Saturday October 25th, 2014
Saturday October 25th, 2014
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As Delta State gets set for local government elections

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:06 am   /   Comments

LG polls to be held in Lagos State today

When announcing the date oflong-overdue local government elections in Delta State, the chairman of the state’s independent electoral commission, Mr Moses Ogbe, said, in that grating grandiloquence bordering on bombast that Nigerian public servants love so much, as follows: “Having regard to the desire of Deltans for the conduct of a smooth and hitch-free Local Government Election in the state, the commission has resolved that the elections will hold on Saturday, 25th October, 2014.”

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One scandal begets another in Ekiti State

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 2:09 am   /   Comments

Gov Fayemi inspecting the ruination in the state

Ekiti State, the self-styled “Land of Honour,” can’t seem to do anything honourable in recent times. “Ile iyi, ile eye” or “Land of honour, land of integrity,” its moto boasts.

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Jonathan’s Non-Negotiator and the moral black hole threatening our govt

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 1:57 am   /   Comments

Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, and Boko Haram commanders in 2013 after BH reportedly agreed to dialogue

IN my last column entitled “Jonathan’s Hostage Negotiator Puts Him in a Tight Corner” (3 September 2014), I argued that Australian hostage negotiator Dr. Stephen Davis did Nigeria a favour by daring to call by name two persons alleged to be sponsors of Boko Haram, and by pointing to an unnamed person alleged to be the evil sect’s banker ensconced in our Central Bank in Abuja.

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Jonathan’s hostage negotiator puts him in a tight corner

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 3:24 am   /   Comments

Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, and Boko Haram commanders in 2013 after BH reportedly agreed to dialogue

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s hostage negotiator, Dr Stephen Davis, has done Nigerians a great favour and put his employer in a tight corner. Davis has broken the official taboo against naming names of persons behind Boko Haram, those who fund the ceaseless bloodbaths, abduction of adolescent girls as sexual slaves, arson and more.

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Elections as military operations

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:00 am   /   Comments

Aregbesola

BY all sober reckoning, Professor Attahiru Jega has done quite well in his last two outings as Nigeria’s chief electoral officer and, so, democracy’s chief midwife in our turbulent country. If Ekiti broke the hearts of progressives, of those who believe that “man does not live alone by bread” — in other words, that the gospel of “Man shall live alone for his stomach,” according to Saints Adedibu and Fayose, is perversion itself — Osun offered them consolation. With the hard-fought but clear victory of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the August 9 election, Jega gave hope to a nation pining, panting even, for a sign of change in the still uninspiring effort of governing ourselves sensibly. If against the seemingly unstoppable electoral machine of the ruling party, oiled by its ability to dispense power and privilege, a harried governor from a new collation party still getting to know all of its new members could win re-election, then 2015 might not be all the predicted gloom and doom. Electorally speaking, only, I must be quick to add, for the forces that tear at corporate Nigeria are legion!

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For Bamidele Aturu, 1964-2014

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:48 am   /   Comments

Barrister Bamidele Aturu

He was not a poet, and I doubt that he ever knew of a Welshman by the name of Dylan Thomas who famously enjoined his dying father not to “go gentle into that goodnight” but to “rage, rage against the darkness and the dying of the light.” Physics educationist by first training, lawyer after, and crusader for democracy and justice, he was inclined to think in more prosaic terms.

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Let us end the pretence and declare Nigeria a unitary state!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:00 am   /   Comments

Nigerian-fans

The Vanguard of Monday, July 14, 2014 carried three full page advertorials on one issue: the impasse at the National Conference over a proper derivation formula. The Committee on Devolution of Powers, whose report was the last to be debated at plenary, had recommended retaining the 13% in General Abacha’s 1999 Constitution against the Northern delegates’ insistence on reducing it to 5%.

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Ekiti Verdict 2014: The Apotheosis of Adedibu

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:26 am   /   Comments

JUBILATION—People of Ado-Ekiti celebrating Pdp Governor-Elect, Mr Ayo Fayose's victory in Ekiti, yesterday. Inset:  Fayose with another cross section of his supporters.

Not that when Lamidi Adedibu lived he lacked honour and veneration but that it was tainted adulation. Only his kind, those who do not subscribe to any code of civilised behaviour, could sing his praises as the godfather of “amala politics.”He had only one goal in politics: to take, by crook or hook, fire or thunder as much of what belonged to the public as he wanted.

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Dr. Abel K. Ubeku, 1936-2014: In memoriam

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:00 am   /   Comments

Dr Abel Kprogidi Ubeku

ON Saturday, June 14, 2014, the remains of Dr Abel Kprogidi Ubeku, former Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria PLC, were returned to Mother Earth. Although better known to Nigerians, especially those for whom alcoholic beverage is synonymous with the dark stout he turned into the most popular beer in the country — “black thing good ooo!” — he was also a sound scholar and notable politician.

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Derivation: How North bullied South to submission

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:16 am   /   Comments

The Lamidon Adamawa, Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa, the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum  Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu;  Governor of Nassarawa State, Umar Tanko Almakura and Capt. Idris Wada of Kogi State during the inauguration of the Northern  States Governor's Committee on Reconciliation Healing and Security, at the Niger State Governors Lodge Asokoro, Abuja. 22-08-2012

YOU have to hand it to the North. Knowing the extent of the Niger Delta’s sense of injustice through the unconscionable expropriation of its nature-given oil and gas wealth, and knowing that just nine years ago the South-South delegates to General Obasanjo’s constitutional conference walked out of proceedings rather than accept a derivation formula of less than 25%, the Northern delegates to President Jonathan’s National Conference insisted on not only reducing the laughable 13% already entrenched in the 1999 military constitution to 5% (that’s right, FIVE percent) but also on wiping out any other grudging concession. Mounted atop the high horse of power they know how to ride so well, they presented their Southern counterparts a choice: accept 5 % or accept a reinstatement of the onshore-offshore dichotomy in the calibration of oil output,give up the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, and the amnesty programme.

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God’s anointed criminals

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:59 am   /   Comments

Shekau

As the world watched Abuba-kar Shekau’s video declaration of Allah’s instruction to him to sell the nearly 300 girls he kidnapped at midnight from their boarding school beds in Chibok, Borno State, something happened at last that had been long awaited: action, rather than platitudinous words of outrage.

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Boko Haram’s satanism: See where the politicisation of religion has led us

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:21 am   /   Comments

Boko-Haram1

AMIDST the grief and outrage that sweep the land in the aftermath of Boko Haram’s latest acts of Satanism-AbubakarShekau and his fellow psychopaths are disciples of Satan-I crave the indulgence of the reader to allow me a moment to ask the simple question: How did we get here?

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When a Finance Minister turns money-doubler

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 9:25 am   /   Comments

*Briefing on Result of GDP in Nigeria: Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo –Iweala chatting with Minister of National Planning Amb. Bashiru Yuguda  and Statistician –General of the Federation and CEO of National Bureau of Statistics Dr. Yemi Kale during presentation of Preliminary Results of the Rebased Nominal Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) Estimates from Nigeria 2010 to 2013 held in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

I  COULDN’T help it. As soon as the new figures conjured by Dr Okonjo-Iweala out of Nigeria’s “rebased” Gross Domestic Product exercise came out, I shouted abracadabra! Then I chanted, “Come and see Ah-meri-ka wonder! Come and see Ah-meri-ka wonder!” I promptly substituted “Nigerian” for America in that spell-casting ditty of itinerant tricksters that used to haunt the busy bus terminals of our major cities. I completed the expression of my wonder by crying out loud, “The more you look, the less you see!” 

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Praying for Nigeria: A citizen’s secular meditations

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 1:33 am   /   Comments

praying

IF I were a praying man, I would be on my knees every minute of the day for the next three months. And if I could be sure not to expire from the inhuman sacrifice, I would seek to better God-the-Son by fasting for 90 days and nights, hoping that the 492 wise men and women selected to rescue Nigeria from the precipice of self-annihilation would not need a day beyond June 15, 2014 to complete their task.

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Against dialogue with Boko Haram

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 1:16 am   /   Comments

Boko-haram-negotiation-cart

THE pattern is clear. The more bloodcurdling the atrocities of Boko Haram the louder the calls for dialogue with the band of murderous psychopaths whose official name is Jama’atuAhlissunnahLidda’awatiWal-Jihad.

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The unending military siege to Delta State

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:45 am   /   Comments

UDUAGHAN3

DELTA is a densely populated state that also happens to house a vast amount of oil and gas. The Sapele-Warri-Ughelli corridor, extending to Port Harcourt, is the industrial and commercial heartbeat of the state and has a high volume of vehicular traffic.

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What do Nigeria’s public ‘servants’ think about when going to work in the morning?

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:10 am   /   Comments

State Secretariat Alausa, Lagos: Under bomb threat?

I HAVE known Senator Femi Ojudu for 25 years, since his days at the defunct African Concord. We were co-tenants of General Abacha’s gulag at 15A Awolowo Road and Inter Centre at Obalende, Lagos, until I was transferred to Ikoyi Prison while he remained a ward of the State Security Service (SSS). In all that time, even as a founding editor of The NEWS, I have not known him to be a man given to impulsive speech, sensationalism or self-exhibition. Thus, when he spoke recently of some curious things in the 2014 budget, I was all ears.

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Are homosexuals human beings?

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:16 am   /   Comments

Anti-Gay-Marriage-1

THE theme of the 1993 United Nations world conference on human rights in Vienna was Women’s Rights Are Human Rights. I was with the Civil Liberties Organisation then and attended the conference.

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President Jonathan, Please end the tragic farce in Rivers State now!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 9:05 pm   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan

DEAR President Goodluck Jonathan , I never thought I would join in the letter writing orgy that has seized all of Nigeria by the wrist! Certainly, not given the self-serving purposes of the Epistle of Saint Matthew of Otta to the people of Nigeria through you and the many replies to it.

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Slouching into 2014

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 9:24 am   /   Comments

Nigeria-map

From the same poem that gave Chinua Achebe the title of the work that immortalised him, Things Fall Apart, comes this more foreboding sentence: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

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Becoming a man and a poet at the Nelson Mandela secretariat

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:24 am   /   Comments

mandela-tribute1

When I was elected secretary-general of the students union at the University of Benin in 1987, I headed a secretarial named after Mandela. I do not know when the decision was taken to make Mandela the tutelary patron of our union whose struggles were mundane by comparison to the race-wide, all-of-humanity-embracing, cause that kept him underground for several years and eventually in prison for twenty-seven more.

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God Told Me… (In Memoriam: Kofi Awoonor, 1935-2013)

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 1:36 am   /   Comments

kofi-awoonor

ON September 21, the Ghanaian poet, writer, scholar and diplomat, Kofi Awoonor, was murdered along with many others in a terrorist attack launched by religious fanatics of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab Islamic fundamentalist sect purportedly acting on God’s behalf. For over a month now, I have intended some form of reflection in this column.

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Who killed Iyayi? Who owns Nigeria’s roads?

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:54 am   /   Comments

*Late Iyayi

If you were looking for further proof that Nigerians are yet to attain the status of citizen, then look no further than the murder of Professor Festus Iyayi on November 12, 2013 by a driver to the convoy-death-and-injury-happy governor of KogiState, Idris Wada.

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Bullet-proof corruption

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 2:32 am   /   Comments

Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah

IT was bound to come to this. The moment our “zero tolerance for corruption” president decided to fight tooth and nail against the public declaration of his assets, the moment he chose to declare instead “I don’t give a damn!” about any such nonsense as probity and leading by example, you knew the day was just around the corner when a ministercould import bullet-proof luxury cars as personal gifts to herself.

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No, Mr President, Legislators – Sovereignty belongs to the People!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:50 am   /   Comments

A cross section of members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference during the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.

AND just like that, President Goodluck Jonathan took the wind out of his own sails! With his Independence Day announcement, and subsequent empanelling of a National Conference Advisory Committee, his floundering presidential ship of state seemed set to sail out of troubled waters. I was, and remain, cautiously optimistic about his decision to convene a national conference.

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Salvaging Nigeria: Only a Sovereign National Conference will suffice!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:23 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo (4th right) and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Dr. Femi Okurounmu while other committee members watched shortly after the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.

Over lunch at the Ocean View restaurant on a humidJuly afternoon in Lagos, my good friend YinkaOdumakinsought to add a little spice to our dismal discussion of “Project Nigeria”: he had it on good authority, he said, that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon surprise and confound the forces arrayed against him by acceding to the call for a national conference.

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The Olu as Daddy Overseer

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:40 am   /   Comments

His Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse II The Olu of Warri Photo by
George Osodi

What does the storm fomented entirely out of a “born again” king’s tea cup tell us about our rulers, “spiritual” or “temporal?” By a proclamation, the Olu of Warri, Ogiamen Atuwatse II, sought to abrogate the ancestral title of Ogiamen on the ground that it implied worship of a false god, Umalokun the Itsekiri deity of the sea. It was an attempt to rewrite Itsekiri history and folklore according to the Pentateuch. Yet there had been no conflict between the personal beliefs of Itsekiri monarchs and the tenets of their monarchy, as he was promptly informed by his outraged “subjects.”

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Will America ever erase the colour line?

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:37 am   /   Comments

Martin Luther King Jr

A YEAR to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the benediction of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, America reached for a brush, dipped it in white paint and freshened the racial colour line of which King’s predecessor, W. E. B. Du Bois, spoke so eloquently 60 years earlier in The Souls of Black Folk.

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Air, air, everywhere, not a place to breathe in Lagos!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:25 am   /   Comments

...The Growing Beauty Of Lagos

I HAVE taken extreme liberties with the anguished cry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s narrator in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” for good reason.

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The hapless surrender of the states to the Federal Government

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:58 am   /   Comments

SAVE-US-cartoon

The cry of a colossal central government that has arrogated unto itself every important executive and legislative power and reduced the states to mere administrative appendages in our false federal republic can be heard from all corners of the country.

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A female Christ and other miracles of demo(n)cracy in Nigeria

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:29 am   /   Comments

Hon Evan Bapakaye at Loggerheads with a Mobile Police Officer at the Rivers State House of Assembly during the Crisis that Rocked the House.  Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke

The ugly spectacle of the “street fight” that broke out in the Rivers State House of Assembly on July 9 gives further and better particulars of our determination to forever make nonsense of representative governance and a fool of ourselves.

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Tell me in what Egypt my people’s feet lie chained!

  /   in For Crying Out Loud 12:13 am   /   Comments

A sand sculpture of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, created by sand artist Sudersan Pattnaik. AFP

IT took Egypt only two years after its first taste of democracy to give the latest demonstration of Africa’s abiding paradox: every flower of hope is turned sooner, rather than later, into the weed of despair.

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