Monday July 28th, 2014
Monday July 28th, 2014
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Fashola and the image of the East

  /   in The Orbit 12:03 am   /   Comments

Fashola

At the Aka-Ikenga dinner celebrating the founding of this association of Igbo fat cats in Lagos, Governor Raji Fashola, either out of postprandial volubility, or in a bid to be charming among friends, or even as some have suggested, enhance the political fortunes of his friend and fellow partisan, Dr. Chris Ngige in Anambra, offered what had been termed an “unreserved apology” to the Igbo. His apology was for the apparent mischief of selectively targeting and “deporting” some Igbo to Onitsha in one of the most unprecedented constitutional gaffes in Nigeria.

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Kofi Awoonor: This Earth My Brother

  /   in News, The Orbit 12:08 am   /   Comments

kofi-awoonor

George Kofi Awoonor-Williams became just Kofi Awoonor. He chose to be piquant and to shed the vestiges, at the same time, of his colonial past. He died last week. He was 78 years. He did not die from age related problems. He was still quite active; mentally alert and vigorous. He was killed in the Nairobi terrorist event staged by Al Shabaab, the Somali equivalent of Boko Haram, which had taken over the Westgate Mall, a high end shopping Mall in Nairobi last week, and massacred mall visitors. By last count, the death toll from the four-day siege and holdout had been officially put at seventy-two people. More are suspected to be crushed under the rubble of the collapsed mall, and therefore unaccounted.

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Disband Nigeria?

  /   in The Orbit 12:44 am   /   Comments

*Fani-Kayode

While he was enjoying the perks of public office, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode did not call for the break-up of Nigeria; he in fact earned a reputation as an attack-dog for the president and the government of the day, which for him was the meaning of Nigeria. A child of privilege, Mr. Fani-Kayode has, it seems, often taken it for granted that Nigeria would always carter to his desires. It was not, as is often expected of his peers in other places, about public service. It was always about the convenience of his claims to unearned privileges. His father, the late Remilekun, was a great prop for privilege too. He trained as a lawyer in Cambridge. Even made a decent second. But his greatest accomplishment was not alas in law; it was in politics and the vice that accompanies it.

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The war-like tribe of the PDP

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

PDP5

The party in government – the PDP – has splintered into two factions: one still “dey kampe” as the “main PDP,” and caucuses around the president, Goodluck Jonathan and the Party chair, Bamanga Turkur; the new PDP has former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as its moving spirit, with a coterie of rebel governors and affiliates opening new offices for the “New PDP” in a move at establishing dual authority within the party.

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The nationality question

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

File photo

What does it mean to be a Nigerian? This question may seem clearly resolved in the Nigerian constitution: anyone born, whose forebears as at October 1 1960, had roots in any portion of the land which as at January 1914 became amalgamated as the Union of the old protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria. Such a person is a Nigerian by birth and has every right pertaining thereto that affiliation guaranteed under the bill of rights. But there are cleavages in the national imagination that make this question increasingly unresolved and academic.

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The third tier question

  /   in The Orbit 12:07 am   /   Comments

Good-govt

The place of the third-tier government, that is local government administration in Nigeria, has remained the thorniest and contentious issue in Nigerian federalism. It has to be, principally because it actually has led to general distortions in public service delivery at the most crucial levels of government.

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ASUU and Nigerian universities have gone to seeds

  /   in The Orbit 12:20 am   /   Comments

asuu-fg

Next June, it would be exactly a quarter of a century since my graduating class left the University of Jos. We had been admitted into the University of Jos in the middle of the 1980s, just at the cusp of the end of the term of Professor Emmanuel U. Emovon as Vice-Chancellor.

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The bitter truth about Femi Fani-Kayode

  /   in The Orbit 12:47 am   /   Comments

*Fani-Kayode

I read with a lot of amusement the piece of clap-trap circulated through the Nigerian blogosphere last week titled ‘The Bitter truth about the Igbo” authored by Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode.

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More tales out of Lagos

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

*Gov Fashola

Last week, I drew the attention of readers of the “Orbit” to theunconstitutional action of the Lagos state government in deporting sixty-seven Nigerians to Onitsha. That action in my view marks the lowest point, since the end of the Nigerian civil war, in the effort at nation-building. The Lagos state government under the ACN Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, seems to be highly charged and fueled by a strange form of paranoid xenophobia; a need to cleanse the streets of Lagos of “strangers.”

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Lagos: Deportation is lawless, vexatious

  /   in The Orbit 12:15 am   /   Comments

*Sranded persons numbering about 70 allegedly dumped at the upper axis of Onitsha, Anambra State at about 3:20 a.m. by unknown persons, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN. lSee story on page 14.

Once again, the Lagos state government deported Nigerians from a Nigerian state; an action that is as lawless as it is vexatious. Newspaper reports last week indicated that the Lagos authorities out of possibly excessive enthusiasm, and certainly out of pitiable ignorance and overreach, rounded up all manners of the city poor from the streets, sixty-seven of them, put them in a vehicle, and transported them across the bridge to Onitsha, Anambra state.

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A nation of nay-sayers

  /   in The Orbit 12:20 am   /   Comments

Soyinka

Last week, Professor Wole Soyinka, our world-renowned playwright and Nobel laureate for literature inserted himself in a very unseemly way in the rage in Rivers state. In many regions of the world, Soyinka is known much more for his defiance than for his art. In fact, he has turned nay-saying into an industry and into an art.

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Jonathan and the hounds

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

Jonathan

As readers of the “Orbit” are bound to notice, this column has been on furlough for the past six weeks. I came to Nigeria to bury Chinua Achebe, and I had taken a break afterwards to vacation and do some research. I have interest currently in writing the biography of the poet, statesman, leader of the African anti-colonial movement in the 20th century, and Nigeria’s first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

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On the civic life

  /   in The Orbit 12:05 am   /   Comments

File photo

The quality of civic life in Nigeria is the most critical gap in the development of a free society and a robust democratic culture. Nigeria’s transition to democratic culture after over thirty-five years of military rule, out of its slightly over fifty years of political independence from colonialism, feels like the slow ride of the tortoise.

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Asiodu: On institutional memory

  /   in The Orbit 12:02 am   /   Comments

...Asiodu

Philip Chukwuedo Asiodu is one of those Nigerians you might rightly call an old civil service mandarin. These were of the cadre known in the Yakubu Gowon administration in Nigeria as “super perm secretaries.” I think the “super”in the Permanent Secretary came from “supernumerary” and it does locate the stature and situation of the office at its highest bar. Philip Asiodu seemed born to that office.

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Elegant Pini: Death is such an ass

  /   in The Orbit 12:04 am   /   Comments

*Pini Jason

Frankly, I’m tired of writing obituaries and eulogies. Were death not such an invisible coward, we should go and drag it from its abode, and give it a public flogging for being such an ass – what Nigerians would call a “mumu.”

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Baga and the beast in us

  /   in The Orbit 12:11 am   /   Comments

File photo: Baga after the incident

The Nigerian military operation in Baga has drawn very severe criticism from many quarters for the extent of brutality unleashed in that town in the fight against terrorism. The “Baga massacre” as it is now generally described was supposed to be a targeted operation.

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Killing Chudi Nwike

  /   in The Orbit 12:05 am   /   Comments

Mr Nwike

And so, they killed Chudi. What a bloody waste. Dr. Chudi Nwike was my friend. I did not always keep in touch, but I knew, somehow that he was out there; in the great grip of things, bold and idealistic; dreaming of great and worthy political battles. I was introduced to him when he became the Deputy governor of Anambra state, and I found him, among many things, voluble, thoughtful, idealistic, and certainly a man with some political ideas.

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The contract scandal in Imo

  /   in The Orbit 12:05 am   /   Comments

*Imo state Governor,  Okorocha

Kanayo Okorocha,governor of Imo state, has come a long way from his time as a police leg and commercial school teacher in Jos. He is today, governor of Imo state; swept into office by two factors: a most lascklustre Ohakim administration which had grossly underperformed.

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Boko Haram and the tortoise doctrine

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

*Boko haram

President Goodluck Jonathan,truly found his vocation: with a doctorate in Zoology, there could be no better place for him to put his skills to work than in the Zoo called Nigeria. Nigeria is a zoo, with all kinds animals: the benign and the ferocious; their instincts are the same. At the top of this zoological food chain, are the big animals – the elephants of the jungle – where ever their footsteps fall – the grass was forbidden to grow.

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Chinua Achebe, a celebration

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

Chinua Achebe

There is the Igbo story of the wood pecker who proclaimed without doubt that he would honour his father in death by pecking down the great Iroko tree. But the day came when his father died, and the woodpecker suddenly grew a boil on its beak. I feel like the woodpecker. Chinua Achebe’s death last week left me tongue tied.

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EFCC: Expensive, fickle, corrupt and corpulent

  /   in The Orbit 9:30 am   /   Comments

File photo: Former Bayelsa state governor, Chief Timipire Sylva.

Timipre Sylva,former governor of Bayelsa state has denied ever owning forty-eight houses; property which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has linked to him, and for which he faces criminal prosecution. In a statement issued at the behest of the former Bayelsa state governor by his lawyer Mr. Benson Ibezim, Sylva claims that the entire charge against him by the EFCC was no more than hocus-pocus – a great sham aimed at witch-hunt.

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Okorocha: My siren is louder than yours

  /   in The Orbit 12:13 am   /   Comments

*Imo state Governor,  Okorocha

Unprecedented levels of violence and public insecurity or disorder have marred the Nigerian social space, so much indeed that Nigerians at every level now live with a siege mentality. A significant level of this state of siege is encouraged and maintained by irresponsible political leadership.

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Governor not-on-seat

  /   in The Orbit 5:00 am   /   Comments

Gov Sullivan Chime

Where is Governor Sullivan Iheanacho Chime? Is he dead? Is he alive? There is clear indication that in Enugu state, a cabal of state officials has taken government hostage by their complicity to stage what might be the most scandalous and most elaborate cover-ups in Nigeria’s public administration.

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Do they know it is Christmas?

  /   in The Orbit 12:12 am   /   Comments

Silva and Amadi

Today, the solitude in me remembers Ogbonna Amadi and Sylva Eleanya, two former colleagues here in the Vanguard, whose deaths this passing year robbed the journalism profession in Nigeria of two of its most talented reporters and technicians of the newscraft. I had arrived the Vanguard to be Features Editor in January 1994 bristling with redesign ideas for the features at the Vanguard.

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At the Achebe colloquim

  /   in The Orbit 12:40 am   /   Comments

Chinua Achebe

I was present last weekend at the Achebe Colloquium in Providence, Rhode Island, and I was struck once more by the irony of the situation, and the incongruity of Nigeria’s neo-colonial situation.

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Sanusi’s call spotlights nation’s dilenma

  /   in The Orbit 12:02 am   /   Comments

CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Basket mouth – that’s how a buddy of mine describes Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Nigerian Central Bank – “e done start to leak again o.” It is a moniker appropriated from Fela’s forceful description of uncompromising truth-telling. Mr. Sanusi speaks his mind, form be damned!

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Sanya Osha and his underground of summer bees

  /   in The Orbit 12:07 am   /   Comments

Sanya Osha’s new novel, An Underground Colony of Summer Beesbegins with Jerome Akpata moving from Johannesburg to Durban. “He had become tired of having to live looking constantly over his shoulder wondering if someone was coming at him with a gun or a blade.”

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Nigeria’s State House: A budget for glutonny

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

Jonathan and Okonjo-Iweala

In the introductory epigram to this piece, I invoke the Restoration poet Dryden, poet of the Carolingian courts, who knew a thing or two about gluttony under the excess appetites of Charles II of England. “O gluttony, it is to thee we owe our griefs” laments Geoffrey Chaucer. Gluttony and Greed are Siamese twins.

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Again, Obama

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

Obama

Barrack Hussein Obama was re-elected the president of the United States last Tuesday in a fiercely contested election. He defeated the Republican candidate Mitt Romney by a plurality of votes and by taking 300 of the Electoral College votes. Americans of the political divide between the two parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, went into the elections nail-biting; it was too close to call and it could go either way according to the polls. The exit polls had the two candidates polling equally in the battleground states.

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Nature as a Terrorist

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

NEW YORK, NY - Cars floating in a flooded subterranian basement following Hurricaine Sandy on October 30, 2012 in the Financial District of New York, United States. The storm has claimed at least 16 lives in the United States, and has caused massive flooding accross much of the Atlantic seaboard. US President Barack Obama has declared the situation a 'major disaster' for large areas of the US East Coast including New York City.   AFP

If anybody is still in doubt about the reality of global warming, the images coming out of New York this past week ought to put paid to the skepticism. Global warming is real folks, and storms like “Hurricane Sandy,” metrologists now warn us, is the new normal.

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On one Nigeria

  /   in The Orbit 12:00 am   /   Comments

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello

Dr. Jacob “Yakubu” Gowon was celebrating his 78th birthday on October 19. Reporters cornered him, and asked him for a comment on Nigeria.

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Denying the genocide

  /   in The Orbit 12:07 am   /   Comments

File photo; ...The protesting students...and the victims

The images posted on-line made me retch; and I have a steely stomach – what Seadogs would call “the liver” – for such things. Food tasted like tar in my mouth for days. Four young men – Lloyd Toku, Ugonna Obuzor, Chidiaka Biringa, and Tekena Erikena – were publicly lynched in Aluu village, near the campus of the University of Port-Harcourt. They were students of the University of Port-Harcourt.

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