Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - STAR LAMENTATION: Yankee Diasporans, Clipped Wings - by Dan Akusobi



QUOTE

Finally, I would like to share this profound statement with you: "When the Nigerian elite wants to educate themselves or their children, they go to Europe or America. When they want to go on vacation, they go to Dubai or South Africa. When they are sick, they go to India. But when they die, they come back to Nigeria to be buried. Is Nigeria a cemetery?"

UNQUOTE


Prof. Okey Iheduru:

Yours too below is a profound reaction to Dan Akusobi's lamentation, that is worth sharing.   To my mind, thinking about this issue is worth every minute of brain-cells, especially for the over-35s of the Diaspora community.

One of the reasons why I am grateful for my current position in Otuoke is that it makes that re-engagement for me severely permanent, giving me choices as a dual citizen of the US and Nigeria that I would not have otherwise.  Even before it, while my activist engagement  with Nigeria was prolific,  my physical engagement was episodic, and I still thought it was not enough.   It is quite sufficient now, I believe.

The simple lesson is this:  engage your home community meaningfully, either singly or in union with others (while ensuring that your own contribution is noteworthy within the union).  Nothing wrong - in terms of law, spiritual or temporal - with complete disengagement or fleeting engagement (after all, everyone has a right to associate or not to associate, right?),   but  don't  then just go home to buried, lest observers of your corpse (not your inanimate corpse) will be unpleasantly surprised at your reception, as you narrated below about the unfortunate "abroadian" who ended up in an "efulefu" (pauper's) grave.

And there you have it.....thanks again to Dan for starting the thread.

Best wishes always.


Bolaji Aluko

 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Okey Iheduru <okeyiheduru@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 31, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - STAR LAMENTATION: Yankee Diasporans, Clipped Wings - by Dan Akusobi
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Cc: dakusobi@gmail.com


Dear Prof. Aluko:

Thanks for sending Dan's piece along to the USA-Africa Dialogue list. Aging of recent African Diasporas is a serious problem that will become an even bigger crisis in the next ten years or so. Many of us who came to the US in the mid-1980s for school and stayed behind--I call them "accidental immigrants"--are now between 50 and 60 years old. Whereas most people in this age bracket are still healthy and keeping active life, reality will soon set in in the next ten years when they will be 60-70 years old. Most of us don't even realize our children may not be there to take care of us when the time comes. How many of our sons are marrying their African sisters?

Unfortunately, very many of us are not "connecting" with home in any meaningful way; and some will definitely not be able to find their way home from Owerri or Ibadan without help--simply because these "homes" have undergone tremendous transformations since these fellows left or last visited about 25-30 years ago. I recently met a Nigerian who was animated about the goings-on "in the East and the Midwest" and had no idea where Imo or Abia states were. Another pal was reminiscing last month about the girl he had wanted to marry back in 1984--and was actually planning on reaching out to her again--only to learn that the woman had not only since married but actually passed away three years ago!

And then, there was this even that I witnessed in 2013. A diaspora Nigerian's corpse was brought home for burial in his Igbo village which I will not name. This fellow left the village in 1971 to Lagos, and then on to the USA in 1974, and never for once visited in over 38 years! He had nothing to identify him with the village except his umbilical cord remnant that was buried beside a young palm tree eight days after his birth (as is the custom of the Igbos) in 1950. None of his three former American wives accompanied his remains home; only one obviously confused and pitiful son in dreadlocks did.

As the casket headed to the local church from the mortuary, a group of young men barricaded the entrance to the church and insisted that the funeral service would not hold. The man had not paid any church dues and levies for almost 50 years and the resident pastor had illegally cut his family a slack and agreed to the funeral service without insisting on payment of all arrears of dues according to church policy. Besides, they wanted to teach a lesson to all sons and daughters who had similarly turned their back on the community that expected much from them, like their counterparts.

Meanwhile, another group of youth went to the deceased's family compound and chased away those digging the grave. As far as these young men were concerned, this "efulefu" (never-do-well) was never going to be interred in that village. Tufiakwa! They reasoned that if every "abroadian" (those who lived "abroad"--which includes internal migrants to other parts of Nigeria) had failed to contribute to the up-keep of the church and the village like "this Americana", the church building would long have collapsed and the premises overgrown with bushes. The intervention of the local Police detachment wasn't sufficient to get these young men to back down. 

Eventually, the fully decorated corpse was returned to the mortuary. The burial feast (put together by the deceased's family to minimize the shame brought on the village by this man whose "send-off" party had been a much talked-after village affair in 1974) was aborted. A week later, negotiations between the elders and the youth resulted in the Americana being allowed a pauper's burial. Perhaps, the community did itself in: why did they "send" him "off" back in 1974?

The moral of the story is that it's no longer sufficient to claim Nigerian citizenship, especially at the micro levels, simply because you or your parents were born there. Membership at these levels comes with certain obligations that sustain the moral economy of communal life. Among the Igbo, for instance, every condolence gifts/presents given to you is actually an insurance premium that must be returned to the giver whenever he/she is bereaved. Those who mourn the dead are said to be actually mourning themselves. So, if you've not been participating--virtually or physically--in the community's life, why should they care about your corpse? Or, if you go home when you've only four more miserable weeks before you go and meet your ancestors?

Finally, I would like to share this profound statement with you: "When the Nigerian elite wants to educate themselves or their children, they go to Europe or America. When they want to go on vacation, they go to Dubai or South Africa. When they are sick, they go to India. But when they die, they come back to Nigeria to be buried. Is Nigeria a cemetery?"

Peace as always!

Okey


On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 2:18 AM, Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:



Edited for non-Ebonic-ness

____________________________________________________________


May 30, 2014


My people.

In one of my rare visits to a joint here in New York (NY), Uche Restaurant, I encountered, once again, some Nigerians who I suspect have thrown away their travel documents and secured a free place for their internment whenever it becomes their turn to quit the earth. Some are 70 years old or more and most smell like they have not passed over  Atlantic Ocean by air since they left town ( Nigeria) . One of them sneezed and got wet from something that smelled like human urine coming from himself. The other talked like he created Ebonics language .

Such scenes and people make the new but donkey year olds here wonder if we shall one day see ourselves in such an abnormal sociology for an African abroad.

Sad to say that most of the Nigerian men I have seen, and  of this grade being described are from Orlu and Ngwa areas of Igbo land. I had some talk with a couple of them over a three-month period on major issues of aging and going back home.

Some of the  narratives I heard are no simple matters. Most disheartening among other huge reasons are issues of loneliness. One proudly said his wife refused to go home with him and he could not manage life alone in Lagos (another big city outside NY),  so he ran back.

Another advised me to go home and marry and leave her there so when I go back eventually, I would have someone to care for me at that age.

I am bringing up this issue in light of Lawal and Amadike's crusade on this issue. They mistakenly personalized it on Eke even when we know it is a common and unfortunate problem that a lot of us here are missing being real men, in the sense that we knew our Dads are or were when we were growing up. 

So I am urging a re-direction on this debate so we can examine the issues of aging and life at home and here at 65 and beyond.

I happen, in one of my other numerous jobs, to know that aging and loneliness and health related issues and money are a great challenge to Diasporans at 65 and up especially for some of us that missed early planning for retirement.
My friends Lawal and Amadike and Peter, should read this piece so they can re-direct  or spread their anger more appropriately to more involved people here than to Eke and Dan who can very conveniently survive anywhere here or home.

If you really want to help, I will be forwarding you some names of Igbo people especially from our side of IMO state and Ngwa who are 67 and above and cannot go back home because of one or more of several reasons:

1.   There is no own home to go to.
2.  There is no money for travel  ticket.
3.  No wife, children or parents to go to.
4.  No friendly brothers and sisters to go to.
5.  No papers to guarantee a return.
6.  They may need some new hearts and kidneys.
7.  Blood pressure and prostate pills are more potent and affordable here than at Orlu or Eke Oha.
8.  The doctors at home, some anyway, do not know how to treat diabetes and other 'going problems'
9.  Viagra here is original and more potent.
10.  Nothing to keep busy on on retiring at home.
11.  Adult pampas  are very scarce at Orlu.
12.  Do not know to swallow fu-fu any more.
13.  There is not McDonald yet at Afor Umuna.
14.  Don't want to miss their welfare and food stamp checks.

etc.  etc.

Shall I say more?

I think we can talk about how to better prepare for future life at home on coming to America than pelting on the innocents.

Concluding,  a lot of us here have lost their home at home for neglecting it for long. Surprising? No. Anywhere one finds himself, like some people say, becomes his burial ground. 

Sad indeed.


Dan.

____________________________________________________________


My People:

The above very timely piece, was delivered rather inimitably humorously, by Maazi Dan Akusobi, to who all questions should be directed at dakusobi <dakusobi@gmail.com>

Chai!  Tufiakwa! Omebiriemebi !



Bolaji Aluko
Shaking his head

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Okey Iheduru, PhD
You can access some of my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at: http://ssrn.com/author=2131462.



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You can access some of my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at: http://ssrn.com/author=2131462.

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Obituary notification in "The Hindu" today

I saw this notification in the Hindu today.

http://www.thehindu.com/obituary/31st-may-2014/article6069008.ece

Anyone knows who this person was Mr. S Raghavan 76 yrs.

Venu

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USA Africa Dialogue Series - Africans of Tobago

An African Tobagonian sister once took me on a trip from Trinidad to the beautiful island of Tobago to learn more about the culture and traditions of the predominantly African people who live there. I was expecting to stay in a hotel but similar to the African tradition of hospitality, I was given a bed and home cooked meals in the home of a then 81 year old artist aunt of hers who raised ten children in that three bedroom house the way many African parents do raise large families back in Africa....

Biko

Spiritual Bud Blossoms!

June 1
 
LITTLE CHILD
 
 
This old world ever looks new. The constant coming in of the little children is the mark of its being new.
                                         
This world is not free from miracle. The presence of little   child is the presence of Divinity. There is no miracle greater than this. The wicked man puts off his wickedness in the presence of a little child and resumes his original Bliss. So   does everyone when one comes to the august presence of the little one. 

 
When one becomes a sage that one rebecomes a little child mentally.
- Vedanta

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Fwd: A Thought for Today



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Date: Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 5:43 AM
Subject: A Thought for Today
To:


v      A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him



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USA Africa Dialogue Series - Abiola sacrificed for Nigeria -Obasanjo

Abiola sacrificed for Nigeria -Obasanjo

Punch

A former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged on Saturday that the late acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, sacrificed for the nation.

He made this remark at the 4th founder’s day of Nobelhouse College, Abeokuta, and 85th birthday of an industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Olatunde Abudu.

The former president, who was one of the guests at the event, was commenting on a remark made by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, who said Ogun State could have produced three presidents, if not for “bad belle.”

source: Punch

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Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - STAR LAMENTATION: Yankee Diasporans, Clipped Wings - by Dan Akusobi

Dear Prof. Aluko:

Thanks for sending Dan's piece along to the USA-Africa Dialogue list. Aging of recent African Diasporas is a serious problem that will become an even bigger crisis in the next ten years or so. Many of us who came to the US in the mid-1980s for school and stayed behind--I call them "accidental immigrants"--are now between 50 and 60 years old. Whereas most people in this age bracket are still healthy and keeping active life, reality will soon set in in the next ten years when they will be 60-70 years old. Most of us don't even realize our children may not be there to take care of us when the time comes. How many of our sons are marrying their African sisters?

Unfortunately, very many of us are not "connecting" with home in any meaningful way; and some will definitely not be able to find their way home from Owerri or Ibadan without help--simply because these "homes" have undergone tremendous transformations since these fellows left or last visited about 25-30 years ago. I recently met a Nigerian who was animated about the goings-on "in the East and the Midwest" and had no idea where Imo or Abia states were. Another pal was reminiscing last month about the girl he had wanted to marry back in 1984--and was actually planning on reaching out to her again--only to learn that the woman had not only since married but actually passed away three years ago!

And then, there was this even that I witnessed in 2013. A diaspora Nigerian's corpse was brought home for burial in his Igbo village which I will not name. This fellow left the village in 1971 to Lagos, and then on to the USA in 1974, and never for once visited in over 38 years! He had nothing to identify him with the village except his umbilical cord remnant that was buried beside a young palm tree eight days after his birth (as is the custom of the Igbos) in 1950. None of his three former American wives accompanied his remains home; only one obviously confused and pitiful son in dreadlocks did.

As the casket headed to the local church from the mortuary, a group of young men barricaded the entrance to the church and insisted that the funeral service would not hold. The man had not paid any church dues and levies for almost 50 years and the resident pastor had illegally cut his family a slack and agreed to the funeral service without insisting on payment of all arrears of dues according to church policy. Besides, they wanted to teach a lesson to all sons and daughters who had similarly turned their back on the community that expected much from them, like their counterparts.

Meanwhile, another group of youth went to the deceased's family compound and chased away those digging the grave. As far as these young men were concerned, this "efulefu" (never-do-well) was never going to be interred in that village. Tufiakwa! They reasoned that if every "abroadian" (those who lived "abroad"--which includes internal migrants to other parts of Nigeria) had failed to contribute to the up-keep of the church and the village like "this Americana", the church building would long have collapsed and the premises overgrown with bushes. The intervention of the local Police detachment wasn't sufficient to get these young men to back down. 

Eventually, the fully decorated corpse was returned to the mortuary. The burial feast (put together by the deceased's family to minimize the shame brought on the village by this man whose "send-off" party had been a much talked-after village affair in 1974) was aborted. A week later, negotiations between the elders and the youth resulted in the Americana being allowed a pauper's burial. Perhaps, the community did itself in: why did they "send" him "off" back in 1974?

The moral of the story is that it's no longer sufficient to claim Nigerian citizenship, especially at the micro levels, simply because you or your parents were born there. Membership at these levels comes with certain obligations that sustain the moral economy of communal life. Among the Igbo, for instance, every condolence gifts/presents given to you is actually an insurance premium that must be returned to the giver whenever he/she is bereaved. Those who mourn the dead are said to be actually mourning themselves. So, if you've not been participating--virtually or physically--in the community's life, why should they care about your corpse? Or, if you go home when you've only four more miserable weeks before you go and meet your ancestors?

Finally, I would like to share this profound statement with you: "When the Nigerian elite wants to educate themselves or their children, they go to Europe or America. When they want to go on vacation, they go to Dubai or South Africa. When they are sick, they go to India. But when they die, they come back to Nigeria to be buried. Is Nigeria a cemetery?"

Peace as always!

Okey


On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 2:18 AM, Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:



Edited for non-Ebonic-ness

____________________________________________________________


May 30, 2014


My people.

In one of my rare visits to a joint here in New York (NY), Uche Restaurant, I encountered, once again, some Nigerians who I suspect have thrown away their travel documents and secured a free place for their internment whenever it becomes their turn to quit the earth. Some are 70 years old or more and most smell like they have not passed over  Atlantic Ocean by air since they left town ( Nigeria) . One of them sneezed and got wet from something that smelled like human urine coming from himself. The other talked like he created Ebonics language .

Such scenes and people make the new but donkey year olds here wonder if we shall one day see ourselves in such an abnormal sociology for an African abroad.

Sad to say that most of the Nigerian men I have seen, and  of this grade being described are from Orlu and Ngwa areas of Igbo land. I had some talk with a couple of them over a three-month period on major issues of aging and going back home.

Some of the  narratives I heard are no simple matters. Most disheartening among other huge reasons are issues of loneliness. One proudly said his wife refused to go home with him and he could not manage life alone in Lagos (another big city outside NY),  so he ran back.

Another advised me to go home and marry and leave her there so when I go back eventually, I would have someone to care for me at that age.

I am bringing up this issue in light of Lawal and Amadike's crusade on this issue. They mistakenly personalized it on Eke even when we know it is a common and unfortunate problem that a lot of us here are missing being real men, in the sense that we knew our Dads are or were when we were growing up. 

So I am urging a re-direction on this debate so we can examine the issues of aging and life at home and here at 65 and beyond.

I happen, in one of my other numerous jobs, to know that aging and loneliness and health related issues and money are a great challenge to Diasporans at 65 and up especially for some of us that missed early planning for retirement.
My friends Lawal and Amadike and Peter, should read this piece so they can re-direct  or spread their anger more appropriately to more involved people here than to Eke and Dan who can very conveniently survive anywhere here or home.

If you really want to help, I will be forwarding you some names of Igbo people especially from our side of IMO state and Ngwa who are 67 and above and cannot go back home because of one or more of several reasons:

1.   There is no own home to go to.
2.  There is no money for travel  ticket.
3.  No wife, children or parents to go to.
4.  No friendly brothers and sisters to go to.
5.  No papers to guarantee a return.
6.  They may need some new hearts and kidneys.
7.  Blood pressure and prostate pills are more potent and affordable here than at Orlu or Eke Oha.
8.  The doctors at home, some anyway, do not know how to treat diabetes and other 'going problems'
9.  Viagra here is original and more potent.
10.  Nothing to keep busy on on retiring at home.
11.  Adult pampas  are very scarce at Orlu.
12.  Do not know to swallow fu-fu any more.
13.  There is not McDonald yet at Afor Umuna.
14.  Don't want to miss their welfare and food stamp checks.

etc.  etc.

Shall I say more?

I think we can talk about how to better prepare for future life at home on coming to America than pelting on the innocents.

Concluding,  a lot of us here have lost their home at home for neglecting it for long. Surprising? No. Anywhere one finds himself, like some people say, becomes his burial ground. 

Sad indeed.


Dan.

____________________________________________________________


My People:

The above very timely piece, was delivered rather inimitably humorously, by Maazi Dan Akusobi, to who all questions should be directed at dakusobi <dakusobi@gmail.com>

Chai!  Tufiakwa! Omebiriemebi !



Bolaji Aluko
Shaking his head

____________________________________________________________

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--
Okey Iheduru, PhD
You can access some of my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at: http://ssrn.com/author=2131462.

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G70: Punny


  • *A relief map shows where the restrooms are.*
  • *Why did the capacitor kiss the diode? He just couldn't resistor.*
  • *I really wanted a camouflage shirt, but I couldn't find one.*
  • *The shoemaker did not deny his apprentice anything he needed. He gave his awl.*
  • *The roundest knight at king Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.*
  • *Smaller babies may be delivered by stork but the heavier ones need a crane.*
  • *If towels could tell jokes they would probably have a dry sense of humor.*
  • *I was going to look for my missing watch, but I could never find the time.*
  • *I try wearing tight jeans, but I can never pull it off.*

Cheers!!--

G70: Cell vs. virus: A battle for health - Shannon Stiles


Cell vs. virus: A battle for health - Shannon Stiles


Don't Miss this ... it's only a few minutes short!!



USA Africa Dialogue Series - 3RD CONFERENCE OF THE NIGERIAN ORAL LITERATURE ASSOCIATION

WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE TO INTERESTED COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS THE 3RD CONFERENCE OF THE NIGERIAN ORAL LITERATURE ASSOCIATION [NOLA]. FIND BELOW THE DETAILS:

3RD CONFERENCE

OF THE NIGERIAN ORAL LITERATURE ASSOCIATION [NOLA]

DATE:  13-15, AUGUST, 2014

VENUE: PRECIOUS PALM ROYAL HOTEL, BENIN-CITY NIGERIA

THEME:  THE ARTS AND LITERATURES OF

 NIGERIAN FESTIVALS.

 

SUB THEMES:

Theories and Discourses on Nigerian Arts and Festivals /Song-Poetry and Dance-Songs/ Theatrics of Religious Poetry/ Orature and New Media/ Feasting on the Net / Cultural Aesthetics/ Oral Performance and National Integration/ Dramaturgy of Nigerian Festivals/ Orality and Leadership/ Nigerian Arts on Stage /Rituals and Diplomacy/Poetics of Conflict Resolution/Oral Literature and Political Fiesta/ Carnivals and Power-Politics/ Conceptualizing the Nigerian Entertainment Industry.

However, these topics are not exhaustive, as other areas of focus, within the purview of the conference theme will be accommodated.   

 

Abstracts of not more than 250 words are invited from prospective participants not later than June 30, 2014, should be sent to:

 

(i)    Prof. G.G. Darah, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State. E-mail: <ggdarah@gmail.com>; mobile phone: +234 (0) 803 608 8913

 

(ii) Chairman, Central Organizing Committee - Dr. Okey Okwechime ,  University of Benin, Benin-City, Edo State.  E-mail:  oraclechime@yahoo.com, mobile phone:+234 (0) 803 7217824

 

 

DIRECT ALL ENQUIRIES TO:

The Conference Administrator, Dr. Mark Ighile, Redeemer's University, Mowe, Ogun State. E-mail:  mighile@gmail.com, Mobile phone: +234 (0) 8034959317

 

Conference Registration Fee: N10, 000.00 only (for participants from within Nigeria); $100 only (for participants from outside Nigeria), to cover conference materials, customized bag, and tea/coffee  break. 


--
Mark Osama Ighile, Ph,.D (Ibadan)
 Secretary & Conference Administrator,
Nigerian Oral Literature Association (NOLA),
Coordinator, Christian Religious Department &
Senior Lecturer,
Department of English & Communication  Studies,
College of Humanities,
Redeemer's University, Redemption Camp.
Km. 46 Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State.
P. O. Box 7914, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Tel: 234 (0) 802 344 5151, (0) 803 495 9317,
E-mail: mighile@gmail.com, ighilem@run.edu.ng 

Those  who feed others with the integrity of heart and guide them by the skilfulness of hands are the true leaders. Mark them. (Psa. 78:72).For more, visit: www.leadergreat.wordpress.com 

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