Thursday, July 20, 2017

A New Role For Magu

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
In a democratic government that is marked by the absence of an autocratic pecking order that harks back to the days of medieval despots, conflicts among the key players in the political space are inevitable. But since there is no allowance for any of the three arms of government to hegemonise authority, they are all expected to adhere to a constitutionally ratified cooperative principle that oils the wheel of good governance.
*Ibrahim Magu
Such a principle is violated if instead of the arms of government mustering enough capacity to resolve their disagreements, they allow them to hurt governance. This brings us to the long-drawn rift between the Presidency and the Senate over the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. The conflict is festering as both arms of government continue to maintain their hardline positions.
The Senate has vowed not to confirm any presidential nominee until Magu is relieved of his job. It feels affronted by the unresolved contradiction that the same Presidency that gleefully declared that it did not need the approval of the Senate for Magu to be in office wants the upper legislative chamber to confirm presidential nominees. 
In its attempt to wriggle out of the cul-de-sac it has found itself, the Presidency is considering taking the matter to the Supreme Court for judicial intervention. When the rift between the two arms began, the Presidency obviously relished the support of the public. The latter eagerly waited for that moment when the Senate would declare itself shellacked by the Presidency. Beyond supinely contemplating the impudence of the Senate to appropriate powers it has not been given by the constitution, some people made themselves available to be hired to protest against the chamber. But these protests have since fizzled out since it has become clear that the Senate would not disavow its position.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Peter Obi At 56

By Valentine Obienyem
Today, the 19th day of July, 2017, the man regarded as one of the best in governance, at any tier, in the annals of our country turns 56. As usual, drums would be rolled out by some of his admirers who believe excellence ought to be celebrated. They contend that if for nothing else, it is a means of promoting merit as role models in name and indeed. In a country where even imbeciles garbed in purple fall over one another seeking attention, it is about time the society set up a clear template for granting honour to whom it is due.
*Peter Obi 
In another vein, beyond panegyrics by his enthusiasts, most people will just wish him a perfunctory ‘Happy Birthday’.
In this piece, I set out to re-examine, through the memories of his tenure, what good governance is all about and to encourage Nigerians to look up to him as the man who came into governance through entirely different route, with an entirely different mentality and left it as nobody has done in the history of governance in Nigeria. For me, this is decent birthday present that would also instruct those in governance on the right way to go.
Born on July 19, 1961, Peter Gregory Obi started his life in the rustic city of Onitsha, and obtained his initial formal education in Onitsha and Nsukka. He has since attended some of the best tertiary institutions in the world in his thirst for intellectual insemination to boost his competences.
How shall we rank him? Which of us possesses so varied the Knowledge to understand him adequately? As an experiment in perspective, let us see him through his dramatic entrance into government and what he did while there as distinct from business as usual.
Before him, news emanating from the State was not palatable at all. It was always stories of intrigues, squander mania, rape and rapine. Visions and memories of the State tormented all persons of goodwill; an involuntary gloom penetrated our souls, chilling their imaginations. The Bakassi group and their co-predators worsened the situation as they turned our dear State into a vast Golgotha of carnage, an arena for horror, where her children tore and destroyed one another with the clear conscience of nature. Concerned like other decent people, Peter Obi developed an urge to turn these barbarisms into civilization and this was what compelled him to seek election into public office.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What’s Prof Osinbajo Not telling Us?

By Bolaji Tunji
The Vice and Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, during the week paid a short visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. It was a very short visit which lasted less than 24 Hours. The man left the country on Tuesday and was back by Wednesday to preside over the Federal Executive a Council (FEC) meeting.
The Vice President’s visit is just one of the many visits to the President in recent time. The president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, had equally paid a visit to her husband including other prominent Nigerians, amidst rumours that the first lady had been shielded from seeing her husband during previous visits.
In all these, the story had been that the president was responding to treatment and would soon come back. This is contrary to information from the opposition figures that the President is on life support machine. Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, had said that the president was on life support machine. His statement was further amplified by former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Indeed, the Ekiti state governor went further to state that he would release some pictures of the president on life support machine to corroborate his claims.

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Left Prison Broke In 1998 – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that he left prison broke in 1998, after he was released by former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar following the death of General Sani Abacha, then head of state on June 8, 1998. Obasanjo, who claimed he had no money by the time he regained his freedom after serving in Kirikiri, Jos and Yola prisons for about four years however revealed that the Ford Foundation and the founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), Mr. Ted Turner, surprisingly gave him a lifeline through the sum of $150,000 that was donated to him and which enabled him to settle the tuition fees of his children, whose studies were almost truncated by his incarceration.

The former president, who shared agonising memories of his prison experience at a recent programme organised by Christ The Redeemer’s Friends International (CRFI) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, however revealed how he became born again in prison and won souls for Christ. Obasanjo was sentenced to life jail in 1995 by the Abacha junta after he was tried by a military court on trumped-up charges of felony and conspiracy to overthrow the Abacha government, an allegation the former president denied with evidence.
But exactly one week after Abacha passed away on June 8, 1998 under unclear circumstances, Obasanjo was released from the Yola Prison by the administration of Abubakar.

Giving the testimony on how God rescued him from Abacha’s plot to inject him with viral poison at the fellowship recently, Obasanjo said he was broke immediately after he regained his freedom from the Yola Prison, revealing that he had no cash at that time to settle the tuition fees of his children, who were studying in the US.

Before he left the Yola Prison, Obasanjo said he resolved “to live a new life – quiet, peaceful and possibly private. But it was surprising when I got to the airport; a presidential aircraft was already waiting for me. I did not believe it. When I arrived Lagos, two cars with pilots were waiting to convey me to my residence. I held my peace.”
Shortly after he returned home, Obasanjo said he decided “to travel to the US for two reasons. First, I needed to see my children. When I was in prison, they could not pay their tuition. One of them was not allowed to continue because he could not pay his tuition.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Buhari’s Search For Jackals And Hyenas

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
It is a Monday morning. President Muhammadu Buhari has just resumed in his office after his over two months’ medical vacation. He would have loved to have more rest. But he has been inundated with tales of the intrigues to take over his job. He just has to muster every ounce of energy to take back his office. A file is presented to the president. In it is a list that contains the names of those who were hell-bent on scuttling his presidency while he was away. On the list are ministers. There are also special aides and other officials in the presidency. All these are to be sacked. Welcome to the post-London Buhari era in Aso Rock.
The criteria for the mass cleansing are only clearly known to the helmsman of Aso Rock. However, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was the Acting President while Buhari was away is not on the list. He has been found extraordinarily loyal despite all the machinations and intrigues of some people to intimidate and blackmail him into resigning, Buhari considers him as having judiciously represented his interest while he was away. What exemplifies Osinbajo’s fidelity to Buhari’s vision is his maintaining the position of the president that the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could remain in office till 2019 despite his not being confirmed by the Senate. Again, Osinbajo refused to succumb to the clamour for restructuring that ruled the polity.
Buhari has always believed that nobody should tweak the structure of the country as it is. He is on the same page with former President Olusegun Obasanjo who also fought the civil war to keep the country together. But as for former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, Buhari would respond to him appropriately at the right time for taking a position on restructuring that is different from that of the president. Of course, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has always been coveting the president’s job. But there is a way to also pay him for turning himself into a jackal.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nigeria: A Nation Without Leaders

By Anthony Cardinal Okogie  
When a nation is in turmoil, those who have faith in God must pray. Given clear indices that Nigeria is in turmoil, we pray: Gracious God, grant that our leaders become wise, and the wise become our leaders. But it would be irresponsible fideism to simply pray and fold our arms. Those who pray must think, and, having sought and obtained answers to right questions, they must act intelligently.
*Cardinal Okogie 

As Nigeria passes from one turbulent season to another, it has become inescapable to inquire: what is the quality of leaders—of the men and women at the helm of affairs—in our beloved Nigeria? Can it be said that those at the helm of affairs—at federal, state, and local levels of government—are sufficiently competent to navigate the ship of state? Do our leaders fit the bill?
The high level of insecurity in our land; the abysmally low quality of life of the average Nigerian, in scandalously sharp contrast with the opulence in which past and political office holders live; the self-serving and malevolent demagoguery that accompanies unitarist, secessionist, and xenophobic agitations in our country; the propagation of the stubborn myth that one’s ethnic community is marginalised by all other ethnic communities, when in fact every ethnic community is marginalised by the incompetence of our leaders; the acceptance of this myth by young, discontented but gullible Nigerians: these and many other indices offer little or no hope to even the most incurable optimist in the land. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Restructure Nigeria Now Or No Oil Blocks, No 2019 General Elections In The Niger Delta Region – Niger Delta Young Leaders

Over 60 Niger Delta Young Leaders, including Assembly members, present and former commissioners, Government appointees, some private sector players across States of the Niger Delta Region, met in Port Harcourt as regards restructuring of Nigeria: the Niger Delta people have unanimously agreed that restructuring embodies 100% control of their resources.

1. The young leaders unanimously demand for 100% resource ownership, control and management and the restructuring of the current faulty political and economic architecture of Nigeria which is a source of provocation and they said this must be done before the 2019 general elections or there will be no elections across the region and no exploration of oil blocks.

2. The young leaders are determined in their resolve to put aside ethnicity and stand as one Niger-Delta.

3. We must go back to the round table and discuss the principles of equity and justice and this must take effect from the highest seat of power to the communities which will birth true federalism in a new people’s constitution. As a people united for our future, we must act now.

4. We also condemn all forms of hate speech emanating from any part of the country.

Will Nigeria Survive Biafra?

By Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku
In real life, people are told that quitters never win and winners never quit. That aphorism has proven true at the level of individual entrepreneurship and endeavour. Most people have often found out to their chagrin that just after they quit, success arrives. But how far nations can carry on, from what has been perceived as an unholy and uneven matrimony remains to be seen. The same is true with Nigeria, especially after the recent and successful stay-at-home call made on the people of the South East by their de-facto leader and the reactions which followed.

Before we log on to the question for today’s discussion, let me quickly affirm my love for my fatherland. Nigeria is a great country. Foreigners boast that our mangoes are some of the best in the world. Our women are beautiful and our young men strong. Our Jollof rice beats that of the Ghana and the Senegal. I have had the privilege of travelling to the North, South, East and West of this great country. I have met Northerners, Easterners and Westerners, and if they don’t speak their language they don’t look any different from the dudes on the other side. As a matter of fact, when I found myself in the North for my NYSC, I wanted to add a Northern aka to my name because of its phonetic and semantic affinity with my local name. Therefore, today, I manage to find my way with a dash of Hausa, Yoruba and some Ibo, and though I am bothered that this triumvirate do not speak my language, I have carried on nevertheless. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

End The Bad Blood Between The Yoruba And Ndigbo Now!

By Femi Aribisala
The hatred between the Yoruba and Ndigbo has gone on for far too long. Let there be love shared among us!
The Yorubas and the Igbos, two of the most resourceful, engaging and outgoing ethnic groups in Nigeria, are becoming implacable enemies. Increasingly, they seem to hate one another with pure hatred. I never appreciated the extent of their animosity until the social media came of age in Nigeria. Now, hardly a day passes that you will not find Yorubas and Igbos exchanging hateful words on internet blogs.
*Awolowo and Azikiwe 
The Nigerian civil war ended in 1970. Nevertheless, it continues to rage today on social media mostly by people who were not even alive during the civil war. In blog after blog, the Yorubas and the Igbos go out of their way to abuse one another for the most inconsequential of reasons. This hatred is becoming so deep-seated, it needs to be addressed before it gets completely out of hand. It is time to call a truce. A conscious effort needs to be made by opinion-leaders on both sides of the ethnic divide to put a stop to this nonsense.
Both the Yorubas and the Igbo stereotype one another. To the Igbo, the Yorubas are the “ngbati ngbati” “ofemmanu” who eat too much oil. They are masters of duplicity and deception; saying one thing while meaning another. To the Yorubas, the Igbo are clannish and money-minded. They are Shylock traders who specialize in selling counterfeit goods.
But the truth is that stereotypes are essentially generalisations and exaggerations. In a lot of cases, they are unreliable and untrue. Stereotypes must be recognised at their most effective as a joke. They are the stock-in-trade of seasoned comedians; the garnish for side-splitting anecdotes at weddings and social gatherings. Stereotypes should not be taken seriously. We should laugh at them without being offended by them.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nigeria Cannot Survive Without The Igbo

 By Femi Aribisala
Out of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have by far the worst politicians. Among the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo are without a doubt, one of the most remarkable. So remarkable, indeed, that some have even traced their ancestry to biblical Israel, as the far-flung descendants of Jacob, the Jewish patriarch.

Gad, Jacob’s seventh son, is said to have had three sons who settled in South-eastern Nigeria. These sons; Eri, Arodi and Areli, are believed to have fathered clans in Igbo-land and to have founded such Igbo towns as Aguleri, Arochukwu, Owerri and Umuleri.

Igbo genius Even the bitterest adversaries of the Igbo cannot but admit that, as a people, they are very resourceful and ingenious. Indeed, this has often been the cause of their envy and dislike by others. However, more enlightened non-Igbo Nigerians see this as a cause for celebration.

While today, the centre-point of Nigeria’s manufacturing is situated in the Lagos/Ogun axis, there is no doubt that the real locomotive of Nigeria’s indigenous industrialization lies farther afield in Aba and in the mushrooming cottage-industries of the Igbo heartland. In one of the paradoxes of Nigerian history, the terrible civil war provoked homespun industrialization in the South-East.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Buhari’s Health And A Divided Nation

By Paul Orie
From the on set we have developed a culture which has made us irredeemably poised to be at war at any moment. This is a nasty culture Nigerians inherited from the founding fathers of a troubled nation to distort obvious facts. It does seem we are not bothered if Nigeria is tom into shreds.
This is the situation this ugly culture has placed us today with our political leaders not even thinking of reversing it with a culture of consensus building to help the nation grow politically and economically. President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill-health has indeed provided a platform for Nigerians of all shades of opinion, demonstrating how divided we are over critical national issues. Indeed the President’s health has created another source of cleavage among Nigerians especially the political class. There is no doubt that President Buhari  is sick.

His few public appearances shortly before he flew to London to see his medical doctors, attests to this. His picture while receiving the rescued Chibok girls is evident of Mr. President’s ill health. But no one knows exactly what ails him. Is it cancer, brain tumor, kidney or liver problem? What exactly is wrong with the President? Only his Nigerian and London medical teams can answer this question. As the needless debates over the President’s health condition simmers, he is temporarily not on the driver’s seat driving Nigeria to her dream land because of his unknown ailment that has dragged on for almost half of the year 2017.

Nigeria: Living With Two Presidents

By Ochereome Nnanna
Section 145 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (As Amended) has this to say about the power of the Vice President in the absence of the President:

“Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President”. 
*President Buhari and VP Osinbajo
Because of the cynical nature of Nigerian politics which is sadly rooted in religion, ethnicity, sectionalism and familial interests (factors that corrupt and debilitate our constitutional democracy), a constitutional enactment as precise and self-explanatory as the Section 145 is still made to seem hard to grapple with.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who has done very well in respecting the Constitution by transmitting such letters to the leaders of the National Assembly on each of the two occasions he went abroad to tend to his health problems, however, introduced confusion into the issue when he said Vice President Osinbajo would “coordinate” the activities of government in his absence. The President was heavily criticised for this strange definition of the status of the Acting President, though it hardly matters since it is the Constitution, not the President that defines roles played by everyone in our democracy.

This is the second regime in which our President had to be taken out of the country for an extended stay out of power. When the case of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua took place late in November 2009 he did not transmit any letter as Buhari does. By February 2010, murmurs over a power vacuum became cacophonous and Yar’ Adua’s handlers caused the British Broadcasting Corporation to air an “interview” he granted to show he was not incapacitated.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Nigeria: Badoo At The Gate

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
It is far from reprieve for the citizens as the country lurches from one dismal failure to another. While they are still choking under the weight of an economic recession, their miserable existence has been further blighted by worsening insecurity.

Of course, it is not for nothing that the citizens loathe the country’s security agencies. It is just a way of their expressing their outrage at the incapability of the security operatives to deliver on their mandate of protecting life and property.
But in some rare moments when the security operatives exude flashes of professional brilliance and depart from the path of turning their guns on the citizens, they often get well-deserved accolades. This is why the police who have succeeded in smashing the kidnap syndicate led by Evans in Lagos have rightly been lauded for their courage and professionalism.
Yet, the praise is subdued. It is drowned in the phalanx of posers their success has triggered. Why did it take so long to get him? Why are kidnappers still on the prowl? And why are the pupils of the Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, still being held in captivity over 40 days after their abduction?
These are questions that the security operatives are not likely to provide answers to soon. In other words, the citizens are still haunted by insecurity. This is despite that even soldiers have been heavily deployed on the streets to boost security. The House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara who was recently alarmed by this heavy deployment declared that the country was under a state of emergency in peace time. In fact, the citizens have lost confidence in the ability of the security operatives to protect them.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Was Gang-Raped On My Wedding Day!

When Terry Gobanga - then Terry Apudo - didn't show up to her wedding, nobody could have guessed that she had been abducted, raped and left for dead by the roadside. It was the first of two tragedies to hit the young Nairobi pastor in quick succession. But she is a survivor.
*Terry Gobanga
It was going to be a very big wedding. I was a pastor, so all our church members were coming, as well as all our relatives. My fiance, Harry, and I were very excited - we were getting married in All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi and I had rented a beautiful dress.
But the night before the wedding I realised that I had some of Harry's clothes, including his cravat. He couldn't show up without a tie, so a friend who had stayed the night offered to take it to him first thing in the morning. We got up at dawn and I walked her to the bus station.
As I was making my way back home, I walked past a guy sitting on the bonnet of a car - suddenly he grabbed me from behind and dumped me in the back seat. There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It all happened in a fraction of a second.
A piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth. I was kicking and hitting out and trying to scream. When I managed to push the gag out, I screamed: "It's my wedding day!" That was when I got the first blow. One of the men told me to "co-operate or you will die".
The men took turns to rape me. I felt sure I was going to die, but I was still fighting for my life, so when one of the men took the gag out of my mouth I bit his manhood. He screamed in pain and one of them stabbed me in the stomach. Then they opened the door and threw me out of the moving car.
I was miles from home, outside Nairobi. More than six hours had passed since I had been abducted.
A child saw me being thrown out and called her grandmother. People came running. When the police came they tried to get a pulse, but no-one could. Thinking I was dead, they wrapped me in a blanket and started to take me to the mortuary. But on the way there, I choked on the blanket and coughed. The policeman said: "She's alive?" And he turned the car around and drove me to the biggest government hospital in Kenya.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Warning to the Nigerian Authorities Concerning Ndigbo

Press Release By The Eastern Mandate Union (EMU)
You will recall that on Friday, June 9, 2017, the Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) had in extraordinary emergency meeting following quit notice issued to Ndigbo living in northern Nigeria by the confederate of Arewa Groups issued a communiqué requesting all our people living in northern Nigeria to begin making preparations for relocation down south especially to their homeland.
*Dr. Arthur Nwankwo
Chancellor, Eastern Mandate Union (EMU)
We are further alarmed that despite the condemnations of that quit notice by various sections of Nigeria and the international community, the Arewa Youths have continued to act like the lords of the Manor; and have continued to intensify their threats with neither reason their guide nor cause their actions. Despite the directives by the Inspector-General of Police for the arrest of the leaders of the Arewa Youths, there appears to be a glaring incapacitation and unwillingness on the part of the security agencies to rein in the Arewa Youths and bring them to justice.
Rather, we have been inundated with tepid assurances from both the government and some northerners that there is no cause for worry by the Igbos. We are not taken in by these vague and sham assurances basically because these are the same rhetorics that preceded the 1966 pogrom. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

President Buhari On Life-Support Since June 6 – Gov Fayose

*Gov Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State  
Full Text Of Governor Ayodele Fayose's Address At A Press Conference in Ado-Ekiti On Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today, it makes 53 days since our President; Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria to attend to his health challenges abroad. No official information as to his whereabouts and his state of health.
Like every other Nigerians, I do not wish the president dead, I have therefore maintained dignified silence since we were told that the President embarked on his second medical trip abroad this year.
However, the recorded audio message which was released by the Presidency as the President’s Ramadan message to Nigerians necessitated my setting the records straight today.
No doubt, the audio message was only a damage-control strategy aimed at further deceiving Nigerians.
I have therefore elected in good conscience to state as follows:

President Buhari’s Hausa Republic

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
Neither time nor sickness can change President Muhammadu Buhari. He would ever remain parochial and divisive. This is not just an awful attempt to denigrate Buhari and his hallowed presidential office. No, this is how he wants Nigerians to see him in his audio message in Hausa on the occasion of the Eid El-fitr, a feast of Muslims marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

 If the message had only just enjoyed a surreptitious circulation on the social media with its accompanying non-complicit anonymity and without official imprimatur, it would not have provoked outrage. We would have easily dismissed it as one of the regular affronts to the president by the corrupt who do not wish him well and who in fact prefer an abrupt termination of his government so that they can be free to enjoy their loot. After all, there have been many reports on the social media of the president’s death following which even the British queen had to condole with Nigerians. But the message was released by the presidency and rapturously recommended to the growing horde of the naysayers as an indication that the president is not incapacitated. Clearly, the presidency has not disowned it. And we do not need to split hairs over whether the voice was genuinely that of the president. We accept it is his because the presidency has said so.

But what is clear is that it is either that the handlers of the president who confronted the public with this message as the unimpeachable evidence of the president’s good health deliberately set out to humiliate him before Nigerians or they never reckoned with the baleful consequences of their action. Either way, the audio message has once again confirmed the apprehension that we are a people saddled with a president who is not the right person to manage the complex and combustible affairs of the present-day Nigeria and pull it from the brink of splintering.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Open Letter To Arewa Youths

By Charles Ogbu
Brethren from the north, I bring you greetings from the southern part of Nigeria. On behalf of the peace-loving people of the south in general and millions of Igbo youths in particular, I start this letter by commending you for your recent open letter to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, where you called on the pastor-turned politician to organise a referendum for the Igbo to enable them to determine their future in line with international laws on self-determination.
*pix: guardian 
By that letter, you proved to be better versed in legal matters and ways of international laws with regard to the right of indigenous people on self-determination than many have given you credit for. Above all, your decision to resort to dialogue by writing a letter as against the option of violence is one I must not fail to commend.
Having said these, let me come to the main reason why I’m here. In your letter to the acting president, I noticed what I’ve been trying to figure out whether to classify as an innocent amnesia-induced oversight or a calculated attempt at revisionism on your part. The aim of this letter is strictly to put the record straight.
You cited the January 15th coup which you mischievously tagged Igbo coup and claimed was the Igbo manifesting their hatred for Nigeria. Quite frankly, when I read that part, I was left wondering whether to pause and die laughing or die crying. Contrary to your assertion, it was not the Igbo who manifested hatred for Nigeria’s unity. It is you and your kind who invented the word “hatred” and even went further to prove that indeed, it is not just a word.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Swan Song Of The Iroko: The Life, Time And Works Of Chinua Achebe: The Lessons For Nigeria

By Professor Umelo Ojinmah

(Paper presented at the Memorial Symposium in Honour of Professor Chinua Achebe by Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) on 20 May 2013 at International Conference Centre, Abuja)
*Chinua Achebe 

There are few writers that their lives and works have been studied as much as Achebe’s. His novels, especially, Things Fall Apart is standard reading in many high schools in America and Europe, including Germany, and all over Africa and Asia. I know that my work on Achebe was excerpted and is used in a text, Novels for Students Vol. 33 Ed. Sara Constantakis (2010) for high school students in America

Most of us here have critiqued one of Achebe’s work or the other.  Achebe has influenced writers from all over the world – Europe, America, Australia, and Asia. The New Zealand Maori writer, Witi Ihimaera, acknowledges that he was influenced by Chinua Achebe. He became one of the most famous indigenous writers of the Maori nation and has, himself, influenced a new generation of Maori writers. As editor of the African Writers Series, Achebe edited and mentored a host of African Writers including Ngugi Wa Thiong’0.  Elechi Amadi in a recent interview accepted as much, that they all were influenced by Achebe, which is one of the reasons he is seen as the father of African Literature. Growing up, many of us never knew how books are made. For us, Shakespeare was that nebulous but wonderful writer who weaved magic with words that our teachers asked us to memorise. It was Achebe that made us realise that writers were flesh and blood like us; that is what Achebe did for so many people, bringing literature to life and kindling our interest in writing.

 I: Life and Time 
When  Karl Maier’s This House has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis was published in 2000 there was the usual hue and cry by Nigeria’s elites and politicians on what they saw as the denigration of the Nigerian state. Coming seventeen years after the publication of Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria  (1983) it was amazing that despite the obvious kleptocracies of those at  leadership positions at both state and national levels that have stunted development of the Nigerian state, people still shouted themselves hoarse about the conclusion of Karl Maier’s This House has Fallen. A conclusion that Chinua Achebe had drawn and foretold seventeen years earlier. 

Although this paper celebrates the life and achievements of Chinua Achebe, as a writer and social critic, in the light of the furore generated by There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra and the level of discourse that it has precipitated, I was tempted to jump into the fray, but I quickly realised that what was happening was, in fact, what Chinua Achebe wanted. To draw attention to those issues raised, debate them, criticize them, but definitely not ignore them or sweep them under the carpet). Chinedu Aroh writes that “Achebe … feels the forty-two years the book took him to release shows the seriousness therein. According to Pourhamrang Achebe ‘had to find the right vehicle that could “carry our anguish, our sorrow ... the scale of dislocation and destruction ... our collective pain’’’ (cited in NewsRays, 2012, 40). 

The only sad note, particularly for Achebe scholars, is that the people who should be debating these issues are not; the leaders and government functionaries whose actions impact on the lives of the citizens. For it is for such people that There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra was written, so that we do not continue to play the ostrich as a nation. Achebe’s death has brought out all manner of critics and pseudo-critics. Recently, Odia Ofeimun, in his interview with Ademola Adegbamigbe and Nehru Odeh, under the guise of reacting to Chinua  Achebe’s  There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra took a hefty swipe at The Trouble with Nigeria thirty years after its publication claiming that:
We loved him so much for what he wrote that we hardly ever challenged some of the most contentious positions in his novels and in his non-fiction writings. Achebe said many things that are thoroughly wrong and that we ought to have contested very sharply and strongly.

Ofeimun states that “The trouble with Nigeria is not just bad leadership. That is the first bad point” yet by the time he had summed up Awolowo’s credentials he said “Now, it is good never to forget that what saved Awolowo was not just leadership….” Basic English lesson teaches us that when you use expressions such as “…was not just…” it presupposes that leadership is NOT excluded but included. Of course, it also means that there are other things that make up the qualities being advocated but the important thing is the acknowledgement that leadership is included.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nigeria: Tales From The States

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
When former President Olusegun Obasanjo described state governors as emperors last year, the gibe at the messenger tended to dim the message . The riposte was not only from the supposedly traduced state governors, but also other citizens – he was not qualified to speak on such a matter because he equally operated as an emperor while he was a president. Again, continued the reprimand, why would he not consign his epistolary obsession to the federal level and avoid interfering with the goings-on in the states?
*Some Nigerian Governors 
But we must admit that Obasanjo was only reminding us that as citizens, we have not demonstrated enough diligence in monitoring how the states are run because we are preoccupied with the activities of the government at the centre. After all, it is the reports on these activities at the federal level that hug the headlines on the front pages of newspapers. And because we do not pay enough attention to them, these state governors easily pass as poster boys of good governance. This is the case as long as these states do not have opposition parties that can let the larger society know the poor governance that goes on there. Yet, the citizens live in states where their lives are impacted either positively or negatively by the performance of their state governments.
Thus, it is necessary for us to be troubled by the mismanagement and brazen theft of state resources that go on as governance in most of the states of the federation. In most cases, the governors set up the states to fail by not allowing council elections so that they can keep on appointing those who would do their bidding as caretakers and manipulate elections for them. These caretakers are then sustained by doling out part of their statutory allocations to them to spend as they like without any question from the state governors.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...