Dr. Yakubu Gowon was quoted as saying that he has no regrets about his roles and those of Chief Awolowo during the civil war. I sincerely hope he was not misquoted because between 2006 and 2008, Gowon went to Asaba, Awka, Enugu and Abakaliki, under the auspices of his ‘Nigeria Prays’ initiative. At each of those places, Gowon brought tears to many eyes when he publicly apologized for how he had ‘massacred Igbos during the war’ and how he had starved them to submission. At each of those places, he asked for forgiveness and was forgiven. Those were public fora and I was present at the Awka editon in 2006.
It is also unbecoming to say that Achebe was ignorant of the issues that happened during the war. While Gowon at the age of 32 in 1966 ran Nigeria, Achebe had become world renown and had written his four epic novels: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, Man of the People. He had written Things Fall Apart in 1958 at the age of 28 after graduating with Honours from University of Ibadan. At age 37 when the war broke out and as one of the cornerstones of the Biafra Propaganda Directorate, Achebe was neither abroad nor non-informed as Gen Gowon reportedly suggested. His recent statement, if true, detracts from his posture as a statesman, that many people, including me, see him.
Hurricane Sandy is already taking its toll across America. New York has called up 1,000 extra troops from the National Guard as “superstorm” Hurricane Sandy bears down on the city.
Heavy rain and strong winds have started lashing the northeast of the US, with the public safety director of Atlantic City declaring that the majority of his city is “underwater”. Here are just a few photos from the onslaught. This is just the beginning:
At least 50 million people are bracing for the worst storm forecasters say could be the largest ever to hit the United States. Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the East Coast at 8:50 this evening, and will bring that part of the country to a standstill in the next few days with battering winds, flooding and lengthy power outages. State of emergency has been declared in NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and there’s mandatory evacuation in all these cities. Public transportation, subways, bridges schools, tunnels, businesses, have all been closed. Much of the East Coat is on lock down right now as they are expecting a storm surge of 6 to 11 feet above normal high tide. The hurricane is expected to merge with winter storm and they say it has the potential to cause “unprecedented damage.” Thousands of flights into and out of the US east-coast have been cancelled and president Obama has also cancelled his presidential campaign to monitor the storm, which could cost the US billions of dollars in damages.
A fire outbreak has killed two young men and ravaged a five-storey building on the Lagos Island, destroying property worth millions. The building, close to the popular Mandilas Building is No 10-12 Breadfruit Street, which is used mainly by traders selling shoes, bags and clothing. It also housed a small branch of UBA Bank.
Spectators converged there, who were mainly shop owners, sales girls and residents of the area, told Jungle Journalist that the cause of the fire was unknown. Although fire service personnel and the police were already converged when Jungle Journalist arrived the scene, they could do nothing as the fire burnt on the fourth floor. Evidently, they had no ladders with which to climb up to quench the fire, which was already fiercely burning. It had eaten up the whole of the fourth floor, and rendered the fifth useless. Some brave young men were seen on the second and third floors trying to salvage their goods, and despite the heat, falling debris from the house, and pleas from onlookers for them to come down, they continued.
People were seen carrying their goods to safety, and the police who stood around watched intently, ensuring that nothing was stolen. Several men and even women were seen wailing uncontrollably, weeping that their investments were completely gone. A woman, who was identified as Madam Mgbocha, whom the reporter tried to comfort, said that she lost her husband a few months ago, and have now lost everything he left for her to raise their children. She just kept wailing. Another was seen been comforted by her husband who also tried hard to fight the tears. It was clear that their shops were on the very floor where the fire burnt. Another lady, Uloma who said she did no wait to recover anything stated that the building was known to burn every year. “How can a house be burning every year? Something is suspicious about this house. Two years ago, a boy jumped down from it while the fire burnt. I don’t know whether he died. Last year again, the house burnt again.” She praised two other girls who were with her, commending them for running out with their lives, unlike those who stayed back to pack their things. “Don’t mind them. Their masters have all ran out and they are thee risking their lives. If you die, will the goods come back?” About five minutes after she spoke, the pillars holding the floor collapsed, and the two floors above crashed down, sending hot debris all around and people to their heels. People were screaming “It has killed them! It has killed them!” while some boys were able to run out, a man was seen crying, stating that his brother was probably dead, since he was up there when the house crashed. Another woman was crying too, trying to reach someone who was up there on the phone. All her efforts were in vain, as it seemed that whoever it was hit by that crash.
As at the time of filing this report, the fire was still raging, while the Union Bank Fire Service, who had a ladder were making frantic efforts to go put out the fire.
A fire outbreak this afternoon has killed two young men and ravaged a five-storey building on the Lagos Island, destroying property worth millions. The building, close to the popular Mandilas Building is No 10-12 Breadfruit Street, which is used mainly by traders selling shoes, bags and clothing. It also housed a small branch of UBA Bank. These are photos from the fire:
The Entity Called Nigeria: State or a Stage?
It appears impossible for me to discuss the affairs in Nigeria without the dilemma of discerning whether Nigeria was meant to be a real state or a mismanaged venture. I must be humble here in affirming the limitation of my knowledge. I have tried to study those who play politics, to study those who have lived the Nigerian experience, and tried to observe those who have observed Nigeria deteriorate, yet I could not fathom an idea of the philosophy of Nigerian government. My particular interest has been the state of the security of lives and property in Nigeria. Nigeria as she is called is made up of three major ethnic groups, and other minority groups of which all sections should be equally protected within the federation. I have no intention of giving a historical background of how the English woman’s slip of tongue became the name of a country; neither do I have interest on how great Nigeria should have been if she was managed properly. The reason for this position is that you cannot draw a valid conclusion from a false premise. Thus the name is a mistake and since then everything about her has been a security blunder.
Ndigbo in Nigeria have remained the sacrificial lamb at the altar of Nigeria’s greed, clueless, mediocrity, subjugation, and friends of convenience of the North with other tribes in Nigeria. The sacrifices Ndigbo have made in Nigeria would have been enough to cleanse Nigeria if those sacrifices were intended to be redemptive, but no, the sacrifices were forced on us because we spoke once and the heavens thundered, now they do not want to hear us speak again. This voice that shook the grounds, this power of eloquence, this wisdom that terrifies the wise is what I intend to reactivate once again. Till the time Ndigbo reactivates this voice, not until this voice begins to vibrate again Nigeria will continue to rape our daughters and wives, butcher our sons and fathers, enslave our leaders and elders, and will continue to appoint for us dumb people as our speakers. To this we must say no, and the reason for this collective no is what I am interested in this discourse.
The economy of Ndigbo is spread everywhere in Nigeria and beyond except in Igbo states. Many have wondered and asked why? We have as Ndigbo blamed our own children for being greedy, and boisterous as a reason for this. The fact is we failed to see a premeditated, well organized government’s policy to continue the war against Ndigbo, war that ended in 1970. As Ikemba put it, “the problem Ndigbo have in Nigeria today is that Ndigbo threw away their guns thinking that the war has ended when their enemies are still fighting”, to this Chuba Okadigbo concurred by stating that, all the economic, political, and marginalization of Ndigbo today is a continuation of the war that was said to have ended since 1970. Security is a coin of two sides. The security of lives, and the security of properties. In this enterprise called Nigeria Ndigbo have no guarantee of neither one. The federal government through their repressive policies decided to cut off electricity to all the Igbo cities and towns throughout Igboland. This was meant to discourage industrial and technological developments in Ala Igbo, and it worked. The construction and reconstruction of roads and bridges were stopped to make life a living hell for Ndigbo, and it worked. The Nigeria government maintained a policy of appointing only those who were against the interest of Ndigbo as our ministers, board of directors, and representatives in public offices. This worked and is still working. Today only when our politicians leave offices will they start saying “Igbo kwenu”, only after they have been dumped by their pay masters will they start talking of Igbo marginalization. The impact of this punitive policy has continued to encourage mass intellectual migrations to all parts of the world including the infamous North, and the hypocritical West. Today the Igbos are developing slums, swamps, and hills of Nigerian states except our own States. How many political leaders of Ndigbo have pressed on our elected governors to encourage economic policies, like limited free taxes on all goods produced in our states to induce reinvestment in our homeland? Our governors should take the lead in improving infrastructures, map out lands for development as the western states did, and give to our sons and daughters to develop. This will be our first step to economic security in Nigeria.
The Security of Our Lives
Do we even have the lives anymore to secure? Don’t be in a hurry to say yes. What is the life of a man whose young sons and daughters are being killed every day in broad day light? We are afraid to say our names in the North, afraid to dress as nwa Igbo for fear of being lynched. We are scared to mention the name of our God for fear of being martyred. What life does anyone whose activities are permeated with fear have? Now that the situation has continued to deteriorate what can Ndigbo do to protect themselves? Massive home coming of course. The Igbos do not need Moses now we need the Joshua, the Caleb to lead us to our promise land. If this generation of Ndi Igbo must be relevant to the future, we must reactivate that voice which the Nigerian government hears and listens. We must make a case to all SE governors to come up a development that will encourage our people to invest in our land, and see security as a priority in our land. We must contextualize and concertize our diagnosis of the problems we have in Nigeria.
The solution is not in holding top and strategic government positions because they will always appoint or elect their surrogates as our representatives. It is important that Nigeria listens to us now and come out openly to support Igbo presidency 2015. Create more states in the South East, and start immediately the reconstruction and rehabilitation of all federal roads in the SE. This includes a commencement on building a second Niger bridge immediately. Ndi Igbo have made sacrifices of blood for Nigeria. Ndi Igbo have the foremost nationalists in Nigeria. Among the regional leaders only Igbos affirmed faith in the indivisibility of Nigeria and her potentials to be great. The Yoruba leaders and Northern leaders were despondent and wished for a split of Nigeria. An Igbo son rejected that idea and reaffirmed his faith in One Nigeria. Ndi Igbo undoubtedly deserve to be the president of Nigeria. This unfortunately the only way Nigeria can assure our despondent youths that we are still wanted in Nigeria. Ndi Igbo have paid their dues, with hard work, commitment to the socio-political, and economic development of Nigeria. We have the largest investments in Nigeria outside our own states, and have demonstrated beyond doubts that we can coexist peacefully anywhere in Nigeria. Yes we have run a good race, done our part, and now is the time to appreciate us by allowing an Igbo president 2015. This is one in a life opportunity Nigeria has to make Nigeria work.
-ONYEMA UCHE, a public analyst and commentator, writes from Washington, District of Columbia, in The United States
Phone: +234 808 198 3838
Ahead of 2015 presidential election, frontline Igbo leader and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, has said that the only way to redress the ‘injustice’ done to the Igbo nation since the end of the civil war is to give an Ndigbo a chance in 2015.
The Abia-born politician said this on Friday at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, while delivering a lecture to mark the 80th birthday of former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Chukwumerije who served as Secretary of Information under the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida administration added that the creation of more states and giving igbo nation the mandate in 2015 are the desires of every reasonable Igbo man.
Speaking on a lecture he entitled, ‘The Igbo and the Nigerian political space: The path to self-rehabilitation,’ the Senator insisted that the solution to Nigeria’s problems lies in the hands of the region.
He also called on the Federal Government to upgrade the Oko polytechnic to a university of science and technology and rename it after Ekwueme.
He, said for the Igbo to achieve their long-awaited dream of ruling the country, there’s a need for peace and unity among them, adding that they must adopt a positive mental attitude and focus on areas where they had comparative advantage and strategy.
Chukwumerije however urged the Federal Government to rehabilitate federal roads in the South-East, construct the Second Niger Bridge, and renovated the defunct cement plant at Nkalagu and the power plant at Oji River, in Enugu State.
He said Igbo’s case is not exception, stressing that it had happened to other people around the world like the Japanese, the Jews and the Italians; but that the people never gave up.
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who discussed Chukwumerije’s lecture, affirmed that all hope is not lost for the people of the land, noting that Ndigbo would rise again.
Paying tribute to Ekwueme, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State said Ekwueme remains an enviable leader.
He said the Igbo had sacrificed a lot to build Nigeria and must be allowed to take their proper place in the affairs of the nation. “We must strike a new agreement with Nigeria,” he said.