Archive for March, 2013

Kanayo F. Nwanze: Making Agriculture A Central Part Of The International Development

Posted on March 29, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Kanayo F. Nwanze: Making Agriculture A Central Part Of The International Development

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Being good is a huge investment in any individual’s life; it does not fail. It is very important especially in the present times that majority of the people can no longer differentiate between what they want and what they need. Dr. Kanayo Francis Nwanze has earlier defined his. His feat at the UN’s Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) continues to tell light-featherweight individuals that there is no obstacle anywhere, except that which a person has refused to surmount.

On Wednesday 13 February 2013, he was re-appointed to a four-year term as president of the IFAD, having begun his term as IFAD’s fifth President on 1 April 2009. His appointment and re-appointment show that patience is a very vital tool for living in the world.

Working in this organisation that was created 30 years ago to undertake rural poverty which is regarded as the arrowhead of the droughts and famines of the early 1970s, Nwanze has brought transformation in the IFAD by holding stoical to the agenda of reformation. So they say, for-the-duration-of his ten years as Director-General of the Africa Rice Centre (WARDA), he transformed the centre from a provincially attentive institution into a worldwide acknowledged research institution. How else a person does prove accomplished in his or her career?

Nwanze is part of the success story of the IFAD today, which has invested more than US$10.6 billion in low-interest finances and funding that have fostered roughly-speaking, over 350 million very poor rural women and men augment their incomes and afford for their families since 1978.

The history of IFAD will never be complete if Nwanze is not mentioned due to the pride he has brought into the union that supports close to 250 programmes and projects in 87 developing countries, and is a global partnership of OECD, OPEC and other developing countries. The Delta State born-Nigerian Nwanze has given his word in making sure that IFAD sustained to serve that which it was formed.

Nwanze made this hope available in a speech where he said that he would endeavour to spawn vivacious pastoral areas that could ensure what he regarded as, a dynamic flow of economic benefits between rural and urban areas.

Nwanze-led IFAD is vibrant today amongst the three United Nations food agencies in Rome along with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Many regard Nwanze as a driving force in the accomplishment of key reforms begun by the out gone IFAD head, Lennart Båge. The former did not achieve this on a platter of gold, but through his philosophy of consolidation and deepening change and reform process in IFAD.

At the 36th Governing Council, Nwanze told a gathering of representatives from IFAD Member States that: Vibrant rural areas can ensure a dynamic flow of economic benefits between rural and urban areas so that nations have balanced and sustained development.

Joining the rest of the world’s organisations to set out the world’s post-2015 development agenda, Nwanze apparently said: “Structured reforms have transformed IFAD into a more agile, efficient agency, better able to respond to a rapidly changing environment…. This has been crucial to improving IFAD’s effectiveness at a time when new challenges are constantly reshaping the physical and geo-political landscape where we work.”

Dr. Kanayo Francis Nwanze is doing everything humanly possible to help in creating food security and sends poverty on errand in the world, no matter the fears in many quarters that the world is drastically changing, which is causing tremendous financial imbalance in the world, therefore creating the opportunity for the rich and the poor to trample on the weak.

Nwanze would say: “To put it simply, more partnership means more impact… IFAD is determined to work with its partners to make the most of agriculture’s poverty-fighting powers…. Experience shows that development is most effective when it is self-driven…. How we respond to today’s challenges will determine not only the shape of food systems in the near future, but also the health of ecosystems and the distribution of the world’s population.”

What about the IFAD’s innovative Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme? Nwanze has been of the view that both the urban and rural areas are fast adapting to the changes of the changing world in which his organisation is playing a very optimistic role in making sure that it is well for all and sundry, but underlined the importance to fashion opportunities for young people whom he sees as, without prospects, have nothing to lose and are more easily swayed by extreme rhetoric.

Nwanze has shared love for women also. He sees them as a folk that have eaten ashes for bread and tears for tea in the rural areas, where they work tirelessly to improve the living standard of the society. Pointblank, he hammered sent his point home that the world and the rural dwellers might not enjoy the improved-world being clamoured for, except women are recognised and empowered in no-less way, because by not doing that, Nwanze believes that half of humanity is denied.

The highest decision making body of IFAD – Governing Council – would have made a mistake if they had had oversight in not seeing the qualities that Nwanze is made of and appoint him to continue a second term in office of four years, to lead the rural poverty agency. This is an organisation that in 2009 had 25 country offices but by the end of 2012, has had 38. Bravo!

The world should therefore support this man whose brain has sparked many positive debates around the world. Dr. Nwanze needs the support of the world in making sure that he realised his plans in resilience-building for improved food security in the world. The world should help in straightening and strengthening him in this onerous task for the good of the societies, especially those in the developing world. In the tribe where Nwanze comes from in Nigeria, proverbially speaking, a man is not expected to kill lion the second time before he is called a lion killer.

Commentators have spoken of Nwanze thus: 1 “A Nigerian national, Nwanze has a strong record as an advocate and leader with a keen understanding of complex development issues. He brings to the job over 35 years of experience across three continents, focusing on poverty reduction through agriculture, rural development and research.”

 2 “Under Nwanze’s guidance, IFAD has stepped up its advocacy efforts to ensure that agriculture is a central part of the international development agenda, and that governments recognize the concerns of smallholder farmers and other poor rural people. As an intellectual leader on issues of food security, Nwanze has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010, and formerly chaired the group.”

Nwanze needs the support of all, as he burgeons on with the duty of his office, by bringing a more holistic approach that goes-above his intellect. As they say, Nwanze earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1971, and a Doctorate in Agricultural Entomology from Kansas State University, United States, in 1975, amongst others.

 Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, contributed this piece from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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Health Experts meet in Lagos

Posted on March 29, 2013. Filed under: Press Release |

Health experts from major institutions in Nigeria will on Thursday, April 11, 2013 begin a two day meeting in Lagos.

The meeting which is expected to bring together specialists in developmental delays in children as well as special education will analyse the progress so far recorded in the area of identification and management of children living with Cerebral Palsy in Nigeria.

The venue of the meeting is Peninsula Hotel, Lekki, Lagos.

A statement released by the founder of Benola: A cerebral Palsy Initiative, Air Vice Marshal Femi Gbadebo and made available to press men by Mr Henry Ebireri. Ovie said the experts would work with the group to develop a blue print aimed at guiding and structuring a system of care for children living with Cerebral Palsy and their families in Nigeria.

“We believed it is essential to have a blueprint to facilitate clear communication among all interest groups involved in the care of these special children. It will also guide government in directing services and systems which are responsive to the needs defined by children with chronic and disabling conditions and their families”

Meanwhile, a press conference has been scheduled to hold on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 10:00am after the meeting.

 

 

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BUGUMA CITY: KALABARI COUNCIL OF CHIEFS COMMEMORATE 11 YEARS REIGN OF THE AMANYANABO OF KALABARI KING (PROF) TJT PRINCEWIL

Posted on March 25, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI - KINF PROF TJT PRINCEWILL DURING THE EVENT - 1BUGUMA CITY: KALABARI COUNCIL OF CHIEFS COMMEMORATE 11 YEARS OF  REIGN OF THE AMANYANABO OF KALABARI KING (PROF) TJT PRINCEWILL

                                                                                      By

                                   Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, ezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com, 08038199163

23rd March, 2013 will remain evergreen in the minds of the Kalabari people as they rolled   out the drums to celebrate the 11th year Anniversary of the reign of their King, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom, HRM King (Prof) T.J.T Princewill, JP, CFR, (Amachree XI).

The celebration of this man of excellence started with a thanksgiving service at Our Saviour’s Church Cathedral, Buguma City and ended with a grand ceremony at the famous King Amachree Memorial Hall, Buguma City.

The officiating Minister Rt Reverend I. Akin Falana (JP ), Bishop of the Rivers Diocese of the Church described the 11th Anniversary of the 11th Amachree of Kalabari Kingdom as epical and historical noted that the King who is the 11th King of the Kalabari Kingdom is celebrating his 11thAnniversary in a church in Buguma founded about 100 years ago. He tasked the Monarch to ensure that he carried out the purpose he is on the throne. Reverend Falana reminded the King that people will take records of what he has done and as such, he should continue to do the things that would please the greater populace and God Almighty. According to him, “Any service you render as the King either religious or developmental, should be something good that people should refer to. We expect that it is purposeful and meaningful for the interest of the people”, he said.

At the famous King Amachree Memorial Hall, Buguma City, the King with the help of Dame Florence T.J.T. Princewill the Queen of the Kalabari Kingdom and some of his Senior Chiefs cut the 11th Anniversary Cake. The Kalabari Council of Chiefs through the Chairman of the Occasion, His Royal Highness, Chief O.C. Tom Big Harry JP, Odigbo VI, Omubo VIII decorated King Prof TJT Princewill and Queen Florence TJT Princewill with new designer insignia inscribed with their names and titles.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI - KINF PROF TJT PRINCEWILL DURING THE EVENT WITH THE ANNV CAKE- 2In the opening remarks, HRH Chief O.C. Tom Big Harry, JP, Odigbo VI, Omubo VIII, who chaired the event stated that “we all are gathered here not only to celebrate the Amachree XI, an icon, an embodiment of peace, a visionary, an unassuming leader whose humility is infectious and whose prowess and administrative acumen has brought direction, purposeful development to our kingdom and to motivate him to continue with his exemplary leadership and good deeds”.

A brief account of the celebrant presented by HRH Chief Harry shows that, His Majesty, King T.J.T Princewill, JP, CFR, is an academic Professor of great repute who was born on 4th January, 1930 to the royal family of the Kalabari at Buguma in Rivers State of Nigeria. He ascended the throne of his forebears as the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom on 23rd March, 2002 and was recognized as a First Class Traditional Ruler by the Rivers State Government the same year he was installed as the Amanyanabo of Kalabari in 2002.

He started his academic pursuit at the famous Baptist School, Buguma in 1934 at the tender age of 4yrs and was adjudged the youngest ever in that school. He graduated in 1946. After series of passage through various other schools, he ended up at University of Leeds, England from where he obtained his Ph.D. Degree in Microbiology in 1975. He has to his credit, over 30 publications published in scientific Journals from 1965 to 1988.

He served as Head of Department of Microbiology University of Port Harcourt from 1982-1984. Dean of Students Affairs of University of Port Harcourt from 1985-1986, Dean, School of Graduates Studies, University of Port Harcourt, 1987-1990; Dean, Faculty of Science, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt from 1991-2000. During this time he also distinguished himself as a Lecturer and External Examiner to various Universities in Nigeria.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (10)- HRH CHIEF HARRY WITH SOME OTHER CHIEFS - 10

Further, as an internationally acclaimed scholar, he is a fellow of several academic bodies including, the Society for General Microbiology (UK), Society for Applied Bacteriology (UK), British Spore Group, Nigerian Society for Immunology, Nigerian Society for Animal Production and countless other societies both in Nigeria and other countries.

Locally he has also distinguished himself and has served in various capacities which include; member of Rivers State Advisory Council from 1999-2007. Member, Rivers State Peace and Reconciliation Committee from 2006 to 2007. Decorated as the Grass Root Royal Father of the year 2005 (GRRF).

11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (12)- CHIEF LAVANDER LONGJOHN, SERCR PLANNING COMM OF THE ANNV - 12The great King of the Kalabari Kingdom is the first Professor King in Rivers State and the first King from Rivers State to be decorated by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, CFR. He is also the first Kalabari King to Chair the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and the First King of the Kalabari Kingdom to be appointed a Pro-Chancellor of a University. His policy of allowing sister towns and villages to present their chiefs to the Kalabari Council of Chiefs for installation without passing through any family in Buguma, Abonnema and Bakana (as was the case previously) is unprecedented. This has allowed all chiefs of all towns in Kalabari to attend Kalabari Se Kobiri without being installed Chiefs at the Kalabari Se level. This is also unprecedented He is the first Professor King of Kalabari Kingdom and indeed Rivers State. He is the first Kalabari King to institute a Scholarship Scheme for indigent Kalabari Students in Tertiary Institutions and the first King in Rivers State to institute a Scholarship Scheme for indigent students of Rivers origin in tertiary institution. The number of Chiefs installed in his reign is unprecedented.

A believer, proponent and custodian of the culture of our people, he has during his reign revived and organized our Owu-Aru-Sun festival which was held on 29th January, 2009 after the last one was held in 1991 and have a few days ago hosted the Alagba Masquerade festival the pride of our strength and power in the kingdom.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (13)- BISHOP AKIN FALANA BN USHERED INTO THE CHURCH FOR THE THANKSGIVING - 13I think that the great Philosopher, Plato may have had King Princewill in mind when he posited one of his greatest quotes on leadership and politics, “There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands”. This silent revolutionist has lived out the above theses as he is truly one of the most outstanding Philosopher Kings in the present day Nigeria and has during his reign brought not only peace (that is panacea to any development) but has influenced several locations of government projects to the Kingdom like the sand filling reclamation expansion in Buguma, the Fishing Industry, Modern Secondary and Primary Schools amongst many others.

The fact remains that “There are Kings and there are Kings”. It is not sitting on the throne that matters, but being endowed with wisdom to lead; our King, like good kola nut, lasts long in the mouth of those that value it. To his credit, the great Diogenes foretold and stated even before the emergence of King (Prof) Princewill that “Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one”. The fact remains that some of us who are members of the Kalabari Kingdom Council of Chiefs feel humbled by his wisdom and infectious humility and we sincerely thank God for granting us such a leader at this time of our history.

As a great scholar, he has initiated a lot of seminars and lectures to bring enlightenment and chart a path of progress and greatness for our kingdom and we are very appreciative for all these efforts.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (16)- HIGH CHF LULU-BRIGGS ARRIVING FOR THE RECEPTION - 16

Prior to the installation of King (Prof) Princewill, insecurity was the hallmark of the kingdom. Kalabari Kingdom at this period 2002 -2007 of insecurity occasioned by the militancy when lives of our people and property were destroyed at random without respect to the sanctity of human life. In short this period was the years of ‘darkness, backwardness and Annihilation’ when militia groups kidnap, maim, struggle for territorial control but to the credit of this visionary and man of Peace, the Kingdom is totally at peace.

Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi aptly captured the sorrow state of Kalabari Kingdom when he stated, “that by 70/80s the Kalabari Kingdom had produced the highest numbers of Lawyers and Medical Doctors in the State and instead of maintaining the trend there had been a reversal in recent years with majority of the youths in the area resorting to bunkering and militancy, which in themselves are acts that mitigate against any form of development in the area. Sadly, some of these youths harass Contractors who operate within the Kingdom. As much as I am very interested in the emancipation and development of the Kalabari Kingdom the fact remains that development cannot come to the area under situation of insecurity.        11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (17)- HM KING PROF TJT PRINCEWILL READING THE BIBLE DURING THE THANKSGIVING - 17

But to the glory of God, the security challenges in the Kalabari Kingdom are now in the past and I am happy to note that the King and his council have done their best to sustain peace in the Kingdom and in the words of Ariel Sharon, “I am 73 years old. I’ve seen everything. I’ve met the kings, the queens, the presidents; I’ve been around the world. I have one thing that I would like to do: to try to reach peace”. The present Kalbari Council of Chiefs with this great man has restored and will continue to embark on projects that promote peace amongst our people“

HRH Chief O.C. Odibo Tom Big Harry in his remarks congratulated and commended the Rivers State Government, Kalabari people and security organs in the State to have ignored some group of people who have continued to sow seed of discord among our people and plant false publications in the papers about the stool of our King whose 11 years of golden reign has made us a proud and progressive Kingdom. He further stated that, “for avoidance of doubt, let me reiterate that the stool of the Amanyanabo of Kalabri Kingdom is not in contention and shall never be in contention as God has blessed us with one. The efforts and plots of those trying to plunge us back into the period of darkness shall never succeed”.

11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (19)- BISHOP AKIN FALANA JP- 19HRH Chief Harry described the King in the words of Lao Tzu, “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prized. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men”. King Prof TJT Princewill is truly a leader in whom we are all proud of.

One of the major highpoints of the event was the decoration and recognition of the feats of the following Kings towards the upliftment of the Kalabari Kingdom – HRH Alabo O.C. Odibo Tom Big Harry (JP) Odibo VI, Omubo VII, Chief Daobu E.S. Amachree (JP), Chairman Buguma/Kalabari Council of Chiefs; HRH Iboroma Pokubo Amanyanabo of Minama; HRH Iwari Bala, Amanyanabo of Krakrama. In their separate speeches, they acknowledged and thanked His Majesty King Prof TJT Princewill for providing an enabling environment that enabled them to contribute towards the development of their various communities.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (21)- HM KING PROF TJT PRNCEWILL & HRH CHF OC ODIBO TOM BIG HARRY - 21

The climax of the event was the formal vote of confidence on the king. HRH Chief Harry who moved the motion stated, “May I based on the great feats of King Prof TJT Princewill during his reign on behalf of the Kalabari Council of Chiefs and the entire communities of the Kalabari Kingdom pass a vote of confidence on our God-given King, HM King (Prof) Princewill, Amachree XI as we pray God to bestow on him more wisdom and good health to continue his good works in our Kingdom as our King. This was received with thunderous standing ovation by all members of the Council of Chiefs and mammoth crowd that attended the historical event.

The King later answered some questions posed to him by some of the Journalists present at the event. On the threat by Shell to reduce royalties accruing to the community, the visible angry King on this issue thundered, “we will resist any plan by oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC to reduce royalties accruing to the area, due to rising incidents of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta or for any reason whatsoever”. Shell keeps mentioning that they were going to shut down their Trunk line for the last six years or so, They gave us some money which we used in providing projects. Now that they are coming to the second phase of that agreement, they call it Global Memorandum of Understanding (G-MoU). Now, instead of increasing the lots (they call it mandate) that is due to us (the Kalabari People), they want to reduce it by more than half, whereas in the last five years that they were operating, there was a promise to have 10 per cent increase annually. Instead of finding it necessary to review it upwards now that they are going to enter into a new agreement, they want to slash it down by more than a half. Of course, the Kalabaris will not agree. If what they are doing is to make us suffer for it, we ask them (Shell) to pack up their things (facilities) and go, because we will not beg them to come and do it. If they don’t do it, there are other companies that will come in to do it. For many years now in Ogoni area, Shell is not operating, yet Nigeria has not died.

11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (18)- DAME FLORENCE TJT PRINCEWILL (QUEEN OF KALABARI KINGDOM) - 18If we stop Shell from operating in our territory, Nigeria will not die and that is our position. So, they say they are going to close down their operation, we say not only closing down, pack your things and go. That is what we have said to them (Shell)”.
 King (Prof) Princewill however said that if youths in the area were found culpable over allegations of crude theft, the Kalabari Council of Chiefs would intervene, but noted that oil and the control of the resource was essentially the business of the government.

On the constitutional role for Traditional Rulers in the country the King stated that, “Traditional Rulers have greater roles to play in ensuring development, security and actualization of government policies if given a role in the constitution.

The Monarch reminded all that in 1914,the traditional rulers in the coastal areas resisted the highly educated and well equipped European influences, but regretted that the present constitution did not recognize the roles of the traditional rulers.

According to him, we have made several attempts and meetings both in the state and at the national level concerning the roles of traditional rulers; we hope that it will be included. “We hope to have a constitutional role and powers not only at the local level, but also at the state and national”, he said.

On how he will like to be remembered, the Monarch stated that he would like to be remembered for the peace he has brought in the three local governments areas of Kalabari and his attempt to increasing the lots of the youths of the Kalabaris.

“I want my people to remember me for the attempts I have made for increasing the lifes of our youths by offering scholarships to Kalabari and other students of other local government area in Rivers State” he said.

He noted that education is the bedrock of any civilization, adding that if we are to make any progress, we must invest more in education.11TH ANNIV OF AMACHREE XI (20)- HON PRINCE DATEME - 20

The Monarch explained that his Scholarship scheme which is an annual event will continue to increase the list and numbers of recipient yearly to accommodate more students.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt

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ACN To Amaechi: Rise To Fire Outbreaks In Rivers

Posted on March 25, 2013. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

ACN To Amaechi: Rise To Fire Outbreaks In Rivers

The Rivers State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has charged Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to wake up to the challenges of frequent fire outbreaks in the State.

The ACN was reacting to the recent fire incidents in Okrika and other parts of the state vis-à-vis the lukewarm attitude of the Amaechi administration to checkmate such disasters.

Speaking through a press statement issued and signed by its publicity secretary, Jerry Needam, the ACN blamed Gov Amaechi for doing nothing to put the natural disaster under control.

Jerry Needam said Government is to blame for the recurring inferno and not necessarily the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) even though the oil companies in different parts of the State have not helped matters.

The ACN spokesman, Jerry Needam regretted that about two years have elapsed since Gov Amaechi promised to build fire service stations in the 23 local government areas of the State with no sign of actualizing that promise at sight.

If he has lived true to the promise, the ACN believed the situation would not be as bad as it is.

“We are therefore challenging Gov Amaechi to wake up to his responsibilities and put measures in place to save the helpless Rivers people the ravages brought about by these disasters.

“Sacrificing his responsibilities on the altar of the equally undependable oil companies in the State is nothing short of direct and overt admission of insensitivity and, or failure”, the ACN declared.

In the light of the huge losses occasioned by the fire disasters in the State in recent times, the time to fulfill the promise of establishing fire outstations in the rural areas of the State is now, the ACN stated.

Jerry Needam, JP

Publicity Secretary

Action Congress of Nigeria

Rivers State.

 

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Boko Haram Is Destroying Nigeria

Posted on March 21, 2013. Filed under: Culture/Religion | Tags: |

BEYOND RELIGION AND CULTURE: Sometimes I wonder, but these days, I have been wondering per second. Can Nigeria be happy with herself again? If Nigeria is not happy with herself, then can anybody or country be happy with her? Why is this cycle of insecurity?

Yet, the government keeps on selling to us through jingles and newspapers that there is no country in the world that is free from crisis. Claptrap! Does the government know that Boko Haram is destroying Nigeria like the vagina of a female destroyed by bunch of rapists?

Does our country now belong to the Organisation of Insecure Countries (OIC)? These perpetual killings of Nigerians in the north by Boko Haram, but most especially, the slow-destruction of Ndigbo in the country economical and otherwise, is largely irrelevant to the great struggle of our forebears.

It can be construed that this Boko Haram’s insensate struggle is a struggle against humanity. If not, how could a group that said it was against western education turned-out to be haters of humanity. Is their hate for western education our fault? Why are they falling our people apart?

Did we destroy their illusions? Conversely, Boko Haram should not see its potency in killing as capable of subduing our strength. Boko Haram can only rage, but cannot bridle the rage of love in us. Boko Haram has only succeeded in losing its members liberty, and makes them meet calamity the general way they have been introducing it to others. Boko

Haram and its members and affiliates should know that they are travelling fast to destruction. They think that their actions are fatal to our country, but I am too sure that they are cultivating their self-destruct.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Rivers State, Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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KING TJT PRINCEWILL, GOV. HENRY SERIAKE DICKSON, EKINE SEKIAPU SOCIETY AND THE KALABARI HISTORICAL ALAGBA MASQUERADE – AN OVERVIEW OF AN INSIDER

Posted on March 14, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: , , |

THE ALAGBA 004 GOV DICKSON CONGRATULATING THE KINGKING TJT PRINCEWILL, GOV. HENRY SERIAKE DICKSON, EKINE SEKIAPU SOCIETY AND THE KALABARI HISTORICAL ALAGBA MASQUERADE – AN OVERVIEW OF AN INSIDER

                                                   By

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, ezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com, 08038199163

The Kalabari are Ijaw-speaking people comprising three Local Government Areas of Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema with Buguma as its traditional capital in Rivers State. They live on 23 islands in the Niger Delta of Southern Nigeria. Their traditional economy is based on fishing and trade. They traveled in large canoes to trade with inland peoples, including the Igbo to the north, the Yoruba to the west and the Ogoni and Ibibio to the east. In line with the thought of Mahatma Gandhi, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive”; the Kalabari people were among the first tribes in Africa to be exposed to the Europeans. History has it that from the 15th century onward, Kalabari traders were middlemen between Africa and the West, exchanging slaves, ivory, spices and palm oil for guns, gunpowder, brassware and Western luxury goods. In the course of trade, they absorbed many immigrants who rose to positions of power but could not approach traditional ancestral shrines. New memorial forms, based on Western paintings and prints, were invented for these dead leaders.

The Kalabari people in fear of the realization of the great Mao Zedong thought that,An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemydeveloped traditional kin-based lineages into large corporations known as Houses, each with an elected Head and a war canoe team that controlled commerce and warfare. At the height of this trade, the delta became an important economic center. Today, Port Harcourt the State capital of Rivers State is the major urban center of a local economy strongly linked to petroleum within western Africa.

In Kalabari society, wealth is measured by how many people a man has in his House, defined both as a place of residence and as family, including living relatives, ancestors, adopted members and, formerly, domestic slaves. Every powerful House had a war canoe as well as paddlers and pilots to navigate the Niger delta, the inland rivers and the estuaries along the Atlantic coast. Both the boat and the house in this headdress are symbols of wealth. The pregnant stomach also alludes to the importance of people as wealth.

The Kalabari people of South-South Nigeria, like other West African coastal peoples, see swamps and creeks as the home of spiritual beings that may form all kinds of relationships with humans. Through masquerades, spirits periodically interact with the wider human world. In a seventeen-year cycle of “plays”, the Kalabari invite water spirits to take possession of performers and dance in the town.

It was as a result of the above that Buguma, the traditional capital of the Kalabari Kingdom within 8th to 9th March, 2013 played host not only to great sons and daughters of Kalahari Kingdom, important dignitaries across the country including International Tourists but hosted the famous and most outstanding Masquerade in the history of the Kalabari Kingdom the Algaba. The Buguma city is made up of fifty-two families. Sauntering into Buguma City for this great event of the historical outing and display of the glamorous Alagba Masquerade performed by the Ekine Sekiapu Society, a first time visitor will mistake it for the Houston Texas, for its cultural heritage from its founding fathers.

For avoidance of doubt, it becomes imperative at this juncture to state that the main attempt of this piece is to bring before the interested public the Alagba Masquerade that must be played before another type or rather lesser masquerades are played to usher in the celebration of the Owu-Aru-Sun Festival. Oral Tradition has it that, the festival is usually performed after the exhaustion of the various masquerades owned by the community, groups and compounds in the kingdom. The festival was celebrated in Buguma City in 1908, 1927, 1973 and 1991 respectively by the Ekine Sekiapu (Traditional Group) under the leadership of the Opu Edi who serves as the head of these groups. The Ekine Sekiapu are the custodian of the Kalabari customs and traditions right from the old shipping (Elem Ama) till date. The Ekine also formed the central part of the traditional government of the Kalabari people. The Owu- Arun-Sun festival among all unites natives of Kalabari in celebration.

According to Sokari Douglas Camp a Kalabari sculptor who lives and works in London, “Alagba is a female masquerade and a water spirit that comes to perform for mankind. She is the beginning of all masquerades and starts off the Water Spirit Season. The Water Spirit Season takes seventeen years to complete. Alagba is the only water spirit who wears a leopard-skin cape, a symbol of power coveted by every Kalabari House. Alagba is performed when she has completed her circuit of shrine pointing, unless something goes wrong, like the performer fails to complete the circuit and has to be rescued by his compound because he can be undressed in public if he fails the test the drummer gives him”.

According to Kalabari legend, a beautiful woman named Ekineba from Delta was abducted by the water spirits. When she returned to the human world, she taught people how to perform the masquerades, called “plays” in Nigerian English that she learned from the spirits. Today Ekineba is the patroness of the masquerade society named for her, but only men can belong to the Ekine society, wear masks or perform in masquerades.

What is principally displayed at Kalabari masquerades is a special knowledge. As the masquerader makes his way through the town, the drums, through their ability to “talk” through rhythm, tell him to point to 33 shrines of state heroes and royal ancestors. Should he fail to understand the instructions or falter in the performance, the masquerader may be disgraced by the crowd. His costume maybe removed and his human face revealed.

King Prof Princewill the King of the Kalabari Kingdom is in love with the famous Marcus Garvey thought that, A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” when he maintained that, “if I as the custodian of the culture of our people fails to upheld them it will die like the culture of other great Kingdoms”. Based on this, the Kalabari man including the women folks, culture is a way of life and forms part of their daily life. On the other hand, culture is regarded as the beliefs, customs, practices, and social behaviour of a given nation or group of people. This is an essential act for a hale and hearty society.

King Prof TJT Princewill CFR, Amaechree XI, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom whose eminent presence captured the beauty and significance of the festival used the occasion to declare to the entire world that the Kingdom is peaceful and safe for investment and development as the festival being witnessed by the mammoth crowd and array of personalities that graced the event shows. The King after dancing through the square majestically described the Alagba masquerade festival in the words of Swami Sivananda, Moral values, and a culture and a religion, maintaining these values are far better than laws and regulations”.

The great King of the Kalabari Kingdom, who is the first Professor King in Rivers State and the first King from Rivers State to be decorated by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Commander of the Order of the Federal republic, CFR. He is also the first Kalabari King to Chair the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers among several other first went further to describe the Alagba masquerade festival as the “summation of the age-long belief and tradition of the Kingdom, a true symbol of the unity and peace in the Kalabari Kingdom”. The King stated that without the Alagab displaying that other masquerades will not display thereby delaying the historical Owu-Aru-Sun Alali. This is premised on the fact that in the then days, the Owu-Aru-Sun cultural festival was held once every thirty (30) years. This in fact was later reduced to eighteen years. The last festival was held in 1991 before the present King ordered that of 29th January, 2009.

For avoidance of doubt, the Owu-Aru-Sun festival show cases all the masquerades of the Ekine Sekiapu Society, their dance styles and steps. This is one festival in which the different regalia of the Kalabari people are displayed. The Amanayanbo of the Kalabari Kingdom is the custodian of the culture and owner of the Kalabari Ekine Sekiapu Society and unless he comes out the festival cannot commence.

Tracing the Genesis of Ou-Aru-Sun, the King recalled that it was celebrated in Buguma City previously in 1908, 1927, 1973, and 1991 by the Ekine Sekiapu under the leadership of the Opu Edi with the last performed on 29th January, 2009 under his watch. The Ekine (its proper name) and Sekiapu (dancers) are the custodian of the Kalabari customs and traditions right from the old shipping (Elem Ama) till date. The Ekine also formed the nucleus of the traditional Government of the Kalabari people which includes the maintenance of law and order, including matters of arbitration where punishment were meted out to offenders according to the laws of the land.

The Owu-Aru-Sun Alali is the festival of the highest cultural display that has ever been witnessed in the socio-cultural organisation of the Kalabari people. Where the masked players in these dances were said to represent the water spirits, (Owu), to whom the Ekine ministered. The unique beautiful scenario of masked masquerades in colourful outfits and dancing in the special steps and styles and styles of their compounds is a sight to behold after which the Owu is said to be returned to the Ocean where they are said to reside.

While some of these masquerades are owned and performed by the entire community, some are owned by particular chiefs and compounds such as the Alagba by the Abbi group, the Peri-gbo by Georges Compund, Bekinaru Sibi by Wokoma Compound, Gbasa of the Onbo group. The major masquerades are always played during the dry season with about three plays annually over a long period which ranges from 15-20. After the last group of masquerades have performed, the Ekine Sikiapu through the town crier intimates the people of the need for preparation for the next Owu-Aru-Sun Alali. The town crier (Kpo kpo gbo la bo) having done this, Head Chiefs of the various canoe houses and compounds who own masquerades harnesses with its people on how to put up its best performance and sometimes also involves services of experts in the assembling of headpieces and costumes.

In line with the ideal and principle of Herbert Read in his quote, “A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them”; the Amanyanbo of Kalabari Kingdom promised of plans to play the masquerades more frequently to keep the culture fresh in the minds of the Kalabari people. He said that the advantages of sustaining the cultures and traditions could not be over-emphasized since they tended to bring the people together in unity and merriment. He explained that the masquerade was an age-long festival, which was, formerly, celebrated every 18 to 20 years but there was plan to make the festival more frequent because of its importance. According to him, ‘This Alagba Masquerade was founded by King Amachree 1V who distributed the masquerades to the three groups in Buguma, which are Abbey Karibo group, Omubo Gberimoni group and Horsfalls-West group. The masquerades are seven and were shared two each to a group and kept one for himself. Amachree I didnot come to Buguma but died at Elem-ama (Old Shippings)The kalabari Monarch also said that the Alagba masquerade does not in any way conflict with the Christian faith and beliefs, adding that he also is a Christian.THE ALAGBA 003 THE MASQURADES ON DISPLAY

King Princewill further explained that the Kingdom used masquerade to welcome and entertain high place dignitaries, adding that in Kalabari, the highest honour we give to a stranger is to admit him into the Ekine society; we do not confer chieftain titles to strangers, He explained that the Ekine society served as the court of the people since traditionally; there was no court or police in the Kingdom. “Ekinei society serves as the custodian of the culture; matters are settled there; anything we want to do is from Ekine and you cannot be a Chief without being a member of Ekine society”, he said.

The highlight of the occasion was admitting Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State into the society.

His Excellency, Chief Seriake Dickson the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State in a remark expressed happiness for being invited and initiated into the prestigious Ekine Society. “With this, I am now a true son of the Kalabari Kingdom with King Princewill as my King. This event reminds me of the Kalabari chieftaincy institution which is as old as the Kalabari Kingdom with very interesting historical background in its evolution as one of the ancient Ijaws of the Niger Delta. I am indeed very appreciative and grateful for the honour done on me by His Majesty, King (Prof.) T.J.T. Princewill (Amachree XI), the incumbent Amanyanabo of Kalabari by permitting me to witness this great epoch making event. I therefore wish to thank him for this great honour done to me as one of his sons.

Governor of Bayelsa state, Chief Sierike Dickson used the opportunity to state that the government of Bayalsa State will continue to work with Governor Chibuike Amaechi the Rivers State Governor and other constituted authorities in Rivers State to ensure that the people have better security and development. The Governor vowed not to allow anything to cause disunity between Rivers and Bayelsa, stressing that the two states would continue to work together to promote unity, development and cultural heritage of the Ijaws. According to him, we shall continue to maintain the peaceful co-existence and development among the people and the two states. “For this to happen, then you must work and support your Governor, Rt.Hon. Chibuike Amaechi“, he said.

He however commended the Amanayabo of Kalabari, His Majesty, King Theophilous T.J.T Princewill, the Amachree XI, the people of Kalabari and the Sakiabo club for the honour they have done on him to become a member. He noted that he accepted the membership of Sakiabo club to underscore the importance of their culture. “Whatever we do, those of us who are in government have duties to support and promote our culture and traditions, preserve and transfer them to succeeding generations”, he said.

The Governor joined some of the dancers to dance the Alagba Masquerade which was last displayed 20 years ago.

Prof Robin Hutton a Professor for over 60 years a Briton and now a Kalabari man married to a Kalabari woman and a member of Ekine Sekiep Society who was very visible during the festival expressed his happiness that peace has finally returned to his people and development will now flow as the Asari River flows. He told this writer that he has being in the kingdom for over 30 years and it has been long since one saw this type of love, unity and peace among the people of the kingdom.

Alh Asari Dokunbo the Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Frontier Force NDPFF and the edi-abali of the Kalabari Kingdom stated “The Federal Government of Nigeria can no longer use lack of peace in Niger Delta as a perquisite to deny the people of the region the needed
development that is lacking in the region. The Kalabari Kingdom with over 33 Communities is the largest section of the Ijaw Nation and with peace being celebrated through the Alagba Masquerade festival today; peace is assumed to have returned to the region so we expect immediate and sustainable development in the Niger Delta region. We are proud of our culture as without culture the people ceases to exist. With what has happened today the Kalabari Kingdom will now take its rightful place among the great cultural centres in Africa. I am involved in this event not minding that I am a Muslim due to that with my position in the Kingdom as the Edi-Abali, I am the custodian of culture of our people!

Other notable figures that attended the event apart from Gov Dickson and his large entourage from Bayelsa were Rt. Hon. Amachree Otelemaba the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly an indigene of the area, Hon Horsfall God’Stime member of the Rivers State House of Assembly representing Asari-Toru constituency 11, Alh. Asari Dokubo the leader of NDPFF, Hon. Ojukaye Flag Amachree the Executive Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Council, Chief Joshua Fumndoh former Ijaw National Congress INC President, Hon Fred Agbedi SA Political to Bayelsa Governor, Hon. Douye Dirir Principal Exective Secretary to Bayelsa Governor, Mr. Patrick Erasmus, SA on Ijaw Affairs to the Bayelsa Governor, Mr. Daniel Markson Iworiso CPS to Bayelsa Governor, Dr. Indabawa Akilu former PDP Youth Leader and fmr SA to the President of FRN. Others are HRH Alabo O.C. Harry,Hon. Alabo Diamond Tobin-West, Alabo Erekeosin Idoniboye, Alabo Adokiye C. Harry, Alabo Daa George, Alabo Emmanuel CJT Princewill, Alabo Cornerstone Pepple Amachree, Alabo Lavender Longjohn, Alabo Akaodu Princewill, Alabo Yola Batubo, Alabo Jemina Amachree among other great Nigerians in attendance including Prof Hutton a Briton who has spent over 30 years in the community.

Let me therefore conclude this piece by quoting Herbert Read the great mind where he stated, The worth of a civilization or a culture is not valued in the terms of its material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals – its philosophers, its poets and its artists”.THE ALAGBA MAIN 006 KING PROF TJT PRINCEWILL

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt

 

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Delta leaders congratulate Dafinone

Posted on March 12, 2013. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Delta leaders congratulate Dafinone

Delta leaders on Tuesday congratulated Senator David Dafinone on his attainment of 86, praising the renowned accountant and astute politician for making Nigeria, particularly Delta State proud by his achievements in the accounting profession and politics.

A statement by the Chairman of Delta Politicians, Businessmen and Professional Forum, Mr. Abel Minna described Senator Dafinone as the most distinguished Deltan alive today.

The statement said Dafinone’s personality changed the world perception of accountants and political actors in Nigeria.

Recalling his service to Northern Nigeria, defunct Bendel State and the Urhobo nation, the leaders said Dafinone occupies a special place in the hearts of the people

“ His contributions to the development of Northern Nigeria, defunct Bendel State and the Urhobo nation are impossible to estimate, to measure and to quantify” the statement said.

The leaders noted that the home of the renowned accountant and politician for years was a fountain of quality advice, inspiration, encouragement, hope and material support to community leaders, politicians, professionals and businessmen.

Regretting that the country is yet to fully tap his wealth of experience and knowledge, the leaders called on young leaders to emulate the virtues of Dafinone, by pursuing peace, progress and development.

MR. ABEL MINNA

08035647962

07011890290

 

 

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Imo Deputy Governor Demanded and collected N458M bribe – Imo Assembly

Posted on March 12, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Imo Deputy Governor Demanded and collected N458M bribe – Imo Assembly.

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Auctioneers and Buyers of Igbo Presidency

Posted on March 12, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Auctioneers and Buyers of Igbo Presidency

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Political debates are hitting up Nigeria for the 2015 presidential elections. The debates are divided among regions, political divides and individuals in the country. Ndigbo are the most affected in these un-organised debates. Bystanders are watching some Ndigbo make a mess of their people in a disgusted manner. Many of them, who are in the employ of the present government, want continuity, whereas others in and out of the government want the president of Nigeria to come from the Igbo extraction, in the next election. To a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Orji Uzor Kalu, it would be un-frankness if the president of the country did not come from Igbo in 2015.

Kalu buys into the debate that Igbo must produce the president of this country in 2015; he has floated an organisation called Njiko Igbo in that regard. Njiko Igbo is his project aimed at uniting Ndigbo for this task. Kalu’s insight into this project speaks positively volume, as a politician, influential businessman and founding member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). His love for Ndigbo and the unity of Nigeria is unquestionable; he is incessantly travelling out of the country to seek for Igbo unity and attract investors into Nigeria. To this fact, Kalu can be said is one of the foremost image-makers of Nigeria in this democratic dispensation.

As a country that is rated in the comity of nations as developing, Kalu believes that Ndigbo should not relax in their oars and watch the political events of the country being handled by people from other regions of the country as from time to time; Ndigbo should be able to identify political opportunities for their engagement and growth. He believes that politics has become a key focus of Nigerians. In this regard, he has been to many countries in Europe, USA., Guinea, Sierra Leone, Togo, Congo and partially visited Namibia and Angola for the continuous preachment for the unity among Ndigbo and by extension, the Nigerian people.

Upon that there are a lot of governance challenges today in Nigeria, Kalu believes so much in the axiom that no matter how hot anything may be, it will cool down someday. Kalu has been clamouring for the boost in security, economy and the spirit of many Nigerians that are discouraged, because of the challenges facing the country – manmade and natural-made – especially as the president had pleaded to Nigerians to give his administration up to 2013 to reform the country.

This is already 2013 and what Nigerians continue to read on the newspapers and listen on the Radio and TV are cases of official monumental frauds among the ruling class instead of records of breakthroughs in developmental strides that need urgent attentions. Any group or person from Igbo can say what he or she likes but one thing remains open: Kalu works with his conscience. He has often said it that Njiko Igbo is not going to fight any opposing agenda of this grand move to actualise an Igbo Presidency. Kalu would say, “We are only negotiating and begging to see that justice is done.”

Ndigbo cannot be fulfilled Nigerians once the continuous relegation of them is orchestrated as their fate not to clinch the exalted office of the president of the country. In an interview, one of the auctioneers of Igbo presidency to other regions in Nigeria come 2015, a woman from the South-East, said that what she knew was that 2015 is a mirage for the Igbo, because Nigeria has an incumbent (president) and that he may run for a second term. “Even if the president says he will not go for second term, I’m not sure that northerners will agree that an Igbo should go. Let’s plan for 2019, which is more realistic,” the woman said.

It is very unfortunate that someone who is known as a politician from the South-East can condescend that low, by becoming an apologist of northerners. She forgot that the northerners had held Nigeria down for uninterrupted 35yrs, recycling power among themselves. This is against what Kalu has severally said that those persons from other tribes who have ruled Nigeria for years did not have two heads as against one head.

Kalu believes in the possibility of an Igbo presidency in 2015, and he has started to build bridges of dialogue and form strong partnerships across any warring opinions. Kalu is not alone in this movement; many of his supporters are of the opinion that this Njiko Igbo project is feasible. Many dignitaries from other tribes are also aligning with this vision, a fact that has buttressed that Njiko Igbo is breaking any cultural and political barriers that had held Ndigbo down for ages, and is making sure that other regions see reason why there should be an Igbo presidency in 2015.

It is however imperative to say that no matter all the auctioneers that have surrounded this Igbo presidency project because of their personal political lucre in this present government, Kalu who has bought the idea of Igbo presidency should continue to put in his best forward, and should not mind those voices begging for the Igbo presidency beyond 2015. Ndigbo should not beg for the presidency because they do not signify weakness both spiritually and otherwise.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, contributed this piece from Aba, Abia State. Tel: +2348032552855. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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Passionate Letter to President Goodluck Jonathan

Posted on March 11, 2013. Filed under: Letter | Tags: |

Passionate Letter to President Goodluck Jonathan

By Mazi Henry Otulle Eke, Sr

Dear Mr. President,

It gives me lots of joy to learn about your reiteration to improve standard of living for all Nigerians. I am sure that you are aware that your subjects are law-abiding with exception of the very few that are bent of shattering the hopes of aspirations of the majority; such few as Boko Haram and Kidnapping gangs who are causing mayhem here and there. In line with your thought process, I believe it is time for you to fixate your attention to the following issues that could augur well for your subjects:

1.    Power Supply: Legacy is not build on empty promises and on empathetic structure. Legacies are obtained by deeds and policies that affect people’s day to day living. Nigeria is recording a huge number of deaths than ever before, and how did I know about this? The rate of deaths in many towns and villages are becoming alarming. I am not an expert on air pollution; it appears that the carbon monoxide that emanates from millions of households in the country appears to be equal to oxygen in the air, though with a little exaggeration. No wonder your subjects are suffering from lungs and other pulmonary infections. The generators become necessary because of inadequate power supply in the country. Mr. President, could you append your legacy on this signature of making sure that Nigeria has constant power supply to your subjects living any part of the country? With enormous earnings from the high priced crude oil, you could send electrical experts to many Western countries to study how they maintain constant power supply to their subjects. Mr. President, do not leave office without establishing your legacy on a piece of gold. Do not leave office like your predecessors that only stole public funds for their personal affluence and family’s extravagant livings.

2.    Potable Water: Mr. President, you and I understand the relevance and importance of having good and clean drinking water. There is no doubt that you and your family enjoys the best drinking water to keep the body and soul together. Please, don’t you think that your subjects deserve to enjoy the same clean and good drinking water as you do with your family members? Could you please let your Minister of Water Resources to work with State counterparts to ensure that boreholes are developed and constructed every nooks and corners of the country? In case our country do not possess the technical manpower to provide good and clean drinking for your subjects, could you employ the expertise of foreigners to teach us how to do it?  As a president, it becomes your incumbent to ensure that your subjects are, at least, comfortable with basic necessities of life. Clean water is available to those that could afford thousands of Naira to dig boreholes for their families. The question is: How about those individuals that could not afford such a high-priced project? The provision of funds and its supervision to ensure that the project is executed flawlessly becomes of paramount importance to its completion, and more so, availabilities of good drinking water for your subjects. Many of your citizens are dying as a result of water borne diseases. The so-called rivers and streams are loaded with bacteria and other deadly chemicals that are resulting to many deaths in towns and villages. Mr. President, Time has come to use your good offices to ensure that potable water is available to your subjects irrespective of the locations of their towns and villages.

3.    Shelter: Mr. President, I am in support that your official residence be as sparkling as white crystal as snow. I want you to live in a normal room temperature where there are no open gutters with odors like rotten egg and fermented fish soup; as well as where there are no open buckets to “shit” upon with endless of flies feasting on human droplets. Equally, Sir, your subjects deserve clean environment as you do. Does it make any sense to you that many of your subjects live in squalors and batchers with temperatures ranging from 200 to 600 degrees heat after a day’s hard work? Your administration could easily build about one thousand three-bedroom housing units in each of the State in the country. At the same time, encourage the States to construct at least three to five hundred two-bedroom units to alleviate scarcity of accommodations. Mr. President, the resources are there to actualize on these projects if not the presence of “Almighty corruption” in the country where those entrusted with the responsibilities of ameliorating the plights of their citizens are thinking about them first before the country. Be a housing president that provides shelter for your people. This is how legacy is build. It is not done on number of national awards to undeserving elements that never moves the nation forward. Of course, the housing is not free, but offered it to low income earners at a subsidized rate. They could pray for your long life too.

4.    Roadway: Mr. President, construction of highways and maintenance of road networks are of paramount importance to citizen’s standards of living. Economically, it improves the interstate commerce and safety. It does not make any sense to be a giant of Africa with enormous wealth, but could not boast of good road network around the country. The colonial set of Federal and State Ministries of Works need an immediate revamp to suit the present Nigerian State. With the economy of Nigeria, there is absolutely no reason why people should meander on narrow highways that are punctuated with deadly potholes.  Federal Interstate highways and States major highways could benefit from demarcated roadway to avoid constant head-on collisions. Development of every country is not measured by number of skyscrapers, but its road networks that enhance commerce and safety supersede the physical structures of buildings.

5.    Hospitals and Medicines: Mr. President, this particular issue does not require muck talk. Please endeavor to ensure that hospitals and medicines are available to your subjects. Please ensure that red tapes are reduced to nothing to ensure private and foreign investors are not confronted with 10% bribe for the minister, 20% graft for the governing Board, 8% for the permanent secretary and other officials liquidating the funds for the capital projects on building hospitals, thereby resulting to the “killing” of the said project. A healthy nation is an evidence of improved standard of living.

6.    Constructions of Restrooms (Latrines): Mr. President, this particular issue is very important to maintaining public safety, but previous governments had ignored it as nothing, and I am very optimistic that you will not ignore it. Its absence in the lives of your subjects has resulted to countless of deaths of your citizens to diarrhea, dysentery and other water-borne diseases. Not quite long ago, the United Nations remarked in its report that your country defecates very much in the bushes and shrubs, and when it rains, human feces are washed into the rivers and wells; people drinks it that results to many disease that ultimately leads to deaths. The constructions and maintenance of rest areas along Federal and State highways are of great importance to your subjects. Please instruct your Federal Ministry of Health or Federal Ministry of Works to carve out funds from its budgets to construct these rest areas with good toilet facilities to improve standard of living for tourists and other highway users. These little developments help your nation to increase her standard of living for your citizens.

Finally, Mr. President, these bold projects, if implemented properly, your legacy as president could be written on a platter of Gold. In a country of over one hundred and sixty million people, and you are elected to govern them should be treated as a manifestation of a divine love. You must take advantage of it to use the nation’s resources to affect people’s standard of living. If you win re-election as I hope you do, and serve out your time, you would not have another opportunity to serve Nigeria as its president. So, make sure that long after your reign is over, be sure you could look back at your deeds as president to nod your head in approval that “I serve my people well.” Many presidents all over the world are known for one or two major achievements, and be sure your name is embedded into annals of history in a positive fashion. Consider these projects for the common good of your ordinary citizens. Ndewo daa!

Best wishes,

Mazi Henry Otulle Eke, Sr.

Austin, Texas, USA

 

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