Okey Ndibe

About the Author Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe is an acclaimed Nigerian writer, essayist and political columnist. He teaches African and African Diaspora literatures at Brown University. He is the author of Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Connecticut College, Bard College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He has served on the editorial board of Hartford Courant where his essays won national and state awards.

Bad road in Nigeria. Photo: premiumtimesng
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Sorry, But My Country Is Ugly

What lofty and enduring dream could sprout in us when we have become accustomed to squalor, habituated to decrepitude, made our peace with detritus? What hope is there for us when we fetishise Dubai and flaunt our expensive Louis Vuitton handbags, and yet fail to realise that our country has become—is—an endless open toilet, overflowing with septic sludge? Okey Ndibe chronicles his recent visit to Nigeria, which he describes as a “nightmare”.

Members of the "Bring Back Our Girls" movement, holding a banner showing photographs of some of the missing, march to press for the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 from their school in Chibok by Islamist group Boko Haram, during a rally in Abuja on January 14, 2016.  Photo: ANP/AFP Stringer
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Throwing a Lavish Party for the Dead

I have said this before: one of the hardest tasks is to predict how Nigerians would react in any given situation. We are a perplexing bunch, able to defy the most skilled pontificator. Imagine, then, my constant frustration. As one who has written for years on Nigerian affairs, I am often asked—both by audiences in Nigeria and abroad—to pronounce on the likely turn of events in my country of birth.

South African students protest on the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA
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The Revolt Of Mandela’s Grandchildren

Okey Ndibe: South Africa is in the midst—some would say the very incipient stage—of a major political and cultural revolt. One of the most remarkable things about this movement is that young people, mostly university students, are leading it. I call them Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, but the nature and context of their ongoing struggle render that designation highly vexatious.

President Buhari.  AFP/ Getty Images/ MUJAHID SAFODIEN
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Herdsmen, Actions And Consequences By Okey Ndibe

Two weeks ago, alleged herdsmen armed with rapid-fire guns and machetes descended on the Ukpabi Nimbo community in Enugu State, killing and maiming scores of victims. Images of heaped corpses, including children, hospitalized survivors with cuts and gashes, and the charred remains of burnt homes were widely circulated on social media. I’d suggest that public repulsion and outrage ran at close to boiling point.

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group take part in a rally on the second anniversary of the abduction of Chibok school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
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The Small Things That Spell Big Failures

Two Wednesday’s ago, I got a phone call from a reporter at one of Italy’s major newspapers, la Repubblica. It was the second anniversary of the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State. In a macabre move, the terrorist group that abducted the girls, Boko Haram, had released a video featuring some of their victims. The Italian reporter sought my response to the traumatic event.