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Sunmi Smart-Cole: Artist behind a camera at 75


Professor Soyinka’s comment can be found at the back of an album which must be a rare collection of artworks presented as photography. It takes one to know one; and Soyinka, an incomparable artist himself, is the sort of person to appreciate genius in an artist operating in another medium. The album is titled SUNMI’s LENS – medium BETWEEN MAN AND NATURE; and I have a copy on account of despair and idleness.

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President Buhari addressing the guests during the launch of the National Re-Orientation Campaign "Change Begins with Me" at the State House Conference Centre (SHCC) in Abuja.

Has President Buhari Changed?

Oddly enough, there are two answers to that question: yes and no. There is abundance evidence to prove that the President who launched another campaign to officially change Nigerian attitudes and values, and his accomplice in that regard, the Minister of Information and Culture, might not be the right people to be preaching to us – their Fellow Countrymen. To begin with, not all changes are beneficial to society.

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President Buhari as he departs Nairobi Kenya for Abuja after participating at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi Kenya

Who is the Nigerian leader at the moment?

This article could just as easily be titled ‘HAS BUHARI SUFFERED FROM A CIVILIAN COUP?’ And it would be just as apt. Melaye’s statement quoted above, given what had occurred since May 29, 2015, when Buhari was sworn in for the second time as Head of State, should alert all of us to a startling fact – that Buhari might no longer be in control of his civilian “troops”. In fact, the success of the rebels in installing the leaders of the National Assembly, against the wishes of the President and the other “leaders” of the All Progressives Congress

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What will happen when Christians no longer turn the other cheek? – 2

The first part of this series was concluded and sent to the SUNDAY Editor on Sunday, August 14, 2016. The next day, Monday, two Nigerian newspapers, GUARDIAN and NATION, carried the same story with the heading ‘New York Imam, Assistant shot dead”. The report was undoubtedly sourced from the wire services or the internet. The NATION’s version is hereby reproduced fully.

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What will happen when Christians no longer turn the other cheek? – 1

Based on personal principle, I seldom quote the Bible on these pages. I am a Christian, but wearing my religion on my sleeve is not my style. But, the topic of today’s article is inextricably linked with that Biblical injunction and it is inescapable to cite it. The world is gradually moving close the brink of disaster or another global religious war. Christian “cheeks” have been slapped in virtually every country on the globe by Islamic fanatics apparently with impunity. We must stop to ask what will happen if there are no more cheeks to turn.

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A modest proposal on grazing and ranching (2)

The mafia in the US once upon a time would offer a victim in a deal “an offer you cannot refuse” – meaning the consequences of your refusal were guaranteed to be worse than acceptance. Governors, mostly southern, like Fayose, who have announced their intention to stop grazing in their states in response to popular outcry against herdsmen will find it difficult, if not impossible to keep the herdsmen out unless we adopt a more rational way of addressing the complex issues which a total ranching policy will bring up. The first part of this series pointed out two of those problems last week. One we have no reliable census of the number of cattle we want to put in ranches; nothing on how many ranches will be needed; at a loss concerning how much it would cost to construct a ranch and maintain one.

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A modest proposal on grazing and ranching

It was not too long ago when the nation appeared to be on the verge of a total break-up on account of the activities of herdsmen and the atrocities they have allegedly perpetrated countrywide. Governor Fayose, who speaks first and thinks later (if he thinks at all) had pronounced that grazing was no longer allowed in any part of Ekiti State and became an instant hero to people who would not ordinarily consider him a sage. Similar noises have been raised in other places including on the pages of newspapers by respected columnists. One of them after allowing his own opinion to become “the voice of the people” had ordered Buhari to pack all the cattle to Northern ranches immediately. His position found resonance in editorials and articles written by Southerners. Well, while elections are decided by majority vote, wisdom is not a matter of numbers. The majority can be wrong.

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Managing street trading in Nigeria is a task requiring patience and wisdom

History has recorded that the law, even in today’s Europe (before Brexit) has failed miserably to totally wipe out sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets and stealing bread. Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769-1821, emperor of most of Europe, at one time, once scornfully called the British “a nation of shopkeepers”. If a modern day Napoleon were to come to Nigeria and travel all our thirty-six states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he could, with irrefutable justification describe Nigeria as a nation of street traders.

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MALNUTRITION: Newborns and pregnant women most at risk.

Before parents start eating their kids

Nigeria is descending to a new low in barbarism, which if left unchecked will define the new era of politics. Parents, presumed to be sane, but obviously callous and distressed, now sell their kids to procure food for the rest of the family. Whether the evil is perpetrated with a heavy heart is difficult to say until we conduct a study into the motivations of the few known examples to date. And, the sooner the better, because this trend might gain momentum and become irreversible for a long time to come.

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Lagos CP, Fatai Owoseni and Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.

Governor Akin Ambode has vindicated me (1)

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s first year in office is a resounding success by widespread acclamation. Nothing today gives me more joy. Had he failed, I would have been inundated with phone calls and text messages mocking me for calling for a Christian Governor in 2015 at a time when others were too afraid of the “god” of Lagos State politics to mention it.

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What will be Buhari’s legacy? (2)

Wilson, Labor Party leader in the 1970s had left the world with a sentence carved on stone – “A week is a long time in politics.” He also left this advice which none of our national leaders had heeded until now – the need for a sense of history. If I had my life to live all over again, History would have been the subject of choice – not Economics. That, notwithstanding, it is still my strong belief that every leader requires a strong sense of history as a guide to making decisions. Plutarch, c46-120 BC, one of the greatest historians ever to grace the earth, wrote a series on leaders whose reigns were similar in many respects despite ruling in different countries and different times. From it, one can quickly grasp the message, that in some ways every leader mirrors the life of another one in the past. In Africa, Milton Obote of Uganda also ruled twice and was bundled out twice. “Not fire, nor walls of iron can hinder fate”, said Pindar, c518- 438 BC. (VAGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 57). Buhari’s history as leader of Nigeria started in December 31, 1983 – it continues now. History would record that he thrown out by the same supporters who brought him to power. Will that history be repeated?

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President Buhari departs Abuja for London on a 10-day vacation

What will be Buhari’s legacy? (1)

In the report, Nigerians learnt that about N900bn will be reduced from the capital budget for 2016. There was no mention of how much reduction will be made in the recurrent expenditure. A few days earlier, the Vice-President, flanked by Governors Ajimobi of Oyo, Aregbesola of Osun, and El-Rufai of Kaduna States had launched the School Meal Project from which 5.5 million primary school kids are to benefit in the first phase. It was among a lot of ill-conceived and badly conceptualized promises made by the President as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last election. It was not the only one.

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, during his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

Presidents and promises: Undoing of Buhari –1

For me and several other people to whom I have spoken, the events leading to the release of the amounts recovered by The Federal Government by the Minister of Information on Saturday, June 4, 2016, without the list of names promised by President Buhari was an embarrassment in many ways. Only God knows how many friends and associates I have lost since 2011 on account of my total support for Buhari, who was the closest person to meet my idea of the sort of leader needed in Nigeria at this particular time when corruption killing us. I always felt that he was a leader who would keep his promises once made. You might not agree with the promise, but, you knew where you stood with him. The other person was late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

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