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HUMPHREY NWOSU: UNSUNG HERO, DIFFICULT TO IGNORE

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HUMPHREY Nwosu, a professor of Political Science, is certainly a permanent fixture in the history of Nigeria’s democratic evolution.

Ignoring his name in the nation’s narrative is as good as omitting French Theologian, John Calvin, from conversations around modern democracy.

At any point, whether in this generation or next, he would rank among those who defined 20th century Nigeria.

At the University of Nigeria, UNN, Nsukka, where he had contemporaries like Prof. Eme Awa, Dr. Ray Ofoegbu, Dr Cletus Emezi, and others, his seminal works were of note.

This may have accounted for a career progression that saw him becoming a full professor at 38. At the time, then Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda (retd), appointed him as Chairman of the defunct National Electoral Commission, NEC, in 1989, Nwosu, who graduated with First Class in Political Science in 1966, was the Head of Department of Political Science at UNN. He was in that position for six years.

His appointment to such a sensitive position was without consultation by the military government. “There was no consultation whatsoever with me before the appointment was announced through the media.

I had no opportunity to consider whether to accept or reject the offer,” he recalled in his book: Laying the Foundation for Nigeria’s Democracy: My Account of June 12 Presidential Election and its Annulment. Conversely, this is in sharp contrast with today’s practices where lobbying and clannish permutations precede political appointments. What that meant was that his intellect and experiences in academia grabbed the attention of military authorities.

However, that wasn’t Nwosu’s first political appointment as he had served in the 21-man Dasuki Committee on Local Government in 1984. In February 1986, the late Military Administrator of old Anambra State, Air Commodore Emeka Omerua (retd), appointed him as the Commissioner for Local Government, Rural Development and Chieftaincy Matters as well as Commissioner for Agriculture.

Notwithstanding, becoming Nigeria’s electoral umpire in a government that paraded fellow intellectuals like Prof. Julius Oyevbaire, Dr. Chu Okongwu, Prof. Omo Omoruyi, Prof. Jerry Gana, and Prof. Ibrahim Gambari among others, was more or less a high point in the life of the Ajali-born scholar.

The political context of that period made him not only a fitting choice but also a competent replacement for Prof. Awa, the erudite scholar he succeeded.

Humphrey Nwosu emerged on the scene when the Babangida transition programme, a product of the recommendations of the Political Bureau (a body established by Babangida to chart out a new political model) was evolving and seeking innovations. Thankfully, his intellect served as a catalyst to push forth the modified electoral process and environment the Babangida administration sought.

Humphrey Nwosu had taken over a commission that was still being nurtured by Awa at a time Nigerians were hopeful of a conclusive transition to civil rule. In 1987, his predecessor had assumed the leadership of an electoral body without any database and professional personnel on electoral issues.

He was removed barely two years after, leaving his successor with the task of further setting up a commission with the proper organisational framework. This task was emphasised during Humphrey Nwosu’s inauguration by then Vice President, the late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (retd), while stating reasons for reconstituting NEC.

He said the reconstitution was based on the urgent need for better organisational structure, firm grip of responsibility and sensitivity to the essence and objectives of the transition programme.

Did Nwosu deliver on these? In the four years he spent at NEC, the 80-year-old was reputed to have transformed it into a more functional body with basic infrastructure, logistics and a permanent organisational framework for the conduct of elections. To this credit, permanency was secured for NEC staff as the organisation went beyond just being an ad-hoc body to a formidable national institution. (Before him, previous commissions were either dissolved or sacked).

Besides, he was noted to have introduced far-reaching electoral reforms that are still celebrated to date. They include the Open Ballot System, Modified Open Ballot System and Option A4 among others. These innovations ensured the seamless conduct of elections in that era starting from the local government poll of December 1990 to the June 12 Presidential Election of 1993.

These were to the acknowledgement of many Nigerians. But for the annulment of the June 12 poll adjudged as the most credible in the nation’s history, Nwosu could have broken the jinx surrounding his seat. At the time, no one had left the office without being somewhat smeared by the myth around the office. Name them: Esau, Chief Michael Ani, Justice Ovie Whiskey and Prof. Eme Awa.

Irrespective of the annulment of the exercise by the military, his management of that election circle remains a watershed. That the event itself has been immortalised with the presumed winner, Chief MKO Abiola, bagging Nigeria’s highest national honour, GCFR, speaks to Nwosu’s immense contributions to the nation.

After his sojourn at NEC, Nwosu returned to his first love, lecturing, at the Department of Political Science, UNN. In 1999, he formally retired from public service and subsequently devoted the next six years to community service.

The Anambra State-born statesman has published several articles in international journals. He is the author of several books including Political Authority and Nigerian Civil Service, Problems of Nigerian Administration: A Book of Reading; Introduction to Politics; Moral Education in Nigeria; How to Conduct Free and Fair Election; and the latest, Laying the Foundation for Nigeria’s Democracy: My Account of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and its Annulment.

The recent book is a compelling insider account of the annulment of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s most credible election.

Humphrey Nwosu particularly documented the centrifugal and centripetal forces that shaped the exercise.

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History

IGBO’S INDEPENDENCE: THE FIRST MAN TO PROPOSE A MODERN INDEPENDENT NATION OF IGBOS IN 1865

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Do you know that an Igbo man planned and proposed a modernised self-governed Nation/Empire/Republic of Igbos 39 years before the birth of Nigeria as a country? His name is JAMES AFRICANUS BEALE HORTON (1835–1883).

He published and sent the British government his proposal titled, “The EMPIRE OF THE EBOES/HACKBOUS/HEEBOS/IBOES/IGBOES/EGBOES, with the Requirements Necessary for Establishing that Self Government Recommended by the Committee of the House of Commons, 1865: and a Vindication of the African Race.”

This proposal included a plan for

· A Self-governed independent nation

· an army,

· currency

· Support for modern civilisation and economic empowerment.

His proposal was hinged on his research showing that the Igbo race was the most emulative, intelligent and adaptive “race” in West Africa, and with modern support, they will vindicate the black race.

He also supported the hypothetical but controversial Jewish migration origin of the Igbos at that time.

Horton was born in the then British colonial Sierra Leone, near Freetown.

His parents were former recaptive Igbo slaves. Horton lived in Gloucester until 1847 when he moved to Freetown to attend the local Church Missionary Society School (CMS).

In 1853 he was moved to Freetown’s Fourah Bay Institution to train for a ministry in the Church of England.

His seminary studies ended two years later when the CMS selected him to study medicine in preparation for a medical career in the British army. Horton attended Kings College in London for three years and then Edinburgh University for a fourth year to earn an MD.

In 1859 Horton was commissioned back to West Africa as a staff-assistant surgeon in the British army. His works led him to correlate topography and human health, developing theories that eventually would earn him a reputation in the medical world and a promotion to the army rank of surgeon-major.

Horton became more concerned with politics during his military service in West Africa. Horton refutes the derogatory racial theories about Africans rife in Victorian Britain and its empire.

However, Horton also consider himself, a loyal subject of the British establishment and envisioned that Britain should have a strong cultural and technological influence in the development of Africa.

Thus his philosophies, radical when colonial powers were dominant, have acted as a basis for the future advancement of African independence and nationalist ideologies.

At 45, Horton retired and returned to Freetown, where he continued to promote African education as the key to self-governance, and he further provided scholarships to hopeful young Africans.

He also took a keen interest in Africa’s technical and economic development and Opened a bank called the Commercial Bank of West Africa.

His business and gold mining exploits made him one of the richest men in Africa by 1880.

Although his dream of an independent Self-governed Igbo nation was not realised in his lifetime, his political thoughts birthed the African political thoughts during the colonisation of Africa after his death.

James Africanus Beale Horton died in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in 1883.

Sources.

Beverton, A. (2021). James Africanus Beale Horton (1835-1883) •. Retrieved 12 September 2021, from https://www.blackpast.org/global-african-history/horton-james-africanus-beale-1835-1883/

Horton, J. (1868).

West African countries and peoples, British and native: With the requirements necessary for establishing that self-government recommended by the committee of the House of Commons, 1865; and a vindication of the African race. London: W. J. Johnson.

From: Chidi Cali’s Facebook page

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HOW PEPSI BECAME COCA-COLA’S RIVAL

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Pepsi-cola

Enjoyed by Americans since 1898, Pepsi, it turns out, is a favorite among the Russians as well. Find out just how badly Khrushchev wanted a sip in this

How Did a Soft Drinks Brand End Up Being Associated with the Military?

We all know that feeling of anticipation as we reach for a cool, blue can. As our fingers press down and the aluminum gives way to a frothy explosion on a liquid amber surface. Then pure satisfaction as the cold, sweet beverage slides across our tongue and down our throat, leaving the tingling bite of carbonation in its wake. Delicious. Refreshing. Power. Enjoyed by Americans since 1898, Pepsi, it turns out, is a favorite among the Russians as well. Find out just how badly Khrushchev wanted a sip in this article of The Infographics Show. How Pepsi Became the 6th largest Military in the World.

How Pepsi Became Coca-Cola’s Rival

While America of the 1800s was gulping down its Coke, pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham was watching. Hoping to create a similar beverage of his own, he made a sweet carbonated drink in 1898 which he coined Pepsi-Cola. It was met with great success, and by 1902 Pepsi-Cola Company, Inc was born. In the years that followed, it underwent several changes in ownership, a tweak to its formulation, and extensive advertising and promotion. By the 1950’s it had successfully become Coca-Cola’s rival. The company would later merge with Frito-lay, Incorporated in the ‘60s, acquire the Tropicana and Dole brands in the ‘90s, and merge with the Quaker Oats company two years later. Today, PepsiCo’s most successful brands include much more than Pepsi cola. It profits from Frito-Lay snacks, Lipton teas, Tropicana juices, Gatorade drinks, Quaker Oats cereals, and Rold Gold pretzels as well.  

Coca cola

Most Valuable Global Brands List Forbes 2018

A pharmacist from North Carolina’s dream from over a century ago has turned into a reality. His company with its humble beginnings has reached a global level of success that he likely never believed possible. It even snagged a spot on the 2018 Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands List. At number 29, Pepsi has an estimated worth of $18.4 billion. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Max alone each bring in over $1 billion in profits annually. Second only to Coca-Cola, Pepsi is among America’s top soda of choice. In Russia, Pepsi is second-to-none.

Pepsi Relationship with Russia

In fact, while the brand’s history is without a doubt impressive, it is its relationship with Russia that allowed it to achieve what no soda company had ever achieved before. For a time, Russia made Pepsi a top military power with an arsenal greater than that of most countries world-wide. But, just how did a soda company manage that? 

It all started during the height of the Cold War when President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev came to an agreement. The USSR wanted to open trade with the US and the US wanted to promote capitalism in the USSR, so they agreed on a form of cultural exchange. Each would design an exhibition highlighting the achievements of their country for display in the other’s. The Soviet exhibition portrayed its achievements in areas in which it was superior, namely in space, and it opened in New York City in June of 1959. America included examples from its own culture in which it was paving the way, such as with appliances of various sorts and soda. The “American National Exhibition” opened in Moscow in July of that same year and The United States sent Vice President Richard Nixon as its host. However, the Moscow-based event got off to a rather rocky start.

Khrushchev was unimpressed with color TV. In fact, he was unimpressed with most everything on display, claiming that Russia would have the same technology itself in a matter of years. Further, he took advantage of the opportunity to talk shop, commenting angrily on the US government’s resolution against his presence in Eastern Europe. And, if that wasn’t enough, he gave his opinion that Nixon only feared communism because he couldn’t understand it. Nixon had a ready response.

pepsi

Pespsi became the first capitalist product to be sold in the U.S.S.R.

At some point as they argued, Khrushchev wiped his brow. This was when Donald Kendall saw his chance. The Pepsi representative gave Khrushchev a cool, refreshing drink. While the Soviet leader found the American exhibit lacking and the United States government meddlesome and uninformed, he could find no fault with the contents of his cup. And, just like that, Pepsi-Cola became the first capitalist product to be sold in the U.S.S.R.

Pepsi was not the only one to find opportunity that day; the press was handed a front-page story as well. Pictures of the two leaders as they argued beside a kitchen were soon published across America. The exchange itself was given the rather catchy and fitting title of “the kitchen debate.” Due to the publicity of the event, Nixon enjoyed benefits of his own. Photos with him thrusting a finger at Khrushchev were thought to demonstrate leadership and, some believe, helped him in his future bid for the presidency. But, between the soda company, the press, and the vice-president, Pepsi’s success following America’s exhibition in Moscow was inarguably the greatest and longest-lasting.  

Now, the arrangement to sell Pepsi in Russia was not made without a few glitches here and there. Though the Russians wanted permanent access to the drink, there was the somewhat significant problem of its payment. Russian currency was not universally accepted, and so they needed to make an alternative arrangement. They turned to their other beverage of choice as a solution.

soda

Pepsi in exchange for boats and submarines

The Russians gave PepsiCo the exclusive distribution rights for their Stolichnaya vodka. In turn, Pepsi became the only soda that could be legally sold to the Soviet population. This worked out well until the 1980s, when vodka was no longer high enough in value to cover the costs of the Soviet’s Pepsi. So, Russia proposed a different type of exchange and traded Pepsi some boats and submarines instead. Three billion dollars’ worth. For the price of 17 submarines and a cruiser, frigate, and destroyer, the Russian population could continue to enjoy its soda. 

As for Pepsi, it had just become the sixth most powerful military world-wide. This is a distinction not shared by any other beverage-making companies either before or after this remarkable event as far as we are aware. However, as their specialty is drinks and snacks and not maintaining a maritime fleet, Pepsi eventually sold the lot for reuse of its materials. Mr. Kendall, who had made history that day by giving Khrushchev some happiness in a cup, later joked that his company was better at disarming the Soviet Union than our government.  

Coca Cola Losing Further Ground in Russia

However, Coca-Cola was less than amused. Cut out of the Soviet market due to the exclusive agreement between Russia’s government and PepsiCo representatives, the competing brand was only allowed to sell its Fanta and Minute Maid products instead. They were far from the only ones upset about the arrangement. Other skeptics to the deal suggested that Pepsi purchases funded the manufacturing of Russian nuclear missiles. One could only hope that, if this were true, the joy the beverage gave both the Russian population and its leadership made it less likely that they would be tempted to use them.

Pepsi-Cola has come a long way since it was first made in 1898. What do you think the brand’s biggest accomplishment has been? Let us know in the comments! 

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History

WHY IS THE LEGENDARY RPG-7 STILL IN USE?

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RPG-7's are cost-effective rocket launchers that can destroy million-dollar armored vehicles.

The RPG-7 launcher is and has been, one of the most common and effective infantry weapons in past and contemporary conflicts.

This rocket launcher has become a legendary weapon, and you have probably already seen it in the news, movies, and video games. It’s one of the favorite weapons of rebel armies around the world and they have been widely used in many wars such as Vietnam War, Soviet-Afghan War, the Syrian Civil War, among many others.

And it continues to be used today because the RPG and its variants are still effective, cheap, and easy to use. Think of it this way, a multi-million dollar tank or armored vehicle can be destroyed with a $500 shell. That’s really impressive for a cheap weapon!

The Birth of a Legend

Shooting an RPG-7

The basic design of this legendary weapon was developed by the Soviets shortly after World War II (WWII). During WWII, the Soviets were impressed by the performance and destructive power of weapons such as the German Panzerfaust and the American Bazooka.

As a result, they created a similar weapon to attack tanks. It was the RPG 2, which later evolved to RPG 7. Now, almost 9 million RPG-7 launchers and their variants have proliferated all over the world. 

Why Do So Many Rebel Groups and Armies Love the RPG?

RPG used against regular troops

The RPG-7 is the acronym for rocket-propelled grenade. It can fire 4 to 6 rounds per minute and it is extremely cost-effective and easy to use. That’s the reason why it is still in use in almost every war, even after over 60 years in service. They can destroy tanks, helicopters, and artillery pieces with just one shot.

RPG against troops

Its projectile is built to stop armored vehicles but in some cases, it has been used against infantry – and even animals as target practice. During the Vietnam war, there were many reports of Vietcong soldiers shooting buffaloes to practice their RPG shooting, and in most cases, these buffaloes ended up in pieces.

In 2013, in Afghanistan, a US soldier was hit directly by an RPG-7 rocket. The projectile impacted and lodged in the soldier’s hip without detonating. He was taken to a surgical base where doctors and technicians worked to save his life and remove the projectile. In the end, the warhead was extracted. However, in many cases, it can be very effective in neutralizing troops. He was very lucky!

RPG Against Tanks

What would be the result of using an RPG to destroy an armored vehicle? The main purpose of the RPG is to destroy tanks. But modern tanks with high armor thickness is virtually invulnerable from the front to an RPG-7. But, it could be penetrated from the side and rear, and when we are talking about tanks with older armor, the chances of destroying them are quite high.

Therefore, RPGs are more effective in urban battlefields where they can be placed behind or above a tank and shot at close range. The US army faced this problem during the war in Iraq where several Abrams tanks were penetrated and destroyed by shots from the sides and rear. But, at the same time, one Abrams took 14-18 hits from an RPG 7 and continued to operate without problems.

RPG Against Helicopters

Although the RPG was not originally designed to destroy helicopters, it can do so. The RPG was designed to destroy moving tanks but most helicopters will exceed the speed of a tank by far, so several RPGs are fired at once to increase the probability of shooting them down. 

It is almost impossible for a helicopter to dodge an RPG projectile at close range. In fact, there is a famous case of an RPG shooting down two Blackhawk helicopters in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 1994. This event inspired one of the most iconic war films of all time Black Hawk Dawn.

Similarly, during the Vietnam War, both RPG 2 and RPG-7 were responsible for shooting down 128 U.S. helicopters.

The RPG-7 Is Really a Badass Weapon!

The RPG-7 is here to stay for many years to come. Its price compared to the damage it can do to million-dollar vehicles is by far a great bet.

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