Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Progress in Nigeria; In U.S. Ongoing White Privilege


I posted news of President Obama’s Africa Summit recently.


Maryam in photo courtesy U.S. Embassy Lagos, from Zainab’s blog

Here is related news that I found on Zainab Usman’s blog. Preceding the Africa Summit, the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI, hosted 500 young leaders from Africa “to hone their leadership skills in their capacities either in Public Management, Civic Leadership or as Entrepreneurs.” Forty three Nigerians participated.

Maryam Shehu Mohammed was one.

Zainab posted the esssay Maryam wrote after she returned home to Nigeria.

Maryam said her first two weeks at Morgan State University in Baltimore, the host for twenty-five of the young leaders, were difficult. But with input from the participants, the university got its act together and she praised their final efforts. She especially liked the writing sessions.

She said the two weeks when they were treated as guests of POTUS were the best. And she is proud of her certificate signed by Barack Obama. You can watch the video where several participants reflect on themselves and their experience.

The conclusion of her essay is powerful and straightforward. I wish her well.

As Zainab Usman, who posted the essay, which first appeared in a Facebook group Synopsis, said, it’s a long read, but well worth the time. If you read it, and I hope you do, please tell me if you agree

The Oil Industry in Nigeria

The Financial Times has an excellent article on the Nigerian oil industry. The international oil companies are selling assets and local companies are buying. This is a good thing.

But even the local owners face hurdles. As the FT says, “Mismanagement at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation remains a big issue: NNPC has proven consistently unable to fund its share of the costs of joint ventures. Bureaucracy is also a problem: government consent is required for many big oil and gas deals, a condition that can lead to huge delays. And the issue of oil theft remains a huge headache.”

To my surprise, even the FT can have errors. The authors said Onitsha was in the Niger Delta. It’s not, though it is on the Niger River.  I nearly wrote a letter to the editor to say this, but found that someone had already commented with that information. So I just clicked to show I supported the comment.

Why does it give me such a good feeling to be an insider, in the know?

Chuck Larson

Prof. Charles R. Larson

Inequality in America – Message to Conservatives

Professor Charles Larson was my Peace Corps colleague in Nigeria. I’ve mentioned him here before.

His recent piece in Counterpunch is excellent. He nails conservatives for their misunderstanding of the inequality we experience in the U.S. today and its impact on the poor and middle class.

He says, “Do you even understand the legacy of slavery in America? . . .  A hundred and fifty years of inferior education for black people (and other minorities) in the United States is bound to have its consequences. He ends with “Try to understand why the United States is not the country you have always believed it has been. Why capitalism has failed so many people. Why white privilege has made you unable to see reality.” Let me know what you think.

Mike Brown

Michael Brown

Nicholas Kristof has also written an excellent piece on white privilege.

So has Charles Blow. Both were in the August 27 NYTimes.

Both follow the horrific death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

How many more young black men will have to die at the hands of police, who are supposed to protect us all?


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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