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Decades soon after Nigeria’s war, new Biafra movement grows

ENUGU, Nigeria Nearly half a century right after a civil war in which a million individuals died, 27-year-old Okoli Ikedi is element of a new protest movement in southeastern Nigeria calling for an independent state of Biafra.

Such calls have turn out to be typical considering that the leader of the group Ikedi represents in Enugu, the region’s major city, was arrested in October, prompting thousands in the oil-making southeast to join demonstrations in recent weeks calling for his release.

It really is an additional challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is grappling with a sharp slowdown in Africa’s largest economy, the bloody Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and fears that militancy could resume in the oil-rich southern Delta area when an amnesty ends in December.

Like numerous in the surge of southeastern secessionist sentiment, Ikedi was born long right after the war ended.

Displaying absolutely nothing that would betray his pro-Biafran leanings such as a flag or campaign T-shirt, to steer clear of unwanted police consideration, the diminutive baker stated poverty and high unemployment in the region have been symptoms of government neglect.

“They want to make us economically poor. They think the only way to handle us is to increase our suffering,” mentioned Ikedi in a trembling voice, adding that his group, the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra (IPOB), wants a referendum.

The group points to fundamental difficulties to help its demands for an independent Biafra, on which presidential spokesman Garba Shehu declined to comment, adding that he was not conscious that the government was undertaking something on the problem.

POTHOLED HIGHWAYS

The highways that connect southeastern cities are a source of frustration for enterprise men and women in the area who say the partially tarmaced roads, punctuated by potholes, must be arteries of commerce but are dangerous to navigate.

And the refuse strewn by roadsides, combined with the acrid stench of open sewers, hints at the dilapidation that has fomented discontent in the 45 years since the civil war ended.

The 1967-70 conflict followed a secessionist attempt by the eastern Igbo people. Most of the million who lost their lives died from starvation and illness rather than violence.

Now, like then, Igbos say they have been marginalized – excluded from essential government posts and denied important funding for infrastructure improvement, schools and hospitals.

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu – an activist who divides his time among the UK and Nigeria, spreading his ethos on social media and Radio Biafra – was arrested last month on charges of criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society.

Political analyst Okereke Chukwunolye said the selection to arrest Kanu, previously a little known figure whose social media following outweighed actual help on the ground, was a error because it “enhanced his recognition and made him much more visible”.

The sight of the red, black, green and yellow Biafran flag at largely peaceful protests in the southeastern cities of Port Harcourt and Aba, and the capital, Abuja, has prompted secessionist debates in newspapers, on radio and social media.

“The troubles that brought about the Biafran-Nigerian civil war have remained unresolved,” stated Chukwunolye.

In the 1960s, Enugu – which was the capital of Biafra – became recognized for its coal production which designed jobs, as did steel, cement and gas industries.

“NO VICTOR, NO VANQUISHED”

When the civil war ended, Yakubu Gowon, the basic who led the government side to victory more than Biafra, declared that there should be “no victor, no vanquished”, in a pledge of reconciliation. But the Igbos feel left behind.

Nearby individuals say the demise of Enugu’s industries, a decline that coincided with the oil boom in Africa’s best crude producer, led to widespread unemployment and was a consequence of the federal government failing to fund projects in the region.

At a industry in Asata, an impoverished city center district of Enugu, it is difficult to discover anybody who supports the government.

“Why cannot you leave a slave to go?” asked vegetable stall holder Victoria Emelue in response to the query of secession, raising her voice above the cacophony of traders, shoppers and blaring music.

She mentioned her three kids – all graduates in their twenties – had been unable to uncover perform, prompting her to be fearful about the future.

“Of course I’m in support of Biafra,” said 28-year-old wholesale food trader Uchenna Ede. “If we are freed, the eastern portion of Nigeria would have a enormous turnaround.”

A widespread complaint is that Nigeria’s presidents have tended to come from the north or southwest – areas dominated by Hausa and Yoruba individuals – which, some say, has led to Igbos not being appointed to influential government positions.

The constitution says there have to be a minister from every of Nigeria’s 36 states, but the presence of a Muslim northerner as president with a Yoruba vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, has been cited as evidence that the north and southwest stay dominant.

It’s a reminder of the complicated alchemy that brings together 170 million individuals in Africa’s most populous nation, split roughly equally amongst Christians and Muslims across around 250 ethnic groups, who mostly co-exist peacefully.

Tensions are rising. IPOB campaigners say they are committed to peaceful protests, but their demonstrations prompted the military to concern an “unequivocal warning” that efforts to bring about the “dismemberment of the country” would be crushed.

Chukwunolye mentioned it was unlikely that Igbo anger would outcome in bloodshed, in stark contrast to Boko Haram militants who have killed thousands and displaced two.1 million men and women since 2009 in an try to set up an Islamic state in the northeast.

“There is no separatist movement – it is just an agitation by some youth elements,” he mentioned. “Those who had been involved in the thick of the Biafran struggle will never want to see war once again.”

(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram Further reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu, Camillus Eboh, Felix Onuah and Buhari Bello Editing by Ulf Laessing and Giles Elgood)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Burkina Faso votes to decide on very first new leader in decades

OUAGADOUGOU Burkina Faso voted on Sunday in an election to choose the country’s very first new president in decades, a year after longtime leader Blaise Compaore was toppled in a common uprising in which demonstrators faced down the security forces.

A successful election would establish the nation as a beacon for democratic aspirations in Africa, where veteran rulers in Burundi and Congo Republic have changed constitutions to pave the way for fresh terms in workplace.

It also represents a turning point for a West African nation which, for most of its history given that independence from France in 1960, has been ruled by leaders who came to energy in coups.

Compaore seized energy by that route and ruled for 27 years, winning four elections, all of which had been criticized as unfair. He was ousted in October 2014 when demonstrators protested against his try to change the constitution to extend his tenure.

“I am proud to have accomplished my duty as a citizen … It’s the initial time that I can be truly positive that we won’t finish up with Blaise Compaore,” said Ousmane Ouedraogo, as he cast his ballot in the capital Ouagadougou.

Individuals formed extended lines at polling stations to vote for the president to serve for a five year term and deputies for the National Assembly. Polls closed at six p.m. (1800 GMT). A second round will be held if no candidate secures a majority.

Top CANDIDATES

Analysts say only two of the 14 presidential candidates stand a actual chance of winning.

One particular is Roch Marc Kabore, prime minister and president of the National Assembly under Compaore. The other is Zephirin Diabre, who was minister of finance in the 1990s prior to stepping down to commence an opposition party.

Kabore heads the Movement of Individuals for Progress (MPP), produced up of disaffected allies of Compaore who left the celebration months prior to he stood down. Diabre fronts the Union for Progress and Alter (UPC), which was the formal opposition.

Kabore draws help from the company elite and, as a member of the largest ethnic group, standard chiefs. Diabre has international ties from his years at the United Nations Improvement Programme and at Areva, a French nuclear company.

“We need to do almost everything to show that civilians can ensure the right government of the country and restore it to democratic normality,” Kabore mentioned as he cast his ballot.

A lot of individuals say they will vote for the candidate who has the best opportunity of advertising financial development in a landlocked nation that exports gold and cotton but remains impoverished.

The election was pushed back from Oct. 11 due to the fact of an abortive coup in September by members of the elite presidential guard, in which transitional President Michel Kafando and his prime minister had been taken hostage.

That coup cost more than $ 50 million in lost revenue, trimming growth by .3 percentage points. The guard has considering that been disbanded. Kafando will step down as soon as a new leader is sworn in.

Corruption and justice are also troubles for voters, prompting a resurgence in the recognition of former leader Thomas Sankara, a Marxist revolutionary dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” who was assassinated in a 1987 coup led by Compaore.

(Extra reporting by Nadoun Coulibaly Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg Editing by Ros Russell)

Sabung Ayam On-line

Burkina Faso votes to choose initial new leader in decades

World | Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:30am EST

OUAGADOUGOU

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OUAGADOUGOU Polls opened in Burkina Faso on Sunday in the first free election in three decades as the country chooses a replacement for President Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown a year ago in an uprising backed by the army.

Compaore ruled for 27 years until protests at his attempt to change the constitution to maintain his tenure drove him from power. The polls were pushed back from Oct. 11 after an abortive coup in September by members of the now-disbanded elite presidential guard.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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