Thursday 30 April 2009

Nigeria: When women rage with the pudenda and the paps

Pictures speak volumes sometimes

I rarely use pictures in my blog because I want to believe that I paint pictures with my words and hopefully appeal to the imagination of my readers as they read my copy and get a sense of what I am conveying without getting confused about the context.

A picture, they say, speaks louder than words, it probably does for some situations but it is never a narrative in itself, it is static it captures a moment in an event that might have occured over an undetermined stretch of time.

The buzz in Nigeria over the last few days has been over the election reruns in Ekiti State where the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) resigned her post, had her resignation rejected and is now back to conclude the inconclusive elections and hopefully produce a result that reflects the express will of the people.

Policing for the nefarious

My blog can only start with the last paragraph of a new story about the REC returning to Ekiti State [1] to conclude her tasks as commissioner, it reads – “the Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, has put everything in place to avert any lawlessness during and after the election”.

Grandiose Parlor, in his write-up – What went wrong in Ekiti? [2] Has already suggested that the Inspector General of Police should have been relieved of his duties rather than have him harass the dear old commissioner of 74 and any other party that seems not to represent the interests of the ruling party.

I find myself agreeing with him as the picture below courtesy of the NEXT news organ and shows what the Inspector General might not consider lawlessness or what were his underlings doing?

Ekiti State men gathered to vote peacefully
Courtesy of NEXT/

These gentlemen voters were peaceful gathered to vote in the constituency of the candidate of the ruling party.

Ekiti State, small as it might seem is hardly a backwater in Nigeria, it is showing up as tinderbox of protest that has historical significance.

A sex ban for political dialogue

In Kenya, we read yesterday of women imposing a week-long sex ban [3] on their partners as a political weapon to get them to resolve the issues within the national unity government. The received wisdom is that it might just work more effectively that what Kofi Annan was able to cobble together last year.

There is an abstract from a book that talks about Women's Aggressive Use of Genital Power in Africa where it suggests “that African women know very well that they can direct the power that can emanate from their own genitals, and in some extreme situations their threats to loosen this power are strongly persuasive”. I am not ready to test the persuasiveness; I would just take it as a given.

Women well endowed with power

Back in Ekiti State, which is in Yorubaland [5] in Nigeria, the animist tomes of ifa [6] considers the situation where men have failed and mistreated their women such that the Supreme Being granted the women a greater power than that of men which they should use with wisdom and discretion; witchcraft.

Witchcraft, might be a bit farfetched for some, but then in 2002, women gathered at a Chevron-Texaco [7] oil-export terminal in the Niger Delta region demanding things be done whilst threatening nudity and they did get some things going that gung-go banditry, brigands and militants cannot deign to acquire, no matter how violent and malevolent their activities become.

Women protests in Southern Nigeria has brought representative political change as the Igbo Women’s War in 1929 [8] or the oppression of market women [9] in Abeokuta brought on by the atrocious liaison between the traditional king of Egbaland and the colonial administration as spearheaded by Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

Bare-chested for the bare facts

All put together, it was with surprise, shock and some foreboding that I observed the pictures of women protesting in Ekiti State, bare-chested [10] on Jeremy Weate’s NaijaBlog – the accepted view is that something must give and it would have to be men adjusting their ways so as not to foist a corrupt government on the people who might have chosen another representative.

Ekiti State women in peaceful protest with bare chests
Courtesy of Naijablog

The Resident Electoral Commissioner probably has more safety in the backing of angry Yoruba women than the rotten police hierarchy that is in supine allegiance to the ruling party and its whims.

The will for African women to effect change for the better when the men foul up the political process is there and if it takes the traditionally potent, socially aggressive and disruptive but peaceful show of nudity to actualise that process, men would just have to sit up and listen or be moved out of the way of progress, this kind of protest has unseated kings – it is war and I am not taking bets against the women.


[1] Guardian Newspapers: Ekiti REC, Adebayo, returns, ready to conclude re-run polls

[2] What went wrong in Ekiti? | Grandiose Parlor

[3] BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenyan women hit men with sex ban

[4] Women's Aggressive Use of Genital Power in Africa -- Stevens 43 (4): 592 -- Transcultural Psychiatry

[5] Yoruba people - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[6] Women in the Yoruba religious sphere - Google Book Search

[7] Peacefully, Nigerian women win changes from big oil |

[8] Igbo women and economic transformation in southeastern Nigeria, 1900-1960 - Gloria Chuku

[9] Page 8 [PDF] The Missing Link: Women’s Representation and Participation in Nigeria’s Electoral Politics - Oluwabusayo Adu

[10] naijablog: Scenes from today's naked protest in Ekiti

Related views and comments

NEXT| Tense Ekiti chooses a governor

Nigeria: Ekiti INEC Resident Commissioner Resigns Under Pressure | AfricanLoft

The Pawns on the Nigerian Chessboard | AfricanLoft

Nigeria: Ekiti elections, a case of conscience before responsibility []

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Nigeria: Ekiti elections, a case of conscience before responsibility

Ekiti is not in the kitty

An election rerun took place in Ekiti State in Nigeria and it seems to have sunk into a morass of confusion and chaos. It is amazing that South Africa conducted national elections just last week, the results were released within days and one has not heard of any serious disputes concerning how free or fair the elections were.

The question then becomes why Nigeria just cannot seem to conduct elections successfully without it being mired in some controversy no matter how small the constituency.

However, I would not concentrate on that but on another aspect of public service, responsibility and character.

A resignation to review

It has now transpired that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State has resigned [1] and the less than respected chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has halted the polls indefinitely.

The NEXT news organ obtained a copy of the letter of resignation and it would be the subject of my blog.

The ex-Commissioner, if the President to whom she addressed the letter accepts the resignation goes by Chief (Mrs) Olusola Ayoka Adebayo, I would not deal with the significance and prominence of titles here.

The letter

The text of the letter reads thus:

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to inform you of my resignation as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti-State.

IN accordance with the rule of law, the on-going election in Ekiti State was suppose (sic) to be the election that will enhance the image of INEC, electoral process in our dear country Nigeria and the whole black race. Unfortunately, the circumstances changed in the middle of the process; therefore, my conscience as a Christian cannot allow me to further participate in this process.

I thank you and my great country Nigeria for giving me the rare opportunity to serve.

Yours sincerely.

Heavy hearts

It might be a turn of phrase but I am sometimes concerned when a seemingly formal letter begins with an emotive introduction, however, to follow in the same sense of levity I have decided to consult the Urban Dictionary rather than the usual references for a definition of “heavy heart” [3]; it offers – melancholy, depressed and sad.

Melancholy [4] applies to the mental or emotional symptoms of depression and despondency; the other meanings for depression and sadness are generally clear and accepted.

Now this is the Resident Electoral Commsioner for Ekiti State whose duty it is to conduct elections and return results reflecting the will of the people. In Nigeria, this can be considered a very serious and onerous task; only the bold should take it and they should in my view stay the course unswerved, incorruptible and resolute till they have delivered that will, no time for melancholy, here.

The rule without reference

I cannot really appreciate the context of the second paragraph, if a letter of resignation from a public official should use the phrase “In accordance with the rule of law”, I expect to see the reference to the constitutional provision that underpins that rule allowed for that public official to offer a resignation.

The elections in Ekiti State are still ongoing as it seems and one picture of eligible voters [5] as reported by the NEXT news organ gives a lie to the idea that proposed by the government press that the elections were in any way peaceful.

It also appears the most disturbances and disruption [6] to the electioneering process is in the home city Ido-Osi of the candidate of the ruling party – not good at all.

Great expectations

The Electoral Commission seemed to have great aspirations for her job, she really did think that the elections in Ekiti State would enhance the reputation of INEC, that is naïve in the least considering as the polling descended into chaos and the results were withheld, the INEC Chairman announced the Resident Commissioner was indisposed, which does not seem to have been the case.

To suggest that the election would be an opportunity to improve the electoral process in “our dear country” Nigeria is fallacy, the whole system is flawed, the chief executive of the organisation is discredited and serious reforms to INEC are still lacking, it was unlikely with the highly charged situation in Ekiti State that things would turn out well, but one can give marks for trying.

I am quite affected by the qualification of Nigeria as “our dear country”, maybe it shows a love for motherland, a desire for greater things in the fatherland and quality of patriotism, we all love our country, only if we could love her more to really get lasting change for the better.

The addition of the phrase “the whole black race” is superfluous and delusionary as it is representative of Nigerians generally given to hyperbole. How anyone could aspire to creating examples for a race when we could not successfully implement a process in a tiny region escapes me.

The examples to the whole black race are those in elections conducted in Ghana and South Africa, if we cannot reach that baseline standard; we have no business in delusions of grandeur.

When the going gets tough

And unfortunately, what she set out to achieve seems to have been disrupted and was about to be derailed so she absconded the process and basically has now left the situation to degenerate into what she was primarily there to prevent.

Any person who takes office as an Electoral Commissioner should be under no illusions about the pressures they would be under to skew the process in favour of vested interests, when the going gets tough in a position like that, the tough stand fast, they do not bolt.

It is in the power of official to declare the fair results and leave the rest to legal contest if need be – it simply helps open the whole electoral process to proper scrutiny and the facts would help declare who really won.

This resignation left the whole process in limbo and it has handed the initiative to interests that would definitely move into dictate their will rather than the will of the people, it is interesting that the Electoral Commissioner in now wanted by the police as announced by the Inspector General to substantiate her allegations probably concealed in the phrase “the circumstances changed in the middle of the process”. Nigeria is a place of intrigue.

Conscientiously objecting to responsibility

The letter ends with “my conscience as a Christian cannot allow” this is the part that really gets me; your religious convictions should be of no consequence in the execution of your tasks and responsibility as a public official.

Your integrity and character is not derived from your religious convictions and should not be a feature of formal representation even if your religious convictions give you a moral baseline from which you operate.

We need to separate our religion from our legal responsibilities, especially if our responsibilities are not in the clergy. We get blind-sided by religious references such that we end up not enquiring deeper about the character and intentions of the person.

I do not need your religion

I am not interested in a Christian, Muslim or pagan Electoral Commissioner, I want a commissioner who in the face of pressures and inducements is about to use the conscience they portend to possess to overthrow nefarious activities and sue for the truth to be exposed and upheld in the office that they have been called to serve in.

Nigeria cannot have any progress when people with great aspirations and goals buckle under pressure and cop-out with the excuse that their conscience precludes them from fulfilling their duties and seeing those responsibilities through to an honest, just, fair and truthful conclusion.

In the worst case, the Commissioner should have worked to release results she believed to be the true reflection of the will of the people regardless of what the national commission might have decided to do.

Chief (Mrs) Olusola Ayoka Adebayo was given a “rare opportunity to serve” and I would not be waiting for history to judge that she failed to seize that opportunity and make something of it, the resignation complicates matters but it is also a reflection of religious convictions that constrain people from resolutely and courageously assuming and fulfilling their responsibilities.

In that, I am disappointed for our dear country, Nigeria.


[1] NEXT: Why I resigned, by Ekiti State Commissioner

[2] Nigeria: Ekiti INEC Resident Commissioner Resigns Under Pressure | AfricanLoft

[3] Urban Dictionary: Heavy Heart

[4] Melancholia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[5] NEXT: Tense Ekiti chooses a governor

[6] Resident Electoral Commissioner Resigns | Sahara Reporters

[7] Channels TV News : Police Declares INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner Wanted

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Using the law for silent sex

Regulating behaviour

In another case of unintended consequences this news story makes really interesting reading.

Since 1998, the Great Britain which consists of England, Scotland and Wales has instituted the Anti-Social Behaviour Order [1], otherwise known as ASBO to deal with people shown to have engaged in anti-social behaviour.

For basic instruction, the United Kingdom is Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

These orders came about to deal with the nuisance and problems with noisy neighbours, abandoned cars, vandalism, intimidating groups and goes on to include dog fouling, litter, graffiti and night-time noise.

Basically, the ambit of the ASBO is almost untrammelled if a community can show just cause for engaging the authorities to investigate, determine and consequently sanction infringements.

She is just having fun

However, nothing could have prepared this latest recipient of an ASBO [2] for her ordeal; apparently, a 48-year old lady had in the act of supposed copulation in the early hours of the morning been making “atrociously loud” noises.

Shouting and groaning with the bed banging against the wall at her home, she must have forgotten she was in Britain, as in the comedic send-up play imitating real life called – No sex please, we’re British [3]. Though could be further from the truth else we would not have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.

However, the bed banging sounds very much like a number of scenes in the film My Super Ex-Girlfriend [4] (2006) that starred Uma Thurman.

Sour neighbour, dour neighbour

Anyway, the neighbours probably do have a serious grievance and hence need a sympathetic ear that might be deafened with decibels of groans of libidinous excess or are just frigid and prude that the thought of a seemingly middle-aged lady enjoying the pleasures of coital excitation as if she were 30 years younger is literally abhorrent.

In some cases, it can be thought that she was growing up disgracefully.

Stop it or zip it

She received an ASBO banning her from making excessive noise anywhere in England – now, that is an ambit that is scary – so, she could have gone to Scotland or Wales with her beau and brought the house down.

However, having been served the ASBO, in the space of 10 days she had breached her ASBO thrice and is now remanded in custody for the simple pursuit of her happiness, albeit with the possibly irritating side of letting people know she is enjoying it without inviting them to share in the fun.

A commonsense jury

She would be tried by jury as she has elected to have that privilege and I am hopeful that she would find a more sympathetic ear to an amazing situation where married people appear to be having an vibrant sex life and where the shouting, the banging and the noise is not a domestic but a consummation of holy matrimony.

The man with whom she has been having this great fun is her husband and like every case of sexual sanction, the woman takes the punishment for what it took 2 to create, he could be an accessory, accomplice or criminal, but this case has reached too far into the bedroom.

Not what ASBOs were intended for

No greater sanction should be incurred than for a simple commonsense judgement, they should invest in a sturdier bed or if they have concrete floors, do it on the floor and basically, they should soundproof the room in which they meet.

Since taxpayers’ money is being unnecessarily used to pursue the damnably incomprehensible, maybe we should really be contributing to this venture, but the jail is definitely not the solution to this challenge, the use of ASBOs to resolve this matter is deplorable in the least and beneath contempt drawing derision rather than accolades.

In my mind, that is definitely not what ASBOs were intended for, but if you only have a hammer, every problem might well be a nail.


[1] Anti-Social Behaviour Order - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] BBC NEWS | UK | England | Wear | Woman held for noisy sex 'breach'

[3] No Sex Please, We're British - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cover your mouth

Yawning pits of death

One would have thought I took the wrong turn on safari around the Limpopo River and now I was looking into the presence of death, the yawning buccal cavity of a rampaging hippopotamus.

Well, in fact, in this day of swine flu scares in faraway lands, the surgical masks keeping the germs from exhalation or inhalation – it was an unreconstructed animal, a being of my species, without manners, so uncouth and lacking in graces, yawning in my face on the tram.

Where is the breeding?

I cannot imagine where these people got brought up, we as kids were taught to cover our mouths with our palms when we yawn, over our mouths with a clenched fist in traverse with thumb facing the mouth when we cough and use a handkerchief when we sneeze with the obligatory excuses.

The sneezing is interesting because almost every language offers a variation of the “God bless you” greeting after a sneeze this is said to derive from one of the many myths of which the one pertaining to Pope Gregory I seems to be the most agreeable to me.

He ordered incessant prayers and chanters through the streets as the bubonic plaque approached Rome and sneezing was thought to be the early sign of infection.

A sneeze is a sign

Nobody, goes around with a pepper shaker and apart from an occasional irritation or reaction, a sneeze is almost as good as something going awry.

However, that is beside the point, these times and all times call for a bit of something that separates us from animals and if I once saw a dog raise its paw to its yawn, it is the least that can be expected of us.

The respiratory droplets are the vector and somehow face masks are helpful, just as covering your mouth is useful.

Always have a handkerchief or tissues in your pocket or handbag, cover your mouths when they are opened for other calls of nature apart from conversation and save everyone the fear of death from your germs just as if one were about to be mauled by the friendly hippo taking a leisurely stroll by the banks of the Limpopo River.

Enough mass hysteria is being created by the spread of swine flu do not instigate an unnecessary stampede as a result of your lack of basic manners.

Cover your gob.


[1] Bless you - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia