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News & Stories

News & Stories (1578)

The President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Michael Olukoya, has warned the union will embark on indefinite strike in 11 states if governors refuse to honour the 27. 5% agreement signed with the federal government.

NUT had ordered its members in states yet to implement the new Teachers Enhanced Salary Structure (TESS) to down tools from July 23.

In a chat with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Olukoya, however said the union postponed the industrial action till September to avoid disruption of examination in schools.

The affected states are Cross Rivers, Kastina, Lagos, Delta, Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi, Abia, Enugu, Eboyi and Nasarawa.

He disclosed the Minister of Education, federal legislators, Governors and well-meaning Nigerians appealled to the NUT to postpone the action.

According to him: “Ordinarily the strike should have started about two weeks ago but it was shelved.

‘’We are not trouble shooters. We do not take joy in causing crisis in the education sector. More so we are aware that was a period for exams and vacation and we conceded and allowed time for more dialogue.’’

He went on: “As I am talking to you we have resolved that we still have about 11 states that are refusing to honour the agreement.

‘’The stand of the NUT is that we want to appeal to the governor’s forum to intervene in this matter because it is an issue that has been dragging on for quite a long time.’’

He said the union has been pushed to the wall, saying, “If this matter drags on till September when the new session resumes, students might resume without teachers in the 11 states that are affected. Enough is enough.”

Posted On Sunday, 29 July 2012 22:20 Written by

The Ministry of Economic Empowerment in Jigawa said on Monday that it graduated 1,636 trainees who underwent various skills acquisition training.

The Commissioner, Alhaji Rabiu Isah, announced this in Dutse at the graduation ceremony of the trainees.

He said that the programme was introduced by the state government to tackle unemployment and poverty among the youth.

Isah explained that the state government had tackled unemployment through the development of programmes that would change the behaviours of the teeming youth in the state to be self reliant.

The commissioner said that women and the physically challenged were not left out in the skill acquisition training and access to credit facilities.

Isah said that Gov. Sule Lamido of Jigawa government focused attention on relevant policies that would have direct impact on the lives of the people of the state.

He emphasised that skill acquisition training was the bedrock of any economic development that could reduce over-dependence on civil service jobs. (NAN)

Posted On Tuesday, 31 July 2012 22:13 Written by

No fewer than 13 passengers died in a motor accident on the Benin-Ore road, the  Federal Road Safety Commission  (FRSC) confirmed on Sunday.

In a statement issued by Mr Bisi Kazeem, Deputy Corps Public Education Officer,  the commission stated that the accident happened at kilometre 53, before Ohosun town, zone 5.12 toll gate unit command in Edo State at 7.45 a.m on Sunday.

Kazeem said the accident, which involved two vehicles, was caused by the driver of the Anambra Mass Transit Toyota Hiace bus, with registration number YB 610 EPE (Lagos), who for no reason drove against traffic on the Benin-Ore lane.

The driver faced an oncoming Iveco truck descending a slope, resulting in head-on collision.

The bus was coming from Lagos carrying traders dealing in electronics and 13 out of the passengers in the bus died, while three people survived including the truck driver.

The victims, according to FRSC, have been taken to Shiloh Hospital, Ugbogui in Edo  for treatment while corpses were deposited at the mortuary of the same hospital.

The Commission said the obstruction caused as a result of the accident had been promptly cleared.

Posted On Sunday, 29 July 2012 04:55 Written by

A PDP Chieftain Anweidighe-Abasi Adiakpan on Sunday called on the party to respect the existing zoning arrangement for the 2015 governorship race in Akwa Ibom.

Adiakpan, who made the call while addressing newsmen on Sunday in Eket, said that it would be an injustice should the party jettison the zoning arrangement.

The political analyst reminded the party that Uyo and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts had had their slots, adding that it was now the turn of Eket Senatorial District.

He said it was the turn of Eket Senatorial District to take a shot at the governorship position at the end of Chief Godswill Akpabio’s tenure.

He recalled that the zoning arrangement had been in operation in the state since the advent of the present political dispensation.

Adiakpan urged those working to scuttle the arrangement to have a rethink

“We will neither compromise nor negotiate as all amounts of blackmail, intrigues and power play by a particular section of a society will fall like a pack of cards.

“I wonder what makes them think Eket don’t have competent hands to sustain the tempo of infrastructural and industrial development being done by Akpabio, when the best is yet to come,” he said.

Adiakpan said that power shift to the district was not only fair but would make Akwa Ibom a model for other states to emulate.

He said that appropriate machinery had been put in place to ensure that the next governor came from the district.

According to him, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo Senatorial Districts are also being consulted on the need to support the truth, justice and equity in the struggle.

“Let not deceive ourselves, we supported them at various times to assume the top job.

“Now that is our turn to take a shot at the governorship seat, nobody can change the rules after the game had begun.

“The power shift is based on senatorial districts and not ethnic blocks.

“The former governor, Obong Victor Attah came from Uyo, the incumbent Governor, Godswill Akpabio represents Ikot Ekpene.

“It behoves all patriotic individuals that after Akpabio’s tenure, Eket should take a shot at the governorship seat,” he explained.

Adiakpan, however, scored Akpabio high on his infrastructural and industrialization policies, adding that the governor’s policies would strengthen the economy of the state.

He added that Eket political zone would present a candidate who would consolidate on Akpabio’s achievements. (NAN)

 

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Posted On Monday, 30 July 2012 15:47 Written by

Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State has approved the immediate release of 15,000 bags of millet to the state Zakat and Endowment Committee  for free distribution to the needy in the 23 local government areas of the state to assist them in their fasting.

A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media , Malam Sani Umar said  in Sokoto on Sunday that the grains would soon be released to the committee, although no definite date was mentioned for the exercise.

The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) quoted  the statement as adding ,’’the gesture is part of the state government’s humble way to further alleviate the suffering of the people .’’

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam.

The fast (sawm) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and generally sinful speech and behaviour.

The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims how to better practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat).( NAN)

Posted On Sunday, 05 August 2012 23:27 Written by

Retired Col. Joe Achuzie, President General of Igbozurume, an Igbo socio-political organisation, said on Sunday that Igbo presidency after the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan was not negotiable.

Achuzie stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba, Abia.

He said that Igbozurume, a political, cultural and social group, was being repackaged to achieve the fate, stressing that it was the same group that helped Gov. Rochas Okorocha to win Imo gubernatorial election in 2011.

Achuzie said that that was also the resolution at its 3rd National Executive/Steering Committee meeting held in Lagos in June that Igbos should have a shot at the presidency after Jonathan's tenure.

``It must be the turn of Igbos to occupy Aso-Rock at the end of Jonathan's tenure.

``Even though Jonathan still has the right to re-contest after 2015 by virtue of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That Igbos must not allow the chance to pass us by this time around after his tenure,’’ he said.

Achuzie, who is also the Ikemba Ahaba, said that Ohaneze had been in existence immediately after the civil war, but as cultural and social group which had made it difficult for Ndi-Igbo to come together to identify with one Igboman to be able to capture the presidency.

``The last person we had was Sir Mbanefo who tried with others to create a situation where Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe should present himself when the military decided to give civilian the opportunity to vie for the August position.

``After Nnamdi Azikiwe’s attempts, no Igboman had been allowed to venture near that position, the most we have is compensating us for assisting non-Igbo to get into that August position and what they gave us was a vice-president.

``This, the present Igbozurume said no, it won’t happen again. We will not give our allegiance or support to non-Igboman anymore to lord or rule over us,’’ he said.

Achuzie said that the Igbozurume members were organising themselves politically, culturally and socially to be their brothers’ keeper and to use the dynamic of ``Igboism’’ which made Ndi-Igbo the darling of others who had ascended to the presidency to get others support too.

``We say enough is enough , we will not serve other people again, let other people reciprocate the actions and attempts we have made, let them show us that the help we gave them in the past was appreciated by supporting an Igboman to become the president of Nigeria.

``And we will gladly make those group to be the vice president,’’ he said.

He said that Igbozurume as a body would not engage in partisan party politics but will relate to any political party that has a better chance for Igbos to actualise the presidential demand.

``Ndi-Igbo must decide who goes for us and should not accept imposition of Igbo candidates by other zones.

``The zoning arrangement of PDP is an internal arrangement of PDP members only, and shall not disrupt our quest for Igbo presidency after the tenure of Jonathan,’’ he said.

According to him, Igbozurume is an organisation fashioned out to protect, defend and demand the political rights of Ndi-Igbo from the centre, and it is for all Igbos both at home and the Diaspora.

Achuzie said that it had no political party, pointing out that Nigeria had more than 40 registered political parties which Ndi-Igbo could belong to achieve its dream.  (NAN)

Posted On Sunday, 05 August 2012 04:20 Written by

Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, a representative of Pope Benedict XVII, on Saturday installed Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins as the fourth Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos.

Kasujja installed Martins at a ceremony which was witnessed by Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, 36 Bishops and Archbishops from various dioceses, hundreds of catholic priests and many other dignitaries.

He congratulated Martins on his installation and called for more religious personnel in the vineyard.

The cleric said that 106 diocesan priests were not enough for the three million catholics in the archdiocese.

In the homily, Archbishop Augustine Akabueze of the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin, described Anthony Cardinal Okogie, who Martins succeeded, as a companion of the marginalised, helpless and the poor.

The archbishop congratulated Okogie for being the voice of the voiceless during the 39 years he was in charge of pastoral care in the Lagos archdiocese.

``The outgoing archbishop is a companion of the helpless, downtrodden, the marginalised and the poor.

``You have during those years, challenged dictatorial policies of past administrations through the media.

``You still have the franchise to challenge dictatorial policies of those in leadership positions in retirement,” Akabueze told Okogie.

He congratulated him for the choice of a worthy successor, after 39 years of meritorious service.

The preacher said that Martins was not on unfamiliar terrain, having acquired experience as the first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta.

``You will be able to continue from where Anthony Cardinal Okogie stopped in the evangelisation of the people of the archdiocese,’’ he said.

Akabueze, however, reminded Martins that the task of evangelisation in Lagos was more challenging, daunting and tasking than in Abeokuta.

He advised the new archbishop to have faith and confidence in God, who cannot be identified with unfinished works.

``God will be with you to see you through in the task he has placed on your shoulders so that the task would not crush you by its weight,’’Akabueze said.

He advised the priests in the archdiocese to cooperate with the new archbishop as their new chief shepherd.

``His appointment as the new archbishop is a gain to you and a loss to others, all of them should continue the good work started by the Cardinal.

``Much has been done and much still needs to be done in the evangelisation of the people; if you contribute your little quota, God will bless your works," he charged them.

Akabueze also charged the lay faithful to continue to grow in faith by following the spiritual directives of the archbishop and the priests.

Martins, in his remarks, urged Nigerians to pray for him to be successful in his pastoral duties.

He said he accepted the responsibility of his appointment with absolute confidence that God would see him through.

``Pray to God to make for me shoes of my own size, so as to make me walk well, rather than shoes of my predecessors which are extra large for me to wear.

``We should all work in harmony and unity for the progress and development of the church,” he said.

Okogie, in his own remarks, expressed appreciation to the church for their cooperation in the last 39 years he was the archbishop.

The cleric said that he was confrontational with the civil authorities to ensure that they governed well.

Okogie urged the National Universities Commission to grant a licence to St. Augustine's University, Epe, so that it could commence admissions soon.

He thanked the Lagos State Government for returning mission schools taken by the military in the 1970s to their owners. (NAN)

Posted On Sunday, 05 August 2012 04:12 Written by

Scanvengers' Orgy,  a novel by BARRISTER OZIOMA IZUORA

Review written by Jim Pressman


Abuja Barrister Ozioma Izuora, Executive Director, Mediators & Advocates of Peace (LAMPAIX), is is dedicated to Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution work. Her first novel, Dreams Deferred (first published by Topaz Books and then re-issued by Kraftgriots in 2010) won the ANA/NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa Prose Prize in 2009.
Her second novel just came off the Kraftgriots hotplates and is due for public presentation April 23. It is entitled Scavengers’ Orgy, [Ibadan: Kraftgriots 2011] and comes to further establish the position of this elegant wife, mother and activist lawyer-writer.

Somehow, Izuora demonstrates in this book, there is no running away from your past, as it sooner than later comes haunting you, and often will catch up with you! Her characters epitomize this truism as they “bare their selfish and aggressive desperation for vain glory. However, like scavengers foraging in the dirt, their desires elude them as they return in style to their roots.” [Emphasis ours.]
Vanity and desperation for conquest of everything and everyone around them, or in their way are the leitmotif driving forces of the often false lives of many of the characters which people Ozioma’s book in ways similar to Beatrice nicknamed ‘Bee’, brought home by 45-year-old Charles, described thus early in the work (p.8):

“She continues to inspect herself. Just like she habitually does even on passing by a parked car. Or any reflective surface. From the time of her birth, she has had it etched into her head that she is beautiful. For s long as she had recollections, she has been assured that she is exceptionally well-endowed. Her breasts hang out like huge ripe pawpaw fruits. Her waist, reminiscent of the hour glass, rests atop rolling mounds of hips, like the well – rounded giant pots that grace beautiful galleries during Abuja Art Carnivals…”

Charles and Bee like others have a fixed idea and an axe to grind with society, inspired by his sad memories of a run-away father who abandoned them, she in her own case “weaned on her mother’s philosophy of life: you trade what you have for what you want.” Little are we surprised then when she soon battles the country’s psyche for which recognizes only certificates, by using cash from her ‘Whiteman’ (Peter Brocklehurst) who pays her way through Marketing degree she mistook for easy as she imagined it was no different from her regular life-style (p.18). Agnes Johnson, née Amaka Agbo (‘Aggs’ for short) the lawyer keeps nursing nagging, gripping secret fears she cannot afford to share.

Charles with his stunted education hangs on to information on the soft underbellies of his many big contacts, social and political, for the raining day (of blackmail), as he schemes to get Bee at the right time cashing in on his knowledge of her dirty undergraduate days (pp. 24, 226-27, etc...)

In summary, for all of them in their different ways, the past is lurking in the dark, a haunting bogey, as their guilty minds torment them even while they try to dominate and conquer everyone and everything on their scavenging way. Every move is with an ulterior, usually selfish and material motive, from Clement’s kindness to Nma Agbo before Amaka’s birth, through Chief Udegwu’s offer of scholarship to the brilliant and beautiful growing Amaka Agbo to Amaka’s friendship with Shirley, second marriage to Femi Johnson and her Law School friend Shirley’s opportunistic choice of rich though thrifty but ageing Englishman Harry, etc…

“For young Amaka Agbo the once acclaimed beauty of Amada, the intelligent, first ever lawyer, pride of the entire town, and the daughter of the peerless beauty Nma; her dilemma began when she got betrothed to Clement, even before she was born. In a manipulative bid to escape her life as the fourth wife of Chief Udengwu, she reinvents herself by assuming a new identity and abandons her three children.

Her metamorphosis from being the wife of a wealthy chief to Agnes Johnson, wife Femi Johnson, for whom she has a son, completes her long sought-after life, as she believes she has met and married her choice of a husband. Fear and anxiety [however] grip her when she discover a stranger from her past; a past whose lid could blow open at anytime and [at] the instance of another situational irony, a memory loss from a car accident reverses her new found identity..”

Even as the story in the novel closes, the characters are still battling in, futility, with ‘skeletons in their cupboards,’ scheming revenge and manipulating for conquest, both symptoms of vanity (pp. 212 – 213): Yet, the very secrets and darks specs from the past they all try to hide or run away from end up catching up with them all, underscoring the vanity and futility of their false lives.

Prof. Nwoko’s adventure into politics is suspect; he does it to better his material lot, and to cover up the ‘skeletons in his cupboard, with the known cases of sexual harassment of his students, one of the gender concerns of lawyer-author Izuora since Dreams Deferred.

Femi for instance walks away from the merciless beating he has ordered for Clement (by ‘justices of the jungle’). But he too fares no better (pp. 164-165): “His life is shattered because of this ghost from his wife’s past. Why could he not stay buried in the past? Why ruin the perfect structure he has created to give his life a meaning? (…) In a mad rage, he dashes out into the streets, a broken man. All his years of scratching up a life; scavenging his way into respectability, all seemed nullified. The distance he has assumed between him and his street origin has closed in on him. He is floundering; wondering what he can salvage of his life and whether he can find equilibrium ever again.”

Even while serving an indefinite jail term, Femi still nurses the hope for revenge of what Charles has caused him (p.213): “That Charles! … Even if takes my life, I will get my revenge! … Me and Charles will die together, even if that is the last thing I do!”

Young Femi need not have bothered, as the apostle of his favourite slogan of ‘no permanent interests, no permanent friends’ is already facing his Nemesis elsewhere (p.206): “Charles does not make bail. He has been fingered in numerous shady deals the clean-sweeping anti-graft agency has been investigating …They have no difficulty, therefore, in finding him guilty … the mighty political structure he has banked on for so long crumbles faster than a pack of cards…”

The full circle evolution of each of the characters is epitomized by the sum-total summary of the life and times [the rise and fall] of the former village and city belle, Agnes Amaka (‘Aggs,’ ‘Bee’) at page 206: “A scavenger way away from poverty; recreates a world to be free from her past, it all boomerangs back to a state where honest poverty and ignominy would have been a blessing.”

At the end, the reader is driven instinctively to go back and chorus aloud with the author-narrator, the graffiti on the wall in Charles’s father’s room in the village (p.7): “Life na waa!”
****
Last Line:
Interestingly, the very successful cover illustration was done by another lawyer – turned artist, Abuja-based Laolu Senbanjo, whose father is a lawyer too, but has given him all the encouragement in his choice to paint, sculpt and draw, producing what he calls Art Afro-mysteric, “the mystery of the African thought pattern.” Other commentators have referred rather aptly to his many pieces as “consciousness on canvass.”

*Jim Pressman is an Abuja – based Freelance [reporting Art/Life, Travel/Tourism and Gender Issues]

Contact him: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Rags of Fortune, a novel by Chukwuma Oraegbu

(Journalist, writer, poet, essayist)

Reviews:

"Rags of Fortune (420 pages), is Mr. Chukwuma Oraegbu's first published novel. It is both a farcical comedy and a tragedy of monumental proportions. A novel of social realism about contemporary Nigerian society, Rags of Fortune catalogues the tragic story of poverty, hunger, unemployment, corruption, police brutality, military dictatorship and human rights abuses in a fictional, oil-rich, West African country called Galanta. It is delightful and provocative first novel."

 

CHAPTER ONE 

The cold wind cut through Nazala’s apparel, biting his body. He shivered. He was a young man of about twenty-four years old. A gangling youth, he was slim of build and tall of height. He had eyes that were at once gentle and penetrating. They were eyes that could hold yours for as long as their own wanted, eyes that could put you uneasy and on the defensive by their luminosity, but the next moment, would be as gentle and compassionate as those of a lamb.

He had a pointed nose that seemed carved on his oval face. Both features, combined with a glowing fair complexion, gave him a handsome, dashing look. His light complexion and almost aquiline nose had led many a people into thinking he had a Balataga ancestry. But he didn’t. He was of the Sastisga tribe, one of the numerous ethnic groups, which dotted the landscape of the African country of Galanta.

He was clad in blue, faded denim jeans, a striped, beige, short sleeve shirt and a stonewashed jeans jacket. He had the tired, dusty, weather-beaten features of a wayfarer. And he was: by his feet were a large-sized gray suitcase and a smaller black bag. The cold wind blew without respite and the more it blew, the more uncomfortable he became. He fixed all the buttons on his jacket, flew the collar and wrapped the jacket tightly around his body. But yet the cold stabbed at him and pricked him.

Darkness was approaching slowly but doggedly. Already, a small ball of darkness was gathering in the horizon, caressing its fringes. Sooner than later, it would spread like a leper’s curse to Ozola and blot out the daylight, which was fast losing its luminosity.

He knew he had to hurry. He had to get to his destination in Atuaga in a hurry. He had to get there before the small ball of darkness in the horizon ballooned into a monster and extinguished the little daylight that was left. He feared that if he didn’t leave Ozola before nightfall, if he didn’t make hay while the sun was shining, he would find it difficult, if not impossible to do so when nightfall came.

But sadly, it wasn’t in his power to facilitate his movement. He had expended all the money he had on him on transportation. Now, he was without any money and it was his first visit to Kobata, the capital city of Galanta, and he didn’t know anybody around Ozola. He knew he was going to depend on the goodwill of good Samaritans to cover the one hundred kilometers that stood between him and his destination. There was a horde of people in Ozola, coming and going and going and coming. It was a confused multitude, a completely confused atmosphere. The multitude, every single one of them, seemed possessed of an ancient curse, for their behaviour was not imbued with order and discipline and organization.

Rather, they were totally orderless as they shoved and kicked and punched and slapped and cursed and fought one another in their individual bid to get the right of way. He had been appalled and bewildered and stupefied, when he arrived at Ozola, by the state of war in this ghetto of Galanta. Comparatively, Batu, Obala, Twata and Ezala, where he grew up, were still rural and provincial and people were orderly, well almost, in public places.

But what he saw in Ozola had to be seen to be believed. Despite the avalanche of stories, fairy tales he had thought them at that time, which he had heard about Kobata and its crazy slums, about its ebullience and wild ways and eccentricity, nothing had prepared him for the maddening crowd he met at Ozola. The crowd was straight out of Thomas Hobbes’ imaginary state of nature. The uncouth crowd had easily elbowed him out of the human-clustered way.

The crowd was a motley crowd. Like Nazala, some of them were wayfarers, some commuters, some drifters, some appeared to be ex-convicts, others appeared to be crooks, some market men and women and children, some con artists, some mad men and women and some beggars.

The beggars, clad in the most minimal of clothing, were all deformed in one pathetic way or the other: some blind, some deaf, some dumb, some possessing mangled limbs or without any limbs at all, and some exhibiting broken back bones. They all stood in groups and singles, the ones who could not stand nor sit sprawled out at the edge of the highway, so that they could be conspicuous to passers-by, and they moaned and sobbed and begged with the last ounce of strength in their impoverished bodies, sometimes emitting bloodcurdling yells that spoke of their misfortunes and helplessness, reminding luckier but tight-fisted passers-by that God loved a cheerful giver.

“Help me! Please help me in the name of God!” a deaf, crippled, middle-aged pleaded with unbridled emotion, without shame. Tears of hopelessness coursed down her hollow, begrimed cheeks like raindrops sliding down windowpanes. She was thin as a stick of broom and the two tiny babies she cradled so caringly looked more like rats than babies, so emaciated Kwashiorkor (malnutrition) had made them.

Her disheveled hair, which didn’t seem like it had come in contact with soap and water for a decade, and the rags she wore to protect her slightly visible femininity, made her look more like a raving mad woman than the destitute she was.

She sat at the edge of the highway, on the bare, cold concrete which passed for a pavement, and a thousand feet crossed her, showering sand and dust on her and her two, tiny urchins.

“I am hungry, so very hungry and so are my babies,” she wept in Yakoko language, even as some passers-by cast her bored, contemptuous looks. “We’ve not eaten for four days; we’ve been surviving only on water. Please give us some little money, whatever you can spare, so that our hungry tummies can be relieved of their hunger, even for a while. God shall pay you back a thousand fold.” Only a handful of people as much as looked in the woman’s direction, even as she tried without success to raise her thin lifeless voice above the din of the crowd. And fewer still, bent down to toss five pence or ten pence coins inside her ancient and battered aluminum bowl.

A well-dressed man, in a black jacket and wine coloured tie stopped in front of her and pulled out a soiled Galantan pound from his pocket. A smile of immeasurable gratitude appeared on the woman’s face. Then the men bent down, collected from the ancient and battered aluminum bowl, change for one pound, and then smiled owlishly at the dumb-founded woman and walked triumphantly in the direction of a dusty, rickety contraption which passed for a mass transit bus or molue as it is derisively called.

The destitute woman began to protest that what the gentleman had done was wrong and against God, that he had no right invading her privacy, that he ought to have asked her for change before dipping his hands into her bowl, and anyway, that she deserved some commission, no matter how little, for the service rendered, not withstanding he forced it out of her.

But then she stopped. The man had, in the ways of an Olympic high jumper, leapt into a speeding molue bus. Only his glistening black shoes were now visible as he wriggled his way in, through a pigeon hole-like window.

 Watch out for Chapter 2:

Excerpts: "  Assistant  Commissioner of  Police, Gasha Olanko, was a man who brooked no nonsense, be it at work, or in his private life. He was a fat, ugly man in his early fifties, with seventy wives, forty concubines and two hundred children. A mean, devilish cop, Olanko had a reputation at work, as a stern officer with a predilection for punishing those who took what he thought belonged to him. The same reputation was skillfully sustained at home. As a result, his wives and children, who otherwise were a bunch of ill-bred, ill-behaved lot, held him in great fear.

"His wives learnt, like the tortoise, to conduct their illicit private businesses with the utmost cunning, yet appearing chaste in his presence, and his children learnt to drink like fishes, steal occasionally, and smoke marijuana without his knowing. Even Olanko's superiors were wary of stepping on his toes, for the man, it had become obvious, had a long memory, which he picked with a ruthlessness that could be primitive. Those who crossed his path were forever looking over their shoulders, for the revenge, which they were certain, was lurking in the shadows. Some, who couldn’t stand the waiting,   initiated   a rapprochement with a big chicken or a big goat or even a cow, depending on the enormity of the wrong.

"Olanko's solid reputation for punishing those who advertently or inadvertently dispossessed him of his property was built on three well-publicised cases. The first occurred eight years ago, when he was an assistant superintendent of police.   He had discovered over a period of six months that his daily share of the illegal money collected by the police, from drivers at checkpoints, and from other sundry traffic and non-traffic offenders, had been sliding. He couldn't understand it, for at that time, a panel of brilliant senior officers, set up by the Inspector, had craftily introduced some cumbersome measures for commercial and private motor drivers to fulfill, which accordingly led to increase in revenue at checkpoints. The success of this new regime was hinged on the fact that since most drivers could not satisfy these elaborate measures, they were encouraged by the police to bribe their way through.   The motivation of course, was to increase the daily income of all and sundry in the force, according to rank.

"But ironically, instead of Olanko's share to rise by the day, it fell by the day. Troubled, he raised the issue with his friends, thinking the misfortune had befallen them as well, and that the initiators of the new, money-spinning measures had become greedy. But he was to learn, to his utter disbelief and shock, that their own income was rising by the day, and indeed one or two of his frugal friends had built mansions in their villages, from the money they had been receiving, since the cumbersome traffic regulations were introduced. Olanko got mad, and then characteristically calmed down. He had always believed in the Spanish proverb that vengeance was a dish best eaten cold. He knew one of his enemies was behind his misfortune, that it was not an oversight.   But who it was, he did not immediately know. It did not take long however, for he had a shrewd mind in such matters, to locate the brain behind his misfortune. He was also helped by his adversary, a deputy superintendent, who went about boasting that he had returned a past injury.

"Like the vulture he was, Olanko waited two full years for everybody, including his adversary, to forget the incident, in the belief that he had forgotten and forgiven. When he was ready, he walked into the officer's house undetected, and killed him in his sleep, suffocating him with a pillow."

Posted On Wednesday, 21 March 2012 19:39 Written by

The land self-interest grows from shore to shore for fear that plenty should attain the poor – Lord Byron.

Drunken in rage and hatred for the state of Israel, torn apart within by inordinate quest for power, wealth and relevance, the Palestinian people have remained puppets in Arab world. Every dictator and every terrorist in the Middle East justifies their abhorrent actions in defence of Palestinian people. Their leaders have always used them to serve their selfish whims and caprices while strutting the world media stage as fighting for the interest of their people and against injustice from the state of Israel. For example, after July 25, 2000 meeting in Camp David between the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat brokered by Bill Clinton, Arafat returned to his supporters as a hero who stood his ground against the pressure of almighty “infidels”. 

He refused an offer the world knows the Palestinian people are very unlikely to have again. Ehud Barak had offered Arafat about 90 percent of the West Bank, the entire Gaza stripe, and East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state. In addition, international fund would be established to compensate Palestinians for their property loss. Having known that the state of Israel has come to stay, there is only one reason Arafat would have rejected this unexpected offer, greed. At that point, Yasser Arafat as a symbol of victim hood had grown extraordinarily wealthy out of the fund of international donors which he didn’t want to lose to building a nation. 

He had insisted that all the refugees be allowed to return to the lands they had owned prior to 1967, an excessive request he was sure Israel would never accede to and that left Palestinians’ future on his discretion. He wasn’t just ready to surrender that status and picking up the burden and responsibility of building a functioning society for the Palestinian people. These were the realities behind the façade called Arafat. 

This is not peculiar to Arafat or the Palestinian authorities but it has also riddled the political leadership in Africa which has become the breeder of insecurity in our world today. In 1953 Nigeria, the commotion generated by the motion for self government moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro resulted in the North deciding that the region shall have complete legislative and executive autonomy with respect to all matters except defence, external affairs (including currency regulation and exchange), customs and West African research institutions. This arrangement if it had been allowed to stay would have entrenched fiscal federalism and the elimination of commonplace oligarchy in the north. 

Out of the 51 years of our nation hood, the North has ruled a staggering 36 years controlling the oil wealth and directing the whole sectors of our nation including education, commerce, works and housing, banking and so on. We have tasted of the regimes and administrations of different hands from the North and most of them had smooth tenure and regime run as demigods of this country at their various times. The philosophy of fatalism was established along side hegemonic oligarchy by the feudal lords in the North to serve their continuous desire for total control above others often regarded as the Talakawas

The Talakawas are the down trodden, mainly uneducated and simple-minded individuals whose minds have been religiously and ethnically warped and condemned to everlasting subserviency in the hands of the northern oligarchs. The Talakawas have watched the émigré from the Southern part of the country who were nobody when they arrived as they transformed into affluent individuals even better than their iconic oligarchs and some sparks of questions ignited in their minds.  As the strong holds of divine predestination and fatalism in the subconscious minds of the Talakawas began to dissipate leading to disillusionment, the northern oligarchs proved once more to be genius by re-directing the Talakawas’ anger toward the émigrés in the North.

 They have been managing the wrath of the Talakawas expertly to avoid its backlash by blaming the South just the way the Palestinian authorities blame the Jews of all their problems. The insecurity that is going on in the North can go on for ages without the oligarchs being affected financially because their major investments are in the South and their loots cooling off in the banks in far places like Europe, Asia and their new financial territories like the Oceania countries and far east.

Out of the Talakawas emerged the Almajirai who are shown to religion and religion alone all their lives. Most of them were abandoned by their families at various Qur’anic schools and many do not even know their parents or their roots. They don’t understand the life of love because nobody has shown them love. The society abandoned them, the government never noticed them and the most wrongful of them all is being scorned by the same iconic oligarchs whose political and economic activities created them. They grow in observance of the disparity between what they were told and what really exist in the same environment. They became disenchanted from the ambiguous pious lifestyles of their leaders who castigate and condemn others both within and outside their faith.

The irreconcilable realities they faced birthed their own interpretation of how they believe their faith should be practiced and they found willing mentors in Al-qeada and other terrorist groups. Out of Almajirai came the Boko Haram “warriors” and sworn enemies of western influence. They have seen the success of Hamas in Palestrina as they now dictate to the world’s largest stateless and homeless people and can’t see why they can’t replicate same here in Nigeria. What Hamas did to PLO is the aspiration of Boko Haram on Nigerian people as we journey into uncertain future in this water and oil like country. Where are those little Amajiris in 70s, 80s, and 90s? Who and what have them become today? What are their contributions and their capacity to contribute to the society? If we refuse to answer these questions, we can vividly look into our future with little Almajiris of today. 

Obi Ebuka Onochie

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From Port-Harcourt

 

Posted On Sunday, 29 July 2012 18:22 Written by

The management of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria’s internet newspaper, and organizers of the Xclusivenigeria Got Great Talent Show 2012, wishes to inform all participants to this year’s event, and the general public, that due to unforeseen circumstances, “we have been advised by our partners to postpone the show. Consequently, the Xclusivenigeria Got Great Talent Show First Edition, XNGGT, earlier scheduled for Saturday July 28 2012, at 2-6pm, at the studios of NTA-ETV, at Tejuosho, Yaba, Lagos, will no longer hold. The show has been postponed on the advice of our partners. A new date will be announced in due course.”

A statement released yesterday evening by Messrs Babatunde Rafiu, and Carl Abubakar, executive editors ofwww.xclusivenigeria.com, and members of the organizing committee of the XNGGT 2012, said the “organizers hereby regret all inconveniences caused by this sudden postponement. We especially want to express out deep-felt regards to our numerous contestants for their tenacity and passion. We have taken this decision on the advice of our partners. A new date will be announced in due course.”

Messrs Rafiu and Abubakar said further: “We want to seize this opportunity to urge our contestants to bear with us, and keep honing their craft. We will contact each and every one of you personally, and hope to meet with you in due course. Please ensure to look forward to a new date to be announced in due course. Once again, please accept our heartfelt apologies.”

 

Xclusivenigeria Got Great Talent Show Season 1 Edition in Lagos...watch out for new date and venue

 

Xclusive Nigeria's Got Great Talent Show Season 1 in Lagos: Are you talented? Are you an aspiring comedian, musician, singer, dancer, actor, actress, performer? This is your chance.

Our country Nigeria has got great talent. There is no question about that. All over Nigeria, in villages, towns and cities, young men and women, and even the not-so-young, are waiting for an opportunity to show-case their God-given talents to the world, and profit from it. The entertainment business is a billion dollar business all over the world, and this is true in Nigeria as it is true in any country of the world. In the United States, think of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Maria Carey, and Lady Gaga, to mention only a few. In the United Kingdom, think of The Beatles, the Spice Girls etc.

In our own country Nigeria, think of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, King Sunny Ade, 9ice, D'bang, Genevieve Nnaji, Jalade Ekeinde Omotola, Femi Kuti and what have you. In the world of comedy, the list of superstars who have gone from nothing to something, or from zero to hero, is also endless. Truly Nigeria's got great talent. The Xclusive Nigeria's Got Great Talent Show an annual entertainment event which seeks to provide a platform for budding musicians, singers, comedians, dancers etc, to show-case their talents to the world.

 The new date and time wil be announced in due course. If you wish to be a part of this entertainment event, please contact the: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



 

Posted On Sunday, 29 July 2012 17:50 Written by

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