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Walter Carrington: An African-American putsprinciples above self for Nigeria 

by Chido Nwangwu

July  9, 1998: Walter Carrington, former  U.S ambassadorto  Nigeria, has been  shining the  light of reason and standing  resolutely  with  the seriousactivists for democratization  amidst the rapid  transitionand power-play in Nigeria since 1993. In the  middle  ofthat  year,  shortly  after  he started serving  as  U.S  chief  diplomat in thecountry  of  nearly  110 million, the  decisionby  retired  Gen. Ibrahim  Babangida to  "annul"the  election widely  believed  to  have been in  the  favor  of  M.K.O Abiola as  Nigeria's  president threw  Nigeria  into itsmost  complicated political  logjam and geopolitical tussle. 

The sheer  force and, in most  cases, the  dishonestyand  crudity  of the warring groups especially the  army never  made  him lose  sight  ofwhat  he  told  me  to be  his "determination to use  my  unique  position as ambassador to encourage the  respect  of  the rights all Nigerians and foster democracy in this resourceful and endowed  country." 

When I  interviewed Carrington in his  office at  the Embassy of  the  U.S in Victoria Island  in Lagos in December of 1993, he  told  me(see picture) he was "concerned  at the abuse  of human rights, and the  unfortunate  descent of Nigeria under  the  military  into a police state. I will continue  to raise  these  issues with the  regime because Nigeria represents  manythings  to  many  people whose nationality are  elsewhere." The  latter is an  apparent reference  to  his  unique  role  as anAfrican-American in the  most  consequential andpowerful  Black-ruled country  in the  world -despite  its many hydra-headed  problems. 

On July 8, he weighed the  circumstances of  the unfortunate  and unexpected death of  Chief  Abiolaand asserted, pointedly, that  by keeping Abiola  aslong  as  they did, the  military leaders of  Nigeria are  "accessories to  Abiola'sdeath."        Although  in another  breadth, Carrington commends Gen. Abubakar as  a professional  soldier  who holds  some promise.  He  has  known Abubakar foralmost a  decade.  As  a diplomatic, apparently,he  wants  to keep  the  door  of discussions  open. Carrington  is  happy Abubakar dissolved  Abacha's  cabinet to set  uphis  own but he  reminded the international community  on the  PBS'  News  Hour with Jim Lehrer that the late  Gen. Abacha loyalists "remain deepinto the civil  service, in foreign missions" and across thecountry. 

Although, the late Abiola's daughter, Hafsat who appeared  on the  same program  does  not share Carrington's warm compliments  about  Abubakararguing  that  the Abubakar's  regime  is"responsible for  my  father's death. I  don't care  what  anybody  says about who Abubakar is;  he  was leading  the Nigeria  when myfather  died... He  was not elected by the people."Carrington is very  familiar  with  the  roughand tumble  of  Nigeria's politics  and militaryharassment  having  been at  the  receiving end  of the  brutal, undiplomatic  excesses  ofthe Abacha  regime. 

Without surprise, Carrington's concerns  and pan-Africangoodwill  fell  on the  deaf and tyrannical  ears  of  the Abacha  junta.Rather  than cooperate with  him to  moveNigeria  forward, Abacha's zombies physically assaulted Carrington's personal space and breached  all protocol  to intimidate him. They  misread his resolve andcommitment  to  Nigeria. 

Why? The  African-American diplomat  did  not consider  himself  an outsider, having also married  into  a Nigerian family and resided at different times  in three of  the  key major  cities  in Nigeria since  the  late1960s. 

Despite  Carrington's  continued interest and effort  to  move Nigeria forward, I  still need  to  know the answer  to an issue which  I've been pondering, especially  while  I was travelling as  the  only African-American newspaper  publisher with  U.S  President Bill Clintonduring his March  23-April  2,  1998  tour of  Africa. The issue  remains whether  the Clinton White  House  did  its very  best to  give  full support  and  backing to  Ambassador Carrington  while  he  was being maligned  and  insulted  and assaulted  bythe  late  Gen. Sani  Abacha's cronies  and goons.  I  ask  this question because when I recall President  Clinton's  ill-advised  statementat  his  joint  presidential conference  at Tuynhuis   in CapeTown, South  Africa that  thenNigeria's dictator Sani Abacha  can run  for president  as a  candidate in the same election he (Abacha  was  referee, score  keeper, linesmanand  major domo). 

Why  did  Clinton alter U.S  policy, evenwith  the  full knowledge of Abacha's  reckless,untoward, banal  and devious acts  against  theambassador of  the  U.S in Nigeria, Carrington. 

I  still  ponder, what  if  Abacha did  not  die "suddenly", one  month ago? How was  the  U.S  going  to manage  its mismanaged muddled  and shifty  positions, let's  justsay  "policies"  towards  Nigeria? 

 The next  time  I  get  to interview  Ambassador  Carrington, or whenever  myrequest  for  a one-on-one interview  with President  Clinton is  granted, I  will seek  answers  to  those  questions from the manwho has  paid more functional attention to  the African  continent than any other American president . 

While  we  wait  for  such  a historic  day, remarkably,  since he left his mission  rather unceremoniously in Nigeria, and returned  to  the academic  and policy analysis  community in Boston, Carrington has remainedconsistent  and principled in opposing  military rule  in Nigeria while pointing to the  inequities of  the army and their  boorish  and brutish goons.He  has  refused  to  keep  silent on theAbiola  saga and other  issues regarding  human rightsin Nigeria and parts  of  Africa. We need more African-Americans and diplomats like him. 

Hence, and USAfrica  The Newspaper  applaud Carrington's  principles as a  man who  does  not  cower  or  bendin the face of  raw force and  idiotic  intimidationby the decomposing but  cruel remnants of  the Abacharegime.  Ambassador Carrington, may your  lineage, as Africans usually  pray,  be long! 
ChidoNwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence Award,  HABJ1997, serves as Founder & Publisher of  Houston-basedUSAfrica The Newspaper and  TheBlack Business Journal, BBJ (http://www. He is alsothe  Director of  Information for the 100 Black Men ofAmerica and has recently been elected to the Board of the NAACP,Houston chapter.  © July 1998/ChidoNwangwu 

OBASANJO'S FAILED 3RD TERM POWER-PLAY IS GOOD NEWS TO NIGERIANS,ABROAD AND and its correspondents in Nigeriaand across the major cities of the U.S are reporting an increasingtally of anti-3rd term phone calls and e-mails from our readers. By amargin of almost 7-2, data show that anoverwhelming majority of the politically active citizenry are happythat Nigeria's Senate halted retiredGen. Olusegun Obasanjo's stealthy, unpopular, behind-the-scenes-winkand nod power plays to secure an "unrequested" 3rd term as presidentof Nigeria (a total of 12 consecutive years).

Many Nigerians still feel disappointed that a man (Obasanjo)who had gained so much from Nigeria would cling so tightly to power,even against the popular will of the people, moreso with age, energyand fresh ideas for a new era not on his side.

Also, review of Nigeria's recent history show thatPresident Obasanjo seems to be moving rapidly into the zone ofill-repute of his former military colleagues who, like him, refusedto leave office when it was time to go. Gen. yakubu Gowon in 1975;Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in 1993; Gen. Sani Abacha in1995, 1996, 1997,1998. More baffling many Nigerians we interviewed recall is thelessons of the excesses of the late Gen. Abach who jailed Obasanjowhile the former schemed to remain in power.
For the specialreport by USAfrica multimedia networks' Publisher Chido Nwangwu,click on 3rdterm.

DEMOCRACYWATCH: What Bush Should TellObasanjo.... By ChidoNwangwu (Founder and Publisher of
VIEWPOINT: Obasanjo,Go! Just go! Prof. Wole Soyinka
DEBATE: HowBlack intellectuals let Africa down, and westernstereoptypes complicate therest.By Cedrick Ngalande at the USC, LosAngeles

Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle onthe Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.

Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.

Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu(First written on March 1, 2002, for USAfrica, updated for Prof. Achebe's 74th Birthday tribute on November 16, 2004, and published in CLASS magazine same month): Africa's most acclaimed and fluent writer of the English Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions, cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the Eagle on the Iroko, Ugo n'abo Professor Chinua Achebe, has recently been selected by a distinguished jury of scholars and critics (from 13 countries of African life and literature) as the writer of the Best book (Things Fall Apart, 1958) written in the twentieth century regarding Africa. Reasonably, Achebe's message has been neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He's our pathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans and lovers of the fine art of good writing. Achebe's cultural contexts are, at once, pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literary contextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igbo or Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.

His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of the true essence of his Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing and disposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures) this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce, juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of the vitality of the individual/self. In Achebe's works, the centrality of Chi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology... it is a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude while taking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community. I've studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, the rigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed in most of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, because I share the same ancestry with him. Permit me to attempt a brief sentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here, folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle on the Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one like you!
Ugo n'abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!
. Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal. He has served as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates.

This commentary is copyrighted. Archiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized except with a Written Approval by Founder.

CLASS is the social events, heritage excellence and style magazine for Africans in north America, described by The New York Times as the magazine for affluent Africans in America. It is published by professional journalists and leading mulitmedia leaders and pioneers.

Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

Why Bush should focus on
dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century
The Economics of Elections in Nigeria
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon

DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.

Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam

Investigating Marc Rich and his deals with Nigeria's Oil
Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Read Chido Nwangwu's NEWS INVESTIGATION REPORT for
AIDS vaccine partnership launches in South Africa. The launch of the Southern African leg of a global partnership intended to produce a vaccine against HIV and Aids was announced by the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006. "My vision is a vibrant Southern Africa that is Aids free. To achieve this, we need a regional collaboration that brings together diverse partners from South Africa and other countries to create the enabling environment for continued progress on AIDS vaccines," said Dr Valeria Manda who will head up the IAVI's Southern African program, to be based in Johannesburg. The organisation has been collaborating with African scientists to study promising Aids vaccine candidates since 1998 and has since conducted eight clinical trials on the continent.
Corruption charges and Questions trail Obasanjo's controversial shares in Transcorp. Last week Wednesday, Chairman of Transnational Corporation, Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike confirmed speculations that President Olusegun Obasanjo holds equity shares in the company. Her revelation came barely 48 hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided the Head Office of the company reportedly in a bid to 'investigate' the shareholding structure and operations of the company.

Okereke-Onyuike told the House Committee on Capital Markets that the president had subscribed to the shares of the company when it was established. Even though she did not specify the amount of shares held by the president, her revelation confirmed media reports that the president owns between 200million to 600million shares in Transcorp.....

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Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century. By Chido Nwangwu

"Obasanjo has ruined this country...." An open letter to Nigeria's President Obasanjo. By Prof. Niyi Osundare:
Dear President, millions of Nigerians see you as the source of their problems. Millions curse you under their breadth. Millions more loudly pronounce their imprecations at the slightest opportunity. You rule over a degraded country, Mr. President; your every act has consistently contributed to that degradation. In the reckoning of most Nigerians, you are the most arrogant, most insensitive, most callous, and most self-righteous and hypocritical ruler that this unfortunate country has ever been saddled with in its hapless saga of misrule.Your words, behaviour, disposition, and general track record seem to justify these negative impressions.

Consider these facts: in two years, you have hiked the price of petroleum products two times. You met a litre of petrol selling for 21 naira; it now goes for a whooping 42 naira in a few places and twice as much in many others. As if this were not enough, you topped it all with a N1.50 levy misnamed "fuel tax". You started by flaying us with whips; now you fleece us with scorpions. What good you thought would come out of these hikes, you alone in your unfathomable wisdom will ever know; you and the Mephistophelean PPPRA and your horde of "Special advisers." Osundare, Professor of English at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), poet and prolific essayist, is the winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for 1986, and the 1991 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. His essays and reviews have appeared previously on and USAfrica The Newspaper. Click here for FULL commentary
Ethiopia openly launches offensive against Somalia's powerful Islamic movement. Ethiopia sent fighter jets into Somalia and bombed several towns Sunday December 24, 2006 in a dramatic attack on Somalia's powerful Islamic movement, and Ethiopia's prime minister said his country had been "forced to enter a war." It was the first time Ethiopia acknowledged its troops were fighting in support of Somalia's UN-backed interim government even though witnesses had been reporting their presence for weeks in an escalating battle that threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa region.

Obasanjo, Go! Just go! Prof. WOLE SOYINKA's January 19, 2006 press statement/conference in Lagos on the crisis in Oyo State and alleged roles and incapacities of President Olusegun Obasanjo: "In the name of that very God whom you thank for yanking you back from the abyss, I implore you-Go! Go while it is still possible to forgive you for robbing us all of our earned retirement. Go! Just go! This is no time to beat about the bush.

The presidential hand in this (Oyo State) affair is blatant. Obasanjo has openly endorsed violence as a means of governance, embraced and empowered individuals whose avowed declarations, confessions and acts are cynically contrary to the democratic mandate that alone upholds the legitimacy and dignity of his office.

Let me repeat this: the contempt of President Obasanjo for the demands for a democratic self-realisation by the electorate is no longer in doubt, and can be proved, chapter and verse - from Anambra to Oyo.... We are confronted by a mind that has gone awry, a mind that is subject to no order except that of the crudest, most despotic notions of dominance in a primitive society. Nigeria is not a primitive or private fiefdom. It is governed by law.

The respectful 'Baba' accolade has turned to be yet another Baabuism, mimics the culture of the 'dons,' literally actualised by Obasanjo as that of a Mafia godfather whose hand you either bow and kiss, or receive the kiss of death." Full text here

POLICY INSIGHT: What about Sudan? America sat back and watched a decade ago in the same fashion when 800,000 people died in Rwanda. It has done the same thing with every humanitarian disaster that has ever occurred on the African continent including the recent Liberian and Sierra Leone conflicts. Not only have we ignored political holocaust-type conflicts such as what is going on in Sudan, but many times we convientanly ignore as much as possible other humanitarian disasters on the continent such as floods, famines and other natural disasters; giving mere token type of concern.

The support is nothing even close to the type of concern that we have shown to the victims of the recent Tsunami in South Eastern Asia. We have sent two former presidents as a show of support and concern along with the promise of billions of dollars of aid. By Rufus G.W Sanders, Ph.D, contributing editor of and a Suffragan Bishop in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the world, is the founder and the pastor of the Emmanuel Temple church in Sandusky, Ohio.

DEBATE: How Black intellectuals let Africa down, and western stereoptypes complicate the rest. By Cedrick Ngalande at the USC, Los Angeles

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

Powell named Secretary State by G.W. Bush; bipartisan commendations follow.

Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No

Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa

Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
Steve Jobs extends
digital magic
CLASS is the social events, heritage excellence and style magazine for Africans in north America, described by The New York Times as the magazine for affluent Africans in America. It is published by professional journalists and leading mulitmedia leaders and pioneers.