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Soyinka and a drama titled ‘Green Card”

Dec 08

Professor Wole Soyinka’s election “vow” to shred his green card in the event that Donald Trump wins the presidential election should not have been an issue. I know ours is a country where people share testimonies in church when awarded a US visa but Soyinka is a Nobel Laureate of 30 years standing. As a rarefied and global citizen, he can travel to any country of his choice without the hassles of visa procurement. Considering also that thousands of people, famous and non-famous, renounce their US citizenship every year, Soyinka’s decision needed not have...

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Taxing phone calls is not the problem

Dec 01

If Nigeria follows through with plans to impose taxes on telecommunication services, people that are already struggling will be further impoverished. This is in addition to the proposed data hike which begins today and already generating a lot of disapprobation among Nigerians. There is no clear reason why the government is doing this other than the fact that they need money. When the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, spoke on the data price hike some months ago, he said the government was unaware of the decision. Now that they are aware, what is their...

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Jungle justice law should also dragnet Buhari

Nov 24

In October, it was reported that a bill to protect people against jungle justice had scaled second reading in the Senate and might soon become a law. Considering that there are already laws against wanton killings in place, such a bill is superfluous. Nigerians practice jungle justice, not for a lack of laws but because our institutions are too tepid to enforce existing ones. Lately, in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, a young man was lynched by a mob for the alleged crime of stealing a mobile phone. There are conflicting accounts of the incident and up till now,...

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TB Joshua as a parable for MMM

Nov 17

There is a line from a play by Kola Onadipe that I read in primary school, Halima Must Not Die, that returns to me on days like this one. In the play, someone had asked the lead character why she allowed herself to be deceived by religious charlatans who were simply milking her for her money. She responded, “if you cannot get the truth to buy, wont you buy a lie?” As I type this article about an ongoing moneymaking scheme in town called MMM, and Pastor Temitope B. Joshua, I am aware that there can be no objective definition of “truth” or “lie” in...

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Has America elected their own Buhari?

Nov 10

The newly elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, has things in common with President Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, the US elections produced several interesting parallels between Nigeria and America; one is the divisiveness occasioned by some of the most virulent rhetoric ever traded during a campaign. In the age of social media, it is uncertain the practice of democracy will ever retain any display of civility. In Nigeria last year and in the US this year, I witnessed much bad blood pumped by people who will have to reformat their relationships after...

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BSc. Bus Conducting, Lagos University

Nov 03

Yoruba films aficionados would no doubt be familiar with the spectre of the gateman, a comic relief that almost always overwhelms the story arc. Most times the gateman is caricatured as a half-wit; his “acting” lacks any artistic subtlety; he talks too much and most of the lines are improvised, and can be irrational and rude. Like Esu in Yoruba cosmology who is the gatekeeper between the celestial and terrestrial realms and therefore privileged to know many secrets of both humans and the gods, the gateman in Yoruba films also knows too much for his lowly...

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Nigerian churches and the problem of “baby factories”

Oct 27

This year alone, I have heard up to six accounts of women who had been arrested by the Police for buying a child at a baby factory. Each time the Police broke up a baby factory, they traced prior buyers and found these women. One thread that ran through each of the stories was that the women had claimed to have delivered a “miracle baby” and had shared a testimony either in church or before a church audience. In some instances, people had suspected that the women did not look like they had been through parturition but had chosen to look away for reasons...

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Aso Rock and Abati’s demons

Oct 20

Like a number of people out there, I found Dr. Reuben Abati’s article on the “spiritual side” of Aso Rock annoying. Abati, a well-educated man by any standards, held a front-facing office in the most powerful office in Nigeria as recently as 17 months ago before his phone suffered a catastrophic failure of non-rings. His piece about supernatural forces jinxing everyone and everything in Aso Rock left me wondering what re-conditioned him. If he had stopped at merely narrating how the dread of a bugaboo loomed over them when they worked in Aso Rock, the piece...

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The impropriety of Buhari’s book launch

Oct 13

Within the same week, two books were launched on President Muhammudu Buhari; one by his official photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, titled Buhari: A New Beginning and the other, Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria, was by an American professor whose scholarly interests revolves around northern Nigeria, John Paden. First, I must admit that of all Nigerian paradoxes perhaps the one that fascinates me most is the culture of book launches in a country where illiteracy level is high and people cannot afford to read beyond religious texts and...

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Peter Obi’s speech: Much ado about what?

Oct 06

Former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, got social media aroused after he gave a speech at The Platform, a program organized by Covenant Christian Center on Nigeria’s Independence anniversary. Obi demonstrated that corruption is intractable because it subsists on the machinery of daily governance. He also shared examples of how he managed to overcome the culture of waste through his personal prudence. He mentioned how states needlessly maintain lodges in Lagos and Abuja with high staff costs and logistics; the demands our feudalist federalism imposes on...

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