Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hair From Hong Kong & Bleached Skin Favored By Black Men?

Hair From Hong Kong & Bleached Skin Favored By Black Men?

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Why do Black women bleach skins? And why do Black women wear fake hairs? Are these what Black men want?

An African American comedian once joked that White Americans should be gratefully thankful to Michael Jackson because Michael Jackson mutilated himself by way of plastic or cosmetic surgeries to pay homage to his idea of beauty as an exclusive preserve, provenience and provance of white people.

Imitation it is said, is, the best form of flattery.

There are those, whom I would like to come across as my heroes, their aura, for in aspirations, words, actions and even in appearance; my heroes as such are Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X etc. And the opposites of these are David Duke, George W. Bush or Adolf Hitler etc. You get the idea?

In the past, I have publicly wondered why continental African women and women of African descent feel the need to bleach their skins to pale yellow, and then also, go all out, in efforts and expenses to elongate their hairs!

Recently, I have come to include this skin bleaching and hair length obsessions with issues, for which I reserve analyses, mainly based on my theory of historical cause and effect, cause and effect, as constituting tools for thorough examinations.

We may begin this process by asking the question, which is; what sorts of women do continental African men and men of African descent want or prefer?

A further question might be a query, whether such preferences were home-grown or acquired and assumed taste?

Why is there a “market” among black men for bleached black women? What sorts of black men date and marry bleached black women? What sorts of black man marries black women with noticeably artificial hair of some unusual length and blond or platinum colors sometimes??

Exactly whose idea of beauty is being extolled in these pale yellow skins or fake long extended hair phenomena?

Further question might be, whether these practices are what black men really want and genuinely prefer? These must be? Or why would these practices be so seemingly acceptable and seemingly popular internationally?

How did black people move from Black Power clenched fist and all natural Afro hair, to the now pervasive fried or irradiated hair, proudly shoulder, waist length hair, proudly announced as 100% human hair from Hong Kong? And this is supposed to be progress?

Could these puzzles be solved by resting the motivation for the practices at the doors of former colonial and western media their skewed projection of what is pure, good and beautiful is blond having more fun puns?

Michael Jordan seemed to have saved the black man from these hair-raising conundrums. He solved the fake hair issue for black men quite a while ago with his trademark clean shaven head! And these days, at least in New York City, you are liable to see many men across the human race with bold Michael Jordan look or head-style! Before then, some black men used to wear wet-looks from so-called Jheri curls!

Not to be misunderstood, I must declare my knowledge or familiarity with men and women of other races’ struggles with fake hair, wigs and toupees. And yes, other races do wear hairpieces or horsehairs and all manners of hair extensions! Men and women of other races do have this hair challenge and bad hair lives.

But what mindsets do these people have anyways?

It can be observed that hairpieces are usually worn to “complement” or “augment” looks, usually nearly as consistent with the natural looks of such person wearing the hairpiece looks, appearance and color etc.

What I have often observed or frequently noticed among black women however, is the wearing of hair extensions to match the colors of their shoes or handbags or blouse! I often politely enquire why the choice and it ranged from it is the wearer’s freedom, to black women are more versatile. In color selections I suppose?

Could it be the case that black women are saying, the customer is always right? Black men flirt with white women, and upon sensing this tendency, black women decided to become “almost” like white women? It could be argued that a society gets the sorts of media it deserves, for example, Jerry Springer sorts of media or a more serious media, depending on the appetite for sleaze or voyeurism or a high octave and octane media. Are black men’s penchants and preferences the reason for black women skin-bleaching and outrageous fake hairs?

Why is it, that, black women do not extend their obsessions with skin color and hair lengths to weight loss? Being overweight is a health risk, and can become a matter of life and death! Lose weight, feel and look great!

I dare to say that there seem to be absence of any desire to disguise the fakery of the length of these hair or the loud colors! What do you make of black woman whose hair roots are clearly black shoe dark, and then, the outgrowth or two-thirds of her hair is considerably, remarkably and markedly variant from the color of the roots and visibly so!

When braids became popular in America about 15 years ago, I was elated, I thought it was the dawn of a cultural renaissance or reawakening through African hair revolution, but, I could never have imagined the coming of blond braids and waist length braids etc!

What explains these desires to be non-self, or be other than self, and outrageously so? I know that you have seen these black women whose hairstyles, hair appearance, textures, colors and hair length are just jaw-dropping loud!

Here you should be thinking, black women with blond colored hair, platinum colored hair or fire-engine-red hair.

You have to wonder whether this unwillingness to disguise the fakery of these genres of hairs, is some sorts of new acts of courage or some plain gaudy tawdry acts of tastelessness

Why would any black woman who is not a clown in a circus or playing a role in a puppet show were these outrageous costumes? What sorts of fashion statements would these possibly constitute and or convey to the world?

And more importantly perhaps, what sorts of black men date and or marry these sorts of women? Have continental African men, and men of African descent stated and unstated preferences led our women to these ostentatious self-denials and self-ridicules? But I guess you could say that our men and women are free to marry persons of other races, but, does the black race or must the black race lose our particulars, our cultural identifiers and essences?

What does our unwillingness to retain our identity say about us? What does all this say about our state of mind and our sense of selves? Are continental Africans and peoples of African descent truly comfortable in our skins and hairs? Have we accepted or agreed that we are inferior, compared with some “other” definition of beauty? What is the purpose of scheming mightily to look like someone else? And ending actually looking caricature of our former selves and looking ridiculous in the process? Why are Nigerians women the worst offenders and exporters of this seeming inferiority complex? I have been told by non-Nigerian women, that the “best” bleaching crèmes come from Nigeria and often recommended by Nigerians!

Nigeria ought to lead continental Africans and peoples of African descent in cultural identity and pride in all good things African!

It is easier, in all things, to be the best that we can be, instead of wasting time and precious resources in poor attempts at becoming someone else or a fake self, former self.

I think that it takes a great deal of courage and self-confidence for a black woman, amidst the deafening deluge of the multitudes to bleach into pale yellow and wear hairs from Hong Kong, to actually wear short hair or go completely bald, where such is not as a result of medically induced hair-loss, which are usually cancer chemotherapy related. I have met some black women, including an attorney in New York City, originally from Chicago, who shaves her head every few days! It is a testament of supreme self-confidence, it is powerful!

Personally, I will rather date and marry a bald hairless black woman, or, perhaps a white woman, instead of a poor imitation black woman, these Mardi-Gras Parade-like costumes with hair from Hong Kong, wearing black women!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MEND, Rebels With a Cause or A Crime Gang?

MEND, Rebels With a Cause or A Crime Gang?
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Nigerians are killing Nigerians! This is the worst news. It is quite a nightmare.

Nothing good can possibly emanate from anything which leads Nigerians to kill other Nigerians. nothing! We must ask ourselves the question, how did we get here? And there are not clear-cut or precise answers. Is any war just? Could any act of violence, kidnapping and ransom taking be justified?

Is MEND benefiting any public good? Has MEND benefited any Niger Deltan, except MEND itself? Is the Nigerian government wrong in its all out war against MEND? What is a responsible government to do to stem the increasing pace of MEND's violence, destruction of properties and kidnapping and endless ransom demands?

MEND is not known to have engaged in any public good. MEND is not known to have invested its "profits" from hostage taking and kidnapping and ransom demands to any public advantage for anyone in the Niger Delta. MEND appears simply self-interested and self-absorbed political renegades. MEND does not run any schools, hospitals or medical clinics. MEND has no after school programs, or day care. MEND, simply put, is guilty of the same offences of neglect, which MEND accuses the Nigerian government.

As the military confrontation escalates, it is hoped that the military actions directed at MEND are not indiscriminate, but rather as surgical and precise as possible and solely directed against MEND, but, without leading to unnecessary death and displacements of innocent Nigerian citizens of the Niger Delta.

Even the worst critics of HAMAS and Hezbollah, are always quick to say, that HAMAS and Hezbollah are more proactive, effective and efficient with the provisions of social amenities for Palestinians; In other words, Hamas and Hezbollah, have managed over the years to have some redeeming value, in the eyes of Palestinians, and even critics of Hamas and Hezbollah, and this is because, Hamas and Hezbollah are more efficient, effective in public service delivery to the citizenry, when compared to the government, official organ of the people... this led to electoral victories for Hamas in recent years.

The federal government of Nigeria and state governments in the Niger Delta, have for several decades, neglected their core functions in all parts of Nigeria. And in all this, Niger Delta sticks out as the sore thumb. Niger Delta has for so long provided the revenues for Nigeria's survival and efforts at development, while suffering environmental pollution and degradation, consequences of producing Nigeria's wealth.

It can be argued that the Nigerian government have made substantial progress during the last ten years, in addressing developmental issues, albeit, not much has changed regarding gas flaring, oil spillage and other matters of environmental ruinations emanating from oil exploration and prospecting. Some progress have been made, at least, in comparative sense. There is also a considerable shift in national public attitude regarding the plights and predicaments of our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta.

Despite this progress, or baby steps, if you like, the spate of kidnapping, hostage taking, ransom demands and destructions of pipelines have increased a million-fold! What is a responsible government to do? What would any responsible government do? Abdicate its duty of peace and security? Allow MEND to continue unabated in its destruction of public assets? MEND have created a war atmosphere in the Niger Delta and this has gone on for much too long. What would you do in the face of these circumstances? I use to think of MEND as a necessary evil, until MEND resort to an all out violent methods in its agitations.

Any agitation which leads to kidnappings, hostage taking, and death of Nigerians and foreign nationals in Nigeria, cannot be justified. It is simply unacceptable. This is part of how we got where we are now.

Nigerians and the world are familiar with the issues at stake. We are all aware also of all the environmental impact, pollution and spillage of fish ponds, farm lands and communities that are ruined in the process oil prospecting and exploration. It is public knowledge, that there have been unbridled destruction of natural habitats for various species, some which are going extinct. Niger Delta communities have been deserving of adequate compensation from time immemorial, it amounts to preaching to the converted to re-state the worthiness of the cause of proponents of derivation; The agitation and advocacy for schools, hospitals, roads, employment and other social amenities are all in order to say the least. Particularly so, in the face of correlation between Nigeria's national income and the Niger Delta

However, all of us Nigerians should learn not to take absolute positions on national issues, including derivation; Life is not comprised of graph of straight lines, there are always multiple variables, such that, sometimes, life goes in spirals and meanders; and change is a constant in life, change will come and if we bear this axiom in mind, perhaps Nigerians will then, and should ask, what will happen if geologists find plutonium and uranium and some other precious metals/minerals in my hometown tomorrow? Now, assuming that my state has no oil, and so my hometown is neglected, in the present scheme of things, will I not be vengeful and spiteful with my new found plutonium/uranium/precious metals/minerals wealth when it is discovered in my hometown? Nigerians should therefore eschew winner takes all arguments.

The facts of Nigeria’s past are that, we have had all sorts of pyramids, first, there was Groundnut/Peanuts in the North and Cocoa pyramids, Coffee pyramids in the South West and Midwest and then the Coal and Cashew pyramids in the East, Rubber pyramids in the South East and now the current mother of all resources, the black-gold a k a petroleum oil and its derivatives in the Niger Delta.

In the past and presently, these Nigerian resources were and are, national income earners at one time or another, have been derived from different regions and different states or ethnic grouping locations and in all of these, there has been inequities in distribution and sharing of resources ala unfairness to the chicken that lays the golden eggs

Nigerians should be magnanimous and be their brothers’ keepers or fellow citizens’ keepers in the circumstances, we should not seek to operate like he biblical prodigal son, products fall out of favor, out of fashion, prices fall and more, new technologies emerge. Nigerians should behave like the profound Christians and profound Moslems as everyone often claim.

If Nigeria disintegrates, you will need an import license and visa for the privilege of paying more for cattle from Jigawa and Adamawaa or Cross Rivers and hence the slippery slope argument, everyone will demand more for their products, I charge more Naira for my cattle, you charge more for your oil, Niger Delta deserve adequate compensation for national wealth derived from the
soil in the geographic part of ‘the whole’ which Niger Delta is sub-sect of, meaning Nigeria.

So now, why don’t we have equitable distribution with particular deference to the oil producing states but without minimizing or compromising Nigeria’s national interests which requires all Nigerians to be willing to sacrifice to protect the states that do not currently produce Oil as in the Niger Delta, or produce Cattle as in Obudu, Yola and Damaturu, Groundnut/Peanuts as in Gboko and Kano, Rubber as in Edo, Cocoa as in Okitipupa, Plutonium in Bauchi or Uranium as in Langtang and Diamond as in Jos or Safire and Rubies from Abagana or Umuazare?

Let suppose for a moment that some new sort of resources becomes Nigeria‘s new major
Export or foreign exchange earner or new energy source that relegates oil? This is quite likely and very possible; What if the new resources and products are not what we now know? Produced from different region or states? Nigerians should always look at the big picture which serves the common good, the greatest good for all Nigerians. Myopia and parochial views has not served not served Nigeria well.

In the United States, a special tax or levy is imposed on citizens, so that those American who live in rural areas are provided affordable telephone service, that means, those of us who are residents of major cities in America, subsidized the telephone services of our American brethrens in the rural areas! Otherwise, connecting them with telephone service will not be cost effective or economical for the telephone companies to obtain a fair market price or to make profit, phone service will be so expensive in rural America and rural dwellers could not afford telephone service without the subsidies from us city dwellers! Most rural dweller in America are poor.

Lets look out for each other’s interests in Nigeria. Some of these resources mentioned above and others mentioned above, are all present in Nigeria and are many more likely, there are infinite possibilities for all. Why can’t we get along, We should get along, some people have even said that Nigeria is holding the black race back, Nigeria success it is said, is Africa’s and the black race’s success, Nigerians should focus on what is positively beneficial to Nigeria.

Where are the Nigerians who are superbly enthusiastic about Nigeria? Whose infinitude of patriotism is beyond reproach, whose luminosity of vision is precise and clear, whose sense of appreciating national interest is immense, and unblemished and spotless,

Where are the Nigerians whose love for Nigeria we dare not question, where are the Nigerians whose commitment and passions and dedication are steadfast and unflinching and unwavering in the pursuit of Nigeria’s national interests?

I am for one Nigeria, united, greater, better and more prosperous and occupying our pride of place in the world!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pope Benedict Be Damned! Pelted And Ignored to Irrelevance!

Pope Benedict Be Damned! Pelted And Ignored to Irrelevance!

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

The Pope lied; He lied to Africans while on his trip to Cameroon. Pope Benedict XVI blatantly lied to the press and public. He, a former college professor, now pope, should have known better, he knowingly lied by turning a known medical and scientific fact on its head!

The pope told a boldface lie when he stated that AIDS “cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it” the pope stated this falsehoods, despite abundant medical and scientific evidence, age old, which supports the usefulness of a prophylactic protection. (See Newsweek Magazine, the May 25, 2009 edition).

Condoms or prophylactics remain the average man and woman’s first line of defense, against sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis etc. Condom is not a cure of course, but a primary preventive measure. To say condoms do not serve as effective prevention measures against STDs, is the equivalent of saying, wearing surgical gloves does not prevent your hands from getting wet or stained! Or that wearing rain-boots does not prevent your feet from getting wet in the rains!

No one is suggesting that anyone should wear a raincoat and then jump into the pool and expect to remain dry, no, it will be of course ruinous to your clothes and shoes to do so. But raincoat remains very useful tool during the rain, especially if you are a pedestrian.

And so it goes, if you are a poor person in the world, particularly so, if you are a poor person in Africa afflicted with the human desire for sexual intercourse, you must find solace in condoms, as your bullet proof raincoat; Unless of course you happen to be the Pope himself or the former US President George W. Bush whose science, reason and commonsense have been replaced by religious dogma, which makes them insist on abstinences as the only remedy, the only be all, and end all, in the global fight to curb AIDS and other STDs.

There isn’t as yet, a cure for HIV or AIDS. Current medicines or pharmaceuticals, and retroviral cocktails which prolong the lives of those afflicted with the AIDS virus, are prohibitively expensive and beyond the reach of the average HIV positive African. There are the other compounding issues of the bio-toxicities and side effects of continued use of these retroviral cocktails, their required quantities and prolonged use thereof.

This, in my view, makes it particularly crucial and presciently important, that Africans be in the forefront of practicing preventive measures, of which condom is the gold standard available and affordable. For Pope Benedict to tell these vulnerable Africans lies and junk science about condoms is tantamount to passing death sentences on them! Condoms are scientifically proven to be efficacious, while abstinence is measured by the individual’s ability to resist and suppress the natural instincts of sexual urges, multiplied by libido and available varied temptations.

Pope Benedict visited the Cameroons and then Angola, in these two countries, as in much of the African continent, precipitous abject poverty has in recent years driven hordes and hordes of multitudes closer to religion, including the Catholic Church. Religion has become the only growth industry in which wish I could purchase common stocks! What with Nigerians pastors with private executive jets planes?

It is quite understandable then, that in the infinite travails, malaises and funks which pervade ordinary lives on the African continent; some have become more religious. Religion has become the only succor and solace for the common man. Some have in the process become impervious to science, logic, commonsense and even frontal papal assaults and insults, such as the Pope Benedict XVI’s lie above.

The scourge of AIDS is said to be of pandemic proportions in the developing world and worse in Africa, more so, in Africa’s southern parts, which Angola, a country recently visited by the pope, is part.

And as a consequence Mr. Thabo Mbeki, the one time president of South Africa was severely criticized and ostracized by western religious, political, NGO leaders and the western media. The western press in particular, ridiculed Mr. Mbeki with acerbic righteous indignations for his gaffes about AIDS which appeared to have downplayed its mortality and morbidity.

But these same groups have neglected to sanction Pope Benedict for his foolery, goof and blatant lie! The pope is revered and beyond reproach? The pope seem to know when to be flippant or conversely, measured? Please!

The Pope and many others do not show Africans any modicum of respect. They believe Africans are gullible and ever willing to swallow every gobbledygook theories from their boondoggles. Be it religious or social theories. Clearly, Pope Benedict XVI would not take his unscientific message to any place outside of Africa. I am sure the Pope would be booed for such apostasy of “condoms are useless”, were he to say so in North America or in Western Europe.

There is a permanent disparity in political and religious messages which political and religious leaders from the western world specially calibrate for Africa, compared with the rest of the world.

We have often heard for instance, about the evils of subsidies and the angelic qualities of free-market economy, until the current financial meltdown, during which governments in America and Europe have been taking actions, including bailouts and all manners of direct interventions. There are additional cushions and social safety nets for their citizens. When historically, the opposites of these bailouts and direct government interventions have been recommended, perennially, to the leaders of developing world, be it Argentina or Brazil and every where outside the western hemisphere.

American Catholics are not puppets of the Pope, the Vatican or St Peters Basilica. They are semi-reformed or post modern catholic. They have substantially modified catholic and papal orthodoxies and dogmas. It is highly unlikely that Pope Benedict would have made his condoms is ineffective statements in America or anywhere near America. So, why take the lie to Africans?

There is a pattern in all of these. I have watched every pope delicately balance their visits and utterances in very measured ways, tailored to be politically correct and sensitive to local populations worldwide. For instance, the popes have gone out of their ways, bent over backwards to assuage the feelings of Jews regarding the Holocaust. Popes have apologized profusely for papal silence or complicities in varied atrocities; Holocaust and Spanish Inquisition etc.

But wait! What about Catholic roles, Catholic silence and Catholic and papal complicities in slave trade, colonialism and plethora of oppressions or subjugations of Africans and peoples of African descent?

Did churches not preach that it was God ordained to brutalize the Africans in order to Christianize the Africans? Did racists not argue that it was God ordained hierarchy for humans to have Africans in the bottom? Has the Pope not continue to perpetrate that mindset with his condescending dumb-down junk science of condom don’t work message to Africans during his recent trip?

Recently, I watched with interest, as Pope Benedict XVI visited Palestine and Israel, he again, like popes before him, followed a script, bending over-backwards, to accommodate the sensitive feelings of local communities. Pope Benedict calibrated and recalibrated his message delicately, to placate and assuage his host communities and at the end of all these, there were still vociferous and belligerent comments against the pope at the end of the visit. But when it comes to Africa? Western political and religious leaders are always willingly and blissfully ignorant, lazy and just plain careless about what Africans feel or think of their condescending remarks about us and our continent in matters political, social, economic and or religious.

Western journalists report condescendingly, “this is John Smith reporting from Africa” would they do that when the pope visits London or Paris? “This is John Smith reporting from Europe” Why does the pope’s visit to two major cities in two African countries, become an African visit? Or why wouldn’t the pope’s visit to London and Paris similarly be typified as European visit? How many countries are in Europe and what is the population of Europe compared with the 53 countries in Africa and Africa’s 883 million people?

Why is Cardinal Arinze not the pope anyway? There are more Catholics in Nigeria than in Germany! As there are more Catholics in Brazil, and Mexico etc Catholics No Se Habla Espanol? These, and the Catholic Church refusal to ordain women remain my reason for being on self-exile or sabbatical from the Catholic Church, I will return to the Catholic Church when a Nigerian or African, person of African descent, a Brazilian, Mexican or Filipino etc becomes a pope! I believe in democracy, the majority vote, no vetoes power please!

Why doesn’t the Catholic Church take these things into account? I suppose it is because too many an African are too overjoyed with these received foreign wisdoms.

The playboy and philanderer who is also the current president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy was, no long ago quoted as suggesting or implying that colonialism was somehow some sorts of favors to the colonized peoples of the world. Because, the natives were primitive and the colonial powers needed to “civilized” the natives through the impositions of the cultures, religion, and languages of the colonial powers, who were brutal usurpers of powers which rightly belonged to the native peoples. One therefore wonders why the French were not dancing in the street when the German took over France! Sarkozy’s arrogance and impudence is simply infuriating!

And as for Pope Benedict XVI, his attitude to condoms as preventive tools, I guess we now know that those at the Catholic Church hierarchies, who molested boys, were obviously not interested in condoms as preventive measures against STDs, aside of the fact that pedophilia is indicative of moral bankruptcy and a pungently filthy felony.

And why is it, if we may ask, that the Catholic Church have not managed to convince the unrepentant boys-child molesters amongst Catholic priests, to refrain from molesting boys, by practicing abstinence as preached by the pope and George W. Bush? Physicians, Catholic pedophiles, heal thyself; of sexual urges and pedophilia through abstinence! It is easy! And practice celibacy, Catholic orthodoxies requires and demands it.

Yet, another double standards! As abstinence does not apparently apply to the pedophiles priests among the Catholic priesthood? Who hypocrisy, it stinks to high heavens and even poor innocent hell! Molested see hell!

Nobody apologizes to us about slavery, colonialism, apartheid and all types of oppressions and brutalities to which Africans have been subjected all through history. Why are Africans never angry about these ceaseless and endless affronts directed at Africans? Why do we turn the other cheek, always? We are admonished to move-on and get over the ugly hands dealt us, all through human history.

Africans should become more adamant insistent persistent, regarding fairness and justice to us Africans.

Is it not reasonable to expect that Africans will at some point rise, and reject these persistent maltreatments, historical ridicules and indignities which have been visited onto the Africans? Naturally, given the plights and predicaments of continental Africans, and peoples of African descent in Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the United States etc, you would think that Black people would have been the terrorists and suicide bombers of this world!

Given slavery, colonialism, apartheid, denial of reparations and all types of marginalization and exploitations; after hundreds of years of being treated worst than farm animals, of being burned, lynched, branded, stereotyped and driven to the wall, you would think, we would be angry! But instead, we are kind, magnanimous Christians and sundry religionists. Our placidity rises almost to the level of buffoonery!

The world does not mess with Arabs and Jews or Americans and Europeans because consequences abound.

Pope Benedict XVI came to Africa to tell us that science does matter! In doing so, he lied; he told a bold face lie. Next times he comes to any African country, he should not receive our affections which they take for granted anyway. Africans should damn, pelt and ignore this pope into irrelevance and the same treatment should apply to any subsequent pope who disrespects Africans.

Africans should detach from religious irrationalities and fanaticism. Africans should trust science and technology for development and advancement and eventual salvation of continental Africa and all peoples of African descent worldwide. That is the way the world works. No more reliance on papal pie in the sky preachments.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yoruba Gang Busted? Nigerians Are Dagger Drawn?

Yoruba Gang Busted? Nigerians Are Dagger Drawn?
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

There appear to be a new level of hostilities against Nigerians and Nigeria by Nigerians.
It is rapidly coming to its unpalatable climax, but, so far, at least, effects are limited to the cyber warriors, a facet of this cyber warfare has crescendo into an American court room.

Nigerians at home and abroad, who frequent the world wide web of the internet and particularly, Nigeria related websites, must have come across the controversies involving Madueke, Rotimi, Ugwuonye, Aluko in the preceding couple of months. The former Nigerian ambassador to the United States was removed. Removed, after what was said to be statements he allegedly made or which were attributed to him. Statements which were reported to be disparaging of a whole group of Nigerians; But some Nigerians suspected political or other machinations were at play.

Thereafter, there have been charges and counter charges by one ethnic group against the other, there have been personal attacks, in verbal and written altercations, some of which have culminated in legal proceedings alleging defamation etc.

Then, on or about May 14, 2009 there was a news report about identity theft in New York City, and it turned out that some Nigerians were involved in the fraudulent crime. And soon enough, some Nigerians reacted to the news by trying to castigate particular ethnic group as being preponderantly involved in such fraudulent practice. A cursory reading of such comment, demonstrated a carryover from the Madueke, Rotimi, Ugwuonye, Aluko etc debate which is already mentioned above.

These two incidents have intensified ethnic baiting and ethnic bashing. Debates about Nigerian national issues are too often beclouded and encrusted in ethnic flame-throwing brawls. It makes me think that most Nigerians have managed to internalize the hatred by others, towards Nigeria and Nigerians. It is rather shameful, that these Nigerians are supposed to be very educated in the western sense. Or shall we just say that these Nigerians are well credentialed? How can call a man educated or enlightened because he has a law degree, engineering degree or a medical degree or a PhD after his name while remaining an ethnic bigot and tribal brawler all the while? I used to think that education broadened human perspectives and horizons!

But what does anyone make of these ethnic warriors? A bigot with fine grammar and in fine clothes and PhD is still a bigot! He is still myopic, parochial and anarchic.

Many issues have therefore come to the fore, for me, two such issues are paramount. And the two issues lead to questions about our national identity and citizenship of Nigeria. And in my view, what happens to Nigeria, good or ill, happens to all Nigerians. Not to particular ethnic group or religion, state or region.

Therefore, it makes eminent sense and good logic that Nigerians would want to defend, protect and preserve Nigeria. Nigeria’s national and international image and pride of place on the world stage, and or global scheme of things should matter to all Nigerians.

Nigerians should take collective pride in the achievement of Nigerians and Nigeria. And when Nigerians or Nigeria receives a public sucker punch, such must be addressed as a collective, in defense of Nigeria and Nigerians. I have over the years, painfully observed the exact opposite. And it is as if it is getting worse. When ever Nigerians or Nigeria is accused, too many Nigerians are quick to point fingers at one ethnic group or the other. Bashing different ethnic group and blaming ethnic groups for different ills and challenges facing Nigeria, has become an escape route for some, instead of confronting and resolving such national challenges.

It is now the vogue for some Nigerians to be too quick to say Nigerians and Nigeria are guilty as charged, even before they consider the facts and before the evidences are presented and a case established against Nigerians or Nigeria. Why are some so quick to condemn other Nigerians and Nigeria?

An observation that I have made, after studying many commentaries by Nigerians in various Nigeria related internet websites is that, Nigerians of various ethnic and language groups put their loyalty and devotion to their ethnic or language group, ahead, over and above, Nigeria’s national interests. It is such that, these Nigerians… more correctly, these ethnic champions and tribal bigots, would engage others monumental debates in prodigious and rigorous defense of their ethnic or tribal domain.

These same persons would not spare a zilch percent of their vermillion flares of vigorous defense energy to defend Nigeria! This, in plain talk, means that, the ethnic and tribal bigots would manufacture phantasmagoric defenses of their group, even if accused of indefensible acts. Whereas, these ostensible logicians, are unable, unwilling and will refuse to murmur or muster any effort in defense, of Nigeria and or Nigerians are accused rightly or wrongly.

It bears repeating here again, that Nigerians, a majority of us, are law abiding and walk the straight and narrow path and we must not have our heads bowed, just because a minority of us, operate outside the laws. Why then, should Nigerians internalize external hatred based on sweeping generalizations toward Nigeria and Nigerians?

Why are some of these Nigerians not asking the right questions such as; how many Nigerians know about, or are responsible for, derivatives or the securitizations of mortgages which led to the global economic meltdown? What percentage of corporate greed and corruption in the current global economic meltdown were insinuated by Nigerians, at home or abroad?

Is Bernie Madoff, who with a few others responsible for making more than $70 billion go poof, a Nigerian? Why is it, that Bernie Madoff and some others can wipe out billions dollars in one single swoop of a ponzi -scheme, and no Nigerians is labeling and castigating his ethnic group and country, and yet, some Nigerians are willing to say, that they have corruption and greed in their own DNA? Bernie Madoff is just himself, Jeff Skilling is just himself, Ken Lay is just himself, Governor Blagoveich is just himself, but, Adamu Bola Chike is NIGERIAN? And we must all be cowering and bowed in shame as a collective or we must separate our ethnic group from a collective embarrassment?

Lest some Nigerians forget, it must be mentioned by the way, that fraudsters abroad who are Nigerians are mostly small time fraudsters, in comparison to big time crooks of the world, just ask Enron's Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Bernie Madoff etc. Ask Wall Street greed is good crowd.

Why should Nigerians who are not involved in any frauds be branded and castigated by anyone? Why is it, when it comes to Nigeria and Nigerians, one size always seems to fit all? Nigerians should hold heads high. I am holding my head high. I work hard; I am a decent human being comparable to any decent human being from any part of the world.

It is rather curious is it not? In the world of sports, and in recent times, Nigerian born athletes won medals for their adopted countries; these new countries and the media, never found reason to attribute such medals to Nigeria and let the medal glory reflect on Nigerians and Nigeria. But when it is a crime, they are glad to attribute the negatives to Nigerians and Nigeria? And what is worse? Some Nigerians are ever willing accept and internalize such selectivity?

There are about 150 million Nigerians on earth, and many Nigerians live abroad these days and many Nigerians are assuming new citizenship. It should be noted that in these multitudes, there will be good and the not so good. Happily, there are extraordinary Nigerians, the excellent Nigerians and the good Nigerians and the few that are not so good. What does anyone expect? A perfect multitude

A great majority of Nigerians abroad possess good education and marketable skills. I therefore do not foresee a situation where a Nigerian doctor, would be passed over by a medical establishment in the United States in favor of a plumber from a nation without "fraudster" image such as what country you may prefer?

Employers who need and prize Nigerians' intellectual human capital will continue to hire Nigerians everywhere in the world and government and businesses will continue to relate to Nigerians and Nigeria, if we define ourselves and assert ourselves.

Billions of America tax payer dollars flowed into Afghanistan and Pakistan during the last ten years... countries where Al Quaieda and Taliban interchangeably are headquartered. How much of these billions flowed into Nigeria? America has more trade and investment in Vietnam, than in Nigeria. America was in a war in Vietnam, 53,000 American troops died. Nigeria has always been best friend of America. Credit card frauds and corruption explains this disparity? Is there corruption in America and Vietnam?

Afghanistan produces 90% of world narcotics, and I make bold to say, I have never heard or encountered Afghans and Pakistanis in New York, with their heads bowed in shame, embarrassment...for the situations in their countries... I will say the same of Colombians narcotics reputation and Colombians never have this collective embarrassment and shame or self-loathing! Mexicans in America are involved in a great number of murders, gun violence and drug trade and Mexican immigrants are also known to be a hardworking lot and they offer no apologies to anyone and they remain as ubiquitous in America as Tacos, Tequila and Guacamole!

Why are Nigerians always heads bowed and in cowering positions? Someone once said that kneeling is not position of strength! It is our duty, our right and responsibility to define and assert ourselves as Nigerians. As Nigerians, we should bask and celebrate our diversity and engender unity. We must stop denying your Nigerian-ness. It is delusion and self-deceit to pretend that we are anything else, but Nigerians. We should be proactive in dealing with our challenges; instead of hiding behind ethnic and religious facades.

Why are Nigerians abroad more vigorous in the defense of their ethnic group, home state and religion or region, than they would, when Nigeria is attacked? Why are Nigerians more ferocious when something is said of Hausaland, Igboland, Izonland or Yorubaland? Anyone who follows internet forums and debate about Nigerians and Nigeria would be quick to detect the docility in Nigerians when non-Nigerians attack Nigerians and or Nigeria, with or without justifications; and conversely, see the ballistic response, when and if identical charges were made by non-Nigerians against Igboland, Izonland, Hausaland or Yorubaland!

You would be forgiven if you thought Igbo, Izon, Hausa and Yoruba etc are component parts of the multi ethnicities make up of Nigeria! It is the equivalent of wishing Armageddon on entire human race while somehow wishing no ill or evil to your ethnic group which is an intricate part of the human race! How could you want to detonate atomic nuclear bomb unto the geographic space of Nigeria, while at the same time hoping that a parochial and myopic goodwill toward your ethnic group, would extricate your ethnic group from the atom-nuclear blast with which you seek to wipe Nigeria off the map of the earth? How disingenuous or imbecilic-moronic could you be?

The act of serving, protecting and preserving Nigeria, is the beginning of elemental wisdom, for any Nigerian who seeks to preserve his religion, region, state, ethnicity etc. To think and or act otherwise, is simply tantamount to imbecilic infantilism, the act of shooting yourself in your feet or acting at cross-purposes with your best interests in the context of place, consistent with the best interests of the Nigerian nation as an indivisible whole.

How can anyone wish his heart well, while wishing entire body rot and disintegration? How can anyone wish to preserve his kidneys or liver, without a care for the rest of his entire body?

Nigerians should learn to bury the ethnic and religious hatchets. We as Nigerians must learn keep head up, chin high we should not internalize the sweeping generalizations against us. We have integrity, in its abundance. We should aspire and strive to thrive in every part of the world in which we may now live. We are part of the universal and global citizenship; we should no feel diminished in status and stature, because there are some persons born in Nigeria who do not live perfect lives.

Nigerians ought to realize that there are immigrants everywhere these days, those other immigrants are just as perfect imperfect as you and me, avoid blemish, but do not rub the blemishes of others on your own face. Other immigrants have imperfect countries hence they emigrate as like Nigerians do. Nigerians are not inferior to anyone. Nigerian immigrants are not inferior to other immigrants; if anything it is the case, that Nigerian immigrants frequently have more education and skills than most!

I find the nature and tone of comments by some Nigerians very disheartening. We must never lose sight of the fact that virtues and vices have no ethnicity or nationality. Virtues and vices are not Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba etc. Virtues and vices are not Nigerian, virtues and vices are human traits in their universality.

Here it must be understood that I abhor criminals. All criminals! I do not like criminals. And I therefore take the view that criminals are criminals are criminals; and that virtues and vices are universal, not peculiar, unique or especial, to Nigerians and Nigeria.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Swiss Banks: Demands By America and Nigeria

Swiss Banks: Demands By America and Nigeria
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

The federal government of the United States, is currently negotiating modalities for unravelling the tax evasion crimes allegedly committed by some 52,000 American citizens through offshore banking which they conducted with banks and financial institutions in Switzerland.

The current development above, is in addition to, actions taken by the governments and financial institutions in Europe and North America, shortly after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001. Actions which were rapid, speedy and swift.

These collection of actions culminated in the freezing and embargoeing of any money and or, other financial instruments connected to anyone from the Middle East or anyone of Arab descent, who was considered a real or an imagined terrorist.

At that time, it did not even matter whether the persons or institutions so suspected, were in fact connected to terrorist acts or whether they were contemplating and or in any conspiracy to commit terrorism. A mere suspicious, a mere allegation, a mere connection to some persons or charity, no matter how remote or tenuous,such, was considered by the George W. Bush government to be sufficient excuse, to freeze and embargo accounts, and, arrest and detain, even without trial, persons that have been,as such, suspected or accused, rightly or wrongly.

The Bush government's rationale was spelt out and pursued, premised on a mantra of, you either with America in the fight against terror, or your are against America. Mr. Bush pointedly stated that America would visit unpleasantness on anyone, organization or country that harbored persons suspected of terrorism or harbored resources for suspected terrorists.

Countries around the world, and in particular, Europe and the Americas, complied speedily. Banks and financial institutions were falling over one, after the other, to comply with Mr. Bush's government's demands across the board. This development was in of itself, not necessarily an evil one;Except of course for this one detail. Which is this. Prior to September 11, 2001,Transparency International and the rest of the world, cried to high heavens regarding the looting of public treasuries with impunity, looting and pillaging by government officials, elected or appointed, including those who usurped political power through barrell of the gun military coup or putsch.

It was widely and wildly believed, known or suspected,that those public officials who plunder and pillage public funds,had identical affection and preference for Swiss Banks and its secrecy and confidentiality rules.Rules, which barred Swiss Banks and government from divulging any information pertaining to lodgements of assets in Swiss Banks and other financial institutions.Even where the Swiss Banks and government suspects and or knows, that the assets and resources are proceeds of crimes such as terrorism, money laundry or corruption? Proceeds not from legitimate enterprises or proceeds not derived from the provision of goods and services. Why would they knowingly shroud a criminal? Or obfuscate issues with banking secrecy and confidentiality?

Money which leaves Nigeria, nay Africa, becomes part Swiss bottomline, part of Swiss GDP and become Swiss asset and resource. This means, that a sudden return of this chunks of money to Nigeria would cause a financial seismic shift to Nigeria's advantage.It just so happens as history has it, slave trade and colonialism after it, saw to it, that Africans were tools and a major factor in western development,and now again, we are witnessing usurpation of African assets and resources through new routes and machinations.

It is common knowledge,that Nigeria and a majority of other African countries, have been subjected to economic paralysis and underdevelopment, as a consequence of looting, pillage and plunder by those elected, appointed or those, who shot their way to power.

It is common knowledge, that these loots are more often than not, siphoned into these offshore safe havens outside of Africa. There are therefore questions that arise; why would these angels in Switzerland, Europe and North America act as safe havens for the lucifers of Africa? Why would the incorruptible and decent people, savor being bankers for rogues,monsters and agents of death and peddlers of misery? Why would decent peoples and decent governments of Europe act in cahoots with looters by providing safe havens and succor to those who loot with impunity and without remorse? Why would these same peoples and governments turn around to loudly proclaim their detest of corruption and agents of corruption from our shores?

What exactly shall we call any citizen, institution and or government which protects and shields stolen property? An accomplice and an accessory after the fact,with complete complicity and duplicity with the perpetrator or principal.

And more to my point, in all of these. Nigeria during President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration, vigorously pursued loot retrieval and repatriation as a national policy. This have meant a vigorous and prodigious pursuit of Nigerian assets and resources,in banks and other financial institutions in America and Europed, places, where looters have lodged such assets and resources. Nigeria expended money, huge amounts of money and energy,battling foreign banks and governments, in efforts to retrieve these loots. Foreign banks and governments, fought Nigeria's efforts, every step, after another step of the way.

The stiff and unprecedented resistance to Nigeria's retrieval and repatriation of assets and resources wrongly siphoned from Nigeria in the first place,were spectacular and extraordinary. This resistance have been vehement and has been uniformly so everywhere, but more particularly so in Switzerland. Switzerland prided herself as having secrecy and confidentiality in banking as second-nature, all that, until Mr. Bush showed up after September 11, 2001 upon which Mr. Bush demanded that the Swiss and everyone else promptly open their bank vaults for search terrorists who were then claimed to be every where, and everyone, including the Swiss complied!

Now, President Obama of the United States, for a different reason,quite unrelated to Mr. George W. Bush's phantom war on terror, has asked the same Swiss Banking system and the government of Switzerland, to divulge and disclose the banking specificities of 52,000 Americans who may have in the process, evaded payments of American taxes on their earnings and the Swiss are literarily,kicking and screaming, but in all,obliging the American government with her demand, but, wait, why does the same courtesy not apply to Nigeria? Why is there this double-standards in these matters?

Why is it, that those who accuse us and proclaim publicly, the vapidity of corruption, are the same ones protecting the corrupt thieves and their plunder? Why is it, that those who are quick to scandalize Nigeria's name regarding corruption, are the same ones who are splendidly uninterested in being on Nigeria's side, in efforts to retrieve assets and resources which were stolen from Nigeria and stashed in their banks in America, Europe and Switzerland in particular? What explains this double standard?