Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The other war we are not talking about

Photo from punchng.com
Back in the university, I was a politician; and like all politicians I had to form alliances—another way of saying I manoeuvred to be on the good side of other student politicians or popular students—to improve my chances at the polls.
I never had enough money to go beyond contesting—and winning (thank you very much) my Departmental Presidency—but after contesting for this and that, I knew most of the movers and shakers in my school—Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. One guy I knew was Obiadada—a nickname, coined from his first name, Obi, and adada, Igbo for ‘one who does not fall’. Obi was the Director of transport when we were in third year.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The gang wars no one is talking about

There is an on-going gang war on the streets of Lagos that the media is ignoring.
I choose to call it a silent war, but this classification – my attempt to stress the media’s seeming disinterest in the matter – is false. The war is by no means silent; it is loud and, as anyone who pays attention to happenings on the streets of Mushin, Bariga, Oshodi and affected parts of Lagos know too well, bloody.
I became aware of this war when I moved from Ajao Estate to Mafoluku, Oshodi, in 2008. Armed robbery and other associated crimes were at that time an issue in Ajao Estate, a town once considered prime real estate by the 419 dons of the ’90s (Eze Ego’s house still stands impressive and imposing opposite the CPM chapel). Ajao Estate later became a magnet for Yahoo-Yahoo boys and the Pentecostal preachers that are ever drawn to owners of easy money.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Selective Outrage: Are we guilty of ignoring human suffering?

Cenotaph to Dana air crash victims: pic from Premium Times
Last year, a Dana aircraft travelling from Abuja to Lagos ploughed into a two-storey building in the Iju area of Lagos killing everyone on board and some others on the ground. News of the crash soon spread as social media went abuzz. In ensuing weeks, the fatal incident hogged the headlines on blogs and websites, while many dedicated status updates to mourn the departed, especially those on-board the plane.
As is common with Nigerians, some constituted informal committees to measure how certain people mourned: Did he/she cry enough; show enough concern by taking one week off work? Was the government’s three-day mourning period too short? Did the officials who lost bosses or subordinates in the crash mourn for a respectable enough period?
Questions were asked and people were called out.