MY dear Yushau Shuaib, first accept my sincere sympathy for your recent travails. I am happy to glean from your narration syndicated in several newspapers that you were not, after all, fired, but redeployed from the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to the Ministry of Information.
IN the heat of the Niger Delta violence, many Nigerians engaged in what former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair accurately identified as “glorification of terrorism” following the 7 July 2007 Underground bombings in London. One of the oft repeated lines then was that the Nigerian government must not be seen as fighting its citizens. I said, good; don’t fight the Niger Delta militants, but go after the oil thieves, those engaged in pipeline vandalism and illegal bunkering. I warned that it would be a tragic mistake if we didn’t separate all the strands of criminality in the region so as to know the real agitators for economic and environmental rights of the people.
FOR any Nigerian enthusiastic about our groping our way back unto the road to industrialisation, the two pieces of news I read recently must be heart-warming. Last week, a company in Lagos, African Foundries Limited claimed that it would begin to export steel products on 27 April 2013.
SHAKESPEARE is being reversed from his: “What the great ones do, the less we prattle of”, to the current reality in Edo State of: “What the great ones do, the more we prattle of”.
ONE of the most profound interventions during the controversy provoked by ethnic jingoists following the publication of Prof. Chinua Achebe’s valedictory commentary on Nigeria, There Was A Country, was made by the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.
AT the sixth edition of her Town Hall meeting, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, the immediate past First Lady of Lagos State and wife of the national leader of the ACN, Mrs. OluremiTinubu asserted that the formation of All Progressives Congress, APC, is a divine opportunity to save the country (Daily Sun Tuesday 19 March 2013).
ONE of the memorable days of my life was, and still is, the day in 1987 when I spent a whole day with the legend himself, Prof. Chinua Achebe and his wife Christy at their home in Umunkanka Street, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
LATE last year, I attended a party at the Abuja home of a highly distinguished sister of mine who had been bestowed with a deserved national honour. A distinguished senator asked me, “Pini, how is Clean and Green? How is ImoState?” “I take the fifth!” I answered. “Why?” He pressed. “Because anything I say will be construed as sour grape. You know I just left office and my views may be seen as biased”.
DO you know why what goes for Nigerian politics is such a huge joke? We like to be taken for a ride; in fact, we crave to be duped. We dread asking hard questions or putting the politicians to task to substantiate what they tell us.
RECENTLY President Goodluck Jonathan told CNN’s British-Iranian anchor Christine Amampour that the power sector has witnessed a “tremendous improvement”. Many Nigerians scoffed at that.
AS you were reading this column last week where I was deprecating the self-serving behaviour of members of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and their inability (or is it unwillingness) to pay the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, his entitlements, the news broke that the coach of the Under-20 team, Mr. John Obuh refused to accompany the team to Egypt because he was being owed 13 months salaries.
TWO things made me happy more than the winning of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations by the Super Eagles in South Africa. One was the relationship between Keshi and the Super Eagles players.
EVER before the current effort to further panel beat the 1999 constitution (as amended), the issue of local governments’ administration in Nigeria had generated febrile debates.
LAST week, Nigerians were outraged. Mr. John YakubuYusufu, one of the eight civil servants accused of stealing N40 billion, note; not N40 million, from the Nigeria Police Pension Fund, got a limp tap on the wrist.
LAST week, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State was smoked out of his foxhole in London by the determination of a pressure group, Save Enugu Group, to invoke the “doctrine of necessity” against him! Governor Chime has been missing in action for over four months, ostensibly on accumulated annual leave.
APART from the menace of terrorism in certain parts of Northern Nigeria, another seemingly intractable menace in the country is pipeline vandalism.
I WAS on the phone with my wife as I was flipping through the pages of a newspaper; half taking in the stories in the paper and half listening to my wife who kept saying huh, huh, huh, did you hear what I said? Then suddenly, I let off a scream! Oh no! What was that?
JANUARY 2012 began with an ill-timed fuel tax, called removal of fuel subsidy. That act inflamed passion and caused a nationwide conflagration that nearly consumed the government. It seems that in the absence of such drama this year, some people tried to create their own drama by pasting President Jonathan’s campaign posters in some parts of Abuja.
TODAY, New Year day, is supposed to be a happy one. Last week was Christmas which was expected to be merry. But many of our countrymen were weary and in excruciating grief as we celebrated Christmas. Many went to Church—if they did—with their hearts in their mouths because of terror bombers. And for sure, the demons with who we share a country sent many to their graves and their relations into mourning. Instead of singing soul lifting carols, many sang elegies to loved ones. Many donned black cloths as they lowered to mother earth loved ones who should have been sitting at lunch and dinner tables with them. Instead of passing the salt across lunch tables, many passed shovels of sand for the dust-to-dust rites!
THE seriousness and the power of any country can be gleaned from the quality of the roads it builds for itself. You can never be in doubt of America as the most powerful nation on earth or of South Africa as the strongest economy in Africa, once you leave their airports and hit their road! Driving on the roads of these two countries, for example, you immediately come face to face with nations that love themselves; nations that have respect for their citizens; nations that are sincere with themselves; nations that do not cheat themselves and nations that want to be taken seriously among serious nations. Have you heard of any scandal associated with South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup? No, you won’t!
AFTER leading a delegation of African National Congress, ANC, to visit President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, told State House correspondents that his party was worried about the growing insecurity in the country.
IN recent times,Nigeria has preoccupied itself with the review/amendment of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Yes, as amended! It is less than three years since the constitution was amended, you remember?
I DON’T know why it took so long for the clarification to be made; that neither the National Assembly, nor the Committee on the Review of the Constitutional can create states with fiat. That era belonged to the military!
With the euphoria of the election over and ahead of his second inauguration as governor of Edo State, it was tempting to ask Comrade Adams Oshiomhole if he would fall into the trap of second term governors who do nothing in office.
There is something eerie and surreal about the rationalisation by Awo and General Gowon that the use of mass starvation was a means of quickly ending the war.
THIS is not a defence of Chinua Achebe. He does not need one. No amount of abuse can dent his global standing. Ban or burn all his books, as someone suggested, he would only feel sorry for you, not angry.
THE nation is currently wallowing in two types of floods and we are wondering how we got there.
I ended the first part of this article on how Ghanaians helped rebuild their broken country. The foundation for Ghana’s rebirth was laid by Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings, a military dictator who used strong arms, including the execution of three former Heads of State, to sound the death knell for corruption in Ghana.
Last week’s celebration of our 52nd independence anniversary offered us another opportunity for national moaning. I consciously avoided joining the bandwagon to pontificate ex-cathedra about our shortcomings.