Author Archives: Godfather

Adios Valverde…

Valverde has been sacked as Barca’s manager halfway into the season with Barca at the top of the league, and having qualified for the knockout stage of the champions league. It may seem harsh but I think Valverde can leave with his held high.
He gave it his best, but with Suarez now officially out till the end of the season, Valverde has to know deep down in him, that Barca, as currently managed, cannot win this season’s champions league. In fact it is debatable they’ll even win the La Liga title this season. He can spare himself the certain grief that will come at the end of the season.
On the other hand, I think we Barca fans have been spoiled by all these years that we might have unrealistically high expectations of our team. For Valverde to be fired after winning the La Liga title 2 years in a row (and could possibly have won it at the end of this season if he had stayed) speaks volumes abt the unrealistic expectations of the Barca faithful.
I know we long for the breathless spectacle of the last decade, but we have different players now. It may not be so easy to replicate the magic of those magical years. We have to recognize that that era is now a distant memory, and strive to rebuild something based on the players we currently have. That must mean that judging Valverde harshly in light of the Guardiola years will soon turn into some self-propagating curse. Future coaches will be weighed against the accomplishments of that stellar team, and being found wanting, will equally find themselves getting unceremoniously ousted as Barca continues to pursue a rapid ever-disappearing identity.

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year Everyone!

When Ignorance and Self-hatred Masquerades As Wisdom and Patriotism

Reactions to the Kaduna declaration has been fast and furious. Many Nigerians seemed to intuitively understand that the Northern Youths acted brashly and against the interests of peaceful coexistence in Nigeria and condemned the quit notice given to the Igbo in the North. I equally aired my thoughts moments after the news broke.
Well, here’s the view of a Nollywood actress that goes by the name Cynthia Amadi:
This is a shameful video. It reminds me of the fact that at the height of the Nazi-led holocaust, there were Jews who sided or supported the Nazis and helped to massacre their own kith and kin. Isn’t it sad to see that some Igbo people have internalized the hatred and bile, or swallowed the ugly stereotypes about Igbo people that are spewed by non-Igbos? It is especially maddening because you know that the true tribal bigots who hate the Igbo can always justify their anti-Igbo xenophobia and hatred by pointing to misguided Igbo people, like this woman, who spew this sort of arrant garbage. 
For example, it is always common to see people who want to halt the Igbo aspiration for a new deal start offering their thoughts that they think the Igbo people are not united and mist first of all be completely united before they should seek self-determination. Pray tell, do they think Igbo people are robots or machines? Do Igbo people not have the freedom of independent thought? Of course there is no possible way every Igbo person will agree on a particular matter (we are talking about over 50 million people worldwide). Using that criterion, can any nation of people ever be called united? Are all Yoruba people for instance in complete agreement over whether they should remain in Nigeria or form their own independent Oodua nation? Are all Hausas/Northerners for that matter content to remain in Nigeria- are there not sections of them that would prefer an independent Arewa nation governed by Sharia law? 
If you want to know whether the Biafrans are speaking with something close to one voice, conduct a referendum in the East on this matter, and I guarantee you that given the prospect of leaving Nigeria to form their own nation despite all the warnings about the pitfalls that could bedevil a new Biafran nation, the Biafrans would choose to leave this union with something above 90%. That is as close as you can possibly be to complete unity. Of course there are smatterings of Igbo people here and there who would want to remain in this union for reasons best known to them. They will of course be free to give up Biafran nationality and remain Nigerians. As a matter of fact, if you go through the rest of her bitter emotional complaints about the Igbo people, any smart Nigerian can see that the same can be said for other ethnic groups by wayward misguided people within their ranks. If a misguided Igbo woman thinks Igbos are the most wicked ethnic group, it is because she has mostly dealt with Igbo people. If this woman was honest, the kindest, meekest, nicest people she would have also met are the same Igbos she condemns. In a similar manner, there are Yoruba persons that will tell you the Yoruba are the most wicked, or Hausa persons that will confess about the brutality of the Hausa. The point is that such persons are not representative of their ethnic group, and in any case, whatever faults they think they find are HUMAN foibles applicable to all – whether they are Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Welsh, Catalonian, Eritrean, Pakistani, Timorese, etc.
It is always more painful when the people who you think are smart enough to understand the whole concept of self-determination fail to do so, and think that the whole Biafra issue is just a silly agitation by misinformed or jobless youth for war. Someone really needs to sit this woman down to make her understand her history, what Biafra actually symbolizes, and the fact no one is calling for war. As a matter of fact, it is not just Igbos or Biafrans that are calling for a dissolution of this unfruitful union – other regions/ethnic nationalities have caught on, and have seen how unworkable this project is, and will continue to remain, and are also asking for a restructuring, regionalism, or complete self-determination. This is enshrined in modern International Law and is a right possessed by people. That is why groups like Arewa, or Oodua for example, who are also seeking for the freedom to separate from this meaningless union called Nigeria, are correct and legitimate by PRINCIPLE. There is no law anywhere that says the disparate aggregations of ethnic nations trapped in Lord Lugard’s cage (Nigeria) must remain there in perpetuity because Nigeria was not created or formed with their consent.
We know the adversities of war, and how ravaging it can be, and Biafrans are not seeking for or asking for war. How could they when they are not represented in the military; when the nation’s weapons are concentrated in the North; when Igbos are not even using violent methods in the agitation for Biafra even though other splinter groups are? How could Igbos be asking for war when they know that they stand to lose all the investments and businesses they have in other parts of the country if it ever came to war? I assure you that over 90% of Biafrans are not looking for that. They have been looking for a peaceful renegotiation of this Nigerian project to correct the injustices. Since this has proved elusive, Biafrans are exercising a UN-recognized right to self-determination. You can achieve this through a referendum without firing a bullet.
Cynthia Amadi, I know you are emotional. That is not a substitute for getting a proper understanding of the relevant issues. Isn’t it amazing that rather than condemn the actions of the Northern Youths in giving a quit notice to the Igbo – an action that flagrantly flies in the face of the much-vaunted talk about  national unity and cohesion – you have chosen to attack Igbos who were merely expressing their dissatisfaction with the status quo? Okay, let us dial back. What was the reason given for the statements of the Northern Youths? Ridiculous as it might sound, the answer seemed to be that it was because the Igbos in the South-east stayed at home on just one special day to remember and mourn the millions of their compatriots that died during the civil war. Pray tell, what was wrong with this action by the Igbo? If they had gone out on that day to peacefully protest the moribund economy and to express their desire for an independent state, they would have been hounded, shot at and maimed by the police force or perhaps the military. All they did was sit at home in some form of silent protest and to remember their losses during the war. Well, that painfully innocuous action was enough to get the North uncomfortable. As an Igbo woman, I would have thought that reaction by the Northern Youths would have caused you some internal disquiet, but apparently it didn’t. A lot of people have spoken on the issue, and they have rightfully condemned that Kaduna declaration, which realistically is the real issue heating up the polity – why then have you chosen this path? This is a classic case of when ignorance, arrogance and self-hatred masquerades as wisdom and patriotism.
Do yourself a favor – stop looking at perhaps some of the counterproductive actions of some local “thugs” or “bullies” who do one negative thing or the other in the name of Biafra. They are not representative of all Igbo people. The vast majority of Igbo people are decent, hardworking, and do not want violence against their immediate neighbors to the south or other Nigerians. They want to pilot their affairs, and enshrine hard-work, equity and meritocracy. Your emotional outburst insults them and especially tarnishes or sullies the memories of the millions of Biafrans who died because they believed in and fought for the Biafran nation. When you speak as you have, you risk inviting the ire of a people who today still feel the hurts of the past. Just because you cannot imagine a state of affairs where Nigeria ceases to exist does not mean that Nigeria as an entity is sacrosanct or inviolable. This present unworkable union can be dissolved. If perchance Biafra is formed tomorrow, I’ll ask you to wait for 50 years (you are young enough that I can see you living for another 50 years) and come back to tell us how your fears have been realized. My bet is that you would be proven wrong. In the meantime, it is saddening to notice that like the biblical Israelites, there are many like you who would prefer a life of slavery and marginalization for their people rather than true freedom.

Biafran Referendum: Is it Just a Matter of Time?

Pro-Biafran protesters at a recent protest on the Niger bridge at Onitsha
I am of the opinion that IGBO people should immediately begin to relocate from the North. If an Igbo person must stay there, he/she better make sure he/she is armed to the teeth, and/or that the Igbo over there go about in well-armed groups because their safety is no longer guaranteed. Let it be a lesson to all these Igbo people who have simply refused to situate their wealth in their homeland but have rather chosen to go to the North in search of greener pastures. 
Ok, let us discuss this issue.
By now, you must have already read or heard that Northern Youths gathered in Kaduna recently and issued an ultimatum for all the Igbos in the Northern region to pack out of Northern Nigeria or face the inevitable consequences. Anyone who knows anything about Nigeria must already know what sort of consequences will befall the Igbo when the angry violent Northern Youth begin to act. They (The Northern Youth) want to reclaim lands and property which are currently being owned by Igbo or people of the South east and possibly South-south – therefore you know there will be a bloody carnage, AS USUAL, when that time runs out and there are Igbo people and property still to be found.
The Igbo people are spread all over Nigeria – far more in number, outside their traditional states, as a proportion of their numerical size, than any other ethnic group in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the only way to get the idea that Nigeria is one country lies in the fact that there are overwhelming numbers of Igbos living and productively thriving in other parts of the country. You would expect that sort of thing actually, if you really believed in the idea of One Nigeria. One Nigeria should mean, like in other developed countries, that regardless of your ethnic group, you can freely relocate to and live within any region of the country, and conduct your business or own property, without any harassment or fear. If this were not the case, then there would be no sense in considering the country united in any practical way – and people would never make sizable investments in parts of the country outside their traditional or ancestral states. I hope you are still in agreement with me thus far.

However, now that the North want the Igbo out, there is a possibility also that people in other regions of the country may also want to reclaim lands and property (factories, houses, companies, infrastructure) owned by the Igbo in their respective regions or states. They would, in essence, also want the Igbo out of their affairs. Lagos state comes to mind. There is an alarming overwhelming presence of the Igbo in Lagos and many other parts of the Southwest – living together, speaking the language of their hosts and thriving economically. It is reasonable to expect that many people in these regions may also want the Igbo gone. There is no denying the entrepreneurial and mercantile inclination of the Igbo, and while that attribute helps to develop the local economies of the places they find themselves, it can also breed resentment in the host populations to discover much of their areas being OWNED and dominated by these “foreigners” (Igbos).

So here’s the issue: Can you explain to me again, why Nigeria/Nigerians are completely opposed to the idea of Igbos breaking off from Nigeria to form their own country as they have been demanding for 50 years, but at the same time do not want to fully integrate with them or continue to nurse resentment for them because of the way they set about to economically dominate the regions they find themselves in? Explain to me why Nigerians should continue to live under this false mirage that the unity or sanctity of this forced union is to be considered inviolable. What is so taboo about the Igbo aspiration for self-determination if other parts of the country are also equally tired of the union and also want out? How can we safely kill two birds with one stone here – i.e., grant the North their wishes by expelling the Igbo, and grant the Igbo their wish by organizing a credible globally-watched referendum on whether they want to remain part of the union or not? How long must the people dwell in forced hostile proximity? Is a referendum on Biafra now just a matter of time before it happens?

Trump's Chaotic First Month

Trump & Putin – best of pals?
Now that General Flynn has been fired (read resigned) of lying about his contacts with the Russians to the Vice, it looks like I am beginning to see what might undo the Trump presidency – LEAKS! There seems to be competing power structures or competing power dynamics within the administration, and they are all vying for the President’s ear or his trust. So they are willing to sabotage each other to have a leg up with Trump himself. This comes in the forms of anonymous leaks. I see that these leaks and hacks are going to undo Trump’s presidency. 
Think about it: how can you actually hope to govern or achieve anything if the details of your secret deliberations with your inner sanctum are somehow leaked, by members of that inner sanctum, to the press? How can you get anything achieved if your plans or policies are, before they are actually implemented or fine-tuned, picked apart -warts and all – on the media? You might remember that during the election campaign, Trump smiled at and had fun with the fact that Russian hacks and leaks brought down or at least massively undermined the Clinton Campaign and eventually allowed him to win. He will find out soon enough that the same odious leaks and hacks are going to be deployed to undermine his administration. He is already crying about it, but it is only going to get worse. We have seen people parting company with Trump since the night he officially won the election. We shall see even more resignations or firings in the months ahead as the gross incompetence of his administration starts filtering out in anonymous leaks.
In fact, it is beginning to look like there is something that the Russians have on Trump – some kind of bargaining chip or trump card (pardon the pun) – that they know they can use with devastating effect on Trump. They have succeeded in making Trump “Putin’s lapdog”. 
It now leaves you to wonder what Trump’s feckless and compromising deference to Putin might mean for the balance of American relations with Russia. Trump can run his mouth and attack anyone but when it comes to Vladmir Putin, a known thug and dictator, Trump becomes a meek lamb or worse a muzzled pitbull. This is an assessment that should have already begun to crystallize for even Trump’s most ardent supporters. If they are capable of any self-introspection, Donald’s transparently servile deference to Moscow should be worrisome if not downright frightening.
No one should have easily forgotten that he eased up the tough sanctions put on Russia by Obama for Putin illegally annexing Crimea from the Ukraine; then appoints Putin’s pal Tillerson as his Secretary of State – a move speculated to help yield some financial dividend for Trump himself in the form of oil and gas money. Nor should anyone forget that Flynn, his former National Security Adviser, with his knowledge and blessings went to placate the Russians behind the scenes when Obama, in his last acts as president, decided to punish Russia for their meddling in the elections by slapping on more sanctions and sending some diplomats in the US back to Russia. The Russians did not retaliate by repatriating American businessmen or diplomats back – a move that would have doubtlessly ratcheted up international tension between the two countries. For this, Trump comes out and praises Putin effusively for being a wise leader. 
But perhaps, the most chilling should be when Trump chooses to make a moral equivalence by negatively pointing a finger at the US when Bill O’Reilly confronted him with the fact that Putin is a killer who has massacred his opposition and killed journalists. For a man who was openly and eagerly willing to say negative things about his predecessors in office contrary to their tradition, and had not shied away from speaking forcefully against the Pope, you have to wonder what sort of leverage Putin has on Trump to compel such kowtowing deference. Not even when Russia broke a treaty and testfired a missile recently could anyone get Trump to utter the mildest form of censure.
What shall we discover down the line as more and more leaks come out? How badly compromised and given over to the Russians – our archenemy and global rival by the way – is Trump and his administration before Americans wake up and decide to do something about it? Flynn is gone, but this is just the beginning. One hopes against this but it is looking like leaks centered around Trump’s incompetence (or worse his duplicity) are going to spell the end of this administration – more efficiently than any number of passionate protests ever could.

Why Is Abortion NOT Murder?

Okay, today’s topic is ABORTION. 

First of all, I am male and so I know that for this topic, a lot of people, mostly women, are going to discount or disregard my view purely based on the fact of my gender. So I am going to approach this discussion differently. I do not aim to offend anyone so please, resist the urge to come to this topic with an emotional chip on your shoulder. Let us reason this out and submit to superior reason or logic.
“Human life begins at conception/fertilization.” 
The question of when life begins is not even necessarily a philosophical or a theological one. Rather it can be easily answered with elementary biology (i.e science). There is really no dispute scientifically as to the fact that human biological life begins at the moment of conception – and if left undisturbed would develop into an adult. 
It seems the bitter debate therefore, is NOT really on whether human life begins at conception (because it does), but on when after conception can we assign person-hood. This is where it gets murky and begins to invite all sorts of philosophical debates. Some would say the living embryo only becomes a person as soon as a heartbeat is detected, some would say as soon as a brain has formed, others would say only when the fetus is developed enough to be able to survive outside the womb. But I hope you can see that so far, the question of when the life actually began remains pretty much universally agreed upon because it is not opinion but empirical fact.
Given this widely accepted fact, can someone respectfully and rationally explain to me why abortion is not murder (the taking of human life) even if the laws of a land permits it? I am open to be persuaded by reason or facts that I might not have given deeper or finer thought. Let’s keep it civil and more importantly informative.

Any takers?

Adios Obama : A Changing Of The Guard

Outgoing 44th POTUS Barack Obama (right) & Incoming 45th POTUS Donald Trump (left).
Before Obama was sworn in as president in January of 2009, there were many African-Americans who were of the opinion that a black man (or a half-white man as the case may be) would never be elected to the highest office in the land. If you asked why this was the pervading sentiment then, you would have heard a range of reasons from the ugly history of slavery and the legacy of racial prejudice that still plagues this country, to the seemingly more practical issue of demographic trends and population sizes. 
Clearly, some were of the opinion that even if every black person in America voted for some as-yet-unknown black candidate, the white majority would be enough to balance out or perhaps swallow that massive bloc of black votes – enough, I would imagine, to guarantee that some as-yet-unknown white candidate would always emerge the winner. That was then. That was before an Obama arrived on the political scene.
He swept into power on the winds of Hope and Change. The rest they say, is history.
It has been 8 years of two terms for America’s first black president. Today is his last day in office as he hands over power officially to the president-elect Donald Trump. Yes indeed – today Trump would be sworn in, and he’ll officially become the 45th president of the United States.

I had previously wanted to make this a lengthy piece in which I’d personally analyze or dissect what Obama’s years in office has meant to me personally. I had wanted to go into details on all the little ways that Obama failed to live up to expectations; failed to live up to his billing as a radically transformative president – one who at least helped to usher in a different era of Hope and Change, like he campaigned. Some would have argued, had I done as I wanted, that I was being unncessarily strict on Obama and that I was parsing his tenure in the harshest possible light given the unprecedented level of obstructionism and blunt noncooperation presented by the Republicans.
My answer would have been the same: we are supposed to hold elected officials’ feet to the fire. We are supposed to NOT give them a pass. We are supposed to hold them responsible for doing the job we elected them for, and more importantly, for doing something to actually fulfil the promises they made which garnered them the votes they  needed to win in the first place. It should not matter what political party the President, or any other elected official for that matter, belongs to. Accountability MUST be the watchword.

At any rate, on this his final day, I think it would simply be fitting to just say “Goodbye Obama”. I am sure there will be opportunities in the future to analyze his presidency, or to contrast his record, policies and achievements (or failures) with that of Trump. Looking back now, you can sense that a lot of people (mostly Democrats) already feel a tinge of sadness for his departure based on their premonitions of the unspeakable horror that the Trump Administration would presumably turn out to be.

Yes, Obama was not the “Messiah” many desperately wanted him to be, but he managed to pull the country back from the brink economically when it was teetering precariously over Bush’s repression precipice. He saved the Auto industry, and millions of jobs and livelihoods in the process. Wall street grew, nay flourished magnificently, under his tenure – and this he did whilst managing to resist the strong and usually irresistible desire off kick-starting another costly and ill-thought out military expedition in the Middle East. Many, including I, will bristle at his extensive use of drones and targeted assassinations especially when innocent civilians were killed, but the cost of such surgical strikes to the US economy vastly pales in comparison to full-scale ground invasions/troops or as is normally said “boots on the ground”.
US unemployment numbers dropped precipitously under his tenure from 2008 numbers (between 7.8 – 12% unemployment) during the last year of President Bush to somewhere around 4.6% today. This means that millions of jobs were created under Obama and there was positive job growth – it might not have grown as quickly or as sharply as some fantasized but nevertheless, there was growth or improvement of some kind recorded. As a matter of fact, Obama is handing over a far more healthier economy to Trump than he inherited from Bush. Also, it needs to be said that after Bush, Obama’s Administration did a lot to restore some of the goodwill and the co-operation that America formerly enjoyed before Bush’s which was dangerously eroded by Bush’s senseless unilateral interventions in the Middle East. This co-operation was what enabled Europe to stand together with America in handing down stiff sanctions to Russia for their aggressive co-option of Crimea from Ukraine. It was also partly because of Obama’s tough sanctions policy on Iran that played some role in motivating the theocratic state to submit to Obama’s efforts at checking their unrestrained push towards acquiring nuclear weapons. This sort of respect for, and the willingness to co-operate with the White House in particular or the US in general seems in peril in the near future judging by president-elect Trump’s recent utterances. Let’s wait and see what his foreign policy eventually looks like.
Obama’s administration was front and center of the Paris Climate Deal which was convened to take tangible measures for improving the environment and future global climate. On the homefront, his administration, by executive orders, also sought to protect a lot of wildlife and natural parks, or to prevent the indiscriminate drilling for OIL. Obama also played a huge role in pushing for and finally changing much of the national consciousness on the whole issue of same-sex marriage. It was not surprising, I should think, that it was in his tenure that the Supreme Court finally ruled that same-sex marriages are to be deemed constitutionally legal in all the 50 states. 
Similarly, marijuana is also now gradually becoming legal in a number of states. Personally, I do not care for marijuana (I have never smoked it neither do I ever intend to because I find the smell of pot unbearably offensive) but studies show that it is not more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes which things are currently legal. The government should decriminalize it and tax it exorbitantly, like they did with some drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. I am sure it will yield a lot for the national coffers. Secondly, it will go a long way in addressing the obvious and the nauseating lopsidedness of our criminal justice system which disproportionately targets, arrests and incarcerates BLACK men for simple marijuana possession. Can you imagine the thousands of Black or Hispanic people that will have to be released from jail for committing no heinous crimes except that of having some marijuana in their possession – many of whom were actually framed? 
It has been 8 years and it is finally time to turn a new chapter. Perhaps the single most important thing Obama achieved was the landmark legislation called the Affordable Care Act – derisively called “Obamacare” – which though being imperfect nonetheless made it possible for millions of formerly uninsured persons to be able to afford healthcare coverage. It was Obamacare that also elevated the age to 26 for which a child can remain covered by his/her parents. It was also the stipulations of Obamacare that did away with insurance companies denying people coverage on the basis of “pre-existing conditions”. I hear the Republicans are gearing up to dismantle and repeal that healthcare law even though they have no practical solutions or replacement for the law. We’ll see exactly how they intend to leave 20 million Americans stranded and uninsured in the near future.
So yes, Obama has by no means done all that his voters in 2008 and 2012 hoped or prayed that he would do. He’ll leave office regardless with his head held high hoping that history will remember and judge him favorably based on all that he was able to do with the economic and political realities bequeathed to him.
For now, we turn all attention to the new leader of the Free World, President Donald J. Trump, and to the years ahead.

Happy New Year 2017

Wheww, we finally came to the end of 2016 and now I want to heartily welcome you to a brand new year 2017. May God keep and guide you in this new year and grant you success and victory, as he sees fit, in your endeavors.
Have a happy new year!
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