Ukamaka Olisakwe

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I guessed wrong, and being wrong has never felt so good. Last week, we Nigerians conquered our fears and doubts and elected Muhammadu Buhari to be our new president. He promises to protect all of us better than the party that held power ever since military rule ended in 1999. And the loser accepted the verdict without violence. Though I wished fervently for this outcome, nothing could have surprised me more.

Two months ago, when it looked as if President Goodluck Jonathan would either win or manipulate the election to remain in power, I was near despair. My cousin Chidera had just called from Gombe, in Nigeria’s troubled north.…  Seguir leyendo »

Growing Up Fearful in Nigeria

Horror calls down to us from northern Nigeria. Most of the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram rebels last spring are still unaccounted for. On Nov. 10, Boko Haram bombed a high school in Potiskum, killing at least 48 children. Last month, the group killed 48 fish vendors near the border with Chad. And just last week, in apparent retaliation, the central mosque in the city of Kano was bombed, with some 100 people killed.

But fear and religious fanaticism are not new to the north. They are a fate we long ago came to accept. They were already woven into the pattern of life when I was a child there in the 1980s.…  Seguir leyendo »