‘My Sketchbook’ finder: Revealed

IMG_20141130_191156 Hope sketch2

Show yourself!

My name is Ifeanyi Ifemeje, an Igbo boy from across the Niger, Imo state. I am the eldest in a family of six and spent the better part of my growing years in Benin.

Arts? When? How? Why?

I don’t really remember the when, but my mum says I started drawing in Primary Four. I was melancholic as a child so I stayed busy in my head by myself, and on the outside, I found solace in pencils and paper. I found that I liked it. Later I would do drawing assignments for my classmates – Fine Arts, Agric, Health, Sciences, anything that had drawings I did. I enjoyed it, and it came very easy to me, I didn’t have to stress or anything. So I just kept doing –

(butts in) Did you know then how good you were or you just enjoyed drawing?

I just enjoyed it. And I kept pushing myself. For example, I liked cartoons so after watching on TV I would try to recreate the characters on paper. If I got the same smiling face as when I watched it on screen, then I knew I had gotten it right. I also paid attention to details, I didn’t have to struggle with that either. So I just kept getting better. Immediately after secondary school, I discovered an artist named Owolabi Pius and I spent three months in his studio learning pastel. Ironically, when I was done with that, I still couldn’t place a finger on what I had learnt from the whole err…

Internship?

(snickers) Yes, internship. But in 2007, a politician was campaigning in my village. My aunt suggested that I do a portrait of him and send it to him. It sounded like a good idea so I rallied my savings and bought pastel paper, pastel colors, a board and started working. I spent about 2-3 weeks on it, painting almost non-stop. When I finished, my savings was exhausted so I had to borrow money to buy a frame. After framing, I took it to him. He liked it immediately, and after talking with me, asked his P.A. to give me five hundred thousand.

 shocked baby_NAIRA

(laughs) Yes, Naira. We – my brother and I – met the P.A. who gave us an envelope. We ran home, locked the doors and windows, shut all the curtains and opened the envelope to see that it was just two hundred and fifty thousand in it. We were not so happy, but hey, two-fifty was a lot of money still. So I took it and shared it out among my people then.

Big boy!

(laughs) Yels! Anyway that made me think that I was sitting on a pot of gold. I mean, I like doing this, and people are willing to pay THIS much for it, so why not?! I dove into it with all I had. At about that time, I gained admission into the university to study Biotechnology. Through my time in school, I was still drawing and painting part-time.

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Are you doing this full-time now? Anything on the side?

Not full-time yet. Presently, I am ajuwaya (NYSC member); I teach Biology and Animal Husbandry in a secondary school. I also work as an Assistant Graphics Designer for Whits&Stratts here in Lagos.

Plans for the future?

A colleague and I have just started our own firm, Lava DigiArts which true to its name, focuses on digital arts. The idea was unique and it won first place in Shell’s entrepreneurship grant scheme; so right now, we have office space and a grant with which we have started work, using digital means to create art that will appeal in quality and cost to the high and middle class. While working on this, of course, I will keep at my pencils and paint.

Now, let’s talk about ‘My Sketchbook’.

Yeeeaaahhh…(laughs)

My Sketchbook

What was your first thought upon reading the post?

Well, reading up to a point, I thought it was personal. A lot of people experience such things, just that the writer in this case chose to tell her story with the unique idea of a sketchpad. Apart from the angle of romantic love, there are other ways in which people give a lot of love and get nothing in return. Mothers are a very good example. An example that quickly comes to mind is the mother of St. Thomas Aquinas, who despite his rebelliousness kept praying and soliciting on behalf of her son. And at the most unlikely time, against all odds, this prodigal son turned a new leaf and rose to become one of the greatest saints of the Roman Catholic Church. Love is not the easiest of ideals but there are people who keep giving it even when they only get woes in return. I really don’t know what inspires such people but while it is really sad to look at, I also think it’s beautiful.

So when I read ‘My Sketchbook’, I truly empathized with the person who wrote it – I don’t know her, by the way. But beyond empathy, I connected with her on a deeper level of art – I know how it feels to give someone your sketchpad and he just does rubbish with it. I felt her pain. Christ is the prime example of love and after his sacrifice he was ultimately glorified by God. So I thought, “if I were in the shoes of Christ, what I would do is to reward her sacrifice – give her another sketchpad, another heart”.

Then again I thought, “but I can. I can give her a new sketchpad, with a beautiful sketch on it, make it bigger and better.”

When she lost her sketchpad, she sowed a seed of love that had died under rejection and ill treatment. But a seed dies so that a flower can grow. I wanted to make that happen for her. And that was it.

A word to our WAW readers, their votes persuaded you to SHOW YOURSELF by the way.

Yes oh, here I am! (laughs)

About ‘Words Are Work’, I honestly do not follow faithfully. Only time to time, I get links from my friends on whatsapp and I check it out. I am pretty busy a lot of the time, but yeah, I enjoy it each time I visit there. It’s a very cool blog.

Yeah…WAW is cool. Okay, any last words?

Hmmm…for Hope or Hope’s character – I don’t know if it was a real life experience or fictional poetry, but I’ll say, continue to give love. Continue to love, even when it’s unrequited, continue to sacrifice –

(cuts in) Really? In this ‘dog-eat-dog’ world?

(laughs) Oh yes, and I know it’s a tough stance. But I’m a Christian and I believe life works best that way. And if I believe and live by that, I believe there is one other person, two, three other people who believe it too. And slowly but surely, we’ll make the world a better place.

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…then we had a large lunch and made my tummy a better place 🙂

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

Haba Baba!

Quite the buzz has trailed the recent actions of Nigerian president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari with regards to press, AIT in particular. Vincent, in the piece below, shares with us his views on the matter. ‘Haba Baba’ as a title surely leaves no doubt as to which side he leans; as for me and my family, we hold reservations. We will watch and wait…

No matter how rat-poisonous or iiiice-waterous your thoughts be, don’t fail to share them with us in the comments. Enjoy.

Buhari02

Since his emergence as Nigeria’s president- elect General Muhammadu Buhari has comported himself as a man deserving of his new role. Like he did in the months preceding that historic election, he has continued to win admirers from all corners.

Having realised that this is the man who will hold the proverbial yam and knife after May 29, political jobbers, business moguls, technocrats and even some officials in the present government have turned Buhari’s house into a ‘Mecca’. Under the guise of courtesy visits, they are falling over themselves and holding vigils at his gate to register their loyalty before he is sworn in and becomes too busy to see them.

As the Buhari crowd home and abroad wait for May 29 with bated breath, it appears the man himself can’t wait for that long before acting like the commander-in- chief.

Two developments in the last few days have proved to be the writing on the wall as regards the direction the Buhari government may take.

First was the statement about the allegedly missing $20 billion from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, NNPC. While hosting guests from the Adamawa State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who paid him a courtesy visit, the president-in-waiting promised to revisit the issue.

“I heard that some people have started returning money; I will not believe it until I go and see for myself”, Buhari was reported to have told his guests.

Barely a day after expressing his determination to institute a fresh probe into the affairs of the state-owned oil company under the outgoing administration, Buhari gave another hint of what is to come when he eventually takes over the reins. The president-elect barred, African Independent Television, AIT, from covering and reporting his affairs until further notice.

Confirming the development, Buhari’s media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu said “AIT has been asked to stay aside based on security and family concerns. In addition, Buhari has decided that they will have to resolve some issues relating to issues of standard and ethics.”

‘Standards and ethics’ may sound like reasonable excuses but even the most politically naïve observer knows the real reasons for Buhari’s action. Having aired series of damaging documentaries against him weeks before the election, Buhari is only taking his pound of flesh from AIT.

Whatever explanations his supporters may offer, it is certain Buhari will spend the first months and maybe years of his administration probing the affairs of the past government and settling political scores.

That implies that the change many Nigerians sought when they elected him in April may not come to fruition anytime soon. It means rather than facing the task ahead, Buhari’s government may focus on making scapegoats out of past leaders.

There is no gainsaying the fact that NNPC and other government parastatals have become Aegean stables that must be cleared.  Yet, probing past misdeeds in those organisations may just be another exercise in futility. If Buhari truly means business, dismantling the existing structures in NNPC and re-organising it for a fresh start may be his best bet. The probes may be politically correct and boost his popularity but it could also be a distraction for a government that has promised to hit the ground running.

As regards the ban on AIT, it is proof that the president-elect is not ready to begin the healing process that the country urgently needs at this critical time. Having been so vilified in the course of the campaign, Buhari’s anger is justified but he must also be aware of the dangers such moves portend. Banning an opposition station from reporting his affairs opens a leeway for those who have always described Buhari as an intolerant and vindictive man to return to business. Moreover, the campaigns were ‘bloody’ at all levels. The politicians and their lackeys, including those in Buhari’s camp threw salvos at each other on a daily basis across various media platforms. As they say, all is fair in love and war.

Thankfully, Buhari’s party APC has said AIT and other media outfits are free to cover Buhari’s activities. But if Buhari still feels offended, he should seek redress the right way by dragging AIT to court. He has sufficient evidences to win a case of defamation. It is even more politically expedient for him to punish the company using state institutions such as the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission when he is sworn in than this hare-brained directive. The president-elect should show some maturity. After all, it is not for nothing that they call him BABA.

Vincent Nzemeke is a Nigerian currently studying in Germany.

He is @vincentnzemeke on twitter.

FOR THE LOVE OF ‘BLACK’

A friend of mine was once asked, “If you had to add one more face to Mount Rushmore, whose would it be?”

For those of us still struggling to catch up, you might have seen the 2003 comedy, ‘Head of State’ starring Chris Rock. Nearing the end of the movie after Mays (Chris) had won the presidency, there was a shot of his face hewn into a massive stone structure beside the equally sculpted faces of four former American presidents. That is Mount Rushmore (picture below) – without Chris Rock of course. It is a historic structure in America forever remembering the feats of four great past American leaders – George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).

Mount Richmore

So my friend thought for only a second before saying that the one face he would have added to Mount Rushmore is that of Nelson Mandela.

I completely agree with him. Nelson Mandela preached forgiveness, resilience and freedom to South Africans at a time when the ideals sounded hollow to them. And with love, determination and immense sacrifice, he showed his people how. As I read Timi‘s piece below, I wondered what emotions would be going through Mandela’s mind if he were alive now to witness the waves of xenophobic hostilities sweeping across his beloved South Africa.

I wondered and I came to a conclusion – shame.

FOR THE LOVE OF ‘BLACK’ – by Timilehin Osunde

Xenophobia

Okay, this is coming some days behind. But it has got me thinking for days on end, this South African issue of hostility and violence towards black foreigners – XENOPHOBIA, they call it.

This one video just leaves my stomach unsettled. You are walking home after a hard day’s work in a foreign country; someone walks up to you and hits you in the face without any prior altercation or exchange of words. That leaves you dazed for some minutes sitting on the hot tarred road with vehicles whizzing past. You’re still in confusion when another brings a building block meant for construction and hurls it at you and you hit the ground in shock, in pain. Then a young man still wearing his school uniform decides that your lying on the ground looks good for a trampoline practice and chooses to use you for his sport.

A man, a human being suffered this fate. One can only imagine what would have been racing through the mind of such a poor soul. He probably just ended a call to his wife back home in his country or even a sick parent back in his village. He probably just promised to send them a little out of what he struggles to earn in harsh, uncertain conditions.

I didn’t want to join the list of people who have had to remind South Africa of their dark times and how other African nations lent a helping hand. While these sibling African nations could have looked the other way, they did not because they identified with the South Africans on many levels of value. The first of these levels is the colour of the skin which I right now so want to believe goes beyond the surface covering.

There are a whole lot of others on this values’ list which we cherish as a people, a continent, and a ‘race’. Yet, for whatever reason, South Africa has subtly over time chosen to act the odd one out (personal observation) since the apartheid era ended. This nation has in so many tiny but significant ways sent subtle signals that they do NOT want other Africans. They could have voiced this stance a long time ago, and it would have made life easier for the many ‘foreign’ Africans who have continued pushing across their borders.

I know some Nigerians who have had the ‘poor luck’ of visiting South Africa and have not had anything good to say about the reception they get. Maybe this goes for some other African countries as well save a few but again, maybe this issue reaches far deeper than what is happening right now; maybe it is more of an African disease than a South African flaw. Maybe our leaders need to start working on the value system of each nation on this beautiful continent, maybe our ideologies are flawed in Africa, maybe that student in the school uniform on his way home needs to understand the value of life, be it that of an insect or a human.

Maybe the so many unions across the continent with the apex African Union need to re-strategize on workable, possible ways to avert future occurrences of such hostility in the many states that make up Africa. Some of the objectives of these unions have been written to include; achieving greater unity and solidarity between the member countries and its citizens, defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states, to accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the members amongst a whole lot of others. Maybe these objectives need to be effected before the whole issue spirals down the drain into a messy mass.

So many maybes…

Now it’s the turn of Nigerians to hold a rally on this xenophobia matter somewhere on the Island in Lagos soon and that leaves one with the question what next after that.

I would like to put a hold on my thoughts at this point to avoid going round in an unending cycle of heartbreak. As humans living in Africa, when we choose to leave our home country to either visit or do business in another African country, all we ask for is security and a sense of belonging. It really is as simple as that.

God bless Africa!

Timilehin is a journalist, a communications and social media expert with the Weed Science Centre at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The sooner, the better

the sooner the better

As a kid, I transitioned through a zillion crushes, and the objects of my infatuation were often older and bigger females – don’t ask, I dunno why. In primary four, I did something she didn’t like to my ‘girlfriend’ at the time – don’t ask, I dunno what – so she chased after me, and I ran. As I reached the class door, I tried to execute a ‘drift’ but my momentum was too high and the sole of my sandals too weak to handle the traction. So I slid until I slammed into the wooden doorpost knee-first. Even before I got off the floor, the knee was already as large as a water melon.

After she heard what happened, my mother drove me straight to a traditional bone-setter in a part of town I had never been before. And thus commenced the torture. With every touch, the elderly lady tortured every nerve-ending in my body with heart-wrenching pain. I tried to run away, I plotted many escape plans but Madam WWD – wicked witch doctor – and my mother were always a step ahead. So I modified my plans.

I discovered that the worst pain I felt was to the right of the injured knee, just about the ‘dimple’ area. So every time Madam WWD massaged my knee, I would deftly maneuver my leg so that she was faced with the part that hurt less. Every time her hand strayed to the worst pain area, I clenched my teeth and – painstakingly – kept a straight face, but whenever she stroked an area that didn’t hurt at all, I yelled and screamed curses on her. Gradually, she started to concentrate on the other parts of my knee – all the parts except the part that hurt most. My plan worked!

With time, I learnt to endure the pain while walking, and even the worst pain area started to feel better. I was discharged less than a week afterwards, and the pain eventually disappeared.

Fast forward fourteen years and I had just discovered my passion for running. I was not fast, but I had a lot of stamina and it helped me think, so I jogged three times a week. After doing this consistently for a month, I started to feel pain in my left knee. I thought it was ‘good pain’ which would pass with more vigorous exercise so I continued through the pain.

Soon however it became obvious that there was nothing good about pain, and not long afterwards I found myself lying on my back in the doctor’s consultation room.

“Here?” he poked at my knee.

I shook my head. No.

“Here?”

Still no.

He clamped his right hand over the left and palm open pressed down on my right leg, just above the knee. “Try to raise your leg,” he said.

I tried.

“Any pain?” I shook my head. None.

He applied same pressure on my left leg, and asked me to try lifting it. Immediately, I saw a flash of hot white fire blast across the inside of my eye lids. The pain completely muted me, I could not even yell. My body recoiled and my hands ferociously latched onto his, wildly clawing them off me. After he stepped away, I dropped back, feeling beads of sweat form on my forehead as I struggled for breath.

His verdict was bad news for me. I had to stop jogging, not for a while until it got better, but for life. I told him it wasn’t possible, that there had to be something else that could be done. The physiotherapist said there was, and went ahead to explain to me the merits of other sports namely cycling, swimming and rapid-walking.

I didn’t want to cycle, or swim, and like hell, I was too young for rapid-walking; I wanted to jog, and I tried to explain it to him. But the doctor was adamant. He said they were all the same, all sports.

But it wasn’t just sports for me. For the first time in my active youthful life, I had come to love a sport, really love it. And now, I couldn’t do it again. I left his office pained.

I was speaking with my mother shortly afterwards and I mentioned the doctor’s visit.

“Left leg kwa?” she went, “the same one you broke in primary school?”

Gbagaam!!! Like a bad Nollywood movie, the memories came back to me: of injuring my knee – my LEFT knee – on the class doorpost, of the many sessions with the traditional bone-setter, and of my ‘genius’ plan which I had effectively employed to avoid the worst of the pain. I had gotten away with less pain, but even though I didn’t think of it at the time, I had also gone away with an unhealed knee. And all these years, the injury had stayed hidden, festering, and showing up just in time to truncate my joy.

 

Point:

Thanks to literature, movies and my imagination, I have ‘experienced’ the pains suffered by Igbo people during the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. I have also read several venomous posts and tweets aimed at Igbos on social media. But none of it had ever felt as personal, as demeaning, and as hurtful as reading @kunleafolayan’s Igbo-targeted hate tweets.

I might have taken it a tad personal because of my admiration for the man’s art, but beyond hurt, I am worried. It isn’t just the sheer hatred in the words that worries me, no, what worries me most is the realization that this hatred is not new-found. And this applies to the Oba’s tweets as well. While some see men yielding to the influences of chilled Orijin and piracy-induced frustration, I see prejudice that has lain for so long beneath an exterior of societal decorum. And as I read the ensuing e-warfare between supporters and protesters, I got even more worried.

We all pretend that the hurt of the Civil war passed away with the war itself but surely, recent events have proven otherwise. From the comments, one could infer the following as the summary of the present Nigerian state: while the Igbo man continues to exist in a bitter semi-auto defensive mode – seated with one buttock, as my grandmother might say, the Yoruba man merely tolerates him, the Hausa man wonders why this man has to always make everything about himself, and the Urhobo man waits to see what happens. And this is just when the Igbo man is the centre of discourse; insert the other 249 ethnic groups into that slot one after the other and the permutations will unfold like the Judgment scroll.

Like it or not, ethnic sentiments lie deeply ingrained in every Nigerian, be he/she Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Efik or Urhobo. While there are a number of reasons for these sentiments, an overwhelming majority stems from the pain of a war which was badly fought and too quickly discarded into the dusty cabinets of history.

The injury of the Civil war lies hidden and festering beneath this façade of ‘Allizzwell’ and like that lingering knee injury, it’ll never go away. We need to first uncover the festering wound so that it can be treated with some stinging disinfectant, and then we can allow time to lay its healing hands and complete the process. But first we must act. And the sooner, the better.

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

I WILL VOTE

vote

It’s yesterday and I am going to get my PVC today.

Walk in quietly, greet the two ladies and the man in the office with a smile, “I want to get my PVC.”

“Where’s your temporary?”

I hand it over, take the only other available seat and proceed to dig into my phone.

Man shuffles through the stacks and stacks of plastic cards…once, twice. I am counting, spying from beneath lowered eyelids. When he starts a third time, I just know. Even before he says the words, I know…

“Oga, you no get card oh”

“Huh?”

“Your own no dey here,” he says.

Disappointment. First at myself because I have just realized that I expected to be told just that. And at INEC for proving my distrust well-founded.

“Okay,” I stay seated, looking with what I believe is a deadpan expression from one INEC face to the other. “So…” I try, “what’s going to happen now?”

Madam seated at the table seems surprised by my calmness; I can’t quite define the look on her face as surprise…I don’t know what it is but it makes me feel good…proud-good.

“Errr…oya bring his card.” She takes the laminated TVC from perplexed INEC guy and begins to write on an A4 sheet.

I am itching to see what it is she is writing, but I tamp down the urge. I sit still, harassing the touch-screen of my now battery-dead phone.

“Here.”

I stand, slip a lazy foot into one slip-on and take my outstretched TVC.

“Come back in three weeks for your card,” she says with a smile.

Jega postponed for six weeks so three weeks is ample time, I quickly calculate. “Okay thanks.”

I blast one grin at the trio and shuffle out in slow deliberate steps. I caught a glimpse of the A4; she’d written down the details – name, number, address, et al – from my TVC.

I know I’ll feel better coming for my PVC in three weeks than I did coming today.

Chisom

MESSAGE FROM TB Joshua

I have not seen any subsequent messages, separating the preacher from the message below which was culled from https://www.facebook.com/tbjministries. I have highlighted in BOLD, for your anointed reading pleasure, my favorite paragraph of the entire message.

TBJoshua

SUNDAY 28.09.2014
Good morning church and viewers all over the world. I want to thank you for your prayer and your love for the victims and relations of all those involved in the incident.

The battle is for the Lord. I really want to thank God. God has been doing so much. We need to know a thousand victories, all the way long. Glory and honour to God Almighty.

For those who are outside the Lord, they would not know. When you are outside God, you will not know what I am talking about. When you are outside the light, you can’t understand what I am talking about.

For the three weeks before the incident, if you heard my message and sat down, you would know I was giving you a vision and prophetic Word on how to handle the situation at hand. Trials and tests are meant for our belief. I go by the directives of God.

I salute the martyrs of faith and the victims. I also salute their relations. My love and my prayers are always with them. The martyrs, victims and their relations, what they would like to see is the work of God continue. That is what they died for, suffered for and are living for.

From your heart, commit the relations of the martyrs to God. Ask God to strengthen them and open their understanding more to know and understand what happened here. Ask God to give them the grace to continue in God. In Him we live; in Him we move. Ask God to give them the grace to continue the work of salvation.

Remember the victims in one way or the other and ask for God’s intervention. Ask God for His power of resurrection within them and outside them, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.

Remain silent and give thanks to God, within you. I want you to change your confession and give thanks to God.

Listen to God, not men. Don’t let your faith be disturbed. If anyone wants to disturb your faith with their negative words and message, remember God. See the need of God the more. See the need of serving the Lord the more, the need of moving closer to Him.

Don’t be disturbed. Pray for the relations; pray for the victims. That is your assignment – your love and prayer for the victims and the relations of the martyrs. That is your duty at this time.

Don’t allow yourself to be used by satan. If you do, satan will use his people to run to you and disturb you the more. This is an opportunity for them to disturb your faith with their negative words. Those who hate you and those who want you to die will run after you because of this issue. It is not that they love you but they want to see your countenance, your appearance, how you look and whether you are worried. Never allow this. Remember Jesus. Don’t change your words in a moment. Jesus is Lord.

What you saw happen – God is aware. If God is aware, who else is aware does not matter. The martyrs, victims and relations want to see your faith grow; they want to see the work of salvation and the work of God in your life continue. They want to see you serve the Lord the more. The only way you can allow the work of God to continue is to be with yourself and God, not to allow intruders and people around you to advise you and tell you what to do when they could not stop what happened.

I pray the satanic agents should be the only ones to suffer this. I said, our God will get back to them. Warn your family and brothers about their talk. You will know I am a man of God this time. People who are looking for your downfall and run to disturb your spirit, warn them to be careful of their tongues and the people who come to them. God is a God of vengeance – anybody can go for it.

You cannot help me, only God. Don’t disturb me; please leave me with God. You will see the outcome. I am saying this so that only the people who did this will suffer for it and you will not in any way suffer for it. The people who are writing whatever they are saying – all of us will see the outcome of this. Leave it for God.

I have been on this journey for 27 years. Do you think God can close His eyes and rubbish everything here? They are asking God to bring more evidence of whether He is the One who called me. Warn everyone to be very careful. This issue at hand is a delicate issue.

People are using all this to gain money and friends. This is a warning. Whatever anybody wants to write, let them write it; they will be the ones to read it.

I said, our God will get back to them. He has started somewhere. He is coming. If your brother is involved, unless he can resurrect the people who died, he will join them. If you can resurrect the people who died, you can go free. The servants, the people who sent them, the people who heard the stories all around and those who want to use it for themselves and disturb my spirit, you may likely join them. Be careful. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let us be very careful of our tongue.

Your responsibility is to the victims and the relations of the victims and martyrs of faith. If you say you are born again, wherever the victims and their relations are, wherever the relations of the martyrs of faith are, look for them. Let them know you are praying for them. What you eat, let them eat it. What you wear, let them wear out of it. What you have on your table, let them have it on their table, too. Share what you have with them – your love, prayer, affection and strength. Share it with them at this time. This is what we call ‘born again’ – my pain is your pain. Your joy is my joy.

The multitudes of people who claim to be with T.B. Joshua in prayer – if the same people turn to the families of the victims and martyrs of faith, do you not think life would be better for them than before? Join them, look for them, as many others are doing now.

 

GOD BLESS NIGERIA!

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

ON TOP D MATTER: Final weeks of the National Confab

YES, in spite of all the evidences to the contrary, I continue to hope that some respite just might come for us from the National Confab. Find below the summary of events in these concluding weeks of the conference. For the full article, visit here.

 


 

The National Conference convened by President Goodluck Jonathan may be winding up soon, amidst lingering dissatisfaction over the outcome of the conference.

The conference, chaired by Justice Idris Kutigi, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, has 492 delegates and it is expected to articulate and coordinate the views and thoughts of Nigerians, with a view to building a stronger, united, peaceful and stable nation.

At the end of their four-month-deliberation, the delegates reached consensus on wide-ranging recommendations made by the 20 standing committees of the conference. Some of the recommendations include the creation of 18 new states and an additional state for the South-East geopolitical zone, the zoning of elective positions at all levels of government, the establishment of state police, and the establishment of a commission to address the plight of FCT indigenes.

Others are scrapping of state/local government joint account, scrapping of state independent electoral commissions, removal of fuel subsidy and removal of immunity clause, among others.

The delegates, however, failed to reach consensus on the contentious issues of resource control and derivation principle for the Niger Delta region, which was contained in the main report of the Committee on Devolution of Power.

They were also unable to agree on two new issues: the proposed 5 per cent of the national income, each for the development of mineral resources across the federation and for the special intervention fund for national emergencies.

 

Another death

Professor Muhammad Nur Alkali, who was one of the six delegates representing the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) at the 2014 National Conference in Abuja is dead.

He died in his residence in Maiduguri on the night of Friday, August 1, 2014. The 68-year old professor of History, a two-term Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri (1985 – 1992), former Director General of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee under the administration of General Sani Abacha.

More recently, he was a member of the Committee on Insecurity in the North East (The Boko Haram Committee). He will be buried later today, Saturday, August 2, 2014, in Maiduguri.

 

What to do with the recommendations?

Prior to the adjournment of plenary session on July 14, there was intense debate amongst Nigerians on who should implement recommendations of the conference. While some school of thought suggested that the recommendations should be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law, others believed that that they should be subjected to a referendum before their inclusion in the constitution.

Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the National Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), said that the recommendations should not be subjected to referendum on the grounds that most of them were “superficial”.

Musa said that instead of dealing with the negative state of the nation, the delegates only dealt with the consequences of the negative state of the nation. He noted that corruption, organized violence, insecurity and unemployment were some of the factors that contributed to the negative state of the country. And he suggested that as a way out, the National Assembly could regard the recommendations as public hearing.

Conversely, Gilbert Agbo, the National Secretary, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), said that the recommendations should not be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law, since some of the recommendations were not in favour of the legislators.

He stressed that Nigerians should be allowed to decide on the recommendations via referendum organized to determine their acceptance or rejection since “power derives from the people”.

Sam Eke, the National Chairman, Citizens Popular Party (CPP), who shared a similar viewpoint with Balarabe Musa, said that the recommendations should be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration, amendment and passage into law.

He said that those advocating referendum were just “trying to build something on nothing.”

 

Waiting for draft report

There were reports on Monday that the absence of the draft final report, according to reports, may stall resumption of the National Confab, earlier scheduled to reconvene on August 4. The leadership, in a letter to delegates and signed by the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications, James Akpandem, stated that the decision to extend the resumption date by one week was to avoid a situation where delegates would return to Abuja on August 4 and discover that there were no necessary materials to conclude the session within the time frame specified in the work plan.

There are indications that much interest in its work will have been lost when the conference eventually reconvenes to certify the draft report. The vocal section of Nigeria, from indications, believe more were lost than gained. Their opinion stems from the fact that the country may not be much different after the conference, with major national controversies subsisting.


 

God bless Nigeria.

compatriot

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter…and I am proudly Nigerian yet