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Onye Ji Madu N’Ala Ji Onweya!

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By Obi  Nwakanma
Nwanna, Many years ago, the General, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu spoke about the “Biafra of the mind.” Only a few, I think, understood him. Well, they say, only the deep speak to the deep.
But let me attempt here to tease out Dim Ojukwu’s prescription: the greatest proof of Igbo survival and aspiration must be to model, wherever Onye-Igbo stands, the ethos of innovation, excellence, ingenuity, and ability that marked the Igbo endeavor in Biafra. We must also use Biafra as the stepping stone to a higher vision of the Igbo place in the world.
There is no single proof or evidence today that the Igbo of this generation is capable of transforming any nation to which they lay claim. I have looked; I have studied the Igbo situation, and I have listened to my Igbo kinsmen, and I think something is fundamentally wrong: the Igbo are trapped in deadening hate, self-pity, and nostalgia. It is the kind of nostalgia that is both defeatist and deadly because it continues to romanticize the past while the future speeds away.
The Igbo cannot wait until they achieve Biafra or a separate nation in order to build and secure Igbo land. Soon after the end of the war, Igbo survivors of the war girded their loins and embarked on the work of restoration. With singular grit, they revived the economy of the East, and by 1979, just nine years after the end of the war, were ready to take on the rest of the nation again. We their children are a disgrace to the spirit of those men and women.
The Igbo are today a beggarly nation of impotent, lachrymal people now weeping about “marginalization” and waiting for Nigeria to collapse or let them go so that they will go and make something of themselves. This is an over-indulged generation. The last of the Igbo are old and dying; the current Igbo are “inferior Igbo.” They are just waiting for Godot.
Now, you say, the only time the Igbo will work is if power remains in the South. I think this is too simple. Take a look around you, where are those Igbo men and women? Which Igbo today have the sagacity of Zik, or the courage of Okpara, Mbakwe, or Ojukwu, the capacity of Ojike or Okigbo, the fierce pride and stabilizing force of the old Igbo women, the organizational acumen of an RBK Okafor, the selfless pride of those Igbo of the last generation, who always rose to the occasion when the Igbo summoned them to great causes, including giving their widows mite without question, for as long as “they Igbo have said…”
Now, what I’m trying to say, people, before I lose you, is that the Igbo have left the land, and the land has left the Igbo. There is incoherence. And an Incoherent people cannot run an independent nation, simple.
Bring proof to me that the Igbo have turned Igbo land into an oasis of prosperity different from elsewhere in Nigeria, and I shall agree that the current Igbo know exactly what they are saying. There is no Igbo state with a budget that is not bigger than the budget of the Republic of Ghana. Indeed, put together, the budget of all the states in Igbo land is bigger than the national budget of ten West African states. What have we done with it in terms of rebuilding public services? Creating liveable cities? Developing new infrastructure? Developing the Igbo world.
The North or the West has never run down our schools.
They did not dismantle the Government Colleges at Umuahia, Owerri, Afikpo, and the Queen’s School at Enugu.
They did not destroy our hospitals or primary schools.
They did not stop us from building our cultural infrastructure – Community centers; recreational centers, or building up our libraries; or public parks, or city centers, or trunk B & C feeder roads.
They did not destroy our civil service. They did not stymie the growth of our cities.
They did not forbid the Igbo from creating strategic means of employing their greatest resource – their highly trained manpower- and using them to create a powerful regional economy that would continue to startle West Africa.
The North or West did not say we should not build an efficient trans-regional transport metro system, by jointly developing the old Oriental lines, that would create a network of contacts all over the East and ease the strategic movement of people, or take advantage and rebuild, and expand the Rail system that connects Port-Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe, Ovim, Afikpo, Enugu, to Eha-Amufu. Even if the rail system is a federal project, there has never been a consortium of the Igbo states and a consortium of investors that have mounted pressure to force the Feds to hand off the Eastern Rail system, to be run as a regional Terminus. We have never made the argument.
Mbakwe threatened in 1981 that if the FGN did not build an airport in Owerri, he would mobilize and build one. He did it. He threatened that if they did not build the Petrochemical plant in Izombe, he would build one by 1984. The land for the construction of the Imo Petrochemical Plant was already cleared when the soldiers struck on the last day of 1983.
When Mbakwe arrived government house of Owerri in 1979, the three major cities in old Imo – Owerri, Aba, Umuahia still had houses operating “bucket latrines” and the cities still employed nightsoil men (ndi Oburu nsi) and ran waste landfills. The first statewide public safety and hygiene law passed under the Mbakwe administration gave every landlord and household in these cities 4 months and a tax rebate to change the infrastructure from the bucket system to the water system, failure of which the houses would be marked as public health hazard zones. This was fully accomplished in three months.
By 1982, there was a marked upsurge and population shift as more Igbo began to leave Lagos and other places to return to Owerri and invest and settle. Nobody told them to return, the conditions were simply made amenable. By 1984, Igbo businessmen, particularly in the North, were moving their money and opening accounts with the Imo state Progress Bank, and the capital was growing for both accessible credit and for capital borrowing for infrastructural development in the East.
I point this to simply suggest that there is nothing the Igbo wish to accomplish in Nigeria that anyone can stop if the Igbo hold down their lines. But we’ve deceived ourselves for too long – we have now made Nigeria into the convenient excuse for our own failures and self-indulgence. Now, there is a man called Onwuka Kalu. He gave the first N100, 000 as a donation towards the Imo state Airport Appeals Fund in Owerri in 1981/2. There is not a single plaque to honour this man’s gesture at that airport. It will not be the Federal government that will do it; it will be the initiative of those who put value to memory in Igbo land.
But in the Imo/Abia/Ebonyi/Anambra/Enugu divisions that now pervade the Igbo mind, no one will remember. This is no recipe for a people moving towards transformation. Let me now tell this whole truth: onweghi onye Ji Ndi Igbo, Ndi Igbo ji Onwe ha (no one is to blame for the Igbo predicament but Ndigbo). Those who wrestle with Ala, the Earth goddess, often forget that no one has ever lifted the earth. Ala-Igbo is the earth, Anaghi Apa ala Apa! (No one can lift the earth). Period.
The Igbo of this generation are wrestling with the earth left to them by their ancestors. And they are busy blaming everyone else for their condition. We who have done, “Ihe Nzere” should tell the truth, or may our tongues cleave to our gums.
Prof. Nwakanma teaches at the University of Central Florida, United States of America
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Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

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“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”

 

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CRIME

Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life

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Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

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While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

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Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks

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The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

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DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

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ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

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  • Source: Independent

 

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