Anambra Diaspora Investments: A memo to Prof Soludo

Communication Strategist, Ralph Anyacho picks up on a thorny issue of Anambra Diaspora investments and how Governor-elect can safeguard them.

Anambra diaspora investments

Ralph Anyacho

Chief Ralph Anyacho, (Udosi achi) is the Director of Strategy at the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON)


The mood of Ndi Anambra after the conclusion of the gubernatorial election in the State which returned Prof Chukwuma Soludo as Governor-elect has been one of joy and great expectations. Everyone is expectant of stupendous development projects that would adorn the Anambra landscape if all of Soludo’s promises were accomplished.

One issue that deserves the attention of the Professor and the Transition Committee is how to attract Anambra Diaspora investments to the State. This means finding solutions to challenges faced by them in investing at home. Put simply, how do we manage the difficulties of accountability for funds that have been repatriated?

Diaspora investors tend to put their relations and friends in the forefront of businesses they want to invest on. Most often, the funds are not judiciously invested and the capital goes down the drain.

Two experiences narrated here will help drive home the point:

Uche Chizoba graduated from a university in the South East. Upon graduation in 2002, his Electrical Electronics degree could not fetch him a job. After shuffling the streets of Lagos, he could not secure a job. With parents getting old and five younger siblings waiting in the wings to be educated at that time, Uche persuaded his parents to a drastic action. A piece of land in the village was sold to finance his relocation to the US. Not long after he landed in Houston Texas, he secured a job with an IT firm.

Five years later, he repatriated some Dollars and gave instructions that the money be used to set up a business. He hoped this would help generate fund needed to stabilize the family’s financial standing and take care of two of his younger sisters. The young girls had secured university admission. The family chose to invest in poultry business and put their retired father in charge. Ten million naira was invested in the business. They hired staff to man operations and marketing.

Six months later, the business showed signs of growth, but this trend did not continue for long. Three years down the line distress set in. Sales dropped. Salary could not be paid as and when due. Creditors lined up for arrears of supplies made. Soon the family began considering what else to do as winding up became inevitable. A distress analysis indicated that the family managers did not keep accounting records and therefore could not measure the performance of the Enterprise. Managerial skills were lacking.

Further investigations revealed pilfering as a major cause of the down turn. Four staff of the company conspired to frequently remove birds and eggs which they sold secretly. Thus, Uche’s investment from abroad went down the drain.

If Uche’s experience is not enough to drive home this point, that of Bernard Ndu will. Bernard was a trader in Ochanga market before the economy got so harsh. His stockfish trade could no longer sustain him. It was time to check out. He sold out what was left of his stock and paid his way to Italy. Bernard’s job in Italy was clearing dust bins in search of disused electrical appliances, utencils, household materials and motor parts. He would team up with mates and ship the meretricious items to Nigeria.

After three years of the business, he decided to start a building project in his village – a place he hoped to move in from the shanty family house. Bernard who had lost his father before he relocated abroad trusted his uncle to help him oversee the project. The uncle would hire the contractor, monitor construction including making all necessary purchases for the building. Money began to flow from Bernard to his uncle for the project.

Two years after, Bernard was informed that the project had not gone beyond the DPC despite the huge funds he sent home. He was dismayed to learn that his uncle had squandered a large chunk of the money he repatriated for the project.

The experiences of Uche and Bernard are every where in Alaigbo, thus discouraging Umuigbo and in particular Ndi Anambra abroad from investing at home. What can the Government of Prof Soludo do to change the narrative and safeguard Anambra Diaspora investments?

I propose setting up a consortium of public/private management consulting outfit that would help our investor brother’s and sisters abroad to make sense of their desired investment. The consulting firm would have capacity in all aspects of business and would provide 360 degrees services to clients. One unique aspect of the consortium will be picking investible fund from investors and applying the fund to project chosen by them. The consortium will be total managers of the project.

Relations of the diaspora investors may be coopted as directors and as eyes of their relations who own the capital. In this way the investor will be assured that his fund is wisely invested and managed.

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As Onyeka attains biblical 70

The elegant stallion, Onyeka Onwenu, attains the biblical age of 70. Columnist Chido Nwakanma pays a fitting tribute to a Nigerian media, arts and entertainment icon.

Congratulations to Onyeka Onwenu on attaining the Biblical three score and ten.

More than congratulations, however, I write to thank Onyeka Onwenu for happening in our lifetime. It has been 42 years since Onyeka Onwenu burst into our lives on vinyl and tube.

Happy birthday, Her Father’s Daughter

She is the investigative reporter at the Nigerian Television Authority that reported on “A Squandering of Riches”. It traced the paths of the wastage of Nigeria’s resources in the oil fields and boardrooms. The squandering of our riches is still the story.

Onyeka Onwenu, daughter of Nigeria and Igboland, has played excellently on the Nigerian media, arts, and entertainment stages. She has been an advocate for women’s rights and served in politics and government.

She lit up Nollywood with excellent performances in various roles and films. She valiantly lost to patriarchy and dirt as she sought grassroots political office.

One of the most poignant memories I have of Onyeka Onwenu happened in 1987. I was the young Regional Correspondent for THISWEEK magazine in Port Harcourt. Onyeka the performer dazzled at the Civic Centre. Then she performed her all-time best “One Love”.

The hall bubbled and bubbled. People left their seats. It was standing room only.

I still feel the energy and love in that hall.

All of us on social media are celebrating her ahead of her actual birth date.

Understandably.

Onyeka Onwenu was born on 31 January 1952. She is a singer/songwriter, actress, human rights activist, social activist, journalist, politician, and former X Factor series judge.

The elegant stallion

The Nigerian press used the oxymoron Elegant Stallion to describe her. It resonated because of her attributes of strength, elegance and seeming male qualities.

Onyeka served as chair of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture and from 2013 as Executive Director/CEO of the National Centre for Women Development.

As an employee of the NTA, Onwenu made an impact as a newsreader and reporter. In 1984, she wrote and presented the internationally acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary Nigeria, A Squandering of Riches which became the definitive film about corruption in Nigeria as well as the intractable Niger Delta agitation for resource control and campaign against environmental degradation in the oil rich region of Nigeria.

Born a broadcaster

A former member on the board of the NTA, she has also worked as a TV presenter, hosting the shows Contact (1988) and Who’s On? (1993) both on NTA Network, her Wikipedia entry notes.

Onyeka graduated BA in International Relations and Communication from the Ivy-League Wellesley College, Massachusetts, and obtained an MA in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research, New York. She worked for the United Nations as a tour guide before returning to Nigeria in 1980 to complete her mandatory one-year national service with the NTA.

Nigerians know her mostly for music. Her contributions are outstanding.

Hear Wikipedia, again: “Originally a secular artist, Onwenu made the transition to gospel music in the 90s, and most of her songs are self-penned. She continues to write and sing about issues such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace and mutual coexistence, respect for women rights, and the plight of children. She began her music career in 1981 while still working with the NTA, releasing the album For the Love of You, a pop album that featured an orchestral cover of Johnny Nash’s “Hold Me Tight”, and her second album Endless Life was produced by Sonny Okosun. Both records were released on the EMI label.

Onwenu’s first album with Polygram, In The Morning Light, was released in 1984. Recorded in London, it featured the track “Masterplan” written by close friend Tyna Onwudiwe who had previously contributed to Onwenu’s BBC documentary and subsequently sang back-up vocals on the album. After her fourth release, 1986’s One Love which contained an updated version of the song “(In the) Morning Light, Onwenu collaborated with veteran jùjú artist Sunny Ade on the track “Madawolohun (Let Them Say)” which appeared in 1988’s Dancing In The Sun. This was the first of three songs the pair worked on together; the other two – “Choices” and “Wait For Me” – centred on family planning, and were endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria who used “Choices” in their PSA.

… with King Sunny Ade on duets

Onwenu’s final release on Polygram was dedicated to Winnie Mandela, the subject of a song of the same name which Onwenu performed live when Nelson Mandela and his wife visited Nigeria in 1990 following his release from prison.

Onwenu diverted to Benson and Hedges Music in 1992 and released the self-titled Onyeka!, her only album with the label, after which she made the transition to Christian/gospel music. Her latest collection, “Inspiration for Change,” focused on the need for an attitudinal change in Nigeria.

She is in partnership with Paris-based La Cave Musik, headed by a Nigerian cultural entrepreneur, Onyeka Nwelue and a UK-based Jungle Entertainment Ventures, headed by musicologist David Evans-Uhegbu. La Cave Musik is set to release her collection titled “Rebirth of a Legend”. In recognition of her contribution to music and arts in Nigeria, she has been celebrated by professionals like Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Laolu Akins, Charles O’Tudor, and former PMAN president Tony Okoroji among others in the arts industry in Nigeria.

as Onyeka attains biblical 70
Performing with Phyno

In 2013, Onwenu served as one of the three judges on X Factor Nigeria.”

As Onyeka attains the biblical age of 70, she owes no one, neither Ekwe nor any other.

A Nollywood Personality

..with Chiwetel

She is also a Nollywood personality. Note that a personality has passed the level of a star! “Onwenu’s first movie role was as Joke, a childless woman who adopts an abandoned baby in Zik Zulu Okafor’s Nightmare. She has since featured in numerous Nollywood movies, and in 2006 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in the movie “Widow’s Cot”. Then she was also nominated that same year for African Movie Academy Award for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” in the movie “Rising Moon”. She was in the movie Half of a Yellow Sun with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandiwe Newton, and Lion Heart (2018).”

as Onyeka attains biblical 70
…with Zack Orji and other Nollywood people

A rich and variegated oeuvre

as Onyeka attains biblical 70

As Onyeka attains a biblical 70, we can look back at her musical corpus which is rich and variegated.

Which Onyeka Onwenu song touched you the most? Which one moves you even now? “You and 1” was the entry song for my wedding reception. I loved it that much.

Then there is Ekwe. My friend Chukwuma Nwokoh loved its insouciance yet calmness in our undergraduate days. Chukwuma says now: “My favourite Onyeka song is “You and I”. Ekwe is next. Loved and infatuated on her the first time I saw her picture because of her low cut then.”

I also consider “Bia Nulu” evergreen. Bia Nulu marked her passage into gospel music. Do you remember “Iyogogo” that reminds of village life? Or her praise song to mothers, “Ochie Dike”? Her collabo with Phyno on Ochie Dike refreshed it and made it contemporary.

Friend, which Onyeka Onwenu song or performance is your favourite? It is her 70th, so tell her.

Thank you for Onyeka Onwenu in our lifetime.

Happy Birthday, Ada Nnaya, Ada Igbo, Ada Nigeria. HBD onyeoma.

as-onyeka-attains-biblical-age of 70

Why Buhari won’t release Nnamdi Kanu

OGBUAGU ANIKWE examines the hurdles standing between Nnamdi Kanu and his freedom and predicts that President Buhari won’t release him.

Why Buhari won't release Nnamdi Kanu
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu

It’s obvious that IPOB members and their enablers are living in a fool’s paradise. They refuse to accept that it’s almost impossible to free Nnamdi Kanu from detention and trial. Why can’t they see that it’s neither practical nor commonsensical to do so?

The practical approach is to accelerate the court process and get him out on bail. However, everything happening in court right now suggests that prolongation of court dates is the name of the game. The court process may therefore most likely continue to run until well after the President hands over power in 2023.

The commonsensical approach is to continue to explore a political solution that leads to his release. But political solutions are always about interests. What overarching interests can influence the release of Kanu. Consider these interests from the geopolitics of the Southeast, the impact on the rest of Nigeria, and the mandate and disposition of the President.

What does the rest of Nigeria stand to benefit from the release of Mazi Kanu? Is there any quantity of suffering IPOB heaps on Southeasterners that can move Nigerians beyond sympathetic clucking? In particular, are non-Southeast States suffering economic losses as Igbos are bullied to stay indoors whenever the whim catches IPOB? Are their children prevented from learning on Mondays? Are lives being lost outside the Southeast as a result of IPOB Monday theatrics? To paraphrase a governor’s joke, Ogbasara Nigeria? Beyond these, what impact will his release have on the peace that President Buhari enjoys since he recaptured Kanu?

To dive deeper, the overriding interests of the nation can be captured in three hurdles that stand between Mazi Kanu and his freedom. The personality and mindset of our President is a big hurdle. The geopolitics of the Southeast Region is another. And then, there is a third hurdle, embedded in the history of old Biafra, not the current agitation theatrics. The personality and mindset of our President are merged with this history and so, we deal with the two hurdles as one.

There are certain character dispositions that forewarn us that President Buhari won’t budge on issue of Mazi Kanu’s freedom at this time. President Buhari is the torchbearer for an elite group of powermongers which executed the July 1966 countercoup. Members of this group speak to Igbos only in “the language they understand.”
They learnt this language and have been employing it to address Igbo matters since 1966. In July of that year, some of them coordinated the arrest and execution of over 300 military officers and men from the defunct Eastern Region. All of them looked away while the northern civilian population descended upon and slaughtered thousands of Easterners living in the North. And then, they were mobilized to brutally prosecute a war that cost an estimated two million more lives. Millions of civilians ended up paying for the sins of officers from the East, West and Mid-West Regions who executed the first coup d’état in January 1966.

The elite powermongers salved their consciences by promoting the resulting genocidal war as a patriotic action to reunite the country. When the war ended, they proudly sang a “no-victor, no vanquished” refrain. They did all of this to assuage feelings of hurt among civilian population that they visited with anger and disdain. Then they retired with feelings of self-righteousness and effusions of renewed patriotic fervor.

Among members of this military elite, this self-righteous and patriotic mindset is not bound by religion or geography. Today, if a journalist scratches any of the surviving members of this gang (Gowon, Obasanjo, Danjuma, Buhari), they’ll sing a similar refrain from the maledictions of the past. In their minds, Southeast remains a conquered territory, despite the no-victor-no-vanquished mantra. And they are the conquerors with divine mandate to sustain the unity they won through tears and blood in battlefields.

It is for this reason that civil unrest anywhere in Nigeria evokes potential uprising a la Biafra that must be violently put down. The unity won in the battlefields of Biafra became non-negotiable, as long as they’re in power. Nigeria won’t renegotiate her unity but would rather enforce and sustain it with guns and bullets.

President Buhari restated the group’s mandate to an Al Jazeera interviewer in 2019: we cannot allow Igbos to leave a country that millions died to keep as one.

It is important to understand why this military gang has this mindset and why efforts are always made to extend it to the rest of Nigeria. An Igbo adage offers one explanation: “if a finger brings oil, it stains the rest.” In Nigeria today, the sin of one Igbo, more often than not, becomes the sin of all Igbos. In virtually every interview granted since he assumed office, President Buhari betrays this mindset whenever asked about IPOB. He particularly finds it difficult to separate a tiny band of separatist agitators from the entire Igbo populace. In interview responses, IPOB is magnified as an Igbo insurrection that must be crushed as in Old Biafra.

A second reason why Buhari won’t release Nnamdi Kanu is a common defensive strategy that I call leadership capture. The tactic is to capture the leader and keep him away and thereafter disorganize and disband the followership. The tactic was first used to convict and put away late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It is used today to keep Sheik el Zakzaky out of sight, no matter what the courts say. Protests and clashes with security have so far failed to free the Islamic cleric from detention.

What makes IPOB enablers think that Mazi Kanu will be treated differently?

The third is the geopolitics of the Southeast region. The influences at play are both internal and external. Internally, it is the challenge of managing legally constituted territories that IPOB strives to turn into ungoverned spaces. The external is the politics of managing unwanted Igbo demand for the Nigerian presidency, which I propose to deal with only as a question in the end.

Besides skirmishes with federal security forces, IPOB is currently locked in a supremacy battle with constituted authorities of the Southeast. In the popular imagination, the separatist group has already won the mind battle, thanks to the enablers.

IPOB enablers are few but influential. They embolden the separatist group to seek to lord it over the rest of the population. In some towns, one can liken what is happening to the symbolic hoisting of jihadist flags by religious fundamentalists in the Northeast. And then the army moves in.

Today, through skillful use of digital propaganda, IPOB successfully cows the southeast population into silence and sheepish surrender to the orders of faceless groups operating in its name. The region’s State Governors appear powerless as citizens are forced indoors every Monday through this violent propaganda.

Everyone can see that IPOB’s confused and disorganized leadership is no longer in control. They cancelled the sit-at-home when the horse already bolted from the stable. Consequently, rogue elements of the movement, aided by criminal interlopers, exploit the confusion to visit violence and destruction each Monday. Those who go out in search of daily bread return with horrific stories, if they survived the adventure.
Incredibly, enablers of IPOB interpret this fear-induced sit-in as evidence of the people’s obedience and support for Biafra agitation! The point, however, is that the leadership of the Southeast may have lost but IPOB gained a Pyrrhic victory.

IPOB is not only turning the Governors’ territories into ungoverned spaces but have also made them enemies of the people. And yet, the governors remain the only authorities that can call for and enter a meaningful dialogue with federal authorities in a different, effective language. It is good for IPOB enablers to hope and pray that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu regains his freedom from the Monday havoc they wreak in the Southeast. But if you were a governor, will you champion Kanu’s release to complete the takeover of your State by a non-state actor?

And then this: if you were a presidential aspirant from outside the Southeast, will you also encourage peace to reign in the region – when the next president is expected to come from there?

Why Buhari won’t release Nnamdi Kanu

Enugu PDP drops 12 Chairmen for coming LGA poll

Enugu PDP drops 12 Chairmen for the coming council election after allegedly evaluating their capacities to prosecute the 2023 governorship “war.”

Enugu State’s People Democratic Party (PDP) last weekend screened out 12 serving local government chairmen for the coming council election.

According to insiders familiar with the nomination process, “the exercise was largely teleguided by leaders of the party.

Consequently, the party used the nomination exercise to tactically weed out LG chairmen considered as “weak,” or “compromised.”

Enugu Metro learnt that some of the chairmen were considered “too weak” to assist Gov. Ifeanyi ugwuanyi win the 2023 governorship elections for whoever he chooses to succeed him.

“Others who are suspected to harbor a soft spot for a presumed aspirant from Enugu West were also dropped,” our source said.

Five serving chairmen consequently survived the purge. They include chairmen of Awgu, Enugu North, Igboeze North, Udenu and Uzo-Uwani local councils.

The quintet is noted as either very strong loyalists or relations of the governor and members of his kitchen cabinet.

Reports also said the chairman of Igboeze South, Hon Peter Andy, was prevailed to step down for a “stronger” candidate with a promise of another political appointment.

A top government official who spoke anonymously – since he is not authorized to discuss the matter – however disagreed on reasons for dropping some chairmen.

According to him, some of them served two terms while others declined to re-contest.

He specifically mentioned the chairman of Nkanu East Local Government Council, Uche Nwobodo, who reportedly opted out of the contest “for personal reasons.”

Nkanu East is competing with Izi Uzo Local Government to produce the governorship candidate for the party in 2023.

The official also said Chairmen of Aninri and Enugu East have both served two terms and needed to give way for others.,

The coming elections

The Enugu Local Governments Council Elections will hold on 23 February.

Chair of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr Mike Ajogwu rolled out an election timetable in November 2021.

Meanwhile, the tenure of the chairmen of councils ended on 5 December. They are however all staying on until after the elections, which is against the law.

Enugu PDP drops 12 Chairmen for coming LGA poll

Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe resumes in Enugu after 13-month break

Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe, the distinguished speaker series, resumes on 4 February 2022 after a 13-month hiatus occasioned by outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Consequently, the management of Enugu Centre for Memories announced the resumption in a statement today.

In its almost four years of existence, Nkátá has grown to become a strong cultural marker, attracting global distinguished speakers to the Coal City.

Prof Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, an award-winning creative writer and law professor, will speak on the topic, Ahamefuna: Reaffirming the Igbo Identity in Challenging Times.

  • Topic Ahamefuna: Reaffirming the Igbo Identity in Challenging Times
  • Speaker: Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe
  • Date: Friday, February 4, 2022
  • Time: 5PM – 8PM (WAT) (12PM – 2PM (EST) (5PM – 7PM (GMT)
  • Venue: Enugu Sports Club, 1 Club Avenue, G.R.A. Enugu Nigeria
  • Broadcast: The session will also be broadcast live on Urban Radio 94.5 FM (https://bit.ly/3l4jUHx)

She is a professor of health law and author of the award-winning novel, The Son of the House. The novel has won many international and local awards, including the 2020 NLNG Prize for Literature.

A lawyer for a decade and a half, Prof. Onyemelukwe-Onuobia has expertise in Health Law and Policy. Expectedly, she is involved in ongoing health sector reform efforts at the national level. Her counsel is sought after in the areas of health financing and universal health coverage.

Guests are to comply strictly with Covid-19 protocol to ensure everyone’s safety during the event, the Management said.

About Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe

Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe is an initiative of Centre for Memories; a monthly speaker series. It brings distinguished speakers to discuss critical issues that affect Ndi Igbo and how to move the south east region forward. Speakers use the platform to deepen conversations around old Igbo values, heritage and the legacies. It also serves as a point of intersection between generations and a mentoring ground for younger ones. Since May 2018, the Centre for Memories has held a total of 24 sessions of Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe with notable speakers like Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Prof. Okey Ndibe, Dike Chukwumerije, Yvonne Mbanefo, Chika Oduah, Chika Unigwe among others.

Nkátá Ụmụ Ibe resumes in Enugu 4 Feb 2022

The Ohafia Warrior Dance: the mysteries and the allure

A proud descendant of a warrior tribe explains the mysteries of the Ohafia Warrior Dance, aka ikpirikpi ogu after dancing with the stars.

The Ohafia Warrior Dance its mysteries and the allure

Iheanyi Igboko

Iheanyi Igboko works as the Executive Director at the Centre For Memories. 


I have such a huge admiration for warriors.

This is not out of place for someone who comes from a lineage of warriors – my great grandfather, Igboko Okoro, was one. My late father Mazi Stephen Ikejihovah would always hail himself as the son of Abaogu. 

Growing up in Enugu, I was fascinated with the 1996 movie directed by Bolaji Dawodu – The battle of Musanga. This film represents an authentic history of an African society before the advent of the whiteman and what happened to that society when the first whiteman ventured into the hinterland – area East of the Niger Delta, in 1863. This area was the Musanga Kingdom.

This earned me the sobriquet: “Musanga the warrior.”

 Yesterday, I finally got the chance to dance with the Ikpirikpi ogu. 

The Ohafia War Dance (Igbo : ikpirikpi ogu ) is a popular war dance with roots from Ohafia, performed by a group of muscular men in commemoration of their strength in fighting and winning wars in the past. 

According to oral history , the ancestors of Ohafia were renowned to be mighty men of war who were always on the lookout for wars to take part in.

The Ohafia warrior tradition which remains one of the fundamental identity of the people of Ohafia is hinged in the performance of ikpirikpi ogu – the practice of beheading a fallen enemy. A human skull is a proof of a man’s courage and strength. Only those who brought home a human head could join the Ogbu-Isi society and wear an eagle’s plume which is a symbol of courage. 

The Ohafia War Dance which is also performed to celebrate an individual’s achievement is headed by a lead dancer carrying a basket full of human skulls (Igbo: oyaya) while holding a short cutlass and a small palm shoot in his mouth, while his fellow dancers dressed like fierce warriors mime the cutting off of human head while dancing to the music from the akwatankwa musical instrument thus portraying Ohafia as a land of brave warriors. 

What else do you know about the Ohafia people?

The Ohafia Warrior Dance its mysteries and the allure

I’ll patronize Innoson, wear Akwete, Soludo says

I’ll patronize Innoson vehicles, wear Akwete, Anambra Governor-in-waiting, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, says as he outlines his priorities

He said that left for him, there will be no elaborate ceremonials at his 17 March inauguration.

In contrast, he prefers to take the oath of office and thereafter immediately move into the Governor’s office to work.

The incoming Governor says he has communicated this wish to Gov. Willie Obiano who will be handing over to him on 17 March.

He therefore reacted with disbelief to reports that the State Government plans to spend N600 million for the symbolic change of guards.

Similarly, he dismissed a media report that he requested the State Government to put a ceiling of N20million on inauguration expenses.

Usually, a rich pageantry and elaborate ceremonials follow a Nigerian Governor’s inauguration.

Soludo won the 6 November 2020 Anambra State Governorship Election.

… outlines quick wins

I'll patronize Innoson wear Akwete
Akwete loom

Soludo told a group of friends in a video shared widely that he prefers to hit the ground running through a number of quick wins and symbolic gestures.

He said his government will patronize local products, beginning with making Innoson vehicle the Governor’s official car.

He promised to continue wearing Akwete-designed clothes.

“You know in the entire Southeast, this is the only textile thing alive.

“Igboland is one and we must promote it as such,” he said.

WATCH VIDEO

ill-patronize-innoson-wear-akwete-soludo-says

Anambra’s education worries

Ralph Anyacho identifies paucity of teaching staff for primary and high schools as two one of Anambra’s biggest education worries.

A number of issues are giving parents worries over the management of schools in Anambra state. Citizens of the state living outside of it who breeze in and fly out would think that all is well. But all is not well.

The Christmas/ new year mass home return is usually a time for stock taking. At one of the town hall meetings by my community two separate important guests interrupted proceedings.One was the principal of the community secondary school in the town. She came with tears practically dropping from her eyes, lamenting the lack of teaching staff. She appealed for support of the community to fix practically every thing, ranging from collapsing roofs, to no power supply, rickety school bus, stressing low morale among students resulting from lack of teachers in key subject areas. As she left the place in high hope trusting that her cries have not fallen on deaf ears, another guest this time came from the community primary school. Unlike the principal whom the roof is collapsing over her head, the primary school has one of the best structures anywhere in the state. Their big trouble is lack of teachers. There are only two teachers on government payroll. The rest of the teachers are being paid by the PTA of the school at N10,000 per month. And have come to the meeting to request for financial support to help the PTA defray the eight month salary arrears owed the teachers.

These two critical issues question the modus operandi of running schools in the state and the quality of education available especially in the rural areas. What is the partnership arrangement between the State and the Churches? Is any party reneging on the agreement? The above mentioned situation can not be tenable in a state competing for space among a comity of technologically driven states.

Something must be done and urgently too.

Anambra’s education worries

The Son of the House deserves a sequel

Chido Nwakanma in a positive review of The Son of the House highlights its unending appeal and calls for a sequel. The Book won the 2020 NLNG Literature Prize.

BOOK REVIEW

  • Book: The Son of the House
  • Author: Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
  • Publisher: Penguin, 2019
  • Reviewer: Chido Nwakanma

At the end of this novel, the cliffhanger of many interesting turns elicited from me a desire for more. It is just as well that The Son Of The House is so riveting and dramatic that it will make the screen. Fittingly so, our Nollywood loves sequels, and films come as Part One to Three.

The sort of sequel for this book would be a first-person narrative about the son. Afam Obiechina was the backdrop in this enthralling novel that I consider Part One. I fantasise we should subsequently hear Afam’s account of his growing up and his life up to this point. It would be akin to the story of Obi Okonkwo in No Longer At Ease, a self-contained sequel to the eponymous Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

I go ahead of myself, though, as Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia triggers the imagination. Her book raises many questions.

The principal one for the interested reader is what is it about this work that has gripped the world and made it a first-class offering like its writer earned in school?

The short answer is that The Son of the House offers a deft exploration of sensitive universal issues that tug at the hearts of citizens and societies. They include the innocence of teen romance versus betrayal, class distinctions, childlessness and loss of a child.

The longer is the pre-eminence of the male child in specific socio-cultural settings such as South-East Nigeria, the stage for the book, and the place of women in a patriarchal society.

The blurb of this version offers a good summary, with slight editing.
“Julie and Nwabulu, two abducted women, decide to tell each other their stories to ‘pass the time’ while awaiting their loved ones to ransom them. Both women find in telling their stories that their lives intersect at significant junctions. Nwabulu, the one-time housemaid and now a successful fashion designer, finds that Julie has answers to the one ache she has carried in her heart since her late teens. Julie, a septuagenarian who has lived a life of subterfuges, each one bigger than the last, finds that she must now confront her biggest lies”. The Son of the House runs on two tracks of the stories of these women. The writer takes the reader through a wide range of human emotions.

The Son of the House is set in Enugu and covers 1972 to 2011. The author captures with high fidelity the physical and social setting of the city on the hill and the former capital of Eastern Nigeria. Her account shows sensitivity to details.

One of the appeals of The Son of the House is how it treats sociological issues around cultural practices and beliefs without liberal condescension, heckling or sermonising. The author describes and allows the reader the latitude to draw her inferences and judgements.

It brings to bear current realities such as kidnapping, youth unemployment, and politicians’ character. There are also the place and role of women in a patriarchal society. Julie schemed her way into the kidnap and pushed for the disclosures that caused her stroke. Unravelling what happened thereafter is where Afam’s story begins. Julie should be alive to connect the dots.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia reminds me of the griots of old who weave compelling narratives that taught lessons and values. The authorial voice in this book is subtle. The language is polished, English yet very familiar and Nigerian.

The Son of The House deserves all the accolades for the writer. Awards and recognitions include the 2020 SprinNG Women Authors Prize, the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair prize, Winner of the $100000 2021 Nigeria Prize for Literature. CBC Radio Canada listed it in the 35 Canadian books to check out in summer 2021. Channels Television Nigeria named it in The Top Nigerian Books of 2019. It earned a shortlist for the 2021 Giller Prize.

The Son of the House kept me company from 30 November through 5 December in Freetown, Sierra Leone, during the stress caused by an airline cancelling the Freetown-Lagos flight with neither reason nor compensation.

Grab a copy to read. I highly recommend it.