Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Bizarre Reality of a 50 year-old Kid

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.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The Two Thousand and Eleven Traffic

James Lisadro Jnr's debut at

The present season is preparing to transform, clearing the stage for a new year and anticipating the lunar change. As harmattan struggled to kill the ink that penned this piece, I recalled that in other places like the UK, Canada and USA, friends are paying somebody, something or some firm, to remain unfrozen. Owners of coffee cafés, tea shops and sizzling foods smile each night when a trial balance of the day’s business is drafted. It’s their season to enjoy escalating patronage. This is the time when, if they are as nice as the heater appliance companies, they offer fringe benefits to their apparently hardworking employees. But when such businesses experience a loss in a favourable season like this, the action movie effect happens. Meaning that people get fired! So there is no need for questions when you see all heat-energy-production-related firms suddenly become more innovative, offering you more than you’ve ever asked for. They are simply preparing for change. They are just maximising current opportunities and utilizing business instincts favoured by weather conditions.
Manufacturers of sweaters, suits, heaters, mugs and the likes do not usually experience idea shortage in this season. Instead, knowing which strategies to choose remains their major problem. They know that whether or not their salesmen increase their persuasion capacity, common sense will teach consumers that spaghetti wears and short body hugs are not winter and harmattan wears. They know that human sartorial needs will be mainly guided by requisite comfort rather than fashion names. They know that the current climatic conditions on the earth is offering a blank cheque to them (and their competitors) right now. But they also know something they cannot change- something that drives them to meet their set objectives this season. They are aware of the change of season that will follow the arrival of the New Year. So, they have to prepare for the oncoming tougher times, when nature’s prejudice will bring them lesser favour- a time when their consumers will go totally stylish again.
By next year, a lot of things will change globally. The world, for instance, will get greener. Maybe 2011’s Santa Claus will wear green robes tucked into green trousers, green belts, green socks and green boots. Guess what? He might just ride on a green Porsche Chariot, so start getting your kids prepared for the psychology! In accordance, I’d suggest that all Nigerian Father Christmas clowns that claim to come from (or were deported from) Rome be shopping for green white green materials. Next year is the big year for “anti-magarism” as more anti-cybercrime initiatives are already being incubated. It should be a year when Magas (duped persons) will not pay so much. So, if you have a Maga around you, tell them they are enjoying their last earnings! There’ll be a lot more seizures of yahoo merchants in 2011! All internet fraudsters will face more criticisms and punishments at a global level. It will be a war against negative creativity. We will fight it with everything we have.
Secondly, because my tea is growing cold, let me briefly say that next year, more heroes will be found in our country. To many, Mr. Lamido Sanusi is a hero. If not for exposing the underground crimes of some bank chiefs and saving many I-would-have-committed-suicide customers from irreparable financial crisis, then it would be because he dared a group of people who possess the power to dismiss him from his prime CBN job. Simply put, he advised the almighty mobocratic national assembly to reduce their salaries. Truth be told, these fortunate citizen-elected lawmakers are prompt to rebuke their critics. And just as we expected, they caballed and asked to have the Chief servant of our Central Bank before them for panel questioning. Personally, I respect their sacrificial lives and appreciate their willingness to make and amend our laws for the good of all. But I do not approve of how they compensate themselves. If you live sacrificial lives that attract overcompensation, as revealed in how much we hear you fixed as your remuneration, then your sacrifice has been hyper-sugarcoated. Now, tell us why every Nigerian should not want to vie for the positions you occupy, if such offices offer the legalised opportunity to become a rich government worker. But before I wander off the subject, let’s return to our hero list.
Prof Dora Akunyili, the iron lady, did well at a particular point in timeline. When she stepped aside from the league of Yar-Adua-is-in-perfect-health citizens, Nigeria raised an eyebrow. She verbally confirmed that as the then Minister for Information and Communication, knowledge of the president’s whereabouts had not reached her. Of course, we all suspected that Mr Musa Yar Adua was really leading us from the confines of a hospital bed but no singular government icon could articulate it. Many were afraid to say anything. And those that spoke either said something like, “Yes, I shook hands with him. He’s doing fine and recovering gradually.” Someone else, exaggerating his sorry level of acumen said, “I saw him wearing guinea brocade. He even fetched water with a bucket from a well.” Guess what? I nodded and said in agreement, “we are fools that can be spoon-fed with fables told by the fireside aren’t we? And you, you must be the leading fool too, for handshaking a sick man, wearing him a fabric and watching him fetch water from a Saudi Arabian well while in comma.” I didn’t say much anyway. But, I said more than those who didn’t say anything.

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These ideas were written by: James Lisandro Jnr.