Category Archives: News

Indecision: a key element to a thwarted future

Indecision is the opposite of decision. And indecision is a decision. When one decided to be indecisive in making up his or her mind on a particular matter, it is a decision. It means the person has decided to be indecisive. There is no such thing as indecision in the real sense of it but for the sake of highlighting its danger, I’ve given it a life in order to strip it of the very life. Continue reading Indecision: a key element to a thwarted future

The most dreadful rock

I had just taken my delicious  delicacy so dear to my heart on this evening with a feeling of contentment when the going was hard, rough, tough and hopeless. It was actually soaked garri. I was not used to garnishing it with milk but on this day, I added milk. I was waiting for the fall of the night to go to sleep with a high expectation for the next day.

There are different sources of inspiration known to man. Many people are inspired by a lot of things. Some draw theirs from their environment, some from the happenings around them. Some people get inspired by what happens in their private lives and others draw theirs from their spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends etc. Whatever the source of inspiration for an individual, it had worked for them. The greatest source of inspiration for mankind is God Almighty. That is what you come across when you flip open a story book or any book that teaches other subjects.

At about 12:15am, I ate eba and efo riro rich in content and context and a perfect match for my hollow belly. No sooner had I finished eating that I lied down on my carton that had been shaped into a bed form to sleep than a strange thought popped up in my head. The content of the thought was that there are many rocks in Nigeria that serve different functions and purposes and their peculiarity cannot be undermined. All of those rocks are fixed in a stationary position but their influence and fame are ubiquitous. The eba and efo riro inspired me here.

If you have been to Abeokuta before, you will probably know Olumo Rock of ancient pedigree and history. The rock served as a refuge for many displaced persons during the war-torn era in the annals of that ancient city. The rock is some 137 metres above the sea level and it takes some several minutes before one can get to its summit. It has an imposing height that overlooks the length and breadth of Abeokuta with rusty and brownish appearance of many roofing sheets of many family houses and compounds begging unrelentingly for renovation or probably total demolition to give way to new houses. Living right in the crevices of this ancient artifact are some craggy-looking and fragile old men and women who dish out unending tales about the rock and Abeokuta city to visiting tourists with curious and inquisitive minds. To ease ascension to the top of the rock, elevators had been provided with other beautification. There’s now a restaurant that quenches tourists’ hunger.  A waterfall is located near the entrance and parking space. The whole environment provides serenity and tranquility to make everybody feel at home. It serves as a revenue generation channel to the government of the State and tourism for Nigerians and foreigners.

Another rock is the Zuma rock. But the Olumo rock is not the dreadful rock that scares people away, not even the people with phobia for height. The Zuma rock is at Suleja in Niger State, close to the capital city, Abuja. People say that it has the face of a human being carved into it by nature. People that are seeing that for the first time will probably be scared to their pants because of that carved human face. Speculations have it that water gushes out of the mouth both in rainy and dry season. I don’t know how true it is. The last time I was in Minna, I tried to visit the rock but I couldn’t. This rock is neither the dreadful rock despite these many strange features.

The next rock is incontrovertibly and irrefutably the dreaded and dreadful rock that agitates many people. It ensnares the psychology of the whole populace due to what emanates from inside the rock. The sword of Damocles invented from inside the commodious and exquisitely furnished and expensively decorated rock has contrived to dangle on Nigerians since 1992. The fate of over 170 million Nigerians are deliberated upon and debated in it with no comprehensive and an all-encompassing survey of the needs and grievances of the populace. The microscopic and supercilious affectation of condescending disposition of the few and their rapacity had rendered us incommunicado and incoherent because no one is listening from their.

The commonwealth of the masses are shared and conveyed in Ghana-must-go bags to the disaffection of the impoverished many. And why wouldn’t Ghanaians go? They will go and are already going because the basic amenities of human comfort are springing up here and there. Infrastructural development are fast appearing. The incessant bloodletting on the rampage in the country, not necessarily by brandishing physical weapons and descending them on human lives but the massacre, maiming, annihilation, killing, murder and obliteration predetermined and premeditated by a single stroke of the pen to add more zeros to the existing figures on the broadsheet within 56 years are more than the bloodletting ever committed by all the countries in the world over during wars and other periods. The rock is none other than Aso Rock where the seat of Nigeria’s power is. This is the most dreadful and dreaded rock.

But thank goodness, there’s a higher rock that we can run to for permanent refuge. The rock is the Rock of Ages. Run to it now Nigerians.

Our democracy and lack of continuity in governance

One of the major problems bedeviling Nigeria and which is inimical to her growth is the lack of continuity in governance. It has been an integral bane of our development as a country. The successive government we have had had taken hold of the mantle of governance with its own policy to be implemented thereby rubbishing the achievement of its predecessors. Why should a government not consolidate on the progress and strides recorded by the preceding government? The answer is that the leaders always come on board with conceited mindsets and a vengeful heart albeit competitive and rivalry-oriented ostensibly to outshine the preceding leaders in performance on the scoreboard.

If there had been continuity while personal grudges had been put aside, our dear country would have gone beyond her present state. If there’d been a policy in place yet to be implemented or it’s been implemented but with some seeming inevitable lapses and inadequacies, what could have been done by the succeeding leaders is to creatively and ingeniously rectify and make it fit into their own policies that will liberate the suffering of the masses. It shouldn’t be rejected in totality. No matter how bad such program might be, there will still be some elements of favorable ones. What should be considered is the reason and the economic situation during which such programs were drafted. If the programs were drafted as at the time they were drafted, the eyes of the new government should be wide open enough to see that it’s subject to correction, withdrawal, consolidation, reversion, explanation and other factors of changes except of course such was made for self-aggrandizement and pleasure.

One great discovery I made is that personal grievance has been responsible for this. Even if the plan the past government had was lofty and the succeeding ones saw its credibility, they refused to implement it owing to personal grievances. The policy was not implemented due to the constraint of time and the lapse of tenure or it was not yet time for it. But what did the successive ones do? They rather stripped it of its credibility and loftiness and gave a false report either during a media chat or stakeholders meeting. I always wish a representative from one of such government will be present at such forum to dispute such claim. That is only if there was anyone at all and he/she is ready to defend its nobility and potential. But our environment is such a funny one where the voice of the minority and the powerless is inaudible to effect any change let alone enjoy some public belief in what it voices out.

Some white papers were not even found in the archives at all when a new government comes in. Many things are responsible for it, too crude to believe. One, when the last leader of whatever portfolio was moving out of the government house albeit ingloriously, unceremoniously or ignominiously because of his sudden and unexpected ouster at the polls, he will order his aides to pack the white papers along so that the new one will not take the glory if it’s eventually implemented. It still borders on political grudges but this time around, against the people. Owing to the kind of environment we all hailed from, such glory will not be attributed to the government that drafted it. Personal gratification and glory overriding good governance.

Another case is that some persons were asked to do the packing without specific directives. (In the case of the Federal legislators, I think the NYSC members were engaged to do the packing. Since they have no knowledge about the “officiality” of some documents including those that studied Political Science in the university, they just adhered to the “unspecificity” of the directives). The politicians never expected they will be rejected so soon at the polls, so the relocation of their belongings became subject to unpreparedness.

Another crude factor for the lack of continuity in governance is when the succeeding political office holder doesn’t want to see the footprint of his predecessor. He will start erasing his predecessor’s footprint by first removing his portraits from the wall. How does that disturb his discharge of duty? Maybe it stares at him too much. He will then evacuate everything that bears his signature and writings. He also changed the outlook of the office and a new set of furniture was ordered. Such money could have gone into paying for some students’ school fees. He also stylishly evacuates his fine plans unknowingly.

Some people might say the leaders who owe allegiance to the same political leanings are bound to abide with the tradition of continuity. It is not true. Due to the fracas that ensues during such party’s primaries and a consensus candidate emerged to the chagrin of others who equally have the right to contest, discontinuity will play out if eventually the ones that stepped down under duress get to the government house. The pain he bears will still be brought to the fore. If this can happen within the same political party, how much more when it involves other parties? The only thing that guarantees continuity is when everybody is burdened with the task of delivering dividends of life to others irrespective of personal clashes and individual’s divergent philosophies.

The only place where I’ve seen continuity in governance in effect is Lagos State which has taken her pride of place among the States of the Federation. That is why it has become the reference point to other States including the FCT. If the same gesture can be replicated in the rest of the States,  our development will be so rapid. Many unfinished projects litter the length and breadth of the nation because of this problem. All the sectors of the economy are direct victims of lack of continuity. The only thing that cannot and must not be continued let alone be implemented are policies that will take a heavy toll on the citizenry.

Church Universities and Secular universities

Everyone who is concerned about the state of education in Nigeria had at one time or the other lend their voices to berate the unfavorable government policies that are affecting the sector more negatively than positively. Everyone is lamenting its under-funding by the government despite the 25% annual budgetary allocation stipulated by the United Nations to be injected into it but our government only manages to inject a miser 5%. We are also bemoaning the failure of the government to implement the various recommendations given by many stakeholders’ forum except the dust it gathers in their archives.

The crass indifference and flippancy directed towards education has been inimical to the production of quality, qualified and seasoned graduates of international standard and the integral and predominant impact it makes on the economy of the country. To gain an admission is now more difficult than procuring an American visa. The merited candidates who through the dint of hard work achieved excellence only get sidetracked on the day of reckoning while those whose parents enjoy some network of connection in the profit-oriented universities ride on an already-paved road into the institutions through the backyard. My deduction now is that an admission into an average Nigerian university is no longer by merit and credit but by whom you know. And if you don’t know anybody, one risks the forfeiture of the possibility of an admission. The trend had made someone like me to become despondent about going to school in Nigeria and other folks who traverse the length and breadth of the nation in search of an alternative to make up for the vacuum of not having a full education. I wonder the so-called technocrats who advise the former President  and the ones who enlighten the former education Minister to build more universities instead of putting the necessary structure in place to adequately fund the existing ones. I wouldn’t want a repeat of what happened during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime when he appointed a lecturer who ought to be in the classroom holding chalks as the Aviation Minister and we all were witnesses to the disaster that rocked that sector.

Now, since we can’t find respite in the secular setting, should we also be scared away by the church universities? This is paradoxical. The churches charge huge and exorbitant prices to the disaffection and chagrin of everyone. Since the secular universities rejected me and I run to the church, I think I should find some academic solace but it’s not so. The poser is, “Are they in for profiteering which is human racketeering or to provide an alternative for the teeming non-admitted candidates?” They are mission schools. I think they should not even charge up to N20,000 per semester instead of the colossal N750,000, N1,000,000 etc that they are charging. The poor people in the church cannot send their wards to such schools despite giving their tithe and offering and other wilful donations and contributions that they painstakingly make. One of such schools’ lecturers said they have a stipulated discount given to any member whose children attend the schools. What a statement! Are we talking about discount or providing a platform for the indigent who constitute the highest percentage of the churches’ population so that they can send their children to the universities also with a feeling devoid of malice or grudges against the church authority.

The ostensible reason for such hike in price, justifiably or otherwise, I don’t know, may be for the furtherance of the gospel to the very far corner of the earth as commanded our Lord Jesus Christ but He never said it should be done at the expense of the poor. He didn’t say we should be indifferent to whose ox is gored. I don’t want to extend my hard feelings to the church and I don’t want to see a scenario where there would be a disconnect between the rich and the poor in the church – an ill-will. This causes dissension a lot in the church.

The most appalling thing is that the pastors also have the temerity to berate the absurdities and obscenity inherent in the education system when they have their own inadequacies trailing them. I revere every man of God and I will never disrespect them if they also do the right thing which is why the main thrust of this piece is to let them rectify the anomalies implicit in the administration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the church had subsidized the ‘price’ well enough that the couple who earn the most miserable income whether on daily, weekly, or monthly basis can afford to send their children to the universities, the millions who fall victims by being exploited by JAMB year in year out would have been admitted by now. Somebody may ask, “where will they generate the funds to provide the necessary facilities needed for a conducive environment for learning?” My answer is, “there are one hundred and one million ways to do that, that they will devise and improvise among themselves. Or where did some of them get the money to buy private jets? To every problem, there are seven solutions. That include the internally-generated revenue in the school but not the one that will take a heavy toll on the students. And coupled with donations from the wealthy and opulent members of the church. And a collaboration with private bodies too will work etc.        TO BE CONTINUED

Do we have any reason to be happy celebrating Xmas as a nation?

The day is here. The highly-anticipated day of the year is here again. It is December 25, the day earmarked and set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. While those who are religiously affiliated to this set of belief have every reason to celebrate and be joyful, I don’t think we have any reason as a nation to be joyful celebrating Xmas.

Before today runs out, the internet and media will be awash with injunctions from our so-called leaders to live in harmony and be tolerant of each other, as that will strengthen our resolve as a nation to move ahead as if we haven’t been living in harmony before now. Most of them will at a face value come out trying to preach peace which they never contributed anything to in the first place to entrench but which we have been able to establish within ourselves as loving people who are tolerant of each other. Some will start chronicling what Nigeria has ever achieved, albeit on paper though.

The thrust of this piece is not to re-orientate anyone’s mindset or view or reasons that we are individually entitled to celebrate Xmas but looking at it critically and comprehensively, today should be a day in our calendar to start asking some questions. We can no longer continue to pretend as if everything is fine when things are really hard, maybe not hard on some select and choice people who have been able to amass some wealth either legally or dubiously but the majority of the people are really suffering hard. Never in the history of Nigeria, as far as I know and my knowledge can permit me to put into perspective, have things been this bad. We have a hydra-headed monster called recession staring us in the face with no solution from no one, not even the seasoned financial brains of the nation could provide a solution. All the promises we have heard so far have always been futuristic. You will hear something like, “Nigeria will come out of recession in 2017 – says President Buhari”. My question is, “why is the solution to this problem deferred till 2017?” Why not now? Or does 2017 know that we have a seemingly intractable difficulty that only it can help us out?. When 2017 comes and no solution surfaces, they will start cooking up excuses and begin to blame Jonathan.

The government of the day is treating the plight of nation with crass indifference and flippancy. Everyone is now resorting to quick-fixes effect to keep going and make two ends meet. One of such quick-fixes is the ponzi scheme MMM that gulped millions of naira from over three million Nigerians. Almost all of them are now wailing as their accounts have been frozen with millions of naira trapped inside. Aside the gullibility of some people, if the economy was sound, most of the people won’t commit their hard-earned money to it. The signs are palpable and ominous that this Xmas is far below the vibes it used to be. The pulse of the mood of the people, if gauged will provide an alarming result.

I will advise the President himself to keep quiet today and not release any official statement trying to empathize with the country if he doesn’t have any concrete solution to proffer. He should go back to the drawing board and rewrite his mission and most importantly, come out with meaningful and feasible steps to make Nigeria work.

Happy Xmas Nigerians.

Muhammadu Buhari – the President Nigeria shouldn’t have had

Nigeria was in desperate search of an alternative to the rudderless and directionless government of erstwhile President Jonathan due to the profligacy that characterized his government. Many felt he mounted the podium of power without preparing for the position, hence the reason for his being incompetent to handle the office of ruling the most populous black nation on earth.

Before the government of Jonathan, his predecessors had treated the nation as their personal property, looting the treasury with reckless abandon and most annoyingly, done with impunity. All measures to curb the excesses of the government Nigeria had entertained from 1960 failed to deliver as the legislative arm of the Nigerian government had no moral wherewithal to see the necessary bills through. The Nigerian people turned to chess games and were blown here and there by every wind of inhuman enactment of laws that the politicians deemed was necessary to appear like they were working.

Cascaded down from Independence till now, we have been entangled in a vicious cycle of abject poverty characterized by the falling standard and purchasing power of our currency. Lack of electricity is now synonymous with us as a country despite the staggering sum of $16bn expended during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to provide stable electricity for the people. Everyone in the corridor of power is there to have their own fair share of the national cake. Our industries are moribund. All sectors of the economy have long been lifeless and no right thinking successive government thought of reviving them. All they know how to do is to run abroad looking for aids when we have everything in abundance to sustain us. Our natural resources are untapped and we have a ministry that is being saddled with the responsibility of harnessing our resources.

Year in, year out, they keep passing mind-blowing budgets to the chagrin of the impoverished many because it never reflected in their lives. They divided the nation along party and tribal lines just to favor themselves. Yakubu Gowon did nothing, he rather looted the treasury. Murtala Mohammed who showed signs and glimpses of good governance was obliterated. Obasanjo took over and no tangible achievement was recorded and he spoilt everything by handing over power to a novice in the person of Shehu Shagari whose history I learned to be a teacher, not a season politician. As expected, he did nothing.

Muhammadu Buhari came on board and was rather jailing those he perceived as being undisciplined rather than focusing on good governance. Ibrahim Babangida was a schemer. While the whole nation was sleeping every night, he would be scheming on how to shortchange the nation. His singular action of annulling the widely-adjudged free and fair election that was suppose to bring MKO Abiola to power negated the processes of having good government till date. Sani Abacha was not different, a dictator of indifference to the plight of the people. Thank God he died. Abubakar Salami, I didn’t really read anything about him other than he handed over power to Obasanjo who was one of the masterminds of the woes the country is going through now even as he came back the second time. At least, I’ve started coming of age by the time he was completing two years in office. He lavished our money and globe-trotted the world instead of sitting back at home. He brought EFCC and ICPC into existence as if he was not culpable of corruption also. He jailed his perceived political enemy and pushed his contrived third term agenda but with no success. He now paraded himself as an elder statesman. Who made him an elder statesman? He has the effrontery to be criticizing the government of the day also.

President Jonathan was therefore bequeathed with power when his boss died and misbehaved throughout his six years in office. He had so much money he knew not how to spend it. He had so much at his disposal that the whole nation was plunged into penury. He had so much that his officials and subjects dipped their ten fingers into the coffers and took more than enough. He consented to all of the stealing and graft entrenched in his government. He was just a figure head and a mannequin that was being pushed around. He had no mind of his own as those controlling him were frequently fiddling with his brain. He conceded to defeat just to cover up his misdemeanor in office.

Nigerians needed someone to take them out of the quagmire they found themselves. And General Muhammadu Buhari showed up for the fourth time to wrestle power away from Jonathan, not PDP. He campaigned nationwide and his antecedent and pedigree of being corruption-free spoke more volume during his campaign than his manifestos. He was brimming with confidence and exuded statesmanlike kind of charisma. He spoke less in all of his campaign as all of his promises were not really coherent and detailed but summed up in a ‘change’ mantra that swept throughout the whole land like a volcano. Everybody was bamboozled by that mantra and we forgot to ask him to break it down into feasible steps to achieving the change he promised.

The election came and gone and he won with a landslide. His victory raised the hope of many. His carriage and charisma disposed like all our sufferings were over. It took him more than three months before he constituted his cabinet. Everything he ever decided to do took so much time before doing it. He started jetting round the world ostensibly to return Nigeria to his pride of place in the comity of nations as if that puts food on our table. He plunged the nation into recession and many people are now living from hands to mouth. Many things started assuming some heartrending shape that they never assumed before. He has wasted so much time recovering loots that even the loots recovered have no bearing on our economy. Where has the loot gone to? It seems this President is worse that Goodluck Jonathan. The nation is on a standstill now, nothing is moving. When he assumed office, electricity became stable for some couple of weeks but now, we are spending Christmas in darkness. We are spending Christmas in penury and recession and we claimed to have a President. A STATE OF ANARCHY IS BETTER THAN THE GOVERNMENT OF MUHAMMADU BUHARI. Is 18 months not enough to draft a clear-cut and crystal-clear roadmap for his government or what is wrong? It also seems he surrounds himself with incompetent people despite wasting so much time looking for technocrats to help deliver on his assignment in office.