Angela Nwaka

By Donu Kogbara

I GREW up in London and moved to Abuja 22 years ago in my late 30s, with my husband and son. Shortly afterwards, I met a beautiful young lawyer who had also just decided to leave the UK and find out what she could do for Nigeria and what Nigeria could do for her.

Her name was Angela Nwaka. She was kind, clever, charismatic, cosmopolitan and a big bundle of fun; and despite a 15-year age gap, we bonded immediately and became fast friends and soul sisters.

Since we both had strong characters and drama queen streaks, we quarrelled fairly often (about nonsense) and went through phases of peevishly ignoring each other. But reunions were always inevitable because we loved each other dearly and had lots in common, including a penchant for tireless socialising with anyone who wasn’t boring.

When Angela fell for Teslim Folarin, a senator from Ibadan, I was thrilled and encouraged the romance because he was so obviously decent and so obviously crazy about her.

I knew that he would take very good care of her…and that she would provide him with an emotionally fulfilling marriage, as well as efficiently add value to his efforts when he was pursuing ambitions such as his desire to be elected Governor of Oyo State one day.

Nearly one month ago, on January 28th, my phone rang. The caller told me that Angela was dead. She was only 47. I’m still in shock. I miss her so much. Farewell, Baby Girl. You were an excellent wife and mum…and a bright shining star who blazed across our segment of the universe like a meteor. It is tragic that you have left us; but we must submit to the will of Almighty God and accept that what will be will be.

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May you rest in perfect peace. May Teslim and your adored sons, Obonya and Faisal, find the fortitude to bear this terrible loss. I hope we meet again.

Who cares?

ASIWAJU Bola Ahmed Tinubu – possibly the most high-profile presidential aspirant – is a Southern Muslim; and because of the way Nigeria is (obsessed with religiosity, sectionalism and ethnicity), he is supposed to “balance his ticket” by choosing a Northern Christian running mate…if he becomes the APC flagbearer.

But because of the way most Northern Muslims are (inflexible), they are simply not willing to allow a Northern Christian to represent them…and don’t regard Southern Muslims as spiritually adequate.

So deadlock!

This single factor is enough to scupper Tinubu’s plans. And I’m wondering why some care so much about religion in the 2lst century.

My cousin Martins Kpabari has taken to making wise observations; about life; and he has this to say about this burning issue: “I do not care whether it is a Muslim/Muslim ticket, a Muslim/Christian ticket, a Christian/Christian ticket, a Muslim/Pagan ticket or a Pagan/Pagan ticket!

“What a man worships is his personal business and has absolutely nothing to do with the progress or regress of a nation. Nations will not stand before God on judgement day. Only individuals. The Pope’s Popeness will not absolve citizens of Vatican City of their sins before God on judgment day. The President of Nigeria is not required to go to Aso Rock to teach Religious Studies, but to govern. So let those who are interested in our votes tell Nigerians their vision and action plan for the country. “We need issues-based campaigns…not mundane issues of religion…”

On reflection, I couldn’t agree more with Martins. Tinubu is not my preference. But I don’t see why his chances should be marred by religious considerations when it is a leader’s brains and interest in the welfare of his people that really matter.

As for Northern Muslim irredentists, I don’t see why they should get away with being so unreasonable. They should copy their Yoruba Muslim brethren and learn how to become fairer and more relaxed!

Bring back our girls

LEAH Sharibu was one of 110 students who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19 2018.

Some of her fellow abductees were subsequently released; but Leah and a few others are still in captivity. Meanwhile, several of the 270 girls abducted from Chibok in Borno State in 2014 are still missing and being raped daily by killers.

 What I don’t understand is why first Jonathan and then Buhari have spectacularly failed to rescue these victims.

Anyone would think that they’d been spirited away to another planet and rendered invisible; but they are right here, on Nigerian soil. And despite the billions the army spends annually, there is no indication that the girls will be returned to their families in the near future.

This situation is an absolute disgrace that would, if duplicated in countries where citizens are more respected, topple governments.

Having a president with a military background has not made any difference to the nation’s ability to protect children like Leah. As I sit at home waiting for the generator to be switched on following yet another power cut, I keep asking myself this question: Is there anything the Nigerian authorities are seriously good at?

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