Festac Town- A Symbol Of A Failed Society

By Adeola Aderounmu

In a number of my articles published in 2007 at various places on the internet I wrote about the Rise and Fall of Festac Town Parts 1 & 2.

21 Road Festac Town

21 Road Festac Town

I went to Festac 15th Dec 2010 and I am not ready to change my stories. Generally Governor Fashola has ensured that the presence of the Police on Lagos road is now more significant. Therefore even though there are still criminal activities in Lagos, they are not as rampant as they were in 2005/ 2006 when Tinubu was the alaye.

Festac therefore remains a relatively safe environment, a sort of enclave.

My observations about the management of Festac Town indicate that the Amuwo Odofin Local Council is a very unserious one. Several Roads in Festac are bad and un-motorable. Generally the roads in other parts of the local area are bad. I almost drove into a ditch near Oluti.

Fashola is not a magician and Lagosians need to be told that Local Governments also have responsibilities and obligations. I intend to write about this in another piece.

21 Road in Festac is a dead-end. In fact my car got spoilt just before Emem Hospital. The 2 valleys on that road were filled with water and it was impossible to know how deep the gullies were. I should have turned back. I was driving a friend whose son was on admission at the Hospital and I wanted to be nice to him. We went to see his wife and son-who was responding well to treatment.

When we got to 21/31 junction, I parked my car and my cousin did a routine check on the car. We managed to drive away in one bit.

21 Road is a disaster. The people of Festac should start asking for the contracts that have been awarded on roads in Festac in recent years. It is common knowledge that budgets are made annually to cater for construction and repair of roads. Where have the monies allocated for Festac roads disappeared to?

21 Road Festac Town

On 72 road just before you enter 721 approaching from 7th avenue, you will find a terribly deep gully. Pity I couldn’t take the pictures of that road. While approaching, you will be forced to stop because it looks like a bottomless pit. At the tip of the gully, you will then find out that it is possible to navigate down and up again. Does Amuwo Odofin have a local government chairman? Does he drive on Festac Roads? Oh my…!

On 24 Road approaching from 71 Road the story is the same. The roads are so bad they rank among the worst roads in the world. I have no doubts in my mind that Nigerian roads are among the worst roads in the world. That I would drive on such roads in my own locality in Festac Town is worrying.

On Christmas Day there was a terrible accident on 5th avenue. A salon Rover car collided with a HIACE bus near the A close end of 5th Avenue. One of the cars was avoiding a pot hole and the other one probably was claiming right of way. 5th Avenue is not a very bad road as such but the small pot hole was tangible enough to cause an accident.

Bad roads and careless driving makes a dangerous blend. This combination is partly responsible for the high accident rates and deaths on Nigerian roads.

I am impressed though that the Amuwo Odofin Local Government was able to save and preserve the stone field on 23 Road X close/ 5th Avenue H1 close. There is a fence around it now and competitions are organized regularly. Football and Basketball thrives still on that ground. For these I am glad.

Stone Field, 23 road X close

Stone Field, 23 road X close

It’s just still sad though that the general problems in Nigeria add twists to every story of disappointment. Lack of electricity, lack of pipe-borne water, dilapidation/near extinction of public schools and other social-economic problems add up to the problems of neglect by local authorities. Therefore people are living under hard and harsh conditions. Nigerians are suffering.

One of my former students just asked me: who will be the change? Well, we have been told to look into the mirror and be the change we want to see in the world. But when evil is more than good or when good is quiet as evil rises, the world cannot be a better place.

No one (except Jesus) has been reported to be capable of saving the world. If we do the right thing in our niches, we will build a viable ecosystem. We may not save the world, but we will make our world a better place for everyone.

Festac Town, Very Dirty Place.

Festac Town, Very Dirty Place.

The Amuwo Odofin Local Government Chairman and all the local legislators should rise up and live up to the promises they made to the residents of the area. Save Festac from total collapse!

Atiku, Jonathan and a failing country

By Adeola Aderounmu

Recent events in Nigeria moved us to the precipice, at least in our minds, again. Treason was in the air. As usual we keep finding ways to reach the pendulic (my word) balance. We keep swinging to neither here nor there.

Nigeria is not moving forward. This failed society has been at the crossroad since 1959. It was known then that the Union Jack will be lowered in 1960.

The Atiku and the Jonathan camps have exchanged words of fire in recent weeks. My take on Nigeria shall remain constant until my last breath or until governance becomes a means to serve the people of Nigeria. This country is ever-ly devoid of men of character and vision.

For the love of money, for the greed and for their insatiable (evil) lusts, Nigerian public servants and their armies of sycophants have kept the status quo. In Nigeria millions of people don’t know the essence of life and the meaning of living.

Atiku Abubakar should have been sent to prison a long time ago. When he and Obasanjo gave us explicit details of how they both looted and destroyed the Nigerian economy, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu did not seize the day to whisk both of them to trial and possible detention. The evidence flew in our faces for nothing. They were published in major newspapers and they were made available from original sources in Aso Rock. In Nigeria corrupt people and thieves parade our landscape as saints and we worship them. It’s an extremely sad situation.

Back in 2006/2007 Atiku was so bitter he single-handedly almost destroyed the PDP. He gave public speeches and interviews about the evil nature of the PDP. He warned Nigerians NEVER in their lives to vote for the PDP. Today on what platform is this political prostitute seeking office in Nigeria? Many Nigerian politicians have no shame and no sense of direction.

With such admission that he belongs to the evil party before flirting with the ACN, one can tell that a party like the PDP and its like (rampant in Nigeria) will NEVER do Nigerians any good. The PDP party is evil just like its flagbearers.

Even Jonathan is not left behind. When he and Alamieyeseigha reigned in Bayelsa, they left the state almost in ruins. They were reported to have stolen the state to dryness and the plight of his master will be indelible in the history of this country. It’s so cheap to say that Obasanjo blackmailed him. The summary is that all these people are wicked and have no considerations for the rule of law. It is true that Alamieyeseigha stole and that he owned all the property that he could not have genuinely acquired as a public servant.

Where is Ibori today? His plights do not mean anything to those who are still in the business of looting and carting away our national treasuries. We must not forget the role of Ibori in the emergence of the present illegal regime in Nigeria. To those who are not familiar with my write-ups, I refused to accept that time can eradicate illegality. Even a useless judiciary or a corrupt Attorney General/ Chief Justice of any Federation can’t erase illegality of stolen mandates. I am not a saint but my moral standards of public service are unshakable. Do it right or leave the stage!

These men are all the same, stealing, looting and destroying the future of the unborn generations of Nigerians. The mentality and mindset of Nigerians have been massively distorted by 50 years of misrule and mis-governance. Very sad situation. The man who succeeded Jonathan in Bayelsa gave a bleak picture of the situation back then. They are all the same anyway!

Hence when I look at the on going scenario whereby Atiku and Jonathan are both calling each other names and really spreading information about the bad sides of each other, I’m not just surprised because these things reveal the truth about the types of people ruling Nigeria. The moral standard for public office in Nigeria is below the value of zero. If these men who have at one time or the other stolen monies in Nigeria are the frontrunners for the office of the presidency there is probably yet no hope for this failed society. I’m almost not able to call Nigeria a country anymore.

To even imagine that the opposition parties cannot seize this golden moment ahead to form a formidable entity to at least rid Nigeria of this evil party is also a sad situation. In all honesty that is not even the solution to Nigeria’s problems. One can argue that the parties don’t matter, that Nigerian politics and politicians are different sides of the same coin. At every opportunity I keep asking, how did we get to this point? I see wickedness in public offices and I see nonentities, idiots and senseless people running the affairs of local, state and federal structures. I kept asking: how can this be?

Where are the people who can solve the problems of this failed society called Nigeria? Why can’t we prevent the violence and intimidations that has sealed out the people with the right spirit and mindset?

Last week I took a long walk down the streets of Lagos and I saw people struggling to achieve one thing or the other under impossible circumstances. I concluded that the Nigerian people are disconnected from governance. They have no idea what their votes can achieve for them and they do not even know the power they possess as masses. They think that once the elections have been done or rigged every other thing is in the hands of God.

Nigerians have replaced their life of happiness which they struggle to get with their belief in God. They suffer and live under inhuman conditions despite the wealth of the country because they allow thieves like Atiku and Jonathan to continue in power or even have access to power. They say-it’s God who put them there. What a useless lie! The evil in Nigeria and the poverty that pervades the land are man-made. They are caused by Nigerians who have ruled and stolen instead of working to build the country.

Check out the National Assembly, the Executive arm and the legislators across the nation. The prime issue is money sharing and getting rich among the members and politicians. Nigerian politics is a disgrace to our collective intellectuality. They say we are all the same but I have rejected that claim since it started.

I will never be the same as those who stole and took my future away. I am not the same as the one who said telephone is not for the poor. I reject the claim that I am the same as the man who built an empire on the rock but cannot take a walk in a market place. I am not a thief and no matter what opportunities I get in my life time, I will not steal. I know the son of whom I am. I will never be the same as Bankole or Daniel fighting over a bridge surrounded by poverty-stricken people and very bad road connections on either side of the stupid bridge.

Nigerians must reconnect with reality and they must know that until they rise up to demand for what is theirs; it will not be given to them on a platter of gold. Nigeria is a rich and blessed country. The wealth of Nigeria is not for the politicians, or their families and praise singers. The wealth of Nigeria is for Nigerians and it must go round. This cannot be compromised.

The PDP has failed Nigeria and Nigerians. There is no one way out. There is an urgent need for the enlightened Nigerians to carry along those who are ignorant and unaware of their rights. The solution will not lie in another political party per se. Instead it will depend on our views about life and its essence, that everyone has the right to pursue happiness, that the state is obliged to provide the means to accomplish that goal.

Those obstacles on the way of the growth and development of Nigeria must be removed by radical means including if necessary a massive revolt that will move the foundations of the nation. Corrupt people must be stopped by any means possible. Corruption must be eradicated by all means. Public accountability must become a MUST. Transparency in governance and the use of merit must be above all things.

I hardly know how to finish my essays or where to draw the lines for my arguments. Whichever way, the status quo in Nigeria is a source of ridicule to the most populated black nation on earth. There are flashes of impact of active governance in Lagos and signs of possibly better projects ahead but taken from a broader perspective, what I saw when I walked and drove through Lagos these past weeks are indications of a collapsed nation. The people are still suffering and smiling. I am one of those people.


I’m On Holiday…

By Adeola Aderounmu

For the first time in 4 years I have taken a well deserved holiday. Some people already know where I am spending my holiday. The rest of you will wait till I get back to know about the journey.

I will be back with regular blogging after my holiday. It will be loaded and I continue to pray for journey mercies.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Ivory Coast: Not Another War Please..!

Adeola Aderounmu

Again, Ivory Coast is singing the war tunes. When will Africa be tired of this rubbish?

Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of the election by the Electoral Commission. But now Laurent Gbagbo has been declared the winner by the Constitutional Council after some polls from the North of the country were cancelled.

Like several countries in Africa, Ivory Coast is divided along ethnic lines and there is discrimination (or racism in Ivory Coast). I am at a lost how and why Africans discriminate themselves. South and North of Ivory coast see one another as different and unequal.

This ethnicity problem is one of the greatest problems facing Africans. From Sudan to Nigeria, from South Africa to Ivory Coast, From Rwanda to Uganda and so on, Africans see themselves as people of different races. It’s amazing and the issue begs for the re-examination of the intelligence of the African race.

Fight for power is one thing, the attitude that one group of people have the sole right to power is another. Indeed there are allegations that this is partly due to colonialism. But what has happened to independent reasoning, deliberations and cognitive abilities of the African man since the end of colonisation. Oh, please don’t blame this one on neo-colonialism or some form of imperialism.

Africans should stop complaining. They should sit down face to face and talk sense.

The boiling point that is about to be reached in Ivory Coast is the last thing that we need now in Africa. The country has now shut down its media communication with the rest of the world. That’s a preparation for a show down that we don’t need.

Today Ivory Coast has two presidents. Tomorrow war may break out. These two presidents need to sit down and talk things out. The Electoral Commission and Constitutional Council should get involved in a joint meeting and sort out the anomalies. Votes from the north cannot be cancelled simply because Alassane Ouattarais from the North. That will amount to injustice and a recipe for war.

Alassane Ouattara, irrespective of how this dilemma ends should in the days ahead try to ensure that he uses his position to disarm the rebels in the North. If a country has rebel, the likelihood of war remains constant. Alassane Ouattara should not be seen as a rebel leader but a presidential candidate or a president if he won.

Or how on earth does he want to be a good president if he represents a rebel group and enjoy a stronghold in one part of the country and a dishonourable position in the other parts.

Ivory Coast and Ivorians must do all they can to keep the peace, spread it and enjoy their economic prosperity. Again they cannot rely on foreign governments for peace. Africa must always be told that her destiny has always been in her hands all the time. Creating pandemonium and begging for assistance or inputs from abroad will continue to escalate the woes on the continent.

Mbeki is now on ground but this will not be about him or the talks that may hit the rock. The issues are concrete: electoral processes and democratic institutions in Africa need to have sound foundations. It also involves a form of education that creates the sense of oneness among the citizens that share a common boundary. Where common boundaries are loosely defined the issue of immigration needs to be adequately polished to remove conflicts and confusions.

The future of Ivory Coast and Africa will continue to depend on the type of leadership that we get. It will also invariably depend on the followership.

Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbabgo can be sure of one thing, Ivory Coast will outlive them.

Haiti and Our Hypocritic World

By Adeola Aderounmu

Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake last January. Several aid agencies sprung up overnight. Along with the Red Cross, and other notable charity organisations like doctors without boundaries, the agencies scrambled for attention. They clamoured for help for Haiti.

The year is going to an end and Haiti is not getting better. Life has not been saved since the earthquake or the attempts to do such have been minimal and not forthcoming.

The story and history of Haiti remain sad. From the days of slavery to present day Haiti, the people are yet to fulfil their destiny. In an essay “What Haiti Needs[1]” former president Bill Clinton wrote,

“Haiti isn’t doomed. If we rally around them now and support them in the right way, the Haitian people can reclaim their destiny”
What has happened is that the world pretended that it rallied round and supports Haiti but reports from Haiti shows that the people are still suffering. They are in pain.

More than 2000 people may have died in the last one month alone in Haiti. No one knows exactly how many people have been buried in the mass graves dug around the country. Cholera is taking its toll on the population.

Before the January 2010 Earthquake Haiti was a nation in dire need of sanitation. The country is poor and the people are also poor. They live under very bad conditions. No city in Haiti has a public sewage system. So before the Earthquake Haiti was already a zone of probable epidemic. It remains so.

In January this year, in a special report, Michael Elliot wrote in the Time Magazine[2]:

As always in the developing world, the first priority [in Haiti] will be clean water. With drinking water distribution systems destroyed-and survivors crammed into camps without sanitation-water supplies could quickly become contaminated. That could lead to rapidly spreading waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery that can sweep through refugee camps.” Michael wrote that with adequate aid the worst might be averted.

Unfortunately for Haiti the worst was not averted. People are dying in Haiti now due to cholera. This was a disaster that could have been averted through provision of clean water.

Since the Earthquake, have Haitian cities been equipped with public sewage systems? What are the aids organisations doing in Haiti? Are they treating and caring for people who have become sick or are they trying to prevent sicknesses? The funds that came from individuals and governments worldwide to Haiti this year, what have they been used for? Do we have a catalogue of funds and projects? Were any of these directed at preventing secondary calamities associated with the earthquake? Like cholera for instance?

I took some time to read a brief history of Haiti. There are similarities to some of the events that have taken place in Africa. The colonial masters, the international community and the so called peace missions have been used to divide and repress Haiti and Haitians. Haitians think that the cholera currently ravaging their nation was imported by the United Nations’ soldiers.

The rape of my African sisters by the United Nations officials and soldiers is a continuing scandal that the United Nations has failed to tackle appropriately. Why does the UN tend to leave more pain where it meets sorrows?

Haitians must know that a strong democratic government is one of their recipes for survival. Haiti cannot afford another failed internal government or any new form of tyranny.

All the aids agency is Haiti must know that there is a need to combine their efforts to create a synergy that will be more productive. Governments that have made promises must fulfil their pledges. Those who have fulfilled their pledges must create a means to follow up what they plan to do with their funds.

No money, funds or assistance sent to Haiti should be unaccounted for. Agencies that receive donations should stop fattening their own pockets or allowances while the intended recipients of the donations continue to suffer and like we see these days, die of preventable causes.

The future of Haiti, like other developing countries in the world, ultimately lies in the hands of Haitians. There is nothing wrong if the rest of us help them to reclaim their destiny. We can’t do that be being hypocrites. People are dying..!

Ref 1&2: Time Magazine Special Report January 25, 2010