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Monday, June 6, 2016

Sonny Okosuns' last interview unearthed!

Written by Frank Chike
~The SUN, Nigeria. Friday, June 3, 2016

Ozzidi exponent, Evangelist Francis Sonny Okosuns died on May 24, 2008 at the age of 64, but with a pain in his heart. It was the agony of a man betrayed and despised by those he considered to be his 'African brothers' and as a result had committed most of his time and musical works to their liberation.
Doing all he can to conceal the pains he was battling with that morning, as his health had begun to deteriorate, Okosuns still managed to reveal to this reporter, who was then gathering material for his biography, that the South Africans did not show any iota of appreciation to him after the end of apartheid in 1994 despite his huge contribution to their liberation struggle.
The Edo-born reggae turned-gospel musician was still waiting for an official invitation from the South African government when the cold hands of death snatched him away. It was vintage Okosuns in this exclusive but interesting encounter. Enjoy it.

Not long ago, while you were out of the country, the issue of United States of Africa under one leadership or president resurfaced at the African Union meeting. The Libyan strongman, Col. Muammar Gaddafi was the advocate. As a Pan Africanist, what is your opinion on this issue?
I think I started it after President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, I must say glory be to God for giving me the foresight. Remember many years back, I recorded a song on that which I titled 'Now or Never' and in the video I displayed a placard with a message, 'The United States of Africa' where I wore a military camouflage. I raised my hands like Col. Gaddafi always does, and everybody knew I was mimicking him, and the song was a hit. I think Col. Gaddafi watched the video and that's where he must have gotten the idea for the United States of Africa. It's very right to nurse the idea of United States of Africa, but it must be well planned and well organised so that one country would not dominate the other. I'm saying this because I have travelled all over Africa and I know how Nigerians are badly treated by people of other countries in the continent. They are very much afraid of us, may be because we are well ahead of them on our level of understanding and business consciousness, and I know many of these countries once they see our citizens at their airports or borders, they would begin to panic and do all sort of things to harass you.

Have you ever been treated shabbily in any Africa country?
Yes, of course. I remember during Namibia's independence in the '80s, I went there to perform and I saw a poster in their airport warning people to beware of Nigerians. When I saw it, I was disappointed because their president then and their freedom fighters lived here in Nigeria (Lagos) for many years when we were helping them to liberate their country. I mean Mr. Sam Nujoma, the same thing with South African President Thabo Mbeki. They were all here in Nigeria those days and I remember on one occasion when I performed before them here in Lagos, Mr. Sam Nujoma wept. Then he was not yet a president. In short, that poster at Namibia Airport till date is still a source of worry to me; because I don't know why the people we struggled to liberate could do such a thing to us.

Can you still remember some of the things they wrote in the public notice?
Yes of course. Some of the few I can remember state: "Every woman that is a Nigerian uses bottom power". "Every young man from Nigeria who is a businessman is a 419ner (fraudster)". "Every Nigerian solider is a coup plotter". Every Nigerian student is a campus cult member". And "Every young man from Nigeria is a drug courier". There were many other bad things written warning their people why they should not allow Nigerians into their country. Then General Ibrahim Babangida was our president.

But I learnt that you were so close to some presidents in that region like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe?
Yes, you are correct, that was why I named my second son, Mugabe. You know, I was also very close to his wife, Sally Mugabe, and I know what they were saying about Nigerians. Most of them didn't like Nigerians because many Nigerians then were supporting Joshua Nkomo, Mugabe's political rival. So, when Mugabe became Zimbabwe's president, he named some streets in his country after some African countries without including Nigeria.

Back to the issue of United States of Africa, do you think our former colonial masters will like to see this plan come true?
I know they will fight against it but if we Africans are serious, we are bound to overcome the challenges. Let me tell you a story. One day, I was travelling through Kenya, we were at the border when their immigration officers stopped us for searching, and this is a country I know that I was very popular. So, while we were waiting at the post, some white men passed without anybody stopping them. And when it got to my turn, the security agents took my passport and said they wanted to search me. I protested and asked them why they didn't search the white men. I also asked them if they didn't know me, if they didn't know how I contributed to their freedom struggle. Even at that, they didn't listen until one of them ordered them to allow me to pass. In fact, most of these people are ingrates. They have never appreciated our contributions to their liberation from apartheid.

For all these, have you at any point in time regretted being part of their liberation struggles?
To be frank with you, at times I feel ashamed. You know, I'm a human being but on the other hand, I think some of them don't like Nigerians. You know, we are always our brother's keeper, but some of them see it as if Nigerians are coming to pocket them, which is not true. I think most of them have greatly been brain washed by some European countries to hate Nigerians.

Now let's talk about your friend, Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe. It's like the man believes that without him the country will collapse and the way he's been handling opposition parties in the country is nothing to write home about. Why have you not advised him to be more tolerant?
Some western countries are causing the problem in Zimbabwe. The same people who are now calling Mugabe devil also painted Idi Amin black. But remember that any time the whites are supporting the opposition they will help and make his voice louder. In short, my advice is that Zimbabweans should try to have an understanding with Mugabe because he doesn't want to take order from Britain, their former colonial master. You know, he fought the war of liberation of Zimbabwe and they won. Now Britain is intervening in Zimbabwe's internal politics, trying to impose a puppet government. So for me, I don't like that and I will never live to see it happen in any African country. I wish other Africans should try to dialogue with Mugabe and understand what he is trying to do, because he means well for his country, that's my opinion.

Back to your role in the struggle to liberate South Africa, how did it all start?
It's through the grace of God that I was able to contribute my little quota to the anti-apartheid struggle and liberation of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and other Africa countries. The liberation struggle was a challenge to me. I got to know about South Africa through a girl who came to Nigeria for her scholarship programme in 1965. She was from Zimbabwe. Her name is Florence Kululere. After meeting with her and learning about the political happenings there, I went into further research, and as a musician, I decided to start writing songs to express my concern about things going on there, by way of reflecting them in my music as protest songs. So, when I joined the struggle, I first released a song titled 'Let My People Go', in 1976. Later, I recorded another major hit titled 'Papa's Land, followed by another monster hits 'Fire in Soweto', 'Holy War' (1977/1978), and then in 1979, I did 'Power To The People'. After that, I released 'Third World', 'No More Wars' and other hits all about the South African liberation struggle.

In those days what kind of support were you getting from the freedom fighters?
I remember in 1984 during my visit to Detroit (USA), Zenani, Chief Buthelezi's wife came to watch me perform in a concert, and she came and thanked me for my contributions. I gave her some of my albums. Later, Oliver Thambo of South Africa came to Nigeria and I gave him some of my albums. Months after, during a National Conference on Zimbabwe in London, I met with Abel Muzorewa and I gave him copies of my albums too. In fact, during the liberation struggle, I performed nearly in all the fund raising and awareness concerts and programmes to set South Africa free. On one occasion, I remember how Mr. Sam Nujoma wept openly while I was performing one of my songs, 'Fire in Soweto'. But could you believe that all my anti-apartheid albums were not allowed to be sold in South Africa like that of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and many other big musicians?

Were you ever invited to perform in South Africa?
No, never, because their government branded me a rebel. They banned me from coming to the country, but I did not give up the struggle. I made a vow that when God sets them free and Mandela is freed, I will become a Christian and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, here in Nigeria, I held 'free Mandela shows' many times in Lagos, Benin, Enugu and Kaduna.

When did you meet Nelson Mandela face to face?
That is when he was freed from prison. He came to Nigeria and we met briefly at Obasanjo's farm in Otta. By band later performed to welcome him at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, and that was all.

After he became the president, did he invite you to South Africa?
No, he didn't and till date, I have not been officially invited to South Africa. I don't even know Soweto, Pretoria or Johannesburg. Could you believe that Miriam Makeba once thought that I was a Jamaican? Many other people even thought that I was a South African in exile. It was just of recent that I told former President Olusegun Obasanjo about this, and he was very, very annoyed and surprised. Another reason why I am not happy with South Africans particularly Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki was that they have never deemed it worthy to invite me to their country. The other time they celebrated Mandela's birthday in South Africa, it was Michael Jackson and other American musicians that they invited. And these musicians never sang anything about Mandela or black South Africans or even the liberation struggle.

Did your participation in the liberation struggle in any way affect your business as a musician?
Yes it did, because it was very risky fighting an evil government of such influence. But thank God that He led me and kept me safe throughout the struggle. Then I had many offers from recording companies that I should stop singing protest songs. They promised me that if I agreed they would make me a world music star. Some even promised me millions of dollars if I could abandon the anti-apartheid struggle. But I told them no, that God created me to do what I was doing. Another tempting offer came from some white men when I was in London recording my album, 'African Soldier', but I turned them it because I wanted to be on the side of the people. At a stage, some people were hired to kill me in Europe, but I thank God that they failed.

When was the highpoint in your liberation struggle for South Africa?
I can say that it was the day I performed 'Fire in Soweto' to all African diplomas in Apollo Theatre (USA). That was in 1984. Then EMI Records that was releasing my songs played some tricks. They didn't want to release the song on their label, so they hid their identity. They quickly formed another label called Radic Records and used it to release the album and my other works like 'Papa's Land' and 'Fire in Soweto'. A different version produced by Eddy Grant made the album to enter South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana where it sold very well too. But when their governments discovered that my albums had entered their countries, they placed an official order banning people from buying and playing my songs.

Aside using your songs to fight apartheid, was there any point in time you considered taking up arms?
Yes, I nearly did, but because I found out that my music was a great weapon, stronger than guns, jet fighters and bombs, I decided to continue with it. But if the struggle had lasted more, I would have taken up arms, because I was really, really, ready to fight the evil regime. However, I maintained my stand on the struggle for 15 years with 15 albums, protesting about the in-human regime in South Africa.

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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