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How does Buhari “listen” to Radio Biafra?

Jul 23

The saying that nothing sells like controversy cannot be truer for the sensation called Radio Biafra. In the past few weeks, the radio station has become a subject of analyses, commentary, diatribe, passion, anger, and as is typical of these issues, a re-opening of festering wounds. The attention the radio has received, one suspects, is more about the medium than the contents of the message. The message is not new and after listening to its transmission for a while, I still do not see how its bashing of Nigeria is different from the flagellation the country...

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Mallam El Rufai and his beggars

Jul 16

In the wake of the bombing attack on the city of Zaria, Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai banned begging in the state. As much as the governor’s decision might be connected to the security terrorism poses to his state, there is a possibility the ban also constitute an opportunity of aesthetic refurbishment of the cityscape as well. The beggars, however, have not been silent about the threat to their livelihood. They have staged a public demonstration; challenged the governor to a contest of wills by returning to the streets after the ban; and...

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Jul 09

Bailout package: What do states give back? In 2008 in the United States, three CEOS of large auto companies flew to Washington in private jets to request $25bn bailout so the industries they represent would not be lost to the country’s prevailing economic woes. These CEOs, apparently used to a life of luxury were not willing to scale down their privileges, not even as an outward show of prudence and an appearance of sobriety at their failures as economic managers. Lawmakers present at the hearing of the legislative Financial Services Committee lashed at them,...

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The many lies about Buhari

Jul 02

Lies and myths are regularly woven around leaders, some tending towards an apotheofication, but that of President Muhammad Buhari is getting too frequent to be useful. Buhari’s mythopoeia preceded him into office and the fantasies fashioned about him are being currently employed to oil the flagging wheels of his presidency. His adoring followers have long believed in him with faith akin to a religion. They take him as a god character whose perfectly sculpted essence must be protected and whose transcendent persona must not be scraped with the sharp edges of...

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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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