From Our Allies

Dear newly sworn-in government officials … 

After four years, you’ll be left with our doses of curses and prayers. We’ll forget the roads you built. The two-room block of classrooms you commissioned, the borehole you drilled with a manual pump. But we’ll never forget how the economy went down and how we battled recession. How the megawatts of electricity never increased. How you canvassed our votes by promising us our rights and how you never did more than wear agbada and pass bills about increasing your salaries. And yes! We will not forget how you raise your two fingers and shout democracy o!

Feature, From Our Allies

How to be a Nigerian Scholar in the West—by James Yékú 

You are “in the abroad” and your views must be seen by these irrational colleagues you have left in the dark as the absolute and irrefutable truths. After all, their research is a mere survivalist response to a parlous postcolonial state you are so generous to theorize in your peer-reviewed essays. Yours is the finest example of scholarship and your prestigious location is the desired Mecca those at home dream only about.

Feature, From Our Allies

How to write about Africa—by Binyavanga Wainaina 

In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book.

Feature, From Our Allies

Opinion: Laugh if you like. But we need satire more than ever—by Owen Jones 

It is all too often those at the bottom of society who are demonised and derided. There’s too little punching up. Where is the scrutinising – and yes, ridiculing – of the poverty-paying bosses, the tax dodgers, or the bankers responsible for economic disaster? Satire can be brilliantly effective at encouraging us to challenge the way our society is run. It is a more crucial element of our democracy than we perhaps think, and we should fight to bring it back to the prime-time slots it deserves.

From Our Allies

Opinion: Is satire in Nigeria worth the try? 

Satirist Elnathan John is similarly cautious about the role of satire in Nigeria. In a tweet, he commented, “Nigerians don’t want any real satire. They’d burn down the station. They want weak impotent comedy they can giggle at.” However, as satire grows in popularity in Nigeria, some disagree. They warn against dismissing this comedic, smart and playful approach to registering dissatisfaction too soon.