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Monday, February 13, 2017

Africa: The reign of the gerontocrats

  • Africa: The reign of the gerontocrats
  • Yoruba and the cog of gerontocracy

Africa: The reign of the gerontocrats
~The SUN Nigeria. Sunday, January 29, 2017.

They are supermen of gnosis; the type that transformed vast wastelands in other climes into potent forces of progress and positive statecraft. In Africa today, they hold the aces, the glandular spark that throbs with the motions of power. Some have their staying power cast in hubris. Others are held captive by the allure of power, passion for service, egged on by their supporters and suppliants. In Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power , "People who have a run of success can catch a kind of fever, and even when they themselves try to stay calm, the people below them often pressure them to go past their mark and into dangerous waters."Like the Athenian general and statesman in history, Pericles, their easy triumphs inflame their spin- minders to go for more. In Africa, the land of the black, the rhythms of power are like the transcendental struggles of the unquestioning leadership of demagogues, fancy moguls of inheritance, lineage succession and mock- science.

According to Niccolo Machiavelli, (1469 - 1527) "Princes and republics should content themselves with victory, for when they aim at more, they generally lose." From South Africa to Ghana, Nigeria to Sudan, Lesotho to Malawi, among others, the scent of gerontocracy fills the air along the many radii of circular board. The tragic immediate past era of blood- thirsty military despots has in a flash transformed to the abstruse cobwebs of age which won't blow away. Entwined with the jagged and rough past, now smoothed over in memory, Africa is heavenly over- dosed with the tedious present. Yet, she has not given up the sun and that intangible and yet crucial need to be counted in the new world, to pass through the paces transparent as a ghost. Plato justified gerontocracy when he said "It is for the elder men to rule and for the younger to submit." In simplified terms, gerontocracy is a society where leadership is reserved for elders. In the ancient Greek city of Sparta, which was ruled by a council called Gerousia, it was made up of members who were at least 60 years old and served for life. Over time, it was the fad in the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, eastern bloc, theocracies, absolute monarchies, and stateless societies like Samburu, in Kenya. Enter the fazed old men of power.

Isaias Afwerki (71) - Eritrea
He is the first president of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence in 1993. He led the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) to victory in May, 1991, thus ending the 30-year-old war for Independence that the Eritrean people refer to as "Gedli". The EPLF adopted a new political name, Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) to reflect the emerging responsibilities. The PFDJ, with Afwerki as its leader, is the sole governing party of Eritrea today.

He was born on February 2, 1946 (71). He hails from the Biher-Tigrinya ethnic group.

Ismail Omar Guelleh (70) - Djibouti
He was elected into power in 1991 as the handpicked successor of his uncle, Hassan Guelleh Aptidon who had ruled Djibouti from independence in 1977. He is the leader of Peoples Rally for Progress, the party that brought him to power and which has ruled the country since independence. At the moment, there is nothing yet indicative that he will leave power. He was born on November 27, 1947 in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (71) - Mali
He has been in power since 2013. Before becoming the ultimate leader and president, he has held illustrious positions as the Prime Minister from 1994 - 2000 and President of the National Assembly from 2002 - 2007. He founded the Rally for Mali (RFM) in 2001, was elected in the July - August 2013 presidential elections, and was sworn in on September 4, 2013. Before founding the RFM that swept him to power, he was in Alliance for Democracy. He was born on January29, 1945 in Koutiala, French Sudan, now Mali.

Omar al Bashir, (73) - Sudan
He came to power in 1989, when as a Brigadier in the Sudanese Army; he led a group of officers in a military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi after it began negotiations with rebels in the South. In October 1993, he transformed into a democratically elected president. He has been elected three times as president in elections that have been touted as fraudulent. He is the head of the National Congress Party, NCP. He has led the nation with iron fist and despite the secular nature of country, introduced Shariah Islamic laws which contributed in large measure to the secession of Southern Sudan after a bloody fratricidal civil war. In March 2009,, al Bashir became the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court, ICC, for allegedly being involved in mass killing, rape and pillage against civilians in Dafur. He was born on January 1, 1944 in Hosh, Bamuga, Sudan.

Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisilli (72) - Lesotho
He has been among the all-time leading political figures in Lesotho. Earlier he had served as Prime Minister from May 1998 to June 2012. He returned to power in March 2015 on the platform of the Democratic Congress, DC.His policies since assuming power again has not deviated from what he had during his first outing , a situation that is fuelling stilted frustration and mass protests. He was born on March 14, 1945 in Qucha's Nek district, Lesotho.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (72) - Uganda
He has been president since January 29, 1986. A courageous soldier and guerilla warfare specialist, he brought stability to the nation after toppling the late Idi Amin and Milton Obote. His books include Sowing the Mustard Seed , and What is Africa's Problem ? He has also suppressed waves of internecine rebellions and sits atop of Uganda as a benevolent leader. He was born on August 14,1944 in Ntungamo, Uganda.

Akuffo Nana-Addo (72) - Ghana
He was born into power as his father held many top positions including Chief Justice and Senate president. A lawyer by profession, he ran for president in 2008, and 2012 and failed. He won on his third attempt last year. He was sworn in on January 7, 2016. He was born on March 29, 1944 in Accra, Ghana.

Dennis Sassou Ngueso (73) - Republic of Congo
For a long time, he has been the issue in Congolese politics. He first ruled the country from 1979 to1992. After five years out of power in which he allegedly teleguided his successor, he returned to power in 1997 and has since ruled the country amidst economic and political chaos. He was born on November 23, 1943, in Edon, Congo.

Allasane Drammane Quattra (75) - Cote d'ivoire
His ascension to power in 2010 was dramatic as his predecessor in office had to be forced out of office by a West African regional force aided by France, after he reneged in relinquishing power in an election he lost. He was born on January 1,1942, at Dimbokoro, Cote d'ivoire.

Jacob Geeddleyilile Kisa Zuma (74) - South Africa
He was elected by parliament following his party's victory (African National Congress, ANC) in the 2009 elections. He was re-elected in 2014. His regime has of recent witnessed unprecedented challenges including twice surviving votes of no confidence in parliament.
He was born on April 12, 1942 at Nkandla, Kwazulu- Natal, in South Africa.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos (74) - Angola
He is Africa's longest serving president having ruled since 1979. His long rule is currently enmeshed in sundry allegations of corruption, mostly involving his children, who have been integrated into the affairs of state. He was born on August 28, 1942 in Luanda, Angola.

Teodoro Obang Nguema Mbasogo (74) - Equitorial Guinea
He and Angola's Jose Eduardo dos Santos hold the record of Africa's longest serving leaders. He has been president for 37 unbroken years (1979) Despite minor political skirmishes with the opposition, he has held on tightly to all the arms of government, a development that has forced people to dub him a dictator. He was born on June 5, 1942.

Hage Gottfried Geingob(75) - Namibia
He is the third and current president of Namibia. He has been in office since March 21, 2015. He was also Prime Minister under Sam Nujoma from 1990 to 2002, and again, between 2012 to 2015. He was a founding member of the West African Peoples Organization, SWAPO which led the country to independence. He was born on August 3, 1941 at Otjiwango, Namibia.

Arthur Peter Mutharika (76) - Malawi
An educator, lawyer and technocrat, he entwined the nation like a colossus before he became president on May 31, 2014. He worked globally and reputedly, in the field of international justice and for long stood as the only Malawian with international clout. He was born in 1940, in Thyolo District, Malawi.

Alpha Conde (78) - Guinea
He has been the president of Guinea since December 2010. He paid his dues spending several decades in opposition to a succession of regimes. His regime has deepened the cracks on the political wall of the nation and fostered little infrastructural progress. He was born on March 4, 1938 in Boke, Guinea.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (78) - Liberia
She is the 24th president of Liberia and currently the only female president in Africa. She has been in office since 2006. Prior to this she had served as Minister of Finance under the late William Tolbert from 1979 to 1980, just before the late Samuel Doe's coup détat. Her party, the Unity Party has managed to hold power for long in a multi- party democratic Liberia. She has won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Indira Ghandi Prize, Glamour Award, and The Chosen ones, among others. He was born on October 29, 1938.

Abdulaziz Bouteflika (79) - Algeria
He is the 5th president of Algeria and has ruled since 1999. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979. His party, the National Liberation Front has been in power for much of the nation's independence. He was born on March 2, 1937 in Odjda, Morocco.

Paul Biya (83) - Cameroun
He has been the president since November 6, 1982. A native of Cameroun's south, he rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under the regime of the late Ahmadu Ahidjo. He is well known for his book Communal Liberation . The opposition has made little progress in its push for change of guards. He was born on February 13, 1933 in Mvomeka, Cameroun.

Beji Caid Essebai (90) - Tunisia
He became president in December 2014. Hitherto, he was Foreign Affairs Minister from 1981 to 1986, and Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011. He was born on November 29,1926 at Sidi Bon Said.

Robert Mugabe (92) - Zimbabwe
He fought a bitter liberation battle and led the nation to Independence in 1980. He has ruled the southern African country since then, clamping down on opposition and warding off foreign intervention in the affairs of the nation. He holds the enviable record of being the oldest African ruler and second longest serving president. He is also a highly controversial international figure, who against all odds wrings equally controversial policies. He is a Pan- Africanist.

Muhammadu Buhari (74) - Nigeria
Nigeria's current president served as military head of state between December 31, 1983 and August 29, 1985. He ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of the country in 2003, 2007, and 2011, before he won in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. He was born in Daura, Katsina and is of Fulani ethnic stock. He was born on December 17, 1942.

Yoruba and the cog of gerontocracy
~Vanguard Nigeria.  Sunday, February 12, 2017.

AS the world educates and initiates her young ones as modern species more aggressively attuned to the flexibilities of modernity as working antidote to rigid political antiquity which is largely Africa's bane, Africa, yes, Nigeria, has ingloriously glued itself to gerontocracy.

It wasn't particularly bad for Nigeria at the get-go. Early nationalists who fought for, sought and got independence for the nation Nigeria did same in their youths. Remember Herbert Macaulay, Al-Haji Aminu Kano, Al-Haji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Professor Eyo Ita, Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello, Alvan Ikoku, Dennis Osadebay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Egbert Udo Udoma, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Joseph Tarka, General Murtala Mohammed and the up and doing General Yakubu Gowon all called the shots as leaders of the country in their youth,an era Nigerians call golden, years that fanned radical changes and revolutionary ideologies that saw the country out of the woods.

When it comes to mind that three of these prominent Nigerians, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, and Nnamdi Azikiwe, personally participated in negotiations for the independence from Britain, then you can dearly bemoan the political Egypt to which Nigeria has gladly returned. Today, our state and federal parliaments have become virtual permanent homes for docile and unproductive septuagenarians and lame octogenarians who do but deepen the depth of our doom as a country.

We must hammer the truism that youth mainstreaming can allow young people to change the world by creating new awareness, opportunities, policies, systems and cultures that foster youth engagement. In political parties, youth mainstreaming could allow for children and youth to affect democratic representation even in parties that would deny them the right to vote or otherwise become engaged. Whatever age they are, young people can run for office anywhere in the world as an act of protest; to make a stand or to draw attention.

In my sojourn across my country -Nigera vis-a-vis the age demography of political leaders among the major ethic, I dare say there's no denying that the predomination of these gerontocrats in Nigerian political space seems more prevalent among the Yoruba people of the Southwest, Nigeria. It would alarm one who's initiated and rich enough of Yoruba's culture to the effect that the youth of this tribe has always been it's strength and a central part of its rich history. Its but alien to us (the Yorubas) for old men and women to be avaricious especially with political power and office.

It was not so with the people and culture of the Yoruba at the various chapters and sagas in history, for instance, it wasn't so when the late Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu land was enthroned at age 26 in 1960. This exemplar monarch, who has reigned for more than half a century has achieved so much for his domain and the Yoruba land as a constituency.

The other day, a monarch in his youth ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Ooni of Ife and the first Oba on the soil of the Yoruba geographical space. Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the 51st Ooni of Ife, who was enthroned barely over a year ago has been a toast to great kingship; his reign has been marked by a modern outlook and a number of progressive policies, prince of which is his unification agenda and transformation moves of the illustrious king since he ascended the throne. He continues to initiate and coordinate lofty activities to advance the interest of his clan, the country and the black race around the world.

That is what one gets when muscles and mental might is present in leaders or representatives. In order to become engaged in politics in the most effective ways, young people should be encouraged to learn about political ideologies , political actions, political issues and other realities within and around the political system. They should be involved to change the date of a daily failing country and continent. Nigerian youths should be positioned across the various constituent ethic identities for leadership. We need more of Ogunwusis and Adetonas, Yoruba land needs not continue to waste the worth of her youth if it must prosper.

If Yoruba must regain and retain its pride of place, if Nigeria must triumph over its today's woes and travel beyond the socioeconomic boundaries that fetters it, such as those given above, we must begin to prevail on citizens to start to discourage fielding grandparents for political offices, a trend anticlockwise to the emerging new world.

Ajulo is Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Abuja

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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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