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Scenarios with Obadiah Mailafia

Political Earth Tremor in Ethiopia


IT was a big relief to all democratic forces in Africa when the Ethiopian military putsch of Saturday, June 22, was crushed by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It all began ominously enough with the assassination of Amhara regional president, Ambachew Mekonnen, whilst at a security meeting with key officials in the city of Bahir Dar. Almost simultaneously, in Addis Ababa, the Chief of the General Staff, Se’are Mekonnen, was gunned down by his own orderly. The alleged mastermind, Brigadier-General Asamnew Tsige, had apparently intended to instigate simultaneous attacks on prominent political and military leaders across the country so as to bring down the government. 

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If Carthage must be destroyed

THE Gulf of Guinea bore the brunt of the trans-Atlantic commerce in human souls that went on for 300 years, from the 16th century to the 19th century. While the Arabs and Fulanis were raiding the North, the Europeans were wreaking havoc in the South. Glorious kingdoms were weakened, if not destroyed: Benin, Oyo, Kwararafa, Nok, Kanem-Borno and the Hausa City States. When slavery was no longer viable it was replaced with ‘legitimate commerce’. Lagos was annexed in August 1861 and before long the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was established. In the North, the feudal Caliphate established by Sheikh Usman Ibn Fodiyo barely a century earlier, was brought down by a British expeditionary force in 1903.

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Is there a global conspiracy against Africa?

LOTS of people believe in conspiracy theories. I am not one of them. Nor do I subscribe to the view of those philosophers of history who believe nothing significant happens in the world without some conspirators lurking behind it. I’m not also saying that most of our problems are caused by foreign powers. We are, in fact, largely the architects of our own misfortunes. This is not to say that conspiracies don’t exist.  I have studied enough political theory since Polybius and Thucydides to know that conspiracies abound. What the philosopher Isaiah Berlin describes as “the crooked timber of humanity” still defines the character of our sinful world.

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Epistle to His Excellency the Governor

CONGRATULATIONS for being sworn into the exalted office of chief executive of your state. Under our Constitution, the governor is not only the principal administrator but also the chief security officer of the state. Some of our jurists opine that, under our 1999 Constitution the governor enjoys wider prerogatives than the incumbent of the high magistracy of our great federal republic. His constitutional immunity gives him power to commit murder and get away with it. It would have drawn the envy of the Roman Proconsuls of old.

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Daughters of Jerusalem, I weep for Emeka!

I HAVE written before expressing my deep concern about the attitudes and behaviour of some of our youths. But we must not be unfair. We as a society have actually failed our youths. Nigeria has become as cruel and heartless as the proverbial desert ostrich. We have mortgaged the future of our youths. In our own days, having a good degree was enough guarantee of a great future. Today, even having a masters and a doctorate guarantees you nothing. If your parents are influential – like emirs, chiefs, ministers or senators – letters of employment are delivered to your home from top public organisations without a job application or interview. But if you are the son or daughter of a pauper with a first class honours degree you are condemned to wandering the streets for years.

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The dangerous generation

THE upcoming generation of young people may turn out to be the most dangerous we have in Nigeria. We are breeding a brood of vipers and we are the last to know about it. Some of my readers may have come across the story in social media.THE upcoming generation of young people may turn out to be the most dangerous we have in Nigeria. We are breeding a brood of vipers and we are the last to know about it. Some of my readers may have come across the story in social media.

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The secret of great nations

THERE are great nations and there are mediocre ones. There are also run-of-the-mill nations as well as outright failed states. Echoing the inimitable language of the English playwright William Shakespeare, we could say that some nations are born great; some achieve greatness; while yet others have greatness thrust upon them. It might not be that easy defining what constitutes a great nation. But we know it when we see it.

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university, Nigeria

The tragedy of genius and failure of the Nigerian university system

A FEW days ago, I found myself hinking of Elephant. Elephant was a friend and senior at my old missionary boarding school in the defunct Benue-Plateau State. Elephant was not his real name. He was so nick-named because he was a rather fat lad with a reputation for being the school clown. Although I was by far his junior, we were best of friends. What united us was the fact that we both represented the school in inter-school quiz tournaments.

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