Child Custody Proceedings In Nigeria I

 

In divorce proceedings  in Nigeria under the Matrimonial Causes Act the party seeking custody must provide details of the maintenance arrangements made for any offspring of the marriage. Offspring includes adopted children.

When filing for an uncontested divorce under section  15(2)(f)after living 3 years or more apart that is the primary thing that the court will look to determine. If you are looking for a quick uncontested divorce then be thorough and detailed in writing up a maintenance agreement.

Anticipate any future conflicts that may arise; don’t just agree that school fees will be paid by either parent. Agree and document which schools you as parents would like the children to attend and make it an integral part of the agreement or the party responsible for paying may insist on a cheap but sub standard school and deadlock payments after your decree absolute is granted.

Stipulate precisely how custody will be shared if you intend to share custody or have a regular visitation schedule.  Don’t accept a vague ‘spending some weekend with father (parent) depending on the situation and exigency of work.’ A parent has to make time to regularly and in a non disruptive manner visit their offspring.

Children need stability and routine, not a father or mother that ‘drops in’ when they please or on a whim. That is in the best interest of the child and should be reflected in establishing visitation rights and schedules and in the maintenance agreement.

In addition if offspring are to spend alternate holidays with one or the other parent the agreement should be specific on the provisions made for childcare as it can become a contentious issue if the children are exposed to danger or threat.

Some men in Nigeria see child custody as their property right. In many customary legal systems once a bride price has been paid for a woman all children born to her thereafter ‘belong’ to her husband till the bride price is returned. They may lack the capacity to care for children in a nurturing manner but use this obnoxious custom to deny an ex-wife custody and visitation either punitively or vengefully.

Others leave custody to the women and refuse to support children financially so long as she has custody or until the children are old enough to seek them out independently.  Some women do the same thing, leave and have nothing to do with their children till they are of age to seek them out.  The offspring grow up traumatized not by the divorce but by the separation from mother or father.

The Nigerian Supreme Court  has warned that custody should not be used punitively against an erring party, i.e. presumably the one whose behavior led to the grounds for divorce.  The fact that either party committed adultery or was violent to the other is not enough to deny that party custody. The petitioner must prove that the children’s physical, mental and spiritual welfare is at risk from that party’s behavior.

Under the MCA and more recently the Child’s Rights Act custody is decided by the court based on the child’s perceived best interest. If you are a mother seeking custody and your spouse is contesting custody now is a good time to tell the court if he’s a closet alcoholic that spends days hiding in his study while on an alcohol binge but be ready to provide evidence.

If you’re considering a divorce except there is a clear and present danger you shouldn’t be too hasty about taking the first step. A divorce or separation is a major transition and should be planned for with as much care and thoughtful insight as the wedding was, part of those preparations include collating evidence to support your grounds for divorce as well as making sustainable economic plans.

It also note worthy that the party requesting custody is required under the MCA to reveal if he or she has committed adultery. So if your spouse is likely to demand custody proof of adultery could block that request.

 

Advertisements

An Ancient Mothers Voice on the Nigerian Revolution

 

I hear eloquent orators in the town square, they send the sheep out for peaceful protest with the wolves. What on earth do they think will happen? Because a handful has mastered the white man’s way of government they insist that a 150 million people must follow them into an abyss to protect it. I see through their ruse and their positioning for leadership and power.

What hypocrisy is this? They claim to speak for the poor and yet they do not live like the poor. At least their hastily adopted icon Fela had the sincerity to live with and like the people he claimed to represent. What do they understand of the poor?  They are the few that live in large mansions by questionable means exploiting the many who toil and labor daily.

The poor don’t care for a revolution! We just want to live in peace make a living, raise our children, and build a house. We have no time for a government that has always been alien to us. These are not our leaders they are just ‘government’ a place you go to loot and steal. We know this. We’re not fooled by all this rhetoric, my children read Animal Farm and Things Fall Apart.

We know you are the pigs that took over from the white man and are no better than the white man, come to impose taxes and make laws that have no meaning to us. You are crooks and thieves and it’s only the crooks and thieves amongst us that have joined you and your high stakes games. We know this. You cannot deceive us. We are not deceived.

We have called for our children to come home and leave you to your madness; we won’t let our children die again at the hands of liars and unbelievers! Come home my children come home. I will call and cry till every last one of you comes home. Even that stubborn one that tells me Nigeria is one. Come home daughter you are deceived, they have you under a spell.

The people beyond the hills have said they will kill you and the government of the white man is not interested to protect you. Come home my children.  The white man’s government attacks its own people protesting against them for raising the price of bread. They cannot protect you from the knives and bombs of the people beyond the hills who kill in the name of their gods!

My daughter insists that she will not return! What will I do? What can I say to her? My daughter! Please come home now! See my old breasts, do not break an old woman’s heart.  She is a stubborn one. She calls herself progressive and scientific. She rejects the religion of her fore fathers for being too superstitious and deceptive.  She rejects our male gods for being too fierce and blood thirsty.

She demands what she calls ‘empirical proof’, ‘empathy’ and ‘tolerance’. My daughter these are big words, we are simple folk, and we kill a snake before checking to see if it’s poisonous.  We run from danger before asking what it is.  When the big masquerades come out to fight we watch them from a great distance.

When I say the white man’s government is alien to us, she says the world is changing. She preaches ‘one Nigeria’ but what is this thing called Nigeria? Who is she and who are her gods? My daughter says Nigeria is the daughter of a New World Order, an economic order of wealth, health and prosperity for all, a humanist order of equality, cooperation and interdependence.

The world has grown very big indeed she tells me, bigger than our little village. She tells me there is a whole Universe out there.  She says we need only grow and get strong to be like one with the other nations of the world.  She dares to tell me there can be no equality between a rich master and his poor slave in a community of peers.

What do I know of such things? I am an old village woman and a mother I care only for the lives of my children! I am not like the Lady of the Dark Forest whose children are warriors. She glories to send her sons into battle, each head lost returns 5 to her shrine appeasing her blood lust. Her daughters are eager to have sons and to raise many warriors, for in bloodshed they bestow much honor and glory, enough to make a warrior mother proud.

My children honor me with the fruit of the land, their harvest and their songs.  They told us that Independence meant an end of the white man’s government, a return to our ancient sovereignty but they lied. They turned our farms into stagnant fields running with blood over the black oil the white man covets so much. They display our gods like war spoils in their museums and earn a bounty of boons.

She stills resists me! She still defies me! Daughter! Come home!  Flee to the safety of the woods! She was always the fearless one. Boldly visiting the dark forests, swift rivers, deep lakes and raging oceans her brethren feared and breaking their awe over the people with her playful irreverence.  She played with the dieties as with her peers and playmates, shared their stories and had huge rows.

She spoke to me once of hearing the voices of the long dead ancestors, of asking questions and hearing answers.  She told my children her siblings not to be afraid, she brought light to the darkness of their voodoo hearts, and she brought them empathy, compassion, beauty and love.  She was symbolic proof of the possibilities beyond the boundaries of our world view.

When my children saw the size of the Universe they dispersed to its many corners to discover its secrets. In the city of the white man’s government the many gathered to make the world a better place. They set up new gods and new rules and said to the people worship or perish and the people worshipped and perished, this white man’s government where people go to steal and loot and then fight over their loot and plunder.

We are simple farming folk, what have we ever cared of wars, uprisings and battles?  We banished thieves and killed murderers, named and shamed the scandalous and immoral, punished evil doers and nipped wickedness in the bud. What do we know of the people that now rule a Nigeria that still includes us except that they will come again in 4 years time with more transient gifts and promises?

The names change but they all look alike to us, well fed, well groomed and well spoken. They laugh and make fun of our accent, our beliefs, and our way of life at their many gatherings  to celebrate another triumph of their evil plans of domination and plunder.  They lure our daughters to their beds with their loot, they corrupt our sons with bribes.  They are not one of us. We are not of them.

These strangers cannot protect my children. Come home children! Do not listen to the fearless one, the stubborn one! Come home before they slaughter you!  The white man’s government does not respect protestors against their way of life not even in the land of freedom across the sea where my children were slaves. They even shoot woman that protest, like they did they in Aba 1912 and like they did last year in Jos.  What more will they do to my young handsome sons!

You are in danger come home! They will slaughter you or leave you to be slaughtered by the fanatics and fundamentalists!  Husband, I turn to you, the spirit that guides us, the father of all.  What have you done? Forget this white man’s madness, leave the dead to bury the dead and the zombies to fight with each other.  Call home your children to rebuild our ancient kingdoms and find true Independence.

They do not care for you! To them we are nothing more than peasants and natives and now they call us The Poor.  Still in need of superior enlightenment and the exorcism of evangelism. They care nothing for the ‘poor’.  They don’t know the poor and they sure as hell don’t understand us.  All they will say when you die is how unfortunate. They won’t even remember your name.

Stubborn One will you come home yet?

Workshop on How to Use the Nigerian FOI Act 2011

Training Workshop:

Learning to Use the Freedom of Information Act 2011

One Day Workshop

Contents

  1. Review the History of the Act – What Does it Say?  How Did We Get Here?
  2. How  Can it Impact Our Lives as Nigerian Citizens?
    1. In Our Business?
    2. In Our Democratic Engagement?
    3. In our Advocacy?
    4. In our Analysis?
    5. In Our Rights as Citizens?
    6. In Our Rights as Workers?
    7. In Our Rights as Consumers?
    8. In Our Work?
    9. In Our Homes & Families?
  3. How to Bring an Action for Information Under the FOI Act 2011 – Legal Practitioner
  4. Scenario Building – Facilitator
  5. Target Audience: Civil society, community based organizations, journalists, lawyers, community and opinion leaders

Speakers:

  • Barr. Yusuf Sani
  • Barr. Ojobo Atuluku
  • UNDP
  • National Democratic Institute

Facilitator:

  • Lesley Agams Esq.

Cost: NGN5,000

Venue: No 4 Oyo Street, Area 2, Garki, Abuja FCT

Date: Saturday January 28, 2011 and Monday January 30, 2011

Time: 9am – 5pm

Booking Information

  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Telephone Number:
  • Address:
  • Organization:
  • Job Description:

 

Send booking information to lesleyagams@yahoo.com

Only pre booked participants will be accepted.

My Thoughts on the Nigerian Revolution

Fuel subsidy must go, I’m of the do it quick school of thought, don’t drag out the pain. Personally I am really angry that this fuel subsidy issue has been used to regularly and intermittently destabilize my life for the past 3 decades at least that I remember. As a free market social entrepreneur I cannot endorse its continuance.

As a citizen that has had the privilege to travel to many other countries I also know that we as a nation are extremely wasteful of our resources.  Even in Senegal they conserve electricity and think twice before they drive down the road to the super market,  not only in the US.  We want to live like Las Vegas and then complain of poverty when something threatens our very extravagant lifestyle.

I’ve frequently been told that I am privileged and that we have to fight for the ‘poor masses’  who will suffer the attendant economic hardship not me.  I find it all sorts of hypocrite and wrong for all the privileged people constantly speaking for the poor masses.  Is it your plan to keep them perpetually ‘poor’? When do we start treating them like people that deserve  that same ‘privileges’ that we enjoy instead of poor people?

I may be one of those ‘privileged’ (by your insistence not mine) but I come from very humble beginnings. My mother’s family was typically European working class.  They detested handouts, pity and the patronizing rhetoric that told them they were poor or needy.  They conserved their resources not because they were worried about climate change but because that’s how real folks lived.

My father’s family were simple  farming folk, noble but ‘poor’ even though my father and his brother were ‘privileged’ to travel abroad before anyone else in their village. I grew up in the family homestead in the village. My numerous paternal aunts, uncles and cousins didn’t want hand outs either.  They didn’t want subsidies. They too were conservationists by necessity.

Both sides of the family only ever wanted one thing, to do honest work and make an honest living. Anywhere in the world that’s what people want and we the ‘privileged’ few that have the opportunities to make decisions about the future of people and nations should start focusing on the economy. Like Clinton’s 1992 campaign  pointed out “It’s the economy, stupid”.

The removal of the fuel subsidy is about the economy and whether we want to admit it or not we have been making progress on the economic front and in the economic indices.  Growth is up across Africa, led by Nigeria and South Africa, there are more investor dollars and Diaspora dollars pouring in than ever before.  Investors and foreign professionals are coming to Africa instead of running away.

Corruption is a huge problem and it MUST be dealt with sooner than later and while it may not be the reason the protests started it has come to the surface as a key cause of the popular discontent.  It looks like the only way to appease the protesters right now (before they turn into a mob) is by making concrete and measurable goals to cut government waste, tackle corruption and make some arrests.

The faceless cabal that has been siphoning Nigeria’s money into their private bank accounts needs to be exposed and prosecuted. The government can’t get away with not naming them because to say there is a cabal is an admission that they are known and identifiable.  Someone should tell Mr. President Now is a good time to act while the people are out there to support his actions by their presence in the streets.

When the fuel subsidy removal debate started I wrote about it here. The government stated clearly that they wanted to save money. I asked then how much we could save cutting NASS salaries and benefits.  I think it is completely obscene that members of the National Assembly would call an emergency meeting and pass a resolution for the president to reinstate the fuel subsidy without addressing their outrageous salaries and benefits.

Especially after said president has gone on national television and publicly announced a 25% cut in executive salaries.  My advice to the protesters is accept and evaluate the president’s offer first, what are their salaries? What are their allowances? What are the criteria for necessary foreign trips? What are the potential savings? How do we set specific goals to which we can hold the executive accountable?

My advice to NASS, do not insult our intelligence by passing any more resolutions on the fuel subsidy until and unless you pass resolutions to cut your salaries, benefits, allowances and other perks by at least 50%.  If they can’t or don’t I think that that the National Assembly and its officers will completely lack any moral or political authority to make any pronouncements on the fuel subsidy.

Every government needs constant monitoring and babysitting, what mechanisms can the organized citizen sector put in place to ensure we can hold the executive and the legislature accountable on their promises?  Have our existing checks and balances failed or were they merely manipulated because we weren’t watching? How did we let NASS legislate their payroll so high? Where were we? What were we doing?

I believe any demand for a regime change is completely and totally out of order. We are a country that is under the rule of law. There are constitutional means of changing a government regimes and leaders and they have not been exhausted.  Although Jonathan,  like YarAdua and OBJ before him, is the beneficiary of a flawed election he is never the less winner in one of the best elections of the past 10 years.

He is no dictator even if he is a misguided and inexperienced politician.  The Arab Spring ousted sit tight dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Goodluck Jonathan is a democratically elected president in power less than a year. Removing him through ‘revolution’ will not only loss us the respect of the free world it will roll back all the democratic gains of the past 13 years!

When these protests started I was vocal in denouncing them. I felt betrayed that my fellow citizens did not protest the killing of innocents with as much fervor and passion as they protest the increase in fuel prices.  I was scandalized that my fellow citizens did not come out to protest as Boko Haram and its many franchisees  killed innocents across the country, Nigerians of all religions, tribes and ethnic groups and foreigners, guests that  we are supposed to protect.

The more immediate and fundamental threat I still believe is this rogue group that has been publicly threatening to start an insurgency since the Niger Delta militants were given amnesty in 2009 and the shadowy figures that are manipulating them now for different ends.  They are a threat because they dance a war dance on the very fragile fault lines of religion and while the Muslims in Kano protect their fellow citizens as they go to church in other states citizens are being killed in church.

I am a critic of amnesty in Nigeria, it sets a dangerous precedent and seems to reward a group of Nigerians by whatever name they described themselves for taking up arms and terrorizing their fellow citizens and the government.  At the same time I am sympathetic to the plight of the Niger Delta, abused and raped for over 40 years. Fellow citizens why did we not protest the blatant and horrific injustice against them?

I first wrote a paper warning of the consequences of continued repression and neglect in the Niger Delta in 1990 while on national service in IBB’s presidency.  Even then as a young inexperienced greenhorn I could see that militancy and insurgency were inevitable in the Niger Delta unless their economic and living conditions were radically changed.

We’ve making the same mistake now with Boko Haram in my opinion. Two years ago while I was at Oxfam GB we warned that poverty and a drought in the Sahel regions were destabilizing the northern states. We spoke to the media,  the bilateral and the multilaterals, we invited the armed forces, the police and the SSS.  The British and American embassies sent their defense attaches and followed up, the Nigerian Police Force sent their PRO, who never followed up. The rest of the Nigerian security forces ignored us.  Protest that!

While I admire the courage and share the outrage of protesters occupying Nigeria right now I am skeptical that this revolution will have the impact they want. While at Ashoka  I read two papers that studied the growth of the organized citizen sector in Brazil and India. The studies identified the economic and social conditions that supported a sharp growth in the local citizen action and social enterprise.

Level of education and income were key determinants of innovation in the social sector and sustainable home grown social change.  Increase in local philanthropy and funding for social projects were also key and dependant on incomes and economic indices.  These conditions have not as yet been met in much Nigeria and Africa. I believe Ashoka scaled back its operations in Africa after the 2008 US economic meltdown for this very reason.

According to the indicators Nigeria is not yet at the critical moment where the citizen sector  is set to explode and sustain real social change, the kind of social change that goes beyond band aid measures and pro poor policies like the fuel subsidy.  Notice how Nigerian states with a higher population of educated professionals and higher incomes are having more organized less violent protests.

It is in the states with the highest rates of poverty and illiteracy that violence is erupting and this is also where we are seeing increased militancy and insurgency.  While there may be interests that want a civil war in Nigeria it’s not going to happen. Whether the interests for or against civil war use neocolonial, imperial, capitalist or socialist theoretical frameworks to formulate their arguments there are more reasons for Nigeria to stay together than to break up.  A civil war will only be a violent and disruptive turf war.

When I pointed out on Twitter that Nigerian women were under represented in the occupy Nigeria protests some groups trotted out their women but we know their women are not allowed to think for themselves. Some other groups sent their women to church to pray for the nation’s salvation. Surely the God we worship is the one that helps those that help themselves?

Others sent me pictures of women in the front lines of protest and disagreed with my claim. The most disturbing of all those pictures was of a lone female protester half naked in a posture of ‘defiance or despair’ as Minna Salami called it, we can’t be sure but we can be sure that’s not the sort of women’s participation we are talking about.

Will the real women leaders only emerge when their peace keeping and conflict resolution skills are required, after the new partition? I am scandalized that my sisters are paying more attention to this male agenda of violence and dominance than coming out now to mediate this impasse with feminist sensitivity and compassion. This is an opportunity to show a truly transformative feminist leadership and avert more violence, death and chaos.

It’s time for women to come forth and assert their leadership NOW.  Yes we are outraged at our government, at government waste and corruption.  Yes we are livid at the insecurity and the nonchalance and ineptitude of the institutions meant to protect us and our families. Yes we are tired of the broken promises, deceit and lies but we must recognize that the exploitation and oppression is a result of systemic imbalances and inequities that neither a return to NGN65 per liter nor a change in regime can solve.

Now is the time to broker the changes we want to see in our body politic while asking our children out on the streets and our husbands and fathers in leadership  to step back from war, violence and chaos.  Not join them! Not encourage them. We are mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. How can we cook in the kitchen and take pictures while our youth prepare to confront the government’s security apparatus and die?

NOW is the time for real women’s leadership, for a truly liberating and empowering leadership that challenges the status quo.  NOW is the time to calm ruffled feathers, sooth tempers and focus everyone’s attention on the issues at hand. Enough is Enough. There has to be a compromise, the protesters, the labor unions and the government must find their compromise and I think women are the only moral authority left in Nigeria to mediate it.

Like the elite of the Roman Empire before its fall Nigeria’s elite are too busy drinking expensive wines and having orgies they have failed to notice the growing discontent of the people. Meanwhile in their struggles for power and neglect of governance they’ve created hungry monsters, the monsters that terrorize them and think their NGN920 billion security budget is going to protect them.

In the 21st century you can’t live large off the people like they did in medieval times. Levels don change, get with the program people but they didn’t get that memo. Apparently they don’t read the demographic data that passes across their desks every day,  just the proposals and news headlines.  Or maybe they do read it and it tells them something else.

Elites don’t care if they destroy this country they all feel they have chopped enough anyway, they would as soon sow chaos and turn Nigeria into another Pakistan as play nice and cooperate. I maybe privileged but I am not elite or elitist, we’re fighting elitism not privilege. We’re fighting elitist exclusion, exploitation and repression. Not democracy and not an elected government.

Elitism is characterized by hierarchy, dominance, competition and entitlement all masculine values. In order to heal the rifts that have emerged at this most frightening of times, to sooth the outrage of our collective brutalization we need the feminine values of justice, reconciliation, egalitaranism and cooperation to prevail upon us.

My sisters where are you? Can’t we speak for peace NOW not after the war, not after our daughters are raped and traumatized by war hunger and desperation? Can’t we speak NOW and not after we have consoled ourselves on the loss of sons, husbands and brothers? My sisters Iheoma Obibi, Bene Madunagu, Mario Bello, Asmua Saduatu, ,Amy Oyekunle, Hafsat Abiola, Pricilla Achakpa,  Amina Lawal, Ngozi Iwere, Bisi Adeleye – Fayemi  and the  many I can’t mention for lack of space where are you?

I know you’ve been active with the men in the mainstream occupy movement but where are you as women? As the counter balancing force political and social that great feminists like Margert Ekpo and Fumilayo Ransome Kuti  and used to such devastating effect against male excess and entitlement before our Independence? We are in need of a second Independence from a male dominated power structure that brings us to the brink of war and conflict again and again.

Traditionally and historically women countered male excess and youthful exuberance among many Nigerian groups just like we mediate it in our homes every day.  Many African women intelligentsia  have argued that that is the true character of African feminism, pro family, pro children and above all pro woman. Women will disproportionally suffer any violent social or political upheaval.

Are we as women going to let this country slip into greater chaos?  How do we prevail upon this situation? How do we bring our country back from the brink? How do we halt the madness of male led corruption? How do we harness our children’s energy at this moment in history to ensure that change comes through means peaceful and constitutional?

January the 16th is Martin Luther King Jr. day in the United States. I grew up admiring that man and studied him as an adult.  He would be proud of the peaceful protests and the people’s emergence from political apathy.  He also saw the importance of economic development in the black neighborhoods and what prevented it.  I hope that his light shines on us here in Nigeria too.

Economic outlook in Nigeria and Africa is positive for the first time in years; any large scale disturbance in Nigeria will affect the whole continent.  There are a lot of interests that will prevent that sort of destabilization from happening.  Perhaps our worst case scenario is that the military will step in and may or may not offer to hold elections within a year like they did in Egypt but is that a solution? Why do I feel that that’s just what some people want.

I’m no international development economist or opinion leader or political scientist and I’m no pundit, I’ve heard so many arguments for and against the fuel subsidy, the PDP, Jonathan Goodluck, Occupy Nigeria and a new kitchen sink that I can’t begin to evaluate them all.  I’ll leave the details to the experts. I’m a Nigerian citizen,  mother and small business owner whose country, whose sons and whose livelihood are threatened.  My only argument right now is for peace and conflict resolution and for Nigerian women to lead the initiative.

Legal Developments in Women’s Rights Protection in Nigeria 2011

Progress along the bumpy road to increasing prosecution of rapes in the country,

Section 211 of the Evidence Act 2004

‘When a man is prosecuted for rape or for attempt to commit rape or for indecent assault, it may be shown that the woman against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed was of a generally immoral character, although she is not cross examined on the subject; the woman may in such a case be asked whether she has had connection with other men but her answer cannot be contradicted and she may also be asked whether she has had connection on other occasions with the prisoner, and if she denies it she may be contradicted.

Section 234 of the Evidence Act of 2011 (Assented to on July 22, 2011)

“Where a person  is prosecuted for rape or attempt to commit rape or for indecent assault, except with the leave of court no evidence shall be adduced , and, except with the leave, no question in cross examination shall be asked by or on behalf of the defendant about any sexual experience of the complainant with any person other than the defendant.’

Now we need to test this in the courts and make sure that both prosecutors and the defense lawyers comply.

Reading List for 2012

One of the casualties of my living the life of an executive dervish the past ten years has been reading.  I love reading and I love books. I read so voraciously that at the age of 12 I had read a 3 volume medical encyclopaedia when there was nothing else left to read in my fathers and in my uncles libraries.

My father’s reading tastes were revolutionary and strongly leftist but he also had an extensive collection of  esoteric religious books. Autobiographies and the writings of Marx, Lenin, Fanon, Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King Jr. mingled with titles like The Most Holy Trinosophia, Mary Baler Eddy’s Science and Health and a transcription of the Gospel of Peace attributed to John the Beloved.

My uncle’s library presented a more classical English collection. George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss (I inherited his 1956 abridged edition which I still own and read), Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and  classical philosophers.

The difference in the their reading tastes reflected their personal differences, they weren’t the best of friends. My father was an egalitarian socialist and a spiritual seeker and free thinker, my uncle was an elitist capitalist and a knight of the catholic Church. They had huge acrimonious fights over ideology, lifestyle, religion and me.

As part of the ongoing project to reclaim my life for myself and restore its balance I have decided to make a list of books I intend to read this year.  I have been buying books for the past 5 years that I’m only beginning to get around to reading. Systematically and strategically compiling and following a reading list should help me create the time to do something I love to do anyway.

My choices are based on my current interests: Africa, leadership, political strategy, economic development and Azikiwe’s politics

  1. Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent  – Blaine Harden 1991
  2. Africa Doesn’t Matter –  Giles Bolton 2007
  3. The End of Poverty – Jeffery Sachs 2005
  4. Just Another Emperor – Michael Edwards 2008
  5. West with the Night – Beryl Markham 1942
  6. The Memoirs of Catherine the Great – Mark Cruise & Hilde Hoogenboom
  7. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell 2000
  8. Philantro-capitalism – Matthew Bishop & Michael Green 2008
  9. Money Well Spent – Paul Brest & Hal Harvey 2008
  10. Ideology for Nigeria – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe 1979
  11. My Odyssey  – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe 1970
  12. The Spirit of African Leadership – Lovemore Mbigi 2005
  13. Plus anything the ALS Book Club is reading which is usually by African authors and fiction

That’s 2 books a month, one fiction book by an African author and one non fiction book. A brief review of each will also benefit my writing, another casualty of my past life style choices.

What are you reading or planning to read and why?