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His Excellency, Mr. President, the comedian

UKRAINIANS who went to the polls last Sunday and elected the 41-year-old comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, as President over the billionaire incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, are not looking forward to comic shows. The state of their beloved country is not even tragi-comic; it is a tragedy. But having sought solution through professional politicians like former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and being disappointed; and having looked up to otherwise serious-minded business moguls like Poroshenko and found comedy, in desperation, they turned to a professional comedian, hoping for serious results that will extricate their country from its present quagmire.

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Buhari is right; fuel subsidy is a fraud

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari was Petroleum Minister from 1976-78 and  Governor of North-Eastern State, comprising  today’s Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Adamawa states. He was also Head of State for 20 months from December 31, 1983. So when as a presidential candidate he told the country in 2011 that the much touted fuel subsidy is a fraud, it was assumed he knew what he was talking about. He asked the basic question: “Who is subsidizing who?”

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Al-Bashir, Bouteflika and Change in Africa

AS part of international delegations, I met Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir thrice when he was President of Sudan. At the first meeting, the gate had opened and there was a land rover-like jeep with a handful of soldiers. I had reflected that the State House seemed lightly guarded.  Even state governors in Nigeria seemed far better protected. We were ushered into what I thought was a waiting room. We chatted and were waiting to be ushered to the president’s presence, only for him to appear.

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Trump to inspect border wall prototypes on California trip

When your enemy fights your battles

IN an unprecedented and meaningless step, the United States President Donald Trump this Monday designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation. It is like designating the American Marines Corps a terrorist organisation. Some of the implications are that economic and travel sanctions would be imposed on the corps, and organisations that maintain ties with it will be sanctioned. 

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Setting the world free by resting NATO

BIRTHDAYS are not for dying. They are usually for celebration. However, in the case of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, which turned 70 this Wednesday, April 4, it should be the Nunc Dimittis; and then, wishing its soul to rest in peace. That is if our goal is world peace, rather than a fractious world.

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Military, cemetery

Woman, soldier and combatant: The evolution of the Nigerian Army Women’s Corps

THE International Women’s Day of March 8, 2018 had a lot of promise for women across the world as they measured how far they had travelled on the road to integration. In Germany, that day marked the centenary of the women’s right to vote. It also served as reminder that Germany has the highest gender-based wage discrimination in Europe, with the gap being 21 per cent.

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What hawkish Pompeo did not know about Lebanon

LEBANON is a fragile country held together by common sense. As a distinct nation, it has been involved in 21 pre-colonial wars, two colonial wars and 11 post-colonial wars. It has 18 officially recognised religious sects: 12 Christian, four Muslim, the Druze and Judaism. Its experiences in conflicts have taught it to evolve a system of proportional representation with its 128 parliamentary seats evenly shared between Christians and Muslims.The Presidency is reserved for a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister, a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker, a Shi’a Muslim.

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The JAMB against exam malpractices

CRONJE. “Do you want Cronje?” “Do you have Cronje?” were questions some students asked on the streets of Lagos in 1977. Some question papers of that year’s West African School Certificate, WASC, examinations organised by the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, had leaked. Original and fake question papers of the examinations were being hawked. The students called the leaked examination papers, Cronje. It was imaginatively named after the Mr. John Ayite Cronje who was Registrar of WAEC from 1965 to 1971. I still do not know why it was called Cronje, and not Ike since the WAEC Registrar at the time of the leakage was the novelist, Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike. Also, leaked papers were called ‘Expo.”

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The state of being a Nigerian

By Owei Lakemfa NIGERIA is blessed with very intelligent and even religious people. Thus, in our National Anthem, we pray God to help us build a nation where peace and justice shall reign. But at critical times, such as the 2019 elections, many abandoned their intelligence and switched to the mode of the stupid; peeled
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