INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY IN NIGERIA

Maritime Investment Opportunities-1

Oil prices in Nigeria have fallen below 55% since September 2014, impacting public sector spending. However, infrastructure development is critical to the growth of the economy. The GDP indicator, indicates the non-oil sector has been the main driver of growth with services-oriented economy, such as retail, wholesale trade, real estate, information and communication.

The fall in oil prices has created investment opportunity in other sectors, like agriculture, mining and manufacturing. Particularly, in the export sector, leveraging on Nigerian Maritime Industry in the following areas.

Maritime Investment Opportunities-2Maritime Investment Opportunities-3Maritime Investment Opportunities-4Maritime Investment Opportunities-5Maritime Investment Opportunities-6Maritime Investment Opportunities-7Governance issues remains a huge challenge within the Nigerian Ports sector about delays in getting their goods moved through the ports but the latest funding boost from the federal government could change the growth prospects for this sector. 

For more information about Maritime Investment opportunities, contact us at info@faceawardusa.com

About FACE

FACE is a not-for-profit organization that supports African Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Professionals representing over 60,000 African Immigrant Communities in the United States. Our goal is to encourage policies and practices that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development, and youth empowerment programmes by creating awareness to make available the necessary infrastructures for the development, and maintenance of viable primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors in Africa, and the African Diaspora.

Princess Asha Receives IIM Africa Fellowship

Princess Asha, CEO of AfriQtalk, and founder of FACE USA has been nominated among the distinguished elites of professionals, and personalities to receive the most prestigious IIM Africa Honorary Fellow Awards from Institute of Information Management. Scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the University of Lagos.

The unique award, is specially reserved for personalities who have distinguished themselves in the society through service, selflessness and other peculiar contributions through which the lives of many have been affected positively.

Some of this year’s inductees are; Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) – The Ooni of Ife, Alhaji Lai Mohammed – Minister of Information and Culture, Mandy Olowu – President/Founder, Hope Ambassadors and Childcare Organization, Prof. Ibrahim Garba – Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Engr. Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, Director General/CEO- National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Nsebong Akpabio, Mon Amipr Assistant Corps Marshal Zonal Commanding Officer, Zone RS2 Federal Road Safety Corps, Amb. Toye Okanlawon- Chairman & Chief Executive – Fountain Bleau Global Consulting.

Past inductees, include; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, Oba Dr. Olusanya Adegboye the Olowu-of-Owu Kingdom, HE Bar. Babatunde Fashola, HE Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, HE Dr. Rabiu Kwankwanso, HE Godswill Akpabio, HE Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Mr. Labaran Maku to name just a few.   

IIM-Africa “Fellow of the Institute of Information Management (FIIM)” award has also, been conferred on a good number of dignitaries within and outside of the country since inception for exemplary performance and achievements over the years in the Industry and the society. 

For more information visit http://www.iim-africa.org/.

Export-Import Bank of the United States Annual Conference

If you’re an Exporter, Broker, Foreign Buyer, Foreign Government, Legal Services, and U.S. Federal Government Agency. EXIM Bank’s Annual Conference presents a unique opportunity for com…

Source: Export-Import Bank of the United States Annual Conference

AfriQtalk to Host Mandela Washington Fellowship

AfriQtalk in collaboration with Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will be hosting a dinner reception for 25 of Africa’s brightest emerging business and entrepreneurship leaders in July, 2016. Atlanta, GA.

If you are an African organization, business owner, chambers of commerce, association or simply a friend of Africa, and interested in participating or to join in welcoming our young leaders, contact us at afriqtalk57@gmail.com.

For sponsorship information, contact info@faceawardusa.com. Lets keep Africa shinning.

About The Mandela Washington Fellowship

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, is the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities. Fellows are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

Click here for more pics

Celebrating One of Our Own For International Women’s Day

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After building a career in public relations for almost fifteen years, Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie’s path turned into cultural diplomacy when she was appointed by the Consulate General of Nigeria, Amb./Consul General, Geoffrey Teneilabe to serve as a Media Consultant for the 17 Southeastern States of the United States and territory where she brought a business perspective to the position—driving made in Nigeria initiatives, tourism, trade, investment, climate change awareness, health, and charity missions to Nigeria.

Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie comes from a generation of politicians, and social activists. She is the granddaughter of King Ogbidi Okojie of Uromi dynasty, daughter of Prince Albert Okojie (CON), former politician, commissioner of agriculture, and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, then Midwestern Region of Nigeria, a niece to Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the first Esan Catholic Cardinal of Nigeria, and late politician, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who in 1953, initiated the self-government motion, which eventually led to Nigerian Independence on the 1st day of October, 1960.

Princess Asha wears many hats; she is referred to as “The African Oprah” as well as “The Cultural and Tourism Ambassador” Diaspora. Her attention grabbing headlines, and interviews has received international recognitions, and awards. In 2014 she was nominated, as one of the Emerging African Leaders in the Diaspora for facilitating the first Nigerian Cultural and Tourism Investment Conference in the U.S. She is also, a publicist, motivational speaker, executive producer, and host of “Lets Talk Africa.

Founder of FACE INC., a not-for-profit cultural and social organization that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development, create awareness, support Youth Empowerment Programmes, African Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Professionals by encouraging policies and practices to make available the necessary infrastructures for the development, and maintenance of viable primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors in Africa.

Under her leadership, FACE INC. has consulted and partnered with local and international organizations, governmental agencies, and institutions on community development projects/initiatives. Princess Asha is also, the President of FACE Award, an annual business, entertainment, and leadership summit that recognizes Africa’s influences on global economy, and cultures, in recognition of individuals, organizations, corporations, and institutions whose outstanding leadership, service or activities has contributed to the promotion of culture, tourism, hospitality, diplomacy, enterprises, and entrepreneurship in Africa and the African diaspora.

To its credit, FACE Award has bridged the cultural gap through its global outreach, and inclusiveness. Past award recipients includes; Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Hon. Mildred Crump, Council President, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark, New Jersey, Hon. Arc. Mike Onolememen, former Minister of Works, Nigeria, Mayor, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA, Chief Edem Duke, former, Hon. Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Nigeria.

Princess has hosted and anchored press conferences, media and news coverages for Presidential Inaugurations, Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), The GA Senate Chambers, The Carter Center, United Nations, and Mayors Office on International Relations Affairs. Prior to becoming the CEO of AfriQtalk LLC, a multimedia and Consulting firm, she worked at Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, multi-specialty physician’s groups, ambulatory clinics, and inpatient facilities as a Physician Reimbursement Consultant.

In 2010, Princess was elected into Stanford Who is Who, U.S.A, an elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world as a result of her extraordinary efforts in media, business, and entertainment. Princess Asha have featured on high profile print publications, television, and radio talk shows; this former model is not a new face in the entertainment industry. She’s done many TV ads, walked on runways for several fashion designers, and Former Miss Valentine, Nigeria. She became the first beauty queen to grace the cover of Hints Magazine, and youngest African entrepreneur in Atlanta to own an international kitchen that catered to celebrities, and Who’s Who during the 1996 Olympics.

Princess is an advocate for finding alternative traditional medicine for Sickle cell disease through research. Throughout her incredible 20 years in media, healthcare, and entertainment, she has routinely exhibited the enthusiasm, vision, and dedication necessary to be considered among the best. Princess Asha, has interviewed guests, such as former President Jimmy Carter, Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Sir Emeka Offor, 2Face, Bracket, Kalu Ikeagwu, Blessing Egbe, Olu Maintain, including, Members of Nigerian National House of Assembly, Senators, Foreign Service Diplomats, Ambassadors, Community Leaders, Government, and Company Executives to name a few.

Princess is often inspired by nature, a humanitarian, who believes in giving back to the community through volunteerism. At her spare time, she enjoys writing poems, inspirational quotes, traveling, and mentorship. Her commitment to promoting culture, preservation of the environment, arts, indigenous music, and tourism is evident in her passion for photojournalism, and talk show initiatives. She is fun loving with high-energy, creative, and artistic abilities.

She holds a B.S in Healthcare Administration & Management, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Information Management, Media Personality, Board Member of (INFORSID), International Forum for Sickle-Celled in the Diaspora, Advisory Committee Member of Women Empowerment Network (WOENET), Stakeholder Member of Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation USA, Member of the National Alliance of Medical Auditing Specialist, USA, and American Association of Professional Coders, U.S.A. Her devotion to God, and family keeps her going.

Contact, email, and website Info:

afriqtalk – Windows Live Messenger | Skype | Yahoo! Messenger | Twitter

https://www.youtube.com/user/AfriQtalk

afriqtalk@facebook.com

https://www.facebook.com/afriqtalk

afriqtalk@yahoo.com.

http://afriqtalk.net

http://www.faceawardusa.org/

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings?trk=prof-edit-edit-public_profile

Contacts, Email, and Website Info:

2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards

Genevieve-Nnaji

The 4th Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards that were held on Saturday, March 5 at the Eko Hotels in Lagos. The AMVCA is an annual awards show which features nominations in over 20 categories in African film and TV series. It was hosted by seasoned media personality IK Osakioduwa and Minnie Dlamini

It was a great night and was graced by actors from different African countries as well as broadcast live across Africa.

Here are some of the photos from the event, the after party, and a full list of all the winners at the event.

Best Art Director – Frank Rajah (The Refugees) Best Television Series Award – Ariyike Oladipo (Daddy’s Girls)

Best Makeup Artist in a Movie or Series – Louiza Calore for Ayanda

Best Short Film or Online Video Award – Oluseyi Amuwafo (A Day With Death)

Best Writer for Movie and TV series – Trish Malone (Ayanda)

Best Lighting Designer (Movies/TV) – Stanley Ohikhuare (Common Man)

Best Cinematographer – Paul Michaelson (Tell Me Sweet Something)

Best Sound Editor – Jose Guillermo (Cry)

Best Picture Editor – Shirley Frimpong-Manso (Rebecca)

Best Costume Designer – Uche Nancy (Dry)

Best Local Language Movie/TV Series (Swahili) – Single Mtambalike (Kitendawali)

Best Indigenous Movie/TV Series (Hausa) – Salisu Balarebe (Dandi Kowa)

Best Indigenous Movie/TV Series (Yoruba) – Binta Ofege

Best Indigenous Movie/TV Series (Igbo) – Paul Igwe (Usekwu Igbo)

Best Documentary – Remi Vaughan (Faaji Agba)

Best Supporting Actor In A Movie – Sambassa Nzeriba (A Soldier’s Story)

Best Supporting Actress – Tunbosun Aiyedihin (Before 30)

Best Actor In A Comedy – Folarin ‘Falz The Bahd Guy’ Falana (Jenifa’s Diary)

Best Actress In A Comedy – Funke Akindele (Jenifa’s Diary)

Trail Blazer Award – Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju

AMVCA 2016 Industry Merit Award – Bukky Ajayi and Sadiq Daba

Best Movie (Southern Africa) – Joyce Chavura – (Lilongwe)

Best Movie (East Africa) – Elizabeth Miachael – (Mapenzi)

Best Movie (West Africa) – Genevieve, Chinny Onwugbenu and Chichi Nwoko – (Road to Yesterday)

Best Actress In A Movie/Drama/TV Series – Adesua Etomi (Falling)

Best Actor In A Movie/Drama/TV Series – Daniel K. Daniel (A Soldier’s Story)

The Best Director – Akin Omotosho (Tell Me Sweet Something)

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Export-Import Bank of the United States Annual Conference

If you’re an Exporter, Broker, Foreign Buyer, Foreign Government, Legal Services, and U.S. Federal Government Agency. EXIM Bank’s Annual Conference presents a unique opportunity for companies from around the world to meet U.S. exporters. Attendees include more than 1,100 exporters and representatives of financial institutions, foreign trade partners, and government officials. At the event, participants also meet EXIM Bank staff and obtain detailed information about export credit products and programs.

 Where?

Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

When?
Thursday, April 7, 2016 – 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, April 8, 2016 – 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

What?
EXIM Bank’s Annual Conference presents a unique opportunity for companies from around the world to meet U.S. exporters. Attendees include more than 1,100 exporters and representatives of financial institutions, foreign trade partners, and government officials. At the event, participants also meet EXIM Bank staff and obtain detailed information about our export credit products and programs.

Exhibitor Information:
If your organization is interested in participating as an exhibitor, please send an email inquiry to Capital Meeting Planning via email: exhibits@cmpinc.net, or submit an application here(link is external).

Conference Registration:

Early-bird Discount: The early-bird deadline for both Participant and Exhibitor registration is Friday, March 18, 2016.

Registration Categories and Fees

Annual Conference – $550.00/person ($800.00/person after Friday, March 18, 2016). Includes all Seminars and Meals.

Group Registration – $500.00/person – 4 or more individuals from the same company ($700.00/person after Friday, March 18, 2016). Includes all Seminars and Meals.

Group Registration with Reserved Lunch Table – $6,000.00/group ($7,000.00/group after Friday, March 18, 2016). Includes ten (10) individual registrations plus one (1) reserved table at both luncheons.

Small Business Participant – $250.00/person ($300.00/person after Friday, March 18, 2016). Small Business is defined as having 500 or fewer employees. Includes all Seminars and Meals.

To register for the Conference or to participate as an exhibitor, click here 

About FACE

FACE is a not-for-profit organization that supports African Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Professionals representing over 60,000 African Immigrant Communities in the United States. Our goal is to encourage policies and practices that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development, and youth empowerment programmes by creating awareness to make available the necessary infrastructures for the development, and maintenance of viable primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors in Africa, and the African Diaspora. For more info about us click here.

FistBank Growing its Trade Finance

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, has thrown its weight behind the development of trade financing in Nigeria and beyond. This, according to the bank, informed the collaborative effort with FBNBank (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of FirstBank to sponsor the 7th Annual West Africa Trade & Export Finance two-day conference which commenced in Lagos on Wednesday. finance

In a statement by the Group Executive, Treasury and Financial Institutions, FirstBank, Ini Ebong, the bank would continue to create and support initiatives that will create business opportunities and investments in Nigeria and the African continent.

“We will continue to grow our mileages in developing trade and commodity finance across the continent,” he said.

FirstBank’s Head, Structured Trade & Commodity Finance, Mr. Ikenna Egbukole will be a panel discussant on the topic: “Tracking trends within West African banking sector,” at the event.

“The progress FirstBank had made in trade finance is further buttressed by its consistent win of the ‘Best Trade Finance Bank in Nigeria’ by Global Finance Awards for seven years including 2015. FBN Bank (UK) Limited has also been named Best Trade Finance Bank in West Africa for five consecutive years by Global Trade Review Awards,” the statement added.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Media Chat

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President Buhari during his media chat spoke on current national issues. Some of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria, like the Boko Haram insurgency, failing economy, war against corruption among others.

19.00 All eyes on President Buhari as media chat begins.

19.02 Kayode Akintemi of Channels TV, the anchor of the chat, welcomed Mr. Buhari and introduced his colleagues.

19.04 And the first question. Nigerians love you. You are the man of integrity. You were elected on the promise to fight corruption. The honeymoon is over. How do you think we are doing with the fight against corruption?

19.05 Buhari answered: “We are doing quite well. We have some documents where Nigerian crude oil were lifted illegally and proceeds diverted into personal accounts”

19.06 “We are taking the people suspected of corruption to court. We cannot comment. We want Nigerians to be patient,” the president says.

19.07 Kayode Akintemi: “Who are the people that the gov’t claimed have returned money and how much have they returned?”

19.08 “Under whatever circumstances we cannot prejudge what the court would do,” President Buhari.

19.09 Buhari continues: “Money has been recovered but whatever has been recovered, will have to remain in court.”

19.11 The next question is “What we have now is an iceberg, and I am just wondering whether there is any way to rejig ICPC and EFCC?”

19.15 “We have to be very sure of the documents we get. We have to cross check records. I have confidence in the way EFCC and ICPC are structured now,” Buhari added.

19.16 “How long are you willing to go in this fight against corruption?” the journalist asks the next question.

19.19 Buhari answers: “I have said that I will defend every property of Nigeria. We are appealing to countries to please cooperate with us.”

19.21 “When do you intend to make full declaration of your assets?”

19.22 “When I was being harassed, I told people that I had declared my assets four times. I mentioned which banks I borrowed money, the number of cars – where they were – and deposited the documents at the ministry of justice. If they cannot produce the documents that I declared, they should also answer questions on documents of public officers.” the Nigerian leader says.

19.25 “Nigerians to know progress of the anti-corruption war by end of 1st quarter of 2016,” the president continues.

19.27 “My ministers must make sure they declare their assets; that is a constitutional requirement,” Continuing, “I am going to make sure that nobody is above the law.”

19.28 The next question comes: “On Chibok girls and technical defeat of Boko Haram, when are we bringing the girls back?”

19.29 “I have answered questions on Chibok Girls and we know so far from our attack on Sambisa that the girls are not intact. We are more than willing to negotiate to free the girls without compromising our National Security,” he responds.

19.32 The president continues: “Some supposed leadership wanted to make contact, but we insisted on identifying the leadership of the so called Boko Haram.”

19.34 “Are you sure the girls are there and alive?”

19.35 “Do we have any intelligence that the girls are alive? No credible information. We’re working with Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Boko Haram kept shifting them around,” Buhari said.

19.36 President Buhari speaks also on IDPs; he stated that there are about two million IDPs in the country, especially in Borno state.

19.37 Buhari says the Boko Haram victims are orphaned and Dangote, Danjuma have donated.

19.38 The president says he has money to take care of IDP’s and he wants to settle the kids in schools/communities. His words: “We are determined to resettle children transported across the country as a result of insecurity.”

19.41 The conversation moves to the confrontation between the army and the Shi’ia sect, and its similarities with the start of the Boko Haram insurgency.

19.43 Both the president and interviewers avoid giving names: “When it (clashes with Shiites in Zaria) happened in the state (Kaduna), the governor (Nasir El-Rufai) was visiting the area,” Buhari.

19.45 “I don’t want to speak about it in detail now,” the president continues.

19.46 “The President of Iran spoke to me about it and I told him as a government, we have a system. I am awaiting the report of the military,” Buhari says.

19.47 Another question for Buhari: “Who would you be expecting the report of the Shi’ites’ killings from?”

19.48 Last question on security and the next subject comes.

19.49 The interviewer asks about the Boko Haram deadline. “Can you say whether the war has been ‘technically’ or otherwise won?”

19.50 Is banning hijab an option or not?

19.51 “People die, it’s very serious. Hijab will have to be banned if this (female suicide bombings) continues,” the president says.

19.52 “When I say Boko Haram had been defeated technically, we have weakened capacity for conventional attacks” – Buhari.

19.53 The next portion of questions is on economy.19.55 Buhari answers on Naira devaluation issue. “Should we be looking at devaluing naira?”

19.57 “I don’t support devaluation,” the President says.

19.58 “There are 45 accounts in NNPC alone. We introduced the Treasury Single Account so that we can know what comes in and goes out.”

19.59 “Insecurity, downturn of petroleum are very unfortunate incidents in this country,” Buhari continues.

20.02 “But, Mr. President, would you support the devaluation?” The answer from Buhari: “If you devalue the Naira, against what? Against the Dollar, Sterling, Yen, Dutch? I need to be convinced about devaluing the Naira. We are importing including toothpick!”

20.04 “Our priority is for welders, barbers, building our roads & railways, not rice and expensive textile wears,” the president.

20.06 On the issue of people being unable to withdraw hard currencies, PMB says: “I will ask the Governor of the Central Bank. Those who want to import rice and toothpick should go somewhere else to get foreign currency.”

20.07 The president being asked: “Are you considering putting a stop to the issue of subsidy?”

20.09 “Our first priority now is to get our refineries working,” he says.

20.10 “By the end of next quarter, we might stop subsidy. I hope that our refineries can be functional,” Buhari states.

20.11 He continues: “Our priority is to get our local refineries working, to reduce cost. The cost of petrol is so low; you don’t have to subsidize it.”

20.14 Question: What is the president’s understanding of job creation? And what was he thinking when the decided to make Fashola minister with three portfolios. What was the president’s vision for him?

20.15 “Fashola was not made a super minister for nothing. The issues associated with power, which will take time, will be answered. He added that government is looking at different means of generating power.” President Buhari answers.

20.16 “We had 42 ministries, with 42 perm secs. We had to cut them to 24 and asked some to go,” he continues.

20.18 The conversation moves to the questions on change – the slogan of Buhari during the presidential campaign. The interviewer asks: “What has changed?”

20.19 “The change is in the TSA.”

20.23 “The policy on foreign currency withdrawal cannot be lifted because the money is not there. A N100bn goes to the National Assembly for transport allowances alone,” the conversation continues.

20.25 President Buhari speaks on 2016 budget. “I think I will use veto power to stop the national assembly from using N47 billion to buy cars.” – Buhari. He continues that he will review N3.6b for BMW cars scandal. “I turned down a huge bill for vehicles, but I know we need some vehicles for foreign visitors.”

20.26 “Who checks the National Assembly? After hesitating… the president says: “The judiciary.”

20.27 Nigerians are expected to send in their questions via twitter, using the hashtag #askbuhari

20.29 “The question of parastatals earning money, spending it and giving government the change will stop.” – PMB

20.30 “I turned down a N400million car proposal; the cars I have are good enough for 10 years.” Buhari.

20.32 President Buhari answers first question from Twitter.

20.34 The question is: “How would the president respond to criticism of plans to borrow to fund a part of the 2016 budget?”

20.36 “We are not depending on debt, we are renegotiating with those who agreed to build infrastructure for us. Nigeria is not borrowing to fund the 2016 budget but renovating with creditors to build capital projects,” Buhari answers.

20.37 Nigerians ask what Buhari’s government will do with corrupt judges.

20.39 “Those making the allegations would have to prove it,” the president says.

20.40 “The Judiciary is a seating dock; we need the police and other arms to take cases to them; it’s unfair to blame the judiciary,” Buhari added.

20.43 The president further answers on minimum wage: “I cannot answer the question of 18 thousand minimum wage now; and the federal govt will not touch that. The federal gov’t will not touch minimum wage.”

20.44 On 5k monthly, Buhari says: “When my people have been quoted, how can I come here and say otherwise?”

20.45 “We may have to send the young unemployed youth seeking N5k fee to farm to earn the money” – PMB

20.47 Buhari continues: “We will look into the students already in school to be able to use their Master Card Debit/Credit cards abroad.”

20.49 One more round of questions from journalists (the panel) is expected.

20.50 “The standard of tertiary institutions is really poor, I don’t want students sitting on windows to take lectures,” Buhari answers the question on tertiary institutions from Twitter.

20.51 President Buhari answering questions from Kayode Akintemi, Ibanga Isine, Ngozi and Mannir Dan Ali.

20.55 Are you not worried about Kanu? the journalist asked the president.

20.56 Buhari’s answer: “DSS disobeyed court orders, people got legitimate bails from courts, and they are still being held. It’s due to atrocities they committed. They go against the country, and you expect them to jump bail? The one we are calling ‘Kanu’ he has two passports, he brought equipment. Do you know Kanu brought in sophisticated weapon into the country; there’s treasonable felony case against him.”

20.57 “You want people who stole N50B to be granted bail to go to London when we have 2 Million IDPs in camps?” – President Buhari continues.

20.58 The president speaks on Biafra issue: “Why does it have to worry me, when I have militants of all kinds, Boko Haram and etc. The question is, who marginalised them (Biafra agitators)?”

20.59 “Please ask your colleagues to do more investigative journalism, so the people know the truth,” Buhari in his last words addressed journalists.

21.00 The first media chat has finished. Thanks for being with us.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE DEPOSITS IN COMMERCIAL BANKS AND SALES TO BDCS BY GOVERNOR GODWIN I. EMEFIELE

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1.     Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The Management of the Bank has called this Press Conference to give you updates on recent developments in our Foreign Exchange Market as well as the decisions we have taken to ensure that we continue to strive to attain our mandates as set out in the CBN Act of 2007. In order to do so, let me first give you a brief overview of both the global and domestic contexts.

2.     As we all know by now, Nigeria has been dealing with the effects of three serious and simultaneous global shocks, which began around the third quarter of 2014. These are:

  • The over 70 percent drop in the price of crude oil, which contributes the largest share of our Foreign Exchange Reserves;
  • Geopolitical tensions along critical trading routes in the world including between Russia and Western Powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, etc; and
  • Normalization of Monetary Policy by the United States’ Federal Reserve Bank.

3.     In the aftermath of these shocks, growth in the global economy in the first two quarters of 2015 was less than envisaged thereby leading to a weak outlook for the rest of the year. Indeed, estimates of global growth for 2015 have been revised from almost 4 percent to 3.1 percent. The challenges of these global developments are having lopsided effects in many emerging and developing countries. Within this context, and especially when juxtaposed with comparable countries, the Nigerian economy remains moderately robust. Nonetheless, these strong global headwinds are impacting the domestic economy considerably. In 2015, GDP growth decelerated from 3.9 percent in the first quarter to 2.4 percent in the second quarter. However, it has increased slightly to 2.8 percent in the third quarter.

4.    Although headline inflation remained single digit, it stayed slightly above the Bank’s tolerance range of 6-9 percent, having risen marginally from 9.3 percent in October to 9.4 percent in November 2015. A breakdown of the inflation dynamics indicates that the underlying pressure derives largely from the lingering base effects of unfavourable energy prices and exchange rate pass-through which may have been exacerbated by delayed harvests.

5.     Following the drop in crude prices from a peak of US114 barrel in July 2014 to as low as US$33/barrel in January 2016, the country’s reserves has suffered great pressure from speculative attacks, round tripping and front loading activities by actors in the FX market. This fall in oil prices also implies that the CBN’s monthly foreign earnings has fallen from as high as US$3.2 billion to current levels of as low as US$1 billion. Yet, the demand for foreign exchange by mostly domestic importers has risen significantly. For example, the last we had oil prices at about US$50 per barrel for an extended period of time was in 2005. At that time, our average import bill was N148.3 billion per month. In stark contrast, our average import bill for the first nine months of 2015 is N917.6 billion per month, even though oil prices are now less than US$35 per barrel. The net effect of these combined forces unfortunately is the depletion of our foreign exchange reserves. As of June 2014, the stock of Foreign Exchange Reserves stood at about US$37.3 billion but has declined to around US$28.0 billion as of today.

6.     To avoid further depletion in the reserves, the CBN took a number of countervailing actions including the prioritization of the most critical needs for foreign exchange. In this regard, and in order of priority, we decided to provide the available but highly limited foreign exchange to meet the following needs:

  • Matured Letters of Credit from Commercial Banks
  • Importation of Petroleum Products
  • Importation of critical Raw Materials, Plants, and Equipment, and
  • Payments for School Fees, BTA, PTA, and related expenses

7.     In the total disregard of the difficulties that the Bank is facing in meeting its mandate of “maintaining the country’s foreign exchange reserves to safeguard the value of the Naira,” we have continued to observe that stakeholders in some of the subsectors have not been helpful in this direction. In particular, we have noted with grave concern that Bureau de Change (BDC) operators have abandoned the original objective of their establishment, which was to serve retail end users who need US$5,000 or less. Instead, they have become wholesale dealers in foreign exchange to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction. Thereafter, they use fake documentations like passport numbers, BVNs, boarding passes, and flight tickets to render weekly returns to the CBN.

8.     Despite the fact that Nigeria is the only country in the world where the Central Bank sells dollars directly to BDCs, operators in this segment have not reciprocated the Bank’s gesture to help maintain stability in the market. Whereas the Bank has continued to sell US Dollars at about N197 per dollar to these operators, they have in turned become greedy in their sales to ordinary Nigerians, with selling rates of as high as N250 per dollar. Given this rent-seeking behaviour, it is not surprising that since the CBN began to sell foreign exchange to BDCs, the number of operators have risen from a mere 74 in 2005 to 2,786 BDCs today. In addition, the CBN receives close to 150 new applications for BDC licenses every month.

9.     Rather than help to achieve the laudable objectives for which they were licensed, the Bank has noted the following unintended outcomes:

  • Avalanche of rent-seeking operators only interested in widening margins and profits from the foreign exchange market, regardless of prevailing official and interbank rates;
  • Potential financing of unauthorized transactions with foreign exchange procured from the CBN;
  • Gradual dollarization of the Nigerian economy with attendant adverse consequences on the conduct of monetary policy and subtle subversion of cashless policy initiative; and
  • Prevailing ownership of several BDCs by the same promoters in order to illegally buy foreign currencies multiple times from the CBN.

10.   More disturbing, though, is the financial burden being placed on the Bank and our limited foreign exchange. The CBN sells US$60,000 to each BDC per week. This amount translates to US$167 million per week, and about US$8.6 billion per year. In order to curtail this reserve depletion, we have reduced the amount of weekly sales to US$10,000 per BDC, which translates into US$28.4 million depletion of the foreign reserve per week and US$1.476 billion per annum. This is a huge hemorrhage on our scarce foreign exchange reserves, and cannot continue especially because we are also concerned that BDCs have become a conduit for illicit trade and financial flows.

11.   In view of the above, the Management of the Central Bank of Nigeria has reached the following decision, which take immediate effect:

  • The Bank would henceforth discontinue its sales of foreign exchange to BDCs. Operators in this segment of the market would now need to source their foreign exchange from autonomous source. They must however note that the CBN would deploy more resources to monitoring these sources to ensure that no operator is in violation of our anti-money laundering laws;
  • The Bank would now permit commercial banks in the country begin accepting cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers.

12.   In closing, let me note very importantly that these measures are not intended to be punitive on anyone or any group. Rather it is meant to ensure that the CBN is better able to carry out its mandate in an effective and efficient manner, which guarantees preservation of our scare commonwealth, and that our hard-earned financial system stability remain intact to the benefit of all Nigerians.

 

Amb. Teneilabe Receives Highest Honor From GA State Senate

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Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, the outgoing Consulate General of Nigeria on January 22, 2016, received Senate Resolution, the highest honor from State Senate, during the Georgia General Assembly. Presented by Donzella James, a democratic senator representing Metropolitan Atlanta’s 35th District of Georgia for his exemplary diplomatic service to the community.

In his acceptance speech, Amb. Teneilabe commended Senator James for supporting the Nigerian Communities, and thanked the Senate Chamber, stating that Georgia-Nigeria economic relations has been mutually beneficial.

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Nigeria-US Trade Relations

A trade delegation of 16 United States companies representing multiple sectors visited Nigeria recently. The trade group was part of the largest overall US Government-led trade mission to Africa in history.

A statement from the US Consulate General in Nigeria, explained that the Winds-Africa spinoff trade mission to Lagos saw a day of meetings for US business executives with Nigerian Government leaders and entrepreneurs.

This, it said also strengthened further, numerous US-Nigerian business leads and deals. It also stated that to date, the overall Trade Winds-Africa trade mission in 2015 has brought more than 100 US companies to the continent.

“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with countless business opportunities, and it can be a great launching point into other African markets,” the US Acting Consul General in Lagos,Dehab Ghebreab, said.

 The Trade Winds-Africa mission is part of a concerted effort under President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa campaign, under which the US Government has committed billions of dollars in financing to stimulate trade and investment in a wide range of industrial sectors”Nigeria’s burgeoning market means untold possibilities for U.S. companies, which can provide quality goods, services, and solutions in a broad array of sectors,” the U.S. Senior Commercial Officer, Brian McCleary, who is based in Lagos, added.

The overall delegation was in South Africa from September 16-18 for business-to-business meetings and a forum with regional leaders and representatives of U.S. and African companies. Many of the U.S. companies also visited other markets on the continent. The trade mission ultimately stopped in eight countries: Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa.

The U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Mission to Nigeria teams expect to facilitate more than 200 business-to-business meetings

2015 FACE Award debuts in New York

 

12654206_746624132148783_1927441759771457244_nFor Immediate Release
September 28th, 2015

FACE Inc., in collaboration with Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, and FACE organizing team, held its Annual Summit and Awards. Theme: “Bridging Skills Gap: Maximizing Human Capital in a Rapidly Evolving Economy”, on the week of the 70th General Assembly in New York, in a privately held function on September 26th, 2015 at the Flatiron Hotel, in recognition of individuals, organizations, corporations, and institutions whose outstanding leadership, service or activities has contributed to the promotion of culture, diplomacy, enterprises, and entrepreneurship in Africa and the African diaspora.

In attendance were Amb. Geoffrey Teneilable, Amb./Consul General of Nigeria, Atlanta, Amb. Howard Jetter, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Hon.Crump, Council President City of Newark, Ugo Nwaokoro, Deputy Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Barrister Oladipo Okpeseyi, SAN, and Chairman of The Island Club, Lagos, Dr. Edwin Ndukwe, Head Communications, Chrome Group, Bob Brunner, Vice President of Arik Airlines, Barrister Tony Egbase, Principal Counsel, A.O.E Law & Associates, and delegates from Ivory Coast representing, Donatien BEUGRE, President of the Regional Counsel of San-Pedro, including, personalities, dignitaries, entrepreneurs, beauty queens, professionals, performing artists, journalists, government officials, State officials, and business executives, some of whom were recognized for their outstanding leadership or service in the community.

In his opening remarks, Amb. Teneilabe expressed enthusiasm, and commended the organizers of FACE for their effort in creating awareness, aimed at promoting cultural ties between Nigeria and the United States as well as the provision of opportunities and platform for exchange of information, ideas and interactions, between private sector investors of the two countries. Guests were entertained into the night, with performances by “Perfecta Ekpo”, “OKO The Artist”, fashion show by Allflow Couture, and media coverage by Afrik diaspo News.

Following the award night, a Security summit was held on the 27th, 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters, in collaboration with African Business Round Table, with the support of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations. Theme: “Beyond The Millennium Development Goals: The Sustainable Development Agenda and Challenge of Combating Persistent and Emerging Threats To Peace And Security In Africa”.  Special Guest Speaker, His Excellency, former, President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obansajo, attendees includes, Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa, Heads of delegation of African countries, Heads of key institutions such as the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS, SADCC, IGADEAC, ECCAS, Mahgreb Union, Ambassadors, and securities companies.

Presentations were also, made by Amb. Renee Sanders, former, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Brian Colella, CEO, SOSB Incorporated, and Henry Morgenstern, CEO, Security Solutions International SSI, Miami.

FACE Inc., is a not-for-profit organization that supports African Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Professionals representing over 60,000 African Immigrant Communities in the United States. Our goal is to encourage policies and practices that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development, culture, and youth empowerment programmes through public, private, partnership, and advocacy, to make available the necessary infrastructures for the development of Africa, and maintenance of viable African business communities, and organizations in the African Diaspora.

Recipients of Esteemed FACE Awards:

1. Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe – EXEMPLARY DIPLOMATIC SERVICE OF THE YEAR

2. Sir Emeka Offor Foundation – OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATION OF THE YEAR

3. Barrister Anthony Egbase – INTERNATIONAL PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

4. Hon. Mildred Crump, Newark, New Jersey – OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN LEADERSHIP OF THE YEAR

5. Chief Benjamin Omale, CEO, Edi-jen Group- OUTSTANDING INNOVATION ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

6. Shaka Ssali, VOA – OUTSTANDING EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

7. Eva Banks, CEO Eva Banks Production – BEST ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

8. OKO – BEST NEW ACT OF THE YEAR

9. Nigerian American Lawyers Association (NALA) – OUTSTANDING ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR

10. Flory Ramoreboli, CEO, Allflo Couture – BEST DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

11. Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark, New Jersey – LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR

12. Donatien BEUGRE, CEO, TRC San- Pedro, Cote d’Ivoire, Ivory cost – LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR

For more info contact: info@faceawardusa.com

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Nigeria Export Promotion Council Call to Action

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has announced clear commitments towards ITC championed 5 year Call to Action on growing global economy through women’s participation in trade. The announcement was made in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 1 September 2015 at the Trailblazer Summit organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) to launch a call to action for women’s economic empowerment through trade that commits to take one million Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) to market by 2020.

It will result in a Roadmap to 2020 for sourcing from Women with concrete and measurable annual targets for research, robust database development, training for market readiness, access to capital and strategic utilization of technology.

Announcing NEPC’s Commitments to the Call to Action, Ms Maureen Ideozu, Technical Advisor to the CEO – NEPC, an Elumelu Fellow who represented the CEO, Mr Olusegun Awolowo said that NEPC has articulated four strategic interventions which encompass data gathering, capacity development, mentoring, market access and advocacy.

The four key commitments are – Commissioning a diagnostic field research on export survival strategies for women; Implementing strategic interventions for achieving women inclusiveness in domestic, regional and global markets; achieving sustainable gender inclusiveness in trade policies and; monitoring and evaluation with review of gender inclusiveness strategies.

Ms Ideozu stressed that women hold a hidden economic growth potential for the country. According to SMEDAN’s 2013 MSMEs survey, MSMEs in Nigeria account for 84% of Nigeria’s labour force with women owning 43% of the micro enterprises and 22.75& of the small and medium enterprises. With the right level of support and innovation, these women businesses can join the global economy through participation in value chains.

Closing the Summit, Ms Arancha Gonzalez – Executive Director of ITC announced the launch of http://www.procurementmap.intracen.org a platform that provides procurement information from countries around the world with over 100000 worldwide tenders. In addition were seven other concrete commitments from ITC.

The Summit was the beginning of a three day Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF15), which gathered hundreds of women and large corporations from across over 40 countries. The programme holds from 1 – 3 September 2015.

 

ANPA Making Nigeria Proud

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The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) held its 21st Anniversary Convention and Gala Banquet on Saturday, July 8-12, 2015 at the Marriott Orlando World Center, Orlando, FL. Theme: “Healthcare Delivery During Conflicts, Disasters and Epidemics”.In attendance were Amb. GeoffreyTeneilabe, Amb./Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, the Surgeon General of Florida State, John Armstrong Parker, MD, former Rivers State Commissioner of Health, ProfessorOnyebuchiChukwu, former Minister of Health, Nigeria, former Lagos State Commissioner for Health, BenjaminOhiaeri, MD, CMD, Dr AdaIgonoh a survivor of the Ebola virus infection, the national executives, Dr. MikeEtomi, Dr. AustinOsemeka, physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, residents, allied health professionals, media press, other notable personalities and distinguished guests from around the world.Following the ANPA Florida Chapter meet and greet, a Golf Tournament, Hat and Tea raffle was organized by ANPA members to raise funds for medical missions. Presentations were made by the invited speakers, and ANPA members, concluding a three day event filled with scientific, professional, social and cultural activities.

John Armstrong Parker, MD commended the Federal and Lagos State Governments of Nigeria for their swift response to the Ebola crisis in Nigeria. Also, Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije, ANPA President, thanked the Ambassador/Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, Amb. Geoffrey Teneilabe for their partnership in providing Nigerian passport renewal services, as well as speakers, members, guests, exhibitors, and sponsors.

His Excellency, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, expressed optimism during his remarks at the Gala Banquet Night held on July 11th 2015, commending the organization for their commitment in providing health services in Nigeria through its Medical Missions, and initiatives in reaching out to other organizations in the Nigerian Diaspora, urging all Nigerians to come together to support good causes. The Gala Banquet and award night was filled with enthusiasm, and laughter as MC Comedian Seyi Brown kept an audience of over 500 people entertained.

Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor Donates $10 Million to Carter Center in the Fight Against River Blindness

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On Thursday June 12, 2015 over 300 individuals, international communities, and Nigerians in the diaspora, including guests from Atlanta’s Consular Community, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, The Carter Center, Board of Councilors members, Government, Charities and Corporations of Nigeria were present at the Grant Signing Ceremony that took place at The Carter Center between the Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor for a partnership to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) in Nigeria.

Also, in attendance were other notable personalities such as Ambassador Teneilabe, Amb./Consul General of Nigeria, Atlanta, Ambassador Howard Jester, Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Hon. Chudi Ofodile, Former member of the House of  Rep, Nigeria, Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), Former Minister of Defense, Nigeria, Hon. Ken Nnaman, Former Senate President, Nigeria, and members of the international press.

Prior to the signing, another ceremony was held on June 11, 2015 to honour Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor as Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia by the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of the Georgia Parliament, Rep. Dee Dawkins for his contributions in the fight against diseases in Africa and Nigeria which had impacted, positively on the lives of many Nigerians through his Foundation programmes and projects.

The grant support of $10 million by Sir Emeka from the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) is the largest grant in Carter Center history given by an individual African donor to help facilitate treatment in previously uncovered areas in Nigeria, increase distribution of Mectizan from once a year to twice a year treatment and provide treatment as needed, specifically,  in states like Abia, Imo, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, and Enugu by 2020 in collaboration with the government.

In a press interview, the Former President stated that the grant will help to extend the reach of the Carter Center’s work in South East and South South Nigeria and help accelerate river blindness elimination throughout Nigeria where The Carter Center works with the Federal Ministry of Health, including Sir Emeka’s native home, Anambra State in Nigeria, West Africa.

“  I am deeply honored to work closely with The Carter Center, through the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation to help eliminate river blindness, ” said Sir Emeka Offor. “ Nigeria has more cases of river blindness than any other country in the world. Yet, we know that with adequate resources, hard work, and perseverance, we can defeat this terrible neglected disease that can steal a person’s ability to see the beauty of the world in which we live and to enjoy a full and active life.”

“ Today’s unprecedented donation from Sir Emeka Offor Foundation will allow us to ramp up the program and close in on elimination, impacting many more people in southern Nigeria. ” said  Dr. Emmanuel Miri, Country Representative of The Carter Center. “With SEOF and the Nigerian government, we believe we can surpass the caliber of success we’ve already demonstrated and will meet the 2020 river blindness elimination target in the states where we work.”

His Excellency, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, expressed optimism about the project’s prospects to eliminate river blindness during a private dinner reception held on June 13, 2015 in his residence at Roswell, GA. He also, commended Sir Emeka Offor for his commitment in the fight against diseases in Nigeria, urging him to continue the good work.

CARTER CENTER

Since 1996, The Carter Center has assisted the Nigerian Ministry of Health in nine states to fight river blindness through community-based health education, Merck and its Mectizan Donation Program; the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO-World Bank African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC); the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation; the Lions Clubs International Foundation; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); RTI International; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mr. John J. Moores; the former River Blindness Foundation; The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Henry McConnon; the A. G. Leventis Foundation; and many other generous donors and partners.

SIR EMEKA OFFOR FOUNDATION

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged through philanthropy, and focuses primarily on giving support and hope to those in need irrespective of tribe, creed, religion and nation. The Foundation has affected the lives of many Nigerians through its domestic programs and projects which include youth empowerment, widows cooperative, education, health service and infrastructure development. For more information, visit: http://sireofforfoundation.org/

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Undefeated Nigerian Superstar – Gifted Cole

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Gifted Cole Chiori, is an undefeated professional boxer based in the United States- originally from Nigeria. Gifted is a welterweight fighter, with a current record of 11-0. He has fought professionally In Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and the United States.

His last bout, was internationally televised by Super Sports from Accra, Ghana, and was attended by President John Mahama, and over 25,000 spectators. The fight was stopped in the 6th round, as his opponent could not continue.

Gifted won the official Intercontinental WBF Title by way of knockout on November 9, 2013, against German opponent Tom Reiche. The self- promoted event in Atlanta, was graced by thousands of his Nigerian supporters and dignitaries from all over the United States. He has earned the respect and admiration of fans all around the world, and continues to entertain them with his unique style of fighting. Chiori was also honored by the Minister of Works Honorable Arc Mike Onolememen at the prestigious ‘Face Award USA’ for Sports Athlete of the Year in Atlanta, GA, and has many U.S. based Nigerian fans who greatly support his efforts.

Gifted is currently training to fight his next opponent this July in Australia and plans to promote several more fights before the end of the year in the United States, and possibly in Nigeria. He sees the potential for the growth of boxing as a major source of entertainment, and has his eyes set on bringing boxing back to Nigeria in a big way. His campaign to ‘Bring Vegas to Nigeria’, will require stakeholders that share in his vision to make Nigeria a desirable location to breed and promote elite professional boxing.

Gifted is proud to continuously provide guidance for less fortunate youth through his charity work in Nigeria. He has single- handedly funded and promoted boxing clinics and tournaments for at risk youth, and does his part to provide them with the necessary equipment and facilities to sharpen their skills in boxing. Many of the participants are being groomed by Chiori’s team for a career in boxing, with hopes of bringing them to train and fight in America in the form of an exchange program. Chiori is looking forward to partner with anyone who shares in his vision, and welcomes all support.

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The Annual Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition

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The Annual Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, under the auspices of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources & NNPC, took place from 16 – 19 March 2015 in Abuja, Nigeria. The conference provided a platform for the Nigerian oil and gas industry to discuss and debate the most pressing issues facing the industry as well as share successes and network with industry peers.

The distinguished speaker line-up included senior representatives from government, new and existing MDs of the international oil companies operating in Nigeria, independent oil companies, international and indigenous services companies, financiers and lawyers who were able to address the delegates, voicing the different perspectives of the industry.

The Nigeria Oil & Gas Exhibition welcomed over 6500 visitors visiting over 250 exhibiting companies, of which 85% were indigenous. The NOG exhibitors were able to showcase the latest technologies, products and services to current and potential business partners to secure deals and drive business forward.

 2015 Key Decision Makers Included:

H.E. Diezani Alison-MaduekeHonourable Minister of Petroleum ResourcesFederal Republic of Nigeria

H.E. (Prof) Chinedu O NeboHonourable Minister of PowerFederal Republic of Nigeria

Joseph Thlama DawhaGroup Managing DirectorNNPC

George OsahonDirectorDepartment of Petroleum Resources

Jonathan Kwame OkehsGroup General ManagerNational Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS)

Markus DrollVice President, Nigeria & GabonShell Upstream International Operated

Wale TinubuGroup Chief ExecutiveOando Plc

Babs OmotowaManaging Director

Why Nigerian Professionals in the Diaspora want to establish a Diagnostic & Trauma Center in Nigeria

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Nigerian Professionals in the Diaspora have come together to establish a healthcare facility that will save lives, empower better-informed healthcare decisions, and reduce the rates of preventable mortality in Nigeria, using their expertise, and experiences already gained in the U.S .

Out of sheer concern for the millions of medically under-served Nigerians who suffer needlessly, and even die due to curable and preventable illnesses. The facility will help with early prevention, and life saving techniques that could save lives, and reduce the morality rate in Nigeria.

The idea to bring hope and possibly save lives was initiated during the 2013 Atlanta chapter of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organizations in the Americas conference, (NIDOA) in partnership with the Consulate of Nigeria, Atlanta, under the leadership of Amb. Geoffery Teneilabe.  The project has brought Nigerians in the diaspora together in determining the future of healthcare situation in Nigeria for a common cause to “Save lives, one at a time”.

At the first Stakeholders’ monthly meeting held in Roswell, GA. Amb. Geoffrey Teneilabe, Amb. Adebowale Adefuye, and Amb. Habib Habu, New York, pledged to support the effort to advance the role of Nigerians in Diaspora in building an outstanding Medical facility in Abuja, Nigeria.

“We came together to set up a committee to allow Nigerian professionals to contribute immensely to the establishment of a Center of Medical Excellence, built by Nigerians. “I must tell you that virtually everyone that I have spoken to so far on the project has indicated interest to contribute and give back to their fatherland, said Ambassador Teneilabe.

The President of  the Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation (NDDTF), Prof. Martin Okafor on behalf of the Management Board and Members of the foundation, thanked the three Ambassadors of the Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, New York, and Embassy of Nigeria in Washington DC for their encouragements, contributions, and continued support, since the deliberation of the establishment of the project started in May 2014.

It is worth to mention that the Consulate of Nigeria in Atlanta hosted, and facilitated NDDFT’s first maiden meeting, March 23, 2014 as well as all subsequent stakeholders’ meetings of the project, including; The secretariate, sponsorship and other logistics, since its conception in 2014.

The Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic Trauma Foundation (NDDTF) and Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic Trauma Center (NDDTC) are non-profit organizations both which were founded in 2014 with the committed support of the Consulates- General of Nigeria, New York, Atlanta, and the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC creating an enabling platform of unprecedented collaboration of Nigerian organizations, entrepreneurial groups, and small businesses as board members and stakeholders.

An International Conference on Tropical Health, and Fund Raising Gala will be held on March 21, 2015 at Holiday Inn, Atlanta/Roswell 909 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell, GA 30076. An event organized by the Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation (NDDTF) stakeholders.

For more info about the conference go to the event page on Facebook or  you can visit the website for additional details.

 

 

African History 101

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The Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 B.C. and mysteriously vanished around 500 AD in the region of West Africa. This region lies in Central Nigeria. The culture’s social system is thought to have been highly advanced. The Nok culture was considered to be the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta. It is suggested that the society eventually evolved into the later Yoruba Kingdom of Ife.

The refinement of this culture is attested to by the image of a Nok dignitary at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The dignitary is portrayed wearing a “shepherds crook” affixed with an elastic material to the right arm. The dignitary is also portrayed sitting with flared nostrils, and an open mouth suggesting performance. According to some accounts, based on artistic similarities to both early Yoruba art forms and Nok forms, there may be connections between them and the contemporary Yoruba people. Later brass and terracotta sculptures of the Ife and Benin cultures show significant similarities with those found at Nok.

Iron use, in smelting and forging for tools, appears in Nok culture in Africa at least by 550 BC and more probably in the middle of the second millennium BC (between 1400 BC and 1600 BC depending on references).

INTRODUCING NIGERIANS IN THE DIASPORA- Dr. Robert Okojie ” The Man Behind NASA Success Stories”

At first glance, he looks like your average Joe. Dr Robert Okojie is ” The Man Behind NASA Success Stories” has numerous engineering contributions to high temperature aerospace technologies, in particular, electronic devices based on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors.  These techniques are now being licensed for use by a leading manufacturer of microsensors.

He has extended his silicon carbide expertise to batch fabrication of silicon carbide laminates for advanced fuel injectors that satisfy international civil aviation standards. His advance enables the use of this high performance semiconductor in the active control of engine combustion. He has even developed the first accelerated stress test protocol published in the IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium, the venue by which reliability testing is accepted by world industry.

Dr. Robert S. Okojie working with silicon wafer in NASA GRC clean room.

Dr. Robert S. Okojie working with silicon wafer in NASA GRC clean room.

These are the latest in an impressive list of Dr. Okojie’s achievements. Among his past successes, he demonstrated the world’s first thermally stable ohmic contact metallization on silicon carbide at record breaking temperatures for extended periods of time. In turn, this paved the way for high temperature sensors and electronics at these temperatures that can substantially improve safety and efficiency, as well as directly impacting the air quality around airports.

His many patented device contributions extend to numerous MEMS structures that can reduce air and noise pollution, provide new deep well drilling tools, and supply sensors for the temperature and chemical extremes of aerospace environments. Okojie’s work is a combined effort of the Aviation Safety and Fundamental Aeronautics programs under NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

A descendant of royalty from Nigeria, Okojie came to the United States in 1986 to attend college. After a brief stint at Essex County College, Newark, N.J., he attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology, also in Newark, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s in Electrical Engineering in 1991 and 1993, respectively.

He, continued, and later earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1996. His grandfather, King Ogbidi Okojie of Uromi, Nigeria, was an ardent supporter of higher education.  While Okojie has achieved a type of technical celebrity status with his colleagues, after work he is just a regular dad who spends time with his family.

For more information on Glenn’s silicon carbide electronics work, visit http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/SiC

Sources ~ NASA AEROSPACE FRONTIERS

Called To Serve – Ayo Abimbola For House of Representative

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Called to serve his country, Henry Ayo Abimbola is running to be the next house of representative in Ogun State, Nigeria. Election will be held on Sat, March 28, 2015. Henry Ayo Abimbola is a native of Ijebu Remo origin who was born at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos Island, Lagos State, Nigeria on April 20, 1964 to High Chief Festus Olatilewa Abimbola and Princess Agnes Okalo Momodu. His early childhood was mostly spent between Lagos and Edo States. He attended his primary school education at Government School Irrua, Edo State as well as Government Demonstration School, Gbaja, Surulere, Lagos.

He received his ordinary levels secondary education at the Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua and completed his advanced levels secondary education at Parkadale Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He joined the United States Navy’s elite Hospital Corpsman career field where he received medical and hospital management training before he attended the United States Marine Corps’ Field Medical Service School (FMSS) in order to serve with U.S. Marines of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). He later attended the Joint-service Defence Medical Readiness Training Institute (DMRTI) for specialized Instructor training on Combat Casualty Care Course (C4), and served as a Joint-service C-4 Instructor, from where he later retired from active duty status into veteran status. He has trained and variously worked in the sociological, medical management, and public health fields.

He attended Georgia Perimeter College and Texas Southern University to study Health Information Management. A graduate of Saint Leo University in the USA, and a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, his leadership, management and analysis expertise in government and healthcare sector spans two decades; including prior service with the former National Provident Fund Management Board in Nigeria in the mid to late 80s. An avid social commentator, freelance columnist, writer, and civil society leader, he has authored numerous pro-democracy features published Online. He is on the Board of three US-based civic organizations, and he is founder and president of a US-based national non-profit Veteran Service Organization, which operates shelters for homeless U.S. military veterans.

He is also the founder of International Reform Order of Nigeria (IRON), a Texas-based political think tank. He currently serves as executive director of Citizens for Nigeria (CFN), a civil society organization which operates and runs Againstbabangida.com web site. Ayo currently manages War Casualties Tracking (WCT) programs for the United States Marine Corps’ Wounded, Ill and Injured Tracking Systems as a Recovery Care Coordinator by way of Armed Forces Services Corporation (AFSC) in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. Ayo’s administrative, organizational and analytic skills will bear positively at the Nigerian National Assembly, on his people in Ogun State, and on Nigerian nation as a whole. Ayo is happily married to Mariam Bukola Abimbola (nee Lekuti), and they are blessed with children.

 

What Does Nigeria Economic Growth Mean?

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Nigeria has a bold vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020, as outlined in its “Nigeria Vision 2020” strategy. Although currently eighth in the world in terms of population, the country ranks 41st in terms of GDP and 161st in terms of GDP per capital. Despite being described as a developing country, Nigeria is a powerhouse on the African continent by virtue of its size. Its vast oil wealth also promises much in the way of potential finance for development.

How can this enormous potential be realized, and what policies are needed to achieve this ambitious dream of economic growth and prosperity? The goal of becoming a top-20 economy can only be achieved if Nigeria also makes the transition to a new economy based on knowledge, productivity, and innovation that will enable it to be competitive in a 21st century context. According to the World Bank, there are common factors that are associated with successful development. No country has attained development outside these common denominators.

These are:Economic growth: This has to do with poverty reduction. Experience shows that countries that have reduced poverty substantially and in a sustained manner are the ones that grow fastest.Successful development is predicated on a country having sustained periods of high per capital income growth. Mass poverty and economic development don’t go together.

Vibrant private sector: It has been established that private firms, including small and medium-sized businesses in rural non farm sectors, play a critical role in generating employment, particularly for the youth and the poor.This is where the contribution of the micro finance banks is needed. Undeveloped real sector coupled with mass unemployment are obstacles to development.

Empowerment: The citizenry must be empowered to contribute to development. Accordingly,every person should be able to enjoy good health and education. People should shape their own lives by being able to participate in the opportunities provided by economic development. People should have their voices heard about decisions affecting their own lives. Furthermore, there should be essential public services such as health, education and safe water. These are critical social services that should be provided equitably.

Good governance: Good governance is perhaps the most important factor in development. Without good governance, every other thing is in disarray. Good governance in both public and private sectors creates an environment where contracts are enforced and markets can operate efficiently. It ensures that basic infrastructures are provided, with adequate health, education and security. People can effectively participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Ownership: A nation’s development agenda must be homegrown. This ensures that there is widespread support for the programmes and reform measures that underpin it. State collaborations: To achieve economic development in Nigeria, collaborative efforts with other countries may be beneficial to the mutual interest in economic advancement. For example, the President of Benin Republic and African Union (AU) President, Dr. Boni Yayi announced his intention to collaborate with Nigeria to ensure economic development of both countries through the provision basic infrastructural facilities.

The two countries were tie through Ife, Benin, Sokoto Caliphate, Kanu Kingdom and other affinities, and currently, more than 50 percent of Benin populations are Nigerians, hence the need to bring about the synergy to better the lots of the people as proposed by the President of Benin Republic. Collaborative action and partnership of States can help foster economic roles in development through mutual benefit investments and infrastructural expansion.

Knowledge development: Knowledge has always been central to development. Traditionally,cultures that knew more than others were better able to adapt to their environments, survive, and thrive. In ancient times, knowledge was spread through the most serendipitous ways from migratory movements to religious pilgrimages, from wars to inter tribal marriages and, thus,traveled across continents. Nowadays, the Internet has become the primary vehicle of knowledge dissemination almost the entire gamut of human history and knowledge is available in an instant and at little cost through the World Wide Web. Knowledge is becoming truly global, accessible, and democratic.

The impacts of this paradigm shift are all around us. Countries such as the Republic of Korea, India, and the United States of America that can harness the power of new technologies nurture a cadre of knowledge workers that can push the productivity and innovation frontiers. Others that fail to do so remain mired in poverty.

The global financial crisis has shown that countries can no longer rely on narrow and static paradigms of growth, such as Nigeria and its natural resource endowments. The era when natural resources dominated trade has given way to an era in which knowledge resources are paramount.

Our world is changing rapidly and those who will be able to acquire, adapt, and utilize new ideas and innovations, regardless of who has invented them, will create tremendous wealth in the process. To achieve Vision 2020, Nigeria needs to move beyond the stop-start development patterns of an oil-based economy to create a stable and prosperous base for a 21st century society built on a critical mass of knowledge workers.

From 1914 to 2014, the Nigerian economy has witnessed several phases in development. The economic status of the nation has been affected by political instability, exploitation and a myriad of other factors just like many other nations of the world but amidst such obstructions, Nigeria’s economy has evolved over the years and it is still on a journey to its rise in fiscal and industrial development.

Attaining 100 years of existence since the 1914 amalgamation, Nigeria has course to celebrate its economic strength and diversity in several areas of development but at such a defining moment in Nigeria’s history, it is a strategic moment to redefine her economic policies, promote the expansion of investment, trade and agriculture as well as control natural resources to the fullness of their productivity and of course eliminate all forms of misuses and venality that hinders the maximum achievement to our economic expansion. With good governance and the best economic approaches, Nigeria will surely advance to the zenith of economic development.

After reading the above piece written by Okechukwu Effoduh, the question becomes: What Does Nigeria Economic Growth Mean? It means four more years of the Jonathan’s administration to continue its sound economic policies as reflected in the economic achievement of The Jonathan’s Administration to mention a few. See below:

 

  1. Improvement in Economic Indices – In October 2011 International Ratings agency, Fitch Ratings revised the country’s Outlook upwards from Negative to Stable.

  2. Standard and Poor’s another internationally respected and independent ratings agency, revised Nigeria’s ratings from stable to Positive.

  3. Implementation of Niger Delta Amnesty Scholarship Program

  4. Signing into law the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Bill 2010 (Local Content Bill) which has increased Local Content in the Oil and Gas sector.

  • As a direct result of that law Royal Dutch Shell awarded a N7.8 billion ($49.9 million) contract to a Nigerian firm, S.C.C Limited, for the manufacture of high pressure line pipes that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.

  • As a result of this law, Exxon Mobil awarded an off shore platform contract to a local firm, NigerDockNig. PLC that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.

  1. Initiated the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). A seed capital of $1 billion was provided to kick start the fund as well as establish three sub funds- the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund; the Future Generations Fund and the Stabilization Fund which will be the pillars of the SWF.

  2. Launched the Youth Enterprise with innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) initiative on the 11th October 2011 which is the administration’s job creation center piece.

  3. CNN Lists Nigeria as 3rd Expected Fastest Growing GPD.

  4. Launched the Public Works Women and Youth Empowerment programmer, an intervention programmer designed to employ 370,000 youths in the year 2012 with 30% of those jobs being reserved for women.

  5. Secured investment commitments worth 4.89 Trillion Naira.

  6. Launched the NigComSat-1Rsatellite which will help expand Internet Bandwidth, monitor the weather and provide early warning to prevent natural disasters like floods, crop monitoring and urban planning. It has the attendant benefit of reducing the over $1 billion spent in purchasing Internet Bandwidth from abroad.

  7. Nigeria’s banking industry rescued and stabilized by the establishment of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in the year 2010.

  8. MasterCard made Nigeria its regional headquarters for its West/East and Indian Ocean islands zone raising the profile of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry.

  9. Nigeria’s GDP grew by a record 8.29% during the last quarter of 2010 and by over 7% in 2011. In the first quarter of 2012 Nigeria had verifiably become the third fastest growing economy in the world as recently attested to by several multilateral bodies and trading partners.

  10. Revival of the Textile industry via the 150 billion Naira Textile Industry Bailout, as a result the United Nigerian Textile Limited was reactivated amongst others and over 2000 employees re-engaged

  11. Non-oil exports from 2010 (standing at $2.3 Billion) and subsequent years are ten times what they were in 2000 (which were $200 Million) as a direct result of this administration’s intervention in the Textile Industry and Real Sector.

  12. Implemented the National Transformation in priority areas, including power, rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.

  13. Created an estimated 1.6 million new jobs in 2013 as a result of his government’s policies and actions.

  14. Implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying the economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals.

  15. Common External Tariff, CET, agreement with the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS to protect the country’s strategic industries from foreign domination.

  16. Nigeria moved from being a net importer to a net exporter of cement, with its production capacity growing from just 2 million metric tons in 2002 to about 28.5 million metric tons today.

  17. Nigeria named by UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD as the No.1 destination for investments in Africa.

  18. Distribution of fertilizers and seeds to about 4.2 million farmers, directly through an e-wallet system.

  19. Building of 72 new libraries in Federal Unity Schools and laboratories rehabilitated in all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country.

  20. Privatization of 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP to ensure effective evacuation and distribution of power generated, an addition of $1.5 billion was advanced for the upgrade of the transmission network to boost electricity

  21. Cut down on public expenditure and wastage by government personnel in all ministries, departments and agencies.

  22. Deployment of the three electronic platforms namely, the Treasury Single Account, TSA; the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS; and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS- to curb leakages in the system.

While we may have differences of opinion, we must take away sentiments, and take a closer look at President Jonathan’s and General Buhari’s economic track record. Today, Nigeria is the 26th biggest economy with a GDP of over $510 billion. Is this progress in action, it left for your to look at the facts, and decide.

The African Oprah

 

Princess Asha

After building a career in public relations for almost fifteen years, Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie’s path turned into cultural diplomacy when she was appointed by the Consulate General of Nigeria, Amb./Consul General, Geoffrey Teneilabe to serve as a Media Consultant for the 17 Southeastern States of the United States and territory where she brought a business perspective to the position—driving made in Nigeria initiatives, tourism, trade, investment, climate change awareness, health, and charity missions to Nigeria.

Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie comes from a generation of politicians, and social activists. She is the granddaughter of King Ogbidi Okojie of Uromi dynasty, daughter of Prince Albert Okojie (CON), former politician, commissioner of agriculture, and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, then Midwestern Region of Nigeria, a niece to Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the first Esan Catholic Cardinal of Nigeria, and late politician, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who in 1953, initiated the self-government motion, which eventually led to Nigerian Independence on the 1st day of October, 1960.

Princess Asha wears many hats; she is referred to as “The African Oprah” as well as “The Cultural and Tourism Ambassador” Diaspora. Her attention grabbing headlines, and interviews has received international recognitions, and awards. In 2014 she was nominated, as one of the Emerging African Leaders in the Diaspora for facilitating the first Nigerian Cultural and Tourism Investment Conference in the U.S. She is also, a publicist, motivational speaker, executive producer, and host of “Lets Talk Africa.

Founder of FACE INC., a not-for-profit cultural and social organization that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development, create awareness, support Youth Empowerment Programmes, African Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Professionals by encouraging policies and practices to make available the necessary infrastructures for the development, and maintenance of viable primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors in Africa.

Under her leadership, FACE INC. has consulted and partnered with local and international organizations, governmental agencies, and institutions on community development projects/initiatives. Princess Asha is also, the President of FACE Award, an annual business, entertainment, and leadership summit that recognizes Africa’s influences on global economy, and cultures, in recognition of individuals, organizations, corporations, and institutions whose outstanding leadership, service or activities has contributed to the promotion of culture, tourism, hospitality, diplomacy, enterprises, and entrepreneurship in Africa and the African diaspora.

To its credit, FACE Award has bridged the cultural gap through its global outreach, and inclusiveness. Past award recipients includes; Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Hon. Mildred Crump, Council President, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark, New Jersey, Hon. Arc. Mike Onolememen, former Minister of Works, Nigeria, Mayor, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA, Chief Edem Duke, former, Hon. Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Nigeria.

Princess has hosted and anchored press conferences, media and news coverages for Presidential Inaugurations, Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), The GA Senate Chambers, The Carter Center, United Nations, and Mayors Office on International Relations Affairs. Prior to becoming the CEO of AfriQtalk LLC, a multimedia and Consulting firm, she worked at Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, multi-specialty physician’s groups, ambulatory clinics, and inpatient facilities as a Physician Reimbursement Consultant.

In 2010, Princess was elected into Stanford Who is Who, U.S.A, an elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world as a result of her extraordinary efforts in media, business, and entertainment. Princess Asha have featured on high profile print publications, television, and radio talk shows; this former model is not a new face in the entertainment industry. She’s done many TV ads, walked on runways for several fashion designers, and Former Miss Valentine, Nigeria. She became the first beauty queen to grace the cover of Hints Magazine, and youngest African entrepreneur in Atlanta to own an international kitchen that catered to celebrities, and Who’s Who during the 1996 Olympics.

Princess is an advocate for finding alternative traditional medicine for Sickle cell disease through research. Throughout her incredible 20 years in media, healthcare, and entertainment, she has routinely exhibited the enthusiasm, vision, and dedication necessary to be considered among the best. Princess Asha, has interviewed guests, such as former President Jimmy Carter, Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Sir Emeka Offor, 2Face, Bracket, Kalu Ikeagwu, Blessing Egbe, Olu Maintain, including, Members of Nigerian National House of Assembly, Senators, Foreign Service Diplomats, Ambassadors, Community Leaders, Government, and Company Executives to name a few.

Princess is often inspired by nature, a humanitarian, who believes in giving back to the community through volunteerism. At her spare time, she enjoys writing poems, inspirational quotes, traveling, and mentorship. Her commitment to promoting culture, preservation of the environment, arts, indigenous music, and tourism is evident in her passion for photojournalism, and talk show initiatives. She is fun loving with high-energy, creative, and artistic abilities.

She holds a B.S in Healthcare Administration & Management, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Information Management, Media Personality, Board Member of (INFORSID), International Forum for Sickle-Celled in the Diaspora, Advisory Committee Member of Women Empowerment Network (WOENET), Stakeholder Member of Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation USA, Member of the National Alliance of Medical Auditing Specialist, USA, and American Association of Professional Coders, U.S.A. Her devotion to God, and family keeps her going.

Contact, email, and website Info:

afriqtalk – Windows Live Messenger | Skype | Yahoo! Messenger | Twitter

https://www.youtube.com/user/AfriQtalk

afriqtalk@facebook.com

https://www.facebook.com/afriqtalk

afriqtalk@yahoo.com.

http://afriqtalk.net

http://www.faceawardusa.org/

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings?trk=prof-edit-edit-public_profile

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Stuck By Cupid’s Arrow

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Love at first sight may be attributed to Cupid love. The name Cupid itself was derived from the Latin word “Cupido,” meaning love, passion, desires, yearnings, wanting or longing. Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman’s he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.

Sounds like a Mythological tale?

Well, Cupid just happens to be a part of one of the great love stories from Classical Mythology. Cupid, the Roman God of love was the son of Venus the Roman Goddess of love and Mercury, the Roman messenger God. He is believed to carry two types of bows in his quiver. The ones made of gold represent true love whereas the ones with lead tips stood for wanton lust. This makes him the God of both romantic as well as erotic love. Cupid is generally believed to have ignited romance in unsuspecting hearts. But the result of his actions didn’t bring pleasure at all instances. He is also known to have struck love between odd couples and then enjoyed watching them work out the situation. However, Cupid himself gets trapped in the game of mismatches which is evident with his love story, and just who is this great lover that he pricked with his love arrow?

There was a beautiful princess named Psyche means “butterfly” and also means “soul”. In many ways, what Psyche goes through is symbolic of the path of each woman’s soul in life. Psyche was so adored by the people that they began to forget about Venus. Venus grew so jealous of this that she sent her son Cupid on a mission to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man alive. But upon seeing Psyche, Cupid was so overcome by her beauty that he dropped his arrow on his foot and fell passionately in love with her. He visited Psyche every night and the couple became lovers. There was one condition, however, that Psyche was not allowed to see Cupid. She was forbidden to look upon him.

One night, Psyche’s curiosity overpowered her so she took a peek at Cupid as he slept. But he soon awoke to catch Psyche looking at him and he left her because he feared his mother’s wrath should she discover their affair. Psyche spent years searching the world for Cupid with a broken heart until finally Jupiter granted her immortality so that she could remain with Cupid forever. The couple eventually had a daughter, Voluptas (Pleasure) and Nyx (Night) and they lived happily in their castle. Despite the antiquity of Cupid – God of love and beauty, he is still known by human beings as one that ignites love and passion in mortals. He has become synonymous with Valentine’s day and is commonly represented as shooting arrows at hearts of individuals.

Ironically, the origin of Valentine’s Day comes from the life and death of a Christian martyr, Saint Valentine a Roman who was killed for his faith on February 14, 269 A.D. He had refused to worship pagan gods, and some stories say he was a priest who would marry young lovers in secret because they did not have parental permission. Prior to his death, Valentine continued to minister in prison by witnessing to his prison guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. When the Emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he sentenced Valentine to death.

Also, Valentine is associated with love because he fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and would pass notes to her. The tradition of sending love notes grows out of a letter written by St. Valentine to his jailer’s daughter on the eve of his execution. The young Christian wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “From your Valentine.” The first valentine was really a Christian witness. On the contrary, instead of us remembering the content of the original Valentine’s card which was a message of unconditional devotion to Christ, we participate in a custom of sending cards to people we love. In Italy, St Valentine’s Day became the traditional day to be engaged. Young Romans would spend Valentine’s day gathered together in gardens to listen to romantic poetry and music. Also, around the world, Valentine’s day is celebrated, I’m sure you’ll notice all of the hearts, the flowers, the chocolates, the plush toys, the greeting cards, the special lingerie, and the romantic getaway packages being advertised and offered in the stores.

Statistics shows that people find true love when they least expect it. Have you ever experienced a warm passion? Feelings of contentment that is unexplainable? unconditional love? not lust or imaginary desires, I’m talking about agape love. If so, there is a 100% chance that you’ve being stuck by Cupid’s arrow, the ones made of gold, which represent true love. Some may call it, finding their soul mates. Whatever it may be, It’s an experience that one out of a million people may encounter, once in their life time . Facts or fiction? You decide.

© 2016  AfriQtalk Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Mrs. Angela Esekhaigbe Celebrate’s Surprise 50th Birthday in Grand Style

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Dignitaries, guests, friends, and well wishers came from Africa, Europe, and North America to celebrate Mrs. Angela Esiekhagbe’s surprise 50th birthday party in grand style. Held privately in Roswell, GA on December 27, 2014 by the celebrant’s husband, General Cecil Esiekhagbe.

The tables, and chairs were beautifully decorated with royal purple, and antique gold, the chandeliers surrounded with a panel of white, purple, and a hint of gold ceiling decoration. Guests tables were lavished with the finest wines, champagne, and liqueur.

In attendance were: The deputy Consul General and Staff of the Nigerian Consulate, Admiral Joe Aikhomu, Chief & Mrs. GC Nweze, Dr Victoria Okojie, Former Super Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia, Bar Anthony Egbase, Chris Erewele, Ken Erewele, Prince Henry Iseghohi, Vasco Momodu, Andy Ighile, Mr & Mrs Abraham Eichie, Austin Okoruwa, Henry Omodiagbe, Austin Agboinfo, Kingsley Jatt, Mrs Doris Braimah, Haj Aisha Aliyu, Mrs Vivian Okojie, Mrs Doris Theman, Bar Chi Chikwendu, Mrs Tammy Welli, Mrs. Oyovwi Attah, Dr. Charles and Chitu & family to name but a few.

The event proceeded with an opening prayer, opening remarks by The Esiekiagbe’s family, Mrs. Esiekhabge’s siblings, and  Chairman of the occasion, Admiral Joe Aikhomu. Guests were entertained by Comedian MC Rhema, including performances by The Grass Root Band, and OKO as they sat enjoying the buffet style Nigerian cuisines, continental dishes, and drinks being served by professional chefs, banquet servers, waitresses, and bartenders with great spirits. Following the reception was the cake cutting, and closing remarks.

The air was filled with excitement, a reminiscent of thanksgiving, and sense of accomplishment as the party continued into the early morning.

Event planning and official coverage by AfriQtalk 

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A Taste of Culture Debuts in Atlanta, Dec 26, 2014.

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A Taste of Culture Debuts in Atlanta, Dec 26, 2014. Come join us for an evening of Conversation, Cuisines, Dance, Live Afro Jazz & Pop this Friday December 26, 2014 at Nations Cafe, Sandy Spring, Roswell, 30350. Featuring, acclaimed Nigerian Saxophonist, Shola Emmanuel & OKO from North Carolina. 10 % of Proceed will be donated to The Nigerian Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation – NDDTF for The Trauma & Diagnostic Center Project in Abuja, Nigeria. Donations are Tax Deductible. Admission is free. To RSVP click here 

 

Amb. Teneilabe Celebrates with Nigeria at 54. Highlights President Goodluck Jonathan’s Achievements

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The 54th Independence Anniversary began with photo ops, welcoming of Nigerians in the Diaspora and friends of Nigeria, including official representatives from other countries by Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe and his wife at Westin Atlanta Perimeter North in Atlanta. Oct 5, 2014.

The program was lined up with entertainment, presentations, and activities. Guests were treated to a cuisine of Nigerian dishes, and cocktail reception. One of such presentation was a video that showed a brief history of the 1914 Amalgamation. Followed by a night of comedy, and poetry as the over flowing crowd cheered on.

In his address to the attendees, Amb. Teneilabe used the occasion to remind the audience that it was a dual celebration that also marked the 100 anniversary of the 1914 Amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates. He also, highlighted President Jonathan’s achievements, while telling Nigerians in the diaspora to be informal Ambassadors of Nigeria, despite the challenges, and encouraged the spirit of unity among the different ethnic groups in Atlanta.

The keynote speaker was Prof. Martin Okafor, who said that Nigeria in the diaspora should support the efforts under way to build a Diagnostic and Trauma center in Abuja, by Nigerians in the diaspora, diagnostics and trauma foundation. He added that Nigerian Americans can provide assistance in those areas by coming together for a good cause. After the program was completed, attendees jumped to their feet and danced the night away.

See pictures and Video, courtesy of Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta GA.

 

NNPC Raises The Alarm Over Fake Authorisation Letters in Nigeria

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has raised the alarm over the circulation of fake letters of authorization purportedly from the NNPC to buy and/or sell Nigerian crude oil.

The Corporation yesterday called on members of the public to be wary of persons with fraudulent intents circulating letters authorizing the lifting of Bonny Light crude oil from Nigeria.

According to a statement signed by NNPC group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, a paragraph in one of the fake letters of authorization in circulation reads:

“We hereby confirm that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has entered into contractual arrangements directly with Lavi International Corp to supply Bonny Light crude oil to the Lavi International Corp Associated Refineries and or Global Traders, and that the Lavi International Corp has the power and authority to sell or otherwise deal with the Bonny Light crude oil, the subject of those contractual agreements.”

The NNPC, however, stated that Messrs Lavi International Corp is not one of its crude oil off-takers for the 2014-2015 Term Contract Period and, therefore, has not been allocated any crude oil volume as speculated in the fake letter of authorization.

It further noted that the list of local and international companies duly approved as NNPC’s crude oil off-takers for the 2014-2015 Term Contract Period had been widely publicized and called on members of the public to avail themselves of such information to avoid being duped by unscrupulous elements.

“Meanwhile, we are working closely with relevant security agencies to track and bring to book all those behind these nefarious activities,” he said.

A MUST READ! EGOS AND EGOMANIACS – Film Making and Film makers in the Diaspora.

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– By Austeen Eboka

EGOS AND EGOMANIACS – Film Making and Film Makers in the Diaspora.

First, reference the recently concluded FACE Awards ceremony in Atlanta, I greatly applaud the organizers for their selfless, generous and noble efforts at putting together such a prestigious and glamorous event. It was highly impressive, and humbling to be in the same room with such high-powered personalities. Thank you Princess Asha Okojie of AfriQ’talk Culture Beyond Borders and the FACE team. I pray more blessings and God’s continued favor on you all.

For some time leading to the FACE awards event, it had come to my hearing that some individuals attempted to sabotage the ceremony by instigating some negative responses and acceptance of the prestigious affair which, by the way, was not only well attended but, graced by Ministers from the continent, a US Senator, the Nigerian Consular General himself, Arik Air Vice President, some notable US TV Network personalities, entrepreneurs and several highly placed dignitaries both here and abroad.

Not to mention a written congratulatory message from Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed to both the organizers and award recipients. These incorrigible elements, I understand, had the boldness to go as far as to challenge the authenticity and validity of the awards, the organizers as well as the recipients. What height of impertinence.

Secondly, some of us are privy to the unfortunate egocentricity currently pervading our beloved Nollywood industry where some do not understand the concept of team work, professional etiquette and collaborative ventures. There seems to be constant squabbling for dominance in terms of the quantity of movies they churn out yearly. To these individuals, quality and professionalism are foreign. Meanwhile, the ‘real filmmakers’ continue to struggle to accomplish their objectives and get the required resources to achieve their goals of producing quality work. But, change will definitely come when the wheat will be separated from the chaff.

Having said this, I do not comprehend the reason to have Nollywood validate Diaspora filmmaking. Basically, the coinage of the term “NOLLYWOOD USA” denotes just that. Common sense tells us that Nollywood relates to Nigerian Film Industry; just as Bollywood is to India. But then, here in the USA, where we have a mesh of artistes from across the continent coming together for the purpose of creating art, we still call this congregation Nollywood?

Is this deficiency due to a lack of intellectual capability or competence to actually device a more appropriate title for Diaspora film making? Try DIASWOOD, if you are so inclined to having the ‘wood’ attached. And, by the way, there is a DIASWOOD NETWORK in existence, ably put together by one of our very own here in the USA, ATL to be precise; a very well rounded professional in the industry, known across the world, whom I have been blessed to have worked with and continue to work and associate with. But, being who we are, because we did not initiate it, we cannot be a part of it. So, we’d rather become conniving, slippery and antagonistic towards such efforts. We’d rather tie our loins to someone else’s who has no bearing whatsoever on your existence or what you do here.

Furthermore, in relation to the Arts, there are over 2,000 film festivals organized yearly just here in the US. We never see or hear one party running the others down, asking such stupid questions as, “Who gave you the right”, “What qualifications do you have” to set up shop? If anything, there is support across the board. Also, there have been a few African awards shows done here in America that some of us do not even relate to. But no one has openly challenged or questioned the validity of such organizers, some of whom know nothing about the Arts. Of course, I do commend such efforts.

May be someday, we would have the good sense to merge all these different cells together to form ONE reputable, world class African Awards Body. Frankly, I am at a loss as to where to place my judgment on such. Whenever I hear that term – Nollywood USA – it takes all the fibers of my being to keep me from screaming out loud. Try ‘Hollywood Africa’ or ‘Bollywood Asia’ for good measure. I never heard of such intellectual mediocrity in conceptualizing a term or title.

It usually is not in my character to openly express my disgust at the some human follies, as no one is perfect. However, when some elements tend to continually indulge in heedless and irrational exhibition of their absurdities, it becomes imperative for me, and incumbent upon me to call some of this recklessness to order. And, at the end of the day, I DARE anyone of these individuals to tackle or challenge me with regard to my stand on this matter.

Some even had the temerity to confront one of the award recipients, and another member of the organizing body to accuse them of having rigged the whole thing. SERIOUSLY? What impudence! Half education is dangerous; no education at all, especially in the field of one’s endeavor is catastrophic. If you want to debate me on this issue or, any other relating to the Arts, please, let me know the date and time and I shall be there. I only need a 5-minute notice.

To the organizers, and my fellow recipients, do not let your spirits be dampened. In the same token, do not also let such awards get to your heads as humility is the key to achieving greater heights. Just be thankful to God that your efforts, no matter how little have been recognized and appreciated by others. Being nominated is not only gratifying but, a motivation to go out and do bigger things, because the world is watching. Even the Good Book says to rejoice with whomever is rejoicing and be happy for others so that, in like manner, you also may have others rejoice with, and be happy for you.

Film making is not the sole prerogative of any one entity, person or group. Organizing award shows likewise, should not be anyone’s birthright. That some nonentities have decided, out of their indecisive decision to claim “ownership” of not just the African film making industry here in the USA but, to also arrogate to themselves all power and office to decide who or who does not have the right to initiate such ventures is most unbecoming.

To realize that, as much as we are trying to build an industry of and for artistes in the Diaspora, some of us are filled with a mixture of animosity, avarice, self-aggrandizement and a bit of momentary goodness, if any at all, is not a pleasant discovery. It is on record that, one of the very first African movies, if not the first shot here in the US, I was a part of. This was in New York in 2004. The producers of this movie have not claimed proprietorship of Diaspora film making. Who then is it that has placed him/herself as the governor of African film making in the Diaspora?

Ordinarily, I would not have bothered myself with such trivialities as they do not merit any response from me. But, I feel pained that, here we are, Africans, instead of coming together to form a team, pulling our resources to encourage, stimulate and promote African Art, and Films, and those who have the courage to engage in same, as is typical, we embark on destroying, castigating, back-biting and undermining each other.

I ask, who the heck gives YOU the RIGHT or the PLUCK to challenge, dispute, question or contest other people’s well-meaning gestures? What gives anyone the impetus or audacity to claim ownership of any of these ventures? Winning an award, as far as I am concerned, is only a testament to the fact that your peers recognize and appreciate your contribution. It does not mean you are the best as there are so many out there doing great and greater things yet unknown. It is humbling and inspiring as well. However, what does it cost for us to be happy for, and rejoice with one another? Is it in the African DNA to be naturally antagonistic and unprogressive?

As a pioneering member of the Nollywood industry, with over 30 yrs in the field, both stage and screen, I can confidently, and in all modesty say that, none of those referred to here can claim to have been in this field as long as I have or paid as much dues as I have. Not to mention the fact that some of them do not know a thing about the arts. But I do not go around degrading their efforts or questioning them about their works. And there are so many out there like me or even much more experienced in this field whom we are yet to come across.

They are not running around provoking their peers or contesting some of the award shows being put together by others. Be mindful, though, it is not the length of time one has expended on an enterprise that matters but, our objective, dedication, zeal and passion. Some of my fellow award recipients, I know for a fact, have likewise put in a great effort at their craft. And they keep working at it. There are still many more out there, unknown to us who are achieving a remarkable lot.

So, do we undermine them because they do not belong to our clique or yours? How do we grow if we cannot support and motivate each other? But you feel others must come seek permission from you in order to shoot a film, organize an awards ceremony? So, I ask again, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU? What credentials or qualifications do you possess that make you the sole proprietor/proprietress of this supposedly honorable and wholesome institution? For the purpose of decorum, I have decided to refrain myself from calling out the individuals involved as none of them has had the courage to confront me.

However, it is said that, “When dry bones are mentioned in a proverb, the old woman feels uneasy.” It would be wise for these ludicrous elements to nip this idiocy in the bud before it festers uncontrollably. Nonetheless, our people also say that, “The head of an old man is not good for knocks; but may they not give us reason to reverse that saying.” If anyone feels the need to take me up on this, please be my guest. I live there. To succeed, one needs to follow the footsteps of those who have succeeded. I do not know that Hollywood engages in such squabbles, bickering and egocentric ranting. Here we are, in our infancy, power-struggling. Yet, we know NOTHING.

Please, let us all sit on our EGO. Your attitude determines your altitude…

Nigerian-American to Represent GA at the 26th Annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C.

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Eight-grader, Nigerian-American, Ansel Ahabue  will represent Georgia at the 26th Annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., May 19-21. The top 10 finalist will compete in the May 21 final round, moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, and taped to air on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m.  May 22, and later on public television.

Ansel brought onlookers to tears, when he surprisingly & boldly asked to speak when he was awarded The National 2014 ALL- STAR AWARD at Trickum Middle School in Lilburn, where he passionately dedicated his 2014 All Star Win to the Nigerian missing girls (#BRING BACK OUR GIRLS).

According to his mother, Blessing Ituah- Ahabue, Ansel stressed the fact that all kids regardless of where they are born deserve a good education,   “I am sure that the people of Nigeria appreciates you as well” we appreciate you, Ansel,  you made us proud! said One of the officials. 

On behalf of AfriQtalk, we wish you the best in D.C. You make Nigeria Proud Ansel.

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE: FACE Africa to Showcase Nigerian Culture, and Tourism in US

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Festival of Arts and Cultural Expo Africa, 2014 Press Conference was held at the Consulate General of Nigeria, 8060 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA 30350 on Friday 28th at 4:00 pm, hosted by AfriQtalk, PAN African Chambers of Commerce and the organizing team of FACE, in collaboration with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Atlanta.

The Ambassador Geoffrey I. Teneilabe. Amb./Consul-General lead the Press Conference on Culture, and Tourism Investment Opportunities. Theme; “Harnessing Culture for Competitive Advantage” Other speakers were CEO of AfriQtalk “Culture Beyond Borders” Princess Asha Okojie-Osazuwa, Mr. Toks Onabanjo, Chairman of Pan Africa Chamber of Commerce, and William Stewart, Chairman of Embrace Music Foundation, Miami, Florida.

The objective is to celebrate African and African-American influences on global cultures, promote culture, and tourism investment opportunities for exchange of information to enhance bilateral trade, create awareness, bridge the cultural gap in education, technology, research, business, entertainment.

This year FACE Africa will showcase Nigeria’s cultural heritage and tourism, aptly described as the ‘Giant of Africa’ and the heart of Africa for a good reason. It is richly endowed with ecological and cultural resources, which are of universal recognition from threads of history, diversity, legend and conquest.

With Nigeria’s booming tourism industry, its development and growth must meet international standards, awareness must be created, other cultures must be made sufficiently known not only because the world has become a global village but because people appreciate what they understand, according to Princess Asha Okojie-Osazuwa, one of the organizers of FACE 2014.

The platform will create the environment to network, do business and capitalize on the fast growing hospitality and tourism sector in Nigeria. There will be a star studded events, live performances from local and international artists, entertainers, celebrity guests, and a movie premier, including; cultural dance groups, beauty contest pageantry, and activities that promise to give you a fulfilling weekend.

Endorsed by Nigeria Ministry of Culture & Tourism National Orientation, Abuja, Nigeria. The two day culture and tourism investment expo & award is expected to attract more over one thousand attendees, dignitaries, delegates and people from all walks of life to the city of Atlanta from around the world.

The two day culture and tourism investment expo & Award will be held from May 2-3, 2014 at Sheraton Gateway Hotel Atlanta, 1900 Sullivan Road, Atlanta, GA 30037, by the organizing team of FACE, CEO, Princess Asha Okojie-Osazuwa, AfriQtalk, CEO, Toks Onabanjo, Pan African Chambers of Commerce, Kingsley Ituwe, DJK Consult, CEO, Temidayo Babalola, Prime Media, and CEO, Adekoya Adegboyega Yusuf, Dengit Music, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Nigeria, Atlanta, endorsed by Nigeria Ministry of Culture & Tourism National Orientation, Abuja, Nigeria.

Organizations such as Association of Nigerians Organization in Georgia, Association of African Women in the Diaspora, Nigeria in Diaspora organization, Upward African Women, and Arik Airline will be recognized for their support in the African Diaspora.

The symposium will consist of workshops, conference and break out sessions. The exhibition will display quality products and services on a single platform, ideal for profit comparison. The cultural expo entails cultural displays, business networking, health education, pageantry, fashion show, comedy, movie premier and cultural dance, including local and international exhibitors, wide range of products and services catering to a diverse audience, domestic and international clientele with a view to promoting culture and tourism.

The outcome will create e-commerce shoppers for goods, products and services, online business directory, comprehensive tourism resources, travel guide and tourism, online reservation for tourist destination, accessibility to travel agencies and tourism investment forums. These efforts will help boost tourism and enable tourist and investors gain confidence and insights to travel destinations for sustainable tourism and foster the spirit of friendship and harmony between the two countries.

The Pre-event and Award will be filled with a night of cultural entertainment, celebrities, comedy, acoustic music, cultural dance, drama, fashion show and performances. The cultural expo entails cultural displays, business networking, health education, pageantry, fashion show, comedy, movie premier and cultural dance, including local and international exhibitors, wide range of products and services catering to a diverse audience, domestic and international clientele with a view to promoting culture and tourism.

Invited Keynote speakers, moderators, sponsors, special guests and those on panel discussions will make presentations, participate and attend the Award Gala. Prior to the Award night, the new search will be on for FACE of NEHITA, a cultural beauty pageant that is designed to motivate and inspire young women to become leaders of tomorrow, instill self confidence by empowering them with knowledge, maximize their talents, and leadership skills to create awareness through beauty, intelligence, and diversity to achieve personal growth and development.

FACE Award 2014 will be hosted by Joseph Benjamin Chibuzor and Lawrence Akhidenor (MC LARRY D). There will be a star studded events, live performances from local and international artists such as Bez Idakula, Ayoola Johnson, Joel Amadi, (Joe El), Majekodunmi Ibrahim Olayiwola (General Pype) Joseph Chibuzor, Oko, Waconzy, Kola Gbedu Master and cultural dance groups during the award.

The Award ceremony is scheduled for May 3, 2014, designed to celebrate Indigenous heritage & in recognition of excellence in service, outstanding achievements, leadership, contributions and honor individuals and organizations that have dedicated their lives and time to the continued growth and promotion of culture, heritage, language, libraries, archives, museums, awareness, and preservation of language, environment, arts in schools, and educational programming in Africa and African Diasporas.

The Nominees for FACE 2014 AWARD are as follows:

1. BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS/ACTOR
1. Austeen Eboka
2. Merlisa Determined
3. Bridget John
4. Chiege Alisigwe-Clinton

2. BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS IN FILM
1. Ramsey Noah
2. Beverly Naya
3. Mercy Johnson Okojie
4. Elechi Wordu

3. BEST DRAMA/FILM
1. Domino Effect
2. God Daughter
3. Adora
4. Maami
5. False Engagement
6. When One Door Closes
7. Mother’s Betrayal
8. A Mother’s Love

4. BEST PRODUCER/DIRECTOR
1. Robert Peters
2. Tunde Kelani
3. Uche Nancy
4. Eve Ikuenobe-Otaigbe
5. Austeen Eboka
6. Chijindu Kelechi Eke

5. DISTINGUISHED AWARD
1. Aliko Dangote, Dangote Group, Lagos Abuja
2. Nduka Obaigbena, CEO This Day Live, Lagos, Abuja
3. Andrew Jackson Young, Atlanta GA
4. Tony Elumelu, Founder Tony Elumelu Foundation

6. IMAGE AWARD
1. Kese Lawal,CEO of CAMAC International Corporation
2. Mayor, Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA
3. His Excellency Rabiu Kwankwanso, Governor of Kano State
4. Nyema E. Weli, Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Environment

7. BEST CULTURAL CONTRIBUTION
1. His Excellency, Ronald Duke, former Governor of Cross River State
2. Chief Edem Duke, Hon. Minister of Culture,Tourism and National Orientation
3. His Excellency, Chief Godswill Apkabio, Governor of Akwa Ibom State​
4. Kola Anidugbe, General Manager of Olumo Rock Tourist Complex

​​​8. OUTSTANDING ROLE MODEL PROPROJECTING CULTURE
1. Alahaji Teju Kareem, CEO, Zmirage Multimedia Limited
2. Ogugua Geoffrey Olisa, BHF MAGAZINE AFRICA
3. Asiwaju Titus Babajide, CEO, Oppressor Petrol ltd
4. Barr. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Culture & Tourism

9. OUTSTANDING ORGANIZATION/NETWORK
1. Alliance of Nigeria Organization in Georgia (ANOG), USA
2. Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO USA)
3. Nigerian American Chambers of Commerce, Nigeria
4. Positive Run Way, USA
5. DAASART Children’s Channel, Abuja, Nigeria

10. OUTSTANDING ENTREPRENEUR/EXECUTIVE
1. Ken Nwaelene, KCN Holdings
2. Hollywood Celebrity Jewelry designer, Monalisa Okojie, Nehita
3. Margaret Andega, Afrocentric Network
4. Robert Brunner, Arik Airlines

11. BEST STAGE DRAMA/PERFORMING ARTS
1. Wedlock of the Gods
2. Fela on Broadway
3. ​Rhythms of Africa
4. TY Martin Studios

12. MOST PROMISING ARTISTS OF THE YEAR
1. Kaha Nzemeke
2. Kenny Kay
3. Jrhyma Baba
4. Filon Jay

13. EXCELLENCE AWARD
1. Robert O. Agbede, CEO Chester Engineers
2. Dr. Robert Okojie, Research Electronics Engineer, NASA
3. Taiwo Emmanuel Oluwatoyin, CEO Pemman Oil/Nikitel Int. Ltd
4. Prof Austin Esogbue, President AESO Systems, Inc.

14. LEADERSHIP AWARD
1. His Excellency, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State
2. His Excellency, Sullivan Chime,Governor of Enugu State
3. His Excellency,Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State
4. His Excellency, Chibuike Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State
5. His Excellency, Sen Ibikunle Amosun FCA, Excecutive Governor of Ogun State

15. ADVANCE CULTURAL ROLE MODEL
1. His Royal Majesty, HRH Zaiki Anselm Edenojie (The Ojuromi of Uromi)
2. Hon. Olusegun Olulade, Ambassador for Yoruba Language
3 His Royal Majesty, Oba Kayode Olugbenle, the Paramount ruler of Yewa Land Ogun State
4. His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi. The Alaafin of Oyo

16. BEST ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY/MEDIA PROJECTING CULTURE
1. Temis Prime Media Ventures
2. AMC TV Nigeria
3. CKN Nigeria
4. Nigerian FM
5. Peoples Culture Magazine

17. BEST LITERARY ARTIST
1. Eve Ikuenobe-Otaigbe
2. Ehi Ike
3. Keith Holmes
4. Chika Unigwe

18. BEST VISUAL ARTIST
1. Enotie Paul Ogbebor
2. Onyeka Ibe
3. Nnamdi Okonkwo
4. Julie Mehretu

19. BEST INDIGENOUS ARTIST/GROUP
1. Kola Bata
2. Kola Ogunkoya
3. Seun Kuti
4. Rokan Dking Adekola

20. BEST SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
1. Sunday Oliseh
2. Gifted Cole
3. Blessing Okagbare
4. Steven Kechi

21. BEST ARTISTIC FACILITATION/PROMOTION COMPANY
1. Ovacom Media
2. All Star Promoters All Star
3. Ebenovbe Elvis Ogie
4. Dare Mr.Dejavu Akanbi
5. Rita Mbah

22. OUTSTANDING CULTURAL/GOSPEL ARTISTE
1. Benita Okojie
2. Princess Pat Akpabio
3. Oga Otumala
4. Mercy Masika
5. Dele Thomas

23. MOST PROMISING GOVERNOR
1. Raji Fashola SAN, Lagos State Governor
2. Dr.Olusegun,Mimiko, Ondo State Governor
3. Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa State Governor
4. Comrade, Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor
5. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Gombe State Governor

24. BEST CULTURAL MUSIC PROMOTER/DJ
1. DJFLY Atlanta
2. DJ Ecool
3. ​DJK Entertainment
4. DJ Neptune
5. DJ Mighty Mike
6. DJ Fully Focus

25. BEST INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS
1. Adekoya Adegboyega a.k.a Lineo
2. Bez Idakula
3. Echo Elijah
4. Waconzy

26. BEST COMEDIAN
1. Ayodeji Richard Maku, aka AY
2. Innocent Wamilele
3. Bright Okpocha, aka Basket Mouth
4. Seyi Brown

27. PUBLIC INTERGRITY AWARD
1. Sarah Jubril, SA Office of the President, Nigeria
2. Mrs Sally Mbanefo, the Director General of NTDC, Abuja, Nigeria
3. Hon. Mike Onolememen, Minister of Works, Abuja, Nigeria
4. Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Spain

29. BEST ENTERTAINMENT/MEDIA PERSONALITY
1. Chris kehinde Nwandu, CKN Nigeria
2. Marion Amanambu,Celebrity Network
3. Abiola Fashina, My Faith TV Network
4. Osamoje Issac, NAIJA FM 102.7

30. BEST INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS ARTISTS
1. Flavour
2. Timaya
3. Kcee
4. ​Duncan Mighty

RECIPIENTS OF FACE ESTEEMED AWARD 2014

LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

1. Barrister Oladipo Okpeseyi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria
2. Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, Nigeria Consulate Office, Atlanta GA

Who should sponsor:
Hotel operators, Hospitality Consultants, Health & fitness operators, Cultural Organizations, Higher Institutions, Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Property consultant, Security Law firms, Architects, Interior designers, and Cultural Entertainment Industry.

Who attends:
Private and public sector agencies, cultural organizations, consular agencies, business community, institutions, foundations, local and international organization, property developers Hotel operators/brands, Hotel owners, Private equity Hospitality, Tourism authorities, Banks and financial institutions, Architects & interior designers, Hotel technology providers, Lawyers, independent Artists, Academicians, Hospitality consultants, Property consultants, Health Experts, Company Executives and Entrepreneurs.

FOR SPONSORSHIP INQUIRIES –

Please contact: Princess Asha at info@faceawardusa.com|Phone: 770-891-5204| or visit http://www.faceawardusa.com

FOR PRESS INQUIRIES –

Please contact: Toyin Amokomowo| Email: info@faceawardusa.com| Phone: 770-617-1966

For further details, or to RSVP, kindly contact Kingsley Ituwe | Phone:404-432-4008

or visit us at http://www.faceawardusa.com

 

Immediate Press Release – Sensational Gospel Singer and Grammy’s Academy Award Member Shines

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Immediate Press Release – Sensational Gospel Singer and Grammy’s Academy Award Member Shines  with her Third Album ” Yes You Can” Who is Princess Pat Akpabio? Princess Pat is an Evangelist who has touched the lives of people in her home town of Akwa Ibom and around the world through her message of Hope, Love, and Worship. The Nigerian- American gospel singer, song writer, producer and actress will have her Album Release Party and Concert on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 3099 Breckinridge Blvd, Duluth Georgia 30096.  To know more about Princess Pat Akpabio click here.

Click here to heck out Princess Pat Akpabio Album Release Pictures

PRESS RELEASE: NIGERIANS DOMINATE SHORTLIST AS FORBES AFRICA PERSON OF THE YEAR NOMINEES GO TO POLL

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  NIGERIANS DOMINATE SHORTLIST AS FORBES AFRICA PERSON OF THE YEAR NOMINEES GO TO POLL

Forbes Africa, today announced it has narrowed down a shortlist, dominated by Nigerians, for the 2013 Person of the Year Awards, due to take place in Nairobi, Kenya at the beginning of December this year.

Following suggestions from Forbes Africa’s readers and social media audience, official voting in the form of a poll http://forbesafrica.com/person-of-the-year/voting.html on  is now open to the public who can make their selection of the individual they deem most worthy of the Person of the Year title.

The Person of the Year Awards celebrate ‘the individual who, for better or worse, has had the most influence on events of the year gone by’ and Forbes Africa has welcomed the participation of the public in what is fast becoming one of the most momentous and anticipated annual events in Africa.

“Every year, we are excited to decide the Forbes Africa Person of the Year. We want to honour the big hitters of the continent who are making a difference in people’s lives and we hope that in doing so, it will inspire others,” commented Chris Bishop, the managing editor of Forbes Africa magazine.

The shortlist, comprising of three Nigerians, one South African and one Zimbabwean, is as follows:

1. South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, plans on giving away more than half his fortune over the next five years.

2. Akinwunmi Adesina is Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and his vision is to make Nigeria a self-sustaining, food-producing nation and register 20 million farmers by 2015.

3. Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man and his net worth has significantly increased on the back of his continued business success, allowing him to better the lives of millions.

4. Strive Masiyiwa is the founder of global telecoms group, Econet Wireless, and through Capernaum Trust he educates tens of thousands of Zimbabwean orphans.

5. Jim Ovia established Zenith Bank Group in 1990 – now West Africa’s second largest financial services provider. His focus has turned to helping grow Africa’s budding ‘techpreneurs’.

2013 has been an exciting year for entrepreneurs and business across Africa. Who do you believe has made a real impact in business by stimulating economic growth, creating employment, spearheading innovation and bringing new technologies to the continent? The top five candidates will comprise a portion of what will be the Person of the Year Awards judges’ final decision. Go to http://forbesafrica.com/person-of-the-year/voting.html to vote now. Voting closes 4 November!

About Forbes Africa:

Forbes Africa is the continent’s first-ever international business publication localized for the African executive. With levels of affluence and influence in Africa steadily climbing, ABN 360 saw it fitting that its ABN Publishing wing be the operating entity that established Forbes Magazine in Africa. Titled “Forbes Africa magazine”, the monthly publication is the continent’s first-ever international business publication to be localized for the African executive. Forbes Africa – which has been on the shelves since October 2011, encompasses both the detail and the personality, bringing a unique perspective to business media reporting that is delivered in a sharp, in-depth and engaging fashion. As the sixteenth English-language edition of the highly successful FORBES magazine, FORBES AFRICA has distinguished itself as a key title renowned for its many lists based on the levels of global wealth and power.

About ABN360:

ABN 360 offers a holistic approach to telling Africa’s business story – first. With much-esteemed international brands such as CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa providing a broadcast and print platform respectively, the ABN 360 conglomerate also offers resources to organize world-class events across the African continent, through ABN Productions. The recently-launched ABN Training Institute boasts state-of-the-art facilities to provide media training among many other courses, while ABN Digital is the company’s online presence for your up-to-date business and markets news. Through its sub-brands, ABN 360 aims to be Africa’s leading aggregator and distributor of business and economic news.

Mayor of the Month- Richard Arnold of Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

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By Tann vom Hove

After representing Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s second most prosperous state, at the European Union (EU) in Brussels for nine years, Richard Arnold could have moved to any number of senior government positions in either Berlin or Stuttgart. Instead he decided to return to his hometown of Schwäbisch Gmünd to run for mayor. In an interview with City Mayors, Mayor Arnold explained that at local level a politician is not only closest to ordinary people but can also influence and implement cutting-edge changes. “I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than to be able to be part of and help shaping these changes in my hometown,” he said.

Richard Arnold was born in 1959 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a city of some 60,000 people, 50km east of Stuttgart and, following his education at a local high school, studied public administration at the universities of Konstanz and Frankfurt. After a scholarship year at one of America’s elite universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology“ (MIT) in 1988, Arnold worked for two years at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels as expert on EU agricultural and environmental policies. Before returning to Brussels in 2000, he occupied several senior posts with the state government of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. From 2000 until 2009, Arnold headed the representative office of Baden-Württemberg at the EU. In 2007, during the German presidency of the Council of the European Union, Arnold was voted one of the best-known and most influential Germans in Brussels. In May 2009, Arnold defeated Schwäbisch Gmünd’s incumbent Social-Democrat mayor in the first round of the election.

Mayor Arnold is a member of Germany’s centre-right Christian Democrat Union (CDU) and one who cherishes his Christian, liberal-humanistic values. He considers people and their concerns central to all major decisions. “Whatever we aim for, we have to achieve it for the people and not regard them as a means to an end.” He believes in a modern conservatism that recognises that more and more people no longer want to be dominated by a cold, soulless, purely profit-orientated technocracy.

During his years outside Germany, Arnold embraced globalisation – he now speaks German, English, French, Dutch and Spanish – but also learnt that in an increasingly mobile, outward-orientated society, the role of the local community was more important than ever. Even while working in Brussels, he never cut the ties that bound him to his hometown. As an accomplished tenor, Arnold was particularly keen to remain part Schwäbisch Gmünd’s cultural scene.

Recently the mayor has attracted national and international attention for his advocacy for greater rights for refugees. At Schwäbisch Gmünd he regards himself as mayor of all people including asylum seekers and believes they should be allowed to participate more actively in society. “Forced idleness can lead to apathy and even crime.”

Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2014) Entry Status Available until September 30, 2014

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The online registration for DV-2014 began October 2, 2012 and concluded on November 3, 2012. Entrants who completed online DV-2014 entries can check the status of their entries by returning to the website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov starting at noon (EDT) on May 1, 2013.

Even if you are not selected on May 1, 2013, you should keep your confirmation number until at least June 30, 2014. The Department of State may select more DV-2014 entries on or around October 1, 2013.

Entry Status Check will be the ONLY means by which DV lottery winners/selectees will be notified of their selection for DV-2014. Additionally, Entry Status Check will provide successful selectees with instructions on how to proceed with their application and provide the date and time of the immigrant visa appointment.

The Kentucky Consular Center no longer mails notification letters and does not use email to notify DV entrants of their selection in the DV program. Review the DV Program 2014 Instructions ”Selection of Applicants” section, which provides detailed information about the DV process.

If you have been selected for further processing in the Diversity Visa program, after you receive instructions, you will need to demonstrate you are eligible for a diversity immigrant visa by successfully completing the next steps. When requested to do so by the Kentucky Consular Center, you will need to complete an immigrant visa application, submit required documents and forms, pay required fees, complete a medical examination, and then next be interviewed by a consular officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate to demonstrate you qualify for a diversity visa. Please note that the Kentucky Consular Center will provide application information online ONLY through the Entrant Status Check on the E-DV website www.dvlottery.state.gov.

It is expected that the next application period for the DV Lottery (DV-2015) will be between October and December this year. Official dates, rules and eligible countries should be announced by late September. For more information, go to the official US State Department website at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You may also contact our office in the early fall for more information and assistance to complete another application. Be aware that the application for the DV lottery is free and you do not need to pay any agency to enter.

Aids- A Global Issue

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There are millions of faceless people whose lives have been impacted by AIDS/HIV,  especially in  Africa.  Yet there are some who believe that AIDS is a hoax.  An estimated 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV in 2007, of whom 67% were in sub-Saharan Africa. The Region also accounts for 75% of global AIDS deaths. Approximately 9.1 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007.

Information about the epidemic and its impact on the people of Africa are often not told, because Aid meant to combat the spread of HIV and poverty in Africa has been complicated by corruption among political leaders with a few notable exceptions. The prevention measures have been hampered in Africa due to traditional beliefs, political and religious authorities.  Both Muslim and Christian leaders found prevention campaigns such as condom promotion difficult to reconcile with their teachings.

In Sub-Saharan Africa women are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic in comparison with men, with the proportion hovering around 60% over the last five years and nearly 90% of all children living with HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is occurring in a context of increased poverty, food insecurity, indebtedness, poor economic performance, gender inequality, gender-based violence, conflicts, natural disasters, ignorance, fear, stigma and discrimination.

Almost invariably, the burden of coping rests with women. Upon a family member becoming ill, the role of women as carers, income-earners and housekeepers is stepped up. They are often forced to step into roles outside their homes as well. Older people are also heavily affected by the epidemic; many have to care for their sick children and are often left to look after orphaned grandchildren.

It is hard to overemphasise the trauma and hardship that children are forced to bear. As parents and family members become ill, children take on more responsibility to earn an income, produce food, and care for family members. More children have been orphaned by AIDS in Africa than anywhere else. Many children are now raised by their extended families and some are even left on their own in child-headed households.

The toll of HIV and AIDS on households can be very severe. It is often the poorest sectors of society that are most vulnerable. In many cases, AIDS causes the household to dissolve, as parents die and children are sent to relatives for care and upbringing. AIDS strips families of their assets and income earners, further impoverishing the poor.

The epidemic adds to food insecurity in many areas, as agricultural work is neglected or abandoned due to household illness. HIV and AIDS are having a devastating effect on the already inadequate supply of teachers in African countries. The illness or death of teachers is especially devastating in rural areas where schools depend heavily on one or two teachers.

In many countries of sub-Saharan And West Africa, AIDS is erasing decades of progress in extending life expectancy. The biggest increase in deaths has been among adults aged between 20 and 49 years. AIDS is hitting adults in their most economically productive years and removing the very people who could be responding to the crisis. As access to treatment is slowly expanded throughout the continent, millions of lives are being extended and hope is being given to people who previously had none. Unfortunately though, the majority of people in need of treatment are still not receiving it, and campaigns to prevent new infections are lacking in many areas.

Prevention efforts are beginning to bear fruit, with indications of behavior change and declines in HIV prevalence rates in a number of high-burden countries. Many countries have also made significant progress in expanding access to ART. About 2.1 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in the Region at the end of 2007, and regional coverage increased from barely 2% in 2003 to 30% in 2007. Despite this significant progress in ART there is still need to cover all the people in need and improve some areas such as HTC and PMTCT.

The key challenges to be addressed are:

  • Scaling up of key HIV prevention intervention, particularly HIV testing and counseling (HCT) including Provider Initiated Testing and Counseling.
  • Increasing access to affordable treatment and care in order to sustain the achievements so far on ART.
  • Increasing Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) as the coverage of these interventions is still unacceptably low (34 % in 2007).
  • Identifying innovative approaches to respond to the high levels of HIV discordant couples.
  • Introducting male circumcision in countries where this procedure is not currently practiced requires well-thought strategies, capacity building efforts and good communication strategies.
  • Weak health care delivery systems that are hindering expansion of quality HIV care and treatment services to lower level health facilities.
  • Ensuring sustainable financing for key priority interventions in order for Member States have to achieve Universal Access.

In July 2001, the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United States Government released its report on the Scientific Analysis on Condom Effectiveness for STD prevention”. The report, which is an analysis of 130 studies conducted over some decades, differentiates between condom efficacy (the protection which the users would enjoy under ideal conditions, this depending primarily on the properties of the condom) and condom effectiveness (protection offered under actual usage; dependent on the characteristics of the device and its user).

The conclusions of the report? Apart from Gonorrhea (in men and not for women) for which there was some risk reduction, condom use for Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, chancroid, syphilis, genital herpes and Human papilomavirus showed no clinical proof of effectiveness from the available studies (more studies are necessary to determine its effectiveness). According to the studies, “condoms provided an 85% reduction in HIV/AIDS transmission risk when infection rates were compared in always versus never users”What about the remaining 15%? Is that percentage alright for you? Since the condom has not been sufficiently proven to be effective in preventing some of the common STDs listed above, there is an added risk of infection with HIV if there is an STD present.

In view of the findings of the report, the CDC has made some changes in its fact sheet, which says amongst other things that “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected. For persons whose sexual behaviors place them at risk for STDs, correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of STD transmission.

However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD . In order to achieve the protective effect of condoms, they must be used correctly and consistently. Incorrect use can lead to condom slippage or breakage, thus diminishing their protective effect. Inconsistent use, e.g., failure to use condoms with every act of intercourse, can lead to STD transmission because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse”

In our society today, is it possible for a normal, healthy person to resist sexual urges until marriage and then maintain a commitment to faithful, monogamous marriage? Can an entire nation dramatically reduce its AIDS incidence rates largely as a result of abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage?   The answer is ‘”YES WE CAN”

Illustration by CDC:

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Sleep Paralysis- A Nightmare Spirit

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Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon known by all cultures throughout the world, in which people, either when falling asleep or wakening, temporarily experience an inability to move in the middle of the night, often you are woken suddenly with a feeling of evil surrounding you, you can’t breathe and your chest is heavy, like someone pressing down on you, trying to suffocate you or holding you down, you can’t move! You think you can hear voices and see a dark shadowy figure swooping around your bed and you wonder why? If you’ve had this experience, you’re not alone, it’s is a classic example of what has become known as the “old hag” syndrome that comes from the superstitious belief that you may be hunted by the devil or a witch.

In African culture, it’s commonly referred to as “the witch riding your back.” Ogun Oru is a traditional explanation for nocturnal disturbances among the Yoruba of Southwest Nigeria; ogun oru (nocturnal warfare) involves an acute night-time disturbance that is culturally attributed to demonic infiltration of the body and psyche during dreaming. Ogun oru is characterized by its occurrence, a female preponderance, the perception of an underlying feud between the sufferer’s earthly spouse and a ‘spiritual’ spouse, and the event of bewitchment through eating while dreaming. The condition is believed to be treatable through Christian prayers or elaborate traditional rituals designed to exorcise the imbibed demonic elements.

In Zimbabwean Shona culture the word Madzikirira is used to refer something really pressing one down. This mostly refers to the spiritual world in which some spirit—especially an evil one—tries to use its victim for some evil purpose. The people believe that witches can only be people of close relations to be effective, and hence a witches often try to use one’s spirit to bewitch one’s relatives.

In Ethiopian culture the word ‘dukak’ (ዱካክ – Amharic) is used, which is believed to be an evil spirit that possesses people during their sleep. Some people believe this experience is linked to use of Khat ( ጫት ‘Chat’ – Amharic). Khat users experience sleep paralysis when suddenly quitting chewing Khat after use for a long time. In Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, the word ‘dukak’ taken out of the context of Khat withdrawal related sleep paralysis, means depression.

The evil spirit ‘dukak’ is an anthropomorphism (anthropomorphic personification) of the depression that often results from the act of quitting chewing Khat. ‘Dukak‘ often appears in hallucinations of the quitters and metes out punishments to its victims for offending him by quitting. The punishments are often in the form of implausible physical punishments (e.g., the ‘dukak’ puts the victim in a bottle and shakes the bottle vigorously) or outrageous tasks the victim must perform (e.g., swallow a bag of gravel).

In Swahili speaking East Africa, it is known as jinamizi, which refers to a creature sitting on one’s chest making it difficult for him/her to breathe. It is attributed to result from a person sleeping on his back. Most people also recall being strangled by this ‘creature’. People generally survive these ‘attacks’

What is SP?

Research shows that SP is linked with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. When in REM sleep you are usually dreaming, your body does not act out your dreams as you will hurt either yourself, or someone else, so evolution has worked its merry little way of getting your brain to switch off your muscles (so to speak) and relax you while dreaming, essentially paralyzing you to a degree.

The cause for a state of SP is when your mind wakes up, usually still in a semi-REM state, but your body is still relaxed and semi paralyzed, bringing sometimes a horrifying sensation of being paralyzed while still in a semi-dream state yet awake. The consequences of this state are usually nothing short of terrifying to individuals with their dreams suddenly becoming reality as they are trapped in an in between sate of consciousness. The usual result is panic to try to release oneself while sleep creeps around your brain like a slow fog trying to drag you back down to it’s depths again.

More formally, it is a transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It can occur at sleep onset or upon awakening, and it is often associated with terrifying visions (e.g., an intruder in the room), to which one is unable to react due to paralysis. It is believed a result of disrupted REM sleep, which is normally characterized by complete muscle atonia that prevents individuals from acting out their dreams. Sleep paralysis has been linked to disorders such as narcolepsy, migraines, anxiety disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea; however, it can also occur in isolation. When linked to another disorder, sleep paralysis commonly occurs in association with the neuromuscular disorder narcolepsy.

Of a recent survey it is suggested that between 25-30% of the general population has suffered some form of SP with 95% of these experiencing a perceived horrifying event. It is now considered to be a common disorder among the population, but not many people admit to suffering SP. Yes, it does run in the family, if you have suffered an episode, chances are there’s a member within your close family who has also experienced this. People often feel they are experiencing something paranormal with SP due to the bizarre symptoms and don’t realize that they are in fact suffering from something many others have experienced with a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I S T H I S C O N D I T I O N H A R M F U L ?

General medical research shows SP is not generally harmful and will only ever last from a few seconds, to maybe a few minutes. Of course reality is severely altered in this state and sufferers can have a feeling of being trapped in a state of SP for what seems like hours, when in fact it is merely minutes. Further research does indicate that a predisposition to something more traumatic, such as social problems due to lack of sleep and a disruption to normal daily life, may be a result of many episodes of SP.  If you feel you need more help or more information about any health issue including SP seek out further medical help with a licensed practitioner.

C A U S E S

The most commonly reported cause of SP episodes is in fact stress. It’s believed that stress can seriously alter sleep patterns, causing episodes of sleep paralysis. Another cause can be your sleeping position. Reports and research by Dr. J. A. Cheyne show that sufferers sleeping in the face up position are five times more likely to suffer an episode of sleep paralysis than others who attempt to sleep in a different position during normal sleep. Avoidance of sleeping on your back and attempting to not roll over into this position during the night is strongly advised. The use of a small squash or tennis ball placed behind your back can sometimes help with this.

P R E V E N T I O N & R E S C U E

Prevention is all about sleeping in the correct position (not face up), not eating large amounts of food, drinking caffeine or excessive smoking before sleep. Reducing stress levels in your life is also another key factor to preventing SP as mentioned before, stress can severely alter sleep patterns inducing SP episodes, insomnia, sleep deprivation, and an erratic sleep schedule.

A good way of trying to release yourself when caught in a state of SP is attempting to concentrate on moving a body part, whether it be your finger, toe or even blinking your eyes, this works quite well and is a common remedy for most SP sufferers as the instant a body part moves, the SP episode should cease. You can also do this in your mind if you cannot move any body part, merely trying to imagine shaking your head or moving a body part can keep your mind active enough for your body to catch up and be able to move for real, essentially fully waking yourself up and again ending the SP episode.

Treatment

Treatment starts with patient education about sleep stages and muscle atonia associated with REM sleep. Patients should be evaluated for narcolepsy if symptoms persist. The safest treatment for sleep paralysis is for people to adopt healthier sleeping habits. However, in serious cases more clinical treatments are available. The most commonly used drugs are tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Despite the fact that these treatments are prescribed for serious cases of RISP, it is important to note that these drugs are not effective for everyone. There is currently no drug that has been found to completely interrupt episodes of sleep paralysis a majority of the time.

Prognosis

Sleep paralysis poses no serious health risk to those that experience it, despite the fact that it can be an intensely terrifying experience. SUNDS is a deadly disorder believed to be related to sleep paralysis; however, they are still considered completely separate disorders, so sleep paralysis sufferers should not be alarmed.

Conclusion

Several circumstances have been identified that are associated with an increased risk of sleep paralysis, stress, overuse of stimulants, physical fatigue, as well as certain medications that are used to treat ADHD. It is also believed that there may be a genetic component in the development of RISP due to a high concurrent incidence of sleep paralysis in mono zygotic twins.

Also, sleeping in the supine position is believed to make the sleeper more vulnerable to episodes of sleep paralysis because in this sleeping position it is possible for the soft palate to collapse and obstruct the airway. This is a possibility regardless of whether the individual has been diagnosed with sleep apnea or not. There may also be a greater rate of microarousals while sleeping in the supine position, because gravity exerts a greater amount of pressure on the lungs.

While many factors can increase risk for ISP or RISP, they can be avoided with minor lifestyle changes. By maintaining a regular sleep schedule and observing good sleep hygiene, one can reduce chances of sleep paralysis. It helps subjects to reduce the intake of stimulants and stress in daily life by taking up a hobby or seeing a trained psychologist who can suggest coping mechanisms for stress. However, some cases of ISP and RISP involve a genetic factor—which means some people may find sleep paralysis unavoidable.

 

Discover Who You’re

When was the last time you sat down with your friends, family or perhaps your kids to talk about your family history or heritage? When things happen, we often talk about it, except our history, unless we go back in time, which should be the exact opposite. Our experience may differ, but we’re interconnected by our destiny. We always look at important figures, important events, important groups, ideas, and movements but not within ourselves.

When we start sharing our history, we can then educate others who do not know much about their history or about your culture. Our birth right is in our DNA, our culture is in us and history is in our destiny. Whether good or bad, we share the same experience through similar events, relationship, cause and effect. Therefore, our past, present and future is shaped by our history. Your understanding of culture is what defines you as a person, so understand the basic concept of history and who you are as a person.

~ Princess Asha Okojie
© 2011  AfriQtalk Entertainment. All rights reserved.

 

Manage Better Foot Care with Diabetes

Roberta Kleinman, RN, M.Ed., CDE

by Roberta Kleinman, RN, M.Ed., CDE

Hello !

This week I consulted with a new patient who was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The only thing he could focus on during the hour long education session was proper foot care.

The reason is – he has a family who had 3 male generations of diabetes and each member of that family had an amputation either on their toes, the entire foot or the lower leg and foot. He knew this was his wake up call to start paying close attention to overall prevention of complications.

According to the C.D.C., “half of diabetes related amputations can be prevented by patient education and regular foot exams.” Recent research notes that we are making progress with better foot care, but there is still room to improve. Once an amputation is performed because of diabetic neuropathy, there is a 50% increase for a second amputation within the next 3 years.

After a second amputation there is an 80% death rate within the next 5 years. Learning correct foot care after a diabetes diagnosis can change these statistics dramatically. This particular gentleman came to his visit in flip flops since we live in sunny hot Florida. Looking at his toenails was an automatic reason to get into foot care quickly.

The obvious was that his nails were thick, yellow and splintering from fungus and it was impossible for him to trim them properly. They were way too long and made it uncomfortable to put on his shoes and socks. He is Medicare age which allows him several monthly covered visits per year to a podiatrist for nail care.

He already felt better! Since he is still employed as a car salesman and on his feet most of the day we discussed the need for proper shoes and diabetic socks. He was also pleased to find out that Medicare will cover a pair of sturdy safe shoes with certain criteria established by your physician or podiatrist.

I explained what neuropathy is (nerve damage with lack of sensation), as well as P.A.D. – peripheral vascular disease – or reduced blood flow. Because of these conditions there is less blood and less oxygen to the tissue. There are fewer white blood cells to help fight off infection.

We discussed the need for diabetic socks which he never realized was that important. Things to keep in mind when purchasing diabetic socks are:

Socks always provide a layer between you and the shoe. An extra layer is very important.

Fabric – Diabetes socks should be a blend. Cotton is good for comfort and its natural allergy free properties, but it should contain some other fabric such as acrylic, spandex, polyester or synthetic material to help with a good fit and to stay in place. A good blend would be 50% cotton and 50% blend. The fabric should have some anti-static properties to help prevent rubbing which creates blisters. Blisters can lead to diabetic foot ulcers if not treated.

Colloidal silver – The silver is woven into the sock to help pull moisture away from the skin and actually absorbs the moisture. People with diabetes are more at risk for infections like athlete’s foot or other fungus infections as well as bacterial infections, and perspiration will increase that risk. Any product that helps wick away moisture and has an anti-microbial property would be a benefit. Roughly 80% of the general population experience athlete’s foot with the largest number coming from people with diabetes. The anti-microbial fibers will also reduce foot odor.

Elastic content – Athletic socks generally have large amounts of elastic which tends to constrict especially around the lower leg and ankle. This impairs blood flow and circulation – a danger to people with diabetes. Make sure you do not have skin indentations. Diabetes socks tend to have less elastic.

Fit – Try to find socks that are like a second skin to your foot. You should not have bunching or wrinkling which will cause blisters sores, hot spots, pressure points or ulcers.

Seams – Diabetes socks should not contain seams. They tend to create pressure points that also increase foot problems like ulcers. They are also uncomfortable. Even, smooth surfaces should rest against the foot.

Color – Depending on your needs, white socks are always the best when you have diabetes and foot issues. They allow you to quickly notice blood or discharge when sensation is diminished. White socks do not contain artificial color dyes or additives which could bleed into your skin when perspiring. Make sure the socks do not contain latex which causes allergies in a majority of people. Purchase a few pair of dark diabetic socks for special occasions.

Cushioning – Diabetes socks do offer extra comfort due to extra cushioning in the sole of the sock especially in the heel and toe area which lessens pressure. The toe area should be wider to give extra space and not cramp toes. Along with well fitted shoes cushioning can really protect diabetic feet.

Care of diabetic socks – The guidelines generally suggest that you wash your socks after each use with either cold or warm water on a gentle machine cycle with a mild detergent like Ivory. You can dry them on a short gentle cycle or air dry on a clothes line.

It is suggested you purchase new diabetes socks at least every 6 months or when you notice signs of wear. If the elastic starts to pull, the cushioning starts to shrink or the fibers start to split- think new socks. Order a few pairs at a time. They may seem like an investment but your feet are worth it.

These are just a few tips for better everyday foot care. Remember to always cover feet – even in your own home. Accidents happen quickly and can easily be avoided. Think prevention!

For more Health news, visit  our Health and Wellness page.

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Rising Hip-Hop Star Lineo Ignites Ghana Music Industry Nite

Rising hip-hop star, Adegboyega Yusuf Adekoya, better known as Lineo, excites the fans with his newly introduced style of music, Afro Hip House, at the first Ghana Music Industry Nite held at Accra, Ghana, recently. Lineo  was at his best with brilliant performances alongside Hypertek Music and 2Face Idibia’s protege, Dammy Krane. At the industry nite was also R2Bees, Chidinma and others to mention but few.

“Funky High is a song that is dear to me. It is a complete deviation from the regular Nigerian contemporary hip hop. The song is a blend of Afro beats, Funk, Hip and House Music,” said Lineo. The Elepepe Master ignites the fans with his newly introduced style of music, AFRO HIP HOUSE. However, the Ogun State born singer, “LINEO” experiment with his new single FUNKY HIGH. ‘ The experiment has been awesome.

A lot of music buffs love it that is why we released it.  The song is a blend of Afro beats, Funk, Hip and House Music’, he said “Funky High is a song that is dear to me. It is a complete deviation from the regular Nigerian contemporary hip hop. It is new, it is fresh and above all, it is fun! It’s a song my team strongly believe would open a new chapter in Nigerian music.

The Afro Hip House chapter!”

It may interest you to know Lineo is one Nigerian artiste that understands the essence of the social media in music promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, Google. Having his own online-based Tv channel with over 200,000 views. In fact,the single, Funky High is already on Spinlet, a mobile application platform to distribute music.

The Icon award winner, Lineo is being Signed to Dengit Music Group under Dengit House Productions.

Kindly Download  #FunkyHigh can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://bit.ly/KGXhoD . Also Available on www.spinlet.com # DengitHouse. You can follow @MyLineo on Twitter. Email : Dengithouse@gmail.com.

King Jaja of Opobo – England’s Affair With Him And The End Of It


Born in Umuduruoha, Amaigbo in Igboland and sold as a slave to a Bonny trader at the age of twelve, he was named Jubo Jubogha by his first master. He was later sold to Chief Alali, the head of the Opubo Annie Pepple Royal House. Called Jaja by the British, this gifted and enterprising individual eventually became one of the most powerful men in the eastern Niger Delta.

In the nineteenth century—after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807—the trade in slaves was supplanted by the trade in palm oil, which was so vibrant that the region was named the Oil Rivers area.

The Houses in Bonny and other city-states controlled both the internal and external palm oil trade because the producers in the hinterland were forbidden to trade directly with the Europeans on the coast; the Europeans never left the coast for fear of malaria.

Astute in business and politics, Jaja became the head of the Anna Pepple House, extending its activities and influence by absorbing other houses, increasing operations in the hinterland and augmenting the number of European contacts. A power struggle ensued among rival factions in the houses at Bonny leading to the breakaway of the faction led by Jaja. He established a new settlement, which he named Opobo. He became King Jaja of Opobo and declared himself independent of Bonny.

Strategically located between Bonny and the production areas of the hinterland, King Jaja controlled trade and politics in the delta. In so doing, he curtailed trade at Bonny and fourteen of the eighteen Bonny houses moved to Opobo.

In a few years, he had become so wealthy that he was shipping palm oil directly to Liverpool. The British consul could not tolerate this situation. Jaja was offered a treaty of “protection”, in return for which the chiefs usually surrendered their sovereignty. After Jaja’s initial opposition, he was reassured, in vague terms, that neither his authority nor the sovereignty of Opobo would be threatened.

Jaja continued to regulate trade and levy duties on British traders, to the point where he ordered a cessation of trade on the river until one British firm agreed to pay duties. Jaja refused to comply with the consul’s order to terminate these activities, despite British threats to bombard Opobo. Unknown to Jaja, the Scramble for Africa had taken place and Opobo was part of the territories allocated to Great Britain. This was the era of gunboat diplomacy, where Great Britain used her naval power to negotiate conditions favorable to the British.

Lured into a meeting with the British consul aboard a warship, Jaja was arrested and sent to Accra, where he was summarily tried and found guilty of “treaty breaking” and “blocking the highways of trade”.

Jaja was forced into exile at St. Vincent, as a political prisoner, and placed on annual income of 800 pounds which was far below estimated at 50,000 pounds income per annum in Opobo, and where he enjoyed a lavish life style, in his three storey pre-fabricated house imported from Liverpool. He was to remain is St. Vincent, against his will, for three years, and for four additional month in Barbados, from where it was decided he should return home to Opobo from exile.

Meanwhile, Jaja’s health in exile began to deteriorate to the extent that his doctor in St. Vincent reported in 1899 that, the more Jaja was retained in St. Vincent the nearer he would approach his grave. Jaja report was threatening to commit suicide unless he was allowed to return.

It took another two years for Jaja to be evacuated from St. Vincent , from where in February, 1891, he was transferred to Barbados. He was to remain in Barbados for another three months before he was conveyed to Spanish colony of Teneriffe, instead of Sierra Lone, on May 11, 1891. The plan was for him to remain there until the arrival of the British consul, Macdonald who was to take him back to Opobo, but, due to an outbreak of epidemic in the island, Macdonald did not arrive in June as expected.

Consequently Jaja waited hopelessly and in abject misery, soon contracted dysentery from which he died on July 7, 1891, after nearly four years in exile. His body was buried at Teneriffe. But in October, 1892, his body was exhumed and taken to Opobo where on October 12, it was received by a fleet at 60 war canoes each carrying each of the old warriors of King Jaja.

Years after his exile in St. Vincent Jaja, is still remembered in anecdotes, today in the West Indies, as he stays there made the land favourable impact on the people of St. Vincent and Barbados. To them Jaja remained a legendary figure. He is remembered for upholding the diginity and self respect of the African even in the most difficult conditions in which he found himself while on exile in Caribbean.

Based on the illegal exile of King Jaja of Opobo in the Caribbean, the situation in the Delta today is not different. The same vicious struggle for the control of the oil resources in the Delta has continued in a post colonial and independent federal Nigeria. The British Buccaneers have been replaced by non-indigenous local predators, that in collusion with the big foreign-owned oil companies have seized control of vast oil resources in the Delta area in a manner that can not be said to serve the economic interest of the people of the Delta. Like Jaja, the people of the Delta want to control their own resources.

This is what is responsible for the rebellion of the people of Niger Delta and the continuing violence in the area. What the situation call for is some restitution with the people of the Delta through real fiscal federalism.

Legacy

King Jaja was exiled for many years in Barbados, the West Indies. Then due to immense civil unrest caused by the presence of King Jaja by the enslaved people of Barbados and after years of campaigning for his freedom. Jaja was moved to the island of San Vicente, Cape Verde, West Africa. To prevent the possibility of a slave revolt.

When Jaja eventually won his liberty after years of fighting against his wrongful abduction and consequent exile by the British. It was agreed by Parliament that he could be reunite to his Kingdom State of Opobo. Jaja now an old man and after years in exile in San Vicente, his health had deteriorated but this did not deter him from embarking on a British vessel bound for Opobo.

His health had failed and on his way back to his beloved Opobo Jaja died due to ill health. He was then shipped instead to Tenerife where he was buried. Due to the anger and fury felt by his people on the chain of events that had preceded, Opobians made the demand for the body of their King which was promptly exhumed and transported back to Opobo where Jaja was buried.

As a loved King his people never forgot about him nor gave up hope that one day he would return. When his body was returned they proceeded to honour him in a manor befitting a much loved & Powerful King (Amayanabo) with 2 years of mourning and with a ceremony immortalising Jaja as a deity.

African Destination- Meet The Himba Tribe

 

By Alex Ohan

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The Himba; are an ethnic group of about 20,000 to 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region. Recently they have built two villages in Kamanjab which have become tourist destinations. They are mostly a semi-nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero, and speak Otjihimba, a dialect of the Herero language.

The Himba breed cattle and goats. The responsibility for milking the cows lies with the women. Women take care of the children, and one woman will take care of another woman’s children. Women tend to perform more labour-intensive work than men do, such as carrying water to the village and building homes. Men handle the political tasks and legal trials.

Members of an extended family typically dwell in a homestead, “a small, circular hamlet of huts and work shelters” that surrounds “an okuruwo (ancestral fire) and a central livestock enclosure.” Both the fire and the livestock are closely tied to their belief in ancestor worship, the fire representing ancestral protection and the livestock allowing “proper relations between human and ancestor.”

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with otjize, a mixture of butter fat and ochre, possibly to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins reddish tinges. This symbolizes earth’s rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other’s hair that they extend with plastic hair that they usually have to purchase, and cover it except the ends, in their ochre mixture.

Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animal skins in various colors. Adult women wear beaded anklets to protect their legs from venomous animal bites.
Boys are generally circumcised before puberty, to make them eligible for marriage.

Because of the harsh desert climate in the region where they live and their seclusion from outside influences, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle. Members live under a tribal structure based on bilateral descent that helps them live in one of the most extreme environments on earth.

Under bilateral descent, every tribe member belongs to two clans: one through the father and another through the mother. Himba clans are led by the eldest male in the clan. Sons live with their father’s clan, and when daughters marry, they go to live with the clan of their husband.

Himba woman

Himba Girls Bilateral descent is found among only a few groups in West Africa, India, Australia, Melanesia and Polynesia, and anthropologists consider the system advantageous for groups that live in extreme environments because it allows individuals to rely on two sets of families dispersed over a wide area.

The Himba are a monotheistic people who worship the god Mukuru. Each family has its own ancestral fire, which is kept by the fire-keeper. The fire-keeper approaches the ancestral fire every seven to eight days in order to communicate with Mukuru and the ancestors on behalf of his family. Often, because Mukuru is busy in a distant realm, the ancestors act as Mukuru’s representatives. However, the difference between Mukuru and the ancestors is that while Mukuru only blesses and never curses; the ancestors do both.

The Himba traditionally believe in omiti, which some translate to mean witchcraft but which others call “bad medicine”. Some Himba believe that death is caused by omiti, or rather, by someone using omiti for malicious purposes. Additionally, some believe that evil people who use omiti have the power to place bad thoughts into another’s mind or cause extraordinary events to. But users of omiti do not always attack their victim directly; sometimes they target a relative or loved one. Some Himba will consult a diviner to reveal the reason behind an extraordinary event, or the source of the

 

Harlem’s Nnamdi Okonkwo Nigerian Sculpturist

 

THREE WOMEN FRIENDS Sculpture by Nnamdi Okonkwo, Harlem, New York City

“Three Friends” is a sculpture by the Nigerian born Nnamdi Okonkwo that currently resides at the front of Fifth Avenue on the Park, a condominium building in Harlem.
Nigerian sculptor Nnamdi Okonkwo created this monumental sculpture that stands outside of Fifth Avenue on the Park, a condominium building in Harlem area of New York City.

The condominium overlooks Marcus Garvey Park and is located at 120th Street and Fifth Avenue. This bronze sculpture was installed in July of 2010 and truly beautifies the front of the building and the entire area.

The following words from the sculptor:

I believe that life is not ordinary, but that there is a heroic, monumental, and divine capacity to the human spirit. Sculpture is an avenue for me to express this beauty and nobility that is inherent in humanity. In short, I seek for the sublime in the emotions and feelings, which my figures evoke. I have chosen the female form to portray this magnificence of the soul, because in my indigenous culture, womanhood is venerated, and “mother is supreme.”

I believe that the noble virtues such as serenity, love, hope, humility, charity, and inner strength, which enable us to face and transcend the adversities of life, are best exemplified in womanhood. The voluminous shapes are aesthetically pleasing and intoxicating to me, but they also serve to emphasize the largeness of soul of womanhood.

Born in Eastern Nigeria in 1965, Nnamdi is the first of three sons. He currently reside in Fayetteville, Georgia with his  wife and three children. After obtaining a Degree in painting in Nigeria, basketball became the avenue for Nnamdi to come to the United States because of his height.

He was recruited by BYU-Hawaii where he played from 1989-1993, and graduated with a BFA in Sculpture. After which he enrolled in the graduate program at BYU-Provo and received an MFA degree in sculpture in 1997.  His work is represented in galleries across the country, and can be seen in individual and public sculpture gardens as well.

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Catching Up With Former Third World Percussionist – Willie Stewart

http://youtu.be/tKRJlmqXPVY http://youtu.be/EcJ61-pee70 Have you ever wondered what became of the group Third World ? Well! I had the pleasure of catching up with former Third World Percussionist – Willie Stewart through a phone conversation. Willie is the founder of Solution in Music, he has shared his brilliant talent in rhythm and percussion with kids through his foundation. In my conversation with him, I realized that his excitement was not in past tales of his world travels, multiple Grammy nominations nor his celebrity status twenty-two years ago as the drummer for Third World band, but rather, his passion to bring music to people – especially children. “It’s not about me and what I can play, he said, “It’s about using the programme to make the people feel like they achieved something – to be inspired, to be motivated.”Children are our most treasure asset, we must love, protect and nurture them so that they may realize their dreams.

Although, he left the Third World band nearly 20 years ago, drummer Willie Stewart is still making rhythmic noise in South Florida. His commitment to continue to work hard and stay committed to empowering  our youth and communities. The power of music has definitely earned Willie recognitions in Jamaica, the U.S and in South Florida, where he currently reside.

Willie is among the recipients of the 2012 Jamaica Diaspora Honours which were recently announced by Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant-Griffiths. Through his non-profit organization, Embrace Music Foundation (EMF), Willie conducts percussion workshops in schools and communities.

EMF’s latest programme is Rhythms of Africa/Music Around the World, seven two-hour workshops that unite musical concepts such as rhythm and tone, with ethnic studies and language. The London-born Stewart started his career in the early 1970s as a member of the popular Inner Circle band, then toured with Byron Lee (his older brother) and the Dragonaires.

Willie joined Third World in the mid-1970s, playing on the band’s landmark albums such as 96 Degrees in the Shade and Journey to Addis, as well as the hit songs, Now That we Found Love and Try Jah Love.

I asked Willie ‘ do you see yourself coming to perform in Nigeria any time soon? It’s been in the radar, he replied, “I had a good time in Lagos, Nigeria and would like to give something back to the people of Africa.

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Nigerian Political Independence and Pro-democracy Icon- Chief Anthony Enahoro

TODAY, I REMEMBER ONE OF THE TITIANS OF NIGERIA’S STRUGGLE FOR POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE AND PRO-DEMOCRACY ICON, MY UNCLE, CHIEF ANTHONY ENAHORO.  AS WE PREPARE TO CELEBRATE NIGERIA’S 52 INDEPENDENCE DAY ON OCT 1, 2012, LET’S NOT FORGET THE MEANING OF SACRIFICE, FREEDOM, UNITY AND PATRIOTISM. ……….ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY. R.I.P PA.

Chief Anthony Enahoro (22 July 1923 – 15 December 2010) was Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activists. He was born the eldest of twelve children in Uromi in the present Edo State of Nigeria. His Esan parents were Anastasius Okotako Enahoro (d. 1968) and Fidelia Inibokun née Ogbidi Okojie (d. 1969). Chief Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King’s College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21, thus becoming Nigeria’s youngest editor ever. He later became the editor of Zik’s Comet, Kano, 1945–49, also associate editor West African Pilot, Lagos, editor-in-chief Morning Star from 1950 to 1953.

And In 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence and consequences,he has been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the father of “Nigeria State” Though his motion was rejected by Parliament and the northern MP’s staged a walkout as a consequence of the attempt. The actual successful movement of the motion for Nigeria’s independence did not take place until 1958. After Enahoro’s initial attempt in 1953, Chief S.L. Akintola attempted to move the second motion for Nigeria’s independence in 1957 and though his motion was passed by Parliament it was not acquiesced to by the British colonial authorities and it therefore failed.

The successful moving of the motion for Nigeria’s independence did not take place until August 1958 and this was done by Chief Remi Fani-Kayode. Fani-Kayode’s motion was not only passed by Parliament but it was also acquiesced to by the British. His motion had called for independence to be granted to Nigeria on April 2, 1960 and though it was passed by Parliament and acquiesed to by the British a slight amendment proposing that the month of independence should be moved from April 2 to October 1 was proposed by a fourth motion to Parliament by Sir Tafawa Balewa in 1959 and it was passed.As a consequence of that Nigeria gained her independence in 1960.

He was born the eldest of ten children in Onewa village, Uromi, in the present Edo State of Nigeria. His Esan parents were Anastasius Asuelinmen “Okotako” Enahoro (d. 1968) and Fidelia Inibokun née Ogbidi Okojie (d. 1969). Chief Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King’s College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21. AS a student then at the famous Kings College, Chief Enahoro plunged into the Nigerian turbulent liberation struggle against colonial rule in the early 1940s, leading to student revolts at the college, in Lagos where he was a student leader. He was prominent in politics at a time of rapid change. He was twice jailed for sedition by the colonial government, for an article mocking a former governor, and then for a speech allegedly inciting Nigerian troops serving in the British army. The British marked him as a firebrand, but even as he was jailed for a third time, he was beginning to reassess his position.

During the Nigerian crisis that followed the 1966 coups, Chief Enahoro was the leader of the then Mid-West delegation to the Ad HocConstitutional Conference in Lagos. He later became Federal commissioner (Minister) for Information and Labour under the General Yakubu Gowon Military Government, 1967–74; Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, 1975. He later became member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, 1978–83. He was the president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture, 1972–75.

Chief Enahoro was the chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group that fought dictator Sani Abacha till Abacha’s death. Chief Enahoro was conferred with the national honour of Commander, Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 1982, and is the chairman of the Movement for National Reformation, MNR; as well as the Pro-National Conference Organisation, PRONACO. He was awarded honorary DSC by the University of Benin in 1972. Among his publications include the treatise Fugitive Offender. Chief Enahoro played golf and followed cricket ardently. [1][2][3] Chief Enahoro was a delegate to most of the constitutional conferences leading to the independence of Nigeria in 1960.

During the 1962 crisis in the old Western region, he was detained along with other Action Group members. Accused of treason during the Awolowo alleged coup trial, Chief Enahoro escaped via Ghana to the United Kingdom in 1963, Nigeria requested Enahoro’s extradition under the 1881 Fugitive Offenders Act, preventing his application for political asylum. Early in 1963, the new leader of the Labour party, Harold Wilson, detected the embarrassment caused by Enahoro’s arrest and imprisonment. Labour went on the attack in the Commons, with support from some Tories, backed by a media furore. He was once one of the best-known Nigerians in Britain. He was the “fugitive offender” who triggered days of debate in the House of Commons in 1963 as he battled against extradition.

“The Enahoro affair” became an issue of human rights versus the government’s pusillanimous wish not to offend Nigeria, and put the Tory prime minister, Harold Macmillan, and his home secretary, Henry Brooke, in a difficult position.

He was extradited from the UK and imprisoned for treason. In 1966, he was released by the Military Government.

Legacy

In 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro initiated the self-government motion in the Western House of Assembly, which eventually led to Nigerian Independence on the 1st day of October, 1960.

Sport

Chief Enahoro came from a sporting background. He excelled in sports at King’s College and is credited with being the first Nigerian National to gain membership of a golf club in Nigeria. He managaged to bring his handicap down into single figures during his long golfing career. He was also the driving force behind bringing FESTAC to Nigeria in the 1970s, during which time both Muhammed Ali and Pele visited the country to widespread acclaim.

All his children excelled at sport during their schooling and University years, playing Football, Rugby, Golf and Tennis. Currently, Kenneth and Eugene are avid golfers and founding members of the Saturday Society at Benin Golf Club. Annabella practices Pilates and Gabriel is an avid cyclist.

Chief Enahoro is survived by his wife Helen (née Ediae),their five children; Kenneth Enahoro, Eugene Enahoro, Victor Enahoro, Annabella Enahoro and Gabriel Enahoro and several grandchildren.

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TEXT OF BILL CLINTON’S ADDRESS TO THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

Former President Bill Clinton waves as he arrives to address delegates during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte,N.C., Sept. 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Here is the text of President Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention as prepared for delivery and released by the convention’s press office:

We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind. I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression.A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside.  A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made.  One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity.  We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Who’s right?  Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24.  In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs.  What’s the jobs score?  Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million! It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.  After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system.And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better.  After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.  All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.  Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way.  They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.

One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.  He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation.  He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act.  And Joe Biden did a great job with both.  He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries.Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies.

I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship. He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well.

Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work. Senator,  I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!

In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in. In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids.

As another President once said – there they go again. I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month.  The answer is YES. I understand the challenge we face.  I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy.  Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.

I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995.  Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet.  By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did.  No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.  But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart. President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.So back to the story.  In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs.  But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs.

So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero. Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.The auto industry restructuring worked.  It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country.  That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it.  They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured.  Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high.  Renewable energy production has also doubled.We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills.  We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology.  That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever.

The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years.That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments.  This will change the future for young Americans.

I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions. That brings me to health care. The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal.  Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far.Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion.  Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement.More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies.  Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems.  Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions.

And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years. So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are. There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars.Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.

It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget. At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent.  He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016.  If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.

But it gets worse.  They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade.  Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all.  Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism.  I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen. Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here’s what happened.  When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%.  You hear that? More work.  So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us.  President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out.They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.  When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”

People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets.

What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.  If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy.  Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left.  We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation. My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in.  If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket.  If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama.  If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama.

If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama. I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in.  And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union. If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.

God Bless You – God Bless America.

Press Release – BRACKET To Receive Honorary Award from the City of Philadelphia

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The group Bracket is fast becoming a house hold name in North America, thanks to their fans and supporters. The Enugu born duo is poised to receive a Honorary award from the city of Philadelphia at the African American Museum of Philadelphia in a Banquet event, August 3, 2012. They will join the likes of Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey who received a similar recognition in Boston.

Nominated for Best Indigenous Artist/Group at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in New York, September 2, 2012. The group has won many awards, including NMVA 2009 Best Hi-Life Video Wedding planner song of the year award 2009 Museke Africa Song of the Year award 2010, Soundcity Nominee for Discovery of the year 2009 and becoming the most sought after artistes by show promoters in the African Disaporas and around the globe .

They aren’t slowing down and are taking North America by storm with their new album release, girl featuring award winning Wizkid BET best international act, even though Yori Yori still remains indisputably the most popular. Also, they will be performing at the 5th Annual African Music Festival, September 5, 2012. A three days event kicking off a one month tour in the U.S. Click the following link for more info http://t.co/XzWuuefW

Bracket is brought to you by ACANA and AfriQtalk in collaboration with the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, and Peco Energy. Sponsored by the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on African & Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual Disabilities, Children Crisis Treatment Center, Browns Family Shoprite, Cozen O’Connor, The Welcoming Center, Chester Avenue Business Association, Funtimes Magazine, and Liberian United Women in Progress.

Who is ACANA? African Cultural Alliance of North America Inc., ACANA was founded in Southwest Philadelphia in 1999 in order to bridge the gap between African immigrants and the existing African American communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an area of the city where most of the agency’s targeted clients, (African refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrant populations) have been resettled. ACANA was originally started by Voffee Jabateh, MSW, as a cultural organization to support African artists/ musicians in their efforts to establish themselves within the United States.

The goal is to help African immigrant artists ensure continuity within their new location, as well as to assist in cultural preservation within this new environment. However, due to overwhelming requests for additional help by the ever-expanding population of African refugee, asylee and immigrant community members in dealing with the stressors associated with adjusting to their new community; ACANA was incorporated in 1999 as a non-profit social service agency. For information about BRACKET-MANIA TOUR  click here  http://t.co/XzWuuefW. To purchase your tickets for  3 days ACANA African Music Festival, click the following link http://acanafestweekend.eventbrite.com/. A family event that you don’t want to miss.

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Eye Problems and Diabetes

cataract

SOURCES:
American Diabetes Association: “Eye Disease.”  American Diabetes Association: “Mental Heatlh Problem Linked to Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Take Charge of Your Diabetes.” Colucciello, M. Arch Ophthalmol 2005; 123:1273. Hernandez, C. Diabetes Care, 2006; 29:2028.

If you have diabetes, regular visits to your ophthalmologist for eye exams are important to avoid eye problems. High blood sugar (glucose) increases the risk of diabetes eye problems. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.

If you have eye problems and diabetes, don’t buy a new pair of glasses as soon as you notice you have blurred vision. It could just be a temporary eye problem that develops rapidly with diabetes and is caused by high blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar in diabetes causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see. To correct this kind of eye problem, you need to get your blood sugar back into the target range (90-130 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after a meal). It may take as long as three months after your blood sugar is well controlled for your vision to fully get back to normal.

Blurred vision can also be a symptom of more serious eye problem with diabetes. The three major eye problems that people with diabetes may develop and should be aware of are cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.

 

Cataracts and Diabetes

A cataract is a clouding or fogging of the normally clear lens of the eye. The lens is what allows us to see and focus on an image just like a camera. Although anyone can get cataracts, people with diabetes get these eye problems at an earlier age than most and the condition progresses more rapidly than in people without diabetes.

If you have a cataract with diabetes, your eye cannot focus light and your vision is impaired. Symptoms of this eye problem in diabetes include blurred or glared vision.

Treatment is usually surgery followed by placement of a lens implant, with glasses or contact lenses as needed to further correct vision.

Glaucoma and Diabetes

When fluid inside the eye does not drain properly from a buildup of pressure inside the eye, it results in another eye problem with diabetes called glaucoma. The pressure damages nerves and the vessels in the eye, causing changes in vision.

In the most common form of glaucoma, there may be no symptoms of this eye problem at all until the disease is very advanced and there is significant vision loss. In the less common form of this eye problem, symptoms can include headaches, eye aches or pain, blurred vision, watering eyes, halos around lights, and loss of vision.

Treatment of this eye problem in diabetes can include special eye drops, laser procedures, medicine, or surgery. You can prevent serious eye problems in diabetes problems by getting an annual glaucoma screening from your eye doctor.

retinopathyLarge

Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina is a group of specialized cells that convert light as it enters though the lens into images. The eye nerve or optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the vascular (blood-vessel related) complications related to diabetes. This diabetes eye problem is due to damage of small vessels and is called a “microvascular complication.” Kidney disease and nerve damage due to diabetes are also microvascular complications. Large blood vessel damage (also called macrovascular complications) includes complications like heart disease and stroke.

The microvascular complications have, in numerous studies, been shown to be related to high blood sugar levels. You can reduce your risk of these eye problems in diabetes complications by improving your blood sugar control.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in industrialized nations. The duration of diabetes is the single most important risk for developing retinopathy. So the longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of this very serious eye problem. If retinopathy is not found early or is not treated, it can lead to blindness.

People with type 1 diabetes rarely develop retinopathy before puberty. In adults with type 1 diabetes, it is also rare to see retinopathy before five years’ duration of diabetes. The risks of retinal damage increase with progressive duration of diabetes. Intensive control of blood sugar levels will reduce your risks of developing retinopathy. The DCCT, a large study of people with type 1 diabetes showed that people with diabetes who achieved tight control of their blood sugars with either an insulin pump or multiple daily injections of insulin were 50%-75% less likely to develop retinopathy, nephropathy (kidney disease), or nerve damage (all microvascular complications).

People with type 2 diabetes usually have signs of eye problems when diabetes is diagnosed. In this case, control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol with diabetes have an important role in slowing the progression of retinopathy and other eye problems.

Types of Retinopathy in Diabetes:

  • Background retinopathy. Sometimes the blood vessel damage exists, but there is no vision problem. This is called background retinopathy. It’s important to carefully manage your diabetes at this stage to prevent background retinopathy from progressing to more serious eye disease.
  • Maculopathy. In maculopathy, the person has developed damage in a critical area called the macula. Because this occurs in an area that is critical to vision, this type of eye problem can significantly reduce vision.
  • Proliferative retinopathy. New blood vessels start to grow in the back of the eye. Because retinopathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes, a disease of small vessels, this type of retinopathy develops because of an increasing lack of oxygen to the eye from vascular disease. Vessels in the eye are thinned and occluded and they start to remodel.

Here, it is important to address the risks factors that can worsen the occluded vessels. Smoking cessation, high blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and blood sugar control must take place in order to stop the progression of new vessels from forming into the orbit of the eye. These are fragile vessels that can bleed and eventually cause a clot to form in the orbit, which scars and causes detachment of the retina. This eventually leads to irreversible vision loss.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy may involve laser procedures or surgery. In a study of people with diabetes with early retinopathy, laser therapy to burn the fragile vessel resulted in a 50% reduction of blindness.

To prevent retinopathy with diabetes, have your eye doctor screen your eyes annually. Women with diabetes who later become pregnant should have a comprehensive eye exam during the first trimester and close follow-up with an eye doctor during the rest of their pregnancy to avoid serious eye problems with diabetes. (This recommendation does not apply to women who develop gestational diabetes, since they are not at risk for retinopathy.)

Preventing Eye Problems With Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association offers these eye care guidelines for people with diabetes to help prevent eye problems:

  • People with type 1 diabetes should have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist within three to five years after diagnosis.
  • People with type 2 diabetes should have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist shortly after diagnosis.
  • Annual eye exams should be done with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes by an ophthalmologist or optometrist; more frequently if necessary.
  • When considering pregnancy, women with a history of diabetes should have an eye exam prior and during pregnancy. This does not pertain to women with gestational diabetes.

To prevent eye problems in diabetes, you should:

  • Control your blood sugar
  • Control high blood pressure

When to Contact Your Doctor About Eye Problems in Diabetes

If you have diabetes, contact your doctor about any eye problems in if any of the following occur:

  • Black spots in your vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • “Holes” in your vision.
  • Blurred vision.
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