Monday, 5 April 2010


The present Benin Kingdom is the remains of the once great Benin Empire which at the zenith of its power spanned from the River Niger to the East, to parts of the present Ondo State to the North and the Atlantic Ocean to the South. The Western boundaries of the Empire varied from time to time but it remained more consistently at Eko (Lagos) from the reign of Oba Orhogbua in 1565.
The Benin Empire remains in history as one of the oldest and most prominent of all the empires of West Africa and indeed Africa and was certainly the most stable of the four empires the Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani and Bornu empires that dominated the political landscape of the present day Nigeria. Endowed with such proud origins, there is little wonder therefore that the Benin Empire was also blessed with heroes, heroines and achievers of both national and international fame. Naturally most of these are members of the royal family, notably kings and queens like Ewuare, Ozolua, Esigie, Idia and Ovonramwen, to name a few, who contributed in one way or another to the establishment, consolidation, expansion and defence of the Benin Empire.

While Ewuare and Ozolua were essentially empire builders, Esigie and Idia were both empire builders and consolidators of Benin superiority, Ovonramwen was an embodiment of Benin resistance to foreign domination.
Among those heroes of the Empire who were not strictly of the royal family were citizens like Asoro who fought gallantly in defence of the independence of his people against the British colonial invaders. Benin as an empire ended officially in 1897 but the Kingdom which replaced it did not cease to be endowed with the attributes of the Empire which it succeeded. Heroes and achievers remained in the Kingdom, albeit in different forms, thanks to the persistence of the historical consciousness, the lessons and achievements of the founding ancestors. The heroes of modern Benin Kingdom need not be defenders of the independence and pride of the Kingdom in the style adopted by the heroes of old. The circumstances and strategies are now different but the goal of protecting and projecting the image and prestige of the Kingdom

remains the same. One of such heroes and achievers who has been contributing to the prestige of the Kingdom is Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion to whom this documentary biography is dedicated.
Chief Igbinedion's heroic contribution is in the form of putting back the Kingdom on the map of the world as in the days of old. Benin Empire had acquired international status in the 16th century as an empire of commerce and cultural excellence, a situation that was marred partially by the event of 1897. The Benin Kingdom today has sufficiently regained a large portion of its lost glory not in terms of territorial size, but in international fame through the conscious activities of contemporary Benin heroes.

Similarly, the Kingdom was made proud in other circumstances. It produced through Chief Igbinedion, the highest donor to the 1984/85 Bendel State Development Fund, the Cross Rivers State Development Fund, the Plateau State Development Fund, Langtang Chapter, Niger State Development Fund, and the highest donor in Nigeria to the Southern Africa Relief Fund, being Chief Igbinedion's contribution to the dismantling of apartheid arid the freedom of Nelson Mandela. He was also the first individual in Africa to provide and maintain a point-to-multipoint microwave telephone system to link Okada, his home town, to the world, a project commissioned by Col. A. Tanko Ayuba, the then Minister of Communications on 10th August 1987. Chief Osawaru Igbinedion was the first Nigerian to establish the largest and best equipped private hospital and medical research centre in Nigeria and West Africa.

The Benin Kingdom has produced, in Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the first Nigerian to set up an indigenous motor distribution company in 1968 to market Japanese made vehicles such as Hino trucks, buses and Mazda cars as well as Polish manufactured Nedion Fiat vehicles in Nigeria. Chief Igbinedion was the first Nigerian to establish trade links with British Chrysler Company for the importation and sale of Chrysler vehicles in the country. The Benin Kingdom has also produced, through Chief Osawaru Igbinedion, the first Nigerian to establish a vehicle assembly plant in Nigeria in 1972 and even more importantly, the Kingdom also produced, through Chief Igbinedion, an entre­preneur in the private airline industry in 1983; the Okada Airlines Limited, the largest private airline in the continent of Africa: Through the airline, whose logo is the famous 16th century Ivory mask of Queen Idia, seized by the British in 1897, and held in the British Museum, the world is again reminded of the history and greatness of the Benin Kingdom. Queen Idia remains in history as one of the greatest women warriors of all time. As the mother of Oba Esigie (1504-1550), she led Benin warriors in defence of the territorial integrity of the Benin Empire including the Benin-Idah War of 1515-1516. The use of the Queen Idia ivory mask as the symbol of the Okada Airline emphasizes the importance Chief Igbinedion attaches to the spirit of nationalism of the Benin people and to the place of Benin heroes and heroines in the sustenance of Benin pride.

With thirty six aircraft in his airline fleet, the Okada Airlines Limited, Chief Igbinedion is qualified for the Guinness Book of Records and with him the Kingdom of Benin. He was the first indigene of Benin Kingdom to be granted the private radio and television license in Nigeria. He is also a pioneer Nigerian indigenous prospector in the oil industry having been granted rights over OPL 471. This illustrious son of Benin began his life from very humble origins.

Igbinedion as a Benin family name is now a household word. It has become synonymous with Aviation, Industry, Education, Finance, Medical Care and Rural Development at local, national and international levels. The man who has made this possible in Africa is Sir (Dr.) Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom


First stop railway Tevern kwa kawele -Afrika jambo Band

Mzee wa saxa Rama akifanya vitu vyake


SECOND STOP-Club afrique

Siku ya pasaka ilikua njuri kwa wengi

Mama Mia

Watu waki serebuka

The Tanzania quartet-Waze wa Kazi - Chande , Tina George, and co

The Tanzania Diaspora 2 Conference in UK

Congolese Women Offer Prescriptions for Ending Sexual Violence in CongoByBibiane Aningina Tshefu, Women’s Coordinator & Adviser, Friends of the Congo andKambale Musavuli, Student Coordinator & Spokesperson, Friends of the Congo

During the week of March 1-12, 2010, several women from the D.R. Congo came to New York to participate at the United Nations 54th Commission on the Status of Women. This is a high level annual international Women’s Forum. The Congolese women represented both government and non-government sectors as well as different provinces of their country. They had ample opportunity to raise their concerns to the gathering during assembly, speak to United Nations officials, policy-makers, members of the New York civil society and community, as well as key members of President Obama’s administration.
The women came with a singular focus, to articulate how Congolese women felt the global community could best address the fourteen-year conflict in the D.R. Congo. Wherever the women ventured, whether it was a community forum in Harlem, gathering at local churches, forums at the United Nations or meetings with Obama administration officials, they articulated a consistent and resolute message. Listen to the Congolese for a change: as “we have repeatedly shared with the international community how they can optimally participate in bringing an end to the geo-strategic resource war in the Congo.”
Western based Think Tanks, humanitarian institutions and policy makers often argue that they have tried everything to bring an end to the conflict. However, a cursory look at the policies that have been prescribed or implemented reveals that almost every policy option tried, has avoided core grassroots women recommendations. Policies implemented by the international community are marked by a reluctance to pressure U.S. and British allies Rwanda, led by Paul Kagame and Uganda, headed by Yoweri Museveni. Also, in spite of the myriad United Nations studies, there has been deadly silence around the role of western mining interests in the perpetuation of the conflict.
The Congolese women shared the following prescriptions to bring an end to the conflict:
1. Call for an Inter-Rwandan dialogue between Rwanda’s Tutsi leadership and Hutu rebels inside Congo. There are no military solutions to what is essentially a political crisis.
2. Opening and expansion of democratic space inside both Rwanda and Uganda so their internal conflicts will cease being fought on the bodies of Congolese women.
3. Greater participation in political life and the decision-making process on the part of Congolese women.
4. Redirection of focus on the part of the global community from targeting the symptoms or effects of the conflict to addressing the root causes - primarily a foreign resource war being waged inside Congo to the detriment of innocent civilians.
In the final analysis, Sexual violence is a consequence of war, therefore, in order to end the violence against women, the conflict must end which requires an end to impunity inside the Congo and in the international community’s involvement in the Congo.
Click on below links to read the messages from the women:
Senator Eve Bazaiba Masudi – "The Political Implication of Congolese Women, for Change and the Promotion of Good Governance in the DRC "Mme Annie Matundu Mbambi - "The Role and Involvement of Women in the Congolese Peace Process"Mme Jeanine Gabrielle Ngungu - "The Problematic of Violence Against Women: A Major Challenge in the National Reconstruction Process"Mme Marie-Claire Faray - "A Message From Congolese Women on the 8th March International Women's Day"
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) message from Congolese women. Video message read by Katherin Machalek, WILPF consultant.Remember to join Friends of Congo on the Break the Silence Tour. Click here to see tour stops!
phone: 202-584-6512