Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Nigeria: Don't let your passport be handled like junk mail

A few weeks ago, a Nigerian citizen vandalised many vehicles around the offices of the Nigerian High Commission in London out of frustration with their poor customer service practices, not excusable, but understandable. [Punch]
In reaction to that event, the Nigerian High Commission in London has released a poorly written notice on their website that invalidates the use of third parties or electronic booking systems for applying for Nigerian passports.

However, there is one requirement that I cannot ignore, written in their own words, “applicants are required to submit pre-paid self address special delivery envelop on completion of bio-metric capturing.
A passport is a critical identity document that cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands, there must be a chain of custody from when a passport leaves the Nigerian High Commission to when the recipient verifiably receives it.
They can employ a low-cost postal option with a next-day delivery, secure, signed for with proof of delivery or returned to the sender, all this with tracking and tracing along with knowing where the responsibility lies if the document is lost. Introducing a parallel insecure archaic service does not cut it and this idea should be stopped before more damage is done to the literally irretrievable bad reputation of this rotten bureaucracy.
I advise the Nigerian High Commission to avail themselves of this service and hope the staff would at the very least stop behaving like they are impervious to using systems that work.
This is what the Royal Mail does - Royal Mail Signed For® 1st Class
[Picture 2]

Monday, 17 June 2019

I'm raining on the inside as I pine

Daydreaming is an existence of wakefulness
Where the thoughts wander and ponder,
On and off to things and places,
Within which many memories are relived,
Of the company of people you’ve been with,
And the things of purpose you’ve done,
Beyond these, you create new worlds,
Of dreamy existence unquantifiable,
That you can hardly frame or draw,
Your mind is active and alive,
Urging on the eerie into your reality,
Caught in the middle of this and the other,
You’re raining on the inside,
Pining, yearning, longing and desiring,
For your love and your joy,
The strength of why aches the heart,
As you refuse to forgo the hope,
Of being together once again,
With the one who makes it all matter.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

To The Runaways, The Misfits & The Radicals

What I negotiated for me
When my father first learnt that I had travelled out of Nigeria to the UK, he was not in jubilant mood at all even though that first trip was to acquire equipment for a company in which I had 30% equity. I returned and, in the meanwhile, the relationship between my business partner and I deteriorated because I was neither obsequious enough nor too enamoured by the opportunity I had, I had many professional responsibilities of which NextStep Limited was just one.
After my return, I visited the British Consulate to fix my status, both to be able to travel to the UK and if I needed to, emigrate. The need to leave Nigeria was not pressing, though one of the contractual engagements I had from a year before included the full payment for my flight ticket to the UK.
When I seized control
I was not mindful of that prospect, even as Deji Sasegbon engaged me as a desktop publishing consultant at his legal publications outfit. My father thought I had abandoned academic pursuits to the whim of activities he never really understood. He took it upon himself to attempt to secure my admission to an HND programme at the Federal Polytechnic, Bida and despite his engagement with the Rector, my name appeared to be switched with another in the rector’s files.
None of this bothered me, as after my visit to the UK, I found that there was a market for my Nigerian-acquired skill because I was more knowledgeable about the things I wanted doing compared to the technical staff who were there to demonstrate the kit I was acquiring.
Then I cared less
In the background, in communications between my father and guardians who had direct influence over me and access to me, he had suggested I was running away from responsibility. Responsibility is a nebulous concept, but it is never 'responsibility' in its distilled form, rather it is one of whether you can control, decide, instruct, and require without question, someone to do your bidding.
It is one where your independent view must seek the permission of another deemed superior, where your initiative must encompass the pleasure of another who has set the expectations, where your individuality and uniqueness is a function of conformity to some generally accepted norms and values or you are a misfit, you cannot chart a course of difference else you would be excoriated, called to order and commanded to obey or risk ostracism and be condemned as a radical.
Yes, I could run away
We were the runaways, though I do wonder what kind of a runaway I am. My father is essentially Nigerian, a proud one at that. I doubt if was ever Nigerian even if I spent some of my formative years there. Daily, I was reminded that I was born abroad, certain quirky mannerisms and my accent modified by influences from England and in Nigeria put me in a limbo of identity.
I probably found ways to navigate the system, but I really do not think I belonged. After having moved to the UK, my father was a resident of the 60s, I became a resident of the 90s. His experience of society then was radically different from my experience. He was treated like a second-class citizen and hardly appreciated, yet, in Nigeria, you could be a first-class citizen and it counted for nothing.
My storied identity
The greatest benefit of our returning to Nigeria after the Civil War was that I attended really good schools with an international pupil population, I grew up a world citizen, self-assured, confident, curious, precocious and inquisitive, our teachers open to questioning and discussion that we were free to be ourselves.
Within the non-formal educational setting, I learnt without noticing it, to appreciate who I was in terms of my identity and consequently my sexuality, though along the way, I was abused, exploited, violated and much else. The end-product is tried by experience good, bad, hard, and bitter, it would not be traded away to anyone, if I could help it.
Nigeria? On my own terms
I can understand my father’s desire for me to return to Nigeria, maybe to visit, even dare to settle down, I do not share any of that sentiment, especially the latter. I am first, an Englishman who happens to have Nigerian parents, I don’t expect many to agree with that, but it is my story to tell, not for others to usurp and retell to their own intentions. I owe no explanation to anyone about my sense of self, you can accept me for who I am or leave me be.
I ran away for my freedom to be who I want to be, I ran away for the need to be independent of influences I cannot reason with to get across my point of view, I ran away to take on responsibilities I choose to shoulder rather than those thrust upon me, I ran away to have my own prerogative in matters concerning myself, my welfare, my sanity and my life. I ran away to thrive outside the confines of unwarranted interference and according to my own terms.
Would I be returning to Nigeria soon? I don’t know, but if I do, it would be on my own terms, at a time of my choosing and if I find it convenient. I guess that is the most inconvenient thing if it gets to the notice of my father, we are not the same person, not by a running mile. Maybe, I could be given a little credit for having my own mind.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Thought Picnic: In the husbandry of futility

In the stream of time
As the end of an era beckons, the reckoning begins from the closing of accounts and the realisation of balances, many uneven between the credits and the debts, that whether there be profit, loss or a break even, life is never as simple as the figures you see.
In the memories of the past are the stories for which no value can be placed, there is virtue and there is emotion, the feeling you get in clarity and in turmoil, nothing giving you a sense of finality.
Yet, in the irreversible event of things we have learnt of from the miraculous that seems to escape reality apart from in theatre, sometimes as absurd as never to be witnessed but relayed to the corners of the earth, time is a perpetual motion machine, only stopping or slowing down in the expanse of galaxies and the knowledge of astronomy that blows away your imagination.
In a wasteland of barrenness
No, we cannot turn it back, much as we might have hoped, rather we live many of these events in the subconscious, in the dreamy landscapes of slumber bringing to life that incongruous or even the incomprehensible, difficult to process or understand.
For a moment, there was a shock, a numbness, resignation and then a journey into the annals of the mind to retrieve episodes and snatches of the somewhat insignificant that paints the pictures of the relationships and person you once knew. Then, in the light of the present, you were overcome with a saddened pall, for what could have been and what never did become.
If a man were half the big brother of the many who were given so much and yet made little of what they received, you can only marvel at the parable of the talents. For the servant given one talent should probably have never been given anything, but the one talent was the least that could be given to that servant, the master knowing before he gave the talent that it would profit nothing.
A harvest of little
In another tale, many servants were given several talents in access, in opportunity, in prospect, in advantage, in advice, in business and much more, but it all came to naught for both servant and master, the servant remaining poor and the master made poorer in means and in spirit.
Dare one believe that the husbandry of many lives might yield a harvest of very little gain, much regret, and a multitude of hurts impossible to assuage in any way? Must a farmer know the soil in which he sows? Can one hope that life can arise in the valley of dry bones cracking from the searing heat of the desert? Alas! In the untold is the mystery of the unfortunate to be bewailed in a dirge for which there are no words.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

In the hours of paths to Harare

On the waters of adventure, I bid Godspeed,
For the purpose to which we both agreed,
The ideas of where this trip might lead,
Is after all for it to succeed.
Until you came, I have never so smiled,
In your grasp, my imagination ran wild,
You lit in me, the infatuation of a child,
This is true, I’m not beguiled.
When heart finds heart to laugh and sing,
As we did without knowing one thing,
As strangers that met for a just fling,
For all that’s said, we’re meant to cling.
For you, my love, I have a desire,
In everything that for which I aspire,
The sight of you has lit my fire,
From this time on, we take it higher.