|Ige, Abass & Chief Ayangbayi|
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Saturday, 24 December 2011
When I first a received text message some time in November stating my nomination and invitation to attend the Lagos Youth Stakeholders Forum, I shrugged off the temptation to add it to my plans, knowing how tight time constraints would be on my schedule that week. Besides, I felt it was probably just another of those government initiatives that assemble youths to record their complaints and never do anything about it. But when the same SMS alerted my phone two more times, I had to read it more carefully. And then, I realized that though it was a programme sponsored by the Lagos State Government, it was co-sponsored and coordinated by the Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), an organization chaired by Mrs Ibukun Awosika and managed by Mrs Detoun Ogwo. That was it. With paper magic, I squeezed out two and a half hours out of a cramped weekend schedule and planned to attend a portion of the whole event. So, when the young stakeholders in Lagos met with the Executive Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, what did he say?
The Governor’s speech was very informative and interesting as he enlightened his audience with updates from the national frontiers. There were mixed questions, many of which could not be answered due to time constraints. I have taken time to put relevant chorused questions below each of the major points recorded.
“Job follows the economy as the night follows the day. Those who will drive the economy of the nation cannot be pre-existing companies. You cannot have twenty ExxonMobils or MTNs but you can have 20,000 massage parlours.”
Question: How will you tackle the problem of multiple taxing? Why should both Lagos and Ogun state governments tax companies along Ibafo? Should they also pay taxes to the federal government?
“The Nigerian economy has performed well to an extent in the areas of entertainment, downstream petroleum, banking, aviation, telecoms. But these areas are not labour intensive.”
Question: So what is the government doing to support indigenous private companies that are struggling to provide labour intensive opportunities? Dunlop folded up in Nigeria because of electricity. Lekki Toll Gate fare is too expensive for the average Nigerian who reportedly lives on less than one dollar a day. Can you tell us something we don't already know?
“The UAE has spent $53 billion this year alone on food importation. Nigerians, despite the fact that we travel to Dubai a lot have not participated in that exchange.”
Question: Good observation sir. How many Nigerians who are below the “fake” middle class of the economy that we have can afford the flight ticket to Dubai? Do you know there are graduates earning thirty thousand naira as their monthly salaries even in your state?
“I have often asked myself, with things so difficult, would I have chosen prostitution instead of practising as a nurse? Where is the sense of dignity?”
Question: Very well sir. We have often asked ourselves, “Do our grey-haired leaders think we are dull or what is the explanation for someone embezzling public funds to the tune of billions going to jail for 6months? Who cannot do that?
“Your pains get to me and I am ready to do something about it. I love our Ofada rice. The rice we eat here in Nigeria is 5-12 years old in storage. The Asians eat the fresh rice, which is why they can eat it with chopsticks. I do not see why government cannot create and implement policies that regulate the importation of rice and encourage the consumption of our locally cropped Ofada rice and the likes.”
Question: It is good that you love Ofada rice and want us to be planting and eating it. Please, how we get the “intelligent” people in Abuja to understand this? How to we interpret this to them since it offers no financial rewards to the loot-rich portion of high class economy?
Thursday, 8 December 2011
has since its inception spread to other Anglophone countries of the world, where it is often observed as a national competition.
Read More>> at www.cp-africa.com
Monday, 14 November 2011
In 2009, just as the iphone fad climaxed, the next “thing” to catch people’s attention was the just around the corner. Like the iphone, it promised to be sleek, stylish and expensive, to offer uncountable applications and get many technophiles busy. Except technologists, no one expected it. It came into the scene bold and curve, holding a javelin in one hand and pointing a touch in the other. It came first to the city and then travelled to the slums before finding its way to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and everywhere the 3G telephone signal went. It is still here in Lagos where the craze first started but for how long it will stay, no one knows. It is the almighty blackberry. Nicknamed BB and developed by the Research in Motion (RIM) company, this adult’s toy or tool (depending on how it is used) is now becoming the envy of little children.
I was an industrial trainee somewhere in Victoria Island when the BB entered Lagos. It did not struggle to introduce itself because the luxurious taste and tech groove of many lagosians quickly got its demand going. Like hot cakes served with iced coke, the BB sold. Many people around me, both those who had business using it and those whose salary rebuked it, were soon scheming and strategizing on how to purchase one. Today the idea is, if you are not using a BB and planning to buy one, you have been left behind. I even overheard a big girl persuading her boyfriend to make sure he got her another type on her forthcoming birthday. But the other idea is that those whose businesses demand on-the-go internet connectivity definitely needed portable internet devices like the BB smartphone. When high school seniors, yet-to-be matriculated undergraduates and unemployed adults start declaring their want of blackberries, you should know it is just because of the craze. Bitter truth: if your job or studies does not demand the use of an expensive smartphone or if you already have a laptop and reliable internet connectivity, owning a BB might just be an unwarranted liability.
To continue reading, please click: Ayo's Opinion on Celebrating Progress Africa
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
These days in Nigeria and with the global economic situation, classroom education is not enough to give youths a source of income. In fact, education does not guaranty employment rather, it makes students employable. As such, youths who have seen the four walls of high schools and universities with the evidence of due certificates are not necessarily going to get jobs after graduation. This is because certificates do not provide jobs. Instead, they confer the right to be given jobs upon potential job seekers. The reality is that the Nigerian labour market cannot absorb the number of students graduating from our secondary schools and higher institutions annually. These schools graduate students who become idle due to the inadequacy of vacancies. And since idle hands are the devils laboratory, these promising young minds often fall to various negative vices that create the troubles of teenage pregnancy, theft, insecurity, violence, and even terrorism existing in our society. Only those who are able to escape the trauma of prolonged joblessness by engaging in entrepreneurship and talent exhibition survive.
It was in the light of these facts that the NYSC Drama Community Development Group of the Eti-Osa 1 local government located in Victoria Island took up the responsibility of catching tomorrow’s talents young in their own special way. Being one of the youth corps members of the drama CD group, I was privileged to witness the course of events and now bring you a briefing. The approach we utilized in impacting the life of these youths was to execute a talent hunt project titled, “The KSC Talent Hunt” and our overall objective was to discover and encourage the exceptional talents among them. The project idea, being an output of a brainstorming executive meeting suggested by the Drama CD coordinator, Alhaja Igara A.O., was initiated by a team of Drama CD leaders namely: Bode Olatunji, Oscar Odeigah, Juan Onasanya, Corper Anita and Ekeagwu Khan. These wonderful folks met on the 21st of October and came up with the talent show idea which later developed into an ongoing project. A project team consisting of the executive CD members and other dynamic corps members was set up to ensure the attainment of its deliverables. That was how the project kicked off. Today, it can be said that the Drama CD group of Eti-Osa 1 LG have not just influenced their environment but also heightened the hopes of many students in the Kuramo Senior Secondary School.
For the complete article visit: www.cp-africa.com
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
This is not a poem neither is it a story. It is merely an expression of thoughts.
I did not write a thing about Nigeria on October 1, 2011. Yes, that’s very unlike me. I was not being lazy and it was not due to lack of insights that I did not write. I only thought of ideas that could work and realized the guilt of all. I wrote nothing, I only pondered for hours.
In the paragraph above, the word “I” was used 6 times while “Nigeria” appeared just once. This is the issue with Nigeria and Nigerians, especially our leadership. Many of us, citizens and leaders alike, are full of the spirit of self and are starkly self-seeking.
We have ambitions and goals and certainly have the right to nurture and pursue them. But as we strive to attain greater heights in life, care must be taken to not live self-centredly. Other people should not suffer because we exist.
Men have responsibilities towards their wives and children. They must lead, provide and protect. Women must support the men and nurture the home. The children must go to school and come home with good report cards.
These are societal norms but they must be achieved on the basis of fairness. Should men because of family quench other lives? May women curse their husbands if they follow what is good? Is there any reason why children should cheat in examinations?
No one is perfect and if there is, he is probably not a Nigerian. Since imperfection will corrupt perfection, nothing done by man can be without errors. We err because we know in part and understand in part. Without being heavily strengthened in the inner man, we will not achieve anything perfect.
In the months of August and September 2011, I learnt two lessons. One, Persistence means not slacking when God is leading. And two, Patience means not running ahead of God. The first is the reason why we become stagnant and the second is why some get lost.
However, one thing is needful (even for Nigeria); to move forward, all stakeholders must contribute sacrifice. Some will sacrifice their selfishness; others their cowardice; and the rest, their contentment sustained by the will to survive.
We will have to die to self or self will have to die. It is the way out. The self that will not pray, love, vote, speak up, work hard or be controlled must die. We will have to commit the murder of self and take the risk of not achieving certain inordinate personal goals.
In the end, not everyone listening to motivational speakers will become a second Bill Gates or a younger Warren Buffet. But truly, time and chance will happen to all. We may not be able to change what we have but we can always change who we are and how the world sees us.
Yesterday we had problems. Today we are not without many problems and only God knows what awaits us on the streets of tomorrow. There will always be something to overcome; a challenge, a problem, a stumbling block. So, here is a finally shared microidea or “minileak”: As much as depends on you, follow peace with all men but know that He sees you and is waiting for you. He is God. He is not man.
God bless you Nigeria. We love you our country. So, do not die Nigeria, Do not die.
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
On ruptured walls in a crying society
Lay water-washed, fading images
Of local famous crooks, decried of larceny
Who for the sake of cast votes, ran off our rustic vicinity
On policed streets, are polymer notes of twenty naira
Travelling from hand to hand, and into deep black pockets
Potholed roads with hollows mighty enough to swallow careless goats
Sit in the asphalted earth, with the looks of bald cheated gentlemen
In the neighbourhood, are boreholes that are bored of waterworks
The animated taps that once hissed, belched and rumbled
Have all grown quiet and suffer the insomnia of aqua current
With a faint grumble if touched, and a sober whisper if forced
Under green trees and leaking roofs, children listen and teachers teach
So, inside exam halls, pupils whisper and students sing answers
... ... ...
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
While work is the fundamental means of starting and sustaining a responsible life, hard work is the aura of adult responsibility, the reason why respect and dignity follow matured persons. And since late Pa Adam commissioned the need for hard work, every man who would live has found no reason to ignore it from the core days of their youth. But then, hard work does not guarantee the possession of a big and fat account, if all other factors (honesty, due process, taxes, tithes, continual education, social responsibility, family growth, asset management, etc) are considered. However, it is certain that appropriately channelled hard work delivers prosperity and in this regard prosperity means consistent increase in the good tidings one’s life brings to their environment overtime; the positive condition of not remaining the same again. It is not when you suddenly ‘hammer’ and subsequently ‘simmer down’. It is when you do what should be done and get what should be gotten. Adults increase in human value and gain innate fulfilment when they earn a good living and are able to contribute to the betterment of other lives around them. This inward feeling is the reason why you are reading this article; the cause of my writing. When times are hard, as they sometimes are in Nigeria, ordinary work may not be enough. So, wise adults subscribe to hard work. Without work, we are unfulfilled, the society decays and the future is colourless. Even when the times are not hard, hard work further ensures that a good legacy is left behind. Our lives have begun, so friends, the hard work must begin.
In December 2010, we, the final year students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (2010 set) concluded our final semester examinations and graduated from varsity. Oh, we graduated officially in 2010! But unofficially, it was January 2011. And when we did, it seemed like we had just won a war- a war that had lingered painfully for years. For most, it marked the survival of a seemingly everlasting pain; a pain created by the burning of candle wicks, charging of rechargeable lamps and fuelling of kerosene lanterns to study on cold nights in the midst of hungry mosquitoes at distant lecture theatres and the compulsory choice to survive diverse institutionalised improprieties; a pain sustained by intermittent strike actions, unfound results and wide tuition fee increments. For them, it was a mixture of joyful and hellish experiences. For others, among whom I membered, it was the ignition of new fire for a different phase in the same race. On the day we had our final common (telecoms and power combined) paper, everyone looked gay and our strict lecturers seemed friendlier. They referred to us as their colleagues but the conservative part of us listened to the kind remarks unbelievably. Personally, I was just thinking about Entrepreneurship, my final paper after Electromagnetism. I should have it three hours later and knowing well that the management faculty had proven to not regard good practice of time management, I bothered myself with when the stipulated venues would be pasted- if they were ever going to be pasted. The thing is, during our time, MGS lectures were never certain. If we had them, we must have started late. Mayowa Adewumi, Segun Alawode, Gbenga Adedeji, Olaide Olawuwo and Seun Kupoluyi could perhaps bear witness to this. We were the only folks from EEE. Every other “fire fellow” had been wooed by the Civil Engineering Practices course. Nevertheless, now that all the MGSes, EEEs, MEEs, SWEPs and SIWES etc, have been exhausted, what’s next? Time has flown and in 5 years of undergraduate EEE studies, no less than 98 courses have been done with almost 234 units being fought for. But then, life has really begun.
In reminiscence of my studentship in LAUTECH, I recall that the school was once the 7th best University in Nigeria after being the best state University twice and the most rapidly developing Varsity once. Ah! Maybe that was why two grown-up governors had suddenly unsolvable ownership problems over us. Well, all those ratings should matter but somehow, they did not mean much. About that time, people studying in Harvard, Caltech and Oxford had described to me what their curricula looked like. And one time, after browsing through MIT’s online courseware, I realized that to catch up with someone studying there, LAUTECH students would have to neglect many of the things they were taught in school, and/or read more impossibly. Yes, “more” is made up four alphabets but if you were to do a personal upgrade, the depth of what you would read was bulkier. Added to our many aged photocopies, you’d probably be doing a PhD study as an underGrad. It is at this point that wonderful folks like Minister, Sister Mary, Bro Laide and Ozone should be thanked for sparing time to administer the much-needed photocopies provided. Yet, that final day after EEE508, as we chorused, “Congratulations” to one another, taking pictures, laughing and saying prolonged goodbyes, I briefly recalled that indeed, it was an occasion of victory at last.
The victory had come and it was well-deserved. Our triumph was over the seasons when untimely lectures and unclear photocopies were served on our academic plates. It was over the strikes which had occurred each year we spent in school, starting from PDSP. It was over the need to understand theories at night classes when timetables were doubtful and necessary lectures ate out of our pre-examination time. It was over the occasional misfortune of having to cram ambiguous worked examples into the exam halls and being fearful when Minister distributed our results. There were times when you wrote exams with your heart in your mouth and your mind in the past, trying to remember faded and lengthy formulas. I know we have had several other victories but really, these triumphs seem most glorious. Our lives have begun. We have finished the saga of theory with inadequate practical. We have heard and read about fibre, microwave and transmission lines, now I pray that we will improve them. We have learnt how to use Smith’s chart so if we find ourselves in places where they’re used, I hope we’d apply the theory.
On a benedictory note, let’s remind ourselves that self-education is now the key to relevance. In this environment where many facets of leadership favour corruption, a Nigerian university graduate who does not value self-education will self-destruct quietly. I say quietly because his colleagues may not even know he is decaying, if his job is basically an unchanging routine work. So, beware! Guys, invest in yourself and your future. Ladies, plan more for your marriage (which should last forever) than for your wedding (which will last no more than many hours in one day of your long life). And, need I remind you that the government of our land does not have an adequate plan for us? No, they don’t and probably can’t for now. They can’t because Manslaughter, Kidnapping and Bombing are almost becoming some people’s hobbies while mismanagement at all ramifications has been added to our culture. As the bad examples among our leaders age away, these problems are the heritage they leave behind. These created problems are your challenges and my challenges. To solve them, we must know more than they knew and avoid some of the things they did. That is a Herculean task. But, may God help us all.
Our generation is the unlucky one posed with the challenges of a stunted educational system, non-functional research facilities, institutionalised corruption, extreme insecurity, decadent moral system, phoney religious parastatals (in their thousands), unbalanced utilization of natural resources and a tendency to always have diverse misunderstandings with the woman you love. LOL! Friends, whatever path you choose, begin with honesty and have a good legacy at heart. But against the many identified and unnamed odds, I beseech you to fear God and always be someone we will all be proud of. Knowing that the times are hard and the country looks bad, I pray that tomorrow will open greater doors unto us all. Yesterday, we were Ladokites. Today, we are alumni and alumna. And tomorrow, we will be in the deep of our lives. So, I invest this moment in saying, “Best of luck! God bless you all! And God bless our country”. Kudos to my favourite lecturers: Engineers Electrode, Busta, Mummy Agunlejika, Oseni, Dr. Ojo, Dr. Adeyemo and Engineer Seye. And to my many wonderful friends, may jollification occur when next we meet. But now, go and serve the land of your fathers! Go and live the much anticipated future! Go and live your life, it has begun. Ire o!
Penned by: Ayodeji Morakinyo (Moraks), EEE graduate LAUTECH, 2010 Set.
Thursday, 26 May 2011
The ancient city of Ibadan has been the capital of the pace setter state for a long time now. Since the time of patriots such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the town called Ibadan has remained the most influential of all towns in Oyo State. Without doubts, it is clear that none other is ready yet to claim this position from Ibadan except if the city, being the largest in West Africa will itself finally be made a new state. However, that citizenry welcomed idea is yet to obtain adequate attention at the federal arm of the Nigerian government. As such, it is still unlikely that Ibadan will stop being the capital of Oyo state.
The recently concluded elections have witnessed many changes among which are a more fairly regulated electoral standard, greater participation of the elite citizens and the transfer of power from a leading political party to a diversity of revolutionary parties. And in Oyo state, these changes have been felt and enjoyed. The residents of Ibadan are particularly ecstatic about the change that seems to have originated from Lagos and is now spreading towards other states in the South West region of Nigeria.
But as old as Oyo state is, our fledgling democratic leadership is yet to witness the existence of a particular governor in office for two successive terms. They have always had a cause to leave the position or be voted out by the people. Historical records further show that since the time of late patriots such as Obefemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola, one period of tenure and a few years has been the maximum time spent by any governor who lived in Oyo state during his tenure.
And so, a newly generated rumour has gained wings about this peculiar event. The core Ibadan people, having an eye for history, claim that the city has the culture of vomiting its leader once one tenure has elapsed. This claim which has been the talk of the town over the years has recently evolved into an adage. So, when the former governor, Otunba Alao Akala, asked to be re-elected through votes, many of the opposing Ibadan locals simply said it was impossible for the city to house the same governor twice; the adage was quick to prove the claim valid.
But one would wonder if the change that has heralded the newly elected (but yet-to-be installed) governor of Oyo state, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, would also see him through a second term in office. When asked by a radio presenter during a live interview, the governor said he would be ready to leave the office after serving for four years (or one term). However, we know that in Nigeria, it hardly happens that a governor who has performed well or even fairly while in office will sincerely refuse to contest for a second tenure in office. Axiomatically, every governor wishes to have a re-go at the prestigious position.
So, I submit that Senator Abiola Ajimobi will desire to be re-elected into the office of the executive governor of Oyo state after his first tenure. However, my take on whether or not he will achieve it and prove wrong the aged superstitious Ibadan belief of no second-tenure depends on two factors. One, he must be of good character. And by good character, he is expected to relate with the people of Oyo state as a privileged servant. This also implies that unlike his predecessor, he must not be generally perceived by his state’s residents as an orally impolite leader. In other words, he must think before he talks and demonstrate a heart of service at every simple opportunity.
Secondly, Mr Governor must readily show a sense of development and a mind of innovation. His touches must change Ibadan’s outlook and solve the most common or prevalent problems of the entire state before the end-of-term bells starts jingling. Idling at the tenure’s beginning and getting busy towards its end insinuates that the leader wants to play a fast one on his followers. Readily, he must carry along the public and imbibe the culture of “let us” rather than “I am”. I believe that these actions and continual eagerness to show governmental transparency and accountability will not only transform Oyo state but also earn him a first time second tenure and prove wrong the jinxing adage.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Last week, my country, Nigeria, had her second day of election in the set of three consecutive elections that will be conducted in April 2011 to determine our next group of leaders. Hitherto, many youths and elites in Nigeria have shown little commitment towards their civic responsibilities in the area of electoral activities and as such, the past elections have been coordinated with the practice of rigging, thuggery and anarchy. Unfortunately, when politicians gain entry into government positions by hook and crook, they never perform well in office. This is evidenced by the obvious misrule and lack of accountability as demonstrated by many prime public servants or government office holders in the country which in turn sustains the status quo of development observable in our nation today.
However, things seem to be taking a new turn this election year as this year’s electoral proceedings have witnessed the participation of more youth, many elites and a large number of senior citizens. Again, the employment of corpers or recent graduates of tertiary institutions presently serving the country as INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) election officers at the polling booths has helped to fairly marginalise the influence of corrupt politicians on election materials. These educated INEC personnel give attention to protocols set by the commission and are less inclined to accepting the monetary offers of politicking swindlers who have in time past powered the illegal act of ballot rigging. Despite the persistent discomfort created by the scorching sun, several Nigerian citizens stood up to their civic responsibilities this time around and waited to vote in spite of harsh weather condition. Another remarkable feature of this year’s elections is that a considerable number of voters, including elderly men and women, still waited behind to monitor their votes and the eventual counting process. Indeed, change is emerging in Nigeria.
Call it the spread of revolution across Africa or the distant emergence of a new era in Nigeria, the fact still remains that change is about to happen in Africa and everybody seems to be concerned. The aged are disgruntled of the poor leadership quality noticed within our localities and want to see their children’s children live better lives. The youths, jaded of the tortoise progress, have joined efforts in a cause that will yield a new breed of innovative leaders. I and my aging parents are not left out of this saga. We are up to the task. On April 9 and 16 this year, our individual routines were exact. We got off our beds and had our breakfasts very early due to the urge to perform our civic duties. On both days, the electoral process began as early as 8 a.m. with the accreditation of all registered and duly documented voters. We got accredited and waited around our respective voting stations to hear our names called and receive our ballot papers. If you were not accredited, then you would be disenfranchising yourself by denying your thumb a place on a ballot sheet. That time came and gladly, with bright stars replacing the pupils of my eyes, I received my ballots and voted for my candidates.
These days, no one wants to be spoon-fed by corrupt leaders anymore. The citizenry do not want to live at the mercy of people who they did not elect. They want to know what each man vying for a leadership post has in mind to for them. They want to put leaders into office themselves, through their ballot decisions. They are tired of the mismanagement of resources that we so have in abundance. It is therefore time for the riggers to seek other jobs because the rigging stock market will soon crash. The time for change to commence has arrived. The people have ignited the change. And the future will be in the hands of everyone again; not in the hands of a greedy minority. The world is watching as Nigeria votes. The children are praying as their proactive parents arise to protect their future. The elders have reached for the lash of rebuke which they have so long forgotten to use, in striking the buttocks of unrepentant leaders. And for us the youths, the change has just began; we will defend our cause!
Finally, it is noteworthy to congratulate Professor Attahiru Jega for the performance of INEC in the elections so far. Compared to the ones we have had in recent times, since former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure, this year’s electoral process has been much more transparent. And while it has not been without riots and acts of arson in Kaduna and a few other northern states, the results of the elections have shown clarity in the choice of the Nigerian majority. As such, it is advisable for any individual, political party or groups of individuals who have views that are otherwise those stated above to go and justify such deviations tranquilly in the court of law, because the Nigerian land is not a graveyard for unanticipated dead bodies and the Nigerians of the future do not perceive such crimes as pardonable consequences of human anger. If you break the law, the law will not be bent for you. Rather, it will break you.
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Excerpt from the full article by James Lisandro Jnr.
Jingles of incumbent public officers flood many state TVs and every time you watch or hear local news, you only watch a campaign in disguise. But that happens everywhere so, we will only be surprised if it does not happen here where many politicians are fond of counting their eggs before they are hatched. Ours is the country where prime government officials elected by the people seek to be favoured by the votes they do not deserve. Yes, a lot of those aspiring to lead again were working for themselves while in office. They were earnestly serving the people’s resources and not the people themselves. It is unfortunate that the bitter truth is hardly assimilated by those for whom it is meant and exceedingly more unfortunate that several Nigerian politicians are only the democratically restricted versions of the continental Ghadafis, Mubaraks and Mugabes that Africa harbours. I came to that conclusion when I asked myself, “Why would men take innocent lives or perform diabolical rituals because of a 4 to 8 years position?” Certainly, someone somewhere knows something many of us don’t know.
Those who want to lead at all cost despite their ineffectiveness and inabilities to deliver progress are nothing less than imposers. It is not in a country like ours where urgent reformation is essential that incompetent hands should be employed. Many have said they do not lead us because they only rule us. I suspect this to be true. Leadership requires provision and implementation of problem-solving ideas and the will to good. The leaders must see themselves as public servants rather than national resource gold medallists. The act of ruling, on the other hand, requires the people to work and crawl under the ruler’s sovereign control. His responsibilities are to maintain order and allocate available resources. Also, he has the unopposed right to enjoy the fruits of everyone’s labour. He is not held accountable by anyone since no man has the power to question him. He runs a one-man show and retains the power to undo justice. The progress of the people depends on his ability to decipher economic principles and listen to his advisers. And the people will be further doomed if his advisers have no creative and realistic ideas to offer. Unfortunately, an observant mind has afforded me the truth; in this case, our diehard African leaders lack good will and service and that is why our economies struggle. So, I agree, they rule!
Yet, in the not-so-much time I have spent as a young Nigerian, I have learnt that the people’s view is not heard on TV but on the streets. Perhaps, there’s no better self-deceiver than the man who does nothing and goes ahead to fill the media houses with audio-visuals of empty heroism. Pity him, for he is a victim of bogus patriotism. The very mouths that utter high praises into the strained ears of corrupt politicians on the street bear the same lips that sing mocking choruses of their tyranny and hurl ballistic curses at them from behind closed doors. Perhaps, what they never think about is what forms the most impossible mental drills that those concerned about our national future struggle to unravel. While we invest our time, thinking and bothering our heads about how to ensure the continuous implementation of the realistic solutions proposed and initiated by our leaders, we are deprived of importance and relevance, as these promising developments languish in prolonged seasons of abandonment and are sometimes swallowed by eventual demise.
As an individual, I believe Nigerian citizens are not absolutely innocent either. The underdevelopment evidenced in many African countries is not basically a result of human capital. Rather, it is a direct consequence of persistent systemic corruption, leadership flippancy, and of course, a lack of selflessness on the part of citizens. If we say there are no aspirants worthy of our votes and that all those given party tickets acquired them based on manifold manipulations, we may have a point. We do not need perfect candidates but surely, we need imperfect human beings who have faultless hearts. We will spare our votes for people who are fatigued by the appalling misrule that has lingered thus far and recurrently severed our past hopes from the present reality. Perhaps, everyone in Nigeria have their names recorded in one black book or the other. And by this, I do not infer that everyone steals. No, we don’t all pilfer or misappropriate funds. Yet, we all have our guilt.
We don’t all allot undeserved salaries to ourselves because they call us lawmakers. And we are not all policemen, who by now should have obtained the licensing approval to set up a bank called, “The Twenty Naira National Bank.” But then, it is probably true that you have broken a traffic rule before. Maybe that day, it was not your fault that the traffic warden was busy eyeing commercial buses that were yet to pay their “non-governmental taxes”. But then, you still broke the rule of driving anyway. And if you have been a perfect driver all your life or do not own a driver’s license then, you are free from that guilt. However, you are probably not a perfect waste disposer. You have improperly dumped wastes in the environment at some time. Or, you once forsook your official duties for a social function during the company’s stipulated working hours. Well, at this point, I am short of citizen misconduct ideas because it is not my job to find guilt. But I am sure you would have done something illegal or been in a dilemma that demands the compulsory choice of an illegitimate action in the past, even if it was just once.
Please, see www.omojuwa.com for the complete version
Wriiten by James Lisandro Junior
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Rainstorms followed raindrops
And the aftermath was perilous
The desperate raindrops are fallen
And pungent unwanted odour, risen
Splashes of heavy raindrops prevailed
Intense raindrops fell on glasses
Breaking by smiting, piece by piece
The rainbow couldn’t have its way
Thrilling thunder-sounds filled the air
Ears of men suffered the threats
Lightning ran across the skies
Like the light year had increased
Splatters of rain were yet heard
... ... ...
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
A swollen fist and a broken wrist
A bloody eye and a crumbled thigh
The deed is done and a fate is sealed
One vagabond is dying and the other gleams with satisfaction
A rich old man and a pretty young woman
A man who wants to see the structure concealed by fashion
A girl who wants to possess the luxury she cannot afford
One is without shame and the other is without moral scruples
A curious eye and a dubious mind
An impatient spirit and two duping hands
A desperate young man and a gang of thoughtless friends
One is without good counsel and the others are without a wise member
A jobless adult and a go-getter who never accepts failure
An old school mate and former course mate
Both bump into each other and share timely experiences
One story is full of pleasant lies and the other has nothing to hide
A corrupt leader and an irresponsible family member
A fraudulent manager and a deceptive director
An association of both yields an origin of community setback
One is without good ethics and the other is reaping the fruits of others’ labour
A good job and a busy life
A busy couple and a bunch of kids trained by the media
An adventurous boy and a curious girl
One has no dad to consult and the other has an exposed friend
Vagabonds do not drop from heaven neither do criminals grow from the soil
... ... ...
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Last year, we watched and waited as power switched hands. One president died and after some gratuitous delay, another was installed. We observed as a pre-stated doubtful government agenda mirrored the critique-predicted end it would have. We stared as statesmen became amateur comedians riding on party caravans and playing around the streets where we live. Safe for the watching of cooked news and the chanting of prayers, we could do nothing. And in heralding a new year, many dry politicking bones arose again. More of our forgotten politicians appeared at late hour, showing their deep-rooted interest in the merry-go-round of press interviews. As paper chase and underground blackmails made some lose their eagerness to contest in party primaries, the hidden past of the attack perpetrators still lie beyond the reach of local libelists. So, we see them in unbefitting attires, smiling inevitably at us on highway bill boards. And here’s where the IT trick helps the wicked ones. Even the devil looks good on billboards after a session of good photo shoot and picture editing. We live on streets that lack the amenities they should provide and suffer from the actual precision of their poor administration. Yet, they smile at us on billboards, taking us for granted. We are the innocent victims of their lack of conscience while they remain our facebook friends and billboard celebrities. We suffer because they do not see. But partly, they are blind because we hardly scream at the veils covering their eyes!
Over the last decade, since democracy took a stable turn in Nigeria, we have had a mixture of wonderful times and hellish seasons. We have benefited from debt cancellations, advanced telephony system, gradual resurrection of dead amenities, increment of salaries, participation in world sports, and slightly accountable leadership among a few others. Distinct from the military era, is the comfort we enjoy when querying our leaders on issues symptomatic of preconceived malpractice. But more recently, our egalitarianism has added a mix of kleptomaniacal leaders, unwarranted bomb blasting, high tolerance for abductors, etc to its peculiarities. Democracy or what the late Abraham Lincoln referred to as government of the people, by the people, for the people in our own land, has been viewed by developed countries as a practice that is slightly different from a formal circus party. The trusted righteous obtain power and become deaf loot-addicted monkeys while the poor sit around them like hungry baboons, waiting for a golden chance to have their go at the so-called national cake too. No one can be trusted in this system of ours, not even our fat and dicey lawmakers. The system seems cursed, running a cycle that makes leadership critics wonder if anything other than the death of chief corrupt leaders can influence a consistent change. The situation in Nigeria has persistently remained an unending case of kleptomaniac undertakers sustaining their famished gravedigger employees.
Notwithstanding, the school of thought we should follow is not a justification for eliminating other lives but that which supports the continuity of life while influencing the betterment of each individual. The politicians and those who, by virtue of accrued benefits, have become stakeholders in the politics of Nigeria are easily transformed into undertakers at election periods. These usually white-collared politicians are experienced and loot-rich, providing funds for their sycophantic gravediggers, who remain faithful instruments for implementing electoral malpractices. The gravediggers are usually illiterates, half-literates or unemployed graduates who for the want of quick wealth or lack of gainful employment, slave for the undertakers. Sometimes, they suddenly appear in political scenes to garner a fraction of the usually abundant financial resources flowing in the parties during campaigns and as such, may be forced to participate in electoral malpractices. Technically, the undertakers know they cannot implement their unfair agenda by themselves so, they employ the gravediggers and the gravediggers’ children, enticing them with temporal goodies and false philanthropy. They even know more; they know that for vagabonds, thugs and unemployed youths to remain, good jobs must be scarce, social amenities which enhance entrepreneurship must be faulty and pensions of retired citizens must be delayed. The best way an undertaker knows to make a living is to occupy a government office forcefully or by election, and embezzle public funds. That is why they are less concerned about solving problems that will consequently instil a sense of independence into their circumstantial sycophants. The day their sycophants acquire self-respect is the day they gain freedom and the moment bad politicians lack sycophants, they lose the power to rig elections, embezzle funds and influence others forcefully.
Yet, things have changed and are still changing. Last year, we merely prepared to change status (see The Two Thousand and Eleven Traffic). But this year, we moved on. Though some cowards chose to herald this year with bomb explosions rather than fireworks, we still had to move on. And, as the foremost political parties in Nigeria concluded their primaries, our country moved from the old street to change crescent. The decision time is approaching. A time when if we truly know our rights like we claim to do, justice will be our possession. I say this because ordinarily, at elections, people vote and get voted for- though we know that in Nigeria, certain illegal gymnastics make people who have minor votes win elections majorly. Let’s just hope that this year’s election will know a few differences. And here’s a personal testimony in that direction. Normally, I do not burden myself with party activities because I fan potential transformers rather than their political parties. But, in the bid to avoid dangerous surprises, I let the umbrella party take sleep away from my eyes during their consensus vigil. I closely followed the journalistic and commentary updates on twitter, fighting the temptation to sleep off. But the next day, when the broom party announced their results, I smelled a rat. Who else would the political sweepers elect to oppose GEJ if not the man who has been proclaimed innocent by his own enemies? Well, in politics, I learnt that your enemies are your friends- the ones with whom you are yet to find a common ground. So, there was no need for excess victory celebrations after the announcements.
But talking JEGA issues, INEC’s has not performed badly. Not at all! They are only making a mess of the mess we gave them. Though we’ve heard some very bad news about them, we know they have critics too and that only evidenced claims are worth charging. However, trust me, Prof Jega, people have not a few things against you. One, your comment about “your corpers” being ineffective shows that your recruitment process was precisely faulty. Secondly, your machines are quite slow and there were no efficient protection plans for NYSC members working for you in conflict regions and culture sensitive areas. Thirdly, we hear allegations of misdeeds and malpractices in remote centres. There are reported complaints of the successful but forced registration of underage citizens, at the expense of your workers’ safety. Threats and menace have been said to be part of their untold job descriptions. We hear also of speculations regarding unjust and preferential registration of some citizens in favour of certain aspirants; how that some political aspirants, in persons or via their representatives, bribe and pressure some of your workers to register only their own supporters. But we understand that these are hard times and your job is a tough one so, we will not ask for answers yet. Besides, none of the reporters have summoned adequate courage to make a public declaration of these allegations hence, we are simply stating these hypothetical facts for the sake of information.
Noteworthy is the behaviour of educated elders towards the INEC electoral registrations. Sincerely, I love it when senior citizens alight from their retirement automobiles and wait to register. I love it more when busy workers take a day off work to participate in the registration process. It shows that more Nigerians are personally taking responsibility for a better nation. We cannot complain and should be spanked if we do, when we withdraw from our civil obligations today and complain of bad governance tomorrow. The question that comes up is; who are those that actually elected or watched others vote in the many bad eggs of leadership spoiling the few good ones we have today? None voters are aliens when it comes to answering that question. Good leadership is partly a function of good citizenship. And, good citizenship speaks of committed, responsible and active citizens. Therefore, when I see old folks demonstrate this youth-ignored practice, I say to myself, that’s real commitment! That’s true patriotism! That’s the spirit of a better Naija! It tells me that though our senior citizens know that some of their mates are busy looting public funds and jeopardizing our national future, they must not sit back and have their own children’s children suffer for it. The least they can do is register to vote in April. That is a lesson we must learn from the elders, if we will not one day, become diligent gravediggers of selfish undertakers who are not better than us. That is a lesson for the youths. Let’s take responsibility and prove wrong what a political comic once said, “…the Nigerian youths are too inexperienced to lead.” In response to that quote, I recommend a response which takes the form of statistical joke here, Average Age Disparity between African rulers and Leaders of Developed Countries. Please click the link to laugh and think. At least, one good turn deserves another.
James Lisandro Jr. describes himself as a no-nonsense transformational writer who hails from the deep west of Nigeria. James is very tired of what he sees in Africa today and wants to see a better Nigeria someday- on a day not too far away from now.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
When I remember those happy days
When little children would gather,
Outside the huts in the market square
Singing, dancing and playing
I begin to wonder how it all happened
The world got better and bitter
The people became more religious but ungodly
The youths gained aggression and violence
The elders are finding solutions at a tortoise’s pace
The harvest of the field has indeed, perished
When I remember those happy days
When the old had enough peace of mind
That they would sit by the roadside
Drinking fresh coconut water and making merry
I begin to wonder why it all happened
When I remember those happy days
When mothers would toss their babies into the calm air
While aunts will chase the older ones around the farmland
Having fun while fetching dry firewood
I begin to wish the hands of time were reversible
The palaces of our rulers are storerooms of gold
The laws of the land have become uneven
They are bent daily with the rich man’s tools of bribery
While the voices of the populace have become noises
They sound like choruses sang only by cursed horses
But when again, I remember those happy days
When young men would gather to wrestle
Under the slowly setting sun
Before many men lost control to megasybaritic living
I begin to hope that someway, somehow
We will experience again, what we once enjoyed
Written by: James Lisandro Junior
Sunday, 16 January 2011
Penned on the first of October, year two thousand and ten.
October 1 was our baby’s birthday
She was born in a black land and bred by white hands
On the wall of fame, we see the portrait of the past
In the books of history, we read of her pleasant exploits
But today, see the image of her present life
See here, the bizarre image of a grey-haired toddler
She is aging quietly, riding merely on the wings of her fading glory
Poorly managed resources, as revealed by her rusty attire, waste away
She is juxtaposed with dwarfism in technological development
And her economic growth is kwashiorkored by corruption
That is indeed our nightmare
The odd one we see in the daytime
I have heard a man state this in soliloquy:
Oil is good but we must not run mad because of it
Gas is a blessing but it must not suffocate us
Whatever happened to agriculture and cheap food?
Oh! Old baby, where is your white nanny?
She colonised you and exploited your resources
You fought for freedom and gained it gallantly
Alas! Your children were premature adults
They got freedom and knew not the way to the city
Others left the village for the city but lacked wisdom
So they arrived the city and transformed it into a pleasant village
Even the learned few forgot the ethics of good living
Those who did not forget quietly murdered and buried it
They wrecked great havoc and forgot about a good name
They toyed with hard work and played with the future
And like an east wind, corruption swept integrity out our land
Destruction raced into the future and laid a patient ambush
While the playing generation remained haunted by the ghost of mental slavery
What belongs to all was thought of as theirs only
What was called national they termed private
Many suffered and endured the pains
A little fraction of them protested like angry eagles
But many chickens kept quiet and folded their arms
Waiting patiently for their turn to wreck havoc
Savouring an imminent chance at the national cake
Die-hard looters gained their way into our land’s treasuries
Excellency became as difficult as what is seen in our football
Integrity escaped from our land when unrighteousness deepened
And service became more optional as selfishness prevailed
But she is our 50 year old nation
Please count her amongst the stars in the sky
She is growing her grey hairs already
Please call her the giant of Africa
But nay, do not throw her into the sky because she won’t soar
She is not yet the eagle she claims to be
Do not drop her from the heights unto her acrophobia
The blood of infancy still flows through her veins
Instead, make her a nest and sing to her
Sing to her the lullaby of an aged dwarf
Tell her tales of small islands that became great nations
Tease her with the outcome of her poor habits
Let her cry if she wants to
Let her mourn if she desires
Help her effect a change when she sees the need
Then teach her the values of a triumphant nation
She is just a toddler, don’t push her
But she has great potentials so don’t leave her
She lacks good upbringing, don’t force her
But feed her with portions from the seriousness vat
Help her become what other nations know she could be
This is the aging land wherein my first infant cry was heard
My grandfather policed in this land
My grandmother traded on these grounds
My father has been called an engineer in this land
And my sweet mother did bear the defence armour of this land
But all of that has faded away
They have gone with the winds
And are trapped in the vacuum of history
But in my dreams, I am haunted by such memories
Memories that say to me, do not forsake this land
I see a hungry man who is deprived of his wages
I know the meaning of anger by his office mannerism
And his desperate muscles tell of his secret corrupt desires
His speech is not without the mention of “national cake”
And when he farts, the odour of the expelled gas disturbs my peace
It attacks my nasal cavity with the hot wrath he stomachs
No doubt, he is hungry
Of course, he is angry
But the worse is this:
He is desperate and exceptionally desiring a position of authority
He even prays at the temple for a chance to occupy a pivotal public office
He wants to strengthen the long chain of corruption that is pulling back our nation
This desire he nurtures, even at the expense of his next door neighbour
I pray that he never sees that craving come true in his life
But again, his wages are not paid!
The government he works for is too busy to pay him
So he goes on strike
And the economy scale reflects it
Then the government remembers his importance
And lately releases what could have been given quietly
As a people of diverse culture
Our challenges are many
As a people of three tongues
Our doubts are not few
But the truth is found when we all look into a mirror
We see that our problems are surmountable and our potentials are great
We don’t need to be flogged before thinking rightly
We don’t have to struggle against unrighteousness repeatedly
We are not in want of a fine, fake and unrealistic agenda
All we want is what we need: real progress
We want servants who are ready to lead
Elites who will secure us the ethics of a sane society
Patriots who could work even for free
Loyals who will kill corruption instead of amassing cursed riches
Yet, righteousness does not imply an absolute absence of wrongness
But when the heart of the majority is right
We will acknowledge that we are righteous
When the heart of our leaders are right
The youths will be encouraged to be trained by them
And learn the truths that must be known
That when the baton is passed,
We will not forget again, the way to the city
We will not abandon the race of progress
We will not jeopardise the future of our unborn children
But our land will become the treasure it ought to be
And the name of our nation will attract much merit
Then our visa will have prestige in foreign lands
So let’s make a haven out of our land
Let’s make wealth out of our resources
And God will bless every citizen
He will bless you and I
And Again, God will make Nigeria!
If you care, Happy Jubilee! Give thanks in all things. But if you don’t, it’s alright- just keep on working towards a better Nigeria.