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.

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