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LADI KWALI (1925 -1984): THE WOMAN ON THE NIGERIA TWENTY NAIRA NOTE

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She was born in the village of kwali, Gwari region of Northern Nigeria, where pottery was a common occupation among women.

She was so skilled that her work became known in Europe, Britain and America.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, her work was displayed in London at the Berkeley Galleries.

She became Nigeria’s best – known Potter, was awarded a decorate and was made MBE in 1963 despite not having a formal education.

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COPYRIGHTS: DR. ANIOKE ADDRESSES WIPO AFRICAN GROUP IN GENEVA, CANVASSES FAIR DEALS FOR WRITERS, PUBLISHERS

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Experts and stakeholders in the Copyright matters and intellectual property are meeting at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.

Uchenna Cyril Anioke , PhD, President, Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), is a distinguished participant where he presented the position of Nigerian Publishers Association on issues of exceptions and limitations to WIPO African Group.

His paper titled “The State of the Publishing Industry in Nigeria: Challenges and the Need for Stronger Enforcement” had the following outline: Introduction and overview of Publishing in Nigeria; problems facing the publishing Industry in Nigeria; challenges of piracy and the need for stronger enforcement; importance of educational publishing sector and he finally proffered ways to strengthen the business environment for African Publishers.

Dr Anioke took active part in the discussions on Enabling Text and Data Mining Research Through Copyright Reform; The impact of Covid – 19 Pandemic on the Copyright Ecosystem .

Anioke opined that Copyright Act should benefit authors and publishers who are ultimate originators and producers of creative and intellectual works by ensuring that fair use or fair deal translates to fair returns for authors and publishers for their efforts. All said, a labourer deserves his wages, Dr Anioke concluded.

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REBEL WITH A CAUSE

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A review of Frederick Forsyth’s EMEKA, an authorised biography of Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

By Emmanuel Obe

It was in 1984 that I read Frederick Forsyth’s Emeka, the authorised biography of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the feared but respected leader of the secessionist Republic of Biafra.

Ojukwu had returned to Nigeria roughly two years earlier to a tumultuous welcome by Nigerians across political and regional divides after the government of Shehu Shagari granted him amnesty. The reasons for the popularity of Ojukwu are diverse. Many respected him for his wartime erudition, others for his elite education, yet others for standing up to oppression and yet many others for his fearsome looks embedded in his thick untamed facial hair. The rebel tag and his radicalism endeared him more to the younger generation.

I had read Forsyth’s account of the Nigerian civil war in 1983 captured in ‘The making of an African legend: the Biafra Story.’ Forsyth was a war journalist who fell in love with Ojukwu during the war and became his intimate friend. The Biafra story was the first book I read about the civil war and it painted a salutary picture of Ojukwu and the Biafra effort during the war. Needless to say that if I had an awful impression of Ojukwu, the impression became awesome. I loved Ojukwu to the hilt.

The military government of Muhammadu Buhari that came on December 31st, 1983 had imprisoned Ojukwu alongside many other politicians in 1984 but that did not diminish Ojukwu’s popularity, even while in prison.

When news came that Forsyth was out with a paperback authorised biography of Ojukwu, I made it a point of duty to read and own it. The opportunity came when I travelled from Port Harcourt to Ogbor Hill, Aba to check my university matriculation result. On my way back, I saw a street trader hawking the book and I picked it up ‘sharp sharp’ with N2.

I voraciously consumed it as I journeyed back home and didn’t put it down even as I got home.

Emeka was the story of a rebel with a cause, a war general and a philosopher king. It covered Ojukwu’s growing up days in Nigeria, his education in England, his return to Nigeria and the beginning of his rebellion against his father, in the army and then against his country. It also captured his 12-year stint in exile in Ivory Coast.

I had read the biography of Martin Luther, the reformist who split the Catholic Church a few months before I read Emeka and both of them instigated the rebel in me. Martin Luther had rebelled against his parents that wanted him to study law. He instead went for priesthood. As it turned out, Luther led a revolution against the most powerful institution in the world, and succeeded.

I got reinforcement in the story of Ojukwu after reading Emeka. Ojukwu’s father, reputed to be the richest Nigerian of his time wanted him to study law. But Ojukwu rebuffed him and read history at Oxford.

On his return home, his father wanted him to work for his thriving company and earn good money. Ojukwu shunned the opportunity and opted to work in the civil service. When he got a transfer to Calabar, his father felt he had had enough. He objected to his son going to Calabar for the reason that he would be bewitched by Calabar women. In anger, Ojukwu resigned from the civil service.

His next mission was to join the army. His father could not believe it for it was said that it was the never-do-well that joined the army in those days. The senior Ojukwu pulled the strings and told the army authorities that if his son must join the army, he would be admitted as a private, where he would ‘see pepper’ and run. Ojukwu accepted and joined as a private. His father disowned him afterwards.

It wasn’t long before the army commanders saw the futility in keeping a master’s degree holder as a private. They soon lifted him to a cadet officer. Then the time for the reconciliation with his father came when he was promoted major.

His father bought a bottle of hot drink, called a few friends and went to reconcile with his son. The senior Ojukwu recalled when his own father, a warrant chief was himiliated at the market square by a British colonial major who as of then was the highest military rank that anyone could attain. Today, his own son is a major in the army. Praise the Lord.

Then the military intervention in Nigerian politics came. Ojukwu stood firm against the first coup until it failed. On becoming military governor of the Eastern Region, he bore the burden of managing the crisis of easterners escaping home from the north during the pogrom. The war eventually came. Forsyth records that Ojukwu even deployed his father’s resources in prosecuting the war. And there was no record of him misappropriating public funds in spite of the emergency situation.

Emeka was published as a paperback, with a picture of Ojukwu smoking a cigarette on the cover, which evoked an image of arrogance and radicalism. In later years when I met Ojukwu he had become subdued, less radical and more pacific. Even his fearsome beard had been trimmed and the dye could not completely hide the grey.

So far Emeka remains the main biography of Ojukwu authorised by himself. He promised to write ‘the book’ when he published Because I am Involved. He never did.

Forsyth did a marvelous job, writing with a journalistic flair, he keeps the reader asking for more till the end. As a journalist myself, I am inspired by Forsyth, who became a bestselling author drawing inspiration from his field experiences.

First published in Escape the Matrix, an online platform for literary presentations

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CHIDIOGO AKUNYILI- PARR HONOURS LATE MOTHER DORA AKUNYILI IN NEW BOOK

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Chidiogo, daughter of late NAFDAC DG Dora Akunyili has honoured her mother’s memory in her new book.

The book titled I Am Because We Are: An African Mother’s Fight for the Soul of a Nation is in memory of her mother’s legacy that encouraged millions of people even when faced with corruption and misogyny.

Released in January 2022, the book was made available in Nigerian book stores on the 4th of February.

The book tells the story of Dora Akunyili’s life from her daughter’s perspective, narrating how her mother’s story moulded her into the type of woman she is.

Stirred by the African beliefs of Ubuntu – the significance of community over one person the book gives in detail Dora Akunyili’s war against deceitful drug manufacturers whose products endangered the lives of many Nigerians.

It revisits how Dora, a woman in a male dominate sphere rose to become a cabinet minister and was faced with death threats, political plotting, and an assassination attempt for defending the voiceless.

I Am Because We Are: An African Mother’s Fight for the Soul of a Nation explores the completeness behind a woman now regarded as the Amazon.

Recounting the book, the author said: “While the world saw Dora Akunyili at the peak of her strength a warrior with a gap-toothed smile whose light-skinned oval face was crowned with a colourful head-tie that doubled as armour against incessant attacks against her values and also her life – I saw the complexity that was hidden from sight. This is the story of her multiplicity: the story of my mother.

“I have spent much of the last four years dedicated to bringing her story to life in this memoir – each step in researching and writing her story has allowed an unwrapping of her – the girl, the daughter, the dreamer, the wife, mother, warrior – her motivations, her struggles and celebrations. The result is this book I have spent much of the

last four years dedicated to bringing her story to life in this memoir. This is the coming together of her parts. I am happy to share this story that it might inspire the whole. I believe stories matter, our stories matter, and this is one of such stories.’’

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