Tag Archives: Nigeria

On Swaziland’s declaring war on Nigeria

King Mswati III


As a result of Nigerian journalist, Richard Ali’s, satire published in The African, Swaziland declares war on Nigeria.

King Mswati: President of Nigeria, on guard! Swaziland hereby declares war on Nigeria.

President Buhari: *shocked silence* (dials the National Security Adviser). General Monguno, where exactly is this Swaziland?

NSA Monguno: Let me get back to you on that, Excellency.

(15 minutes later)

President Buhari: Ah, Your Highness. My people have been able to locate your country…

King Mswati: I will accept an unconditional surrender.

President Buhari: Your Highness…

King Mswati: I am My Royal Highness!

President Buhari: Sorry, Your Royal Highness. Are you aware Nigeria is located 7,000 kilometers from your, erm, country? That Nigeria is nearly 1,000,000 square kilometers in size, has one of the best militaries on the continent on top of 170 million very colorful people?

King Mswati: Hmmm. 170 million people, you say? Hold on, Mr. President.

(15 minutes later). Mr. President, I regret to inform you Swaziland will be withdrawing our declaration of war. Swaziland is a strict adherent of the Geneva Convention and we cannot treat 170 million prisoners of war as well as we should.

Source: Rauters.


On 2017

2017 has been a long year of facing the consequences of my choices. It’s strange to find out just how much you can insist on in service of your No, exhilarating and scary.

Love lost in ’16 became concrete and there was the delicious ability to interpret and understand how people are people. Compatibility came late with someone new who will not be staying too long either, a black box worthy of me, which is interesting to observe as it all complicates itself.

Travel was the high point of the year, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania and then Italy later on. As was my work as non-fiction editor at Panorama Journal. Passports and visas and worlds without borders is the point of platforms. The creation of platforms is my raison d’etre. The Konya Shamsrumi poetry press was started this year. At its centre is an unusual idea.

In this year, I understood that friendship is not worth it when you have widely different conceptions of what it means. What’s lost is a maybe-potential and that’s nothing at all really.

The end of my very brief “career” working in the public sector armed me with (sad) knowledge (of the true state of affairs) I wish I did not have, which will come in very usefully in the coming year. To be able to see your country clearly and holistically is an amazing thing. And the question of language comes up.

In this year, I have been happy for my mother as three of her kids got jobs in banking and with a government department. Off on their little starts. Sacrifice without pressure from a good heart over years should have this reward, the joy. My second sister also got an engagement ring two weeks ago which is very funny and sweet.

And, I learned that I am getting old and cannot multitask as I used to. While this realization is unlikely to change my nature, I doubt I will find myself doing less things at once all the time now, the need to hire people to execute things to expand the scope what can be achieved is inevitable and, with this, maybe I will be more effective than ’17. 2018 might just be the year I create a machine and maybe even set up a basic household too.

Lastly, I made money enough to be happy, which all said and done is a great thing.

Last last, I’d say ’17 was a fine year. 70% good to me. ’18 will see the consolidation of offices into which I came this year, and one other audacious gamble in the retail trade.

Happy new year in advance to everyone. One day slips into another. We live. And try to thrive. That is all.

– Ra.

On Culture

Qudus (left) and troupe performing at a show.

Qudus (left) and troupe performing at a show.

“Culture in my own opinion isn’t and can’t be for sale, to the highest bidder, culture is supposed to arm the proletariat, as to what is worthy of their actions, should be able to raise consciousness and empower people beyond the need for bread and butter, should be able to be a powerful sector for the reengineering of our value system, should be able to be a teacher like Fela Kuti said, culture and tradition should be a major signifier of our underlining philosophy as a people, who still has a lot to do with self imagination, and it is up to the culture people to make the power people understand this in ways at which they understand the importance of education, of security, of good roads and other sectors in which they invest heavily, without any question of how it adds to the gdp, because they know it does, in an abstract way.”

Qudus Onikeku.

On So Aljanar Duniya

“Aure! Inna ni fa na gaya muku ba zan auri kowa ba sai wanda nake so. Kun san zamani ya sake. Kuma yanzu ban ga abin da zai hana ku ba ni shi ba. Yana da mutunchi da natsuwa. Ba abin da za mu nuna musu. Kuma daidai muke tun da yana da asali,ba za ku yarda in zabi na kasa da ni ba?”

(My translation.) “Marriage! I’ve told you all that I will only marry who I love. You know the world has changed. There is nothing to stop you from letting me have him. He is selfless and a gentleman. His family is as equal in honour as ours. We are alike in temperament, give me a reason why you would deny me someone who loves me?”

Hafsatu Abdulawheed’s So Aljanar Duniya (NNPC, 1980). Present reading.

Today I picked up a book by a much older friend of mine and caught the translation bug.

This is the opening paragraph (and my translation attempt) of Hajiya Hafsatu Abdulwaheed’s So Aljanar Duniya, one of the earliest Hausa language fictions by a woman. It was published in 1980 by NNPC, Zaria. Feedback on the translation is welcome.

Hajiya is my second mother, she’s mother to my law partner Asiya Ahmed. Also journalist Kadaria Ahmed’s mum.

It’s a delight to get to her story, this chronicle of love between a Fulani girl and an Arab she is in love with. The first paragraph draws me in.

Perhaps I will also natsu and work on a translation? The book is a novella really.

– Ra.

On Intimate Partner Violence

I was just on NTA Network Service’s Good Morning Nigeria show, alongside a cop, Saidat Musa, from the Police Gender Unit, with a psychiatrist in Benin, a criminologist in Kaduna and an NGO activist in Lagos linked in. The subject was “intimate partner violence” and I tried to give a legal-oriented view of it, tying in the nature of crime and its constituents. However, because of the limited time and the full house of panelists, there are two things I wanted to say which I had no time to.

In northern Nigeria, we have this saying “wa za aura bazawara?” It’s meant to be a wisdom and also rhetorical–who marries the divorcee, who dares marry a divorcee, who is foolish enough to marry a divorcee, why would anyone marry a divorcee? All captured in one four-word fatwa. This leads to the stigmatization of divorced women in our society, and I’m told this is common in other cultures and regions, nationwide. To avoid this stigma, women have put up with a lot of abuse and internalized a lot of violence. This is changing as more women fight back in several ways, including violence and psychological counter-abuse. All lead to misery. Intimate partner violence. We should stop stigmatizing women, especially, but men also increasingly, who escape from toxic relationships.

Related to this. I favor an all-of-society approach to this issue of intimate partner violence. The educational curriculum, the latest learning from psychology and psychiatry and criminology and sociological sciences, as well as law and criminal justice, need to be scaled into a cocktail of interventions that will prevent intimate partner violence and at the same time change perceptions and punish perpetrators.

Can’t recap all I did say (because I wasn’t listening to myself 😌 ) but this is in addition to what I said on air, and I felt to put this out there as well.

Sorry I failed to give a heads up on the program.

– Ra.

To My African Friends Concerned About the News From Nigeria

It is true have been having serious separatist issues, accompanied by hate speech, spearheaded by someone called Nnamdi Kanu who wishes to channel the nostalgia for the short lived Republic of Biafra. We fought a civil war over that in the 60’s. He is a charlatan who was coddled too long until he got out of hand. It was a serious issue, including ethnic hate speech and violent extremist violence too.
A few days ago, the Army submitted its analysis that his group is a terrorist group. The state governors from the southeast have proscribed the organization yesterday. We are waiting to see what happens after. There was some tension even in my hometown, which is in the north-central Nigeria, but it’s been contained.
So, don’t worry too much. Now you see a bit of why I laugh at you guys for your political impasses. Nigeria is far more complex, the crisis is as routine as the corruption is vast. This is a federation overheating, but this is also a federation that always manages to let off steam.
I’m okay. Thanks for the concern.
– Ra.

On the Rape Culture in Nigeria

Reverse descent of Man


On the issue of the rise of rape in our societies and its current popularity on social media, I have chosen an engagement. There will be no emotive post about it from me. I have instead accepted to join the board of trustees of Karniel’s Next Generation of African Men’s Initiative (KNEGAM Initiative) based here in Abuja. Its stated objective is to “empower boys so they overcome challenges as they transition from boyhood to adulthood”.

I see no justification for rape at all except a disregard for the sanctity of a body that is not yours. Yet, everywhere I see various cop-outs that more of less justify this traversing of another’s body. Whether the victim is male or female, a child or an adult, there is only one implication. I believe that the point of 5000 years of civilization is the privileging of the human body as being above that of any other animal from which it is, in fact, indistinguishable. The implication of a rape culture is to turn us all back 5000 years and more, so we are no different from any “lower animal”. We thus become lower animals. This eventuality I will not accept.

So, I will do my little bit to work with kids so they have a balanced sense of self and know where they stand as inheritors of many centuries of advancement and civilization and thought. The initiative is targeted at male kids because they are most in danger of inheriting bad assumptions as a result of the current power relations in society.

KNEGAM Initiative is run by a friend of a friend, Uchenna Idoko, in the name of her son. I thank them for asking me on their board. I am certain it will be a platform to fight bad ideas that threaten to send us all back to the times of pre-history. I hope my contribution will be concrete.


– Ra.