ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
We are in this race to propagate change that is visible not just at government house, Owerri or in shared
commons such as roads and hospitals, but in the quality of life of Imo state indigenes. We lay out
our unhindered visions because we want to be accountable . . . how we plan to bring about change.
Contract with the People of Imo State
By Hon (Barr.) Emeka Nwajiuba and Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu
Great citizens of Imo State, Nigeria, we are victims of a failed system of governance that is not accountable to anyone, not even those who run it. Since the great years of late Honorable Sam Mbakwe, Imo State has not made any measurable or visible progress in any area. In fact living conditions are so deteriorated that a significant majority of our citizens live in stark dehumanizing conditions. Our citizens have lost hope and faith in government, and frankly in themselves and in their neighbors and relatives. From the simplest of human rights such as the right to shelter and pay for services provided to opportunities to excel and progress financially have been viciously stripped by very few political architects in this state.
The gap between the poor and the rich has widened dramatically the past two decades. The middle class has disappeared and citizens are either hopelessly cloaked in poverty or excessively adorned in wealth. People are forced to choose between buying medication or seeking life saving treatment and putting food on the table. Many workers have lost their zeal to serve and be productive because their hard work only yields late pay and denied pensions. Many can no longer afford basic primary education for their children.
University education eludes many promising young citizens, and for those who manage to obtain university admission, obtaining education that makes them employable, effective and knowledgeable when employed, or competitive in the global arena is a wild dream. Death has become a common occurrence and dying from any cause early has become an acceptable norm.
As citizens, we have hoped for several decades for a miracle, for change that we can experience whether we start off poor or rich, whether we are educated, uneducated or planning to be educated, whether we are born to royalty or not, independent of where we start off the day we are born. Unfortunately, the miracle has evaded us, and for good reason we have been sitting on the fence with arms folded, hopelessly hoping, and not acting on our hopes, dreams, and visions. A man once said that one is not to fear men who dream in their sleep but to be wary of those who dream with their eyes open for they act upon their visions.
Indeed, there is need for those who have profited from citizens dreaming in their sleep of a day of liberation to worrythis is the season for citizens who dream with their eyes open to take over the helm of affairs in Imo State. We have outlined our dreams and aspirations for the state in what we prefer to call The Contract with the People of Imo State. It is a contract because we want to be held accountable. In this contract, we outline our goals for Imo State and our strategy for meeting these goals. Our vision is to create new wealth and expand existing wealth, create new entrepreneurs and assist existing ones reach new heights, create new and secure jobs and reduce unemployment, increase access to much needed health care, reduce pollution in our environment, revitalize the educational system to produce students and graduates that can compete for jobs worldwide, create a robust and diverse local economy, generate hope, encourage creativity among citizens, and restore human dignity.
We envision a state like no other, a state where every man, woman and child progresses according to his or her own desires and interests, a state where all rather than a select few are lifted up, a state where every citizen can plan to own a house, a car, a university education, to own a family and are enabled to execute their dreams, a state that tourists and business interests identify with, a state where young families believe they can successfully raise their children, a state where citizens live their lives fully without fear of criminals and without mitigating conditions that cause members of society to adopt criminality as a profession. We envision a state where every citizen, and in particular public servants including elected leaders are held accountable by the people to the state. This is the Imo State of the future, not Imo State of a hundred years from today or the next two to three generations. This is the Imo State of the next decade, starting from April.
Our plan is comprehensive, based on our visions for excellence, and designed to assure that every citizen experiences change in their own sphere of existence. The plan is deliberately comprehensive because every aspect of life in Imo State is broken, and progress can only come through a holistic and concerted effort to address the multiple sores in our system. We are in this race to propagate change that is visible not just at government house, Owerri or in shared commons such as roads and hospitals, but in the quality of life of Imo state indigenes. We lay out our unhindered visions because we want to be accountable to you and we want you to understand how we plan to bring about change.
Key areas of Change for the Nwajiuba-Mezu Government
Security: A key priority for our administration is security. Without security in Imo State, it is impossible to attract development and the business and human capital necessary to advance the state. Our first mission is to secure the state so that citizens, investors and visitors alike can feel assured of their safety whether they visit or reside in Imo State. Our key objectives are:
- Improve security services provided by the police in the state
- Create incentives in law enforcement to reward and encourage good work.
- Provide training and increased pay for law enforcement agents.
- Enhance the powers of the judiciary to enforce criminal penalties
- Develop the capacity of citizens to participate in law enforcement in their respective communities through programs such as community oriented policing.
Economic Development of the state and empowerment of its citizens:
There are two key aspects to this objective. First, we need to bring economic development to the state by attracting investors across a variety of sectors including manufacturing, transportation, financial services, agriculture, technology, and health to mention a few. Second, we intend to assure that development activities translate to jobs and increased business and earning potential for the citizens of Imo State. To achieve this objective, we plan to:
- Develop an economic agenda for Imo State within six months of our administration. This economic agenda will outline a plan for attracting investors to Imo State including through the use of incentives such as monetary incentives.
- Draft a plan for developing the local business sectors through a model of empowering local business men and women. Specifically, we want to assure that citizens of Imo State who are interested in any given sector are adequately equipped to excel in their chosen venture and remain competitive in the larger market. Also, we hope to break monopolies driven by financial limitations so that prices for services provided by local businesses are attractive.
- Work with each local government to develop an economic agenda that is unique to its needs, resources and potential.
- Reinvigorate the Imo State Chamber of Commerce and infuse it with expertise from international advisers in areas such as microfinance, marketing, exports, etc
- Expand the agro sector using the network of farmers in Imo State by providing: access to technical support and training; access to prime seedlings and starter livestock; opportunities for diversification to maintain competitive prices and diversity in agricultural products; financial support to starter farmers and established farmers who plan to run commercialized farms; and marketing services to provide farmers with access to high value buyers and international markets.
- Solicit funding from international organizations for microfinance projects to enhance economic development in Imo State and economic empowerment of Imo State citizens.
- Solicit foreign investment in Imo State through partnership programs that emphasize indigenous shares and facilitate the growth of worker-owned companies. We envision ownership as an important driver of productivity, accountability and sustainability.
Infrastructure Development and maintenance:
It is unfortunate that the citizens of Imo State and indeed all of Nigeria have to live without basic amenities of the 21st century such as electricity, good roads, airports, affordable and safe transportation services, hospitals with equipment that address the health needs of this century, and standard classrooms and learning facilities to mention a few. Without electricity, good roads and transportation means, Imo State will remain economically very unattractive to major and particularly international investors. Without well equipped hospitals and diagnostic services and increased access to such services, Imo State indigenes will continue to suffer high mortality rates from modern and ancient diseases.
Finally, our children will never reach their maximum potential if their classroom environment is less than conducive for learning. Our goal for infrastructure development is to develop a three year plan to improve infrastructure across the state. Given that everything is broken down and completely dysfunctional, it is impossible to remedy different infrastructure in all areas at the same time. However, we want to assure that each local government receives a boost in areas that are critical to its development with increased access to services like centrally located schools and hospitals, pending the complete distribution of these services throughout each local government.
Within six months of our administration, develop a three year plan that identifies key infrastructure in each local government that will be the focus of targeted development activities.
- Provide support for the enhancement of two existing hospitals to state of the art facilities equipped to treat diseases of the 21st century.
- Provide economic incentives for the development of privately owned diagnostic service companies to provide state of the art health diagnostic services to Imo State citizens.
- Restore major roads and arterials to key economic and residential destinations in the state.
- Identify an industrial zone in the state to locate new businesses.
- Develop a long term power generation plan for Imo State that is independent of the national power grid.
- Bring the technology sector in Imo State into the 21st century.
- Develop a long term infrastructure and city development plan for Imo State that embraces zoning and urban planning, without causing people to lose their inherited property.
- Create new satellite townships that promote social, mental, and physical well-being, and that discourage class segregation.
- Develop home-ownership plans that provide financial support and access to standard homes to citizens of Imo State with employment or means to afford housing.
- Upgrade Imo State airport to a world class airport facility complete with aviation maintenance companies.
- Build a satellite airport to provide additional services to tourist areas that will be created and also to economic empowerment zones that are outside the Owerri metropolis.
Public Health and Health Care Delivery
It is unfortunate that in the 21st century, the government is unable to make intelligent statements about the state of health in the state. Nobody, including government, knows: how many people now suffer and die from cancers, how many people suffer from heart disease, stroke, aneurisms and other diseases of the 21st century; how many children are born prematurely and in need of special care; and what types of infectious diseases (perhaps with the exclusion of HIV because of international interest) plague our people and the impact of these diseases on our people. Nobody trusts the health care system and the general consensus is that a visit to the hospital is the first stop on the way to the morgue.
Doctors are not accountable for their errors and there is no central system to verify the credentials and performance of medical personnel. Every death is blamed on the devil; whether the person received appropriate and timely care is never questioned. Basic preventive care is unavailable. Many citizens are uninformed about what they need to do to promote good health such as good nutrition, avoiding simple hazards in their environment, etc. Of course, this is no surprise given that the public health system is virtually non-existent in our communities and health care delivery has failed because the system is ill-equipped and there are no checks and balances to assure a baseline level of care. Our administration will tackle these issues using the following strategy:
- Create a council of public health advisors for the state. This advisory group will boast expertise in different fields of medicine and public health. The advisory group will provide a report replete with recommendations within six months of our administration to the government on the state of health in Imo State,
- Develop a comprehensive state of the art electronic birth and death registry.
- Provide training for existing health care staff public health professionals, doctors, etc to bring them into the 21st century.
- Partner with world class academic institutions to develop and enhance capacity of our educational sector to provide training to public health and health care professionals, and to provide some of this training.
- Reactivate the primary health care delivery system and integrate maternal and child care, infectious diseases, social, mental and environmental health services into the system. Enhance the capacity of community health care centers to deliver a range of preventive and basic curative services to the people of Imo State, and that will provide sentinel reports of the state of health in Imo State.
- Introduce technological advancements to support data collection and dissemination.
- Develop a public health system that is sensitive to emerging and re-emerging diseases using the revitalized public health network of community health centers.
Illiteracy is the bane of progress because good education is a sure ticket to enlightenment, employment and a good quality of life. Our strategy for the educational sector is to:
- Establish partnerships between our local universities and world class educational institutions in different parts of the world to facilitate information exchange, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and research partnerships in all fields including health, public health, engineering, computing, management sciences to mention a few.
- Rehabilitate the primary and secondary education system by setting up continuing education credit systems through which teachers are armed with up to date strategies and knowledge for teaching.
- Review and revise the pay structure in the primary and secondary education system to assure that good teachers are attracted to the profession.
- Introduce a system of accountability across the educational sector so that pay is commensurate with performance. Provide mechanisms through which teachers are accountable.
- Provide access to technology in classrooms to foster learning in a modern world.
- Establish a world class library in the capital city that enhances citizen access to various types of information and places research and new information from the rest of the world at the finger tips of Imo State citizens.
Accountability of government to the people of Imo State: The citizens of Imo State have been left in the dark about the distribution of their resources. Our citizens are completely in the dark and unable to determine for themselves whether what they pay for is what they get. This government will be accountable to the citizens. We believe in commensurate pay for work done. We believe that local companies that provide services to government should be paid for their services including making profits to keep them viable, and more importantly that the services provided are optimal and commensurate with the work done. We believe that as civil servants, we should all be paid for demonstrable work. Our strategy for accountability at all levels and for everyone is as follows:
- Develop a system of accountability for all government expenditures in all parastatals.
- Provide live reports to the people of Imo State about the state of their state, with a focus on key areas of this plan.
- Develop and disseminate biennial progress reports on key objectives of this strategy to the people of Imo State.
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Nwajiuba-Mezu for Imo State GovernorChange Imo for Better YES WE CAN!!!
Hon (Barr.) Emeka Nwajiuba
Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu
Honesty and Integrity / Security
Growing a Sustainable Agro-economy Equity and Creation of Wealth for the People Accountability Infrastructure Development
Stability and Reform of Educational Institutions Reform Health Care Sector / Socio-Economic Revival True Rehabilitation of Roads / Tourism Real Service to the People of Imo State
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Responses to America Best Inn Rally
Baltimore, Friday 18 February 2011
“I am glad I could be there. My late father is about the only other father figure I know for whom common good is second nature. I remembered him yesterday, listening to Dr. S.Okechukwu Mezu speak. It was a good feeling. . . I was moved by daddy’s rendition of his contributions to Imo State in the 70s. . . I think young ones would be inspired. your daddy’s past contributions to Imo State and how he plans to bring back idealism to a dead state. . . “Young woman
“When I first heard about this mission, I never for once thought about whether it was possible or not because of my belief – When God says yes, who can say no? As you know mommy, the bible says that we should call the things that are not as if they are. What we need to glorify him, he has already made available. We just have to believe, reach out and take it. When it is God’s way and plan, the impossible becomes possible. . . This mission will yield monumental change. I don’t know what the nature of the change is but it will be great and will glorify God’s name. I will be diligent in prayer for this mission . That is all he asks of us. Faith, diligence and hard work.”Dr. Maechi Nweke
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 21 February 2011