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I MUST SAY SOMETHING: THE KAMIKAZE DRIVERS OF ABUJA

It is always a thing of joy and pride to visit the Abuja city. Some years back, a special CNN coverage of the growth of Nigeria’s capital city pronounced it as like one of the most promising 21st century cities in terms of beauty. I couldn’t agree less, as it is easy to perceive the great thought that went into planning its structure and order. Sprawling around scenic rocks, it is totally different from a city like Ibadan, which is “flung and scattered among seven hills like broken China in the sun”. While Ibadan, like Lagos grew organically over the years, Abuja is a deliberate imagination of men. It was given birth to by an idea and that has so provided for the primacy of its design. From the city’s entrance, whether from the airport or other doors, you can tell of the systematic allocation of resources and literally draw your movement on paper to trail the city’s concept. It is always a relief to be in an ordered environment, far away from the confusion of ethnic and economic settlements where stress is allocated to its dwellers.

But like the case of any good thing, there are certain spoilers of the vine. For Abuja, almost everyone who drives a car is like a Fox

Abuja junction traffic from ayakubu.blogspot.com

trying to outwit another. Unlike Lagos, which has one popular race track, Abuja is the Grand Prix all by itself. Once a driver hold the steering, all lanes merge into one and it boils down to who arrives at their destination first, even though we aren’t all going to the same place.  I often wondered who exactly gave these kamikaze drivers a license to hit the road. I am beginning to suspect that the case of Abuja is like Calabar city – after Okadas (commercial bikes) were banned, it seems the operators graduated to cab drivers – and this probably is one reason the city’s taxi drivers seem perpetually high. Abuja drivers have no regard for simple traffic rules and flout them with such relish that bewilders a city newbie.
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WILL CALABAR LET ITS CHILDREN DIE?

calabar
Okay I admit that I have a flair for the dramatic as there really isn’t a need for the title of this article. But knowing Nigerians very well, we share this same flair and I am only playing to this national character. Calabar is not the name of a wicked woman who is aborting the destinies of her children; neither are children dying on the streets of Calabar, so no cause for alarm. However, my use of language speaks to another equally important issue that burdens my heart. For me to write about this, which is usually outside the scope of matters I consider ‘note-worthy’, it tells how concerned I am with preserving some of the products of the great city of Calabar. So I hope the right people are reading this; people who can influence change and ensure that we do not lose out in the future simply because we were not careful to invest in our endowments.

Apart from the successes of the state in tourism and entertainment, there remains a lot of untapped resources that we must start investing in. Between the administrations of Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke, we have seen how government can bring prosperity to the lives of people by investing in those areas that are natural strengths for the State. Concentrating on other areas where we do not display comparative advantage is a huge waste of limited resources, and we are not unaware of the effect of this in times past. So this note is just to bring to the fore two other areas where we show relative advantage over other parts of Nigeria.  For these, I believe the State needs to create a strategic plan to enhance our position if none exists at this time.
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BARBECUED BINGO: MY ISSUES WITH ‘DOGMEATISM’

Let me start by saying I don’t eat dog meat, I have never eaten it (I hope so), and do not imagine any instance of my eating it in the future, except of course a terrible war breaks out and man must survive. Fair enough. But the more probing question will be if I support the consumption of this highly controversial delicacy, which by the way, the Chinese consume far more than Nigerians, if we were to go by numbers. The very mention of dog meat as a delicacy produces “yuk!” as a response, or a feverishly face rumpling grin that is typical of drinking Epson Salt. But dog meat is an increasingly popular delicacy in many parts of Nigeria and indeed the world, therefore no disdaining approach will change anything.

I grew up in Calabar with my brother, and we both knew that one thing will never grace our cuisine-polished tongues; dog meat. Down an adjoining street to ours was Mr. Friday, who operated a joint notorious for a large sign posted outside the shack with the tag “404 vs Palm Wine – Come One Come All.” We detested the people who went in there and kind of saw them as vile men, lacking control of their bellies. What made it worse for us was that every Fridays, a pickup truck would pass by loaded with a huge cage containing over twenty frail looking dogs that were probably aware of their approaching demise. Then a few hours later the whole street will be stinking of dog blood, and most people probably do not know that it has a foul odor. These all made it absolutely impossible to sit at table with a hot serving of barbecued dog meat.
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