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Ajala: 9/11 Nigerian Hero Who Died for Others to Live

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  • Ajala: 9/11 Nigerian Hero Who Died for Others to Live

The seventeenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on United States was marked on Tuesday. A tribute on one of the three Nigerians who died in the attack, Godwin Ajala, first published on the tenth anniversary is reproduced below.

Ahead of today’s seventeenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States (September 11, 2001), families, friends, colleagues and others worldwide have in various ways been remembering the victims of the incident.

Residents of Dividing Creek in New Jersey have been placing flags to represent those who lost their lives. One of the flags is for Godwin Ajala, the only Nigerian officially listed among the deceased.

Godwin Ajala

Godwin Ajala

Although he is known at home as Godwin Ajalli, all the records of tribute referred to him as Godwin Ajala. He hailed from Ihenta in Akaeze Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

As part of activities marking the 17th anniversary, Janice Laws on September 7 this year wrote in the guest book of tributes for the victims on the website legacy.com: “I am proud to say that I placed a flag for Godwin Ajala” Ajala, who was 33 and a qualified lawyer before he left Nigeria was at the time of the attack an Access Control Officer working at the Concourse level of one of the World Trade Centre buildings.

Apparently exhausted after helping to guide many out of the attacked building, Ajala reportedly first went into a coma and did not die until the following Sunday.

But for the economic situation in Nigeria which has forced many professionals to seek greener pastures abroad, Ajala might not have been anywhere near the scene of the attack. He would have been practising as a lawyer in Nigeria. According to a New York Times profile on him, he migrated to the United States in 1995, hoping to earn more support for his family.

The New York Times report on the life and times of the 9/11 victims titled Profiles in Grief provided some insights into Ajala’s sojourn in the US and his unfulfilled dreams. The paper wrote, “At first he bounced between jobs, but ultimately he landed a steady position as a security guard at the World Trade Centre. Still, he was frustrated, and he began pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer in America, setting his sights on passing the New York State Bar Exam.

“His roommate, Christopher Onuoha, said Mr. Ajala worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., went home for a nap and then studied for the Bar for six to eight hours, often late into the night. Co-workers said he was last seen helping people escape from the trade centre.

“When he was living here, he was suffering in terms of always working and studying,” said a close friend, Christopher Iwuanyanwu.

“Every September, Mr. Ajala visited Nigeria, and he was planning to travel there again this past September to visit his wife, Victoria, and their three children, Onyinyechi, 7, Uchechukwu, 5, and Ugochi, 1. His friends said he was planning to apply for visas to bring them to the United States.

“His dream was that he would take the law exam, pass it, and with that bring his family here and invite them to the swearing in,” Mr. Iwuanyanwu said.

“He would have been much happier if his wife and kids were around.”

In response to the NY Times profile of Ajala, one Vanessa during the 2010 anniversary wrote “rest in peace, Mr. Ajala. I read your story on a memorial site and it struck a chord with me. Your work ethic reminds me of my boyfriend, who is also Nigerian. Thank you for coming to this country and helping to guide people out of WTC. You will not be forgotten.” Another reader, Alissian wrote in September 2003: “He worked so hard to make a better life for himself and his family only to have the dream destroyed by hatred. I hope he is at peace now and that his family can find peace and happiness in his memory”.

A Nigerian resident in New York, Austin Obi recalls his chance meeting with Ajala and how they became friends.

“It was sometime in early 2000 and I was the Manager at the Burger King right across from the Trade Centre, when Godwin came in for lunch. He saw my name tag and introduced himself and from then on he would stop by every lunch. He was tall, imposing yet very warm, friendly and affable towards my staff and I.

Everybody knew him. We would often talk about home, our families and our goals in America. He was a good man. May You Rest in Perfect Peace, my friend”

Monsurat Laidi, a Nigerian lady who was lucky to escape from the WTC according to a report on Nigeriaworld.com said Ajala who also works with the same company was a surveillance security guard and was normally outside the building. She believes he must have been wounded while trying to help others.

Iwuanayanwu, Ajala’s friend, confirmed that people remember seeing the late lawyer and asking why he was there, why didn’t he leave? His response was “Why are you running? Why aren’t you helping people out?”

Another colleague of Ajala, a security supervisor, who opted to remain anonymous, said he met Ajala that morning in the locker room. He said Ajala was a very popular person at the company and a workers’ union leader.

The security supervisor told Nigeriaworld: “he started work at 6 a.m. that day and we talked about the Jos crisis. I was going to leave at 7a.m. after an overnight shift. He was a union leader and was involved in contract talks on pay with the management of WTC. They just agreed to a salary raise for us. There was a meeting scheduled between the union and the management on that day.”

Continued the source: “After we left the locker room together, we departed and he went to resume work, I left him and we said we would see later.” The meeting was never to be.

Ajala is undoubtedly one of the heroes of the 9/11 attack. One of the best tributes which aptly captures the place of Ajala among the victims of the attack is by a blogger named CarpeDM.

“In a world where so many people are looking out for their selves, this man risked his life for others. Who knows how many were saved because of him? Today, whenever I see a flag or hear someone speak about 9/11/01, I will think of all those who died. And I will think of all those who survived because of men and women like Godwin Ajala.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Vice-President Harris Gathers Momentum as Democratic Nominee

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Kamala Harris

Vice-President Kamala Harris has secured the support needed to become the Democratic nominee for president.

This was after President Joe Biden announced he would not seek re-election, endorsing Harris as his successor.

According to CBS News, Harris has received endorsements from over 1,976 delegates, surpassing the threshold needed to clinch the nomination in the first round of voting at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) scheduled for August.

Delegations from at least 27 states have expressed full support, showcasing a strong backing across the nation.

In her address to campaign staff in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris expressed gratitude for the widespread support, adding that she committed to uniting the party and the country.

“We have 106 days until Election Day, and in that time, we have some hard work to do,” she stated.

Harris laid out her vision for America, contrasting it with that of her likely opponent, Donald Trump.

Speaking on the direction of the campaign thus far, she said “Our campaign has always been about two different versions of what we see as the future of our country. One focuses on the future, the other focuses on the past.”

She acknowledged the accomplishments of the Biden administration, highlighting her pride in serving as vice-president.

“My time serving as vice-president was one of the greatest honors of my life,” Harris said, underscoring her dedication to continuing the work they started.

In a phone call to his campaign team, Biden praised Harris, urging his supporters to rally behind her. “I’m hoping you’ll give every bit of your heart and soul that you gave to me to Kamala,” he said.

Despite stepping back from the race, Biden vowed to remain actively involved in supporting Harris and emphasized the importance of defeating Trump, calling him “a danger to this nation.”

Harris’s nomination marks a significant milestone, but challenges remain. The campaign will focus on addressing key issues such as healthcare, climate change, and economic inequality.

With millions of dollars pouring into her campaign since Biden’s announcement, Harris aims to capitalize on the momentum and build a coalition that appeals to a broad spectrum of voters.

As the DNC approaches, Harris is expected to formally accept the nomination, solidifying her position as the Democratic leader.

The coming months will be crucial as she works to unite the party and reach out to undecided voters. With her historic nomination, Harris stands poised to make a lasting impact on the future of American politics.

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President Declines Nomination, Endorses Harris for 2024

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In a significant political announcement on his X.com account, President Joe Biden has decided to forgo the opportunity to seek re-election in 2024, instead throwing his full support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

The surprise move, shared with the public this morning, represents a pivotal moment in the Democratic Party’s journey toward the upcoming presidential election.

In his statement, Biden said that his choice to step aside is driven by a desire to concentrate on his remaining duties as President.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside Harris, calling her selection as his Vice President in 2020 “the best decision” he has made. “My fellow Democrats,” Biden began, “I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”

The President’s announcement signifies a strategic shift in the 2024 election landscape. By endorsing Kamala Harris, Biden not only aims to consolidate support within the party but also to set the stage for a unified front against former President Donald Trump.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” Biden declared. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.”

This endorsement comes as a surprise to many, given Biden’s earlier commitment to seeking re-election.

However, it reflects a broader strategic maneuver to ensure party unity and strengthen the Democratic position in the face of a formidable opponent. By focusing on Harris, Biden aims to leverage her growing popularity and political acumen to fortify the party’s chances in the upcoming election.

Kamala Harris, who has served as Vice President since January 2021, will now be thrust into the spotlight as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Her campaign is expected to build on the legacy of the current administration while addressing key issues facing the nation.

The move also raises the stakes for the Republicans, who will need to prepare for a robust campaign from a seasoned political leader in Harris.

As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, Biden’s endorsement is likely to reshape the dynamics of the race, influencing both Democratic strategies and Republican responses.

The coming months will be critical as Harris and her team work to solidify their platform and rally support from voters across the nation.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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