Wednesday, March 28, 2007

14th Edition of Poetry Potter Celebrates the Founder of Araism Movement

Kowry Kreations Media
…shell of creativity

“Poetry Potter”

Venue: National Library Hall, opposite Casino Cinema, Alagomeji,
Yaba, Lagos.

Date: Every last Saturday of the month (31th March, 2007)

Time: 3 p.m. prompt. No African time, please.

Admission: Free, Free; Free!

Guest Artiste: Mufu Onifade (The Araism),
A Renowned Artist.

Highlights: drama&dance: Pacesetters Production
music: Àre, Àwòko, Cooporate Melodies Band, Cornerstone & others.
Special performers: Jojo Bodybeats

Dress Code: Endeavour to come in your Native Attire.

R.S.V.P: Aderemi Adegbite 08027352577, Ropo Ewenla 08032311574, Lekan Balogun 08027727751


Slavery's bitter past: accounting for the future

I found this poem again on the net today titled "Afica my Africa" written by Senegalese poet David Diop. It used to be one of my favourites while in secondary school as I knew it by heart and used to hum it like a song. It made such a huge impression on my teenage heart during the years of Sani Abacha's rule.

Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that
irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
The slavery of your children
Africa tell me Africa
Is this your back that is bent
This back that breaks under the
weight of humilation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying yes to whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently obstinately
Whose fruits bit by bit acquire
The bitter taste of liberty

I would hum the song and its words made the suffering my family and so many others experienced during the evil junta make so much more meaning. It felt like we were slaves even though we were actually free people but living under a dictatorship.

Finding this poem again at this time when the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery is being celebrated the world over makes greater meaning to me. And having recently visited one of the relics left by the slave traders (Cape Coast Castle), I feel much closer to the situation.

Picture above is the Cape Coast Castle, Cape Coast, Ghana.

There are calls for the European countries that benefitted from slavery to pay reparations to Africa. And like I wrote in my earlier post, I feel as a mainland African, we need to apologise to our brethren in the diaspora for the role we played in the outsourcing and provision of men, women and children for the trips across the Atlantic.

While not saying Europe and America should not pay reparations, I believe it would do much good for all the countries of West Africa (the most affected by the Trans-Atlantic trade) to offer apologies to the peoples of African descent who were taken to Brazil, Cuba, USA, Haiti, West Indies, Britain, South America, etc and whose ancestors suffered untold hardships during the voyage to foreign lands.

While the West is apologising, it would be of great service if we could look our brothers and sisters from across the ocean in the eye and say "We're very sorry for assisting the white man in your suffering". That will go a long way in making things work better.

Imagine the curses which would have been put on African villages and villagers while victims were being freighted away in hot, steamy cartons? Imagine the bad blood which could have been sown in hearts over the centuries?

Only an atonement by Africa and Africans would bring about the change in Africa's fortunes.

On behalf of my family and my ancestors, I apologise for any role in which any one of them might have played in sending anybody into slavery. I sure do know what it feels like sitting in those thick-walled rooms awaiting transportation to the New World. But I'm ignorant of what the pains of arriving in a foreign land felt like. But I apologise.

We need to work towards Africa's emancipation in the 21st Century. Though slavery has been abolished now over 200 years, but Africa still suffers. The ones who rule her countries have not grasped the ideals of true freedom. They still cause untold suffering to her peoples (see Zimbabwe, Darfur, Somalia).

Africans now more than ever are running away to these same foreign lands because of the suffering being experienced at home. We need to look inside ourselves to find a way out of this quagmire. Africa needs a rediscovering of the values that made for great societies in the past.

I believe that we can do it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ghana 0-2 Nigeria : Burying Old Ghosts

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria finally restored some pride for us, defeating Ghana's Black Starlets a couple of minutes ago. the goals were scored by Kabiru Akinsola and Ademola.

The game should have seen more goals from the Naija team but unfortunately they missed most of the begging chances.

It's been a hell of a time for a Nigerian brother living in Ghana since the Super Eagles lost that February friendly scandalously. This will give me some "mouth" among my Ghanaian colleagues and even on the streets.

Before the game, a member of the team Kigsley Udoh had told Kickoffnigeria that "We are prepared for the Ghanaians come Saturday. We just want to revenge all they have done to our seniors in the last two months. Even if they like, let them train four times before the game, they will surely fall."

Also goalscorer Kabiru Akinsola added this:"There is no way that Ghana can stop us from topping the group. We are prepared for them."

I pray that the Eaglets go on to lift the trophy.If they get to the Finals I will make sure to go watch the game in nearby Lome, Togo and then you can look forward to seeing pictures on this blog.

Pictures above: Nigeria's players rejoicing after a goal and Ghana's Black Starlet's team lineup

Friday, March 16, 2007

EFFC gets Senate's Backing

The Senate has made laws governing the removal of a serving EFCC official. I believe this will help in safeguarding the life and activities of the agency so that when a new administration enters office it'd be forced to toe constitutional lines.

The following piece I got from The Guardian.

Senate curbs President's power to remove EFCC boss, others
From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
From The Guardian 16 March, 2007

DRASTIC changes have been effected in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act by the Senate, which yesterday concluded the debate on the bill to amend the law.

One of the profound amendments to the Act was the removal of the powers of the President to sack the EFCC chairman or any member of the commission without the consent of the Senate.

Section 3(2) of the new bill stipulates that "the chairman or any member of the commission, may only be removed by the President acting on the address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate for inability to discharge the functions of the office or for misconduct."

The Upper House also amended section 43 of the Act, which prescribed that "the Attorney-General of the Federation may make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise to any of the duties, functions or powers of the EFCC." The amendment now reads: "Without prejudice to the provision of section 174 of the Constitution in the exercise of its functions, the commission shall not be subjected to direction or control of any authority or persons".

The amendment may equally be cheery news to persons that will be found guilty of terrorist acts as section 15 of the original Act was reviewed to reduce the punishment of terrorist acts from life imprisonment to seven years jail term.

Section 6(d) was also amended by the Senate to ensure that henceforth, the EFCC would not confiscate people's property without an order of the law courts to that effect.

But efforts by some Senators to persuade the Upper House to weaken the EFCC by subjecting its decision to freeze the accounts of an individual or group to court orders did not succeed as the Senate President, Ken Nnamani, stated that there was nothing wrong in asking the EFCC to secure court orders before confiscating or seizing people's property or freezing their accounts.

The Senate also rejected an amendment proposed by Senator Umar Dahiru that only non-serving police officers should be appointed chairman of the EFCC.

It generated serious argument, as most Senators believed that the suggestion if accepted could lead to the removal of the incumbent EFCC boss, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, whom they described as a performer.

The Deputy Senate President Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, argued that there was no way retired officers could fight corruption with equal vigour as Ribadu, adding that there was no need to change an official who was doing well.

The move by the Senate to whittle the power of the President on the EFCC has been a subject of dispute between Nnamani and Secretary to the Federal Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette.

Only on Wednesday, Nnamani responded to an earlier letter to Ekaette, where the government protested the move to curb the President's power over the EFCC.

Nnamani maintained his position that the EFCC and similar state agencies should be removed from the direct control of the President.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Obasanjo Gets street in Accra

Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo was honoured with a major street on Mach 8, 2007. According to Accra mayor Mr. Blankson, it was a way of saying thank you to a man who has stood to help the Ghanaian nation in times of hardship.

Obasanjo has been like most past Nigerian leaders a good Samaritan outside the shores of the country but a tyrant at home. General elections come up in April and it might just be time up for him if he allows the elections to go ahead as planned.

- In the picture above he unveils the new name of the street alongside Ghananaian president Mr. John Kufuor.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Accra's Massive Independence Street Parties

The night of Independence saw a lot of partying in Accra. People had trooped out to enjoy what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

A huge float organised by Accra's Vibe FM had a lot of hip life music stars singing to the crowd. The crowd whose figures were put at close to 10,000 packed full the Oxford Street in Osu. They turned out in the beautiful red, gold and green colours of Ghana.

I went from taking pictures to singing and simply dancing the night away. Moving from one float to the other, I was at the Vibe FM float, and then proceeded to another float that was organised by Accra's Rastafarian community. The Rasta float blared reggae tunes on its massive loud speakers. I did it with dem inna the manner of da Rastafarians.

Moving further down was a Soukous float. And here I danced to Makossa (as we usually, rather erroneously call it).

How I wished that it could continue like this every day.

In the top photo is hip life star KK Fosu wowing the crowd while I hold the Rastafarian flag alongside another reveler in the other picture.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Independence Day Ghana:Lessons For Africa

"At long last the battle is over and Ghana your beloved country is free forever", Kwame Nkrumah's Independence Day speech,March 6,1957.
Today is Ghana's 50th anniversary day.A fulfilment of the dreams of its founding fathers Nkrumah,Danquah,Obetsebi Lamptey,Ako Adjei,,the big six and according to Prez Kufuor the opposition in the First Republic among whom were Dr Busia and others.

Africa has come this far but we still have so much more to deal with even after independence for all of Africa.Speaking at the event,Messrs Obasanjo and Kufuor both revisited the moments of independence and the joys and hopes which went with it.

But were also quick to point out that the battle for independence was just the beginning as against the thought that it was the final move towards African emancipation.The battle for African emancipation had just begun after political independence but our peoples were not ready to be patient.The harsh realities of life after the departure of the colonisers brought about a lot of coups and caused many an African country to go to war.

The Cold War also saw Africa at an uneasy position.It was pitched between supporting America or the Soviets.This caused a repression for Africa and Africans.The Europeans only dealt with Africa according to what she could offer them.Africans suffered under dictators like Sese Seko,Idi Amin, etc because these leaders had become puppets in the hands of the West.

Now is the time for Africa to rise up and take her rightful place in the scheme of things.

Viva l'Afrique!!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Cape Coast:Slavery and Africa's role in it

Was at Cape Coast last week reporting a story and used that opportunity to visit one of the town's many relics of imperialism and colonialism, the Cape Coast Castle.It was used by the Europeans as a base to hold and to transport slaves to the New World.The castle has since been turned into a a tourist attraction and one can see a lot of tourists there at any given time.

It was too much for me when I saw the dungeons in which our forefathers who were unlucky to have been caught were kept while they awaited transportation to the Americas.The sight of those dark pits churned my insides like I was in a gothic movie.It really is sad imagining that people like you and me were kept like animals and chained like they were one man's personal property.

I couldn't stand the full tour and had to make a hasty exit.I believe that we as Africans owe it to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters in the western world whose ancestors were sold into slavery to offer unreserved apologies for what crimes our fathers committed.It is not just the white man that should be blamed but all of us are guilty as well.

In 2002, the Most Revd Palmer-Buckle, Catholic Arcbishop of Accra apologised for what part Africans played in the enslavement of their fellow Africans.Many governments like that of Benin Republic have also offered an apology.It is sad that we allowed ourselves to be treated like worthless people.It is high time we came to a realisation of God's plans for us as a race.We need to grasp a hold of our destinies and fulfil it.

Time out with the stars

My one minute of mingling with the stars.But I must state that being a Gooner,it wasn't fun hanging around Drogba and Essien having just lost the Carling Cup trophy courtesy of Drogba's strikes.But life goes on.When you're good, you're good.

Drogba and Essien set Accra alight

Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Michael Essien were in Accra a couple of days back and they had everyone running around to catch a glimpse of them.

I was at the Kotoka International Airport where I watched them arrive.It was a melee.People running up and down trying to catch just a glimpse.I got a photo pose though.They wouldn't answer any direct questions neither.

Instead I got an interview with John Utaka of Rennes FC,France, who was in town to attend the CAF Award courtesy of GLO the award sponsors.

Didier spoke a little to the press but it was mainly to the Ivoirien press.As you know they speak French and I could only understand a little bit.