“REPARATIONS: What Nigeria Owes the Tortoise” – by Prof Pius Adesanmi #SNGLecture

Published:13 Nov, 2012

“REPARATIONS: What Nigeria Owes the Tortoise” – by Prof Pius Adesanmi #SNGLecture

(PART ONE)

Protocols!

My hosts, Pastor Tunde Bakare, esteemed convener of the SNG, and Mr. Yinka Odumakin, irrepressible spokesman of the group, must be used to thankless jobs by now. After all, they were both at the forefront of a recent epic struggle to restore constitutional order in this country by liberating a self-declared formerly shoeless compatriot from the chains of uxorial fealty to the wife of his boss.

The woman in question had held us all to ransom, running a ghost presidency, cabalized (apologies to my bosom friend, Patrick Obahiagbon) all the way from Saudi Arabia. As you all know, the Save Nigeria Group was at the forefront of that patriotic struggle. No sooner had the Beneficiary-in-Chief of the said struggle been liberated and helped to his rightful constitutional station in Aso Rock than he assumed the role of the nine ungrateful lepers who forgot to return and give thanks to their benefactor in the Bible.

But Nigeria’s own incarnation of the nine ungrateful lepers does more than just walk away from the scene of his blessing. He soon surrounds himself with the usual suspects, always the worst and perpetually recycled characters in our polity, who hastened to convince him to spit on the same people on whose backs he rode to constitutional validity. Down the road, when the same people rose up in response to another historical imperative of struggle, he had been sufficiently tutored in the art of placing a knife on the rope of the people’s legitimate struggle. Thus, in one fell swoop, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Yinka Odumakin, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Joe Okei-Odumakin, and all the patriots who tirelessly conscientized our people in Lagos and the rest of the country to the task at hand were contemptuously dismissed as mobilizers of a motley crowd of sufferheads bribed with food, bottled water, and comedy.

You must understand therefore why I started by saying that my hosts here today, Pastor Tunde Bakare and Mr. Yinka Odumakin, must be used to thankless jobs. Indeed, so used are these gentlemen to the thankless job of patriotic nation building, so inured are they to the insults and sorrows of the terrain, that they may not even find anything amiss if I went straight to the heart of this lecture without first thanking them for the extraordinary honour and privilege they have accorded me by taking the baton of the distinguished SNG lecture series from Professor Niyi Osundare, Africa’s most decorated poet, one of my immediate mentors in the business of thinking and writing Africa, and handing it over to me. By inviting me to deliver this lecture after my mentor’s passage on this same podium a few months ago, SNG has saddled me with a near-impossible act to follow. What makes my task bearable is the redemptive rite of passage known in my culture as iba!

To Niyi Osundare who was here before me – iba!

To Pastor Tunde Bakare and Mr. Yinka Odumakin who invited me today – iba!

To Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, Chairperson of this gathering – iba!

To you whose ears are here in this hall to drink my words – iba!

 

I pray you,

Unbind me!

Make my young mouth harbor the elder’s tongue

On which the kolanut blossoms to maturity

Grant me, I pray, the wisdom to render unto the Tortoise

That which belongs to Ijapa

 

Now that I have poured cold water in front of me, may my feet be rewarded with the kiss of cool and soothing earth as I set forth in this lecture! Pastor Bakare, Mrs Kuye, audience, have I earned the right to proceed with this lecture? Thank you. Nigeria’s betrayal of a certain Caesarian covenant with the Tortoise is at the root of every problem that has made responsible nationhood and statehood a mirage since October 1, 1960. If you are in this hall and you are above the age of forty, then you belong in a generation of Nigerians raised on a diet of folktales and other forms of traditional pedagogy. If you are not an “ara oke” like me and you grew up in the city, you may not have memories of returning from the farm with your grandmother and waiting patiently for storytelling sessions after dinner. However, you probably still got your own dosage of folktales from NTA’s Tales by Moonlight.

Growing up in Isanlu, my hometown in Yagba East LGA, Kogi state, I got my own stories principally from my mom and my grand aunty. We call my grand aunty Mama Isanlu. She is still alive and kicking well into her nineties. Tales by Moonlight on television was just jara, an additional icing on the cake whenever we were able to successfully rotate the antenna of my father’s black and white TV, suspended on a long steel rod outside, in the right direction for reception of transmission signals from Lagos. Mama Isanlu’s stories were the real deal. I particularly loved her animal tales. Animal tales are a sub-genre of folktales. There is usually a bad guy, a trickster figure, whose adventures and escapades kept us awake long beyond the telling of the stories. In the Yoruba tradition, that trickster figure is Ijapa, the tortoise, often trying to outsmart everybody, including his own wife, Yannibo.

This is where the problem begins. You see, the Yoruba corpus of folktales in which Ijapa operates as a trickster figure presents a worldview – what German philosophers like Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel call Weltanschauung – rooted in the twin ideas of the collective good and the commonweal. If we consider that the most basic philosophical definition of the commonweal is the idea of the welfare of the public, then we will understand why “imo ti ara eni nikan”, which we shall translate clumsily as selfishness because the English language is inadequate, is one of the most serious sins and character flaws imaginable in the worldview to which Ijapa belongs. The rounded personhood concept of omoluabi, which I explored fully in a public lecture in Detroit last year, is one of the cultural matrices of that worldview and nobody who undermines the collective good can be deemed a proper omoluabi. Indeed, if the tragedians of ancient Greece were working with the folktale character known as Ijapa, selfishness, the sort which constantly seeks to undermine the collective good, would be his hubris, his fatal flaw.

So engrained is this foible, selfishness, in the persona of Ijapa that even his own wife is never spared. Thus, after years of childlessness, Yannibo impresses it upon her husband to seek help from a babalawo. The babalawo prepares a delicious “aseje” – porridge – which Ijapa is instructed to take back home to his wife. The instructions were strict and severe. Only your wife may eat this “aseje”. But Ijapa won’t be Tortoise if he didn’t err on the side of selfishness. Oh, the porridge was delicious! Oh, the aroma wafted into his nostrils! Oh, how he salivated until the urge became too irresistible. He settled down under a tree and ravenously consumed that which was meant to help his wife get pregnant. And his belly began to swell. And swell. And swell. Shamefacedly, Ijapa returns to the babalawo, singing a song I am sure most of you know very well. Those of you who do not know the song surely have heard the kegite version of it made very popular by Tony One Week in his gyration album. Pardon my poor singing talent. I don’t have the gifts of Tonto Dikeh in the singing department but here we go:

Babalawo mo wa bebe
Alugbinrin
Ogun to se fun mi lere kan
Alugbinrin
Oni nma ma fowo kenu
Alugbinrin
Oni nma ma fese kenu
Alugbinrin
Mo fowo kan obe mo fi kenu
Alugbinrin
Mo boju wo kun, o ri gbendu
Alugbinrin.
Babalawo Mo wa bebe, Alugbinrin…

As it goes for Mrs. Tortoise, so does it go for the rest of the community. They are also victims of Ijapa’s selfish wiles. In a society organized for the collective good, nothing tests the solidity of the social welfare system than famine. Therefore, during a great famine that threatened to wipe out all the animals in Ijapa’s village, the villagers discovered a coconut tree that was still yielding bountifully. In order that this life-sustaining bounty might go round, it was decreed that each villager was entitled to one coconut per day. At your allotted time, you went to the coconut tree and intoned a song which caused a single coconut to fall from the tree and drop directly on your back. Having the coconut drop on your back, I suppose, was deterrence against the temptation of greed.

Mr Tortoise gets to the tree at his appointed time on the first day and sings the magic song for his share of one coconut for the day. Your chorus, this time is “oturugbe”:

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Okan ba ja lu mi inu mi a dun, ori mo so

Oturugbe

One coconut drops on his back. Another day, another time. But, wait a minute, says Mr Tortoise to himself, what happens if I ask for two coconuts instead of one? I’m all alone by myself. Who is here to announce to the other villagers that I took more than my fair share of this communal property? If the other villagers are all mumu and they come here each day for one paltry coconut, what’s my own wahala? Ijapa, why you dey dull yourself like this? Shine your eyes now. Let me try my luck and see if this tree will give me two coconuts jare. So, our friend listens to the voices in his own head and sings:

Ori mo so

oturugbe

Ori mo so

oturugbe

Eji ba ja lu mi inu mi a dun, ori mo so

oturugbe

To his amazement, two coconuts drop on his back! He went home dancing and singing maga don pay! Another time, he asked for tree coconuts to drop on his back. Then four. Then five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Finally, he’d had enough of the daily trips to the tree. The voices invade his head again. What if I asked everything to kuku drop on me? I could take the entire load of coconuts home and hoard it, abi? When the storm clams down, I could even begin to sell some to trusted villagers at an exorbitant price and make a killing. So, to the tree he went and sang:

Ori mo so –

oturugbe

Ori mo so –

oturugbe

Gbogbo re ba ja lu mi inu mi a dun, ori mo so

oturugbe

I’m sure you all know the end of this story. A mountain of coconuts came crashing down on Ijapa, crushing his shell and causing him grievous bodily harm. Alas, as soon as Ijapa recovers from this near death experience with coconuts – perhaps the other animals took pity on him and rushed him to a German hospital for treatment! – he was onto his next prank, this time to cheat all the birds of the air who had been invited for a feast in heaven. Ijapa convinced each bird to donate a feather to him in order to be able to fly along with them to the party in heaven. The Nigerian practice of “mo gbo mo ya” was also trendy in the animal kingdom of Ijapa’s era.

As the animals got ready for the trip, Ijapa, the most cosmopolitan among the animals because of his wide travels, told everyone to take a new name, as was the norm in civilized climes. Naturally, Ijapa adopted the name, Mr. Everybody. Off they went to heaven. The hosts were generous. There was plenty to eat and drink. Oh, the hosts also announced that the feast was for everybody! Ijapa was of course quick to remind his fellow guests who everybody was. At the end of the day, the hungry and, therefore, very angry birds, took their feathers from Ijapa, flew back to earth, and abandoned him to his fate in heaven. If you want to know what subsequently happened to Ijapa, get Ambassador Abass Akande Obesere omo Rapala’s album, “Diplomacy”.

One crucial dimension to these animal tales in the Yoruba corpus is their didactic mandate. The lessons which these stories teach wear a severe warning label: do not behave like the trickster figure. Our case in point, Ijapa, takes intellectual ownership of his exploits extremely seriously. We, his human audience, are not in any way allowed to imitate Ijapa’s foibles. Even in the case of mixed tales, where the human and the animal worlds meet and their temporalities overlap, the human characters in those tales must heed the same warnings as those of us who are external to the narrative process. Those of you who have read D.O. Fagunwa, Amos Tutuola, and their London-based literary offspring, Ben Okri, will readily understand what happens to man when he violates the fundamental condition for dealing with the animals’ actions in the tales. That condition, the covenant we must all enter into with the trickster figure, is to avoid plagiarizing his actions.

When Ijapa offers his picaresque adventures in folktales as a pedagogical canvass of behaviors that the individual must avoid, we know that those deviant behaviors almost always come down to two things. The first is greed, especially that form of greed which privileges consumption above all other areas of human experience, transforming the subject into an unthinking slave of Opapala, the Yoruba deity of hunger, the god of food, gourmandizing, and untrammeled Sybaritism. Hence, Ijapa is at his most outrageous, most reprehensible when he elevates his belly above the collective good of society. In story after story, his punishment for the sin of excessive greed of consumption is swift. Often, he barely escapes with his life to return in the next story to enact another scenario of what we call wobia (excessive consumption at the expense of others). The second behavior to which the trickster figure in the folktales holds an exclusive copyright and which we are consequently not supposed to plagiarize is even deadlier than the first sin. It is individualism. Individualism is the father of selfishness and the mother of nombrilism. It is what enables the will to undermine the commonweal, to harm the collective good.

It should be clear from the foregoing that Ijapa in these folktales comes from an ethno-national imaginary in which resides a specific welfarist vision of society and her institutions. The commonweal is the base of this vision. All the rules of social organization, all the institutions of society, including monarchy, have meaning insofar as they are able to guarantee the collective good and the commonweal. It is in fact safe to say that the commonweal is sacred. Ijapa’s sin during the party in heaven is worse than selfishness. By claiming to be Mr. Everybody, he was violating one of the most sacred aspects of his culture. The commonweal, the collective, the “us” is so important that even his language does not permit synecdoche in that area. When it comes to the sanctity of the collective, no part can represent or claim to be the whole. Ijapa’s language makes this clear in the proverb: “enikan ki je awa de”. A single person does not announce his presence in the plural by shouting: “here we are”!

In essence, you must always be conscious of your responsibility to the collective. For instance, there is a reason why that river or that stream is called “odo ilu” (communal river). Institutions and codes of behavior exist to guarantee equal and fair access to this river, especially in the dry season. To take more than your fair share of this water is a serious ethical breach, it is deviance of the sort that could give you an “oruko buruku” (bad name) in the community. Even the protocols of fetching water from that stream devolve from a deep-seated social consciousness, a certain respect for the collective good. If you are the first to reach the stream, you do not just jump in and begin to cast your keregbe (gourd) or water pot all over the place. You have spent your entire life being socialized into responsible membership of the community with stories of Ijapa. Your traditional education emphasized the mandate not to be like Ijapa. You know that you do not want to stir the water in the river so vigorously as to make the water turn all brown with disturbed mud and particles from the riverbed, making it impossible for other members of the community to fetch water when they arrive.

In other words, you don’t want to “ru omi odo”. Above all, you also don’t want to start suddenly thinking of creative ways to divert the entire river – or 90% of it – for your own private use. That would be breaking the covenant with Ijapa not to plagiarize him. That would be violating all the life lessons you were taught about how to avoid behaving like Ijapa. Do you want me to go on? Okay, here is part two.

 

(PART TWO)

It is no secret that we love foreign things in Nigeria. Our encounter with modernity, especially the version of it associated with the material trajectory of Western Europe after the Enlightenment and the rise of the culture of late capitalism in the United States after the World Wars, has been a history of uncreative aping of Western culture, tastes, and modes of being.

Alas, our knowledge systems are not spared, hence we seek Western paradigms and explanations for things rooted in our own history, culture, and environment. Such is the case with a great deal of the literature on what most Nigerians agree is the country’s most successful postcolonial experience of statehood in terms of the management of resources and human capital. This experience, which has entered the history books as one of Africa’s most successful cases of the harnessing of resources for the betterment of the collective, is none other than the political polity known as the Western region.

If you explore the social science literature on the Western region and why the man at the centre of it all, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was able to record developmental strides for his region that are still largely unsurpassed in our annals, you will find no shortage of Western-derived explanations for what happened in the Western region. You will encounter every Western theory of statehood, especially theories and models of the modern Welfare state, from its origins in Otto von Bismarck’s Germany to Canada via Scandinavia that Obafemi Awolowo and the bureaucracy he harnessed and led for the betterment of his people were supposed to have mastered. You will even encounter the reflections of a great 19th and early 20th-century German thinker known as Max Weber, whose reflections on the bureaucracy and the legal bases of the Welfare state have led to the emergence of a theoretical construct known as the Weberian state in the social sciences. You will hear that the Western region was a micro-Weberian state at its most successful level of actuation. What you will hardly encounter in the literature on the Western region are studies which trace the origins of this spectacular success to the cultural capital of Chief Awolowo and the energies he mobilized to implement his vision.

It is true that the leader of the Western region was a man of great learning. A polymath whose intellectual depth and erudition are still here with us in his speeches, lectures, and books. Added to his own talent and intellectual capital is the fact his generation of Nigerians is the last generation to have acquired what qualifies to be called great learning. You will understand what I am talking about if your father was roughly in Chief Awolowo’s generation. This is the generation that read the Greeks and the Romans, studied Latin, and spoke Queen’s English, stressing the proper syllables unlike those of us in subsequent generations who stress every syllable. So, it is true that Chief Awolowo had read Weber and many of the great thinkers of modern welfare statehood. However, Max Weber and European philosophers were not what happened in the Western region. What happened was cultural. What happened to and in the Western region was respect for the covenant between man and Ijapa.

Although the free primary education scheme, which was launched on January 17, 1955, has become a leitmotif in narratives of the Western region’s success, we need to dig deeper to account for the philosophical bases of the vision of the man who dared to dream it in the first place. Let us examine for example the core themes of Awolowo’s 1955 budget speech: “Of our total expenditure of £12.45 million not less than 82.6% is devoted to services and projects which directly cater for the health, education, prosperity and general welfare of our people. Of this high percentage, 27.8% goes to education, 10.7% to medical services, 5.4% to agriculture”. The key terms here are health, education, welfare of the people, and agriculture. These are all areas directly related to human development.

However, which humans? That is a logical question because if Squealer was able to perfectly rationalize the fact that all the resources of animal farm were to go towards the health, education, and welfare of the few pigs at the table, the envisioners of the Western region budget could also perfectly have reasoned that human development was synonymous with the welfare and the gastronomic preferments of a chosen and privileged few. So, which humans is a legitimate question. The answer to who Awolowo had in mind as he evolved a carefully-calibrated budget philosophy for the Western region on his assumption of office lies in his famous three principles of budgeting by which he meant the resources of the region would be expended on human development in the areas of health, welfare, and education. The overall goal of this budget philosophy was freedom of the people from ignorance, disease, and want. In Awolowo’s vision, the Western region was going to be the very embodiment of the collective good and the commonweal.

What was being born in this project, the Western region, was a modern, postcolonial political apparatus whose formal institutions, bureaucracy, and modes of functioning devolved from the legacies of British colonialism. However, the ethos and the vision which transformed the project into a vector of generalized human development were not British. That ethos devolved from the cultural bases of the region’s chief envisioner and his greatest asset – his people. I will elaborate on the point about his people presently. Suffice it to say that the persona speaking in Awolowo’s description of the principles that would guide the budgeting process of the Western region and become its humanizing foundation is one grounded in the traditional pedagogy of the tortoise. We have explored how the cultural imaginary which produced Ijapa and his adventures promotes a conception of personhood, omoluabi, defined by a subscription to the superiority of the collective good and the commonweal. The budget of the Western region respected Ijapa’s mandate: do not emulate me. Do not plagiarize my actions. Remember, I am all about my belly and how to get more than my fair share of things meant for all of us. You, on the other hand, are people of the commonwealth.

This is the cultural praxis which informed Obafemi Awolowo’s conception of statecraft and shaped what became the Western region. I am saying, in essence, that we did not hear of the welfare state and the social contract for the first time from jean-Jacques Rousseau, Max Weber, and other Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thinkers of Europe. Our ancestors were already using those philosophies to raise their children and forge ideas of society and social responsibility long before our modern scholars and thinkers dragged these Europeans into the argument.

Something else is often left out in narratives of the Western region. I prefer to frame this second omission in the interrogative mode. Why did Awolowo’s vision and altruism work in the region? To render unto Ijapa what is Ijapa’s is to subscribe to the supremacy of the commonweal by not plagiarizing the trickster figure’s selfish and individualistic proclivities. My submission is that that is exactly what Awolowo did but was this adherence to the collective good the only ingredient of his success? The answer, evidently, is no. For Awolowo’s budget philosophy to be successful, those who were helping him run the vision and examples he was setting in Ibadan across the entire region would have had to be believers in and subscribers to the same ethos of the commonweal. His role was to provide the vision, leadership, sense of purpose, and example but all these would have come to naught if he wasn’t leading a people who subscribed to the same ethos of the collective good. Awolowo’s greatest assets were, therefore, his people and the ethos of the commonweal to which they collectively subscribed at the time.

The success of Awolowo’s lion share budget for education depended on implementers of that budget across the region. If they did not share his ethos, if they decided to behave like Ijapa and steal all the money, if every time they received allocations for education supplies across the region, they burst out singing:

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Gbogbo re ba ja lu mi inu mi a dun ori mo so

Oturugbe

What do you think would have happened to free education? Do you want me to go on still? Nobody is bored to death yet? Okay, here is part three.

 

(PART THREE)

The ethos of the collective and the commonwealth as I have explored it above is not an exclusive preserve of any people in the immediate afterlife of colonialism in Nigeria. The landscape I have been mapping in terms of the cultural values that regulated one’s relationship to society in the period of our national history under discussion must be familiar to everyone, irrespective of your ethno-geographic belonging in Nigeria. I may have tried to explore the foundation of our national civic process during the era of the regions from the purview of my own culture, I am sure you have all followed my train of thought thus far, drawing parallels between the scenarios I have sketched out and what obtained in your own corner of Nigeria. North and south; east and west, Nigeria was once relatively a postcolonial space for ethos of the collective good and the commonweal. This explains why Nigerians of a certain generation look back and wax nostalgic about that era, irrespective of our deadly faultlines of ethnicity and religion.

I am harping on these two concepts – collective good and commonweal – to underscore the point that the physical and material fact of modern statehood, of modern political arrangements, are just as important as the metaphors with which citizens conceptualize such polities at the symbolic level. As strange as this may sound, metaphors of self-fashioning are in fact what give solidity to the political identities we refer to as nation and state. Such metaphors may be foundational, coming from myths and legends passed on across the generations, as is quite often the case here in Africa. A good number of Western thinkers of nation and nationalism also understand the centrality of metaphors and myths to national identity. Ernest Renan understood this in his famous treatise, What is a Nation? Ernest Gellner also understood it in his master opus, Nations and Nationalism. And so did Benedict Anderson in his influential book, Imagined Communities.

By defining a nation as an imagined community, Anderson was stressing the importance of the collective mental image that the people have of their nation and hold dear. That mental image, more rooted in metaphors and myths than in concrete actualities, defines a people. When members of a nation speak about “who we are” or “our values” – you’ll get an overdose of these if you listen to American politicians in an election cycle – they are talking about the time-tested metaphors and myths of self-fashioning to which they collectively subscribe. This is what gives vigour to their peoplehood.

One of the most significant metaphors of American self-fashioning is the concept known across the world as the American dream. Such is the mobilizing power of this metaphor that nobody is indifferent to it – whether we are Americans or not. A visit to the gate of the American Embassy here in Lagos will give you a window into the sub-human indignities that Nigerians endure from rude and insufferably imperious American embassy officials just to get a chance to gain access to that dream. And we know that in the tortured logic of Al-Qaeda, it is better to die through self-immolation than hang around here and deal with the inevitability of the American dream.

So, what do Americans throw into the philosophical cauldron of a concept which represents the heart and soul of their nationhood? They throw into it their freedoms and the institutions which underwrite them; they throw into it their self-awareness of being the authors of a system which invests the most in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit; they throw into it the unquenchable optimism of the can do American spirit; they throw into it the idea of the fair shot which guarantees a certain level playing field for the pursuit of happiness; they throw into it their faith in a system which makes it possible to take out a car loan, a mortgage, and the occasional vacation if you work hard; they throw into it their faith that America’s got your back, always ready to do right by you.

These metaphors of national self-fashioning can mobilize even more effectively than the material manifestations of nationhood and statehood. The American flag as a concrete symbol is important but what drives those boys in Afghanistan is their belief in the need to lay down their lives for abstract notions such as “our values”, “our way of life”, “who we are”, in short, the American dream. They are defending not the American flag but the American dream. Where the American boasts the American dream, the French man responds with “impossible n’est pas français”. Impossible is not French. Time and space will not permit me to fully explore what this self-fashioning does for French nationhood so let me just quip that it does for the French what the American dream does for the American.

Like the Americans and the French, the metaphors of the commonweal and the collective good once defined us as Nigerians building the country, building nationhood from our different ethno-regional locations. Then we had coups and countercoups. Then we shed blood, a lot of blood. And we lost the regions to our self-inflicted follies and gained a perverse form of federalism via military fiat. And things fell apart. No, I am not talking about the civil war. I am talking about what we lost symbolically in our transition from regionalism to federalism. Do you want me to tell you what we lost? Okay, you must wait for the answer in part four.

 

(PART FOUR)

So we formed a federal nationhood in 1966 – or, to state it more correctly, it was rammed down our throats. As is the case with all beginnings, we had to name the new beast and give it an identity in the province of the symbolic. We had to equip it with foundational myths and metaphors. We had to come up with narratives that could confer on our new project nationhood the capacity to mobilize us as citizens. We had to come up with an identity mythos that would define us for the rest of the world. Remember, nations define their political being-ness at the symbolic level by reaching deep down into the collective soul of the people for the ideals they believe best represent their values. That is the psychic function that the American dream performs for the American people. Closer to us here, in South Africa, that nation rode on the crest of the Mandela mystique and symbolism to give herself the post-Apartheid identity of the rainbow nation.

What did we do when we had to make the mental leap from building the symbolic identity of our regions – as I have tried to show with the Western region – around the ethos of the commonweal to naming and conceptualizing the Federal entity which emerged from our self-inflicted régimes of violence between 1960 and 1966? The choice was to emulate other nations in the act of psychic self-fashioning or self-naming or veer onto other paths that would eventually evolve into something others, down the road, would describe contemptuously as uniquely Nigerian. We could privilege a galvanizing ideal, an aspirational identity. That is the case with the country which decided to construct her identity based on the ideal of dreams and unflinching belief in human potential. Another country says impossible is not French and takes on the world on the basis of that ideal. Yet another country says she is rainbow, the very embodiment of human efflorescence and diversity.

Federal Nigeria responded to all these ideals, all these possibilities, with the base instinct of the belly. We travelled far and wide, looking for metaphors of debauchery to name our federal state. We visited Hedone, the spirit of pleasure and enjoyment among the Greeks, we visited Bacchus, the roman god of wine, and we worshipped at the feet of Opapala the Yoruba god of the belly. Our search for a befitting self-defining metaphor of consumption was far more frenzied than the search of Tutuola’s palmwine drinkard for his wine tapper. Out of these peregrinations came one of the most outrageous acts of self-naming the world had ever seen. We reduced our federal being-ness to a name that an average Nigerian knows better than his own father’s name: national cake!

No matter the culture you come from, we know as Africans that there are consequences to naming. The consequences operate at many levels, ranging from the physical to the psychic, from the affective to the emotional. As the proverb goes, he who hosts an oyinbo man must not be allergic to pet dogs. When you call yourself food, you must be prepared for a psychology framed by and dependent on the registers of consumption. Such registers as gorging, cramming, consuming, devouring, gobbling, gulping, guzzling, stuffing, swallowing, and wolfing food become the symbolic markers of your relationship to a state metaphorically equated with food. Notice the recurrence of these registers in our media whenever affairs pertaining to the Nigerian state are being discussed.

When registers of excessive consumption shape a people’s national psychology, it induces the sort of laziness which prevents the effort needed to envision the production and sustenance of that which is consumed excessively. Thus, successive generations of Nigerian leadership have approached their national cake only from the perspective of how to gorge on it, how to share it wantonly like tomorrow will never come. Nobody comes to that Federal theatre of debauched gorging sparing one second to think about how to bake that cake, where to get the flower and the icing and ensure continuous supply of the material and labour necessary to bake the said cake. No, you approach the Federal table with the mental laziness of one only required to gorge and share that cake according to agreed-upon principles of rotational gorging by the political élite. Hence, the only ideal around which they gather in Abuja is the ideal of the allocation formula. When the metaphor of food digs too deep into the soul of the polity, it begins to condition the social identity of your youth. You begin to foist on your youth a certain predisposition towards a culture of “awoof no dey run belle.”

Perhaps the worst consequence of the national cake approach to our statehood is the atrocious élite psychology it has nurtured over the years. From an élite and a followership who more or less subscribed to the ethos of the collective good and the commonweal during the era of regional governments, we transitioned into a élite of Ijapa-imitators once our travesty of Federalism came into the picture, concentrated itself essentially at the centre, named itself national cake, and made a brood of salivating élite all over the country come rushing to the centre for a piece of that cake.

If you look at our post-regional history, you will easily determine that we have produced at least three generations of leaders whose ethos and philosophy of governance devolve from wantonly plagiarizing the playbook of the Tortoise. Each generation of rulers has been worse than the one immediately preceding it; each generation has been inching closer and closer to a near-perfect imitation of the Tortoise in terms of their approach the proverbial national cake. It is very easy to map and contrast the evolution of social mores under the different national metaphors that have governed Nigeria. When the regional governments defined themselves as the commonweal and the collective good, one leader came up with a budget philosophy rooted in the idea of the welfare of the people. Now that we are governed by the consumption ethos and greed of the Tortoise, one leader budgets about a billion naira for feeding himself and his wife every year. Now, what do you think a leader who allocates a billion naira to gorging on the national cake is doing under the coconut tree? He is singing:

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Ori mo so

Oturugbe

Gbogbo re ba ja lu mi inu mi a dun ori mo so

Oturugbe

Wherever a crooked head goes, a crooked body wobbles along. So, the budget philosophy of the states is no different. Mallam Nasir El Rufai has gotten into a lot of trouble for performing an invaluable but thankless national service of placing a critical gaze on the Tortoise budget philosophy of the Federal and state governments in this country. If you read El Rufai’s budget exposés, all you will see are Federal and state budgeteers struggling to out-Tortoise the Tortoise. The rush to corner all the coconut for oneself like the Tortoise, to be Mr. Everybody and eat all the food and drink all the palmwine like the Tortoise, is what accounts for the mind-boggling figures in which corruption is now denominated in Nigeria. Our state and Federal officials steal only in billions and trillions because whenever that allocation comes from Abuja, all they can see is the coconut tree and all they can hear is the Tortoise asking for all the coconut to be added unto his own inheritance. And the Tortoise-scale looting stretches and stretches until the EFCC begins to forget files, needing to be reminded of old cases as PM News did recently in a report entitled, “Forgotten Cases of Looting”.

 

FINAL PART!

And the patriarch sings: “Ojo to ro s’ewuro, lo ro s’ireke”! The rain falls, sings the patriarch. It falls on sugar cane and bitter leaf. The same rain falls on sugar cane and bitter leaf. Sugar cane takes its own rain and travels the path of sweetness while bitter leaf takes its own share of the same rain and travels the path of bitterness.

Ojo to ro s’ewuro, lo ro s’ireke.

The rain of oil falls on Dubai and falls on Nigeria. The rulers of Dubai use their own share of the rain of oil to send their people on the path of sweetness while their Nigerian counterparts take same rain and condemn their own people to the path of bitterness, lack, and hunger. The difference is that the rulers of Dubai are what the rulers of Nigeria’s regional governments, especially the Western region, used to be: believers in the collective good and the commonweal while the current crop of leaders in Nigeria are the most successful plagiarizers of the playbook of the Tortoise the world has ever known. We are therefore not surprised that they are doing what we knew and predicted they would do to the Ribadu report: set it up for failure from the very start and contrive a crisis along the way to discredit it.

I am saying in essence that Nigeria’s corruption is not even original. I am saying that we have been looting and stealing the intellectual property of the Tortoise. Nigeria’s presidents, past and present, Federal Executive Council members, members of the National Assembly, state governors, and local government chairmen have been robbing the Tortoise blind of his strategies of greed and selfishness since 1999. Nigeria’s unauthorized use of the Tortoise’s playbook is plagiarism. Do not be like me; do not touch my intellectual property; do not copy my ways, the Tortoise warned but we did not listen. We stole his playbook of always trying to take more than his fair share of what is collectively owned and applied it to our so-called national cake. Because we stole his intellectual property, Nigeria owes the Tortoise reparations!

Ojo to ro s’ewuro, lo ro s’ireke.

And the beat goes on. And once a week, the Federal Executive Council meets. And a Minister briefs the press about the outcome of deliberations, once a week. And week in, week out, the briefing never changes for Council Chambers in Aso Rock is for the meeting of Tortoise-wannabes. So, they come out every week reeling out trillions of Naira worth of approved contracts, representing that week’s sharing out of the national cake to friends and cronies. Those contracts will never be monitored, the funds will disappear, and new friends and cronies are already queuing up for next week’s sharing. They share and share and share because the only song they know is that which makes all the coconut fall within their restricted circle of the 1% while the 99% go hungry.

And so we need to change this song if we are to stand any meaningful chance of witnessing change in this country. The “we” here does not include those currently singing the Tortoise’s song in the corridors of gorging. They have no reason to change that melodious tune and I have given up on them when it comes to my vision for a new Nigeria. If Nigeria as is works for you, we do not see you in the Nigeria of tomorrow. Therefore, we, who bear the brunt of their greed and selfishness; we who understand the consequences of the collapse of the commonweal and the collective good, must find a way to change the song. Our new song must be one which encompasses what the owner these lyrics was thinking when he sang:

I no go gree

Make my brother hungry

Make I no talk

I no go gree

Make my brother homeless

Make I no talk.

If 150 million people sing this song and believe in the philosophy which informs it, that their own welfare is inclusive of the welfare of the brother, they will gradually find their way back to the commonweal and to our much-desired national renaissance.

I no go gree

Make my brother hungry

Make I no talk

I no go gree

Make my brother homeless

Make I no talk.

 

I thank you for your time.

 

Prof Pius Adesanmi (Monday 12th November 2012)

Save Nigeria Group State of the Nation Lecture

  • Austin-Paul Igbinovia

    Prof, we shud not delude ourselves 2 tink 150million of us will join in one accord in singing the proposed new song. It won’t happen. As much as I desire a change, I’m not ignorant to think that dis song will ever come. And I will give few from the numerous reasons that will 4ver impede the free flow of a song we wish would change our destiny. 1. Don’t expect the majority of the South South to join us in this song bcos they will cry fowl and say “the only time we hav produce the number 1 citizen since the creation of Nigeria the Yoruba and Hausa want to sideline us. 2. When Yar’adua was missing in action the Hausa did not see anything wrong with it. What they kept saying was “it is our turn” 3. This nation is as divided as the national cake. And our leaders understood this. And they will continue to whip up ethnic and regional sentiment to keep us perpetually divided while they carry on dividing the national cake to the detriment of everyone of us. Our sentiment in this country is our undoing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aderonkebello Aderonke B

    Kudos to Prof Pius Adesanmi, what a great and inspiring speech. The Nigerian state is already a mirage, with each so called “leaders ” emerging to loot the national cake. A time will come when the oil well will grow dry, that which is the ultimate source of greed and I wonder what next is going to be plundered by those greedy so-called leaders.

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President Buhari And The Cost of Running This Government By Kofoworola Ayodeji

The highly industrious Baba Yemi wakes up every morning thinking how he will struggle to feed his wife and children to fulfill their usual 0-1-0 pattern of feeding (no breakfast, there might be lunch, no dinner). Meanwhile, the story is not different for the brilliant Chioma who is begging to have a better higher education so that her dreams of a great future could come true, but there are no funds and ‘connection’. What about the very resourceful...

President Muhammadu Buhari One Month Later: “Sai Change” Or “Sai Patience” By Omonile Olasunkanmi

President Muhammadu Buhari’s days in office so far has been everything short of the fanfare, glitz and glamour with which Nigerians welcomed his emergence as the new commander- in-chief. Buhari’s journey to Aso Rock broke many records which are not unknown to majority of the Nigerian populace. Worth mentioning amongst them are; first opposition candidate to gain more popularity and acceptance than the incumbent, he was the man that led an opposition party from a simple minority,...

Woman Gets $18 Million From Boss After Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

After a bombshell sexual harassment lawsuit that rocked the tabloids, a former Wall Street worker has won a whopping $18 million from her former boss. Hanna Bouveng, 25, from Sweden, sued Benjamin Wey, 43, owner of the New York Global Group, claiming he pressured her into a sexual relationship and retaliated by firing and harassing her after she broke it off. According to Bouveng, Wey, who is married, began pursuing her after...

Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR,  By Nigerian Volunteers To The West African Ebola (ASEOWA) Mission – Appeal for Intervention

Your Excellency, Congratulations on your victory in the March 28th 2015 Presidential Election. You indeed are a success model for every Nigerian or any human being for that matter, toiling everyday to get his due. Your victory proves that self-belief pays, that there is reward for consistency and faith in hard work and democracy. You confirm that once there is resolute commitment and persistence to strategic efforts, success will come. The massive votes you received from...

Buhari Promises Reforms, New Policies To Boost Oil, Gas Income

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday restated his administration’s promise to initiate appropriate reforms and implement policies to boost income from the oil and gas industry. Speaking at separate meetings with delegations from ExxonMobil and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company, President Buhari listed the removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks created by multiple government agencies that currently impede the operations of companies in the oil and gas sector as one of the reforms to be undertaken by his...

Ahmad Salkida Disputes NSA’s Claim Of De-Radicalizing 22 Boko Haram Members

The office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) yesterday told President Muhammadu Buhari, that no fewer than 22 women and girls, recruited as suicide bombers by the Boko Haram sect and another 47 former sect members were now undergoing rehabilitation after voluntarily embracing a de-radicalization programme of the office under the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme. But Ahmad Salkida with twitter Handle @contactsaldika disputes such claims saying you can only de radicalize people you understand their ideologies...

FG Rehabilitates 22 Female Bombers, 47 Dump Boko Haram

The Head of the Countering Violent Extremism Department in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Dr. Fatima Akilu, told President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday that no fewer than 22 women and girls recruited as suicide bombers by members of the Boko Haram sect are now undergoing rehabilitation under the programme. She said the female trained as suicide bombers by the sect were being rehabilitated after voluntarily embracing the agency’s de-radicalisation programme. A statement by...

Chad Military Arrests Top Boko Haram Leader

A Chadian Public Prosecutor, Alghassim Khamis, has said that one of the key Boko Haram leaders, Baana Fanay, who has been coordinating trafficking of weapons in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad was arrested on Sunday in N’Djamena. “Fanay, alias Mahamat Moustapha, was arrested by security forces after a fierce resistance,” Khamis said. He said Fanay, who was arrested with two other terrorists, was responsible for the purchase of weapons and recruitment of fighters for Boko Haram. The...

Queen Bey Dethroned As Forbes Highest Paid Celebrity, Who is Number 1?

Forbes has released their annual list of the highest paid celebrities - and Beyonce has been dethroned! Replacing her as the top earning celebrity for this fiscal year is Floyd Mayweather. The boxer, nicknamed 'Money', earned $300 million...

Terrorism: Court Grants Sen. Ndume Leave To Travel Abroad

An Abuja Federal High Court yesterday granted an application by Sen. Ali Ndume, who is charged with terrorism to enable him travel to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj. Ndume was arraigned after he was implicated by a suspected member of the Boko Haram sect, Ali Konduga, who has since been convicted and sentenced for the offence.? Delivering a short ruling on the Senator’s application, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, ordered the court’s Deputy...

Need To Strengthen Regional Security Cooperation in West Africa: A Non-Negotiable Priority For The Incoming Administration By Fola Aina

The West African sub region has witnessed relative peace and stability over the years. This has also helped the economies within the region to consolidate economic growth and development. While the popular assumption has been that democracy has come to stay in Africa, the case has not necessarily been the same for all the countries in the West African region. Mali, Chad, Guinea Bissau and Niger for instance have been victims of the activities of Islamic extremists...

President Buhari Appoints New Official

Prof. Attahiru Jega on Tuesday bowed out of office as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission. Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, as the acting chairman of INEC. Zakari, the first female to occupy the position albeit in an acting capacity, was until Tuesday, a National Electoral Commissioner at INEC. A statement issued by the Director Communications in the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Haruna...

Osun Government Commences Payment Of Workers Salaries, Slashes Politicians’ Salaries By 50 Percent

Following series of criticism over prolonged non-payment of workers’ salaries in the state, the Osun State government on Tuesday announced that it has commenced payment of salaries, slashing politicians’ salaries by 50 percent. Confirming the news, the Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress in Osun state, Mr. Jacob Adekomi said that Governor Rauf Aregbesola has approved the payment of December, 2014 salaries of workers in the state. The Governor was also said to have approved the payment of 30% outstanding balance...

Senators Will Return From Break To Screen Ministers On One Condition- Saraki

President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Tuesda, has promised that senators presently on break would rush back from their homes to screen ministers any time President Muhammadu Buhari sends his ministerial list to the upper Legislative chambers. According to him, the 8th Senate was prepared to support President Buhari to effect the positive change expected from his administration by Nigerians, just as he also pledged the cooperation of the National Assembly with the executive...

Supreme Court Allows Texas Abortion Clinics to Stay Open

Today, the Supreme Court refused to let Texas enforce an abortion law so restrictive that it would have forced 10 clinics to close across the state. The law, House Bill 2, requires all abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and holds clinics to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. These regulations, which supporters of the bill claim are for the safety of patients, are seen as unnecessarily stringent by many others...

Rihanna Has A Message For Young Guys

At Sunday night's BET Awards, an Armani-clad Rihanna offered some wisdom on the 10-year-old Black-ish cast member. According to Brown's "thank you" tweet, RiRi advised the young star to "be a man, not a heartbreaker!" Rihanna, keeping puppies safe and the young in line. https://twitter.com/mrbabyboogaloo/status/615580799895625728/photo/1 Credit: racked

South Sudan Army Rape, Burn Girls Alive – UN

UN rights reports have said on Tuesday that South Sudan’s army raped then torched girls alive inside their homes during a recent campaign notable for its “new brutality and intensity”. A UN mission in South Sudan said some of the most disturbing allegations focused on the abduction and sexual abuse of women and girls, some of whom were reportedly burnt alive in their dwellings. The UN mission said they have interviewed 115 victims and...

Fresh case of Ebola recorded in Liberia

Liberia has been hit with a fresh case of Ebola. According to the Liberian Deputy Health Minister, Tolbert Nyensuah, a 19 year old man died of the deadly virus. And they are saying it's possible he infected close friends or relatives before he died. "A new case of Ebola has been reported in Margibi County. The person has died and was confirmed positive before death. He has been buried" Nyensuah said Family members of the deceased have been quarantined so...

Petr Cech Sent Death Threats And Labelled ‘A Snake’ By Angry Chelsea Fans Following Arsenal Move

New Arsenal signing Petr Cech may have left Chelsea with a heartfelt letter to the fans, but that has not stopped a small proportion of them sending the goalkeeper death threats and brandishing him a "snake". Cech completed a reported £11m transfer to the Gunners on Monday...

Breaking !!! CBN Extends BVN Registration Exercise

The Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the deadline for the ongoing registration for the Bank Verification number to 31st of October, 2015.

Merge Indebted Arik, Aero, Others To Form National Carrier; Joda Committee Tells Buhari

The Buhari administration may be considering merging all debtor airlines in the country into a national carrier, capable of serving the West and Central African regions, with Nigeria as the regional aviation hub. That is part of the recommendations by the Ahmed Joda transition committee, which submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari about two weeks ago. Six of Nigeria’s leading domestic airlines are currently bogged down by huge debts totalling almost N130 billion, forcing...

President Buhari Probes Military

There is tension in the Armed Forces as President Muhammadu Buhari may have ordered the military hierarchy to account for the number of weapons purchased to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. The President was also said to have ordered the Military High Command to make available records of total amount of money it received from the Federal Government to curb insurgency. Top military sources who spoke with Daily Sun, revealed that these and many...

Petr Cech Joins Arsenal: Key Dates For The Goalkeeper After Chelsea Move – Including Stamford Bridge Return On 19 September

Petr Cech has confirmed his move to Arsenal, moving for a reported £11m. The 33-year-old leaves the Blues after 11 trophy-laden years at the club. As a goodwill gesture, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich allowed Cech to decide his own destination when he left, with PSG also interested. Cech's preference was to stay in...

Lai Mohammed Defends Buhari’s Govt

Pres. Buhari: Tackling insecurity, corruption and restoring Nigeria’s respect Being the text of a media parley hosted by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 Good afternoon gentlemen. I have arranged this interaction to rub minds with you, as always, on the situation of things in our country, top of which are the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari to chart a new path for...

El Rufai, Three Others To Probe How NNPC Blew N3.8tr

How did theNigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spend  N3.8 trillion in three years? This is the puzzle a four-man committee has been asked to resolve. The four “wise men” are: Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna). Oshiomhole yesterday broke the news to State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Jega Bows Out, Hands Over To Ahmed Wali

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Atthairu Jega has handed over the reins of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to Ambassador Ahmed Wali as the Acting Chairman of the commission. Jega bowed out today after five years as the electoral body.

Gunmen Abducts Former Bayelsa Gov’s Wife

Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped Madam Martha Binabo, the wife of former Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the state former Acting Governor, Rt. Hon Nestor Binabo. The incident, the latest in the series of high profile kidnaping in the state occurred at Agbura community in the outskirts of Yenagoa the state capital. The victim, aged 48, was abducted Monday at about 11.30am by five armed men clad in military camouflage in front of a company where she is also...

Sugary Drinks Kill 184,000 Adults Around The World Every Year, Says Study

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, and should be eliminated from people’s diets, medical experts have warned. The global death toll from sugar-laden drinks – ranging from soft drinks to fruit smoothies – has been revealed in a new paper published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal. Most of the deaths are from people...

Teenager Commits Suicide In Imo

A 15-year-old senior secondary school student, identified as Paschal Egbosimba, committed suicide in  Imo State. Before his death the teenager was living with his mother and siblings, and was a senior secondary school student of Passion Model Secondary School, Egbu.  He used an electric extension cable to hang himself from a ceiling fan, when his mother was away for a night vigil. The late boy’s mother, who wept uncontrollably, was heard saying she never scolded the deceased, adding...

Photos: Inside The Home Of A Man Married To A Sex Doll

Dirk and Jenny aren’t like normal couples. Their sentiments are: to love one another, to support one another and to share a lot of their private time together. The only thing that sets them apart is Jenny is a ‘real doll’ that Dirk bought for 6,000 euros (that’s $6,750). Dirk and Jenny have a fixed daily schedule. Every evening at 6 pm they are sitting on the sofa...

French Beheading Suspect Denies Jihad Motivation

The man being held in France under suspicion of beheading his boss and trying to blow up a chemicals plant has told investigators there was no religious motivation behind the attack, a source close to the inquiry said on Monday. The source said Yassin Salhi, 35, told investigators he was not a jihadist and repeated earlier statements that he committed the act outside the southeast city of Lyon on Friday after a row with his...

Boko Haram Kills 603 Civilian JTF

Boko Haram militants have so far killed 603 Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) members in Borno State. The dead civilian JTF were attempting to prevent bomb strapped Boko Haram insurgents from detonating their bombs in large crowds. Barr Jubril Gunda, the legal adviser of the CJTF disclosed this on Monday during a two day summit on Security and Governance in the North East organised by the CLEEN Foundation in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Mozambique Lifts Homosexuality, Abortion Ban

Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights. The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature” — though no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975. Breaking the law was punishable by up to three years of hard labor. “It's a symbolic victory, as social inclusion...

Read President Buhari’s Speech To Govs Over Unpaid Salaries

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, AT THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL, HELD AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA, ON MONDAY 29TH JUNE 2015. Protocol I am delighted to be here with you at this occasion on the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) for this Administration. The National Economic Council was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria...

Is Beyoncé OBSESSED With J.Lo’s Style?

In fashion, as in life, everyone needs someone they can look up to. For some people, that person is Beyoncé. For Beyoncé, that person would appear to be Jennifer Lopez. Just look at all the outfits they have in common! 1. Distressed denim shorts suit with chain details and long, wavy hair. J.Lo performing at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on March 29, 2014. Beyoncé performing in New Jersey during her "On the Run" tour on...

Idris Elba Denies James Bond Reports: ‘It’s Just A Rumour, I Have No Idea’

Idris Elba has denied any truth behind reports that he is in line to play the first black

Kogi Elders Denies Endorsing Governor Idris Wada For Second Term

Against reports that some members of the Kogi Elders Council have endorsed the aspiration of Governor Idris Wada to run for a second term in the 2016 gubernatorial election scheduled to hold in the last quarter of the year, the elders of the state has denied endorsing the governor. The report has stated that notable names like Senator Tunde Ogbeha, former Governor of the state, Idris Wada and many others at a meeting in an undisclosed location endorsed the...

NDLEA Arraigns Drug Baron, Two Others In Court

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday arraigned a drug baron, Ikejiaku Sylvester Chukwunwe, before a Federal High Court in Awka. Chukwunwe, who was described as the most wanted drug trafficker in Anambra, was arraigned on 13 count charges. Also dragged to court by the agency were Oluchi Nduaguba and John Atuenyi. However, the trio pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them by the prosecutor. Chukwunwe was charged for conspiracy...

Walmart Apologises For Making ISIS Cake

US retail chain Walmart has apologised after baking a cake containing the flag of ISIS. A spokesman for the company told ABC News that it was sorry for the error, which occurred after staff at a local store failed to recognise the image. "An associate in a local store did not know what the design meant and made a mistake. The cake should not have been made and we apologise," the spokesman said. The cake...

Tunisia Attack: ‘Paralysed’ Police Let Gunman Run Amok For Half An Hour, Says Witness

Armed policeman were “paralysed by fear” and allowed the Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui to freely massacre British tourists for more than half an hour before shooting him dead, witnesses claim. Even though two police officers arrived at the scene within minutes, it was said to have been around half an hour before Rezgui was killed. In that time, 38 people,...

At Least 20 Reported Dead After Military Plane Crashes

At least 20 people have been killed in the military plane crash in the Indonesian city of Medan, CNN affiliate Trans 7 TV reported, citing local hospital officials. At least five people have been killed after a military transport plane crashed in an Indonesian city shortly after takeoff, authorities said Tuesday. The C-130 Hercules aircraft went down with 12 people on board in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, said Indonesian military spokesman Maj....

Buhari Promises Improved Power Supply

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday promised that his administration would give the highest possible priority to the rapid improvement of power supply across the country. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while granting audience to officials of CGGC, the Chinese construction company working on the Mambilla Power Project. Adesina quoted the President as saying that it was quite regrettable that power generation in...

El-Rufa’i Begins With Free Education In Sept And Upgrade Of 255 Hospitals

Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, said at the weekend that his administration would start free education in primary and junior secondary school across the state when new session commences in September. He added that the state, in collaboration with General Electric Healthcare, would also refurbish and re-equip 255 hospitals. Addressing the first town hall meeting with residents at the weekend, he said his administration would commence upgrade and refurbishment of schools, training of teachers and renovation...

Buhari Orders All State Governors To Settle Unpaid Salaries Of Workers In Their States

While inaugurating the National Economic Council in the Abuja earlier today, President Buhari charged all the state governors present at the meeting to endeavour to settle the unpaid salaries of civil servants in their states. He asked the state governors to look inwards and find more ways to increase their Internally Generated Revenue...

FG Probes N3.8trn Missing Oil Funds

A panel of four governors was, yesterday, constituted to probe the affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, following revelations that the corporation withheld N3.8 trillion of the N8.1 trillion generated from oil receipts. The committee comprising governors of Gombe, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Kaduna states is also to unravel circumstances of the disappearance of another $2.1 billion which was allegedly unilaterally withdrawn by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the last six months of its...

Overweight Woman Flaunts Her New Muscular Physique

An overweight 27 year old Canadian woman shed a third of her body weight, she went from being overweight in high school to placing in national bodybuilding tournaments. Trista Elaschuk who used to weigh 195lbs now weighs only 130lbs and is now participating in various bodybuilding competitions. Trista said she decided to lose weight after...

A Mathematical Formula Reveals The Secret To Lasting Relationships

If you're fortunate enough to find someone you want to settle down with forever, the next question is: How do you achieve happily ever after? According to mathematician Hannah Fry, it may come down to a simple formula. Fry, who works at the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in London, explains in her 2014 TED Talk and recently released book, "The Mathematics of Love," that the...

’30 Days In Atlanta’ Wins Four Awards At The Ghanaian Golden Movie Awards

West Africa's Highest grossing movie, 30 Days In Atlanta won 4 awards from 15 Nominations at the maiden edition of the 'Golden Movie Awards' held on Saturday, June 27, at the State House Banquet Hall, Ghana. This is coming just as AY the Producer of the Movie is preparing to do a sequel with the Hollywood and Nollywood Stars in August, here in Nigeria.

Tour Guide Reveals Moment He Threw An Ashtray At The Tunisian Gunman, In A Bid To Save Tourists

The man, known only as Mahdi (top left) attempted to thwart the killer by throwing an ashtray at his head after seeing him gun down dozens of tourists as they sunbathed on Friday. The 26-year-old tour guide has since told of trying to pile tourists into a little fishing boat to escape the beach, describing those murdered as 'like family'. He said the fear of losing his job was what spurred him to attack Seifeddine Rezgui, the...

Caitlyn Jenner Dines With New Transgender Women Squad (PHOTO)

Caitlyn Jenner continued living her best life at New York City's Pride celebration, enjoying a dinner with a few notable transgender women on Sunday night. After enjoying the parade, Caitlyn dined with Candis Cayne, Chandi Moore, Geena Rocero, Allie Hoffman, Sam Feder, Trace Lysette, Barbara CarRellas, and Trace Lysette. Caitlyn rarely tweets, but when she does it is pure magic. Such a fun...