Saturday, June 26, 2010

Finding our default setting

What is our default setting?

I mean it in the sense that it is used for machines, and other equipment. 

If we dig deep into our collective subconsciousness, what exactly are we?

How are we truly wired?

I ask this question, because I have discovered that, there are very few nations on earth that possess the wealth of human resource that we have.
We have great minds, world class ones, in every sphere of human concourse, we even have some of the most brilliant deviant minds on the planet!

So what exactly, is the true Nigerian like, when restored to the default mode?

We have been maladjusted by many years of military misrule,and subjugation. We have been cowed into submission by jackboots, and gun butts, we have been flogged with iron studded belts, and horse whips.
We have been taught to obey the last order ! As they say in the military. 

When the uncivilized civilians finally came, they continued in that mode,or should I say setting, of insisting on obeying the last order. 

We bought into it. We had been conditioned long ago, for so long, by long years of military oppression.

So what is our default setting?

For many years, under the military, we consoled ourselves with the the most famous prayer in Nigeria,God De! 

It was originally an expression of faith, in the existence of God. But as time passed, and God seemed not to be delivering us, it took on a new meaning, and became a declaration of acceptance of our miserable
lot,capitulation,surrender, and every other word that represents defeat!

The civil leaders were quick to learn, they taught us that we existed for their pleasure, and that they were doing us a favour ruling us.

We believed them!

So they paid themselves sinful salaries, closed down their private businesses, because politics paid better. They withdrew their children from public schools, and enrolled them in schools abroad, they refused to drink the same water with us, only bottled water was good for their thieving constitution!

We accepted!

Now when they tell us black is white, we believe them!

When they tell us we are nothing! We accept!

And we say again God De!

But that has not always been our reaction.

I remember Fumilayo Ransome Kuti, I remember Margaret Ekpo, I remember Pa Micheal Akunwanne Omnibus Imodu, and all the other illustrious Nigerians before us.

They took no prisoners, and accepted no nonsense from colonial overlords.

We do not remotely look like them!

But their blood flows in our veins, their genes are in us.

The default setting is there.




Lets go back!

Let us reset ourselves!

As we do,


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Anger In The Land,What Do We Do With It?

There is a tide of indignation sweeping across Nigeria.

It is a mighty wave of discontent at the staus quo.
The catalyst for this tide was the wrestling contest in the house of representatives. 

It is a highway to hope, a road map to national rebirth. 

Our way back to sanity.

Everyday people, young ,and old, are saying; it is enough! 

We have tolerated the infantile squabbling of our errant leaders for so long. 

Now we are tired! 

Out tolerance has expired. 

We are taking our nation back!

This is an uncommon opportunity for us to reverse the rot, and heal Nigeria. 

She has been bleeding, like a helpless soldier, whose comrades have all fallen. 

But hope, springs again in Nigeria!

We feel alive again, despite the shame, and pain. 

What are we going to do?

Are we going to allow them to continue like before?

Are we going to pretend that we have not been raped, ravished,and reviled?


No more!

Never again!

I am glad this happened a few months to the next major elections, we now have many reasons to register to vote, we now know that politics is too valuable to leave in the hands of people with arrested development.

We must join these parties, and sanitize them.
If you find the stench too much, hold your nose and stay.

If they push you away, smile, and come back like a persistent mosquito! 

Nigeria is depending on us to salvage her. She is like a ship hijacked by pirates, if no one comes to her rescue, she is doomed to a life of piracy.

If we refuse to do anything now, we are sentencing ourselves,and our children, to unimaginable slavery,servitude, and squalor.

Stand Up Nigeria!

Stand Up!

It is Time!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Forget about watching wrestling on television, watch the house of reps.

So the 'honourable members' of the house of representatives fought on the floor of the house.

Yawn! Stretch!

I am not impressed, I am not amazed. 

It was expected.

If we consider their pedigree, and antecedents, it is more amazing, that we have not had more before now, or that more of them do not die on the floor of the house from fracas like this.

These are people who went to school, but never acquired education , civility, decorum, and culture! 

A lot of them were members of secret cults in their higher institutions, and were involved in incidents that led to loss of lives in the past.

If you subject them to lie detector tests, you will see that they now belong to higher cults. 
Others are fraudsters, and scam artists, It is the Nigerian way!

They do not know how to sit down and watch someone, with a contrary view present his point. They have been struggling like a bulldog on a leash barking at a cat. 

Finally, they got their wish, the result was what they did yesterday. A lot of them can barely speak English for ten minutes without mixing their tenses, syntax, and structure. 

Many of them 'won' their elections by physically intimidating, and subduing the opposition during campaigns, and elections. 

What is a coup? It is the illegitimate overthrow of a democratic process. Many of those parading themselves as honourable members, rigged to win, they are in the house today because they had brilliant lawyers who succeeded in wining at the various tribunals, on technicalities.

They are a bunch of clowns who are not working hard for Nigeria, and Nigerians, but for themselves. 

They do not see election to the house as a platform for service, it is a channel for self enrichment. 

When they vet the budgets of ministries, and other government bodies, their underlying purpose is to spot possible lucrative contracts. 

They usually go back to these bodies with their companies, or proxies, seeking for the contracts they know are due for execution. 

These fellows are not in any way better than the militants in the Niger Delta!
 The only difference between them is that , while the militants use guns, and speedboats ,in mosquito infested swamps , our 'honourable' members use microphones, and the gavel, and are ensconced in an airconditioned chamber.

Meanwhile, they recently squabbled over doubling their annual allowances.

In Switzerland, their legislators are part time, and they do not earn the type of allowance these people are paid for doing nothing for us.
We should begin to think along such lines. If we adopt that model, the 'rats' who are currently breaking in, to eat the fish in the pantry, will not have any motivation to do so.

I will leave you with a thought by Professor Tekena Tamuno, he said 'All things bright and beautiful, all things wise and wonderful Nigerians kill them all!

It is time to stop killing our hope for a better tomorrow for Nigeria!

Someone needs to tell the house members, that they are a disgrace!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Natural Disaster!

I have come to discover, that certain countries, and regions of the world, seem to have certain endemic natural disasters. 

The Asian countries have their tsunamis, typhoons, monsoon floods, landslides, mudslides, earthquakes,volcanic eruptions, mine accidents, and rivers overflowing their banks, on a regular basis. 

The news cannot be complete in one month, if we do not get a report of one of these.  

For some of us, we are no longer amazed. We seem to be conditioned to them.

In the Americas on the other hand, they seem to contend with natural disasters like hurricanes, landslides, mudslides, floods, hailstorms, snow storms, blizzards,tornadoes, freak factory accidents, usually accompanied by loss of lives, and shooting incidents, on a regular basis.

While the loss of lives may not be on the same scale as Asia's, the Americas too suffer a great deal.

When I look at Nigeria, I find that we have been spared almost all of these natural, and man made disasters.
The disaster that we seem to contend with, is an abysmal, and colossal failure of leadership.Truth be told, leadership does not even exist here!

What we have are a group of children parading in adult clothes, masquerading as leaders, and playing government!

Story story? Story!

They do not understand the first thing about leadership, all they know is how to acquire more for themselves, and no more.

In the regions where natural disasters abound, leadership seems to have evolved to be robust, responsive, and responsible!

Could it be that the absence of life threatening phenomena over here, has bred, over time, a breed of happy-go-lucky, hapless, hopeless, and good for nothing ,but looting ,leaders?

It is what usually happens in nature when a specie does not have any natural predators, it become careless, relaxed, and contented;like the Dodo, on the Island of Mauritius, until man came .

It is a matter we need to give serious consideration to. 

I love watching documentaries. I thrive on them. What I have discovered from watching them is that, in times of crisis, the Americans do not mind scrambling four coast guard helicopters, two ships, and an airplane, to go and look for a man who went fishing, and was caught in a freak storm at sea!

If that were to happen in Nigeria, the first question the government would ask is, 'Who is he? They would want to know whether he belongs to the happening group, the ruling class. 

If there is no monetary gain to be had from his family now, or in future, the fellow is on his own. He becomes food for the fishes. Someone in government would even make a statement to the effect that people should not go out to sea to fish because government cannot be responsible for their welfare.

I have seen Americans, on television, mobilizing helicopters to rescue a cow!

If we were to finally agree to mobilize the helicopter for the rescue, it would not be available!

We would discover, that the minister, has taken it for the weekend, to use for his daughter's wedding in the village!

I know someone would argue, that the Asians are not better than us, I would disagree on that score. You can see that they are making a lot of effort to cope with the cruel crippling conditions confronting them. 

On our part, we are like the grasshopper in the nursery story, who played in summer, and suffered in winter.

What natural disasters do we see around us, one man stealing the whole oil money windfall from the  Gulf war, a governor being arrested at the airport in the United Kingdom, with one hundred thousand pounds cash on his person.

The fellow did not see what the fuss was all about. The amount was not even up to what he regularly gave his fifteen year old son as pocket money for a day trip!

We have been cursed with a curse! 

The curse of bad leadership. 

Even when good upright, incorruptible people get into positions of leadership, the disease seems to afflict them too!

My question is, why are we so blessed, with bad leaders?

Why! Why!! Why!!!

I am truly searching for the answer,
and as it comes,


Monday, June 21, 2010

How I Would Spend Ten Billion Naira.( If I were President)

If I were the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, and my officials came to me with a budget of ten billion naira, to spend on a jubilee jamboree. These are some of the things I would rather spend the money on.

Just trying to count all the zeroes in the amount, is dizzying. 

I might just build ten thousand  community health centres, spread across all the states of Nigeria. To maximize the use of the money, I would ask communities to execute the projects through direct labour.

We would then name them Jubilee Health Centres. I am sure we would reduce maternal, and infant mortality rates by fifty percent in less than one year.

We have a dubious reputation, of being only behind India, in this wicked, and unwanted statistic!

If I do not do that, I might consider building ten thousand e-libraries, equipped with solar powered back up systems across the states. I would still adopt the direct labour route. 

I have discovered that when people participate in building something, they usually take care of it. The reason for the library is to fast track us into the twenty first century, Our libraries are dying, derelict, and decrepit.

One other option I might consider, is to to build six Jubilees Secondary Schools in the six geopolitical zones. Communities would gladly donate tracts of land for them.

Another way to spend this money, would be to establish, fifty thousand simple Day Care Centres in government  offices across the country. 

These centres would be open to members of the public. They would be semi-commercial, to enable them pay for themselves,the aim is to help women who have children get back to work on time.

Another thing I might do,is to use the money to purchase electronic generating sets for our underfunded research institutes. You would be amazed at the impact.  

The last thing I might do is to invest it in a company like MTN to begin to reap dividends for our people.  

For a nation that went round the world asking for debt relief ten years ago, we have very short memories.We must look like a right lot of wastrels, and profligate spendthrifts.

I wonder why we are blessed with leaders who do not know the value of money, and how to manage, and grow it. 

Is it that they are less intelligent than we give them credit for? Could it be that we are being ruled by pirates who only know how to purloin, pillage, and plunder?

The world has been waiting for Nigeria, to stand up from the drink induced vomit she has been wallowing in for fifty years. Is this how we intend to rise? With a bottle of booze in our hands?.

Nations across the world are tightening their belts as a result of the global economic downturn. Nigeria, on the other hand, is showing that oil money is still flowing. 

This is a country that wasted her first forty nine years without a sovereign wealth fund.We spent, or embezzled , without saving, any of the money we made from oil. If our oil dries up tomorrow, we are bankrupt. We have nothing to fall back on.


So why enrich some already very rich civil servants, and their contractor friends, with money that would not have any meaningful, tangible,and sensible impact on the populace? 

The answer is simple. It is the Nigerian way! 

The wayward,wasteful, way!

Until we change our ways,


Read more at http//

Friday, June 18, 2010

Letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, No 2

My Dear President Jonathan,
I am writing to you from Akure today, I am sure you are not aware yet. But it has happened. Yesterday, there was a robbery in Akure!

I know you would say, that is not news,we have robberies everyday in Nigeria. I agree, but first, hear the particulars Sir.

The robbers were under the age of thirty! They were led by a very pretty young girl! Most of them were young girls! 

They were bold enough to walk on the main road, the way even you cannot Sir. As they walked along, armed beyond, and above the police, their vehicle slowly followed them!

It was as if they were inviting the police for a confrontation, or running a lap of honour!

They robbed Union bank, and First bank in a western movie style operation. They took the lives of innocent people calmly. Are you asking about your policemen Sir? They hid like children behind their mothers' skirts! They were shouting Ori iya mi ooooo! when they saw the caliber of weapons used by the robbers. Our policemen seemed like grasshoppers, in their own eyes!

If you remember Sir, I had warned you in my last letter about the soon to emerge crisis of resolute restless restive youth youths. I am very sad the prediction is coming true.

The way the robbery was planned, one could see that a lot of thought, and intelligence, had gone into the planning. This was not a group of lucky criminals, these ones were well trained in the art of robbery!

What do we do Mr President, tick! tock! tick! tock!, the clock is ticking, and the next wave of intelligent robberies, are just waiting for tomorrow's sun to rise.

These young, now tainted, Nigerians, took the law into their hands, because the system had failed them.

While I do not, and cannot, condone their action, in fact I condemn it with every atom of my being, I understand them clearly. This was their last throw of the dice, their last card.They have given up on Nigeria. They know that, to hope in Nigeria, as it is currently set up, is to tie an elephant to a spider's web. It is the most frustrating of frustrations. 

We see scarce resources frittered away on non productive politicians, we see other less endowed nations, growing bigger, and greater.
All we get from government are mere words, hollow platitudes.


Sometime down the line, these robbers would be caught, probably killed, and their bullet riddled bodies, shown on Crime Fighters. 

We would falsely hail it as a success. Alas! we have only succeeded in putting a plaster over a cancer. The root cause persists, and when it spawns the next teenage robbers, we would still not have taken any lesson away from the event.

Mr President, learn from this one! 

Give us hope!

Do something to change this course of shame and hopelessness we are are careening through.

As you do Sir,


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dissolve NFA Now!

The Yorubas have a proverb, that the food that would satisfy one, can be discerned from observation. There is another proverb I would like to share, that it is in the daytime you look for a black goat. These two witty sayings, encapsulate the current state of Nigerian football.

 To all grieving Nigerian football fans, my condolences, I share your grief, but feel no pain. I did my grieving over two years ago! The first proverb, was my first emotional leg I stood on, for support. I looked at this team, and concluded that they were going to disgrace us. I knew it was better for us not to qualify for the world cup, my reason was that our disgrace would only be restricted to Africa. The world cup was too big a stage for us to disgrace ourselves. 

We are there now, and we have been sliding down the slippery slope of shame. We are in danger of coming last at the tournament.

Before today, Greece had not even won a match at any of her previous tournaments. They are that terrible.

The second proverb, simply demands, that we do what we need to do in good time. Shuaibu Amodu, was never our problem. He is what the Americans call a "fall guy", or scapegoat.

The people who manage our football are! The Nigerian Football Association,NFA, a k a No Future Ambition, is organized in such a way as to prosper the civil servants who run the association, to the detriment of our football. The prosperity of our football, is not their priority.

Every action in that association, is targeted at making money for the officials, an allegation was made by one of the people who vied for the eagle's manager's job, that someone had demanded for bribe from him. He was criticized for being a sore looser. I believed him then, and I still believe him now.

We have officials who sacrifice the success of our football, for foreign currency. 
So what is the solution? Disband the NFA, this will force FIFA to suspend us from world football.In that time, to plan our football, like Ghana has evidently done ,successfully. I know this would not be acceptable to many, but we need a break from tournaments, to plan.

We should begin from the age grade teams, we should groom young men who are truly young. Iker Casillas, has been Spain's goalkeeper for eight years, he is just twenty five years. We do not have any player of his caliber in our national team. When a Nigerian player tells you he is twenty five, you need to add an extra fifteen to twenty years to that figure, to get his true age. The story is told of Phillip Osundu, a Nigerian under seventeen player, who was bought by a team in Europe ,some years ago. 

He had a problem, he was not very tall. So the club started giving him growth hormones, and other stimulants. To their dismay, the young man did not grow upwards, he only expanded sideways, his biological clock was older than his football age.

I believe that the young men who lost to Switzerland in the last tournament organized in Nigeria last year, ought to be the senior national team now. But we deceived the world, and fielded them as teenagers. In truth, these are thirty something year old men. That is the Nigerian way, victory at any cost.

Our actions come to bite us in our collective deceitful backsides, six years after, the boys ought to be twenty three, but the truth is that they are actually thirty six!

They are like Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who claims to be twenty six, but looks forty two. He cannot run for more than twenty minutes in a match, his "engine" is leaking oil. 

Kanu Nwankwo played for Iwuanyanwu United, before he played as a seventeen year old, that was impossible in Nigeria then. All you need to do now is look at King Kanu on the field, he looks like a tired horse past his prime. He falls over easily, he cannot shoot, he is blowing in the wind like my grandmother's threadbare wrapper.

That is Nigerian football. 

Someone should dissolve the house of shame,NFA to spare us more shame, and pain!

Until they do,

and we begin to laugh again,


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BRIC and Nigeria

Not too long ago, an event of global monumental proportions took place. Only a few, who understood it's import took note. Brazil, Russia,India, and China, formed an international coalition that redrew the parameters of where power now resides in geopolitics. 

These countries have certain key factors in common; they have large populations, their economies are growing faster than the world average, they are the factories of the world, they generate more than half of the world's electricity, they enjoy political stability, and education is not paid lip service  in these countries. 

These countries have just established the successor to the Non-Aligned Movement. And Nigeria is not a member. They will be bigger, and more influential, than the G20 within the next ten years!

Why were we not invited to join? 

Is it because we do not have the population? We do! Is it because we do not have an economy outpacing the rest of the world? Factories have been closing down, and relocating to Ghana, and South Africa. Is it because we do not generate sufficient electricity? How good is our Power Holding Company of Nigeria? Is it because we have been unable to conduct manifestly credible elections in the last ten years?Is it because our education sector is not growing? Remember the calamitous mass failure in the last NECO exams?

What are the benefits of belonging to the BRIC alliance?One Word:leverage! They have pooled their resources to exert a greater influence than any of them could have done, individually.

Is there a benefit in belonging to an association like that? (I love asking stupid questions)

The Yorubas have a proverb, that the child who knows how to wash his hands, will eat with the elders. Are our hands clean? I suspect that they must have considered us at one point in the planning stage, and dismissed us as mere vuvuzellas! 
All we do is make a lot of discordant noise, and irritate the rest of the world by our refusal to come of age, and act our age!

For a long time, we refused to put our house in order.We thought that the world would adjust to our substandard processes. Because they needed us then, they tolerated us, and we thought we were popular. We were wrong! 

Nigeria ought to have been Africa's representative, one in four black men, is a Nigerian.We disqualified ourselves long ago!

BRIC, as an idea, started peeping through the geopolitical firmament shortly after the last financial crisis ;China, was the linchpin for securing a lot of the money used to bail out ailing nations. Before then China did not get the respect it craved, and deserved.  

One of the consequence of this action, was the increase in her voting rights at the International Monetary fund. Before then, France, a country less than China in population, had more votes at the IMF!

The world has been evolving towards regional, ideological, and economic groupings. The most relevant today, I believe is the economic: it has become the independent variable, around which every other depends!

Today, we are clamoring for a seat at the Security Council, it does not add any tangible value to the lives of the average man on the street. It is just another excuse for over paid civil servants, and politicians to travel, and collect fat allowances, in foreign currency.

While I believe that on the basis of population, and contribution to peace keeping missions over the years, we deserve it, I also feel that, that, in itself, should not be our only claim to the seat.

If we were to objectively evaluate our track record of profligacy, and refusal to embrace, and domesticate, international best practices: we would see that we should not even be allowed to vie for it.

We have lost the opportunity to belong to BRIC for now, maybe if we decide to improve, we may be invited to dine with them one day. 

My fear is that that day may never come. We seem to be oblivious of the fact that the world is now a Global Dining Table, people can see our ugly table manners. A case in point is our decision to spend ten billion naira on our fiftieth anniversary, and the new call by our legislators to double their allowances. 

These are only possible in Nigeria, where power supply is epileptic, and infrastructure non existent, maternal, and infant mortality is higher than Somalia's, polio is still with us, we are still relying on people like Bill Gates to donate towards disease eradication.

Sometimes, I am ashamed to call myself a Nigerian!

We seem to have missed the road to common sense!

May we we find our way back to common sense,
and until we do, 


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan

Our Dear President Jonathan,
I write this letter to you with a very heavy heart. I know that the layers of protocol, and bureaucracy, that surround you, are more than the layers of an onion; but I will still try to still reach you.

We, your people, whom you have been so fortuitously given the honour of leading, want you to be aware of what is truly going on in the real world, as opposed to the make-believe land that civil servants live in. It is the only place they wish you to see. But there is another world, the real world, the world of the common Nigerian.

Every day I see them on my street, young men, and women, who should be in the university, but cannot go, because there are no adequate slots for them. Sadly, when other nations are looking at ways of improving their next generation, we have allowed ours to run wild. 

I see them on the road when I go out. Able-bodied men, carrying a tray with a few cigarettes, sweets, and kola nuts. I ask myself the question, can this man make enough to feed himself, and his family?

In the markets, they are an army of young angry men who have nothing to do, they are the touts, and canvassers, sometimes, they also are the pickpockets. They are idle, not because they want to be, but because the system has failed them. We have failed to plan for them, now they do not have anything to do, in short, they have no future.

I know that governments are not meant to create jobs, the duty of government, is to create the enabling environment for jobs to be created. The environment I see government creating, is one that would lead to anarchy.

There is anger on the streets, and it is justified. Men do not have hope. They do not like the tomorrow they see approaching them; there is inequity, there is inequality, there is iniquity,all fostered by government!

They see politicians, and civil servants, living like kings, and they want the same thing, but they are denied. This is a recipe for chaos. We are sitting on a volcano, We may feel comfortable right now, but the pressure is building. Like all volcanoes, it will surely erupt.

The eruption will be unpredictable, it will be painful, it will cause widespread damage. But can we afford it?

Whenever I drive through this crowd of young, angry men, I can sense the tension,I can sense their anger, I can sense their frustration. They see anyone, reasonably comfortable, as an enemy, they see me as one of those oppressing them. I am afraid.

They have not exploded yet, because they have not organized themselves, they will one day, because they are now talking to one another. It is only a matter of when, not if, they would organize. But time is slipping away even as we speak.

You, Mr President, need to act now! And time, is not on your side!

You have been prepared for this time, you have been assigned this one duty, save Nigeria from social disintegration!

Begin by dealing with the cabal that has captured the electricity sector, hobble them, vanquish them!  Every thing in Nigeria, revolves around electricity. If it is not working, Nigeria is not working!

Sack all those who hold senior management positions in our refineries, they should not be paid for inefficiency;  appoint their deputies, and set them one performance target only, the working of our refineries.

Our economy is still rudimentary, we are still constrained to move large numbers of goods, and people. 

Petroleum products, are the lifeblood of Nigeria. It is shameful, that we cannot refine what we produce in excess,and have to depend on foreigners, it is not in our strategic national interest! Like an infant, we need someone to pre-chew our food for us before we can consume it, this is immoral.

Accelerate the electoral reform process, it will give us hope when we go to the polls, let our votes truly count, let us elect, and not be elected for. We do not have anything against you, you may even be the beneficiary, if you do the right thing. 

Only be bold, only be brave, "for he who dares, wins"

This  is our prayer for you, that you do the right thing!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Patriotism Of Footballers

As we count down to the world cup; I find myself thinking of some of the issues that have caught my attention in football. I have seen over time, how many players, around the world, handled the perennial club versus country row.  

I find that in Europe, it is a non-issue. Players simply want to play for their countries. They see that as the height of their careers.

In Africa, on the other hand, the reverse is the case. African players want to play for their clubs first, and their country second. A queer example of this is Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayo, who is not twenty seven yet, according to his football age, who has retired from international football. His club is very happy!

But not everything has been negative with African football. I admire the way the Arsenal duo of Song of Cameroun, and Ebou of Cote d' Ivoire , love wearing their country colours on their wrists when they play. They seem to be saying" I may be playing for Arsenal, but my heart is with my country"  This, then begs the question, Why do we not see the same thing with Nigerian players? 

Is it that our players are not patriotic, or they just do not see the need for these outlandish, and "childish" displays of patriotism? I believe it is because nothing back home reminds them of their value, and worth! 
To whom much is given, much is expected. We have not given our players any reason to be patriotic.

When I say "we", I do not mean the man on the street, he worships every player that wears the green and white, I am referring to the leeches that govern Nigerian football. Those who feed fat on the blood and sweat of our players.

If we investigate how many officials from Nigeria, their wives, children, and girlfriends, are going to the world cup, at government expense, we would find that they would form ninety percent of our contingent to South Africa. Our players, who are the reason for the officials going, on the other hand are there alone, they do not have the same opportunity.

Then there is the issue of how we treat our players when they are injured. Emmanuel Amunike, and Daniel Amokachi's injuries come to mind. 

It seems a player is only useful to Nigeria, as long as he is fit. The moment he is injured, he is on his own. 

We have done this to countless players over time, remember Dosu Joseph? The new generation, like Mikel Obi, do not want to risk their career for Nigeria: it is not worth it!They know that when you play for Nigeria, you do not play with your "real feet", or your heart, you reserve those for your club. 

Do not put all your strength in a tackle. It may be your last, and you may end up driving a kabukabu for the rest of your life.That is why they play like ballet dancers dancers for Nigeria, and when they get to their clubs, they are fighting tigers.

Meanwhile, you see officials in football, living large on the sweat and blood of these poor boys. 

So, do I expect our players to give their all at the world cup, they would because they know it is an opportunity for moving to a better club, this is what Nigeria would benefit from. 

Nigeria is just a consequence, not the major reason for going to the world cup.

Until things change,


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dead Children For Money

One hundred children recently died in a medical incident in Zamfara state, and the Federal,State, and Local Governments,did not know the deaths had occurred, or were  related. It took the coming of Medcins Sans Frontiers for the dots to be connected. Apparently, they had all died from lead poisoning, which occurred from the processing of gold mined illegally.

All the components, it seems, necessary for running present day Nigeria, were present in the incident: levels of governments out of touch with the people, a pauperized population, and a health system that did not have a clue, and corruption. Somewhere, in the background, someone benefited from these deaths. I suspect a local,or state, official, was paid to look the other way in order for the illegal mining to happen.

If these deaths had happened in war ravaged Darfur, or Mogadishu,  where lawlessness, is the fashion,one would have understood. But this happened in Nigeria, in peace time, ten years from when we want to be among the first twenty advanced economies in the world!

Is this how a pretender to the prestigious class of the advanced twenty economies, behaves? Our problem is that we do not have a plan for getting anywhere. We are running this country on haphazard arbitrariness. Like voodoo!

According to the story, the villagers had attributed the deaths of the children, to malaria. This raises very grave questions, on the statistics we keep in this country, and how we treat deaths as well. If someone had carried out a simple autopsy, as the law ought to require, the epidemic would have been detected on time, and possibly saved a lot of lives. We cannot continue like this: things must change, for good!

Zamfara state seems to be gaining an unenviable notoriety, of being anti-children.

We must be the but of jokes in every civilized clime now. We are aspiring to go to the moon, and we do not even know what our children are dying of. 

Nigeria, already has a dubious reputation of having one of the worst child mortality rates in the world, we are worse than Somalia! War and all!

Is it too much to ask, that governments at all levels, should spend the billions voted for health, on actually taking care of people, instead of buying vehicles, and attending jamborees abroad.

I have consistently maintained, that the world is not going to wait for us to get our act together; the longer we dilly dally, the more the gulf in development widens.

Until we do,


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Cost Of A Strike.

In normal times,  and believe me, our normal times are actually abnormal;it is dangerous to be ill in Nigeria. Doctors are under such immense pressure, there are far too few doctors, attending to far too many patients.That is why people shiver whenever any medical union threatens an industrial action, they know things would be dire, and nasty.

That is why I find it befuddling, that the Lagos state government, would decide to precipitate an industrial action among the state's resident doctors, and ultimately, as it always happens, nationally.

The grouse of the government is that the Resident Doctors of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital , participated in a national strike. As punishment for participating in the strike, the doctors have been docked ten days pay.

This is the best time to allow "sleeping dogs to lie". A closer examination of the case would reveal a tragic pattern now very familiar in Nigeria: a doctor is the one who has taken the decision to cut salaries.

While one is not advocating paying the doctors for work not done, it is always important to look at the larger picture, and go with the lesser evil. we do not live in a perfect world.

The doctors participated in a national strike action. They belong to an association that engages in collective bargaining for their members. What did the Lagos State Government expect? That their own doctors would not participate in a national strike? That would be perfidious!

In normal times, people die of ailements that have been vanquished in societies with more responsive, and responsible governments. 

At the end of the day, the man on the street would be left with the short end of the stick: it is the "Nigerian way". Those in government who already enjoy access to more that adequate medicare, would now make this an excuse to travel abroad for medical care. Remember the previous occupant of the Villa.

We appeal to our doctors to remember the Hippocratic Oath they swore to, and stay action: and to the  Lagos State Government we say be magnanimous, and pursue dialogue, one cannot put a value on the cost of human lives. 
Both parties should consider, and take to heart, the unimaginable, and unacceptable, suffering that would be visited on Nigerians, who are truly innocent in this delicate matter.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are Nigerians Genetically Dishonest?

Are Nigerians genetically programmed to be dishonest?

Is there something in our make up that makes us commit crimes easily, or seek to get away with what is wrong?

A cursory  appraisal would seem to confirm this: but if we look at the whole picture objectively, we would find that there are so many extenuating factors, that mitigate, and make a lie of this assertion.

Can you blame a five year old for not understanding quantum physics, or the complete works of William Shakespeare ? 
You cannot because the child has not be schooled in that regard.

We were taught, in journalism school in those days ,that you must never write above the frame of reference of your audience, or beyond their field of experience.

The frame of reference simply refers to, what he knows, and can relate to, for example,  all that the five year old could know are some nursery rhymes, and this even depends on the social stratum the child is in.

Field of experience on the other hand, is the aggregate ,or sum total, life experience of a person from which he/she can draw from, and make comparisons, with whatever he encounters now. It is like his log book of life.

What  can we say have been our collective field of experience, and frame of reference as a nation?

Another way of asking the question is, what role models have we been given to follow, as Nigerians?
What acts of inspiration, and loftiness, have we been called to aspire to in our fifty years of nationhood?


Think about it, is there anything in our past that, munificently, and glowingly, compels, and challenges us, not to fall below the "ancient moral benchmark" of integrity?

Sadly, None!

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, if you need to; there is nothing in our past as a nation that motivates in anyway to patriotism, honesty, egalitarianism, and selflessness.

We have been operating on a deficit of moral inspiration for fifty years. 

Has a Nigerian public official ever resigned as result of being accused of wrongdoing? When they do, it is usually because they are forced out. They do not do it out of a conviction of duty the way we see it done in Japan.

Have you ever seen a leader give his all to serve this nation, at his own loss, and great pain to himself? Have you ever seen a leader who said he would not accept his salary, that  the opportunity to be of service to Nigeria, was enough reward in itself?

Then, there is the small question of honesty. Every leader runs on the adrenalin of dishonesty, and greed!

We now expect every leader to exit from office a rich man. Not necessarily as a result of his remuneration, but because of what he/she can filch! That is the example we have been used to for fifty years.

The first crop of leaders were not dishonest, they just were not sincere in terms of the desire to build a strong nation. 
They were not nationalists. Some people call them nationalists because they fought for independence.
But look at what they did after independence.
Each one of them pursued an ethnic agenda, and sought to be a national leader for his/her ethnic group. This was an anachronism. It just could not work. It is like trying to be in two places at once.

We are still "benefiting" from the ethnic seeds sown.

So, to ask the question again, "Are Nigerians genetically programmed to be dishonest? The answer is NO!

We are not. 

We have been nationally brainwashed by our leaders to believe that if we do not watch out for ourselves, no one would.
That has turned us into the worst kind of criminal possible, a programmed one. 

We steal, not because we are hungry, but because it is the only thing we have  been taught to do.

We have not been shown what true honesty is. 

And till now, we are still waiting to see it in leadership.

And until we do,


Bleaching Ibadan for Goodluck.

Ibadan feels strange! It looks strange! In fact, it is unreal! President Goodluck Jonathan is making a state visit: as it is customary, the host government, is putting it's "best foot forward". The only problem, is that that both feet are lame!

Part of the attempt at a cosmetic makeover,  or should we call it "bleaching",was the "reconstruction" of some roads.In addition to this, a lot of the roads have been properly marked, and decorated. I did not even know that the Oyo state government had the "out of this world" technology for marking, and decorating roads.

It is what we usually observe in Abuja anytime an important personage is expected. I always wonder to myself, "Is the fellow coming going to physically drive a car through the city, by himself? "Are these markings not supposed to be normal functions of government for which money is voted for? So what happens to the money that is voted every year and never used for the purpose.

Back to Ibadan, the state government ordered that markets be closed. I find that disconcerting. A lot of these people are barely surviving without government assistance,despite the myriads of anti people policies we see everyday: now they have to loose a day's income because a president, who does not even know they exist is coming. It is obvious to all who drive in Ibadan, that the motive behind this move, is to remove the huge traffic gridlock that Ibadan's markets engender. 

Very little infrastructure has been put in place in the last ten years. Would it not have been a good opportunity for the president to see the problems that Ibadan has to grapple with, and possibly get some federal relief.

But then again, leadership is predicated on the relationship between the colonized, and the colonizer. The federal colonizes the state, the state colonizes the local government, and the people on the street get the short end of the stick! No one wants to show the boss that things are bad. And lest we forget, the governor is looking for a second term. 

Some weeks ago I wrote about how we treat corpses on our streets.The week after I wrote that story,  as I passed through Ibadan, I saw the body of a dead man on Ring Road. This road is a dual carriage way, it is one of the lifeblood of Ibadan traffic infrastructure: the body had been there for at least a whole day, or more. For me, that is the real Ibadan, a place where government does not really care, of traffic jams and power outages, and in the words of our beloved J P Clark's, a place of "running splash of rust an gold".

Despite all these faults, and foibles, Ibadan is still a great city, O yato jooooo!!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Love Becky Anderson!

I have managed to restrain myself from commenting on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is not because I did not have a position on the matter, but rather, because it was an American issue, they were doing a great job of covering it from all angles.

One criticism I have of CNN is that it sees the world from an American perspective, and reports about the world with bias for all things American.

But yesterday, I was stunned by what Becky Anderson, the anchor said. She juxtaposed the American ecological disaster of calamitous proportions with the environmental disaster ongoing in Nigeria. I was not sure I had heard her properly, and I was wondering what disaster she was talking about.

Do we have an environmental disaster at the moment? I thought the only disaster we had was the the  normal abysmal, and woeful failure of leadership we are grappling with.

It is common knowledge that humans have a huge capacity for adapting to situations they feel they cannot change, no matter how adverse. That is why the man who lives by the rail line can sleep even when a train is passing beside his window at night, or the case of the homeless drifters who sleep in the open during the coldest harmattan,or downpour, or some people's desensitization
to filth.

Becky Anderson said the magnitude of the current oil spill, it's level of destruction ,and disruption, is just equivalent to what happens in Nigeria every year! And this has been the trend every year, for the past fifty years!

For the Americans, this is momentous, monumental, and out of this world;they are even calling it their worst ecological disaster: for us it is normal! America's worst ecological disaster is equivalent to a "slight incident" in Nigeria.

She had an expert she was interviewing, and he dropped the other bombshell! He said the business model in Nigeria was such that the oil companies were in business for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, this is known by all; but what we did not know was that the corporation used it's government muscle to ensure that spills were unreported, and people were uncompensated. 

They rode roughshod over the people.

NNPC spoke one thing in public, and meant another in private. So the oil companies knew NNPC did not really mean, or intend for them to actually clean up spills, and compensate people.This is criminal! This is economic genocide!

This clarified for me the level of the virulent agitation by people like Ken Saro Wiwa. They saw the collusion by NNPC with the oil majors to destroy our people's lives, and they could take it no more. And they were willing to die for their belief!

Compare NNPC's treachery with President Barack Obama's consistent declaration, that British Petroleum would be responsible for the clean up; so far, BP has spent 960,000,000 dollars trying to salvage, remediate, and ameliorate the effect of the spill.

If the equivalent of this same amount had been spent in Nigeria combating oil spills over the years, we would not have had a runaway restiveness on our hands, as we do now.

We need to hold the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to a higher code of responsibility!
Until, and after, they do,