Network Africa: Quest For Justice In Sudan, Egypt, Explosions In Nigeria

Network AfricaThe Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy, who enjoyed barely a day of freedom, has been recaptured for a totally different crime.

Then, Egypt deals a shocking blow to freedom of speech, jails 3 international journalists to the minimum of 7 years, turning the deaf ear to all international outcry.

Fewer eligible voters turn up for Libya’s crucial parliamentary elections. Will the votes be enough to unseat the general national congress? Find out what political analysts are saying

A barrage of bomb explosions in Kano, Mubi, Adamawa State and then Abuja the federal capital of Nigeria, even as security operatives and relative agencies step in to manage the situation

We also bring you the unusual “Finger-full” World Cup predictions from a family with six fingers each, rooting for their country at the World Cup.

Soyinka Urges Military To Face Constitutional Roles

Wole-SoyinkaNobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka on Saturday called on the Nigerian Army to focus on their constitutional roles and not interfere with democratic process.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Saturday, Mr. Soyinka also condemned the stopping of some governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from attending a campaign rally in Ekiti State describing it as an act of war.

Mr. Soyinka further reiterated his call to Nigerians to support the efforts of the military in their fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

He further called for an immediate end to the violation of citizens’ rights by law enforcement agents, adding that those involved in the Ekiti incident be punished to serve as deterrent to others.

“What happened in Ekiti was a violation of the constitution and those who are responsible should be exposed and where necessary punished.

“This is the kind of conduct which this police commissioner Mbu considered a proper conduct for a law officer in Rivers State. When we spoke, in this very hall that day, people were saying what business does Wole Soyinka, Falana have in Rivers state?

“What we were saying is that if we allow this kind of conduct to be accepted once, there will be escalation. It happened, and in a more dangerous dimension in the same Rivers State,” Mr. Soyinka said.

Soyinka Condemns Islamist Extremism

Wole-SoyinkaA Nobel laureate in Nigeria, Professor Wole Soyinka, has condemned Islamist extremism, stressing that the teaching of Islam as propagated by the holy Prophet Mohammed is a far cry from what is practiced by the extremists who hide under religion to perpetrate violence.

At the World Book Capital 2014, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Wednesday, Professor Soyinka told the participants that “what is happening in Nigeria’s north east contradicts the tenets of Islam”.

Professor Soyinka also advised Nigerians not to isolate themselves from the situation in that part of Nigeria.

He condemned the slaughtering of school students and stressed the need for the military to tackle the insurgency in the north east.

Several attacks have been carried out in the region by an Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

Last week, over 200 school girls were abducted by suspected members of the Boko Haram, an act professor Soyinka described as inhumane and stressed that Nigerians cannot isolate themselves from the horror that Nigerian children in the north east were facing.

Obasanjo Has No Moral Right To Write Jonathan – Afenifere Chieftain

A chieftain of a Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Mr Ayo Adebanjo, on Sunday expressed shock over the contents of the letter written by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking on Channels Television’s flagship political programme, Politics Today, Mr Adebanjo accused the former president of being guilty of all the allegations he made against President Jonathan in the letter.

“I am surprised he wrote such a letter considering the contents because all the allegations he made there against Jonathan, he was equally guilty of them. He has no moral right to write such a letter” he said.

He however agreed with the former president on some issues contained in the letter.

He accused Obasanjo of equally displaying some of the issues he raised against the president. He insisted that Obasanjo also had issues of corruption, highhandedness, disobedience to the judiciary during his era as the president. “Who is more guilty of all these than Obasanjo?” he questioned.

He further noted that the exchange of letters online by the former president and his daughter, Iyabo did not portray Nigeria in good light.

“A country that has produced the Awolowos, Azikiwes, Prof. Wole Soyinka and others, is being ruled by a man of this moral character; it’s a shame,” he said.

He debunked the claim that the reply allegedly written by Iyabo was written by someone else insisting that “this is not the first time Obasanjo’s child is saying something odd against him” adding that Obasanjo has not denied the alleged affair between him and his daughter-in-law insisting that the “farmer is a liar”.


Samba Queen, Stella Monye To Celebrate Three Decades On Stage

Front-line musician, Stella Monye who is popularly called Samba Queen has disclosed plans to celebrate her 3 decades as a performing artist.

The celebration which kicked off in April, with a well-attended event in Lekki, will continue in September 29th at the Coliseum Nite Shift with a concert tagged, The Whin Concert.

Whin, is her pet NGO which she started after her work as a social service officer, for seven years.

“Maybe that’s why I was quiet” on the music scene, she said.

She also engaged in social activism alongside (late) Gani Fawehinmi, Wole Soyinka and others where she used “music to interpret what they would do in speech”.

Speaking about the evolution of the music industry in Nigeria, she encouraged young, new generation artistes to sing ‘meaningful’ songs which people can relate to for many years.

Soyinka’s Valentine Letter To Africa’s First Ladies

St. Valentine’s Day Card on the Occasion of Women’s March Against Connubial Corruption.

A Valentine Day Message should be brief, so I must plead for understanding for this departure from the norm. In any case, I deplore the slavish adoption of foreign saints of whatever shade, color, or religious persuasion. However, the coincidence of dates for women’s intervention in yet another egregious conspiracy to drain the Nigerian treasury, mounted in the name of a high-flying member of your gender, strikes me as a call to break the mould and submit myself to the call of Saint Valentine.

A Yoruba proverb goes thus: Ti a ba ma a j’opolo, ka je eyi to l’eyin. (If one must eat a toad, then go for an egg-bloated one). If I must send a Valentine card for the first time in my life, then let me do so on a grand scale. I have therefore elected not to lend my affection to any one individual, but the entire bevy of First Ladies
of the African continent – and that includes First Male Spouses. What, after all, is to stop these male consorts from developing ‘pet projects’ and setting up Missions? Even if they number no more than one or two, there is a saying that goes: What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.

A mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation – Four Billion Naira, no less! – is being attempted in your names – openly, in an attempt to institutionalize an illegality through a debasement of the democratic process. It is no longer secretive but in-your-face, and damn public opinion! Your names have been invoked as the ultimate beneficiaries, and thus, you are vicariously implicated. In the name of St. Valentine and the love I bear for you all, please dissociate yourself from this display of shameless avarice. I shall not go so far as to ask you to denounce what you probably know nothing about, but if you ever get to hear of it, distance yourselves from the gross impropriety. I implore you in the name of all local equivalents of St. Valentine: continue to serve humanity within and outside your borders, but without self-interest. Assist this nation in crushing the increasing acquisitive impudence of individuals and institutions that do not exist in our constitution, yet insist on fattening on national resources.

The enthronement of vulgar preening and opportunistic consumption is complicating the battle of a principled minority on critical social issues. It gets in the way of sanitizing society, and has become an expensive distraction. When you visit in your personal and/or professional capacities, or as consorts to your spouses, we would love to love you, respect and honor you. It will be painful to watch you dodging a rain of rotten eggs and tomatoes in place of flower petals and bouquets.

There is no such thing as an African First Ladies Mission in the Nigerian appropriation list. Any claim remotely like it is the conspiracy of sycophants, jobbers, masters of impunity, a desperate clique that unfurls a continental umbrella as cover for private aggrandizement. Please, do not be a part of it. The people of this nation are fast losing patience.

Yours in unstinting love, this St. Valentine’s Day of Two Thousand and Thirteen, Wole SOYINKA (A Public Service Retiree)

Professor Soyinka’s letter/speech was read on his behalf by President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, during a protest march to the Lagos State Government House, Alausa, on Thursday.

The Igbos were a victim of genocide – Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the Biafrans as “people who’d been abused, who’d undergone genocide, and who felt completely rejected by the rest of the community, and therefore decided to break away and form a nation of its own.”  

Soyinka who disclosed this in an interview published in The Telegraph of London on Wednesday, said,  the Igbos were victims of genocide during the three-year civil war.

He also used the opportunity to condemn militant sect Boko Haram, the insurgent group that has visited terror on the North, killing over 1,500 since 2009, describing their actions not as religion, but criminality.

He said: “All religions accept that there is something called criminality. And criminality cannot be excused by religious fervour…you cannot hold the world to ransom simply because some idiots chose to insult a religion in some far-off place which most of the world has never even heard of. This for me is a kind of fundamentalist tyranny that should be totally unacceptable.

“So a group calls itself the Boko Haram, literally: ‘Book is taboo’, the book is anathema, the book is a product of Western civilisation, therefore it must be rejected.

“You go from the rejection of books to the rejection of institutions which utilise the book, and that means virtually all institutions. You attack universities, you kill professors, then you butcher students, you close down primary schools, you try and create a religious maginot line through which nothing should penetrate.

“That’s not religion; that’s lunacy. My Christian family lived just next door to Muslims. We celebrated Ramadan with Muslims; they celebrated Christmas with Christians. This is how I grew up.

“And now this virus is spreading all around the world, leading to the massacre of 50 students. This is not taking arms against the state, this is taking up arms against humanity.”

He criticised the handling of the war against terrorism by President Jonathan.

“The president of Nigeria is making a mistake in not telling the nation that it should place itself on a war footing. There’s too much pussyfooting, there’s too much false intellectualisation of what is going on, such as this is the result of corruption, this is the result of poverty, this is the result of marginalisation.

“Yes, of course, all these negativities have to do with what is happening right now. But when the people themselves come out and say we will not even talk to the president unless he converts to Islam, they are already stating their terms of conflict,” he added.

Soyinka further said if religion were to be taken away from the world, he would be one of the happiest people in the world.

UNILAG: Soyinka calls Jonathan’s name change a gift horse

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka on Wednesday joined the growing opposition against the renaming of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Moshood Abiola University, Lagos by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“This is one gift horse which, contrary to traditional saying, must be inspected thoroughly in the mouth”, he said in a statement entitled “Goodluck Jonathan’s gift horse.”

“Primary from all of us must be a plea to the MKO Abiola family not to misconstrue the protests against the naming of the University of Lagos after their heroic patriarch. Issues must be separated and understood in their appropriate contexts. The family will acknowledge that, among the loudest opposing voices to Jonathan’s gift horse, are those who have clamoured tirelessly that MKO Abiola, the Nigerian nation’s president-elect, be honoured nationally, and in a befitting manner.

“Next is my confession to considerable shock that President Goodluck Jonathan did not even think it fit to consult or inform the administrators of the university, including Council and Senate, of his intention to re-name their university for any reason, however laudable. This arbitrariness, this act of disrespect, was a barely tolerated aberration of military governance. It is totally deplorable in what is supposed to be a civilian order.

“After that comes the bad-mouthing of MKO Abiola and the Nigerian electorate by President Jonathan who referred to MKO as the “presumed winner” of a historic election. While applauding the president for finally taking the bull by the horns and rendering honour unto whom honour is due, the particularities of this gesture have made it dubious, suspect, and tainted. You do not honour someone while detracting from his or her record of achievement. MKO Abiola was not a presumed winner, but the President-elect of a nation, and thus universally acknowledged.

“It is sad, very sad, that after his predecessor who, for eight full years of presidency, could not even bear to utter the name of a man who made his own incumbency possible, along comes someone who takes back with the left hand what the right has offered. However, there is hope. Legalists have claimed that there is a legal flaw to the entire process. The university, solidly backed by other tertiary institutions nation-wide, should immediately proceed to the courts of law and demand a ‘stay of execution’.

“That should give President Jonathan time to re-consider and perhaps shift his focus to the nation’s capital for institutions begging for rituals of re-naming. After all, it is on record that the House of Assembly did once resolve that the Abuja stadium be named after the man already bestowed the unique title of “Pillar of African Sports”. He deserved that, and a lot more. What he did not deserve is to be, albeit posthumously, the centre of a fully avoidable acrimony, one that has now resulted in the shutting down one of the institutions of learning to whose cause, the cause of learning, President-elect MKO Abiola also made unparalleled private contributions.

“Let me end by stressing that my position remains the same as it was when the University of Ife was re-named Obafemi Awolowo University. I deplored it at the time, deplore it till today, have never come to terms with it, and still hope that some day in the not too distant future, that crime against the culture of institutional autonomy will be rectified. Let us not compound the aberrations of the past with provocations in an era that should propel us towards a belated new Age of Enlightenment.”

Today is World Book and Copyright Day

Today (April 23) marks another great day in the literary world as UNESCO celebrates the 2012 edition of the annual World Book and Copyright Day(WBCD).

The world Book and Copyright Day, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) takes place every April 23rd, to mark the date of death of Shakespeare and other great authors and celebrate the contributions of books and authors to global culture and link between copyrights and books.

This year’s edition of the WBCD also marks the 80th anniversary of the Index Translationum. The Index Translatonum is an international bibliography of translation which provides a unique tool for the monitoring of translation flows in the world.

According to a statement from UNESCO, today’s anniversary will be celebrated by organizing a debate at UNESCO Headquarters to bring together researchers and users of the Index Translationum as well as specialists in the field of translation and book markets ad renowned writers. Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka is also one of the speakers at the event.

By joining in this year’s celebration, writers and readers all over the world have been urged to
1. Share their passion for an author and offer his/her book to people around.
2. Leave a book on a park bench or a metro seat with a note saying “Happy Book and Copyright Day!”
3.Educate yourself on books pirating: respect for copyright encourages the dissemination of knowledge and rewards their creators and publishers.
4. Never throw away your books, get involved in local community or online book swapping and donation campaigns and initiatives.
5. Plan local reading events in schools and libraries and encourage famous guest readers to get involved.

Today has also been dedicated to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors and also encourage everyone, especially young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and to gain a renewed respect for the extraordinary contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

A display of Cultural Heritage

Lagos State showed the richness in culture with the recently concluded Black heritage fiesta with children from Lagos state.

Also there were displays from masquerades from the different parts of Nigeria.

It is a way of making Lagos and Nigeria be in the world map of countries with some global heritage with the extension of invitation to several states in Nigeria as they gladly participated.