Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Pop start, Michael Jackson in Kente
In my tour around the world, I was fortunate to visit the great land of Ghana where I was adorned in a colourful Ghana traditional attire - Kente. 
Each and every colour of the kente cloth is symbolic

The origin of Kente is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. A legend has it that a man named Ota Karaban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw from the town of Bonwire (now the leading Kente weaving center in Ashanti), learned the art of weaving by observing a spider weaving its web.
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Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1809-31 December 1891) was a linguist and the first Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Born a freeman, sold as a slave and later regained his freedom in his mid twenties, Bishop Ajayi Crowther developed interest in languages and he was inspired to take up the task of translating the bible into an indigenous Nigerian language for the first time ever.
The biography of the 'slave boy'

Samuel was born in 1806 in Osogun near Oyo in present day Oyo State and not Abeokuta as is reported by many. At 12 years old he was captured along with his mother and toddler brother and other family members, with his entire village, by Muslim Fulani slave raiders in 1821. the whole slaves were shared amongst soldiers and Crowther was then traded for a horse. He stayed with the master who bought him in exchange of a horse at Dadda for about a month and was resold to in the open market at Ijayi where he was bought by a Muslim woman who lived in Toko. At this point he attempted suicide and the woman got worried and resold him at the slave market to a  Portuguese merchant aboard a Brazilian ship on April 7, 1822.

What is probably the first burial site of Bishop Crowther.

However, before his slave-ship left the port, it was boarded by a British Royal Navy ship under the command of Captain Henry Leeke, and Crowther was taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he was released. After two and half months, he arrived Freetown, Sierra Leone, a freed slave. Grew under the care of a Christian Missionary Society (CMS) Schoolmaster. He was taken to London in 1826, schooled briefly in Islington, becoming the first Nigerian to train with English children. In 1827, he enrolled at the Fourah Bay Institute of the CMS. He worked as Teacher (1830-1834) at his Alma mater. He got married in 1829 to a fellow free slave girl converted to Christianity. He was an unusually gifted man. He wrote the account of his captivity on request from the CMS in 1837, 15 years after he had been living in Freetown. It was published in the church missionary Record in October, 1837.
Standing probably on the spot where Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was first buried at the then 'Ajele Cemetery' but today a part of that cemetery is now been used as secondary school "Eko Akete Grammar School" and the other part is now Campos Mini Stadium Igbosere. Ajele Cemetery was a major cemetery on Lagos Island demolished by the Lagos State military government under Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson in December 1971. Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther's body was later exhumed for proper burial now at the CMS Cathedral Church Compound.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016


How many times have you stopped to ponder on some of the many gifts of nature hidden in plants and fruits? I just felt like creating a writeup about a very popular plant in West Africa, Cocoa. The fruit of cocoa is a pod full of sweet tasting whit pulp, encasing a cluster of seeds. Cocoa trees are cultivate all over the world, with the heat of the cocoa market concentrated in some countries of West Africa. Along with its well known roles in manufacturing chocolate and beverages, the medicinal and health benefits of cocoa were recognized by various civilizations that existed thousands of years ago. 
My son, Ikem holding two ripe cocoa pads filled with nature's goodies.

A cocoa pod may contain between 30 to 50 seeds that are fairly soft. The cocoa tree is native to the Americas. It originated in Central America as well as parts of Mexico. Originally over 5000 years ago, Cocoa trees grow in hot, rainy tropical areas within 20° of latitude from the Equator. 

Cocoa was introduced into the rest of Asia and into West Africa by Europeans. In Ghana, Cocoa(Biologically known as cacao),  was introduced by an African, Tetteh Quarshie. Cocoa is grown across Nigeria, more of it within the Western states. Cocoa is used in the production of beverages - cocoa butter and chocolate among many others. Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards, and became a popular beverage by the mid-17th century. 

There is also cocoa powder, which is produced by grinding dried cocoa seeds and removing the cocoa butter from the dark, bitter cocoa solids. People around the world enjoy cocoa in many different forms, consuming more than 3 million tons of cocoa beans yearly. Every consumer has a unique taste and preferences of the end product. Cocoa is rich source of antioxidants such as procyanidins and flavanoids, which may impart anti-aging properties. It contains a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. It is a stimulant and contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine. 

The beans contain between 0.1% and 0.7% caffeine, whereas dry coffee beans are about 1.2% reduces heart disease and cancer, it also improves the brain and have important implications for learning and memory, it reduces blood pressure. Study had proved that elderly people who drank cocoa had a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.


Research has proven that Cocoa contains certain ingredient(flavanols and procynidins), which inhibit the growth of abnormal(cancerous) cells, without affecting the normal cells. This discovery has been used it the treatment of deep sitter cancer like colon cancer and prostrate cancer.


Cocoa extracts have been used to effect faster healing of wounds. In fact most natural products for wounds and pains have contain cocoa extracts, which also help in preventing the body from accepting infections through open wounds.

Image source: organicfacts

                                                                                             By DrRaphael James 
                                                                                             Contributions from
                                                                                              EBUBE Emeka
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I am squatting by the commemoration plaque representing the laying of the second foundation stone of the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ Marina, Lagos.

The first foundation stone for the first cathedral building was laid on March 29, 1867. The construction of the building designed by architect Bagan Benjamin started on November 1, 1924. The second foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) himself three years later on April 21, 1925 and the construction work was completed in 1946. 

Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos
Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina Lagos
Cath 1.jpg
Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos
6.4508°N 3.3902°E
Architect(s)Bagan Benjamin[1]
Architectural typeNorman Gothic
DioceseDiocese of Lagos
ProvostB. C. A. Johnson
Canon(s)Obi S. Nwankeredu
Organist/Director of musicTunde Sosan
Unarguably the oldest Anglican Cathedral Church of Nigeria in Nigeria, the Cathedral was the seat of the Archbishop of the Province of West Africa at various times in history. The seat of the Archbishop and Primate of All Nigeria and the seat of the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos. 
"The Cathedral was the seat of the Archbishop of the Province of West Africa at various times in history"

It is currently the seat of the Bishop of Lagos. It is popularly known as the Cathedral Church of Christ Marina. It is also the only church in Nigeria that has hosted a State wedding, when Head of State then Colonel Yakubu Gowon wedded Miss Victoria Gowon (nee Zakari) on April 19, 1969. See  more photos from the site. 

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Today, we are introducing our  November personality and face of the Biographer Journal: Ambassador (Dr) Sarah Hussein Obama aka Mama Sarah the 97 old Kenyan educator and philanthropist. She is the third wife of the paternal grandfather of U.S. President Barack Obama. President Obama referred to her as "Granny" in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," and described meeting her during his trip to his father's homeland, he spoke about his "grandmother" again in one of his speech to the U.N. General Assembly. 
                           Mama Sarah looking at the Biographer's Edition made for her grandson.

It would be remembered that Mama Sarah attended Obama's first inauguration in 2009. This edition carries my interview with her as conducted through two interpreters, first was Pascal Tabu Obama, a grandson of Mama Sarah and later through Naomi Oketchhctek, a Director of 'The Mama Sarah Foundation'.)
This is an excerpt from my meeting with her.
TNB: Good evening ma, once again let me introduce myself, I am Raphael James, a Journalist/ Reporter from Lagos Nigeria, my mission is to have you interviewed for our magazine 'The National Biographer Magazine' for a special edition we are producing to celebrate the 55th birthday of your grandson and president of the United States of America, President Barack Obama.
Mama Sarah: Thank you very much, for you to have come all the way from Lagos Nigeria, I am happy to welcome you to my home. Since when my grandson became the President of America I have received thousands of visitors and journalist both foreign and local, including the CNN, but I think you are the first journalist from Nigeria coming to interview me here in Kenya.
"Since when my grandson became the President of America I have received thousands of visitors and journalist both foreign and local, including the CNN, but I think you are the first journalist from Nigeria coming to interview me here in Kenya."
Left: Mama Sarah Hussein Obama and her grandson, US President Barack Obama.
Right: DrRaphael James and Mama Sarah Hussein Obama

There was a time when I received as many as 20 -30 visitors in a day and that was what even prompted us to erect the guest house just next to a house built for my senior mate, my husband's first wife Keziah Obama. I am happy, for I see this as a support for my grandson who is the President of America."

        See more photos...

Mama Sarah's home
Just in front of Mama Sarah's home is a giant portrait of her and the president's family.

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Friday, 25 November 2016


Recently  I made a list of all the places I visited last year, and while doing so, I stumbled upon a town that has a special place in my heart. The town of Ushafa. A town located within the FCT. A town that adorns the FCT with its wonderfully set geographical features. Read more gist about my second visit to Ushafa town😁. And please feel free to use the comment section- DrRaphael James.

Ushafa is a pseudo name from the original name “Wushapa”. The very first time I stepped into this town with a rich history was sometime in April, 2015, when I visited the lake, nut. All through my tour, I was amazed  with the natural geo-setting. The mountains, rocks and the fact Ushafa city centre is squeezed amongst some hills, covered with beautiful vegetations. And so this month, I decided I needed to breathe in the air of that town again. I made a return visit(I just couldn't resist the urge). For those who missed my first story, this is a brief  description of that wonderful town. 
The lake

The people of Wushapa who are Gbagyi speaking people settled in their present abode at about the 18th century. In Gbagyi language, the word Wushapa (Ushafa) literally means “teach us how to tie”. Oral tradition trace the origin of Wushapa to Borno to Kano to Katenyi Kubwacha and Kwoi in the present Kaduna state to Yawupe (Yaupe) and finally to Wushapa their present location.

 "So there is this 'BILL CLINTON' village(wonder why there is such a thing), that had me having high hopes that soon there could be a 'RAPHAEL JAMES Village tooπŸ˜€πŸ˜"
The beautiful landscape, the hills, the vegetation, the FRESH air! 

 Wushapa is located North-Western plains of Abuja about forty (40) kilometers (km) away, within the Federal Capital in Abuja. Wushapa is distinguished by some of its naturally endowed geographical as well as historical features which sets it apart from neighboring settlements. These features have attracted it to tourists and visitors from within and outside the country. Some of these features includes: Obmi Yakwo (a large cave that can conveniently accommodate over 1000 people), Adabui Tagmu (Granaries that are near completed); these granaries are four in number and are on the top of a mountain beside the village and Kuchidna (a river in the forest). 

The famous Lower Usuma Dam, which is the major source of water supply for the FCT Abuja. There is also the 'BILL CLINTON' village(wonder why there is such a thing), I have high hopes that soon there could be a 'RAPHAEL JAMES Village too. The length of my stay didn't offer me the opportunity to visit the 'Esu'(ruler/king) of the town. But that should be my top priority on my next visit(very soon).

Hey! That town is top notch, and it is a town you shouldn't miss if you should ever visit the FCT. Or... Have you seen the town already? Please tell me your experience. I want to know!😁 have a nice day.
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Thursday, 24 November 2016


I visited major monumental figures in the ancient city of Ibadan recently and I have made haste to document my sights in this post. Please feel free to comment. 
Me standing atop the Bower's tower

Mo ti mo Ibadan, mo ti mo Layipo" At last now I can beat my chest hard that I know Ibadan. I have been to Layipo, I climbed the seven hills, I climbed the over 60 feet tall Bower’s Tower, in Oke–Are, in the one-time dreaded Igbo-Agala (Agala forest), the home of Ibadan’s illustrious Generalissimos, the settlement of the great Ibadan warlords in the 17th century. 

The Tower has about 47 spiral staircases, designed by Engineer Robert Taffy Jones and was erected in the 1930s by the Ibadan Native Authority but was unveiled on December 15, 1936 by Captain Robert Lister Bower who was then the Resident and Travelling Commissioner for Ibadan and the Interior of Yorubaland in the South Western Nigeria, (1893-1897).

 The hill was named after him. Standing atop the tower, on the highest hilltop in the city, I saw the nook and cranny of Ibadan, I saw Ibadan metropolis, a panoramic view of all the important places like the University College Hospital (UCH), University of Ibadan, Dugbe Market , Agodi Gardens, Iwo Road, Cocoa House and the Adamacimba stadium and thousands of rustic corrugated iron roofing sheets. 
A view from the highest point on the city's highest hilltop. The Ibadan metropolis

My observation, in the spirit of tourisms promotion, I feel the Oyo state government should spend money to make money at Layipo. Presently they collect N200 from visitors willing to climb the tower, the environment should be improved and the charges increased.

 The tower and it's environment is in a deplorable condition, the place neglected. According to the records on the wall, the last time maintenance was carried out in 1999 by General Patrick Aziza. The building is strong but the narrow stairs is not wide enough to accommodate two people to climb at the same time, as such the place needs total renovation and enlightenment for it to become a veritable tourist centre.

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Dr. Raphael James with Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande's Book

Watching and waiting to collect my special autographed copy of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande's Book "THE ACTION YEARS, Book 1 & 2", published in 1985, Alhaji Jakande was amazed to see the book with me, he noted that he doesnt even have a copy of the book again and commended CRIMMD LIBRARY for preserving copies. Alhaji Jakande in 1979, was elected executive governor of Lagos State on the Unity Party of Nigeria platform. 

As Governor, he lived in his own private house in Ilupeju area of Lagos, shunned official cars and protocol by living among the people, feeling and sharing their pains, and driving his own private car, a Toyota Laurel jalopy he bought several years before becoming Governor. He was an exceptional Governor of Lagos State and easily the best civilian Governor of his era in Nigeria. His administration introduced housing and educational programs targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free primary and secondary education. 

He established the Lagos State University (LASU); constructed over 20,000 housing units; started a metroline project to facilitate mass transit. The project was halted and his tenure as Governor ended when the military seized power on December 31, 1983. He later served as Minister of Works under the General Sani Abacha military regime, As Minister of Works and Housing, he launched a national housing program to provide affordable housing to all poor Nigerians across the nation, and in every state of the Federation. 

He was the first chairman of the Action Party of Nigeria (APN) when it was formed in November 2006. He had earlier worked as a journalist with the Daily Service; Nigerian Tribune. Appointed editor-in-chief of the Tribune 1956 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

 His editorials were factual and forthright, and were treated by the colonial powers with respect. He left the Tribune 1975 and established John West Publications, publishers of The Lagos News. Served as the first President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
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