No Rage, No Change..!

In his eyes, he (Saraki) is fighting a political battle. In my view, he is a thrash that Nigerians have refused to dump in the un-recyclable bin. Saraki and the rest like him in/out of politics are not the shame of Nigeria alone; they are the scum of [the] Africa that we are hoping to turn around.

No Rage, No Change!

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_april_2016

In Nigeria criminals in government do not resign even when they are discovered.

A bigger worry is how these criminals have found their ways into governance especially since 1960.

We have read about, seen, and experienced the misrule of Nigeria since the mantle of reign fell on the citizens of Nigeria after independence in October 1960.

What is sad is that the federal government of Nigeria over the years and till date is still very disrespectful to the citizens, failing to address issues and lacking any form of proactive-ness.

A global scandal swept the world a few weeks back. It is now called the Panama Papers.

What followed in many parts of the world following the revelations is instructive.

One of the major casualties was the (former) prime minister of Iceland. The man did not even try to go to court to ascertain if he was guilty or innocent. He just resigned.

Definitely, the prime minister could afford to put up a team of lawyers to defend him and his family. He could even point out that the country is a developed country and that the people should not worry about his wealth on a strange island.

His conscience was enough for him.

He resigned and took a bow out of governance.

There was another man working for Transparency International in Chile. He was indirectly involved in some revelations bothering on the panama papers. He has resigned.

Some prominent Nigerians got mentioned in the scandal. It is not as if Nigerians do not know already before that these men are criminals.

Nigerians know that but they have not taken the bold steps to pursue and chase these bad men out of governance. They should be facing justice outside of governance. Not within it.

If the men mentioned in the panama papers were getting favours from government thereby getting rich at the expense of the people and country, Nigerians care less.

Names like David Mark for several years have become synonymous with endless, shameless scandals. Names like Saraki have been associated with the spread of poverty in Kwara and now across Nigeria through the senate.

Yet these names and several others in their class continue to steer the affairs of Nigeria.

Nigeria is a special country and Nigerians are special breed.

No one can write enough or fill the volumes when it comes to corruption and the criminal tendencies of the Nigerian political class, their families, employees and friends. It is one of the greatest scandals under the sun-that criminals rule over the largest accumulation of the black people in the world.

There is a grading of political thievery in Nigeria, that much l have explained in several essays.

Then when the blend of tribalism and religion are added, you have an insolvent that is going to last for as long as Nigeria exist unless an unexpected revolution wipe things and people away.

It is not in the character of Nigerian politicians or prominent politicians with skeletons in their cupboards to resign.

Rather it is in the character of the people, due to more than 50 years of disorientation, to align themselves along tribal or religious lines and defend the evil people in Nigeria.

The role of the law in Nigeria is another disgusting aspect of the ease of evasion of justice.

The prime minister of Iceland could have stayed on and fight.

But there is justice and there is conscience. In Nigeria, we lack both.

The politicians and criminals in public offices have no conscience and the people do not understand the real meaning of justice. So the judiciary served them with rubbish as justice.

Mr. Saraki wanted to be tried in the court of law for all his crimes and at the same time hang on to power.

Everyday new scandal emerged about this man who now appears to be bigger than Nigeria.

In his eyes, he (Saraki) is fighting a political battle. In my view, he is a thrash that Nigerians have refused to dump in the un-recyclable bin.

Saraki and the rest like him in/out of politics are not the shame of Nigeria alone; they are the scum of [the] Africa that we are hoping to turn around.

Indeed we know that all the political parties in Nigeria harbour thieves. Our dilemma will remain how to weed all of them before the end of the next century.

If we start now, we are doing our children a huge favour. If we don’t they will curse our graves.

The thieves in politics are too many and too cankerous to deal with under a normal system. If there is a system called flushing, Nigeria needs it.

This panama paper scandal came up not long ago. Our problems in Nigeria are older than more than 50 % of the population.

The panama paper is not our wake up call. It will fade soon.

We, the people have actually resigned long ago and left our fate in the hands of tropical gangsters in uniform and mufti.

Since we have resigned, criminals like Saraki and the others do not see the need to resign.

There is no shame even to family names that are now nonsense and rubbish.

They will fight back tooth and nail; they will hide under the permissiveness of law to justify evil.

Things are not going well for Nigerians right now, so it’s very easy to fight for one’s survival at the expense of the prosperity of the country.

It is very easy to become fatigue thinking about fuel, light, road and other areas that highlight the failures of past and present government.

The problems confronting Nigerians give the politicians an ease of passage, a ride over the will of the people. This has been the way since time immemorial.

In the face of all the problems, Nigerians must know that change as promised by the APC is not forthcoming for several reasons beyond the scope of this essay.

I can recall several golden moments in Nigeria’s history where the opportunity for change were missed including but not limited to the June 12 elections of 1993 that was cancelled by the military gangsters led by one Ibrahim Babangida.

Every time Nigerians needed to react in unity and show their rage, they divide along political lines, along religious lines and along ethnicity.

Nigeria needs a political solution before economic solutions or true changes can be reflected. The system of governance is not working and it is not going to work.

One factor that is missing and which can propel or force changes to begin is the “people’s rage”. It’s long dead.

Nigerians, read this loud. No Rage, No Change.

You can start tomorrow morning by sacking the wasteful, inefficient, needless and scandalous Nigerian senate. Then the change begins!

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

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No Love Lost  

One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable

NO LOVE LOST

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Lucy lives in Zambezi, until now anyway. This is where she has known all of her life. She was born here and this is where she blooms. She is a very beautiful woman. Some people spoke about her and said maybe she is a goddess. There was an artist in the town and he was convinced the gods took their time to mould her. He meant to say that Lucy was made with perfection.

Ever since she was a little girl there has always been an admiration for her beauty and her personality. People generally agree with Lucy. In her neighbourhood almost everybody she met respected her.

When she left home for the City College at Mongu, she already knew that respect and admiration were not going to be substitutes for love. We all need someone or some people to love us. So when Lucy left college the emptiness in her life began to manifest. Still she continued to pull through with the admiration and respect that folks have towards her. When she is alone she often asks herself: who will satisfy my soul?  Respect is a wonderful quality but it is not love. Even admiration is not love.

Now a working class lady, Lucy almost gave up on love. It was not hard to find a job when she graduated from Zambezi University. She is a brilliant woman and with her kind of beauty, she can open any door. But when it comes to love and satisfaction for her soul, she seemed to be lost. No one knew this but her. She knew that she is not perfect like the artist had insinuated.

One day she was waiting at the bus station. Quite unpredictably the sky turned cloudy that morning and it started to rain heavily. As it rained, Lucy started to cry. The buses were not coming because of the heavy rain. But she was not crying because of the rain or the buses that were not coming. It turned out that the weather gave her a picture of her life. She thought that her life was cloudy inside. She was alone at the bus station, and then she cried even more.

This is not the first time Lucy cried. She has read a lot of novels and she had known about the travails of many characters in tragic literatures and even in some romantic books. She learnt to cry when she is sad because tears wash away sorrows, so she thought. Once she read a book where it was stated that the men who committed suicide are often those who refused to cry because they did not give in to their feelings and pains. When people cry, they feel refreshed and often that gives them the hope that they can carry on.

Lucy was so carried away in her thoughts she almost did not notice the car that had parked right in front of her at the station. Someone had stopped to her help get to work that morning. The man did not know that Lucy had been crying. He thought it had rained over her face. In addition it was too dark to make clear observations. The man recognised Lucy though and that was why he stopped to help her.

That weekend Lucy saw the man again as she took a walk down the street. Thank you Paul, you are kind, she said. It was nothing he replied. But on this occasion Paul noticed something unusual about Lucy. Are you alright he asked? Then Lucy looked at him and started to cry again.

Paul gave her a tissue and she wiped her tears. But Paul was shocked. Until that moment he was one of those who thought that Lucy could have anything she wished for in her life. Lucy did not speak about all of her emptiness but Paul knew from the short conversation they had that the vacuum in her life is enormous.  

Paul was almost thinking out loud. So people can be beautiful, they can have good jobs, they may be admired, well respected and still be sad. Indeed many people often ignore the roles of physical beauty and clothes in covering the darkness and emptiness inside the human body.

In Zambezi there is a man who cannot finish his expressions without the use of proverbs. Paul thought about the day the man had a conversation with him. He remembered one of his sentences: lizards are always lying on their bellies, so we don’t know which among them have stomach problems.

He gave Lucy a hug and they parted ways.

Over several months that followed, Paul was visiting Lucy. There was no attraction between them because Paul had a woman in his life. But with his company, Lucy felt better. They talked about many things, some memories of growing up and now working in this commercial town where the fourth largest river in Africa took its origin.

Lucy also met new friends through Paul. These after-work and weekend companions helped Lucy to forget some of her problems. They filled some gaps in her life. Some of the people who admire her are no longer at a distance.

When she remembered how an unexpected rain facilitated her meeting with Paul, she cherished the moment. Then she decided to buy a car so that she does not have to be at the mercy of another man from the town on another rainy day. She already knew how to drive.

Lucy is happy. She felt she had leaped out of a shell. It was definitely a step in the right direction when people not only admire her but showed her some love through conversations and doing things together. Some people she spoke to talked about their travels and adventures.

Lucy became inspired and she decided that she will also take to travelling. She had always had the opportunities to travel but she never took them. She felt that it was a lot of hassles but now that she had listened to the stories about Paris, Berlin, London and Stockholm, she got motivated.

However she promised herself that she will not travel far. She learnt in geography about the different places and seasons in Africa. I will see my world in Africa before I see the rest of the world she told herself. In her mind she also made a decision to find love and never to let it go.

Lucy spent some of her weekends in Harare and sometimes she is off to Johannesburg. She also travelled to Accra because of the gold at the coast in Ghana. Once she was covering her hair in Cairo. Now she has a handful of pictures, maps and souvenirs from the West, East, North and South of Africa in her study at home.

One day, Paul left a note for Lucy. He wanted to see her again. Lucy did not understand. She just came back from Cape Town where she went on holidays. Zambezi had been warm and she wanted some experience of winter from the bottom of Africa. Lucy is a woman in search of balance and fulfilment. She came home to Zambezi and found the note in her letter box.

Paul’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend had fallen apart. They did not get along as they had dreamt. They had a few problems and they both agreed on one thing only: to end the relationship. It was a sad occurrence but they both felt it was better to do it now rather than trying to make it work at all cost. They have no children yet. He is now 32 and she is 28, so they still have their lives ahead of them.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We all make mistakes and our passions can mislead us. One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. If people stop pretending, maybe they wouldn’t have to run away from their problems. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable.

Lucy met Paul at the coffee shop down the street. She was sorry to hear Paul’s sad story. Paul’s heart was obviously broken. But he cannot blame it on Lucy. Lucy did all she could not to be a distraction. They are close friends, true. Still there was neither attraction nor intimacy between them. Lucy was missing something in her life but her head was clear about what she wanted and desired.

In her mind, she knew that Paul is confused. He has just broken up with someone he had spent a substantial part of his life with. Lucy is quick to draw inspirations from books, stories and her own life. So she said, give it sometime maybe you will find someone new. Your heart will heal and you will go on with your life.

She continued: When I went to Johannesburg in February, I met Vincent. I like him a lot. He adores me. He respects me, but above all he loves me and I love him too. We spent the last two weeks together in Cape Town and he’s planning to find a job in Harare. Apparently 7 months after their first meeting Lucy and Vincent have concluded plans to move to Harare as expatriates.

Paul is not a novice. He too had always known that people must learn to pass through their own troubles, their travails. They must learn to conquer their fears. They may need some time and a little help but they must learn.

The best way to learn is through real experiences.

Goodbye Paul. I must go now. Take care of yourself and we’ll see sometime.

Paul was close to tears but Lucy showed no emotion whatsoever.   

She gave him a tight hug and left.

aderounmu@gmail.com

(c) Adeola Aderounmu 2014

 

 

Postcards From Legoland, Denmark

LEGOLAND, Denmark

LEGOLAND, Denmark

By Adeola Aderounmu

Happiness is one of the most important things in life.

When I set out on this holiday trip with my family, I knew my next article would be written in Denmark and I would like to find some inspirations, taking the time off my holiday mood and punching my keyboards. I write from Lanladia-Legoland.

DSC_0999

Lanladia is a small settlement in Billund which is about 265 km from Copenhagen. We took a long road trip all the way from Stockholm. That was the plan.

Before we left Sweden we made quite a number of stops on our way. We spent the first night at a small town called Vetlanda in Småland, in the heart of Sweden. Actually we visited a friend of my wife and her family and spent the night at their country home. It’s situated on a farm area. The children had fun with the kittens and the cows on the farm.

Vetlnda Farm House

Vetlnda Farm House

We also saw a friend of mine Olutayo Adegoke before we arrived at the farm house. It was an impromptu stopover but he was glad to take a short break from his work as we had lunch in a park near his office just outside Nörrköping. It was almost incredible when Tayo told me he would be travelling to Nigeria that night. What a stop we made!

Adeola Aderounmu and Tayo Adegoke

Adeola Aderounmu and Tayo Adegoke

The next day our first stop was Avesta, also a small town in the South of Sweden. There lives Kelechi Udeh, a youg man I knew from Festac Town. We had lunch again in the open and near a car park at the center of the small town. We mingled with Kelechi for about 45 minutes and off we drove. He told me he is very happy to be settled in Avesta and I was marvelled how a Festac Town found happiness in a small town. Variety will remain the spice of life. It will always be in order to bloom where one has been planted.

With Kelechi Udeh in Avesta

With Kelechi Udeh in Avesta

We reached Malmö in the early evening. Tolu Taylor agreed to host us for dinner. We were not going to say no. Tolu, a big brother, was my senior at Festac Grammar School. Adeolu Sunmola who was my junior and my student at the same school joined us. Onyebuchi Echigeme completed the mini reuniuon of the Festac Boys in Malmö when he later joined us for dinner at Tolu’s house. Indeed, Festac Town and the people from Festac are always close to my heart.

With Tolu Taylor and Adeola Sunmola in Malmö City

With Tolu Taylor and Adeolu Sunmola in Malmö City

We spent the night in Malmö and drove off to Denmark the next morning. We left home in Sweden on Tuesday morning and arrived Legoland in Denmark on Thursday shortly after lunch. We have driven close to 1000 km without encountering a single pot hole. I called European (E) roads paradise roads.

with Onyebuchi Echigeme

with Onyebuchi Echigeme

When this essay goes to publication we will probably be on a homeward journey. If our plans work fine, we will make surprise stops at Gothenburg and Örebro to vist more of my friends and incredibly it’s all about the Festac Town connections. They were built connections built from 1977 to 2002. They will last for life. In Copenhagen, we will be lucky if Mary Owolabi is home when we make our journey out of Denmark. She spoke of other plans, but we’ll see what happens.

The children are having a blast. I read one day ago that Denmark is now the home of the happiest people on earth. It’s a good thing to be here when it happened. LEGOs are made or born in Denmark and it is a good experience for the children to see where some of their toys come from and how they come to life in Billund, Denmark. They are old enough never to forget the experience. The adventures have been awesome.

What will be hard for them to know is my heart felt wish or desire for the country where I was born. Unfortunately our experiences together in Nigeria in 2010 were mostly unpleasant. We spent 2½ hours at MMIA before our luggage were complete in our care, ran on generators for 2 weeks, nearly suffocated in heavy and static traffic, had limitations to where we could go and things we could do. The best thing about Nigeria was the warmth of our families and friends.

I have read the news, followed my twitter stream and stayed in touch with global events. I have read so many conspiracy theories on the Malaysia Airline plane that crashed in Ukraine. There are always more sad news than good news or maybe the good things are not always newsworthy. I am mostly worried about the things that are going on in Nigeria, a paradise lost.

Yea, Malala came to town. She was in Abuja to press for the release of the Chibok girls. Then the “bringbackourgirls” campaign group entered a one chance roforofo fight with the corrupt Nigerian presidency. Mr. Jonathan was at the fore front of a “fight” for once in a lazy presidential life time. I learnt he was bitter when he was refused the chance of meeting the Chibok parents.

I know there was an allegation of a missing $20 bn from a government that is now trying to borrow $1bn to fight Boko Haram. Who are the clowns in Aso rock? Everyday several billions of dollars are lost to oil theft only in Nigeria. Everyday too, Nigerian politicians loot several billion of dollars in the executive, legislature, state governments and local governments. That’s the way to explain their sudden riches and capabilities to buy up anything including the former tallest building in Lagos/Africa. They can buy customized private jets anytime they want. How much do they earn legitimately?

The government that steals so much money should be ashamed to even ask for the least borrow-able amount from any creditor. The same government is paying huge sums annually to foreign PR firms and lobbyists to help it repair its battered image and to label Nigerians in such ways as to promote the corrupt government. Only dubious creditors will be willingly to lend money to government that is supposed to be richer than it-the creditor. They call it business when they do.

There is no greater PR than eradicating corruption and serving the people rather than selves. The extremely low level of mentalities of the Nigerian politician leaves one in awe and shock. From the view of the rest of the informed world, it is mockery and easily set Nigeria among the countries ruled by nonentities. The classification, “among the most corrupt” is too easy.

There is at present a wave and fear of impeachment going on in Nigeria only in APC controlled states or in states where a governor brought a PDP-stolen mandate to the APC fold. My bigger expectation is for the Nigerian revolution that will totally impeach, sack and sweep altogether what is probably the most corrupt government in the world with headquarters in Aso Rock, Abuja.

Unless such happens, several million Nigerians will never experience the real meaning and essence of life. The witch-hunting and cosmetic approaches of politicians against politicians who are themselves the major problem with Nigeria are not close to the cleansing solution that Nigeria and Nigerians need. The Promised Land is getting farther.

I knew since 2011 that governance is on a long recess in Nigeria. The trend is common and predictable. Once an election period is over and the new captors of Nigeria settle down to amass, steal, loot and drain the treasuries, the struggle that will sustain or produce the next conquerors of Nigeria quickly goes into motion.

In the last three years, such a condemnable trend has produced the largest number of political prostitutes ever in Nigeria’s history. It is part of the reasons the wave of impeachment became the strongest weapon today, for rather than service to the people and fulfilment of electoral promises it was business as usual and psycho-egocentrism peculiar to the Nigerian political class. It is therefore too easy to line up impeachable offences against those on the other side of the power divide.

Nigeria’s politics is driven by insatiable lust for money and the highest bidders always buy the consciences of the ever-hungry looters called politicians (and sadly the populace too). In all, they are all birds of the same feather and 99.9% of them from Aso rock to Badagry and Sambisa local government areas ought to be spending time in jails by now. But we know that the institutions are dead in Nigeria, the worst hit being the powerless police and the strikingly corrupt judiciary.

The in-thing in Nigeria today is rice politics and stomach infrastructure. Nigerians have short memories and those who are old enough have learnt nothing from history. Even as a boy in primary school I was aware of the consequences of the politics of stomach infrastructure championed by one Shehu Shagari in the late 70s slash early 80s. The NPN was a short-sighted political group that distributed rice, clothes and even apartments to members to ensure that they rig and won the elections back in the days. The rest is history.

That history that includes the extensive reign of tyranny and dictators is what Nigerians have not learnt from. That the PDP, APC or any other party can distribute rice directly or through criminal sponsors is an indication that Lagbaja’s theory of 200 million mumus is a fact. I am short of words or expressions. The situation is not normal; Nigerians are caged, mentally and psychologically!

No matter where I go, no matter what I do. I will always argue for and on behalf of more than 90m Nigerians suffering in silence, disconnected totally from governance and having no idea of the meaning of life, how much more the good life in this temporary passage called earth or world.

I will always argue for social justice, the common good, and a clear understanding of the meaning and essence of life which is not far from the principle of live and let live. I know that illiteracy and total ignorance play huge roles in some parts of the country. I know that the North is a catastrophe based on narrations of friends who went up North.

What I saw in rural Oyo State during my service year in 1995/96 broke my heart. I saw very young and immature people having more children than the number of meals they can have daily. Even most of the adults have no clear scope of what types of life they were living. There is a lot of work to be done across the nations within Nigeria eventually. Education is a top priority now and in the future no matter what becomes of Nigeria or the regions enclosed within it.

My hope for Nigeria and the nations within it is that they will rise again and be on the path they were on the eve of October 1st 1960. The hope includes the rise of functional regional institutions that will usher or return good governance politically, economically and socially. Security of life and property through functional regional security is not the least of priority in a terrorist infected geographical space.

Nigerians are broken almost beyond repair and they need more than a miracle. Nothing short of a revolutionary ideology can save the day, nothing! It must be possible to wipe away corruption, nepotism, tribalism, looting and anything at all that stands in the way of the common happiness. There must be a way forward to build trust and comfort.

Happiness is all that matters in life. The excessive wealth piled up by Nigerian politicians is a reflection of their ill mental statuses, insensitivity to the plights of the deprived and an absolute lack of the understanding of the meaning and essence of life.

There must be a way to knock some senses into the politicians and public office holders that in a transient world, the senseless accumulation of wealth through direct stealing or looting is barbaric, meaningless and inconsistent with expectations of public services directed at humanity. If it takes a revolution of ideology or the over anticipated Saharan revolution, so be it. Silence on the part of a people being oppressed and misruled is not golden.

“Postcards from Denmark” is dedicated to:

1. A friend, Gbenga Akinbisehin (1973- July 16 2014). I heard about your death as a checked in at Malmö, you left too soon, too sudden. You’ll be missed.

2. Every non-corrupt Nigerian working genuinely hard everyday and never having the right to holidays. Your freedom will come.

aderounmu@gmail.com

Brazil 2014: This Time For Africa?

By Adeola Aderounmu

World Cup Africa

Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Cameroon and Ghana will fly Africa’s flags at the world cup which starts on the 12th of June in Brazil.

Egypt went to the world cup in Italy in 1934. That was the first time an African country featured at the championship which started in 1930 in Uruguay. Since then 13 countries in total from Africa have participated at various editions of the mundial. The other 12 countries are Morocco, Zaire, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Angola, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo.

When Africa’s representatives at the world cup for 2014 arrive in Brazil this summer they will be chasing an unfulfilled dream-that an African country is ripe enough to win the world cup.

To make this dream come true, Cameroon will have to cross the hurdles in Group A where they will do battle with the host Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

Cameroonians are playing in their 7th world cup. This is an African record. But what has Cameroon got to show for previous appearances? The best exploits came in Italy in 1990 as the career of Roger Milla was winding up. Cameroon was beaten in the quarter finals by England. After Italian 90, Cameroon quickly transformed and became “not indomitable”. For an African country to win the world cup, consistency must be shown.

Ivory Coast is a country also in need of consistency and even more, delivery. This country must emerge from Group C that include Colombia, Greece and Japan.

The men representing Ivory Coast and led by Didier Drogba are the popular golden generation that has won nothing to show for the name tag-“golden”.

This is the third straight world cup for the so called golden generation. They failed to emerge from the groups in 2006 and 2010. Any country that wants to win the world cup must be able to emerge first from the group. It will not matter if the group is mildly classified or if it is termed the group of death.

One country that shaped the organisation of FIFA’s world cup after the 1982 edition was Algeria. In 1982 Germany and Austria “sold” their last game “to each other” so that Algeria could be eliminated. You need to find and read that story if you love the history and football. In 1982, the Germans and the Austrians brought huge shame to football.

Football scandals or match fixers are not restricted to Asia or any particular geographical part of the world. Rather it is something that has been a part of football at every level and in almost every country for as long as the game has been in existence. The roles of FIFA officials in recent reports seriously brought the game into disrepute, again. Yet, this is a game people love no matter the problems related to scandal or “arranged outcomes”.

After the 1982 games, FIFA decided that the last games in each group will be played simultaneously. Algeria will try to emerge this time from a group including Belgium, Russia and South Korea. If they find the form again like they did in 1982, they have a chance of making Africa’s dream come true.

To put Africa’s name on the map as a world cup winning continent can also become a dream come true through the hands of the Ghanaians. Ghana is also making a third straight appearance.

In 2010 on the African continent Ghana reached the quarter final stage where they fell to Uruguay. That match will not be forgotten easily in the stories of FIFA senior world cup.

Luis Suarez had to become a “goalkeeper” at some stage to save the ball from going into the net. It was a sad day for Africa as Ghana failed to convert the extra time spot kick that would have sent them to the semi-final stage. Our dear brothers lost on penalties.

This year in Brazil, Ghana must scale Germany (the match-fixers of 1982), Portugal and the United States in order to prove that African countries can show consistency and make serious claims to world cup glory at the senior level.

African champions Nigeria will also be making another attempt to show the world that an African country is indeed prepared to win the world cup. Nigeria must emerge first from a group that includes familiar foe-Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Iran.

This is the second time Nigeria is going to the world cup on the back of a Nation’s Cup victory. The first time was in 1994 when Keshi was the captain of the team and Clemence Westerhof, the coach.

In 1994, inexperience was the bane of the Super Eagles as they were bundled out in the second round by the Italians. In 1998, Nigeria was again bundled out in the second round by Denmark.

In 2002, Nigeria had a disgraceful participation in Korea/Japan. In 2006, Nigeria was missing at the German edition. Back in South Africa in 2010, Nigeria failed again to emerge from the groups.

Through the years, bad planning, maladministration and useless preparations have ensured that Nigeria just added to the numbers of the countries going to the world cup.

To date, especially since the Algerian exploits of 1982 and the Cameroonian efforts of 1990, the performances of African countries since 1934 (though sporadically filled with some other brilliant moments) have not matched the expectations of the people of Africa.

Brazilian legend Pele predicted that an African country will win the world cup at the turn of the last century. It did not happen. Even at the time that the profiles of African players rose both on the continent and abroad, it has been impossible for Africa to deliver on high promises.

In South Africa when Ghana crumbled, Africa returned to square one of the struggle to win the world cup.

The organisation of football on the African continent needs a range of face-lifting processes. In North Africa, it appears that the organisation has always been solid. There were a lot of set backs in some North African countries as a result of the Arab spring. But some countries (like Algeria) are reported to be making big strides even attracting players from France to the Algerian league. One hopes that Egypt will rise again.

If Algeria makes progress in Brazil or if her football becomes a reference point irrespective of how they end this tournament, fingers will point at the growth or promises shown at the domestic league.

Among the other African countries representing Africa at the forth coming mundial, Nigeria will be of concern to Nigerians, definitely. Since the first appearance of the country at the world stage in 1994, it has been a permanent impossibility to uplift the game on Nigerian soils.

Nigeria as country or Nigeria comprising of several regions has a population that could turn anything profitable into a goldmine. Sadly like many other things that Nigerians have failed at, including governance itself, football in Nigeria has not been revived since its collapse I would say in the mid 1980s. I may be wrong with the actual date but I remembered how it was fun to watch Leventis United, and Abiola Babes when I was in early secondary school.

Today the English Premier League, the European Champions league and other foreign leagues are very famous in Nigeria with huge followership. The gains that Nigeria should be making in marketing of her own football is totally diminished or drowned.

This essay is not about recounting the problems with Nigerian football or Nigeria as a failed country. It is not about Nigeria as a dead giant of Africa. If one does not draw the lines, the discussion will move from football to every aspect of Nigerian life. It’s very hard to separate the lost glories of Nigeria in almost every aspect of human endeavours.

For one month between June and July 2014, Nigerians will expect the boys that will be selected by coach Keshi to deliver. Many of these boys are plying their trades abroad. Invariably they have been polished by other systems. The exposure is brilliant but when the days and years are running out, many of these boys cannot return home to wrap up their careers like the Brazilians or the Argentines do.

They do not have to finish their careers on the Nigerian soil but the argument is that the level of football in Nigeria in terms of planning, organisation, administration, execution and overall sustenance is not yet in the right hands. Nigerians know these things but for them everything is politics.

As long as there are functional leagues abroad (even in neighbouring African countries like Benin and Togo) where Nigeria’s talents can be nurtured or even de-processed by making them change their roles on the pitch, it is fine with those in the glass house and their pickers in Abuja.

The biggest indicator of the gigantic problems facing Nigeria’s football is the failure of Nigeria since 1985 to transform the glory of the young players (Eaglets especially) into something that the world can emulate at the Super Eagles level.

For an African country to win the world cup will not depend of luck or unexpected favours from some quarters. It will depend a lot on management of the game on the continent. That’s where CAF comes in. This body needs revamping and dynamism. It needs a new life.

The progress of African football will also depend on national organisations like NFF of Nigeria. What are they doing to promote the game in all spheres (on the pitch and off it)? Are there serious plans to encourage more youth, more women and anybody interested in the game to pursue their careers knowing that they have a foundation to rely upon?

Africans must also overcome the mental incapacitation that FIFA rankings can infuse on the mind. The best place to play football is on the pitch. Moments like this-in Brazil provide the opportunity to send the FIFA ratings to the dustbin. Football is dynamic and it moves from one game plan to the next.

The future of African football, its organisation and management on the African soil will play significant roles and the world will see these upliftments when an African country eventually wins the world cup. It’s been a long wait but it must happen in the future. July 2014 is part of the future.

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Ignorance Of Jonathan On Poverty And The World Economic Forum

By Adeola Aderounmu

If the forum goes ahead as planned, there will be tight security all around Abuja while the conference last. The security will be heavy and water-tight at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Transcorp Hiton Abuja and the Abuja International Conference Centre.

Somehow this conference in Abuja will showcase the low cognitive mentalities of some African rulers. The government of Nigeria will ensure the security and safety of foreigners. It is the same government that has not been able to protect her own citizens and is yet to issue any official statement on the circumstances surrounding the missing school students in Northern Nigeria.

WEF_Adeola

Who abducted the girls? How many of them were abducted? Who are the gangsters responsible for this human trafficking? What efforts are being made to curtail or prevent a re-occurrence of mass kidnap of children, men and women? Why was it possible to carry our double terror attacks at the same spot at such a short interval of time? The answers to these questions lie with the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, men of the armed forces and the investigative arm of the security agencies, not with some “money-siphoning committee”. Silly!

The other angle to the economic forum came as a bang on the 1st of May 2014. The ruler of Nigeria revealed himself as one who has no sense of economics and growth measurements. What benefits is Nigeria getting from the WEF when poverty is measured by the number of people appearing on Forbes list of rich people or by the number of people who flew private jets to Kenya? Jonathan does not get it; his level of reasoning is so kindergarten and appalling. Now we know how Nigeria’s economic has overtaken that of South Africa-it is by private jets and Forbes report.

Poor Nigerians! They are in a permanent mess! With his line of reasoning, like a mad king, there is no way out. All those comments about Aliko Dangote, private jets and giving money to a Nigeria shows that Nigerians have thrown away their hope of a better future with the type of rulers they get at all levels of government. The relegation of intellectuals and the elevation of agberos and touts across all strata of governance in the affairs of Nigeria are revealing very devastating consequences.

When some people argue about not blaming the ruler of a country for the lack of security in the country then I don’t know who is going to accept the blame or responsibilities. Somebody must take responsibilities for the security breakdown in Nigeria and that person whom the bulk stops at his table is the ruler of the country.

It was not the South Korean PM who tilted the ship that capsized yet he took the blame and the responsibilities and stepped aside instead of finding blame or passing it around. So, I am sorry the security problem in Nigeria is for the government to solve irrespective of whether the government knows the sponsors or not. Innocent people are dying everyday! Children and women are kidnapped and used as slaves and sex objects.

Let me hasten my essay, Boko Haram successfully bombed a car park area in Abuja twice in a period of less than one month. The group vowed that it would remain in Abuja to unleash more terror attacks. Nigerians are asking for the arrest and prosecution of the sponsors of Boko Haram because Mr. Jonathan has mentioned several times that he knows the sponsors.

What investigations have been done by the police and the other security agencies? When will the arrest or interrogation of suspected Boko Haram terrorists begin? Is the judiciary independent enough to run these cases if this government gets the “liver” to start this show? Are the skeletons in Mr. Jonathan’s cupboard the hindrances to the end of terror in Nigeria? Who or what is he afraid of?

Who are those in his government that he said are “Boko Haram” members? Why is the Nigerian Army playing a double role in this whole deadly drama? People are asking the Nigerian army “if you can lead and win in Liberia and Sierra Leone, why is it impossible to lead in ordinary Northern Nigeria? Who controls the Nigerian Army today? What is in their way? Why are they being killed and slaughtered by Boko Haram so easily?

The WEF is ill-timed. Nigerians are asking about missing students and several murders and senseless killings by Boko Haram terrorists. Nigerians are asking for protection, they won’t get it! Nigerians do not have security for their lives and property. The luxury of security will be given to foreigners and coincidentally to Boko Haram terrorists who said they are already in Abuja. Are they lodged at the various expensive hotels in Abuja?

If this World Economic Forum conference is rolled away from Nigeria, the consequences and embarrassment (if this government ever get embarrassed) might help to start finding answers to the several unanswered questions that now include the global #bringbackourgirls campaign.

Who knows? The implications might be heavy enough to wedge stricter security measures to keep all Nigerians (and foreigners) safe while not ignoring the effects of the appropriate use of the rule of law as short term palliatives.

On the long term, it would be of historical and educational significances to look at the circumstances that led to the rise and success of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria especially the role of underdevelopment, ignorance, poor education and outright failure of governance in the region notwithstanding the several years of hold on power by the selfish rulers from the Northern Nigeria. The lessons learnt can be useful for the future generations. Two post-independence generations of Nigerians are already wasted! Tragic!

aderounmu@gmail.com

[photo, world economic forum and AFP photo]

Don’t Endorse A Failed Government In Nigeria; Cancel the World Economic Summit Now!

This is the letter I wrote to WEF at the following email contacts explaining why they should not go to ABUJA.

Africa@weforum.org,
forumusa@weforum.org,
contact@weforum.org

By Adeola Aderounmu

The government of Nigeria will guarantee your safety. You are global executives and you run governments.

For your sake the lazy government in Abuja-Nigeria will close down the city and there will be no movement for people and animals. As you read this letter, Abuja is now shut down for you!

When you are there you will experience peace, tranquillity and safety for your lives. That is a guarantee.

You will be amazed by the high level of security that the Nigerian government can provide itself and the rest of you coming for the conference.

The Nigerian government will convince you why the conference or meeting must hold. The strongest argument is that if the conference is cancelled then the terrorists (Boko Haram) can claim victory and success.

When you have finished your conference, life will return to normal in Abuja and across Nigeria. Boko Haram will start to strike again, insecurity will return to normal and there will be fear and confusion in the air.

The lazy government headed by Goodluck Jonathan will withdraw all the security forces/agents from the streets and station them around Aso Rock and homes of government officials again. The security that you will get as attendees of the WEF event will not be retained or transferred to the ordinary citizens on the streets. Jonathan told Nigerians openly that he does “not give a damn”.

The crux of this letter is to engage you in a deep reasoning of why you need to cancel this Nigerian event.

You must not fall for the trap that cancelling the Abuja meeting is going to be a victory for Boko Haram.

Rather it can be the wake up call that the lazy Nigerian government need to understand that the roof is on fire and that innocent lives are wasted everyday due to non-performance and outright negligence of duty by the federal government of Nigeria.

If this meeting goes ahead, it is an endorsement or a support for a government that has done almost nothing to guarantee the safety of lives and property under its watch. If this conference goes ahead it is an endorsement for one of the most corrupt regimes on the surface of the earth. This conference or meeting going ahead will confirm our fears about the conspiracy of the International community to destroy Nigerians by aiding and glorifying corruption and corrupt governments.

Goodluck Jonathan has not performed. He is a man in support of corrupt practices that are widely known by all and sundry.

It is time for him to make a public statement about the real circumstances surrounding the story of the missing or stolen girls. It is time for him to explain what he meant when he said there are terrorists in his government.

Whatever message you want to take to Nigeria by your physical presence is something that can be done without your physical presence. Take your conference to another country and engage Mr. Jonathan and his crew via a video conference.

Don’t come to Nigeria because the government can guarantee your safety while the over 160m population can be decimated at any time, t, and moment, m.

If you ignore this letter, you will be endorsing the inaction of the lazy Jonathan government that has done nothing about the missing girls in Northern Nigeria. If you ignore this letter, that means it is alright with you that Boko Haram bomb Abuja before and after your conference, not while you are there.

If you come to Abuja, you have endorsed a failed government, you have endorsed corruption and you would have promoted the cause of Boko Haram-to avoid tight security while you are there and to unleash mayhem as soon you are gone.

History will judge all our actions and inactions.

Adeola Aderounmu
aderounmu@gmail.com
Stockholm-Sweden

Nigerians, You Lost A Paradise (A Photo Essay)

By Adeola Aderounmu

In several of my essays on Nigeria I have made references to what my parents told me about Nigeria. I remember one story about my mother walking about Lagos in the middle of the night. She told me there was nothing to be afraid of living in the old Western Nigeria. People lived like normal people and go about their businesses round the clock.

There was 24 hours a day form of existence, transportation was uninterrupted and life was full of hope and happiness. The future looked super bright. When she told me stories about Nigeria in general, she brought the good olden days in Western Nigeria to life in my imaginations.

Unfortunately for Nigerians the future is here now and it turned out super bleak-full of extreme hopelessness and frustrations.

Invariably Nigeria was once upon a time a paradise on earth until some people decided to reverse the gear of progress. Greed and outright madness took over the people-both civilians and military-entrusted to manage the affairs of Nigeria. Sometimes these people have not been chosen, selected or elected; they took over governance by force or through violence. Then they enforced their own rules and mode of governance.

Nigerians lost their paradise when they could not take back the control of their regional and geographical areas from the tropical gangsters who strangely are somehow still in control of the affairs of the land until today.

My mother told me that security especially took a turn for the worse after the civil war ended. In general, evil rose after the war as weapons remained in the hands of the people. Greed and selfishness set in at different points during pre and post-independent Nigeria.

In many ways too numerous to describe here, Nigerians lost a paradise

Cross River Conical Stone

Cross River Conical Stone

This conical stone is from Cross River State. It stands in front of the National Museum in Lagos. One of the things that went wrong in Nigeria was the drop in the standard and value of education. How many Nigerians visit the museums to learn about their history? Today the ignorant people who run Nigeria’s education have suggested that history should be removed from the curriculum. Nigerians will forget their history totally and the magnitude of historical distortions 100 years from now will be better imagined than experienced.

Brass smith in Bida

Brass smith in Bida

This is a man doing his work. That was Brass smith in Bida. We always say there is dignity in labour. Today that expression belongs to the dustbin in Nigeria. Several Nigerians just want to be part of politics so that they can steal and accumulate money and wealth for themselves, their families and unborn generation.

Those who are not stealing in politics are also looking for ways to cut the corners in whatever they do. In public and private enterprises the “make quick money syndrome” has taken over almost everybody. People now believe more in “if you cannot beat them, join them”. Such is the low mentality of an average Nigerian today.

Honesty is now a disease in Nigeria. People who are honest and trustworthy in Nigeria have joined the list of endangered species. One day somebody told me that I cannot be a politician in Nigeria. When I asked him why, he told me that people working with me will either kill me or poison me if I prevent them from stealing in politics.

He said they might even cut my head off. He was trying to emphasize that I cannot do politics in Nigeria if I am not ready to steal. From what we see and know about Nigeria today, that illustration is correct. It’s very sad, disheartening and a piece of the evidence that the paradise may be lost forever.

Decorated Pots, Sokoto

Decorated Pots, Sokoto

Here above is an image of a girl selling decorated pots in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria. This must have taken place at those times that my mother described to me and what I will call Nigeria’s golden years. At that time when there was still dignity in labour. Some of the pots are not decorated but they look so beautiful you want to have them for your next party or family cooking.

Old Western Nigeria

Old Western Nigeria

Western Nigeria was part of the regions that made up the Nigerian paradise of the olden days. It is hard to miss the blend of even development and environmental preservation. Look at the beautiful trees among the industrial revolution of old western Nigeria.

One cannot miss the hard work and the quality of the products that this craftsman is making. The image did not say where the man comes from but he was well dressed in native agbada. Interesting I have at least 4 of the items in his production line in my possession.He was not only selling cultural products, he promoted his culture as well by representation.

The woman carried healthy fruits. She was also well dressed in Iro and Buba. She looked healthy and happy. She was probably selling the pineapples or just on her way from the farm. Agriculture was the backbone of the Nigerian paradise. Crude oil later became a curse.

A Market Place in "old" Nigeria

A Market Place in “old” Nigeria

This is another beautiful image from the time when Nigeria was a paradise on earth. It was at that time that it would have been proper to describe Nigerians as the happiest people on earth. Some recent global reports describing Nigerians as the happiest people in recent years when the security is low, the roads, schools and hospitals resemble monuments of catastrophe, the economy is good enough on paper only and at a time when majority of the people are living dangerously from hand to mouth, are not only misleading but also irony of the highest order.

The Famous Kano Mosque

The Famous Kano Mosque

In my recent but last essay I described religion as one of the greatest problems in Nigeria. Religion is one of the reasons why Nigeria went from paradise to hell on earth. These are people worshipping peacefully at the famous mosque in Kano. People worshipped peacefully across Nigeria in the olden days. But the agents of prosperity in the face of dwindling economic fortunes changed the mode of worship in Nigeria forever.

Rather than guide the people to demand good governance and accountability, the foreign religious institutions in Nigeria headed by the new-age Nigerian overseers told people to pray. At the same time the people whose actions and activities contributed to converting Nigeria from paradise to hell were active members of various religious organisations.

The situation remains the same today as looters parade churches and mosques every Friday and Sunday. Nigerian looters are popular faces at religious crusades. Religion became a means to wealth for the religious rulers and many young people today are religious fanatics especially after years of joblessness. Politics in Nigeria got contaminated with religion and the outcomes including terrorism and mistrust in the society remain devastating to this day.

Nigerians love to chase shadows. Oh! How they enjoy denying the knowledge of basic truth! Apart from the resurrection of regional governance (the possibility of which is already being thrown away at the “organised” national conference) another hope for the restoration of the Nigerian paradise will be the total eradication of religion(s) from public service.

Issues like pilgrimages for example need to be taken away from government functions. Churches and mosque in/around government establishments need to be demolished. People need to just do the right thing rather than hide under the umbrella of religion while they ruin the state or country.

People don’t need to pray for good roads, good schools, and good hospitals and so on. What Nigeria need across all her geographical regions are the good and honest people who will use the budgetary allocations to do these things. Prayers don’t build roads or schools when the funds have been stolen or embezzled. That is common sense and application of the knowledge of the truth – that which always set people free.

Meeting of the "WAYs" Water, Rail. Road , Old Lagos.

Meeting of the “WAYs” Water, Rail. Road , Old Lagos.

In this picture we see some of the things that millions of Nigerians today have no experiences of. There was a functional train in service. The roads are clean and motor-able. The cars were in the correct lanes-2 lanes and no mad driver on an artificial third lane. There are no LASTMA people on the road; people had a sense of belonging and responsibilities.

On the right side the area is enough for pedestrians and cyclists and on the left side, there is a bicycle track along the major road and also there is a pedestrian path with adequate distance to the train tracks. Life was good, normal just like in a paradise. The street lights are standing upright and there is a stretch of beautiful garden in the middle adding glamour, peace and tranquillity to the streets of Lagos in the old western Nigeria.

Apart from air travel, all the other modes of transportation are depicted in this image. There are no ferries in the image but the idea was to state that they were all available in the old Lagos.

This is the type of image of Nigeria from the past that some people will never know about. Millions of Nigerians have lived and died within the period that the paradise was lost. This means that they actually, sadly enough, passed through life without the experience of a good life or the taste of the real meaning of life. If nobody talks about these things and if nobody makes reference to the things that existed under regional governments millions of Nigeria will live and probably die not knowing that there entire future and happiness were stolen from them even before they were born.

All of my life time in Nigeria, I do not recall the privilege of taking a ride on the train. One day however I took the “Baba Kekere” ferry service from Mile 2 to CMS. It must have been some time in the mid 80s. But as a young boy I remembered the many rides on the LSTC buses in the late 70s and early 80s. I know the number on the buses and their destinations from Festac Town. Those were the end of the good old days.

In today’s Nigeria the paradise is lost. This lose will be permanent for several millions of Nigerians living in Nigeria unless radical political changes and turnarounds occur today.

The paradise will remain lost if one man or a group of people can steal 20 billion dollars and walk free. In the 1970s we saw a man making brass in Bida, in the 80s we saw a man from Minna who stole more than 12 billion dollars of Nigeria’s oil money. He walked free! How did Nigeria go from promoting dignity to embracing criminals? The answers will shed light on how to lose a paradise in 20 years or less!

Nigeria lost their paradise because they allow military juntas and politicians to handle public services and politics like profitable businesses that is devoid of probity and accountability. The paradise will remain lost in the face of non-sensitive rulers and non-functional political structures.

The negative outcomes that follow a lost paradise are too numerous to elaborate but they are largely visible on a day out in various parts of Nigeria. Nigerians need orientation in almost all aspects of their lives. Social studies, moral instructions and history were part of the foundations and orientation in primary education. They still cannot be overemphasized in a society with solid foundation in education.

In a lost paradise, pensioners are crying, students are not getting the correct education, graduates are jobless and the society is on a free fall. In Nigeria, a country heavily polluted from all angles, good health is a luxury. There are almost no consequences for political and economic crimes. There is no sense of belonging and the first and the last law is the same: the law of self-preservation.

When I think about the issue of electricity in a lost paradise, I can’t recollect much from Obele Odan in Surulere but it has always been a pain to recount what we went through in Festac Town. We got a beautiful town with our own transformers and local power system.

Everything went down the drain right in front of our eyes. Growing up in Nigeria for my generation was a traumatic experience. Yet we were not given any social or psychological help by the state or the federal system. We fend for ourselves.

At that time (when I was growing up) the system was under the management of the wasted generation. These are the words of Wole Soyinka, as he aptly described his generation, my parents generation unfortunately. Until this day in Nigeria, the mis-management of Nigeria remains largely in the hands of mostly crooks, criminals and idiotic people who cannot manage their homes. How they got to the positions where they have to manage public services and government institutions summarises the story of Nigeria as a lost paradise.

A paradise can be reclaimed. Nigerians, you lost your paradise when you gave up your sense of belonging in the various regions and allowed a powerful center to destroy the entire system. You cave-in and followed a “rotten head” all the time. The paradise lost is actually the sum of all your negligence and attitude to work, environment and life.

It’s going to be a hard fought battle, but you need to bring back the paradise for the sake of your children and children’s children. Take another look at the images in this essay; you’ll see there’s a need to do away with the rotten head or any rotten head for that matter.

Do away with the center altogether. Claim back your regions, do the right thing all the time when it comes to public service and dedication to local and regional development. Be selfless and content. Start your charity (in this case your love of humanity) again, from home. It will spread. It will bring the paradise your children deserved.

aderounmu@gmail.com

PHOTO CREDITS

Akwashi Conical Stone (from Cross River Area)

(By Elisabeth Seriki)

Brass Simth Bida

By John Hinde F.R.P.S

Decorated Pots, Sokoto

John Hinde

Western Nigeria

John Hinde

Famous Kano Mosque

John Hinde

Market

Photo by E, Ludwig, John Hinde Studios

Lagos, Meeting of the Ways: Water, Rail, Road

By The Railway Printer, Ebute Metta