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A game of numbers: My take on Igbo presidency

I had an impromptu lunch at my niece’s place last Sunday. It was at such an inconvenient time that I would ordinarily have let it pass. We had our cultural harvest in church which meant a longer day at church. Then there was the premier league football match where Arsenal were due to play, and there was a tennis final in China that was featuring two of the exciting next-gen players.These presented an ideal ‘stay at home’ scenario for me. But the opportunity to spend time with my very gifted niece whom I rarely see, and her genteel sister who was flying out that evening to her base in England, and who was the reason for the lunch, was too appealing to miss. I thought I’d cajole my niece to tune to sports which,outside basketball, isn’t her favourite past time. But try as she could, her ‘sophisticated gadget’ couldn’t raise the games I wanted. So a crestfallen Kemi admitted that ‘this thing has fallen my hand’ and pleaded for us to watch a new documentary on Netflix instead.

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P&ID, Nigeria, China

Nigeria at 59: The many faces of ‘JUSTICE’

On the eve of our 59th Independence Anniversary, the President symbolically furthered the cause of justice when he commissioned an edifice that would house an Industrial Court. Excerpts of his short speech included the need for equal access to justice for all Nigerians. But structures alone don’t make for justice or even access to it because elsewhere on that same day, justice was being denied a young Nigerian. Omoyele Sowore, a child born when Nigeria had attained its independence, a child who probably grew to learn about the heroic labours of his forefathers, a child who might have learnt the anthem of a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, was on the eve of Independence, denied his freedom again, and would celebratethe 59th anniversary of his country in detention.This was in spite of a court of law, similar in some respects to the one the President just commissioned, granting him freedom. There would be no clicking of glasses for him and indeed, any member of his family on the day. His life as he knows it is on hold and his freedom is not subject to law, but to the judgement—or whims—of the security forces which have enforced his captivity.

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slaves

Why the nation slept through the ‘Landmark judgement’

Several years ago, I was in a plane with two veteran journalists, Chief Eddy Aderinokun and Mr Olu Akaraogun. We were on our way to Yola to see Alhaji BamangaTukur. The late Akaraogun, one of the most versatile journalists of his generation, sat next to me. As usual, we were discussing politics and the state of the nation. I said something I thought was a brutal truth. Immediately, Mr Akaraogun reprimanded me. ‘You are too young for that line of thought. You have to earn your cynicism and that comes with age.’ This was shortly before the first coming of Buhari. Now, some 35 years later, I hope I have earned that cynicism including the right to express my thoughts however they may be perceived.

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Kaduna, gunmen, policemen

Licenced to kill, rob and defraud?

The catchphrase, ‘Licenced to kill for the secret service’ caught my fantasy as a young man. It was to explain—and possibly excuse—the dare devil forays of James Bond, the legendary Agent 007 of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Many of us loved this debonair agent whose job was to rid the society of dangerous people.

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Nigeria, US

The path of least resistance

Trust Nigerians to make a joke out of anything. In the wake of the FBI announcement of the names of Nigerians who had been accused of being involved in internet fraud running into several millions of dollars, a social media ‘joke’ on FBI went viral. It was about the FBI not respecting our Federal Character. This was because the listed names were predominantly from a particular ethnic group. It would indeed, have been funny if it wasn’t a grim indicator of who we had become. Everything in Nigeria has to be patterned along ethnic lines it seems.

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Ike Ekweremadu

Did Senator Ike Ekweremadu deserve his German experience?

It sounded unbelievable that a ranking Senator could be so disgraced— I found parts of the footage really embarrassing —in a foreign land by his own people. Especially since some of those people—by themselves or through their kinsmen—had been responsible for the serial endorsements he had received through the ballot box over the years. To the best of my knowledge, this ranking Senator has not had any problem winning elections in his senatorial district time after time. Even after his alleged ‘sins’ on the Biafra cause, he still won the last election handily. So it is either the elections did not represent the true feelings of the people in which case we need a serious electoral overhaul, or the action was from a few disgruntled minorities as alleged by him. I also find the endorsement of this action at home by many people including enlightened ones, uncomfortable. It is a pointer to people’s feeling at the state of the nation.

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Sowore kicks as DSS applies to transfer him to Correctional Facility

Did ‘Revolution now’ fail?

One lesson I have never forgotten about the human mind and how it operates was taught me way back in the 70s in the unlikeliest of circumstances. The 70s were the years of the strong anti-apartheid movement all over the world. And Nigeria, led by the extremely likeable Joe Garba as External Affairs Minister, had a strong anti-apartheid foreign policy. In fact, Nigeria was listed among the front line states although it is geographically miles away from Southern Africa where apartheid was in full force.

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