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The script Okonjo-Iweala was reciting was, however, not new. It had the familiar scent of an IMF conditionality, smuggled

through the back door by a licensed agent of the Bretton Woods Institutions, who had taken advantage of the abject naivety

of the country’s leadership which had allowed itself to be always overwhelmed by its undue fascination with anything from abroad.

 

 

The Return of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

 

When President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Finance Minister and also named her the “Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME),” I was greatly surprised that several Nigerians appeared to share the president’s rather lofty expectations that she was coming with fresh, workable ideas to turn the country’s ailing economy around.

If it were in 2003 when most Nigerians who were encountering her for the first time were unduly tantalized by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s lavish stress on her impressive credentials as a brilliant World Bank expert who had accepted to make the “great sacrifice” of coming here to salvage our country’s economy, their naivety and misplaced enthusiasm could easily have been forgiven.  But what would ever remain inconceivable is how any person or group of persons could stretch optimism far beyond its malleable limits to invest such high hopes in the capabilities of a person who had served as finance minister and head of the Economic Team in a regime under which unprecedented earnings from crude oil exports had translated to further deterioration of the economy and untold suffering among the populace. 

But I must hasten to add that I was not part of the celebratory din that greeted Okonjo-Iweala’s first coming in 2003. Even when Obasanjo, characteristically, introduced high drama to the already noisy scene by electing to pay her salaries in US dollars instead of naira, as a reward for her “great sacrifice” and anticipated unprecedented quality service to the country, some of us were still not impressed.  I had repeatedly urged Nigerians in my newspaper column at that time to moderate their optimism, wondering when the World Bank became so popular in this part of the world that association with it instantly earned one the distinction of possessing the vision, workable ideas and capacity to guide the Nigerian economy out of the woods.

It was shocking that we were actually embarrassing the World Bank by forcing on it and then applauding it for some capacities and goals it neither seemed to possess nor even sought to achieve by conveniently forgetting that this same body had never even attempted to shed its hard-earned reputation as a soulless institution whose prescriptions to developing countries like Nigeria have mostly compounded their economic woes and multiplied miseries among their citizens. Largely viewed as lacking in human face, and often treating the citizens of the affected countries as mere disembodied statistical figures, their “expert” solutions mostly end up distinguishing themselves as great boulders hanging on the necks of countries battling to swim out of the angry deep. 

I must admit, however, that it was most unfair to expect from Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala a creative approach to policy formulation or any new ideas about economic recovery except the same stale, less-than helpful “remedies” the IMF/World Bank had been recommending to developing countries for ages.  She would never dare to deviate from the “approved” script.

And so, once she got to her desk as Obasanjo’s Finance Minister and head of the much vaunted Economic Team in 2003, the first policy statement she unleashed was that in a country of teeming unemployed population, massive retrenchment exercise should immediately be undertaken in the Civil Service. That was when she introduced to the national lexicon two innocent-looking but actually spine-chilling compound words, namely, “down-sizing” and “right-sizing” in the Civil Service. At that time, the Federal Service employed only about 200, 000 Nigerians, but as most Nigerians knew, what they took home as salaries would pale to insignificance when compared with the monumental amount squandered to maintain Obasanjo’s battalion of aides, many of whom were saddled with overlapping functions.  But that hardly mattered at that time, since the target always was the long-suffering masses.

The script Okonjo-Iweala was reciting was, however, not new. It had the familiar scent of an IMF conditionality, smuggled through the back door by a licensed agent of the Bretton Woods Institutions, who had taken advantage of the abject naivety of the country’s leadership which had allowed itself to be always overwhelmed by its undue fascination with anything from abroad. And with irresistible vigour, charm, motherly voice and mien and innocent-looking and please-trust-me-I-mean-well face (which have also been deftly deployed since her second coming to make a strong case for the inevitability of the removal of the “subsidy” on fuel), Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala presented the mass retrenchment exercise as our sole hope of saving our economy from collapse, adding pleasantly her now familiar slogan that the hardship it would unleash would only be temporary.

And she chose the most troublous and painful period to seek to unleash this policy, namely, the same period her good friend, the then Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai, was rendering many families and peoples homeless in Abuja by wantonly demolishing their houses. Imagine a retrenched husband and wife and their starving, out of school children suddenly having no place to call a home.  Should it then shock anyone that the “fuel subsidy” was brazenly removed at a time the country was in deep mourning and gripped with benumbing fear because of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians flourishing in some parts of the country, indeed, just few days after the Christmas Day massacre at a Catholic Church in Madalla in the Northern state of Niger, which attracted global grief and condemnations. Also, many Nigerians who had traveled for Christmas were trapped in distant towns and villages due to the sudden hike in transport fares as result of the new fuel price, with some having no money again to even sustain themselves where they were, let alone return to their stations.

It does seem that Okonjo-Iweala tends to overstretch the reach of her endowments and appeal, so much so that she fails to notice when she has stopped making sense and so lost her audience.  For instance, as she brazenly presented before audiences abroad the arrest, “trial” and “imprisonment” of the then “Governor-General” DSP Alamieyeseigha (of Bayelsa State) as solid evidence that the Obasanjo regime was conscientiously fighting corruption, I kept wondering whether she actually believed what her mouth was uttering. I also found some of her explanations for the continued deterioration of the economy under her “expert” watch at that time very laughable. In fact, given the widespread reputation of the regime she served in for gross fiscal indiscipline (a regime that neither implemented budgets nor showed noticeable hint of distaste for official corruption) some people were certain that the World Bank would no longer touch her with a twenty foot pole.

But those who held this view had grossly underestimated Okonjo-Iweala’s deep understanding of the dynamics of the Bretton Woods politics. Before her tenure expired, she got President Obasanjo to sign away billions of dollars belonging to the Nigerian people (a windfall that had accrued to Nigeria at a time of sudden rise in crude oil prices) to the London and Paris Clubs of creditors as “Debt Relief,” to settle what is still regarded by many informed Nigerians as very questionable debts. Her detractors had reasoned that with such a generous gesture extended to entrenched Western interests which the World Bank is a key custodian of, no one ought to be surprised that the World Bank never bothered again to wonder how she was able to feel very comfortable as finance minister and head of the economic management team in a regime largely viewed as a revolting pond of corruption.  She was instead re-absorbed and given a higher responsibility.  

My problem really was whether giving way all that money was the best decision any patriotic finance minister and economic manager could have come up with at that time when a country like America was owing trillions of dollars and still holding its heads high? Talk of getting your priorities right, putting your money where your mouth is! Now, of what benefit was that very controversial transaction, done with indecent haste, and in utter disdain for the feelings of many Nigerians, to the long-suffering masses? Indeed, no country gets such a windfall every season, and so it amounted to insufferable prodigality to just throw it away like that. Given the vast oil and gas resources available in the Niger Delta, the thinking in many informed quarters was that such an unexpected wealth that came to us at that time should have been deployed to establish petro-chemical and ancillary industries in the region to power not just the Nigerian economy but that of the entire West African region, to create more wealth, more jobs, abundant prosperity and some comfort for the majority. 

But in the face Okonjo-Iweala’s desperation to give away the money (which then inspired serious speculations that she was motivated by some generous commissions coming to her for successfully negotiating the deal), and Obasanjo’s eagerness to always please Western institutions and powers, our position was gallantly defeated. As the price of crude oil reached unprecedented heights and more billions of dollars poured into the country’s coffers, government assured us that since we had been freed from the “debt burden” that the generous earnings still accruing to us would be deployed to undertake infrastructural development. Now, my dear Madam Finance Minister, could you please show us the infrastructure financed with that “wind fall” so we can now believe you that the proceeds realized from the removal of the “oil subsidy” will not as well simply disappear into some dark holes?

Okonjo-Iweala was the major force behind the famous “Reforms” which almost became the second name of the Obasanjo regime. We all were witnesses to how the reforms created untold pain, devalued lives, enriched only a few, and added little or nothing to national development. All we heard was that the excruciating hardship inflicted by the “reforms” would be brief (as we have also been told in relation to the removal of the “oil subsidy”), after which a glorious period of abundance and comfort would follow. But until Obasanjo exhausted his statutorily allowed eight-year tenure as president and unsuccessfully launched a Third Term Project to perpetuate himself in power, what Nigerians endured was only pain and more hardship, despite the fact that the economy was under the “expert” management of a World Bank economic guru.

If there were attempts to diversify the economy and enlarge our sources of revenue by reviving, at least, one proven lucrative but neglected sector, namely, agriculture, which had ably sustained Nigeria’s pre-oil boom economy, such plans either died in the womb or failed woefully like all poorly thought-out policies and half-hearted efforts. Our over-dependence on oil still remained our enduring nightmare, neither bringing us any nearer to the quality of life existing in other oil-producing countries nor causing the oil to dry up to force us out of our chronically lazy, rent-seeking economic system, so we could roll up our sleeves and really work hard to bring back the pleasant cocoa, palm, cotton and rubber plantations, raise again the groundnut pyramids, plant cassava and rice farms in very large quantities with modern implements and put in place reliable storage facilities. With these undertaken in sufficient quantities to serve our local and export needs, growth and development would easily be stimulated.

Well, needless to remind us that at a time, even Obasanjo got tired of Okonjo-Iweala’s “expert” services and removed her as finance minister, and later as head of the Economic Team.  Some said she felt slighted. The rest, as they say, is history.

And now, Okonjo-Iweala is back. Although, she is yet to demonstrate that she is in possession of any new ideas, she is talking and walking with even greater confidence, gusto, and, in fact, messianic air, surprised, perhaps, and greatly buoyed by her delicious discovery that despite the dismal testimonial of her first coming, a Nigerian president could still have such confidence and unimaginable hope in her abilities.  And now she has reached into the ‘World Bank Manual’ for developing countries and what Nigerians found in their hands on New Year Day was an old, familiar live-snake called “removal of subsidy on petrol” whose operational name is “fuel price hike”. 

Although Labour has called off the nation-wide strike embarked upon by an enraged populace to protest the very unpopular hike on the price of fuel from N65 to N141, after the Federal Government had “unilaterally” fixed the rate at N97 per litre, the issues thrown up by that very unfortunate action are still itching for attention. Indeed, no matter the real or imagined merits of the “fuel subsidy” removal, the Federal Government must be willing to admit that the timing of the removal is insensitive and irresponsible.  Why the indecent haste? Why not first conscientiously undertake the much more pressing task of halting the barbaric terminations of precious lives in some Northern states, which was causing untold grief, pain and fear in the land? Did the president and his finance minister see the horrible pictures of the charred victims of the Christmas Day bombing? If they were touched like the rest of us, they would not have compounded the anxiety, trepidation and despair in the land by unleashing such a punitive policy a few days after that act of extreme savagery. By that singular action, this regime lost the chance of being regarded as compassionate and considerate. No matter how lofty our dreams for the nation might be, we must resist the temptation of appearing disdainful of the feelings of the people.

Now let’s briefly look at the issues involved, which have in no way been swept aside by the Federal Government’s N97 “concession,” which, we must admit is still very high. In 2009, Labour reportedly agreed with the Federal Government that the removal of the so-called subsidy on fuel can only be implemented after the existing refineries had been fixed and new are ones built and stable power supply achieved in the country. Why did government violate this agreement? The issue of fixing the refineries to ensure sufficient local production of petroleum products makes a lot of sense. When that occurs, and fuel is refined locally, the cost of the Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) would be affordable to many and whatever government would chose to claim it is paying as subsidy can easily be examined, verified and tackled.

The Guardian editorial of January 10, 2012 is very instructive. In it, the paper argued that since government has admitted that local refineries “are working at 38.2 per cent efficiency…,” according to several oil experts, including a former Petroleum Minister, “the residual of the non-export crude would attract shipping and refining cost only. Therefore, on the basis of these factors alone, the cost of fuel per litre ought to be N34.03 and by implication, at N65 per litre, Nigerians were already subsidizing the government by N30.97.”   

It is not enough to announce that government “spent” N1.3 trillion on subsidy in just one year. We need to see the details of the expenses, and interestingly the House probe on the subsidy misadventure has opened a can of worms, and everyone is watching to see what would happen to those who had starred in the massive outrageous and insufferably reckless filthy business. If about N1.8 trillion was spent on this same subsidy between 2006 and 2008—more than two years, how then can this regime justify the spending of N1.3 trillion under one year? It is left for government to prove that Nigerians are not merely subsidizing the corruption and inefficiency within its ranks. Government must always exist to serve the interest of the majority not that of a few privileged citizens.

Indeed, it is difficult to believe that the very harsh effect of this fuel price hike on the citizenry was seriously considered before it was implemented. This is a country where social amenities are almost non-existent. People generate their own energy at home and business places and they depend on fuel to do so.  Even with the price of fuel fixed at N97 per litre, the cost of doing business in Nigeria will still go higher, and goods and services will rise above the reach of about 90% of Nigerians whom credible research efforts have already established as living below the poverty level. 

Given the very dismal power supply in the country, and the over dependency on fuel it has created, there is no doubt that several more businesses will fold up, unable to cope any more under the very harsh economic climate in Nigeria; and many may trim down their staff strength (thereby, further compounding the already terrible unemployment problem), and companies that can afford it may relocate to more  business-friendly neighbours, like Ghana and others, where they would not need to run their businesses on power generating plants 24 hours daily.

There is also no basis for government’s wasteful campaign that without the “subsidy” money it would not be able to undertake capital projects. But like most people are already aware, this is less-than true. This government exports 2.4 million barrels of a crude oil a day. “At the current rate of $110 per barrel,” as observed by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana recently, “that will give you $2.6billion a day.” Now, when you multiply that by 365 days that make up a year, you will be shocked at the earnings coming into government coffers. Again, how much even will come to the Federal Government from the subsidy money since the fund will be shared between it, the states and local governments? About N400 billion if it got the N1.3 trillion it was asking for. So, without this, the Nigerian economy would collapse? If government were that poor, where then does its officials get the billions they squander daily before our very eyes?

Well, to return to Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Although she could not get her full pound of flesh this time, and may ask for more in the shortest possible time, the big loser in this whole matter is President Goodluck Jonathan who has been misadvised into presenting a less-than edifying picture of himself to Nigerians, which may come to haunt him in the near future.  No reasonable leader goes out of his way to court the kind of deep disaffection and very fierce, raging emotions one saw Nigerians freely expressing during the fuel subsidy removal crises just because he wishes to be seen as capable of taking tough decisions. And as Okonjo-Iweala’s friends congratulate her on her partial victory over long-suffering Nigerians, she ought to be told that she is yet to do anything to allay the growing fears that her second coming might be worse than her first. Indeed, it remains to be seen whether for her there will ever be a third coming, or even whether her second coming will run its full course.

Ejinkeonye was born in Umuaka, Imo State, Nigeria, and was educated at the Universities of Port Hartcourt, and Ilorin where he took degrees in English and Literature in English. At the University of Port Harcourt where he emerged the best graduating student of his class, he edited Uniport Mirror, a magazine published by the University. Presently, He is on the Editorial Board of Daily Independent (www.independentng.com), a national newspaper published in Lagos, Nigeria. He writes a well-read weekly column (scruples) on the back page of the paper every Wednesday. www.ugowrite.blogspot.com / scruples2006@yahoo.com

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Want to help Africa? Do business here  / The woman who has the power to change Africa

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Managing Director, World Bank  / Beasts of No Nation: A Novel (Uzodinma Iweala)

 

Subsidising, Fraud, Lies, and BloodBut how can we believe anything these guys say after their boss had told lies saying, subsidy would not be removed until April; when he knew he was going to remove it on the 1st of January. Apparently this particular issue is not being handled as it supposed to be handled.

I don’t want to call Mr. President a liar but he has definitely put himself in a position in which it will be impossible for Nigerians to believe anything he says. Yes, a man is assessed by the worth of his words: his words no longer are worth anything other than fraud and blood.  So what fraud are they subsidising?

As usual, it is the masses bearing the brunt. Jonathan, no matter how much he says he feels our pain, would not suffer as a result of subsidy removal. After all, his jets and that of his family are being fuelled at our expense.—Hakeem Babalola

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Under Pressure, Nigerian Leader Relents on Gas Price—Adam Nossiter—16 January 2012—LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria swallowed a hard lesson on Monday that has been inflicted on governments of developing nations the world over for years: try cutting subsidies for gas and the populace will erupt in rage.

Faced down by thousands of demonstrators, demands for his removal and a weeklong general strike that paralyzed his fractious country, President Goodluck Jonathan abruptly gave in, partly restoring the fuel subsidy that — more than an Islamic insurgency in the north or a long-running conflict in the south — seemed to crystallize the frustrations of the people and draw them to the streets in outrage.

“Government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships,” Mr. Jonathan said in a stiffly worded capitulation on Monday, after a week of refusing to back down. . . . The Nigerian government spends about $8 billion a year on fuel subsidies, and getting rid of them would be “an important first step” to shoring up the finances of one of Africa’s largest economies, according to a 2009 International Monetary Fund report. But in resource-rich countries like Nigeria, with its enormous gap between rich and poor, subsidized gas is one of the few benefits trickling down from an infamously corrupt government that has pocketed billions of dollars in oil profits, with little to show for it.  For the poor—and three-fourths of this country’s population lives on about a dollar a day—the fuel subsidy means a cheap ride to the market. It means lower prices for the food they buy there. And it means some sense of ownership in a national resource, oil, in which roughly 80 percent of the economic benefit has flowed to 1 percent of the population, according to some estimates. “It’s one of the few ways the urban and rural poor feel they benefit from this strategic resource,” said Michael J. Watts, an expert on the politics of oil at the University of California, Berkeley. “The fuel subsidy is experienced as one of the few things they get.” That sentiment was strongly in evidence as the protests dwindled here on Monday. Under the rollback union leaders agreed to, gas in Nigeria will drop to about $2.27 a gallon from about $3.50 —higher than the $1.70 price before Jan. 1, but low enough to end the strike.

Still, many Nigerians were disappointed that Mr. Jonathan had not dropped the price all the way back down. “We are not benefitting from this oil!” shouted Ali Mohammed, a motorcycle-taxi driver. “No lights, no roads, no hospitals. Make him reduce the price. We are suffering in this country.” Hundreds of other young men milled about close by in what has been a center of the protest here: the New Afrika Shrine nightclub of the Afro-beat star Femi Kuti, son of the Nigerian musician and dissident Fela Kuti. In a speech Monday morning, Mr. Kuti both incited and calmed the crowd listening at his feet amid clouds of marijuana smoke, expressing disgust with Nigeria’s institutions from his rickety wooden stage as supporters murmured their approval. Later in his office, Mr. Kuti shouted at his television as he watched the labor leaders announce the end of the strike. “I told you those people would back down,” he said to his aides, looking up from the screen. As for the government, he said, “They prosecute people for being gay, but there is no law against stealing 14 million. NYTimes

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Boko Haram’s terrorismLet me begin by reminding everyone that Boko Haram has a very long history, whether you describe Boko Haram as an army of the discontent, or even as some people grotesquely try to suggest, “revolutionaries,” or you describe them as, legitimately, this time, as marginalised or feeling marginalised. . . .

People wonder, sometimes, if they are fighting the cause of religion, why are they also killing fellow religionists? It is very important for us to understand that they have a very narrow view of even their faith. Anyone outside that narrow confine, narrow definition (in this case, we are talking about Islam), is already an infidel, an unbeliever, a hypocrite, an enemy of God (they use all these multifarious descriptions) and therefore is fit for elimination. If they believe that this environment contains any non-believer in their very narrow strain of Islam, that person or that very area is due for sanitation. And if there are those who also believe, who are confined within the very narrow limit of their arbitrary religion, any chance that there are such people, they consider them martyrs, who will be received in the bosom of Allah, with double credits as having been killed accidentally.

What I am saying is not any theorising; it is not any speculation. Examine this particular strain of Islam from Afghanistan, through Iran to Somalia to Mauritania. We are speaking in fact of a deviant arm of Islam, whose first line of enemies, in fact, are those who I call the orthodox Muslims with whom we move, interact, inter-marry, professional colleagues and so on. They don’t consider them true Muslims. . . .

The second elaboration I want to make is that I have never liked the expression, “the core North”. We are talking about North because the North is very much identified with Islam. And for one reason, there is no core South. I don’t know about the core East, I don’t know about the core West. So why that expression? For me it is too general, too loose and it confuses the dramatis personae of our political life.

I, however, identify hard-core northerners, as in hard core pornography. There exist hardcore northerners. They may be in the minority, but they believe that they are divinely endowed to run any society. . . .

The first signs that the sponsors of Obasanjo got that they made a mistake was when he dismissed military officers, who had held political offices. That was the first time those who sponsored Obasanjo, who were hardcore northerners, felt they had got themselves into trouble because as it happened, those who were most affected were northerners. That was the first sign of trouble.

And they just didn’t take it and say ‘oh let it pass’ until later. They then opened a war office at that time. I’m talking of a physical office in which every single thing he said, every clipping, was stored. Ask Olusegun Obasanjo. I personally told him this. I said: ‘By the way, I hope you realise that the people who sponsored you have declared war on you; that they have opened an office on you, specifically an Obasanjo office!’ How do I know about this? If anybody denies this, I will come back to you and I will tell you how I knew about it. I am not ready to divulge. So, that is the first. The second phase was when Obasanjo proceeded and began privately to plan his re-election (that is the second term in office). At that time, what I called the hardcore northerners began to mobilise at what level yet, I cannot categorically say.

I don’t have the slightest interest in whether Obasanjo was right to seek a second term or not. I am not going to discuss whether it is right or wrong for anybody to try to impose a limitation, which is not backed by the constitution, on any individual candidate. I’m just telling this nation certain facts which no one can deny.

Obasanjo decided to have a second term, that is a southerner, not just an ex-military man, but a southerner. The language at the time was very overt. It was ‘we are just lending you the presidency, we will take it back at the end of your term.’ It was a feeling, a belief, which percolated through the various levels, various ranks of politicians and across all ages. . . .

So I suspect that the breaking point was when Yar’Adua took ill and the question of succession began. ‘If Yar’Adua dies, you mean another southerner is going to get into that position?’ This now became a real nightmare. For this, hardcore northerners (it’s too long, let’s just use the word cabal, even though that word is misused, to narrow it down to make sure we are talking about individuals, not about a region). . . .

And so, these people went for training, they came back lying low, waiting to be activated. Remember all these didn’t begin with the period I’m talking about. They have a long history of extremists. People tend to forget about Maitatsine; that was a different calibre altogether. So there is nothing new about what we are seeing. It is the intensification and the murderous dimension that this narrow Islamism is taking.

I am talking of accumulation of grievances of this narrow group. And this is why even some of their own fellow northerners were targets because these were considered malodorous among them and in any struggle of this kind historically, you find that the first stage is to clean out your rearguard, those whom you consider might stab you in the back–the rearguard traitors. You wipe them out first. And that is why we are seeing the intensification of the antagonism towards certain progressive liberal northerners. . . .

If you read the ‘manifesto’ of the Boko Haram, you will find that there is nothing you can actually hold on to unlike, say, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, which is categorical on the polluted environment. . . .

PDP is at the heart of the trouble, it’s within PDP they have been making this dirty bargain. “You rule for so long, it’s my turn.” It is not in the constitution. So it’s the PDP members, who really should go and sort out this problem among themselves. But the nation is the one paying the penalty. This is not comfortable because they can protect themselves. They are the ones that divided the country into two–the North and then, the South.

I think that the reason which you might say is on paper, in terms of political planning, are the six geo-political zones. This ‘two’ business, I don’t understand. But they are using this division of North versus South the same way as they are using religion. The issue is completely political. But with toxic element of religion infused into it, it gives them the leg to ally with international terrorist bodies based on religion. Those are only too happy to be of assistance. . . .

The politicians are so desperate; they are the ones who utilise religion. They are not alone. We saw Goodluck Jonathan kneeling before a Christian prelate for his blessing. The only difference is that I am not aware that Goodluck Jonathan has been sponsoring any militant fundamentalist Christians. People turn to religion. . . .

Many people are worried that what Boko Haram is doing may lead to the dismemberment of the country, while some others are saying: “we are too interwoven to split”. On what side do you queue?

If Boko Haram succeeds in its stated agenda to make the country ungovernable, if Boko Haram succeeds in goading those areas that have victim citizens in the northern part of the country into reprisal actions on the nearest targets, not only will this cause a break-up, it will be very messy. That is the reason some of us have been issuing appeals to community leaders to make sure it doesn’t happen in their communities.

It isn’t the break-up as such. Other nations were broken up, but the way in which we will break up will be intensely irremediable, it will be extremely messy. I can reveal to you, for instance, what the third phase of Boko Haram is supposed to be. . . .

That is why I believe that the country is very much on the verge of disintegration, especially if Bokom Haram succeeds in its agenda, which I outlined. With complete sense of responsibility and with the accumulation of facts, some within the government know what I’m saying, they acknowledge it. Some within the security services, I hope, have reached that analytical truth. I hope so, but they are not acting as if they heard and it is very worrisome.—TheNewsAfrica

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#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music)

 

 

 

 

 

update 17 February 2012 

 

 

 

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