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My World

A state of insecurity


I went to Festac Town the other day. Founded originally as accommodation for the participants of the 1977 Black Arts Festival, it was subsequently developed to be a model town by the Gowon administration. The town that emerged after the festival was well laid out and well planned. It had churches, mosques, schools, banks, markets —whatever you needed to build a good community life. The main arteries, the avenues had four lanes with traffic signs— even at that time. Every road, every close had signs, and the numbering was done in such a way that it was difficult to get lost, even for a visitor.

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Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.): New NSA

Who will cry for me when I die?

A lady in a high brow catholic parish died recently. She was only 48. Yet at that relatively young age, she had put herself in different positions of service within the church that almost everybody—the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the cleric and the laity—remembered her. And like Lydia in the Holy Book, almost everybody had good things to say concerning her. As she was in the church, so she was at home and with close friends. She had made herself so relevant in people’s lives that many remembered one kind deed, one kind gesture or the other. Hers was a life that was short but impactful.

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An estate, a country

This is the stuff of fiction and I am tempted to start it with ‘once upon a time, there was this powerful king in a village….’ as most story books went in my time as a youngster. However, it is a true account of what went on in one of the biggest and oldest estates in the country. The name of the estate shall not be mentioned because of the several cases in court and because emotions are still very raw.

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My new year predictions

You have to be courageous to make predictions of any sort. Or foolhardy. I don’t consider myself to be either. But as a journalist and a Nigerian, I have seen predictions come and go. I have seen some that are very vague and ambiguous. One revered man of God once predicted ‘All is well that ends well’ at the onset of Ebola and the raging Boko Haram insurgency. Was that really a prediction or edging a bet? It reminds one of the story of a native doctor who told a pregnant woman that was brought to him that the pregnancy would produce a healthy baby.

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Biafra protesters

The marginalisation debate

I can’t claim to know the late Torch Taire very well. But he was very close to my Oga, Mr Sam Amuka in many ways including proximity. They lived within a walking distance of each other, and they were, like the cliché, of identical plumage and therefore tended to flock together. My knowledge of him is therefore, largely vicarious since I visit Uncle Sam’s place fairly often. Anybody who knows Uncle Sam knows he is a completely detribalised person. So was Torch Taire.

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Re-adding values

I received many responses to my column of three weeks ago which had questioned our penchant to compromise on what should be the intrinsic value of our institutions and how many of our appointments do not add value; rather, they reduce value. Although the conferment of SAN was made to illustrate the point, many of the comments were on it. The one published today is long but represents in my view, the comments of many respondents.

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Adding value….

Dr Oladapo Olanipekun, scion of Chief Wole Olanipekun the erudite legal practitioner, was recently named among the latest Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). At under 35, he became, according to accounts, the youngest SAN. I have had nothing but respect and admiration for his father since the first time I heard him speak in public. It is a respect I am sure he has earned across board. And if Oladapo is half as intelligent as his father, then he has a good thing going for him. I have no doubt also that he would have fulfilled the legal requirements for the conferment.

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Biafra protesters

Should Biafra become a reality

The pro-Biafra protests are not abating; and, for the first time, reached Abuja last week when Kanu the Director of Radio Biafra, was brought before the magistrate’s court. The protests may be fuelled by yet to be identified financiers, but those fanning the embers of secession are youths who have abandoned their various vocations to participate in the protests. Some are doing so for genuine, if misguided reasons. Some, not so genuine. Some might not even be of Igbo origin. But all are unhappy and discontented with their lives and have inadvertently become willing pawns in a complex chess game.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Govt should sow more to reap more

A younger friend’s ‘factory’ was closed down last month by officers of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service. It took him over two weeks to get it reopened. What the service demanded from him would wipe out his entire profit for the year plus some. During those two hectic weeks, he lost a few kilos and a lot of sleep trying to see anybody and everybody that he thought could help.

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Biafra protesters

The Biafra protests

The pro-Biafra protests have entered the second week. What started as unco-ordinated voices of dissent reached a crescendo last week when the arrested director of radio Biafra was not released by the DSS. Many reports claimed that major cities in the South-East were shut down by the protesters although at least one Governor has come out to say the phrase ‘shut down’ was overstretching things a bit.

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Nigeria  President  Muhammadu Buhari arrives at Indira Gandhi International Airport for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on October 27, 2015. India is hosting an unprecedented gathering of Africa's leaders as it ramps up the race for resources on the continent, where its rival China already has a major head start. AFP PHOTO

Just where does the buck stop?

A secondary school principal put it quaintly but succinctly when she said: ‘People want a well behaved and disciplined child, but are reluctant to go through the self- discipline and self-sacrifice that will produce such a child’. Some people even carry their parental irresponsibility further when they take their wards to boarding houses with their home grown do’s and don’ts that are at variance with school regulations.

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Our new electoral umpire 

Our electoral commission was in the news most of last week for all kinds of reasons. It was the week the name of the new electoral umpire was presented to the Council of States and subsequently to the nation. Regional positions that had lapsed were also filled with fresh names. It was also the week some election tribunals delivered landmark judgements in the South-South.

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Fela Kuti

The dead and the living

Felabrations, the activities marking the death of the music icon Fela Anikulapo Kuti were on till last weekend. Although he has been gone for almost two decades now, yet he lives on in the minds and hearts of music lovers the world over, many of whom never met him; many of whom were not even born when he was alive and performing. Such is the power of creativity; such is the value of enriching your environment with your worth that your stock continues to appreciate long after you are gone.

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What is in your refridgerator?

I was taught the importance of good hand writing pretty early. We even had lessons and eventually, a subject on it in my primary school days. We were told that however brilliant you were, your handwriting could be the deciding factor between a good pass and an ordinary pass as an untidy or illegible writing could easily irritate and put a teacher off.

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