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.