#NoiseofRevolt: Sex With The Devil Without Condom – By @Obajeun

We have toyed with the devil in the past, now we are being hunted. Given the kind of leaders we have today, one may be persuaded by the weakening structures of the country to conclude that at a point in the past, which history could attest to, our supposed leaders have had sex with the devil without condom (apology to Olamide). Offspings: unending leadership crisis, ethnic and political jingoism, deluded populace and very confused people.

Nigeria is enfeebled and humiliated by lack of dreamers and visionaries. Much more despairingly, for the past 50 or so years, primordial and even primitive considerations have been at the bottom of leadership selection in Nigeria. For instance, Obasanjo was supposed to lay a solid foundation for Fourth Republic democracy, but due to the limitations of his vision, his temperamental unsuitability, and the constriction of his unpresidential heart, he was incapable of laying a foundation for a modern society he could not conceive. He worsened the problem by foisting the wrong kind of leadership on equally prejudiced, fearful and passive electorate.

Nigerian rulers nay denounce the pessimism of their countrymen and even live in denial of the looming apocalypse. They may continue to affirm the indissolubility of the country and whoop that the country’s unity is non-negotiable. They may believe that by and by, the constitution, if tinkered with, may deliver the utopia we crave, in spite of the indiscipline we are noted for. The fact, however, is that the fabric that holds the country together is straining badly, and will sooner or later give way, for it cannot be held together by words but by action, action which we have refused to summon.

I think it is time once again to reiterate the point that it is not projects, roads, education and health, etc. that drive a country’s greatness. The first grand task is to find a leader with an inspiring vision capable of freeing the country from the mediocre orbit in which it is locked. It is ideas that beget projects that beget greatness. Ask American how they got to the moon. There is no other order of precedence. We must find a leader who has been to the mountaintop and has conceived in his mind the heights he wishes to take the country. He must be clear in his mind what the dimensions of the Promised Land would be, and must also be able to articulate how to get there. He must understand the kind of democracy required to midwife a great country and be a convinced democrat himself, not a democrat as an afterthought. He must understand how comparably high the shoulders of his countrymen must be in relation to the other peoples of the world.

You do not have to belong to the opposition to know it was a tragedy enduring eight years of Obasanjo, three or so chequered years of Yar’Adua, and now halting, half-hearted years of Jonathan. What actions are required to weld the country together and make it flourish? Two options present themselves: either the people join hands together to lift the country; or a leader emerges to lead the charge. Most people have given up on the possibility of a visionary leader emerging, and have therefore reposed faith in the ability of followers to do the job. I entertain no such nonsense. Followers are never capable of creating and sustaining a vision for national identity and greatness. They could never summon the consensus that would bring it about. In the late 1930s, for instance, Britain was amenable to appeasing Hitler’s irredentism. It took Winston Churchill’s bitter challenge to galvanise his country in the opposite direction. France was, after defeat in that same war, resigned to fate; it took the single-mindedness of Charles de Gaulle to convince them otherwise.

We must note, contrary to the ersatz patriotism of emergency nationalists, the nation is fatally misaligned and would require substantial structural realignment. That observation remains as true today as at any other time. In fact the structural damage is much worse, thanks to homespun malignant engineers of structural chaos and systemic dysfunction.

This is the time we need YOU as a Change Engineer in order to deliver us from our past sex escapade with the devil. Note that your Spartan discipline and integrity will often be mistaken for intransigence and intolerance by those accustomed to easy life and shabby compromises. They will forget that your intransigence will serve as a historic counterfoil to a more pernicious intransigence; and that your intolerance is simply an intolerance of intolerance. In any case, without these attributes, the political space which your detractors are currently abusing and even shamelessly threatening to contract would never have opened up. While your patriotic supporters will be dying in the trenches, our current democratic avatars will be up to their usual game of dubiety and duplicity. Set against their own record, their sanctimonious preachments about patriotism and integrity will then ring hollow and utterly hypocritical. You don’t need to be discouraged, move on!

It is me, @Obajeun

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun is a professional with a multinational. He blogs @www.obajeun.com. Reach him on twitter via @Obajeun

#NoiseofRevolt: …As Mimiko Plans His Political Funeral – By @Obajeun

obajeunOlusegun Mimiko has finally signed a pact with the devil. No matter how long your spoon is, you cannot wine and dine with the ruling party without your tongue being armed with venom. As it is known that PDP politicians are perpetually suffering from incurable intellectual kwashiorkor, I will still give Mimiko the benefit of doubt, albeit this might be transient because he is fast losing his nervous system to greed.

Psychologically and politically, Mimiko simply has no concept of the modern nation-state. His psychology and ontology are still firmly rooted in the primordial paradigm of empire, kingdom and fiefdom. Yet because liberal democracy itself is one of the bye-products of the struggle for the nation-state, a man who has no notion of the nation-state cannot be expected to have any truck with democracy and its twin-concept of limited tenure and wide consultations with compatriots who enjoy equal civil rights. It is like asking a caveman to preside over the affairs of the open society.

As a country, we have now established ourselves as a considerably emotive people, quite like ancient Rome’s fearsome mob, which was as adept at lynching as it was incapable of any reflection. We were never capable of deep thinking anyway, or of patient reasoning and arguments. Many thought this failing was part of the processes of growing up, of maturing as a nation, and of finding our feet as an independent country. It was felt that with time, we were likely to be better, not only at considering the weighty issues we contend with, but at forging a consensus among ourselves or at setting the boundaries and frameworks of the instruments of mediating our differences.

The ongoing NGF melodrama has exposed Mimiko’s romance with the devil. Some are born incorrigible. Others achieve incorrigibility, while many have incorrigibility thrust upon them. Mimiko, the self acclaimed vice-chairman of Jang-led NGF, seems to manage all these at once. A prince without principality, it will take a long while for Mimiko to recover from his princely patrimony. Like all opportunists, he wasted no time in joining the winning bandwagon. In order to justify his complete conversion to the ruling ideology of the forcible liquidation of the Nigerian electorate, the political stockbroker has become even more antidemocratic in his pronouncements than the feudal taskmasters he is fronting for.

Compromise, consensus and conciliation are the hallmark of a virile democratic polity, not the psychological warfare associated with military offensive. But obviously this cuts no ice with the PDP stalwarts. For its badly traumatized and unhinged leadership, the electorate has no locus standi in matters that concern them. If majority voted you out, why should you be imposing yourself? Why not the court option to challenge the decision of the electorate? The PDP fouls up the atmosphere very badly.

Like we have seen in some states, if Nigeria appears to have bucked the trend of the PDP, it is ironically because the great centrifugal forces which propel the country along and the micro pluralism of contending power centres in their negative equilibrium make it impossible for one individual or a group for that matter to enjoy permanent ascendancy. Once the equilibrium is disturbed either through unwarranted military take-over, annulment of fair elections, dubious self-perpetuation schemes or the forcible occupation of opposition stronghold, the country does not enjoy peace until centrifugal parity is restored.

It is quite sobering and instructive to note that while Mimiko was making his rabid pronouncements on the NGF issue, the cultured and civilized Tunde Fashola has approached the court for help. The electoral and governance mess in Nigeria is too compelling for discerning observers not to notice. After nearly three decades of grandstanding with expansive flourish on the false templates of democracy and good governance, the chicks were finally coming home to roost for the celebrated chicken farmer.

A tested farmer should know that you cannot plant coconuts and expect to harvest cassava. However much we choose to ignore history in the flush of transient power, history will not ignore us. The simple problem with our democracy is not the constitution, no matter how flawed it is, or the electoral law, no matter how inadequate, or even our federalism, no matter how tainted with the sunitary hangover. Our problem is that we are led by men with no character, who when faced, for instance, with defeat in NGF, simply went to Abuja, wrote figures and forced them upon us without their conscience troubling them.

We have very good news for Mimiko. Like all members of a political caste driven by a pact with suicide, his choices of association are quite compelling, though he needs to enjoy his freedom. To have chosen the politically regressive, no-sensible, intensely unconscious, anti-cosmopolitan and the ever non-combustible seabed of PDP as resting nest shows that Mimiko has finally gone on demonic trance. Those who are praying for a swift termination of the current democratic chicanery can only rub their hands in relish. In all probability, the PDP will be given a decent funeral in 2015. But let us make a historical wager. If care is not taken, political nonentities will soon turn the nation itself into a non-entity.

It is me, @Obajeun

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun is a professional working with a multinational. Reach him on twitter via @obajeun

El-Rufai on Friday: Soludo’s Solution of Anger and Innuendo (REJOINDER)

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I am challenging Charles to substantiate these innuendos with names and details of my alleged vindictiveness in his article since everybody knows that my service at the FCT is a matter of public record that has been investigated by several institutions unsympathetic to me, and all Abuja residents know about and still comment upon it. ~ Nasir El-Rufai

Long before the publication of The Accidental Public Servant, I had decided to resist joining issues with whatever commentators wrote in response to the book by way of either attacking the author or its contents. It is a narrative of my experiences and views, and   I would simply invite others to document theirs. Many of those that commented on, or ‘reviewed’ the book had not even read it in full. Others had decided long before it was published that they would attack El-Rufai and whatever he writes, while a few others were simply going to be unhappy with how they were presented in the book as being less than perfect. When one writes a 700-page book, one has to take a deep breath and allow others the slack to write a few pages in response, however disagreeable or abusive.

When I wrote The Accidental Public Servant, there were no illusions that its account would be uncontested. As I have said repeatedly, it is simply my account of the people and events that defined my years in public service. I took several precautions (such as double-checking from the copious notes and diaries of events that were taken after every major encounter – about forty seven note books in total) of ensuring that it is a truthful, balanced and fair account of my experience. I do not have a professorial memory, so kept daily journals of events including verbatim records of statements. I am delighted that I took the time to write it, and I once again encourage others who have been privileged to be in the public service to similarly record their experiences. Those who may choose not to write books can still contribute by responding to specific issues mentioned in my narrative on which they may have other information, however critical or contrary to my account.

Professor Charles (I have always called him Charles because that is how we were introduced. I have never gotten used to calling him Chukwuma) Soludo approached me at the end of the recent thanksgiving service for my sister, Oby Ezekwesili, to complain about some of the assertions in my book concerning him. He denied that he owed his consulting jobs with the World Bank and other institutions to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He denied being mentored or taught by her father. He added that he had not read the entire book but would send me two pages of his initial observations. I encouraged him not only to do so, but publish it and work on a book documenting his experiences. Knowing Charles as I do, I had no doubt that he was already doing that and the first episode has now been published in his fortnightly column in Thisday.

Thus, his rebuttal did not come as a surprise; given  that I encouraged him to do so as I have nothing to hide. Even so, it is shocking that he chose to sensationalise his version of events by describing The Accidental Public Servant as intellectual fraud. There is a question mark in the title of his article, but the last sentence of Charles’ diatribe restated his magisterial conclusion. He went further to provide his own definitions of fraud as “an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual” or “as course of deception, an intentional concealment, omission or perversion of truth”; only to stop there! Fraud has a technical and legal definition and if Charles had bothered to consult his lawyer, he would have gone beyond the ‘online definition’, but that is another matter for now.

It is illogical to contest someone’s CV with him in the absence of contrary and superior information. I therefore concede to Charles’ account of his professional odyssey prior to his being introduced to us in 2000 by Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, long before joining the Obasanjo government in 2003. The logical question therefore is how any of the examples he gave of the errors in his resume would without more, rise to the level of fraud? Why would I intentionally deceive the world that Soludo’s tenure as governor of CBN started in mid-2005 rather than May of 2004? This only occurred when one of the book’s editors thought the 2004 date was wrong and ‘corrected’ it but that escaped subsequent editorial reviews. What is the personal gain to me in describing Soludo as a protégé of Professor Okonjo or how did the description damage him when he just referred to the same Professor Okonjo as “respected”? So, Charles needs to substantiate how any assertion, error or omission in the book amounts to “fraud” per his definition.

After that, I do not see much that is significant to warrant a clarification from me. One friend on Twitter observed that Charles’ polemic had so much anger and little substance that he truly sounded as angry as a woman scorned!  Much of Charles’ response is enlivened by innuendos. He repeats the frequent charge about my ambition for the presidency in 2007, a charge that is untrue but that is often echoed as if that ambition, if it existed, is akin to treason. Charles knows that I do not consider illegitimate his desire to be governor of his state or his current hopes to be a presidential running-mate. But he should know better than most that ambition for office is not the only reason for being active in politics. Since Charles has claimed that I ‘schemed desperately’ to succeed Obasanjo, he should please tell all – inform Nigerians what I did, who was involved and spill the beans! Virtually all the narratives in The Accidental Public Servant about Charles involved others that are still alive, and if he said I made them up, perhaps he should state his version and invite others mentioned to invalidate my claim instead of calling anyone a liar just because he did not like the way his conduct appeared in the book.

Charles was introduced to me by Ngozi, and that was the foundation of our professional relationship and friendship. As far as I know, it was also Ngozi who proposed his name for economic adviser and Oby (and her husband) took him to Obasanjo several times before he was appointed. If Charles is denying that this happened, that is fine. It does not change the facts, and those that did what they did know what they did or did not do! Why is Charles so hurt that others have helped him?  Is he suggesting that he had won the Nobel Prize in Economics and that is how Obasanjo got to meet and appoint him?

Charles presented his jaundiced interpretations of what I wrote in clear language as my views in his piece. For instance, there was nowhere in the book that I wrote that ‘Ngozi was power hungry.’ She was pragmatic and realistic about power relations. How does that equate to being power hungry? Charles is playing with words in a patently dishonest way, knowing that many that will read his piece have not read the book, but he is not the intellectual fraud! Charles also asserted that I forced myself on the economic team and “destroyed it”! Was it El-Rufai that composed the membership of the team? When and how was the team single-handedly destroyed by me? As far as I know, warts and all, the economic team kept on working till May 29, 2007. Again, I invite Charles to educate us all now, bearing in mind virtually all the team members are still alive and around, even after he stopped attending its weekly meetings.

In the book, I wrote that Charles did many things to ingratiate himself to Obasanjo, one of which was to attribute every good ‘idea’ to the latter; not actual achievements, since there were few in the early days. Charles’ response was to misrepresent what was written, just as he knows that there is no weight to the claim that appointees under a presidential system cannot claim credit for their work. To acknowledge the opportunity President Obasanjo gave me to serve, and the support he provided to help us succeed at the FCT is very different from pretending that only the boss had any ideas on how to administer Abuja, or that he oozed perfection, presidential system or not.

Charles also came out guns blazing questioning my narratives of events involving his new mentor Atiku Abubakar, and Nuhu Ribadu and Obasanjo. In Charles’ views, these three people made me tick in government and I should be eternally grateful. Charles has not read the book. If he did, he would have come across all the instances in which I gave each of them credit for what they did right and how they contributed to the work I did. Unlike Charles who makes people believe they are perfect when he needs them, I was consistent in and out of office in pointing to those I worked with where I believe they went wrong Just as I was self critical of my own shortcomings. In Charles’ vocabulary, that is ingratitude. In mine, it is simply utilitarian sycophancy to attribute perfection to imperfect mortals because they are likely to help one’s career next week!

Charles claimed that I pleaded with him to provide technical assistance to BPE. That is false. That conversation just never happened. Those familiar with BPE know that we hired people either as regular public servants, individual consultants called ‘core team’ members that work full time in the organization or investment bankers and consulting firms like lawyers and accountants that provided periodic transactional services as needed. Charles and his economic consulting firm did not fit into any of the three categories. I appointed him to the membership of two reform steering committees – Competition and Anti-Trust and the Industry and Manufacturing Reform Committees along with persons of the calibre of Pat Utomi, Oby Ezekwesili, and Aliko Dangote. I was the coordinator of both committees as DG of the BPE, with Ibrahim S. Njiddah, now a presidential assistant doing the day-to-day management. I am now learning from the Charles’ piece that he single-handedly did the work of the Competition Reform Committee for free. I did not realize that all the other notable members did nothing! Well, thanks Charles, but Steering Committee members got hotel accommodation and were paid sitting allowances by the BPE, so I do not quite understand what was meant by asserting that you did the work free of charge.

That leaves us with asking Charles to detail the fraud he alleges was attendant to the efforts we made to restore the Abuja master plan. He claimed that my ‘vindictiveness’ nearly ruined the exercise. Really? There is need to say more right on this away. I am challenging Charles to substantiate these innuendos with names and details of my alleged vindictiveness in his article since everybody knows that my service at the FCT is a matter of public record that has been investigated by several institutions unsympathetic to me, and all Abuja residents know about and still comment upon it.

The rest of Soludo’s article was spent blowing his trumpet of banking consolidation with his characteristic modesty! The dismissal of Charles’ over-hyped banking consolidation in The Accidental Public Servant therefore appeared to upset him more than anything else. He is still under the illusion that his ‘revolution’ changed our lives the way GSM licensing did! No one needs a single 234Next to see through the hype and the disingenuous comparison. Banks like First Bank, UBA, Union, Zenith IBTC, and GTB needed no consolidation. They had sound business models and were doing well without it. Soludo’s consolidation abolished investment banks and regional banks, while creating a few ‘big’ banks with funny names many of which were either comatose by 2009 or had to be subsequently saved by the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi rescue exercise. It is pathetic to measure the success of consolidation by the number of banks in the top 1,000 banks in the world. Did that ranking translate into increased lending to the real sector, greater employment opportunities for our people and intensified mobilization of savings in the way the GSM revolution did? No way, only massive margin loans to create a stock market bubble, engender insider lending and incestuous relations between regulators and operators in the industry.

The kind of targeted interventions needed to fill the gaps sustained by some of such policies were opposed by Soludo unless the ideas originated from him. As CBN governor, Charles did all he could to frustrate the attempts to establish a national mortgage system and was openly critical of Ngozi’s drive and contributions in getting the Paris Club debts written off for the simple reason that the the credit might go to others not Soludo!

Charles is free to beat his chest and claim that the deformed baby called consolidation was a revolution, but today many of the the poster-children of the policy like Intercontinental, Oceanic, Finbank and Spring Bank are history, the banking-stockbroking rock stars are facing prosecution, and with N4 trillion spent to prevent the collapse of his revolution. When Charles’ memoirs are published, those that either witnessed it or had to clean up ‘the world’s fastest growing financial system’ will have their own views. And it will be good for the country. After all, it has been said that every story has at least three sides, my version, your version and the truth which lies somewhere in between the two. If one refers to a book one finds disagreeable as intellectual fraud while insisting that a cancer one created that has cost nearly the annual budget of the federal government to treat, so far, as a resounding success, then what more is there to say? It simply points to the moral and psychological mind-set of such a person.

Nasir El-Rufai (10th May 2013)

#NoiseofRevolt: Baga – The Village Of Ghosts – By @Obajeun

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Explosion spree in Borno. Baga! The name sounds explosive. The village has exploded. Baga ghosts are subscribing to the graveyard. Graveyard is full, dead bodies piled high, waiting for new graveyard to be commissioned by His Excellency. There is tears in town, sorrow resides on the streets of Baga. Landscape is desolated, fumes of blood everywhere. Families vanished with the sound of guns. Everyone in Baga is a ghost. Those alive are living dead, waiting for the next explosion, expecting no help and getting no help. In Baga, help is dead! In Abuja and Lagos, life continues, business continues. No one bats an eyelid, no one is interested in another person’s life. Brotherhood is dead, sisterhood is dead.

Things cannot just go on as usual. If it is a question of aborted hopes, the country could live with that. In its short existence, the ill-led nation has had to cope with many betrayals and aborted hopes. Somehow, and like a stumped lover, it had always found the strength, the fierce energy to move on. Baga too will move on. But this time the omens of national regeneration are murky. While the FG is wasting “presidential pardon” on rogues who have stolen our blood in drums, something fundamental is also taking place. The spirit of the nation has decayed too. Having passed the point of morphine-assisted rebirth, Lugard’s contraption, christened by Flora in one of her many nights of emotional tete-a-tete with Lugard, is gradually expiring before our very eyes. We are in trouble.

Alas, succour has come the way of Baga, there is a statement from Abuja. Investigation must happen. Committees have been set up to pay up Baga’s tormentors. In this logic, while Baga dies, its tormentors will get additional life, furnished with unending cash flow, state appointments for juicy positions, life aesthetics and have presidential backing to live large. Baga’s tormentors will brag on the streets of Baga, sending sneers and jeers to the ghosts of the village. “We have arrived,” they will bark at the hapless living ghosts. They will build hills and live on mountains, dialing presidential phone numbers to call for political food like manna. They will blast siren on the streets of Baga, deafening the living dead and waking up the “dead” ghosts.

Consolation has come from the governor, he told the remains of Baga that it was God that came to destroy them, imploring the village to accept it as an act of God. It was God who became a demon and took over human flesh. It was God who built the Improvised Explosive Device that sent children to their premature grave. It was God who triggered hundreds of AK47 to destroy his own handiwork. It was God who led the gun dwell that consumed the whole of Baga because he was blood thirsty. It was God who wanted 185 souls has sacrifice, razed down 2000 houses and 62 vehicles. This is blaspheme! As a matter of godly gesture, the governor is donating N5m to revive the lost 185 souls. Let some people be prepared to be consumed by their own sheer ignorance.

A hitching history, a haunting tale, and hazy dreams, all conspired to define nothing and yet, they defined Baga. Nothing is life; Baga is now nothing, a conspiracy theory of pains. Pains, feelings of anomy, of gruesome fear, of tears cascading in bitter drops and of a grin smile full of sorrow. Now there is evil in Baga’s thought, evils of the mind and of feelings. Baga is mourning, Baga is rolling in tears, Baga is sobbing,  Baga is gnashing teeth, for everyone in Baga has witnessed to tears.

In addition to these woes, we have the alarming situation in which ordinary and normal protests or disagreements are condemned through the prism of religious and ethnic coloration.  We have a ruling class that has become a byword for a bizarre and berserk variant of kleptocracy. Unfortunately, the Nigerian post-colonial state has proved itself to be incapable of arbitrating or mediating anything, except when it comes to the deployment of gratuitous and autistic violence against different constituting units and nationalities. Like a childlike monstrosity, the Nigerian bandit leadership is frozen in conception as an instrument of Colonial Terror against captive nationals, like in the case of Baga, utterly incapable of coming up with an organic structure that will satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of its captured natives. Presiding over all this is a president who reminds one of a boy-emperor handed an empire as a toy rigged with explosives.

Baga will come out of this and move on. But Baga will not forget that it was once tormented and its tormentors were being begged to be rewarded. It will also not forget in a hurry that it once had heartless protectors. Like a friend said, we need to wait till 2015 to know if there are also no heartless voters in Baga. At the moment, Baga please take heart and move on.

By Jonah Ayodele Obajeun. He blogs @www.obajeun.com. Reach him on twitter via @Obajeun

INTERVIEW: Obasanjo, El-Rufai and I — Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar bares it all

Atiku Abubakar was the Vice-President during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration between 1999 and 2007. The founding member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party shares his experience in the party and the privatisation exercise under his leadership in this online interview with LEKE BAIYEWU

 

As a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, why did you leave your party for the opposition Action Congress in 2006?

I had to leave because I was pushed to the limit. You know what happened during that period and we don’t have to go through it all over again. A scheme was introduced, by which I and my supporters were removed from the party under the guise of re-registration. Of course, the bigger scheme was to ensure that I did not succeed my boss (Olusegun Obasanjo). You saw how the cards were stacked against me to pursue my presidential aspiration under PDP. They had me suspended from the party, even beyond the length of time permitted by the PDP constitution. The party rejected and flouted all courts orders in respect of my rights as a party member.

Events were unfolding rapidly and I had a deep conviction that with the help of the courts, we could establish a precedent to ensure that no one trampled upon the rights of citizens – not just I – and got away scot-free. I was eventually compelled to seek alternative platform to prove this point and to advance my aspiration. That was how I joined others to found the Action Congress.

 

Why did you later dump AC to go back to the PDP, despite your vow never to do so?

Don’t forget that I was among the founding members of the PDP. I was forced to leave the party and I joined AC then because forces in the party (PDP) were ferociously determined to frustrate me at all costs. However, when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was elected as the President, he initiated the policy of reconciliation and appealed to aggrieved members to return. The committee for this purpose was headed by former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme.

I invested energy, time and political capital in the formation of the PDP and, therefore, because of that sentimental attachment, I responded to the policy of reconciliation and returned to the fold. Should you blame a child for reconciling with his parents after he ran away over disagreement? The circumstances of my departure from PDP are well known to Nigerians. When I returned, I did so to promote the growth of what I helped to build in the first place.

Basically, the destruction of internal democracy in PDP made me to leave the party against my will. You are aware of the policy of de-registration of certain party members by the former President. My supporters and I were the target of this hostile and anti-democratic policy. I was between the rock and the hard place and, ultimately, I was technically expelled from PDP by the hand-picked party national executives. It is, therefore, unfair for anybody to describe my departure from PDP as opportunistic, considering the insurmountable and deliberate obstacles laid on my path by the former President (Obasanjo) and the party national leadership.

 

When you were the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation and also as former Vice- President, you were accused of selling major public corporations to political office holders, including yourself. One of such is Pentascope. How true is it that the privatisation process was shady?

These allegations are not new. The interesting thing is that those spreading these allegations couldn’t come forward with any iota of proof against me. You forgot that I was accused of selling African Petroleum to myself, using a front. However, when the facts eventually emerged in respect of this particular allegation, my traducers were disarmed and were forced to retreat. Indeed, I was the most investigated public office holder under the former administration and, if this allegation was valid, it could have been conveniently used to bring me down and tarnish my name. Thank God I survived this smear campaign, just like others before it.

The Senate conducted a public hearing on privatisation under my leadership as the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation. That was the best opportunity for those accusing me of selling public assets to myself to come forward to prove the allegation. Surprisingly, they never did because they relied mainly on hearsay. A cabinet member in Obasanjo’s government, who was promoting this idle rumour, was eventually left looking small because he didn’t have the facts to substantiate his allegations against me.

On Pentascope, one would have expected your paper to direct the questions to El-Rufai himself. The Pentascope scandal was one of the issues investigated by the National Assembly and it accused El-Rufai of ignoring wise counsel by imposing the company on NITEL. Despite proven allegations that Pentascope was not financially capable and technically competent to handle NITEL management contract, the former Bureau of Public Enterprise Director-General ignored public outcry and forced the Dutch company on NITEL. Before the coming of Pentascope, NITEL was making an estimated N100bn profit annually. However, as soon as Pentascope took over, NITEL’s profits were nose-diving incredibly. With telecom stakeholders, the National Assembly and the Nigerian public insisting that the imposition of Pentascope on NITEL was ruinous to national interest, the Federal Government eventually cancelled the management contract against El-Rufai’s desire. I had no hand, absolutely, no connection or knowledge of how that company was brought into Nigeria.  Curiously, El-Rufa’i avoided the Pentascope issue in his book, “The Accidental Public Servant.” Therefore, if there is anybody to explain the details of the Pentascope scandal, it is El-Rufai himself. The fact of the contract are like this: Obasanjo agreed with the NCP that the former BPE DG was wrong not to have disclosed his interest and that he had failed the test of transparency by not disclosing that his brother was on the board of Motorola. I know you are very familiar with the laws of the federation. You know, for instance, that it is a very serious offence to fail, refuse or neglect to disclose your interest whether directly or through someone else, in dealing with such an important transaction. But, the President in his wisdom decided that the contract be split into three, with each of the contenders, Motorola, Ericsson and the Chinese company – I think Huawei – taking a portion. As if to vindicate the NCP, by 2007 when we left office, the two others apart from Motorola had completed their own contracts. You can go and find out if they (Motorola) have finished.

 

El-Rufai, has challenged you to explain what happened with the NITEL GSM contract that Motorola lost to Ericson, despite the American company submitting the lowest bid? What is your explanation?

Personally, I dislike the idea of exchanging words with the former FCT minister over this issue. But for the sake of your question, I would like Nigerians to be smart enough to read between the lines. Why does the former FCT minister treat the Motorola issue with such persistent personal bitterness? Why is he making it a heavy matter? Anybody can play to the gallery and deceive the people. Transparency is a key issue of conducting any business, including privatisation. Conflict of interest is inconsistent with transparency. If you are a privatisation head and you have a relationship with a particular person connected with one of the companies making bids, it is a moral and legal duty to disclose that relationship or interest. Pretending that you have no relationship with the person who is rooting for a particular bidder is not altogether tidy and transparent. If he had no interest in a particular company for sentimental reasons, why is he making too much fuss about Motorola losing the bid? Did El-Rufai accuse me of promoting Ericsson because I had any connection with the company directly or indirectly? If, indeed, I had promoted Ericsson for personal interest, Obasanjo wouldn’t have let me get away with it. He would have exposed me and disgraced me, and even ordered my prosecution.

 

Why is it that these corporations have relatively failed, despite being run by private investors?

I don’t agree with you that privatisation has failed altogether, despite the challenges some of the new investors are facing.  The GSM operators in the country are doing well, despite their challenges caused by infrastructural problems in the country. Look at banks and ports, they all are doing well. Some of the new investors are finding difficulties, maybe as a result of the scope of the challenges or ill-preparation. Some of them have resorted to asset stripping rather than restoring the companies to functional state and start production to create jobs, such as the Ajaokuta Steel Plant. Large-scale privatisation is relatively new in Nigeria and some of the new investors appear to have swallowed more than they can chew. But the privatisation exercise under me was a narrative of huge success, not of failure.

 

How could the proposed amendment to the PDP constitution seeking to make President Goodluck Jonathan the sole presidential candidate in 2015 affect your ambition?

As a loyal PDP member, I am keenly watching this development and could do anything within democratic means and internal mechanisms of conflict resolution to tackle this challenge. As the ruling party that boasts to be the largest in Africa, the PDP should set standards for internal democracy which should be a template for other parties. In fact, they (members) should not only be proud of its size but also of its credibility in the eyes of Nigerians. Promoting the principles of democracy is the bedrock on which the PDP was founded in 1998 by like-minded Nigerians. Therefore, any attempt to stifle internal democracy, make level playing field impossible and imposing a candidate on the party before the elections would damage the perception of the party. I am happy that the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, has been speaking along these lines. President Jonathan is entitled to seek the party ticket but that doesn’t mean others should be shut out completely through a party constitutional amendment. This amendment is unnecessary because it would set precedents that would undermine the democratic principles to which the party declared to be committed. Nothing gives us psychological satisfaction and ease better than winning fairly. With this amendment, however, can the PDP improve its public perception and convince fellow members that it is committed to fairness, transparency and a level playing field in the conduct of its internal affairs? If we don’t reject this amendment now, it would produce problems in the future that the party may find too embarrassing to handle. This effort to amend the constitution to please the ambition of any individual is in bad faith. In fact, it defeats the whole purpose of the policy of reconciliation and re-uniting aggrieved former members.

 

If the PDP goes ahead with the amendment to make Jonathan the sole candidate in 2015 without primaries, would you be tempted to join the All Progressives Congress as you recently applauded the merger of opposition parties which aims to oust your party?

Provided PDP members are free to vote according to their conscience or personal convictions of what is right, the amendment may face tough opposition. The sanctity of the democratic principles on which the PDP was founded should not be sacrificed on the grounds of expediency to gratify the ego of individual leaders. Should we mutilate a whole legal document by which a party is run for the sake of anyone else’s ambition or ego? President Jonathan can throw this hat into the ring, if that is what he wants. It is important, however, that the process of his nomination by the party should be open, fair, just and transparent. The contest should be conducted through open primaries. Other party members should be allowed to participate in the primaries. If they ultimately lose to Jonathan through a fair contest, they will embrace and congratulate him. What is wrong with open primaries or level-playing ground? Amending the PDP constitution for the sake of making President Jonathan the sole candidate is absolutely unnecessary. Exclusion in the nomination of candidates amounts to imposition which is inconsistent with democratic practice. I have read all manners of arguments by proponents, saying that the American system gives the option of first refusal to the incumbent and that the PDP should do the same. That is very misleading.

In the first place, it is not true that American incumbents are not challenged at party primaries; there is no such rule in the United States. The late Senator Edward Kennedy mounted a vigorous challenge against the then incumbent Jimmy Carter. Although Carter won, the contest went down to the wire. It was resolved through a vote at the nomination convention of the Democratic Party. On the second aspect of your question, I wish to make a clarification. As a loyal PDP member and as one of the founding fathers, I couldn’t have said the emergence of APC is good for the death of PDP. What I said in Ibadan was that, with the emergence of APC, a two-party system seems to be unfolding in the country and that this development is consistent with my advocacy for a two-party system in Nigeria. I never said the merger of opposition parties as you alleged is good for the ouster of PDP from office.

 

Can you shed more light on the controversy surrounding your membership of the PDP Board of Trustees?

On my alleged removal as a member of the Board of Trustees of PDP, I do not wish to engage in speculation. No one has communicated such decision to me yet. It would, however, be unfortunate if it turns out to be true. As I said, it would be a setback for the policy of reconciliation embarked upon by the Alex Ekwueme-led committee. This move is like undoing the positive outcome of what Dr. Ekwueme had achieved in that respect.

 

Is it true that President Jonathan signed a one-term agreement with the North?

With the zoning policy of the PDP virtually dead, talking about agreements at this point is somehow a tricky issue. I am not sure I am in the right position to talk about what you call the one-term agreement. Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State recently referred to that agreement or understanding. A gentleman’s word should be his bond. I contested against Jonathan during the 2011 PDP presidential primaries and, therefore, anything I say now might be subject to misinterpretation. Because of this fact, I don’t want to belabour the points about agreements or understandings. I am, however, primarily concerned about the image of my party in the eyes of Nigerians. Changing rules or the constitution of the party for the sake of expediency is not my idea of honour. If we conveniently live in denial or pretend that the party didn’t reach any understanding on anything, then who would take us seriously? How can you be a beneficiary of something and later pretend that the policy that put you in office is no longer relevant? The emergence of (House of Representatives) Speaker Aminu Tambuwal against the party insistence on zoning was a consequence of abandoning principle for the sake of expediency. With the election of Tambuwal as the Speaker, following the party’s declaration that zoning was dead, the PDP leadership was morally disarmed to prevent the emergence of Tambuwal as Speaker in the so-called breach of zoning policy – the same power sharing formula, which the party declared dead. Such is the consequence of hypocrisy.

The election of Tambuwal was a most embarrassing moment for the PDP. If you rejected zoning for the nomination of President Jonathan, what moral right do you have to tell lawmakers to elect their Speaker based on zoning, which you discarded?

When people are blinded by expediency, they hardly foresee the consequences of opportunism. Today, the President is from the South-South geopolitical zone; Vice­-President, North-West;  President of the Senate, North-Central;  Speaker of the House of Representatives, North-West; Chief Justice of Nigeria, North-West; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, South-East; Deputy Senate President, South-East;  and Deputy Speaker, South-East. This wasn’t the intention of the abandoned zoning policy, but we have to live with this unpleasant reality because of the myopic attitude of some people. The South-West is today crying very loudly about marginalisation, thanks to the abandonment of zoning for the sake of expediency. This issue is not about Atiku but about the imperative of sustaining arrangements that would guarantee every section of Nigeria access to the nation’s highest public office. We have been called names by people that benefitted from this arrangement. Zoning had successfully achieved the objectives of equitable power sharing. If anybody now says zoning is not good, that wouldn’t change the reality of its benefits. The arrangement had significantly reduced the fear of domination by any section or group over others.

 

Would you, as a president grant amnesty to Boko Haram?

If I were the President, I would have no hesitation to throw the ball into the court of the Boko Haram leaders. As was case with the Niger Delta militancy, I would declare amnesty for the sect members with a deadline within which to surrender their arms. With the expiration of the deadline, if the sect members don’t lay down their arms, then my government would be in a better position to face its critics that accuse it of not taking the initiative. The deadline for the surrender of arms would show whether the Boko Haram fighters want peace or not.

 

Do you see the revived Peoples Democratic Movement as strong enough to stop Jonathan from winning election?

I have nothing personally against President Jonathan. The issue here is about principle and internal democracy. This is not about PDM; it is about a struggle to entrench internal democracy. Should we destroy everything internal democracy stands for just for the sake of forcing anybody into line to support only one contestant? The PDP, like any political organisation, is a convergence of various political interests and forces that came together to form the party, as it is today. I would work together with all stakeholders within the PDP to bring about positive change from within PDP. This issue is not merely about PDM. The principle behind my struggle is beyond the PDM.

 

via Punch

INTERVIEW: Somebody once advised me to be like Reno Omokri, so I can also ‘make it’, instead of ‘making noise’ – Pius Adesanmi

Professor Pius Adesanmi is arguably the most restless public intellectual in Nigeria today. He needs no introduction to millions of Nigerians that regularly visit leading web-based platforms like Nigeria Village Square, Sahara Reporters and Premium Times. Beyond those new media platforms, his essays on contemporary issues are also usually published in other less known blogs and sites, just as his satires are widely circulated via twitter and facebook. So, in today’s social media-driven Nigeria, it is highly unlikely that there are internet-savvy, politically conscious Nigerians that have not come across Adesanmi’s essay.

After two weeks of trying, Jarushub editor, Suraj Oyewale, was able to get hold of the Kogi-born, Canada-based professor.

Enjoy the interview…

 

 Let’s start from your background. Can you give me a brief insight into your growing up?

Ah – the background question! I don’t seem to be able to escape this question these days even if many of my popular essays are windows into my childhood and boyhood in Isanlu, Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi state.  Many of the essays in my book of creative non-fiction, You’re not a Country Africa, also tell my coming of age story.

My Dad, the late Alfred Dare Adesanmi, and my Mom, Lois Adesanmi, are both from Isanlu. That makes me a proud Yagba man and a privileged bearer of the intellectual flag of Okun people. I have described myself as belonging to the transitional generation which witnessed the collapse of Nigeria’s ethical foundation. We are now between forty and sixty-years-old.

During my formative years, Isanlu, like the rest of Okunland, was a bucolic world in which an unfinished modernity meshed seamlessly with a certain traditional world in retreat. Pre-prosperity Pentecostal versions of Christianity had an uneasy co-existence with colourful forms of traditional spirituality. I recall egungun (masquerade) and Ogun festivals. I recall oro and imole festivals. Although Christians and Moslems treated these traditional spiritualities with contempt and condescension, there was in fact a meeting point in terms of the ethos and regimes of morality which governed society and dictated the pedagogies with which children were raised.

My parents, for instance were staunch Roman Catholics. Indeed, it is safe to say that Dad and Mom were more Catholic than the Pope. I was, therefore, raised with a heavy Catholic hand. My parents have only three of us. I have two elder sisters, so I am the youngest child and the only son. But I do not recall growing up with less than a dozen cousins and nephews living with us at any given time. And we were all subject to the same strict moral and ethical codes dictated by my parents’ subscription to the codes of Christian parenting as well as traditional modes of shaping behavior. I am saying that for all the Catholicism, the omoluabi principles they instilled in us were informed by culture and tradition and fed by traditional spiritualities. One’s sense of taboo, of avoiding bad behaviour devolved as much from not wanting to offend particular gods and ancestors as it did from the Christian text.

Another thing about my background – you can guess this one – is books. My Dad and Mom were both educationists. They were secondary school principals in the missionary tradition of yore. In fact, Dad was a student in Dundee, Scotland, when the first wave of Catholic secondary schools were founded in Okunland – St Augustine’s College, St. Monica’s College, St. Barnabas’ College, all in Kabba; St Kizitos College, Isanlu, etc. The then Bishop of Lokoja Diocese, Bishop Auguste Delisle, from Québec, Canada, reached out to Catholic sons of Okunland overseas to come home and work in the newly established colleges. This was in the early 1960s.

There was also the desire on the part of these people to return home from the white man’s land and build their newly-independent country, Nigeria. My father was part of the generation that answered Bishop Delisle’s call in the 1960s. He returned home from Scotland and was appointed Principal of St Kizito’s College, Isanlu. At the time, a certain Reverend Father John Onaiyekan, who was ordained in 1969, was the parish priest of our local Catholic church in Isanlu and was also teaching at St. Kizito’s college.

My father brought home from Scotland a ‘bad’ habit I will call bibliophilia. My father read extremely widely. He was trained in history. In fact, when he returned home from Europe, he went on to do his Masters in History at the Ahmadu Bello University, where he was a student of the great Professor Abdullahi Smith. My formative years meant monthly trips with my father to University bookshops in Ilorin, Ife, and Ibadan to buy books for the family library. Can you imagine that? The man would earn his pay, jump into his car with his son, and take off to buy books. He collected books in every imaginable discipline: History, literature, geography, sociology, archeology, etc.  He would tell me that he could tolerate anything but a mind that has not read books. He made me read. He made me acquire an unquenchable thirst for erudition.

That is how I came to acquire more erudition outside of institutional frameworks than what I read at school during my formative years.  School was the easy part. My father’s library at home was where I did the heavy lifting under his supervision. Halfway through secondary school, I had finished abridged versions of most of Shakespeare and the Greek classics. I had exhausted virtually every novel in the African Writers Series because Dad had the complete collection at the time. I had read very widely in African precolonial and colonial history. Homer, Aeschylus,  Sophocles, Euripides, Ovid, Virgil, etc, were not names I encountered in formal schooling. They were spirits I encountered in my father’s library at home, long before I had reached the level in literary studies when they became part of the curriculum. Dad subscribed to Time MagazineNewsweek, and Reader’s Digest. Can you imagine that? We received those magazines weekly at the local post-office in Isanlu when I was growing up! They were part of my intellectual diet.

 

You are a multi-talented writer.  I’m not a man of letters, but from the little I know of literature, I know you write poems and your collection, The Wayfarer and Other Poems, won the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize in 2001.  Your book, You’re not a country, Africa, won the Penguin Prize for African Writing in 2010.  Your essays are also usually satirical and you deploy Yoruba proverbs and wise cracks that make one want to read them over and over again.  You are also a public intellectual, delivering lectures all over the world. How do you juggle all these?

Did you just describe me there? I don’t know this guy you are talking about o! Ok, my Dad is also the culprit here. If you look for my essay, “Pace Setters” online, you’ll see my description of Dad as the culprit who ruined my football “set” games with his intellectual terrorism. You know what it means to wait all evening for your own “set” (five-a-side soccer game) and be summoned in a patriarchal voice by your Dad to come and study. Dad was an absolute killjoy. He ruined my games. And he wasn’t just satisfied with allotting me novels, plays, poems, history books etc. I had to write essays about each book I read. He graded my work meticulously. I read and wrote and wrote and read. Dad graded and graded and graded.

The wide variety of texts he exposed me to and required me to write reactions to necessitated my learning to write in an eclectic format. But I realize that there also has to be talent. There has to be a certain gift you are born with. So, maybe Dad only honed what his genes had already guaranteed in me.

Today, my Muses are the terrorists who keep me awake all night. They are terrible spirits. I never can tell what they are going to make me write: a poem, satire, a personal essay, etc. They torment me until I deliver. After each inspired essay, I feel really drained and mentally exhausted, like a woman who just delivered a baby. The public intellectual part I already explained in a previous interview I granted the magazine, African Writing (http://www.african-writing.com/eleven/adesanmi.htm). The editor of the magazine says I suffer from what he calls the militant intellection complex. I agree with him.

I must however add that public intellection is a heavy burden and a terrible fate. It is no tea party. I did not choose to be one. Public intellection is a path that chose me. “Follow the paths that chose you”, my friend, Odia Ofeimun, screams in a poem. That is exactly what I am doing – following the path that chose me.

I agree that juggling all these things with a busy academic career is not easy. I still have to teach my undergraduate classes and graduate seminars full time. I still have to write and publish literary theory essays in refereed academic journals and edited books. I currently have a Banting post-doctoral fellow working with me in addition to supervising two doctoral candidates. I am active as an external examiner for Ph.D students from South Africa to the United States and Canada. And you will have noticed that I don’t repeat lectures. The keynote lecture I delivered at the University of Toronto this past February 15 is different from the one I delivered one week later at Penn State University. The keynote lecture I delivered last November at the annual convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors in Uyo is different from the SNG lecture I delivered two days later in Lagos.

The regularity of these invited lectures means that they have to be written on the run, even as you see my weekly columns and as you follow my public instruction activism on Facebook. But I get by. I get by.

 

Who are your mentors in the literary world?

Three of my teachers at Titcombe College took a strong interest in my flair for writing, mentored, and encouraged me. I owe everything to Mr Funsho Medaiyedu, my English Literature teacher, Mr Tunde Iluromi, my French teacher, and Mr. Dele Dada, my history teacher. Apart from my teachers, all the writers I have read in the world’s great literary traditions are my mentors. If you are a writer, every piece of prose you read from the masters is like a subconscious blood transfusion. A writer’s blood is a confluence of many prose transfusions.

Apart from the masters of African prose, apart from the masters of black diasporic prose (we call that the Black Atlantic in literary theory), I look at the European tradition across times and climes and see mentors from Balzac to Flaubert, from Tolstoy to Dostoievski, from Dickens to Orwell. I look at the Americas and see mentors from Borges to Garcia Marquez, from Carlos Fuentes to Vargas Llosa, from Jorge Amado to Reinaldo Arenas. I look at the United States and Canada and see mentors from William Faulkner to John Dos Passos, from Ringuet to Margaret Atwood. Odia Ofeimun took a personal supervisory interest in my writing when I was in Ibadan in the early to mid-1990s. So did Professor Niyi Osundare who still picks up the phone regularly to check in on my writing.

Your contemporaries can also be your mentors. During my Ibadan years, I was surrounded by a pool of writers whose impact on my work is not negligible. Nothing today comes to close to the fraternity I enjoyed with Harry Garuba, Remi Raji, Nduka Otiono, Akin Adesokan, Toni Kan, Charles Ogu, Unoma Azuah, Omowumi Segun, Toyin Adewale-Gabriel, Promise Okekwe, Chiedu Ezeanah, Simeon Berete, Obi Nwakanma, EC Osondu, Maik Nwosu, Nehru Odeh, David Diai, Sola Olorunyomi and so many wonderful writers. Lola Shoneyin is like my Siamese twin in Nigerian letters. We have come a long way and we always encourage each other. Ogaga Ifowodo is ‘family’ and I draw inspiration from his work.

I draw mentorship from the work of Amatoritsero Ede, Victor Ehikhamenor, Afam Akeh, Nnorom Azuonye, Uche Nduka, and Obu Udeozo. Among the great Francophone African writers of my generation, Abdourahman Ali Waberi has been my brother and companion since we met in South Africa at the Time of the Writer in 1998. I am also close to the Cameroonian novelist, Patrice Nganang. Reading my work, the mentorship of D.O. Fagunwa and other master Yoruba prose stylists is unmistakable. My prose blood group is rich and chaotic. Too many writers have donated mentorship prose-blood for the transfusion that you encounter in my writing.

 

Now, let’s go to Nigerian politics: I have been a follower of your articles for some years now, and have always told people that care to listen that you and Sonala Olumhense are the most vocal, perhaps most  radical, columnists and public intellectuals  in Nigeria today. What motivates your political writings/criticisms?

First, as a public intellectual, I am a product of all the great “isms” of the global radical left – which you can already delineate from my description of my reading diet, starting from my father’s library when I was a kid. That training ingrained a keen appetite for fairness and justice in my psyche at a very early age. Wide reading and my subsequent ideological development only sharpened that incipient sense of radical social commitment.

I’ve been a student of French public intellectuals for several decades. From them, I learnt about the immense power of ideas. Emile Zola altered the course of French – and perhaps European society – with just one public letter, “J’Accuse (I accuse). And we know the impact of the generation of the “engaged” philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Albert Camus as they shaped society with their cerebral power and opposed the colonial beast of the French state in Vietnam and Algeria.

When your mind has been shaped by this kind of radical interventionist tradition at the level of ideas, a society like Nigeria becomes increasingly offensive. Nigeria offends me profoundly and fundamentally in terms of our sorry postcolonial history and trajectory. Nigeria offends me because she is unfair and unjust. Nigeria offends me because she offers the bizarre situation in which less than 200, 000 buffoons in the political élite have ensured that about 160 million people may never arrive in the 21st century in my lifetime. Travel sharpens the pain and the awareness. Forget about Europe. Forget about North America. The tragedy, the disappointment that is Nigeria is flung in your face when you travel as extensively in Africa as I do.

Let me tell you, as an undergraduate student of French, I spent a year abroad in Togo. Togo was my first ever experience of spending a whole year on earth without electricity blinking even for one second. And to think that more than 20 years after this experience in Togo, some pro-establishment idiots still go about on social media asking Nigerians to be thankful whenever they enjoy maybe one week of uninterrupted electricity! We are being asked to be grateful for less than what the Togolese enjoyed 20 years ago! This sort of unacceptable situation nourishes my career as a public intellectual and a radical columnist.

Living in the diaspora should make any Nigerian of good conscience as restless as I am. It should instill the desire in us not to cut Nigeria any slack, not to tolerate the merchants of mischief and illusion who sell mediocrity to our people, claiming that Rome was not built in a day. Like my friend, Yomi Okusanya, always says, it is criminal to live abroad and justify or rationalize the tragedy that is Nigeria.

My responsibility is to refuse to accept any excuses for why Nigerians cannot ride in the kinds of trains that Canadians use today. I cannot ride in jet-age trains here and be happy and content that my people in Nigeria are riding in poorly refurbished World War locomotives doing Lagos to Kano in 36 hours and are being asked to be grateful for that privilege in the 21st century. To reject this sort of insult on behalf of the Nigerian people is what motivates my public intellectual work.

 

As a government critic, will you ever commend a government if they do something commendable? Or is it just about looking at the lowpoints of government alone?

Of course. I actually have a history of commending government officials when they perform well and credibly. Long before people began to pay serious attention to Babatunde Raji Fashola, I wrote an essay, “Babatunde Fashola, the Loner of Sodom”. Google it and see what I had to say about the man. People forget that and brandish my criticism of Fashola’s purchase of Toronto junk trains as evidence that I don’t commend government officials when they perform.

You are familiar with my positive writings about our friend, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, even when it became dangerous for my reputation as the man progressively became enamoured of curious actions and reckless talk sure to guarantee him negative press. I am very fond of SLS but I reserve the right to use my koboko publicly on him in my columns whenever he veers off reason and logic. Look at all the rubbish he was doing last year in the name of corporate social responsibility. Although he explained things to me in an email, I did not buy his yeye argument. He went about doing Father Christmas in Kano and in some Universities, doling out money and sending all the wrong symbolic signals. In Nigeria’s environment of overwhelming fiscal brigandage, the CBN governor ought to be a symbol of fiscal moderation and responsibility. When credible people like SLS begin to spend money like a drunken sailor, charlatans like Godswill Akpabio will take their cue. That’s why I was very vocal in criticizing SLS in social media at the time.

In addition, you do know my overall favourable opinion of Nasir El Rufai because of his work in Abuja, despite the considerable criticism he attracts. You also must not forget that my intervention in how Nigeria is run is not always public. At my level – I hope I am not being immodest – I have access to very high levels in Nigeria indeed. I have access to numerous political ‘ogas at the top’. It comes with the territory of public intellection. My experience with Nigerian officials is that they listen and respect you a lot once they know that you are real and you are offering your viewpoint selflessly and out of patriotic zeal. They only disrespect those running after them for kola, contracts, and appointments. Once they know you are above that level and you have followership, they are in fact grateful when you call them to offer advice.

Therefore, my praxis is a combination of using my weekly column as a koboko and active intervention via telephone advocacy. I do telephone intervention if I believe that picking up the phone and sharing positive ideas with a government official might be more effective than writing a column. With regard to acknowledging their tentative and often pyrrhic positive steps, I just don’t like to do it under duress or in response to some yeye pressure by pro-establishment noisemakers who go about browbeating people for “balanced or constructive criticism”, their euphemism for praise singing.

Some would even want to impose a quota on you. They go about saying write positive things, as if you must invent good news when it does not exist. I don’t tolerate that nonsense at all. Government officials have a surfeit of praise singers anyway. They are “ogas at the top” and everybody praises them. They swim in unmerited praise. What they lack in sufficient numbers are people who talk unvarnished sense to them. My critical voice is very important to me. It shall not join the ranks of praise singers.

 

With the experience with Reuben Abati, and maybe Segun Adeniyi, Nigerians have become quite skeptical about fiery public commentators. Will you ever consider accepting a spokesmanship appointment with a Nigerian government if offered? Or any appointive office with government?

Ha ha ha, et tu, Suraj! This is a question friends and foes, admirers and adversaries alike have thrown at me over the years in my various spheres of public engagement. These days, it is not uncommon for me to receive close to a hundred messages per day in my Facebook inbox and nearly half of those messages would come from Nigerians all over the world literally pleading with me not to betray them because they have been betrayed by too many activist public intellectuals in whom they invested a lot of hope, only to see such fellows end up as carrion eaters from the master’s table.

Reuben Abati’s tragic choice has been elevated into something of a national injury in the Nigerian psyche. Nigerians have taken his treachery personal and he may never recover from this disaster. His degrees, his brilliance, didn’t prevent him from underestimating the credibility and symbolic capital he had built with the Nigerian people and everything has come crashing.

Segun Adeniyi is my friend – no, make that my brother, he is my brother – and he too made a judgment call I vehemently disagree with, hence the biting satirical war I waged against him throughout the time he spent with the oppressor. Today, he too is still managing the consequences of his problematic decision. Unlike Abati, I at least can claim to understand the rationalizations that went through Segun’s mind as he went in. Segun will not be the first credible and progressive intellectual to fall prey to such rosy rationalizations. He will not be the last.

Nigeria provides such intractable challenges that fighting the system from the outside, year in year out, and not seeing any tangible results could lead the activist, the progressive, the public intellectual, into the attractive fallacy of the individual catalyst of change from within. You get tired of being Cassandra. Cassandra is that lady in Greek mythology who was given the gift of vision and prophecy but cursed that nobody would believe her. Cassandra can see the future of society and prophecy about it but she is condemned to scream herself hoarse without a single soul believing her. That is the position of the Nigerian progressive activist versus power in Nigeria. We are Cassandra. Power never believes what we see and scream about our the future of Nigeria. After years of being Cassandra and not being believed, your mind begins to tell you that, perhaps, you could go in and engineer change from within in little installments.

I have seen intellectuals and activists go in based on this rationalization. They are going to be the miracle worker from within. They are going to wield the magic wand from within. But we are familiar with the consistent and unchanging denouement of this scenario. Where they survive, they come out with a badly damaged reputation and a severely undermined public image, having made zero impact on the culture of corruption and cronyism they went in to change.

Now, what do the Cassandra intellectual figures who embrace government appointments to become miracle workers from within and my readers in the public sphere – including you, Suraj – who are uneasy, predicting that it is only a question of time before I “join them” by accepting a political appointment; what do you all have in common? Well, your position is informed by a certain perverse idea of service in our national consciousness. This is also tied to a broader perverse notion of “making it” that came with the military.

For my father’s generation, “service to Nigeria”, was whatever you were called upon to do in your station in life. My father was a college principal his entire life. For him, he was serving and that opportunity to serve Nigeria by moulding her children meant “he had arrived”. He had “made it”. Somewhere along the line, our values were perverted. To serve, to make it, became synonymous with “eating” after a political appointment. So, when people ask me if I would be willing to serve Nigeria if called upon, I retort: but I have been called into the service  of Nigeria by my intellectual gifts and talent.

I am already serving. I have spent several years now in public pedagogy and conscientization. That is service to Nigeria. There is of course also the tragic sense in that question about whether I would accept to “join the government”. There is the pre-supposition that I am somehow yet to make it and I am only waiting for my turn. This is a reflection of the psychological damage that has been done to our people.

At the risk of being immodest, I am on top of my game in the world of scholarship and ideas. I have won the ANA Poetry Prize and the Penguin Prize for African Writing. I am a sought-after speaker by Universities across the world. Yet, somehow, within our modes of valuation in Nigeria, I am yet to “make it”. Somebody even advised me once to try and be like Reno Omokri, a young man who has “made it”, instead of making noise all the time. In his estimation, a University don in Canada who has won an international literary prize can’t be deemed to have “made it” unless he becomes a political jobber in Nigeria. Suraj, I am not just a political crusader. I am a social crusader and part of my brief is the struggle to repair the psychological damage to our people.

Part of my praxis is to teach our people that entry into the corridors of power, “joining government”, is not the only way to serve Nigeria, not the only way to make it. That is why I recently used the example of Joe Okei-Odumakin as an opportunity to teach our youth that there are other philosophies of “making it” beyond what has been taught them by our perfidious political elite. We need to teach our people what that line, “the labour of our heroes past”, means. The “labour” referenced in our national anthem is not political prostitution in the corridors of power. That “labour” was carried out in every sphere of life by dedicated Nigerians – farmers, teachers, traders, market women, mechanics, vulcanizers, etc.

That labour gave us the groundnut pyramids of Kano, the cocoa plantations of the west, the food basket that are Benue state and the Middle Belt. That labour gave us the industrial resourcefulness of the east whose products we ignorantly looked down upon as “Ibo Made”. That labour gave us the civil service of my father’s generation, not the irredeemably corrupt and comatose thing we call civil service today. That was how to serve Nigeria in those days. That was how to “make it.”

So, to answer your question, I will not be “joining government”. I am not interested. Public pedagogy of the sort that I am doing is a higher, nobler calling than prostitution in government. There is nothing more satisfying than the privilege of being able to participate in public instruction, being able to be part of this vital struggle for Nigeria’s ethical rebirth. I believe that, down the road, we shall produce generations of Nigerians with loftier ideas of making it and serving the Fatherland beyond government jobbing. I want to look back, satisfied that I elected to play the role of public instructor as we worked on the consciousness of a generation of civic-minded born again Nigerians. I am talking about being born again in civics o.

 

What motivates the KickOut Siddon Look 2015 movement?  Is the struggle going to be limited to the Social media, or it will be taken to the streets?  Given that the bulk of Nigerian voters are hardly literate or hardly care about what goes on in the cyberspace, how does KOSiL 2015 intend to carry along this critical mass?

Well, since I have no Oga at the top, I don’t have to give you a temporary www.dasallwebsite for KickOut Siddon Look. I can give you our website straightaway and you and your readers can find answers to your questions there: www.kickoutsiddonlook.org. The ethical collapse that I spoke about in response to your earlier question about my willingness to serve in government stems from a broad range of factors, chief among which are the collapse of civics and the political disempowerment of our people.

I am not even talking about disempowerment under the military. I am talking about the democratization of disempowerment (apologies to the late Claude Ake) in Nigeria since we embraced the current charade in 1999. The only tangible dividend of democracy has been the broadening and all-inclusive nature of political disempowerment. The corrupt political class seems to be telling our people that everybody is equally entitled to the political disempowerment they dish out.

This disempowerment starts with zero representation of the masses in all the processes leading to the selection and election of their political representatives. What we have is a top-down democracy of scurrilous party leaders, chieftains, stakeholders, and elder statesmen. It’s a very rude and arrogant process. These characters, at Federal, state, and ward levels, just do their thing and pass down instructions to the people. When they have made their decisions and anointed their candidates, they bus our people down to go and “vote”. They give them okada motorcycles, ankara, and bags of rice. They give them money to sew the ankara.

At the end of the process, people who have had no hand whatsoever in choosing their political representatives will go about dancing and singing “winner ooo winner” all the way to the home of one useless party chieftain or godfather who will make a speech and serve them rice and amala and ewedu.  Nothing illustrates the arrogance of the ruling elite and the disempowerment of our people than the recent chest-beating confession of political rigging by the Godswill Apkabio, the drunken fisherman sailor spendthrift who is ruining the treasury of Akwa Ibom state. The people voted for someone and you go on live TV to brag that you erased the winner’s name with your own hand. It is this attitude, this acceptance and normalization of political disempowerment by our people, that we seek to erase in KickOut Siddon Look, starting with the 2015 elections, but we are also looking far beyond 2015.

KOSiL is a grassroots political movement that will combine all kinds of strategies to conscientize our people. We certainly aren’t going to limit things to social media. Our ultimate aim – we are ambitious – is to have cells in every local government area of Nigeria. It’s a lot of work but all you need to see that it can be done is to examine the mileage already covered by our founding nucleus which comprises people armed only with their patriotism and total commitment to the Nigerian people. I am speaking of Modupe Debbie Ariyo, Safiya Musa, Tunji Ariyomo, Soni Akoji, Kingsley Ewetuya, Ndubuisi Victor Ogwuda, Anodavinci Ebirim, Yommi Oni, Tunde Fagbenle, Okey Ndibe, and yours truly. These are the people who have been able to convince all the wonderful Nigerians who have signed up already and are now footsoldiering for the cause. Watch out, Nigerians, KOSiL is coming to your doorstep in your village soon!

 

Nigeria has had the misfortune of bad leaders for long and it doesn’t look like things are getting better.  Of all the names being thrown around now, who do you consider the most fit for the highest office in the land in 2015?

Suraj, you know my position about this. Things have been perverted for so long that there are no good actors in our political terrain now. The choice, as I always say, is not between good and bad presidential materials but between bad and less bad presidential materials. All the names being thrown around for now range from bad to less bad via slightly less bad. At KOSiL, we believe that Nigerians can and should come together to move beyond this paradigm. 160 million Nigerians should be able to identify credible people and work to have them represent us. Where KOSiL eventually decides to go about 2015, there will I also go!

 

What is your reaction to the state pardon recently granted to Mr. Alamieyeseigha?

My brother, why waste time talking about Goodluck Jonathan and his role model, Mr. Alamieyeseigha? The least said about these two terrible examples for our youth, the better. I’ll pass.

 

Our blog, Jarushub, recently did an article listing natural brilliance, dream, competition, calculation, optimism, environment, course, taking off early, knowing one’s and one’s teacher’s style, as the key to academic success, at least at undergraduate level . As a First Class graduate yourself, do you agree with our list?

There are two things missing from your list: hard work and good role models. Nigeria was awash with credible role models when I was an undergraduate. Yes, I worked hard to make a First Class Honours but wanting to grow up to be like the role models I looked up to was also a key ingredient of my success at the time.

That is why we cannot be talking too much and too loudly about Goodluck Jonathan and his own role model, lest our youth begin to believe that finding a way to loot, and becoming influential enough to be pardoned if you are caught, are worthier goals in life than aspiring to make a First Class Honours in a society where there aren’t even jobs for them.

 

On a lighter note, trying to reach you yesterday, you said you were in the gym. So, when you are not writing or teaching, what do you do to relax?

Ah, I don’t joke with Ebenezer Obey’s philosophy o! “Omo ti on sise dede, o ye ko l’asiko igbadun, igba ti o fi j’aiye” (a child that works very hard is also entitled to moments of pleasure and enjoyment). I party hard o. I am funky professor. And, no matter where I am in the international lecture circuit, I try to put in at least one hour of gym work out every day. I love to pump iron in the gym.  My childhood friend, Temitope Oni, one of Nigeria’s most successful medical doctors in South Africa, is envious of the six-pack belly I am working very hard to develop. I go to the gym to show him how we do it!

 

Thank you for your time, Prof.

 

This interview was first published on Suraj Oyewale’s blog, www.jarushub.com.

The ‘failure’ of #OccupyNigeria, and where we can go from here……. (#NewLeadership Series by Chude Jideonwo)

I am very proud of what Nigerians achieved this time last year, when we came together to fight an unreasonable government policy of fuel subsidy removal, and properly and effectively channeled our anger to highlight the issue of government waste.

As we mark the one-year anniversary this week, January 2012 made me proud to be a Nigerian, indeed to be alive at a time of uplifting active citizenship across the world.

There are people, especially in government, led ably by President Goodluck Jonathan who have dismissed the importance of that historic battle – crediting “failed politicians” from Bola Tinubu to Nasir el-Rufai for mobilising the people with “bottled water”.

As an entrepreneur who closed down my business and made some self-sacrifice to join hands across lines to drive that protest from Ojota to Surulere and Victoria Island and who personally secured the participation of a great number of those artistes who performed because they believed in the cause, I feel very insulted by the allusion that ordinary Nigerians who joined the protest were bribed with “bottled water”.

But, I can understand the perception. The leading lights of the protests were politicians, and when politicians get involved, things easily lose their meaning. Of course, it makes no sense to reduce a protest that involved Nigerians of every hue and stripe simply because the political opposition aligned with it, but in a paranoid Nigerian political space, I understand the push-back.

They looked at the thousands in Lagos, angry and screaming and they saw the opposition’s party vice presidential candidate, Tunde Bakare speaking to them, and our short-sighted, over-indulged leaders put two and two together – and arrived at 10.

True, Bakare was an imperfect, maybe even fatal, vessel for the aspirations of the protesters, unable to rein in his passions and overtly calling for the death of our leaders, but he certainly had earned the right to lead it. He provided a backbone of strategy and resources, and managed to build a broad coalition that went far beyond the agenda of his political party or his own narrow ideologies.

But as much as you credit him for its success, he also made the unfortunate call that broke the back of that historic movement – when he came on stage and gave in to the pressure to break up the protest for the weekend and re-assemble on Monday.

Go home and re-load for an Occupy protest? The people of Egypt and Tunisia must have thrown their heads back and laughed at the picnic we were having.

But I don’t blame Bakare. Unfortunately, I make bold to say that retreat is ingrained in the Nigerian character. As I read Chinua Achebe make his justifications for why himself and his intellectual friends agreed that Biafra should surrender to the rampaging Nigerian forces and give up the hard-won independence for which more than a million had died, I came to that conclusion that we are a people defined by retreat, or as my former pastor put it, “the spirit of almost there”.

Bakare made his call for surrender last year because the people were ready to surrender, and Bakare is a politician, and politicians listen to the people. The people he was leading had begun to grumble on Facebook and Twitter and to murmur at protest grounds across the country. They wanted a break from the protest; they had become tired.

I was in the middle of that protest, working with friends and associates to mobilise young people, and indeed it was a cause for great agony. Colleagues at my office were eager to return to work, many had lost the financial and other resources that kept the appearances of a normal life while we protested, there had been reports of breakdown of law and order across the state as hoodlums held sway, and people were just frankly, tired.

Let me also share a secret that we don’t want those in government to know: the entire protest wasn’t dependent on our will to see the course to the finish, it was sadly dependent on our hope and prayer that President Jonathan would suddenly agree with us and then reduce the pump price and would quickly declare “mission accomplished” and go back to our familiar routines. When five days after we left our jobs, he hadn’t done that, and his body language portrayed a man who was convinced he was doing the right thing, Nigerians began to second-guess themselves. That was when we lost the battle.

Bakare made the popular call, that inadvertently signaled to the powers that be that Nigerians were not really for a revolution, as it were, or even a change in approach to governance.

We looked ready, we smelt ready, we sounded ready, but no, we were not ready.

No advancing army facing a ferocious, and equally advancing enemy stops to break bread. And that was the end of that.

Let me quickly say on the subject of Biafra, I cannot even begin to understand the effects of war, and how devastating – dehumanising – it must have been for the Igbos and minority ethnic groups (of which I am one) caught in the borders of what would have been a new nation in those times. It is more likely than not that if I had been involved in that war, I would have sided with the majority and conceded. I would have chosen respite over freedom, and reason over justice. A living dog is, after all, better than a dead tiger.

Unfortunately, being “unreasonable” (and may I gratuitously affirm that this is said with all sense of responsibility) that is the nature of revolutions, and of the fight of a people to define their nations. It is the fight the people of Syria are having as we speak; one that the people of South Africa continued to the finish, one that South Sudan has fought and one that those inspiring people of Egypt have refused to stop having until their leaders do exactly what the mass of the people desire to be done.

It comes at so high a cost, that only a handful of nations per civilisation are able to begin and stay that course. Honestly? I am unconvinced that Nigerians belong to that small circle of peoples with that capacity for no retreat, no surrender.

By way of explaining this, some Nigerians have then tried to justify our culture of retreat – maybe we do not need a mass revolt; everyone after-all cannot be Egypt – and probably they are right. You could point to countries like Singapore and Malaysia and perhaps post-conflict Rwanda, and to some extent modern Ghana, and speak to quiet and steady economic transformation driven (in some cases) by popular democracy as the solid alternative to “needless” bloodshed and the sacrifice of life and limb.

That is a legitimate explanation. Unfortunately, it is neither here nor there. How do we fundamentally change our country if we will not do it by driving the fear of our collective anger into the hearts of our leaders?

There is no other choice – in the absence of a mass revolt, those who seek to drive change now need to fall back on incremental change, a collection of little drops of activity by different sectors of society that will eventually deliver what some have called the Flywheel Effect. This will involve a deliberate, sustained effort to move from business as usual in the way our country is run.

Unfortunately (maybe fortunately) incremental change is in fact the hardest change of all.

It requires a coalition of people committed to that change; it requires a singular strategy; the kind that has driven China’s economic transformation; and it requires the sitting down to work out the details and contours of the shape this change should take.

It requires leaders who have the character to think of a long game and have the vision and temperament to build the coalition mentioned above, and it will require the collectivity of aspirations where we trade off some of our demands (call it principles) in the short term in order to win a long term war and earn the change that our country needs.

Does all of this give you a headache already? Yeah, I know the feeling. That’s why some people just prefer to take a gun and get the job done faster.

Well, take some painkillers quickly. We have work ahead of us.

 – Chude Jideonwo

– Jideonwo is publisher/editor-in-chief of Y!, including Y! Magazine, Y! Books, Y! TV & YNaija.com. #NewLeadership is a twice-weekly, 12-week project to inspire action from a new generation of leaders – it ends on March 31.

Via YNaija.com

#2012Awards: Japheth J Omojuwa Distinguished Awards for Year 2012 (Full list of award winners, and some more)

#2012Awards: Japheth J Omojuwa Distinguished Awards for Year 2012 (Full list of award winners, and some more)

 

The end of the year 2012 was characterized, on Nigeria’s twitterspace, by, among other things, a series of individual and personal awards by different tweeps to people who have impressed them in one way or the other during the course of the year. Perhaps the most popular, the most comprehensive, the most recognized and most objective of these awards is the one given by one of Nigeria’s foremost advocates for positive and good governance,

Japheth J Omojuwa, a writer, blogger and social media expert of international repute.

 

Omojuwa, as he’s fondly called, using the hashtag #2012Awards on January 1st 2013 gave awards on twitter to individuals and brands who in his opinion impressed the most in the past year under different categories. We bring you a full list of the awardees, among other things.

 

#2012Awards: Japheth J Omojuwa Distinguished Awards for Year 2012 >>>

  • @omojuwa: Governor of the Year {Infrastructural Development} ~ Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom State #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Honourable Mention for Infrastructural Development ~ Sule Lamido, Jigawa State #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Honourable Mention for Infrastructural Development ~ Bar. Ibrahim Shehu Shema, Katsina State #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Most Indicted Minister in terms of volume of corruption ~ Diezani Alison Madueke , Petroleum Minister #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Most Disappointing Governor of the Year ~ Emmanuel Uduaghan Delta State #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Government Agency of the Year ~ National Emergency Management Agency NEMA #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Government Official of the Year ~ Yahaya Yusuf FCDA Development Control #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Most Wannabe Wannabe Cool Chic ~ *deleted* #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa: Most Useless Government Department ~ Consumer Protection Council ( CPC) #2012Awards
  • @omojuwa The Most Trusted Followers in times of Trouble and Twitter war 🙂 ~ My followers pre 2013 #2012Awards

 

Many people had reasons to disagree with Omojuwa’s choices in different categories of the award, and some suggested names that would have fit in better in their opinion, but almost everyone attested to the fact that Goodluck Jonathan is an absolute disgrace to the notion of Ph. D and the world’s Doctoratti, and Reno Omokri and Doyin Okupe can go home with their plaques rest assured that majority of Nigerians (on twitter) believe they are the best candidates in the categories they won.

 

For avoidance of doubt, Omojuwa made sure to point out the fact that these awards are a matter of personal judgment:

  • @omojuwa: These #2012Awards are not perfect but in my head I am giving those I sincerely believe deserve them

And for objectivity sake, he left himself, and the brands he represents, out of the running for the awards in any of the categories, but Nigerians thought better and we bring you what some of them had to say:

 

 

Perhaps the high point of the award session was when Omojuwa’s choice as Twitter Handle of the Year, Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) duly acknowledged the award with a #BOOM tweet which was followed by a New Year message to all Nigerians in Yoruba in reply to @omojuwa and @torioke. Mr. Morgan’s ‘Eku odun tuntun’ tweet took most by surprise and won the enigmatic Arsenal supporter many new fans from Nigeria.

 

We at OMOJUWA.COM congratulate all the award winners, and use this special occasion to thank all our readers for their unwavering support in the past year. We look forward to a more robust relationship with you in 2013 as we promise to bring for your reading pleasure the best blogposts from our enviable collection of talented writers.

 

We wish you all a happy and prosperous year 2013 with these words from the JJ Omojuwa: “2013 is so obedient. Tell it what you want, get to work and see it deliver”

 

 

–          Compiled by: Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook), Editor omojuwa.com

PS: If you disagree with Omojuwa’s choice in any of the categories listed above, or you have candidates for other categories not mentioned, kindly drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

REVEALED: My mother was kidnapped over fuel subsidy payments – Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

COMMENTS BY THE COORDINATING MINISTER FOR THE ECONOMY AND MINISTER OF FINANCE, DR NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA AT TODAY’S MEDIA BRIEFING

APPRECIATION

·       My heart is heavy with the news of the passing of my brothers, Governor Patrick Yakowa, General Andrew Aziza and the others who were on that last flight with them. It is indeed a great tragedy. Our sympathy and prayers go to their families. We pray for divine comfort for them in this very difficult time.

·       I want to start by thanking Almighty God for the miracle of the release of my mother, Professor Mrs Kamene Okonjo. The Almighty has, once again, come through brilliantly for me and my family. Even during the bleakest part of this terrible experience, we believed that he would give us a testimony to his goodness and He did not fail us.

·       Even as we thank God, we cannot forget so many Nigerians who have gone through the same terrible experience either as victims or families or friends of victims. Words are not enough to describe the sheer horror of the experience. The best way to honour the victims and families is to ensure that there is greater focus on kidnapping and progress in combatting it. Working with the relevant agencies under the leadership of the President, I intend to contribute my quota to helping achieve this.

·       We also thank Mr President and the First Lady who were absolutely wonderful and first rate in their support and encouragement to me and my family throughout this terrible ordeal. The President took a daily interest in the case and gave directives for appropriate action by the security agencies.

·       The security agencies also did a good job. They were very professional and enthusiastic in the discharge of their duties. I am hopeful that they will complete the job which they started so well.

·       As terrible as the experience was, the love and sympathy of Nigerians was constant and overwhelming. It helped us get through the dark moments of this five day ordeal. God heard the prayers of the millions of Nigerians who prayed for the safe return of my mother. From the bottom of my heart, I thank all those who sent messages of support and encouragement by phone, by email and in person. To those who prayed in their homes and organised prayer circles in their churches and mosques and offices, I say: Thank you. Your prayers were heard.

·       We would also like to register our appreciation for the support of Mr Vice President during this period of trial.

·       Also very deserving of our thanks are Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who coordinated activities on the ground;  Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as well as the majority of the governors who reached out to me and my family.

·       The Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Speaker

·       I am also grateful to members of the international community for their outpouring of support. Notable in this regard are:
ü  the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr David Cameron who took the trouble to write a personal note to encourage me;
ü  the United States embassy and government
ü  the Secretary General of the United Nations and the entire UN family;
ü  the President of the World Bank and former Presidents of the World Bank;
ü  the Managing Director of the IMF;
ü  the Mo Ibrahim Foundation;
ü  Bono and the One Foundation;
ü  Heads of international agencies and dignitaries

·       This experience has strengthened my faith in the country. The outpouring of love from all over the country has been simply overwhelming.  Friends, neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances offered help and encouragement in a myriad ways; even total strangers mobilised prayer groups for the safe return of my mother. We pray that God will reward their selflessness abundantly.

MY MOTHER’S EXPERIENCE

·       I can’t give all the details because we don’t want to compromise on-going investigations.

·       But I can tell you one thing: My mother suffered a great deal during this ordeal. It was only the Almighty God that rescued her from a situation that could very easily have ended tragically.

·       Apart from the emotional trauma of being violently taken away from her family and kept incommunicado for five days in a strange environment, a woman of 83 years was left without food for five days.

·       We give glory to God that she is alive today to tell the tale.

·       While she was in their custody, the kidnappers spent much of the time harassing her. They told her that I must get on the radio and television and announce my resignation.

·       When she asked why, they told her it was because I did not pay “Oil subsidy money”.

·       They also said I had blocked payment of money to certain components of the SURE-P programme.

·       These statements are, of course, not true. In the case of subsidy payments, we have been paying all marketers whose claims have been verified by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee after going through the necessary processes.

·       For marketers whose transactions are proven to be fraudulent, the position of the Jonathan government is also clear: we cannot and we will not pay. We will not back down on this. We will continue to stand firm.

·       In the case of SURE-P, there is a totally different process that I have no control over.

·       This is the right thing to do. And this, I believe is what the Nigerian people want.

October 1 2010 Bomb Blast Setup and Government Double Standard – Charles Okah Prison Letters (November 19, 2012)

October 1 2010 Bomb Blast Setup and Government Double Standard – Charles Okah Prison Letters (November 19, 2012)

CHARLES OKAH PRISON LETTERS – 08/12/2012 – THE WILL

November 19, 2012

Charles T. Okah
Single Cell Block
Kuje Prison
Abuja, Nigeria.

His Eminence
Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie
c/o Catholic Church Secretariat
Lagos, Nigeria.

Your Eminence:

October 1 2010 Bomb Blast Setup and Government Double Standard

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I hope this letter meets you well. The reasons I choose to direct this letter to you are that I am a Catholic and you are an old boy of my alma mater, St. Gregory’s College, Lagos.

I write from Kuje Prison Abuja where two other Catholics and I have been languishing in solitary confinement for 2 years on trumped-up charges relating to the October 1, 2010 bomb attack claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

My name is Charles Tonbra Okah, aka Billy Bones. On October 16, 2010 my residence in Apapa GRA was invaded by operatives of the State Security Services on the warrant that I was the suspected spokesman for MEND using the pseudonym
“Jomo Gbomo.” My eldest son, visiting from the United States where he attends the University of Kansas (KU) was also arrested.

At the SSS Headquarters Abuja where we were flown to blindfolded with our legs and hands bound, my ‘cooperation’ was solicited for something completely different to my surprise. My captors threw me a lifeline; offering me our freedom and a lucrative contract in exchange for false testimony against my
younger brother Henry, who is resident in South Africa. I was to write a false statement claiming to have been told by Henry about the bomb plot and naming the following persons as his conspirators: Former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Chief Timipre Sylva, and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. I bluntly refused.

To maintain pressure on me, I was told that my son would be implicated in the bomb matter, my containers of legitimate imports then at the Tin Can Port would be impounded and my business destroyed. I still did not budge, tossing their lifeline back with royal disdain.

When they realized I was not going to connive in their scheme, they became formal and reverted to the main reason for my arrest. I was asked for the MEND password which I told them I did not know. They bound me in a chair, took off my trousers and clamped a device to my penis. My legs were then put inside a basin of water. The device when turned on passed a high voltage of electricity to my body and I lost consciousness. This was on Monday October 18 at about 6pm. When I regained consciousness, I discovered I was at the National Hospital emergency room. I remember the doctors asking why I had trauma marks on my chest where the SSS doctor performed Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The SSS operatives
were evasive in answering questions at the hospital. That night I was released and taken to rest for the night at the State House Clinic. That was the last time a torture was carried out on me.

My son was eventually released after Mr. Femi Falana visited in the company of my wife after a month of being denied access to a lawyer. However, my containers have been impounded up to date and my bank account frozen.

The SSS stopped asking about the MEND password after Jomo Gbomo made another statement while I was in their custody but refused to still let me go because I did not cooperate earlier with them. Meanwhile in the ongoing trial in South Africa, Henry is accused of being the same Jomo Gbomo by the same people who say I am JG.

Double Standard in Kuje Prison:

On December 24, 2010 we were remanded in Kuje prison as a result of our application to be removed from the SSS detention cell. Unknown to us, the SSS passed instructions from “above” to the prison authorities to carry out “special treatment” in order to stampede us into a trial towards conviction. For 2 years we have been locked up in solitary confinement, are not allowed to exercise or get sunlight outside and are forced to sleep on the floor when bunk beds are available. Even a court order by Justice Gabriel Kolawole to the prison for a change in our confinement style was ignored after it was superseded by an ‘order from above.”

In late 2011, while locked up inside our cell block, prison officials clothed in protective apparel, face masks and gloves carried out fumigation without opening us to wait outside. Our protests fell on deaf ears and by the time they were finished we were in distress.

The Youth Corper doctor on call tried her best within her limits to the emergency she was confronted with. The poisonous gas and barbaric action reminiscent of the Nazi concentration camp infamous gas chambers, eventually led to the death of one Francis Osuwo, aka Gboko, also roped into this case by the SSS and a man I have never met before.

Interestingly, the four persons in detention were strangers to each other except for one Obi Nwabueze who is a family friend and close associate of Henry.

The fumigant whose chemical constituent were never relayed to us have affected my neurological system and I have been on a daily prescription of strong neurological medication prescribed by a neurologist of the National Hospital, Professor Bwala.

While the Boko Haram suspects at Kuje prison are allowed to worship in the prison mosque, we have never set foot in the prison chapel. They are also enjoying privileges such as cable television, radio, liberty to move within the prison walls, bunk beds to sleep on and phone calls to their families. We are
denied all of the above.

When I asked the current Controller of FCT Command the reason for the disparity, he said “the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom.” He further said the Moslem community was concerned about their welfare in custody.

Double Standard in the Court:

Even in the Courts where justice is supposed to be blind, the double standard is glaring. While Senator Ndume, accused of being a financier to Boko Haram was given bail by the same Judge presiding over our case, we have been denied bail.

I understand that this Senator was permitted by the same court to travel on his religious obligation to Mecca for the lesser Hajj while we are refused from attending mass in a chapel less than 50 meters from our cell block.

The court is willing to permit the Senator approval to travel abroad for his medical check if he can provide proof that such check up is not done locally. Meanwhile, I have been denied my application to go on a compulsory checkup which in my case is mandatory for a kidney donor, having donated my left kidney to my mother 30 years ago.

Our cases have been adjourned repeatedly for cruelly long durations. The last time I appeared in court was March 2012 and the next adjourned date is January 31, 2013, that is if that date will not be shifted again under a flimsy excuse.

All we ask is for a free and fair justice from an independent Judiciary that should release us instead of holding us as scapegoats over an obvious power show. While this government continues holding us hostage, our families are becoming destitute.

Our rights to freely worship as Catholics is being infringed by the state who have more respect for Islam when all religions should be treated equally.

Double Standards in the Polity:

The National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) was quoted as saying that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has the phone numbers of suspected Boko Haram sponsors. Later the Inspector General of Police said certain
individuals had been put on a “watch list” as suspected Boko Haram sponsors.

Now the big question is why did the government not simply have our phone numbers and put us also on its ‘watch list” while we move about freely? They did not hesitate to arrest us, clamp us on trumped-up charges and detain us on flimsy excuses. They did not merely talk, they took action even in South Africa where
my brother was arrested since 2010. Is there a better word to describe this other than hypocrisy?

The same government eager to negotiate with Boko Haram who claimed responsibility for over 100 attacks where Catholics have suffered the brunt, have refused to negotiate with MEND and continue to delude themselves that all is well.

Why would this government expect Boko Haram to unmask it leaders and negotiate when they can see that perceived leaders and supporters of MEND are being persecuted and jailed?

I welcome a fact-finding visit from the Church in the company of credible Human Rights groups to verify our allegations.

On the two occasions Kuje Prison was visited by the Bishop of Abuja during the Christmas of 2010 and 2011, he was surreptitiously steered away from where were we are held hostage and I believe he has no idea of what is going in inside Kuje prison.

Our prayers is that leaders of our Churches will be more sensitive and proactive in politics of the land that touches the lifes of their followers and not leave delicate issues solely in the hands of corrupt and selfish politicians, and majority of the population rid of a “Potiphar” mentality who believe lies when
told by SSS.

May God save our beloved country.

Yours Sincerely,

Charles T. Okah

CC: Pope Benedict, Vatican, Rome
Catholic Bishop of Abuja Diocese, Abuja FCT

“I was sick and in prison, and you visited me.”
-Matthew 25. 35, 36

 

culled from The Will Newspaper

Link HERE

#NoiseofRevolt: Buhari and Ribadu are Fools – By @Obajeun

For the singular purpose of objectivity, inasmuch as I stand to be pilloried, readers should not pooh-pooh this vignette as mere agglomeration of sentences, but as a critical step forward to taking informed decisions during and after the 2011 elections. When in 2003 I rose to immerse myself into the financially handicapped but issue-based campaign caucus of the late Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM), I discovered among other things, that a re-generational and trans-generational mental revolution was the only way out to get Nigerians on the right path. In 2003, I didn’t have any other option against the Hedonic Ogun State Mathew, than my own Gani Fawehinmi (Buhari was a lone ranger then). But Nigerians didn’t understand that there was a need for change. I was scorned at every of my campaign outing for SAM without being paid a Kobo. I just wanted Obasanjo out!  Obasanjo, you will recall, never pretended to sophistication. His training neither presupposed it, nor did his wit, which is entirely rustic and sometimes ribald. Inside the ubiquitous Lagos Molue, on the dirty streets of Lagos, at the ever busy newspaper stands in Lagos, jam-packed by the unemployed people, I was out against Aremu while canvassing votes for the then conscience of Nigeria. I was rejected everywhere, not because of anything, but because people didn’t see a need for change. Read people’s lyrics: “Gani can’t win but he is the best man”. This song became a bestseller, fuelled by the Alliance for Democracy’s grievous sin of throwing-in for the progenitor of do-or-die political shindigs in the crippling modern Nigeria.

But as the 2011 election springs on, we have so many ‘change’ mantras, including the frustrated and the pretenders, spreading goebellian propaganda to the easily swayed electorates (once you have the money). No wonder why a friend, out of rage, told me that: “imagine a Jonathan preaching the message of change!” If there is anything good in 2011, it is the singular fact that for the first time since 1999, we have many options to choose from: the Ribadus, the Buharis, the Jonathans, the Adeolas, the Bakares, the Sambos etc. For the first time too, we are having educated people (not necessary) vying for the most exalted office in Nigeria. Come to think of it, all the front runners have their peculiar personality. You think of Ribadu, courage comes to your mind. You think of Bakare, fearlessness comes to your mind. You think Adeola, professionalism comes to your mind. You think of Buhari, integrity comes to your mind. You think of Jonathan, luck comes to your mind. Besides, I am ecstatically well disposed to calling Buhari and Ribadu ‘fools’, given what Jonathan understands as ‘rascality’.

BUHARI

I don’t want to be easily hoodwinked, just like many others, that given the antecedents of Buhari, the tall one (you remember Bakare calling him that? I attend Bakare’s church in Lagos), he is the best that can spearhead the change we need. Of course, he is a better option than Babangida and Atiku (Babantiku).  What sets Buhari and Babantiku apart, and puts Buhari ahead at the moment, is the cumulative and sanitising effect of time, or what some historians and biographers describe as iconoclastic posterity. It is indeed a strange phenomenon that someone so aloof as Buhari, can work a crowd so passionately. Stranger still is the fact that he whips the crowd into frenzy, not by delicately wrought words and uplifting phrases, nor by calculated soapbox theatrics and choreographed dances, as perfected by both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), but by the simple fact of his unfathomably aloof personality. Integrity and honesty best describe this tall one.

Modern Nigeria is a fusion of boisterous and sometimes conflicting competitive ethno-religious groups in need of carefully measured but firm handling. However, if the country is not restructured, the contradictions it is groaning under today will explode in the long run. We need an iconoclast with a sublime understanding of how to situate these futuristic but urgent requirements within a wider framework of a flexible society anchored on disciplined but responsive values. Can Buhari be that man? I think so, only if he can assimilate within a very short time frame, what democratic principles are all about. One of his responses at the NN24 debate confirms my study on him. Asked at the NN24 debate how he has been faring with democratic values, Buhari said: “I spent 50 months challenging the 2007 election results in court; I didn’t go to the streets.” Is going to the streets an undemocratic engagement, especially when you are fighting a just course? Was it not on street protest that Buhari found Bakare, his running mate? I have many more reasons but for space!

Buhari has become the North’s hero, not because they think he can win nor because other parts of the country see him as competent to rule, but because they have simply fallen in love with him. After running for the presidency twice, he has demonstrated that losing twice was not enough to lure him into the sort of depressing compromises rife in Nigeria. As presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party in 2007, he insisted on going to court against his party’s wishes, and denounced the Government of National Unity which his party embraced to its peril. He has proved to be reliable, dependable, honest, self-assured and has shown he has the character to rule Nigeria with a steady, confident pair of hands. He is probably one of the few leaders in the world whose charisma has little to do with his speeches or erudition, or even his antecedents. If the turnout in the April polls is heavy in the North, it will be because of Buhari.

Given the tumultuous crowds that welcome Buhari at every stop in the North and the fairly massive crowds in the South-West, Buhari is capable of springing up surprises, though I won’t be surprised. Nonetheless, in all the talk about Buhari’s acceptability and the growing fanatical support for him, which has put Jonathan on the jittery foot, there has been little or no reference to his programmes, his suitability for high office, or even his political competence. They talk about his character, and he has it plenteous. They talk about his honesty, and he is impeccable. They talk about his courage and fearlessness, and to me, he is unsullied. And then they talk about his experience and discipline, and he is unimpeachable. But remember what they told us about the late insular of Katsina, Umaru Yar’Adua. They told us that he was honest too; they told us that he wasn’t corrupt; they told us that he has integrity. In the real sense, what we got in the long run were contradictions. Yar’Adua and all his travellers in the rickety wagon of Vision 20:2020, including Jonathan, never governed us well. I am quick to point out, with hardihood too, that by not owning a house in Abuja cannot guarantee Buhari’s ability to govern Nigeria in a democratic setting. So also by not owning an oil block as Petroleum Minister, by birthing our refineries, and by not being eloquent (recently adduced), cannot guarantee his optimal performance as civilian president. He needs, among other things, to be garnished with democratic fundamentals that are doable (he currently lacks them).

One of the greatest strengths of Buhari’s manifesto is the strong tie it has with constitutional reform, which is futuristic. This in a way, puts him far ahead of other contenders, were campaigns have been issue-based. Of course the Nigerian constitution, like a speech worked and reworked by many experts, has no soul. And so we have a responsibility to rise to the higher levels of existence and to stand and fight for something much nobler, something extraordinary, something more filling than food and clothing. For Buhari to have been able to think out constitutional reform, even if it is not that comprehensive, which will put Nigeria on the same path that is giving Lagos a face lift, then Buhari should be a ‘fool’, since Fashola is a ‘rascal’ as far as Jonathan is concerned! If Buhari is elected, either through a run-off or an alliance, he will bring to the office of president indomitable self-will, courage, honesty and an unquenchable patriotic spirit to move the country forward, I think so!

RIBADU

Again too, I refuse to be mesmerized with Ribadu’s sing-song of belonging to the age group of world leaders, albeit I commend his wit, candour and uprightness in his anti-corruption crusade. To me, age has never and can never be an instrument to show leadership capability.  Ribadu has the genuine intellectual enablement to gather bright people around himself and not suffer complex. He also has the ability to formulate domestic and foreign policies that are forward-looking, sensible and inclusive. However, my problem with him is that he left the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with conflicting integrity (think untainted integrity, Buhari has it in abundance). While he was fighting the negative status in our corruption lexicon, just because he stood firmly on the abomasums of corruption, he took with himself, a share of the corruption, getting promotions he never qualified for, especially when one considers the undue process his promotions passed through. More importantly to be noted as part of Ribadu’s strength of character in office was the singular fact that public officers soft-pedaled on their bicycle of corruption shenanigans. Unfortunately, he was removed from office unceremoniously, just like the garrulous arch-rigger for the PDP, Maurice Iwu, who hitherto seemed to have remained immovable on the seat he no longer deserves. While the Federal Government coerced  Ribadu out as against the wish of Nigerians and the international community, Nigerians sacked PDP rigging machine, Iwu!

However, Ribadu represents the yearnings of Nigerians. He portrays a brand new posture that Nigeria needs and his acceptance among the young population of Nigeria shows that if votes count, he can get the spread among the different age groups that make up our 140million number. He has unparalleled precision with his evocative message, even with his sullied eloquence, which is peculiar to the Fulanis. By training, by disposition, and by his interactions, Ribadu is cosmopolitan and seems to be more passionate with comprehensive grasp of the root causes of Nigeria’s injuries. With progressive friends ranging from the bohemian to the lengthily liberal, and from the largely divided North to the ecstatic secular Niger Delta, Ribadu will be more given to consensus construction. To me, Ribadu is more exposed, both locally and internationally, well refined, mild and energetic. Notwithstanding his relative inexperience at the highest levels of government, his policies are more likely to benefit from broader consultations, rigorous debates and intellectual, even academic, inputs. We would certainly be treated with daily interesting stories in the papers because to me, his government would be more engaging!

But the fact that Ribadu is also selling himself as the most righteous baffles me. What pains me most is that our supposed leaders don’t see any bad thing about their past. To all the presidential contenders, all of them are saints! None has any sin to confess to Nigerians! To me, this is menacingly untrue! Where then did they get the honesty they are preaching about themselves? The singular act that drew me to Obama during his campaigns was when I heard Obama saying: “My only regret in life was that I took marijuana when I was in school as a student.” He took himself to Americans for cleansing. Just like others, Ribadu lacks the level of honesty needed to govern Nigeria that is practically made up of God-loving people!

My strong point for Ribadu however, is that I see a new Nigeria in him. There is a certain robust effervescence in him that is suggesting that. His “Pathway to a New Nigeria” blueprint shows that he has the depth, instinct, and passion, garnished with resounding foreign policy relations (given his exposure and acceptance in the international community). His manifesto is aggressive (though not promising too much), which is what we need for now. Aggressive policies that can be aggressively implemented are what I can see in Ribadu’s paper, words and deeds. With all these, I deem it fit to call him a ‘fool’, since Fashola, the only template Nigerians are using for governance evaluation is a ‘rascal’ in the lexicon of President Jonathan! With Ribadu in the Villa, more young minds would be involved in governance, restoring hope to the young population that the future indeed belongs to the youth!

JONATHAN

Jonathan’s sudden rose to stardom has succeeded in the development of a new postulate of life. ‘Luck’, not hard-work, can guarantee success, simple! No doubt, Jonathan has formed major prayer points in churches and mosques as people jostle to name their babies Goodluck. With no shred of dubitation too, Jonathan is the most popular candidate running. He has the national spread and his campaign has been largely attended by massive crowds too. It is interesting that the frenzied politicking around Jonathan’s campaign is entirely limited to disproving the zoning formula and juggling supports from the states and the zones. He does not speak to issues with any visionary fervour, and indeed cannot. He does not connect with the electorate emotionally, and indeed, he is too distant, too detached and too plain to even try. And while his assumption of power has done a lot to give everyone a sense of belonging — and I would have loved him to win and continue in office — the presidency is far too serious a business to be reduced to the dynamics of zoning and the permutations of states support rather than the competence of the candidate. Four more years of Jonathan will corrode the national will to compete. I can bet it!

I must state lucidly too, that by not having shoes when he was young, by not having bags for schooling and by going hungry often during his youthful age, are not enough excuse why he should be voted. While his advertorial stories are not inspiring, probably because they may not be true, his personality does not speak volume. But Jonathan is wholly without restraint, as his re-enactment of the politics of the 1960s is showing. As far as he is concerned, the only line to draw is at one extreme end, not in the middle. He is not only intimidating the Southwest and engaging in name-calling, he is apparently willing, without understanding the consequences, to use state apparatus to demolish all obstacles to his electoral success. His indifference to the assault on the constitution by his supporters and friends in Ogun State  and Bauchi cannot be ignored. So, too, his intemperate responses to the opposition’s verbal assault, which is seriously unpresidential!

However, there is a strong reason why Jonathan may be better off than Buhari and Ribadu. He can sacrifice anything in his life to achieve a course. At the expense of many of our ungracious politicians including himself, Jonathan has initiated an electoral reform that may even swallow him, I can foresee it! One may be displeased with the way important sections of Uwais’ Recommendations were treated to rubbles, but the fact still remains clear that Jonathan birthed the long awaited reform. He represents the cries of the minority. He stands as symbol of hope to his people in the Delta, and for the first time too since 1999, the incumbent president has a strong resolve for one man, one vote (Obasanjo never did that!), but then, I find it hard to pitch my tent with his resolve. He never for once, showed to me that he meant it! Jonathan, from my study, is humble in words, not in deeds, probably because he rose to stardom by sheer luck. What set him ahead of other contenders is that he is more prepared this time around to lead Nigeria and he is more experienced in terms of understanding contemporary Nigerian complexities, having risen from being a Deputy Governor, to Governor, to Vice President, to Acting President and to President, all in modern Nigeria, not in the Nigeria under the military junta (here Buhari has a say, don’t even think Ribadu at all).

Jonathan would be better off as our president only if he can fill up his seemingly empty blueprint with intellectually enabled content, buttressed by pragmatic implementation framework. He must show to us that he is widely accepted by Nigerians, not by coercing the electorates to believe this, but by the free will of the Nigerian people. It is unarguable that Jonathan cannot match Fashola in terms of governance understanding. To me, Jonathan is not a ‘fool’ since Fashola is a ‘rascal’.

MY CANDIDATE

I have decided not to vote for any of the candidates above based on their personalities because of my reasons aforementioned, mainly because none of them is honest enough to talk about his bad past. I hate to see people claiming ‘saint’! Flipside, I have decided to vote for either of them based on their manifestos, having followed the spirits and letters of their blueprints. Let me point out that I am swinging towards the manifesto that is both aggressive (because of immediate need) and futuristic (because of long term benefits). Sadly, none of the blueprints has the duo elements combined! Were it possible to vote for two candidates, I would save myself the brainwork. An alliance between Buhari and Ribadu would make my decision less rigorous to take. With the failed alliance talk for the first ballot, with Ribadu making the biggest sacrifice of his life for the national project, which many would not do, just like Buhari, then my logic suggests that my vote should go for Ribadu. We need a leader with a sacrificial heart, not a leader who does not see any thing good in his followers, talkless of trusting them. The alliance talk experiment, followed by tear-dropping of Buhari showed to me that Nigeria is full of deceit. Ribadu has finally won my ONE vote…The POWER OF ONE!

It is me, @Obajeun

First published on my Facebook note on March 23, 2011

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs @www.obajeun.com. Catch him on twitter via @Obajeun

#NoiseofRevolt: This God is a Cheat? – By @Obajeun

Today marks my return from my writing sabbatical leave, an exile imposed by the spurious existential tit bits of the Nigerian state, a voice suddenly stolen away by the ravaging dynamics of life where you have to make a choice across the river either to burn your boat and perish in the war front or to burn your boat and win the war. It was a classical exile of a soul grilled in the shambling nature of survival, pummeled by systemic failures. It was a sabbatical leave of courage, where I did many trade offs to get my voice back.

There are times when you feel that with all its faults and dangerous fault lines, it is a great honour to be a Nigerian. With its mystique, its mysterious allure, its great personality and combustible mix of macho and masochism, Nigeria is a great country waiting for a great leader. Under existing configurations, we may have to wait till the end of time for that mirage, that is, if somebody does not pull the fatal plug. But there are moments when something happens to remind one of the great possibilities of this nation if we get it right. Biological clocks also tick for nations.

When your president lie to your face, when your president attributes Obama’s re-election to skin colour, when jet-flying pastors damn the heavenly consequence of greed, then it is a case of either to commit dialectical oppression and drag your president and the ‘saint’ in the mud with verbal jives or stay put to your thought and call your calm. Obajeun did the latter with his sabbatical leave but it almost became a suicidal silence when Obajeun called it off.

Except one is a bastard, you cannot just keep quite in this hood where offerings and tithes from the ‘sinning’ poor are what keep jets flying in the sky for the saint. Why then do God accept tithes and offerings from the poor, when even to be poor alone is a sin, according to the jet aged mouthpieces of God? What is the business of God with the poor? Is God after the ‘ riches’ of the poor? Is this a fair play from God? Or is this God a cheat? Before you venture into your crude cause of questioning my audacity of asking these questions, you should understand where i am coming from, which is the outcome of my journey into the underworld of mad men.

What a competitive religious landscape. My discourse on Pentecostal explosion today relates to the response of a new religious movement in Nigeria to the socio-economic and political milieu from which it emerged and grew. This explosion is a post civil war development where everything is wrong with Satan and nothing is wrong with humans. Very often in their prayers, they see Satan and his cohorts of demonic spirits, ‘vampires’ and ‘blood sucking demons’ on the pot-holed and poorly maintained Nigerian roads, which they assail with ‘Holy Ghost Fire’ and the blood of Jesus.

Pastors are not ordinary men to their members. They are ‘men of God’, ‘the anointed’, ‘Papa’, ‘Daddy G.O’ and lately, ‘the Rev. Dr’, or ‘Evangelist Dr’. They are also the holy spirit-soaked demon destroyers who often take joy in worthless honorary degrees conferred by unaccredited foreign institutions. Some of them are chauffeured with bodyguards. They have achieved a kind of celebrity profile through the command of numbers, flamboyant lifestyles and they are superheroes and business executives.

Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have interesting variety. Some have fossilised without any impact, while new ones like RCCG and MFM have achieved social prominence since the 1990s through the aggressive use of the media. In fact it is rather strange to group Williams Kumuyi’s strict holiness ethos with David Oyedepo’s this-worldly concern, or associate Daniel Olukoya’s steeped in the african cosmology of evil with the politically conscious Tunde Bakare.

In the new Pentecostal spirituality, there is popular attention to prosperity. This new emphasis began to gain ground from the early 1980s, when Benson Idahosa asserted that his God drove cars bigger than the Volkswagen Beetle car, which then was a popular car for the uprising middle class. By the end of that decade, the emphasis had been popularized by David Oyedepo, whom Idahosa consecrated and enthroned in August 1988 as the Pentecsotal Bishop of Northern Nigeria.

Let’s dive into the controversy over Bakare’s prophecy on Obasanjo where, if you are not firm with your belief, you might see God as a cheat. Then, religious euphoria blinded many Nigerians including pentecostals from seeing the futility of the hope in Obasanjo or in any elected political or military ruler. In fact there were numerous media attacks against Bakare by the same pentecostal constituency. Indeed, the National Concord of May 15 carried the bold headline on its front page “SPIRITUAL WAR OVER OBASANJO…PASTOR BAKARE IN TROUBLE”

While Obasanjo’s election was seen by millions as a sign of relief and hope, Bakare’s prophecy was seen as an unexpected anti-climax. In a way, this controversy over religion and politics depicts how the saints could become sinners, and sinners become saints within the public sphere devoid of any moral standard, but whose elected or anointed officials assume that they have some moral power left that could be exercised legislatively. At the end of Obasanjo’s eight-year rule, Bakare’s punchers eventually saw the import of his prophecy. See how tides change with time and how men could force a rational mind to call God a cheat.

Kill it if you think that Pentecostal greediness started with jet gifts. Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria was by the late 1990 caught up in the web of materialism and vain glory that it sets to change at the beginning of the Charismatic revival in the early 1970s. The embarrassing crisis of how N87,000,000 provided by the American televangelist, Benny Hinn, for a poorly attended three-day crusade in Lagos in April 2005 was squandered on some frivolities by some leading figures of Pentecostal churches in Lagos depicts again, how the saints could fail on the moral scale of accountability. Today, the perpetrators are still enjoying the largesse, riding in SUV cars and flying in private jets, and becoming richer while their unsuspecting members are becoming poorer. See how men could force a curious mind to call God a cheat.

Proverbially and symbolically, a fish starts rotting from the head. It is when the elite of a nation lose the cerebral capacity for a visionary conception of a better society and the capability for moral imagination that a society begins to nosedive. If we are not at the rock bottom yet, we cannot be that far away. We are being spiritually deceived, and we are happy clapping and making holy noise in appreciation of the deception. The anger of God might be slow to come, but it would come someday and every soul would see that this same true God is not a cheat. He whom the gods will kill, will first acquire worldly riches through greed.

We are fast approaching the final end of an era; the era of SUs. Unfortunately, and as we have seen in the particular case of football, not many new great products are coming off the production line. To put it bluntly, the factory of true human greatness and genuine distinction seems to have shut down in the nation a long time ago. We now have the then SUs now riding in SUVs. To be clear, I am not against riches but I am against any questionable and crude means through which riches are acquired.

It is a dark, dismal and depressing scenario for we are now in the age of jet competition among pastors. But there is hope based on a dispassionate reading of history. It is precisely when a society reaches the end of the road when something miraculous happens. Neither in rectification or retribution will Nigeria be an exception. Obajeun is back!

It is me, @Obajeun

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs  @www.obajeun.com. Catch him twitter via @Obajeun

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

“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

#SaveFloodVictims: Calling on all Nigerians to help citizens displaced by floods across the nation

Dear Friends,

It is no longer news that unrepentant floods have been ravaging the length and breadth of our country Nigeria over the past one month with its inherent consequences. Experts have attributed this excessive flooding being experienced in about 26 states of the federation to the release of water from dams, opening of spill ways to release excess waters, blockage of drainage system and heavy rainfall.

 

Flood victims rendered homeless

The floods, the worst in 30 years, submerged properties, farmlands, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, rendering them homeless. About 104 persons have lost their lives in the floods in the North Central zone of the country alone in the last two months. Other zones have not been left out. From Adamawa to Jigawa, Bauchi to Plateau, Benue to Kaduna, Kogi to Cross River, Imo to Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi to Edo, and Delta to Taraba, many Nigerians have suddenly become refugees in their land, no thanks to flooding.

 

A team from the Federal Government led by the Minister of Environment, Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafa has said that Anambra State was the worst hit by the flood. The Minister, after touring affected States and Local Governments, said that Anambra is situated at the lowest point of the River Niger that occasioned the enormous destruction wrought by the flood.

 

Flood victims fleeing their homes

Floods have wrecked havoc across the country in such huge proportions that experts warn of serious socioeconomic consequences for the nation in the coming year. In all, it is estimated that floods have claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Nigerians over the past two months while more than 300,000 others have been displaced.

 

The National Emergency Management Agency, together with the Emergency Management Agencies of the affected states, have made efforts to get relief items to those affected, but the truth, and reality, is that so many are still left uncatered for. It is toward this end that the SaveCitizen Project seeks to reach out to those who need our help in this trying time. But first we need an assessment of the extent of the devastation from people who are in and around the areas affected by floods. We seek to know what emergency relief materials are needed by the people displaced and how much of same in each region.

 

Flooded farmland in Anambra State

If you are in or around any of the states affected, kindly help do an assessment tour as soon as possible, endeavour to interview the people and get to know what they need and how we can help. Forward your findings to these twitter handles and phone numbers:

 

@seunfakze @omojuwa @KathleenNdongmo @ekekeee @opesays @BabatundeJnr

08039699003 07037371677 08035807284 0803858430

 

Thanks

Concerned Citizens

 

PRESS RELEASE: International Day of the Girl and launch of ‘Hands Up For Her’ Campaign

Beyond the Classroom Foundation and HACEY’s Health Initiative will on Thursday October 11 2012 celebrate the International Day of the Girl in an event under the theme: ‘HEALTH, EMPOWERMENT, AND RIGHTS’ at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos, Akoka. This theme is set to address issues of discrimination against the girl child in terms of equality in accessing health care, empowerment opportunities and basic rights such as education, it will also address various forms of abuse the girl child is subjected to in her home and in the society.

 

The UN is putting its weight and influence behind global efforts to raise awareness of girls’ rights and shine a spotlight on areas where those rights are routinely violated. This was also seen last year when the United Nations General Assembly designated October 11 as the International Day of the Girl.

 

The International Day of the Girl event in Lagos will witness the launch of ‘Hands Up For Her’ campaign, aimed at jolting the consciousness of all stakeholders to renewing their commitment to the development of the girl child. The campaign will be launched and endorsed by notable individuals and organisations in the society with girls from selected schools in Lagos State in attendance.

 

The International Day of the Girl also provides an opportunity to promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls in Nigeria in areas such as rights, nutrition, health care, education, empowerment, and freedom from violence and abuse. It will also call governments and societies to take notice and act on the injustice that is being perpetuated against girls.

 

The Guest Speakers at the event include:

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin – Foremost Human Right Activist and President, Campaign for Democracy

Pharmacist Bisi Bright – Executive Director, Live well Initiative

Mrs Detoun Ogwo – After Graduate Development Centre

 

Expected Guests at the event include:

The First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emanuella Abimbola Fashola

Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye

Lami Phillips – Song Writer and UN Ambassador,

Joke Silva – Veteran Actress and others

 

While the Guest Panelists are: Tari Ekiyor (Seasoned Writer), Maureen Iyasele (Executive Director, The JobMag), Tochi Eze (Lawyer and Executive Director, Selah Inspirational), Omotola Fawunmi (Lead Consultant, Project STRETCH), Ogunyemi Bukola (Talented Writer), Lizzy Anjorin (Actress, Kofo Tinubu), Bukola Awoyemi (Actress, Arugba), Kikiowo Ileowo (Blogger and Social Media Consultant), and Atitola Moronfolu (Writer, Editor and Blogger)

 

Venue: University of Lagos Main Auditorium, Akoka, Lagos.

Date: Thursday 11th October 2012.

Time: 10.00am Prompt

 

For further information about the event, the ‘Hands Up For Her’ campaign, or how you can be a part of it, do not hesitate to contact us through our email or by calling any of the lines listed.

 

08131967570, 08024207817 – Rhoda Robinson

08025857485, 08031990162 – Raquel Jacobs

Email: dayofthegirlng@gmail.com

 

Kindly tell all your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry Messenger and other social media platforms.

 

 

OPINION: What we must do to reduce corruption – Eze Onyekpere

OPINION: What we must do to reduce corruption – Eze Onyekpere

Are we really helpless, in the light of the new heights attained by corruption in Nigeria? With the systemic and systematic nature of corruption, it is very easy to lose track of or properly locate the individuals and agencies that bear requisite duties for taking steps to rein in this monster. Yes, bribes and inducements are offered on a daily basis in every facet of Nigerian social, economic or political life and it seems that corruption has become a way of life; that you can neither sow nor reap without being corrupt. Indeed, it appears that the biblical mark of the beast can be identified in Nigeria as corruption. It is already here with us.

But we have not always been a corrupt society. Nigeria had (and still has) a lot of honest and hardworking men and women who are ready to shun corruption and its allurements. The challenge is that we have allowed the dregs of our society to take control of governance and the levers of power. Politics is no longer for the honest and clean. It is assumed to be a dirty game and only the dirty, ready to wade through the mud are allowed to play it. In the process, those who should bear responsibilities for curbing corruption are either neck deep in corruption or look the other way when corruption is perpetrated.

However, there are practical steps that can be taken to reduce corruption. The word, “reduce”, is used deliberately instead of the word, “eradicate”. It makes sense to agree that we cannot totally eradicate corruption but to reduce its prevalence as a determining factor for the successful conclusion of transactions in our national life. Let us examine a few corruption case scenarios and steps that can be taken by the authorities and the anti-corruption agencies to tackle the challenge.

At the federal level and in virtually all states of the federation, ‘ghost’ workers numbering thousands have been discovered. These ‘ghosts’ were paid salaries for scores of years and in some instances, some had illustrious careers, received service awards and successfully retired, collected gratuity and continued to collect pension until they were discovered. Even the current move at biometrics in the public service has not totally eliminated these ghosts. But who are these ghosts if not high-ranking public officers and their cronies. You can imagine the thousands of ghost workers and pensioners collecting billions of naira every month. After the biometric exercise that discovers this outright theft, no one is punished, no one is made to account and business continues as usual. This sends a clear message to the perpetrators – crime is profitable and punishment does not follow a crime. Thus, the perpetrators are simply requested to find another bleeding point which will take time to discover since the authorities have just blocked one point.

Is it difficult to track the persons (ghosts) who collected these monies? The answer is a resounding no. Indeed, the Financial Regulations and Instructions at the federal and state levels create the position of the Accounting Officer with discernible and clear duties. S/he is the Permanent Secretary, the Director General or equivalent positions. The Financial Regulations usually charge him inter alia with ensuring that proper budgetary and accounting systems are established and maintained to enhance internal controls, accountability and transparency; be responsible for the safeguarding of public funds and the regularity and propriety of expenditure under his control; ensure that the essential management control tools are put in place to minimise waste and fraud. He is further charged with ensuring prudence in the expenditure of public funds and render monthly financial accounting returns to the Accountant General, etc. The Regulations, most times create personal liability for him if anything goes wrong with the resources under his care.

Above the accounting officer is the Minister or Commissioner who is the political head. With the above clearly spelt-out duties, the authorities know who to hold responsible for ‘ghost’ workers. Assuming that the Accounting Officer is not directly responsible for the fraud, the fact of negligence or failing to confirm the number and rank of staff under his unit ensures his culpability. Even if the Accounting Officer is not responsible for compiling the names of staff to be paid, whoever is in charge of the compilation and signs off on the list of those who have worked and are due to receive the fruit of their labour, should be held responsible. If the Accounting Officer is really made to account, he will be compelled to come clean by either confessing to the crime or identifying those who participated in the crime. Such a person or group of persons should be dismissed from service, be made to refund the monies and spend the remaining part of their life in jail.

It is a matter of public knowledge that most landed property in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and other state capitals are owned by public officers. With the impunity in the system, many of them no longer find it necessary to hide their properties or register them in the name of fronts. If the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission are serious about their work, various land registries and the Corporate Affairs Commission would provide a fertile source of information on people who have more properties than their legitimate income can support. The onus will then be on such persons to justify the source of their stupendous wealth. Alternatively, if these public officers use fronts to hide their properties and it is discovered that a man who has no visible source of livelihood or has not paid a kobo tax to the treasury owns chains of properties, the onus still falls back on such person to disclose the source of this wealth. Such properties that cannot be accounted for by the legitimate earnings of the public officer will automatically be forfeited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the appropriate level of government. Thus, the anti corruption agencies do not need to wait for petitions but they have to be proactive.

For the Nigerian people, the ball has always been in our court and very soon, we will be asked to vote in electoral contests and the outcome will either reduce or increase corruption. We are not helpless in the face of the grand heights of corruption. We can become proactive through anti-corruption and impunity campaigns. We must ensure that all serving public officers publicly declare their assets and those who refuse to make same available to us should be blacklisted. Our campaign should go beyond what is written in the law books that public officers with the help of the judiciary can manipulate. It is the same thieving band of elites that enact laws and manipulate same. We should have a new vision of the law to back our demands; the law as the imperative authority of the legitimate demands of the people; yes the vision of a new Nigeria in the minds of the ordinary Nigerian on the streets; the vision of a system that responds to the security and welfare of all, instead of the greed and avarice of a few.

•Eze Onyekpere, a lawyer, is the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Abuja. He wrote in via censoj@gmail.com

via Punch

Nigerian student, Olaolu Femi, facing life imprisonment in Ukraine

From African Outlook…

A young Nigerian student, Olaolu Femi, (pictured above) is facing life in prison in Ukraine for attempted murder.

African Outlook gathered that the Nigerian identified as Olaolu Sunkanmi Femi and one of his friends were physically attacked in front of his apartment by four Ukrainian young men and two women who pulled them to the ground while hurling racist slurs on them.

According to eye witness account, Sunkanmi was said to have managed to get up and defended himself against the assailants with a glass from a broken bottle.

“It was while he was defending himself that police arrived at the scene and the Nigerian was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted murder of five people” a Nigerian embassy staff who has knowledge of the case told African Outlook, adding that the victim thus became an accused in a case which has become a celebrated case in Ukraine.

African Outlook gathered that Olasunkanmi has since been remanded in detention by the Ukrainian police who refused to take the case to court citing unavailability of the police to get an interpreter for him.

But the Nigerian students’ community in Ukraine under the leadership of Osarumen David-Izevbokun, a Phd student in international relations has been working tirelessly to ensure justice for the Nigerian by organizing protests as well as drawing the attentions of the human right groups in Ukraine to the plight of Olasunkanmi who has spent almost seven months in jail without trial.

David-Izevbokun told African Outlook that he alongside other Nigerian students in conjunctions with some members of the Ukrainian human right groups staged a protest on April, 9 outside the Leninsky District Court in Luhanski demanding the release of Olasunkanmi.

The actions, according to David-Izevbokun has put the Ukraine police on the spot as the case came up for hearing on May 3. “We had a lot of media coverage on the protest ” David-Izevbokun said, noting that he was sure the attention given the case may have prompted the May 3 court appearance of the suspect.

David-Izevbokun who was at the May 3, court hearing told African Outlook that Olasunkanmi appeared depressed when he showed up in court.

Many other Nigerian students spoken to by African Outlook however raised concern about the competence of the female lawyer: Ludmila Havrysh handling Olasunkanmi’s case.

Olaolu Femi

The Ukrainian lawyer was reported to have told protesters that her client has not been able to read the file material since it is all written in Ukrainian or Russian which he doesn’t understand and that was why her client had remained in jail.

“We heard she wanted to be paid $10,000 when she had not even been able to secure bail for her client who has been in detention for more than six months” an irate Nigerian told African Outlook wondering whether the lawyer was capable of defending Olasunkanmi.

Another source also told African Outlook that one of the attackers’s family who has a connection with the Ukrainian police may have been the reason why the Nigerian student was being detained without trial.

“They went to the hospital and documents were secured for infliction of wounds. I learnt that one of the supposed victim (Ukrainian) has a police relative or parent, and so vowed to deal ruthlessly with Olasunkanmi” a Nigerian student quoted one narrator as saying while lamenting that the Nigerian embassy’s representative came to visit Olasunkanmi in jail once but did not return again after the first visit.

But an embassy spokesperson who pleaded anonymity (because he is not authorized to comment on the case) told African Outlook that the Nigerian consulate had not abandoned the Nigerian to his fate “We are in torch with the Ukrainian authority and we have been doing everything to ensure the boy is released unconditionally using diplomatic channel” he said, adding that the Olasunkanmi was being charged for attempted murder, an offense which under Ukrainian law is not bailable.

“There are ways in which we handle cases like this so that we would not appear to be hostile or criticizing our host countries’ laws” the embassy staff said while assuring that he was confident Olasunkanmi would be released soon.

When asked if the embassy has been able to secure the service of an attorney for the Nigerian student, the embassy staff said: “It is not within our mandate to pay for attorney’s fees for any Nigerian in distress, you may check this out with other Nigerian embassies abroad, but we have been working with the Nigerian community leaders here to ensure that we do everything within our means to help Olasunkanmi in time of his need” the staff added hinting that the representative of the embassy was at the May 3 hearing.

In a related development African Outlook gathered that a 28-year-old Nigerian student of Kharkiv National Radio Electronic University is in intensive care unit with knife injuries to his neck following an attack on him by people believed to be racists.

Another 19-year-old Nigerian student from the Poltava Agrarian Academy is also lying critically ill in the Ukrainian hospital following knife injury inflicted on him by yet to be identified persons.

African Outlook gathered that the two Nigerian students were attacked late in the evenings by assailants who fled the scene immediately after the attacks.

The Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine are treating both cases as attempted murder motivated by racial intolerance.

Speaking on the two recent attacks, the Nigerian embassy said they were yet to be briefed on the case.

There’s a #FreeOlaolu page on Facebook..you can go there to show support – Facebook.com/FreeOlaolu

Ayo Naledi Fashion Accessories Training

Ayo Naledi Accessories Training

Ayo Naledi presents a one-day fabric fashion accessories course. Learn how to make a range of fabulous fabric jewellery and accessories using ankara, buttons, ribbon and embellishments.

The cost of the course includes all materials, use of tools and refreshments. You will also have the opportunity to purchase materials & equipment to take home

Date: 25th of August and 1st September 2012

Time: 9a.m

Venue: 3, Alh Kofoworola crescent, Off Awolowo way, Ikeja

Course fee: N7,500

Registration ends on the 29th of August, 2012

For more information
Email: info@naledisclothing.com
Phone number: 08064051184

 

*This is an advertorial

For Jamira…time to get him to school

Jamira

He should have come in September but patience was not one of virtues. And so on Sunday July 27, 2003 at about 7.30am, Jamira opened his eyes to the world at just about 27 weeks! If you know your math, that’s less than seven months. This was a day after the doctor had discharged me from the hospital after trying to induce the birth for a week with me only achieving a 5cm dilation throughout the week. I had my son at home with the assistance of a nurse!

Just a week earlier, I was up all night working, trying to beat deadlines (as usual) when at about 3am I discovered I was sitting on water. I woke my husband and told him and he asked if the baby was due-he wasn’t. But the water just kept coming!

We waited till about 5am, by which time I had soaked up two ‘wrappers’, and then headed off to the hospital. I was immediately admitted and the doctor ran a scan. He said the amniotic sac was intact but he couldn’t explain where the water was coming from. He decided it was best to induce the birth and so he inserted catheter. After a day or so, the catheter dropped but I was nowhere near contractions-the water was still coming.

The doctor then decided to use injections and drips. This was already day 4 and I had been in constant pain with this water flowing non stop. The doctor did another scan and said the fluid in the amniotic sac was just fine. He still had no idea where all the water was coming from.

The induction started and I went into labour, plus the dilation increased to about 5cm but the baby’s head did not engage. It was at this state that I was discharged. I guess the doctor ran out of ideas.

As you already know I had my baby at home. All the nurse did to get the head to engage was to give me oedema. He was small, but very strong. He didn’t hesitate to grab my breast and suck hungrily. The nurse concluded that maybe he wasn’t premature. I may have miscalculated. I was happy, his father was happy and so were neighbours and friends who couldn’t thank God enough for us.

However three days later, my son slept and for over 24 hours, he did not wake. At about the 15th hour we took him to another hospital, where the nurses (the doctor was unavailable) told us he was just resting. By the next morning, the nurse who assisted in his birth came around and that was when we saw that he had turned blue.

We rushed off to another hospital where they had better facilities and he was immediately taken to intensive care and put in an incubator and diagnosed of apnea attacks. Did I mention that at this point he weighed less than 2kg?

That night, the medical director came to my ward and told me that if not for his religious convictions he would have opted for euthanasia. He said my son had oxygen cut off from his brain for so long and so he was going to be mentally deranged. I was devastated. However, he said he would do everything in his power to see that he survives. Though his chances were very slim, survival was going to be the easy part.

After the doctor left, his father and I got talking about how we were going to cope with a mentally challenged child. We already had one son and the doctor had said we should take consolation in that. During our conversation I realised I hadn’t named him. My husband had named him ‘Chizaram’ at birth which translates ‘God answered me’ but I was supposed to give him an English name. We agreed that he should be named completely so that even if he dies we would have a complete name for him. My husband then said his survival would be a miracle and I said Jehovah’s miracle and thus we came up with the name Jah-mira or as we choose to spell it Jamira.

By the next morning I was awoken by the doctors shout. Jamira had not only made it through the night but had made significant progress health wise. Within the next three days he was out of the incubator and in 5 days I was heading home with my baby.

Jamira

Jamira is not mentally deranged but he has developmental challenges. Every milestone has been major- holding his head steady, sitting, walking, talking, running, writing-everything has been delayed, but he has always conquered. In fact, it would seem like he woke up to each milestone. Like when he started talking, he didn’t do it like other babies, he just starting talking in sentences over night. And with his writing, he started drawing circles before he attempted straight lines.

School has been a major challenge. He can’t keep up with kids his age and the Nigerian school system has nothing for kids like him. You see, Jamira has a fantastic memory but he can’t spell or read well. So as far as the Nigerian system is concerned he should be – I don’t know, maybe at home?

I have had to work with the teachers in his school to see him as different and use his strengths to cover up for his weaknesses. They have co-operated so far making his tests oral, someone reads to him, he answers and they write it down. With this system he has been able to perform better than the average student. He enjoys drawing and building things. Sometimes working with him can be really frustrating, but I always like to remember where he is coming from.

Next year he moves on to primary four and the wonderful thing is, he has started reading up to four letter words! I’m sure that very soon, he will cross this milestone like he did others.

Jamira wants to be a doctor. It seems such an impossible feat given that he is still playing catch up with his mates. But who knows! Chizaram Jamira Anaba may yet live his dreams, but if he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll make others. After all, he lived!

 

Abigail, Jamira’s mum

 

EDITOR’s NOTE: What Jamira needs is not our pity, but our help. With God on his side, he has made it this far and hopes to be a doctor. With God on our side, together we can help him fulfill that dream. Nothing is too little, nothing is too much, together let’s contribute towards Jamira’s education. Details will be made available shortly. Thanks, and God bless.

To help Jahmira’s Education, please pay into First Bank Ac No 3062961553. Account name: Anaba Chizaram Jahmira Thank you

#SAVEGEORGE: THE TRUE STORY OF A DYING YOUNG MAN

#SAVEGEORGE: THE TRUE STORY OF A DYING YOUNG MAN

George Chimezirim Egbuchulam is a graduate of English Department, University of Ibadan and hails from Owerri North Local Government, Imo State. Throughout his time in UI, he was full of life, fun-to-be-with and intelligent. He was to go for service early 2010, when he was diagnosed for Renal Failure. He has finished youth service at Edo State and has applied for his Masters Study in English when he became seriously ill as a result of failure of his two kidneys and has to be hospitalised at University College Hospital, Ibadan. There his life is threatened with chronic kidney failure, he suffers pain with weekly dialysis and has his body punctured at the right arm and lower abdomen. These are what we saw on 6th July, 2012 when we visited George at the South West Ward 3, UCH, Ibadan.

We had a discussion with Dr. O. Osela, the house officer for South West Ward 3 on the state of George, the medical complications, the procedures he is presently going through and the financial burden of a kidney transplant. Osela explained the implication of a chronic kidney failure; the fact that George needs intending donors, series of tests to know if the blood group and DNA of George and intending donor match, the surgery and post-surgery procedure. Osela explained that pending the transplant, George will undergo dialysis as many times as necessary. For George, the pains are unbearable; he screams when you touch him because of the toxic materials stored up in his system. For Chinyere, George’s girlfriend, the dialysis is a gory sight with tubes entangled to George’s body to drain blood, and return blood. Chinyere also explained how they have been spending N60, 000 on a weekly basis at the hospital.

George’s father, Mr. George Egbuchulam Snr is a catechist at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Nkwo-Emeke Parish, Owerri. He has informed UCH of his willingness to donate his kidney for his first son and eldest child, George. George’s elder brother, Chris is also willing to donate his kidney. The challenge of the family is the financial burden. George’s treatment would take series of procedures, and for now what could be estimated is a sum of N7, 000, 000. It was explained that the initial procedure may gulp about N3, 000, 000 but the whole treatment may take over N7, 000, 000. George’s father does not want to lose his first son – he says he is sure of George’s bright future. He wants Nigerians to rise up and save George’s life.

George is of a strong personality and a courageous mind. He managed to laugh with us and crack some jokes. But all those smiles got swallowed up in a saddened expression when he was informed that the treatment would take nothing less than N7, 000, 000 AND NOT N2, 500, 000 as earlier speculated. We assured George of his survival. We promised George that Nigerians would support him financially. We assured George that we would take the word out there and let Nigerians know that one of them is dying – that a star would be extinguished if their support is delayed.

Fellow Nigerians, George’s case is not a scam. We are ready to put our integrity at stake for the purpose of this cause. This is our collective cause – the cause of humanity. Let us donate towards the surgery of George Egbuchulam. Whether Christians or Muslims, Catholic or protestants, Yoruba, Hausa or Ibo, George represents humanity, and we owe humanity the responsibility to care. We shall all raise N7, 000, 000 for George. We shall all save George. God help us.

Send your donation to George Chimezirim Egbuchulam, First Bank, 1233010142434. This is the personal account of George. We shall always send you updates on the donation.

God help us.

Signed:
Olamide Agbomeji (@idowuolams)
Nimi Ibama
Olufemi Babalogbon (@babalowise)
Oladipo Abimbola (@obamirinda)
For: Wits’ Forum Initiative, Ibadan.

Ex-Boko Haram spokesman named PDP Senator Ali Ndume as financier – SSS

An official of the State Security Service, Mr. Abdulfaruk Dauda, told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday that former spokesman for Boko Haram, Kudunga Abdul, named Senator Ali Ndume as a financier of the group.

Abdul was sentenced to three years in prison after he confessed to being the spokesman for the group.

Dauda, who was cross-examined by Mr Rickey Tarfa, counsel for Ndume, said the accused was interrogated by four sub-committees and a panel in order to test the veracity of the allegation.

The witness said four statements obtained from the accused were filed as exhibits.

Dauda added that the statements did not negate the records of contacts the accused had with the group, “which shows clearly that Ndume was communicating with this group.

He said, “I am an expert in statement taking and I did take the final statement of the accused person handled by the panel, and truly he has some issues to answer and that is why we are here My Lord.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ndume was arraigned on December 12, 2011 on four courts of having links with Boko Haram.

He had denied the allegation on the grounds that the prosecution did not establish evidence linking him with the terror group.

Ndume, a Senator from Borno, said he only made contact with the group while serving as a member of the Presidential Committee set up to help quell the hostilities in the North-East.

He said the transactions with some select members of the group were lawful and targeted at resolving the security challenges.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned the matter till July 10 for continuation of the trial.

 

Punch

#OmojuwaMeets with TV icon Funmi Iyanda @Funmilola

#OmojuwaMeets is a twitter platform to interact with African intellects and change advocates. Today it was the turn of Funmi Iyanda a multi award winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger, best known for her ground-breaking TV show NEW DAWN.

THE HOST:

J Japheth Omojuwa is an advocate of change, good governance and accountable leadership with focus on Africa and Nigeria. He is a social media expert, a gifted writer and one of Africa’s foremost bloggers. #OmojuwaMeets is a platform for meeting with some of Africa’s best brains via live twitter interviews.

THE GUEST:

Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda (born July 27, 1971), better known as Funmi Iyanda is a multi award winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger. She produced and hosted Nigeria’s most popular and authoritative talk show New Dawn with Funmi, which aired on the national network for over eight years. Funmi is the CEO of Ignite Media, a content driven media organization operating out of Lagos.

An innovator in her sphere Funmi has won tremendous recognition for her work in the media and for her humanitarian and philanthropic interventions. She is an African Leadership Institute Tutu Fellow and a participant of the ASPEN Institute’s Forum for Communications and Society

Funmi serves on the Board of Farafina Trust and Positive Impact Youth Network. She was at the forefront of the Occupy Nigeria series of protests in January 2012. The protests were to resist the implementation of the government’s fuel subsidy removal policy.

In her spare time Funmi reads voraciously, watches movies and supports her favourite football team, Chelsea FC.

THE INTERVIEW:

@omojuwa: So I have @Funmilola in here and yes @toluogunlesi adds to the drama with @tersoot_rexx the witness #OmojuwaMeets

@omojuwa: Hello @Funmilola …welcome to my personally most anticipated tweeterview ?#OmojuwaMeets cc @toluogunlesi

@Funmilola: great to “meet” you jaf! @omojuwa @toluogunlesi @tersoot_rexx #omojuwameets

@Funmilola: was dying 2 meet u;)

@TersooT_Rexx: That’s the King’s College charm working on you, ma’am

@omojuwa: when @Funmilola said “I was dying to meet you” I actually died for 1 minute. Just confessing #OmojuwaMeets cc @toluogunlesi

@omojuwa: Join my Twitter Interview with Funmi Iyanda right away. Just follow #OmojuwaMeets. Tolu Ogunlesi and YSG’s Tersoo Abaagu are here

@omojuwa: *turns pink. wow! I don’t even know what to say again…Ok…Why are you the Chief Witch? @toluogunlesi #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: because l am a sorcerer and because Tunde Kelani said so 15 years ago

@omojuwa: well, I will eat a witch the next time she forgets to use the hashtag #OmojuwaMeets. Keep amebors in the loop

@Funmilola: come eat. Hehe

@omojuwa: Television, activism, conquering mountains, winning global awards…how do you do these things? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: I’m nuts?

@Funmilola: seriously, l’ve always just thought life is a gift not to be wasted doing less than one can, plus l dont want to die “wrongfully”

@omojuwa: you shot to limelight through television as far as I know…what was the attraction to TV? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: I hated what l saw on TV and figured l could do better but it was actually pure accident. #OmojuwaMeets

@omojuwa: You are easily one of the continents’ best TV hosts and now blazing new trails…what keeps you grounded? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: inability to take myself too seriously, a continuous engagement with people at all level, a group of no nonsense pals #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: You conquered Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. What were you thinking? What motivated that move? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: It is impossible 2 conquer Kilimanjaro, she lets u elevate u. l wanted to draw more attention 2 d issue of violence against women. l also wanted to push myself in a way l had never done to which l have three missing toes nails as proof. Love it #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: You are a World Economic Forum Youth Global Leader. What is expected of you as a WEF Global leader? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: change the world? :). It’s a fabulous privilege 2 belong 2 a global community committed to elevating d human experience in different ways

@omojuwa: gotta say you are inspiring lots of young people. Tell us about Chop Cassava and the #OccupyNigeria connection #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: where do l start? l thought the price increase was inhuman and l just reacted as a citizen 1st but l also thought it was important to document what l hoped was a pivotal moment for Nigeria ..#omojuwameets #chopcassava

@omojuwa: why was #chopcassava released as a web series considering your conventional TV background? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: the website does not tell the full story, the untold story is why it failed and what may be coming #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@Funmilola: non of the conventional stations would air it, they aired what they did because social media had…. #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@Funmilola: overtaken them and the protest had gathered incredible momentum. The Nigerian media space is comatose because it is impossible 2 sustain without govt patronage given policy/infrastructure/training etc challenges #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@omojuwa: Can we have a little more time please? Twitter time runs faster than that of mere mortals and this is really sweet #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: yes please, l will reheat my goat meat edika ikong afterwards 🙂 #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: Congratulations on your recent nomination for ?#Chopcassava at the BANFF World Media Awards in Canada. #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: thanks, it was a labour of love of many volunteers and that if “l die l die’ girl haunts me #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@omojuwa: you were again nominated at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in 2011 for My Country Nigeria…What do these international awards mean for Nigerian television productions considering your earlier “comatose” jibe? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: yes, l and my partner chris dada are committed to telling our stories as well as the best anywhere with honesty and grace but without caricaturing or romanticizing. We want to humanize us #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@Funmilola: its validation or l’d go mad with the pain of not being able to do as much as l know l can here, it is also building a solid catalogue of work to attract the interest n resources for more ambitious projects, as you know our people will not recognize you till others do, also one must move into the .. #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@omojuwa: there are leagues and there are league champions…you are a serial champion. I want to be like you. How? 🙁 #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: ……premier league, not so?:) #omojuwameets #chopcassava

@Funmilola: you ke! you are going to outclass us all, in fact l need you 2, d country does. l have hope in d young of Nigeria but you guys must engage and mobilize from all the strata between agberos and overloards, it’s about inclusiveness. #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: going by the tweets, you’d be a wicked Chief Witch not to bring New Dawn back. WHEN it comes back, we’ll rock it! #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: look at the number of people asking me back on terrestrial TV, l get it everywhere but the thing is, l can’t do it well and make it profitable and l can tell u why later, so l’d be forced to resort to patronage n cronyism, might as well not give a damn and hustle for a govt spoke’s person job so you can all yab me on twitter all day;)..hehehe ?#omojuwameets

@Funmilola: when we start to give a damn:) can’t do d sort of TV l’ve capacity 4 on 9ja TV. Won’t be aired, if it is, wont b paid 4 #omojuwameets

@omojuwa:  talking about the ground breaking show, are you still embarrassed by Bisi Alimi’s revelations on your show? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: l never was, I thought then as l do now that @bisialimi is a courageous n decent young man. I’d do it all over again

@omojuwa: for that I am proud of you. What are the values that make you who you are and do what you do? #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: l love people, l love Nigeria, I want to live in a nation that allows human talent, enterprise and innovation thrive..#omojuwameets

@Funmilola: I travel around Nigeria and see what she can be even as l see what she is and l bleed, no matter what l achieve. l am a little less for as long as Nigeria fails to achieve her potentials, l want 2 die knowing we r on our way there. #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: I could go on and on, you are that sweet and energetic…. Got words for us before I close the curtains? #OmojuwaMeets #Chopcassava

@Funmilola: never explain, ur friends dont need it, ur enemies won’t believe you…well except politicians and husbands…. hehehe #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: wow! Thank you Funmi. Next time we do this, we’ll interchange roles. I had maaaad fun. Now for that date 🙂 #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: @omojuwa thank u jaf, l had fun, l’ve faith in your generation but l also challenge u all 2 deserve d country we all dream of #omojuwameets

@omojuwa: @Funmilola Thank you very much. Keep re-inventing yourself. Good bye ?#OmojuwaMeets #Chopcassava

@omojuwa: @Funmilola Thank you Funmi…. when you return to TV, It will be to a global audience. Make me the Chief Wizard 🙂 #OmojuwaMeets

@Funmilola: l do miss doing interviews, you are on my list of people l’d interview if l created d platform.. l’d luv to dissect u:) #omojuwameets

CONTRIBUTIONS:

Kareem Akin2unde W. @careem31: Thank you for your time. We all had great fun #chopcassava #OmojuwaMeets

NubianWaters @nubianwaters: Great Interview. Thank you guys! ?#omojuwameets #chopcassava

@oxygen757: @omojuwa thank you for bringing in @Funmilola this evening. I miss the New Down badly but this Feels like “New Dawn Reloaded”. God blss u 2 #omojuwameets #chopcasava

Ikhide @ikhide @omojuwa Haba! Love ur tweeterview questions. Na wash, wash, wash! When I become famous na u go interview me jor! @Funmilola #OmojuwaMeets

Imoleayo Kongi @lightdworld: wondering what #chopcasava is visit http://www.chopcassava.com  #omojuwameets

Abang Mercy @AbangMercy: @omojuwa please tell @Funmilola to bring back my favorite program on @ntanewsnow NEW DAWN #omojuwatweets

Temitope Olowu @topeolowu: This #Omojuwameets are we allowed to ask @funmilola questions @omojuwa?

ABUBAKAR AM @blinkingam: @omojuwa ‘s interview with @Funmilola was absolutely inspiring and made my evening. Great effort boss.

OmoAkinni @Omoakinni: @Funmilola No one has said a thing about all those pple wtout hope u met on d street brought on d show & gave lifeline,Sekinah. #Omojuwameet

olabode olatona @amdegreat: @Funmilola @omojuwa …Great message. Appreciate that some citizens still believe that great Nigeria is possible…

Oyekemi Bawa-Allah @Kbawy: My Dad would quote @Funmilola and Dr. Ogaga as I’d they where personal friends he was so into new dawn

@iNidAName: base on my follow up and comparing with the ppl we call leaders. @funmilola walks d strit to giv voice dats enuf for criteria

Kareem Akin2unde W. @careem31: @Funmilola Pls we will be glad if we can get the most interesting episodes of New Dawn I CD pack ASAP ?#omojuwameets #chopcassva

Olumide F Makanjuola @O_Makanjuola: I’m really enjoying this ?#omojuwameets @Funmilola and I can see we are many that want Newdawn back. So Aunty Funmi, start thinking oooo!

Ayobami @Profayo: @funmilola I remembered my Dad usually woke us all up wit his disturbing laugh while watchin ur program ‘GoodMorningNigeria’ #OmojuwaMeets

@tee_hidee: @Funmilola @omojuwa ma’am, please remember the hashtag, we dont want to miss out on any part of this gist

Folasade Oluwa-Giwa @spygalz11: @Funmilola u are an inspiration to me, I love what you are doing; keep it up dear. Keep the hope alive.

Oluwashina Okeleji @oluwashina: Yep Madam @funmilola from Tejuosho to London. Chei, gone are the days of bread and akara after New Dawn on 10 haha. #omojuwaMeets

catherine idiong @remkate: i remember not liking to watch daytime TV but when @Funmilola ?#newdawn came on #myGOD! i just fell for it #omojuwaMeets

Aidan Eyakuze @aeyakuze: @Funmilola You are definitely not nuts my sister! An inspiration? Absolutely! How you dey? Missed you on our AfLI call yesterday 🙂

Onalaja Oluwayemisi @yemmfu: I joined twitter in 2009 and @Funmilola was d 1st person I followed for a very long time b4 ffg any other person. #OmojuwaMeets

Compiled by: Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook)

Two sides of a coin, like Free Sex, like Patriotism ~ J.J. @omojuwa

The most expensive sex is free sex – Woody Allen
Everyone remembers the words of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” but very few people remember the other things he said in that 1961 inaugural address. More often than not, this Kennedy quotation is thrown at citizens by leaders who are either failing to do the right thing for the citizens or by those who want to blackmail citizens under the guise of patriotism. In that same address, President Kennedy said “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich,” and also said “ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.” There are reasons why these words matter. Patriotism is like free sex, it is indeed expensive, hence patriotism is neither in the real sense free and it is in fact not cheap.

Let us do a little talk about free sex. I believe people who have sex with themselves do it mostly in two forms; it is either paid for, or it is free. Those who pay for sex essentially engage the market norm of buying and selling. There is a negotiation process, there is an agreement, the sex and finally the walking away. After the sex, the relationship between the buyer and seller of the sex essentially ends. Whatever they discuss after that would amount to the beginning, most likely of a new negotiation. Free sex on the other hand is far more complex and relatively takes more time. More often than not, free sex takes place between two people dating or between friends who happen to find themselves in the “heat of the moment.” Either way, it requires certain commitments. When a man takes a woman out for the night and walks her to her door, he may ask to kiss her but if the woman refuses, the man is not expected to say something like “come woman, I have been taking you out all these days and spending money on you, all I ask is a kiss, at least for now.” If the man says that, the terms of their relationship will essentially shift from a social norm to a market one. If the woman at that point agrees to kiss him – which in rational cases which would not – the terms of their engagement would be based on commercial values as it simply means her kiss and eventually the sex was being paid for. It will never last beyond a market process eventually.

Except for modern day loose relationships, it costs a man time, many dinners, gifts, time bidding, patience and for some an element of luck to finally get that sex in the relationship. What they will not do is use the money and time they have spent as the central point of their bargain. Let us face it though, in real terms, the sex came about because all of those things the man did came to show some form of commitment and women essentially trust you when you’ve not only spoken of your love and care but when you have acted it. When a woman finally trusts you or at least yields to trusting you, she lets go of her body. The act of sleeping with you is the consummation of that submission.

What I have described here is a real relationship not the outliers that end up with sex on the first night. Placed side by side with the sex that was bargained and paid for, you’d see that like Woody Allen said, free sex is indeed the most expensive sex!

What has this got to do with patriotism? Everything! Whether or not you know it or admit it, generally speaking, Americans are more patriotic than Nigerians. Now, do not start thinking that is because of what Kennedy said about not asking what your country can do for you bla bla bla, it is because of so much more. An average American knows, and expects that when the chips are down, his country would be there. An average American knows that the purpose and essence of government is to serve him or her, an average American knows that government of the people, by the people and for the people more often than not turns out to be the case in their country. An average American knows that the death of one American is of great concern to the government and people of the United States. To cut the long story short, the average American knows and believes the state exists for him. Contrast these and the general perception of what it is to be an American citizen and what it is to be a Nigerian citizen and you’d easily see the reason for the gulf in patriotism. I have used America because an average Nigerian understands a description better when you use America. This is the same case with Sweden, with England, with close neighbours Ghana and indeed many countries where an average citizen always looks as though s/he could die for his country. Google the benefits that accrue to a fire man in America if he loses his life at the point of duty, then google that of the Nigerian police man who experiences the same fate. You expect the police man to face criminals in gun battles and be committed to the government and people they swore to defend but they remember their families at critical times like that and know that their families will be left alone and forgotten when they are gone.

Firefighters make their way over the ruins of the World Trade Center

The act of patriotism in citizens is essentially built overtime and it comes out of realities of what your country indeed had done and could do for you. Patriotism is free but it is extremely expensive. An average Nigerian in government wants to grab for him and his family. Everybody bids his/her time and looks to grab all they possibly can if/when they get the chance. The grab-grab mentality comes from the absence of not just patriotism but that of a sense of community. What happens to the families of a poor man who dies on duty? What kind of insurance exists for our school children and teachers? What happens to an average family after the bread winner is gone? We need to change our ways, we need to be true to ourselves, if the government of Nigeria as made up of Nigerians do not see and realise that, what a country gets out of its citizens is what it has invested therein, we would never rise beyond these dark tunnel. I do not swear, I only speak of realities of cause and effect, sowing and reaping, of universal laws that cannot be changed by any man or government no matter how they wish or pray against it. Prayers do not change the principles of God.

The police is a product of its government

It was Plato who said ““The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself,” and that depicts the reality of our country today because when Napoleon Bonaparte said ““In politics, stupidity is not a handicap,” he was looking at the make-up of an average Nigerian politician. We watch media chats; we see this on display on national television.

The greatness of our country is the duty of our citizenship

Let me conclude with the words of Richelle Mead in Vampire Academy, “The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Remember that.”
Never forget that a time would come in our nation when the Nigerian would not only be proud of Nigeria because that is what he sees other citizens of the world do or because government is embarking on a “proudly Nigerian” campaign. Our pride would eventually come from knowing that we the people are the government, that we the people matter to the government, that we the people of Nigeria can enjoy the respect of those we elect to office. That time, our presidents would not come from do-or-die processes, they will not shirk from debates, neither will they not give a damn about us, because they will see that the pool of patriotism of we the people could sweep them off even with the blood of their own guilt. That time would come, you can choose to believe or doubt it, I have chosen to live and prepare for it. That day will come like a thief in the night or like the rage of a sweeping tide. We must make that time come!

J Japheth Omojuwa © @omojuwa

OMOJUWA.COM Unveils Columnists

Sundays:

Something Fresh with Ike Amadi

Ike Amadi is a published Nigerian author resident in Russia. He said readers should expect motivational and inspirational write-ups in every form possible, which will inspire the young person to become better.

Follow Ike on twitter: @ikeamadi

 

 

 

 

Tuesdays:

Point Blank with Usman Abubakar Sidiq

Abubakar Sidiq is a veteran writer and blogger, he was the first runner-up in the 2nd edition of OMOJUWA.COM’s #SuperBloggers. Based in Abuja, Nigeria, his POINT BLANK will be dedicated to analysing issues and developments in our national polity.

Follow Abubakar on twitter: @abusidiqu

 

Tuesdays:

VOICES IN MY HEAD with Oreoluwade Aboluwarin

Oreoluwade is a young but very talented poet and football analyst. He says: What I intend to achieve through this column is to appeal to the mind of the common man and challenge him to always strive to become a better person, to make him not stereotyped in thinking and to help him appreciate individual differences. Hopefully through thought provoking articles I can get to achieve this week in, week out.

Follow Oreoluwa on twitter: @oreoluwade

 

Thursdays:

#INKTREPIDUS with Ogunyemi Bukola

Ogunyemi Bukola is an upcoming writer with a flair for poetry and drama. #INKTREPIDUS is his attempt at redefining the art of saying it as it is in the area of politics and governance.The tagline ….what has ink got to fear suggests that the truth will be served via the platform without fear or prejudice.

Follow Bukola on twitter: @zebbook

 

Thursdays:

Thinking Aloud Is Allowed with Gbenga Osowe

The column will take into focus random but informed thoughts on ongoing issues that affect Nigerians especially Political Issues and will seek to give a balanced and unbiased look at issues happening in Nigeria.
Follow Gbenga on twitter: @gbengaosowe

 

 

Fridays:

KAKANDATEMPLE with Gimba Kakanda

Gimba Kakanda is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Safari Pants (Kraftgriot, 2010). A fearless social critic, writer, polemicist and activist, Kakanda stepped on many toes in his quest for equity and social justice. In January 2012, he organised a group of Muslim youths in Minna, Niger State, to fortify a church during service, underscoring the need for tolerance. His action generated media attention including editorials in Nigerian newspapers and TV stations (LEADERSHIP, NTA, etc). His poems and essays appeared in a number of publications and he is also translated into Italian. He is currently the literary/book analyst of the new literary agency, Blues & Hills, Lagos.

KakandaTemple is a temple of thoughts and ideas strung around the common man’s perceptions and dilemma in the chaos of Nigerian political dramas and social realities. Follow Gimba on twitter: @gimbakakanda

 

Fridays:

#opesays with Opemipo Adebanjo

This is a weekly column that runs every Friday. It is called #opesays. Join me to talk about issues that matter from motivation to love to politics to religion to life itself. people, practically all things. Kindly join the #opesays hash tag on Twitter to get talking.I would love to hear from you.

@opesays on Twitter

 

 

 

Fridays:

#OmojuwaFiction with Muyis Adepoju

My column, #OmojuwaFiction will be bringing to our esteemed viewers the best of creative writing in the form of prose every Friday. Apart from my works, I’ll be featuring the works of some of the best writers of short stories in #Nigeria and the world. In line with one of the core principles of Omojuwa.com, #OmojuwaFiction will be discovering new talents while honoring the established ones.

Follow Muyis on twitter: @abdulmuizzx

 

Saturdays:

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD with Lanre Olagunju

LanreOlagunju is an hydrologist turn freelance journalist. He bags a degree in hydrology from the University of Agriculture Abeokuta and a professional diploma in journalism from the American College of Journalism.

He’s fond of giving his heart to every brilliant discussion because he believes it’s a nice way to gather the good and the not–so-good opinions. To Lanre, reading and writing is fun and practically he has written quite a number of articles on several issues.

When he’s reading, he uncontrollably sometimes finds himself writing and at other times, screaming hard. At such point, only a sound psychiatrist can convince anyone of his sanity.

Larigold as he is often called is a co-editor of www.picktower.com, his articles have appeared in SATURDAY PUNCH Newspaper. He blogs at www.larigold.blogspot.comand a couple of other online mediums.

Lanre brings fresh human interest perspective into recent happenings surrounding our collective business as a nation most especially as it concerns young people.

He hopes to rejuvenate hope amongthe future of Nigeria –the young people, with his weekly column tittled #INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD, which runs every Saturday on www.omojuwa.com.

He tweets @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

THE #DANACRASHACTION REPORT (with account details)

4thJune, 2012 was a black Sunday for Nigeria. On that day, a commercial flight belonging to Dana Airline had crashed in Lagos into a building and its parts into four adjoining ones; killing all on board and other families on the ground. The nation was thrown into great mourning. This had been one of the most vivid and unfortunate air mishap in a while. Almost everyone had someone involved in the crash, or a family friend or friend of a friend.

On Monday, 5th June, 2012; notably Seun Fakuade (@seunfakze) and Kathleen Ndogmo (@kathleenndongmo), used social media platform Twitter to launch, then an immediate and initial relief material response call across the nation calling for friends and loved ones not only to mourn and eulogize those who had departed but help those different families who had been displaced by the crash with material (non-cash) donations. The Plan was simple: use distress calls to help gather relief materials in the country. These generated many responses with loving friends helping the effort by tweeting and retweeting critical information that proved to be significant to the success of the effort.

The relief collation was given a timeline frame of 4 weeks to ensure collation, stock taking (inventory of materials) and ultimate distribution. This was divided in 2 week phases of Collation and Distribution. Twitter was ultimately used to kick start and sustain this relief effort, while Broadcasts via Blackberry helped served its purpose too. Volunteers sprung across Nigeria with LAGOS- @babatundejnr, @teni_beauty2, @shecrownlita (then in Nigeria), @kathleenndongmo, @wildeji, @realebony, @nisots @dupekila; KADUNA (whispringice), BENIN CITY (@thisiseseosa), ABUJA (@seunfakze @4yusuf, @abangmercy, @peckyugo), ILE-IFE (zebbook), IBADAN (@gboukzi) and very many others who would have preferred to remain anonymous but whose efforts cannot be overlooked as critical to the continued success of this effort including @kwamiadadevoh, @mrsleevesup, @omojuwa, @dupekilla, @jodusolu amongst many silent heavyweights.

Given the urgency of the case, other daring and loving people came on board beyond Nigeria, in the UK with @topeolowu and @forumeditor (non-Nigerian) noticeably helping to spearhead the drive from the onset. Others include @olaoluwakite, @abdullahiaborode, @shecrownlita (who then was in Nigeria and who played a significant role while in Nigeria), @Zaraliscious, amongst many innumerous helpers.

Many Nigerians expressed doubts and cynical venomous responses trailed our collective effort to the Dana Crash relief collation. Notwithstanding, materials came in from Lagos and beyond. We took much consignment of goods and relief materials and was provided a storehouse at the RISE place. A temporary shelter home was temporarily rented around the suburban of Ogba, where our unyielding volunteer effort produced partitioned makeshift flats to house the families of 5 (at first) then 15 altogether.

We owe to @wildeji, @shecrownlita, @babatundejnr, @teni_beauty2 the gratitude and appreciation of making the daring and visionary effort of the Shelter which till date houses these Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

The inventory of the materials began in earnest and the first batch of relief efforts went out in a week in food items, mattresses, fans, a generator donated and fueled by Jubaili Bros. We had many helpful bailouts along the way which helped speed track the effort material collation across Nigeria. For instance, Abuja collation material had ABC Transport provided us with a N6,000 rebate after we had explained to the Manger of the intent of the goods. Thus the initial N18,000 became N12,000. The N12,000 was paid from the N2,000 that was provided by one of the volunteers (@ofastupidwoman from Clothes4Love) and the N10,000 from the N100,000 provided by a loving Nigerian. In all, N102,000 was provided from Abuja and details of the spending:

N12,000 for transport of goods through ABC with @4yusuf, @seunfakze and @abangmercy as witnesses

N4,000 sent to @whisperingice so as to send the Kaduna goods

N16,000 to clear UK goods at the airport; witnesses are @seunfakze and @teni_beauty2

N1,000 for transport to store; witnesses are @seunfakze and @teni_beauty2

N6,000 for transport of distributed relief materials to Shelter place for IDPs witnessed by @seunfakze, @wildeji, @realebony

These sum gives a total of N39,000 spent altogether leaving a balance of N63,000.

 

RELIEF MATERIAL DISTRIBUTION

Huge relief materials were transported from the store to the Shelter and first set of relief materials have been given to 9 present families out of the 15 families (IDP). Attached are pictures (and videos forthcoming) which we hope you will find time to go through, detailing the processes of signing and with family members. The other 6 families would also get the first set of the relief materials when they present themselves during this week. Let it be clear that accommodation at this shelter were paid by some of the generous Nigerians and were handled with the landlord directly without interference. This accommodation will lapse on 15th July, and these IDPs will be forced to the street if we fail to provide an alternative for them. We hope to solve their accommodation as soon as we are able to

 

THE DANACRASHACTION TRUST ACCOUNT

From the onset, we vehemently refused attempts to accept monetary cash as evident in all of our tweets owing to the cynical nature of Nigerians. Notwithstanding, we embarked on cash collection having being pressured by many in the Diaspora who wanted to contribute and even here in Nigeria. Also, we felt we may have earned the trust of many through the #SaveOke project that most of us had partaken in recently. Several banks were approached given the urgency of the situation; of these three @gtbank came to our rescue; providing Pounds, Dollars and Naira currency accounts for use.

The DANACRASHACCOUNT is a PUBLIC TRUST ACCOUNT and as such, NO MEMBER of the DanaCrashAction had knowledge of the details. Let it also be clear that no one can anyone access it outside the account signatories who are notable and reputable Nigerians. Till 9am this morning, no one knew the detail of the account, nor has anyone being able to access it. Unlike the #SaveOke initiative where we had a day by day update of the account, we had no ACCESS to this account as we were not directly involved with its discharge. This is needed so as to ensure transparency and absolute accountability as well as to ensure PUBLIC TRUST is not violated. This is thus the details of the account UNTOUCHED, UNUSED, UN-ACCESSED.. (CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK) FINANCIAL ACCOUNT DANA_CRASH04Jun2012-25Jun2012

FINAL PHASE

The first of the final phase of distribution began have been done to these IDPs, the concluding parts will come these approaching weeks.

The accommodation of these IDPs will hopefully be sorted out too giving the account status and hopefully the help of others.

For the team, in Nigeria and abroad; it has been three weeks of unbelievable synergy, coordination, fast flurries of emails, calls, arguments and absolute love. Gratitude goes to YOU DONORS without which we would never have witnessed the joys on the faces of these IDPs, nor the cries, or the bond that has since existed between many unknown Twitterians.

It is not over yet; the DanaCrashAction website will launch soon featuring the collation of all the efforts, the intricate details, the list of Donors, the list of volunteers, the selfless contributions of all, the events (memorial, events, etc). We owe the effort of all concerned to make this work.

The team is proud, and we hold our head high despite the distrust from many quarters.

Thanks for YOUR unwavering support.

We made it through.

God bless you

I write as ‘Seun Fakuade

With the consent, and on behalf of the TEAM at home and abroad,

@seunfakze @KathleenNdongmo @BabatundeJnr @Wildeji @teni-beauty2 @topeolowu

NB:

1. The second report will contain details of other expenses at the shelter and other ongoing developments.

2. Attached — comprehensive listing and pictures (videos to come) of donated items to IDPs, including evidence of some payments, scanned evidence of accepted materials by IDPs, and the FULL FINANCIAL REPORT OF THE DANACRASHACTION ACCOUNT. TO VIEW THE FULL IMAGE, CLICK ON THEM. Enjoy!

Donated_Items_to_IDPs_Batch_2 DANA_CRASH04Jun2012-25Jun2012

The Gospel According To ‘Saint’ Farouk

1)  And it came to pass after these things, on the first day of the first month of the twelfth year after the second millennium, that king Jona son of Bele announced to the people saying; there is no money left in the royal treasury, and the future of the kingdom is in great danger.

2) Therefore, a measure of oil shall no longer sell for three scores of silver and seven, but shall now be seven scores of silver and one. But the people grumbled aloud, and said unto another, what shall it profit our king to gain all these oil money and lose his throne?

3) For it is appointed unto him to reign but once, and after this prison, for many are the atrocities which he has committed.

4)  So they said unto the king, eat thou thy food in peace in the palace, and surround thou thyself with thine women, only touch not our oil price and do thy people no harm.

5) But the king would not listen, and said unto himself, I know my people, they shall only grumble for a while and soon they shall forget.

6) But the people would not forget, for the burden was too much for them to bear, and they said; now unto him that is able to increase the price of oil exceeding abundantly above all that his people can bear or think, according to the greed which worketh in him;

7) Unto him be curses in the streets by the masses throughout all ages, protests without end.

8) So they took to the streets and gave the land no peace, and there was no going out or coming in throughout the kingdom for two weeks, and the king feared greatly and said to himself, surely these people shall overturn me if I answer them not.

9) So he called the head of the labourers unto the palace, and gave him bags of gold, that he mayest turn off the wrath of the people against the king.

10) So the king assembled the people and said unto them; a measure of oil shall no longer be seven scores of silver and one, but shall now be four scores of silver, one dozen and five, to this your leaders have agreed. Praise me now therefore for I am a benevolent king.

11) And after all these, the Loudspeaker of the House of People said, let us inquire into the king’s claim that there be no money in the royal treasury. So they appointed Farcrook, son of Lawal.

12) And said unto him, gather ye now all the oil sellers, that we may know who stole from the kingdom. This did him with diligence, and came back with his report saying

13) Thieves abound in the land, and so have the oil sellers stole from the people, and gave them not oil, this they did with the help of Aliyaro the king’s mistress; and the amount he mentioned was unheard of in the land.

14) When the people heard this, they were dismayed, and sorrow gripped their hearts.

15) But the oil sellers went in unto the king in his chamber, and said; rememberest thou O king that the what we stole did we make available to thy campaign, and by thus did we make you king.

16) If thou deliver us unto the people that they may punish us, we will hold not our tongue to tell the people that thou art one of us.

17) And they said unto him, how else shall we destroy the message if not to destroy the messenger? Let us therefore implicate Farcrook the son of Lawal in this matter.

18) So they sent a certain rich man from the West by the name Otedollar, and he took Farcrook into his house and gave him some money, that he may alter the report which he had set before the people.

19) And it was that Otedollar went before an assembly of the people and said unto them, trust ye this man who said we stole from the treasury? Surely he is one of us, for he came unto me in the middle of the night, and he left with his pockets full of money.

20) And the people where amazed, and their hearts bled, for Farcrook was a man in whom they had put their trust.

21) So Farcrook arose, and said; Otedollar is my briber, I did not request. He maketh me to sit down in his Maitama house; he leadeth me beside the chilled champagne.

22) He exploited my greed; he leadeth me in the path of marked dollars for subsidy’s sake.

23) Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of EFCC, I will fear no arrest: for bribes are with me; my loots and my kickbacks they comfort me.

24) Thou preparest the dollars before me, in the presence of the SSS: thou anointest my mouth with wine; my pocket runneth over.

25) Surely the shame and reproach shall follow me all the days of my life, but I will dwell in the house of PDP forever and ever.

26) And the people wept, but there was no one to console them.

 

Ogunyemi Bukola

Follow @zebbook on twitter

Angry Nigerian Builds Nuclear Weapon, Threatens To Blow Up National Assembly

An angry Nigerian, who simply identified himself  as Man of Native God has declared that he is currently building a nuclear weapon in Lagos and has declared his intention to blow up the National Assembly premises in Abuja in protest against the corruption and misgovernance of the occupiers of the assembly. In a statement which he issued on the Punch website early this morning in response to a publication by the newpaper in Hon Farouk Lawan was said to have admitted collecting $500,000 from businessman Femi Otedola to influence the report of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Man of Native God threatened that the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be nothing compared to the terror he is set to unleash on the members of Nigeria’s ruling class. The details of his statement are given below:

 

Man of Native God June 12, 2012 at 3:50 am

Nigeria.! Nigeria..!! Nigeria…!!! How many times did I call you?

I don’t need an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (Topol-M or SS-18 Satan)
I don’t need an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (Agni-5)
I don’t need a cruise missile (Tomahawk or Iskander)
I don’t need a mobile missile launcher.
I don’t need a nuclear powered aircraft carrier (USS Nimitz or Admiral Kuznetsov)
I don’t need a nuclear powered ballistic submarine (HMS Vigilant or USS Pennsylvania)
I don’t need a strategic bomber (B2-Spirit or Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack)
I don’t need a stealth bomber or a 5th-Gen fighter jet (F-22 Raptor or Sukhoi Su-35)

All I need is ONE working nuclear warhead..! I wouldn’t mind transporting and delivering the package BY HAND to the National Assembly Complex. Blow up that shrine of corruption and put an end to this geographical expression!

How can I be alive, a Man of Native God like myself, and idiots and chickens would be stealing me dry both in broad daylight and pitch darkness? The earlier we finalise this geographic divorce the better for we. The clock is ticking. I am already synthesising and enriching Plutonium-239 here in Lagos. Oh yes! If you like go and invite the IAEA and the UN Security Council. Tell them to search and comb all of LAGOS for “clandestine nuclear weapons activities”. They won’t find me. Once I enrich up to weapons grade level (90%), Hiroshima will be child’s play. Nagasaki will be like a game of Nintendo. This country will hear a very Big Bang!!

I don tell una my mind. People wey get ear, make them hear.

Rubbish.

**********

MAN of NATIVE GOD . . .

#FUELSUBSIDYPROBE: Hon Farouk Lawan Responds To Bribery Allegations

 

10th June, 2012

My attention has been drawn to several newspapers and internet stories alleging that a prominent member of the House Adhoc Committee on Petroleum subsidy demanded and received the sum of $600,000.00 as bribe from an oil marketer.

 

I wish to categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe this is evident from the thorough and in depth manner the investigation was carried out and the all encompassing recommendations produced therefrom as approved by the whole House.

 

The general Public is hereby reminded that during and after the investigations we have severally raised alarm on pressures on us from different quarters. In particular. I wish to refer to the front page publication in the Leadership Weekend newspaper of 28th April 2012 captioned “Marketers offered subsidy committee plane-load of dollars” where we alerted the public that a marketer promised to fly in a jet loaded with US Dollars which he  “intended to share to both the House leadership and members of the Adhoc Committee” to influence the outcome of the report.

 

This clarification is necessary in order to clear all the insinuations being bandied about and more importantly to enable the Government   concentrate on the implementation of the report.

 

The present mudslinging is not unexpected in view of the caliber of people whose actions and inactions were found wanting in the report. I am aware that in their desperation to discredit the report and divert the attention of the public from the real issues of large scale fraud in high places established in our report, a video footage displaying a caricature of my person allegedly having a dealing with a marketer reminiscent of the military era when dignitaries were invited to the villa to watch a video clip of a phantom coup involving Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is already in circulation.

 

I wish to assure all Nigerians that the sanctity of our report remains unassailable and it will be in the best interest of the country if the relevant authorities faithfully and conscientiously implement the resolutions of the House. No amount of redherring and cheap blackmail will affect our resolve to continue to act in the best interest of the country with all the available information at our disposal. No doubt, the last has not been heard.

 

 

________________________

REP. FAROUK M. LAWAN

Chairman,

Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy

House of Representatives

Boko Haram’s Expiry Date By Pius Adesanmi

Boko Haram’s Expiry Date By Pius Adesanmi via SaharaReporters

Early Monday morning. A chalet somewhere in Aso Rock. Booze, runs girls, and other trade marks of government officials. Montell Jordan’s “This is how we do it” blares from a powerful gbedu home theatre. Enter Ruby.

 

“Orontus! Renoks! Na here una still dey?”

 

“Ruby! Why you always dey rush in to wake person? Wey your own by the way?”

 

“I don discharge am. She don go. There is work to do. I still can’t get used to the idea of waking up like this on Monday mornings.”

 

Orontus and Renoks crack up. Loud peals of laughter.

 

“You think you were coming here to chair editorial board meetings of Rutam Times on Monday mornings? Calm down my friend. You will soon get used to government work ethics.”

 

“Thanks, Orontus. Thanks, Renoks. I go say una talk so but right now there is fire on the mountain and we need to get cracking.”

 

“You are such an alarmist. I have told you that the Malabu oil deal scandal will calm down after a while.

 

Oga does not have to react to that one. No be Naija we dey?”

 

“That’s what you keep saying, Orontus. You people should at least let me know the exact size of Oga’s share of that booty so I’ll know what to say if the public insists on an explanation. Have you not heard that the House has instituted a probe into it?”

 

Another round of raucous laughter from Orontus and Renoks

 

“Ruby, oh, Ruby. You no go kill person so? The National Assembly? Ha ha ha ha ha. Renoks, tell Ruby what is going on.”

 

“Oga Ruby you should know by now our ritual with the boys in the National Assembly. Dem own no dey pass Prado Jeeps. One Prado per person and that will be the end of the noisemaking.”

 

“Renoks, we are talking $1.1 billion o. Are you sure they will accept Prado Jeeps? Won’t they ask for a bigger cut?”

 

“Oga Ruby, wait, I never finish. That was our initial fear. That they would ask for a bigger cut. So when we asked their representatives to come to the Villa at midnight the other day, our strategy was to start small and increase the offer depending on their stubbornness. So we started with Toyota Camry and were surprised that they just agreed without negotiation. That meeting ended before 1:00 am. It was that short. Oga was even still able to host Baba Edo starting from 2:00 am that night”

 

“Oh, no, they accepted Toyota Camry? Not even the usual Prado Jeeps? That’s how cheap they have become?”

 

“Yes o, Ruby. We instructed them to continue to make some noise throughout June on the floor of the house.”

 

“And which Baba Edo came here at 2:00 am?”

 

“Ruby! How many Baba Edo do we have fixing things for us? Don’t you know that Oga has decided that PDP must win the gubernatorial election in Edo state? That’s why we summoned the old man?”

 

“A man over 80 years-old agreed to come here in the dead of night? Na wa for dat Baba o. Anyway sha, you guys are distracting me. I’ve even forgotten why I wanted to see both of you. Today is June 1st o.”

 

“Ehen? If today is June 1st nko? Abeg, Ruby, go and draft Oga’s speech for June 12. End it with a statement renaming the Kainji dam. Oga has decided to call it the Amen-by-Fire Hydroelectric dam.”

 

“Amen-by-Fire dam? Why?”

 

“Ruby! Ruby! You no dey quick understand o. Nigerians have been complaining that Oga does not say Amen when respected clergy men go off point and begin dey yab yeye prayer. So we give the Nigerian people a permanent monument to the Amen they are looking for this coming June 12. Besides, there will so much national outcry by those who would say Oga is being dumb as usual by renaming Kainji dam on June 12 that the MAULAG protests will be drowned and forgotten.”

 

“But there will be a new round of protests over the Amen-by-Fire Hydroelectric dam.”

 

“Then we find another yawa to keep them busy. The idea is to keep them busy from yawa to yawa till 2015.”

 

“Anyway, you guys have distracted me again. I’m not here for June 12. I’m here because Oga promised the whole country that Boko Haram and other security challenges will end in June 2012.”

 

“And so?”

 

“What do you mean and so? Orontus…”

 

“Lookia, Ruby boy, don’t Orontus me over that matter o. Just because I am Strategy and Renoks is Twitter and Facebook does not mean that we must always be your master planners. Can’t you go and tell people that Oga was misquoted?”

 

“This is the electronic age, Orontus. Oga is not just on written record. He is on tape, putting an expiry date on terrorism. We cannot claim that he was misquoted o.”

 

“Then go and claim that he was speaking metaphorically and our people should learn to understand metaphors.”

 

“Orontus, you know I have used that one before. I was sort of hoping that Oga meant what he said? That there is indeed a master plan to rid the country of Boko Haram, kidnappings, etc this month? If that is the case, tell me so I can begin to prepare a victory over terrorism speech for June 30th. That is why I am here.”

 

“Sometimes, Ruby, you say things to deliberately annoy person. How you go dey ask if Oga get answer to Boko Haram or if plan really dey to end Boko Haram?”

 

“But it was Oga that put an expiry date on Boko Haram now. We were all there that day when…”

 

“Ruby, I’m not daft. I know we were all there when he said it. What I am saying is that we all live in fear whenever Oga steps up to a microphone. We have all accepted the fact that no amount of coaching go fit make oga sabi yarn properly. So we all pray and hope that the damage will not be too much whenever he talks to Nigerians. You of all people should know that the Boko Haram yarn na one of those Oga mouth-miss-road yarns and you are here asking us if there is indeed a master plan to end Boko Haram in June.

 

Master plan ko, servant plan ni? Na so e easy?”

 

“So how do we handle the scandal if bombings and kidnappings continue in the country after June 30?”

 

“Ruby, since you still don’t know how we do things, watch me and learn. Renoks, call Ibrahim right now.”

 

A phone rings at the EFCC’s brand new Headquarters in the Jonathan district (formerly Maitama) of Abuja.

 

“Hello, hello, yes, who is speaking?”

 

“Ah, Oga Lamorde, na me o. Your boys are representing here in the Villa.”

 

“Ah, Oga Orontus! Yaya de? It’s been three days o. Dis one that you remembered me today. How are you sir? How is Oga?”

 

“We are all fine Oga Lamorde. Happy new month to you. Oga has a small problem which requires keeping the country a little busy from July 1st to around the end of August.”

 

“Ehen, ok. What is it?”

 

“It is that Boko Haram expiry date business. How can we find idle diversionary talk for Nigerians as from July?”

 

“That is easy. We can dust some high-profile files and do high-profile arraignments throughout July and August. Which files do you suggest, Oga Orontus?”

 

“Now you are talking, Oga Lamorde. Let’s use the fuel subsidy file. The indicted people are heavy and many of them are in Oga’s economic team. You can start arresting and arraigning them in July.”

 

“Ok, Oga Orontus, I’ll leave it to you to explain to the concerned people that there will be some inconvenience for them in July-August.”

 

“Before nko? Leave that angle to us. Talk to you later, Oga Lamorde. Bye.”

 

“Ehen, Ruby, you see now. This is how we do it. While Lamorde is busy arresting and arraigning, your own assignment will be to “see” editors of newspapers, especially the Lagos-Ibadan media. Don’t worry about “seeing” ThisDay. They will help us anyway, whether we “see” them or not. Plant stories that Oga is considering sacking Madam Diezani and disbanding Nuhu Ribadu’s committee. If Lamorde is arresting people in Oga’s economic team, and newspapers are gossiping about Madam Diezani and Ribadu, and Renoks here is twitting and Facebooking about Oga’s renewed war on corruption, Nigerians will not remember that Boko Haram expiry date talk even if Boko Haram drops an atomic bomb on June 30th.

 

Trust me, Ruby.”

 

“I trust you, Orontus.”

Boko Haram’s Expiry Date By Pius Adesanmi

Goodluck Jonathan’s Gift Horse By Wole Soyinka

Goodluck Jonathan’s Gift Horse By Wole Soyinka

This is one gift horse which, contrary to traditional saying, must be inspected thoroughly in the mouth.
Primary from all of us must be a plea to the MKO Abiola family not to misconstrue the protests against the naming of the University of Lagos after their heroic patriarch. Issues must be separated and understood in their appropriate contexts.  The family will acknowledge that, among the loudest opposing voices to Jonathan’s gift horse, are those who have clamoured tirelessly that MKO Abiola, the Nigerian nation’s president-elect, be honoured nationally, and in a befitting manner.

Next is my confession to considerable shock that President Goodluck Jonathan did not even think it fit to consult or inform the administrators of the university, including Council and Senate, of his intention to re-name their university for any reason, however laudable. This arbitrariness, this act of disrespect, was a barely tolerated aberration of military governance. It is totally deplorable in what is supposed to be a civilian order.

After that comes the bad-mouthing of MKO Abiola and the Nigerian electorate by President Jonathan who referred to MKO as the “presumed winner” of a historic election. While applauding the president for finally taking the bull by the horn and rendering  honour unto whom honour is due, the particularities of this gesture have made it dubious, suspect, and tainted. You do not honour someone while detracting from his or her record of achievement. MKO Abiola was not a presumed winner, but the President-elect of a nation, and thus universally acknowledged.

It is sad, very sad, that after his predecessor who, for eight full years of presidency, could not even bear to utter the name of a man who made his own incumbency possible, along comes someone who takes back with the left hand what the right has offered.  However, there is hope. Legalists have claimed that there is a legal flaw to the entire process. The university, solidly backed by other tertiary institutions nation-wide, should immediately proceed to the courts of law and demand a ‘stay of execution’. That should give President Jonathan time to re-consider and perhaps shift his focus to the nation’s capital for institutions begging for rituals of re-naming. After all, it is on record that the House of Assembly did once resolve that the Abuja stadium be named after the man already bestowed the unique title of  “Pillar of African Sports”. He deserved that, and a lot more. What he did not deserve is to be, albeit posthumously, the centre of a fully avoidable acrimony, one that has now resulted in the shutting down one of the institutions of learning to whose cause, the cause of learning, President-elect MKO Abiola also made unparalleled private contributions.

Let me end by stressing that my position remains the same as it was when the University of Ife was re-named Obafemi Awolowo University. I deplored it at the time, deplore it till today, have never come to terms with it, and still hope that some day in the not too distant future, that crime against the culture of institutional autonomy will be rectified. Let us not compound the aberrations of the past with provocations in an era that should propel us towards a belated new Age of Enlightenment.

 
Wole Soyinka

Report predicts bleak future for Nigeria’s oil, gas reserves

Report predicts bleak future for Nigeria’s oil, gas reserves

A new report published by the Business Monitor International has predicted a bleak future for Nigeria’s oil and gas reserve base. While the oil reserve has been estimated to peak at about 40.05 billion barrels in 2016, it will later decline to 27.90 billion barrels by 2021.

The 46 per cent decline may have been premised on the speculations that Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves will decline and may eventually dry up in the next 45 years.

However, the recent trend of investment in the industry due to uncertainty over the delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may be postulating the same.

Besides, the BMI report predicted the same trend for the gas reserves, which it said are expected to peak at 5.95 trillion cubic meter (tcm) in the 2014-2016 period, before falling back to 5.80tcm in 2021.

Although, the report noted that attempts to cut gas flaring bolstered the outlook for gas production, it postulated that, “OPEC quotas, the risk of project delays and Nigeria’s political environment, particularly vis-à-vis the PIB, still imply a significant amount of uncertainty.”

Oil production is expected to experience significant increase in the short and medium term due to development of new oil fields, such as Usan and  Egina.

“With several projects added or coming on stream in the next few years, such as Usan (180,000bpd) and Egina (150,000bpd to200,000bpd), we see Nigerian oil output rising substantially over our forecast period to 2021”, it stated.

BMI expects oil production to increase from an estimated 2.5 million bpd in 2011 to 2.75 million bpd by 2021.

Consumption of crude is forecast to rise at an annual average of 6.29 per cent rate between 2011 and 2021, boosted by anticipated strong Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. It therefore forecast that consumption would rise from an estimated 293,000 bpd in 2011 to hit 563,000 bpd by 2021.

Meanwhile, gas production, according to the report, will increase from an estimated 34.71 bcm in 2011 to 82.61 bcm by 2021, as the authorities and companies reduce the practice of flaring and start monetising associated gas resources.

“Gas demand is set to rise at an annual average growth rate of 12.60 per cent. Booming demand from the government’s ambitious power sector plans and large export engagements will thus bolster production growth. We see Nigerian gas consumption rising from an estimated 5.72 bcm in 2011 to 17.19 bcm by 2021”, it added.

In terms of infrastructure, the report lauded the Federal Government’s ambitious plans in liquefied natural gas and refining.

However, it lamented that the downstream sector remains “highly inefficient” adding that, despite a nameplate capacity of 505,000bpd, actual output is often around 100,000bpd.

“Many projects have been proposed, but there has been no update indicating that any of them is actively going forward”, it stated.

It added: “Considering the country’s past woes in the sector, we have decided not to include these projects in our forecasts. Nigeria’s dependence on oil prices leads to high volatility in the country’s export revenues. Our assumption of tight supply due to booming demand in emerging markets is clearly an opportunity for the country. As a result, we forecast that OPEC basket oil prices will increase from an estimated $107.52 per barrel (bbl) in 2011 to $111.47pbbl in 2012, thus creating an upside risk for the Nigerian macroeconomic outlook.”

 

 

 

Guardian

NIGERIA: THE MESSIAH by @seunfakze

“Nigeria’s savior/messiah will not be North or South, he will be Nigeria personified. He will be driven by the hunger and will to set things right. To correct the flaws, to rectify the institutions, to inspire change through the system, to fix our image of corruption, to fix NIGERIA no matter whose Ox is gored”           ‘Seun Fakuade

 

 

NIGERIA: THE MESSIAH

It’s 2012. Already, the cacophony of what will be in 2015 has begun. From PDP, to the opposition parties in CPC, ACN, ANPP, ACCORD, other smaller parties & talks of alliance of the opposition: the journey has begun. Only weeks ago, I wrote about the burdening curses of leadership at all tiers in Nigeria. That has not changed, in fact it may not change. Why? Nigeria’s low expectations and an elitist ideal sense of looking for a SAINT/SAVIOUR will keep re-creating the vacuum that exist in Nigeria.

Nigeria is rich. Extremely. Nigeria is lost. Extremely too. Fixing Nigeria is as easy as ABC: find the LEADER who has the will to connect the resources and make it a brand for export, for wealth generation, for creating opportunities; or one who can provide enabling environment for our wealth of resources (human and natural) to thrive and survive. I wish that were simple.

I am not writing softly so Goodluck, PDP, CPC, ACN or any such party won’t hear. We have a nation to build, a nation to fix. Any man who stands in this path deserve to be swept off with the deluge of our wrath. My responsibility, as is yours, is to sow the seeds that will be the bearings of great things to come. Over the weeks, I consistently had to contend with those who want a MESSIAH for Nigeria, for those who consistently critically condemn every potential candidate for 2015 tossed before us.

Take for instance our President Goodluck Jonathan. Do I hate/detest him? No. But I detest what he represents, what he stand for, what his brand depicts, what he does. I did not vote for him, I knew who he was; not with the jamboree accompanying him all over Nigeria during the breath-taking celebration that followed his campaign trail.They gave us the image of a perfect man, and Nigerians fell of it. They brought the musicians, mainstream media sold us a mirage, and the sentimental Nigerian fell for the gimmick.

Goodluck Jonathan never attended the Presidential debate, so we can’t hold him to any promise. He never told us what he would do, nor did he give us the blueprints. He lounged with Dbanj, created an image that many could align with: of low beginnings and poverty. He deceived the people and their raped their emotions, “run Jonathan run” pervaded the air. “i had no shoes” where the blueprints, they were the landmarks, they are what, till now, rings most clear. Those are not what to look for. What I looked for transcended the emotions, because emotions would not solve our problems. Or has it?

I checked his records: as deputy governor, Governor, vice president, Active President and eventual President. Not much to write about. I believe in Christ, I am termed by the world as a Christian. By that virtue, I should vote Jonathan, but I did not. Why? Neither Christianity nor Islam will fix Nigeria. What will? A GOOD MAN WITH GREAT INTENTIONS AND AN AUDACITY OF HOPE, RESOLVE & STRENGTH TO DO GOOD.

Nigerians have little expectations from public servants. Nigerians have lost that meaning, Nigerians have lost their voice. Nigerians are not happy, why should they be? The nation is in pains. Many of it torn between dividing interests. Why do we deserve to be poor? Why do our children have to be on the streets, in tattered clothes hawking to support their parents? Why must our graduates be on the streets unemployed, idle, and very frustrated? Why do we have poverty amidst wealth? Why do we deserve the leaders that we have? Why do we elect the ones we have? How did they get there? WE CAUSED IT!

All nations have problems. The first step towards change is getting the right people to leadership position who can begin the steps towards nation building, growth and development. Will we allow our division, our ego, our self interests, our tribalism and religion to get in the line of objective reasoning again? The battle has started, the comments have started, the it-doesn’t-concern-me has started. The we-will-survive mentality is sinking in again.

Nigeria has no savior. He doesn’t have two heads, a mighty arm, a magical stick nor does he have a wand. He has probably no fine face, nor the charm that beguiles women; neither will he be your peculiar man. The one in whose time Nigeria will start making positive strides is he who has a wealth of experience, the will, strength, resolve, and guts to champion, lead and inspire change. He will not be drawn or consumed in your daily crucible of ethno-religious hegemony. He will have the track records of excellence, not someone drawn out of the blues to fill a vacant space created by another godfather.

Nigeria’s savior/messiah will not be North or South, he will be Nigeria personified. He will be driven by the hunger and will to set things right. To correct the flaws, to rectify the institutions, to inspire change through the system, to fix our image of corruption, to fix NIGERIA no matter whose Ox is gored. It happened in Ghana, we have such men here. The question is: will our divisive nature allow him get there? Will he be consumed by our ethnic and religious divisions, our sentiments before he comes out?

He will not make promises and renege on them. He won’t promise you heaven on earth. You may not like him. He is NOT A SAINT, he is not then MESSIAH you expect. What to do: study his past. Check his history. He’ll be moved by the afflictions of the common man. He will be down to earth. A breed without greed. He will have realistic plans and pragmatic enough to tackle our problems gradually. Nigeria needs an honest man who will take the PEOPLE above the PARTY; whose allegiance will be to uplifting the people out of the trenches of their impoverishing right into abundance, where they truly deserve to be.

On this generation lies enormous responsibility, to fix the sinking titanic called Nigeria. On this generation lies the onus to be sensitive, beyond the critical appraisal of “WE NEED A PERFECT MAN”. In the present crop of those who can fix Nigeria, THERE ARE NO SAINTS. to deny this is to live in delusion. A savior from the generation above us is a mirage. He doesn’t exist. we have no ideal man. No perfect man to change Nigeria. He has flaws, deep ones ; but he will have the temerity to cause change.

So when they come,now or in 2015, remember to check their backgrounds, their history, their track records, ensure he his a man of his words, that he’ll fulfill whatever he promises. Not a smooth talker, not the advertisements, not the full colored paper spread publication, not the fanfare. We had all this paraphernalia with the Jonathan package. Is it working for us? Has it worked for us?

Nigeria MUST change, at great cost and sacrifice, and no messiah or saint will fix her. None. When I find that person who I believe has the qualities afore-mentioned, I will campaign so hard, use all means of leverage to reach as many as I can, canvass and organize young ones (as i am right now) and vote, and DEFEND MY VOTES BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY. If I fail in 2015 to do what’s required, I may have contributed to another 8 years of retardation, of backwardness, of hardship, of slavery!

Our actions of today, our sacrifices, in standing by that GOOD MAN and not the Expected SAVIOR/SAINT/MESSIAH is what will result in the birth of a New Nigeria.

What we do count.

 

I am @seunfakze

OMOJUWA.COM UNVEILS SUPER BLOGS #SUPERBLOGGERS

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Hello friends,

Everybody has a story to tell. The more you tell one the more you pay attention to your world to tell more. Some are telling their stories and despite telling same the best way they can no one is reading. Together we will change that with Super Blogs. You will become a Super Blogger. If you genuinely take part in this for the next 8 weeks, I will believe a new you will be birth whether or not you win any of the prizes we will be giving along the way.

How to Participate:

1. Pick a category. Politics, Sports, Fashion, Gossip, Cuisine, Health, Fiction …. Just pick an issue you feel comfortable with and write. Do not write more than 600 words (I will read every entry so imagine the work 🙂 )
Make sure your spellings and tenses are in order before sending them along.

2. Send your story to omojuwatv@gmail.com. We will stop collecting entries every Friday at 12 midnight GMT every week. The entries that make the cut will be published from Sunday to Wednesday. The entries with the highest number of page views and comments win our weekly prizes. Page views account for 50 percent of the total, twitter votes 20 per cent, while comments account for 30 per cent. It means you need to encourage your friends to read your work. Not all entries will be published. If your entry is not published, it means you need to get better and that should not stop you from competing the following week (remember Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan and their earlier failures?)

Whoever wins our prize three times will not be allowed to participate again. When we get sponsors, we will give more prizes.

3. That your story has been published does not guarantee you a prize. It just means you are good enough to start a blog if you have not started. It also allows you the opportunity to pair yourself in a competitive group week in and out.

4. Prizes: Winners in Nigeria will get recharge cards on Sundays. Books and other prizes will be added within the shortest possible time. Winners will also have their blogs (their own website not just the article sent in) publicised by @omojuwa on twitter through out the week. Winners outside Nigeria will have their blogs publicised while I will do a guest post on their blog for the week. You don’t have to have a blog to participate. If you have a blog though, always add your blogsite at the bottom of your article along with your twitter handle. I will show an example after this piece.


5. Other things and questions will arise. Do not worry #SuperBlogs will get better. Who knows, we may have a hangout later in the year (just us Super Bloggers) 🙂

This is not essentially a competition, it is an opportunity to either discover a latent part of you or get better. The prizes are just to make us have fun. Nothing tastes well without fun 🙂

I want everyone to have a voice. All of us deserve to be heard. Write about anything and everything. Tell me about your part of Nigeria. I am desperate to hear you.

Participants must be following @omojuwa on twitter to vote or participate. This will be big. Watch out.

Get started. This week’s #Superblogs have started. It will close midnight (GMT) Friday. Every Friday. Mail your articles and stories to omojuwatv@gmail.com. Fiction is allowed. Just be cresative. Whoever sends any piece above 600 words will be automatically disqualified for that week. I am proud of you already because we all can!


Welcome to #Superblogs Super Bloggers

Japheth J Omojuwa
Writes on www.omojuwa.com
@omojuwa on twitter Abuja, Nigeria <<<<< always sign out this way to boost your blog and handle :)

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US: 3 AFRICAN TERROR GROUPS WILL COLLABORATE

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The top U.S. commander for Africa says he is increasingly concerned about the likelihood that terrorist groups in Somalia, North Africa and Nigeria want to coordinate their training, funding and terror activities.

Gen. Carter Ham told Congress Wednesday that terror leaders from al-Shabab, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram in Nigeria want to more closely synchronize their efforts. He says the three groups are the top three threats in that region, and their collaboration would present a real challenge to the U.S.

He also says that announcement earlier this month of al-Qaida’s formal alliance with al-Shabab suggests that the Somalia-based insurgency has been weakened and is looking for greater international support. The two groups have been working together for several years.

Via Sacbee


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/29/4300552/general-3-africa-terror-groups.html#storylink=cpy

THE POWER LIST: TOLU OGUNLESI, JAPHETH OMOJUWA, LINDA IKEJI…WHO ELSE?

Introducing The Annual YNaija Power List!

We present the most influential young Nigerians under 35 in Business, Fashion, Media, Entertainment, Technology and Politics!

We’re not talking influence or popularity; we’re talking to power to make things happen beyond their immediate spaces.

by ‘Ifreke Inyang

Let’s not even argue this – New Media is where the future is at. And in Nigeria, its stranglehold on our social, political, religious and life and the way it constantly drives the conversation is instructive, if not overwhelming. So, who are those we call conveniently call the powerhouses of New Media? We have a list!

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Linda-Ikeji

Linda Ikeji:

If you’re looking for the hottest gossip – which guy stabbed a lover to death, which former actress has turned a firebrand evangelist, etc, Linda Ikeji’s blog is where to check. But that’s just half of the story for the lady who worked into the American embassy and got a visa ‘cause they checked out ‘the most influential blog in Nigeria’ and she popped. From #ABSURape to Mercy Johnson, Linda owns the day. You can’t ignore Nigeria’s number one blogger.

Uche Eze:

With elevated language, great pictures and a fantastic site layout, Uche Eze, the woman behind BellaNaija, has set the bar high. She started BN as a blogspot in the late 2000?s but in recent years made it not just a proper fashion site but a profitable business – and she continues to set a standard.

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Tolu Ogunlesi

Tolu Ogunlesi:

On Twitter, Tolu Ogunlesi, CNN African Journalist of the Year for 2006, is revered – with about 15, 000 followers with whom he shares thoughts on everything from the House of Representatives hearing on fuel subsidy removal to the latest naked pictures on Twitter. With enough followers who take every word he says seriously, Tolu is on to something.

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Japheth Omojuwa:

This is the man who made life intolerable for Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to the President on New Media, and the man who crystallizes much of the opposition to the president’s agenda amongst young people. With the lethal mix of a 20, 000 + strong Twitter account and a popular Omojuwa.com blog, added to his sometimes cringe-worthy candour, Omojuwa is king of the click.

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Noble-Igwe

Noble Igwe:

A lot of folks were shocked when Noble Igwe, a few years ago, decided to leave his day job at 141 Advertising to start-up 360nobs.com. The website has achieved impressive name recognition for its pop culture serving and with all the supporting events brands and Igwe’s “quotable tweets” have made him one of the men to control what you read on the internet.

Cheta Nwanze:

This is the guy who made 234Next.com into the force it eventually became. Along with a string of other media websites to his credit, Nwanze’s day job as the chief techie at Daily Times has clearly made it clear he has magic at his fingertips. Armed with several on-the-go gadgets and some of the brightest bloggers this technology expert is pushing the media outfit back to its former glory.

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Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde:

Omotola

This Nollywood diva is the president of ‘Osexynation’. The ‘Osexynation’ clarion call has led more than once to cluttered timelines – but has proven very useful when she has a new movie to promote or a new rumour to debunk. With the distinction of being cumulatively the celebrity with the most friends on Facebook and about 50, 000 + on Twitter, Omotola has power in her hands.

Don Jazzy:

We’re not sure he still has that magic anymore, but there are those who will argue that, at least on Twitter, it’s the Mohits CEO’s world and we are all just living in it. It’s not just his handle though, but his capacity to drive the day’s news cycle online, at least in entertainment circles. His mis-statement over rappers and their parents was one such instance, and it’ll take a few more gaffes (thought he is quickly piling them up) before this man will lose relevance online.

Wale Adetula:

‘Tula, as his friends call him, has come a long way from the times when his SistaSista idea didn’t quite get off the ground. With his Take 2 with TheNakedConvos, this young man has clearly cornered a huge section of the sex-and-relationships market online – with the blog, and events of the same name and his popular new The Writer competition. What’s that thing they say about being original?

Ediong Umoh:

You may not know him if you’re on Twitter, but you know his brand, NigeriaNewsDesk, which has been identified severally as Nigeria’s most influential Twitter handle – with enough Retweets and Mentions to last two lifetimes. An aggregator of news from sources across the world, and now interlinked with such websites as Ascology.com, Ediong is officially in charge of the news.

Editor’s Note: Any one associated with the core editorial team of Y! or YNaija has been removed from any of the lists

Courtesy YNAIJA.com

JAMES IBORI: THE HOUSES | THE CARS | THE COHORTS IN EXCLUSIVE PICTURES

  • James Ibori bought a portfolio of luxury London homes and a fleet of armoured Range Rovers
  • Fraudster may have stolen $250million from Nigerian coffers as he rose through the ranks
  • He spent £15,000 in two-day stay at London’s The lanesborough hotel
  • He owned SEVEN properties in Britain
  • Ibori, 49, siphoned off millions by inflating state contracts

His rise from DIY store worker to international playboy with a £250million fortune is the stuff of dreams.

A few years after quitting his £5,000-a-year job as a cashier for Wickes, James Ibori had become one of Nigeria’s most influential and richest politicians.

He wasted no time spending his new-found wealth on luxury homes, top-of-the-range cars, five-star travel and fees at exclusive boarding schools.

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“Playboy lifestyle: James Ibori, 49, admitted a fraud totalling more than £50million. The former Nigerian state governor had a fleet of cars and six luxury properties in Britain”

But yesterday the 49-year-old stood shame-faced in the dock of London’s Southwark Court as he admitted stealing tens of millions of pounds from the oil-rich state he governed in Nigeria. Scotland Yard detectives believe his fraud could exceed £250million.

He was on trial in the UK because much of the stolen money was laundered through his London office.

Ibori moved from Nigeria to West London in the late 1980s and was found guilty of stealing goods from the Wickes store he worked at in Ruislip in 1990.

A year later he was convicted of handling a stolen credit card. He moved back to Nigeria and worked for its president, Sani Abacha, as a policy consultant.

Rising quickly through the ranks of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, he was voted governor of Delta State in 1999, winning re-election four years later.

In power, he systematically stole from the public purse, taking kickbacks and transferring state funds to his own bank accounts around the world.

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“Luxury: Exclusive home that Ibori bought in Hampstead, north London, with £2.2million in cash in 2001”

He was helped by family members, including his wife Theresa, sister Christine Ibori-Ibie, his mistress Udoamaka Oniugbo, and Mayfair lawyer Bhadresh Gohil.

A massive police investigation into Ibori’s activities revealed he had bought six properties in London, including a six-bedroom house with indoor pool in Hampstead for £2.2million and a flat opposite the nearby Abbey Road recording studios.

There was also a property in Dorset, a £3.2million mansion in South Africa and further real estate in Nigeria.

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“Extravagant: Ibori, 49, owned an apartment in this block on Abbey Road, London, opposite the famous music studios”

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“Fleet of cars: The former Nigerian state governor owned a number of cars including this Bentley Continental worth in the region of £150,000”

He owned a fleet of armoured Range Rovers costing £600,000 and a £120,000 Bentley. On one of his trips to London he bought a Mercedes Maybach for more than £300,000 at a dealer on Park Lane and immediately shipped it to South Africa.

He bought a private jet for £12million, spent £126,000 a month on his credit cards and ran up a £15,000 bill for a two-day stay at the Lanesborough hotel in London.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass told the court Ibori concealed his UK criminal record, which would have excluded him from office in Nigeria.

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“Extraordinary extravagance: James Ibori owned a fleet of armoured Range Rovers – including this one – bought with the proceeds of his £50million fraud”

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“Large home: James Ibori’s home in Abuja, Nigeria. He was facing a jail sentence after admitting a £50million fraud”

‘He was never the legitimate governor and there was effectively a thief in government house,’ Miss Wass said. ‘As the pretender of that public office, he was able to plunder Delta State’s wealth and hand out patronage.’

The court heard Ibori abused his position to award contracts to his associates including his sister and his mistress.

Scotland Yard began its investigation into Ibori after officers found two computer hard drives in his London office that revealed his criminality.

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“Fraudsters: Solicitor Bhadresh Gohil and James Ibori’s wife Theresa who have already been convicted of money laundering”

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“Guilty: Ibori’s sister Christine Ibori-Idie and his mistress Udoamaka Okoronkwo who have both been found guilty of money laundering”

He was arrested by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in December 2007, but two years later a court in his home town, Asaba, dismissed the charges saying there was not enough evidence.

When the case was reopened by Nigerian authorities in April 2010, Ibori fled to Dubai where he was detained at the request of the Metropolitan Police and extradited to the UK last April.

In a packed courtroom Ibori, dressed in a dark grey suit and black shirt, appeared in the dock to enter ten guilty pleas to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy on what was due to be the first day of a 12-week trial.

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“Luxury: Homes he owned in Lagos, Nigeria, and Kenton, north-west London”

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“Homes: An apartment owned by Ibori’s sister Christine Ibori-Ibie in Brent, north-west London (left) and a London property (right) owned by his mistress Udoamaka Onuigbo”

His wife, his mistress and his sister were all jailed for five years each for money laundering offences following earlier trials.

Last March, Gohil, 46, and described as Ibori’s London-based lawyer, was jailed for seven years for his role in the scam.

Attempts will be made to confiscate as much of Ibori’s money and assets as possible so that they can be returned to Nigeria.

The Met’s Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore said: ‘It is always rewarding for anyone working on a proceeds of corruption case to know that the stolen funds they identify will eventually be returned to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.’

Ibori will be sentenced on April 16 and 17

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“Fraud: A flat owned by Udoamaka Onuigbo, Ibori’s mistress, in central London (left) and a property he bought in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000 in 2005 (right)”

Courtesy: Daily Mail UK .

OMOJUWA EXCLUSIVE: PRESIDENT JONATHAN AND 47 NEW UK VISAS

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Why can’t we get our rulers to speak the truth?


President Jonathan is very serious about cutting costs, this must have informed the fact that he along with forty-seven (47) other people got visas to go to the United Kingdom last Thursday and Friday. Our State House sources informed us that forty-three (43) of those visas were applied for on Thursday the 16th of February i.e. last Thursday and another five (5) passports were sent out from the State House to the High Commission at about 12 noon on Friday.

Curiously though, while the last five visa requests were supposedly for five pilots, their forms had no details whatsoever. Only last month, the First Lady had twenty-three (23) people apply for visa to go with her to the United Kingdom on a tour of Europe. She had the same number of hangers on when she applied for and got a 10 year UK visa for herself just a week after last year’s Inauguration in May.

While the President stated that he would be away for 5 days on this latest trip which they had all listed would be on Saturday last week, the other applicants stated two weeks as their length of stay. Reuben Abati’s was not there as he is said to still have his UK visa along with other regular travelers of the State House. Obviously, whatever this supposed trip is about, it is not being embarked upon by only those without visas. In essence, forty-seven (47) needed UK visas purportedly to travel with the President, we can be rest assured that some more folks would be on the trip who already had their own visas.

This is coming at a time the same President assured Nigerians he was desperate to cut government waste. What if he was not desperate to cut waste? Would this list be as large as the Australian over 200 delegation? And since the President did not travel as stated on Saturday to the UK, could the visas have been sourced just for the 47 people to make their visa request easier? That was a question my ever reliable State House source could not provide an answer to. We found the answer from our other reliable Aso Rock source that the President will be out of the country today and would travel to London, United kingdom tomorrow. Nigerians are blessed with such a caring leader who would rather lie to them that he is cutting waste than tell them he is on a four year splurge. The latter is harder to take.

As I type these words, twelve senior government officials are on a flight to the UK. Most of them in First Class and a few others in Business Class aboard British Airways! God help Nigeria. What a country?!

NIGERIA: FEDERAL AGENCIES TO WASTE N1.5 TRILLION

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The Federal Government plans to spend nearly one and a half trillion naira this year to run hundreds of agencies, most of them having duplicated responsibilities, many of them obscure and others moribund, Daily Trust investigations have shown About N1.455 trillion is allocated in the 2012 budget to the 426 Federal agencies, departments, commissions, institutes and other bodies, even as government says it was planning to cut spending this year.

Most of the Federal agencies have duplicated roles, dozens hardly do anything apart from keeping the red tape long, while a large number of them overstayed their statutory duties.

There are also little-known agencies, ostensibly performing some roles when in reality such duties are no longer being executed by government.

Also on the list are companies that no longer manufacture but continue to guzzle Federal funds in yearly subventions.

The Federal Government last year raised a committee headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steven Oronsaye, to merge or trim government agencies and commissions, but the panel is yet to present its full recommendations.

Ministries with the highest number of such agencies are Agriculture, Health, Education, Science & Technology, Mines & Steel, Water Resources, Culture & Tourism and Trade & Investment.

Many of the 426 agencies are useful, like the teaching hospitals, but majority of the rest mostly give advice or exist to undertake research whose results are not noticeable.

Nigeria has commissions for complaints, refugees, salaries and wages, human rights, utility charges, population, fiscal responsibility and federal character.

It also has agencies for automobiles, tourism, museums & monuments, gallery of art, lottery trust fund, lottery regulation, and poverty eradication.

The Federal Government also has research institutes on cereals, root crops, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, veterinary, animals, horticulture and produce inspection.

Most of these research institutes are either moribund or are neglected and peopled by inefficient civil servants.

There are also institutes for fresh water fish, fishery and oceanography.

Apart from the duplicated institutes, for instance, there are about three colleges of fresh water fisheries in New Bussa, Baga and Lagos. This does not include dozens of institutes and colleges for animal science, land, plants and others.

Daily Trust learnt that among the Federal research institutes are those that outlived their purposes but are still there gulping public funds.

In the same vein, Nigeria has about 24 “business incubator centres” spread across the country. It has institutes and centres for electronics, engineering designs, space science, generic and biotechnology, building and roads, natural medicine, hydraulic equipments, space transports, basic space, technology management, satellite technology, technology acquisition, power equipment, science laboratory and so on.

President Jonathan last month pledged to continue with the plans to reduce such bodies so as to save much needed funds for development activities. Last week, Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke also hinted that government may have to cut jobs in the process of trimming the number of these agencies.

But if the 2012 budget is passed before such cuts, the about 38 research institutes, agencies and commissions under the Ministry of Agriculture would gulp N30 billion this year.

The Health ministry has about 200 of such agencies with over N200 billion budgeted for them in 2012.

Petroleum ministry has six of such agencies/institutes with N56 billion earmarked for them in this year’s budget. The intelligence community, comprising of four agencies under the office of the National Security Adviser, would spend N65 billion this year.

Also, about 30 of such research institutes and commissions in the Education ministry will spend over N100 billion in 2012. Under the Presidency, 10 commissions will spend N25 billion.

Interior ministry has six of such agencies and plans to spend N155 billion this year, the Justice ministry has nine and has earmarked N20 billion for them; Information has nine and will spend N24 billion; Works has six and would spend N42 billion; Power has five and will spend N54 billion; Mines and Steel has nine and has budgeted N13 billion for them.

Defence ministry’s 14 bodies would gulp N302 billion; Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has 19 and has earmarked N60 billion for them; Water Resources has 18 and will spend N22 billion for them; Aviation with five has budgeted N10 billion; Youths Affairs with only two will spend N72 billion; Communication and Technology has five and will spend N14 billion.

Last year, the Oronsaye committee held closed door meetings with each Federal agency. Sources said so many of these bodies could be scrapped going by the findings of the committee.

But no date has yet been publicly given for the submission of the committee’s report, and none for the start of implementation of the cuts.

Courtesy Daily Trust

NDDC TO SPEND N1.3 BILLION ON FUMIGATION

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budgeted a whopping sum of N1.3 billion on fumigation of its premises and another N2.2bn to organise seminars in the 2011 fiscal year, according to details of the commission’s budget approved by the National Assembly.

President Goodluck Jonathan presented the commission’s N250 billion budget for 2011 fiscal year to the legislature late in December, blaming the delay on leadership tussle in the NDDC.

The National Assembly speedily passed the budget after increasing it to N261 billion.

Details of the budget obtained by Daily Trust in Abuja showed that N1.3 billion was provided for the fumigation of offices in the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt and other offices elsewhere.

The NDDC headquarters is a nine-floor storey building, but Daily Trust could not confirm the number of offices in the structure.

Also, the budget provided N1.2 billion for “presidential project monitoring,” which an insider said is meant to be spent on hosting government officials who come visiting the NDDC offices and project sites.

The commission also got N1.8 billion to spend on traveling; N603 million for staff training; N550 million for international conferences; and N759 million for project consultancy.

Vehicle running cost got N794 million and N174 million was provided for vehicle maintenance.

Payment of insurance by the commission gulped N550 million; N550 million is for donations; N638 million for security; and N682 million for hotel bills.

Other expenditure are N308 million for publicity, N160 million for legal expenses, N44 million for entertainment and N394 million for community relations.

Telephone bills got N402 million, N70 million voted for project monitoring and N361 million for corporate affairs.

Also, N2.865 billion is set aside for the headquarters of the agency without specifying the expenditure items.

NDDC was set up in 2001 as an interventionist agency to help address the alleged underdeveloped of the oil rich Niger Delta region.

But it has not met up expectations of people in the region despite receiving hundreds of billions of naira annually.

The agency has also been dogged by in-fighting, boardroom squabble and unproven allegations of corruption.

NDDC was under the Presidency until the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta in 2009, when the commission was transferred to the ministry.

 

WHY LOOTERS MAY RULE NIGERIA FOR EVER – Omojuwa

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I posted an article about three hours ago Nasir El-Rufai: His Past Finally Exposed! I shared same on Facebook and Twitter. In my usual way, I chose a very tricky title – a title that is totally different from the content you’d expect to read. You know what? A lot of people only saw the title and started abusing the writer.

Based on their abuses, it was clear they would have agreed with the content of the piece had they taken the pain to read the article but because of their laziness, they just assumed the article was an attack on Nasir El-Rufai.

This sort of mental and intellectual laziness got me thinking. If people cannot be bothered to click on a link to find out exactly what it says before passing judgement, how can they be trusted to deliver the kind of future Nigeria and Nigerians crave?

This is why the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) can look at the whole nation and say they’d rule for 60 years. Based on my experience today, they can add forever to 60.

God help Nigeria. Those who have the opportunity to know are too mentally tired to know let alone find out by themselves. Intellectual laziness is a major problem every black man must fight. If you cannot engage your mind, how can you put your body to work?
I am Omojuwa

#OccupyNigeria SHIRTS AND OTHER SOUVENIRS ARE NOT FOR SALE!!!

It has come to our notice that people are looking to cash in on the struggle of the Nigerian people for change. This is about our people and our quest to finally make our voice count in the struggle for a better country. Nobody has a right to make money out of this quest. Whoever has sold anything to you in the name of #OccupyNigeria is doing it on his on her personal whim.People have been making sacrifices for this moment in our history to happen, others should not see it as another opportunity to make ends meet. Let us all join hands together to do the right thing

Whoever cares about the Nigerian people will not use this struggle as a means of personal enrichment. It is a Nigerian quest for change.
We want the petrol taxes removed and prices returned to pre-January 1st date and a real cost in the salaries and especially the allowances of public office holders. The 25 per cent announcement the president made about reductions in their basic salaries is a charade. Their basic salaries are just about 10 per cent of the total take home. Essentially, the president only took off 2.5 per cent from the salaries of members of the Executive. As you can see, the president is hearing us but he is not listening yet.

Again, avoid cashing in on the people’s quest for change. Let us together contribute to make our nation better.
My self and other young Nigerians will be on Nigerian Info radio station at 8am tomorrow. We will break down these issues once more.

Fear died yesterday. We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail!

NIGERIA! NOW! OR! NEVER!

JONATHAN FOOLED YOU AGAIN written by Japheth J Omojuwa

When you hear a breath of fresh air what picture forms in your mind? Mine sees newness, freshness and wholesome change. When President Jonathan Goodluck went all over the country telling the poor folks he had no shoes and hence is one of them, that a vote for him is a vote for their dreams and desires, many got carried away by that sentimental positioning. Of course the lies worked as Nigerians got fooled by a politician for the umpteenth time. After weeks of indecisiveness and absolute lull in government, the President finally sent his list ministerial of nominees to the Senate. For the many who had expected a deviation from the norm – the norm being a list that’d contain overused heads, wives, daughters and sons of the cabal, politicians and cronies of the men in power – Jonathan played them like Lionel Messi would have done with a football and now has them on their backside.

For starters, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke got cleared by the Nigerian Senate despite mounting allegations of corruption and more recently the discovery that she did not observe the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). She is billed to return to the same office. That particular ministerial portfolio is directly under the control of Dame Patience Jonathan. She runs the Petroleum ministry through her fashion mentor Bola Shagaya. Theirs is a triangle of fraud that has somehow evaded the prying eyes of attentive Nigerians. That was the reason why her screening today went without a single reference to the NYSC question. Instead of that she was eulogized and praised for being an angel amidst demons. You can be sure that the Senate leadership has been well paid for this particular job. They are all part of the fresh air Nigerians endured the rain and the sun to vote for last April. Nigerians don suffer I swear.

Considering the fact that the foundation of Jonathan’s campaign was built on his sameness and similarity to the Nigerian masses cue “I AM GOODLUCK JONATHAN”, I wonder if one of those who claimed they were Jonathan would have gone ahead to include non-performing ex-ministers, family members of cronies and stooges of past leaders who failed Nigeria in times past. Is that what you’d do if you really were Goodluck Jonathan? Most if not all the successes achieved by President Obasanjo’s government were made possible by professionals – people who manned offices they had years of training for. Think Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Mallam Nasir Elrufai, Oby Ezekwesili and a few uncelebrated heads of government agencies like the FIRS and NAFDAC – okay NAFDAC’s head got celebrated. Go from the Cape to Cairo, from Washington to London, a President is only as good as his cabinet. While this particular President wasted a twelfth of the year dillydallying on whom to put on his list, the names he ended up with could not even justify his waste of time. Let us not forget that he is not a new president as he had some twelve months to test the waters. It appears rather than use those months to test run his ability, he’d be using the next four years to do same i.e. to test his inability.

Those of you getting fooled by phony rankings placing Nigeria as the fourth fastest growing economy in the world (or ninth as some other agencies reported), should not be fooled. There is a paradigmatic difference between growth and development. Wasn’t that why our teachers made us understand their differences and individual meanings? We may be growing as an economy but we are far from developing as a people and a society. If we per chance export an extra one million barrels of petroleum per day for a year, it would affect our growth indices as an economy but may not necessarily have any bearing whatsoever on our development. The Africa Report Magazine wants you to believe Jonathan’s promise of a fresh air is something he is sworn and dedicated to, but if by now, and at least based on his ministerial nominees you don’t know better, I’d say you should keep waiting for the birth of the messiah.

He fooled you to get your votes saying he had no shoes and because majority of you had no shoes you should vote for him, you did. Now he is playing you for the fool again by choosing the same folks that were part of the rowdy air he administered to his own kind of fresh air. If this is what fresh air is all about, I’d rather we have a president who’d promise us fresh farts. That way, we know it will be a contrast from this charade. Anything different from this would be better. This President has again shown that he is not cutout to lead. Most of you must be praying for time to run fast enough so you can vote him out, but the sad part of that wish is that most will still go ahead to vote the wrong folks again. We have been fooled over and again yet we allow them to do it again. Sorry but the truth has to be said as living without the ability to voice the truth is worse than death. They say silence is golden but I am absolutely certain whoever said that is not a Nigerian. As for this country, silence is a weakness. I believe those who said they were watching are still doing same because the watchers are being watched too even though many believe the watchers have been duly paid by those they are watching. It is the conundrum called Nigeria. Were you one of the fools? It is okay if you are no longer getting fooled by this football game being played without goal posts.

You can follow Japheth J Omojuwa on twitter @omojuwa

LAST DAY TO VOTE OMOJUWA BEST POLITICAL BLOG AT THE 2011 NIGERIAN BLOG AWARDS

Hello friends, Thank you for nominating your ever objective and entertaining omojuwa.com as the best political blog Nigerian Blog Awards 2011. We always looked to present the darkest parts of our nationhood with the possibilities of light at the end. The text messages, the tweets, DMs and all of those are well appreciated. I love you and I love Nigeria. Let us do more, a win would put our voices closer to the ears that make things happen. Let us move a notch higher, let us win the category. I always said the only man that wins alone is a lone loser. No one wins alone, we win together. please vote here.

FOOLING THE PRESIDENT…

Every country in the world no matter how badly governed has paid journey men journalists who will always kiss the a** of under-performing rulers. Nigeria has been a haven of praise singers since time immemorial and from the words I now read, they are still on the prowl. How stupid and shallow is the argument about having the 4th fastest growing economy in the world, when more Nigerians are daily plunged into poverty? That’s like a father boasting about his pay cheque and yet has his often hungry children at home during school hours for not paying school fees.

Of what use is my president’s Facebook account if access to the internet remains out of my reach six days a week? How can someone point the president to work that needs to be done and soon after one jobless hireling is all over the place telling us he is so good he is literally walking on water? Even the president was so overwhelmed by the size of the work he needs to get done, he childishly confessed four years was too short a period to get things done.

This is not about whether Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan has performed or hasn’t, it is about those that want to have us believe he is the best president we have ever had since two million retards marched for Abacha. He is far from it but he has the next four years to be that and more. Daniel Kanu during the draconian days of Sani Abacha told us Abacha was the best thing to have happened to Nigeria since creation. A two million man march along with praise singers and an apple eating orgy after, Daniel is now history even though he campaigned for GEJ all over the United States in the run up to the last elections. Daniel Kanu (Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha YEAA) is still in the game but his name is in the dustbin of our national history not the book of life of Nigeria’s few good men.

As we go on this term, writing about the president’s successes will not be enough to fool the people especially considering their expectations. Governor Babatunde Fashola does not need hired writers to carefully outline his successes in written words because even those who cannot read and write are appreciative of his giant strides in Lagos. If the president’s boys think we will believe more in what we read about his “successes” than what we see and experience, then they are jesters, but we won’t be laughing at their foolery.

Nigeria’s massive active population is a risk for any government to toy with. Gaddafi thought he had Libya in his pocket but he now knows better as his end is as inevitable as Osama’s. We can’t continue to box people up in the prison of lack and poverty and expect that all will be well. No amount of prayers can prevent the course of action and reaction. The longer the delay in an expected reaction, the more forceful that reaction when it finally comes. Check out the Middle-East. You can’t continue to keep young active citizens jobless and expect that arming the police would curb crime. The best and most productive way to fight crime is to prevent it. Just get people engaged in productive endeavours and the rest would be taken care of.

This piece isn’t about the president’s performance or lack of it, it is a note to those in the act of looking so hard to find any sign of success by this administration so that they can throw such in the face of Nigerians. Nigerians are easy to please so when (if) the president performs they will see and say it and then writing about such would be an act done in truth. We should avoid dancing to the pangs of poverty’s bite by looking for every opportunity to get into the Ruling Clique. You don’t have to have government’s hand downs to feed even though this government has been generous on that front.

Having said that, it is crucial for those who will never see anything good come out of Nazareth to please hold their sword and give the president a chance. A lot seems to be in the pipeline, we can only hope the pipeline does not get bust before it delivers on its promises.

Make no mistakes about this, irrespective of what the statistics say especially about “our record breaking” growth rate, the street never lies because the street is where the people are and these ones are still not smiling. N606 billion was shared by the three tiers of government in the month of May alone, we all know where most of these monies end. Eight years of the EFCC and they will quote figures of seized monies and all but dear oh dear that is like celebrating drawing out a bucket from the Atlantic ocean when you’ve been engaged to dry it up. Let us get our acts right and get on with the serious business of doing things right.

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PUBLIC SERVICE, PUBLIC LOOTING AND OTHERS


The average Nigerian lawmaker in Abuja works for about 180 days in a year and earns by hook, crook and legal means about 180 bags of dollars – if you think that’s exaggerative then you have no idea about the economic haemorrhage our nation is put through by its supposed custodians. This is not only saddening; it also induces anger not mentioning the hunger it causes amongst the Nigerian populace. This is a nation where the commoners are still at loggerheads with a supposedly breath-of-fresh-air government over an overly paltry and meagre N18,000. minimum wage. What a shame Nigeria!

Reports have it that over 60 million Nigerians had gone out to register in order to be eligible to vote. If any Obasanjo or any politician of the old order believes that these people came out to engender the politics of “Do-or-Die”, they miss the significance of this obvious move for change by Nigerians. Those desperate to institutionalize their political dynasty through undemocratic means a la Olusegun Obasanjo and the Ogun State PDP primaries should think twice – Nigerians will resist by every means possible any and every attempt to foist those they have forced on their parties on Nigerians. We will fight them with the digital media, we will come against their plans and neutralize their diabolical strategies. Is it not exasperating to think that old men who have had repeat opportunities to make Nigeria truly better are the ones still at the fore front of the quest to set the nation careening to political disaster. If the process of electing political parties’ representatives for the General elections is not free, fair and democratic, then the process is void from the source because there would be no house without a foundation – weak or strong.

With all due respect to all the Presidential candidates I don’t think any of them has got any plans to save the Nigerian economy and reposition the country for meaningful growth and development. All you hear are badly written and plagiarized speeches and weak efforts at playing the opposition. What unique plans have they got for tenancy laws that’d ensure people are not paying three years advance rents even when they earn only monthly incomes? What strategies have they got to trade favourably with the West and the world generally besides the quests for aid and beggarly trips to Europe and America? How will they make Nigeria’s economy truly functional? What is the plan to make Nigerian sports at least watchable before thinking of selling the views? How will they save Jos, Bauchi, Borno, the Niger Delta and indeed all of Nigeria from internal terrorism? Who will save our increasingly careening polity?

Security is virtually non-existent even though Nigerians run their own governments by being responsible for their security, their power and energy supply and the supply of water. Where is their holistic paper work to rework the economy? -An economy that is still subject to daily perturbations of politics and government magic. These Presidential candidates don’t impress me but they still can try to. While not intending to run for the Presidency or any political office for that matter, I’ve got a written workable plan for West-Africa’s economy and it’s a shame to think people willing enough to run for office are not willing enough to deduce and map out a plan for the beloved country. Most of them act and sound like yesteryears. The world has since moved folks.

…All over the place all you hear is death, death and death. Where is the policing? When are we going to have a conclusive investigation into the death of at least one political assassination? When are we going to end this hasty and unprofessional conclusions by public office holders – including the President- in the face of threats to life and property.
Back to public service and I can’t but wonder at the maddening rush to serve. One can only wish the purpose is to truly serve the people not milk the people dry. But can one give what one has not got? You do not learn people-service by running for political office, you serve the people long before running for office. The Voter Registration exercise finally ended yesterday so it is time to start taking an intelligent look at those available for us to vote in April (If three weeks were not enough for you to register, I believe even three lifetimes may not be – you don’t care but it’s ok). This time like no other, we must make things work. Out of the lot offering themselves for national service, I believe we have a few good enough for the next four years. Unlike when four years was a guarantee without being questioned, now, we run the government together. We will contribute our voice, action and expertise as the play along. It is never too late to put Nigeria back on track. See Lagos, see Fashola!

Follow J. J. Omojuwa @omojuwa on twitter

KING’S COLLEGE 101: THE LIFE, THE LANGUAGE AND THE LEGEND written by Japheth

KING’S COLLEGE 101: THE LIFE, THE LANGUAGE AND THE LEGEND written by Japheth Omojuwa

…We had just resumed and everyone had too much bucks so Masters’ Quarters was almost as busy as the Queen’s College, Yaba gate on an Inter-house Sports’ day. It did not cost much for a complete delicacy as all you needed was 20 bucks to complete the line-up of a loaf and fried egg – a soft drink to boot only cost an extra 10 bucks – so with 30 bucks you were home and dry. To have it mixed with sardines only required a sardine deal where one person supplied the sardines and another the two loaves for both partners. This simply meant that the dining hall would be as empty as those days when all you’d get for a meal was solo and gums. That is not to say such days did not command their own crowd especially during the Kremo period when all the dough that came through the college gate would have reached breaking point. Kremo was unique in that not only was it a period when just you were broke, but rather some sort of hostel-wide recession, where only a select few still had money to spare or spend.

What made the recession even more recessive is the fact that those who had enough bucks for themselves had to pretend to be broke too, otherwise certain things would get broken afterwards…

Everyone had this look of freshness on the first weekend of resumption and you’d see more smiling faces than hard ones. That was also the time to avoid certain elements like senior boys who despite just coming from home themselves wanted your money to make them richer – may be it was because they needed more money to spend as being ‘seniors’ meant they had to avoid going for as many meals as their pocket would allow. It was a thing of class an outsider may never understand. At the annex in Victoria island, more money meant more trips to Bar beach, Kuramo beach, ‘Species’, while Etebong was for those who could barely spend the money they had or those who did not have the energy to scale the fence – Mega plaza and clubs like Y-not were still an exclusive call.

Bathroom work was what every junior boy dreaded and if the activity itself was dreaded, being assigned to the toilets was a nightmare. There were ways to avoid that – make a prefect your school father, get close to an influential senior boy or let your luck determine your fate. If anyone avoided cleaning those legendary toilets, then one of those must have been the leeway. The same prefects who assigned toilet work could find themselves doing the same assignment a few months after that as they left the junior school (main campus) for the annex which was more or less another beginning. The punishment for missing bathroom work could be from constructing ( where you had your back against the wall and the joints of your leg must form angle 90 degrees at the knees and could even get kicked on your standing legs), to receiving combos which could be one hit, double hit or multiple hits depending on the state of mind of the prefect or even his lieutenant friends and their skills, slaps and more conventionally writing ewa ( a composition on the work you missed or on respect or any topic the prefect deemed fit ). The ewa was not about your ability to write, it was about your ability to endure because you’d be expected to fill some 8-12-16 or even more pages with a monotonous sentence. The pain of writing the ewa came more from seeing it torn right before you at the point of submission than writing it.

The afternoon games offered a lot of fun and escape from other routines. We played a lot of cricket, football, hockey, tennis – for a select few, basketball and some other games I never bothered about. The sports’ pitch was colonised by different groups of boys as they formed mini grounds often perpendicular to the main pitch and parallel to the other make-shift fields. It was common place for the different groups to have the players of the other teams play their ball into the fields of other groups. Unlike other schools though, KC boys did not get into many racks and the ones that took place were hardly anything serious but they were fun. For me then, Kremo period meant that my friends who were Day boys would pay for my expenses during break. That was the period boys shelled more and the tiawns always rang loud – In this regard though, no boy could compete against a house master whose area of expertise was using his duster to knock you. He shelled at every opening of his mouth. I really enjoyed the days he served as my class teacher – I had many willing friends as I was always willing during certain times myself. They also reaped the fruit of their kindness because when I became a junior prefect, we held feasts at my apartment at the Panes and Harman’s houses extension in Hyde Johnson’s house – There we saw the legendary Mr. Ibiam retire to his apartment every day after lights-out taking the steps of his stair case like the Trojan that he truly was – We ate all sorts of cereals and I could swear some of them ate gums for the first time during that period.

The Inter-house athletics competition season brought all-round joy to the whole school. It was the time to have fun both on the school fields on both campuses and even outside school. The Ikoyi-run half marathon (a distance of about 12 km) was a tradition even Day-boys never wanted to miss out of. It allowed us to either run through the Island during the practices or take a walk as the others tried to outdo themselves. Trust me; Victoria Island is the best place to attend secondary school. We stood out amongst the corporate guys. I used to wonder what went through the minds of those workers whenever they saw us in our hostel and night wears looking out to get water from wherever, whenever we ran out of water. The Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, the Nigerian Law school and the AIB gardens and some other coded places always offered a way out but with many boys scrambling for water, you know daylight would come soon enough and those chicks in office suits and skimpy wears were allowed free shows of seeing King’s walk without their revered immaculate regalia of navy blue blazers and sparkling white shirt and trousers with black shoes to boot. Rub-and-shine offered a way out for a few boys who did not mind going to class without bathing but they suffered the consequences by answering the name of that action. That was not an option for an average campaigner. You had to look clean 100% of the time to stand a chance of ending up a prefect. Mind you, that is just one of the steps because there were many rituals to becoming a prefect. The old prefects had most of the say and didn’t they milk it. I think we had both active and passive campaigners. Being a campaigner was not a thing of pride though because boys made it look like you were desperate to become one. It was better to be seen as being yourself, but then a campaigner needed to canvas for votes which these ones did in the not-so-usual sense.

Unsuccessful campaigners were forced to deal with the not-so-good situation of being seen as having failed in their bid to become prefects. Some of them soon returned to their normal mode soon after the legendary Mr. S.I.Balogun announces the much awaited lists. There were a lot of lists but the most dreaded was the one where the words ‘deboarded’ or ‘suspended’ came after a name.

The beauty of being a KC boy found expression in the number of girls willing to go out with you just at the asking – some even without asking. We were seen as very proud so anyone who was lucky enough to have a King walk up to her, knew she had to make the best use of the royal opportunity. I had dated girls during my KC days and after just for mentioning my school. At first I did wonder what I had said, and then I saw a recurring theme and concluded it was not me but what I stood for. There was this particular girl from FGGC Ipetumodu in Osun State who made a mess of all the boys at a holiday class I attended. I saw everything she did to the boys and acted like she did not even exist. I really liked her but going head-on could get my head really hurt. Because I never bothered nor sent her, she got curious and walked up to me herself. Now it was my turn to form. To finish the job, she inevitably asked for my school because my confidence and language apparently unsettled her. All the other boys from them schools were watching when I told her I had to bounce … I did not tell her because I knew she’d find out anyway and that made more sense. She could not leave me the next day. This girl that terrorised all the big boys became my slave. I later schooled her about pride and all. In various female hostels across the South-West and even as far as the East, North and South, dating a King’s College boy amounted to being a ‘Big Girl’. Even Queen’s College girls who ordinary should see that as the norm were always excited to share in that experience. It became more difficult for them when the likes of Vivian Fowler, Atlantic Hall, Doregos, Holy Child, FGGC Saggy girls and a host of others seemed to ‘poach’ what QC girls felt was their exclusive territory. Make no mistake though, most KC boys still had most of their girlfriends come from QC and vice versa.

It is not common place to see a boy spend as much as N15,000.00 (don’t mix it up with today’s value) for a Val gift, then end up begging for a base of cornflakes or even gums that night. At those times, even getting to have essentials from Etebong was satisfying because you had shown your class by making your girl a true KC boy-dating queen. Essentials was a N20 meal comprising N5 pure water, N5 gums, N5 G-nut and N5 sugar. Don’t be fooled into thinking that was no meal because you were bound to have boys walk up to you for a base or two. That is not to say you wouldn’t see the same boy battling Shy later in the night. First Bar-beach, later Kuramo beach was the meeting point for the daring boys. I know a boy that almost never missed a night at KB. There was a tale of a house-master who dared to go chase boys from KB but got a swollen face in the process from blows. When asked about the funny looking face, he told his fellow teachers and the PKC Mr. Balogun he was stung by bees. Hyde J boys I am not talking about your then house master o. lol.
What made and still makes the KC boy tick? Consciousness! A King’s College boy no matter his place or grade in school was always conscious of who he was – A king. It was a reality that got beaten into you during your 1st year orientation where I heard and knew for the first time that we were the 1st of just two schools in Nigeria. For all the talks about falling standards, we still carted home trophies and prizes – debates, chess, quizzes, sports and all. I remember Shaggy girls shouting their voice hoarse when I completed another winning performance on their asphalt race track. I also remember in my JSS1 when an Abdulsalam inspired KC Lions mauled FGC Ijanikin 4-2. We won more KIGS cricket competitions than we lost. We still had boys win prizes in American and British schools even till tomorrow. The standards did fall like every Nigerian reality but we were very much le primus inter pares. Our appearance and the unique way we stepped out of the bus and filed into the many competition venues were enough to kill the morale of our would-be competitors. A King is not a king because of what he wears, he is because of what he bears – in his name and character.

I hope to write my memoirs someday and I suspect it will be a really big book because the King’s College part of the story alone can fill Bill Clinton’s voluminous biography “My Life.” I have written well over 2400 words yet I haven’t said much. It is a pointer to the fact that that was a life in itself. It was definitely more than a school for boys, it was beyond a gathering of Kings, it was not just Nigeria’s most prestigious college…it was just a place where the future gets defined. Defined not in the sense of I want to be this and that, defined in the sense that in hoping for Light, you could see it burn even years before you thought the fire had been lit, but that fire got lit when you crossed that legendary gate for the first time as a King’s College boy. It was a passing rite – a ride on the shoulders of legends, held in the hands of an Honour that gave the strength to your legs, the will to your heart and the power to your mind for a tomorrow that will always offer so much wherever you find waters. That for me was the symbolism of the Mermaid, the object she holds aloft and the Elephant. It is our greatness over water, our dominance over land and our place in the skies. Others went before you and attained the Light… we will be cheered as Victors in the fight

PS: I intentionally chose not to mention any names. This is dedicated to the memories of those we have lost in the waters of life and to the KCOBA for its One Billion naira effort at restoring the glory of our Old school.
Still we swim on… Sound the Old School’s praises, trumpet forth her fame…that we are all brothers with a common debt…Service to the Living, Honour to the dead. I am just answering ‘HERE’ to the sounded Call. Good morning boys * S.I.Balogun’s charismatic voice* … Floreat.

…THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST! by Japheth J Omojuwa

My Dad would disown me for writing the above, my friends will ostracize me and atheists will welcome me like the churches welcome their first timers and possibly even continue the first-timer treatment for ever. Everyone that reads the length of this piece will be left refreshed and possibly perplexed – the former I promise, the latter we shall see. I promise nothing else. I am not one of those freaked by new knowledge, who are left confused by the logorrheaic effect of incoherent learning.

To write this piece, I subjected myself to months of mental torture and wahala. I started out purging myself of all that I had known and been fed with as to the existence of God over the years and decided to learn anew, relearn or and/or unlearn. I moved out of the bustle of Lagos to a quiet, empty house on the city’s periphery where I had to make do with my own cooking something which to me is almost like a Samuel Peter daring a Vladimir Klitschko, but which had to happen if I had to join the ends of the converging and contrasting theories in my head as Samuel had to fight to make ends meet.

I was left mentally drained, my inner being felt like in a void and the God-inquisition ended with a re-adoption of one of the names I was called weeks after my birth. My research has paid off as I can write on the existence ( or non-existence) of God without leaving both men of reason and men of faith in confusion at the end of my effort at putting my wisdom to words. Be careful not to make a conclusion before my conclusion as that could render you a ‘s…inner’.

I grew up without religion. My Dad was strictly a money man. He worked and worked and only observed the closest thing to serving God by organising a mega party for all and sundry on every Christmas day. It was a celebration that literally brought everyone together. No invitations were needed to share in the meals and the gifts. Those years, I regarded Christians as poor people who excused their poverty on the fact that they’d live as rich folks in heaven. I never ever wanted to be a Christian. I asked several questions and one particular one that haunted me even till this century, ‘‘who created God!?’’, which no one gave a sensible enough answer to, so I went on discovering the answers myself. I haven’t found the answers to all of my questions but the answers have been provided.

Life has no void or gap as every gap has been filled. There is no where on earth or in the galaxy or the entire cosmos where you will find nothing. Nothing does not exist! What is nothing? You can’t define it a hundred times without mistaking it for something. Life has no gaps and there’s no nothing. Time, space, matter and knowledge fill every seeming void. Where it seems men do not have an answer, it is because they haven’t found it not because it is not somewhere either in the past, the present or the future.

Whenever I heard them talk about ‘‘Jesus is coming soon’’, it always sounded vague and stupid to me. The older ones saw me as intelligent enough despite my age so I was always allowed to share in the regular arguments and episodes about the still elusive Christ, hell and heaven. I still have much older people as friends today and still engage in what my tribesmen will refer to as oro agba (words of the aged) – a kid that knows to wash his hands will dine with elders. I dine with elders and that means I know more than the average man – it is not the time for modesty, it is the time for the truth.

At King’s College, Lagos (JSS1-JSS3), the only time I went to church was when we were forced to attend by the cries of Mr. Ibiam! Mr. Ibiam! – a name that meant pain at the centre of the head and possibly even suspension or expulsion from the hostel. My first visit to the school fellowship ended before it had started as I joined the service at its conclusion – during the sharing of the grace. Sunday mornings were for pillow fights and wrestling matches after the hugely popular loaf and egg breakfast.

When a certain Haluchi Ezeiruaku introduced Christ to me, I told him I’d be ready to hear the gist and possibly even ‘‘give my life to Christ’’ in 1997. This was in late 1995. My attendance record markedly improved at the Annex in Victoria Island at the senior school and I even got born again when Evangelist Kenneth Mulzach made enough sense for me to reason out the possibility of The Christ and his salvation gift.

The years have since gone by and I have by myself searched through literature for insights into the existence (or non-existence of God). I decided to search places where religion would rather have me not search…

Atheists hold one thing to be the basis of any arguments about God and that is reason. That I believe is reasonable enough. I will descend to that level even though I deal at much higher levels. One phenomenon that has used logic to great effect and results is Science. Few people argue against the existence of science because science settles virtually every argument against itself. Logic and Reasoning are scientific. The problem with science is that science has not solved the arguments it puts to itself. Some of those arguments the common man may be aware, most of those he has no idea. Logic they say should guide our identification of consciousness but what happens to that identification if logic fails? Or may be logic never fails.

Albert Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist said a ‘‘cosmic religious feeling’’ was his strongest motivation for research. I do not take that to mean God because I do not equate religion with God. They are two different phenomena even though men have lost the boundary that separates both. People who do not know and want to prove their lack of knowledge point to science as their arbiter of truth. When you look at it critically though, you will find that science is just a logical arrangement of what seem at a certain time to be facts and turns out at other times to be faulty theories. Modern scientists are baffled by the uncertainty principle, chaos theory, indeterminism, and vacuum fluctuations. They still cannot say without a doubt if Schrodinger’s cat is dead or alive. Modern scientists know a kazallion exabytes of information more than those of previous centuries but while those of previous centuries thought they were close to knowing everything, modern scientists are puzzled by the fact that they seem to know nothing for sure and despite new breakthroughs, more questions remain unanswered as answered ones even raise more questions. It is almost like a shadow chase, except it is worse.

Roger Shepard of Stanford says ‘‘we may be headed toward a situation where knowledge is too complicated to understand.’’ That is a point that has been referred to as the ultimate scientific plateau – a point where intellectual, technological and financial capacities are exceeded. Scientists who have pushed beyond that limit have found that they were delving into realms beyond science to something like metaphysical mysticism. The precision of the mathematics of the universe, the bizarreness of the subatomic world, the mind boggling situation of a particle also being a wave, the elusive ‘‘theory of everything’’ or ‘‘grand universal theory’’, and more apt to this work, where did everything all come from in the first place?

Scientists claim to eschew religion, but it dominates their thoughts to the degree that God dominates the mind of atheists. You want your mind to know that something does not exist, which makes that thing nothing, yet your mind dwells on this nothing more than things it holds to exist. It is a paradox but scientists are more bothered about thoughts of God and religion than even the clergy. It is as a result of the fact that they see more than logic can allow the mind sees. They see what logic cannot see yet what they see is true because they can identify the existence and are conscious of that identification.

Take the formation of the human for instance: when the math was computed, unbelieving astrophysicists were spiritually stunned. ‘‘A delicate match between the energies of helium, the unstable beryllium and the resulting carbon allows the last to be created.’’ Explains Harvard astronomer Robert Kirshner. ‘‘Without this process, we would not be here.’’ The carbon resonance match is both dramatic and extremely precise, it was scientifically impossible to achieve. Science is here literally saying human formation in terms of its chemical substance was illogical yet the physical composition of man looks the easier part to form were we to try to create man because I can’t imagine how we will create his spirit and his soul. May be there are no Spirits and no Souls because we can’t see them. I ask, what was the highest mount in the world before the discovery of Mt. Everest? Don’t be too certain you know the answer because would have said something other than Mt. Everest at the time and based on its premises would have proved itself to be correct. Would that have been correct?

Every matter in the universe is influenced by four forces. These forces can be measured, they can be monitored and have even been manipulated. The fundamental forces of the universe are the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Each of these forces works with different strengths on different particles over vastly different distances. If a small change in the strength of one of these forces with respect to another were to occur, life as we know would not be possible.

Of the four, gravity is by far the weakest while the strong nuclear force is the strongest. Hawking suggested that the universe was formed out of forces of gravitation and Newton seemed to agree albeit more poignantly he says ‘‘So then Gravity may put the Planets in Motion, but without the divine Power it could never put them into such a circulating motion as they have about the sun; and therefore for this, as well as other Reasons, I am compelled to ascribe the Frame of the System to an intelligent Agent…The cause of Gravity is what I do not pretend to know.’’ Gravity is the most familiar of the four forces and the first to be investigated scientifically. Though the weakest of the four (over a trillion trillion trillion times weaker than the strong nuclear force), Gravity’s importance is not measured by its strength though but because it controls the balance of power in the entire macroscopic universe. While the nuclear forces exert their powers within the tiny confines of the atom itself, gravitational force extends to infinity. Though clarified by Sir Isaac Newton several hundred years ago, it remains a mysterious force. If we drop a pencil, it falls to the floor. Why? Is there a rubber band connecting the two? Obviously not. Why does the pencil drop? At the deepest level we do not know, yet if the law of gravity were to be suspended, we would need a steel cable six hundred miles in diameter to hold the moon in place.

One possible explanation for gravity is found in the theoretical gravitons. It is postulated that gravitons are tiny energy quanta that function within gravitational fields in a way similar to that of photons carrying light. But if so, how exactly do these gravitons constitute an attraction between earth and moon? We don’t know. ‘‘We do not understand what mechanism generates mass in the basic building blocks of matter,’’ observed the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Interpretation: we do not know why there is gravity.

Science knows a lot of things but the thing is the more it knows, the less it seems certain of, and the more it needs to know. It is like a catch-me-if-you-can game between science and something which seems to hold the information. When British physicist Stephen Hawking was asked his opinion about the biggest unsolved problem in physics today, he did not equivocate: ‘‘The theory of everything…We feel we are near, but we never get there. It always seems just over the rainbow’s edge.’’

Hawking’s concluding paragraph in his best-selling A Brief History of Time reads: ‘‘If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God’’. Hawking by the way does not believe in a personal deity or an afterlife.

I do not want to delve into the world of quantum mechanics because if it is profound enough to leave scientists dumbfounded, I can’t imagine its effect on the man whose understanding of science is as basic as Force, Load and Fulcrum. Forget quantum mechanics because in reality scientists have decided it is better left to solve itself over the course of time – almost like a trial and error method. ‘‘It is clear by now that ALL interpretations of quantum mechanics are to some extent crazy,’’ says cognitive scientist and consciousness expert David J Chalmers.

‘‘Whenever man tries to probe into the universe’s dimension of time, he will finally be confronted with eternity. Where he tries to understand the dimension of space, he will finally be confronted with infinity. And where he tries to understand matter by separating it into ever smaller particles, he will always discover something that is even smaller, and be confronted with the fact that there is no final smallest particle.’’ These are the words of Gerhard Staguhn, a renowned German science writer. To men of certainty and logic, this is gravely discomforting but for men whose reasoning ability allows them also the liberty of faith it is endlessly exciting.

The universe is far more exciting than first suspected – scientifically and spiritually. To reduce the existence of God to reason, first you must reason out all the possibilities the universe is capable of, you must tell us all that we don’t know about logic-universe – failure to do this, men of reason accept the limitedness of their logic. Logic by the way is the least level of consciousness. Even Albert Einstein agrees Imagination beats Knowledge hands down.

A boy who could not get a bicycle after praying grows up into an adult that begrudges the God who did not provide that bicycle. As that God continues to seemingly abandon him, he begins to find reasons to cloud his previous knowledge of God till God is logically reasoned out. How sad!

My birthday comes soon enough on the 3rd of October and I have asked God for a Bold 3 BlackBerry phone and a writing contract. If I don’t get those, then God does not exist! Dear Lord, why are we humans so weak and limited in our ability to think, reason and imagine. If there is bad leadership in Nigeria God is at fault, if President Obama turns out to be just another human president then God cannot be in existence. You won’t miss out on an atheist saying if God exists then he should strike him to death and I asked when God has fallen for human temptations. If a pastor rapes his church member, then God cannot exist, if pastors engage themselves in political and media battles then God cannot exist. If your pastor uses a plasma or 3D TV and he forbids you the usage of television let alone a black and white TV then God cannot be in existence. Man’s inadequacies and shortcomings cannot establish nothingness – the nothingness that there is no God.

Look at man, it is taking him years and years of study to deduce the essence of God or for some to prove God’s non-existence. Is it not ironic that despite your apparent agnosticism or absolute conviction that there is no God you read all you can, write say and think all you can to prove His non-existence? It amounts to a man spending incalculable time trying to prove the absence of nothing. If God does not exist, then God is nothing, so why bother being an atheist – an anti-God. That’s funny in every sense of the word.

I have taken care not to refer to any holy book for this work because I chose to deal with people who hold the topic of this piece to be true at their own level, the level of logic. I wanted to reason with what we both could relate with. I know a man who was born blind, yet sees God all his life because to see God is not to open your eyes, it is to open all of your self and take your reasoning beyond reasoning. No, it is not being irrational, it is being extra-rational.

I have got loads of stuff to write but it has never been in the length,depth or breadth of knowledge, it is about that knowledge being useful in understanding life and that in understanding we are wise enough to know that we are humans and while the world was created for us to live in and to do and say whatever we like, we all die in the long run. Truly, if God does not exist then his non-existence would be a miracle in itself. It does not take faith to believe in the existence of God because the truth is out there in everything you see, rather it takes faith to be an atheist because it is a refusal to see what is obvious. I’d rather die with my faith in God to discover God never was than to cease to live and realise God is.

All our days we must create things to have them. We build houses and must be careful to use the right materials and dimensions to ensure we are safe in them. We make planes, we make clothes, we make cars, toys, movies and what we don’t make from what we have we can’t have. Nothing we make can be made out of nothing. Everything is made out of something yet our universe as uniquely set as it is, we are being told it just came into being. Stupid has never been more useful a word.

See this, ‘‘The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, to suppose that the eye, with all of its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree,’’ so says the father of Darwinism, the great evolution theorists Charles Darwin.

‘‘In man is a three-pound brain, which, as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe,’’ says Isaac Asimov renown scientist and author, who remained an avowed atheist until his death in 1992. He saw enough to see the complexity of the brain, but he saw too much to see the simplicity of the God behind it.

God will not prove his existence to men. He has created the world for man’s use. He created time, space, light and matter and indeed all there is but he is not subject to those. He created the brain which we use to reason and logically analyse phenomena. He is not subject to time, nor to logic, nor matter, space and all of those things. He cannot be judged by the failings of the world – whether men or matter. He has saved man once, he won’t do no more. You say God prove yourself within 7 days if you exist, He laughs and wonders because seven days creates a limit called time, God does not function under limits. He created them for man to know his place. For all of our knowledge, understanding, logic and all, we remain limited. There has to be something better than we have now and there is because God does have an insurance plan for man. Like the insurance you are used to, it is optional.
Does God exist? Do you really need me to answer that now?

As for me, my mind, my heart and all I am and will ever be, GOD EXISTS AND LIVES. It matters not what happens on my birthday, my lifetime or in the span of time. My name is Joshua or Yeshua!

Further reading: References

Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny (New York: Viking)

Schrodinger’s cat is a famous example of the indeterminism built into quantum physics. The cat is in an opaque box with a random radioactive decay switching device. If the decay randomly triggers one switch, the cat will be fed food and live. If the decay randomly triggers the other switch, the cat will be fed poison and die. Schrodinger’s point is that within the strange quantum world of random indetermi ism, the cat is both dead and alive. Once we open the box, the cat will be either dead or alive. But before we open the box, the cat is both dead and alive at the same time.

Robert P Kirshner, ‘‘The Earth’s Elements,’’ Scientific American, October 1994.

Gerald L Schroeder, The Science of God: The convergence of science and Biblical Wisdom

Robert Wearner ‘‘Newton: Man of the Future,’’ Sign of Times, 1999.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big to Black Holes

Richard A Swenson : More Than Meets The Eye

And several others too numerous to mention and I am glad no Professor is marking this because then I would not be allowed to submit this for bad referencing. Who cares?

Succeeding Through Social Networking by Japheth Omojuwa


‘‘I feel like getting a f***.’’, ‘‘I just got laid.’’, ‘‘My life is useless’’… are just a few of the updates you get on facebook, twitter, myspace, ning …you know them don’t you? The thing about such puerility is that it shows you for who you are. It sort of sells you the way you don’t want to be bought. You should learn to see each status update or tweet as a statement you are making before a friend who is directly before you (and who does not know you well enough). The fact that you are not seen does not mean that what you write is not being read and in fact heard. People read such stuff but in truth they hear your personality loud and clear.

It is important to define the essence of your presence on these platforms. Like your presence here on earth, you should define why you go online. When you do, you’d be conscious of each update on your timeline, you’d weigh up your responses to other people’s updates. I am all for fun because part of life’s essence is to have fun or else it will bore me more than an inept Nigerian politician can. We can have fun without exhibiting parts of us that seem to sell us out as cheap, irresponsible, childish and in exceptional cases utterly stupid. Don’t be fooled, people are succeeding and engaging in worthwhile talk, while some waste away their lives doing everything but nothing to improve their chances of succeeding with people. I know a few friends that through their statements online, I can define where they’ll fit in the public. I like updates by a friend of mine, Sensei-Bola Olajumoke. He comes out as hard, straight, sometimes unconventional but what I see in him is sheer sincerity. Here’s someone that says it just as it is. I have also got a Seth Ologbo who shares his faith and a Folashade Ayanwale who shares food recipes. I even stumbled on a female friend who posts nude pictures of herself because of her profession but that’s because she’s marketing her ‘‘wares’’. So I am not here talking about morality or its absence. I am just saying, sell yourself well enough because people know pretence when they read one especially when it shows itself for that over and again day by day.

My girlfriend ran off with my best friend after a relationship of 4 years…Oh how I miss myfriend.

I won’t even tell you I have not been guilty of some uncharacteristic updates, but most of the time I ensure it is the real me that comes across. The real me is cultured, having been trained through chivalry and truth (thanks to King’s College lol), the real me is caring and humble…well depending on your own level of self esteem. The real you is who people see and read online. The internet has become the other world, the new world. Social networking sites are now the largest community for global interaction and relationship. These sites have been responsible for transactions in upwards of billions of dollars if not trillions. Folks have had their lives changed merely by the connections they make on social networking sites. I have made some of my most important connections through these networks. I met some of my most important friends through Facebook. I am not talking about the watered down definition facebook has turned friendship into, I am talking about friends in the classic sense of the word, friends that get into my heart where few can reach.

Life without friendship is like the earth without the sun.

I had a friend call me a few days ago and for  hours we chatted like we had been friends for ages, when in truth we have only been friends through internet pages and only for days. She told me she needed not to know me as she knows enough of me to be relaxed and just get on with relating with me. This is someone who grew in a culture and country entirely different from mine, but we did connect because we had known enough of each other to just share more.

A single candle can illuminate an entire room. A true friend lights up an entire lifetime

I have met with some very important people through my status updates, I have had folks send me mentoring requests because of my notes and of course I have had more than enough requests for serious and casual relationships. The questions you should ask yourself is, what do I portray through each statement I share? What kind of videos and materials do I share? What picture will your personality form in the minds of those who do not know you besides these platforms of exchange? When we read words, we cinematize them into mental videos and before long you see people for who they are, without necessarily meeting them physically.

Like life though, we must entertain our individual differences. We must accommodate our shortcomings but for those of us that care about our public image, then it’s important you go through your albums again to see the ones that tend to portray you in ways you are not. Being yourself is not about being stupid and thinking that’s who you really are, it is about taking the lessons of each day and imbibing new knowledge into your daily use of words and actions. For those that feel unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody, you should ask yourself if you have been caring enough. A friend complained to me that people don’t get involved with his notes or updates and the only question I asked him was how well he gets involved in the affairs of others.

Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them (J.C.Maxwell)

See, life gives back to you in folds what you give into it. Someone once said, If there’s anything better than being loved, it is loving. I believe it.

Friends, let us evaluate what we do with the opportunity the internet has offered us. Do you know that when you are busy wasting your time online, someone else is busy closing a deal. An old friend of mine jokingly called me a Facebook merchant, he is not entirely wrong because I am one, but it is not just Facebook, it is everything I can get from using the internet that makes me a merchant. It is becoming increasingly certain that I’ll announce my girl friend’s name first to my online friends before anyone else *smiling* (jokes) but really and truly they are always first to know how and what I feel (especially my twitter followers). I am glad that is not something I will be doing anytime soon because…I am just not prepared for that. Make the best of every opportunity, the internet is the biggest of such and remember that whether or not you get a comment or reply to whatever you do, people are watching (or reading, or even listening a la skype). Be Better, read this, learn and be the friend sharing it with other friends. It’s all about evolving into the excellent you. Cheers

You can follow Japheth on twitter @omojuwa

1O THINGS I HAVE LEARNT WHILE LIVING ABROAD. By Yenih Steph Ngwabo

I can remember like yesterday the very day I was granted a visa to come to England as a student. I had this instant high expectation of myself. I thought my dreams had finally come true and the sky was my limit. When I arrived at Gatwick airport, I felt I was in a dream world. The airport was 12 million times better than the one I had just travelled from (Douala international airport).I could not believe England was in the heart of winter because it was so warm and cosy inside. Once I integrated into the society, had my fair share of burger king and the rest of the junk family, realisation started kicking in. Fast forward almost 8 years of my life in England, I can confidently tell you what I have learnt while living abroad.

1.) Everyday is a learning process. You are thrown into a society where you have to pay tax for everything including your own TV set. Unlike back home where we constantly get bailed or assistance whenever we need help, living abroad makes you understand that the only assistance you get is from being independent. The streets are not paved with gold; you have to work hard for every dime. You have to manage your life juggling school, work, social life but it feels good doing so.

2.) Don’t believe the hype. Back home, the media makes us believe that the western world such as England and America is the “Paradise on Earth” but what they fail to show us are places like Peckham, Moss Side, The Bronx, Compton, those places where the people are still waiting for development and literacy to knock on their doors.

3.) The western world is way developed in many aspects so living abroad gives you a very high level of exposure for the open-minded. Once you are exposed to it, you develop this confidence to express yourself better, know how to get what you want in life, realise your inner peace and not afraid to take risks. You become your own boss.

4.) After living abroad for a while, you turn to appreciate nature which is something most people back home care less about. People from the western world easily pay an arm and a leg just for a little bit of sunshine, green scenery and beaches. With all these, it makes you realise how precious your natural surroundings are. I never appreciated the beauty of Mount Cameroon until I moved to England even though I used to live just some few miles from it.

5.) While living abroad and if you are vigilant enough, (because some people still don’t get it) you learn to stay grounded. You stay true to your culture and understand your people and country have helped to turn you into the person you are. You do not get assimilated into the western lifestyle; instead you learn the good aspects and use it for your future growth.

6.) As an immigrant, due to home sickness, the way people at work, school or other places may treat you sometimes, it is very easy for depression to creep in. The today’s society is a very target driven one, so fast-paced you can easily lose control of your sanity.

7.) Lack of freedom. As an immigrant, you are limited to so many benefits even though sometimes you have to work twice as hard as the average hardworking citizen and pay your taxes to the government. You live in constant fear of your life if your “papers” are not in check. Life for immigrants has even become worse recently due to the recession.

8.) Breakdown in values. When I started living in England, I quickly realised that kids do not have respect for the elderly or their peers or even themselves. One is even scared to correct them because you will likely be shouted at or get a beat down by a “crazy” child and friends. I think England today is facing high level of insecurity due to this disrespect and laisser faire upbringing by some ignorant parents. Nowadays, adults and kids alike kill, steal, and take drugs just for fun or boredom. Kids especially glomourise this kind of lifestyle. They are easily accepted by their peers if they are capable of experimenting with drugs, killing and stealing. It is even made worse by the crazy media.

9.) High level of illiteracy. As much as we think the western world is well advanced; there is still a high level of illiteracy. Most people do not go to school and if they do, are not aware of basic knowledge. When I started my tourism course, I was taken aback when none of my classmates except me could name the 7 continents of the world. That was just shameful. The funniest thing is, they even brag about their ignorance. They just love not to know.

10.) In the western world, racism is still alive and breeding more vicious and ever ready racist communities. Part of this is due to ignorance in the society and the culture. As an immigrant, be it black or brown, you are bound to experience racism among the people you deal with especially at work. Some might pretend not to be racists but their actions always prove otherwise. This can easily hinder your progress in the society. You just have to learn to deal with it which sometimes can be very humiliating for a human being.

After experiencing all these things while living abroad, I have come to realise how precious my country and continent are and I now know that even though we have not yet achieved any major development, with hard work and community spirit, we will definitely build our own “Paradise on Earth.”

THE PRAYER OF JAPHETH

I Pray
That I will see the beauty in every shadow
That I bask in the warmth of every light’s glow
That the passing of day will birth my fame
And as I sleep,I cease to be same

I Pray
For a heart that will love even in pain
A soul that will give without an intent to gain
For a tongue that speaks not to break
But words only for men to make

I Pray
For fulfillment in the midst of wealth
For significance in every success birth
That I will have joy even when not happy
That I’ll celebrate God and His Glory

I Pray
That I find The Way,The Truth and The Life
To give me hope and victory through every strife
And for all that happens positive or odd
I’ll get on my knees and Thank God
I Pray

JAY Z, SATANISM, THE END OF AGE AND CHRIST written by Japheth J Omojuwa

There is something about rumours, they are often untrue. Jay Z has over the years been accused of being a Satanist, a worshipper of satan who represents Lucifer’s interest in the global quest for human souls. I don’t always believe rumours and I always felt the best way to treat them is to ignore them until they die a natural death. The Jay Z Satanist rumours refused to go. Why ?  Jay loved it , fed it and fed on it. It became a part of what he stood for. With the world believing he is a  Freemason and an Illuminati, he becomes the  rapper who in essence is the most powerful artiste breathing. From what I know, you need to belong to the bloodline to be an Illuminati, Jay Z doesn’t belong to the bloodline of Illuminatis. The Illuminatis are considered of the 13richest blood lines in the world. It is a cult you only belong in by birth so Jay Z considering his birth and lineage can not be an Illuminati. He enjoyed the talks so let it persist.

 He had this to say on Angie Martinez’s Hot 97 programme a few weeks ago, “ I don’t know where it started, I don’t know where it came from, I really think it’s really silly. For the record, I of course believe in God, but I believe in one God. If people must know my religious beliefs, I believe in one God. I don’t believe in religion. I don’t believe in Christians or Muslims. I think that separates people. I think it’s one God. I think it’s all the same God and I don’t believe in hell. But as far as God, of course I believe in God. Am I a part of some sect or cult? That sounds stupid to me. It’s like ignorant even to  say and uum…I guess that’ll be the last time I address that. It’s ignorant to me’’.

Given the opportunity to set the records straight, he goes on a vague talk and ended up getting more soldiers into the army of those that insist he is evil. I never did buy into the Jay Z Illuminati or devil worshipping rumours but when I read through his answers over and again and found his views on God and religion were vague, I decide that surely he can’t be an Illuminati as that is an exclusive group you don’t get in just because you are arguably the greatest rapper alive and you have some hundreds of millions of dollars, running into 8 zeros dot zero, but while it is obviously a choice he has a right to, I won’t be surprised to find he is indeed a Satanist. He believes in god but he could mean Satan, money, an element or anything for that matter. Belief in God is black and white, you either believe in the Almighty creator of the heavens and the earth or you don’t. That does not mean you still can’t believe in something as your own god. Prodigy has revealed a few things with respect to the game and black involvement in Satanism. The rapper may be in prison but Jay Z’s last interview with Angie has led credence to this revelations.

How does this affect me? Well it doesn’t . How does it affect you? Only you can tell. How does it affect the children and the folks who have themselves made Jay Z a god? That is where I am concerned. His views on God will only confuse folks who are just too gullible to drink and eat every filth that comes through the internet and television especially if that filth is shared by ‘‘ the king of the empire state of mind’’. I am not sad about this whole Jay Z thingy, I am only concerned for the world. Men are being led astray.

What about this? Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O) are Satanists who believe that Lucifer is the first son of God and was given the earth as an inheritance along with the fallen angels numbering about 200. Jay Z and some well known A list celebs have been linked with them. Jay has even been spotted wearing a shirt with the inscription ‘‘ Do what thou wilt’’ which is the official dictum of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O) and of its reformer , occultist Aleister Crowley. What about the videos? Well we could argue that they are just that, musical videos but are they just that? You have to pay attention and be careful. I have read Satanist stuffs and I know their greatest weapon is sex closely followed by music. What are the two strongest pulls on the television and the internet? You answered right. That age of the anti-christ has long been with us but never has this been too obvious. Is Jay Z a Satanist? I still can’t say a yes or no to that, is he promoting Satanism and occultism? Very few souls are doing as much as he and his cohorts are, in bringing the cult to your homes. Kanye West got introduced to most homes by declaring Jesus walks, Beyonce once said she would not diss an old mate because she would not compromise her Christianity but now they are in Jigga’s camp of agnostics or what do I call it? I am still trying to see why Beyonce’s ‘sweet dreams’ video isn’t satanic. Jay Z was my best rapper and I often quoted him even in my important speeches but the only reason I listen to him today is for curiosity.

As I close, let me say it is more important to worry about what you believe than to worry about what others believe in, but let me also say that the devil is on rampage and the body of Christ must stay awake and even be watchful of seemingly unharmful messages and personalities. You can keep quiet and act like it’s no business of yours and watch the devil make ‘‘all black everything’’ of everyone.Live entertainment is now often Evil entertainment .Nothing has changed except everything. It is time to use your heart, your head and your soul to watch and pray.

Whichever dumb and deaf god you chose to worship or believe in, a day comes when every soul, dead and alive must bow to the King of Glory, who died on the cross that man may be free. He will judge the world. When men die, they are face to face with judgement. Christ will come and evil will be sent to hell and the abyss forever. What do you think would make a man say he does not believe in hell? Men, think and think deeply, the devil is on rampage and you must ask if you are not already his agent. Yes, you are either with the Almighty God or you are with the devil. It is that simple but men would rather have you believe otherwise. This is not the end of these.

THE DIARY OF A PERVERTED CELIBATE (V)

Japheth: this edition feels like a bit over the top but remember our character is a PERVERTED celibate so obviously he wasn’t always a saint.Just read through and avoid reading too much into the sex stuff.Thank you

By now Mariah had started uttering some inaudible comments. I almost felt like she was enchanting me. Enchanting me? I didn’t need no doctor to tell me I had a patient in my hands because Mariah seemed to be breathing in the air of insanity. All she wanted was to get screwed. That I believe is the only cure for this mental madness. This is a lady in a delirium of euphoria. That sounds like a mental illness innit? I reached for my Kling Tite (a condom made from animal membrane costing a fortune in relation to the ones you are used to). Though expensive, they give this feeling of having sex without the impediment of feeling a rubber rather than your partner’s skin. I dressed my rock-hard protruding muscles. I did all of this without letting go of her body. I could not stand the risk of her being healed of my touch. I turned her back towards me as I squeezed her breasts even harder. Her moans were reaching a high now and something within me felt she was using that to call for her dad to come save her. I felt like this lady wanted me dead or how else do you explain all the incessant moans when nothing was yet inside her. Her moans would have filled the air were it not for the now lonely musical videos playing on the TV screen. I was suddenly being gripped by hesitation. I could stop here and live or cross the border and …well that is not a given yet. At this point my head told me the chances of living for the next two hours were lower than that of my dead body being discovered. Mario Da Costa: Missing sounded like a possible announcement in days time even though by then my dead body could possibly be rotting somewhere in a forgotten village. By now, my heart was beating faster than it ever did since my birth. I felt like I was going to swallow my breath in death. Suddenly, thoughts of great men who had died through their quest for sex crossed my mind. My name will stand out on that list but only if my death is finally recorded. Cowardice has never been written or said next to my name but if I end up giving this sick patient the shots it needs to be healed I could end up a brave dead man. Sounds like a strong dead lion and a weak living goat. Which of them is guaranteed the next meal? I thought man was never to live by bread alone. I was always going to die by the gun anyway so dying by the way through which I came to this world wouldn’t be a bad idea anyhow. With Mariah’s back facing me (ever heard of fender to bumper?), I raised her gown up to her waistline and I sat my butt on the chair directly facing the stairs her father would use if or more aptly when he decides to come down to the sitting room. I slid her beautifully embroidered pants a bit down just at the trough of her bum.Right on the crest of her bum is this beautifully needled tattoo of a cherry blossom.The Cherry blossom as a symbol could mean one of two things: female beauty and love but one practical meaning about this flower is the fact that it blooms for a very short while,much like what my life is playing out to be.I am about to have my final bloom before fading.Tattoos on the bum always raise my adrenaline boost but this sent my blood gushing even faster.By now I could see she was dripping wet or should I say soaked. I guided her body down like she was going to sit on my legs but when she landed, she was sitting on my pleasurable, hard, thick, fleshy nail. She gave a housssssssssssssssssss sound to acknowledge her soft hard landing. I was so engrossed in the sweet pleasure of finally getting inside her as we both started an alternating movement that kept the equilibrium of our joined bodies intact as I slid in and out of her. She was doing her bit to come up and down. As I jerked, my heart beat increasingly at an increasing rate as I began to understand what my economics professor meant by something increasing at an increasing rate. I knew the only chance I had to survive this act was to pay attention to any terrestrial movements but by now my heart was closing up, my eyes getting shut even as I kept hearing albeit faintly the moans and groans of the animal on top of me. She used to be a sweet talking beautiful lady called Mariah but now I bet she knows nothing about anything but ouuuuuuuuuuuussssssssssaaamariooooo. She was getting screwed in her dad’s sitting room contrary to her earlier impossible impossibility claims but the baffling thing was the way she went about the business like nothing else mattered anymore. I was having arguably the sweetest sex of my entire life but one I fear will be my last. I could see images of my mum dressing me up for my first day of school while my dad’s eyes flashed with pride. I saw my glowing young innocent face as I helped to decorate Snowy our snow man during our winter holiday in the United Kingdom when I was about four years old. I saw images of several sex ordeals and quests as they played out in an unending reel even as I looked into the face of the woman who led me through this path of perdition, a journey my soul craves to run from, a path whose end I can see now. I saw myself beaten by the showers rained down by the tears of girls whose hearts I had shattered, most of them incapable of loving any mortal being again. I saw my body clothed by the blood of the unborn babies, my unborn babies splattered on my soul. These ones could not live because I got them aborted before they did. I trudged along this dark cold tunnel. Darkness like I had never seen before even though I live in a nation where darkness is a brand in NEPA and Power Holders, coldness like I had never felt even though I have been in Russia’s Moscow in the cold sub-zeros of several winters. My blood flow ceased as I raised my head to see a man dressed in blood-red pyjamas pointing his two hands at me. This must be the man to welcome me home. His looks like that of the lady I was having sex with a while ago. Mariah’s dad? He had a shiny metal in each of his stretched hands. They looked like some James Bond pistols. They are my death messengers. His eyes shone through the darkness of my path to hell even as my forehead and heart seemed to be his targets. Surely my heart and head deserve what they will get. Everything happened through them. When those are taken from me, I will be a free man or will I be dead? He moves to pull the trigger but I had to save his daughter who could get hit by her father’s bullets. If I must die today, I want to die alone. Leading another soul to her death with all of my old sins would only cause more grief to my soon to be translated soul. Like a movie moving in a really slo mo, I saw the bullets approaching , two of them coming at me like an avalanche of fury at the speed of death. Mariah’s head is not where I wanted it to be, it looks like I won’t be going down to hell all alone after all even as I close my eyes before the impending impact of death.

PS:What do you think of the story so far?

Happy New Year and a New decade.If you always dreamt of a season where our generation would finally and almost completely take hold of proceedings,this is the decade. 2010-1010 IS the future they meant when they said we are leaders of tomorrow.Tomorrow is practically here and it starts tomorrow 1st January 2010 if it has not already started with you.This year I want more Wisdom,Wealth,continued miraculous sound health and ultra-supernatural prosperity.I will live in the bliss of fulfilment. I have God so I am in Mighty hands. I wish you same.

Japheth Joshua Bolaji Omojuwa (31st December,2009)