by Cheta Nwanze
Whether we like it or not, the present government has done some things that can be interpreted as being in the best interest of Nigeria and her democracy. For example, more than any government before it, the present government has made an effort to engage the majority of Nigerian citizens, those who are willing to be engaged at least. Whether their intentions are genuine or not is a discussion for another day. Another example of the government getting something right is in its seeming respect of Africa Magic, sorry, Nollywood. You see, the US as a country projects its influence all over the world through Hollywood. That soft power is responsible for the respect that Americans receive everywhere they go (Iran, not you), and that is something that Nigeria must strive to emulate. As a result, the Prez’s visit to Lagos on Saturday to dine with Africa Magic, sorry, Nollywood, big boiz and gals is a welcome development. An even more welcome development from that day is that there was no unusual traffic in Lagos…
You see, those of us who live in Lagos are already used to really awful traffic, a situation which sadly seems to have no cure. This already terrible situation tends to get worse whenever the Prez and his menagerie come into town. So bad that it will not be far fetched to imagine modern day Aninis dropping first fruits in the hope that the Prez comes to town more often, or failing him, one of the big men, or failing that, that the Blue and Red Light Rail lines never take off. That way, business will continue to boom for the boys.
Which is where another one of our societies many failings comes to play. You see, the bow tie at the tall glass building in Abuja wanted us to stop carrying large amounts of dosh around, and as a result came up with “Operation Cashless” to further that aim. Sadly, Operation Cashless has proved anything but cashless as i) Igbo boys want their cash in their hands and nowhere else; ii) Yoruba people will never stop owambe; iii) there is never any network. You see, while the other two reasons are cultural, and can be eradicated given the right conditions, the third one is more a systemic problem, and requires the active participation of the NCC and NEPA. Has the NCC been carried along? I don’t think so. Has NEPA been carried along? Who are those? By the way, Sam Nzekwe agrees with me.
About NEPA, they are as usual, looking for a fight . Sadly, their descent into irrelevance continues. Mikano is now the new NEPA.
Bits and bobs
For the third time in four months, an ambush in Enugu state has made the news. Similar pattern, the victim was returning home and boys waiting outside his house snuffed him out. This time around, the victim was the Kwara police chief. The usual directive has been issued, so stones are being unturned while the assassins vanish.
Following a successful assault on the village of Baderi in Borno state, assorted #BokoHaram members made the ill-informed decision to storm a barracks in Monguno. Twenty of them will be explaining their actions before the Almighty in short order.
A few years ago, some nitwits told Nigerians in the north that the polio vaccine was meant to render Muslim women infertile. Sadly, not a few people believed them, and as a result, polio, already eradicated in 208 out of 212 countries, made a comeback in Nigeria. It appears that the GPEI has forgotten about this.
The FG owes fuel marketers N100 billions, so prepare for queues.
When news of the UN bombing in Abuja reached me, I spent the next two hours trying to reach my dear friend Sa’adetu Yahaya. You see, she was working in the UN Building at the time. Thankfully, she survived, but just barely. She was in a meeting in the same room with at least three of the victims, and her colleague, Amaka, who also present, survived but with serious injuries. Sa’adetu, as usual with barely a thought for herself, was concerned about the families of Brigitte and the other two, who’s names skip me now.
That was typical Sa’adetu, always putting others before herself. She was a lawyer, trained in the UK, who more or less gave up what might have been a solid legal practice, in order to come home to be close to her mother.
Coming from a mixed family, her father is a Muslim and her mother is Roman Catholic, she was an embodiment of the tolerance that we so desperately need in this country. She saw people for what they are, people first and foremost, before Christian or Muslim, Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba.
Always willing to help others, and a very happy person. If I am to draw up a list of individuals that I know, who actually qualify to have the term “human” applied to them, she would be very high up on that list.
She died on Thursday evening, in a car accident just outside Minna. She leaves behind aged parents and six siblings. May her good soul rest in peace. Amen.
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