Thursday, 27 September 2007

Death absolves Enwerem for Senate Valediction

Party for the dead

The Nigerian Congress is preparing for a knees-up as they “mourn” the passing of Senator Evan Enwerem who at one time was the first Senate President in the third republic who got impeached for all sorts of irregularities in 1999.

The National Assembly last year approved disbursements for former senior officers of the nation and that law expressly forbade impeached officers from making claims in that regard.

This law would have been enacted after extensive debate and consideration as this was 7 years after that impeachment. The matter surely must have come up for them to have added the exclusion clause.

So, how on the death of the impeached Ex-Senate President, the chamber that sits two electoral terms after his can vacate the impeachment escapes me and what new evidence would have been provided to now exculpate the man from the charges that he was indicted for?

One could say that there is an element of necrophilia in the Nigerian psyche; the dead have to be celebrated if not worshipped. In the case of the Senate a valedictory session is to be held in honour of the Senate President who was impeached and in order not to have derisive headlines reading along those lines due process calls for the impeachment to be vacated.

Uncomfortable precedent

This sets an uncomfortable precedent, as the debate highlights that the impeachment was simply high-politicking rather than a substantive misdemeanour issue, it also means that occasion rather than new evidence and fact can overturn verdicts on the whim.

Whilst the man was alive, if he could muster such an emotion, he would have lived in the shame of having been removed from office ignominiously.

The interesting part to this is the family felt that some sort of honour was served in engaging the Senate at the death of the man so that all courtesies and privileges can be accorded the “now not” impeached Senate President.

So far, I have seen nothing of honourable note from either of the houses that make up the National Assembly apart from hedonistic tendencies that seek avenues for jollity rather than attending to the serious business of Nigerian leadership.

By an overwhelming acclaim, the news piece reads, I suppose one can expect much clamour from a den of thieves.

References

Senate Vacates Enwerem’s Impeachment – DisDayn

Senate Vacates Enwerem’s Impeachment - Vanguard

Vacating a judgement

Church stance on condoms fuels atrocious claims

The curse of African leadership

To an observer from Mars, they would not be thinking amiss if they thought that Africa was cursed with people in authority who have no inkling of their responsibilities.

One such set of people in authority are those who derive their status from being proponents of religions ever so foreign to Africa but become part of the fabric of our societies.

The traditional rulers and healers who are the bastions of our historical and cultural heritage have now been demonised or subsumed into these religious political establishments that their erstwhile incumbency authority counts for nothing anymore.

They also have their faults, but this is not the forum to explore their failures.

The Origin of AIDS suspect

Critical analysis still leaves us a bit unsure of how HIV/AIDS ravaged the whole swathe of Sub-Saharan African through all the generations, because, it cannot have been people copulating with the Simian species but some conspiracies point to a major vaccination campaign that might have used contaminated agents – truth or not, that impression has stuck.

It then informs the way certain religious leaders admonished their followers to refuse polio vaccinations in Northern Nigeria stemming from a case where Pfizer had allegedly tested illegal drugs on children, some of which lead to deaths and disabilities.

This makes any offer of Western expertise to alleviate African problems a bitter pill to swallow because the question of trust is compromised with the history of Trojan Horse gifts that are offered in false sincerity for ulterior gains.

Outrageous baseless claims

This however does not excuse the claim made by the Catholic Archbishop of Mozambique where the church has failed to depress the sexuality and sexual energy of the people with Abstinence and Be-faithful but never use Condoms by claiming condoms are laced with HIV.

It is quite sad when supposedly knowledgeable leaders of society express such blatant ignorance and false assertions to excite hysteria in order to achieve an end when objective discussion has failed to yield the desired result.

Now, when it comes to planned parenthood or the management of sexually transmitted diseases, the Catholic Church cannot be said to have been the most help or responsible in understanding the demographics or attitudes of their laity.

In fact, one supposes the Church sees it fit to demand people abstain or be celibate since the priests never get to enjoy the joys of homo-sapiens-sapiens copulation – no fault of anyone because it is not doctrine; it is a rule of men.

Irresponsible behaviour

The greater dereliction of responsibility is in not realising that the weakness of human beings of sexual fulfilment has to be understand and catered for, in which case, if you cannot abstain from sex or be faithful to your partner (who could also be infected), use condoms.

The further issue here is to deprive those who are infected from enjoying sex if they decide to use protection because not everyone who has been infected acquired the infection through sexual contact.

The express stupidity of the archbishop is glaring from the fact that it is quite far-fetched that the HIV virus is conserved in condoms for the purpose of wiping out Africans who deign to use sexual protection.

There is enough scientific study to prove that HIV does not survive that well outside the body and it would only survive in blood if the blood is stored in the right conditions of temperature and containment, I doubt if condoms and their packaging fit into that scope of preservation.

Religion as a detriment to progress

The means of scare-mongering and urban legends to the end of stopping people from using condoms in the light of a greater humanitarian tragedy is beneath contempt to say the least.

I would expect that every respectable, knowledgeable and intelligent person with a stake in Africa would roundly condemn the archbishop as he finds ways to retract his statement whilst his integrity and status is diminished.

We just cannot afford to have such idiots mouthing nonsense and endangering the lives of vulnerable people just because they derive authority from some unAfrican religious order.

Defrock the man before the Catholic Church is a symbol of disgrace – even that is debatable in the light of this.

References

Polio Vaccines and the Origin of AIDS

The Origin of HIV & the First Cases of AIDS

HIV chimp vaccine theory dismissed

UNICEF Nigerian Polio Vaccine Contaminated with Sterilizing Agents Scientist Finds

Nigeria Muslims oppose polio vaccination

My Blogs on the Pfizer Drug Trials

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Alhaji Lamidi Akanbi Ariyibi Adedibu

Celebrating long life

A tradition would only be too evident in Nigeria at the ceremonies that would culminate in the burial of Chief A. M. A. Akinloye who died at 91 in Nigeria last week.

People would be dressed in blue rather than black because this was a life to be celebrated having been full of years, I once attended a wake-keeping in Nigeria of a very prominent man where I observed both this and his children being heartily congratulated for surviving their father rather than being condoled sadly for his death.

However, as soon as the news of the man’s death was announced people flocked to his family residence and had opportunity to write in the book of condolences opened for the event.

The book of condolences (judgments)

One of the entries made must not escape scrutiny and analysis because it corroborates the issue I raised in my blog yesterday about the death of Chief Akinloye and his legacy.

The visitor wrote and I quote – “My father, my mentor, my political architect who by the will of God made it possible for me to have recognition in the political history of the country. You promoted me, you lifted me up and gave me what I can never forever forget in my life, you prayed for me and the prayer had shown in me. Surely, you Adisa Olayiwola Akinloye will rest in the side of Almighty God because you have done very well to people with fear of God, God will not leave you.

Introducing Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu

The writer was Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, of whom no person of worth has praise or commendation. Of the many articles that have been written about this man, one talks of hoodlums who pledge allegiance to him wreaking havoc in Oyo State where he believes he reigns as potentate regardless of the traditional ruler.

The Chairman of the EFCC – Malam Nuhu Ribadu lamented that fact that many are not angry that the likes of Adedibu are in positions of leadership and these expressions are some of the more polite references to a man who has at one time been called a thug, a criminal and worse – without prejudice.

However, no better illustration can be made of the man than the one that damns him with praise – praise-singing a Yoruba tradition where mere mortals are eulogised to almost deity can well be a two-edged sword of commendation and outright rebuke at the same time.

Praise-singing a deeper truth

One writer recalls one minstrel now departed, Alhaji Odolaiye Aremu who begins with this as translated by the writer thus.

Adedibu, half of Ibadanland that the uninitiated erroneously describe as one person – that says it all, the man has become a law unto himself and an impediment to progress in Yorubaland, like his mentors and sponsors of old.

If in reality, Chief Akinloye did really elevate Alhaji Adedibu to this level of self-aggrandisement and political thuggery, I will speak no ill of the dead, but I would not lie to be nice, rather, silence is golden, but much has already been said.

That song

As for the song and write-up , this is the whole thing as translated with a few notes:

Adedibu, half of Ibadanland that the uninitiated erroneously describes as one person

Death that taunts before it strikes

Wicked man per excellence

Son of a witch who buys on credit and still demands extra

The man who deliberately injures and yet commiserates with his victim

The man who owes you and you dare not ask to be repaid

The owner rejects his inheritance, Adedibu accepts it

Akanbi who demands two pence from a man with only two and a half pence

Adedibu went to the Ibadan city centre and came back with several chickens

He did not buy them (the chickens),

He did not steal them (the chickens),

And nobody gave them (the chickens) to him as gifts,

The chickens just ran into a monumental calamity!

Beware the man

This is the man who thinks he now has recognition in the political history of Nigeria, what woe has befallen us that this man should find honour amongst the dishonourable. The legacy of Chief A. M. A. is personified in Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.

Other references

Nigeria: Adedibu - 'Etteh is Yorubas' Only Hope' – Where he asks the president to halt a probe into what seems to be an misappropriation of funds in the House or Representatives.

Understanding the political machine called Lamidi Adedibu

When Thugs and Political Godfathers Call The Shots

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The spirit of Akinloye lives on

Events shouting down the news
The noise of megalomania coming from the House of Representatives drowned out news that seems to link up with the events taking place in that chamber.
When the Buhari/Idiagbon putsch swept out the corrupt and rotten politicians in December 1983, one thing depicted the conceit, excess, wanton debauchery, arrogance, shameless hedonism and appropriation of wealth for personal gain – unopened bottles of champagne.
Whether it was the truth or not, the military regime displayed bottles of champagne named for and labelled Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye A.M.A., the then chairman of the ruling cabal called the National Party of Nigeria.
They are still about
The parallels between the $5 million renovation of the Speakers’ residences and this seminal event would eventually be a subject of history.
The shame of it all is that as one of the many who allegedly squandered the resources of Nigeria and left it in a deplorable state of corruption and chaos, he was never indicted or arraigned for his supposed part in this matter just as many like him got away with what essentials were crimes.
As the military government tightened their grip on power and corralled the political miscreants into prison, he escaped into exile for 10 years and then returned to glorious welcome masterminded by the current chief thug of Oyo State Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
The brood of vipers are still spawning their deathly and poisonous influence in Nigerian politics today and many of their followers cannot with honesty see through the façade to challenge their questionable conduct and hubris.
That one could say he did his best for Nigeria in general beggars belief at the way people would believe a blatant inexactitude to conform to a false but accepted impression.
Another signpost
So, the death of the Seriki of Ibadanland at 91 last week is not necessarily the end of an era of corrupt impunity and excess, it was just another signpost in the history of Nigerians who got away with it; the many, who were once thieves that became respectable through the peddling of questionable influence.
Now, nothing was proved about Akinloye’s culpability or guilt having not been arraigned before a court of law, but he would have been in the crosshairs of an agency like the EFCC and even if he was innocent he symbolised everything that was atrocious, ignoble, dishonourable and bad about the government of the day, more so an educated Nigerian.
I would have loved that these traits got buried with the high chief, but unlike Mark Anthony, I come not to bury Chief Akinloye and definitely not to praise him for a biography few honourable men would deign to accept as their story.
Reference

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Fielding 11 clowns for Chelsea

For now, Avram is out of his depth

I probably do not know much about football, I was quite feeble-boned even though I grew out of my size as a kid, that I skipped with the girls than I played with the boys.

It might be too early to gloat, but football does have a strange mindset to its management and play, it is not like boxing where flair is scored by points and knockdowns might count for nothing if the opponent is not knocked out.

The word is, Mourinho accepted a parting from Chelsea on mutual terms not because his team was not winning, but his game plans were not entertaining; meaning the stadiums were not full of spectators and all that results from having big followings, he would be laughing all the way to the bank with 8 figures in pounds.

His replacement in Avram Grant might have achieved much in Israel, if the Toto Cup - a minor Israeli cup competition he has won 6 times is a football big deal; but since when was Israel a footballing nation? Don’t get me wrong, people can be plucked from obscurity and they become stars; time will tell if Mr. Grant can really fill José Mourinho’s shoes.

For now, I think he has stepped into skis and he is about to go mountain-climbing, he is complete out of his league for all I care. He might however not hold the post for more than 12 weeks if he does not get a UEFA Pro license soon or the Football Association might grant a special dispensation to allow him run the club till the end of the season.

Entertaining losers?

The whipping of Chelsea by Manchester United tonight did not come as a surprise, as they acquired both an outright red card and a dying minute penalty, there would be great disarray before things pan out, but do not except miracles before the friendship between Roman and Avram leads to a serious exchange of views.

As for entertaining football, the basic law is that teams win matches through scoring goals, and then if their game plan includes skill, flair and panache, so be it. Chelsea could have retained Mourinho and simply gotten the players to paint their faces and wear tutus on the field, the goalie can be in drag, whilst those on the benches skipped and pirouetted every few minutes, probably blowing up a few animal balloons.

They would have been funny, maybe entertaining and more kids might have had their parents buy tickets to see the matches just because of the show, winning is paramount, flair is a bonus and some teams are not cut out for being entertaining apart from putting 11 clowns on the pitch.

Zimbabwe: The shaming of Pius Ncube

State sponsored sex stings

If there was more to do to see the end of suffering and deprivation brought on the people of Zimbabwe by the Grand Despot of Africa in the gerontocratic evil hands of Robert Mugabe, 83 the time is now.

Reading Wande’s blog that explores the realities of events with the topic “Re - Zimbabwe bishop 'victim of state'” illustrates how the state apparatus works to completely discredit and suppress any opposition to the rotten regime of Mugabe.

I left a comment on that blog which I flesh out the more in this write up, because this is not the first time the Mugabe regime has used the state agencies to bring down and disgrace “men of the cloth” who pose a threat to his kind of government.

Before the case of Bishop Pius Ncube who resigned his post as the Archbishop of Bulawayo on the 11th of September 2007, there was the case of the Reverend Canaan Banana, the first president of Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe as his Prime Minister who after Mugabe usurped all power was accused and convicted of 11 counts of sodomy and eventually served two years in prison as well as getting defrocked, he died in 2003.

A similar sodomy charge was brought against Anwar Ibrahim the Prime Minister and challenger to the regime of Dr. Mahatir bin Muhammed of Malaysia in 2000 which lead to a conviction until an appeals court overturned it in 2004.

Making the most embarrassing charges

I am sure there are many other examples of political machinations using the state apparatus to besmirch, tarnish and blackball people who pose a challenge to the ruling class and their figure heads, usually, it is almost impossible to successfully find justice if all the scales are tilted against you.

So, back to Pius Ncube, there would have been too many precedents for him not to think that he would be targeted, not by bullets for martyrdom in the cause for humanity in Zimbabwe as he had expected but through undermining his credibility, authority, respect and integrity.

The reporting of the matter surrounding the shaming of Pius Ncube is a bit sketchy since the foreign press are refused the opportunity to report the real events happening in what is becoming a recluse of tyranny – if we cannot report we can assume.

As a Roman Catholic Bishop, one would think the bishop is a subject of clerical celibacy and since sodomy is taken as par for the course for such persons of devotion (the last clause is a wild generalisation which probably has no basis I fact but is very well an urban myth – See A Very Short History Of Clergy Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church), adultery would create a greater embarrassment.

The woman the bishop is said to have been caught with in his bedroom was the estranged wife of someone who subsequently lodged a 20 billion Zimbabwean dollar adultery suit for redress, though now the adultery charge has been dropped.

The dead-hand of the government must have been involved in this quest to embarrass a strident opponent of Robert Mugabe who by reason of his religious position was an untouchable; however, if an affair did take place amidst the protestations of the bishop, my comments on the reference blog have gone thus.

My Comments

Whilst I feel some sympathy for the bishop in that he was one of the few living in Zimbabwe who could speak up and not get beaten up by the police, his error of judgment and lax moral values have compromised his integrity.

He has an uphill battle to maintain his rights struggle without being heckled down as an adulterer whenever he speaks.

The fact is, when you set yourself aside to fight for a humanitarian cause, you must also separate yourself from the wiles and excesses of life - as a man of the cloth, he surely must have been well aware of that.

Finally, he has let both his cause the people of Zimbabwe down, I hope I have not judged him too harshly, but his cause should have been a lot greater than sexual fulfilment with another man's wife, he did not consider the consequences of his actions.

I really do hope all the people involved in this would be discredited and the bishop would be vindicated, the plot, meanwhile thickens.

PS: It would appear the comment I placed has been lost probably due to some gremlin activity - That is beside the point, the originating blog is still part of my inspiration for this write-up and it remains acknowledged as such.

Other references

My Zimbabwe Blogs

Friday, 21 September 2007

Of Personality Tests and their worth

Knowing me again

I seem to be a fan of personality tests to give meaning to traits I have not been able to properly articulate or affirm what I already know. I have found that I exude greater self-assuredness if I review my personality profile before attending an interview.

Many years ago, I heard a sermon based on Philemon 6 and it indicated that my faith could be strengthened by my acknowledging every good thing that is mine in Christ; basically, it is the personality profile of a Christian confident in understanding salvation and what it brings.

I am not preaching here, but there are many aids out there that are tailored to help people realise more of what and who they are to be able to go out and make a difference in their lives and communities.

I also learnt a long time ago that I am the best representative of myself in areas I need to be represented; this becomes quite important in crafting Curriculum Vitae, attending interviews, performance reviews and various kinds of presentations.

I usually use the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS) which has a comprehensive professional service administered by the Advisor Team for a fee, but today I came across the Advanced Global Personality Test (AGPT) which has 126 questions as opposed to 70 in the KTS.

Though, I am not convinced the questions are as thorough as they can be, but for a free test, it is good enough. Am I a rebellious, non-conformist, conflict-seeking, individual, pugilistic, religious fanatic? I think not, but what can you read into these scores?

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||| 56%
Stability |||||||||||||| 60%
Orderliness |||||||||||||| 53%
Accommodation |||||||||||||||| 70%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||| 70%
Intellectual |||||||||||||| 56%
Mystical |||||||||||||| 56%
Artistic |||||| 23%
Religious |||||||||||||||| 70%
Hedonism |||||||||| 36%
Materialism |||||||||||||| 56%
Narcissism |||||||||||||| 56%
Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 63%
Work ethic |||||||||||||| 56%
Self absorbed |||||| 30%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||||||| 70%
Need to dominate |||||||||||||| 56%
Romantic |||||||||||||| 56%
Avoidant |||||||||||||| 56%
Anti-authority |||||||||||||||| 70%
Wealth |||||||||||| 50%
Dependency |||| 16%
Change averse |||||| 30%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||| 63%
Individuality |||||||||||||| 56%
Sexuality |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Peter pan complex |||||||||| 36%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Physical Fitness |||||||||| 37%
Histrionic |||||||||| 36%
Paranoia |||||||||||| 43%
Vanity |||||||||||| 43%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||| 50%
Indie |||||||||| 33%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Old-fashioned Ponzi Schemes as HYIPs

Making Mo-Sense about money

I have to give credit to Roosevelt at MoThanSkin who has enlightened me on a matter that has quite fascinated me.

I have lately been reading of so-called High Yield Investment Plans (HYIP) in Nigeria where in one instance a bread-winner took her life with rat poison having been swindled out of her entire savings.

The draw of these “Get Rich Quick” schemes that promise outrageous returns not obtainable in any legal business setting is amazing; the person has to suspend belief in financial reality to be involved; though many participants proselytised into these schemes never realise how they are being conned until they have been completely fleeced.

Persuading the greedy

Generally, a person is persuaded to invest a sum for a guaranteed return well above the odds, sometimes 200%, the wary investor tests the waters with a token amount and gets paid in the allotted time.

This emboldens the investor to jump in with both feet, if not borrowing to invest, at which point the investment goes into a black hole and the agency either has tales to tell or the personnel just disappear into thin air.

No shelter for the fool

Considering these schemes do not have regulatory control of financial agencies or customer protection, the need to beware is evident as customers can also be profiled for their greed and gullibility see how much more they can be enticed to part with their money as fools.

The play on words that redefines an old scam as a new financial instrument is interesting, but like I read on MoThanSkin, these are all variations on Ponzi Schemes. At various times know as Pyramid Scheme, Multi-Level Marketing and now the more professionally sounding High Yield Investment Program, Global Currency Arbitrage or Hedge Futures Trading.

They are all like snake-oil remedies that have the bite of a snake and are lethal enough to cause fatalities, both financially and literally.

Playing on trust

The scheme are generally unsustainable over time, relying on new entrants to feed the promised returns of the earlier entrants; eventually, new entrants run out leaving everyone out of pocket apart from the promoters who would have gone to ground and disappeared.

Whilst I am not saying people should not invest in these schemes much as the risk of loss is too compelling to do otherwise, sometimes like the gambler in Kenny Roger’s Gambler, those who have made it have known when to walk away and been intuitive enough to know when to run.

However, if the investor is entranced by initial returns, they should reflect on the standard small print on any financial investment document – past performance is no guarantee of future success, even if it is your very next investment.

Looking out for a scam

These are elaborate confidence tricks that earn your trust and confidence to then scam, defraud and dispossess the victim.

Like Roosevelt notes from culling the Wikipedia entry that I have also quoted below; the characteristics of Ponzi Schemes are simple.

* In a Ponzi scheme, the schemer acts as a “hub” for the victims, interacting with all of them directly. In a pyramid scheme, those who recruit additional participants benefit directly (in fact, failure to recruit typically means no investment return).

* A Ponzi scheme claims to rely on some esoteric investment approach, insider connections, etc., and often attracts well-to-do investors; pyramid schemes explicitly claim that new money will be the source of payout for the initial investments.

* A pyramid scheme is bound to collapse a lot faster, simply because of the demand for exponential increases in participants to sustain it. By contrast, Ponzi schemes can survive simply by getting most participants to "reinvest" their money, with a relatively small number of new participants.

Get out now!

Someone somewhere is in one of these schemes who has gained some return from a business model that has no underlying fundamentals and is ready to sell the world to get similar returns but would come completely short and lose everything like the gambler that has gone “all in” against a Royal Flush with just a high card.

Any scheme like this is a sinking ship and you had better bale out or jump like a rat before you go down into a watery grave of the many that belong to the fraternity with the motto – A fool and his money are so soon parted.

Reference

Pyramid Schemes Never Die; Just Evolve

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Great Mourning for the Special One

Something money cannot tame

Did I tumble out to slumber to hear that the “Special One” would no more be so special at ¢H£l$€a?

Jose Mourinho stormed into the UK after a successful stint at Porto winning the Champions League.

His colourful and sometimes arrogant posturing and language which many would say was to unruffle, disparage and belittle opponents, officials and the game sometimes brought more fireworks to a quite sedate English football scene.

Alex Ferguson’s brusqueness does not have a patch on what Jose’s verbal diarrhoea could expectorate, it left a majority in near-shock, aghast with palpable disgust and sometimes disdain, but baying to hear what next he had to say before and after a march.

However, it was clear from the onset that a person of Mourinho’s personality and temperament could never be a long-term manager of any team; a maturity and level-headedness seen in Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal are virtues almost beyond his grasp - his epitaph to coaching might yet read – “He came, he achieved, he left – abruptly”, but he achieved just as big as his mouth could talk.

Whether that would then be a mark of distinction is debatable – if he does leave English football entirely, his controversy and quotable quotes would be sorely missed – meanwhile, for some, there would be No Mourning for Mourinho.

As for me, one wonders what would be the next phase in what is characteristically turbulent history of Chelsea F.C. where the Blues could as well be singing the blues.

As for Jose Mourinho, we wait to hear the next classic display of bravado, self-confidence and arrogance put into words like – “Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.”

Good Luck! Jose!

Pugilistic debates in the Nigerian Congress

Filthy house of dirty ambitions

Speechless did not begin to explain my emotion when I heard of the cost of renovation on the Speaker of the House of Representatives’ official residence in Abuja, Nigeria.

At about $5 million one would have thought she was breaking new ground for a residential complex rather than making the residence more to her liking after the erstwhile occupants vacated the premises.

Really, one does wonder what exactly needs to be done to the residence that with the ensuing uproar and calmour three major contractors have pulled out of the renovation exercise.

OANDA quotes the exchange rates at 1 US Dollar = 126.826 Nigerian Naira or 1 Nigerian Naira (NGN) = 0.007885 US Dollar (USD), so the oft touted figure of NGN 529 million is really closer to $4 million; but I did not notice Gordon Brown of the UK having craved residing at 10 Downing Street for a decade write out a gravy train contract to cart all the chattels from the Buckingham Palace into the Prime Minister’s residence, just because he could.

Megalomania par excellence

Nigeria however offers an interesting view of the corruption of just acquired power and the megalomaniacal delusions of grandeur that consume the sensibilities of the few who forget their mandate of service for the wanton plunder of the nation’s resources for self aggrandisement.

All the three previous renovations to the residences of the Speaker and the Deputy since 1999 add up to NGN 21.7 million with the latest work being done in 2005, what could have been done to the houses to exact 24 times the total cost of all the previous renovation work leaves one quite bemused, but I am not aware of a blitzkrieg over Abuja in the recent past.

All sorts of things are awry with this project as the owners of the property the Federal Capital Development Authority which should have been involved in the renovations has never been consulted for these activities and even the contractors are not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Madam Speaker is the 4th in line of succession of Africa’s most populous democracy needs to exude her status and the rigours of office have required the installation of a NGN 98 million body massager, though it is not clear if this was for her or some other representative.

Thieves are not honourable at all

The mind boggles as the hoodlums who stole the elections in April 2007 have found time to install a 9-person panel to investigate how the Speaker is living up the life of Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba combined and leaving them out in the cold to make bricks of straw for their huts.

Having no mandate, it is no surprise that the people who have no respect for democracy, no mandate from the people of Nigeria but having grabbed power by blatant daylight robbery now settled to debate on this matter as Barbarians and Philistines would do, they rained blows on each other on the floor of the House as the Speaker got hurried out of the House.

The House then went into closed session where murder might just be routine as thieves cannot be expected to have honour amongst themselves – at no time has the real desire for democracy where the elected are aware of their responsibilities to the electorate been so pertinent as in Nigeria today.

This is a shame, we have more problems in Nigeria than to have reported in the international news that dishonourable and disgraceful idiots who now represent Nigerians are intelligently attending to the matters of the nation by using their fists – even boxers have rules of engagement.

Shame!

Monday, 17 September 2007

O.J. Simpson stung by his own tail

Paying for your justice

The case against O.J. Simpson concerning the murder of his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her lover Ronald Goldman fell on the premise that the celebrated lawyer Jonnie L. Cochran introduced enough reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury for them to acquit him.

Regardless of what we might think and I do think he murdered those two people in cold blood, he had a really good lawyer and in America, if you really do have a good lawyer, you will get away with murder maybe not suicide – the irony.

In fact, he had a team of the some of the best legal minds in America, the race card issue was simply part of mix to show just what anyone can do in America if you have the resources.

The civil case brought on the same matter by the families of the victims required a lesser burden of proof and lead to a monetary sanction of $33.5 million of which he has paid little.

Having walked from what should have been by American standards a seating for electric shocks or a lie-in for lethal needles, the man has continually rubbed our noses in the dirt of having cheated the system so deftly.

Stung by his tail

I would not put it beyond complicity or a sting that O.J. Simpson being in jail to be charged for a number of felonies including assault and armed robbery was staged to take advantage of his susceptibility to irrational action and uncontrolled rage.

He has been well and truly nabbed; he would probably have the Judgement Book opened for his sake except where he decides to accede to a plea bargain, but he would do time.

Somehow, he was persuaded that a sports memorabilia dealer was about sell stuff that probably at one time belonged to him, rather than exact the use of the law and legal machinery to get his stuff, he raided the room of the dealer in what looked like a ham-fisted heist.

An audio recording of the altercation appears not to have landed in the hands of the police but can be found on TMZ.com, the online celebrity news rag given to yellow journalism.

Lock the door and smelt the key

O.J. Simpson faces up to 30 years in prison for lacking discernment, discipline, self-control and gross stupidity, if convicted of the charges which would stick because he probably cannot afford to raise Johnnie L. Cochran from the dead to fight this case.

There are many who would prefer that this publicity-seeking miscreant stopped walking our streets, along with the notoriety of his rotten book, it is time he was punished for something, even if it is not the crime many would wish he was going down for.

Like a scorpion, O.J. Simpson might just have been stung by his own tail, he definitely brought this one issue on himself and I bet the more he tries to dig himself out of this hole, it is would end up a deeper hole.

The only problem is there might never be case if there cannot be found in America an impartial jury to sit, it would be hard to find one person who has not be so irked by this cretin in America.

16 nights gone so soon

Passing for white in the sun

I could almost swear that when I arrived on holiday on the first of the month I was the only one with a tan a darker shade of brown, but hours before my return home today, there are many who were as white as snow when they arrived who could make me pass for a deeply tanned Caucasian.

Such is the way people come to these sunny climes for what is essentially a reptilian experience; crawl out of bed in the morning and congregate at the pool or beach worshipping the sun till it gets too hot and then they slither into the pool or water for a brief cooling down then return to bask in the sun till they are medium rare hash browns or bright red lobsters, the last part however, does not happen to crocodiles.

One thing missing from the work of the sun is that it does not burn off body-lard, the many relatives of Michelin man who exposed so much flesh to the sun and each once beautiful body over time succumbs to the abuse of food and the lack of exercise, people could be a bothersome eye sore.

I dread the thought of getting on my scales back home too, the food and wine has been sumptuous, I had better my cleaner to dump the scales in the bin before I return.

Get off the beach and explore

I have always found other things to do in Gran Canaria because it is quite an interesting island once one gets out of the overly touristy areas on the Southern Coast.

There is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria the capital to the North East where you find information leading to the discovery for Europe the continent of the Americas at the Museum House of Christopher Columbus, I also found the Museo Elder quite interesting which is a science museum.

The shop to go to is the El Corte Ingles department store which seems to have everything, I even got a hammock and suit from there once; it is bus 30 from Playa del Ingles.

Palmitos Park is a bird sanctuary which suffered some damage in the forest fires of mid 2007, I hear no animals suffered, but it would take some time to rebuild the place.

Puerto Rico to the West of Playa del Ingles and Puerto de Mogan are places to visit, at the first, we were persuaded to get on a catamaran for almost 3 hours as we ventured out 16 kilometres into open sea to see the schools Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, I almost lost my sea legs.

At Puerto de Mogan, you would be taken by the clarity of the water and did I get into a “Yellow Submarine” to view creatures in the depth of the sea hoping we did not have to call on the reserves of 3 days of oxygen, just in case we could not float again.

One can get to all these places by bus but make sure you travel part of the way by ferry which goes between Puerto de Mogan, through Puerto Rico to Arguineguín the nearest port to Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas.

The interior of the island is a wonder of windy roads through canyons on the Southern side and temperate green in the North, towns like Tejeda and Firgas reveal the traditional Gran Canarians, in fact, once we came upon a procession of floats drawn by super-salivating cows and bulls.

During one of our tours of the island in safari jeeps we got to highest approachable point by car and were able to seen Las Palmas through the clouds, we were basically above some of the lower laying clouds.

There is so much to do in Gran Canaria if we can abort the quest for getting cooked in readiness for long gone cannibals and in all, I have still not done the whole of the island in four visits.

Tired from not really retiring

The island however is full of many who have come to retire in the sun, opened shops, bars and other service operations only to find they are hardly in retirement as they eke out a living from carefree tourists.

I would return to Gran Canaria soon and I have learnt a few things as travel Comfort Class or better, means more leg-room and more baggage; stay at one of the Riu Hotels of 4-star class or better; do half-board, that is breakfast and dinner taken care of and sometimes the hotel entertainment is viewable.

There were many couples in my hotel, straight and gay, amazingly, quite a few young ones were there and I could not help but notice the two beautiful ladies where one was dressed the manly part and the other looking quite like a prom girl.

One last view of the sea from my room as I check-out and regrets that 16 nights are so soon gone.

The slideshow

The pictures of my holiday appear here, I would find some time to caption the whole lot.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Baling out trust

No man’s worthy word

Never has there been a situation where a bank and the whole financial infrastructure that supports the banking environment wanted to seek refuge and find strength in the credo “My Word is My Bond”. This is the motto of the London Stock Exchange which in Latin is “dictum meum pactum”.

It takes no rocket science of convoluted mathematical equations that govern the arcane and complex financial instruments popularly known as Collateralised Debt Obligations to realize that the man ingredient for any business transaction is integrity based on trust.

Trust is key

This may sound old-fashioned, but there is a need for trust in many undertakings of everyday life especially the old-time favourites as your priest, your doctor and your bank manager because they underpin a sense of guidance in life, quality of life and affordability in all eventualities; things that have subsumed into a compelling cynicism of humanity in recent times.

The credit crunch that is suffocating the financial markets like a large cloud of rolling mustard gas is a victim of the loss of trust, the fundamentals that allow banks to run through inter-bank lending mechanisms has seized up because banks cannot assuredly guarantee that the borrower banks are not overly exposed to the sub-prime mortgage frauds in the United States.

This becomes a problem when the borrower bank relies more of this borrowing facility than on savings it has accrued, such that in the case of Northern Rock the Bank of England instituted its first bale out since 1970.

Collapse of trust

This was supposed to signify that the Bank of England believes that the situation at Northern Rock is not as critical as to be irredeemable, in fact, it is confidence reposed in the bank and its business model that once this credit crunch is over the bank would be able to continue to continue business as usual.

Unfortunately, after the pensions mis-selling and other financial debacles where the governing bank, financial governance institutions or governments have been slow to guarantee or underwrite the risks that trusting citizens have had in their supposed protectors, people are no more willing to listen to assurances from the bank, the Bank of England or the government.

It is therefore no surprise that people have queued up at branches of Northern Rock to withdraw their nest eggs because if the bank does collapse the people would get nowhere near what they have put into the bank.

Vicious circle begins

There is too much of a track record to show that people have great cause for concern as they have shown with taking about GBP 1 billion out of the bank such that its value has fallen by a third which would eventually increase the need for the bank to draw on support from the Bank of England further diminishing confidence in the whole banking system, the makings of a vicious circle.

We have not heard the last of this matter because there is no doubt that more banks are exposed and as still using all sorts of financial subterfuge mechanisms to cover their exposure till it becomes untenable and the paps of the Bank of England are up for another suckling bank that has been engulfed by a global crisis that shows no sign of going away like a bad storm.

All because of the collapse of trust, the core ingredient for businesses to survive regardless of papers, contracts and assurances.

We need to return to these old-fashioned elements of integrity and good reputation because therein lies the redemption of this economic fallout – the quest for filthy lucre must not be above the need to maintain confidence and trust by doing things according to the rules, transparently and honestly.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

May Justice come for the killing of Yanire Izaga

Charged with Murder

The sad story of the death of Yanire Izaga continues as news comes that her highly successful insurance executive father, Alberto Izaga is being charged with her murder.

I wrote about this a few months ago when we heard the news that a two-year old girl who had inadvertently disturbed the Sunday morning lie-in of her parents was battered to pulp, it transpired that she died of head injuries two days later and her father got sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Now the charge of murder has been made and thankfully, it is not manslaughter because nothing on earth can excuse the kind of treatment that was meted out to a toddler who just was seeking love and attention as any child that has parents would do, the prerequisite of being loving parents should be a foregone conclusion.

The duty of parenthood

If the parents cannot love or the child happens to be an unfortunate result of an unintended impregnation (I cringe at this construction), the child should be put in the custody or other more caring members of the extended family or put up for adoption where many who suffer child-birth difficulties would cherish such a wonderful treasure.

In any case, there is a need for justice to requite this egregious abuse of innocent life as well as the need to make a serious example of this man who must not only regret all his life what he has done, the maximum extent of legal and judicious sanction must be visited upon him.

Alberto would most likely hire the best lawyers money can buy, but apart from mitigating statements to leniency in the strength of condemnation that would come from the bench, any lawyer that attempts the defence of diminished responsibility must have had their hearts heating the pools of fire and brimstone in the depths of the dark world.

No parent can diminish their responsibility of care to that of murdering their child, neither should the mental health institutions allow this to pass for some technicality that would allow murderers of children to return to our streets or sire children ever again.

A mother in murder

For now, I have no words for the mother who regardless of what kind of domestic relationship she might have had with her husband should have done well to shield her daughter from this unspeakable violence.

The law might not find her culpable, but if there is any Great Judgment to face in the future, this must feature very high on her charge sheet.

In the midst of other prevailing issues as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the Niagara Falls leaks from the Portuguese police who seem to be excelling at rank incompetence, the matter at hand should be centred around the child – justice for the death of Yanire and delivering Madeleine dead or alive so we can move on with lessons learnt from the strange evil world that our children now find they must inhabit.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

This Madeleine McCann thing

Disarray and confusion

I am sickened to the bone as the pendulum of events in Portimao, Portugal swings violently like that of a clock amidst the stormiest seas, if I was on a boat, I would be retching with vomit, my intestines gelatinised and ready to be expectorated.

No fervent prayer has been so silently uttered as the one that desires that the turn of events be a complete farce rather than reality.

Now, I really do not know what to think whilst I want to keep faith that Madeleine McCann was abducted on the 3rd of May whilst her parents were out eating though checking on the kids every 30 or so minutes.

Evidently, everyone who has been touched by the little girl’s disappearance would want this case resolved, we need some sort of closure and conclusion as to what really happened and what would eventually happen.

Fearful parental conspiracy

I am still beside myself in confusion as to how the parents as accused by the Portuguese police could have accidentally killed their daughter, hid her body, gone on this extraneous cover-up charade then 25 days later taken the body in a hired car to dispose of somewhere in Portugal.

The accidental death must have been too grotesque to countenance if they have had to go through such an elaborate worldwide campaign including an audience with the Pope surreptitiously for absolution.

If there be any truth, even one iota, my faith in humanity and humankind would be seriously compromised and we would have moved up another notch in the cynicism that would make us even more inured to occurrences as this.

There are competing interests in this matter, the parents either sincerely want to find Madeleine if she indeed was abducted or they are a conniving, criminal, devious couple trying to conceal a gross misdeed, we need a Poirot, Colombo and Miss Marple to fish out the clues ever so desperately.

A police policed

The police are under the most intense scrutiny from a global audience who want to know what has been done to resolve this case conclusively. Each country like Portugal have their ways of crime resolution which works well within the confines of the country, but when exposed to external review some methods and processes would have to be adapted accordingly, the Portuguese lawmakers should be thinking up a few reforms.

One cannot say that the Portuguese police have acquitted themselves with any distinction on this case, the handling of the crime scene, the chain of custody of evidence, the management of information and the silence that feeds more speculation sometimes makes it appear they have lost the plot from the onset.

Their reputation is at stake if they have any left and every redeeming measure is at play to close this case including the plea-bargain they offered to Kate McCann to confess to killing her daughter accidentally and receive 2 years incarceration.

This would evidently put the case away though the matter of where the body was disposed of would be the next issue. It would be the height of sacrilegious irresponsibility for the parents to have killed their child and then bury the body in some non-descript foreign place, I cannot join the dots on this matter yet.

The parents however might vicariously offer themselves to any sanction for leaving their children unsupervised, but if Madeleine was abducted, they cannot yield to this convenient sacrifice.

Convenient in that the police have to do nothing more but the parents would have snuffed out any hope of seeing Madeleine again, if she is still alive.

Bad news resorts

Then the resorts in Portugal that offer family-friendly holidays have a stigma that has tourists thinking twice about taking their families there is an abductor is on the prowl. This event is seriously bad news and bad business such that everything would be done to make it go away.

No holiday resort, country or people would like to be tarred with the sobriquet of Kid-napper country and so the boos and jeers when they arrived at the police station because the wrong kind of spotlight on their region is definitely going to affected livelihoods adversely, resorts want publicity that highlights safety, security and comfort, this event does the complete opposite.

Wherefore?

Was Madeleine abducted and by whom?

Was Madeleine killed by her parents?

Is Madeleine still alive if she was abducted?

Do the police have any clues at all?

Questions are many and answers are few.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Announcing the non-event Rugby World Cup

Popular support for games

The Cricket World Cup 2007 in the Caribbean would be fondly remembered for the death of Bob Wolmer, the coach of Pakistan as the country was on the verge of being tossed out of the competition in the group stages.

Currently the US Open is hitting the news waves as the dominance of Roger Federer is so complete that his dropping a game is major sport copy, the excitement in tennis is really now amongst the women.

The World Cup and Olympic games has everyone in a complete frenzy, we enjoyed Germany 2006 and Athens 2004, even I went to France 1998 to watch Nigeria v. Bulgaria who we thrashed 1 – 0, well, thrashing is a strong world.

Apparently, the Rugby World Cup starts in France today and it is about to become a non-event such that in desperation to garner headlines the Rugby ruling body decided to limit the number of pictures that could be posted on the websites of news and photo agencies.

The agencies then decided to boycott pre-competition events of the day before the games, now we all know that the Rugby World Cup is on and hopefully, this impasse would be resolved. We can expect England to relinquish the trophy early for all sorts of reasons, we do not have a record of successfully defending titles.

Meanwhile, I need to check out my back catalogue of Miss Marple, Poirot and Murder, She Wrote – there is more excitement in detective drama than scrums and mud.

The unacceptable cult of death

Celebrating pre-teen death is abominable

I cannot abide it anymore, what were children doing in a church afternoon yesterday when they should have been in school going about building a life on sound education?

It is becoming the norm and I fervently pray it is not; we have begun to celebrate lives of children, children cut down on the crest of puberty by seemingly other children who have moved on from water pistols and video games to real guns.

It is both an anomaly and abomination that we have a society where the killing of children has not created the utmost outrage that every right thinking person should find it untenable that this unspeakable evil finds place amongst us.

I am most affected by this in that if I did follow the parallel universe of parenthood, many of these kids would have my kids as older siblings; you do not have to be a parent to empathise because the death of those younger than ourselves exposes a vulnerability that we all possess, the possibility of death by unintended means.

A developing cult of death

It is a further damnation of our society that such crimes take place and no one can come forward with information to rid our societies of the cancer that is becoming violently malignant.

Instead, we find succour in tributes paid to the dead, the celebration of lives cut short unnaturally, flowers laid at pathways, fields, doors and gateways, candles lit to burn up in hours and soppy lullabies that give us the pretence and ill-comfort that all would be well.

It is becoming an accepted rite of demise, the cult of death awash with emotions difficult to articulate, we now spontaneously clap for the dead as we desperately try to eke out minuscule joy from such palpable sadness.

Is there value in life?

I cannot find stronger words to castigate the societal comfort that allows parents to bury their children who have come upon death by what is essentially a social malaise that politicians are completely hapless in addressing, the police are lacking intuition in getting a resolution and the streets are paralysed with irrational fear when they should be performing their honourable and civic duties of reporting what they have witnessed.

How is it that the value of life is so deprecated to that of shoot-em-up games only that this time the person shot does not get up and walk away?

How is it that the murder of a fellow human-being does not excite the most self-hating revulsion and guilt in the perpetrators?

Speak up or be damned

In the end, I have a word for those who having witnessed these heinous allow the perpetrators to walk free to commit even more heinous crimes.

The likelihood is these perpetrators were bullies in school halls and playgrounds, but no one told on them because they did not want to “snitch” and become outcasts amongst their peers. There is no honour amongst thieves, there is no dignity in condoning injustices, there is no pride in the silence that allows impunity to thrive and there is no respect for life if unwarranted cruelty is unreported.

These selfsame perpetrators continually get away with bullying, first with their brutishness and as they mature they take on other tools to menace others, baseball bats, knives and contemporaneously guns, they have probably put others in hospital and boasted about their menace to other despicable low-lives.

Whilst the law may not be able to prove the culpability or the reluctant conspiracy of the witnesses who have willingly given their tongues to the gross evil of silence, there must be a conscience in all of us at work that should and must link us with further crimes committed by these evil people – children they might be – because when the seedlings of malevolence were budding as bullying and menace we did not do our parts by intimating the authorities then.

Speak NOW!

Even now, all is not lost in getting information out to a counsellor, the police, a community leader, your parents, trusted friends or even the police, no matter how long ago, it is our duty to speak up and rid our streets of villains that blacken our paths with the blood of the innocent, most especially, if you have been a victim of bodily harm from any of these rotten people.

I think we should have enough of flowers being placed at memorials when they should be presented as bouquets of affection to loved ones, I do not want to switch my television on to witness another group of pre-teens burying their friend who was gunned down on the street and yet, the killer is still at large. It beggars belief that what is becoming of our society.

Speaking as the Book

One final supplication would be that the killers of Rhys Jones would not find peace, succour or refuge, but like Cain, the first recorded murderer, they shall be fugitives in life and vagabonds all their days; their lives would be marked with sadness deeper than that which they have caused till the blood of the innocent child is fully avenged.

Believe it or not, the blood of the innocent still cries out from the ground against those who have unjustly shed blood and those who have allowed this to happen also have blood on their hands.