Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Matters Arising..

I read about the recent uprising in the North which was a sign of their displeasure with the outcome of the presidential election. As much as I hate the fact that lives were lost, I couldn’t stop imagining (… my mind) what the reactions would have been if the result had swayed in the opposite direction.
The problems we currently face as a nation: kidnapping, militancy, religious crises, general violence (including during elections), indiscipline (or a general lack of order) have persisted through the years. They were created years ago when we abandoned values and chased after power instead, when we abandoned principles and scurried after material things.
Albert Einstein once said “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. The solutions to those problems usually require a much deeper level of reasoning/thinking. Like we all know, the approach the government takes is the “fire brigade” type i.e. the band aid or quick fix to address real and long standing issues. Why do the problems keep recurring? Well, the government we’ve had in the past have not been honest neither have they been responsible.
My analysis of the recent violence in some parts of the northern region yesterday (as well as several of its type in the recent past) is that we have failed as a nation and we are still failing. When we become irresponsible adults and show younger generations to be irresponsible, the result is usually typical of what we see today. Each individual is not just that physical body walking the streets but rather a spirit man having the capacity to reason (mental/intelligence) albeit to different degrees; to feel (emotions); to imagine (creative) and sense right and wrong (conscience). All these aspects of the man are housed within the container/body. When we neglect these aspects of the man and focus just on the physical body by chasing after its cares at all cost, we do more harm to the man and in turn the society which that man belongs. When people are not brought up to understand their emotions and learn to have control over them, the result is usually unleashed on the society adversely like we currently see. When people are not trained to reason logically (whether through formal or informal means) and live through flawed mentalities based on certain dogmas (social, religious, etc), then the result is usually same like above. When the imagination and conscience is ill-developed, the extent of damage such minds would create is better imagined than described here. Such a person (or persons) does not exist alone or kept in isolation and as such has a reasonable impact on their society.
We need to go back to the fundamentals and stop trying to act matured to the world (for we are not). We should leave the launching of satellites and focus more on developing the minds of members of our society and ensure a saner society. North, South, East, West, these problems are obvious and persistent. We have a long way to go but we can only be sure to reach there (someday) if we take the first step in the right direction. We need to look inward as a nation, as a people and begin to solve our unique problems by acknowledging them and utilizing every available resource to help combat the problems.
I end this with an excerpt of a speech given by President Obama at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit “….. unless we harness the potential  of every American (substitute Nigerian) and ensure their skills match up to the work of the future” ……(now my own words), we may as well keep praying for peace and security in Nigeria till kingdom come.
God bless Nigeria! God bless you!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Actually I have been getting a lot of questions in the recent past, one of which is “are you a politician now?”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a politician is:
a) a person who is active in party politics as a profession.
b)  a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually shortsighted reasons.
Which of the two definitions do you think apply to me?

On the contrary, civics is defined as the study of government and politics while civic responsibility includes paying taxes, voting, registering for military service, serving on a jury, and obeying the law. There is a sense of duty in carrying out these responsibilities.

Indeed I have been audible in the quest for a new Nigeria but that is coming from a deep passion for the nation and change from what obtains at the moment. One of the consequence of military rule is that they strip off confidence in the people and lull them into a state of helplessness. The first and last time I learnt anything about civic duties was in social studies, there was no mention of it at all in my graduate days. Hence a lot of people (including myself at a time) do not even know what is expected of them as a member of a community or as a citizen of a nation. Same way many do not know what their rights are. I really don’t blame anybody, there has been retrogression in Nigerian education system and even home trainings and societal moulding (positive) are gradually disappearing from our culture. Everyone is just trying to make ends meet; some through hook, some through crook, and nobody seem to be interested in the collective good of the nation or its people.

I site from a writeup in this paragraph

“Civic responsibility is comprised of actions and attitudes associated with democratic governance and social participation. Actions of civic responsibility can be displayed in advocacy for various causes. By advocating social issues or environmental concerns, people strengthen their commitment to their community as well as to their own individual citizenship. Some attitudes related to civic responsibility include the intention to serve others, the belief that helping others is one s social responsibility, and the tolerance and appreciation of human differences.

Students enrolled at institutions of higher education have the opportunity to transform their social interests into advocacy through personal connections with the community. Higher education has been commissioned to teach the values of a democratic society. These democratic values honor individual diversity, the common good of the larger community, and the active enterprise of social improvement. A variety of higher education policy statements have been written that discuss civic responsibility and the potential impact of social participation on students.”
(culled from  http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-04272000-18210021/unrestricted/ChapterOne.doc.pdf)

It is obvious that very few are actually living up to this obligation. I believe (want to) that it is mainly out of ignorance or unwillingness on the part of those who know. We should all be grateful for democracy and the many opportunities which it offers and embrace it whole heartedly and work to consolidate the gains. We need to keep ourselves informed and inform others on issues which can engender better beings, peace and understanding.

I am not a politician, I understand that I play a role in nation building and I’m doing just that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Voting Experience 02/04/11

The long awaited election month is here with a kick-off of today’s voting to elect candidates into the National Assembly (the House of Representatives and the Senate).  I woke up with elections on my mind, prayed, did some household chores, ate and got ready. My husband registered in a different centre so we were separated. I left the house at about quarter to 10am. I got to the polling station and saw that accreditation was already underway. There was 1 male INEC officer with two female youth corpers, 1 police man and a civil defence corp officer. Various parties also had their presence there in the form of party agents. People were already on a queue to exercise their franchise. There were two lines, one for males, and the other for females. I really am not interested in the segregation right now, it’s not a life-threatening situation just yet; the leaders who will represent us are really something to worry about. I joined the queue.

The method the INEC officers were using to accredit was such that when it gets to your turn, the official will collect your registration card and start to browse through the registered voters’ printouts on their table (about 20 pages). We waited patiently under the sun; some went to nearby kiosks for shade. Some were discussing in small groups. I tried to read the expressions of most of them. I saw a little bit of willingness to persevere and make the necessary sacrifice on some while others were simply buy-outs and were discussing money. I thought a canopy would have protected the people from the scorching sun. The accreditation continued rather slowly. An elderly woman spent close to 10minutes at the table because her name could not be found. According to INEC’s timetable, accreditation was supposed to end at 12pm. I was accredited at about 10.45am. I surveyed the situation and approached one of the INEC officers with a solution. I told her that I thought the method they were using wasn’t effective and if they would adopt a better method of calling out the names, the accreditation would proceed faster. She told her colleagues who bought into it rather quickly because it was obvious they were not proceeding as fast as they would have wanted. Many people acknowledged this to be a better method. Accreditation continued till about 12.30pm but some people’s names were just not there. The INEC officer told them to contact their office to lodge their complaints. We were asked to be on a queue so that we can cast our votes. One by one, people cast their votes. I cast mine at about 1.20pm and stood aside and observed while I waited. At about 1.30pm, some young men came and announced to everyone that the elections have been cancelled and postponed till Monday the 4th of April 2011. People warded them off with thoughts that it was a distraction by a losing party to get people to leave and then manipulate the papers. It wasn’t until 10minutes later that INEC officials got the message that indeed the election had been cancelled. They passed on the information, packed up their materials and made to leave. Many people were disappointed but there were lots of comments about their readiness to come back and re-cast the votes. Some complained about the productive time lost for their businesses. On the whole, I observed that some have taken monies from parties and were urging their friends and relatives to vote a certain party. Other progressives were talking about desired change. I left the polling station at about 1.45pm and headed home with mixed feelings and questions on my mind."Were we been fooled this April?" was one of the questions on my mind.