Time To Kick Turkey Out Of NATO

Alon Ben-meir The egregious violation of freedom of the press in Turkey has reached a mammoth proportion that places Turkey among the most oppressive nations for journalists. It is sadder than sad that the US and the EU, who champion free press as one of the main pillars of democracy, have largely left Turkey’s President Erdogan free to crush not only free press, but also freedom of speech and peaceful demonstrations. The irony here is that Turkey, as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has violated every provision of NATO’s founding treaty regarding human rights. Indeed, each member state is required to fully adhere to “…safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.” To be sure, Erdogan has given himself license to mock these principles without any noteworthy rebuke from other NATO members. It...
If a war foretold does not take the cripple by surprise, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, is in a situation worse than physical handicap. He’s a victim of his own naivety but his appointer could be in a bigger dilemma. The warning shot was fired one year ago when Kachikwu was removed as Group Managing Director (GMD) and kicked upstairs as junior minister. He was cosseted in a nice office, given plenty of room to travel and such other pleasures that deaden any sense of danger. Maybe he didn’t want to rock the boat. Or perhaps he thought that with time, everything was going to be all right. But how wrong his optimism – or innocence – has turned out to be! As GMD, Kachikwu had side lined Maikanti Baru, the highest-ranking insider and quintessential corporate vulture, that patient bird. If Baru’s appointment as Kachikwu’s successor didn’t...

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...
Abba Mahmood Occasionally one sits down quietly to reflect on issues in silence. Silence is required to understand the innermost meaning of any issue. Silence is the eye of the blind. Any time I am confronted with very difficult situation, I try to calm down and go over the whole thing in my mind alone and in silence. Last weekend, I took a long walk alone, and came back home feeling exhausted. I read the papers after taking rest and bath. Then I sat down quietly reflecting on personal, local, national and even global issues of the time. I was trying to comprehend what is increasingly becoming incomprehensible. I remembered the good old days. Those were the days I look forward to evenings when our old women would tell us stories, stories full of wisdom, stories that made us to know our language better and more fluently, stories that taught us...
By Azu Ishiekwene The cartoon was published in The Guardian on a Sunday sometime in 2016. It was a depiction of the tortoise approaching the gate of the Presidential Villa, carrying the sign, “Slow and steady.” On that Sunday, nearly one year after President Muhammadu Buhari was elected and months, I think, after he announced his ministers, the President had a copy of that publication on his side table as he spoke with a guest. Over small talk, he picked up the newspaper, flipped to the cartoon page and spread it before the guest. “Whom do you think that is,” he asked, half-smiling. His guest looked at the cartoon, and as he was raising his head locked eyes with the president. Both of them erupted in laughter. The tortoise in the cartoon was a caricature of a president who had taken six months to appoint his cabinet and would take even much longer to fill...

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...
Azu Ishiekwene Of the three presidents who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan appears, so far, to have been the subject of more controversial books than his two predecessors. Five notable books about or significantly touching on former President Obasanjo’s tenure are his memoir, My Watch; Olusegun Obasanjo: The Presidential Legacy (Vols. I & II) 1999-2007, by Ladipo Akinkugbe et al; Obasanjo, Nigeria And The World, by John Illiffe; and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Accidental Public Servant. Segun Adeniyi’s Power, Politics and Death, is perhaps the most definitive book yet on late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure. Within two and a half years of Jonathan’s exit from power, however, five books on his tenure have, so far, been published, three of the most notable of which are – Against the Run of Play, by Segun Adeniyi; Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, by Reno Omokri; and now, On...
We love to blame most of our miseries on the older generation – the corruption, the greed, the rot and decay, and the rise in ethnic politics; everything that has held us back. It’s okay to beat that generation over the head with our woes, but I’ve been thinking of what my world, my professional world, would have been without these folks; that is, the good folks among them that we often lump with the bad. I’ve told the story before of how Olatunji Dare helped to give me my first writing job and how after meeting Ray Ekpu and shaking his hand at the lying-in-state of Dele Giwa in 1986, I refused to shake anyone else for the rest of that day to preserve the fragrance and memory of that contact. There’s yet another man from the older generation of writers that I owe more gratitude than I could repay: Egbon...

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...
By Jideofor Adibe Nigerians love buzzwords – slogans that are rep                 eated frequently enough, (and imbued with assumed values), that they begin to sound like established facts or self-evident truths. One of the favourite mantras in Nigeria today is the notion of the ‘detribalized’ Nigerian. Depending on the context and the speaker, this could often mean anything – that the person being referred to is more Nigerian than most Nigerians or that the person is consciously and routinely unaffected by ‘tribal’ considerations in whatever decisions the person takes. It could also mean that the ‘detribalized’ person’s Nigerian identity is assumed to be the top on a supposed hierarchy of identities that the person possesses. In this piece I will like to interrogate the notion of ‘detribalized’ Nigerian and then reflect on whether one’s Nigerian identity is incompatible with one’s ‘tribal’ (or primordial) identity. We will take it step by step: One, the...