Everyday Heroes

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By Nicholas Ibekwe, Premium Times

The Nigerian Army has commended Sagir Koli, a Captain, who exposed a video recording exposing plans by his commanding officer and top officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to rig the June 21, 2014 election in Ekiti State.

The army praised Mr. Koli’s “non-partisanship and professional conduct during the election period.”

The commendation was contained in a statement released by the Acting Director of Army Public Relation, Sani Usman, a Colonel, detailing the recommendations of a board of inquiry into allegations of unprofessional conducts by some officers and soldiers during the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

The video recording revealed the connivance between Mr. Koli’s commanding officer, Aliyu Momoh, a General, and former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party: Andy Uba and Iyiola Omisore, to rig the 2014 election in Ekiti State.

Mr. Koli was forced into hiding after he was tipped off of a plan by the army to arrest him. His younger brother, a 15-year old secondary school pupil was however arrested, detained and tortured by the army.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to investigate the video, saying Mr. Koli refused to come out of hiding to authenticate the recording.

The statement by the army Monday said the board of inquiry, chaired by Adeniyi Oyebade, a Major General, made “far-reaching recommendations” meant to assist the army in future involvement in civil elections.

In arriving at the recommendations, the board spoke to 62 officers, over 100 soldiers and 62 civilians.

According to the statement, the board recommended the compulsory retirement of two officers from the army.

It also recommended that three officers should lose their commands and another recommended for prosecution for collecting financial gratification.

The board further recommended the placing of 15 officers on watch list while nine others were to be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission for further investigations following allegations of corruption against them.

Six officers are to face an audit committee and 62 officers (mostly of the rank of Majors-below) were to be given letters of displeasure and to appear before their respective General Officers Commanding for counselling, the board also advised.

Three officers are to be given letters of commendations for top-notch professional conducts during the election, the board recommended.

The statement did not disclose the names of the affected soldiers and officers.

The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, thanked the board for doing “a thorough and dispassionate job”, which he said was devoid of external influence.

He assured the board that the report would be reviewed in accordance with Nigerian Army’s legal and administrative procedures.

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Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa, writes the BBC.

The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa.

The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.

The studies which have been published in the journal Elife also indicate that these individuals were capable of ritual behaviour.

The species, which has been named naledi, has been classified in the grouping, or genus,Homo, to which modern humans belong.

The researchers who made the find have not been able to find out how long ago these creatures lived – but the scientist who led the team, Prof Lee Berger, told BBC News that he believed they could be among the first of our kind (genus Homo) and could have lived in Africa up to three million years ago.

Skull similar in shape to a modern human's apart from pronounced brow and smaller brain cavity

Like all those working in the field, he is at pains to avoid the term “missing link”. Prof Berger says naledi could be thought of as a “bridge” between more primitive bipedal primates and humans.

“We’d gone in with the idea of recovering one fossil. That turned into multiple fossils. That turned into the discovery of multiple skeletons and multiple individuals.

“And so by the end of that remarkable 21-day experience, we had discovered the largest assemblage of fossil human relatives ever discovered in the history of the continent of Africa. That was an extraordinary experience.”

Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum said naledi was “a very important discovery”.

“What we are seeing is more and more species of creatures that suggests that nature was experimenting with how to evolve humans, thus giving rise to several different types of human-like creatures originating in parallel in different parts of Africa. Only one line eventually survived to give rise to us,” he told BBC News.

I went to see the bones which are kept in a secure room at Witwatersrand University. The door to the room looks like one that would seal a bank vault. As Prof Berger turned the large lever on the door, he told me that our knowledge of very early humans is based on partial skeletons and the occasional skull.

Wrist and palm very similar shape to a modern human but fingers are more curved

The haul of 15 partial skeletons includes both males and females of varying ages – from infants to elderly. The discovery is unprecedented in Africa and will shed more light on how the first humans evolved.

“We are going to know everything about this species,” Prof Berger told me as we walked over to the remains of H. naledi.

“We are going to know when its children were weaned, when they were born, how they developed, the speed at which they developed, the difference between males and females at every developmental stage from infancy, to childhood to teens to how they aged and how they died.”

A chronology of human evolution

Ardipithecus ramidus (4.4 million years ago) : Fossils were discovered in Ethiopia in the 1990s. Pelvis shows adaptations to both tree climbing and upright walking.

Australopithecus afarensis (3.9 – 2.9 million years ago) : The famous “Lucy” skeleton belongs to this species of human relative. So far, fossils of this species have only been found in East Africa. Several traits in the skeleton suggest afarensis walked upright, but they may have spent some time in the trees.

Homo habilis (2.8 – 1.5 million years ago) : This human relative had a slightly larger braincase and smaller teeth than the australopithecines or older species, but retains many more primitive features such as long arms.

Homo naledi (Of unknown age, but researchers say it could be as old as three million years) : The new discovery has small, modern-looking teeth, human-like feet but more primitive fingers and a small braincase.

Homo erectus (1.9 million years – unknown) : Homo erectus had a modern body plan that was almost indistinguishable from ours. But it had a smaller brain than a modern person’s combined with a more primitive face.

Homo neanderthalensis (200,000 years – 40,000 years) The Neanderthals were a side-group to modern humans, inhabiting western Eurasia before our species left Africa. They were shorter and more muscular than modern people but had slightly larger brains.

Homo sapiens (200,000 years – present) Modern humans evolved in Africa from a predecessor species known as Homo heidelbergensis. A small group of Homo sapiens left Africa 60,000 years ago and settled the rest of the world, replacing the other human species they encountered (with a small amount of interbreeding).

I was astonished to see how well preserved the bones were. The skull, teeth and feet looked as if they belonged to a human child – even though the skeleton was that of an elderly female.

Its hand looked human-like too, up to its fingers which curl around a bit like those of an ape.

Homo naledi is unlike any primitive human found in Africa. It has a tiny brain – about the size of a gorilla’s and a primitive pelvis and shoulders. But it is put into the same genus as humans because of the more progressive shape of its skull, relatively small teeth, characteristic long legs and modern-looking feet.

“I saw something I thought I would never see in my career,” Prof Berger told me.

“It was a moment that 25 years as a paleoanthropologist had not prepared me for.”

One of the most intriguing questions raised by the find is how the remains got there.

Short foot similar in size to a modern human. Arch suggests naledi walked on two feet

I visited the site of the find, the Rising Star cave, an hour’s drive from the university in an area known as the Cradle of Humankind. The cave leads to a narrow underground tunnel through which some of Prof Berger’s team crawled in an expedition funded by the National Geographic Society.

Small women were chosen because the tunnel was so narrow. They crawled through darkness lit only by their head torches on a precarious 20 minute-long journey to find a chamber containing hundreds of bones.

Among them was Marina Elliott. She showed me the narrow entrance to the cave and then described how she felt when she first saw the chamber.

“The first time I went to the excavation site I likened it to the feeling that Howard Carter must have had when he opened Tutankhamen’s tomb – that you are in a very confined space and then it opens up and all of a sudden all you can see are all these wonderful things – it was incredible,” she said.

Ms Elliott and her colleagues believe that they have found a burial chamber. The Homo naledi people appear to have carried individuals deep into the cave system and deposited them in the chamber – possibly over generations.

If that is correct, it suggests naledi was capable of ritual behaviour and possibly symbolic thought – something that until now had only been associated with much later humans within the last 200,000 years.

Prof Berger said: “We are going to have to contemplate some very deep things about what it is to be human. Have we been wrong all along about this kind of behaviour that we thought was unique to modern humans?

“Did we inherit that behaviour from deep time and is it something that (the earliest humans) have always been able to do?”

The team of scientists who were small enough to squeeze through the cave's narrow underground tunnels and into the cave system.Image copyrightJohn Hawks
Image captionThe team of scientists who discovered the Homo naledi remains pose for a picture

Prof Berger believes that the discovery of a creature that has such a mix of modern and primitive features should make scientists rethink the definition of what it is to be human – so much so that he himself is reluctant to describe naledi as human.

Other researchers working in the field, such as Prof Stringer, believe that naledi should be described as a primitive human. But he agrees that current theories need to be re-evaluated and that we have only just scratched the surface of the rich and complex story of human evolution.


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Safe to say that Nigerians know how to be outstanding outside our shores.

Nigerian born Spanish lawyer, Helen Mukoro (pictured), has emerged as the presidential candidate of an opposition party in Spain’s upcoming elections.

According to reports, she is the first woman and immigrant to be the presidential flag bearer of a major political party; and will be running on the platform of Union De Todos, a party she founded earlier this year.

Helen is a forensic expert and author of many books. She was born in Delta state and worked briefly in the governor’s office before moving to Spain in 1992.

She gained prominence in Spanish politics when she founded a political party and later became the first immigrant to contest for the mayorship of the town of Denia in May. She lost the election, but her popularity has soared as several prominent people have endorsed her for that country’s highest office.

A law graduate from the Spanish National University, Alicante, she also holds a Master’s degree in criminology, another Master’s degree in social education and postgraduate certificates in tax and labor management; forensic psychology, and immigration and domestic violence.

She worked as a legal consultant in the immigration department at Spain’s Red Cross Society, and currently manages her own legal firm. She has also served as the CEO and president at the Africa-Europe Chamber of Commerce.

She is also the CEO/President at National Agency of Forensic Experts, Mediators and Technical Professionals of Spain and Europe.

The 2015 Spanish general election will be held on or before December 20.

The ruling People’s Party (PP), led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, will be seeking a second term in office, while the former ruling party, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) will struggle to return to power after four years in the opposition.

The election has been marked by the rise of anti-austerity, anti-immigration parties Podemos (Spanish for “We can”) and Citizens.

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Daughter of Nigeria’s former Vice President (Atiku Abubakar), Fatima Atiku, has announced she’ll be forfeiting her statutory emoluments as commissioner of health in Adamawa State as her contribution towards the healthcare sector in her home State.

“I am very grateful to the governor for appointing me to head the health ministry,” she said shortly after being sworn in, Friday, alongside 21 other commissioners.

“The ministry is the most challenging because of the insurgency problem that had caused some damage to the health system in the state.

“For this reason, I shall be donating my salary and allowances for use in enhancing the delivery of healthcare service in the state,’’ Fatima Atiku said.

Speaking earlier while administering the oath of office on the commissioners, Gov. Bindow Jibrilla said their appointment was based on merit.

He urged them to join hands with him in bringing the desired change in the state, adding that their loyalty should be to the people, and not him.

“Your loyalty is to the people of Adamawa, whom you represent, and not to me, the governor said.

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Mr Kazeem Lawal of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) was controlling traffic on Ishaga Road in the Idi-Araba, Mushin area on Saturday, when he slumped, was rushed to the hospital and passed away in transit.

He was said to have been brought lifeless to the Randle Hospital in Surulere, Lagos.

There is no word yet from the hospital on whether he was nursing an ailment.

The Punch quotes a colleague of Lawal as saying that LASTMA personnel operate without an insurance cover.

He said, “Lawal was initially taken to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, but he could not be attended to because of the ongoing strike action. He was then rushed to the Randle Hospital where he was confirmed dead.

“We do not have any insurance policy. We do not have any hazard allowance. It is very painful.

“His family members are in disarray at present. We work round the clock, and we are usually overwhelmed. He must have collapsed from accumulated stress.

“Since the government sacked some LASTMA workers last year, there has been a burden on the workforce. Work posts, where seven personnel were handling, have been reduced to one or two.”

Photo credit: The Punch.


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T.B. Joshua, perhaps Nigeria’s most unconventional cleric, posted a heart-warming story on his official Facebook Page about an elderly lady who came to his church with an unusual gift.

A retired teacher named Caroline Orugude had come to his Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos to share a curious testimony.

After retiring from her job in June 2012, Caroline was forced to wait for almost two years for the gratuity that she was supposed to receive.

“There was nothing much we could do except pray because the pension system is so unreliable,” she narrated in her testimony to the congregation.

After visiting various churches for prayer without any change in her situation, she was introduced to Emmanuel TV, the popular Christian television station run by SCOAN, and began praying along with T.B. Joshua.

Within two weeks, she received a call from the treasury, asking her to go to Abuja to collect her pension money.

“I decided that when I got the money, I would come to The SCOAN to appreciate the Lord,” she joyfully said. “I am here with the small sum of 500,000 naira, to give to the man of God and The SCOAN, as my tithe.”

It was an unexpected declaration but the response of T.B. Joshua was equally surprising as he insisted he could not collect the gift.

“Yes, it is written in the Bible that we should pay tithe but how can we collect tithe from widows and the aged who are supposed to be under our care,” he told the congregation.

“Remember, she has stopped working. She needs our care for the rest of her life. These are the women we should be feeding and taking care of. She is our mother; she is my mother too.”

The cleric, well known for his philanthropy, then announced that instead of taking Mrs. Orugude’s tithe, he would support her with an additional 500,000 naira.

“When God calls a man or woman, what they will eat, what they will use and everything they need for their journey will be provided abundantly by God,” T.B. Joshua then explained, noting the attributes of genuine ministers of God.

“When a minister begins to depend on tithes, you know he is not a minister of God,” he added, “This is a message to ministers of God all over the world.

When we collect tithes, we should know those whom we collect them from. Don’t force anybody – it is between them and God. Let us worship the Giver of money, not money,” he concluded.

The post on Joshua’s Facebook page, which has 1.5 million likes, ended with a poignant question. “Where are your elderly? Care for them and you shall reach old age.”

This is not the first time Mr Joshua has refused a monetary offering. A video had recently surfaced online of Joshua refusing a $1,000 offering from a Swiss lady who received healing during his crusade in Colombia.

Several weeks ago, he spoke scathingly of ‘money-hungry’ pastors, insisting that ministers of God should not force members to give offerings or tithes as it was a thing of the heart.

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The Bode Edun Foundation this week launched its Light-Up Oshodi project.

The foundation with support from its sponsors and partners, installed 100 street lights in the inner streets of the seven wards of Oshodi Isolo Local Government Area.

Speaking during the commencement of the project, the founder Mr. Bode Edun said the foundation took it upon itself to help light-up the nooks and crannies of Oshodi to help citizens at night.

OshodiOshodi 1

“The importance of street lighting cannot be overemphasized”, Mr. Bode told journalists who were present at the first installation.

“It is on record that the provisions of street lights by the Lagos state government has helped curb the tide of armed and small robberies in Lagos.

“We are simply contributing our own quota as a non profit organisation to the development of Oshodi/Isolo local government area”, a smiling Edun said.

Oshodi 2
oshodi 3
The residents and elders of Simbi Street, Ijaye Street, Edun Street, Brown Street and other adjoining streets where the installations had been completed, expressed joy with the project.

The Chief Imam of Ijaye Mosque, Alhaji Imam Wasiu Atonda, stated that “as a son of the soil, our son (Bode) recognizes our need in the area and always rises up to the occasion to help solve our problems, so I am not surprised his foundation is coming up with this project”.

The foundation promised to do more to alleviate the suffering of residents in Oshodi Isolo.

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TERRIFIED ANGEL: This baby, terrified by the horror, runs for safety

A Somali Muslim has been hailed a hero after rescuing a mother and her three daughters from the Nairobi shopping mall as gunmen threw grenades and sprayed bullets yards away.

Katherine Walton feared she and her children would not get out alive after becoming trapped under a table outside a supermarket in the Westgate complex.

But they were saved by Abdul Haji, the son of a former Kenyan security minister, who bravely ushered them to safety as he fired back at the terrorists with a handgun.

His identity has now been revealed after his story was immortalised in an iconic photograph which shows him reaching out to Mrs Walton’s four-year-old daughter Portia as she runs away with fear etched on her face.

The mother-of-five, who moved to Africa with her husband Phillip two years ago, said they wound up trapped in the line of fire after she took the children on a family trip to the mall.

MOTHER'S LOVE:  Women carrying their children run for safety
MOTHER’S LOVE: Women carrying their children run for safety

Speaking of her terrifying ordeal, she told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We were just going to meet my two older boys in the supermarket when we heard an explosion,’ said Walton, 38, who moved to Kenya from North Carolina two years ago.

I grabbed the girls and started running. A woman pulled us behind a promotional table opposite. I could see the bullets hitting above the shops and hear the screaming all around us.’

Walton and her children were trapped, along with a Kenyan woman and two Indian women for hours beneath the table.


The other women helped the shell-shocked Walton calm the girls.

‘They were so still and quiet,’ Walton said. ‘My baby was screaming when there was shooting but between that, she just slept.

‘In one lull in the fighting, my two-year-old and the baby were playing together with my phone. I couldn’t understand how they could be acting like everything was fine.’

After what must have felt like an eternity of whizzing bullets and the screams of terrorists and victims alike, Walton spotted an intrepid man with a pistol fighting back against the terrorists.

It was Haji, a man trained for battle by his security minister father, and he was trying to quietly coax the women towards him.

When they were too afraid to move as group, it was four-year-old Portia who emerged from under the table and became part of the unforgettable image captured during the Kenya mall siege.

The girl is seen running toward Haji, whose hand is outstretched. Behind her, Walton and the others can just barely be made out crouching beneath an Asus promotional table.

‘I don’t know how she knew to do it but she did,’ Walton told the Telegraph. ‘She did what she was told and she went.’

Armed policemen comb the Shopping centre in search of the terrorists
Armed policemen comb the Shopping centre in search of the terrorists

Other photos show Haji helping the terrified women and children to safety. Katherine Walton was relieved to find her teenage sons, who were supposed to meet her at the mall, safely behind the police line outside the mall.

As for the fame the photo of her daughter has found in the wake of the mall tragedy, Walton told the Telegraph: ‘I was worried about family in America seeing it because we haven’t really shared the whole story with them yet.

‘For me, I know the story behind it and that it ends well. I think I owe Mr Haji a hug or two.’

But Haji will have none of the gushing.

‘I think I did what any Kenyan in my situation would have done to save lives, to save other humans regardless of their nationality, religion or creed,’ he said.

Witnesses to the carnage have told AP and other media that gunmen rounded up people, asked questions about Islam that a Muslim would know and told the Muslims to leave the mall. Still, some Muslims were among the victims.

Also among those killed when the militants entered the Westgate Mall on Saturday, firing assault rifles and throwing grenades were six Britons and citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China.

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Blessing Okagbare got Nigeria’s first medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow on Sunday after leaping 6.99 metres in the women’s long jump to finish second behind USA’s Brittney Reese (7.01), who became the first woman to win three long jump titles at the world championships.

It was Nigeria’s first medal since 1999 when Gloria Alozie won silver in the women’s 100m hurdles and Francis Obikwelu won bronze in the men’s 200m at Seville, Spain.

Okagbare said, “I give glory to the almighty God, I thank Him for everything, I also thank Him for using me because he could have used anybody, I thank Him for using me. I also thank all members of my family, friends and relations for their support.

“It’s actually harder than people think because this is a big stage. I was focussed on my jumps and didn’t get distracted.”

Reese, who won the event in 2009 and 2011, had managed to qualify for the final after a below-par performance in Saturday’s qualifying round. She started with a 6.50m leap but eventually recorded three foul jumps in her attempts.

It was the only seven-metre jump of the competition and left Okagbare, who briefly led in the first round with 6.89 and later improved to 6.99, with silver.

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic was third with a national record of 6.82m on her fifth attempt.

Okagbare will be on the tracks today for the semi-finals of the women’s 100m. she qualified from the heat with 11.03 seconds, while Gloria Asunmu also advanced with her 11.27 seconds. Nigeria’s Stephanie Kalu crashed out in the heat after running 11.67 to finish fifth in her group.

In the women’s 400m event, Regina George and Omolara Omotoso failed to pick tickets to the final.

George failed in her attempt despite posting a personal best of 50.84 to finish third behind Botswana’s Amantle Montsho (49.56) and Russia’s Kseniya Ryzhova (50.48).

Omotoso finished seventh in 52.38 seconds in her group, as American Francena McCorory the race in 49.86 to qualify. Antonina Krivoshapka of Russia (49.99) and Jamaica’s Stephanie McPherson (49.99) qualified from the group

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Last night, sleep deserted me and I was left with my wild thoughts as my only companion. Like journeyman, my mind travelled across lands, places, met people, read books, had dates. But at a point my mind halted, went on reverse and then parked as it were just in time to listen to a rare conversation between God and a man named Lot. After an intense bargaining, God told Lot he would forgive a whole nation if he could find just five upright men amongst them. As though it was to me God spoke, I set out to find some Nigerians who have in the face of growing corruption and wickedness chosen to be answerable to that small inner voice called conscience; men and women who would not trade their value system for the gratification money, power and fame bring. As I beamed my searchlight, one name popped up: Prof. Chinua Achebe

Born on the 16th of November 1930, to the family of Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam, Albert Chinualumogu (as he was known from birth) is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He is best known for his first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1959), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature

For many Nigerians, Prof Achebe is no more than the famed author of the legendary Things Fall Apart, who rejected national awards from two presidents probably because he is apolitical. Well, while such persons are not really wrong, they would have reduced an iconic demonstration of character to the level of political polemics. Need I say that not even Femi Fani Kayode could bring the colossus a trillion miles near that.

After years of situating Africa on a philo-literary pedestal, Prof returned home in a bid to bring sanity to the land he called his own. In an August 1976 interview, he lashed out at the archetypal Nigerian intellectual, who is divorced from the intellect “but for two things: status and stomach. And if there’s any danger that he might suffer official displeasure or lose his job, he would prefer to turn a blind eye to what is happening around him.” For his blunt and honest stance on national, state and private issues, in October 1979, Achebe was awarded the first-ever Nigerian National Merit Award. This lays to rest any thought that the man is not award-friendly as presidential charlatans would have us believe when in his immortal words to then president Obasanjo, “Nigeria under your watch, however, is too dangerous for silence”. What a display of bravery, uprightness, value and most importantly an absence of greed.

Even when a certain presidential aide well-known for disrespectful, careless tongue stung him as expected by riposting that “the rejection was not a slap on the face of Obasanjo or his government but the Nigerian people.” According to him, it was a pity he would be yearning for the Nobel Prize in Literature, “quests for foreign and international awards in places like Sweden and elsewhere while rejecting an honour done him at home. No matter how brilliant and gifted an individual you are, if you feel that your country does not deserve to honour you, we believe that you certainly do not deserve your country.” The wise old head chose not to dignify either the sender nor the errand boy with an answer.

One would have expected President Jonathan to learn from history and leave the old man in peace, but urged on by his mushroom professors, he dragged the illustrious name to a jamboree meant for shameless old crooks thereby distracting the Prof from his educational duties but in one stroke granting the rare privilege of hearing the oracle speak. What a busy man he must be as his letter to Uncle Jona was brief but enough for the wise. This time he simply said: “The reasons for rejecting the offer of ‘national honour’ when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again.”

Sadly, wisdom is a quality Nigerian leaders sorely lack, rather than reflect on the view of a patriot, general Reuben Abati put on his gloves to fight God knows who. “Coming as it does, against the background of the widely acclaimed electoral reforms undertaken by the Jonathan administration, the claim by Prof. Achebe clearly flies in the face of the reality of Nigeria’s current political situation. The President continues to hold Prof. Achebe in very high esteem in spite of his regrettable decision which may have been borne out of misinformation as to the true state of affairs in Nigeria and hopes that he will find time to visit home soon and see the progress being made by the Jonathan administration for himself”. How dumb our leaders can sound when they open their mouth scares me to death!

While many of our leaders like Ibori and co have made a career from doing anything to grab money, Prof Chinua Achebe did not only turned down but disciplined rapper 50cents for daring to offer him $1m bribe to turn a blind eye on a crime against a mere copyright law; he was even willing to reject $1bn! To the man, a heritage that dates 17years before 50cents was conceived is worth more than all the riches the world had to offer. In him I saw a fitting answer to the criminal assumption that everyman has got a price.

As far back as 1983, Achebe aptly diagnosed the Nigeria disease when he said, “the Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility and to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership” A true Nigeria who would not accept profits unless from legal, honest means. A man who as national vice president of PRP not only rejected the election that brought them to power in Kano state because their party rigged but reportedly fought the first beneficiary of the criminality, Bakin Zuwo. When he found out he was alone in the fight, he chose not to cross carpet to another party as our political jobbers do, Achebe resigned from PRP and kept his distance from political parties, expressing his sadness at the dishonesty and weakness of the people involved

Why have I chosen to write on Achebe today? I strongly advocate that we take a break from our usual practice of honouring only the dead. No nation grows with this culture of pouring encomiumks to only corpses. We can start re-building our collapsed values by commending those who, in the midst of this persistent corrosion thereof, insisted on being unrepentantly upright. I have chosen to begin that by recognizing a true son of the soil, a father, leader, teacher, model, enigma, legend, colossus, epitome of trust, bravery, honesty, forthrightness, doggedness, unwavering devotion to values and morals; a man on whom all laudable adjectives any dictionary can boast of will hardly do justice to.
Professor Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, is a candlelight in a dark nation.

But how do you propose we honour him since he presently rejects such honours? I expect we propose some attitudinal change that will meet his model of responsible citizenry and responsive leadership.

Follow me on Twitter: @emma_dele

This article was first published March 4, 2012