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The anti-intellectual character of Nigerians (1)

Last week, I received a text message from an anonymous critic (Mr. X for convenience) who responded to my riposte on the national conference going on in Abuja. In the text, Mr. X called me a hypocrite for criticising the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) anytime it embarks on indefinite strike to press home its demands from the federal government while at the same time complaining that lecturers are not well paid.

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Profligacy and Aggravated Intelligence Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

When I read that each of the mostly President Goodluck Jonathan’s handpicked delegates to the national conference going on in Abuja right now will collect N12million at the end of their three-month meeting, I was outraged. My reaction was based on the following considerations. First, as a very senior academic in one of the best universities in Nigeria, my emolument in a year after sundry deductions at source is less than N4million.

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Nigeria’s Centenary celebration and its discontents (2)

They point to the big brother role Nigeria has played, and still plays, in the West African sub-region and in the African continent as a whole. One can concede all that and still maintain, correctly in my view, that although the country might be beautiful abroad, she is ugly at home. Even so, Nigeria’s standing in Africa, and in the world generally, has nosedived since the 1990s. For instance, the irritating subordinate status accorded Nigeria during the burial of Nelson Mandela is a telling demonstration that things have fallen apart with respect to her rating by other African countries.

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Nigeria’s Centenary celebration and its discontents (1)

Penultimate, week, the country’s ruling elite led by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan held the centenary celebration of Nigeria as a single geopolitical and economic unit. From media reports, about twenty-eight heads of state or their representatives attended the event held in Abuja. As a bona fide Nigerian citizen who knows that billions of naira must have been spent for the occasion, it is pertinent to ask pertinent questions, answers to which would help clarity the propriety or otherwise of the celebration.

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Reflections on Nigerian politicians (3)

This is one of the root causes of politics-with-bitterness, largely responsible for the notion noted at the beginning of this discourse that politics in Nigeria is a dirty game. If politicians conduct themselves within constitutional bounds, political excitement is less likely to cause problems. But our politicians are yet to internalise self-restraint, democratic culture and patriotism that will dampen the urge to cause trouble by channelling political excitement to harmless or less destructive outlets.

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Reflections on Nigerian politicians (2)

Rivalry is another strong motive in politics. It involves competition between at least two individuals or groups. In moderation, rivalry is good because it tends to foster healthy competition. However, if it becomes pathological, as in when an individual considers winning elections at all cost an end in itself, then many negative things are bound to happen. For example, there is some reason to believe that unhealthy rivalry between Dr. Azikiwe and Chief Awolowo was exploited by the Northern Peoples Congress, led by Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, to make political inroads in Western Nigeria, which eventually caused breakdown of law and order in the region in the early sixties.

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Reflections on Nigerian politicians (1)

In Nigeria, it is customary for people to say that politics is a “dirty game.” That negative assessment stems from the fact that since the country began experimenting with modern forms of civilian governance, most key players in the political arena have tended to sacrifice the nobler forms of politicking on the altar of primitive egoism, crude Machiavellism and bulimic materialism. Therefore, description of politics as a dirty game in this country underscores the fact that a typical Nigerian politician is willing and prepared to do virtually anything possible either to win an election or get a lucrative appointment in government.

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An old sour wine in a new wine bottle

By Douglas Anele Largely, President Goodluck Jonathan is a man under intense pressure, notwithstanding his cool, calm and dapper looks in newspapers and television. I strongly believe that our political leaders deserve opprobrium for their outward show of opulence and indulgent materialism when a vast majority of ordinary Nigerians are facing severe existential challenges daily.
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A report card on Alagbo’s burial

In last series of this column entitled “Yuletide experiences and acknowledgments,” I wrote about the death of my father, Alagbo Ebere E. Anele, at the age of ninety-four. Before travelling to the village on December 27, 2013 to commence preliminary preparations for his funeral, I was a bit apprehensive because the stress of my late mother’s burial about three years ago was still fresh in my memory.

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