Tuesday, 28 August 2018

watch this and smile - The 3 STARS Dancers on stage at the CRIMMD Fashion Show


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Sunday, 26 August 2018

AT 67, QUEEN ALFIA (ALTHEA DIXON) STILL DAZZLES

Queen Althea Dixon says cheers at 67


Althea Dixon (nee Gamble) ever charming and scintillating former Miss Afro-American, still makes head turns even at 67 years. The charming black beauty who once gave the boys in her neighborhood sleepless night until when the handsome, tall, Mr Dixon beat them all to take her home for keep is still looking radiant on her way to 70 in few years’ time.


Mr Afro American Ezra Nero and Miss Afro American  Althea Gamble

Born on Monday August 27, 1951, in Tollette Arkansas in the United State of America, an African-American town on State Highway 355 in South-Western Howard County, named after Stephen Tollette, a freed slave who moved after the Civil War from Virginia to Arkansas.

Her Grandparents - Jasper and Lizzie Brown



Althea was born under the zodiac sign of Virgo, the black American with African origin, traceable to Uganda in East Africa was born into the Gamble and Geneva family, her great grandparents were Jasper and Lizzie Brown.

Queen Althea 


She grew up in a part of California where she went to school with people from different nationalities. She embraced each other’s differences; they learned what they could from each other, it was a lot of fun and the experiences made her to be a well-rounded person. 


Althea in High School French school days


She is Certified Paralegal, a writer, an advocate for Z'ERO Prostate Cancer', a member in the 'CARE' (Changing Attitudes Relationship and Expectations) Coalition. 



The Queen Althea on the runway
She was a White House Correspondent for 'Blacks4Barack Obama', a Political Consultant, Licensed Cosmetologist, Medical Assistant; she has worked in the Legal, Beauty/Fashion, Education, Political and Medical World. 


Althea with siblings standing  and parents seated 

She is member of “Project Sister" a non-profit org serving primarily East county and West San Bernardino counties,  they deal with issues for women like sexual assault, jobs, other and have a crisis hotline, they are connected with "House of Ruth" work with Calvary chapel.


Althea Dixon with family and grand kids

She was there for the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association Conference. 

Althea Alfie Dixon and her Mom Geneva L. Gamble with copies of Obama's book


Alongside her 76 years old mother then, they met with Senator Barrack Obama during a book signing event “Audacity of Hope”, held in Los Angeles, CA at the African American Museum October 27, 2006, the mother pleaded with Senator Obama to run for the position of the American president, which he later did and won.

Althea at the White House, she is the lady in red

She is an Executive Board Member of Southwest Arkansas Development Council  (SWADC) Task Force Committee, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to the needy members of the communities, the main goal is to help families escape poverty, while striving toward a self-sufficient lifestyle, they cover the following counties: Miller, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Nevada, Sevier, Ouachita, Dallas, Columbia, Union and Calhoun.

Some of Queen Althea laurels 


She is an Executive member of ZERO Cancer, a group championing the end of Prostate Cancer 

A cover of a copy of Aspiration periodical with President Obama

She is the Publisher of ‘Aspirations’ periodical, a publication which gives her an avenue and a way to share the mosaic thoughts and cherished desires of those that dare contribute their stories.

Mayor Mary and Queen Althea


It was through ASPIRATIONS that she came in contact with my friend, and my Mayor, Mayor Mary Ajoku – the former Mayor of Cruger, MS. After she was featured in the publication by her nephew Orlando Sutton Sr. and through Mayor Mary I also became a friend of Alfia.


Althea with Leonard Charles Williams, American singer-songwriter and musician, the lead vocalist for R&B/Soul group Tower of Power. As a soloist, he made several hit recordings, including 1978's "Cause I Love You" and 1977's "Choosing You".

Alfie with the writer JJ Holland who created the characters of Black Panther for Marvel in WDC


Alfie as she is called by her friends is a gorgeous lady full of life, she is a transition person that breaks unhealthy, harmful, abusive and unfortunate learned behaviors and replaces them with proactive, helpful, effective behaviors. After a catastrophic near fatal car crash, she bounced back like a cat with nine life, forging ahead and thanking God for life.


Congressman Elijah Cummings & Althea  Dixon  Annual Legislative Conference 2009 
in Washington, District of Columbia.


Althea with Whitaker, American film Actor who acted in ‘The Crying Game’,  ‘Platoon’, ‘Ghost Dog’, he has also appeared in blockbusters such as ‘Rogue One’, he won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, National Board of Review Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and many others.

Althea with Kevin Johnson formally of The Phoenix Suns. I think he's the mayor of Sacramento, California


Althea with Samite Mulondo, the African musician, originally from Uganda, but lives in Tully, New York. He plays the flute and kalimba, a type of thumb piano. He is a co-founder of Musicians for World Harmony, a non-profit organization that introduces music to African orphans.

Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, with ZERO Cancer Summit Advocates Willie Farris & Althea Dixon championing the cause of ZERO CANCER 

Sharon and Alfie with Jake Krilovich, Zero, VP Government Relations

Queen Althea with other Super Delegate for Obama

Queen Althea with SWADC Task Force members 

 Althea with Samuel Leroy Jackson American highly prolific actor and film producer, he has appeared in over 100 films, including ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’, ‘ Unbreakable’, ‘ Snakes on a Plane’.

Queen Althea with Barrack Obama  


Her daughter Kristina Dixon has this to write about her “Happy Mother’s Day to my momma!!! I love this lady without condition and reservation!!! She is the wind beneath my wings!! I thank God for watching over her and keeping her safe, we still have work to do, and places to see!! Watch out world.”

Mum and daughter Kristina Dixon


From of all of us from The National Biographer Magazine in Lagos Nigeria, Africa we say happy 67th birthday Queen Alfie, ride on to a BIGGER you. Happy 67th birthday and God bless you richly  


The queen rides a BIG BIKE to better years ahead 




Raphael James is the founder and Director General of CRIMMD - Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development. CRIMMD is a center that manages information; media and political research; biographical and autobiographical writings; documentations, exhibitions and script editing. He is the publisher of The national Biographer magazine and author of 56 books with 23 published 















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Friday, 24 August 2018

Okuta Kingdom in Kwara State, another Bakasi in the making?



Standing with His Royal Highness Alhaji (Hon) Dr. Idris Sero Abubakar, Kperogi-Afon Serobetete III,
the Emir of Okuta and head of Okuta Emirate Council


In Okuta kingdom in Kwara state, Nigeria, the people are having a lot of problem with the neighboring Republic of Benin, on land dispute and this may be attributed to the challenges facing the National Boundary Commission.

This development is against the boundary delimitation of 1914 between Britain and France which the two countries had respected before now. I pray this should not become a replay of the BAKASI case. Most of the land seized forcefully by the Benin people have Okuta indigenes living in them.    

Standing with  the Emir of Okuta and  Okuta Emirate Council Chiefs

As I was told that in 2007, there was a joint excises between the Nigerian National Boundary Commission, the Republic of Benin counterpart, Kwara State Boundary Commission staff and the border town, Baruten Local Government Area representative,  pillars were erected as permanent marks for the borders, the pillars were erected from Yambou in Kwara to Babana in Niger State. It was in two phases, 2007 and 2009, the first set of pillars were erected waiting for the second intermediate pillars which was to reduce the gap between the first pillars, then there will be a bush clearance to let those crossing the pillars to know when they are at the border and out of their own country.

Okuta kingdom from on top of a mountain 

The Nigerian government and the Republic of Benin were to meet on February 16th 2018 to resolve the crises and to embark on the intermediate pillars and bush clearance but it never took place. On February 21st there was an attack by the Beninoise on the officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service and one of the Beninoise was shot, report have it that the Paramount ruler of Okuta kingdom sent his medical doctor to go and treat the young man that was shot, unfortunately the doctor was taken away by the Beninoise to Benin Republic and has been held captive since then.         


Standing by one of the secondary schools in OKUTA the BGS


Before now, in 2015, Benin Republic invaded 16 villages in Okuta, raising fear and tension in the affected communities. The Beninoise are so determined to annex the Nigerian villages, that they once hoisted their country flag in them. Though the people of Yakparu in Okuta kingdom dismantled the Beninoise flag hoisted in the villages, and the flag is currently in the custody of the emirate council in the town.

an old fence during the colonial masters days in Okuta to prevent the
Dahomey people now Benin Republic access 

The affected villages include Ogomne, Bwin, Gandasunon, Kpuru and Woru Wuren Kparu, Ajuba1, Ajuba 2, Saka Yeruman Kparu, Monta, Dotin Kparu, Halidun Kparu, Yakubun Kparu, Sonsi, Gunosani, Alhaji Kparu, Yodo Mankparu and Simen Kparu.


walking through the bushes to get to the border town of Dahomey
 to enable me shoot my photos

During my visit, from a distance I was shown offices constructed by the authorities of Benin Republic for their gendarmerie (Police station). 



at the border of Nigeria (Okuta) and Benin Republic 

I am appealing to the Kwara State and Federal Government of Nigeria to come to the aid of the people of Okuta villages as residents now live in fear of possible attack. Let us not have a replay of Bakasi community in Okuta kingdom

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Ogbono soup, flows easily, but do u know where Ogbono comes from?




Eating my Ogbono with vegetable soup

Irvingia gabonensis is a species of African trees in the genus Irvingia family member, sometimes known by the common names of ‘wild mango’, ‘African mango’, ‘bush mango’, ‘Ogbono’. They bear edible mango-like fruits, and are especially valued for their fat- and protein-rich nuts. 

Plucking Ogbono seed from a tree 
The mango like fruit of Ogbono



The tree is common in Igbo land, Edo and Delta in Nigeria, it survives in tropical wet and dry climate zone. It grows up to a height of 40 m (130 ft). The fruit is nearly spherical, green when ripe with a bright orange pulp. The stone is woody and contains one seed, the crown is evergreen, the flowers are yellow to greenish-white in small particles.

The leaf of Ogbono tree

Eating fresh but ripe Ogbono fruit 


The pulp of tastes juicy and sweet and is eaten fresh, it contains: Water, Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat, Phosphorus, Calcium, Vitamin C and Iron.

Drying Ogbono seed in the sun before it will be cracked open for cooking 
The seeds popularly known as Ogbono by Igbos and Nigerians generally is used in making Ogbono soup, also known as draw-soup, which is slimy in nature just like Okra. Ogbono soup can be prepared plain, or with some vegetables, or even with Okra of with Egusi as the person may like it. The ingredients for Ogbono Soup may include assorted meat and fish: Beef, Shaki (cow tripe), Dry Fish, Stockfish, some handfuls of Ogbono Seeds, red palm oil, ground crayfish, Pepper and Salt (for taste).



A plate of Ogbono seed ready for cooking  

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The forest of a thousand demons, in Oke Igbo, Ondo State, Nigeria.


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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Joseph Blankson -- My HERO

My visit to Mercy Blankson, with her two kids

Great men are ordinary men with extra ordinary determination, 36-year-old Joseph Blankson, sacrificed his life for others. After a boat mishap in Bakana Rivers State, Mr. Joseph a family man of three, two kids and wife, dived into the river, not thinking of his own life, he rescued 13 occupants of the boat that were drowning and when he dived for the 14th person, he never came out alive. I am neither a president of country nor Governor of a state but I am in Rivers state to honour to him. If I was any of the two, I would have visited his family on the breaking of the news too.

The face of a hero Joseph Blankson

When the young Malian, Mamoudou Gassama rescued a four year old child dangling from a fourth floor balcony in Paris in May 2018, President Macron of France invited him and gave him a befitting recognition, without consultations.

Mr Joseph a diesel supplier, single-handedly rescued 13 passengers, gave them a second life and died afterward, he left behind a wife, Mercy and two kids, a boy and a girl, the youngest being just 6 months. Two years ago, the same family had a fire accident that took the life of their first daughter, she was burnt to death and the son in this photo survived it with bunts all over him. 

Joseph Blankson

 He left the house on Saturday morning for work, according to his wife, she spoke with him by 11 am while he was still in the office, she called back by 2pm, to remind him to get some drugs for the baby that was sick she discovered his line was switched off, and that was the last time she spoke with her husband. 

Mercy, their first daughter, Joseph Blankson and Owen

I am appealing to the federal Government, the state government of Rivers state all well-meaning citizens of the world, If we don’t recognise the heroic act of Mr Joseph we may never encourage other young ones in the community to do take a risk like this to rescue others if the need even arises. Meanwhile the Rivers State government has opened an endowment fund for the two kids of Joseph Blankson,

Returning from visiting the point of the accident near Bagana
I went on a boat ride with Hon Benson Taribo, the Community Chairman of Abonnema wharf community, a popular jetty in the waterfront area of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The main waterfront for the Kalabari people, the home town of Joseph Blankson, who hails from Bakana, I took off from the same Jetty like Mr Blankson to visit the site of the mishap. Mr Joseph was in that boat with his three sisters, an elder sister and two other twins, when the boat capsized and Joseph Blankson went on and rescued his sisters and 10 other passengers from the sea. When he dived in to rescue the 14 person he probably out of exhaustion never came out alive, he is the only one that died in the incident as more divers joined to rescue other passengers not knowing he was weak to come out of the water. He remains my hero, though he died in the mission he rescued 13 passengers. He gave them all a second life by sacrificing his life. I love adventure, I love exploring and I love history

With Hon Benson Taribo, the Community Chairman of Abonnema wharf community in a boat

A service of songs in his honour will be held tomorrow, Thursday at No. 4, Harley Street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt. God bless Blankson.


More passengers loading to visit Kalabari from the same jetty


This is the account number of the young the wife that Joesph Blankson left behind, show her some love, make her to cry less, make her believe that her husband is a true HERO.
NAME: Mercy Chika Nwankwo 
BANK: GTB
 ACCOUNT NUMBER: 0114367078 

Busy jetty, more passengers with less life jackets  

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Monday, 6 August 2018

Happy 70th birthday to ‘THE GENERALISSIMO OF THE NIGERIAN PRESS’ - RAYMOND AMOS EKPU

Mr Ray Ekpu, My Boss and I 

Born on a Friday, August 6, 1948, in Ukanafnn in the present day Akwa Ibom State. He attended Ibibio State College, Ikot Ekpene, 1960-64; Holy Family College, Abak, 1966-68; University of Lagos, 1970-73; Indiana State University, Bloomington, USA, 1977. After his ‘NYSC’ program with the Ministry of Information in Sokoto State (1973-74), Mr. Ray went back to his state, then Cross Rivers State, and had little or no problem in securing employment with one of the leading news media/ in the Eastern part of Nigeria - The Nigeria Chronicle newspaper. He started work as the features editor in 1974. By 1976 he was the acting editor of the Sunday Chronicle. His good works could not be hidden as he was latter appointed the editor of the Nigeria Chronicle in 1977. At this point in his life, he felt there should be a woman beside him to create room for more success and he got married to pretty Uya.


During the launching of Newswtach magazine 


In 1980, he felt there was the need to change base, he left Calabar for Lagos the then capital city of Nigeria. By December 1980 he got a job with Sunday Times Newspaper as the editor, a position he held until November 1982. As Editor, for 2 years he received 6 letters of commendation from management, he raised the Sunday Times circulation by 130, 000. On December 1, 1982, he was reassigned as editor of the Business Times from the Sunday Times. He later moved over to the Concord Press, as the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Newspaper.
While in the Concord he made the newspaper a must read for most Nigerians. Towards the end of January 1983, he was arrested for a three counts charge of conspiracy, arson and murder, he was charged in connection of his article in the Sunday Concord of January 23, 1983, titled: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’, which speculated a ‘NET’ fire accident, the prosecutor claimed that Ray probably after writing the story went ahead to set fire on ‘NET’ building the next day January 24 to justify his story. He was arrested and detained on January 30 alongside others including the fire fighters who tried to put off the fire. That story ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ was most prophetic. He was later released on the order of Justice Charles Bada.


At a dinner party to honour Mr Ray Ekpu from Left to right,
Chief Ime Umannah, Mrs Ita Giwa, Mr Ray Ekpu and Gen. Emeka Ojukwu


After the Giwa - Tunji Brathwaite publication of February 1984, and Dele Giwa movement from the Sunday Concord to join Mr. Ray as a member of the Concord editorial board, the three friends, Giwa, Ekpu and Mohammed agreed to move on with their life. On the evening of July 14, 1984 Mohammed took his resignation letter to Abiola while Ray Ekpu submitted his the next day. And Giwa who had not resigned got his resignation letter accepted.
After Concord, Giwa, Agbesa, Muhammed and Ray Ekpu, co-founded Newswatch, and he became the Executive Editor in 1985; he served as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Chief Executive, Newswatch, 1980-86; appointed Editor-in-Chief, and Chief Executive, Newswatch Magazine, 1986-93, Chief Executive Officer, Newswatch Communications Limited in 1993 until when Newswatch the center could not hold again.
In the anniversary edition of Newswatch magazine dated February 3, 1986, titled: “The trial of Shagari”, Newswatch revealed to her readers the details of the Justice Uwaifo tribunal’s trial of Nigeria’s first executive president and his vice, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Dr. Alex Ekwueme. On February 16, 1986, some weird-looking mobile policemen and plain clothes officers stormed Newswatch to deliver six summons from the Uwaifo tribunal. Mr. Ray Ekpu, and some other journalists of Newswatch were charged to the tribunal for allegedly publishing a ridiculing article on the February 3 issue of Newswatch where Mr. Ekpu had apparently written a “damnable” article that resulted in contempt of the tribunal for their stories in the February 3 edition of the magazine concerning the panel’s verdict on Shagari and Ekwueme. In a laudable display of bravery, Mr. Ray stood his ground and proved his case, with the help of Chief Gani Fawehinmi and 11 other lawyers who defended the case, citing several chapters from the constitution. The Uwaifo tribunal stated that the tribunal had no intention of following the proceedings constitutionally, and he shocked the courtroom when he announced that Mr Ray would be sentenced to prison custody “until the tribunal had time to try his case.” He found Mr. Ray guilty and fined him N20. In lieu of this, the Nigerian Union of Journalists called journalists off their beats from all tribunals across the country, insisting that judges should stop making a mockery of the journalism profession.
Mr. Ray is a Director, Yadara Nigeria Limited; Director, Lastop Limited; Director, Emer Nigeria Limited; Director, Ultimate Motors Limited; Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Cross River State Chapter, 1976-77; Vice-President, Commonwealth Journalists Association.
He is a Member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; Member, Commonwealth Journalists Association; Member, Nigerian Human Rights Commission; Member, Police Service Commission; Member, National Agency for the Control of HIV and Aids (NACA); Fellow, Nigerian Guild of Editors.
 
Mr Ray Ekpu  the launching of Eko Magazine, a sister magazine to Newswatch 

Over the years he has received several awards, including: Nigerian Institute of Journalism Award, Distinguished Alumnus Merit Award by University of Lagos Alumni Association, Akwa Ibom State Branch, 1994; Gold Awards for 25 Nigerian Celebrities by Delight Productions Limited, 1988; Creative Writers Association, Department of English, Ahmadu Bello University; Award for Professional Excellence by Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, 1990; Corporate Fellowship and Merit Award by Institute of Sales Management of Nigeria, 1993; Award for Excellence in Journalism by Akwa Ibom State, 1997; University of Lagos Alumni Association Achievers Award, 1997; United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Akwa Ibom State Award “for Excellence in Journalism; Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON); Awarded Fellow of Nigerian Guild of Editors, 1998; Winner, International Editor of the Year Award, 1987.
 
The Newswatch directors, Mr Soji Akinrinde, Alhaji Yakubu Muhhamad,
Mr Ray Ekpu and Mr Dan Agbase

In fact when he won the ‘International Editor of the Year Award’ Nigerian Military president then, General Babangida commended him and in his letter wrote thus: “…Of particular interest to me is the basis of the international award to you, you share with this administration the quality of courage in purposefully tackling national problems.”
Mr Ray is a recipient of the World Press Review, New York 1987; Winner, The Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award (TOYP), for 1988, by Jaycee International in Sydney, Australia, 1988, awarded by the World Press Review, New York, 1988; One of the Outstanding Young Persons of the World, International Award of Excellence by CPU Technology Corporation and World Newsday International at LT., Cambridge, United States for his outstanding achievement, 1991; Afe Annang Students in North America Inc., Washington, DC, 1990; 20th Century Award in recognition as one of 500 leaders of influence by the American Biographical Institute, 1995; Distinguished Achievements in Journalism by American Biographical Institute.
 
Mr Ray Ekpu receiving the International Editor of the year award

He has been involved in so many books as editor: ‘Newswatch Best’; ‘Jogging in the Jungle - the Newswatch Story’; ‘OJUKWU’; ‘A leap of Faith’; he co-edited ‘Nigeria Business and Trade Fair Journal’; ‘Moving in Circles’; ‘Ibrahim Babangida: The Military, Politics and Power in Nigeria’; ‘Tourism in Nigeria’; ‘Nigeria Their Nigeria’.
His writings have been published in several Nigerian newspapers and magazines as well as in such foreign publications as the Portland Oregonian, Milwaukee Sentinel, New York Times, International Herald Tribune and the Journal of Democracy. Veteran Journalist and Prose Craftsman, Prolific Writer, Renowned Columnist, Analyst and Informed Commentator.

Mr Ray Ekpu

His marriage to Uyai is blessed with three wonderful kids and he is presently a grandfather. God bless you my able Boss, looking at where I am now, I feel proud to write that I am happy to have worked under you. Happy Birthday and best wishes.

Dr. Raphael James is a Journalist, a former staff of Newswtach who worked as a member of the Newswtach Dream Team under Mr Nyaknno Osso, James is presently an author and publisher of The National Biographer Magazine

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