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By: Emeka Alex Akwaeze

The increase in the report of rape activities globally is a call for global efforts to fight against such acts towards fellow mankind. We must all stand up against this menace in other to eradicate rape out of the world system.

The rapist, do not just end in raping our young girls but taking away their lives after their evil acts. I believe that the time has come when all African leaders will rise up with one voice to enact laws which will fall on perpetrator of these demonic acts.

Our law enforcement agencies should step up with their call to serve and leave up to expectation; we cannot continue to see our young girls and lady go into trauma that sometimes ends up in taking their lives.

It is on this note that the human right watch call for a stiffer punishment for this agent of darkness, considering the daily increase in rape cases in almost every corner of the African nation. We must all stand up and say no to the sexual assaults and violence against our women and girls.

The occurrence of these evil men has grown to the extent that the perpetrators has no boundary where they carry out their evil acts, honestly they no longer have the fear of God, that is why after raping their victims they also make sure they take their lives, maybe for fear of identification, they also have no boundary as they can carry out their acts even in the house of God.

Of recent a 100 level university student was raped and killed right inside the church in Benin City Nigeria. The young victim who was just 23 years, identified as Vera Omozuwa was a student of microbiology; she died days after the incident occurred. Her death spark up a national uproar round the country, with a call for the law enforcement agency to find the perpetrator where ever they are hiding.

It is my believe that if African leaders do not stand up for it’s citizenry, the present situation will one day get offhand putting the lives of our young girls and ladies who are the futures of tomorrow in danger at all times.

Our leaders must enact law that will serve as deterrent to the perpetrators considering the facts that hardly a day passes without report of a rape case. Recently at every headline of most Nigeria media on a daily basis, what you see is sexual molestation, which to me is a wakeup call that requires drastic action that will deters these criminals to save the lives of these our dear ones.

"Rape is like cancer, it has no respect for age, sex or race. It starts from a spot and then gradually spreads to the entire body system," says Julie Mogbo, an activist, also known as The Family Bond Nurse. "While spreading, it steals a victor's pleasurable desires, purposeful drive and prospective dreams and in many cases, life. It causes one to start questioning their beliefs and reasons for existence."

"Without any invitation, a feeling of worthlessness creeps in. Rape is like a song track placed in repeat mode: the incidence keeps on happening long after it has happened. With each replay, the hands and the words turn to blades cutting and creating an indelible scar long after tissue healing may have taken place."

It’s time for our African leaders to make sure that laws that have been enacted to curtail this menace of rape are judiciously monitored to make sure they are fully implemented to the fullest, culprits should henceforth not be handled slightly and relatives of victims should desist from covering the case when it occurs.

By Lanre Hassan

Since the end of the 30 months long Biafra war (1967-1970) the people of the Southeastern region of Nigeria have picked up their pieces in the world of business. Biafra was the name of the new country in the imagination of Col. Odumegwu Ojuku the proponent of the idea.

The Gen. Yakubu Gowon led federal government of Nigeria would not want to hear anything of such and did everything necessary to repel the rebellion. The Igbo speaking people of the southeast were the most battered during the war. They are the Biafrans. Since 1970, Igbo people have emerged as the commercial powerhouse of Nigeria. They are in every corner of Nigeria and into every business venture where profit is the end result.

During the 2006 national census exercise I served as a supervisor in Bako Mission, Kainji local government of Niger state. For me it was a combination of service to motherland and adventure since I will be visiting the remote north-central village for the very first time. Kainji is the local government where the major hydroelectricity station in Nigeria is located. I was accompanied to Bako Mission by a local tour guide who was in charge of the bicycle assigned to me. He could speak a bit of Pidgin, a kind of adulterated English language spoken in Nigeria. He was a blessing compared to what I met in my area of primary assignment where communication became an herculean task. The journey was through a dry desert with huts in few locations along the route. My guide told me that the huts were actually residences of the villagers! We spent approximately four hours from Babana out takeoff point to Bako Mission. The village Head and his chiefs were good hosts. I rely on the interpretation of my guide in my communication with them.

However, I was surprise to find out that somebody who speaks Yoruba lives in the village. To my surprise that my ‘kinsman’ was Daddy Chinedu, Igbo man! He operated the only ‘modern’ canteen in the village where you can find local delicacies of Eba, Amala, and Ewedu etc. According to him, he had been living in Bako Mission for the last fifteen years. His reason for coming to the village was simply ‘my brother na business’ meaning my brother its business. He speaks a flawless Yoruba language just like he speaks Hausa, Igbo and English languages! This reminds me of Baba Chibuzor the Igbo man operating the only medicine store in Gadam a community in Kwame Local Government of Gombe state, along the expressway linking the state capital with Yola the capital of Adamawa state also in North Central Region of Nigeria. Baba Chibuzor served as interpreter between corps members and the local people who are predominantly Hausa speaking. In these two instances the common features are the multi-lingua ability and adventure spirit of an average Igbo man.

The Igbo people are those who are by birth or marriage originates from the southeastern part of Nigeria, speaks Igbo language (a language which belongs to the Benue-Congo language family) and is one of the main ethnic groups in Nigeria. Before the Igbo people had contact with the western civilization, their culture entails training the child to be independent and pursue a means of livelihood independent of anyone. They imbibe the culture of team work, cooperation and mutual assistance. Before now, the Igbo were predominantly farmers, hunters, fishermen and distance traders. Nowadays, a larger percentage of Igbo men are into business trading mostly in electronic appliances, building materials, clothing, shoes, and so on. They are industrious, widely travelled and pacesetters. For every imported product into Nigeria there is usually an Igbo made product of same look and nearly equal quality. The Igbo man can be found in every corner of Nigeria and indeed everywhere in the world.

Although since the end of the war and the declaration of ‘Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation’ as a state policy by the Nigerian government to bring the Igbo back into the mainstream of the Nigerian system, the Igbo have taken up the challenge as the commercial powerhouse of Nigeria creating wealth from nothing and showing the way for others. Igbo man is a good example of ability in disability. Their exploits in business and inter personal relationship makes the saying ‘Go On With One Nigeria’ lives on years after General Yakubu Gowon was removed from office.

 

By: Emeka Alex Akwaeze

Africa, a land filled with men and women of substance, who are at their various places of endeavor doing great things by affecting the lives of the vulnerable ones in their communities and the nation at large, it is a known fact that in Africa when one is blessed by God almighty he derives joy in affecting the lives of those around him, helping them through various means such as education, job creation and provision of shelter with food on their table.

An average African man and woman takes joy in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, it is believed that when God blesses you, He has not blessed you alone but an opportunity to affect lives and restoring joy and happiness to the needy.

African people are said to be a developing country which I duly accept to be true, how can we not be a developing country when the continent have limited number of persons who have the right vision and mission to take Africa to the next level, amidst all the numerous challenges we face in Africa today we still have very few who are out to make the difference and restore the glory of Africa, it is said that years to come Africa will rule the world, this fact cannot be disputed considering the facts that we have all it takes to make the difference in this regard.

On this very edition of the Phoenix Africa we are focusing on Nigeria, which is known to be the giant of Africa, blessed with lots of natural and human capital resources, it is said that an average African men and women are usually self-made.

This is true because they believed, the best they can do to themselves is to struggle and work hard, they apply creativity in whatever positive things they lay their hands on, as a means of making end meet.

Today our African man of the month is no other person but Tein T. S. Jack-Rich, he is the founder and president of Balema Oil, founder of the Balema Aid Foundation and Jack-Rich Tein Aid Foundation, popularly known and called Jack-rich, born to a very humble family of Elder and Mrs Teinbo Saturday SeliyeFubara Jack Rich, on the 28th of January 1975, in the south south of Nigeria, precisely the Rivers State of Nigeria.

Jack Rich is married to his beloved wife, Dr. Mrs. Elizabeth Jack-Rich and blessed with children. He lost both parents at a very tender age and was faced with the realities of life, which led him into working so hard with total reliance on God to succeed in live, confronted with many challenges of life but never gave up, he held on to his dream and ambitions of greatness.

This made him the founder of Balema Oil at a very young age, Balema Oil is known to providing Oil and gas services both within and outside Nigeria. Jack-Rich is known to be the first indigenous person in the oil and gas industry to own oil exploration and Production Company in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

A graduate of petroleum production technology in the Panola college cartage, USA, Business management at Usam University and Business Administration at the University of Wales, he holds several fellowship awards with Doctorate award both within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

Jack-Rich is known to have affected many lives positively both within and outside Nigeria, a giver by calling, his philanthropist has no boundary to how far he can go towards affecting lives within the society, through his foundation he has been able to offer awards to lots of Nigerian youth, who embark on different level of university degrees within Nigeria and different Universities around the world, he believes that the youth are the future leader of the nation hence the need for qualitative education, he equally have provided employment opportunities for most Nigeria youths with over three thousand youth gainfully employed in his payrolls and many greatly empowered throughout the country.

Going by his philanthropic charisma in affecting lives in many parts of the county, the Daura Emirate was highly overwhelmed by his charitable activities, as such conferred him with the title of Sarkin Ruwan Hausa (meaning the water provider), after he was able to single handedly provide a portable water to the community of Daura in katsina State which is located in the Northern part of Nigeria.

I do strongly believe that when men and women in African with such kind hearts are given opportunities in governance in their various countries sooner than later, Africa will take the lead economically.

The Top Ten Model Competition, will be an exciting way to celebrate World Afro Day, 15th September 2020. Afro hair is not often considered beautiful by the modelling industry and there is still a stigma in society but the organisers want to turn this negative around.


If your youngsters are bored at home and looking for inspiration, then get them to enter the competition.


“Tell us their hair story and why they should be picked as a World Afro Day, Top Ten Model. This is not about breaking into modelling but for ordinary young people to feel empowered, about Afro hair. This is a body positive experience, with no height and size restrictions.


“Even their friends, without Afro hair, can join in and show support, through a “Cheerleader Clip.” Our Judging panel includes US catwalk star Celai West and Scottish Supermodel Eunice Olumide.”


The Prize 
Top Ten Model for World Afro Day 2020.
Magazine Feature.
Unique personalised goody bag.
Star in World Afro Day celebration film.


Professional photoshoot styled by award winning stylists Purely Natural Salon  
Confidence coaching with Scottish Supermodel Eunice Oulmide and US model sensation, Celai West.


Entry dates are May 29th to July 17th (first valid 1000 entries only).


You can see full terms and conditions, and enter the competition on their website, by clicking here.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised the family of the country's first Black President Nelson Mandela for revealing that his daughter, Zindzi, who had passed, had Covid-19. The gesture will "encourage acceptance" of those infected, Mr Ramaphosa said.
The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Zindzi was buried alongside her mother, anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Only close friends and relatives attended the funeral service in Johannesburg because of coronavirus restrictions.

South Africa is the African country worst hit by coronavirus, with more than 320,000 cases. There have been more than 4,600 deaths, and government projections estimate this could rise to 50,000 by the end of the year. Despite public awareness of how the virus is spread, its symptoms and effects, there have been some reported cases of stigmatisation of those infected.

"I would like to thank the Mandela family for the very important gesture of sharing this information with the nation. This is a virus that affects us all, and there should never be any stigma around people who become infected," he tweeted ahead of Zindzi Mandela's funeral.

He added that revealing the cause of her death, was "a final act of solidarity in the life of a woman who devoted her life to the cause of her fellow South Africans."

Ms Mandela had "during our years of struggle brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom," Mr Ramaphosa said in a statement after her death.

Zindzi Mandela, 59, was Nelson Mandela's sixth child and his second with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his second wife.
Mourners gathered for her funeral service in Johannesburg have praised her as a freedom fighter.

"The invisible enemy took her away from us when she has survived bullets, torture and the pain inflicted by the apartheid system," Nomvula Mokonyane, an official from the governing African National Congress, was quoted as saying by EWN news site.

"She survived the most brutal regime at an early age, and we thought that this crisis and this invisible enemy that we are faced with today, she is going to survive because she has seen worse," said Julius Malema, the leader of the radical opposition EFF party.

Despite her father's fame Ms Mandela was an activist in her own right and was serving as ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death. She grew up at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle. With her father imprisoned on Robben Island, she endured years of harassment and intimidation by the apartheid regime, along with her sister Zenani, and her mother Winnie.

Zindzi Mandela read out her father's rejection of then-president PW Botha's offer for his conditional release from prison at a public meeting in February 1985. Through his foundation, Nobel peace laureate and former archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu said that "speech in Soweto, on behalf of her father... reinvigorated the values and principles of the struggle".

Ms Mandela "played a critical role symbolising the humanity and steadfastness of the anti-apartheid struggle", he added. Most recently, she was known for her vocal support for radical land reform in South Africa.

Only two of Nelson Mandela's six children are still alive: Zenani Dlamini, Zindzi's sister; and Pumla Makaziwe Mandela, a daughter from his first marriage, to Evelyn Mase.

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Ile-Ife is famous as the original home of the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, an important ethnic group on the face of African continent. In Africa, each ethnic group can be identified by its socio-cultural features that indicate the membership, status, and rank of an individual, family, or group within a community.

Among the Yoruba, for instance, every person belongs to a family group noted for specific roles of benefits or importance to the community. Some roles are political, economic, entertainment, military or diplomatic in nature. This family group is called Ebí (lineage). These features distinguish between Omo (true blood) and Ara (stranger or sojourner). As such, no one is Omo ale (a bastard) only that such person may not have traced their real home.

Royal institution is one of such family groups in Ile-Ife. This institution is revered and respected in Yorubaland so much that it defines class and status. Members usually observed certain behavioral attitude that keeps the pride of the institution. Princes and princesses in Ile-Ife are referred to as Sooko.

This practice is replicated in other towns of Yoruba land though with other nomenclatures according to individual indigenous custom. It is within this royal institution that the kingship exists to which Sooko is very important. As a matter of fact, every Oòni of Ife emerges from being a Sooko.

There are two hypotheses on the origin of Soòko. A school of thought suggests that the origin of Soòko relates closely to a title given to a particular Omooba (prince) of Ìjèsà stork whose mother was a princess of Ile-Ife. The story has it that soon after he was denied the right to the throne in Ilesa, he returned to Ife to meet his maternal grandfather who reigned as the Ooni at the time and as a way of compensation he was pronounced a crown prince called Sooko.

The Oòni was said to have given state recognition to the title with all paraphernalia of royalty. He moved around exercising authority just as his grandfather everywhere he went. From this period onward, the title became institutionalized and exclusive for members of the royal family.

The other school of thought suggests that at a point in the history of Ile-Ifè, there emerged the Lajamisan royal lineage that cut across all other previous families that had ever produced a ruler for the city. From this new royal lineage emerged both Lájòdókún and Láfogído whose generations have since being rotating the crown of Ile-Ife among them.

Interestingly, these families can be found in all of the five indigenous quarters of Ile-Ifè all sharing similar panegyrics of Jala/ Moso exclusive for royal families. This hypothesis on Soòko defines it as is a person of royal birth who is respected and honoured like their father- ‘asòro kò bí Omo oba’.

Every child with a royal ancestry in Ile-Ifè, male and female alike, share Soòko as prefix. The respect attached to the institution is so high that a member of each royal compound is selected to represent his clan in the council of Sooko put together to serve as official advisers of the Ooni.

In the indigenous administrative system of Ile-Ife every Soòko is exempted from the extant laws of the land since they are given similar reverence as being given the Oòni himself. In other words, questioning the deeds of the Soòko is synonymous to questioning the Oòni – an abomination.

On their own, a Sooko is usually careful about his behaviour in public and will not do anything that will put into question his royal status. Members of this institution also have retinue of attendants who are found wherever the Soòko is located. However, among these attendants is Lóòdókó, who acts as an aide-de camp to the Soòko just as a Sarun act same way to the Ooni.

Unlike a Sarun who comes from among the palace attendants, Loodoko is also a member of the royal family. Whenever a Sooko is arriving at an event, the Lóòdókó would wear a bell made of ide (brass) around their ankles and chime to announce the presence of the Soòko.

Perhaps to further indicate the cardinal nature of their place within the administrative structure of the town and probably, to periodically remind the public of the intermix of their position with that of the Oòni, the Soòko is the only group with certain paraphernalia constructed around certain ancient, sacred and royal materials in possession of the Oòni, some of which he periodically employs in reasserting the linkage between his position and his subjects.

A notable example of this is the ancient Are crown which the Ooni wears once in a year during the Olojo festival, a major event that brings the people of Yoruba land together in Ile-Ife. The Soòko in replica of the Ooni also use Ikori, a special headwear that looks like Are but less in decoration. Like the Are crown, ìkórí has bead fringes covering the face but at a much shorter length which symbolizes the royalty of the institution.

Although, Soòko is a cognomen for people with royal ancestry, becoming the titular Soòko of a lineage is not automatic. Apart from the Oòni-elect whose coronation rites mandatorily begin with an initiation into the Soòko conclave, every other Soòko nominee usually go through certain rigour.

Their investiture and initiation begins from the individual family compound wherein they are required to provide certain resources to the site of initiation. When this is done, he or she is said to have ‘di ìké’ (tied pouch) which a nominee will procure from Ejirin a groove at the outskirt of town.

Upon return from Ejirin to get materials for the pouch, he is to hold feast for one week during which a large number of people will come around to dine and wine at his expense. The meal to be prepared for the one week includes iyán (pounded yam), obè ègúsí (melon soup) and efòn (buffalo meat).

Over the years, the Soòko institution has recorded a number of changes. With the encroachment of the African territories and the satanic imposition of colonial rule, the Soòko institution has lost the privilege of immunity from the law which they once enjoyed. This is in the sense that, the idea that a Soòko could be arrested and charged to court for infringing on the rights of other may have contributed to the decline in which the Soòko wielded and used their power.

In addition, the requirement to have an absolute monarch in whom total colonial support would be invested led the colonialists to repress any group that could hold or implement any form of power to rival that of the king. This repression was further implemented through state recognition in the sense that while the Soòko were recognized as a part of the administrative system of Ile-Ifè, their position was largely ignored by the modern state system.

Rather, the gap-bridging position of the Soòko in the Ile-Ifè administrative structured rapidly dwindled such that in the latter part of the 20th century, it was said observed that the title became left mostly to the aged as opposed to young vibrant people who had hitherto occupied the position.

Despite these challenges, the 21st century recorded resurgence of and an attempt at re-positioning the Soòko. The reason for this resurgence is not particularly clear but one can attribute it to a shift in paradigm among the Ife and Yoruba at large that in recent times appeared to have revive some of their cultural practices.

It could also be attributed to the Oòni who has embarked on a renaissance policy for the Ife socio-cultural practices. Be that as it may, the Soòko today appears to be resurging in the sense that, many royal houses who had their Soòko titles unoccupied for years have been filled up by vibrant professionals from all walks of life, a reflection of Soòko from the past.

Despite this renaissance of the Soòko in Ife, the changes that have so far been implemented can be said to have been a clear break with the past. Available records indicate that the many of the religious, cultural and social practices associated with the investiture and initiation of the Soòko have been either altered or removed.

 

For instance, the òké didi has been transmuted to cash; the one week long festivity has been compressed to a three-day event that concerns the Soòko council and the concerned lineages; the spiritual underpinnings of the initiation of the Soòko which was said to closely relate to Òrìsà worship is no longer pronounced.

These changes nonetheless appear not to have had an impact on the place of the Soòko in the administrative system of Ile-Ifè. Today, many Soòko contribute to the growth and development of the town within the bounds of their profession and economic stature. Apart from this, they are duty bound to with an avowed resolution to support every incumbent Oòni to succeed at all times.

Other roles of the Soòko today, include but not limited to advising the Oòni from time to time; protect the interest of the royal household; ensure the pursuant of due process in the selection of new Oòni; give leadership at the compound and quarter levels, and serve as custodians of royal and community history, culture, and tradition.

The Soòko institution appears to have recorded some successes, it has somewhat resurged, regrouped and rebirthed in such a way that its present state cannot be separated from its past and also its future. The council of Soòko has so far been able to repopulate its rank and as such, no house is left without representation.

It can be adduced that, a closer look at this repopulation goes to indicate that the council is setting standards as to the requisite demanded from prospective members and this consequently goes to have an effect on repositioning the Soòko for the future.

And with the groundwork being put in place today by the Soòko, there is a clear indicator that their position in the Ife socio-political system which seemed to have been displaced as a result of colonialism may become renegotiated for re-instatement overtime.

Regardless of the changes Sooko institution remains very important in the socio-political and economic spheres of Ile-Ife. Sooko institution remains the closest institution to the Ooni as both are of the same blood.

 

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