Thursday, 30 August 2012

Can There Ever Be Hope for Nigeria? by Eze Okechukwu

There seems to be fewer and fewer reasons for Nigerians to return back to their country, and more and more reasons for them to stay abroad despite the high paid jobs that are commensurate with their education and experience which lay in Nigeria.
A clear case of this is that of Prof. Bath Nnaji, Nnaji took a different track. Having attained academic heights as professor from one of the best American universities, to the best of his judgements he decided to return to Nigeria. He spent less than two years trying to restructure the power sector. But his resignation on the 28th of August 2012, could be described as a “shock therapy” not because he doesn’t like the job, not because he cannot achieve it, but because like many other educated Nigerians who live outside the country, but believed that Nigeria continues to flounder in unending cycle of corruption he decided to leave in order to maintain his long built r...eputation.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Trend of CBN Currency Reform Since 1999 and Nigeria Economic Growth by Eze Okechukwu

With the introduction of the N100 note. Again, in November 2000 and April 2001, the CBN issued N200 and N500, notes respectively. On Wednesday, October 12, 2005 N1000 note was presented to the public.
Furthermore, on 14th August 2007, the formal CBN governor Prof. Charles Soludo, proposed to restructure and redenominate the naira by dropping tow zeros or moving two decimal point to the left from the currency and issuing more coins denomination in a bid to achieve macroeconomic stability and efficient payment system. However, the reform was suspended following the mix-feeling and critics by some experts.
It has long seems to me a problematic, and even a little embarrassing, that Central Bank of Nigeria has failed to understand that currency reform is not the major challenge facing the country’s economy. Today, graduate unemployment has soared, poverty has increased to what it was 30 years ago, and more 70% of the population are still living with less than $1 a day (World Bank 2010).
I would personally describe the recent proposal by CBN to introduce N5, 000 notes as an “expensive side show” to Nigeria economy. Researchers have noted that if Nigeria can reduce the level of their corruption to that of South African our GDP will increase by 30% (Asiedu 2002).
My questions are:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

"Do not abandon us or Nigeria will face destruction" by Archbishop Kaigama

At the meeting in Rimini the president of the Nigerian conference of bishops launched an appeal to the international community
"Put pressure on your governments, do not abandon us otherwise Nigeria will face destruction." This appeal was launched by Mgr. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria.
For months the country has lived in violence which mostly seems directed at the Christian community.
The Archdiocese of Mgr. Kaigama itself came under attack and the number of victims has already risen to approximately 800 since the beginning of the year.
 "It is crucial that the international community react," he emphasized and "we need to focus our efforts on guaranteeing Nigerians' religious freedom."
Talking to the audience at the Cl meeting which opened today at the Rimini Fair, the bishop has already become a symbol of this tragedy and of the Church's endurance.
He talked about the everyday life of the Christian people who especially in the northern part of the country "live in constant fear because Boko Haram fundamentalists hit innocent targets, often people attending service. Even at Christmas we suffered attacks and there were victims."

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Letter of Jean Vanier to his friends - April 2012

Dear Friends,
I am in a small monastery of the Greek Catholic rite here in Bethlehem, where there are just 7 contemplative sisters, two of whom used to be at L’Arche. The wall which separates Palestine and Israel crosses through the monastery garden; it is the wall of fear, the wall of hate, a symbol of all the walls which surround our own hearts. Even if I no longer travel, I did want to make this journey with Odile, for two reasons. To give a little retreat to these seven sisters (as well as to the Little Sisters of Jesus in Palestine) at the foot of this wall. They are indeed a symbol of hope in our world, where often hatred dominates love, despair dominates hope, and where the welcome of difference is absent.
I also came to be with the little community which is an official L’Arche project. This community at Bethlehem has been a dream for a very long time, a dream which began to take shape in 1981, when the director of institutions in Israel came to L’Arche to ask if we would accept to take over an institution that was being built in Cana of Galilee for 220 young people of Arab origin. The director accepted that that was not our call; our vision is to create little homes, family size. However, he promised his support if we were to start in what was called the Occupied Territories (Palestine). In October 1976, Odile had visited the Malja – a small institution, or asylum which was close to Bethany where there were quite a number of young people in difficulty, who would have needed a place like L’Arche. So it was that with Marie-Antoinette, and Kathy, and then Françoise and others, the dream became a reality in Bethany, a very fragile reality whose life was affected by the closure of the home during the Gulf War in 1991. However, through the faithful presence of Kathy, my cousin Michel de Salaberry, and others, the links continued. Life eventually became somewhat stronger, and now a new stage has been reached here in Bethlehem with Kathy and a Palestinian woman, Mahera, who is leading the community. I was so happy to visit it, to meet each person with a disability and each assistant. It is a community where Christians and Muslims work, celebrate life and share meals together and meet each other at a deep level. They do not live together in a home, for each person lives in their own family, but it is a true community of work, born in relationships of friendship, of communion and of work. I saw their joy in being together and I can witness to the beauty of this community and the quality of their work. They make cribs and other objects from the wool of the sheep in Bethlehem
At a public talk in Bethlehem, before 400 people, of whom the majority were Muslim, I announced the message of peace, of friendship and of the welcome of difference, that is being lived out at Ma’an lil-Hayat (the name of the community). Before my talk, there was a little “theatre-sketch”, involving all the community members. If you would have seen the joy of their parents at the loud applause given their children! The peace and the tenderness lived in this monastery and in our little L’Arche community radiate hope. There is so much violence in our world. Jesus came to transform violence into tenderness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to transform our aggression into the tenderness of listening and of presence.
Here, in Bethlehem, I am touched by the story of Christian de Chergé, the monk of that Trappist monastery in Algeria, who was killed in 1996, along with his brother monks. Christian, of course, knew the Islam that was radical and hard, but above all, he also knew the Islam of the neighbours of his monastery, an Islam that inspires abandonment to God, a life of deep prayer, a love full of respect, and welcome for those who are different. Christian was not naïve: he was a man of God, searching for a theological understanding of the Islam of his neighbours. He knew through experience their authenticity and their truth.
Christian was seeking to understand, in the vision of God, this Islam which had inspired Louis Massignon, the Islam of the Suffis with whom he used to pray. It is this Islam that we know through L’Arche and Faith and Light. It is for this reason, that I appreciate Christian Salenson’s book on the theology of Christian de Chergé – a theology of hope. At the monastery, I had the joy of taking a meal with David Neuhaus, a Jesuit, Franc Bouwen, a White Father, and Abuna Rafik, who are all engaged in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Their presence and their friendship is an inspiration for me.
L’Arche, here as elsewhere, wants to be a sign of unity and of peace with people of different religions. The peace and unity wells up from the joyful presence of those who are the weakest in our societies,. who draw us together and call us to appreciate and love each other.
In Bethlehem, I was also very happy to meet the members of two communities of Faith and Light from Galilee. Faith and Light, a close cousin of L’Arche, which shares the aims of L’Arche while using different means, continues to grow amazingly across the world, giving life to so many people. What a marvel is this Faith and Light, born at Lourdes in 1971.
My house, my little house in Trosly, is a place where I feel so well. Several people have asked me if it had been difficult for me to move to the house of Lazarus from the former house where I had lived for 36 years. I am profoundly happy in this new house. My bedroom looks out onto a garden and I see the sun rising in the morning; my office, with its large bay window, looks out onto the chapel, and the little “castle” for the birds. Little by little, the birds are becoming tamer, and come to peck at the seeds that I put in their castle I give thanks to be able to grow old in the middle of my community. Apart from breakfast, I take all meals in my foyer, Le Val Fleuri, happy that each person accepts me as I am. To be with Patrick, Laurent, Doudoule, Anisette, Stephanie and the others is a gift for me. It is a moment when together we can laugh and say crazy things. What a beautiful thing it is, to live together as brothers and sisters.
I myself will not be going to the big meeting of L’Arche in Atlanta to give thanks for the 13 years of presence of Jean-Christophe and of Christine at the helm of L’Arche, and to celebrate the presence of Patrick and of Eileen who will succeed them. It is going to be a beautiful event. Just imagine 500 people from all our communities celebrating the life, unity and grace of L’Arche, giving thanks together for our 48 years of existence, 48 years of God’s protection. I was at the General Assembly in Kolkata in 2008, where there was an official farewell by the communities of the Federation. In my heart and in prayer I will be in Atlanta, and I am going to follow the meeting as closely as possible using all the means given to me.
I sense such a deep unity among us, due to the presence of the weak people who are at the heart of our communities. Many of them will be present in Atlanta. They keep us in a spirit of joy, laughter and celebration. The three assemblies – Assisi, Kolkata, Atlanta – call us to look at Le Poverello (St. Francis), Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King as our models. They are inviting us to work with more humility and joy for unity and peace.
It is wonderful to live close to La Ferme. I continue to give retreats there, some of which are on the official program, and others which are not. These are for people off the street, for people who have suffered a lot in life through broken marriage, or for others, who live the pain of exclusion. And then, I am present in some L’Arche formations. I carry on giving the sessions on the Gospel of John (in English and in French). Thanks to these sessions, I continue to penetrate into the heart of this inspired writing, where I always find new treasures. These sessions renew my outlook on our suffering world, and on our God who is calling us to hope and to work for peace –when everything seems impossible.
It is springtime now in the Northern hemisphere: the flowers are beginning to show their beautiful faces, and the buds on the trees are revealing the colours of life. The song of love in the bible says: “For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.” (Song of Songs, 2. 11-12).
Even in moments of horrific suffering, Etty Hillesum used to say, « life is beautiful. » Yes, in spite of the horrors and fears, God is alive, creation is alive, the sun is shining and there are so many men and women full of kindness, competence and compassion for other people in their difference and vulnerability. There is hope.
I hold you close to my heart,

''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Monday, 6 August 2012

La prima settimana della nostra esperienza di Mazenod 2012

L’esperienza di Mazenod 2012 ha cominciato il 28 Luglio 2012 alla casa provinciale della provincia oblata mediterranea, Vermicino. Siamo 18 scolastici provenienti dai Quattro continenti. Due dell’Africa, Nove dall’America (Nord e Latina), Sei dell’Europa ed Uno dall’Asia.  Siamo anche dai diversi scolasticati oblati: Orbra (Polonia), San Antonio (USA), IRS (Roma), Fulda (Germania),  Lyon (France), Seoul (Corea), Ottawa (Canada).
Abbiamo, all’ora attuale, quattro oblati maggiore con chi camminiamo. Il nostro programma è fatto in tale modo che possiamo seguire gli insegnamenti e cercare di metterli, almeno quello che riguarda la vita comunitaria, in pratica nella nostra vita di ogni giorno. Abbiamo in questi giorni le sessione sul fondatore e l’inizio della nostra famiglia religiosa. Ogni tanto, abbiamo un momento di riflessione in piccoli gruppi di lingue: due gruppi inglesi ed uno francofono.
Per esperimentare migliore la nostra fraternità, il nostro programma permette alcuni momenti di uscita in gruppo ed un momento di gioco assieme. Il giorno dell’anniversario del fondatore, per esempio, siamo andati in Pellegrinaggio a San Silvestro al Quirinale per una Santa Messe a questa Chiesa cara al fondatore. Quest’occasione ci ha permesso di rivivere, in una maniera più particolare, l’inizio della nostra famiglia religiosa ed i viaggi romani del fondatore.
Abbiamo fatto, in una notte, il torneamento di ping-pong ed il gioco delle carte, ed in un’altra momento, abbiamo anche fatto la partita del calcio.
In realtà, posso dire che la nostra esperienza di Mazenod sta andando benissimo e nonostante la differenza linguistica, noi facciamo una esperienza comunitaria degno della nostra famiglia religiosa. 
''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.