19
Wed, Dec
31 New Articles

The mighty is dead but still hasn't fallen. Chinua Achebe, one of Africa's most celebrated Literature writers is dead.Proffessor Achebe who was the Professor of Literature at Brown University, died on the night of March 21st.


The author of the classic novel "Things Fall Apart" was 82 yrs old. Topafric learned that he had been sick for a while and had been in the hospital.
He is originally from Anambra State, Nigeria. He is best know for the classical novel "Things Fall Apart". His latest book "There Was A Country" (A Personal history of the Biafran Nation) is still on the best seller list.

Recently New York Times published an article about the increase of U.S. immigrants going back to their native countries to start up their own businesses. It is safe to say over the past decade the countries grouped in the BRICS have been fortunate to receive a brain-gain, as many of their best and brightest have seen their own countries as land of opportunities.

On one of my social media networks I spotted a comment that said “By the time Africans get featured in an article like this the gold rush will be over.” Of course you can easily interpret this statement in several ways but it spoke volumes about how Africans tend to always be last in everything.

As a Nigerian in the Diaspora I would love to go back after I finish my education to pursue my own dreams but realistically we are faced with obstacles that cause many diasporans to become reluctant to return back to Africa to start up a business. Here are my reasons why…

The Political Climate

The political climate in Nigeria is one of the number top reasons why the Nigerian Diaspora refuse to go back to Nigeria. Despite a democratic society, the political system is still full of corruption and lack of transparency. If we compare our political history to a developing country such as Malaysia you will see some similarity as both countries received independence two years apart from each other from British rule.

Even in the 1960’s Nigeria was ahead of Malaysia economically wise and had vast more natural resources. If we compare both countries as of today, Malaysia has been able to pull ahead in terms of development. In Malaysia, a person can literally start a business in less of week versus Nigeria which is 30 plus days.

Interestingly enough there is an increasing Nigerian base in Malaysia. In other countries hard work can actually turn into a successful business like Chris Aire who has created a jewelry empire or Kase Lawal a well known business man in the oil sector. In Nigeria there are many businesses thriving based off their own work, but as well just as many growing because of ties these companies have with the government.

Lack of infrastructure

It is 2012 and Nigeria still does not have a stable power for companies to run businesses. Many companies in Nigeria use over 10% of their income to run power from day to Night. In other countries running power for the company is the least of one’s concern and normally amount to 1% to 2 %. Besides the power, roads are an eyesore and connectivity is still a problem among businesses. These issues have stifled Nigerians for decades who dream of building a business. Many Nigerians in the Diaspora have great ideas but are held back simply because Nigeria lacks the infrastructure to turn their idea into a viable business.

Out of touch with Nigeria

Let’s face it some people in the diaspora are just simply out of touch. They have no clue what is taking place in Nigeria and some do not even want to know. Other countries do a great job of connecting their people in the diapora to their home countries. In India a person from the Diaspora sits on parliament. Chinese have groups in the Diaspora that actually have influence in Chinese affairs.

If we look in Liberia they allow they citizens in the Diaspora to vote in government elections. Yes, we can say we have “people” in the government who are suppose to handle Diaspora affairs, but what can we say they have done. We have groups in the Diaspora who are there to help Nigerian entrepreneurs invest back into Nigeria, but instead it becomes a power struggle of who will lead the group. In this area the Diaspora affairs must improve in order to create a better bridge between those in and out of Nigeria.

The comfort of being overseas

Time and time again I meet Nigerians who continue to say I want to back to Nigeria one day and it never becomes a reality. I remember jumping in a taxi cab on my way to a meeting and coincidentally the taxi driver was a Nigerian. He was telling me his journey from Nigeria and how he wishes to go back but he is just use to his routine in the US.

Many people aspire to be entrepreneurs but some rather deal with the comfort of 9 to 5 rather than going back to Nigeria to deal with the headache. Nigerians who have left to go back to Nigeria get there to discover a pile of empty promises. People who said they will connect them with so and so end up being dead ends. Staying in the Diaspora may not be the ideal route, but to many Nigerians it is considered the safe route.

Despite all of these roadblocks to go back to Nigeria I am still moved by the vast opportunities to try my luck and move back to Nigeria. There are many Nigerians who have gone back and have made a successful name for themselves. Nigeria is growing by leaps and bounds ripe for development.

It will be difficult to assimilate back into the country, but anything great is not easy to obtain. The challenges of Nigeria should not discourage people in the Diasporas; it should in fact encourage us to transfer our skills to build up Nigeria. As a wise man once told me, “Nigerians are walking on money; the opportunities are far too great to not see them”. I call on Nigerians in the Diaspora to migrate back to Nigeria to take advantage of these opportunities. Do not wait for the gold rush to be over tap into Nigeria’s potential.

Are you a Nigerian in the Diaspora? Are you willing and ready to return home? Or are you a newly returnee? How is your experience? Leave your comments below!

 

Ghana will be celebrating her 56th birthday as an independent State from British Colonial rule on Wednesday, March 6, which made the West African nation the first to break its links with colonial authority.

 The event is normally marked as statutory public Day and characterised by parades by school children, security personnel, workers and other identifiable bodies at the Black Stars Square, in Accra and throughout the country.

It is also an opportunity for the Head of State to address the nation to whip up the fervour of nationalism.

Although the British Colonialists made moves towards decolonization after World War 11, the shooting of gallant ex servicemen who were marching to the Osu Castle to demand their ex-gratia after the war, escalated the agitation for independence.

The 28 February Christianborg Cross Road Shooting in 1948, led to the death of Sergeant Adjeitey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.

The newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) called for self-government within the shortest possible time.

After violent clashes increased for self government the members of the UGCC were arrested including Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the General Secretary of the party.

Nkrumah later formed the Convention People’s Party, which asked for self government now, setting in motion ‘Positive Action’.

Due to the nationalistic aspirations whipped up by Nkrumah, he was rearrested and imprisoned.

After winning a majority in the Legislative Assembly in 1952, he was released and appointed leader of government business after a number of negotiations with the British, and on the eve of 6 March, 1957 Nkrumah declared Ghana independent at the Old Polo Grounds.

The catch phrase for the day was “Ghana Free forever”.

Ghana adopted Red, Gold and Green with a Black Star as a new Flag. It was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh.

The red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold stands for the mineral wealth, the green is symbolic of the rich agricultural resources and the black star as the symbol of African emancipation.

Source: GNA

Uhuru Kenyatta has won the presidency. It's done. Let's move on." The son of Kenya's first independence leader may not have secured Francis Odera's vote but, like so many other Kenyans, this middle-aged Nairobi resident is just relieved the election has concluded peacefully.

Now he and others believe it is time to return to work and do what Kenyans do best.

Kenya did not burn, in most places riot police remained idle for much of the day, revellers and those licking their wounds showed restraint and Mr Kenyatta and his challenger Raila Odinga drew praise from many Kenyans for statesmanship in their respective speeches.

Yet, as one Kenyan friend put it, there has been a "revolution in Kenyan's political maturity but not a revolution in the leadership".

Kenyans have pinned their hopes on a new constitution, which dilutes the power of the presidency and offers a degree of devolution. Most agree that it was a vital ingredient that helped to avoid a repetition of the violence of five years ago. Kenyans have a right to be proud.

Millions of Kenyans are excited at the prospect of having the youngest leader ever - Mr Kenyatta is just 51. He is a familiar figure, the son of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, but as the country celebrates half a century of independence, Kenya now enters a period of uncertainty .

ICC 'inconvenience'

Mr Odinga is challenging what he calls another "tainted election" tinged with "rampant illegality" at the supreme court.

The detailed allegations will emerge over the coming weeks but it is far from clear whether this "evidence" would significantly sway the result. One has to ask how will Odinga supporters react to a defeat at Kenya's top court?

Meanwhile, Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are bound by a fragile ethnic alliance which some commentators doubt will last.

And both men are facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes allegedly committed the last time Kenya went to the polls.

Mr Kenyatta was delivered a solid mandate by the Kenyan people. The constitutional threshold he crossed to avoid a second round run-off was indeed "paper thin" but he still won outright.

The matter of the ICC is viewed as an inconvenience rather than an impediment by most of his supporters, who regard Mr Kenyatta as an innocent man, confident he will clear his name.

He also now wields tremendous power, influence and personal wealth. The unwritten narrative from the victorious Kenyatta camp is "Game On".

The international community's pre-election threats of "consequences" for Mr Kenyatta may well have backfired.

Their position softened in the days leading up to the election but it was no doubt one reason Kenyans supported Mr Kenyatta's Jubilee coalition.

The Kenyan newspapers bear this out in the post-election flurry, with Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a senior lawyer, writing in The Nation that the Kenyatta and Ruto victory "must be seen as a slap in the face of sponsors of ICC cases".

Mr Kenyatta has promised to "honour international obligations" but warned foreigners to "respect the sovereignty" of his country.

Britain, which committed £16m ($24m; 18m euros) to the Kenyan election, is going to have to find an accommodation with the new leadership.

Not only does it rely on co-operation from Kenya to deliver its long-term security agenda but five of the top firms in Kenya are wholly or partly British-owned.

So look out for compromises and a more conciliatory tone. Lawyers are discussing the possibility of giving evidence at The Hague via video link and British businesses will be keen to keep Mr Kenyatta on side.

Price of peace

Which brings us to the issue of peace. Campaigners for justice have coined the phrase "peace coma".

They argue that, blinded by the "haze of peace" which mercifully kept violence off the street, Kenyan voices of dissent risk being hushed for fear of being branded peace traitors.

Jebet, a member of Mr Ruto's Kalenjin community in the Rift Valley, fears that "Kenya has gone back to the Moi era".

President Daniel Arap Moi ruled with an iron fist until the advent of multi-party politics in the early 1990s.

As a Kalenjin, Jebet says: "We have gone back to an irrational system that says, let's take care of our own… and looking after our own has not paid off for the majority of Kenyans."

Jebet, like many other young Kenyans. worries that checks and balances on Kenya's leadership will be muted for the sake of peace.

A prominent commentator from one of Kenya's daily newspapers has spoken of a similar fear: "The peace industry has overwhelmed the media, it has basically become uncritical, losing its oversight role."

These may be premature fears before the president has even been sworn in but they do speak to Kenya's complex contradictions.

On the one hand, Kenya has embarked on a new kind of politics, ushering in a new constitution. The promise of more democratic rights for more people is considered by the majority to have helped deliver a calm and peaceful election.

But it is the same political elite that has secured the levers of power. Many believe the challenge now is for the new leadership to convince Kenyans that they will use that power for the benefit of all, to continue on that democratic path.

A first step would be to reach out to those who did not vote for them.

 

Nigeria has been ranked among leading countries in the world, which have lost huge sums of money through illicit outflows between 2001 and 2010. A December 2012 report from Global Financial Integrity (GFI) entitled: "Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010," just released, showed that Nigeria lost $129 billion out of the $8.56 trillion lost by developing nations within the period.

The report, written by GFI's Lead Economist, Dev Kar, and GFI's Economist, Sarah Freitas, ranked Nigeria seventh on the table with China leading the pack with $2.74 trillion in illicit outflows.

GFI, a Washington-based research and advocacy organisation, noted in the report that $859 billion in illicit outflows in 2010, showed an increase of 11 per cent over that of 2009, adding that the capital outflows stem from crime, corruption, tax evasion and other illicit activities.

But in a swift reaction, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said the Federal Government was not aware that such amount of money was illegally taken away from the country.

The report is the first by GFI in incorporating a new, more conservative estimate of illicit financial flows.

It facilitates comparisons with previous estimates from GFI updates and identifies crime, corruption and tax evasion as biggest channels with nearly $6 trillion stolen from poor countries.

According to the report, besides China with a cumulative loss of $2.74 trillion during the 10-year period, Mexico lost $476 billion; Malaysia, $285 billon; Saudi Arabia, $210 billion; Russia, $152 billion; Philippines, $138 billion; Nigeria, $129 billion; India, $123 billion; Indonesia, $109 billion; and United Arab Emirates, $107 billion.

"Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks. Regardless of the methodology, it is clear that developing economies are haemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth.

"This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows. The estimates provided by either methodology are still likely to be extremely conservative as they do not include trade mispricing in services, same-invoice trade mispricing, secret transactions, and dealings conducted in bulk cash. This means that much of the proceeds of drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other criminal activities, which are often settled in cash, are not included in these estimates," the report said.

The report further stated that $859 billion of illicit outflows lost in 2010, was a significant increase from that of 2009 during which the developing countries lost $776 billion under the new methodology.

"This has very big consequences for developing economies. Poor countries lost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It's nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives," it said.

Reacting to the report, Okupe said the Federal Government was not aware that such amount of money was stolen.

Responding to inquiries by THISDAY on the matter, Okupe said: "We are not aware that such amount of money was stolen. I have not seen the report and therefore I cannot react without seeing or reading the said report.

"Until I see and read the said report, then I can comment."

Meanwhile, major oil industry executives are expected to gather in Abuja this week for an annual conference as Nigeria comes under pressure over reports alleging large-scale corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector.

The conference, beginning today, is expected to see appearances by ministers and top officials from oil majors Shell, Exxon, Total and Chevron, as well as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

It comes on the heels of a report from a government-appointed panel alleging that Nigeria has lost tens of billions of dollars in recent years through questionable practices in the industry.

Another audit released earlier this month said NNPC owes the government $8.3 billion for the period between 2009 and 2011.

Beyond that, a parliamentary committee report in 2012 said $6.8 billion in revenue was lost between 2009 and 2011 through the fuel subsidy programme.

Despite pledges from the government to clean up the oil sector, there has been little change in response to such findings. NNPC and firms including Shell, which has been the country's biggest producer, have denied any wrongdoing.

There is not likely to be much discussion of the reports at the conference itself, with topics such as Nigeria's long-stalled effort to overhaul its oil industry more likely to be in the spotlight.

"You have all the issues there," Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Transparency International's local partner, said of the reports on industry mismanagement. "Solutions have been provided, but there is no political will to act on them."

Nigeria has however renewed its push to overhaul the oil industry, presenting a fresh 223-page Petroleum Industry Bill to the legislature last July which would reshape taxes and royalties as well as restructure NNPC, among other measures.

The bill has been stalled, as previous versions have, although the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said that negotiations are ongoing with the industry.

Major oil firms have argued that the fiscal terms in the bill are too harsh and would prevent new investment, while the government has said it is fair to all sides, though it is willing to work out a compromise.

With Agency Reports

 

The Ghana Ambassador to Germany, H.E. Paul King Aryene shall today 6th March 2013 be addressing Ghanaians in Germany on TopAfric Radio. The following community leaders, Dr. Victoria Manu (dentist), Engineer Ohenenana Bonsu, CEO of Ayacsa and Opanin Koo Kusi (linguist) shall be in the studios of TopAfric. Host of the program is Desmond John Beddy a media consultant in Germany. Time: 20.00 -21.00 pm

Among the issues to be looked into are the social, economic and political developments, since Ghana attain its independence some 56 years ago. The leaders shall critically examine their stay in Germany and particularly Hamburg.

KwaZulu-Natal - A Zululand man has survived a black mamba attack, despite only being treated about an hour after being bitten.

A nurse at Hlabisa Hospital said most people died if they did not get treatment within 30 minutes of being bitten.

The nurse, who asked not to be identified because she is not allowed to speak to the media, said Makhundu Thusi was the first person in Mpembeni village to have survived such a bite.

Thusi, 30, said he was aware of at least two others who had died last year. “It is a miracle that I’m still alive.”

He said he was connecting a pipe to a spring water hole on Saturday when the mamba appeared from the bush.

“I was picking up the pipe when the snake appeared and raised its head to the level of my knee. Then it attacked me before it disappeared.”

He tied a rope around the upper part of his bitten leg to minimise the circulation of the poison in his bloodstream, he said.

When he got home his grandmother gave him potassium permanganate (a mild antiseptic) to drink. His neighbours gave him a traditional concoction.

“I think that helped to slow down the poison. But on the way to hospital I became very ill. I was sweating, vomiting and messing up my trousers. My hearing and sight also started fading,” Thusi said.

When he finally got to the hospital an hour after the bite, he was taken to theatre where he was given an injection.

NM MAMBA 1 31171897Hlabisa Hospital spokesman Themba Shange confirmed that it was the first time the hospital had managed to save the life of a victim of a black mamba bite.

“We usually resuscitate the snake victims and refer them to Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni. But they do not make it,” he said.

Herpetologist Martin Rodrigues, a manager at Crocworld Centre in Scottburgh, said it was common for people to survive and make a full recovery after being bitten by a black mamba. He said this depended on the severity of the poison.

The chances of survival had increased because the treatment for venomous snake bites had improved in the past 20 years.

Black

mambas could be found throughout the province, especially in coastal areas. -

The Mercury

More Articles ...