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Should religion and ethnicity play a role in politics?

If one is to believe Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution which reads: “The Government of the Federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as a state religion” then it is clear that Nigeria is a secular state. Section 14(2) (a) further states: “sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom Government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority”.

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Witch-hunts in global perspective

The idea of a witch-hunt seems to be trending now in Nigeria, as everyone with a case to answer believes he or she is being witch-hunted, forgetting the evidence presented by the courts to justify the case’s existence. Another very famous witch-hunt is currently taking place in the United States and if you’re familiar with the term “Benghazi” you’re sure to already know about it.

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Colonial mentality

HOW did corruption become a way of life in Nigeria? This question should be of the utmost importance to the Presidency and of course to the future minister of information whose role, if not for the “job for the boys syndrome” should have remained combined with that of the minister of culture (and by extension tourism). Nigeria’s national orientation, our inability to unanimously condemn wrongdoing, is perhaps our country’s greatest problem.

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The end of an era: impunity be gone

THINKING about Nigeria at 55 I am both saddened and immensely hopeful. Saddened because we are not where we should be. Malaysia, Indonesia, which in the 60s and 70s were lagging behind Nigeria, now surpass us in terms of socio-economic development. Nigerians could once swagger on Oxford Street or the Champs Elysee with a buoyancy enabled by the strength of the Naira.

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Nigeria in the year 2030: A new narrative

OUR obsession with the drama and intrigue of politics has relegated discourse on policy and national development to the background. We all know what Saraki is accused of but how many of us can detail his agenda as Senate president? What were his plans to reform a body which in the eyes of the average Nigerian, is merely a retirement home for former governors or for privileged, would-be influential Nigerians, all barely present (or awake when they are physically present)?

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Who will save Nigeria’s youth?

A recent New York Times survey showed that 43% of Americans think President Obama is Muslim. Some people just can’t be helped. Some people, for all intents and purposes, will remain ignorant and perhaps that’s just the way of the world. Some people will continue to judge others based on gender or ethnicity. Some people will think political appointments “maketh” the man or that having someone from your village at the helm of affairs will necessarily translate to your betterment (although it’s yet to truly happen).

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The fourth estate: Mass media and tribalism

Nigerian media is gradually shaped by sensationalism and simplification: publications appeal to people’s “lower instincts” and this “dumbing down” in which politicians are wiling accomplices as I said last week, is fraught with xenophobia and ethnic claims. I am increasingly worried by the persistent and damning inability to see things for what they are, to be rational and perceive reality without sentiment (or greed), thus perverting Nigerian judgement and the media.

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Dumbing down Nigerian politics: The disservice of Jonathan’s men

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”.

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What’s the point of a first lady?

Renaming the “First Lady” the “Wife of the President” is a subtle change which shows a shift in the principles guiding public thinking. Indeed, “First Ladies” in Nigeria have previously wielded virtually as much power as their husbands if not more. The era of First Ladies allocating oil wells, shaming and insulting governors isn’t so far away. However, Nigerians are glad to see the end of it, with a clear return to sanity: first ladies aren’t elected officials.

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A culture of making do: The saints amongst the sinners

A LOT has been said about petitions by civil society groups asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate alleged “questionable expenditures” by the former governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola, including a much commented upon N78 million website upgrade which the firm contracted to do the job subsequently denied receiving such an amount for.

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An agenda for the North: Redefining culture and orientation

Watching Obama in Kenya, I’m brought to think about the African story and Nigeria’s place in this world. Despite many of our self-styled and self-proclaimed heroes and founding figures, Nigeria is yet to figure out a unifying culture and purpose which if taught to our children would enable peace and prosperity, moulding our country into a global sphere of influence, a voice to be reckoned with on the world stage.

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