The Voices Reach Out

Home

About Us

Picture Gallery

Video Display

Donation

News & Issues

Helpful Links

Contact Us

Monday, January 9, 2012
  The Consequences of the Year 2011 and its implications for the Year 2012 in American Politics By Eucharia Mbachu pwww.vowac.org

www.vowac.org

The Americans have survived the days, weeks and months that constituted the past year. Those of us who pay adequate attention to the unraveling of things during the past months cannot help avoid what went wrong. We cannot deny what the news media and talking heads said about our leadership and our present state of affairs. The concatenation of historical circumstances that define us as Americans and humans simultaneously , now affect how we see ourselves and how we relate to both domestic and international issues. Once upon a time our politicians debated among themselves as to whether the old doctrine of isolationism matters; now we all know that three forces and factors have made it categorically clear that to be American is to be fully human. In order for the American to be fully human, he or she must acknowledge the geo-historical imperatives of the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans related to this reality with its attendant implications and consequences.

America and her people are the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the country. Once upon a time, the American Story was basically an Atlantic one. This is to say, it was European, White and Christian. Asia and Latin America were entertained for a limited degree and their populations were kept at a distance. Asian religions and ethnicities were kept at a distance. Frankly, one could now argue that over the last one hundred years, the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago prophetically prepare the Americans as to what was forthcoming. Historically speaking, one could now contend that, at that moment in time , ethnic groups that were virtually unknown and had token presence at that conference were somehow destined to be here to stay for good. If such persons were tolerated minorities, the events of the last century have made Chicago not only the constituency of the First Black President of the United States of America but also the home of greater racial, ethnic and religious diversity in the United States. The recent census would tell us that America is the best landing site for comparative human studies. This factor must be noted by the political leadership and in their campaign for the presidency as well as Congressional positions, it is imperative that they focus on the nature and destiny of America in the human condition here below. Failure to acknowledge these facts are more likely to make the forthcoming elections a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. It is going to be tragedy if the political elites who willfully avoid the burning issues which singularly and collectively affect all our lives. Immigration, social security, child welfare, labor opportunities, state attention to faltering infrastructures, and other matters that petrified the living and the conscious, are going to come up through the year 2012. There is a mystery about these numbers. And the events in the year are going to help us decipher the future. There is no need for us to consult the writings of Nostradamus. What needs to done here and now is for us to visit the historical narratives of the ancestors in the last century and traced the footsteps of the long departed during the Cold War.

What the Cold War did to, and for America, has become more evident since the days of Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and Clintons. This is why, in addition to the Cold War, another factor that is shaping the way many Americans are being forced to look at things in foreign lands and to be more critical of things at home, is the paradox of modernity and the hegemony of the electron in American society. Ironically, it was America’s steadfast campaign against the Communists that made many allies abroad and influenced people. But unintendedly one could now argue that American society and culture have been more affected by the Cold War than the former Soviet Union. The irony lies in the diversity and plurality of the society. Factors and forces that foster lingering residual ethnicity and half-hearted dissolving of foreigners into the widely celebrated melting pot are before us. In the coming elections our politicians must face the music and smell the coffee. The train of destiny is running fast and the coming elections tell us that three set of factors and forces deserve our attention, the consequences of the Cold War and the relationships which define and shape American policies abroad. What is being put forth here is that American domestic policies and international relations are captured in a single basket of dreams, hopes and worries.

Why is this metaphor appropriate? Simply, because our economy and those of other people around the world are now inextricably linked together; paradoxically, we live with many dreams and hopes of material heavens but condemned to share one earth. Witness the charges made by the members of the occupation movement. Lamenting the financial greed and arrogance of Wall Street, in the name of justice and economic wellbeing for the rank and file of the American public, such agitators have made a big point against the establishment. However, because their logic is mathematically short-sided, they failed to realize that their problem is related to the rest of the world. Targeting one per cent of the American population when the rest of the people in the planet who failed to obtain even one or two dollars a day, see them as a part of the dominant minority from the North. Ask the struggling Latino who prepares herself against rape and bad adventure in her desire to enter America illegally and to earn a living. What about the African women who migrated to Qaddaffi Libya in order to wangle her way to Europe by way of Italy and Spain. American’s coming elections are both domestic and international. Domestically speaking, the candidates would be challenged on how they propose to deal with the immigration issue. The complexity of the collective problems facing the leadership has made the domestic and the foreign policy separate but connected. One is the question of global markets and the changing role of American society in the whole matter. The second is the inability to the political class here to exercise control over all things

But while talking about the events of the year 2011 it is also equally important to make sense of the trend of events and personalities whose stories captured attention around the world. the Arab Spring and its impact in African societies, the stories about elections in Africa during the year and the political violence and the abilities of African political elites to struggle for power and reconcile with one and other. In judging the sitting President Obama his rivals are most likely going to refer to the conduct of his administration in North Africa, the Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia and Cote Ivoire. Taking these issues one by one, one could see that the 2012 elections would force the competing candidates to debate the linkages between domestic policy on financial policy and the spending of American money overseas. The linkage issue is bound to come up when the debate about early withdrawal from Iraq hits the papers. The likes of aborted former presidential candidate Herman Cohen are going to dig in and with their political knives they would try desperately to score some points. After going through the trial by ordeal with devastating consequences for his wife and family, the former candidate has seized upon the idea of a movement al a Jesse Jackson. Apparently, his movement is going to be a counterforce against President Obama. There is an old political saying from one of our prominent French West African leader from Senegal who used to say, “If you control the reins of government without my cooperation, be rest assured that a handful of sand will be spread over your political soup.” This African metaphor seems to be the political wisdom from Herman Cain. Opposite to Obama from the very beginning, he dwells in the foxhole of the” house Nigger” in the old language of Malcolm X. In the articulation of his personal ambitions recently, he indicated his desire to secure the Defense Ministry at the Pentagon. According to his comments, after successfully dismantling the Obama Wagon, he and the Republican Party would fix the mess of prematurely withdrawing the soldiers out of Iraq. This charge is most likely going to be compounded with other allegations of neglect elsewhere. Banking heavily on the paranoid of a military weakness under Obama’s watch, Cain’s anti-Obama rhetoric is going to be loud and clear. Certainly, piracy in Somalia and the claims that al-Qaida is working with al-Shabab is going to reverberate in the firmaments of his political discourse.

· In tracking the domestic and international aspects of the forthcoming elections in America, Africa and its relevance would be worthy of our scrutiny. Here the questions of elections would once again enter the picture. The election of Jonathan Goodluck has raised an issue which could come up again. In this particular case, it is the question of linkage between Nigerian domestic politics and American international policy on terrorism. Perceived by his political opponents as an American Boy who happens to be Christian in the Nigerian political game, especially in the post Cold War world, Jonathan is now facing political and economic difficulties. The Boca Haram has served his administration well by attracting American warriors against terrorism. However, some of the American analysts with deep knowledge about the Nigerian society warned against the policies and approaches of the Goodluck administration in the conduct of this campaign. Real or not, the bold fact is that, both Father Hassan Kukah and Jean Herskovits have come out against what they believed to be divisive. Such analyses from Nigeria and America could re-echo within the American political process. It is too early to tell. Hopefully, the Obama administration will develop a policy that compartmentalized the three most dangerous objects during the campaign. The first is the financial bomb which is most severe in Europe and the heartbeat of the Euro is keeping the doctors busy; the second is the immigration bomb which is understandably linked to the drug, the weapon and the law enforcement activities of the government. Here the Homeland Security becomes the Achilles heel of responsible government. Since the Bush Administration, it is now dangerous and unwise to separate these issues. But talking about African elections and their relevance to the forthcoming American elections, the questions of human rights in Burma, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in Africa are bound to surface when terrorism become the buzzword. Both in North Africa and in Africa south of the Sahara, the struggle against terrorism is going to be exploited by competing factions seeking America support. Within the United States the Republic candidates will blame the Obama administration for failing to contain the African terrorists in Somalia. After Black Hawk Down, it is most unlikely that the Obama Administration will make the small mistakes as first President Bush and his successor, Bill Clinton.

It is true that the uncertainties of elections in Cote Ivoire, Liberia, Congo and the Gambia have led some politically active members of the growing African Diasporas to court and harass the Obama Administration for intervention. Although such statements for U.S. intervention in Africa are misleading, the fact that America gave a lending hand to the anti-Qaddaffi Libyan cannot be excluded as the source of such dreams and hopes. It is in light of this changed nature of America’s demographics and the interpenetration of American domestic politics and foreign policy that Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe revolve around the American political and cultural orbit.

In concluding this brief narrative, let me say that this election in America is going to have the following consequences. There is bound to be a moment of celebration if President Obama is electorally given a second term. If elected, then the rest of the world are going to say : “his first election was the moral affirmation of America’s triumph over past historical errors because race matters; and his second re-election would be noted joyfully as the salutation to America’s minorities as demonstrated in a two volume book, American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation, published by Simon & Shuster in New York some years. Another perspective would be that, denying Obama a second chance is to overlook the following successes: elimination of Osama Bin Ladin; the elimination of Muammar Qaddaffi who was the single political character who kept the streets of the White House shielded from the American Public because of terrorism; the successful creation of a new nation for the people of South Sudan; the implementation of a policy and program that help crystallized the Arab Spring; the invisible navigation of the American economy from being drawn into the European waterfall nicknamed “Euro fall”. Americans who looked at Greek, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy cannot be too harsh in their perception of young Obama. Rather, they are bound to say, if this man has survived the most stressful economy crisis of our age, he deserves to get us to elect better congressional partners for a better four years from 2012 to 2016. If Herman Cain was being guided by some aliens from another galaxy, to muddy our waters aka Nostradamus, then his calculus could be explained hereunder. His 9, 9, 9 (27) arithmetic’s simply means to deny Obama during 2012= 23=5; desperately prevent 2016=9; from coming into being.
 
Sunday, May 8, 2011
  A Salute to the African Mother



All around the world motherhood is celebrated by young and old. This annual event has taken ground in many parts of the world and the history and tradition underscore our common concern for the parents who brought us to this world and the unique characteristics that most cultures share when it comes to loving and honoring one’s mother.
In joining countless millions in celebrating mother’s day, I have reflected deeply on the event and the circumstances that determine who my mother was and how come she was a leading force and light in my life. Prophets, poets and all thinking men and women have thought about these matters. From the religious scriptures we learn about the role and place of mothers in the society. As the Bible states, “Honor thy mother and thy father.”

These words are almost memorized by many children as they learn to become parts and parcels of their respective communities. They are in many ways reminded about their mothers and the place they play in societies. Mothers are the first receiving ground for newcomers entering this world. No human can ever deny the fact that he or she spent at least nine months in his or her mother’s womb. Different African societies in history develop numerous stories that celebrate motherhood. For example, the Zulus of South Africa call their mother “the Big House.” This noble title emphasizes the great biological, social and spiritual role of the mother in welcoming her children to the world through her strong love for their father and her inseparable links to her family. The Igbos calls her Nneka (Mother is Supreme), the Wolofs calls The Big House, while the Zulus in South Africa see the mother as the great bridge that defines the children’s humanity. In addition to this, the mother is an important part to the linkage between her family and the family of her husband. Being this valuable glue that unites both biologically and sociologically the destiny of her newly created family through marriage, the mother therefore is source of your name and the watering ground of your seeds.

Motherhood in the Old and New Africa are united and separated by history and changing times. In the past, the child may enjoy the fruits of her mother’s love and care within a monogamous arrangement. Alternatively, motherhood is enjoyed and celebrated within the oasis of polygamy in a desert where divorce is most widely feared and the separation between dad and mum becomes a heavy weight on the child’s neck.

The joy of having and living with an attentive mother in the Old Africa added a lot to our home training and to the cultivation of social skills to navigate the dangerous waters of life. These aspects of our traditional experiences with motherhood are widely discussed and celebrated throughout Africa.. It is a joyous moment of song and praise under the baobab tree. This tree has served us well in the expression of personal and public feelings in the Old Africa. Celebrating Mother’s Day is as American as Apple Pie to most Americans. This practice, as I stated above, has also entered the Nigerian and African worlds. Our mothers led us on the path of duty and service to God and country. As I think and reflect about my mother, I too can say like the Zulus that she was a “big house.” And like the modern Igbo, I also see my mother as “NNEKA,” Mother Is Supreme
Marriage is still alive and being a good mother who deserves and commands respect from her children has much water to keep like a plant flourishing. Long live motherhood and forever we celebrate Mother’s Day whenever we live.

This poem is for you dearest sweet mother
African Mother is unique.
She is full of Strength
The Pillar of her family
The African mother is dependable and dedicated
The African Mother feels strong in her own skin, is proud of her identity, and accepts who she is
She is the transmitter of tradition from generation to generation
She is venerably strong; she accepts all things, endures all things and carries on even when faces with spousal abuse, neglect, war, disease or poverty.. An Africa mother puts her family first in all she does. She is the protector of tradition, the family unifier, and the voice of the family, does not speak aloud in public but works and moves mountains behind the scene. Your is strength is in your willingness to change, your ability to survive when there is hardship

The African mother does not demand respect, it’s hers, she does not ask for equality, because power belongs to her. She has the last word as how her family is run. I thank you so much dear African mother for such uplifting and generous nature that has been the hallmark of your personality.
Although you posses all these outstanding qualities, we must shade light on our common enemy, poverty and war that inflicts unbearable pain on you and your children. I know you have issues about your health, your productive capabilities, education and your rights to participate in higher level of power brokers, still you are the one without whom there will be no society.
I therefore salute you dear African mother, I am energized by your positive motherhood by doing the right thing in a practical way.
Happy Mother’s Day
Eucharia Mbachu is the Founder and President of Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora
You can contact her through her website www .vowac, org

Labels: ,

 
Sunday, April 17, 2011
  2011 Nigeria Election: Democracy has finally come to Judgment in Nigeria

Nigerians constitute an important portion of the peoples of African descent worldwide. Some estimate one out of every seven black faces on the face of this planet comes from that country. These statistics are true and the leaders and the led truly believe in the mathematical, moral and political significance of this narrative, then chances are Nigerian would eventually take her rightful place in the in the world. Political maturity and social engineering are inextricably linked to the progress of human society. When human beings demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that their humanity matters and that they possess concrete and indisputable powers to live with one another and to conduct commercial relationship with one another without difficulties, then chances are such a people are on the highway to peace, tranquility and prosperity. One thing that marks contemporary sense of superiority among the Euro-Western nations is the sense of peace and stability in the conduct of their political wrangles and battles. After having suffered political violence and economic depressions in Europe as well as in America, the West has come to agree in the power of the ball over the bullet. After the fall of Hitler in Germany and the Communists in the former Soviet Union, the power of the electoral process has become supreme. Elections and term limits ate sinking in. Even though the companions of Fidel Castro of Cuba still give lip services to the ideology of communism, it is becoming categorically clear that elections and term limits are almost inevitable. As evidenced in the Middle East, Egypt, Tunisia Libya, and host of others. At this juncture in our history when modernity, globalization and human rights serve as the trinity of human triumph over members of the animal kingdom through their science and technology on the one hand and through their fidelity to scriptures, literature and myth-making powers on the other. Nigerians too are in the race for acceptance and the elections this year provide an important moment for them to demonstrate political maturity and national solidarity in the maintenance of law and order on the one hand and economic acumen and audacity of hope on the other. It is against this background we examine this ongoing campaign and elections. Let us begin with the A, B, and C of the elections this year. The candidacy of Jonathan Goodluck serves as the point of departure in this narrative. Having been chosen as Vice President to the late President Yar Adua, sitting President Goodluck came to office in the midst of serious constitutional debates among Nigerians leaders and their people. Previously trapped in a legal fix of their own creation through the construction of an electoral process widely known as zoning, these leaders thought their political impasse of interethnic wrangles and political confusion could be obviated when the two main regions of the country are given guarantees of passing the political ball from region to region. Under this system of political largesse sharing, many naively thought, the extremism of peoples throughout the land would graduate disappear and Nigeria and her citizens would once again live in peace and the ugly wounds of their long-gone civil war “re becoming things of the past.” Real or imagined, the danger surrounding the zoning debate in which certain elements from the North entertained the idea that the death of Yar Adua should allow another northern to came on this task. This decision was predated by the constitutional question of raising the status of the Vice President to the position of “Acting President.” After much debate and behind-the-scene maneuverings among the leadership, with some foreign prodding from particularly the United States of America, Vice President Goodluck was elevated by the leaders of the national parliament to the status of “Acting President.” It was indeed against this background he made it categorically clear that he was going to rule. Running he did and today, April 20, 2011 the Nigerians and the world are waiting for the electoral commission to tall the votes and declare their results. Atahiru Yacub, the Chief Officer handling the elections, together with fellow Nigerian poll watchers and ball counters will eventually save the Nigerians from political shame and political violence. Will Jonathan win and what will Nigeria gain from his victory? It is this part of the political alphabets of Nigerian society that begs for attention and commentary. Here the potential victory of sitting President Jonathan Goodluck should be looked at in seven different ways of telling the Nigerian story. First of all, this election is a good beginning for teaching younger generations of Nigerians the art of politics. Who governs, when and how? By electing Jonathan Nigerian ethnic majorities such as the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo could send a reassuring message to the world. If it comes out this way, Nigerian majorities and the respective minorities in the country could tell each other how the Nigerians have also create their own Obama in Jonathan. Once again, a minority candidate after decades of marginalization and exclusion has picked up the baton running for Nigeria in his own right. Those who are not sufficiently informed about the plight of ethnic minorities in Nigeria should take a look at the reports on the Nigerian minorities before independence. Adding insults to injury one must pay attention to the plight of such peoples as events in the Niger Delta. This is the second reason for voting for Jonathan. His triumph would flush out of the sink of neglect all the anxieties and apprehensions of the minorities from the South and the South-South. The third reason why a Jonathan election means another important thing for the Nigerians lies in the implications of his elections for the minorities from the North. Be it noted here that his current Vice President addresses the wishes and hopes of the living minorities in the north. He too would be serving the wishes of the North on the one hand and the hopes and aspirations of the minorities in the northern states of Nigeria. Hopefully, the political combination worked out by Jonathan would heal the nation the way Yacubu Gowan, an Anga by ethnicity from the Tiv land in the former Middle Region of Nigeria did after the bloody civil war. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seven reasons why Jonathan’s election would be a good start for Nigeria, needs to be stated here. In rapid order one could say that a Jonathan presidency could allow the new leaders of Nigeria to embark on the difficult and delicate task of healing the conflicts between the major ethnic groups. Through his cabinet, he can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that “Nigeria deserves the best of her intellects and experiences to look after her affairs.” Without putting zoning absolutely in cold storage Jonathan cou

Labels:

 
  2011 Nigeria Election: Democracy has finally come to Judgment in Nigeria
Nigerians constitute an important portion of the peoples of African descent worldwide. Some estimate one out of every seven black faces on the face of this planet comes from that country. These statistics are true and the leaders and the led truly believe in the mathematical, moral and political significance of this narrative, then chances are Nigerian would eventually take her rightful place in the in the world. Political maturity and social engineering are inextricably linked to the progress of human society. When human beings demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that their humanity matters and that they possess concrete and indisputable powers to live with one another and to conduct commercial relationship with one another without difficulties, then chances are such a people are on the highway to peace, tranquility and prosperity. One thing that marks contemporary sense of superiority among the Euro-Western nations is the sense of peace and stability in the conduct of their political wrangles and battles. After having suffered political violence and economic depressions in Europe as well as in America, the West has come to agree in the power of the ball over the bullet. After the fall of Hitler in Germany and the Communists in the former Soviet Union, the power of the electoral process has become supreme. Elections and term limits ate sinking in. Even though the companions of Fidel Castro of Cuba still give lip services to the ideology of communism, it is becoming categorically clear that elections and term limits are almost inevitable. As evidenced in the Middle East, Egypt, Tunisia Libya, and host of others. At this juncture in our history when modernity, globalization and human rights serve as the trinity of human triumph over members of the animal kingdom through their science and technology on the one hand and through their fidelity to scriptures, literature and myth-making powers on the other. Nigerians too are in the race for acceptance and the elections this year provide an important moment for them to demonstrate political maturity and national solidarity in the maintenance of law and order on the one hand and economic acumen and audacity of hope on the other. It is against this background we examine this ongoing campaign and elections. Let us begin with the A, B, and C of the elections this year. The candidacy of Jonathan Goodluck serves as the point of departure in this narrative. Having been chosen as Vice President to the late President Yar Adua, sitting President Goodluck came to office in the midst of serious constitutional debates among Nigerians leaders and their people. Previously trapped in a legal fix of their own creation through the construction of an electoral process widely known as zoning, these leaders thought their political impasse of interethnic wrangles and political confusion could be obviated when the two main regions of the country are given guarantees of passing the political ball from region to region. Under this system of political largesse sharing, many naively thought, the extremism of peoples throughout the land would graduate disappear and Nigeria and her citizens would once again live in peace and the ugly wounds of their long-gone civil war “re becoming things of the past.” Real or imagined, the danger surrounding the zoning debate in which certain elements from the North entertained the idea that the death of Yar Adua should allow another northern to came on this task. This decision was predated by the constitutional question of raising the status of the Vice President to the position of “Acting President.” After much debate and behind-the-scene maneuverings among the leadership, with some foreign prodding from particularly the United States of America, Vice President Goodluck was elevated by the leaders of the national parliament to the status of “Acting President.” It was indeed against this background he made it categorically clear that he was going to rule. Running he did and today, April 20, 2011 the Nigerians and the world are waiting for the electoral commission to tall the votes and declare their results. Atahiru Yacub, the Chief Officer handling the elections, together with fellow Nigerian poll watchers and ball counters will eventually save the Nigerians from political shame and political violence. Will Jonathan win and what will Nigeria gain from his victory? It is this part of the political alphabets of Nigerian society that begs for attention and commentary. Here the potential victory of sitting President Jonathan Goodluck should be looked at in seven different ways of telling the Nigerian story. First of all, this election is a good beginning for teaching younger generations of Nigerians the art of politics. Who governs, when and how? By electing Jonathan Nigerian ethnic majorities such as the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo could send a reassuring message to the world. If it comes out this way, Nigerian majorities and the respective minorities in the country could tell each other how the Nigerians have also create their own Obama in Jonathan. Once again, a minority candidate after decades of marginalization and exclusion has picked up the baton running for Nigeria in his own right. Those who are not sufficiently informed about the plight of ethnic minorities in Nigeria should take a look at the reports on the Nigerian minorities before independence. Adding insults to injury one must pay attention to the plight of such peoples as events in the Niger Delta. This is the second reason for voting for Jonathan. His triumph would flush out of the sink of neglect all the anxieties and apprehensions of the minorities from the South and the South-South. The third reason why a Jonathan election means another important thing for the Nigerians lies in the implications of his elections for the minorities from the North. Be it noted here that his current Vice President addresses the wishes and hopes of the living minorities in the north. He too would be serving the wishes of the North on the one hand and the hopes and aspirations of the minorities in the northern states of Nigeria. Hopefully, the political combination worked out by Jonathan would heal the nation the way Yacubu Gowan, an Anga by ethnicity from the Tiv land in the former Middle Region of Nigeria did after the bloody civil war. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seven reasons why Jonathan’s election would be a good start for Nigeria, needs to be stated here. In rapid order one could say that a Jonathan presidency could allow the new leaders of Nigeria to embark on the difficult and delicate task of healing the conflicts between the major ethnic groups. Through his cabinet, he can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that “Nigeria deserves the best of her intellects and experiences to look after her affairs.” Without putting zoning absolutely in cold storage Jonathan could make it categorically clear that knowledgeable Nigerians are going to be put as front runners for Nigeria in the global contest. Any evidence along these lines would keep the elders reassured and the youth console for their toil and sacrifices for a better Nigeria. Related to this fourth point is the fifth point about interfaith dialogue in the country. The willingness of former President Buhari to accept the final results of the elections could definitely augur well for the country. He too will enter the pages of Nigeria history as a Nigerian who came to power through the power of the bullet but willingly and seriously accept the dictates of his people. In these narrative future generations of Nigerians, especially those in the Diaspora who followed the events leading to the elections of Barack Obama against Senator McCain can draw a parallel between the defeat of Buhari and McCain in the sense that Obama defeated a war hero who suffered at the hands of the communist Vietnamese whereas Jonathan who served under a Northern civilian President now defeats a former military President who came to power through the power of the bullet. What makes this comparison striking is the fact that when Obama came to the White House history in an ironical and paradoxical way made what was considered at one point impossible now possible. Here we go again; Nigerians are telling the way that defeated former military leaders in the polls bow to the wishes of their electorate. The ball and not the bullet should now prevail. The sixth and seventh points about the victory and election of Jonathan are as follows: Jonathan as a President in his own right is good news for the world. Nigerians are catching up with the train of history. All the foolishness of yesterday belongs to the mistakes and arrogance of leaders and the new direction under him promises the audacity of hope and the willingness of Nigerians to make the best out of this inning in the political cricket of Nigeria. This time, Jonathan should reassure us, he is not going to allow emotionalism and poor judgments to woe and win into the pitch of political errors. If he does so, he will bat his own political wickets. This would be political disaster. It leads me to the seventh point to remember in our analysis of a Jonathan election and victory in Nigeria. Within the end of this year and beyond hopefully Jonathan and his team would create new pathways for Nigerians. The much needed changes are begging for attention and hopefully through a new political culture the people of this “Giant of Africa” would wake up and collect their senses to take their rightful place in world history. They should start with what they know and build on what they have.

Labels:

 
  2011 Nigeria Election: Democracy has finally come to Judgment in Nigeria
By Eucvharia Mbachu Nigerians constitute an important portion of the peoples of African descent worldwide. Some estimate one out of every seven black faces on the face of this planet comes from that country. These statistics are true and the leaders and the led truly believe in the mathematical, moral and political significance of this narrative, then chances are Nigerian would eventually take her rightful place in the in the world. Political maturity and social engineering are inextricably linked to the progress of human society. When human beings demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that their humanity matters and that they possess concrete and indisputable powers to live with one another and to conduct commercial relationship with one another without difficulties, then chances are such a people are on the highway to peace, tranquility and prosperity. One thing that marks contemporary sense of superiority among the Euro-Western nations is the sense of peace and stability in the conduct of their political wrangles and battles. After having suffered political violence and economic depressions in Europe as well as in America, the West has come to agree in the power of the ball over the bullet. After the fall of Hitler in Germany and the Communists in the former Soviet Union, the power of the electoral process has become supreme. Elections and term limits ate sinking in. Even though the companions of Fidel Castro of Cuba still give lip services to the ideology of communism, it is becoming categorically clear that elections and term limits are almost inevitable. As evidenced in the Middle East, Egypt, Tunisia Libya, and host of others. At this juncture in our history when modernity, globalization and human rights serve as the trinity of human triumph over members of the animal kingdom through their science and technology on the one hand and through their fidelity to scriptures, literature and myth-making powers on the other. Nigerians too are in the race for acceptance and the elections this year provide an important moment for them to demonstrate political maturity and national solidarity in the maintenance of law and order on the one hand and economic acumen and audacity of hope on the other. It is against this background we examine this ongoing campaign and elections. Let us begin with the A, B, and C of the elections this year. The candidacy of Jonathan Goodluck serves as the point of departure in this narrative. Having been chosen as Vice President to the late President Yar Adua, sitting President Goodluck came to office in the midst of serious constitutional debates among Nigerians leaders and their people. Previously trapped in a legal fix of their own creation through the construction of an electoral process widely known as zoning, these leaders thought their political impasse of interethnic wrangles and political confusion could be obviated when the two main regions of the country are given guarantees of passing the political ball from region to region. Under this system of political largesse sharing, many naively thought, the extremism of peoples throughout the land would graduate disappear and Nigeria and her citizens would once again live in peace and the ugly wounds of their long-gone civil war “re becoming things of the past.” Real or imagined, the danger surrounding the zoning debate in which certain elements from the North entertained the idea that the death of Yar Adua should allow another northern to came on this task. This decision was predated by the constitutional question of raising the status of the Vice President to the position of “Acting President.” After much debate and behind-the-scene maneuverings among the leadership, with some foreign prodding from particularly the United States of America, Vice President Goodluck was elevated by the leaders of the national parliament to the status of “Acting President.” It was indeed against this background he made it categorically clear that he was going to rule. Running he did and today, April 20, 2011 the Nigerians and the world are waiting for the electoral commission to tall the votes and declare their results. Atahiru Yacub, the Chief Officer handling the elections, together with fellow Nigerian poll watchers and ball counters will eventually save the Nigerians from political shame and political violence. Will Jonathan win and what will Nigeria gain from his victory? It is this part of the political alphabets of Nigerian society that begs for attention and commentary. Here the potential victory of sitting President Jonathan Goodluck should be looked at in seven different ways of telling the Nigerian story. First of all, this election is a good beginning for teaching younger generations of Nigerians the art of politics. Who governs, when and how? By electing Jonathan Nigerian ethnic majorities such as the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo could send a reassuring message to the world. If it comes out this way, Nigerian majorities and the respective minorities in the country could tell each other how the Nigerians have also create their own Obama in Jonathan. Once again, a minority candidate after decades of marginalization and exclusion has picked up the baton running for Nigeria in his own right. Those who are not sufficiently informed about the plight of ethnic minorities in Nigeria should take a look at the reports on the Nigerian minorities before independence. Adding insults to injury one must pay attention to the plight of such peoples as events in the Niger Delta. This is the second reason for voting for Jonathan. His triumph would flush out of the sink of neglect all the anxieties and apprehensions of the minorities from the South and the South-South. The third reason why a Jonathan election means another important thing for the Nigerians lies in the implications of his elections for the minorities from the North. Be it noted here that his current Vice President addresses the wishes and hopes of the living minorities in the north. He too would be serving the wishes of the North on the one hand and the hopes and aspirations of the minorities in the northern states of Nigeria. Hopefully, the political combination worked out by Jonathan would heal the nation the way Yacubu Gowan, an Anga by ethnicity from the Tiv land in the former Middle Region of Nigeria did after the bloody civil war. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seven reasons why Jonathan’s election would be a good start for Nigeria, needs to be stated here. In rapid order one could say that a Jonathan presidency could allow the new leaders of Nigeria to embark on the difficult and delicate task of healing the conflicts between the major ethnic groups. Through his cabinet, he can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that “Nigeria deserves the best of her intellects and experiences to look after her affairs.” Without putting zoning absolutely in cold storage Jonathan could make it categorically clear that knowledgeable Nigerians are going to be put as front runners for Nigeria in the global contest. Any evidence along these lines would keep the elders reassured and the youth console for their toil and sacrifices for a better Nigeria. Related to this fourth point is the fifth point about interfaith dialogue in the country. The willingness of former President Buhari to accept the final results of the elections could definitely augur well for the country. He too will enter the pages of Nigeria history as a Nigerian who came to power through the power of the bullet but willingly and seriously accept the dictates of his people. In these narrative future generations of Nigerians, especially those in the Diaspora who followed the events leading to the elections of Barack Obama against Senator McCain can draw a parallel between the defeat of Buhari and McCain in the sense that Obama defeated a war hero who suffered at the hands of the communist Vietnamese whereas Jonathan who served under a Northern civilian President now defeats a former military President who came to power through the power of the bullet. What makes this comparison striking is the fact that when Obama came to the White House history in an ironical and paradoxical way made what was considered at one point impossible now possible. Here we go again; Nigerians are telling the way that defeated former military leaders in the polls bow to the wishes of their electorate. The ball and not the bullet should now prevail. The sixth and seventh points about the victory and election of Jonathan are as follows: Jonathan as a President in his own right is good news for the world. Nigerians are catching up with the train of history. All the foolishness of yesterday belongs to the mistakes and arrogance of leaders and the new direction under him promises the audacity of hope and the willingness of Nigerians to make the best out of this inning in the political cricket of Nigeria. This time, Jonathan should reassure us, he is not going to allow emotionalism and poor judgments to woe and win into the pitch of political errors. If he does so, he will bat his own political wickets. This would be political disaster. It leads me to the seventh point to remember in our analysis of a Jonathan election and victory in Nigeria. Within the end of this year and beyond hopefully Jonathan and his team would create new pathways for Nigerians. The much needed changes are begging for attention and hopefully through a new political culture the people of this “Giant of Africa” would wake up and collect their senses to take their rightful place in world history. They should start with what they know and build on what they have.
 
Saturday, April 2, 2011
  The Need for Political Maturity in Nigerian. By Eucharia Mbachu

Nigeria has had its share of political instability; thank goodness things are shaping up for the better. However as Nigerians are preped up to go to the pools, every meaningful Nigerian is compelled by circumstances to hold his or her breath. Because of the size of the country a lot is expected from its leaders as the biblical saying goes, he whom much is given, much is expected. That is why most Nigerians carry the biggest weight both in Africa and other parts of the world when black performance is judged in the field of human development Nigeria comes to mind Going to the polls has emerged as one of the bones of contention that defines and determines the status and significance of any independent member of the United Nations. Since the declaration of independence in the majority of African countries in the ninety sixties, elections were considered the prelude to nationhood. Almost all the leaders who assumed power at this time in African history joined the UN as victors in their last elections before decolonization came into being. These founding fathers of the New Africa bragged about their performances at the polls. However, from the wider perspective of history, many of these leaders failed to honor and respect the acts of dignification conferred upon them at polling times. Instead of ruling for a short time and yield back power to their constituencies, they linked on and in the end suffered the fates of dictators who stayed too long. If not booted out through the ballot boxes, they were driven out of power by mad and hungry soldiers. Hence the first ten years after Ghana’s pioneering role as independent that country was a disaster for all Africans and blacks around the world. Coups detat came in rapid succession and elections gradually became the distant source of power. One –Party dictatorship became fashionable and coups detat became the alternative ways of sharing power among soldiers. Under the one-party dictatorship, civilians rule; under the military certain collaborating civilians got some little power as co-opted fellows of the ruling elites. . Nigeria provides an excellent case study of Africa’s encounter with elections. There are five ways in which the forthcoming elections separate the Nigerian road to democracy from others on the continent. First, Nigerians are similar to but different from other Africans in the sense that, on the one hand, they yearn for the ballot box, but on the other, they know the growing pain in getting their soldiers and civilian leaders to accept the demands of term limits and the need for political tolerance among the elites. Without political tolerance there will be little or no change after the elections. Either the electorate may feel disappointed or cajoled by deceptive politicians or the emotions may take over and the people might decide to follow their ethnic urges instead of their rational political and economic interests. Another way Nigerians are different from the other Africans stems from the demographic imperatives. With a population of almost one-half of the United States of America Nigeria caters to a large electorate and for this and other related reasons, it was impossible for either the civilians or the soldiers to impose a one-party state. Historically speaking, General Ironsi was a victim of this miscalculation when he declared Nigeria a unitary state after the 1965 coup detat The same circumstances made it impossible for both the two former military dictators Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha to mold the country according to their taste. The third point to make here rests on the circumstances that led to the rise of General Olusegun Obasanjo. One cannot appreciate the successes of the former President unless one looks at Nigerian elections in the circumstances and the political agitation of the Nigerian electorates and civil societies that brought him to power. Not only did he benefit from the rise and death of the late M.O.K. Abiola under very depressing and dangerous period, but he also contributed immeasurably to the harnessing of the special Nigerian political seeds to help advance Nigerians to the present level of political maturity. General Obasanjo may have his critics galore in the country, but the fact still remains to be said. It was during his leadership that a new generation of cooperating elites across ethnic lines began to form forcefully and nationally. Posterity will eventually know all the secret details about his successes in governing the country through an effective alliance between northern leaders and their counterparts in the southern parts of the country at such a critical moment. Those who are in the know can vouch for the great Obansanjo fascination with the candidacy of the late former President Yar Adua. The former President Obasanjo campaigned vigorously for the brother of his former colleague, senior Yar Adua during the fatal and bloody times of Abacha who contributed a great deal when younger Obasanjo took power after the assassination of Murtala Mohammed. He made sure also that he ruled with full party support. When we look at the fourth and fifth reasons why these forthcoming elections make Nigeria a different political space in Africa, three elements demand serious thought. There is the fact that during these elections, Nigerians will have more than two credible political parties and both of them, if enthusiastically voted for by the vast majority of the population, would raise the levels of political maturity in the country. Whosoever is elected would be privileged to govern with minimal tensions in the country. The second element, if things work out amicably, would be the growing decline of the significance of zoning. If the leaders in the country have learned to cooperate with Obasanjo’s successors after he was denied a third term, then we can here argue for a new passion for change in Nigerian political arithmetic and a new attitude towards civilian and military rulers. Here the fifth reason for Nigerians to look at the forthcoming elections critically lies in the opportunities for the larger ethnic groups to come together and demonstrate political maturity by choosing the best candidate. If the evidence suggest for them, as matters did for Americans during their elections of 2008 when Barrack Obama won, then the sitting President Jonathan is qualified to rule. Significantly, the whole process would be dignified by the competition of former President Buhari on the one hand and Presidential candidate Ribadu, on the other. Drawing a parallel with the 2008 American elections, one could now say honestly that General Buhari would be serving historically the same role as Senator McCain in the American elections. If the electorate across the great ethnic divide in the country favors President Jonathan, then chances are the zoning question will be fixed for all Nigerians. Truth be told, the participation of both northern politicians in this campaign could send a positive message to the country that the minorities deserve to be consoled by such acts of political unity and solidarity among the larger Nigerian ethnic groups who see this moment as a saving grace and a new salute to all Nigerians at home and abroad. It is in light of this, that we now turn to the elections and their significance for Nigerian political maturity. By political maturity one means the development of serious consciousness among the Nigerian electorate to stay away from political violence and thuggery during elections. If the political elites accept the ballot box as the instrument of the people to choose and select leaders, chances are Nigerians will gradually eliminate the corrupting powers of bad elections and political demagoguery. During these elections Nigerians are being asked to elect their new President and Vice President; they are challenge to elect new governors as well as new leaders of government in various levels of the federation and thirty-six constituting states. However, there are stumbling blocks that might likely work against the meaningful and effective conduct of elections. First of all, many Nigerians are mindful of the dangers that lay hidden from public view. There is apprehension about political intrigues and the rigging of elections on the side of one party or the other. Such approaches to politics under the present conditions in Nigeria are dangerous and unwise. If not avoided, chances of bloodshed and political chaos could set in. The only people who can avoid these eventualities are the political elites from all parts of the country. So long as the various states are able to elect their own governors unimpeded chances are Abuja would gradually become the haven of political compromise and national celebration. I will leave my readers with what we learned from the history of elections in Nigeria since decolonization. There was the politics of hope and expectation during the last days of colonialism and many of our leaders and elders enjoyed the arts of politicking. However, this love affair with political electioneering was short-lived, largely because of the political violence in the country. Since then political freedom was caught and mortgaged by military leaders through coup detats. Another factor to be considered is the nature of the Nigerian political animal. It is too big to be tamed under one-party domination. Nigeria never had one-party rule and their political developments revolved around civilian versus military rulers. It is very important to note the chemistry of Nigerian politics. Nigerians are allergic to political ideologies unlike other places in the world. Their intolerance for long-term dictatorship has made their electoral process a tough bargain for politicians. It is too costly to meet with the political demanding of the voters on the one hand, and to negotiate successfully with political rivals on the other, This is particularly so now, when bargaining and compromise are fully accepted as terms of reference in the political culture of the country. In light of this reasoning one is compelled to say these unforgettable words from one African thinker:: “Nigeria’s destiny is inextricably linked to the personal egos of every citizens who is sufficiently informed to use his or her voting power as a to effect positive change in the country from the leaders to restrain from the ugly thoughts and nefarious deeds that are bound to shame our national honor. It will be a disaster if democracy falls in Nigeria. What happened in Rwanda will be a child’s cry compared to what will happen if Nigeria fall short in her quest for democracy. That’s why it’s imperative that a serious caution be maintained both at the voting pools and outside. Hopefully, this election will be a critical test and our success after the voting could open the doors to social, economic and political developments which will clearly confirms that Nigeria as a partner in progress on international economic powerhouse.

Labels:

 
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
  Who Fights for the African Woman?
Few days ago, the world celebrated the International Women Day, commemorating women contributions to the world over the years.
As an African woman, I join the world to say Kudos to my fellow women compatriots both at home front and abroad. At the same the mourn for the deplorable and harsh conditions African woman go through. It is true we are slowing hitting up for good for the African woman, but still lots need to be done to improve their lots.
A recent survey on the worst treated women in the world released by the international humanitarian organization CARE, Africa was ranked seven as the most horrible treated women in the world. Should this be a celebration or condemnation? What does an African woman has to celebrate?
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the effects of female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual abuse, and violence, lack of access to health care, decision-making, gender discrimination and illiteracy on women development in Africa. What is most tragic is the fact that women are victimized at three levels: location in society; culturally programmed to suffer from the ills of patriarchy; materially deprived at one level and institutionally marginalized to enjoy some of the fruits of the struggle for gender equality in the modern world.
As women are celebrated around the world, there is a need in Africa for struggle to correct the errors of yesterday and address the challenges of today. Identifying the problems and woes of the women folks, one begins with the idea of womanhood and the nature of suffering on the African continent. The first grievance is the imposed silence in the relationship between the women and their male partners. Condemned to be pleasure units whose purpose in life is to satisfy the sexual needs and demand of men, and to do everything within their power to outsmart each other in the fulfillment of this role, it is imperative for some if not many of us to solve these problems. What does this mean to a woman? It means that the personality and dignity of woman needs to be seriously evaluated and the forces and factors responsible for the deterioration of women in social intercourse be fussed on and addressed immediately.
The manner in which the women defines themselves as a part of the animal kingdom must go beyond that which makes men to create endless synonyms for the defining sexual characteristics of women.. As the case maybe, women should speak up and take charge, take their gender seriously and organize themselves in a way that men look at them not as pleasure units but as partners in progress and development.

Through these longstanding methods of manipulations, women have suffered and are still continue to suffer at the hands of men. Searching for fun and sexual gratification, women have languished under the thick boots of play boys and abusing philanders.

In the African situations, many young women have suffered sexual abuse and rape within and outside their families. Rape most often is a taboo to bring to the open especially when the man committing this offence is a family member, a powerful politician, an Eze or Oba, a village Chief, bacon of society, a businessman, or even young boys. The list goes on. As if violating the woman is not enough, they also infect them with the AIDS virus.

These tragedies are compounded due to the negative impact of patriarchy which is the traditional license for men to treat women as second class citizens, marrying as many wives as possible and having as many mistresses as possible. This ancient tradition which goes to King Sulayman and his numerous wives on the one hand, and to the African kings in the pre-colonial era on the other, is now the source of grave danger to women and society. Traditionally African men hates the use of condoms, many draw on their pleasure units without precautions. As a result, the emergence of HIV AIDS becomes the brutal enemy of African health and social security. Moving from one bed to the other, this disease that has wreak havoc throughout the continent, particularly in central and east Africa has accompany the men who take pride in their sexual conquests. African men most of whom refuse to be tested even when they suspect they could have the HIV epidemic, they still go about sleeping around with women unprotected.

It is tough to get going in Africa, tougher to get going as an African woman.
To able to get a job, loan, education, you must belong to the middle class, which means the majority of the population is left out, the majority of the population are women, the majority of the population are poor. 85% of the population lives below poverty line.

Men are able to do all these because most African women are insecure; African women are yet to make a significant inroad towards economic gains, and decision-making, while at the home front, their biological human rights are constantly violated and under treat.
The man is always in charge especially, in matters of sex. The woman feels incapable and helpless to be able to make decision on how she wants her body treated. Most often, men beat women for refusing to have sex with them or refuse to have sex without protection.
As a result, they woman is infected, she got pregnant, she gave birth, the child is infected, the mother gets really sick, no money for medicine or education for the child. The woman dies; the circle starts all over with this child in the vicious circle of poverty, abuse and neglect.
Through my observations over the years and experience talking to some of these women, I identified as primary causes material poverty and social entrapments. What I am saying is that the lack of economic and material resources has made it difficult for many women to take charge of their lives.. In the absence of such opportunities, many trade their bodies for pleasure gains for men and in doing so, they become subservient to men. It is also noteworthy to say that since majority of these women are poor and uneducated, they do not know their basic human rights or how to fight for it.
This can only be achieved through the rule of law. The absence of traditional or modern institutions to protect the weak, the vulnerable and the determination of freedom from the male folk complicates matters. For example, if a woman is forced to have sex with her husband, can she pick up the phone to call somebody, an agency, is there any institution or structure where she can go for protection? Nowhere! Even families are up on the gain. The role of the traditional family plays some negative role. Most families will send the woman back to the abusive husband. In their eyes, they woman is always at fault. Women are generally taught never to refuse sex to their husbands. If a woman goes against this rule, she will never be accepted by her family. She will be sent back to her abusive husband, with the warning, “Learn how to behave like a woman to your husband” She will be forced to apologize to the man. The fate of an African woman is not a good one. They are so enslaved that they are afraid to fight for themselves.
The African women are equally in denial because they feel there must be a man in order to be recognized. They have to get up and fight for themselves; no one will do it for them.
No one is going to give you emancipation; unless you fight for it.

The good news is this struggle for gender equality is here; we are moving on to the end.
I will conclude this with Dr. Sulayman Nyang’s reflections on what he called “The Human Conditions” On Women he wrote; “Women are the mothers of men
They are the protection of children
The are the custodians of nature’s treasures
They are the eyes of the race
They are the supplementary angles in the geometric problem of existence”

In other words nothing that is would be without women. Women are the past, the present and the future, let’s treat them with respect and honor. They are our mothers.
Eucharia Mbachu is the founder and President of Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora
 

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

You

Archives
December 2007 / January 2008 / March 2008 / May 2009 / June 2009 / August 2009 / November 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2011 / May 2011 / January 2012 /


Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

 
© 2007 Voices of Women & Children
P.O. Box 8616 Silver Spring, MD 20910 • Telephone 301-562-1418 • webmaster@vowac.org