Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants who became a US war hero and the first Black secretary of state but saw his legacy tarnished when he made the case for war in Iraq in 2003, died on Monday of Covid-19 complications. He was 84.
The retired four-star general and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served four presidents made his reputation as a man of honor distant from the political fray — an asset in the corridors of power.
“General Powell is an American hero, an American example, and a great American story,” George W. Bush said as he announced Powell’s nomination as secretary of state in 2000.
“In directness of speech, his towering integrity, his deep respect for our democracy, and his soldier’s sense of duty and honor, Colin Powell demonstrates … qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people of this country.”
But he found it hard to live down his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — the evidence he presented was later proven to be false.
“It’s a blot… and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.
Born April 5, 1937 in Harlem, Powell’s “American Journey” — the title of his autobiography — started in New York, where he grew up and earned a degree in geology.
He also participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in college, and upon his graduation in June 1958, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army, and was posted in what was then West Germany.
Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam — in 1962-63 as one of John F Kennedy’s thousands of military advisors, and again in 1968-69 to investigate the My Lai massacre.
He earned a Purple Heart, but also faced questions about the tone of his report into the hundreds of deaths at My Lai, which to some seemed to dismiss any claims of wrongdoing.
“I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened,” he told interviewer Larry King in 2004.
“So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored.”
Back in Washington, he quickly rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of the national security establishment, serving Ronald Reagan as national security advisor, and both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989-93.
Powell’s experiences in Vietnam as a young soldier led him to develop the so-called “Powell Doctrine,” which said that if the United States must intervene in a foreign conflict, it should deploy overwhelming force based on clear political objectives.
For many Americans, he was the public face of the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.
Powell was initially lukewarm about going into the country, but his reputation soared in the aftermath of the blitzkrieg that ejected Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.
For a while, he even considered a run for the presidency.
But after retiring from the army in 1993, Powell devoted himself to working on behalf of disadvantaged young people as chairman of America’s Promise, a youth advocacy group.
For a while, he fended off new questions on his desire for public office, until George W. Bush came calling for the popular military man to lead the State Department as the 65th secretary of state.
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Osinbajo Jets To Dubai, To Address Global LPG Forum
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, departed Abuja to participate at the World Liquified Petroleum Gas Association forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the VP is expected to deliver a keynote address at the event which would feature leaders, including top government ministers from across the world.
Also, some Chief Executives of major multinational corporations in the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) sectors around the globe are expected to attend the week-long 2021 World LPG Week from Sunday through Thursday this week under the auspices of the Paris-based World LPG Association.
Prof. Osinbajo will be speaking on Tuesday at the forum, which is attracting over 2,000 delegates from 72 countries, on the theme of the LPG Week – “Energising Tomorrow.”
The World LGP Week, which will first be held in Amsterdam in 2019, is an annual event bringing together major LPG companies, senior public sector officials, industry experts and other relevant stakeholders.
This year’s LPG Week, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, creates the opportunity for global stakeholders to engage with the activities lined up, including a global exhibition, technology conference, the LPG Development Summit, among others.
The World LPG Association was established in 1987 and granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, in 1989. WLPGA is the umbrella association which globally coordinates the LPG industry.
According to Laolu, the Vice President is expected back in Abuja on Thursday.
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Dowen College: My Son Is Not Involve In Sylvester Death, Sen. Kashamu’s Family Speaks
The family of the late Senator Buruji Kashamu has denied the involvement of their son in the death of Sylvester Oromoni, 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki.
Recall that Sylvester died from internal injuries days before his birthday after being assaulted by fellow students in Dowen College.
The deceased, before his death, mentioned some names of boys who assaulted him.
Kashamu’s son was one of the suspects named in the case.
However, the family in a statement issued by Mutairu Kashamu for the family, confirmed that although one of their sons, Michael Adewale Kashamu, was named among the suspected bullies of the deceased, he had no involvement in the death of Sylvester.
Part of the statement read: “The Kashamu family has been inundated with enquiries, calls and messages over the unfortunate incident at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, that led to the untimely death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of the College.
“Most commentators have rushed to conclusions based on assumptions and false information, including the allegation that our son Adewale Michael Kashamu was involved in the bullying or beating of Sylvester Oromoni.”
The family noted that it has conducted its private investigation since the story broke out and their son was just Sylvester’s school father the previous session.
”We as a family have made our own private enquiries and carefully questioned our son about his involvement. This is why we didn’t rush out to respond to the cyber-stalking, name-calling and negative commentaries that have taken over the social media about our son’s alleged involvement in this sad incident.
”Some of the true facts now slowly emerging from under the mass of lies are that: Our son, Adewale Michael Kashamu, had acted as a school father for the late Sylvester in his first session in the school at the request of Sylvester’s sister who is also a student of the school.
“However, in the 2021 session which began in September 2021 Adewale Michael Kashamu was moved to a different floor in the boarding house and engrossed in his own studies and activities, our son was no longer as close to Sylvester as in the previous session.”
The family condoled with the family of Late Sylvester Oromoni and appealed to all and sundry to hold their horses until the police and the Lagos State government have completed their independent investigations and established the truth.
Dowen College has been shut down indefinitely by the Lagos State government till investigation into Sylvester’s death is over.
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Omicron: FG Expresses Disappointment Over UK Govt’s Red Listing Of Nigeria
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the United Kingdom government’s placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list,” the minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.
“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.
“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”
According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
“It is going to disrupt commerce,” he added. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”
Ban List Not ‘Helpful’
He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.
While reiterating that the placement of countries on the red list will not help in the global fight against the pandemic, Ehanire said Nigeria is anticipating the fourth wave of the disease.
“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.
“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”
The UK’s move, which came a few days after Nigeria detected the new strain, followed a similar decision by the Canadian authorities.
“Foreign nationals who have transited or stayed in these 10 countries cannot enter Canada if they have been in those countries in the last two weeks,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a press conference.
Aside from Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi were the other countries recently added to Canada’s travel ban list.
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- US President’s Medical Adviser, Anthony Fauci To Speak At Nigeria COVID-19 Summit
- Osinbajo Jets To Dubai, To Address Global LPG Forum
- Dowen College: My Son Is Not Involve In Sylvester Death, Sen. Kashamu’s Family Speaks
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