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What do Nigeria’s public ‘servants’ think about when going to work in the morning?

I HAVE known Senator Femi Ojudu for 25 years, since his days at the defunct African Concord. We were co-tenants of General Abacha’s gulag at 15A Awolowo Road and Inter Centre at Obalende, Lagos, until I was transferred to Ikoyi Prison while he remained a ward of the State Security Service (SSS). In all that time, even as a founding editor of The NEWS, I have not known him to be a man given to impulsive speech, sensationalism or self-exhibition. Thus, when he spoke recently of some curious things in the 2014 budget, I was all ears.

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Becoming a man and a poet at the Nelson Mandela secretariat

When I was elected secretary-general of the students union at the University of Benin in 1987, I headed a secretarial named after Mandela. I do not know when the decision was taken to make Mandela the tutelary patron of our union whose struggles were mundane by comparison to the race-wide, all-of-humanity-embracing, cause that kept him underground for several years and eventually in prison for twenty-seven more.

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Bullet-proof corruption

IT was bound to come to this. The moment our “zero tolerance for corruption” president decided to fight tooth and nail against the public declaration of his assets, the moment he chose to declare instead “I don’t give a damn!” about any such nonsense as probity and leading by example, you knew the day was just around the corner when a ministercould import bullet-proof luxury cars as personal gifts to herself.

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No, Mr President, Legislators – Sovereignty belongs to the People!

AND just like that, President Goodluck Jonathan took the wind out of his own sails! With his Independence Day announcement, and subsequent empanelling of a National Conference Advisory Committee, his floundering presidential ship of state seemed set to sail out of troubled waters. I was, and remain, cautiously optimistic about his decision to convene a national conference.

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Salvaging Nigeria: Only a Sovereign National Conference will suffice!

Over lunch at the Ocean View restaurant on a humidJuly afternoon in Lagos, my good friend YinkaOdumakinsought to add a little spice to our dismal discussion of “Project Nigeria”: he had it on good authority, he said, that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon surprise and confound the forces arrayed against him by acceding to the call for a national conference.

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The Olu as Daddy Overseer

What does the storm fomented entirely out of a “born again” king’s tea cup tell us about our rulers, “spiritual” or “temporal?” By a proclamation, the Olu of Warri, Ogiamen Atuwatse II, sought to abrogate the ancestral title of Ogiamen on the ground that it implied worship of a false god, Umalokun the Itsekiri deity of the sea. It was an attempt to rewrite Itsekiri history and folklore according to the Pentateuch. Yet there had been no conflict between the personal beliefs of Itsekiri monarchs and the tenets of their monarchy, as he was promptly informed by his outraged “subjects.”

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