Dec 28, 2008


Today,Ghanians return to the pollS to vote in the run-off of the December 7 Presidential elections,which pitches Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) against John Atta Mills of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).Either men will succeed President John Kuffor.Going by the way election observers have hailed the earlier attempt,we are looking forward to a smooth election devoid of the fraud a.k.a wuru-wuru, mago-mago that has become the trade-mark of Nigerian elections.I wish Ghanians well and hoping that Nigeria and her electoral commision will learn some valuable lessons from this experience.

The junta in Guinea is talking tough and consolidating its hold on government.Capt. Moussa Camara has even pledged holding elections in two years time.Guineans are happy.Some African leaders are already embracing him.ECOWAS,AU and some other countries are condeming the coup.The more they talk,Camara bluffs.

Lets not be deceived.Guineans are happy with the junta because they were frustrated with Lansana Conte's government which for 24 years suffocated them down with poverty and oppression.They yearned for fresh air.In stepped Camara.Lansana came into power in 1984 via a military coup.
Camara is only threading a farmiliar path.Sieze power,the whole world will condemn you.You promise to conduct elections in the soonest possible time.The world relaxes its pressure.Two years time you conduct a 'democratic' election with you as the main or only candidate.You win a landslide.We know this song too well.
My fear now is that any group of ambitious military officers might just borrowing a leaf from the Guinean coupist and with ease truncate existing democratic structures.The already misruled,disenchanted,frustrated and hopeless citizenry will definately support such an intrusion.

The only thing I like in the Guinean is that Camara tends to remind me of the late Burkinabe's Thomas Sankara.I sure know that Camara has heard so much about him.I hope he gets to act like Sankara whose humility,dynamism and purposefulness still remain a benchmark in African leadership.

Dec 26, 2008


Some years back when I wanted to choose a name for my creative outfit I didn't waste time in coming up with one-Kente and Kwanzaa Productions.I was particularly thrilled by the sound of the later:Kwanzaa.It gave me pride.
I wanted an identity that very well and proudly connects and expresses Pan-African, African American and other diasporic values.
Kwanzaa,derived from the Swahili language,is a cultural holiday in the United states,created in 1966 by Dr Mualana Karenga in an effort to ''rescue and reconstruct'' the affirmation of the eccentric values that originaly defined Africa.Kwanzaa's celebration is organised around 7 principle: Unity (Umoja);self determination (kujichangulia);collective work and responsibility (ujima);cooperative economy (ujamaa);purpose(Nia);creativity(kumba) and faith(imani).
If Africa can get to apply a little bit of the Kwanzaa principles,this will bring about a stronger communal bond amongst her people,common identity and purposefulness,for a continent that has been badly battered by leadership and followership crisis.(I think the closest we got to this was when the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere did the Ujamaa thing in Tanzania.Thomas Sankara came quite close with his brand of socialism.)
As we stand on the treshold of 2008/9,there is no denying the fact that Africa needs to re-invent itself.Kwanzaa is it.Now is the time!

Dec 17, 2008


Nigerian multi-talented Photographer and founding member of the Nigerian photographers' collective, Depth of Field (DoF),James Iroha Uchechukwu,recently added a very big feather to his fast rising career when he took to the podium in the newly built Prince Claus fund office in Herengracht 603 Amsterdam,Netherlands to receive his prize after he was named as one of the winners of the 2008 Prince Claus Awards in the category of ''photography and film'',with his entry Fire,Flesh and Blood.The theme of the 2008 Award is Culture and the Human body.

Prince Claus fund describes Uchechukwu as ''the leading light of a new generation of Nigerian Photographer'' who has been able to ''expand the possibilities of photography,pushing local art in new directions'' through ''fusing the documentation of everyday reality with the creative language of imagery..His quality images depicts bodies in context,exploring the physicality of existence in the mix of cultures and influences that is 21st century Lagos,a megacity with urgent social issues''.

Uchechukwu's winning entry,Fire,Flesh and Blood,a group of photo images depicting open-air abattoirs in Lagos, had earlier won the Elan Prize from Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) at the Rencontres africaines de la Photographie of Bamako in 2005.The Fire,Flesh and Blood photo series is among other collections of his on exhibition at the new office of the the Prince Claus fund that will run till 1st March 2009 in Amsterdam.

James Iroha Uchechukwu has been invited to an artist in residence programme by the Thami Mnyele Foundation in Netherlands,where he will be working on a new project at the foundation's studio.He had erlier worked at the Thami Nyale Foundation from 27 November till 7 December 2008.The Themi Mnyele Foundation seeks to promote the exchange of arts and culture between Africa and the Netherlands.

Dec 14, 2008


Richard Oburu(left)

Richy(left) with some participants at the ESCR meeting recently.

Nigerian Rights activist, Richard Oburu was in Nairobi,Kenya for the International Strategy Meeting on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights-ESCR-Net 2nd General Assembly's annual conference titled:Challenging Poverty and inequality through human Rights,where he and more than 200 participants from over 50 countries brainstormed on ''new strategies and exchanged information with concrete plans for implementing collective action towards the full implementation of economic,social and cultural rights..''

Richy,from the Nigeria's oil-rich,but troubled region of Niger Delta, said the Kenyan meeting was a very wonderful opportunity to share ideas on and about economic,social and cultural rights as they affected participants and their people.He particularly made a strong presentation for the people of the Niger Delta region.
Richy has since left Nairobi for Egypt,where he will be attending another conference.It is hoped that Richards efforts will impact greately on the overall attempt to bringing a lasting solution to the problems in the Niger Delta.

Dec 10, 2008


These pictures speaks.Why is the rest of the world watching hopelessly as Robert Mugabe ruin Zimbabwe? The time to get the beast out of Zimbabwe is now!!!

Dec 9, 2008


As sanity creeps back into Jos,Nigeria, after what is fast turning into a routine orgy of brothers killing each other in the name of politics,religion and ethnicity,I am very disturbed that the Nigerian government is not in any way interested in averting further mayhems both in Jos and elsewhere in Nigeria.What is happening right now is only a pause in this genocidal rave that would be errupting the next moment in God knows where. It is a sign of failure on the part of the system that has abandoned its own citizens to their fate.Jos,that once used to be the melting point of Nigeria's unity has now turned into a time-bomb that explodes at will.Jos is only a microcosm.
It is so sad that in Nigeria a slight provocation with either political,religious or ethnic undertone is cabable of claiming several innocent lives,displace hundreds of thousands of people and wanton destruction of properties worth several millions of Naira.
Nigeria is indeed a good example of a failed state.The British writer Karl Maier aptly captured this bizzare failure in the title of his book This House Has Fallen taken from a quote attributed to Nigeria's foremost writer,China Achebe:
This is an example of a country that has fallen
down;it has collapsed.This house has fallen.
The unfortunate incident in Jos this past week is only a reminder of how fragile the things that holds us together,the things we so hold dearly in Nigeria, are.
Love... for mankind has since taken flight here.

Dec 8, 2008


The only place in the whole world where I would want to be,this time tomorrow,9th December 2008, is at the Salamander Cafe,Wuse II,Abuja, where leading Nigerian writer Toni Kan will be reading from his latest collection of short stories Nights of the creaking Bed.

The book,published by Cassava Republic have been enjoying rave reviews from literary writers both in and outside Nigeria.Molara Woods in her review described the collection as ''a cohersive,stylish collection,with athmospheric scenes and noir elements.Toni Kan's stories look behind shuttered windows to express the unspeakable in the everyday.''

I look forward to Toni Kan clinching all the available literary prizes both locally and internationally, come 2009.