Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: November 2017

Ex-President Robert Mugabe is reportedly worth more than $1bn despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.

Mugabe’s wealth has come under the microscope following a military coup earlier in the week.

The 93-year-old dictator has accumulated significant wealth during his rule under which thousands of people have been killed over the past 37 years.

Local media reports suggest a small part of his fortune was reaped from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits. Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co.

He has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers, while he also reportedly acquired 15 acres of land during land seizures in 2000.

According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by the whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75bn worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.

It said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours his assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland.”

Opposition politicians have claimed the Mugabes own 14 farms in the bankrupt country, which would be in contravention of the constitution, which limits land holdings.

The best known is the Omega Dairy farm, one of the largest dairy farms in southern Africa.

Although the family has claimed not to be wealthy, Mugabe has flaunted his wealth in the past. Just three years ago, he famously dined on elephant and lion meat at his lavish 90th birthday celebrations.

Mugabe’s home in Harare is said to be extraordinarily opulent but it’s not the only mansion in his property portfolio. The president purchased a $5.2m mansion in Hong Kong in 2013 and also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex, UK, which was estimated to be worth about $40m before it became a construction site.

He is also said to own a custom-built Mercedes Benz s600L that is able to withstand AK-47 bullets, landmines and grenades. It also features a CD and DVD player, internet access and anti-bugging devices.

The Citizen reported that Mugabe — who is a trained teacher — also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: a colonial-era British luxury car so exclusive, only 18 were ever manufactured.

The vintage black car is estimated to be worth more than Zimbabwe’s entire GDP.
(News.com)

Published in Headliners

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said on Friday that he resigned from the All Progressives Congress because the party had failed Nigerian youths.

Atiku announced on his website that the ruling APC was a dying party that never took youths into account.

He said the future belonged to young people and that he joined the APC to facilitate a bright future for the young and old.

“The party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people; how can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others, who accepted the invitation to join the APC, were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage.

“Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?’’

Atiku also hinged his resignation on fractionalisation of the APC, resulting from “arbitrariness and unconstitutionality’’ over the years.

He said it was for the same reason that he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalisation, the APC has adopted the same practices.

“It has even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced,’’ he added.

Atiku said that after due consultations, he had resigned from the APC to take time to ponder his future. (NAN)

Published in Politics
Friday, 24 November 2017 17:15

Atiku leaves APC

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has defected from the All Progressives Congress.

Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Friday, recalled how he joined the ruling party in 2013.

Below is the statement:

“On the 19th of December, 2013, I received members of the All Progressives Congress at my house in Abuja. They had come to appeal to me to join their party after my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had become factionalized as a result of the special convention of August 31, 2013.

“The fractionalization of the Peoples Democratic Party on August 31, 2013 had left me in a situation where I was, with several other loyal party members, in limbo, not knowing which of the parallel executives of the party was the legitimate leadership.

“It was under this cloud that members of the APC made the appeal to me to join their party, with the promise that the injustices and failure to abide by its own constitution which had dogged the then PDP, would not be replicated in the APC and with the assurance that the vision other founding fathers and I had for the PDP could be actualized through the All Progressives Congress.

“It was on the basis of this invitation and the assurances made to me that I, being party-less at that time, due to the fractionalization of my party, accepted on February 2, 2014, the hand of fellowship given to me by the All Progressives Congress.

“On that day, I said ‘it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision” to accept the invitation to join the All Progressives Congress.

“Like you, I said that because I believed that we had finally seen the beginnings of the rebirth of the new Nigeria of our dreams which would work for all of us, old and young.

“However, events of the intervening years have shown that like any other human and like many other Nigerians, I was fallible.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced.

“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo,  he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had ‘not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance’.

“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr. President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties.’

“Since that memorandum was written up until today, nothing has been done to reverse the treatment meted out to those of us invited to join the All Progressives Congress on the strength of a promise that has proven to be false. If anything, those behaviours have actually worsened.

“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”

He stated, “After due consultation with my God, my family, my supporters and the Nigerian people whom I meet in all walks of life Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa” has resigned from the APC.

Published in Headliners

The funeral service of the late wife of a former Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Dame Patricia Anenih, has begun at St. Anthony Catholic Cathedral, Mission road, Uromi, Edo State.

The late Patricia died on April 16, 2017, in London at the age of 76.

She is survived by the husband, Chief Tony Anenih, several children, including the late Eugene who passed on in May, and grandchildren.

Among the dignitaries present at the service on Saturday were former President Goodluck Jonathan; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and his Gombe State counterpart, Ibrahim Dankwambo.

Also at the funeral Mass were the immediate past Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole‎; a former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; and his predecessor, Chief James Ibori.

L-R Former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole; Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; former President Goodluck Jonathan; wife of a former Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Justice Maryann; and Chief Tony Anenih at the funeral service of his late wife, Dame Patricia, in Uromi, Edo State…on Saturday.

Others include serving members of the National Assembly from Edo, former ministers, top government functionaries, and chieftains from the PDP and the All Progressives Congress.

Among the NASS members present were the ‎senator representing Edo Central where the ‎PDP national leader comes from, Mr. Clifford Ordia, and that of Edo South, Mr. Matthew Uroghide.

The event also attracted captains of industry, like the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; and Capt. Hosa Okunbor.

Published in News & Stories

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has addressed a packed stadium, vowing to serve all citizens.

He said he felt "deeply humbled" to take the role.

And he said he was "not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day."

He paid tribute to his predecessor Robert Mugabe - to muted applause - calling him "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader".

Mr Mugabe left office dramatically this week after 37 years of authoritarian rule. His departure followed a power struggle in which Mr Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the then-first lady, to take up the presidency.

Mr Mnangagwa fled the country but returned to a hero's welcome and on Friday struck a conciliatory tone.

"The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country," he said.

"I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation."

Although Mr Mnangagwa has unseated Zimbabwe's long-time ruler, he is still associated by many with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since the country gained independence in 1980.

Emmerson Mnangagwa in numbers

He was the country's spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.

How did the inauguration unfold?

Tens of thousands of people packed the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, to witness the inauguration. Pop singer Jah Prayzer provided the entertainment and, as people in the crowd danced, the atmosphere was closer to that of a concert.

Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries, filed in to cheers.

Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru - who both had their sights on the presidency at various times - were there.

Mr Mnangagwa was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would "be faithful to Zimbabwe", "protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe" and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.

Mr Mnangagwa was accompanied by his wife Auxilia and gave her a kiss after the green presidential sash was placed around his neck.

Was Mr Mugabe there?

No - and the official reason given was that at 93, the former president needed to rest.

But the fact he is not attending is a reminder that this is no ordinary transition, the BBC's Andrew Harding reports, and that despite Mr Mugabe's official resignation he was forced out by the military.

On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Photo: 8 November 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
President Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace

Local media are reporting that Mr Mnangagwa has offered the Mugabe family "maximum security and welfare".

The former president "expressed his good wishes and support for the incoming president," the Herald newspaper reports.

How did Zimbabwe get to this point?

The news on Tuesday that Mr Mugabe was stepping down sparked wild celebrations across the country.

It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.

He had been under pressure since the military took control of the country a week before, seizing the headquarters of the national broadcaster.

Although Mr Mugabe was largely under house arrest for several days, he appeared to be resisting pressure to stand down.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare to urge him to go. The demonstration was led by veterans of the country's war of independence, who last year turned against him.

On Sunday, Zanu-PF sacked Mr Mugabe as its leader. Two days later, he resigned as president.

In his letter, he said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

Will the change be good for the economy?

Zimbabwe's economy is in a very bad state. It has not recovered fully from crises in the last decade, when rampant inflation grew so bad the country had to abandon its own currency. Now, according to some estimates, 90% of people there are unemployed.

Its main industrial index has slumped by 40% since last week's military intervention and the stock market has shed $6bn (£4.5bn) in a week.

Analysts say the market is now correcting itself, optimistic of a change of economic policy under Mr Mnangagwa.

However, the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid.

In his speech, Mr Mnangagwa said he would base a new economic policy on agriculture and foreign direct investment. He has pledged to create jobs.

What comes next?

On Thursday, Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC party called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe's regime.

 
Leader of the opposition MDC party, Morgan Tsvangirai, warns of a "power retention agenda"

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the "culture of violence" and "culture of corruption" had to be changed after "after so many years of Zanu-PF misrule".

It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.

Mr Mnangagwa confirmed in his speech that elections would be held as planned.

Published in Headliners

Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa flew home on Wednesday to take power after the resignation of Robert Mugabe put an end to 37 years of authoritarian rule.

Mnangagwa flew into Harare’s Manyame airbase from South Africa and met key members of the ruling ZANU-PF there before heading to the nerve-centre of power, State House, for a briefing, his aide Larry Mavhima told AFP.

He will be sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony on Friday, officials said. 

Mugabe’s iron grip ended on Tuesday in a shock announcement to parliament where MPs had convened to impeach the 93-year-old who dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life for decades.

He was last seen in public on Friday and gave a televised address on Sunday but neither he, nor his wife Grace, have been seen since, with their whereabouts unknown.

On the streets, the news that his long and often brutal leadership was over sparked wild celebrations which lasted late into the night, with crowds dancing and cheering ecstatically amid a cacophony of car horns.

Mnangagwa, 75, was sacked by the president on November 6 in a move that pushed infuriated army chiefs to intervene, triggering a series of events which led to Mugabe’s ouster.

Excited crowds
Ahead of his arrival, hundreds of people gathered outside ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare in the hope he would address them, some holding placards welcoming him home, while others wore shirts emblazoned with his likeness.

A former key Mugabe ally, Mnangagwa had fled the country after his dismissal, saying he would not return without guarantees of his safety.

His sacking was the result of an increasingly bitter succession battle with first lady Grace, who had been pushing to take over from her ageing husband.

In a highly symbolic scene shortly after his resignation, a man took down a portrait of Mugabe from a wall inside the building where MPs had assembled for the extraordinary session to impeach the defiant president.

Another person replaced it with an image of the ousted vice president. 

Mnangagwa is a political veteran long-time party loyalist who has served in a host of different cabinet positions since independence in 1980 and who has close ties with the military.

But critics describe him as a ruthless hardliner behind years of state-sponsored violence, warning he could prove just as authoritarian as his mentor.

And Rinaldo Depagne of the International Crisis Group said Mugabe’s departure “does not necessarily mean more democracy”.

Meeting Zuma
At Harare’s Manyame airbase, senior military commanders and a gaggle of journalists were waiting for him as his business jet touched down at around 1400 GMT, AFP correspondents at the scene said.

Before leaving South Africa where he had been staying, Pretoria published a photograph of Mnangagwa shaking hands with President Jacob Zuma following a meeting earlier in the day, with both men grinning broadly.

Mugabe’s resignation capped a chaotic week in which the military seized control and tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets in an unprecedented show of dissent against Mugabe.

“We want our new president to make sure power hungry gangs don’t infiltrate,” said Talent Chamunorwa, 37, a brick seller.

“We hope to be able to access our money from the bank come December and the US dollar must come back.”

He was referring to Zimbabwe’s chronic shortage of cash and a mistrusted “bond note” scheme intended to be pegged to the greenback but trading at a lower rate in reality.

Outstayed his welcome
Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since independence and until his exit, he was also the world’s oldest serving head of state.

But efforts to position his 52-year-old wife Grace as his successor were his undoing.

Although Mugabe’s fate remains unknown, ZANU-PF has said he deserved to be treated with respect after leading the country for nearly four decades.

“He deserves to rest and I believe every Zimbabwean agrees with this,” said ruling party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo.

“But I think he had overstayed the hospitality of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Last week’s military takeover had all the hallmarks of a coup, but the generals stopped short of forcing Mugabe out.

As the crisis grew, the ZANU-PF party, an instrument of Mugabe’s brutal reign, removed him as party leader and began parliamentary proceedings to have him impeached.

‘Extraordinary opportunity’
The international community hailed his exit as a chance to reshape Zimbabwe’s future, with British Prime Minister Theresa May saying it offered “an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression” that characterised Mugabe’s rule.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it offered Zimbabwe “an extraordinary opportunity to set itself on a new path”.

And Beijing, which became a major political and economic partner of Harare as it was shunned by the west, said it respected Mugabe’s decision, describing him as a “good friend of the Chinese people”.

Most Zimbabweans had only known life under Mugabe, whose time in power was defined by violent suppression, economic collapse and international isolation.

Published in Headliners

“African leaders do not resign, that’s cowardice and the fact that UK Prime Minister-David Cameron has just resigned confirms everything I have said about him—he is weak and a coward.” President (now Ex) Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2016.

The recent confusion about what is happening in Zimbabwe, with President Robert Mugabe refusing to resign, (now he has finally resigned, 21 November 2017) even when pressured and being pampered has again brought to the fore the obstinacy that exists in Africa when it comes to resigning or relinquishing power voluntarily.

In Mugabe’s case, as a friend from Kenya wrote to me, the Zimbabwean Defence Forces are merely exercising “soft power” – getting others to want the outcomes you want – and co-opting people rather than coercing them. This can be contrasted with “hard power”, which is the use of force and coercion. In other words, the Zimbabweans are being very civilised about removing Mr Mugabe, even after 37 years of holding absolute power.

In our modern history, after most African countries became independent from their several colonial masters, very few African leaders relinquished power voluntarily. In most cases, they are forcibly removed, and in some cases, their ends were not pretty. Did they need to go through the shame, or put their family and even people through such terrible and uncertain times? In some cases, the whole country is plunged into civil strife, instability, poverty, and misery.

African and Nigeria’s top political leaders and their cohorts in the civil service don’t resign as a way of assuming political or civic responsibility for problems in their portfolios. They very rarely account publicly for their responsibilities, or own up when problems arise. Instead, the usual trend is to sit tight and wait to be forcibly pushed out or, if they are lucky, die in office.

Equally rare are resignations of senior people associated with, or in government. Even public pressure fails to force them to resign. In other words, they do not take public culpability for their actions or in most cases, inactions.

Have you ever wondered why public officers (appointed or elected), officials, civil servants, and politicians never offer to resign or step aside while investigations go on when they are accused of wrongdoing and corruption issues?

I did a bit of research and thinking, and these are the reasons that popped out:

  • Primarily, the Indiscipline, Impunity, and Disregard for the laws of the land, because they are not strictly, even if partially, implemented and enforced, allows a lot of impunity from everybody, most especially, people in government. This kind of thing hardly happens in private sector.
  • Secondly, some of our warped cultural and moral values also give backing to the fact that people in high places deem it as a loss of face for them to resign. Resignation or stepping aside when accused of wrongdoing is tantamount to admission of guilt. And it seems alien to our culture to admit guilt when millions of people are looking up to you as a “Big Man”. Resign? No, Sir, Africans don’t resign, they are either forced out or die in office.
  • Third, Cover-up: If I resign when accused of wrongdoing, then I am exposing myself, exposing my arse, because if I do that, then I will not be able to conceal or destroy evidence. I will not be able to have a measure of control over the impending investigation. No, I must be there when they are conducting their so-called farcical investigations!
  • Fourthly, my enemies have won if I resign. God forbid bad thing! I will be back down at the bottom of the ladder and all those I climbed over to get to the top will ridicule me and get back at me. All arrows shot at me by my enemies shall not prosper. It will not be in their eyes that I will go down.
  • Number five; why resign when I know I won’t be found guilty anyway? I will weather the storm. Isn’t it Nigerians? They will shout and cry and splash the news of my alleged wrongdoing all over the newspapers, and let me just keep a low profile, go to the church and mosque, do some praying and offer tithes, and God will deliver me from the hands of mine enemies, and in a few months, the brouhaha will die down.
  • Sixth, Association: Am I the only one doing it? Others are doing it too and not resigning, and getting away with it, so what is mine to leap into the water and drown? Naah! If I go down, others involved will have to go down too.
  • Seventh, the word RESIGN or as we say it in the UK, GO ON GARDEN LEAVE does not exist in the Nigerian lexis. It is alien. Virtually unknown and unheard of. It never crosses the mind that that is the right thing to do, both under the law and morally.
  • Eighth, it is Disrespectful to be asked to resign or leave your position in government. For many “Big Men” in public or political office, we take it as a personal insult of the highest order to be asked to proceed on temporary leave or to resign. That means you don’t respect them or their office.
  • Ninth, according to ex-President Robert Mugabe above, it is Cowardice for an African leader or in high position of public trust to resign. What the heck!!! The man is a warrior of many ages past, coming from a long line of fighters and celebrated heroes. He must die at the warfront as a valiant soldier. He/she could even have descended from one of the Fathers of the Nation, an icon in his own right. No, you don’t disgrace such people even if they are wallowing in culpability and shame. There must be a way out, and that way is to stay put.
  • Tenth, according to Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, the Editor of GhanaCelebrities.com, African politicians are always on “a desperate run to remain at post because politics is the source of his daily bread and fused with their power drunkenness, ego and greed”. The same could be said of the civil servants and other elected or appointed public officials too.
  • And eleventh, unbelievably, there are always sycophants and hangers-on, who have benefitted from the official’s illegal and ill-gotten largesse, who will be spurring him on to stay and fight, because if their man resigns, then “chop don comot for dem mouth too”. Simple as that. Yet, if the man falls, they don’t go to prison or disgrace with him, they find another source of easy income. That’s life anyway.

It is indeed difficult for the African public official to resign from an office or position or to relinquish power when he’s a leader. In a way, I have some pity and understanding for them; they are products of the society that begets them, so it is difficult to depart from the norm and genetic trait.. Now you know the reason our political emancipation, socio-economic and human developments have always been in jeopardy.

The good news however, is that this phenomenon, a typical African trait, is changing. Leaders and public officials are finding it increasingly difficult to hide, and to sweep thing under the carpet. The people are becoming more aware of issues of governance, development, and service delivery, and the misdemeanours, corruption, and other malfeasances (conduct by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law) of political leaders, public officials and civil servants are increasingly being exposed. It is not business as usual.

They must be made accountable and responsible for their actions, or inactions. They must be made to know the “seats of power or authority” that they occupy is not divine; not their birth right and is only temporary. Power is transient; it does not belong to any one person. And power, when you have it, must not be abused and is to be used justly and fairly for the benefit of the weak.

Let’s keep applying pressure, all kinds of pressure, on our leaders and public servants. Let them know and feel the power of the people, by whose grace they got into power, instead of them alluding to God for letting them get into power.

Let the Truth be told always!!!!!!

 

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Published in Parliament
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 18:16

BY ANTHONY CHUKA KONWEA, P.E.: GO HOME AND DIE  

How times have changed. What do they teach students at medical schools these days? To be heartless, devoid of sympathy and bereft of empathy? In the good old days, medical doctors could not bring it upon themselves to tell terminally ill people or their close relatives that their death is not only certain, but that it is around the corner. They would go about it in a round-about manner like this:

“Papa (or mama) you have lived a good life” (a barefaced lie, they probably do not know the patient from Adam or Eve, as to know whether he or she has lived a good or horrible life), “and God has blessed you abundantly to have lived so long.” 

“Look at all your children surrounding you on your sickbed and showering you with so much love and affection. You have trained and raised your children admirably well and I am pretty sure they are all successful in their respective professions and vocations. You have seen your children’s children. What more can any one of us ask from God?”

“It is well eh, Papa. God is in absolute control. There is nothing to fear. We shall do our best, but God will do the rest (What they actually mean is, when God calls you, who are we to stop you from answering the call).”

It is not so nowadays. Things have changed so much. Medical Doctors no longer tell you that they will do their best while God will do the rest. If you are unlucky to fall into their hands in a desperate situation, they actually give you and your family the approximate date and time God will call you.

I remember when my townsman Elder Big Harry a.k.a. Dirty Harry (behind his back of course) was terminally ill. The news spread around our little town like wild fire. People would tell one another about his sickness in hush, hush tones just like these two married women I accidentally eavesdropped upon.

“Mama Junior, have you heard that Big Harry has fallen ill?”

“No Mama Beauty. Which Big Harry are you talking about?  You mean Dirty Harry?”

“Yes oh, it is he that I am talking about.”

“No that is not possible. Is it not just a few weeks ago that I caught Dirty Harry sneaking into a hotel in the Big City with his grand-daughter’s class-mate? You cannot be serious. People like Dirty Harry don’t ever fall sick. Sickness seems to be reserved for simple folks such as you and me.”

“What? You mean you caught Dirty Harry with a small girl in the Big City? The man is truly shameless. He is never satisfied with women. He wants to have all the women and girls in the world.”

“By the way tell me Mama Beauty. What disease is Dirty Harry suffering from?

“It is terrible oh. What disease again will he suffer from. I heard it is a man-and-woman disease but of a type that medical doctors have not seen before and which lacks any known cure. “

“Ahh, Dirty Harry will kill me-oh.” Mama Junior ejaculated involuntarily.

A sly realization suddenly came upon Mama Beauty. 

“Wait-oh, wait, Mama Junior. Don’t tell me that you too have been seeing Dirty Harry.”

‘Shut up Mama Beauty. Is it only me? You think I don’t know about you and Dirty Harry? Let me tell you, Dirty Harry boasted to me that you were one of his girl-friends. Can you deny it that Dirty Harry was taking you regularly to Paradise Hotel in the Big City. He even showed me some nude pictures he took of you when you were fast asleep.” 

“He what? Ye-eh are you serious? You mean Dirty Harry actually took nude pictures of me and he kept it all this while? No wonder after I broke with him to save my marriage, he was boasting to me even up till last month that whenever he wants me he is sure to get me.”

“The man is a Devil. Who knows how many other people apart from yourself he has shown my pictures to. Now that he is sick, I hope the pictures don’t fall into the wrong hands. Ah - ah Mama Junior I am in serious trouble. What will I tell my husband if somebody comes across the pictures and sends it to him or decides to blackmail me with it?”

“Mama Beauty, your own is even good that it is only pictures that you are worried about. I pity myself. Only two weeks ago, I lied to my husband that I was going for all-night revival crusade with the Women Fellowship in the Big City. But I left the crusade venue and went to hook-up with Dirty Harry in a hotel.”

“If only I had known that the man was sick, I would not have given myself again to him or I would have used protection. I only pray that he has not infected me and that I have not in turn infected my husband. Ah - ah Dirty Harry is a wicked old man. What will happen to my children if both my husband and myself are infected?”

“Don’t speak so loudly Mama Junior. Don’t you know that the walls also have ears?”

“Yes -oh Mama Beauty. You are right of course. We have to be discreet otherwise we will end up exposing ourselves with our own mouths. But tell me what are the symptoms of the disease. I mean is Dirty Harry emaciating?”

“Emaciating? Far from it. I heard he is swelling. You know. I mean. Eh - em. You know. His manhood. I heard it scratches him incessantly and when he scratches it, it swells uncontrollably.” “One fat woman who twice went to visit with him in the hospital said the first time she visited with him, his manhood was as thick as her arms. The second time she went a couple of days later, it was as thick as her thighs. I guess by now it will be as thick as her stomach.” 

“Ah - ah Mama Beauty what on earth have I gotten myself into. My husband was scratching himself down there yesterday. And I threatened him that I hope he has not been fooling around. O what a mess. How much did I even collect from Dirty Harry to expose my family to such grave danger? The money the old fool gave me could not even fetch me a decent Brazilian hair wig.” 

“Mama Junior, were it not that life and death is involved, I would have said that your case is even better than mine. At least you can always deny meeting with Dirty Harry. But in my case, how can I deny it if my nude picture starts circulating among idle gossipers on the internet?”

“You know what Mama Junior, let us travel to the Big City tomorrow and assess his condition in the hospital. We will pretend to be sympathizing with his daughters who are our friends.  I hope he will be gracious enough on his death bed to tell me where he hid my nude pictures.   

“You have made a very good point Mama Beauty. Who knows whether Dirty Harry also took secret nude pictures of me too. The man is terrible, I don’t put it beyond him. He showed me nude pictures of many married women I know in our town. O what a fool I was. Agreed the man gave me some good money. But after the first time why did I keep going back to him? After-all the money he gave me continued to reduce after each encounter, yet I continued to go back to him. I must have been bewitched.”

“Mama Junior admit that you were enjoying it too much. To tell you the truth, Dirty Harry has magical ways and means. It took supreme effort for me to stop going to see him.”

“Mama Beauty, we shall go to the City tomorrow. Apart from asking him if he took nude pictures of me, I hope I can have the opportunity to ask the doctors and nurses if there is a medication someone can take to prevent the organ-swelling disease from reaching the full-blown stage. If that is hopefully the case then I will take it and find a way of tricking my husband into taking it too. May God help both of us in our predicament.”

As both women parted company, alarmed and dismayed by what I had just heard, I said to myself that I too will go and pay a hospital visit to Big Harry to ascertain what was going on.

I travelled to the big City early the next morning, a three-hour journey. By the time I got to the hospital, I discovered to my utmost surprise that the place was swarming with my fellow denizens particularly women from our town. Young, old, single, married, it seemed all the able-bodied adult women and girls from our town had converged there.

A health worker soon pulled me aside.

“Young man, are you from the same town as that patient in the VIP Ward called Elder Big Harry?”

“Yes, he is my kinsman.”

“He must be a very popular man who has touched many lives in your town judging from the way many of your towns people have been trooping here to visit with him since he was admitted.”

“Yes of course Sir. He is a very popular and wealthy Chief from my town who has touched many women.”

The irony in my statement was lost on the health worker as he declared. “Hmmm. Women are always more spiritually perceptive than men. Women instinctively recognize great men whose greatness may be lost on their fellow men when they see them. See apart from yourself and his sons, I can count the number of men from your town who have come here to see Elder Big Harry on the fingers of my palm. But the number of women from your town who come here daily is unquantifiable.” 

“You are right in that assessment of relative numbers Sir,” I answered politely.

Basking in my endorsement of his viewpoint, the health worker said expansively. “Although I am not a Christian, I read the Bible to expand my world-view and it struck me that when all the disciples apart from St John abandoned Jesus Christ on the cross, only the women stood by him.”

I wanted to confront the Health worker for daring to compare our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Creator of the world with a lecherous, dirty old man like Elder Big Harry, but decided to endure the sacrilege. Instead I asked him.

“Is it certain then that Elder Big Harry cannot recover from this ailment?”

“Medically speaking, there is no hope. This is a strange ailment which we have never come across in Medical Science. It seems to affect only his male organ which is swelling uncontrollably, yet biopsies show that it is not cancer but an allergic reaction triggering infection. That being said however, we are unable to pin-point the actual vector behind the allergy or its manner of transmission.”

“Having observed that the only way any person can be similarly affected is by coitus and noting that in his present swollen condition, coitus is impossible meaning that no other person is at risk, we the hospital management have taken the decision to discharge him so that he can enjoy his last few days in the company of his beloved people thereby preventing these women from streaming in here and causing a daily commotion.”

As he said this, he led me into the VIP ward where Elder Big Harry was the sole patient-occupant.

I could not recognize the emaciated figure lying on the bed neither could I fail to notice the enormous protrusion from his waist. It appeared all his life energies were being diverted from his body to his waist region.

As he began to address the patient, I realized the man I was conversing with was the Chief Medical Doctor.

“Elder Big Harry, I must be frank with you Sir. Your ailment is beyond us and medical science. It appears you have at most a couple of days left to live. We decided it is better for you to spend those days in your own house, in your own town and in the company of your townspeople particularly the women who seem to love you so much. “ 

“You must have been a very kind man who touched so many lives as attested to by the presence of all these women and girls numbering in their hundreds some of who are right here with us and majority outside this room. We shall convey you home so that you can have a couple of days to tidy up your estate and bid farewell to your people.”

“Okay women you are advised to leave now as we prepare to transport the Elder by ambulance back to your hometown where you can be with him these next couple of days and bid him final farewell according to your customs and tradition.”

One woman who I recognized to be a married woman could take it no longer. “Doctor please permit me a few minutes to discuss with Elder. Our tradition and customs back home will not afford me the opportunity to have private audience with him. All the women present shouted simultaneously “I want private audience with Elder.” The news spread around like wild fire to the women and girls outside who joined the chorus. “Private audience, private audience, they chanted.”

It appeared as if a riot was brewing. It took the personal feeble intervention of the dying man to bring order to the riotous women.

“Doctor, I will only have private audience with this young man whose late grandfather was my bosom friend and whose family integrity I can vouch for.” Elder Big Harry was referring to me. “After I am no more, the women can meet him individually to collect whatever they want from me. He shall give what they ask to them at his own personal discretion and convenience.”

With this the agitating women were brusquely ushered out and I was left alone with Elder Big Harry.

The dying man’s eyes focused on me. “Young man, I have lived a very bad life. Wealth is good, but too much wealth or power as I have had is dangerous because it makes you do and get away with many evil things which otherwise you would not be exposed to.”

“You see all those women and girls outside, I had numerous liaisons with each and every one of them even including the married ones. Some of them bore children for me. Many others aborted for me. I gave them money beyond what they could ever hope to get from their husbands but as a precautionary measure I took compromising nude pictures of each and every one of them without their prior knowledge or consent as a sort of permanent control.”

“I realize that each one of them without exception is happy that I am dying but they all remain fearful because they suspect or have learnt that I have their nude pictures and are afraid of it falling into the wrong hands when I am no more.”

“I wish to unilaterally appoint you as Administrator of my Romantic Affairs and I shall tell you where all the nude pictures are. You know I cannot tell my own sons and family about things like this without eternally soiling my image. All the nude pictres are stored online at so-so and so place which you can access with so-so and so code. Review them and deal with the pictures as you deem fit.”

“Note that from this moment having taken you into confidence the women will grant me freedom to go home and die, but henceforth they will begin to pester you.”

“My son all evil be it adultery, be it murder or be it terrorism is bad and invariably enslaves its perpetrators.  Nothing you tell these women will convince them or free them from your hands except they publicly confess their individual affairs with me. For the rest of their lives they are subject to you provided you do not expose them publicly.”

“If you tell them you have not destroyed the pictures they will pester you.  Even if you tell them you have destroyed the pictures they will not believe you. They will still continue to pester you, fearful that you have stored secret copies elsewhere.”

“I am sorry young man, but that is my legacy for you. It is not for nothing that people are warned to steer clear of evil. When you associate with evil doers like adulterers or murderers or terrorists, you get to bear a share of their guilt.”

“You ought not to have come to see me on my death bed. Your inquisitiveness and curiosity for information that does not concern you has led you into a carrying a burden you shall bear as long as you and any one of these married women is alive. Thank you.”

Afterwards Elder Big Harry was packaged by the hospital and sent home to go and die.

As for me, my life would never be the same again as I unwittingly emerged as a captive inheritor of his dirty secrets and an unwilling bearer of his evil generational burden.

THE END   -

Published in Parliament

Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo says there is no better man for the Presidency than President Muhammadu Buhari.Okorocha said this while addressing leaders of the ‘Democratic Youths Congress for Buhari 2019,” who were on a courtesy visit to him at the Government House, Owerri on Tuesday.

He urged every Nigeria to support President Buhari for second term, adding that all but two Governors in the country, regardless of party affiliation, were in support of a second term for the President.

“President Buhari is the best for the country at the moment and that there could not have been a better option now.‘’I am a believer of Buhari and I made it clear years ago that if President Buhari is running for president, I will not run.

“Now God has chosen him to be the president of Nigeria and some of us are witnesses that Buhari was and is still the best for Nigeria at this material time,” he said.

Okorocha also said that Nigeria’s quick exit from economic recession was a testament to Buhari’s tenacity, adding that he had shelved his ambition in preference to support Buhari.

While appealing to others to extend the same level of support, he noted Buhari’s second term would bring about enhanced unity and peace of Nigeria.

“Supporting Buhari for a second tenure will bring about the new Nigeria we are talking about. This will put Nigeria first and the unity we are looking for will be guaranteed under this administration.

“Our nation is going through a challenging moment and we will require a man of his calibre to see us through this period.

“People should not use the Anambra election result to judge the support for Buhari as it does not reflect the support.

“Even the government and people of Anambra support President Buhari, what happened was that an internal disagreement among the leaders in APC in Anambra cost us the election.”

Earlier, the National Chairman of the group, Mr Kassim Kassim, said the group came to appeal to Okorocha to shelve his ambition of running for the office of the president of the country.

He noted that although Okorocha was well qualified to run, his support was needed to enable Buhari to complete his “good works for the nation.”

“With your track records, we would have gladly chosen you to run for 2019, but we have all endorsed Buhari and accepted that you lead us all the way in the support.

“We are begging and pleading that you lead all the governors of APC to support Buhari for what he has done and what he stands for in Nigeria.“With you on our side, victory is assured” Kassim said.

Published in News & Stories
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