Reuben Abati

A story around Mama Dawes

Teachers are the most important persons in anyone’s life. Teachers teach us everything that we know. They inspire us. They leave their imprints, almost like genetic imprints in our lives, and those imprints survive forever. They come in different shapes. The teachers in the classrooms, the ones we meet in our life-long journey of searching and probing. The ones who [...]

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    Mbaka: Priest, politician or renegade?

Mbaka: Priest, politician or renegade?

Catholic priests in Nigeria have always captured the public imagination, some of them have served in government positions, some were prominent in the fight and struggle for democracy, some of them have proved their mettle as poets, teachers, musicians, social critics, and public affairs commentators, but Rev. Fr. Ejike Camillus Anthony Ebenezer Mbaka is a cut above the rest, not [...]

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    The online warriors

The online warriors

My criticisms of the excesses of the online phenomenon in terms of its brazen abuse in an unregulated environment has often made me the target of attacks, with many insisting on quoting the opening paragraph of a piece I once wrote along these lines as if it is a memorial verse, but further developments have shown that indeed, liberal, accommodative, [...]

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    Where are the public intellectuals?

Where are the public intellectuals?

Something sad has happened and is happening, and is getting worse in our society: the decline of public intellectualism.  And so I ask, where are the public intellectuals? Once upon a time in this country, the public arena was dominated by a ferment of ideas, ideas that pushed boundaries, destroyed illusions, questioned orthodoxies and enabled societal progress.  Those were the [...]

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    Inside Dambazau’s shoes

Inside Dambazau’s shoes

“See what your friends are writing.”“Who?”“Your fellow columnists. See how they are attacking the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, just because an orderly helped to shine his shoes in public.”“I really don’t see what the hoopla is all about”“Me too”“I think many of our people just like to talk about shoes. For five years, Nigerians kept talking about how [...]

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    Jan. 15: Where we came from

Jan. 15: Where we came from

January 15 every year is Nigeria’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day: wreaths are laid, statements are made, soldiers, government officials and the Nigerian Legion attend parades, pigeons symbolizing peace are released, a dinner is organized for widows of fallen soldiers and there is so much talk about death and dying for one’s country all in honour of Nigerian soldiers who have [...]

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    Do you speak French?

Do you speak French?

I was on my way back from Botswana, after attending a conference organized by the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF). This was sometime in the 90s, on that same trip was Professor Tekena Tamuno, the eminent historian of blessed memory. We boarded an Air Afrique flight from Johannesburg to Abidjan, where we were scheduled to join another flight to Lagos. But [...]

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    Davido, Baby Mamas and other stories

Davido, Baby Mamas and other stories

“What a relief, my friend!”“What are you relieved about?”“It is this David Adeleke and Sophia Momodu soap opera”.“I tell you. It is a perfect subject for a good home video. But what is your own?”“No. Nothing. I am just relieved that the parties involved have agreed to let peace reign”“This will be about the third time I would hear of [...]

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    2015: The year of democracy

2015: The year of democracy

What is the most compelling, most impactful and most remarkable issue in the year 2015 that has just ended? In my estimation, it is democracy: its contents and discontents, its hopes and impediments, and the forceful manner in which these have compelled us afresh to focus on our circumstances and destiny as a people and a nation. In 2015, democracy [...]

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    Remembering Christmas

Remembering Christmas

Christmas looks so different these days from what it was when I was growing up. It is so different it is almost unrecognizable. In this same country, in the 70s, Christmas was a season of celebration, but also of spiritual upliftment, joy abundant, hope, reaffirmation of faith in the certainty of Salvation, and the ritual of that which begins, and [...]

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    El-Zakzaky, religion and the Nigerian state

El-Zakzaky, religion and the Nigerian state

So much has been said about the December 12 confrontation between the Nigerian Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Shia in Nigeria. I guess the point has been well-made that there are faults on both sides.  There seems to be a consensus, however, that the followers of Ali, [...]

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    Why history should be taught

Why history should be taught

There is never a scarcity of shocking events, revelations, encounters and experiences in the course of the interesting times we seem destined to live in. But nothing can perhaps be more shocking than a recent encounter I had with a young man. He had remarked quite innocently to my hearing that he wondered what all the noise was all about [...]

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    Who released, killed and ate our lion?

Who released, killed and ate our lion?

“Did they send you your own share of the bush meat?”“Bush meat?”“The lion in the zoo that became bush meat in Jos”“What’s my own inside? I don’t know any zoo worker in Jos and how could a lion that was allowed out of its cage and got shot end up in my stomach. The kind of things you say sometimes.”“That [...]

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    A reading list for ministers

A reading list for ministers

A day after the present set of Ministers took oath of office, Nigerians took to twitter to recommend books they think will be of use to them and provide necessary knowledge and guidance suitable for the discharge of their various assignments. Tolu Ogunlesi initiated the idea with the tag: #ReadingListNG, and a request that the name of Ministers should be [...]

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    Sugabelly, rape and Audu’s sons

Sugabelly, rape and Audu’s sons

You probably don’t know Sugabelly. I don’t know her either. But it is the twitter handle of a Nigerian lady: @sugabelly, who in the wake of the death of former Governor Abubakar Audu of Kogi State felt the urge to go public with her story. My foregrounding her/story as opposed to his/story, is further affirmation of an earlier submission that [...]

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    The man who would be governor

The man who would be governor

One of the finest persons I have been privileged to know is Odia Ofeimun: the man has a clean heart, he is completely incapable of malice, and in the face of all odds, he has a sunny view of life, add to that his incandescent mind, his absolute brilliance from which has poured forth a prodigious volume of poetry collections, [...]

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