Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TERRORISM: Between Citizenship Lethargy and Governmental Irresponsibility

As the country Nigeria cascades further down the lane of terrorist perplexity and organised chaos, not a few have expressed the hope that perhaps, the pathway to durable peace and security interconnects with the route to active and responsive citizenship. Along this line, the notion is held that citizens must not only complement the efforts of government but must also go beyond the rudimentary and provide useful, intelligent and accurate information required to halt terrorism. This view runs on the heels of the fact that terrorists are human beings who live in the society with neighbours, family and friends hence their ghostly garb must be unveiled by a responsive and responsible citizenry. Any default from the above is considered as lethargical and irresponsive.

Trite as the above may appear, the proponents of this view appear to gloss over the Hobbesian wavelength of reasoning that it is for the avoidance of a state of nature where human life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" that the idea of statehood was built. It is believed that the absence of political order and law leads to unlimited natural freedoms, which include the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to plunder, rape, and murder as terrorists are wont to do.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

KARE JINI BIRI JINI: The Buhari Apocalypse

The words of Buhari were misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately, to entertain the Nigerian public with a sensational story that will keep the presently near-static mill of public opinion running A fight between the dog and the baboon must be one of those very rare encounters in the Animal Kingdom. Animals fight over territory, food, mates, and in defence of their lives, or of their young. It is very hard to foresee the two animals fighting over any of the above because on most of items, the paths of the two animals hardly cross.

In Africa and particularly in Hausaland where this near impossible idea was contrived as a proverb, such a fight can only happen under the influence of man when in hunting he sets the dog to catch the baboon or its baby. In that case, that fight would surely be one to witness. The dog uses its power of speed and strong canine teeth, the baboon his powerful shoulders, limbs, claws, hands, and under extreme conditions, his teeth. And this condition is extreme – a fight for his life or that of his baby. So we better assume that the baboon will deploy his entire arsenal.

The camera of kare jini biri jini Hausa proverb often pictures a very fierce and inconclusive fight between two contenders. We can picture the dog first barking incessantly, with its jaws wide open hoping to scare the baboon into submission. The well-built baboon, on the other hand, is not a coward. He would not jump up the trees to escape the attacking dog; he would not fly. He turns wild too, flexing his muscles, beating his wide chest and destroying the surrounding shrubs to intimidate the dog. He jumps at a branch, breaks it and hurls it at the dog, but the carnivore remains recalcitrant under the command of his master, barking,  … and now ready to charge. And the fight ensues and continues for several minutes and, perhaps, hours…

The Future of News in my Community

 I live and work on the Lagos Island, a community that is webbed in on all sides by an overflowing lagoon and a raging Atlantic ocean, all in Lagos state, the former capital of Nigeria and the country’s commercial nerve centre. From my daily interface with the community and my professional experience as a Journalist, it is deducible that the future of news in my community is telephony.

Lagos is, by most estimates, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world as it is currently experiencing a population increase of about 275,000 persons per annum. In 1999 the United Nations predicted that the city's metropolitan area, which had only about 290,000 inhabitants in 1950, would exceed 20 million by 2010 and thus become one of the ten most populated cities in the world. 

Further statistics reveal that with 3, in size and a population figure of 19, 292,522 (as at 2009) in Lagos, there is a huge spectrum of wealth distribution among the people that reside in Lagos. It ranges from the very wealthy to the very poor. Lagos has attracted and continues to attract many young people and families seeking a better life from all parts of Nigeria and beyond. In this cosmopolitan milieu, the imperatives of communication cannot be oversimplified hence information dissemination remains a huge and thriving aspect of daily existence in the state.

Unforgettable Ameh-Oboni

Attah Ameh-Oboni‘s memory is still very alive in Idah, more than five decades after his passing.
The recent installation of Idakwo Michael Ameh-Oboni as the new Attah-Igala naturally makes many     to recall his father who reigned as Attah Igala between 1946 and 1956.It is really hard to think of one and not remember the other, because, quite naturally, they bear the same surname, and the mind has a remarkable way of linking both. Again, at his recent installation in Idah, the excited townspeople referred to a statement uttered by the Attah’s late father that Igalaland won’t see development until Michael Ameh-Oboni, the son of Ameh-Oboni, sits on the throne as Attah-Igala.

Today, some 57 years later and in partial fulfillment of those words, this has come to pass. Thus the ascension to the throne of a son of Ameh Oboni at the present time is an event of great significance to many in Igalaland. People speak of a fresh burst of development which would soon ripple across the land. Ameh-Oboni was an Attah gifted in many ways, and some say that he was a powerful clairvoyant, and had a connection with the forces of nature. Events in the life and reign of Ameh-Oboni seem to confirm this impression of his being a gifted One. Witness: On one occasion an Eagle swooped and picked a chick from the ground. Ameh-Oboni who was present spoke out and ordered the Eagle to return the Chick, which it immediately did to the surprise of many. Such tales are very popular in Idah today. Another popular account holds that he made a tree to wither within a day when he spoke to it. Other  traditions  speak of him banishing barreness  and witchcraft from Igalaland, which he did with a powerful volition as well as the  sheer strength of the spoken word. At the heart of all these feats was a desire by the Attah to use his gifts to help his people, whether it be by  the means of banishing witchcraft, or helping women out of barreness,or  tackling some other looming problem. In sum, he put his gifts at the service of his people.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Masks and Masquerades In IGALA LAND

Igala Mask 1

Ekwe, leader of Attah's 9 masquerades

Iñelekpe, one of Attah's reverred Nine Masquerades!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aidokanya Idakwo Ameh Oboni on the Verge of History

The new Attah-Igala, Idakwo Ameh-Oboni, has left Lokoja for Ugwolawo at the beginning of a week-long traditional rites for his coronation. Alhaji Yakubu Yunusa, the Majority Leader of Kogi House of Assembly, disclosed this on Tuesday at the house’s plenary session.
He said the performance of traditional rites for ascension to the throne was mandatory on the new Atta-Igala.
“After spending some days at Ugwolawo, the new Attah-Igala will proceed to Idah on foot to meet the Achadu-Oko-Attah, the traditional husband of Attah, where some aspects of the rites would be performed,’’ Yunusa said.
According to him, the Attah-Igala would then proceed to Ojainah in Idah to identify where he would be interred by the time he had vacated the throne to join his ancestors.
“On completion of the rites, the Attah-Igala will address the Area Traditional Council of Chiefs and thereafter ascend the throne in his palace,’’ he said.

Idakwo Ameh Oboni is New Attah Igala

The governor of Kogi state, Idris Wada, has approved the appointment of Prince Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, as the new Attah Igala.

A statement yesterday signed by the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr. Jacob Edi, said the appointment followed the laid down procedure according to the Igala Native Law and Customs as it relates to the selection and appointment of a successor to the throne of Attah Igala. The statement added that the appointment takes immediate effect.

It would be recalled that the stool of Attah Igala became vacant with the death of the former Attah Igala, Dr. Aliyu Obaje who reigned for 56 years. Prince Ameh Oboni was unani-mously selected by the Igala traditional council from the four existing ruling houses.

Prince Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni was born in 1948. He enrolled at the Saint Boniface Primary School Idah and completed in 1960. He was admitted at Saint Augustine College Kabba in 1961 and graduated in 1967.

Nigerian Banks And Their Phoney World-Class Status

Reeling heavily under an attack of exaggerated success and self-importance, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Chukwuma Soludo declared recently that with over 3, 866 branches, a total asset base of N6.5 trillion, a definitive prospect of 7 banks hitting shareholders’ fund in excess of $1 billion, and over 10 of the banks attaining market capitalisation of over $2 billion by the end of the year, Nigeria’s 25 mega banks have achieved world-class status in less than 3 years. 

He went further to add that “the CBN is poised to sustain and strengthen the new banking system, as it remains a key driver in the nation’s effort at becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020”. This assertion and many others in like manner have become esoteric swansongs on the lips of our modern day Reformers who would never miss any opportunity to regale us with how their advent on our shores has secured our deposits in the banks, multiplied our investments, increased our access to funds and loans, and have further solidified our collective symbol of purchasing power (naira).


My Dear Brother, 

I must commend you for your response to the information i posted on the igalanet entitled “VERY VERY LUCRATIVE VACANCIES IN NIGERIA on the 19th of April 2007. I also wish to thank you and others who contributed for their brotherly advice and comments. Your response did not come to me as a surprise as I have been inundated in the past, with similar responses (especially to my column in the dailies) that I am biased against a party. Some say I’m too critical of the Government, some wonder why I seem to continually see issues from ‘a half-empty position and not a half-full position’ while some other persons find it difficult to understand why I fling invectives at visionless rulers, or better still, why I excoriate Nigerian rulers, from local Government Councillors to the President. Most times, I am advised to take things easy, loosen up, join ‘them’ or take the opium and wake up on the other side better. The call or advice to treat public issues with detached aloofness is not new anymore. These days, it comes in different linguistic guises. Some dub it objectivity. Others invite me to see ‘the other side’ or better still, ‘get on the bandwagon.’

The Legendary Inikpi Takes Israel by Storm

Princess Inikpi statue at Idah

 A play by Emmy Unuja Ikanaba Idegu, a professor at the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, recently thrilled an Israeli audience. This was on Tuesday, October 16, at the ZOA Theatre, 26 Eben-Gevirol Street in Tel Aviv. The play, The Legendary Inikpi was staged as a command performance during the commemoration of the 20th years of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Israel as well as the celebration of Nigeria’s 52nd independence anniversary.

Performed by the Israel-based African Israeli Stage, the play is about the war between the Igala and the Benin people from 1515 to 1516. History has it that the Ata Igala (the Igala King), Ayegba Oma Idoko was a bosom friend to the Oba of Benin to whom he always sent eunuchs for his palace. Somehow, a misunderstanding ensued and soured this cordial relationship. The Ata Igala thought the messengers he sent to his friend the Oba were captured by the Oba preparatory to taking war to Ida the traditional and administrative headquarters of the Igala kingdom and if possible, annex Igalaland.
The Ata Igala, Ayegba Oma Idoko consulted the oracle and the ancestors divined that nothing short of the life burial sacrifice of his most cherished child, Princess Inikpi will suffice. Historically, the Ata Ayegba Oma Idoko was said to have resisted the oracle divination and its demand for a considerable length of time until Princess Inikpi got to hear. She walked up to her father and agreed to offer her life via the life burial sacrifice to save both her father and the entire Igala kingdom from the fierce battle ahead. Agonizingly, Ayegba succumbed to the ancestors’ demands and Inikpi’s agreement. Princess Inikpi was thereafter buried alive by the bank of the River Niger at Ida where till date her statue stands at the very spot of the sacrifice. After the sacrifice, the Benin forces were crossing the River Niger to Ida to battle and annihilate the Igala people when they saw the town in flames. What was the need of taking war to a burning people and town they thought, and went back home. The Ata Igala, Ayegba Oma Idoko and the Igala people lived in peace thereafter. Using this story as his historical material, Emmy Unuja Ikanaba in the play graphically represents this unique aspect of the Igala history and he calls to question all over the imperative of selfless sacrifice for the generality of a people.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

France will not negotiate with hostage-takers

France will not negotiate with gunmen claiming to be from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram who have taken a French family of seven hostage, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.

In a video ( online on Monday, the gunmen threatened to kill the three adults and four children unless authorities in Nigeria and Cameroon released Muslim militants held there.

"We do not negotiate on that kind of basis, with these kind of groups," Le Drian told RTL radio. "We will use all (other) possible means to ensure that these and other (French) hostages are freed."

Monday, February 25, 2013

PAUL ODI: Discussions on the Igala Legend

Dear Atayi
 I personally would love to see a poll on who is the greatest Igala musician of all time on this forum. I love Kaka Odogomu, infact she and I have a familial affiliation, but truth be told, greatest musician is greatest musician just like a most valuable player in the game of football can either be a goal keeper, defender, or striker. I think audience appeal, originality and content are what make a musician great and greatness transcends genres. Most musicians-Ikani Ajabiti, yahaya Agbogodo, paul Oj"okweje, Ayoki, and even a few of the olele musician have biopsied Paul odi's lines at one time or the other.

However, a poll will suffice as a study in musicology will not help us determine who the public think is the greatest just like grammy awards are not based on the judgement of a few music producers but also on audience appeal and sales. - Dr Zakari
Dear Atayi
Paul Odi took Agwomu and Agale and weaved them into what became his music which makes it an Igala iconic music.  Ugworo originated from the Hausas and Nupes, a tradition of social entertainment during the Ramadan.  This was then popularized to what we know as Ugwolo today.