The Jukuns probably serve best to illustrate the problems of small ethnic groups strung across several states. To the best of my knowledge, they can be found in Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba and parts of Cross River States – in the Katsina Ala area. And like the Fulani/Hausa, they have been involved in ethnic conflicts in every state. How will their representative(s) be chosen? And, in the event of a break-up of Nigeria, where will they go?Read More →
I stake my claim to advise my President on two things. First, I am a citizen of Nigeria, one of the 170 million souls you now lead. I don’t want to be led astray or into another nationwide conflict. Second, I belong to that group of Nigerians, called Area Boys, who live strictly on our own brand of street wisdom. In any situation, we always know when we are beaten before the fight starts and we tactically withdraw. You see, my President, there is nothing more wasteful of lives and opportunities than fighting for lost causes. You are about to get engaged in one unnecessary battle.Read More →
Our collective tendency to think of Nigeria in terms of WA-ZO-BIA (Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo) is probably responsible for the enthusiasm with which some of us embrace break-up of Nigeria or even confederation. Some might even think that the British met us neatly divided into East, West and Northern regions. So why not simply return to those enclaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not even the Yorubas and Igbos formed one nation before 1914. However, one thing is clear: breaking up along regional lines will leave the nation emerging from the “North” totally landlocked. That unfortunately will be the least of its problems.Read More →
Dr Okurounmu and I share at least one thing in common. We were both recipients of American government scholarship in the 1960s which enabled us to attend universities in America. It is quite possible we also share in common taking a course in Speed Reading, which enables the individual to read lots of text materials at five to ten times that of an average person and still get the facts right. That speed reading ability paid off for me four years ago when I was engaged by clients to go through the PIB which the Federal Government was trying to force through the National Assembly and stop its passageRead More →
Last week I pointed out some of the reasons the Southwest might not be as peaceful as people think in the event of a break-up. Let me repeat that it was deliberate; I don’t want anybody reading ethnic hatred into what I would say about their own zones or ethnic groups. As it turned out I am learning about some ethnic groups for the first time in my life. Those asking for a national conference of ethnic nationalities must now begin to think of how they will handle the enormous task of mediating the demands that will come from all of them. It is not going to be easyRead More →
Femi Fani-Kayode and Tunde Fagbenle, without saying it, implicitly, believe that the Southwest will be better off on its own. To be candid; they have reasons for the optimism. The “Oduduwa Nation” (for lack of a better name), will be an oil producing nation – Ondo, Lagos and Ogun have oil. It has on the average the best collection of educated manpower and its educational institutions from primary to tertiary are the best nationwide. So, on the face of it, nothing stops it from becoming another Croatia or Pakistan. Nothing, that is, except guarantee of perpetual peaceRead More →
Like people on sickbeds, Nigerians are once again getting ready to toss from side to side, without asking if the problem is with the beds or themselves. Pity.
Do we need a National Conference, sovereign or not? The answer is neither “yes” nor “no” for the simple reason that we have failed woefully as a nation to raise a set of politicians who would make any form of government work. We had tried three forms of government since independence – parliamentary, military and presidential. None of them had been able to develop this nation to its full potentials – not at the national, regional or state levels. None.Read More →
Because I am a Christian Evangelist and have boldly made several predictions on these pages, which have turned out to be true, unlike those who wait for a disaster and then call a press conference to claim they predicted it, let me start with the last among the things which Ghandi predicted would destroy any nation – “Worship without sacrifice”. In my entire life, and my family was deeply involved in politics since the First Republic, I have never known of a religious leader, Muslim or Christian, who had ever, so openly, wrapped himself around a Prime Minister or President as the present CAN President.Read More →
By contrast, when Nigeria became a republic in 1963, neither the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, nor anybody else, warned Nigerians in the same vein. It was just assumed that a democratic republic, once pronounced and a constitution written would guarantee and perpetuate liberty. Unfortunately, for our founding fathers (Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo and Azikiwe included), they were the first victims of their collective folly. The democratic republic they pronounced in 1963 was demolished by a small band of armed adventurers; who promptly sent democracy in Nigeria to the dustbin of history. It has remained there till today.Read More →
“Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance”. Max Weber, 1864-1920.Read More →
That we deserve Dr Ebele Jonathan and his Ministers is not in doubt. First, we voted for him in 2011, overwhelmingly, based on promises – mostly now unfulfilled. The “breath of fresh air” was one of those promises. If what we are watching, at the hearings in the National Assembly, turns our stomachs and is malodorous to our noses, blame not Jonathan; blame us. A man cannot act beyond his abilities. For any leader, the most important decisions concern human resource choices. The President’s fate, like those of Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, anywhere are determined by the people he invites to top office to assist in executing his programmes.Read More →
The PUNCH of Wednesday October 23, 2013 was for me particularly remarkable. Its reports – regular columns and opinions – summarized all Nigerians need to know about the government they overwhelmingly elected in 2011. Many long term readers of this column would recall my strident calls for Nigerians to massively reject the PDP, including Jonathan, at the polls. My reason was simple. Based on information at my command, some of which was published in my book, PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, Nigeria could never get out of the mess in which we are stuck as long as the PDP, as presently constituted, is in power at the centre. And, by power, I mean the legislature as well as the Presidency.Read More →
Tuesday October 29, 2013 will mark exactly one year since Mrs Nenyin Alison Attah, the former First Lady of Akwa Ibom State departed this world for eternal life. For the two children, Felicia and Christopher, and for His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, the Father of Akwa Ibom State, it has been a long year; made longer by the absence of the centre-piece of every home – a loving wife and mother. Life had ceased to be the same for them; but life must go on.
But it was not only the husband and kids who will miss her. Eno, the house help of over three decades, who through the generousity of the former First Lady, had sent two kids to university and is the proud owner of three bedroom bungalow, with boys quarters attached, had refused to go. Like the Biblical Ruth she had decided that even in death “Your people shall be my people”. She represents a lot of people who are still to come to terms that their long term benefactor had gone – never to return.
“The population of Lagos State is estimated at 20 million with 10 million being Christians. The ten million have no more control over their lives than ten million cows being driven about by nomads”. Dele Sobowale, September 26, 2013, at the Seminar organized by Christian Conscience at Alausa, Ikeja.Read More →
Why am I writing a tribute to someone who was unknown to me until May of this year? And when we first met, I discovered that he was just about old enough to be my second child? Yet, in less than six months, I had become so fond of him that when the news of his sudden death in the Associated Airline crash reached me at Ibadan, my regular refuge from the chaotic life in Lagos, tears came tumbling out of my eyes uncontrollably for hours – as if he was my son. In reality, right from our first conversation on the phone, which started with him calling, he always called me “Daddy”. Even, when I told him that “Uncle will be more appropriate”, he had replied, “Sir, you are like a Daddy to a lot of us educated young ones around Campus Square. We are proud that you are one of our own; and we read you every Sunday religiously”.Read More →
In 2008, I wrote two articles titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS”. The first was about the former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Ndidi Onyuike warning about the imminent collapse of the Stock Exchange that year. It happened as predicted. The second was related to the crisis in the banking sector even as Professor Soludo was pretending that all was well with the banks. Today, everybody knows better. Where are OCEANIC, INTERCONTINENTAL, BANK PHB etc today? This article also might have been titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS -3” and it would have been appropriate because the Federal Minister of Finance is no longer the highly respected figure she was in 2003-2005. Her return is shaping out to be some sort of personal disaster for her for many reasons – mostly political.Read More →
On some of her visits to Nigeria from Barbados, she had been known to sit next to IBB, our future Head of State and playfully pull his ears while saying: “Why did a handsome boy like you get into the army? You want to get yourself killed”Read More →
The story continued by reporting that Mr Fidelis Chukwujindu and his accomplice, Mrs Ngozi Ayoha, operating University College Hospital Ogboko, Ideato, P.O. Box 1960 (Nigeria’s year of independence if you don’t remember), Orlu, Imo State, had collected N8,000 from prospective candidates this year alone for application fees alone.Read More →
“0803-307-2836 …You are quite right about the quality of private universities in Ghana and those in Nigeria and it’s no brainer to say there’s no comparison. Most of the ones in Ghana are not better than glorified secondary schools in terms of infrastructure and course contents. I should know, because I was in that country to inspect a few on behalf of my son…Mike Oteri.Read More →
Every monumental task I have assigned myself on this page, since the first article appeared in August 1994, always calls for too quotations. It invariably marks my departure from the tedium of present economic, social and political crises on which everybody is focused – especially my co-columnists writing for every paper.Read More →
Henry Fielding, the author of world classic, TOM JONES, was an excellent writer and the classical “woman wrapper”. So, he knew what he was talking about. For Fielding as for all men, there is an abiding warning – be careful when your woman (wife, running mate, mistress, girl-friend etc) intrudes too much in your business. Irrespective of whether the business is politics or a church or illegal oil bunkering the odds of a happy ending are very long. Conventional wisdom has it that “behind any successful man, there is a woman”. But, conventional wisdom is not history and the verdict of history has not been too kind to conventional wisdom.Read More →
President Jonathan certainly did not wish this to happen. But, whether the country will be willing to stomach four more years of Mrs Patience Jonathan, or not, has suddenly become a campaign issue – even before the struggle for Aso Rock 2015 starts. However, before going into the details, permit me to bring the issue into historical, global and political perspective – if not for anything else but because of those who already concluded that Dele Sobowale hates Jonathan.Read More →
SUNDAY PUNCH of August 11, 2013, on pages 70 and 71 provided the names and pictures of people it called “Opposition Power brokers: The Strongmen of APC”. It reads to me like pictures of WANTED men at a Police Station. For a start, the list had no single woman – that tells us a lot about the gender discrimination in the new political organization. It is doubtful if this new “progressive” political contraption is what will take us to the promised land.Read More →
Until the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, registered the alliance of political associations which had come together under the banner of All Progressives Congress, APC, to me, there was nothing to discuss about the matter. APC is now a reality, so there are loads of issues to consider. The first, and most important, has already been addressed by Harold Macmillan. The former British Prime Minister, on February 3, 1960, in a speech to the South African Parliament, had pronounced as follows:Read More →
By Dele Sobowale “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight”. Woodrow Wilson,1856-1924, 28th President of the US. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 60). Woodrow Wilson was an academic, President of Princeton University before he became President of the United States and he was the originator of the League ofRead More →
After all the lies and denials by the presidency, Mrs Patience Jonathan had revealed the truth; which most people knew anyway. She and her husband are at loggerheads with the Governor of Rivers State. She, on account of her wish that parts of Okrika be spared from demolition. Those with any memory at all will recollect the incident.Read More →
“In every mess I find a friend’, Charles Dibdin, 1745-1814.Sometimes being prophetic and turning out to be right can cause as much anguish as being wrong – when catastrophe results. About five weeks ago, I wrote in an article titled” PRESIDENT JONATHAN: AMAECHI SHOULD NOT DIE, that given Governor Amaechi’s open feud with Jonathan and the alarm that somebody wants him (Amaechi) dead, then it is the President’s duty to ensure the governor does not die. The fingers of suspicion will point in one direction.Read More →
Just a little over two years ago, My Fellow Nigerians went to the poles to elect a candidate called Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan as our president – by a wide margin. He won in all the six zones of Nigeria; in what, in my opinion, was the second free and fair presidential election since 1979 when we started experimenting with the presidential system. Given the position and the strangle-hold a president has over our lives, one would have supposed that we considered the matter carefully before casting our votes.Read More →
Late President John Kennedy, 1917-1963, of the United States, in his classic, PROFILES IN COURAGE, recalled a Senator who told anyone, who cared to listen, “I never quarrel; but I fight. And when I fight, a funeral follows”. From the second year of PDP in Nigeria, the party had left a trail of blood.Read More →
“Seek home for rest for home is best”, Thomas Tusser, 1524-1580.
It was almost nineteen years ago when my first article appeared on the pages of the Sunday Vanguard. But, even before that first one came out, a policy decision had been made about this page. Because the Federal Government looms so large and the states are, by comparison, midgets, the focus will be on issues which are federal or national in scope – with only occasional stop-over to address state or local matters.
The Nigeria’s Governors Forum, NGF, is not a constitutionally recognized body. But, contrary to the opinion in certain quarters, it is not illegal. The reason is simple. While everything in the constitution is “legal”; not everything that is not in the constitution is illegal. The reader should note the inverted comas in the word legal. Governments in democracies worldwide are under obligations to respect citizens’ rights to privacy; but for “security reasons”, these rights are violated in virtually every country. Governments, all over the world, including those of the US, Britain, France, Germany and India, not to talk of Nigeria, spy on their citizens, routinely, under various pretences labeled as securityRead More →
May 2013 will remain a particularly blessed month for the entire Sobowale family and, especially, for me. On May 8, one daughter and I celebrated our birthday as usual. I was 69. Two other daughters followed on May 9 and 17. And, to cap it all, the May 8 girl got married on May 11 giving the two of us a befitting birthday present. It was also the twenty-third year I would become the Head of Family in a family in which no male child had reached 60 until now.Read More →