My Nigeria, your Nigeria

These are trying times in our nation. We have as a people have gotten it all wrong. Our ideologies, our values, our everything. How did we arrive at this present situation where the dollar is about to hit 400 naira on the parallel market? And what do we intend to do? Sit down and apportion blames? Or get off our ass and find a lasting solution to this problem before it gets out of hand. Talking won’t do it because we as a people are not short of ideas about the problems that beleaguer us.

All that comes to mind is the song by musical legend “Lagbaja”; 200 million mumus. For that aptly describes us. For we are the architect of our own misfortune. A people who celebrate mediocrity and hail their destroyer as their “Savior”. A people so artificial and shallow in thinking, who regard sensationalism as the gospel truth. I myself am guilty of this and will not attempt to absolve myself of blame. I have sat and watched and convinced myself that what goes around has nothing to do with me as long as I feel sheltered in my cocoon. Trust me when I say all I did was to create a quasi-hell for myself and now I have to live with my mistake.

Traitors all

With a tired grimace spread on my face, I read the news of 500 APC members defect to PDP. I sighed and decided to seek the opinion of people on social media and I was shocked with reactions. Some congratulated them for seeing the light while some cursed them. Some came to look for their missing phone charger while some were only interested in registering their presence. What a shame. Indeed “There was a Country!”. Defectors they call themselves, I call them traitors. Feckless fellas, no spine, despicable, shameless, that is what they really are. These charlatans lack ideology, conviction and principle. All they are interested in is what they can get in monetary terms from their betrayal. Its time we stopped celebrating them and call them what they really are: Traitors all

Media?

The days of Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu etc saw journalism at its peak in Nigeria. Professionals they all were, men who had honour, who stood for the truth, and lived by the truth. What we have today however is a shame. Seeing major news outlets spurn out news that they later have to retract is sad. We no longer know what to believe, but one thing we are certain of is the usual Screaming Headlines that hold neither water nor truth. As if that were not enough, aside few media outlets, investigative journalism has taken a back seat, and junk journalism rules.

General Muhammadu Buhari

I never was a fan of APC, but I have come to accept the fact that GMB is president and my leader. I pray that he succeeds in this mammoth task of leading the country in this difficult times. I have a few things I would like to tell the president however.

Dear Sir, you are faced with an enormous task, but do not be discouraged. Your people look up to you for guidance and for the way forward. They look to you with hope (though fast dying). They look up to you and hope that their cries and struggles are not in vain, for their dreams are your dreams and their suffering are yours as well. Hearken to their voices, hold them close and let them see that while you are no Christ or Prophet Mohammed, you are still a beacon of hope, a symbol of the change we truly seek! The path to greatness is strewn with pitfalls and danger, however with strength in our diversity, belief in ourselves, and love for the soul of the nation, we shall surmount and restore pride in ourselves, our race and a future assured for generations to come!!!

On a closing note, Senator Ben Murray Bruce has charted a path to greatness that if tolled will yield that which we seek. The #BuyNaijaToGrowThe Naira is a commendable campaign and if we buy naija, we are saving not just the naira, but the country and the future. What we make of the situation we find ourselves in now will determine our history as a people. Do we set the course of history right and make Nigeria the giant of Africa and a world power? Do we let posterity judge us as being heroes? or as a foolish people who destroyed their country with their own hands?

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The Shoki and Sekem Generation

The past few days I have had reasons to engage in deep thought and ponder on the future of this country, the direction its youth are taking and their “naivety” in the face of the quagmire of issues that bemuses this country. Of course it is not an insult to them, and I am not absolving myself, however to avoid the truth and pretend that all is well, will serve only to hasten the speed with which this country hurtles towards destruction.

Events of the past few days have warranted the need for this post, and it troubles my soul to realize that only but few people have seen the need to discuss these troubling times, worse that nobody feels it’s time to act and set things right. Taking a clue from this generation, you will be shocked at what are the laid out priorities. I mean, it’s great to catch fun, doing the shoki and sekem steps; I certainly envy those who can perform the steps with ease, and I have been trying to learn these steps, however, this doesn’t stop me from the reality on ground and the need to speak up. To illustrate my point, while serving in a school in Abeokuta last year, I asked some students who Chinua Achebe was and they looked at me like “why would I be interested in such a gal”? Of course when I asked about Wizkid, I got the shrieks of “Star boy”. Baffled, I decided to try again, this time, some weeks back with kids in my area in Lagos. I got blank from the kids I asked and while looking puzzled, my friend (who was with me while I asked the kids who Chinua Achebe was) asked if she wasn’t the woman who embezzled money.

I guess you all can imagine my indignation, and how I so much wanted to knock my friend out. But you all will be wondering how Shoki and Chinua relates? It doesn’t. I am just attempting to highlight the consequences of us attaching importance to stuffs that does not develop us intellectually. These days, more attention is placed on entertainment, not that it is bad, but for God’s sake we have so much music and movie reality shows out there, where millions are won, and yet, few or virtually no show that rewards brilliance and innovation. If the likes of Davido, Wizkid, and Kcee get endorsements worth millions, why would a kid want to excel in his or her studies when there is no certainty of him or her “making it”?

I digress a lot maybe, but my aim is to show how bad it is. These days, all I hear are ”dreams of hitting it big via crook or vile means”. My ears hurt terribly. For long now I have nothad the opportunity to discuss ideologies or theories, like pan africanism, Marxism, or whatever isms.

To the bone of contention for me, some weeks back, despite the fact that the Army were winning the battle against Boko Haram, there was an announcement by the FG that there was going to be a cease fire between the Army and Boko HAram. Hearing this, I am sure some people might have heaved a sigh of relief, but the truth is all I heard around me was talks about going to FELABRATION and what to wear. I mean, “what?” Why would people not be concerned about the effects such a decision would have on the morale and image of the country. What country knowing it has got insurgents by their balls literally agrees a cease fire and its citizenry just accepts this ? There were a few people online who argued against this, and advised that the government consolidates on its efforts at ridding the insurgents entirely but they were not listened to. As the events of the past few days have proved, they were right. People lost their lives to a bomb blast in Gombe and Mubi was over run. What was annoying was that citizens of this country fled from their homes like refugees, and yet, we saw nothing wrong in condemning the government and demanding that heads roll.

Rather, what seems to be the news is the defection of Tambuwal from PDP to APC. And the worst aspect is that the political leaders and their followers have decided to centre the crisis on the lines of religion and tribe. I have to admit that this is sickening. Are we saying we are slaves forever to our leaders? Of course they have the political power and authority, but we seem to forget that we gave them these powers. We own the will, the strength, the future of the state; we have the power of the masses and yet we prefer to play the fiddle while our Rome burns. Burkina Faso had its leader toppled after the people bluntly rejected him. Yet, we Nigerians are all praying to God to come down and help us; its pathetic. I see no reason why we should be relaxed while our sovereignty and our rights are severely trampled on by our leaders. The time for change is nigh. We cannot accept nor allow our leaders to keep taking us for a ride. Our political leaders and government must be accountable to us, because they are there to serve us and not the other way round. Also, we must have a sober reflection and change our ways. Its not enough to leave important decisions affecting our lives in the hands of these leaders who don’t have our interest at heart, we have to ensure we engage them intelligently and make them realize that the pendulum has swung and we hold our fate in our hands.

Borrowing the words of Fashola: “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn’t seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn’t know, the slowpoke, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations”.

This is why we must henceforth engage ourselves in the business of the governance of us; after all we claim to be in a democracy which is defined to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people. And as such the government must be for us, not us being strung around like puppets by our self serving political leaders.

For our leaders, I have this to say;

Remember! Remember!! Remember!!!

The French revolution, when the people stood up against their leaders and how it ended.

Remember! Remember!! Remember!!!

The Arab Spring, when governments were toppled by their people.

Remember! Remember!! Remember!!!

The will of the people supersedes your will and should the people be forced to exert their will, the consequences won’t be to the favor of the leaders………..

In Retrospect

A few days back, two of my friends; Mr. Colawole and Mr. Femi, after reading my post “CHAOS” accused me of doing nothing (the very thing my article was all about). Mr. Femi bluntly told me that suggesting a solution would have been appropriate. Got me thinking and fortunately, news this morning gave me a clue as to how to offer a solution. I have decided to segment my solution, with each article to be posted tackling a particular problem highlighted in “CHAOS”.

So here goes; this article is to address the issue of governance and it will focus on the issue of local government autonomy. Last week, the dailies carried a piece about how both factions of the NGF (Nigeria Governors Forum) are opposed to the proposed autonomy of Local Governments in Nigeria. Both factions were vocal in their opposition, and they even suggested its illegal and claimed its implementation would the first of its kind in the world. Quoting the Vanguard newspaper here, in an interview with the DG of the Amaechi led faction of the NGF, Asishana Okauru, “there is no country where there are three federating units”. I was appalled to hear such a statement, especially since its purpose I assume is to undermine whatever goodwill the bill might find with the populace. Please, can someone remind these people that we are in the global village, where information is at the fingertips of all.

If for lack of proof, I know for a fact that Britain operates local government councils which are “autonomous”. Wikipedia puts it that “the pattern of local government in England is complex, with the distribution of functions varying according to the local arrangements”; the underlined, a clear emphasis on their autonomy. There is in total over 478 patterns of local government and they are divided into upper tier and lower tier authorities. To avoid confusion, I would advice a further read on local governments in England on Wikipedia. The United States also has local governments which are autonomous. Thus one wonders where the governors got their information that local governments being autonomous is alien to the world

The objections raised by the governors reveal a sinister desire to retain the status quo and keep Nigerians under perpetual bondage. We all know how governors have been with the local governments in their states. Most governors refuse to hold local government elections, till probably the tail end of their tenure, and they hold sway as Lords. They forget that its undemocratic and they appoint caretakers, and disburse funds to the 3rd tier of government only when they feel like, having deducted unlawfully some amounts. This is despite the state allocation and other monies that enter the state purse from the federal government such as security votes, ecological fund and the likes. They even run the councils like a family business, rewarding their close and faithful associates with appointments as caretakers. To buttress the extent of abuse by the governors, I will give an example of my state governor. After being elected into office, he refused to hold local council elections and instead appointed caretaker chairmen. And then my governor set about the task of constructing markets, garages, health centers, citing them as dividends of democracy and people were applauding him. Of course the logic was he was doing what no other governor had done, but does that still justify a governor taking on the duties of a local government chairman and claiming to be providing me with the dividends of democracy.

Sincerely, for so long these politicians have taken us for a ride and now is the time to stand against this continued systemic slavery. This opposition by the governors must be resisted. An autonomous local government will certainly clip the wings of the governors, depraving them of an avenue to continually siphon and embezzle funds meant for the grassroots. Therefore, the clarion call to change things starts now, let us use the social media, organize rallies, sensitize people and while we are at this, we must ensure that there is accountability from the councils. A good way to achieve this is having a forum or an oversight committee which is independent, and whose duty is to deter fraudulent practices and embezzlement of funds. This forum or committee will be made up of people in the locality who are of impeccable character and have the interest of the populace at heart. Also, the chairmen and councilors must not be afforded the luxury of immunity, and due process must be their modus operandi.

Hopefully Nigerians will rally round and fight for the autonomy of local governments. #givelocalgovtsautonomy. Spread the message