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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ken Olisa: The most powerful black man in Britain has Nigerian origin

~Culled from The Telegraph

Ken Olisa
He's the Queen's escort in London who locked horns with John Bercow and has a library named after him at Cambridge – not bad for a boy who grew up without a loo in Nottingham.

Today Ken Olisa is officially named as the most powerful black person in Britain, not that any of the commuters on the 8.10am from Hampton Wick would know it.

Unassuming and usually dressed in the commuter's favoured uniform of suit and raincoat, the only thing that hints at his influence is his trademark bow tie - he owns more than 100.
Otherwise, there is little to suggest that Mr Olisa is, according to the annual Powerlist - which names the most influential black people in Britain, more important than Sir Lenny Henry or Mo Farah or the Oscar-winning film director Steve McQueen. How could anyone know that this quiet man from Nottingham wields more power than Lewis Hamilton or Baroness Lawrence?

But wield power Ken Olisa does. The 63-year old was the first British born black man to serve on the board of a public company (Reuters), has his own merchant bank (Restoration Partners), and a library named after him at his Cambridge alma mater (Fitzwilliam).

He is a keen philanthropist (the library came after a £2 million donation), a former governor of the Peabody Trust, a chair of not one but two charities (Thames Reach, which deals with the homeless, and Shaw Trust, which helps the disabled), and is on the board of the Institute of Directors.

And as if all of that weren't enough, in April, he was made Lord Lieutenant of London, appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. The title gives him an office in Whitehall, a staff of 90, and puts him in charge of all visits made by the royal family within the city - with him even standing in for them on occasion.

So he escorted the Queen to the Home Office last week, and had the miserable task of accompanying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Spectre premiere last month, along with Prince Harry. The next morning he was up early to spend yet more time with the Duchess - this time, on a charity visit to Islington Town Hall.

"I do a lot of calming down in the moments before their arrival," he explains. "People tend to get very wound up and stressed." Not so Olisa, who is as cool as the proverbial cucumber, even when wearing the heavy military-style uniform of the Lord Lieutenant.
"He hates the idea of quotas, thinks that they humiliate the people that they are intended to help"

All of this is a very long way indeed from his humble beginnings in Nottingham, where he was brought up in straitened circumstances by his single mother (he never knew his father, who left them to return to Nigeria when he was young).

The loo was outside, and the bath tub too. 'I was probably one of the very few black people in the entire district, one of the very few black people that anyone had ever seen for that matter." How did that feel?

"Well it just felt like being a seven year old boy, really. There were trees to be climbed and dams to be built. I remember someone asking me how I went to the toilet, but I suspect a lot of people get asked those questions irrespective of what they look like."
He always refused to be defined by the colour of his skin. At school his headmaster taught him that everyone was equal, once handing all the children caviar on biscuits while playing Mozart in the background - it was this kind of upbringing that taught him the only limits were in his own head.

He got a scholarship to Cambridge, where he studied Natural Sciences and fell in love with fellow student Julia, whom he has been married to for 40 years and with whom he has two daughters and six grandchildren.

Julia is white but when I ask if they have ever experienced any prejudice his answer is a simple 'no'. "It was Cambridge, quite enlightened. But we lived in America as well [he went on to work for IBM there] and to the best of my knowledge we didn't experience much there either."
"He thinks we have always been a multicultural society – from the 25,000 Caribbean soldiers who volunteered to fight for us during the Second World War to the Polish pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain"

He hates the idea of quotas, thinks that they humiliate the people that they are intended to help. "Because what happens is, a black man walks in to a meeting and everyone thinks he got his job because he's a black man, and not because he is any good." Has he encountered that attitude? "Oh yes, because we all tend to stereotype. When a black bloke comes in people make assumptions, and he either does or doesn't challenge those assumptions."

Olisa chose to challenge those assumptions - assumptions that I would call racist but Olisa wouldn't because he point blank refuses to play the victim. "I've met with lots of prejudice over time, but it's mild prejudice, not the Klu Klux Klan. I got into a lift at Fortnum and Mason a couple of years ago, and I am looking like this," he says, pointing at his suit.

"I probably had a raincoat on, was carrying a briefcase, and she stepped back and tucked her handbag towards her. I just thought 'oh dear, poor lady. What on earth is going through this woman's mind? What a sad life she must live!' So the answer is yes, [I have encountered prejudice] but one mustn't over play that, one mustn't behave like a victim. But I'll spare you that rant this morning."

Please don't, I say. Does he think we live in a culture of victimhood?

"Well I think it's in the interests of a lot of people to get others to feel downtrodden, so that they can claim to come and raise them back up again." Disaffected minorities seem now to be a majority, but Olisa sees no reason for why this should be.
"This Powerlist, it shows that black people can do everything. There can no longer be an argument that if you can't get on because you are black. There are lots of other reasons you can't get on - you're incompetent, you can't speak properly, you can't spell, you don't get to work on time. But it's not because you are black."

Yet he detests unfairness, something that became apparent after a clash with the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, back in 2011. Olisa had been appointed to the board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the MPs watchdog, after the expenses scandal.

This, he says, is the only time he has felt victimised. "They [the MPs] appeared to hate us [the board] viscerally. We were shouted at from the very first meeting. It was absolutely dreadful. It didn't matter what we proposed, because there was very little interest in rational argument. MPs were saying that they suddenly had to do things like sleep in their offices, which was just nonsense."

He stepped down when Bercow announced that the board had to reapply for their jobs, with the Speaker being accused of rigging the appointments in revenge for the crackdown on what MPs could claim.

"I only met him [Bercow] at the end and he said 'I think you have done a creditable job under very difficult circumstances, not helped, if I may say so Mr Olisa, by some of the remarks you have made in the newspapers which demonstrate your lack of understanding of parliamentary process'. I have to say I was uncharacteristically speechless, as all I'd done was to say that they didn't have to sleep in their offices."

He pauses and starts to laugh. "But none of this was to do with me being black, so that's the good news."
Does he think we will ever have a black prime minister? Or a black member of the royal family?
"There is no reason why there shouldn't be. There's a Lord Lieutenant who isn't white now." But he thinks we have always been a multicultural society – from the 25,000 Caribbean soldiers who volunteered to fight for us during the Second World War to the Polish pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain – and he says we would do well to remember that - especially in light of the Paris attacks and the recent furore over refugees.

Adjusting his bow tie, the most British of symbols on the most British of men, he says: "We are a philanthropic nation, and we are lucky to be one, lucky that people from overseas have given their lives for us. We squander that at our peril."

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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