You caused a death. Can you forgive yourself?

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Read Time:2 Minute, 8 Second

Darin Strauss was 18, a month from graduating high school, when he climbed into his father’s Oldsmobile and picked up some friends to play miniature golf. He drove in the left lane of a four-lane thoroughfare in Long Island, New York, shooting the breeze, enjoying the watercolored scenery, not a care in the world. Up ahead, on his right, two girls pedaled bicycles on the shoulder.

Suddenly, one of the girls swerved left across the road. Strauss, with no time to react, hit her at 40 miles per hour. The girl — Celine Zilke, a student at Strauss’ high school — died.

Strauss was exonerated by the legal system. His friends, for the most part, were supportive. But he privately carried around the memory of Celine Zilke’s death for decades. After a poor experience with a therapist, who seemed as determined to impress Strauss with his sports car as help him past the guilt, Strauss went off to college and essentially buried the incident except to a few intimates.

“They said I wasn’t to blame,” Strauss recalls in an interview at an Atlanta coffee shop.

But he could never let go. The words of Zilke’s mother — “You’re living for two” — echoed in his brain. He became a well-reviewed, best-selling novelist. His books include “Chang and Eng” and “The Real McCoy.” He married and had children. But it wasn’t until he entered his late 30s that he decided to revisit the car accident and its effect on his life. His memoir, “Half a Life,” won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award and was recently released in paperback.

Though Strauss, now 40, said he was sometimes challenged to dredge up details, the emotional power of the accident never left. “(The incident) was branded into my brain,” he says. And letting go, he adds, hasn’t come easily, either. “For a long time, I was in denial. Everyone told me I’m fine, so I must be fine.”

Life is an adventure in forgiveness, the writer Norman Cousins once said, but few things come so hard as forgiving oneself.

Yes, there are websites, such as PostSecret.com and SecretRegrets.com, that allow people to expose their pain anonymously. The radio show “This American Life,” on which Strauss first told his tale, did a whole show on blameless guilt. And there are therapists and clergy by the score ready to lend a willing ear.

But it’s not like the clouds suddenly lift after someone like Robin Williams’ “Good Will Hunting” shrink utters “It’s not your fault” a half-dozen times.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Woman Dies At Her Own Funeral: Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov Dead At 49

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Read Time:52 Second

A woman has reportedly died from the shock of coming to life at her own funeral.

Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov, 49, was wrongly declared dead by doctors, but she actually died after hearing people pray for her soul in Kazan, Russia, according to the Daily Mail.

She was taken back to a hospital where she was declared dead, this time for good.

“Her eyes fluttered and we immediately rushed her back to the hospital but she only lived for another 12 minutes,” her husband, Fagili Mukhametzyanov, said, according to the Daily News.

Mukhametzyanov said he plans to sue the hospital, which says it is conducting an investigation of the incident.

Her final cause of death was heart failure, according to reports. Her “first death” was also heart-related, a suspected heart attack.

This isn’t the first time a funeral has taken an unexpected twist. In recent years, a man showed up alive for his own funeral in Brazil and a premature baby declared dead woke up before his own funeral before dying shortly after in Paraguay.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nollywood: Omotala & Hubby put to rest the cheating accusation and the Boot grabbing saga

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Read Time:4 Minute, 30 Second

In our last edition, we did a cover story which was titled ”Omotola in the eye of the storm! Husband angry over butt-grabbing photo at the Grammys…Why she apologized.”

The story centered around the rumors then spreading all over the world about the state of marriage of Omotola-by far, one of the most visible and popular stars in the Nollywood firmament following a butt-grabbing incident by her escort at the 2011 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles-an event that had Omotola, as the first Nollywood star to ever walk the Red Carpet at the star-studded event.

The picture had elicited wild rumors and innuendoes – with some speculating that her relationship with the guy, whose hands was on her backside, had more to it than meets the eye.

Some had openly stated she was playing games with her marital vows.

We had reported in the same article our inability to get Omotola to state her own side of the story, since she was shooting a movie in Ghana. We had, however relied on close sources to piece together our facts which provided the background to our story.

A few days after the story hit the news stands, I received a call from Omotola, who expressed the desire to finally speak on the issue. “ I am now going to use this platform to put this issue to rest once and for all.”

Omotola went on to add that “people have insinuated all kinds of things and read numerous meaning to what was nothing but an innocuous picture taken of me and a member of my new management team at the Grammys. The picture was an innocent one, signifying nothing.

I have been married to my husband for 15 years now, and I say this loud and clear that I have never cheated on him, and would never do so ever! Remember I said in an interview I granted you in 2009, that yes, I have been tempted numerous times to violate my marital vows, but I have always resisted the temptation to do anything that would bring dishonor to my marriage and my children. If I told you – as a popular actress that we have not been tempted, I would be lying to you. But should one sacrifice all what one has built, nurtured and worked hard to establish just because you want to indulge in some ill-motivated affair? No. I don’t believe in that. I count myself blessed to have married a perfect gentleman, a man who has supported me throughout my years in the industry, and is still there, as a rock of Gibraltar. My husband is a rare find, and no amount of temptation will ever make me cheat on him.

So the notion or the rumor that my haters and nay sayers have spread to the effect that the guy at the Grammys was my boyfriend, is ludicrous to say the least. If I wanted to cheat on my husband, would I do that in the open? Would I advertise my boyfriend for everyone to see and at such a public function? Just analyze that logically – would that be a commonsensical thing to do?

This rumor is really a sick one and I’m offended. My husband is my soul-mate and I will never soil or put that trust in jeopardy – no matter what and the extent of the temptation. It is not worth it.” (At this point, she handed the phone to her husband).

My wife is no flirt  – Husband

It was obvious from the manner Mr. Ekeinde sounded, that he was pained and frustrated by all the unfounded rumors about his wife’s glorious outing at the Grammys

“My brother, I am very proud of my wife’s accomplishments and I join other well wishers and millions of her fans to toast her success. I’m a little surprised that instead of Nigerians celebrating her appearance at the Grammys and her, being the first Nollywood star to walk the red carpet; they are busy spreading tales and rumors that do not exist.

Truth be told, I was not angry with my wife when I saw the picture. Why should I be? I know who I married, how self-respecting she is and also the nature of her industry. She is an actress for God’s sake, and it is not out of place for actresses to appear in scenes that may look a little out of place for a married person.

The key thing is that my wife respects her marital status, and in our 15 year marriage, she has been the best woman any man could aspire to have. In spite of her stardom, at home, she is my wife. She cooks for me, takes care of the home and above all, is a great mother to our lovely children.

I sincerely would implore her fans not to buy into rumors and speculations about her marital life, because I, the husband the one that is lucky to have her as my wife is so proud of her and I continue to thank God for bringing her into my life. I could never have asked for a better wife than her” Mr. Ekeinde a commercial airline pilot had concluded.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Protests erupt in Senegal over controversial law

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Read Time:1 Minute, 8 Second

DAKAR, Senegal – Senegalese police filed tear gas on protesters marching in the capital Thursday to oppose proposed changes to the constitution that critics say could benefit the longtime president and his family.

The proposed law lowers the percentage of votes required to win the 2012 presidential election, reducing it from 50 percent of votes cast to just 25 percent of registered voters. It also creates the post of vice president. Lawmakers met Thursday to consider the proposals.

The opposition charges that both moves are intended to help the ruling family. It could allow aging president Abdoulaye Wade, 85, to appoint his unpopular son as his running mate, creating a mechanism for his succession. Under the current constitution, if the president dies in office, the head of the National Assembly becomes president temporarily before new elections are organized.

Anger is reaching the boiling point in this normally stable democracy where the octogenarian leader is planning to run for a third extraconstitutional term. Discontent is growing because of power cuts that have become so frequent even bourgeois parts of the capital are now without electricity for as long as 12 hours a day.

“He wants to create a monarchy, this isn’t right,” said taxi driver Mamadou Drame. “He says his son is well-educated and a good boy. But we don’t care. We want our democracy back.”

 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nollywood: Lagos gets set for Dance234 Audition

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Read Time:1 Minute, 39 Second

(Codewit Nollywood)In Abuja, the Dance234 audition was hot, in Enugu it was explosive, in Benin it was mind blowing and as many are wondering what more is to come, Lagos picks up the baton for the Dance234 audition, which is to begins on June 25, 26 and 27 at KOGA Entertainment, Bolaji Close, Oregun, Lagos.

Dance234 is a dance reality show from KOGA entertainment a foremost entertainment out fit in Nigeria poised to discover dancers in their purest form, help them unleash the professional dancer in them and give them a platform to be known for their skills.

The experienced team of the Dance234 judges that consist of Brandiny of ‘The Mask’ dance team and Preere Yibowei a Nigerian dance instructor express excitement at the success they have achieved so far in the auditions.

Speaking on the auditions, Brandiny, one of the judges said ‘personally I am encouraged not only by the success of the auditions so far, but because the passion and zeal I see in those who participated in the auditions tells me that dance in Nigeria  in a number of years is definitely going to be a really big thing. I am so glad I was a part of this show because it has really opened me up to another of Nigeria’s untapped resources, which is Dance.

Preere YIbowei on her part said ‘I hope not to sound sentimental but I am particularly looking forward to the Lagos audition. This is because I believe Lagos is the headquarter of entertainment in Nigeria, so I am expecting a lot from Lagos’.

The Dance234 Lagos audition will mark the end of all the auditions. After which, twenty finalists consisting of an equal mix of boys and girls will be selected to battle it out on the KOGA stage in Lagos for the grand price of a car, N1, 000, 000 (one million naira), and a dance course abroad

 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nollywood: The Glitzy Premiere of ‘Kiss and tell”

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Read Time:2 Minute, 5 Second

Anyone passing through the Ahmadu Bello way, Victoria Island, on June 20, 2011, could sense a mile away that something extraordinary was happening at the Silverbird Galleria. From the long traffic, to the filled Silverbird car park, to the large number of dapperly looking guests walking into the galleria and the red carpet stand that was flooded with stars, the event could not have been anything other than the premiere of ‘Kiss and Tell’.

The Kiss and tell premiere started at about 4pm with a red carpet event at the Atrium of the Silverbird Cinemas, which lasted for about four hours as against the two hours planned out. This was not surprising though, as the large number of paparazzi on ground could not have enough of the long list of stars on ground. The role call of stars in attendance include; Monalisa Chinda, Emem Isong, Joseph Benjamin, Uche Jumbo, Lilian Bach, Susan Bash, Julius Agwu, Fred Amata and a whole lot of others.

At about 8pm guests moved into the hall for the premiere proper. The Nigerian comedian and radio presenter Yaw, who was the anchor of the event, came on stage and introduced the executive producer, producer and the cast of the movie who took a bow after a resounding applause from the audience.

Guests were taken through several crescendos of fun and laughter as the romantic comedy ‘Kiss and Tell’ came up on the screen. Executive producer of the movie Monalisa Chinda and producer, Emem Isong were all smiles after the movie as the standing ovation and applause they got after the movie signalled to them that they did a good job.

‘Kiss and Tell’ features A-list Nollywood actors like Desmond Elliot who also directed the movie, Monalisa Chinda, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Uche Jombo, Joseph Benjamin, Bhaira Mcwizu, Darlene Benson and others. It will start showing in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country from July 18.

In ‘Kiss and Tell’, Iyke (Joseph Benjamin), the ultimate player in the game of women runs Blue Quest with his friend Bernard (Desmond Elliot); their friendship however does not apply to their coy. Iyke, who prides himself as the ultimate player per excellence however met his match perhaps more than he bargain for in Delphine (Monalisa Chinda), a divorce lawyer who is a divorcee herself. Iyke is about to lose a bet, a controlling shares of Blue Quest. He has to win or lose all.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Libyan crisis could spell ‘disaster’ for Italy

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Read Time:2 Minute, 48 Second

There are warnings of a catastrophic humanitarian emergency as thousands of Libyan asylum seekers fleeing a violent uprising make their way to Europe.

Several thousand would-be immigrants crossed the waters from Tunisia last month to the Italian island of Lampedusa, south-east of Sicily.

On Thursday around 500 asylum seekers alone landed on the island, which has long been the first port of call for refugees trying to get into Europe from North Africa.

Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni has warned the numbers could go over one million, and he is calling for help from the rest of the EU.

“We are in front of a humanitarian emergency and I ask Europe to settle all the necessary measures to deal with a catastrophic humanitarian emergency. We cannot be left alone. This is my request,” he said.

It marks the end of a cosy deal between prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi to make the problem go away.

Under the deal, agreed in 2008, Italy gave its former colony $5 billion to keep the boats at bay.

But on Thursday the Italian coast guard intercepted four boats. The 500 or so onboard were transferred to Lampedusa, the tiny southern island closer to North Africa, than to Italy – just 130 kilometres across the Mediterranean from Tunisia.

Since the Tunisian regime was toppled on January 6, 700 people have landed on Lampedusa, more than doubling the resident population.

Mr Maroni has warned that the EU border control agency estimates that up to 1.5 million would-be immigrants from Libya will attempt to cross the sea.

Over the past 15 years, more than 13,000 people are said to have died trying to do the same.

Mr Maroni, a minister from the anti-immigration northern league and a key member of Mr Berlusconi’s ruling coalition, is appealing to his European neighbours to help finance, process and repatriate asylum seekers.

But so far his request has been met with silence.

Some commentators have suggested that Italy should reap what it has sewn, suggesting that Mr Berlusconi could and should have done more to promote human rights in Libya, given the close relationship between the two leaders.

Just five months ago, Mr Gaddafi was extended a warm welcome when he was in Rome on a state visit.

The Italian prime minister even invited 500 attractive young women to a so-called “convert to Islam” party hosted by Mr Gaddafi, after which Mr Berlusconi was photographed kissing the Libyan dictator’s hand.

Arturo Varvelli, a Middle East expert at Milan’s Institute for the Study of International Politics, says the situation is a disaster for Italy.

“The disaster is the loss of an important economic partner like Gaddafi,” he said.

The Italian government is split on how to deal with the Gaddafi administration, with many insisting that Italy’s national interest still lies in supporting the Libyan despot.

A 2008 friendship agreement between the two countries saw Rome hand over $5 billion in reparations for Italy’s early 20th century colonial rule over Libya.

The treaty also states that there should be no direct or indirect military force exerted on Libya by Italy.

In return, Libya collaborated to stem the flow of illegal immigrants flooding Italian shores.

In the space of two-and-a-half years, the boats had stopped and Italy became Libya’s number one trading partner.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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A Farcical And Anarchic Look At Nigerian Vehicle Plates

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Read Time:12 Minute, 26 Second

Laughter, they say is the best medicine. Let’s take a comic look at our predicament in Nigeria.

A “farce” is defined as “A light dramatic work in which highly improbable plot situations, exaggerated characters, and often slapstick elements are used for humorous effect”. And “The broad or spirited humor characteristic of such works”. Or “A ludicrous, empty show; a mockery: e.g. The Maurice Iwu-conducted 2007 election was a farce.

Most often, the term “anarchy” describes the simple absence of publicly recognized government or enforced political authority or a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority. When used in this sense, anarchy may or may not imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society. In another sense, anarchy may not refer to a complete lack of authority or political organization, but instead refer to a social state characterized by absolute direct democracy or libertarianism.

OK, you tell me. Nigeria does not fall into this category of anarchy. But how do you describe a country where one of its authority agencies, the Police, openly and brazenly waylay and collect money from motorists on the highways everyday; or where political thugs who call themselves transport union members, run amok killing, maiming and intimidating their opponents and ordinary citizens  on a daily basis in Ibadan and other capitals around the country; or where kidnapping goes on unabated in the eastern part of the country or un-checked religious and ethnic strife in the northern parts of the country, or where the judiciary colludes with corrupt politicians to deliver spurious judgments detrimental to democratic and political enfranchisement  and progress of the people or indeed, a country where political leaders (s)elected and entrusted to give us succour and progress brazenly steal and loot the treasury everyday?

The good state of Bayelsa proclaims to the world on car number plates that it is the “The Glory of All Lands”. Thank God, they are not calling it “The Wealth of the Nation”, that would have been too obvious, isn’t it? But what exactly is their glory there? Oil spills, dirty and foul-smelling creeks, gas-flaring and irresponsible governors and local chiefs? All these and the corruption have given the state’s slogan a hollow ring.

Plateau is “Home of Peace and Tourism”. My wife was born, bred and buttered in Jos, the capital. Its cool climate and cultural landmarks have always made it an attraction for the rare tourists who make it to Nigeria, but Plateau has been plagued by religious and ethnic violence promoted and sustained by evil, calculating politicians that have killed hundreds. What have they turned one of the most beautiful environments in the world into?

As for Kaduna, it earned the label of “Liberal State” for its cosmopolitan and lively atmosphere. However, it has suffered from several bouts of religious violence, including the 2002 Miss World riots that killed 200 people after Muslims were angered by an article about the beauty pageant. Just last year, when President Jonathan picked Kaduna State Governor, Namadi Sambo, a Moslem, as his Vice-president, thus constitutionally paving the way for his Deputy Governor, Patrick Yakowa, a Christian, to become the new governor, there was some grumbling amongst the Moslems. Credit to Kadunans, they quickly sorted it out.

Some states have adopted more mundane slogans for their number plates. Nassarawa is “Home of Solid Minerals”, but where are the minerals to complement the oil?  Last I heard, those solid minerals are mined by individuals who never make any returns to the Federal Government, and the Federal Government is in full awareness of this but cannot do anything about it because these are powerful illegal miners.

Benue is “Food Basket of the Nation”, more like “Basket-mouth of the Nation” to me. I don’t see the baskets of food. Most of them disappear into neighbouring Cameroun. But really, you should see their yams.

Others take a more abstruse approach. Yobe declares “The Young Shall Grow”, what the hell does that mean, really? How long will they grow?

Kwara proclaims itself a “State of Harmony”, well, one thing for sure, the Sarakis have harmonised all the resources and even the people of the state so much that I think the slogan should simply be “The Sarakis’ Own State”.

Abia is “God’s Own State”, no more, no less. (Let’s dance to Fuji music – apologies to late Ayinde Barrister). Yes, indeed. Why not “God’s Own People”? God gave Abia Orji Kalu, and the state has never been the same again. I know of only one God’s own people, and they are not in Abia State. They give Igbos a bad name.

Akwa Ibom is “Land of Promise”. Promising what? The killing of twins and the identification and punishment of children as witches?  And Cross River as the “People’s Paradise”, well, maybe Obudu Cattle Ranch is the only paradise in the world. But I doubt it. I love the people of the two states, but they should discard all these bad cultural beliefs.

Borno State is the inappropriately named “Home of Peace”, with Boko Haram fanatics running around burning churches and killing policemen. Home of Piece, I’d call it.

I love Delta and Edo States. They are both hearty. Delta is the “The Big Heart”. More like the Big Art for me, with all the best “akpavin” and “skillo” located there. But what even makes it more heated is what ex-Governor James Ibori did there. He proved that treasury looting and stealing is an art and a hit. Edo is “The Heart Beat”. How they let that dullard boy Lucky run roughshod over them for eight years is beyond me, but it proves indeed the Edos, Esans and the Akoko-Edos do have big beating hearts, warm and welcoming and, unsuspecting of dubious politicians.

Adamawa is the “Land of Beauty”. I’d have agreed 100% were it not for the clueless retired naval officer with four wives who has made absolutely no impact on the state in the past four years and still wants to be there. One thing for sure, his fours wives are beautiful.

And “Coal City State”, Enugu State? Yes, the last time I heard about coal coming from Enugu was when I was in the primary school in the 1960s. Since then, all the coal must have disappeared into some people’s land and pockets.

Jigawa is “The New World”, a lovely state whose only contribution to Nigeria’s economy is production of dates, yes, the fruit called date. Yes, nobody, even the inhabitants exploit this versatile fruit.

Kano, the “Centre of Commerce”. Really? Where are the famous groundnut pyramids we used to see in the 60s? Kano residents no longer plant groundnuts? They are perhaps more interested in the “commercial” pastime of increasing the population that makes Kano State the most densely populated state in the country.

“Fountain of Knowledge” state, Ekiti, never cease to make me laugh. With all their professors and academicians, they might as well be illiterates. I’ve never seen a people more moribund. Yet they still have visions of Ibadan oppression of over 200 years ago. Inferiority complex!

And talking of “Pacesetter State”, my very own State of Oyo, living on and regressing into past glory. Pacesetter indeed! Since 1999, they have been taking one pace forward and ten backwards. In fact, they have not set any pace for the last 20 years. They still don’t know how to get the hell out of political thuggery. Imagine giving the country its first official political godfather and reputation for political thuggery. Only God can forgive Oyo politicians. I can’t.

Anambra is the “Home for All”. Last time I spoke to an Anambran, he confided to me that no non-indigene of Anambra had ever been sold land in Awka before. They simply don’t welcome foreigners. So how can it be home to all Nigerians?

Ebonyi is “The Salt of the Nation”. I will be honest with you, I don’t know much about this obscure state. They hardly make any noise worth noting. Is their salt there or are we talking metaphorically here? Salt of the earth? Right here in Nigeria? You are kidding me.

Katsina is the “State of Hospitality”. Sounds more to me like State of Hostility. The fact is that there’s narry a thing hospitable about that state. Turai Yar’Adua proved that to me.

Rivers State is the “Treasure Base of the Nation”. It will be, I suppose. That’s why their immediate past governor looted the treasure as had never been seen before in Nigeria. By saying that, the good people of River States are practically inviting treasury looters to come and have a field day.

Zamfara is the “Farming is our Pride”. I hope so; I want to see the food aplenty. Let the people farm. If not, get the hell outta there, Governor.

Taraba is “Nature’s Gift to the Nation”. Yes, that is right, together with Adamawa, a very beautiful tourist and natural paradise, but I see very little how nature is being exploited to the fullest here, thanks to clueless political leaders.

“The Gateway State” is Ogun State’s contribution to meaningless sloganisation. Geographically, maybe it is a gateway to the country, but politically and economically, a state that for the past eight years has been a gateway to political killings and chicanery. Some people need jail here.

Ondo is the “Sunshine State” as if the sun only shines on them. With a moon shining ex-Governor, I didn’t see much sun here until Mimiko liberated them. Don’t rest on your oars, boy.

Osun State’s “The State of the Living Spring” is an allusion to the great Osun River. This means these people still belive in African Traditional Religion. Good for them, but it did not help them for almost eight years where “Oyin ni o” was busy playing golf in Ada rather than governing the state, and a murderous senator waiting to take over. Now they have a “Teblik” in the state house, and the senator’s ambition thwarted, maybe things will change.

Sokoto is the “The Seat of the Caliphate”, aptly named, but what does that translate into, in terms of development and religious harmony? Feudalism at its worst! Does not give us confidence in democratic values and hopes.

Niger State is “The Power State”. Why wouldn’t it be? What with two former military dictators of questionable characters coming from there, and one of them still thinking he holds the reins of power in his hands.

Imo State is the “Land of Hope”. Or the “Eastern Heartland”. Why didn’t they add “and Glory”, and then I will know they are Americans? Actually, Imo people exude hope; I can say that – look at Nwakwo Kanu, Chioma Ajunwa and Emmanuel Amunike. But they have to do more than giving us Maurice Iwus. Incidentally, they are my in-laws, and I love them for their forthrightness.

Gombe is the “Jewel in the Savannah”. Hmm. I don’t know what makes it a jewel, but it sure is in the savannah. Have they heard that savannahs sustain wheat, and other cereals?

Bauch State is the “Pearl of Tourism”. Yes, with the game reserves, I suppose they can lay claim to that. And it was the home of our first Prime Minister, a very humble man called Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. In Hausa the word Bauchi means the land of slaves. Bauchi and Adamawa were the two main sources of slaves for the Fulani Empire of Sokoto. Maybe that name is still working on them.

Kebbi is the “Land of Equity”. For a state that used to be part of the Sokoto Caliphate and introduced Sharia laws, I wonder where the Equity is coming from. But we are all here waiting.

Kogi, another of my favourite state is aptly nicknamed “The Confluence State”, because the Rivers Niger and Benue join there. I’d rather call it “The Confused State” because of the shenanigans of its former Governors. The state has been cursed with treasury looters since day one of its creation.

But by far the most famous and celebrated number plate in Nigeria is Lagos – “Centre of Excellence”. My honest opinion? And you don’t have to agree with me. Lagos is far from being a Centre of Excellence. Don’t let us delude ourselves. Governor Fashola might be doing a good job, but there remains 97% to be done to make Lagos truly a centre of excellence. That is a fact. It is still a dilapidated, disorganised, lawless city of violent crime, slums, traffic jams, expensive and pollution. Only 20 % of the money being spent on Abuja for selfish and ethnic reasons could be spent on Lagos to make it truly a Centre of Excellence that all Nigerians can be proud of.

And lastly, but certainly not the least is our Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, or FCT.  It is called “Centre of Unity”. All well and good, that’s what every patriotic Nigerian yearns for – unity. Have Nigerians heard of Unity in Diversity? Apparently No! We still don’t realise it that our diversity of tribes and tongues is supposed to be our unity and strength.  And those unscrupulous politicians are not making it any easier. That is why I laugh when I think of Abuja as the Centre of Unity. Ask me: How many southerners has been the Minister of the FCT since the city was created?  Many Nigerians still see it as a Northern city.

Nigerians are either living with delusion or deliberately like to confuse and mislead themselves, convincing themselves that they are a sophisticated people of the world. I will not be surprised if in the nearest future, we hijack the phrase “God’s Own Country” from the Americans and start using it to describe our country. After all we like everything American even if we don’t like the people themselves. Wouldn’t you know it?

But then: God Bless Nigeria and Nigerians. I just love my people. They can’t go wrong, can they? Except in the matter of who they chose as their leaders.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Bogus cancer doctor charged with sexually molesting his sedated cancer patients, held on $33M bond

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Read Time:2 Minute, 37 Second

He may be the creepiest quack in Brooklyn – a bogus cancer doctor charged with a crime so heinous it earned him the highest bail in state history.

Michail Sorodsky, 63, not only failed to heal the gravely ill women who forked over wads of cash for his holistic therapies, he sexually molested them and even raped at least one sedated patient, prosecutors say.

Jury selection in the skin-crawling case begins in Brooklyn Supreme Court this week while Sorodsky continues to be held on an eye-popping $11 million cash bail or $33 million bond a figure higher – more than even Bernie Madoff faced.

Authorities say Sorodsky slathered his victims in a probiotic yogurt, inserting the concoction into their genitalia, claiming they would be healed.

“He tells people he can cure them, and nobody gets better,” said prosecutor Thomas Schellhammer, of the state’s Attorney General’s office. Sorodsky, who isn’t licensed to practice medicine, is facing 102 counts ranging from rape to fraud.

All the charges stem from just eight victims, but prosecutors say he treated hundreds of people – mainly Russian immigrants in Brooklyn who paid as much as $1,000 per visit.

The late Malka Klots was a patient. When her daughter Rimma heard of Sorodsky’s unorthodox treatment for liver cancer, she sensed something was fishy. So she posed as a patient and was horrified by what she found at Sorodsky’s Sheepshead Bay office.

“What he was doing was, he was giving a gynecological exam, and he was giving a breast exam. It wasn’t necessary. It didn’t feel like a doctor’s examination,” the 46-year-old teacher recalled. “He did say inappropriate things. Something like, ‘Your breasts look good.'”

She filed a complaint with the Division of Licensing, which led to an investigation that ended with Sorodsky’s 2007 arrest.

It was too late for her mother, who died in 2001 after her cancer spread to her spine.

“She put everything into this treatment, all her hope,” Rimma Klots said.

In court, Sorodsky cuts a bizarre spectacle. Wearing a crumpled yarmulke atop gray frizzy hair, he relies heavily on a Russian translator, but is prone to frequent outbursts in English.

“It is inquisition,” he blurted out during a hearing. “I am somebody, pioneer. I am a scientist.”

He claims to be unable to see and sports big black shades in court, but sources described him as “conveniently blind.”

He also goes through lawyers like tissues and is currently on his 13th.

The accused quack is being tried alongside his 62-year-old wife, Beverly Sorodsky, who’s acting as her own lawyer. She faces nine, mostly larceny, counts, but is still being held in lieu of $1 million cash or $3 million bond.

Sorodsky’s current attorney, Aaron Mysliwiec, said the high bail was “punitive and unfair.”

“He’s denying the charges against him and looking forward to trial,” Mysliwiec said.

The defense is expected to argue that Sorodsky never presented himself as a doctor, but as a holistic healer – which requires no license – and that his patients returned voluntarily even after supposedly being abused.

Prosecutors claim otherwise, saying Sorodsky instructed clients to stay away from mainstream medicine.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ojukwu, the People’s General Lives On

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Read Time:14 Minute, 15 Second

While reflecting on why Biafra lost the war of survival against Nigeria, in which about 3 million Igbos died, some non-Igbo critics of Ojukwu are of the view that he led his own people tactlessly into what was clearly a foreseeable disaster. Others claim that due to his passion for power, he paid more attention to the politics of the war than to the one basic question of security. Yet, there are others who blame him for not securing the support of any of the world super powers before going to war with Nigeria, etc. Though, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who, like every human being, may have his weaknesses, obviously must have made some mistakes in life, given a lot of reasons.

Unlike the typical corrupt African politicians averse to steadfastness, Odumegwu, for instance, did not betray communist East Germany educated Chuba Okadigbo, who engineered his return back to Nigeria from exile in the Ivory Coast. As a one-time special adviser on political affairs to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) Dr. Okadigbo advised the Shehu Shagari government that granting Ojukwu a state pardon would ensure appreciable level of Igbo support for NPN, which prior to that time was seen by Igbos as a `Hausa party` and therefore had feeble presence in Igboland. How people connected with Ojukwu was evident in the hero’s welcome he got when he set his foot in Nigeria after 13 years of exile. Prominent politicians from various political parties in the land wanted to tap into the NPN investment, holding out before him some goodies, promising to add the heavens to the earth being dangled by the NPN, if he could throw the NPN pact into the nearest dustbin. Indeed, he was tongue-lashed by some of his Igbo people, who felt he had broken ranks, and might cut into the Nnamdi Azikiwe-led Nigeria Peoples Party’s (NPP) electoral advantage in the East. At that time, NPP controlled the only two Igbo states in Nigeria – Anambra and Imo, and Plateau state, which is outside Igbo land. Therefore, NPP was where much of Igbo loyalty lay. But Ojukwu firmly stood his ground, as he dutifully maintained the political pact with the second republic government.

Ironically, he found himself being the centre of intrigue by the NPN, which had a capacity to trivialize even the most serious issues. Concerned about Ojukwu`s enigmatic influence, they did not only abandon him, but rigged him out of a senate seat to a little known state commissioner called Dr. Edwin Onwudiwe, who was in then Governor Jim Nwobodo’s cabinet. Ojukwu would later jokingly refer to himself as Onwudiwe’s ID, meaning the man’s only way of identifying himself was to say, “Am the man who won Ojukwu in an election.” The path home for Ojukwu was laced with treachery, as he was, for instance, restrained by successive military governments from laying down his head in his father’s house at 25 Queens Drive Ikoyi, Lagos. The government had used the excuse of rebellion against the state of Nigeria to confiscate the property. Nigerians stood by him out in the open, and with the awkward walls within which he had anything being an old rickety bus, all that in the rainy season. It was from there that he fought to reverse an eviction. According to him, as an old soldier, he could adapt to any condition. The military government’s arm was eventually forced by public anger it couldn’t stand any longer, to let go of the man’s property, but not after series of court rulings. Also, Ojukwu’s military pension which was also one of the conditions for the state pardon didn’t start coming until 41 years after the end of the civil war.
Ojukwu has held many important positions in the country. His first job was to oversee colonial affairs as a district officer in the town of Udi. He had also worn the UN helmet as a peace keeper in the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. Ojukwu was to hold forth as the first Quarter-Master-General of the Nigerian Army, and later discharged himself satisfactorily as the commander of the 5th battalion of the Nigerian Army in Kano. His next posting was as the Military Governor of the old Eastern Region in Nigeria. He moved with the circumstance in Biafra to become a four-star general and head of state of that country. He threw his heart into the political arena once again in 2003, founding the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and contesting the Nigeria presidential elections as the party’s flag bearer. 
At no time in his public service has Ojukwu been swayed by corruption, something to which his contemporaries look kindly. This is an excellent record in a country like Nigeria. It is believed that part of his father’s wealth was channelled into the Biafra war effort. Ojukwu is guided by the principle of contentment. You don’t look any further for a true and astute leader. When he was once addressed as a chief by an interviewer, he replied, saying, “I am not a chief; it rhymes with thief.”
Intellectually, and among his contemporaries, Ojukwu is one of the brightest. Not surprising, Ojukwu’s father was Sir. Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, a Hope Waddell Institute educated-parliamentarian in Nigeria’s first republic. Ojukwu senior was a business mogul and said to be one of the richest men in Nigeria in his time. He was also founding president of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, as well as president of the African Continental Bank (ACB), and was in the boards of most of the powerful companies in Nigeria at the time. The senior Ojukwu made no mistake of what he wanted his son to be, sending his son to the elite Kings College in Lagos. At 13, Ojukwu was on his way to Europe to enrol at the elite Epsom College. Ojukwu proceeded to the famous Oxford University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s as well as a Master`s Degree in History. But Ojukwu will downplay these academic acquisitions, and tell you that “Education is not elitism, education actually, to me, is more a question of sharpening one’s choices and consciousness. The value in it is the effect one has on one’s people.”
Ojukwu is a highly talented man who can strike it out with you in various Nigerian languages. The English author Frederick Forsyth recollects that Ojukwu made the atmosphere in the flight that brought him back to Nigeria from exile very cordial, as Ojukwu freely cracked jokes and interacted with all the delegations sent to receive him in their original languages of Yoruba, Hausa and, of course, Igbo. He also interacted in French with the Ivorian delegation sent by his host president late Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast.
Also, unbeknownst to many people, Ojukwu learnt how to speak Yoruba language first before his own native Igbo language. The early sign that Ojukwu would not grow up to become a weakling but the defender of people against injustice and oppression started when he was only 11 years old. He was briefly imprisoned by the colonialists for assaulting a white British colonial teacher, who had humiliated a black woman at King’s College, Lagos. The incident generated widespread coverage in local newspapers. The second incident was at the age of 13 at Epsom College in Surrey, United Kingdom, where a naughty white boy caused Ojukwu’s African accent to make his colleagues shake with laughter. One day, at the hallway to the chapel, he heard one of them call him `monkey` and another tripped him and his books were all scattered on the floor. The boy had no idea he and his colleagues had been provoking a sleeping lion by always intentionally and contemptuously stepping on its tail, hence the boy got the beating of his life and a three-day admission in the hospital to go with. Ojukwu would be among those who would eventually be at the boy’s bedside, and they became friends thereafter. These incidents serve to prove the Igbo adage which says that “the sign of a pear that would darken to maturity starts with a dark spot at the head.”
As one of the detribalized leaders in Nigeria Ojukwu played an outstanding role in neutralising the first coup in Nigeria, even though he had to confront the coup leader and a fellow Igbo officer, Major Chukwuma Nzeokwu and other officers from mainly southern and, especially eastern Nigeria. It weakens the argument of people determined to justify an assault on a people by claiming it was an all-Igbo coup. The coup was largely seen as successful in the North and partly in Lagos as Lagos was then the seat of power, and both the prime minister of the country and the premier of the North had been killed. But it lost momentum as Ojukwu refused to cooperate with the coup plotters in the North and pitched loyalty with Gen. Aguyi-Ironsi, the legitimate commander of the Nigerian army, who ensured the coup plotters wouldn’t accomplish their aims in Lagos. Then, came the unrestrained killings of Igbos in the North led by mainly northern military officers among whom were, Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, Lts ADS Wya, Ibrahim Babangida, Garba Duba, Lt. Col. Murtala Muhammed, Lt Col. Shehu Musa Yar`Adua, Capt. Ahmadu Yakubu, Capt. Daramola, Lts. Buka Sukar Dimka, Lts. Shelleng, Hannaniya, Muhammadu Jega, Sani Abacha, Saleh Dambo and many others.For instance, over 20 Igbo officers were executed at the Brigade HQ on 29 and 30 July 1966. Some of the eastern and southern officers killed during the first batch include Major O.U. Isong, Major Ogunro, Lt. Col. I.C. Okoro, Capt L.C. Dilibe, Major C.C. Emelifonwu, Capt. I.U. Idika, and Major A. Drummond. In accordance with the spirit goading the killers, Lt. Col Mohammed Shuwa, the commandant of the 5th battalion would preside over the massacres of Igbos at both the Kano airport and the main railway station in Kano.
Earlier, on July 29, 1966 in this on-going northern counter-coup, Theophilus Danjuma, Sani Bello, Martin Adamu and other Northern military officers had taken General T. Aguiyi-Ironsi the military head of State of Nigeria and his host Col. Francis Fajuyi to a location outside Ibadan and shot them to death. In the face of the madness, Ojukwu pursued a peaceful course. He had held onto the concept of one Nigeria. It caused him to make the tactical mistake of asking Igbos to return, after the first killings, to their former stations in other parts of Nigeria, following assurances by various individuals and groups. But the northern and other counter-coupists couldn’t resist a second round of bloodletting. Igbos killed in the two waves of attacks had totalled about 50,000. This is coupled with the fact that Ojukwu and Lt. Col. David Ogunewe for days had been pushing back against Igbos who wanted to go into and cut down northern soldiers at the barracks in Enugu. According to Nowa Omoigui, quoting Lt-General JS Jalo, the same “Northern soldiers who left Enugu unmolested got themselves involved in molesting departing Igbo refugees and looting their property in Ikeja barrack. The Igbo were going away and looting set in and some senior officers, I must confess, encouraged this to happen.”  In fact, 90% of officers from the East and some from the West were massacred in the North. Just a handful escaped to their home regions.
Regrettably these killings in the North are still continuing nearly 50 years on, though modified as religious riots. It is unfortunate that the Nigerian youth today would need special education to remove the image of death associated with the North, a place where petrol is poured on homes, fire lobbed in and the occupants consumed by raging fire. Where innocent people, including infants, are hunted and hacked to death with flimsy excuses. If it is not Zango-Kataf massacres, it would be Kano Maitatsine, numerous other Kano, Kaduna riots, Gombe Riots, Tafawa Balewa Riots, Kafanchan Riots, Bauchi Riots, Bulumkutu Maiduguri Riots, renewed Maiduguri Riots aka Boko Haram, Abuja Bombings, then the festering Jos Riots and Bombings. The list is endless, killing, killing and killing, every now and then! Interestingly, the culture is to keep your mouth shut and not openly frown at these silly acts, otherwise you would be seen as fanning the embers of disunity in a nascent democracy. Long live One Nigeria! May Allah and God help us all. Hey, what set off these two names simultaneously from my mouth? I digressed.
Following the slaughters in the North before the war, steps were taken to revert to normalcy. However, after series of meetings, including the one in Aburi, Ghana, some northern elites and Britain instigated the Gowon government to renege on the Aburi Accord. Gowon unilaterally split Eastern Nigeria into three states contrary to the federal structure agreed upon in Aburi, while Ojukwu, after consultations with leaders in the East, responded after three days by declaring the whole Eastern Nigeria as a sovereign state called the Republic of Biafra on 30th July 1967.

For effective results, natural resources are relied on in the prosecution of wars around the world. For example, Kuwait pays America with oil. In the Angolan war, UNITA traded in diamonds to obtain weapons, MPLA exchanged oil for weapons. See Diamond Fact Also, see Worldbank. The Taliban fighters and Al Qaida in Afghanistan are handing out raw, hard drugs for weapons. Even Charles Taylor of Liberia traded raw diamonds from neighbouring Sierra Lone with weapons.  See Naomi Cambel ordeal Likewise, Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon are supplied with weapons by Iran and Syria. For the weapons it got, a country like Nigeria has an arrangement in which some advanced countries own and suck the oil in the country till it perhaps runs dry.  Foreign countries are given the free hand on projects like the sport the Russians made of Katsina, Itape, Jos and Ajaokuta rolling mills. It was only the Ojukwu-inspired Biafran scientists and inventors, notable names among whom were, the science genius Roy Umenyi, Ben Nwosu, Godian Ezekwe, Emma Osolu, Sam Orji, Njoku Obi, and so many others who during the Nigerian civil war, continued to dazzle with invention and manufacture of their own weapons. They wouldn’t stop at pulling off weapons like surface to surface missiles, ground to air missiles, rocket launchers, rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, but kept the world gaping with gun boats for amphibious attacks. There was also the famous Biafra Bomb popularly known in Igboland  as either `Ojukwu Bucket` or ‘Ogbunaigwe,` meaning the mass killer. The Biafran Shore Battery easily devastated marine craft, like the Oguta feat masterminded by Ojukwu. In Biafra, lorries that rolled into underground warehouses rolled out as armoured vehicles. Refining crude oil wasn’t a preserve of any refinery. It got domesticated, and was plentiful. Attempts were also made to build war airplanes, they tried virtually everything they could, but the starvation policy and the economic blockage by Nigeria and their western supporters crippled the new republic. What is interesting is that all this was achieved in the midst of the chocking hold on Biafra through blockade by the advanced countries, including the neighbouring Cameroon and Nigeria. That was also the time Nigeria signed off the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula which was on Biafra territory to Cameroon for their kindness in starving infants in Biafra. In fact, the Nigerian Santa Claus did really come to town after the victory over Biafra, throwing largesse anywhere one looked.

The elder statesman’s benefit to the country and Igboland in particular is even becoming more and more invaluable by the day. For example, his APGA has succeeded in giving Anambra State headed by the resourceful and amiable Governor Peter Obi a democratic, stable and meaningful government. Apart from the ex-Nigeria Information Minister Prof. Dora Akunyili who has resigned from both her office and her party PDP and joined Ojukwu`s APGA to contest a senatorial seat, there are many other prominent Igbo politicians who are abandoning their parties, mainly PDP, to  join in the APGA queue. With this trend, I foresee Ojukwu’s APGA taking over all the Igbo states in Nigeria. And, with the success of APGA so far and given the current situation on the  ground, it appears that what Ojukwu could not achieve militarily, he has succeeded in achieving through democratic means, by giving the Igbos a party they can call their own, at least in Anambra State and, with time, this will happen in all states in Igboland. Only time will tell. Also, see Nigerianelite Forum

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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