It is amazing, outrightly curious, that eight years after His Excellency Dr. Ikedi Ohakim handed over the reins of power to his successor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, some people have suddenly found the courage to question his record breaking performances as Governor, especially the N26.27bn he handed over to him. In our quest for probity in the governance of the state, we must give honour to whom it is due. We must recognize the stellar performances of our leaders and shun sycophancy always. The successes of our leaders should not turn our bellies but give us joy and pride instead.
With the continuous rise of social media use in the public domain, it is now easy for people masquerading as social media influencers to wake up on their pads and chunk out proper gibberish in the name of information and management. The worst is when these same people think that the real smartness is when one is able to conjure up words together in successful units, without consideration on the thought-process or even what the job profile really entails. Now, while it is easy for these guys to continue masquerading as experts, it is equally easy for the public to sieve the real grains from the chaffs.
In observing Imo election, one could easily notice the expertise and credibility displayed by Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s Chief Press Secretary, Chibueze Ughalaa. Amongst all those who held similar positions for the different candidates, he stands out. From the moment he was appointed to handle that office, he remained consistent in thoughts and manners. He understands that the nature of his job is beyond merely the dissemination of information (which anyone can do, of course, even the masquerades) but also to be the link between his boss (Chief Ohakim) and the general public. His common courtesy and promptness in responding to issues should be adopted by the other folks.
In the issuance of his Press Releases, Ughalaa is convinced on why a particular piece of information is important. If it’s not, he doesn’t go ahead to give it out. When we say that Sam Onwuemedo did a terrible job for Okorocha for instance, it is on the basis of his failure to first ask himself why his release is significant and not just because he is moved to conjure up words for his master. A Jones Onwusonye is better than Sam Onwuemeodu in this regard, even though the both are guilty of trying to impress with responses even when they have no answer. It is not out of place to go public when there is crises, but if you must do that, you must do that with what you know.
There are more lessons which people who occupy similar offices can learn from Ughalaa. Don’t say something because you want to say something, but because you have something to say.
“Peace, You’re the Matriarch of Nollywood,” Nigerian Filmmaker, Jeta Amata, Celebrates AMAA Founder, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe.
Popular Nigerian Filmmaker, Jeta Amata, has through a recent Facebook post, celebrated the giant strides of Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Founder of the Africa Film Academy, curators of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) on her contributions towards the growth of Filmmaking in Africa.
In the piece, which was neither a birthday message nor any celebratory felicitation, Jeta Amata describes Peace Anyiam-Osigwe as the ‘Matriarch of Nollywood’ who deserves to be celebrated everyday, adding that the industry will ‘forever owe her.’ He wrote:
“Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and I were having lunch in Berlin in 2004 while at the Berlinale, it was one of Nollywood’s first major showcase at the international stage. At one point while she talked, all I could think about was her wit. I told her I was going to make a film on 35mm that year even if I didn’t know how to finance it at that time, and her words of encouragement empowered me to see that dream come to reality. At that same lunch was when she told me she was finalizing plans for the setting up of the Africa Academy Movie Awards. Peace is not just special, she’s insightful and Nollywood will forever owe her. I had written her a personal message, but I feel it pertinent to celebrate her publicly. Peace, you’re the Matriarch of Nollywood.
“I know it’s not your birthday, but you do deserve to celebrate everyday for what you’ve achieved.”
Peace’s role in taking Nollywood to the global stage cannot be overemphasized. Under her Africa Film Academy, over 20,000 African youths from Nigeria, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, Zimbabwe and more have been trained in filmmaking.
She founded the globally acclaimed film ceremony, the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2005. It has been consistently and uninterruptedly held for the past fifteen years in different African countries and has succeeded in putting the African film industry in the global map for films.
The last event was held in the Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda on 20th October, 2018. The night gathered stars under one galaxy, as there were celebrities from different part of Africa, including men and women in politics, business and education.
The 2019 AMAA events are now lined up, beginning with a workshop for the training of young filmmakers and AMAA Road shows in South Eastern, Nigeria.
A Student Traditional Eze Owerri, of Imo State University, Eze Augustine Blaise Chiagorom, has protested against the bad government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, by sitting on the mud and wishing a good morning to all Imolites, including passerbys on the street.
Eze Chiagorom who is popularly known for his outspokenness, posted rare pictures of himself in that manner on his Facebook Page and wrote:
Ndị Imo unabolachi
Happy birthday to my beloved governor Owelle Anayo Rochas Ethelbert Okorocha…
I am wishing from #UMUOVUM ULAKWO in owerri North LGA, a community that has a house member respresenting them in Imo house of Assembly, a community that has a Representative in the green Chambers, a community that has a Senator in the Red Chambers, and a community that has a governor who earlier this year commissioned this roads on the media…
Biko my people are just asking for the dividends of democracy dazzol…
#Ala ajoola njọ
Popular Nigerian artiste, Cobhams Asoquo has just released his new music video, entitled, Starlight. And it was directed by our very own Blessing Uzzi.
This latest offering, just like One Hit, confirms Cobham’s place as a music lion.
Onyeka Nwelue’s A Country of Extraordinary Ghosts: A Platonic Ideal of How Not To Kill The World by Odega Shawa
Review By Odega Shawa
The first thing anybody should do when they pick up Onyeka Nwelue’s novel, A Country of Extraordinary Ghosts, is think of Amos Tutuola’s classic The Palm-Wine Drinkard and his Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads’ Town.
Without this elevation of socio-cultural, and in Nwelue’s case urban, consciousness, the entire folksy nature of the fiery metaphors that start tearing at the reader right from the first lines of the story falls short of the arcane initiation the entire novel was strategically positioned to be.
The magic of the novel’s plot movement lures one to not see men like trees, as the blind man with the half miracle cure told Jesus Christ. A disembodied spirit floats through the central narrative, taking on his two bodies, his two lives, as these cut open the very fabrics of experience for us to see what lies under the thing that lies under what we think is reality. In one amorphous perspective of this central character: ‘Sodom is Lagos and Lagos is Sodom.’
There you have it.
The story takes place in Sodom and Lagos, two worlds apart that share yet a common bond in the dissolution of both moral and vision. Not just for individuals or the numerous characters, naa. Even for entire nations, this disintegration of the core significant qualities that constitute progressive existence means that blindness will become common in all spheres of life, with its attendant catastrophes.
In one of his more insightful moments the hero, there is doubt he will accept such a tag without argument, peels off from the main narrative what precisely the crises has become in the real Sodom-Lagos, just like a few moments ago a beautiful ashawo (prostitute) peeled off his pants inside her shack on the streets of Lagos:
‘The people… never did think about the future. They were drinking, whoring or fighting. No one was thinking about anything. No one was thinking about phones, or machines or birds that could carry people.’
This is blindness at work of course.
In Sodom a similar blindness ensured the death of the city because it caused the inhabitants to demand the rape of God’s angels. The warning is that in Lagos it could cause the death of an urban stronghold that meticulously plans megacities for the well to do, but no word on the survival of the masses who sleep in shacks as tiny and as imaginably uncomfortable as ‘chicken houses’. The gutter leaks sewage and urine. The roof does not keep away rain on stormy nights.
Yet just across town other people have five million naira to waste on one-night parties. The flashy lights all go to the top, ignoring the swarming termites below that can possibly gnaw the mighty tree down.
In the cosmology of A Country of Extraordinary Ghosts Sodom is a progression of the same destructive arc that Lagos must avoid. Maybe your city, too. Maybe your country and your continent.
The novel is not just a social commentary of course. It is a spiritual guide on how not to let a society die.
The prevalent erotic tone of the narrative is a ruse. The characters use it to escape from their own existential deformities, something they are powerless to deal with on their own.
The way a typical Lagos ruffian deals with inner sensitive awareness of the rot around him is beer, marijuana and prostitutes. Looking at this external nature one can hiss and look away in disdain. The hostile ruggedness of the typical Lagos ‘area boy’ of course is the same as the hostile ruggedness of the men of Sodom who surrounded Lot’s house, demanding the angels of God for sexual assault. At least in their case the Lagos area boys and girls, who the central character falls among in his teleportation from Sodom, use their hostility as a survival tool. They have little choice.
They are not monsters, these Lagos area people. They welcome the stranger among them and seeks to protect him, to plant him in their world. They are redeemable. As the saying goes in Lagos: na condition make crayfish bend. It was nurture, not nature, that created their world and its outward bad reputation.
Because of this bad reputation, the police needed little provocation to round up our hero and his friends after an all-night party. A Roman Catholic priest appears to bail him, then, as fast, proceeds to adopt him. They take a trip to the Vatican.
This is the last encounter of redemption, or is supposed to be, since religion itself is a metaphor for spirituality. If all else fails, then we still have our spiritual ideals, right. However, the question remains: how do you redeem yourself in an environment where you cannot remain righteous, by default?
‘…there was a knock on the door, I opened it, and it was Father Ajayi. He walked into the room, laid his head on my bed, opened his short and brought out his penis, and then, he looked me in the eye and said, “Atone for your sins.”’
Instead of a strong and rational punishment, a counter atonement if you like, the Father, when he is discovered, one among many other wolves in sheep’s clothing, is merely transferred to another parish by the custodians of his venerable office.
In this way, with the spiritual outlet of redemption also blocked by the wolves tending the sheep, A Country of Extraordinary Ghosts stabs you awake with its final siren: we all carry our last trumpets with us, and disembodied, in transit or living, we can blast it whenever we want, for all it is worth. Heaven may not have any voice stronger than the voice in your head that says evil is evil, no matter who is doing evil. If we all listen to this voice, eventually, it may be possible to squeeze the Sodom from Lagos, to squeeze a better outcome from a bad example.
Odega Shawa is a writer, poet, and the author of ‘The Biafra Manifesto.’
- Ahead of the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has accused the state Governor, Ayo Fayose of ordering the retrieval of Permanent Voter Cards PVCs from people while also asking heads of the state-owned tertiary institutions in the state to award 20 marks to students who vote for the PDP in the elections. Oshiomhole spoke Friday at the national secretariat of the party shortly after a meeting of the National Working Committee NWC of the party. “There is no better evidence than the fact that PDP is panicking. You must have heard the report that, in clear violation of the Electoral Act, the outgoing Governor of Ekiti State, Gov. Fayose has instructed the civil servants, principals of schools, headmasters of schools to retrieve PVCs from civil servants because he is afraid and I believe that the civil servants and the teachers in Ekiti state will not vote for him and their families will not vote for him and they will of course, as enlightened people, they are helping to educate other members of Ekiti community why Fayose is a disaster. “You haven’t paid people for one year, in spite of the fact that the Federal Government had given Fayose bailout repeatedly and he chose to divert the money to other purposes. “Like every ….(expletives), Fayose is afraid that the instruments he used in getting to power would be used against him. Why is he collecting PVCs from registered voters? Why is he querying people that refused to surrender their PVCs? Why is he harassing heads of tertiary institutions in the state asking them to give 20 marks to anyone who votes for the PDP?”, he queried.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu has congratulated Governor Ifeanyi Uwuanyi of Enugu state, on his victory in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 2015 governorship primary legal tussle between him and Senator Ayogu Eze. •Senator Ekewremadu The Supreme court on Friday decided the challenge by Ayogu Eze and discussed the appeal for lack of merit. Ekweremadu also congratulated Senate President, Bukola Saraki on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision dismissing the assets declaration charges against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Ekweremadu said Saraki’s victory was a Triumph for the legislature and democracy. Ekweremadu described Governor Ugwuanyi as a “God-sent agent of peace and development in Enugu State,” noting that the Supreme Court had affirmed not only the verdict of Enugu State PDP faithful in the 2015 gubernatorial primary, but also the overwhelming acceptance of the Governor among the people of the State. The Deputy Senate President in statement through his Special Adviser on Media Mr. Uche Anichukwu said: “This is victory, not just for Governor Ugwuanyi, but also more importantly a victory for peace, equitable development, and unusual transformation in Enugu State. “I believe it is a motivation for the Governor to do more and surely a veritable launch pad into the 2019 general elections for the PDP in the State. It is instructive that the three Senatorial Districts of Enugu State have already endorsed him unanimously for a second term in office because he has justified our decision in electing him in 2015”. On Senator Saraki’s victory, Ekweremadu said: “I salute the courage of the Supreme Court jurists.