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Whenever I realise that Nigeria has completely been misruled, my eyes well up

with tears and it makes me wanna scream out loud. You don’t say

good things about a leadership you haven’t experienced



Men in Suit? Give ’Em A Chance

By Onyeka Nwelue


When I first traveled to India, I was thinking of seeing the head of the sub-continent as a man, either in buba or long-flowing traditional Indian clothing, but it happened that the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is a man in suit, like his colleagues (because I had no idea that a leader in a Third World country should be in English or Italian-made suit), who are lidded in that riveting suit that makes the world smile at them, even when they ‘terrorise’ the lives of people in Iraq, although Dr. Singh (the most educated prime minister in the world, as Indians tell me – not knowing which criteria it was judged) has no interest in invading any Afghanistan, because his Kashmir has not being put to order. Because he is so interested in making life better for the people of Bharat.

Then, I was bewildered to see that the kind of people who have been in the forefront of making life better for my country-people, are all in that same clothing (that shows how colonized we are) and one begins to wonder why it is so. Anyway, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to note that Professor Charles Soludo of the Central Bank of Nigeria is in that terrain, and it might sound a bit crazy if I suggest that because of the dress our leaders wear determines what they would be. And this applies to the Information Minister, Frank Nweke Jnr., who after all, can be able to rule Nigeria (although he has shown no interest and that he is still a product of the highly-despised Obasanjo administration). What’s the more, if Professor Pat Utomi can come out and say that he wants to lead us to the said promise land, then we must consider him, because he is in suit, while skeptics would say that Iran’s President is in suit and still wants to wipe out the Jew-dominated Iran overnight.

Whenever I realise that Nigeria has completely been misruled, my eyes well up with tears and it makes me wanna scream out loud. You don’t say good things about a leadership you haven’t experienced and that is why I am really, really weeping for this year’s election, because it’s all going to be a bundle of crap. Believe it or don’t. Something has to be done, and if Nigeria is ready to meet an astrologer, then things are going to be solved out. Why do I say this? Everyone is interested in ruling Nigeria. What for?

Alright, let’s get back to Indian politics (which although is more violent than Nigeria’s, because of the assassination cases that have engulfed it since Nehru and Gandhi wobbled into it), one would find out that this subcontinent celebrates the largest democracy in the world, looking at what Sonia Gandhi did after the 2004 spring parliamentary election, where she won the prime ministerial seat (being a member of the Congress or so, the leader), but as people believe, she instead handed over to the former finance minister and technocrat, Dr. Manmohan Singh to lead the coalition-government. And what amazes me is why a Hindu decided that it would be better for a Sikh to rule.

Is this because she thought that the Sikhs might think they are excommunicated from the Hindu-dominated country? You can say whatever. Then, it would fascinate you to note that the President of India is a Moslem. This is a country where democracy and equality exist, although people would want to know what has gone beyond the caste system. Either way round, the Igbo people of Nigeria still practice that fathomable osu or Untouchability*.

And those who believe that breaking away from Nigeria is the ultimate ask Pakistan how peaceful they are with India.

But if our troublesome leaders could sit down and learn from people who are exposed, they would find out that the only way to resolve the political tension in the country is to give every ethnic group a sense of pride (as Mr. President is doing), in the sense that Trinidad and Tobago could be of an example, even the Netherlands. There are countries with diversity in culture and race that need to be emulated, so as to push us forward to embracing the so-called democracy, which I believe is yet to come to Nigeria.

Onyeka Nwelue has studied in Nigeria and India. His novel, The Abyssinian Boy is set for release this year.

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*Osu or Untouchability

The Igbos are found mostly in the Southeastern and South-central Nigeria called Igboland or Igbo society (Alaigbo or Anaigbo). By the late 20th century the population of the Igbos are about 27 million.1 The majority of the Igbos are Christians, but some of them practice the indigenous traditional religion, whose major tenets are shared by all Igbo-speaking people of Nigeria (Uchendu 1965). The traditional religion is passed on to succeeding generations, but the advent of Christianity in Igboland around "1885" had some influence on the traditional beliefs (Talbot 1969).

The indigenous traditionalists believe in the earth goddess, deities and ancestral spirits and in a Creator-God, Chukwu, Obasi, Chi, or Chineke, the "Supreme God" (Achebe 1959).

The Igbo traditional beliefs have some positive influence on the culture and social lives of the people. For instance, the forefathers of the Igbos were known for their righteousness, honesty, and hard work. And they were opinion leaders, impartial judges, and people of impeccable character. However, a relic of the indigenous religious practice of the Igbos is the dehumanizing Osu caste system, which has divided and alienated the Igbos. . . . For this author, the Osu caste system is a societal institution borne out of a primitive traditional belief system colored by superstition, and propagated by ignorance.

It is absurd to categorize a human as a sub-human being. Although this author is not a member of the group, he condemns the practice of the Osu caste system, because it is a human rights aberration. The Osu caste system, which is a form of discrimination, has caused inter-communal discords and wars between the Osu and the Diala in Igboland. And many lives and properties have been destroyed as a result.

Victor E. Dike, who lives in Sacramento, California, is also the author of  Democracy and Political Life in Nigeria.

Source: Victor Dike, "The Osu Caste System in Igboland: Discrimination Based on Descent" (Introduction to The Osu Caste System in Igboland: A Challenge for Nigerian Democracy.

posted 15 February 2007 

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam?

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The Great Divergence

America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

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For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly drastically unequal: the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation’s income—more than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen. What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms "the Great Divergence" has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes—a sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better. The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Home  Transitional Writings on Africa

Related file: The Train Journey (short story)    Interview with Onyeka Nwelue    Onyeka Nwelue Interviews Jude Dibia     A Tree Was Once an Embryo        Men in Suit? Give ’Em A Chance     The Land of Saints