Oluwaseun Ajaja: This Change Might Deserves Another Change

 

When the ruling party sold the `change` mantra to plethora of Nigerians on the eve of the 2015 presidential elections, like many Thomas, I was skeptical. My skepticism was not saturated in the misguided belief that change was not possible, but that there is a stark difference between campaign promises and delivery.

My doubt notwithstanding, I supported the stance of majority of Nigerians that a change in government was not only necessary, but imminent. The Jonathan led administration despite its best attempts, had finalized the sale of the glory of the Country and driven its economy into the drains. His government had simply failed to perform and deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizenry. As expected, the six years moribund administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan suffered an expected demise and the `change agents` became possessory occupiers of the Aso Villa.

As an unrepentant skeptic, I observed from afar with keen interest as the drama unfolded. I assimilated the crux of the manifestos of the All Progressive Congress with alertness and aggressiveness. I engaged in discussion with my colleagues, many of whom just wanted Jonathan out of power. I had out of curiosity followed the diverse rallies held across the country and was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the ones at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos as well as the MKO Abiola stadium in Abeokuta. My mind raced with a speed that Usain Bolt would envy as I calculated the hefty amount it would cost to realize the proposals enunciated in the change manifestos by respective speakers who merely re-stated what the person before them had said – `Stipends for un-employed youths, allowance for the elderly in our societies, free food for our primary and nursery pupils, loans for brightest students to fulfill their educational aspirations, building of refineries, stability in the power sector, agricultural revamping and many more`. Specialist in political calculation saw the impending doom of the Jonathan led PDP and declared their allegiances for the change agents. Eventually, elections were held after an initial postponement by the government, and the rest as they say is history.

At first, jubilations rent the air. History has been made. Nigeria had experience the first true change of power since its nascent democracy returned in 1999. `Not only that, but also the no-nonsense-disciplinarian; Mohammadu Buhari has returned to the pinnacle of power. Orderliness would finally enslave our decaying ministries, agencies and departments of government`, corruption checkmated, our public office holders would be more diligent in the dispensation of their duties, efficiency and discipline would become the watchword of our police officers, the boots of our military would once again shine bright as it did in the 70`s and 80`s when they participated in peace keeping mission to keep international insurrections at bay in diverse African countries.  Internal insurrections threatening the government would be effectively cancelled, Boko Haram would finally be dealt with, (it had once been argued that Jonathan`s lack of military training and strategies were the cause of the failure to have Boko Haram nibbled in the bud), and the `Chibok girls` would be found and returned to their families within the first 100 days of the newly inaugurated change government.

The first month saw a resemblance of stability in electricity, sanity in the law enforcement agencies and an unwavering hope in the mind of the ordinary citizen. Change had finally arrived. Nigerians were elated, especially the northerners in Lagos with whom I had interactions. I found myself paying less for stuffs like onions, ginger, tomatoes, leathers and beans all because I chanted the mantra `sai baba` to them. However, as time passed, people began to realize that the change promised would take time to manifest. Enthusiasm diminished as paralysis crept back into our polity. Few months passed, our girls had not been found, Boko Haram pushed beyond their erstwhile domain of Borno and Adamawa states and made their presence known in places like Kano, Jos and Kaduna. A supposed hunt began in the anti-corruption crusade of the change government. Price of crude oil crashed, exchange rate went up, workers salaries remained unpaid, ministries were without ministers, lawlessness returned to Lagos, executive disobedience to court orders became the norm of the day, our National Assembly cooked up their leaders like a badly cooked meal, erstwhile supporters and members of the Jonathan led administration suddenly realized that there was something inherently wrong with that administration and ported to APC. The change promises was changing. The bush-meat is now in pursuit of the hunter. (to be continued)

Oluwaseun O Ajaja, a Legal Practitioner writes from Lagos.

Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo: Ginger Beer Brother!

It was just after Sunday service, and I was sitting close to the choir stand waiting for Brother Ade, whom everyone recommended that I speak with. I had some serious challenges at my place of work and I urgently needed to change jobs. In the previous three weeks, I had sent out about fifty applications to various organizations but the response was always the same “Dear Tolu, we find your CV interesting, however we are not hiring for now. We will keep your cv in our database against future vacancies”.

After what seem like five minutes, Brother Ade tapped me and said ‘Hi, I was told you wanted to see me’

‘Good afternoon sir. I need your advice on a couple of issues’ I said.

‘Ok that is fine, but can you give me a minute? I need a cold drink’ I nodded my head to confirm that I would wait for him.

He was back almost immediately, with two can drinks. He handed one to me as he sat down. He opened the one with him straightaway, took a long gulp of the drink and heaved a sigh of satisfaction. I looked at the can in my hand and I was aghast, I lost my bearing immediately. I could not believe my eyes. How can a church brother buy and drink a beer in God’s house. Not only did he buy for himself, he bought for another Christian. This man that everyone thought was a model Christian is actually a hypocrite. In the first place, I had always argued that people who sold merchandise in church couldn’t be genuine Christians. I mean, how people come to church to sell pie, Coca-Cola, asun, peppered snail, chicken and chips and all sorts of orisirisi is beyond me. To make matters worse, they are now started selling beer in ‘our church’. Oh God what is happening to this generation? What is wrong with the Church?

“This beer is fantastic and I love it. Try it, you will love it too” Brother Ade enthused bringing me out of my reverie. His enthusiasm confirmed my fears; he was but a hypocrite who didn’t even mind showing it off in Church. I looked around and noticed that the church was still bustling with people observing fellowship after fellowship, so he definitely wasn’t hiding the fact that he was sipping a beer. Whilst I know that drunkenness and not the taking in of alcohol is sin, I wouldn’t want to associate myself with any Christian who drinks alcohol. I know drunkenness is the sin but how do you even measure drunkenness? A man takes a bottle of beer and he is drunk, another gulps a whole crate of 12 bottles without getting drunk. So who is the sinner amongst the two? In fact, there is a man on my street who can down 12 bottles of beer every day without getting intoxicated, providing he has a plate of ‘isi-ewu or ‘point and kill’ to go with it.

‘So what do you want to discuss with me?

I gave him a suspicious look but resisted the urge to walk away. Instead I narrated my experience. After which he gave me excellent, top notch, scripture filled, practical counsel. He also asked me to send my cv to him via mail. Throughout his speech, I could not shake off the fact that he had just drunk beer in my presence, and I was amazed at how despite the beer, he had so much wealth of knowledge of scripture and practical life. He is a worded hypocrite, I concluded.

‘Alright Tolu, I expect to receive your email today so I can forward to my friends. Hopefully, something will come up.’ He stood, gave me a warm handshake and briskly walked away.

As he walked away, I looked at the can in my hand again and saw ‘Ginger beer, Non-alcoholic’.

ABDUSSAMAD U. JIBIA: An open letter to Gen Muhammadu Buhari

Your  Excellency Sir,

Let me start by congratulating you on your well-deserved victory. It is Allah that gives and takes everything including power. He has given it to you. We pray to Him to guide you in the onerous task of restoring the lost values of our country. You are taking over when the dust is beginning to settle. Boko Haram are on the run. For six years, this group of people has unleashed mayhem on Nigeria, or at least Northern Nigeria. Thousands of people have been killed in cold blood; thousands of others have been displaced. Yet, several thousands of women, girls and boys have been taken as captives. Ordinary Nigerians have found it difficult to figure out the sponsors of Boko Haram due to the nature of their victims who cut across all segments and strata of the Nigerian society. Several conspiracy theories have been expressed, many of which are laughable. Some believe it is the Northern elders who created Boko Haram in order to make the country ‘ungovernable’ for Jonathan. According to another school of thought it is the Igbo who have been exploring ways to launch revenge against the North for what Northerners did to them during the Nigerian civil war. Some say it is you, others say it is Jonathan. There are a few other theories.

Whether or not any, some or all of these theories are correct or incorrect, it is well known that the original members of the group known as Boko Haram or Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad as they call themselves were students of one Muhammadu Yusuf who lived and preached in Maidugri until his death in the hand of the Nigerian Police in 2009. It is also well known that the final episode that led to confrontation between his disciples and security forces was the refusal of his followers to obey simple driving rules like the wearing of helmets by motocyclists However, my reason for writing you this letter is not Boko Haram. It is something worse than Boko Haram. Yes worse. It is a sect more dreadful than Boko Haram that has established itself in all strata of Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. They are in the civil service. They are in business. Their members have deliberately come close to several unsuspecting politicians of note.  It is shia

As a Muslim, you don’t need someone to tell you about Shia. But for the benefit of those who do not know, I would say the little they need to know. Shia is about the oldest sect in Islam. After the death of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was both a messenger of Allah and a political leader, the Islamic faith continued to grow under the rightly guided Caliphs. It was during this period that the present day Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Palestine came under the control of Islam.

However, the Jews who were expelled from the city of Madina by the Holy prophet because of their treachery and were watching these developments with agony decided to react by sponsoring some of them to pronounce Islam in order to have the license to cause confusion among Muslims. It was these ‘converts’ under the leadership of one Abdullah bn Saba that succeeded in sponsoring the rebellion against the third Caliph, Othman. They first articulated his shortcomings, amplified and disseminated them around the Caliphate. Thereafter they called for his resignation; when he refused to resign they killed him. The Muslim Ummah chose Ali, a cousin of the Holy Prophet to lead them after Othman, but these very people, who now called themselves Shiat Ali (the sect of Ali) frustrated his efforts to track and punish the killers of Othman. They now made Shia a symbol of love for Ali and other relations of the prophet and hatred for the other caliphs and the rest of the prophet’s companions whom they claimed betrayed the trust of the prophet. Shia was embraced by Persians because they saw it as an opportunity to distort a religion that destroyed their kingdom and culture. After the Iranian revolution which was led by Shiite scholars, the government of Iran set an agenda to spread Shia to other countries. In Nigeria, this task was to be carried out by one Ibrahim Yakub Elzakzaky.

The man Elzakzaky devised several strategies to achieve his mission. First, he banked on the gullibility of some Muslim youth who could easily be misled by slogans like ‘Islamic revolution’, ‘establishment of Islamic state’, ‘total change’, etc. His group, who initially tagged themselves as Muslim brothers (meaning, of course, that other Muslims are not their brothers) organized lectures and several demonstrations in their first phase. In those days in the 1980s he told everyone that he was not a Shiite, his group was not out to promote Shia and that what they wanted was Islam and nothing else. The other methods used by Elzakzaky to introduce Shia to his followers were the same methods that Shiites have used over their long history. One of them is women. Shiites legalize temporary marriage. In Shia it is possible to marry a woman for two hours. Many people find it difficult to understand why young men and women who are supposed to be in school would trek from cities like Kano, Gusau and Katsina to Zaria, spending nights along the way in order to listen to Elzakzaky. This is the secret. It is an open one because the Shiites do not deny they do it. What they may deny is wife swapping, which many people accuse them of doing. There is plenty more on Shiites and their doctrine. What, however, would be of major concern to your Government is their notoriety in dealing with Government and fellow Nigerians. Way back in the 1990s, the Shiites constituted a major threat to the public in Kaduna state. For a period, any Islamic preacher who dared to criticize Ibrahim Elzakzaky or Ayatullahi Khomaini in his preaching was attacked and beaten in his house in the presence of his wife and children. Infuriated by their actions, the Government of Col. Hameed Ali staged a clampdown on them and most of their leaders were arrested and prosecuted. This made them to change their strategy for a while.

The main activities of Shiites are demonstrations which they organize on specific occasions like the Quds and Ashura days. During these demonstrations, they block main roads in cities across the North and intimidate the public including the Police whose permission they do not seek. Last year, this type of event led to a clash between the Army and the sect members leading to the death of several people including three children of Mallam Ibrahim Elzakzaky. In addition, these heretics organize an annual pilgrimage to Zaria for which they trek in large groups from certain points to go and meet their leader. In the process of this long trek, they block major highways and create a lot of havoc for travelers. This is watched by the security agents and nothing is done to stop it. Like the Boko Haram of Muhammadu Yusuf, the Shiites have no regard for any rule, no matter how harmless it is. For example, after a series of bombings in Kano metropolis, the Government of Kano state banned riding motorcycles after six o clock in the evening and carrying passengers on same. The public complied and defaulters were openly arrested and punished. The only group of people that did not comply were the Shiites. Even when the implementation of the ban was at its peak they rode motorcycles in the night on major roads in Kano sometimes carrying more than one passenger and none of them would be arrested. A friend of mine once stopped and asked the Police why they were not arresting Shiites. The answer was, ‘Ai su yan kungiya ne’, meaning ‘they are members of a group’. The Police was obviously afraid of triggering another crisis, but at the same time giving the impression that some people are above the law. The Shiites are well connected. Since most of their leaders including Mallam Ibrahim Elzakzaky himself are graduates, it has been easy to fix themselves in all sectors of the economy.

Although they publicly condemn the Nigerian political system and do not participate in partisan politics, the group may have been enjoying the support of certain politicians. For example, a former civilian governor of one of the Northern states patronized a Civil Engineering firm controlled by professionals belonging to this group. The group activities were allegedly sponsored by proceeds of the many contracts he awarded to them in addition to whatever little might come from Iran and other wealthy members. Ordinarily there is nothing wrong in that since they are also Nigerians, but the fact that some of those professionals involved were dismissed from public service for alleged breach of peace raised doubts about the action of that governor. Mallam Ibrahim Elzakzaky lives in affluence even when most of his followers live in abject poverty. Added to these is the large number of guards that accompany him wherever he is going.

These guards who are mainly unemployed youth also man illegal checkpoints on roads leading to his house in the Gyallesu quarters of Zaria. In addition to open display of weapons, these guards subject people living in the area, their families and visitors to constant harassments. Even after registering series of complaints to the police and Zaria emirate, nothing has been done to come to the rescue of these innocent Nigerians. Only last week, there was a widely reported clash between Shiite guards and residents of Gyallesu that claimed a number of lives. Yet, there was no response from the Government. My advice for your Excellency is this. If your promise to tackle insecurity is to be a reality you must cut Shiites down to size. To do that effectively you have to look around you and make sure that no member of this group occupies an important position in your Government. It would be a monumental scandal if Nigerians come to realize that a member of such a lawless group is very close to you and/or holding a key position in your Government. This is regardless of the intellectual prowess of the person. One would then wonder what would be the reaction of your Government when there is a clash between security forces and members of this group. The millions of Nigerians that voted for you do not include Shiites. Nigerian Shiites do not vote unless they engage in taqiyya which is a kind of hypocrisy allowed in their religion whereby a person can pretend to be what he/she is not and act accordingly in order to achieve a goal. Secondly, no member of the public including politicians, traditional or religious leaders must be allowed to use his followers to harass the public. If Mallam Ibrahim Elzakzaky or any other leader wants additional security for himself he should be allowed to employ trained private guards who would not harass his neighbours. Finally, there should be no double standard in dealing with different groups. I wish I had a direct access to you to give you this advice without making it public. Although I know a few people around you, I am not quite sure that a message sent through them would get to you at this time. And since office-seeking Nigerians have been sending in their CVs, any document dropped in your office, no matter its contents is very likely going to be treated as another CV in disguise. I wish you Allah’s guidance.

Dr. Abdussamad Umar Jibia Associate Professor and Head Department of Mechatronics Engineering Bayero University Kano

Culled from the Leadership Newspaper, May 12, 2015

Hamza: Book Review – Khaled Housseini’s The Kite Runner

Many Khaled Housseini fans say this is his best work yet. I don’t quite agree but I can assure you this is an exceptional book.

It’s a tale of Amir, a morally-conflicted young Afghan boy, born with a silver spoon, and his experiences on one hand with his demanding father whom he loved dearly and on the other hand, his young, brave and tolerant friend Hassan.

The novel was set in the US and Afghanistan. The tale depicts Afghanistan — from her glory days of peace, harmony and the no-longer-popular kite running sport where hoards of people gathered to fly, watch and “fight” kites; to the days of pain, poverty, anger and war resulting from the invasion of Russia and sets at the rise of the Mujahedeen and the Taliban. Also, one could sense how devastating it must be for refugees to rebuild their lives after so many years of clueless gathering.

The Kite Runner contains several razor-sharp plot twists, seasoned with Khaled Housseini-esque honey-sweet, almost poetic writings and thought-provoking dialogues. As also in “And the mountains echoed”, Afghan culture was portrayed and their views on Arabs, life, family, marriage and religion as a whole can be perceived in this beautiful piece of literature.
On a scale of 1–10, I’ll give it an 8.5

“ For you, a thousand times…”

Olabisi Ladele: Adetoun; The Love I Never Had!

ADETOUN; THE LOVE I NEVER HAD!

17th September, 2013 presented a bright afternoon in Bodija, the obvious heart of Ibadan. In case you have never heard of West Africa’s largest city, Ibadan, it is the soul of the southwestern states and the educational capital of my dear Nation, Nigeria. My appetite was nowhere to be found as I concluded I was not having lunch. I sank into my seat with the intention of taking a nap within the break period. As I closed my eyes, the seraphic image of this young lady filled my head, I could hear the sonorous sound of her calculated steps, I imagined her silent giggles and angelic smile, it was just five days since I last saw her and to me it was like forever.
A hard slap on my shoulder jolted me back to life, as Samuel, a friend at work said;

“Oga its Tuesday, aren’t you going to the usual place?”It’s Monday, I replied with mild anger lining my voice as I went back into daydreaming. “Yesterday was Monday and a public holiday, today is Tuesday ogbeni”, Samuel said. I could feel my heart beat faster and my glands secrete more sweat as I shifted the mouse of the flat screen HP desktop computer in front of me, it was indeed Tuesday. I scrambled for my car keys and jacket as I ran out of the banking hall of the bank where I work. I was heading for a canteen.

A man without appetite yet rushing to a canteen!
She takes the last morsel of amala hurriedly because she wants to give a reply to what her friend just said to her as she chokes. I wish I was close enough to give her a glass of water, but it would have been silly to travel all the way when her friend could easily hand one over to her, which was exactly what she did. I am done with my own meal too but am taking it slow with my drink, they laughed over what? I wouldn’t know! I just wish I could get close to her, I wish I could say a word to her, I wish I were the one holding her arm and smiling with her, instead of this fat; fat is a mean word so I’ll say plump friend of hers.

God please help me, it has to be done today because I can’t imagine what would happen if I never see her again. God forbid! For the past 3weeks she comes in around 1:30pm for lunch only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was very boring for me last week Thursday when she didn’t show up as planned. Oh, did I say as planned? I meant as usual. Thank goodness last week is history. I waited till 3pm, hoping she would show up, had to leave when my boss called that a query would be waiting on my table if I turned break period from 1-2:30pm to 1-3:30pm.

What if she decides to change her lunch spot, the thoughts of last week mustn’t repeat itself that is why I must get her phone number today. Thanks to her loud-mouthed friend I know her name, but am clueless as to who Adetoun really is? I think she is a born again Christian, the only premise for my conclusion though I haven’t exactly concluded yet, is that well she prays before eating her meals and two weeks ago I saw a Bible sticking out her unzipped bag. I know it’s shallow to think that she is born again as result of this, but don’t blame me what can I do but hope for the best. The more reason why I need to approach her!

The problem is I am not used to this kind of situation. I don’t meet girls as complete strangers, I prefer someone introducing me, but sadly there is no one to introduce me to Adetoun. What other name for a dazzling beauty, she definitely looked like a princess even in a simple black knee length gown, if I met her as an astronaut in space; I would conclude she is not human, but definitely an angel. One would have thought that the black colour would dim the brilliance of her beauty, but I do believe that it must be her fair skin that retains the brightness around her.

I remember how I trailed her like an undercover agent when she left the canteen two Tuesdays ago,and this was not my first time. You may call me a stalker, but if you have ever been in love with a total stranger, you would know better, I just had to. Unfortunately I lost her again while I was stuck in traffic. I wonder if the sleek metallic car she drives really belongs to her, her fat, sorry, plump friend who drives it sometimes or her husband.

What if she’s taken or conquered like Samuel often says. There’s no ring on her finger so am not going to conclude. Fate must smile on me today! She is moving towards the counter to collect her change, this is my chance, I planned to meet her at the door. As a man eating without appetite, I swallow hard as I could feel a lump in my throat; she turns around and makes her way towards the entrance, her friend is still at the counter making usual jokes with “Alhaja”, the owner of the canteen. I could feel a trickle of sweat rolling down my spine as I was a few steps behind her, saying a silent prayer from my rapidly pumping heart.

I closed in but then she stopped moving, I slammed my brakes hard. I thought, now is the time. As I took a step further, she came falling right into my sight as I ran to save my queen from falling. My world stood still, it felt like a dream come through, I was at the gate of paradise gazing into the eyes of my pearl. I was oblivious of the pandemonium all around me, before she could see the passion in my eyes, before I could say a word, before our love story could begin, light was out of her dazzling eye. Breath betrayed her seraphic frame! It was the end of our love story that never began. Adetoun was the love I never had.

**special appreciations to Tijani Mayowa for helping to put this story into shape

Olabisi is a lover of God and his Christ, a Law graduate aspiring to provide one of the best company secretarial/legal services ever in Nigeria. ff on twitter @labissy

ADVERT

Osho Samuel Adetunji: Nigeria: Independent by Words, Slaves by Action

ADVERT

NIGERIA: INDEPENDENT BY WORDS, SLAVES BY ACTION

Musa, this search for job is getting frustrating, o! Obi remarked.
What do you mean? Musa asked cautiously. The two University graduates had been on the move combing the busy streets of Lagos for a job. They were now in front of InterContinental Hotel, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island and they were both enjoying the scintillating view of the tallest skyscraper in West Africa which went into the heavens.

‘I should have stayed back in Onitsha and shuttle between my Father’s farm and fishing at sea with my cousins, I would have earned at least N2000 at this time of the day, Why can life be so cruel?’

‘Musa, I think getting out of this country will be the best solution to all this kata kata, or what do you think? I am tired of this endless journey!’ Obi replied in a harsh tone

Musa let out a dry smile. ‘I have been thinking of a mischievous plan but am skeptical about its possibility of working. Have you heard about the exploits of the stowaway kid, Daniel Oikhena? What do you think about hiding in the wheel compartment of an airplane heading for Dubai? At least we are older than Daniel; we should get the job done in a better way.’ Musa remarked.

‘Bravo! Brilliant plan, one of my Uncles works as a security operative at the Muritala Mohammed Airport, I will just need to offer him some bucks and am sure getting into the premises will not be a problem at all. We will need to do a concrete surveillance and probably watch some high-tech movies before carrying out the plan’ Obi answered with a bright face.

Age is not the yardstick for maturity; it is just an opportunity to get matured. Actions they say speak louder than words, if you are matured then prove it to me than tell me your age. Such is the case of my beloved country Nigeria. The euphoria precipitated by the Independence Day celebration has veiled our eyes from seeing the true realities facing our country. Do you call a man begging for bread at the age of 53 an independent man? You dare not say so. If you don’t beg for money, will you owe any debt? An independent man lends out to others, not resort to begging. Nigeria at 53 owes a staggering debt of $58.04bn and yet we are beaming with smiles.
No doubt about the fact that we celebrated independence with strong optimism for a better tomorrow and we yearn for a Centennial celebration in 2014. The nation is clothed with an apparel of independence yet acts like a slave. The great dependence on foreign countries is glaring from the entertainment industry to the manufacturing industry to the oil and gas sector amongst many others. We beg the Whites for almost everything we need and yet we pay for them. Apart from the obvious dependence, we also have the penchant for travelling out of the country in search of the so-called “greener pastures”. This behavior is usually exhibited by majority of Nigerians.

It is often said that one of every four Africans is Nigerian. According to Wikipedia, over 3million Nigerians live outside the country and they live in the US, the UK and South Africa amongst other nations. If you do not value the enormity of 3million people; countries of the world like Qatar, Cyprus, Fiji and Reunion are not up to a million. You can have a slight idea of how many countries that have pulled out of Nigeria to other continents. Despite this huge population, many Nigerians are still eager to leave the country; a good example of this is the young boy who crept into the tyre compartment of an Arik Airplane moving from Benin to Lagos, the boy thought the plane was going to the United States of America. You can imagine such a level of desperation. The question is what would a young boy of his age do in America? A cleaner, a house help, a laundry boy, that is if he was not deported to Nigeria. Some can even sell all their properties to get a VISA to America, getting out of the country is seen as a huge achievement. The slaves love their Master’s crib.

An average Nigerian youth would like to pay at viewing centers to watch Chelsea play against Manchester United than a free match between Enyimba and Sharks. Will you blame the young lad? NO! The powerful desire to watch top leagues in Europe was borne out of the appealing and attractive nature of the leagues. You don’t see dastard acts such as fans beating up referees, no throwing of broken bottles into the pitch during play, no breakdown of law and order. And if at all they show up their ugly heads on rare occasions, necessary and prompt sanctions are delivered. Nigeria Professional Football League is underdeveloped, unattractive and bereft of development. Hence the football fans depend on foreign leagues for entertaining matches. The slaves love to pay bills where their Masters pay to relax.

A trip to convocation ceremonies will intimate you about the vast majority of graduates who are yearning to leave the country at the slightest opportunity. They want to pursue their Masters and Ph.D abroad and not in Nigeria. Gone are the days when you are bold enough to tell your friends that you are running a Post graduate course in an indigenous University. Employers do not believe you are well equipped for jobs once you have not tasted education outside the shores of Nigeria. It only reflects the pathetic state of the country’s educational sector. Nobody wants to stay at home for three to four months because of industria actions popularly called strike. Slaves love to read where their Masters became Professors.

The eminent leaders of the world’s most populous nation drive the latest flamboyant cars and yet the country has no indigenous manufacturing plant for cars. Imported cars flood our major cities and metropolis and newly released cars usually make the headlines at discussion joints. Majority of our youths are more interested in Hollywood and Bollywood movies than Nollywood films. In a bid to look like our colonial masters, we have trampled on the core values of our culture. This is evident in our dressing, marriages, choice of food and use of language. Nigerians just love to crave for anything foreign; we crave for their cars, download their movies, wear their clothes, eat their food and pay through our noses to get their type of phones.

It is a shame our leaders take pride in going abroad for medical consultation and surgical operations. There is no need to count the number of governors, ministers, senators, commissioners and Presidents that have been outside the shores of the country to seek medical attention. Why seek for medical services outside the country if we are independent? Our actions depict one who is not independent.
As the number of Nigerian emigrants increases by the day, as they search for greener pastures like a flock of sheep without a shepherd; the question is: are we truly independent? Are we not professional slaves? If at all we are slaves, when shall we be a truly independent nation?

Samuel is seasoned writer who loves to use the pen as a tool to inform, impact and change lives. He is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ibadan. ff on twitter @inisamosho

Tokunbo: Thrusts of Revenge; Baba

Each thrust, a memory unrepressed, each grunt, one regretted. With everyone of her screams, Baba aired out his frustrations. The more she groaned,the more he pushed in with just the same force as a woman in labour. Releasing himself of his anger,his resentment;ridding himself of his pent up frustration and misery. With all the bottled up emotions inside, he needed a channel to let them out : he needed Baby.
As he tightened his belt and zipped his fly, he listened to her cry and felt his usual grim satisfaction from her tears: She was weeping for him. She felt his pain, his sorrow.Each time he entered her, he dragged her into the past. It was like she was in sync with his memories ,as if she understood his shame. Every moan, grunt, whimper and scream she made was for him. She empathized with him. He shook his head as he could not get himself to look up at her. At least he had done something right, he thought, she was his one good contribution to humanity.This at least,he could feel good about. Or could he?
He needed space, air to clear his head. He took his jacket and stepped out of his house for a stroll, one footstep at a time, a footstep back in time, to the things that could have been, away from the things that were.
“Here I am, 64 years I have spent in this world with nothing to show for it. My colleagues would say to me after work each day, “Baba, you are in a hurry to go back home to the madam, Abi? God will give us this your ‘strength’ to perform when we are your age as well o!” I would laugh and agree with them with a wide smile pasted on my face. I might even throw in a witty comment or two for a good laugh! But they don’t know that just like the adage goes, “the mad man who seems to be running after you, may just be running away from the things chasing him”. It was more of what I was running away from. The happy family was only a figment of all our imaginations! I crack jokes, especially the ribald ones about libido and women! But I always itch to leave the office. With everyday the pretense is eating me up; I’m choking on the facade! Its eating me up but I’m the one choking on it. The whitewash, that I’m happy with who I am or what I am, is killing me! But hold on a second…who am I?
I am an old man who missed an opportunity to make something of himself because I was too scared to take the risk; the fear of the unknown was my biggest obstacle. Still is. Now, I am a ‘sales boy’ at my ‘best friend’s’ company! ( Sales Manager, he likes to say but we all know better) My friend who took the risk. He left the lucrative dependable job we both had and started his own company. He made me an offer to be a partner with him but I declined. I was so pompous then, expecting him to fail and come crawling back on his belly to me. He didn’t! His business flourished and the bank that I worked for merged with another. Retrenchment reared it’s ugly head and cut mine off!
I thank God for my boss, he saved me when I was at an all-time low. Thanks to my wife, he offered me a job which I pelted at like David’s stones went at Goliath!
I worship him most of the time but in truth I loathe him. At work, I prostrate to the floor for my friend who I am 4 years younger in age . I hate myself a million times more for this. Every time I go down low for him or look up to him at work, I console myself with the fact that Baby would do his going down for him at home. He greets me like I am a servant but he knows I know. He knows.
He is sleeping with my wife and I can’t do anything about it!
The only thing I know I did right is my daughter, she’s 15years old and looks nothing like me and very much like Yele, my boss! But I still call her mine because even though she may not be mine in the sense that counts, Baby is very much mine in another…many other ways than one!”

In the hospital, a few months after
Two adjacent rooms,
With opposing stories
An old man, Baba, giving up life
A young girl, Baby, bringing in life!

About Tokunbo: Passionate, is what I am in one word! I love the arts and I am most particularly interested in music and writing. I love Nigeria, and I’m an avid believer in the Nigerian culture.

ADVERT

Yusuf Abdulkareem: HAPPINESS

ADVERT

What is happiness? Does happiness really exist? Have we felt it before? Do we actually know what it means to be happy? Is happiness a distinct feeling that can be described and explained? For a long time, I have asked myself these very questions. From the little research I did before writing this, I realized that there are so many explanations and views as to the concept of happiness. There was one view going on and on about how happiness was already inherently in the soul, and that we didn’t have to look too far to find it. I find this view rather boring. I found something more interesting on a certain website though. There, happiness was explained through the context of Buddhism.
According to the article, what we refer to as happiness is really just the absence of suffering. In Buddhism, unease or suffering can be roughly translated as “dukka”. It goes further to say happiness, as we conceive it, doesn’t really exist, at least not in the same way suffering does. Suffering in the Buddhist context doesn’t mean great pain or despair. From a Buddhist perspective, it refers not so much to outright catastrophe as to the persistent, low-intensity feelings of dissatisfaction or yearning that human beings feel most of the time. Happiness is what is left when you take away unhappiness. Since the problem we have is the presence of unease in our moments and not the absence of anything, happiness itself doesn’t really exist. It’s no different than darkness, which itself is nothing at all; only a way of describing an absence of light. Light is real, darkness is just a concept.
Now, I find the views expressed in this article very interesting. I have always felt I would eventually study Buddhism, because I think it is not such a bad way to live. However, until then, I think I have slightly different opinions. I think happiness does exist in some form, and the explanation that it simply is the absence of suffering or pain is rather too thin and simplistic. If we can all agree that we know what pain feels like, why should we deny the total existence of its opposite? I do not buy the idea of happiness simply being the inexistence of pain or suffering. Personally, I believe there is an emotional state of equilibrium most of us are at any given time. It is probably different for everyone. On either side of this state of equilibrium lies our “happiness” or “sadness”. The absence of pain or suffering is not happiness for me, but being on that state of equilibrium in which you are neither happy nor sad. Then, something happens which tips the scale to either side.
While I can’t precisely define what happiness means, I would just say it is one of the sides of our “emotional state of equilibrium”, and sadness is obviously the other. Therefore, if we choose to call it happiness, well, that’s fine. I suppose there are many different reasons that could make different people “happy.” The only thing is that, they are so ephemeral that it is gone before we are really able to capture the feeling. For example, the euphoric moments after finally getting that girl to go out with you, or getting an A in your exam, or winning the lottery. Undoubtedly, either of these examples would make anyone happy. From these examples, we can’t say happiness was from the absence of a particular thing, can we? Maybe we could say it was the absence of failure, but isn’t that stretching it a bit far? Why must we be negative about it? Why can’t we just be positive and say it was the presence of a particular thing, victory or success? Anyway, what do I know? I have probably been ignorantly rambling on from the beginning. Opinions and thoughts are welcome


Yusuf is a weird young man with sometimes crazy ambitions, he is a crazy good music lover, a Law graduate and aspiring Diplomat. ff on twitter @Monknumerouno

#Paarapo Tech Corner: Hamza Fetuga: 3D Printing: What’s the Fuss All About?

3D PRINTING: WHAT’S THE FUSS ALL ABOUT

There’s so much about 3D printing on the internet nowadays. The technology which gradually gained prominence in recent years has attracted the tech enthusiasts all over the world with its innumerable uses and the hazard it poses. 3D printing or Additive printing is a process of creating a 3-dimentional product by printing material layer upon layer based on a digital model as opposed to the traditional subtractive printing common in industries which involves the removal of a part of the base material through cutting or drilling till the desired shape is formed. The major advantage 3D printing has over the latter is in the ease and speed in which production occurs and in the infinite forms that can be achieved using this process.
This technology has been around for a while actually, as Chuck Hull of the 3D Systems Corp invented the first working 3D printer in the year 1984. After that year, engineers started working on newer and more efficient versions of this machine based on various technologies like stereolithography, DLP projection, material jetting, material extrusion, fused deposition modelling, binder jetting to mention a few. The various manufacturers of these printers employ the method which best suits their goals during production with the big names being RepRap, MakerBot, Airwolf etc.

The process of printing is quite simple and straightforward just like traditional printing from a computer. For an object to be created, the user is required to upload a .stl file which contains the 3D design of the object to be created which is then imputted into the machine which prints out the product layer by layer and eventually fusing them together as specified in the design. However, the specifics of the technology utilized vary as aforementioned from printer to printer. There’s a smorgasbord of materials in which the printed object could exist with the common ones being plastic, rubber and metal depending on the kind of printer used.

This impressive technology was only available for large scale commercial production until a few years back when smaller version were made available for household/personal use. The cost of 3-D printers has decreased dramatically since about 2010, with machines that used to cost $20,000 costing less than $1,000.[ For instance, as of 2013, several companies and individuals are selling parts to build various RepRap designs, with prices starting at about €400 / US$500. The price of printer kits vary from US$400 for the Printrbot Jr.(derived from the previous RepRap models), to over US$2000 for the Fab@Home 2.0 two-syringe system. The Shark 3D printer comes fully assembled for less than US$2000, same price range for the most common laptops around. This has resulted in a sudden buzz which is quite evident on social network, tech blogs, and broadcast stations and all over the internet. Also, this technology seems to be getting attention due to its negative side which shall be discussed later in this writeup.
3D printing’s importance cannot be overstated as its uses cut across all occupations and spheres of life. It can be used for prototyping and modeling in the fashion industry, education, architecture and real estate, manufacturing field, medical and dental industries to mention a few.

Companies such as Hot Pop Factory are printing jewelries. Retailers such as New Balance are printing shoes. Designers such as Ron Arab are printing sunglasses. These pioneering innovations are exciting, but what’s a 3D printed necklace without a shirt or dress to match? 3D Printing and Fashion only met a couple of years ago, but their friendship is off to a promising start. With this technology, virtually all fashion accessories can be printed as a whole or printed in parts and assembled. Imagine you had this very important meeting only to discover you’ve lost a couple of your shirt buttons. All you need do is download the design file from your fashion designer’s website and connect to your printer and you’ve gotten your game back in no time. Due to the limitlessness of creating designs, designers can come up with a one-of-a-kind outfit for customers with special requests and we know how crazy ladies are about that! 3D printed dresses have started hitting the runway in some countries. Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen has been taking her 3D printed dresses and shoes to the runways since 2010. Mannequins of various shapes and sizes could be printed to model clothes also design files of parts like buttons and zippers could be uploaded on the company’s website for customers who might need a spare.

The romance isn’t restricted to the fashion industry alone people! Recently, Nokia showed their support of the technology; by releasing design files (.stl) enabling Nokia Lumia users make cases for their phones. However, to get the design files, users must have registered with the phone company. Nokia believe that 3D printing is likely to bring about phones that were “wildly more modular and customizable” and there is an opportunity for the company to sell a phone template allowing entrepreneurs to use that to produce handsets that satisfy the particular needs of their customer base.
The medical industry is not left out of this love affair either. Doctors have been scoring points in the life saving game through the application of 3D printing to healthcare. Some dental labs have for some years been using 3D printers to help create appliances, with envisionTEC selling its Perfactory Digital Dental Printer for use in the creation of crowns, bridges and temporaries by dental technicians. Using this technology, even long-term temporaries can now be created, meaning that 3D printers can quite literally already print you a new tooth! envisionTEC 3D printers are now also widely used by many major hearing aid manufacturers to produce ear moulds and shells for final consumer use. The medical guys are quite adventurous with this technology. Scottish scientists have invented a cell printer that squirts out living embryonic stem cells which is a big boost to regenerative medicine as scientists can test new drugs on printed tissues and even print new organs. Medical scientists have started treating patients using 3D laser printing and printing of human stem cells, human arms for patients with muscular disorders, external human ears replacements for accident victims and lifesaving implants.

The manufacturing and engineering fields benefit immensely from 3D printing. Prototyping just got easier and cheaper, engineering firms can produce machine parts to see how they function and if they fit perfectly before mass production is considered. Engineers at the University of Southampton recently 3D printed a flyable aircraft (well, aside from its electric motor). Rolls Royce is also currently running a project called MERLIN with the goal of using 3D printing in the manufacture of civil aircraft engines. A driveable prototype of a new electric car called the Urbee has also been 3D printed. Mainstream automobile makes are also already in on the DDM act, with Audi now 3D printing parts of its cars using Objet Polyjet 3D printers. Architects can create vivid building models without having to go through the stress of gluing and cutting cardboards. Also, it is a huge shot in the arm for small scale industries as packaging of produce and creating of parts have become less tedious and less expensive.

However, the technology comes with its bad effects as people have the liberty to print virtually anything ranging from clothes and machine parts to arms and ammunition. There has been apprehension over a Youtube video which showed a man shooting using 3D printed gun. The fear has even deepened due to the rate at which gun crimes are being committed in the US of late and with this technology everyone now has prospective access to a gun without proper licensing or supervision. It is going to be quite difficult for the government or makers of the printers to control what the printers are used for. Another danger posed by 3D printing is in the violation of copyrights and patents. Concerns are being raised about the possibility of massive increase in intellectual property infringement in years to come.
I must say, 3D printing has a very promising future with users coming up with more and more reasons and ways to use their printers. FOOD printing yeah , you heard right, is also on its way considering efforts made to print chocolate in various shapes, pasta, breakfast cereal and burgers. Also, food packaging could be improved. The possibilities are endless! You can even print a 3D printer with a 3D printer (this is actually impossible in the full sense of printing because the ICs and electronic components cannot be printed). So much can be done with 3D printing. For more info, the internet gives lots of uses of this technology. Who knows? We might just be able to design and print our homes ourselves.

Hamza is a tech enthusiast and an engineering student at the University of Ibadan. ff on @biodunalfet

Joseph Udofia: The Gap Between Digital Activism and Reality

In recent times, bars of digital activism have been raised higher. In is not unusual to see tweets written by Nigerians from the comfort of their rooms, bothering on germane issues and what have you. Protests are initiated online as civil society groups identify a lapse in governance and pull supporters through various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These supporters are expected, together with the initiators, to mount pressure and create national and international awareness on anti-people governmental policies, in a bid to put an end to such policies.

However, a huge gap is easily identified between digital activism and reality. It all started with the Occupy Nigeria protest, trending on the hashtag #OccupyNigeria. Social media activists tweeted details of locations and other necessary information about protests, cajoling thousands of their followers to come out en masse. Millions of people throng out of their houses, occupying major parks to express their grievances over the hike in pump price of petrol.

Unfortunately, some of these activists served as mere “conductors”—directing protesters without being a part of the protest. Their excuse is simple: They have spread the message which is more important.
Soon after, Nigerians displayed how myopic and unenlightened they are when the ill-fated “Child-not-bride” campaign started. Many put up display pictures condemning the Senate for “passing into law” a bill ratifying under-age marriage when this was far from the truth. The short-lived e-protest got international attention, but the Senate never gave a hoot about it, and till date have done nothing to the controversial Section 29, subsection 4c of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This clearly is a pointer to the fact that activists, rather than educate the citizens cum protesters on the underlying reason behind their action, pounce on the level of illiteracy to pull the crowd, just to get the job done.

Most recently, #OurNass- a hashtag used to create awareness about the outrageous salaries of our lawmakers, trended in Nigeria. Sequel to this, a protest was organized to State Houses of Assembly nationwide, with little or no impact, depending on your viewpoint. In the Lagos State House of Assembly for instance, protesters endured the scorching heat of the sun and were given little attention by the lawmakers.
The efficacy of protest should be reviewed by organizers as many of these protests in my opinion, yield little or no success, except if the yardstick for measuring success is awareness. The failure of a protest would undermine people’s availability for another one. Thus, to ensure a high level of success, digital activists should create platforms to educate the masses on the underlying reasons before embarking on any protest.

In civilized climes, major roads and industries are brought to their knees as this is the only way to get the government’s attention. Trend at no one on twitter, the Nigerian Government will only be moved when it directly feels the impact of the protest. It’s high time digital activists came to terms with reality and not just organize protests but carefully educate the populace and plan the course of action of a protest, and be physically present during such protests, as this will be a drive for protesters. Only then, would protests make maximum impact.

Joseph is a passionate Nigerian contributing his quota to national development via creative writing. ff on twitter @joeycynosure