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Ogogoro as a Nigerian parable

Jun 25

Earlier this month, the Federal Government purportedly banned the consumption of locally brewed gin (also called ogogoro), in all parts of Nigeria. The directive came in the wake of deaths in Ondo and Rivers states attributed to ill-brewed ogogoro. So far, some 70 deaths have been recorded in Rivers and 23 in Ondo while some of the casualties suffered permanent impairment. NAFDAC, brimming with rage at these pointless deaths, threatened to seize illegally brewed ogogoro products. The deaths, the documented and the undocumented, are a huge tragedy; a needless...

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Can lawmakers not get paid AT ALL?

Jun 18

Déjà vu! When news leaked that lawmakers will get up to N9bn as wardrobe allowance sometime soon, it must have occurred to many Nigerians that we have been here before. In 1999, there was so much fuss about lawmakers’ furniture allowance of some N3.5m each. Nigerians kicked; how are they so sybaritic considering that the country was impoverished, her infrastructure virtually existent and the country was suffused with post-military anguish? Fast-forward 16 years. The actors may have changed multiple times; the PDP is no longer the majority in the House; there...

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Ogbeni Aregbesola, pay your workers

Jun 11

Osun State is not the only Nigerian state currently owing its workers a backlog of arrears; more than half of the states in the country are currently embroiled in a funding crisis over recurrent expenditure. Capital expenditure has been dead for a longer time. From Abia to Zamfara, states are short of cash for salaries and pensions. Times are hard, we all know; the economy took a downturn because a few government officials looked at the future beyond the next elections. Workers, all over Nigeria, are grappling with the pains of this ruinous reality. Whilst all...

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Return of Nigeria’s subsidy debate

Jun 04

The question of whether “subsidy” paid by the government of Nigeria on imported petroleum products needs to be expunged or not is being sneaked back into public discourses. The dialogue is inevitable for various reasons; the major one being that Nigeria can barely afford to continue to indulge incompetence as has been done in the past. When times are hard as this, it requires all of us to make sacrifices. The price of oil has not only taken a plunge, Nigeria’s decades of imprudent spending and free-for-all looting are taking a toll on the nation’s...

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Buhari: Past imperfect, future tense

May 28

When Dr. Goodluck Jonathan completes his last day in office today, he will be walking away from a pile of mess for his successor to back-break through. There will be the subsisting debacle about fuel subsidy removal which is already gathering its dark clouds; the unfinished business of Boko Haram and the Chibok girls; an emptied treasury with strings of outlandish debts strung around the necks of Nigerians; a comatose economy and a huge pile of unpaid wages; an energy crisis that has the nation in dire straits; decrepit social and physical infrastructure; cloying...

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Buhari without ‘General’

May 21

The president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, recently requested he no longer be addressed as “General Muhammadu Buhari’ but simply as ‘Muhammadu Buhari”. It is a critical move that, perhaps, registers his public declaration of self-refashioning as a converted democrat willing to shed a title he devoted a significant part of his life earning. Four years ago, when I first met Buhari in Lagos, I had asked him about his “General” toga; if he did not think it was incongruous with democracy. Mine was a question of perception by the voting citizens. Paraphrased,...

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Goodbye Patience Jonathan, welcome Aisha Buhari

May 14

The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, exudes excesses, a certain superfluity that jumps at you whether you study her in still images or actual life. From her outsized personality to her self-aesthetisation, one sees a woman whose effervescence is not self-containing. In the past five years, Mrs. Jonathan has impressed her persona on Nigeria’s cultural imagination and she qualifies as a subject of academic studies on a wide-ranging number of topics. She is one First Lady Nigerians will not forget in a hurry and for many legitimate reasons too. Her constant...

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Boko Haram’s terrorism of the phallus

May 07

When some 200 schoolgirls in Chibok were abducted last year, one of the fears that accompanied the outrage their abduction generated is the likelihood of their being subjected to sexual violence. Most likely, they were targeted on account of their gender in the first place and with them being held in an unknown location, they would be at the mercy of their captors. That is partly why Nigerians – minus the people who were in denial about the probability of such an abduction – and the rest of the world urged for immediate rescue of those girls from Boko...

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Xenohobia: Are Nigerians Really that Obnoxious?

Apr 30

Since the South African xenophobia crisis began, the term, “Nigerians!”, has recurred in the various discussions – from news footages to op-eds- elicited in the wake of the attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa. In several video footages, one can hear South Africans complaining about the “Nigerians” who are taking over their jobs, their spaces, and threatening their national identity. It seems “Nigerians” is an effigy of the haunting image of the obnoxious foreigner who just does not know his limit. This is not the first time a verbal drone...

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Time to scrap state sponsored pilgrimages

Apr 23

Nigerian governors are fond of calling attention to their own prudence by insisting they run their states on shoestring budgets. They say the states they run are permanently broke, that they can barely pay salaries because their revenue is gulped by recurring expenditure — such as salaries. A certain South-West governor even blamed his inability to pay the five-month salaries of the states’ employees on reduced monthly federal allocations. But what governors never say is that they contribute to their state’s lack by non-judicious use of income. Recently,...

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