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We Cannot Survive Without The Igbos-Femi Aribisala

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Out of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have by far the worst politicians. Among the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo are without a doubt, one of the most remarkable. So remarkable, indeed, that some have even traced their ancestry to biblical Israel, as the far-flung descendants of Jacob, the Jewish patriarch.

Gad, Jacob’s seventh son, is said to have had three sons who settled in South-eastern Nigeria. These sons; Eri, Arodi and Areli, are believed to have fathered clans in Igbo-land and to have founded such Igbo towns as Aguleri, Arochukwu, Owerri and Umuleri.

Igbo genius Even the bitterest adversaries of the Igbo cannot but admit that, as a people, they are very resourceful and ingenious. Indeed, this has often been the cause of their envy and dislike by others. However, more enlightened non-Igbo Nigerians see this as a cause for celebration. While today, the centre-point of Nigeria’s manufacturing is situated in the Lagos/Ogun axis, there is no doubt that the real locomotive of Nigeria’s indigenous industrialization lies farther afield in Aba and in the mushrooming cottage-industries of the Igbo heartland. In one of the paradoxes of Nigerian history, the terrible civil war provoked homespun industrialization in the South-East. Military blockade left the Igbo with little alternative than to be inventive in a hurry. While Nigeria as a nation failed woefully to harness this profitably after the war, it has nevertheless ensured that the Igbo are at the forefront of Nigeria’s economic development today. Indeed, the way we disregard “made in Aba” today is the same way we disregarded “made in Japan” yesterday. For those of us who believe against the odds that Nigeria is the China of tomorrow, we equally recognize that the ingenuity of the Igbo is an indelible part of the actualization of that manifest destiny. Hall of fame The Igbo have been a great credit to Nigeria. They have given us a great number of our favourite sons, including international statesman Nnamdi Azikiwe; military leader Odumegwu Ojukwu; regional leader Michael Okpara; vice-president Alex Ekwueme; mathematical genius Chike Obi; literary icon Chinua Achebe; world-class economist Pius Okigbo; world boxing champion Dick Tiger; international statesman Emeka Anyaoku; and world-class artist Ben Enwonwu. Pemit me to include in this illustrious list even some of my very good Igbo friends: Pat Utomi, Ojo Madueke, Olisa Agbakoba, Joy Ogwu, and Stanley Macebuh. Let us get one thing straight: Nigeria would be a much poorer country without the Igbo. Indeed, Nigeria would not be Nigeria without them. Can you imagine the Super Eagles without the Igbo? Not likely! Who can forget Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha and our very own Emmanuel Amuneke? Can you imagine Nollywood without the Igbo? Impossible! Just think of Stella Damascus-Aboderin; Rita Dominic and Mike Ezuruonye. And then there are the diaspora Igbo who many are unaware are of Igbo descent, including concert singer and actor Paul Robeson; Oscar award-winner Forest Whitaker; mega-pastor T.D. Jakes; Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu; and BAFTA actor award-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor. You may well wonder why I have found it necessary to present this small litany of Igbo who-is-who. I think it is important to emphasise how the Igbo have been very vital to the Nigerian project. They have more than represented Nigeria creditably in virtually all walks of life. This makes it all the more absurd that this same people have been consistently denied the position of executive president of the country in all but six months of Nigeria’s 54 year history. Civil-war legacy Of course, a major reason for this was the 1967-1970 civil-war which had the Igbo on the losing side. But that was over 40 years ago. If there is really to be “no victor, no vanquished” in anything more than mere rhetoric, then the rehabilitation of the Igbo back into post civil-war Nigeria will not be complete until an Igbo man finally becomes president of the country. That imperative should be of interest to every Nigerian nationalist, committed to the creation of one Nigeria where everyone has a deep sense of belonging. The problem, however, is that the Igbo themselves seem to be their own worst enemies in this regard. They appear to be doing their very best to ensure that this inevitable eventuality continues to be denied and delayed. The Igbo need to forgive Nigerians. No one who lived through the horrors that precipitated the secession of Biafra and led to the civil-war cannot but admit that the Igbo were abused and mal-treated in one of the worst pogroms ever. It was not just that they were senselessly massacred in their own country; it was that they were butchered. I remember vividly gory pictures of scores and scores of the Igbo with hands chopped up and with legs amputated. And then there were the ravages of the three-year civil-war itself, resulting in the death of millions of Igbo; many through starvation and attrition. The end of the war brought no respite, as the Igbo were pauperized by fiscal decrees that wiped out their savings and their properties were blatantly sequestered by opportunists. All this is more than enough to destroy the spirit of any group of people. But God has been on the side of the Igbo. It is a testament to their resilience that, in spite of this terrible affliction, they have survived, bounced back and have even triumphed in Nigeria. Forty years have now gone by. The Igbo may never forget what happened to them and, indeed, should never forget. But it is past time for them to forgive. We are sorry This is one voice in the Nigerian wilderness saying to the Igbo from the depth of his heart: we are sorry. We are sorry for the way we mistreated you. We are sorry for the way we abused you. We are sorry for starving your children to death. We are sorry for killing your loved ones. We are sorry for stealing your properties. We are sorry for making you feel unwanted in your own country. Please forgive us. It is time to forgive us. It is way past time for the Igbo to forgive Nigerians. We beg you in the name of God. There was a civil war in the United States, but the defeated South rose from the ashes. Five of the last nine presidents of the United States have been from the South, including Jimmy Carter from Georgia, George Bush from Texas and Bill Clinton from Arkansas. The time is overdue for an Igbo president of Nigeria, but it is not going to happen as long as the Igbo continue to hold a grudge against Nigeria and Nigerians. There is no question about it: the Ibos cannot elect a president of Nigeria on their own. To do so, they have to join forces with others. They have to form alliances with people from other parts of Nigeria. That is not going to happen as long as the Igbo continue to bear a grudge against practically everybody else. The Igbo have a gripe against virtually all the people they need. They have this tendency to antagonise their possible alliance partners. They keep dredging up the past, refusing to let sleeping dogs lie. Until they drop these gripes, they are not likely to realise their dreams. Demonising Yorubas. For example, the Igbo have this tendency to demonise the Yorubas. It is alarming when reading the Vanguard blogs today to see the animosity often expressed between Igbo and Yoruba contributors. The hatred is most unhealthy. Insults are traded with abandon. What is the point of this? For how long will the Igbo demand emotional retribution from every Yoruba for the betrayal of Awolowo? Most of the contributors were not even born when the civil-war took place more than a generation ago. There is now even transferred aggression against Babatunde Fashola, who made the blunder of repatriating some destitute Igbo from Lagos back to their home-states. The man has apologised for the infraction. He should be forgiven. Blunders are not the exclusive preserve of the non-Igbo. The Igbo have made more than a few themselves and will yet make others. Paradoxically, the redemption of the Igbos to prominent national office moved apace under President Obasanjo; a Yoruba man. Recognising that Igbos are some of the most seasoned, competent and experienced public-servants, Obasanjo relied heavily on their expertise. Thanks to him, we got Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at Finance, Charles Soludo at Central Bank, Obiageli Ezekwesili at Education, Ndidi Okereke at the Stock Exchange, and Dora Akunyili at NAFDAC. Indeed, Igbo statesmen came into more prominence under Obasanjo than did Yoruba statesmen. But for some strange reason, this does not seem to have succeeded in assuaging the ill-feeling of the Igbos toward the Yorubas. Bad politicians Within the framework of Nigerian politics, the Igbo also have a fundamental problem. Out of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have by far the worst politicians. They have no recognizable leaders, and have no discernible strategy as to how to negotiate power at the centre. As a result, the Igbo have tended to be short-changed at the federal level. Traditionally, the inconsequential ministries, such as the Ministry of Information, have been zoned to them. The Igbo need to work out a plan that will take them to Aso Rock. First, they need to choose and groom a de-tribalised leader of the Azikiwe mould who can be sold to non-Igbos. Then, they need to give him undiluted support. At the moment the internal politics of the Igbo militates against this. The Igbo seem to hate themselves as much as they hate others. They seem to fight themselves with as much venom as they fight others. Every potential Igbo leader seems to have more enemies within than without. This must not be allowed to continue. The Igbo need to help themselves in order that their friends can help them. In this centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation, as we embark on the arduous process of crafting our future through a National Conference, we salute the Igbo for their fortitude and implore them to stake their claim in Nigeria. Nigeria cannot survive without the Igbo.

 

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JOB

Education crisis widening social gaps in Nigeria, others –World Bank

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The World Bank Group has warned that the education crisis in Nigeria is currently widening the social inclusion gaps in the country .

The group said this in its World Development Report for 2018 titled “Learning to Realise Education ’s Promise ” which was presented in Abuja on Wednesday .

The event was attended by the Minister Finance , Mrs . Kemi Adeosun , her counterpart in the Education Ministry , Adamu Adamu , and major stakeholders in the education sector .

The bank in the report called for greater action and coordination of the education sector to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction.

It said millions of young students in low and middle -income countries face the prospect of lost opportunities and lower wages in the future because their primary and secondary schools were failing to educate them to succeed in life .

Warning of a ‘learning crisis’ in global education , the World Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

Without learning , it said education would fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all .

The report observed that even after several years in school , millions of children could not read , write or do basic mathematics .

This learning crisis , according to the report , is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them .

It added that young students disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability got to adulthood without even the most basic skills of life .

The World Bank Group said like in Kenya , Tanzania, and Uganda “where third grade students find it difficult to make a sentence ,” evidence had shown that in Nigeria , when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two- digit subtraction problem , more than three – quarter could not solve it.

It said , “The diagnosis in this World Development Report may make for disheartening reading , but it should not be interpreted as saying that all is lost – only that too many young people are not getting the education they need .

“Learning shortfalls eventually show up as weak skills in the workforce , making it less likely that young people will find good- paying , satisfying jobs .

“But change is possible , if systems commit to learning , drawing on examples of families , educators, communities , and systems that have made real progress . ”

 

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New study finds that 78% of black fathers are unmarried

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A new study has found that most black fathers are unmarried and this revelation has led to a coversation online.

The study carried out by the Centers For Disease Control reveals that more than 3/4 of all Black fathers are not married. The study also found that 72% of Black men have had children by age 44. But only 27% of African American fathers were ever married to the child’s mother. That number applies irrespective of the race of the child’s mother.

The study goes on to point out that 78% of Black men with kids fathered at least one child outside of marriage.

Past studies have pointed out the high percentage of unwed Black mothers. The new study pointing out the percentage of unwed fathers exposes a crisis among Black men and social media activists are concerned by the high percentage of unwed fathers.

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IVF made easy: Scientists create device to identify strongest sperm

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Scientists from Cornell University have created a device that will help doctors identify the strongest sperm to be used for in-vitro fertilization.

The result of the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Alireza Abbaspourrad, Cornell’s Yongkeun Joh assistant professor of food chemistry and ingredient technology, said conventional methods of separating motile sperm is tedious and takes hours.

The device takes advantage of sperm’s ability to go against the flow — a process called rheotaxis. It has a microfluidic channel through which the sperm swim and a microscopic corral — shaped like a “C” — with a retaining wall that attracts the strongest swimmers.

“The older method is tedious, time-consuming and not efficient. It’s the time that laboratory technicians and physicians expend that makes the process expensive,” Abbaspourrad said.

“With this method, it’s five minutes instead of several hours.”

Soon Hon Cheong, Ph.D., assistant professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Meisam Zaferani, a doctoral student in chemistry, also worked on the device.

“Here, we took advantage of sperm’s natural tendency to redirect against fluid flow, once the sperm reach a certain velocity,” said Cheong.

“Once the sperm detect interference, they can use it to swim upstream. That’s when we can trap them. We could separate the good sperm from the not-so-strong in a reasonably elegant way. We are able to fine-tune our selection process.”

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