Sunday, 25 October 2009

News Release From MEND: Indefinite Ceasefire

                                                     MEND Logo

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009,  the Federal Government of Nigeria expressed its readiness to engage in serious and meaningful dialogue with every group or individual towards achieving a lasting peace in the Niger Delta.
This welcome shift in position conveyed to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) by Mr. Henry Okah after his meeting with President Umaru Yar'Adua on Monday, October 19, 2009 indicated the willingness of the government to negotiate with the MEND Aaron team.
To encourage the process of dialogue between the government and the team that MEND has selected to negotiate its demands for a lasting peace in the Niger Delta region, an indefinite ceasefire has been ordered and takes effect from 0000Hrs, Sunday, October 25, 2009.
The Aaron Team has been modified with the exit of Ms. Annkio Briggs by mutual consent. She has been replaced as the groups liaison with immediate effect by Mr. Amagbe Denzel Kentebe.
Jomo Gbomo

Article: Dialogue with Elite friend

                                         Author With Wole Soyinka

Friend:  Chidi, why do you waste your time and energy to write poems only to post them on blogs, listservs, websites and social networking sites for people to read free?

Me: I aim to reach the highest number of people possible from diverse backgrounds with my poetry. For me, mass media like blogs, listservs, websites and social networking sites are best for my purpose.

Friend: nonsense, poetry is for those with elevated intellect, not for everybody.

Me: wrong notion. Opaque poetry written mainly for students to read and pass exams, which they usually forget about immediately after graduation, may fall into this category. Poetry is supposed to be one of the tools of socio-political and cultural mobilization.

Friend: I am still of the opinion that you should publish only on books and on literary review journals, if you want to be taken serious.

Me: (laughter) taken serious by who? The people whom I write for take me serious, judging by their reactions. Anyway, publishers of books and literary review journals are free to publish my poems if they choose to.
Friend: what do you gain from poetry since you are not making money from it?

Me: if my poetry helps to reform the society, I would have secured at least a footnote in history.

Friend: (chuckle) how do you think poetry can reform the society?

Me: (surprise) if the right messages are delivered in less opaque poetry to the highest number of people possible with diverse backgrounds, they will one day revolt against oppressors.

Friend: even blogs, listservs, websites and social networking sites do not reach everybody

Me: right, but they at least have wider reach.

Friend: how do you reach those who do not have access to the Internet?

Me: in future, I hope to print my poems on leaflets and also record them on audio/visual tapes and distribute them free in motor parks, market places and other such places where the masses are found.

Friend: (scornfully) all hail the poet!

Me: (smiling) time will tell

By Chidi Anthony Opara