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The scandal in Aviation

I like Stella Oduah. Her fierce feline eyes – those bold saucers by which we enter into her soul –leaves one in no doubt that she is a force of nature. It is not for nothing that she is considered one of the most powerful ministers in the Jonathan administration. As minister for Aviation, she has certainly taken very bold steps; made tough and demanding decisions, and accomplished quite some visible milestones.

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Fashola and the image of the East

At the Aka-Ikenga dinner celebrating the founding of this association of Igbo fat cats in Lagos, Governor Raji Fashola, either out of postprandial volubility, or in a bid to be charming among friends, or even as some have suggested, enhance the political fortunes of his friend and fellow partisan, Dr. Chris Ngige in Anambra, offered what had been termed an “unreserved apology” to the Igbo. His apology was for the apparent mischief of selectively targeting and “deporting” some Igbo to Onitsha in one of the most unprecedented constitutional gaffes in Nigeria.

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Kofi Awoonor: This Earth My Brother

George Kofi Awoonor-Williams became just Kofi Awoonor. He chose to be piquant and to shed the vestiges, at the same time, of his colonial past. He died last week. He was 78 years. He did not die from age related problems. He was still quite active; mentally alert and vigorous. He was killed in the Nairobi terrorist event staged by Al Shabaab, the Somali equivalent of Boko Haram, which had taken over the Westgate Mall, a high end shopping Mall in Nairobi last week, and massacred mall visitors. By last count, the death toll from the four-day siege and holdout had been officially put at seventy-two people. More are suspected to be crushed under the rubble of the collapsed mall, and therefore unaccounted.

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Disband Nigeria?

While he was enjoying the perks of public office, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode did not call for the break-up of Nigeria; he in fact earned a reputation as an attack-dog for the president and the government of the day, which for him was the meaning of Nigeria. A child of privilege, Mr. Fani-Kayode has, it seems, often taken it for granted that Nigeria would always carter to his desires. It was not, as is often expected of his peers in other places, about public service. It was always about the convenience of his claims to unearned privileges. His father, the late Remilekun, was a great prop for privilege too. He trained as a lawyer in Cambridge. Even made a decent second. But his greatest accomplishment was not alas in law; it was in politics and the vice that accompanies it.

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The war-like tribe of the PDP

The party in government – the PDP – has splintered into two factions: one still “dey kampe” as the “main PDP,” and caucuses around the president, Goodluck Jonathan and the Party chair, Bamanga Turkur; the new PDP has former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as its moving spirit, with a coterie of rebel governors and affiliates opening new offices for the “New PDP” in a move at establishing dual authority within the party.

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The nationality question

What does it mean to be a Nigerian? This question may seem clearly resolved in the Nigerian constitution: anyone born, whose forebears as at October 1 1960, had roots in any portion of the land which as at January 1914 became amalgamated as the Union of the old protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria. Such a person is a Nigerian by birth and has every right pertaining thereto that affiliation guaranteed under the bill of rights. But there are cleavages in the national imagination that make this question increasingly unresolved and academic.

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The third tier question

The place of the third-tier government, that is local government administration in Nigeria, has remained the thorniest and contentious issue in Nigerian federalism. It has to be, principally because it actually has led to general distortions in public service delivery at the most crucial levels of government.

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More tales out of Lagos

Last week, I drew the attention of readers of the “Orbit” to theunconstitutional action of the Lagos state government in deporting sixty-seven Nigerians to Onitsha. That action in my view marks the lowest point, since the end of the Nigerian civil war, in the effort at nation-building. The Lagos state government under the ACN Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, seems to be highly charged and fueled by a strange form of paranoid xenophobia; a need to cleanse the streets of Lagos of “strangers.”

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