Okey Ndibe

Okey is a novelist, political columnist, and essayist. He is the author of Arrows of Rain, a critically acclaimed novel published in 2000.

Posts by Okey Ndibe:

Obiora Udechukwu: Honouring Genius, Moral Integrity

Last Friday, my wife and I traveled from New York City to Canton, upstate New York State, the location of St. Lawrence University. We were fortunate to be invited to take part in a series of events to celebrate fifty years of Obiora Udechukwu’s extraordinary artistic career. Udechukwu is primarily…

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The Wonder Known As Wole Soyinka, By Okey Ndibe

Wole Soyinka turned 80 at the very beginning of this week. For many, that milestone must seem incredible. He looks scandalously young and vibrant, his physique trim, his mind ever engaged with some of the major literary and political issues of our time. He’s the kind of man who provokes…

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Something Really, Really Dangerous, By Okey Ndibe

Something really, really dangerous has happened in Nigeria. It is the reduction of human life to the scale of an ant. It is not about to happen; it has happened already.   Forget all the talk about 2015 and the coming general elections. Forget the debate about the PDP and…

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Towards an Ethnicity of Values, By Okey Ndibe

For me, one of the most disconcerting facts about public discourse in Nigeria—including intellectual exchanges—is the rampant, if not default, deployment of ethnic or religious sentiments. Confronted with issues of moral urgency that demand the taking of principled positions, far too many Nigerians find comfort in embarrassing expediencies shaped by…

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Nigeria and Biafra’s Wasted Memory, By Okey Ndibe

Much is often made of the hundreds of billions of dollars that Nigeria has frittered away since huge deposits of crude oil were discovered within its boundaries. A contemptible, uncreative elite, its obsession with conspicuous consumption matched by its inability to produce anything of value, has overseen Nigeria’s obscene, record-setting…

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Biafra, the Ostrich Mentality and Nigeria’s Tragedy, By Okey Ndibe

There is a sense in which the name of the malaise afflicting Nigeria is Biafra. I have argued before—and I must do so again—that Nigeria’s refusal to confront and address the sore of the Biafran War is the chief reason no nation has been able to materialize out of the…

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Uncle Sam Is In, But Let’s Not Pack It In, By Okey Ndibe

Now that the United States, Britain, and some European countries may be stepping in to help rescue the Chibok girls, I hope that Nigerians won’t fold up, reach for their beers and pepper soup—and go into snooze mode. I doubt that Boko Haram intended it, but the extreme Islamist sect…

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What Do APC, Nigerian Leaders Stand For? By Okey Ndibe

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is now frequently called Nigeria’s main opposition party or group. Which designation raises the question: what exactly does the APC stand for? Or—a different question: In what significant ways does the APC represent an alternative vision for Nigerians? To the first question, my honest answer…

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Jonathan doesn’t know poor nigerians, by Okey Ndibe

If anybody wanted proof that Nigerian “leaders” do not occupy the same space and time as most of their country folk, President Goodluck Jonathan amply provided it in an astonishing speech he gave last week. On April 4, World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, had stated in New York City…

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The Time Of The Gross Domestic Producers, By Okey Ndibe

That Nigeria has passed South Africa as Africa’s largest economy—when calculated by Gross Domestic Product—is almost old news.  The coverage of that feat afforded Nigeria’s image a rare shining moment in the foreign media. As Uri Friedman wrote in The Atlantic, “Something strange happened in Nigeria on Sunday: The economy…

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A Letter To President Jonathan From The Grave, By Okey Ndibe

Dear President Jonathan:   We, the more than 200 victims of Boko Haram’s latest savage bomb attacks, feel we must write to you from beyond the grave. Our simple message is summed up in the phrase: Enough is enough.   As you know, we were dispatched to our sudden death…

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Power, Uninterrupted, By Okey Ndibe

No, I didn’t mean to tease you, dear reader. I didn’t want to leave the impression that Nigeria has magically realized its dream for regular, uninterrupted (electric) power. That aspiration remains unfulfilled, futile even. If anything, the country’s electric power woes continue to worsen. In fact, I spoke a few…

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Abba Moro and the War on the Poor, By Okey Ndibe

I was going to title this piece, “Why is Abba Moro Still a Minister?” but changed my mind. In the context of Nigeria, the answer to the question seemed rather obvious. Nigeria is ravaged by human-made poverty. A society with a humane sensibility would invest every resource and deploy its…

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The Example of Lateef Jakande, By Okey Ndibe

One of my most revered friends rang me a few days ago after reading last week’s column. He wanted, first, to echo my criticism of Nigeria’s public officials who, despite loud claims to having delivered “the dividends of democracy,” are not ashamed to rush off to foreign countries at the…

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Okay, Here Are Some Answers, By Okey Ndibe

I’m often taken aback when some of my Nigerian readers respond to my column by noting a failure to offer solutions. These fairly frequent responses are stated as complaints. It’s as if everything would turn out just fine, the country’s myriad crises would evaporate, once I stipulated what the solutions…

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A National Insult Rejected, By Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck…

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Besieged by the Police By Okey Ndibe

President Goodluck Jonathan is notorious for moving at slower than the speed of a snail when called upon to address issues that rather demand alacrity. Yet, Nigerians are besieged by a terrible plague that Mr. Jonathan can—and should—address immediately. It’s the plague of the “privatized,” lawless police.   Last week,…

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The Shape of Things To Come? By Okey Ndibe

I have had several sad conversations in the past two weeks with friends who, like me, are from Anambra State. The conversations have focused on the local government election held in the state on January 11. One friend, who lives in Onitsha, rang me last week. He pointed to an…

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Billionaire House Helps, By Okey Ndibe

Nigeria’s (misnamed) Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the schedule for the 2015 set of general “elections.” The presidential and National Assembly “elections” will be held on February 14, 2015, followed by state “elections” on February 28, 2015. I have put elections in quotes to underscore a given: the…

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Nigerians Yawn Over Missing Billions By Okey Ndibe

On December 9 and 10, several websites and newspapers published a startling letter that Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had written to President Goodluck Jonathan. In the letter, Mr. Sanusi alerted the president that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit…

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Iyabo Obasanjo’s Mirror, By Okey Ndibe

Odds are that Iyabo Obasanjo is at peace with herself, after pouring out her soul. She must have her own faults, perhaps even grievous ones, but her letter was an act of courage (more…)

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What Anambra Says, By Okey Ndibe

Numerous political pundits stipulated that the recent governorship election in Anambra would serve as a gauge of things to come in the 2015 general elections. Anambra, these pundits suggested, would have a lot to say about the place and direction of Nigeria. If that projection was sound, then we have…

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INEC’s Awful Outing In Anambra, By Okey Ndibe

I’m writing this piece first thing on Sunday morning, so I don’t know yet which candidate and party won – by fair or foul means – the governorship election in my home state of Anambra. But here’s what I can say with confidence: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lost.…

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Gear In Reverse, “Going Forward”, By Okey Ndibe

There’s a relationship between the quality of a people’s imagination – their dream of themselves – and their material condition. It’s possible to say, show me what and how a people think and I can tell you the state of their lives. (more…)

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Beyond Oduah-gate, By Okey Ndibe

For all of two weeks, Nigerians have been riveted by the disheartening revelation that Aviation Minister Stella Oduah approved the purchase of two bullet-proof BMW cars at the cost of $1.6 million. Once SaharaReporters broke the story, we were treated to a predictable game of fibs and obfuscations. First breath:…