Monday, February 28, 2011

Olabode George:Convicted Criminal,Clown!

There is something about shame:it moderates our behaviour! In those days, when we still valued values as a society, shame was something we felt for behaving badly! That was a long time ago! A very long time ago!

Oladode George, a retired naval officer, a former military administrator, and a political bulwark of the ruling People's Democratic Party, the PDP, has become a beacon of shame! Our shame as a nation, and our shame in our ability not to feel any sense of shame!

Convicted validly, in a court of competent jurisdiction, jailed validly, in the most notorious of Nigeria's prisons, Kirikiri, a more circumspect individual, would have left the prison under the cover of darkness, in the wee hour of the morning!

Not so Bode George, he never does things by half! He, in the typical Owambe,(it is there to be flashed in your face!) the profligate pernicious, pompous and extravagantly loud culture, which people who have scant regard for what right thinking individuals think about them, decided to wait!

What was he waiting for? His coterie of praise singer, and hangers-on, people with no moral worth, and only useful for the massaging of another's ego! 

And they did not disappoint him: they came in their aso ebi (uniformed traditional attire), and they sang praises, and danced, and celebrated the release of a criminal! He was not sent to prison for resisting the government while fighting oppression, he was sent to prison for betraying the trust of all of us in Nigeria, while holding public office!

The mockery of common sense, did not end there, they carried it to the house of God, and had a thanksgiving service! They thanked God! For what? I do not know! If it had been at some obscure, nondescript location, it would not have been so galling! They chose to push it in our faces, by broadcasting the travesty on an international network television station! 

How brazen can one get! Was this the action of a man who was showing remorse? Was this the action of people who are intent on walking the path of uprightness? I very much would dispute that!

That was not the end of the matter, the event was a gathering of the creme de la creme of our society, the ruling PDP was well represented! This was their show! It was more like a political rally, a demonstration of strength! 

And who, you may ask, could be bold enough to attend such an event? Well, the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who had appointed Bode George to the position that led to his travails, was there to lend his support! And, in the ultimate show of shame, the current president of Nigeria, the one who believes that all of life is guided by luck, also sent a goodwill message!

And what message were the participants at this infamy passing across? That they were above the law, and that they did not care what the law currently says about this man, that their opinion was superior to the constitution's!

They were also passing a message across to us, that our opinion counts for nothing! That we can go to hell, if we like! Bode George is their leader, and must be celebrated!

This affront must not be allowed to pass unanswered! 

We must all, as one, give our own verdict! We too do not care a hoot, about the PDP! We will do this, by voting them out of office! From every Ward, and from every Local Government Area of Nigeria, we must give the PDP a red card, as it is done in football! From every state, and definitely at the center, we must reclaim our government from these celebrators of criminals!

We care about who we celebrate, we have a sense of shame, we care what people think about us!

I can tell you the next act, in this melodrama of shame! 

The president would soon exercise his prerogative of mercy, by granting Bode George clemency, or pardon, or whatever they want to call it! 

They will bleach his record, and expunge every record of the fact that he committed a crime!

That is the PDP way, but it is not our way!

Remember, these people have no shame! 


Friday, February 25, 2011

When Governments Kill Unlawfully, What Do You Do?

It is with regret, that I report to you today, that there are two Nigerians who will never see the sun rise , ever! They will never celebrate a birthday, they will always be nameless; for the womb that nurtured them, has also become their tomb! 

Their potentials will never be realized, as they are entombed in their mother,forever! 

Adeola Olulana, a Nigerian, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and one seeking to give life to her twins, has died! 

If she had died in a car crash, it would not have been so painful! if she had died in her sleep, we would have respected the will of God! 

But none of that happened to her! 

She died by the callous hand of man! 

Unknown faceless, graceless,useless men, masquerading as leaders, have killed her! They have killed her as surely as if they had physically strangled her, or fired a bullet from a gun!

At the best of times, surviving each day has become  a risky venture in Nigeria! Diseases that lesser countries have surmounted still kill us to our shame! 

Pregnant women are safer in war-torn Somalia, than in Nigeria at peacetime! 

Polio has been eradicated from Somalia, and Afghanistan, but we still struggle with it, with our oil wealth and all! Shame!

This innocent woman's crime was to get pregnant! Pregnancy is a thing of joy, but for many Nigerian families, it is a source of regretful sorrow! 

Like every married woman wants to,thirty five year old Adeola Olulana, became pregnant, it was all she had ever wanted, to be a mother!

God added to her joy, by making hers a set of twins! It was all she could think of, she started counting down the days, she mentally planned the naming ceremony in her head, she thought of all the things she would say, and all the things she would do. 

She thought all her dreams, and all her hopes were coming to pass; but she did not count on one thing, the wickedness of the government of the day! 

Men who see participation in government as a favour to the people, not an honour to serve. Men who send their wives and children for treatment abroad, while our hospitals are bereft of the basics!

Oh Adeola, the crown of prosperity! You did not count on this, that those who were supposed to ensure that you had a life, planned your death!

Those who were supposed to care for you, turned that backs on you, in your hour of need!

In the midst of our oil wealth, your death shames us all! It pains, beyond endurance!

It was the wee hours of the morning, she felt a sharp pain, she called out to her husband, and friend, Abiodun, it was time! In confusion, Biodun forgot all he had planned to do, everything else could wait! 

His love, and joy was in pain, but it was a good pain, for joy was going to come in the morning! 

It was too early to go to the bank, so he rushed her to Lagos University Teaching Hospital,LUTH! a federal medical facility! It was a tragic mistake! The hospital was in darkness! There was no soul to be seen!

Where could they be, his beloved Adeola was in trouble, complications were developing by the minute!

Alas! He had forgotten, they were on strike! It is sad because even doctors in the the state government owned hospitals were also on strike! 

So he rushed her to Regina Mundi, a Catholic hospital, they were open, but they would shock him too! 

She required a cesarean operation, they could perform the operation, but he would need to pay! They asked for a deposit of N150,000.00! 

He knew he was in trouble! He was in Mushin, the worst place to be at 4.00 am in Lagos! He promised he would get the money once it was light! Only save my wife, and my children he pleaded! 

They shook their heads, they were not a charity! They told him they had seen too many people like him, people who made promises, but failed to redeem them! 

So they turned their backs on him too! The church of Jesus Christ, the Pillar and Ground of Truth, the Church of the Saviour who said "freely you have received, freely give", turned their backs on a soul in need! 

As I write this, I am shedding tears! I am weeping, and I just do not understand how this could be!

When did life become so cheap in Nigeria? 

So the government turned it's back on Adeola Olulana, the Church of God also turned it's back!

And so, Adeola died! 

She died in the hands of her confused husband! She died with her hopes, and her dreams, unfulfilled!

She died with her children, her beloved twins! She had nurtured them to life, now she would care for them still in death! Safe from the wicked country called Nigeria!

Adeola, you have gone, but we will not forget you!

You have died, but your death will not be in vain!

You stood for the truth, you defended it, you upheld it! 

Today we promise you, Nigeria will change because of you!

No more would pregnant women die because of money!

No more would a Nigerian's life be worth less than a loaf of bread! 

Adeiu ! Adeola!

Adeiu our sister, colleague, and friend!

We will always remember, we will never forget! The government killed you, unlawfully!

May God keep you, and your unborn twins, safe ! May he grant you the peace you have been denied in life!

(These deaths must not be allowed to go like the others, we must respond, and send a strong message to the authorities, please join the "No More,It Ends With Adeola Olulana" Group on Facebook. We must end this climate of carelessness, and scant regard for human life! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Citizens Bimbo, and Seun Somolu

I will attempt to marry some disparate, and seemingly unconnected issues, in this article! 

My four year old daughter told me suddenly the other day, "Daddy, the man said "Bobo ajah! I knew what she was talking about, it was the tourism advertisement on the virtues of an Indian holiday. 

There is a rash of promotional materials spreading on the airwaves, and in cyberspace! Every country is touting the benefits a holiday within their borders would bring!

The "bobo ajah" line is one of the things that was said to the fellow who had experienced the whole gamut what India is! At the end of the day, the only way he could describe his ongoing holiday to those back home was "Incredible India!

Because the tourism industry is a competitive one, promoters of tourist destinations are plumbing the depths of creativity to put themselves in the consciousness of the holidaying public!

South Africa has been promoting herself as a premium destination worth visiting for years.

The World Cup, put the country at the center, in the tourism universe! It was a masterful stroke of genius!

I had noticed before the World Cup, that Yvonne Chaka Chaka, a popular South African musician, was the face of the "My South Africa",which  later became "My South African Experience" promotion.

You could see that there was a method to the campaign. It was not some on the spur of the moment, off-the-cuff thing! Much thought had been given to the campaign! They started with an internationally identifiable face, one of theirs, to tell people south Africa was worth visiting.

Unknown to me, they were not satisfied to have one of theirs testify to their goodness.

So you can imagine my shock, when I saw citizens Bimbo, and Seun Somolu, a Nigerian couple that had holidayed in South Africa, promoting their South African Experience! 

I have no problem with them doing that, it is their choice! Even when they showed madam baring part of her bosom on the massage table, it was her body to bare! After all, it was not my wife that was there! 

I cannot be angry with them for going on enviable game viewing trips to see real animals, and dinning on exquisite cousine, I salivated, but held my peace. I was going to be eating pounded yam later!

You could see that everything was professionally packaged, to appeal to the discerning connoisseur!

That is something you do not see with tourism promotion in Nigeria! We seem to think that it is only when we put a picture of the governor, or the president, in our adverts, that people would believe us! It is counterproductive! People do not trust politicians!

Enough said about Nigeria; back to the Somolus; what I found most offensive, was what Bimbo said at the conclusion of the advert, she proudly declared, that South Africa, was the real giant of Africa! 

That was the last straw! We had always contented ourselves with the belief, that  we were the giant of Africa, albeit,  a sleeping one!  

Here was Citizen Bimbo Somolu, a Nigerian, declaring with perceptible glee, and gusto, that we were not, but that her South Africa, was the real giant! That must make us the fake giant of Africa! 

As she made her shocking declaration, I remembered a Yoruba proverb, that it is only a child that was not taught properly, that would point to his father's house with the left hand!

I only saw four left hands on show in the advert, the right hands had been left behind in Nigeria! 


Saturday, February 19, 2011

The President We Need,And The One They Want,And The One We Deserve

There is a huge difference between getting what a person wants, or deserves,or truly needs. In the first instance, wants refer to the whole gamut of desires that may not be rooted in reality,or backed up by common sense.

When a person gets what he deserves,it means he has not been cheated,neither has he cheated the giver,he has received what he/she is qualified to get,or has worked for.

Needs,on the other hand, refer to an absolute prerequisite for survival,or sine qua none  for continuance of life. 

As I ruminate on the sketches appearing on our political canvas,one clear issues irks me deeply.

Are we,as a nation, going to get the president that Nigeria needs at this moment in time?

Or would it be that some people would get the president that they want;or would our complacency, deliver a president that we deserve,because we have let slip the fundamental,and cardinal reasons for electing a president in the first place.

I believe,that the president that we need,is one who would fix the problems of Nigeria. He/she might not succeed in doing so in eight years,but would have succeeded in putting us on an irreversible track of accelerated development,and modernization in the true sense of the word.

It would require deep thought,and bold political steps,to get us to the cusp of development. 

We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are a developing,or modern nation. We even call ourselves the giant of Africa!

We are not!

What we are,is an oddity,an anachronism,a consistent inconsistency!

The Maitama,and Asokoro districts,in Abuja today,are some of the most modern,and "developed" areas in Nigeria. I live in Abuja,so I know,but what do I see when I drive through neighbourhoods in these areas,cart pushers, selling water in jerry cans! That is not an example of development, it is an example of the worst of the bizarre! 

How can an area planned in the last twenty years not factor in how to provide water for residents?

If you go there in the evening,the deafening cacophony of all manner of imported generators,declare the wealth level of the various households in the area.

After fifty years of independence,we are still grappling with electricity generation in the midst of some of the richest hydro resources in the world!

Drive through most of the streets of Abuja,and you will see the ugliest contraption ever to come out India,the tricycle! In this day,as we speak,there is no efficient mass transit system in Abuja. And it is the case with the rest of Nigeria.Development seems to be like healthy skin peeping through a bad rash of eczema! The unsightliness of the two cohabiting,is galling.

When we get the president that we need,we would plan our development,and assign resources to the right areas,and have a holistic development.

But that is only possible,when we get the president that we need.

If on the other hand,some people get the president that they want;he/she would become,like all the others before,an ethnic champion,and a palace jester. He/she would wear the robes of a nationalist,and but pray the prayers of an ethnic bigot.

The fellow would only pander to the dictates of his/her ethnic group,and those who made him/her president. Contractors would become richer,and the people would become poorer. That has been the story of Nigeria,and we are in danger of writing a bad sequel.

The third possibility,is that we get a president that we deserve. Not the one that we need,or the one some people want,but the one that becomes the default by reason of our indifference,non vigilance,and carelessness. 

This would be a president that belongs to everybody,but is useful to nobody. In politics they call such a president a consensus candidate,a person afraid to offend the powers that be,a weakling,and a worm! 

This fellow is there because the majority that could have swung the vote in the right direction,did not come to the event. They were too busy twiddling their thumbs,and minding their business. 

Such a president would be phenomenally pedestrian in his outlook,and unimaginative in the way he tries to solve our problems.

Believe me,we have problems,big problems. 

They are in our education,in our economy,our banks,the power sector,in every imaginable area. Our problems would require deep thinking,and unwavering boldness to solve them.

My fear is that we may just get the president that we deserve,because some people want to enforce who they want on all of us,and this is not the kind of  president that Nigeria needs.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bad Leadership vs The Absence of Leadership!

Leadership, in my own jungle definition, is showing the way. It means looking for the best way to achieve an objective!

So when leadership is said to be bad, it means it is showing the wrong way, or not finding the best way! The absence of leadership, is exactly what it says, the lack of, the existence of a vacuum, where there ought to be some kind of leadership!

Nigeria has been going through torrid times recently! We have had continuous religious, and ethnic clashes in the Northern states of Bauchi, Gombe, and Borno state. Plateau state, has been exceptional in the brutality, and ferocity, of the killings. We wake up each day to news of another massacre, and orgy of killing!

Has the government become accustomed to the killings, and it no longer sees them as a problem?

Could it be true, like the words of  Bongos Ikwe in his song that, whats wrong is right, and whats right is wrong?

In all this, there has been a perceptible, palpable,and pointedly vacuous  leadership! 

The government seems to be ever closing the barn door, after the horse, the chicken, the sheep, and the goat, and even the tractor, have all bolted!

They have become experts at commiserating, and doing nothing!

Our country is simmering with  pent-up inter-ethnic, and intra-ethnic,  inter-religious, and intra-religious crises! 

If you add to this miasma, the political, and criminal assassinations, and kidnappings: we are living in a state of anomie! 

All this in peace time, and at a time when we are making billions from the spike in crude prices!

It then bothers the question, why then do we have a government in place? 

What is the duty of government, if it not to safeguard the lives, and livelihoods, of law abiding citizens? 

Could this government be negligent in it's duty, and no one is calling it to order? Or has it become like the hunter's dog, that can no longer hear it's master's whistle, and is thus destined to be lost?

If you look back at the history of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, over the last twelve years, it has presided over the worst period in the decline of security this county has ever witnessed, bar the civil war!

It seems to be living up to it's ugly moniker of being the People Destroying Party!

As far as I can see, this country has not enjoyed leadership of any form! We cannot accuse president Goodluck Jonathan of bad leadership! That would be very unkind, and unfair! 

It would be like accusing a student who was not present in class, of cheating in that exam! 

What we can accuse Jonathan of, is not offering leadership at all! 

He has not shown up when it mattered most! He has behaved like a fellow whose wife, and daughter, were ravished by his houseboy, and all he could do, was to leave it to God! 

He is afraid of being blamed for taking a decision that went bad! 

Taking bad decisions, harsh, and unpopular ones, and living with the consequences; is all part of offering leadership! 

He should stop prevaricating, pussyfooting, and tippy toeing, around our maniacal problems! 

They require strong uncompromisingly forthright leadership to solve! 

Right now, his curriculum vitae does not have that!

He should stop junketing from one church to the other, looking for prayer contractors to beseech God for him! 

He is looking for salvation where help has not been advertised! 

Nations elect leaders for the sole purpose of taking matters into their own hands, our own case cannot be different! 

Nigeria cannot afford to live in denial, and expect God to do for us "the things which we ought to have done", while doing "the things which we ought not" !

We cannot leave Nigeria's problems to God! 

We did not vote God to power! 

We voted the PDP!

If we say God is the one who is to solve our problems, then we might as well just become a theocracy!

If the PDP, and by extension, President Jonathan, do not know how to solve our problems through creative, proactive,and visionary, leadership, they should toe the path of honour (which has become extinct in our political landscape) and resign!

Enough, is enough! 

I can no longer keep quiet, and watch as Nigerians are harvested from their beds at night, by vile men, who have taken advantage of the absence of leadership, to maim, and to kill!  

We cannot defend the fact that Nigerians are relocating from different states, because of insecurity!

Then what is the purpose of government, if it is not to offer leadership? 

Good,or bad, Nigeria needs leadership fast!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan

My dear President Jonathan Goodluck, if you recall correctly, I wrote you a letter some months ago. Therein, I expressed my fears on the gathering anger among the young people of Nigeria!

Then, I am sure, your advisers waved it aside, as unfounded, and a way of getting attention for myself! I am constrained again to write you another letter, in the light of fresh developments in North Africa, and the Middle East!

What was hitherto unheard of, that Arab youths would sack a strong government, has happened twice. They are not just contented with that, they are now going after the monarchy as well in many countries!

I do not want you to dismiss the concerns raised as improbable! You are probably emboldened by the knowledge, that there is no real opposition to the People's Democratic Party! That is true!

What it also implies is that if our youths,disgruntled as they are, decide to take matters into their own hands, there would be no one to negotiate with! The scenario is a scary one, it bodes us no good! Can you imagine protests in the major cities of Nigeria, and there is no one to talk to, or to negotiate with? It could lead to the disintegration of Nigeria as we know it, and allow the wishes of those who wish us ill come to pass!

I know you have been trying to solve Nigeria's myriad problems, but I disagree with you on your means of solving them! Nigeria's problems cannot be solved by money! We cannot throw money at our problems, and hope the money would scare the problem into surrendering! We need to understand what our fundamental problems are. 

You asked the national assembly, some weeks ago, to approve a 50 billion naira job creation fund: recently, I observed that your government was planning a 500 billion naira auto industry bail out fund! These are good intentions, but they are sincerely wrong Sir! 

To start with, you need to understand the fundamental problems choking life out of this gifted nation! 
I will mention a few, to make my point.

We need to solve the problem of power, I know you are working hard on that. Power is the independent variable around which every other thing revolves! Power is not one of the problems you need to fix, it is,if I must say so, the problem you need to fix, to fix Nigeria!

You are probably aware, that you are not the first to attempt to solve our power problem; I pray you are the last! But for that to happen, you need to understand that it is not transmission lines, and hydroelectric projects that need addressing, it is the cartel that feeds fat from the inefficiency. It is the generator importers, and the other leeches, who are sucking Nigeria dry! You need to identify them, and decommission them!

If we have regular power, our car assembly plants can function: if we have power, our textile mills would work full capacity! Right now, our productive capacity is not optimum. It costs too much to provide infrastructure like electricity, water, and roads to manufacturing concerns!

The second major problem which I see, is that people have lost hope in Nigeria! They do not see Nigeria as a venture worth sacrificing for. Many proclaim their hope with their mouths, but their actions negate their confession. This manifests in the actions we see daily in all spheres of Nigerian life! People cut corners, they break the law when they think no one is watching, they even brazenly do it when people are watching! 

If there is no concerted, and sustained, effort by all of us to do the right thing, this country would continue to be underdeveloped! There is a culture of impunity that has taken hold of us, people in government offer leadership in lawlessness, and impunity, it then becomes easier for the followers to take their cue! As a result, no matter how much effort, and money we spend, Nigeria continues to die, slowly!

Nigerians need inspiration! People have said inspiration can never come from politicians, and that is true, it can only come from statesmen! 

Will you be that statesman sir?

Will you seek the highest good of Nigeria, even if it costs you your political career? Can Nigeria depend on you to take the hard decisions needed, for her emergence as a truly global power?

It all lies in your hands sir, and wherever you lead, we will follow!


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Congratulations! You are one of the first to see this new word!


It means government by window dressing! 

It is what a government does when it is bereft of concrete ideas on how to develop her citizens, and the nation. 

It is usually deployed through expensive, and expansive well-orchestrated grandstanding,coupled with grandiloquent ceremonies, speeches and all! 

It is all a lot hype, hot air, accompanied by noise, with very little by way of substance!

It is the nearest thing to the putrid odour that rises from a refuse heap early in the morning!

Our current president, Jonathan Goodluck, has been flitting from one esoteric, namby-pamby, gobbledegook solution to the other! 

These Frankenstein inspired experiments are meant to address our earthy,old-fashioned, brick and stone, in your face, and in the public domain problems! 

He was credited by his minister for information with bringing Facebook to Nigeria! 

The man sees his time wasting on Facebook, asking sycophants to proffer solutions to Nigeria's problems, as reinventing governance! 

It is!


Sad! It is like the pilot of a plane asking his passengers what he should do in a fierce electrical storm!

It is actually a vote of no confidence in one's abilities!

Not satisfied with his misadventure on Facebook, he lowered the bar further with his "bring back the book" campaign! 

This was another disguised political campaign stunt, dressed as an altruistic concern for the youths.

One should not blame him, he never planned to be president, he had no burning vision of what he would do, if he became president. 

He had nothing concrete by way of a road map, or manifesto! His only manifesto, was to please Olusegun Obasanjo, over, and above the one hundred and fifty million plus, or minus, Nigerians at his mercy.

Like his departed master, Umaru Musa Yar' Adua, he found himself with so much power, without a vision of what he should do with it. 

With all our problems, it had to happen to us!

His army of well paid consultants have decided that he should walk the road Obama walked, without the years of proper prior preparation of the American president! 

Obama laid out his vision of what he would do as a leader, long before he became one!

Goodluck was governor by default, and became  president by default too! 

There is a saying, that if you cannot impress them with brilliance, you should bamboozle them with bullshit! 

The latter has been our lot!

People never fail to ram it down, our now sore throats, that his name Goodluck, was responsible for his ascendancy!

They read some divine ordination to it all!

I beg to disagree! Our failed, corrupt system produced him! 

If the system had not allowed a corrupt Diepriye Solomon Peter Alameyesigha to become governor of Bayelsa state, his impeachment would not have led to Jonathan becoming governor! 

If morally wanting leaders like Obasanjo had not imposed an ailing Yar'Adua on us, over more qualified candidates like Donald Duke, and others, Jonathan would not have profited from the man's death!

Attributing his rise to the presidency,to goodluck, is as ridiculous,and ludicrous, as saying that a thief mugging a woman in a dark alley is as a result of good fortune! 

That is not good fortune, it is evil!

If our dear president wants to encourage reading, he should begin with his family! 

Some members need a lot of practice! 

He recently said he finds time from his busy schedule to help his children with their homework, that is quite touching! 

Is that, in between his reading the ten thousand "Ride on my presido, god is with you " posts on his Facebook wall, and the federal executive council meeting, and attending to the panhandlers that wear away the carpet at the presidential villa? 

If it is true that he actually spends time doing his children's home work with them, it means he is severely underemployed as a president!

If I were the president of this very sick country, the gargantuan infrastructural deficit confronting  us, the corruption: the violence in the states, and the millions of unemployed youths, would be a twenty four seven job! 

I would be so busy, I suspect I would sleep with a position paper in my arms every night, instead of my wife!

That is how severe, and dire, our problems are!

But then again, my name is not Goodluck, and I did not become president by default! 

Some people have all the capacity!

I know some of you are afraid for me just reading what I have written, fear not! They cannot kill an idea, and they cannot kill the soul!

And my soul is truly angry at the abysmal level our greatly "potentialed" country has been been dragged to! We have been imprisoned by people who do not have a right to show their faces among decent folks!

Nigeria has become a nation unable to pass the simplest tests other nations surmount without breaking a sweat! 

We have become reprobate! 

So much, that we defend it, excuse it, and celebrate it, by mouthing the lame platitude "God has a purpose for Nigeria, that is why we have not gone to war, or disintegrated" 

It is true! 

God truly has a deep, and lofty, wide, and focused, purpose for this nation! 

But we have refused to live-up to that purpose!

Someone should tell our president to stop wasting our time with theatrics, and histrionics: we do not have time to play!

Our nation is on fire, we are hungry and naked!

Nations less endowed than ours, have become the the haven our people are escaping to: our children now school in Ghana, our leaders consult Saudi doctors, and the bleached bones of our youths, have become mile markers on the human trafficker's highway across the Sahara!

We have lost too much time already! 

Windowcracy, government by ephemeral and ethereal window dressing, must end now!

Nigeria has no time to play make believe!

Our reality is a nightmare!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are DDC machines A New Way To Rig An Election?

This is not a  how to manual, rather, it is a denouement. Elections are all about numbers. In some elections, the candidate with the most votes, wins. In others, a candidate must score a particular percentage in a number of states,or zones. It could be two thirds of the votes cast, or fifty one percent.

So elections are all about getting more votes than your opponent!

I will reveal some of the ways I have observed in my travels.

The easiest way to rig, which many do,even in advanced democracies, is gerrymandering! This is simply redrawing the boundaries of a voting district in such a way as to deny the opposition the majority it has as a result of a perceived voting pattern.

For those who do not know, if Party A is strong in a district with a particular ethnic, or demographic group, and Party B is in power, all Party B has to do is redraw the boundaries, and cause that previously strong district to now fall into four new districts! This automatically denies the opposition that majority!

In Nigeria however, there are no statistics to work with, so it is almost useless to gerrymander.

Instead, rigging involves the following methods, the buying of votes with money, stuffing of ballot boxes, denying voting materials to areas sympathetic to the opposition, intimidation, through violence, and  the potential new kid on the bloc to deliberately ensure that fewer Direct Data Capture machines, DDCs, are supplied to states that could be sympathetic to the opposing candidate. 

Some interesting scenarios are already emerging. I read somewhere, that in one particular state of the North, I cannot recollect which one exactly, there were fewer people registered than in another state in the South:what makes this story curious, is  that the Northern state, from the last census exercise,is supposed to have more people than the Southern state!

It is possible that this could be as a result of more people being mobilized in the Southern state, or a simple case of pre-election rigging. 

If you can deny your opponent legitimate votes "legitimately" by simply reducing how many people can vote for him, you are already half-way to winning the election!

It is because of convenient mistakes like this, that some of us called for President Jonathan not to run. We wanted him to put Nigeria ahead of his personal interests.We believed that as a disinterested umpire, he would have been in a better position to reset our politics, by ensuring  free, and fair, elections. 

But that is all wishful thinking, and unfulfilled history now.

The opposition needs to begin their vetting of the forthcoming elections, by examining the registration of voters.

They need to look at how these machines were deployed, when, and where they were deployed. In one state of the East, three machines were sent by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to a forest, near a shrine! In the same state, many people were struggling to register for paucity of machines!

If they find reasonable evidence, that points to pre-election rigging, they should seek legal redress!

As the elections approach,