Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Harvest: the Coming of Age of a Lawless Society!

I have never been one to seek popularity, and I am now at an age, when I really do not have much use for it!

When a man is lazy and indolent, like Unoka, the father of Okonkwo, the central character of Professor Chinua Achebe's, Things Fall Apart, we are often told that if that man wants to know the source of his failure in life, he should look in the mirror!

Many times, we fail to discern that our thoughts inform our actions, and our actions lead to our habits, and our habits are actually the bedrock on upon which our character is founded!

In the life of nations, the collective, progressive, and consistent, individual actions of the citizens, actually give birth to the national ethos, and value system of that nation!

Our nation, Nigeria, is no different from any other nation on earth! As true as that statement might sound, it is actually false, when closely examined! Every nation is like an individual, it is unique, and is the product of the actions of her citizens!

In less than two weeks, Nigeria has witnessed the extrajudicial, and criminally motivated killing, of young undergraduates!

In one incident in Adamawa state, the innocence of the over twenty students killed, was not in doubt! In the second, there is a measure of controversy in determining the innocence, or guilt, of four undergraduates, who were beaten, and set ablaze, by a mob in Aluu, a community bordering the University of Port Harcourt! What is however not in doubt in this second case, is the wrongful death caused by people taking the law into their own hands!

There is no decent person who has heard the account of their death, who would support the action!

How did we arrive at this sad, insidious, and chaotic state of affairs?

A careful look at our immediate history in the last thirty five years, would suffice! 

The first culprit in this disaster, is the government! There is a culture of impunity in government! People in government believe they, and their actions, are above the law! This dubious belief, was institutionalized  in the dark era of military rule in Nigeria!

One famous incident from that era, was the sacking of Kalakuta Republic, the home of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the famous Afrobeat musician! For those who do not know, or remember, in that incident, the government sent armed, not police men, or court bailiffs, to destroy a man's home! In the process, they killed his mother, apart from destroying his home, and injuring his family members!

They were not executing a court order, judgement, or relief! It was just a case of someone in government deciding to execute the law, the way he deemed fit!

Another regular example of government impunity, is how various governments across the nation, demolish people's homes, and business premises, without a proper, and valid, court order!

The executive arm of government, seems to believe that it has a right to be a judge, and plaintiff, in it's own case!

Need I talk about how public funds are spent on personal matters, by politicians, and civil servants!

The citizens have been very good students! They have seen that might is right, and the doctrine of striking first, and talking later, is always a safer, and better option! That is why we see some people carrying horsewhips in their cars! They regularly bring this out to flog 'erring' road users! Others enter into contracts, and refuse to honour them! Many buy goods, or ask for services, and refuse to pay! People employ staff, refuse to pay them, and subsequently sack them for insubordination, because the demanded their unpaid wages!

In different spheres of life we see illegality at play! The landlord who removes his tenant's roof, after breaking down his door, and throwing out his property, all in a bid to evict him!

We have a nation that glamourizes people who were successful, in their criminal endeavours! We refer to them as being sharp, or smart! We do not call them thieves, instead we give them national awards, titles, and government appointments!

People who fail to obey traffic lights, and even drive against traffic in a one way street, do not see themselves in this category of lawless people! They view their actions as just benign, and innocent, mistakes!

I beg to disagree, I believe that each time we break a law, or contribute to the breaking of one, or encourage another to do so, we are actually contributing, to the building of the stage, where another set of innocent lives would be lost!

Lawlessness, is nothing less than what it is, a crime, an abuse of the nation, and a kick in the teeth for the constitution of the land!

You might not have beaten a boy in Aluu, neither did you shoot a student in Adamawa, but if you open your eyes, and knowingly break a law, to gain an unfair, and illegal, advantage, you are contributing to a culture of illegality!

The people of Aluu community did not kill those boys alone, all of us, who promote,and believe in any form of illegality, were remote contributors as well!

Let us all take a long look at the mirror. for therein lies the guilty!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Five thousand naira denomination and accidents!

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is looking for trouble! Or how do we describe this his new misadventure called the five thousand naira note?

I can see all the problems the man intends to cause already! He has declared that the note is for high-volume cash users only ( I thought we were now transiting into a cashless economy?) And that the circulation would be limited!

The rich, and powerful, those who do not want us to know their business, love the note! 

Can you imagine what would happen when next the presidency wants to bribe the national assembly members? 

Instead of the regular burlap sacks (Ghana must go) hitherto used, the delivery might just be forty bundles in a regular gift bag, with the inscription, "A complementary copy of the book, Do My Bidding" inscribed boldly on it!

The rest of us would see "books" being given to members who do not read, and we would not be wiser!

Imagine what Farouk Lawan would have done, if he had been paid (not bribed) with the five thousand naira denomination? Everything would have fitted in his babanriga, and he would not have needed his cap to carry more!

This note is a game changer! The world has been shrinking everything in the last twenty years, and so bribery needs to fall in line! It is uncool to begin to lug huge bags of currency, when everything could be "nanonized"!

This same denomination, would have been a big relief to the civil servant working with the National Pension Commission, who was caught with two billion naira at home! With this note, he probably would have needed just a small safe to keep everything in, as opposed to the rooms where the money was discovered!

In this life, problems come both for the rich, and the poor, and they are usually of different strokes!

You are probably thinking that common folks like us, will never see that money, but that is where you are wrong!

A story would suffice here! I was told,( I was not present at the occasions) that a particular governor from the South West of Nigeria, when he was still in office, had a ritual: anytime one of his girlfriends was visiting, her taxi fare was always five hundred thousand naira! If one of her friends was also on the girl's entourage, she would receive two hundred and fifty thousand naira!

They say this governor, who happens to be fond of bleaching his skin, and wearing a chain around his ankle,( I was not there, and these are just rumours, and allegations by some "alligators") did this every time!

Now imagine if that governor had been in office at this auspicious time of the imminent arrival of the messianic five thousand naira note, is there anyone who could prevent the fellow from slipping one bundle of the good stuff, to the object of his amorous affections?

The consequence would be that Sidika, to pretend that is her name, gets home, and subsequently decides to oppress the neighbours, by throwing her newly acquired fiancial muscle around!

If she buys a recharge card of five hundred naira from Chukwudi, with the wonderful note, Chukwudi suddenly finds himself in the elite class of those whom the gods have favored! 

But, there is a twist to the tale! In the afternoon, the young man decides to branch that wonderful amala joint behind Adamasingba stadium,Ibadan; and consumes amala fifty naira, and saki (offal) twenty naira! 

On finishing his meal, Chukwudi produces his newly acquired gold card, the five thousand naira note: the problem is that all the woman's sales for the day, is less that two thousand naira! You can imagine the tumultuous turmoil this would cause! The woman would probably beat him up, accusing him of premeditated fraud!

If, on the other hand, Chukwudi did not eat that day, but decided to go to Dugbe to see his Uncle, trouble would still dog him! Were he to hand his five thousand naira note to the conductor, for a twenty naira fare, you can see that the equation would not truly balance, and another round of trouble would ensue!

Conversely, if the conductor were to collect the note, and a strong wind were to snatch it out of his hand before one could shout "Mapo", we are more likely to witness a scene in which God receives two visitors in one day: the conductor, and Chukwudi, all on account of a piece of paper no larger than three by seven inches!

I have not even bothered to tell you about Husaini, the security man, who, on collecting his monthly salary of ten thousand naira, just two notes, decided to visit the market for some needed supplies for his small business on the side! 

Unbeknownst to him, as he fiddled with his pocket, trying to bring out his phone to answer a call, his two magic notes surreptitiously slipped out! Allah hu akbar! That day, they had to beg him to come down from the high tension power lines he had climbed to commit suicide!

Must I tell you of Chief Nonso, who while enjoying the music of Morroco Maduka at a party, did not know that the wad of notes he thought was just five thousand naira, was actually half a million! 

His eyes were closed, and the music was touching all the right spots! 

As he threw the bundle in the air, as is the fashion of spraying in the Eastern part on Nigeria, he wondered why people were screaming, and scrambling, for ordinary change: poverty, was his conclusion! 

It was when he opened his eyes, and saw half a million naira blowing in the wind, that he realized his error: he joined them in the scramble! Alas, he was only able to wrest a note, albeit from a little girl!

As you can see, the five thousand naira note is an accident waiting to happen, the problem is, it will be difficult to predict when, or prevent it!

I rise!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blame The British!

There is a popular scapegoat among Nigerians that we love to pencil down as the genesis of our problems: the British!

Many argue that if the North, and the South, had not been amalgamated by Lord Luggard, that we would not be in the mess we are in now!

As arguments go, it is neither here, nor there! 

It is, in my own opinion, a faulty crutch we seek to lean on, to excuse our self-induced abysmal failure!

For the sake of argument, let us ask a “stupid” question, if we had not been amalgamated, would each ethnic group have succeeded in becoming an independent nation on it's own?

 And if they had all attained “independent independence” as opposed to the collective one we all got, would they have gone on, as individual nations, to become world class economies, and societies?

To take the theory up a notch, if, as it could have happened, the Yorubas had actually gained independence as part of Benin Republic, or the Igbos as part of Cameroun, and the Hausas, as part of Niger Republic, would their lot have been better, or worse?

If one were to consider these hypothetical scenarios, one would discover that, geographical location plays a small part in determining if a nation would be great, or not! Rather, it is the adoption, and pursuit of policies, and values that engender greatness!

Policies like the rule of law, the pursuit of an open society, reward for hard work, honesty, equity and hard work, and many others, are the building blocks of great nations!

The British excuse, sounds hollowly shallow, and lacking much in substance! It is also eerily similar to the excuse given by some of the animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in an attempt to vilify Snowball! 

Many acts of misdemeanor by other animals were attributed to him, in one instance some goats came forward and confessed that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream, and convinced them to urinate in the pool from which they all drank!

That is how silly our blaming the British sounds!

So our argument would be, the military overthrew a legitimate government in 1966, who do we blame? The British of course!

Nigerian politicians loot the treasury, while pauperizing the entire nation, who do we blame, the bleeding British!

Our refineries are criminally compromised, to ensure that a cabal continues to import petroleum products, who do we hold responsible, the British!

We killed our rail system, to enable the trailer cartel from the North get good haulage business; did I hear you say the British?

The British originated educational system that they handed to us at independence is no longer fit for purpose, because we refused to invest in infrastructure, and human capital, it was the British, they did it, they murdered our education!

We hold elections where the number of ballots cast, is twice the number of registered voters, the British sowed the seeds!

When a man leaves his lane, on a dual carriage way, and decides to drive against traffic, because he is impatient, the British put him up to it!

How about when we reward thievery, fraud, dishonesty, and skullduggery, with national awards, it is a British tradition that we copied!

The list of national malaise goes on, and on, and we can only blame the British!

Ghana, our fellow British colonized neighbour, has been quietly forging a solid path to greatness in a very determined fashion! 

They have done so, to the admiration of the rest of the world! Our children now school in Ghana, because we have no educational system to point to! 

Our businesses are relocating there too, because of stable power supply! 

They discovered oil some years ago, and one official there said, “we will show Nigeria how to use oil money” 

And you know what, they will, because they have shown us how to do other things, the proper way!

The day we decide that we are our own problem, and not some amalgamation which neither reduced, nor diminished us, we will begin our march to greatness! 

Until then, we should leave the British alone, because they have left us these past fifty years to get our act together!

Friday, September 7, 2012

What is Good For The Dame, Is Good For Her Followers

I am an idle man! That is why I have so much time on my hands, to talk about Nigeria!
When Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Mainasara Jonathan, GCFR, et cetera et cetera et cetera, was running his 100 million naira per day campaign, I remember one very touching thing he said! He declared, I am one of you! I did not have shoes when I was growing up!

Nigerians lapped up this uncanny, uncommon, and I must quickly add, unconfirmed, dose of empathy from leadership!

They all declared that this fellow was humble, he was in tune with the people, he knew their problems, and was sure to solve them!

What type of presidency were we expecting of Jonathan?
Talk is cheap they say, it only costs your breath, and a few muscle contractions! Deeds, on the other hand, show sincerity, or otherwise!

The president has declared that he only eats cassava bread, and Abakaliki rice! That is wonderful! Reuben Abati, who has suddenly woken up from slumber, has also told us, that he does not imbibe ogogoro, the locally produced gin, or Johnnie Walker, it’s foreign counterpart!

We too eat Abakaliki rice, but that is because it is the only option available to us, Thailand parboiled is a long way from our tables; as per the cassava bread, it is insidious, because it is making cassava expensive! And like we all know, it is the raw material that is used for producing the ‘cheapest’, but by no means affordable staples in Nigeria, garri, starch, and apu, making them more expensive!

The president, he declared with gusto, is a very frugal man! He fasts regularly, and seldom eats!  This is quite similar to the fasting by most Nigerians! The difference being that, while they fast because they do not have food, our president fasts in the midst of a billion naira budget on food!

His fasting would mean more to us, if the ridiculous budget on food in the presidential villa, was brought within commonsense!

When we make certain demands of leadership in Nigeria, it is not out of a sinister motive to make them do things that have never been done before! It is because we have seen them done in other places, to good effect!

The British Prime Minister, does not have a presidential jet,he flies commercial!

Nigeria’s president has six! I suspect that if our president flew commercial, our airspace would be safer, and service would be much better!

The American president pays for the food he consumes at the White House, except at state banquets, we will not go to that extreme! Just moderation, we plead! If Jonathan was paying for what he consumed at the villa, would the budget be that sinful? 

And this week, a comedy of errors has been running on the political stage! It seems we have one every week!

It was a game of peek-a-boo of sorts! The dame is sick, people declared! No she is not, Reuben Abati countered!

When the presidential magicians saw that it was foolhardy to seek to play magical tricks with a person blessed with the corpulence of the dame, they finally admitted in bits, and stages, at first, that she was resting in Dubai! Then the story changed to, she was being treated for food poisoning! And finally, they accepted that she had actually been misdiagnosed for food poisoning by her doctors back home, when her actual problem, was appendicitis!

This morbid medical madness, is actually similar to what the ordinary Nigerian goes through daily! 

As I write, a loved one is not very well! She has been misdiagnosed more than eight times, in the space of four months, after seeing more than ten specialists in six different hospitals! The missed steps have included asthma, ulcer, enlarged heart, cancer, blocked lung, and hypochondria! From all the enquiries I have made, it will cost me a small fortune to seek treatment abroad!

While my income is above the average Nigerian’s, it is still not easy to achieve!

For the dame however, it comes as effortlessly, as farting!

So how is the president like us?

He lives here, but his help comes from abroad, where there are no medical mistakes, or misdiagnoses!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letter To Dame Patience Jonathan.

My dear Dame Patience Jonathan, I thank god for your life o! The bad thing that bad people wished on you, food poisoning-appendicitis, did not come to pass! All glory to Jah, the Most High, for spearing your life for Nigeria!

As you are ensconced in the luxurious setting that the German people have created through their building an open, transparent, and democratic society, there are a few things I would like to trouble you with!

The first is the small matter of how you came to Germany in the first place: rumours ( you know I do not peddle them) have it that you were actually being treated in Nigeria for food poisoning! 

May the wishes of the enemies of Nigeria not come true, and may an American submarine run them over anytime they are driving to work! The same alligators (for anyone who alleges anything is an alligator in my book) claim that you were not suffering from food poisoning, but appendicitis! Jesu oyingboooooooooooo!

How can a presidential medical team, miss it so grossly? Could it be that the long-standing medical personnel, who were probably not from your husband's ethnic group, were replaced with new, inexperienced ones, who are ethnically correct? It is not possible, that such vital positions, are now being staffed on the bases of ethnic considerations! I know your husband does not do things like that!

My beloved Dame, please be patient with my "merry-go-rounding", the Yoruba people have a proverb, that when the Moslem cleric, who usually sports a full, and lush beard, is consumed in a fire incident, that it is spurious to inquire if his beautiful beard survived the fire! Also, Ola Rotimi, of blessed memory, also wrote, that when crocodiles begin to eat their eggs, that there is nothing they would not do to the flesh of frogs! 

Madam, if you, the Very First, and Only Lady of Nigeria et cetera et cetera et cetera, could suffer such egregious medical malpractice, you can imagine what the rest of us, your always humble subjects, who patronize the popular side, when it comes to medicare, have to put up with!

We are daily at the receiving end of our own home-grown Jekyll, and Hyde, cum Dr Frankenstein! People go to hospitals for minor complaints, and when next they would emerge after some days, it is in a narrow wooden box, on the way to the cemetery!

I am sure you Remember Racheal Adinoyi Onukaba, the wife of Adinoyi Onukaba, whose case was scandalously mismanaged at the wrongly named National Hospital, Abuja, a supposed centre of excellence! You may also recall the case of Adeola Olulana, the female journalist who died in Lagos two years ago, who was refused medical care, for lack of money at four am in the morning!

My humble appeal to you is this, when next you find yourself lying on the chest of your husband, our president ( I know it does not happen often often, because you are so busy serving Nigeria, and are not given to such worldly matters), tell him to give us hospitals that actually save lives, and not the mere portals to morgues they are gradually becoming!

I thank God for your life o, because it was only food poisoning-appendicitis, that you had! You can imagine what would have happened, if it had been something more serious, like a pulmonary embolism, or a coronary thrombosis, with either of these, Germany would have been too far!

Please give our love to the doctors that treated president Yar Adua, you may be shocked to find out, that the hospital is probably owned by a Nigerian who stole public money, and went to Germany to invest!

I know you, and your husband are not like that, you can never steal Nigeria's money, why should you, you being a permanent secretary, with your pension to look forward to!

As you recuperate with delicate Deutsche delicacies, I bid you, auf wiedersehen!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Tragic Exposure

There is a saying that if you live long enough, you will see what you have never seen before!

Some months ago, Senator Farouk Lawan, a serving Nigerian senator, had to endure the indignity of the police, and other people in authority, watch him stuffing money into his pockets, and when that was not enough, his cap!

Today, a female banker; someone’s wife, daughter, sister, mother, and friend: has had her perfectly ordered world come crashing down on her!

A disgruntled, and spurned, lover has posted naked pictures, possibly taken by only him, probably after having sex with the woman, online!

They are tragic! While we may judge her for her error of judgment, I find myself increasingly putting myself in the positions of those who love her, and are related to her! 

Her husband, children, siblings, parents, and close friends! Where do they go from here! 

A person is never born alone, neither does he die, or experience shame alone! There is always collateral damage!

How does her husband face the world!

Every whisper behind his back, will be construed by him, as concerning the misadventure of his wife!

Some will blame him, for pushing her into this situation, while others will see him as a victim!

Her children, if they are anywhere near their teenage years, will forever wish the ground would open up, and swallow them each time they see their friends! 

They will be afraid of going to school, to church/mosque, or to even venture out of their home, and walk down their street!

Her siblings would be hard pressed to understand how to handle the sordid episode!The shame is theirs too!

Judging from her age, her parents, if they are alive; would probably be in their early, or late sixties! 

They may even be pillars in one conservative congregation somewhere: one a retired professor, and the other, a retired nurse! 

Upright folks who have never committed a crime before, and value their name more than any other thing!

To them, this would amount to the ultimate act of betrayal!

Some people would be forgiven, if they think friends have nothing at stake in this scandal!

I bet we all have friends who think so highly of us, and have gone as far as staking their reputations, just to defend us in the past, and continue to be our friends!

These innocent people I have tried to bring to life are the real victims in this case! The woman, and her jilted lover,were beneficiaries, until they fell out!!

The man has shown the type of animal that he is; a very dangerous one! What his actions portray is that he could have poised her, if he had the opportunity! 

He has succeeded in destroying her professional and family life! He has denigrated her by posting in full public glare that which she holds most dear!

And sadly, there are no winners here! The jilted fellow may never find any meaningful relationships again! He will, as long as he resides within the same community, ever be labeled as mean, nasty, and vicious fellow, one not to be trusted!

The lesson we should learn from this sordid episode, is that not all things should be photographed! 

Not even between spouses! This is because a camera, or phone, could be stolen, or sent for repairs, and such compromising images, could leave one’s control forever!

I will not judge the woman! I believe she has been more than sufficiently punished already! 

What would be good; is to see her lover brought up on charges of producing, and distributing pornography, and any other related charges the law can come up with!

This is turning out to be a tragedy of wide-ranging proportions!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why Our Disappointment In Sports Will Continue!

If there is one thing that unites Nigerians, it is sports!

In my experience as an avid follower of many sports, our experience has been largely disappointing!
We have had a few highs like the Atlanta Olympics gold in football, and other underage football competitions!

There has been a disproportionate return on investment in how much money we have spent, and the success enjoyed!

I had cause to photograph the Abuja national stadium, as part of the visuals Nigeria was preparing for our ill-fated bid for the Commonwealth Games some years ago!

While there, I noticed a few very disturbing things! I saw some athletes, after their morning practice session, sitting under a canopy, it was a mama put joint, and they were eating boiled yam, and beans!

I am not a sports nutritionist, but one thing I know, from watching premiership footballers, British, and American, Olympic athletes, is that what they eat, how they eat it, and even what medications they can take for the flu, are highly monitored, and regulated!

After eating, I noticed that these sports men, and women, trekked home! They were too broke to even take a vehicle home! It was shocking!

Before the Olympics in China, the British cyclists trained in special humidity controlled rooms, to replicate the humidity level they would experience in China!

Those who were carrying injuries, slept in special oxygen tents, to hasten the healing process, and it was said that sleeping in those tents also boosted performance!

In the cut-throat world called modern sports, the margin for error are razor thin, and sometimes the difference between gold and silver, could be two seconds, or half an inch!

That is why nations that are really serious about sports, monitor what their athletes weigh, what they eat, drink, smoke, and even when they can make love!

For such nations, their sportspeople are in a sort of permanent Big Brother house! They are always under the microscope!

To achieve this, a lot of money is usually involved! It is not spent on the comfort of officials, for things like official cars, and overseas jamborees, but on the enhancement of the performers, who are the real stars, and assets!

What has been the picture of Nigeria’s sports terrain in the last thirty years?

Leeches, looters, and parasites, feeding fat, while our sports die!

No one currently holding any position of responsibility is there for the good of sports! They see sports as an avenue to make money, and travel the world, at government expense!

The international embarrassment is so bad that people like Amos Adamu, even took our disgrace to the international stage! When we go for major competitions, if our competitors are sixty, our officials are usually two hundred! 

People travel with their wives, and or, girlfriends, children, and even friends: all at government expense!

We also got it wrong, in the way we have promoted football over every other sport! 

We forget that while it would take twenty two players five matches to win a gold medal, one good swimmer, could win five gold medals in the same tournament! 

That is why Michael Phelps, has won ten times more medals than Nigeria at the Olympics!

This evening, I read the agonizing posts of my friends on Facebook, as they watched the massacre that resulted from our playing the USA in basketball! I do not watch such games, the outcome is a foregone conclusion!

I have stopped watching the Nigerian national football team; the Eagles, play because, I am now emotionally bankrupt! I invested so much in them in the past, with no dividends, and I eventually found myself insolvent emotionally!

If our sports must improve, the professional leeches, and freeloaders, who currently have it by the jugular, would need to be flushed out of the system!

The young men, and women, who fly our banner, need to be at the center of all our planning, and investment! They should be cared for, even better than the president is looked after!

If we do this, we will suddenly find that we suddenly now know how to win!

In addition, there needs to be a systematic planning of what sport we want to dominate on the world stage, and how we plan to get there! 

In the eighties, and nineties, Americans dominated the sprints! That is now history, because through no fluke, but serious and careful planning, Jamaica has made the sprints her forte!

Nigerians can perform, Christine Oharugo, and Phillips Idowu, are two Nigerians who have dominated the world, by representing Great Britain!

Winning is in our genes too, but requires planning to bring it to the fore! 

I leave you with the eternally true words of the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 24, verse one, the Amplified version” Any enterprise is built on wise planning, becomes strong through commonsense, and profits wonderfully, by keeping abrest of the facts!

May God bless Nigeria, our Nigeria, forever!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can The Dead Trust You?

Some months ago, a Dana Air plane crashed in Lagos! 

It was not the first plane to crash in Nigeria, and if we must face reality, it might not be the last!

In the past, the victims of plane crashes, seemed to be “strangers” to us: we did not have any direct relationship with them; be it family, professional, or otherwise! 

In my opinion, this was the first plane crash in Nigeria, whose infamy, tragedy, and pain, was forced on our collective psyches by the mammoth information overload we were subjected to! 

This was a crash that was reported by the various social media platforms in such a way that, we became acquainted with each person that died in that crash!

The husband and wife, the three generations of a family that perished; those on ground who died, and the numerous human interest stories that resulted! 

Suddenly, these individuals were not just distant, abstract names on a manifest; they were people, flesh, bones, emotions, dreams, and expectations!

And that truly troubled us, and appealed to our humanity! 

For many that were left to mourn the sadly departed, suffering was the new way of life; and we knew it! 

While they were alive, we had gone clubbing with some of them, others were work, or school colleagues; and some were our neighbours that we had never got round to talking to!

And now, they were dead!

Many were survived by children in primary school, some by pregnant spouses, and, or, aged parents! 

In a cruel twist like they say, many of the now departed, were actually the providers for their families, and we knew that too!

Our immediate reaction moderated by anger, and a sense of deep loss, was to pledge to step into the breach that had been created!

We were going to help! 

So how well have performed, in fulfilling the promises made in the heat of the tragedy?

Have we actually paid the school fees we promised? 

Have we continued to visit the bereaved children as we covenanted with ourselves? 

Have we paid for that accommodation we promised to sort out? 

Did you pay for that operation your late friend’s wife needed? 

I ask these questions, because time is a great clarifier of things! 

The passage of time has a way of putting things in their proper perspective! 

When these people were alive, some of them helped us! They gave us personal, and business loans, they were there for us! They were God-sent! 

In other cases, we had fun with them, we visited all the fantastic joints in town, and beyond; and we had fun! 

So what has happened? 

What should happen? 

We made pledges, we vowed, we made resolutions, and that was good!

Sadly, many of these well-intentioned” intensions”, were not well thought out! 

They were knee-jerk reactions; akin to the children of Israel rushing off to to fight the giants, after they had initially decided they were grasshoppers!  

If you have been faithful to your pledge, good for you! Keep it up! 

If you have failed, you still have time to redeem yourself! 

The secret, is not to decide to build a house for the survivors, you might get scared because you are overreaching yourself!

Break your “help” into bite size bits! 

Just buy the children a blanket to keep out the cold first! 

Do a little every day for them, and before you know it, it would become a routine, a good habit!

The truth is, we live one day at a time, so let your help come, one day a time! 

Do not make it a one-off grant, or a grand project in the pipeline, the survivors cannot wait! 

Instead, be there to hold a hand, lend a hand, or lift up one! As you do, you will discover that the dead can truly trust you, and depend on you, for they are gone, but we are still here!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wars As A Means of Economic Stimulus!

Many have alleged, that large multi-national corporations like Halliburton, and Z, the security contractor, sometimes start wars for economic profit! When nations 'declare war',what we are finally seeing in public, is the culmination of underground work, by agents of these corporations, who know that a war would be profitable to their sponsors! We have seen a rew wars in Africa started by Western powers in Africa, through proxies like arm dealers, who end up selling arms to both sides, for profit! While this may sound repugnant to moralists, this is just business to those who engage in it! We have seen billions paid to Halliburton, and Z Corporation, for various supplies, ranging from ordinances,and other weapons, and logistical support for the troops! Their fortunes are usually promoted by lobbyists in Washington, and other major capitals of the world! As we grapple with our own seemingly insurmountable intractable internal insurrection,one cannot help but wonder, could our conflict also be a well contrived smokescreen, a sleight of hand, to siphon money, legitimately, while 'prosecuting the war on terror'! Billions have been voted for this war, and by the end of the day, trillions would have been spent! In wartime, very little vetting is done for expenditure on security! This is because every request is usually presented as a life, or death issue, that must be solved post haste!It is almost unthinkable, to contemplate,but definitely not far fetched. Money has away if bringing out the worst of human nature! Some queer things have been happening!Allegions from another terror plot, seem to indicate, that those who ought to know, and definitely have the means, and the motive, may also be orchestrating a new conflict meant to achieve key objectives! One objective, would be to keep the populace distracted, and so unable to mount any form of civil disobedience! The second, to ensure the release of billions, unvetted, and unaccounted for,all guaranteed to vanish into that black hole called the war on terror! I am beginning to think like this, since the arrest of a certain John:a non Boko Haram name, supposedly working for the dreaded Boko Haram! One is not disputing the existence of Boko Haram, but the level of sophistication we are currently seeing, seems to be beyond them! I really hope I am wrong this time! I wish to be wrong, because to be right, would be to unthinkable in consequence! May God bless our Nigeria forever!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I am sure I have your attention now! As inconceivable as it might sound, all the signs point to a nation on the verge of a financial meltdown!

When an entity's liabilities outweigh her assets, and ability to generate enough income to meet future liabilities, such an entity is usually said to be insolvent, bankrupt, or broke!

In movies, when a person is shot, or stabbed, the victim usually dies instantly, except where a slow death has been written into the plot!

In real life however, we know that death from shooting, or stabbing, can be agonizingly slow! It is a process of hemorrhaging the precious life sustaining fluid, blood: that eventually kills!

Nations do not die like people in films, they die in slow motion! The death blow could have been delivered through a failed policy resulting from a fundamental failure of leadership!

In our own case, that failure has been the policy of successive governments budgeting more on recurrent expenditure (mostly the salaries of political office holders, and other emoluments) instead of capital projects!

We spent more money on areas that did not produce wealth, while neglecting the wealth-generating ones!

Successive leaders have operated with the mentality that oil will never run out, and that their profligate lifestyles would never undermine the nation as a whole: they were all wrong!

Our nation is broke! 

It is the only explanation for the madness of January 1st 2012: the complete removal of subsidy on petroleum! The government could no longer sustain an expenditure that was sure to doom it's very survival!

Nigeria is a modern day example of the infamous General Santa Anna! A man who was reputed for having the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! In a nutshell, he often managed to turn a winning situation, to one of desperation!

The question of removal of subsidy, or otherwise, would not have arisen, if Nigeria had properly utilized her God-given asset: crude oil!

Through criminal neglect, collusion with fuel importing cartels, and abdication of responsibility, we allowed our refineries to die without as much as a whimper!

If we had been refining our own crude for local consumption, the argument that we ought to be paying international rates would be a non-starter!

For years we mollified the people by living a lie! Money that could have been used to develop our infrastructure, was paid to government cronies, and carpetbaggers, as the difference in the cost of importing petroleum products, in order to keep prices at an artificial level!

It was the only way peace could be sustained in a nation of such institutionalized corruption, and poverty!

Some of the individuals who benefited from the payment of this subsidy, are actually ministers in this present government!

As we are all aware, many nations in the Euro zone have been seeking external funding to keep them out of insolvency!

Nigeria is aware, that if she goes cap in hand, looking for a bail-out, no one would listen to her!

We are a major oil producing nation! Our president has eight presidential jets in his fleet! He, and his vice president will feed themselves with one billion naira this year alone!

So the only option left to the government, was to go to the people for "a loan"! It is not one they intend to pay back!

It is actually more a case of a drowning man clutching at floating leaves!

If the truth must be told, Nigeria can actually save so much more money, if all political office holders, elected, and appointed, were to take a seventy five percent pay cut!

In that single move, we would see the pendulum swing from red, to black!

Nigeria is broke, and fixing her will not be easy!