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As the celebration for Biafra Day draws nearer, the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) as well as Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), founded by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, still sing different tunes.

While IPOB insists on May 30 as the authentic and official date for the celebration and ordered all celebrants in Biafraland to sit at home, Uwazuruike’s BIM/MASSOB ordered celebrants not to come out and celebrate.
This has given rise to tension in the areas the freedom anniversary will take place.

Addressing newsmen in Nnewi, Anambra State at the weekend, the Anambra South Senatorial zone leader of BIM/MASSOB, Chief Arinze Igbani, who was flanked by the zonal director for transport, Chief Charles Oputa, described IPOB and its leaders as “people who have been systematically edged out of the mainstream of the struggle to actualise Biafra.”

He urged them to turn to and support the “architect” of Biafran independence, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, who, he said, had suffered more than any other person including long period of jail for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.

“We don’t have much to say about our brother, Nnamdi Kanu because they have systematically edged him out of the struggle since he accepted not to stay in the midst of over ten people or address the press. This means he cannot go to church, market, hospital, birthday, any public function because in any of these cases he will be facing more than ten persons at a time. He might even find it difficult to receive visitors in other not to contravene the order given to him by the court. And we do not wish him to go back to prison. We heard the other time South East Senate caucus that perfected his freedom warned him to abide by the court order. So, leadership and control of the agitation for Biafra squarely rests on Uwazuruike now as before,” Chief Igbani said.

He said that BIM/MASSOB would never relent in their effort until the sovereign state of Biafra became a reality under nonviolence principles, adding that the emergence of the new Biafran nation was very close.

For the upcoming Biafra Day celebration, Chief Igbani said the event which would take off on May 22, 2017 was slated to hold in Onitsha and other places in Anambra State, Owerri and other places in Imo State, Aba, Enugu, Abakiliki, other towns and cities in the five States of the South East zone; Asaba and other parts of Delta State, Portharcourt and other parts of Rivers State. He said the celebration would be rounded off with football tournaments among the Biafrans at verious points.

Igbani queried why people should stay at home during an important celebration and told all in Biafran land to feel free and not to confine themselves to their homes.

The transport director, Chief Oputa called on all transporters to come out enmass and join in the anniversary celebration. He warned Nigeria security agents to steer clear of the members of BIM/MASSOB in the course of the celebration which he said was to be non violent.

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POLITICS

Delta South 2019: Youth Group backs Uduaghan for senate

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A formidable group in Delta State known as Inspired Youths is drumming support for ex-governor and Delta South senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan to represent the zone in 2019.

The group which spoke through their leader, Joy Omodafe reiterated that their support for the former governor was not unconnected with his landmark achievements during his tenure in the state as governor.

She disclosed that they were prepared to mobilize thousands of their supporters who are mostly youths and women from across Delta South Senatorial District come 2019 elections especially as it has to do with their representation in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Members of the group whose opinions were sampled agreed that they have not been feeling the impact of democratic dividends for a long time, but in 2019, things would be different as they are looking forward to a quality representation with Dr. Uduaghan at the National Assembly.

Between the two heavyweights who are the major contenders: the immediate past governor of the state, who is of the All Progressive Congress (APC), has been posing a problem to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent senator representing the district, Senator James Manager as he is generally adjudged to have good ideology and developmental programmes.

Pundits are of the opinion that the former governor is most favoured to represent the people of Delta South who are said to be tired of bad representations by previous representatives.

Their argument is hinged on the fact that those who have been in the National Assembly for the past 19 years have failed to make any meaningful impact on the lives of the people.

The group also disclosed that one of the reasons they are prepared to follow the former governor is that he is synonymous with excellence, “He is not only a hard worker but a master planner whom observers believe stands a better chance with the growing strength and popularity of the APC in the state.

“This political oracle held forte while Chief James Ibori was away and the fortunes of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in the state did not dwindle nor did they lose the state to the opposition.”

Joy Omodafe who is also the managing director of OJ Blizz, a popular event centre in Warri, equally stated that as governor of Delta state, Dr. Uduaghan created a lot of landmark achievements which still stands today in the Big Heart state.

“One, as Delta State governor, he did a lot for the state in health, education, roads, human capital development, job creation and meeting the needs of youths and the aged.

“There is no one who did not benefit from his programmes and this has endeared him to the people. Dr. Uduaghan commands respect amongst all the ethnic groups in the state, so it will be difficult for his opponent to defeat him,” she said.

Also lending their voices in support of Dr. Uduaghan’s senatorial move, some members of the group, whose base spans across the eight local government areas of the senatorial district, said the group has mapped out plans to embark on massive grassroots rally to all the local government areas.

They disclosed that their resolves to campaign for him was based on his antecedents in peace building and achievements in public offices he held in Delta State.

The group cited some of his landmark achievements to include the 7.6km Umeh Road in Isoko, which ended 30 years of abandonment of the agrarian community, the Abigborodo Bridge project in Warri North, Ugbenu Koko Road, the 0-5 years free health care delivery programme across the state and the revolutionary Uduaghan Park, “which brought transportation across Delta State to an easy and comfortable ride with lowest fares”, and these make him eminently qualified to vie for the prominent legislative position in 2019.

The group also noted the construction of “10 International Model Schools” in the three senatorial districts of Delta State, the construction/renovation of hundreds of schools, the introduction of EDUMARSHAL programme to ensure the downtrodden children go to school free of charge as well as the payment of enrollment fees for SSCE candidates as some other reasons that informed their decision to back Dr. Uduaghan’s senatorial ambition. She also noted that the ex-governor’s current empowerment programmes and provision of teaching and learning materials to schools in the rural areas are quite commendable.

They summed up that a man who sacrificed his senatorial ambition for the sake of peace in Delta State, particularly inter-ethnic harmony in Delta South in 2015 should be given all the necessary support to represent Delta South in 2019. They also describe the former secretary to Delta State Government as “an intellectual and bridge builder with the requisite national as well as international connections for the job.

Speaking further on the immediate-past governor, the group expressed appreciation to the former governor for heeding to the cry of the people from the region, which has been neglected and grossly marginalized by the Federal Government due to lack of robust and effective representation at the upper house of the National Assembly.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Libation not fetish, but prayer – HRM Appolus Chu

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As civilization erodes today’s society and as the advent of western culture threatens the African tradition, a paramount ruler in South South region, HRH (Dr) Appolus Chu, Egbere Emere Okori of Eleme kingdom, has called on traditional rulers and care givers across the country, to do well within their power to preserve and promote the African culture.
HRH Chu made this call when he paid a courtesy visit to Chief (Dr) D.U. Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin kingdom, at his palace in Benin, Edo State. He discredited the notion that libation is a fetish practice, and stressed that it is an African traditional means of offering prayers and thanksgiving. According to him, “Libation is prayer, and what do you do when you offer prayer? You pray for progress, success, good health and every good things of life. The drinks that are used are bought from the market and not from the shrine, so also is the palm wine that is used.
And as you are praying, you are libating and directing your faith towards your demands and you appease the gods, because we believe the gods are here. It is just like when you go to church and the pastor uses olive oil and water to pray. When the congregation choruses amen, it is agreeing that God has answered the prayer. So, libation is part of our culture, and we shouldn’t neglect our culture. The traditional institution of Africa is under a form of blackmail. We are being blackmailed to despise and snub our cultural system.
And we are abandoning our tradition out of ignorance. Today, our children who are now pastors and bishops are propagating the Western religions and snubbing our traditional beliefs and values. As a strong believer in African tradions and culture, I will advocate that we should not see libation as a fetish practice. It is just a form of prayer ad an integral part of our culture,” he said.
In his remarks, Chief Edebiri consented to the views of HRH Chu, and presented him with a gift, after which libation was offered. “We believe that when you die, you go to heaven and you meet your ancestors, those who have left before you. They also congregate there, as we do here on earth. And whenever we are doing anything here, we remember them, so that they may be part of what we are doing and bless whatever project we are embarking on. We always pour libation so that our ancestors will partake in whatever we are doing. It has nothing to do with fetish activity.
“There is no juju when you pour libation. It is your conscience, it is your mind, because you believe that you are coming from a tradition. The tradition is the belief that your parents did it and they lived well. If you do it too, you will live well and die well. So, pouring libation has nothing to do with being fetish. As a matter of fact, in a football match, if a team wins, you will see people opening bottles of champaign to celebrate. That is pouring libation. If your son buys a new car and he brings it home, you pour libation to bless that gift.
“So, those who say that pouring of libation is fetish are being misled and misinformed. In the African tradition, we pour libation after kolanut, so that our ancestors will bless whatever we want to do,” he concluded
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NEWS

World Food Day: Over 30 per cent farmland in Niger Delta lost to floods – Uduaghan

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The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has disclosed that over 30 per cent of farmland in the Niger Delta region has been lost to this year’s ravaging flood.

Uduaghan, a senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Delta South Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections, noted that the development posed a great threat to the nation’s food sufficiency drive.

In a statement to commemorate the 2018 World Food Day on Tuesday, the former governor lamented that this year’s flooding had led to premature harvesting and destruction of farmland including fish ponds in the country, particularly in the oil-rich region.

He said the situation would not only result in great losses to farmers but also negatively affect the already improving food self-sufficiency drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

Uduaghan, therefore, called on the governments, corporate bodies and individuals to render assistance in order to alleviate the plight of farmers caught in the web of the natural disaster.

“Over 30 per cent of our farmlands have been overtaken by the floods, including fish ponds.

“As shown on AIT on Monday, some of the farmers have had to hurriedly harvest the immature farm produce, and are selling them at less than 40 per cent of their market value.

“Their future seems to be hopeless. As we mark the day, let us remember the losses and sufferings of these our farmers.

“Whatever we can do individually, as organised groups, or as a government will go a long way in alleviating their plight,”. He said.

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