Continental-Re Partners Swiss-Re to Develop Life Assurance in Africa

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Read Time:1 Minute, 48 Second

Continental Reinsurance Plc (Continental-Re), one of the two reinsurance companies licensed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has taken a bold step towards developing life assurance business across the continent.

To actualise this dream, the company has entered into partnership with one of the leading reinsurance companies in the world, Swiss Reinsurance Company (Swiss-Re). The two companies reaffirmed their commitment to this course during the Life Business Strategy seminar they jointly hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently.

The programme drew its participants from Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania as well as Liberia and Ghana.

The Executive Director of Continental-Re, Mr. Gbenga Falekulo, in his presentation during the programme, observed that insurance penetration was very low in Africa. He explained that life assurance refers to various products that may be used to protect life, investments or a combination of both where the subject matter of the contract has to do with the duration of the life or survival of the policy holder.

He said his organisation is committed to deepening insurance penetration in the continent by making the populace to be more aware of the relevance of insurance to individuals and the society at large.

“With the seminar, we are trying to create more insurance awareness on the continent and improve human capacity available to develop the life business in insurance firms,” he said.

Continental-Re, according to him, decided to provide free insurance training across the continent as part of its effort to deepen insurance penetration among Africans and improve their participants’ contributions to their nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Falekulo also observed that the seminar was meant to provide room for cross fertilisation of ideas among the different nationalities who participated in the programme.

The executive director also reassured participants that his organisation would continue to play a leading role in reinsurance business on the continent through the provision of proper reinsurance treaties and capacity building through series of training.

Falekulo also reassured stakeholders in the insurance market the Continental-Re would sponsor the programme biennially and would continue to help insurance firms develop capacities across the continent.

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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Mandela’s Family Vows to Continue His Treatment

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Read Time:2 Minute, 59 Second

Former South African president, Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said  Tuesday her family would continue to give medication to the former president, who is now in a critical condition in hospital.

The 94-year-old has been in hospital in Pretoria for 18 days and his condition has worsened in the past 24 hours.

Makaziwe Mandela revealed her father was still fighting on, and said: “In our culture, the Tembu culture, that I know, the African culture that I know, you never release the person unless the person has told you please my children, my family release me.

“My dad hasn’t said that to us. So these people who want to talk about, you know, release him, he hasn’t said we should release him and we haven’t come to the end yet.
“It is only God who knows the end,” the express.co.uk quoted her as saying after a family meeting.

In another interview with CNN, Makaziwe said: “Yes, I believe he is at peace. He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world; I believe he is at peace.”
South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela is being made “comfortable” by doctors, after he paid a visit to the former president in hospital.

Zuma called on South Africans to pray for Mandela, and told journalists the former president was asleep when he saw him.

Tensions between the South African government and the media have escalated in recent days after the government's belated acknowledgement that an ambulance carrying Mandela to the hospital on June 8 broke down.

As a result, Zuma refused to give details of Mandela's condition, but said: “Madiba [Mandela's clan name] is critical in the hospital, and this is the father of democracy.
“This is the man who fought and sacrificed his life to stay in prison, the longest-serving prisoner in South Africa.”
Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president after the end of apartheid in 1994, was hospitalised for what the government said was a recurring lung infection. This is his fourth hospitalisation since December.

Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule and was released in 1990. He then played a leading role in steering the divided country from the apartheid era to an all-race democracy.

“Nelson Mandela, for me, is like my father,” Alex Siake, a South African, said in Pretoria. “Every day, I just pray that he can recover quickly and be among us again.”
The Democratic Alliance, South Africa's main opposition party, said in a statement the news that Mandela was in critical condition came “as a blow to all South Africans.”

Asked why none of Mandela's doctors had not been made available for a news briefing, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said an arrangement had been made in consultation with Mandela's family whereby information would be provided through a “single source in an authoritative way.

“We've come to that arrangement on the basis that we need to respect the privacy of the family, we need to adhere to doctor-patient confidentiality.
“You can be assured that what we are saying is based on an agreement with the doctors.”

Doctors approve the text of announcements on Mandela's health, and believe some media reporting has transgressed professional ethics, he said.

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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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Kenyans care less as Obama leaves Kenya off itinerary for Africa trip

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Read Time:4 Minute, 52 Second

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama arrives in Africa this week, there will be one notable omission from his travel itinerary: Kenya, the birthplace of his father and home to many of his relatives. But kenyans care less  about this development and accused America of trying to meddle with their internal politics. A lot of political analysts have asked US to clelar their mess before accusing others of crimes against humanity.

Concerns about Kenya's political situation have trumped Obama's family ties. Kenya's new president is facing charges of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court, accused of orchestrating the violence that marred the country's 2007 election.

Ahead of Uhuru Kenyatta's victory earlier this year, a top Obama administration official warned Kenyans that their "choices have consequences" — a remark that now appears prescient given the president's decision to skip a stop in his ancestral homeland.

"The optics of that, of a presidential trip, are not what he wants to be demonstrating right now," said Jennifer Cooke, Africa director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The president will instead visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, all countries that fit more neatly into the democracy and good governance message he'll tout during his weeklong trip. Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, is scheduled to depart Washington Wednesday morning.

The White House did consider a visit to Kenya when they contemplated an African swing during the president's first term, before Kenyatta's election. That trip never happened, but Obama pledged that he would, in fact, visit Kenya before leaving office.

"I'm positive that before my service as president is completed I will visit Kenya again," he said in a 2010 interview with Kenya's state broadcaster.

White House officials say they respect the right of Kenyans to choose their own leaders. But deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the U.S. also has "a commitment to accountability and justice."

"Given the fact that Kenya is in the aftermath of their election and the new government has come into place and is going to be reviewing these issues with the ICC and the international community, it just wasn't the best time for the president to travel to Kenya," Rhodes said.

Kenya's government has been muted in its response to the president's decision to leave the county off his itinerary.

"It's for the Americans to decide where Obama goes," spokesman Muthui Kariuki said. "There are 54 nations on the African continent and he's only visiting three, so I don't see the real big deal about not going to Kenya."

But Sam Ochieng, a political activitist who lives in Kibera, Nairobi's largest slum, said the U.S. president was sending a message about Kenya's political problems by putting democratic values ahead of his personal connections.

"It would be a shame for an American president to come to Kenya and shake dirty hands," Ochieng said.

By now, Obama's ties with Kenya are a well-known part of his unique family history. Barack Obama, Sr. was born in the western Kenyan village of Kogelo, moved to the U.S. to study, and met and married the president's mother in Hawaii. He left the family soon after his son was born.

Obama made his first trip to Kenya in 1988, after his father's death, and wrote extensively about the visit in his memoir "Dreams From My Father."

"My name belonged and so I belonged, drawn into a web of relationships, alliances and grudges that I did not yet understand," he wrote.

The president visited Kenya two more times, most recently in 2006 as a freshman senator. He was greeted by cheering crowds in the capital of Nairobi and in Kogelo, where he spent time with his grandmother and visited his father's grave. He and wife Michelle Obama also publicly took HIV tests, part of their campaign at the time to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus.

But Obama's nationally televised speech criticizing the government for failing to curb corruption or instill trust in its people earned him a cold shoulder from Kenya's leadership. Kenya's presidential spokesman said at the time that Obama was ignorant of Kenyan politics and had yet to form an understanding of foreign policy.

Kenya is an important strategic partner for the U.S. in East Africa. But the recent election has complicated the relationship.

Johnnie Carson, who until April served as head of the State Department's Africa bureau, said in the lead-up to this year's election that "choices have consequences," a comment that was viewed as a warning against electing Kenyatta. His remarks were widely criticized as an inappropriate intrusion into a sovereign nation's elections.

Kenyatta, the son of the country's first president, has been charged by the ICC as an "indirect co-perpetrator" for the crimes of murder, deportation, rape, persecution and inhumane acts allegedly committed by his supporters in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. He insists he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the ethnic violence that followed the flawed 2007 contest.

The ICC has pushed back the start of Kenyatta's trial until Nov. 12. Kenyan deputy president William Ruto will also face similar charges at the international court in September.

___

Associated Press writer Jason Straziuso in Nairobi contributed to this report.

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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Mandela Critically Ill, Says S’African Presidency

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Read Time:1 Minute, 20 Second

 The condition of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical.

In a statement issued by the South African presidency, President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by ANC Deputy President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, visited the former president yesterday evening in hospital. They were briefed by the medical team who informed them that the former president's condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.

The president and Mr. Ramaphosa also met with Mrs. Graca Machel at the hospital and discussed Madiba's condition.

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” said Zuma.

The president and Mr. Ramaphosa were assured by the doctors that when the ambulance transporting former President Mandela to hospital on June 8 developed engine problems, all care was taken to ensure that his medical condition was not compromised.

"There were seven doctors in the convoy who were in full control of the situation throughout the period. He had expert medical care. The fully equipped military Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ambulance had a full complement of specialist medical staff including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses. The doctors also dismissed the media reports that Madiba suffered cardiac arrest. There is no truth at all in that report," said Zuma.

Zuma has appealed to the nation and the world to pray for Madiba, the family and the medical team that is attending to him during this difficult time.

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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GHANA: Rawlings Denies Criticising Federal Govt

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Read Time:1 Minute, 18 Second

Former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana has refuted assertions credited to him by an online news platform and other Nigerian newspaper that he took on the federal government and also criticised it for not being decisive on those found guilty of corruption.

Rawlings, in a statement by a director in his office, Navy Captain H. Afeku-Amenyo (rtd), described as scurillous, irresponsible and false a report by Premium Times that he criticised the government of Nigeria for its failure to punish politicians who stole public funds.

"President Rawlings did deliver the keynote address on "Emerging Democracies in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities", at conference organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies in Abuja on Monday, June 17, the statement explained but denied that his speech took on the apex government or the leadership of the country.

"Because of the gross distortions and falsehoods the entire report does portray a totally different representation of the fact as took place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on June 17," Rawlings’s  image maker noted.

He added: "We have taken a very serious view of the publication because it is malicious, libellous and a very negative piece of journalism, which is calculated to bring the image of President Rawlings into disrepute and so we demand a retraction of the publication."

The former Ghanaiain President also cautioned "other media which had inadvertently republished the said article to note that they would be held equally liable should we decide to take legal action on the matter."

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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Anger in Southern Egypt Over Islamist Governor

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Read Time:5 Minute, 19 Second

 Angry tourism workers and activists in Luxor threatened Monday to block a newly appointed Islamist governor from his office because of his links to a former militant group that killed scores of people in a 1997 attack in the ancient city and devastated Egypt’s sightseeing industry.

Adel el-Khayat was named to the provincial governor’s post Sunday by President Mohammed Morsi, causing the outrage. El-Khayat is a member of the Construction and Development party, the political arm of Gamaa Islamiya, which waged an armed insurgency against the state starting in 1992 and attacked police, Coptic Christians and tourists.

In November 1997, gunmen from the group attacked tourists at Luxor’s 3,400-year-old Hatshepsut Temple, killing 58. More than 1,200 people died in the campaign of violence by the group and another militant organization, Islamic Jihad.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Luxor, home to some of Egypt’s most dramatic ancient temples and pharaonic tombs, including that of King Tutankhamun. The city has been hit hard by the downturn in foreign visitors since the Arab Spring unleashed political turmoil since 2011.

Hundreds of people protested outside the governor’s office Monday night. The tourism workers, opposition politicians and activists in the crowd said they would consider sealing off the site with locks and chains, and sending el-Kayat back to Luxor’s airport.

“When I heard about the appointment, I remembered the whole scene,” said Tharwat Agamy, the head of Luxor’s Tourism Chamber who witnessed the 1997 attack.

“With my own arms, I carried the blooded bodies of the women, children and men,” Agamy said, recalling that the victims’ corpses were mutilated.

“I still remember the … newlywed Japanese couple hugging each other and both dead,” he added. “Are these human beings? Do they have mercy inside their hearts?”

Not only are the horrific memories of what has been dubbed the “Luxor Massacre” still fresh in the minds of many residents, but they also worry about the impact of a hard-line Islamist running the southern city and surrounding province.

El-Khayat’s party calls for strict implementation of Islamic Shariah law, which includes imposing an Islamic dress code for women, banning alcohol, and preventing the mixing of the sexes. Workers in a city as heavily dependent on tourism as Luxor worried that such policies would further hurt their business.

His appointment was also seen as a move aimed at solidifying Morsi’s support among hard-liners ahead of protests planned for later this month by the liberal opposition and youth activists. The Gamaa’s party has threatened to counter opposition demonstrations with an “Islamic revolution.”

Both the Gamaa and Islamic Jihad renounced violence in the 2000s amid a crackdown by then-President Hosni Mubarak. Since Mubarak’s ouster in 2011, both have launched political parties, and the Gamaa’s is allied to Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

El-Khayat, who was among 17 new governors appointed by Morsi, said he would not be influenced by his political affiliation.

“I am honored to belong to the Islamist current, but now as a governor, I am in the service of the nation,” he said in comments emailed to The Associated Press by the group’s media representative. “It is not fair to judge someone just because of affiliation but by evaluating their work, performance and skills.”

He said the Gamaa also suffered under Mubarak, that the group didn’t order the Hatshepsut Temple attack, was not aware of it, and condemned it afterward.

At the time of the attack, however, the group claimed responsibility for it. Two years later, one of the top group’s leaders, Rifai Ahmed Taha, warned the government that there could be another such attack if Egypt did not change its hostile policy toward the Islamic movement.

One of the founders of Gamaa Islamiya, Nageh Ibrahim, said that el-Khayat split from the group when it diverted to militancy and worked for 30 years as an engineer in an agency of the Ministry of Housing.

Ibrahim said the group is short of members who are qualified to hold a senior government post so it nominated el-Khayat.

“He didn’t participate in any violence. He has nothing to do with the attacks,” Ibrahim said.

But many residents of Luxor still found Morsi’s move shocking. Tourism is the main employer in the province of about 1 million people, and practically the only industry besides farming and a sole factory processing the region’s sugar cane crop.

“Does the president and his advisers know that Luxor is a tourist province? Do they know the culture background and the black history of the affiliates of the Islamic group?” asked poet Hussein al-Kabahi.

Driver Ahmed Gahlan wondered how a hard-line Islamist who belongs to a conservative group could even be considered for the leadership of a city and province where tourism has such a high priority.

“Is he going to shake hands with foreigners, whom they consider as devils? They even refuse to shake hands with Muslim women, so what about foreigners?” he asked.

Boat operator El-Nadi el-Rawi said the appointment of el-Khayat would have a “disastrous” impact on European sightseers.

“They want to kill tourism,” the 26-year-old added. “Why Luxor? There are many other provinces where the governor can serve.”

Hotel manager Gamal Ahmed Mahmoud, 49, said that the decision was another setback for his livelihood.

“Hotel managers are about to close their hotels because of heavy debts,” he said.

Tourism in all of Egypt has been struggling since Mubarak’s ouster and the breakdown in security in the country.

The number of tourists coming to Egypt fell to 9.8 million in 2011 from 14.7 million the year before, and revenues plunged 30 percent to $8.8 billion. Last year, the numbers climbed up to slightly more than 10 million, but most visitors go to the beach resorts of the Red Sea, staying away from Nile Valley sites like Luxor.

Michael reported from Cairo.

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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Africa: $1.6trn Lost By Developing Countries in 2006

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Read Time:2 Minute, 0 Second

The Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, has said that developing countries lost about US$858.6 billion – $1.6 trillion in illicit financial flows in year 2006.

Shehu, who made the disclosure in a keynote address at a workshop held in Lokoja, Kogi State for elected officials of Local Government administration, said the amount has further stressed the need for a concerted fight against money laundering in Africa.

According to a statement by the  communication assistant for GIABA, Mohammed Usman, the Director General, who spoke on the topic:  ‘Democracy, Good Governance and the Challenges of Development’, added that if the fight against money laundering succeeded, it would promote democracy, good governance as well as international peace and security in the world.

He noted that, “Terrorists and extremist organizations, drug cartels and the trafficking of human beings are seriously affecting human security in developing and developed economies alike.

“The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA have brought to the attention of the world the global reach of the extremist organizations and the frightening consequences of their actions concerning personal safety, peace and security in the world, potential tensions among different segments of the society, and pressures on the state institutions.

He identified colonisation, discrimination, low level of education, and a large population, among the causes of poverty, lamenting that negative structural factors, such as lack of government support, neglect of educational development, health care and poor economic infrastructure have also contributed strongly to the persistence of poverty in developing countries.

Shehu stated that the establishment of GIABA was part of the renewed efforts to develop strategies for the prevention of money laundering and its predicate offences and to assist member States to implement those strategies to protect their economies from misuse for the purposes of laundering the proceeds of crime, including the financing of terrorism.

The GIABA director general opined that democracy and good governance were key elements to end poverty in Africa, towards improving the standard of living of the citizenry in the continent.

A gesture, he added could be achieved through responsive and participatory democracy, respect for human rights, freedom of expression, rule of law, free and fair election, viable opposition and a free and independent press to ensure that checks and balances were enshrined in the system.

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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Nigeria: You are not alone, on vicious attack Mr President!

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Read Time:4 Minute, 0 Second

President Goodluck Jonathan is probably the most vilified Head of State in the history of Nigeria. And, frankly, he deserves a lot of the criticisms that have been flung at him because he has not tried hard enough to fulfill his potential…and does not sufficiently control his cronies and subordinates.

But I for one am constantly aware that some of his critics are taking pot shots at him for dubious reasons, such as the fact that they come from bigger tribes and never imagined that a “mere” Minority man would wind up being their Boss!

PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN

Whatever Dr Jonathan’s critics’ motives may be, the fact is that all leaders who are operating within democratic contexts face endless queries and insults from time to time. And it might cheer our Mr President up to remember that David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, is also battling with constant verbal and written attacks from many detractors (including members of his own party).

Cameron (who comes from a rich family) is frequently accused of being out-of-touch with ordinary British people and was recently unfavourably compared with Nigel Farage, a maverick right-wing opponent who allegedly has a “charismatic common touch” because he publicly drinks alcohol and smokes cigarettes.

Life is so interesting and different societies are so different! If a Nigerian President drank and smoked in public, he would be condemned as irresponsible.

Bottom Line? Cameron is a saint and prisoner compared to most African leaders.

The system that catapulted him to its peak is not perfect by any means; but it is essentially civilized, ethical and efficient; and he will get into HUGE trouble if he ever fails to perform on a basic level or succumbs to theft and cronyism.

Cameron, unlike his African counterparts, will be sacked or jailed if he refuses to comply with the rules that the system has imposed on him. Even if you are his best friend or sibling, he cannot lavish juicy government contracts on you.

Having said this, it is tough at the top because whatever you do or don’t do, some folks will always insist that you are utterly despicable and messing up

Shameful statistics

According to a recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, Nigeria holds the world record in the sense of having the highest number of youngsters who are not receiving an education.

One in every five Nigerian children – 10.5 million in total – is out of school. Other countries that also feature in this shameful league table are: Pakistan (5.1 million), Ethiopia (2.4 million), India (2.3 million), Philippines (1.5 million), Cote d’Ivoire (1.2 million), Burkina Faso (1 million), Niger (1 million), Kenya (1 million), Yemen (0.9 million), Mali (0.8 million) and South Africa (0.7 million).

But while most of the 12 countries mentioned above are getting better within this context, Nigeria is getting worse. The number of our children in school has dropped like a stone in absolute terms since l999. And the compilers of the report are saying that corruption is partly to blame for this terrible situation.

Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education, has recently invested a lot of time in political conflicts with his Governor and former friend, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. Since Wike is famed for his generous spirit, one can only pray that he will soon recognise the pressing need to forget about avoidable fights and concentrate on his job…which is to provide the next generation with hope.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should also respect itself, get its priorities right, ditch its penchant for engaging in petty, distracting,

time-consuming feuds…and ferociously focus on delivering developmental and security-related dividends to a population that is tired of being betrayed.

First Lady

Dame Patience Jonathan and I do not belong to the same tribe. She is an Ijaw from Okrika while I am Ogoni from Bodo. But it takes less than 30 minutes to drive from my village to her’s, so I feel as if we are sisters of sorts. And I have fondly praised her on this page quite a few times.

But she needs to protect her image more zealously. Her name keeps cropping up whenever toxic conflicts in our state – Rivers – are being discussed. And she’s often strongly suspected of being behind all manner of irregularities.

Many people were, for example, sure that she was lurking in the background when militants stormed Government House last month to demand Amaechi’s removal.

I would like Dame P to be a genteel, decorous and totally uncontroversial spouse.

 

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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Who stole my ‘Bleaching’? Nigerian Story

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Read Time:8 Minute, 55 Second

IT was one of those stories that might have been missed in a newspaper. But there it was in Codewit online news  of Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

According to statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO), 77 percent of women in Nigeria are said to use skin-lightening products; the figure compares with 59 percent in Togo, and 27 percent in Senegal.

It then stated that the Nigerian figure is “the world’s highest percentage”! The WHO report said there was a variety of reasons why Nigerian women BLEACH (stripped of subterfuge), “but most people said they use skin-lighteners because they want ‘white skin’.

This incredible report said that in many parts of Africa, lighter-skinned women are considered more beautiful and even believed “to be more successful and likely to find success in marriage”.

If this report had stayed with the women who abuse their skins and “blackness”, we might be given the pause about the subtle chauvinism underlining it, but it correctly noted also, “that some men too are involved in the practice”.

The investigation stated that these skin-lightening creams are not effectively regulated, especially in Nigeria “where even roadside vendors sell tubes and plastic bags of powders and ointments from cardboard boxes stacked along sidewalks in market districts.

Many of the tubes are unlabelled as to their actual ingredients”. The Vanguard report also quoted Aljazeera as saying there is booming business in these products, with a vendor stating that “about 90 percent of my clients come asking for skin whitening products” and in turn “I sell it to them and give advice on what product is best for them and how to use them”.

I have travelled in several West African cities, from Conakry, Dakar, Bamako through to Accra and those in Nigeria, and it was often frightening to see how much our women (and men in some cases too), coming from almost every section of society, have abused themselves and endangered their health, in that bizarre effort to become light-skinned.

The WHO report had also underlined the hazardous health consequences associated with use of these products and it listed some of these to include “blood cancers such as leukemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as severe skin conditions.

It said hardcore bleachers use illegal ointments containing toxins like mercury, a metal that blocks production of melanin, which gives the skin its colour, but can also be toxic”.

Yet, our bleaching population of women and men are either oblivious to these dangers that they confront in their lives or just would not be bothered because, the end of becoming light-skinned justified the means of arriving at the destination.

And when top society women, governors in Nigerian states and politicians bleach their skin, then they become associated with glamour and success; they are the movers of society that even working women and the poor will see as models to copy!

There is a deep-seated form of inferiority complex to this practice and in my view, it must be located in the encounter with slavery and colonialism and their consequences. These phases of human history not only rejected the humanity of Africans, they also set out an elaborate ideological justification for the domination of African and black peoples in a virulent and racist rejection of our contributions to the stock house of human civilization. Even great philosophers of history like Hegel, helped to justify these racist positions!

Africans reacted to these by always revolting against the injustices that slavery and colonialism represented, but by the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the Pan-Africanist, Garveyist and other movements of racial and continental renaissance and pride began to assert the need for liberation. Pride in being black and African underlined these movements and Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora, began to acquire confidence in their blackness.

By the time of the struggle for independence in the middle of the Twentieth Century, racial pride and confidence had found intellectual justification in the researches done by pioneering African historians such as Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop; Professor Kenneth Dike; Prof. Ki-Zerbo,Ben Yochana and many others all over Africa, and in the Diaspora. The whole edifice of colonialism was dismantled along with its ideological prop of racism and notions of African and black inferiority.

We grew up within these sensibilities and found consciousness within the ferments of the 1960s and 1970s, with the Civil Rights movement in the USA, when even star musicians like James Brown sang “I’m black and proud”!

Yet, there were survivals of that slave mentality within the popular culture of African society; as philosophers say, even though the material basis of a phenomenon might have disappeared, yet the consciousness will stubbornly retain the elements learnt almost by reflex! So a tendency to want to “become white” somehow has survived and those who made skin-lightening cream knew there was a market for “Ambi” “Tura” and such creams.

The advertisers of these products would present beautiful, light-skinned models as having used these products to achieve their beauty.

Those who consume media uncritically are sucked in, oblivious of the consequences of their actions and the danger they constitute to their own health and the overall health and social advancement of our societies.

Those who have stayed within these frames of self-hate and longing to become white cannot be part of a serious effort at fighting underdevelopment because deep down, they have even rejected the essence of their own beings as black people! It was not surprising, therefore, that those who bleach their skins and somehow found their ways to leadership have not covered themselves in worthy records of achievements.

It is remarkable that this phenomenon has not only persisted into the Twenty-First Century but seemed to have continued to spread as our society has become even more desperately polarised. The economic policies of the past three decades have deepened the poverty of the majority of the Nigerian people.

The globalised world of neoliberal capitalism offers all forms of glamour; delusions of wealth and a consumerist longing, which has sucked in people all around the world. In neo-colonial peripheries like Nigeria, a radical tradition of critical education has gradually withered and in its place is the deepening of obscurantism and mumbo-jumbo of often, eclectic varieties.

This ambience has deepened the process of open and clandestine prostitution with women and young ladies who want to be part of the consumerist culture all eager to look attractive and beautiful and as the WHO report we have been quoting said, 77 percent are now using these creams of humiliation and potential ill health and death! It is almost as if Fela Anikulapo-Kuti never sang in this society.

Alarmed at the rate at which women bleached their skins in the late 1970s, he did the very popular song, YELLOW FEVER! I think this is a good time to re-issue that classic song as part of a process to re-conscientise our people. It is incredible that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Prince David Agboola Abegunde: Teacher, administrator and leader

IT was my old friend and classmate, Olayinka Olarewaju, who sent a text two weeks ago, announcing the passing of Prince David Agboola Abegunde. Olarewaju lives in London and he is guardian to Niyi, Prince Abegunde’s son.

Abegunde was our principal at the Government Secondary School (GSS) Ilorin, between 1972 and 1974. And those were some of the most remarkable years of our lives. GSS Ilorin under Prince Abegunde was certainly one of the best secondary schools in Nigeria at the time and the quality of education was very high.

The 1972 set of students such as Salmonu Olakanye; Segun Ajuwon; Angulu Ismaila; Sulyman Age Kareem; Ibrahim Aremu, all had outstanding WASC results and would all go on to make major contributions to Nigerian and other societies.

The education was total and under Abegunde’s guidance, GSS Ilorin became a leader in sports. Our football team was remarkable and many of the players like Frank Odiachi; Anagor would be part of the famous Kwara Academicals of the 1970s.

The relay team of “Bravo”; “ALL-Afro”; “Rochester” and Auwalu Aliyu (my college brother) was one of the best in Nigeria and they travelled far and near, winning laurels for the school and inspiring the younger generation of students like us, and showing that education was never complete without the element of sports! Abegunde ensured an ambience which allowed the students to flower; and the level of discipline was incredibly high.

We even elected a Students’ Representative Council and living through a period when schools today are not properly equipped, it was remarkable that we have very well equipped science laboratories; crafts workshops where we learnt trades: wood work; metal work; technical drawing and we even had a geography laboratory! As for sports, things could not have been better.

GSS Ilorin as one of the old schools of Northern Nigeria, established in 1912, had facilities for football; track and field; table tennis; lawn tennis; badminton; volleyball; basketball (there was always a team of American missionaries coaching the team); hockey; cricket; squash and fives! The variety was breathtaking and no student passed through without involvement in a variety of games.

I think that Prince D.A. Abegunde’s era was arguably the most successful. He was noticed on the national level because he was made team manager of Nigeria’s team to the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and he returned home wearing the lovely, green Nigerian blazer emblazoned with the Olympics rings on its pocket during the first assembly he attended on arrival.

We all felt very proud of that remarkable man manager and administrator and all felt very sad the day he announced that he was leaving. It was as if a part of our sureties collapsed. Luckily though, he was succeeded by Mr. Oshatoba, an equally remarkable principal, who also died a couple of months ago. Prince Abegunde  became my friend, many years later, when I worked as General Manager of KWTV.

He was humble enough to regularly visit with me in the office and we would re-live those remarkable years that he moulded our lives to become useful citizens of our country. May God rest his soul and give his family (near and extended) the fortitude to bear his passing.

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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Anambra to use Bill Gates money to build 10 hospitals

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AWKA- Anambra State government said yesterday that it would use the money it won from being the best state in the coverage of immunization programme in the South-East to build 10 maternities in the rural parts of the state.

Governor Peter Obi, who made the disclosure during the flag-off of the National Obstetric Fistula Repair Programme at the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Awka, said the state had matched the $US1 million monetary award with N120 million for the project.

The governor also flagged-off the fumigation exercise against mosquitoes in the state, explaining that the exercise was part of the state government’s programme towards elimination of malaria.

He called on the people of the state to corporate with those carrying out the fumigation exercise since it was for their own good.

Obi also flagged-off the construction of a hostel block at the teaching hospital to house medical students.

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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