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Does the West mean well for Nigeria?

OUR contemporary national life and politics is a continuation of a disastrous trend etched out during colonisation. Why was Africa colonised? The short answer: competition between European nations in the late nineteenth century, juxtaposed with economic depression in Europe. Europe needed both natural resources and markets for its products. For the avoidance of doubt, Africa wasn’t colonised because it was “inferior” or needed to become “civilised” through the “kind” efforts of its colonial masters.

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Whose interests should government serve: The many or The few?

THIS question should be of particular interest to Nigerians as we prepare to vote in yet another election. Nigerian governments have traditionally taken a very conservative stance on social issues, choosing to support private businesses belonging to their associates over ordinary people: rather than attempt to fix the structural conditions enabling poverty, the choice has often been to pretend, for example, that foreign direct investment, FDI, alone can lift Nigerians out of poverty.

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‘Atikulated’ slips and questions unanswered

LAST week Kadaria Ahmed, host of “The candidates” interviewed PDP Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi with interesting results. Atiku said corruption is “the use of your privileged position to enrich yourself, your relatives or friends”. Interestingly, during a business summit in Lagos recently, he said, on live television: “I am not going to enrich members of my family but my friends.”

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Does belonging to particular ethnic group make allowances for corruption?

IF “stealing isn’t corruption” perhaps this is why a section of the country is intent on ignoring allegations of wrongdoing and insisting their kinsmen can’t be investigated or tried, otherwise there’ll be “trouble.” Many people don’t hate corruption, they simply despise being left out of it and it is now commonplace to hear excuses replace important questions such as: are the allegations true?

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Nigeria’s absent middle class: A threat to democracy

THE significant disparities between rich and poor in Nigeria no longer invite much comment or analysis: poverty, despite political rhetoric, is more or less accepted as the capitalist norm and many have been content to watch the middle class gradually disappear, squeezed into in-existence by systemic corruption and economic inefficiency. Interestingly, in other West African countries which haven’t had the Nigerian experience of military rule (Senegal and Ivory Coast, for example), the middle class lives a life that only few could dream of in Nigeria. It isn’t strange in such countries to find individuals buying yoghuts, meats and hams which in Nigeria are reserved for a small elite.

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Vice-Presidents, goats, yams and shopkeepers

THE Vice-Presidential debate was a fascinating opportunity to see and understand the philosophies of Nigeria’s two main political parties (APC and PDP). During one of the most commented upon segments, Peter Obi, the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate, criticised the rise of unemployment and the slump in Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, reinforcing his earlier remark: “fighting corruption is not an economic policy”.

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Lawyers and religious leaders: A note of caution

IN Nigeria logic is constantly turned on its head, all to defend or excuse illegality. From the media to religious leaders, to judges and lawyers, virtually every sector which ought to fight for the common man’s rights, or to defend our democracy finds itself shielding those accused of corruption from investigation and prosecution, or representing their interests by aggressively upholding the status quo.

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