Monday, 30 April 2018

82nd birthday of John Tchicai

(Born 28 April 1936, Copenhagen, Denmark)
INGENIOUS alto (and tenor) saxophonist, composer, bandleader, one of the most outstandingly ethereal soloists in the repertoire
(The New York Contemporary Five plays Bill Dixon’s composition, “Trio” – [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet;  Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums [recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963][note particularly Tchicai’s ethereal solo - first - at this session])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

87th birthday of Chukwuemeka Ike

(Born 28 April 1931, Ndikelionwu, Biafra)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

NOVELIST, university registrar, academic, Africa west region principal pre-university qualifying examination board (WAEC) administrator, one of the leading intellectuals in defence of the people during the Igbo genocide, phases I-III, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, carried out by Britain and its Nigeria client state led by Hausa-Fulani/islamist jihadists during which 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of Igbo population are murdered in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa; Anglo-Nigeria launches phase-IV of the genocide on 13 January 1970 and this has continued unabated with tens of thousands of additional Igbo murdered; Igbo genocide is the longest, most gruesome, and most ruthless genocide in contemporary history
(The New York Contemporary Five“Trio” [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Cherry, pocket trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums; recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 29 April 2018

119th birthday of Duke Ellington

(Born 29 April 1899, Washington, DC, United States)
Pianist and bandleader and one of the preeminent composers of the 20th century
(1. Two masters at work: Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, “Take the Coltrane) [personnel: Ellington, piano; Coltrane, tenor saxophoneJimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Stdudios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 26 September 1962)]) 
(2. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio“Fleurette Africaine” {“African flower”} [personnel: Ellington, piano; Charles Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Sound Makers Studios, (New York, US, 17 September 1962)])
(3. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Warm valley” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in“2”  above])
(4. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Money jungle” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in “2” above])
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Biafra freedom movement: Referendum, not “elections” organised by the occupying genocidist Nigeria regime

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

THE BIAFRA freedom movement surely dictates the terms of the freedom of the people of Biafra from Nigeria despite the savagery of the feudal Hausa-Fulani/islamist-led genocidist Nigeria occupation and the overseeing ruthlessness on the ground by that league of quislings-of-occupation alternatively known as heads of regime of the administrative regions.

The movement insists on a referendum: nothing else, including bogus regime-elections, to democratically secure the next crucial phase of the restoration-of-independence process. 

“Election” exercises in occupied Biafra have in the past been distinctively fraudulent and immensely contradictory as the Fulani lead-occupiers with no tradition of democratic discourse or engagement whatsoever in its own culture or brutish history of terror, conquests, occupations, expropriations, decadence and genocide, not to mention genocidist Nigeria itself which has had no credible election throughout its history, would bizarrely posit to organise elections in (occupied) Igboland that has enjoyed an advanced republican democratic tradition for over 1000 years. Thus, for the Igbo in occupied Biafra or in the diaspora in Nigeria, the way forward couldn’t be clearer: boycott all “elections” organised by genocidist Nigeria.
BESIDES, “election” time in Nigeria is time-of-death. It is also time-of-destruction, time-of-desolation, time-of-waste, time-to-waste... Vile genocidist operative Olusegun Obasanjo captures the characterisation of this season most vividly, if not horridly, in a February 2007 proclamation at Abeokuta, west Nigeria: “it’s do or die” (, 11 February 2007), a haunting disposition echoed readily by co-genocidist Muhammadu Buhari who paints a characteristically morbid portrait of  “dog-and-the-baboon-would-all-be-soaked-in-blood” (The Vanguard, Lagos, 15 May 2012) to attest to the extent of violence he would unleash during this appointed time-of-death.

Biafrans do freedom... 

Biafran people don’t do “it’s do or die” nor “soaked-in-blood”. Tufia kwa! Either of these is predictably genocidist Nigerian stuff – as Biafrans have known, most devastatingly, in the past 52 years, with 3.1 million of their people murdered, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, and tens of thousands others additionally murdered since, 13 January 1970-present day, by this most gruesome band of murderers in African history since 1908.

BIAFRANS, on the contrary, do freedom.  Freedom is inalienable. One does not ask for it; one takes it! The 50 million Igbo know they have to take their freedom as they head to the referendum to proclaim this liberatory choice. This is the choice the rest of the world awaits eagerly.
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Acknowledgement” {part-I of A Love Supreme suite} [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones,  drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 9 December 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

101st birthday of Ella Fitzgerald

(Born 25 April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, US)
CELEBRATED vocalist with a phenomenal vocal range and an illustrious recording career spanning six decades
(Ella Fitzgerald and the Tee Carson Trio, “Summertime” [personnel: Fitzgerald, vocals; Carson, piano; Ketter Betts, bass; Joe Harris, drums; recorded: live, Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany, 11 February 1968]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

81st birthday of Joe Henderson

(Born 24 April 1937, Lima, Ohio, US)
PRODIGIOUSLY INFLUENTIAL tenor saxophonist, one of the leading lights of the instrument in the jazz repertoire underscored so classically with his The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Vols I & II (1985)
(Joe Henderson Trio, “Beatrice” {composer: Sam Rivers} [personnel: Henderson, tenor saxophone; Ron Crter, bass; Al Foster, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York, US, 14-16 November 1985])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

90th birthday of Johnny Griffin

(Born 24 April 1928, Chicago, US)
VERY DISTINGUISHED tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader
(Thelonious Monk Quartet, “In walked Bud” [personnel: Monk, piano; Griffin, tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: live, Five Spot Café, New York, US, 7 August 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 22 April 2018

96th birthday of Charles Mingus

(Born 22 April 1922, Nogales, Arizona, USoutstanding bassist, composer and bandleader whose music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz history and his Jazz Workshop a landmark conservatoire of an age)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

IN SEPTEMBER 1996, I published an essay on the work of Charles Mingus in the African Peoples Review (Vol. V, No. 3, September-December 1996, p. 22) entitled “Wednesday night prayer meeting” under the signature of Nnamdi Nzegwu. The essay is reissued here (below), in the original, in commemoration of the iconic bassist/composer’s 96th birthday: 

*****IT is no mean achievement that Charles Mingus’s music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz. His work with the pioneering geniuses of Charlie ParkerDuke EllingtonLouis ArmstrongLionel Hampton and Art Tatum in New York of the early 1950s gives Mingus the compositional and arranging insights that would soon be the bassist’s forté.

Few jazz scholars would now disagree that the success of that much discussed May 1953 concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall featuring the Parker Quintet (Parker, alto; Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet; Bud Powell, piano; Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums) is not just a Parkerian triumph but equally that of the iconoclastic bassist from Los Angeles.

BEGINNING with Mingus, the bass ceases to be merely an “accompanying” time-keeping, harmonic instrument in jazz. It still has to contend with “time-keeping”, but it has entered into the interplay as a polyphonic participant. The work of subsequent bassists particularly Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Jimmy Garrison, Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock, Eddie Khan, Charles Haden and Dave Holland attest to this Mingusian redesignation

In 1954, Mingus launched his Jazz Workshop experimentation which was to emphasise more of “group” or “collective” improvisation in jazz, away from what was then increasingly becoming the tedious and formularised “theme-solo-theme” structures of the bebop revolution that had been launched in the 1940s by the Parker-Gillespie-Thelonious Monk troika. As a critic once observed, it was not that Mingus was “avoiding Bebop, he straddled it”. He still had to absorb the great jazz heritage to move the music forward to wrestle with the new possibilities.

Creativity and rehearsals and creativity

It is therefore the case of Mingus trying to return jazz to the “group feeling” of those years of its early development in the closing decades of the 1800s. The soloist still has a great deal of space in Mingus’s thinking but their musical concepts has to develop in anticipation and in response to the polyphony of collective interaction; there are now multisided and multiple centres of creativity soon after that infectious bass intro! The act of creativity is no longer dependent on some space and time limitation. The workshops could not distinguish between rehearsals, for instance, and real performances! Creativity during rehearsals becomes rehearsals of creativity occurring at bandstands with or without an audience (for the latter, listen to the ethereal 1962 album Mingus Presents Mingus, featuring multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy). The music is always in a state of flux: evolving, developing, maturing, breaking up, only to form the nucleus of another centre of activity, itself interacting with other centres of the medley.

WITH THE CLASSIC Pithecanthropus Erectus album (1956), Mingus gives notice to this sense of continuous creativity – after all, this composition is his portrait of the formulaic development of a cataclysmic human form and the (predictable?) resultant chaos that this produces in the world by the end of the 20th century. Using distinct but unusual forms of squeals, grunts, duets and harmony, the composition exacts a coherent understanding of this tragic travelogue that a 1996 earth inhabitant would perhaps be familiar with (exhaustion/appropriation/destruction of the world’s limited resources, rupture of the ozone layer) than their counterpart 40 years before. The impassioned crystalline-striking lyricism of altoist Jackie McLean, the Rollinsesque rebuttals of tenorist J R Monterose and the plodding, haunting echoes of pianist Mal Waldron strokes keep the narrative of the age on course and there is relief, at the final movement, when the pulverising destroyer falls, is destroyed.

In Blues and Roots album that follows suit, Mingus pays homage to the sacred music of his roots. The rhythmic tension at play by soloists McLean, Booker Ervin (tenor), John Handy (alto) and Jimmy Knepper (trombone) over such compositions as “Tensions”, “Moanin’”, “Cryin’ Blues” and “E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too” always calls for new insights, ever more challenging interpretations on replays. “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” is predictably such a joy and by the time this composition is confronted yet again by a new Mingus personnel line up live in Antibes, Juan-Les-Pins (France) in 1960, detailing Mingus (bass and piano), Ted Curson (trumpet), Dolphy (alto), Ervin (tenor) and Dannie Richmond (drums), it has become the launching pad for intuitive flights and virtuosity.


Mingus’s vivid commentaries on contemporary American life and worldwide developments are prolific. These samples range from ballads (“Sue’s Changes”, “1 X-Love”, “Bemoanable Lady”, “Celia”) to the very humorous (“Eat that Chicken”, “Hog Callin Blues”, “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am”, “Old’ Blues for Walt’s Torin”, “My Jelly Roll Soul”), sentimental/sensuous (“Portrait of Jackie”, “Love Chant”, “Orange was the Color of her Dress, then Blue Silk”, “Peggy’s Blue Skylight”) to outright, politically serious (“Pithecanthropus Erectus”, “Ecclusiastics”, “Passions of a Man”, “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting”,“Letter to Duke”, “MDM – Monk, Duke, Mingus”, “Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me”, “Meditations on Integration”, “All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother”, “Fables of Faubus”, “Haitian Fight Song”, “Weird Nightmare”, “So Long Eric”) and dirge – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, Mingus’s salute to tenorist Lester Young, and of course Epitaph, his 127-minute long composition which was performed posthumously by a 30-piece orchestra at the New York’s Lincoln Center in 1989.

NEARLY A DECADE before critics would use the term “free jazz” to describe the music of revolutionaries such as Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, etc., etc., the Mingus workshops were already redefining and laying the foundation of new points of departure for jazz. Names of workshops’ alumni read like the priority core zone of the restless and most adventurous innovators of the jazz directory of the era: drummers Willie Jones and Dannie Richmond; trumpeters Clarence Shaw, Richard Williams, Ted Curson and Johnny Coles; altoists Jackie McLean, Charlie Mariano, John Handy, Eric Dolphy (also flute and bass clarinet virtuoso), Charles McPherson; tenorists Teo Marcero, J R Monterose, Roland Kirk, Booker Ervin and Clifford Jordan; trombonist Jimmy Knepper; pianists Mal Waldron, Jaki Byard, Horace Parlan, Roland Hanna.
(Charles Mingus at Antibes, “Wednesday night prayer meeting” [personnel: Mingus, bass, piano; Ted Curson, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Booker Ervin, tenor saxophone; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, Jazz à Juan festival, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, France, 13 July 1960]) 

83rd birthday of Paul Chambers

(Born 22 May 1935, Pittsburgh, US)
VIRTUOSIC bassist, composer, member of Miles Davis First Great Quintet/Sextet (1955-1963) and subject of salutary, standard compositions by varying artistic colleagues: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, “Mr P.C.”; tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, “Paul’s Pal”; pianist Tommy Flanagan, “Big Paul”; pianist Red Garland, “Mr P. C. Blues”; drummer Max Roach, “Five for Paul”
(John Coltrane Quartet featuring Paul Chambers“Walkin’” and “The theme” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Wynton Kelly, piano; Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; recorded: live, German television, Düsseldorf, Germany, 28 March 1960]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 21 April 2018

What Muhammadu Buhari, head of regime of genocidist Nigeria, thinks of the youth in his “country”

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

IN AN ADDRESS to a business forum in London on Wednesday 18 April 2018, organised as part of the ongoing Commonwealth heads of state/government conference in the British capital, genocidist Nigeria’s head of regime Muhammadu Buhari says the following about young people in his “country”:
Nigerian youths just want to sit down and do nothing, banking on the notion that Nigeria is an oil rich nation… More than 60 per cent of the country is under 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they sit and do nothing, and get housing, health care, education for free.
(Multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy here plays “God bless the child” [composed by Billie Holiday & Arthur Herzog, Jr] [personnel: Dolphy, bass clarinet; recorded: live, University of Illinoi, Champaign, Illinoi, 10 March 1963]) 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Biafran freedom movement’s march and rally at Pall Mall, London, England, near the conference centre of the ongoing Commonwealth heads of state/government summit, Buckingham Palace, Thursday 19 April 2018 (early pictures relayed)

(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Condemnation of British expulsion of African peoples-from-the-Caribbean

(Amber Rudd ... British home secretary whose department/ministry is responsible for the African peoples’ deportation)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

MANY African commentators in the diaspora and at home have joined other critics elsewhere in the world to condemn the current British government’s outrageous expulsion of some of its citizens of African descent to the Caribbean. The criticisms are rightly commendable.

Yet silence…
IT IS  however most noticeable that a number of these commentators have been conspicuously silent when African peoples in African-run states are deported similarly or subjected to even worse treatment by their hosts as the following examples highlight:

1. In Lagos, west Nigeria, the regional regime has over the years deported scores of Igbo people to Biafra. In 2015, the king or oba of Lagos issued a royal edict to murder Igbo people if they did not vote for the king’s own preferred candidate for a senior political regional office.

2. In South Africa, thousands of African émigrés from southern, east and west Africa have been expelled in recent years by the state. Hundreds of these immigrants have been murdered in the country during the period and their homes and businesses destroyed by organised groups often linked to state officials.

3. Since the March 2015 imposition of Muhammadu Buhari, the genocidist islamist jihadist, as head of regime in Nigeria by ex-US President Obama and ex-British Prime Minister Cameron, the Buhari regime’s military and its adjunct Fulani militia, one of the world’s five deadliest terrorist organisations, have murdered 3000 Igbo people across Biafra in what has been one of the bloodiest track of phase IV of the ongoing Igbo genocide. These murders have continued unabated.

Moral rectitude
AFRICAN peoples’ lives matter. This must surely be the case wheresoever African peoples live: Biafra, Sénégal, Tanzania, Botswana, United States of America, South Africa, Barbados, Kenya, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Guyana, Canada, Britain, Surinam, St Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, France, Ghana, Finland, Uganda…

Few now doubt that African commentators and others in that prominent professional grouping stand to forfeit any moral rectitude if they restrict their quest to uphold African lives’ interests usually in geographical spaces marked outside Africa but exercise a predictable stone-walled silence when these same interests are assaulted, quite often more viciously, inside Africa.
(John Coltrane & Don Cherry, “Focus on sanity” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Cherry, pocket trumpet; Percy Heath, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; recorded: Atlantic Studios, New York, US, 28 June/8 July 1960])

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

April is genocide awareness and prevention month: A snapshot of the Anglo-Fulani alliance that prosecutes the Igbo genocide

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

BRITAIN and FULANI alliance, this genocidist transcontinental dual-headed power configuration that has executed the Igbo genocide with such abiding ruthlessness and monstrosity these past 52 years, has ensured that Igbo people’s history of the past century challenges, quite dramatically, a range of key assumptions in “post-colonial” discourses that centres on race and geography.

In 1945, about 50 years after the beginning of the British conquest and occupation of Igboland, the Fulani in occupied north Nigeria, whose home is the Futa Djallon highlands of northwest Africa, 1500 miles away, embarked on the invasion of Igbo territorial spaces emplaced in the overarching architecture of the British occupation (in Jos, northcentral Nigeria) with the latter’s tactical if not strategic connivance. In effect, this attack, in which the Fulani unleashed a pogrom on the Igbo as the mode of invasion, formally inaugurated the dual-headed genocidist cabal that would oversee the perpetration of yet another season of pogrom on the Igbo in 1953 (Kano, north Nigeria), and then launched the horrendously full-blown, extended and expansive Igbo genocide, beginning on 29 May 1966. During phases I-III of the genocide in the 44 subsequent months, the duo genocidists murdered 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of the Igbo population. Tens of thousands additional Igbo have been murdered in phase IV of the genocide, 13 January 1970-present day.

IT IS precisely because of the very genocidist terror that undergirds the Anglo-Fulani alliance in the wake of the 1945 Fulani invasion of Igbo homes and other interests in Jos that the Igbo resistance to this catastrophe does not categorise any of these invaders as either “primary” or “secondary”, despite the sequence of the timeframe of the invasions and despite the nature of the contributing resources that each of the co-operative executioners of this crime against humanity deploys. For the Igbo, the grave existential challenges from both the British and Fulani in these past 73 years have occurred almost invariably in more fluid or composite frames.
(John Coltrane Quintet, “Stardust [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Wilbur Harden, fluegelhorn; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobbsdrums;  recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 11 July 1958]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

97th birthday of Chike Obi

(Born 17 April 1921, Onicha, Biafra)
FIRST mathematics doctorate in Biafra/southwestcentral Africa, rigorous academic and public intellectual, aptly described by Biafran theoretical physicist Alexander Obiefoka Animalu as the “foremost African mathematical genius of the 20th century”
(John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio, “Traneing in [personnel: Garland, piano; Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylordrums;  recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 23 August 1957]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

89th birthday of Mariama Bâ

(Born 17 April 1929, Dakar, Sénégal)
NOVELIST and influential intellectual, author of the seminal So Long a Letter (1981)
(Red Garland Quintet, “All mornin’ long [personnel: Garland, piano; Donald Bryd, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; George Joyner, bass; Art Taylordrums;  recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 15 November 1957]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 16 April 2018

Kingsley Kanu, “The Queen should put pressure on the Nigerian government to respect the people of Biafra”, The Independent, London, Monday 16 April 2018

(British Queen Elizabeth II)
Kingsley Kanu*****

IT HAPPENED on the afternoon of 14 September last year, 2017.

I had come back to visit my family home in Biafra a few weeks earlier from Germany, where I now live. I call it Biafra because Biafra is my country, not Nigeria.

My mother and father, my older brother Nnamdi Kanu and I were in the house, along with friends. It was my son’s thirteenth birthday. I had just been on the phone congratulating him when the first gas canisters were thrown over the fence followed by gunfire. It was 4pm. The house was surrounded by Nigerian soldiers.

I found it hard to breathe. Everyone was panicking. I was witnessing a full on military attack on my parents’ home. I saw a soldier jump over the high fence that surrounds our house and open our main gate. He started shooting at the young men inside. That was when I realised if I didn’t escape now I would die.

There were soldiers and guns everywhere. How I got out only heaven knows. I remember I had to jump two walls. There was sporadic firing from the soldiers and one of the people who tried to follow me, a good family friend, was killed. My youngest brother, Emmanuel, had left a few minutes before and was only a few metres away. Since that afternoon, I’ve heard nothing from my mother and father and my brother Nnamdi.

THE ONLY explanation for my family being targeted by the Nigerian government is that we believe in an independent Biafra. People may remember the Biafran War fifty years ago. For a few years, between 1967 and 1970 we were a free state. I was born during the war in December 1969. My family had to leave our home in Umuahia to escape the invasion by the Nigerian army then. My mother was pregnant with me and it was no longer safe. There was fighting just behind our house. 

Biafran people were shot and bombed and starved to death; millions of them. Our experience was genocide. My parents lost most of their relatives.

SO I GREW up in an occupied country, an unhappy country. We were forced to be part of a state manufactured by colonial rule: Nigeria. I remember my father, like everyone else, was given the equivalent of £20 in recompense, to start again.

But despite everything, we had a very happy childhood and a loving family life. My older brother Nnamdi and I did everything together. We were about the same height, so we even shared clothes and shoes. He took care of me as a younger brother and guided me. My father traded in farm produce. Now he is a traditional ruler. People look up to him. They trust him.

When I was younger I knew I couldn’t stay in Biafra. Since the mid-’70s our culture, our history, our people had been all but erased. My brother and I needed to do something to help people to remember and we couldn’t do it there.

I moved to Germany sixteen years ago and raised a family. He moved to London and began the online Radio Biafra, broadcasting in English and Igbo, the language of Biafra, stories about our country, music, commentary and news. The Nigerian government has wanted to shut this down since it first broadcast in 2010.

NNAMDI also started our organisation, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, seeking peaceful ways to bring about self-determination and independence for Biafra through democracy. We are a young organisation. Many of our members are too young to remember the war, but we are passionate that we will see an independent Biafra and a free Biafran people in our lifetimes.

Many Biafrans have been killed or detained before, during and after the 14th September 2017. There have been peaceful protests to commemorate the war where the security services have just opened fire on us.

AS FAR AS we are concerned, the government of Mohammadu Buhari is determined to stifle the independence movement. This week, President Buhari will meet the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Queen needs to know that, if my experience is anything to go by, Buhari’s government will resort to the most serious human rights violations in order to gag the people of Biafra.

 *****Kingsley Kanu who lives in Germany is younger brother of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra


Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Nigerian army going to Argentina to learn “ranching skills”: The alarm, the worry…

EC Ejiogu*****

ANYONE WHO presumes that there are no global and strategic dimensions to Muhammadu Buhari’s re-advent to the control of state power in the Nigeria project and his on-going determined pursuit of deadly parochial-Islamization policies viz-a-viz the disruption of the peace, well-being and existence of the distinct peoples that inhabit the enlarged Niger basin—especially the Igbo and their neighbors in the lower southeast portion—should take a pause and reflect better.

The role that dedicated Igbo scholars, public intellectuals, their allies, and sympathizers everywhere must play by bringing their skills and knowledge to bear on the contextualization of the issues and facts involved in Muhammadu Buhari’s state polices, their adverse aims and implications this time and beyond for the peace, well-being and existence of the Igbo and the other threatened distinct inhabitants of the Niger basin cannot be downplayed.

When Adolf Hitler and his militaristic Nazi regime were routed in 1945 by the efforts of the heroic men and women—fellow Africans included—from every corner of the globe, who volunteered for military and military support service in the World War II, several of Hitler’s frontline and backroom operatives in the Nazi establishment who played actionable roles in the mass genocidal extermination of countless Jews and people of other despised races in the gas chambers, concentration camps, etc. that they set up and operated in known parts of Europe’s heartland, fled Germany and resettled in Argentina, other parts of Latin America, and even the Middle East.
IT IS noteworthy here for full disclosure that my own dear father, who died in 2011 at the age of 97 was one of those brave African men who stepped forward to be counted for military service in that Great War as soldiers in occupier Britain’s Royal West African Frontier Force, (RWAFF).  My father who enlisted in 1940 at the enlistment depot in Enuugwu, was assigned to the Royal Signals Corps alongside 24 other young enlistees all of who were from the distinct nationalities in the Niger basin’s lower southeast portion.  Their assignment to the Royal Signal Corps instead of the Regimental Signal Corps was on account of their superior Western educational qualification—all of them possessed the standard six certificates, which was coveted at the time.  Research revealed that the need to recruit personnel with the requisite Western educational qualification was in fact, the compelling rationale that trumped the established stipulation made by Her Majesty’s military policy makers at Whitehall to deviate from the established stipulations that guided the recruitment of colonial military manpower in the colonies to favor men from the so-called “martial tribes” alone in the upper Niger basin,

For those Nazi operatives who fled to Argentina, their choice of refuge was aided and abetted by their Argentine benefactors, some of whom are in or connected with their country’s military establishment, who also received and provided them with cover and sundry support upon arrival in Argentina.  In the post WWII years after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, and it quickly evolved into a no-nonsense veritable protector of universal Jewish rights with regard to the vow that “never again” would the Jewish people fall victim to such violation of their human rights as was the case in the hands of the Nazis, only a few of those Nazi operatives have been located by the Israeli state, which in some cases, used extraordinary means to bring them to Israel where they faced justice for their crimes against humanity.  The rest have quietly lived out their lives and died natural deaths undetected, without being made to account for the atrocities they inflicted on Jews and their other victims.

Don’t forget that Africans—Ovaherero and Nama peoples of South West Africa, in today’s Namibia, were the initial victims of the Nazi genocidists.  The torture techniques that the Nazis subsequently applied wholesale against their victims during the Jewish Holocaust were developed and perfected on the Ovaherero and the Nama by German colonial administrators who operated in South West Africa in the early 1900s.  An estimated 100,000 Ovaherero and Nama lost their lives during the time.  Noteworthy is that in 2004, Germany accepted that those killings amount to genocide, but still refuses to pay specific compensation to descendants of the victims.  Descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama who lost their lives in that genocide recently filed a law suit in New York in which they demand compensation from the German government.  That suit is on-going in New York.

IT WAS not by happenstance therefore, that the military establishment in Argentina after its overthrow of President Isabel Peron’s government and usurpation of state power in 1976 embarked on a systematic and horrific human rights violations against all sections of society in Argentina throughout the duration of the reign of terror called the Dirty War on civil society that it imposed in the 1976 through 1983 after it lost the Falklands war and was ousted from power.  Society in Argentina is yet to recover from that horrific Dirty War in which 30,000 opponents of military rule were systematically “disappeared”.  Most of those who were responsible have not been held accountable.

Although the military establishment in Argentina is no longer in control of de facto state power since 1983, there is no doubt that its strands and elements that were responsible for and participated in those horrific gross human rights violations are still well and kicking.  They were the same strands and elements that received, gave cover to, and protected fleeing Nazi genocidists from Germany when they arrived Argentina after 1945.

THE HISTORY of land ownership and plantation agriculture in Argentina and the rest of Latin America is the story of racial expropriation and exploitation especially of indigenous peoples.  Much of the large scale commercial ranching in Argentina and other Latin American countries are in the hands property-owning families that support and or are involved in right-wing politics in society.  The military establishments in Latin America have direct links and affiliation to those property-owning families who rely on their relationship to the former to guarantee their economic and political privileges in society.  Also, during the period when the military was in control of state power in Argentina, many of their individual elements appropriated stupendous tracts of acreage of land that they deployed for huge commercial ranching ventures that they still own and operate all over Argentina.

The alarm, the worry…

DO YOU now see one of the worrisome and alarming linkage-implications of Muhammadu Buhari’s policy that would send soldiers from a military, whose officer corps and other ranks are overwhelmingly Hausa-Fulani men to Argentina to learn ranching skills?  In stark terms, the policy will enable Muhammadu Buhari’s genocidist military to acquire up-to-date skills to aid and abet the Islamization agenda in the Niger basin.

Military forts in the name of cattle ranches scattered across the land will provide outposts around which government supported Fulani settlements will flourish.  Also, as was the case in parts of the world where settler colonialism prevailed, soldiers from such military forts will be used to project pacification violence against indigenous resistance to forced permanent Fulani settlements in the nooks and crannies of the rural communities where they are located.

IGBO scholars, intellectuals and their friends everywhere must not be shy to proclaim to the world that the Igbo and their neighbors in the lower southeast Niger basin do not pose or constitute threat of any sort to peace in the regional or global contexts.  The non-militaristic cultures and the inherent democratic social authority patterns that these inhabitants of the lower southeast evolved and still rely on to direct authority in their respective society are testimonies to that truthful assertion.

For civilized humanity to sit by and watch while Muhammadu Buhari and his militaristic Hausa-Fulani kinsmen and women deploy militaristic policies that engulf the peace-loving peoples of the lower southeast right in their respective homeland using different ploys amounts to real and serious threats to regional and world peace.

EVEN THOUGH nothing again has been heard about this policy since it was first flouted in sections of the Press in Nigeria sometime last year, the big worry is whether it indicates that the Hausa-Fulani ruling establishment under Muhammadu Buhari has made contacts with elements of Hitler’s Nazi war criminals and their Argentine benefactors.  The implications of that for the distinct peoples, especially the Igbo, that inhabit the lower Niger basin is serious as they continue to face down Fulani Islamization onslaught.

*****Professor EC Ejiogu is author of The Roots of Political Instability in Nigeria: Political Evolution and Development in the Niger Basin, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2011 and guest editorSpecial Issue on Chinua Achebe: The Igbo, Pogrom, Biafra War and Genocide in Nigeria”, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol 48, 6, December 2013 (contributorsEC Ejiogu, VY Mudimbe, Biodun Jeyifo, Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Carol Ijeoma Njoku, Chima J Korieh, Douglas B Chambers, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o)