Akintokunbo Adejumo

Akintokunbo Adejumo

Akintokunbo Adejumo, M Sc.,CIHM, MCMI, FITP, MIH, a social and political commentator on Nigerian issues, lives and works in London, UK as a housing professional. He is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1979) and University of Manitoba, Canada (1985). He is also the Coordinator of CHAMPIONS FOR NIGERIA, an organisation devoted to celebrating genuine progress, excellence, commitment, selfless and unalloyed service to Nigeria and the people of Nigeria

Thursday, 04 January 2018 22:27

Nigeria’s Democratic Euphoria is over!

The elation over Nigeria’s experiment in democracy is over. Reality is once again at our doorstep with the worrying questions about our future – the calibre of those running (or ruining) the country, security, impunity of those in power, marginalisation, restructuring, economic slump, poor governance structure, etc.

Why is our nation, home to brilliant minds, rich traditions, rich in natural and mineral resources and centuries of wisdom, withering in poverty while most other nations rapidly move ahead of us?

Why are we, as a nation, drifting purposelessly, without direction or vision? Are our current systems, economic, political, and social, limiting us in this era of intense global competition among nations?

Can we, the people of Nigeria, afford to watch while barefaced official corruption, political volatility, rudderless administration in the states, flagrant profligacy, tribalism, religious intolerance, maladministration and administrative lapses, overloaded and corrupt judiciary and cumbersome civil service, and unbelievable personal greed demoralise our society and negate the advances we seem to have made so far? Why have we been getting a raw deal from our various leaders and governments over a very long period of our existence as a nation?

Like all nations, Nigeria too has changed. Unfortunately, the fatherland that we see today is not what we desired our country to be. Much of the change, especially over the last two decades, has caused serious anxiety amongst a lot of us, to the extent of desperation and sadness. However, haven't we haplessly and helplessly watched on, either choosing to compromise our integrity or insulating ourselves from the forces that threaten our society? 

Nigeria is at present assailed, besieged and afflicted with multiple deficiencies of the following (not in order of any importance)

  • Insecurity and fear.
  • Endemic and brazen corruption, impunity, and indiscipline.
  • Infrastructural decay.
  • Massive unemployment and youth discontent.
  • Poor, insensitive (and in some cases, a dearth of) leadership.
  • Religious, ethnic, and political intolerance.
  • Poverty of both mind and material.
  • Deficiencies in our educational system.
  • Economic slump that we seemingly have no answers for.

Nigeria has the resources (both human and material); we have the brains, the ideas, the education, the skills, the knowledge, in other words, we have the potential and everything to make a great nation; a peaceful, progressive, and developed nation that could be the envy of the comity of nations.

Unfortunately for us, what we DO NOT have is simple, collective, and individual Honesty and Sincerity of Purpose. Let’s face it, we are not sincere and honest in this country. Truth has also gone out through the window and dissipated into thin air. Hypocrisy and sycophancy are the order of the day. Truth and Sincerity are very hard to determine, to see, to hear and to speak in Nigeria. Nobody says it, hear it, or adhere to Truth. Truth is like the proverbial needle in the haystack – impossible to find! Those who sometimes wish to express the Truth soon find themselves in trouble, or worse, dead.

Majority of the citizens, supposedly patriotic and well learned and capable, elected, elevated, or appointed into government and public positions end up being corrupt, even if not corrupt before their appointments. For many of our politicians, they are corrupt before election into public office. Some are even proven wanted criminals. The lure of easy money, the gaping loopholes in the system, the pressure from their communities all intensify their eventual capitulation to greed, selfishness, insensitivity and ultimately, corruption. And once you start, you cannot stop; so, the looting is endless, and with so much lucre, (that is, money regarded as sordid or distasteful or gained in a dishonourable way), coming into a jealously centralised government, the opportunity to “chop” what you can is infinite.

It never fails. Supposedly acclaimed, good men/women, brandishing CVs that are as long as the arm, with enviable records of achievement, education, travels around the world, recognition and accolades from respected and respectable organisations and individuals all over the world, eventually disappoint us when their brazen corruption is exposed. Or rather, they expose themselves when they start flaunting wealth that the public know are not commensurate with the positions they hold or have held. They never cease to astound me with their greed and corruption, despite their educational and academic brilliance, global knowledge, and experience, etc. Some, if not most, even came from so humble a background that one would expect a God-fearing, kind-hearted man/woman who had gone through such hardships and poverty in their early lives, would take it as personal and humanitarian crusades to serve the people and ensure that those he/she is elected or appointed to serve do not undergo such hardship. Alas! it doesn’t turn out to be so, rather, they want to acquire everything acquirable within such a short time to make up for their childhood hardship and poverty.

It is very true, that power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power, position, and wealth are really weapons of the devil against Man. The corruption of the political class, the military, private business and industrial communities and security agencies is bringing Nigeria to its knees. On a personal note, if you ask Nigerians, you find that there is no allegiance to the Nigeria state but a system to take from and not to contribute into. 

Government contracts can only be obtained by bribery; and if you do, nobody cares if you execute it or not. Nobody does anything without demanding or accepting some form of illicit gratification. It is a vicious cycle of corruption and misappropriation of funds. Thus, what should take one million naira to do will eventually cost ten million, plus poor workmanship. And we wonder where the money is, wonder where the contractor is and wonder where the government officials are. It is unending.

What is happening is that the Nigerian state is trying to re-invent itself when it has disallowed itself to evolve with the people. I believe if the institutions and structures are working the average Nigerian will not go into these extremities of corruption, swindling, armed-robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, and all other ills we are now experiencing in a previously strict, traditional, disciplined and morally-upright society.

Who do we blame? Do we keep on blaming the British for colonising us? Do we keep blaming the slave raiders (and our very own slave culture even before the arrival of the white man) for our current afflictions? Or do we continue to blame modern imperialists like the US, UK, China, etc.? Coloured television arrived in Nigeria before countries like Germany and many European countries and Australia. The discovery of oil in very large commercial volumes in the Niger Delta changed all the progress we were gradually making towards modern nation development and the easy money from the black gold oozing easily from beneath the ground and the creeks made it equally easy for the military to jettison all carefully and brilliantly laid development plans for the country towards agriculture and industrial growth. The result? A nation that has abandoned all sense of planning, and working hard and conscientiously for what they want – a lazy, indolent, focus-less and visionless nation whimpering on the edge of delusion, degradation and abject poverty of the mind and the physical; praying to God to come down and help them out without themselves wanting to lift a finger. A society where mediocrity gains a lot of mileage, and is preferred over merit, where almost everybody wants to work very little or less, but earn very large. A country where corruption is celebrated and honesty and truth are abhorred, unrewarded and shunned. Mediocrity rules and holds sway in the country and consequence is “res ipsa loquitur” (the thing speaks for itself). A country where abnormality has now become normal, and normality is considered abnormal.

It will take very strong, highly-disciplined men/women, with absolute and unflinching fear of God, consideration for the lives and plight of other less fortunate people, kind-heartedness and sensitivity for the plight of other people who are not even related to you, to resist the temptations posed and presented when in positions of power and authority, when in charge or have access to billions of naira/dollars. And it would seem there is a dearth of such men/women in our society, because, according to some schools of thought and opinions, some of us shouting against these injustices and corruption, are just waiting for our turn to get into power or appointment to grab/steal our own share of the loot. In fact, I have been personally accused of such over the years.

However, I fervently believe there is hope...! We know from the testimonies and occasional glimpses of hope from people who are fighting independent battles to correct the system.

Can you and I change our nation's current course? I am positive that we can, in many ways and with the right people and disposition.

In many conversations with fellow Nigerians, I could feel an urgent need to embrace real change, to create for us and for our children, a society with hope, opportunities, and fairness for all. But we need to do the walk, not the talk anymore. And this is what is missing. But maybe it won’t happen until the goat gets pushed to wall and has no alternative but to fight back.

But do we have to wait until that happens? When will that happen? What will make it happen?

Reminds one of ‘Animal Farm’. Lately I saw the fantastically ‘animated’ version of the Orwellian classic. Real animals were engaged and made to come alive with CGA overlay assists. What set out as a relaxing fun turned out to be an insightful journey, taking in the stunted growth that has characterised our beloved country, the many failures that are borne out of our individual traits and collective ineptitude, the myriad of excuses that are often pleaded in extenuation of our ability to rise even to the simplest of national challenges. I could go on and on. It seems that we never go low on excuses...many of us love our country dearly, and long to do something positive but where do we start? I am not talking about investing per se as I have no such accumulation. However, a few people are in our league who honestly want the country and the general populace to prosper, but cannot show up, because the bad seem to have overwhelmed the good. The love of money has so badly eaten into the moral fabric of our existence that you can never be sure of what to expect from any quarters: political, clergy, academia or what have you. It’s sad, sad, sad...

We have to do it NOW!!!

Sunday, 10 December 2017 14:54

Respect and Abuse!!!

In today's Nigerian (and most African) society with everything going, from politics to terrorism to religious and ethnic intolerance and corruption of epidemic proportions, it is very helpful if we as a people learn to start respecting other people's opinions, views, position, outlook, and rights, etc.

Oftentimes disagreements and heated debates start between people because they have differences of opinions toward a certain subject. In my years in this world, and with my upbringing, education, and life’s experience, I have learnt that just because someone has a different opinion from your own do not mean that their opinion is wrong. An opinion is not a fact, therefore there is no right or wrong view – it is just that, an opinion. It is the same thing with a view; just because someone does not view something the way you should not degenerate into an argument or debate with them about why you are right, and they are wrong. Because, they think you are wrong and they're right.

Respecting other people's opinions, views, rights, and disposition also shows that one is well mannered and that one shows respect for that person as well. If someone has a different opinion than yours and you reply with "I understand and respect your opinion" rather than replying with your opinion and why it is right and why they are wrong, the person who has a different opinion than you will respect you in return.

I have for most of my short life believed in respecting people. And by that I am saying that one should treat other people as one would like to be treated. One should expect them to be as good as oneself, as smart as oneself, as caring and so forth. And one should respect their right to have an opinion.

But I think that opinions should not be free from criticism. And they should only command what respect they have earned. In other words, if one respects another person and that other person does not return the respect, then, they do not deserve the respect that have been shown to them, and the respect should be withdrawn.

In our Nigerian society, one of the reasons why we find ourselves in the dire situation and environment that we are is that acute absence of respect for everything we do. It is plain DISRESPECT! I am not talking about the Respect we often mouth in our culture, e.g. respect for elders. Look at it the following way:

We do not respect each other, and that is why people appointed or elected into positions of trust and authority decide to take us for granted and steal public funds meant for development and betterment of the population at large.

Our rulers (I really hate calling them leaders, because, in the real sense, they are not leading anybody) do not give us respect. Yet, we respect them a lot, in fact, we treat them like gods. If they respected us, they will not be treating their people like they have been doing for over 50 years. They will not be stealing our money; they will not be cheating and riffing or gunning their way to power; they will be providing us with good governance because we trusted and respected them; and to crown it all, if these people respected us, they will not be tempting us to vote for them by distributing rice, garri, bread, palm oil and vegetable oil and a few Naira to us. It is people you do not respect that you induce with such mundane things (maybe not to some people), but you see, they know what they are doing. They have made sure we are in perpetual poverty of stomach and mind and that’s where they left us, so come election times, they will meet us in the same position and we will be susceptible to their bribes. It never fails to work. We will even maim and kill for them to get to power.

We do not respect human life, even our own life, and examples are replete on our streets and roads – governments and officials with responsibility refuse to fix the roads; careless driving; ignoring safety rules while carrying our normal daily chores, selling fake drugs and fake or substandard equipment just to gain an advantage and make money; your mechanic cheating you and putting the same part he told you is faulty back in your car despite collecting money for a new one. All these show lack of respect for you and your life.

We do not respect authority – we flout the laws of the land (criminal, traffic, etc) every day; politicians and leaders flout the Constitution to which they have sworn to uphold every day; even those expected to uphold and enforce the laws flout the law because they do not care, hence the chaos and anarchy we have in our society.

We do not have any respect for human and civil rights. Again, this is exemplified in our every day trudges as we struggle to escape poverty and oppression.  Our police and other law enforcement and security agencies are more of instruments of terror and oppression of the masses by the rulers than providers of safety and security and services to the people they proclaim to serve.

All tiers of government – executive, legislative, judiciary and civil service – have turned themselves into demi-gods, whose words and deeds are rarely challenged, and if challenged, because there is no respect in the land, the challenger will be the victim of the most vicious campaign of calumny and personal attacks one has ever seen. Even in the most elitist of societies, the West, there is still a lot of respect from the upper class for the lower class, such that everything is provided for the less fortunate in the society, and thus have no cause to complain of marginalisation or oppression. These so-called elite (if indeed, we can call them that) plough enough back into the society to reach everybody. This is because they respect human life; respect the right to life and to good decent living for everybody irrespective of social status; respect the right of the individual and the collective; respect the environment, etc

We do not have respect for our environment, the very environment that is the very source and sustenance of our existence as human, and that is why you see piles and mountains of litter and refuse all over the place. We dispose of our garbage anyhow we want it; we do our body functions anywhere we see to do it; we do not give any thought to the effect of the noise from our generators (a result of lack of provision of electricity by our leaders) either to ourselves or to our neighbours.

When you have a section of the society behaving with impunity and reckless disregard for our sworn Constitution, no matter how imperfect it is; law and order; rule of law; governing, legislative, judicial, and electoral systems, it is marked disrespect for the people they are supposed to be governing. That means your rulers take you for granted; they are insensitive to your plight and condition of living. You die of poverty, you die, what concerns them?

After you have blown your sirens to force people to give way to you, what happens when you have left office? After all, power and positions are transient. The people you disregarded and disrespected on your way up are the same you’re going to meet on your way down.

Another proof of the elite/government disrespect for the common man by whose grace they are in power id the preponderance of uniformed authority. I went to a function hosted by a uniformed agency just las week and I was awed by number of “uniformed authorities” that were present – the Police, Traffic Wardens, the DSS, the SSS, the Armed Forces, the Road Safety, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, NDLEA, VIO, Peace Corps, Rescue, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence, Man O’War, Vigilantes, NURTW, ACOMORAN, the States’ owned traffic and environmental services, etc. If you are not intimidated by these numbers of uniforms on the roads and in the community, one must be a hardened criminal. And some of these agencies even have different uniforms within the same agency, e.g. the Nigerian Police – regular, MOPOL, SARS, Rapid Response, Anti-Terrorist, Anti-Kidnapping, etc. It is crazy and oppressive and disrespectful to the common people, who are bullied, ravaged, brutalised and taken advantage of daily, by several of these agencies. And we say we are a democracy!!!

That syndrome called, “African Time” is another sign of our disrespect for time, punctuality and especially to the people waiting for you, at a meeting, function, event or anywhere. African leaders are particularly fond of disrespecting the people who put them in power by deliberately arriving late to functions they are invited to or that they themselves have called for. To them, it is a sign of weakness to arrive on time for a function. They take it for granted that the people waiting for them must not leave and must not start the function unless they arrive. It is arrogance and disrespect personified and taken to the highest level. But there we have it!

On the societal side, lateness for work (another form of African Time); indolence; shoddy execution of assignments, contracts, and jobs; cheating at examinations; demanding for bribes to perform services which are normally free; embezzlement of funds; all these constitute disrespect for societal and moral values. Such then beget petty corruption which then escalates gradually to the bigger and more fatal forms of corruption that is now pervasive and endemic in our society.

Disrespect is Disregard is Contempt is Disdain is Insolence is Scorn is Impudence is Impertinence is Impunity is Neglect!!

Please let us look around at the way we live our everyday lives in Africa, and you see and experience and suffer all the above and following daily: abuse of power; abuse of authority; abuse of position; abuse of office; abuse of privileges; abuse of opportunities; abuse of the public and the society; abuse of the environment; abuse of human and civil rights; abuse of property, abuse of justice; abuse of court processes; abuse of the Constitutional requirements and laid down procedures; abuse of political and electoral processes; abuse of education; abuse of freedom; etc. All these lead to lack of good governance and poor, visionless, and focus-less leadership.

On a more personal and individually human level, besides learning about oblique aspects of our psyche and background, here are other reasons why we should be open to understanding the differences in others:

  1. You’ll learn new things and make better decisions – for our leaders/rulers. That’s all the people ask for – make decisions that will better their lives.
  2. You’ll make more exciting friends – for our neighbours and people we interact with.
  3. You’ll be a more broadminded and progressive person – for our politicians, who are insensitive charlatans hungry for power but do not know how to use the power they acquired by hook or crook.
  4. You’ll feel better, more secure and satisfied – for the individual in the society, and for the leaders who will be able to walk freely amongst their own people, with no excessive security surrounding them to protect them from the wrath of the people.
  5. You’ll make the world a better place and will be remembered for your legacy – for our rulers, civil servants, and other public officials. Power is transient; make your tenure felt for good by the people, “the evil that men do, lives after them”.

Don’t these also apply to how we govern ourselves?

There is nothing to gain from disrespect and abuses to others, the society and the environment. We are the losers.

Tell the Truth always!!!!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 05:57

The Atiku Conundrum

That Mr Atiku Abubakar resigned from the APC a few days ago certainly did not come as a surprise to me and many other Nigerians; it has always been a matter of when he will leave the APC and not if he will dump the APC. I suppose every Nigerian who considers him/herself a political pundit or analyst now will be talking about the Return of Atiku to mainstream Nigerian politics from now on till 2019 when we would have had the Elections; in the buses, the markets, the pepper soup joints, the exclusive recreational and social clubs that provide entertainment of sorts for the high and might, on the tennis courts, parties, etc. The newspapers, the radios and the television houses are having a field day too.

Now, at least as of present, the former Vice President of Nigeria's Third Republic, has only resigned from the ruling APC; he has not declared for any party, not even the PDP, but I guess Nigerians and himself know which side  his bread is buttered and where he stands a good chance of actually contesting for the Presidency – the Peoples Democratic Party, a party that has been decimated by internal strife and bad publicity from Nigerians and lost access to the apparently bottomless  treasury of Nigeria will be glad to accept Mr Atiku Abubakar. He's the only chance they have now of clawing their way back in Aso Rock and ruling Nigeria.

That means the PDP needs Atiku; and Atiku himself needs the PDP. Everything is there for him, after all, he was one of the pioneer founders of that party, and knows everything about the party and its members, notwithstanding the pretenders and the remnants.

And you know what? If Mr Atiku secures the PDP ticket to contest for the Presidency in 2019 (in a few months' time in 2018, this will be sorted out), there will be a bit of panic to the fainthearted and finicky former PDP deserters who went to the APC and they will troop back to the PDP again. At least, this is what in my opinion, the current PDP members will be counting on. They will be welcome back, their numbers and resources utilised, but they will not be forgiven for defecting in the first place, after losing the Presidency in 2015. The exception to this rule, of course, is Mr Atiku Abubakar himself.

In my opinion, I think Mr Atiku missed the chance to become President, the moment he could not wait for Obasanjo to complete his two terms of eight years (this assertion from me is subject to my understanding of what went on), and then as an interested VP, he would have been able to contest in the Primaries and with Obasanjo's backing for being a loyal lieutenant, would have secured the ticket in 2007 with ease. But alas, Atiku thought he was more powerful politically than the man who invited him to come and become his VP, and not aware of the cunning of Balogun of Owu, got himself negated politically. Since then, Atiku has been put to grass, a kind of ghostly Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever, never dead but floating about endlessly in search of some elusive port.

I will not delve into Mr Atiku's career as a Customs Officer, but in fairness to him, other people that have shown interest or contested for the Office of the President in Nigeria are no better than him morally (Sorry, the exception is the current President, Mr Buhari and probably, late Umar Yar'Adua). This is the stark truth. In the Federal or States level, all of them are the same. In fact, the States are even worse.

Is he a political prostitute? Again, I will hesitate to agree. The incumbent Present has contested four times under four different parties, yet I do not see him as a political prostitute, so it will be hypocritical of me to label Mr Atiku as such. But, is there any Nigerian political party known to be pro- poor or pro-Nigerian youths, as Mr Atiku is now projecting himself? I really don't know which party is visionary enough to think ahead of time. As far as I can remember our politicians would do or say anything sweet to win over electorates and Atiku is no different.

Is he desperate to become President? If ambition to be something is desperation, then perhaps he is. I do not dislike him anymore as I used to. In fact, I have followed his course and appreciate him for his generosity, courage, and his political doggedness has obviously kept him going through all the bombs and ordeals thrown at him from all sides.

Was he or is he corrupt? To be frank, one of the things I have had against this man since the beginning of this democratic experiment is that whiff of corruption that is always following him around.  Ex-President Obasanjo, who was his boss wrote a very scathing and damming opprobrium on Atiku in his book, "MY WATCH (2)" which I would not repeat here. "A damning report on his erstwhile deputy, Atiku, would be damaging if not fatalistic to Atiku's presidential ambition. Atiku had never helped himself.  It is not as if he is not as corrupt as any other politician including Obasanjo. He believes too much in the use of bribes and other illicit inducements while he offers nothing else in terms of management, education, industry, purpose, ideas, and loyalty. Atiku made himself a very bad sell to Nigerians and the international world". (this is courtesy of Mr Kayode Nathan, a political observer and commentator).

Obasanjo might be a loathed politician/former President, the fact is he has been the most influential figure in military and civil politics in Nigeria since over 40 years ago.  There are more influential or prominent Nigerians who would listen to Obasanjo rather than anyone else. Many of us may not like most of his politics or persona, but that could not wish away his ever presence and influence on Nigerian politics and its effect on Nigerians.

In recent times, however, I have come to realise that it may be wrong of me to condemn Mr Atiku because of alleged corruption when in the current government, there are more and even worse corrupt people than him tinkling with our collective lives. I am still convinced he's a corrupt Nigerian, even if has never been convicted (which of them is not?) but I would not crucify him alone. It is on this basis that I would be hesitant in helping him get elected as my President.

All our politicians, save a minute few, are corrupt and insincere. A lot of them have even used Atiku's money, generosity, and influence one time or the other to get something, to be something. I have ceased disliking Mr Atiku; I now give him some respect and sympathy. But that does not mean I am endorsing him to be my President.

So, Mr Atiku, like ninety-nine percent of Nigeria's politicians, is tainted; he's not clean and it will be very difficult for him and his supporters to convince many Nigerians of different political divide, to the contrary. Even, many in the PDP, which he may re-join are of this same view.

If he had remained in ONE political party, even the PDP since 1999, I am a hundred percent sure he could have achieved his goal of ruling this country for the maximum eight years allowed.

In recent times, Mr Atiku has shown archetypal maturity politically; he has rebranded and re-defined himself and his goals. He has been saying the right things, e.g. he has been calling for Restructuring long before it became a noise. He has been playing up to the young people and reaching out to the Next Generation of politicians. In other words, he has upped his game and become more polished in his utterances. That's the sign of a Nigerian politician who has evolved. He seems to have a very deep pocket too.

So, integrity is the problem. He has a problem of Integrity. When I scour the social media to gauge their reaction to Atiku dumping the APC and apparently gunning for the Presidency in 2019, it was of course, mixed reactions. But I see some core PDP people happy that Atiku leaving the APC might prove to be their redeeming quality. But with all kinds of worms crawling out of the woodwork in the PDP – Gov. Fayose of Ekiti State is one of them – and an internecine warfare going on in this depleted and almost moribund political party which thought it was going to rule Nigeria for sixty years, maybe Atiku Abubakar is the tonic they need to re-invigorate them and bring the party in line.

I have been having online warfare with some of my compatriots who wrongly think that I have been slandering Mr Atiku, on his career in the Customs, his perceived corruption, etc. but I see these people as hanging on to, unarguably their last thread of hope for the PDP. Atiku is the only thing they can hope for as far as deliverance of the PDP and chasing Buhari out of Aso Rock is possible. Good luck to them! I don't really care. What I care about is Nigeria and Nigerians; not about politicians who, for the past six decades have not made any impact on our lives and still seem to continue that way, while the gullible still celebrate them.

Remember, when Atiku left the APC, he's not leaving alone. He has his people who followed him to the APC, and these same people will also follow him back to the PDP, if it is PDP that he will return to.

To his supporters, followers, and those who see him as a "saviour" of the PDP, they never keep saying that it was the resoluteness and courage of Atiku that put a brake on the Third Term Agenda and ambition of then President Obasanjo (I disagree with this assertion because it was the collective efforts of the NASS and others, including Atiku, that scuttled this Agenda, and not Atiku alone). And it was this that sparked the vindictiveness of Obasanjo to ensure that Atiku never succeeded him, and still working to ensure that Atiku never becomes the President of this country in his lifetime.

Will he make a good president of Nigeria? This depends on what is meant by "Good". To me, a good president for Nigeria is one that emancipate the people of this country from poverty, injustice and corruption, that will ensure justice, fairness and equity; that will ensure the development of this country and make life better for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity and religion; that will be disciplined, accountable and sensitive to the plight of my people and willing to tackle the problems of this country headlong, without fear and favour, and will not succumb to arrogance in power and sycophancy from his acolytes. In short, a President that will do things for his people and ensure good governance for the benefit of all and not for a few.

Another take to this, is that impatient and desperate politicians, bent on taking power at all costs, never make good leaders, especially in a democratic environment as warped and aberrant as ours in Nigeria. Our country is replete, if not suffused with examples of such leaders.

Maybe what I have listed (and even many more that I have not listed) are dreams that may not be realised in our lifetimes, but we keep hoping. Is Atiku that man, or even half the man to accomplish these ideals? But as earlier written, the man has leant his lessons, he has become very astute and knowledgeable about politics, if not governance. He's a very generous man, sympathetic and may mean very well for this country.

But, that whiff of corruption is my problem with him, but he's not the only one in that category, and Atiku's condemnation or disqualification on this criterion will smack of hypocrisy on our part. And for Nigerians, does it matter anymore?  But it will be left to him to convince Nigerians otherwise and up to Nigerians to see him as an alternative to the present.

For me, I will sit back and enjoy the politics – the intrigues, strategies, tomfoolery, jostling, mudslinging, even bloodletting and all the associated characteristics of a crude democracy. As you will observe, I have neither condemned nor endorsed Mr Atiku as credible, trustworthy, dependable, sincere, and alternative candidate. I just try to throw it open. That is why the title of this article is called The Atiku Conundrum – a poser, a mystery, a puzzle!!

For you, and of course me, I have sufficient option, intelligence, and experience to decide who I will vote for come 2019.

God bless Nigeria!!


Wednesday, 22 November 2017 06:43

Resignation as an African Abomination

“African leaders do not resign, that’s cowardice and the fact that UK Prime Minister-David Cameron has just resigned confirms everything I have said about him—he is weak and a coward.”President (now Ex) Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2016.

The recent confusion about what is happening in Zimbabwe, with President Robert Mugabe refusing to resign, (now he has finally resigned, 21 November 2017) even when pressured and being pampered has again brought to the fore the obstinacy that exists in Africa when it comes to resigning or relinquishing power voluntarily.

In Mugabe’s case, as a friend from Kenya wrote to me, the Zimbabwean Defence Forces are merely exercising “soft power” – getting others to want the outcomes you want – and co-opting people rather than coercing them. This can be contrasted with “hard power”, which is the use of force and coercion. In other words, the Zimbabweans are being very civilised about removing Mr Mugabe, even after 37 years of holding absolute power.

In our modern history, after most African countries became independent from their several colonial masters, very few African leaders relinquished power voluntarily. In most cases, they are forcibly removed, and in some cases, their ends were not pretty. Did they need to go through the shame, or put their family and even people through such terrible and uncertain times? In some cases, the whole country is plunged into civil strife, instability, poverty, and misery.

African and Nigeria’s top political leaders and their cohorts in the civil service don’t resign as a way of assuming political or civic responsibility for problems in their portfolios. They very rarely account publicly for their responsibilities, or own up when problems arise. Instead, the usual trend is to sit tight and wait to be forcibly pushed out or, if they are lucky, die in office.

Equally rare are resignations of senior people associated with, or in government. Even public pressure fails to force them to resign. In other words, they do not take public culpability for their actions or in most cases, inactions.

Have you ever wondered why public officers (appointed or elected), officials, civil servants, and politicians never offer to resign or step aside while investigations go on when they are accused of wrongdoing and corruption issues?

I did a bit of research and thinking, and these are the reasons that popped out:

  • Primarily, the Indiscipline, Impunity, and Disregard for the laws of the land, because they are not strictly, even if partially, implemented and enforced, allows a lot of impunity from everybody, most especially, people in government. This kind of thing hardly happens in private sector.
  • Secondly, some of our warped cultural and moral values also give backing to the fact that people in high places deem it as a loss of face for them to resign. Resignation or stepping aside when accused of wrongdoing is tantamount to admission of guilt. And it seems alien to our culture to admit guilt when millions of people are looking up to you as a “Big Man”. Resign? No, Sir, Africans don’t resign, they are either forced out or die in office.
  • Third, Cover-up: If I resign when accused of wrongdoing, then I am exposing myself, exposing my arse, because if I do that, then I will not be able to conceal or destroy evidence. I will not be able to have a measure of control over the impending investigation. No, I must be there when they are conducting their so-called farcical investigations!
  • Fourthly, my enemies have won if I resign. God forbid bad thing! I will be back down at the bottom of the ladder and all those I climbed over to get to the top will ridicule me and get back at me. All arrows shot at me by my enemies shall not prosper. It will not be in their eyes that I will go down.
  • Number five; why resign when I know I won’t be found guilty anyway? I will weather the storm. Isn’t it Nigerians? They will shout and cry and splash the news of my alleged wrongdoing all over the newspapers, and let me just keep a low profile, go to the church and mosque, do some praying and offer tithes, and God will deliver me from the hands of mine enemies, and in a few months, the brouhaha will die down.
  • Sixth, Association: Am I the only one doing it? Others are doing it too and not resigning, and getting away with it, so what is mine to leap into the water and drown? Naah! If I go down, others involved will have to go down too.
  • Seventh, the word RESIGN or as we say it in the UK, GO ON GARDEN LEAVE does not exist in the Nigerian lexis. It is alien. Virtually unknown and unheard of. It never crosses the mind that that is the right thing to do, both under the law and morally.
  • Eighth, it is Disrespectful to be asked to resign or leave your position in government. For many “Big Men” in public or political office, we take it as a personal insult of the highest order to be asked to proceed on temporary leave or to resign. That means you don’t respect them or their office.
  • Ninth, according to ex-President Robert Mugabe above, it is Cowardice for an African leader or in high position of public trust to resign. What the heck!!! The man is a warrior of many ages past, coming from a long line of fighters and celebrated heroes. He must die at the warfront as a valiant soldier. He/she could even have descended from one of the Fathers of the Nation, an icon in his own right. No, you don’t disgrace such people even if they are wallowing in culpability and shame. There must be a way out, and that way is to stay put.
  • Tenth, according to Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, the Editor of GhanaCelebrities.com, African politicians are always on “a desperate run to remain at post because politics is the source of his daily bread and fused with their power drunkenness, ego and greed”. The same could be said of the civil servants and other elected or appointed public officials too.
  • And eleventh, unbelievably, there are always sycophants and hangers-on, who have benefitted from the official’s illegal and ill-gotten largesse, who will be spurring him on to stay and fight, because if their man resigns, then “chop don comot for dem mouth too”. Simple as that. Yet, if the man falls, they don’t go to prison or disgrace with him, they find another source of easy income. That’s life anyway.

It is indeed difficult for the African public official to resign from an office or position or to relinquish power when he’s a leader. In a way, I have some pity and understanding for them; they are products of the society that begets them, so it is difficult to depart from the norm and genetic trait.. Now you know the reason our political emancipation, socio-economic and human developments have always been in jeopardy.

The good news however, is that this phenomenon, a typical African trait, is changing. Leaders and public officials are finding it increasingly difficult to hide, and to sweep thing under the carpet. The people are becoming more aware of issues of governance, development, and service delivery, and the misdemeanours, corruption, and other malfeasances (conduct by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law) of political leaders, public officials and civil servants are increasingly being exposed. It is not business as usual.

They must be made accountable and responsible for their actions, or inactions. They must be made to know the “seats of power or authority” that they occupy is not divine; not their birth right and is only temporary. Power is transient; it does not belong to any one person. And power, when you have it, must not be abused and is to be used justly and fairly for the benefit of the weak.

Let’s keep applying pressure, all kinds of pressure, on our leaders and public servants. Let them know and feel the power of the people, by whose grace they got into power, instead of them alluding to God for letting them get into power.

Let the Truth be told always!!!!!! 

Sunday, 29 October 2017 19:25

The Real World of Nigerians.

The Real World Nigerians Live In.

Sometimes I imagine myself as an alien; a being from outer space, visiting Earth incognito, and the first country I landed in in my spaceship was a country called Nigeria, and after a few decades living among them, concluded that it is an interesting yet confounding and hazardous country where they have enough but whose greedy and selfish people (leaders and followers) ensure that nobody, not even those selfish and greedy amongst them, ever have enough. It is a conundrum to the alien, who can never understand why a people can be so self-destructive, self-flagellating, self-deprecating, indolent, gullible, and helpless as to allow such poverty and hopelessness amongst their teeming population.

Conclusion? Nigeria, as we know it now, is a dysfunctional country; a country of endless possibilities and impossibilities. A land and a people struggling perceptibly very hard against itself to develop to its full potential. A people so used to, and conditioned to abnormalities, that normality, to them, is now abnormal. A crazy country of near-crazy people, leaders, and followers alike. I don't understand it, even as one of them.

The alien in me wonders why these hapless Nigerians are marching towards their doom, unseeing, unhearing, silent yet very vocal, religiously, and ethnically fractious and divided. They are like lambs to the slaughter, held by nose-rings by their over-paid, over-worshiped, over-valued, over-pampered and corrupt leaders, who have never proven themselves worthy of leadership and take everything from the people but hardly return anything to the people.

These political elites, comprised of all kinds of doubtful characters and supposedly brilliant ones, are killing us directly and indirectly with their corruption, lack of vison and focus, insensitivity, greed, selfishness and what not. We keep on saying "Olorun mu won", (God don catch them) but we are not doing anything much about it. OK, since Buhari came to power over two years ago, we keep hearing news of trillions of looted funds returned under cover willingly to avoid jail or exposure, and the daily revelation of corruption against so many past and present government officials and politicians, how many have been charged to court, not to talk of being convicted? Let three or four of them be jailed for 20 years and you will see a change. Some indicted public officers, who should be in jail by now have even been surreptitiously recalled back into service. And this by a government that came to power mainly because of its anti-corruption stance and campaign. Many indicted individuals are even now ministers, senators, and chairs of many agencies. Thar, she blows, me lubbers!!!!!!

Nigerians are sick and tired of reading about revelations and scandals; they want to be reading of convictions and jail sentences (if not a few executions by firing squad)

Our people also condone corruption, because of selfishness, religion, and ethnicity. That is another problem. And we celebrate wealth, especially ill-gotten wealth. The mentality of Nigerians is that if a man makes his wealth illegally, that man must be smarter than you, so you acquiesce to him and adore him.

The Real World of Nigerians is where the non-corrupt are considered foolish; where mediocrity, indolence, and corruption, are rewarded while merit, honesty and hard-work are ignored and even punished sometimes; where those in power build private schools, and ignore the public schools they all attended free of charge while growing up; where their own children do not attend such schools but rather attend the best schools around the world.

Nigeria is where the medical consultant will check you medically in general hospitals but prefer to treat you at his or her private hospital; a country where you think it is your family's turn to bite from the national cake as soon as you are appointed to a public position.

It is the same country where government officials preferred to spend Dollars or Pounds within Nigeria because it is easy to carry on than heavy useless Naira, and of course confers more status on them than if they carry the Naira. Our country that the church members cannot afford to pay the tuition fees of the same school their General Overseer used their contributed money and tithes to build.

Corruption is endemic in every facets and areas of endeavour of our country. Need I keep saying that?

In Brazil, the President was impeached recently, so was South Korea; the so called Big Boys (politicians) going to jail, people condemning corrupt ex- and present rulers. This is the same process everywhere around the world. The problem in Nigeria is that we don't condemn these set of men of dubious characters and integrity; we keep celebrating them, even giving them inane nicknames (Okanlomo, Oshokomale, and all kinds of nicknames that don't sound right to sane ears, especially in the South West and South East). I feel sorry for Nigeria - this country is drowning gradually. These guys have a large percentage of Nigeria's money with them.

War on corruption is a collective responsibility of us all. In fairness, it was Obasanjo who laid the foundation to fight corruption by really and consciously establishing the EFCC and the ICPC; let us build on it. Our legal and judicial system is corrupt too. President Buhari came to power on the back of anti-corruption and a reputation from his military rule as a disciplined man, but nepotism, favouritism, regionalism, and cabalistic suffusion seems to be derailing the good reputation and the anti-corruption war.

The Nigerian Corrupt or the Corrupt Nigerian have enough money stolen and salted away and can hire assassins to eliminate whoever crosses their way. They fight back viciously and murderously to protect what they have looted.

The problem of our society is elite based. The elite creates diversionary scenes; the Media took the baits; gullible Nigerians pick on the bones and our dogs bark at the wrong trees. Ignorance and laziness has reduced majority to point of dullness. We can hardly deduce or figure out issues with our senses. What have been long regarded as abnormal in our communal society are now so normal that we now regard normality as an aberration and abnormality and abnormalities are now endemically and consciously accepted as norm.

The rivalry among our ex-military men and some of their collaborators is another thing that is tearing us apart and very destructive to the lives of all Nigerians, especially our youths. The Nigerian civil war, it was them; June 12th, it was them; our present-day Constitution, it was them; Halliburton scandal, it was them; the corrupt life and style of Nigerians today, it is them. These men and their collaborators are living in opulent wealth while the rest of the population live in abject poverty. They have taken Nigerians as hostages and we look at them helplessly and haplessly while we beckon unto God and pray our way out of this imbroglio. The real enemies of Nigerians and Nigeria are Nigerians...!!!!!

It is clear to most Nigerians now that our Senate, House of Representative and House of Assembly members are simply a bunch of self-serving felons. They have even turned themselves into the Judiciary by calling for unfreezing of accounts frozen by the EFCC, and have tried on many occasions to usurp the powers of the Executive. They do not even know their roles, responsibilities and functions as dictated by the Constitution they swore to uphold. They are all over the place to cover their own criminal and illegal activities.

What can be done practically to remove and replace these crooks should now be our focus. To expect thieves and criminals to cleanse themselves and to change their ways is never going to work and we can moan and groan all we like, they will never ever change since they believe that they are untouchable.

The Nigerian constitution includes a provision for the power of recall by constituents. Should every single constituency not have an active body organising such recall? When these dis-Honourable "Sinators" and "Legislooters" see their colleagues being recalled one by one, then they will sit up and will be forced to serve the people that placed them in such plum positions to start with.

Revolutions need not be bloody; they can be attained by using existing powers in different ways.

Tell the Truth always!!!!

The African and Power; Power and The African.

Proverbs. 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

I am neither a psychologist nor an anthropologist, but my over sixty years of living with my people, studying them and researching them have led me to many conclusions about them. Of course, I may be wrong in my assumptions and hypotheses, since they are not backed by scientific facts and data, but nevertheless, these are my conclusions, based on objective observations and analyses.  They are by no means cast in stone nor do I claim to have a monopoly of knowledge or righteousness.

At a rudimentary level, leaders need power. They need the power to influence, to develop, and to enable and impact people, the society and the environment. These are fundamental to making things happen, and therefore to the ability to do the job of a leader. However, this isn't the same as having authority and rank. Indeed, some of the most powerful leadership can arise when these things are deliberately surrendered. The leader's power should always be a means to an end, with the 'end' being the achievement of worthwhile outcomes for the greater good in and of the larger society. In politics and in a democracy, the leader's power always come from the people who voted him/her in. He/she must be accountable and responsible to the people.

In government, the term authority is often used interchangeably with power. However, their meanings differ: while power is defined as "the ability to influence somebody to do something that he/she would not have done", authority refers to a claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power (Wikipedia)

The problem is that in Africa, we have, intentionally or unwittingly, confused power with authority, and those who wield power do not know the reason they have the power, and what they should do with it. In a way, I have some pity for them, for they do not know what they do or are doing (paraphrasing Our Lord Jesus Christ). Our rulers and so-called leaders therefore misuse, abuse and misinterpret both power and authority, because of their ignorance of what these mean and represent. It is the story of our lives as Africans and Nigerians. It is a cultural problem.

I consider myself to be a respectful African, Nigerian and Yoruba; always respect my elders, as our culture and ethics demand. I also love my culture, and I am proud of it. I engage and prosper in my African-ness and its cultural attachments.

But we have too much respect for, and defer too much to, our elders, but a lot of those elders have become degenerate and decadent and do not reciprocate. Respect goes both ways, as I have come to learn. Our elders think they are the wisest, smartest, have monopoly of knowledge, and they are the only ones that can run anything. And unfortunately, we let them think so, let them run things, and thereby let them ruin things, including our lives, our environment, and our very survival as a people. We never challenge them or resist them. Hence, they are always there riding roughshod over us, never letting go, and reminding us at any sign of insubordination, that that they are older, and hence wiser, than us. That's number One.

Number two is that Africans love and worship power so much that we never want to leave it, or feel insecure to leave it. To voluntarily relinquish power is anathema to our culture, I suppose, and this is exemplified in our politics and government. The bulk of Dictators who have stay very long as Presidents is in Africa. (Please don't think I am saying other cultures do not; they do, but what they do with it, we can all see). We enjoy it; we use it to perpetrate all kinds of evil on our fellow Africans, and use power to acquire wealth, position, status, etc. We use it for personal aggrandisement, personal acquisition of wealth and property, or to benefit our immediate family and circle of friends only. Who'd want to leave that? We prefer and want to die in power because we are afraid of being forgotten despite the fact we never leave any legacy. It's a cultural thing.

Thirdly, Africans will do anything to acquire or get to power; a power that he/she doesn't even understand. He/she will kill for it, but will not die for it. Then when he/she gets the power, he/she doesn't know what to do with it, except oppress his fellow Africans; except abuse power and authority; except steal money; etc. They forget easily their previous humble background and the mentality is that "I have suffered enough; it is now my turn to enjoy". They turn their back on their childhood friends, family and the society. They build prison walls around themselves and become pompous, selfish, greedier, and insensitive.

Fourth, the African in power thinks he's a god; a mini-god. Some even think they are immortal and untouchable by death and the vagaries of earthly existence. They never think that death can come anytime, despite their ill-gotten wealth and their sins against humanity and their people, and that somehow, they must pay for their crimes and Nemesis must catch up with them. Give an African a uniform (soldier, police, civil defence, customs, immigration, prisons, traffic warden, Man o'War, and even Boys Scout), and he becomes a scourge of his people, strutting on the street with his/her starched uniform, and when you give him/her a gun in addition, then he/she becomes the giver of life or death  – he/she becomes obstinate and tyrannical, oppresses them, and uses his/her position to acquire wealth and properties and other luxuries of life with the macabre belief that he/she is now immune from poverty, diseases, mortality and the sufferings of the world. Our daily lives and society are replete with examples.

Finally, it is very rare that Africans use their wealth and power, as well as knowledge, education, skills, etc. for the benefit and welfare of the general society, instead we use all these to ensure our fellow people do not rise to be at the same level with us or above us, and therefore despite many rich Africans in and out of the continent, you will find very few philanthropists of African descent. In fact, the educated African is very dangerous to the health and welfare of his fellow, less educated Africans. Education, especially Western, is used to subjugate the people; to dupe them, to fool them and to steal from them. For Islamic education, it is the same, and has created feudalism in many parts of Africa; only the Islamic scholars can interpret the Koran and they know how to use it to blindfold their followers.

The youths talking today will become elders tomorrow, and see how/what they will turn out to be. We are already seeing them reverting to type. It is a cultural thing; a cultural malaise. You need examples?  Again, the society and the polity are replete with them.

The intent of leadership holding certain power, coupled with authority, is to deliver worthwhile outcomes for the greater good, and in the pursuit of a vision of a better tomorrow. The application of power should be supportive to that intent. It isn't about winning, or scoring points, or pulling rank, or gaining personal benefit. As with all aspects of contemporary leadership, it's not about you (the leader), but about everybody else, from customers, to colleagues, to followers, to the public and to the society.

A leader's power should always be used for good. And that is not what we are having in many parts of the African continent. The good is not always being the aim of our leaders.

The burden lies in the people and the society also, attributable to our culture and traditional ways of doing things, of revering anybody that rears their head as a leader or ruler; probably poverty of materials and the mind, and maybe a dose of the effect of colonialism and the slave trade, and added ignorance, illiteracy and primordiality.

Telling the Truth always!!!

Negative energy can be found almost everywhere. Negative energy is a concept used in Physics to explain the nature of certain fields, including the gravitational field and various quantum field effects, but I have tried to adapt it to our situation in Nigeria. There are people complaining about life constantly, practicing bad habits and bringing you down. The emotions they spread influence your thoughts and actions in a bad way so avoiding the sources of negative energy is obligatory if you want to be more successful.

Everyone can be easily affected by negative emotions and the only exceptions are people who learned how to deal with it.

Nigerians are fond of (and seem to enjoy) embarking and wasting our energies on misplaced, unfocused priorities; waste of brains, energies, time, resources, efforts, intelligence, endeavours, etc on mundane, futile, unworthy, and unproductive issues.

Why would we waste energy on marching on Abuja demanding to see a sick President; or a counter-march supporting a sick President? Why am I debating Olubadan issue when there doesn’t seem to be any benefit in it in terms of real and weighable development for Ibadan people on the street, and the politicians seem to have their own agenda forced down everybody’s throats? And why should it bother me that the Governor who introduced this seems to be embarking on such a perilous and unpopular activity?

Shouldn’t it be time to redirect the war against ignorance, corruption, poverty, diseases, and the ilk? Our energies must be redirected to match the Koreans, Japanese and Chinese of our world. Enough of these negative energies!!!

a. The Earth (including Nigeria) was created for development.

b. People were created to develop themselves and environment to have a meaningful life.

c. Leaders/governments are wise people who should understand and work towards achievement of (a) & (b) above. But this is not yet understood by our leaders.

d. The Equipment to achieve this is education/knowledge.

e. The best way to transfer knowledge and values is through visions, stories, articles, literature etc

f. This is on the mental plane.

g.  You can only transfer knowledge that is well thought out, organized, and designed for practical implementation/execution, otherwise it is useless.

Since the above are missing in Nigeria, the people are unfocused and become social cannibals destroying one another through unhealthy competition. Hate, strife, looting, embezzlement, selfishness, greed, insensitivity to the plight of one’s fellow man/woman, and destruction become the order of the day.

For progress, we need well-articulated thoughts that produce visions to give direction to our energetic masses. Directed energies will eliminate fear that comes from idle minds and bodies. This is the way to peace and positive development.

According to Oskar Nowik, an author and blogger, these are the ways that positive people handle negativity:

1. They create happiness from within.

2. They practice positive thinking.

3. They look for reasons to believe in themselves.

4. They cut off negative people.

5. They train regularly.

6. They spend time in the nature.

7. They avoid impulsive spending.

8. They accept failure.

9. They take full responsibility.

10. They learn to control their thoughts.

11. They devote some time to relax.

12. They believe there’s always a solution.

13. They know when to say no.

14. They don’t look for anyone’s approval.

Perhaps these are thing both leaders and followers in Nigeria should adapt and adopt. The problem with Nigerians is that we never accept our faults or responsibilities. We always blame someone for our mistakes or culpability.

We forget history so soon. 

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 21:50

The Dilemma of Nigerian Restructuring!

APOLOGIES and ACKNOWLEDGMENT: In writing this article, I trawled through the social media seeking the comments, reactions, ideas, etc. of my people, Nigerians. I took the liberty of using some of their opinions, ideas and reactions freely without making their names public. Hence if you feel you have read this or that sentence before, and you think that somebody else wrote or said it, that is the reason. My own contribution to the article, however, is about 75%. Thank you.

So, after much talk and thoughtful resolutions the power structures of Nigeria are rethinking about how to restructure Nigeria? Even APC Party, the PDP party, the Afenifere (both old and new), the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and Kanu of Biafra separationist group, etc are not left out.

What then is the meaning of restructuring for Nigeria? ls it economic, or political, or fiscal, sociological or these or some? We are yet to see. Governance has been one of our major setbacks as a nation, so to whose benefit will Restructuring be – the Federal Government, the states or the proposed regions, the ethnic components, the politicians or the 170 million Nigerians?

It is instructive the political leaders of the first Republic spent a lot of time deliberating on the type of structures that Nigeria deserved before agreeing on a Federation based on Parliament and Regional government. The military leaders post Nigerian civil war as complainants and judges dictatorially and unilaterally bequeathed to us an American system, which, with the benefit of hindsight, is completely at variance with our economic ability, history, and culture. The Constitution of Nigeria, as we currently operate it, is even at variance with the American Constitution from an economic and political view point. So what kind of restructuring do we need to give more economic latitude to the Regions or is it the States? To healthily compete once again as they did between 1955 and 1966.

How can restructuring, whether of structure, resources or functions guarantee transparency and assure good governance? As usual Nigerians are looking at ideas, rather than hard work, to get them out of self-induced trouble. It's never worked and never will!!

I believe in a well-conceived, well-debated, well-structured, well-articulated and well-implemented Restructuring (i.e. a kind of reformation or re-arrangement) be it of structures or of function, but such cannot exclude hard work, sincerity of purpose, a truly and sincerely patriotic set of motivational and inspiring leaders and good governance. Again, there won't be so much clamour for restructuring in the first place if the system we have on ground now delivers good governance imbued in the rule of law. Any structure that we are going to re-erect should internalise transparency and accountability which will engender integrity and all those things that set a country apart as pursuing the right vision within the comity of nations. We absolutely need "mental restructuring" in that to a high degree of rewiring our mentality in the way we see religion, ethnicity, wealth without hard work, looting, disrespect for one another, disrespect for people in work seen by society as menial; all those effects that interfere with our progress as a nation.

When the mantra on every mouth in Nigeria was that all that we needed to make public sector industry work was to privatise it. So, we privatised NEPA; but has it worked? Our problems of constant electricity deepened and got worse.

Chief Awolowo excelled when we had regions. He excelled when he served in a Federal structure. And if Nigerians had had the common-sense of giving the late sage the mantle of leadership at the centre, I have no doubt that he would excel.

Eventually, we may fiddle with the Constitution and "restructure", and when the problems persist, since Nigerians will not restructure their heads, I wonder what else we will start shouting as panacea and silver bullet to lance all ills.

The word Restructuring has become a mere sloganeering by the very vocal but partisan Nigerian political jobbers. Ask the proponents of restructuring to articulate their slogan, and confusion of multiples of irreconcilable definitions will pervade our atmosphere.

Change begins with me; Change begins with you, from individuals to family and socio-cultural levels. The Bible says, as you think in your heart, so are you. (Prov. 23:7). Nigerians aren't going to see change as a country externally until individual segments of our society change internally. People typically respond to tough circumstances and situations by blaming someone or something else. It's the colour of my skin, it's because l am a Southerner. It's the Hausa-Fulani mistreating or marginalising us etc. It's always someone else's fault. Lagos has demonstrated and keep demonstrating how to start changing things internally and translate it into external change. The effective tax regime in Lagos has now become a template for tax policy at the Federal level. Today, the managers and operators of tax reform in Lagos State are now hired to reform and operate the Federal tax policies. Did Lagos call it restructuring? No!! They've never even heard the word.

Whatever is growing in the garden of our life is what we have planted or allowed to be planted in our heart. Same in the life of a nation. Before we can really see change as a nation and as a region we must abandon giving excuses and blaming anybody and everybody else for what is wrong in our life as a nation. Asiwaju Tinubu, no matter the way we look at him, took the bull by the horn and was not giving excuses but confronted the Federal Government (then of Obasanjo) headlong with all legal power mixed with ingenuity in governance and pulled Lagos State out of economic strangulation devised by the Federal Government.

Experience have shown that the difference between the poor and rich nations is not the age of the nation. This can be demonstrated by countries like India and Egypt, which are more than 2000 years old and are still poor countries.

On the other hand,Australia and New Zealand, which 150 years back were insignificant, today are developed and rich countries. The difference between the poor and rich nation does not also depend on the available natural resources but on their "attitude, education and culture".

Nigeria can proudly compete well and above its peers in the education sector given the numbers of educated and educationists in her area; but could we claim same on our attitude and culture?

Japan has limited territory, 80% mountainous, unsuitable for agriculture or farming, but it is the third in the World's economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, they don't grow Cocoa but produces the best chocolates in the world. In her small territory, she rears animals and cultivates the land only for four months in a year, nevertheless manufactures the best milk products. A small country which is an image of security which has made it the strongest world bank.

The racial or colour factors also do not exhibit any importance: migrants heavy in laziness in their countries of origin are forcefully productive in rich European countries, in adaptation to the host country's attitude and culture. We see it every day on the streets of New York and London and Paris, where highly educated Africans do not mind sweeping the streets or working in an abattoir in exchange for good income and a better life from whence they originated.

What then is the difference?

The difference is the *attitude* of the people, moulded for many years by *education and culture*.

When the conduct of the people from the rich and developed countries is analysed, it is observed that a majority abide by the following principles of life:

1. Ethics, as basic principles.

2.  Integrity.

3. Responsibility.

4. The respect for Laws and Order, Rule of Law, and if you permit me to say, Constituted Authority, etc.

5. The respect from and for ALL citizens by right.

6. The love for work, honest hard toil.

7. The effort to save and invest.

8. The will to be productive.

9.  Reliability, and lastly

10. Good governance.

Of course, the list above is by no means exhaustive.

In the poor countries, it is observed that only a small minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.

We are not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel towards us. We are poor because we lack attitude; we lack the will to follow and teach these principles of working of rich and developed societies. WE are in this state because we want to take advantage over everything and over everyone. WE are in this state because we see something done wrong and refuse to ask questions, we usually say - "LET IT BE". We should have a spirited memory and develop positive attitude.

Yes, there is a great need for Restructuring in Nigeria: political, regional, moral, economic, cultural, fiscal, call it what you will. But the problem is:  How can we restructure the Mind when the system that corrupts and aberrates our Mind is there and fully ensconced in power and authority? Corrupt and morally bankrupt political and government leaders? A thoroughly crooked and lazy, unmotivated civil service? Compromised traditional rulers? Corrupt and unashamed parents? Dishonest youth and student leaders? Clueless and easily-corrupted labour leaders? Unscrupulous business leaders?

I am waiting for that Miracle!!!!"

Restructuring is not about reckless access to regional or state wealth. It's not about balkanisation; restructuring should means accountability - more responsibility for states, more responsibility for local governments, more responsibility for state governors and for local council chairmen, and less responsibility for the Federal Government and less control of governance and government.

Now are we (both the rulers and the governed) all ready for the additional responsibilities?

Of state police, federal roads passed to state control? Some federal prisons passed on to state control?  Some federal parastatals decentralized and passed on to state control? Federal hospitals passed on to state control? And funds generated on each state being used solely by that state but with federal tax being paid at source and unfailingly?

Are we ready for restructuring and for the responsibility? Are we really? After Lagos State, is there any other state in Nigeria that is ready for this restructuring?

Finally, and I must quote my brother, Eric Ayoola "We should approach restructuring with an open and diverse mind. It is necessary in as much as change is necessary but it is not and will never be that panacea for all the evils and problems of the country as some people so naively believe. So, as I stated earlier, we should expect less centralisation by and in Abuja and more responsibility to be held by states. We would want to see more control of state resources by states but with that comes greater responsibility of ensuring remittance either by way of direct taxation or actual transfer of funds to the centre.  And above all, comes the hard part: behaving responsibly and managing responsibly by those in power and positions of authority at state and local level. Some people seem to believe, quite childishly, that "Restructuring " will simply materialise and create responsible leadership amongst people where such attribute has been in such short supply. Such tomfoolery I have never seen in my life".

I have no doubt that, as it is, considering the fractious situation that we are in, the way forward for any meaningful development requires some form of restructuring. My doubt is the motive, the agenda and altruism of some of the people screaming for it, from all sides of the fence.

My reservation is also that of those that may be put in charge or involved in this very delicate political design and implementation. Is it the current crop of politicians who have been misleading for the past five decades that we will entrust with this operational adjustment and hence the future of the country and our unborn generation?

Tell the Truth Always!!!!


Sunday, 17 September 2017 19:07

The Travesty of Public Appointments in Nigeria

“Prof. (Ishaq) Oloyede of JAMB has remitted 5billion to government early in August and yesterday announced another 3billion is ready to be remitted this week making it 8billion. The Finance minister made this announcement and some of us may have seen it. In 40 years of JAMB no kobo has ever been remitted to government.

Interestingly, Oloyede, (a former Vice - Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, before his appointment as the current Registrar and Chief Executive of Nigeria's Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has neither increased fees nor changed anything else really. I know he is trying to clean up JAMB through the various activities being announced.

The FEC (if you like say Buhari) has now directed they must bring all the formers heads of JAMB immediately to come and explain what happened during their time. There are still honest people in Nigeria. Does it mean they have been sharing such monies? How many people share it? How come not a single person in JAMB blew any whistle on this in the last 20 years for example?

*Our country must certainly have some of the most wicked citizens in the world*”

The above was sent to me by a friend, a Professor, who is on the same WhatsApp group as myself. Please see the germane questions asked? This is our country for you. Yes, indeed, Nigeria must have the most evil and wicked people in governance and in the larger society in the world.

I have many times written about this unfortunate and debilitating phenomenon, which perhaps is unique to Nigeria, that men and women will be appointed to be Director-Generals, Chairmen/women, Directors, Chief Executive, Executive Secretaries, Permanent Secretaries, Comptroller-Generals of this or that agency, etc to head both public and government institutions, agencies, departments and after a few years, these unscrupulous and corrupt people retire, or in many cases, forced to retire or resign, and the next thing you hear and know about them is that they are very rich; that they have built these many mansions or that in Abuja or their hometowns; that they have ventured into large scale farming; that they have bought a small plane; they have built a church or mosque for their communities and so on. Some even go into politics to offload some of their loot and flex some muscles on the same unfortunate populace they have stolen from.

The travesty of the situation is often lost on our people who adulate these people. We never bother to think to ask ourselves - and them too - how can someone on a salary (and even with certain expenses) afford such lucre and ability to live beyond their means? Nobody ever have the courage to come out and speak and condemn these evil, hypocritical parasites and leeches who have been looting this country from their dingy offices, while putting on the facade of service and sincerity to the public and to their employers.

I have often met people like them, in Nigeria and abroad, who will come for one award (usually bought with their loot and/or worthless) or the other, with accolades heaped on them, and people from their town and tribe and religion fawning over them, while these common thieves will be exuding innocence and honesty, not minding the loot in their pockets.

They are the reasons why our River Basin Authorities are not working and making us self-sufficient in agriculture; why Nigerian Universities Commission is upside down; ineffective FADAMA and other agricultural projects; failed healthcare projects; moribund and grounded education initiatives, illegal mining of our mineral resources, etc. These people killed those government and public projects and initiatives with their wanton greed and selfishness.

And therefore, for the past forty years or so, when I finally realise what a fraud and deception we run in this country, have never been impressed by CV’s as long as my arm containing all kind of spurious and dubious experiences, skills, abilities, positions occupied, degrees/diplomas and awards won or conferred upon, etc, and when I read or hear that such person has been appointed to this or that agency.

In all honesty, the fault is with the mediocre system we operate and the various types of rudderless governments and leaderships we have been unfortunate to have over the decades. This is because there is no altruism in the appointment of people into public and government offices and agencies. It is always because of nepotism, “man-know-man” or political compensation. Meritocracy is, most of the time, sacrificed for mediocrity and nepotism. In fact, in Nigeria, it is a rule of thumb that when appointed to a public office, it is to allow you to “chop”, and not only that, you must make returns to the authorities that appointed you, as well as those who lobbied for you to reach that position. As such, the running (or, we should call it, ruining) of the country have ended up, ninety-nine percent of the time, in putting square pegs in round holes. It is still happening. It never fails to happen. That is the way things have been and will continue to be for a long time. And if we continue to do things the way we have been doing it and we have not been getting the right results, we will continue to fail. The civil service, public offices and even in private industry is replete with examples.

Even in democratic elections, we fall foul of the rules of meritocracy and competence; abandoning our ideals and morals, and instead going for some of the most criminal and insane elements in the world to put into power at the expense of people who are ready to serve the country and bring sanity back into public appointments.

It is almost risible, if not for our dire and unfortunate situation. The hypocrite public appointee laughing all the way to the bank with money meant to be used to develop country and better the lives of our people; and the same people hailing him/her, extolling him/her, and seeing nothing wrong with the crime. It is a sick society we have here.

I was passing by the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe the other day, and like it always happens to me, I was abashed with frustrated emotion to see the abandoned light railway that was supposed to move goods, services, and people from Itakpe to Ajaokuta, and who knows, perhaps beyond that, and would have laid a more solid foundation for our railway development. Yet, some Nigerians, and of course, their foreign collaborators, are responsible for this mess and waste, and nobody has ever been investigated, indicted not to talk of being arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for this monumental fraud and theft perpetrated on a people. It is incredible!!! But then, can’t we list thousands of other cases of such frauds and monumental waste in this country?

The same questions asked at the opening of this article, and more, need to be addressed:

  • Does it mean they have been sharing such monies?
  • How many people shared it? Who are the people who shared it?
  • How come not a single person in JAMB blew any whistle on this in the last 20 years?
  • How come people are not blowing whistles on all the other public bodies over the last 30 years?

One thing I am very sure of is that there are millions of former and current public appointees and officials, whether in senior or junior capacities, who have benefited and are still benefitting their pockets with public money that belongs to ALL Nigerians.

Let’s dispense with the pretence and the delusion. We all know heads of parastatals, agencies and departments of government are appointed mainly for political compensation, to loot and to make returns to their nefarious and scheming godfathers. Also, to steal as much public funds as possible during their tenure in office either to enable them or their godfathers to run for political offices or simply to live comfortably and ensure the financial securities of their families and next generation. Thus, these lackeys go in there and their intent is already known, but nobody dare prevent them. Is that service? It’s an easy decision!!

We can all quote from moral sayings of great people from now to kingdom come, but the damage that these people have done to our physical and moral emancipation and to our psyche, mindset and attitude are not easily removable, and as we see, is being played out or passed on from one generation to the other. What hope do we then have?

I have seen some of these thieving hypocrites address the public and warn against corruption, while he is sitting in his office looting the treasure through one stroke of his red pen. It was all I could do to hold myself from shouting them down or stoning them.

So, what to do? The government of President Buhari has learnt something from the JAMB issues. He should extend it to ALL public offices and appointees stretching back for a long time, but my fear is that the resources to do this are not there, and paper trails and other financial records would have been destroyed by these thieves.

But something needs to be done to ensure that crime and corruption do not pay, even after 20, 30 or 40 years, and you cannot escape justice.

We simply cannot afford to continue to run ruin) this country this way!! Something must give, and it will not be a pretty sight when the bottom drops out.

Do not be deceived by these crooks and charlatans!!! They are not doing any public service but pocket service!!!

Telling the Truth always!!!


Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:12

Corrupt People Cannot/Do not Make Good Leaders!

This statement by the late great Madiba, Nelson Mandela, a true African son and only one of its kinds is what I consider the apt title to this piece. It is an obvious and incontrovertible fact!

Why we chose to notice and acknowledge it Nigeria is beyond me, because it is also an incontrovertible fact that most, if not all, our leaders are corrupt to the core. For me, I am yet to know a Nigerian leader since Independence who is or was not corrupt; and I am not limiting myself to the top leaders alone, but right from the top to the grassroots, i.e. local government, civil service, and even the private sector and businesses. Corruption is a curse on Nigerians. So if we go by Nelson Mandela’s statement above (and we must), then we should know we are in a real mess, and any meaningful development and progress in the country, which is hinged on having good leaders, is nought. It just won’t happen. Corrupt leaders are bad leaders.

There is a very urgent need for good leaders in Nigeria. Many places in Nigeria are deprived of many simple basic amenities. Still many people are not getting equal rights. Small people are being oppressed everywhere. There is no guarantee for our present and future generation for full education, employment, good public health and medical care, entrepreneurship, technological advancement, agricultural self-sufficiency and food security, security of life and property, etc. Our leaders are just giving care towards their family and not to those who put their trust, and indeed, lives, in their hands and elected them to serve them and make their lives better. Our leaders are only interested in self-service and service to the people.

A good leader gives the worth and strengths of his great experience. Yes, Nigeria needs good leaders to move this country full of potentials forward; leaders, not rulers, who are good by nature, attitude, and are sincere about the country's development; who have the interest of the people at heart all the time; who have conscience; who have passion for bettering lives; whose action is service first and himself/herself last, or even none at all.

We have been deluding ourselves that we can manage this corruption. If we want our country to be in the list of developed countries and progress well then it is the must for us to have good leaders. We all know the condition of our political system, many of the politicians are involved in criminal activities, they are corrupt, they just need wealth and power, bungalows, mansions, castles and cars, looting the treasury and carting the loot away to store in foreign countries; and they don't take care of the demands of the public. 

We need leaders who can look into the problems of the people and help in the solving their issues by their personal involvement, who can increase our trade with other countries, improve our foreign relations, and have a very good grasp of issues of good governance, economic improvement and technological development in a fast-moving world, international relations and all other areas of human endeavours and development.

I strongly believe we can find such leaders (the current youth? Forget it!) in our country who can use their power for the progress of our country and also influence other people in this regard to take some steps for the improvement of our society.

Yes, we need good leaders in Nigeria; that goes without saying. Corruption has dominated and warped our lives; every fabric of our society is corruption-ridden. It has affected even our psyche, thought processes, education, orientation and morals.  We need good leaders which push Nigeria in a good direction, which makes Nigeria corruption-free and bring back smiles to the faces of our impoverished and oppressed people. Leaders that will unite the peoples of this country, and not exploit religious and ethnic diversities; who will just not talk but have the ability to execute ideas.

We have potentially good and great leaders in Nigeria but they have been suppressed by the negative vibes of their bad colleagues as well as the demands and vagaries of the larger society. Nigeria is in dire need of good leaders to assume governance; to take the reins of steering this country towards its full potential as a nation of resources and opportunities. Politics plays an important role in the development of our country but our leaders are not working for the development of our country. Most of the people elected the leaders by taking some money from the parties and corrupt, desperate politicians.

To be the best leader (or at least, the good leaders we want) needs:

1. Those who will not fear of defeat because the purpose is to serve the country not to win the election or popularity competition.

2. High education is not mandatory but basis education to understand the country and it’s basic problems.

3. To do good always, whatever may be the impact.

4. To have in mind that money and power are not required, only will power.

5.  To be very much conversant with the problems of the country and that the country is getting down, not with bad and avaricious politicians, but that good and educated people are not daring to fight.

6. Encourage and motivate the young generation to join politics and to give a vision of a bright future to our coming generation. This can only be done by leading by example and creating genuine role models.

7. That good and honest persons are not expecting money from the people.

8. To let us know that our elected officials, through our votes that their present performance and our present condition are both unsatisfactory to us.

Yes! Nigeria needs good leaders, but it is increasingly looking impossible because of the desperate and evil politicians whose only focus is what they will take from government and the system, and only benefit their family and their status. They do not care about anything else, especially what they are in government for – to govern  with complete altruism and make life better for their people and the society at large.

There are three types of people in the politics.

1. Those who work with sincerity of purpose. (very rare in the present Nigeria)

2. Those that do not work at all and are there for the money and power only (majority of our politicians fall into this category)

3. Those that do not work honestly and create obstacle for those who are working with sincerity or intend to work with sincerity. (Again, majority of our politicians are in this category, and they are the most dangerous to our health, wealth and well-being)

Government does have a place in society and our elected officials must remember that they are there because we elected them.  Granted there are issues that surface of which we may not know all the information when decisions are made and this is understandable.  The problem is centred on the fact that the voice of the people is not always reflected in decisions made in the National Assembly and in some cases by the Presidency.  This is one of the main contributing factors contributing to the National Assembly of Nigeria and the President having such low approval ratings.

I am not condemning all elected officials for creating the perception of people versus the government.  There are good individuals on both sides of the island who have the best interest of the country in mind when they make decisions, but there doesn’t seem to be enough of them to make a difference in the way the public perceives the government. Our government should reflect the will of the people and too often this is not the case in Nigeria. What we notice are brazen corruption, nepotism, injustice, insensitivity to the plight of the people, impunity, and inequality.

Nigerians are fond of (and seem to enjoy) embarking and wasting our energies on misplaced, unfocused priorities; waste of brains, energies, resources, efforts, intelligence, etc on mundane, futile, unworthy, and unproductive issues.

Why would we waste energy on marching on Abuja demanding to see a sick President; or a counter-march supporting a sick President? Why am I debating Olubadan issue when there doesn’t seem to be any benefit in it in terms of real and weighable development for Ibadan people on the street, and the politicians seem to have their own agenda forced down everybody’s throats? And why is the Governor who is introducing this himself embarking on such a perilous and unpopular activity?

Shouldn’t it be time to redirect the war against ignorance, poverty, diseases, and the ilk. Our energies must be redirected to match the Koreans, Japanese and Chinese of our world. Enough of these negative energies!!!

a. The earth (like Nigeria) was created for development of the People.

b. People were created to develop themselves and environment to have meaningful lives and existence.

c. Leaders/governments are wise people who should understand and work towards achievement of (a) and (b) above. This is not understood by our current crop of so-called leaders yet.

d. Equipment, environment, and resources to achieve this is primarily through education/knowledge.

e. The best way to transfer knowledge and values is through visions, stories, articles, literature etc.

f.  One can only transfer knowledge that is well thought out, organized, and designed for practical implementation/execution, otherwise it is useless.

f. Since the above is missing in Nigeria, the people are unfocused and become social cannibals destroying one another through unhealthy competition. Hate, strife, and destruction become the order of the day.

g. For progress, we need well-articulated thoughts that produce visions to give direction to our energetic masses. Directed energies will eliminate fear that comes from idle minds and bodies. This is the way to peace and positive development.

In parting, I quote from an article titled “People vs Government” written by Dennis AuBuchon and posted on February 2, 2012.

“Why do those we elect to represent us make 3-4x and upwards a yearly salary, PLUS benefits, and pensions, when the rest of us do not have anything even close to it. Why?”

Because they have convinced us over the decades that they are doing God’s work. If we want the best and the brightest, we must pay for the best and the brightest. The problem with such a statement is that if a certified moron runs against an Ivy League graduate and the moron is running for the party of choice, the above statement is moot but the perception remains.

As Murray Rothbard, Austrian economist, once remarked in a lecture,” I was told once that we need the best and the brightest in govt because it’s such an important job. I told the guy that we need the best and brightest in the private sector. What we need in govt is people who can’t even figure out how to work the doorknob to get into their offices. They do far less damage that way.”

We are getting a very raw deal in Nigeria, and we do not deserve it, even though due to ignorance and cultural immolation, the followers are also culpable and encourage all these rots.

Let the Truth be told always!”

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