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Why was Prince Harry invited to give a speech about Nelson Mandela?

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The British royal offered an insipid, cliché-laden take that only further watered down the anti-apartheid icon’s story.

The United Nations General Assembly observed Nelson Mandela International Day on Monday morning with a series of speakers celebrating the legacy of South Africa’s first Black president and its most famous anti-apartheid freedom fighter. And the keynote speaker was … Britain’s Prince Harry.

That’s pretty weird!

While the event helps Harry in advancing his tortured pivot to socially conscious royal, it’s unclear why he was invited to speak in the first place. As a member of the British royal family, he’s a figurehead of colonialism and has no record of commitment to the kinds of ideas that Mandela stood for. Unsurprisingly, Harry’s remarks were an anodyne homage that avoided reckoning with the historical figure’s political goals and strategic decisions, and instead relied heavily on clichés about bravery.

By , MSNBC Opinion Columnist

Harry spoke for about 15 minutes, but little of what he said was insightful or memorable. He briefly mentioned that Mandela — who fought apartheid through nonviolent protest and guerrilla warfare before being imprisoned by South Africa’s apartheid government for 27 years — suffered “state-sponsored brutality” and “racism.” But he said virtually nothing of Mandela’s upbringing, his different political phases, his management of the immensely complex demands of integrating South Africa into a multiracial democracy in the 1990s or the lessons he learned as he evolved from protester to powerful politician. Today, as the country continues to grapple with deeply entrenched inequality, the South African left debates Mandela’s efficacy as president and whether or not he made too many concessions to vested interests.

But in Harry’s telling, Mandela was most notable for surviving imprisonment — a remarkable feat indeed, but also the easiest part of his life story to depoliticize as a tale of personal endurance. Focusing on Mandela’s imprisonment allowed Harry to make use of faux-profundities like “hope is the fuel that courage requires.” And when he did mention Mandela’s great deeds, the prince said “that doesn’t mean he was perfect. No. he was something better. He was human.” I’m not sure what that meant, but I do know it allowed Harry to sound reverent without really saying anything.

Harry committed an all-too-common sin among Western liberals who frame Mandela as a kind of prophet rather than a political figure. As Gary Younge’s reflection on Mandela’s legacy in The Nation in 2013 warned: “[T]o make him a saint is to extract him from the realm of politics and elevate him to the level of deity. And as long as he resides there, his legacy cannot be fully debated or discussed, because his record is then rooted not in his role as the head of a movement, but in the beatified soul of a man and his conscience.”

It’s also not too surprising that Harry — still sixth in line to the throne of a royal institution that once oversaw the biggest empire in global history — did not discuss the role of colonialism in creating the horrific injustices Mandela and his countrymen endured.

Harry is a fratty member of the British Royal family who in earlier years used racial slurs, dressed up as a Nazi at a costume party and boasted about killing Afghans well after the war in Afghanistan became a neocolonial nation-building project. One would not expect him to be able to appraise Mandela’s legacy in a sophisticated manner, nor confess to the origins of the white supremacy that reigned in South Africa. Which again raises the question of why he was invited as a keynote instead of a real activist or politician who works within anti-colonial traditions. Perhaps the calculation was that Harry’s celebrity would draw attention to an important historical figure. But the price of such a vulgar wager is that Mandela’s extraordinary legacy was watered down even more.

♦Culled from the MSNBC

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The APC, Independent National Electoral Commission, and 2023 election rigging

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President Buhari Sir, remember that you promised Nigerians free and fair election in 2023, but with the look of things today, Nigerians are no longer sure that the election will be free and fair. The reason is the weighty allegation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that your party All Progressive Congress (APC) criminally manipulated the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) machines in order to rig the election – in collaboration with some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The accusation has made every patriotic concerned citizen in Nigeria now a doubting Thomas. The potential danger of the accusation is too high a risk to be ignored. Sir, please reassure Nigerians by justifiably giving this issue the maximum attention it desires, and when ascertained, culprits quickly brought to book.

According to the spokesperson of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, during the just concluded continuous voters registration exercise, APC connived with some INEC officials and secretly accessed the exclusive INEC registration machines and feloniously tampered them and conducted their own registration with fake names and photos.

Ugochinyere claimed that APC did so with 100s of 1000s of criminally computer generated photos, faces, passport photographs, calendars and photo albums from countries like Brazil, New Zealand, Jamaica and some other African countries. He went further to reveal that the trained personnel for the evil job by APC fraudulently used only one fingerprint to register the 100s of 1000s of these fake names and photos. Unequivocally, he stated that these “fake registrations have all passed through successfully into the database” of INEC. This is terrifying and unacceptable.

The implication of this accusation against APC is that if the issue is not followed to a very logical conclusion now, no matter who Nigerians will vote for in 2023 only preferred “hallelujah boys” candidates will be picked and announced by the political godfathers as winners through INEC. Be warned Nigerians, the time to stand up is now. If other political parties allow APC and INEC succeed in this evil of manipulatively making our voting rights merely formality exercises that will have no consequences of who presides over our affairs in 2023, the repercussion will be a colossal mistake and another tragedy. Nigeria could explode.

Elaborating on the high level of evil committed against the good people of Nigeria by these fraudsters Ugochinyere used Imo State and cited the town of Governor Hope Uzodinma where he alleged that fake wards were created and suspected that the numbers of registered voters in the ward of the governor were highly inflated. He depicted the alleged evil as “monumental compromise of the voters register by the chieftains of the ruling APC”. He went further to say that the “compromise of the Nigeria electoral register, the falsification and upload of fake registration (were) “forgery and treasonable offenses”.

Credence to the CUPP allegation of fake registration and forgery by INEC and APC was given by a young lady who identified herself as MJ claiming in her narration that one of the fake male photos attached in the INEC dubious registration forms in Imo was attached to her name. According to her, she had started the process of registering for her PVC in Ibadan and had filled in everything required in the online form remaining only to upload her picture, which she had wanted to do later. But when she came back to the INEC website she was denied access. Perhaps by this time the alleged APC trained criminal personnel had already blocked her and fraudulently helped her to complete the process in Imo State.

So the questions are as follows: How was someone who started the registration not able to login again? What could be the cause? How did the registration of this lady (MJ) that was started in Ibadan come to Imo State? How many millions of Nigerians have these fraudsters denied access of completing their own forms like this lady? Is there any other body that has access to INEC machines? How are we sure that INEC machines have not been or will not be manipulated in such a way that even many that have registered and collected their voters cards will not be able to vote successfully? Is it possible that INEC machines can be manipulated that people with valid voters card may not be able to vote on the day of the election because their data may have been manipulatively distorted and their voting rights assigned to one ghost name from Brazil, Jamaica or Niger Republic etc. to be used by someone in government houses? How should we be sure now that INEC has not compromised in this coming election? Is it legally possible for all the political parties in Nigeria to demand for their IT experts to access INEC voting machines to ascertain whether they have been tempered with or not, at least three weeks before the distribution to their various wards across the country, and also access the machines after the elections? We are worried.

This is a clarion call to all good spirited Nigerians not to be discouraged by the threat of this evil. We should continue to be law-abiding citizens. We are aware that these political monsters and vampires who are half humans and half vultures in the day and bloodsuckers in the night are not happy and comfortable in our unity. If we all had not done what was right and legitimate by massively coming out to get ourselves registered for the 2023 election, it would have been easier for these political demons to rig the election than they are finding it today. Therefore, it is a duty that we all must continue to do what is just, that includes coming out en masse on the day of election and lawfully and wisely casting our votes no matter the level of provocation. By so doing we must have succeeded in closing their still little remaining nostril of bribery and rigging until they suffocate. Go and collect your PVC or they will use it and criminally manipulate (vote) in their candidate on your behalf in 2023. “A stitch in time saves nine”.

Stand up, sit down, bend right, bend left or even squat, one thing is obvious, the buttock will always remain at the back. Truth has no duplicate. Peter Obi is our wisest choice in 2023.

♦ Uzoma Ahamefule, a refined African traditionalist and a patriotic citizen writes from Vienna, Austria. WhatsApp: +436607369050; Email Contact Uzoma >>>>

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Houston Nigerian groups, radicalized members, and the lessons of Okwesilieze

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“It may therefore be right to state that the “Okwesilieze Case” has broken that yoke of distinctive prodigality, irrationality, and deceit tormenting Houston Nigerian organizations. I hereby implore other organizations experiencing similar atrocities to follow suit.―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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Houston’s Nigerian community has been a little engaged with forum dialogs after the Texas International Guardian News ran a story update about a prolonged civil lawsuit between the Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria and a rival group formed by defecting group members “De Okwesilieze International Women’s Club”.

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The story, which was totally based on a court-endorsed mediation and settlement negotiations, emphatically stated that the said lawsuit ended in favor of the founding group, Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria. Also, the story stated that the defecting group, “De Okwesilieze, and their listed agents avoided what would have been a humiliating verdict and succumbed to mediation and settlement negotiations that completely appeased the plaintiff’s demands”.

But, yesterday, I received a strange phone call from one of the defendants (name withheld) mentioned in the case, violently questioning how there could be a loser or winner in a mediation process. Good argument, but not a smart one because the settlement speaks for itself. A mediation settlement where Plaintiff walks away with 99.9% of the demands in the original petition is indeed a slam-dunk.  That is exactly the dilemma faced by the defecting group. “De Okwesilieze.”

From a legal standpoint, mediation does not take the winner-loser approach but seeks a resolution of the dispute where the parties agree. However, mediation could also be “evaluative”, where the mediator assists the disputing parties in reaching a resolution by pointing out the weaknesses of their cases, and predicting what a judge or jury would be likely to do.

Without lectures about good or bad journalism, and without a logical analysis of the mediation process, the Defendants and their representatives in the Okwesilieze case lost woefully. Out of a long list of demands stipulated in this settlement, the below orders alone are a total humiliating defeat for these breakaways. To mention but a few, the defecting group was ordered to:

  • Immediately cease to use the name “Okwesilieze” as any part of their organization’s name.
  • Immediately cease to use the Plaintiffs team songs and greetings “Kwesi” as part of their Organization songs or greetings.
  • shall return the Plaintiff’s organization items in the procession of the defendants
  • shall pay to Plaintiff Organization the sum of $37,000.00.

So how does one explain a woeful failure? Let me make it clear, that rather than the ongoing social media winner-loser argument, the Houston community must learn from the Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria and their Founder and Leader Dr/Mrs. Gracie Gboliwe Chukwu. Dr. Chukwu had professionally hired good lawyers to institute legal action to challenge those she believed to have trespassed upon the group’s registered name, absconded with their process, and, worse, took away their funds by conversion.

 

This case should serve as a lesson not only to most Nigerian organizations in Houston but also to radicalized members among them who have a history of facilitating breakups and defecting with funds. This practice has been very common in this community because none of the groups have vigorously gone after these vandals.

It sounds surprising but true that in the past 15 years, organizations in the Nigerian community have lost an unprecedented amount of money to breakaway vandals who  would make the career off of community funds. Community organizations have also spent hundreds of thousands in fruitless litigations against these radicals.

It may therefore be right to state that the “Okwesilieze Case” has broken that yoke of distinctive prodigality, irrationality, and deceit tormenting Houston Nigerian organizations. I hereby implore other organizations experiencing similar atrocities to follow suit.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Obism—The test of translating a movement into electoral victory votes

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“The duo of Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed remains the most qualified team that could steer this country in a different direction. However, a possible victory hangs on how this movement could strategically circumvent a dysfunctional balloting process and navigate past the finish line of electoral victory.” ―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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During a strategic group meeting of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held shortly before the 2015 election at a castle on Puerta Vista Lane in Houston, TX, Hon. Dan Ulasi, a strategist with the party at the time, shocked his party enthusiasts when he hinted that their flagbearer and incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, might not make it to the next tenure. According to Ulasi, with time running out, the campaign was not organized on the ground, did not weigh the electoral map options, and had no strategies to counter a possible ballot mishandling. A few months after this prediction, the Jonathan regime crumbled like a soggy, oil-drenched Ijebu fried plantain.

 

Thus, one of the major reasons Goodluck Jonathan fell in the 2015 presidential race was his campaign’s inability to explore on-the-ground winning strategies. Overconfident and blind to ideas, his team relied on three major factors: a rousing social media blare, the power of incumbency, and public hatred for his archrival, Muhammadu Buhari.

Currently, Nigeria is faced with yet another chance to turn over a new regime leaf. At the forefront of Nigeria’s politics is the Peter Obi movement tagged Obism. The subject, Peter Gregory Obi, a businessman and politician who served as the Governor of Anambra State two separate times, is the Labour Party nominee for President of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential election. Obi’s campaign supporters gradually metamorphosed into an inspiring political movement, spreading across the nation like wildfire. Most passionate about this cause is the younger population. They took their excitement to the internet and infiltrated social media with campaign literature, including videos, catchphrases, and memes.

While all core supporters of Obi might be classified as “Obidients,” it must also be noted that in reality, there are just two categories: the Obi campaign strategists and the Obidients. The campaign strategists within the Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) are result-driven individuals focused on creating working avenues to get Obi elected. Armed with good funds and the right message, they remain the foremost support network that is crowdfunding for Peter Obi’s presidential campaigns.

In contrast, the Obidients are desperate do-or-die fanatics blind to the complexities of prevailing political terrain but driven by emotions and unquestioning enthusiasm borne out of frustration over the country’s decades of economic, social, and political meltdown. They are good, too, but often embarrass their candidate with messages incompatible with his electioneering ideology.

They are uncontrollable and flood social media platforms with video clips and poster messages conflicting with or perhaps contradicting what their candidate stands for. For example, the campaign understands the “Igbo fear factor” in Nigerian politics and has been working hard to portray its candidate as an ethnically blind figure who would unite the country. In sheer contrast, some Obidient fanatics are busy spewing messages about the inevitability of electing Obi as bait to win the Igbos into the national fold—an approach that might attract mistrust and fear among voters of northern swing states. Similarly, they have played into the hands of the opposition by unintelligibly engaging in social media tribal wars that further portray their candidate as a tribal leader.

Organizers must not be confused between an ideological movement and running a political campaign

Obism or “Obidience” is a movement, yet organizers must not be confused between an ideological movement and running a political campaign in Nigeria—a nation with a terrible electioneering record. The success of any mobilization structure for political advancement must entail strategic planning, organizing, fundraising, and mobilization of individuals.

Without a doubt, Obism is trending. Yet there are concerns about carrying the momentum beyond the current emotional excitement, social media buzz, and sometimes, annoying bombastic optimism. Do not get me wrong. Those lines are still influential in building and sustaining a campaign. However, strategies are yet to be seen for taking advantage of this movement and pushing momentum through the finishing lines of electoral victory. Just yesterday, at a mega rally in Houston, Texas, a supposed spokesman for the Obidient repeatedly announced that voters should ignore parties and vote for individuals—an indication that those fanatics are clueless about where the campaign is headed.

The Obidient fanatics have also bastardized his “shishi” ideology. “We no dey give shishi” is an anti-bribery maxim highlighting the candidate’s ethical decency in a country where corruption is an anthem. Unfortunately, the Obidient fanatics have pushed this mantra beyond the lines, discouraging prospective campaign workers, performing artists, and media platforms with a fictitious belief that the campaign is structured only to employ volunteers who would use their own money and resources.

There has to be alignment to sustain a winning approach. The campaign strategists could bring the fanatics into the fold and curtail their excesses by facilitating their campaign messages and other strategic advances to align with their electioneering mission. Actors, actresses, and performing artists must not be dissuaded by the “We no dey give shishi” mantra; rather, they must be engaged with attractive cash rewards to lead the grassroots voter mobilization drive. Polling booths are located neither on Instagram nor TikTok.

Polling booths are located neither on Instagram nor TikTok.

Just yesterday, one day before the closing of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, some hoodlums stormed the facility of St. Brigid Catholic Church Ijesha Lagos, where thousands of late registrants gathered and made away with all the equipment and materials. There was also similar news in several parts of the country, especially in the Southeast. The campaign must mobilize groups to monitor and coordinate polling locations before the election, to deter opposition vandals from election day ballot-snatching surprises. It worked in Edo’s previous gubernatorial race.

The candidate, Obi, has virtually traveled through the entire nation. Yet, it is worrisome that two other major rivals, Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party) and Bola Tinubu (the All-Progressives Congress), are not vigorously campaigning. Both candidates, who are richer than Nigeria, have a history of buying their ways through any process and have successfully demonstrated this on many occasions.

The duo of Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed remains the most qualified team that could steer this country in a different direction. However, a possible victory hangs on how this movement could strategically circumvent a dysfunctional balloting process and navigate past the finish line of electoral victory.

Let us be clear about Nigerian politics. Knowing Nigeria is one thing. Understanding its intricate politics requires unique competencies unavailable on Google. Nigeria’s political setting transcends the electoral process and often entails inconceivably crooked ballot handling. The three most crucial winning structures are facilitating and sustaining an on-the-ground poll army, strategic coordination of electoral maps, and the ability to counter ballot mishandling and falsification of ballot figures.

In the electioneering trade, a movement represents an ideology, a campaign is a project. Team Obi could use this movement to build a winning campaign.  It may sound unprofessional, but to tear through the walls of Nigeria’s electoral challenges, the Obi campaign must, at some point, play dirty. The capacity of this approach will not be discussed in this article, but as the African Ancestors would caution, to pound food on the mortar or to pound on a bare floor is a choice.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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