Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Parental Love

Love is one word that many people use for its popularity rather than for the sake of the truth of its meaning. I want to dwell on the love of parents for their children. Like we say, once we become parents, all that we do, we do for our children. I know my mum (my dad no) loved me as was evidenced in the sacrifices she made for my siblings and I. She ensured we got the basics any parent could give to their children – food, shelter, clothing and education (formal and informal). As a parent myself, I have also begun the journey of sacrificial living in order that my children get these basics. Though my parents didn’t leave physical inheritances, the inheritance of character and being which I have the responsibility of honing is more than I could have asked of them.

The reason for this write-up is to examine this virtue in the Nigerian parent and relate it to where we are today. I have been wondering why anyone will steal billions of naira if not to leave some as inheritance for their offspring. Even the holy book says a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. So, it’s possible many of these parents are only trying to comply with this advice regardless of how it is achieved. They thus amass the commonwealth of other parents and children thereby depriving them of the opportunity to provide even the basics for their own household.
So, can this be said to be borne out of love? Is love a very narrow virtue which doesn’t care about the rest of the world as long as my family and I have the very best? This is what capitalism and religion teaches and that is what we have unofficially subscribed to in this part of the world unfortunately.

A public official who steals the pension of citizens in order for his children to have the best comfort of life and the best education that money can buy in Europe or America or Afrika and to buy properties around the world which he can leave as inheritance for those children will claim he loves his children. They do this with hope that long after they've gone, their children will be well positioned to lord it over 'commoners'. I know many young Nigerians who are praying for such opportunity to grab a piece of the national cake and will not openly condemn these evil perpetrators because they will indirectly be condemning themselves. I have seen children of these officials been given good job placements even though they do not qualify and thereby depriving those who do from giving their knowledge and skills to such a position. Inherently, this reduces the contribution of that position to the organization and to the nation at large.

The problem with our society began when we started ignoring the means and only put value on the end. You’ll hear of parents who arrange for their children to sit for WAEC/GCE in special centres. They pay huge sums of money for this. The students are usually provided answers to questions (it is called ‘expo’) for all the subjects in these centres.  The end (the examination result) is of much value to them and the society than the means – hard work, discipline, sacrifice, character – through which the good result can be obtained.  Sadly, these parents and their children will also join to condemn the corrupt public officials.

What should one expect such a child to do in the higher institution (peradventure he/she secures admission)? The struggle to ‘settle’ lecturers, carry ‘chips’ will continue of course. And then the likelihood that this child will continue this tradition for his/her offspring is very high. But these parents love their children and will do ‘anything’ to ensure their success/happiness. What they however fail to realize is that they do not love such a child. They deny the child the strong footing to start life when they cheat, steal and cut corners for him/her. As the saying goes “children do not listen much to what we say as much as to what we do”. This sets off a generational anomaly – laziness, lack of passion, lack of character, lack of discipline, lack of commitment – and the world will never know how much of these good virtues would have been developed (and mastered) by the children thanks to the ‘love’ of the parents. Only few children get influenced along the way when they see the light and drop this ‘love-nurtured’ way of life.

Perfect love casts out fear is a verse of scripture which I understand to mean that where love is present, fear of failure/success is not, fear of expression is not, fear of rejection is not, fear of living is not and the fear of the outcome of love is not. Our society is failing because we have exalted the love of money and the term “success’’ as it is associated with money above the true meaning. We have allowed our eyes to be weakened by many glittering and fashionable things which are manufactured by other countries and so drive up our desire and greed for these things rather than to be inspired by the creation of such which in turn should drive up desire to create such things closer home and add more value to the society. We ignore the fact that through our aberrant love we have truncated passion, character, discipline and hard work which are involved in the innovative process which birth some of the things our eyes now long for at all cost.

In 2013, I wish you true love for self, offspring, kind and for the whole of humanity.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

History, Culture and Religion - The Relationship

Guest Post

By Temidayo Ahanmisi

When culture dies, humanity dies. When a history is stolen, the future is destroyed. Those who own our stories own our destinies. A human being who does not control his own narratives is a slave. It matters not if he has plenty finery or not. I regret that I can’t deliver this more superfluously. I regret that language fails me, so I can’t tell you what I’m trying to say without sounding condescending. I don’t believe in apologizing for my opinions, but I must do that here because what I am saying concerns even your children – those projections of your most cherished hopes & dreams.

…Well…say it I must...our children are slaves. Do you protest? Good. It means you still have some modicum of the basic dignity that should be yours by mere reason of conscious existence. Now place your Nigerian child beside a Japanese child…Ask your Nigerian child to tell you a parable about honour/duty/community/family/ forgiveness/ charity/ justice/moral rectitude…the things that make for character building…the character that births nations & projects races into the future for world domination…the building blocks that will ensure the replenishment of the earth…

The Japanese child will tell you about Shinto, Confucian philosophy , the Samurai creed & the sword eras…He will tell you about his ancestors & those who contributed to the building of his society as he has it today…the warriors, the poets, the musicians, the community lords & kings… Saikaku, Sei Shônagon, Sanyo, etc. It would matter little whether his parents are Christians or Muslims by association & worship. They are Japanese first. They come from the lineage of the Samurai. Their life philosophy cannot be separated from this unique ancestry. An average Japanese person has a concept of honour & shame that would confound an average Nigerian. Reason?...He knows whose son he is.

…His Nigerian counterpart on the other hand will explain such concepts using parables drawn from the bible or the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad. The ancestors (spiritual & temporal) of the Nigerian child are Jacob, David, Abraham/Ibraheem, Isaac etc. Now we should have no problem with this. No?...Well, there’s just this little issue…None of them are African. None of them know Nigeria. None of them are black people. They are Jews. But like I said it’s a little problem.

…Oh…not really little as such since one of them was a trickster/’’419’’ right from the womb…but it’s ok really. He was blessed by God and earned a place of honour in the annals of the patriarchs.

And I think one kept a female slave & had sex with her…and then his wife drove the slave out with her young child into the desert to starve & die. It’s okay. She gave birth to the ‘’child of promise’’, and so earned her place of honour among the matriarchs…okay millions do not agree & on this basis millions are still being slaughtered…but like I said, it’s no problem. This is Africa…this is Nigeria…the authentic theatre of the absurd.

…And another one…well he once slaughtered 7 men as human sacrifice to appease the Hebrew god to stop famine in the land…the men were from a rival clan, but it doesn’t matter now. The famine stopped, according to the legends. Indeed so exalted was this patriarch that he was destined to be the ancestor of the long-awaited Messiah of his people, the jews. Okay, millions of jews do not buy into this theory, but who cares? This is Nigeria…the land of the rootless.

…So like I said, it’s nothing serious. I know that ancestors are people with clay feet, and that their stories are necessary for inspiration because they are men/women of ‘’like passions as us’’…& talking about ‘’like passions’’…one of the ancestors of these Jews…well he ordered a lion to kill & eat some kids that were taunting him. The lion did. The Hebrew god supplied the lion. That’s an aside though.

There are a lot of things these ancestors reportedly did that would be judged by us in just about any way today…the words ‘’immoral’’, ‘’vile’’, ‘’despicable’’, ‘’dishonest’’, etc would come in…although some wouldn’t go that far…but somehow they would sneak into the consciousness. That’s the way of humanity & the human conscience. We know wrong. We know right. We know the truth. We know falsehood. We deny. We accept. The truth doesn’t care.

So like I said…it’s no big deal. Well it is. Our ancestors also reportedly killed, lied, cheated & caroused like these Jewish ancestors…but trouble is, our ancestors did not earn a place in the annals of our history for these very reasons. You see…we are clean & holy people. Our ancestors can’t have clay feet. We must appear ‘’spotless’’ & ‘’blameless’’ on the day of judgment fixed by this Jewish God. If we are found to have ever admired our ancestors or invoked their names in anyway, we will be placed in a place of molten sulphur & burning lava, hotter than a volcano. Ancestor worship is evil & we are born again. Well…we can invoke the names of some ancestors when we pray…but they must be Jewish ancestors as mentioned above. It is okay to worship Jewish ancestors.

And also it is okay to pray to idols, but they must not be those ugly African idols with those bulbous noses & bulging eyes…those black disgusting-looking effigies!

…So if all of this is not a problem, why should we bother then?
Anyway we are not bothered. It’s just that the Jews are mocking us…they ignore us. We don’t mind. We are redeemed. We will continue to align with their ancestors, worship their god, defend their interests in their numerous wars & have elaborate ceremonies to give their names to our children. They will come around someday. It’s been thousands of years, but they will come around.

In the meantime, we’ll just pay tithes/zakats, observe their festivals & norms, go to pilgrimage in their disputed lands & give them money from our govt. coffers; While we are at that, we will spend huge amounts on various ceremonies & rituals from myriad other cultures, ostracise our children who chose to decline, kill a few people for not following the religions of our chosen ancestors…some of us will buy jets, steal public funds, kill brother & sister, tear families apart, destroy whole civilizations & cultures, wander aimlessly through lands…destroy some native shrines…just generally act crazy…while we wait to join our adopted ancestors in paradise.
We are just happy that our ancestors whose perfidy caused a strong strain of ancestral curse to pass down to line to us will be in hell where they belong!

…Wait…what were we saying about honour-shame code? What was that again about native spiritual philosophy? What was that that talk about social justice?...okay so I know the Japanese child will share anecdotes about Amaterasu about the kami spirituality, about the Bushido honour code…but you know what? It doesn’t matter. I know the Japanese are stricter about abhorring corruption & laziness...oaky I know their code of preferring death to dishonour, but you know what?..My Nigerian child’s bible says he is more important than his community. His bible says he shall be blessed & have plenty to eat even when famine ravages the land…how you ask? Ask Jacob…they call him the supplanter, but don’t mind his detractors. His name is Israel. The angel renamed him after he fought for his blessings. Yes…that’s why we fight to keep our share of the commonwealth. We will never ‘’let God go until He blesses us!’’ We have good ancestors. They taught us well. Our children will follow in the tradition. Just as ancestral curses can pass from gene to gene so slavery can be passed down. Being a slave is better than being cursed.

By the way…I’ve checked….Chief Bode George was a good slave-son too. Remember that the next time you want to open your mouth to talk about shame & restitution. He had every right to go to church & give his offering & offer thanks publicly. Remember whose you are the next time you want to talk about ‘’putting Nigeria on the path of greatness again’’. Remember that the next time you talk about morality & pull out ‘’your bible’’...the next time you want to judge GEJ & his ministers ask yourself again…whether they have not repented in the course of the night, become born again & given their lives to Christ…in the few hours of the night. Well I just thought to warn you because you could be ‘’judging those Christ has redeemed from the curse of the law’’…and that would be ‘’doing the prophet of the Lord harm’’, you know…just as you do your pastor-prophets harm by judging their rights to private jets.

Abeg make I enter my Mazda dey go. I wonder what is wrong with these silly Japanese people sef! Imagine naming a car brand after a god…isn’t ‘Ahura Mazda’ one of their gods? Let me make sign of the cross before Lucifer will LOL after me. All these idol worshippers manufacturing cars for Christians! Well…God dey. On the day of rapture I shall leave this pagan car behind & ‘’ join the saints triumphant in Heaven.

About Temidayo Ahanmisi
Temidayo Ahanmisi is a young, dynamic and passionate Nigerian. A liberated mind, she is an inspiration to the young generation who clamour for change within the black man's homeland. She lives in Nigeria.

Monday, December 3, 2012

From humble beginnings to oppression

I have observed that many of our 'oppressors' usually have humble beginnings - parents who were small farmers, teachers, taxi drivers, cleaners, hair dressers, food sellers, small scale traders. These people struggled through to get an 'education' - in essence, certificates, in this part of the world. They then begin to look for work. Many are lean and thin due to paucity of food in the home coupled with school stress. They "beg to apply" in several organizations. Some of them who 'know someone' manage to get a placement quicker while others have to struggle with other applicants in aptitude tests, interviews to secure a place in the banks, civil service, oil companies and other private companies. The lucky one soon find an apartment and gradually start to furnish the place - rug, settee, fans, AC, fridge, cooking gas, mattress, bed, generators, flat screen TV, etc. Things are beginning to look good. The unlucky ones will have to settle for business - become entreprenuers by force.

Soon enough the plan for marriage begins. Big wedding expense for cake, food, drinks, hall, wedding gown/suit, shoes, rings, traditional clothes, bride's list, aso-ebi, gift souvenirs, car hire, honeymoon locations, lingeries, etc. After the wedding, the woman gets pregnant and the next thing is planning for the baby - maternity clothes, ante-natal clinic, baby cot, breast pump, breast pad, cloth dryer, prams (even though most streets aren't paved and the prams become indoor equipment), etc.

When the baby comes (the in-thing now is to go deliver the baby in the UK or US), another big party take place (food, drinks, tents, lace for husband and wife). Subsequently, the expense graduates to baby food, creche, clothing, school, food, etc. And more and more it becomes a very narrow view of how to care for "me and my family".

In all of this, there is usually an unspoken agreement in the society of the level of celebration expected and standard of living. Also, there is a certain expectation in the office environment to dress a certain way, drive a certain brand of car and live in certain areas. So, the young man/woman who was from a humble home has begun to compete with those from the elite class (many of whom are children/relatives of corrupt civil servants/politicians/businessmen). They have quickly forgotten what is was like to 'struggle' to eat and pay rents. Some get so preoccupied with making and spending more money they even forget to cater for their poor parents (who are now much older and possibly retired) who helped train them to become independent. Then the greed starts to show through the collection of loans (to fund bigger lifestyles)) and the soliciting for 'runs' jobs - a la government contracts (with main aim of sharing in the national cake). They join themselves to big churches where they are recognized as workers who pay their tithes and offerings regularly and who are usually well dressed. Some of them begin to seriously consider being profiled for pastoral work and so begin to do 'eye service' and become overzealous. The pastors and their family members are usually well cared for by the church and if the church is large enough (with members comprising of very well connected and high-earning groups of people), the pastor may be bestowed with a private jet for his 50th or 60th brithday. You never can tell the size of the gift. The church members don't joke with their pastors. They love them very much and they show it through utter obedience and giving of gifts. And if you are loyal (note this word carefully) enough as a pastor, you may get bestowed with unimaginable gifts of private contracts with multinational companies or government.

And so the young individual has no plan whatsoever to be entangled with the poor anymore. God has delivered him/her from the curse of poverty and that is absolute (never mind that some get retrenched when the companies downsize their work force). No plan to reach out to any poor member of the family or even the street on which they live. They have quickly forgotten their journies. They collaborate with those who move money illicitly just so they can also be 'blessed'.

We can see the path of an ordinary person through life (in Nigeria) and how there was no plan throughout to help bring up others or make sacrifices in order to achieve national purpose. Their actions are reinforced by the words of MOGs who continues to 'bless' them the more they give.

Many of the tastes are simply an emulation of some of the children of corrupt members of our society. Many of whom have been given employment deservedly or not. These ones do not need to work before they can go abroad for vacations, shop or acquire a brand new car. They are merely at a job to pretend at it. This young woman/man would not be 'outdone' by some 'rich' colleague (often younger). The competition is usually stiff - mostly unspoken.


So, this young man/woman begins to 'pray' to be like these 'blessed' ones. Because their tastes have grown large, they will do anything to maintain it. They will lick asses (white or black it doesn't matter), forge documents, engage in fraudulent activities, collaborate with contractors to shortchange the government or the organization. Few years down the line, many rise to the top ranks and become managers and supervisors who help to fuel the corruption within their organizations just so they can maintain their overbloated lifestyles. They really do not care that ordinary people will suffer because of their actions and inactions. Their focus is now in the adornment of designer lables, driving of four wheelers, clubbing, vacationing abroad, etc (the foreign taste syndrome).

I am quickly reminded of our sitting president who 'had no shoes' growing up. Some say the number of shoes (and they don't come cheap) he now has is enough to fill and start a shoe shop. I know also that many senators (at state and federal levels) fall into this category. I do know of managers of local businesses, banks, oil companies and parastatals who also fit this description. Just look around and you won't have to look far.

Many of us fall into this category. We allow our consciences to die and join the bandwagon of 'if you can't beat them, join them'. We simply forgot our origin, our heritage. We simply help to further enslave our own people through our foreign tastes which inadvertently develop the foreign economies. Yet, we complain with others when simple things elude us right here. We just can't see our own role in the whole scheme of things. We forget that we are the ones the country has been waiting for to come of age but sadly we simply went with the flow. We simply forgot about purpose. We simply fell for the illusion of money and continue to chase after it to our own hurt and the hurt of past, present and future generations.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the ALUU 4

Guest Post written by Sbee Igwe

I have heard accounts that the videos of the killing of the Aluu 4 are quite gruesome but I find that I’m unable to bring myself to actually watch them. I have not even bothered to delve beyond the initial news reports to find more detailed accounts of the circumstances surrounding the lynching of the four young University of Port Harcourt undergraduates by members of the Aluu village community.

I just think it would be a pointless and too painful exercise for me. The tragic event is simply a symptom of the problematic reality of Nigeria. When a host community brazenly slaughters innocent undergrads with glee it is an indictment on the whole country, Nigeria.

For me it resonates in a very special and personal way since I’m an alumnus of that institution, and more so because as a student I once had the misfortune of an almost similar experience there.

As much as I hate to, I will recall the night in 1986 when I was walking back through Choba village to my room from a Party at around 3.00am. I was in company of my buddy Georgee from Abia, who had just transferred to the school from a US College along with his Yankee ideas and mannerisms.

It had been a great party and as we walked we were chatting and laughing lost in the bliss of youthful innocence and careless adventure. Georgee had seen across the road a woman stoking a cooking fire behind a small hut and unmindful of the unholy hour walked over to ask if he could get a light for his cigarette. She screamed a curse in the local dialect and quickly got up, ran into her hut and shut her door. Suddenly we noticed windows and more doors were being shut in the nearby houses.

This seemed to us somehow rude and a bit funny, surely these people must know we are just young happy-go-lucky students going home from a nice party and trying to light up a last fag. And as far as Georgee was concerned it simply was not fair, so he shouted back towards the hut to let them know as we continued to walk down the road laughing.

I soon began to notice silhouettes gathering all around us in the bushes, following us and closing in on us, and the next thing we were surrounded by a group of about eight desperate looking men some armed with what looked like long sticks and others with short shiny ones that could have been matchetes. I didn’t look to check as I didn’t want to focus on their weapons.

As they came up close to us, I remember many people barking and shouting at the same time and Georgee unwilling to be intimidated would not give up what he supposed were his rights to freedom of movement in his ideal country, so shouted back in their faces. All I kept saying was ‘We’re students! It’s alright George, we’re students! It’s alright George!’ repeatedly, hoping to calm all sides down. Then more people began running out from their houses or the bushes to join up and the crowd grew into a mob.

We now began to understand that the situation had completely changed, these guys, the initial group of eight, were vigilantes who had concluded that we were the armed robbers and/or cultists who had been terrorizing their village for some time. We realized were no longer free, we were in the dock.

By the time we had each received, without protest, a couple of very heavy slaps on our ears it was clear that instant judgement was approaching without our defence being heard. The vigilante guys would not let us talk, so I began searching for some sympathy from the faces of the people in the wider group of spectators and fortunately I spotted a very familiar face and pleaded to him with my eyes. George being new in the school knew nobody and had no hope of any of the villagers knowing him. The man acknowledged me and to his credit, God bless him, spoke up and said that he knew me as member of the school Cricket Team, and by inference a sporting gentleman.

Thus we were given an opportunity to speak up in our defence, and within one quick minute we had very clearly and convincingly explained who we were, how come we were there and where we were going. And it was just in time, because shortly after the vigilante group had decided to escort us to our room in Choba village, an even larger and angrier group of vigilantes and village men arrived and insisted that we must be lynched to send a strong message to the notorious students.

Fortunately for us the initial group refused and a fierce argument, almost to the point of a fight broke out between both groups. This however had the effect of taking the steam out of their frenzy and in the end we were escorted safely and soberly to our rented room in the village.

This experience already told me all I needed to know about whatever went down with the Aluu 4 last weekend.

During our days many of us in thought it inexplicable that the Choba host community could be so habitually hostile to members of the University community despite the fact that the location of the University in their community had so dramatically improved their livelihood. Today it appears nothing has changed.

Aluu, the next village to Choba is a dense rainforest jungle, 25 years ago when I was last there it could not even aspire to be a backwater community, there was nothing, zilch, going on there in terms of civilization. But by virtue of the burgeoning University economy I understand that some strands of civilization and modernity have come to the place and with it prosperity and advancement for the villagers.

Anybody would assume that this is a good thing for the Aluu villagers and that they would be very happy to coexist with the University community, even when the students act so culturally different to them. But no, the killers of the Aluu 4 do not share this view.

Here we can find the root of the Nigerian problem underlining all the major fault lines from the Boko Haram issue, the stupid policy of Petroleum importation and subsidies, and the lack of functional rail networks in the country, to the false population figures and the deliberately inept leadership in almost every aspect of Nigerian society, to fake pharmaceuticals, corruption etc etc.
It is namely that Nigerians DO NOT love Nigeria. Everything you’ve heard is simply a lie.

I haven’t been on the streets of Nigeria for a few years, but I was there when an intriguing international poll result was reportedly claiming that Nigerians were the happiest people on Earth and I didn’t believe it. Everybody else claims to, but back then I saw a completely different picture.

You would say ‘Good afternoon’ to a man at a bus stop and he would reply, then add a sigh. Or, you would show courtesy to allow another driver into a traffic lane and others would curse you and even thump on your window. Love is a rare sentiment in metropolitan Nigeria, you would hardly find it where Nigerians of different ethnic or linguistic origins meet except when concocted by a combination of TV cameras and an expectation of revenue.

We know that humans cannot be happy when there is no love, so whoever says they are happy in Nigeria is simply being deceptive. This is the crux of the matter: Nigerians are living a lie. We know the truth but because we hate each other we gladly prefer to continue with the lie and it is hurting everybody and that is what we prefer to love, to hurt each other.

A society where only the vulnerable are ever punished is a society that is riddled with hatred, there is no genuine love in it. Our only remedy is truth, we need to begin to speak the truth to ourselves in Nigeria, no matter how cold and bitter that truth may be.
That is the only hope we can have to ever achieve all these elusive virtues we love to pontificate about.

About the author
Sbee Igwe graduated from University of Port Harcourt in the year 1988.
#Lesson: We need to stop living a lie, we need to embrace TRUTH (which love compels us to)# 
The Police Chief admitted that the police team sent to the location was prevented by the mob (he implied that they couldn't use tear gas or such things as they use during peaceful protest to resist the mob). Our (the masses and the force) senses (sensitivity, emotions, appreciation of right and wrong) have become inundated with deaths here and there we have grown cold and callous of one another. That is the truth and only by facing this truth squarely (and adjust accordingly) can we begin to heal.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hate & Peace??

Two Saturdays ago, on my way to a meeting, I stopped by a store to buy children’s books. I was on the lookout for African stories but the closest I could get was Wilma Rudolph (unlimited) and A wreath for Emmett Till (a sonnet). I also had some five others which were purely English children stories. On the Sunday, I got to read some of the books myself to see the suitability of the content for my kids. The story of Emmett Till was particularly a compelling story of colour-hatred (racism). Emmett Till was a friendly, extroverted African-American boy who grew up during a time when racism and segregation were legal parts of the culture of the US.

Excerpts from book:
“Who was Emmett Till?
In the summer of 1955, 14 yr-old Emmett visited relatives in the South. On August 24, in the town of Money, Mississippi, Emmett went into a country store, where, by some accounts, he whistled at a white woman. On August 28, the woman’s husband and brother-in-law took Emmett from his uncle’s house. Emmett’s body was found three days later. The murderers had tied a heavy metal cotton gin fan to his neck with barbed wire and thrown him into the Tallahatchie River. He had been shot in the head. His face and body had been beaten and were bloated from the river water.

Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open-casket funeral in Chicago to show what had been done to her son. She insisted her son should lie in an open casket so the world could see how savagely ha had been murdered. His naked body was horribly mangled, his nose severed, his head cleaved nearly in two, one eye gorged out. Thousands of people flood in line for viewing. Graphic photos appeared in newspapers and magazines, galvanizing anger across the nation.

An all-white male jury heard the trial of the alleged murderers in a segregated courthouse in Mississippi. Inspite of the terrors of the times and the danger he could have been placing himself in, Emmett’s uncle identified the white men who had pulled Emmett out of his house. After deliberating for just over an hour, the jurors came back with a verdict of “not guilty”. The trial and verdict drew the world’s attention.

People around the country- both black and white – who previously had felt separated from southern racism were shocked by Emmett Till’s death and outraged by the injustice of his killers’ trial. The lynching of the boy Emmett Till helped spark the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Months after the trial, one of former defendants told a reporter how they had killed Emmett. Years later, the two men tried for Emmett’s murder said that three other were involved.”

The book challenged everyone to continue speaking against modern-day injustices, to speak truth as they see it. Then I asked myself “has this colour-hatred really stopped?” Are they not shrouded in foreign policies and local laws?” How about same colour hatred? This one is still very much prevalent in African communities which accounts for why such communities are still largely tumultuous and impoverished.

The truth of the matter is that many of the offsprings of colonial masters would have none of the emancipation bill. They wished the status quo had remained and we still see this very much around us though unspoken....many white folks still treat black folks with contempt and outright degradation. It behoves everyone – both black and white – to teach their younger generations of the history (as it was) and the consequences. It may have become history to not be revisited but for recent similar events which are still happening. Consider the case of Trayvon Martin who was shot in the chest at close range by George Zimmerman on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. Martin was an unarmed (note) 17-year-old African American. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American, was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place. Zimmerman told the Police that Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Martin in self-defense. Questions are being asked whether Trayvon Martin is this generation Emmett Till.

Then we wonder why there is no peace in the world. There are so many peace treaties being signed here and there (yet the wars never end). So many congress meetings and dinners being held for the sake of world peace. We pray endlessly for peace but it continues to elude us. Some of us who pray for peace will not even speak up against injustice in our homes, offices or neighbourhoods. We do not want to risk being vocal and be exposed to the attendant consequences – losing friends, scorned, ex-communicated, and labelled. We are satisfied that the harm is not ‘directly’ to our immediate family. But haven’t we heard of the story of the woman who kept mute because harm was not directly to her family until it happened to her son? She cried herself hoax and became a voice against injustice. We do not need to have injustice done to us before we speak up against it. We may be able to live with some unjust laws but it doesn’t mean we should still not point them out as unjust and seek redress where possible. We need to realize that peace will not be present when her twin sister love (and justice) is absent. Let’s stop wishing peace to be (which all our prayers seem to amount to as they are not accompanied with actions of love and justice), let’s fulfil her pre-requisite and as surely as the day follows the night, peace will show up. Until then....peace out.

The book is not appropriate for my 5 yr-old so I will keep it in my library till she is older and can understand some of the intricacies of our world as it is and hence the content of the book and beauty of poems (a sonnet is a fourteen-line rhyming poem).

Quotable quotes
Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to glories of love.” ~ Dr. Martins Luther king, Jr.
“If you must hate, if hatred is the leaven of your life, which alone can give flavour, then hate what should be hated: falsehood, violence, selfishness.” ~ Ludwig Boerne

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Connection

In some quarters, you will hear of expatriates boasting amongst themselves of how they laid with two or more Nigerian girls in one night. This they usually do over beer. They devalue educated and hardworking ones in the offices by paying them less, treating them less and then go on to devalue other not-so-educated ones by luring them with gift items and money (since they usually earn well enough to have more than enough to throw around). You will hear some Nigerian males say they feel disgusted with those girls for selling themselves cheap. You can’t be so certain with some men whether their disgust is borne out of positive value system or simply because some of those girls are disinterested in them as they aren’t able to spoil them silly with gifts and money.

Now, many of us will quickly condemn those girls and some of us are those who change figures in our offices and those who will protect the interest of godfathers with our very lives, even those of us who are blindly religious and will throw everything we own at the feet of a man so that we can be blessed (more and more as we never get contented). We are not able to make the connection between the devaluation of our people and our own acts; they seem so unconnected but are they? Can’t we see that the call for visionary leadership is not a call for sentiments (ethnicity/religion) but a call to bring a people to a common vision where each life will be valued and respected (dignified)? Don't get me wrong, I do not encourage waywardness and lasciviousness whether in men or in women but I am seeing beyond the act to some of the underlying factors for such unhealthy and unwise decisions in some folks. Can’t we see that keeping silent when evil administration reigns is the cause of the poverty and desperation which drives our men and women to do things which devalue them as humans?

Can’t we see that nepotism (preferring people in our own family, tribe or religion over others when opportunities open up) prevents the best person (with passion, drive and capacity) from occupying the position which is able to increase value to such an organization (private or public) and by extension the larger society?
Can’t we see that the positions of special assistant to the assistant to the special adviser are meaningless and has no real value in helping to reduce our devaluation? Don't be surprised that it isn't just the President that have such aides, even religious leaders have them.

Can’t we see that throwing our money/material/time at religious leaders/priests when a female neighbour is one of those girls being devalued and whom we have refused to acknowledge and offer support and assistance? Who knows how many males are being used as pimps (supplier of girls) and gay partners all in a bid to make ends meet?

Can’t we see that religious organizations which spends millions and billions on erecting massive buildings instead of investing in the lives of people (who are the main interest for the God we claim to know) are the reasons why some of our people will continue to be devalued by others and our society perpetually retrogressive?
Can’t we see that the disconnectedness among us as a people is the reason why we will continue to be devalued economically, physically, emotionally and every other-wisely?

Can’t we see that this connection being referred to isn’t about a religion but about a love for a kind (same people as us) and a willingness to come together as one so that external influences will not continue to be exploitative of us? Can’t we see that it is really about being our brothers/sisters’ keepers that is the issue?

Can’t we see that it is more of a forgetfulness of who we used to be in values – hardwork, honesty, dignity, good character, simplicity and care for others - that is helping our being used?

Can’t we see that amassing money for the sake of money itself is depriving our kindred from getting basic necessities and thus pushing them to indulge in the businesses which devalue them – yahoo yahoo, runs, fine barra?

Can’t we see that it was merely an opportunity that came our way and that our unwillingness to recreate opportunities for others is tantamount to shutting the door through which we entered and preventing others from accessing it thereby pushing them to become frustrated and desperate?

Can’t we see that there is a connection?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The "easy" life legacy

It is very easy for you to come to me (or call/BB/text/mail me) about the aso-ebi for a party (yours or someone else’) but it isn’t as easy for you to discuss how we can form a group that will sponsor a talented but indigent child through school or help another child (ren) gain vocational skills. 

It is very easy for us as girls to sit down together (in our hostels, tea parties, weekend get-togethers) and discuss about various hair (infact the latest trends) – Brazillian, Indian, Chinese – shoes, bags etc. But it isn’t as easy for us to discuss about our natural hair, local products (good quality) and how our foreign tastes is helping to improve the economies of foreign countries whilst impoverishing our own local economies. 

It is very easy for you to invite me to a MLM (Multi Level Marketing) meeting where we strategize how to promote the distribution & sale of foreign products but it isn’t as easy for you to invite me to a townhall meeting of people who are desirous of change and who want to be involved in practical terms in their local communities and in the nation as a whole. 

It is very easy for us boys (& men) to sit down and watch/discuss football, the players, the jerseys of popular football clubs such as Arsenal, Man U, Real Madrid etc. but it isn’t as easy for us to discuss why Eyimba, Kwara United, Kano Pillars, Heartland are not developing to the level of those foreign clubs. Yet among those who sit down to discuss football at this level are high profile government officials, pastors/imams of large congregations, successful professionals at various levels. It isn’t easy to propose to set up clubs (which by the way are all privately owned) to engender such professionalism and class of football watched on DSTV right here at home. It is way too difficult for us to think that way but very easy to sit on our couches and watch endlessly match after match of foreign tournaments and profiling. 

It is very easy for us to discuss car brands and their performances but some of us discussing this topic are mechanical/electrical engineers, bank executives, ministers (for education, science & technology), and research fellows. Yet we can’t see the connection between us and what it will mean for us to produce and use such a commodity within our own shores. 

It is very easy for us to sit down and condemn (abuse is the word used often by GEJ) govt officials when in actual fact we contributed to them getting to those positions (overtly or covertly). Yet some of us are team leads in our offices/religious organizations/alumni comprising of 3 – 40 members (or more) and there is so much opacity/corruption/animosity going on in those small corners than is imaginable. 

It is very easy for us as family members to meet, plan and contribute (financially) to the “turning over”/memorial party (which is usually a big bash) of our late parents who have been gone for more than 5 years (sometimes 30years!!). But it is not as easy to meet, plan and contribute towards empowering young individuals/families (even within our clan) that are still struggling to provide for themselves. After all, for those of us who are now successful, we worked very hard to break through, those other people should find their own way (I am not encouraging laziness/dependence neither am I unaware of the ingratitude that may be doled out by the people we show concern for). 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A poem ( I am)

I am a flower
Blossoming by design
Giving fragrance to the atmosphere
Bringing pleasure to the deep recesses of many
I am an oasis
Being in a desert by design
Providing refreshment to parched souls
Bringing satisfaction to the deep recesses of many

I am a life-giver
Nurturing ideas, people, beauty, nature
Bringing forth by design
Bringing beauty to the deep recesses of many
I am humus
Stimulating by design
Providing nourishment to the human soil of earth
Bringing multiplication to the deep recesses of many

Written by Mary Ogungbola on the 17th of August 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My faith, my story

I was once “erroneously” labelled a witch by religious zealots (many of whom are still my friends and who NOW see those times as dark ages) who I was in the same learning environment with some years back. But the constraint of the environment where we were in then prevented any extreme measures such as “suffer not a witch to live” from being my fate. The most punishment that could be meted out on me was excommunication (covertly).

          "Dear world, you would have been deprived of my unique contribution and my special touch which only me can bring (and is bringing) to you so far I am still alive."

 I remember hearing my parents/peers’ generation (some still say it) that Oyibo’s witchcraft is what gives them power to do witty inventions and explorations like building aeroplanes, cars, rockets, and skyscrapers, and to explore oceans and dense forests. But the most that the black witches have succeeded in doing is suck blood of their own people (I wonder whether they suck Oyibo blood too), make accidents happen on our roads; invoke cluelessness/madness in their leaders and enemies. Meanwhile, the religious leaders who ought to deliver the black people from black witch are now so much focussed on acquiring some of the inventions of the oyibo witch (such as private jets, skyscrapers, booking for a flight to mars) while well-to-do (middle class) members of the congregation who can afford it also fly the aeroplanes, drive cars, buy IPads, laptops, camera, etc. Are there some contradictions in these things? Please I need help to unravel the mystery which we are still very much plagued with today.

The fate of the black witch is a very hard one. Sometimes, in ministering deliverance to them, they may be landed a very dirty slap (which is capable of making someone who has not eaten for hours/days to faint). But in the remote villages (example is Akwa Ibom rural areas), the truth is that the “witches” (mostly young children) still have nails hammered into their heads (or any lesser punishment than death) and some have pepper and all sorts of concoctions rubbed into their eyes to rid them of witchcraft even as I write (as we speak).

Reminds me of an African movie “Yaaba”, which I watched some years back. It is a 1989 drama film written, produced, and directed by Idrissa Ouedraogo.

The setting is a small African village in Burkina Faso. The story focuses on Bila, a ten year old boy who befriends an old woman, Sana. Everybody calls her 'Witch' but Bila himself calls her 'Yaaba' (grandmother). The woman (old and wrinkled) was labeled a witch and was driven away from the village. She thus lived outside the village like an outcast. But the curious mind of young Bila got behind the “looks” of Sana to see her heart, beauty and wisdom. When his cousin Nopoko got so sick to death and could not be cured by the village doctors, he ran to Sana. She helped to get a concoction which Nopoko’s mother snuck to give to her daughter. The father will never receive a medication from a “witch” and would rather let his daughter die. The girl got well after using the concoctions for a few days. She and Bila visited Sana and took some food with them. At some point, the villagers saw Bila visiting Sana and thought she might bewitch him. They later set her hut in flames, at which point her heart (which was old, tired and frail) could not resist the pain anymore and she died. Bila witnessed the death and covered her with a wrapper and then ran to tell his mother.

This is still very much the African story and reality. Are we still refusing to evolve beyond the look? Are only poor people designed to be witches? Who will save us from ourselves? Are these hard sayings in themselves?

Well, this is just one of the many reasons why I am resolved to see social justice in my lifetime and help bring it about alongside people who are championing this cause. It’s beyond sentiments and vain talks for me. It’s up close and personal.

Please I need answers to some of the questions in here as it will go a long way in helping me in my enlightenment campaigns for rural dwellers where “religion” has been turned on its head out of ignorance, poverty and self-hate (born out of over-zealousness and simplicity). And also for city people where arrogance in ignorance rules and where religious zealots are becoming more and more powerful and uncontrollable with their emotions, ego, interpretations and sanctions.

Some of my close friends have been worried that I have lost my faith. I appreciate their concerns and I believe it is borne out of love for me. But I haven’t lost my faith in God; I have merely abandoned organized religion to embrace my humanity and that of others. I have merely defined my faith more clearly as LOVE and TRUTH which breaks through any divide and which has set me completely free (of all the fears of knowns and unknowns) and thus I am living totally so that when I eventually die, I would have lived out the essence of who I am and contributed in solving the mighty jig-saw puzzle which this world is by fitting in that tiny space I was designed to fit (no more, no less). I risk being misunderstood and even further excommunicated but it’s ok. I know enough to stick with what I have weighed thoroughly to be true in the present situation and stick with it regardless of negative consequences (is that what persecution truly means?)

I know I’m breaking into someplace that is being very much guarded in our lives and in our society, which some of us have questioned but not brave enough to find answers to, which hurt us so badly but which we have refused to let go of. We have refused to let the embrace of truth shatter all that is preventing true joy, happiness and peace (and I don’t mean shuffering and shmiling)...


I hope you are able to define your own faith better. It’s not a day’s journey, neither is it a year and it is like excellence, you never arrive. It’s years of questioning and seeking and weighing and listening and observing and applying of wisdom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My friend Tolu

My friend Tolu is a 14 yr old girl who hawks plantain most evening on weekdays and weekends. She comes to my compound (which has two block of flats) regularly and I buy plantain from her. Some of the neighbours also buy from her. She is in JSS II. She sometimes hawks with her sister Tayo. Tayo sells tomatoes & pepper. She is in SS1 (commercial class). They sometimes interchange the wares so that Tolu sells tomatoes while Tayo sells the plantain.

Tolu is friendly and has developed the business sense and communication skills required to deal with more matured (and older) customers. She tries to persuade (persuasion skills) to buy even when I don’t want to. I patronize her often so she always come to check if i need some fresh plantain (marketing skills). I have not told her yet that I used to hawk yam tubers for my mum when I was about her age too. I remember the “joy” of selling off all the tubers that I had on my tray and coming home to deliver the money to my mum. She used to be very happy and would thank me for helping her sometimes explaining the necessity. I used to go in the company of my brother or sister too.

While child hawking might be prohibited by law, the poverty in many homes will not deter parents from sending their wards to hawk in order to supplement family earnings and pay for school fees. It is the task of a responsible government to reduce poverty through schemes which encourage honest livelihoods (farming, trading, SMEs (Small & Medium scale Enterprises) in general) and provide free education to children to at least secondary level and subsidize higher education fees. Provision of good infrastructures (road networks, rails, water, and electricity) will help SMEs develop and grow and make living standards among the people better. I suppose this is what government is really about in the first instance. I believe the middle class (which I belong now) has a duty to those below to help empower, enlighten and support them whenever and however possible. I am very much involved in this light within my local community as I understand that there is a big connection between what we experience in the larger society and what we do in our homes and the local communities we belong.

I keep encouraging Tolu to focus on her studies and keep helping her mum. I also warn her to be careful of many male preys out there who rape and abuse young girls by pretending to patronize them. This was not so prevalent in my much younger days. Our next line of discussion will focus on career – what she hopes to study in the higher institution and get her to dream wild and free while giving her the tips necessary to achieve success. I hope her dreams come true..... mine are sure becoming real every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“Corruption Is The Fastest Growing Industry In Nigeria” – Prof. Niyi Osundare (Part I)


Something ...happened in this country in the very first week of this year that we can never forget: Nigeria’s civil society rose with one voice, one vision, one purpose, one agenda fuelled by extraordinary patriotism and irrepressible anger. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan had removed, against all warning and remonstration; against all hint of commonsense and fellow felling, the so-called ‘subsidy’ on the price of petroleum products, thus plunging the proverbially rickety Nigeria economy into a fatal tailspin, and the Nigerian people into needless agony and deprivation. And he sneaked in this cruel decree on the Nigerian people on the very first day of the year, no doubt as a salutary New Year gift from a caring, God-fearing leader.

President Jonathan’s drastic action and his uncharacteristic ‘No going back’ bravado thereafter came as a surprise to many people. Personally, I began to wonder: how could this fledgling president have braved a monster that defied the antics of the tricky Babangida, the murderous Abacha, and the morally indifferent Obasanjo, his illustrious predecessors in office who kicked and caviled at the ‘subsidy’ beast but only succeeded at nibbling at its toes? What gave Jonathan the ruthless courage to drive the IMF sword to the hilt into the Nigerian body? What gave him the confidence that he could decree that punitive price hike and get away with it? I came to the conclusion that the president must have been strengthened in his resolve by his reading of the Nigerian malaise. Afterall, his predecessors in power as well as all public functionaries have always treated Nigeria as a lawless fiefdom where public opinion counts for nothing, and Nigerians, the people over whom they rule, as civic orphans without alagbawi (advocate) and olugbeja (defender). “Let’s go ahead with the subsidy removal”, I could hear presidential advisers in their caucus, “we know Nigerians: they will only shout for a few hours and then go back to business as usual. We know Nigerians: they will quickly adjust”.

But in January this year, that mindset and its cynical calculations found their graveyard in Lagos, in Abuja, in Kano, in Kaduna, in Ilorin, in Ibadan, in Ado Ekiti. To protest the price hike, a coalition of Civil Society groups and the Nigerian Labour Congress called out a strike that shut down the country for a whole week, finally exacting a 33% climbdown in the decreed price. That reduction may look small, but the pressure and organization that brought it about, and even more important, the consciousness and will power generated by it, total up to an impressive chapter in the annals of Nigeria’s civil society organization. For, what I saw at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park which served as the epicenter of the struggle, was not just the demonstration of anger and enactment of protest; it was the platform of possibilities, of rising screams awaiting distillation into a unified voice; of a people sick and tired of their dehumanization; a people ready to throw off their yoke and demolish the sickening notoriety of Nigeria as ‘big for nothing’ country; masses saying to their rulers “Behold, we are PEOPLE/HUMAN; we demand to be treated as such!” It was a people who saw CORRUPTION, not oil subsidy, as the source of the country’s woes and bane of its people’s welfare.

“Corruption Is The Fastest Growing Industry In Nigeria” – Prof. Niyi Osundare (Part II)

(For the beginning part of this speech, see part I of the post)


But things have not always been this bad, this dismal. Nigerians have not always lived in the present kind of moral desert. Time there was when we knew the difference between wrong and right, when shame coupled with remorse was the dreaded consequence of wrongdoing. Let me share with you a story I heard from my father, a story which illustrates the astonishing difference between the moral order of those days and the degenerate laxity of the so-called postcolonial era.

As this story goes, a young man in another part of town was beginning to give everyone around him a cause to worry. Already well into his thirties, he had no job; he hated farming, the major occupation at that time because it was hard and dirty. He was apprenticed to one or two trades, but he never waited long enough to complete his training in any of them. The extended family then called him and asked what exactly he would like to do for a living. He said the business of buying and selling was his prime choice, the one he dreamt about all the time, the one that would bring him the fortune and freedom he needed. And he insisted on doing this in some big and faraway town where his need to make profits would not be compromised by family obligations. His family taxed its members, raked together a tidy sum for him and sent him off with all their good wishes.      

Monday, July 9, 2012

Inferiority or Superiority Complex??

I’d like to start this blog post by saying thank you for coming by each time and making positive contributions to engender thoughts (on this blog and on my fb timeline) and to help pave way for the much desired change we all seek for our world particularly as it concerns black people and particularly a certain species around the Niger area.

I hope you had a refreshing weekend as I did. I have not been able to write in a while due to work activities and family responsibilities but I managed to shake off the lethargy and here it goes:

Inferiority complex is a feeling of inadequacy compared with another person or group of people. According to Wikipedia,
"An inferiority complex, often used to mean low self-esteem, is a feeling of intense insecurity, inferiority or of not measuring up. An inferiority complex can be seen in the negative or "useless" reactions to problems in life. These reactions are useless because they do not solve the problem at hand, but only serve to guard one's self-esteem by avoiding the task or by placing the blame for the failure outside of the individual's control."

Superiority complex on the other hand is a feeling of exaggerated importance/esteem by an individual.

Nigeria being my case study, I have observed that complex underlie some of our problems as a people. Consider our history, the colour of our skin and infact the race (black) have been subjected to discriminations of all sorts. Many of our ancestors were made to feel inadequate, less, unworthy, disadvantaged. This complex was thus passed on down the lineage save for some who refused to accept other people’s definition of who they were as humans. Many symptoms of inferiority complex involves being unable to air one’s view when in the presence of another person especially one with “white skin” (age, intelligence, skill, notwithstanding). This same “black” individual may then afterwards over exaggerate his/her sense of self in dealing with another black person who is younger in age or rank. This is usually done as an attempt to conceal the inferiority complex which the person suffers from.

In Nigeria, you will find people who cannot adequately provide for their own basic needs but who will spend any amount of money they manage to lay hands on to purchase “designer”labels. Some others must buy a particular model of car even if they can’t really afford it. Subjecting oneself to the pressure of society is usually a hidden form of complex.

Complex (inferiority or superiority) is a very deep psychological condition which can affect a person’s social, marital emotional, and work life. Within the Nigerian society, many men feel this complex when they get a female boss because they have been consciously taught to think (and believe) that the female gender is inferior and weak compared to the male. This is usually with no resort to any meaningful basis of comparison such as intelligence, exposure, education, acumen, skills, etc. This can also play out when you find people of wealthy background and those from poor homes. The tendency is for the folks from the wealthy homes to feel superior to the other groups with no consideration for any other factor but for the difference in financial status.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Otedola says "God bless you" to Farouk in the 2nd Part of the released audio recording

Otedola says "God bless you" to Farouk and calls him brother in the 2nd Part of the released audio recording. Listen to it..

AUDIO: The $3 million conversation between Farouk Lawan and Femi

Can God's blessing rest on crooks? Or can blessings be proclaimed from the mouths of crooks?? Let's learn and be wise folks. There is nothing hidden which won't be revealed...eventually.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


By Abayomi Ibitomi

It is unfortunate to hear some “educated” folks calling for the return of the colonial “massas” to come back and rule them again simply because the black colonialists they parade as their rulers have taken the plundering of their resources to an abysmal level. Who has bewitched yee Africans? Isn’t this like a rape victim praying for the return of a less vicious rapist instead of saying an emphatic NO to any form of rape? When are we going to get it in Africa that the current rapists are only acting out the script written for them by the foreign rapists with their loots in foreign accounts as payment for a job well executed?

After balkanizing once prosperous African nations and kingdoms into artificial boundaries and contraptions without the input of a single African at the infamous Berlin conference, and sharing African ethnic nationalities amongst themselves like commodities, why won’t we continue to produce puppetic rulers who will keep working against the interest of their own people in Africa?Are these not the same white colonialists who strategically planted political configurations which makes it difficult for each ethnic nationality to connect with its cultural roots and heritage like the wise Asians have done?

Isn’t culture the greatest unifying, bonding, and rallying point of a race? Apart from the bonding angle, it has also been established that culture is the greatest source of creativity, innovation, and ideas-generating inspiration of a race. The Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Malaysians et al have demonstrated to the world how tapping into the cultural cosmos could bring out the creativity of a race. The role of cultural assimilation in the advancement of a race can never be overemphasized. It is only a simpleton who will fail to see the effect of cultural assimilation in the success of Asian brands like Toyota, Honda, LG, Samsung, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kia et al, while Africa has continued to export brands like starvation,HIV,poverty,crime,corruption,malaria,fraud,miracle,prayers,signs and wonders ati bee bee lo to the rest of the world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prof. Ayittey describes Nigerians as broken and battered

A top Ghanaian economist, Professor George Ayittey, has stated that decades of misrule and a continuing government dysfunction have combined to transform Nigerians from resilient and dynamic people into vulnerable people.

In the past, according to Prof Ayittey, Nigerians were “bustling with energy, dynamism and entrepreneurship”, but a perpetual leadership crisis had transformed them into “broken spirits and battered souls” trapped in cocoons of fear, mistrust and despair.
“Decades of reckless misrule and total government dysfunction have corroded the fabric of Nigerian character and society.
“When trapped in such a mess or maze, it is difficult to see the way out”, he said.
Prof Ayittey made this known on twitter last night (June 26, 2012 ) in response to some criticism directed at him by some aggrieved Nigerians.

The US based economist had criticised the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), describing him as a joke and a mediocre President, following his (GEJ’s) interaction with the Nigerian media last Sunday.

Prof Ayittey had described GEJ’s performance during the interaction as abysmal, and chastised him for not showing remorse despite his failure to resolve the Boko Haram crisis.
Mr Ayittey had also lambasted GEJ for “impatiently” indicating that he would not declare his assets.
He had ended his observation with a call on Nigerians to rid themselves of GEJ as soon as possible.
But the criticisms did not down well with some Nigerians, who took to twitter to criticise the Prof and urge him to focus on Ghana’s own problems.
In a calm and measured response, however, Prof Ayittey called on Nigerians to look beyond tribe and religion in analysing socio-policio-economic issues.
He said his criticism of GEJ aimed at helping the Nigeria identify its flaws, and exposing the Nigerian people to new or alternative perspectives.
he Economist underscored the need for Nigerians to be amenable to criticisms and new ideas, adding that outsiders were sometimes in a better position to offer criticism or advice.

Prof Ayittey went on to debunk assertions that he was seeking political office in the country.
“I have no political axe to grind in Nigeria. I cannot even be president of Nigeria. In fact, I am not interested in the presidency of any African country”, he emphasised.
He also conceded that it was inappropriate on his part to criticise GEJ without offering solutions to the problems he identified.
He therefore promised to do an article to be titled Making Nigeria Work Again, which he said would be available soon.
rofessor Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist, author, president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC, professor at American University, and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Read the entire tweet posted on June 26, 2012 below”:
“To my Nigerian followers. I appreciate all your wonderful comments, including the negative ones, regarding my write-up on GEJ. It will be impossible to respond to all individually; hence, this generic response.
I always distinguish between African leaders/governments and the PEOPLE. Chinua Achebe said it best in his book, The Trouble With Nigeria. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian character, culture or water. The problem lies purely and squarely with the leadership.

I have always admired Nigerians in the past — resilient people, bustling with energy, dynamism and entrepreneurship. You will still find these admirable traits in some spots such as Onitsha Market. But the Nigerians of today are of a different stock – broken spirits, battered souls and trapped in cocoons of fear, mistrust and despair. Decades of reckless misrule and total government dysfunction have corroded the fabric of Nigerian character and society. When trapped in such a mess or maze, it is difficult to see the way out. When you engage a Nigerian in a conversation, the first thing s/he wants to know is which tribe or religion do you belong to? It never used to be like this.

The Ashanti have a proverb which says, “The one cutting a path through the bush does not see if it is crooked or not. Only those who stand afar can determine this.” What I write about Nigeria comes from this perspective. I am not Yoruba, Ndigbo or Hausa. I have no political axe to grind in Nigeria. I cannot even be president of Nigeria. In fact, I am not interested in the presidency of any African country. I call it the way I see it without fear or favor. The advantage and the service that I provide to the people of Nigeria is that I can say a lot of things which they are afraid to say. That doesn’t mean everything I say about Nigeria is true but at least it exposes the people to new or alternative perspectives.

However, it is not enough to say that President Goodluck Jonathan is a joke without pointing out the way forward, which is what I drilled into my students. Accordingly, I am writing another piece, Making Nigeria Work Again, which I will tweet in a couple of days.”

Professor Ayittey holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Ghana, Legon, an M.A. from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba. He has taught at Wayne State College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He held a National Fellowship at the Hoover Institution in 1988-89, and then joined The Heritage Foundation as a Bradley Resident Scholar. He founded The Free Africa Foundation in 1993, to serve as a catalyst for reform in Africa. In 2008 Dr. Ayittey was listed by Foreign Policy as one of the “Top 100 Public
Intellectuals” who “are shaping the tenor of our time”. He lives in Lorton, Virginia.

Culled from

Ghanaian Professor Advises Nigerians "Rid yourself of President Jonathan ASAP"

One of the world’s foremost economists, Professor George Ayittey has lashed out at the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), describing him as “a joke” and a mediocre President after his (GEJ’s) encounter with the media on Sunday, the 24th of June 2012.

According to Professor Ayittey, Nigeria “deserves a better leader”, judging by GEJ’s poor, almost unfortunate responses to some of the questions posed to him by the Nigerian media last night.
The Professor indicated that GEJ’s refusal to declare his assets and his failure to tackle the Boko Haram crisis suggest that he is of an unsound mind.

He therefore called on Nigerians to rid themselves of GEJ as soon as possible.
He said: “Nigerians should not put up with such mediocrity and should mount a RECALL GEJ campaign. They should check Chapter VI of their Constitution. See Sections 143 and 144 about removing the President and Vice-President from office other than through elections”.
“137; 1c: “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if under the law in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind.”

Professor Ayittey, a Ghanaian economist, author, president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC, professor at American University, and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, made this known on twitter this morning.
Read the entire tweet below:
Professor George Ayittey

“Look, this GEJ guy is a joke – a meretricious mediocrity. Nigerians deserve a better leader. Fancy his statements and responses to questions in a media chat on June 24, 2012:

•  Borno visit: He has not visited Borno state, the center of Boko Haram attacks, because the airport there was not functional at the time he planned to visit. “And we did not want to land somewhere and fly in to Maiduguri with a helicopter for obvious reasons.”

[Why is the airport not functioning? Why hasn’t it been fixed? And are there no ROADS into Borno State?] Questions!

• Asked why he had not declared his assets, Mr. Jonathan replied in an impatient tone, stating “I don’t give a damn” about declaration of assets. He related that he had gone to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to caution “that we should not play to the hands of some people [by openly declaring their assets].” Mr. Jonathan added, “That is a matter of principle and I am not going to declare. It is not the president declaring his asset that will end Boko Haram.”
• The president said it’s a matter of principle and whether he is criticised from “head to toe” he will not declare his assets. “It is not right,” he said. “I didn’t want even want to declare my assets as VP” but was forced by the then president, Umara Musa Yar’Adua. He said asset declaration is “not the right thing to do.”

[Damn it, it is a constitutional requirement to declare your assets, Mr. President. See Chapter VI, Part 1, Section 140 of Nigeria’s Constitution: “Declaration of assets and liabilities, oaths of President.” And what the hell has Boko Haram got to do with declaration of assets?]

Agriculture: The president said his government is revolutionizing agriculture in Nigeria.”We are giving cotton seeds free in the North” he said.
[This is the most crass definition of an “agricultural revolution” – by providing free seeds.]

Transport: The President said the government is doing very well in railway construction. “You may not know, but we are working,” he said. He added that his government has made a “significant progress” in railway construction. “You should commend us,” he adds.

[What “significant progress” has been made in railway construction? How many Nigerians are working on railway construction with the contract given to Chinese firms?]

UNILAG name change: The president said what he did, in terms of law, was correct. You change the name first, then send the bill to the National Assembly later, he argues. “What we did, was the normal procedure,” he said.

[No, Mr. Presient, you had it backward. Before you change the name of University of Lagos (UNILAG), you consult with the university and the student body, which you did NOT do.]

• Crude Oil Theft: “The stealing of crude oil is a Nigerian phenomenon,” the president said. He adds that it has gone cancerous. “We will stop it, but it is like allowing a cancerous cell to grow into a major tumor.”
[Mr. President, theft of crude oil is a CRIME, not a “Nigerian phenomenon or a disease afflicting Nigerians. Describing it that way means you are CLUELESS about how to solve it.]

Nigerians should not put up with such mediocrity and should mount a RECALL GEJ campaign.
They should check Chapter VI of their Constitution. See Sections 143 and 144 about removing the President and Vice-President from office other than through elections.

137; 1c: “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if under the law in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind.” Link:

Professor Ayittey holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Ghana, Legon, an M.A. from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba. He has taught at Wayne State College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
He held a National Fellowship at the Hoover Institution in 1988-89, and then joined The Heritage Foundation as a Bradley Resident Scholar.

Professor Ayittey

He founded The Free Africa Foundation in 1993, to serve as a catalyst for reform in Africa.
In 2008 Dr. Ayittey was listed by Foreign Policy as one of the “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” who “are shaping the tenor of our time”. He lives in Lorton, Virginia.

Culled from

Friday, June 8, 2012

Missing Children: Please help be on the look out for these 3 kidnapped kids

Please help broadcast (and keep on doing that), the children have not been found and no ransom demand has been made. Their mum has collapsed and is in intensive care as we speak,please help find her 3 children.
The 3 boys on this page (Chinemerem 5yrs,Okechukwu 4yrs and Nzube 2yrs) are missing. Their driver by name GODWIN picked them up from their school ABC ACADEMY Utako Abuja around 3:30pm yesterday in a new TOYOTA AVENSIS metalic colour (without plate number) and disappeared with them. They have not been found. Anybody that has seen or heard anything about their whereabout should report to the nearest police station. Please paste this picture on your dp and send 2 all your contacts even on Facebook and Twitter. Help save their lives. Thank you.

                   Godwin Msughter Tikaa, the driver who allegedly kidnapped the kids
The three boys and their parents

PS: The school confirmed they saw the driver pick the children


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prof Wole Soyinka speaks concerning UNILAG name change

Prof. Wole Soyinka speaks concerning the change of name of UNILAG to Moshood Abiola University by President Goodluck Jonathan on Democracy Day (May 29th 2012)

"This is one gift horse which, contrary to traditional saying, must be inspected thoroughly in the mouth.
Primary from all of us must be a plea to the MKO Abiola family not to misconstrue the protests against the naming of the University of Lagos after their heroic patriarch. Issues must be separated and understood in their appropriate contexts. The family will acknowledge that, among the loudest opposing voices to Jonathan’s gift horse, are those who have clamoured tirelessly that MKO Abiola, the Nigerian nation’s president-elect, be honoured nationally, and in a befitting manner.
Next is my confession to considerable shock that President Goodluck Jonathan did not even think it fit to consult or inform the administrators of the university, including Council and Senate, of his intention to re-name their university for any reason, however laudable. This arbitrariness, this act of disrespect, was a barely tolerated aberration of military governance. It is totally deplorable in what is supposed to be a civilian order.
After that comes the bad-mouthing of MKO Abiola and the Nigerian electorate by President Jonathan who referred to MKO as the “presumed winner” of a historic election. While applauding the president for finally taking the bull by the horn and rendering honour unto whom honour is due, the particularities of this gesture have made it dubious, suspect, and tainted. You do not honour someone while detracting from his or her record of achievement. MKO Abiola was not a presumed winner, but the President-elect of a nation, and thus universally acknowledged.
It is sad, very sad, that after his predecessor who, for eight full years of presidency, could not even bear to utter the name of a man who made his own incumbency possible, along comes someone who takes back with the left hand what the right has offered. However, there is hope. Legalists have claimed that there is a legal flaw to the entire process. The university, solidly backed by other tertiary institutions nation-wide, should immediately proceed to the courts of law and demand a ‘stay of execution’. That should give President Jonathan time to re-consider and perhaps shift his focus to the nation’s capital for institutions begging for rituals of re-naming. After all, it is on record that the House of Assembly did once resolve that the Abuja stadium be named after the man already bestowed the unique title of “Pillar of African Sports”. He deserved that, and a lot more. What he did not deserve is to be, albeit posthumously, the centre of a fully avoidable acrimony, one that has now resulted in the shutting down one of the institutions of learning to whose cause, the cause of learning, President-elect MKO Abiola also made unparalleled private contributions.
Let me end by stressing that my position remains the same as it was when the University of Ife was re-named Obafemi Awolowo University. I deplored it at the time, deplore it till today, have never come to terms with it, and still hope that some day in the not too distant future, that crime against the culture of institutional autonomy will be rectified. Let us not compound the aberrations of the past with provocations in an era that should propel us towards a belated new Age of Enlightenment."
Culled from Premium Times