By ADEOLA ADEROUNMU, Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Peace’

A Remarkable Pact

Buhari and Jonathan signed a peace agreement. Historically this is a very remarkable pact-that a peace agreement was signed before a war or in the absence of war between 2 factions.

A Remarkable Pact

By Adeola Aderounmu

Ade

The ugly tradition of politics in Nigeria remains and is madly sustained.

Several politicians flock from the PDP fold into the APC fold as the February 2015 elections draw closer. This massive, aimless exodus of purposeless, selfish and greedy politicians is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

Nigeria is peculiar.

I have emphasized before that there are rewards for political prostitutions in Nigeria. As it stands now, it is impossible to find the definitive line that separates the two main political parties in Nigeria.

A good friend based in Southie argued that APC is different from PDP: that when the PDP members cross carpet to the APC they will act differently because people are influenced by the type of company that they keep.

I disagree on this one because APC is increasingly becoming a party of PDP dropouts. So the party continues. Where is the change? Who is fooling who?

Every four years people fall to the same political scam. It’s like a ritual. For those who are entering into political awareness for the first or second time, they will soon learn the name of the game.

For several others suffering from political myopism because they have not been paying attention for a very long time, they have refused to learn that the system of politics in Nigeria is remarkably dysfunctional.

Since the clarion call for the abruption of the faulty political system to allow for the re-actualization of the dreams of the fighters of the Nigerian independence is not yet popular, the follow-follow majority continue to hold on to false hopes every four years.

As the national existence in denial continues, there are probably 3 scenarios that may emerge depending on if peradventure the forthcoming presidential election, against all odds, reached  conclusion, or not.

The first scenario is that Goodluck Jonathan may continue in power. This is possible because global democracy has a nasty history of what is called the power of incumbency. Umaru Yar Adua missed out by his untimely death.

Despite the gross incompetence and laziness of corruption-laden Goodluck Jonathan, he may persist to extend beyond 2015 the worst post-military years of the Nigerian life which began with Obasanjo in 1999.

It is not only the power of incumbency that could tilt the votes in his favor. There is always a difference between what people might consider as social media popularity and the reality. Sweden and in fact the rest of Europe provide classical examples.

Racists and extremists’ political parties are winning more votes and finding their ways to European parliament despite the upsurge of campaign against them on the social media.

So the question is why do they keep getting so many votes? In Sweden the racist party is the third biggest political party. The party may not be popular online but it garnered massive votes on election days.

A lot of people think that Buhari will sweep the Nigerian presidential elections. How many of those who support Buhari at rallies have the cards to vote? Many Nigerians like to attend political rallies just the same way they attend religious crusades.

Nigerians are very good lookers too. If taxes are collected for looking, a lot of money will flow in to the government coffers daily in Nigeria. But the money will be looted anyway.

If we assume that Nigeria conducts a free and fair election, the social media denigration of Jonathan does not necessarily imply that the coast is clear for Buhari.

But there are crises and mayhem already in Nigeria that may escalate and hinder a free and fair election. The success of Boko Haram is an additional catalyst to any chaos that may trail the 2015 elections in Nigeria.

The second scenario is that Buhari too can win the election. If the massive support on the virtual social media and at the physical rallies translates into non-pretense active participation, then Buhari may win.

In addition if all the PDP prostitute politicians who cross-carpeted to APC can successfully convince their followers to do the same and if they all have the voters’ cards to exercise their rights, then Buhari may get a land-slide victory, l think.

The third scenario is what many people don’t want to talk about because it is highly undesirable, but not impossible.

If Nigeria reached an unresolved stalemate, say, as an outcome of the interplay of inconclusive presidential elections, violence around the country and escalation of the Boko Haram war on Northern Nigeria, then the future of Nigeria may be decided following long-drawn battles that will take place both on the political and war fields.

I maintain that it is very risky that Nigeria entered into this election season with many prevalent problems unsolved and many questions unanswered. The dirt under the carpet is massive and stinking.

Nigerians must know that there was a reason for the peace accord that was signed in Abuja in week 3 of 2015 by the principal members of both APC and PDP. If anyone thought that it was ordinary eyes, they better go wash off their eyes to see the handwriting on the wall and the reason for the peace agreement.

Again, Buhari and Jonathan signed a peace agreement. Historically this is a very remarkable pact-that a peace agreement was signed before a war or in the absence of war.

Nigerians must hope that this peace accord spreads to everyone including Boko Haram before the election. It is in fact a good deal and it is better to use it proactively than to try to use it by hindsight.

In the meantime isn’t it about time the intra-and interparty uprisings in Rivers State are stemmed before they spread to other parts of the country? We know that Amaechi has been promised a number of ministerial slots and the elimination process by murder had started in earnest! Wike and Amaechi will need their own peace accord before the River burns!

Nigeria faces her biggest challenge ever since the end of the civil war because an election is planned amidst a long list of uncertainties and in the face of Islamic fundamentalists waging a war in the northern region.

When, and if the dusts ever settle, the bigger challenges will remain because the future of any nation is more important than where she is now.

There are outstanding problems that are partially independent of whoever becomes the ruler of Nigeria as I call them.

Summarily, as a matter of urgency, Nigeria needs to:

  • End the war in the north and disarm the terrorists in the south and elsewhere
  • Find a permanent political solution
  • Face the current economic reality from a global perspective

The political solution ace lies with the National Assembly all the time. Instead of doing their jobs, they have over the years allowed themselves to be overshadowed by calls for Sovereign National conferences and all kinds of ruses called CONFABs.

The Nigerian National Assembly has, for so long, neglected its role of debating the political structure of Nigeria and how to systematically remove or reduce the power concentrated at the center. This negligence reflects the evil nature of the extreme selfishness of Nigerian politicians.

The system works for their pockets, makes them billionaires and promotes their ineptitudes. The system that has destroyed virtually all important organs of governance, probity and accountability makes Nigeria probably the most corrupt country in the world.

As the National Assembly continues to ignore this role, corruption persists as the most organized activity in Nigeria.

Hence successive corrupt governments continue to institute or plan own convention and conference. Mr. Jonathan wasted a fortune from tax payers’ money on this recently. The real National Assembly must start to debate even if the debate outlives a certain government.

It will not matter how long Nigerians beat about the bush. One day in the future, they will be forced to discuss reasonably through the national assembly. If it becomes too late the third scenario highlighted above may be triggered.

Then they’ll again have to bring their representatives who will discuss and negotiate the future of Nigeria by force so that they can come forward with a functional system of government.

On the economy, let me remind Nigeria that the future of crude oil does not look bright. The world is looking and it is finding alternatives to fossil fuels including crude oil. The argument is to reduce the extraction and refinery of crude oil to the production of raw materials that are related to medicine and household needs.

So it means that the diversification of the Nigerian economy cannot wait.

Solving the political problems and allowing the different regions in Nigeria to plan their survival and economic future are some of the ingredients that can move the country forward as a true federation the way it was before the ugly coups of 1966.

Nigeria must make use of her honest historians and political scientists to show the proper road maps.

All the fools, nonentities and dunces running to politics solely for money making need to be stopped!

Apart from an effective military that is well trained and combatant ready, the removal of the excess power at the center is probably the other most effective check to the nonsensical ambitions of Boko Haram.

This suggested political option is also probably the most significant check that can remove violence/chaos that characterized the election campaign seasons. For if the power at the center is removed or reduced, the hassles for it will almost vanish.

Definitely functional law and judiciary systems play their unquestionable roles.

All that is needed to put Nigeria among the best countries in the world in the next half a century, which also includes eradication of corruption at all levels, cannot be discussed in one essay.

The people must be educated, live in manageable planned family, learn the civics of trust, co-existence, tolerance, selflessness, dignity of labor, patriotism, nation building and commitment to humanity and nature.

These virtues will avail much and their acquisitions are not dependent on religion or any remarkable political agreement.

aderounmu@gmail.com

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

THE NIGER DELTA WAR: Justice will bring Peace

By Adeola Aderounmu

Take it or leave it, the war has been declared on both sides. The militants (in as many factions as possible) have declared a war on the Nigerian State for quite a while now. To deny this is to be insensitive to the killings that occur daily in this area. It will be a complete aberration to miss the interpretation of the spate of kidnappings and insecurity in this region as a war.

I have written about this war before in October 2006 and August 2007. Those articles were based on my encounters with a friend who works in Port Harcourt and my brother who is constantly exposed to the perils of this region because he is a marine engineer. When you hear firsthand accounts of what is going on in the Niger Delta, you will agree that a war was declared on Nigeria in the most silent way possible.

Whose fault is this war? Well, blame it on the Nigerian Federal Government and also on the various state governments in this region. Indeed, the militants are not saints too. Each of these 3 parties has serious faults but the bulk of it rest on the table of the (usually) illegitimate governments that have occupied the center in as many years as possible. Today Nigeria is still governed by an illegitimate government!

And that illegal government has now gone to Britain to buy guns and other weapons to counter the war in the Niger Delta. This is the solution that the evil government in Nigeria has for the people of the Niger Delta. The useless government is also to receive all kinds of military assistance from Gordon Brown’s country. Britain and the US will go to any extent possible to protect their interests. If it means brothers killing brothers in another country, so be it! In Nigeria, the oil deposits in the Nigeria Delta remains the most important thing to the British and the US. It is irrelevant to them that the government is illegal or bastardised.

In my own words in one of my previous posts on the Niger Delta. Rather than concede defeat, the Nigerian government will go to war with the militants if the need arises. History will repeat itself, fatally. The reason is not farfetched. This country that has been run by mad men since 1960 is totally dependent on oil and oil exports. There has been a total neglect of agriculture, tourism, science, medicine, technology and all that is needed to make a country grow.

Northern Nigeria and the rest of Nigeria look up to the oil in the Delta for money to run every little details of our National Life! In the process, there has been absolute neglect for the welfare of the indigenes of the area. The various states government in this region are also guilty of neglecting the people because the regional politicians stole money and embezzled as much as they can-the people can go to hell!

In addition, the foreign companies that operate in this area have not done enough to assist in the plights of the indigenes. Instead, they have continued to pollute the land and water. The problem of pollution has been worsened by illegal bunkering and the activities of the militants who also steal oil to sell and finance their war.

The results are here with us today. Two or more wrongs will never make a right. War is not the solution. It is not the way out. Peace talks or Niger Delta Summit is not the way forward. There have been many summits in the past, what happened to the outcomes/deliberations?

The Niger Delta issue is one of the many atrocities that the Nigerian State has committed against the citizenry. What is actually needed in the Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria is a total transformation of lives into that which is worth living. The targets should include letting clean water run in every home, to provide decent schools for the children, good roads and modern hospitals.

These are provisions and conditions that should have been made without demands. Where serious environmental damage has occurred, the communities should be compensated depending on the degree of damage. The oil companies in the Niger Delta should clean up their mess and pollute no more. The Environmental Protection Agency must ensure strict compliance.

Power supply in Nigeria is near zero percent! Such a serious problem should be tackled wholeheartedly as it can transform the economy positively. Agriculture should be re-initiated, expanded and mechanized. The abundant mineral resources in the country should be put to positive use to bring about economic growth.

Education, basic infrastructure, housing and social welfare should be re-engineered towards giving Nigerians a better life. The eradication of poverty should be pursued zealously and dedicatedly.

Corruption, nepotism and tribalism should be phased out of our existence. We should learn our priorities and set them straight and right.

Nigeria is supposed to be a great country and a model for Africa. Unfortunately she is regarded as a sleeping giant in the heart of Africa. If Nigeria permits it, her land will become like the rest of those places where Britain and America are spearheading wars.

Surely, we don’t want that in our country. We must look inwards and solve our problems. We must find peace and the best way to do this is to ensure that there is JUSTICE.

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