Nigeria and the Memory of Tafida

The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email:

…Your Excellencies, we the Yar’Adua family bore our period of trial with dignity. And we mourned the death of Tafida not with tears of rage or hatred but with prayers and celebration of Allah’s praise. The tears we shed were of pity for those of us who, when bestowed with power by Allah, chose to misuse it in an unjust and misguided manner. We also shed tears of compassion for those of us opportune to speak out against injustice but chose to be silent or even made haste to seek favour with the unjust ruler.



We often wondered at the collective conscience of a nation that stood transfixed and bewildered as the forces of injustice and destruction raged like a wild fire throughout the length and breadth of its borders. So with the trial of the Yar’Adua and other families during that period, was the greater trial of the nation. For the first time in our history, those things we had always taken for granted were no longer guaranteed – the freedom of expression, the freedom of association, the right to liberty, the right to life – in short, the most basic of our fundamental human rights.



Indeed, the nation was so firmly caged that it required nothing short of a national struggle to regain its freedom. But in the end, a national struggle was never necessary as Allah in His infinite mercy intervened to save the situation. With this divine intervention, the first phase of our trial was over. However, every major trial has its own significance in the historical development of a people. An examination of this period and the lessons to be discerned from our collective experience must, of course, be left to the student of history. But certainly, the one lesson that stands out clearly is that we must never again take for granted our fundamental rights.



We must learn to cherish and defend them. For it is only what we cherish and hold dear to our hearts that we defend with all our might. And indeed, the might of the people is far greater than that of the ruler. To be truly free, we must as a people learn to cherish the ideals of freedom, justice and the rule of law and resolve to defend them at the slightest abuse…



As one of the journalists invited by Chief Onyema Ugochukwu to accompany the then President-elect Olusegun Obasanjo, I was in Arewa House, Kaduna on 6th March 1999 when the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, (then the Katsina State governor-elect) spoke those moving words at the launch of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation in honour of his elder brother who died in Abakaliki Prison on 8th December 1997.

The man, who would eight years later become president, spoke to a period in the life of our country when we felt like a conquered people–a bizarre period when the late General Sani Abacha was adopted by all the existing five political parties as the only man capable of ruling Nigeria; and many of those who still parade themselves as our leaders today, were holding rallies and prayer sessions to beg the late Head of State to accept being their joint (and sole) candidate for the presidency of our country. But it was also a period when our journalists, human rights activists and a few politicians with character decided to challenge Abacha and his military junta at great personal cost. Among those politicians who confronted Abacha with fatal consequences was the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.

However, while this piece may have been provoked by the late Tafida Katsina for whom friends, political associates (led by his former boss, Obasanjo) and family members will gather tomorrow at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja to mark the 20th anniversary of his death, the story of his life and career is for another day. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight who he was, especially for the benefit of the younger generation for whom Nigerian history does not go beyond what they read on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

A retired Major General who served as the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (number two man) when General Obasanjo was Head of State between February 1977 and 1st October 1979, Yar’Adua started his political career in 1987 with the transition to civil rule during the General Ibrahim Babangida military administration. In the process, he built a formidable machine that had as members respected politicians and intellectuals from across the country. From Bola Tinubu to the late Chuba Okadigbo to Patrick Dele Cole to Atiku Abubakar to Babagana Kingibe to Anthony Anenih to Ango Abdullahi to Iyorchia Ayu and several others, the late Yar’Adua was a rallying point for galvanising Nigerians of different religious and ethnic persuasions in the bid to take power from the military.

It is, therefore, fitting that the Yar’Adua Foundation which, according to its Director General, Ms Jacqueline Farris, seeks “to inspire future generations with Yar’Adua’s life of service; his commitment to national unity, good governance and to building a just and democratic society for all Nigerians” has chosen the 20th anniversary of his death “to remember one of Nigeria’s foremost contemporary leaders who died in Abakiliki Prison on December 8, 1997. Shehu Yar’Adua not only fought during the civil war to unite the country but paid the supreme price to ensure that democracy is enthroned in Nigeria.”

I am well aware that the story of Yar’Adua’s political trajectory is fairly long and sometimes complicated. But one thing is never in doubt: The late Tafida was the most powerful politician in the Nigeria of his era. He was also one of the few politicians who refused to collaborate with the late Abacha to subvert all that we held dear as a nation and for that, he was arrested on trumped-up charges of planning a coup and sentenced to death. Although the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, Abacha made sure Yar’Adua did not get out alive.

Since all the speeches tomorrow will, quite naturally, be in his memory, it is also important, especially on a day such as this, to reflect on our nation 20 years after his death so we can see whether we let down our guard so easily the moment we exchanged the politicians in uniform for those in civilian dresses even when the character of the Nigerian state has remained largely the same. The pertinent question here is, if a functioning society is one where all authority is subject to, and constrained by, law how does one explain a situation in which a man would spend seven years in prison without any criminal record or case file for an alleged armed robbery yet never appeared before any court?

The answer is simple: While we may be rid of military rule, hopefully for good, the arbitrariness witnessed under that epoch is still with us. The consequences of this state of affairs are everywhere: In the thousands of desperate Nigerians being enslaved in Libya and the millions that are hopelessly roaming the streets back home; in the prevalence of corruption at all levels and sectors (including elevating some fugitive civil servants and private business concerns with powerful promoters above the law); in the absence of good governance (with governors citing payment of workers’ salaries and erection of statues as achievements); in the lack of transparency and accountability by religious clerics (some of who cannot distinguish between their private wealth and that of the institutions they lead); in the trigger-happy disposition of policemen (including those whose famous refrain is ‘I will kill you and nothing will happen’); in the endless spiral of blood-letting and revenge killings in Numan and Demsa Local Government Areas of Adamawa State between farmers and herders while those who ordinarily should restore peace (on both sides of the unfortunate divide) are either stoking the fire or looking the other way; in the manner in which a controversial Senator from the South-west has so captured the judiciary that the permutations of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are anchored on the fear of the judicial abracadabra he could conjure to instigate another crisis should he feel displeased with the outcome of Saturday’s national convention etc.

Meanwhile, against the background that Nigeria, according to a recent report by the Global Slavery Index, hosts the largest number of enslaved people in sub-Sahara Africa, I fail to understand the hypocrisy over the plights of our compatriots in Libya, as tragic and sad as it may be. A survey conducted by an anti-slavery organisation, ‘Walk Free Foundation’, reveals how almost a million Nigerians are practically living in bondage in their own country. It is, therefore, no surprise that many would choose to risk death either in the Sahara Dessert or on the Mediterranean Sea to staying home in deprivation and want.

As an aside, while President Barack Obama and his administration may have destroyed Libya with the killing of Muammar Ghaddafi, the former ‘Brother Leader’ was not a friend of black Africans as some writers would want us to believe. Since my book on irregular migration should be ready, hopefully by the middle of next year, the less written on the subject for now the better. But it is important to point out that the same Ghaddafi being venerated expelled all sub-Saharan Africans from his country in October 2000 only to begin to allow the same immigrants in some years later under a dubious ploy to use them as bargaining chips with Europe. “We don’t know what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans”, he told a gathering of Italian officials in Rome in September 2009 at a period he was demanding an annual $4 billion for keeping the sub-Saharan African immigrants in Libya, most of them in jail, otherwise he would inflict on Europe “an invasion of Barbarians”.

Now, before I get ahead of myself, let me return to the main theme of this intervention: the importance to nation-building of the rule of law and basic freedoms. Whatever may be our frustrations, Nigeria of today is different from that of December 1997 when Shehu Musa Yar’Adua died in Abacha’s gulag and several others were either in jail or on exile. But while the climate of fear may have disappeared, we cannot say that Nigerians are entirely free. That much is evident in the revelations from the #ENDSARS campaign on Twitter and the seeming hopelessness of majority of our young population. To address that challenge, we must return to a system that places a premium on defending the rights of citizens while promoting the good governance that guarantees them the opportunities for self-actualisation and decent living. In properly situating that, I recommend Chris Ngwodo’s latest piece on ‘The Great Unravelling’ of the Nigerian State,

On a final note, while I commend Hajia Binta, my friend, Murtala as well as my sister, Jackie and others for sustaining the legacy of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, we must never forget the enduring words of his younger brother (and my former boss) now also of blessed memory that “To be truly free, we must as a people learn to cherish the ideals of freedom, justice and the rule of law and resolve to defend them at the slightest abuse.”

Shehu Malami @ 80

Ever since I drove with him from Sokoto (where I had gone for an editorial assignment) to Abuja in 2004, the Sarkin Sudan of Wurno, Ambassador Shehu Malami has not only kept in touch with me, he would call from time to time to ask after my family. It is a gesture I really appreciate. And when, in December 2011, I requested him to chair the public presentation of my book, ‘Power, Politics and Death’, he did not even hesitate before accepting.

Incidentally, I became aware of his 80th birthday and the presentation of his book, ‘Shehu Malami: A Prince of the Caliphate’ only from newspaper reports yesterday but the mercurial Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha spoke for many of us at the occasion when he said: “Malami’s lifestyle has shown how easy it is to downplay our differences and live as one people”.

It is not every day that one agrees with Okorocha but on Tuesday in Abuja, he was spot on regarding the new Octogenarian. As Ambassador Malami therefore clocks 80, I wish him many more years of good health in the service of our country.

The Road to Happiness!
Is your husband finding it difficult to provide you the satisfaction you need in The Other Room? Is your wife a log of wood when it is time for Conjugal Action? Are you no longer finding fulfilment with your spouse just because the government is not fulfilling its obligations? Married or single, do you allow ‘small matters’ like non-payment of salaries rob you of happiness? Are you worried that Christmas is coming and because you have no money, the season could be bleak for you and your family?

Worry no more!

The days of ‘my husband cannot do’ have finally come to an end. Gone also are the days when your wife will develop headache (genuine or contrived) at her place of Primary Assignment. And the days of sadness over unimportant matters like lack of jobs, failing health in the absence of financial wherewithal for treatment, poverty etc. are over.

All you have to do is move to Owerri and the adjoining towns where His Excellency, Governor Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, HRM The Eze Statue 1 of Nigeria, has come up with an ingenious plan to make sure that all residents of Imo State are very happy in this season and forever more. That is why he has appointed his own beloved sister, The Right Honourable Ogechi Ololo (Nee Okorocha) as the Honourable Commissioner for Happiness and Couples Fulfilment.

Rush now to Imo State and collect your own happiness. And if you happen to be married, she will add everlasting fulfilment to your basket of goodies!


  • KWOY

    1. A liar that you are! Gaddafi never expelled sub-Saharan Africans in year 2000. Actually, when killings of black Africans started in Libya in year 2000, Gaddafi stepped in, stronlgy condemned it, & was preaching to his country men on the need for African solidarity! His intervention DID stop the killings at the time. You are a liar! Unlike the rogue, war criminal & western capitalist puppet that Obasanjo was, Gadaffi was passionate about African unity!

    2. I guess that the war criminal Yar ‘Adua is roasting in hell? I pray he never gets out!

    3. The only oxygen sustaing my breath is the knowledge your criminal contraption for oil will FAIL! I cannot wait for it to happen SOONER than later!

  • John Paul

    Rochas Okorocha deserves a break. He should be given an “A” for effort

    Nigeria and almost all its constituent States have cash flow problems. After servicing their debts and paying their recurrent expenditure, they do not have much money left for capital expenditure and facilitating investments and tourism

    In light of the extant economic quagmire of most States in Nigeria, the only option left to the Chief executive of our constituent States, is creativity. A modern day feeding Five Thousand (5,000) with five (5) Fish and Two (2) loaves

    To discerning minds, that seems to be what Rochas Okorocha is doing

    For several decades, Owerri has established a reputation of being the good-time capital of Igboland. Like every Igbo, money is an important part of Owerri culture. But Owerri has developed a reputation of being a place were merriment and enjoyment is a priority

    Back in the day, many Igbo – including businessmen and professionals – routinely came back to Owerri, from Lagos and Abuja, every Friday evening, to spend the weekend in Owerri, because they were guaranteed to have fine cuisine and a good time

    So it a good thing that Rochas Okorochas is making serious efforts to capitalize on, and institutionalize, Owerri’s tourism potential.

    Curiosity and tourism go hand in hand.

    As we speak, many Nigerians, especially Nigerians from the SouthEast and South South, have calendared that when next they go to the East, they will go and inspect the spectacle – Statues of Jacob Zuma, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Nana Kofo-Ado – that Rochas Okorocha erected in Owerri .

    Not to talk about South Africans, Liberians, and Ghanians, who curiosity will bring to Owerri, to see those Statues

    When these tourists arrive, many will approve of the gesture and statue, and many will disapprove of same. But even those people that disapprove of the statue, would have spent money – thousands of Naira – paying for a hotel in Owerri, taking a taxi to the location of the statues , with their wives and Children, and spending money, in Owerri. The only town in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with a soup named after it: “Ofe Owerri”
    “Ofe Owerri translates to Owerri Soup, Owerri being the capital of Imo State in the South-East corner of Nigeria. You do not have to be from the part of the country to enjoy the soup, it’s extremely delicious and definitely adaptable to any palette”


    “Precooked meat of choice , Stock fish and Smoked fish
    1/2 cup dried Okazi leaves (1 cup if using fresh leaves)
    ¼ cup crayfish powder
    1 Teaspoon dried pepper
    2 Tablespoons Achi
    ½ – 1 Cup Uziza leaves (fresh or dried) substitute Ugu leaves
    1.5 cups Cocoyam paste (made by boiling and pounding cocoyam)
    ¼ cup palm oil
    Maggi and Salt to taste” –
    So Rochas Okrocha maybe up to something here. After all, those statues reportedly costs a paltry ₦520,000, each. It may not be a bad investment after all

    • BB

      wow!!! I am utterly and truly speechless…!!

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      John Paul: really?
      You think South Africans will spend thousands of dollars to fly to Nigeria and Owerri to stare at a locally made effigy of their President Zuma.
      You my friend, may well be the first beneficiary of the Ministry of Happiness roll out program.

      • John Paul

        Why not

        After all, every year over two (2) million visitors go to Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota, to see locally made statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt

        Every year, millions more go to Ellis Island, New York, to see the man-made statue of Liberty; Madame Tussads to see statues made of wax; and Los Angeles to see the man-made Hollywood sign, etc

        A legitimate argument can be made about the efficacy of the personalities that Okorocha picked to edify – why not Zik, Awolowo or Balewa – but it is indisputable that human beings like spectacles.

        Do not be surprised that the next time that you pass through Owerri, you will be tempted to go and see Okoroca’s statue. Even if it is to access what the hoopla is all about

        Nigeria needs many more tourist attractions

        Nnamdi Azikiwe’ house in Nsukka should be fully restored and made a tourist attraction, with entrance fees. Ditto, Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa and MKO’s homes, and house were Ironsi was shot.

        These places need to be restored, with their original memento – like books, pens, tables and chairs used by those people and marketed properly, as a tourist attraction

        South of Owerri lies Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State, which is fondly called “Enyimba City”. They even have a song – Enyimba Enyi – that has an affinity to that city

        Enyimba means “The peoples Elephant”

        Borrowing a leaf from the spectacle Rochas Okorocha is trying to create in Owerri, the Governor of Abia State, or some smart politician, should buy a life Elephant ($30,000) and donate it to the City of Aba, rent a piece of land in the City center to display the Elephant, in all its majesty, pay for its upkeep,
        and replace it with another Elephant, when it dies

        As Nigerians, we need to move away from the consumer mentality, to the producer mentality. We travel to go and see the Statue of Liberty, Hollywood sign, Madame Tussauds, Mount Rushmore, and other spectacles set up by other people.

        But as soon a Nigerian makes an attempt to set up something similar in Nigeria, we fall back to our usual refrain: “what type of nonsense is this”

        Creativity is a critical element that distinguishes perennial consumers from producers

        • Fairgame

          Americans go to see the incredible work of artists on a hillside in America of great American presidents is equivalent to South Africans going to imo state Nigeria to see a statue of Jacob Zuma? Wow. You spectacular show of stupidity leaves me breathless.

        • MASKVILLA

          Mind you, Ironsi was not shot in a house, him and Fajuyi were taken away from a house and shot in a bush path just outside of where you now have 2nd Div.

          • John Paul

            Excellent observation. In that case, the house where Ironsi and Fajuyi were abducted from, before they were shot

        • FrNinja

          Tourism lives on the backs of economics. Nobody would go to see the Hollywood sign without Los Angeles creating the movie industry. Similarly the statue of Liberty, Madam Tussauds stand in two of the greatest cities in the world – NY and London. Nigeria should develop places worth visiting, Make Owerri and Aba into world class cities with strong economic bases and people would go statue or no statue.

          • John Paul

            At ₦532,000 a piece, like it or not, Rochas Okorocha’s gimmick is already working.

            He has managed to keep owerri in the news, attract Zuma, Sirleaf, Kofo Ado, OBJ, etc, to Owerri by spending a paltry ₦532,000 per statue.

            The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923, before the movie industry became what it is today. And while Los Angeles was still mediocre. So the Hollywood sign predates “Hollywood” as we know it today

            Not every city or country that attracts tourists is a world class city

            Cuba is a good example. After President Obama lifted travel restrictions to Cuba, Americans were falling over themselves to visit Cuba. Most of those that visited Cuba when questioned, all announced that they wanted to see Cuba, in its organic state, before the corporations took over and developed it

            When they came back, they were exited to talk about their experiences – including erratic power supply, having to take cold showers, old cars on the street, lack of world standard infrastructure, Cuban food, cigars, etc

            They were happy to come out of their comfort zone and see something different

            No one is saying that Owerri will attract as many tourists as Cuba, but the point is that at ₦532,000 per statue – a paltry ₦532,000 – Okorocha deserves an “A” for effort

            By the way, Okorocha should tell us the artist that constructed those statues. It is reasonably certain that many other Nigerians will like him to construct statues for them – of their father, grandfather, etc – in their village mansions

          • Jon West

            Ewu Awusa, when you are in a hole, stop digging. Even you should know that. Your APC runners have clearly driven you to the brink of insanity. Get hold of yourself Man!!

          • John Paul

            Open your heart and learn, Jon West. Open your heart and learn. It is not too late

            With a little bit of creativity, as displayed by Okorocha, even at retirement, you may be able to acquire the technology to assist us in exploiting our resources.

            As opposed to spending your golden years writing prose on Thisday’s Backpage

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

          My broda
          This your argument is a respectable call for developing the tourism industry. But you are opening yourself to ridicule because tourism is not about a stupid wasteful God forsaken Governor irrecting nonesensical rubbish in Owerri.
          And your suggestion of a real life elephant in the town square? Really?Personally, I think you are having a song and dance at the expense of those of us reading your post.

          • John Paul

            Every innovation is usually subject to ridicule.

            That is how it works. The fear of being ridiculed is exactly what makes people stuck in a rot. They will rather go with the flow – like the very popular $6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud – than think outside the box. Produce. Innovate.

            A cursory research will tell you that placing the statue of Liberty in Ellis Island, was a controversial idea. Ditto, the Hollywood sign

            Both Okorocha and the artist that sculpted those statues at ₦520,000 a piece deserve an “A” for effort

          • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

            Everything you have stated is fact. My disagreement is with this example.
            There are so many other natural wonders and spectacular innovations around Nigeria that would make your argument sound.
            But like I said tourism happens because of a cocktail of efforts. How many foreign tourists visit Obudu Cattle Ranch (a world heritage site btw). As wonderous as it is, the thing has become a failed white elephant project.
            Imagine yourself as a 22 year old Millenium in say Norway thinking of taking a trip abroad – how far down the list will Owerri be? Will it be on the list?
            I agree with your points. This example, – not so much!!

          • John Paul

            Nigerians have resolved, along time ago, that their foreign policy, entertainment industry, business strategy, etc, is not geared towards competing with the United States or Europe. Because they are on a different level

            Nigeria’s foreign policy, entertainment industry and business strategy is geared towards Africa. That is why Nollywood is a relative success

            As for Rochas Okorocha and his statues. The intensity of venom that people have been pouring on Okorocha for spending a paltry ₦520,000 per statute make it look as if the man looted $1 billion.

            Meanwhile, the same people castigating Okorocha for making a good faith effort to make his State a better place did not say – “pim” – when vermin were looting the $6.8 billion that was meant for the development of Nigeria

            These same people castigating a man for spending ₦520,000/statue beautifying his State will, on the same day, applaud a complete idiot who has a proven record of looting billions from his State, Country or Parastatal like NNPC

            It really makes people wonder what type of value system Nigeria has

            The bottomliine is that reasonable minds may differ – on every subject, including art – but we must give people, who are making legitimate attempts to make things better an “A” for their efforts

    • Akwad

      Rochas is treating his people to sadomachocistic horror.

    • Don Franco

      Dear John Paul,

      How indeed are the mighty fallen! I would never believe in a thousand years, that you’d write this kind of shameful commentary. I mean, really!

    • Darcy

      I dey your back. I must serve in Imo, by fire, by force!

    • FrNinja

      The cooks of ofe owerri, proprietors of hotels and places like Ibari Ogwa do not need Rochas Okorocha to erect statues to draw in customers.

  • nothingdoyou

    Purpose fulfilment and not Couples fulfilment.

  • American Abroad

    The crypto-journalism of these BackPages periodically descends into farce, which would have been hilarious were it not for this country being in such dire straits. It was Jeff Hager, one of America’s most respected journalists and Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, who once declaimed the role of ideology and its first cousin, undue familiarity (read: unprofessionalism), amongst journalists; either was liable to erode your credibility, without which you couldn’t lay any tenable claim to journalism (as opposed to punditry or hack writing). That native wisdom is either lost or suspended in Nigeria’s journalistic firmament. The writer has so many friends, co-travelers, sisters, uncles, Daddies and what-nots amongst the ruling class, it makes you wonder if this is simply an elective monarchy or just inbreeding amongst the larger Adeniyi clan. Being Adeniyi, and not Dele Momodu, this is nigh unforgivable. This represents tabloid journalism at its capricious worst, yellow journalism in excelsis.

    Sure, I know that name-dropping is practically an art form in today’s Nigeria, but does it provide any sense of objectivity for a writer to preface a serious intervention on an avowedly non-partisan “flagship” editorial page with personal (and unverifiable) asides about the subject-matter?

    Shehu Yar’Adua was an accomplished military man, but his foray into Nigeria’s often bloody and murderous politics did not begin in 1987, but in 1966. The historical evidence is that he was personally involved in acts of such gruesome savagery as decapitation, disemboweling of the pregnant, enucleation of eyes, burying the living, amongst other choice punishment visited upon luckless refugees at Markurdi, who were fleeing the pogrom in Nigeria’s North. Even more telling, whilst I have always regarded Shehu Malami as an urbane and cultured potentate, the ironic fact is that the honorific, “Sarkin Sudan” (king of the Dark Ones), approximates the very same Saracen slur that the writer glibly accuses Muammar Gaddafi of.

    I am sure others have already formed an opinion about the loquacious Mr Okorocha, so I will take a pass on his own unique brand of idiocy.

    One is unsure if the legacies of any our erstwhile leaders can ever be described as positive, to say nothing of enduring. Nothing important, or to the common good, has ever worked in Nigeria; not power generation (slithering snakes entwined in power lines are liable to stop all electricity transmission rather than simply getting a few reptiles electrocuted), not government (even following a simple constitutional dictate of geographical spread for non-elective appointive authority has proven impossible in the Age of Buhari), not education (graduates, even those blessed with First Class diplomas from any of our ill-funded, desolate degree-awarding certificate mills, are barely literate), not religion (this nation of a million churches & mosques, also posts one of the most vengeful, brutal, homicidal, corrupt, societies known to man), not even the Youth Corps, a poorly-copied daguerrotype of the American Peace Corps which is unable to guarantee the safety of her poorly-enumerated corpsmen from religious marauders.

    It is said that it is for good reason that fairy tales in Hollywood have no sequels. Would that our national horror story would do likewise. When will my country of birth finally get serious?

    • lanre lanre

      I think it’s “inbreeding amongst the larger Adeniyi clan”. Lol

    • Toby

      I’m already in Imo state searching for happiness and couple fulfilment. Yet to find.

      • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

        Na wah for you oh

      • share Idea


    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Don’t be too mad or shocked my friend

      Nothing here is beyond comprehension
      For there is this attack in Nigeria that has never ended – it is the one between the rulers and the people

      The victors, as is always the case, get to rewrite history. Nothing new there and is a phenomenon repeated by man the world over

    • Fidelis A.

      Dear AA, your last sentence captured the real essence, why it would be so difficult for any true journalists who is not beholden to any member of the ruling elites to emerge. Because none of them would get “serious” with the facts.

    • Don Franco

      Dear American Abroad,

      Your lucidity of thought and clarity of expression are as commendable as your circumspection in action (of teaching) and deliberateness of knowledge. I like that you write to impart wisdom and crystallize truth.

      I’m surprised that you aren’t aware that the entire Lagos-Ibadan Press employ name-dropping to curry the favour of powerful and influential individuals, and at the same time secure the supply of brown envelopes on a long-term sustainable basis. Methinks it’s a cultural thing, a mindset. Segun allude to Senator Gbenga Daniel’s pecuniary relationship with the judiciary relevant to the PDP’s Saturday convention; but will never write a sentence about Bola Tinubu’s legendary personal payroll for the entire judiciary of Lagos State, including judges in the Appeal Courts across the SW and Abuja, go ask Ibrahim Auta and retired Justices Ayo Salami and Belgore. Disingenuous.

      • Fidelis A.

        Dear Don, actually, it’s senator buruji kashamu he is writing about and not Gbenga Daniels.

        • Don Franco

          Buruji Kashamu…. quite a mouthful of a name! Botanical name and phylum, I’m sure as hell is Pablo Escobaris Nigeriana. At any rate, I await the day that Segun Adeniyi will write about how his paymasters have allowed judicial independence to trump judicial integrity in our Zoo…

          • Fidelis A.


      • American Abroad

        Thank you, Don.
        We face very difficult times as a country, and have no reliable history or leaders or institutions to assist with our collective thinking, and hopefully, trigger a renaissance. But this is also no time to be lachrymose. The time for blues is over, and our eyes ought to be clear- not blue.

        • Don Franco

          Dear American Abroad,

          I recommend clear eyes to the privilege of those so having; I envy them but I’m not jealous, as Naom Chomsky, would say.
          As for me and my kind, we shall remain blue until the divine promise of the half of a yellow sun becomes reality.

    • Jon West

      It is termed Afonja-genre journalism, a phenomenon bequeathed to its practitioners , by a 19th century traitor and opportunist, whose influence has continued to define the politics of an unfortunate area of Nigeria. As Jon West has discovered to his chagrin, you cannot escape your genes, DNA or whatever the geneticists have discovered to be the basis of life. Really telling, and sometimes unfortunate. Segun and his band of merry opportunists are really victims of genetics. We should therefore treat them with the same understanding as we do those that are handicapped , because they really cannot help their circumstances.

      • American Abroad

        Dear Jon:
        By now, wouldn’t you think some degree of Lamarckian evolution should be kicking in? It is now about 200 years since Alimi arrived the court of Afonja. When is enough truly enough? When will we start telling the truth to one another? And mind you, the Igbo are not exempt from similar churlishness.

        • Jon West

          I must confess to total ignorance of Lamarckian evolution, but will agree that perhaps the time is past due for mutual truth-telling between our peoples here in Nigeria. However, in spite of intermarriage and other forms of interaction, the realities of our strong ethnic (not religious) differences and its debilitating effect on a cohesion of development agendas,constantly stares us in the face. The Igbo are also guilty, but you must admit that they are a little bit more reliable( or perhaps politically naive), once a political/ethnic decision is taken. Unfortunately, I cant see any progress or major changes in attitudes going forward, hence my clarion call- To hell with Nigeria!!

      • FrNinja

        Considering that DNA also shows that the Yoruba are cousins of the Igbo then Afonja-ism must be inherent also in the Igbo.No?

        • Don Franco

          Dear FrNinja,

          Kindly please attach a link that indicates that we’re cousins. The Bantu and Nilots have very different provenances; the last time I checked we originated and are indigenous to Central Africa (Congo); while Oduduwa, of yore came from the Middleeast.
          It’d also help if you can please give an instance of Afonjaism in the entire history of our civilization.

          • FrNinja


            “Four of the major coastal tribes of Western Africa: the Yoruba, Igbo, Akan and the Gaa-Adangbe are dissimilar at a glance and evidently geographic neighbours, but very closely related, when examined at the genetic level.

            Several studies have been employed over the years, with findings showing genetic similarity between differing regional ethnic groups. One in particular, conducted by Adebowale Adeyemo, Guanjie Chen, Yuanxiu Chen, the National Human Genome Centre and Howard University, and Charles Rotimi of the University of Ibadan, provided results indicating the genetic similarities between the four major West African ethnic groups.”

          • Don Franco

            Dear FrNinja,

            I thank you for the link. I came away that the writer was struggling to make the difference and distinction between Race and Ethnicity.
            I’m unconvinced that similarities in coastal geographic location and a history of acient trade relationship translates to a single genetic identity.
            In any event, the significant dissimilarity between Igbo and Yoruba customs; culture and tradition is enough indication in my opinion, that any claim to genetic kinship is at best contrived.

          • FrNinja

            You said the DNA is different I showed a link to DNA affinity. If you say culturally different then you have a point but like I said genetically the Igbo and yoruba are cousins. That said so are the jews and arabs but it hasnt helped them find peace.

        • Jon West

          I am sorry to disappoint you on that score. Yes, there may be ethnic relationships between the Igbo and the Ijebu/Ondo Yorubas, but when it comes to ethnic reliability, the Igbo can beat their chests and say – You can rely on us. From UPGA, Aburi, June 12 etc, the Igbo have shown this trait.
          I am afraid the Yoruba seem to think that unreliability, treachery and political opportunism are all presentations of intelligence and wisdom. I believe these traits are genetic in the sense of sociological evolution. I really will want a change of attitudes in Igbo/Yoruba relations, but it appears that both groups can’t hark it together. With the Hausa/Fulani and minorities North an South, the situation with the Igbo is untenable, because of relative evolution and huge gaps in development mindset. Therefore for the Igbo, some seperation from this conundrum is a development/survival imperative.

          • FrNinja

            The yoruba did not steal igbo property during the civil war unlike their even more closely related cousins the people of the niger delta. Nor have the yoruba descended on them with bloodthirst like the Northerners. Yet the igbo complain about the yoruba. The reality is that the ELITE of the yoruba are treacherous, opportunistic and unreliable not the common yoruba man or woman.

          • Jon West

            On your last sentence , we are in total agreement. However,it is the political , economic and intellectual elite that determine the perception of a people by others, and on that score , the Yoruba always shoot themselves in the foot.
            They are arguably, the most liberal Nigerians, but suffer a great need to be seen to be politically and intellectually smarter than others, leading to a permanent perception of a treacherous disposition. Can you imagine what they could have achieved , in cooperation with the Igbo? Instead of Eko Atlantic nonsense, Lagos would have rivaled Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
            Yes, they never kill like the vermin in the North(all Northerners), but they don’t mind goading them to kill the Igbo, who they regard as mortal competitors. Therefore, the end result is the same, and the perception is enhanced.

          • Don Franco

            Dear FrNinja:

            Who were the “people” that went severally to go kill Chinua Achebe in his house in Lagos, in 1966? How many million of our people died at the hands of Benjamin Adekunle and the the starvation policy of Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo? Don’t please be counted among those that deny history.

          • FrNinja

            Adekunle and Awolowo were in Nigerian government. Ordinary yoruba people did not target igbos for murder as happened among ordinary people in the north west.

          • Don Franco

            Dear FrNinja,

            The one was a soldier alright; but the other was a noncombatant. … and only acted acted out of hate and zenophobic hatred, a mindset that he continued and extended to the spoiliation and confiscation of Biafran deposits in Nigerian banks, to the exclusion Igbos from the first privatization etc.
            Again, I respectfully suggest that you read Achebe’s There Was A Country, to find out the identity of those came to his house , in Victoria Island in 1966, severally to kill him. ..

    • Mystic mallam

      Woww Mr. AA, I couldn’t have guessed that the day would come so soon when I’d agree with you +% on the subject of Nigeria and its many absurdities including its surfeit of tabloid and yellow journalists. Bravo!! But do help, tune down the grammar a wee bit to accommodate us the ‘barely literate recipients of our desolate degree-awarding certificate mills’. Hasta luego.

      • American Abroad

        Dear Mystic:
        I do not expect us to always, or even often, agree: Nigerian revisionism has muddied the veracity of much recent political history. But this I can guarantee you: I will always, at all times, present the truth as it is, without any tribal bias or prejudice. As for language, it is what it is.
        Nos Vemos.

        • Fidelis A.

          You leave me in awe…..

        • Mystic mallam

          There you go again – “the truth as it is”, and you are the custodian of that? As for your use of language, never mind me, I like.

          • American Abroad

            My dear Sir: I cannot be a custodian- no man can- of anything as demanding, ineluctable, all-encompassing, fearsome, rigid, absolving, as Truth. It is the mythologic equivalent of trapping the fiery god, Sango, in a bottle of wine. I can, at best, be a curator. Even then, I must approach it in humility and an open mind, free of bias and prejudice, and in the case of my country of birth, willing to eschew all bitterness, dogma, shibboleths, and pepper-soup theories. That takes acres of effort and sweat. But above all, it takes a willingness to be uncomfortable with, and ultimately reject, all the things you once held dear and sacrosanct as a child. I wouldn’t necessarily wish it on my worst enemy- but we sorely need it as a struggling nation of dissimilars.

          • Mystic mallam

            Beautiful, Mr AA. You’ve spoken honestly, you cannot be the custodian of the “Truth”. So I’ll accept your previous claim of “truth as it is” as mis-speak. Btw, I still like your big grammar. Have yourself a good one.

    • onyema22ohaka

      A very articulate and incisive write-up from you today.You said it all especially about Yardua who initially requested permission from Murtala Mohammed to start his murderous act while stationed in Enugu in 1966.
      Kudos * America @ Home* today!

      • American Abroad

        Dear Onyema: Your agreeing with my premise today should not imply that I am any different, or that my views have shifted, or worse- perish the thought- that I have either been compromised or lately wallowing in ethnic absolution. No, Sir: my fidelity is to history, in all its pristine reconstruction, with prejudice towards none. Once we can agree on the facts, I can be philosophical about disagreements on significance or remedies.

    • FrNinja

      Well done in exposing the hypocrisy of typical Nigerian “Food is Ready” journalists. They are always at events clinking wine glasses with mass murderers, thieves not out there doing basic investigation.

  • Grelia O

    There is pity for lives waisted by various dictatorships, civilian and military. The culture of impunity has been a significant part of our history. It is happening right now. A constitutional govt disobeys court orders at will. Citizens are routinely arrested under various guises without lawful warrant and are refused bail granted by court. Ex heads of states disobey summons issued by lawful panels.

    The mass killing by the military of the Muslim sect in the North, IPOB members in the SE, the people of Odi and Zaki Biam, the killing of Dele Giwa, Bola Ige, Yar’dua, Abiola & his wife, the tear-gassing of Okadigbo which led to his eventual death, and all the way to the mass mass mass murder of Igbos under the pretence of enforcing one

  • Darcy

    Thank you ohh, I was utterly stunned by Mr Abati pulling numbers out of air yesterday.

    For those who care, I did due diligence, went to check and lo and behold, it estimates that 875,000 Nigerians are living in slavery. Libya in comparison has less than 80,000. Leaving me to wonder where “500,000-700,000” came from.

    Nigeria’s greatest problem is how often we venerate the dead. That General Yar’Adua did not lick Abacha’s boot does not shift his legacy in Nigeria to the Plus column. If his legacy in total is in the negatives, then adulating him is no different than hailing Abacha.

    It’s the same sort of thinking that got us Buhari and perhaps Atiku. It is perfectly logical for two options to be bad, it also perfectly acceptable to stay put, rather than choose either of the Devil or the Red Sea.

    Let’s not sacrifice conscience on the altar of white-washing.

    • Fidelis A.

      “Let’s not sacrifice conscience on the alter of whitewashing”. Apt.

      There is so much rat race to the bottom of the ladder of political correctness that one just stand on the sideline bewildered and astonished at the new low we have attained as a people.