Simon Kolawole

     2023 and the Ndigbo question

 2023 and the Ndigbo question

After the leadership elections of the ninth national assembly in June, one fact stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb — not a single Igbo man or woman would be counted among the top seven citizens of Nigeria: president, vice-president, senate president, speaker, chief justice of Nigeria, deputy senate president and deputy speaker. Senator Ike Ekweremadu failed in his last-minute [...]

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    Losing weight to save Nigeria

Losing weight to save Nigeria

This story makes me grin all the time. After our wedding in 2001, my wife and I decided to pay "thank you" visits to family members, friends and well-wishers. We visited my mother-in-law's boss at the time. As we chatted on various topics, we noticed he was sweating inside his well air-conditioned office. My wife, ever alert to people’s well-being, [...]

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    One item missing from the budget

One item missing from the budget

Over breakfast and the obligatory cups of coffee somewhere in New York late September, a bright and enterprising Nigerian lady was, as it were, preaching to the converted on the urgency and benefits of private sector investment in infrastructure in Africa. The previous day at the Africa Investment Forum road show held at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, [...]

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    The wages of waste

The wages of waste

Here we go again. Nigeria is set for a crisis over the implementation, or the non-implementation, of the new minimum wage. The federal government, empowered by the constitution to set the national minimum wage, had approved N30,000 after consultations with state governors, who meet regularly under the aegis of the National Economic Council (NEC), followed by the enactment of a [...]

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    Rhapsody of subsidies and realities

Rhapsody of subsidies and realities

God forgive me. When Yemen’s Houthi rebels hit two key oil installations in Saudi Arabia a couple of weeks ago, I was not sad. I read somewhere that oil could hit $100 as a result and the little rascal in me smiled. I was thinking of the extra revenue for Nigeria, the impact on our forex reserve position, the lifeline [...]

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    On journalism and patriotism

On journalism and patriotism

What is patriotism? The definition should be fairly straightforward: loving your country. One of my favourite all-time tunes is the 1988 song, “Nation and the People”, by The Mandators, with the refrain: “Love your country/Your nation and the people”. They sang passionately: “Some are trying to find solutions to all the problems we have/Some are trying to make it impossible [...]

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    Avoiding judgment debt doomsday

Avoiding judgment debt doomsday

Scary. That, in one word, captures my conclusion after reading a chapter on judgment debts in Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke’s book, Burden of Service: Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General, which is due for public release tomorrow. If care is not taken, judgment debts will bankrupt this country. For starters, judgment debts are court-ordered payments for breach of contract, infringement of [...]

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    The ABC of xenophobia

The ABC of xenophobia

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, God rest his soul, once said: “There can never be peace in a kennel where there are three bones to four dogs.” Simple but profound analogy. At the heart of many communal tensions and conflicts — such as the latest attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa — is the issue of “scarce opportunities”. One [...]

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    We are ALL Nigerians

We are ALL Nigerians

You may not really know how it feels to be stigmatised as a Nigerian until you travel out of the country or have dealings with foreigners. Years ago, when I arrived at the University of Sussex, UK, for my master’s programme, I set out to fraternise with other African students. One evening, I went on a stroll with John Ikubaje, [...]

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    The wonders of Nigeria

The wonders of Nigeria

In February 1998, Gen Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s military head of state, sent troops to Sierra Leone to restore democracy. Major General Johnny Paul Koroma had sacked the democratically elected president, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who fled to exile in Guinea. Thankfully, the military junta was displaced by the ECOWAS troops, led by Nigeria, and Kabbah was restored to office a [...]

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    That $9bn award against Nigeria

That $9bn award against Nigeria

You are forgiven if you think an English high court just awarded a $9 billion fine against Nigeria in a case of breach of contract with Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID), a little-known Irish engineering and project management company. Actually, the award was made as far back as July 2015 by an arbitration panel sitting in London. What happened [...]

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    More questions than answers

More questions than answers

There was some tragic, tragic news on Wednesday: three police officers and a civilian were gunned down by soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo road, Taraba state. When the police started tweeting about the incident, you could feel their pain. As things unfolded, it became clear that these were not ordinary police officers: the three of them — Mark Edaile, Usman Danzumi and [...]

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    Job creation is no rocket science

Job creation is no rocket science

Two matters gripped me at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneur Forum held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, recently. Both strike at the heart of the economic struggles of Nigeria, particularly our current situation. Nigeria, bombarded by youth unemployment and extreme poverty, is clearly in dire straits. The symptoms are manifest in the rising crime wave, either the yahoo-yahoo [...]

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    Just take a bow, guys

Just take a bow, guys

Anybody who is interested in studying the quality of leadership in Nigeria and why our country is perpetually stuck in underdevelopment would have learnt a great deal from the screening of ministerial nominees by the senate. I don’t know where to start from. After the reign of speculation and anxiety, President Muhammadu Buhari finally sent a list of 43 nominees [...]

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    When we go low, we go really low

When we go low, we go really low

On a visit to my mum years ago — this should be in 2009 — I saw an improvised battery-powered lamp on her table. It was mounted on a wood, probably six-inch long, with space for two AA batteries. There were several energy-saving bulbs mounted on the low-tech device. “What is this?” I asked her, bemused. She told me it [...]

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    The Nduka Obaigbena phenomenon

The Nduka Obaigbena phenomenon

I recollect vividly as if it happened yesterday — the day I first had a one-on-one with Mr Nduka Obaigbena, editor-in-chief and chairman of THISDAY Newspapers. I had heard so much about him, the good and the bad, and I had always been fascinated by the good. By instinct, I focus more on the positive side of people, partly because [...]

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October 30, 2019USDGBPEUR
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KANO361474413
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