Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I Criticize Nigeria

Nigerians are more united than they can ever imagine.
We all suffer from abject,and criminal,neglect,by those
 who govern us.They do not govern us for our good,
it is to our ruin,and destruction.We all need to speak.

"I love America more than any
other country in this world,and,
exactly for this reason, I insist
on the right to criticize her

James Arthur Baldwin
American Essayist,Playwright, and Novelist

This is my consolation every time I criticize 

I do not do so because some foreign power is paying me.

I do not, because I want us to fail;I am like one standing in a vantage position,watching a loved one in a race. I can see obstacles he is too busy to see.

It is my duty to inform him,of the obstacles in the way. His loss would be my loss too!

It costs me a lot to criticize Nigeria. My time,my money,and incalculable measure of intellectual  exertions.

If you think it is easy to write,try.

Those who refuse to speak out against the blinding injustice,and inept policies,are complicit in their silence. You abdicate your right to complain about your personal suffering,when you support the general injustice.

We deserve better,we are worth more than we are getting from our leaders.
Malaysia attained independence in 1957,three years before Nigeria; given the level of sustained development in that country,it might as well have been thirty years before.

Like Nigeria,they were also colonized by the British, and they are not ethnically monolithic,but that has not stopped them from developing light years ahead of us.

Today,Nigeria is in total darkness. I mean this literally. Electricity workers are on strike,they are demanding the payment of five billion naira;being arrears and other emoluments, owed them by the government.

This has become a refrain in our national life. People going on strike to demand that government fulfill an obligation it entered into, in supposed good faith, with them.

We have become a nation,that has a government that cannot be trusted to keep it's word.

Successive governments,have entered into agreements they knew they had no intention of keeping. They only agree,and concede, in order to get the workers back to work.

Every now,and then,a new broken promise crawls out of the swamp to torment us all.

When the institution,charged with keeping the country on an even keel,adopts infidelity as it's raison d'etre,then we really are in trouble.

And you want me to keep quiet.

Many Nigerians,are four years behind where they ought to betoday,because the government failed to honour agreements with unions in our higher institutions.

The punitive strikes,resulted in some people spending seven years in the university to study a four year course!

Sometimes, I imagine Nigeria,as one big playground filled with riotous ,rambunctious, raucous children without adults;the bullies rule here.They rule with a big stick called government.

They have no interest in progress,it would not favour them. They see change as a loss of power,privilege,prestige.

So they fight it, and I them!

I fight because across the fence,I can see other playgrounds without adults too, but the children there are well behaved.

The older,stronger,smarter ones,take care of the week.

They work together for the comfort of all.They too wield a  big stick,it is called "order,and equity"

This is why I criticize Nigeria.

I know that what I am demanding of her,is not something that is yet to be done.


It is actually the norm.

We are actually the exception.

And a laughing stock!

This is why I speak out.

What we are asking for,is not rocket science. One does not need a doctorate from Harvard ,or Yale, to do it.

The only qualification necessary,is sincerity of purpose,and equity of conduct.

Nigeria is adrift!

We have been drifting for fifty years in a fog filled sea;unfortunately, the supposed pilots,have been reading the map upside down!

All around us, reefs,and rocks,threaten.

Yet they scream "Full steam ahead!

Because they have not hear a crash a loud crash,they are encouraged in their idiocy,and asinine conduct.

The crash,has already happened.

But we seem to be oblivious.

It is the whimper, of the lives lost from lead poisoning in Zamfara, the  last gasp of over three hundred lost to 
cholera so far, the death struggle of innocent people that die from police bullets,and inhumane checkpoints.

Can one forget lives lost during strikes by medical personnel,and numerous women and children who die at childbirth.

Our fifty years as a nation are 

signposted by the blood of the innocents 

shed by criminal negligence.

And you want me to keep quiet.

The people who claim to be incharge,have no idea.

They are clueless!

And they will always be. Because their 

motives are wrong.

Their sole pursuit is gain,personal gain.

Our political office holders are among 


highest paid in the world today.

This would not have been criminal,if our 

standard of living,had been

the highest in the world.

But that is not the case.

While our country is one of the richest 


the world,our people,are among

the poorest. It does not make sense,and 


does not seem fair!

Either way,anyhow,this must end.

It must end with my generation.

Stand Up Nigeria!


It is Time!

Change Must Come Now!

My name is Julius Umogbai, I believe in 

the vision of of the Kakatawaga 

Progressives,we believe in the vision of a 

new Nigeria.

A place where our diverse ethnic 

groups,would be our greatest asset,and 

our people our biggest treasure.

Join Us To Change Nigeria Now!




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tribute To Dotun

There are some people we know, by necessity,  borne out of curiosity.

I mean this in the sense that we seek them out as a result of their relationship with people that are dear to us.

Dotun falls in that category. he plays the keyboard in my sister's church.

I have just been informed of his death,and all of us in the house are sad. 

Only one person,my two year old niece,is not.

You probably would wonder why she should be. 

She also knew Dotun, and was in fact the reason why I feel sad about someone I only met three times.

People referred to him as her boyfriend! 

She, "shamelessly",as only a child could, flirted with him. When she saw him in church,she shouted his name  like an equal Dotun! And he responded like a friend.

He allowed her to play the church keyboard, that was always the height of her church experience.

I had to meet this Dotun . I made up my mind the day overheard my niece speaking with him on the phone. 

She was not even two then,but you could tell that she knew who was on the phone. It was the way she called his name,she called it gently, and dragged it,as if to make it last. 

She had been cranky,but as soon as she heard his voice,she became demure, and coy.She called his name, and muttered something in "babylish", I was shocked! 

That Dotun,is now dead.

The little girl has been jumping up and down,as usual;she is oblivious of the fact,her Dotun has gone!

Dotun died a meaningless death. 

He was the victim of two conspiracies he knew nothing about.

He was born with the painful sickle cell disorder. 

Though it was not his making, he suffered the pain all the same.
It had defined his entry into life ,and paved his exit from it as well. In between the two events,was a life of pain,and struggle,and more pain. 

The second conspiracy,was the ongoing strike by doctors in Lagos state. 

Dotun had been ill,and had developed complications; he required a cardiologist, there was none available.

In normal times,a cardiologist is a rarity,he is worth his weight in gold.During a medical strike in Nigeria, he becomes as valuable as El Dorado!

And so Dotun died.

He died because he was born with the sickle cell disorder . He died because Nigeria failed him.

Whenever politicians talk about our aspirations to the elite first twenty economies of the world, in the year twenty twenty;the nebulous,high-sounding,not well executed vision twenty-twenty-twenty. I laugh. I know it is all talk. 

The Yorubas of Nigeria,have a proverb, they say the food that would satisfy one, can be easily judged by sight. One does not need to eat it to know. 

What I see our government serving on the table now,would only cause us belly aches in future!

Can we build a great nation,without a healthy population?

Can we become truly great,when our best years seem to be behind us?

What is the duty of government,when it comes to the welfare of Nigerians?

I suspect that there are similar sad stories like Dotun's all over the place. Nigerians from all tribes,and states suffer the same neglect that has just claimed Dotun. 

We are united in our being the recipients of a failure to provide leadership. 

It is time we all put our differences aside,and work towards making sad stories like Dotun's history.

As  we all go to bed tonight,my heart goes out to Dotun's parents,and his family,I pray they would find strength to bear the loss.


Add caption
One gets the distinct feeling,that we are being led by pirates. They are more concerned with what they can grab,than with how they can serve the people.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Woman Called Nigeria,By Ayinde Katunga. First published 2/7/2010

We are breaking with tradition today,we are publishing an article written by a very good friend of mine. He is a visionary,with a monumental capacity to see into the future,a great future for Nigeria. 

Read,and enjoy. I hope you get as much pleasure from Ayinde Katunga,as I have.

If the Nigerian nation were a woman...and most nations are; I believe. She'd be an angry woman. 
Fine woman...but angry woman. Voluptuous woman...but angry woman. Symphonic woman...but angry.

She'd be fully blossomed and matured. Adorned with shapely curves and replete with nature's - fullest of feminine fleshy accoutrements. Confident about her richness in allure, and yet so frustrated - because she is unfulfiled. She knows what she wants, or thinks she knows what she wants...but really she doesn't know what she wants. She does know however - what she doesn't want. And what she doesn't the way she feels, about something she doesnt want. So really...she does know what she wants. But better expressed with dripping tears, than tear splashed inky-words on unposted finery of paper.

She's frequently neurotic... and snaps into an artful pique. Her different parts are in perpetual conflict...her north and south unrenconciled. As she lies down expired.

Her northern parts think one way. As her southern parts think another. Sometimes she looks so dejected -not even bothering to pay her - Delta and Jos - parts the attention they need. They are neglected and unkempt. And all because her deepness is unfilled, nothing of note has joined her to share. She can feel her own void...and it gnaws. She wonders...what is it? What is wrong with me? So she has a number of flings to kill time. Starchy green khaki and rippling white agbadas. And has careless dalliances with a post-independence flitting time.

She plays and feigns, as she acts in fling and headless romance. Romances marred by many unforgettable long rapes. Old London, New Dubai, the town under a Cape, and the city that never sleeps: all of them she's been dragged through...they bear the currency imprints of her tattered past. She is making up for lost time; she deludes. But more accurately she is virulently angry with scorn. And why? Because at a level, much deeper than any canyonic word can yawn. She knows what she wants. She has the language to define it...not with words. But with loopy feelings and the nasty aggro - of a tsunamic agitation.

She has a super-duper crush on him. Its more than a crush...its a thing about him. Jiggy him, whom she'd always known was hers - and she; supposedly his. She had decided these things, and requistioned fate to seal. And so her pain was more.

Ok. So he is a little slow, he is taking his time. Or maybe he is a little intimidated by her brazen, unabashed full-on attractiveness. But she knows...deep down - not only does she want him...she wants him to cherish her. And wants him - to want and long for her; like crazy. If he doesn't do these things...then all the juices of her intense passions get locked in - and she hugs buddy neurosis again. The schisms of her south burp; the east-west split rears its dabaru-head again; it gives her untreatable headaches; uncured by the - imported fake drugs she cannot afford.

So one day after the end of another- sweaty breathless fling. The emptiness returned. Her aching joints and twitching facial muscle led a cascade of painful turmoils - whizzing across her stiff neck and blinking eyes. She was alone and spastic. Nervously she grabbed hold of a past mirror and looked at herself. She what she saw. The sadness from her bubbling bone marrow and inner nerves rose to her jangled face. She looked like a - dried up yam tuber. She cried out again "why does he not see me". "Why doesn't his passions push him...right into me". "Why is he so timid". "And why am i cursed to bear this torture".

She was wailing uncontrollably in between munches of stale suya...from last night, when she saw him. He was walking past her house front - on the 1st October, one day. She saw him and shivered...then she breathed him in. She was part happy and part nervous. Again her northern and southern parts were in harmonious disquiet...but she was in pain. The weight of the years of her birthday didn't help.

"Enough is enough" she decided. If he won't come to me...I'll go to him. She dashed outside her house and ran after him [Mr Progress]. He was a little faraway. But she raced and caught up with him. In no time she was behind him...her heart racing and her nostrils flared, as her - award winning bum - threw caution of tamed decency - to the winds of Atlantic and Sahara; colliding. Jiggle...Jiggle.

She tapped him on the back, he turned around. She looked into his eyes. Their eyes squared. Their hands joined. She read his mind. He understood what was going on...he had no escape. He had to face the truth. He'd always felt his destiny was fated to hers... but didn't know or wasn't sure how.

She hushed him "shhhh" as he began to falter his limp words. 

She spoke: "It's ok..." "...don't worry" "You won't be alone" she said. "You and i...are now one". "Just let it go, let your hesitations go...we'll be alright". "I love you...i've always loved you". "And love you even more...that it's taken this long". The dread of her age lightened, as she felt his purpose and power rising. And since she was hope...she breathed him some more, and was inspired by the shining paths that opened up before her, as he moved nearer.

That's all she had to tell him "you and I...are now one". He believed, he strengthened...and joined her as one, as their flesh stuck, and the current moved. And every hope in her, he fulfilled, as her inner turmoils of north and south were transcended...the east and west complied. And she gasped her passage through into paradigm. And he arrived where she went. 

The heavy rains soaked the soils, the yam tubers plumped up, as their roots sucked up hydration. 


We are a great country. Let us fulfill her. 

That she fulfill us. And she is fulfilled to fulfil us again and again 

Let the ideology of - a truthful progress of moral conscience, enter her.


There is a voice of progress in our nation. 

There is hope in our nation. 

But first...they must join, before either can be whole. 
Because their wholeness is to be found in their union.

Just like man and woman are fleshy illusions of a virtual reality. 
So too...are Hope and the action of Progress. 
Real Hope is - actualised. 
And Real Progress is - actualising.

Woman has no definition outside the realm of man.
And neither has man any defintion outside the realm of woman.
But together their blissful union shines and twinkles...and is the happy face of our progressive humanity. Everything else is window dressing - and apologist commentary.

Woe-man, is the man not in benefit and guidance of a woman's love.
And unmanned, is the woman orbiting alone in the universe unguided.

A woman called Nigeria needs help. Are you the one she is looking for?

Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chaos As A National Ethos

It is with a deeply troubled,and heavy heart,that I write today's blog. I asked myself a question a while back,and today,I finally realized the answer had been looking at me,scornfully, all along.

I had ruminated,a while back,on what one could consider to be our national ethos.

Something we could point to,and say,our course,as a nation,is informed,and directed by;our national compass.

Sadly today, I realized it.


Yes chaos!

That is our national ethos. It may not be written down,or codified in some codicil somewhere,but a careful examination,would make it all the more apparent.

Before that however,it would be nice to look at other nations,and the ethos they are guided by.

Everyone knows,that Israel's national ethos,is security. 

Therefore,every aspect of Israeli life,reflects this . 

It is like a gyroscope,that keeps a rocket on course.

In like manner,China's national ethos,is economic growth,by all means.

The Chinese government knows that the day the economy stops growing,people would begin to demand an open society,and social justice.

I have come to realize, that when someone is addicted to alcohol,or drugs,the addict lives in denial. 

He would often say it is a habit he can stop,whenever he wants to.

But the reality,makes a lie of that puerile defense.

We are in the grip of chaos!

It is not an official policy,it is the default order. 

Chaos,is the order that rules our lives.

We sleep it,drink it,eat it,walk it,it oozes from every pore of our beings.

It is our environment.

It is the unofficial,but active,government policy.

It drives on the roads,it flies in the air, it assails our nostrils, and deafens our ears!

Chaos,reminds me of the words of a popular hymn,

" it breathes in the air,it shines in the light,it streams from the hills, and descends to the plain,and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain"

In the last thirty years, we have given birth to children in chaos,lived in it,and even died in it's embrace.

Everywhere one looks,chaos rules,like it did in William Golding's Lord Of The Flies.

Nigeria,is one of the few countries I know,where government,at all levels,does not honour contracts entered into by it.

That is the fruit of chaos.

One of the hallmarks of an ordered society,in the inviolability,and sanctity,  of contracts.

It is not uncommon, for one to agree to terms,execute the contract,and when it is time to pay, some smart civil servant,who feels that the contractor is getting more than he deserves,
arbitrarily slashes the amount due.

It is also only in this country,that an incoming government,sometimes belonging to the same political party, as the outgoing,would repudiate a contract,simply because it was not initiated under it's administration.

We forget that government is a continuum;from the ashes of the outgoing, the new administration is born,like a phoenix! 

Different,but still the same.

And you tell me that is not chaos?

Where else,would you find a government deliberately pursuing anti-people policies. 

It is only in Nigeria,that laws are passed,and take retroactive effect. Sometimes,these laws are targeted at just one individual.

Some years ago,government,passed a law about preshipment inspection of goods. The law was a source of chaos.

It prohibited shipments that were legally imported,and shipped before the law was even promulgated.

Chaos! Chaos!! Chaos!!!

Where else,do you find people driving aggressively,with confidence,against traffic;in full view of policemen.

If you decide to obstruct these offending drivers,a policeman would stop you,the law abiding driver,and pass the offender! 

That is if they do not run into you first,come out of the car,and give you two quick slaps,for good measure.

I see it everyday. And I bleed inside me.

Like Bongos Ikwe sang in one of his songs, "whats wrong is right,whats right is wrong, I don't know"

We are the only nation in the top seven oil producing nations of the world,that exports crude,and imports finished petroleum products.

Government, then has the insulting temerity, to turn around,and say it is subsidizing imported products.

We punish the people for the sins of government,if that is not chaos,then I do not know.

We have refineries,staffed by well paid individuals,who seem to exist only to set fires to the core components of these refineries. 

It has been like that,from the administration of General Babangida,and it is still the order now.

We are always turning around,and maintaining, refineries that do not refine anything of value!  

I believe we should just sack everyone working there,and save government some money.

For a nation blessed unfairly with a prodigious water resource,it is a mark of chaos,gone viral,that we do not have quality water to drink, electricity to run our industries.

Nigeria,probably imports more generators,than any other nation on earth. Most households,now have two,or three generators!

And the chaos from lack of electricity,is crippling. Certain key equipments cannot be used in Nigeria. If you must,they have to be on generators round the clock.

Even our people,show signs of addiction to chaos.

We fight on the street,at the slightest provocation, people are gunned down in broad daylight,and nothing happens.

To our shame,an attorney general,and minister for justice,was assassinated, and those responsible,only waxed stronger. 

When the law,becomes afraid of evil,that is chaos, in all it;s unwholesome glory.

When people no longer trust the police,and prefer to take the law into their own hands, that is chaos. 

Jungle justice,mob action,lynchings and arbitrariness, these are the sure signs of a society in the throes of chaos.

I am not happy to point out these observations,I cannot gloat over our glaring descent into anomie. 

I live here too. 

I am bashed on the head with it everyday.

It does not matter whether I go out or not,it forces it's way into my presence;it violates me ,whether my door is open, or not.

The erosion of moral values,and the promotion of wealth by any cost, over rectitude, hard work,and civility, is largely responsible for our plight. This is further nurtured,by successive governments behaving like pirates on a seized ship. 

At no time,in the last forty years,has a government policy being designed,to benefit the people. It is always to benefit one contractor, any benefit to the people is just an insignificant byproduct, an after thought.      

So,how do we exit the hell we have created for ourselves,that binds us,and rules us,to our regret.

The answer,is not so easy. 

I have an idea,but the realization,is an uphill task.

We need to restore order,which is the absence of chaos. 

That cannot be legislated,or ordered into being. It would require integrity on the part of the government,and the governed. 

A commitment to do what we ought to do,how we ought to do it,when we ought to do it. 

Any deviation from this new ethos, would just be a continuation of chaos. 

It would take a whole generation to achieve this, because the next generation,are already taking notes in chaos.

As we do this,