Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Innocence of the ‘Un-tried’ Convicts: A Review of Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country


By Rowland C. Amaefula

Poised by the vision to comprehend the identity crisis in Nigeria, after having been accused of being ‘igbotic’ by a fellow native Igbo Language speaker who rather claimed strict descent from Ogwashi-Ukwu (Delta State), I was soon jolted by the fact that the other major ethnic groups loosely generalize, at will, both South Southerners and South Easterners as Igbos. Most probably, this was the situation in which Major Kaduna Nzeogwu – a native of Okpanam town, near Asaba in the present day Delta State – “who was Igbo in name only” (79), fired the first salvo for which Igbos were forced to wake into nuzzles of guns pumping out live ammunitions, indiscriminately! I have come to the bitter submission that ‘Igbo’ is merely a malleable geographical location, moulded into any shape of definition as desired by adverse politico-religious tensions. Indeed, this is about the major subtle contention in Achebe’s new book – the mass crucifixion of a people solely on account of their place of origin.


There Was A Country, a four-part non-fiction, is structurally remarkable for introducing a new genre into the literary firmament: a narrative that is laced with quotations from fictions, and its disparate parts interspersed with poems. The structure comprises Introduction, Parts I, II, III, IV, Post-Script, Appendices and Notes. Regardless of form, it is the intention of this writer to pay closer attention to not exactly the overall meaning of the book but the perceivable motivations of the author. This approach has become necessary due largely to the widespread misconstruction of the piece as a pre-meditated convocation of ethnic division that would eventually de-merge the loose unity of the Nigerian state. 


Amid the boat-load of authorial dispositions derivable therefrom, it is imperative to point out that Achebe, in There Was A Country, does not pretend to be a sociologist, a political scientist, a human rights lawyer or even a government official. To this end, he rather states unequivocally that his “aim is not to provide all the answers but to raise questions and perhaps to cause a few headaches in the process.” Further, he charges Nigerians “to ask hard questions, in order to better understand (them)selves and neighbours” (There Was A Country 228). These are not wrong visions, in my estimation. However, some pestle-wielding antagonists (not critics!) are bent on subjecting these visions to a hideous subjective interpretation, which they would first flag off as objectivity. Sadly, even widely-acclaimed objectivity remains so only in the subjective mind of its proponents. Thus, Achebe’s vision continues to wriggle in all manner of interpretations.

Predictably, Nigerian masses eventually murdered the mission of the author! In a terrain where one encounters an incandescent truth whose rays throw off-balance one’s long-standing self-sanctimony, the dread of one’s own image then becomes ineluctable, nay! inevitable. The Nigerian ruling class foresaw their impending undoing in Achebe’s new book and thus, strategized a dead-on-arrival reception of it. Caught in the tragedy of ethnic and aimless wrangulations that define public discourses in Nigeria, therefore, the unthinking thinkers of clannish rulers supervised the miscarriage of the message and ensured the strangulation of same in their tribal fists. Comparable to this disaster is the fact that these tribal war-lords got the wind of the new book well beforehand and chose, as a subterfuge of dismantling the masses, to emphasize a half-page excerpt of the book – page 233 – that served their purpose, and unleashed successive ethnic blows to the rest of the country. 


Regrettably, these self-anointed tribal leaders soon metamorphosed into ethnic demagogues, behind whom their kinsmen queued to echo divisive chants of whose origin and beyond-the-surface purpose they were oblivious. In due course, the healthy and critical debate the author innocuously proposed we ask ourselves was designated a volatile status – a charged rancour condemned by a teeming crowd of Nigerians, largely ordinary Nigerians, who have neither accessed nor assessed the text. Unfortunately, the verbal fisticuffs went haywire, to the very detriment of the ruled who suffer more the consequences of not having the knowledge to be gained from the questions of which they impoverished themselves. While their tribal warriors smiled for the success of their chicanery, the masses are thrown into an even deeper pit of poverty – poverty of the mind!


This disillusionment is sliding into depression in no slow pace. As a faithful proponent of revolution (in the Marxist fashion) as a harbinger of social order in Nigeria, I now find myself arm-twisted into acknowledging that, indeed, the atmosphere is pregnant with betrayals, counter-betrayals and super-betrayals. Roaring aloud is the need to contextualize the impending revolution, along tribal and religious lines – each one revolt against one, lest we have a terrible situation on our hands: a re-play of the hubbub that birthed the hackneyed phrase, ‘No Victor. No Vanquished’ – a mantra Soyinka, in The Man Died, describes as “a sedation of political understanding cunningly confected by those who know damned well who the vanquished were – no, not the Biafrans, but the deluded national polity, a people misled into making sacrifices for the true victors, the civilian and military collaborators in the entrenchment of an exploitative socio-economic mutuality” (ix).

Picture source: newschoolthoughtsonafrica.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Presidential aide's rejoinder to "Bayelsa Crash" article

Yesterday, Spaces for Change published an article, VENTING ABOUT THE BAYELSA CRASH  authored by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri. Hours later, the Special Assistant  to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Mr. Reno Omokri issued a rejoinder. We are happy to present his response to our readers for a balanced perspective. Kindly read and draw your own conclusions. 

Happy reading!

The Special Assistant on New Media to President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri has condemned the attacks on Senior Presidential aide Oronto Douglas in relation to the ill fated crash that took the life of two prominent Nigerians on Saturday.

Governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa and former National Security adviser General Andrew Azazi Rtd lost their lives alongside 4 other passengers in the helicopter which crashed in Okoroba, Nember, Bayelsa State while they returned from the funeral ceremony of Oronto Douglas’ father.

Several commentators via the social media have expressed opinions as to why a “public property- a naval aircraft-belonging to the Nigerian Navy could be used for private purposes by an aide to the president”.

Mr. Omokri stated Tuesday via his Twitter handle, “In our rush to judgment many have made false claims without considering that the victims of their poisoned pen were those in mourning”.

“The mourner DID NOT commandeer any military plane. He and his family and friends paid for boats and private helicopters to ferry guests” he added.

He also noted that one of the invited guests was a retired General, referring to the late General Azazi, saying that “If critics had investigated they would have found out that a 5 star general, though retired, is accorded the office of a general for life. He is given the treatment of a general everywhere he goes, including use of military vehicles.”

A columnist and social crusader writing on the Space for Change Platform Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, made references to the Navy helicopter pilot and aides; officers who met their untimely death because they were signed up to offer personal services.

The Presidential assistant accused those behind the allegations of “making inaccurate assumptions that have hurt the families of the departed” describing it as “uncharitable” and “inhumane” to accuse a “mourner who has suffered additional loss of something he is innocent”.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

VENTING ABOUT THE BAYELSA CRASH...

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

The chopper went down. Souls perished. Investigations, as usual, have been ordered. Three days mourning have also been declared. And the routine blame and counter-blame games erupt among the populations, with the attendant religious, ethnic and tribal twists to a sad story. This is the story of Nigeria!

I am neither going to waste my time on needless lingoes of sympathy nor pour out mundane ‘eye service’ adulation to the departed general Owoeye Azazi and governor Patrick Yakowa as many Nigerians are wont to. Rather, I am going to vent my anger, asking the avoided questions that are begging for cogent answers. The Bayelsa helicopter crash is another eye-opener to the sordid state of governance in Nigeria; the gross abuse of public office; the flight of accountability; and the unprecedented rape of the nation’s treasury going on under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The crash incident clearly reveals the depth of the plunge abuse of public office has assumed with tacit the approval, and support of the current leadership. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Marginalized Niger Delta And Their (last) Chance

By Phillips Akpoviri

Has anyone ever imagined how much of an Eldorado the South-Western region of Nigeria would have become if the vast reserves of hydrocarbons situate in the Niger Delta were largely domiciled in that region? Probably that part would have been at par with today’s eye-catching South Korea with breath-taking infrastructures, while the other parts of Nigeria wallow in abject poverty!

How about if we had these special fluids entirely lying beneath the lands and waters in the South East? We surely would have created another bullish and industrialised Israel in that part of Nigeria while other Nigerians lay tearfully at their mercy!

Friday, 14 December 2012

TOWARDS 2015: THE CONVERSATION HAS BEGUN! (1)



Promoting youth participation in the democratic process is one of the cardinal objectives pursued by Spaces for Change (S4C). The world watched with admiration as America went to the polls which saw Barack Obama re-elected in a keenly-contested presidential election. The issue-based political campaigns, the robust intellectual engagements involving both contestants and voters alike during that election, was a far cry from the ballot-box snatching, thuggery, rigging, sectarian violence and political intimidation characterizing elections in Africa.


Disappearing voter apathy, especially among the youth populations and racial minorities is the single most important factor responsible for the enthusiastic levels of citizen participation and mobilization in the American electoral process. Notably too, nonprofit initiatives played an unprecedentedly large role in helping America engage communities with a history of non-voting, including those communities least likely to be reached by traditional voter outreach methods. Drawing important lessons from that trend, S4C believes that Africa’s giant, Nigeria, is capable of reinvigorating its electoral process in a way that matches the enviably high electioneering standards witnessed in America. To effectively reform the electoral process, concerted efforts must be made to overturn voter apathy, particularly by stimulating public interest and participation in the entire electioneering developments: from the selection/emergence of candidates; formulation of political party manifestoes; election campaigns; voting at elections up to the declaration of results.

When is the best time to prepare for elections? Why and when should citizens get involved? What the benefits of participation? What kind of leaders do young Nigerians want to see in 2015 elections? And most importantly, are there certain persons Nigerians would want to see ascend positions of power? In search of answers to these questions, S4C's Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri facilitated online debates and discussions – spanning over three weeks - to ignite voter engagement and also suggests ways to bring non-partisanship to election administration and competition and fairness to elections.

These are some of the selected responses we got: 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Vs. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: IN SEARCH OF A HEALTHY BALANCE


By Atim Ekemini-Uba
Basically, the company is like a skeletal framework that derives its flesh and functionality from its stakeholders, investors who have entrusted their resources to help it grow and prosper, and the employees who invest their time and professional reputation for the business concerns to flourish. Therefore, the business of business is business towards accomplishing the goals of the corporation.
Be that as it may, the company needs a conducive and a good working relationship to carry out its business. In this connection, the company goes beyond regulatory mechanisms to give back to the society and care for the communities they work in. By so doing, the company builds and sustains a favorable image amongst the public, its investors and stakeholders. The concept, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) evolved from this sense of obligation embedded in “giving back to the society”. It may take the form of human, economic, infrastructural or community development. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

PIB: Why We Must Get Involved



On November 17, 2012, Spaces for Change's (S4C's) executive director, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri was on IgboVille HOTSEAT where intellectual giants meet to brainstorm and forge ahead in the drive for better enlightenment on issues of the day which affects Ndigbo individually and collectively as stakeholders in national development. In the three-hour online discussion with over 8,000 Nigerians logging in from different parts of the world,  she educated the audience about the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a proposed legislation that aims to introduce sweeping reforms in Nigeria's oil and gas sector. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Greying Gracefully


By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

 “Please take some time to bubble and shuffle…after all the hustle and bustle. Everybody wanna celebrate…” – Alex O

The lyrics of the above song by the then reigning musician, Alex O, was a super hit that dominated the airwaves in the 90’s.  As a teen then, I never missed an opportunity to rap, mime and dance to the accompanying “kpokirikpo” dance steps that Alex O introduced into the Nigerian music genre. At no time did I pay any serious attention to the song’s central message: “hustle and bustle”! Now in my early thirties, it has fully dawned on me what it means to hustle.

2012 is my year of hustle! A year I practically ‘grew up’; a year that was full of life’s swings, trials, opportunities, sacrifices, learning and re-learning.  I experienced firsthand what it means to struggle and overcome, and to revel in the joy and excitement that comes with the fruits of excellence and hardwork.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

"Sexy" Banking: A Female Banker's 'SEXCAPADES"


 By Ukamaka Olisakwe Evelyn
  As a new employee in Ecobank back in 2008, we were given targets from the Head Office - to ‘get’ deposits, like they were hanging on trees and all we were to do was ‘pluck’ the monies. Most women told me horrific stories of how they had to affairs with men and women alike, all in the name of getting ‘deposits’.

One particular incident stays with me:

I had walked into the office of this well known independent oil marketer in my region – my church-member, to sell him my bank services, even though every other bank was offering same services. In his expansive office, he offered me this plush chair to sit on, and then he hastily went on to get me drink. I sat calmly, as my heart thudded in my chest, even as I thought of what to tell him since all I had planned to recite had evaporated immediately I beheld his lewd smile. He wore that same slimy smile as he offered me the bottle of Maltina.

“My pretty baby, what brings you to my humble office?” He was frenzied with excitement. He brought a low chair and sat opposite me, his knees almost grazing mine. He didn’t give me chance to catch my breath and confidence. My stomach quivered in fear. He knew this game well.

WARNING!!! Sanusi is flying FG's kite of retrenchments!



At the Annual Capital Market Committee retreat held in Warri, Delta State, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sule Sanusi Lamido advised the Federal Government to downsize half of its workforce in order to maintain a sustainable economy. This recommendation drew the ire of many citizens, labour unions including members of the civil service. As always, Spaces for Change discussed this matter extensively in our discussion room, and this is how one of the discussants, Pamela Braide reacted to the central bank chief's  proposal:

Sack 50% of civil servants? I don’t support such draconian measures, but I’d prefer increase in productivity and examples made out of corrupt public servants. However it is important to make it clear SLS isn’t speaking from any lonely space. We were so occupied with subsidy probes that it flew over our heads when Mr. Steve Orasanye presented a REPORT from a committee set up by government for action! That’s a more important and scary document for civil servants than a million Sanusi rants and explosions. Have you read the title of the committee? Did you recall the Terms of Reference (TOR)? It was specifically set up to suggest ways to reduce cost and increase productivity. That is to say that SLS or no SLS, civil servants should be watchful in 2014!

Waiting to Die...Tales from LASUTH

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Of course, there are more than enough reasons to make one sad in Nigeria; but it never crossed my mind that my Monday morning (3/12/12) could start on such a very bad note. Yesterday morning, I found out that it is "normal practice' for the sick, the weary and the afflicted to be sent off to die patiently, while their names adorn the waiting lists of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. I am shouting because there may be so many out there on "death row" who can't afford alternative medical care; who don't have the voice to complain, and who may never get heard.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sule Lamido Sanusi should resign (1)

At the Annual Capital Market Committee retreat held in Warri, Delta State, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sule Sanusi Lamido advised the Federal Government to downsize half of its workforce in order to maintain a sustainable economy. This recommendation drew the ire of many citizens, labour unions including members of the civil service. As always, Spaces for Change discussed this matter extensively in our discussion room, and this is how one of the angry discussants, Bologi Jimada reacted to the Central Bank chief's  proposal:

Sule Lamido Sanusi (SLS) has always been a stormy petrel seeking attention with his antics. He knows which ears to sing to about the civil service; after all, both him and Ngozi okonjo Iweala have become the hatchet goons of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan's (GEJ's) government. How can he say those things without looking at his own CBN empire? 

For as long as we refuse to cap salaries while creating all sorts of junk offices and agencies to duplicate what had always been the traditional role of the civil service, the rot will persist. Why will SLS pick on the civil service alone? SLS was only being clever by half, that is why he cannot confront the National Assemby (NASS) head on nor the Presidency over political appointees. Regardless of his outbursts, what percentage of our budget has been implemented since OBJ took over in 1999? I'm hearing a scant 40-50% in 12yrs. We make budgets, money comes in, yet government refuses to fund the budget, apparently preferring to build up foreign reserves to impress our big brothers in the west. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Meeting Oby Ezekwesili: A Dame and Her Mentor

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri


Oby Ezekwesili (L) and Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri (R)
First off, I am not a Dame. I am simply a young Nigerian girl desperately hungry for change. The prefix, “Dame” was imposed on me by Facebook friends who constantly address me as Dame VIO despite repeated objections from me. Today, I adopt the controversial title for the purpose of sharing a memorable encounter with Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili; a brief meeting that provided enough support to form a base on which one could build

Oby Ezekwesili is one woman that I have always admired, adored and often found myself emulating her ways both consciously and reflexively. Her intellectual depth, high sense of professional ethics, strong moral discipline and unbroken record of stellar performance both as minister of education and NEITI chief, fed my soul with a rich model of what good leadership looks like. I’d always desired to meet her in person to soak that curious admiration in a wellspring of realism. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

NIGERIANS WILL REJECT ANY HIKE IN FUEL PRICES - NLC

Abdulwaheed Omar, the president of Nigeria Labour Congress, an umbrella union of organised labour in Nigeria has vowed to resist the planned attempts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove subsidy on petroleum products. In a recent press statement, he warned that Nigerians will resist the move and urged the government to cleanse the oil sector of endemic corruption. 
 
The full text of the statement is reproduced below:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Intrigues, hurdles before PIB as House begins debate

As the House of Representatives commences debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) today, PHILIP NYAM hazards the factors that may drive the consideration of the controversial proposal.
 
Preamble:

Last week, the House of Representatives finally resolved that it would commence full deliberation on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) this week. But signs that the bill may meet a bulwark on its way to becoming a law emerged as soon as it was submitted to the House on July 19, 2012 by President Goodluck Jonathan. The lawmakers decried the decision of the president to forward the bill on a day they were proceeding on annual vacation, saying it was a plot to blackmail them. Hence, it was resolved that consideration of the bill would start immediately after resumption in September. Before ruling on that, the Speaker, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had also advised the executive to make available 500 copies of the bill to the House as he disclosed that his office got only three copies.

It will be recalled that after facing several hiccups at the sixth Assembly, the PIB passed first and second readings at the House but was thrown out at the Committee of the Whole. But the present administration resurrected it. However, since reconvening from the annual recess in September, the bill had been listed only twice without debate. The first day it was listed, the House adjourned before it got to the item. However, the second time, which was last week, the PIB was listed on the order paper for debate but when the speaker invited House leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola to lead debate, she instead requested for more time to enable her receive ‘briefing’ from the petroleum minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

"LIVING LARGE" IN GOD'S NAME

By Chris Nwokocha

Since the announcement last Sunday, of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor's aircraft gift, the internet has been buzzing with angry reactions from concerned Nigerians, mostly directed at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, but also at other men of God who are perceived by the public to be materialistic. As a trained minister of the gospel myself, I must say that although I appreciate the concerns of members of the public, I find some of the reactions quite appalling. In most cases, you find that several issues are jumbled together in a most confusing manner, and whenever emotions run high on a subject matter such as this, facts are ignored, and truth becomes the casualty. Let me however make it clear that I am not a pastor, nor do I aspire to be one. I write as a concerned Christian and as a practising journalist.

Now to the issues: 1) Are there fake men of God, that is, those who preach a gospel contrary to what Christ preached, or on the other hand, who preach one thing and practice another?

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Going to Maiduguri 4: Its Time to Stop the Violence


By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Spaces for Change’s latest report, Demolishing Foundations of Peace, found that North East Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a youth, especially a male teen. Among other findings, the study noted that young males were disproportionately targeted with violence in Borno, Kano, Yobe, Plateau and Bauchi states.  Last week’s reported killing of 40 youths by security forces in Maiduguri attest to the frighteningly alarming dimension the counter-insurgency operations has assumed.

Slum, rural neighbourhoods and other areas with very high concentration of youth populations are often criminalized, and on that basis, raided repeatedly during manhunt exercises for members of the Boko Haram sect. Trapped in the middle of persisting fierce confrontations between the Islamic sect and JTF soldiers, there’s hardly any family within communities like Budum, Kaleri, Abagaram, Zannari, Bulumkutu, that has not lost a male son, male relative, uncle or father in the cycle of violence that has enveloped the state for almost 3 years.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Barack Obama wins election for second term as president

Its official! Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American president in American history. Obama was re-elected for a second term on November 6, 2012.
 
President Barack Obama handily defeated Gov. Mitt Romney and won himself a second term on Tuesday after a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states. Obama beat Romney after nabbing almost every one of the 12 crucial battleground states.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Fashola, Okadas Riders Need State Protection Too!


An unidentified okada man believed to have contravened the new Lagos State Traffic Law was today, shot dead by security operatives in the Ilupeju area of Lagos State. The law prescribes punishment for traffic offences, and does not give security forces license to kill offenders. Just a few days ago, an okada man was stripped naked by law enforcement agents. Is this what the new traffic law is about? Like other citizens, okada riders also deserve the protection of the state authorities from such needless attacks and killings.

Please keep sharing, tweeting this story until it gets to the attention of the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

Nigerians have had enough of these senseless killings!!!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Lagos Set to Introduce Bicycles


At a cycling event, ‘Park and Ride’Lagos held recently in Lagos, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Kayode Opeifa announced the Lagos State government's plans to introduce bicycle lanes on major roads across the city. The event aimed to encourage Lagosians to ride bicycles for an enhanced lifestyle. The announcement coincides with the recent restriction of okadas on certain routes on Lagos roads. 
 
A London-based young Nigerian reacts to the news this way: 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

RIBADU REPORT:Report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force

                                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Background

The Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, driven by the need to strengthen the institutions responsible for Petroleum Revenue Management, commissioned the Petroleum Revenue Special Task force (PRSTF) on 28 February 2012. The goal of the Task Force was to support the programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria in enhancing optimization, probity and accountability in the operations of the Petroleum Industry.

As part of this agenda and the issues arising from the various fiscal regimes existing in the sector, there arose an urgent need to establish the streams of revenue flows from the Petroleum sector to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and design systems and processes which would enhance the accountability of each agency or entity.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Going to Maiduguri 3: JTF's Reign of Terror


By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri


Going to Maiduguri 1 

Going to Maiduguri 2

The exact spot where the bomb blast occured
Scene of the blast
As Sani (my driver) approached the palace of the Shehu of Borno in Budum community, the road blocks, the crowded streets and the thickening clouds of chaos and confusion signaled that something was wrong. A bomb blast that went off beside Budum market, injuring three soldiers, had invited ruthless military action and reprisal attacks from JTF soldiers. The JTF onslaught left boldly disconsolate imprints that resonated loudly in nearly every home, in every street, and every corner, within the community. 

Grumbling men, wailing women, unrestrained children and incensed youths milled through the streets, especially close to the smoldering shops and wares strewn in and around what used to be Budum Market. Inestimable quantity of grains of burnt rice, beans, millets, corn, groundnuts, carrots, broken plates, clothing, provisions, drugs and a variety of items littered the entire market area. A handful of local youth rummaged through the ruins, picking objects that caught their fancy. My camera started rolling immediately. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Governors, Private Jets and Public Accountability

The plane that crashed and Governor Danbaba Suntai 
Amid widespread speculations of death and a flurry of condolence messages, an official statement  issued by the Special Assistant to the Nigerian Minister of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, clarified that no one died in the plane crash involving the Governor of Taraba State, Mr. Danbaba Suntai. The governor and  five other passengers, including the governor’s security detail, survived the crash, though they are reported to be lying in critical condition at a hospital in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city. 

The aircraft, Cessna 208, which belongs to the State Governor departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola on Thursday evening and last reported contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z. In addition to being a pharmacist, Taraba governor is also a licensed pilot. He got his license from Aviation School, Zaria in 2010.

As soon as news broke out, especially on the social media, that a serving governor had crashed in his private jet, attention instantly shifted from the crash and the likelihood of survival and spiralled to full-blown unsympathetic outrage.  The reason for the outrage is not far-fetched:  Taraba is ranked among the poorest states in Nigeria with a high population of almajiris (child street beggars). The governor is also among the leading voices clamouring for increasing revenue allocation while currrent state resources remain largely unaccounted for. How could it be possible that a pharmacist-trained governor could afford to buy acquire luxury private jets, build private air strips while majority of citizens under his watch live in abjectly poor conditions? 

Here is a random collection of the questions young Nigerians, especially the northern youth, are asking: 
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