Friday October 24th, 2014
Friday October 24th, 2014
Latest

Aremu writes Goodluck

  /   in The Orbit 1:04 am   /   Comments

Obasanjo-letter

Now, you can’t touch: Mathew Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, General and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, former President of the Republic, ex-this and that, felt the pull in his patriotic heartstrings last week, and he penned a most acerbic letter to his “acolyte” – President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. General Obasanjo is known to rise to the occasion with his letters. He wrote Shagari, he wrote Buhari; he wrote the famous letter urging Babangida to “put a human face to SAP;” heck, he wrote to himself! Now, he has written Jonathan.

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Latest

The Logic of Opposition

  /   in The Orbit 1:00 am   /   Comments

The Nigerian political left is decimated, or at best lies flat on the ground like the lizard with a belly-ache. This fact itself makes one ask the question, what is the meaning of “opposition” in Nigeria, given that the field is absolutely dominated by politicians with the same fundamental worldviews about society? Extremely socially conservative and fiscally conservative, their political goals are far often too constrained by the immediate gratifications of power to warrant any ideological scrutiny in any case. Very often, a cohort of politicians gather together and call themselves “progressives” – and the term is indeed very ambiguous because no one actually knows from where they are progressing and to what

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Latest

Festus Iyayi’s death

  /   in The Orbit 12:30 am   /   Comments

Prof. Iyayi

It’s again, one of those sad weeks in Nigeria, when tragedy struck and coloured the already melancholic landscape of our lives. The true nature of tragedy is that it is always that quiet, preventable death at an obscure bend in the road. The killing last week of novelist, scholar, and labor activist, Festus Iyayi is that kind of tragedy: his death is a totally needless and preventable death. If he had not been compelled to rush off to Kano to sign-off on the final negotiations between the Federal government and the striking union of Nigerian University professors, perhaps he’d still be alive today in Benin city.

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The scandal in Aviation: Fani-Kayode and matters arising

  /   in The Orbit, Viewpoint 1:05 pm   /   Comments

FEMI FANI KAYODE

The columnist’s obligation is oftentimes to lay to rest ghosts of miscreant sentiments often imported to distort public issues by people who also sometimes hyperventilate on non-issues.

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Umuahians meet in New Jersey

  /   in The Orbit 12:05 am   /   Comments

Annually, for the past decade, the alumni of the Government College Umuahia in the United States and Canada meet under the auspices of the Government College Umuahia Old boys Association, the GCUOBA-USA, to discuss the situation of their alma mater, find possible solutions, generally keep the flag flying, and while they are at it, loosen their collars a bit. These are very busy men and they come with their equally busy spouses – those honorary and graceful Umuahians we call “young girls” perhaps because they defy gravity and age – who have been pillars of support for both the old school and their alum-husbands.

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Latest

The scandal in Aviation

  /   in The Orbit 1:21 am   /   Comments

stella-cars1

I like Stella Oduah. Her fierce feline eyes – those bold saucers by which we enter into her soul –leaves one in no doubt that she is a force of nature. It is not for nothing that she is considered one of the most powerful ministers in the Jonathan administration. As minister for Aviation, she has certainly taken very bold steps; made tough and demanding decisions, and accomplished quite some visible milestones.

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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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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Latest

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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