Tuesday, June 2, 2020

NNPC: Northern Nigeria Petroleum Corporation?

By Luke Onyekakeyah
The reported lamentation of the leaders of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), over the blatant lopsided appointments into top management positions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), deserves attention from the Federal Government with a view to correcting it. The development makes one wonder if the organization has surreptitiously become Northern Nigeria Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

It is clear that since 1999, for instance, what used to be a pan Nigeria giant oil corporation that manages Nigeria’s “cash cow”, has been northernised by way of appointments into key positions in the organisation. The complaints and disaffection resulting from this have largely been ignored by the Federal government.
The latest appointments of 20 northerners into management positions in the NNPC while ignoring the south has raised the ante, leading to discontent as reported by ThisDay of May 17, 2020. For those looking for divisive forces threatening Nigeria, this is one of it.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Fathers As Sexual Predators

By Dan Agbese
Let’s quit feigning ignorance about this benumbingly shameful fact. A vicious form of paedophilia is rapidly creeping up on our country. Fathers have become the sexual predators of their daughters. So has the neighbour; so has the employer; and so has the admissions officer in our institutions. The cocktail of our national challenges is getting progressively more complicated. Sorry.

And so, the girl-child, the mother of our future presidents, governors, Senate presidents and 37 speakers of the federal and state legislatures and justices faces a bleak future from the sexual trauma suffered in childhood. She is condemned to carry the heavy burden of sexual shame for life. Some of the abused girl-children find it difficult to live normal lives after being so traumatised. It is horrible.

Igboland Is Not Landlocked!

By Aloy Ejimakor
It’s often said that a lie told so many times, if unchallenged, may – in course of time – begin to pass for the truth. One of such is the terrible lie, institutionally purveyed since the end of the Civil War, to the effect that Igboland is landlocked or has no access to the sea. The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to debunk this lie with some simple historical and topographical evidence that are even in plain view, if you care to dig or do some physical explorations of your own.

*John Nnia Nwodo
President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo
Suffice it to say that it is a profound tragedy that entire generations of the immediate post-War Igbos never bordered to check but seemingly accepted this brazen institutional falsehood, largely intended to taunt the Igbo and put them down. A few that knew it to be false just didn’t care anymore. And that History was banned since the end of the Civil War made it worse, plus the fact that most people don’t take physical Geography that serious anymore, otherwise they would have known that Abia, Imo and Anambra States have varying short-distance paths to the Atlantic through Imo, Azumiri and Niger Rivers.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Nigeria: Wake Up, Sleeping Giant!

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
Tomorrow, May 29, 2020, is what used to be referred to in Nigeria as “Democracy Day,” but now it will only serve as the anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari's regime and that of some state governors. It is usually a welcome excuse for great celebrations, chest-beating and wild claims about humongous achievements, many of which exist only in the imagination of the mostly failed leaders. 
*Nigeria Leaders: Jonathan, Obasanjo, Buhari
Even the term “Democracy Day” (which is now observed on June 12) is such an excruciating irony in a country where almost all the features that distinguish democratic societies have been brutally obliterated, leaving the populace continually trapped in destabilizing apprehension. 

There would, however, be no parties tomorrow. A hostile, dreaded   visitor called Coronavirus is town! Let’s hope, therefore, that the absence of bacchanals tomorrow will afford our leaders the conducive   atmosphere for deep, sober reflections, to determine whether they have merely added to the suffering and pain of the people or helped, even in some little way, to reduce them.             

If Nigeria is working, we will know! Those were the exact words of late Prof Chinua Achebe, Africa’s foremost writer and distinguished intellectual. In other words, the citizens do not need any bogus claims by government’s megaphones to realise that there is an improvement in their country’s economy because it will automatically translate to an enhancement in their lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nigeria: Covid-19 And The Leadership Question

For those of us who still believe in the geographical expression called Nigeria, at no other time that our country needs more fervent prayers than now. But the current situation also demands eternal vigilance and critical immediacy. Yet, the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the human race since November 2019, more than anything else, poses a grave challenge to leaders across the world. While the COVID 19 pandemic has really revealed leaders with the sterner stuff who have shown the capacity to lead at very auspicious moments in the affairs of man, it has also exposed the soft underbelly of others who lack the capacity to walk their talk.
It is now so apparent that Nigeria, my country, is a nation of experts without roots. We are always creating tacticians who are blind to strategy and strategists who cannot even take a step. And when the culture has finished its work, the weak institutions handcuff the infirmity. But what is at the centre of the panic which is our national culture since we are not yet free to choose our leaders?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' Among The 20 Best Books Of All Time

"The books you read in your high School English class are not necessarily the best novels ever written. What makes for great literature, anyway? Some could argue that all your book needs in order to be considered “great” is leather-bound packaging and microscopic print, but the truth is, you really can’t judge a book by its cover.Instead, you have to judge it by what’s written inside. Is the story meaningful, honest, moving? Does it transport you to another time or place? When it comes to ranking the best novels ever written, we had to look for all of these things…and just because you love a certain book doesn’t mean it made our list."

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Nigeria: How Not To Mismanage the Covid-19 Pandemic

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
Even though by 2015, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had performed below the high expectations of many Nigerians and had rightly earned their rejection, I highly dreaded the disastrous possibility of Nigerians falling for the massive, overwhelming but vacuous propaganda of the All Progressives Congress (APC), backed by a formidable coalition of tragically naïve activists, intellectuals and opinion leaders, to seriously consider that the APC could by the widest stretch of the imagination, qualify as even a manageable alternative.

There was massive corruption in the PDP, but it was just impossible for me to buy the tasteless myth that the APC which was mostly made up of the very characters that gave the PDP its unwholesome image could, no matter the relentless efforts of their tireless spin doctors, qualify to be classed as something that has the slightest resemblance with a party of saints and an assemblage change agents, and that once a person moved from the PDP to the APC, the person would receive instant beatification from a band of holy angels waiting to perform that sacred assignment. This should make no sense even to a two-year old!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Nigeria’s Unprofitable Lockdown

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
How exactly is the lockdown helping to halt the spread of coronavirus in Nigeria? Or put another way, how is the Buhari regime which announced the lockdown in three locations, Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ensuring that the measure unleashed is at least achieving a reasonable percentage of the purpose for which it was declared?
Has there been any thorough audit of the exercise? Who is also undertaking such an assessment in the various states that are equally on lockdown? What is the level of compliance at the various places and what percentage of the anticipated gains has so far been achieved?    

One may never get a coherent answer.  That is the problem a people must learn to live with when they are stuck with a regime that appears to derive some kind of strange animation from maintaining an icy distance from the people it claims to be governing, a leadership that seems to have become incurably estranged from the people, their problems and feelings, and appears to be trapped in abject lack of the capacity to muster any empathy and fellow-feeling either when speaking to the populace or taking actions that are sure to harshly affect their lives.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Who Is Afraid Of Ezenwo Nyesom Wike?

Within the entire gamut or canon of Ernest Hemingway's works – some seven novels, fifty odd short stories, a play, and several volumes of non-fiction — The Sun Also Rises, is something of a curious exception.
*Gov Wike 
Published in 1926 while Hemingway was still in his twenties and relatively unknown, it was his first serious attempt at a novel. Yet, in spite of the fact that it was to be followed by such overwhelming commercial successes as A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), The Old Man and The Sea (1952), most critics agree that The Sun Also Rises is one most wholly satisfying book. Here Hemingway indelibly fixed the narrative tone for his famous understated ironic prose style. And here he also made his first marked forays into an exploration of those themes that were to become his brand-mark as a writer and which were to occupy him throughout his writing career. The pragmatic ideal of grace under pressure, the working out of the Hemingway "code", the concept of style as a moral and ethical virtue, and the blunt belief or determination that some form of individual heroism was still possible in the increasingly mechanized and bureaucratic world of the twentieth century: these characteristic Hemingway notions deeply informed the structure of The Sun Also Rises.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Arrest Of ExxonMobil Staff: Gov Wike Is Right!

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
All those people out there speculating on the motives of the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, and condemning him for ordering the arrest of the 22 ExxonMobil staff who flouted the executive order signed by the governor to stop the movement of people from other states into Rivers in order to check the spread of coronavirus in the state should hide their faces in shame and thoroughly interrogate themselves to determine whether they are not labouring under the usual debilitating inferiority complex that often pushes some “natives” to prefer to endanger their people’s lives in order to please the “White Massa”? 
Gov Wike 
If it were some “ordinary” people from Akwa-Ibom that were arrested for breaching the law in Rivers State, would there have been any uproar? Would that have earned even a footnote mention in the media? I can imagine what will be the fate of some workers of a Nigerian company operating in the United States who chose to brazenly flout a movement restriction order in the state of Texas, the home of ExxonMobil, for whatever reason!  

Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt on Friday, April 17, Wike said: “Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the coronavirus status of these individuals. Even though security agencies advised that they be allowed to go back to Akwa Ibom State, I insisted that the law must take its course. This is because nobody is above the law. As a responsive government, we have quarantined them in line with the relevant health protocols and they will be charged to court.” 

Certainly, this is how civilized and rule-governed societies are run. There are no set of laws for the masses and another set for some gaggle of privileged lawbreakers. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Imo: In Search Of The ‘Hope’ In Uzodinma

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
Now that Nigerians appear to have tried their best to put behind them the controversial Supreme Court judgment that made Mr. Hope Uzodinma the Governor of Imo State, the great task before him now is to hasten to convince Imo people that the apex court has not brutally forced a very bitter and impuissant pill down their throats, but, that, he is, indeed, that governor they have always hoped for, who will change the face of Imo for good! 
*Gov Uzodinma and President Buhari 
He does not have the luxury time. A delayed performance might begin to sow in the minds of the people the toxic thought that the pill they have swallowed lacks the power to solve the several debilitating maladies weighing the state down. And if their worst fears are eventually confirmed, it would then amount to another hope devastatingly betrayed (if you will permit the pun). And the cost, politically, might be too high for Mr. Uzodinma.   

Well-meaning Nigerians are becoming increasingly worried that the courts are brazenly usurping the power of the electorate to choose their leaders. They are beginning to think that the ever-swelling number of court-crowned leaders constitutes a dangerous threat to our democracy and a frustrating and discouraging experience to the masses who take the pains and defy the often very harsh sun and rain to vote. Why bother to vote when, eventually, the decision on who occupies the office will be decided by about five or seven judges – none of whom may even come from the state or constituency in question? The danger is that the people are often alienated from the leader since they are increasingly finding it difficult to convince themselves that they are being governed or represented by somebody they chose.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Nigeria: A Nation Of 200 Million Fools

By Dan Amor
When the Union Jack (the British flag) was, at the glittering mews of the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on October 1, 1960, lowered for a free Nigeria’s green-white-green flag, gloriously fluttered in the sky by the breezy flurry of pride and ecstasy, it was a great moment pregnant with hope and expectation. The whole world had seen a newly independent Nigeria, a potential world power, only buried in the sands of time.
Endowed with immense wealth, a dynamic population and an enviable talent for political compromise, Nigeria stood out in the 1960s as the potential leader in Africa, a continent in dire need of guidance. For, it was widely thought that the country was immune from the wasting diseases of tribalism, disunity and instability which remorselessly attacked so many other new African states. But when bursts of machine gun fire shattered the predawn calm of Lagos its erstwhile capital city in January 1966, it was now clear that Nigeria was no exception to Africa’s common post-independence experience.

COVID-19 And Nigeria's Pathetic Leadership Deficit

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
There is no better warning about the growing confusion that seems to be gradually beclouding the federal government’s response to the coronavirus challenge than the belief it betrayed last week that, perhaps, all it needs to calm the fears and apprehensions of Nigerians about its ability to halt the spread of the virus is to reel out a catalogue of activities President Buhari was said to have undertaken so far concerning the pestilence, whether the people felt their impact or not.
*President Buhari and his spokesman, Femi Adesina
Now, if your family is starving badly, do you solve the rumbling signs of biting hunger in their stomach with some wild tales of the efforts deployed by you so far to feed them, or just keep quiet, give them food, and they will see and feel for themselves that you have played your role responsively and effectively?  Or if you must talk, tell them something you have done whose benefits they can readily verify and identify with.

Indeed, some Nigerians are beginning to achieve the conviction that there must be something about being in government in this country that seems to diminish the reasoning ability of people once they get in there and deprives them of the capacity to realize when they have stopped making sense or even become downright annoying. This is very pathetic.

Will Nigerians Soon Wipe Out Each Other?

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
I know that the dominant health topic now is Coronavirus (or, if you like, Chinese Virus), but I feel compelled to draw attention to some egregious practices by some callous and cruel Nigerians that are ruining many lives daily in this country. These vile characters are able to unleash this grievous harm on innocent Nigerians because the various regulatory agencies like, the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) or the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON, are either in very deep slumber or very sick and nigh unto death, or even dead and awaiting burial!

I think that if some far-reaching interventions are not urgently undertaken, we would not be able to rule out the possibility that the rest of the world might wake up one day and discover that this large, unproductive territory called Nigeria has become one wide stretch of empty space, devoid of humans or littered with decaying corpses? Is it that human life has since totally lost its value before Nigerians or what? How far should rational human beings tread on the path of mutual annihilation before they realise that it is, perhaps, time to do a rethink, beat a retreat and commence the homeward journey to self-reclamation?  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What Is Left For Coronavirus To Conquer In Nigeria?

By Banji Ojewale
While the rest of the world is receiving a deadly hiding at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic, we in Nigeria seem distant from this global anxiety. We are complacent, living in cloying bliss, expecting deliverance from an outsourced ‘invisible hand’, if Covid-19 finally hits us the way it is crowding on the others with a threat to wipe them out.

The nations of the Americas, Europe, Australasia, and a few here in Africa are panicking, resorting to wild and extreme ploys to outwit the disease. Even in wartime, World War 2, Europe wasn’t as mortally frenzy, didn’t reach for the uttermost ends its nations are aiming for at the moment. They sense danger. It’s universal insecurity communism and ‘rogue’ countries like Cuba and North Korea and Iran were not able to unleash on mankind at their apogee. Military allies have broken pacts and all are becoming recluse, shutting their borders.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Odia Ofeimun: The Writer And His Society

By Dan Amor
When it dawned on me recently that my boss, Odia Ofeimun would turn 70 today, I was confused. I was confused not because I didn't know what to write about my master or how to write it but about which one to write on. I asked my humble self: should I write about the poetry of Odia Ofeimun, or should I write about Odia Ofeimun's language and philosophy or about Odia Ofeimun and his aesthetics? 
*Odia Ofeimun
Indeed, I was really confused, for it is patently difficult to write about a griot whose life experience cuts across almost all facets of human endeavours. As a polyvalent genius, Odia is grounded in almost all the major contemporary schools of critical theory: from analytic philosophy to reconstructed Marxism, from poststructuralism to postcoloniality, and from feminism to recuperated phenomenology.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Amala And The Coronavirus Patient: Matters Arising

By Reuben Abati
Of all the updates that have been given so far by the Lagos State authorities on the government’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, and ensure proper care for the reported index case, and other possible cases (there is a second case now), the most intriguing update for me is the disclosure that the Italian index case who has since been quarantined at the bio-security facility in Lagos, is recovering – indeed so well that he now eats a local delicacy, called “Amala”. This disclosure was attributed to the Manager of the Bio-security Centre in Lagos, Dr. Bankole Akinwale. Let no one be under any mistaken impression that the doctor was trying to suggest that the eating of amala, is any form of cure for corona virus; he being a Yoruba had to find the most graphic way to convey the patient’s health status as at the time he made that disclosure six days ago.
Amala is a special delicacy that is very popular among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is in two forms, white and dark brown colours: the former is made from cassava, and is far more popular among the Egba people of Ogun State. They call it Lafun. The latter which is the standard paste is made from yam. Both are best consumed with a variety of soups particularly okro, ewedu, ogbono, or well-made egusi soup or vegetables.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Nigeria Confirms First Case Of Coronavirus In Lagos

...Plus: Basic Protective Measures Against The New Coronavirus
*Gov Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State addressing a press conference
today on the outbreak of coronavirus in Lagos 
The Nigerian Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of Coronavirus in Lagos. A tweet sent out by the ministry early today (Friday February 28, 2020), reads:

The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus(Covid-19) case in Lagos State Nigeria. The case which was confirmed on 27/02/2020 is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Insecurity In Nigeria: Declare A State Of Emergency

By Dan Amor
Nigeria has become a perdition in which everybody is losing and nobody is gaining. Everywhere you ever go, your nostrils are daily confronted with the stench of death. The possibility of scores of our compatriots being killed on a daily basis is almost predictable. From the rampaging Fulani herdsmen killing, maiming and kidnapping hundreds of innocent and defenseless Nigerians on a daily basis to cascading incidents of inter-communal or tribal wars across the country, the growing menace of violent armed robbery and police brutality, and ritual killings, Nigerians are having more than they bargained for. 

All this is happening under the watch of a sitting government whose officials are openly asking native peoples to surrender their lands for cattle ranching to avoid being killed. Several analysts, newspaper editorials and informed commentators have had to proffer solutions to the numerous crises bedeviling the country including the imperative for State Police and the urgent need to tame the so-called ‘indigenes/settlers’ dichotomy, but the government at the centre behaves as though it has the solutions to all the problems of the country whereas its efforts are not adding up. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

For A Total War On Kidnapping

By Dan Amor
Something definitely needs to give in now, otherwise, the growing incidence of kidnapping of innocent persons by unscrupulous elements across the country looks good at getting out of hands in no distant time. We hold this position because, hardly any day passes without one infamous report or another of hostage-taking of innocent people in one part of the country or another.
A very disturbing report recently that about eight people, mostly women and children, were kidnapped within Abuja metropolis is enough to jolt all Nigerians, not least the government, from illusions into stark realities. Just recently, a Lagos-bound bus from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was shortly after departure, waylaid somewhere at Emuoha town in the state and fourteen of the vehicle’s occupants were forcefully taken into captivity by some unscrupulous persons who proceeded to ask for huge ransom of money before the release of the kidnapped persons.

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