Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Duty Of Man

While I am not an authority on             
anything, I can hazard a guess on what I believe to be the duty of man

on earth, as in you,and I.

This is different from your relationship with God.

I believe we have a duty to leave this world a better place than we met it. The world is a never-ending project,it is a building that would never be complete, a book that would never be finished, a poem with no end! 

It depends on transient workmen to add a brick here,and fix a door there. We would never be able to build the world according to our plan,but we can ensure that the bit we get to do, is quality work that cannot be faulted.

We may not have the whole building plan,but the good that we do,fits perfectly into the master plan!

Some of the work we would do,would be to build from the foundations laid by others,while others may find that they need to remove poorly laid parts all together.

When we engage the world to the best of our ability,it does not matter what we are doing at that time, all we need to know is that we are doing a great job!

The greatest tragedy on the earth,is to have ability to make a difference,and deny it by doing nothing!

The inventions we enjoy today,and the freedoms we all cherish,were all built on the selflessness of others. When we see evil,and refuse to speak against it,we are in tacit support ,it is like building on an unjust,and faulty foundation. Whatever results from it,would not be fair to the generations to come.

As one surveys the world,one can see clearly where the line has been drawn;those who through pain,and conflict,still manage to show the way are on one side,and on the other,we have those who obscure the path,and sow darkness,and they seem to be many!

Open your eyes today,and see where you can make the difference!

Nigeria needs you!

Lead by fearless example, it is all we need to change the world!


(If you are reading this on Facebook,you can read more at the Blog, www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

Someone Wants To Woo You!

Some years ago, there was an American musical act that,as like to say it, took the world by storm with their singles,"Girl You Know It's True", and "Blame It On The Rain". They sold seven million albums,and even managed to win a Grammy Award!

If you are old enough,you would know that I am talking about Milli Vanilli,the group discovered in Germany.

Trouble started, however, when a tape they were to use for a concert broke,and could not be fixed! Unbeknownest  to everybody, these fellows had lip synced their way to fame!They looked good in leather,but could not carry a tune! Sometimes,and many times, appearances can be deceptive!

And that is the point of this my roundabout story!

Up till now,after the series of sordid revelations arising from the many decisions of the various tribunals,and courts,it is obvious,that our votes have never counted in any election!

We have been taking part in some sort of political karaokee, or lip syncing.They have pantomimed in front of us,while pretending to be singing!

The politicians led us to believe that when we went out to queue in the sun,and allowed the sand flies to bite us, and persevered in the face of the overpowering body odour from the fellow who stood in front of us, that our votes truly counted!

What they have been doing,from all that we can see,and deduce, is similar to what the colonialists did to Africa when they partitioned it. The Africans were led to believe it was for their good,but in reality,the partitioning was for the economic good of the colonial power!

It is probably the reason why all the candidates are jostling to impress the various parties,and secure nomination,and not us,the supposed final arbiter. They know that the party with the best rigging infrastructure,and architecture,would win the day! It is the proverbial tail,wagging the dog again!  

From the delectibly delicious decisions of the various courts in the past six months,we can all conclude tha the People's Democratic Party, has the best rigging machinery in place. While they know how to rig,they lack the intelligence to make it invisible. It reminds me of the story of the Nigerian in the World's Book of Heroic Failures. During the colonial time, a messanger was sent to the bank with a cheque for £10.00. The fellow decided to be smart,and added more zeros, without altering the amount in words! 

On getting to the bank,the bank saw the idiotic error,and sent for his British boss,there was hell to pay!

When you try to cheat, no matter how careful you are, a sustained,meticulous, forensic examination,would reveal the tell tale signs of your malfeasance! 

I suspect that as the elections approach,we would find more politicians trying to catch our eye,and woo us. 

Please do not fall for them easily,flutter your eyes,look away as if bored,and  ask them to declare what they want to spoil you with. 

If they can only say the usual water,road,electricity, tell them,you have heard it before,and it was never done!

Let them give you specifics based on current revenue projections,and all the other economic parameters,and permutations, people like to wow us with. 

This would tell you if the fellow is interested in good governance,or the capture of national resource for himself,and his family!

That should be fun to see, because we have been spurned for too long!

As you do,


(If you are reading us on Facebook, you can also read more at our blog www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

Monday, November 29, 2010

How The Next Elections Might Be Rigged

In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Eneke,the bird was asked why it flew without perching on a twig,it's response was that since men had learned to shoot without missing,it has also learned to fly without perching!

That simple allegory,encapsulates the struggle between good and evil! Another story is told of how when someone saw the Maxim Gun,the first machine gun ever made,in action,the fellow said the gun would make war obsolete. Has it?

Every time man innovates in a positive direction, the agents of chaos, plan a counter strategy to cancel out the new advantage.

One of the planks that the judges used in voiding the election of Olagunsoye Oyinlola,was that it was mathematically impossible for the number of people alleged to have voted at some polling stations to have done so! The judges held that it would have meant all the voters in one particular polling station voting in twenty seconds! 

We all know that this is scientifically impossible,even with the advances of electronic voting! The human body was not designed to move that fast!

I read in one of our newspapers today,an alarm raised by some politicians of the arms being stockpiled in Imo state. The intention,according to the (let me use a useless word that makes sense "alligators") is to scare voters from voting at all on election day!

The politician in question intends to mount armed men,dressed in police uniforms, on vehicles who would go round shooting into the air. While this is going on,the voters loyal to the trouble makers,would come out,identify themselves with a prearranged secret code, and be allowed to vote!

It sounds impossible, but plausible in Nigeria! I have seen,and heard worse in my time. What should be our response to this coup against us? We do not have guns, we do not have the resources to match theirs. 

I believe it is technology! People should use whatever means they have to record the intimidation,camera phones, camcorders etc. These should then be transmitted to the opposition candidates who are bound to challenge the outcome of such an election.

I can hear someone saying,"what if they see me? Hide,make sure they do not see you. And, I can assure you,whatever sacrifice you make,would go a long way to giving us the Nigeria of our dream.  

This country has been raped for too long,and we have all stood still,and watched. Each time she gave birth to an illegitimate child,we declined ownership, and parentage. I believe it is time the offspring of this nation,began to look like us!


(If you are reading this on Facebook,you can read more at www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

Nigeria,India,Ghana,Three Nations,One Past Different Prognoses!

Nigerians blame the British for their present day woes! They say they were clobbered by colonialism into an unnatural union, a nation of parasites,and unwilling hosts! Some even argue that we were better off individually, when we were apart.

So let us blame the British!

The British colonized India,and Ghana;yet both nations are everything Nigeria is not. India has the same multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-religious,population. They have had serious challenges in the past,but they have now been able to resolve them,and make them work for the nation.

India is a model of efficiency,Nigeria is not. India is a model of simplicity,we love to complicate simple issues. The simple easy way,is not the Nigerian way.

You may argue that India is an Asian nation,hence cannot be a true benchmark for judging us as a nation; then Ghana should suffice. It is an African nation, it is even West African! Just two countries separate us; we also gained independence at about the same time.

But that is where the similarities end. While Ghana,like Nigeria,made mistakes in the past,and used those mistakes as stepping stones to building a great future,many Nigerians keep declining culpability,and shift the blame to the British. It is like blaming an armed robber's father for giving birth to him! That is surely absurd,or blaming Toyota motor corporation for manufacturing the car that carried the robbers that raided a bank! As preposterous as these arguments sound,that is how our hollow excuses for not being a proper nation sound.

In the last two decades,Ghana has successfully held three unambiguous,and manifestly transparent general elections. 

Nigeria,on the other hand, has spent more money,and made more noise, holding what could be truly referred to as the most corrupt elections ever. Even Mike Tyson,the American boxer,registered to vote!

If we must tell ourselves the truth,it is that we have not done enough to deserve,or become, a great nation! 

We have,instead,stumbled to the little success that we can boast of,like Ali Baba happening upon the cave of the forty thieves!

Nations do not grow like an Oak,or Iroko, tree which requires little attention,and sacrifice! Rather, they are nurtured like a tender grape vine,with care,attention,and discipline. These are elements which are lacking in our society today.

While it is true that we have suffered at the hands of monumentally corrupt leaders,we cannot deny the fact that we too,as a people, have not engaged leadership properly. We have committed to God the things we should have taken control over! When we see a problem,instead of speaking out against them,and holding protest marches, we choose to pray to God about the privations we are suffering. 

Meanwhile God did not cause them. Man did!

When our politicians misbehave,and act like the asses they are, we do not loose our tempers in righteous indignation! Instead we look for a scripture to support our inaction,not speaking against authority. I have read the Bible,it allows you to question authority that is in error. Paul challenged the Apostle Peter,when Peter separated himself from the gentiles (See Galatians 2:14)

Our nation is constantly going through a process of rebirth .

The problem is that when we refuse to monitor, and participate in the birth process,our political leaders regularly present us with a bastard,instead of the true child that belongs to us!

America fought a war of Independence,the Indians resisted the British,but Nigeria only talked them out of Nigeria. Maybe that is why we do not value our nation.

Perhaps it is time we started loosing our collective tempers,as a true foundation for building a great nation!


(If you are reading this on Facebook,you can also read more at my blog www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

Decision PointsThe Gift

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nigeria, A One Party State!

"What sorrow awaits you Pharisees!
 For you are careful to tithe even the
 tiniest income from your herb
 gardens,but you ignore justice,and
 the love of God. You should tithe
 yes,but do not ignore the more
 important things. -Luke 11.42, New
 Living Translation of the Holy Bible 

The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day in the time of Jesus Christ. They interpreted the law,and where the word of God seemed to be silent on an issue,they "spoke God's mind"

In truth,they were nothing more than opportunists who used their exalted positions to grow rich,while pretending to serve the people. To the casual observer,they were hard working devout men, they loved to display their devotion to God through elaborate, and extravagant shows of piety. They also interpreted the law to entrench their gorgeous social status.

They lived in a polarized society,they were on one side,and the people were on the other. Does that sound like any particular group of people in present day Nigeria?

Correct! Our politicians,especially the ones in the national assembly! If you did not know it before,now you know,they are the modern day version of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were experts at inane,irrelevant,and silly interpretations of the law that bothered on splitting hairs. 

They did this without impacting positively on the lives of common people. They derived their wealth from their skewed interpretation of the law designed to keep them in wealth,while pauperizing the people! They were actually meant to help the people by helping them serve God better,and thus improving their lot!

Is there any difference between them then,and the members of the National assembly today? They live in luxury,they regularly give themselves sumptuous pay rises while doing very little to represent,or serve, the people who sent them there.   

The Pharisees were more like a political party,with economic interests,than a religious order. 

When you consider the national assembly today,one would be forgiven to think that they comprise of different parties. But that is a lie! The parties are just vehicles,or platforms for actualizing their true mission,the accumulation of stupendous wealth! If party affiliations meant anything,we would not be seeing the ridiculous number of politicians waking up as members of one party,and sleeping as loyalists of another.

They cross carpet with such regularity,that you begin to wonder if they have any ideologies in the first place.

 They actually do:money!

 Their ideology is money,the making of it for themselves. When it is convenient,they make a show of opposing each other,but have you ever seen any of them come out to oppose,or reject the fantastic allowances they collect every month?

One would expect that there would be a symbolic show by one of them,some sort of conscientious objection,nothing! They are on one side,and we are on the other! In ten years,they have not passed the Freedom Of Information law,instead,the laws they pass,are laws that create jobs for the boys like the National Commission for Nigerians in the Diaspora! What is that supposed to achieve? And what is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs meant to be doing?

To show their seriousness,the house already has a committee on the diaspora,with a budget, and all the accoutrements for wasting money!

Now they are debating a bill on the national anthem.They want to make it a criminal offence to play it any other way apart from the prescribed solemn way,they want to make so many things a crime regarding the national anthem. If you ask any of our underemployed legislators how this new law would improve the lot of Nigerians,they would be hard pressed to tell you how. I hold the view,that these jobless lot just sit down on their over pampered, and well endowed, behinds at night, and dream up ways of taking us for a ride.

They know that as long as they huff,and puff, stutter and strut,and gyrate like some disreputable magician,we would not complain that they are not doing enough to earn their sinful salaries! 

No one is offering real opposition to their rule! By default,we are operating a one party state,disguised as multi-party democracy.

That is why we need to be vigilant. A perfect crime has been committed against us,under our noses,and before our eyes,and we are totally unaware! 

It must end today, it must end now!

The era of collusion to defraud must end.

We must demand value,and service,for what we are paying for. 

Many of these individuals,when they first went to the house, went on commercial motorcycles. That was how rich they were! Today,however,they have become multimillionaires,oblivious of the cost of a bar of soap.

For people meant to represent us,this is the worst of tragedies; for if they do not feel what we feel,how can they even begin to solve our problems!


Friday, November 26, 2010

How Far Can We Go Before We Break Nigeria?

If you ask an intelligent scientist,she would tell you that every material has a breaking point. This means that if you apply enough pressure on anything,it would buckle,and eventually break! 

Nigerians welcomed a new state governor today!

No election was held last week,none took place the year before,and he was not appointed.The last election in that state was three years ago! 

Today,Rauf Aregbesola, is just being sworn in after three years of convincing the courts,that he was the candidate validly elected!

I would be very happy to know if there is any other nation on earth,where litigants slug it out in court for three years!

What is curiouser still,is that the one whose election was invalidated by reason of fraud,the impostor,walks free.He goes home with the wealth of the state he has stolen,he goes free for kicking the people in the teeth. He is encouraged,and others too,to do the same next time!

Why should election disputes have an open-ended time frame? In more civilized climes,disputes are resolved before anyone is sworn in!

This is because they form part of the contest! It is unfair to give the prize to one when his victory is in dispute. It goes against the laws of natural justice,fair play,equity,and commonsense!

What we have observed is that when a man rigs an election under the current system, he thwarts every attempt to unseat him with the resources of the state! That should be a criminal offence!

The national assembly,in their wisdom (I believe, lack of it) decided not to amend the law regarding the resolution of disputes before candidates are sworn in!

They held this position simply because they were the beneficiaries of  flawed elections themselves.

I have contended time and again,that our proclivity for attempting to reinvent the wheel,smacks of absurd silliness,and absolute idiocy!

We cannot deviate from the path of commonsense, dance naked in public, and claim that we are inventing something new!

The world has a name for such behaviour: madness!

Commonsense is exactly what it is, sense that everyone has!

Nigeria did not invent democracy,so we cannot claim that we are "Nigerianising" it. We would only end up looking like North Korea,the nation that has the prefix of "People's Democratic" in her name,but is every other thing but democratic! The whole world laughs at them,they are one of the few nations on earth with a hereditary presidency,and where the people do not even get to choose their leader!

I wonder what absurdity Nigeria would find as her own moniker of shame!

A nation can only take so much,before it buckles. We have been warned by those who are in a position to know,that our fragile nation totters on the brink,and that an implosion is possible if we do not take care!

There is a popular saying in Nigeria that a man who has enemies,does not rug flammable liquids on his body while reclining near an open flame! His enemies could push him in!

In our own case, I am afraid we are swimming in petrol while smoking a cigarette! 

Stupid! Stupid!! Stupid!!!

Every time we allow an election dispute to stray so far,we test the elasticity of our system. 

My fear is that one day,we may just reach her breaking point.

And that would truly be a sad day for us all! 

As we work to avert that day,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E The Heart Of Development!

I asked myself a very silly question;I believe that as we ask silly questions,we come up with intelligent solutions. What is the most important factor in the equation of development?

Is it money? Is it an educated population?Is it free and fair elections? Or, is it infrastructure? In my opinion,it is neither of these things,nor any of the other catch phrases people in development love to bandy around. 

I believe it is sacrifice!

I believe that if a nation has adequate infrastructure,and there is no sacrificial leadership,it would be a gilded cage! If on the other hand,the nation is backward,and there is no sacrificial leadership,it is a living hell!

Sacrifice is what would cause a government official,despite the tasking poverty over his head,to refuse to compromise,and look the other way,to instead open his eyes,and do the right thing! In the first instance,his choice to compromise,might lead to the death of ten thousand children,while his doing the right thing,would result in the saving of the same number of lives!

The difference we need to observe,is that in one instance,the fellow thought of himself,while in the other,he thought of the society at large,and protected the commonwealth.

Following in the same vein,is the level of resources allocated to service political office holders.

When a society is bedeviled by selfish,myopic,self-serving leadership:everyone suffers.Sometimes the relatives of the selfish leader,who occupy the outermost of the concentric rings around this fellow,also suffer! Conversely,the effect of selfless leadership,is beneficial to all.

Today in Nigeria,we have leaders who have equated themselves with the state.The doctrine of "L' etat C'est moi", meaning "I am the State" is their motto. They see their election as an anointment to divinity,and a covenant by the people to better the leader's lot by keeping him appointed in the most luxurious of circumstances!.

Or how does one explain where our political office holders,are set in the most opulent of luxury,while the rest of the nation wallows in abject, ax-wielding marauding poverty gone amok! 

They continually make laws,speedily,to ensure their creature comforts,and perpetuate themselves in office,to the detriment of the general good. In the year 2006, the national assembly concluded all necessary work on the Freedom of Information Bill. It died with that house;the new session up till now, is still to pass the law.

Between then,and now, they have reviewed their remunerations several times!

In one month,the same house is likely to pass the new, spurious electoral act which would ensure that they all get reelected in the next election!

They are like the most irresponsible of parents,shameless people who gain weight while their children suffer from malnutrition,they wear the most elegant clothes while their children run around in rags;they throw elaborate,outrageous,outlandish,and extravagant parties,while their children are kicked out of school for non payment fees!

In one particular local government in Nigeria, it was discovered that budget was allocated in the following ratio-

1. Chairman's Office, 20%
2. Hotel Project,located next to the Chairman's office, 10%
3. Education (excluding teacher's salaries which is paid by the Federal Government), 1%
4. Health ,1%

The rest went to nebulous contracts,and other special projects! 

Is this some kind of punishment for Nigerians for a crime committed in a previous life? Government has become a prosperous vocation for getting rich quickly, while adding no value to the lives of the people. 

It is the reason why people rig elections,kill,and maim others just to get there. It is time we began to demand that our leaders curb their outrageous,out of this world remunerations! A situation where each member of the national assemble is paid over a million dollars a year,in a country where the current minimum wage is less than forty dollars is unacceptable! 

How can it be too,that Nigeria,with her level of underdevelopment, and poverty,can afford to have more law makers than the United States of America which has more states? Stranger still,is the quirk,that we paying them more than America pays her president!

 The nation is spending more than eighty percent of our resources to maintain less than one percent of the population!

We should demand that election to office,and the privilege to influence policy,should be it's own reward. It should not be the ungodly appurtenances which currently exist,and make a mockery of us all. 

We have tried it for fifty years,and it has pauperized us all,now is the time for us to look at things differently. Let us get those who intend to run for office next year to commit to reducing their outrageous allowances by eighty percent next year! 

Let us all begin to put pressure on the National Income,Salaries,and Wages Commission, to recalibrate these remunerations! If we get enough people talking about it,it would become an issue on the front burner. If we refuse to address the current sacrifice-deficit plaguing our nation, the rest of us,who form the majority,would continually find ourselves holding the short end of the stick! 

I leave you with a breaking news item,the Bayelsa state government in Nigeria,has decided to site one of the six new federal universities in President Goodluck Jonathan's village! 

His village is a remote,inaccessible area,and was only chosen not on merit,but because it is self-serving. That is another symptom of the problem. 

Why move a university from the state capital,and site it in an obviously wrong place. Our rulers are in office for themselves,and not for us!