Monday 31 October 2011

Nigeria: Why Black Africans may never have a revolution

Some stark truths

Every once in a while, the need to address controversial issues are pertinent, if only to start a conversation on certain unpalatable matters that in these times might be politically incorrect but nonetheless true on closer scrutiny.

In this blog, I take 6 paragraphs from Lord Lugard’s book, The Dual Mandate that I covered in my Apes Obey Series a few years ago; then, I excerpted phrases and used them as topical pointers to contemporary issues in Nigeria.

With the kinds of political upheaval around the world and the agitation for more representative democracy along with the apparent docility of our people allowing for moribund, clueless and unaccountable governments, profligacy that serves the elite with impunity and the way religious ignorance allows for people to be herded as sheep, cattle or goats, it is necessary to revisit the observations made almost 90 years ago.

This time, within the text of the paragraphs I will offer some commentary in parenthesis along with my observations which I do not expect many to agree with but that is a matter of opinion.

Happy, but why?

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person [As far back as 2003, Nigeria topped the list of countries with the happiest people, the same still finds true in 2011, though there is no reason in the midst of its problems, poverty, violence, corruption and attendant issues why it has been identified as such.]; lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight [Everyone knows that the development of infrastructure will make a difference to Nigeria’s economic growth and the welfare of the people, the government just seems to lack the will, the resolve, the ability and the drive to implement such.]; naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity [The politicians are an example but religious leaders seem to exemplify a level of hedonism that is sickening.], with little sense of veracity, [The matter of character and how the corrupt find much respect within society and the community when they should be shunned.], fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery.

Hedonists and materialists

His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment [Sadly, this suggests the inability to be objective, like working with ideas or logic, we'll rather engage in ad hominem attacks than address the issues.], and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past [Our sense of history is poor and the way people do things with impunity suggests we are not afraid of the consequences of our actions.]; his mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic [Many of the things we deign to imitate are poorly adapted or managed, we give those adaptations a local interpretation to suggest difference and still fail at it.], and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached [It is any wonder that our desire for material prosperity is exploited so well by the powerful?].

Losing our sense of history

Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed [Our animist traditions are somewhat inherently evil and those we have acquired are badly followed.], and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural [The superstitious element of our psyche is ready material to be exploited for gain by many religious cults and leaders masquerading as purveyors of solutions to our problems as we are enticed, cajoled and fleeced.].

Suited for the mob

He lacks the power of organization [This might explain why we might never have an Arab Spring but there are other issues about organisation too that plague us in terms of order, meticulousness, following rules and much more.], and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business [Except cynically where a mob is aroused or religious fervour is excited for sometimes illogical ends.]; he loves the display of power [Everyone who seems to have power almost always allows it to corrupt them.], but fails to realize its responsibility [This will require a treatise but it is self-explanatory.]; he will work hard with a less incentive than most races [The many times we have tolerated, endured and condoned abuse for little or no reward and still do.].

Braggadocio par excellence

He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue [Even when offenders are caught red-handed, the bluster, effrontery and brazenness expressed feigning innocence is breath-taking.]; in brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy [This appears to inform the cult of personality that surrounds the powerful be they political or religious – a sense of fawning and obsequiousness that is uncharitably sycophancy.].

Impunity without consequence

Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future. [Probably, the most damning conclusion after this assessment.]

It goes without saying that a good deal of this observation made in the 1920s finds true today and sadly, I sometimes find myself exhibiting certain traits that appear to belie a cultural predilection to type, something one strives hard to be rid of and in the process be a better person.

Thought Picnic: Blood-letting tales

Telling bloody stories

In just over two weeks I will return to hospital to see my medical consultant who I last was almost 4 months ago.

As usual, at least two weeks before that meeting I need to go in to give blood to be tested and reveal all sorts of tales about my health, my progress and other physiological things that never cease to amaze me – the stories told by the blood when particular tests are carried out are myriad.

It was always interesting when he refers to liver function, kidney health, cholesterol, platelets and much more, however, the greatest improvement he will notice will be the absence of my cane.

5 vials only

I chose to ride to the hospital in the early afternoon when I thought the crowds will have thinned out and that was the case. The number I got from the ticket queue machine just had two ahead of me.

When I stepped forward to register, the nurse scanned my forms and the printer coughed out 7 labels, starting with my details and then 5 labels for the bloods and the last label signifying the end of the order.

You have to marvel at laser printer technology as the labels are spewed out so nicely printer and in case you did not know, laser is in fact an acronym for Light Amplification by Simulation of Emissive Radiation.

Let me cry and be a woos

I am usually drained of 7 vials of blood, I cannot say why it was two short of the usual, but within 5 minutes of registering I was called in to give blood.

Without much fuss, I presented my left arm, the tourniquet was fastened and with a clenched fist a vein presented itself for the needle whilst I looked away.

Then, the nurse plugged in the vials one after the other and I could not help commenting that the blood looked darker than usual, but she said it was just the right colour, I almost felt like I had received an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée for my blood, it goes without saying that a bleed does at times look rosier than blood going into a vial.

Soon, it was done, needle removed, cotton wool to seal the prick puncture and masking tape to keep in place. The masking tape will eventually wear and easily fall off because I sometimes just feel too much of a woos to pull off the tape and end up waxing the hairs off my arm – Ouch! Ouch!

A man can only endure so much pain.

Nigeria: The need to arrest the spate of religious vampires

The gospel meeting needs

The airing on Channel 4 in the UK of Seyi Rhodes' Unreported World - The Making Of … Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers [1] did not include other footage that would have been more representative of the gospel because it did not appear as spectacular and outlandish as the subjects in that show.

In an accompanying article [2] that should have had a modicum of proofreading [This is a blog, Channel 4 is a professional news channel, such must be better catered for.] the ministry of Rev. Mrs. Chika Oluchi is spoken of.

She is the overseer of The Mountain of the Lord Ministries International: Centre for Liberation which runs a widow’s fellowship catering to the needs of these women who apparently have no means of material or spiritual support.

Almost inexcusable gullibility

Most touching is the story of Therese who is mistakenly identified as a widower rather than a widow, just as the confusion of numbers is used to describe Rev. Oluchi as a remarkable women [sic].

Therese lost her husband some years ago and apparently fell into the hands of rotten preachers who convinced her that her husband was a member of a devil worshipping cult persuading her to dispose of all her late husband’s property and give the proceeds to the church leaving her and her children destitute.

To crown this wickedness they said God will kill her and her children if anyone found out. Those preachers have now been apprehended and Therese appears to be rebuilding her life untouched by the supposedly wrathful God ready to murder her and her children for being inadvertently married to a devil worshipping husband.

Held hostage to their ignorance

Herein is the deeper problem with religion in Nigeria, the ability for the unscrupulous, dishonest and Machiavellian to prey on the gullibility and apparently vague dread of the supernatural of people to exact them money, property, blind allegiance and followership.

People get held hostage to their fears perishing in their ignorance and inability to independently seek out the truth of their beliefs many of which have been foisted upon them by merchants of deception masquerading as religious leaders.

Sadly, there is no indication that many can emancipate themselves from this enslavement as these religious confidence tricksters trot out every kind of corporate or personal message along with false prophecies purporting to be of God to feed on the anxieties, fears, uncertainties and doubts of the sometimes vulnerable, sometimes stupid and usually both.

Taking advantage

Religious vampires with fangs long enough to sink deep into the heart to feast on the blood of those beholden to their whims, drawn away from the truth by the spectacular and paralysed by the fear of the retribution of blood thirsty animist gods in the misrepresentation of the Christian God.

It takes one back to those unsightly but horribly truthful paragraphs reproduced below from Lord Lugard’s book, The Dual Mandate that I covered in my Apes Obey Series [3].

Revisiting Apes Obey

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person; lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight; naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery.

His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past; his mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached.

Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed, and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural.

He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business; he loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility; he will work hard with a less incentive than most races.

He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue; in brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy.

Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.

Without doubt there is a need to review each of these traits as identified by Lord Lugard and see how certain who have acquired power by all sorts of means have been able to subjugate others so easily because therein lies the root of many of the problems Africans face today, a fifth of those Africans are apparently Nigerian.

[1] 4oD – Channel 4 – Unreported World - The Making Of … Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers

[2] The Making Of … Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers – The Widows’ Fellowship and Therese’s story.

[3] Introducing the Apes Obey! Series

Thought Picnic: The character of professionalism

Living by the wits of one’s expertise

For the past 16 years, I have been self-employed, within that time; I took full-time employment for two years, was seriously ill that I was out of work for a year and have had the unfortunate situation of being unemployed for nigh on a year.

Difficult as times might have been, there are things that appear to stand out in my career that requires sharing or maybe just documenting for posterity sake.

Trying to get back into work has not been easy especially where I have had to deal with people who only recognise me from what they have read in my resume and nothing else.

Quality and qualification

At interview, the questions are usually geared to the fundamentals of my knowledge rather than my suitability for the job, as I pride myself in implementing systems that work right the first time I have found that I might not have answers to questions that represent the experiences of others who might not be as thorough in their implementations – some problems just seem too incredible and unnecessary but not many are ready to have others fix the poor setups they have created.

That by the way, it so happens that literally every job I have had has come from recommendations of those I have worked with or worked for in the past.

As much as possible, I strive to do my best and that appears to create some lasting impression that keeps me in the professional and sometimes social minds of my ex-colleagues that when certain opportunities present themselves I get a call to ascertain my interest.

Leaving worthwhile legacies

I believe it is a combination of character and professionalism that allows for this including the simple aim of not burning any of my bridges.

For the job I will start tomorrow, I am even the more amazed because I was recommended by colleagues I worked with at a time when I had just returned from a long bout of illness; I only had the strength to do 32-hours a week with Wednesdays off and the greater technical burden was shouldered by a selfless and hardworking colleague.

In many cases, I believe I was accommodated quite well despite my shortcomings and frailties, these same people always seemed to have me in mind all through the times when I had no work which for some reason must have indicated I had left some sort of impression.

I am honoured that they have chosen once again to have me as a colleague to approach new challenges but the most important thing of all is a career that is built on the character of professionalism will always find opportunity when such openings present themselves.

Nigeria: The spectacular gospel of Mammon

To believe the unbelievable

It is difficult to appreciate the honest and truthful propagation of the gospel in Nigeria in the context of the unconventional places of worship called churches all around the place.

In a country where a majority are in thrall of the supernatural and bound by the incredulity of the superstitious, it would appear the religiously savvy have found a ready customer base and market for a set of products that range from a message, through the spectacular and a form of rampant hedonism sold off as signs of prosperity.

In a recently broadcast television documentary on Channel 4 in the UK, Seyi Rhodes in Unreported World reported on The Making Of … Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers [1], showcasing the rather different Dr. Sign Fireman who unexpectedly appears rather casually than in the usual well-tailored suit.

The spectacle of enticement

A healthy sense of scepticism and discretion is required whilst viewing this show but the message is clear, dreadful seriousness envelops the congregation as exorcisms take place to amazement and incredulity, the supposedly possessed responding to commands like automatons until they are set free.

The earnest aspiration of most is for a prosperous life exemplified in materialistic shows of wealth as in the testimony of the pastor of a branch of Dr. Sign Fireman’s hydra-headed organisation called the Perfect Christianity Ministry whose rise from rags to untold riches included 3 cars, designer suits and gold wristwatches.

The message is no doubt perfect, it is about enticement as Dr. Fireman proffered at one of the lectures to his coterie of junior minister pastors of the branches, the packaging appears to be everything but the real essence of Christianity and as for if it is a ministry, it as much as ministers to some need.

Itching ears

In Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he identified that kind of ministry in these words, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. ” (NIV) II Tim 4:3 [2]

There is nothing wrong with the quest and desire for prosperity but that basic longing appears to have been hijacked and converted into the mantra of filthy lucre, all the words for gospel truth are used to present another gospel where Mammon is god and the worship is broadly entertainment.

This level of perversion might in the end begin a new type of Puritanism just as it proliferates splinter groups that call themselves churches all with the view of ministering to the needs of the people by first catering to the seemingly greedy machinations of the cult of personality that passes for presiding over a congregation.

Who are these people?

At the end of the documentary, you had to ask where Dr. Sign Fireman came from, what are his antecedents, what is his history and did he get his name by deed poll?

Beyond that, it is difficult to see the difference between the workings of the Italian mafia and these deceptively interesting church organisations with their heavies, entourages, security and “bling.”

As for yellow being all around the place, I am wont to believe it is more the homage to some Yellow god in some grotto yet to be accessed by civilisation than an affectation borne from childhood lending to the claim of being a yellow freak.

One must not however contemn those who have been caught by this spectacle, it serves a purpose almost as nefarious as it could be considered sinister but there is no scriptural foundation for the burial of Satan, no matter how contrived the interpretation offered to loosen the purse strings of the sad to say seriously taken and gullible lot that participated in this travesty.


[1] 4oD – Channel 4 – Unreported World - The Making Of … Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers

[2] – II Timothy 4:3

Thursday 27 October 2011

Thought Picnic: Where there is life

The life we see

Sometimes, it looks like staring into the abyss, every road seems to have a road block, every idea seems to be fully disputed before it is voiced as a thought and you strive doing everything you know how as if to no avail.

The world with its demands and desires is completely oblivious of you, you are a name and an address; never a person always expected to answer calls, respond to inquiry and react to threats but it is unwilling to appreciate where you are.

You rise

Yet, within you lies strength you can never fully account for but you know that this vivid nightmare cannot go on forever; day always follows night and there is always a waking moment though perception will suggest the night is longer than it has ever been.

Mistake, mishap, misfortune have crowded at your till to pay for the goods, the comfort they have come to relieve you off but a fight within you says you will not be bereft of the solutions you desire.

Maybe you believe, maybe you do not, but someone somewhere is praying for you wishing you well and bearing the burdens you think you alone have borne – you cannot afford to despair, you cannot entertain disappointment for too long and discouragement should pass by long before it has had time to drop its unseemly baggage.

Breaking out and breaking through

You feel overwhelmed and at the same time you believe you will not only survive but thrive as a whole set of good circumstances that at one time seemed completely divergent and unrelated suddenly begin to form a new kind of amazing reality that you can only be thankful for.

As so on Tuesday, for a job I never sought, for pay I could not demand and for a trajectory I could not envisage but was offered the free encouragement of a willing mentor I start to help an organisation I once worked for implement change as a change comes to my circumstances.

The journey still looks long and difficult, threats that have been promises exacted and others that loom but I have always known one thing; where there is life, there is hope; where there is faith, there is possibility and where there is love, it conquers all.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

My Droid - HTC Sensation

A history of smartphones

I have been a smartphone buff for years and though my first smartphone conked out on me in Paris in 2004, it was the SPV 200 HTC Phone offered by Orange that I had to settle with a SonyEricsson T610 for the remainder of my contract.

My first full function smartphone was the HTC P3600, I used it for almost 30 months, long beyond the term of the contract but just in time to get the new HTC Touch Diamond 2 (codename HTC Topaz), it was still functioning well into 29 months of usage when I thought I should go for the best new thing in town.

It was never going to be an iPhone but a choice between Windows Mobiles that had served me well or the excitement of an Android phone, commonly known as Droids. I soon realised that the phones no more have styluses, which has been a requirement for my smartphone in that I still liked the handwriting recognition script of Graffiti which debuted on the Palm Pilots and HandSpring Organisers of over a decade ago.

My Droid – HTC Sensation

It came down to a choice between Samsung and HTC, the Samsung looking like I would need sack for a pocket with a holster belt, I decided on the HTC Sensation [HTC] (codename HTC Pyramid).

For the first time T-Mobile my current provider that had metamorphosed or assimilated DutchTone that I first had a contract with in 2003, then Orange and now T-Mobile could provide me with a phone in English rather than my having to order it from online stores.

My HTC Sensation [Wikipedia] is about 20% bigger than my old phone, it does not fit in any of my previous phone cases and there is no case at present that has the easy belt holster of that size as at yet. I noticed the USB port was non-standard but HTC has now separated the audio jack from the USB connection, any standard headphone jack can be connected doubly as an antenna for the FM radio application.

The Android Market

I started charging up the phone in the library as I worked on how to move all my data from my old phone to the new, I decided to leave the SMS Text Messages but get all my contacts, this was easily done by syncing my old phone with Microsoft ActiveSync and then populating my new phone with HTC Sync which was not a doddle to setup; it was cumbersome and clunky having a poor error reporting facility to indicate why there were problems and though I have had a few connections afterwards, it has been a Touch-and-Go system for synchronization.

Almost immediately, I was installing MyPhoneExplorer which seems to offer a better interface and more fully featured components for synchronisation and backup. There is a mobile phone client and a desktop client, the former is best downloaded from the Android Market and whilst the instructions suggest that the USB connection should be on Charge Only, I have noticed that it should really be on HTC Sync for a connection to be made.

One’s history with smartphones will have a tendency to inform about the best tools for a phone, utilities, interfaces, guides, protection and referencing come to mind.

Tools & Utilities

I found AVG had a free AntiVirus, then Android Assistant with 17 features, Android System Cleaner seemed like a sensible download too, the installation of software was so easy, clicking on the install option on a desktop will automatically communicate the download to the phone and complete the installation.

Graffiti for Android came next, though without a stylus, I had to use my finger, I soon found out I had to enable Hardware Keyboard under Graffiti settings to have the Graffiti interface show up.

There is no e-Sword Bible for the Android so I had to make do with MySword Bible, I downloaded Evernote to handle notes then found that HTC had a Notes widget, QR Droid for the fun of it to read QR Codes, Full Wifi to allow for IEEE 802.1x authentication for wireless access points and TweetDeck for Android.

Over time, I found that the HTC Sense user interface was slow and sometimes unresponsive and so I ended up going to SPB Software to get a new home screen SPB Shell 3D which allows for a better arrangement of my applications, utilities and tools; that is the only software I have purchased for my Droid.

I most cases, I have taken time to read the customer reviews of all the applications I have installed to I do not run into the problems they have encountered.

Online at all times

The contacts function of my phone is quite versatile, as it has intelligently combined my standard contacts with email, Facebook, Twitter & WhatsApp contacts that I have a comprehensive address book even more so considering a good deal of my Facebook friends whose phone numbers I never had are now part of my Address Book.

My Droid is always online and it pays to have an unlimited data access inclusive in my phone subscription but I do have to switch on roaming for data when abroad and T-Mobile has changed the access and pricing structure to ensure one does not end up with humongous charges – I remember returning home from Spain in 2007 to a phone bill in excess of EUR 1,400 because Orange was charging EUR 15/MB, I think is it down to less than EUR 2/MB though there are deals that allow for a week of unlimited roaming access in Europe for just EUR 15-.

I have only had my Droid for just under 3 weeks, I am sure there will be more to write about in months, but I can say I have no regrets moving from Windows Mobile, I am not really missing my stylus and this touch thing can be good fun, the swipes, taps, double-taps, pinches and calliper movements all make for an interesting smartphone experience.

It is most likely I will excite Droid envy in iBrick users than they will in me.

Friday 14 October 2011

Editorial: Nigerian Government Dishonesty About Fuel Subsidy

The Fuel Subsidy Debate

The Nigerian Social Media space has been considering the possibility of Nigerians waking up from their docility and acceptance of everything thrown at them by their indifferent government to the inspiration of their own Arab Spring early next year.

This has been predicated by the decision of the government to remove subsidies from Premium Motor Spirit what we generally call fuel subsidy early next year.

The chatter has really been confounded by the situation where over decades there have been threats and salami-sliced implementations of the removal but no one is particularly sure of how much that subsidy really is, that it has become some imaginary slush fund of ready cash that the government suggests it will plough back into the economy taking cognisance of the effects such a removal might have on the working classes.

The Truth About Our Government

Sadly, the government has never really had a track record of ploughing oil profits back into the pockets of Nigerians except in the mid-70s after which plunder and squander has been the tack of those in leadership with little consideration of the bottom-line and particular welfare of the generality of the people – there are points for argument in the previous statement but little to dispute in terms of results.

Fundamentally, the fuel subsidy is literally the substrate of the totality of the Nigerian economy, it will touch on every aspect of life in relation to prices for food, goods, transport and every other service apart from the inflationary pressures it will present, but those issues are best left to central bankers and economists whilst one deals with a few other brass tacks.

Plans or Fables?

As a producer of petroleum products, it is bordering on the atrocious that Nigeria imports about 85% of its refined fuel needs because its existing four refineries are poorly managed and are lacking in serious productive capacity which means that the federal government subsidies imported fuel to the tune of $4 billion annually. [TransparencyNG]

Commonsense will suggest that the long-term goal of the government will be to facilitate, encourage or sponsor raising our refined fuel capacity to levels that will ensure that the subsidy expended in imports is radically reduced, at least that is what informed the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation in May last year to build refineries in Lagos, Kebbi and Bayelsa States at the cost of $23 billion. [TransparencyNG][China in Africa][BBC News]

Whilst it is interesting to note the activity of the Chinese in building refineries in Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, what made interesting news a few months ago was the idea that Niger might get way ahead of Nigeria in commissioning its own refineries and end up exporting refined fuel to Nigeria. [All Africa]

How Much Is The Subsidy?

Besides, it appears no one is sure of what the cost of subsidising fuel is, the Central Bank in its MPC Meeting minutes suggested that the cost was about $6 billion, the on-going debate in the Nigerian Senate suggests the Federal Government budgeted NGN 240 billion ($1.54 billion) for subsidies in 2011 but have found that cost inflated to NGN 1.5 trillion ($9 6 billion) in what is a looking like a typical Nigerian scam. [CBN (PDF) Page 3][All Africa]

This amazing discrepancy should have heads rolling faster than when the Bastille movement chopped off heads in the French revolution, but none such will happen because the matter of responsibility leading on to accountability is just absent in Nigerian governance.

As an aside, the real big cost of governance sits within the profligate nature of our Federal Government, the abuse of security votes at state government level and the exorbitance of our legislature that consumes over 25% of our Federal Government overheads without essentially being a productive sector of our economy.

Indonesia Caught in Denials

Much as the idea of building more refining capacity in Nigeria does not seem to appeal to those resolute in finding another largesse to nudge their greedy snouts into, what adds insult to injury in spite of the now seemingly white elephant plans to build refineries in Nigeria is the news that Nigeria plans to invest Rp 24 trillion (US$2.68 billion) in Indonesia to build three refineries. [Jakarta Post]

The Nigerian Government has gone to great lengths to deny this report, but one has to ask why Indonesia will dream up such a scheme if there were no iota of truth in the same. The Nigerian Government unfortunately for all its protestations has a Matilda Complex about it, its propensity for denying fact and defending lies is legendary especially with the instrument of Social Media personnel it has employed for propaganda, obfuscation, distraction and alienation. [All Africa][AkinBlog]

Our Insurrection In Planning

It has become known that any opposition to the government is quickly construed as unpatriotic whilst the government has perfected a complacency of siege mentality proffering more excuse than reason for any action or inaction they have found themselves in.

At the end of the day, the reasonable thing about fuel subsidy is for Nigeria to build and sustain its refining capacity by whatever means encourages that trajectory and it is only after that is put in place that the desire to remove the fuel subsidy can be justified.

Nigerians have two and a half long months to put everything in place to start off their justifiable insurrection against a moribund, ineffective government in détente and inertia, for once, let us – Arise, O Compatriots and heed a call for a democracy that is fair, just, honest and true.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Editorial: Beyond great balls of fire bringing aeroplanes down

The closeness of exploding balls

The totality of the male gender of mankind might well heave a great sigh of relief at the news that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the legendary “underwear bomber” or “pants bomber” had pleaded guilty.

When it was first announced that a terrorist with the intent of bombing a plane had all the components of the bomb in his underwear, I wrote that the sanctum of the crown jewels had been defiled.

I am sure many of us of the male gender who have once had feedback related to the tenderness of our testicles would have just found it impossible to appreciate the level of self-loathing and amazing masochism that Mr. Abdulmutallab exhibited in the wiliness to set his balls and in the process a whole plane on fire.

Given wholly to a strange cause

The powers of persuasion of his Yemeni handlers must be cause for serious study because he was by no means an idiot having studied abroad and with the means to traverse international borders with little hindrance.

A couple of times during his trial, his outbursts contradicting the fact that Osama bin Laden & Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed made some including myself wonder if he was onto pleading guilty by reason of some diminished responsibility like insanity.

More so, considering he had jettisoned his defence team and had apparently been abandoned, the seeming lack of support systems could have made for a mistrial in certain circumstances.

Spared the goriness of it all

Much as many would have wanted to be privy to all the details of how he gained the moniker of “pants bomber” being spared the details of a platform to express his pride at such foolishness was probably welcome in his pleading guilty.

He will in the next year be sentenced probably after psychiatric reports whilst the Nigerian Foreign Minister in his statement on this case bereft of diplomatic nuance risked giving tacit approval of terrorist activity, his words being misconstrued by reviewers on Twitter and in comments where he was attempting to show that Nigerian prisoners abroad will get adequate consular support.

One can only wonder what terrorist ploy others as gullible might have to mind as they attempt to evade all security measures to wreak havoc.

However, with Mr. Abdulmutallab slowing moving out of the news headlines it should also mean that the association of Nigerians with international terrorism is less so obvious.


The BBC News website carried the story 'Underwear bomber' Abdulmutallab pleads guilty, yesterday whilst the Vanguard Newspaper ran the story Nigeria will not abandon Farouk Abdulmutallab, says Minister.

Thought Picnic: These Legs Were Made For Walking

The passage of time

Sometimes, there is so much going on and so much to write about but one is not presented with the inspiration to commit the thoughts and happenings to the structure of a blog.

Milestones and dates have come and gone, some, one wants to remember, others, one will love to forget be those landmarks 31 years, 9 years, 2 years or even 10 months – we count the passage of time for blessing and thankfulness or for dread of a past that would be best part of the long distant past.

The pain and the cane

However, I have been interested in sharing some news about my health. For 8 years, I have used a cane for problems with back-pain initially and then the loss of muscle-mass as a result of the lack of use of my left leg which was most affected by the cancer lesions on my sole.

For over a year, I have struggled with the problems of a weak leg, the exhaustion of walking and a unbalanced gait that resulted from having weaker leg. The cane appeared to steady my walk and give me just that little extra for traction, albeit considerably slower than other pedestrians.

Strength returning

I discovered the fun of cycling about half a year ago and I have gone to places I have never ventured by bicycle unaware that I have to stamina to make such journeys. Maybe it was just the matter of means, opportunity, will and ability, but I have noticed some really good results.

It has now gone 4 weeks since I stopped using my cane, there were times I have packed my 3-piece bolt-up cane in my bag, I do that no more. I have given up the use of the cane and had not need to use even an umbrella for support when I was out the other day.

Not a fashion statement

There are people who have thought the cane was a throw-back to some genteel age of being dandy and proper, much as one did at times have that appearance, the purpose was hardly for fashion or airs.

I would not have thought a time will come when I will not need the cane again and for that I am thankful and grateful to God as well as happy that I am discovering a new age of youthfulness.

That is, I think, a good update to share.

Saturday 8 October 2011

#ABSURape: It is now justice or bust on Social Media

They walked

I should have gone to bed but after reading the news story that the police were of the opinion that the ABSU gang rape (Twitter hashtag #ABSURape) victim agreed to be raped [1]; all gloves had to come off.

On the 5th of October 2011, walks to protest the #ABSURape were organised to take place in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, Abuja and Lagos, the walks were seriously militated against by the Abia State government with radio jingles advising people not to support the initiative, the walkers were then briefly harassed by the security services.

In Abuja, the walkers got to meet certain ministry officials though much was done to prevent it from happening but in Lagos, they did walk to the Abia State Liaison Office where forceful representations were made on this matter.

My reports of these walks were gleaned from postings made on Twitter, other participants can provide more detailed information about what they experienced, we have to address a more serious burning issue.

So, he watched that DVD

The Abia State Police Command has apparently suspended investigations into the gang rape with the view that the girl victim consented to the rape.

Now, I find it impossible to get it round my little head from what has been reported by those who have viewed that video that the said victim was looking forward to a sex orgy by any stretch of the imagination.

A J. G. Micloth who is the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the state’s Criminal Investigation Department said he watched the DVD “tape” sent to him and could not see the young lady resisting the rape.

In trying to exculpate the police from taking any responsibility for solving the crime, he suggested the suspects could not be identified from the legs amongst the possible 70 million Nigerian males, which is fair enough.

Some serious questions

However, in the next statement there is a clear abdication of responsibility and a default to the tolerance if not the condoning of sexual violence when he first said, “gang rape is often videoed as a tool by under-graduate boys to rubbish the self-esteem of snobbish girls.

The questions that arise from that statement are:

So the police recognise gang rape as a tool and are unconcerned about it?

Is mutual consent not required for the recording of any sexual activity?

Do girls have no right to be snobbish and deny advances from boys they are not interested in and be protected from such menace?

When did our society degenerate to the level that such activity by undergraduate boys had become the norm that the police did not care that it happened?

How can a policeman of such a high-ranking utter such statements without any consequence?

Is there a definition of rape in Nigeria?

Then he went on to say, “even if the lady had not consented,” which introduces the suspicion of rape that the policeman had turned into a triviality with the flippant nature of his comment.

He then figured, “that she was a girlfriend to one of the cultists and must have probably cheated on him and when queried ‘insulted’ the boy hence he probably assembled a gang to teach her the lesson of her life.”

So, without any proof whatsoever, he had come to the conclusion that the end of teaching her the lesson of her life had been justified because her supposed boyfriend had been insulted when he questioned her about a possible allegation of cheating on him.

Reviewing the statements together, the policemen has decided that even without consent, but for the sake of teaching her a lesson, it was not rape.

It really beggars belief that it is no more law enforcement working through the proper legal process of aggrievement or crime, investigation, arraignment, adjudication and punishment that in the words of the policeman, teaches “the lesson of [his/]her life” but as it were, jilted undergraduate Nigerian men can take the law into their own hands with impunity, rape women with no consequence and find support from the police that the supposed victim was having a nice time.

A rotten investigation

Now, obviously, the names that have before appeared in the media have been said not to belong to the alleged rapists but innocent persons who were helping researchers ascertain who the victim was and hopefully elicit who the rapists were too.

The police however contend that they have combed the records of the university and visited the supposed locations of the gang rape act and concluded there were no such students at the university.

The only respite in this sordidly unbelievable tale is that the police have offered NGN 500,000 as a reward leading to the arrest of the culprits; this I believe will be augmented with the NGN 200,000 stumped up in the name of the Enough is Enough Organisation.

In all, we have to recognise that the university, the government and the police have from the onset been more than reluctant to take on this case, in fact, they have been hoping that the clamour for justice will wane over time as they twiddled their thumbs in denial and indifference.

There are no words to describe the view of the governor of the state when he suggested the rape video was staged by his political detractors to discredit him and his government; it plumbs the depths of inhumanity that will give the devil second place that no compassion has been shown towards the victim apart from the desperate attempts to close down this heinous crime wishing any remembrance of it will not go away.

Social media activism is it

Once again, we need to redouble our efforts on every forum and by every means to get these men and much as we would hate for the victim to have to relive the ordeal she went through, no justice is served for her or the impunity to commit other crimes if information cannot be coaxed to apprehend them and have them severely punished.

It goes without saying that one’s confidence in the Abia State Police Command to pursue this investigation to a conclusion is lacking, they are prejudiced if not voyeuristically pleasured by the DVD than to see what their duty to society is and it is appalling that such can represent law enforcement even in the dungeons of the harshest cruelty in this whole wide world.

It would appear the Situation Room for this crime returns once again to social media where injustices might well be compounded but everything and I dare say anything must be done to apprehend those cockroaches – this #ABSURape must not go unpunished and by God let it be those 5 men and none else.

As for those who condemned the social media activism as tabloid stupidity, they had better come off their high horses and sanctimonious disavowal with some constructive ideas as to how to help the victim and apprehend the culprits; enough of playing smart, carping from the side-lines with feigned righteous indignation.


[1] ABSU gang rape: Victim agreed to be raped – Police | Vanguard

Friday 7 October 2011

419 Reasons to Like Nigeria - The Land of Potential and Opportunity

The 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria Initiative

On the 1st of October 2011, we launched the 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria Initiative in conjunction with the 419 Positive Project. The date heralded the 51st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This initiative brought together over a hundred people with blogs and online presence who all had something notable, positive, commendable and worthwhile to say about Nigeria.

Its main purpose was to deal with negative online stereotypes of Nigeria such that any search for information about Nigeria will find these reasons, views and opinions as the most relevant results.

Coordinated across many countries that included Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands participants, it showed how we could harness online networking efforts to achieve a goal that was responded to by many with great enthusiasm.

This initiative however does not pretend to address all Nigeria’s ills but it provides a good opportunity for Nigeria and its friends to celebrate the country and its people despite and in spite of everything else as we refused to allow cynical and unsympathetic views to dampen our resolve.

The 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria Initiative did not end with one publication, we will over time showcase parts of the 419 Reasons that are completely hosted on the 419 Positive Project website whilst asking for new contributions to be submitted to the 419 Positive Project Page.

Nigeria – The Land of Potential and Opportunity

This week, review Reasons 001 - 035

1. Africa is the future, Nigeria is her giant – It’s obvious to the world that global prosperity going forward will hinge heavily on Africa and Asia. I love Nigeria because we are divinely, strategically located and placed in Africa.

2. Nigeria is the most populous black nation – and a buying one at that. From a capitalist point of view, this makes for a great investment opportunities.

3. Nigeria is the land of opportunity. It is pretty much a virgin market with capacity for many business ideas. If you have a brilliant idea and the funding, you will make so much money in Nigeria. Why? There are over 160 million people and a large informal market of consumers. If you identify the right market segment and establish a business, your profit margin will go through the roof. For instance, at the advent of mobile phones in the country, a South African company, MTN, came into the country as one of the first foreign investors. It is said that the company makes more profits from Nigeria are higher than its home country.

4. An expanding commercial market. Lagos is currently the second most populous city in Africa, following Cairo. The United Nations predicts that by 2025 Lagos will be the 11th largest city in the world.

5. The UK government in 2011, described Nigeria is the world’s fourth fastest growing economy with solid growth expected in the next five years.

6. The size (population) of the country, Nigeria, makes it a potential business/salesperson’s paradise (over 160 million potential consumers — the largest market in Africa).

7. Nigeria’s market is indeed very promising. With over 160 million potential customers you simply can’t go wrong.

8. Nigeria is Africa’s largest mobile market with over 85 million subscribers.

9. Recent developments in the payments space means that online and mobile transactions will make a huge footprint in the coming years. There’s never been a better time to get Nigerian businesses taking advantage of the internet and the wide range of opportunities that come with it. This works especially well for those selling products.

10. Nigeria is the largest market in Africa for Guinness and the second largest globally, after UK, since it overtook Ireland in 2007. Nigeria owing to its market size, is predicted to take the lead ahead of the UK by 2014.

11. Nigeria, previously viewed as a risky investment environment, is gradually becoming the investors target especially with the growing middle class. The Fast Moving Consumer Goods market in 2011 has experienced much expansion with multinationals like Coca-Cola Hellenic, Heineken and PZ Cussons increased investments in their local units.

12. We make frighteningly good use of opportunity when it presents itself. Take a look at communication and the adoption of technology. I daresay that there is no country that adopted faster. If we light up Nigeria today, I assure you, we’ll leap ahead twenty years in two.

13. Another reason to like Nigeria is because of the future we can see. Because people are becoming more enlightened each day and the youth is more hands-on than ever before; I can be pretty confident that not too long from now, this should be a country to be reckoned with. I like Nigeria for the future I see.

14. Nigeria is not only about size, it’s about numbers and companies that are not selling in Nigeria are missing out on huge market.

15. I like Nigeria because it is a land of endless opportunities and possibilities. Nigeria is one country I believe the world is yet to experience it true potentials. I believe Nigerians are sharp, brilliant and accommodating people. Giving the right enabling environment the world will marvel at what Nigeria will become.

16. The taxation system is a reason to like Nigeria. The Federal government doesn’t impose heavy tax on the labour force. This encourages foreigners to come to Nigeria to work, for there is good pay as well as returns. For instance, in Germany there is dog tax, however in Nigeria, you’re free to own as many dogs as you please without having to bother about paying the government for your pets.

17. You can sell weave to a woman with perfectly good hair on her head. With over 160 million people making up Africa’s biggest consumer market, you can sell nearly any type of product or service in Nigeria and still have a huge market! People here are just hungry for excellent products – and they’ve got the buying power to back it up!

18. We confound acclaimed economic models, yet you ignore us at your own peril. In economics, sociology, psychology and politics, Nigerian case studies are worth pursuing.

19. Unlimited data (well, nearly unlimited) for the Blackberry Internet Service, is relatively cheap when compared with what my colleagues pay in the US and the UK. N3000 for a month? That sounds like a deal, and is especially useful for mobile small businesses. It really helps, considering that the price of regular broadband internet versus what one actually gets is rather expensive.

20. The fact that Nigeria currently lags behind so much – in infrastructure and developmental terms – hints at the size of the potential for innovation and transformation, and at the huge number of vacancies that exist for ‘transformers’. What I think this means is that the world will be hearing a lot about Nigeria and high-achieving Nigerians (in the public and private sectors) in the near future.

21. The agricultural potential of Nigeria will make her the envy of developed nations in years to come.

22. I left a seed of black-eyed bean in my kitchen sink, next day it was already sprouting. Where else in the world does that occur except Nigeria?

23. Our business environment is very welcoming and full of untapped business opportunities.

24. Our youth population is a force that can be used for good, and if empowered, will drive Nigeria’s small scale industries potential.

25. Shopping in traffic jams – the ultimate time saver! The hawker’s market is one that begs economic research.

26. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing countries in the music and film industry. This is good for investors.

27. There are LOADS of opportunities. It’s virgin ground for loads of innovation and new unique ideas.

28. Nigeria is a developing country and this creates an avenue for investment which will foster growth.

29. Nigeria is the future of the world. Increasing attention from foreign economies is proof positive for this.

30. There are many economic opportunities, and recent global consulting company reports point to Nigeria and Africa as the future.

31. Nigeria is the land of opportunity, where you can invest in loads of things {Economic investment}.

32. Our man power, which has made foreigners form an alliance with us to aid and promote industries and industrial investment.

33. NIGERIA is that country where you can make good money from businesses with fair tax costs.

34. Entrepreneurs can flourish in Nigeria. There is a mass market of consumers and many business opportunities.

35. Innovation and world-changing-ideas abound in infinite quantities in this great country. The only boundary is support.

‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’
Campaign is in partnership with
‘The419Positive Project’.

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