The Good & the Ugly, of 14 Years of Democracy in Nigeria

Slow climbs!

Zainab Usman

Today marks exactly 14 years since the transition to democracy in Nigeria. Many Nigerians have mixed feelings about the progress and quality of our democratic process which seems to lumber ahead, mostly staggering, but sometimes with steady steps. Despite the few snags here and there, there is still cause to celebrate. To that effect, I am highlighting some good, some bad and a few ugly things about the process and the dividends. The list is by no means exhaustive.

 

GSM Mobile Telephony

Since the advent of GSM in 2001, the information and communications landscape has been radically revolutionised.

 

Nigerian Railways: Back to Life?

After more than 10years, the railway linking Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, to Kano, the country’s second largest city, reopened. Note that this was courtesy Chinese loans and investment. Here’s a video by a Financial Times reporter who took the train:

 

Score Card for the…

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It’s not a poem unless it rhymes

The test for poetry is if you can taste it with your bones!

Susan Daniels Poetry

Poems are not fossilized insects, caught mid-buzz
in amber, shakespeared museum pieces
with the correct number of feet in the meter,
waiting to be dusted off and counted,
or fizzed in pop culture, orange soda shaken
and hallmarked to the singsong tick
of a driveled metronome.

It’s not about form anymore.
This playing tennis without a net
volleys inside what’s spoken–call it poetry
or pretty prose, the difference is felt in the bones,
strung by breath and assonance if we have ears for it,
or blood pulled by a moon in full perigee, and the surety
of knowing night sings to us in the voices of crickets,
certain as day shouts the hard blue of sky, broken
by sunlight and poured into valleys.

A Dali is no da Vinci, though his art filters light
like stained glass does sun, from somewhere under the canvas,
and van Gogh stars reel over the world

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The BBC’s standards of journalism when it comes to South Africa

Journalism – in search of truth, balance and objectivity.

Africa is a Country (Old Site)


Yes, the BBC sent the snooty John Simpson to South Africa to do a bit of parachute journalism and be led around by the white “rights” group Afriforum (since when are they are a credible source?) to come up with this insulting question: “Do white people have a future in South Africa?” Read it here. The main claims of the piece (and a documentary broadcast in the UK on Sunday night) are that the white poor number about 400,000 (that would be about 10% of the white population), that there are 80 “white squatter camps” situated around the capital Pretoria, and that there’s a deliberate attempt on the part of the new government to neglect whites. These reports usually add attacks on white farmers into the mix as if there are direct links between these phenomena. And the BBC did that too. It’s a mashup of all the nonsense…

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Language policy in South Africa and the unfounded fears of a Zulu hegemony

Language, Boundary and Nationism!

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

Neville Alexander
Given South Africa’s stated commitment to multilingualism, you might not think that a requirement from one of the country’s universities that its students learn an indigenous African language would raise much alarm. Yet alarm has nonetheless been the reaction from a few unexpected quarters to the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s announcement that all first-year students enrolled from next near onwards will be required to develop “some level” of isiZulu proficiency by the time they graduate.

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What’s A State of Emergency Anyway?

Informative and educative

The Chronicles of Chill

On the 15th of May 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency in 3 states in the northern region of Nigeria. Apart from the debate on the propriety or otherwise of the declaration (or “proclamation” as the constitution calls it), a lot of debate has also been had on whether or not a state of emergency can be declared with the Governors of the affected states remaining in office. With all the “sacred” opinions flying about, perhaps it is time to take an academic look at what a State of Emergency is.

What Is A State of Emergency?

A state of emergency is a proclamation by the government of a country suspending certain judicial, legislative or executive functions, or suspending certain rights guaranteed by the constitution, during times of civil unrest or natural disasters. The concept of the need for the state to have emergency powers can be…

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The Voiceless Victims of the Vicious Violence of Boko Haram

written with compassion

FEATHERS PROJECT

By Nwachukwu Egbunike

Mass-grave-of-violence-victims

About 10,000 souls have been grinded in Boko haram (BH) blender since 2001. These innocents did not stand in the way of the vampires who have declared a hate war on the Nigerian state. They had each woken that morning with the ambitions filled with hope, to strive to lay food on the table, to seek for a better future but sometime during the day, they had been sent on – with a first class ticket – an early encounter in the void unknown. With time, the detonation of bombs became a daily icing that the living began referring to the dead as numbers. This was the situation before the declaration of state of emergency by the government on the hotspots where Boko haram had almost established sovereignty and wishes to continue their blood bath.

Unfortunately, this aspect has been missing in the national conversation since the…

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Bring Back the Book: Peers of an Expired Empire

FEATHERS PROJECT

By Nwachukwu Egbunike 

In Nigeria, you must capture the essence of your being by the number of titles you been able to acquire over the years. “Former special assistant, formerly choir master, etc” expresses the clout of the bearer. And such is the current ruforufo fight between two former public servants of the Federal Republic. To think that they are throwing arrows at each other just because of an ordinary book, haba!

These two super intelligent warriors of a stale empire have taken to the streets and their disciples have since joined their fight. Wahala started with an autobiographical fiction that the twitter king’s pen wrote. In his accidental hagiography, he revealed the backsides of his former peers. And not only that, his book attacked the retired emperor, the former deputy emperor and all those who were in the inner kitchen. The only innocent one was the author.

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El-Rufai: Memoir of a Political Scam Artist

Gimba Kakanda's Blog

 

TAPS Cover

Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is a saint. El-Rufai’s intellectual and managerial wisdom is unmatched by any living thing that has ever been in power in Nigeria. Those are the things we discover in his memoir, The Accidental Public Servant. TAPS is not only a celebration of an individual’s narcissism but a revelation of the destructive elitism on whose back this polarised nation suffers. But because TAPS documents the political tragedies we have witnessed since the coming of this present democracy in which the author was a privileged actor, we must repaint our triumphal arch to welcome this confession of an insider.

I won’t advise any hypertensive person to open the book, if not for the author’s inability to contain his large ego in this overtly expressive tome but for his exposé of the financial scams and abuse of power by the political elite who, despite declared differences and public opposition…

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HerStory

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

(A response to this poem which pains and troubles me)

 

I veil my face

I fake, I affect a pace

I strike a pose to please

 

I part unveil my ware

to attract, to beckon, to appeal,

all to strike a better bargain

 

draining nights

on these dark streets,

mean, dim

where for a fare fair

I fair sell my flesh and frame,

me tame, soul lame, filled with shame

before rates of exchange

driven hard, harsh, heartless

unequal, the weak cannot bargain

 

I empty my soul,

as he emptyng inside me, also empties me

so much pain,

for so paltry a gain

all so that you, my child

will not be empty

when you rise

 

In the mornings, when you rise

clad in your innocence,

as you eat and fill up, I sing for you

but also to forget, my smiles fake, as guilt

and self-pity gnaw at my insides

 

And I sink, I sink and sing to forget.

Uncoupling

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

 

Remember,

When we signed and swore

to soar,

 

for better, for worse,

the moons have now since faded, dimmed

stars twinkle less bright,

 

on a sky blanketed by our  mutual misery

our nights now filled by this burgeoning void

that is us

 

the flames died slowly,

smoke filled our empty eyes, red blank

our tongues broken, wooden

our ears drowned by the din of our inner voices

 

And us two in tow,

now sour and bitter

bride and groom no more

rather through your assured lenses –

pride and groom,

through my lenses, clean and clear –

bride and gloom

 

We now dance to blame songs

two souls in discord

dancing to drumbeats of doom, singing

“your fault not mine, my love, your lust;

My trust, your rust;  my care, your tear”

we sing so well, nourished

by a slow low constant flame of pain
our emotions lame and crippled,
bitterness slowly freezing

frying our insides, as enlarging cold rage
fractures our world and hardens

borders and boundaries

 

We match and trade barbs of mutual hurt

And we march forward backwards,

bent and bitten,

weary and wary

on a broken road,

saddled, burdened

with loads and worries

not love, on our broken battered shoulders

and souls