Archive for October, 2009


October 20, 2009

When I was growing up panel beaters, mechanics and iron benders had their shops very close to our neighbourhood. We used to play inside their workshop during the weekends or in the evenings. We took them as people who work and know only about metals. Many of us could not differentiate between a panel beater and a mechanic or iron bender – we took all of them as mechanics. But much later we got to know that their works differ. A panel beater is regarded as the one whose job is to remove the dents from the outer frame of a vehicle that has been in an accident. But we need to redefine or understand panel beating from another angle.

Whenever anything goes wrong in an organization, a locality or a nation, a group of specialists are called in to give their professional advice or opinion about the area in question – a panel is constituted. The panel is usually known or named after the one heading it. It is no longer news that we have had all manner of panels set up in different sectors in the last couple of years. These panels were saddled with the responsibility of unraveling many things, recommend immediate solutions or antidote, or just make professional comments. It is rather unfortunate that over here setting up panels had been futile exercises owing to strong ‘panel beaters’.

Panel beaters are in the best position to know or describe the malleability of metals or panels. But our own panel beaters do not know anything about removing dents from the outer frame of vehicles that had been in accidents, neither do they know about the malleability of metals. Our own panel beaters can beat any panel set up any where around. They either do not make those panels sit, frustrate them or make sure the results are put in the trash can. Most of these panel beaters for fear of indictment threaten the members of these panels with whatever they have in their arsenal. The main issues are swept under the carpet and trivialities become the focal points. Even when these panels succeed in trashing major issues, other panels or committees are set up to sieve out any thing that might indict the panel beaters or their operations.

As panel beaters are in the best position to ascertain the malleability of panels and metals on the body of vehicles, the seriousness of any panel should be determined by the number of panel beaters and their activities they were able to curb or check. Before we give kudos to any panel, we must be able to analyse their activities while it lasted. We must know their basic assignment; what they were expected to unravel, the extent they went to unravel them, what they were really able to unravel, the use of the information and what they actually came up with. If we cannot boast of all these, they may have amounted to futile exercises and total waste of resources – human and capital.

Do we set up probe panels for discoveries alone? May be we do. All the panels set up so far in the polity and in different organizations had only made discoveries. We shout to the high heavens about their discoveries but do little or nothing at all with the discoveries. This might not be unconnected with the impunity with which corruption is perpetrated over here. The ones indicted by different panels either sued the panels for lack of competence or jurisdiction, refused to appear and nothing was done or bought over the members of the panels and there was no substantiated evidence against them. That informed the reason we have had and still have panel beaters around.

Who and who were indicted by the Okigbo panel? Where are they and the result of the panel? The Chukwudifu Oputa panel is another. Did all invited appear? Where is the result and who were indicted? Needless talk about the ones set up in different states and local governments; all were exercises in futility. Let us also put the power probe and the panel behind and forge ahead? The Uwais panel on electoral reforms was a gamble, a big joke or what? Should we resist anybody from setting up any new panel in the near future? I do not think so but we must dare ask for the results oh! Where is the freedom of information bill?

One of my friends would always say that there is no real movement forward without the benefit of hindsight. We cannot really make progress without addressing issues that had enormous potentials to haunt our nation in the future. The issue of panels and panel beaters must be addressed in the interest of the nation. Even though our legislators at all levels have failed to help checkmate some of these excesses – because they are amongst the beaters, we should wake up and demand for accountability from any public office holder. We should at this point ask the government and different agencies to make their reports public. We cannot really stop the panel beaters if we do not have the report of the previous panels. We need the report of the panels now to move forward. Freedom of information may help check our panel beaters.


P. O. BOX 17985, IKEJA – LAGOS.

08033001782, 07029447342


October 8, 2009



We do know that the difference between people is in what they know and what they do with what they know. In a seminar not too long ago, I told the audience that when there is no light there is no life. Knowledge or mental illumination guarantees clarity of vision and can help keep focus in life. While trying to buttress my point, somebody made a comment amongst the audience. He said that the difference between rural and urban areas in this part of the world is also light. He meant that the light in the cities (commercial activities, opportunities, exposure and electricity) is the difference. So when you are in the cities and they are lacking the things he felt are the basics, then there is no ‘urban’ life. His point did make sense.




During my days in the seminary, around 10:15pm we were all expected to be in bed. By that time, all lights are put off with the exception of security lights outside. We were not permitted to be awake to read or do any other thing but to sleep because we had serious study periods. At the moment all the lights had been put off in Nigeria and only the security lights are on. The government of the day had put off the lights. Our educational system is nothing to write home about. Many had said all manner of things about the striking teachers in our school system but failed to look beyond their nose to see the deplorable state of our schools at all levels. We have glorified secondary schools as tertiary institutions and they are not seeing anything wrong about that. The government should stop painting the picture the strikes are all about salary increase. It is a calculated move by the elite to put off the lights in our public institutions of learning and leave only the security lights (private schools and schools abroad even in Ghana) so that their wards alone would have illumination.




The light is very absent spiritually. Many claim we are very spiritual or religious but we are in spiritual darkness. How can we have light spiritually when our minds are not right? Religious leaders shout only to gain attention of the government. Where is the light when the churches and mosques cannot produce or instill moral values in people? Where is the light when religious leaders are only architects of religious violence? Greed and selfish ambitions are the by products of spiritual darkness. Many of the religious leaders went to missionary schools but cannot boast of any school or the ones even the average can afford. Many claim their religion is that of love but we cannot trace any love in their activities. The love of God is measured in our churches and mosques by how much you can bring in. How do we claim to be very spiritual, claim to love God who we have not seen, and yet cannot give or make life good for people we can see? This certainty may be likened to the era of spiritual hypocrisy and darkness.




When there is no light, people walk and work in darkness. Many policies have been tried by different people in all sectors. No policy is sustained, every new person brings new policies. We lack maintenance culture. Today it is regulation, tomorrow it is deregulation. Privatising today, and rescinding the decision tomorrow. We are neither here nor there. There is gross darkness because we are trying practicing democracy without genuine democrats. We are bound to be without light because political jobbers do not want to give chance to genuine technocrats to pilot the affairs of the nation. How do we expect light when leadership had become synonymous with corruption and illicit wealth? The stability we desire may come if we can have stable policies.




We heard billions of dollars had been spent on power but we cannot boast of steady power supply. Is it that our government does not know that many industries had gone under, while many are relocating to neighbouring countries because of lack or epileptic power supply? Is it insensitivity or lack of knowledge on the part of the leaders? It is rather absurd that people are still going about collecting titles, doing parties, granting interviews for doing nothing and their aides would come tomorrow pleading for understanding and more time for mediocrity.




When there is no light, leaders count paying workers salaries as achievement. When there is no light, political jobbers automatically turn to genuine democrats and diplomats. When there is no light, sports especially football and its administration is politicized and tribalised. When there is spiritual darkness, religion is all about greed and self. The light (education) is out, prison doors are now open. Armed robbery and assassinations are prevalent because of darkness within and without. There is darkness in the land, graduates are roaming the streets because the companies that would take them off the street are closing shop and relocating enmasse. Very soon our educational or mental black out would become total system breakdown. There is no light. Who will put on this light? I do not know. Check next door. May be someone from Ghana has the answer – our new Mecca.







P. O. BOX 17985, IKEJA – LAGOS.

08033001782, 07029447342