Fadeke: Episode IX

Fadeke made it to final year of medical school with great effort. It was a busy year for her as she spent most of it working on her first studio produced solo album. By this time, she had won the hearts of many music lovers in Nigeria. Agreed that she was no party-crooner, her music could not fit into the average Nigerian party but it did fit into corporate events and that was her market and there she made waves. She appointed a manager to lessen her burden so she could worry less about scheduling and all whatnots. Throughout that year, she was very selective about the events she attended, she had learnt from the previous experience that she was not meant for every show, or concert or event. When she could no longer handle the requests, and due to Tade’s similarly busy schedule, she agreed to appoint Smart Ode as her manager.

Smart had worked his way up the ladder, having begun as a personal assistant to one of the greatest manager of human talent the country had ever seen, the legendary Martin Kay. Martin Kay during his active years managed about eight ‘A’ lists artists at different times in their careers, and they all agreed they could not have reached the heights they did without Martin Kay. Smart Ode learnt all he knew from Martin Kay, he learnt how to speak like a manager, dress like one and dish out instructions like one. Most importantly, Martin Kay taught Smart when and how to be humble when speaking to an artist. “That artiste is your employer, even if he or she is probably younger than you are. You are an employee, just a different kind and grade of employee. Never forget that my boy” Martin Kay would often say. Smart was smart enough to listen and follow the footsteps of his mentor, he  however went one step further by recognising talents in artistic fields other than the stage, this was the basis for his appointment as Tade’s manager.

“Fadeke, I honestly think that you need to attend more events, for two key reasons” Smart Ode knew his job really well and he tried to be as persuasive as he could “The first reason being that you need to stay in people’s consciousness, that is how you stay relevant. And the second reason is simply that you need the money for us to complete your studio release” Smart concluded

Fadeke wanted to laugh at Smart’s effort at persuading her, she knew though that he was merely doing his job, so instead she patted Smart on the shoulder and responded “No worries Smart, let me decide that. I have the final say on every invitation. Are we clear that?

“Loud and clear Ma’am, loud and clear” Smart responded and curtsied to lighten up the mood.

****

Fadeke’s first studio solo album was released in her final year; it was an instant hit as it rocked the airwaves and stayed on the top chart for weeks. The tune of her soul music captivated the hearts of many and soon, she was sought after by different individuals who wanted her to perform at their events. She had to turn down most of the offers as she needed to fully concentrate on completing medical school in good time and in style. She restricted her performances to one Saturday a month and carefully selected the events she accepted. Her practice time and performance time were the only time she spent outside studying and keeping it real with the love of her life, Tade. She was often embarrassed when even her classmates tried to mob her and ask for autographs. She had become a star but she felt she needed to complete it by concluding her medical education. She thought about the sacrifices of her mother and felt a tingle in her heart. She was finally going to reward Mrs. Onifade. She wrote her final exams with confidence and joy, she had an assurance that she had done all she needed to do. Her oral defence was also well received; her professors were particularly impressed at her self-taught knowledge of music therapy. She gave her a rousing applause.

“I understand you are musician too” a professor said and nodded his head as if saying ‘you have done well’.

“Yes o” another professor responded “my daughter would not let me rest. She wants an autograph”

Fadeke beamed “Thank you for your kind words Sirs and Ma’ams. And tell your daughter to come around whenever she is available ma, I will be glad to sign one. Though I’m trying to get used to all that” they all smiled at her and waved her off with admiration.

***

Fadeke was ready to pack out of her dorm room at school and move back home briefly before her induction into the medical profession. Tade and Mrs. Onifade came to assist her; she had officially introduced Tade to her mother earlier during the first semester of her final year. Both hit it off immediately, Mrs. Onifade became particularly fond of Tade. From the way she doted on him, any person who did not know otherwise would conclude that Tade was Mrs. Onifade’s only son. This made Fadeke jealous sometimes but she was also very happy, it was a happy jealousy.

They helped her pack her things and whilst they journeyed back home, Mrs. Onifade could not stop talking about how Tade had redesigned Fadeke’s room and how beautiful her room was. Whilst at Yaba Tech, Tade had garnered experience in interior graphics and designs, she had seen some of the works he did and they were breath-taking. Tade’s abilities were spectacular and she was so happy for him and at their future together.

“Mummy I don’t think it is as beautiful as you are painting it o” Tade laughed and tried to play down her mother’s ‘exaggerations’.

She snuggled close to him and whispered “I’m sure it is impressive”

“It is more than impressive o, o fine gan ni” her mother interrupted. Fadeke could not honestly understand why her mother was so excited, but she was happy to see her mother so happy and excited. She had not seen her in such high moods since her father left them, so she felt good.

She did not want her mother to continue her one-woman show so she quietly mouthed a ‘thank you’ to Tade. She closed her eyes and tried to picture what they would look like as a married couple and she felt herself blushing. She opened her eyes and caught Tade starring at her; there was some message in his eyes. The way he looked at her made her excited and she could not wait for them to have their alone time, without her mother’s excited Yoruba chatters.

When they got to the house, Fadeke rushed to her room. She was really excited and was so eager to see the magic Tade had performed on the outlook of her room. But she was not prepared for what she saw. Indeed her room looked more than perfect, everything were in the right place, her favourite art works were well hung and he had added a few portrait of some of her stage performances. Her room was a beauty but none caught her heart and made blood rush to her face like a beautiful inscription on the wall of the room, just above her reading table. She felt the tears rush to her eyes as she read the words

Fadekemi,

This wall is not big enough to show you how much I truly love and cherish you. Will you please marry me?

Signed

Tade

She turned with tears in her eyes; Tade was right at the door and on his knees holding a beautiful diamond ring. He looked at her and whispered “Fadeke, you came into my world and changed everything. You told me I could make it and you stood by me as I did. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life without you. Please say yes”

Fadeke could only shake her head in confirmation as he slipped the ring into her finger. She embraced him, still teary.

She heard her mother sob behind the door. ‘this woman, such a drama queen! She thought and smiled, without letting go of Tade.

Postcript

Fadeke was inducted into the medical profession. At the induction, Fadeke received the award for the best result in Anatomy. Mrs. Onifade was so proud of her daughter.  She could now be famously referred to as “Mama Doctor”; her lifelong dreams were fulfilled not only because of Fadeke’s achievement, Mrs. Onifade made some giant strides of her own. With Fadeke out of school, Mrs. Onifade was going back to school. She had timidly applied for admission to the Lagos State School of Nursing and never thought she would get in but she did. The admission committee were particularly impressed that she refused to let go of her dreams despite her age and they gladly offered her in place. Her joy knew no limits as she accepted the offer, after-all, age is nothing but a number

As for Fadeke, she felt fulfilled and proud of the woman she had become. She would now focus on building a long career in music and as a music therapist; and off course try to out-love her lover boy!

 

I guess that is the end. I hope you enjoyed the series.

Oluwatosin

10 Take Aways From President Buhari’s Independence Day Speech

Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo

As is usual tradition with October 1, President Buhari gave a speech that most Nigerians could not watch live as there was no power to connect their televisions. Most did read the speech afterwards. I watched video clips of the speech and read the full text of same. It was generally the basic recapitulation that we hear every October 1. However, the President made certain statements and raised certain issues that we need to re-examine:

 

But let me say to all Nigerians today, I ran for office four times to make the point that we can rule this nation with honesty and transparency.

Nothing can be more far from the truth than this. Mr. President has blatantly slapped honesty and transparency in the face. Where should we start from? Is it the fact that the President promised a fight against corruption whilst many of his Ministers have corruption smeared like faeces but seeing they are in the bathroom of the APC, they have been washed as white as snow? ‘Saint’ Rotimi Amaechi, Dubai property owner Lt. General Tukur Buratai, arms procurement scandal free Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazzau. Hey what about Oga Usani Usani of God? The President has baggages all around him and he doesn’t seem to see them as such “I don’t think I tolerate corruption, I don’t think I picked anybody that I know will embarrass my government. But if you have any evidence about any of my ministers, I accept responsibility for the 36 ministers that I have. ‘’I don’t think I took anybody among the ministers who has got a case in court. Tell me one out of the 36. I don’t think I will deliberately make that mistake,” he said. Haha! There goes your transparency and honesty.

Should we talk about the fact that we just recently awarded a contract to the Company owned by the Chairman of our great party in Rivers State? You know Amaechi and Dakuku Peter-side and the Chairman of our great party in Rivers State form part of the 5% that gave us vote and even though our initial plan was to tell the 5 percenters to go to hell, I changed my mind and conceded to give them some chin-chin to munch on. At least they deserve that much. That should be enough for the 5 percenters; my focus is on the people.

What happened to the Presidential fleets, we were supposed to dispose of them right? Hmmm!

“Baba, we need to dispose the Presidential fleets like we promised”

“I don’t know what you are talking. Did I promise or APC promised?”

Should we talk about the fact that the first family decided that the United Nations General Assembly was the perfect location for a family vacation?

“Oh but Obama’s wife was there too!

“What about Malia and Sasha, were they at the UNGA too?”

“Errm, I admit there is no precedent for that but then their trip was sponsored by a third party organisation”

“What is the name of the third party organisation and why are they sponsoring the first family to the UNGA”

No response!!!

On Security, we have made progress. Boko Haram was defeated by last December – only resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets, killing innocent men, women and children.

The President himself alluded to the fact that until the Chibok girls are rescued, we cannot say Boko Haram has been defeated but we must agree that the arsenal of Boko Haram has been badly overrun and hope for the best for the girls whose innocence has been snatched away from them.

 

Nigerians should thank our gallant men of the Armed Forces and Police for rescuing large areas of the country captured by insurgents. Now, residents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, as well as several neighbouring states go about their daily business in relative safety.

 

On this I cannot disagree with the President. We have lost courageous men and women in the fight against this deadly cancer called Boko Haram and the country will eternally be grateful to them. They are the real heroes, not our shameless political elites.

 

Besides Boko Haram, we are confronting other long-running security issues, namely herdsmen vs farmers, cattle rustling, kidnappings. This Administration is firmly resolved to tackle these challenges and to defeat them.

 

Rough statistics indicate that the Fulani herdsmen have killed not less than 700 people and displaced thousands in 2016 alone. It is highly ridiculous that this Government allowed this to thrive under its watch, to say that the rustlers are happy will be to say the least. Not a single Fulani herdsman behind the dastardly acts has been arrested and it is obvious that the government has no intention of arresting any of these wicked murderers. Rather than apprehend this wicked and devilish souls, the proposal is to use government resources to protect the herdsmen. Or how else will you explain the fact that we are proposing to build grazing reserves alone as the solution to the crisis. And whilst we must not unfairly label all herdsmen as murderers, there is the need to bring the killers and arsonists amongst them to justice, no matter the grazing reserves, the bad ones will continue to feel entitled and will again kill and burn down villages in the near future.

 

A new insurgency has reared up its head in the shape of blowing up gas and oil pipelines by groups of Niger Delta Militants. This Administration will not allow these mindless groups to hold the country to ransom.

 

Juxtapose the military force with which the government has reacted to the new rise of militancy in the creeks against the docile and lackadaisical response to the Fulani herdsmen attacks and you cannot deny that there is a disconnect. The herdsmen are taking lives, the boys from the creeks are blowing up oil facilities, both should be treated accordingly as what it is, terrorism. You cannot smile and pat the herdsmen on the back while spanking the creek boys on the bum bum. It shows the government is either merely paying lips service or showing ethnic bigotry and nepotism (which by the way are areas in which the government appears to have doctorate degrees. Is it just me or did the President mention Niger Delta thugs and when speaking of Fulani herdsmen and cattle rustler, they weren’t referred to as killers and arsonists. But what do I know?

 

What sense is there to damage a gas line as a result of which many towns in the country including their own town or village is put in darkness as a result? What logic is there in blowing up an export pipeline and as a result income to your state and local governments and consequently their ability to provide services to your own people is reduced? To use the President’s though pattern, what sense is there to kill people innocently living in their own community? What logic is there in burning to ashes other people’s communities all in the name of protecting your cattle business?

It is known that the clean-up of the Ogoniland has started

 

I’m aware that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) Governing Council and Board of Trustees for the Trust Board have been inaugurated and that the President officially held a ceremony to flag off the commencement of the Ogoni Clean-Up. If that is what the President meant when he said the clean-up has started, then he is absolutely right. Otherwise, Mr. President is talking nonsense because when I asked friends presiding in Ogoni land, they are aware that the clean-up has begun in the President’s speech. Like a friend said, in Nigeria, every activity is subsumed or immersed in a ceremony, so the ceremony is taken sometimes as the activity. But indeed the clean-up looks like the real deal and this Government will take credit for it, a massive thumbs up to the Government when this eventually takes off outside the realm of the President’ speech. By the way I understand that the Ogoni people “are in existential crisis, some form of conflict between the obvious unexplainable delay and the obvious clamp down on them since “their son” didn’t deem it fit to commence the clean-up”.

 

In fighting corruption, however, the government would adhere strictly by the rule of law

This is unbelievable! You would adhere strictly by the rule of law? In 16 months you have raped the rule of law in all its ramifications. Its pointless reminding anybody of the countless number of times this Government has violated the rule of law but maybe a refresher course will be helpful. Let us talk about a few – a) not one person has been prosecuted for the murder of about 1,000 Shiite Muslims by the military late last year and despite all entreaties, the leader of the Shiites and his wife have remained incarcerated without trial; b) I know Dasuki is a soft spot for many Nigerians but we cannot just put a man in jail without recourse to the rule of law; c) the military has killed scores of IPOB members and nothing has been done about this, rule of law?; d) dissenting journalists and bloggers have been arrested and incarcerated without court orders but hey, they were only ‘invited’ for chats lasting for days. What if by this speech, the President has decided to turn a new leaf. You remember Snowball in the George Orwell classic “Animal Farm”? Well, President Buhari is Snowball in 2016. Machiavelli’s words in “The Prince” resonate in my mind at this moment: “Everyone admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep his word, and to behave with integrity rather than cunning. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have considered keeping their word of little account, and have known how to beguile men’s minds by shrewdness and cunning. In the end these princes have overcome those who have relied on keeping their word.”  Maybe as Machiavelli admits, sometimes, lies are necessary to achieve a greater good.

There has been during the period June 2015 to September 2016 big improvement in transmission capacity from five thousand five hundred megawatts to the present seven thousand three hundred megawatts

When I saw this, I checked our transmission capacity statistics from the Transmission Company of Nigeria to confirm whether there is a foundational basis for this assertion, and the President may have been misled unless the TCN is not sure of what our transmission capacity is. We currently have an operational transmission capacity of 5,500Mw. Yes, there are ongoing projects that will improve our transmission capacity (projects channeled towards expanding our transmission lines. Simply put, a transmission line is the material medium or structure that forms all or part of a path from one place to another for directing the transmission of energy, such as electric currents. Thus, even if we are able to generate the electricity that can meet our energy need, without those transmission lines, we will not be able to get the electricity to homes, offices and industries where it is needed (unless of course for captive power, in the absence of proper transmission capacity, generated electricity will go to waste)) but even those projects are unlikely to bring us close to 7,000Mw next year. The Government is however making effort to increase our transmission capacity to about 10,000Mw by the year 2019, and whilst that is absolutely commendable, we need to be clear that available capacity is nothing if it is not operational. However, we must not fail to commend the government’s effort with respect to the Mambilla Hydro Project. It is my sincere hope that the project will be speedily completed as it will bring some respite to our debilitating generation capacity.

 

Investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria.

It is not fair to write this in a speech delivered by the President at a time like this; at a time when capital flight and brain drain are on a meteoric rise. Who wrote this speech? Did the Vice-President see this before-hand? He is leading the economic team and he could have advised the president against this obvious goof. Falling over themselves? Really? Is that some form of new metaphor? Mr. President began this macabre dance that confused foreign investors, first he refused, neglected and failed to constitute his cabinet for six months, during which foreign investors elected not to play poker with their investments; then he went around the world announcing how dirty our dirty linens were; then he stubbornly refused to let wisdom prevail in respect of our foreign exchange capacity, during which time we defended a Naira that was already crumbled and crushed; the result of which was a further depletion of our already depleted foreign reserves. As a result of all these economic confusion, foreign direct investment which stood at about $395million in the first quarter of 2015 had declined by 56% to $175million in the first quarter of 2016; whilst foreign portfolio investment had declined to $90.3million from $621million (and before you chop up my head, my source is the Vice-President’s tweet of August 11, 2016). And there has been little or no respite ever since. So when the President says that investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria, I believe he says so as a prayer of faith, and definitely not a statement of fact.

 

Happy Independence Day Nigerians, may we have cause to truly celebrate October 1 in the year 2017.

 

Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo is a lawyer with a leading full service law firm in Lagos

 

 

Expectations and Reality: The Fate of a Recent Petroleum Engineering Graduate

By Adebola Olanrewaju

So it’s official! The Petroleum industry is going through its worst years in recent memory. Oil prices have reached new lows; four, five times? I have lost count myself. Petroleum Engineering graduates like me have made bookmarks of websites like Reuters, CNBC and Bloomberg on our browsers as we constantly monitor the slump. For the sake of knowledge, I would do a quick recap of how this crisis started.

The slump in oil price is a classic Economics 101 case of Demand and Supply, as CNN’s Richard Quest rightly explained. Demand for crude oil has greatly reduced over the last couple of years due to the drop in the growth rate of major economies while supply has increased significantly.

Also, the crisis had been fueled by America’s discovery of shale oil in early 2014 – one they have been able to economically extract. With this, America went from being a major importer to an exporter of crude oil.
As if that was not enough, Saudi Arabia and Iran (both are members of OPEC, lest we forget) decided to start their own ‘economic war’ which further affected oil prices.
Sanctions placed on Iran were lifted late 2015/early 2016 and Iran is bent on claiming its oil market share by increasing oil production by 500,000 barrels a day. In summary, even with the low demand, oil supply is still on the rise, causing oil prices to plummet.
So where does that leave us, the Petroleum Engineering graduates?

While in the University in Nigeria, there was this common notion: ‘Just finish school and start collecting armed robbers salary’. That was the expectation. Oil was selling at well over $100 per barrel and all seemed to be well.
Now that our dear oil companies have aggressively halved their workforce and stopped recruiting due to the dip in prices, it is apparent that the landscape has changed considerably. This is the reality we face as graduates in this volatile industry. So where do we, the Petroleum Engineering graduates go from here?

As dire as the situation seems, there are still quite a number of options for the Petroleum Engineer. The most obvious route, especially for the gurus, would be to obtain a  Masters degree. A friend of mine attended an Oil and Gas conference, met a representative of a company (name withheld) and asked about job opportunities. “This is the best time to go back to school” was the laconic reply he got. I would go no further on that option.

Another alternative would be to choose another sector such as the Accounting sector. January 29 2016 made it exactly a year since I wrote my final exams at the University of Ibadan and I have hardly applied for oil and gas jobs. Not because I don’t want feel like working in an oil firm (LOL! of course, everybody wants to) but because most oil companies are not recruiting. I find myself applying for jobs at the likes of KPMG and PwC. Trust me, it’s saddening but hey, that’s the reality. Man must chop!!!
The last route will be to look for an Oil company;  if you know someone that has an Uncle who knows a friend that owns an Oil servicing company (i.e. if your legs are longer than Usain Bolt’s), please use them and get that job while you wait for the mega job.
History has taught us that oil prices will rise again, therefore patience is the name of the game (It rose from $28per barrel to $35 per barrel today due to Russia’s intervention. That’s some good news).

The oil industry goes through periods of crests and troughs and I strongly believe the next crest is just around the corner. It is therefore essential to be fully prepared for this crest. If you have to go to school, please do so. If you can gain experience, do that as well. Whatever you do, just make sure you are on the move. Do something worthwhile, else you will find yourself competing with the present 200 and 300 level students when that mega job you always dreamt of comes around.
Now how would it feel if you don’t have an edge over them?

This article was inspired by Stephen Hunyinbo’s personal message on BlackBerry Messenger: “The gap between expectations and realities though. Sometimes, it just pays to be a pessimist.”

Adebola Olanrewaju is a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from the University of Ibadan