Kigali Memorial Centre
Change, Politics

A Straight Line from Rwanda to Nigeria

Of all the genocides in recorded history, the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 arguably takes pole position for the level of brutality and carnage that saw around a million persons (varying estimates) butchered within a period of 100 days. To put the scale of death in context, the Rwandan population in 1994 was about 6 million persons. Via a recent trip to Rwanda, I learned a bit more about the infamous genocide and could not avoid seeing parallels between 1994 Rwanda and today’s Nigeria.

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Change, Politics

#EndSARS: 365 Days from October the Twentieth

French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr declared in 1849 that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. From a literal interpretation, if things that are changing end up being like the former state, how much more when no attempt is made at creating a change, or when such change, though promised, takes up residence in a large void filled with disclaimed promises. One year after the popular protests tagged #EndSARS, has anything really changed with Nigerian policing?

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Person being beat up
Change, Politics

Frustration 601: When Brethren Fight

They say the grasses suffer when two elephants fight, but I wonder what happens to the elephants when the grasses fight over their lowly state. While you may cringe at the impossible metaphor of grasses fighting themselves, I have chosen it to highlight a paradoxical happening in society where one group of oppressed persons would take out their frustrations on another group of oppressed persons, while the oppressors pick out pieces of meat stuck in their fortunate teeth from a continuous meal of oppression.

Continue reading “Frustration 601: When Brethren Fight”
Lekki Toll Gate Massacre
Change, Politics

#EndSARS: A Nation in Need of Healing

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone”

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

On 1 October 2020, Nigeria marked 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Unknown to merry makers and observers, barely a week later, a sequence of events would lead to young Nigerians demanding independence from a faux democratic elite symbolised by the infamous police unit, the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS). Within two weeks, events have evolved from peaceful protests led by an educated base to unmatched rioting and looting led by the uneducated thugs we love to fear.

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Change, Politics

Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt

There is a popular proverb in Nigeria which states, “The person who has never left his father’s farm thinks the farm is the biggest in the village”. If the meaning has not jumped at you, here’s another version: “Until you leave your father’s house, you will think your mother is the best cook on earth”. There’s some kind of epiphany that happens when you go outside your conventional zone and get to experience life in other areas. This has been my experience with Port Harcourt.  Continue reading “Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt”

Change, Politics

The South African Dance of Shame

A quote attributed to South African-born Mokokoma Mokhonoana says that “You cannot really shame a man who sincerely does not care what others think of him. To feel shame, a person must have the capacity to not just understand what shame is, but also recognize that an action or a spoken word is beneath dignity standards. This is where the South Africans and their Nigerian comrades have shown unrepentant deficiency. Continue reading “The South African Dance of Shame”

Change, Randoms

FRSC: Creating Another Monster

Let me start with a quote attributed to the famous Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” This quote simply says good solutions require innovative thinking. The alternative is to say that without good thinking, we cannot solve problems, or at best, we would solve one problem by creating another. This alternative seems to be enshrined in the policy guidelines inspiring several decisions by the Nigerian government. Continue reading “FRSC: Creating Another Monster”

Politics

​Rivers State: The Enemy Within

Caitlin Moran once wrote: “…the world will come at you with knives anyway. You don’t need to beat them to it”. Whereas it would seem counterintuitive that a people would choose to harm themselves, each day people in Rivers State make the foolish choice of harming themselves and the state they call their own. Rivers people keep complaining about marginalization by the federal government and the Hausa-Fulani hegemony. While some of the complaints are valid, a closer look would reveal that the real enemy lies within, not outside. 

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Change, Politics

#BlackLivesMatter: Ending the Loop

In the 1960s, Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists led the charge for the right of black Americans to be treated as human beings. Their efforts would later pave the way for the erudite Barack Obama to ascend the US presidency. Fifty years after MLK, “Americans of colour” are still fighting to stay alive. Maybe this is a clear case of discrimination, or maybe the issues are more intertwined than is being accepted.  Continue reading “#BlackLivesMatter: Ending the Loop”

Randoms

Fadan Karshi and Friendly Fulanis

When a mosquito falls in love with you, you reciprocate the love by doing your best to kill it. While this approach works sometimes, some other times, trying to kill it only results in near-misses and self-inflicted slaps. Imagine that mosquito becoming genetically modified to have an armoured exoskeleton, and showing its love by biting and chewing (not piercing!). You now have an exaggerated view of the violent relationship between Fadan Karshi and the notorious Fulani herdsmen, a marriage made in hell. Continue reading “Fadan Karshi and Friendly Fulanis”