Africa’s Vision: A Second Anthology
In Africa’s Vision: A Second Anthology, Obaze, who deems himself an accidental poet, takes the reader on a journey of eclectic poems, which in the author’s own words are ‘a convenient special-purpose mechanism for the capturing and demythologization of events and people.’
Like most poets, Obaze plays on time and space and even abstracts, as if painting far-flung scenes and scenarios on a subliminal, yet illuminating canvas. Accordingly, his poems unmask in very uncanny ways, humanity, complete with observed foibles. As he underlines, “these poems and odes on human foibles, nature, rebirth, and society, are analogous to doodling done over time. In that context, the canvas is rich and the paintings rendered in very vivid colours are exquisitely captivating.
Africa’s Vision – A Second Anthology, Obaze’s second anthology after Regarscent Past – A Collection of Poems (2015), adds vim to the emerging African voices that resort to poetry to render history and capture events, both sublime and the ridiculous. As the richness of Africa’s oral history and folktales, including moonlight tales, wane, poetry such as this finds both space and salutary coveted niche in Africa’s literary world.
Waning Strength of Government: Essays on Nigerian Governance
In Waning Strength of Government, Obaze draws on twenty-three of his various speeches, policy briefs, lectures and op-eds, to render exploratory essays that dissect some common patterns and trajectories that point anthetically to factors and conducts, which ought to constitute the strength of government, but don’t. In so doing, he unmasks the prevailing weaknesses and waning strength of government – the attendant consequences, and their prevalence and implications for Nigeria.
Such developments, with the attendant reversals, some nondescript and some dramatic, but replete with absence of resilience, leads the author to assert that democracy, “once characterized as probably the greatest expansion of freedom,” has come under assault from within its ranks, as shifts in geopolitics combine with ascendancy of non-state actors to undercut democracy. Cognizant of the suggestion that the democratic system as conceptualized, has not just worked as expected, but is rather dysfunctional, the author asserts that nowhere is this consideration more evident and concrete than in Africa, Nigeria included.
Waning Strength of Government piggybacks on the assertion that Nigeria’s “democracy is in reverse gear” and “the story is that of regrets and missteps.” Obaze employs an inquiry and excursion model using the flipside of McGeorge Bundy’s 1968 seminal book, The Strength of Government, to analyze leadership, political and governance challenges that continue to dog Nigeria’s nascent democracy. The essays in this volume, which are clustered into four groupings; democratic imperatives; domestic development challenges; foreign policy dimensions and leadership and governance, explore some Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT), as well as general challenges and uncertain aspects of Nigeria’s affected democracy.
In this very important work on Nigerian contemporary politics, leadership and dilemmas confronting the nation, the point is made severally, and vehemently too, that the strength of government is not about military capacity or use of force; but about the upholding the rule of law, consolidating democratic institutions and entrenching the social contract between the government and the governed.