Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Nearly Died

I have just read in today's edition of the Punch Newspaper that sixteen precious Nigerians were killed in an accident somewhere in Kwara state. The particulars of the accident provoked deep empathy, and sympathy for them. I was involved in a similar accident in November last year.

I had just secured a lucrative business deal in Lokoja, and I had a small window to deliver. In the excitment,and exhiliration I decided to sleep in Akure, my objective was to be as close as possible to Lagos where I had to purchase the materials for the contract.

I left Lokoja at five pm that evening.I agree it was late. Akure was three hous away. A few kilometres after Owo before Ogbese in Ondo state, it happened. I was involved in a multiple accident.The cause was a trailer dodging a pothole and veering into our lane. The five vehicles in front of me just suddenly turned, as if intending to drive into the bush. My reaction was not quick enough. I rammed into the side of the altima that was before me.

Then I saw, and heard the trailer; the sound was like the special surround sound you only get in high-end cinemas, it was like sticking your head out of an airplane in flight. The trailer had jack-knifed and fallen on it's side, it was sliding across the full length of the road.It was sweeping every vehicle behind me; and it was laden with petrol.

All around me was confusion.My airbag had deployed, my windscreen was broken, my radiator punctured and headlamps and other parts were damaged. Eerily my car sterio continued playing. I came down, looked at the vehicle, and I was angry at the damage. I was angry because my wife would know I had broken my cardinal rule of not travelling at night. 

Then more confusion, people were screaming, there was a convoy of about six vehicles, half of them had been decimated by the trailer. I saw a man whose two legs were cut of in the accident, I did not try to count how many people had died, but the road safety official told me four had died; in all ,about ten vehicles were involved in the crash.

Who should we blame for the accident, the trailer driver? No, not him. The drivers in front of me? They were victims too! The culprit is the government. Nigeria has enough money to tar a six-lane highway around the coast of Africa. Instead we have been afflicted with Alibaba and the forty thieves, our commonwealth has become their private wealth.

A small pothole claimed the lives of innocent Nigerians. Because statisticss are never accurate in this country ,we will never know how how many people are killed by the negligence to fix pot holes.To the families of the Kwara sixteen, I extend my condolence.To the people in government who serve us on a platter for death to reap, I say "you judgement cometh,swiftly" GOD BLESS NIGERIA,MY NIGERIA, FOREVER!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Battles We All Have To Fight

Everyday we do so many mundane things believing that they do not matter in the overall scheme of things. What we fail to realize is that even the mighty Amazon River in South America began as a series of insignificant mountain rivulets.

I am currently involved in the push to register a tenants association in Febson Mall,Abuja. I have an office there.
We have been the victims of all manner of inhumane treatment any landlord can vex a tenant with. It is a mult-i use facility with a hotel,fitness centre, petrol station and a shopping mall.

The first problem we had to confront was the equitable distribution of our collective electricity bill. We had trusted our landlord to be fair,but alas we were wrong. Because the individual offices do not have electricity metres we usually get a guestimate of a bill. Another problem that came to light was the fact that our landlords personal businesses in the mall which are free standing buildings on their own do not have individual metres. It turned out later that they were not even paying electricity bills.

They had informed us that they were. The last issue was the fact that even when we paid for electricity, the total amount paid by tenants was not remitted to the electricity company. Over time the sum of one million two hundred thousand accumulated as arrears. Where did the arrears come from? Someone had been diverting the electricity money for other purposes. Now they are asking us to pay a second time for what we had already paid for.

The other pressing issues is that our rent has been increased by more than one hundred percent. Our solution? Form an association of tenants to confront this and demand a review.  The landlord does not like this and has been circulating a letter to the effect that he was not in support of the association. What should we do?

Also I am starting to feel that I am a marked man, the mobile policemen and other goons the son of the mall owner surrounds himself with keep pointing to me with their noses the way we do in Africa when you are talking about someone and you do not want them to know. I hope I am safe. I pray I am safe. The truth is that by reforming this small corner of Nigeria, we are contributing to her total reformation,what do you think? I need to hear your views.

Why I Criticize Nigeria

Nigeria has the potential to be one of the greatest nations on earth!With this potential also comes the risk of being the greatest disappointment,in terms of unfulfilled potentials,among nations.

Why do I criticize Nigeria? Do I because I do not like the face of our president,or his ethnic group? Is it because I am a christian and he is a moslem? No! I criticize Nigeria because I do not have any other nation. I criticize her because I can not,deep down in my heart, call any other nation "My Nigeria" I know what Jimmy Cliff meant when he sang "This is Jamaica,My Jamaica" For me this is Nigeria,My only Nigeria!Land of matchless beauty, grace and hope. 

I criticize Nigeria the way I usually those who have the misfortune of driving me. I understand clearly that my fortune is tied to theirs. If they should become reckless, and I keep quiet, we might both end up in the ditch,if we are lucky, if not we could die before our time.

Some people are calling for the partitioning of Nigeria along along dubious divides.No nation ever broke up without acrimony.The more advanced nations of the world that have broken up,did it like a brain surgery.We unfortunately, by our make up do not understand how to not to be sore losers.
Can you imagine the prospect of one hundred and fifty million people fighting themselves. The cataclysmic upheaval of such a doomsday scenerio is unfathomable. It is not even palatabe to imagine it, not to talk of experiencing it.

For those who are joining Muamar Gaddafi to call for our breakup, I say be careful lest you get what you wish only to discover that it is like the camel of the arab, it usually pushes the owner out of the tent.

We are so loved by God that it is uncanny, we have been spared the natural disasters that other nations more,and less, endowed have experienced.Even Cameroun had their own Lake Nyos disaster some years ago. We,on the other hand, are not even prepared to handle a motorcycle accident even at the federal level.

Those who are beating the drums of disintegration have a script they are acting out.They feel they can never rule this nation or dominate it,it is a case of sour grapes.
Nigeria is not the way it should be, but it can get better,  she might not work right now,but she is a work in progress. Let us criticize,I mean, talk to her, until she listens and foregoes her profligate and wayward ways. GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER ! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

How Much Did It Cost To Keep Yar' Adua In Saudi Arabia

My very good friend and professional colleague,Godswill Ayemoba, wondered aloud as we were debating Nigeria, how much it cost this country to keep our ailing President, Umaru  Musa Yar'Adua in Saudi Arabia for three months.

Cynics would be quick to say I am being malicious, why should I be talking about money when life,not just an ordinary life, but that of our President, is at stake. I am only asking the question because the last time I checked we were still running a Constitutional and Democratic Republic, not an Imperial Monarchy. In an imperial monarchy it was easier for Napoleon to say "l etat e moi" losely translated it means I am the State,or the Country.

It is the same philosophy that gave us "Ka bi o o si" the origin of the Yoruba word Kabiyesi, this, when transliterated means , "to require a reason from you does not exist",  that is questioning you is not a place anybody can go.

If we are in a democracy we should be able to know how much it cost the tax payer to keep our President in Saudi Arabia, this should include the monies paid as parking fees for our presidential jet, the estacode paid to the legion of staff who went to settle the first family properly in Saudi Arabia, the fees for the various procedures and doctors. These are the things that deepen our democracy. I know I am walking a dangerous path here,but they can only kill me once.

In my bushman's guestimate I am suspecting One billion naira( N1,000,000,000.00) This is because there is no free lunch anywhere out there.

The trouble is that we are almost always emotional, and never rational, about issues like this. In law it is said that if you must approach equity you must come with clean hands; a man who was not capable of taking decisions for himself has been used by people who were not elected to take such decisions for Nigeria, to run a bill that was not properly approved simply because the moment Yar'Adua decided to go on that delicate trip, Goodluck Jonathan should have been the one making the decisions for his wellbeing and safety. He was elected as the Vice President,not Hajia Turai ,or Tenimu Yakubu ,or any other person.
The fact that he is Hajia Turai's husband does not confer any constitutional authority on her to spend public funds ,even where it is to save the president's life,or for her to decide on the best way to manage his health and welfare. He is,and remains our property, while he is President.

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua belongs to Nigeria first of all. His first duty at all times is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is first our President before he is Hajia's husband; that was what he chose the day he decided to run for office,  he remains so until his tenure ends by reason of completion, or inability to rule ,and therfore resignation ,and we must never forget this.That is the bare fact. GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Oracle As President

We do not currently have a President. What we have is an Acting President(I wonder what that means, its only in Nigeria that we reinvent the wheel. Remember" Interim Government"?) 

Anyway, as I was saying, we do not have a President, we have someone acting or pretending to be the President, while we have another individual, who used to be the President, pretending to be alive and well, but actually has been elevated to the status of our departed ancestors, he is now an Oracle !

He has priests and other representatives who are pretending to speak for him, or they claim they are the only ones who have the rare gift of hearing the Oracle or decoding the intentions of the Oracle.The rest of us who have been badgered to submission now find ourselves orbiting two great lights; the Oracle and the Acting President.

The whole world out there is standing aghast, with jaws dropping at the mockery of common sense that our government has become, they are laughing at us.Oh! How I miss Gani Fawehinmi, he would have resisted this travesty with every resource at his disposal.

We are are watching patiently as less than five individuals are laying the foundation for the eventual disintegration of Nigeria. 
Nations are built on principles, customs, and conventions that become acceptable over time. Can you see the quality of the principles customs and conventions we are building ours with.

We are saying that an individual is greater than the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria. We are saying that the PDP is more than Nigeria. We are saying that some five unelected individuals can resist the legitimate, and constitutional, transfer of authority from the elected President to his elected Vice President who was elected for that eventuality.

With all the degrees Nigeria is awash with, I am amazed that we have not had more than a whimper from the educated elites.A house built on sand does not sink,or collapse, on the day it is finished. It shows its flaws when the first real trial by flood comes. The seeds we are sowing today as a nation may come back to fruit as devil beans tomorrow, and by then no one would be able to harvest them. GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Consequence of No Consequence

Why do I fear? I fear because the continued consequence of no consequence, for the actions of religious and political extreemists, is leading us down a precarious slippery slope.
When people get away with wanton acts of destruction, because they have powerful backers, then we are encouraging anarchy.
For every soul lost in the latest Jos mayhem, there are survivors left to mourn them. 

This becomes a problem when those responsible for these ungodly ,and reprehensible, acts are arrested, and quietly released: the message to the grieving survivors is that it is right to take the law into your own hands. The cycle of violence then never stops.
My other fear is that one day, some aggrieved people may form some kind of vendetta militia, and begin to go round dispensing jungle justice.
We have seen over time that it is when a matter touches the ruling elites that attention is given to it.

What is responsible for our government's inability to solve these now perrenial problems once and for all. Is it that they are slow learners, or they do not really care. Could it be that they are lathergic because the crises never really touch them, or their children? Or should we begin to pray that ministers, governors, and special advisers too should die in these crises too ,once in a while. While one sounds extreemist, but for the sake of the survival of Nigeria as a united,viable ,and vibrant country, If this is what it would take, so let it be O God.GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!