Tuesday, 23 August 2016

FWD: Teresa R Kemp, African American historian, traces her origin to Oka, Biafra

(Teresa Kemp)
By Biafra Diboh (slightly edited from the original)

Teresa R Kemp, one of African Americans involved in the free medical care trip to the Anambra region, northwest Biafra, has traced the ancestral home of her father to Oka, Biafra.
Kemp, a military historian, who has in the past organised an Igbo arts and cultural festival in South Carolina, United States, said that her great grandfather, named Osinachi, was enslaved and trafficked over 187 years ago as a metalsmith from Oka to the United States, as confirmed by DNA.
With an interest in the works of African peoples, Kemp told The Nation that she had written a book, Keeper of the Fire (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Plaatform, 2014),  of an Igbo metalsmith from Awka, detailing the story of her ancestor. She describes Igbo people as hardworking, intelligent, unassuming, and entrepreneurial in nature: “I am proud to be linked to Ndiigbo, the world has prospered because of Ndiigbo”.
Kemp went to Anambra with an organisation called ASA-World (which has membership in 27 countries), made up of the region’s indigenes resident overseas whose mission is to provide free medical care for the people, costing US$ 800,000.
The team brought diagnostic equipment and medicine to be left behind for resident doctors and other health officials to continue using in Oko, in Orumba north local government, Abagana, Njikoka local government, Obosi, Idemili north local government, Ihembosi and Ozubulu, both Ekwusigo local government, and Oba, Idemili south local government district.
The medical mission treated and provided medicine to people suffering from different ailments. Total treated are: 1,100 in Oko, 8,500 in Abagana, 1,200 in Ihembosi, 1,300 in Obosi, and 1,200 in Ozubulu.
(Sonny Rollins Quintet, “Decision” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone, Donald Byrd, trumpet; Wynton Kelly, piano; Gene Ramey, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 16 December 1956])

Monday, 22 August 2016

Biafrans are surely not in the business to bail out genocidist Nigeria…

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

For those not particularly familiar with the inner workings of that haematophagous monster which calls itself Nigeria, the following news item in African Spotlight (Friday 12 August 2016), carried similarly by several other news organisations, could appear extraordinary if not outlandish.

First, the story’s blazing headline: “Rio 2016: Mikel Obi pays $4,000 to save Nigerian players embarrassment from Brazilian hotel”. Second, the first paragraph in the dispatch that duly elaborates on the theme: “In yet another scandal, Team Nigeria captain at the ongoing Olympics, Mikel John Obi, had to pay $4,000 of his personal money, to save the footballers from embarrassment after a hotel in Sao Paulo held the entire team to ransom over the bills incurred by additional officials, it has been revealed. The Nigerian Olympic team almost missed their flight [from São Paulo] to Salvador, reports say” (emphasis added). A player – not even one of the usual retinue of accompanying genocidist Nigerian officials (coach, managers, trainers, hangers-on, etc., etc), pays for his team’s hotel bills incurred at a foreign assignment 3500 miles away from Nigeria! Furthermore, this intervening player, with his personal money to pay for the outstanding São Paulo hotel costs, is Biafran!

Genocidist state

What sort of state on this planet would send a sports team to represent it abroad – not just, for instance, to some other state across its frontiers, contiguous to its territory (if such a rationalisation could ever be contemplated) but 3500 miles away, in a competition, the prestigious Olympic games for that matter, and not adequately fund the team’s passage and upkeep and welfare comprehensively? Straight-ahead reply: genocidist Nigeria.

Why? Not too complicated either: genocidist Nigeria, now 50 years in the making after it and strategic ally Britain had initially murdered 3.1 million Igbo people during phases I-III of the Igbo genocide (29 May 1966-12 January 1970) is currently run by Muhammadu Buhari. This is an islamist jihadist operative who is so riled by the defiant Igbo youth’s doggedly dominant presence and drive stamped on the creative arts and sports and academic disciplines and practices across the Nigeria landscape, despite the genocide and occupation of the Biafran homeland. In what the uninitiated genocidist Nigeria watcher might think is perverse, Buhari would rather adamantly prefer a non-Nigeria participation in the Rio Olympics or a complete loss of a game’s tournament by Nigeria if the “country”’s participating sports team, in this case a football team, as is more often than not, is captained by an Igbo or/and has a substantial personnel of the team, as is also more often than not, populated by Igbo talent.


Muhammadu Buhari must have literally been thrown into days of agonising depression by this football team heading from São Paulo to Salvador in Brazil whose captain has the following name profile with its uncompromisingly classed Igbo registers: John Michael Nchekwube Obinna – not Ahmed, Saraki, Abacha, Muhammadu, Ahmadu, Maigida, Salisu, Maimuna, Mohammed, Buhari, Sulaiman, Lamido, Sadiq, Abubakar, etc., etc, that would more likely characterise the forename or surname of an operative that sits on a genocidist preparatory committee or participatory cell/squad/brigade in an Abuja, Katsina, Maiduguri, Kano or Sokoto, meticulously planning the next slaughtering outrage in Onicha, Oka, Owere, Igwe Ocha, Enuugwu or somewhere else in occupied Biafra.


For Muhammadu Buhari, the Nnamdis and Nnekas and Ngozis and Obiagelis and Nkeirus and Ikechukwus and Nkechis and Chidis and Emekas and Chukas of the Igbo nation should be sequestrated in the cities, towns and villages of Biafra awaiting the genocidist slaughter-next-round instead of being positioned, as hundreds of thousands of them are indeed primed currently, in several top colleges and universities and innumerable sites of creative endeavours and sports activities around the world. One of the insistent factors that has fuelled the Igbo genocide in these past 50 years is the Hausa-Fulani islamist leadership’s trenchant aversion to the well-known Igbo hardworking ethic and entrepreneurial drive. Consequently, this dual attribute of ethic and drive has transformed Igbo people to presently control one of Africa’s best-developed multidisciplinary humanpower conglomeration of assets.

Finally, to return to that Mikel Obi’s US$4000.00 personal payment to rescue the Nigeria football team from its São Paulo hotel bill’s entanglement, an obvious question on the minds of many must be the following: Given the existential threat that most know the Igbo face due to the ongoing genocide from Nigeria, was Nchekwube Obinna’s payment motivated by sheer naivety or just crass ignorance?  No, contrary to seemingly predictable impulses, neither is distinctly on the mark. Instead, Obinna was indeed acting out from a script that tragically pervades the entire Africa landscape, in the wake of centuries-old European conquest and occupation of the continent, where the largely non-deconstructed conqueror’s/conquest social sciences & humanities project the prevailing “state”, the “Berlin-state”, as some raefied if not ahistorical construct to which each and every African is “strapped”.

Nchekwube Obinnas of Africa are free to choose

In the Nigeria case, as any cursory observer should attest to, the horror of that imagination, characterisation and association must be catastrophically profound. For the Igbo, in the maelstrom of that wretchedness, the history of the past 50 years attests chillingly and overwhelmingly. The Nchekwube Obinnas of Africa must now know that they are not wedded to any such states. On the contrary, states are historical constructs which human beings negotiate, pick and choose from. That is why states have, thankfully, remained transient in human history. The Nchekwube Obinnas of Africa are free to choose any states they wish to belong. It must therefore be a pointedly unthinkable personal tragedy if the Nchekwube Obinnas of Africa who are also survivors of genocide from genocidist Nigeria end up ticking Nigeria as the state of choice… Tufia kwa

The Nchekwube Obinnas of Africa must cease to represent genocidist Nigeria in all conceivable competitions: sports, creative and performing arts/other spheres of intellectual labour… Never again should we be treated to the grotesque scene of witnessing some Igbo athlete, some Igbo writer, some Igbo academic, appearing at some world stage carrying or wrapping themselves around a Nigerian flag. Enough! Order a Biafran flag for the occasion or alternatively promote the flag of your generous host. Definitely not genocidist Nigeria’s. A genocidist state’s fate is nothing else but to be abandoned, to be voided, to be dismantled. This is Nigeria’s fate as the handwriting on the wall is writ large.

Nchekwube Obinna should have donated or invested his US$4000.00 in any or some of the many private clinics across Biafra treating hundreds of desperate Biafran survivors from the recent murdering escapades carried out by genocidist Nigeria military/Boko Haram/Fulani militia brigades, beginning October 2015. Ironically, by paying the sum of US$4000.00 to the São Paulo hoteliers, due responsibility of genocidist Nigeria’s, Nchekwube Obinna provided ready savings or credit for this genocidist state and allies to fund the fresh cache of AK-47 rifles, ammunitions, bazookas, tank shells and suicide vests for their next planned murderous outrage in Oka, Onicha, Enuugwu, Igwe Ocha, Aba… 

Not only do Biafrans not obviously bail out genocidist Nigeria from its quagmire but Biafrans cannot be a party to Nigeria’s hardly disguised chart and intent of Biafran annihilation. This is precisely what the philosophers who worked strenuously on the name Nchekwube insist the Igbo and the world must know.
(George Russell Sextet here plays “Nardis”, a composition by Miles Davis [personnel: Russell, piano; Don Ellis, trumpet; Dave Baker, trombone; Eric Dolphy, bass clarinet; Steve Swallow, bass; Joe Hunt, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 8 May 1961])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 21 August 2016

112th birthday of Count Basie

(Born 21 August 1904, Red Bank, New Jersey, US)
Pianist, organist, composer, arranger, his salutary majesty of the big band and swing whose orchestra for 50 years, beginning in 1935, becomes a conservatoire for the distinguished graduating array of instrumentalists and singers of the age including, particularly, tenor saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry Edison and singers Billie Holiday, Helen Humes, Big Joe Turner, Joe Williams and Jimmy Rushing
(Count Basie and Orchestra, “One O’clock jump” [Reveille with Beverley film, 1943])


88th birthday of Art Farmer

(Born 21 August 1928, Council Bluffs, Iowa, US)
Very distinguished lyrical fluegelhorn player and trumpeter with grace and sensitive tonality, composer and bandleader
(Benny Golson & Milt Jackson & Art Farmer & Neils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Nonet, “Bags groove” [personnel: Golson, tenor saxophone; Farmer, flueguelhorn, Jackson, vibraphone; Pederson, bass; Toot Thielsman, harmonica; Ulf Wakenius, guiter; Jonas Johansen, drums; Max Roach, drums; recorded: live, Große Konzertscheue, Jazzbaltica, Salzau, Germany, 14 June 1997])

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Father of African Literature: Chinua Achebe’s twin portals of engaging historic witness

(Father of African Literature: visiting Umeå, Sweden, in the autumn of 1988 [19 October 1988] to launch the Swedish translation of his Anthills of the Savannah, 1987)

Portal-I: Aftermath of pan-European conquest and occupation of the African World
[The European conquest of Africa] may indeed be a complex affair, but one thing is certain: You do not walk in, seize the land, the person, the history of another, and then sit back and compose hymns of praise in his honour. To do that would amount to calling yourself a bandit; and you won’t to do that. So what do you do? You construct very elaborate excuses for your action. You say, for instance, that the man in question is worthless and quite unfit to manage himself or his affairs. If there are valuable things like gold and diamonds which you are carting away from his territory, you proceed to prove that he doesn’t own them in the right sense of the word – that he and they had just happened to be lying around the same place when you arrived. Finally if the worse comes to the worse, you may even be prepared to question whether such as he can be, like you, fully human. From denying the presence of a man standing there before you, you end up questioning his very humanity …[I]n the [European conquest] situation presence was the critical question, the crucial word. Its denial was the keynote of [this conquest’s] ideology. (Chinua Achebe, “African Literature as Restoration of Celebration”, Kunapipi, 12, 2, 1990: 4; emphasis added) 
Portal-II: Aftermath of Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 
[Nigeria’s] wartime cabinet, it should also be remembered, was full of intellectuals like Obafemi Awolowo and Anthony Enaharo and super-permanent secretaries such as Allison Akene Ayida among others who came up with a boatload of infamous and regrettable policies. A statement credited to … Obafemi Awolowo and echoed by his cohorts is the most callous and unfortunate: All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder’. It is my impression that … Obafemi Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition of power, for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general. And let it be said that there is, on the surface, at least, nothing wrong with those aspirations. However, Awolowo saw the dominant Igbo … at the time as the obstacles to that goal, and when the opportunity arose – the Nigeria-Biafra War – his ambition drove him into a frenzy to go to any length to achieve his dreams. In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation – eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations. (Chinua AchebeThere was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra [New York: The Penguin, 2012], p. 233; emphasis added) 
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Wise one” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin J ones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliff, NJ, US, 24 April 1964])

Friday, 19 August 2016

Dr Akanu Ibiam’s letter to Queen Elizabeth II: The world appears to have hardly changed in 50 years…

(Venerable: Dr Akanu Ibiam)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Forty-nine years ago to the day, in August 1967, the venerable Dr Akanu Ibiam, Christian missionary physician, erudite theologian and statesperson who had worked for 30 years in the Church of Scotland/Presbyterian Church rural medical programmes across central and east regions of Biafra, wrote a 20-paragraph historic letter to Queen Elizabeth II of England. In his letter, Dr Ibiam denounced, unreservedly, the central role being played by Britain in the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, which had then entered its second year of unremittingly ruthless slaughter. In protest to this role, Dr Ibiam renounced and returned to the British head of state the three insignias of knighthood (OBE, KBE, KCMG) that both she and her father, King George VI, had earlier conferred on the esteemed missionary physician for services to church and state.

Britain and Nigeria would ultimately murder 3.1 million Igbo people, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, by 12 January 1970 at the end of phase-III of the genocide. The genocide then moved on to phase-IV which has gone on to this day...

Testament vs that establishment consensus

As is evident in the last four main paragraphs of Dr Ibiam’s letter published below (paragraphs 14-17 in the original), this document could easily have been written by the great humanist to Queen Elizabeth last year, 2015, after the month of  March, when this same Britain, now under the political leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, who was born 5 months after the 29 July 1966 launch of the genocide (coordinated then by No. 10 Downing Street resident Prime Minister Harold Wilson), installed Muhammadu Buhari, the notorious genocidist trooper of north/north central Biafra killing fields (July 1967-January 1970), as new head of Nigeria regime. No, Dr Ibiam could well have written this testament a few days ago! As the world duly knows, Buhari now drives this segment of phase-IV of the Igbo genocide as ruthlessly as he deems fit, murdering thousands of Igbo people in all regions of Biafra especially since October 2015, aware that, as before, he and Nigeria have the back of the British government to ensure, particularly, that Nigeria is shielded from international outrage and sanctions in its strategic goal to destroy Igbo people. Consequently, the British government is yet to condemn any of these murders nor confront its own involvement in the perpetration of the entire 50-year stretch of this most gruesome and devastating genocide of contemporary history. 

Quite gravely, there is a haunting half-a-century-old consensus shared by the critical clusters of the British establishment including the political “class”, academia, media, charities, human rights, even the church, to maintain a deafening silence as the British state uninterruptedly wages this Igbo genocide in alliance with its on the ground Hausa-Fulani north region islamist-led client state in Nigeria. The goal is pointedly to protect, in perpetuity, Britain’s perceived strategic and economic interests in this southwestcentral Africa region – 3500 miles away from Britain. The fact that this alliance appears to challenge some of the more predictable characterisation of the salient features of contemporary international politics is indicative of how much more resilient and enduring shared worldviews (for instance, in this case, to collaborate to wage a genocide on a third party, a mutually-targeted people, for complementary interests) from supposedly or seemingly contradictory state systems can be.

(Paragraphs 14-20 of Dr Akanu’s letter to Queen Elizabeth II of England, August 1967)

(Queen Elizabeth II: recipient of Dr Ibiam’s August 1967 letter)


YOUR MAJESTY, the British officials in Nigeria are fully aware of all these. They know that we are injured and deeply grieved people and had been cruelly treated by our erstwhile fellow citizens of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The British officials not only knew the crux of the matter, but they also encouraged Northern Nigeria to carry out and execute their nefarious plan against us. They are angry with Biafra because Biafra categorically refused to remain as part of the Nigeria federation and political unit only to be trampled upon, discriminated against and hated, ruthlessly exploited and denied her rights and privileges, and slaughtered whenever it suited the whims and caprices of the favoured people of Northern Nigeria. To add insult to injury, Your Majesty’s Britannic Government, instead of being neutral in our quarrels or finding ways and means to mediate and bring peace to the two countries, has now taken it upon herself to supply military aid to Nigeria to help them defeat and subjugate Biafra.

It is simply staggering for a Christian country like Britain to help a Moslem country militarily to crush another Christian country like Biafra. This is just too much for me, Your Gracious Majesty, this act of unfriendliness and treachery by the British Government towards the people of Republic of Biafra who, as Eastern Nigerians, had so much regard for Britain and British people.

In the circumstance, Your Majesty, I no longer wish to wear the garb of the British Knighthood. British fair play, British justice, and the Englishman’s word of honour which Biafra loved so much and cherished have become meaningless to Biafrans in general and to me in particular. Christian Britain has shamelessly let down Christian Biafra.

I love the Republic of Biafra very dearly and pray that, by grace of God, she may remain and continue to grow and live and always act like a truly Christian country for all times.

I am, your Majesty

Yours Most Respectfully

(John Coltrane Quartet, “Wise one” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliff, NJ, US, 24 April 1964)

Perpetuating racist stereotypes

An anonymous viewer’s complaint to the BBC, London, over the broadcaster’s television evening news bulletin on the just released 2016 “A” level (pre-university) examination results, Thursday 18 August 2016:
I was so disheartened and frankly disgusted to watch BBC’s reporting of the “A” level results on the evening news. After speaking about how the country, largely, did well the visuals opened up with a young African descent woman who had scored D and U grades and was clearly unconcerned with these results! As you well know, there are literally thousands of African descent students who today would have received great passes from their schools. A big shame to you BBC for perpetuating such racist and stereotypical attitudes. You have such an important opportunity and an obligation as a public broadcaster (funded by the taxpayer) to dispel these myths and portray all children fairly and truthfully, but instead your news presentation is nothing more than a propaganda tool for the overpaid bleeding heart liberals that populate the management of this anachronistic organisation.