Saturday, 30 November 2013

Nigeria: How Humanity Lost Oshiomhole and Gained a Widow


The global theatre of local events
The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, a one-time trader unionist took the opportunity to visit the streets of his entire to chase away street traders as per the law of the land. [Wikipedia]
One encounter became the theatre of a video recording where a widow in flailing and very pitiable supplication appealed to the humanity and consideration of the governor, but he ignored her. [Sahara Reporters - YouTube]
Just so cruel
To compound her humiliation and denigration with the knowledge of her somewhat dire or desperate circumstances, the governor in full strut of princely omnipotence flippantly told her to, “Go and die”, as her wares were grabbed by the egregious thuggery of the law enforcement agents that accompanied the governor.
We can all appreciate that the Edo State Government wants to rid the streets of hawkers, and they have identified that they are an accident risk, but in a case of giving the dog a bad name to justify harming it; stret hawkers have been maligned as thieves, vermin and obstructions to the free flow of traffic. [Edo State Government]
What the government has not identified in their assailing on the underprivileged who subsist on chance encounter of custom for their livelihood is alternative, affordable, safe and subsidised hawking areas or premises they can move these people into, if they really want to address a menace. [Edo State Government]
Cart before the horse
In 2009, these street traders were given a two-day ultimatum to clear off the streets as if there would be no social consequence for legitimising destitution in the name of beautifying and cleaning up the main city centres.
One can posit that the real menace of theft, obstruction and crime will increase if people do not have the means to earn a livelihood in the absence of jobs, have affordable places to trade, have the absence of welfare support or have no new or sponsored means of alternative engagement of their skills and idle labour.
It beggars belief that a man who cut his teeth on labour and trade unionist activity will now be the nemesis of the underprivileged, and that is a great shame.
The act of street trading is a crime that should be stopped. According to section 53(1c) of the State Environment Waste Management Board regulation of 2006, any individual who sets up a stall or a trading spot in an unauthorized area has committed an offence which is punishable in the court of law and for those street traders who specialize in the sales of audio and visual compact discs, who blare their music as a way of advertising their goods, section 51(1) states that no equipment or facility capable of producing noise above 85 decibels should be used by any individual for more than four hours a day, this makes them also liable to the law. [Edo State Government]
Breaking laws through law enforcement
Now, if street trading has been criminalised and such persons have been identified as committing an offence, the law requires that the offender be punished in a court of law.
It is understood that the Governor as the chief law officer of the state should be seen to uphold the law, but nothing in that video demonstrates that he was doing anything of the sort.
The widow had her goods confiscated and the Governor could be heard saying she should not be taken away; by inference the widow was not going to be charged to court.
Now, as the Executive Governor, it is possible that the governor had arrogated to himself the powers of a court and in that encounter constituted a kangaroo court to be the judge and the jury of the woman. Thereby exercising the power to proscribe, to excoriate and to punish, but that would add the licence of egregious impunity to the immunity from prosecution the governor already enjoys as a constitutional right when in office.
One engagement did suggest in our discussion on Twitter that the widow was deploying the fallacy of argumentum ad misericordiam, the appeal to pity, but if this issue did end up in court, the mitigation pleas to the judge will deploy this fallacy to temper justice with mercy.
Regret is not apology
We should be human beings first before we find the weak to sacrifice on the altar of proving potency and ability to rule with an iron fist.
Adams Oshiomhole, by design and for the opportunity went on a public law enforcement raid of the street traders to make an example of someone, but providence and circumstance of the person of a widow, her pleadings, his intemperance, the recording and the viral reach of the event as he stood as unconstitutional judge seems to have backfired.
He has expressed regret at his choice of words, but that does not constitute an apology to the woman he treated with the most reprehensible disdain. Even criminals, but in this case, until charged, she was still a suspect, have rights and the least that can be expected of a person in authority like the governor is to treat any Nigerian citizen, no matter how lowly with respect, dignity and courtesy – that is just basic humanity. [DailyPost]
How revolutions are triggered
Many viewers of that video were touched by the plight of the widow and were utterly repulsed by the lack of comportment of the governor that she might well be helped by funds being raised for her cause – there is no saying that she might become a figurehead against the egregious abuse of power and privilege of the Nigerian ruling class. [Nigerian Tribune]
The Arab Spring was set off by the mistreatment of Mohammed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, the list of injustices in Nigeria is piling up, and no one can tell which of the many documented flagrant abuses would become the catalyst for a national insurrection that could usher in a Bastille moment in Nigeria. [Wikipedia] [Wikipedia]
Consider the human consequences of making bad laws
Yes, the law must be upheld, but when it affects people, enacting laws and enforcing them without consideration for the social consequences of the law is at first atrocious and then heartlessly lacking in vision, foresight, compassion or humanity.
On the balance of what appeals to our humanity as opposed to the atmospherics of environmental comfort and conduciveness, I am with the widow for an apology, adequate redress, prompt restitution and effective rehabilitation. Then for a broader plan to help alleviate the sufferings of street hawkers by offering them affordable, safe and accessible places to ply their trade.


Friday, 29 November 2013

In precis

A capture
Quite an eventful week it was as a visit to the bureaucracy where the fortnightly visit is not set for a weekly return in the month of December.
Then helping out in returning a malfunctioning phone posing as a better speaker of English for a relation who needed to exchange the phone lest the shop became uncooperative.
We were successful to getting the exchange and a better deal that everyone was regaled with tales of my supposed performance.
Then for the next three days, I had interviews scheduled, the first that was difficult with the last two that went really well but one now has to wait for a response, hopefully not for too long and a favourable one too.

Not much of a blog but a journal for the record.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Agemo Traditions of Ijebuland - A Primer




Ìjà Olóko dancing in full Agẹmọ masquerade costume



Ìjà Olóko in full Agẹmọ masquerade costume

Agemo: Odun-Odo/ Akogun Festival But from Abeokuta from femster on Vimeo.


A lot to be said
“Ọmọ alágẹmọ mẹ́rìndínlógún Ọ̀rọ́pọ̀ o” [Son of the sixteen Agemo masquerades, there is much to be said; though Ọ̀rọ́pọ̀ in that context was the name of someone being praised in song.]
Many a Yoruba speaker who has listened to the classics of Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey will remember this line from one of his albums in the early 1970s.
The Jùjú musicians of that age along with praise singing included gems of Yoruba history and the intricacies of tradition from which the attentive can glean some very useful information.
In this case, the musician was singing the praises of an Ijebu indigene and referring to the Agẹmọ masquerades, fetishes and grottos of Ijebuland, which is in the middle of the Yoruba kingdom with the Egbas of Abeokuta in the north and the Lagos to the south.
Getting to the crux of the matter
Playing host to the Ìjà Olóko of Ìjẹ̀bú-Imọsàn, the traditional ruler, Oba Tajudeen Adekunle Muili - one of the most revered and respected of the Agẹmọ priests and dancers known in Yorubaland. He honoured me with answering a few questions of what can be revealed of the Agẹmọ traditions, cult and practices.
As the story of the Yoruba is made up of historical fact, myth, legend and fable, he said the Agẹmọ are the Òrìà brought from Wadai, purported to be the place from where the Ijebu’s migrated to present-day Ijebuland in the company of Bílíkísù Súngbọn (The Queen of Sheba). [More on Bílíkísù Súngbọn.]
Bílíkísù Súngbọn was barren but on her return journey, five important Agẹmọ figures said she would have a child if she takes them to the setting of the sun (Iwọ̀ Òòrùn). The Ìjẹ̀bú apparently set down where the sun went down.
Knowing the Agẹmọ
The five Agẹmọ figures included Ìjà, Nọ́pà, Olúmọ̀rọ̀ and the Ògbinkòjohùn of Òké ẹrì amongst others of the entourage where they warred in Ilé Ifẹ̀ and won before Bílíkísù Súngbọn settled and eventually died at Òké ẹrì.
Ìjà had a son who follows the Agẹmọ tradition in Ilé Ifẹ̀ named Olúyarè, much of this makes for the much to be said and told of the Agẹmọ cult, the unveiling of which must never been seen of the womenfolk.
The Ijebu led by the Ajẹbú and the Olóde predates the Agẹmọ, but for the Ìjẹ̀bú to eat the new yams of the harvest each year, they must first celebrate the Agẹmọ festival.
The Awujale depends on the Agẹmọ for counsel and for divination, the Ìjà, a hunter, is the most powerful of the Agẹmọ cult and he was first at Ìdẹ́wòn before he travelled to Ìmòwé and then to Imọsàn where he first sighted the Agẹmọ grotto.
On sighting the Agẹmọ grotto, the Awujale of Ìjẹ̀bú Òde sent the Ogí Aláwọ Ọba there and the Olújàgbórí was installed as the high priest of Agẹmọ.
More on the Agẹmọ
The Agẹmọ masquerades of Ijebuland
Àwọn alágẹmọ mẹ́rìndínlógún ti Ìjẹ̀bú oníjó – The sixteen prominent Agẹmọ masquerades of Ijebuland who have priestly duties along with dancing at the festivals. There are more than sixteen but these are the main personalities of the Agẹmọ cult.
Tàmì láti (from) Òdoógbolú
Olúmọ̀rọ̀ olórí (traditional ruler) Ìmọ̀rọ̀
eréfùsì láti (from) Ìgbílẹ̀
Pòósà láti (from) Imọsàn
Olúmokò láti (from) Ọkùn Ọwá
Alófèé láti (from) Ìjẹ̀
à Ìjẹ̀bú
Ònúgbó láti (from) Òkénugbò
Ìjà Olóko Ògún olórí (traditional ruler) Imọsàn
ẹ̀n Àjágà L'órù láti (from) Orù
Màgòdò láti (from) Aiyépé
Lúbamísan láti (from) Àgọ́ Ìwòyè
Petu láti (from) Ì
íwọ̀
Ògegbó láti (from) Ìbọ̀nwọ̀n
Ìdẹ́bì láti (from) Àgọ́ Ìwòyè
Nọ́pà láti (from) Imushin
Àwọn alágẹmọ aláìjo - Agẹmọ priests who do not dance but handle rituals.
Olújàgbórí láti Imọsàn - High Priest of Agẹmọ
Adùẹ láti Àgọ́ Ìwòyè
Ogí Aláwọ Ọba láti Ìdogì ní Ìjẹ̀bú Òde


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

One to match the 199 blogs written in 2012

Just made it
As July 2013 closed, I realised with the rate I was putting out blogs there was no way I could match the number of blogs I had written the previous year.
2007 was my most prolific year when I knocked out 400 blogs after which my output has declined until it fell to a mere 199 blogs in 2012.
On August 1, I decided to publish, as many blogs are there are days in the month, something I have successfully done to match my output to 2012 with this my 199th blog of 2013.
The sense of accomplishment of completing in 3 months what I had not done for the first 7 months of the year was exhilarating.
I doubt I will match the 298 of 2011 but for the 10th year of blogging, I might just get into the top 4 if I redouble my efforts with interesting views and trivia as the year comes to a close.


Thought Picnic: Encounters in telephony for access

Nebulous enquiry
Attending interviews are almost a stress elevating activity that one wonders how to scale that hurdle in a market where the employer has choices.
As it transpired, from the interviews slots on offer, the first was selected and the round of questions began with as vague as possible enquiries about experience that answering questions were difficult.
Much as interviewers are already in the system, the need to school them in proper interview technique might be missed and in the process what might appear as an excellent performance on telephone might not be a demonstration of the wealth of experience.
Whilst the CV is quite clear on the particular skills on sale, the questions seem to ignore that context though it has been reviewed before a shortlist elects to engage you in discussion.
Breaching the gate
The sometimes insurmountable are questions that derive from everyday practical experience of the interviewer, which may never have been encountered by the interviewee. Some solutions are never needed until one is met with a problem demanding that solution amongst many.
Nothing can simulate enough the demands of some of these questions and the lack of use depreciates in the memory, to fleeting, unsure and seemingly badly delivered answers belying a sense of lacking in confidence.
One cannot afford to be fearful, at the same time one just needs the chance beyond the gate to prove that one is much beyond the conversation had before.
The question is, how do you breach that to allow a greater conviction of who and what you are?


Monday, 25 November 2013

Thought Picnic: Live Your Life And Avoid Deathbed Regrets


Tackling regret before it sets
This morning as I was going through my feeds and other traffic on my Social Media world, and I happened upon this article that I was quite persuaded to share.
Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed. Reading through I could not help but realise that I was once quite vulnerable and close to death but almost in too much pain to have regrets, I just needed something to deaden the pain and some other thing to keep the food down. [KarenStan]
Second chances
Beyond that experience was the hope that I will survive my ordeal, and as soon as I did, I found myself revisiting places I had been to before just to prove to myself that I had recovered, even though my life had radically changed.
I am grateful that I have done things I have never thought possible before my life-threatening experience and with this new lease of life that I have, it is important that one handles the issues listed well before they become the pointers of regret without any more time to fulfil them.
Live your life
Recently, I believe my writing has been more personal, honest and deep; it is important as I sometimes tell one of my closest friends that we begin to live our own lives by coming out of the shadows and wholeheartedly applying ourselves to the pursuit of goodness, happiness, well-being and fulfilment.
There are parts of our lives and personalities we have held back in conformity and adaptation to the environments and communities we belong to that the full expression of who we are is stifled for convenience, probably fear or even shame.
We live our lives so different from who we really are, so as to be accepted by people who expect us to be what we are not. Constantly fending off pressures and interferences with tact and dissimulation bordering on lies when we must be true to ourselves whether we be accepted and loved or not, because the deathbed regrets will always be personal, never communal.
Beyond the wishes
Therefore, I ask you to review the list and the article, take yourself from the wishing to the doing and then to the accomplishment. Whilst we are able, strong, healthy and have the means, there is much to be done until nothing else can be done. Have the courage of your convictions and refuse to be a victim of the circumstances you find yourself in.
If the last expression is happy and the end seems fulfilled with a smile of satisfaction of a life well lived, we would have ushered ourselves away from our mortal coils with a sense of achievement and a story well told after we are gone.
1. I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I did not work so hard.
3. I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Always have this in mind - You’re free, to do what you want to do
Ultra Naté – Free (1997)
- o - 0 - o -
Where did we go wrong
Where did we lose our faith
My brother is in need
But can he depend on me?

Do you think if one of you tried
Maybe you could find
A better friend than any other?

If you gave more than you took
Life could be so good
Come on and try, now's the time

'Cause you're free
To do what you want to do
You've got to live your life
Do what you want to do

Do what you want
Do what you want to do

Are we all strangers?
Does anyone really care?
Deep down we're all the same
Trying to hide our pain

You think you can never trust another
'Cause they're all out to get ya
We have to live in this world together

If we open up our hearts
Love can finally start
Come on and try, now's the time

'Cause you're free
To do what you want to do
You've got to live your life
Do what you want to do

Bridge when you're down and you're feeling bad
Everybody has left you sad
Feels like no one will pull you through
It's your life, whatcha gonna do?

Make that change, let's start today
Get outta bed, get on your way
Don't be scared, your dream's right there
You want it, reach for it

'Cause you're free
To do what you want to do
You've got to live your life
Do what you want to do

Do what you want
Do what you want to do

Courtesy MetroLyrics
Songwriters
Ultra Naté, Lem Springsteen, John Ciafone
Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Royalty Network, Foreign Imported Productions & Publishing, Curb Music/Curb Records/Mike Curb Music/Curb Songs, Peermusic Publishing, EMI Music Publishing

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Thought Picnic: Therapy into the recesses of a turbulent past

Reading me from my words
Another day of therapy yesterday centred on my writing, well my blogs, and the way the views I share are reflective of the kind of person I am, what I feel and what drives me.
Even I have found that my blog almost works like a journal, in some cases; it is a diary of thoughts, events and ideas expressed in different guises of the personal, the vicarious or the abstract.
Whilst what I write could be read as stories, much of what is written derives from experience and observation, yet I have to check myself and consider, I am not really that interesting.
A range of conflicting emotions
However, since we last met, I had written about resentment, vulnerability, bereavement, justice, participation and reconciliation.
Much as I was concerned that some answers to her questions appeared like rambling tangential responses, she assured me of the relevance of my words whilst saying she will moderate as she finds necessary if I was in danger of digressing from the topic at hand.
Beyond the veil to the past
Yet, we touched on my childhood, the home-house dichotomy of comfort and trepidation, the demonstrations of love, expressed in discipline rather than affection by my parents and the attendant growing-up problems that found no expression towards confidant or friends.
Then it occurred to me that those who really could have taken the place of confidant were those who became symbolic of the terrors and horrors of abuse and misuse; there was no one to turn to expect to oneself, within that, I was caught in the battles of comparison and criticism.
Many a Nigerian child knows that the survival within the family setting is a function of achievement and conformity driven by fearful comparison to others and the excoriating criticism of who you are. You adjusted and adapted to limit those barometers of parental engagement along with the physical abuse and brutalisation that passed for discipline.
And beyond experience?
That was the custom and culture, we being products of these having either learnt enough to stop the vicious cycle or having been subsumed, thereby, ending up perpetrating the same unto those after us.
Then, when someone shared the tribute to my uncle with a tweet written thus: - Akin Akintayo: A great man, we’ve lost, I found myself reading of my inadvertent demise or a reference to it.

To which I had to respond, that the rumours of my passing are grossly exaggerated. I am alive and well with probably another 50 years to live. I am loved.
We meet again for therapy in three weeks to talk more about what I write and how that reflects my mood, my angst, my hopes and the story that is becoming the tale of my life.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Europe: HIV Testing Week - Get Tested

Some important links
The First European HIV Testing Week – 22nd of November – 29th of November, 2013.
Why test – European HIV Testing Week
Management of HIV/AIDS – Wikipedia
We love sex
There are some facts we need to get out of the way from the onset.
We are sexual beings; we are programmed to desire and find some satisfaction with sex.
Whether sex leads to procreation or is used for pleasure, practiced in search of a thrill or done to fulfil fantasies, sex or the lack of it defines a quadrant of our lives.
We have as human beings adopted higher moral and social values concerning sex to first establish consent, per adventure, maybe even a relationship regardless of the pairing of genders to express ourselves sexually.
Our weaknesses
Much as we strive to maintain norms, we have foibles or weaknesses driven by sexual appetite, some that we curtail, and others to which we yield.
We love or we lust, we are faithful or we cheat, we abstain, or we indulge; it is very easy to find aversion to sex or the fondness for sex defining what we believe and do.
That is why sexual health is of the paramount importance regardless of how we find or ignore sexual expression.
It is for that reason that we have the first European HIV Testing Week from the 22nd of November until the 29th of November.
The world is wild our there
For whether we trust ourselves or lay that responsibility on others, we know where we have been imperfect and inadvertently taken risks in search of many things including thrills.
Unsafe sex giving more feeling and heightened excitement, that chance encounter in a nondescript place with a stranger, being on the down-low because low down it is just so good.
The other day, your prudish reserve got a swerve, your saintly halo gave way to regret, guilt and remorse, you swore and vowed, yet found yourself still where you thought you had forsaken.
Inhibitions that lost their moorings in a moment of crazy and wanton abandon, decidedly or involuntarily.
Maybe none of this resonates but if you do have sex and you can only vouch for what you do, your trust in others is no defence for exposure you open yourself to when you find a willing partner.
Test to know
Testing brings many benefits, knowledge of what your status is with the peace of mind that comes with being told you are fine or the early detection allowing for prompt intervention and favourable outcomes for your health and wellbeing. (Avert.org)
Having HIV is no more the death sentence it once was if it is put under management with medical expertise and antiretrovirals (ARVs). The medicines are efficacious and potent, this matter is not one to procrastinate such that the virus ravages the body to the point that complications result in AIDS as the body yields to opportunistic infections bringing the threat of death.
Get your test done, now
All this avoidable with knowledge garnered from testing and using the free services for diagnosis, treatment, medication, therapy and support networks.
The at-risk groups identified in need of urgent action are men who have sex with men (MSM), migrant populations and ethnic minorities.
Living in Europe we cannot afford to be ignorant of what the options are for controlling and managing the HIV epidemic starting with ourselves, and that is why you should schedule a test today.
Thank you.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

To hear the voice of motherhood

Feelings of utter discomfiture
Caught between the vagaries of life and unhealthy resentment, I watched this day approach with some foreboding and trepidation.
It felt like that uncomfortable feeling that greeted my emotions as I returned home from any outing, the long walk to the end of the street that represented the house that did not feel like home.
The building was comfortable, my room self-contained and private, but the atmosphere laid heavy like a cloud of despair, I rarely felt happy returning there.
Just over 28 years ago, that place became a closed chapter, a place I only visited because I had a duty to, but I avoided because I did not need to return for anything.
Reflect and review
Therefore, as my mother’s 71st birthday approached, I found myself writing, Thought Picnic: To wilfully forget a parent's birthday – it was something I had the capacity to do and I had worked myself up for it – I could be that detached.
However, when I looked on Facebook to see a picture of my mother and a celebratory message from my sister, and the night before chatted to my sister-in-law about my misgivings, it became something I had to face, I must do the needful.
The first call did not get through, but a few hours after, I got through, and she was quite pleased to hear my voice just as I was to hear hers.
Soothed by motherliness
All the knottiness and tension dissolved and the soothing and comforting voice of motherhood in a mood of celebration and happiness became the balm to aches and pains of pent up uneasiness and angst.
We talked for longer than we usually do; mostly in English as we always did, exchanging pleasantries and making each other laugh with incredulity at the things we say and recollect of times past.
Then I wondered why things just soured, it is because there are still many things I have not shared for her to understand some of the tough journeys I have been through.
The little I shared brought prayerful encouragement and empathy. For all our differences and conflicts, she is quite capable of deep understanding and appreciation to show affection and compassion.
Of why and where
Why do we end up in conflict with our parents?
Where is the balance between the familiarity and the distance to make relationships work?
This is difficult to gauge, but it is something we on both sides have to work on, for to cherish and honour for as long as we have them and to forestall the deeper wounds of regret if we do not strive to make amends and make things right.
Even I realise how parent-child dissonance can reflect spiritual apoplexy meaning a lack of fulfilment in many areas of significance to a person’s sense of wellbeing.
I am glad I had the opportunity to reconnect, and I hope I can make more of this as time goes by.


Nigeria: #PayKeshi - A minister incapable of shouldering responsibility

Goaded by embarrassment
Nothing gets the Nigerian government of Goodluck Jonathan as agitated to be vituperative in overwhelming defence of their policies than a public embarrassment.
We must agree as they have severally demonstrated; they have no capacity for shame, but embarrassment shines a light into the nooks and crannies of the failings of the system that they close ranks sending out spokespersons to the media and Twitter/Facebook minions onto social media to stem the tide of criticism.
Yesterday, the calumny descended to a new low, quite shamefully contemptible that it left many seething with rage.
A man of distinction humiliated
Stephen Keshi, 51, as the manager of the Nigerian national football team since 2011 has won the Africa Cup of Nations in February 2013 and has successful added Nigeria to the contingent going to the Brazil FIFA World Cup in 2014. [Wikipedia] [Wikipedia]
Despite his successes as a homegrown coach, as at July 2013, he was owed five months’ salary and out of desperation in October he lamented that he was owed seven months’ salary. Some of this has now been paid. [BBC] [Vanguard Nigeria]
These were his words, in October, “The lowest point of my career is working and not being paid for seven to eight months. I have never had this kind of experience before.” [Vanguard Nigeria]
He earlier stressed the point with, “I am not being favoured. Whatever I am doing here, I am doing it with everything I have and I need to be respected and be paid.” [Vanguard Nigeria]
Stephen Keshi was then reacting to comments attributed to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF formerly the Nigeria Football Association NFA) that allowances and bonuses paid to coaching staff should be enough to sustain them. [Vanguard Nigeria]
A manner of calumny and atrocity
This appeared to embarrass the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, who yesterday upbraided Stephen Keshi for going public with this seriously untenable situation, some quotes from the news story are replicated verbatim below, courtesy of the Vanguard Nigeria newspaper. [Vanguard Nigeria]
If NFA is having problems paying Keshi’s salary, it means that the system has a problem and that system has to be addressed.”
When you get a job you do it and you don’t go about embarrassing your employers because your salary is delayed.”
Surely Keshi was right to talk
Nobody is saying the NFA/NFF does not have problems, however, if a performing and successful member of staff to whom the organisation has responsibilities and contractual obligations is not paid for up to 8 months that it becomes a demoralising and destabilising burden that could affect their productivity, there is cause for concern.
It is evident that from Stephen Keshi’s words that he was affected, despite that, he has fulfilled his contractual obligations without quibble, but with dedication and unrivalled patriotism worthy of the highest commendation.
And as the Sport Minister noted, if the NFA/NFF was having problems, it could report up the chain for intervention and resolution, it beggars belief that the NFF/NFA allowed the situation to deteriorate to the point that the coach had no other choice but to vent his spleen – 7 to 8 months with pay is just unspeakable.
A matter of assuming responsibility
This atrocity happened under the watch of the Minister of Sports. He had the choice of expediting the payment of all arrears along with an apology to all the staff owed their emoluments or in this case, for the embarrassment indicated by the failings of the NFA/NFF; he decided to make a villain of Stephen Keshi, a victim of the failed system in his ministry.
That is just shameful and lacking in sensitivity, though it is redolent of a culture of impunity amongst employers in Nigeria who get away with not paying salary on time, if at all with them demanding as in the words of the minister – “you get a job you do it and you don’t go about embarrassing your employers.”
I would say, the employer can avoid the embarrassment and shame by just paying the salaries.
That bill is essential
In conversations I participated in on Twitter, the matter of a third party owing the NFA/NFF sponsorship moneys was brought up. However, this is completely beside the point, a desperately unconscionable way to pass off blame and share the responsibility for what is essentially bureaucracy incompetence, lethargy, the lack of sensitivity and the lack of respect for the hardworking personnel who have brought plaudits and glory to Nigerian sport. [KickOff.com]
If the Workman (Unpaid Wages Prohibition) Bill had been passed through the legislative process to become law, the matter would have been cut-and-dried on the issue of responsibility. [Information Nigeria]
Somebody in the Sports Ministry hierarchy would have borne ultimate responsibility for the contracts and the payment of salaries to staff.
The organisation in the law would have faced a surcharge of up to 30% of two months’ wages for delaying salaries more than 30 days to a maximum of 60 days.
Any salary delays beyond 60 days will attract a 30% compensatory surcharge with the possibility of the employer serving a month in prison.
For Nigerian employees need it
The Minister clearly identified an employer – employee relationship between the coach and the NFA/NFF, a designated person will carry the sanction if imposed by the courts where the contractual obligations of prompt and full salary payments are left wanting.
It goes without saying that Nigeria is desperately in need of this punitive measure and law that protects the rights of employees whilst giving them the means to seek redress through an expedited legal process that provides specific legal guidance as to what is due, fair and just.
The NFA/NFF under the threat of sanction would have done everything possible to meet their obligations and the minister would have had no justification whatsoever to excoriate Stephen Keshi for speaking out for his right to be paid on time, in full, with due respect, courtesy and dignity becoming of an exemplary and hardworking Nigerian of repute and accomplishment.
A real man shares blame and glory
The Sports Minister has the gall to step forward to share in the laurels and the glory of sporting successes of Nigerians who still excel in spite of and despite the incompetence and negligence of the rotten bureaucracy, he heads. Where that system fails, he should unashamedly shoulder the responsibility for the lapses and the atrocities without looking to pass off blame to others.
His statement about Stephen Keshi was at best regrettable much as it was the display of utterly reprehensible conduct.
The humility of accepting blame
Those who have found ways to agree with the minister must for once find the humility in and magnanimous heart to sensitively take full responsibility and sue for justice rather than shirk and dissemble with sophistry.
Beyond this, Stephen Keshi becomes a poster boy for the many millions of Nigerians who have suffered the indignities of slave labour extracted on the forlorn hope of salaries that will never materialise.
I hope the legislature now sees why the passage of the Workman (Unpaid Wages Prohibition) Bill is of the utmost urgency with the case of Stephen Keshi putting a human face to unacceptable business practices in Nigeria.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

In form for more forms

Back to form of forms
Gathered strangers of situation and circumstances from all walks of life seeking new relevance in the world of work.
Under the tutelage of some who for reason and opportunity find a calling in what they do as opposed to what they could do if they cared little.
Yet, they are all caught in the maelstrom and spectrum of ability that ranges from the talentless in other departments to the talented in company, the impartations sometimes useful or sometimes useless.
Tumbled by slumber
Forms ruled the day as time fillers and occupational activity, but one whose slumber interrupted his ability to keep pace was sent to his bed with much agitation, his bad luck, a result of his not being able to keep his eyes open.
Maybe he should have declared Human African trypanosomiasis as a condition, but he did not look African, probably he was a somnambulist and the course leader might have been a bit lenient, but the class being held back meant progress was too slow to retain any patience.
There is no shame is saying you have sleeping disorder, there are therapies and help available to those who recognise their frailties, but that is by the by.
Interesting insights
The discussions, lively, funny and humorous, the time passed with periods of boredom helped along with engagement and banter, sometimes skirting the risqué but never offensive – friendships can grow from this.
Why do you want this job?
What skills do you possess that makes you the right person for this job?
Apparently, those two questions are essentially the same question phrased differently and can be asked at different ends of the interview with the interviewer expecting similar rather than different answers.
In closing
However, one should hope that interviewers are not rigidly schooled in particular expectations without the flexibility to assess the total person beyond the rote of function and conformity.
A few more hand-outs, the polishing up of the marketing literature and the mandated requirement was completed to satisfaction with a certificate to boot.
Here is to better luck, favour and good fortune in the next endeavour.