Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has so far been met with diplomatic silence in Africa, except for a comment made by Kenya’s ambassador to the UN earlier this week. Analysts say that while many Africans disagree with Russia’s use of force, the continent’s governments are aware of Russia’s power on the world stage.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Kenya, Andrii Pravednyk, spoke to reporters in Nairobi and appealed to the international community to help his country against Russia’s invasion.
“Today, the future of Europe and the future of the world is at stake. Today Ukraine calls on the international community to take the following actions, to implement devastating sanctions on Russia now without any delay,” he said.
But so far, African governments have said nothing about the Russian aggression. One exception is Kenya, whose ambassador to the U.N., Martin Kimani, condemned the prospect of an invasion Monday, three days before Russian forces entered Ukraine.
“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force. We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression,” he said.
Separately, South Africa issued a statement Wednesday urging Ukraine and Russia to find a way to de-escalate tensions.
Steven Gruzd is the head of the Russia-Africa Program at the South African Institute of International Affairs. He says African states are well aware of Russia’s power in the international system.
“African countries are mindful of the role Russia plays in international politics. It is a supporter without asking governance questions, without asking [about] the internal affairs of countries,” he said.
“There was a big Africa-Russia summit in 2019 in Sochi where 43 African leaders went. Russia is definitely wooing the continent and that may weigh on how critical countries are going to be,” he said.
But Grudz says in principle, African government oppose the idea of rearranging borders by force.
“We were left with colonial borders at the end of the 19th century and when our countries became independent, we decided that we would respect those borders even though they cut off ethnic groups and language groups and so on. Otherwise, it’s a recipe for total disaster. So, I think the fact that there is some political affinity between Russia and African countries would probably make the statement more muted but African countries will stand for their principles and one of those is territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.
Kenyan international relations expert Kizito Sabala says he doubts the Kenyan ambassador’s words at the U.N. will affect Nairobi’s relationship with Moscow.
“Russia is going to ignore this statement just like any other from the U.S. or any other partner. They are just going to proceed with what they want to do and what they think is right but in terms of relations, I don’t think it is going to adversely affect Kenya-Russia relations,” he said.
Russia has exerted increasing influence in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Mali and Libya in recent years. Some governments have used Russian mercenaries to battle insurgent groups.
AICC: Egyptian Grandmasters Dominate Tourney
With just two rounds left to play, top Nigerian chess players have dropped out in the ranking at the on-going African Individual Chess Championship holding at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.
Although Nigerian players showed shade of genius in the battle field as the tournament reached its climax on Sunday night, the Egyptian who are higher rated players dominate play with Adly Ahmed (African number 2) and Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda leading the pack of other players in both Open and Women sections.
Both have consolidated their lead in the competition, as every win counts to games 4 and 5.
WGM Wafa trounced her Angolan opponent, Woman International Master Esperanca Caxita, in a Sicilian opening with black mostly dominating the game right from the middle play.
The Egyptian WGM is all but a massive one point ahead of the pack leading into the final rounds starting this morning.
While the Egyptian masters are dominating play, credit also goes to some Nigerians raising their heads to be counted. Nigeria Youth Games product, Onoja Iyefu Joy continues to show resilience and determination to earn her first chess title and create a record while at it.
She had on Saturday continued her fine run of form by scoring an entire point against Paulo Jemima to register the second position on the ranking table with 9 points. A win in the 7th round will help Joy secure a Woman International Master Title.
WIM (elect) Ofowino Toritsemuwa bettered her AICC Tunisia 2019 record, and she is bound to create a new one as she takes on WGM Wafa in the seventh round.
Toritsemuwa currently shares second place with her compatriot, Iyefu Onoja, both holding 4.5 points, hence making the 7th game point as crucial for the player.
In the Open section, 20-year-old Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus is pulling his weight. He scored an outstanding 4.5 points after six games, but it is not about the score, somewhat the opponents; defeating 1 GM, 2 IMs, and three draws against two IMs and FM, the youngster will get his chance at GM Adly in the seventh round.
With a half point behind the tournament leader, African Number 1–GM AminBassem landed his second consecutive win after the drawn game with compatriot GM Ahmed Adly, demonstrating he still stands a chance to catch up and maybe win the tournament.
Bassem faces IM David Silva of Angola in the seventh round, who had to offer a draw to his opponent in the sixth round due to health issues. We hope he’s gotten his strength back for this crucial game.
The tournament ends tomorrow with Maltina and Gulder are among the top sponsor of the event.
Don’t vote for ‘killers’ in 2023 elections – ex-President Jonathan urges Nigerian youths
A former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has urged Nigerians not to elect “killers” in the 2023 general elections.
Mr Johnathan stated this on Sunday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State during a thanksgiving service to mark the 35th anniversary of the state.
Mr Johnathn and his wife, Patience, were the special guests of honour at the service which was also attended by the governor of his home state — Bayelsa — Douye Diri.
“In 2023, you must not make the mistake to vote killers. Those who carry knives, guns, and all kinds of gadgets to go and kill people because of politics, are the enemies of society.
“If you kill to become a leader, you will continue to kill to remain a leader and the people will continue to suffer.”
The former president said he has monitored the growth of Akwa Ibom, adding that he has been visiting the state at least once a year since he joined the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, now Niger Delta Development Commission, in 1994 as an assistant director.
While thanking the youth of the state for not vandalising infrastructure, the former president recalled how some people sabotaged his development efforts in the power sector by using arc saws to fell towers because they wanted Nigeria to remain in darkness.
Mr Johnathan said the election of the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, should teach politicians a good lesson, especially those who doubted Mr Emmanuel’s ability to manage “human beings”.
Governor Emmanuel was an executive director at Zenith Bank before he was appointed Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, a position he later resigned from to vie for the governorship of the state which he won in 2015.
Akwa Ibom is ‘strong national story’ – Gov Emmanuel
Earlier in his speech, Mr Emmanuel thanked the people of the state for their support and described this year’s state anniversary as his last as the state governor.
The governor said Akwa Ibom has become a state with a “strong national story and a sparkling destination of choice for Nigerians and others around the world”.
He appreciated the people for the choice of “Moving Forward,” as the theme of the celebrations but also reminded them that in “moving forward we have to also look back.”
He referenced Joseph, a Biblical figure who later became the Prime Minister of Egypt and added that the children of Israel suffered because of Joseph’s mistake.
“Joseph made a mistake in Egypt when he was about to go, he did not look at the issue of who succeeded him and that is why the children of Israel suffered.
“If you are a God-sent man you must also learn. I’ve learnt from what Joseph did and today we went back to God and I want to appreciate all Akwa Ibomites because a man after God’s heart will come after another man after God’s heart,” Mr Emmanuel said.
He promised to complete before leaving office next year, the international worship centre that his administration is building in the state.
Knocks, Kudos as Peter Obi promises 100m poor Nigerians ‘access to free medical care’
Mixed reactions have trailed the promise by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, stating that his administration will prioritise the welfare of the poor Nigerians if elected.
“If elected the next president of Nigeria, youths would be the main proponents of my main agenda to transform Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation. The two main components of this agenda are human capital development and finance.”
Obi further said health and education are vital to the development of the country, promising to ensure “at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical care”.
“Given the role of health in reinforcing education in the measure of productivity, my leadership will pay serious attention to the health system by ensuring that at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme.”
Obi’s promise which has gone viral, generated divergent reactions on social media platforms.
While some supporters of Obi believed the promise made by their candidate is possible, they argued in support that the country is buoyant enough to take care of citizens’ medical care.
ASUU: Seven months after, FG orders VC’s to reopen schools
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike for about seven months now.
The association is demanding from FG the funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
Recall that the federal government went to court to challenge the action of the association. Last week the national industrial court through Polycarp Hamman, the judge in the NIC, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.
The outcome of the judgement was questioned by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who stated that the national industrial court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the case between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
However, tired of the lingering strike the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission ordered vice-chancellors to re-open schools and allow students resume lectures.
In a letter disclosed to journalists on Monday, signed by the Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, FG instructed all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities to re-open schools.
“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, part of the letter read.
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