Paul Okechukwu Oranika
Department of Political Science
Grand Canyon University
I have continued to speak on the need for all of our people to rise above clan based politics in all of Igboland. Ndigbo are one people with one destiny and must remain that way for the good of our people and for posterity sake. Last year a full blooded Igbo man, a clergy, the Most Rev
Peter Ebele Okpalaeke was rejected as a parish Bishop by the Ahiara Parish in Mbaise in Imo state another Igbo state. Many of us warned that this pattern of small mindedness must never under any circumstance be allowed to stand in our beloved Igboland, regardless of the rationale or temptations warranting such action. The Ahiara issue is largely unresolved because Ahiara Parishioners blocked the installation ceremony of Bishop Okalaeke as the Bishop of the Parish. Today Bishop Okpalaeke is yet to be assigned to another parish.
Recently Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku from Mbaise, a highly qualified man was named as the new Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University at Awka in Anambra State. Some people felt it was payback time for Mbaise, and brought back the Bishop Okpalaeke and his rejection issue by the Ahiara Diocese of Mbaise. Folks this was the basis of my strong condemnation of the irresponsible action of some of our people in Ahiara Parish against the installation of Bishop Okpalaeke from Awka, Anambra state. As I looked forward during this controversy last year, I saw the Ahiara debacle as a very dangerous and divisive precedent in Igboland
Nonetheless let me make it abundantly clear that I do not support any action in any part of Igboland aimed at discriminating against another Igbo person based on state where they were born. In the end, folks in Anambra objecting to the appointment of the new Mbaise Vice Chancellor decided to look at the big picture and take the enlightened moral high road, of doing the right thing and supporting the new Mbaise Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. Ndigbo must always understand that their problem in Nigeria is not coming from any part of Igboland, but from meticulously considered and relentlessly planned and methodically executed, political actions and decisions made at the federal level of the Nigerian government with the ultimate goal of undermining and hampering economic progress, development and empowerment of Alaigbo.
Decisions made at the federal level of the Nigerian Government led to the economic disfranchisement of Ndigbo. Here are just a few examples to drive home my point.
1. The federal policy of paying twenty ponds only to Idigbo and others affected by the civil war was very devastating to many families who were returning from war with no penny to start life over. Some had hundreds of thousands of pounds in Nigerian banks when the war broke out. That ultimate mean spirited policy, was designed to make sure that the Igbos and others returning from war, never succeeds in post war economic life in Nigeria.
2. The confiscated property issue in Port Harcourt, some people criminally called it abandoned property, was economically devastating to our people some lost 2 or more properties in Port Harcourt.
3. The arbitrary and calculated plans to carve out Igbo territories with oil deposits to other states were calculated political decision to deny Igbo states share of oil royalties.
4. The lack of funding for reconstruction after the war rendered Igboland economically obsolete, leading to mass exodus of people away from Igboland to other areas in the country in search of work and opportunities.
5. The Nationalization and Indigenization decree soon after the war when every Igbo was bankrupt was a sophisticated scheme and advanced form of economic marginalization.
6. The calculated plot to deny airports to the heartland of Igboland on the corollary helped to increase economic activities in other Nigerian territories excluding Igboland.
7. The apparent lack of federal structures in Igboland was another calculated plot to further enhance economic retrogression and strangulation of Igbo territories.
8. The apparent lack of interest in standardizing port facilities in Port Harcourt, Warri, Sapele, Calabar and other South- South ports, and in not dredging the river Niger for easy access for ocean going vessels to Igbo centers of trade and commerce is designed to keep economic buoyancy and activities centered in Lagos Nigeria’s sole port city.
9. The total lack of appropriations for any project in the South-East by the former Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi speaks volumes.
10. The uniform economic neglect policies of all the former military dictators, Yakubu Gowon, Muritala Muhammad, Olusegun Obasanjo (first administration), Ibrahim Babangida, Mohammed Buhari, Abacha, and Abdulsalam Abubakr produced devastating and harsh economic conditions and helped in the economic annihilation of the South-South and the South-East. These are the issues; it sickens me to see our people point fingers at one another for marginalizing them in the past or to see some of our people try to justify and rationalize clan based politics in Igboland such as we witnessed at Umuahia or Mbaise, and thank God the reprisal effort for a payback failed at Awka which may be seen as a final nail on Clan politics coffin in igboland.
Written by Okechukwu P. Oranika
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This past holiday season I lost a dear cousin Engineer Castro G. Oranika (May His Soul Rest in Peace).He was flown to California for treatment from Nigeria. Unfortunately he passed away here in the United States and funeral arrangements were being made in our beloved hometown Abatete many of us call Abanna in Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State.This report is dedicated to the memory of Castro G. Within the little time I had left, I began planning my journey back to Nigeria because I knew I had to be a part of my cousin's funeral. The other thing I knew for sure is that I must travel on Ethiopian Airlines since it is the only international airline which flies directly to Enugu in South Eastern Nigeria from Dulles airport in Washington D.C. with a stopover in Adis Ababa Ethiopia. Many of the Southeasterners residing in the Diaspora welcomed the upgrading of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, thanks to the petition originated by Prof. Umez in the United States. President Jonathan, Princess Oduah, Governor Chime, Senator Ekwerenmadu and many others helped to make the airport a reality. Folks I take pride in signing the petition as well. Princess Oduah the Aviation Minister was very instrumental in actualizing the international status for the Akanu Ibiam airport, and for this she would be remembered for breaking the de facto economic strangulation of the South East imposed since the end of the Biafra war. Since this accomplishment, she has been ferociously attacked by those who may hold ulterior motives. Are these attacks related to her progressive work in the Aviation ministry by ensuring that all political zones in the Country have airport facilities to help alleviate travel problems for citizens? I don't fully have the answer to this question but I can tell you that previous Nigerian leaders had no desire to build an international airport in the Southeast. Some hold the view that the South East is not entitled to an international airport despite the fact that overwhelming percentage of the Nigerian travelers come from the Southeast. Folks all politics are local, it took a president from the East and an aviation minister from the Southeast for this project to be accomplished.
So my search for Ethiopian Airlines flights to Enugu began, I went online to Ethiopian Airlines website and checked prices for the Dulles-Addis Ababa-Enugu round trip ticket and the price quoted was about $1900. I checked other airlines and the quotes vary but range from $1800-$2200. Mind you this was in December which is high season for air travel. I decided to check the discount travel agencies around, and my favorite is CheapoAir.com. I found Dulles-Addis Ababa-Enugu round trip ticket for $1777 the lowest price so far so I quickly booked that schedule and paid for the ticket and obtained my confirmation number.
The problem now was that the Dulles-Addis Ababa flight departs at 10.15 am and checking in starts at 7am. Mind you that I live in Atlanta so I have to find ways to be in Washington D.C. about 7-8am on Dec 8, the flight date. Few airlines have early morning flights to Dulles that would arrive at about 8-9 am but the prices were too high. Some of the tickets were priced between $400-500 one way and $700 for round trip for few tickets still available. What are my options I asked myself?
I made plans to rent a car one way and drop it off at Dulles airport before departure. This plan worked and the rental cost was $160 plus $65 gas cost for a total of $225. I drove to Washington D.C. and planned to be at the airport at 6am on Dec 8. I made it to the airport at 6.45 am and dropped the car rental and proceeded to the Ethiopian airlines counter. The checking in process was smooth and the trip was about to commence. Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans and it soon began snowing and our flight was delayed for about 2 ½ hours.
The captain soon announced that the plane was heading to the De-icing area for the aircraft to be de-iced. That process took about 30 minutes and we were cleared for takeoff. At that point my concern was meeting the next flight schedule from Adis Ababa to Enugu because the layover time at Adis-, Ababa was about 2 ½ hours. The flight soon took off from Dulles; it was a brand new Boeing 777 aircraft with passenger capacity of 321. Once on board I gathered so much information about the size, magnitude and services of Ethiopian Airlines. The airline has about 62 airplanes, including 5 of the state of art Dreamliner 787, 9 Boeing 777-200ER, 12, Boeing 767-300ER, 7 Boeing 757-200ER, 14 Boeing 737-200ER, 13 Bombadier Q400, and many others. Ethiopian Airlines flies to most major cities in all continents. Folks it dawned on me how incredibly lucky to be able to fly out of Enugu to almost all of the world's major cities.
The food served was excellent including rice with beef, rice with chicken, joolof rice, Pasta and much more served by young and beautiful Ethiopian flight attendants, highly mannered and very professional. From Washington DC to Adis Ababa (about 13 ½ hours flight) we were served 4 major meals, Heineken, White and Red Wine was served upon request, no limits. In fact there was a sort of open bar at the back where all sorts of soft drinks, apple juice, orange juice, pine apple juices and others were placed, and all one has to do is just go there and help yourself. Folks I have traveled extensively on the Trans Atlantic to African schedule and have used most major airlines in the world. None of these airlines offer better services than Ethiopian airlines in my humble opinion and folks don't take my word for it, fly them and make your own conclusions.
The 777 plane offers personalized movie choices, and there were American films, Asian Films and African film choices. Overwhelming majority of the African movers offered were Nollywood movies. Among the Nollywood movie choices there were two Igbo language films, and you bet I watched the two Igbo Language films, and felt at home and very relaxed.
I had few hours of nap as well. Soon the captain announced he was beginning a descend to Adis Ababa. As we landed my concern had shifted to the connecting flight to Enugu since we were already 2 ½ hours late which was equal to the layover time at Adis Ababa. Folks if you had any doubts on the efficiency of this airline what happened next will clear any doubts on your mind. If we miss the next flight to Enugu several non desirable options remain which is flying on the next available flight to Lagos or Abuja or waiting for 24 hours or more for the next flight to Enugu.
As soon as we landed and disembarked from the aircraft there were Ethiopian staff workers all armed with walkie-talkies and soon three buses pulled up. One for Lagos the second one for Abuja and the third one was for Enugu. At that point I realized that late departure from Washington had affected all the Nigerian departures. The staff quickly loaded us into the Enugu bus and within few minutes we were on board the Enugu bound flight. From landing to take off at Adis Ababa took no more than 15 minutes. The Flight to Akanu Ibiam Airport had commenced. It was a Boeing 737 with passenger capacity of 125. Inside the plane was a very jubilant group of passengers with smiling faces connecting from all over the world. Behind our seat I overheard one passenger say "Igbo Kwenu" and few guys replied "Ya" and everybody began laughing. One passenger said for the rest of his life he would never again set foot in Lagos. The guy sat across from me on the isle so I asked him what was responsible for the extreme position he took. He told me that he had no freedom in his travelling plans. That every time he travels in and out of Nigeria he was forced against his will to travel either through Lagos or Abuja. He told me he now has options and feels like he was liberated or set free. Other passenger conversations focused on how Ethiopia, a very small country with limited resources was able to put together this first class operation while Nigeria with its abundant resources could not manage an airline company. The flight to Enugu was full, no single seat was empty. Food services were excellent and were consistent with the previous flight services from Washington D.C. Over 90% of the passengers were South Easterners, one passenger was heading to Bayelsa via Port Harcourt and another passenger was heading to Benue State. 3 passengers were possibly Europeans and another passenger looked Chinese.
The pilot soon announced he is descending towards Enugu; a very incredible panoramic view of the city and its mountains was unfolding. About twenty minutes later the Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 roared to the ground on a very smooth landing as happy and jubilant passengers applaud. A brand new Fire truck which looked like a New York Fire truck pulled to about 100 ft making its presence known, I said to myself this is good wow!! This is new for a Nigerian airport. As we exited the airplane I knew it was a historical day for me being my first landing at Akanu Ibiam International airport from an international flight. It was about 12.30 pm on this glorious day with bright sunshine and somewhat cool Harmattan temperature synonymous with the season when our flight landed just about 4 ½ hours from take off at Adis Ababa.
I began thinking what may have been the plight of my two checked baggage, understanding that in many airlines companies particularly those in the United States it would be very difficult for your baggage to make the connecting flight within 15 minutes short interval. But folks I was pleasantly surprised to find my two baggages on the conveyor belt at Enugu. If this is not one more indication of better service on the part of the Ethiopian airlines crew and staff, I don't know what is.
My younger brother Ebele was waiting for me as I emerged from the airport and 12 minutes later I arrived at my elder sister's house at Trans Ekulu Layout Enugu marking an end to this relaxing and pleasant journey. My hometown Abatete is just 45 minutes away!! What a great experience it was for me.
The return trip back to the States was very pleasant as well, it took 45 minutes to drive from home to the airport and two hours later we took off to Adis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines management recognizes the promises of the Enugu connection, and brought a Boeing 757 a much bigger airplane for the return trip dismissing the widely circulated rumors that the airport could only handle smaller aircraft. Again the 757 was full with about 175 passengers aboard. Folks Southeasterners have embraced this whole idea by putting their money where their mouth. They are replacing the stopovers at Lagos and Abuja with Adis Ababa; my questions to some people on the Enugu flight on where they were coming from shows that some of the passengers connecting flights at Adis Ababa were travelling from Asia, Russia, Australia, Europe, North America including the United States and Canada, South America, Israel and South Africa.
Next week I shall complete part two of this report focusing on services at Akanu Ibiam airport which I can describe right now as work in progress. Much has been accomplished and much work remains to be done. Don't miss the second part of my report.
Paul Okechukwu Oranika
Author of many books, most recent book titled "Stock Market Trading: Beginner's Guide for Profitable investing" is available worldwide.
Posting permission granted by the author, this report may be published and cross- posted at will on condition that the content of this report is not altered in any way.
When the real historical tragedy of Nigeria's past leadership bankruptcy is objectively written after a very careful analysis one would come to an inescapable conclusion that the past leaders in Nigeria opened the way to the plethora of social ills and problems which continues to cause havoc on the nation today. The military not only institutionalized corruption in Nigeria, they created favoritism as a rationale applied in the distribution of resources, rights and privileges in the country. The military leadership established the military industrial complex through which individuals from specific areas of the country were favored over other Nigerians in contract awards. But many Nigerians have not forgotten the double standards of the military leadership in Nigeria. In a recent statement Dr. Joe Nwaorgu noted:
"Those who have brought about injustice against other areas, they are all well known, that is, the army people who were in-charge, but with a lot of ethnic bias. Their policies were laced with ethnic bias. They were there claiming to be Nigerian army, but all their activities were to the benefit of the North. So, one can as well say that it was a northern army, or an army playing out northern script, and protecting its interest. These digressions from equity; these mass injustice would be on the table for discussion so that the country will together resolve them so that we can build a strong, united nation." DR JOE NWAORGU -SECRETARY GENERAL OHANAEZE NDIGBO
A significant portion of the revenues accruing from crude oil sales have been stolen and squandered away, and worse still no one has been held accountable for these crimes. In distant memory there were about 100 Nigerians being investigated by the EFCC for Corruption, Financial crimes and Fraud? What happened to those on that list? How many were charged and convicted? Can anyone help me here? Nigerians are contempt with these crimes, and seem to accept them as normal for Nigeria a country with low standards and expectations. Many Nigerians have chosen to focus on the 2 Bullet-proof BMWs purchased by the ministry of Aviation. For the record, personally I believe such purchase should not have been made by the ministry and the money could have been used for a better purpose. The issues over such purchases should nonetheless be sorted out by the government, and one option is to auction out those vehicles to the highest bidder along with similar vehicles purchased by other government departments, if the Nigerian Procurement laws were violated. That should close the matter unless fraud and embezzlement were revealed. So far none has been revealed or substantiated.
What many citizens particularly those from the Southeast zone are concerned about is the unprecedented attacks on the aviation minister, which seem to be in line with attacks on previous Ministers and appointees particularly those from the South East. These attacks are being waged for dubious reasons, only a small portion of those writing on this issue do so for purposes of good governance and accountability. The truth of the matter is that many Nigerians still see the South-easterners as defeated people vis-à-vis the Biafra war. Many have found it hard to accept the leadership and authority of appointees from the South-east to make far reaching decisions for the country. Few years ago the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S Rtd. Brigadier General Oluwole Rotimi reflected such sentiment when he reminded us all about how he defeated the rag tag Biafran Army. Rotimi said,” I was the Quarter-Master General of the Nigerian Army that thoroughly defeated your rag-tag Biafran Army".
There is more in the plot to remove Oduah from the Aviation Ministry than meets ordinary eye. There were already calls for her resignation as a result of the recent air crashes in the country. None of our fellow citizens who called for her resignation or removal from office over the air crashes made similar calls for the resignation of previous Aviation ministers when air crashes occurred during their terms in office a double standard to say the least. When the call for her resignation failed to stick they jumped into the issue of Bullet-Proof BMWs purchased by the Aviation Ministry. During the Obasanjo Presidency some of his appointees from the South east such as Central Bank Governor Christopher Soludo, and Finance Minister Okonjo-Iwealla and others were often attacked for no just cause.
The fact is that some Nigerians have never seen a Nigerian Minister or appointee from South-East zone they like. Recall that the former Energy Minister Prof. Bert Nnaji who has begun to make some inroads into stabilizing power supply in Nigeria was forced to resign from office under unclear circumstance. Very recently Festus Odimegwu Director of the Census Bureau was forced to resign over a statement he made regarding his intention to give Nigeria a clean and transparent census. There have been calls by Nigerians for the Finance Minister Mrs Okonjo Iwealla to resign. They are also calling for the resignation of Petroleum Minister Dizeani-Alison Madueke. If they can’t find anything to base their allegations on they would invent one just to humiliate appointees from the South-east zone . Recently a new low was reached when Mr. Fani-Kayode decided to embarrass Mrs Bianca Ojukwu by concocting a false relationship story.
What many people from the Southeast zone are saying is enough is enough. The harassment and intimidation of Southeastern Ministers and appointees must stop. If there is credible evidence of fraud or corruption charge against any one from the south east or other zones in the country, it should be investigated and prosecuted through the court system. Per capita the ratio of southeastern appointees charged, and convicted of fraud, embezzlement of federal funds is among the lowest of all political zones in the country. Regarding some of our brothers and sisters being unnecessarily too critical of the aviation minister we can agree that it is their right to express their views but permit me to add that not everyone with advanced degrees and ability to write is capable of seeing the big picture beyond what is obvious. Let me close this piece by quoting in the words of a Nigerian not from the Southeast, a man who was able to look beyond the obvious, he reasoned that “the Aviation Ministry brouhaha has clearly shown that most of these accusations are generated from questionable quarters, more especially from those who have lost a bid to illegally enrich themselves from our common wealth at the detriment of the Nigerian people. This trend of mouthing corruption against the nation’s finest, who have made a success in their various careers in life, must stop if Nigeria must attract her best home to contribute their quota for accelerated national development”---Mr Muhammed Olayinka, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Ibadan.
Folks what else can I say other than “leave Princess Oduah alone”
Those are my views, yours always welcome
Paul Okechukwu Oranika
Author of many books and co-author of “Practical Derivatives”
Some of his bestselling books include:
Hedge Funds: Investment Vehicles for the Global Economy
Nigeria: One Nation Two Systems
Stock Market Trading: Beginners’ Guide for Profitable trading
Practical Derivatives: A Transactional Approach (Co-authored)
All of his books are available globally on Amazon.com
Cross-posting rights granted by the writer
Fashola has been seen as a very good and effective leader and administrator by many Nigerians, and I must admit that before this ill-advised repatriation of Nigerian citizens to their home state the man could possibly be a serious contender to the Nigerian Presidency in the coming years based on his superior political skills and leadership as demonstrated during his continuing tenure as the Governor of Lagos State. My central theory here is that this issue may damage Fashola’s future political aspirations within the Federal and National arena. The only way the man can come out of this and save his legacy is by admitting this wrong and apologizing to Nigerians soon before the damages become permanent after all no one is above making mistakes. But if he continues to defend an action which flagrantly violates the Nigerian constitution in letter and spirit his era in national politics becomes history. I have a theory that his political opponents may have set him up but I have to tell you that I am surprised that he fell for this trap after all the good work he has done for the state and city of Lagos in particular
I read Mr. Joe Igbokwe’s explanation for forced removal of Nigerian citizens or the so called “destitute” from Lagos to Anambra State and was shocked at the man’s acceptance of wrong and his attempt to legitimize it by appealing to sentimental and emotional arguments. First there was no legal rationalization for what Lagos State did, an action which could lead to anarchy if such wrong is duplicated by other states. Mr. Igbokwe also claimed that Lagos State carried out similar action involving other states in the past. The central argument here is that the Lagos State Government does not have the power or authority to forcibly remove and transport any Nigerian away from Lagos State in violation of Nigerian laws. The best two words to describe such action is “illegal and unconstitutional”. It is only in Nigeria that a state governor can undertake an action which the governor has no power or authority to do so.
The problem of homelessness is a big issue confronting major urban areas in the world. No other country or major city can carry out such exercise by illegally removing its citizens and dumping them at a bridgehead about 3am and claim such action was to reunite such persons with their families, what a brazen disregard of the rules.
In the United States, a country which Nigeria modeled its version of democracy from, there have been hundreds of cases dealing with the rights of the homeless and the courts have consistently ruled that the amendment rights of the homeless must be protected as guaranteed by the 2nd, 4th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution. The City of Los Angeles has lost more than 5 cases relating to this question. In one of these cases eight homeless persons filed a case at a lower court to prevent the city of Los Angeles from removing and destroying their personal effects and belongings on the streets and under bridges where they sleep. The city attorney Carmen Trutanich had argued that the unattended property of the homeless on the streets create health hazards and violate municipal ordinances and should be removed and trashed by city workers.The lower court ruled in favor of the homeless and against the city of Los Angeles which appealed to the U.S. Supreme and lost again when the court refused to reverse the ruling of the lower court.
There was a case in 1994 in the city of Cleveland Ohio during which the city police forcibly removed four homeless persons from the downtown area and dropped them off at another area of the city. They sued the city for violating their first, fourth and fourteenth amendment rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. The city of Cleveland realized they could not win the case and decided to settle with the Plaintiffs and paid them monetary compensation to close the case.
Mind you that these cases do not involve relocation to another state which would have been much more serious violations. But here comes Lagos with a new brand of democracy, arbitrarily hijacked Nigerian citizens and dumped them several hundred miles away, an act which highly endangered the lives of these citizens and violated the Nigerian laws and constitution which the Lagos State Governor swore in an oath to uphold. And here comes Joe Igbokwe with his spin to defend this obvious abuse of power. By his own admission Joe Igbokwe has lived in Lagos since 1986 about 27 years and he is lecturing us about acts of kindness by Lagos state in hiring him and few other Igbos. If Nigeria was to practice true democracy after 1 to 2 years of residency Joe Igbokwe should be an official resident of Lagos and entitled to any privilege and benefits reserved for other state residents such as employment by the state.
Some Nigerian leaders are not practicing true democracy. I have difficulty in coining up the best term to describe Nigeria’s political system. I came up with the term “Tribal Democracy” which simply means that only the indigenes of a state with the state’s tribal names could claim legal residency of that state. All others regardless of whether they were born in that state or have resided in that state for several decades would be regarded as “settlers”. But this syndrome is not unique to Lagos State alone, there is the indigene/settler dichotomy between the Beroms and the Hause/Fulani in Jos, Plateau State. In the South East a different version of “Tribal Democracy” has been invented which I will call “Clan Democracy” one will have to be hypocritical if they fail to point out such problems within their own region. An example of “Clan Democracy”was illustrated In Abia state where non indigenes of Abia were sent packing by Abia State government because they were born outside the state.
But let me go back to the topic at hand by suggesting what should happen in case Lagos State Government fail to rectify their mistake. I don’t think that an appeal to the president should change anything after all the President and Governors share similar powers as chief executives of the Federal and State governments respectively so there is little the president could do here. The best course for the affected individuals and the state where these persons were dumped is to pursue a class action civil case seeking punitive damages from Lagos State Government for their illegal action.
The best friend Ndigbo have today in Nigeria is the Nigerian Constitution regardless of some of its problems.I would like the case to be adjudicated by the Nigerian courts to decide who is a Nigerian citizen and whether they have rights under the Constitution to reside in any state within Nigeria, and by implication whether any state government has granted or implied powers to remove Nigerian citizens by force from one state to another. This case would be a precedent setting case which hopefully will teach Nigerian rulers some lessons of limits of their power.
So much has been written by many Nigerians from various ethnic persuasions eulogizing the man-Prof .Chinua Achebe that at this stage the life and times of this giant of a man have been fully covered. This is the reason why I have taken a different angle to eulogize him tapping a little bit on history and Chinua’s expectations. The issues he addressed all through his life are the Nigerian issues and problems and not Igbo problem per se. Chinua Achebe comes from a town called Ogidi as you may already know, the town is less than 5 or 6 miles from Onitsha. His town and my town (Abatete) are neighbors and we have many cultural and traditional ties with Ogidi people including intermarriages. Ogidi was for all intents and purposes a war front during the Biafra war; the town is located in between some of the toughest battle fields in the Biafra war, Nkpor junction and Abagana sector, a little history here would help put things in proper perspective. Recall that Abagana was the place where the entire battalion of the Nigerian army under Colonel Murtala Mohammed was decimated, few of the soldiers in that battalion managed to escape including Murtalla Mohamed, there were rumors at the time that he was almost caught but he managed to escape. There were different accounts of what happened but it is believed that the Biafran Army targeted fuel and arms carrying trucks and detonated an “Ogbunigwe” (Biafran land mine) as the trucks were within range. All the vehicles including the fuel and arms carrying trucks caught fire the inferno which engulfed the area lasted until every vehicle and equipment of the battalion was completely burnt down.
When the Nigerian army resumed their advance towards Onitsha, they literally erased and demolished the towns along the path and Chinua Achebe’s home town was systematically destroyed. After the war there were literally no buildings standing at Ogidi, pretty much what Sherman’s Army did to Atlanta during the American civil war, on their match to the coast. Achebe had great hopes for Nigeria after the war; he had great expectation that Nigeria as a nation may have learned lessons as a result of that divisive and destructive civil war.
Chinua Achebe was highly disappointed in the quality of leadership in the country and the electoral fraud which brought these leaders into office. I remember that following the Yar’Adua election there was a list of “Concerned Nigerians” put together by Prof. Bolaji Aluko and others which protested the electoral fraud in the Yar’Adua’s election. The “Concerned Nigerians” signatories called on the government to cancel that election and for a new election to be organized. The list included many notable Nigerians in the Diaspora, such as Chinua Achebe, the list also included ordinary and common folks like us. The point here is to support Chinua Achebe’s inclination to stand up for the truth; he continued to condemn the level of corruption in Nigeria both within the government and the Nigerian polity at large. In Chinua, there was a man who believes in principles; he rejected awards and honors from the Nigerian government in line with his position against bad governance and level of corruption in the country. Personally I am in solidarity with Chinua Achebe’s positions and philosophical inclination; Chinua Achebe’s name would undoubtedly live forever not only as an African literary giant but also for his advocacy for transparent and good governance in Nigeria.
Recently Chinua Achebe once again raised the issue of the policy of usage of starvation as a weapon of war into national and international debate through his last work –“There was a Country”. That starvation policy was applied by Nigerian policy makers during the Biafra war, a strategy which facilitated the deaths of millions of infants and children. In concluding this brief tribute to Chinua, let me say that yes we would have liked to have him around longer, but Chinua lived a great and accomplished life which most of us would only dream about. In his death we have found courage and vigor to rededicate our lives to the important issues which he often talked about. Let me close this tribute by quoting Chinua Achebe on Leadership and role of education, he noted that:
A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership. Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.---Chinua Achebe
During the early period of the European adventurism into Africa, (1880s) only small portions of Africa were actually occupied by Europeans. These places were largely restricted to the coastal areas of Africa. The British had occupied Freetown in Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Gold Coast Protectorate, Lagos, and Cape Colony in Southern Africa The French were in Dakar in Senegal and was moving inland through the Senegal River, they were also in some regions of Cote d’voire, and Dahomey. Portuguese were present in Angola and Mozambique while the Spaniards had reached North West and the Spanish North Africa. The end of the Transatlantic Slave trade created a need of material resources in Europe to fan the industrial revolution and European explorers had located large reserves of mineral resources in Africa, which could be exploited for their own benefits. They also realized that there are many potential consumers for their finished products in Africa and consequently the scramble for Africa had began in earnest leading to the Berlin conference of 1884-1885 which led to the partitioning of Africa by Europeans.
The relevance of this to this essay is to say that both the United States and China were semi-colonies at that time so they were struggling for their own autonomy and consequently could not participate in the scramble for Africa.
Today a new economic scramble for African markets is unfolding between the U.S. and China. Let me use few examples to underscore the point. Cummings is one of the leading manufacturers of engines whose products are popular in Africa and you probably already know the reason-engines are needed to generate electricity, and power other projects. Lately China has stepped up the plate to the point that China is winning the small engine trade in Africa. Cummings executives made several trips to Africa to realize this and they have vowed not to let this happen. Cummings hired and trained more staff and established a South African Regional office in charge of African market and hired a South African as the Chief executive for the African region.
Other U.S companies General Electric and Caterpillar are also in the fight and economic scramble for the African Trade. According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, “Harley-Davidson Inc. is opening dealerships in Botswana and Mauritius. General Electric Co. has its first aircraft-leasing office in Ghana for Central and West African airlines. Google Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are among the dozens of other U.S. companies moving in or expanding”( The Wall Street Journal)
The United States companies have their attention focused on Asia and Latin America while China was quietly creeping into Africa. According to published data in 2011, “China's exports to Africa totaled about $54 billion, up from $5.6 billion a decade before, U.S. exports to Africa totaled $21 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2000” (International Monetary Fund)
Economic analysts have predicted that the economy of the African continent would grow to $2.6 trillion by 2020. Chinese consumer-electronic products are getting popular although there are quality concerns with many Chinese electronic products. Chinese trade in processed food and pharmaceuticals is also increasing. The Chinese are winning major contracts in Africa for infrastructure developments including airport construction, roads and Hospital development and equipment. One of the leading Chinese contractors in Africa is Huawei Technologies Company which has won the construction of infrastructure in many parts of Africa. The Chinese government is also funding some projects in Africa in Areas of Telecommunications in Ethiopia for instance, and also partly funding the development of the Merowe Dam in Sudan, as well as in railway projects in Libya and Nigeria.
In 2000, the United States Government under Bill Clinton implemented the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the aim of expanding U.S trade with sub-Saharan Africa and to help in the integration of African economies into the global economy. A key question though is does such integration work to the advantage of Africa or the U.S? The point is that the key objectives of AGOA remain unfulfilled, for instance through AGOA African products should enter the U.S duty free, and it is uncertain whether this key provision is being enforced.
Stephen Hays, the CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa is concerned that the US is losing the African trade to China and is frustrated with the pace of US-Africa trade relations. Meanwhile in Beijing the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that the China –Africa trade has reached record levels, according to the Ministry, new data for China-Africa trade has reached the level of $163.9 billion, up 20%. The Ministry also said that China has lifted tariffs on 60% of goods imported from 30 African countries.
In concluding I have to say that we as Africans must at some point take control of our economic destiny. Africa must move away from exporting raw materials to processing raw materials for its consumers and export purposes. It is sad to note that this trend which began during the colonial era is continuing in different forms and methods. This cycle today is what Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana in his wisdom termed “Neocolonialism” African resources are still being exploited by foreigners, through unequal trade.
Paul Okechukwu Oranika
The Republican Party has once again failed to win the US presidency. Although President George Bush II was declared the winner in the 2000 presidential election against democrat Al Gore, it was a controversial election which required the ruling of the US Supreme Court to justify the Bush Presidency. Nevertheless Democrat Al Gore won the plurality of all the popular votes cast in that election. The US Supreme Court halted the recount exercise which was going on in Palm Beach Florida through and declared George Bush the winner. A new trend appears to be emerging, a trend which started with the election of Bill Clinton as the 42nd President of the United States. Since the Clinton Election the Republican popular vote percentage has been either declining or stagnant.
In 2004, George Bush II faced Democrat John Kerry who was swift boated through the Republican propaganda machine which managed to turn John Kerry’s brave action in Vietnam into a negative campaign outcome which for all intents and purposes put John Kerry in a defensive posture throughout the election campaign. The final election result in 2004 favored George Bush the incumbent by a very narrow margin in the popular vote Bush 49.9% vs. Kerry 47.5%.
In the Obama vs Romney election campaign Republicans went back to their propaganda machine which included all the Republican right wing Radio talk show hosts from Rush Limbaugh to Shawn Hennedy, and Mark Levine, to folks like Donald Trump “the Clown”, John Sununu and many others whose mission was to undermine the Obama presidency and instill fear in the minds of many Americans (mostly white Americans) to reject Barrack Obama through coded racial messages and undertones which continued to hammer away on the nonsensical “birthier issue” through which some white Americans still believe that Obama is not an American citizen. These tactics were similar to the ones used against John Kerry in 2004.But Republicans underestimated the intelligence of the average voter, in the end Obama scored and electoral college landslide with a win of 332 vs Romney's 206
That brings to mind the Tea Party folks, one may ask what happened to their so called revolution two years ago which swept through the Congress dramatically and giving Republicans the majority in the House of Representatives. The tea Party folks are nowhere to be seen now, the movement is being charged by main stream Republicans of causing them this election. While some white Americans held on to these misguided propaganda on Obama citizenship status, some did not. The Republican Party apparatus also used other strategies through some of their governors to device ways to suppress voter outcome. In some states, the early voting period was slashed down; a case in point is Florida. Other states introduced voter identity requirements to screen and intimidate minorities from voting.
Despite all these strategies the Republican Party fell way short because they failed to realize that times have changed and along with such change comes the changing demographics in America. Let me now turn to some of the data regarding which groups voted for which candidate in the past presidential election. From political science perspective there are numerous groups in any given polity which seek to impact the outcome of any election through their voting behavior. Group politics enables different interest groups to articulate their interests, views and agenda in support of the candidate who would more likely favor policies of interest to such group.
Women Votes—most women voters supported President Obama partly for two reasons-The issue of Abortion and the issue of who would nominate new Justices to the Supreme Court in an era where the Roe V. Wade ruling is on the verge of being overturned. The next president of the United States stands to nominate possibly two Supreme Court justices at the minimum upon the retirement of any of the current Supreme Court Justices. One more conservative Supreme Court nominee if approved by the Senate would enable the Supreme Court to overthrow Roe V. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the United States by overturning the Texas Court Ruling over Abortion by maintaining that a woman and her physician could only decide over the issue of an abortion during the early years of pregnancy.
African American Votes—By a large ratio the African American voters supported Obama not just because Obama is an African American but more importantly the Obama presidency is more likely to address many issues of interest to African Americans an example is Health insurance law which Romney has repeatedly said he would repeal if he wins.
Hispanic Votes- Hispanics largely supported president Obama over many issues including the immigration reforms which undoubtedly is on the top agenda for President Obama.
Gay and Lesbian Votes—again voted for the democratic ticket for similar reasons because Democrats have historically supported Gay and lesbian rights over issues such as Gay marriage and civil unions.
Young Americans—more young Americans are attracted to the Obama camp (not as much as in2008) because they see Obama as a President who is likely to support students over education issues and student loan matters than Romney and the Republicans.
Religious Groups-various Religious denominations in the United States threw their support behind President Obama according to many exit polls. Jews, Catholics, Methodists and Southern Baptists, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims voted for the Democratic candidate. Romney carried most Evangelical and Mormon votes understandably.
Recent immigrants such as Nigerians and others are more likely to vote for the democratic ticket than for a Republican ticket. There is a huge demographic shift in the United States population and trends. Senior Citizens are more likely to support the democratic ticket over Republican ticket on issues of retirement benefits and Social Security. Unions largely vote Democratic historically over their support of worker rights and union issues.
In the end Republicans largely depend of majority of white votes, Romney and the Republican ticket carried about two thirds of white votes (Largely votes of older white males), and majority of Christian Evangelist groups (75%). The Republican Constituencies across the country is shrinking due to changing demographics, and the Republican Party is increasingly becoming a regional party as opposed to a national party.
Would Republicans Learn Lessons from this? This is a million dollar question and my honest feeling is that the issue here is largely that of ideology. It is unlikely that Republicans would abandon their traditional support of wealthy Americans for the middle class over the issue of taxes. One recent example is hurdles mounted by Republicans against Obama’s efforts to roll back the Bush tax policy for the wealthy Americans. It may be difficult for the Republican Party to embrace minority groups and not embrace the issues important to such constituency. This means that it may be very difficult for a Republican candidate to win a presidential election in the near future because their total percentage in the popular votes and Electoral College continues to decline. John McCain actually received 2 million more votes that Romney got in 2012. It takes a lager coalition of Groups to win presidential election and it is very hard for the Republican Party to form such broad coalition partly on ideological and philosophical considerations which go to the heart of what the Republican movement is all about.
Paul Okechukwu Oranika
Department of Political science
Grand Canyon University
For those that missed Day 1 of the DNC at Charlotte North Carolina here are some of the Highlights of the opening Day activities. Some of the Democratic Party heavy weights delivered remarkable messages that have demonstrated that Republicans are wrong when they said that President Obama could not run for reelection with his records from the past four years in office. The speech delivered by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland slammed Mitt Romney with a charge that he practices what Strickland called “Vulture Capitalism” a term that refers to Mitt Romney’s past business ventures where his former company made enormous profits through destruction of many American jobs and companies. While praising president Obama on the revival of the US auto industry Strickland noted, ‘The auto industry supports one of every eight jobs in Ohio, and it's alive and growing in America again. Late last year, Chrysler announced they were hiring eleven hundred new autoworkers in Toledo. Just last month, GM announced a plan to invest 200 million dollars in Lordstown, keeping five thousand jobs in Ohio and building the next generation of the Chevy Cruze—a car we are proud to say is made entirely in Ohio”.(Strickland Speech at the DNC). He also told the convention attendees that America stands strong again due to president Obama’s policies. Ohio is one of the critical battleground states which helped to change the outcome of recent presidential elections”
In his speech, Rahm Emmanuel the former Obama Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago reminded Americans of the worsening economic climate and uncertainty in the country when Obama became the president . Emmanuel said, “When President Obama entered the White House, the economy was in a free-fall. The auto industry: on its back. The banks: frozen up. More than three million Americans had already lost their jobs. And America's bravest, our men and women in uniform, were fighting what would soon be the longest wars in our history. You remember the uncertainty and fear that seized the country”(Emmanuel Speech at DNC). According to Emmanuel the country is better off today that 4 years ago when Obama first came to the white House. He added, “And today, our economy has gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to adding 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29 months. Banks are slowly but surely lending again, and never again will taxpayers foot the bill for Wall Street's excesses. In case we forgot, that was the change we believed in. That was the change we fought for.” (Emmanuel Speech at the DNC)
Another speaker Gov. Deval Patrick who succeeded Romney as the Governor of Massachusetts reminded people of the bad condition of infrastructure in the state when Romney left office. Deval said, “Roads and bridges were crumbling. Business taxes were up, and business confidence was down. Our clean energy potential was stalled, and we had a structural budget deficit……. Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed. I can tell you Massachusetts was not one of them. He’s a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was a lot more interested in having the job than doing it.” (Gov Deval’s Speech at the DNC). He received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd at the DNC arena.
Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland talked about the growing private sector employment in the past 29 months straight, thanks to president Obama’s economic policies. O’Malley said, “With 29 months in a row of private sector job growth, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By making college more affordable for millions of middle-class families, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By putting forward a concrete plan to cut waste, ask those at the top to pay a little more, and reduce our deficit, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! And by adding American manufacturing jobs for the first time since the late 1990s, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!”(O’Malley Speech at the DNC)
The keynote speech was delivered by Julian Castro, the Hispanic Mayor of San Antonio Texas, who ventured straight into politics upon graduating from Harvard. His speech is seen as an avenue to expose the young Mayor to Americans most have not heard of him. Some parallels have been drawn between Mayor Castro and president Obama, and some see Castro as another rising star in the ranks of Hispanics with future potential in national politics. In a fiery speech Castro praised Obama and his accomplishments in the last four years, some see Castro as a future Hispanic president of the United States.
But the limelight of the evening was stolen by the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama who delivered captivating and moving personal stories about her family’s background and that of Barrack Obama. A once shy first lady when they first came to the White House four years ago, Michelle has graduated into the super league of motivational speakers, her words were filled with passion, and it was very easy for an average person to connect with her experiences. She said, ‘You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves”(Michelle Obama Speech at the DNC). She used her stories to illustrate why president Barrack Obama’s policies are largely directed at ordinary Americans using the healthcare program and the student loan issues as examples. She talked about the fact that the presidency does not change people, and that Barrack Obama has remained the same person who came to pick her up on their dates often driving an old and rusted out car with exhaust pipes visible from the inside the bottom of the vehicle. She noted, “Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are”. (Michelle Obama Speech at the DNC) While Michelle never mentioned Romney’s name in her speech she presented very powerful subliminal messages which drew sharp contrast between Romney’s life of affluence and wealth to those of her and Barrack’s family.
The first day of the DNC set very high standard of what follows as the speakers have demonstrated beyond doubt that President Obama could run on his accomplishments during the first 4 years in office, contrary to Republican assertions that he has nothing to show for his first 4 years in office. Hopefully Obama’s campaign strategists are watching and taking notes
Folks put on your seat belts, it is going to be very turbulent in Egypt, another Somalia is possibly in the making. You would think Africans are capable of making rational judgements based on history. Many Egyptians are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood whose agenda is largely unknown, what we know for sure is that some radical elements within the Muslim Brotherhood are looking for another Islamist state in Egypt. What would it take for some people to understand that Religion and Government does not work!.
Let us go a little deeper into History and learn that governments based on religious doctrines have not worked in cases where it has been tried. In England many centuries ago this idea was tried, and it led to anarchy some of their rulers were assassinated and there were endless fighting between Catholics and Protestants. England learned a huge lesson that religion and state do not mix. They enshrined the concept of "Separation of Church and State" into their Constitution and England has known peace since then, still some Africans make no connections.
Then a proxy battle between waring religious groups involving Catholics, Protestants and the British Government ensued in Northern Island which devastated the economy of the region. Belfast experienced endless IRA bomb attacks until suddenly some Europeans made some connections leading to a resolution of the IRA debacle. The Irish economy then took off big time and still some Africans made no connections.
Some of the early immigrants who emigrated to America vowed never to allow their experiences in England in new American territories. Even before their ships made it to America, they the early immigrants on The Mayflower ship agreed in principle what form of government they would set up once they arrived at the shores of America. Such issues as Magna Carta became important to them and efforts were made not to duplicate the religious persecution going on in England once they reached America. Eventually early Americans also enshrined the doctrine of "Separation of Church and State" into their Constitution. America has known peace on that front, still some Africans make no connections.
Then state religion was tried in places like Saudi Arabia, it is still surviving there because of people's allegiance to the Saudi Monarchy controlling the bulk of the oil revenues, amidst serious human rights abuses of Muslims and people of other faiths. Then the Saudi experiment produced Osama Bin Laden and religious extremism, was exported into Afghanistan championed by the Taliban. Afghanistan became a failed state and anarchy was the order of the day, still some Africans make no connections.
Then some radicals in Yemen introduced extremism into that neck of the woods which devastated the region and eventually spilled over to Somalia, needless to say that Somalia is a failed stated with different warlords and AK-47 became the weapon of choice for criminal armed gangs. When there was nothing else of economic significance left in Somalia, these gangs turned to the high seas to highjack vessels for ransom, still some Africans make no connections.
Closer to home in Sudan, the Khartoum based government introduced its own version of state government based on religious principles, and the menace of Janjaweed militia became a tool of suppression of Southern Sudanese people and then the Global community stepped in and the birth of a new nation (Southern Sudan) became the only option and Sudan was divided into two countries, and still some Africans make no connections.
Meanwhile Nigerian states in the Northern half of the country is experimenting with their own version of governance based on religious principles. Nearly 20,000 Nigerians have died in endless sectarian riots all over Northern Nigeria plus some killed in the South for reprisal attacks. Then the whole experiment gave birth to a new organization Boko Haram which continues to kill and maim innocent Nigerians in the name of religion. Still Africans are unable to make connections, and now Muslim Brotherhood emerged in Egypt, their agenda is largely unknown, but we know the group also have religious extremists among them and the future of Egypt is in limbo, and potentially the Talibanization of Egypt may have started, and still some Africans make no connections.
Be it known though that among the progressive countries of the developing world are Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, India, Ghana and others. These countries do not have government based on religious principles, could this be the reason for some of their progress, and still some Africans make no connections!!
Those are my views, yours always welcome
While the re-election chances for President Barack Obama is not a slam dunk as yet, the chances and outlook for the re-election of the President continues to improve by the day, thanks to the recent gains and improving US Economy. Most presidential election analysts agree that the only strong issue for Republicans to challenge President Obama in the upcoming November election is the issue of the economy. While problems remain with respect to the U.S economic recovery, many indicators show that the US economy is improving, a review of key economic indicators would help to highlight the point made here.
Nonfarm Labor Productivity has increased to an annual rate of 0.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to a growth of 0.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010. According to the February 17, 2012 data released by the Labor Bureau, there is an increase in Consumer Price Index for January 2012, on a seasonally adjusted basis the index rose to 0.2 percent versus 0.1 percent recorded in Dec, 2011.
On the situation of employment, Nonfarm Payroll Employment increased by 243,000 in January 2012, and Unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Data for Producer Price Index released on February 16, 2012, also showed that the Producer Price Index for finished products, increased by 0.1 percent in January compared to a decline of 0.1 percent for December 2011.
Durable goods orders for February 2012 advanced as well as the Consumer Sentiments. Although Housing Stock still remains high, there are modest increases in Housing prizes. Meanwhile interest rates remains at its low rate of 0.25% according to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee, both units make decisions on the U.S interest rate Benchmark. From these data it is obvious that the U.S. economy is on the rebound, and may improve a lot more in time for the U.S. Presidential election in November. Below is the historical U.S Interest rate Chart courtesy of the U.S.Federal Reserve
Meanwhile Romney the likely Republican nominee is still having problems demonstrating his electability in November. He managed to defeat Rick Santorum in key states of Michigan and Ohio, but failed to deliver a knockout punch to his opponents Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in Tuesdays Super Tuesday primaries across the country. Romney is having problems convincing Conservatives and Tea Party elements of the Republican Party as well as religious conservatives. His failure to win decisively in Michigan where he was born and his father was a popular Governor of the state, also demonstrates fundamental problems in Romney’s appeal. Michigan voters are unhappy with Romney’s position against the Obama auto bailout plan. Romney however achieved major victories in Massachusetts his home state, Virginia, Arizona and others. Currently he has won about 14 states, but is having difficulties winning in the South where Gingrich and Santorum continue to pull their weight. Romney has won about half of the 1144 delegates needed for nomination at the Republican Convention in Tampa Florida later this summer.
Although Romney won Arizona, he may not take all the delegates from the state, other republican candidates could challenge the Arizona winner-takes-all procedure for awarding electoral candidates since the election occurred before April 1st, a violation of Republican Party rules.
Part of the lackluster performance of Romney in Michigan is tied to his position against the Obama bail-out-policy for the US Auto industry, a factor which has revitalized the US Auto industry and helped the economies of states such as Michigan with significant auto-manufacturing infrastructure. The U.S auto manufacturers have added over 200,000 new jobs since their recovery, a factor which bodes well for President Obama. The democratic president would have to win states such as Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin for a victory in the fall election. These states have significant manufacturing companies and large scale Union presence. Recall that Wisconsin is one of the states with anti-Union stance, and there is an ongoing petition to recall Governor Scott Walker by Wisconsin citizens.
President Obama has done very well in foreign policy arena, he wrapped up the Republican initiated Iraqi war and has withdrawn US troops from Iraq, and a timetable for withdrawal has been set for Afghanistan. President Obama scored a major victory with the elimination of Osama Bin Laden and other key Al-Qaida leaders the only prominent Al-Qaida leader still standing tall is the second in command, the Egyptian born Ayman Al Ziwahiri. The president deserves credit for supporting pro-democracy movements in the Middle Eastern Arab-Spring uprising which eliminated dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Efforts of the United Nations to assist Syrian freedom movement have been hampered by Russia and China.
Meanwhile the Republican presidential candidates, Romney, Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are drawn out in a long primary campaign, which has financial consequences on the nominees fall election war chest. The candidates continue to provide President Obama’s re-election campaign with more ammunition to go against the Republican nominee in the fall. If things continue to advance on the current trajectory, one can reasonably conclude that the chance for re-election of President Obama has drastically improved.