Archive for August, 2009

IS AMNESIA OUR PROBLEM?

August 14, 2009

 

IS AMNESIA OUR PROBLEM?

Recently, I was discussing with a specialist doctor and I asked him the commonest disease or ailment prevalent in Nigeria. He said we may name any other but a good percentage of our populace suffers from Amnesia. I argued that malaria seemed to be the prevalent one but that did not change his stance. If you do not know, Amnesia is a medical condition in which somebody partly or completely loses their memory. I thought about that for a while before he continued. He said if we are not suffering from amnesia that most politicians would not still be parading themselves in the polity and we would not allow most of the things that we do allow to happen over and over again. He said it is rather unfortunate that we do not know or perceive the developed democracies are not blind or suffering amnesia with us.

I am an unrepentant follower of Fela Anikulapo kuti. I may have repented from smoking hemp but not his philosophy. I do know that Abami Eda was one of the Nigerians who never had amnesia. Even when most people forget about happenings in the polity, Fela would never forget. I want us to covet this spirit of his at this time and put on our thinking cap as a people. If we do covet his spirit, then we can put a stop to many things that had been forced down our throat by politicians masquerading as democrats in the polity. Our problem remains that we have very short memory and foolishly claim to be resilient, having been adjudged by an ‘anonymous’ poll as about the happiest people on earth. Fela said, ‘we are only suffering and smiling’.

It is either we have amnesia or cerebro-spinal-meningitis which had caused us to be unable to turn our neck and see the very immediate past. We have all witnessed the carpet-crossing or defection of Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi from ANPP to PDP, Isa Yuguda and the New Face of Brutus (the New Face of Imo). It showed lack of character and principle. But we should not forget that our political parties are devoid of ideologies. Cerebro-spinal-meningitis had prevented us from looking back to 1956 when the first Action Group government was formed by mass depletion of NCNC to Action Group on the floor of the Assembly of the then Western House of Assembly. What had been done since then and now to curb this ugly trend? I would not rule out more people taking this path of dishonour in the near future because the cure to our amnesia is not in sight.

If not for amnesia or cerebro-spinal-meningitis how would we have had Obasanjo as president and commander in chief of the armed forces a second time at the helm of affair? Was it not the same Obasanjo that Fela sang about? The same obasanjo that Fela sang to the hearing of the whole world how he looted and handed over empty treasury to Shehu Shagari. OBJ whose Operation Feed the Nation metamorphosed into Obasanjo Farms. It was during Obasanjo’s tenure that we had ‘Ali must go’. May be it was not the same ‘Ali’ that later became the National Chairman of P.D.P (Peoples Destroyers Party). If it was not the same ‘Ali’, he would not have supported the third term bid of the same Obasanjo. Fela would always say, ‘Na dem dem’ syndrome.

The election in 1993 was adjudged the freest, fairest and best in our history. Though the winner was not announced, but recently the Professor who headed the Commission that conducted the elections released a book and told us what happened behind the scene. By that election, M.K.O.Abiola became everyone’s hero. As much as I do regard him as a hero, I am not suffering from amnesia. Is it not the same Abiola that Fela sang about in the song I.T.T (International Thief Thief) with the same Obasanjo? I was in the African Shrine before the elections in 1993. Abami Eda asked us a question. He asked, ‘Abiola-Abi na olee for president?’ – meaning ‘Is it a thief for president?’ He also said that Alhaji Tofa was ‘Too Far’, for president. Abiola only became a saint because of the stolen mandate. The same Abiola was dillydallying with the military and was swimming in wealth. The same friends in the military stole his mandate. Is it a case of what comes around goes around?

I wrote a piece many months back in 2007 – The Gospel according to David Mark. When Professor H. Nwosu released his book, we all got to know the key role the leopard that could remove his dark spots played in the annulment of June 12th 1993 election. The same individual who never saw any thing good about Abiola and the June 12th elections is our rebranded senate President? They all are beaming with smiles talking about democracy they never supported. We are all enjoying telephone services today but our rebranded Senate President was the one that said that telephone was for the elite only. I do know that Cerebro-Spinal-Meningitis would never allow us remember the case involving him and his wife in the United Kingdom and the millions of the Queen’s pounds involved. He is sitting at the driving seat of the legislative arm and the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are having it. The leopard has been rebranded and the dark spots are gone forever!

Many people had been pulled down and assassinated by spirits. Spirits do send thugs or security operatives to arrest or eliminate in Nigeria. May be you do not know how potent spirits are over here. Pa Alfred Rewane was killed by spirits and you cannot trace the killers. Bola Ige was killed by spirits from Venus and we cannot trace them because we do not have spaceship. Harry Marshal may have been eliminated by angels from Mars and our Police were on indefinite leave when he was hacked down. Engr. Funso Williams may have died after a brief illness or the spirit of his ancestors drew him home when the party primaries were some months ahead. The Odi people were all killed by unknown soldiers who did not receive command from anywhere but went on their own? Extra judicial killing is no longer an offence in Nigeria? Spirits from different planets are really on rampage in our nation.

We have had innumerable probes panels from 1983 and now. Some of the probes panels never concluded their assignment. The Panels that concluded theirs submitted their reports and findings. But what was actually done with those reports? The resources wasted cannot be quantified with any tangible results. The people indicated by those probe panels are regarded rather as statesmen. If you claim you are not suffering from amnesia, then you may be in coma. What happened to the Okigbo panel report? Justice Oputa panel report was fruitful and useful? Elumelu-led panel were excellent but the hunter became the hunted. Uwais panel report was also excellent but the government needed to sieve out some relevant part of the report so that it suits the game plan. Our anti-graft agencies have all done well. All the people they indicted and took to court are up there collecting Agricultural contracts and are controlling the move of things in the polity without losing immunity.

The use and dump syndrome is very much around with us. Politicians had used innocent jobless youths in the past and are still using and dumping. Many are scared about the state of things in the polity but because of amnesia had forgotten that the past leaders sowed the seed that we are harvesting from. Most of the restive youths were ‘empowered’ by the politicians by giving them guns. We should also note that complacency breeds militancy. The robbers we are scared about today were innocent youths turned into political thugs used to win elections. They were empowered to terrorise their opponents then, and now even the politicians have become their opponents. So we should not be crying when we reap from what we had allowed the politicians to sow. Let us shake off this amnesia!

I do also believe that Cerebro-spinal-Meningitis would not allow us look back at slavery and the slave masters. The same way our useless chiefs sold our people had not changed in totality. Our people are still living as slaves and working as slaves. Fela Anikulapo Kuti captured it that slave masters worked and used Africans with low mentality to enslave our people. While people up there are busy enjoying their share of what they call Foreign Direct Investment, the people they claim to represent are working as slaves. They cannot even talk because they have collected their share or may still be collecting some percentage from the activities of those companies. This gives those companies the impetus to short-change the people and the system. Most of them evade paying tax, while some enjoy duty waivers. They sit back in air conditioned offices and apartments, leave one Nigerian figure head to aid the maltreatment and manipulation of our people. Most have lost their lives, some have lost limbs and some others partially blind without any compensation or health care package. If you think slavery had ended, visit those companies or stand by a corner on the highway and take a look at the kind of lorries or trailers that convey your own citizens to work or construction sites. All these we seem not to pay attention to or even remember just because of this amnesia.

Nigeria is about the most religious nation in the world. What is the impact of all the noise about town? All the rogues who had looted the treasury at different levels are regular faces in the mosques and churches. Many people had lost their lives because of religious violence. How many people are willing to lose their lives to purge the system of corruption and corrupt leaders? This amnesia is of a high magnitude-pathological amnesia. If a large chunk can be moved to kill and destroy properties in the name of a religion, can’t they be moved to make their leaders accountable? It shows we are not thinking, and that is the reason our actions and inactions had never ceased to stink. Paupers and peasants are the ones suffering this hypnotism by the elite. How many sons or daughters of the elite had been arrested, arraigned or prosecuted by the Sharia courts? Does it mean all their children are saints? How many of the preachers we have around today did not attend a missionary or public school? Their own philosophy about education had gone the elitist direction because corrupt leaders are the pillars of the churches and mosques.

If not for pathological amnesia, we would have had governments that are responsible and accountable. There were cases of plane crashes some months and years back. They made headlines in the print and electronic media. But the magnitude of the resources and human capacity lost in those crashes were infinitesimal from the stance of the government and their body movement. What steps have they genuinely taken to forestall future occurance? What was the report of the investigators? What do we learn from their investigation and report? The main question should be asked now. Have those families that lost their breadwinners and loved ones been duly compensated? Have we forgotten how most of us cried with them then? Why do we forget this kind of things in so short a time? We are always there whenever it happens but leave those concerned to carry their cross in a jiffy. I do not blame ‘us’ but I blame amnesia that is inherent in us.

Something is really holding us around the neck area and it does not allow us to look back-Cerebro-spinal-meningitis of course. We do not seem to remember that the very people who sang to the high heavens about Obasanjo and third term are very much around in the polity. They are warming up again. Very soon they would rent the crowds and begin to sing about second term of inactivity, strikes, confusion and zero point agenda. And we would also concur with our yes! Yes!! And yes!!! The ladies and gentlemen of the press might be bought over to sing the praise of those whose tenure had been characterized by strikes, agitations, pseudo solutions and self service. The amnesty granted without even any trial or conviction is a laudable achievement. I do believe that genuine struggle by the Niger Deltans should include taking good care of their people who had hitherto collected bribes or illegal compensations from oil companies and the previous administrations. Very soon those holding brief for government and the oil companies would be known and those who are genuinely interested in the plight of the Niger Deltans would also be known. It is rather unfortunate that billions of naira would soon enter the pockets and accounts of very few people in the name of amnesty while the area remains undeveloped. Amnesia can be more potent than HIV and AIDS! Like Fela would say, ‘Na dem dem’.

I am using this opportunity to call upon all our medical practitioners, alternative or trado-medical practitioners, in particular psychiatrists and clinical psychologists at home and in diaspora to come together and fashion out a medication to take care of our amnesia as a people. If this dreaded amnesia is not taken care of, we may even forget that we are a nation. This amnesia kept us where we are now, but the foreigners even those who reside here do not show symptoms of this dreaded forgetfulness; they follow our politicians with tact. It is time to covet the spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It is time not to be forgetful of where we are coming from. Let us put on our reasoning or thinking cap. I have a feeling that our physicians and pharmacists may not come out with the medication that can take care of this amnesia in good time. So let us covet Fela’s spirit at this time of our life as a nation. Let us wake up and put a stop to the gimmicks and manipulations of politicians and pseudo democrats. We cannot move forward or go far with this amnesia. Nigeria would be great again if we are delivered from this amnesia. The truth is that only ‘us’ can deliver ‘us’.

ARINZE ALINNOR A.

P. O. BOX 17985, IKEJA – LAGOS.

08033001782, 07029447342

arinze198@gmail.com

http://www.arinze198.wordpress.com

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WHO IS SERVING WHO?

August 11, 2009

I looked at the school uniform of my little Precious, and saw the motto of their school. It read thus: “To lead is to serve”. It invariably means that leadership is synonymous with service. But if you take a closer look at what obtains here, you will find out that leadership is not, cannot, would not, and may never be synonymous with service. The slave and colonial attitude and mentality are still very much with and in us as a people. Many who work with white or foreign expatriates still exhibit some funny traits associated with slavery and colonialism. To many a leader should never serve but ought to be served and feared like he made the heaven and the earth.

 

There are some kind of absurdity that had stayed very long with us as a people. Many believe that a leader or traditional rulers authority should not be questioned, likening them to God. Everything they say or do is always right and in line with the rule of law. No wonder even fraudsters and corrupt politicians all want to be crowned or installed as traditional rulers. Many had advocated for constitutional roles for the traditional rulers. I am not against that but have my reservations. It is very true that authority without accountability leads to disaster. We have few or no role models again because of unquestioned authority. Many of them have different magnitude of problems with their subjects when their authority is questioned or put under check. It ultimately shows they are not serving the people but using the people to gain access to their personal needs.

 

I was pushed to ask ‘Who is Serving Who?’ because of certain things we see daily in the polity. Leadership had been redefined by all standards in Nigeria. Some say the redefinition was informed by the fact that most universal principles do not work here because of nefarious fact – the Nigerian factor. Someone very close to me said that if Nigeria can have civil rule without democracy being in place that I should not be surprised having leadership without service to the people. There is leadership without service because the electorate had been over powered by the ‘selectorate’. The only service noticeable in the polity is debt servicing. This debt servicing is not necessarily that of World Bank or any foreign lenders but godfathers and bank managers who bankrolled the campaign and election into office. This is reasonable service!

 

When leadership is devoid of service, dictators are having a field day. Let it be clear to all of us that nobody enters into any position in Nigeria to serve the populace. Do you kill to enter to serve? Many are in their graves today because they were seen as credible candidates by their opponents or party associates. Our expectation from people in office is questionable; we expect them to favour our tribe, state or community and forget anything about Federal character. We do not expect them to be accountable either. They should amass illicit wealth and convert

 

 

many government properties to personal properties. They should steal enough to

throw around as godfathers when they leave office and leave the rest for their unborn generations. We are not making genuine noise about them and corruption because they met our definition of earnest service to the nation or state; they took their portion of the cake that is inexhaustible.

 

Service to the people should deal with unemployment, strikes, hunger, roads, hospitals, schools and security of lives and property. But these things do not bother those occupying positions of power over here because they are immune to the effect of these. Their children and siblings are not among the students on strike. Their children are not among the 90 percent of graduates that are unemployed. Their children eat bread from the bakery called Nigeria while the children and the people they claim they are serving are all over the place in search of bread. People are complaining about collapsed infrastructures and it does not bother anybody up there because their families are abroad and they can afford helicopters when the road become serious death traps. They leave the Police to quench fire with bare hands; robbers with sophisticated weapons overrun police divisions spilling blood of police personnel and civilians around. The truth is that Nigerians run their own governments daily at their offices and homes; they have personal security guards, water boreholes, private schools, generators and yet pay tax to government.

 

Where is the service? Who is serving who? It is time for us as a people to define certain things very well. A journey undefined is a destination unreached. The people up there should know that leadership is a burden, not a blessing. They should be aware that complacency breeds militancy. Values have collapsed because of their inability to give functional education system. Let us look beyond tribal sentiments; the North has enjoyed more years in ‘service’ of the nation but their people live below the poverty line; 95 percent destitute and 5 percent mega rich. Is that the benefit of service? Until we address the issue of corruption, let nobody claim he or she is rendering any service to this nation. We just have ethnic champions using their people to gain recognition and eat the cake. No one is serving.

 

 

 

 

ARINZE ALINNOR A.

P. O. BOX 17985, IKEJA – LAGOS.

08033001782, 07029447342

arinze198@gmail.com

Do we have a Future?

August 3, 2009

 

 

I have always heard that youths are the future leaders or the hope of tomorrow. Most countries invest a lot of their resources for the welfare of the youths. And many believe that the future of any nation is determined to a larger extent by the quality of her youths and not even mineral resources. But I do not believe that many understand or believe that the quality of our future can be evaluated by the quality of our youths today. If we do believe or understand this fact, our actions and inactions do not depict that we do.

 

 

Good leaders have intuition; they ‘see it’ when others don’t; they get it. There are those who naturally have this gift. They instinctively understand people and know how to move them from point A to point B. Even as children they act like leaders. The youths can be nurtured to see things other people cannot; they have the raw material and can be mentored. The youths just need someone to inform, instruct, and inspire them, and they will become good and great leaders. Without intuition we are condemned to be blind sided by events and opinions all of our lives.

 

 

It is very unfortunate that we have people who may not be gifted in support roles taking leadership roles. Putting these people into leadership roles is like putting square pegs in round holes; you can keep hammering and driving them in, but they would not fit. This can stifle or not guarantee any reasonable future for us as a people. Karl Max said that to conquer a nation you just have to block the transfer of values, morals, and beliefs between generations. What a father says to his children in the privacy of home is not heard by the world, but it is clearly heard by posterity.

 

 

How we spend our time and resources reveals our real values and priorities. How is the government of the day spending our resources? The government of the day is busy spending our time, strength, and resources extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own. May be they are expecting to reap the wind. Their actions and inactions point to the fact that there is scarcity of ideologies amongst the political elite. People who set goals accomplish much more than people of equal education and ability that do not. Two former lecturers do not even have set goals for education. What an irony?

 

 

The truth is that the political elite wants to conquer this nation. And they are succeeding by their blockage of transfer of values, morals and beliefs through education. They are making sure their stronghold on this nation does not cease even with their demise; their wards, children, and siblings are all in the best schools abroad. Their lifestyle had been very questionable because of lack of character in all they do. While the basic infrastructure and many other things are begging for attention, they are busy on frivolities; giving their daughters out in marriage, celebrating birthdays, taking titles here and there. They want to hand over a party before business attitude to the forth coming generation?

 

 

Authority without accountability leads to disaster. One nefarious monster that would haunt this great nation is corruption and the leaders are neck deep into it. We do not have role models in the polity because of unquestioned authority. What are the priorities of government? Priorities have a way of sneaking out of position when we are not paying attention. Too many of us only become successful at the cost of broken homes or failing health because our priorities shifting somewhere along the line. We just need to get our priorities right if we have a future as a nation.

 

 

From all I have observed which you may have observed also, without sounding pessimistic we do not have a future, if we do – a bleak future. There is little or no investment on the youths which form the fabric of the future. Education must be a priority if there is to be any future for this nation. Thoughtful, loving, productive, happy children do not just evolve, they are trained. How can they be trained in non-functional school system and with parents living pseudo lives in the polity? Let the government of the day not be anxious about the next lap, but should focus on the next step. Great future is a product of great investment on the education of youths!  

 

 

 

 

ARINZE ALINNOR A.

P. O. BOX 17985 , IKEJA – LAGOS .

08033001782, 07029447342

arinze198@gmail.com

www.arinze198.wordpress.com