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The Passing Scene


Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate

One of the first statements made by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, as he sat before the Code of Conduct Tribunal a few months back, was that he would not have been in the dock if he had not been the Senate President. He wanted the point to be very clear, though unnecessarily. The truth is actually that he would not have been there but for the way in which he became the Senate President, not just for being the Senate President… .

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Keshi and Amodu

One more round

It can no longer be any kind of news to you that, like a multiple thunderbolt, the death of three icons ripped through our sports world within a matter of a few days. From the United States of America, we learnt about the home call of Muhammad Ali, who was the boxing heavyweight champion of the world three times. He said with his mouth that he was the “greatest”, and made the world accept it in no uncertain manner.

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‘Float like a butterfly’

‘’You want me to do what the white man says, and go fight a war against some people I don’t know nothing about—get some freedom for some other people when my own people can’t get theirs? You want me to be scared of the white man, I’ll go and get two arms shot off and ten medals so you can give me a small salary and pat my head and say, ‘Good boy, he fought for his country.’ Everyday they die in Vietnam for nothing.’’

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President Buhari


The din of the enthusiasm to have a say about the performance—or non-performance—of the first year of the Buhari administration, has subsided in connection with some issues. It will no doubt linger for a while longer over some other issues that need to be further addressed, if they are subjected to the lack of urgency that has been a noticeable habit of the government’s approach to some pressing issues over the past year. Although the response to the quality of governance has not been resoundingly encouraging among the populace, as gathered from reactions through the mass media, the plea for patience seems to have become mixed with emotions roused by disappointment over unfulfilled promises.

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President Buhari

Just one year ago

It is one year ago and there is no denying that the tide of enthusiasm upon which we rode at the beginning has found a significant ebb. The hopes dictated the theme which flared out as the desire for a change in our daily lives as citizens of this nation. The areas of insufficiency had risen to a choking level with little expectation of relief; the vicious grip of evil tended to suffocate us. Policies which seemed aimed at improving our lot were casually up-ended to discharge a filthy stream of discomfort.

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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.

A seemingly magnanimous touch

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been reported as saying that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has never been opposed to the policy of petrol subsidy. But, on the contrary, the President is on record to have been vehemently opposed to it all along. He simply did not believe in it. He has even yet shown no noticeable enthusiasm about its acclaimed removal. Osinbajo has, himself also said that there was not much to be removed as subsidy, anyway, while claiming that its removal, no matter how little, would still be a significant contribution to the health of the ailing economy.

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Police brutality

A matter for the police

Pa Lot, a venerable pastor, parliamentarian and politician of the First Republic, spoke about the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in jocular terms, when I met him some decades ago in Jos. He was well into his 80s himself. He narrated how the herdsmen would arrive unannounced at a particular time of the year and would graze their cattle peacefully for a period of time, Then they would depart for greener pastures without any notice with only a part of the herd, leaving an appreciable number with only a few herdsmen in charge.

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President Muhammadu Buhari; Saraki, Senate President and Dogara, Speaker

A huge, hollow masquerade

You may recall that the last National Assembly convened with some youthful members of the House of Representatives wondering dangerously aloud as to why they were considered the “lower” house to the Senate, the other arm of our bicameral legislature. I too pondered why. Eventually, the wondering and the pondering generally faded into oblivion. For me, it was a lingering thought. What really makes one chamber superior to the other?

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Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, GMD, NNPC

Aspects of change

It would appear that the one and only Jagaban, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and Asiwaju of the Yorubas committed a slight faux pas in his public upbraid of Ibe Kachikwu’s utterances about not being a magician. Of course, the Minister of State for Petroleum,Dr Kachikwu is nothing of the sort as we all know, including the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Petroleum Resources who appointed him faultlessly to the position, in the first place.

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A necessary strand of development

My compliments to Solomon Dalung, the Honourable Minister of Sports.His is a truly “goodly heritage”, as the Holy Bible might have called it. Football, especially at the seat where he is called upon to inhabit at the moment, has had several colourful and successful occupants and most of them did not have a notable connection with the game, sports generally before their arrival either.

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Oba Akiolu

The starting point

Greetings. Are you aware that your topic, “How Nigeria broke the back of Apartheid”, may not make sense to a Nigerian educated, a freshly graduated university graduate, or part of the crop of Nigerian undergraduates? What apartheid did to the black majority in South Africa, and Nigeria’s role in bringing apartheid to an end is largely unknown to our young ones of today. WHY? The largest black nation on earth decided to remove HISTORY (including, Nigeria’s, Africa’s and the black race’s history from school curricula. Our young ones are proceeding into the future without that special wisdom which arises from a good sense of our own and other people’s history”. (…Martin Okpaleke)

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Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona,  and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo

Naked in the market square

My compliments to Remi Oyeyemi. His comments on the recent controversy raised by the classification of Yoruba rulers, made by the Alake of Abeokuta – or Egbaland? – were rather illuminating. He outlined the cause of the different versions of the history of the Yoruba that were offered by those whom he described –perhaps not too charitably – as “every Jick and Jack”. But he also conceded that most people are moved by “patriotism and the love of their immediate source of origin; just wanting to project pride in their own roots.

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President Buhari with President Jacob Zuma and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as President Buhari hosts his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to a State Banquet at the Presidential Banquet Hall on 8th Mar 2016

How Nigeria broke the back of apartheid

South Africa no longer surprises us. In the heat of the on-going attempt at ripping us off massively, Jacob Zuma, the country’s President blandly pays us a visit. He was once his country’s representative here. So what else is new? His predecessor in office also preceded him here. It was not entirely coincidental, because Nigeria was one of their closest allies against apartheid when the policy of “apartness” barred the black people from the inalienable rights of humanity—freedom as a human being, and equality as citizens of the same country.

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Yunusa Yellow and Ese Oruru

Making a mark

A randy young man from Kano abducts, kidnaps, or elopes (with) a damsel in Bayelsa, and the whole country is in confusion! Well, not the entire, but, at least, some people seem to be at a loss. Yes, some aspects of the matter appear to be odd—though not against the normal ethos of the country. Yes, it is only natural that one should be concerned, but there is a limit to everything though the itch dictates the scratch, and that is for the man itching to say; and the man, or woman, indeed said it loud this time.

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