TranscriptCNN International interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues

AADD: Africa Attention DeficitDisorder. A U.S. disorder that hurts Africa.
By David Sarasohn

Special to,USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
CLASSmagazine, TheBlack Business JournalandIgboEvents

Today's pictures are from Niger, but they couldbe from lots of places in Africa, and from lots of times duringrecent decades. These children with the matchstick legs, and the eyesbigger thantheir fists, could have been from Biafra, a runaway province ofNigeria, in the 1970s, or from Ethiopia in the 1980s, or the Congo inthe 1990s. Thehideous massacre stories, this time from Darfur, could be fromLiberia, or Sierra Leone, or -- most bloodily -- Rwanda. The AIDSstories come steadily from the same places.

Nobody thinks that the United States, or theWest, or the entire planet outside Africa could fix all theseproblems. But somehow, they always come as a surprise, in a placethat we've forgotten about since the last time. The problem is thatAmericans have AADD: Africa Attention DeficitDisorder.Every so often, we see the eruption ofsomething so cataclysmic that it forces its way onto our radarscreens. In between those times -- especially since the Cold Warended and we were reassured that Africans might die but wouldn't gocommunist -- we generally forget the continent exists. "We have ashort attention span," says Randy Martin, Washington, D.C.-baseddirector of global emergency services for Portland, Ore.-based MercyCorps. "If a situation is not going to be resolved overnight, we loseinterest."

By that standard, we lose interest in anythingAfrican. Right now, network and cable news camera crews are all overNiger, this being the point when the food situation is the worst butthe footage situation is the best. (Still, U.S. media are more likelyto mention Niger for its connection with Valerie Plame and Iraq thanas a place where 2.9 million people are close to starvation.) LastWednesday, the United Nations issued a plea for $75 million forNiger. But Niger, after a season of drought and locusts, saw thiscoming for six months and couldn't get anybody interested. There's nofootage in a famine forecast. Which, says Martin, who's on anemergency task force of international charitable groups, is a bad wayto deal with these things. "If you start when you see the faminecoming, people might still have their seed," he says. "If you wait,people eat their seeds, they sell their tools, they sell theirlivestock. If you take action when people still have resources, thechances of recovery are much better." Of course, to do that you haveto pay attention. On Niger, that's included a range of private groups-- CARE, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services -- but untilnow, not much of a government or public interest. "There's an extentto which people just don't know Africa very well," says Ann-LouiseColgan, director of policy analysis for the D.C. advocacy groupAfrica Action. To Colgan, that means Americans not only don't see thecontinent's issues very clearly, but they also think that more isbeing done than actually is.

On the issue of Darfur in western Sudan, siteof what Colgan calls "the first genocide of the new millennium," shenotes we're at "the one-year anniversary of the administration sayingit was genocide. The statement was used as a substitute for action."On Darfur and debt forgiveness, Colgan says, an increasing number ofAmericans are getting interested. But for situations so distant andso complex, even with some advances it's hard to sustain activism."When victory is not everything they hoped it would be," she says,"how do you sustain their interest?" Without waiting for theinterest-stirring pile of bodies. Martin points to the southern endof Sudan -- where the Bush administration became deeply involved,appointed a high-level special ambassador and was crucial to anow-shaky negotiated settlement -- as a sign of what the UnitedStates can do when it does get involved. And when it doesn't give into its Africa Attention Deficit Disorder. Until then, we wait on thenew famine or genocide, and each time say, "Never again." And thenour attention wanders, until the next time. And in Africa, therealways is a next time. The real problem with our AADD is that thepeople who have it aren't the ones who suffer from it.
Sarasohn is an analyst/columnist for the U.S.-based Newhouse NewsService (August 10, 2005)


2006 CALENDAR, FRIDAY May 5, AND SATURDAY MAY 6, 2006: CLASS magazine, USAfrica and (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks), will hold the USAfrica 14th internationally-acclaimed 2006 BEST OF AFRICA awards dinner in honor of African professionals and our annual Mothers' Day Honors on FRIDAY MAY 5 and on SATURDAY MAY 6, 2006. Nominate some African professionals and community builders. E-mail: It will be an invitation-only event. The open annual international townhall meeting, USAfrica Forum, will hold on Friday May 5, 2006. USAfrica was founded in May 1992, in Houston, Texas by television broadcaster and multimedia media executive Chido Nwangwu. Contact USAfrica/CLASS event manager Alverna Johnson and Chuck Obazei at 713-270-5500. or 832-45-CHIDO (24436) - E-mail:

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

Summary: Africa's most acclaimed and fluent writer of theEnglish Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in theworld, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions,cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwillambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, theEagleon the Iroko, Ugo n'abo Professor Chinua Achebe,has recently been selected by a distinguished jury of scholars andcritics (from 13 countries of African life and literature) as thewriter of the Best book (Things Fall Apart, 1958) written in thetwentieth century regarding Africa. Reasonably, Achebe's message hasbeen neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He's ourpathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans andlovers of the fineart of good writing. Achebe's cultural contexts are, at once,pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literarycontextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igboor Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of thetrue essence of his Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing anddisposition. 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 thevitality of the individual/self. In Achebe's works, the centrality ofChi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology... itis a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude whiletaking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.I've studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, therigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed inmost of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, becauseI share the same ancestry with him. Permit me to attempt a briefsentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here,folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle onthe Iroko, may your Lineage endure! Therehas never been one like you!

A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."

INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of Certain facts and the continuing, bigoted impudence of Islamic Sudan offer clarity to why the U.S should aggressively halt the genocide and gory events in Africa's largest country. The Sudan has almost 918,000 square miles in size and a war-weary population of 30million. Even as I call for a red line to be drawn against the rag-tag army of Arab-taliban-fascists in Africa and the assorted troops of religio-criminal rapists who have since four decades set upon the southern Christian, indigenous African Sudanese, I agree with Gen. Powell that "America will be a friend to all Africans who seek peace; but we cannot make peace among Africans." He is right. Africans must respect and love each other. Continued here....
POLICY INSIGHT: Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendable push for development assistance. By Chinua Akukwe, contributing editor of
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
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.

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)
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.

Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
INTERVIEW: 'Nigeria needs a democratic system guided by the truth....' Senator Francis J. Ellah, the Eze Nwadei Ogbuehi of Ogba in Rivers state of Nigeria. He is a highly regarded elder statesman with outstanding political credentials and a former Second Republic Senator and a delegate to Nigeria's ongoing national political reforms conference in Abuja.
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

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
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
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

Steve Jobs extends digital magic

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

Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam

Lifestyle Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

USAfricaFORUM: Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendable push for development assistance. By Dr. Chinua Akukwe

'Live 8' global concerts put focus on Africa, poverty.... Singers from U2's Bono to billionaire Bill Gates called for the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations to relieve African poverty at ``Live 8'' concerts in London and nine other cities. About 200,000 people jammed into London's Hyde Park on July 2 at the start of a week of music and demonstrations to pressure heads of G-8 nations meeting July 6-8 in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid and debt relief to Africa and also rewrite trade rules.

"This is our moment to stand up for what's right,'' U2 lead singer Bono told the audience in London. ``We can't fix every problem, but those we can, we must,'' he said, mentioning malaria, AIDS and deaths caused by dirty water. U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, host of the G-8 summit, is making African poverty reduction a focus of the meeting. Performers at "Live 8'' -- including Paul McCartney, Cold Play, Madonna and REM -- want to raise popular awareness of the continent's economic deprivation.

The concerts will reach a potential global audience of 5.5 billion people through television, Internet and other media, organizer Bob Geldof said. They occur 20 years after the Live Aid concerts that Geldof also arranged to combat African poverty. Africa is the only continent to have become poorer in the last 25 years, according to the United Nations. More than 300 million Africans live on less than $1 a day, and less than half of children on the continent complete primary school. In the last 50 years, there have been 186 coups and 26 wars in Africa, with more than 7 million people killed, the UN says.


Apple's Switch to Intel: The Ultimate Power Move? Steve Jobs' decision to build Macs with Intel chips may finally give the company a shot at challenging Microsoft's Windows." By David Kirkpatrick
June 16 and South Africa's treble historic events. By Nkem Ekeopara
"Our ordeal with KLM"
"They bumped me and my daughter from a confirmed flight; then flies out with 5 pieces of our luggage...." TONY IGWE in exclusive interview tells Publisher Chido Nwangwu of 5 hours of anguish and disappointments at the George Bush International Airport in Houston, on Friday March 26, 2004
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

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.'

Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
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