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Bullet removed but Pakistani girl still critical

“Pakistan vows to punish Taliban over attack on teen

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Doctors have removed a bullet from a 14-year-old child campaigner shot by the Taliban in a horrific attack condemned by national leaders and rights activists.

Malala Yousafzai, 14, is in intensive care after being shot in the head in broad daylight on a school bus on Tuesday, in an assassination attempt that has appalled a country where thousands have died at the hands of Islamist extremists.

We wish to bring home a simple message: we refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost

The attack took place in Mingora, the main town of the Swat valley in Pakistan’s northwest, where Malala had campaigned for the right to an education during a two-year Taliban insurgency which the army said it had crushed in 2009.

Pakistani soldiers carry injured Malala Yousafzai, 14.Pakistani soldiers carry injured Malala Yousafzai, 14. Photo: AFP

She faces a crucial 48 hours following surgery to remove the bullet lodged near her shoulder, where it moved after entering her head, in a military hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where doctors described her condition as critical.

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Preparations were made to fly her abroad, but a military source said she was too ill to travel.

Her uncle Saeed Ramzan said doctors told the family Malala was stable after the three-hour operation.

Yousufzai rose to fame for speaking out against the militantsYousufzai rose to fame for speaking out against the militants Photo: REUTERS

“But they said the next 48 hours are important and after that it will be decided whether she will be sent abroad or not,” he said at the family home in Mingora, which is under heavy police guard.

“We saw movement in her body today but she is still unconscious.”

President Hamid Karzai of neighbouring Afghanistan, where a fierce Taliban insurgency is raging, telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari to condemn the attack, according to a statement from the Pakistani government.

“Such incidents of barbarity strengthen national resolve to fight militants to the finish,” Mr Zardari told the Afghan president.

Doctors earlier confirmed the bullet had been removed from Malala’s shoulder and the Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, said she would remain in Peshawar until medics agreed she could be moved.

“Malala’s condition is improving after the surgery and doctors will keep her in a state of unconsciousness for two days,” Mr Malik said. “Every effort has been made to ensure that she does not suffer brain damage. But anything can happen in such a situation.”

There has been shock and revulsion in Pakistan, where schoolchildren across the country on Wednesday offered prayers for Malala’s recovery and small protests against the attack were held in Mingora, Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore.

The powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani visited Malala on Wednesday and said it was time to “further unite and stand up to fight the propagators of such barbaric mindset and their sympathisers”.

“We wish to bring home a simple message: we refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost, we will prevail inshallah [God willing],” he said.

The provincial government announced a 10 million rupee ($102,000) reward for information leading to the capture of Malala’s attackers, who escaped after the shooting.

Malala won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls schools and terrorised the valley.

Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls denied an education by Islamist militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting local Taliban since 2007.”

Agence France-Presse

-Sydney Morning Herald

The world’s 10 deadliest cities

San Pedro Sula ... the graffiti reads, ''Hopefully, this will not happen to you.''San Pedro Sula … the graffiti reads, ”Hopefully, this will not happen to you.” Photo: Reuters

“Living in Latin America, it seems, can be hazardous to your health. A combination of drugs, organised crime and governments that are, at times, ill-equipped to handle the challenge has proved to be lethal, leaving a trail of violence through cities up and down the Americas, from Brazil to Honduras to Mexico, according to a Mexican think tank, the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.

According to its rankings, the 10 cities with the world’s highest homicide rates are all in Latin America. Latin American municipalities make up 40 of the top 50 murder capitals, and it’s not until No. 21 (New Orleans) that a city outside Latin America makes an appearance. This comes with a caveat: the study only included cities for which statistics about homicides were available, which means cities facing bloody civil wars for which statistics are hard to come by – like Aleppo, Syria – won’t be on the list.

No. 1: San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Ciudad Juarez ... a bullet casing at the scene of a shooting where three girls, aged 12, 14 and 15, were killed.Ciudad Juarez … a bullet casing at the scene of a shooting where three girls, aged 12, 14 and 15, were killed. Photo: Reuters

When Colombia cracked down on its notorious drug trade in the late 1980s, the traffic moved north to Mexico. But since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in 2006, the next stop for traffickers has been Honduras. Almost 80 per cent of the cocaine working its way up from South America to North America now stops in Honduras, bringing an onslaught of drug- and gang-related violence with it. Honduras’ homicide rate is currently the world’s highest and San Pedro Sula’s homicide rate is the highest in Honduras, at 159 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011. By comparison, Detroit’s murder rate is a paltry 48 per 100,000 residents. Located in northwestern Honduras, San Pedro Sula is the country’s main industrial centre and second-largest city, after the capital. But lately, the city’s economic role has been largely overshadowed by violence. Examples of gruesome massacres abound, including one in a park last year that took the lives of four people, including a 22-year-old primary-school teacher.

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No. 2: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

This border town – a departure point for illegal drugs bound for the United States – has been a perennial contender on lists of the world’s most dangerous cities. Juarez earned its grim reputation as a result of a turf war between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels that killed more than 6000 people between 2008 and 2010, corrupted members of the police force and the government, and turned the city into a ghost town. This year, there have been signs that the violence is abating: While a single month during the drug war’s peak could produce a body count of more than 300 people, the first seven months of this year witnessed just 580 homicides, according to The Washington Post. Observers attribute the decline in bloodshed not to effective policing, but to the Sinaloa cartel’s triumph in the battle for control of the city. Still, with a rate of 148 homicides per 100,000 residents, Juarez is violent enough to secure the second spot on the murder capitals list.

Acapulco ... soldiers stand outside a house where gunmen killed an elderly woman and two of her grandchildren, aged 2 and 6.Acapulco … soldiers stand outside a house where gunmen killed an elderly woman and two of her grandchildren, aged 2 and 6. Photo: AP

No. 3: Maceio, Brazil

Brazilian officials have sought to turn this former sugar-mill town and port city into a tourist destination based on its long, sandy coastline. Their efforts, however, have been hampered by a homicide rate of 135 murders per 100,000 residents. The authorities in Maceio – the capital of the northern Brazilian state of Alagoas – blame the rising violence (murder rates have soared 180 per cent over the past 10 years) on the growing presence of crack cocaine in the favelas around the city. Perhaps to keep tourist money flowing, officials also claim that most victims are drug users who are killed for failing to pay up on debts.

No. 4: Acapulco, Mexico

Once renowned for its beaches, high-rise hotels, and a nightclub scene that drew the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor – has not escaped the drug-related violence that has engulfed the rest of Mexico, and it is now the country’s second-most violent city, with 128 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Fighting for control of the southern state of Guerrero has led to shootouts on what were once the main drags in Acapulco’s resort area, while severed heads have been found in prominent locations around the city. Unsurprisingly, foreign tourism has suffered; the head of Guerrero’s travel agency association estimated in November 2010 that US and Canadian tourism had fallen 40 to 50 per cent in the span of a year. “We have to defend Acapulco to defend Mexico,” said Miguel Angel Hernandez, a police chief, in 2011. “Acapulco is Mexico. It’s a brand that sells.”

No. 5: Distrito Central, Honduras

Made up of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa and its twin city Comayaguela – has been engulfed by much of the same violent dynamics – drugs, gangs, inequality – as San Pedro Sula in the north. Death has become so commonplace here that the mayor this year began offering a free-of-charge burial service to the poor after he got tired of seeing so many bodies tied up in garbage bags. While gangs, corruption and poverty have long been present in Honduras, it’s the country’s new role as a major artery in the south-north drug-smuggling ecosystem that has escalated violence to a new level. A coup d’etat in 2009 left political chaos in its wake, which has only empowered drug traffickers; that same year, the country’s top anti-drug official was shot to death in his car in Tegucigalpa. Distrito Central now has 100 murders for every 100,000 residents.

No. 6: Caracas, Venezuela

The so-called malandros – gangs of young men who spar over turf and the right to push drugs – have made the Venezuelan capital a virtual war zone. In 2011, Caracas witnessed 3164 homicides – a staggering figure just shy of the total number of coalition fatalities in Afghanistan during the entire 10-year conflict in that country. Venezuelan officials have been accused of fudging murder statistics, and the actual number of homicides is likely much higher than the reported figure. To make matters worse, up to 90 per cent of murders in Venezuela go unsolved. It’s no surprise, then, that the rampant violence proved to be the primary issue in the Venezuelan presidential campaign with Henrique Capriles Radonski blasting President Hugo Chavez for failing to stem the bloodshed. (Since Chavez’s election in 1998, the murder rate in Venezuela has doubled.) Experts say that easy access to guns, a culture of violence among young men, and a lack of police and prosecutors have combined to create a perfect storm of lawlessness and a homicide rate of 99 murders per every 100,000 residents.

No. 7: Torreon, Mexico

A victim of Mexico’s vicious drug war, the northern city of Torreon is now the scene of constant cartel-related killings as the country’s drug lords battle for control of lucrative trafficking routes to Mexico’s northern border. Last year, the city saw 88 homicides per every 100,000 residents. On a single Sunday afternoon in July, 10 people were killed in the city, five of whom were dismembered and two of whom were decapitated. And as the drug war has intensified, it has become increasingly difficult for normal citizens to escape the conflict.

No. 8: Chihuahua, Mexico

Situated about 250 kilometres from Mexico’s border with Texas, the Mexican city of Chihuahua is a key transit point for cocaine heading toward the United States and, as a result, an important battleground for cartels interested in controlling drug-shipment routes. Violence in Chihuahua has become increasingly unhinged, reaching an average of 83 homicides per 100,000 residents. On April 15, for example, about 10 men dressed in tactical gear – complete with skull patches – stormed a bar and opened fire, killing 15 and wounding two, including two journalists. Nearly 50 journalists have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon came to power in 2006, and cartels increasingly target journalists who dare to report on the drug war.

No. 9: Durango, Mexico

In 2011, the sheer scale of Mexico’s drug war found perhaps its most gruesome expression in a series of mass graves unearthed by authorities in the northern city of Durango. Authorities came across one in the backyard of an upscale home and another on the lot of an abandoned auto shop. After the discovery of these so-called fosas, which contained 340 bodies in total, Durango residents began submitting DNA tests to determine whether relatives who had disappeared were among the victims. Discovery is one thing, but it is extremely unlikely that anyone will be brought to justice for these crimes. When asked about the investigation, a spokesman for the state prosecutor told a reporter, “Anybody who might have seen something will never talk out of fear.” When pressed about who owned the land where the bodies were found, he asked the reporter, “Do you want me to wake up alive tomorrow?” In 2011, the homicide rate in Durango reached 80 murders per every 100,000 residents.

No. 10: Belem, Brazil

With cocaine streaming in from Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, Belem has become a natural transit point for South American traffickers. The drug enters the city through the dense forests of the northern Amazon region by aeroplane or through the Amazon’s many tributaries by boat, after which it is then shipped to other Brazilian cities or across the Atlantic to Europe and North Africa. That makes Belem, where the homicide rate has hit 78 murders per every 100,000 residents, an attractive piece of real estate, and violence has increased there accordingly. The city also bears the downsides of Brazil’s rising prosperity. As the country has grown richer, its inhabitants have consumed more and more cocaine. The Financial Times has called this rise in cocaine consumption – Brazilians now snort or smoke some 18 per cent of the global supply – the “most worrying side-effect of the country’s recent consumer boom”.

Foreign Policy

Source : Sydney Morning Herald

EXCLUSIVE – Chief Obafemi Awolowo On Biafra (In His Own Words)

“During the 1983 elections, Chief Awolowo was hosted to a town hall interview in Abeokuta, where in addition to other pertinent topics of the day, he spoke on his role in the civil war, the 20-pound policy, starvation as a weapon, change of currency, abandoned property etc. Collectors item.


CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO IN HIS OWN WORDS

Introduction:

A

t the age of 11, he struggled through primary school here at Wesleyan School Imo, Abeokuta. He then became a teacher, he was a trader, he was a school clerk, he was a stenographer, he was a transporter, he was a produce buyer, a unionist, name it, he has experienced it all. He even knows the problems of the police, the warders and the prisoners, because he was there.

When he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 1963, and he predicted a glorious dawn many did not believe that he will live to see the glorious morn which we are having today in Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Bendel and Lagos states.

That at 74, he’s here today is a testimony to the fact that the great good Lord and Allah needs him to save Nigeria.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is a self made man, who battled all the institutes of life to rise to the highest peak of his calling as Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He was first leader of government business, and first premier of the old western region. The first leader of opposition in the federal republic of Nigeria, the first chancellor of the University of Ife, first civilian deputy chairman in any military government in Africa, the first man ever to win the highest honor from an opponent as the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the greatest moment of my life as I present to you the next president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

At this point I’ll hand you over to the moderator.

 

Moderator:

Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Governor of the state- Chief Bisi Onabanjo, the deputy governor- Chief Sesan Soluade, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the interview panel, I’m welcoming our distinguished guest – Chief Obafemi Awolowo to this program. Its going to be a 90 minutes program during which one hour of the period will be spent by the interview panel to ask various questions on various issues from Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The following 30 minutes will be devoted to the audience to ask questions either English language or in Yoruba. And I want to appeal to the audience to keep very quiet throughout the program because this is an important program which we are having today, we want to use the program to get as much information as possible from Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo and to enable us determine who to vote for in the presidential election.

 

Programs of UPN And Qualification to be President

 

Well, Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo, our first question, which we are allowing you 30 minutes to answer this question, is to tell the audience and the viewers at home the programs of the Unity Party of Nigeria, and also especially what qualifies Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo to be the next president of this country, taking into consideration our national economy, the nation’s social services, and also the nation’s foreign policy.

(interruption)

What I was saying was that we are giving Papa Chief Obafem Awolowo 10 minutes within which to tell the audience and the viewers at home the programs of the Unity Party of Nigeria, and also especially what qualifies Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo to be the next president of this great country, taking into consideration the nation’s economy, the nation’s social services, possibly too the nation’s foreign policy, thank you sir.

Programs of UPN

 

Awolowo:

I thank the moderator for the questions. The programs of the Unity Party of Nigeria are well known, and I have no doubt that all of you are now familiar with them.

There are four cardinal programs on which the UPN embarked in 1979. They are free education at all levels, free medical services- services to include curative and preventive services, integrated rural development which is a very wide program, and also full and gainful employment.

The beauty of our program is that they are programs which embrace every aspect of our desires. All of us want education, we want health services, we want food, we want our rural roads to be developed and we want our rural areas to be developed in the same way as the cities and towns. Under the integrated rural development all these things are included. Of course all of us want to be employed, and gainfully so.

Other important aspect or feature of our program is that it is the first time in all political history as far as I know, that a political party enunciate program which are all embracing, in other words all public problems are summarized and epitomized in our four cardinal programs. Think of anything at all, electricity supply, water supply, anything you can think of – they are all included in our four cardinal programs.

Now most of the programs are things which can only be handled by the states, and the question now is in what way does the federal government help in executing these programs, especially those aspects of them that belong to the states. It is the duty of the federal government which holds the resources of the nation to see that the states are sufficiently supplied in executing these programs.

The outgoing NPN government did not pay enough attention to this aspect of their responsibility, instead they have tried to embark on projects which rarely (…inaudible..) when we get control, we will see to it that enough funds are available for the states. Right now, our 4 cardinal programs are being implemented in only 5 states out of 19, reason, of course is that we are not in control of the remaining 14 states. We hope that at the next elections we will be control of the majority of the 19 states in the country. But whether we are in control of the majority or not, it is the duty of the federal government controlled by the UPN to see to it that every state embarks on the four cardinal programs and implement them for the good of the people.

 

Qualification to be President

A second question has been asked what qualifies me for the job of president of the federation of Nigeria. Well, I believe that I am qualified, if I don’t believe so, I wouldn’t have applied for the job in the first instance. I always like to tackle any problem that is difficult and challenging.

I was talking to a friend the other day……. power is the greatest motivation of any human being, I said that if it were not so why would anyone want to be at the head of Nigerian government after Shagari shall have relinquished office. He’s leaving behind a huge foreign debt, not to talk of local debt of something like 14 to 16 billion naira. They have failed in every respect, there’s no food, not enough food for our people, not enough of the things that we require in our various houses, the country is depressed, there’s poverty everywhere and there’s hunger and why should anyone want to be the head of that kind of country. But the more difficult situations become, the more I feel like tackling that kind of situation. Because anyone who is able to handle a difficult and intricate complex situation and is able to make a success of it …..write in letters of gold, so to say, in the history of that country.

So I believe that I can handle the situation of Nigeria, I have an ambition, and that is within 4 years and 8 years, to lay a foundation of progress which no rascal, which no other President however rascally he may be, can destroy.

I am determined, for instance, to see that water flows in every part of the country. The states are in charge of water supply, but I will see to it that the states have enough money to supply water in every part of the country. Electricity will be supplied uninterrupted to all our people whether they’re in cities, towns or villages, and so on and so forth. And telephone communications will be available, even in the villages. It will be possible for a person living at Igan Alade, to cite and example or at Odeda, to telephone to Abeokuta to Ibadan to Oyo to any part of the country to Kano and also beyond to Tokyo and London, if not why not.

So I believe I can get these things done and that is why I want you to vote solidly for me my esteemed supporters.

Moderator: I now call on Mr Oparadike to ask the first question. Mr. Oparadike.

Success Factors

Question: Many people believe that after so many tries, in the past, you now have a good chance of being the next president of Nigeria. Should that be the outcome in October this year, to what will you attribute such a victory. To the Mitterrand principle under which the people will say you have tried long enough let’s give you a chance to see what you can do or will it be attributed to a better…the people’s better appreciation of what you stand for.

Awolowo:

Well, I do appeal to the audience to be quiet so I can hear the questions, otherwise I can’t give the correct reply. Well, when by the grace of God I succeed on the 6th of August, I shall attribute that success to the providence of God first of all, and then to perseverance on my part. Many people fall by the wayside, they try the first time they don’t succeed, then they give up or second time or third time. Well one of the things that has sustained me in this world is that I keep on trying. When I know that a goal is good and beneficial to other people I strive to attain that goal come what may.

So I’ll attribute my success to the providence of God, the grace of God, and to perseverance, and also to the fact that after some time however falsehood may prevail in a community, sooner or later truth also shall prevail over falsehood.

When we enunciated our 4 cardinal program in 1979, our opponents did say these things are not possible. One NPN leader said “they’ll be performing magic if they are able to introduce free education and free medical services on first of October 1979”. Most people believed them because they’re unusual….they were never done anywhere before, all we did in the old western region was to free primary education in 1955, but this business of free education at all level is something novel, it’s something strange, and they were not sure whether anyone, any government, could implement them.

Now over the 4 years we have succeeded in implementing them to the satisfaction of all those who have benefitted from them. And the news have spread all over the country, even in the north where people use to say they didn’t want free education, they didn’t want education at all, people now want free education everywhere and that is why they cry in the north “changi changi” all over the place. And they have no doubt in their mind that if that change is to take place I, by the Grace of God, should lead the team that will effect that change. That is the position.

 

Expanding the Base Beyond the West

Question (Sina Bamgbose): I have a follow up question – Chief Obafemi Awolowo, there is no doubt that you are full of talents, and that you are one of the idols in the realm of politics in this continent, but it seems that …..today needs leaders with national outlooks and it seems your problem and political party is acceptability by the other ethnic groups in this country, what do you say to that?

Moderator: Can you repeat the question please.

Question: There is no doubt as I said earlier, that you are a man of talents, but the problem you seem to face is that other, although among the Yorubas your very person and your party are very popular, among the Yorubas. But it seems that the problem you have is breaking the frontiers, that is reaching into other ethnic groups in Nigeria. That seems to be your problem. What do you say to that?

 

Awolowo:

Well, that’s a very good and fair question. He’s been pointing out to me, if I heard him properly, that whilst am accepted in the old western region, among the Yorubas mainly, my problem is acceptability among the other ethnic groups in the country.

Well, in the old days of the Action Group, I was well accepted among the so-called middle belt people, that is, among the people of Plateau, Benue, Gongola, and Kwara. Then, in the eastern side of the country, I was well accepted by the people of what is now known as Cross River, Calabar province at that time and also by the people of Rivers state which we then know as Rivers province. And also I was accepted in Borno I’m being reminded.

But then something happened, and I don’t like to go into that long history. Some leaders in the north thought I was too much of a threat to them and they went all out to fight back, first of all, by imprisoning me, and wherever they thought they could get away with it.. even killing some of my followers. And then of course they turned their attention to me and then got me out of circulation for some time in the hope that once I was out of circulation, it will be possible in the meantime to pass a preventive detention act which will then keep me in prison for the rest of my life. But man proposes, God disposes.

That went on, until 1979 or 78 when ban on political activities was lifted. Then I went all out to campaign among the people of non-Yoruba areas. It has been suggested that I didn’t make efforts enough to widen my base. Since 1952 I made strenuous, strenuous and relentless effort to widen the base of the Action Group, and I succeeded to the extent that the Action Group at that time was the only party that control the regional government and have opposition members in all the other regions, in the other two regions, the only party that did, no any other party did.

Anyway, now the position is that, as a result of perseverance and preaching the same doctrines, doctrine which when implemented will benefit all the people without exemption. I’ve persisted in preaching free education since 1942. The first memorial that we submitted to the secretary of state on the subject was written in 1942. And since then I’ve openly advocated free education at all levels, and mass education for the adults so that they too can become literates, and I still advocate these things up till now.

Because of this persistence in advocating what is good for the people, the people now realize that they have no other friend or they have no better friend than UPN under my, by the grace of God, my leadership.

The result is that today, and it use to be the case that wherever I walk the masses use to hail me but when it came to voting they will vote differently, because they were under very great stress and duress to vote differently. But today, the position is completely different, whether we go to Sokoto, or to Borno, or to Bauchi, or to Kano, or to Kaduna or Benue or Plateau, wherever you go, the school master is already abroad. Everyone wants to be educated, everyone wants his children to be educated, and for these reasons, the masses throughout the country are prepared to vote for the UPN. I shall not be surprised if at the conclusion of the election, the UPN gets more votes, so you should beware, the UPN gets more votes, in percentage terms, in the northern region- the old northern region, than in the southern part.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to appeal to you again for restraints and quietness so that we could ask as many questions as possible, we are still going over to the audience, and we have only taken two questions from the panel of interviewers. Please, exercise restraint and keep quiet. Mr. Sonala Olumhense.

 

Awolowo:

I just got a note from one of my colleagues at Thisday that a gentleman by the name of professor Mamoud Tukur, I think he is the younger or elder brother of Bamanga Tukur, the NPN governorship candidate for Gongola, and he says that, he has spoken today on Radio Kaduna defending my leadership. This never happened before.

I’ve been told by one of the leaders in the North that when they grew up into politics, they found a parcel and on that parcel it was written don’t touch, you know, like having something in the corner of the room covered up and you tell some children “don’t touch that o, it will bite you”. It really doesn’t bite. It may even be that you put inside there cakes and biscuits, and you tell the children “it will bite you if you touch” so the parcel bears the inscription “don’t touch” but after some time they were watching closely the parcel, and they discover the content appear to be good, now they open the parcel and found that all the contents are good. So the position today now is that whilst in 79 it was difficult for me to get a running mate from among the northern brothers and sisters, and whilst it was difficult for us to get the educated elite to work with us, today we have the vast majority of the educated elites and we have succeeded in getting Alhaji Mohammed Kura, the Makanam of Bisau, who has been described in one of the opposition papers as a political giant, he’s now my running mate. So things have changed throughout the country, and let’s wait until August 6th and 7th and we shall…………………….

 

How Policies Will be Executed

 

Moderator: Mr. Sonala Olumhense.

Question ( Sonala Olumhense): Mr. Awolowo, it is true that the widespread cry in Nigeria now is for change, it is true that many people in Nigeria are now crying for change, and the events, elections of August will tell whether you are that change. But if you come to power in October this year, you be inheriting, as you yourself noted this afternoon, a foreign debt of something like 14 to 16 billion naira as well as local ones, and you’ll be inheriting an economy that’s in a very bad shape.

In spite of these problems, in spite of these obvious problems many of the promises that you are making to the electorates are being timed for October or a few months after October. How do you think you can overcome the problems as I have enumerated so as to be able to execute your promises in the short run?

Awolowo:

Well, that’s a good question, and a fair one. When we take over on October 1, as I’ve said before, we’ll be taking over a debt of about 14 billion to 16 billion. I say 14 to 16 billion because they are now about to succeed to get 2 billion loan from the bank, that will take us to 14 billion roughly, they expect 2.5 billion from the IMF, that will take us to 16.5 billion. We’re going to be faced with the payment of the principal as well as the interest.

Now we don’t want to be, declared a bankrupt nation. A bankrupt nation is a nation that’s unable to pay its debts and that hasn’t got enough resources to pay the debt. Fortunately, we have the resources, but how long it will take us to pay 16 billion and at the same time carry out and implement our promises is another matter.

It is not easy sitting down here to give an accurate answer to the question because one need a number of facts which are not available now. One thing that many Nigerians don’t appreciate is that the Nigerian government doesn’t give us accurate figures about its affairs and activities. For instance the Nigerian government itself doesn’t know how much it owes, and one of the difficulties in raising the 2 billion naira loan from the banks is that they say they are owing 2 billion trade debts whereas the banks say they are owing up to 3 to 4 billion.

I’ve said this before that most of the corporations, especially the big ones don’t know how much they owe and they don’t know all their creditors, they can’t identify them all. And on one occasion they pay monies  ( I hope they paid, if the money didn’t go to their pockets) to people who they did not owe anything at all, and fail to pay those whom they owe. So its not possible for me sitting down here not having all the figures to know exactly how to go about it, but during the war, during the civil war, I did something to get the debts of Nigeria, how do I put it, to renegotiate the debts Nigeria owe at the time. I knew how I did it at that time, and this is not the forum for telling people how it was done because Shagari might try to(… general laughter.. ) so, all I know is we are taking over with our eyes open, we know that our interest rate will be something like 1 point something billion a year, and we have to pay, that is if they come from favourable sources and not from LIBOR market.

 

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Question: Chief Awolowo sir, my own guestion is about political violence , with the election  approaching fast the mass of Nigerians are beginning to panic and some of your political opponents have insinuated that some of your utterances’ are likely to incite your supporters into violence.

For example the quickly refer to this paper publication at one time that you said any news media or mass media which publishes false election result will be destroyed, but I think in another vein, you try to take back  that speech when you went to Cross River state , but some of your followers have made their position rather to blunt like Chief Bola Ige, for instance has said consistently anybody who rigs the election will not live to hear the result. In another vein, Honorable  Tadish Ismail  when i asked him concerning political violence he insinuated that rigging is a violence act therefore it must attract violence retribution.

Chief, sir would you like to seize this opportunity to sound to this audience whether represented individual views or views of your party whichever way it is, would you want to clarify  your position on political violence?

 

Awolowo: I don’t believe, and I say it emphatically, in political violence or any form of violence at all because violence breeds violence, greater violence. Greater violence breeds still greater violence and so forth, and no one who wants democracy to prevail in the society will favour violence.

Democracy thrives under an atmosphere, in an atmosphere of peace, concord and tolerance. You cannot promote democracy unless the people of the area in which they want democracy to thrive are tolerant to one another.

But at the same time democracy does not favour any act of blatant criminality. All that I’ve said and I want to repeat here is this – policemen are law enforcement agents, they are agents of the people. The people are the keepers of the law, they are the makers of the law, the keepers of the law and the executants of the law. What we are practicing here is representative governance, representative democracy.  The whole of people of Ogun are selecting 36 people only to make laws on their behalf, but they are their agents for the purpose of making laws, they are selecting only one person as Governor to execute the laws, but there are millions of them selecting just one man. And the whole of Nigeria are selecting only one person to be their executive head. So it’s all about representing the people for the purposes they elect us.

What I say is simple, and it’s part of the philosophy of law, that if you have an agent who is to carry on certain things on your behalf and he refuses to do those things on your behalf and you want and those things are requisite and must be done, then it is your duty to go there and do them yourself. If you put an agent in your shop to sell things on your behalf and he’s refusing to sell, you want to sell and you want to make profit, then you go into the shop, dismiss the agent and carry on yourself.

So all I say is this, if there’s any trouble anywhere get the police informed about it, and say here’s this man wanting to burgle my house, he’s already equipped with weapons to enter my house and take my things away, and the police refuses to do his duty, then you go there it’s within your powers to do those things yourself.

And in connection with the elections I say when NPN thugs come to town, lock your doors. I’ve said repeatedly, and the audience here can bear me witness, those who have listen to me, lock your doors, lock your shops so that they don’t come and loot your properties, your goods, your wares. Lock up, and stay in your houses. Don’t provoke anyone, don’t throw stones at anyone and don’t involve in vulgar abuse against anyone, but whilst you are in your house, if some thugs comes there or a thug comes to your house to try and molest you. If there’s a policeman around, call his attention to it, if there’s no policeman around you just have to do something to help yourself. You can’t wait, you can’t leave him in your house and go out to the policeman to report. It may be too late.

I gave the instance of Awotesu, who on one occasion in 79 came to Ikenne to campaign. I’d already preached this sermon to people, and all the people of Ikenne locked their doors. They haven’t got, well, they had 4 members in Ikenne or about 6 members in Ikenne at that time, but they did not want the people of the town to know they were members of the NPN, so he came to the place, brought his audience, as the NPN leaders do now, wherever they go they carry their audience with them like a snail. Now he brought his audience with him, in one or two vans, brought the chairs on which they were going to sit and brought the table on which he was going to mount and address. So he came to a place they call Ajino market- it’s a junction, come from Lagos and turn right and get to my house. It’s about 200 yards from my house or so, he mounted the table, abused me for about 20 minutes and went his way. It doesn’t matter to him, but that’s all he could do. But if they were to go out of their way and enter the house of the people, I’ll say react.

No man can lord beyond his house. A man’s house is his castle. As a matter of fact, the law is- that if a man invades your house and wants to kill you, you can kill him. You don’t want to wait until he kills you or kills your wife or kills your child. That is the position in the law, and all I want to achieve is to warn people not to invdulge in thugery.

Then rigging is the worst form of violent robbery, and robbery is a crime. When a man goes to the police station and rigs an election, he’s rigging the will of millions of people, and that is dangerous. And I’d already added in one or two places, and Ebino Topsy had written an articles on it, on what happens to riggers in history. And I’d always had in mind when I say that those who rig will not live to tell the story, I don’t say they’ll die, but not be around to tell the story, and I’d always have in mind the case of Syngman Rhee.

Syngman Rhee of Southern Korea was a great fellow, some. He led his people to freedom and independence. And they revered him a lot, respected him very much. Then he used to win elections and on this occasion he got it into his head that his son-in-law should be his Vice-president. People said you’re alright by yourself, you’re president, we are returning you unopposed but your son-in-law we don’t want him to be our Vice-president. Here’s this other man in the party who’s going to be our Vice-president. Syngman Rhee objected, so the other man who the masses wanted stood as independent Vice-president, and his son stood on the platform of the party.

The election was held, and the people voted solidly for the other man. Then Syngman Rhee saw to it that there was a false announcement. He then announced that his son-in-law had won the election, and the people ask “did you vote for him?” “I didn’t vote for him, I didn’t vote for him” where did he get his votes from?

You know I told this story the first time in 1962 on May 28, at the press conference to warn Balewa and co that they should desist from what they are doing. I told them the story of Syngman Rhee, I told them the story of Menderes of Turkey and one or two other stories and I ended up by saying let those who think they stand beware lest they fall, let those who think they stand beware lest they fall. That was what I said at the time, and of course they used that as evidence against me in the treasonable felony trial, that I wanted them to fall.

Anyway, the people reacted and said your son-in-law hadn’t got a single vote in this country, how could he be Vice-President? So first of all, as ….the women match forward with the children, they said No it can’t happen, so Syngman Rhee then ordered that his police men should disperse them. The police men too did vote at the election and they knew they didn’t vote for his son-in-law so they refused to disperse the crowd. Then he called in the soldiers, the soldiers too voted, and they knew they didn’t vote for his son-in-law, and they refused to disperse the crowd.

So he found himself alone and the people matched on the palace, and he then begged that they leave him alone, they said well we’ll allow you to go out of this country forever. And so he left in a car, boarded a plane and left the country on that day. He died about 4 or 5 years ago in Honolulu, if I remember rightly, at the age of ninety-something. And the son-in-law, in the meantime, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

So this is what we want to avoid, it’s a warning to all intending riggers, because this time, it’s not going to be trouble in the western region alone, there’s going to be throughout the country right up to Sokoto and Shagari’s village. My warning is to them, not to do robbery. Don’t you warn high-way robbers “if you go and commit High-way robbery you’ll be shot”? don’t we say so to them, but that doesn’t mean that you’re inciting anybody against anybody, you are only saying high-way robbers should desist from high-way robbery and live a peaceful life. All we say now is that riggers should stop and violent men should stop being violent.

See what the NPN has done so far- they killed three of our people in Ado-Ekiti in cold blood, they also killed six of our people, I hear nine altogether now, in Modakeke. Well, I don’t know what the people will do, I won’t know what they will do, and I don’t want to know what they may do if this sort of thing continue. You can’t sit down and people kill your men and just watch them idly. Let killing stop, let violence stop, and there’ll be no violence from us. We want to win, and under peaceful condition, and we therefore want free and fair elections, free from violence, free from rigging and free from any act of fraud.

CIVIL WAR

Moderator: Yes Mr…….Mr. Oparadike.

Question: Chief Awolowo, your stand on the civil war, however unpopular it may have been to the Biafran people…Your stand on the civil war, however unpopular it may have been to the Biafrans or Ibo people, helped to shorten the war. Today, you’re being cast as the sole enemy of the Ibo people because of that stand, by among others, some of the people who as members of the federal military government at that time, were party to that decision and are today, in some cases, inheritors of power in one Nigeria which that decision of yours helped to save. How do you feel being cast in this role, and what steps are you taking to endear yourself once again to that large chunk of Nigerians who feels embittered.

Awolowo: As far as I know, the Ibo masses are friendly to me, towards me. In fact, whenever I visit Iboland, either Anambra or Imo, and there’s no campaigning for elections on, the Ibo people receive me warmly and affectionately. But there are some elements in Iboland who believe that they can maintain their popularity only by denigrating me, and so they keep on telling lies against me. Ojukwu is one of them. I don’t want to mention the names of the others because they are still redeemable, but ….Ojukwu is irredeemable so I mention his name, and my attitude to these lies is one of indifference, I must confess to you.

I’ve learnt to rely completely on the providence and vindication of Almighty God in some of these things. I’ve tried to explain myself in the past, but these liars persist. Ojukwu had only recently told the same lie against me. What’s the point in correcting lies when people are determined to persist in telling lies against you, what’s the point. I know that someday the Ibos, the masses of the Ibo people will realize who their friends are, and who their real enemies are. And the day that happens woe betide those enemies. The Ibos will deal with them very roughly, very roughly.

That has happened in my life. I have a nickname now, if you see my letterhead you’ll find something on top, you’ll find a fish done on the letterhead. Some people put Lion on theirs, some people put Tiger, but mine is Fish. And Fish represents my zodiac sign, those of you who read the stars and so on in the newspapers; you’ll find out that there’s a zodiac sign known as pieces, in Latin pieces mean Fish.

So I put pieces on top, that’s my zodiac sign being born on the 6th of March,….er well, the year doesn’t matter, it’s the day that matter. And then on top of it I write Eebudola. All of you know the meaning of that. You know I don’t want to tell a long story but………………Awolowo school, omo Awolowo, the…… started in Urobo land, in mid-west in those days. They were ridiculing my schools, I was building schools –brick and cement, to dpc level, block to dpc level and mud thereafter. And so the big shots in the place..”ah what kind of school is this? is this Awolowo school? Useless school” and when they saw the children..”ah this Awolowo children, they can’t read and write, Awolowo children” that’s how it started, with ridicule, and it became blessing, and now they say “Awolowo children, they are good people” no more ridicule about it, that’s how it started, so the Eebu becomes honor, the abuse became honor.

And so when I look back to all my life, treasonable felony, jail, all the abuses that were heaped on me, to Coker Inquiry, all sorts, and I see what has happened to the people who led, who led all these denigration campaign, where are they today? Those that are alive are what I call Homo Mortuus- dead living, oku eniyan, that’s what they are, those that their lives have gone.

So when I look back, I come to the conclusion that all these abuses which have been heaped on me all my life for doing nothing, for doing good, they have become honor, and so Eebudola is one of my nicknames. So I’ve cultivated an attitude of indifference, I’ve done no evil to the Ibos.

During the war I saw to it that the revenue which was due to the Iboland- South Eastern states they call it, at that time..east central state, I kept it, I saved the money for them. And when they ….was librated I handed over the money to them- millions. If I’d decided to do so, I could have kept the money away from them and then when they took over I saw to it that subvention was given to them at the rate of 990,000 pounds every month. I didn’t go to the executive council to ask for support, or for approval because I knew if I went to the executive council at that time the subvention would not be approved because there were more enemies in the executive council for the Ibos than friends. And since I wasn’t going to take a percentage from what I was going to give them, and I knew I was doing what was right, I wanted the state to survive, I kept on giving the subvention – 990,000 almost a million, every month, and I did that for other states of course- South eastern state, North central state, Kwara and so on.

But I did that for the Ibos, and when the war was over, I saw to it that the ACB got three and a half million pounds to start with. This was distributed  immediately and I gave another sum of money. The attitude of the experts, officials at the time of the ACB was that ACB should be closed down, and I held the view you couldn’t close the ACB down because that is the bank that gives finance to the Ibo traders, and if you close it down they’ll find it difficult to revive or to survive. So it was given. I did the same thing for the Cooperative Bank of Eastern Nigeria, to rehabilitate all these places, and I saw to it as commissioner for finance that no obstacle was placed in the way of the ministry of economic planning in planning for rehabilitation of the war affected areas.

TWENTY POUNDS POLICY

That’s what I did, and the case of the money they said was not given back to them, you know during the war all the pounds were looted, they printed Biafran currency notes, which they circulated, at the close of the war some people wanted their Biafran notes to be exchanged for them. Of course I couldn’t do that, if I did that the whole country would be bankrupt. We didn’t know about Biafran notes and we didn’t know on what basis they have printed them, so we refused the Biafran note, but I laid down the principle that all those who had savings in the banks on the eve of the declaration of the Biafran war or Biafra, will get their money back if they could satisfy us that they had the savings there, or the money there. Unfortunately, all the banks’s books had been burnt, and many of the people who had savings there didn’t have their saving books or their last statement of account, so a panel had to be set up.

I didn’t take part in setting up the panel, it was done by the Central bank and the pertinent officials of the ministry of finance, to look into the matter, and they went carefully into the matter, they took some months to do so, and then make some recommendation which I approved. Go to the archives, all I did was approve, I didn’t write anything more than that, I don’t even remember the name of any of them who took part. So I did everything in this world to assist our Ibo brothers and sisters during and after the war.

And anyone who goes back to look at my broadcast in August 1967, which dealt with post-war reconstruction would see what I said there.

STARVATION POLICY

Then, but above all, the ending of the war itself that I’m accused of, accused of starving the Ibos, I did nothing of the sort. You know, shortly after the liberation of these places, Calabar, Enugu and Port Harcort, I decided to pay a visit. There are certain things which I knew which you don’t know, which I don’t want to say here now, when I write my reminisces in the future I will do so. Some of the soldiers were not truthful with us, they didn’t tell us correct stories and so on.

I wanted to be there and see things for myself, bear in mind that Gowon himself did not go there at that time, it was after the war was over that he dorn himself up in various military dresses- Air force dress, Army dress and so on, and went to the war torn areas. But I went and some people tried to frighten me out of my goal by saying that Adekunle was my enemy and he was going to see to it that I never return from the place, so I went.

But when I went what did I see? I saw the kwashiorkor victims. If you see a kwashiorkor victim you’ll never like war to be waged. Terrible sight, in Enugu, in Port Harcourt, not many in Calabar, but mainly in Enugu and Port Harcourt. Then I enquired what happened to the food we are sending to the civilians. We were sending food through the Red cross, and CARITAS to them, but what happen was that the vehicles carrying the food were always ambushed by the soldiers. That’s what I discovered, and the food would then be taken to the soldiers to feed them, and so they were able to continue to fight. And I said that was a very dangerous policy, we didn’t intend the food for soldiers. But who will go behind the line to stop the soldiers from ambushing the vehicles that were carrying the food? And as long as soldiers were fed, the war will continue, and who’ll continue to suffer? and those who didn’t go to the place to see things as I did, you remember that all the big guns, all the soldiers in the Biafran army looked all well fed after the war, its only the mass of the people that suffered kwashiorkor.

You wont hear of a single lawyer, a single doctor, a single architect, who suffered from kwashiorkor? None of their children either, so they waylaid the foods, they ambush the vehicles and took the foods to their friends and to their collaborators and to their children and the masses were suffering. So I decided to stop sending the food there. In the process the civilians would suffer, but the soldiers will suffer most.

CHANGE OF CURRENCY

And it is on record that Ojukwu admitted that two things defeated him in this war, that’s as at the day he left Biafra. He said one, the change of currency, he said that was the first thing that defeated him, and we did that to prevent Ojukwu taking the money which his soldiers has stolen from our Central bank for sale abroad to buy arms. We discovered he looted our Central bank in Benin, he looted the one in Port Harcourt, looted the one in Calabar and he was taking the currency notes abroad to sell to earn foreign exchange to buy arms.

So I decided to change the currency, and for your benefit, it can now be told the whole world, only Gowon knew the day before, the day before the change took place. I decided, only three of us knew before then- Isong now governor of Cross River, Attah and myself. It was a closely guarded secret, if any commissioner at the time say that he knew about it, he’s only boosting his own ego. Because once you tell someone, he’ll tell another person. So we refused to tell them and we changed the currency notes. So Ojukwu said the change in currency defeated him, and starvation of his soldiers also defeated him.

These were the two things that defeated Ojukwu. And, he reminds me, when you saw Ojukwu’s picture after the war, did he look like someone who’s not well fed? But he has been taking the food which we send to civilians, and so we stopped the food.

 

ABANDONED PROPERTY

And then finally, I saw to it that the houses owned by the Ibos in Lagos and on this side, were kept for them. I had an estate agent friend who told me that one of them collected half a million pounds rent which has been kept for him. All his rent were collected, but since we didn’t seize their houses, he came back and collected half a million pounds.

So that is the position. I’m a friend of the Ibos and the mass of the Ibos are my friends, but there are certain elements who want to continue to deceive the Ibos by telling lies against me, and one day, they’ll discover and then that day will be terrible for those who have been telling the lies.

Moderator: After the question, this particular question from the interview panel we’ll move to the floor, and later we’ll go back to the interview panel for the final two questions. But before we move to the floor I call on Mr. Sonala Olumhense to ask the question.

 

CORRUPTION

Question (Sonala Olumhense): Chief Awolowo, I think it is fairly clear that the two major problems responsible for the failing of government in this country are inability or incompetence of officials to manage the economy and corruption. You have been reported on the campaign ground to have said that when you come to power on October, that you will not probe anybody. I haven’t heard or read of any denial of that statement. If it is actually true that you did make that statement, how is it that you plan to deal with the problem of corruption in this country? Or don’t you have any such plans?

Awolowo: The statement referred to is not new, I first made a statement like that, I believe, in 1969 during my convocation address at Ife University. I then demanded to know why the probe was confined to only the western region and parts of the eastern region. The other part of the country, there was no probe in the other part of the country. And then, they were probing civilians, but then soldiers have boldly begun to enter, to enter the area of those who should be probed. And I said, well, some trees have fallen on other trees, and they should start with ones on the top. Which means to probe soldiers, and who will dare to probe soldiers at that time? So I said they should call off the whole business.

And then a decision was taken that those who had stolen money and had died should not be probed, so it is easy for someone who wants to enrich his children to steal as much as possible, then commit suicide so that his children can live in affluence forever. It’s a far fetch illustration, but it can happen. So I said the best thing is to call off the probe. And how much have we earned in the process? How much have we got back? You remember that all the thing that Adebayo got in his own time he returned them on the eve of the 10th anniversary of independent. So there’s no point in continuing the probe, I said it at the time, and I repeated it at Ahmadu Bello University when I was delivering my second convo… address there.

So it’s nothing new, but people don’t border to read some of the things I say, but they go on criticizing me for saying this things. Anyway, I don’t want the UPN to embark on probes, first of all I believe that those who have deliberately stolen public money…we keep on saying government’s money, it’s our money, it’s your money, it’s my money. Those who have deliberately done that would dislodge them sooner or later, that’s the law of nature, it has to happen.

In the bible we are told God says “Vengeance is mine, and I will revenge” and I believe it. Then secondly, when you start probing, where do you begin now? The corruption has gone to a very high scale since the Army took over. They were to be corrective, then they became corruptive, and so on, where do you begin? And with whom? And with which part of the country? Throughout the country? You’ll need a large staff of people to do the probe, and then the probers themselves might be bribed and corrupted in the process, and so we won’t get any genuine report. And then would you also probe members of your own party in addition, because we are not perfect. There must be people who are probable even within UPN, but party pressure will make it absolutely impossible for you to probe anyone within your party.

So why start at all? And what is more, if you probe the past, it’s like going to a grave yard and exhuming the bodies and tried to see what was the cause of the death of each of the copses that you have exhumed. And when you have discovered that so and so who died 10 years ago was killed by …… what do you do then? Do you revive the body? You cannot revive the dead, but in the process you pollute the air, you pollute the air of the place.

Whereas, you can help the living. I’m interested in the living, and don’t forget that I’m 74 years plus now, and I don’t want to waste my years trying to see what happened in the past instead of attending to the problems of all these people in front of me, and millions who are listening to what I say. If they steal they’ll suffer, if they don’t steal, and you never can know all the truth, sometimes they say somebody take a bribe, then find out and see no bribe has been taken, and so on and so forth. As far as I am concerned, the past- that’s from 30th of September 1983 backwards sealed. But from 1st October 1983 onward, open.

There’s a saying, the past is a story told, the future will be rich in gold. And I’ve always said it that the future is like a wet clay. In the hands of a good potter it can produce very fine potteries. But the past is dead you can’t produce anything from it except acrimonies, exacerbation, hatred, and so on and so forth. So I’m not interested in the past, I’m interested in the future.

And you can correct corruption by examples more than by precepts. Many of us can say corruption is bad. Even the most corrupt person will say “corruption is not good”, but then to see what he can do by examples rather than by precepts and I intend, that’s what UPN has been doing, we intend to lead the people out of corruption into honesty and probity by example. That’s what we intend to do. But you must bear in mind; you can never stamp out corruption, you can minimize it considerably. In those days of the western region, in 8 years people will say no corruption, there might be, I didn’t know, but the important thing is that people ought to realize that there’s someone somewhere who must never hear that an act of corruption has taken place.

But when the boss himself is the chairman of the corrupt club, then there’s nothing you can do, like what happened, a simple matter, one member of the ministry of housing asked one of the officials to go and get 200 bundles of roofing sheets. Yes sir! And then he went and collected 2,200 roofing sheets. That’s a fair business, the boss wants 200 and he needs 2000. And the boss can’t pressure on him, on what ground? “You went to go and steal that….”, he’ll say “er master but you asked me to bring you 200…” that’s the trouble. So you get a lot done by example rather than by precepts, and that’s what we intend to do. The future may be rich in gold, like a wet clay in the hands of the good potter.

Moderator: Thank you sir. We now go to the floor for some questions, and please when you’re called to come and ask question, please announce your name before you ask the question.

Question: Your party, you were voted in mostly in the Yoruba states in 1979, on the premise of your 4 cardinal programs, in particular because of your idea of free this free that, free in all these things. But since then, the people of the Yoruba states, particularly in Ogun state where I happen to be resident, I’ve come to realize that most of these 4 cardinal things, plans of your party, mainly free education, free medical services, full employment and rural integration are a colossal failure, for example free education- in all the schools, most of the children will have automatic promotion, the children are not good, most of them cannot even write letters, for example about…. ago, I had a boy in my house, he’s in class one secondary, and asked to spell rice he couldn’t spell rice. That is the sought of free education that we have in the country. Secondly, you talk of a few things…that your party UPN got voted in on your four cardinal programs. People have now realized that the program is a colossal failure…..”

 

Program ends abruptly

Source : NigeriaVillageSquare


Acknowledgement: Thanks to Dr Olu Ogunremi who made the audio cassette tape available to NVS

Oracle CEO to experiment on his Hawaiian island

 

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gestures while giving a keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisc.Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gestures while giving a keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisc. Photo: AP

“Oracle CEO Larry Ellison envisions his recently acquired Hawaiian island becoming a “little laboratory” for experimenting with more environmentally sound ways to live.

Ellison’s ambitions include converting sea water into fresh water on the 141-square-mile island of Lanai. He also wants to see more electric cars on the island located near Maui, and hopes to increase its fruit exports to Japan and other markets.

Ellison, one of the world’s wealthiest men, made the remarks on Tuesday in San Francisco in an interview with the financial news channel CNBC.

The interview focused mostly on Oracle, a business-software maker that Ellison has been running for 35 years. He also touched upon several other topics, including his friendship with the late Steve Jobs and his interest in buying the Los Angeles Lakers, if the professional basketball team were ever for sale.

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Oracle’s success has minted Ellison an estimated fortune of $US41 billion. He bought 98 per cent of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock in June for an undisclosed price. The Maui News reported that Murdock, the CEO of Castle & Cooke, was seeking $US500 million to $US600 million for his Lanai holdings.

Ellison hadn’t publicly shared his vision for Lanai until Tuesday’s interview. The silence had left Lanai’s roughly 3200 residents wondering whether their lives would be disrupted under Ellison’s ownership.

In Tuesday’s interview, Ellison said he intends to “support the local people”.

Ellison’s Lanai holdings include two resorts, two golf courses and assorted commercial and residential buildings. Three utilities on the island also are under Ellison’s control

Lanai is just one piece of Ellison’s sprawling real-estate portfolio. He also owns estates or mansions in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and southern California, as well as in Newport, Rhode Island and Japan. He told CNBC on Tuesday that he plans to convert some of the homes into art museums and traced his interest in fancy homes to his childhood dream of being an architect.

Tuesday’s interview also gave Ellison an opportunity to reminiscence about Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who died nearly a year ago after a long battle with cancer. The two were so close that Jobs took the photos when Ellison married his fourth wife, romance novelist Melanie Craft, in 2003. Ellison hailed Jobs as an irreplaceable friend and technology visionary who he called the Thomas Edison and Pablo Picasso of his era.

Ellison also said he would be interested in buying the Los Angeles Lakers if long-time owner Jerry Buss were ever to sell one of the National Basketball Association‘s most successful franchises. Buss has given no indication that he is ready to relinquish control of the Lakers, though Anschutz Entertainment Group recently announced plans to sell its minority stake in the team.

Ellison called the Lakers his favorite NBA team. He also said he is a fan of the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls. He tried to buy the Warriors in 2010 only to be outbid by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Joe Lacob and Hollywood movie producer Peter Guber.

Oracle, which makes database software and applications that automate administrative tasks, has been on a shopping spree that has seen the company spend more than $US50 billion buying dozens of companies over the past seven years. Ellison told CNBC that Oracle probably won’t be making any big acquisitions during the next two years as the Redwood Shores, California company fine tunes its software products so they can be sold as a service over high-speed internet connections — a concept known as “cloud computing”.

Ellison talked to CNBC shortly before he delivered the keynote address at Oracle’s annual customer conference in San Francisco.”

Source: AP

 

Hugo Chavez re-elected as Venezuelan president

Chavez supporters in Caracas. 8 Oct 2012 Hugo Chavez‘s supporters are celebrating another six-year term

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has won a fourth term in office after defeating opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Mr Chavez won 54% of the vote, the country’s electoral council announced.

Noisy celebrations among Chavez supporters erupted across the capital Caracas following the result.

Turnout was more than 80% and voting was extended beyond the official closing time at some polling stations which still had long queues.

Electoral council president Tibisay Lucena announced that with 90% of votes counted Mr Chavez had taken 54.42% of the vote with Mr Capriles on 44.97%.

Mr Capriles congratulated President Chavez but told opposition supporters not to feel defeated.

“I want to congratulate the candidate, the president of the republic,” he said at his campaign headquarters.

He added: “We have planted many seeds across Venezuela and I know that these seeds are going to produce many trees.”

Tears of defeat

Capriles supporters in Caracas. 8 Oct 2012 Supporters of Henrique Capriles in Caracas were stunned by the result

Jubilant supporters massed outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas to celebrate.

“I’m celebrating with a big heart – Chavez is the hope of the people and of Latin America,” said Chavez supporter Mary Reina.

At the Capriles’ campaign headquarters, some opposition supporters were in tears at the news.

Mr Chavez, 58, was diagnosed with cancer last year but says he is now fully recovered.

He has been in power since 1998 and said he needed another six-year term to continue his “Bolivarian revolution” towards socialism.

During his time in office Mr Chavez has nationalised key sectors of the country’s economy.

Venezuela is a major oil producer and high oil prices have allowed his government to fund health-care, education programmes and social housing.

In his campaign, Mr Capriles, who headed a coalition of 30 opposition parties, said the president’s policies had led to bureaucracy, inefficiency and shortages.

Earlier, Defence Minister Henry Rangel Silva said the armed forces had identified some groups planning to cause public disturbances but said violence was “unlikely”.

A week before the election, three opposition activists were killed during a campaign rally, while four people were injured in a shooting during a voting rehearsal in September.

From Saturday evening to Monday evening, the sale of alcohol has been banned and only the security forces will be allowed to carry arms.”

BBC News

Nigerian troops target Boko Haram in Damaturu

 

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“About 30 suspected members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram have died in a gun battle with troops in north-east Nigeria, the military says.

Army spokesman Lt Eli Lazarus said the battle in Damaturu lasted several hours and 10 arrests were also made.

He said the militants killed included a senior commander known as one-eyed Bakaka.

Boko Haram is fighting to overthrow the government and impose Sharia law across Nigeria.

Attacks in central and northern Nigeria attributed to the group have killed an estimated 1,400 people since 2010.

In a statement, Lt Lazarus described “the notorious one-eyed Bakaka” as Boko Haram’s field commander in Damaturu and a close associate of the sect’s leader Abubakar Shekau.

However, the BBC’s Will Ross in Nigeria says it is not possible to verify the information.

Earlier, police reports said four suspected militants had been killed rather than 30.

Nigeria’s military has recently reported major success in its campaign against Islamist militants and Damaturu, in Yobe state, is one of the areas worst affected by the violence.

However, human rights groups say army operations in northern Nigeria have also left many civilians dead and they complain that arrests are often indiscriminate.

In September the military said it had killed 35 suspected Boko Haram members in fierce gun battles in Damaturu. Scores of people were also arrested there in a door-to-door sweep of several neighbourhoods.”

BBC News

 

AU and Somali troops secure town of Wanla Weyn

 

AU soldier in Ksmayo, Somalia, October 2012 AU and Somali troops recently took control of the port city of Kismayo

African Union and Somali troops say they have secured Wanla Weyn, a town formerly held by Islamists about 90km (55 mi) from Mogadishu.

The advance represents the latest gain by Somali and regional forces at the expense of the Islamists of al-Shabab.

The nearby Balli Doogle former air force training base was also secured.

AU and Somali troops are advancing along the route between the capital, Mogadishu, and Baidoa, which was taken by Ethiopian forces in February.

The AU peacekeeping mission, Amisom, said it had begun the 211km (131 mile) advance from Afgooye, just west of Mogadishu, to Baidoa, on Saturday.

Map

“Securing Wanla Weyn will allow for free movement of the population who have been restricted until now, unable to go about their daily trade and business due to the restrictions of Al-Shabaab,” said Amisom force commander Lt Gen Andrew Gutti.

“It will also facilitate the provision of much needed humanitarian assistance to the local population.”

The AU said their advance would also deprive al-Shabab of illegal taxes raised in the area.

AU troops pushed al-Shabab from the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011.

Along with other pro-government forces, they have since secured most of the other towns previously in militant hands.

Earlier this week, Somali and AU forces took control of the port city of Kismayo, al-Shabab’s last major stronghold.

However, al-Shabab fighters are still highly active in much of the countryside in southern and central Somalia and have carried out suicide bombings and other attacks in cities they no longer control.”

Source: BBC News

INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH, 1960: Nigeria stands upon firm foundations –Balewa

 

October 1, 2012 by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Today is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years every Nigerian has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation.

Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a unique privilege which I shall remember for ever, and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.

This is a wonderful day, and it is all the more wonderful because we have awaited it with increasing impatience, compelled to watch one country after another overtaking us on the road when we had so nearly reached our goal. But now we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.

Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of a process which began fifteen years ago and has now reached a happy and successful conclusion. It is with justifiable pride that we claim the achievement of our Independence to be unparalleled in the annals of history. Each step of our constitutional advance has been purposefully and peacefully planned with full and open consultation, not only between representatives of all the various interests in Nigeria but in harmonious cooperation with the administering power which has today relinquished its authority.

At the time when our constitutional development entered upon its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon self-government. We, the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our own affairs both internally and as a nation. However, we were not to be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing our interest on our own homes. In these days of rapid communications we cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of the world, even if we wished to do so. All too soon it has become evident that for us Independence implies a great deal more than self-government. This great country, which has now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed, finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues.

This fact has of recent months been unhappily emphasised by the startling events which have occurred in this continent. I shall not labour the point but it would be unrealistic not to draw attention first to the awe-inspiring task confronting us at the very start of our nationhood. When this day in October 1960 was chosen for our Independence it seemed that we were destined to move with quiet dignity to place on the world stage. Recent events have changed the scene beyond recognition, so that we find ourselves today being tested to the utmost We are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an indepedent state we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation. I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination.

And we come to this task better-equipped than many. For this, I pay tribute to the manner in which successive British Governments have gradually transferred the burden of responsibility to our shoulders. The assistance and unfailing encouragement which we have received from each Secretary of State for the Colonies and their intense personal interest in our development has immeasurably lightened that burden.

All our friends in the Colonial Office must today be proud of their handiwork and in the knowledge that they have helped to lay the foundations of a lasting friendship between our two nations. I have indeed every confidence that, based on the happy experience of a successful partnership, our future relations with the United Kingdom will be more cordial than ever, bound together, as we shall be in the Commonwealth, by a common allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whom today we proudly acclaim as Queen of Nigeria and Head of the Commonwealth.

Time will not permit the individual mention of all those friends, many of them Nigerians, whose selfless labours have contributed to our Independence. Some have not lived to see the fulfilment of their hopes on them be peace, “but nevertheless they are remembered here, and the names of buildings and streets and roads and bridges throughout the country recall to our minds their achievements, some of them on a national scale. Others confined, perhaps, to a small area in one Division, are more humble but of equal value in the sum-total.

Today, we have with us representatives of those who have made Nigeria: Representatives of the Regional Governments, of former Central Governments, of the Missionary Societies, and of the Banking and Commercial enterprises, and members, both past and present, of the Public Service. We welcome you, and we rejoice that you have been able to come and share in our celebrations. We wish that it could have been possible for all of those whom you represent to be here today: Many, I know, will be disappointed to be absent, but if they are listening to me now, I say to them, “Thank you on behalf of my Thank you for your devoted service which helped build up Nigeria into a nation. Today we are reaping the harvest which you sowed, and the quality of the harvest is equalled only by our gratitude to you. May God bless you all.

This is an occasion when our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to have achieved our independence, and proud that our efforts should have contributed to this happy event. But do not mistake our pride for arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere gratitude to all who have shared in the task of developing Nigeria politically, socially and economically. We are grateful to the British officers whom we have known, first as masters, and then as leaders, and finally as partners, but always as friends. And there have been countless missionaries who have laboured unceasingly in the cause of education and to whom we owe many of our medical services. We are grateful also to those who have brought modern methods of banking and of commerce, and new industries. I wish to pay tribute to all of these people and to declare our everlasting admiration of their devotion to duty.

And, finally, I must express our gratitude to Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Kent for personally bringing to us these symbols of our freedom, and especially for delivering the gracious message from Her Majesty The Queen. And so, with the words “God save our Queen”, I open a new chapter in the history of Nigeria, and of the Commonwealth, and indeed of the world.

- The first Independence  Day speech by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister, 1960

The Punch

 

Syria conflict: Rebels seize Turkey, Iraq border posts

A video image provided by opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (19 Jul 2012) Video was posted on the internet of rebels defacing a poster of President Assad at the Bab al-Hawa crossing

“Syrian rebels have captured a number of positions on the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq.

A senior Iraqi official said all the crossings on Syria‘s eastern frontier had been seized. At one point, two Turkish posts were also in rebel hands.

The push came a day after a bomb claimed the lives of three senior defence officials in Damascus.

At the UN, negotiations are under way on extending the mandate of the observer mission in Syria,

The mandate for the mission is due to expire on Friday.

There are almost 300 UN observers in Syria, but the mission suspended most of its monitoring activity in June, because of the risk from increasing violence.

The US says it might consider a final brief extension of the monitors work, but warned that it could not pin its policy on an unarmed mission.

The UK is said to be proposing an extension for a “final 30 days”.

As the situation in Syria becomes more unpredictable and violent, the diplomacy in New York is lagging behind events on the ground, says the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan at the UN.

Escalating battle

The rebels, perhaps sensing that the regime was too preoccupied with the escalating battle for the capital, stormed all the posts on the Iraqi border, the BBC’s Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says.

Map

The major Abu Kamal crossing on the Euphrates river in the east was captured after a clash with government forces, opposition activists said.

More than 20 Syrian soldiers and their commander were killed when a remote army outpost in the far north-east was attacked, Associated Press news agency reported.

Iraq’s government, seen as sympathetic to President Bashar al-Assad, has threatened to shut its side of the border and one official told Reuters news agency that it was closing the Abu Kamal crossing.

On the frontier with Turkey, too, rebels were said to have taken control of two posts, at Bab al-Hawa and Jarablus.

Video from the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib province soon emerged of rebels defacing a portrait of President Assad, but they later reportedly withdrew from the position.

First images

For four days, rebels have been involved in clashes in areas of the capital as they push their “Damascus volcano” operation against Syrian armed forces.

Damascus-based activist Hassan describes how people are too afraid to venture outside

The deaths of three top security officials has led to a mobilisation of government troops in an attempt to drive the rebels out of the city.

The president’s brother-in-law, the defence minister and head of the government’s crisis team were killed by a bomb as they attended a meeting at the national security headquarters.

The first images of President Assad since the attack have appeared, largely ending rumours he might have been hurt.

The footage appeared to show Gen Fahd Jassim al-Furayj, chief of staff of the armed forces, being sworn into his new post as defence minister.

Tanks and armoured vehicles were reported to have moved into Qaboun on Thursday, close to the centre of Damascus.

There were heavy casualties, activists said, as a result of an army bombardment of Zamalka in the eastern outskirts of Damascus.

Analysis

image of Laura Trevelyan Laura Trevelyan BBC News, New York

The mood inside the Security Council chamber was acrimonious after China and Russia vetoed the resolution. Britain’s ambassador accused the two nations of protecting a brutal regime by their actions. America’s ambassador said the council had failed utterly in the most important task on its agenda.

China’s ambassador denounced what he called an uneven resolution which placed pressure on one side, while Russia’s representative claimed the resolution would have opened the path to military involvement in Syria’s affairs.

Now negotiations are under way to try to extend the mandate of the UN monitoring mission in Syria which is due to expire on Friday.

The mission is supposed to monitor a ceasefire and support a political process – neither of which exist. So the UK is proposing a 30 day “final” extension.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number of fatalities across the country on Thursday at 250.

‘Indefensible’

The pace of events in Syria was in marked contrast to the diplomatic stalemate at the UN Security Council, where Russia and China vetoed a Western resolution calling for tougher sanctions on Damascus.

Under the Western-backed plan, the Damascus government would have been threatened with non-military sanctions under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter if it failed to move troops and heavy weapons from populated areas.

But the use of Chapter Seven paved the way for “external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs”, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin argued.

The UK, US and France said the UN had failed the people of Syria and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the use of the veto as “inexcusable and indefensible”.”

Map of Damascus area

UK receives first F-35 stealth fighter jet from US

Jonathan BealeBy Jonathan Beale Defence correspondent, BBC News

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet
The F-35 has stealth capabilities

“It has been a long and expensive wait, but Britain has now been handed its first Joint Strike Fighter jet, also known as the F-35.

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond flew out in person to the searing heat of Fort Worth, Texas, for the official handover ceremony from its US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

He says it is “the best warplane money can buy”. But it is an eye-watering sum – the current cost of each jet is more than £100m.

After watching Britain’s first F-35 take to the skies, Mr Hammond said “this is money well spent”.

He said it would give the RAF and Royal Navy “a world class fighting capability” with the ability to “project power” off the two new aircraft carriers now under construction, anywhere in the world.

So is it worth it? The UK is buying the short take-off and vertical landing variant – STOVL for short.

It is the heaviest and most expensive of the three versions of the plane, carrying fan propulsion system for its “jump jet” capability, which it needs to land on the Royal Navy’s new carriers.

The most obvious comparison is with the scrapped Harrier jet it is replacing.

The Harrier had a range of 300 nautical miles, for the F-35 it is 450 miles. While the Harrier could reach a speed of 650mph, the F-35 can fly much faster – more than 1,200mph.

The Harrier had no radar transparency or stealth capabilities, but the F-35 has both. Its acute angles and special coating make it difficult to detect on any enemy radar.

Weapons load

BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson said the F-35′s stealth technology is “worth its weight in gold”.

It means a pilot can enter and leave a war zone while staying safe.

In theory, it can also carry a heavier weapons load than the Harrier, although the F-35B “jump-jet” is the least capable of the three versions of the new plane.

But even with its cutting edge technologies, the F-35 has flown into a storm of criticism, particularly in the US where it has gained unwelcome notoriety as the most expensive equipment project ever undertaken by the Pentagon.

The US is spending around $400bn (£254bn) to buy 2,500 F-35s for the navy, air force and marine corps.

It is estimated that the total cost of buying, operating and maintaining the planes over the next 30 years will be $1tn.

Serious problems

Winslow T Wheeler, at the US Center for Defense Information said it was a “gigantic performance disappointment”. Not as stealthy as the F-22 for example.

He added: “It’s the counterintuitive problem of paying a huge amount of money thinking you’re getting a Lamborghini or Ferrari: You’re not, you’re getting a Yugo”

He was referring to the cheap, mass-produced cars made in the former Yugoslavia.

That may sound extreme, but even a more measured report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted serious problems including the management and development of more than 24 million lines of software code in the aircraft and faults with the helmet-mounted displays.

The GAO report warned that “most development flight testing, including the most challenging, still lies ahead”.

The F35 may be more like a thoroughbred race horse, but so far it has proved just as temperamental.

The F35 – which will be called the “Lightning II” by the RAF and Royal Navy – is still a long way off from being battle ready.

Industry involved

Though British pilots have already been involved in the test flying programme, they will not be flying the plane off UK bases or the two new aircraft carriers until 2018.

And it is still not clear how many planes the UK will buy.

The last Labour Government said the UK would buy 138 planes but Mr Hammond has so far committed to purchasing only 48.

That number, over time, is likely to increase – not least because British industry is heavily involved in the project.

The tail section of every plane is being made by BAE Systems. Overall the UK has a 15% share of the work, enough to sustain more than 20,000 jobs.

The hope at the Ministry of Defence is that, with time, the cost of the plane will come down and the technical problems will be resolved – and that, in the end, this will not go down in history as another expensive MoD mistake.”

 

Source: BBC News

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