It is impossible to know how the map of Africa would have evolved without European colonialism to shape it. What is sure, however, is that the European "scramble for Africa" that dominated the 19th century - and in which local rulers played a willing part whenever it served their interests - ensured that European powers would create the territorial foundation for modern nation-states whose borders bore little correspondence to the ethnic and religious geography of the continent.
Indeed, even those countries which secured independence peacefully were structurally deformed by foreign rule and the establishment of states with borders that did not naturally correspond to the political and cultural ecologies of the regions in which they were created. As epitomised by the plight of the Mali's Touareg communities (who are spread across the Sahel much like Kurds are spread across the countries of the Fertile Crescent), most states in West, North and Central Africa wound up including significant populations who were different from, and thus disadvantaged by, the group who assumed power. At the same time, post-independence governments were riven by corruption and narrow loyalties, with leaders who were most often unwilling to pursue or incapable of pursuing a truly national, democratic vision of development.
Either way, just as previous African interventions generated the blow-back that helped create the present Malian crisis, the present intervention in Mali, however necessary, well-intention-ed and even wished for by the majority of Malians (to the extent the wishes of Malians can even be determined that clearly), will no doubt produce its own blowback, which will claim the lives of many more Africans, French, American and other Western citizens.

The attack on Emir of Kano

Men on motorbike and in a car this afternoon attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, at Masalaci Murtala area of Kano. The Emir was returning from a ceremony at a mosque when the men opened fire on his convoy. The Emire survived the attack, but his driver and two guards were killed.

From the desk of Comrade Papucci "wrote"

Could the attempted murder of the Emir of Kano have been carried out by the very same people that killed Shuwa, Azazi and Yakowa? Is there a 5th column in this government that seeks to create a crisis for GEJ, discredit and weaken him and eventually take him out? The founding fathers envisioned a country where the individuals restrained the government. But today, feel-good policies, corporate cabals, and “caring” special interest groups conspire to rob us of our personal and financial freedoms.
The hostility towards elites and politics is currently very strong and all "cosmetic" solutions are hardly considered a panacea. “The question now is who is going to stop this senseless anomaly?” From community leaders to traditional rulers, everyone has a role to play. We should start asking questions as to why this is happening. Questions, questions, questions?


Heavens, is this the time of reconnaissance for political authority that had steadily plundered our collective wealth?
It used to be tens of millions of naira and occasionally, hundreds of millions of naira and when a corruption incident amounting to a billion naira was mentioned, we were stunned, disgusted and spoke about it intensely for weeks. Now misappropriation of public funds in Nigeria is recorded in billions and trillions of naira such that cases involving mere millions no longer elicit media scrutiny or a shocked reaction from the public. The increase in the scale of corruption has been followed closely by an increase in our disillusionment as we are becoming numbed to the mind-boggling figures.
There are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born out of adversity. There are times when things seem so bad that you’ve got to grab your fate by the shoulder and shake it, when we need to repolish our verbal armoury, even though it will demand an emergency treatment on our ruptured throat.
The mass protests that accompanied the removal of fuel subsidy in January this year led to the inauguration of probe panels such as the Farouk Lawan-led House of Representatives Committee examining the fuel subsidy regime, the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (PRSTF) on the management of the oil sector, and to a lesser extent hastened deliberations on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
These panels have all unearthed fraud of epic proportions in the oil sector: N1.3trn ($6.8bn) lost to fuel subsidy fraud, N1trn ($6bn) per annum lost to oil theft (bunkering), opaque oil deals short-changing Nigeria of billions of dollars by marketers and International Oil Companies (IOCs) through gas price-fixing deals and non-payment of royalties and signature bonuses, and other such cases where billions of dollars are lost to various vested interests. This is in addition to monies stolen in Ministries Departments and Agencies most recently, the physical theft of N2.1bn ($14m) in newly printed notes from the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Corporation (NSPMC). The list is endless.
We heard an estimates of over N5trn ($30bn) has been misappropriated since 2010. The global audit firm KPMG rates Nigeria as having the “highest value of fraud reported” in Africa, at N225bn ($1.5bn). Nigeria is rated as the 35th most corrupt country, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The figures and the reports are revealing as they are damning.
The initial shock at the scale of corruption is gradually giving way to a numbness and indifference. Many like me perhaps, have given up on using calculators to convert the billions of dollars to whatever currency equivalents just to grasp the full scale of funds lost. We’re gradually drifting to a comfortable zone of intentional ignorance convincing ourselves that the $6bn dollars lost to subsidy fraud or the hundreds of millions of dollars lost daily to oil bunkering are mere numbers. The reality though, gnaws relentlessly in one’s subconscious knowing that the judicious utilization of these monies could significantly improve the ailing education sector, health sector, transport infrastructure and the fortunes of the whole country, yet they are diverted by a few.
As the quality of our public services and infrastructure continues to deteriorate, we have become numbed by the scale of corruption and decay and instead find it easier to seek lesser alternatives. This translates to outsourcing education to private schools at home and education institutions abroad; outsourcing healthcare to private hospitals whose exorbitant charges barely merit the quality of services they provide, and… well, private jets litter Nigerian airports for those who can afford to escape the pot-hole ridden roads or the domestic airlines ably described as “flying coffins”.
The inescapable reality though, is we’ll eventually have to wake up from our reverie and realize that playing the ostrich is not sustainable as we postpone the inevitable. The mismanagement of public funds has direct bearing on our collapsing infrastructure, insecurity, deplorable standard of education, unemployment and a host of other ills which are all interconnected – none is isolated from the other. If funds in every sector are constantly frittered away, then the efficiency of public services and ability of regulatory agencies to regulate the private sector will be affected, resulting in collapsing infrastructure and poor services with barely any maintenance or sustenance.
Feigning indifference means we will individually continue to seek opportunities (legally, extra-legally or illegally) to fund our ability to bypass or “persevere” through the infrastructural decay in order to afford the prohibitive fees and fares in private schools, private hospitals and air travel, and to tolerate the barely mediocre and mostly poor services provided. Hence, the vicious cycle of corruption persists. Ignoring these issues for convenient alternatives doesn’t confer immunity on anyone from the problems therein either. Until we remove the garb of apathy we have won for so long, Nigeria would forever remain in a state of hopelessness.
This reality of our collective vulnerability is constantly drummed into our psyches with the frequency of deadly air crashes notably the Dana Air crash, the air mishap which left Governor Suntai of Taraba mentally incapacitated and the most recent fatal crash which claimed the lives of Kaduna state governor, Patrick Yakowa, General Andrew Azazi, their aides and crew members. Clearly, air travel is no longer much safer than travelling on the treacherous Nigerian roads in dire need of repair.
At some point we will have to ensure our cynicism not only translates to indifference but to collective action towards these issues that affect our daily existence by demanding for accountability and judicious management of public funds. Co uld a fraction of the national energy spent for the better part of the last two months vigorously debating Chinua Achebe’s polarising personal memoirs on the 1960s Biafran war be channelled towards some of these problems? A starting point could be DEMANDING for some concrete action from the government based on recommendations of the Ribadu report (PDF).
Lest we forget the power of collective action, the fuel subsidy protests aka Occupy Nigeria yielded some results – it led to the probe panels which have unearthed and confirmed the scale and depth of corruption in Nigeria’s golden goose, the oil sector. It might be up to Nigerians again to ensure tangible action is taken on these reports and they are not left to gather dust as usual. How about starting with the Ribadu report? Surely it shouldn’t be problematic for the government to implement a report it commissioned…
MALIK PAPPUCCI is a perceptive social commentator who used fiction effectively to criticize economic, social, and moral abuses in the criminal enterprise called Nigerian
Pappucci endows my avid reader with an unusual insight...into the inner workings of Nigeria’s vilest coterie’s .His deeply-felt social commentaries & Repository of Social Conscience helped raise the collective awareness of the reading public.


In 1963, president John F Kennedy, in recalling the words of the author of the epic poem “The Divine Comedy (1321) told a west German audience, “Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality” That same year while speaking to the united nations Emperor Haile Selassie (1892 to 1975) said and I quote “Throughout history, It has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that made it possible for evil to triumph”
“At this critical time in the socio-political advancement of our nation, it is important for all true patriots to join hands and build a new Nigeria. The future of Nigeria is not in the hands of the present crop of politicians but in the hands of men and women of conscience. If our citizens cannot unite to provide a credible alternative to the current set of misfits that litter our political landscape, then we would have no reason to complain about our litany of woes“.
From the blind passion of those that worship power, May Allah extricates our national rulers from psychological immaturity, ideological confusion, spiritual complacency and mental stagnation.
The conference hall of the Oranmiyan Hall, Airport Hotel, Ikeja on Tuesday 15th January, 2013 was jam packed with mostly lawyers dressed in black and white. The hall equally hosted activists, members of the Fawehinmi family and a host of distinguished Nigerians. They were there to witness proceedings at the 9th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual lecture / symposium organized by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association. The 9th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture, titled ‘Economy, Politics and Human Rights: Wither Nigeria?’ was organized by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch.
In attendance were the Chairman Ikeja Branch, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. M.O UBANI, Among the guests included Lawal Pedro, Solicitor-General of Lagos State, who represented the state governor, Babatunde Fashola; Wemimo Ogunde, representing the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Okey Wali, NBA president; and Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate spokesperson; among others.
Also in attendance were the Former Commissioner for Environment, Lagos State, Dr Muniz Banire, Ayodele Akele, the National Secretary of National Conscience Party, NCP, National Conscience Party Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, JAF Secretary Comrade Biodun Aremu, wife of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mrs Ganiyat Fawehinmi, children of the departed luminary, Mohammed, Saheed, Idiat Fawehinmi and Mrs Basirat Fawehinmi Biobaku, The list embraced the Guest Lecturers Prof Chidi Odinaku, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, Mike Iginni, INEC Commissioner, Wahab Shittu, the Citator, Bamidele Aturu, Niyi Idowu, Chairman, Organizing Committee, NBA, Ikeja Branch, the Guest of honour, Lagos StateCommissioner Justice and other distinguished personalities.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, criticized a group of ‘eminent’ Nigerians known as The Patriots, at the annual lecture organized in honour of the late Gani Fawehinmi.
The Patriots, led by octogenarian and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ben Nwabueze, have been at the forefront of a campaign for a national conference in the country, He said.
But Mr. Odinkalu, who reiterated that the national conference does not appeal to him, accused the group of being part of the problems with Nigeria.
“I love Ben Nwabueze. I love Chief (Ladi) Williams. But I think ‘The Patriot’ was a misguided idea…
“I’m not making any allegations but if Ladi Williams and The Patriot are going to lead me, I want them to come out and confess how they ran the country down when they had the chance,” said Mr. Odinkalu, a guest speaker at the symposium.
“I’ll never surrender myself to a Chief Williams. Those Patriots are part of our problems,” he added.
Culpable politicians, lawyers
Mr. Odinkalu also took a swipe at politicians as well as lawyers both of whom he said
had not lived up to expectations.
“Since 1963, we lost an accountable judiciary, and with a police force that doesn’t work, we are in a difficult situation. Therefore, the politicians think they can buy the judiciary and the senior advocates too,” Mr. Odinkalu said.
“In Abia State, they drove away all non-indigenes from their civil service, people who had spent 30 years in the service, we all kept quiet.
“Our children paid different school fees from those who are ‘indigenes”, we all kept quiet.
“If Nigerians cannot live and transact business in Nigeria irrespective of where you come from, then you are not qualified to be a Nigerian,” Mr. Odinkalu said.
The Human Rights Chief further cited examples of Nigerians whose detribalized lives are worthy of note.
Like the late Bola Ige who titled his autobiography ‘Kaduna Boy’; the late Chukwuma Nzeogwu whose middle name was ‘Kaduna’; as well as a former president who practised “genital democracy.”
“We had a former president of this country who had children from all over this country – Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Ibibio…,” Mr. Odinkalu said.
“Gani gave us inspiration to continue in spite of obstacles that appear on the way… The democratization of violence has got to end. And we have got to tell the government to exercise their imagination to end it,” he added.
Another guest speaker, Abiodun Owonikoko, stated that Nigeria has deteriorated to the point where she had become “ceaselessly threatened with self implosion.”
“Democracy is only characterized by participatory governance,” said Mr. Owonikoko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“What we have not been able to achieve in this part of the world is the power of the populace to hold the government accountable,” he added.

Human rights activist, Femi Falana, in his speech faulted the Lagos State Government’s criteria of an indigene being the Vice-Chancellor of its university.
“You can’t have a Lagos State where the Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State
University must be an indigene of the state,” Mr. Falana said.
“It is a university, universal. When you do that, you reduce it to a mushroom university,” he added.
In his welcome address, Monday Ubani, Chairman of NBA, Ikeja chapter, described the late human rights activist as one of the greatest Nigerians to have passed through the nation.
“Every decent Nigerian will feel appalled at the rate we have moved economically and politically as a nation,” said Mr. Ubani.
“The truth of the matter is that Chief Gani Fawehinmi is still very angry from his grave that the problems of the country that truly facilitated his demise, instead of abating, is growing monumentally by the day,” Mr. Ubani continued.
“The nation has been denied growth by pervasive and institutionalized corruption everywhere. No institution or agency of government is spared; even the private sector is not innocent,” he added.
The General Secretary of Joint Action Front, JAF, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, described the Lagos Traffic Law that restricted operations of okada riders on major highways as unjust. He said riders depend on the roads for their means of livelihood.
He accused the Lagos State Government of insincerity, saying that in 2011 when Governor Babatunde Fashola was seeking re-election, he identified with okada riders and promised not to ban their operations in the state.
I thought it must have been the most expensive joke of all time, considering how the Lagos State governor used ‘okadas’ as a ‘street army’ during his election campaign last year. Apparently, those days are gone and forgotten by the governor, he bemoaned. If you know Lagos State very well, you will understand how ridiculous and insensitive the state government has made itself look with the ‘okada’ restriction law on 475 roads.
I have asked myself many times what could have led to this ‘okada’ restriction move which is now obviously an ‘okada’ ban and I certainly can’t figure out any reasonable justification.
If you consider ’okada’ accidents, it’s no big deal. Commercial buses do have accidents daily across the state. Instead of conducting a survey on how many ‘okada’ accidents happen in the state, the government should have carried out a survey on how accessible public transportation is, especially the alternatives to the ‘okada’ where there is any.
The National Secretary of National Conscience Party, Comrade Ayodele Akele, in his speech said: National Conscience Party (NCP) is a child of ideology charged with the responsibility and philosophy of standing for what is right, even if standing alone. It is describe as the last man standing of Nigerian filthy politics because of the political ideology of Chief Gani Fawehinmi and the modus operandi of the party. Reacting to Comrade Aremu’s criticism, He said Fashola got the bulk of the votes that earned him a second term from okada riders and the down-trodden masses in general. He said the governor’s action showed that he had forgotten those who gave him their votes for a second term in office.
Comrade Malik Pappucci