Judges and Political Mating Games By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

“In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.”Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, No. 79, cited in O’Donoghue v. US, Id., 531 at 516 Nearly one year before he eventually prevailed in the legal contest over the destination of the governorship election which occurred in Ekiti State in 2007, on 20 November 2009, Kayode Fayemi addressed the 52nd Annual Conference of the African Studies Association in New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana, United States of America, to offer some reflections on ten years of the return to elective government in Nigeria.Dr. Fayemi’s address to the conference dwelt significantly on what he called useful “analytical categories in explaining why elections go the way they do in Nigeria with unpopular candidates ‘emerging’ as ‘winners’ in questionable elections.” He identified and named several gods that needed to be appeased by those with any hope of having their political ambitions blessed with success. His list included the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); security agencies (especially the police and the army); political “thugs and bandits”; …

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Akpabio: A ‘Prophet’ Honoured At Home

By Anietie Ekong The people of Akwa Ibom State rewrote the scriptures penultimate week when they trooped out enmasse to celebrate their illustrious son, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the President of the 10th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Chairman of the National Assembly and the number three man of the country. The occasion was the civic reception in his honour by the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. The Holy Book says “But Jesus said unto them, a Prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” According to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, himself a Pastor at the pre-event banquet to honour Senator Akpabio, “I wish we had a thermometer to measure the temperature of Akwa Ibom State tonight, you will understand that everyone is happy; happy because you have come home to see your people and that we can see you again in this facility that God used your hands to build many, many years ago. “We have just …

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Nigeria’s Economic Apartheid in Electricity Consumption by Farooq A. Kperogi

I am writing this week’s column from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where I have come to deliver a talk on media theory. But this column isn’t about the talk or about South Africa. It’s about the enduring problems of electricity generation and distribution in Nigeria, which I have brooded over for quite some time. It’s ironic that I am writing about Nigeria’s new economic apartheid in electricity consumption from the previous land of apartheid where electricity is a human right, where even the poorest of the poor “have a public law right to receive electricity” even before the abolishment of apartheid, according to F. Dube and C.G. Moyo in their 2022 article titled “The Right to Electricity in South Africa.” I’m not sure there’s any modern country on earth where electricity is as precarious, as insufficient, as unreliable, and as socially stratified as it is in Nigeria. The hierarchization of electricity distribution into “bands” in which people classified as “band A” (read: the wealthy) get the most electricity and people classified as “Band E” (read: the …

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The 2019 Tinubu Speech We Ignored is Biting Back (Opinion)

By Farooq A. Kperogi At the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium on March 29, 2019, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then only a powerful but unofficial pillar of the APC, gave us an ominous presage of his administration that we all either ignored or sniggered at but which is now eerily materializing. “If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slow down the economy,” he said to a mysterious ovation from the audience. “Let’s widen the tax net. Those who are not paying now, even if it’s inclusive of Bola Tinubu, let the net get bigger and we take in more taxes. And that is what we must do in the country.” Many people were genuinely bewildered and wondered what Tinubu meant. I was, too. For one, there is clearly neither economic logic nor even moral merit in reducing the purchasing power of a people, slowing down the economy, and then taxing the same people whose purchasing power has been reduced in a depressed economy. Why would anyone propose that as the anchor of his economic policy? It’s defensible …

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Corpus Juris Abracadabrum by Chidi Anselm Odinkalu (Opinion)

“I am surprised that lawyers can be so blind as to suffer the principles of law to be discredited.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Fugitive Slave Law, 186 (1851) There is a joke that when he or she wants an excuse to impress a client in order to finagle substantial earnings, a Nigerian lawyer resorts to Latin phrases. The objective is to make the lawyer sound profound beyond even their own understanding and it is immaterial that the speaker, like the person whom he or she seeks to impress, understands absolutely nothing of what they say. This is not surprising. Very few people practicing law in Nigeria can possibly lay claims to any grounding in the grammar of Latin or a sense of the origins of most of the Latin expressions with which they seek to hold putative clients in thrall. But the want of meaning or grounding has never stood between that tribe and Latin vibe. Indeed, many will argue that Nigerian law these days – irrespective of the language in which it is rendered – has become mostly devoid …

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Judicial Appointment As Network Of Corruption By Chidi Anselm

Chidi Anselm Odinkalu argues the need for judges to be appointed on merit “Fools at the top would cause damage to any system not to talk of the fragile institutions of a fledgling democracy.” Charles Archibong, A Stranger in Their Midst: A Memoir, 97 (2021) In June 2023, Nyesom Wike, the husband of one of the nominees from the south-south, Eberechi Nyesom-Wike, publicly announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2022. Ordinarily, cancer survivorship is computed at the threshold of five years post-diagnosis. It is proper and human to wish a cancer patient full recovery. It is a brutal and relentless disease. But it is doubtful that advancing a cancer patient to an equally relentless judicial office necessarily enhances the cause of their wellbeing (unless the administration of justice is not the primary consideration). On this list of nominees to the Court of Appeal, Oyo State, which already has two Justices of Appeal, will receive another two, the only state to be so favored. This will bring to four the number of Justices from the State from which …

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Nyesom Wike And Abuja Roads By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu (Opinion)

Today is Saturday, May 4th, 2024. I had an early appointment inside the precincts of Aso Villa. I live in the Gudu District of Abuja, so I came out of my residence and took the turn through the Gudu cemetery, and followed the direction towards Asokoro. That was where my “problem” commenced. I hadn’t driven in that direction for several weeks. After a while, I came upon construction workers that early in the morning, and further ahead, I noticed that I was literally heading into a maze. The roads had been opened up in several directions. I’ve lived in Abuja for 22 years now, and with the surety of a native dweller of the FCT, I instinctively took a right turn and the next thing was that I found myself by the A-Y-A junction. Well, all was not lost, I thought to myself. I followed the road past the ECOWAS Secretariat, and further down, the road had been blocked! I turned round and made for A-Y-A again and took the under bridge turn, again with the false assurance that I …

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On Teachers Crisis in Borno State: How Gov Zulum is Salvaging a Bad Situation

Prof Usman A Tar The Borno State Government has been battling with the problems of teachers’ recruitment, remuneration and retention. Over the years, unscrupulous employment practices, particularly by Local Education Authorities, have resulted in the engagement of persons who were not qualified into the teaching profession contrary to the national standards. Indeed, many individuals were indiscriminately employed as teachers on the basis of ethnic or political reasons. These individuals not only lack the basic qualifications to stand before pupils, but refused to subject themselves to gaining the necessary qualification that will enable them to acquire the required competence in teaching pedagogy. In this piece, I address the vexing issues of the crisis of the teaching profession in Borno State. This is in response to recent negative commentaries, fake news, misleading information and mischief that are bandied in the social media. The piece addresses the following: background and diagnosis of the problem; Governor Zulum’s intervention; some lingering issues; and future projection. Background & Diagnosis of Teacher Recruitment in Borno State The problem of teacher recruitment, retention and remuneration pre-dated the Zulum …

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We Can All Learn Tolerance From Globacom and The Yoruba By Reno Omokri

When the Central Bank of Nigeria relocated some departments to Lagos, there was an uproar on social media. Tinubu wants to move everything to Yorubaland. But now that the Nigerian Navy is moving its training base headquarters from Lagos to Onne, in Rivers State, there is silence online. Nobody is saying that the Chief of Naval Staff, who is from Enugu, is moving that critical infrastructure closer to his region. And that is the right thing to do. Onne is a better location for the navy. Recall that some individuals tried to pull off a Yoruba nation agitation in Ibadan a few weeks ago, look at how their own Yoruba kith and kin clinically dealt with them. And not even by the Federal Government, but by the Oyo State Government, which is in opposition to the Federal Government. Elsewhere, secessionists are protected, and even celebrated by the local population, and the State Governments look the other way. Let us learn to imbibe the tolerance of the Yoruba, and Nigeria will go well. The Omoluabi culture of tolerance stems from their …

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Of Conspiracy, Criticisms And Wike’s Audacious Abuja Makeover By Gilbert Bwanshak

In what looks like a carefully guided, fiercely forceful, and well-oiled campaign, there has been determined, deliberate efforts with the mandate to “pull down” and rubbish the person and works of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike. The one-line objective whose mandate is to de-market and make him unpopular, has remained dogged from timing and approach in achieving political mileage before, during, and after the “all important” National Executive Committee meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, which held in Abuja. The unabated advocacy seems to have assumed a life of its own as anything, everything humanly possible is exploited to get the projected result. So, in the past weeks, the media has been awash with opinions, analysis, and commentaries geared towards “pulling down” Wike. In most cases, admixture of jaundiced, unconvincing, distorted, and contrived stories and reports are rolled out. Arguably, as a result of the consistency of these attacks and innuendos, Wike has become the most trending name on the regular and social media. Unfortunately, the deluge of theatrical narratives and juvenile falsehoods released by some …

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Okwadike Chukwuemeka Ezeife: A Life Well-Lived by Prof. Mike Ozekhome

He wore a grey goatie. The term “goatie” dates back to the ancient Empires of Rome and Greece, with Pan (a god) depicted as wearing a goatie. Our departed National Icon popularised it in Nigeria. He carried the goatie with admirable grace and panache. It exuded wisdom, intellect, patriotism and service. The series of events marking the transition of the erstwhile Governor of the old Anambra State (1992-1993), Chief Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, bears eloquent testimony to the towering stature of a man who stood head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries in Nigeria’s political and social landscape. Yes, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Okwadike Igbo Ukwu was a colossus among men. He was many things all rolled into one: patriot; Harvard-trained development economist; public administrator; bureaucrat; civil servant; school teacher; consultant; politician; political activist; public affairs analyst/commentator; and many more. The week-long programme of events which his political associates, admirers, kinsmen and family members organised in his honour is therefore befitting for a man who is honoured in his homeland. It cannot but be so, …

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Nigeria: The Changing Governance Story By Temitope Ajayi

Tracking many stories of remarkable progress currently taking place in Nigeria can be a challenging task. This is so because these important stories are lost to some who daily indulge in the cacophony of adverse reports. These negative news often dominates the headlines.With a 24-hour news cycle that tends to focus mainly on distasteful narratives, several Nigerians have been made to accept the view that nothing good is happening in their country.Those who rely on the mainstream media and social media as the only sources of news and information they consume are the worst hit by the cycle of misinformation that portrays our country as descending rapidly to the edge of the precipice. However, the reality is different: the country is making progress in leaps and bounds.Late Swedish physician and Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute, Hans Rosling, his son, Ola Rosling, and daughter-in-law, Anna Rosling, extensively dwell on this subject in “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think,” a book published in 2018.  In the book, the authors …

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PHYRRIC VICTORY By Umar Sani

When I read somewhere on social media platforms that the Wike group had triumphed at the NEC meeting due to the extension of time accorded to the stakeholders of North Central to put their house in order and bring forth a successor to Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to enable the zone to complete the tenure of the ousted National Chairman I chuckled knowing that the outcome was a no victor no vanquished situation. The viral video of the Wike group dancing naked in the market square on their supposed pyrrhic victory of the outcome at the NEC meeting is ludicrous. The expectations of party members that the Ag National Chairman will revert to his status quo ante and that Nyesom Wike and his gang will be disciplined at the meeting are misplaced. Dr. Iyorcha Ayu did not withdraw his litigation in court until a few days before the scheduled NEC meeting, NEC must be informed of his withdrawal and a case made for his replacement from his supposed zone before the zone will be directed to undertake the necessary due diligence …

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The Police and Akpabio’s Sermon on the Mount

By Hon Eseme Eyiboh 84-year-old renowned Belgian painter and writer, Erik Pervernagie, says: “People die from lack of shared empathy and affinity. By establishing social connectedness, we give hope a chance and the other can become heaven (“Le ciel c’est l’autre”). No institution has been so disparaged and stigmatised as the Nigeria Police. It is treated with so much contempt and neither appreciated nor celebrated. Rather, anything bad or despicable is attributed to the police. An average policeman is held in utmost and never enjoys any empathy or affinity from most Nigerians. Although the police are the friend of the people, the mutual reciprocity from the people is seemingly non-existent. The compensation is abysmal while the motivation is infinitesimal. That is why in its years of existence, no one has remembered to honour its men and officers who have excelled in their professional outings until the coming of IGP Olukayode Egbetokun. Hence, the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony held in Abuja last Monday was long overdue and an emotion-laden event. This was the first time …

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If This Is Not Genocide Then What The Hell Is? By Femi Fani-Kayode (Opinion)

“We do not have evidence of Israel committing genocide in Gaza”- Gen. Lloyd Austin, Sec. of Defence of the United States of America. Never in the history of humanity & in the comity of nations has such an asinine, puerile & indefensible statement been made by a high-ranking Government official. It reflects the dishonesty, wickedness, insensitivity, depravity, deceit, hypocrisy, double standards, moral bankruptcy, unconciable inhumanity, malodrous disposition & spiritual turpitude of the Biden administration. You cannot wish away or dismiss the truth no matter how bitter & you cannot deny the facts no matter how ugly. Andrew Mitrovika, a columnist with @AJEnglish, captured the events in Gaza graphically when he wrote the following. Permit me to quote him extensively. He wrote, “The cataclysm that you & I are witnessing in Gaza is a genocide in the awful making. It is not an “onslaught”. It is not an “invasion”. It is not even a “war”. It is a genocide. The apocalyptic scenes & sounds in Gaza are proof that a cruel, occupying army is intent on achieving its overarching aim: the …

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Rotimi Sankore, 6 June 1968 – 12 April 2024 by Chidi Anselm Odinkalu (Opinion)

On 26 December, 1991, Algerians voted in the first round of parliamentary elections. Over 40 parties fielded candidates. As returns started coming through, it became clear the country was in the throes of a political earthquake. The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) took 189 of the 231 seats decided in the first round of elections for the 430-seat parliament, trouncing the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), which only got 15 seats. FIS candidates were in the lead in 140 of the 199 districts left to be decided in the 2nd round, all but guaranteeing that the party would “attain a two-thirds majority, the amount needed to ratify constitutional amendments.” On 11 January 1992, the Algerian military forced the resignation of the President Chadli Benjedid, before cancelling the election. The following year, Nigeria was due to go to a much-delayed election to choose a successor to its military ruler. With a pervasive commitment to native exceptionalism, however, no one thought it could happen in Nigeria and, despite the events in Algeria the previous year, there was no plan for an annulment scenario. …

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