“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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Following the restrictions placed on importers of rice and other non-essential items from accessing foreign exchange at the nation’s foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has revealed an on-going massive smuggling of foreign currencies out of the country through her borders. The apex bank which made the revelation of the unwholesome practice to frustrate the latest policy to conserve foreign exchange in the country, said it has taken steps, working with other agencies...

Buhari Sacks DG Department Of State Service

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday sacked the Director General of the Department of State Service, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong.   According to an announcement made by Alhaji Haruna Imrana, the Director of Communications, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation,  Mr. Lawal Musa Daura has been appointed as the Acting DG of the DSS.   The new Acting DG of DSS, Daura was born in Daura on August 5,1953, he attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1977 to 1980, started his...

Nearly 150 Killed In Suspected Boko Haram Attacks In Borno Village

Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed nearly 150 people in northeastern Nigerian villages, mowing down men and children while they prayed in mosques and shooting women preparing food at home, witnesses said Thursday. Dozens of militants stormed three remote villages in the flashpoint Borno state on Wednesday evening, setting houses ablaze in the bloodiest day of attacks by the extremist group since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May. Gunmen killed...

NASS: Crisis In PDP Over Principal Officers’ election

Crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party over the election of principal officers' elections in the National Assembly among its senators.   One of the senators, who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity in Abuja on Thursday, said powerful forces in the party were planning to install their cronies as principal officers of the party in the National Assembly.   It will be recalled that the party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, had on Wednesday announced the zoning...

Sai Gobe! Buhari Fires DG DSS Ita Ekpeyong, Replacement Announced

President Buhari has sacked the Director General of the Department of State Security Service, Ita Ekpeyong. He has been replaced with Lawal Daura.

Wike To Use 30Bn Loan To Develop Rivers

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Rivers, Mr Opunabo Inko-Tariah, has said that the state government’s N30 billion loan will be used to develop the state. Inko-Tariah told newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday that insinuations by the state chapter of All Progressives Congress that Gov. Nyesom Wike intends to borrow N100 billion were untrue. He said there were compelling needs to...

External Interferences Caused NASS Crisis – David Umaru

The Senator Representing Niger- East , David Umaru has said that the crisis rocking the National Assembly is due to undue external influence on the National Assembly. The senator who spoke to Journalists in Minna yesterday, stated that the election of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and that of Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara is not negotiable at his party’s ( APC) National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for weekend. Umaru stated that interference from outside...

“Even Satan Wasn’t Gay” – President Mugabe Allegedly Says

Following the legalization of gay marriage across America by the Supreme Court last week, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who is known for his extreme anti-gay views has been making headlines. Earlier this week was a marriage proposal to president Obama and yesterday, he allegedly said what you see below during another interview; "Even satan wasn't Gay, he chose to approach naked Eve instead of naked Adam." - President, Mugabe on homo sexuality.

Man Commits Suicide in Abuja Over Failed Marriage

A father of four, who lived at Jiwa in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), last Saturday, committed suicide. He allegedly drank a dangerous substance, suspected to be an insecticide after several attempts to bring back his wife, who left her matrimonial home along with their children. Family sources, who spoke to City News on condition of anonymity, informed that the late Sunday Ogul, who hailed from Kogi State, parted ways with his...

Episcopal Church To Allow Same-Sex Marriages

The Episcopal Church says it will permit weddings for same-sex couples after members approved the change at a meeting of its governing body. The decision by the church, which has about 1.9 million members in the United States, follows the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. The Episcopal Church has taken steps toward greater inclusiveness for same-sex couples in the past. In 2012,...

Man Suffers Burns To His Face After His Phone Explodes

The rate at which phones and chargers are exploding in people's faces is a cause for concern... Bhavesh Thummer, a professional diamond polisher, was left with burns to his face and chest, after his mobile phone blew up in his face when he tried making a quick phone call.Mr Thummer's left eye and ear were burnt in the incident, leaving him wearing a heavy bandage across the whole of his left eye. The device exploded whilst Mr Thummer...

Anambra Indigenes Suffer Over Closure Of Filling Stations, As Petrol Sells For N500 Per Litre

Anambra people are currently not in a happy mood as fuel now sells for N500 per litre in the state. This is due to the closure of most filling stations in protest over what they described as high levies imposed on them by the state government. In order to protest the high levies, most filling Stations shut down leading into fuel scarcity in the state. Black market sellers however resulted in selling theirs at N500 per...

London’s Heathrow Airport To Be Expanded, 800 Houses To Go

Heathrow airport is said to undergo a £19b expansion plan. This is needed for a 3rd runway at one of the busiest airports in Europe, a total of about 800 homes would also be demolished . the runway is the first new runway to be built in the South-East of England since the 1940s. Notable ministers have concluded that the expansion is needed to keep London in connection to the rest of the world and keep...

Saraki Condemns Recent Boko Haram Attacks, Expresses Sadness Over Lagos Boat Mishap

The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday condemned in strong terms what he described as renewed onslaught against innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mr. Saraki also expressed pain over the death of six school children in Lagos following a boat mishap that involved 14 school children who were being conveyed across Ojo to Irewe jetty. A statement released by the senate president’s spokesperson, Yusuph...

Suspected PDP Thugs Batters APC Witnesses In Court

Thugs suspected to be loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State on Tuesday beat up witnesses who testified for the All Progressives Congress before the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal. The tribunal is hearing a petition filed by the APC senatorial candidate for Ekiti Central, Gbenga Olofin, against the return of Senator Fatimat Rasaki of the PDP. Olofin on Tuesday closed his case at the tribunal after calling eight witnesses while his opponent,...

Buhari Has No Personal Relationship With New INEC Boss, Presidency Tells PDP

The Presidency yesterday said that due process was followed in the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as the Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Her appointment has generated concerns and reactions from many quarters. One of such quarters is the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which accused the President of naming an ally of his to pave way for the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC reclaim the PDP controlled States at the election...

Fuel Scarcity Returns in Nigeria, As Marketers Ration Products

After a brief respite, fuel queues have returned at the filling stations across the country just as some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have started indiscriminate hike of pump price while a few others have locked their premises. However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the queues resulted from panic buying, urging consumers to ignore the baseless rumours spurring the action. It noted that some filling...

UN Urges FG To Relax Abortion Laws For Boko Haram Victims

UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Al-Hussein, has appealed to Nigerian authorities to ease abortion restrictions for women and girls who had been sexually enslaved, raped and forced into so-called “marriages” by Boko Haram fighters. He said this on Thursday in New York while discussing with the Human Rights Council on Boko Haram’s rights violations and abuses, the findings of a 12-member team to Cameroon, southern Niger and the north-eastern regions of Nigeria on Boko Haram.

Pay Back! ISIS Militants Executed By Rival Rebel Group Called ‘The Mother State’

In a chilling case of an eye for an eye,a rebel group in Syria has responded to ISIS by beheading ISIS terrorists .. Hours after ISIS released a video where they beheaded 12 of their fighters, Jaysh al-Islam also released videos of their fighters capturing Islamic State fighters and slaughtering them. In the video, the Jaysh Al-Islam soldiers,are dressed in the orange jump suits that are normally worn by prisoners of ISIS...The Islamic State's captured soldiers, dressed in...

EFCC To Challenge Fani-Kayode’s Acquittal

As Fani Kayode celebrates his court victory today, the EFCC has said it will challenge his acquittal  by a federal high court..The former aviation minister was discharged and acquitted of laundering  almost N100 million while he was the minister of aviation in 2006.The EFCC had filed the suit against him in 2013..Discharging Kayode,Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia said ”It is apparent that the prosecution’s case is feeble and has failed to establish that the accused person paid or accepted...

Finally! Benue Govt Begins Payment of Salary Arrears

There was jubilation in all nooks and crannies of Benue State yesterday as the state government commenced payment of salary arrears of civil servants. The former Governor Gabriel Suswam administration had owed salaries of workers for several months. The former administration said it lacked adequate finances to offset the backlog of salaries due to the dwindling federal allocation. However, Governor Samuel Ortom had on assumption of office about a month ago, told the state workers...

El-Rufai Sues Over False Assets Report

After a busy few weeks as governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai is dismayed by the blatant falsehood being practised as journalism by The Union newspapers. He has consequently directed his legal team to vigorously enforce his rights to protect his reputation from the vandalism of irresponsible hacks. The Union chose to write a spurious story alleging N90b as his assets declaration without seeing the declaration made by Malam El Rufai. The circle of blackmail that did the story claimed...

Fani-Kayode’s Acquittal a Shock, Says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it was shocked by Wednesday’s acquittal of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode. A Federal High Court in Lagos acquitted Mr. Fani-Kayode of corruption charges, saying the EFCC failed to prove its “feeble case” against Mr. Fani-Kayode beyond reasonable doubt. The spokesperson for the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement, said the ruling by the judge, Rita Ofili- Ajumogobia, was shocking. Mr. Uwujaren said, “The Commission...

VIDEO: American Tele- Evangelist Blasts US Supreme Court Ruling On Same Sex Marriage

Popular American preacher and Tele- Evangelist, John Hagee, responds to U.S Supreme Court Marriage Ruling. Watch video below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PhzBsDfTMI Credit: YouTube/ John Hagee Ministries

PDP Demands Removal Of New Acting INEC Boss

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has demanded the removal of the newly appointed acting chairperson of the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC, Amina Zakari. Ms. Zakari was appointed as head of INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari hours after its former chairman, Attahiru Jega, handed over to Ahmed Wali, a national commissioner there. Addressing a press conference in his office Wednesday, PDP’s publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party was disturbed by the development in INEC where...

FG To Introduce Fund For Road Repair

A fund to cater for the construction and maintenance of roads in the country is in the works, the Federal Ministry of Works has said. The Director, Federal Highway Services in the ministry, Alhaji Shehu Dankano, said this at the inauguration of the headquarters of the National Association of Road Transport Owners in Abuja on Tuesday. Dankano said the National Roads Fund Bill was already in the National Assembly and expressed confidence that the 8th...

Two Suicide Bombers Attack Village During Osinbajo’s Maiduguri Visit

Two suicide bombers, male and female, today blew themselves up outside a village in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, at the time the vice president of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbanjo, was visiting the city, witnesses and security sources said. VP Osibanjo arrived Maiduguri at about 10:45 am. He was in to assess the security situation in the state capital, to visit the Internally Displaced Persons camps, before proceeding to Yola, another northeast Nigerian city plagued by...

Six Children Drown As Boat Capsize In Lagos

A canoe conveying fourteen school children capsized. Six of them reportedly drowned, while eight of them including the driver were rescued. The incident occurred after a fibre canoe reportedly ran into the passenger boat at about 9am. As at time of writing this report, the rescued children , some of whom were said to be primary school pupils and secondary school students who were on their way to school, were responding to treatment at the...

Photos From Osinbajo’s Visit To Borno

VP Yemi Osinbajo visited an IDP camp today in Maiduguri. He shared these very heart touching photos of a victim and her daughter, who has been badly affected by the insurgency. See his Facebook post below: On the instructions of President Buhari, VP Yemi Osinbajo visited an IDP camp in Maiduguri today conveying the concern of the President and bringing hope to the victims of terrorism and the entire Borno State. He met a number of the victims at...

It’s Don Jazzy Again! Di’Ja, Korede Bello & Reekado Banks Become Glo Ambassadors

Don Jazzy has a knack for making stars and you'd agree great people help to nurture stars but how often does one man make three stars in one fell swoop? That's exactly what Don Jazzy has done with Korede Bello, Reekado Banks and Di'Ja. He has moved them from one of Nigeria's numerous upcoming artists to genuine super stars. Each of them has had at least one hit song in the last year and have troubled the...

New Name Alert: Fani-Kayode Changes Name After Court Victory | Read Full Statement

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has changed his name and he wants you to know why. Read his full statement below. Press Statement by Chief Femi Fani-Kayode on the Occasion of his Victory at the Federal High Court on 1st July 2015 Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted, humbled and relieved by this verdict. In the last seven years, I have been subjected to the most malicious, vicious, sinister, well-orchestrated, insidious and devastating form of political persecution...

I Did Not Inherit An Empty Treasury- C’River Governor

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday said that he did not inherit empty treasury from the immediate past administration in the state as is being speculated in some quarters. Ayade said this in Calabar while briefing stakeholders, including the media, on his development agenda for the state. “I did not inherit empty treasury but a great potential from my predecessor,” he said. The governor said that as part of efforts to tap the abundant resources in...

Corruption Charges: ‘Nightmare Has Finally Ended’ – Fani-Kayode

A former Minister of Aviation in Nigeria, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, says the dismissal of a case filed against him on money laundering charges was the “doing of the lord” and an end to a nightmare. A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday morning dismissed the case against Mr Fani-Kayode, saying the prosecution’s case was “feeble” and failed to provide “copious evidence” linking...

Rings In Burgers, Getting Down On One knee In Public Toilets: The Worst Proposals Of All Time Revealed

It's a moment in your life that theoretically should only happen once - the marriage proposal. But while some men (and women) go all out when asking for their beloved's hand in marriage, others take the laissez faire approach. For every boat trip down the Seine or fireworks display, there is a ring nestled in a takeaway burger or a proposal hastily scrawled on the lid of a fast food container.

Oshiomhole Blames Ministry Of Petroleum And Finance For Owed Salaries

The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has blamed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance for workers salaries owed by different states. He said both Ministries “refused to transfer into the Federation Account. Governor Oshiomhole said: “the NNLG had every year made payments of about $1.5 billion to 2 billion Naira which ought to go the Federation Account but was expended by the Federal Government”. Governor Oshiomhole also stated that the...

Bashir Akanbi: Attacks By The Nation Newspaper and Sahara Reporters On Saraki and Aisha Buhari: An Impediment To Democratic Norms

In various attempts to impede the norms of democracy in the country, for which gigantic sacrifices were made by millions of Nigerians in the last general elections, The Nation daily newspaper and Sahara Reporters online have jointly started an astonishing display of mendacity and subjectivity giving up their conventional wisdom. This recent subversive practices of the popular media have attracted widespread criticism. These unripe antics however by far, unclothed the purposes for which the media house, The...

Syrian Rebel Group Executes 18 ISIS Fighters In New Video

A Syrian rebel group operating around Damascus has executed 18 alleged members of the Islamic State group in a video mimicking the extremist organisation's own productions. The video, which emerged overnight, shows fighters from Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) wearing the orange prison clothes that ISIS victims often sport. The ISIS prisoners however are wearing black clothes and chained together wearing ankle and hand shackles with metal balls attached. The nearly 20-minute production...

ISIS Beheads Two Women In Syria For Witchcraft

Islamic State beheaded two women over the weekend accused of witchcraft and working with elves in eastern Syria The 2 women have become the first to be beheaded by Isis after being accused of witchcraft, sorcery and working with elves by the Islamic extremist group, according to reports emerging from eastern Syria. The executions, for a supposed breach of sharia law, were carried out on Sunday and...

President Buhari Assures Victims Of Insurgency Govt Support

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commended the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other government agencies on measures taken to rehabilitate victims of terrorism and violent extremism in Nigeria. Receiving officials of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Department of ONSA, Buhari said the Federal Government would provide necessary assistance to victims of Boko Haram insurgency. The president also reiterated the determination of his administration to rid the country of terrorism and insurgency. "One of...

CBN Adjusts Forex Peg As Naira Hits N228 Per Dollar

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday lowered the naira peg to 196.95 against the dollar from 196.90 it set last week. This made it the fourth time the CBN had adjusted the peg since it was introduced in February, Reuters reported. This happened just as the naira tumbled further to 228 against the dollar at the parallel market on Tuesday from 265 on Monday. Reuters reported that the yield on the Federal Government’s...

Kate Henshaw Loses Everything In House Fire

While Kate Henshaw was on location shooting the 'Do-Good' TV series, she was called by her neighbours to inform her that her house was on fire. Reports are saying that Kate Henshaw quickly went home after the phone call and called fire fighters, but at that point, the damage had already been done as the twin duplex was burnt.  According to witnesses at the scene, Kate Henshaw was said to have lost all the...

EFCC Arrests 2 Tourism Travel Agents Over Alleged N70 Million Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested two officials of a travel agency for allegedly swindling and defrauding several Nigerians to the tune of N70 million. This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Wilson Uwujaren, the Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja. It stated that the two officials, Mr Banabas Magi, an accountant and Mr Owoseli Samuel, General Manager of the agency were arrested...

I Have Gotten A Lot Of My Confidence From Kanye – Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian  was at the prestigious San Francisco Commonwealth Club to talk about her famous family, her new book Selfie and the objectification of women in media. Kim talked about Kanye and how most of her recent ventures which rake in big bucks were created by him. On Kanye, she said: "I love the way he creates, thinks, stands up for what he believes in whole-heartedly. He is such a good person."I have gotten a lot...

10 Tips For Choosing The Right Partner

1. Don't make choices out of fear: So many times people either choose a partner or stay with someone in an unhappy relationship predominantly out of some kind of fear. Usually that fear is being alone but fears can vary widely from person to person. It's often better to be alone and wait for the right person than to make a decision out of fear. Making decisions out of fear leads to confusion, anxiety and a general...

Gov. Ambode Set to Launch People Friendly Traffic Regime

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode is set to drastically change the face of Lagos traffic by  introducing a world class traffic information and management system. The globally tested traffic system which has worked for many cities similar to Lagos is set to have caught the eye of Governor Ambode who wants to see Lagosians spend less hours in traffic and more in their offices and at work. Our investigations reveal that in the next few weeks, the...

One Minute With Jess : Why Do You Earn a Living #Vlog

Why wake up so early to resume at work, why do you do the business you do? why do you earn a living: family, children, society, why? On this episode I seek to know why we earn a living. Please leave a comment below of why you earn a living as it will enlighten other viewers of the Vlog in getting their thought pattern right towards why they earn a living too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSytLo5N8sQ&feature=youtu.be

President Buhari To Meet With #BringBackOurGirls Group

The #BringBackOurGirls campaigners on Tuesday secured a meeting with Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, a month since his assumption of duty on May 29. The convener of the group, Obiageli Ezekwesili, via twitter, said a presidential confirmation of the meeting had been received by the group. She said, “WE @BBOG_Nigeria have received confirmation of schedule of OUR MEETING with @MBuhari & FG on our #ChibokGirls for July 8th 2015 @ 12 noon.” On assumption of...

Breaking News !!! Court Dismisses Agbaje’s Petition Against Ambode

The Lagos state governorship election tribunal sitting in Ikeja, on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Jimi Agbaje, against Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Agbaje had petitioned the tribunal challenging the declaration of Ambode as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state. But the three-man tribunal led by...

Ambode Seeks Navy’s Support To Tackle Robberies

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State says the Nigerian Navy, like other stakeholders, should be part of the efforts to rid the state of crime. The governor, according to a statement on Tuesday, spoke during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Usman Jibrin, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja. Ambode stated that the call became imperative due to the spate of robbery attacks in Lagos State, which started a week into his...

ISIS Threatens Hamas In Video Message On Failure To Implement Rigid Laws

ISIS has threatened the Palestinian armed group Hamas, vowing to end the faction's rule in the territory. In a 16-minute long video shared by social media accounts sympathetic to ISIS on Wednesday, fighters based in Syria's Aleppo province condemned Hamas for its crackdown on Salafist groups in the Gaza Strip, and its failure to implement a rigid enough interpretation of Islamic law. "The point of jihad is not to liberate land ... but jihad as...

Breaking News!!! Court Acquits Femi Fani-Kayode Of Money Laundering Charges

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court on Wednesday July 1, 2015, acquitted former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, of money laundering charges. Fani-Kayode, who was spokesperson for the President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Committee, has been facing trial for alleged criminal acts committed during his time as minister. The judge described the case brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “feeble” and duly discharged Fani-Kayode in the absence of “copious evidence.”

The Buhari Shocker By Tony Ademiluyi

It is now no news that twenty-two governors owe outstanding salary arrears. Ever since Buhari upset the apple cart by winning the Presidential elections on March 28, they have all hoped that he would bail them out of their respective mess when he got sworn in. In his speech on the inauguration of the National Economic Council, he categorically told the beggar governors to source for funds to offset their gargantuan debts through the growth of their internally...