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.

 

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.

Help for mental health patients

It is extremely hard to have a family member with mental health illness in Nigeria, societal stigma is just one hurdle, another one is people making up all sorts of reasons they think one has mental health problem, most of the reasons has one denominator – village enemy. Bigger challenge I think is not knowing where to go for help.

There are so many projects going on in Osun state but this rehabilitation project is highly commendable. I first read this detailed article last month about O’Rehab, the government apparently is working with five different psychiatry units in SW. They follow what they termed 4 Rs – retrieval, rehabilitation, repatriation and re-integration.

It is also good to know that patients are being helped with technical training to help integrate them into the society.

‘The Ilobu rehab center of the scheme trains healed patients on diverse vocational skills like soap making, bead making, tailoring, hair dressing and various crafts after they would have been treated”

Understanding of mental health is pretty bad, I know we have a long way to go, but state government taking active steps to help people off the streets is a massive step forward to get people talking about mental health, its prevalence and understanding of different types there are.

Here is a very good example to shows how mental health patients are treated even by their own family:

“We presently have the case of a 29-year-old female lawyer who after law school and service, developed a mental challenge and we picked her up, it was during rehabilitation that we discovered that she is the daughter of a renowned person in the society but we can’t mention names. The father showed up and said it was when her trouble became too enormous and she became a threat to them that he abandoned her to her helpless mother who took her to churches where she was chained and which aggravated her condition.”

I appreciate that this example is used, there are too much that is packed in that paragraph. It shows how even a family member can easily pushed their own kin out of ignorance.

I am also glad to read that the state has started to clamp down on what they called Unqualified Rehabilitation Homes In Osun. Apparently one was found along Iwo-Osogbo road a few days ago and they have confirmed the premises is unacceptable.

“… the Government has moved fast to evacuate the emaciated mentally challenged persons who were found to be in different deplorable states of health to its facilities at the state hospital and rehabilitation home while the State Police Command continues with its full investigations.” Osun.gov.ng

I am elated to read this. These unqualified rehabilitation homes is non other than faith homes and traditional healers. The condition people are exposed to is appalling, people are chained and heavily drugged.

This is progress that should make us all happy.

Here are the 5 hospitals that Osun state has partnered with to help treat people with mental health illness from Osun:

  • Ladoke Akintola University of Technology teaching hospital, Ogbomosho
  • Obafemi Awolowo University teaching hospital, Ile Ife
  • Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos
  • Aro Psychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta
  • Government Hospital, Asubiaro Osogbo

It is always nice to read of good progress that touches hearts from home. More power to everyone working on this scheme.

Royal stool

Nationally, Nigeria is one big house of drama. One thing that I have realised lately is that while there is no shortage of outbursts from citizens on issues that we are not happy with, a lot is going on regionally that are being swept under the carpet. When regional leaders are left to their devices, they later become our national representatives by which time they are completely deaf to citizens outcry – maybe it is to our advantage to pay a bit of attention locally.

Take for example the case of Oluwo of Iwo – the drama going on with Oluwo of Iwo and his neighbour, Iwo Oke. Theirs is not the first time royal families would throw words to one another due to power tussle. However, this particular case is different, I believe it is one that new king of Iwo owes us explanation.

The gist of the story – allegedly, Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi of Iwo, prior to being crowned as the new king in 2015 has served time in prison in both USA and Canada for advance fee fraud. Oba Iwo Oke accused Oba Akanbi on the ground that people with such questionable character should not be allowed for such a prestigious position in Yorubaland.

One wonders why simple background checks was not done on Oba Akanbi before he was selected to be the king.

Osun state magistrate in turn ordered that Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi to appear in court to clear his name. Long story short, he did not honour the court order.

So a few days ago I read that former president Obasanjo and governor Aregbesola worked together to ensure the case against Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi is withdrawn from court – no explanation given.

I don’t have anything to say about Baba Obasanjo – he is one of those elders who continue to meddle with issues just to stay relevant, he is most of the time on the other side of anything that benefits the public. When, they think children of nowadays have no respect for elders – why would we respect an elder who assume their opinion is better than millions of us?

Now why did Aregbesola join OBJ on this? I don’t know Oba Akanbi, but the allegation against him is quite serious, wouldn’t it be good if the state supports the effort of the court to get Oba to clear his name?

Not clearing his name with substantial evidence simply means forever, Oba Akanbi’s name will be ‘Yahoo, yahoo Oba’ and Aregbesola being the sitting governor who authorised the coronation will be forever remembered for the cover up.

I had actually thought Oba Abdurasheed Akanbi would do us all the favour of appearing in court to tell us his own version of the story.

Oba Akanbi being a returnee from Canada should know better, if there’s one thing that Nigerians are labelled for around the world is the advance fee fraud, many people only get to know the country due to numerous emails of a supposed wealthy politician who was killed in a plane crash and his only son Prince and of course the offer of a cut of the wealth if their victim allows the prince to launder money through their account – I can’t even believe any serious person would not dash to the court to clear their name being associated  with such offence.

As Nigeria stands today, traditional Obas are still influential locally, they are often quite heavily involved with politics, people tend to trust the Obas as there are assumptions that they have their best interest at heart.

Being a king is honourable, however one of the reasons respect for royal families dwindles by the day is the assumption that we are still back in dark ages, today a lot more is expected. Respect should be reciprocal, a leader who desires royal lifestyle should at least earn the trust of the people.

If we think our judicial system must be better nationally, locally we need to allow them to do their job too. Osun magistrate had threatened strike if they were prevented to get Oba Akanbi to stand in court to clear his name, fingers crossed for them.

State of our village life

So I read this story the other day about Mamu village in Gbongan area of Osun state. The narrator is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He seems shocked that there is a place in such a state of disrepair in Osun. From what I gathered from the story, here are what the author found unacceptable:

  • the village has no working borehole, villagers rely on nearby stream/river for drinking water
  • Primary/middle school in the village was founded in 1955, now has no trace of recent maintenance and number of students dwindles daily
  • Health care centre in the village opened 21 years ago now closed due to lack of funding/medical staff.

The narrator was clearly amazed by the level of underdevelopment.

One can not be any patriot than this, being able to share their experiences with other people on the uncomfortable reality of living standards that our own people are reduced to live in the village.

Mamu village is a mirror image of most of our villages in Yorubaland – remember the old man with Prof Osinbajo in one Ogun state village during his campaign?

During elections, politicians will crawl to all the villages for supports but they rarely look back to fix roads or schools.

Mamu school was built around the same time as my village school, 1955. It is safe to say our leaders pre independence worked closely with the colonial administrators and strategically placed schools in key villages so people within three to 5 miles radius can have education close to their homes.

It is easy to blame the decay on the present or immediate past government of the state/nation but with a bit of reflection, we can see that many villages in the state have not seen any substantial development even before the Osun state was created 25 years ago – this is largely due to our very weak institutions nationwide, state level aren’t any different.

No template for future development. Osun state was created out of Oyo so it is easier to manage because some areas were lagging behind seriously in terms of simple basics of life i.e schools, health centres etc. For close to 20 years, all these villages were out of any infrastructural budgets – focus was only on the towns.

To be fair our towns especially the inner parts are not any better, this is no secret, we can all see.

 

Beyond government intervention is the issue with the way we prefer to see village people. We are superstitious people, sometimes to the point of insanity. Life is often seen as black and white. Good and bad. Our village is synonymous to poverty, dark stuff, witchcraft and all kinds of rituals.

So many people who didn’t grow up in the village find it hard to have bright picture of village live in their minds – many parents go out of their way to create scary pictures of begging relatives, daylight flying grandma (aka witches) and the scornful relatives who are there to poison them. As silly as these sound, they are few of the many reasons people stay away from our villages, let alone think of giving back.

The Elders, the royal families have a lot to answer for. Have you ever heard of a royal family who boasts of any knowledge of his own area and openly fight for quality education for rural areas around his domain? I don’t remember any instead we get treated to our Obas exchanging heated argument on their perceived importance, their wealth, and their rankings.  The only exception here was Oba Oladele Olashore of Iloko Ijesa who used his wealth to lift his village through quality schools.

Things are changing now because slowly people are seeing that one of the biggest factors that sets our village apart from the town/city is the complete neglect of basic facilities such as decent public schools in rural areas.

What to do? Timing could not have been more perfect than now. Everyone talks about ‘grow Nigeria, buy Nigeria’ products, they want youths to go back to farming. One way of encouraging this is to extend funding meant for rural development to these areas to make it easier for youths that are contemplating the idea of returning to farm make up their minds. If their kids can get good education similar to town’s,  say access to healthcare, more people might consider the option of rural living.

Good luck to Mamu village folks. I hope that this revelation might encourage the state government to have solid plan to refurbish village schools across the state.

For whose benefit is Osun Economic Development Fund?

How I wish Nigerians will be assertive where issues that will directly affect their lives is brewing.

There is no shortage of new policies in Nigeria, often I wondered what politicians think of the general public, to be frank I think they think most Nigerians are not bright. Why did I say this? Well, why would anyone introduced a new policy without providing clear strategy of how proceeds will be spent to the contributors?

Osun state plans to generate internal revenue because federal government obviously has no money to distribute like in the past. This new policy is called Economic Development Levy (EDL).  This is to be levied on business owners. Most people in Osun state are business owners (worth of the business for most is another story). More than half of Nigeria population live in rural area, this is more evidenced in a place like Osun state. Rural infrastructure have been neglected for decades in Nigeria, Osun state is not exception.

To be clear I don’t think Nigeria can develop without all working adults contributing their fair share of taxes, I am in support of taxation. However, I do not think one can achieve this by imposing levies on all persons. Just walking down our streets, it is clear people have different economic strengths so imposing blanket taxes on everyone just because they have a stall of 5000k naira worth tomatoes is unfair.

The first thing that came to mind when I read the new policy was ‘can you please tell us what you intend to do with this new fund’. For years that Nigeria enjoyed high oil price, there is almost nothing to show for it in terms of infrastructural development, now that oil price has reduced significantly, (only in Nigeria) politicians want to retain all the perks, how can this be possible?

While I have loved some of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s policies, I just think this blanket cover of tax collection is a bad idea without stating clearly how and what he planned to use the fund.

In developed countries where they have managed to make significant progress in tax collections, people have lots of incentives to pay their taxes; public libraries, public parks, galleries, clean roads – all of these and others are accessible to all.

If Mama Olobi is now going to be faced with paying taxes based on the size of her stall, what is she getting in return? It will not be fair to collect money from Mama Olobi only to be told stories of civil servants salaries for example – if the state can’t afford to do some things as they used to, then maybe to let go of the excesses?

Secondly, is there going to be exceptions? How can you aim to tax every stall holders when we know that some people are clearly living from hand to mouth in our neighbourhoods?

If my 80+ year old mother who insisted on selling her worobo (petty trade) is approached to pay taxes because someone thinks she has money, (by the way her trade fund comes from my sisters and I), what is she getting in return? She has been on medication for high BP and diabetes for years, would she be eligible for subsidised meds?

Perhaps low oil price has exposed our states to reality of importance of self-sustainability, but one thing that we can all agree on is the inequitable of wealth distribution as our major problem – if all adults are now going to be approached to pay taxes, then the fund collected can not be used to service the unsustainable activities of the past, otherwise no progress in my opinion.

Eru Amukun

Amukun in Yoruba is people with K-leg, this is how common K-leg is in our society that people with the condition get dedicated name.

In order to correct k-leg, one needs medical intervention. I witnessed this being done once, the result was incredible. Up to that time I had thought once you had a k-leg or bow-leg, you live with it. Here, it is the parents’ job to foot the bill and help the child concerned through the healing process and not the other way around.

This is not about k-leg or medical issues which Nigeria has plenty of. It is about generation of parents shying away from their responsibility and allowing shameless religious nutters to use their school children for unrelated agenda.

Earlier last month in the UK, there were parents protest on behalf of their children by keeping them at home so they wouldn’t have to go through the government recommended test for primary schools.

My daughters had to be tested before we were accepted to the school in the first place so aware that we are in for regular test for years to come. Having said that what I found appealing was that people who just do not want their children tested for one reason or the other took time out of their day to demand a change in law for the benefit of their children.

Whether this is right or wrong thing to deliberately get kids to miss school in the name of avoiding being tested is not my focus here, rather is the parents’ willingness to help get more explanation about government decision.

Now here in my state of origin, Osun State it is the other way around. There are issues, a few of them, however, somehow people, elders and most importantly religious leaders Muslims and Christians manage to narrow them all down that our only major problem is the way children dress to school.

Problem: Current governor Ogbeni Aregbesola reportedly okayed Muslim girls to wear hijab to school. This did not sit well with many Christians because it means that now Muslims girls can wear hijab to a traditional Christian schools.

Muslims are happy. Are the girls who are subjected to this happy? That is a whole other issue.

Some christians are not happy. Their solution to the problem is to encourage their children to attend school in their choir robe – sweet!

After reading so many pieces on this argument and people affirming their ‘right’ to wear whatever they wanted to school following what their religion dictates as the norm, I am more convince than even that ours, Nigeria is a nation heading for self destruction, religious leaders regardless of faith will always win, the losers are the majority, mostly poor people who continue to lend themselves and their family to baseless fights.

Religion and government can not be mixed together, it gets into peoples’ head. The purpose of going to school is to be educated, in order to maintain equality, school uniform was created so no one feels out of place.

To the Muslims, I’ll say I can see your frustration with churches in every corner.  However, if your religion is so special that for your child to conform to school rules for 6 hours in a day is asking for too much, then maybe one should ask if this is really about worshiping Islam.

All in all, all this looks like unfortunate event to me, it is just a shame that any parents would support their young adults in secondary school doing this protest when we all are aware of the danger.

Ogbeni Aregbesola – I must admit that I am really impressed that for once in the 24 years since the state was created we are blessed with a governor who is not in denial regarding the state of our public schools, who is working to make pubic schools more appealing. Please let’s focus on education and less on divisive religions.

Sabada

I have heard ‘Sábàdà’ so many times over the years, usually during events when the drummers were doing their job. The word is associated with people of Modakeke. The drum message goes:

Sabada ni e lu fun, Modakeke lo ti wa – (Beat sabada for him, he is from Modakeke). For some reason, like intoxication, people will rise up to move their hips in rhythmic fashion – they’d dance for the recognition.

Once you get the grip on Yoruba language, it is not hard to decipher the meaning of any words, knowledge of accents and dots makes it a lot easier – creativity with words is endless.

However, looking at the word ‘sabada’ on its own – the meaning beats me. And interesting enough, a few elders I know agreed it to be a new word, perhaps in use in the last 30 years or so (yet to get hold of the relevant book).

As with all other languages of the world – language does not exist on its own, it evolves, changes, improves by the events of the society and the people therein – adding to the beauty of it all.

But where does Sábàdà come from and why is it associated with this group of people, the Modakekes?

Ẹwà Èdè – Beauty of Language

I found out that Sábàdà is a relatively new word coined Dr Oladiran Ajayi who was once a lecturer at University of Ibadan Chemistry Department and a passionate writer on the issue around Yoruba culture & tradition and how Modakeke-Ife fits into it.

This post isn’t about Sábàdà alone, it is more about how peaceful co existence facilitates progress.

Dec 26th 2015 was 32nd Akoraye Day – it is the town’s own festival to celebrate gift of life. It would have been the 34th but we missed two years 1997 & 2000. Read about that here

History, I have found is powerful. Knowing the past allows us to plan to execute actions differently if we ever expected different results.

On this day, I was with a friend, she is a fellow Modakeke and her husband is mixed (not race) His father is from Modakeke and Mother from Ile Ife. (what an irony) Our talks was all around our town, how we all are hoping that permanent (not pretend) peace reigns.

Permanent peace here means people in both towns and villages can go about their business with no fear for their lives.

“Oh well, let’s thank God now, abi? At least there’s more awareness and something promising is happening.” I said.

Then a text message about Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II came through that reads “Oba Enitan Ogunwusi is also present.” I showed the message to the adults around me – everyone was happy!

We were over three thousand miles away, all lived through the last 35 years and for the first time a monarch, in our lifetime deem it fit to step on to the soil next door to jubilate with fellow Yorubas, fellow Nigerians and fellow humans – well, Ooni Ogunwusi is making history and a positive one.

When people follow what they communicate with actions, then it means a lot.

I have heard and read online about Ooni Ogunwusi’s  insistent on bringing back permanent peace both in towns and villages – that is commendable.

My two kobo here is that – B’ina ko ba tan lori, ẹjẹ kii tan lekanna – (Lice infested clothes encourages ones fingers to be feasted on).

E f’ori jin omo, to ba se bi owe o.

I am not suggesting this will be an easy task given our long history, however, I hope Ooni Ogunwusi would look into making it possible for our farmers to return to their farms and villages. These are the people who managed to survive the massacre in the farms between 1997 and 2000. Residents of both towns were affected. Some of these people are still picking up pieces of their lives after 18years.

I know this is a lot to ask, but then again, Ooni Ogunwusi is Enitan (person of history), you have the authority to change the course of history – mend the broken hearts.

K’ade pe l’ori.

Hope on the horizon for Osun State workers

While I think Governor Aregbesola has set Osun State in good path for years to come especially with the new public school buildings across the state, (fingers crossed they will all be functional soon), also the apprenticeship schemes such as the handset assembly factory etc. I still could not understand why state workers are left in limbo. I hope our governor and his team aren’t paid for these past seven months either – only fair.

Not sure what the federal government is doing with this but I think this attitude of owing staff must stop as in the end everyone suffers.

Thankfully, most people in the state rely on farming and trading for a living otherwise it would have been worse. However, after seven months of non-payment, now even non government staff are feeling the pinch as spending behaviour has changed.

My old lady is owed for food stuff – she doesn’t give in to selling for credit easily but everyone is aware of what is going on so makes it harder to turn good people down – Please Ogbeni pay salary o!

 

I hear all about reduced federal allocation, but we all see this long ago – hardly enough reason to keep begging. Eebu alo ni t’ahun…

On a lighter note:

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) representative on the weekend called on christians to bring food to the church to help fellow members get through hard time.

This is a brilliant initiative coming from the church, quite pleased to hear.

Thinking about it, three of the most renowned Nigerian televangelists have their roots in Osun state and are all in favour of Ogbeni during the last campaign and plenty of ‘courtesy visits’ photos to show for it.

If CAN is going to call ordinary people to help, I hope the church would loose the purse strings too – after all it is all about saving life for Christ.

Whose job is it to revive our education system?

There is a fair amount of expectations on our government especially after decades of neglect in our education sector.

How do we as citizens could best help our government with information on areas that require attention?

Osun state schools especially primary and secondary have seen the most improvement than anytime since the state was created 23 years ago.

New school buildings across the state. Obviously, this is a massive project that most people are deeply appreciative of.

We do need more fit-for purpose schools to accommodate our growing population, however given the finite budget for education or any project for that matter, realistically we could not have all new constructions, however we can renovate existing structures and bring the old glory back to our land, one school at a time.

My old primary school is on a major road, Ondo road. Since I left the school in the 1980’s I have always wondered why the same structure has not seen maintenance ever since.

However small, surely there must have been some annual renovation budget for the school. So this time, I thought I’d stop by to see my old ‘spot’ in class six B.

Just approaching the building I realised not only has the building not seen any improvement but it has now been turned to public toilet – literally.

No government, no matter how brilliant could solve all of our accumulated issues with wave of a wand – this has to bother everyone around as well before it can be a priority.

CAC Oke Aanu Primary School Akarabata, Ondo Road

DSC_6651 This building here to the left was used for primary five  and six in 1984/5. Now just rotten away.

DSC_6652

The once class six C  is now a dumpsite and a toilet. I saw a middle aged woman just finishing up her  ‘business’ as I walked up, I suppose she saw me first otherwise I would have waited – no point been a nuisance.

What’s the church business in this?

The pictures above are about 20 feet away from the minister’s accommodation so it is not far fetched to assume the rubbish here came from the occupants of the Mission House.

It is very common to have schools attached to churches especially if the church is centrally located and has land to spare (usually sold to the government). Government maintains such schools. This is the case with CAC Oke Aanu Akarabata.

DSC_6654

To some degree, the church used to work collaboratively with the school to maintain high standard.

From what I saw, this has not been the case for a very long time.

Luckily I met a young man in front of the Mission House who was surprised that the building was once used as classrooms. He didn’t even know that the basement of the church was once rooms for primary 3A & B neither – well, that is now a pond for more garbage and frogs.

After a few minutes wander, I was convinced the school is no longer being used but to my surprise, a few one level buildings are still being used for classrooms.

Really? Where do pupils sit then? I asked the man. He gestured to the left. To the area he pointed at – I saw perforated corrugated roofs, I feared to ask the same question over again, so left and thanked him for the time.

Renovating existing structures of this school and the likes across the state will be a lot cheaper and together we can have schools to be proud of.

Here, I also pondered on the idea of education vs. religion.

What happened to the powerful weapons in circulation after the war

War is horrible so is devastating news of losing innocent lives, but in reality victims of war sometimes go beyond those that have left us during the course of protecting the masses. Where there is no foresight, then the good guys, the courageous ones who survived the war soon became terror for the lack of better things to do.

Terrifying to think about the way Boko Haram is spreading and the way my government failed to see the bigger picture of it. One would think we have learnt a thing or two from the Somali child soldiers stories.

Actually, we don’t have to go that far to learn of the aftermath horror of war – we have our very own examples at home, on a smaller scale, I must add.

Many courageous people died in both Modakeke and Ife crisis but the other sad reality was the aftermath of the war – when courageous people with powerful weapons turned to each other.

During the 1997 – 2000 crisis, tens if not hundreds of youths mostly under forty were hired by the Ifes, this is no surprise because there were plenty of money that could have been better spent on education and infrastructure but guns and bullets took priority.

Some of these guys were in police uniforms so initially Modakekes trusted them as they were mistaken to be from the state/federal government to maintain peace in the area.

Well, that trust was tossed after Mr Tanimowo, the old man in his 80s and the first principal of Modakeke High School was killed at his Iraye area house. The old man returned to his house because he had trusted police officers in the area for his safety – Oh, well.

Tens of other guys hired by the Ife’s had proper guns, automatic ones, the ones you can only get your hands on if you were in the police or the army.

More guns in circulation in a society where the gap between haves and have-nots is at the opposite ends equals disaster.

For fathers, uncles, brothers or husbands that had habits of hanging in motor parks especially in our big cities that would jump into opportunities of being paid for causing street troubles that went missing around this time – I am not in any sense elated to say this but the following might provide a bit of closure.

These guys had no idea where they were, they were given  as little as ₦3000 (17 USD ) and automatic guns and of course plenty of hard drugs and mountain of food but what they failed to ask was the map to enlighten of the borders, which literally was a thin stream, easy to miss even for the locals.

They wandered right to the middle of the town a mile or so in the land of the people they were supposed to attack, asking the very same people ‘where are we?’ They lived just enough to tell their stories, where they came from and contract details – very sad.

They became the victims of a lawless society where future of tomorrow were being wasted for next to nothing.

Their weapons lead to further horror for months after the war ended. Another gangs formed – the untouchables. This time not to grab farmlands.

Ajitebi from Akarabata nicknamed Double was a victim of this. He fought wholeheartedly to protect Urban Day area and Akarabata, survived the war but lost its life from the aftermath. Sunday Igboho was a good guy too a very dependable son, still alive but not in town.

I wish my president could read, maybe he would take Boko Haram issue more seriously than with kids gloves