The Great Lakes Research Journal

In-depth reviews of issues and challenges facing Central Africa – ISSN: 1554-0391

Ben Okeke, also known as “Baba Mutum” meaning “Very Big Man” is attempting to bring the ancient form of Japanese wrestling known as sumo to Nigeria. Ben had started with regular wrestling until one of his friends suggested that he tried sumo, so Ben moved to Japan and practiced this ancient art, and in 1996 won a world championship bronze medal, a feat that had never been achieved by a Nigerian¬† until than.

Today Okeke teaches a class of about 40 students how to sumo in a makeshift arena in a rented hall in hopes that the sports popularity will spread throughout Nigeria. Okeke’s days of sumo are now over after a knew injury that he sustained in 1997 forced him to retire. But he has high hopes for future generations, believing that Nigerians are a strong people and with practice be the greatest sumo wrestlers in the world.

Today Okeke has lost a lot of weight after blowing out his knee and have a gastric bypass done, but he uses his new found look as a teaching method to his students. He teaches his students that sumo is not strictly about how physically strong you are, but that you are mentally strong and able to see your goals and push yourself to work harder than your opponents, only than can you reach your goals.


A militant group set off car bombs in the Nigerian capital this Friday, the blast killed 7 people and wounded 21 others. According to the Nigerian Red Cross, the bombs marked 50 years of independence in Nigeria.  The group responsible is known as MEND, which stands for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The group is made up of several small rebel groups whose main goal is to spread the wealth made from the oil found in Nigeria. The group claimed responsibility for the attack in an e-mail that they sent to CNN.

President Goodluck Jonathan was attending an event celebrating their nations milestone in independence in an area known as Eagle Square, the attack occurred less than 0.6 miles away from were the president was standing. MEND believes that their nation does not deserve to celebrate the past 50 years, claiming that they are not yet free. They went on to say that they will never be free while their land and resources are stolen from them by the government that was put in place to protect them.

In fact I personally believe that the actions MEND took were in the right direction just taken too far. The report went on to say that MEND had warned anyone that might have been attending the events in the capital, they instructed whoever was willing to listen to stay away from cars and trash cans. To me, MEND is simply trying to recall their country back to where is deserves to be, there tired of having their land and resources taken away from them. But at the same time I also believe that murder is never a way to solve any problem.