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My World

Are our politicians bridge builders or bridge breakers?

I have Aremo Olusegun Osoba’s yet to be autographed and yet to be opened biography in my hands—I hope to rectify the first soon by requesting him to do me the honour of an autograph and the second next week now that Wimbledon, (British Open) which ended last weekend, and Africa Cup of Nations, which ended this weekend, have been cleared off my sporting table.

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Obasanjo, Jonathan

Are our politicians bridge builders or bridge breakers?

I have Aremo Olusegun Osoba’s yet to be autographed and yet to be opened biography in my hands—I hope to rectify the first soon by requesting him to do me the honour of an autograph and the second next week now that Wimbledon, (British Open) which ended last weekend, and Africa Cup of Nations, which ended this weekend, have been cleared off my sporting table.

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RUGA

Furore over Fulani vigilantes

Anybody who is familiar with interstate travels in Europe will attest to the belief that it is usually a pleasant experience as long as you keep to basic traffic rules. The highways are lined with conveniences should you decide to take a break either to refuel yourself or your car. The police vehicles you see in strategic places are there to make you feel safe as well as to keep you on the straight and narrow.The only fear you can have is a car breakdown, and it is not that much of a fear because help is usually available at the touch of a button. Not so in Nigeria where the absence of basic conveniences on the highway makes you feel vulnerable in case nature calls in any shape or form—or your car decides to rebel or malfunction—while the presence of police vehicles fills you more with trepidation than relief.Certain highways are in fact, dotted with more than police. They have other government operatives like Customs, Immigration and even Civil Defence which line up to exact their toll and regular interstate travellers have to learn to deal with them. Recently, bandits masquerading as herdsmen have joined them to make roads unbearable for travellers.And a car breakdown in this situation makes you susceptible to many dire challenges. That there is still space for these marauders to rob and kidnap in the ‘tightly marked’ interstate roads says a lot about the quality of the people supposedly put on the roads to protect us.

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Miyetti Allah, herdsmen, and the people of Osun State

I have strong ties to Osun State. These ties mean I should visit at least once a fortnight. But my aversion for local travel generally and road travel particularly, had led to what can best be described as a dereliction of some duties. In the course of my travels to that part of the world, I have had flat tyres along Ife–Ilesha road a couple of times, engine problems a couple of times, been accosted by policemen many times and taken to their station once. But ‘the ties that bind’ are too strong for these to be used as tenable excuses not to visit. Besides, not once during those challenges did I consider my life to be in serious danger. Then suddenly, I am told that a route I have used all my adult life at different hours of the day— or night—has now become too dangerous to ply. Or if you must ply, it has to be within specific hours.  And the herdsmen I have been seeing all my life around the route, and regarded as benign, are now to be feared and regarded as dangerous to my well-being. This is now, not only a tenable reason not to fulfil my obligations to that area, it is a serious cause for concern.

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As the visa noose tightens

On Monday, I had a conversation with a lady who calls me daddy and whom I am proud to regard as a daughter. She is a manager in a bank. Her husband is a medical doctor. They are both in their 40s. Ordinarily, the likes of these two, should be the backbone of any society. They should be the archetypal middle class with a home in the better part of town and kids in posh schools. They should qualify to be members of the top social and sporting clubs in their area. That was what it was in my time. That is what still obtains in many other countries. But the reality of their time is that they are struggling financially and socially to earn the status that their professional training and position should have entitled them to. They feel, quite rightly, that they can have a better life elsewhere. It is an option they are being pushed to explore.

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A religious experience

Beyond the excitement of hearing the buzz of fast cars as they zoom around snake-like curves at incredible speeds, I have not been able to understand the technicalities behind the Formula1 as a sport. But because of a certain Lewis Hamilton whose career I have followed since one magazine introduced him as a prodigious kid many years ago,

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