Archive for May, 2009


May 26, 2009








When I was much younger, I liked Latin language and adages so much. I realized also that most English words have their roots in Latin language. So I want to take this piece from a Latin adage. The adage is, ‘Ex nihilo, nihil fit’ – meaning ‘Out of nothing, nothing comes’. I have been trying to fully analyze and understand its meaning from different perspective. Recently, I wrote something relating to this adage but differing in meaning – ‘nothing is something veiled’. Anything you describe as nothing in that context is something you have little or no relevant knowledge about. So there is something in every nothing. Therefore a house of nothing may equally be a house of something veiled.





The house in this context is the legislative arm of government at different levels. Some describe it as house of honourables. But the activities of the same house most times are miles away from what honourable men and women should ordinary do. We hear that they are saddled with the responsibility of making, reviewing and unmaking of laws. They are almost above the laws they make for the polity. Legislators are supposed to serve the interests of the people but their interests supersede the interests of the people they are ‘representing’. Some of the members of the house at the local government, state or federal level are like demi-gods and must be worshipped by the chairman, governor or the presidency.






One of my friends said that we have been expecting too much from these ‘honourable’ men and women over here. He said if the British legislators who have traditionally very high standards can go below the standard, then we should not expect too much or any standards at all from our own legislators. I told him not to draw any comparison at all because the British legislators at least are very diligent in their oversight functions, they initiate quality bills and are not romancing the executive in the discharge of their duties. Our own ‘elected’ or ‘selected’ legislators are showing the very symptoms of fraudulent ascension or assumption of office and lack of any interest in public service. Many are saying that our own are intellectually lazy and have done nothing, but I submit that nothing is something veiled in the ‘house’.






I have maintained that we have become the laughing stock of those that should take inspiration from us. I watched the live transmission on NTA of the proceedings of the upper legislative house of Wednesday 20th May 2009 with curiosity. They were to talk on the electoral reform bill sent by the presidency. First, it is a shame that the bill was not a private members bill. Secondly I do not think they do know the importance of that bill because it was treated like any other bill. ‘Point of Order’ kept flying from all corners of the floor. I was particularly happy with one of their members who said they do not need to have a copy of Uwais panel report before they can work; that they are showing signs of intellectual laziness. He had hardly made his point before another ‘point of order’ stopped him for using offensive or abusive language. I did not see serious commitment in all the proceedings. Is that what their day at work is like?   





Leadership is not about titles or positions. Positions do not make people, people make positions. Leadership is about influence and impact on the people. But what is the impact of the legislative arm so far? It is very sad that both the upper and lower house had not lived up to expectation on matters of national importance. They need to adjust and do internal quality audit. The words from the presidency in berating the National Assembly for low productivity may have come at a better time. It has been from one leadership tussle, misappropriation, honourable show of shame, contract scam involvement, abuse of siren, lack of constituency presence, pseudo probe panels, negligence of oversight functions, to indulging in all kinds of infantile jamboree in the name of constituency projects.



It is time for our legislators to examine their activities and know if actually they are in the house for themselves or for the interest of the larger society. Life unexamined is not worth living. How many bills that will better the lot of the people has been passed? How many private members’ bill has been passed or being debated by the members of the house at different levels; local government, state and the federal? I suggest that we create a peoples’ court where under-achievers or self-serving public officers would be tried. Taking recess every now and then without achievement can be attributed to intellectual laziness on their part. I wish to submit at this point that we have a house full of intelligent minds with low or no productivity. It is house of nothing. But do remember that nothing is something veiled.






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May 20, 2009


I followed an African legend religiously for many years before his demise. That legend is Baba Fela Anikulapo Kuti (Abami Eda). Not many people understood him and his philosophy while he was alive. But some of the things he said many years back are beginning to make sense to some people with some strange happenings in the polity in the recent past. Abami Eda believed that to fight and win, you must know what you are up against; you must be able to look beyond the obvious and see the actual. Fela said that Africans and Nigerians had not won because they did not actually know what they were up against, and that informed their attitude towards leadership.

Fela said that democracy meant crazy demonstration or demonstration of ‘craze’. In one of his shows, he said that democracy makes guns powerless. He said that in democracy pen is more powerful than guns. I have been digesting the situation of things in the polity since the demise of Fela, and I would submit therefore that the legend was our prophet that we did not recognize while he was here with us. Many are just beginning to come to terms with all his prophetic sayings now. Back then many thought he was just making noise and not making sense; but now all his prophecies are starring us in the face and we cannot afford to overlook or claim ignorance.

Like Abami Eda would say, the title of my song is ‘coffin for head of state’ or ‘confusion break bone’, I would title my own song rebranding another June 12th. Fela would title his songs after some strange happenings in the polity, in Africa, or any part of the world. My own song is coming because rebranding is the talk of the moment and something similar to June 12th happened recently again in our country. Before I release my song, I will tell you what a close friend told me recently. My friend said that whenever an actor or actress received money from a producer and failed to show up to act out his or her script, that the producer usually use the police to compel the actor or actress to come and act out the script even against her or his conscience. He said that was the situation in Ekiti in their governorship rerun election recently. Like Fela would say “na secret oh, don’t tell anyone”.

Not too long ego, Prof. Humphery Nwosu in his book released the withheld results of the June 12th 1993 elections. Going through his book you just have to say summarily that the powers that be then stopped the announcement of the full results of the elections. Though many had criticized him for speaking out late but the fact and figures are now known and the personalities behind the annulment are also known. This time around it was not the Vagabonds In Power (V. I. P.) as Fela would describe them that cancelled the elections in some local governments but the court. The court ordered a rerun in some areas. The rerun would have been described by Abami Eda as “stalemate” in Ekiti. Like the June 12th 1993 election, the Ekiti rerun was between the electorate and Vagabonds In Power.

I do not know whether our movie script writers have not considered doing a movie on the Ekiti story line. May be this piece might help our movie script writers and producers work on one movie. The tension in the state, the huge presence of law enforcement agents, the unbiased and biased observers, the determined electorate, the determined and unbiased electoral officers, the media presence, the national attention, the violence in some areas, the thugs, the casting and collation of votes, announcing of partial results, the sudden but unclear disappearance of the Resident electoral commission, the tension after her disappearance, the surprise resignation of the electoral commissioner, the rejection of her resignation, press briefings of the commission chairman and that of the information minister, declaring her wanted, nude protest march, her reappearance, her going back to act out the script, the supplementary elections, declaration of the winner and all the intrigues must be in the script of any movie producer that wants to picture Ekiti in clear perspective.

Before I conclude my song, I would want to say that June 12th is to Nigeria what April 25th is to Ekiti State. Let us ask a few questions. Why would the people under the big umbrella meet with Fayose and conditions given before the rerun? Why would the woman (electoral commissioner) disappear? Who gave the pressure? Why were the votes in Ido-Osi collated at a Police station? Why was her purported resignation rejected? How did Prof. Maurice Iwu get to know that the two candidates were running head to head when the woman disappeared? Why the woman was declared wanted? If the candidates were running head to head then, what happened to the votes upheld by the tribunal? Let’s not ask too many questions until the allegation against the electoral officials for bribery is substantiated. It is time to rebrand June 12th; it is time to rebrand all that happened in the last rerun in Ekiti. It is certainly not a good omen for the brand Nigeria with good people without discipline. If the legal provision empowering the President to appoint INEC chairman and electoral Commissioners is not touched, then we know that the words of the National chairman under the big umbrella must be taken seriously and they may go ahead to ‘select’ who stay in the Villa for sixty years and beyond in spite of their lack of credibility.


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May 11, 2009





In this part of the world, we are encouraged to respect and honour our elders even when their behaviours cannot be understood by us. Many of us grew up following the steps and directions of these our elders even against our wishes and the prompting of our minds. We were taught to respect them if not for anything but for their wealth of experience. It is said that what the elders see from their sitting positions cannot be seen by a younger person from a standing position. So we grew up learning not to question their words and actions. But when we become a little bit mature, we begin to navigate away most of the time from those things that we had been made to believe and live with.


The problem in most families and even in the polity is between the aged members and the young ones. In most cases, the older generation insists on having their thoughts followed religiously and the young may want to alter the status quo. It is very true that the only constant thing is change. It is also regrettable that the older generation resists change in thought patterns. The truth must be said, and the truth is that many are growing old but have not grown up. Many are expecting to be respected only based on their age difference and not what their minds can produce. We have many old people around who have not grown up and they expect you to confer with them for advice or suggestions. When that is not the case, they say you do not have respect for your elders. 





I want you to consider a profound quote with me at this point. “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time for strength and not for drunkenness!” When I came across this, the picture of our great nation was on my mind. It looked obvious that Nigeria had been led by ‘children’ and may still have little children on the driving seats in different fields. The quote explains that the polity is doomed when children assume the position of leadership and the princes or nobles feast in the morning when they ought to be working and putting things in place. That seems to be the situation with our nation.



When you have children in the house, you would notice that one thing you have to contend with is their character flaws. The problem with the leadership in our nation is that of lack of character. And it is said that when character is lost that everything is lost. It is the character of children to prefer to play, wine and dine when they ought to study or do some work. Our leaders prefer solidarity visits by their kinsmen to putting basic amenities in place and letting the people feel the impact of governance. They prefer newspaper and television good will messages and adverts to playing by the rules and maximizing our intellectual capital. To them giving graduates motorcycles to ride around town are poverty alleviation.





A child does not know that poverty is not the absence of money. Rather it results from absence of knowledge. Instead of addressing the underlying causes of poverty – minimal productivity resulting from a lack of intellectual capital – our child-like leaders have focused on giving false hope to their people. The children in the corridors of power need less talk about poverty alleviation and more action to eliminate poverty. Many people who should have graduated from the university are still there owing to strikes. The children in power prefer sorting out political differences with fellow politicians than listening and addressing the welfare of lecturers. Their lack of genuine interest in education shows that they do not want poverty eliminated.



It is only a child that does not realize that a country like Singapore does not have oil but can boast of about thirty-two refineries, while our nation cannot boast of one working refinery. Only a child does not realize that the people’s potentials are far more valuable that what lies beneath the soil. Our princes are feasting in the morning – excess crude oil revenues were shared amongst the tiers of government and wasted with basic infrastructure and amenities begging for attention. Only a child does not know that Nigeria is a hyper-consumer; decreasing production, increasing consumption, and increasing poverty. Our king is a child, and the child does not know or realize that we are consuming what we do not produce, producing what we do not consume. A child may not know that a growing economy is a producing economy. When the king is a child, Nigeria remains a sleeping giant and all the manufacturers relocate their businesses because of power crisis. When the king is a  child, radio and Television stations are shut at will and journalists are harassed doing their work  in a ‘Democracy’. The child needs some growing up! 







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