Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - A MESSAGE FROM NIGERIA'S YOUTH: RSVP Project...

Hon. Gbenga Dasylva:
Thanks for your fascinating rebuttal on my support for President EbeleChukwu Jonathan. I truly believe that if you think very clearly you will agree with  me that Pres. Jonathan has close similarities with Pres. Obama of America. Though, they both live under different political climate,and in this  respect you don't compare apples with  oranges. However, both have a lot in common: Like Obama, Jonathan is intellectually Superior than his competitors. Like Obama, Jonathan is highly respected and admired by the Western World. Pres. Jonathan was recently invited to attend G8 -SUMMIT[in Canad]-a Committee of  the Conglomerate of  Industrialized nations. Again, Pres. Jonathan is invited to represent Nigeria in the impending U.N General Assembly this September. On the flip side, his competitors or his detractors are banned from visiting America.
For Lasting Pace to Reign in Nigeria, the next president has to come from the Oil Producing Region of Delta whether you believe it or not. Jonathan understands  the anatomy/problems of the Region more than any other Political talking heads in Nigeria. Besides, Jonathan's aggregate experience as VP suggests that he is well equipped to reverse the tide of fiscal/financial profligacy in Nigerian Politics by bringing more WOMEN with Management/Business KNOW-HOW into his administration. In this sense, he is the only Presidential Candidate who can truly achieve GENDER PARITY in the area of better treatment of 21st Century Nigerian Women-which is an essential dynamic  in the Reduction of Political Corruption in Nigeria/Africa.
You accused Pres. Jonathan of squandering public funds on  three presidential Jets. But you have to recognize these Jets are not the President's personal property. They are the property of the Republic of Nigeria and the citizens of Nigeria whether we fly in them or not.
President Jonathan clearly  understands the Cultural/Traditional rhythms of the Disenfranchised Delta Region more than his rivals. As a Progressive Thinker, honest Problem Solver and a Peace Maker, Jonathan knows how to reconcile Modern Democracy and Islamic Culture with the Highest sense of Pragmatism more than his Rivals.
ADVICE/Warning: My hope is that you and the Nigerian Educated Class should not be swayed by the charisma/braggadocio attitude of other presidential candidates who promise Pie in the Sky. They hoodwinked us and looted billions of our pedro-dollars and yet have the moral temerity to ask for more opportunity to loot whatever is left for Nigerians. God Forbid! 
I appreciate the extraordinary role you're playing in this presidential debate. I truly believe that President Goodluck Jonathan is our best hope for now unless any one wants to invoke the Angels and the Saints to be the next Nigerian President and his Ministers.
Thanks for your Attention.
Obi Dikas, Ph.D.

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Naipaul's Latest Book on 'The Masque of Africa: Glimpse of African Belief'

dear cornelius
i do not have time for deep reflections now as 2
course preps for tomorrow are still to be undertaken.
first, i read the early, trinidad novels of
naipaul, and then on to bend in the river, among
the unbelievers. after that i pretty much stopped.
i will rely on your reflections to answer the
question i posed: what would a racist author look
like? i am not really interested in obtaining the
answer from the nobel committee, but rather from
the engaged scholars here on this list, and other
experts in naipaul. you know his work much more than i do. enlighten us.

he wrote of 3d world intellectuals as attempting
to become civilized by imitating the real thing,
english intellectuals who were not afraid to
assert the primacy of their venerable
civilization. he bought the crap lock stock and
barrel, and those who were not up to the task
were mere mimic men. africa then became the site
for the feebleness of imitation, the failed
assimilation policies of the colonizers who never
really meant it, and of a barbarism closer to
conrad's imagery than say achebe's. there is no
humanity in the naipaul africans; the indians of
africa were cynics out for a buck, making their
way through the savages; naipaul opened a cynical
eye onto the political scene, and that was enough
for the superior tastes of europeans who don't
know a thing about actual african people to be wowed by him.
there was nothing left; no love, no beauty, no
humanity, no possibility except to follow his own
path to the hallowed halls of oxford, or was it cambridge.
he was interviewed by an ayatollah in Among the
Believers, and asked where he came from. he
stated, the islands. but, he tells the reader,
the real answer would have been england, oxford,
the real home for an intellectual like himself.
the islands were long since left behind.
i could have continued reading his entertaining
books, but my time was limited. was i to spend
the valuable time on him, or on soyinka's latest,
on the newest nigerian stars, on the latest
senegalese film? stories of naipaul's horrific
views of black people continued to be circulated,
comments that a colleague from the netherlands
relayed to me, confirming the worst impressions
of racist beliefs. i do not have time to devote
to him while i still have an unread assia djebar
novel to read. i commend djebar to us all; she is
beauty itself; he is the opposite

At 06:37 AM 8/31/2010, you wrote:
>Professor Harrow & Co,
>I'm seeking some more direction from you.
>At this very moment I'm strangely reminded of Ulli Beier of whom I
>heard an anthropologist joke that he was he was leaving Nigeria for
>Papua New Guinea, which he described as “ another area of darknessâ€
>Some people see, have seen Naipaul and Rushdie as the Wild West's
>literary attack dogs who in fiction and non-fiction peer into our
>backwardness, to wage war on cherished religious and cultural values
>and the life lived outside of the pale of Western Civilisation, the
>Western Civilisation of which when asked, Mahatma Gandhi said “I
>think it would be a good idea.â€
>I erroneously referred to “Among the Believers†as post -Salman
>Rushdie, because it has been around for so long; perhaps it even paved
>the way for “ The Satanic Verses†and enjoyed even greater popularity
>after Rushdie's controversial novel.
>We all agree that V.S. Naipaul is an engaging writer, perhaps a great
>writer, one that we do not neglect and some of us seem to be forced to
>read, just because he visits some of our natural habitats. Is that not
>The Nobel Prize committee awarded Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
>the Nobel Prize in Literature for largesse of spirit, not for for
>being a racist or for being “one of the great racist writers of our
>time “ but "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible
>scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed
>After the award he has not rested on his laurels but suitably
>encouraged and rewarded has continued in the same vein, turning his
>lights on and exposing other areas of darkness with even greater
>intensity ( insensitivity?) and gained an even greater audience.
>Can he also be accused of rank dishonesty in his “Beyond Belief:
>Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples†?
>I got a copy of his “ Half a life†from his Swedish literary agent for
>Christmas, 2001 or 2 .She was at the Noble Banquet and may have a
>soft heart for him and seems to to think that he's a nice bloke.
>That's women for you, can have a soft spot for every kind of
>scoundrel. Beauty and the Beast.
> But does the Selection committee of the Swedish Academy need to have
>their heads examined ? Do they see the “racism†that you see in the
>unrepentant Naipaul ­ or do you think that conscious as he is, he is
>simply unaware of it ? Was it a mistake to award him the Nobel Prize
>and should we tolerate the Swedish Academy awarding such prizes to
>writers such as Sir Vidia or should the prize be withdrawn now or even
>On Aug 30, 4:43Â pm, kenneth harrow <har...@msu.edu> wrote:
> > i need to simplify in responding here, to
> both friends cornelius and ikhide:
> > the problem is not that naipaul mounted
> > criticisms of africa or africans. but that all he
> > sees of africa and africans is evil. perhaps we
> > can say that there were real flaws in black
> > culture after the american civil war, and that
> > depicting the legislatures in the south as
> > dysfunctional was an accepted critique. but  if
> > all one sees are subhumans in those who represent
> > the flaws, one is generating racist stereotypes,
> > not simply critiquing. there has to be a
> > difference between the two, between a critique
> > generated from the perspective that those being
> > critiqued are still human like all humans, and
> > another that evokes their animality and evil
> > natures as those of inferior beings, as meriting
> > being spit upon, as those whose vaginas merit
> > being spit upon....naipaul's scene, not mine, in bend in the river.
> > if naipaul is not a racist, maybe griffith's
> > birth of a nation isn't, and the greatest emblems
> > of racism are merely humorous criticisms.
> > maybe not.
> > tell me how to read someone who consistently
> > represents dark skinned people as inferior, if not as a racist.
> > ken
> >
> > At 08:40 AM 8/30/2010, you wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > >I have not yet read Naipaul's latest but from the comments on this
> > >page and the Guardian's review, my expectations are great:
> >
> > >http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/aug/29/vs-naipaul-masque-of-afri...
> >
> > >  Jonathan Franzen may write with the principle in mind, that “The
> > >reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.† - and perhaps
> > >this is also Naipual's operative approach, since  we can tell by his
> > >book sales that he does have a very large and appreciative readership.
> > >Is it safe to conclude then that he panders to the appetite and
> > >expectations of his faithful fans/readers who want some more of the
> > >same or must we credit him with being absolutely faithful to his own
> > >experience, his own perceptions, like the true literary artist and
> > >essayist he is?
> >
> > >Or is there no such thing?
> >
> > >I remember in 2001, when it was announced that V.S. had been awarded
> > >the Nobel Prize in Literature. I called up two friends, one a great
> > >intellectual from Guadeloupe and the other from Jamaica, to
> > >congratulate them  They both said exactly  the same thing, one
> > >word:†Collie-man†, which is a
> Carribean's 's derogatory description of an
> > >Indian. Naipaul had already pissed them off.
> >
> > >In as far as biographical heresy can be applied to throw light on Mr.
> > >Naipaul's literary output, Paul Theroux's
> “Sir Vidiaia's Shadow† has
> > >given the most unkindest cut of all.
> >
> > >Paul Theroux should know. Had Sir Vidia written his ( Theroux's) “
> > >Fong and the Indians† someone would have seen racismm in the depiction
> > >of Africans in that novel and perhaps cried, where I laughed at what I
> > >thought was funny
> >
> > >Whether it is with V.S.'s “An Area of
> Darkness↠- written about his
> > >visit to his ancestral India, or his post-Salman Rushdie  â€œAmong the
> > >Believers†about Islam and Islamists or the much referred to and in my
> > >opinion innocuous “ A Bend in The
> Riverââ‚€  one of  Naipaul's functions
> > >then is to prick us to some critical self-examination as  Lord Ikhide
> > >has just done. And for that should Naipaul  - or his brother Shiva
> > >Naipaul ( North of South†) be blighted?
> >
> > >Professor Harrow sounds remarkably like my dear Dr. Valentine Ojo when
> > >he says what he says about V..S: Naipaul.
> >
> > >Perhaps, if Naipual had been Black instead of Brown, African, instead
> > >of an Indian British Lord examining other cultures from the
> > >perspective of a higher (the standards of  Western Civilisation), and
> > >seeing Africa and India through the lens of his higher culture, we
> > >would not be accusing him of racism.
> >
> > >What then would we be accusing him ­ on the basis of his written woord?
> > >Arrogance?
> > >The sort of cynicism that Evelyn Waugh has been accused of?
> > >What?
> > >I pause for a reply.
> >
> > >On Aug 29, 10:07Â pm, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meoch...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > Naipaul is irredeemable, a lost cause.
> The man cannot even cultivate and
> > > > sustain personal relationships with his
> > > literary peers, crossing people left
> > > > and right and telling them to "take it in
> the cheek like a man." He can't
> > > > help himself in his role as a "Third
> World" advocate of Eucentric, racist
> > > > universalism.
> >
> > > > The man deserves more pity than engagement.
> >
> > > > On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 12:10 PM, kenneth
> harrow <har...@msu.edu> wrote:
> > > > > Â naipaul is one of the great racist
> writers of our time. a bend in the
> > > > > river evokes every negative stereotype
> > > about africans imaginable; his cover?
> > > > > 1. he is "third world" 2.mobuto's
> reign, and before it, lumumba's, was
> > > > > regarded by naipaul's kind of readers and editors as uncivilized.
> > > > > uncivilized means non-british, non-european, savage etc etc
> > > > > naipaul is the true exemplar of ox-cam
> british snobbism and racism toward
> > > > > africa, and the rest of the third world. really
> > > > > ken harrow
> >
> > > > > At 11:36 AM 8/29/2010, you wrote:
> >
> > > > > ----- Forwarded Message ----
> > > > > *From:* Errol Harry <errolharr...@yahoo.com>
> > > > > *Sent:* Sun, August 29, 2010 6:16:07 PM
> > > > > *Subject:* Naipaul's latest book on Africa
> >
> > > > > *The Masque of Africa by V S Naipaul: review*
> >
> > > > > *Sameer Rahim is puzzled by the ageing
> > > Nobel Prize winner’s punishing
> > > > > quest to expose Africa’s religious illillusions *
> > >*
> >
> > > > > By Sameer Rahim
> > > > > Published: 5:19PM BST 27 Aug 2010
> >
> > > > > Â
> > >
> Comments<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/7966020/The-Masque-of-Africa...>
> > > > > [image: The Masque of Africa by V S Naipaul]
> > > > > The Masque of Africa by V S Naipaul
> >
> > > > > V S Naipaul’s father was once forced td to
> > > sacrificfice a goat to the Hindu
> > > > > goddess Kali. In June 1933, when Vidia was
> > > still a baby, Seepersad Naipaul
> > > > > had written an article in the *Trinidad Guardian* criticising Hindu
> > > > > farmers who ignored government regulations
> > > and inoculated their cattle with
> > > > > religious rites.
> >
> > > > > His angry opponents threatened him with a poisoning curse unless he
> > > > > appeased the goddess. He refused at first but soon relented: wearing
> > > > > trousers rather than the traditional
> loincloth (his small rebellion), he
> > > > > offered up a severed goat’s head on a a brass platlate.
> >
> > > > > In that Sunday’s paper he was all
> > > bluster: Ã: “Mr Naipaul greets you! No
> >
> > > > > Poison last night†. But this â“great
> > > eat humiliation†, as his son wrote in
> > > > > *Finding the Centre* (1984), destroyed
> his life. He lost his job and sunk
> > > > > into depression. According to Naipaul’™s
> > > mother, r, “He looked in the mirror
> >
> > > > > one day and couldn’t see himself.
> And nd he began tn to scream.â€
> >
> > > > > Over the course of his long writing career,
> > > V S °S Naipaulâ€Â¢â‚¬™s view of
> > >f
> > > > > religion has moved ­ much like this story ­
> > > from om thethe potentially comic to
> > > > > the outright sinister. His first published
> > > novel, *The Mystic Masseur *(1957),
> > > > > was a satire on a fake pundit. In his
> > > masterpiece *A House for Mr Biswas*(1961) the
> > > title character (based on Seepersad) is expelled from his
> > > > > training as a Hindu priest when he
> pollutes some sacred flowers with his
> > > > > excrement. His travel book on India,
> *An Area of Darkness* (1964), took a
> > > > > harsher view of Hinduism and the caste
> > > system and after 1970, when he first
> > > > > learnt about his father’s ritual
> > > humiliation (th(the family had kept it an
> > > > > absolute secret), his work took on an unforgiving tone.
> >
> > > > > *Among the Believers* (1981) and *Beyond Belief* (1998) blamed the
> > > > > problems in Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia
> and Pakistan exclusively on Islam.
> > > > > Third World peoples who refused to abandon
> > > their ancestral illusions for the
> > > > > civilised and secular values of the West ­
> > > as Naipaul has so ccconspicuously
> > > > > done ­ are, he believes, condemned to backwardness.
> >
> > > > > Now he has travelled to six countries ­
> > > Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria,, the Ivory
> > > > > Coast, Gabon and South Africa ­ to
> discover the â€Ã¢‚¬œœnature of African
> > > > > belief†. *The Masque of Africa*
> starts in Kamppala, the ccapital of
> > > > > Uganda, where Naipaul immediately
> observes a conflict between the native
> > > > > religion, offering “only the world of
> > > the spirits a and the ancestors†,
> > > > > and the foreign religions (Islam and
> Christianity) whose new places of
> > > > > worship on the city’s hills are like
> > > ââ“an applied andnd contagious illness,
> > > > > curing nothing, giving no final answers…
> > > fighting wrong battless, narrowing
> > > > > the mind†. He doess not visit these
> > > mosques and churchess; a view from the
> > > > > foothills is enough.
> >
> > > > > When Naipaul does visit somewhere his
> observations can be acute. At the
> > > > > shrine of Mutesa I of Buganda, the
> > > 19th-century ruler who had dealings with
> > > > > John Speke and Henry Stanley, he feels a
> > > “sense of f wonder†. But But nearby
> > > > > he notices a boy tormenting a small kitten; he protests but his guide
> > > > > assures him the boy is just playing. “I
> > > didnâ’t believe him,ÆNaipaul
> > >aul
> > > > > says. Back in the hotel, he discovers that
> > > nine men were sacrificed at the
> > > > > shrine during its construction.
> >
> > > > > For a brief moment he allowed himself to see through the eyes of the
> > > > > faithful, before widening his vision to
> > > examine what they chose not to see.
> >
> > > > > Naipaul has always been able to spot a
> > > fraud, and the best writing in this
> > > > > book deals with native healers and
> fortune-tellers. In Uganda he enters a
> > > > > small office and spots a framed
> certificate on the wall: the witch doctor
> > > > > has an official licence so that “no
> > > believer need f feel
> >
> > ...
> >
> > read more »- Hide quoted text -
> >
> > - Show quoted text -
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Kenneth W. Harrow
Distinguished Professor of English
Michigan State University
517 803-8839
fax 517 353 3755

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USA Africa Dialogue Series - More than a Continent? Remapping Africa with Ngugi, Prah, Shivji and Zeleza

More than a Continent? Remapping Africa with Ngugi, Prah, Shivji and Zeleza*


By Chambi Chachage


"To us, Africa with its islands is just one Africa. We reject the ideas of any kind of partition. From Tangier or Cairo in the North to Cape Town in the South, from Cape Guardafui in the East to Cape Verde Islands in the West, Africa is one and indivisible" – Kwame Nkrumah on 'Africa Must Unite'!


Interesting things have happened since I promised to post a forthcoming sequel to my review of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's (2009) Re-membering Africa. The ensuing online debate caught the critical eyes of key theorists of 'things African'. Out of this 'debatable Africa' a complimentary copy of Kwesi Kwaa Prah's (2009) '2nd Impression' of The African Nation: The State of the Nation found its way from his Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) in Cape Town to my Base for African Studies Enhancement (BASE) in Dar es Salaam. As a 'bibliomaniac' I am grateful for that. In this regard I feel honoured to address this key question which his treatise seemed to have posed to those of us who have taken what it refers to as the "continentalist position": 'Isn't Africa more than a Continent?' As an attempt to kill, albeit only figuratively, two birds with one stone, I will tackle this question in relation to Ngugi's quest to re-member a dismembered Africa. However, I will also drag Issa G. Shivji's (2009) inquiry Where is Uhuru? Reflections on the Struggle for Democracy in Africa and Paul Tiyambe Zeleza's (2003) inquest Rethinking Africa's Globalization Volume 1: The Intellectual Challenge into this conversation.


My first encounter with Prah's writings was through Language of Instruction in Tanzania and South Africa (LOITASA) publications. As someone who subscribes to Pan-Africanism as far as continental unity is concerned, I found his analysis of 'African Orthographies', whereby he asserts that many African languages interacts and can thus be used intelligibly by a number of ethnic groups, useful in bringing about Africa's unity. I, myself, observed this in South Africa where, somehow, Africans who speak IsiZulu and IsiXhosa would interact with each through what Prah will call a 'South African Orthography.' It is this schematic background, as well as a curiosity on why I was asked whether I have read this other book of his, that informs my critique.


Taking, explicitly, what can be dubbed a 'diasporic position' in The African Nation, the author asserts that right "from its emergence, African Nationalism or Pan-Africanism has straddled both sides of the Atlantic" (Prah 2009: 10). Therein lies the first factual pitfall – equating 'African Nationalism' and 'Pan-Africanism'. Incidentally I first encountered such a glaring conflation in these writings of Prah's contemporary: "Thus African nationalism is Pan-Africanism. There is no, and cannot be African nationalism outside of, apart from, or different from Pan-Africanism" (Shivji 2009: 196). However, upon querying him about the nationalism(s) of the likes of Shaka and Mkwawa prior to the Nkrumahs and the Nyereres, Shivji clarified that it is in the context of the 20th century struggles for independence that we can correctly assert that 'African Nationalism was born out of Pan-Africanism and not the other way round.' It is only in this (historical) regard that I can factually agree that through "all stages of its evolution and development, the Diaspora has been a key reference point" (Prah 2009: 10) to "African Nationalism or Pan-Africanism".


Upon reaching this point of agreement, that Pan-Africanism is a 'modern' concept which may have not necessarily informed African Nationalism(s), we can then jointly locate the role and place of the Diaspora in Africa. Ever true to its history, the 'father of Pan-Africanism', W.E. B. Du Bois thus locate it to one land – the continent – in his preview of The Pan-African Movement:


The idea of one Africa uniting the thought and ideals of all native peoples of the dark continent [sic] belongs to the twentieth century, and stems naturally from the West Indies and the United States. Here various groups of Africans, quite separate in origin, became so united in experience, and so exposed to the impact of a new culture, that they began to think of Africa as one idea and one land (W.E. B. Du Bois 1970: 372).


Our two key conversationalists so far can hardly agree less: "The Pan-Africanist idea was developed in the diaspora towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century by such great Afro-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans as Henry Sylvester Williams, George Padmore, W.E.B Du Bois, C.L.R James, and others" (Shivji 2009: 198); "The term Pan-Africanism is the brainchild of the Trinidadian lawyer, Henry Sylvester Williams, uncle of George Padmore" (Prah 2009: 10).  As far as the early 1920s when the third Pan-African Congress was being organised, its main organiser could thus still point out: "So far, the Pan-African idea was still American rather than African, but it was growing, and it expressed a real demand for examination of the African situation and plan of treatment from the native African point of view" (Du Bois 1970: 384). If indeed, as both Shivji and Prah alludes, early Pan-African thought hardly included the notion of a united Africa but, rather, revolved around racial and cultural issues, when and how did the idea of one continent emerge across Africa? It was through "the interpenetrational dynamics of continentally-based, African intellect and the Diaspora equivalent" (Prah 2009: 10). All this happened within the context(s) of a people and a continent that was thus dismembered:


The dismemberment of Africa occurred in two stages. During the first of these, the African personhood was divided into two halves: the continent and its diaspora. African slaves, the central commodity in the mercantile phase of capitalism, formed the basis of the sugar, cotton and tobacco plantations in the Caribbean and American mainland. If we accept that slave trade and plantation slavery provided the primary accumulation of capital that made Europe's Industrial Revolution possible…we cannot escape the irony that the very needs of that Industrial Revolution – markets for finished goods, sources for raw materials, and strategic requirements in the defense of trade routes – led inexorably to the second stage of the dismemberment of the continent. The Berlin Conference of 1884 literally fragmented and reconstituted Africa into British, French, Portuguese, German, Belgian, and Spanish Africa. Just as the slave plantations were owned by various European powers, so post-Berlin Conference Africa was transformed into a series of colonial plantations owned by many of the same European powers (Ngugi 2009: 3).


The forceful, physical removal of human resources from our continent created the 'diasporic African' who, as Ngugi notes, was "now separated not only from his [sic] continent and his[sic] labor but also from his[sic] sovereign being". Since then the progeny of the 'classical diasporic African' epitomized by Michelle Obama and even the 'contemporary diasporic African' epitomized by Barack Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, in contrast to relatively recent immigrants from Africa, are grappling with an idea of Africa and what it means to be African which does not necessarily apply to Africans living within the geographical bounderies of the continent of Africa. Writing provocatively, yet brotherly, at the peak of the Black Power Movement, the author of Negroes are not Africans thus aptly captured this 'Afrodilemma':


The Negro[sic] is a unique creature. He[sic] is of Africa; and yet not quite. He[sic] is of Europe; and yet not quite. He[sic] is of America; and yet not quite. But he[sic] combines these three disparate strands in his[sic] constitution. The confusion which ensues from this combination is the root of all his[sic] problems. In these late days of race pride, he[sic] has just awakened to the search for racial, cultural, and historical roots. Hastily, he[sic] is likely to pounce on Africa. If he[sic] sticks to that, and that only, he[sic] is mistaken. For although African slaves were transported to America three or four hundred years ago, the moment they left the African coast, they were no longer African entirely (Lo Liyong 1975: 260).


Predictably many radical remnants of classical diasporic Africans have deliberately decided to stick "to that, and that only", leading to romantic views of what they call 'Pan-Afrikanism' and the 'Africana World'. As a result they are still stuck in the essentialist racial ideology that locked many of our Pan-African predecessors in 'anti-black racialism'. When some of us point this out we are branded Eurocentric as if being 'Afrocentric' is not a by-product of Eurocentrism. To us, as Nkrumah affirmed many years ago, Africa and its islands is just one Africa and that is why we reject any kind of partition whether it be between 'Africa' and 'Diaspora' or 'Sub-Saharan' Africa' and 'Supra-Saharan Africa.' Of course, as Prah (2009) claims, this continentalist argument starts with geographical unity as the basis for the definitions of Africans. However, it by no means "leave little space for the African Diaspora" or "pushes out the African Diaspora" altogether as he further alleges. Rather, in line with Africans' quest for wholeness, it calls for the re-membering of our continent. But, with Marcus Garvey's aborted 'Back to Africa' Pan-African Movement in hindsight, is this mission of making Africa(ns) whole possible in this day and age?


It is indeed possible if we admit that the geographical bounderies of the African continent have always been shifting and thus accommodating. We know of islands which, geographically and politically, are supposed to belong to the African continent yet they do not. Why? Well, simply because they were conquered or chose to continue to be colonised by Euro-American countries. Why then shouldn't Haiti – where it is poetically claimed that 'Negritude', as in 'Blackness' or 'Africanness',  stood up for the first time – become one of the islands of the continent of Africa? Or how come many of the Caribbean countries which identify or are identified with Africa do not deliberately become members of the African Union (AU)? Addis Ababa doors, I am told, are already opened for them since the Diaspora is now seen, at least symbolically, as part of Africa politically. The moment you start to truncate Africa in terms of 'African' and 'Arab' or 'Black' and 'White' even this inclusion of the Diaspora won't be possible for, as Lo Liyong reminded us, the moment our kith and kin left the shores of the continent they ceased being entirely African. It is out of these concerns that I find this conceptual definition of Africa racialist and exclusivist:


In much the same way as the Arabs have an organization, the Arab League, which defines them collectively and nationally, we need to create an organization which realizes our nationhood as Africans, including our Diaspora. The African Union (AU) does not serve that purpose. Otherwise what it all means is that Africanness is simply a geographical expression. While Arabs on this continent belong to the Arab nation (extending beyond the continent), which is historical and cultural, we are lost in the woods with a mere geographical entity, with no collective sense of nationhood. It is as if they are saying to us, "what belongs to you belongs to both of us, but what belongs to me is mine alone." It is simply an unacceptable situation. Right from the start of the OAU [Organization of African Unity] in 1963, the institutional basis for the unity of Africa was compromised and confused in favour of a largely geographical and regional platform. The sort of reasoning which led to this, in effect, put the cart before the horse; a rationale which made the cause the consequence. What do I mean? Simply this; the struggle for unity is in the first instance not a territorial one, it is not a search for lebensraum. It is not territorial Africa, which is being freed and united. The struggle is about people, Africans who want to be free and united. The logic is supremely transparent, if Africans unite, consequently most of the continent will unite (Prah 2009:  19 -20).


I wonder where Frantz Fanon, the 'diasporic African' who embraced and was embraced by the Algerian Liberation Movement in the so-called Arab Africa, would fit in such a definition. More close to home I wonder where is the place for those who straddle both the so-called 'Arab Nation' and 'African Nation' after fully participating in our movement for independence. How on earth can we say "our black colour is a benefaction, which Africans generally have" (Prah 2009: 18) and truly expect that constructing a "nationhood" of a people thus defined for the sake of our liberation would ultimately not exclude many Africans who are not 'generally black enough'? When the 'metaphorically' shift to the 'literally' what would be the consequences of this essentialist claim: "Metaphorically, from a mile off, the person of African descent can be invariably picked out" (Prah 2009: 18)? Study South Africa. Remember Rwanda. No wonder people also cling to a flexible definition of an accommodating Africa such as the following one:


Africa is a place, a material and imagined place, or rather a configuration of places, an embodiment of spaces that are socially produced and produce the social. Its material and symbolic bounderies are constantly shifting, for Africa's spatiality, like all spaces, encompasses the vast intricacies, the incredible complexities, and interlocking and dispersive networks of relations at every scale from the local to the global….Africa in short, is a geography, a history, a reality and an imaginary of places, peoples and positions, both an invented intellectual construct and an object of intellectual inquiry (Zeleza 2003: 3).


In such a space 'diasporic Africans' can always relate and return to symbolically and even physically. However, such ties that bind us can only be useful if we all cast our lot with the geopolitical entity that is arguably the poorest continent. Those who claim to be of Africa ought to truly seek its intellectual and material prosperity. It is such an Africa-centred progress that will surely undo the yoke which has continually left us fragmented.  Africa must unite, continentally.


* References

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1970). The Pan-African Movement. In E. Kedourie (Ed.), Nationalism in Asia and Africa, (pp. 372 - 387). New York, USA: The New American Library.


Lo Liyong, Taban (1975).  Negroes are not Africans. In J. Drachler (Ed.), Black Homeland/Black Diaspora: Cross-Currents of the African Relationship (pp. 259 - 270). New York, USA: National University Publications.


Ngugi wa Thiong'o (2009) Re-membering Africa. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: East African Educational Publishers.


Prah, Kwesi Kwaa (2009). The African Nation: The State of  the Nation. Cape Town, South Africa: Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS).


Shivji, Issa G. (2009) Where is Uhuru? Reflections on the Struggle for Democracy in Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: Fahamu Books.


Zeleza, Paul T. (2003) Rethinking Africa's Globalization Volume 1: The Intellectual Challenges. Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press.


My mission is to acquire, produce and disseminate knowledge on and about humanity as well as divinity, especially as it relates to Africa, in a constructive and liberating manner to people wherever they may be.
AddressP. O. Box 4460 Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
Cell : + 255 754771763/+ 255 718953273

USA Africa Dialogue Series - RE: On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....

Franlyne Ogbunwezeh,

You are not reading within context! As I said, many people, all NIGERIANS lost family members during the Nigerian civil war. I LOST FAMILY MEMBERS during the war; I was one of the Southerners (Midwesterners) that were stampeded out of the North as the war was approaching. I was in my Primary School at Lokoja (St Mary's Catholic School); I came back to Agenebode and shortly after Biafrans occupied the Midwest; and so we were in the middle of all that happened; some of us were killed in the North; some lost their lives during the Biafran occupation of Midwest; and other were lost as Nigerian soldiers. So my FAMILY EXPERIENCED the Civil War! One of my younger sisters was married to an Ndiigbo man; I leave the rest to your imagination. So I am speaking from a first-hand experience of the war, the carnage, the atrocities and the bad memories.

All that said, my point is that several nations, including the United States and many other stable democracies of today, have fought civil wars and people experienced untold indignities and dehumanizing situations. However, the people understood that it was a war experience, with all the unthinkables that can be associated with wars! There is a saying that there is no humane war, good war or justifiable war! War is DEATH and Suffering and what-have-you! So, like most other nations that have fought civil wars marked by these same deplorable experiences, Nigeria and Nigerians MUST COMMIT TO MOVING FORWARD and build a great modern nation for all Nigerians. Therefore all activities and preoccupation of Nigerians in the post-civil era (to this day) should be how to build a developed, modern and united nation, where all citizens are equal under the law and where civil liberties are optimally guaranteed and divinely protected. While we are yelling at each other in cyberspace, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Orji Kalu, Alex Ekwueme, Ken Nnamani and several others are mobilizing Nigerians to vote for them as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is the practice in modern nations that have fought and gone through the bad experiences of civil wars! Take care. Joe Igietseme


From: NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of franklyne ogbunwezeh
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 4:07 PM
To: NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [NIgerianWorldForum] RE: On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....



Dr. Igietseme,


You will not understand because your people were not massacred. Your lack of understanding here is the exclusive province of those who never faced the speaking ends of the guns simply for who they were.


Why don't you go ask the Jews why they have a great holocaust memorial online filled with pictures of that gory experience? Why is that whenever those whose kith and kin were slaughtered tried to remember, others who had the privilege of the obverse position react with an insecurity that is incomprehensible.


The pictures had nothing to do with the war. Those kids with blown up bellies were the victims of an act of wickedness planned by some Nigerians against Ndiigbo for whatever reasons they had. It had nothing to do with the war. The Geneva convention that was in operation since the end of  World War II forbade that. Yet it was shamelessly applied in Biafra.


And you are here telling us to take the pictures down.


This is gross insensitivity in its most obscene form.


Franklyne Ogbunwezeh

* ************** *************** ****************** *************** ***********
What constitutes a disservice to our faculty of judgment, however, is to place obstacles in the way of assembling truth's fragments, remaining content with a mere one- or two-dimensional projection where a multidimensional and multifaceted apprehension remains open, accessible and instructive.

Wole Soyinka, Between Truth and Indulgences

--- On Tue, 8/31/10, Igietseme, Joseph (CDC/OID/NCPDCID) <jbi8@cdc.gov> wrote:

From: Igietseme, Joseph (CDC/OID/NCPDCID) <jbi8@cdc.gov>
Subject: [NIgerianWorldForum] RE: On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....
To: NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com, UmuIgbo@yahoogroups.com, NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com, ianokute@yahoo.com, asa-usa@yahoogroups.com, umuanambra@yahoogroups.com, "IGBO WORLD FORUM IGBO WORLD FORUM" <igboworldforum@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: NIDOA@yahoogroups.com, nigerianworldforum@yahoogroups.com, talknigeria@yahoogroups.com, "USAAfrica Dialogue" <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>, afenmai@yahoogroups.com, "topcrest topcrest" <topcrestt@yahoo.com>, nnamulu82@yahoo.com
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 12:56 PM


Ladies and Gentlemen:

Without attempting to minimize the incalculable carnage and despicable atrocities of wars and the Nigerian civil war in particular, I am not SURE OF THE VALUE of these gory pictures of the Nigerian civil war that are being painted in cyberspace. Many of us lost family members and experienced untold indignities and dehumanizing situations during the Nigerian civil war. People understood that it was a war experience, with all the unthinkables that can be associated with wars! There is a saying that there is no humane war, good war or justifiable war! War is DEATH and Suffering and what-have-you!

However, like most other nations that have fought civil wars marked by these same deplorable experiences, Nigeria and Nigerians have committed to MOVING FORWARD and build a great modern nation for all Nigerians. Therefore all activities and preoccupation of Nigerians in the post-civil era (to this day) should be how to build a developed, modern and united nation, where all citizens are equal under the law and where civil liberties are optimally guaranteed and divinely protected. Anything else is a HUGE DISTRACTION from Nation Building. This is my CANDID OPINION on this matter. Joe Igietseme


From: NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of topcrest topcrest
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:38 PM
To: UmuIgbo@yahoogroups.com; NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com; ianokute@yahoo.com; asa-usa@yahoogroups.com; umuanambra@yahoogroups.com; IGBO WORLD FORUM IGBO WORLD FORUM
Cc: naijapolitics@yahoogroups.com; NIDOA@yahoogroups.com; nigerianworldforum@yahoogroups.com; talknigeria@yahoogroups.com; NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [NaijaObserver] Re: [UmuIgbo] Re: On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....



".....the fact remains that most of the reasons for declaring this unnecessary war.......


Mr Onuorah,

I am very sure that if your father was beheaded in the North; your pregnant mother disemboweled  and the foetus that would have been your sibling brought out of her womb and smothered, you will not be writing this gibberish here. No?


IF your answer to the above is yes, then all I can say is may it come true for you and when it does may you have the serenity to analyze whether you have enough ammunitions or not to defend your homestead.




From: Joseph Onuorah <nnamulu82@yahoo.com>
To: NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com; ianokute@yahoo.com; asa-usa@yahoogroups.com; umuanambra@yahoogroups.com; UmuIgbo@yahoogroups.com
Cc: naijapolitics@yahoogroups.com; NIDOA@yahoogroups.com; nigerianworldforum@yahoogroups.com; talknigeria@yahoogroups.com; NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tue, August 31, 2010 5:35:05 PM
Subject: [UmuIgbo] Re: On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....


.".A man who rushes into battle does (may) not realize that battle entails death!" [quote/unquote]


And that, my friends, is the core issue and hopefully a key learning inherent in the Nigerian Civil war. We can argue, blame, threaten, cajole, etc all we want but the fact remains that most of the reasons for declaring this unnecessary war was personal, selfish, and ill-advised. Especially considering that the key players in the coup were not in favor of secession and the war!  (of course many of them were later murdered).  For where in history has a war being declared as a result of "approval from chiefs and elders" as was done in this case. Why not as a result of commanders especially those who were the backbone of Nigerian army then? But that mistakes were made is not always a concern, rather what is concerning is when many of us want to obscure the truth with lies, innuendos, and labels. Which means that given same or similar situation same or worse mistakes will be made!


So, in talking about the Nigerian Civil War, which affected and continue to affect ALL Nigerians, answers to the following  questions are needed:


How can one declare war when all the ammunition for fighting the war were on the side of the opponent? (Do folks remember what happened at Onitsha to many Igbos who were sent there with only sticks and knives shouting: "Enyinba Enyi!' Is that how wars were fought in the 60s?  Even those who went to world war had better ammunition!)


Isn't it smartness knowing when one is not prepared for an event, especially when lives were at such a high stake?


How can one declare war when the key commanders (who were trained on military tactics, etc both outside and within the country) vehemently opposed the war except a few whom C. Nzeogwu described as "soldiers ready to make money trading in the war" and boy, was he prophetic?


How can one declare war amidst "chiefs and elders" who have no clue about wars? (Of course most of them woke up from sleep to shout "yes" after a dramatic presentation by a charismatic leader). I wonder how many of them truly understood what they shouted a yes to!


How can one declare war against the side that has the full support of a supper power Britain and by default, US, etc? 


What war has been worn by praying and shouting "God is on our side'? Which God and when did he tell us that he was/is on our side? Please do not quote the bible for those who truly understand the bible would tell you that such was not true even for David, Saul, etc and they did not just pray! Neither does Israel just pray and go to war hoping that God would just have all the enemies die! (Oh, sorry, we had David's stone, right! Common!)


There are many other questions that many of us would always want to avoid or ignore but these questions must always be asked by many of us despite the intimidation, false accusations, and other emotional outbursts and tactics used to silence (attempt to) dissent opinions. Our children would ask even harder and smarter questions and believe me, lies, innuendos and threats would not affect them as they apparently affect many of us who are still struggling to get out of the culture that uses such lies and innuendos to make decisions instead of diligently searching for the truth! Neither would being branded as anti-Igbo deter many of us or our children for we know that a measure of being "a true Igbo" is far different from that used by many in this and related media.  It is also important to note that over 95% of the coup commanders and planners who opposed the war were also Igbos!


Indeed Nigerians and the government has a responsibility to take care of all veterans of the civil war and more importantly use the learning from the war to teach our current and future generations about wars, peace and future of a nation. Doing has many benefits for current and future Nigerians. But to do so successfully, we must get out of this "victim mentality" for the true reasons for the war and all that happened in the war and since then do not support this tribal insinuations regarding the Nigerian Civil War!  This anger and ethnic, tribal or religious hatred is not the right approach for handling something that affected ALL Nigerians and continue to affect ALL Nigerians!


Finally let me remind those who often use this war and related issues to determine who is a "true Igbo, supporter of Igbo", etc that doing so is wrong since:


A "true Igbo" should not hate other tribal, ethnic or religious groups for expressing their opinions! Hence, he/she lives within every ethnic, tribal and religious groups within the country more so than any other group in the country!


A true Igbo should not condone injustice perpetrated by another Igbo while crying foul to same or lesser one perpetrated by others.


A true Igbo works to change the society for everyone for he/she knows that in doing so, his/her children and future generation will live amicably.


A true Igbo respects dissent opinions knowing that one learns more from dissent opinions and little from patronizing or acquiescing ones!


A true Igbo knows that his/her future as a Nigerian is only limited by the sky or perhaps by his/her own weakness and not by anyone else since he/she understands that if a Black American could be a president of USA in the 21st Century, could seat on the Boards of giant industries, could be president of top Universities, could be the chief law enforcement officer, could be the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, etc  in a country that not so long ago told him/her that he/she was not "a true human deserving of human rights", every Nigerian could be a president of Nigeria if he/she works within and with the system. But will not get there by creating and/or perpetrating hatred among tribes, ethnic and religious groups!


A true Igbo knows that by playing the "victim" in a victimless situation, he/she is predisposing his fellow Igbos to a mediocre aspirations and performance all of which further weakens the core of the same group he purports to endure.


A true Igbo is proud of his/her tribe but also respects other tribes, ethnicity and religious groups for he/she knows that to create a strong nation all must work together!


A true Igbo looks at the future and trends and knows that his/her ideas today will soon become old and if such are not changed   his/her children who are more futuristic and progressive will completely reject them!


Joe Udeaja




From: Mobolaji ALUKO <alukome@gmail.com>
To: ianokute@yahoo.com
Cc: naijapolitics@yahoogroups.com; NIDOA@yahoogroups.com; nigerianworldforum@yahoogroups.com; talknigeria@yahoogroups.com; NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tue, August 31, 2010 9:43:52 AM
Subject: [NaijaPolitics] Re: [NaijaObserver] On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....





Thanks for your thoughts. 


When a man blatantly lies consistently that "Bolaji Aluko...has consistently denied that atrocities were committed against the Igbo..has consistently denied the genocidal war of 1966-1970 visited on the Igbo but now wants to champion the restoration of Zik's statue and Mausoleum project should also take the lead in rendering that apology.", then it is time to consign him to where he truly belongs.

The record is there....see below......it is always the conflation of:

1. Pre-Coup Events (say 1933 - 1966)
2. The Coup (January 15, 1966)
3. The Pogroms (May 1966 - September 1966)
4. The Secession (May 30, 1967)
5. The War (July 6, 1967 - January 12, 1970)
6. Post-War (January 12, 1970 to date)


that causes problems.




Bolaji Aluko



___________________________________ In response to Dominic Ogbonna, Joe Attueyi and Obi Nwakana (June 18, 2010)



On the Matter of What I Would Do Wrt Certain 1966-70 Events in Nigeria



Obi Nwakanma & Joe Attueyi:

 Thanks for your questions.

Obi, first I did not avoid Dominic Ogbonna's questions.   Rather,  when his ilk start to inject MY father and my mother into THEIR pointed inquiries, I know they are simply trying to generate more heat than light.  They want to insult because they don't respect their own parents.  They exceed those cultural limits because historically they have learnt that generally I have a very thick skin, but that the only way to get my blood up is to gratuitously refer to my parents, especially my revered father, Prof. Sam Aluko, whose name they call upon with episodic impunity. 

But  I oblige them because that is the only time I can abuse them  if I want -  for example I can call them knaves and idiots, that they are stupid and vile, almost bastards if you want  - and feel justified even in the eyes of my admirers. :-)  If they abuse me PERSONALLY, those who know how mild-mannered I am would say, "Aha, Bolaji, keep your cool, now! Abuse them back!"  And I do when they abuse me.    But when they abuse my father-mother, my upbringing which they apparently severly lack constrains me to respond in kind, and even my admirers say, "Only bastards abuse or refer to other peoples' parents gratuitously, and only bastards don't respond accordingly".

I hope that I have made myself sufficiently clear on that score....so that you don't ask again why I avoided to respond to Dominic Ogbonna in the manner that he requeste.

Moving on...

I put concatenated both inquiries of yours as asking the following questions: how would I have handled:

1.  #3 (the pogroms)

2. the state creation of May 27, allegedly the proximate catalyst for #4 (the secession); and

3.  the beginning of #5 (the war).


Note that I have done this exercise before, only to be told:

1.  that hindsight is better than 20/20, which is true;

2.  whether I think that I alone am wiser than the collective wisdom of the Igbo intelligentsia that came to certain decisions, which I am not.

3.  that if Ojukwu did not lead what he did - ie secede and fight the war, even more people would have died in the hands of the apparently barbaric "Nigerians"; which notion I have contested.


But I am constrained to answer to both of you again, knowing that all my efforts can be thwarted by those three criticisms.


1.  On what I would do in response to the pogroms of May 29, July 29, and September 29, 1966, I would respond exactly the way Colonel Ojukwu then responded:  call my people home since it appeared that the Nigerian government had not up until that point been able to ensure that come November 29, 1966, another orgy  of killings would not occur.  I would tell the entire world that we were "internally seceding" into our region, and would not participate in any further national endeavors until:

- reparations were made;

- internationally guaranteed assurances were given that repetition of the pogroms would not occur.

I would call on the conscience of other Nigerians that did not participate in the orgies, as well as of the international community.


2.  On May 27, 1967, General Gowon announced the creation of 12 states in Nigeria; on May 30, Ojukwu announced Biafra's secession.  Your question was: what would I have done following the state creation?

 But the state creation was NOT an act in isolation:

- no more pogroms had occurred since September 29, 1966;

- efforts at National reconcilliation (interrupted in September 1966) were continued in Aburi in January 1967, even if there were accusations of reneging on agreements;

- Awo, Mariere, Onyia and my father (Prof. Sam Aluko) had risked their lives on May 5-7, 1967, at the request of the Federal Government,  to go to Enugu to urge Ojukwu and co. NOT to take any precipitate action, because drums of secession were already in the air.

Now, as of May 27, 1967, when the states creation was announced, Ojukwu was STILL an officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria's army, and he had accepted Gowon's military leadership, even if reluctantly, after Aburi.  His attachment to the East Central State was a MILITARY posting, not a POLITICAL posting.  So when an announcement of the administrative break-up of the country was made on May 27 - leaving him in place as the Governor of the East Central State, and creating the Cross-Rivers and River States out of the old Eastern Region -  he had two choices:

- resign his commission, telling his people that he could not in good conscience serve the Nigerian Army under those terms.  If they wanted him back, he would come back as a civilian, or re-decorated as an officer of the secessionist state.

- remain as Governor within the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but continue his "internal secession" on behalf of those within his reduced domain, and urging the new Governors of Cross-Rivers State and Rivers States to join him in the interest of their own victimized people.

By  refusing to obey the Nigerian government that appointed him in the first instance as Governor of the East Central State, he was in open rebellion as an officer and a gentleman, even if he felt he was serving a high cause, which had alternative ways of service as I mentioned above.  By leading a secession - he moved from a passive activity to an active move, and I am befuddled as to why he thought the Nigerian Army would not act - unless he was deceived either by the apparent superior military power of the New State of Biafra, the readiness of the international community to support Biafra over Nigeria,  or by the the alleged cowardice and weakness of the Federal Army - or all three.

3.  Having seceded, the third question was: What would I had done in place of Ojukwu and the East when attacked from one , two or one hundred points on July 6, 1967?

I believe it is an Igbo proverb that says only a tree does not move if attacked to be cut down, so defence was natural.

But don't two brothers or sisters  fight?  The fight between two brothers is usually the quickest to stop, especially when a third sibling - or a parent - steps in. I notice that you said Gakem and Nsukka - both North of Biafra - implying that the attacks were initiated from the Northern flank - it is really irrelevant here who attack, although many of our Biafran compatriots often make a point that it was the Nigerian side that attacked first, as if it really mattered. 

Siblings here might be the Western and Midwestern Regions - or the successor states.  "Parents" here might be individual politial and cultural elders of Nigeria, as well as the international community.

By seceding, Biafra had shown that it was sorely vexed.  By attacking,  the Federal Government had shown that it would not take the secession lightly.  Both sides had made their points, and that war, to my mind, should not have lasted one more week before a disengagement was reached, and serious re-negotiation commenced.

I sincerely believe that the region called Biafra would have come out winners, and the nation would have been psychically better than it is now.  I really think so. 

Finally, let me end with some Ngwa-Igbo proverb say:

(1) Oji ösö aga ögüh amagh na ögü bü  önwü! -  A man who rushes into battle does (may) not realize that battle entails death!

(2) Ma nwata akpachagh anya achö ihie gburu nna ya, ihie gburu nna ya egbuokwa ya. -  If a young man is not prudent in seeking what killed his father,  what killed his father may also kill him (We have this in Yoruba too)

If 60,000 Yoruba are killed over some matter, I would not wish to do anything that would cause the death of 1 million more Yoruba.  I would studiously avoid it.

(3) Amara akagh ngburu oke madu.  Akaa anugh ngburu onye ogbede. - Knowing (the truth) but not telling it is what kills old men.  Hearing (the truth) but not heeding it is what kills young men.


Ozugo kwa nu! I shall stop here, hoping that I have not further violated any sensibilities.


Maazi Bolaji Aluko


--- In NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com, Rex Marinus <rexmarinus@...> wrote:
> Professor Aluko:
> I have asked you these questions before, but let me repeat them:
> A) If you were Odumegwu-Ojukwu on May 27 as the Governor of the East what would you have done?
> B) If you were Odumegwu-Ojukwu on July 6, 1967 when your region is attacked from two points - Gakem and Nsukka and an armada coming from the sea, what would you do? Will you surrender and run away, or give up your command/position willingly and become Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy under a junior officer like the other Bolaji, yes? Perhaps retire and make the most of your father's wealth? I'd like to know your perspective, because it seems to me you carefully avoided Dominic's questions.
> Obi Nwakanma
> _____________________ "If I don't learn to shut my mouth I'll soon go to hell, I, Okigbo, town-crier, together with my iron bell." --Christopher Okigbo
> To: NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com; asa-usa@yahoogroups.com; NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com
> From: topcrestt@...
> Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 14:21:04 -0700
> Subject: [NaijaPolitics] (unknown)
> "Imagine that 60 thousand Yoruba > > men and women were beheaded in broad daylight, for no crime other than
> > being > > Yoruba;.."
> Prof Aluko,
> I am interested in hearing your view of how #3 should have been handled by the igbos--preferably situated in the example quoted above by Dominic.
> Joe
> PS: Up Algeria!!!
> --- In NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com, "Bolaji" alukome@ wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Dominic Ogbonna:
> >
> >
> >
> > Honestly, if we discuss 1966 to 1970 under four headings:
> >
> >
> >
> > 1. Pre-Coup Events (say 1933 - 1966)
> >
> > 2. The Coup (January 15, 1966)
> >
> > 3. The Pogroms (May 1966 - September 1966)
> >
> > 4. The Secession (May 30, 1967)
> >
> > 5. The War (July 6, 1967 - January 12, 1970)
> >
> > 6. Post-War (January 12, 1970 to date)
> >
> >
> >
> > It is when some of you and your ilk try to conflate all these issues
> > together - and make the unreasonable attack that lack of support for one
> > is support for another- that is when intelligent discussion suffers.
> >
> > My position always is that while the arrow of time flies in only one
> > direction, it was not INEVITABLE that #1 led to #2, or #2 to #3, or #3
> > led to #4, or #4 led to #5. For example, I make a serious distinction
> > between the pogrom, which was inexcusable, and the secession, which was
> > also inexcusable. The only inevitability was #6 AFTER #5 occurs,
> > because all wars eventually come to an end. Some would want to add that
> > $5 was inevitable after #4, but I still think that saner heads could
> > have prevailed to avert a war and still keep the territorial integrity
> > of Nigeria, which was non-negotiable.
> >
> > With that, I say, let us move on. I am watching the England-Algeria
> > match.
> >
> >
> >
> > Bolaji Aluko

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 9:08 AM, Ikenna Anokute <ianokute@yahoo.com> wrote:


Prof ,


You continue to exchange words with these fools . Why ? Especially this CHIMP of a Prince who looks like a Taliban scholar in Kandahar ....Thank God you are now consigning him to that Club of Idiots that also include the self-styled Vicious animal in Seattle and the tattered illiterate Odera in China.......  

Anokute ,

New York , New York .

--- On Tue, 8/31/10, Mobolaji ALUKO <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Mobolaji ALUKO <alukome@gmail.com>

Subject: [NaijaObserver] Re: [OmoOdua] On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....
To: ibk@usa.net
Cc: "NaijaPolitics e-Group" <NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com>, "NIDOA" <NIDOA@yahoogroups.com>, "OmoOdua" <OmoOdua@yahoogroups.com>, NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com, "NigerianWorldForum" <NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com>
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 5:17 AM






I shall try very hard to ignore Ken Asagwara henceforth, and consign him to a club of four or five.  Venom, hatred and animus seem to wrack his psychological constitution;  it cannot be healthy living because of psychosomatic seepage.


Best wishes.



Bolaji Aluko


PS:  Yes.  I read through Asagwara's disclosure.  You never called Dr. Val "Old Fool" in anything that I read.  You called him worse though - and that is part of the false witnessing that I was talking about.


On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 7:58 AM, Ibukunolu Alao Babajide <ibk@usa.net> wrote:

Dear Prof. Bolaji Aluko,


Why bother about that spitlickle (apologies to Communist Comrade Lil Joe Bonanza) Cpzee called Kenneth Asagwara the Prince of Okigwe shrine!

His hobby is bearing false witness against people.  He recently accused me of writing "Dear Old Fool Valentine Ojo'' and I asked him to bring up where I wrote just that.  He went digging inside the Ogbunike caves and came back with dust all over his unkempt beard with a lot of trash that did not have the words "Old Fool" from me.

He began to congratulate himself by scratching his unsightly beard and scratching his scrotum.  While at it Wharfworm joined him and they are both in delightful and blissful euphoria over failure!

Ignore the useless busy body who speaks from both sides of his beard (since we cannot see his mouth).



------ Original Message ------
Received: 11:05 PM EAT, 08/30/2010
From: Mobolaji ALUKO <alukome@gmail.com>
To: NaijaPolitics e-Group <NaijaPolitics@yahoogroups.com>, NIDOA <NIDOA@yahoogroups.com>, OmoOdua <OmoOdua@yahoogroups.com>, NaijaObserver@yahoogroups.com, NigerianWorldForum <NIgerianWorldForum@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [OmoOdua] On the Matter of Hatred, Dislike or Whatever by Ken Asagwara {Re: To Emeka-- On Zik Project: Re ON RESTORATION OF ZIK MEMORIAM.....




Ken Asagwara:


Your write-up far below refers, the one to Paul Oranika with starts out with "Please, allow those that have chosen to remain blind to what the real issue is all about to remain in their popularity contest and self-serving trail blazing rubbish. I said from the get go that the involvement of Bolaji Aluko in leading or championing the restoration of damaged statue of the Great Zik constitute a gross insult to the Igbo given his antecedents in which he consistently demonstrated despise and condescending attitude to the Igbo."


Now five days ago, in private conversation with me, and two other persons, you also wrote (in conclusion to a thread):




Bolaji Aluko:
Whatever disagreements you and I have in the internet forums re national and ethnic issues is not personal. It's just like you do not accept rubbishing of your Yoruba ethnic nationality and leaders, so have I refused to accept you rubbishing of the Igbo and their leaders, especially, when done in bad faith.
I do not hate or dislike you because it is not in my nature to do so. As I already said, it is your cants against my people, the Igbo I resent.
By the way, everything and anything I have written or said about you are in open forums. It is because the  one addressed to the duo of Dr. Igietseme and Mazi Okey was captioned private that made me copy you in that you may read it as had been the case in previous others.
Mazi KC Prince Asagwara



Now, if you don't hate or dislike me - and we have NEVER met - or there is NOTHING PERSONAL about all of this, I wonder what the words "hate", "dislike" or "personal" mean.  You must have a whole new dictionary to yourself.  You exude hatred, one that debilitates and makes you live less than a wholesome life.  Eschew it, and you will see how more full your life will be, if you feel that you live a full life now.


Let me repeat this:  I reject - and throw back at your face -  all the many lies that you have repeated both above and below, and I STRAIGHTFORWARDLY  accuse you of the Christian sin of bearing a false witness against me.  Understand this:  I don't ask you to revise your priors.  If you believe that it salves the deep psychological wounds that you seem to bear so intimately, if it is a catharsis,  please carry on.  As I wrote to you earlier inter alia:




Ken Asagwara:


You have NEVER met me face to face, and yet you have boldly and consistenly borne false witness against me, simply because I have boldly and consistently made my views about certain Nigerian issues known over the years.  Those are MY PRIORS, and I make no apologies to you or any one else, so for you to ask that I REVISE MY PRIORS before you consider me favorably  is arrogant, since I too who can ask you to REVISE YOUR PRIORS have not asked you to do so.  There are those who share your views about me;  there are many others who don't, and that is enough for me.  And there are a few of you who I should NEVER bother to try to change their minds about me - and you are one of them.
Let me end with Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Part of the reason He was crucified was a band of otherwise holy people who wrongly accused Him of saying that He would tear down the Temple and re-build it in three days.  They bore false witness against Him, the Holiest of Holy Men.  So who am I to be borne false witness against, a sinner?
Again, I repeat the Gamaliel advice: no enterprise favored by God will fail no matter what a human being does.  No enterpirse disfavored by God will succeed no matter how much a human being tries to succeed.
I will continue to do what I have to do.....
Bolaji Aluko





So let me repeat to your reading once again - and for the record:


1.  I have NEVER stated anything general or specific about the Igbo - either their character or lack thereof, with regard or out of regard of the Civil War.  Never.  You will NEVER be able to produce a document to that effect.


2.  I have NEVER stated anything general or specific about Igbo leadership - either their characters or lack thereof.  Never. You will NEVER be able to produce a document to that effect.


3.  If I have criticized any Nigerian leaders, including those who happen to be of the Igbo ethnic group, it is BECAUSE of my perception of their role in office, not because of their being Igbo.  There are many Igbo in office who I have not criticized;  there are many non-Igbo in office who I have critiicized.  It has absolutely nothing to do with their Igbo or non-Igboness.  I always NAME NAMES, not their ethnic affiliations per se.


4.  If you, Asagwara, think it is because of their being Igbo, despite my denial of that, that is your bloody personal business.


5.  Whether you or your ilk believe the above, at this point, I could care less.  I am not going to lose absolutely any sleep over your ilk who perch with hate and live their lives as such, thinking that they are supporting some cause, and not asking whether that is helping their cause.  Absolutely not.


6.  Neither you or some of your ilk represent all the Igbo - or even most of the Igbo.  I am 100% sure that you don't.



Finally, I commend to you and to all our readers what Obi Nwakanma recently wrote, especially his first and last paragaphs:




What therefore seems quite clear to me with this Zik drive is not that Nigeria is really broken according to "ethnic lines" but along the lines of reason or distemper. The trouble with this generation of Nigerians is that it suffers PSYCHOSIS. Nigerians are afflicted with a national cultural psychosis. The evidence abounds: Very many Nigerians have embraced extremism and the abstraction that comes from spiritual dissonance: extreme religion, extreme hatreds, extreme hapinness, extreme ignorance - a lack of serenity that suggests that most Nigerians, from the evidence of these internet fora, show signs of borderline personality dissorders, some show signs of multiple personality disorder. It is serious and we must find some solution. 

           There are a number of theories that I'm prepared to advance in this regard as the cause of Nigeria's national cultural psychosis: it has to do with "historical trauma." I have made this argument that nations attempt to heal from years of affliction through certain national rituals that drive their collective efforts against violence and crisis. From, let us say, the 19th century, the cultures and peoples within Nigeria have been subjected to extreme forms of mind-bending trauma: slavery, civil wars, political wars, colonization, liberation movements,  military rule/dicatorship, all resulting to what the formidable critic Biodun Jeyifo calls "arrested decolonization" - a sign of unfinished or unresolved modernity. Jeyifo's terms lead me to the conclusion that Nigeria dwells more in the purgatory of history - a double space of time of a nation - which like the Yoruba Esu is one leg here, another leg there. Its indeterminacy comes therefore from these expepriences of violent history and trauma - and in Nigeria - the trauma of civil war and the failures of a national process of truama healing has produced the fractility that characterizes many Nigerians and the fragility of their holds on reason. Most educated people are taught the virtues of politeness - indeed, it is the polite culture and the polite regard for the other that shows that individuals have been properly educated and are therefore to be admited to what is euphemistically called "polite society" by their conduct, comportment, speech, reasoning, deportment, and so on. Polite disagreement takes the form of a calmlness of spirit that makes it possible for both debate and resolution.


On this Zik matter, as in many matters around Nigeria, what we witness is not calm reasoning - we have been assailed with evidence again that points to the psychiatric conditions, possibly excercebated by the situation of the internet that gives people a false and virtual sense of the world. A dissonant moment. Some of these fierce quarrels, love bites, enemities, coalitions, mutual-inebriations are carried on by people on the internet who do not really know each other and who may never meet. Anonymity creates its own form of infirmity. Virtual reality makes everything virtual - that false 3D moment of quarrels. There are many Nigerians who are suffering from depression, who get to load-off with these seminal quarrels. They have no social life, just internet life, and they wait unhealthy anticipation for "enemy attacks": I say  we should all occassionally take a deep breath, go to a movie, eat out, go to a theatre or bookshop; there are usually free summer concerts in the park; have sex, drink wine; last weekend I went sky diving from a plane with a friend of mine, it is exhilarating, I recommend it. We should heal at both the national and the individual levels.

Zik ought to be the basis for national healing. Of any other politician of his generation he was the one that was the unifying spirit. The idea of Nigeria as a potentially powerful, rather than this neo-colonial basket case it has become, was the product of the Zikist imaginary. The idea of the possibility of the Nigerian spirit; of cross -ethnic collaboration that would fashion the nation, stimulate competition, create industry, and bridge the divide and chasm of time and forge a "renascent Africa" that would startle the world were Azikiwe's idea retailed powerfully in the West African Pilot  from 1937. It was Zik who called Nigeria "the giant of Africa" - Africa's greatest hope for restoring what he called the "dignity of man." It was powerful myth-making. Zik's idea about Nigeria was bold and idealist. It startled his colonial adversaries and their internal collaborators. Those who came after Zik, intent on dismantling his ideas and proving him wrong have reduced Nigeria - this bold and powerful experiment - to the enclave of non-entities. A nation sweating small stuff - incapable of translating dreams; or of the kind of historical action that defines a great people. Nigerians quarrel over the slightest things while they get thoroughly screwed over by those things they call the "invisible hand of the market." Nigerians are too overwhelmed by the burden of history - and it is not because they are multi-ethnic or that they have fought a war. It is because they have recieved a terrible heritage - one that makes them afraid/disdainful of the other and unwilling to confront the murkier aspects of their national history, boldly, truthfully, and ideologically. 

           I personally saw an opportunity to prove the healing power of collaborative action in the initiative of restoring Zik's' statue (not "statute" and certainly not an "effigy"). I'm afraid that this commendable move has, like many things in Nigeria suffered from the little-mindedness of self-serving internet politics. Those, pro, have been pressured in the defence of their motives, to begin to personalize the initative and create the same kind of "personality cult" that undermines ventures of the public kind, rather than let the idea be its own self-justification. Others, contra, have been pushed mostly by, I fear, a certain ignorance of strategy. As I have argued, to associate the idea of the restoration of Azikiwe's memorial to an individual or a narrow ethnic line is the ultimate insult on Zik. The man transcends - or ought by now to transcend the narrow politics ethnic and personality cults. I'm afraid I still miss the point of those who are opposed to those leading the initiative. Even if Bolaji Aluko opposes Zik's political philosophy; his politics, and critiques him - he has his rights to political opinion. What he has proved in my estimation is that he may disagree with Zik, but he keeps him in proper esteem. That is enough for the likes of me. I think those who oppose Aluko on this matter show only the politics of zero-sum games. It speaks to a certain ignorance of staretgy, for pray, where is the money for the repairs of Zik's statue intended? It is Onitsha of course. Those who honour Azikiwe honour themselves. Azikiwe himself would have felt absolutely tolerant of this move, even if it came from his opponent, for as long as it is socially beneficial: that was the fundamental essence of his politics - for the broader good, the idea of a permanent political enemy is both blind and impractical. Zik demonstrated this philosphy of the dynamics of political action with his usual example of the fine game of pugilism, which demands constant  strategic motion. The Igbo ancestors themselves say "anaghi ano otu nga ele mmanwu" - one cannot watch a masquerade rooted in a spot. It requires motion; shifts in positions; an awarness of nuance.


The idea of a permanent adverssary in politics - the urge to maintain permanent dissent - is the rightful domain of extreme religion and it is unenlightened, and it is anti-Zik. In the end, it is also a manifestation of a particular kind of psychosis - that powerful urge to mainatian a permanent enemies list. Those who must speak for Zik must at least be aware of his politics: it is accommodation, compromise, alliance-building, and nationalist. It is the politics of ideas. It is larger than the individual. This generation of Nigerians must learn from the masters of teh art of politics. They have been too much under the influence of the military and its end-game ethic and scorched-earth ideas. These serve little gainful purpose.

Obi Nwakanma



And there you have it.


Let the pledges roll in - based on each person's conscience - provided they are redeemed before preferably November 1, 2010, not 2011!


Best wishes all.



Bolaji Aluko



------- Ken Asagwara Wrote......


Mazi Paul Oranika:


Please, allow those that have chosen to remain blind to what the real issue is all about to remain in their popularity contest and self-serving trail blazing rubbish. I said from the get go that the involvement of Bolaji Aluko in leading or championing the restoration of damaged statue of the Great Zik constitute a gross insult to the Igbo given his antecedents in which he consistently demonstrated despise and condescending attitude to the Igbo. Whether what we now see is a new Bolaji Aluko vis-à-vis his known penchant for despising the Igbo, his epiphany needs greater convincing than using the name of the Great Zik to hide his Igbo cants. Even a few Yorubas that know his record on Igbo issues and leaders in the geo-politics of Nigeria have in their own way said that he, Bolaji Aluko should end his posturing arrogance in leading this project. He should be removed or remove self from its leadership or co-leadership. Those who want to hang their hats on "pettiness" as the motive for the dissenting voices in Bolaji's involvement in this project can continue to wallow in their ignorance. But for folks like me, what I have continued to state is what my dissenting voice is all about.


Near thirty-six months (1966-1970) war of genocide was visited on the peoples of the old Eastern Region, particularly the Igbo that saw the deaths of 3 million Biafran lives, mostly, children, old men and women, pregnant and nursing mothers (through starvation and embargo on medical supplies); rape of women and girls, including peoples wives in some cases in broad day lights and presence of their parents and husbands; atrocities that till now, make folks that witnessed them choke in sobbing and tears each time they are recalled or remembered. 


For me personally, what is more gratuitously insulting is that the man, Bolaji Aluko who has hijacked the restoration effort of Zik's damaged statue which has now morphed into completion of Zik's Mausoleum has consistently denied that atrocities were committed against the Igbo. In his most sober and reflective arguments, it is that whatever the Igbo, nay Biafrans suffered was because they brought rebellion to selves and as such, deserved them. Such reasoning condones the bombing of churches, market places, hospital, school, private homes/houses, refugee camps, etc., all civilian targets that had nothing to do with military weapons and hard wares. Forty years later, the gory and nauseating photos and images of the carcasses of bombed victims, stomach bloated Kwashiorkor victims, strafed and bombed out civilian and private homes, etc. still bring tears to our eyes each them one sees or remembers them.


Please tell me how one who as we argue, denies that genocide was visited on the Igbo would in good conscience except arrogant mockery tell us he is fit and right to lead or champion the restoration of any project in Igbo land, be it that of the Great Zik? Not long ago, none other than Ozodi Osuji took him to task for his arrogant and negative opinion that an Igbo shouldn't be President of Nigeria yet. Besides, tell me one Igbo man or woman that has served in public office at the federal level that he, Bolaji Aluko did not find fault with. And in each case, his perceived short-comings in the leadership quality or lack thereof of the one Igbo person are a reflection of the Igbo leadership ability.


Please take this bit of digression. In the "Ikwerre is Igbo" and "Ikwerre is not Igbo" hogwash argument in the forums, most non-Igbo have remained silent or restrained in the comments on this issue. But Bolaji Aluko made self virtual spokesman for the Ikwerre folks in this issue; a reason for his latter-day found friendship with the likes of Mazi Chukwuemeka Okala who would bat extras in support of whatever Bolaji Aluko says or writes.


As I have continued to say, I don't care who initiated or is leading the project on the restoration of the Great Zik's Mausoleum; be the person Igbo or Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Edo, Ijaw, Efik, etc., man or woman as long as the person is not Bolaji Aluko. It is for the reasons articulated above and more deliberately left out due to space and time constraint that I pledged my contribution to Mazi Paul Oranika's list.


One more time as I stated previously, if some of you ethnic irredentists have now awaken to building bridges across Nigeria's ethnic nationalities, please, please start by rendering apology to the over 3 million Igbo children, old people and, pregnant women, etc. that your fathers' "starvation is a legitimate weapon of war policy" starved into Kwashiorkor and killed.


Bolaji Aluko who has consistently denied the genocidal war of 1966-1970 visited on the Igbo but now wants to champion the restoration of Zik's statue and Mausoleum project should also take the lead in rendering that apology. Anything else is as uncivilized as most of you are.


It Shall Be Well with Ala Igbo, the odds not minding.


Mazi KC Prince Asagwara – Nwafor Igbo and Proud of my Igbo Heritage









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