Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nigeria: Decade of a Failed State, Murderous Islamic Jihadists, Militants and Civil Disobedience


Photo: Reuters

One had thought the new milleniun would bring back sanity, good governance, transparency and accountability in Nigeria's neo-democratic fabric of the Fourth republic, from the probabilities of correcting the social ills and misrule of the past by the military juntas and corrupt civilian politicians which did place the country among the most corrupt nations on earth.

Good governance was a clarion call from the moment General sani Abacha's iron rule provoked the West and sent democracy advocates - Wole Soyinka, Alani Akinrinade and several others - packing, seeking refuge elsewhere. The clarion call for good governance never happened; rather, what we have seen had been an avalanche of insanity all over and in every aspect of life in the country. The nation's social fabric is still in disarray. The infrastructures still a total mess. The executive branch of government has been in shambles from inception. The legislature has been completely out of touch, having no clue what is it "they" are doing. The judiciary has been way incompetent, corrupt and influenced by the fat cats and political godfathers of the day which has in its entirety made mockery of the rule of law.

It is disturbing finding out that in a situation where the average Nigerian earns less than $1,000 a year yet members of the National Assembly and governors of the respective states are among the highest paid in the world - not by basic salary - by way of inflated contracts and the so-called revenue-sharing formula, from some circles, national cake-sharing.

Nigeria is notorious for corruption, from fabricated contracts to the policeman who supposedly should be enforcing the law on the pot-holed riddled streets, but would rather collect bribes from motorists on many inexplicable grounds. With uncountable studies of corruption and the formations of series of anti-corruption agencies coupled with headlines about it in the nation's newspapers, nothing seemingly changed as widespread scandals of bribery and corruption continues apace; not even with the intense scrutiny from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and organizations like Transparency International could deter the notorious and one of world's most corrupt nations.

Starting from Moshood K. O. Abiola who allegedly was said to have won the presidential election of "June 12, 1993," in a selection conducted by the military junta, Ibrahim Babaginda, who had wrote the platforms of the political parties he created, choosing his cronies - Abiola and Bashir Tofa - as presidential candidates, and afterwards nullifying the said election on the grounds of mass irregularities, Nigeria, as a nation, collapsed in many ways.

History would recall Abiola never survived Abacha's gulag. He died while meeting with American officials, Thomas R. Pickering and Susan E. Rice at the government guest house in Abuja which would dramatically change the course of the nation's history from "June 12" to a another path full of uncertainties.

Despite the country's claim of excessive human capital and immense oil reserves, Nigeria remains in economic chaos, ravaged by greed, corruption and incompetence.

In a "yea" and "nay" debate on whether Nigeria is a failed state published by BBC News (Tuesday, July 7, 2009), Ogaga Ifowodo, who is currently at Cornell University for his Ph.D., and Waziri Haruna Ahmadu, a former Health and Agriculture Secretary, and presently adviser to the ailing President Umaru Musa yar'Adua, had engaged in the discourse on why Nigeria is a failed state, and why it is not, from each observer's own perspective.

A somewhat quite engaging debate but Ahmadu went off the hook with varied responses from BBC readers, and Ifowodo who said "yea", that "Nigeria is a failed state" from all accounts of the nation's model of how organized and civilized societies function on the basis of a thorough system began his opening arguments saying:

"Most, if not all of the indices of failed states, declare Nigeria well on its way to joining that disreputable club. Nigeria boasts a government unable to deliver basic social services. It is plagued by corruption so endemic and monumental it is hard to separate it from state policy. It lacks the capability or discipline to prevent threats to public safety and national integrity and is assailed by active challenges to its legitimacy. The latest disaster of a re-run election in Ekiti state, meant to correct the errors of the first, proved an even greater show of shame."

While on the "nay" corner, Ahmadu pointed out his observations which was obvious he had to play the devil's advocate as loyalist to the presidency, declaring in his opening statement, thus:

"It is obvious, all the signs of a state heading for failure - where a constitutional authority increasingly shows an inability to provide basic services like guaranteeing security to life and property, maintenance of economic and social services, infrastructure and food security - are not evident. On the contrary, for the first time in the country's history, Nigeria is attempting to address its economic and social infrastructure inadequacies. The economy has never been more open to new investors and the government recognises the imperative for private-sector investments in critical infrastructure such as power, transportation and energy."

For one who counsels the president and on his payroll, it is not surprising to conclude Nigeria isn't a failed state. And, of course, there were some emotional and appropriately salient responses from BBC readers. Chukwunyere Anyandu of Imo State made his point clear based on his own very experiences agreeing with the "Yea" corner that Nigeria is undoubtably a failed state, as he writes:

"When I was in primary school, my father (a farmer) was able to pay my school fees and had a good bicycle. Today, a university graduate in Nigeria cannot afford to buy toilet soap. If that is not a sign of a failed state, I don't know what is."

A failed state defined, and as Ifowodo stated in his opening argument, places Nigeria in that category. That, too, without a doubt, I would agree, especially with the notable Miss World contestants who had to be flown out from Abuja to London after four days of sectarian violence left more than 100 people dead. The debacle of Sharia forced the pageant to relocate.

Clearly and in all forms of maneauvering, former military junta, Olusegun Obasanjo - who also had been in transition, from military outfits, surviving Abacha's gulag and into agbada, in a massively rigged election never before seen in the nation's history, became commander-in-chief, second time around. Upon being sworn-in as the nation's "newly elected president" cooked from a concocted constitution prescribed by the juntas, "there will be no sacred cows," Obasanjo would declare in his speech, sending messages across the globe that no stone would be left unturned with the possibilities of prosecuting Babangida to the limit of the law, who had brought the nation to its knees institutionalizing corruption, not knowing corruption would still be baked in the system's genes.

The walls came tumbling down when an incompetent legislative body had no iota of idea that in any profound democratic fabric, that it is the people who recomend the mandate for its constitution, and not in any pattern by a draconian military machinery.

Obasanjo came in with military mentality; but when the new regime he led was ushered in from the executive branch to the legislature and the judiciary, even though it was well known that nothing was about to change by reforming the nation's odd characters, Nigerians in Diaspora and homeland thought they had installed an honest government, a situation that has eluded the nation in its nearly forty years of independence.

It did not take a political strategist or expert to figure out Obasanjo's regime was going to be a total failure. In just a few months Obasanjo assumed office, he ordered the command of one Colonel Agbabiaka to go ahead and demolish and plunder Odi over the killing of 12 policemen by Ijaw youths in that little Bayelsa State town.

Enter the satanic Sharia laws and the murderous Islamic Jihadists. Zamfara State, one of the newest state in the country had passed Sharia into law under Governor Ahmed Sani whereby people could have their limbs chopped off for petty theft, flogged for consuming alcohol, public stoning to death for adultery, and beheaded publicly for a series of other crimes which did erupt religious extremism with the Christian South as victims when religious riots broke out in the Muslim north over some inexplicable events that killed scores of Igbo people and southern Christians.

The state of kaduna alone have seen more incidents of religious violence. More than 2000 people, majority of them Christians, were estimated to have died during the riots in the city of Kaduna in 2000. In the town of Gwantu in Kaduna State, scores were also killed, hundreds more fled after the state government "introduced a modified version of Sharia."

Around early September of 2001, more than 100 people were left dead with wounded people lying unattended in the streets of Jos, quite unusual of the normally peaceful city over some stupid argument outside a mosque which led to burning down to the ground churches and mosques around the area as residents flee, going without food or water for weeks.

In all this, Obasanjo "dey kampe," not moved or perturbed, he would tell the press.

Obasanjo's days of worry would certainly come.

As it would happen, a deadly gang had already emerged all around the Lagos metroplois, causing havoc, maiming innocent citizens and destroying properties. Ganiyu Adams, leader of the Yoruba-led sponsored group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), a well-composed, notorious gang of nihilists and hoodlums have unleashed murder and mayhen in the name of fighting armed robbers, turning the entire Lagos into a state of empire and anarchy for many complicated reasons.

First, then Governor Bola Tinubu, who supposedly should be the chief security officer of the state, had been blamed by the presidency for not doing much about OPC mayhem, and what it has cost the state in terms of lives lost and an estimated billions in the nation's currency.

At the beginning of january 2000, Obasanjo, worried and restless, had to write Tinubu a personal note regarding the "rapidly deteriorating security situation" in Lagos State, and that Tinubu could not afford to let the entire state be overrun by hoodlums led by Adams' OPC faction which is being seen as a threat to the state and national security. Adams' deadly gang had turned hubs like Ketu, Ajegunle, Mushin, Agege, Oshodi, Lagos Island and its environs into what one Tunde A. Olowu in a Tell magazine advertorial had called the "theatres of war."

Obasanjo, in his threat to use privileged, executive powers with "due consultation" of the National Assembly to shut Lagos State's government down by declaring a state of emergency rule had no idea what was about to happen. He had presumed his threat would move Tinubu to swiftly act. Tinubu threw back warning Obasanjo to stop playing nasty politics with OPC, that OPC was not the problem of political instability in the state, and that he should shut up and be real with politics of the day. It was a brutal "power show" which eventually had Tinubu smoking with in-your-face attitude to Obasanjo, that the Yoruba nation would stand behind Adams' deadly squad, no matter what.

Before any form of political tussle could erupt, Obasanjo had already been concerned about what was unfolding, and in the event his presidency declares a state of emergency in Lagos or elsewhere in the Yoruba-related states, that the Yoruba nation would rise to the occasion and bid goodbye to the entrapment called Nigeria. As if what had triggered the state of confusion and fight over political supremacy between the presidency and security concerns with Tinubu was not enough drama in the affairs of state, there happened to be a clash in Bariga, Lagos. That battle between members of OPC and the National Police Force took the life of Afolabi Amao, the divisional police officer who cammanded the Shomolu Police Station. Amao's body was littered into the Lagos Lagoon. The drum beat of war had just began.

Obasanjo had preplanned to turn Lagos into another Odi and Choba, that is, if Tinubu does not arrest the issue appropriately. But in one of proscribed Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors' meeting, Tinubu was given a thumbs up, "given the constitutional limitations of governors in many areas." The clock was tickling and the invasion of Lagos seemingly imminent including the sack of Alausa where the state lawmakers, the governor's team of kitchen cabinets, lobbyists and fat cats conduct business related to the state.

Obasanjo did not know what had hit him. The Yoruba nation including the leader of Afenifere, Senator Abraham Adesanya, were not in the mood to play cat and mouse with Obasanjo. They warned in a statement that another Odi episode would not be entertained in Yorubaland, and that OPC would square off with Obasanjo's federal forces. The challenge was real and more honest, and one could foresee another Odi unfolding. The roundtable had been totally presented a different agenda and Obasanjo had backed off after several warnings that an invasion of Yorubaland by a sitting Yoruba president would not be tolerated, and would spell doom for the entire Yoruba nation. In Tell magazine's forum of January 31, 2000, Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Fani-Kayode sounded a serious warning to the presidency. Femi Kayode writes;

"Let the Obasanjo administration be under no illusion: we will not sit by idly and tolerate an 'Odi massacre' or a 'Choba mass rape,' anywhere in Yorubaland. If it ever happens, the OPC will be forced to form an armed wing of young warriors and together with other groups in Yorubaland, we will violently resist the evil intentions of our collective detractors. The militancy of the OPC will then be childs play compared to what will befall Nigeria."

Apparently, on behalf of a strong Yoruba backing, OPC won in this war of words in what had been prefight ramblings between the presidency and the Yoruba nation. Lagos or any part of Yoruba land was not invaded, after all, and Adams' OPC annihilation of innocent and defenceless civilians continued apace.

Obasanjo had ordered a shoot-at-sight at any OPC hoodlum or nihilist suspected to be a potential threat to civil society. Also, in a battle ready move, state police commissioner, Mike Okiro, had gone to work to slug it out with OPC in the deadly gang's criminal activities in the state

In February 2000, Okiro received a "distress" call that armed bandits were on the rampage at Onitire in the Suirulere area of Lagos. In a fierce engagement with the armed robbers the police force claimed to be OPC members, one of the bandits was gunned down, the other seriously wounded while three escaped never to be found or charged. Okiro claimed victory in that shoot-out, but OPC fired back immediately issuing a "seven day ultimatum to Lagos Police Command to stop killing their members," whom they claim the police labels as armed robbers, even though Adams had been on the lam and on the top list of the nation's police command. The Yoruba nation had been behind Adams, and had seen the whole lot of problems within the national political scene, pointing out OPC as a Yoruba issue and should be handled the Yoruba way.

Elsewhere in the Niger Delta, the Ijaw nationalist, Muhajid Dokubo-Asari, the local gang leader whose militancy and threats to blow up oil installations in the Niger Delta continued to scare expatriates and civilians in that region. His grudge was that his people have not gained from the region's oil wealth justifying his taking up to arms to fight the establishment. His call to arms scared the presidency which had Obasanjo send his personal plane to fly Dokubo-Asari for peace talks.

After a failed negotiation for ceasefire, Asari and his thousands of followers, under arms, continued to kidnap for ransom, destroying properties and blowing up oil installations in the region which did tip the oil price coupled with political instability. However, after a series of threats, the Rivers State Police Command arrested Asari on September 19, 2005. Mass protests by Ijaw youths followed his arrest and civil unrest became the order of the day.

The Ijaw nation did not sit idly and watch Obasanjo abuse the powers of the Nigerian state. They issued out a press release. According to the release:

"The Ijaw Nation is justifiably aggrieved on account of the continuing egregious and callous violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Dokubo-Asari and other Ijaw Rights Activists, who have been imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the malicious invocation and abuse of the powers of the Nigerian State. It is particularly discriminatory and unacceptable that several months after the unconditional release of the OPC leaders, Fredrick Fasheun and Gani Adams, the Nigerian government continues to detain Dokubo-Asari of the NDPVF."

Instead of a golden age in Nigeria's neo-democratic experiment, the past ten years had been tragic, horrific and full of uncertainties, ending up bringing waves of umimmaginable kidnappings, cultism, gang-related violence, continuous bad leadership, police brutality, terrorist cells and terrorist organizations in the Islamic Jihad north.

With a sick president nobody wants to explain what had been going on, and the terrorist attempt to blow up Detroit bound Nortwest Airline Flight 253 on Christmas Day by a privileged Nigerian, Umar Forouk Abdul Mutallab, who had lived on the spoils of power, and whose clan had raped the nations treasury, it should be patently clear to the West that Nigeria is now living on borrowed time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone

Happy Holidays everyone!

Please do not drink and drive. It's crazy and risky out there - the cops are all over the place to tail the bad guys.


Turmoil Christmas and Friday Cartoons

'People doing last minute shopping for Christmas yesterday in Lagos.' It’s Christmas again, but how many Nigerians know it as a fact in the true sense? How many people are really getting that special feeling which traditionally comes with the yuletide? How many are really sharing in the joy and goodwill the season has brought to the world? A cursory assessment of the local situation reveals that this year’s Christmas does not appear to be the best in recent times for the average Nigerian. Sola Ogundipe encounters persons who don’t know it’s Christmas and those who know but don’t give a care. MORE @ VANGUARD

There will be no Christmas and New Year holidays and celebration for some key members of the federal cabinet over the persistent fuel scarcity and epileptic power supply across the country. Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan who gave the directive in Abuja yesterday said the affected ministers should remain at their duty posts throughout the festivities until normalcy returns in the supply of fuel and power stabilizes a bit... Those affected are the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, Minister of State, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, the Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola and the Minister of State, Mr. Nuhu Wya. MORE @ SUN NEWS ONLINE

The News Cover Page




Monday, December 21, 2009

Nigerian Jungle Blues: Ghetto Life Images IV

Garbage lines the street in this Ajegunle slum in Lagos where an estimated 3 million people live. Photo by Stephanie Giry/Boston Globe

How far is Ajegunle from Ikoyi? Apparently not that far if there are good, accessible roads, It is obvious the political elite is breathtakingly rich, and very small. Remarkably little of it trickles down. Part of this is because the super rich keep their money and spend it overseas. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Holy Cow! A nation that is rich in oil reserves? Photo by Punch

"Home for all"? They must be kiddying me! A Punch photo

Afternoon jump in the Ajegunle jungle as the DJ spins. Photo courtesy of Out There.

Nosamu Street in the crime-ridden, densely populated Ajegunle of Lagos. Photo courtesy of Vanguard.

What a life! Photo courtesy of Punch

Yes oo! Na real rumble in the jungle. Image courtesy of African Photos.

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Monday Cartoons

“It is not just about NNPC, really, but how we manage the entire downstream sector of the petroleum industry because of the inefficiencies, which have led to the haemorrhage, not leakage, that we currently experience in that sector. Few days ago, I got an invoice from NNPC. I got this invoice with the amount of N1.15 trillion in relation to money owed NNPC, and about N880bn of that amount represents outstanding subsidy payments..." MORE @ VANGUARD




Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday Night Jam @ The World Stage Performance Gallery

Friday, December 18, 2009, for sure, was not the typical noisemaking and do nothing Nd'House of Los Angeles' end of year party.

It was not about erstwhile Black President, Fela Kuti's talking drummer, Najite Agindotan's Olokun Prophesy and Leimert Park Drum Circle.

It was not about the controversial drum churches in Black Township's Leimert Park led by the hood's renegade who want out in order to define the hood rats.

It was not even about the all women drum essembles chereographed by Renee.

It was something totally different in "da neck of the woods". Friday night, December 18, 2009, at approximately 8:00 p.m., The World Stage Performance Gallery sitting on 4344 Degnan Boulevard in Los Angeles presented "Munyungo Jackson: An Oral History Interview" with opening remarks and introduction by Chet Hanley who is host, "Jazz in the Modern Era" on Tuesdays at Channel 36 where jazz scholarships are discussed.

Yes, Munyungo Jackson who plays all sorts of instruments including odima, bells, bongos, congas, djembes shakers and adudu known as talking drums had a packed house full of performers and players of instruments from all walks of life coupled with jazz freaks like my humble self.

It was a hell of a blast!

I popped up a little bit late, I mean, about 10-minutes before the introduction and jam session began, and I got it all.

Jackson is a Los Angeles native and throughout his stellar career, has played with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Yusef Lateef, Hubert Laws, Lionel Hampton, Billy Mitchell, Elliot Cane, Doc Powell, George Howard, Ronnie Laws, George Duke, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Stanley Clarke, Kenny Loggins, Lessa Terry, Joe Sample, Bobby Womack, Barry White, Queen Latifah, Karen Briggs, The Temptations, Supremes and Four Tops.

On top of all that, Jackson has also had engagements with Dwight Tribble, Christian McBride, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez, Mickey Champion, Babatunde Lea, Derf Recklaw, Lionel Ritchie, Gladys Knight, Freda Payne, Patrice Rushen, Norman Connors, Bobby Lyle, Hiroshima, Jonathan Butler, Marcus Miller, Lona Morris, Quincy Jones, Leon "Ndugu" Chanceler, Don Littleton, Joe Zawinul, Anita Baker, Santana, Willie Bobo, Jean Luc Ponty, The Pointer Sisters, Joe Bataan, Eartha Kitt, Claire Fischer, Bennie Maupin and uncountable others.

But Creed Taylor and the Kudu years was not mentioned in all the process even though some names passed through as we all hopped up onto the stage to ask questions and pay special tribute to the great Jackson who was the man of the night.

Jackson played like never before. World Stage manager, Pianist and flutist Mark Gibson was in the house. Jazz historian Jeff Winston was in the house. Waberi Jordan who had opened for McCoy Tyner last month at UCLA's Royce Hall before her engagement in Europe, was also in the house.

After the jam session which lasted into the night, Jackson told me about his book, "The Nu Naybahood: Funetic Ebonic Dictionary Vol 1," signing a copy and releasing it to me, said "It's all about community and helping one another," pointing out with regards to the book's preface:

"First of all, I love my people! (Some of us can be a little hard headed, and hard on each other, BUT -) I love the fact that we have our own way of deoing things, of expressing ourselves, and of communicating. We understand what each other is doing, saying, and feeling. Because of this special way of doing things, we have inflenced the world with our language, our music, dance and sports...Unfortunately, most of us don't share in the rewards and benefits of that influence, and are sometimes the butt of jokes from people who really don't understand the nuances in or culture..."

There is a very strong message in the piece.

A night to remember, I took home his celebrated CD "Munyungo" produced and engineered by David Manley and a cast of back-up musicians including Lenny Castro, Bill Summers, Michael O'Neil, Pedro Eustache, Robert Grennage and Rayford Griffin.


1. Columbiana
2. So Happy
3. Drums, Drums, Drums
4. Trees
5. Be On Time
6. Petyer's Bells
7. Shango Bakaso
8. On Green Dolphin Street
9. Oye Samba

"Oye Samba," being the last jam of the night, and typical of Brazilian samba-playing football fanatics, got everybody clapping, singing to the vibe and stomping untill the wee hours of the night.

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

The ailment is acute pericarditis. This is not the first time the president will be going to that country of late. Last October when the president was being expected in New York to address the United Nations’ General Assembly, he headed for Saudi Arabia ostensibly to attend the commissioning of a new university. That excuse later turned out to be a smokescreen. He actually went to the holy land to keep an appointment with his doctors. Two months earlier, he had equally kept a date with them. Thankfully, this time around, the nation did not resort to grapevine sources to learn the real reason for his latest visit. MORE @ TELL MAGAZINE

Nigeria’s oil production and revenue might nosedive again following the resumption of attack on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta. The main militia group in the region, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), yesterday, claimed responsibility for the attack on a Shell/Chevron crude oil pipeline in Abonnema, Rivers State.
The military Joint Task Force (JTF), however, denied knowledge of MEND’s claim, saying it was yet to be verified. MORE @ SUN NEWS ONLINE





Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Saturday Cartoons

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) can confirm that a warning strike carried out by five boats involving thirty five of its fighters armed with assault rifles, rocket launchers and heavy caliber machine guns was carried out at about 0200Hrs today, December 19, 2009 on a major Shell/Chevron crude pipeline in Abonemma, Rivers state of Nigeria”. MORE @ VANGUARD

The EFCC said that Ibori was only discharged by the court and not acquitted, revealing that the former governor refused to take a plea in the case preferred against him in Kaduna, which later referred to Asaba, Delta State capital. The statement said: “In view of the attention the judgment of Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Asaba Federal High Court has attracted globally, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC wishes to state the following facts regarding the decision of the court to quash all the 170 count charge against a former governor of Delta State, Mr. James Onanefe Ibori and others. MORE @ SUN NEWS ONLINE





Friday, December 18, 2009

Hoha! (Pointblank)

""It is no hyperbole that Anambra will provide the litmus test for democracy, and the existence of Nigeria as a single entity. We witnessed how Anambra was handed over as a private fiefdom of political godfathers by a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. We saw how a President connived...and personally managed the stealing of a governorship mandate."

-------Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka on the fate of the nation as the upcoming off-year election in Anambra State draws closer.

"Things fall Apart was the balm, keeping us alive in the face of tremendous suffering in prison” – Nelson Mandela to the BBC after release from jail. When an art transcends time, and touches the people from Japan to Iceland, Kenya to Chile, then that art or literature is an enduring treasure. Those are the creations of gifted artists. Achebe is one of the few world geniuses and certainly and unquestionably, one of the the best ever novelists. His ‘Things Fall Apart’ was extraordinary in the ’50’s and fifty years later, quite as profound as ever."

Ruth J. Simmons, President, Brown University on the Chinua Achebe Colloquium held at Brown University.

"Despite the multi-billion dollar or multi- trillion naira budgets, Nigeria, with a population of over 140 million, is still grappling with 103 public and private universities, in addition to dozens of polytechnics and colleges of education, while the USA, with a population of about 300 million is having over 5,700 universities and Japan with a population of about 127 million, has over 1,200 universities. Out of over one million candidates that sat for the universities entrance examinations yearly in recent times, only about 300,000 were offered admission yearly by the universities and about 50 per cent of this figure graduate on annual basis with poverty/unemployment passports issued to them. Our health sector is also nothing to write home about. Tens of millions of Nigerians are still drinking acidic water from unprotected sources. Our agriculture is steadily drifting towards pre-subsistence level. The Malaysians and Indonesians, who came to us in the 1960s and 1970s, so as to be taught the secrets of palm tree cultivation, weeding and harvesting, have not only mastered them, but also they have mechanised the palm industry, which now earns them billions of dollars annually and feeds millions of their skilled and unskilled nationals."

-------Emeka Umeagbasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, International Society for civil liberties and the Rule of Law on why Nigeria needs a 'radical' revolution speaking to journalists on the state of the troubled nation.

"Most, if not all of the indices of failed states, declare Nigeria well on its way to joining that disreputable club. Nigeria boasts a government unable to deliver basic social services. It is plagued by corruption so endemic and monumental it is hard to separate it from state policy. It lacks the capability or discipline to prevent threats to public safety and national integrity and is assailed by active challenges to its legitimacy. The latest disaster of a re-run election in Ekiti state, meant to correct the errors of the first, proved an even greater show of shame."

-------Ogaga Ifowodo, Poet, Lawyer and PhD candidate, Cornell University on a "yea" and "nay" debate on whether Nigeria is a failed state published by BBC News.

"It is obvious, all the signs of a state heading for failure - where a constitutional authority increasingly shows an inability to provide basic services like guaranteeing security to life and property, maintenance of economic and social services, infrastructure and food security - are not evident. On the contrary, for the first time in the country's history, Nigeria is attempting to address its economic and social infrastructure inadequacies. The economy has never been more open to new investors and the government recognises the imperative for private-sector investments in critical infrastructure such as power, transportation and energy."

-------Waziri Haruna Ahmadu, former Health and Agriculture Secretary, and adviser to the ailing President Umaru Yar'adua on why he thinks Nigeria is not a failed state.

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Friday Cartoons

The Federal High Court in Asaba has quashed the 170 charges the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred against former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, alleging that he mismanaged huge public funds while in office.The case, instituted two years ago, ended on Thursday when Justice Marcel Awokulehin, who said he trod “the part of caution” struck it out. He arrived in court at 9.30 a.m. and began by recounting how the suit went from the Federal High Court, Kaduna to Asaba. MORE @ DAILY INDEPENDENT

“In the event of any need to engage in politics of succession, it is the position of ACF that the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution remain the only effective guide for the process,” the group said in a communiqué at the end of separate meetings of its National Working Committee, NWC, and the National Executive Council, NEC, in Kaduna yesterday. MORE @ VANGUARD




Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ehirim Files Mind Power from the University Presses and other Publications

The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President By Taylor Branch, Simon Schuster, New York: 707pp; $35.00

"Taylor Branch admires Clinton within reason, but when there are two sides to an argument he is apt to see things from Clinton's point of view. He conveys well the vituperative rage of the Republicsns at Clinton's theft of their 'small is better' programs and the anti-government rhetoric that had been their sole argument alive resource. The climatic episode here was the repeal of much of the welfare system and substitution of work requirements; a decision on which Branch comments too briefly.'"

-------David Bromwich, The New York Review of Books

Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the age of Jim Crow by Raymond W. Smock, Ivan R. Dee/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

"The co-editor of the Booker T. Washington Papers reconsiders the man who rose from slavery to a position of power and influence that no black leader had achieved in American history. Mr Smock sees him as a field general in a war of racial survival, his 'compromise' a practical attempt to solve an immense problem. 'A masterwork of concision and compacted power.'"

-------Donald L. Miller, Library of African American Biography.

Boxing: A Cultural History by Kasia Boddy, The University of Chicago Press; 492pp, $29.95

"At nearly five hundred densely packed pages...boxing would seem to include everything that has ever been written, dipicted or in any way recorded about boxing... As Kasia Boddy's masterwork of bricolage sweeps on, there comes to be something wonderfully Joycean -- oceanic, indefatigable, slightly deranged -- in the very quantity of data she has amassed. To read Boddy's book is to confront dozens -- hundreds? -- of inspired mini-essays."

-------Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books.

Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting by John Maxwell Hamilton; Louisiana State University Press, $45.00

"Hamilton, a former fereign correspondent and public servant who is currently dean at Louisiana State University's Manship School Mass Commubnication, spurns plodding narrative in favor of an intelligent tour, full of unexpected pleasures and plums. Where else might we stumble across a reporter's account of the Battle of New Orleans? Or the Senior James Gordon Bennett's sharp-edged view of the coronation of Queen Victoria?"

-------James Boylan, Founding Editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and Professor Emeritus of Journalism and History at the University of Massachusetts, Armherst.

The Maudlin Impression: English Literary Images of Mary Magdalene, 1550-1700; by Patricia Badir, University of Notre Dame Press, 320ppm $40.00

"[Badir's] fascinating narrative traces the evolution of the Magdalene from the Reformation to the Restoration and raises provocative questions about the mnemonic function of religious art, the power of beautiful images in an iconoclastic culture, and the place of effect, longing, and embodiment in aProtestant poetics."

-------Huston Diehl, University of Iowa

D-Day: The Battle of Normandy by Anthony Beevor, Pengium, London, 608pp, $32.95

"With Stalingrad, Anthony Beevor reinvented grand narrative history for the late 20th Century, combining, as Orlando Figes put it in the Sunday Telegraph 'a soldiers understanding of war with the narrative of a novelist.' Now he brings that characteristic combination of skills to bear on the D-Day landings and the subsequent battle for Normandy, when the largest invasion fleet the world had ever known converged on Nazi-occupied France."

-------London Review of Books

My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times by Harold Evans, Little, Brown & Company; New York: 580pp, $27.99

"The 'Vanished Times' of the subtitle speak to an era when journalists made things, part of a complicated daily manufacturing apparatus of typesetting and printing that always ended in the satisfying plop of a physical object...No one was more satisfied than Evans, who saw in newspapers a route out of those humble, stout beginings that crop up again in narratives that hew to the Great Man theory of history. (It made sense that Evans would go on to write 'The American Century' and 'They Made America,' works that suggest history was made by those with their hands on the levers of wondrous machines).'"

"Harold Evans remains one of the great figures of modern journalism...His auto-biography is both gripping and timely."

-------The Economist

The Preacher and the Politician: Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama and Race in America by Clarence E. Walker and Gregory D. Smithers; University of Virginia Press, $22.95

"This stimulating discussion brings needed historical perspective to 2008's election season brouhaha over then candidate Obama's longtime minister, Wright, who was lambasted for making what we were widely considered to be racially divisive remarks from his pulpit after September 11."

-------Publishers Weekly

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

Even though those who profess to be close to President Umaru Yar’ Adua are going on as if they have all been briefed to talk only about the weather, medical experts have thrown more light on why the President may be spending a long time in his hospital bed. Sunday Sun sources said all the talks about the President returning soon are just proceeds of spin doctors’ imagination.Playing politics with President’s health “Some people are just trying to hide behind a finger while trying to play politics with the President’s health. When next anybody tells you the President is returning soon, ask the person when last he spoke with Yar’Adua. If he or she says they saw him, ask him how many life support machines are in the President’s room. MORE @ SUN NEWS ONLINE