I’m with my sister Beth at her friend Stephanie’s home in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. I lived in Fort Thomas from 7th grade through the time I was in the Peace Corps. Stephanie just served us a delightful dinner.
There’s a hummingbird on the bird feeder outside her window. I watched it hovering for several seconds before landing. No bright colors, but still lovely to see – so tiny and precise!
Tomorrow I’ll speak to all the 8th graders at Aiken New Tech High School in Cincinnati. Their teachers said they are most interested in the effects of war on my life, as they’ve been learning about the chaos in Syria and the refugees.
Tuesday night is the presentation at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, northern Kentucky. I’m looking forward to seeing some long-time friends!
Challenges for NNPC?
The Financial Times had an article about Nigeria’s intention to renegotiate production sharing agreements with oil companies. The new head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr Kachikwu announced they would be “reviewing all its contracts with oil companies and would be aiming to boost revenues for the government in light of the oil price crash.”
The author of the article spoke with experts in the field on the question of renegotiating at this time of low prices. The Nigerians might be tempted to try too much pressure and find themselves losing out.
Alexandra Gillies, director of governance programmes at the Natural Resource Governance Institute in New York, said, “a bigger problem than the NNPC’s contracts with oil majors was the way the notoriously opaque institution was run — another problem Mr Buhari has said will be addressed under the leadership of the man he has appointed, previously an executive at Exxon.”
She says NNPC’s “own performance and governance problems are surely a bigger drain on public revenues than the current PSC terms.”
President Buhari, Kachikwu, and the NNPC management have a big challenge on their hands with the low price and the required changes.
Buhari and Boko Haram
President Buhari and President Hollande
Buhari was in Paris on Tuesday meeting with President Hollande. He asked the French president for assistance with Boko Haram. He also said, according to Punch Newspaper, that he is open to negotiations with the insurgents.
But he said caution was important. “According to him, government has to first establish genuine members of the sect so that it will not make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons.”
The Nigerian online media BellaNaija shared the photo of the two leaders with its own article about their meeting.
Fight Over a Burial
Nnamdi Azikiwe was a leader of the independence movement for his beloved Nigeria. I remember learning about his contributions to the country during Peace Corps training in Los Angeles in 1962. At that time he was the President of Nigeria.
I just refreshed my memory by reading his bio on Britannica online.
He came to the United States at the age of 21. He received, “bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and a second master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.”
He went to Ghana from the U.S. and later returned to Nigeria to found the newspaper West African Pilot. He was a major political leader and a critical player in the negotiations leading to the 1960 independence. He continued in political life for many years. He died in 1996.
His oldest son died recently. There was major controversy over his funeral. Apparently he was friends with Buhari who had said he would attend the funeral. But some family members and some Igbo leaders did not want him there.
They seemed to think that allowing Buhari to attend the burial may bring favor to Buhari from Igbos, and thus lessen their own political clout, or at least that’s how I see it.
The powerful umuada – the senior women of the family – were part of the controversy. They are the traditional defenders of tradition. They said they would not, “attend any quick burial that is not properly planned and executed with the participation of the federal government.” I was surprised that they wanted the government involved – I don’t kow how that jibes with tradition!
But I just found that the burial did take place this past Saturday despite the opposition. An update in the Daily Independent headed ‘Low- key Burial of September 13 said: “Neither the Federal Government nor prominent Onitsha indigenes attended the burial yesterday of late Owelle of Onitsha, Chief Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe, the first son of the first president of Nigeria, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.”
I could find nothing in that article that said whether the umuada participated.
But I know how powerful they can be. They forced my mother-in-law to shave her head to follow tradition after the death of her husband, my father-in-law, in 1979. I recounted the story in my memoir.
Escape From Boko Haram
“In northern Nigeria, a fearless American educator has created a refuge for young women desperate to evade the terrorist group.”
I hope you will read at least part. You will be glad!Three of the fifteen escaped Chibok girls have been integrated into a special American University of Nigeria program. They pose with their tutor-matron next to the library. (Benedicte Kurzen / Noor) By Joshua Hammer; Photographs by Benedicte Kurzen.