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Mass burial for 56 in Nigeria's May 2002 plane crash in Kano; Obasanjo criticized, again, as 'insensitive' for not speaking with mourning families in Kano

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and

56 of the individuals among the 149 who died in the BAC 1-11-500 EAS Airlines plane Crash in Kano, northern Nigeria, have been put in mass graves. "Most of them were just burned or mutilated beyond recognition," state commissioner for religious affairs Mohammed Tahir Agamou told Reuters.

Nigeria's Sports Minister Ishaya Mark Aku, the wife and son of retired Gen. Jerry Useni, count among the dead.

Relatives of the victims accused President retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo of insensitivity after he paid a very quick visit to the rundown district and did not stop to speak to the mourning families. He was away in southern Africa at the time of the crash (but returned shortly after the crash).

He left the country while a major violence erupted in the central Nigeria city of Jos where, at least 26 person were killed. It is a similar approach to domestic issues by the much-travelling Obasanjo especially his recent, controversial January 28, 2002: "Shut up... I don't need to be here..." comments at scene of bomb blasts which killed 1155 Nigerians.

He later apologized for his poor handling of the crisis, roundly criticized as reflecting insensitivity and nonchalance. Recent events have raised additional questions on his handling of such issues, even among his supporters. "They said he (Obasanjo) had other appointments. Maybe his appointments were better than us," said Habibu Yussuf Hibbu, standing in front of his ruined house, as quoted by Reuters. Obasanjo had said about the Kano tragedy: "I believe the accident happened because God allowed it." By report Janet Samson

Nigeria has faced numerous airline crashes arising from poorly maintained equipment, overworked and lean flight staff, corruption and bribery of senior quality control officers in government, hurried approvals granted political cronies to own airline services, failure to execute oversight actions by aviation management staff, among other factors. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher, and
Nigeria's former vice president Alex Ekwueme's decision to leave the airport and not make the flight in order to meet a friend who called him for a different reason, apparently, saved his

POLITICS: Obasanjo declares he'll run for 2nd term: "I have decided that it is best that I make myself available as a presidential candidate in the 2003 elections." With those words, Nigeria's President, he 65-year-old retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, announced that he will seek a second, historic term. The elections will be in the first quarter of next year.

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

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
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The Middle East and the Isle Of Polyphemus. By Prof. Wole Soyinka.
The irrationalities of the Israeli government and the United States have been mind-boggling - they would be ludicrous if they were not fraught with such predictable tragic consequences. Their insistence for instance, at the early stages of the recent intifada, that the Palestinians observe at least a week of violence-free moratorium before peace talks could begin, was surely apparent to all beings with a claim to reasoning - except those two world leaders - as a demand of unbelievable infantilism, long before Sharon recognised and acknowledged its futility. What my brief stay among ordinary Palestinians did was simply to compel me to revisit that, and allied policy statements by the Israeli government, promoted with such galling insensitivity by the United States government.... Numerous were the accounts of women who gave birth at checkpoints because of the inflexible control that was exercised over the movements of ordinary people, of deaths that occurred right within ambulances that were trapped in convoys or at checkpoints.... Was I sufficiently detached during this visit? Of course. And then again, of course not. It is not possible to take a purely clinical, objective view of the situation in Palestine. When human beings are being blown up in restaurants, in hotels, and especially with a singularly grotesque sense of timing - while sitting down to a holy feast, such as the Passover - one experiences both rage and horror at the perpetrators.
Arafat's duplicity, terrorism at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian crises. By Barry Rubin: In other words, for Arafat the gun is permanent, while the olive branch is a secondary tool which he will use simultaneously only if others pay him off. This philosophy has not changed. By rejecting a compromise agreement two years ago, he reaffirmed that he does not seek peace, but victory. Only when victory seems out of reach - as it did in 1993 when he was in a disastrous situation - would he even begin to think, albeit perhaps temporarily and incompletely, about taking another route. Israel must show him that he cannot win victory, that he faces a choice between compromise and catastrophe. Even then, and not for the first time, he might choose catastrophe (which he can then claim as a heroic victory). We are getting closer to that moment.
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Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
POLITICS: Obasanjo declares he'll run for 2nd term: "I have decided that it is best that I make myself available as a presidential candidate in the 2003 elections" on April 25, 2002, in Abuja. With those words, Nigeria's President, he 65-year-old retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, announced that he will seek a second, historic term. The elections will be in the first quarter of next year.
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