I shook my head in disbelief as I read the details of the parlous state of the facilities in some Ghanaian universities and how desperate Nigerian students, seeking university education, fall prey to many of these sub-standard universities. Records from the Nigerian embassy in Ghana have it that about 110,000 Nigerians are studying in Ghana with approximately N160 billion being paid by them according to Wale Babalakin, Chairman, Committee of pro-chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
The centenary of the founding of the Nigerian state is something to be celebrated. But more than that, it calls for deep and profound reflection for the simple reason that a hundred years is a life time. Whatever may be the shades of opinions on the preparation for the celebration of this event, no one will doubt its momentous nature. There is therefore the urgent need to insert reflective thought into the celebrations. James Baldwin gives us a critical insight: ‘There is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation.
As we march towards the much anticipated Year 2015, the electioneering time, the heat, without doubt, is on. Considering the political crises in some parts of the country, one does not need to be a soothsayer to predict that the coming days would be grouchy for motherland. Except on a few occasions, historically, elections in the country have always been plagued with troubles, pains and sorrows. Several lives and properties have been lost, in times past, to electioneering skirmishes in various parts of the country.
It begins with the language spoken in the home. It is often the case that parents who share the same Nigerian language speak English to their children at home even when the children are just babies and toddlers. This is a waste of the child’s wide repertoire for learning new things, including new languages. Various psychologists and socio-linguists opine that every child is imbued with an innate ability to acquire a language. What parents need to do is place that child in close proximity to the language and the child would pick it up effortlessly.
It is barely three months ago when the Australian Government took the Australian Capital Territory government to court over same-sex marriage which the ACT had voted to permit. The ACT had legislated same-sex marriage to law which the Australian federal government opposed. The Australian Federal High Court in December 2013 agreed with the Australian federal government that marriage laws are guided by the Australian federal government and not the states and territories. Hence, the ACT law had no locus standi and not legal.
Any time I hear someone say that “for the Igbo to win the Presidency, they must speak with one voice,” I laugh in Umuofia, because it is fallacious.
Recently, the long overdue Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Autonomy Bill passed through the second reading at the floor of the Nigerian Senate, after which it was referred to the Committee on Financial Crimes, Drugs and Narcotics. The Bill seeks to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency as the central body in Nigeria responsible for receiving, requesting, analysing and disseminating financial and other related information to all law enforcement, security agencies, other relevant authorities, as well as exchange of intelligence with over 139 FIUs globally.
If he had any of such titles as Major General or Lieutenant Colonel prefixed to his name, Owelle Rochas Okorocha would have failed woefully in the 2011 election. However, Okorocha came a true democrat with mountains of philanthropic gestures to his credit, riding coolly on a platform provided by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), whose national leader, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, has soft spot in the heart of any Igbo man with good sense of history.
ne of the lasting friendships that I most cherished while I covered the Senate as National Assembly Editor between1979 and1983 was with Senator Franklin Oritsemueyiwa Atake (1928-2003), a former Chief Judge of the old Bendel State.
Shortly after losing the Senate Presidency to the now ailing Dr. Joseph Wayas on October 7, 1979, I asked Atake of the then Unity Party of Nigeria what the O. in his initials stood for. He smiled at me and said “Oritsemuyiwa” and translated the meaning in clear and fluent Yoruba language to “orisa-mu-yi-wa”, which means, “God has brought this one”.
On Monday, September 9, I attended the anti-corruption conference organised by the Department of Politics, University of Sussex, somewhere at Clifford Chance Law Office at Canary Wharf in London. It was a one day event packed full of very interesting presentations. The sessions ended a bit earlier than I thought so I wanted to go out to have some refreshments. The organisers had announced earlier in the afternoon that lunch was ready and I rushed out to eat, only to meet predominantly European dishes that looked, to me, like grasses.