25 Dec 2009
TODAY is Christmas Day when Nigerians once again join the rest of the world in marking an outstanding date in the Christian calendar. Christmas is the centre of an annual holiday season when Nigerians make intricate travel plans to reunite with families and loved ones, to celebrate weddings and a series of end-of-year festivities. It is the season when many religious people give thanks for blessings received through the course of the dying year. Christmas day is however particularly significant for Christians because it is the anniversary celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ the Saviour which occurred over two thousand years ago. In other words, Christmas commemorates the event of momentous event of the Incarnation - a core mystery of the Christian faith.
24 Dec 2009
THE South East geopolitical zone of Nigeria is home to one of Nigeria's three largest ethnic nationalities - Ndigbo. Unlike any of the other geopolitical zones numbering six, the South East is today confronted by the worst case of university graduate unemployment even as small and medium scale businesses are fast closing shops because of the severe death of electricity power and other infrastructural facilities that would have created the enabling environment for speedy industrialisation in an area that has produced some of Nigeria's finest brains in all fields of human endeavour.
24 Dec 2009
THE death of Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, Talban Bauchi, fondly referred to as Baba Talba, in the family circles, on December 8, 2009, was a deeply personal loss to me in more ways than one. My association with him which began 38 years ago, defined my social, intellectual and family life. We first met in 1971 and through him some other members of the intellectual elite of his generation. A group, in saner societies, that would have been the nucleus of the best and the brightest. They embodied the values of public service as a call to duty. They were the younger elements of the Premier's office crowd. I have maintained an enduring, affectionate and honourable association with some of them.
24 Dec 2009
IT is here again, the season of joy. How nice to observe that age-long family custom of keeping vigil on Christmas Eve night. The joy of sitting round the tall, glittering and decorated Christmas tree while intoning those traditional Christmas carols which, perhaps, we learnt from childhood. Then the exchange of gifts and greetings. To children, it is the joy of dressing in their Christmas clothes on Christmas day, the good breakfast and lunch, the gift from Santa and all that. So, Christmas time creates the atmosphere to mend fences and extend the hands of friendship to everyone across the divide; to think about others; for true generosity; to enjoy special solidarity with our fellow men.
24 Dec 2009
FOR more than two weeks now, Nigerians have gone through greater hardship due to a fresh round of fuel scarcity across the nation, yet there has been no convincing explanation as to the cause of the scarcity. Many thought that the scarcity would ease off as Christmas draws nearer or that somebody is doing something about it but instead the situation gets worse daily with no end in sight. As usual, there has been a serious blame game between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and independent petroleum marketers. It is a hide and seek game that Nigerians are used to.
23 Dec 2009
THE Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo is reported to have requested audience with his Camerounian counterpart at the latter's convenience - more or less - to discuss the killing and harassment by Camerounian security forces of Nigerian citizens who have opted to stay in the Bakassi Peninsula now ceded to Cameroun under the 2008 Green Tree Agreement. It need be recalled that this agreement provides, among other conditions, that the area should not be militarised, and that Nigerians who choose to stay behind rather than re-locate to Nigerian landspace are to be treated as legal residents with applicable rights and privileges.
23 Dec 2009
IN the bid to raise the financial strength and production capacity of entrepreneurs in the country, the Federal Government and the Bank of Industry (BoI) have extended capital fund of N10 billion and N58 billion to the textile industry and 675 enterprises. Besides, Nigeria has generated $900 million from her non-oil exports in the last three quarters of 2009.
22 Dec 2009
SHAKESPEARE it was that wrote: "When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes." This statement, made by Calphurnia, Caesar's wife, in Julius Caesar (II, ii, 30-31), references the long standing belief that important events in human lives are somehow signalled by omens in the natural world. Yet, on December 11, 2009 when such a prince in the academic community paused in his earthly sojourn, no comet blazed the news. Prof. Olusegun 'Teju Oladipo, husband, father, friend, mentor, and above all, philosopher extraordinaire left the world after a brief and sudden illness.
22 Dec 2009
THE two-week Copenhagen Climate Conference organised by the United Nations (UN) ended on Saturday, December 19, without adopting a legally binding accord. That was a big disappointment to a world that was expecting something positive. But the conference managed to reach a political decision to "take note" of a U.S. brokered agreement without formally approving it. The failure of leaders to agree on a legally binding treaty marked a step backward in the urgent need to address the worsening impacts of climate change. They would now continue to wait indefinitely while the polluters act in a way that pleases them.
22 Dec 2009
AT the December 11 Colloquium on Nigeria sponsored by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and led by famed novelist, Chinua Achebe, the most provocative presentation was made by former U.S. Ambassador Princeton Lyman. He decried the complacency of Nigeria's elite regarding the country's vulnerabilities. According to Lyman, being the most populous African nation and a major petroleum exporter were no longer doing the country much good as it was becoming increasingly "irrelevant" in continental and international affairs.
22 Dec 2009
No illustration of the hard times the average Nigerian is going through can be more vivid than the report that hundreds of the country's citizens are indiscriminately offering their blood for sale. And this is not for humanitarian reasons as the act may first suggest, but purely out of desperation to survive. For example, some adult males in Ilorin, Kwara State have resorted to offering their blood for sale at diagnostic laboratories in the state capital. Some of the donors do this two or three times in a month, raising concerns about their own health and safety. Ordinarily, haematologists encourage people to donate blood, but not at the expense of the donors' well-being. Doctors usually recommend sufficient time for recovery, coupled with intake of rich diet, all of which the poor donors in the reported cases consider a luxury. Many of this underprivileged Nigerians live on cigarettes, alcohol and kolanuts. They often appear pale and unwholesome, thereby posing a health hazard even to the patients who receive the blood that they donate.
21 Dec 2009
FROM December 15-16, 2009, at the Banquet Hall of the Golden Gate Hotel, Abuja, experts from diverse backgrounds brainstormed on the way out of the woods for the power sector in Nigeria. This was at a workshop with the theme "24-Hour Electricity for Nigerian Homes and Businesses through Small Hydro Power." The workshop was organised by Continental Capital Ventures Ltd, an Ibadan-based science and technology company, in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation's (UNIDO) Centre for Small Hydro Power.