Thursday, 13 July 2017

WOLE ȘOYINKA @ 83

Prof Soyinka and Dr Raphael James


Born July 13, 1934 in Abeokuta, Ogun State to Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, an Anglican Minister and the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abeokuta and Grace Eniola Soyinka, a political activist and the daughter of Rev. Canon JJ Ransome-Kuti. He attended St. Peters Primary School in Abeokuta; Abokuta Grammar School; Government College Ibadan; University College Ibadan (1952–54), he read English literature, Greek, and Western history. In 1953–54 as a student he wrote a short radio play for Nigerian Broadcasting Service, "Keffi's Birthday Threat," which was aired in July 1954. As a student he also founded the Pyrates Confraternity, an anti-corruption and justice-seeking student organization, alongside six other students. He left for England in 1954, joined the University of Leeds (1954–57).


Prof Soyinka at CRIMMD
He worked as an editor for the satirical magazine ‘The Eagle’. His first major play, The Swamp Dwellers (1958), was followed a year later by ‘The Lion and the Jewel, a comedy that attracted interest from several members of London's Royal Court Theatre. Encouraged, Soyinka moved to London, where he worked as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. During the same period, both of his plays were performed in Ibadan. They dealt with the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Nigeria.


Prof Soyinka with Africa's youngest published author - Ebube


CD at a rally beside the grave of Bashorun MKO Abiola (Hafsat Abiola, Prof Wole Soyinka, Dr Joe Odumaikin and others)
In 1957 his play ‘The Invention’ was the first of his works to be produced at the Royal Court Theatre. At that time his only published works were poems such as "The Immigrant" and "My Next Door Neighbour", published in ‘Black Orpheus magazine.’ He received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship from University College in Ibadan, his alma mater, for research on African theatre, and he returned to Nigeria. He produced ‘The Trials of Brother Jero’. And ‘A Dance of The Forest’ (1960), which became the official play for Nigerian Independence Day on October 1, 1960, he also established the "Nineteen-Sixty Masks", an amateur acting group.


Chief Mrs H.I.D. Awolowo with the Nobel laureate, prof Wole Soyinka
He worked as a lecturer at the Department of English Language at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-If in 1962. In 1963, he released the movie, Culture in Transition and in April 1964 ‘The Interpreters’, was published in London.

The Original Seven, at Tedder Hall Quadrangle, University College Ibadan in 1953 Wole Soyinka Ikpehare Aig Imoukhuede Sylvanus Egbuche Pius Oleghe Nathaniel Oyelola Muyiwa Awe Ralph Opara pirate fraternity


He is the founder of Drama Association of Nigeria. He resigned as a lecturer in 1964. He was arrested by government and was released by appeals from international community of writers. Out of prison he wrote Before the Blackout’,Kongi’s Harvest’ and ‘The Detainee’, a radio play for the BBC in London. He was later appointed Head of Department, Department of English Language at University of Lagos. In April 1965, ‘Kongi’s Harvest’ was produced at the International Festival of Negro Art in Dakar, Senegal; ‘The Road’ was awarded the Grand Prix and ‘The Lion and The Jewel’ was performed at Hampstead Theatre Club in London.


Prof Soyinka receiving his noble prize
General Yakubu Gowon arrested him in 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War and kept him in solitary confinement for two years. After his release he was appointed a professor at Cornell University,  and Emory University in Atlanta, where in 1996 he was appointed a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts, he has also taught at the universities of Oxford, Harvard and Yale. He was a Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University 1975-1999; Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.

Wole Soyinka with a Guitar and his friend Banjo Solaru, London 1958
In 1984, his book ‘The Man Died’ was banned. In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first African laureate. In 1986, he received the Agip Prize for Literature. In 1988, his collection of poems ‘Mandela's Earth, and Other Poems’ was published, while in Nigeria another collection of essays entitled Art, Dialogue and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture appeared. In 1990, the second portion of his memoir ‘Isara: A Voyage Around Essay’ appeared. In July 1991 the BBC African Service transmitted his radio play ‘A Scourge of Hyacinths’, and the next year (1992) in Sienna (Italy), his play ‘From Zia with Love’ had its premiere. In 1993 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Harvard University. In 1994, he published his autobiography: ‘Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946–1965)’. In 1995 his play ‘The Beatification of Area Boy’ was published. In October 1994 he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication. He fled Nigeria in 1994, in 1996 his book ‘The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis’ was first published. In 1999 a new volume of poems entitled Outsiders was released. His play King Baabu, premiered in Lagos in 2001, in 2002 a collection of his poems, ‘Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known’, was published. In 2006, his memoir You Must Set Forth at Dawn was published. In 2011, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre built a writers' enclave in his honour in Adeyipo Village, Ibadan, Oyo State. In 2014, he visited the CRIMMD PHOTO MUSEUM OF NIGERIAN HISTORY where he saw his photo at age 5 and he gave us very high commendation for preserving Nigerian history through photographs. Today, as he clocks 83, CRIMMD felicitate with him on this special occasion with a special book reading involving 10 of his books.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY PROF!! 
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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HAPPY 51ST BIRTHDAY, DR. JOE OKEI-ODUMAKIN (JOSEPHINE OBIAJULU OKEI-ODUMAKIN)

Dr Joe with Dr. Raphael

Born in Zaria on July 4, 1966. She grew up in Ilorin, where she attended St. Barnabas Primary School, Ilorin, she obtained the First School Leaving Certificate. She thereafter moved to Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin where she passed her West Africa School Certificate. She pursued her A’ levels at the School of Basic Studies, Kwara State Polytechnic.


Dr Joe with Michelle Obama

She later proceeded to the University of Ilorin where she got a BA.ED English and Education in 1987. She returned to the same school and bagged her M.Ed in Guidance and Counselling and her Ph.D (History and Policy of Education) in 1996.


Dr. Joe with John Forbes Kerry American Secretary of State

She has about 29years experience in human rights work in Nigeria. She has been involved in over 2,000 cases of woman's rights violations, including extrajudicial killings of women or their husbands by the police. Her activism career commenced as the Secretary of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State from 1988 – 1991 and later the Coordinator of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State branch 1991 – 1996; Chairperson, Rethink Nigeria (1987 – 1992) and Chairperson, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Kwara State branch (1990 – 1996). Her foray into human rights activism was during the President Babangida Military administration. She was arrested and detained for not less than seventeen times at different locations: Division B Police Station Ilorin; Police Headquarters Ilorin; SSS Headquarters Ilorin; SSS HQ Maitama Abuja; Panti Police Station Lagos; Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos; and Alagbon Close in Lagos. But her spirit was never daunted. She later became the Assistant General Secretary of Campaign For Democracy (CD) in 1994 at a time the battle against the annulment of June 12 was very fierce.


Dr. Joe with Chief Gani Fawehinmi - social critic, seasoned human and civil rights lawyer

Dr Joe with Billionaire Industrialist & Chairman Eleganza Group, Chief Razak Akanni Okoya.

She served as the General Secretary of the body from March 1996 – July 29, 2006 (10 years) before she became the President on July 29, 2006. She is also the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies, the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative; Chairman, Task Force of the Citizen Forum, Spokesperson, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and President, Centre for Change in Community Development and Public Awareness(CDP).


Dr Joe with Abike Kafayat Oluwatoyin Dabiri-Erewa SSA to the president

Pro Wole Soyinka & Dr Joe, addressing the press

She has received over 100 awards at the national and international levels, including: “Hero of Democracy and Good Governance”; “Icon of Democracy”;  “The Hero of Democracy”;
“The Defender of Women’s Rights”; “Advocate for Good Governance Award”; “Role Model of the Year award”; “Champion of Women Empowerment”; “Beacon of Hope Award”; "Amazon of Democracy"; “Ambassador of Goodwill”; "Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award on Humanitarian Services/Icon of Hope"; "Excellence in Activism Award". On January 3, 2013 she won the "Eminent International Gold Award" presented to her by First Eminent Associates for her Activism and Heroism. She also won the International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State, presented by Michelle Obama and John Kerry at the US State Department's Dean Acheson Auditorium in celebration of International Women's Day, 2013



Dr. Raphael with Comrade Yinka Odunmakin (Dr. Joe's husband)

She is happily married to Comrade Yinka Odunmakin.

Dr Joe with former, NBA, Dame Priscilia Kuye

Dr. Joe feeding her Ostriches


As she celebrate today July 4th, We at the CRIMMD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY in Idimu honours her with a surprise lecture titled: "Women in activism in Nigeria" celebrating Dr. Joe Odumaikin @ 51. July 4th, 2017 time 10 am, with a cake cutting ceremony.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my darling sister, one I am proud of - DR JOSEPHINE!!!

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Monday, 19 June 2017

CELEBRATING AN AFRICAN AMAZON - MAYOR MARY AJOKU "TEEN"


Honorable Mary Lesteen Sutton-Ajoku


I present to you Honourable Mary Lesteen Sutton-Ajoku "Teen" as she is affectionately called by those who know her. The former Mayor of the town of Cruger, Mississippi in the United State of America, Secretary of the World Conference of Mayors and Assistant Secretary National Conference of Mayors Incorporated.



Mary and her father

Mary and her mother

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

CENTRE OF RESEARCH, INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND MEDIA DEVELOPMENT (CRIMMD) LAGOS, NIGERIA.




Presents:
WHAT THE CRIMMD LIBRARY HOLDS FOR MODERN DAY NIGERIA.

By: Ewens Lawson

It is necessary for one to understudy the organic structure of the Nigerian education system before rendering any objective appraisal of the present challenges staring dangerously at us. The history of education in Nigeria is replete with a random change of curricula and policy thrust on education to a theoretical structure that is based on learning by luck; a gradual shift from 6-5-4 system to 6-3-3-4 system in the 1990s.  There was a shift in emphasis from grammar-rooted learning to science-oriented learning but all these efforts were caught in the web of rising religious sentimentalism in the country.







 All these were done in the 1990s by the ruling junta, probably with a view to improving the learning conditions of the Nigerian youth and meeting the global intellectual imperatives of the time. In so far as no one would cynically query the good intentions of the policy makers in this regard, we are unanimous in our opinion that the cardinal spirit of the changes had recorded many effects in the negative direction. We have witnessed an arithmetic growth in number of Schools and universities with a concomitant exponential increase in the rate of graduate-ignorance. Suddenly, we see ourselves becoming victims of falsehood; we are now victims of this false theory on “falling standard of education” in Nigeria. One would not be wrong to ask:  What is this Standard of education and, what is that thing that is actually falling?  The correct answer to this question is what the CRIMMD library tends to provide for us in this piece. Dr. Raphael James, a renowned Information Strategist and Researcher, founder of the CRIMMD Library decided to organize this mini-summit to look into this very notion of falling standards of education in Nigeria. I am privileged to present hereunder the abridged version of the research outcome.




The word “standard” is subject to different interpretations but could be well
understood in a peculiar context. In the education context, one would be correct to define standard as a benchmark to adopt in judging certain behaviour. It is the minimum social, economic and political ingredients required to actualizing certain objective. Standard of education, therefore, is the minimum learning and attitudinal benchmark for judging the performance of students in a particular subject. The primary objective of education is the same all over the world; to enhance human capital development and invariably reduce chronic ignorance. It therefore means that Standard of Education is a variable that depends on some other explanatory variables. Let us reduce the grammar into a simple mathematical function by ascribing symbols to these variables: let SED= Standard of Education, EP=Education Policy, PA=Public Attitude towards learning, GB= Government Budget on Education, TM=Teachers Morale and LF=Library Facility.
The functional model represents:
SED = f (EP, PA, GB, TM, and LF)…………. (i)
No doubt, we are aware that there are numerous factors affecting SED but we have chosen only the useful variables in this analysis, keeping other superfluous variables in a “Big Box” known as the random disturbance box whose explanatory power is minimal and often taken care of by the popular maxim: “Ceteris Paribus” (all other things being equal).











We believe that only the above five explanatory variables (EP, PA, GB, TM, and LF) are the most important determinants of Standard of Education (SED), all other things being equal. We must take note that any variable that cannot be measured with numerical precision is called QUALITATIVE variable while the ones that can be measured are called QUANTITATIVE variables. From the above functional model (i), the first two variables EP and PA are non-quantifiable variables; they cannot be represented in numerical form. Attitude and Policy issues are virtually the objects of human reasoning with its attendant sentimental overhang. The remaining three variables GB, TM, and LF are measurable; teachers’ morale can be represented numerically by monetization of teachers’ welfare package. Library facilities can be measured in terms of cost of equipment and books as captured in various education MDAs budgets meant for this purpose. The Education Budget (GB) is an annual ritual that conveys financial information on education which is easily measurable.

To achieve objectivity in this analysis, the CRIMMD library had shouldered the burden to obtain a 40-year cross-sectional data on each of these variables (1975-2015) from various government establishments (secondary data), and also conducted a clinical research on this subject using advanced statistical package (E-View). We have also run these data on our model and generated a multiple regression equation which encompasses Error Correction Mechanism (ECM), Augmented Dickey Fuller, and Test of significance of the estimated parameters. Since the system contains both qualitative and quantitative variables together as regressors, the model has turned strictly ANCOVA (Analysis of Covariance).  The next stage is to present our findings and make far reaching recommendations as we deemed necessary.


FINDINGS/INTERPRETATION:

We shall first answer the question of “what is falling” taking a cue from the meaning of standard of education as stated above. The outcome of our analysis reflects that the standard of education (SED) has NOT significantly fallen during the period under review. This is shown by the positive relationship between SED and (GB, EP). The education policy has always changed overtime in response to the challenges being faced by succeeding generation of Nigerians. For instance, a careful review of the sample of the various Ordinary Level WAEC/WASC curricula used in the 1970s through 1980s to 1990s would reveal some gradual theoretical improvements in the presumed syllabic-content of learning. The definition of marriage as contained in social studies materials of the 70s and 80s had changed in the late 90s and keep changing till this day; the physics syllabus in the 70s and 80s equally had been upgraded reasonably to capture advanced topics such as quantum mechanics and Nuclear Physics. This trend is seen in all the subjects at same level. Therefore, if standard means a benchmark set down by the authority in order to achieve certain objective (in this case, syllabic-upgrade) we shall have no theoretical ground to assert that the standard of education has fallen.

The benchmark for WAEC/WASC since 1970s had changed positively on paper to reflect the dynamism in global learning and discoveries. In addition, the Federal Budget on education has never remained fixed. It has shifted gradually, quantitatively and positively from the 1970s to 2015. The reason is not far-fetched; increase in oil revenues has so far affected the education sector’s budget positively and, though marginally.

Our inference is: the standard has not fallen on paper works as we have recorded incremental curricula-upgrade over the years but the capacity and willingness on the part of our students to absorb what is/are on the various syllabi into human faculty has fallen tragically. The continuous decline or near total collapse of intellectual zeal towards learning as exemplified by the present crops of students and researchers does not represent the notion of falling standards. Our failing culture seems to have gained entry into the knowledge sub-region. And “know-who” has conspired to replace “know-how” in the intellectual system; the fire of competition is finally extinguished; our libraries have been abandoned for rats and wall-geckos. This is not a case of falling standards of education but a case of falling ethics of learning informed by systemic failure and a successful coup against our values.

You can write Exams and obtain Distinctions without studying; this is what the Holy Spirit can do. You don’t need the library for a research because the Holy Spirit can do it for you as it had done for those testifiers out there……Holy Spirit is the new and authentic standard of education for some Nigerians.  We shall conclude from our findings that the Nigerian Standards of education did not fall and it is not falling as erroneously believed, but has been overthrown through a coup against our values.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

There may be numerous ways to address this and possibly restore the glorious days of education in Nigeria. We, hereby make two basic suggestions which are workable in the short-term:
Government at all levels should strive through practical steps to reduce to the barest minimum the yearning gap between teaching and cheating in all examinations. Once we curb the avenues open for examination malpractices in the country the rats and cockroaches presently occupying our libraries will relinquish their rights of occupancy to human owners without a quit notice. The incumbent JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede had demonstrated in the last UTME admissions screening exercise that we have the capacity to do the right thing.

 The Teachers’ welfare, training and re-training must be a constant concern for the government.  Let teaching job be seen as a profession for those who have the flair and enthusiasm to excel in it with pride, not a job seen as being at the lower rung of employment-ladder reserve for those who could not secure a better job elsewhere.  This attitude of “I am just managing it” often exhibited by our plaint teachers must be curbed drastically for us to achieve the desired results.

Finally, we are happy to inform the general public, particularly the intellectual enthusiasts’ amongst Nigerian youth/students/researchers that the CRIMMD Library is open to everyone 24/7 free of charge. Let reading and research continue, let us build and re-build a knowledge driven Nigeria where our inherent differences in tongues and tribes would be reconciled in the realm of knowledge.

The Director General of CRIMMD, Dr. Raphael James is an embodiment of charity beyond religious contemplation. His storehouse of wisdom garnished by a wealth of experience in Librarianship and Archival superiority has turned his office into a beehive for intellectual bees. There are tons of quality materials for modern research in the library begging for readership.

WE HEARTILY WELCOME YOU TO THE CRIMMD LIBRARY!!!!!.

Thank you.









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Monday, 8 May 2017

WHY GO TO JERUSALEM AND MECCA WHEN THE BIBLICAL QUEEN OF SHEBA IS A NIGERIAN?


My search for the birth and burial place of  the Queen of Sheba, The Holy Bible described her as a woman of great wealth, beauty, and power. The Bible did not tell us her origin, but rather it is believed that she is either from Ethiopia or Yemen. It was recorded that she came with “a very great caravan of camels, carrying spices, large quantities of gold and precious stones”. It was also stated that “never again where so many spices brought into Israel as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”. In Islamic tradition, she is commonly referred to, as Bilkis, Bilqis, Balqis or Balquis by the Arabs, who believe that she came from the city of Sheba, also called Mareb, in Yemen. In the Quran she is an Ethiopian sun-worshiper involved in the incense trade who converts to Islam. The Baale told me all he knew about Queen Sheba and her origin from Ijebu -Ode. More details coming your way soon - Promoting Nigeria Educational Tourism.


With the 95 year old Baale B. O Olaitan Olugbosi, the Baale of Oke-Eiri, (The Otinwaiyepe 1) in Ijebu Ode


The Queen of Sheba, The Holy Bible described her as a woman of great wealth, beauty, and power. The Bible did not tell us her origin, but rather it is believed that she is either from Ethiopia or Yemen. It was recorded that she came with “a very great caravan of camels, carrying spices, large quantities of gold and precious stones”. It was also stated that “never again where so many spices brought into Israel as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”. In Islamic tradition, she is commonly referred to, as Bilkis, Bilqis, Balqis or Balquis by the Arabs, who believe that she came from the city of Sheba, also called Mareb, in Yemen. In the Quran she is an Ethiopian sun-worshiper involved in the incense trade who converts to Islam.


A team of British scientists believes otherwise that she is from Nigeria. In about 1959, Professor Peter Lloyd first made his publication open and called for more research work to trace the Queen of Sheba's birth place. In September 1999 Dr Patrick Darling, a British archaeologist then with Bournemouth University, after years of research work, the team discovered the remains of an ancient kingdom of Queen of Sheba, deep in the Nigerian rainforest of Ori-Eke in Ijebo-Ode. They visited Ijebu-Ode and after years of wandering in the forest, the British scientists discovered what is today referred as the possible burial place of the legendary Queen of Sheba. Historical and archeological studies revealed that there are many links between the Biblical Queen and Bilikisu Sungbo of Ijebu land.
standing by the grave side of Bilikisu




standing at the entrance of the shrine with custodian of the shrine Chief Moses Awofeko


The Queen of Sheba is said to be associated with ivory, eunuchs and gold. Ivory and gold are known to be very abundant in Nigeria at the time, while eunuchs were present in ancient West African palaces. As at the time of the discovery, the place was a spot bare of vegetation in the Nigerian rainforest where tall trees have become entangled with canopy foliage, festooned with spider’s webs and falling leaves, creating a gloom that inhibits vegetation.

Bilikisu or better still the Queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem as she had “heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, and came to test Solomon with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1). After a meal together, the Queen of Sheba declares how impressed she is with Solomon’s answers, hospitality, and the reputation that preceded him. The story ends with an exchange of resources and the Queen of Sheba returning “with her retinue to her own country” (1 Kings 10:13). (which country?). The Queen of Sheba is mentioned again in the New Testament, by an alternative title, the Queen of the South (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31). Jesus refers to her, reaffirming her historical personage, as a means to illustrate the point that, despite being originally pagan in belief and Gentile in race, the Queen of Sheba recognized the truth and reality of God.

the road leading to the shrine



the gully and the fence, her wall of defence


standing in one of the ditch turned green tunnel besides the fence


Part of the forest around the kingdom


Nigerians Tourism educational Ambassador Dr. Raphael James travelled to what use to be that forest to discover what is left of the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba.
At the 'Birikisu Sungbo shrine', Oke-Eri in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. First I visited the 95 year old Baale B. O Olaitan Olugbosi, the Baale of Oke-Eiri, (The Otinwaiyepe 1) in Ijebu Ode,  Ogun state, I spent two hours with the Baale and he told me all he knew about Queen Sheba and her origin from Ijebu-Ode. After that he assigned me to the custodian of the shrine Chief Moses Awofeko who is probably in his late 70's. and we off we went, first to the shrine and after that to visit the remains of the wall, protecting the kingdom.

The custodian of the shrine told me that history have it that Bilikisu Sungbo was a wealthy, childless widow. Her system of defensive walls and ditches protecting her kingdom is referred to as the 'Sungbo's Eredo'. The total length of fortifications is more than 160 kilometres (99 mi). It consist of a ditch with unusually smooth walls and bank in the inner side of ditch. The height difference between the bottom of the ditch and the upper rim of the bank on the inner side can is about 20 metres (66 ft). It is built of laterite - a typical African soil consisting of clay and iron oxides. Ditch forms an uneven ring around the area of the ancient Ijebu Kingdom, an area approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) wide in North-South, with the walls flanked by trees and other vegetation, turning the ditch into green tunnel.
The Eredo served a defensive purpose when it was built in 800–1000, a period of political confrontation and consolidation in the southern Nigerian rainforest. It was likely to have been inspired by the same process that led to the construction of similar walls and ditches throughout western Nigeria, including earthworks around Ifẹ̀, Ilesa, and the Benin Iya, a 6,500-kilometre (4,000 mi) series of connected but separate earthworks in the neighboring Edo-speaking region.

remains of the wall of Bilikisu kingdom 800-1000BC

On November 1, 1995 the 'Bilikisu Sungbo's Eredo' site was added, along with the Iya of Benin, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List in the Cultural category.
Welcome to the burial site of the wealthy Biblical Queen Sheba’s Lost Kingdom. Welcome to the small, sleepy village of Oke-Eiri, welcome to 'Bilikisu Sungbo's Eredo'.
This sight should be a high income generating tourist site for the federal government and state government of Ogun state. Christian, Muslim and traditional African religions Pilgrims can visit here for spiritual power renewal.
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Saturday, 6 May 2017

OLOYE HUBERT ADEDEJI OGUNDE GALLERY FEELING YESTERDAY'S IN TODAY'S WORLD


I was at Ososa, near Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State to visit the birth place and gallery of Oloyo Hubert Adedeji Ogunde. This gallery was meant to be the rehearsal center for the National Troupe.
Ogunde is the son of  Jeremiah and Eunice Ogunde, born on July 16, 1916, he founded the Ogunde Theatre Party, Nigeria's first contemporary professional theatrical company. He was an actor, playwright, theatre manager, and musician. His father was a Baptist and his maternal grandfather an African traditionalist. Young Ogunde took part  in the Ifá and Shango celebrations while growing up. He attended St John School, Ososa, (1925–28), St Peter's School, Faaji, Lagos, (1928–30) and Wasinmi African School, (1931–32).






His first contact with performance art was as a young member of Egun Alarinjo and Daramola Atele's travelling theatre group during his elementary school days. After completing his education, he worked as a pupil-teacher at St. John's School and was also church choirmaster and organist. He later joined the Nigerian Police Force in March 1941 and posted to Ibadan. In 1943, the Police Force posted him to Ebute Metta where he joined an African Initiated Church white garment church. In Lagos, he created an amateur drama group the African Music Research Party in 1945. His theatre career began under the patronage of the Church. In 1944, he produced his first folk opera, The Garden of Eden and The Throne of God, commissioned by the Lagos-based Church of the Lord (Aladura) founded by Josiah Ositelu. The performance was sanctioned to aid contributions to a Church building fund. The folk opera premiered at Glover Memorial Hall with the chairman of the ceremony, Azikiwe in attendance. Ogunde's first play incorporated realism and dramatic action in the acting, dancing and singing of the performers separating it from the common Native Air Operas predominant in Yorubaland at the time an innovation that contributed to making the play a success. At the request of the Alake of Abeokuta, Ogunde performed 'The Garden of Eden' at the Ake Centenary Hall. Encouraged by the success of the play, Ogunde went on to write more operas. He wrote and co-directed three religious themed plays: Africa and God (1944), a folk opera infused with Yoruba cultural themes than were non-existent in The Garden of Eden, Israel in Egypt (1945) and Nebuchadnezzar's Reign and Belshazzar's Feast (1945). In 1946, he resigned his post with the police to become a professional dramatist.
Ogunde's African Music Research Party later known as Ogunde Theatre Party founded in 1945 is the first contemporary professional theatre company in Yoruba land. Previous performance groups were masked theatre troupes called alarinjo who were dependent on the court or church for support and grew in popularity as a result of word of mouth. Ogunde distinguished his group by using promotion methods such as advertisements and posters and changing the round stage used by alarinjo performers to one with a proscenium. In addition, he introduced dramatic action and realism into his plays depending on the audience for commercial support. By these acts Ogunde began the rise of modern professional theatre in Nigeria, a movement in which he remains the father figure. After leaving his job as a police constable, Ogunde moved away from his earlier focus on religious themes and started writing plays that were nationalistic or anti-colonial in outlook, a trend in Lagos during the furious forties. During this period, many of his early movies were co-directed by G. B. Kuyinu.

Ogunde married about twelve wives: Clementina Oguntimirin was the eldest of them all, she later became known as Adesewa Ogunde or Mama Eko (Lagos Mama), after taking the leading part in a popular play. In 1947, Ogunde and Adesuwa, traveled to London to make contacts with the promotion of his shows. There they took waltz and tap dance classes. He was able to merge the waltz with the traditional Batakoto dance and tap dance with traditional Yoruba Epa dance. Adesewa had five children for him. Oguntimirin died in a road accident in September 1970 along Ilesha. The following year, Ogunde wrote a play in her memory entitled Ayanmo, he also did a musical album 'Adesuwa', about the loss of his wife and co-star in a tragic accident. Another of his wife is Idowu Philips, an actress.

In early 1945, he produced Worse than Crime, later in that year, he wrote The Black Forest and Journey to Heaven, two Yoruba operas that also improved on his use of traditional Yoruba folklore but with the latter having a strong Christian influence. In November 1945, he wrote a pro-labour play, Strike and Hunger motivated by the events of a general strike by labour unions led by Michael Imoudu. In 1946 he wrote and produced Tiger's Empire. Premiered on 4 March 1946, Tiger's Empire was produced by The African Music Research Party and featured Ogunde, Beatrice Oyede and Abike Taiwo. The advertisement for the play was the result of Ogunde's call for "paid actresses". It marked the first time in Yoruba theatre that women were billed to appear in a play as professional artists in Light in their own right. Tiger's Empire was an attack on colonial rule. He followed Tiger's Empire with Darkness and Light, a play he vaguely remembers. Later in 1946, he produced Devil's Money, an African story about a man who entered a contract with an evil spirit so as to get rich. The folk opera was successful with a set of twenty-four actors donning costumes. After the death of Herbert Macaulay, he wrote the opera Herbert Macaulay, to commemorate the life of the nationalist who died in 1946. He then released another political themed play, Towards Liberty in 1947. Before 1948, Ogunde plays were staged in Lagos and occasionally in Abeokuta, both his growing popularity in other Western Nigeria provinces made him think about traveling to other cities with his theatre troupe. In 1948, he went on a tour major Western Nigerian cities with his group, including stops at Abeokuta, Ibadan, Oyo, Ede and Ogbomosho. When he took his tour to the north, he had two major encounters with the police due to the political context of Worse than Crime and Tiger's Empire. His first tour outside Nigeria was not well received by the Ghanaian audience largely because they did not understand the Yoruba language and Ogunde was ignorant about the tastes of the audience.

He wrote a satire, 'Human Parasites', about the craze for Aso ebi, a custom that lent itself to much abuse. Friends forcing friends to buy Aso-ebi for occasions to celebrate marriages or funerals. There was also 'Bread and Bullet' - a play about a coal miners' strike in Enugu that resulted in the shooting of twenty-two people. Later he introduced English language to the dialogue of his plays. He also had an Islamic morality tale 'My Darling Fatima' in 1951 followed by three situational comedies: Portmanteau Woman (1952), 'Beggar's Love (1952) and Princess Jaja (1953). In 1955, his theatre went on a tour Northern Nigeria, including performances at the Colonial Hotel, Kano. During this time, Ogunde wrote less but went on grueling road tours to different parts of the country becoming a traveling theatre group. He also changed the name of the group from Ogunde Theatre Party to Ogunde Concert Party around 1947.

Ogunde released a few music albums including: 'Ori' about destiny, 'Onimoto' and his most popular album was 'Yoruba Ronu', a soundtrack to the play with the same name.
Some of his plays include:
Garden of Eden and the Throne of God (1944)
Africa and God (1944)
Israel in Egypt (1945)
Nebuchadnezzar's Reign and Belshazzar's Feast (1945)
King Solomon (1945)
Worse than Crime (1945)
Journey to Heaven (1945)
The Black Forest (Igbo Irunmale) (1945)
Strike and Hunger (1945)
Tiger's Empire (1946)
Darkness and Light (1946)
Mr. Devil's Money (Ayinde) (1946)
Herbert Macaulay (1946)
Human Parasites (1946)
Towards Liberty (1947)
Swing the Jazz (1947)
Yours Forever (Morenike) (1948)
Half and Half (1949)
Gold Coast Melodies (1949)
Bread and Bullet (1950)
My Darling Fatima (1951)
Portmanteau Woman (1952)
Beggar's Love (1952)
Highway Eagle (1953)
Princess Jaja (1953)
Village Hospital (Ile Iwosan) (1957)
Delicate Millionaire (Olowo Ojiji) (1958)
Songs of Unity (1960)
Yoruba Ronu (1964)
Aropin N'tenia (1964)
Otito Koro (1964)
Awo Mimo (1965)
Ire Olokun (1968)
Keep Nigeria One (1968)
Mama Eko (1968)
Oba nta (1969)
Ogun Pari (1969)
Oh, Ogunde (1969)
Ewe Nla (1970)
Iwa gbemi (1970)
Ayanmo (1970)
Onimoto (1971)
K'ehin Sokun (1971)
Aiye (1972)
Ekun Oniwogbe (1974)
Ewo Gbeja (1975)
Muritala Mohamed (1976)
Oree Niwon (1976)
Nigeria (1977)
Igba t' ode (1977)
Orisa N'la (1977)

Pa Ogunde passed on, April 4th, 1990 at London's Cromwell Hospital following a brief illness. He rests in peace.
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Sunday, 12 February 2017

AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, WHO COINED THE PHRASE ‘NO VICTOR NO VANQUISHED’?

General Yakubu Gowon

In his acceptance speech at the end of the war from Phillip Effiong, Gowon noted: The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. Once again, we have an opportunity to build a new nation. My dear compatriots, we must pay homage to the fallen. To the heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice that we may be able to build a nation, great in justice, fair play and industry. Obviously the slogan of no victor, no vanquished was defiantly that of General Gowon, because it was more beyond that of a slogan, Gowon was pressurized by many to punish the Ibos for their involvement in the war. J Isiswa Elaigwu the author of the biography “Gowon” told us how many of Gowon’s lieutenants wanted jungle justice meted out on the Ibos, he also wrote that there were many civilians public servants and old politicians who wanted the Ibos to be punished, but Gowon, he continued “like a leader who knew his mind and what he wanted, Gowon put his foot down firmly in favour of magnanimity in victory. To the chagrin of some of his lieutenants, he hastened the reintegration process. It was a courageous decision to take: it was the right decision too. 

General Gowon with Justice Mbanefo, formally Chief Justice of Biafra,  

Many people who accuse Gowon of indecision hardly compare the various cases to see the issues involved. One cannot agree more with Admiral Wey when he said: ‘Gowon is a gentleman and he has a mind of his own. But he was over-considerate. This incident showed that Gowon had a mind of his own and could be stubborn once he felt convinced about a particular policy position. In this instance, Gowon was probably not 'over-considerate', given the fact that Ojukwu was even pardoned in 1982. Perhaps Gowon had a foresight which many of his lieutenants who later paraded themselves as nationalists lacked.” The new Nigerian newspaper special war souvenir wrote this abut Gowon’s 'No victor, no vanquished' policy: “His magnanimity, his sense of urgency, his honesty of purpose and his devotion to the cause of One Nigeria and the welfare of the ordinary man and woman in the country are the qualities that have won him the devotion and support of all the people of Nigeria, including the rebels, if only secretly. The Daily Times of Nigeria January 15, 1970, wrote: “It can be truly said of General Gowon that he was moved by Abraham Lincoln's words at a similarly crucial stage in the American history: 'We are not enemies but friends.

Nigerian soldiers jubilate at the end of the war 
We must not be enemies. . . . The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave and hearthstone all over this broad land, will but swell the chorus of the federation when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Atedo Peterside in a Case of Two Generals’ in The New Times Magazine of December 1979 page 26 wrote: “Well, a Civil War broke out in 1967 and it was a bloody one. But then there were few people, at the end, who did not agree that the war would have been far bloodier, if the temperament of the man at the helm of affairs had been of a different sort. The Civil War ended in 1970 and Gowon practiced what he had always preached vis his disinterest in executing even the worst offenders in the 'enemy' camp This singular act won Mr. Gowon lots of friends all over the world, . . . and above all, he regained the confidence of eight million 'Biafrans' who had been fed with endless stories of Gowon's 'genocidal' tendencies for upwards of thirty months." Whatever else he might be guilty of, Mr. Gowon will go down in history as the leader who kept the nation together during a bloody Civil War. Ironically, some of his rash colleagues, who lobbied him unsuccessfully to launch a vendetta after the war, are currently parading themselves about the nation as true nationalists.” In addition Gowon also introduced the three ‘R’s’ of Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation.
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

ARTS AND CRAFT VILLAGE, ABUJA, YOU WILL LOVE TO BE HERE HONESTLY



I visited Abuja the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and there I was at the Art and Crafts Village, located in the Central Business District, between Sheraton Hotel and Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre and it is behind SilverBird. It is a concentration of artists and craftsmen. All the shops are made of clay and thatched roofs, creating that look of a typical village.  In the market some of the shops have on display monuments, bead designs, decorations, clothing designs, crocodiles lookalikes, calabash making, wooden sculptures and so many others. I asked the man in charge of one of the shops, that deals on Crocodiles, how he got this lookalikes of the crocodiles. He told me they are real not just a lookalike, they surgically operate the crocodile, empty the content and dry the skin in the sun. It goes for about N30, 000 -N100, 000 depending on the size.







In the market some of the shops have on display monuments, bead designs, decorations, clothing designs, crocodiles lookalikes, calabash making, wooden sculptures and so many others.





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Sunday, 5 February 2017

'ILLEGAL ALIENS MUST GO' NOT 'GHANA MUST GO'

       Mass expulsion among nations is usually carried out by host countries for economic reasons, although, occasionally, they signal deterioration relationships between the countries concerned. Millions of Nigerian immigrants have been expelled from many Africans countries for economic and political reasons, long before now.
Dr James at Accra, Ghana


1969 - Ghana, under President Kofi Busier government, enacted the Ghana enterprises decree and back dated to 1968. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, many born in the former Gold Coast and others leaving there for upwards of 30 years, were expelled and their businesses transferred to Ghanaians. Nigerian's were not allowed to leave with their belongings. Among the government reasons were that Nigerians were relatively ‘over prosperous’ and that many of them were sent to Ghana by Kwame Nkrumah, whose government was overthrown.
1971 - Congo Leopoldville (Zaire), President Mobutu Sese-Seko sent Nigerians parking out of his country, not minding the fact that Nigeria soldiers died to maintain peace in the Congo, under the UN Peace Corp.
Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985 from the M.M Airport



Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985 from the Apapa seaport


Foreigners departed Nigeria in 1985 in trucks like this


1972 - Equatorial Guinea, President Francisco Macías Nguema carried out mass expulsion of foreigners described as illegal aliens, including Nigerians.
1978 - Gabon, President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba deported all illegal immigrants, including thousands of Nigerians.
When Nigeria asked illegal aliens to go, Africa and the world wondered why. It was President Shehu Shagari Government on January 17, 1983, that first ordered the over 2million illegal immigrants, including 1.2 million Ghanaians to vacate Nigeria. The Shagari government then released 600,000 Naira to ECOWAS member states affected by the expulsion to assist them in resettling the expelled people. The cheque for the amount was presented to the ECOWAS President, Mathew Kerekou of the Republic of Benin. But Ghanaian president J. J. Rawlings, deeply angered by the expulsion, rejected the grants saying Ghanaians were no beggars. At the end of the action, Africans legally resident in Nigeria were Ghana 6,460; Niger 1,251; Chad 717; Cameroun 317 and Togo 298.

Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985



Foreigners trekking away from Nigeria 1985 from Illela border post


On April 15, 1985, the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs under the Federal Military Government of General Muhammed Buahri ordered the massive expulsion of immigrants from Nigeria, the aliens, conservatively estimated then to be about 700,000 were to ’regularize’ their papers or quit Nigeria voluntarily by May 10. Internal Affairs Minister then, Mohammed Magoro announced "No extension would be granted, all illegal aliens must leave Nigerian soil for their countries. The Federal Military government reasons were that some aliens were misusing the ECOWAS agreement by coming in illegally without traveling document and overstaying the stipulated period; that uncontrolled influx will aggravate unemployment and criminal activities like smuggling and armed robbery.

The departure points were the Idiroko border, Badagry border, Sokoto-Niger border, Calabar Cameroun- border, Murtala Muhammed International airport, Apapa sea port. Some immigrants started trickling out through the airport almost immediately after the April 15 announcement, others waited till May 3, when Nigeria temporarily opened her border to facilitate their movement. On the morning of May 3rd, at the Idiroko border, about three hundred illegal aliens waited to pass through the borders assembled on the lawn of the border post, yelling and jumping. Immigration and Customs officials were in total confusion, because of the refusal of the Republic of Benin border guards, who refused entry to non-Beninois to pass through. Their fears was that there was no transit camps for the multitude. No drinking water, no food. The Area Administrator of the Immigration and Customs at Idiroko, I. A. Bolanta was as confused as his staff. The other four security agencies, the NSO, the police and the army intelligence involved in the exercise at the Idiroko borders were also worried on what to do with the massive crowed at the border. Major W. Ekpon of the Nigerian Army was in charge of security.

May 10, 1985 - By 6:00pm, all immigrants who were not cleared for their home- ward journey were escorted to the harj transit camp at the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos, from where they were taken to the Apapa port in batches for the trip home by sea.
May 12, 1985 - Two days later, hungry and angry Ghanaians and other nationals went on the rampage around the international airport, burning bill boards and throwing rocks at passersby. It took the police 3 hours to restore order, and many of the rioting aliens managed a smile after the then Lagos Police Commissioner Saminu Daura assured them that adequate arrangement were made for their journey back home. The Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria then was Brigadier K. Adu-Bediako, who worked with his country's government to make their journey a success. That same day the first ship load of illegal immigrants sailed for Ghana’s terminal port of the MV River Jiminy. Another batch left the following day on the MV Oshun.

While the Beninois walked in easily into their country, the Ghanaians had to wait for Togo to approve their passage. Each immigrants was allowed to take out only 20 Naira by the Nigerian officials. Excess were confiscated by the Customs, who recorded how much were ceased on a sheet of paper against the name of the alien. Initially, Benin officials were willing to allow the Ghanaian through, only if they will be taken directly to the Aflao border between Ghana and Togo, without stopping over on Benin territory for a fare of 30 Naira per passenger. Nigerians officials said only 20 naira was allowed each immigrant, and that plan did not work. Though Benin agreed somewhat reluctantly to open partially its borders, from 3.00am – 5.00pm daily for the exercise.

Apapa seaport 1985, as foreigners depart


Foreigners must go, 1985


Aliens heading home from Niger Republic, Benin and Mali through Sokoto, had a smooth journey. Some of the aliens escape with their employers belonging through illegal root and the sand of the Sahara. For example OsiKeth Kofi and Simon Baffor Anane, both Ghanaians, were intercepted at the Niger end of the border and returned to Illela post in Nigeria, after it was discovered that they stole 6,500 naira belonging to their employer, Mr. Titus Awoyele, director of Kwalala guest inn, Sokoto.
Ghanaians who went by sea, paid 150 naira per passenger, the ships used included M.V Adama, Olokun, the Ferial. By air, the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos was open for the Nigerian Airways and Ghana’s national carriers were on ground to fly their passengers, Lagos-Accra was 44 Naira.
It was this period that illegal aliens mostly planning on how to go back to their country without carrying the common tin-box, came out with the common bag that is so popularly now called "Ghana Must Go".
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