New music, old dance

‘When the music changes, so does the dance’ This is an adage that serves as a reminder  of importance of awareness to the changing world.

 

There is a lot of assumptions made on behalf of Nigerians, most of which were not true representation of what Nigerians stand for or genuinely believed.

For about two weeks now, there has been discussions about secondary school curriculum and how Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) has been deliberately merged with Religious and National Values by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) while Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) still maintains its status as a stand alone subject.

Regardless of the purpose of the proposed amendment in the curriculum, any conversation around religion always get attention of Nigerians.

The news going around was that the changes was meant to islamise Nigeria – I still do not understand how this could possibly be believable in Nigeria.

Why is all the fuss? What is wrong with replacing CRK/IRK with Religions and National Values?

 

Nigeria top pentecostal pastors were not left behind, they reiterate how important it is that we keep CRK in the curriculum and of course they jazzed up their message to make people think that is all that we needed to lead a happy/fulfilled life.

I have nothing to say about these pastors drumming on this non issue – all of the three big names mentioned grew up in a Nigeria when we had fewer churches on our streets. Now, with more churches, more religious preachings, people are fed with false hope, distractions from reality on the streets with promises of wealth and eternal home as if there will be a separate heaven for Nigerians and they are the gatekeepers.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has this to say:

“it would lead us to a godless nation with violence and all forms of ungodliness as the order of the day” – the statement was credited to CAN president, Rev Samson Ayokunle.

Thinking on the CAN president’s statement – which part of Nigeria is ‘godfull’ today? Funny people – Nigeria is so ‘godfull’ that northern Nigeria had to leave CAN to form a separate body last year citing corruption in the top office as their reason for leaving to create their own more representative group of Northern Nigerian Christian Association (NNCA). 

Like all subjects, periodic reviews are important to see how to best get important message across to learners. NERDC were appointed to do specific jobs, we all can see the influence of religion in our society – why must we continue in the same old way and wishing for better times?

In this case, I thought instead of CAN and top religious leaders speaking on behalf of everyone, why not encourage NERDC to do a nationwide or south-wide survey to get figures on what people are thinking about religious studies in secondary school?

Deut 17:6  says  “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses…”

I did CRK in the first three year of secondary school, I still have a picture of my teacher in my mind’s eye – if the course was not compulsory, I would not have sat in that class.

Everything I remember about bible teachings today are from home and involvement in church activities. It is parents’ responsibility to teach their children religion of choice.

A few people I spoke with on the subject agree that Nigerian students likely to benefit more from religious studies being merged with national values, might even awaken people to the reality on ground as opposed to outward proclamation of religiosity that leaves many reciting verses that bear no resemblance to the life on the streets.

If I had to raise my children in Nigeria today, I’d rather get them to study Religious and National Values where they are exposed to a religion of their choice as well as how that fits into today’s Nigeria realities.

The outcry was to get people thinking Nigeria is about Them Vs Us however, in reality southern Nigeria education is heading towards downward spiral with too much emphasis on religion and far less on other very important subjects that get people employed for today’s world.

School is meant to open minds to all possibilities not to further create needless division/isolation.

We are at a different time, we need to get comfortable to dance to the rhythms of today.

On the safe side

We are nearly there.

We had Brexit. The school mock election provides the girls with a little taste of what real life leadership selection is like. Then we had to deal with The Donald, I remember my 10 year old was concerned for the Mexicans and how it will be too tough for them if they were made to pay for the wall. I said to her that politicians say quite a lot of unbelievable things when they hunt for votes. Time will tell and we will all be alright in the end.

Here we are here now,  I find school mock election quite interesting, I didn’t know school children do this. Most of what the girls know about politics is what they learn from school so they get home seeking definitive answers to some questions – well, real life isn’t that clear cut.

Thankfully, mock election gives a taste of how the process works and how people learn to live with whoever wins even if not their choice.

Year six students were divided into groups to represent all political parties. Children cast their votes based on presentations. For my 8 year old, personality and policies are equally important – not voting for any boring politician.

Yeap, she casts her vote for Monster Raving Loony Party and here’s why:

Green Party: Their presentation is too long, and they say too many greens.

Labour: Not that bad, but one of the presenters had to read from a book, didn’t prepare ahead.

Tory: Too boastful. (this reminds her of weeks leading up to Brexix) so not impressed.

Monster Raving Loony Party? They are happy people with colourful outfits, made everyone laugh so she is won over.

She has seen quite a lot of people arguing on Labour/Conservatives, so her stance was why vote for people who keep talking over each other while being funny and happy is an option.

She chose the safe side, how many adults does the same thing only to regret a week later?

Her sister is a polar opposite on this, she wants to talk about who has the best policy on education, especially secondary school. She is not affected but aware of 11+ exams for grammar school and how a friend still didn’t get in after preparing hard for exams – no MRLP for this one.

I had a chance to talk to a friend whose child is about my girls’ age. Her school is closed for election. I asked her if she were to participate in the mock election, who she would vote for? She would vote for a party that promised free lunch for schools.

Then I said which one would she prefer, free lunch with limited choice or mommy and daddy to get more money for the value they bring to their work which in turn means she has cash to choose whatever she likes to spend her lunch money on?

While she was nodding along, I told her to relax but we must learn to cast our votes not just for bread alone.

I have done my civic duty by post last weekend, in the morning we will know where we are. The good news is that whoever wins, the UK is not likely to be discussing about Russians interference in six months.

I find this School of Life views on democratic voting system food for thought.

 

 

Humanising history

What a fresh breath of air listening to Prof Yemi Osinbajo views on Biafra. I especially like that he started by relating to his school mates who went home during the war and never came back.

He talked about how we are better and stronger together and capable of succeeding together if we put more emphasis on the rich diversities we all bring to the table as opposed to highlighting our differences.

Even if he is one of them. It feels so nice listening to someone representing the country speaking eloquently on the subject that many of our leaders have used endlessly to divide us.

I don’t remember learning a thing about Biafra in school. The first time I heard about it was from my mother describing how awful it was. Thankfully, now reading the accounts from books and the internet, I can see why people from that region can’t wait to leave Nigeria.

Then, again I share Prof Osinbajo’s views that separation is unlikely to benefit common people.

This same sentiment goes for all of our regions. Can northerners survive on their own?  Oh well, with Boko Haram and more than 5.8 million people needing food assistance in IDP camps across the northeast. In the same region, many public officials are on EFCC list for corruption, we’ve even seen one hiding raw cash in a safe tucked in a poor neighbourhood.

The answer is common people will continue to suffer.

Can we survive in the SW? Good question, let’s take Lagos out of the equation to see lives of common people in all of our states – from schools, hospitals to infrastructure, it is the same story from decades ago. We wouldn’t kill one another with guns if it is a collective struggle but we will definitely turn one another to zombies through too much grammar blowing off the roof.

By now, I think President Buhari can keep the title, I know a Nigerian president would never resign, not when he can still breathe, assisted or not. But at least, he is welcome to stay in London while Acting President mends the fragile relationships with kinder words.

The first two minutes of Prof Yemi Osinbajo is what Nigerians need to learn more of.

 

Education inequality due to lack of funding

Sometimes last week I read about a group of Nigerian students stranded in different parts of the world because the government has not been up to date with tuition and living expenses payments. The students, as always reached out to Nigerians online home and diaspora to echo their voices.

This is not new, last year a group of students studying in UAE were recalled as the state responsible for the scholarship could not keep up with the costs.

Firstly, I emphasise with students in this situation. I wish them all well and hope the government would listen and do the needful.

Sometimes stating the obvious is the least that we want to hear, however, many of the promises (some blatantly ignorant) that Nigeria government made a few years ago were based on oil prices so now almost everything and everyone is affected as the prices has gone down significantly. The only people that still in the bubble are the government officials.

That is for study abroad students.

For home students, who is looking after the interests of millions who are ready to learn but were left unattended to?

The other day, a friend ranted endlessly about the state of LAUTECH and the fact that the school on no lecture. Both Osun and Oyo are supposed to sort out maintenance of the institution – the school is not free by the way, state university tuition is still higher than most of our federal universities.

In January Governor Ajimobi of Oyo got backlashed after addressing students with disdain attitude in public. A week later in February, there were news saying students are now back in school after 8 months strike orchestrated by unpaid lecturers’ salaries. They were only back to write 2015/2016 first semester exams. Lecturers were not happy enough with the settlement received in February as they are still being owed 5 months salary so the school is back to no activity after exam.

Being enlightened and educated is one thing that we like to talk about in the SW, but sometimes I wonder who have we been educating for 2 decades with public schools in terrible state.

Our governors are happy to spend hours unending to recite same story on Obafemi Awolowo and his education policies but yet, public education don’t get necessary funding in the same region.

LAUTECH has a teaching hospital too, the story is the same. Workers protest half salary that started last year. I have a friend with three children whose husband works at this hospital, she has a side hustle of a grocery shop to supplement her teaching wage. Even with that it is hand to mouth.

Yoruba elders especially love to remind us how much being older means they know all.

Bola Tinubu is the Chancellor of the school. As far as politics goes in the SW, whether we admit it or not, he is very powerful. Yet, I don’t see him getting involved in this.

Governor Aregbesola is arguably the best governor Osun has ever had in terms of restructuring public education. From what I have heard, he is the least bothered about the strike of LAUTECH lecturers, does it make sense to continue with many projects, most of which are on credit which all of us are going to eventually pay for and yet finds no money to pay existing workers?

Same goes for Governor Ajimobi of Oyo – why do our governors find it easy to unite on endless Owambe events but yet can’t see the damage being done to future of the country when adult students spend more time to protest strike on the streets than they do in classroom?

I hear they plan to reduce the workforce. Then go ahead. Pay staff owed salaries and let them go. Everyone will be alright in the end.

No point talking about the former president Baba Obasanjo, he doesn’t care about anyone at all, also the fact that he too owns a private university so no incentive to care for children of unimportant people – being a two-time president is a lucrative venture in Nigeria.

So when are we going to learn? Good luck to LAUTECH students and shame on Aregbesola, Ajimobi and all Yoruba elders who are indifference to the plights of these students.

Why do I relate home school to the study abroad students? Their stories is similar now. Imagine if all these money were spent on providing quality education at home, perhaps w’ll be a bit better off.

Now both home and abroad suffer the same fate of government neglect.

We need to consolidate tribes for progress

Nigeria has 371 different tribes so we’re told, the list is impressive. This is not peculiar to Nigeria, many nations of the world are in a similar situation. Nigeria is categorised into three major groups for economic and ease of governance purposes, amongst many reasons.

Nigerians are passionate, often times I enjoy the comments more than the essay itself. I really do not understand what this list of 371 tribes was meant to achieve but one can tell easily that tribal ‘love’ (well, let’s put it that way) is one of the very few things that get Nigerians talking.

Over 600 comments on a list of tribes? Nigeria politicians love fruitless argument like this, they knew it will never lead anyone anywhere but they delight on future of the nation to remain confused.

I decided to look at the list of tribes, partly to see where I am being thrown. I already know I am Yoruba, but Nigeria is a funny country, how? A middle-aged guy only a few days ago tried to convince me that I and my neighbour speak two different languages, I actually thought he was joking but he was dead serious. To him different dialects is seen as different languages which in turn create another division of different tribes. I can’t argue with such mindset so I walked.

Back to the list of tribes. I am not terribly surprised that Nigeria has 371 different tribes, I thought number is higher.

I know we are not meant to look at data closely, that would mean we are doubting or being troublesome. However, I know there is always a pattern that tells bigger story.

Plateau state with estimated population of 3.2M has the highest number of tribes in Nigeria with 68 different tribes, followed by Bauchi with 63 tribes between 4.7M people. This is the story with most of our northern states.

Six southwest states including Kwara has 1o tribes, interestingly Kwara state alone has 5.

To make sense of this list Adamawa, a northeastern state has 58 different tribes while Osun state in the southwest with similar population has 1.

How can a nation progress when the highlight of our conversations is on our differences?

Southeast/southwest have similar low tribal divisions as southwest with Cross River at 26 tribes and Rivers at 11 tribes.

Diversity can be beautiful. Everyone should be allowed to identify with any group of their choice. However, tribal divisions in Nigeria unfortunately only perpetuates hatred which in turn means regression all round.

Within southwest, most of us speak Yoruba with different dialects and therefore happily identify as Yoruba. I am sure if we wanted, we could have broken the region down into tribal bits to match with the northern states but that would not have benefitted anyone. We could have easily say Akoko, Ilaje, Ijesha, Ijebu or even Ife are different tribes but what this would do is to stall development and foster public distrust of one another.

So looking at Bauchi state with 63 tribes – does that mean these are all distinctively separate tribes or they are more like what we have in the SW but we have for a long time happily agreed to be under one umbrella of Yoruba?

I found Bauchi to be quite interesting because even within a local government of a few thousand people, folks still find reasons to divide themselves further. Example of this is the case of Tarawa Balewa LGthe end result of it was endless clash between people.

A region is better off when deserved attention is paid to what we all share in common which we all know are far more than the other way around. I am sure many of these tribes speak very similar language, so why not consolidate for progress?

In SW for example we have a fair share of violence, many embarrassing ones too. However, looking through this list makes me realise the massive work that our past leaders had done, carving an identity that most people are comfortable to relate with.

This post is not about picking on any particular region, it is just an observation in relation to the reality on ground.

We could spend as much money as we like on rehabilitation on parts of the country, it would still not bring permanent change if we continue to ignore fundamental flaw that is hindrance to collective progress.

As a society highlighting what we have in common can only be a good thing for everyone. We have seen enough of what the other side is like.

Keep it on the chin and bear it

Why are some people ever so critical of Nigeria government? I suppose knowing that Nigeria can do a lot better is enough reason to keep poking the officials, they often tune out the voices anyway, but until they pay attention, poking it will be.

What was that saying about those who do not learn from their past are bound to repeat the same mistakes – our experiences are there to guide and enlighten us only if we let it.

Every event in Nigeria is another opportunity to turn the mirror inwards to re assess what we see as normal to be one of the many reasons we lag behind – the incident at the burial of Serubawon is one of those golden opportunities.

Serubawon’s sudden death was sad, no argument about that. I read a few tributes dedicated to the senator as I was trying to see what others were saying, predictably it was hard to see if the senator was appointed to be a socialite or public servant.

The state government has opened an inquest to investigate the cause of the senator’s death so as to appease those who are suspicious of the his death.

Is the cause of Serubawon’s death due to known underlying health issue? Or a case of enemy has killed him as many of Serubawon’s supporters believed, time will tell –  good luck to the state with the inquest.

What I found quite disturbing was not particularly the senator’s death but the fact that he was knee-deep into preparation for the next state governorship election,  his supporters’ way of showing loyalty was by turning what should have been a quiet final burial into chaos.

I still remember like yesterday when Serubawon was the governor at 37 years old – this was 25 years ago. And for the best part of the last 10 years he has been senator representing Osun West at the federal level.

Online, anywhere Serubawon gives a speech was for another election. And when that election is won, he is back at the senate.

I know most of our senators at best bench warmers at the senate but I have seen quite a few senators voicing their opinions, engaging Nigerians both from within their constituents to the wider nation. Even when their opinions are heavily criticised, they persist.

This guy, Serubawon did none of this and yet he was thinking of coming back after 24 years to serve another term?

Well, RIP to the dead but I think the joke is on the people of Osun, not on Serubawon.

I know generally in the southwest, we prefer to take it on the chin and bear it all. That has not benefitted us, too obvious.

So Governor Aregbesola has a new mantra Hold your Gov accountable: Here is one for Ogbeni.

At Serubawon’s funeral, a public official was publicly assaulted and this was swept under the carpet as if nothing had happened.

Idiat Babalola is currently the state Special Adviser for federal matters. Prior to that she was a member of House of Assembly and now a state commissioner- nominee. As state politics goes, she deserves to be given equal respect and protection as any others in similar position.

Seeing Ms Babalola being publicly humiliated at Serubawon’s burial should not be acceptable. Imagine the extent the mob would have gone if governor of Ogun state didn’t come to the rescue? What a shame.

I had thought those guys would be arrested and made to write some statement but it seems this event is not big enough to be addressed.

This is the first time I am reading about this woman, she has been in Nigeria politics for a while, her journey to politics is a mirror image of Serubawon’s, watching her on TVC news revealed that much.

Why is Ms Babalola not insisting that the guys who rough handled her in public be arrested?

Why is the state governor not thinking if these guys get away humiliating a public official now, they are coming back during election to cause bigger harm? I think it is not good enough that Ogbeni unlooked this incident, if you want people to respect the state law, then it is only fair to apply it equally to all.

What to do about Arungún?

Intriguing the way we deal with social issues in Nigeria.

To get a glimpse of what is going on in the southwest, we read news coming out of Lagos which usually can be representative to an extent, however there are some issues specific to a few towns within Yorubaland that never received proper attention that it deserves.

Arungún (vandals), in most cases are people who have nothing to lose and not afraid of destroying what others have worked hard to create.

This post is about last Friday street fight between Asipa and Ipetumodu guys that lead to destruction of some of Akinola Market stalls.

To be clear, within Ife Central, Ife North, Ife South, Ife East and Ayedaade, if any, there are few people whose families are not stretched across towns. Even if one has no family relations in another town, we share villages and local markets so really disputes over borders should not come to people destroying properties they’ve worked hard for.

For example, in my village we have people from Ode Omu, Gbongan, Ipetumodu and of course God’s own town, Modakeke. We share ààlà (borders) that have been established from long time ago, people have learnt to respect each other’s boundaries so why can’t same wisdom apply today?

Like many countries of the world, increasing population growth presents real challenges for people in the rural areas because most people are farmers, it means more people are competing for limited resources – land. The land that used to be enough for a few people has now become a tussle amongst many.

My point here is that how could people have managed to live in peace with one another in our villages and small towns but can not seem to find a civilised way of settling border disputes or trace history to identify rightful owner?

When I was little, disputes over land boundaries and land ownership are what formed significant part of my childhood memories. I know elders have their explanations but I have seen enough of property destruction border disputes can cause, I see no explanation good enough to allow destruction of properties to continue over border disputes – there are better ways and we can surely adjust our thinking to find amicable solutions.

No society can develop if knocking people who have no other source of income over down to their knees every other year is what neighbourhood gangs specialise in.

Again on vandalism at Oja Akinola last week Friday where market stalls were damaged are stalls owned by people from local villages and towns, others bring wholesale goods from the city so people need not travel far from home. Akinola Market is where a few people I know buy their bulk food stuff.

Maybe fight after a football match is not unheard of but why do they have to destroy market stalls? Why can’t we be excited to see progress? Ha, awon arungún.

Vandalism should be made a punishable crime. I can’t say either of the town is my town but I see a developing pattern that I am well too familiar with which should not be ignored.

I could never understand why a fight after a friendly match between two communities – Asipa and Ipetumodu guys escalated to stabbing one another, gun shots to destroying market stalls.

It is only in Nigeria that we think this should be understandable because of unemployment and poverty. If you are poor, one thing that gets drilled into the psyche is to protect the little you have. Poor people keep their head low and don’t destroy the little glory in their neighbourhoods.

I am glad to hear that the state governor has made some arrests and promise to get to the root of the problem between the two communities.

After all the damages, the reason provided had nothing to do with the football match, disputes over  market owner was cited as the cause. This is just not good.

The issue remains the same as it was in 2015, if going by experience, I bet most of the buildings destroyed over a year ago are still there.

I hope that elders and government will work together and settle this once and for all. We have history, land disputes don’t go away on its own. Arungún will always use this as excuses to cause further damage which is unfair to local people and a big deterrent to any meaningful investment.

I am so happy to read from many young people from the area who want nothing but peace in both towns. O ti se se.

 

No longer isolated world

It is only in Nigeria that people would proclaim to love their ancestral land and at the same time are ever ready to turn the whole place into battle ground over simple disagreement. The thought of lives that will be negatively affected don’t cross their minds, their goal is to provide  flimsy reasons so people can find more reasons to loathe one another. When all is done and dusted, they are out of the town to their homes where their families and properties are safe and secure.

Anyone who thinks a fight between three adults is enough to justify so much loss of lives can not be taken seriously.

I am glad that Ooni Ogunwusi was in London when Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood happened. How swiftly it was dealt with, and how investigation was focussed on the attacker and his likely reasoning behind his action – that is how to deal with terror if one truly loves their land.

If we insist on protecting local nuisance, we sure are going to remain in that darkness for a very long time to come.

Yesterday, the Afenifere group met with Ooni Ogunwusi, I love Kabiesi’s speech, my favourite part is the part where he was talking to the youths. This is very important for Ife and towns around, we have lost so many young people in recent years. I can not see any reason good enough to make anyone wanting to kill another person (even if they were from Jupiter), it is just not worth it.

He says “They (youths) should be careful and not allow this issue to be politicised. We should remember that most of these politicians don’t come to Sabo to render assistance until the misfortune that happened.” The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.

In the whole of Yorubaland, there is no other town that has been through continuous unrest for a solid 35 years, now peace is slowly and steadily returning and the next thing they wanted is to start Yoruba Deliverance from the same town, why? Can’t people see there is more to life than trouble?

Another sentence that was credited to Ooni Ogunwusi was that often we can see the beginning of a war, but on one knows how far it will go and how it will end.

Actually, I know one possible way tribal war in our area likely to end. Plenty of lives will be wasted, properties will be ruined. We will hide identities of the victims. People travelling from Ibadan to Ilesa or Ekiti will avoid Ife at all cost, they will take the long back road – I don’t blame them. When enough youths are down, local people will be left to pick the pieces. Weapons used would change hands, and before you know it, that cute choir boy would become a local monster and for the next few years, same weapons will be used to terrorise their own people.

And the politicians claiming ancestral home? Well, they are back in their city offices writing about how unfortunate Ife people are, they will pity you with their keyboards but will never contribute a kobo to help you out.

We have been there, that is the pattern.

Big thank you to Ooni Ogunwusi for reminding those who care to listen.

One of the  things that Governor Aregbesola did that I am super glad for is the fact that he did not take any chances and insists schools close to the area be shut. To me, this is what any leader should do. At least enough kids were spared from potential physical or emotional harm.

My 7 year old nephew narrated the reason he was off school for a week and half. I know he will remember this for a long time, the hope is that we will continue to have sensible leaders who can be brave enough to protect people including minimising children’s exposure to event such as this.

We no longer live in an isolated world, if people want to pursue politics, that is all well and good, but we can’t live in a world where just about anything is turned into politics with regards to people whose lives are sure to be most affected.

I am also glad that an investigative panel has been set up to get to the root cause and to get all those that worked behind the scene. Ultimately, the point of arresting a group of people is to calm the area in the first instance, and to determine appropriate punishment for each offender. And if there are more in town roaming about, please get them so people can continue to go about their business in peace.

Beware of those with nothing to lose

A man who thinks killing of other human beings over a small dispute has nothing to lose is hardly difficult to identify especially when they conveniently turning street violence into avenue to vent about politics.

Regardless of the identities of Ile Ife casualties, an arguably simple disagreement between three adults that leads to the loss of many lives should be treated as criminal activity. Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) thinks this is the best time to praise those that were involved and reminded people how strong and prepared these youths were – this is a reasoning of a public figure who has in the past served as Minister of Culture and Aviation at different times – adagbà má kúrò láròbó (a grown man with a reasoning of a toddler).

Shame on FFK for referencing Modakeke/Ife crises in his articles 1 & 2 something that sounds very much like chest-beating peculiar of people who have lost nothing in the crises, therefore quick to think violence is the only answer for all disputes.

Whoever has a sliver of interest in Ife and of course commonsense would never think of praising violence, those that lost either family members, homes or livelihoods to the crises don’t wish similar event on their worst enemy – clearly FFK has nothing to lose.

To turn this recent event into Yoruba Vs Hausa/Fulani fight – how does that even make any sense? How is a neighbourhood fight about assault on a woman relates to herdsmen grazing? How is this event related to Southern Kaduna killings of christians is beyond me. I don’t see how this is the same thing with Bridget Agbaheme in Kano last year either.

This is the problem we have in Nigeria where unresolved issues are accumulated so we wait patiently for a trivial one and so we could display full-blown anger.

Here is the revealing part, most of the comments on FFK’s articles have nothing to do with Ife. They are emotional outbursts about the need for Yoruba to break away. This is clearly what the writer wants to achieve,  so why don’t we pursue this separately?

If Yoruba is to break away from the rest of the country, why do we have to start from Ife, a town that has witnessed civil unrest for the last 3 decades? And why can’t we start with a plausible social problem such as herdsmen grazing that many people can relate with?

And if we must start killing the ‘others’ to show our grievances – why can’t FFK (because he loves Ife so much) starts his “Operation Deliver Yoruba’ from his own neighbourhood ( he has no home in Ife) where his family and properties can be the first targets.

Illusion of ownership

Throughout both articles, there is this inflated sense of entitlement being promoted. This is a national problem that will never go away unless the government and progressive thinking citizens find a way to deal with it squarely.

I don’t understand how anyone could think setting up his own home/town on fire is a thing of pride.

The way things work at home means royal fathers’ influence is quite noticeable when we have crisis like this one. I am not too bothered about FFK’s take on this, I prefer to listen to what Ooni Ogunwusi has to say. He has been consistent with his words of working to restore lasting peace in the land.

In his interview with Ben TV a few days ago, Ooni Ogunwusi repeated the same sentiment that he has been known for in the past one year, we have seen the other side, now we know we are all better off when we unite for progress.

The relevant part of this video is 2 mins long, between 0:50 to 3:20

One very important thing that Ooni Ogunwusi mentioned in the Youtube video at 2:25 is where he stated that Hausas have been in Ife for centuries. Also that many were born and raised there. This is the part of history that people prefer to forget, thankfully we have a Kabiesi who is honest and courageous enough to say this.

Where do we want people to go if this place is all that they have known all their life?

Ooni Ogunwusi as seen online is presently in the UK with many people around him visiting many places in town. I hope those who are visiting the UK for the first time among the entourage can note how diverse the UK is. And realise that if say London for example has to be burned down for every little disagreement, who is the Kabiesi going to see here?

Ancestral home/land only worth the pride and glory where peace is given a chance over violence.

Chasing shadows

This country is incredible. The more I look the more I realise why satire is the only way to get through the day if you are a Nigerian or have a hint of Nigeria blood – this is regardless of where you live.

Beyond hopeless.

I laughed myself tire today reading the story of a gaari packet credited to India. On the 500g pack it says “Asia’s Finest Food.” The pack has TRS, a UK registered company known for ethnic foods written on it.

This realisation that ‘other people’ are producing our popular local staple food sends Agric Minister chasing shadows. The shame here is not acknowledging that firstly, Nigeria, given our decay infrastructure is incapable of producing all that people need for survival. Secondly, is the fact that Nigeria has a long history of Indians living in the country. So will it be a crime for Indians in Nigeria to collaborate with a bigger company such as TRS to package gaari in a way to target specific consumers for example those who are willing to try gaari but are just not comfortable with the way we expose it in our local markets?

Laughable is that if the phrase on the pack says “Fancy Ijebu Gaari,”nobody would have cared at all, and the company could charge whatever they wanted without any uproar.

I fully support “Buy Nigeria to grow naira’ mantra but should we continue to waste limited resources on meaningless chase? Going after anything that sounds foreign is just silly.

To see how our elected officials prioritise their work, this gaari causing officials headaches is ₦450 for 500g. In Ibadan, one of our biggest cities a 1kg gaari is ₦350 – this is for a nice one in local market, one can even get as cheap as ₦260 (if quality is of little concern).

One can easily see here who the target consumers of this packed gaari are – Nigeria clearly has enough people who prefer their foods to be presented certain way. I seriously would have thought this is an example to be emulated rather than thinking they are our “another enemy.”

So why stop at gaari? One step further will be to go after palm oil coming from neighbouring countries, after all, palm oil production used to be our thing, Nigeria used to lead in the production of palm oil.

Since I am a good Nigeria girl – I will give the Chief a couple more tasks to worry about.

I learnt a while ago that one of our very famous brands do not buy their palm oil from Nigeria – they use quite a lot from making soap, biscuits to noodles. They source it from Malaysia/Indonesia directly. Why can’t they invest in Nigeria palm oil business one may ask? Because Nigeria officials make it unbearable to source products locally (bribery every step of the way) that it makes economic sense for them to import.

Now that is a real task that will take Agric Minister the whole of his tenure.

Another one: I once bought a can of Banga Soup with “Nigeria taste” on it. I grew up eating banga soup, we call it Ọbẹ̀ ègboyìn in my area – delicious and eliminate the need for tomato/bell peppers. So when I saw it at a shop, I was excited and bought a couple from different brands for comparison.

Out of curiosity I checked where this “Nigeria taste” product was made from thinking perhaps it is will be more specific, but no, it is a product of Ghana. Good for whoever is behind the product, I don’t doubt it to be a product of Nigeria.

I had a similar experience with our red beans ‘honey beans’ which has a distinctive taste. The packet says “Nigeria Honey Beans” when I checked at the back it says the product of “Republic of Benin.” Again, I wish those guys all the very best of luck.

Instead of the Chief running after a well presented gaari that we all know is meant for a small segment of people, why not encourage entrepreneur to emulate and learn from these guys?

Almost every other month another Nigeria food product is added to the EU ban list of foods on imports suspension for not meeting international standards. This used to be a big deal but not anymore as one can even get gaari and ethnic beans from Sainsbury’s now.

Should the chief not be more concerned about the EU imports ban as opposed to the rich people gaari pack?

Why would anyone not want to associate their products with a country/company with a sustained records trusted by international standards?

 

*banga soup and ewa oloyin are from a London shop.

Good Guy Persona

There are a few key words we recognise all too well in Nigeria, ‘good guy’ ‘the religious one’ ‘the  tribal loyal’ – these are words that should make one comfortable thinking the other person is really who the people think he or she is. However, when it comes to Nigeria public office holders, more often than not, the ‘good guy’ persona is learned.

The way I see this is that during the process of initiation into this Good Guy Persona, the first thing that happens is that their heart is removed and replaced with concrete and sand in place of the brain.

How else can one explain this case of Andrew Yakubu, the former NNPC Group Managing Director? He started working as a General manager in 2006 and then promoted to the MD and CEO. Sacked from the post in 2010 as GEJ wanted more ‘technical person’, and we were blessed with Diezani Alison  same difference.

On February 3rd, EFCC raided Andrew Yakubu’s spare house in Kaduna, during the raid $9.2M and £74,000 cash was recovered from a safe – this guy was only in the post for less than four years. He is just one person.

After the uproar, we will all calm down both online and on ground. His successor, Diezani Alison has a similar case of corruption on her, now she has cancer and being treated in London (where else could it be?) – they always all suffer from life threatening illnesses after they are found out.

This one too, Andrew Yakubu, going by his recent photos online likely going to need medical attention for his BP and testicular cancer – God forgive me, but these people are low lives, they sure think their own lives should be our priorities when they have wasted so many lives due to their greed.

Why did this guy chose to save raw cash in a house in low income neighbourhood? Well, the last few years have being tough for them carrying big cash to stash abroad, now it is tougher to buy properties in western cities without a proof of the source. So their only option was to continue stealing and keep it within the country.

It is the same reason we have loads of petrol stations littered our small towns today without any real justifications – they just can’t help themselves.

This is the thing, why would anyone store this much cash without investing it, even a simple savings account would have yielded something significant monthly – I actually think there should be a special punishment for being daft.

And of course this seems to be the only way as the act can be kept secretive.

Not too surprising, Andrew Yakubu is one of the ‘good guys’ at NNPC, according to many Nigerians, of course he is. I read he is a Christian from Southern Kaduna – between December last year and January alone, hundreds of people close to him were killed in another religious rift.

Yes, he is a good guy, I bet he has a special envelope for tithe and offerings.

At Andrew Yakubu’s 60th last year, the first testimony for being a good guy was that ‘he is a true Christian…’

After all these years and the ‘true Christians’ and ‘honest Muslims’, I am sure Nigeria can do better with less emphasis on person’s faith in deciding who to trust to hold important post.

I am not holding my breath that President Buhari will do us proud, if he did, great, if not, we all know that there is no end in sight to this saga.

Health tourism

Last month was a news report of how OAU Ile Ife teaching hospital medical staff are working really hard to change the views that many people have of our local hospitals saying they had successful 14 open heart surgeries in 2016. Bottom line was that people are encouraged to stop health tourism – stay in the country to be treated by qualified doctors as opposed to going to India, Germany or in the case of our President Buhari, London, UK.

This is a local hospital to me when I was at home so it was nice to read of improvement, however, when I read this news I thought it was a waste of time talking to Nigerian public, most people can’t afford hospital bill at home let alone overseas bill.

Everyday people that can afford to foot their bill will think twice before staying at home for so many reasons – medical practitioner to be held accountable if things go wrong is just one.

I thought the message of the Chief Medical Director Prof Victor Adetiloye advocating for people could go a lot further if he targets people whose medical bills  are paid for with taxpayers money i.e politicians.

If there is a contractual clause that says politicians must receive their health treatment in the country or responsible for paying their own bill if treated abroad, we would have been one step forward.

Now with President Buhari and his hide and seek game and his medical status. A friend called today to ask where Buhari was as if I have a monitor strapped on the old man’s ankle, I am as baffled as everyone else when I read last week that the president is coming to London for a break and a medical check up.

Last year June, President was in London for an ear infection treatment – we yelled and reminded the president one of the many wasteful ways he promised not to undertake.

So this time again, President Buhari is here for yet another medical treatment, nature of illness undisclosed leaving Nigerians guessing the worse and a quick reminder of Yar Adua who passed away in office after months of deceiving Nigerians.

While being a president is arguably the most important job in a nation, I strongly believe a president seeking for health treatment outside is a failure on many levels. Just last year, ₦3.8B naira is said to be spent on Aso Rock clinic alone and yet the hospital is not good enough?

And most importantly if a president can not trust anyone within his own country with his health treatment, then we have a bigger problem.

To put how wasteful this trip is into perspective, a few years ago a friend’s told me that his inlaw who was visiting the UK was giving £5,500 bill after the birth of her child. This is a normal delivery with no complications.

Now imagine how much is being wasted on presidential kind of health treatment?

It is the same story with education sector, our country will never progress if we fail to invest money at home, it is obvious this lots don’t care.

Our politicians, especially all of the ones we’ve recycled for the last 4 decades are not serious and incapable of change.

It is up to us to now realise e no go better until we make them.