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The country Trump wants to wall off

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

If Mr Donald Trump has his way and becomes the next American President come November, ‘a big, big wall’ will spring up to divide Mexico and the United States of America. Mexico’s economy is on the rise and is billed to get to the top 10 among the world’s largest economies in about five years. The US economy on the other hand, is on the wane and might even stop being the world’s largest economy by the end of next year.

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Bama IDP Camp:  A Mother , Yakana  from Kanuri with her baby at Bama IDP Camp in Maiduguri  during Minister’s Tour of Bama . Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Think of children who are dying of hunger

The words above are not mine. They belong to Jorge Bergoglio, known world-wide as Pope Francis; also referred to within the Vatican as the ‘Pope for the poor’ or derisively by some powerful personalities in the curia as ‘the poor Pope’. This impassioned plea was made at a speech he gave on July 7, 2013 to about six thousand seminarians from 66 countries. In calling for the future religious to live lives that are consistent with their teaching and preaching, he said: ‘It grieves me to see priests and nuns with the latest model of cars… .You must not do this! It is better to cycle, or use a smaller car.’ That was when he used these words that have resonated with me: ‘Think about the children who are dying of hunger’.

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The democracy lies

This year’s May 29, was no different. You could tell which side of the political divide a writer came from just by reading his assessment of the past year. In addition to this, and it is unsettling, is the new dimension of regional bias. These days, you could tell, by looking at the by-line, what the tone of the article would be. It seems a section of the country has decided to shoot the President down irrespective of where he is perched. Unfortunately, there are many reasons to shoot him down if you are so inclined. Or if you are unwilling to understand the peculiar circumstances of this presidency.

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*Some of the brides

The way we were

May Day found me at the 70th birthday celebration of an older friend, Gabby Osakwe with a few of his close friends and associates. It was a simple, yet classy affair. The few empty seats at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island where the event was held, were proof that it was not an all comers affair as cards were checked against a master list at least twice. The guests which cut across different professions had at least one thing in common. They had all come a long way together. Many of them had known the celebrant and each other for over 50 years! This provided an intimacy and a cosy atmosphere that made conversations easy as many flitted from one table to the other exchanging pleasantries.

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Giving back…

I spent a very delightful evening with a certain gentleman in a village somewhere in the middle belt last week. It was an evening that stretched far into the night. With choice liquor, soft jazz music and the enveloping peace and quietness of an agrarian village night to keep us company, we discussed what many Nigerians gather together to discuss these days—the state of the nation, our profligate and reckless leaders, the fuel situation, the general level of impunity, and the increasing poverty level in the country.

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Militants vs Buhari

The enemies within

A manufacturing company did the unusual when it sent emails to its staff to tell them that the enemy of the company had been captured. Those who were interested in its identity should proceed to the conference room. Those who went found a life sized coffin. Inside it was a big mirror. The message was not lost on the staff. They were, as they looked at themselves in the mirror, individually, and collectively, the enemies of the company.

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Counterfeit naira

The May Day pay demand

This scene is very familiar to those in the publishing business. You are owing the newsprint suppliers. They are threatening to stop further supplies unless you offset some of the outstanding credit. Those who are supplying ink and chemicals are also grumbling. The vehicles going all the way to Calabar in the East and the ones going all the way to Kano in the North need urgent repairs if not downright replacement. But there is no money. In fact, you are owing three, four months in salary arrears.

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President Buhari

The many faces of impunity

A group of sparsely dressed men openly display guns and dangerous weapons as they roam the streets. They are not apprehended. They enter other people’s properties and cow the owner to near submission with their weapons and their arrogance. They arrogate to themselves the right to feed their cattle without recognising the rights of others to own farms and earn a living.

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File Photo: Cross section of  House of Representatives members at the National Assembly in Abuja Photo : Gbemiga Olamikan

The people’s representatives

I am not enamoured of the National Assembly in general and the Senate in particular. I think they are a bunch of greedy, over fed and over pampered individuals. In moments of exuberance and vain glory, they call themselves the people’s representatives. Maybe they are right in a way because they somewhat represent the basest of the instincts of the Nigerian people.

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Money as a coward

The Vanguard Newspapers held its annual Personality of the Year awards last Friday at the Eko Hotel. It was a big, glitzy affair. Maybe it had more of the ‘big’ than of the ‘glitz’ because at a point, you had a feeling that the hall was too small for the guests streaming in.

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of a 2-day National Economic Council Retreat at the Statehouse Conference Centre on 21st March 2016.

Please talk to us

I missed my interview with President Sadat of Egypt by a whisker in 1978. About two days before the appointed time, his handlers got in touch to say the interview could no longer hold because a crew from the BBC had just turned up for the same purpose. My plea that mine should be rescheduled was explained away by their fear of over exposure.

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Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, GMD, NNPC

Should Kachikwu be made to resign?

A petrol station is not the place to spend Easter. But that was what happened to millions of Nigerians last week. For many, the entire Easter weekend was devoted to the search of the elusive liquid gold. So it was at Christmas. So it was at New Year. It is beginning to look like the leadership is determined to deny the rest of us the simple pleasures of the festive seasons having taken most other pleasures and conveniences from us. In the midst of all this, the man whose duty it is to ensure we have sufficient fuel for our needs said most undiplomatically that he was not a magician and that our woes would continue a while longer. We had adequate fuel most of last year and the year before. Were his predecessors practicing sorcery or magic?

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My Easter Thoughts

Easter, a very important day in the Christian calendar, means different things to different people depending on age, religion and location. For the young, it is a time of revelry. First, it marks a break from the monotony and drudgery of school. It is also a time to connect with friends irrespective of their religious persuasions. For the average child, it is a time to have a new set of church clothes and participate in at least a couple of the many activities around Easter. For the deeply religious, Easter is a time to re-affirm their faith in loving God who died for the sins of the world and rose to intercede for His beloved.

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Strikes without end

The Ogun State chapter of the medical association went on a warning strike during the week. In doing so, it followed the footsteps of its Osun State cousin which has been at logger heads with its state for over a year now and has been on strike for about half as long. At a point, the entire Western zone threatened to join in solidarity to enforce a class interest irrespective—or in anticipation of the expected repercussions. Much of the Fashola years as Governor of Lagos State was bedevilled with doctors’ strikes over one thing or the other. As we speak, one or two state chapters of the association in the South-Eastern Zone are either downing tools or have downed tools. The South-South too has had its own share. In fact, it seems to me that there is no time during the year that at least one chapter of the medical association is not on strike. Although this issue pre-dates the democratic era, it seems to be getting worse by the year. I’d like the leadership of the national body to correct me if I am wrong, but I have not read of a medical body anywhere in the world that downs tools as often as Nigerian doctors do.

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