Saturday, 16 February 2019

Nigeria: Can we radically rethink our political machinery?

Resisting the laughable
I was not surprised when I heard on BBC Radio 4 in the very early hours of this morning that just 5 hours before the polls opened in Nigeria, they were postponed for a week. [BBC]
It would be convenient for me to write from the western comfort of my abode to rant and rave about the systemic dysfunction that bedevils Nigeria and runs counter to the words of Sir Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa on the day of independence, when he said, “We are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an independent state we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation. I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination.” [AkinBlog][Dawodu]
The courage of reality
In that assertion at the dawn of independent Nigeria, the claims and the want are no more the subject of debate, the conclusion is an everyday indictment of a nation that is full of potential and that is all we have, potential.
Yet, for all accusations by the main political parties that the postponement could presage the manipulation of the vote in favour of either, I must commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for having the courage to realise they were not ready and taking the difficult but necessary decision to postpone.
The pressure to carry on regardless would have been immense but having recognised that certain locations would be denied suffrage and appreciating the logistical problems of getting election materials to the various places that might have been sabotaged, this was the only reasonable option.
The saboteurs gaming the system
The problem with Nigeria is myriad, we have a rentier class of political jobbers who have no occupation apart from peddling influence, they suck the oxygen out of every other viable and productive sector of the economy, society and government, such that things can only work with their agreement.
Then, amongst them, because the remuneration within politics far exceeds that which can be acquired out of qualification, hard work or merit, they employ every means to disrupt and sabotage the electioneering process that represents the will of the people in order to entrench themselves in positions where they can control the commonwealth arrogating to themselves untrammelled fiat over the helpless masses who are best kept in the vassalage of only having begging bowls, living hand to mouth and driven by survival by the belly.
That is the failure of Nigeria that has resulted in postponing the elections for a week. There are people who have a vested selfish interest in what they can usurp to the detriment of others and without any scruples as to whether anyone gets hurt or killed in the process.
Rethinking our political machinery
Sometimes, I wonder what it is that can fix Nigeria in the state that it is, but we can start with one thing, slash the remuneration of the political class to just basic allowances for board, meals and transport. If they need additional income, they should earn it like everyone else.
Nigeria cannot afford a fulltime legislature, at the exorbitant cost at which it is run today, there is no reason to feather the beds of the legislators when ordinarily the middle classes on their earnings cannot afford the basic things without the temptation to malfeasance, corruption or fraud.
The legislature should have a term time with a clear agenda like a syllabus of activities and bills to debate, run with the efficiency of a principal of a secondary school, clearly with objectives and penalties for not producing results. An Office for Government Accountability having the independence to review and sanction the executive and the legislature when they fail in their responsibilities.
As a consequence of this
Taking the remuneration surplus out of politics would immediately divert the eyes of the heretofore political jobbers to other honeypots and troughs, whilst hopefully allowing Nigerians with a sense of altruism and commitment into politics. At least, they would not be politicking for the money but for the opportunity to serve.
Then, reduce all political terms to one term, none should seek re-election without having been succeeded once, within that, cascade the elections such that the executive branch is not elected in the same year as the legislative branch. This is radical, but I think it would go a long way to taking the leeches out of the decision-making framework of Nigeria.
There is still hope
There is a likelihood with this rethinking of Nigerian politics, we might come close to the what Sir Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa dreamt was possible in Nigeria, “that our claims to responsible government are well-founded.”
In the meanwhile, I hope that when Nigerians do finally get the opportunity to elect their political leaders and representatives in a week, INEC would be ready, the people would have chosen wisely and their express will be presented in the validated results.
Long live Nigeria and God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 15 February 2019

In My Time

Songs that touch the heart
There are many songs that I have heard that touch a part of me that nothing else can. Sometimes, it is just the music, the easy listening that brings a calmness and restfulness to my spirit, I feel I want to play it back continuously until I fall into slumber.
Then, beyond the sound of the music, you look at the lyrics and find such meaning that you can completely relate to as if the words taken out of your life and published to the strains of music that take your thoughts to another place.
All that I know now has to go
Recently, I found a life experience I never thought I would ever have again, I have a long history of relationships, some good, some bad and the others are forgettable. Some of my past loves are still friends and I cherish their friendships, but there would be no rekindling of what we once felt for each other, that has gone.
How again I realise experience limited my ability to move on and find new love, I built crenellations around my heart for it had been hurt and broken too many times, I did not want to hurt anymore. I was protecting myself from heartbreak and by that not opening my heart to those who might have been more caring and careful, considering and considerate, in love and loving, I was exhausted.
I let my heart be touched
Even with that, I thought I was on guard by default, then someone came and in a short embrace, my heart settled, a calmness enveloped me, I felt peaceful and drawn to this person in ways impossible to resist. There was no conflict between my head and my heart, both were telling me, there is much in this than you could ever imagine. Go with the flow, dare to ask and fear for nothing about what might happen.
I followed my deepest premonitions like I was walking through caves towards a welcoming light and comfort, I was being led into love unbeknownst, I was in love before it dawned on me that this was happening to me. I accepted there was no escape from this feeling. Crazy as it seemed, it was real, it was true, and it was growing in strength, in meaning and in prospect.
I let my heart be touched, I let my mind be caught, I let my life be changed, I let my love be shared and the past has become its own story because the present is a miracle of dreams that come true for the very few. In that, I have been blessed, for after all I have been through, in my time, I have found love – it is a wonderful thing.
This song touched me deeply
You know, I'm no beginner
My heart's been to the wall
I'm a tried and true romantic
Who's seen and done it all
And when you walked into my life
Suddenly I knew
All the love I had inside
Was leading me to you
In my time
I've lived and loved so much
Through each high and low
I let my heart be touched
In my time
There isn't much I've missed
I've seen love come and go, but heaven knows
I've never loved like this in my time
After all that I've been through
I'm in love with you
I've won some and I've lost some
But us dreamers don't complain
We keep reaching out for passion
No matter what the pain
When I looked into your eyes
It all fell into place
I found, what I was searching for
Shining in your face
In my time
I've lived and loved so much
Through each high and low
I let my heart be touched
In my time
There isn't much I've missed
I've seen love come and go, but heaven knows
I've never loved like this in my time
After all that I've been through
I'm in love with you
In my time
I've lived and loved so much
Through each high and low
I let my heart be touched
In my time
There isn't much I've missed
I've seen love come and go, but heaven knows
I've never loved like this in my time
After all that I've been through
I'm in love with you
In My Time lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Thursday, 14 February 2019

To My Funny Valentine

When the time lags
What the passage of time is, long and enduring like tomorrow would never come and then in its passage, the speed at which history takes hold is amazing if not unfathomable.
I once lamented where my funny valentine was having just lost one who I so desired to take that place, it was painful knowing the person had passed away just exactly 4 months before.
Three years later, I wrote about the quest for love and companionship that had so eluded my grasp in many ways I could not understand. Much about love unrequited or the knowledge of what one did not want beclouding what might have been available. In the background, grief still held one back from exploring opportunities, I guess I never found one to lead me into love again.
When the time comes
We arrive at another Valentine’s Day with a different story as a journey that appeared to start 9 years before, now has the hold of something meaningfully amazing, for I have found my funny valentine and in him the words of the song brings a reality that I could not even dare to dream when the last season passed without event.
In paraphrasing an excerpt of the lyrics to the contemporaneous, we find the truth to something that transcends everything, for love conquers all.
My funny valentine, now I know where you are – Sweet comic valentine, so would I like to laugh to the sound of your voice – You make me smile with my heart, such joy you bring.
Your looks are laughable, who cares you are the best – Unphotographable, but I see you every day so perfect – Yet you’re my favourite work of art, and nothing can compare to what I adore.
A play on the lyrics of My Funny Valentine
Dedicated to my funny valentine, you know who you are.
Thank you!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Opinion: Resurrect your dead blogs

Dead blogs as Internet zombies
Sometimes I go checking on blogs I once read fervently and notice there has not been a newly written blog for years. It makes me wonder about when blogging seemed to be a trend and once the novelty wore off the interest in blogging died.
More so, I visit corporate and establishment websites with links to blogs that were enthusiastically written for a while and have had no recently new content. Now, apart from my personal blog that I have consistently contributed to for 15 years, I do have a professional blog that has had no new content for almost 5 years.
We all have stories to tell
The question then becomes, have we all run out of stories to write about? On a personal level, there is always an idea, an event, a circumstance or a personality engaging enough to write about along with having a perspective of things that can become a blog.
My view has always been, we are story people, we all have stories that can only be best told in our own voice, written in our own style and related uniquely from our own perspective. A blog is who you are, what you see, how you feel and the way you are affected or unaffected by that or other situations.
Blogging is easy, honestly
That means, there can be no reason not to have a blog in the first place and then keep it running as much as you could. There was a time when people religiously kept diaries and journals, captains of ships kept logs. The issue of documentation and record keeping is both for reference and posterity, removing dispute from ascertaining the facts as the reckoner has archived the situation.
Not that a blog is as formal as that. For where some have seen blogging as a means to a livelihood, mine is written out of interest, I have opinions and I write them down in a blog, I address social issues and those sometimes find resonance with other people, they begin and interaction that leads to a conversation.
Resurrect yourself in a blog
A blog does not have to be a serious endeavour of academic rigour, do your proofreading, do not dispense with the rules of grammar for the chosen language of communication and follow the common sense of a good seamstress making a skirt; make it short enough to keep the interest and long enough to cover the detail. I hope that analogy is relatable without appearing sexist.
As you read this, why did you stop blogging if you were once a blogger? The excuse that you haven’t the time for it would come across as lame; you can knock out a blog in less than 15 minutes and it does not have to be a treatise. Then the other question is, why are not blogging? That is, if you have never had a blog before, you cannot convincingly say you have no ideas, no opinions or no perspective of the things that surround your life.
There are too many blogging tombstones on the Internet on which we have written; Here lies the exhausted ideas of a person who once regaled us with stories that many once came here to read. Alas! You can resurrect your blog by posting one today.

Shortening time with longing

Time is a measure,
In which we find the pleasure,
Wandering for leisure,
With a heart full of treasure.
There comes a time,
For which there is no chime,
We come into our prime,
With the hopes of a lifetime.
Counting down the days,
The weeks you dare set ablaze,
The months you want to raze,
Till when you face their gaze.
If time will gallop on,
To finish the marathon,
No more to wait upon,
The wish to liaison.
The heart is full of love,
Like a blessing from above,
Time is like a dove,
Freed and better off.
We wonder what to do,
With what we never knew,
As sure as we come to,
The day to meet anew.