Kanu, Biafra And Its Disciples

By Azubuike Ishiekwene When the founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the sovereign state of biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike, told The Interview in August that the leader of the Indigenous People of biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was being used to destroy biafra, I thought it was their private fight playing out at last. In the early days of MASSOB, when Uwazuruike was planning to start Radio biafra in the UK, he had reluctantly recruited Kanu to run the shop. One thing led to another and along the way, the ambitious young Kanu had his own ideas. He supplanted his boss and took charge. He has grown from pirate radio boy to something of a rock star and appears well underway to raising his own army, a fantasy that might, in the end, prove Uwazuruike right. Before Kanu went into hiding last week, he had started reviewing a “guard of honour” as part...

Alhassan And The Game Of Long Knives

Those who thought that Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting would be the political funeral for Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan may have exaggerated her dilemma after all. She may well have had her letter of resignation in her bag, but in the end President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t push her over the edge – yet. After many years in politics, Alhassan should know that wrongs might not be counted always; but they’re not easily forgiven. For example, three days after the video in which she endorsed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for 2019 went viral, and while she was still trying to explain what she really meant, a small document was leaked from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. According to the report, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development paid N11.7million for Alhassan and some officials of her ministry to visit unnamed skill acquisition centres. The report, published...

Private Letter To Kenyatta

  By Azu Ishiekwene Mr President, I can imagine your disappointment last week after the ruling of the Supreme Court declaring your election null and void. Four out of six justices nullified an election in which 10.6 million or 54 percent voted for you as their choice, each Justice assuming the equivalent or more of 2.6 million Kenyan votes. This can only make sense in the maths of jurisprudence.   But all hope is not lost. I was moved to write after watching an excerpt of your first press conference in which you lamented the “unfair” outcome of the ruling, but indicated that you were constrained to abide by the decision of the court. As I watched the clip, I wondered what was going on in your mind; the prior discussions you must have had with your family and close aides, especially the Justice Minister, before you faced the press that day. When Kenyatta was Kenyatta, it...

Dirty Secrets In The Cut-Off War

By Azubike ishiekwene Anyone reading the papers last week will be forgiven to think that the worst demons from hell have descended on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). I have never liked JAMB, not because I ever attempted to take its exam or failed it. I guess I’m like most Direct Entry students who think JAMB is one of the useless bureaucracies that have robbed universities of their brains. But the universities have always loved it because its obtrusiveness guarantees a balance of shady aspirations. Either through JAMB or through vice chancellors, the worst candidates can get admission, whether they pass or fail entrance examinations. Some public universities have even created a slew of backdoor short-term programmes to short-circuit minimum entry qualification or any entrance examination. And the private universities are always waiting in the wings to harvest from the misery of those who fail to get a place in the...

Buhari’s Last Chance

If the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, is offering advice on what President Muhammadu Buhari must do to rescue his government, then the President should know he has work to do. The governor, who came to office over six years ago on the ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has since switched parties. He is currently the official clown of the All Progressives Congress. And with months of unpaid salaries and pensions, and state monuments bearing his family name, there’s enough wreckage to show for his status. But that’s a digression. His advice to Buhari is on point and infinitely more sensible than the nonsense of his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, who declared a public holiday to mark the President’s return but didn’t know what to do to save even one of the 60 persons that died from abdominal infection in Kogi the same week. Buhari has work to...

Don’t Blame Jonathan

By Azubuike Ishiekwene At last, former President Goodluck Jonathan appears to have found his mojo. In recent speech after speech, he’s been taking the fight to the doorstep of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and causing quite a stir. Until now, the only thing Jonathan could remember as his achievement after six years in office was the transfer of power. Yet, he often spoke about this considerable feat in whispers at the end of which he would usually remark, almost as an afterthought, that it was also on his watch that Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy. That awkwardness is changing. At the recent non-elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, Jonathan, who led his party to a historic defeat in 2015, made one of his boldest statements yet. He said that apart from a few loopholes that he failed to plug, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government could so far not compare...

In God’s Name

A book with the title of this article published 33 years ago by British investigative journalist, David Yallop, made the Catholic Church very, very uncomfortable. Yallop said in the book that Pope John Paul I, who lasted only 33 days as pope, did not die a natural death. He said the Pope, who was not the preferred choice, was murdered by vested interests in the Vatican because he was poised to rid the Church of its hypocrisy, hubris and corruption, a claim that the Church denounced as trash. Trash or not, the Church in Rome and elsewhere has had to examine itself in light of many existential threats, after centuries of complicity in and ambivalence over some of the worst atrocities in the world. And believe it or not, money is at the root of it. In response to increasing financial pressures, the Church is bending to new social trends and becoming quite...