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Tribunal voids election of Nigeria's senate president David Mark; country awaits Feb 26 presidential litigation ruling.... A Nigerian electoral tribunal on Saturday Feb 23, 2008 voided the election of federal senate president David Mark, government spokesman Cletus Akwaya said. "For now he remains the senate president until all the legal channels are exhausted," Akwaya added after the tribunal in the central state of Benue found there was no clear winner of the election last year and that the national electoral commission was wrong to have declared Mark the winner, he said... On February 26 the tribunal hearing petitions challenging the validity of the 2007 presidential vote is due to rule on the validity of Umaru Yar'Adua's election.

"Under the constitution if the president's election is declared void, and president and vice-president both have to step down, the senate president would have to take over the power until a new president and vice-president are elected," an opposition member of parliament told AFP. For full and related Nigeria election issues report click here


FLASHBACK Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slippery slide.
FLASHPOINT! In 15 years: Nigeria could collapse, destabilize entire West Africa - U.S. intelligence analysts claim
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Bush offers some help to troubled Liberia.
U.S President Bush offered encouragement and help Thursday February 21, 2008 to lift this shattered country from years of ruinous fighting as he concluded a tour of Africa and turned toward other global problems. In Liberia, the final stop on Bush's five-country trip, almost nothing works and people are nervous about their future in the aftermath of a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

The country is overrun with weapons, malnutrition is pervasive, half of children are not in school, and many buildings are uninhabitable. There is little running water or electricity and no sewage or landline phone system. "It's easier to tear a country down than it is to rebuild a country," Bush said. "And the people of this good country must understand the United States will stand with you as you rebuild your country."

Though Bush's entourage was a bit jittery about his seven-hour stopover, Liberia's president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, declared at one point, "You're safe." Bush used his five-country (visit to Africa) to showcase how billions in aid and diplomatic engagement are improving the everyday lives of people across the continent. Jennifer Loven/AP


Related insight:
Liberia's president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf calls for "partnership" rather than "patronage" relationship with U.S.
Liberia's bloody mess and hopes of a battered nation.
Liberia: Death by installment. By Chido Nwangwu, June 21, 1996.
Obasanjo and
Bush 'monitored' while Liberia was murdered.
U.S. First Lady Bush, Sec of State Rice in Liberia for inauguration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
, the first woman elected President in Africa.
Obama scores 10th straight victory; overpowers Clintons in Wisconsin, wins landslide 76% in Hawaii. Obama's Wisconsin and Hawaii wins compel the Clintons to chase a difficult must-win overwhelmingly scenario in Democratic primaries on March 4, 2008 in Texas and Ohio. Ohio's demographics mirror Wisconsin's where Obama beat and cut into Clinton's previous, strong segments.
In 2008 visit, Bush pledges money and sanctions for Darfur; tours Ghana and Liberia. U.S President George W. Bush on Tuesday arrived in Ghana, the fourth stop in his five-nation African tour, an AFP correspondent at the airport reported. Bush was met by his host President John Kufuor, and the two left the airport immediately. The two leaders are expected to discuss regional security, the African Union and issues linked to trade at a meeting on Wednesday morning.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bush had paid somber homage Tuesday to the estimated 800,000 people killed in Rwanda's 1994 genocide and urged global action to end the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region "once and for all." "Evil must be confronted," he said after touring a Kigali memorial to the 100-day, systematic massacre of minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus by Hutu extremist militias and government troops. Bush, mid-way through a five-country Africa tour, announced he was freeing up 100 million dollars (68 million euros) for African peacekeeping efforts in the restive Sudanese province of Darfur but firmly defended his decision not to send US troops there. Full report


INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com. 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....

Nelson Mandela's political trinity: the man, the messiah and the mystique. 
U.S President Bush, Tanzania's Kikwete Sign $698 million grant; and Bush wants AIDS plan renewed. The president's three-night stay in this vast East Africa nation takes him to a part of the continent that is important in the U.S. fight against terrorism. The bombed-out former U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam still stands as a stark reminder of deadly attacks in Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998. The visit to Tanzania is the longest of Bush's six-day African trip and longer than usual for the president anywhere. The stay and the celebration of a new five-year $698 million U.S. aid pact were intended as goodwill messages to Tanzania's large Muslim population. FULL report here

Bush pushes for power-sharing deal to end Kenya crisis. U.S. President George W. Bush on Saturday threw his weight behind a power-sharing deal to end a bloody political crisis in Kenya. Bush arrived in neighbouring Tanzania from Benin to begin the second and longest leg of a five-nation African tour that will also take him to Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia.

He will not visit Kenya, which is torn by the worst crisis in its history following a disputed December election, but is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice there on Monday to back mediation by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan. Bush was greeted by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who has been lauded by U.S. officials for democratic and economic progress in the east African country, which will be the centrepiece of the U.S. leader's tour of the continent. (In pix, President Bush and Benin's president, Thomas Yayi Bon, held a joint news conference in Cotonou on Saturday Feb 16)

Thousands of people lined the road from the airport to welcome Bush and his wife Laura. Banners across the highway read "We cherish democracy" and "Thank you for helping fight malaria and HIV." During his brief stop in Benin, Bush stepped up the pressure on Kenyan government and opposition leaders to end a post-election crisis that has killed around 1,000 people and left 300,000 homeless. Rice's mission was "all aimed at having a clear message that there be no violence and that there ought to be a power-sharing agreement," Bush told reporters after holding talks with Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi. U.S. officials said the United States was ready to sanction any individuals who sought to obstruct Kenyan peace moves. "Kenya's an issue ... that's why I'm sending Secretary Rice there to help with the Kofi Annan initiative," Bush said. By Tabassum Zakaria and Wangui Kanina.


12,000 refugees flee Darfur for Chad. Heavy bombardment and armed attacks in Darfur by the Sudanese army and the Janjaweed militia on Friday and Saturday have forced 12,000 refugees to flee into eastern Chad, the UN refugee agency said. The refugees have fled to the Birak region, UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Helene Caux told AFP. Eastern Chad remains highly volatile after recent fighting between Chadian government and rebel forces, which led the UNHCR to evacuate staff from the country and thousands of Chadians to cross to neighbouring Cameroon, she said.

However, the fresh refugees from Darfur "have been through the worst already," she added. Her colleague Catherine Huck, who runs UNHCR's operations in the Chadian eastern town of Abeche, stressed the difficulties that recent unrest in Chad itself have created for aid workers. AFP


Ragged Clinton campaign braces for more poll misery. Obama now leads Clinton 1,144 to 1,138 in the running delegate count, according to website RealClearPolitics.com. A total of 2,025 delegates are needed for the nomination. Hillary Clinton's White House campaign faced the prospect of three new hammer blows on Tuesday, with Democratic rival Barack Obama tipped to sweep a trio of Washington-area nominating contests. Clinton insisted her historic quest was in good shape, despite a campaign staff shakeup and opinion polls that suggest she will tumble to defeat in the US capital, Maryland and Virginia after five Obama wins at the weekend."I think things have gone well. I think this is always going to be a competitive race because there's so much at stake," the former first lady said in an interview with ABC's Washington affiliate on Monday. "I've been around a long time, so, you know, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. I've been through all of that. But I feel really good about where we are."

Clinton campaign operatives signalled they were now pinning their hopes on Ohio and Texas, big states which vote on March 4, to close an anticipated gap with the surging Obama. Despite Clinton emerging from last week's 22-state Super Tuesday Democratic showdown neck-and-neck with the Illinois senator, he picked up weekend wins in Louisiana, Nebraska, Maine, Washington state, and the US Virgin Islands.

In so doing, Obama nudged ahead in the race for delegates portioned out by each state, who will formally pick the party nominee at the Democratic convention in August...Virginia is the biggest prize of the Potomac Primary, with 83 Democratic delegates up for grabs, while Maryland has 70 on offer, and the US capital, which is not part of any state, 15.

Monday, Obama filled two arena-sized events with echoing cheers in Maryland, while Clinton campaigned in a quieter key, delivering a lecture at a university in southern Virginia and touring a General Motors plant in Maryland. Clinton was asked in the ABC interview whether there were any hidden business or personal scandals stalking her husband, former president Bill Clinton, that Republicans could exploit.

"That is not going to happen. You know, none of us can predict the future, no matter who we are and what we're running for, but I'm very confident that that will not happen," she said. The question was one of the few occasions when the turmoil that wracked the Clinton White House has been directly raised in the 2008 campaign. Clinton's replacement (on) Sunday of campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with long-time aide Maggie Williams sparked a fresh spate of headlines about the former first lady's supposed vulnerability. By Stephen Collinson/AFP


ELECTIONS: Makoni to challenge Mugabe in Zimbabwe poll. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's hopes of cruising to victory at polls next month suffered a severe jolt Tuesday as his respected former finance minister Simba Makoni announced his candidacy. Makoni, a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, said he would take on Mugabe at the ballot box as an independent in a move analysts said could unite the president's opponents. "Following very extensive and intensive consultations with party members and activists countrywide and also with others outside the party, I have accepted the call and hereby advise the people of Zimbabwe that I offer myself as candidate for the office of president," Makoni told a press conference. "Let me confirm that I share the agony and anguish of all citizens over the extreme hardships that we all have endured for nearly 10 years now," added Makoni who was Mugabe's finance minister from 2000-2003.
SOCCER: 2008 African Nations Cup FINALS: Egypt retain African Nations Cup title,
when Mohamed Aboutraika lifted the champions to a 1-0 win over Cameroon and a record sixth title.The defending champions ensured they held on to the trophy when, after a slick passing movement, Aboutraika struck in the 77th minute. "We are delighted to win. It's a great achievement," said the Al Ahly star. "Now we have to make sure that we keep this form going into the World Cup qualifiers. "It's one of the greatest days of my life. It's up there with winning the African Champions League." The result was the Pharoahs final act in what has been a hugely impressive campaign in Ghana which saw them build on defeat of Cameroon in their opening group game to record victories over Sudan, Tunisia and then Ivory Coast in the semi-finals. AFP
AGENDA: Libya's Kadhafi chats with Tanzania's President Kikwete on AU and other issues.
The Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi has spoken (via telephone with) President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and current chairman of the African Union (AU) on various issues affecting Africa. Official Libyan sources said the conversation of the two leaders focused on efforts to restore peace and stability in Africa as whole and Chad in particular. The sources said Colonel Kadhafi briefed the Tanzanian leader on the Libyan-Congolese joint commission set up by heads of state at the last African Union summit on Chad. Panapress
Exclusive Interview: Achebe says highlife legend
"Osadebe was a priest with words and sounds". Prof. Chinua Achebe, novelist, poet, essayist and critic the author of the most widely-

read book in modern African literature, Things Fall Apart, has described the departed highlife music legend Chief Osita Osadebe as "an artiste who played music with a message and mission." 

Osadebe (in picture, right) lived as one of Africa's longest and durable great talents. He played, sang and released melodious songs since 1956 until 2005.

Osadebe who hailed from Umuekeke in Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State was born in 1936. His family announced that he passed on Friday May 11, 2007 and burial is set for this week.

Achebe, author of several landmark works told Houston-based USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu in an exclusive interview on Wednesday February 6, 2008 that "Osadebe was a priest who used words and sounds.  He lived like any of the greatest musicians who are prominent in any culture; he lived as  a great musician who used music to reach people in order to improve their lives and make them happy. He had message for people to reflect upon. He had deep message in his music as much as he provided music for celebration and [to] be merry."


"We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek" says the poetic presidential candidate Obama after impressive wins on Super Tuesday. USAfricaonline.com reports that Barack Obama has taken the momentum, won more states., more delegates and trumps Hillary Clinton on money raised for campaign. Amidst operational pressures, Hillary loans $5m to her own campaign.... Obama raised almost $6 million after the Feb. 5 voting contests, all of which came from online donations.

He has consistently set a record in imaginative and technologically compelling was of fundraising with his team. Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe noted in a letter to supporters that $3 million was raised the evening after Tuesday's primaries and caucuses. "The Clinton campaign just announced that Hillary and Bill Clinton injected $5 million of their personal fortune into her campaign a few days ago,'' Plouffe stated. "Thanks to you, we have raised more than $3 million since the polls closed on February 5th. But we have no choice -- we must match their $5 million right now.'' A live ticker embedded to his e-mail showed donations, recorded $5.8 million as of 11:30 p.m. eastern on Wednesday, February 6, 2008. (In the AP photo, Sen. Barack Obama and wife Michelle greet supporters in Chicago)


KENYA POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND ETHNIC KILLINGS: Kenya police continues wanton killings; more riots sparked by killing of opposition lawmaker. USAfricaonline.com research count from public, human rights organizations, and news reports least 1052 killed

into the first week of February 2008 after Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki is declared winner in hotly disputed elections of December 27, 2007... Charges of ethnic cleansing against Kibaki, Kenya soldiers and police have continued with blood-letting by members of the major ethnic groups especially between members of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and Luos and Kalenjins who back opposition leader Raila Odinga since a disputed election on December 27, 2007.


...talks to end crisis resume. Kenyan police killed four people in looting mobs who set scores of houses and businesses ablaze in a western Kenyan town, an official said Friday, in clashes sparked by a policeman's killing of an opposition lawmaker.

The shooting of David Kimutai Too on Thursday interrupted the start of talks to help resolve the monthlong postelection crisis that has killed more than 800 people and forced 300,000 from their homes.

Talks, being mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resumed Friday with an address by Annan's successor, Ban Ki-Moon, who appealed to negotiators to "Look beyond the individual interest. Look beyond the party lines. ... Now the future is on you." AP


Kenya's Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga meet. By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi. Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, and opposition leader Raila Odinga have met for the first time since disputed elections triggered a wave of tribal violence. (in pix, L-R: Mediator Kofi Annan with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga).

The bitter rivals shook hands before spending less than an hour in discussions headed by Kofi Annan in Nairobi on January 23, 2008. The former UN secretary general is in the country to try to forge a breakthrough in the political standoff between the two men, during which almost 800 people have died. No details emerged of the meeting, but it was seen as a major breakthrough.

Mr Odinga, 63, had rejected Mr Kibaki's election victory after votes were counted in the Dec 27 poll. The opposition, international observers and some sections of Kenya's electoral commission have alleged that widespread fraud was committed in the elections.


U.S.A POLITICS 2008: "Yes; We can!" Obama routs Clinton and Clinton in South Carolina primary. Broad coalition momentum and latest endorsements by Senator Ted Kennedy, JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy, others put Obama in a more decisive phase ahead of Super Tuesday Feb 5... Special to USAfricaonline.com: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama easily defeated rival senator Hillary Clinton in South Carolina's Democratic primary on Saturday, taking home the party's first contest in a southern state.

The Palmetto State's primary had long appeared to be Obama's to lose, as the African-American senator was expected to garner the support of large numbers of black voters. In an exit poll reported by NBC News, Obama took home 81% of support from African-Americans. With 86% of precincts reporting, Obama won 54% of the vote in South Carolina. Clinton won 27% and former North Carolina senator John Edwards won 19%.

In a victory speech, Obama said "we have the most votes, the most delegates and the most diverse coalition of Americans we've seen in a long, long time." Obama also said the election "is not about black versus white." Emphasizing his platform for bringing change to Washington, he said "this election is about the past versus the future." By Robert Schroeder (MarketWatch)


The 'Who Is Obama?' slanderous, malicious screed; a brief response
NIGERIA'S POLITICAL TWISTS and TURNS: Enugu Gov. Chime's election nullified by tribunal; tension mounts: Enugu&emdash;The election petition tribunal in Enugu, on Friday, 18 January 2008, nullified the election of Gov. Sullivan Chime. The nullification was based on the grounds of electoral malpractice, irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2006. In the lead judgment, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Samuel Otta, said the petitioners, proved the allegations of malpractice and irregularities at April 2007 election beyond reasonable doubt. The petitioners were the  Rev. Oscar Egwuonwu of the Democratic People's Party (DPP), Mr. Okey Ezea of the Labour Party and Mr. Dubem Onyia of the Action Congress.

Said the chairman: "We are of the humble view that the election of April 14, 2007 in Enugu State was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act...We hereby set aside the declaration of the first respondent (Chime) by INEC as the winner of that election." For the Enugu and Igbo communities reactions and political insights, log on to two of the USAfrica-powered e-groups, IgboEvents@yahoogroups.com and Nigeria360@yahoogroups.com. News report, click here


CONFLICT: African Union's failure to end impasse puts Kenya in worse spot. By Mwaura Kimani in Nairobi. Controversy over President Mwai Kibaki's re-election in a December 27 vote triggered bloodletting that displaced over 350,000 people, dented the stable reputation of East Africa's biggest economy and disrupted essential supplies to nearby countries. For a country which is increasingly becoming host to foreign business and political interests, the intervention of international missions is seen as the only key that might unlock what has been a stalled process.

Nigeria's government opens negotiations with General Electric.
Special to USAfricaonline.com. After several complaints about failing to revamp the country's terribly inefficent power supply, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has met with officials of the American corporation on January 14, 2008. John Rice, Vice President of GE led a meeting with the government. Nigeria's President noted: "We urgently need this partnership in our effort to develop Nigeria and transform it to be among the twenty top nations in the world by 2020, and we know that GE has the capacity to deliver in this partnership." Nigeria's former president Obasanjo promised and failed to deliver on improving the energy/power infrastructure after 8 years of ruling the country.
OPINION: Obama's successes makes all of us winners. By Jesse L. Jackson: Obama enjoys far more than that. He's got the "Big M's": magnetic personality, magic moment, message, money and momentum. And the preposterously short primary season -- it's all over essentially by Feb. 5 -- dramatically favors anyone who can win the early contests, in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Click for FULL commentary


INTERVIEW: Colin Powell: it's nonsense to say Obama is not Black enough....Retired Gen. Powell, a former Secretary of State, also urged Americans to "enjoy this moment where a person like Barack Obama can knock down all of these old barriers that people thought existed with respect to the opportunities that are available to African-Americans."

INSIGHT: "Who speaks for Nigerian President?" Special report
Hillary Clinton, McCain win NHampshire votes. (AP) &emdash; In the land of comebacks, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain revived their sagging campaigns Tuesday night and catapulted the Democratic and Republican presidential races into a surprise state of chaos. Neither could afford to lose New Hampshire. Suddenly, the fallen front-runners look like winners again.

Clinton defied campaign-closing polls and the expectations of her own advisers to pull out a narrow victory over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the self-styled agent of change bidding to be the nation's first black president. She won with a last-minute show of emotion and pointed criticism of Obama, the harshest attacks coming from her husband, Bill. By Ron Fournier


PRIMARIES 2008: Does Obama's win in Iowa indicate Americans are colorblind? Special report by Sharon Cohen. Obama's convincing win in Thursday's caucuses in Iowa - a state with just a smattering of minority voters - demonstrated the Illinois senator's support crosses racial lines and bolstered the notion that America is receptive to electing its first black president. Whether Obama's appeal stretches beyond the farm fields of Iowa will become clear over the next month as the freshman senator faces a series of tests on different political terrain - beginning with Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, another overwhelmingly white state. Click here for FULL report
First Win: Obama defeats Clinton machine to make historic win of Democratic caucus in Iowa; evangelical pastor- former Governor Huckabee win Republican vote in Iowa. Sen. Barack Obama swept to victory in the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, January 3, 2008, pushing Hillary Rodham Clinton to third place and taking a major stride in a historic bid to become the nation's first black president. "You've got to have hope if you are a black man named Obama running for the presidency of the United States of America,'' Obama said during a late-night campaign stop two days before the caucus. It was one of his rare mentions of what he had to overcome. "I'm probably the only candidate who, having won the nomination, can actually redraw the political map,'' Obama said at the time. ``I guarantee you African-American turnout, if I'm the nominee, goes up 30 percent around the country, minimum. Young people's percentage of the vote goes up 25-30 percent. So we're in a position to put states in play that haven't been in play since LBJ.''

Mike Huckabee rode a wave of support from evangelical Christians to win the opening round among Republicans in the 2008 campaign for the White House.

Obama, 46 and a first-term senator from Illinois, scored his victory on a message of change in Washington. Nearly complete returns showed him gaining 37 percent support from Iowans. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina appeared headed for second place, relegating Clinton, the former first lady, to a close third. USAfricaonline.com with additional reports from the AP and wire reports.


Kenya church fire kills 50 who fled mob. A mob torched a church sheltering hundreds of people fleeing election violence Tuesday, January 1, 2008 killing up to 50 people - including many children - as four days of rioting and ethnic clashes marked one of the darkest times in Kenya's history.

President Mwai Kibaki, sworn in Sunday after a vote opponents said was rigged, said political parties should meet immediately and publicly call for calm. The violence has killed at least 270 people in what had been east Africa's most stable and prosperous democracy. The opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, said he would refuse to meet. "If he announces that he was not elected, then I will talk to him," Odinga told The Associated Press. He accused the government of stoking the violence, and said Kibaki's administration "is guilty, directly, of genocide."By Elizabeth Kennedy in Nairobi


Riots escalate: 132 dead into the first week of January 2008 after Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki is declared winner in hotly disputed elections....opposition leader Odinga reject official results as rigged, again demands Kibaki to step down, stating: "I am the elected president of the Republic of Kenya.... For the last 48 hours the people of Kenya have seen their nascent democracy shackled, strangled and finally killed." Odinga has called for a mass rally on Thursday January3, 2008 in Nairobi's main Uhuru Park, named for the word freedom in Swahili.
USAfricaonline.com with CNN/wire reports/ click here Riots follow Kenya's controversial, disputed elections
Kenya's controversial, disputed elections

BUSINESS: Free trade for SADC by 2008? The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is on course to establish a free trade area by 2008, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has said. He was opening an extraordinary heads of state and government summit in Midrand, between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Mosisili, current chairperson of SADC, said the process to achieve the free trade area would be "a give and take affair." Several heads of government and state, including President Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, are attending the conference on regional integration. They will review recommendations by a ministerial task team &emdash; comprising trade and industry and finance ministers in the region &emdash; about the best way to achieve the free trade area. Sapa


Mandela praises Zuma as South Africa's ANC new leader Special to USAfricaonline.com. -- South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela has praised Jacob Zuma, the newly elected leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), as a man who could unify the divided party. In a message of congratulations, Mandela said: "Our experience of Comrade Zuma is of a person and leader who is inclusive in his approach, a unifier and one who values reconciliation and collective leadership." "We have no doubt that he will bring those well-known characteristics to his task of leading our organisation," he was quoted as saying by the Saturday Star newspaper of December 22, 2007. Mandela urged the divided ANC to rally behind Zuma.

Zuma ousted President Thabo Mbeki as party leader after their intense rivalry divided the party, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Before the election, Mandela who decided not to endorse one candidate or to attend the conference, said divisions within the party race were saddening. He said it was inevitable the results of the elections would be interpreted by some "as an overwhelming victory for one camp or faction over another".

Mandela's spokeswoman on Friday dismissed rumours that former president's health has taken a turn for the worse. Zelda la Grange said her office had been flooded with inquiries. "Rumours have again surfaced about Mr Mandela's well-being. Mr Mandela is in the former Transkei (his hometown in the Eastern Cape Province) where he is enjoying the festive season with his family," SAPA quoted her as saying. "He is due back in Johannesburg only towards the end of January." (Reuters)


INSIGHT:
Lindhs' Mandela comparison is foolish and scandalous. By Chido Nwangwu

June 16, and South Africa's treble historic events. By Nkem Ekeopara
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
Presidents Museveni, Kabila meet over fighting, crises in region.
The special summit between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opened officially on September 7, 2007 with Congolese foreign minister Mbusa Nyamwisi announcing that Kinshasa would start fighting Ugandan rebels on Congolese territory. "The DRC will start an operation against the negative forces of Uganda this month", Nyamwisi said in his opening speech in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, without specifying which rebel groups.

The negative forces operating from eastern Congo include the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the People's Redemption Army (PRA) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Nyamwisi also called upon Uganda to withdraw its forces from Congolese territory. He accused UPDF of having troops in the eastern town of Mahagi.

He also alleged that Congolese militia were recruiting fighters in refugee camps in Uganda. He further stated that Kinshasa was in favour of joint oil exploration on Lake Albert. Earlier, foreign minister Sam Kutesa, who leads the Ugandan delegation, said he hoped the summit would address the conflict between the two countries. "The presence of negative forces in the DRC is a matter of serious concern to Uganda", he stressed in his opening address. By Felix Osike and Alfred Wasike, New Vision in Kampala.


Nigeria losing $14 billion a year in oil. Nigeria loses $14 billion a year to oil theft, according to Stephen Hayes, the president of the Corporate Council on Africa. The supposed monetary losses incurred by the oil-rich West African country were calculated based on the estimated number of barrels of lost production due to corruption and crime, said Hayes. "If you are losing 600,000 barrels a day on oil at $70 a barrel, you are losing $12 million a day on oil theft," Hayes told Nigerian newspaper This Day. Before stepped-up hostilities by militant and other armed groups in the Niger Delta beginning in late 2005, Nigeria claimed to be producing about 2.5 million bpd. Since then, production has reportedly decreased by at least 20 percent, perhaps even by one-third, warn some analysts.

In and around the delta's de facto capital, Port Harcourt, a recent spike in violence has raised concerns about the long-term viability of doing business in the region, where foreign oil and gas operations and regularly targeted. "The situation in Port Harcourt will remain unstable in the short term until Nigerian authorities can regain some level of control," read a recent report by the Stratfor consulting group. By Carmen Gentile, UPI Energy Correspondent.


OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?


Nelson Mandela celebrates his 89th birthday, launching a humanitarian campaign along with former President Jimmy Carter, ex-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other "elders" of the global village. The initiative stems from an idea by British entrepreneur Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel to create a world council of elders to tackle issues such as conflict, AIDS and global warming. "This group of international leaders will share how they intend to work together to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity in addressing some of the world's toughest problems," organizers said in a statement.

Branson and Gabriel, who founded an international human rights organization and championed the anti-apartheid cause, attended part of a week of festivities for Mandela's birthday. A children's party that has become an annual fixture wraps things up July 24. Before that, events will feature Bill Clinton and soccer legend Pele, who will play in a special star-studded match to honor Mandela.


Nelson Mandela's political trinity: the man, the messiah and the mystique. 
2007 Mothers Day event: honorees, community leaders network in Houston at USAfrica and CLASS annual banquet.
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse? Special report by Chido Nwangwu
Analysts say Bush's handling of Darfur genocide falls short. By DEB RIECHMANN. May 31, 2007: It has taken President Bush nearly three years to match his impassioned rhetoric about what he decries as genocide in Darfur with tougher U.S. action against some of those blamed for the suffering.When Bush announced sanctions Tuesday, May 29, 2007, advocacy groups and lawmakers wished the president had been harsher and wondered whether it was a case of too little, too late for Darfur. The violence has killed 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million more from their homes since it began in February 2003.... It's not as if the Bush administration has been unaware of the bloodshed in Darfur, The United States has been working on the issue at the U.N. Security Council, and Bush has appointed special envoys to the region. The United States is the world's largest single donor to the people of Darfur, providing more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance. Still, the administration's steps have not been sufficient to halt the violence in Darfur, an arid region in eastern Africa about the size of Texas. Click here for Full commentary
INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com. 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....
Alhaji Yar'Adua pushed to victory as Nigeria's president by Obasanjo's ruling party; local and international monitors, opposition reject Nigeria's 2007 presidential elections vote as marred by rigging, fraud....
How Obasanjo rewarded Nigerians with a farce called elections. By Muhammad Al-Ghazali
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Senate leader Ken Nnamani, the third most senior state official and a member of the PDP, said Nigeria had abdicated its role as an example to the rest of Africa. "There will be a legacy of hatred. People will hate the new administration and they will have a crisis of legitimacy," he told Reuters by telephone. In another chat with Nigerian media/reporters , he said "Some people may like to deceive themselves that it is free and fair, but I don't think so."
MONITORS SAY NO CREDIBILITY:
"The system failed the Nigerian people and suffers from a lack of credibility...the Nigerian people were failed by their leaders," said Pierre Richard Prosper of the International Republican Institute ( IRI, a U.S.-based pro-democracy group), which monitored the vote. The biggest local monitoring group, which had 10,000 observers across Africa's most populous nation, said voting was either delayed for hours or did not occur at all in many areas. "We are going to call for a rerun of elections. You cannot use the result from half of the country to announce a new president," said Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group.
Click here for Full report
FLASHBACK Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slippery slide.
North Africa Qaeda wing vows more suicide bombings in the region: Al Qaeda's North Africa wing has, since April 2007, warned it would carry out more suicide bombings and urged Muslims to join its ranks as suicide bombers. Attacks in the past few weeks have deepened fears of a broad upsurge in violence in North Africa after the group set a goal of linking up with similar Islamist groups in the region and using it as a base for bombings against European targets.
"We have decided to adopt the style of martyrdom operations in the confrontation with our enemies from now on," Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud, a leader of al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, said in a video broadcast by Al Jazeera television. He said the group had issued instructions for the selection of targets "that achieves the goals of jihad (holy war)."

"We bring good tidings to our nation and youth and tell them that the list of martyrdom-seekers has become long and is growing every day," he said. "This is a crusader war on Islam and a battle of destiny between the infidels and believers so do not miss out ... come to a paradise that is as wide as earth and the skies." The Algerian-based group has claimed responsibility for triple suicide bombings in Algiers on April 11 that killed 33 people. In Morocco, six Islamists blew themselves up in a month in Casablanca this year, killing another person. (Reuters)


What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....

Anarchy rules when corruption takes over. By USAfrica editorial board member Ken Okorie
How the
2007 Nigeria campaign has made a Nehemiah of me.... By Prof. Pat Utomi, presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress of Nigeria: Criss-crossing Nigeria put my conscience to the test regarding what must be done to rescue our country. After some challenging reflections I have had to conclude that the rest of my life will have to be dedicated to directing Nigeria away from the road to serfdom that we currently travel unto navigating the lanes to liberation. I can see clearly from the vantage point of becoming involved in politics, the troubling crossroads we stand on, as a crisis of values we have long lamented, moves Nigeria ever so close to the precipice. The least I can do, in the circumstance, is quit my day job and dedicate the rest of my life to this struggle. I am convinced that the struggle as my life is worthwhile venture.

The struggle will be aimed largely at keeping the man-in-the-street, middle class professional people, and the youth ever committed to the quest in advance of the Common Good for change. The pain of seeing so many middle class people come out to vote on April 14 and witnessing their retreat on April 21 after it became clear their votes were not allowed to count increases the essence of the struggle. It is time to say thank you and to roll up our sleeves, like Nehemiah, to rebuild the falling walls of Nigeria. Full text here.


REGIONAL CRISES: Somalia faces crisis as 350,000 flee homes, away from fighting. The United Nations (UN) is calling the attention of the world, again, to the fact that Somalia is facing a major humanitarian crisis with more than 250,000 people fleeing the country. According to the UN spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker at least 350,000 people have fled Mogadishu since February 2007. "If you look at the situation from February until now, in that one time frame, more people have been displaced inside Somalia then any place else in the world," she said. "That includes Iraq, that includes Darfur (in Sudan) - where 107,000 people have been displaced this year - and that includes Sri Lanka, where there has been also very significant displacement this year." The UN notes more people have been displaced in Somalia over the last two months than anywhere else in the world. Fighting between government forces and Islamic rebels has forced thousands of people to flee the capital Mogadishu.

Somalia's Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi says most of the fighting is over in the capital and it is is safe for residents to return. But residents do not seem too reassured. The latest reports say gunfire and mortar explosions are continuing to echo through the streets. USAfricaonline.com/ABC/BBC


Alhaji Yar'Adua pushed to victory as Nigeria's president by Obasanjo's ruling party; local and international monitors, opposition reject Nigeria's 2007 presidential elections vote as marred by rigging, fraud.... Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and The Black Business Journal . Monday, April 23, 2007. Nigeria's electoral commision has announced the ruling PDP party candidate Umaru Yar'Adua, the 56-year-old Muslim governor of northern Katsina state, as winner of Nigeria's presidential elections (in pix). The "landslide victory" was announced by electoral commission chairman Maurice Iwu, as a prelude to the May 29, 2007 handover of power to President Olusegun Obasanjo's hand-picked successor Yar'Adua. Meanwhile, international and local monitors rejected Nigeria's election as a failure on Sunday in scathing verdicts on the first handover from one civilian president to another. Reuters reports that the opposition and foreign observers called the vote, marred by rigging, a shortage of millions of voting papers and violence in which 16 people were killed, the worst in Nigeria, plagued by years of military rule since independence from Britain in 1960.

The main opposition parties said they would not accept the election and called for President Olusegun Obasanjo to be impeached.


How Obasanjo rewarded Nigerians with a farce called elections. By Muhammad Al-Ghazali
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Senate leader Ken Nnamani, the third most senior state official and a member of the PDP, said Nigeria had abdicated its role as an example to the rest of Africa. "There will be a legacy of hatred. People will hate the new administration and they will have a crisis of legitimacy," he told Reuters by telephone. In another chat with Nigerian media/reporters , he said "Some people may like to deceive themselves that it is free and fair, but I don't think so."
MO
NITORS SAY NO CREDIBILITY: "The system failed the Nigerian people and suffers from a lack of credibility...the Nigerian people were failed by their leaders," said Pierre Richard Prosper of the International Republican Institute ( IRI, a U.S.-based pro-democracy group), which monitored the vote. The biggest local monitoring group, which had 10,000 observers across Africa's most populous nation, said voting was either delayed for hours or did not occur at all in many areas. "We are going to call for a rerun of elections. You cannot use the result from half of the country to announce a new president," said Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group.
Click here for Full report
FLASHBACK Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slippery slide.
INEC headquarters in Abuja targetted by petrol tanker.... Again, violence and delays threaten Nigeria 2nd poll for President, Senators.
Nigerians voted April 21, the second of two elections amidst violence, logistical problems and allegations of "allocated votes". At the time of this report, voting was closing in many polling centers. A major havoc failed to occur some hours before polling stations opened, when unknown attackers with with a fully loaded petrol tanker was used to try blow up the national electoral commission's headquarters in Nigeria's capital Abuja. The truck hit a telephone pole outside INEC but failed to the building and did not exlpode. During voting, some armed thugs abducted an elections officer in Ondo state, carted away voting materials and scared many away from voting. Earlier in the evening of Friday (April 20) militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta attacked stormed the office of Gov. Goodluck Jonathan, Obasanjo's pick as the ruling PDP party's vice-presidential ticket; two persons were killed. For report, click here
SPECIAL REPORT: Nigeria's do or die election flawed by rigging. By Koert Lindijer , Africa correspondent of Radio Netherlands (April 19, 2007). It looks very much as if Africa's most populous nation has once again failed to organise free and fair elections. Foreign and domestic observers and journalists say the state elections on 14 April were marked by blatant fraud and violence. They were even worse than the 2003 elections.... These are the biggest elections ever held in Africa and arguably the most important. For the first time since Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, a civilian government is handing over to another civilian government. There is a great deal at stake and President Olusegun Obasanjo is out to control his succession. "It's a do or die affair" as he has said. Ballot theft: In the southwestern state of Ikiti I saw supporters of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) unashamedly stealing ballot boxes and filling them with completed ballot papers. The police - and sometimes the army - looked on and did nothing. Reports have been coming in from nearly all 36 states of ballot box theft and of large groups of voters who say they were prevented from voting, while at the end of the day the official turnout has been announced as 90 percent....

SHOWDOWN: As Obasanjo orchestrates allegation that his VP Atiku "plans to destabilize" Nigeria through a "mole" in the military, April 2007 elections on dicey road, again....

NIGERIA'S SENATE PRESIDENT NNAMANI: ELECTIONS RESULTS "BEING PREDETERMINED...." Nigeria's Senate President Ken Nnamani, a key member of the ruling PDP in his home state of Enugu for the elections said on television that "Many of us have not voted and we have no chance of voting...Any person being declared a winner as far as Enugu is concerned has no mandate of anybody. People believe that the result has already being predetermined." He is Nigeria's number 3 person in order of succession. He has fallen out recently with Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo particularly on the controversial Petroleum Tax Development Fund (PTDF) on which issue a properly constituted Senate committee indicted Obasanjo and his embattled deputy Atiku Abubakar over wrong-doings in the management of the fund. Click here for USAfrica's special news feature report.
: Nigerians Voting make progress amidst familiar problems; INEC extend voting hours as late starts, missing ballot boxes, and violence affect Nigeria's April 14 elections; especially in the south, southwest; 7 police officers killed in Port Harcourt; voting booths and INEC office burnt in north; 17 dead across the states. Nigeria's latest march into another transition is making progress but beset with familiar problems in some constituencies. Hence, the INEC extended voting hours against the harsh realities of late starts, missing voters registers and ballot boxes.

Overall, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine reporters inside Nigeria are reporting that the elections are progressing with thousands if not more disenfranchised due to INEC's logistical problems, the actual acts of partisan political violence and threats of violence. The killing in a mosque of a radical Islamic cleric has left some tension around the voting and politics. Click here for USAfrica's special news feature report. Nigeria's 2007 elections: progress with familiar problems....


"Obasanjo does not interfere with my job as INEC chair" Only in USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine: USAfrica Publisher Chido Nwangwu's EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with INEC CHAIRMAN Prof. Maurice Iwu in Abuja, Nigeria.
We cover the controversial issues of the debate over INEC's preparedness and logistics capabilities for the April 2007 elections, alleged influence of President Obasanjo on Iwu and an exchange between the two (and the president' daughter, PDP senate candidate Iyabo-Obasanjo-Bello).

He breaks his silence on the latest technical disqualifications and court cases of Nigeria's VP Atiku and INEC's roles, Peter Obi and Chris Ngige's disqualifications for Anambra governorship, Iwu's relationship with Anambra's PDP Governorship aspirant, Andy Uba. Prof. Plus, Prof. Iwu also speaks on how he would like to be remembered after the 2007 elections and the controversies which typically follow his job as elections chief in Nigeria, a country of almost 110 million people....
The first text and photo excerpts of this exclusive interview appear here at USAfricaonline.com. Only in USAfrica and CLASSmagazine. Book your copies, now 713-270-5500 or class@classmagazine.tv.


CONFLICTS: Zimbabwe's Mugabe Wins Party Backing to Contest 2008 Elections. The political drama and conflicts in Zimbabwe has tatken a more complex twist with controversial 83 years old President Robert Mugabe winning his ZANU party's support to contest the 2008 presidential elections, after regional leaders spurned Western calls for him to quit.

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's central committee "endorsed President Mugabe as its candidate for the next election,'' spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said by phone from Harare. There was strong support from the party's women and youth factions, he added.

A campaign spearheaded by Mugabe, who has ruled the nation since 1980, to seize land owned by white farmers plunged the nation into a recession that is now in its eighth year and has led to widespread shortages of fuel, food and foreign exchange. About a quarter of the population has fled and 80 percent of the workforce is unemployed.

``This is a tragedy,'' opposition Movement for Democratic Change Secretary General Tendai Biti said in a telephone interview. ``If he wins through with his plans, he will be in power until he is 90. The country simply cannot continue in its rapid decline for that long.'' (He is seen in this USAfricaonline.com file photo with South Africa president Thabo Mbeki).

Allowing Mugabe another chance to run for office is ``sad'' and ``outrageous,'' Agence France-Presse quoted U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack as saying. He criticized other African nations for not taking stronger action against Mugabe's crackdown against opposition, it added. By USAfricaonline.com; Brian Latham and Vernon Wessels/Bloomberg in Johannesburg. See additional reporting on Zimbabwe below.


Lift Sanctions on Zimbabwe, African leaders from SADC back Mugabe in showdown with West, democracy activists.

AD calls for postponment of April elections; Nigeria's INEC says prez candidate's death will not stop elections: Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and The Black Business Journal  
USAfricaonline.com VIEWPOINT. By Prof. Niyi Osundare: "Obasanjo has ruined this country...." An open letter to Nigeria's President Obasanjo.
Phones-for-Health 2007 Cellphones to help Africa combat Aids through $10million project: Cellphones are being harnessed to fight HIV/Aids in Africa under a new $10million scheme announced on February 13, 2007 with the backing of leading companies and the US government. The Phones-for-Health project will use software loaded on to a standard Motorola handset to allow care workers in the field to enter critical health information into a central database in real time. It will be transmitted using a standard GPRS connection or, where this is not available, via an SMS channel.

The idea is to tap into the growing reach of cellphone technology, which has leapfrogged older communication systems in many African countries. Fixed-line telephone and Internet connections are rare on the continent, making pen and paper still the principal way of recording the spread of disease.


Nigeria's President Obasanjo fingered by his VP Atiku in loss of $500m Oil Money. Vice President Atiku Abubakar has alleged that over $500 million of the money realised during the 2002/2003 oil licensing bids cannot be accounted for by the current authorities of Nigeria's government led by retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. He raised the question: "About $700m was realised during the 2002/2003 bidding rounds but only the sum of about $145m was released to the PTDF. At this point, the pertinent question to ask is: where is the balance and who used it and under what law or which appropriation sub-head."
North African leaders prepare for AU Summit. The Community of Sahelian-Saharan States (CEN- SAD) heads of state met behind closed doors Thursday in Sirte, central Libya to prepare for 8th African Union Heads of State Summit in Ethoipia. The leaders met under the chairmanship of the body's current chairman, Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi.

The meeting focused mainly on the enhancement of the CEN-SAD undertakings as well as co-ordination of member countries' stance ahead of the AU Summit, due to convene from 29 to 30 January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Sirte forum is being attended by several heads of state, including Francois Boziz of the Central African Republic, Chad's Idris Deby, Guinea Bissau's Joao Bernardo Vieira, Assias Afeworki of Eritrea, Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade, Amadou Toumani Tour of Mali, Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, Burkinabe leader Blaise Compaor, Somalia's Abdallah Youssef and Togo's Faure Gnassingbe.

CEN-SAD comprises 23 African countries and was set up Feb 4, 1998 in Tripoli, Libya at the end of a meeting between Col. Kadhafi and the presidents of Mali, Niger, Sudan and Chad. It seeks to set up an overall economic union based on a strategy that complements the national development plans of member countries focusing on investment in the agricultural, industrial, energy, social and cultural sectors. It also aims at lifting impediments to the unification of member countries, promoting foreign trade through an investment policy in member states, improving road, air and sea transport and communication through the implementation of joint projects.

Member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea- Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Togo and Tunisia. - BuaNews"


ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century. By Chido Nwangwu. As an African in America, as a recent immigrant who has been blessed by the graciousness, business opportunities, global breadth and hospitality of Americans, I have cause to be thankful for benefiting from the vision, personal sacrifice and peaceful soldiering of the late Martin Luther King, who sought to create an atmosphere which fosters harmony and acceptance of all our unique talents and racial origins.

On this day/week of the post-humous celebration of birthday, I believe that the existing global alliance of all humankind, representing the full tapestry of our ethnic/racial origins as Indians, Caucasians, Blacks, Jews, Asians, and a multitude of other backgrounds should, markedly, advance Dr. King's vision and efforts should do more by utilizing technological tools, networking personal discipline, boosting religious and communal re-orientation to fight all forms of discrimination and intolerance into the 21st century.  Why? We must all remember the fact that although King and his colleagues fought and died to achieve the cause of racial harmony and peaceful resolution of conflicts, there are more sophisticated forms of discrimination which besmirch our collective dignity as God's children.
Chido Nwangwu is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, U.S-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet.



OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
INTERVIEW: USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu on the U.S National Public radio affiliate KPFT to analyze the oil-related events in Nigeria, Dec 27, 2006.
Sultan of Sokoto, some senators, deputy governor, 100 others dead in latest PLANE CRASH in Nigeria.... Many of Nigeria's airlines have been called airborne coffins due to the massive dangers and record of fatalities taking thousands of lives in the past 20 years. This time, a Nigerian indigenous private operator, Aviation Development Corporation (ADC) airlines Boeing 737 jet crashed in a mountainous area of Nigeria near federal capital Abuja on Sunday October 29, 2006. Only 6 of the 104 passengers on board may have survived. The aircraft was heading to the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto. Nigerian Muslims' most influential cleric and Sokoto state's highest ranking religious leader (the Sultan of Sokoto) Alhaji Mohammadu Maccido who died in the crash has been buried.

Reactions to the fatal crash are pouring into Sokoto and Abuja, especially the fact that some of Sokoto's leading politicians were on board the flight.

According to ADC's Web site, Flight 53 was scheduled to take off from the Nigerian capital Abuja at 10:35 a.m. and land in Sokoto an hour later. "There were not less than 100 passengers in the airplane that crashed in Nigeria Sunday," Harold Demuren, Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, said. USAfricaonline.com with additional reports from DPA and CNN.


The plane, operated by Nigerian airline ADC, was still on fire at the edge of the runway hours after it crashed around noon (6 a.m. ET). Nigeria has a poor air safety record, with at least 11 crashes since 1995 that have killed over 500 people. The last crash involving ADC happened in November 1996 and killed all 146 people aboard the Boeing 727. That flight went down in Imota, Nigeria after the pilot lost control of the plane while trying to avoid a head-on collision with another aircraft. On October 23, 2005, a Bellview Airlines plane went down in bad weather near Lagos, killing all 117 people on board. An aircraft operated by Sosoliso Airlines crashed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on December 10, killing all 108 on board including many schoolchildren on their way home for the holidays. The October 29, 2006 crash would be the third fatal crash for Nigeria in the past 12 months. USAfricaonline.com with additional reports from DPA and CNN. USAfricaonline.com will provide additional reports on this news event and insight to the deadly, seemingly unending problem of plane crashes in Nigeria.
BUSINESS: South Africa has platinum, coal outshining gold as nation's main mine earners. While gold is still an important contributor to South Africa's exports and its overall economy, platinum and coal are continuing to consolidate their positions as the country's two major commodities, according to Minweb.

Figures from the Chamber of Mines show that sales of platinum group metals were worth around R38 billion (US$ 5.4 billion) last year, slightly ahead of coal's R36 billion contribution - both comfortably ahead of gold's sales worth around R27 billion. PGMs &endash; which include platinum, rhodium and palladium - overtook gold for the first time in 2001, and have held that lead for most of the time since then due to ongoing increases in PGM production and high metal prices. South Africa produces around 70% of the world's new platinum and rhodium mine supply and about 40% of global palladium.


NIGERIA'S POLITICS: Amidst conflicts and support for President Obasanjo's failed 3rd term bid, Prof. J.O. Irukwu says he'll lead Ohaneze until 2008. He argues that "the term of the present Ohanaeze leadership will expire on 31st January 2008." He is strongly opposed by the Ohanaeze Transition Committee (OTC), led by personalities like retired naval Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu. The OTC have moved the heaquarters away from Prof. Irukwu and retired Achuzia.

The OTC condemned in April 2006, Irukwu's embrace of Obasanjo's 3rd term stating "For the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo reaffirms that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must come from either the South-East or the South-South for equity, justice and fairness. The Ohanaeze  transition committee is authorised by the general assembly to set up a tactical committee to deal with all the issues arising from the destabilisation of the political parties and platforms as a result of this third term campaign." Also, log on to our blog/e-List, IgboEvents, for debate and views on Ohaneze


Zambia's president urges good governance in Africa. President Levy Mwanawasa has said on that good governance was a veritable means of preventing wars and conflicts in Africa and strong institutions of governance must be built so that tenets of democracy, human rights and the rule of law could be enhanced. Addressing the nation on both TV and radio ahead of the 43rd Africa Day which falls on May 25, Mwanawasa said African countries were now engaged in the war against hunger, poverty, diseases and illiteracy 43 years after the continent was liberated.

He said the new war should be fought with equal determination and zeal. In his speech, Mwanawasa paid special tribute to the freedom fighters and the founding fathers who fought selflessly for the emancipation of Africa. He said it was significant to recall and appreciate the great commitment and sacrifices of the freedom fighters to the struggles for the independence of the African countries including Zambia. "The occasion affords us the opportunity to evoke the vision of our founding fathers and mothers which gave birth to the ideals of Pan-Africanism," said Mwanawasa.


NEWS: US to renew diplomatic ties with Libya. The Bush administration on Monday May 15, 2006 decided to restore normal diplomatic relations with Libya for the first time in over a quarter century. The US is taking Mohammed Gadhafi's country off a US list of state sponsors of terrorism, State Department officials said. "This is not a decision that we arrived at without carefully monitoring and assessing Libya's behaviour," Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said. Welch said the United States will soon upgrade its diplomatic office in Tripoli to a full embassy. The move culminates a process that began three years ago when Tripoli surprised the world by agreeing to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.

There have been no normal relations with Libya since 1980. The State Department for several years listed Libya among nations the US government considered as official sponsors of terrorism.

Libya was held responsible for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, which claimed 270 lives, most of them American. But Libya has made a decisive move away from terrorism in recent years, officials said. Removing Libya from the list of countries the United States considers to be state sponsors of terrorism means a 45-day public comment period will begin on Monday, after which Libya would be removed from the list. The establishment of normal relations may have come sooner were it not for allegations that Gadhafi's regime was behind an attempt on the life of Saudi's Arabia's King Adbullah when he was crown prince several years ago.


Nollywood superstar Zack Orji wins the 'USAfrica International Actor of the Year 2006'. ZACK ORJI, one of Africa's most versatile actors, has been honored at USAfrica 14th anniversary BEST OF AFRICA banquet with USAfrica's first International Actor of the Year 2006 honors in Houston Houston, Texas, USA. The prestigious award was presented to Zack on behalf of USAfrica by veteran civil rights advocate and U.S Congressman Al Green on Friday May 5, 2006, at the Hilton Towers at Westchase, Houston.

In the prefacing the presentation of the award citation, Chido Nwangwu (Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, CLASS magazine and AchebeBooks.com) told the dignitaries that "I strongly recommended Zack for this special award of being the first USAfrica International Actor of the Year because it reflects Zack's profound artistic and dramatic versatility, Zack's boundless commitment to professionalism, and for being, in very sense, our true ambassador of excellence. He's our own Eddie Murphy and Will Smith, and more. Zack is bilingual in French and English. He is internationalist in outlook. Zack, we're all very proud of you, and we'll push your creative work across the entire networks of USAfrica and other platforms here in the U.S, and beyond."

Immediately, a standing ovation was given Zack by the professionals, creme d'le creme of the African, African-Americans and other Americans at the annual banquet from different sections of the U.S., Nigeria and parts of Africa.

In accepting the international honor, Zack said "I'm humbled by this major recognition. I'm very appreciative of being honored by USAfrica and all of you here in Houston. I thank you for this special recognition, for your support and your kind gestures." FULL report here


POPE'S MESSAGE ON MORALITY and SOCIETY:
Pope Benedict XVI delivers a blistering attack on the decadence of today's society: "Lord, we have lost our sense of sin...spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishness as if they were new heights of sophistication."

"Lord Jesus, our affluence is making us less human, our entertainment has become a drug, a source of alienation, and our society's incessant, tedious message is an invitation to die of selfishness."

During the Good Friday April 14, 2006 message, he delivers one of the strongest meditations and warns against the attack on the family. "Today we seem to be witnessing a kind of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family."

The Pope will also confront the question of evil in the world in a meditation that asks: "Where is Jesus in the agony of our own time, in the division of our world into belts of prosperity and belts of poverty . . . in one room they are concerned about obesity, in the other, they are begging for charity?" Click here for full report by Ruth Gledhill, Religion correspondent of The Times of London.


ECONOMY: South Africa's business confidence nears 24-year high. By Ayanda Shezi in Johannesburg/Business Day. The current favourable economic environment in South Africa drove business confidence close to a 24-year high in the first quarter of this year, reversing the previous quarter's decline. The business confidence index, compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research and sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank, rose to 86 points in the first quarter, up from 85 in the fourth quarter of last year. However, confidence among manufacturers remains the lowest among the five sectors surveyed, as the sector, particularly producers exposed to the export market, struggle to remain competitive as a result of the rand trading in a higher range over the past few months. The overall picture, however, remains positive. "The fact that the index remains at an historically high level supports our view of a continuation of the upward trend in the business cycle," Rand Merchant Bank chief economist Rudolf Gouws said.
INSIGHT: Genocide and why Nigeria does not deserve UN Security Council seat. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com. The weekend of March 26, 2006, it appears very likely that Nigeria will, after all, hand over Liberian fugitive leader Charles Taylor (currently on exile in Nigeria) to the Freetown-based UN court investigating war crimes in conflicts in and around Sierra Leone. But we must note that in the past 40 years, Nigeria has been run by a succession of genocidist generals and other operatives (military and civilian alike) who planned, executed and sustained the Igbo genocide. The current head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, commanded a notorious division in southern Igboland which committed indescribable atrocities as it overran cities, towns and villages. Neither he (who has been head of state for a total of nine years during the period) nor any of his colleagues (most of whom are still alive) has apologised or shown remorse for their crimes against humanity. On the contrary. In fact Yakubu Gowon, who was head of state and grand overseer of the genocide, only recently told the press in Enugu (political and cultural capital of Igboland) that he had "nothing to apologise" to the Igbo. Before he shot himself in a Berlin bunker in 1945, few would have expected Adolf Hitler to apologise or show remorse for his organised genocide of six million Jews across Europe during the Second World War. Hardly anyone, though, would wish to contemplate a Hitler travelling to Jerusalem today to address a press conference in which he would insist categorically: "I have nothing to apologise for the six million Jews my forces annihilated between 1939 and 1945. What I did was right." That would be unimaginable monstrosity. But this was precisely what Gowon did at Enugu a fortnight ago.

Nigeria's "bid" to join the Security Council could not have provided the world with a better opportunity to deal with the crux of contemporary Africa's malaise: the non-accountability of African leaderships who employ genocide and the pillage of the economy as a twin-track instrument of power. No country in Africa is more appropriate for the world to enforce this accountability than where the disease emerged in the first place on the continent &endash; Nigeria, the quintessentially failed and genocide-state. Special to USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston; IgboEvents blog and CLASS magazine


UN special representative for West Africa welcomes peaceful elections in Benin. A senior United Nations envoy to West Africa today praised the peaceful conduct of Benin's weekend elections while voicing hope that the constitutional process will bear fruit in the planned transfer of power in April 2006. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, congratulated the people of Benin "for their orderly and disciplined behaviour since the beginning of the process" and said their conduct testifies to the country's important status "in the march towards democracy in Africa."

In a statement issued in Dakar, Mr. Ould Abdallah expressed hope "that the exemplary behaviour of the people of Benin during the Sunday polls will accompany the process until its ultimate ending, with the peaceful and constitutional handing over of power on 6 April 2006." He also hailed the current leadership, saying President Mathieu Kerekou's expertise "will surely continue to be valuable to the African continent, beyond his well accomplished mission as Head of State."


DEMOCRACY WATCH:
Senator Udoma: Why I opposed 3rd term for Obasanjo or anyone.

Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, (Nigeria's Senate Chief Whip from Akwa Ibom State, in picture) on why "in good conscience" he cannot support the  retired general Olusegun  Obasanjo's controversial and thus far unconstitutional quest to seek a third term of office as Nigeria's president (ruling since 1999). It is titled 'Why I am against third term amendment provision' Among other points, he argues that "To permit the power of incumbency to be used to extend term limits, by constitutional amendment, is to undermine the very purpose of the term limit. Why have a term limit when it can be extended any time it is considered inconvenient for an incumbent... One of the fundamental principles of lawmaking is that laws should not be made for the benefit of a particular individual. Even if we pass the amendment and the President decides to contest, which decision, we understand, he is yet to make, all we would have achieved is a maximum of four more years for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. But at what price? His successor will be able to rule Nigeria for twelve unbroken years..." Full text here


VIEWPOINT: Obasanjo, Go! Just go! Prof. Wole Soyinka
Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide. By Chido Nwangwu
Thousands protest in Nairobi, Kenya. About 3,000 opposition supporters and human rights activists marched Tuesday, March 7, 2006 in downtown Nairobi to protest police raids on Kenya's oldest newspaper and its sister television station.

Waving signs and shouting that Internal Security Minister John Michuki "must go," the demonstrators walked peacefully through the Kenyan capital as police stood guard from a distance. Some of the demonstrators carried a placard reading in Kiswali 'Yes, the government is a snake'. About 3,000 opposition supporters and human rights activists marched Tuesday in downtown Nairobi to protest last week's raids on Kenya's oldest newspaper and its sister television station.

Michuki had ordered last Thursday's raids, during which heavily armed and masked police smashed The Standard Group's printing press and disrupted Kenya Television Network's broadcast for 13 hours.

Last week's raids were the first time since Kenya's 1963 independence that the government shut down major media operations. Recently, the country's media have been reporting on corruption scandals swirling around President Mwai Kibaki, who has been seen as increasingly politically isolated. Meanwhile, Kenya Airways has announced it plans to buy six Dreamliner planes from the U.S aerospace giant Boeing to replace its current 767 models.Two of the six will be delivered in 2010.


Tunis hosts North Africa water, environment meeting. A three-day sub-regional seminar on "Water, environment and development prospects in North Africa" held in Tunis drawing participants from seven countries until February 27, 2006. The meeting initiated by the North A

frican Office of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), opened Tuesday, bringing together officials of regional organisations, the civil society and academics from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Sudan and Tunisia. Participants, who are assessing progress achieved by these countries in the implementation of the African Vision on Water by 2025, are expected adopt a sub-regional plan of action on the sector.


USAfricaonline.com Insight: Islam and Christianity clashes in Nigeria.
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's crises and challenge? By Ken Okorie, editorial board member of USAfrica
Also see Transcript CNN International Interview Sept 17, 2002 with Nigeria's President Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu on Democracy and Security Issues

Background news to latest Conflict: An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city center with machetes, sticks and iron rods attacking christians. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze. In Nigeria mutual suspicions between Christians and Muslims have led to thousands of deaths in recent years, that tensions boiled over into sectarian violence. Thousands of rioters burned 15 churches in Maiduguri in a three-hour rampage before troops and police reinforcements restored order, Nigerian police spokesman Haz Iwendi said. Iwendi said security forces arrested dozens of people in the city about 1,000 miles northeast of the capital, Lagos. Chima Ezeoke, a Christian Maiduguri resident, said protesters attacked and looted shops owned by minority Christians, most of them with origins in the country's south. "Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters," Ezeoke said. Witnesses said three children and a priest were among those killed. In Libya, the parliament suspended the interior minister after at least 11 people died when his security forces attacked rioters who torched the Italian consulate in Benghazi. Right-wing Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli resigned under pressure, accused of fueling the fury in Benghazi by wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with one of the offending cartoons, first published in September in a Danish newspaper. Danish church officials met with a top Muslim cleric in Cairo, meanwhile, but made no significant headway in defusing the conflict. USAfricaonline.com with AP reports.
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: Top US Naval commander in Ghana for talks on maritime security, regional interests.... Admiral Harry Ulrich, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe, responsible for Africa, arrived in Accra Wednesday for talks with Ghanaian military officials as part of a three-nation West African tour with maritime security top on the agenda. A statement from the US Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy here said Admiral Ulrich was working with the Gulf of Guinea region`s military and civilian leaders to develop cooperative maritime safety and security initiatives. "He is working to strengthen partnerships and enhance cooperation among nations that would all benefit from maritime safety and security," the statement said, adding that success in this area could have significant positive economic impact on nations in the Gulf of Guinea region. "Illegal fishing, drug trafficking and piracy are among the numerous maritime safety and security concerns the region is currently facing," it noted. The US Navy has increased its visibility and focus on the region which it describes as "vital." Admiral Ulrich commands all US Naval Forces operating off the West Africa Coast and the Mediterranean Sea. Angop/Feb. 2, 2006
ECONOMICS AND POWER: Mbeki says
South Africa to review land reform, foreign purchases. (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday the government would regulate the conditions under which foreigners bought land in 2006 and review its willing-buyer, willing-seller policy on land reform. Critics say the current approach has slowed attempts to redistribute white-owned land to the country's black majority, creating a powder-keg of resentment among the poor and landless. The government has signalled before that it would look at both issues but without a time frame. "The Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs will, during 2006: review the willing-buyer willing-seller policy...and regulate conditions under which foreigners buy land," Mbeki said in his annual state of the nation address, to applause from governing members of the ruling African National Congress.

"Land reform and land restitution are critical to the transformation of our society. Accordingly, the state will play a more central role in the land reform programme ensuring that the restitution programme is accelerated," he said. He said regulations for foreign land purchases would be done "in line with international norms and practices."

Almost 12 years after the end of apartheid rule most of South Africa's arable land remains in the hands of the white minority, while fears have grown that a surge in foreign interest in South African property is pushing prices out of reach for many locals. Foreign land ownership could also prove an obstacle to redistribution as wealthy non-residents sometimes buy large tracts that might have been used for the reform programme. Full report here


HEALTHWATCH: South Africa labour boss slams Mbeki on AIDS.

INSIGHT: OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse? by Chido Nwangwu (written and published in October 1998, updated in 2003)
USAfricaonline.com archived background insight:
The coup in Cote d'Ivoire and its implications for democracy in Africa.
(Related commentary) Coup in Cote d'Ivoire has been in the waiting. By Tom Kamara.

U.S. First Lady Bush, Sec of State Rice in Liberia for inauguration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected President in Africa. First lady Laura Bush witnessed history on Monday January 16, 2006 at the swearing-in of Liberia's new leader, the first woman elected president in Africa who has pledged to restore peace after 14 years of civil strife in this nation founded by freed American slaves. On her second trip to Africa, Mrs. Bush is joining Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated economist who has called on women to help govern other African nations.

"I think it's really important worldwide," Mrs. Bush said about Sirleaf's inauguration, which falls on the day Americans honor civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "I think it's particularly important on the continent of Africa, because traditionally women have been excluded in many African cultures not all of them, but in many." Full report by Deb Reichmann in Monrovia/AP here.


Related insight:
Liberia's bloody mess and hopes of a battered nation. By Chido Nwangwu
Liberia: Death by installment. By Chido Nwangwu, June 21, 1996.
Obasanjo and
Bush 'monitored' while Liberia was murdered.

Exclusive: OJUKWU says "Until my last dying breath, I shall continue to think of my Jerusalem, Biafra!" Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu speaks also on his secret August 2004 meeting with Nigeria's president Obasanjo.... "before I left, he (Obasanjo) then said to me, "You know, we have no problem; but there's one thing you must do for me." I said to him, "What is it?" And he said, "Renounce Biafra so that we can work together!" My response was, "No, never! How can I? You see, Omo-Oba, I came to you thinking I was coming to a friend, and all you can ask of me is to commit suicide. I don't know what type of friendship this is. No, you're groping...." Interview by Prof. Kalu Ogbaa appears in full on USAfricaonline.com. It is being serialized across the multimedia platforms of USAfrica, CLASS magazine and IgboEvents
Related Interview: Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu: "It was simply a choice between Biafra and enslavement."By Chido Nwangwu

Johnson-Sirleaf Africa's first female president from
Liberia's 2005 presidential race. Harvard-trained Iron Lady Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been elected the first female president in Africa following a commanding advantage over football great George Weah in Liberia's post-war presidential runoff in November 2005. The 66-year-old grandmother and former finance minister had 59.2 percent of the votes while the 39-year-old former FIFA player ofthe year had 40.8 percent, Frances Johnson-Morris, chairwoman of the National Elections Commission, told a news conference.  The results, she said, are from 2,719 of the 3,070 polling stations across the war-torn west African country. Analysts fear the worst that angry supporters of Weah, mostly youth, might turn to violence over the fraud allegations if he lost to Liberia's foremost female politician. Weah and Johnson-Sirleaf obtained 28.3 percent and 19.8 percent respectively in thefirst round. Liberia, founded in 1847 by freed American slaves, experienced a bloody civil war from 1989 to 2003 in which an estimated 250,000people, about eight percent of its population, died and about one million made refugees.
Meanwhile, the first woman to be nominated and aspired as a candidate for vice president of Nigeria, Mrs. Oyibo Odinamadu has ain an e-mail to USAfricaonline.com described the strides of Dr. Sirleaf as "a very wonderful and exhilarating news... Liberia is now in the line of liberated nations."
and Kenya are the leading African candidates for the two proposed Security Council permanent seats.
STELLA OBASANJO (nee Abebe) BURIED IN ABEOKUTA; OBASANJO APOLOGISES TO HIS IN-LAWS, READY TO "PAY ANY FINE" FOR NOT SENDING HER BODY BACK TO HER PLACE OF ORIGIN IN IRUEKPEN, EDO STATE.... Nigeria buried the body of President Olusegun Obasanjo's wife on Friday, with the grieving leader asking compatriots to unite in their sorrow behind a program of development and progress for Africa's most populous nation. Stella Obasanjo, 59, died Sunday after undergoing surgery in Spain, only hours after a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737-200 crashed in Nigeria, killing all 117 people on board.

Standing near her grave in his hometown of Abeokuta, Obasanjo asked the 130 million people of his fractious nation to unite for the betterment of their country. "Let us utilise this period of adversity and the unity of sorrow, let it translate to unity of purpose, unity of determination for the development, the growth, the progress of our country," said Obasanjo in a nationally televised address. "May Stella's gentle soul rest in peace." On the issue of burial location, retired General Obasanjo said to his in-laws "Please forgive me. I did not mean to disobey your customs and traditions. I am ready to pay any fine....." The recent events in Nigeria continue to draw condolence messages from different parts of the world and consternation from Nigerians.


3 DAYS OF MOURNING IN NIGERIA FOLLOWING AIR CRASH and DEATH OF FIRST LADY. FINAL JOURNIES BEGIN ACROSS NIGERIA....
USAfricaFORUM:
What Africans need is Economic Democracy and Not Aid. I subscribe to the group which argues that Africans do not need more aid from the rich nations; that what Africans need is economic democracy.  Africans need freedom to chart their own future.   Africans need the freedom to decide how  the vast mineral resources in the continent can be marketed.  The second largest continent in the  world is rich with abundance of natural and human resources.  If these resources are put in proper use,  Africa will be self sufficient, and should not  need any aid from any country or group of nations......By Ezekiel Nwakwue. 
South Africa labour boss slams Mbeki on AIDS. South Africa's top trade unionist has attacked President Thabo Mbeki for failing to stem a raging AIDS pandemic in the latest sign of discord between the ruling African National Congress and its labour allies. "This lack of government leadership on HIV is a betrayal of our people and our struggle," Zwelinzima Vavi, secretary general of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), was quoted as saying in local newspapers on Monday. South Africa is the country hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 5 million of its 45 million population believed to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS activists have criticised the government for its response to the epidemic, saying a roll-out of life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs has moved too slowly since the programme was introduced last year. Mbeki has taken much of the flak from critics who say he seems reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the disaster. COSATU, part of a governing alliance with the dominant ANC, has differed with the ruling party on the issue of AIDS in the past but the strident tone of Vavi's remarks and the personal attack on Mbeki were unprecedented.

Vavi's comments come at a time when relations between the ANC and its leftist allies, COSATU and the South African Communist Party, are strained over a number of issues including Mbeki's sacking of his former deputy Jacob Zuma, a darling of the left who has been charged with corruption. Vavi also criticised Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang for stressing the role of nutrition and traditional medicine for AIDS-sufferers instead of pushing to make anti-retroviral drugs more accessible to them. "There is nothing wrong with encouraging our people to eat and live healthily, but it is very wrong when there is silence about the need to ensure people have access to cheap anti-retrovirals," he was quoted as saying. Officials at Mbeki's presidency and COSATU were unavailable for immediate comment on Monday.



USAfricaNEWSBANK: Why the American FBI officers raided home of Nigeria's VP Atiku in Potomac, reportedly regarding iGate telecomm deal and payments to Nigerian and Ghana officials. On the same day that federal agents executed search warrants on the New Orleans and Washington, D.C., homes of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, the FBI also raided the Maryland residence of Nigeria's vice president, seeking evidence of possible payments to officials in that African nation.

A State Department official confirmed the Aug. 3 search of the Potomac, Md., home of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his wife, Jennifer. The agency referred all quest

ions about the raid to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.

A source familiar with the investigation said subpoenas show agents were looking for records showing whether Jefferson, D-New Orleans, paid, offered to pay or authorized payments to officials in the government of Nigeria or Ghana.

The subpoenas, described to The Times-Picayune, seek documents related to Jefferson's dealings with Abubakar and the vice president of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. Jefferson returned from a five-day visit to Ghana in mid-July, about three weeks before the FBI raided his homes. CLICK here for Full report by The Times Picayune newspaper of New Orleans.


Southern Sudanese natioanlist Salva Kiir Mayardit sworn in as VP, following Garang's death in plane crash; uneasy calm sill hovers over Sudan.
KHARTOUM: A former rebel commander was sworn in as Sudan's new first vice president on Thursday, pledging to uphold his late predecessor's commitment to a peaceful and unified Sudan. Southern leader Salva Kiir Mayardit took the oath of office with his hand on a red copy of the



constitution in a large tent on the grounds of the presidential palace. Kiir, who was named leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement after John Garang's July 30 death in a helicopter crash, also was named president of the government of southern Sudan. "`I swear allegiance to the republic of Sudan,'' Kiir said. ``I pledge to promote its unity ... and to preserve the integrity and dignity of the people of Sudan.'' Kiir reaffirmed his commitment to achieving peace nationwide, including the troubled east and the western province of Darfur.

Kiir and Garang were among the founders of the rebel movement that, from 1983 until a peace treaty in January, fought against the Khartoum government for autonomy for the south's largely Christian and animist people. After the oath, Kiir, President Omar al-Bashir and Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha raised their linked hands. As a performer sang an upbeat song with the words, ``I am African, I am Sudanese,'' some in the audience of hundreds that included foreign ambassadors stood up and danced, their walking sticks raised up high. By Tanalee Smith/AP


Mandela's 87th birthday focus on his legacy, message beyond the man....
Nelson Mandela's 87th birthday and festivities kicked off at one minute past midnight on Monday morning July 18, 2005, with a fireworks extravaganza on Robbenma Island and the lighting of a torch in Mandela's former prison cell. The torch-lighting was the first step in the Six Day 46664 Torch Run Relay, in which the torch is to be carried on a route winding through the nine provinces as an inclusive celebration of Mandela's birthday.

The relay is to use the network of the South African Rugby's 14 unions around the country and runners are to carry the torch for distances ranging from 200 metres to a kilometre. "We hope to collect more than a million messages by July 23, and we ask people to monitor the vehicle's progress," said John Samuel, head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Parties, lectures, a rugby match and the launch of a comic series were some of the festivities celebrating Madiba's 87th birthday.


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


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.


Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendable push for development assistance. The UK Plan for Africa grew out of the Tony Blair Commission for Africa, made up of prominent Africans, Britons and a former US Senator. The Commission recently released a wide-ranging report of development needs in Africa and articulated how best African governments and rich nations can work together to dramatically reduce poverty and improve standards of living in Africa.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair commitment to Africa's development is not in doubt. The humanitarian role of British soldiers in ending the atrocities of Sierra Leone is well known. The Prime Minister has spoken on numerous occasions on the need for greater development assistance for Africa. Mr. Blair has also pledged to increase the UK government's overseas development assistance as a percentage of GDP by 2012. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have shown strong commitment to African-related issues despite the strident national disagreements between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. The push by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government for massive but accountable development assistance to Africa is timely and commendable. However, the United Kingdom plan is generating some hostility, especially from the United States' president George W. Bush. Excerpt from a Special report by USAfricaonline.com contributing editor Chinua Akukwe


Resignation of Togo's military-installed president Faure Gnassingbe opens more demands, constitutional crises.... LOME- Togo's military-installed President Faure Gnassingbe on Friday February 25, 2005 evening announced his decision to step down and run for president in April elections, mitigating a three-week political crisis gripping the African country. Hours after his declaration, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed Gnassingbe's resignation. Early Saturday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it would immediately drop sanctions against Togo.

Meanwhile, hardliners from six opposition parties rallied around 20,000 people, demanding a "total return to constitutional legality." Gnassingbe's opposers demanded former parliament speaker Fambare Natchaba Ouattara to become the interim president.

Jean-Pierre Fabre, leader of the main opposition Union of Forces for Change (UFC), declared: "What we want is a whole and not stray bits and pieces." Fabre said that the election of Bonfoh is "useless, because it is a continued coup."


INSIGHT: Why Togo Must Say No to Faure. By Jonathan Elendu
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
Anarchy rules when corruption takes over. By USAfrica editorial board member Ken Okorie

USAfricaonline.com INSIGHT:
Those who eat with Obasanjo....:By Jonathan Elendu, USAfricaonline.com Michigan-based columnist. Click here for full commentary.
VIEWPOINT
"
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 USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper. Click here for FULL commentary
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
Is Obasanjo ordained by God to rule Nigeria? And, other fallacies. By Prof. Sola Adeyeye

Related commentary on corruption and graft in Nigeria:
Vagabonds In Power (VIP). Parts 1 and 2. By USAfricaonline.com contributing editor and columnist Jonathan Elendu
"Obasanjo has ruined this country...." An open letter to Nigeria's President Obasanjo. By Prof. Niyi Osundare:

How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By Prof. Mobolaji Aluko


VIEWPOINT: Things I should have said. This is my 100th article for the USAfrica MultiMedia Networks, Houston. I felt the best way to celebrate this milestone is to talk about things I should have commented on, but for some reason did not. Although, first I would like to say that being a columnist for USAfrica publications have been a very rewarding experience, intellectually and otherwise. By Jonathan Elendu
DEMOCRACY WATCH: Obasanjo rapes Nigeria's constitution by suspending Plateau Assembly and Governor. Prof. By BEN NWABUEZE, leading constitutional scholar for almost 45 years, former federal minister and SAN.
Obasanjo's own challenge is to imbibe "democratic spirit and practice," By Prof. Ibiyinka Solarin
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfrica The Newspaper editorial board member, attorney Ken Okorie.
ACHIEVERS: Kenyan Environmentalist Wangari Maathai winner of the Nobel 2004 Peace Prize. When Wangari Maathai got word she had won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, she was campaigning to protect Kenya's forests and distributing food to villagers suffering from drought the same work she's been doing for decades. Maathai was in the countryside just one hill away from her childhood home when told she had won the $1.3 million prize, joining a club that includes Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and the Dalai Lama.

The 64-year-old Maathai, the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize in any category since the awards were first handed out in 1901, gained recent acclaim for a campaign planting 30 million trees to stave off deforestation. "Many of the wars in Africa are fought over natural resources," Maathai told The Associated Press. "Ensuring they are not destroyed is a way of ensuring there is no conflict." Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister and a former presidential candidate, has worked for nearly half her life to protect the environment and human rights. During the 1980s and 1990s, she also campaigned against government oppression and founded Kenya's Green Party in 1987. She was repeatedly arrested and beaten for protesting former President Daniel arap Moi's non-progressive environmental policies and human rights record. AP. Click here for details



COUNTERPOINT
Bush, if not Affirmative Action, then what: Reparations? By Dr. Rufus G.W. Sanders
MEDIAWATCH: Style Matters, blacks, Blacks and Journalism. I find it extremely insulting to use lower case 'b' when the reference is to Blacks/African-Americans. Style-wise, it is wrong for the dominant media to continue the imposition of such substantial error of form and content since, the basic color, black, should be in lower case. Some dude will attempt, for the 1000th time to "explain" away why its correct to identify Blacks as "blacks" while the hold as accurate the capitalization of Hispanic, Jewish, or Irish. It does not make sense!
LITERATURE:
Why
CHINUA ACHEBE, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
POLITICS and POLICY
African Union: Old wine in new skin?
Nigeria: a good country led on the wrong path. By USAfrica editorial board member Ken Okorie

VIEWPOINT
Obasanjo's Biafra and anti-Igbo battles running past 33 years. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe



ANOTHER VIEW: Haba, Obasanjo, please spare us some of this emotional blackmail! Who put Wabara there in the first place? By Ishaq Modibbo Kawu (Daily Trust newspaper, Abuja):
"Nigerians had started yawning every time "crusader" Obasanjo re-iterated his commitment to a corruption-free process of governance. The reason was simply the huge credibility deficit Obasanjo's government has consistently run, since his election in 1999. There were too many examples of corruption at the heart of the hypocritical and quixotic tilting at the windmill of corruption. The monster of corruption seemed to have successfully entrenched itself, almost like an ancient pagan god, that was propitiated in the various levels of Nigeria's ruling elite. I'll take one example; the infamous Defence Ministry Permanent Secretary, Makanjuola, who stole N400m from his ministry. It was General T.Y. Danjuma, who blew the whistle on this executive thief. A challenge was thrown by that patriotic act of T.Y Danjuma, because the story that has continued to make the rounds is that the thief Makanjuola is infact, Obasanjo's cousin...

Obasanjo said inter-alia in his broadcast that "we have never made shy of our undiluted comments to eliminating corruption from our national life because it compromises national development, contaminates collective morality and values distorts national planning, corrodes integrity and discipline, and destroys the foundation of creativity, innovation, and democratic structure and development." The sentiments are superb, but facts are stubborn things, and the facts of Obasanjo's rule in the past six years, do not vindicate him and his lofty sentiments.

For example how elastic is his conception of corruption? Does that include the forgery of the Electoral Act? Is it corrupt not to implement budgets as he has consistently refused to do since he came to power? Is it an act of corruption to spend monies without appropriation? Is it corruption to emasculate other arms of government, stifle the separation of powers and cast an authoritarian pall on the democratic process in the country? It will be interesting to find out from Obasanjo if his definition of corruption includes acts of impunity, such as taking away Delta Steel Company won 'fair and square' in open competitive bid by a Nigerian company. Then giving away the company by Presidential fiat to an Indian company? Obasanjo should also let us know if his definition of corruption takes in the messy SOLGAS deal at Ajaokuta or the PENTASCOPE scam at NITEL. Obasanjo was also 'disheartened' that 'the number three man in the government hierarchy in the country is involved in this sordid matter'.

Haba, Obasanjo, please spare us some of this emotional blackmail! Who put Wabara there in the first place? A charlatan that did not win an election in the first place or didn't you write a congratulatory letter to Elder Dan Imoh, whose mandate was traded away in order that Wabara; colourless , tasteless, philistine and quisling, can be made the President of our nations highest legislative body? An act of vengeance by Obasanjo, to underscore how imperial his presidency has evolved in the years since 1999, but especially after the charade of the 2003 election. The imposition of Wabara as Nigeria's number three citizen is a reflection of the flaw in the president's own persona; that inability of absolute power to condone dissent, and of an old African chief, groomed in the rural tyranny of a peasant society who made good as a military dictator. This ex-dictator is suffused with a messianic strain, was imprisoned and humiliated, discovered religion a-new in adversity and walked almost directly from prison to power, as the consensus choice to lead Nigeria, by a military constituency directly responsible largely for the ruination of our country. This sequence of events steeped president Obasanjo in his subjective idealism, philosophically, as being the indispensable source of all wisdom of statecraft. This is the background that will make him impose a character like Adolphus Wabara on Nigeria."


SPORTS
Emeka Okafor remains a champion on all fronts....

TRAVELS AND TRAVAILS:
"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 USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu of 5 hours of anguish and disappointments at the George Bush International Airport in Houston, on Friday March 26, 2004


Spain, Terrorism and anti-democratic balderdash. By USAfricaonline.com contributing editor and columnist Jonathan Elendu
CARDINAL ARINZE AND THE FUTURE OF THE PAPACY....
Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine, Houston

As the facilitator of inter-religious dialogue, Arinze has seen and interacted with differing religionists who, to varying degrees, embody zealotry and reason, lucidity of thought and rock-ribbed dogmatisms. By being a major voice for Roman Catholicism in Africa, he has enriched the goals of the Vatican to win more souls to that unique section of the Christian community.

In deftly respecting and showing sensitivity to the cultural contexts for religious evangelization and work in different regions of the world, Arinze (a Nigerian, like me, from the south eastern Igbo ethnic group as is the literary giant Prof. Chinua Achebe) seems a fitting bridge for a common, shared theology of humankind. Our brother, The Cardinal, is neither extreme in words nor brash in personal conduct, he also stands as a role model who should be emulated by many, especially in the community of his natural origin, the Nigerian community. Among other qualities, he shows scholarship and a rare balance of reason and theology. May your pastroral lineage endure. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher, USAfricaonline.com and recipient of Journalism Excellence award (1999).

CLICK on Arinze's picture or here for full report of this essay first written online on April 7,1999, updated on April 25, 2002 and April 1, 2005


Millions yearned: it's time for an African or Latino as Pope. By Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Vagabonds In Power
(VIP). Parts 1 and 2. By Jonathan Elendu
REGIONAL CONFLICT: COUNTERPOINT
Aristide cruelly turned his back on his people and promises
Again,
Haitian blood on America's hands. Exclusive USAfricaonline.com commentary by Rufus G.W. Sanders, Ph.D

INSIGHT: Debating Obasanjo's record toward Nigeria's South East and South-South. By Pini Jason
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
Is Obasanjo endangering Nigeria's democracy? By Ken Kemnagum Okorie
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 as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press' poll and annual rankings.

September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....

Will the rash of
Ethnic and Religious Violence disrupt Nigeria's effort at Democracy?DEMOCRAZY: Haruna Yerima and Nigeria's depraved National Assembly. By USAfricaonline.com columnist Jonathan Elendu.
SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA is a four-part public television series. USAfrica qualifies the program as vital, recommended viewing.
Venatius Ikem, Anambra saga and the confessions of a hypocrite. By Jonathan Elendu

COMMUNITY EVENT
USAfrica 6th Annual Prayer Breakfast 2005 held, as usual, on the last Saturday of January (the 29th day of 2005) as a multi-denominational family event hosted by our community's multimedia leader, USAfrica and
CLASS. U.S. congressman Al Green who attended the 2004 event was represented. There were other community leaders and members of the faith-based organizations, families and inspirational leaders. Keynote speakers were Dr. Joshua Uhiara and Rev. David Okumgba. For the 2004 breakfast event, Pastor Tunji Osinulu was the keynote speaker. He spoke on the power of one by drawing from the lessons of Daniel in the Bible. Retired Archbishop Benjamin Nwankiti, a former Dean of the Church of Nigeria, was guest of honor for the 2003 event at the Holiday inn Sugar Land. African-American educator Rev. Lee Thompson was keynote speaker on 'The Power of Prayer' while Camerounian-born Pastor Bridget Fominyam spoke on the 'Role of Women in Family and Community development.' Its convener is Chido Nwangwu, USAfrica's Founder and Publisher. 713-270-5500. Contact: Owen Woghiren (assistant to the Publisher)
FAITH MATTERS
To pray or not pray? By Judith Brown
Anambra's rigged 2003 elections: Chris Uba's confession at WIC 2004 in Newark, USA.
In a matter-of-fact manner, PDP's chieftain in Anambra Chris Uba stood up and astonished all that were present in Newark when he said, "We, the PDP, did not win the election (of 2003). I have gone to church to confess. The election had no document. I called the result before 12 midnight. I gave INEC the money and asked them to call the result." The revelation caused an uproar as well as some applause in the hall. "The person we took his thing is here," Uba said, pointing at Peter Obi (the APGA candidate) who was sitting among the audience, in the back row. There was a thunderous applause as people looked at Peter Obi and some began to call him 'governor.' By Rudolf Okonkwo, special correspondent and columnist for CLASS magazine, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and USAfricaonline.com in New Jersey. Click at the bottom of this picture to go to full report.

08-08-08: USAfrica celebrates 50 Years of Achebe's THINGS FALL APART'' during the the 15th Anniversary of USAfrica's pioneering multimedia leadership of the bi-continental interests of Africans and Americans. Event date is Friday August 8 n Saturday 9, 2008 in Houston, Texas.



USAfricaonline.com NEWSNOTES: What I saw as one of the 20,000 at the Obama 'Yes, We Can' movement live in Houston. By Chido Nwangwu "Houston, I think we've achieved liftoff here..." Before an enthusiastic 20,000 plus audience (inside and around) the Toyota Center in Houston on Tuesday Feb 19, 2008, Senator Barack Obama told Houstonians that his break-away win over Hillary Clinton in the Wisconsin primaries reflected further momentum. In affirmation and appreciation, many chanted Obama's mantra of change, "Yes, we can!" When the impact and dynamics of the Obama movement is explained in textual formats or even on television, it brings only a part of the totality of its socio-political breadth and purpose-driven, evangelistic frenzy. Significantly, more than we have ever seen him before, he laid out more detailed, policy specific offerings to woo voters. Especially, he spoke about changing what he considers the prevailing "disease care" to real "healthcare" while challenging the youths of America to service. The Houston event is especially valuable too, for the fact that there was not teleprompter; minor recourse to his written notes and a direct policy points on such issues covering energy, education, AIDS, jobs in America, NAFTA, AIDS, use of America's armed forces, veterans care, war on terrorism, Iraq and others .

Taking the battle to Clinton and Sen. John McCain, the Republican front-runner who also won Wisconsin, Obama said with his pitch rising and booming through the massive arena: "I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home." The Clintons are ratcheting up their negative, sharp "contrasts" campaign which have, thus far, not yeilded votes or better value for the agenda to govern if elected. Rather those tactics and some ill-advised comments especially by former President Bill Clinton in South Carolina have combined to minimize, as polls and reactions and voters show, the Clinton legacy -- especially among African-Americans where Obama is averaging 86% of votes in the primaries.

The debates are expected to get more aggressive as Hillary Clinton says it's all about her "experience" versus what she insists are nothing but Obama's "speeches." As one among the 20,000 who heard some of the substance behind the speeches, more surprises will unfold in Ohio and Texas where the Clintons are positioned as front-runners. Remarkably, I saw several 4 year-olds with their parents, enthusiastic college students and young professionals, hundreds of seniors over 60 years old chanting and throwing their fists into the air in a revivalist fervor and finality of resolve "Yes, We Can", and affirming their shared hopes that the young, impressive candidate Obama will make a difference in their lives, should he become President of the United States. But he cautioned them that "The change we seek is still months and miles away." So true, because a day is a long time in political contention and struggles. By Chido Nwangwu, USAfricaonline.com at the Feb 19, 2008 rally in Houston CLICK here.


NEWSNOTES: Tanzania Welcomes Bush, but Obama Is Topic No. 1 on the Streets...while people here in the capital city of this East African nation are excited about Mr. Bush, another American politician seems to excite them even more &emdash; Senator Barack Obama. Mr. Bush is on a six-day, five-country tour to spotlight American efforts to fight poverty and disease in Africa. Though the president's face is on billboards all over town, the name Obama is on the lips of Tanzanians &emdash; from taxi drivers to city merchants to the artisans who sell wooden Masai warriors in makeshift stalls at a dusty open-air market on the outskirts of town.

Halfway around the world, Mr. Bush cannot escape the race to succeed him. "It seemed like there was a lot of excitement for me -- wait a minute, maybe you missed it!" he said, only half in jest, on Sunday, after Mr. Kikwete was asked about Mr. Obama during their joint news conference here. By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NY Times, Feb 18, 2008


INSIGHT: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century. By Chido Nwangwu. As an African in America, as a recent immigrant who has been blessed by the graciousness, business opportunities, global breadth and hospitality of Americans, I have cause to be thankful for benefiting from the vision, personal sacrifice and peaceful soldiering of the late Martin Luther King, who sought to create an atmosphere which fosters harmony and acceptance of all our unique talents and racial origins.

On this day/week of the post-humous celebration of birthday, I believe that the existing global alliance of all humankind, representing the full tapestry of our ethnic/racial origins as Indians, Caucasians, Blacks, Jews, Asians, and a multitude of other backgrounds should, markedly, advance Dr. King's vision and efforts should do more by utilizing technological tools, networking personal discipline, boosting religious and communal re-orientation to fight all forms of discrimination and intolerance into the 21st century.  Why?


50 Years of Achebe's THINGS FALL APART'': USAfrica honors Achebe by holding 2008 international symposium on 08-08-08 in Houston. The August 8 and 9, 2008 will include symposia and the special USAfrica harvest of Achebe's 1958 masterpiece and epic work, 'Things Fall Apart.' The convener and chief host of the harvest of the Achebe events is USAfrica's Founder, publisher of AchebeBooks.com and mutlimedia executive Chido Nwangwu. USAfrica (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) notes that "we'll portray both the high-minded, intellectual cadences and the everyday person and high-schoolers thoughts about the father of modern African literature. Hence I set the thematic summary as the USAfrica harvest of Achebe. Certianly, there will be critical insights and reviews/performances in honor of the great Achebe."

USAfrica is honoring Achebe as the main event of the 15th Anniversary of its pioneering multimedia leadership of the bi-continental interests of Africans and Americans. The acclaimed 2007 'BEST OF AFRICA' International Awards annual dinner in honor of African professionals will hold at the Marriot Hotel Westchase.

The events require pre-event registration, USAfrica15@Gmail.com deadline June 8, 2008. Registration is required, and will include getting a copy of Prof. Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' - for all those who register before June 8, 2008. The events are being organized by USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine, PhotoWorks.TV, Black Business Journal, BBJonline.com and Achebebooks.com. E-mail: USAfrica15@Gmail.com Office: 713-270-5500. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436)


USAfricaonline LITERATURE
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
USAfricaonline.com YouTube VIDEO pick: I'm so bush.. Naija Boyz.. Im so Hood remix. Young Africans in Houston.
INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com. 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....

FAMILY EVENT: 2008 USAfrica 9th Annual PRAYER BREAKFAST held as usual on the last Satirday of January, JANUARY 26, 2008. Time: 9am to 11.30am. Venue: Shanae's Cafe (former Kennys, 9780 Bissonet, Houston, TX 77036). Songs by Stacy Egbo, musical events coordinator Pastor Jonathan, Trumpeter Isaiah, Sharon Bogney, the Kuforiji sisters and other artistes. Pastors and members of the community from different cities attended.






BUSINESS: Ghana has Oil reserves at 3 billion barrels. By Francis Kokutse. Accra, Ghana (AP) - Ghana's president said Saturday that offshore oil reserves discovered in the West African country's waters total 3 billion barrels. "Ghana has struck oil in commercial quantities," President John Kufuor said, speaking at a ruling party congress in the capital, Accra. "This is only the beginning. The future is very bright indeed."

British-based oil explorer Tullow Oil PLC announced over the summer that it had had success with a well off the coast of Ghana. It gave no details at the time, saying only that it had discovered "a significant light oil accumulation" and was appraising it.

Tullow operates the Deepwater Tano license that covers the new stake, holding a 50 percent stake. Its partners are Kosmos Energy and a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Sabre Oil & Gas and the Ghana National Petroleum Corp. Tullow also holds a 23 percent stake in the West Cape Three Points license, off Ghana. Kufuor gave no other details. Energy Minister Kofi Adda also declined to comment on the announcement, but told The Associated Press the find was part of the ongoing explorations involving Tullow in western Ghana.


08-08-08 USAfrica celebrates 15th Anniversary of Excellence, USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks) will celebrate its 15 years of community leadership, professional journalism excellence and public insights during summer weekend of August 8 and 9, 2008, in Houston. The acclaimed 2007 'BEST OF AFRICA' International Awards annual dinner in honor of African professionals will hold. The events are being organized by CLASS magazine, PhotoWorks.TV, Black Business Journal, BBJonline.com, USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com. GET your Tickets, now, for the invitation only event. E-mail: USAfrica15@Gmail.com and Class@Classmagazine.tv Office: 713-270-5500. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436)

USAfricaLOGISTICS: United Bank for Africa (UBA), one of Africa's largest banks, was hosted to a business dinner and mortgage information event in Houston, Texas, on March 28, 2007 at the Hilton Southwest, Hotel. E-mail for further info: ubausafrica@gmail.com. Office: 713-270-5500. Houston event/business roadshow was coordinated by USAfrica LOGISTICS, international special events management, corporate business facilitation and proprietary data-mining arm of USAfrica, serving African and American businesses/organizations. Chido Nwangwu is CEO, USAfrica. Wireless phone: 832-45-CHIDO (24436).
Ghana's defense minister calls for US military aid for West Africa. Ghana's defence minister Kwame Addo-Kufuor recently called on the United States to assist stable countries in West Africa to beef up their security and defence sector as a contribution to long-term socio-economic development in the sub- region. Addo-Kufuor told the Secretary of the US Navy, Donald Winter, who is in the country to boost bilateral ties between the two countries, that the role of the Ghana Navy was crucial to any plan for maritime safety and security in the sub-region.

Winter is responsible for the entire US Navy, as well as the formulation and implementation of naval policies. His visit is related to that of Admiral Henry Ulrich, Commander of the US Naval Forces in Europe, who was in Ghana recently, official sources said. The Ghanaian defence minister expressed appreciation to the US government for the arrival of spare parts to support repair works on the US-acquired Ghanaian navy ships.


Nigeria and South Africa host world soccer fests in 2009 and 2010: By Lavinia Mahlangu. Special to USAfrica and CLASSmagazine. It's official! In 2009 and 2010 the world will be treated to a spectacular soccer experience in Africa, as FIFA announced Egypt and Nigeria would host world cup youth soccer tournaments in 2009. FIFA's Executive Committee has agreed that in 2009, Egypt would host the FIFA under 20 World Cup and that Nigeria would host the FIFA under 17 World Cup.

The Nigerian government has already submitted the necessary guarantees to FIFA, assuring that it can host a successful event."With South Africa hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup in the same year, it promises to be a busy one for the African continent, but also an extremely exciting one," the world football governing body said on its website.

Both Nigeria and Egypt have hosted FIFA junior events in the past. In 1997 Egypt hosted the U-17 World Cup, with Brazil, inspired by a young Ronaldinho emerging as the winners. Nigeria hosted the U-20 event two years later. This time Spain took the laurels, with many of the stars of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on display, including Esteban Cambiasso, Rafael Marquez, Xavi and the irrepressible Ronaldinho.

In 2010, South Africa will host the biggest soccer event of them all, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, set to take place at ten stadia in nine cities across the country.


Lucky Dube's death a blow to Africa's cultural heritage; Presidents of South Africa, Gambia and Senegal mourn reggae superstar. The Presidents of Gambia and Senegal say Lucky Dube's death strikes a serious blow to Africa's cultural heritage. The two dignitaries have joined thousands of mourners in paying tribute to the South African reggae legend, who was shot dead in a botched hijacking in front of his two children on Thursday, October 18, 2007. South African President Thabo Mbeki has led the tributes for slain reggae superstar Lucky Dube, describing him as "an outstanding South African." Mbeki's tribute came amid growing calls for tough government action to bring gun crime under control.

Dube's memorial service is underway at the Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg. Cosatu General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi -- speaking at the memorial service -- lambasted South African radio stations for their failure to support local artists. Thousands have come to pay tribute to Lucky Dube. The 43-year-old Dube's funeral takes place at the Farmers Hall in Newcastle this Sunday. Family members have requested that the funeral be a private affair. For some of Dube's videos


Coming soon: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie author of the critically-acclaimed novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' speaks to USAfrica and CLASSmagazine on her work, life....
One of the world's most creative writers of this generation, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie author of the critically-acclaimed novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' has been interviewed exclusively by CLASSmagazine and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu at the Harvard University.

The award-winning novelist shares her thoughts on writing, inspiration, hopes, her 'permission' from the father of the modern African novel Chinua Achebe and the increasing presence and achievements of young African writers.

The interview will also run in the February 2008 special edition of the USAfrica-powered CLASSmagazine.


USAfrica to hold 2008 symposium on 50 Years of Achebe's THINGS FALL APART'': The August 8 and 9, 2008 Houston international symposia and harvest of Achebe events require pre-event registration, deadline June 8, 2008
Chinua Achebe: Why I rejected Nigeria's 2004 national honors from Obasanjo's government

First and Special to USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal

October 15, 2004: The author of the epic, literary masterpiece, 'Things Fall Apart' (written in 1958), social conscience of millions, cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, the Eagle on the Iroko, Professor Chinua Achebe, has taken the extraordinary step of "declining to accept the high honor awarded me in the 2004 Honors List" by Nigeria's president, retired General Olusegun Obasanjo. According to the letter obtained by USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper and CLASS magazine (the first media networks to obtain and publish its content), Achebe pointed to the issues of Nigeria's leaders failing to unite the country's diverse peoples and the what he identified as "the silence, if not connivance, of the Presidency" in the destabilization of parts of Nigeria and state governments by political and business renegades.
Click here for special report by Chido Nwangwu


USAfricaonline LITERATURE
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu






WEB SITES SOLUTIONS, PHOTO IMAGING and more....

My aversion to patronizing 'Save' Africa campaigns by the West. By Uzodinma Iweala. Such campaigns, however well intentioned, promote the stereotype of Africa as a black hole of disease and death. News reports constantly focus on the continent's corrupt leaders, warlords, "tribal" conflicts, child laborers, and women disfigured by abuse and genital mutilation. These descriptions run under headlines like "Can Bono Save Africa?" or "Will Brangelina Save Africa?" The relationship between the West and Africa is no longer based on openly racist beliefs, but such articles are reminiscent of reports from the heyday of European colonialism, when missionaries were sent to Africa to introduce us to education, Jesus Christ and "civilization." There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one's cultural superiority. FULL commentary here
USAfrica
HISTORY MAKER and LEADER: Barack Obama

Savvy son of Kenyan father and American mother, makes history after winning and being sworn as as 5th African-American senator in U.S. history. His ongoing and promising 2007 quest for the presidency of the U.S has further boosted his clout and position in the history of African-Americans and Africans all over the world. The Democrat said he's proud that he was able to win a race that focused on issues that are important to Illinois voters and that was run without negative ads. Obama crushed Republican Alan Keyes to become only the fifth Black U.S. senator in this country's history. Obama's star as a political heavyweight was on full display when he served as keynote speaker at the Democratic National 2004 convention. The son of an African student immigrant from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, he was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, became the first Black president/editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review and ended up teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

The race was the nation's first Senate contest between two Black candidates (the other being the flippant Republican Alan Keyes). Obama will replace Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., who declined to run for a second term. Obama, a 43-year-old liberal state senator from Chicago, catapulted to political prominence with a stirring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. The speech, like his entire campaign, urged people to put aside their differences to help improve America. He offered his own life as an example of what can be achieved by bridging differences. Obama, a Democrat, took the stage at a Chicago hotel and thanked his family and supporters for all they've done to get him elected.
Report by USAfricaonline.com and NBC 5 Chicago. A special commentary on Obama's election appears in CLASS magazine November 2004 Vol. 2.5


Special USAfricaonline.com Essay on African Union leadership and the continent: Why Nigeria and Africa's leaders are leading us to nowhere. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.
Zambian president meets opposition over constitution dispute. - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and opposition leaders held talks Saturday seeking a solution to the simmering political situation over a draft constitution in the southern African nation. The closed-door meeting, attended by Zambia's main opposition leader Michael Sata, was taking place at the Mulungushi International Centre in the capital to mainly deal with the contentious constitution-making process. "I hope all the leaders will be debate the issues in a sober manner," said justice Frederick Chomba, who is chairing the deliberations, the first of its kind since Mwanawasa began president in 2001.

Political tension has been rising in Zambia over the process of adopting a new constitution with Mwanawasa accused of bulldozing the exercise without consulting major players. The draft constitution calls for reducing the powers of the president, which Mwanawasa has refused to accept. (AFP).


USAfricaonline.com INSIGHT: Nigeria and burden of the fraudulent 2007 elections. By Dr. Chidi Amuta. In the unsettling aftermath of the 2007 general elections, we come face to face with a rather uncanny choice: to accept the outcome of an electoral fraud or allow the nation to degenerate into anarchy. Quite understandably, the thrust of domestic political opinion is today is ranged on both sides of this unwholesome divide. Similarly, international impressions about Nigeria are likely to be coloured by the shadow of those bad elections. FULL commentary here
Chinua Achebe wins Man Booker International Prize 2007. The highly-regarded Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has won the Man Booker International Prize, which is worth £60,000 and awarded only once every two years. Achebe, who was born in 1930, is best known for his first novel, "Things Fall Apart," written in 1958, though he has written more than 20 books. In "Things Fall Apart," Achebe portrays Nigerian tribal life in an Ibo village before and after colonialism.

Judges for the prize were American author and Princeton University professor Elaine Showalter; South African writer and 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Nadine Gordimer; and Irish author Colm Tóibin. In her comment on the prize, Gordimer said, "Chinua Achebe's early work made him the father of modern African literature as an integral part of world literature." Tóibin said, "Chinua Achebe has been one of my heroes since I read his book Things Fall Apart." The Man Booker International Prize can be won by a living author of any nationality, as long as his or her work is available in English. It is given for a body of work rather than one book and is different from the Man Booker Prize. It was first awarded in 2005 to the Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré. NY Newsday/June 13, 2007


USAfricaonline LITERATURE
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu
Obasanjo last auction of Nigeria's key assets. By National Association of Seadogs (NAS). via Prof. Olatunde Makanju, NAS Capone: The fact that beneficiaries of these transactions are cronies and acolytes of now former President Obasanjo (in picture) directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly as well as the ludicrously low prices at which these lucrative deals were concluded at the twilight of the last administration seems to supply the motivation.

It is our view that these transactions are shady and faulty on several fronts. One, they were not conducted by the BPE and apparently did not follow due process by not conforming to competitive open bidding. Secondly, these assets were grossly undervalued. Thirdly, all the stakeholders (employees, creditors and minority shareholders) were not consulted before the transactions were consummated. We wish to highlight a roll call of these transactions as follows:

-- The Port Harcourt Refinery was sold to Blue Star Oil at the cost of $561 million. Blue Star is a subsidiary of Dangote Group of Companies, an organization owned by one of the biggest financiers of the ruling party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Chairman of Zenon Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola (son of a past governor of Lagos State), is another big financier of the ruling PDP.

-- The Onigbolo Cement Company was grabbed by the Dangote Group at a ridiculous sum of $1.78 billion.....Click here for full report intervention, it's a long-term project," says Karim Dahou, an advisor to the Paris-based Africa Partnership Forum.


2007 Mothers Day event, honorees network in Houston at USAfrica and CLASS annual banquet. The cream of the African community flew into Houston, Texas, from diffeerent parts of the U.S., Nigeria and the Cameroons for the 2007 Annual MOTHERS' DAY Honors on Saturday May 5, 2007. The honorees for International Educators of the Year were Prof. KAYODE MAKINDE, Vice Chancellor/President of Babcock University, Ogun State, Nigeria; Prof. Mrs. FELINA NWADIKE of Coppin University, Baltimore in Maryland, Mrs. JOSEPHINE 'JOE ARISE' OKORONKWO--ONOR of Southern University of New Orleans; Mrs. IDIAT BABAJIDE as USAfrica Youth Educator of the Year; Dr. PAULINE KWANG and Mrs. BIBIAN MUKORO were honored with the USAfrica Community Leadership award; Ms. SHUNTA FLETCHER got the USAfrica Community Healthcare Facilitator award; Dr. MRS. TINA O'KEHIE is the USAfrica Pioneer Business woman (Chiropractor).

Ms. GERTHA WILLIAMS got the USAfrica Community Health Leadership award; Mrs. CAROLINE OKPARA got the USAfrica Community Business Leadership award while Madam MONICA AZUBIKE bagged the USAfrica Mother of the Year honor for 2007. The awards were primarily presented by Senator Eze Ajoku, Dr. & Mrs. Vincent Nwabeke, USAfrica's Founder Chido Nwangwu, Nze & Dr, Mrs. Chinyere Agi, Edith Okere-Ejiogu, event master of ceremonies was Dr. Chris Ulasi; outstanding DJ for the evening was OJ Jammin' Juice. Event co-sponsor was Moneygram.

CLASS magazine, USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks). USAfrica was founded in May 2002, in Houston, Texas by television broadcaster and multimedia media executive Chido Nwangwu. Contact e-mail: Class@Classmagazine.tv . USAfrica mailing address: . 8303 SW Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77074. Phone: 713-270-5500. Cell direct: 832-45-CHIDO (24436)


USAfrica VIEWPOINT: President Obasanjo, Nigeria is dying in your hands. Another Open Letter to Nigeria's President by Prof. Niyi Osundare: "President Obasanjo, you had the greatest opportunity in the world to shape the destiny of Nigeria and put her foot on the road to the future. But you turned the noble act of political competition into a "do-or-die" battle. And true to your words, the country is dying from your doing....Everywhere you have turned in the past four years (sometime in the future, you would wish you hadn't had a second term), your feet have fallen on thorns and pebbles: the fomenting of wasteful political disaffection in Anambra, and Oyo States, the cunning manouevering that has turned you into an absolute monarch of your great Party, the PDP, your routine disrespect for legitimate court injunctions and well-deliberated laws from the Legislature, your back-handed attempt to extend your presidential tenure, and your embarrassing showdown with your Vice President over how BOTH of you have mismanaged and squandered the resources of the Petroleum Trust Fund Development (PTDF). As scandalized Nigerians watched their so-called Number One and Number Two citizens dancing so abominably naked in the streets despite their lavish robes, we all wondered: what manner of rulers are these that have absolutely no sense of shame?! Your Excellency, you remind me of the proverbial king that has shat on the throne. Your nose may be too far from the message of your discharge, but the country is surely choking from the stench."
VIEWPOINT: Obasanjo, Go! Just go! Prof. Wole Soyinka
Obasanjo's failed quest for 3rd Term has damaged his reputation. By Prof. Patrick Wilmot
USAfrica VIEWPOINT: Nigeria's flawed 2007 elections and avoiding a tragedy. Nigerians not ready to be governed once again by those they did not give the consent had began to protest and to call for new elections. Click here for an exclusive commentary for USAfricaonline.com by our New York columnist Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo. He is the author of a new book, Children of a retired God.

USAfrica INSIGHT: Presidential Succession and National Stability following 2007 Nigeria. By and large then, Nigeria's 2007 presidential election is, to my mind, first a search for a strong leader who has both the experience and proven capacity to take charge of Nigeria and permanently put to rest the fears and schisms that constantly threaten the survival of the nation. Put simply, the priority issue that ought to inform the search for and choice of the next president is national security and stability in their fullest meaning. By Dr. Chidi Amuta, Executive Editor of USAfrica. Click here for full commentary.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Anambra's deputy Gov Mrs. Etiaba: "How I became Nigeria's first woman Governor" "...I did not know Gov. Peter Obi until 2003; and why I said Obasanjo is father of the Nigerian nation...."

ASA-USA demands INEC should conduct another Anambra governorship elections including Ngige, Ukachukwu and Obi
ECOBANK increases balance sheet. Lome, Togo: ECOBANK group posted record results for 2006 as its balance sheet grew by 59% to US$3.5 billion while gross revenues before interest expense increased by 46 % to US$419 million and profit before tax jumped from 73.7 to US$129.3 million, i.e. 75 %. The Group maintains its accounts in US dollars and its results are in accordance with international financial reporting standards which make ECOBANK probably the only institution in West and Central Africa to abide by such rules. The results of the group are being published ahead of the company's Annual General Meeting to be held in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, on April 27th.
NEWS: Achebe says Obasanjo's anti-corruption fight is a myth; president has taken Nigeria "as low as she has ever gone." Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and The Black Business Journal  
The world acclaimed author of Things Apart and several other books, Professor Chinua Achebe has said that Nigeria's President retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, has since 1999 taken Nigeria "as low as she has ever gone." In a statement, titled "The clouds are gathering,", Achebe added that this assessment "will surprise foreign 'friends' of Nigeria who may believe the myth that Obasanjo has been fighting to end corruption in the country and to bring democracy to its citizens. Nigerians know better."

"President Obasanjo has had the opportunity to rule Nigeria for three years (1976-79) as an unelected military dictator and later for two terms of eight years as a retired general/civilian (1999-2007). People don't exactly remember what Obasanjo did in his first civilian incarnation. His second coming, however, was a different matter. He unfolded a gigantic scheme for staying in power beyond his tenure. He set up agencies with long titles like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission. It soon became clear, however, that these devices were not intended to curb the crimes they enumerated but to go after people who disagree with the President, especially on his desire to extend his tenure."

"Perhaps the strangest of these events took place in my own state, Anambra, where a governor was kidnapped by a criminal gang who claimed that they had 'fixed' the election and earned the right to receive the state budgetary allocation.

"Whatever the merit of this bizarre story the governor refused to turn over the allocation to these thieves and began to spend it on building roads and bridges which nobody had done in decades. He began to pay pension to retired civil servants who had not been paid in years. Anambra State was transformed overnight. No where else in Nigeria had such a change happened. Governor Ngige became the people's governor."Also, see AchebeBooks.com


USAfricaonline LITERATURE
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu
ACHEBE ON OBASANJO AND ANAMBRA STATE:
"One would have thought that our anti-corruption president, Chief Obasanjo, would have embraced Governor Ngige as a fellow fighter against corruption. But no. The fellows demanding the state revenue were Obasanjo's friends who in anger set about burning down and destroying state property while the Police stood at a distance, watching."

"I have told this story again although we all know it. I am retelling it because as it goes with Anambra, so will it go with Nigeria. As Nigeria gets ready for the election of Governors, Anambra State is in a quandary. President Obasanjo's hatchet man for elections is determined that only one candidate will be allowed to run in the state and has gone ahead to disqualify everybody else so that the President's favourite man will be alone in the field. If this plan goes through, it would amount to nothing less than the disenfranchisement of the people of Anambra State."

"I must congratulate the Judiciary on the tough battle many of its members are waging for the soul of Nigeria. The Senate came ever so close to snatching Nigeria out of the fire, and then... That was a historic moment lost. What a pity."

But he INEC chairman has stated in an interview with USAfrica and CLASSmagazine that the elections will be free and fair. The excerpts of this exclusive interview appear here at USAfricaonline.com. Only in a few days through this April 2007, the Obasanjo government's position will be tested by the turn out and assessments by voters and observers.


USAfricaonline.com VIEWPOINT
"
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 USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper. Click here for FULL commentary
DEMOCRACY WATCH: What Bush Should Tell Obasanjo.... By Chido Nwangwu (Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com): March 29, 2006, at the White House, where Bush also met a few days earlier with Liberia's Sirleaf, new face of Africa; welcomed Nigeria's President retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, an old face of Africa, to thank him for regional support of the U.S.,discuss "strengthening democratic institutions, and the need to bring Charles Taylor to justice." (Both presidents are seen in this 2004 USAfrica news archive picture). The visit comes against the current background of the outrageous nonsense parroted by hangers-on and political idol worshippers, the philistines of Nigeria's politics who have since become the domestic and international canvassers of the indecent baloney that: Nigeria's constitution must be amended for one man, retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, to govern for a 3rd 4-year term (12 years!). This they,  shamelessly, claim is for Nigeria's survival. Worse, they add that without Obasanjo, there will be no progress, criminality of the political economy will abound and the polity will collapse. Good heavens! The sheer hubris that Nigeria can only move forward only by the "divine" and eternal governance of a 74-year former dictator Obasanjo is simply stupefying and immoral, to say the very least.  Hence, the enabled executors and conductors of this folly on behalf of Obasanjo only remind me of the infamous words of the 17th century  French monarch, Louis X1V (1638-1715) who reportedly said "L'État, c'est moi"  meaning  "I am the State." If only Obasanjo could drive us back to the 17th century; only there was no Nigeria, at the time.

In comparison, while Liberia's Madam President Sirleaf represents the manifestation of the triumph of popular constitutional methods and emerging institutional democratic values in Africa, retired General Obasanjo's imperious, know-it-all, emerging project for a sit-tight  presidency in Nigeria remind us all of the 1970s old Africa where constitution-tweaking soldiers (his colleagues) and power drunks  funnily believed their country's sun rose and shone at their hideous and idiosyncratic say-so. We won't go back there; no; not now that we  have the great Nelson Mandela as our icon, historical benchmark and reference point. Obasanjo makes it difficult for Obasanjo to be a statesman; no doubt, he's a regional leader.

As a specialist on US. and Africa public policy and cultural issues, here are things I'll suggest President Bush tell President Obasanjo, in a short, sweet but realistic summary: Full commentary here


USAfrica NEWSBANK: OBASANJO'S FAILED 3RD TERM POWER-PLAY IS GOOD NEWS TO NIGERIANS, ABROAD AND HOME....
USAfricaonline.com and its correspondents in Nigeria and across the major cities of the U.S are reporting an increasing tally of anti-3rd term phone calls and e-mails from our readers. By a margin of almost 7-2, USAfricaonline.com data show that an overwhelming majority of the politically active citizenry are happy that Nigeria's Senate halted retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo's stealthy, unpopular, behind-the-scenes-wink and nod power plays to secure an "unrequested" 3rd term as president of Nigeria (a total of 12 consecutive years).

ADVERTISEMENT: EASTER SPECIAL!!  Mention you saw this Harris Country Farms ad on USAfricaonline.com and receive 10% off your purchases until APRIL 8th!! GET FRESH, LIVE ANIMALS from HARRIS COUNTRY FARMS... 281-452-3250. Call for our New  Year sales!!! Lambs, Goats, Cows, Hen, Chicken, etc.  On 50 acres of well-maintained property. You pick your choice!! We process them professionally  for your taste and standards.
Nigeria's 2007 Elections: A pre-voting report from The Institute for Advancement of Democracy (TIAD). The Institute for Advancement of Democracy (TIAD) early in 2007, sent a high level delegation of its team to Nigeria to assess the level of the preparedness of the 2007 general elections in the country.

TIAD has also announced that its team is already in Nigeria as part of the international observers for the April 2007 elections. In their report published by USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine they note among other things that: "The INEC voter registration effort was initially hindered by Direct Data Capture machines from foreign vendors, which failed to perform in the field as expected. The resilient INEC used laptops with web cameras and fingerprinting capacity to continue the voter registration. This exercise as completed, should improve the credibility of the election results." TIAD concludes that from "our observations on the ground and in meetings with election officials at various locations revealed a vigorous and innovative voter registration effort." Click here for full report


NEWS: The murder that chilled South Africa: killing of Zulu champion David Rattray. More than 1,400 mourners in South Africa have attended the funeral of historian David Rattray, renowned for leading Anglo-Zulu battlefield tours. He was murdered by intruders at his lodge in KwaZulu-Natal province. He lived in Fugitive`s Drift, which overlooks Isandhlwana - the 19th Century site where Zulu fighters inflicted a defeat on the British army. Rattrey had become the leading authority on the Zulu wars and was also a master raconteur who hosted tourists from all over the world.Peace through development in Nigeria and rest of Africa. By Dr. Kenny Okey Iwunna in San Antoni
MENTORS: Oprah opens South African school for disadvantaged girls; Mandela thanks her, again....

Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine

Former South African president Nelson Mandela hailed talk show host Oprah Winfrey as a benefactor to the disadvantaged as she opened a girls' school near Johannesburg on Tuesday, January 2, 2007.

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley-on-Klip, South Africa, was built with a $40-million US donation by Winfrey. Winfrey took a hand in every stage of the school's development, from design of the campus to selection of the 152 students. "I wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim that light," Winfrey said.

The opening was attended by singers Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, actors Sidney Poitier, Chris Rock, and Chris Tucker, director Spike Lee and former president Nelson Mandela. Winfrey promised Mandela six years ago that she would create the school. In pix, U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey and students at her Leadership Academy for Girls cut the ribbon to open the school (Denis Farell/Associated Press).

"This is a lady that has, despite her own disadvantaged background, become one of the benefactors of the disadvantaged throughout the world," Mandela said.

Winfrey said she hoped she could "change the face of a nation" by offering a quality education to girls who are raised in poverty. Winfrey made a promise to build the school six years ago to Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, shown here in 2003. In remarks at the gala opening, she referred frequently to her own disadvantaged background. "I was a poor girl who grew up with my grandmother, like so many of these girls, with no water and electricity," said the host of the influential Oprah Winfrey Show. She said she planned a second school for boys and girls in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.


TRIBUTE: Happy 79th Birthday to our Mother, the grand dame Oyibo Odinamadu (born Jan 2, 1928). By Chido Nwangwu.

Special to USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com, CLASS magazine and IgboEvents, My first essay for 2007 on our flagship website, USAfricaonline.com, is, deservedly, going in honor of a woman of substance, an amazon, a pioneer and pillar of our community. Chief Mrs. Oyibo Odinamadu, born January 2, 1928, has been an examplary mother to many, a role model for even more and a tireless fighter for human rights and education as a critical tool of empowerment of women and families. 

She is the first woman to be chosen as vice presidential candidate in Nigeria's history (1978-1979) of a major political party in Nigeria, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

As a chronicler of history and recent African immigrant experience here in America, proudly and happily, I bear testimony to the fact that the grand dame Oyibo Odinamadu remains one of Africa's foremost daughters, a progressive member of humankind, a committed mother and grandmother, author, thinker and strategist, a human being of uncommon courage and a distinguished professional and community builder.

We are blessed as a community to have someone like her. She is also the founder of the Oyibo Odinamadu Foundation, dedicated to the issues of the denial of fundamental human rights of women and children, especially to the girl-child and widows. Full tribute , click here


USAfrica COMMUNITY: Moneygram Donates N1m to Kanu Heart Foundation in Nigeria. Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston: MoneyGram, a leading provider of money transfer services, has donated N1 million (approximately $7,800 U.S. dollars) to the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) in Nigeria.

The foundation established 6 years by international soccer star Kanu Nwankwo helps children with defective hearts live longer by offering them free heart surgeries abroad. MoneyGram's Country Director in Nigeria, Joke Giwa, presented the donation to KHF Coordinator, Onyebuchi Abia. Giwa commended KHF for its mission to help so many needy Nigerian families with children with heart problems.

The foundation has provided open-heart surgeries for 254 children, and 2,000 are still on the waiting list. Abia called on other companies to emulate the kind gesture of MoneyGram by donating to KHF so many more children with defective hearts could be given a chance to live longer and more productive lives. Click here for more reports



USAfricaonline.com DEMOCRACY WATCH: Peter Obi takes charge as Governor of Anambra State of Nigeria; following court affirmation of his 2003 electoral victory. Businessman and financial expert Peter Obi, affirmed only a few days ago as governor-elect of Anambra State of Nigeria, has been sworn in March 17, 2006 at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, following the ruling by courts that he won the 2003 governorship elections. He belongs to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Related, USAfricaonline.com background report: Anambra's rigged 2003 elections: Chris Uba's confession at WIC 2004 in Newark, USA
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 USAfricaonline.com 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.


Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com.

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



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.....


www.PhotoWorks.Tv : Our community's digital domain for your pictures and special events
African Leaders Offered $5 Million Prize: Mo Ibrahim, a 60-year-old Sudanese-born billionaire who made his money in the cellphone business, has announced the creation of what he called the world's biggest individual prize &emdash; $5 million, spread over 10 years, for the African president who on leaving office has demonstrated the greatest commitment to democracy and good governance. "We must face the reality," Mr. Ibrahim said, referring to Africa's leadership record. "Everything starts by admitting the truth: we failed. I'm not proud at all. I'm ashamed. We really need to resolve the problem and the problem, in our view, is bad leadership and bad governance."
USAfricaonline.com MoneyWatch: Mobile phone prospects attract more investments to Ghana. By Amos Safo in Accra

A new Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's 70m Muslims, has been announced. He is Colonel Sa'ad Abubakar, 53, brother of Sultan Mohammadu Maccido, who was killed in a plane crash on Sunday, along with 95 others. Col Abubakar until recently served as Nigeria's military attache to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
$300 Billion Lost to Bribery in Regional Contracts in East Africa. Rampant corruption in the construction and electrification sector costs at least $300 billion a year and undermines sustainable development, according to Transparency International (TI), the leading global anti -corruption organization. According to a release early July, TI chose to concentrate on the construction, electrification sector because of the size, complexity and potentially huge costs of large construction, electrification projects in the region.

The organization established that not only is there fierce competition for major contracts in the region, but the need for multiple approvals and permits that leaves the process open to abuse. The TI report adds that between US$3 trillion and US$4 trillion are spent on construction procurement annually and TI estimates that about 10% of the total is wasted through bribery and corruption. By Jumah Ssenyonga & Henry M. Lule, The New Times (Kigali)







INSIGHT:
Africa, Africa-Diaspora Partnership gains momentum, amidst challenges. By Chinua Akukwe, Ph.D
VIEWPOINT:
Genocide against the Igbo continues in Onicha. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe: A vandal army is ruthlessly on the loose. Genocide, of catastrophic proportions, has been unleashed in Igboland in these past two weeks. It is a continuation of the Igbo genocide that started in the sabon gari residential districts of Hausa-Fulani/north Nigeria in May 1966 which cost 100,000 Igbo lives during the course of five horrific months, followed by the extended second phase of gruesome ordeal that lasted from July 1967-January 1970 when 3 million Igbo people were murdered. This current phase has been ordered by Obasanjo, the most viciously insensate of the genocidist officers of the Awolowoist-Yoruba wing of the Nigerian military establishment. Obasanjo has insisted, all along (since January 1970), that the pan-Nigerian genocide against the Igbo, supported by Britain and the moribund Soviet Union, failed to accomplish its desired objective: the destruction of the Igbo as a viable nation. As a result, Obasanjo has given his commanders the orders this time round to accomplish his envisaged goal, which he boasts will be his "legacy", as he supposedly plans to leave office next May (2007). Full commentary appears here
NEWS: South African President Mbeki unveils World Cup 2010 logo at 2006 World soccer event in Berlin. South African President Thabo Mbeki has presided over the unveiling of the World Cup 2010 logo in Berlin. In remarks to an audience that included United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Liberian football legend George Weah, Mr. Mbeki said Africa is ready to host the world's largest sporting event. The president said by selecting South Africa as the next host nation, the world soccer federation (FIFA) has rewarded all African football lovers. It will be the first time the World Cup is played in Africa. Mr. Annan, a Ghanaian citizen, said football is a universal language that helps heal countries recovering from conflict. Germany will officially hand over hosting of the World Cup to South Africa on Sunday July 9 in Berlin.

The logo for the 2010 World Cup shows a silhouette of a soccer player kicking a ball with a background the colors of South Africa's flag. Mr. Mbeki said the drawing of the soccer player was inspired by rock paintings in his country.


HEALTH: Wild chimps in Cameroon reported as the source for HIV virus. It is now 25 years since the HIV virus was discovered. The source of this virus, believed to be the African jungles has remained a mystery. But now an international team of researchers led by Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama at Birmingham has traced the virus to its natural reservoir in the wild chimps in jungles of south Cameroon.

Their findings appear in the latest issue of the journal Science. "We're 25 years into this pandemic," Dr. Hahn said. "We don't have a cure. We don't have a vaccine. But we know where it came from. At least we can make a check mark on one of those." But finding the source was dirty work since the researchers had to track the chimps and then collect 1,300 samples of their feces for genetic analysis. The study has been going on for a decade. It took them seven years to create a genetic tool that could help in the analysis.


Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama, USA, who led the study said, "The chimpanzee group that gave rise to HIV.....this chimp community resides in Cameroon. But that doesn't mean the epidemic originated there because it didn't," Hahn, who has been studying the genetic origin of HIV for years, said in a telephone interview. "We actually know where the epidemic took off. The epidemic took off in Kinshasa and Brazzaville."

Kinshasa is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire and faces Brazzaville in Congo, across the Congo River. Uganda's first AIDS cases were identified in 1982 with a prevalence rate hitting 9% in 1988. Currently, there are 1.4m people estimated to be infected with HIV. Of these, 170,000 are in urgent need of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

Dr. Sam Okware, a commissioner in the ministry of health, said the chimp story was not new. "That is an old story. Since the identification of HIV, that story has been around," Okware said. Studies have traced HIV to a man who gave a blood sample in 1959 in Kinshasa, then called Leopoldville. Later analysis found the virus that leads to AIDS. In people, HIV leads to AIDS but chimps get a version called simian immune deficiency virus (SIV) that causes them no harm. Humans are the only animals naturally susceptible to HIV. FULL report here.



OBASANJO'S FAILED 3RD TERM POWER-PLAY IS GOOD NEWS TO NIGERIANS, ABROAD AND HOME....

USAfricaonline.com and its correspondents in Nigeria and across the major cities of the U.S are reporting an increasing tally of anti-3rd term phone calls and e-mails from our readers. By a margin of almost 7-2, USAfricaonline.com data show that an overwhelming majority of the politically active citizenry are happy that Nigeria's Senate halted retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo's stealthy, unpopular, behind-the-scenes-wink and nod power plays to secure an "unrequested" 3rd term as president of 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, energy and fresh ideas for a new era not on his side.

Also, USAfricaonline.com review of Nigeria's recent history show that President Obasanjo seems to be moving rapidly into the zone of ill-repute of his former military colleagues who, like him, refused to 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 the lessons of the excesses of the late Gen. Abach who jailed Obasanjo while the former schemed to remain in power. For the special report by USAfrica multimedia networks' Publisher Chido Nwangwu, click on
3rd term.


Day the Senate killed Obasanjo's 3rd term bill in Abuja. Abuja, May 16, 2006 (IRIN) - Nigerian senators voted on Tuesday May 16, 2006 to throw out a bill seeking to amend the country's constitution to give President Olusegun Obasanjo the chance to run for a third successive term in office next year. A majority of lawmakers in the upper house agreed in a voice vote to scrap the bill, which has raised tensions in Africa's most populous country plagued by ethnic and religious violence. "By this result, the Senate has said clearly and eloquently that we should discontinue further proceedings on this amendment bill," Senate President Ken Nnamani announced to applause.

Obasanjo, who was on a visit to France as the lawmakers took the decision, has never stated he wants to run again when his second, four-year term comes to an end in 2007. But he has hinted he would like to complete economic and political reforms he has initiated. However, many Nigerians believe he is behind a powerful campaign by his supporters to prolong his rule. Six months must now elapse before the bill can be re-presented to the Senate, if Obsanjo's third term supporters wish to.
Obasanjo's current 2nd tenure (8 years in office) will end on May 29, 2007.


Obasanjo's "3rd term agenda is dead"- says Nigeria's Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday night, May 11, 2006, in Abuja: "By today, we definitely know that the third term agenda is dead.... We have enough votes to block the third term agenda and it is also a blessing for Nigerians. The struggle for the enthronement of democracy has virtually started today..." 
DEBATE: How Black intellectuals let Africa down, and western stereoptypes complicate the rest. By Cedrick Ngalande at the USC, Los Angeles


HEALTH: GlaxoSmithKline to market 'non-profit' meningitis vaccine in Africa
. Europe's biggest drug company has announced it is taking the first steps towards marketing a vaccine in Africa from which it never expects to make money. GlaxoSmithKline, according to the BBC, says it has begun filing documents with the regulatory authorities concerning its meningitis vaccine called Globorix.

Meningitis can kill a child in six hours and millions of people in Africa are at risk. On March 30, 2007, GlaxoSmithKline started the registration process for a vaccine to protect them. Globorix cost more than 200 million pounds ($485.3 million) to develop, but will only be sold and used in Africa. Some critics say Globorix should be available more widely. Others point out there are 12 big pharmaceutical firms worldwide, but only four have centres specialising in diseases like TB, malaria and HIV.




Chad breaks off diplomatic relations with Sudan. A spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in N'djamena said that they had not received any official communication on the decision and had only heard of it through the media. Chad broke off diplomatic relations with neighbouring Sudan on Friday and ordered its diplomats to leave the country after a rebel attack left 350 people dead in the capital and the president said the Sudanese government was responsible.

Idriss Deby also said he would expel all 200,000 Sudanese refugees now living in Chad by June 30 if the United Nations and the African Union did not help stop what he said were Sudan's attempts to destabilise his government. A spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in N'djamena said that they had not received any official communication on the decision and had only heard of it through the media. Deby has repeatedly portrayed the rebels attempting to overthrow him as mercenaries employed by Sudan, something Sudanese officials have denied.

The Sudanese are accused of unleashing Arab tribal militias to murder and rape civilians and lay waste to villages in Darfur. More than 200,000 refugees have fled to Chad and the conflict has left about 180,000 dead over the last three years. (04/14/2006)


THE TWISTED PATH OF CHARLES TAYLOR. Taylor has also claimed that Nigerian government security operatives encouraged former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to flee and helped him get to the Cameroon border before the same agents turned around and arrested him in a double-cross. Taylor's spiritual adviser, the Indian evangelist Kilari Anand Paul, said Taylor told him in a phone call from jail on Saturday that State Security Service agents came with two vehicles to his villa in Calabar, Cross River State. Taylor said they escorted him north, then released him "in the middle of nowhere," according to Paul, who spoke from his home in Houston. "He said, 'Where are you guys going?' And they said they received instructions to leave him and they left." Before Taylor could cross into Cameroon, the agents who had freed him "turned up and arrested him ... they had guns and told him to surrender himself," said Paul, who met Taylor in 2003. Paul said he helped broker Taylor's exile to Nigeria. President Olusegun Obasanjo's special assistant on public affairs, Femi Fani-Kayode countered Paul's claims as "a clear figment of an imagination that has gone completely wild." Taylor, 58, was flown in handcuffs to Sierra Leone on Wednesday to face 11 counts of war crimes at the U.N.-backed court, stemming from Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. Charges against him include mutilations and sexual slavery. He is also accused of receiving diamonds to support Sierra Leone rebels who often hacked off limbs or raped their victims. Taylor is the first former African president to appear before an international court.
USAfricaonline.com SPECIAL REPORT:
Liberia's president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf calls for "partnership" rather than "patronage" relationship with U.S.
Related insight:
Liberia's bloody mess and hopes of a battered nation.
Liberia: Death by installment. By Chido Nwangwu, June 21, 1996.

On remembrance day for Rwanda's genocide victims, UN urges action on Darfur. Marking 12 years since the horrific genocide in Rwanda, (this April) when at least 800,000 people were massacred, mostly butchered with machetes, for being ethnic Tutsis or Hutu moderates, the United Nations adviser on preventing such crimes today warned of similarities with what is happening in Sudan's Darfur region, as he urged the global community to do more to stop the increasing bloodshed there. The Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Juan E. Mendez, said the international community had failed by allowing the events of Rwanda to happen, and while stopping short of describing events in Darfur as genocide, he highlighted the increasing killings going on and said the situation had deteriorated markedly over the past year. "Remembering Rwanda, debates about troop strength on the ground and about mandate of our troops on the ground are very eerily reminiscent of what happened then and we're still debating today," Mr. Mendez told reporters in New York, referring to ongoing discussions on how to stop the killings in Darfur, by possibly strengthening the African Union force there or putting in a UN mission. "There's definitely ethnic cleansing, there's definitely crimes against humanity, there's definitely war crimes and attacks on civilian population; all of those things should prompt the action of the international community, whether we call it genocide or not."
RWANDA: THE GENOCIDE THAT SHOOK THE WORLD, AFTER THE FACT

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and
USAfricaonline.com

On Wednesday April 7, 2004, Rwandan President Paul Kagame pinned the country's darkness during the 1994 genocide on the international community and the United Nations in the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. He pinned the cause of the genocide on Western countries, namely Belgium, Britain and the United States that withdrew their forces when they were badly needed. "Injustice of powerful nations should be stopped. Rwanda shouldbe a good example to learn a lesson," the president said.
Also, the retired
General Romeo Dallaire of Canada, former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNMIR), has said that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda could have been stopped if the international community had shown their political will. In an interview with Xinhua in Kigali, where commemoration events are being organized for the 10th anniversary of the genocide, Dallaire expressed his disappointment with the world leaders over their inaction during those horrible days. Dallaire, who led the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda from October 1993 to August 1994, was invited to the International Conference on Genocide and the April 7 public ceremony, also known as National Reflection, at the Kigali National Stadium.


Why Rwanda matters 10 years after the slaughter of 800,000. By Gerald Caplan, author of 'Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide'

Rwanda's lesson: 'Never again'. By Clarence Page
U.S. First Lady Bush, Sec of State Rice in Liberia for inauguration of the first woman elected President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. America's First lady Laura Bush witnessed history on Monday January 16, 2006 at the swearing-in of Liberia's new leader, the first woman elected president in Africa who has pledged to restore peace after 14 years of civil strife in this nation founded by freed American slaves.

On her second trip to Africa, Mrs. Bush is joining Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has called on women to help govern other African nations.

"I think it's really important worldwide," Mrs. Bush said about Sirleaf's inauguration, which falls on the day Americans honor civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "I think it's particularly important on the continent of Africa, because traditionally women have been excluded in many African cultures not all of them, but in many." Full report by Deb Reichmann in Monrovia/AP here.


NEWS: President Museveni's controversial re-election sparks violence in Uganda; continues his 20-year old rule. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni won a controversial re-election on Saturday (February 25, 2006) to extend a two-decade rule but his main rival rejected the results and opposition supporters clashed with security forces on the streets.

Final results gave the ex-guerrilla leader 59 percent of votes, compared with 37 percent for his former doctor and main rival, Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Details here


From USAfrica NewsBank 2005: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says he'll quit at "the right time...." Amidst claims he plans to further his decades-old leadership of the East African country has told the political opposition to "relax," saying he will hand over power "when there is a good arrangement.....Museveni knows when to hand over power," he said. Opponents fear he might try to stay in office past his constitutional term limit. "I do not want to cause a stampede but only hand over in good faith," the President added. Museveni was presiding over his last ceremony as chancellor of the university, after the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act took that responsibility away from an incumbent President. His country has been dealing with the issue of AIDS and has been commended for making significant progress against the pandemic.
MUSIC and LIFE: Ali Farka Toure, Africa's most famous performer of Mali Blues and two-time Grammy Award winner Ali Toure, died Tuesday March 7, 2006, in his native Mali after a long illness. He was in his late 60s. Mali's Culture Ministry said Toure died at his home in the capital, Bamako, after a long struggle with an unidentified illness. He was known to be battling cancer. Across this deeply impoverished west African nation, people mourned Toure's passing and radio stations suspended regular programming and instead broadcast Toure's signature lilting sounds.

Toure, one of the original progenitors of a genre known as Mail Blues, played a traditional Malian stringed instrument called the gurke. He was best-known overseas for his 1995 collaboration with American guitarist Ry Cooder on "Talking Timbuktu," which netted him his first of two Grammys. He won another Grammy this year in the traditional world music album category for his "In the Heart of the Moon" album, performed with fellow Malian Toumani Diabate. Toure was born in 1939 in the northern Sahara Desert trading post of Timbuktu. Like many Africans of his generation, the exact date of his birth was not recorded. By Almahady Cissse/AP




On sale
at newsstands and direct subscription. Contents of CLASS magazine 3.3, 2006:

3 Ways to reduce your Taxe$ in 2006. by William Perez

1) Bill Clinton, Bill Gates for  2006 Pan Africa show

2) Cross River Gov. Donald Duke's Eco-tourism projects and cable cars. 

Exclusive  interview with Gov. Duke at the Government House in Calabar by USAfrica and CLASS magazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu, Obinwa Nnaji and Agbo Agara

3) President Obasanjo endorses, commissions Tinapa's multibillion-naira project

4) Senate President Nnamani hosted in Houston by Nkanu community, friends

5) The Authoritative Link

6) Maryland-based Oge and Osita Irono: Serenade in Florida

7) Nelly and Henry Ehigie: California's Wedding of the year 2005 in San Jose

8) Dr. Chika & Lolo Ada Okoro's 25th Wedding Anniversary rocks Los Angeles

9) Sir Kelly & Lady Mary Azuike's 25th Wedding Anniversary bash at Obudu

10) Dr. Kingsley & Mrs. Emilia Asumugha's majestic 25th Wedding Anniversary

11) Dr. Alphonsus and Lolo Okwy Okpara's 20 years of marital bliss....

12) Otu Umunne Atlanta boosts African heritage

13) Okwesilieze USA holds end of year banquet, gives away car...

14) Ezeakonobi Akubue's family hosts child dedication event in Lagos 

15) Profile: Rev Sam Okenwa

16) Ify Onochie/Class Atlanta: Caring for your skin during the Cold season

17) Jennifer Eze turns 18

USA Asset Group; Victory Mortgage and Financial; Theresa Omeludike (Attorney); Odunze Anassi (Attorneys); Newark Museum; Dover Hotel Lagos; Julies Fashion Atlanta; ENC Touch of Class , etc



MONEYWATCH: Malawi loses US$ 40 million to corruption.... The Malawi government has lost close to a whopping kwacha 5 billion (Euro 34 million, US$ 40 million) in the last five years due to high-level corrupt practices that involved top government and party officials, 'The Chronicle' has learnt. Malawi's anti-corruption agency is investigating a large number of cases involving high ranking government officials and opposition party members.

USAfricaonline.com recommends The New York Times editorial titled: Thousands Died in Africa Yesterday. When a once-in-a-century natural disaster swept away the lives of more than 100,000 poor Asians last December, the developed world opened its hearts and its checkbooks. Yet when it comes to Africa, where hundreds of thousands of poor men, women and children die needlessly each year from preventable diseases, or unnatural disasters like civil wars, much of the developed world seems to have a heart of stone.
US offers to drop barriers on West Africa cotton.... The United States says it is willing to drop all tariffs and quotas on West African cotton in a bid to move along the stalled World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman announced the move Thursday, a day after some African nations threatened not to back any consensus at the meeting if they did not get a commitment from rich, cotton-growing nations on ending subsidies.

"The United States is willing, under the duty-free, quota-free commitments we will make, to provide duty-free access to cotton from these West African countries," he said. "You heard it first here. That's the commitment that we're willing to make." Talks have been deadlocked largely over the issue of subsidies and other support that rich countries give their farmers. Developing nations in Africa and Latin America complain these supports make it hard for their farmers to compete. However, one diplomat from Benin said Thursday that the problem with cotton trade was not duties but rather U.S. farm subsidies, which make West African cotton uncompetitive. By Luis Ramirez/VOA


Anarchy rules when corruption takes over. By USAfrica editorial board member attorney Ken Okorie
HEALTH CARE AND BLACK HISTORY: CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ROLAND SCOTT. By U.S. Senator Jim Talent
Dr. Roland Boyd Scott's first publication on the disease, a 1948 report on the incidence of red cell sickling in newborn infants, was not only the first of its kind, but it also laid the groundwork for the newborn screening programs which would be started more than two decades later.  He was the first to report growth and development norms for healthy African-American children which became a nationwide standard.  
He published hundreds of articles on the disease and treatment methods.  Among his biggest challenges were educating parents about their children's disease and persuading the government to provide funding for research.  

The official manifest of the December 10, 2005 crashed Sosoliso airlines plane in Nigeria where 107 persons were killed has been released. Most of the dead are mainly students from Loyola Jesuit College in Abuja. In October 2005 another plane crash near the commercial city of Lagos killed 117 people. Poor airport conditions and old aircrafts have been major problems of flying in Nigeria.
EXCLUSIVE: How deciding against flying the Sosoliso schedule saved some lives:
Emmanuel Okoro, one of the CLASS magazine and USAfricaonline.com executives who attended the PDP convention in Abuja was planning with his Port Harcout-based close friend Nnanna Udonsi and visiting associates from Houston to fly back to the East on the same flight. As fate will have it, he informed me in a phone conversation Saturday morning, that he persuaded Nnanna and the rest to stay the weekend in Abuja since they had been out for most of Friday night and very early into Saturday morning regarding the PDP event. USAfricaonline.com has also learnt that about 75 young students from Loyola school, an American Catholic model school and place of first choice for mainly rich Nigerians, were on board the Sosoliso flight. One student who returned to the Port Harcourt this Saturday morning, we gather from a close family source, insisted on driving back to the East rather than fly with the rest. After persistent arguments the student's parents yeilded; and they were glad to see their daughter. Recovery of bodies and post-crash investigations are beginning. USAfricaonline.com will report additional info and background insight as we get them. By Chido Nwangwu with USAfrica correspondents

GIANTS OF NOVEMBER: Azikiwe and Achebe.

Zik of Africa: Statesman, Intellectual and Titan of African politics. November 16, 2005 in what could have been his 101st birthday,  may I make this toast to our father, the great and unmatched one. Here, to:

The
Zik of Africa, master of crafty political game-plans, member of a thousand learned associations, eminent alumnus of Howard, Michigan State, Pennsylvania, and Lincoln Universities, founder of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (my alma mater), father of generations, inimitable wordsmith of euphonious diction and oratorical elegance, poet and politician, statesman and living legend, I thank for illuminating my mind, our collective mind.

Even after 101 years, your lineage and works endure. On this your 101st birth date, I rise, again, to propose a toast that  in another 101 years to come,  that the son of my  now 46 months old son Chido Nwangwu II,  (born Feb 12, 2001) by His grace, Chido Nwangwu III,  will also rise to toast to honor you, Zik of Africa, for the plenitude of roles and assorted inspirations you brought to all of us. They will rise to toast to Zik of Africa, as the man who saw tomorrow. Nna anyi  Owelle, nwa Eze Chima, ndeewo!!!
By Chido Nwangwu


Chinua Achebe (born November 16, 1930). Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu
AchebeBooks.com: On the books, life and work of our Literary ...Achebe, the eagle on the iroko, our pathfinder, social conscience of millions...
Achebe on oral tradition, juxtapositioning of language and linguistic colonialism. World-famous Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has said that Africans should not be overly concerned if the long-established tradition of oral storytelling dies out. Achebe, once described by Nelson Mandela as "the writer in whose presence prison walls fell down," told the BBC that he agreed that the art was dying out - but insisted it could be revived "if we decide that the oral story is absolutely necessary." "Oral storytelling was important when I was writing - it may not be important when the next generation is writing," he said. Achebe, who is very critical of colonialism and its aftermath in Africa, explained that he himself writes in English because he is a victim of linguistic colonialism.

But he added that he felt it was important not to "lose sight of the need for our mother tongue." "I hope I have shown it is possible to show respect to English and Igbo together. Chinua Achebe added that "The situation may well develop in the future, in which the different languages of Africa will begin to reassert themselves," he added. "I have made provision for that myself, by writing certain kinds of material in Igbo. For instance, I will insist my poetry is translated back into Igbo while I'm still around."


Why Nigeria and Africa's leaders are leading us to nowhere. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.
South Africa's ex-deputy president in court over corruption charges.
South Africa's former deputy president Jacob Zuma went to a Durban court on corruption charges on Saturday amid tight security and chants from supporters, where he will be formally served with an indictment and told the date of trial. His brief appearance at the Durban Magistrate's Court in the eastern city has again thrown a spotlight onto increasing rift inside the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after President Thabo Mbeki fired Zuma in June in the wake of his corruption scandal. Zuma, once regarded the heir apparent to Mbeki when he completes his term in 2009, still retains his job as ANC's deputy president and enjoys the backing of the powerful trade unions, the youth wing of the ANC and the South African Communist Party.
ICON: Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks honored in America's capital, as she died at 92. Rosa Parks, the black seamstress whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white man sparked a revolution in American race relations, died on Monday October 24, 2005. The U.S. civil rights pioneer was 92. Shirley Kaigler, Parks' lawyer, said she died while taking a nap early on Monday evening surrounded by a small group of friends and family members. "She just fell asleep and didn't wake up," Kaigler said.

The cause of death was not immediately known. Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in a statement: "The nation lost a courageous woman and a true American hero. A half century ago, Rosa Parks stood up not only for herself, but for generations upon generations of Americans." "We are saddened by the passing of Rosa Parks. We rejoice in her legacy, which will never die. In many ways, history is marked as before, and after, Rosa Parks," said civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. "She sat down in order that we all might stand up, and the walls of segregation came down." Reuters


COMMUNITY NETWORK: Africans volunteer and offer relief support to Katrina victims at Houston's Astrodome, other locations. Some reports and references at one of the e-list/discussion groups powered by USAfricaonline.com

BUSINESS/HUMAN RESOURCES: Age and lying about one's age in the Nigerian workforce. Exclusive commentary for USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica The Newspaper (Houston), CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal. By Dr. Prince Asagwara Canada-based contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and global e-list IgboEvents: I witnessed the ridiculousness of doctoring and lying about one's age to remain employed when I visited Nigeria in 2003. Someone that I knew as an adult when I was a boy in primary school came to me for assistance to migrate to Canada. I asked for his cv/resume. He recorded on his resume as being born in 1962. I thought it was a mistake and called his attention to it. To my horror, he told me that it was his "officially declared age." And that "it is the way it is done here in Nigeria, if you want to stay employed after 55 years of age." The man in question at the time was not less than 60 years old.

ISSUES: Race and the Hurricane: Howard Dean, Kanye West and Laura Bush disagree on Bush's treatment of Blacks, poor in Katrina's aftermath. U.S. Democratic party leader tells Baptists that U.S. must face the racial "ugly truth" about deaths in Gulf region. Race was a factor in the rising death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Howard Dean told members of the National Baptist Convention of America on Wednesday at the group's annual meeting. Dean, Democratic Party chairman, made the comments to the Baptists' Political and Social Justice Commission. The Baptist Convention has an estimated 3.5 million members representing 3,000 churches and is one of the largest black religious groups in the country. "We must . . . come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not," Dean said. Dean said Americans have a moral responsibility to not ignore the devastating effects of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast. The former presidential candidate said the government will be judged on how it treats the old, the young and the poor. "People are poor in different parts of the country. They are not refugees. They are Americans," he said. Dean said that instead of considering proposed estate tax breaks, the Senate should channel the $760 billion savings into disaster relief funds. "Shall we give that to the wealthiest people in the country, or should we rebuild New Orleans?" Dean said. Kanye, America's young hip-hop icon, said during a tv telethon that Bush does not care about Blacks. Bush's wife, Laura, said in a radio interview that Dean and Kanye's views of her husband are "disgusting."
PERSPECTIVE:
Barbara Bush comments latest in series of blunders: U.S. President George W Bush is not the only member of his prominent political family to be drawing criticism for public utterances about Hurricane Katrina: His mother has raised eyebrows too. In widely reported comments after visting evacuees at the Texas sports arena (Astrodome) former first lady Barbara Bush on Monday (September 5, 2005 seemed to suggest a silver lining for the "underprivileged" forced from their flooded homes in New Orleans. "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," Mrs. Bush said in a radio interview from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas."And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this &emdash; this is working very well for them," she said. Click here for additional reports on the Bushs' comments, etc.
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.
USAfrica INSIGHT: Africa's debt burden, poverty, and the G 8 countries. By Dr. KC Asagwara, Canada-based contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com


TECHNOLOGY:
"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
AADD: Africa Attention Deficit Disorder. A U.S. disorder that hurts Africa. By David Sarasohn of Newhouse News Service: Today's pictures are from Niger, but they could be from lots of places in Africa, and from lots of times during recent decades. These children with the matchstick legs, and the eyes bigger than their fists, could have been from Biafra, a runaway province of Nigeria, in the 1970s, or from Ethiopia in the 1980s, or the Congo in the 1990s. The hideous massacre stories, this time from Darfur, could be from Liberia, or Sierra Leone, or -- most bloodily -- Rwanda. The AIDS stories come steadily from the same places. Full commentary here


UN Sec Gen Annan criticises Darfur response. The US has called the crisis genocide, but the UN has not. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has criticised the developed world for being too slow to respond to the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. "We were slow, hesitant, uncaring," Mr Annan said in a BBC interview. He said the international community had "learnt nothing from Rwanda" - a reference to the 1994 genocide there. At least 180,000 have died since 2003 in the western region of Darfur.

More than two million people have been forced from their homes. Human rights groups, the US Congress and the US government say that genocide is taking place. However, a UN team sent to Sudan to investigate concluded that war crimes had been committed, but there had been no intent to commit genocide by the Sudanese government. The UN secretary general was heavily criticised at the time of the Rwandan genocide for failing to take heed of warnings from his staff on the ground.

In the case of Darfur, Mr Annan has made a point of continuing to demand international action and his comments in an interview for the BBC's Panorama programme are the strongest yet, says the BBC's Fergal Keane. Asked by our correspondent whether the judgment on Darfur would be as damning as in the case of Rwanda, Mr Annan replied: "Quite likely". Darfur has become the first case referred by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court.


Independent Beauty Consultant - Mary Kay Cosmetics
CLASS magazine and USAfrica held their 2005 annual the BEST OF AFRICA weekend, first Friday and Saturday of May 6 & 7, 2005) in Houston, Texas. The events which featured African and American professionals, and guests from Nigeria, included the USAfrica 13th annual Anniversary awards, and CLASS magazine's Mothers' Day honors banquet at the Hilton Towers at Westchase, Houston. Features of honorees, VIPS and personalities at the event will be published in print and online, soon. The 2005 USAfrica FORUM deliberated on Nigeria's President Obasanjo's War on Corruption: What Next?
June 16 and South Africa's treble historic events. By Nkem Ekeopara
INSIGHT: Nigeria may not disintegrate within 15 years; but.... By Dozie Ezeife, Oakland-based Contributing Editor and Special correspondent of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine
FLASHPOINT! In 15 years: Nigeria could collapse, destabilize entire West Africa - U.S. intelligence analysts claim; Obasanjo calls them "prophets of doom...."A coup in Nigeria could cause the oil exporting country to collapse and bring down much of West Africa with it, the U.S. National Intelligence Council said in a long-term outlook released in Nigeria on Wednesday, May 25, 2005. The catastrophic scenario was listed as a possible risk in a long-term forecast for Africa by the U.S. government intelligence body, which also saw most of the continent becoming increasingly marginalised over the next 15 years.

"While Nigeria's leaders are locked in a bad marriage that all dislike but dare not leave, there are possibilities that could disrupt the precarious equilibrium in Abuja," said the report, which was given to the press by Nigerian lawmakers....Click for report on In 15 years: Nigeria could collapse....


Counterpoint: Why Nigeria and Africa's leaders are leading them nowhere. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com
U.S. expands support to fight terrorism in Africa, with $100 million each year. The plan and action will bring together military staff from nine participating countries for medical training and command-post exercises, drawn and focused on: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Nigeria Blair stands up for Africa. A new effort outlined Wednesday in a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Senegal proposes spending $100 million a year over five years to boost security in some of the world's least-policed areas, starting with a joint military exercise in the region next month.

An earlier anti-terror exercise with a budget of just $6 million focused on troop training in four west African nations. The new campaign will target nine north and west African nations and seek to bolster regional cooperation Analysts were waiting to see if the program would be fully funded &emdash; but said the intended budgetary increase shows the United States is taking West Africa more seriously.



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.
E-commerce Solutions, Web Designs and Special Digital Projects. USAfricaonline.com web professionals will design, host and maintain your web sites. We provide first-rate solutions for businesses, groups and individuals. Phone: 713-270-5500. 832-45-CHIDO (24436)
DEMOCRACY WATCH: FAURE TAKES CHARGE IN TOGO.... Togo's constitutional court on Tuesday officially declared Faure Gnassingbe the winner of a presidential election that the opposition says was rigged, as thousands of people continued to flee the West African nation fearing fresh violence. "Having won the most votes, Faure Gnassingbe is proclaimed the elected president of the Republic of Togo," Atsou Koffi Amega, the president of the constitutional court, told the scores of diplomats, cabinet ministers and other VIPs summoned for the announcement.

The 39-year-old is due to be sworn in today and will succeed his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in February after ruling Togo for almost four decades. Security was tightened in Lome ahead of the results, with extra troops patrolling the streets and manning junctions. Market traders and shopkeepers closed earlier than usual and there was less traffic on the roads, as people worried about a repeat of the urban warfare that erupted within minutes of Gnassingbe's provisional victory being announced exactly a week ago.

With scores dead and hundreds injured during last week's pitched battles between opposition activists and security forces, thousands of Togolese people continued to flock to the safety of neighbouring countries, scared that another wave of riots and military crackdowns might follow Gnassingbe's confirmation.


Senate prez Wabara's face ignominous fall
FLASHBACK:
CHUBA OKADIGBO: A big tree has fallen (1941-2003). On September 25, 2003, Philosopher, scholar, strategist, wordsmith, publisher, activist, orator, traditionalist (Oyi of Oyi) and former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria passed on at 61. Chuba told me in an interview during the 2002 World Igbo Congress in Houston that "Nigeria's President Obasanjo is sorely lacking in the mannerisms of running a democratic government. We fell out because I insisted and worked constitutionally on the principle of separation powers. He believe he owns the government. He's a soldier and acts like one. But this is a democracy." He fell out with Obasanjo and the party, PDP, and said the following in Nigeria "Now, the Nigerian polity is sick of second term syndrome, a threatening political cancer. Sadly, I must say that the PDP, which had been a big party of the people, is fast becoming a problem party for Obasanjo and his associates, which is run by his sycophantic cronies. They now lie prostrate in the trauma wing of a political hospital. Some good persons have been trying to nurse the PDP back to good health. But Obasanjo and his cronies are unwilling to let go, due to their 'second term' mania. So, what next? We all know that nothing succeeds like failure...." Excerpts from the exclusive tribute-profile written a few days after his death in 2003 by USAfricaonline.com Founder Chido Nwangwu
USAfricaonline.com recommends The New York Times editorial of February 27, 2005: Thousands Died in Africa Yesterday. When a once-in-a-century natural disaster swept away the lives of more than 100,000 poor Asians last December, the developed world opened its hearts and its checkbooks. Yet when it comes to Africa, where hundreds of thousands of poor men, women and children die needlessly each year from preventable diseases, or unnatural disasters like civil wars, much of the developed world seems to have a heart of stone.

Not every African state is failing. Most are not. But the continent's most troubled regions - including Somalia and Sudan in the east, Congo in the center, Zimbabwe in the south and Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the west - challenge not only our common humanity, but global security as well. The lethal combination of corrupt or destructive leaders, porous and unmonitored borders and rootless or hopeless young men has made some of these regions incubators of international terrorism and contagious diseases like AIDS. Others are sanctuaries for swindlers and drug traffickers whose victims can be found throughout the world. In many of these places, poverty and unemployment and the desperation they spawn leave young men vulnerable to the lure of terrorist organizations, which, beyond offering two meals a day, also provide a target to vent their anger at rich societies, which they are led to believe view them with condescension and treat them with contempt. Training camps for Islamic extremists are now thought to be sprouting like anthills on the savanna.... One hundred years ago, before we had the medical know-how to eradicate these illnesses, this might have been acceptable. But we are the first generation able to afford to end poverty and the diseases it spawns. It's past time we step up to the plate. We are all responsible for choosing to view the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia as more deserving of our help than the malaria victims in Africa. Jeffrey Sachs, the economist who heads the United Nations' Millennium Development Project to end global poverty, rightly takes issue with the press in his book "The End of Poverty": "Every morning," Mr. Sachs writes, "our newspapers could report, 'More than 20,000 people perished yesterday of extreme poverty.' "

So, on this page, we'd like to make a first step. Yesterday, more than 20,000 people perished of extreme poverty. Click here for full text



OVERCOMER: Don't let me die... An African journalist writes a song of survival

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine

According to doctor's finding, one of my kidneys was outrightly not functioning, while the other one has stone impediment. It was also found out that my PVC or
blood level was usually very low fluctuating between 15 and 16 %. Based on this disturbing revelation, a medical suggestion was made that I go for an urological operation, preferably overseas, where the blood building hormone around the kidney would be restored through operation. In the interim , I was placed under erotroprotein injection, an injection capable of creating the blood building hormone.

But that too is not the end of this sad story: how about the complications? I was also diagnosed to be hypertensive and diabetic as well. The crucial question became , which one led to the other? The crises point came when I began to swell: Oedema they call it in medical terms. This time around , my very little frame had become so bloated that I could even feel the heaviness and expansion on my head. A more disturbing one became an oedemal growth in my scrotum, which its disturbing pain and discomfort affected my walking....

My doctors estimate that a sum of 5 million naira is needed to fly him overseas, where an operation will be performed on him at the Brigham and Women Hospital, Boston Massachusetts.

This is a whopping sum of money and too much for a poor journalist to provide. Please don't let me die; and from here I draw you all to my song of sorrow: 
Don't let me die;
a cockerel at mid life....



RWANDA: THE GENOCIDE THAT SHOOK THE WORLD, AFTER THE FACT....
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and Classmagazine.tv
On Wednesday April 7, 2004, Rwandan President Paul Kagame pinned the country's darkness during the 1994 genocide on the international community and the United Nations in the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. He pinned the cause of the genocide on Western countries, namely Belgium, Britain and the United States that withdrew their forces when they were badly needed. "Injustice of powerful nations should be stopped. Rwanda shouldbe a good example to learn a lesson," the president said.
Also, the retired
General Romeo Dallaire of Canada, former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNMIR), has said that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda could have been stopped if the international community had shown their political will. In an interview with Xinhua in Kigali, where commemoration events are being organized for the 10th anniversary of the genocide, Dallaire expressed his disappointment with the world leaders over their inaction during those horrible days. Dallaire, who led the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda from October 1993 to August 1994, was invited to the International Conference on Genocide and the April 7 public ceremony, also known as National Reflection, at the Kigali National Stadium.

Why Rwanda matters 10 years after the slaughter of 800,000. By Gerald Caplan, author of 'Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide'

Rwanda's lesson: 'Never again'. By Clarence Page

OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse? By Chido Nwangwu
NEWS INVESTIGATION: The Marc Rich Oil Deals in Nigeria. 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. A special News Investigation report for PetroGasWorks by Chido Nwangwu examines the Marc Rich Deals in Nigeria's lucrative oil industry and beyond.

USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned, U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet, contains excerpts from USAfrica The Newspaper and other content written exclusively for this web site. USAfrica The Newspaper, published since May 11, 1994 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month, is the highest-circulation newspaper serving the rapidly growing, vibrant community and business demographic mix of immigrant Africans, African-Americans and other Americans.


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