Wednesday, February 21, 2018
ICHEOKU says popularly known as and called the America's pastor, he lived and died believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he died for our sins and in him we secured our passport to heaven. He was a television evangelist extraordinaire and took Jesus Christ into millions of homes world wide. According to one commentator, his success came in his good grasp of the anxieties and opportunities of the time and harped on them which gravitated people to him for succor. The Reverend Blly Graham was 99 years old and died of old age related natural causes. May his soul now rest. Adieu Billy.
Monday, February 19, 2018
ICHEOKU says it is with heart filled with joy and gratitude that ICHEOKU welcomes the British Broadcasting Service decision to acknowledge and accord Igbo language its rightful place amongst the comity of world languages. Igbo language is spoken by over 80 million people worldwide, with its primary ancestral location in Southeastern Nigeria, formerly Biafra. It is about time the language, with such so many speakers, is duly recognized. Thankfully BBC has now answered the call, internationalized it and made it mainstream, with this World Service.
By this trail blazing service, Igbo language has now rocketed into a language of reckon in the world. It is now the 40th globally most widely spoken language to be added to BBC World Service, from the acknowledged over 6909 languages world languages. This is indeed a great honor and being 40th amongst 6909 world languages definitely makes it an elite in the languages department of the world. The Bible has been translated into 2,508 languages, including Igbo language as well; making this BBC recognition the latest honor done to the speakers of the language for which every Nwa-afor Onye Igbo should be proud and eternally grateful. It is a recognition of great magnitude and an introduction of Igbo language to the world audience. Now, among the many world languages, is Igbo language of Ndigbo, spoken predominantly in Southeastern Nigeria Igbo land, by a proud people who are steeped in Igbo cultural identity. A people that have produced so many world recognizable individuals including novelist China Achebe of Things Fall Apart fame.
The BBC honorarium will also help create curiosity and provoke interest amongst the world community in the Igbo language going forward. It will definitely attract other things for Ndigbo, including someday having Igbo language incorporated in computer languages, just like their Chinese, English, Russian, German, French counterparts; such that Ndigbo can then surf and use the Internet using Igbo language as their preferred language of online activities. The world will also get introduced to the magic of a language where one word could mean several things depending on the inflection of the speaker, enunciation and pronunciation. A word like "EGBE" could mean a kite or gun depending on how it is enunciated. Another word like "AKWA" could mean bed, egg, cloth, cry, funeral rites, minstrel, depending on how the speaker twisted his or her tongue.
With Ndigbo spread throughout the world, the BBC World Service for Igbo will help to bridge the gap for children of Ndigbo in Diaspora to stay close to their ancestral language and diligent parents can also use the portal as a tool to teach their children their native language and general keep abreast of developments in Ala-Igbo.
ICHEOKU agrees with Adline Okere that the BBC World Service for Igbo will be the first time Igbo language will be written and broadcast internationally, reaching a global audience running into billion human beings. Also, Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye was right that delivering authentic content in Igbo language to Ndigbo worldwide in their mother tongue will be exciting and refreshing indeed. Now, Igbo language will join Yoruba and Hausa as the three Nigerian main languages, among the over 520 languages spoken in Nigeria, to make the BBC News World Service. ICHEOKU is grateful that BBC was very considerate in its decision to give all the three major cultures in Nigeria an international platform to communicate, interact and keep abreast with happenings and in their lingua franca. Congratulations BBC World Service for introducing Igbo language to the world.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
ICHEOKU says how anybody will campaign for President Muhammad Buhari reelection in 2019, faced with all the things that have gone wrong in Nigeria under his watch, is simply beyond fathom. With which face would anyone stand and explain to Nigerians why the APC's 'hope and change' mantra, which they voted for in 2015, virtually turned sour; and have remained unfulfilled three years down the road, and literary turned APC into an All Promises Cancelled disaster. Like a bad product, selling or marketing President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians in 2019, will definitely be an uphill difficult, if not impossible, task to pull off.
President Muhammadu Buhari has unenviably earned the singular dishonor of being the most hated and loathed president Nigeria ever had; such that no right thinking Nigerian would willingly vote for him again to continue in office in 2019. He has not kept faith with the Nigerian people, whose goodwill he fretted away when he failed to honor his election promises to improve their lives. Like American Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton to the Democratic Party, President Muhammadu Buhari has become more of a liability to the All Progressive Congress than an asset. He lost it all and his hitherto electoral invincibility as a disciplined corruption-free military man has since also been eroded; particularly by his crass cronyism and the unfortunate political poison pill which he took when he distinguished and differentiated Nigerians into two groups, the 5% and the 97%. His lopsided appointments and complete exclusion of an entire one third of the country, Ndigbo, from key positions in his government will hurt him greatly. The president did not do enough either to improve his electoral fortunes in those areas that consider themselves victims of his nepotism and cronyism.
Boko Haram is still taking its toll on Nigerians. Corruption is still ravaging Nigeria. Power supply has not improved. Overall security has further been compounded by the addition of terrorists Fulani herdsmen who are causing immense havoc in the land, leaving a trail of sorrow, blood and tears in their wake. Unemployment is still rife. So what exactly are the underlying strengths of President Muhammadu Buhari which Nigerians would like to continue to see and enjoy; and which will persuade them to want to keep him around for much longer and which will make them to vote for him in 2019. These are some of the multi dimensional questions which anyone campaigning for Buhari-2019 will first have to convincingly answer to Nigerians, before they will accord him any serious second look. How can anyone convince Nigerians that a Buhari who could not deliver on the two main planks of his 2015 mandate, war on corruption and insecurity, will suddenly become who he is not and that anyone should take him serious with his promise to take Nigeria to another level come 2019. The general feeling in the land is that if he could not do it in his first term, there is no guarantee that he will do it with a second term mandate in 2019; and bridging this gap of distrust is a heavy duty task for Bola Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi to pull off.
Therefore ICHEOKU is not envious of the current task which Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu is saddled with to reconcile the various factions within the moribund APC. As a correlation, by accepting to work for President Muhammadu Buhari's reelection campaign, Bola Tinubu has embarked on a mission impossible and only by special miracle will he mission accomplish this time around. ICHEOKU is emphatic that 2019 will not be a walk in the park like 2015 was and APC will need all the help they can get to retain their President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock. President Muhammadu Buhari has lost all the goodwill which endeared him to the hearts of those Nigerians who swarmed around him in 2015 to elect him president. With no electoral rain check left for him to cash in 2019, only a feat of improbable proportion will see President Muhammadu Buhari through to a second term. What a tall order Bola Tinubu and co have in their task to help win President Muhammdu Buhari a second term and they definitely have their work cut out for them.
ICHEOKU says no one captured this dire strait in which APC found themselves with their President Muhammadu Buhari's disappointing or rather lack of performance during his first term more than Rotimi Amaechi, when he eloquently stated: “It was not easy electing Buhari the last time, but it will certainly be more difficult this time. Expectations were too high and we did not meet those expectation." ICHEOKU says completely agrees that Rotimi Amaechi summation was right on the money; and that baring any miracle of election, President Muhammadu Buhari will end up being just a one term president, who Nigerians regretted ever electing in the first place and wished they never did. But as with everything in life, never say never is always a good hedge and until the election comes and goes, no one should ever rule out anything including a possible President Muhammadu Buhari's reelection in 2019.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
ICHEOKU says in what seems like the nearing of the end of the road in the ongoing Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation of the Russian Collusion into the 2016 American presidential election, 13 Russian nationals and three other Russian groups were indicted today by the Justice Department.
Their offense was interfering with the 2016 United States of America presidential election by allegedly creating aliases and assuming false personas of American citizens which they used as a cover to interfere with the presidential election. According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, it is a reminder that somethings and people are not always what they seem or appear to be, especially on the Internet. Further, that the Russians primary objective was to create and promote discord in America and undermine the public confidence in America's democracy. That their goal was to support now-President Trump's campaign and to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton's, and that some defendants while posing as U.S. people communicated with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.
ICHEOKU says if as alleged, the Russians allegedly talked to some American people and were advised to focus their efforts on swing states such as "Colorado, Virginia and Florida, two of which, Virginia and Colorado, Hillary Clinton won and Trump won the other one Florida, how successful then was the Russians attempt to help the then candidate Donald Trump become president if he lost two out of the three swing States they had focused their efforts on.
The Russian meddling efforts, which began in 2014, was connected to an Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg Russia, which leveraged Facebook and other social media platforms to spread divisive messages among Americans months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. ICHEOKU says if the Russian meddling effort began in 2014, one year before Donald Trump entered into active partisan politics with his declaration of intent to run for the presidency in 2015, what then is the collusion nonsense he is being accused of, really about? The Russians were already in the heat of their game, "meddling" with American politics, long before Trump jumped into partisan politics. So why then accuse him of starting or colluding with what preceded him? Certain things does not in fact make any sense and this investigation cockamamie do smell of an ongoing effort to still deliver an outcome which will suit a predetermined narrative. The Never-Trumpers had their goal fixed and must therefore manufacture incredulous tales to help drive the ball into their preset post. Simply incredible.
It is also instructive that the same indicted people and groups organized and staged those anti Trump rallies soon following his election victory and sponsored all those Vagina-hat wearing women as well as Black Lives Matters protests that nearly achieved their objective to cause political turmoil in America. So fundamentally, the Russians were not actually interested in who wins the election, provided they sowed discord within American polity and damage the believe of Americans in their democratic political process. The Russians also tried to encourage minority groups to boycott the election and not to vote for either Trump or Clinton in the last 2016 presidential election because neither represents their interest; and/or if they must, to vote for a third party candidate in protest. They also promoted voter fraud allegations just to cause trouble and create disillusion among Americans.
Lastly, the Deputy Attorney General said that there is no allegation in the indictment that Americans had any knowledge of the Russian clandestine meddling operation. Also that there is no allegation that the Russian meddling influenced the final outcome of the election. ICHEOKU says this is actually the meat of the indictment announcement as it said that "no American" and Trump's team were all Americans; and secondly that whatever the Russians did or did not do did not affect the final outcome of the election. Then query, what is the Robert Mueller's investigation still doing, staying alive, when no American knew nor was involved with the Russians in their collusion and there can be no collusion without knowledge or intent to so collude. Further, if whatever the Russians did or did not do, had no effect in the final outcome of the election, what then is the purpose of all this waste of time and resources on a fantastic Russian Collusion.
Anyway, the innocent will always be vindicated as the Russian Collusion fable is gradually collapsing on its own weightless weight. It never happened. It was a manufactured ruse by the Democrats to save face from fielding the most hated wild eyed crazed out feminist candidate no real American liked nor loved enough to push her through the presidential finish line. Worst still, they lost to a novitiate first timer candidate President Donald John Trump and it made the lost more painful. But their plot is unraveling and soon the Special Counsel is expected to come out and publicly put an end to the Russian Collusion charade. Until then, ICHEOKU agrees with the DAG that the United States of America going forward must work to ensure that such conspiracies to affect elections' outcome do not succeed in undermining the nation's democracy. Also that American agencies will continue to work tirelessly to defend our nation against similar current and future schemes.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
“And I will do this as a servant of the people because I do believe that when one is elected, you basically become a servant of the people of South Africa. And I will seek to execute that task with humility, with faithfulness and with dignity as well. That is what I will seek to do. Thank you all for this great opportunity that I’ve been given. I will try to work very hard not to disappoint the people of South Africa.” - Cyril Ramaphosa, President, South Africa.
ICHEOKU says definitely a right tone to flag off his presidency. Provided he translates his words into action by putting his money where his mouth is, he will succeed as president. ICHEOKU says congratulations Mr President CR.
"No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as President of the Republic with immediate effect. Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC." - Jacob Zuma, former President, South Africa.
ICHEOKU says certainly a gracious and selfless exit. Goodluck JZ and may God see you through your retirement. Thank you Jacob for accepting to relinquish the office and peacefully too. Like former President Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria, they rose above self, recognizing that no blood of the citizens should be shed in their names. Worthy of emulation, especially in the African continent where so many despot would rather continuously shed the blood of the citizens than to yield the office. Congratulations.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
ICHEOKU says it is now part of life in the United States of America that every now and then, another crazed out gunman will pick up weapon and summarily murder innocent people including school children. The latest was in Parkland Florida where a discipline challenged and expelled former student returned for vengeance, killing 17 and wounding 14 others including students, teachers and staff. The gunman was identified as 19 year old Nikolas Cruz was taken alive by police.
ICHEOKU says school shootings in the United States of America is becoming a recurring decimal and short of fully policing our schools, with armed guards and metal detectors installed at gates of entry, it is unfortunate that we might have to get used to such dastardly acts and pray that those crazed out individuals who want to perpetrate such carnage do not succeed with the frequency with which they succeed. And on a Valentine Day, February 14th, which happens to also be Catholic's Ash Wednesday, a day for love that this demented individual decided to cause so much sorrow.
It is pitiful and it is despicable and may God help the grieving and bereaved families heal and give the wounded a full recovery. What a troubled soul this animal in human skin is that the police would have just killed and spared the nation the cost of putting him through trial and possibly long prison sentence or awaiting execution, following an assured conviction. What a sad day it turned out to be for a day meant for love but which this beast just turned it into one of hate and sorrow.
Monday, February 12, 2018
ICHEOKU says whose portraits are they anyway that were passed off as the representation of former President Barack Hussein Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, which the National Portraits Gallery unveiled to the world today. ICHEOKU is not impressed and so are millions of world wide citizens including Americans, who did not see the two portraits as the accurate and true rendering of both public figures.
The Barack Obama painting depicts an older man than the man who just left the White House only last November 2016. Although the image could safely be used to track him down should he go missing; but the damage done to Michelle Obama is such that she is practically unrecognizable and cannot be identified with the image. Put in another way, the image rendered on the canvass or whatever the material it is, was not the former First Lady's.
No explanation is sufficient to cushion or sugarcoat the damage, regardless of the spin. It was a poor rendition and it turned out uglier than the former First Lady is ugly. Just take a god look at the portrait and you will see a Michelle Obama's body but without her face; somewhat an imposed stranger's face on her body.
Anyway, who knows what the intention of the First Couple are in deciding to use this two portraits as what they want to be remembered by for their time in the White House. But whatever their intention and believing that they were consulted during the painting and supervised them while they progressed, and subsequently approved the final outcome before it was presented to the public, the country deserved better. ICHEOKU regrets that the artists who worked on the paintings did a very bad job and will not hire them to paint even a worst enemy. They were mediocre at best and not good at what they do and did.
New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley and Baltimore based artist Amy Sherald who painted Barack Obama and Michelle Obama respectively for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, will certainly not get more job referrals by reason of this their works. Very poorly rendered. ICHEOKU is not satisfied as a more experienced artist could have been retained and would have done a better job. SAD.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
ICHEOKU says what did former President Barack Hussein Obama know and when did he know it. America people must demand of their leaders a full disclosure and full accountability in the unfolding FBI released memo scandal. Only by getting to the bottom of the matter will American people regain their confidence in their law enforcement agencies.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, 229 foot tall world's most powerful rocket, roared off into space on the power of 27 engines and nearly 5 million pounds of thrust, carrying a payload of Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster, on what the founder of both SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, said is a "just for fun and to get the public excited" journey into the asteroid belt well beyond Mars.
Addressing the media on the successful launch, Elon Musk said: "I'm really excited about today, incredibly proud of the SpaceX team. They've done an incredible job of creating what really is the most advanced rocket in the world, the biggest rocket in the world. I'm still trying to absorb everything that happened because it seems surreal to me. We estimate it'll be in that orbit for several hundred million years, maybe in excess of a billion years."
ICHEOKU says simply fabulous. What a great fit of engineering by a very brainy and brilliant people. Congratulations to Elon Musk and company.
Monday, February 5, 2018
ICHEOKU says for any person, especially a man, to leave his friend hanging in the hour of his most need of him, says a lot about the character of such person. Tom Brady was President Donald John Trump's good friend, a buddy, with whom he has shared so many private jets hours and also played several golf together. But last year when the whole world was piling up on the president, instead of showing his support in solidarity, TB became a no show and to make matters worse, he boycotted the Patriots victory visit to the White House and to the chagrin of the president.
A lot of watery excuses were made for his absence but Americans knew better. Americans saw a wossie whose wife wears the pantsuit in his house and who could not stand up to his wife and tell her that as a team captain Quarterback, he has to lead his boys to the White House; and she better put up with it or shut the f**k up and at worse, get himself another wife if she walks. But TB wavered and abandoned his long time friend when his presence at the White House would have meant the whole world to the president. The president and millions of American irredeemable deplorables have not forgotten and will never forget the dissing Tom Brady gave to the leader of Team MAGA, President Donald John Trump, just because his wife, who he could easily replace, made him. What a friend the president has in Tom Brady; and you ask yourself with a friend like Tom Brady, does President Donald John Trump need an enemy.
But the Almighty God to whom we all pray to was not asleep nor would he let Tom Brady shine as usual after his great betrayal of a president who did nothing to deserve his sudden turn back on him. So in Super Bowl LII, in Minneapolis Minnesota, the good Lord sent the great Karma to go remind Tom Brady how not to be bad friend. Tom Brady and his New England Patriots were denied another moment in the sun of winning the NFL championship, as an underdog Philadelphia Eagles defeated them. ICHEOKU says whoever said that the good Karma ever goes to sleep. Simply put, a payback time for Tom Brady for abandoning his friend President Donald John Trump, just because of the convenience of political correctness and what was popular; and forgetting the road they traveled together prior. SAD.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
ICHEOKU says the most disturbing thing arising from the released memo is the implicit corruption within the upper echelon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Justice Department; two organs of government empowered to enforce the laws of the United States of America. The very thing that makes third world non functioning countries not functional - corruption; and this is the sole reason the matter must be pursued to its logical conclusion, in order to prevent any future such violations and once again reestablish the confidence of the American people in both departments.
So many lawyers have been taken down for trying to bribe witnesses and pervert justice; so many judges have been dealt with for taking bribes; as well as Congress men and women, some of who served terms in prison and are still serving terms for trying to corrupt the system; all thanks to the investigative prowess of the FBI. As for ordinary Joe and Jill citizens of America, several thousands of them have been taken down and punished through the instrumentality of both the FBI and DOJ as well; hence both organs of law enforcement must be made to practice what they preach by forcing them to stay above board and atop of every fray. They have to be held accountable for their present involvement in the matter leading up to the last election and attempt to subvert the election of President Donald John Trump and sabotage his presidency. Simply put, what they did was both grave and unacceptable to our solemn trust in their law enforcement infallibility.
Therefore allowing the current unfolding sordid drama to go unpunished is condoning a cancer which will eventually eat into the very fabric that holds and makes America exceptional. The people must not be made to lose faith in the very backbone of our justice system and only getting to the very root of the matter and punishing everyone implicated therein is the only acceptable action that will assuage the current matter. It does not matter who goes to prison over the scandal and everyone implicated thereto must be made to face the justice which they tried to pervert by colluding to subvert an American presidential election. Any other thing, conclusion or opinion is simply unacceptable and should not be canvassed nor entertained, period.
Finally Americans have now seen who actually participated in the real "RUSSIAN COLLUSION"; yet they were chasing the wind all along, pointing Americans to the wrong direction. possibly in their attempt to hoodwink the American people and prevent them from seeing who in fact are the culpable parties here. It is a very sad day for all those who have been sent away for corruption as well as the entire American people whose faith in the justice system has been so supremely shaken up with what the released memo revealed. How else can anyone sum it up than to say it was the mother of all collusion.
Finally Americans have now seen who actually participated in the real "RUSSIAN COLLUSION"; yet they were chasing the wind all along, pointing Americans to the wrong direction. possibly in their attempt to hoodwink the American people and prevent them from seeing who in fact are the culpable parties here. It is a very sad day for all those who have been sent away for corruption as well as the entire American people whose faith in the justice system has been so supremely shaken up with what the released memo revealed. How else can anyone sum it up than to say it was the mother of all collusion.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
ICHEOKU says actually blames those novitiate Nigerians who were expecting something different from President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani first and Nigerian second, inexplicable president of Nigeria. A man with such a storied pro Fulani credentials dating way back in his days as Lt Colonel in the Nigerian army that fought the Biafran civil war and continuing till the present. Yet some Nigerians are living in denial and wishing that what is not there could magically assume a form and effervesce to reality. It is only in Nigeria that holograms are mistaken for real people and expected to perform like humans with blood in their veins and brain in their cranial cavity. As for ICHEOKU and other rightly thinking Nigerians, we are not surprised by the president's current antics, particularly his soft heart for the Fulani people. Rather, we would have been surprised had the president been any different or acting any differently and in any other way, short of his current Fulanization of Nigeria escapade.
Simply put, there is no reasonable basis for any right thinking Nigerian to, based on the president's storied antecedents and precedents, justify any such expectation that President Muhammadu Buhari would be a fair minded Nigerian president; who is not biased for his Fulani roots. This is a man who never left Nigerians in doubt as to where his true loyalty lies and had consistently proved and showed it whenever the opportunity arose. Therefore, nobody and no Nigerian should now blame him for trying to unifying his Fulani people of Niger Republic with their Fulani kits and kins of Northwestern Nigeria into one formidable power bloc and whatever arranged political unit he desires or will craft out sometime later in the future. Fulani United globalization bug seemed to have bitten the president and his mission has now apparently changed from leading Nigeria towards attaining greatness to organizing a strong Fulani caliphate which will be competitively relevant in the affairs of the world, particularly in Nigeria and Africa in general.
This is a man who as then Head of State, locked up in a maximum security prison a Vice President while placing the Fulani president in a luxurious home arrest, simply because he is a Fulani and better than the rest. Here is a president who as then Head of State, while prosecuting his supposed War Against Indiscipline and locking up politicians in long prison sentences for corruption, allowed his Fulani ADC Jokolo, to clear 53 suitcases loaded with currency and other valuables belonging to his Fulani father and then Emir of Gwandu from the customs and without consequence or paying necessary import duties or undergoing normal routine Custom's clearance of imported goods. Here is a president who as then Head of State, sided and sponsored a Fulani man from Niger Republic Ide Oumaru for the Secretary General of then Organization of African Unity and against his fellow Nigerian country man and then already Acting Secretary General Peter Onu. Any Nigerian who would expect such a man, who could take such audacious Fulani action, to suddenly become more Nigerian, needs to have his or her head examined.
Here is a man who then as a "bloody" civilian led a twenty vehicle convoy to Agodi Ibadan to protest to then Governor Lam Adesina that "your people are killing my people", arising from a Fulani crash with local indigenes. Then he continued threatening the lives of baboons and dogs and even took some lives of baboon and dogs; and was planning to take more lives of baboon and dogs until Goodluck Jonathan conceded an election which was otherwise heavily rigged by Fulani people for their Fulani great uncle and now President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari. These disposable baboons and dogs are definitely not of Fulani stock, otherwise he would not have made them an endangered specie. That thousands of Fulani from Niger Republic and Chad were bused in during the last presidential election to boost the voters in Kano, Bauchi and other Fulani border communities of Northern Nigeria is a fact. That thousands of underage Fulani almajiris voted in that election was also a fact.
The present Inspector General of Police as then police commissioner in Kano oversaw the mouth numbing rigging that witnessed a 100% voter turnout in Kano. The first of its kind in any part of the world, where no registered person died, relocated, traveled, was indisposed, in hospital, incarcerated was unable to vote; but it happened in Kano State under another crazed-out Fulani Governor Kwankwanso and they broke out for their Fulani big brother and uncle President Muhammadu Buhari. The IGP was handsomely rewarded with the coveted position of the IGP for his brazen audacity during the election in Kano State which also saw the resident Electoral Commissioner burnt to death alongside his family to prevent his threatened exposure of what took place in that election.
Then add the Fulani INEC chairman Jega who skewed the election for the Fulani desired outcome and of course the Fulani heads of NSA, Defense etc, whose all goal was to engineer a power shift back to the North, despite serving under the pleasure of an incumbent Southerner who appointed them to office. But atypical of the Fulani people, their loyalty is first to the Fulani tribe before any other thing comes a distant second. So without an organized Fulani consensus to elect President Muhammadu Buhari president and conspiracy against then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, there would not have been a President Muhammadu Buhari today. Understandably, a grateful president who knows that he owes so much to his Fulani brothers for his presidency, decided to go all out of his way to show them much love. His gratitude and appreciation for the honor of having made him president, saw him rewarding his Fulani foot soldiers, who midwifed and made possible his presidency against all odds, with the headship of practically every security agencies in the country as well as other very juicy parastatals.
When you add his first trip abroad which was to the citadel of Fulani in Africa, Agadez, Niger Republic, to pay homage to his roots and to show where his heart really lies, then the picture of his unalloyed loyalty gets clearer. He got away with that and now his Fulani brothers herdsmen are running amok throughout the country without reprisals and being protected by their big uncle in Aso Rock. His latest mantra is that seven Fulani lives are worth more than 73 Tiv lives and the Fulani axe men's brigandage and spilling of blood is continuing, unabated and unchecked in the country; simply because their big brother or rather great uncle is in Aso Rock. That done, he ordered the minister of Transport to build a railroad from Daura to Niger Republic while depriving the entire Southeast of Nigeria such infrastructural development. The same man had a 1000 kilometer of pipeline constructed and completed, bringing crude oil from Niger Republic to Kaduna refinery, since becoming president. His latest Fulani project is the refinery he is now proposing to build at the tip of Katsina State that will be fed with crude oil from Niger Republic.
ICHEOKU completely and fully understands that people tends to gravitate towards their father's lineage and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria should not be an exception or expected to otherwise be any different. His biological father, Mallam Muhammadu Buhari Sr, a duck seller, was from Agadez, Niger Republic. According to his story, it was during one of his business trips to sell his ducks in Daura that he was lovestruck with the president's mother and the rest they say became history. But that is not without saying that a child cannot take the citizenship of his or her mother as well; but Nigerians should cut the president some slacks and put on the president's lenses in order to see why the president's heart is somewhere other than in Nigeria and his love for his kindred in Niger Republic is profound. His father's people are his people; and even ICHEOKU would be so similarly smitten if the president; a man who has now become the most successful son of Niger Republic who achieved greatness by becoming president of the most populous country in Africa. That definitely is a milestone and every culture celebrates their successful stories.
So Nigerians, please stop, cease and desist, from castigating the president's overtures to his people across the border up North as blood is thicker than water. Fulani existed as a people long before the British created the contraption called Nigeria and still remains indissoluble. He shares the same DNA with them and maintains other cultural affinities with the Fulani people and his heart, lies with them and the president is eminently entitled to so do. Therefore, let Nigerians show some understanding instead of the current reproach and if they are still mad, to next time, vote for a real Nigerian for Nigerian president because foreigners will always identify with their own people. Even Joseph identified with his Israeli people; as well as Moses who left his epicurean heights in Pharaoh's Egypt to be with his people and even killed an Egyptian in defense of his Jewish own people. Then President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, left his heart in Kenyan, despite being the president of the most powerful country in the world. Yes, it is the heart and most times, it controls all of our actions and President Muhammadu Buhari is just a victim of his heart.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:
Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People—and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.
Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission— to make America great again for all Americans. Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine.
Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be. We saw the volunteers of the "Cajun Navy," racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip. We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.
We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires. To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else—we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.
Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House—a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise. We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.
In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.
Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong. And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.
Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages. Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.
Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans' 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts. And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses. To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit. A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000—slashing their tax bill in half.
This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system—and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month. We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year—forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare—the individual mandate is now gone. We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000. Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing -- a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door. One of Staub's employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax-cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.
Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses—many of them thousands and thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers. This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen watching at home tonight—no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.
Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family. We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag. Together, we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "in God we trust.' And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.
Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done. Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem. Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government. Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country. We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.
And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve—and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey. All Americans deserve accountability and respect—and that is what we are giving them, our heroes, our veterans. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers—and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.
In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in the history of our country. We have ended the war on American Energy—and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world. In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America's beautiful autoworkers—so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again. Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States -- something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing—for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.
Exciting progress is happening every day. To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history. We also believe that patients with terminal conditions, terminal illness, should have access to experimental treatments immediately that could potentially save their lives. People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure—I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the "right to try."
One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States and it's over, very unfair. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities for the year. And prices will come down substantially, watch.
America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth. The era of economic surrender is totally over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and, very importantly, reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules. As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year—is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road? I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment -- to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process— getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one. Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.
We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day's work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love. We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity. As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave. As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.
Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families. For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.
Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters -- Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens -- were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa's 16th Birthday, such a happy time it should have been, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage MS-13 gang have been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as illegal, unaccompanied alien minors—and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school.
Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. Please stand, thank you very much. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminal gangs, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents—these are great people, these are great, great people, who work so hard in the midst of great danger—so that this can never happen again.
The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country, anywhere in the world, to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.
So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties— Democrats and Republicans—to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans—to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.
Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez—he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets—tough job. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ's murder and they wanted it to happen quickly. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 MS-13 gang members. We have sent thousands and thousand of terrible MS-13 people out of this country. So I just want to congratulate you CJ. And I asked CJ wants the secret. He said: "We're just tougher than they are," and I liked that answer. CJ, we're going to send you reinforcements and we're going to do it quickly.
Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package. In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise—one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs and must have.
Here are the four pillars of our plan: The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age—that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States over a 12-year period. The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a great wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country—and it finally ends the horrible and dangerous practice of "catch and release."
The third pillar ends the visa lottery—a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of American people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system—one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society and who will love and respect our country. The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.
In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford. It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system. For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen. Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let's come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done. These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction. Never before has it bee like this. It is terrible, we have to do something about it.
In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge. My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need, for those who have been so terribly hurt. The struggle will be long and difficult—but, as Americans always do, in the end we will succeed, we will prevail.
As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America. We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby. In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: "You will do it—because you can." He heard those words. He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope. Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you. Thank you, Ryan and Rebecca.
As we rebuild America's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad. Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our true and great defense. For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.
As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. Perhaps someday in the future, there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly.
Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and Syria and other locations elsewhere. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated. Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city, hopefully soon and hopefully safely. Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton but in very, very bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through two-and-a-half hours and through emergency surgery.
Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin's selfless love for his fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a "V" for "Valor." Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you. Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we have no choice but to annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.
In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield— including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi. So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis—who is doing a great job, thank you—to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantánamo Bay. I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa'ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists—wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. And in many cases, for them, it will now be Guantánamo Bay. At the same time, as of a few months ago, our warriors in Afghanistan have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.
Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends. As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.
When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom. I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal. My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.
But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening. Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position. We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.
Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June—horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return. Otto's wonderful Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are here with us tonight—along with Otto's brother and sister, Austin and Greta. Incredible people. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all, thank you very much. Thank you. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto's memory with American resolve.
Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho. In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain or the hurt. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves—permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had—and he resolved to be free.
Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape and was tortured to death. Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most—the truth. Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.
It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. It was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world. That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for and always done.
Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her. Monuments to Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln and King. Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga—to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia. And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people.
We're a people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us—defending hope, pride, and the American way. They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. And they are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines. But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, this Nation, belongs entirely to them. Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.
Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never ever forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it's the people who are making America great again. As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail. Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free. Thank you, and God bless America. Good night."