhunt and arrest.
2nd Client- African American Mother: Ayana was the first child of her parents who relocated from South Carolina to Washington DC. Her parents came to the nation?s capital in search of greener pastures and to escape the systematic racism in the southern United States otherwise known as the so-called Bible belt. Though Ayana was older than her younger brother, she was loved dotingly by her parents and especially her father. In other words she was the sugar in his tea, apple of his eyes, and she was spoil rotten by her dad. When they arrived in DC she was 4years old, her brother was 2year, and both parents began working with dad going off at night and mom reporting to midday work. These were the good old days for Ayana and her brother and they relished in the affection they got from both parents and their neighbors.
However, things fell apart when little Ayana turned 9years and got the news that her father suddenly died of brain aneurism. The family was so devastated and gradually their situations began to take a turn for the worse. ?Ayana because extremely depressed and suffered from anxiety throughout her high school due to her fear of losing her mother who worked very hard to provide for them. Her brother Jamal was not as fortunate as his sister and ended up dropping out of school due to the lack of parental discipline and guidance. While his mother was working he went out and interacted with antisocial and criminally inclined individuals that were unlike his father. Jamal eventually got swept up in the drug dealing and drug using epidemics that have invaded urban cities in the United States.
On the other hand Ayana went to work for the DC government despite her presentation of moderate adjustment disorder. She eventually married Mr. Latrell Chisom who reminded her of her father while loving and taking care of her as such. She would begin to trust again whilst letting go of her depressive anxieties and feeling of worthlessness. The couples decided to make a family and went on to have two daughters and a son while experiencing the quintessential middle-income lifestyle in the DMV area. Things were going so good that Ayana reached out to her younger brother Jamal who was now a father of seven children with four different women. She knew he needed some therapeutic intervention because he was depressed and suffered from social withdrawal.
Interestingly, her plans did not completely come to fusion as Mr. Chisom was murdered during a robbery by a 17year juvenile. This second significant lost in Ayana?s life drove her into a free fall and would ultimately result in her callous decision making behavior and nonchalant attitude towards her children. She went on to have her last child by a man who did not care for neither his child nor her other children. Darien felt Ayana during the second trimester and her 10year old daughter evolved into the second parent in their home. By the time Ayana delivered the baby and the after he turned a year, it was not unusual for her to retire to her room when she got home from work with her cannabis and beer. These feelings of irritability, fatigue, and cry for help increased within two years and comminuted into weekend outings while the kids remained unsupervised.
3rd Client- Nigerian Man: Nnaemeka came to the United States from south-eastern Nigerian when he was just 22years old. He settled down at Chicago the windy city in Illinois State and within six months he was enrolled at the University of Chicago. His flight out of Nigeria was his first time on a plane and his first time outside the African continent. At Chicago he stayed with his 32year second cousin Uche who had been in the city for about 5years. Before coming to the US his cousin resided in Port-Harcourt the garden city and was more exposed to Nigerians from different tribes. At the garden city Uche also interacted and studied with foreigners from neighboring African countries and around the globe.
Although, he was with family, Nnaemeka struggled to be conditioned to the cold environment and the hostility from fellow blacks who used African to connote a four letter word. Uche consoled him and told him that he was experiencing the baptism of fire that was synonymous with new African immigrants that have come to America. He became depressed and longed for the familiarity of his home, family, and indigenous foods. Then Uche suggested that he Nnaemeka should let go of his guards, mingle, and possibly go out on dates. But Nnaemeka went on to apply himself more into his studies on campus and with time found other African Americans that were more welcoming. In his final year as he worked towards his convocation for a degree in business administration he began dating an African American lady who was a junior in the University.
Astonishingly, Uche went on to marry a lady from Georgia and left the Chicago area for love and better climate. Nnaemeka was under the impression that they were only going to date American women but never marry them. In fact, he was opposed to marrying any other African women that was not Nigerian and was not from the Igbo ethnicity. He went on to breakup with Tanya his African American girlfriend after she hinted him about marriage. After ending the relationship he underwent depression, guilt, and extreme frustration. He nearly lost his job as a business consultant in the private sector. Nnaemeka would go on to date a Tanzanian lady who promptly introduced him to Eastern African Bongo flava and cuisine. Barnaba also introduced him to the Swahili language and Nnaemeka seemed happy for the first time in a long while.
Although this infusion of joy was then challenged by his mother and sister who called from Umuahia Nigeria to inform him that it was time for him to get married and they knew two good prospects. Nnaemeka flew into Nigeria got engaged and performed the traditional rites without telling his girlfriend Barnaba. He held on for one year to prepare the necessary paperwork for his fianc? because he could not let go of Barnaba who enabled him to resolve some of his social inhibitions and provided nurturance. Except that the pressures continued from Nigeria with threats of Nnaemeka getting disowned by his family if he refused to sponsor his soon to be wife.
Eventually, he broke down to Barnaba and told her all that was happening behind the scene. Presented with the choice between his heart and his family, his so-called family emerged victorious and fianc? Chidora whom he did not know from Adam arrived in the windy city. She would go no to enroll in nursing school and become a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. They started making a family and settled into the suburbs with their dual income. Their American Dream who soon come to an end after Nnaemeka lost his job in the financial sector and found out that his wife was not interested in assuming the responsibilities of the bread winner for even a day. She was more interested with sending her monies to her parents, brothers, and sisters back in Nigeria who divorced themselves from any personal aspirations of bettering their situations. The friction became so onerous that Nnaemeka felt inadequate and moved to the basement. As his depression and hypersensitivity increased to an adjustment disorder he began to contemplate a cowardice way of fixing his problems.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist? ?????
Please for questions and concerns about depression reach out to a competent clinician and/or clergy.
The premise of this opinion article is predicated on the notion that Southern Nigeria needs to insist on the Sovereign National Conference (SNG) in order to rectify the divisions, poverties, and insecurities within the constituent nationalities of the United Nations of Nigeria. Like South Sudan, Southern Nigeria must be willing to peacefully shut down the entire oil pipelines in the Niger Delta. These actions are necessary in light of the high levels of mass decadence and elites’ sponsored terrorism that we have witnessed for the last 40years and past 4year respectively.
There ought to be some reactions from the masses to send some shockwaves to the strata so that we can break away from the status quo. Hence this is by no means a call to arms but a calculated strategy of bringing representatives of all our various nationalities together to craft a republic that is beneficial for the regular Nigerians. Haphazard and half measures like the much heralded constitutional amendment in Nigeria would not suffice. We need to form a union that is not based on 19th/20th century European protectorate contraptions or those of our military and civilian dictators and scoundrels a.k.a. internal colonial masters. Instead ours should be a union grounded in self-determination, our combined destinies, and inter-regional survival.
Consequently, the nationalities within Southern Nigeria need to convey a 3-5days conference on national security, transparency, and economic development. This august summit would seek to build on the just concluded South-South Economic Summit that took place in Asaba Delta State on April 27, 2012 at which Professor Wole Soyinka spoke. Civil society groups, states and local government representatives from the South West, South East, and South-South should attend the aforementioned conference with a mission of laying the groundwork for security, good governance, and development in Southern Nigeria in lieu of the systematic corruption in Nigeria and terrorist attacks by Boko Haram and other insurgencies in the country. This gathering should be the precursor for the Sovereign National Conference and emissaries from the Middlebelt of Nigeria should be encouraged to attend. The key issues that should be discussed include the actualization of the Sovereign National Conference, the demand for a confederation system of government in Nigeria, transparency in states and municipal governments, and job creation through investments in infrastructures to benefit our burgeoning youth populations.
The expediency of this gathering cannot be over emphasized when we are witnessing an elitist bankrolled terrorist onslaught on the Nigerian people in northern Nigeria. Our police stations, military barracks/installations, churches, prisons/jails, and the international community buildings have become primary targets for the bloodthirsty Boko Haram criminals in the north. As a sad testament to our current realities the so-called northern elders have been unambiguous in their predilections to offer rhetorical shield for the relentless carnages in the north.
Unlike the perennial meetings of the North Elders Forum/Arewa Elders Forum that have yielded sycophantic comments and no substances, the Southern Nigerian Guidelines workshop would be results oriented. For example, when retired General Theophilus Danjuma said that the north is on fire during recent gatherings, others should have immediately asked him to bring out some of his ill-gotten wealth to quench the fire. We need to ask Mr. Danjuma if his pronounced “Somalialisation of Nigeria” has a correlation with the massive national fortunes the members of the 1% Northern Military Industrial Complex like him have amassed to the detriment of the public good. Similar questions could be asked of Senate President Mr. David Mark and his foundations. Do they still generate revenues from oil wells in the Niger Delta? How much of their rogue funds have they used in making some differences in the lives of everyday northerners and other folks?
During the Southern Nigerian Guidelines conference we have to tell ourselves the truth which should be distinct from the presentations in recent assemblies of General Yakubu Gowon former Nigerian Head of State and Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau former governor of Kano State. Both men are comparable to other so-called elites who continue to wallow in their own self-imposed denials and realities. Gowon keeps on blaming General Ojukwu for succession rather than the ethnic and religious inspired pogrom in the north that he oversaw before the war and during the Biafra genocide. Similar killings are continuing today because so-called elder statesmen like Dictator Gowon continue their embellishments.
Relatively, no one ventures to ask the ex-chief executive in Kano State about his stewardship to the people. Why did Mr. Shekarau stop polio vaccinations under his watch and as a result institutionalize increased poverty? Governor Shekarau contested for the presidency in 2011 and was bestowed with the title Sardauna of Kano by the Emir of Kano because he stood for the interest of the northern Nigerian 1%. However to his credit and under his watch Nigeria remained part of the three nations who were unsuccessful in eradicating polio. In this disgracefully World Health Organization WHO rankings, we stand hand in hand with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Stewardship and accountability should be the hallmark of the Southern confab. Instead of worshipping positions, status, and power, our goals should include identifying the root causes of our problems in a land where it is not enough to be a chief, but one has to be a high chief without any community service, morals, and mores.
Generally, clinicians recognize “acceptance” as the first step in dealing with denial. Meanwhile the elites in Nigeria continue to be in denial concerning our dire straits we have to go ahead with the southern workshop to address our pandemic addiction to corruption, massive underdevelopment, and swelling insecurities. Civil society activists, state legislators and local government representatives of the various southern nations should be the primary conduit of actualizing this conference. Afterwards some of our governors are entrenched in the status quo as members of the 1% in Nigeria and maybe the world; we cannot allow them to undermine the south confab.
Therefore one of the first resolutions that should be addressed in the assembly is the stripping of immunity from governors and all other serving officials. There is a need to realize that the official immunity tradition is as antiqued as the British inspired and informed hair wigs that our barristers still place on their heads under the Nigerian scorching sun. Prosecutorial or Qualified Immunity is at the heart of the systematic corruption in the south and the whole nation. Our legislators need to look into a framework of recalling all elected officials in southern Nigeria through referendums which should be organized by obtaining signatories of certain percentages of the electorate.
Former and present governors and judges in south Nigeria would have to be sent the message that the business of governance and accountability will demand drastic changes. In the Southern Nigerian Guidelines conference our state legislators and human rights and environmental rights activists need to come up with best practices to hold prior, present, future politicians, and public trust office holders responsible for their actions and inactions. Gone should be the days when criminal and corruption charges are only brought by the federal government as in the case of Governor Bode George of Ondo State and another nation such as United Kingdom have to sentence and incarcerate our known thieves like Governor James Ibori of Delta State for wanton fraud.
State laws and prosecutors should be strengthened and encouraged to go after crooked politicians, businesses, and judges. State legislators should pass laws that increase the amount of incarceration periods for intimidating, comprising, and bribing government officials especially judges. The acceptance of quid pro quo arrangements in terms of offering and receiving favors should also be brainstormed and criminalized when legislators return to their various southern states. If these measured are successfully codified into laws after the south conference, then we might very well bid farewell to the era of fugitive ex-governors.
Some have asked about how we plan to convene a Sovereign Nation Conference and how do we assign the representatives for the said conference. We go by pass our federal legislators, make dem go hug transformers because dem too mago mago (Pidgin English). Our federal senators and house of assembly members are some of the highest paid legislators in the world, they are insensitive, corrupt, and out of touch with the people. Our local legislators, who are more representative of the 99% of Nigerians, have to occupy the quest for true representative democracy. In the interest of more transparency we also need to push for public funded elections so that we do not have a plutocracy influenced by cabals. We have to create systems that empower our people and rekindles our ethical can do spirits. Our societies and communities should be receptive to the contributions of our youthful expatriates that are scattered all around the world. More importantly we need to invest in inter-state public works projects that would elevate the standard of living for our ever expanding home-based youth and elderly populations.
Part of the mission of the Southern Nigerian Guidelines gathering must be to offer pragmatic solutions to our ongoing problems. With all the aforementioned plugged holes of corruption we would have the opportunity to capitalize on infrastructures that are going to benefit the masses for the next 50-100years. Primary bilateral areas to concentrate on includes, improving the healthcare delivery systems and research facilities in the south. With the number of southern medical manpower and specialists in Nigeria and around the globe there are no reasons why the health-wealth gradient continues to deteriorate. At the very least we need to have comprehensive plans to cure and feed ourselves with our human capital. The agriculture sectors would demand enormous investments and subsidies so that we can reduce our importation of basic food stuffs. Our universities and tertiary institutions from Obafemi Awolowo University IIe Ife to Rivers States University of Science and Technology, from University of Nigeria Nsukka to University of Lagos, from University of Uyo to University of Benin, and from Federal University of Technology Owerri to University of Calabar need to have each other’s faculties on speed dial.
Consequently, the four walls of these educational centers need to establish a fifth wall for research industries and technological zones to nourish and heal the rest of West Africa. There is also the need for southern Nigerian nation states to cooperate with other countries along the West African coastlines including the Bright of Biafra, to enable us build thriving fishing and tourism industries. This is not the 15th century and we should not allow our mangrove swamps and maritime estuaries to be pillaged by other countries and corporations through unannounced and unaccounted fishing raids. Plans should be made to monetize these sectors by establishing secure tourist coastal cities with boardwalks activities and thriving seafood processing businesses to serve the African and international markets. It makes no sense for South Koreans, Europeans, or any other countries to steal our seafood commodities in broad daylight and then sell them back to Africans for triple the prices or more in the form of processed fisheries. These are valuable sources of community development projects that we need to take into consideration.
Another priority area that we have to finance and cooperate on in southern Nigeria is the transportation system. After more than 50years of independence we seem to exist on the colonial setups because most of our so-called leaders have been more concerned with enriching themselves and their cronies rather than establishing safe and modern inter-state highway and subway systems. Despite our strides in aviation within the past 10years we have not efficiently developed our roads and the consequence and cost in preventable lost lives remains one of the saddest testimonies of our ineptitude. In reality, if we are to calculate all the monies that have been derived from petroleum production since Dictator Yakubu Gowon infamously announced to the world in the 1970’s that Nigeria had so much money that we did not know what to do with it, we should have constructed multiple beltways throughout the nation. As part of the southern Nigerian conference we have to come up with plans to build these rail and road systems to the outskirts of Benin Republic via Ogun and Oyo States on the West as a gateway to the rest of West Africa and to the outskirts of Cameroun through Cross River and Benue States as a gateway to Central Africa. This would ensure viability to transport regular people, agriculture, and other goods that would increase business enterprises.
Southern Nigerian Guidelines confab has to deal with the problems of security within and outside south Nigeria. With the amount of resources in south Nigeria there is no justifiable reason why anyone in that region should want for anything. We have to espouse the dignity of the African/Black life through our deeds and be willing to take drastic measures to buttress this point. In the absence of the Sovereign National Conference, presence of rampant corruption, and the provocation of terrorism, we have to create Human Rights shields to occupy and takeover all the petroleum pipelines and trucks that are supplying the north with crude and refined oil when necessary. There is no need to blow up these infrastructures to prove our points.
As a final point, our domestic agenda in the south should include the eventual divestment in petroleum productions, so that we can clean our environment after years (1956-Present) of relentless pollutions/oil spills, corruption, underdevelopment and exposures to carcinogens. These actions should be taken as self-determination survival measures notwithstanding the bottom lines of our federal government, petroleum cabals, and the global petroleum industry cartels. Since we have one of the largest per capital graduates within the engineering and technology fields in the whole of Africa, we have to reintroduce the clean energy and renewable energy paradigm to our schools and ways of life. Southern Nigeria is surrounding by the Atlantic Ocean which is a possible source of hydroelectric plants and wind turbine energies and we have enough sunlight to manufacture and export solar energies.
Dedicated to the Memory of Dr. Ken Saro-Wiwa
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
At the turn of the century the Republicans had grabbed the White House through their Machiavellian exploits in Florida with a Hail Mary pass from the United States Supreme Court and George W. Bush assumed the presidency. When the conservatives arrived in town with their cowboy boots they also came along with their distinct vernaculars such as compassionate conservatism. The nation and the world were then exposed to the practicalities of compassionate conservatism when President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, the Neoconservatives, and Halliburton decided to invade and destroy Iraq under the pretext of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” The Republicans also gave us other variations of compassionate conservatism which they sliced up into dosages such as tax cuts for the wealthy, unpaid Medicare Modernization Act, and the Patriot Act alias torture, international rendition, circumventing of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act FISA, and the introduction of warrantless domestic wiretapping.
The Occupy Movement is ready to take the nation on a different direction with social and economic justice. After challenging and changing the United States national narrative and dialogue from deficits to inequality and fairness last year, the Occupy Movement in America has been hibernating during the mild winter season of 2011-12. The Occupy Movement which was started in New York by progressives and drew social and tactical inspiration from the developments in Africa (Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya), the Middle East (Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria), Greece, and London is now set to further pressurize the political and economic discourse from henceforth to the elections in November. The nation and the world should be prepared for a rude awakening and progressive education of the American public. Members of these progressive factions have displayed their tenacity, discipline, and sense of purpose through their decision to go back to drawing board so that they can strike with precision and passion from May 1st 2012.
Although key sectors of the mainstream American corporate media who brought out the red carpet for the conservative Tea Party Movement and vilified the Occupy Movement might again pretend to be shocked by the patriotic civil disobedient actions we are all going to witness. Fox News, Democrats, and others should be informed that the key bone of contentions remains justice and equality in the distribution of wealth, allocation of burdens, and acceptance of responsibilities in the polity. Despite the near economic collapse of 2008-09 we still have too big to fail banks that are bigger and greedier than before, through the support of the Democrats in congress and at the white house. With the Republicans alienating women through their anti-contraceptives policies, Latinos by their harsh and inhumane immigration stances, and students with their Wall Street high interest rates, hopefully Democrats would decipher the handwriting on the walls.
Fortunately, I have been opportune to attend and listen to the community focused mobilization efforts within the Occupy Movement. I submit that since President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have declared their support for same sex marriages; progressives in the United States will have to press the Democrats on five major fronts. These key sectors include the economy, immigration, healthcare, justice, and foreign wars. In order for democratic and independent progressives to support the reelection campaign of President Obama, these key issues have to be addressed with more than lip service. We cannot tolerate an economic dispensation that is angled at the wimps and caprices of the Wall/War Street banks. Instrumental policies like Glass-Steagall Act need to be reinstated as a means of regulating derivatives, hedge funds, and credit swaps. We have to ask President Obama why his administration insists on allowing home owners to be foreclosed upon, whereas the banks were rescued by President Bush’s administration and again by President Obama with taxpayers’ monies. Why does President Obama plan to save only homeowners who have perfect mortgage payments and perfect credit scores?
Ironically, the home mortgage delinquency rate which is close to 6% nationally is a product of the economic recession and an indication of the continuous struggles in the economy. The national unemployment and underemployment is still a source of growing concern to many progressives. In urban cities and rural America the unemployment levels is still hovering within the 16% mark which is double the nation rate of 8.1%. Interestingly, our student populations and all women are currently presented with a choice of foregoing their insurance or having an increase in the student loan rates. We the 99% should be willing to take on the Obama administration which has continued their distant/midnight romance with Wall Street and their too big to fail banks. Like Jesus Christ the preeminent progressive we need to take up our whips to chase the Wall Street money changers and money doublers out of the exploitative dominance in the economy. How long are we going to keep on sending Wall Street banks and traders our retirement incomes for them to fleece through their various scams such as derivative betting and credit swap gambling?
Another area progressives need to address is the area of immigration. We cannot allow immigrants that come into this country due to a plethora of reasons like others before them, to be demonized after the economy was run aground by the 1% in Wall Street and Washington. There needs to be a comprehensive immigration policy that seeks to strengthen families and communities instead of separating families. Though we should enthusiastically support The Dream Act which is all about granting citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for many years, we ought to proceed with caution. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes and missteps that have become the hallmark of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 otherwise known as ObamaCare with the Comprehensive Immigration Reform. During that debacle the Democrats took a bill that could have resulted in either Universal healthcare coverage or single payer healthcare and watered it down with the majority slice apportioned to the for-profit Health Insurance Industrial Complex.
With our proclivity for equality and justice it remains expedient for the Occupy Movement to fight against the double standards within the American justice system. When there are these methodical disparities in prosecutions and sentencing inside the criminal justice system, what we are left with is a banana republic with kangaroo courts that are set asides for the interests and vestiges of the 1%. Some of us that are contemporary immigrants have experienced these “Big Man” or “Oga Mentality” regimes where so-called leaders become invisible and entrenched in sustaining their powers. When a nation becomes unwilling to prosecute war criminals from the President Bush and Vice President Cheney administrations that circumvented the local laws, violated international treaties, and authorized factory scale torture, then Houston you know we got some damn problems. When Wall Street executives are allowed to bring the nation to its knees because of their greed and most of them are back to business as usual within a span of 3years, then we have transcended from too big to fail banks to systematic whitemail.
Since progressives comprise of large segments of the independent population we need to organize and press the Democrats on their habits of sanctioning unjust wars. The Occupy Movement and those of us within the social justice and economic justice movements need to fight against the indefinite wars that have cropped up in Pakistan and Yemen. After the sad lessons of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq we should not allow the US corporate media, Neoconservatives, the US congress, Democrats, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC, and President Benjamin Netanyahu to drag us into another unjust war in Iran. The United States of America has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world two hundred times over and Israel also has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the Middle East two hundred times over. These are facts that the Iranian government (religious and political) is very cognizant of and they would not think about attacking neither United States nor Israel despite their acquisition of a nuclear weapon. Our provocations and warmongerings against the fraudulent Iranian government would eventually weaken the Green Movement leaders and activists that arose after the rigging of the Iranian presidential election in 2009. The Iran Green Movement has the capacity of changing their regime with the advent of another Persian Spring.
In conclusion, the progressive community needs to rally against the ever available surplus in the budgets when it comes to matters of warfare and the sudden deficits when it is time to investing in domestic policies. We cannot be underfunding/defunding the education of the present and future generations with senseless wars and warmongering initiates such as the United States nuclear shield. When teachers are fired and schools are bordered up like we are witnessing in some states in all levels of education around the country, this results in diminished competitiveness in the international spheres. As a result America is bound to have fewer inventors and pioneers to continue sustainable development and manufacturing communities. The Occupy Movement must fight for common sense regulations in the banking and energy sectors. We do not have the finances to produce slick adverts/propagandas like Exxon, Chevron, British Petroleum, Halliburton, JP Morgan Chase but we can still get the citizenry behind our messages. We have to force Democrats to deny unnecessary tax breaks to companies while making sure that they pay adequate corporate taxes. Individuals that constitute the 1% in our population need to be taxed at higher rates without tax loopholes such as charitable deductions and offshore banking/investment accounts. Lack of justifiable taxations results in the funding of plutocratic projects like the proverbial Voters’ ID disenfranchisement and Stand Your Ground Laws by the 1% income earners.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
This article is in response to the mischievous rants of Professor Ango Abdullahi http://www.punchng.com/news/we-are-ready-for-break-up-northern-leaders/ and Mallam Adamu Ciroma http://saharareporters.com/news-page/god-will-bring-new-usman-danfodiyo-clean-nigeria-says-adamu-ciromaregarding the state of affairs in the Disunited Nations of Nigeria. As a teenager in Port-Harcourt there eventually came a time that my mother could not spank me as a means of actualizing discipline, however since she was not the primary enforcer in our household she had always combined the use of talk therapy and ass whooping. Mother was quick to use such English adages as “A stitch in time saves nine” to get me to examine my actions and change my ways. But by far her numero uno admonition to me was Shakespeare’s “To Thine Own Self Be True.” These words were normally said after letting me know that I could tell her all the lies in the world but it was more important to remain frank with myself upon vacating her presence. In my capacity as a social justice activist I would be remiss if I fail to point out the similarities between my situation as a Nigerian youngster and the so-called Northern Nigerian leaders like Professor Abdullahi and Mallam Ciroma.
Consequently, when old men and jobbers like Alhaji Adamu Ciroma of the Northern Elders Forum and Professor Abdullahi of the Arewa Elders Forum are busy with the Mis-Education of northerners and causing rancor in the nation, we the members of the Nigerian progressive community must stand up and chastise them. This is all the more imperative because of the void in young progressive voices from northern Nigeria. Religion, Corruption, and Elitism has been used to manipulate the influences of youthful future leaders in the north who could have risen up to join the discourse with moral clarity by demanding justice for all, instead of those select few. In its place we continue to have these vacuums were people like Abdullahi and Ciroma, staunch members of Nigeria’s 1% wealthy crooks are allowed to display their follies and buffoonery. What do we expect when a highly educated chap like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab alias the underwear bomber, was only confined to either joining the corruption and elitism of his father’s generation or to use the Islamic religion as a tool to hate others? How come young Farouk was not allowed and/or afforded the intellectual decency of challenging the decadent status quo in the north and in Nigeria?
In Southern Nigeria, religious leaders like Benson Idahosa, Kumuyi, Father Edeh, Adebayo, Arinze, Oritsejafor, Stephen Akinola, Amaga, Okogie, Peter Akinola, Ukpai, Olukoya, Oyakhilome, Oyedepo (slapper/assaulter) cannot tell some of us that the sky is red and we believe when we can observe with our own eyes that the sky is actually blue. Advocates for the Sovereign National Conference do not want the country to breakup. Instead we are demanding for true confederation in the spirit of the Aburi Accord which General Ojukwu and General Gowon signed in Ghana, 1967. We demand a Nigeria that is free from the contraptions of the Northern Military Industry Complex, NMIC. Our federation’s resources should benefit the larger majority and not the select few who have self-imposed themselves as Lords over us. For instance President Jonathan should not be championing the institutionalization of Islamic schools otherwise known as Almajiris through the building of more such schools. For God sakes these were the steppingstones of the current Boko Haram insurgencies that have consumed the north. The desires of the progressive communities are for a nation that trumpets economic justice, development, equality, selflessness more than nepotism, religion, ethnicity, and mediocrity.
As such we cannot seat by and allow men like Professor Ango Abdullahi and Mallam Adamu Ciroma to use their distorted cognitive dissonance to assemble their perverted realities without pushing back. These men are analogous to the Republicans in the United States who are adept at manufacturing their own realities. Nigerian progressives and our people are not asking for too much when we demand to seat down and discuss the future of the country. Our goal is to have a functional democracy as opposed to the plutocracy that we are witnessing that only works for 1% of our population rather than the other 99%. We want a country where mundane things function for the regular Nigerians. We demand a nation in which corrupt criminals like former governors and present governors such as Governors Peter Odili, Ikedi Ohakim, T.A. Orji, Senator Abubakar Saraki and former Speaker of the House Dimeji Bankole to mention a few, are not provided with carte blanche to ruin the nation with their immoral gluttony. Progressives insist on seating to ascertain why we have petroleum cabals who are looting the treasury with government accomplices while the Niger Delta swamps are more polluted than the Gulf of Mexico.
When I remember the admonition “To Thine Own Self Be true” I realize why my mother the daughter of a secondary school Principal, Mr. Alaibe Ogan would always remind me of the truth. Since I was called Alaibe after my grandfather I remain fearless in advocating for the longings of my countrymen. Fellow Compatriots of the United Nations of Nigeria require a land where President Goodluck Jonathan’s ideas of transformation is not just the selective sacking of one state governor in the person of Timipre Sylva but all and sundry corrupt officials. For example, our Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke and Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi should have gotten their pink slips months ago if our president was true to himself and the citizenry. Professor Abdullahi and Mallam Ciroma should continue to thank their lucky stars that despite reaching our frustration threshold some of us are still maintaining our humanity. In the face of frequent provocations they should pray that that day never comes when we go off the deep end. This is essential because as social justice activists some of us are not pacifist and might well be driven to our machinations to counter the northern sponsored Boko Haram and the present scourges of corruption. These so-called leaders should be glad that at this juncture we only demand for dialogue cross the table.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings could not have said it any better in his eulogy of General Chukwuemeka Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu the freedom fight, when he noted that the reasons that precipitated the Nigerian and Biafran genocidal war are still very much prevalent today. Indeed a glance at the contemporary political class and so-called leadership in the Nigerian landscape reveals a minority that is out of step and out of touch with the governing masses. These officials such as the presidency, ministers, the senators, and the representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly are so distant from reality, that they think Abuja can inoculate them from the on-going rampaging social economic infernos and security upheavals. It is our hope that the laying to rest of the social justice impresario who was involved in championing national reconciliation, the protection of the Ibos, and by extension all marginalized ethnicities in Africa, would push our so-called leaders on the right track.
Mere encomiums pale in describing an Icon who did not seek the limelight of history but was thrust into the lime of one of the most gruesome wars in recent memory. As we mourn the late Biafra Head of state, is should be worth noting that he was born in relative opulence but used his position and resources to defend his people. A careful analysis of the Nigerian history reveals Ojukwu as an enigmatic soldier that was never involved in any coup d’état. Instead he served his nation at every point when he was needed by his motherland. An attempt to compare this heroic figure with his contemporaries and/or today’s leaders results in the sad reality of acknowledging the retrogressive state of our nation. Most of his contemporaries consciously and inadvertently led us into the current mess in Nigeria. Similarly, current statespersons and benefactors of the system are so engulfed with their short term gains and visionlessness that they remain resistant to legitimate calls by participants of the Occupy Nigeria Movement and the advocates of the Sovereign National Conference.
Some segments of the Nigerian society have questioned the veneration of late Dim Ojukwu. They have cast aspersions on the numerous local and international opinion writers, factual historians, and newspaper organizations that have written glowingly about General Ojukwu. However, the reality is that what we are witnessing is the retelling of the “Honest United Nations of Nigeria History” as opposed to the wishy-washy and pseudo history of General Yakubu Jack Gowon and company who proclaimed “No Victor No Vanquish” and “Go On With ‘One Nigeria.’” Opponents of these facts need to realize that the ingenuity with previous chronology of events in Nigeria is some of the reasons behind the retardation of progress in the Disunited Nations of Nigeria. After 51years of independence we are presented with a society where the so-called leaders have squandered and stolen billions of oil revenues, and basically crumbled the infrastructures that were in existence, while refusing to build new once, and setting up others as fronts to embezzle with impunity.
General Ojukwu was never a participant in the fleecing of Nigeria that continues to happen today. Neither was he part of the first Nigerian coup of 1966 which was orchestrated by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu the idealistic Nigerian equivalent of Lt. Col. Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, nor was he part of any other unnecessary insurrection. As a decent human being who was born in present day Niger State in northern Nigeria, Ojukwu opposed the senseless violence of the failed coup. Six months later when Major Theophilus Danjuma, Lt. Colonel Murtala Mohammed, and Lt. Colonel Yakubu J. Gowon, and their middle belt and northern cohorts assassinated General Thomas Aguyi -Ironsi the Head of State and Lt. Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi the Western region governor, General Ojukwu the eastern governor remained even keeled. His patience continued despite the ethnic cleansing of Igbo military officers from the ranks of the Nigerian Military. Ikemba (Ojukwu) as he is fondly referred was only forced to react after the pogrom of easterners in the north and some reported killings in the west. For example, thousands of corpses including those of children and disemboweled pregnant women were sent from the north back to eastern Nigeria.
Interestingly, this was at the same time when the western sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo became a convert to the anti-Igbo views of his political archrival and fellow founding member of the Action Group party Chief Samuel L. Akintola. As a head of the national opposition in the first republic and after his antics in western Nigeria which landed him in prison, Chief Awolowo was released from prison. General Jack Gowon then appointed him to the positions of Federal Commissioner of Finance and the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council. Under the said auspices he subsequently led the think tank on how to destroy General Ojukwu and the Ibo nation during the war. When Ojukwu negotiated the confederate nation as embodied in the Aburi Accord, Chief Awolowo was instrumental in getting General Gowon to renege on the agreement reached in Ghana.
Currently we have so-called elder statesmen like Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and modern fellows like Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Rep. Mohammed Monguno (ANPP), Rep. Toby Okechukwu (PDP), and Rep. Zakari Mohammed (PDP) among others questioning the necessity for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). Mr. Monguno reports that by electing thieves/representatives we surrendered our sovereignty. Though, our legitimate agitations for the reduction of their salaries, bonuses, and allowances are met with vociferous resistance. Senator Abaribe proclaims the possibility of anarchy when the truth is that he is a slave to the Nigerian Military designed and sanctioned 1999 Constitution. Mr. Mohammed the National Assembly Chair of Public Affairs suggests that the calls for the SNC are unnecessary because he is a beneficiary of the status quo. What else could be a more compelling prerequisite for the SNC, than the sad reality that majority of our elected officials and political appointees willfully assume public office with the male in se of draining our national treasury?
When we reckon that billions and millions are stolen from the nation in broad day light by individuals such as Rep. Dimeji Bankole, Governor Dr. Peter Odili, Governor Ikedi Ohakim, Governor T.A. Orji, and Governor James Ibori to mention a few, then we begin to realize the significance of Chief Ojukwu. Dim was light years ahead of his contemporaries and the current crop of Nigerian, Niger Delta, and Igbo leaders. His attributes empowered young men like my father to volunteer for the Biafra army before the eventually conscription of young boys to defend their ancestral land. Ojukwu canvassed for a confederation union in 1967 (ala today’s Sovereign National Conference) as a means to curb the power intoxication and corruption from the central government. Is it any surprise that we have an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that cannot successfully prosecute political and economic criminals? Instead we have surrendered the sovereign of our judiciary to the London metropolitan police to jail persons such as Governor Chief Ibori. Our EFCC is a bribery brokerage shield and/or elitist political patronage center to pay off judges, law enforcement officers, and impede the laws of the land.
Dedicated to Chief Chukwuemeka Dim Odumegu Ojukwu and his friend Professor Wole Soyinka
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
In theUnited States of America, February is regarded as the important Black History month, especially on leap/Olympic years when there is an extra day in the month. Black History month is a time when African Americans and other ethnicities pay homages to the contributions of African American peoples, legacies, and cultures to the large society and the world. We celebrate the arrivals of Moorish Africans and other colored peoples from before the slave trade era to theAmericasand the survival of subsequent Africans throughout the hideous systematic chattel slave trade period that went on for more than 400years. While new inward bound Africans (those who have arrived within the last 30years for reasons of education, economic refugee status, and population reducing genocidal wars, without the preoccupation of immediately migrating back) do not have the general context of the African American past, they automatically become enthrone in the polity of centuries of oppression, apartheid, vileness, and lackadaisical integrations, and some triumphs.
Despite these reviling and valiant heritages African Americans and other African Diasporans in theUnited Statesstill makeup 13% of the population. The stability in the increasing number of black inhabitants is spurred on by the high birthrates of new African arrivals from the 1st continent, other parts of the world, and some segments of the African Americans. Nonetheless, these commonalities have not brought the African Americans and Africans closer as one would imagine. Instead from within and without projections made and accepted by both sides continue to provide rifts. Rather than organizing, forming institutions, exchanging information, and standing as a global majority that just happens to be a minority within the limited North American landscapes, we seem to recoil and be condemned to self-fulfilling prophecies.
When Africans in theUnited Statesreceive various pushbacks from our African American cousins we normally console ourselves with the notion that at least we flew in instead of coming through the transatlantic slave trade. Most African Americans do not understand the aromas of our organic foods because they are more acclimated to the chemically processed food in the West. Some of the resistances we experience include taunts about not knowing how to speak English despite our linguistics and education prowess. The average American thinks that a non-North American and non-European accent is synonymous with illiteracy, go figure. Other caricatures and/or prejudicial venom depending on your interpretation that Africans in the United States are forced to reckon with include the allegations that we are arrogant, reside on trees, and chase lions all day. Apart fromHollywood, high school settings, and some other instances, these are thoughts that some European American members of the majority culture whose ancestors are the originators of these divisive biases, have learnt to suppress with political correctness and/or the drive for so-called diversity.
Interestingly, these aforementioned ideas have been ingrained in some African Americans through the influences of years of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, discrimination, and self hate. The depictions of Africans and African Americans inHollywoodmotion pictures such as Tarzan and Minstrel shows respectively have ensured these stereotypes and prejudices. It is worth noting that whereas the Black exploitation or Blaxploitation movies of the early 1970’s came about when pockets of the Black Power Movements were still wearing dashiki, it only affected the image of African Americans in movies. As a result, the vestiges of division and mistrust appear to be the guiding norms between African and African American relationships. For the most part these misunderstandings are due to the impositions of the dominant patriarchal Eurocentric society like we have hitherto explored and our reluctance to educate ourselves independently of these prisms to curtail our learned prejudices.
New arriving Africans have also been affected by the legacy of discrimination and stereotypes against African Americas. We mainly grew up in periods of black dominated and centered societies that did not have to struggle against years of third/second class and none citizenship. Some Africans tend to belief the worse of our African American cousins and cannot contextualize the relationship between their marginalization in the West and our exile fromAfrica. It is imperative to connect the dots that results in the majority of Africans earning less than $2 a day while multinational companies are making trillion and billions from the natural resources of the continent with the collaboration of our leaders, and the economic deprivations of African American communities. We ought to also understand that theAmericaandEuropethat we come to seek opportunities from were built from the revenues of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the labor of slaves, colonialism, and the ingenuity of the preceding Africans that came on these shores. More importantly there is a need to appreciate how the life and death struggles of African Americans through the centuries have made it possible for us to arrive and strive in these societies.
Certainly, our refusal to implore and implement Kwanzaa principles such as Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) goes without saying, why our schisms seems to be infinite. Some analysts have wondered about what would be the outcomes when African Americans and African immigrants cut the bull, educate each other, exchange ideas, and organize to their mutual benefits. Indeed there are more seamless synergies between the destructive elitism in African countries and the recently adulterated Hip Hop cultures of urbanAmericathat promotes the decadent bling bling and/or selective wealth cultures without aspiring to resolve the doldrums of the black masses in terms of outward and inward impositions for economic, educational, and institutional ineptitude. FromEthiopiatoNigeria,UgandatoZimbabwe, our so-called African leadership does more to jettison and discourage the New African arrivals in the West, from coming back.
The nominal policies for the African leadership are to lock Africans immigrants out. Our continental custodians also want to keep African Americans at bay at all cost. Their guiding philosophies are- Do not liberalize immigration laws, encourage cultural contacts, promote people to people tourisms, support dual citizenships, foster economic corridors, and setup reliable educational exchange mechanisms. African leaders sustain the status quo guiding principles because they realize that the returning newly departed Africans (30years to present) and conscious/conscientious African Americans who get off the planes would be more inclined and empowered to oppose and change the contemporary norms of corruption by the so-called African elites. These informed African American and Africans would be more adept at challenging the imperialistic economic policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund IMF, and the worsen conditions of our African people.
In several critical thinking capacities for solutions, I have often pondered on how theUnited States’ African and International policies could have and could still be affected by the masses of African American political, economic, and non-violent prisoners. Assuming 50% of black men in the Washington DC area who are subjugated by economic apartheid in the US ghettos and major electoral disenfranchisement, eventually realize their innate powers and rise up to organize like Malcolm X by challenging the order of the day. We will be able to counteract the efforts of the 40years plus of conservative Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and every other methodical miscarriage of justice laws. These laws have been used for racial profiling, indeterminate sentencing, and to “somehow” attempt to stop the surge of drugs that were deliberately introduced in urban communities.
Similarly, our African American women should join their men to fight off the negative impacts of the liberal welfare state/poor laws that have encouraged mediocrity, unglued the black families, chased black men from families, and condemned future African American generations. The new African Diaspora needs to understand that we cannot remain nonchalant because these prevailing structures are bound to affect our children in this generation or the next generation. We need to embrace, own, and tackle some of the African American problems in strategic organized partnerships. Thus educated, economically healthy, empowered, and structured African Americans would also be essential in assisting the African continent, without sole reliance on the natural resources and animal wood (jungle) visit economic paradigms.
Nigerians in the Diaspora stood up from London to Washington and New York to Atlanta with the simple demand on the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Most of us wanted the revision of petroleum prices back to the original 65naira per litre. We were disappointed at the insensitivity of the Nigerian government towards the regular and poor people of the United Nations of Nigeria. Some of us marched in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at home and wondered why there was an imposition of petroleum taxes on people who could least afford it.
Principally, the petroleum industry cabals within and outside of the governments are living off the bounties of Niger Delta oil productions. Delighted as some of us were for the unity that those back home displayed on the Pseudo Fuel subsidy removal issue in Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna, majority of us were mortified by other developments in the Disunited Nations of Nigeria. Our concerns were especially on the escalating and provocative carnages in northern Nigeria.
Consequently, some Nigerian Diasporans conjectured about the mass protest in northern Nigeria against the sudden inhumane petroleum price increases which occurred against the backdrop of systematic repeated mass murders. We have long speculated about the lack of critical and proactive propositions by the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) (the leader of the Nigeria Muslim community), after repeated pogrom in places like Borno, Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Kebbi, and Adamawa states.
Indeed we became angered by the tacit support that the regional Boko Haram organization has enjoyed in the north. Some of these supports were in the ambivalent pronouncements by the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III. Others like Mallam Nuhu Ribadu have disingenuously characterized Boko Haram terrorist group as rebels.
However, most Nigerians know from our histories, personal experiences, and the self reports from Boko Haram members that these current killing sprees are the continuation of decades of senseless massacres. Our recorded observations exposes the fanatical hegemonic alignment between some northern elites, some regular, and some poor northerners who have waged war under the umbrella of ethnicity, politics, religion, Sharia, fashion dress codes, beauty pageants, elections, indigenousness, segregation, Afghanistan, Iraq, and petty disagreements among others.
The following are excerpts of the personal experiences of one of our colleagues from the Occupy Nigerian Movement- Washington DC. These revelations came during our deliberations on how to address our various national crises.
Estella Ogbonna: In the spirit of our discussions let me say this, if you have never lived inside a hot, northern state, believe me, you will not understand. Keep in mind, that I actually prefer being termed a Hausa woman. Because, take away the religious intolerance prevalent in that area, the Hausa man/woman is more trustworthy to me, than an Igbo man/woman and I am Igbo by tribe.
I’ve lived through religious riots over the years; I did my National Youth Service Corp NYSC in the very hot Yobe State. I lived there, and I dared to start my MBA at University of Maiduguri, with just one semester to graduate, I had to run away from Borno State, after a close encounter with the religious murderers. I am alive today because an Alhaja who owned a restaurant there in Maiduguri risked her life to drag us (21) females from the south, who were wearing trousers, blouses, and obviously not Muslim into her restaurant.
We found out she used to be a Christian before she married the Alhaji and changed her religion. We hid inside her inner room for 3days. We could not sleep due to the chants from the mob asking her to bring us ‘infidels’ out to be murdered like they did others on the streets. She refused and the Islamic rule forbade them from rushing into her room. Those were 3 worst days of my life. The only food we ate was the leftovers from her restaurant.
Luckily the MOPOL (special police) came out to the streets on the 3rd day. By the 4th day, the hajia gave all us wrappers and scarves for us to dress up like Muslims, and that is how we ran into the night. I returned to Damaturu, Yobe State, and the next day, I took a night bus to Onitsha, Anambra State (of course, I stood all the way to Onitsha because all luxurious buses from Borno and Yobe were filled to capacity with southerners running to the east. So, my dear, living in that sort of environment, “within one country” is not working take it from me, I know.
I spent all my senior secondary school days in Kano State with ‘plane cash’ in my hand. My parents gave us money so that we could run to the airport and take the next flight out of Kano State anytime we heard ‘Allahu Akbar’ (their chants to start beheading southerners). My secondary school turned into a refugee camp for my friends and family (while I was in school), during the Reinhard Bonnke riots in the 1990s. Christians were being killed in Kano State just because an evangelist was coming for a crusade, not that he was forcing them to convert, and he was coming for Christians. I can go on and on my dear. This is not about Igbos Vs Hausas because I saw the lifeless bodies of young girls from Ondo, Bendel (Edo), Lagos etc with their breasts sliced off by these hooligans. Once they start killing, they do not look for Igbos alone, they kill all southerners. They even killed Yoruba Muslims for crying out loud.
Sure, I’ve heard so many stories about the Biafra, I was not there, and I am realistic enough to agree that our parents would tell us the gist from their own angle.
That is the more reason I wish Ojukwu had said everything about that war before dying. One story that never comes out often about Biafran war is the genocide their soldiers committed. How they raped and slaughtered the Rivers State women and children. Sure, it was all part of war atrocities but keep in mind that some of those Biafran war rapists are now ‘respectable’ parents to lots of Igbo children.
My point is that Nigeria has reached that point of no togetherness. After 51years, what the colonialists joined together for confusion is still confusing. We can divide and still be together. Nigeria as one nation is a failed matter. We know Boko Haram is a machinery of the disgruntled northern losers of the last election. I am one to say that it is possible that President Goodluck Jonathan is being messed up by the losers, but, he would be the best President in the history of Nigeria if he stands his ground and do things for the people now. For all we know, perhaps his wife or kids might be kidnapped or under threat for him to ‘play’ their way, but, he should know that being a King/President is a sacrificial seat. Let that conference take place, so we weigh everything and decide once and for all, if Nigeria should remain as one.
During the Sovereign National Conference if we agree on continuing this unity, then some house rules have to be put in place. I would like Nigeria to be one, I have life-time friends from the North, I have relations married to northerners etc. But instead of citizens to live scared in their own country, they might as well break off. I bet there would be more tolerance if an Edo man gets a visa to travel to Kano State, International laws would give him more safety, besides we’ll all be part of ECOWAS, so, visas may not be needed.
After reading the aforementioned narrative few weeks ago I could not help but ponder the question- Knock! Knock! Who is that? Sultan of Sokoto Who? The same quandary can also be applied to statements from the conservative Arewa Consultative Forum ACF and progressives in the north such as Colonel Abubakar D. Umar (Rtd.). The proposed solution by the Sultan of Sokoto to the Boko Haram pogrom is the re-introduction of an armed and fully recognized Native Police. Col. Umar indicts southeastern leaders for asking their people to return to some relative safety and security in the south.
Maybe Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III ought to be reminded that Boko Haram is an amalgamation of remnants of some Nigerian military personnel of mostly northern or Muslim extractions, the foot soldiers of the Sharia imposition, and poorly training graduates from the madrasas. The foot soldiers of Boko Haram are elements in the north that have slaughtered innocent people time and time again due to flimsiest of reasons. Some of these soldiers that got training in our Nigerian Defense Academies with our national revenues, but have treasonously and callously turned their guns against the citizenry of Nigeria.
In the case of Mr. Abubakar the pertinent question is when is enough enough? We realize that Boko Haram mass killings includes other Muslims but how do other people remain in the north when it is apparent that the Sultan and other northern elders/leaders are compromised and dare not speak truth so that justice will prevail? How can the Igbo or any other southerners be expected to remain in northern Nigeria when ACF wants guaranteed security and immunity for the leadership of Boko Haram? Why are northerners pointing fingers elsewhere while Boko Haram terrorist are protected in safe houses by their families, friends, and communities whilst the country laments?
Some Nigerians in the Diaspora compare the on-going atrocities in northern Nigeria to the prevailing situations in the West when mainly conservative politicians and parties incite racial, ethnic, and religious animus. They blame minorities such as African Diasporas, immigrants, Latinos, Arabs/Muslims, Turks, Romas, Middle easterners, for their self inflected economic, moral, and political problems. Boko Haram organization is the contemplated and executed plague of the Hausa, Fulani, and Kanuri intelligential who have the blood of innocent Nigerians and United Nations staffs on their hands.
African American civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton said the Republicans are like children who ate the blueberry pie and after catching them chewing, with crumbs on their hands and their mouths, they still boldly look you in the eyes and denial the overwhelming evidences. The Nigerian northern so-called elites have their hands saturated in the blood of innocent Traditionalist, Christians, and Muslims. They cannot wipe away or disguise the flaming irrefutable preponderant and circumstantial evidences, despite how hard they try.
We need to ask the Sultan of Sokoto, the Northern Elders, Governors, and Emirs why they have not used their bully pulpits to march and organize against repeated massacres in the north. There are massive Friday prayers in their mosques that have been the origins of hate crimes and crime against humanity. How come these same venues have not been used to rally the northern people towards truth and justice? The Nigerian Diaspora is of the opinion that we need to reevaluate the total disdain for the sanctity of human lives in Africa and particularly in Nigeria. Our peoples sponsored and promoted Sovereign National Conference will be essential in dealing with our numerous national crises.
Dedicate to- The victims, survivals, displaced persons, and families of all the decade long northern Nigerian terrorist attacks.
Nnamdi F. Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist
Estella Ogbonna, Activist Occupy Nigeria- Washington DC