Friday, December 19, 2008

For Mugabe, One 'Indian Apple' Please!

I had written this as a comment on Solomonsydelle's post on Zimbabwe.

Pity Mugabe.

He's a hostage to his own history. His own myth. The myth of the Liberator. The African Strong Man who liberated his people from Colonialism. Now he must perpetuate the myth even if nobody but himself still believes it. He must live the myth. Even if it kills him. Even if it kills Zimbabwe.

He's a hostage to a group of greedy old men who make up his inner circle. Men who believe they own the land because they 'fought' for it. Even if Mugabe wants to leave, he cannot because he's beholden to those old men who were his comrades in the struggle.

Hangers-on and Parasites, I call them.

Mugabe reminds me in a way to Baroka in Wole Soyinka's play 'The Lion & The Jewel' in that he feels the need to prove his 'manliness' every time and in every discussion/ situation. He feels the need to be in 'control', even with inflation that has long spiraled out of control.

Pity Zimbabwe.

Hostage to a cabal that sucked her dry and like fastidious parasites have refused to let go even after they have sucked everything in her. Once Africa's Food Basket, now Africa's Basket Case.

Pity Zimbabweans.

Hostage to their own history. Beholden to a cabal who have long forgotten what it means to be responsible to them. I hope they are not waiting for a generation to die out before a Liberator who knows not Mugabe will rise from among them, because then the cycle will only repeat itself.

The latest death toll from the cholera epidemic in that country is 1, 123 deaths (mostly children) and Mugabe who once said the epidemic was over later turned around to say it was part of a 'chemical biological warfare' by some Western countries to topple his government. He had accused everybody except GOD and himself for all the woes befalling Zimbabwe.

He had accused neighboring Botswana of providing a training camp for Zimbabwean rebels.

The guy is on a roll. His party, the ZANU-PF just held its annual convention outside the capital Harare (they shipped in their own food and water) and then launched a new 10 billion Zim-dollar note in a hopeless effort to keep up with inflation. (I never believed that inflation can go into seven digits percentiles).

Then he woke up this morning and proclaimed that no African country has the guts to topple him.

Where are those Indian apples just when you need one?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Look Yonder To Thailand!

Have you heard?

If you haven't, then read this. For those of you who won't bother following the link, here's the News-in-Brief.

The Constitutional Court in Thailand court dissolved Thailand's top three ruling parties for electoral fraud on Tuesday and temporarily banned the prime minister from politics.

"Former PM Somchai's People's Power Party, the Machima Thipatai party and the Chart Thai party were found guilty of committing fraud in the December 2007 elections that brought the coalition to power with a thumping majority.

The case stems from an earlier Supreme Court conviction of a PPP executive committee member, Yongyuth Tiyapairat, who was found guilty of buying votes. Under Thai law, an entire party can be disbanded if one executive member is found guilty of electoral fraud. Similar individual cases brought down the other parties."

Can you imagine that? Why can't we have such a law in our statute books?

Of course, a Nigerian court has declared a sitting government as a nullity before. (Remember Shonekan's Interim National Government?) but that was almost immediately supplanted by Abacha's military junta. In Thailand, the military has been neutral in this matter.

I have always proposed that any political party that is found to rig an election in Nigeria should not only be dissolved and banned but its leaders jailed for a minimum of ten years without an option of a fine. This effectively removes them from circulation and possible further interference in the electoral porcess. In addition, the Electoral Officers in charge of the election should go to jail and automatically lose their pensions to pay for the election re-runs ordered by the courts.

In Nigeria today, you steal an election, you enjoy it for as long as you can, stalling in the courts, with adjournments and postponements, SMS and threats. After about two years of appeals and counter-appeals, the courts finally declare you a thief. You go on TV and talk about 'nurturing our nascent democracy' and 'respecting the rule of law' and then you declare it as 'the will of God'. Then you go home to enjoy your loot and nothing happens.

That is, if you the court does not ask for a re-run of the elections which you will steal again; as a matter of course.

Of course, the INEC Chairman has told us that it is the Nigerian politicians that rig elections not INEC but we all know that it takes two to tango. According to Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4.30, 'If the theifer are not thievry, the buyer will not be boughtery'. A receiver of stolen goods is as guilty as the thief who stole the goods.

I think we should begin a process of including such provisions in our laws. What does it really take to ammend our electoral laws to reflect such? Rather than sitting down lamenting that the country is going to the dogs, we should be agitating to have those laws introduced.

For as long as there are no laws to check the politicians, there may be very little anyone can do to check the brigands.

In other news, can anybody please explain what religion has got to do with local government elections in Jos? Maybe Majek Fashek was right after all: Religion Is Politics. Or vice versa.

Less than 48 hours after 387 people were confirmed dead under his watch, the Plateau Governor Jonah Jang wants to go ahead and swear-in the 'elected' politicians into office.

How callous can you be?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking Over Nigeria

Please read this post by a young Nigerian who has a passion for things Nigerian. Even if you don't agree with him completely, you should be impressed with his 'Can Do' attitude.

Even to the Naysayers, we say it is possible.

There is a groundswell going round the country and the resolve is for us to take our country back.

The post is even written in most part in the past tense. It has already happened!

When your children ask you: 'Mummy, where were you when it happened?'

How will you answer?

Are you game?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Did You Know?

--- William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols, as Capt. James T. Kirk and Communications Officer Lt. Uhura, shared network television’s first interracial kiss in the Star Trek episode "Plato’s Children." The revolutionary segment aired in 1968.

That means so many things really happened in 1968. I can't believe it took that long for a white man to kiss a black girl on screen. Or vice versa.

This really makes Obama's election, forty years later, all the more significant.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gadsby: Champion Of Youth

Gadsby: Champion of Youth is a work of fiction that puts forth an account of goings on in a fictitious city, "Branton Hills." It primarily has to do with a transformation, through youth's vigor, of this moribund and slothful community. John Gadsby, its protagonist—a man of fifty or so—calls upon his town's girls and boys to aid him in his plan to bring activity and vitality back to that vicinity.

Thrust onward by a can-do spirit, this organization campaigns for original civic construction, and Gadsby soon gains a post as mayor.
If youth, throughout all history, had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport.

Gadsby, first paragraph

So what is so important about this?

I know you did not notice that up till now, the letter 'e' did not appear in any of the words or sentences above. That was the primary significance of the story.

Wikipedia says:

'This story of about 50,000 words is most famous as a notably ambitious lipogram, in that it painstakingly omits a most common glyph from all of its paragraphs. Gadsby
is famous for its particular innovation: for all its 50,110 words, it is a long lipogram, a composition avoiding a particular glyph throughout.

A lipogram is a form of artistic constraint that arbitrarily limits an author's vocabulary. Gadsby, skips from "d" to "f" in its vocabulary of around 4,000 valid words... '.

In his introduction to the book, the author, Ernest Vincent Wright writes:

' As the vowel E is used more than five times oftener than any other letter, this story was written, not through any attempt to attain literary merit, but due to a somewhat balky nature, caused by hearing it so constantly claimed that “it can’t be done; for you cannot say anything at all without using E, and make smooth continuity, with perfectly grammatical construction—” so ‘twas said.'

The first chapter of the book and indeed the whole book is here.

See if you can find an 'e' anywhere in there.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fundamental Human Rice & Other Stories

Have you heard that President UMYAwn has started distributing the 10 billion Naira Rice Development Fund established by the Federal Government as part of his efforts in ensuring the Fundamental Human Rice of Nigerians as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

The money is to be made available to rice farmers in Nigeria to empower them 'offset the deficit of over two million tonnes currently being imported annually; boost local production; create employment and conserve the nation’s foreign reserve.’

I know that the price of a bag of imported rice has gone up but even at that the price of the local rice (ofada/abakaliki) is still double that of the imported one. By simple economics, the local rice farmers must be making a killing.

If you have ever wanted to collect your own share of the National Cake, this is your best chance. Did I mention that being a card-carrying member of the 'biggest party in Africa -PDP would help greatly?

Rating The Navy
It appears that the Nigerian Navy is going through some troubled waters in recent times. Its ratings in the opinion of most Nigerians would be at an all time low by now. And this is all due to the activities of its Ratings.

After six Naval Ratings beat up Uzoma Okere for not leaving the road for their oga last week, another set of two Naval Ratings again went on rampage in Ota, Ogun State this time leaving one policeman dead and another in hospital after a scuffle over a girlfriend.

Our people say that when a drum wants to tear, it starts sounding high notes.

Is Obama A Blackman?
This question was asked by Mr. Bisi Ojediran, a columnist with ThisDay Newspaper. But it was really a question I had asked myself during the events immediately preceding and since November 4th 2008. In the article, the writer argues that President-elect Obama is more the product of his 'white' upbringing than his Africanness.

Personally, I believe that the world did not seem to recognize nor appreciate enough the contributions of two 'white' women in the molding and making of the man who becomes the next President of the US - his mother and grand-mother. It appears that people give too much credit to the largely absent parent in this configuration - the Kenyan father.

My Kenyan friends argue that the father contributed the genes (the dominant Y in this case) and you could see the Africanness in his skin color, his respect for elders (he never insulted McCain even in the face of extreme provocation. OK, maybe he tasi Sarah Palin once or twice but na she start am; he no be her mate) and you could see the self-assured cockiness of the Luo in him.

We must also not forget that he spent a few years in Indonesia which would have rubbed off him one way or the other. Don't also forget Michelle, she's been working at him for 16 years now!

I think its a continuation of the Nature-Nurture Controversy that has been on for centuries now. I believe it all contributed to making the unique individual we have come to know.

What do you think? Is Obama a Blackman?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Song For The Canary

Born Stephen Oladipupo Olaore Owomoyela in Oshogbo in 1932 to a part-time musician father who never wanted him to become one based on his own sad experiences as a musician. The young Orlando did everything to please his father, including completing an eight-year apprenticeship in building construction but eventually went to Ilesha to earn his Standard Six certificate.

His kind of music, which he called 'Toye' music has its roots in the local music of the riverine areas of the old Ondo and Bendel states. You would notice the common strain in his music with those of Sir Dr. Victor Uwaifo, Osayomore Joseph, the late Chief (Mrs.) Comfort Omoge and lately in the music of Daddy Showkey, Father U-Turn, African China and Stereoman.

As Western production electronics began to infiltrate the music of other bands, Owoh stuck to his low-tech approach; his music sounds distinctly rootsier than that of other highlife bands and strongly evokes the music's traditional base. He also generally remained true to the small guitar-band format of highlife rather than adapting his style to the huge, kinetic ensembles of the juju genre of King Sunny Ade and others. He sang mostly in Yoruba but recorded music in English on occasion.

On October 19th 1986, foremost Nigerian journalist, Dele Giwa, was killed by a parcel bomb sent to his home. The whole nation was shocked and Orlando in 1987 sang a tribute song to Dele Giwa; in the song 'Ofo to Se Naijiria' ('The Calamity That Befell Nigeria'), he lamented the security situation of the country and made several accusations which the government of General Ibrahim Babangida considered 'provocative'.

It was common knowledge that most musicians lived rather Bohemian lifestyles and encouraged anti-government rhetorics at their shows and concerts. The use of drugs - particularly marijuana- was common in these musicians enclaves. Until then, the 'provocations' of musicians like Orlando, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and others had been largely tolerated by the government but the newly formed National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) provided a new front to their cat-and-mouse relationship.

Orlando and Fela basically shared the same fate. They were the scapegoats of successive military regimes in their contrived fight against the drug trade. They were both jailed on the crime of 'possession'. He spent 8 months in the infamous Alagbon Close Detention Centre by the Narcotics Division of the Nigerian Police. If you know Alagbon, its a fate you will not wish on your worst enemy.

On his return from prison, he released what became a monster hit, though it was just released on a whim. It was called 'The Message': It was based along the lines of the hit of the same name by the Everly Brothers and for me the genius of this song was in the peculiar lyrics as compared with the Everly Brothers' original.

E j'ise mi fun Folashade mi Take my message to my Folashade
E ma so fun pe mo wa l'ewon o But don't tell her I'm in jail
E j'ise mi fun Folashade mi Take my message to my Folashade
E ma so fun pe mo wa l'Alagbon But don't tell her I'm in Alagbon
E so fun pe mo ti rin jina Tell her that I have gone very far
Mo to d'eja oju omi That I have become a fish in the ocean
Amo b'ori ba yo mi l'owo Narcotics But if I ever get out of the clutches of Narcotics
Ao pade 'ra pe l'ayo We shall meet again with joy

In 2006, Orlando Owoh suffered two strokes and also lost his wife within the same year. A couple of months ago, I read in the newspapers that he was admitted at the General Hospital, Agege for some ailments on the bill of the Lagos state government as directed by the Governor Tunde Fashola SAN.

On Friday night, I was at the annual 'Yinka Ayefele Night' at the Ikoyi Club 1938, when the musician started belting out some of Orlando's tunes, apparently in tribute. That was when I learned that the Canary has ceased to sing. He did not survive a third stroke on Wednesday night.

What do we do when the Canary ceases to sing?

We shall
We shall sing
We shall sing a
We shall sing a song
We shall sing a song for
We shall sing a song for the
We shall sing a song for the Canary.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Father's Eyes

My father always loved debates.

He spoke with a stutter so he was not what you would consider an eloquent speaker or debater but he had a way of putting his points across so clearly such that unless you have superior arguments, you don't dispute his views. Back then, he usually has his friends come in for drinks usually at the weekends. He was not much of a drinker himself, but he always enjoyed the company.

Growing up, whenever I was home from boarding school or university, I was privileged to observe and later, to be part of these gatherings. These men were mainly UK trained and the gatherings could be as large as eight to ten men or as few as three. And you know what happens when men gather with drinks; they talk. They talked about women, sports and politics. What else do men talk about?

From these men I learned about history, particularly Nigerian history of which they were a part at one point or the other. Of course, I also learned about women. They were that experienced.

I remember one day, twenty years ago, in 1988, I think it was July/August. As a university student by then, I was allowed to make contributions to discussions once in a while. This time was during the presidential primaries of the US Democratic party and it was significant because a black American, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was a front runner in that race.

The debate was along the lines of the prospects of a black American winning the nomination of his party on one hand and then going on to win the Presidency of the United States of America. As with most African students back then, the candidacy of Jesse Jackson was an inspiration and we believed that he could go on to win the Presidency. I was the sole proponent of that position in that debate.

I remember my father saying that the chances of a black man becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was brighter than that of a black man becoming the President of the United States. To him, the UK society was more racially integrated than that of the US and that the Americans were 'racists' while the Brits were 'racial'. In his words, the Brits would still tolerate a good man (black or white) as PM, but the Americans just plain 'hated' the black man.

By some alcohol-induced prophetic ability, they arrived at the magical figure of a minimum of 300 years after the death of Abraham Lincoln, who somehow was the most significant index for a black man to ascend the presidency of the US according to them. By 1988, that meant another 175 more years.

He was wrong. They were ALL wrong!

Just twenty years later, Barrack Hussein Obama, a black man IS elected to be the 44th President of the United States of America!

I wish my father were alive to witness today. Maybe he would have shed a tear or two. Maybe he would have bawled. Maybe he would have just looked on incredulously because you see, a black man is yet to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!

He would have been 72 years old today (11/6). He would have popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate. He would have graciously conceded he was wrong and while it would not have dampened our celebrations, I am sure he would probably have looked for a reason why his prediction failed.

Of course, I would still have done my Obama Victory Dance in his face.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Our people say that 'when a handshake goes beyond the elbow, it is no longer a greeting, it has become a wrestling match'.

How does one explain this charade going on? You say you released Jonathan Elendu but you 'arrest' his luggage and personal belongings. Haba! Una no get shame?

Make una 'free' the guy abeg.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adventurers In Power

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching Moments with Mo Abudu on TV when she had as her guests the former and current Governors of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola S.A.N respectively.

On the show, Tinubu revealed that a few months to the SDP House of Assemblies primaries in 1992, he had had no intentions of running for public office until one 'party elder' tapped him to run for the Senate in his constituency. He did and he won.

Fashola too revealed that one month before the AC gubernatorial primaries in 2007, he did not intend to run for any office but was just rounding up his activities as Tinubu's Chief of Staff, when his boss and some other 'party elders' tapped him to file his nomination. He did and he won.

This actually prompted me to look at the past leaders (rulers?) of the Nigerian state and how they got to there. Of all Nigerian heads of state/government from October 1st 1960 to date , only three of them could be said to have actively sought and got to the highest seat in the land. More instructively is that all three of them got there through the machinery of the most effective political structure in Nigeria - The Armed Forces! (you wanna argue that?)

These gentlemen are the late General Murtala Mohammed (1975 -1976); the very alive General Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993) and the very late General Sanni Abacha (1994 -1998). Of these two died in office while the third was unceremoniously booed out of office.

Of all the 36 governors in Nigeria in 2006, Umaru Musa Yar Adua, Governor of Katsina state had made it quite clear that he intended to retire to his country-side farm and spend the rest of his days smoking Benson & Hedges and enjoying his family. However, in the eyes of the PDP 'elders', that made him the best candidate for President in the 2007 elections. Today, he is president.

Hapless, sometimes clueless, obviously in ill-health, but he IS the President.

Solomonsydelle asked: 'Is An Obama possible In Nigeria?'.

I will say No. And not because of the reasons given by Walter Carrington.

You see, in Nigeria, power is given to the unprepared not to those who want it. To get power in Nigeria, just be unprepared or pretend that you don't want it. Forget Jimmy Cliff.
You can get it if you really don't want it. Am I even making sense?

In my last post, I mentioned Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state as the only person to have become governor on the orders of a court without contesting in an election. Till date, some 'king makers' in Rivers state are still reeling under that judgment.

Most of you do not really have interest in political office in Nigeria and from the foregoing, that makes you prime candidates for political office? But what if you -yes, YOU -were tapped today to become governor of your state in 2011, what will you do?

What if you were tapped to become the President in 2011? What programs would you have in place? What would you do first?

Its possible you know.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Nigeria: This Nation Under GOD

' .... and that this nation under GOD, shall have a new birth of freedom that the government of the people,
by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.'

- President Abraham Lincoln,
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; November 19, 1863

All life is relationships.

Everything in life relates with another or owes its existence in relation to another. More importantly is that we all owe our existence to the fact of our relationships with other people.

Umuntu, Ngumuntu, Ngabantu - A person is a person because of other people. This, I believe, is a Zulu saying and it forms the basis of collective intelligence in any community/society. It precludes any one person from having a monopoly of knowledge (or of existence) in any form. It forms the basis of a commonwealth of peoples engaged in a common endeavor be it in a school, a town, city or even on the Internet.

But can there be anything like 'over relating'?

The recent arrest - invitation - of Citizen Jonathan Elendu a foremost online journalist and publisher of Elendu Reports is an unfortunate pass in itself but the reactions of some Nigerian bloggers to the whole issue makes it such a tragedy. Some are misinforming. Some are just ridiculous!

Let me state here that I am not in support of any effort that denies any persons - Nigerian or not - their freedom for any reasons at all particularly where such efforts are outside the dictates of the law. Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

I am not that old - don't laugh- but I have lived long enough to now that when issues come up, nothing is black and white. There are a lot of grays everywhere in-between and I tend to look at those grays to find a meaning within the event and understand it better, if necessary.

I do not believe that Jonathan Elendu was arrested for blogging.

Let us establish that first. Apart from his activities on Elendu Reports, most of us know little or nothing about him. And as I stated in one of my comments on Nigerian Curiosity, if his recent reports are anything to go by, then I suspect that he actually had his fingers in a number of projects that had to do with Nigerian politics. Especially his PR job for Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.

Amaechi is perhaps the only person in the world who became governor of a state on the orders of a court without taking part in an election. If you understand that politics is essentially about relevance, then you will know why some people will not be happy. This is the Rivers state where Candidate Peter Odili captured 98% of total votes cast in an election that had 13 other candidates and which had 100% voters turnout. Nobody died, traveled or relocated between the period of registration and the election date. And of course nobody was sick on that day.

I don't think anybody can eat with pigs and not get his clothes stained. Particularly the Nigerian pigs. I think Jonathan Elendu is just a pawn in this game of the powerful.

Does all I these justify the continued detention of a Nigerian citizen? No. My purpose is not justification. Even an armed robber still has his right to Habeas Corpus so why not a journalist?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nigeria: The Happy Anthem

Hail Nigeria Glorious Land
Ever Blessed By God's Command
Land of Heroes and Our Pride
May True Justice Be Thy Guide
And Thy Sons and Daughters Be
Ever Happy, Ever Free

Great Nigeria We Love Thee
Land of Wealth and Liberty
We Shall Fight to Save Thy Name
From Oppression and From Shame
May Thy Friends Find All They Seek
And Thy Sons Be Wise and Meek

May The Niger Ever Flow
And The Green Fields Ever Grow
In Our Father Land and Home
Where The Waves From Beaches Foam
As Nigeria's Ensign Flies
And Our Happy Anthem Rise

copyright 1960

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nigeria, I Believe

Wednesday the first of October 2008 would have gone like any other public holiday in Nigeria. I got out of the house to attend a Communion service for the 60th birthday anniversary of an Uncle. The family had gone out earlier to the Uncle's house.

It was Nigeria's 48th Independence Sober Reflections Day. President UMYAwn had directed that there would be no celebrations on that day but everybody should spend the day in 'sober reflections'. I guess not many people agreed with him. At least not in Lagos. Everywhere I turned, ariya was in full gear. There was one party of the other lined up on the day full owambe stylee.

If we cannot celebrate your Independence (whatever it means), we can celebrate our Nigerianness. Abi?

At the birthday party I met some guys who had gone to 'The Platform' a program at which some powerful speakers like Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Poju Oyemade, Leke Alder and others were billed to speak. They were obviously excited about the program and we talked a lot about Nigeria. I was particularly struck by their positive outlook on everything Nigerian - even where they disagreed with each other on how to achieve some goals. The positive glow was a carry over from The Platform.

On Thursday, I got to the office and on my blog rounds I noticed that almost every body had done a birthday post to Nigeria - and Catwalq. Then I also read Flying Snow's positively powerful post on Nigeria's Independence.

Later in the day, I saw Pastor Tony Rapu on TV talking about his church program wherein they work with area boys and destitutes from under Lagos' famed bridges. The program is tagged 'God Bless Nigeria'. From Pastor to Area Boy, they were all turned out in the same ankara uniform and they were celebrating Nigeria. All of them.

Of course I got the 'Rhapsody of Realities' October Anniversary Edition. Someone dropped it in my car.

All these warm activities by Nigerians and the corresponding apathy by the political class reinforced something I had always known. Our salvation does not lie in our politics. It is in our people.

I don't think any of the people mentioned above from the Church leaders, Bloggers to the Area Boys were doing whatever they were doing for reasons of 'patriotism'. I doubt if they even knew what patriotism means. They did not need a Presidential proclamation to do what they were doing, but they were doing it for a love of 'something'. And an implicit belief in the 'rightness' of what they are doing.

'Something' they knew was bigger than all of them individually but which if they nurture it by putting in their own little bit would only get better - for all of them. Something that belongs to all of them. Something that for want of a better name we have agreed to call Nigeria.

You probably would have noticed that I have been going round blogville with this i-love-my-country-i-no-go-lie funk for the past few days. And I intend to dedicate all my posts for this month of October to Nigeria. Her greatness and her problems.

I will ask you to join me in this effort to locate Nigeria in the context of her greatness. We cannot do otherwise.

Welcome to the Greatest Nation On Earth.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Agony Of A Motherland

I have just read Solomonsydelle's post of last year on the pride and pain of Nigerian citizenship. I no fit disagree with a whole SSD but I would rather want to reverse roles a little.

Like Atutupoyoyo, I would rather see our relationship with Nigeria as that of a child to a parent rather than vice-versa. What will you do if Nigeria were your mother?

Even if we agree to ALL her shortcomings.

Will you strip her naked for the world to see or will you remove the shirt from your back to cover her nakedness?

Nigeria We Fail Thee

If you scratch ground small,
You go find oil, coal, gold plus precious stones
And the people? Adults wey dey work hard
And small pikin wey GOD take bless us left and right...
Wetin other countries dem dey find,
We get am!!!

If you were in Nigeria in the late 80s and 90s, you would know the above 'rap' that goes along with the song 'Me I Like My Country' quoted on SSD's post.

I doubt if Lord Frederick Lugard really knew what he was doing in 1912, when he suggested to the British Foreign Office and successfully 'amalgamated' the Southern and Northern Protectorates with the Colony of Lagos in 1914 to create what is known today as Nigeria. His intentions were far from altruistic as he was more concerned about his inability to get the 'darned natives' to cooperate with him in ending their 'barbarism' through his Indirect Rule system. More importantly, it was vital that Britain gain control of unclaimed areas before Germany, Portugal, or France claimed the land and its resources for themselves.

He did not know that by that singular act, he had birthed the greatest nation on earth.

Like many people then and since then, including historians, economists, political thinkers - and very many people who are Nigerians - Nigeria is just a geographical solution to a political problem, a resource/means to an economic end. And that is their mistake.

Many people look at Nigeria in terms of its abundant resources both natural and otherwise and believe that is the raison d'etre of its greatness. But even if you take away all the oil, gold and other etchetram, etchetram resources that lie in its soil, air and waters, Nigeria will still be great.

With over 150million people (and still counting) from 280 different ethnic nationalities crammed into about 971,000 square kilometres of land space (plus/minus Bakassi), renowned political pundits (and the Brenton-Woods Institutions) are still scratching their heads why we have not finished killing each other off as other humans would have done or divided up the land into a million fragments as other humans are wont to do.

(In comparison, the USA is about six times the size of Nigeria with a population just about 1.5 times and without its potentially volatile ethnic diversity. The average American has six times more space than the Nigerian to avoid getting into each others' faces.)

Nigeria was described by Professor Bayo Williams in the Nigerian 25th Anniversary Edition of the Newswatch magazine (October 1985) as 'the biggest problem of the professional obituarists'. Every time they pronounce her dead, like the Phoenix, she rises again. And again.


I believe that Nigeria's greatness is in its people. Yes, Nigeria's greatness is in Nigerians.

We are also its greatest problem. Think about it. Of any problem you want to ascribe to Nigeria and you will find a Nigerian.

Nigeria is not corrupt. Some Nigerians are. (We are not necessarily more corrupt or criminally minded though than any other peoples. Erm, we just do it with more aplomb. With attitude. We do everything with the swagger.)

I have travelled around Africa quite some and in discussions with non-Nigerians, they tell you about what I call the 'Naija Swagger'. We don't see it in ourselves but others do. Most other Africans can't understand it and find it annoying. That, to me, actually explains the obvious animosity towards the 'green passport' at most immigration points. It is a fear arising from the perceived unpredictability of the Nigerian. With some jealousy.

I have since stopped letting it bother me. I have learned to cope - with a lot of patience. There's a price you pay for greatness. I have stopped apologizing for it. And I think that's what we need to do as Nigerians, to stop apologizing for Nigeria because Nigeria has done nothing wrong.

(If some Nigerian decides to get involved in crime in Saudi Arabia for instance and is caught, you expect me to identify with it? Why? Have you ever heard the US government or people pleading for Americans convicted for crimes in countries like Thailand? In fact, most Americans distance themselves as much as possible from such incidences. You never hear of such on Oprah.)

This greatness is in every Nigerian (not the Guinness advert). We are all trying to actualize this greatness within us and in the process we get impatient with other Nigerians who are probably not moving at the same speed as we do. And this explains our individualistic outlook to life. We want it like yesterday. We can see it. Why can't everybody just get it?

So we become everything to ourselves. Generate our own power and water, build our own schools and roads, literally become our own governments because we believe the government is too slow to do some things we wanted done - like yesterday. And when we can't, we simply go to another country where they have those things we believe we need. Then we blame Nigeria for not having them.

So, what to do?

If not I, Who? If not now, When? . I can't remember who said that but its the question we should be asking ourselves as Nigerians.

The Nigeria I Seek Begins With Me!

Repeat this to yourself every morning when you wake up and before you sleep. Yeah I know it can be difficult but remember to repeat it to yourself next time UMYA takes another of his 'trips'. Adequate health care for all Nigerians does not depend on him, it depends on me!

Those of you who are people of prayer should pray for Nigeria everyday. I do not advocate outsourcing our problems to GOD. No, let's do it our selves. Bless Nigeria everyday and send warm thoughts of love to any part of the country you think is hurting. If you can't think of any where, send it to the Niger Delta or just send it to your village. There is nothing like too much love, is there?

Welcome To The Greatest Nation On Earth!


Monday, October 6, 2008

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Mosquitoes

I am very sure you didn't know Number 18.

1. The world’s largest statue of a mosquito is a roadside attraction in Komarno, Manitoba, the Mosquito Capital of Canada. (“Komarno” is Ukrainian for “mosquito.” What’s up with that?) Sculpted in 1984, it is made of steel and has a wingspan of 15 feet. It’s also a weathervane, swiveling in the wind.
2. There are more than 2,500 varieties of mosquito (some entomologists claim 3,000) whining from the Arctic tundra to the tropical rain forests. Most are active at dawn and dusk, while others enjoy midday feeding. Protein is where you find it.
3. In 1998, researchers found a new mosquito species in the London Underground, descended from ancestors that flew in when the tunnels were dug 100 years ago. Once bird-feeders, they now feast on a menu of rats, mice, and people.
4. They rarely interbreed with their aboveground colleagues. Their DNA actually varies from one subway line to another.
5. Mosquitoes do not bite, they suck.
6. It would take 1,200,000 mosquitoes, each sucking once, to completely drain the average human of blood.
7. Which seems unlikely, but then again in the Arctic, Canadian researchers who bared their arms, legs, and torsos reported as many as 9,000 bites per minute from swarming, newly hatched mosquitoes. At that rate, an individual could lose half his blood in two hours.
8. Once a feeding mosquito is full, a chemical signal shuts down the intake. When that signal is disabled in the lab, mosquitoes suck until they explode.
9. It is hard to get upset about that.
10. According to a University of Bristol study, male mosquito “ears” are packed with about as many sensory cells as human ears, helping amorous mosquito males identify and pursue passing females.
11. When a mosquito detects the whine of the opposite sex, it begins to synchronize its own pitch to match that of the potential mate. Randy males can “relate” to girl frequencies in a second or two. Females take several times longer to synchronize. This is the same with humans in a bar.
12. Mosquitoes can mate in midair, often in as little as 15 seconds from approach to fare-thee-well. There are no known instances of prior cocktails and dinner.
13. Male mosquitoes are actually sensitive vegetarians, living on nectar and plant juices. Only females drink blood, for protein to make eggs.
14. Millions of years ago, mosquitoes were three times as large as they are today.
15. Eyes occupy most of the surface of a mosquito’s head. Not eyes into which one might wish lovingly to peer, these compound-lensed organs deliver infrared images of heat patterns emanating from a body. Like the alien in Predator.
16. Mosquitoes also use your exhaled breath to track you down, especially when you sleep or have been exercising. Fortunately, they clock out at only 1.5 mph—so you can’t hide, but you can run.Unless you’re on a treadmill. Then they’ll get you.
17. Central America’s so-called Mosquito Coast (a thin strip of land along the Caribbean in Honduras and Nicaragua) is not named for the insect, but after a mispronunciation of the indigenous Miskito Indians.
18. Abuja, Nigeria, is home to the world’s biggest mosquito net, unveiled in 2000 as part of a national campaign against malaria and other insect-borne diseases. Two hundred children fit under it.
19. Millions of people alive today will die of a mosquito-transmitted disease. Malaria alone claims some 1,000,000 lives a year in Africa. Other top killers include dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus.
20. But they won’t die of AIDS. HIV-infected humans actually have very few virus particles in their bloodstream, and should a mosquito suck one up, it gets killed by the mosquito’s digestive system.

Now you know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Knowledge Is Power - Update

In ancient Greece, women counted their age from the date on which they were married, not from the date of their birth - a tradition many women appear to follow today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Knowledge Is Power!

' Hookers got their title during the Civil War, when Gen. Joseph Hooker, of the Union Army, tried to boost morale by allowing prostitutes access to his troops. Quickly dubbed "Hooker’s girls," the prostitutes shortened the name to "hookers." The term stuck.

Now you know.

Insult Upon Injury!

This Georgia matter has bee on my mind since the last post and I have somehow been following the events in the news and on CNN/BBC/FOX/NTA. Okay, strike out NTA. Bust seriously ask me which one concern me for the matter sef.

The thing is assuming a new dimension now. It seems everybody is just hurling insults left, right and centre as if they are giving awards for the most painful insult.

First, Russian President fired his own salvo:

"The world has seen that even today, there are political morons who are ready to kill innocent and defenseless people in order to satisfy their self-serving interests, while compensating for their own inability to resolve complicated issues by using the most terrible solution -- by exterminating an entire people. I think that there should be no mercy for that. We will do our best not to let this crime go unpunished."

He was speaking at a visit to the military headquarters at Vladikavkaz, near the Russian-Georgian border. Each side accuses the other of "ethnic cleansing" during the conflict over South Ossetia, which erupted August 7.

The Wall Street Journal also reported the Russian newspaper Pravda writing the following
critical words about US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

The constant arrogance and hypocrisy of this failed female makes it that much more apparent that here is a person way out of her depth. Instead of regarding sensitive issues from a balanced viewpoint as she is supposed to do, this incompetent loud-mouthed, bad-mannered, [barnyard vulgarity]-mongering bimbo takes one side, ignores the other and then speaks down from a holier-than-thou platform as if she were on a lecture dias [sic].
This is not a classroom, Condoleeza Rice, and you are not a diplomat. You are a liar, a cheap, shallow, failed, wannabe actress on the diplomatic stage

At least American journalists (Keith Olbermann notwithstanding) don't engage in this sort of name-calling. Or do they? An Associated Press dispatch on John McCain's vice presidential prospects refers to Joe Lieberman as "the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent." C'mon, guys, we didn't like him then either, but that's no reason for name-calling.

The WSJ also reported about a guy who was asking GOD for rain on Obama's parade:

"An outdoor event, too, is ... vulnerable to unpredictable events. NBA and NHL games are hardly ever rained out. True, neither are NFL games, but they frequently are rained on. Some people are hoping that happens to Obama, as London's Telegraph reported last week:

Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family, one of America's leading evangelical groups, was shown in a video filmed at Denver's Invesco Field, where 75,000 are expected to cheer Mr Obama on Aug 28, asking Christians to pray for "torrential" rain.
"I'm talking 'umbrella-ain't-going-to-help-you rain,' " the former pastor and television meteorologist said. . . .
Mr Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family, insisted the video was supposed to be "mildly humorous." But it was hastily removed by Focus on the Family after complaints from at least a dozen of its members. "If people took it seriously, we regret it," said Tom Minnery, a spokesman.

This prompted MSNBC oddball Keith Olbermann to name Shepard "worst person in the world." ... The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader quoted Olbermann, who seems to believe that praying for rain is effective in achieving the result:

"It's not boyish humor, pal," Olbermann said last week. "There are droughts in North and South Carolina, parts of California, most of New Zealand, and this idiot who firmly believes he can induce rain by prayer is wasting it by asking his lord and savior to play a political prank. It's not boyish humor, and you're a selfish hypocrite."
Finally, the Washington Post ran a piece on Georgia's Recklessness that I liked.


What? You don't think this was an update?

Well, it is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

WTF was the President of Georgia drinking when he ordered his troops to attack Russia?

This one is a clear case of ' trouble sleep, yanga go wake am'. You know say you no go fit fight you go tap sleeping giant wey get boil for armpit. No be wahala you dey find?

Even if Russia was occupying land that they believe was theirs, why didn't he take the Cameroun Option and go to the World Court to state his case rather than attack. And the attack was on a Russia that had been looking for an opportunity to exert itself and use its rotting ammunition and restless soldiers.

Well, I understand that Russia has ordered a halt to all hostilities as they have ' punished' the aggressors. Exact wordsof Russian President Medvedev: "The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized." Now the Russians are asking the Georgian army to disarm and quit another disputed region outside of South Ossetia. Can you imagine? Talk of insult upon injury.

While one may join Dubya in asking Russia to 'reverse' its aggression and return to pre August 7th positions, I think someone should also smack the Georgian President Mikheil Nik'olozis dze Saakashvili for his youthful adventurism (he's just 40) and unnecessary risk of the lives of his countrymen. The attack was a waste of lives and resources.

Hopefully sha, next time when dem see dem Mama boyfriend, dem go call am daddy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rule Of The Law

' ... But where say some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend
He reigns above and does not make havoc of mankind like the royal brute of Britain
Yet, that we may not appear defective even in earthly honors
Let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter,
Let it be brought forth and placed on the divine law, the word of GOD
Let a crown be placed thereon by which the world may know that
So far as we approve of monarchy, that in America
The Law is King!
- Thomas Paine in
Common Sense; January 1776

One word. Aondoakaa.

Mr. Michael Aondokaa is Nigeria's Attorney General and Minister of Justice. A very powerful position if you ask me. Right from the beginning of this government he had tried to make it very clear to all and sundry that he means business as far as the adherence to the dictates of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is - imperfect as it is. Some say it is incomplete.

More importantly, the President Umar Musa Yar'Adua (a.k.a UMYAwn) has also made it clear that he intends to follow ' the law' to the letter in every matter and situation. In fact, the way the man chants ' rule of the law' at every opportunity, I suspect that a marabout somewhere had probably appointed that for him as the talismanic mantra for him to succeed in government and hold all perils at bay.

No. I do not think it is bad for UMYAwn to want to distance himself, style-wise, from his immediate predecessor in office, who obeyed the law only whenever it suited him.

The problem is as far as I can see, to UMYAwn, Aondoakaa is 'the Law'.

Those who know the AGF describe him as a brilliant legal mind, a consummate court room combatant but like all humans , he has his flaws. Many contend that Aondoakaa is a bully. And the law is his weapon.

Remember the case of CBN Governor, Chuks Soludo and the 'redenomination' saga? When UMYAwn gave his approval and then reversed himself after Aondoakaa stepped into it? Of course, there is the Ribadu case too.

Some people have actually predicted that Aondoakaa will not rest until Ribadu is humiliated finished politically, career wise and otherwise.


As Chairman of the EFCC, Ribadu had consistently rubbed Aondoakaa's nose in the mud in their several encounters particularly in the case of ex Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau state who was (is?) Aondoakaa's client. The EFCC had consistently hounded Dariye over some stolen public funds and Aondoakaa was on the legal team that represented him in those cases. The EFCC had used some under-hand tactics in getting Dariye removed from office and prosecuted. Even though till today, we do not yet have a verdict.

And so with Ibori. And so with Orji Uzo Kalu. And so with several others.

Obviously, Aondoakaa never forgets.


The recent demotion of 140 officers of the Nigeria Police has generated a lot of newspaper articles, blog postings and comments in the past week including this one at Solomonsydelle's. Personally, I had felt there was more to this saga than meets the eye.

Femi Falana's article here on the legal implications of the Ribadu &ors demotion is a brilliant submission in my opinion.

I have taken a ring side seat.

Let the fights begin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oliver : We Cannot Ask For More

Growing up in Lagos, we have known several Igbo families as neighbours and friends and with some, we now consider each other as family. You know the ones you call the Dads, 'Uncle', the Mums 'Auntie' and you introduce the children as your 'cousins'. On the streets of Lagos, I have severally been addressed as 'Omo Nna' (or Omo Yibo!) probably on account of facial resemblance or for the company I kept and still do keep.

I have known of only three Nigerians called 'Oliver', one is the late Chief Dr. Sunday Akanite (a.k.a Oliver de Coque), the other two are young men named after him. Obviously, their fathers were ardent fans of the musician. One is a lawyer; the other is a trader.

It was my Oliver the lawyer who introduced me to the music of Oliver de Coque sometime in the 80s when we hijacked his father's copy of the hit album 'Identity'. The lyrics of the song were rather funny to us as kids and we played it just for fun but along the line, I got interested in some other tracks and even earlier albums particularly 'People's Club'. Luckily for me, my Oliver had the patience of Job.

We would play each track and he would translate every thing the musician said in Igbo to me in English (or Yoruba) and even explain the idioms and proverbs. I got so good at it that we would sing along with the track at the top of our voices to the annoyance of his mother who would chase us out to the balcony where we would sing to the amusement of passers by.

That was how I learnt Igbo.

Oliver the trader was my neighbor sometime in the 90s. One day he was cleaning his brother's car and playing 'People's Club'. You should have seen the shock on his face when I joined him and sang it from the beginning to the end. We became instant friends.

The passing away of Oliver de Coque on June 20, marked the end of an era in Igbo Highlife music and indeed highlife music in Nigeria because Oliver in particular tried to take his music outside the mainstream Igbo audience to other parts of the country. Along with the late Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and the late Sir Ezebuiro Obinna (Sir Warrior) they represented the veritable triumvirate of Igbo Highlife particularly in the decade after the Civil War.

Considering their peculiar music styles and lyrics, it could be said that Osadebe catered for the Igbo elites while Dr. Sir Warrior catered for the lower cadres, Oliver catered for the 'middle class'. In fact, Oliver has been accused of 're-creating' the Igbo middle class - a class of young Igbos who had made their marks in various businesses in the 80s and 90s. They were the so-called 'Traders Class'. He courted them and catered to their ego needs. Unfortunately, in his crowd were also some notorious drug barons and 419 kingpins.

Like all forms of African music, praise singing had always been a part of Igbo highlife but Oliver took it to another level. In the 70s, Yorubas used to say that 'Igbo people come to the dance floor with coins in their pockets' unlike the Yorubas who stuff their pockets with mint-new currency notes to paste on their musicians foreheads to show appreciation for his music.

By the time the monster hit 'Bili ka Mbili' (Live and Let Live) came out in '92, the Igbos turned the tables. Igbo people now came to the dance floor with cartons and bags of mint new currency notes and not just Naira but also US Dollars and British Pounds. The Yorubas could be said to have 'created' the art of 'spraying' but the Igbos perfected it. To a nauseous extent.

For more than a week now, I have been unsuccessfully trying to upload a copy of the video of his song 'Identity' from You Tube and not even an audio file could I upload. Please find the audio here courtesy of John B:


And you can sing along,

My Papa advice me,
Make I play my music with honesty
My Mama advised me
Make I respect all my seniors

Always cut my coat
According to my size
I no dey promise
Anything wey my power no reach

My Yes is my Yes

My No is my No
I no dey make yanga
I'm a simple man by nature

O o o, funny money identity
Ewo o o Mama, funny money identity

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Merry Month Of May

O the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!
O, and then did I unto my true love say,
Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer's Queen.

'The Merry Month of May' by Thomas Dekker originally published in The Shoemaker's Holiday (1600).

The Merry Month of May is aslo the title of a book written by American author James Jones centered on the student protests of May 1968 in Paris. Politics and social upheaval are awkwardly mixed with sexual alliances described in the most vulgar terms. The book is at times funny in a cynical way that seems before its time.

I first read the book in May 1989 during the famous 'SAP Riots' when thousands of Nigerians - led by students- poured into the streets to protest the effects of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) of the then military government of Ibrahim Babangida. The military junta responded by closing down five universities for five months! (note the recurrence of the number five and May is the fifth month of the year). This was unprecedented in Nigeria and since then, from personal observation every year there is one form of student unrest or the other in the month of May which leads to campuses being closed down.

What has this got to do with me?

Ever since I have come to an understanding of the Law of Cycles, I have discovered that May is the end of a cycle for me. Most people say January is the driest month of the year when they feel a low after the festivities of December. When they are most broke. For me, that month is May. May is my Month of Melancholy.

I have tried to break the cycle severally. I have tried everything from esusu to fixed deposits but whosai. In the year 2000, my father passed away at the end of April and I practically spent the whole of May that year grieveing sort of. You can imagine having to bury your father and you were broke as hell. It wasn't funny at all.

As the month of May approaches every year, I always seemed to have a major expense to take care of which leaves me broke or as near as possible to broke. And since 2001, there would be the anniversary of my Dad passing on. All of which leaves me melancholic.

However, with the knowledge I now have, I have stopped trying to break the cycle or even fighting it. Now I try to work with the cycle. I have since learnt to take things easy as the month of May approaches. I leave off all major expenses, decisions, projects and whatever till much later in the year and just live each day as it comes. Afterall, there are only thirty-one days in May. I generally take a holi-month in May.

This year, I had taken it easy as usual, spending more time with my new baby and family. When I go to the office in causals people have stopped asking me if its a public holiday as I always tell them its my holi-month. Luckily, I work in an IT firm so there are no strict dress-codes.
I have also learnt to work with the Law of Reversed Efforts. I have learnt to combine rest with activity and achieve maximum results.

I have begun to see the wisdom in the Yoruba saying that:

'Kira kita o d'ola; Ka s'ise bi eru o da nkan; Oluwa ni n'gbe ni ga'

Translated: Success in anything is appointed by GOD; not by the amount of 'gra-gra' or efforts we put in. (And if you don't know the meaning of 'gra-gra', please check your Webster's Dictionary, it should be there somewhere between 'Grace' and 'Gratitude'. If you get my drift.)

In the last few weeks before the hiatus, my posts on this blog were more of rantings than writings, I realised I was getting rather negative about several things and the melancholy was setting in. Things that would ordinarily not worry me were getting to me. After my last post, I took Solomonsydelle's advice as golden-tongued wisdom and decided to take things easy. I took a break from most things, even blogging and incidentally she has particularly been most active about 'Finding N.I.M.M.O'. Sincerely, I never knew I would be missed.

I had been sneaking onto Blogville once in a while to read. I read about adventures in Macy's as a 2P miniskirt, about Fathers-in-Law who should have being a soldier, about soundtracks and all, about Mr. Perfect, about the Academy thats probably on hold, about spelling Africa or Afrika and meeting a Moor, about Double Deuces, about Rules and Regulations for a would-be husband, about giving someone a present off someone else's car, about Music of the Heart and the tag I have not responded to, about Jibiti, with the way she had mobilized Niaja bloggers on Brutish Airways and her grasp of issues, my vote is for Solomonsydelle anytime she's ready to run for President. I just never had the energy to write anything, I couldn't even think enough to comment on other people's posts until recently.

Interestingly, May is the month of sensuality and sexuality, the reawakening of the earth in vivid colours, vibrant scents, fresh greenery and the sheer joy after a long dormant winter. You see, May is also My Month of Magnificient Makeovers!

I must thank every body who had expressed concern on my absence. Much love to you all.

' .. I want to give a sharrout to my Mummy, I want to give a sharrout to my Mama Mulika who is living in our house and to Baba Mulika too. I want to give a sharrout to em ... em ... em... Anyway, you know yourselves.

As the cyborg said to the woman in Terminator 7;

'I am back!'

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust....

Its beginning to read like a story being serialized in newspapers. Every week there must be a PDP Governor's election being revoked or another so called election victory being reversed. Like a house of cards, its all falling apart.

Last week it was Aliyu Wammakko of Sokoto State, this week Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa. And there are still a few more states to go, one year after the elections were held.

All these would have been bearable but for Professor Iwu's INEC's posturing. Now they have gone ahead to take up ample airtime on TV justifying their conduct of the April 2007 (s)elections by saying that "It is politicians who rig elections not us".

WTF! How can politicians rig elections without the active connivance of the Umpire INEC? Sebi I said it that if all the INEC officials have been arrested, tried and locked up since the past one year for 'electoral malpractice' (just like any other professional misconduct/malpractice), this story would have been different. After all, even students get 21 years jail for exam malpractice.

As it is, the more elections are reversed, the more money for Iwu and his cohorts as they simply present a fresh invoice.

The case in Bayelsa is even more interesting as some House members came up that they had impeached the Speaker who was to be sworn in as Acting Governor until the rerun elections are held. They nominated and presented their own Speaker for swearing in as Acting Governor!

Many people have always held that elections do not take place in the Niger Delta states particularly Rivers and Bayelsa. The sheer logistics of navigating the creeks alone is daunting. INEC just collects its allocation for those areas and simply allocates figures for them according to the powers that be.

In the 2003 elections, the then Rivers state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili scored a whopping 98.8% of total votes cast in the state gubernatorial elections leaving the remaining 1.2% for the other 13 (yes, THIRTEEN) political parties to share in a field that included veteran politicians like Chief Sargent Awuse of the ANPP.

That election was also remarkable in the fact that voter turnout was 100%. Everybody who was registered for the election came out and voted! No one was ill, no one had died, no one traveled or relocated between the period of registration and elections proper which were more than eighteen months apart! It was a feat only the PDP and INEC could have produced.

And Iwu says it is politicians who rig elections.

I was in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state last year for a burial and it fell in the period when a rerun of the Assembly elections were being held. The burial was on Friday and I wanted to leave town by Friday night in order not to be caught up in the movement restrictions that usually go with elections on Saturday.

My friend Okon told me not to worry myself. He told me that the elections would actually hold on Friday night. Saturday was just a day of rest.

'You think this is Lagos where you people kill yourself because of elections?', he had asked.

On Friday, the anointed candidate would go round the wards distributing food items ranging from a mudu of rice, a bottle of oil and a cup of salt to a bag of rice per household depending on the position.

The people are then told to stay at home and cook their rice on Saturday. The politicians allocate figures to themselves and INEC declares a winner based on figures submitted to it.

I actually stayed to witness elections, AK-style. I was around the Ewett Housing Estate and there was a polling booth right across the road from the house. I sat in front of the house reading a book from morning till evening. Apart from a few people who obviously came around to confirm that there was nobody at the polling station, nobody came around. Not even INEC officials! And yet they announced results.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record ... E no make sense.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Holy Moses!

He was murdered. By 'unknown assailants' the report said.
But GOD knows them.
And maybe he did too. Or maybe not.
Obviously they knew him not.
Or they wouldn't have killed him.

Memories are all we have now. I still remember him.

We met back then at our initiation as the newest members of the Supremost Komradium The Keggites Klub (a.k.a Palmwine Drinkerds Club) at the Moda Shrine (Ilya Ovia) very close to the School of Dentistry, UNIBEN. It was a 'wet tapping'. He was a dark quiet guy. He talked with a slight stutter. Maybe that was why he usually kept quiet.

With some other new Comrads, we got talking and introduced ourselves.

'Hi, I'm Nimmo. Yada yada yada yada yada ...'.

We gave and received the one-finger-salute.

'Hi, I'm Moses.'

A 'wet tapping' is a meeting of the Komradium where the palmwine flows freely but Moses did not drink. A Keggite who does not drink was called 'Holy'. He was a 'Holy'. Holy Moses.

('H-o-l-y M-o-s-e-s' was also an exclamation made popular by the character Mr. B in Ken Saro Wiwa's sitcom of the 80s, Basi & Company).

I remember the Parliament of the UNIBEN Student Union Government. This was during the period of Joseph Okonmah as President UNIBEN-SUG, his impeachment and removal from office.

Members of the Parliament are addressed formally as 'Honorable' followed by the member's surname. Except Moses. Everybody called him 'Honorable Holy Moses'. At some point, even the Speaker got tired of correcting Parliamentarians on the formal mode of address. Honorable Holy Moses had the floor a lot that night.

After we left school, we met severally in Lagos particularly around Ojuelegba where he lived with his family. He was a banker. And from what I gathered, he was one of the whiz kids of the industry with a fast rising profile.

Last time I saw him was in January. I was crossing the road to my car parked on Tejuosho Road, by the FCMB branch there, when a car swerved and parked close to me on the kerb.

'Who be dis person who wan oppress me with new motor so? Person no fit waka for leg again?'.

It was a new Toyota Corolla painted in the colors of a particular bank.

'Baba Nimmo What-I-saw'.

Very few people called me that. I looked closely and recognized him.

'Holy Moses! Wetin dey happen? Omo, dis na new one o. Don't tell me you have changed bank again.'

'Omo na so o but my branch still dey Apapa sha.'

He gave me his card. We talked some more. About our families. About the other friends with whom we had lost contact. About the need to keep in touch.

On Wednesday, I got to the office and saw it in the papers. A full page notice by a Committee of Friends. I called a few people if it was true. They confirmed it. It is true.

Adieu Moses Leseremejuma Ejueyitchie. 1967-2008.

Holy Moses.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

E No Make Sense 2

After going through the comments on my last post, I went straight Solomonsydelle's and as usual she had laid out all the topics I wanted to rant about in an orderly fashion. Almost in alphabetical order. LOL.

Now everybody knows that I am a serious person. Well, at least you know, abi? I am not one to trivialize a serious issue particularly one that involves lives and reputations of people, right?

But sometimes, some things dont just make sense to me so I ask questions maybe I can deduce something therefrom. I arrange things into some kind of sequence and try to extract logic from that.

I have always said that I am not as bright as I look, so please bear with me.

Take for instance:

1. THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING AIRCRAFT (Quote. Unquote. Solomonsydelle)

Now, walk with me through this:

James Onanefe Ibori, former Governor of Delta state is on trial for corruption and embezzlement while in office. He is reputed to have purchased practically everything purchasable between Asaba and Jo'burg and also in the USA. Including a Beechcraft plane among other crafts.

Over two weeks ago, the said Beechcraft plane (we were told) went off radar on a routine flight to Cross Rivers state to pick up the Governor Liyel Imoke who was going to Abuja to appear before the House Committee probing the expenditure of over $16 billion in five years by the last government of which he was a part, severally as Technical Adviser, Special Adviser, Head Technical Action Committee and Minister of Power and Steel. In short sha, the plane disappeared.

About twenty-four hours later, the Minister for Aviation as the competent Minister, announced that the wreckage of the crashed plane had been found by some villagers near Obudu, Cross River state and they were deploying emergency rescue teams to the site of the crash.

About twenty four hours later, the Ministry of Aviation retracted this story, saying that the Minister was misled into believing that the said crash site was of the plane in question. So, the plane did not crash, then what happened?

Several speculations, most plausible of which include:
- The plane strayed off-course and crashed in the deep rain forest jungles of Obudu far from civilization.
- The plane strayed off-course and crashed somewhere along the Nigeria-Cameroun border or in the Cameroun Mountains. Also, far from civilization.
- The plane strayed off-course and into Cameroun's security zone and was shot down by the Cameroun military forces.

Please note that all these speculations are going on in Nigeria in the 21st century! All the above would have made sense but for the following:

- If the said site reported by the villagers was not of the plane, then what happened there? Villagers are not stupid people. They were probably looking forward to a bounty or reward of some kind. Something must have happened at that site for them to call attention to it. There was probably a wreckage of something. What was it? A truck? Another plane? If so, which plane? What happened to it? When did it crash? How and why didn't the Ministry know about it?
- If the plane crashed in the forests, someone would have seen or heard it drop. A plane cannot crash without a noise. Even villagers know the difference between a plane in flight and one in distress. At least they know the sound of a crash and I dont think could have crashed without a sound. No matter how small it is, it is still bigger than most SUV.
- The most ludicrous is the one that the Cameroun military shot down the plane. In the first plane, it was a civilian plane and the Camerounians could see that. At worst, they would force it to land using military planes to guide it. Even if they shot it down in error, they are bound by conventions to report it. And even if they refused to do so, the Nigerian Intelligence Service has enough operatives on ground inside Cameroun to ferret out such information.

(OK, you probably did not know that the NIS exists right?)

Even if all the above can be explained away.

The plane had three crew members including the pilot on board. Nigerians all. Those guys are/were the breadwinners of their respective families and two weeks after they disappeared, no one from their families had gone to press with some story or the other. Omo eni ku, san ju omo eni so'nu lo.
We worry more over a lost child than a dead one. At least in death there is a certainty of the child's condition.

With the Nigerian's legendary penchant for theatrics, we have not had Professional Mourners Clubs paying daily pilgrimages to their respective homes to offer their condolences, real and imagined.

Are the crew of that Beechcraft plane dead or alive?

What exactly was that Beechcraft plane carrying? What was its cargo?

As if all that was not enough, just last weekend, James Onanefe Ibori, owner of the said Beechcraft plane - who had been known (actually thought) to be an Obasanjo acolyte and was actually very instrumental in the emergence of President UMYA as PDP candidate- was in a gathering that included Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Obasanjo's nemesis among other politicians at an event largely organized to dishonor Obasanjo.

He laughed like no man's business. He did not look like someone who'd just lost a plane.

Maybe its just me but e no make sense.

E no make sense at all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

E No Make Sense

Someone please help me to make sense of this.

When a patient dies, the Doctor could be liable for the death if she was found to be negligent in performance of her duties. The Doctor could go to jail and lose her license/practice.

A Teacher can lose his job when his students fail in their exams and he is found to be negligent. Even for an offence like groping a student or even selling handouts.

A Lawyer can be disbarred and lose his practice for conducts adjudged to be unprofessional.

Managers get fired everyday for performing below par or failing to meet agreed objectives.

Even sports people lose their places in the team or their positions and rankings due to a drop in performance. Clubs get relegated. Champions have their belts withdrawn.

But what happens when INEC messes up the elections in a whole state?


Give Iwu another 3 Billion Naira to organize 'fresh' elections!

Who is responsible for elections in Nigeria?

You mean you can decide to waste billions of Naira in organizing an election, run the elections like no man business and if anybody complains, tell them to go to court. If the courts nullify the elections and order a rerun, you simply present a fresh bill of quantities to the Treasury. Just like that.

I think there should be a law that if the results of an election is canceled even in an LG Ward, whoever was in charge should be summarily dismissed from whatever service without benefits. (Most INEC officials are career public servants on secondment.)And should be tried for sabotage.

Maybe the position of INEC Chairman should be rotated among the states, with each state guaranteeing its candidate to do a good job. In event of failure, the state will pay back to the nation the total amount expended on the election or the part considered flawed. Since the money is from deductions, each state has the option to sue the INEC Chairman.

From the Polling Station Officer to the INEC Chairman, each of them is liable for what happens in his area of jurisdiction/authority. Enough jail terms, without options of fines should be prescribed.

Maybe they will take elections more seriously. Maybe they will take the lives of Nigerians more seriously.

Maybe we should even privatize elections organization in Nigeria. Let companies bid for it and hold them according to agreed objectives and with specific milestones/performance indices. Failing which they dont get paid.

What happened in Kogi state this past weekend and will repeat itself in Adamawa and most likely Edo state too is a travesty of justice. The people just went to the polls again and elected Idris again. But who removed Audu's name from the ballot in the first place? Why? The buck must stop at someone's table. He must at least tell the nation why he did what he did.

Who is responsible? Why was nobody punished?

Well, somebody was punished, the people of Kogi state. Nigerians all.

Friday, March 28, 2008

And His Names Are ...

I must thank you all for your congrats and best wishes. And for the names too. In my family, there had always been this tradition of everybody giving a baby a name.

I can remember my Dad introducing to someone and saying something like
'She was the one who gave you the name XYZ? or 'Why do you think you are called ABC? He gave you the name!'. The child has a family name which is 'given' by the father (long story) and the Mother gives any number of names she wants. The grandparents, aunties, uncles and then friends of the family. Usually, friends give names in their own language.

One rule though: A son cannot bear the same first name as his father.

And 'Junior' is not a name.

In all, I think I had about 70 names of different origins/languages etc including Sebastian, which I dont like at all. My first son had 43 names including Abu Rafiq which was given to him by my Lebanese colleagues after the slain former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri.

And so, his names are:

Moyosooretoluwasefunmi (What? Don't look at me, thats from the Mother!)
Olaoluwakiitan (I think Jinta, 36 and Naapali share the honors here)
Onetoritsebawoete (Thats Black007)
Olumide (I sincerely hope that my son gets to meet Auntie 36-inches someday. There would be an introduction that day!)

I cannot believe that I have been away from the Internet for a whole week. My Internet subscription at home lapsed on Thursday but I was just so occupied with the new baby that I did not renew it. Abi, na Internet the baby go chop?

I was there in the labor room and had some pictures and videos on my phone of the baby barely an hour after he was born but I just cant seem to connect the phone to the PC via cable! I have tried to use infrared, whosai? and the phone does not have blue tooth. I will put the pictures up as soon as I have them ready.

One thing though. You know in the past babies were born with their eyes closed and usually stays closed for up to a month before they open their eyes. Barely twenty minutes after he was born my son had opened his eyes! And the Doctors said it was normal. Children of nowadays.

I also think that constitutional provisions should be made for a fully paid 'paternity leave' for working fathers too. At least we were in the labor room together, we sleep in the same room with the baby abi?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Na Boy!: And His Name Shall Be Called .....

Da La Luz

For unto us a bouncing baby boy was born. Wednesday 19th March 2008 at 1100 Hours. Mother and baby are doing very well, Father has been detained by the Doctors for observation due to over excitement.

As is Yoruba custom, the isomoloruko (naming ceremony) will come up in eight days time and I usually allow all friends of the family to give names to the newborn.

So peeps, its time to start sending the names. I am collecting. Give the child a name.

Many thanx.

Monday, March 17, 2008

.... That We May Have The Good Life ....

This is further to the post on GNaija's blog and my comments thereon.

Most of our (grand)parents have/had lived through two great wars - WW2 and the Civil War - and were witnesses to the attendant deprivations. They did not want their children to go through same. They were witnesses to the struggle for independence and the eventual attainment of that goal.

After independence, the challenge of our (grand)parents was to pass on a high quality of life to their children. A qualify of life most of them never had but they knew was possible. If only they could raise their children to know what the white man knew. Building this new society called for more doctors, more lawyers, more engineers.

So they struggled to give their children an education to achieve their goals. So our parents became the doctors, the lawyers, the administrators and shortly after, they too became parents.

It is not in question if our parents had artistic talents. A generation that produced Soyinka, Achebe, Fela, Onabrakpeya and Ogunde could not but have had it. But for every Soyinka there must have been at least a thousand others good writers who became engineers or doctors. For every Achebe, would have been at least a thousand businessmen with fine painting skills. And Fela could have become just another manager in UAC.

There were a lot of talents but they had to survive first. And survival meant getting a degree in medicine, engineering or whatnot. Getting a 'good' job and then working hard at providing the good life for your family.

It is true that we do not have the same challenges as they had. Our generation can afford to pursue our artistic (and otherwise) dreams because they have provided for us. They had cleared the bush for us to plant.

As I had said, we will be ungrateful if we do not recognize their sacrifices for us. They sacrificed their dreams - and happiness - that we might have the good life. That we might have the luxury of dreams. That we might nurture our talents and become all that we can be.

You know, every time I hear Tuface sing, I remember Felix Lebarty of the 'Am Your Lover Boy, Lover Boy, Boy-y-y, Am Your Boyfriend' fame. He was one of the few Nigerian acts to sell a million records and go platinum. Last I heard, he was selling cars.

Asa reminds me of Martha Ulaeto. Martha who? you'd probably ask. She was an artiste in the 80s and sang ballads back then. She actually had a song - 'African Life' back then. God knows where she's at now. (New and correct information: The song was 'Africa Rise' and there's more info on Martha here. Also, listen to the song there too. Go there people, I recommend it. Many thanx to Comb&Razor!)

And there was Prince Nico Mbarga. Remember 'Sweet Mother, I no go forget you ...'. Probably still the highest selling Nigerian act ever. Last we heard, he died on an okada in Calabar.

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