The Nigerian Civil War: Picture of Starving Biafran Children

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     I love history, that’s why I decided to post this photo.
This picture tells a lot of stories.
It shows a White Aid worker feeding starving and severely malnourished Biafra (Igbo) children during the horrific Nigerian Civil war that lasted from 1967-1970.
     Photo Credit: Linda Ikeji Blog.

Now that Buhari is going to be President

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Buhari, a former General defeated the incumbent President Jonathan in the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections

      
The hot topic in town, what everyone is talking about, both locally and internationally- the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections and the unprecedented fact that an incumbent President was defeated by a candidate from a party that is just 2 years old. General Mohammad Buhari, commonly referred to as GMB defeated Sitting President Goodluck Jonathan by about 2.9 million votes in what was a tight race to the Aso Rock.
The elections were given a huge pass mark by Local and international observers, even the American President expressed his delight about the conduct of the elections. The Electoral Commission Chairman, Attahiru Jega has been widely applauded for putting up such a good outing with even the American Ambassador to Nigeria commending his decision to use the high tech Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) to reduce election malpractices which has perennially plagued Nigerian electoral system.
     Anyway, away from the electoral process. This is the fourth consecutive time that Buhari would be contesting the Presidential elections, his first time being in 2003. He was defeated by the incumbent President, Good luck Jonathan in 2011 by more than 12 million votes. Fast foward to 2015 and the same Buhari beat him by a little less than 3 million votes. What many people want to know is ‘What Changed’?

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     Buhari contested on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011; a new party then that quickly gained support from the Muslim North because of Buhari. However, Buhari was unable to defeat Jonathan was then perceived to be the saviour of Nigeria. Jonathan then had just completed the term of his former boss, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in office. He was seen as a cool and honest man who could lead Nigerian to its promise land and his ‘Transformation Agenda’ campaign was widely supported by the entire Christian South and parts of the Middle Belt.
President Jonathan’s Government however didn’t deliver on its promises to Nigerians. It was plagued with corruption allegations, economic crises including the controversial oil subsidy, security issues and the Boko Haram threat including the very poor way the Government handled the Chibok Girls’ case. All these cumulated to Jonathan being labeled ‘a failed President’.
So, Nigerians wanted change and change was viewed by some as the All Progressived Congress (APC) which is a new party formed by a coalition of the three major opposition parties in Nigeria. Buhari’s Party is the APC.
Many others neither saw Buhari nor APC as the change or alternative Nigeria needed.
Just as I said before the elections, it was going to be a case of choosing between two evils, the lesser evil. The ECONOMIST and NEW YORK TIMES also said the same thing. Two evils: ‘A failed President’ and ‘Former Dictator’.
Well, Nigerians have spoken. They decided that they have no faith in their failed President and they would rather go with a former dictator.
Although there were other factors that led to Buhari emerging as the President-Elect. The APC coalition earned Buhari the votes of the South West and combined with the North, he was nearly unstoppable. Buhari won five of the six South West states. Also, the Nigerian population votes along Ethnic and Religious lines and so the more populous votes of the Muslim North favoured Buhari.

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Aisha Buhari, The Next Nigerian Fisrt Lady

     All that being said, NOW THAT BUHARI WILL BE PRESIDENT, I’m so glad because I was one of the Nigerians who was so tired of the Jonathan led Government.  However, Buhari has a herculean task in front of him. He is inheriting a failing country plagued by Security and Economic issues, not to talk of the horrible corruption situation. He was voted by many Nigerians on the basis that he’ll be tough on corruption and he has to deliver. He can’t afford to fail.
Congratulations, Buhari!!! Its time to move Nigeria in the right direction.

What’s left of Syria?

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           I’ve been following the Syrian crises since its onset, since the protests turned into a crackdown and then subsequently a full blown civil war and even up until Islamic extremists  hijacked the fight against the Government and now that the Islamic State is relentlessly pushing for territorial gains in the country. All these have happened in the space of over  three years.
     Now, the world seems to be forgetting about the Syrian Crises and moving on to other seemingly ‘more pressing issues’ amongst which is the threat of the Islamic State. Russia and the U.S now fear that the Islamic State is gaining ground in Afghanistan.
But, that’s not the aim of this post. Call it a preamble if you wish.
I want to use this post to highlight the impact of the Syrian War on the country. I don’t want to say much. This picture says so much already.

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Talk about the impact on Infrastructure, Housing, Health, Education; and most importantly, the people.
I just sit down and imagine how many billions of dollars, how many years and what it will take to get Syria back to its glorious self, that’s if it is ever going to he possible. What about the children? So young, forced to live as refugees, deprived of the joy of growing up and being proud of their homeland. How can they even be patriotic? 
Its hard to swallow that  36% of hospitals have been destroyed! I don’t even want to start giving the depressing figures of the casualties.
And yet, the war is not over and we can’t even see the end in sight.
What’s left of Syria now and what will be left of it when the war is over?

Written by Olisa Lotenna

Why UNSC member states need to give up their Veto Powers.

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  In this post, I would like to talk about how the United Nations has failed severally and repeatedly to stop different conflicts around the world and how the Veto power of some Member States is killing the organization’s productivity.

I started blogging actively in Dec 2013 and I did so throughout 2014. I’ve been blogging about Human Rights, Humanitarian issues around the world, social injustice and the influence of politics on the kind of life people have around the world. For the time I’ve been blogging, due to my undying will to find out what’s really happening and get the accurate facts, I have keenly followed so many human rights stories and humanitarian situations around the world; Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Cambodia, Mali…just name the country and you’ll most likely find that I’ve written something about the situation in it.
Trust me, I’ve been constantly overwhelmed by the amount of evil a and injustice I have seen around the world, most recently the ISLAMIC STATE medieval style executions, kidnappings and brutal rape. A story currently making headlines is how the group kidnapped about 90 Christians in Iraq, shortly after beheading several others in Lybia.
2014 was indeed a catastrophic year for human rights and world peace and we are experiencing a spill over into 2015.
As said by Amnesty International, 2014 was characterized by:
• World leaders failing to protect civilians from groups like ISIL.
• Arms trade approaching $100bn annually
• Number of displaced globally highest since WWII (50million)
         How does the United Nations come in?
       The fundamental aim for the establishment of the UN is to ensure world peace and foster unity and cooperation amongst world nations.
However, with the way the world is presently boiling over with multiple crises to which the UN either says it is overwhelmed by or lacks the capacity to deal with, it won’t be wrong to conclude that the UN is failing in its primary assignment.
The UN could have stopped many of these present conflict from reaching catastrophic levels but it was either to slow to react or initially underestimated or overlooked the conflict in favour of supposed ‘more pressing ones’ or approached the conflict initially with a faulty strategy.
Another important factor that is killing the efficiency of the United Nations is the Veto Power which 5 member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) enjoy. The five permanent UNSC members- Britain, China,
France, Russia and the US – have consistently abused their veto right to promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians and humanity.
An example is seen in China’s continued blockage of sanctions against North Korea whose citizens are suffering under extreme repression and autocratic rule and where the human rights situation is highly despicable.
I can go on citing examples of how these ‘untouchable’ super powers on the Security Council keep manipulating decisions to suit them in cases where they are involved, and the result?
Injustice prevails, the so-called big countries even bully smaller ones, the countries with the Veto Powers or other big spending countries direct attention and resources to where they want and not necessarily where they are actually needed, the big countries support their allies even if they are guilty of human rights abuse, repression and even genocide. This is gradually killing humanity, and all these just to serve a country’s self interest? This is highly despicable.
    The Veto-powers should be largely  dropped in order to allow effective and non biased actions and decisions at the UN, especially in cases involving human rights abuses, repression and genocide. No country, no matter how big should have the power to obstruct justice!!!

Written by Olisa Lotenna

Europe should open its arms to Syrian Refugees

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   What happens when the media gets tired of a story and the world attention shifts to seemingly ‘more important issues’?
   Forgotten!
It is so sad but it seems like this is the fate of the about 3.7 millions Syrian Refugees. I’ve written severely about the agony the Syrian refugees are passing through and I won’t get tired of highlighting their plight. Imagine the rude shock of being torn apart from your home, country and even from some loved ones and forced to flee to somewhere unknown, totally depending on charity for survival. Having to deal with shortages of food, extreme weather conditions, unsanitary or inappropriate shelter and inadequate eduction for your children. How pathetic!

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Its been more that three years and the Syrian war keeps generating thousands of refugees and millions of internally displaced persons.
The UN has made it  clear severally that it can not cope with the  Syrian refugee disaster and aid agencies are struggling against all odds to fill the wide gap left but unfortunately, they too are largely overwhelmed. 

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       Only a few countries have continued to bear the huge load of caring for the growing number of Syrian refugees – Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey, most of which are even suffering from one type of internal conflict or the other.
       I join Amnesty Intentional in their  campaign #OpenToSyria to call on wealthy nations to open their arms and eyes and in fact everything to the plight of the Syrian Refugees. It should be seen as a responsibility to not only provide financial aid but help in the resettlement and rehabilitation of these extremely Vulnerable people in their respective countries. Let them consider it as a just service to humanity. The international community, wealthy countries in Europe especially, should do more for the Syrian Refugees. Irrespective of differences, we are all one, united by humanity!

Written by Olisa Lotenna