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Letter from Africa: The Nigerian who composed hymns from a leper colony

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In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes about the Nigerian man who composed some 200 hymns, despite having leprosy.
Nigeria’s most famous victim of leprosy was fatally injured in a motor accident 40 years ago, and a ceremony is being held to mark the anniversary of the music composer’s death.
Born in 1905, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte was diagnosed with leprosy as a teenager, at a time when there was no effective cure for the dreaded disease which usually leads to deformity of the hands and feet.
People suffering from leprosy were often isolated or driven away from their communities. Whyte channelled his experience of suffering and stigmatisation into music, and went on to compose more than 200 inspirational hymns.
“He wrote with the stubs of his thumb and index finger,” said 77-year-old Achinivu Kanu Achinivu, a professor of music who was a friend and protégé of Whyte.
“He wrote very slowly. It took him a whole day or more to write one page of music.”
Presentational grey line
Who was Ikoli Harcourt Whyte?
Born in Abonnema, Rivers State of Nigeria in 1905
Diagnosed with leprosy in 1919
Inmate at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Colony in south-eastern Nigeria from 1932, despite being cured in 1945
Composed over 200 hymns, mostly in the Igbo language
Set up a choir made up of people living with leprosy, who toured Nigeria
His choir sang for British dignitaries who visited colonial Nigeria
Included Ikoli (a traditional name) in his birth name, so as to not be mistaken for a foreigner
Died in a motor accident in 1977.
Whyte’s talent for music was developed at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in what is now Abia State in south-eastern Nigeria, where he spent the last 45 years of his life.
Before then, he had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Port Harcourt, capital city of his home state of Rivers in the Niger Delta, which had a thriving leprosy ward.
When residents of Port Harcourt, known as the Garden City, agitated for the removal of the lepers in their midst, Whyte led the other patients to resist attempts by local authorities to evacuate them forcefully, insisting that they be provided with an alternative location instead.
Cured, but still in the colony
His persistent activism partly led to the intervention of Methodist missionaries, who then established the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in 1932, with Whyte and his fellow patients as some of the first set of inmates.
“The work at Uzuakoli was hugely significant,” said John Manton, Irish historian and anthropologist of medicine.
“It was the place where the dosage of dapsone for treating of leprosy was standardised in the early 1950s, and the first clinical trials of clofazimine took place there in the early 1960s – these are two of the drugs that are used as part of multi-drug therapy for leprosy today.”
It was also in Uzuakoli that Whyte met British missionary and medical doctor, Thomas Frank Davey, a music lover and a pianist – an association that became the catalyst for his music career.
“Dr Davey taught him everything he knew about music, that he acquired by studying the Methodist hymn book,” said Mr Achinivu.
During trips to surrounding and remote villages to treat leprosy patients, Dr Davey recorded the traditional music of the people.
He then encouraged Whyte to develop his own personal style by listening to and composing songs that sounded more like those tunes, rather than the ones in the Methodist hymn book.
Even after Whyte was eventually declared cured of leprosy in 1949, he chose to remain at the Uzuakoli centre, where he formed a choir made up of other patients.
His first wife, who also had leprosy, had abandoned him there a few years earlier after she was cured, leaving him with their two children.
Aura of hope
Soon, books of Whyte’s hymns were being sold in different churches across the region, and choirs from around Nigeria were visiting the leprosy centre to listen to and learn from him.
Tales abound of the reach and impact of his music, most of which was written in his local Igbo language and focused on hope in spite of trials and tribulations.
“In the evenings, people from all walks of life came and he would teach them the music which God had shown him in dreams,” said Enyeama Okoroafor. Now in his 70s, Mr Okoroafor is currently the oldest resident at the Uzuakoli centre, having been diagnosed with leprosy as a child and abandoned by his family.
“At the time, because of his fame, we regarded him as the most senior person here and gave him that honour and respect. Because of what he was doing, he moved with many important men.”
The decision to change the name of the chapel at the leprosy centre from Colony Chapel to Chapel of Hope was inspired by the aura that pervaded the hall whenever Whyte and the choir rendered his music.
“He didn’t want instruments with his music so that they wouldn’t overshadow the message,” said 85-year-old Godwin Harcourt, Whyte’s oldest child.
“From his songs, you could get solace, advice, things that would awaken your hope in God.”
Godwin grew up in the leper colony with his father, although living in separate quarters, and became a school teacher.
“Every school I was sent to, I made sure I formed a choir there so I could teach his songs,” he said.
Apart from church services, Whyte’s choir sang for various dignitaries from Britain who visited colonial Nigeria.
Some say that the Queen of England also became aware of his music, and once requested his hymns to be played by the BBC on Christmas Day.
And, during the Nigerian civil war when leaders of the Igbo ethnic group attempted to secede and form a different country called Biafra, Whyte’s songs were popular as a source of courage and hope.
Singing with lepers
“Each time we gathered, the chances were that we would end up with some recording of his,” said Ejike Ago, 73, who fought in the Biafran army.
“It is not only the Biafran soldiers alone. The Christians, each time we gathered had his recordings playing.”
First republic of Biafra was declared by Nigerian military officer Odumegwu-Ojukwu in 1967
He led his mainly ethnic Igbo forces into a deadly three-year civil war that ended in 1970
More than one million people lost their lives, mostly because of hunger
Decades after Biafra uprising was quelled by the military, secessionist groups have attracted the support of many young people
They feel Nigeria’s central government is not investing in the region
But the government says their complaints are not particular to the south-east
The new campaign for Biafra
Why I stopped mispronouncing my Igbo name
How I was banned from speaking Igbo
“He was always going on tour with his choir,” said Whyte’s grandson, Somiari Harcourt, a 50-year-old medical doctor who spent some of his childhood years living with the composer.
“I did not appreciate his music until I became older, then the songs began to make sense. I became amazed that someone could write so much with limited education.”
“I was breaking bounds to go to the leprosy colony to listen to his music, to sing with his choir,” said Mr Achinivu.
“My family were afraid that I would catch leprosy but I still went. I had no fear. The force of music was so strong.”
Whyte was also invited to teach his music in schools. It was while teaching at the nearby Methodist Boys’ High School in Uzuakoli that his and Mr Achinivu’s paths first crossed in the early 1950s.
“The secondary school invited him to teach his songs to the school choir and I was a member, and he discovered that I was talented in music,” Mr Achinivu said. “Whenever he didn’t come, he handed over to me and that was my beginning to conduct choirs.”
Mr Achinivu’s family were horrified when he informed them that he had changed his mind about studying medicine, deciding to study music instead. They refused.
And then, Whyte paid a visit to his family home.
It was rare for the musician to leave the leper colony and pay personal visits, so people ran out to catch a glimpse of him when he arrived, Mr Achinivu recalls.
Whyte declined the eager efforts of Mr Achinivu’s mother to play hostess. He had come for a single purpose.
“He told them: ‘Allow my son, Achinivu, to study the music that he wants to study. Who knows? He may be the one to tell the world about me and my music.'”
That heartfelt statement not only succeeded in persuading Mr Achinivu’s family, it also proved prophetic.
Since 2012, he has occupied the Harcourt Whyte chair in choral music at the University of Port Harcourt.
‘We can’t present lepers to the world’
Four years after Whyte’s death, renowned Nigerian playwright, Ola Rotimi, was commissioned to produce a play for Nigeria’s 21st Independence Day anniversary on 1 October, 1981.
He chose to base it on the life of Whyte and approached Mr Achinivu, who offered him his thesis for all the information he might need.
Mr Rotimi then asked Mr Achinivu to provide the music for the production, titled Hopes of the Living Dead.
The professor assembled a choir that worked hard to learn dozens of Whyte’s songs.
But, when they travelled from south-east Nigeria to the then capital city of Lagos to attend rehearsals a few weeks ahead of the big day, a director at the Nigerian ministry of culture was not impressed with Mr Rotimi’s plans.
“He said that we couldn’t be presenting lepers to the world on Nigeria’s 21st independence anniversary,” Mr Achinivu said.
And the national performance was cancelled.
Hopes of the Living Dead was eventually staged in some school theatres.
“Ikoli Harcourt Whyte had lessons to teach Nigeria,” Mr Achinivu said. “Simplicity, humility, service, courage.”
The management of the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre hopes that the 40th anniversary of Whyte’s death – taking place on 25 and 26 November at the Chapel of Hope where his grave lies – will revive interest in his life and work and attract more support for their effort to educate the public on leprosy.
The disease is now completely curable, detecting symptoms early prevents deformity, and there is no longer any need to stigmatise or isolate sufferers.
“The man and the centre seem to have been forgotten by people,” said Joshua Okpara, a Methodist priest and project director of the centre.
“It is a story that needs to rise again. We saw the need to revive people’s minds back to his contributions. It is necessary for people to start looking towards his impact and also to help.”

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In Brief :Obiano Condoles with Nze Emeka Olisah.

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Governor Obiano Condoles with Nzeh Emeka Olisah, Chairman Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) on the recent demise of his wife, Mrs Chinwe Olisah who passed on at 63.
The Governor visited the Olisahs in their Ngozika Estate home in Awka earlier today.
Pix shows Governor Obiano signing the Condolence Register, in a photo-up with Nze Olisah and his children and finally the bereaved family, the Governor and Chief Maja Umeh, former Commissioner for Information, Anambra State.

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News Pictures Of The Day : APGA Finally Unveils Presidential Aspirant, Running Mate – Ready for 2019

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After years of absence in the presidential elections in the country, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has said that it will present to Nigerians a presidential candidate during its non-elective convention scheduled for October 7.
Addressing journalists yesterday at the end of the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, the National Chairman, Victor Oye said a presidential aspirant, Maj. Gen. John Gbor (rtd) who hails from Benue State as well as a vice presidential aspirant, Jerry Chukwueke from Imo State have purchased APGA’s nomination forms.

Maj. Gen. Gbor

He said that he and the members of NWC are working hard to reposition the affairs in order to improve the fortunes of the party.
Oye hinted that the leadership of the party is making arrangement to organise a transparent primary election that will be a model in the country.
Speaking about preparations for the 2019 general elections,, Oye said that APGA has witnessed remarkable rise in the number of aspirants that purchased its expression of interest and nomination forms, adding that the party has sold its nomination forms in the whole of the South West, Zamfara, Niger, Gombe, Plateau and Taraba states.
“ People have been coming to buy our forms and for the first time in the history of this country, APGA can match the top political parties in the sale of forms.
“APGA manifesto is ranked the best in the country. So what does that tell, it tells you that if APGA is given the opportunity to manage the affairs of Nigeria, we will do very well,” he said.
When asked to disclose the amount of money the party has generated from sale of forms, Oye said that the figures are not yet ready but that the party has harvested more aspirants than in the past.
On the chances of APGA in the forthcoming general elections, Oye said the party has very bright chances of upstaging other contenders.
According to Oye, the performance of APGA in Anambra State is a case study, noting that governance in the state has become like what obtains in other climes, abroad.
Also the APGA boss said that the party has been receiving notable defectors from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The party is structured in such a way that it will always deliver good governance wherever it governs. With the support of all patriotic Nigerians, APGA will take this nation to desirable level.
“Nigeria can no longer continue to work in a slow pace as we are currently doing. We need to work at a faster rate if we need to get to the eldorado of our dream,” he said.


ThisDay 

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WAEC Clears Adeleke Of Certificate Forgery

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The West African Examinations Council, WAEC, has cleared Senator Ademola Adeleke, a governorship candidate of certificate forgery brought against him by two chieftains of the All Progressive Congress, APC.

The council in an affidavit deposed to by one Osindeinde Adewumi and filed at the registry of the FCT high court, Senator Adeleke was confirmed to have sat for the senior secondary certificate examination in May/June, 1981.
The affidavit was filed in compliance with the order of Justice Othman Musa asking WAEC to supply the court with the result. WAEC confirmed that Senator Adeleke with candidate number 149 and center no 19645 sat for the exam at Ede Muslim high school, situated at Yidi road, Ede in Osun state .

The ledger containing the result of all the candidates
And the certified true copy of the ledger indicated that senator Adeleke who is currently representing Osun west senatorial district in the senate sat for only English language in the examination.
Wahaab Raheem and Adam Habeeb of Apc had approached an Abuja high court asking it to disqualify Adeleke from participating in the September 22 governorship election in Osun state on the ground that he does not have the required qualification.
The two in their application claimed that the PDP candidate did not sit for the WAEC examination in 1981 because the senior secondary school certificate had not been introduced by 1981.

They also argued that the National Examination Council, NECO examination Adeleke claimed he sat for could not be genuine because NECO was not in existence when he claimed he sat for the exam.
Justice Othman Musa in his previous ruling ordered Adeleke to appear before the court to show cause why he should not be disqualified in the forthcoming election.
The judge also ordered the WAEC to make available the exam ledger and also swear to an affidavit to confirm or deny the participation of Adeleke in the 1981 WAEC examination.
Although the case was to be heard on Tuesday, Justice Musa was said to have gone on official assignment making it impossible for the court to make pronouncement on the matter.

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Osodieme Condoles with Nzeh Emeka Olisah

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The wife of the Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) has condoled with the Chairman, Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board, (ASUBEB) Nze Emeka Olisah and family over the death of his wife, Mrs. Chinwe Olisah, who passed away earlier this month.

Wife of the Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) signing the condolence register at the residence of Nzeh Emeka Olisah in Awka.

Osodieme visited the bereaved family Tuesday evening in Awka to commiserate with them over the painful loss.
In her message, the widower, Nzeh Olisah, Osodieme prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of late wife, and urged the family to remain steadfast, especially during this period of grief and seek solace in God, the ultimate consoler.

(L-R): Chairman, Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board, (ASUBEB) Nze Emeka Olisah and wife of the Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) during the condolence visit in Awka.

Said she:
“As you mourn her demise, be consoled that she did not labour in vain. My prayer is that God will grant her eternal rest and grant you and your family the fortitude to bear the loss.”

Osodieme’s condolence message in the register.

Signing the condolence register, Osodieme expressed sadness at the demise of Mrs. Chinwe Olisah who passed away after failed health and wrote: “May her gentle soul and souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.”
The late Mrs. Olisah was aged, sixty-three.

Chairman, Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board, (ASUBEB) Nze Emeka Olisah and wife of the Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) during the condolence visit in Awka.

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Police declare Adeleke PDP candidate wanted for Exam malpractice

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Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate in the Osun election on Saturday may not be qualified to run for the office and his attempt to make things up, has landed him in Police trouble.
The police asked him and four others to report today to their Special Investigation Panel at the Abuja headquarters for arraignment in court.
He and the other suspects will face a charge of examination malpractice, criminal conspiracy, impersonation.
The police named the other suspects as
MR Sikiru Adeleke, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School , Egbedore LGA, Osun State), Mr Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (School Staff responsible for the registration of candidates for NECO), Mr Dare Olutope (School Teacher who facilitated the commission of the crime).
Here is the police statement:
On 21st July 2017, the Osun State Police Intelligence Bureau (SIB) received and acted on an actionable intelligence about an ongoing examination malpractice involving Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke at OJO/Aro Community Grammar School in Osun state.
“When the Police operative arrived at the school, only Sikiru Adeleke was found seated for the examination while Senator Ademola Adeleke seat was vacant and was suspected to have escaped before the arrival of the Police operatives.
“Further investigation revealed that both Senator Ademola Adeleke and his brother Sikiru Adeleke registered and were sitting for the National Examination Council Examination (NECO) 2017 as internal candidates impersonating students of the School at the ages of 57years and 42years respectively. This crime was facilitated by the principal of the school, and two other members of staff of the school for which they are under investigation and being charged to court.
“The Principal of the school, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau, the staff responsible for registration, Mr Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo and a teacher Mr Dare Olutope were arrested on 21 July 2017.
“Senator Ademola Adeleke was arrested on 27 July 2017 and Sikiru Adeleke was arrested on 8 August 2017.
“Senator Ademola Adeleke made cautionary statement and admitted that he registered for the 2017 NECO examinations as an internal student in the said school but he didn’t sit for the examination.
“However, Police investigation revealed the following primafacial and culpability facts against Senator Ademola Adeleke andfour (4) others.
“Senator Ademola Adeleke made cautionary statement and admitted that he registered for the 2017 NECO examinations as an internal student in the said school and did not sit for the examination but have a result from NECO with Seven (7) Credit and One (1) Pass, a copy of which was obtained from NECO by the Police.
“The Ojo/Aro 2017 NECO, SSCE school photo album (School’s copy), with Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke Photographs in school uniform in the said album. Senator Ademola Adeleke in the NECO 2017 Result obtained by the claimed that he was born on 12th June 1997 but in his statement to the Police, senator Ademola Adeleke wrote 13th May 1960 as his Date of Birth.
“The photographs of both Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke appearing side by side in the photo album have no NECO stamps on them.
“ Senator Ademola Adeleke and four others were arrested, investigated, granted bail and being charged to court. Charges of Examination Malpractice, Criminal Conspiracy, Personation, Breach of Duty, Aiding and Abetting against Senator Ademola Adeleke (PDP Governorship Aspirant in the 22nd September, 2018 Gubernatorial Election in Osun State) and four (4) others namely; MR Sikiru Adeleke, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Egbedore LGA, Osun State), Mr Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (School Staff responsible for the registration of candidates for NECO), Mr Dare Olutope (School Teacher who facilitated the commission of the crime) have been filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja under the Examination Malpractice Act, CAP E15, 2004 today, Wednesday, 19th September, 2018.
“Consequently, Senator Ademola Adeleke (PDP Governorship Aspirant in the 22nd September, 2018 Gubernatorial Election in Osun State) and four (4) others namely; MR Sikiru Adeleke, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Egbedore LGA, Osun State), Mr Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (School Staff responsible for the registration of candidates for NECO), Mr Dare Olutope (School Teacher who facilitated the commission of the crime) are hereby advised in their own interest to report to the Special Investigation Panel, Force Headquarters, Abuja immediately for arraignment in court.


NAN

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Flooding: NEMA puts 12 states on watch list

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has placed 12 states on a watch list of state that could face devastating consequences of increased flooding.
The states are: Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Edo, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers and Bayelsa.
NEMA Director-General Mustapha Maihaja said the peculiarity of the listed states placed them on the list of those that require close watch and other emergency management agencies.
He added that stakeholders have agreed that NEMA could activate its National Contingency Plan; which allows it to establish structures that will respond to emergencies.
The Plan gave NEMA the legal backing to activate five Emergency Operational Centers (EOCs), across Nigeria to professionally handle issues that, expectedly, would arise from the natural disaster.
“EOC A will handle operations in Kebbi, Niger and Kwara States. EOC B will be in charge of Edo and Kogi States, and the EOC C will oversee operations in Anambra and Delta States.
“EOC D will also oversee operations in Benue, Adamawa and Taraba States, while EOC E has been mandated to take care of operations in Rivers and Bayelsa States. NEMA headquarters will coordinate the entire operations,” Maihaja said.
Last week, NEMA raised the alarm that water level at Confluence of River Niger and Benue, at Lokoja, had risen to significant 10.98 meters which were one of the signals that heralded the 2012 devastating flood across Nigeria.
It also confirmed that the flood situation might get worst in some states in few days time with all indications and signals that Lagdo dam in Cameroon would be discharged soon.

Nigeria
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Anambra Flooding: LG Primary, Tertiary Schools Shut in Ogbaru

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All primary, post primary and tertiary schools in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State have been temporarily closed down in reaction to the flood disaster in the area.
The council Chairman, Mr Arinze Awogu, disclosed this while inaugurating the distribution of relief materials at the council headquarters, Atani, on Tuesday.
Awogu said the closure of the schools was in line with the directive of Governor Willie Obiano who said schools in the affected areas should close down to avert loss of life.

“We are in an emergency situation and for us, safety of life is paramount, people will not have need for education when they are dead.
“So in line with the directive of the governor, we have asked that all the schools in Ogbaru be temporarily shut down,” he said.
He said that a 12-man Local Emergency Management Committee had been set up to ensure effective rescue and coordination of victims as well as distribution of relief materials to those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
The council boss said Ogbaru had taken delivery of buckets, mattresses, mats, mosquito nets and blankets from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) but noted that it was still a far cry from what was required.
According to Awogu, about 190 households comprising of no less than 1,100 persons are presently at the three Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camp located at the council secretariat, Community Primary School, Odoekpe and St. James Anglican Church, Iyiowa.
He noted that 13 out of the 16 villages were on the coastal bank of River Niger and all had been critically affected by flood, adding that the remaining three were also highly exposed to the menace.
The chairman, who had also been sacked from his house, said no life had been lost to the flood in Ogbaru at the moment, stressing that destruction of property, farm, farm produce and livelihood of the people was massive.
He urged people to move to the camps and decried their reluctance to leave their ancestral homes.
“We are close to where we found ourselves on 2012, when the water’s height was 12.84 metres and as at yesterday it stands at 11.80 metres, so you can see how close we are to it.
“There are 16 communities in Ogbaru and 13 of them are along the river bank; all these towns are terribly submerged.
“These are Odoekpe, Atani, Akiri, Ochuche, Mputu, Osamala, Oguikpele, Obaogume and Ummunankwo and they are all gone.
“Others are Obagu, Umuzu, Obaogume, Ogbakuma. All these towns are submerged, no place is safer than the other.
“It is a humanitarian challenge here, we need the best help we can get. It is good that the federal government has declared Anambra flood a disaster. We want to see massive deployment of relief materials here.
“We need effective medical assistance because of the looming epidemic; we need food, disinfectants, toiletries and other emergency items.
“What we are distributing is what we got from SEMA. We want NEMA to react to their declaration by massively deploying relief materials here,” he pleaded.
He thanked Obiano and the people of Ogbaru who had helped to draw attention to the disaster and also rendered assistance.

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APC must retain Osun, Buhari advises

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday attended the grand rally of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshogbo, where he said the state must be retained by the party.
He appealed to the people not to allow darkness to take over the state of Osun.
Buhari said that the people should come out massively to vote for APC and not allow corrupt people to have their way in the state.

The President restated that APC had zero tolerance for corruption and that Nigerians would continue to kick corrupt leaders out of the polity.
“Nigeria must be free of corrupt leaders,’’ he said as he assured the people of the government’s commitment to completing all projects abandoned by previous administration in the state.
Aside the continuation of road projects in the state, he said that the federal government was constructing a transmission line and sub-station to boost electricity supply in the state.
Praising Governor Rauf Aregbesola for the strides made in infrastructure development, especially in the area of education, healthcare, security and housing, Buhari assured the people that a vote for APC candidate, Mr Gboyega Oyetala is a vote for sustenance of development.

He said he was in the state of Osun for the good of the people.
President Buhari said Oyetola was ready to work and thanked the people for their hospitality, warmth, friendliness and respect they accorded to the leaders of the party.
Earlier in his speech, the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, expressed gratitude to Buhari for assisting to mobilise the people to vote for the party.
“President Buhari’s presence in Oshogbo is not to retain what APC already had but to assure Osun people of the readiness to consolidate and build more on what the people already have,’’ he explained.
Oshiomhole explained that the eight years of APC’s administration had brought many changes and changed the face of Oshogbo and the state of Osun.

Giving the assurance that APC’s candidate, Oyetola was ready to work, he said: “Governorship is not for apprentices but for those who want and ready to work.’’
“This is not the era for those who will want to engage in familiarisation tours but somebody who knows the terrain and ready to work.
“The contest is not for those who will turn the government house to disco house, but for those who are ready to serve and work; we need people who have the passion, people with character, and people with conviction.
“These are trying times, we need people who are competent, people who can manage finances, and those who can also generate revenue.’’


Describing Oyetola as more suitable for the job, Oshiomhole said the candidate would continue with the people-oriented, people-driven and people-support programmes of Aregbesola.
He said that APC was celebrating Osun state where a level playing group had been created for children of all classes.
He said the one-day –a-meal programme for children in schools adopted by Osun state has benefitted the children of the “poorest workers and poorest farmers’’.
Many governors as well as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Lasun attended the rally.

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Flood: Obiano Holds Emergency Meeting With Stakeholders, Urges Residents Of Riverine Communities To Relocate

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BY KENECHUKWU OFOMAH

Ahead of the imminent flooding , Governor Willie Obiano has met with Heads of Agencies with responsibilities to participate in emergencies in the event of the deluge.
Present at the emergency meeting held at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia at the instance of the Governor were Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA,
Chief Paul Odenigbo and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Primus Odili.
The meeting also had in attendance, members of the State Security Council and Heads of Agencies involved in emergency response activities among others.
Addressing the meeting, Governor Obiano said with emerging information indicating very worrisome signals concerning the rising flood level in some parts of the State and the latest information about Cameroun opening its dams, the meeting has become imperative to reappraise the initial strategies developed by the State Government to check the flooding.

The Governor, who noted that the State had commenced preparations for the event about five months ago, revealed that Holding Centers have been established across the affected Council areas and equipped with facilities to cater for displaced persons.
He appealed to residents of the affected areas to heed the warning by relevant agencies and vacate the flood-prone areas on time, assuring that his government is committed to their welfare.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Okeke in his remarks, acknowledged that all the agencies with responsibility during the flood have been designated to their various tasks and now await mobilization and deployment.
Briefing the meeting, the Executive Secretary of SEMA, Chief Odenigbo, said having finished with the Holding centers at Ogbaru, they have activated the nine Holding Centers in Anambra East Council Area and are now moving materials to them.
He noted that the water level is presently at eleven point eighty as against that of 2012 which was at twelve point eighty-four at its worst, adding that the signs are real of a devastating flood ahead.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike said the Ministry has worked out measures to establish sick bays at the holding centers with doctors designated to handle health emergencies that may arise.

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Nigeria Fires Back at HSBC After Bank Criticizes President

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  • Government says bank laundered more than $100m for Sani Abacha
  • Lender had said second term for Buhari raised economic risks

Nigeria accused HSBC Holdings Plc of money laundering after an analyst working for the lender said that a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari may stall economic recovery in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

“What killed Nigeria’s economy in the past was the unbridled looting of state resources by leaders, the type which was actively supported by HSBC,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement late Saturday. A bank that “continued until a few months ago to shield the stolen funds of one of the leaders of the Nigerian Senate has no moral right whatsoever” to criticize Buhari, he said.

Nigerian investigations revealed that HSBC had laundered more than $100 million for Sani Abacha — a military dictator who died in 1998 — in Jersey, Paris, London and Geneva, Shehu said. A spokesman for HSBC declined to comment.

Nigeria’s allegations against the London-based lender come almost two months after it published a research note saying that a win for Buhari in February’s elections “raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term.” The note was written by David Faulkner, a Johannesburg-based economist, on July 18, but was only widely publicized in Nigeria last week.

‘50 Other Nigerians’
“With the coming of President Buhari, it is not a secret that corruption, corrupt individuals, banks and other corporate entities that aided corrupt practices are under investigation for various offenses,” Shehu said in the statement. HSBC “is also suspected in the laundering of proceeds of corruption involving more than 50 other Nigerians.”
The Nigerian government is facing intense criticism of its economic management in the run up to the elections and several ruling-party lawmakers have defected to the opposition. Nigeria was battered by the 2014 slump in crude prices and its economy is still struggling.

The main opposition People’s Democratic Party said on Sept. 12 that HSBC’s research showed a Buhari victory “portends grave danger” for the country.

‘On Edge’
“With the incoming election everybody is on edge and any analysis that is used to sway negative public opinion will be squashed as quickly as possible,” said Michael Famoroti, an economist at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management Ltd. “It’s possible the government is right in its claim but it completely missed the point because the issue HSBC raised had nothing to do with criminal or non-criminal activity. What is seen from their comments is that they don’t have the answers to the criticisms raised by HSBC.”

Regulators have long accused the world’s biggest banks of helping manage the illicit fortune amassed by Abacha, who ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death. In 2001, a U.K. financial watchdog said 15 lenders showed “significant control weaknesses” in handling $1.3 billion linked to him and his associates. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice froze more than $458 million in funds allegedly generated through corruption hidden in bank accounts — including at HSBC, Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG — in what it described as the “largest kleptocracy forfeiture action” in its history.

HSBC has a representative office in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, but doesn’t operate a full banking unit in the country, unlike rivals such as Citigroup and Standard Chartered Plc.


Paul Wallace , Emele Onu , and Donal Griffin
— With assistance by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo, and Stefania Spezzati

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Book Review : The Morning Sunset By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru

 

By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru
The Morning Sunset is a book written to sensitize our people over the issue of engaging in a perilous journey to Europe via Libya. It is a story written for everyone: the youths; kids; fathers and mothers. The continuing migration of people into Europe across the Mediterranean is unnecessary. People are not born to waste their future that way.
The Morning Sunset is simply passing a message to people in Africa. Those that have not been opportuned to visit western world think that it is a bed of roses. In fact a paradise . Where as it is not like that. Many chose to come in search of greener pastures. They believe that Europe is the only place they will have the opportunity to get a better life for themselves and that of their families.

My messages to Nigerians and Africans are that our people should not abandon any tangible thing they have or their education just to embark on this long and dangerous journey through road and desert because the life in Europe does not worth such risk . Also let some parents and relatives be aware especially those that are anxiously waiting for the day their beloved children will come back from Europe but they never knew that the bones of their children have been rotten in Sahara deserts and in the seas of foreign land.

 


Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru is originally from Nigeria but lived in Italy for several years before moving to Leicester , UK.

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