Archive for November, 2012

WHEN THERE’S NO BRIDGE…

November 9, 2012

When There Is No Bridge…
Alinnor Arinze A.
Arinze198@gmail.com

Many of us were born in very remote settlements in the ‘Third World’. These communities, and some now cities and islands were not accessible before now but for bridges. The bridges opened up those places to the benefit of ‘both sides’. These bridges had lifespan or periods under which they must be closed for repairs or reconstruction to make for continued usage. Most of the bridges in the developing nations or third world countries were built by the developed countries.

Looking at those bridges, many would believe that they were built to help improve the living standard of people in the third world. But in most cases they only helped the developed economies get more return on their investment in those places. The interest of the masses who were hitherto alienated from the ‘otherside’ was never the reason for the bridges.

If we take a look at the countries seen or regarded as Third World, all were former colonies of the developed economies. They all literally granted their former colonies their plea for political independence but never allowed them economic independence. They do not only build and repair bridges and other major infrastructure but would want to continue to do so to the detriment of the people; they would not allow the people to develop the capacity to do those things.

No wonder the Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang ‘Teacher don teach me nonsense’. In his song, Fela remarked that it was the responsibility of the teacher to correct his students whenever they made mistakes. But in the case of our former colonial masters, they never bothered about correcting our innumerable mistakes which emanated from what they handed down to us, because our despicable situation bettered their economic status. Many people back in the days had accused the Abami Eda of acute verbal diarrhea, but we know better now.

Our people used to have their traditional concept about leadership and politics. But our teachers made us discard them and gave us theirs perceived as superior. Their redefinition of this part of our life had only helped destroy us; they gave us democracy. They said it meant government of the people, for the people, and by the people. But Fela Anikulapo Kuti looked analytically at it and said it meant ‘demonstration of craze, or crazy demonstration. They claimed that the system would make government or governance closer to the people. Take another look at most of the countries categorized as Third World and all you would see are imprints of the colonial masters; civil rule and not democracy.

The bridge they built for us was meant to connect the leadership and the followers. But it has not translated to anything meaningful in terms of the development of the people and our teachers are ‘silent’.
Our teachers are not unaware of the situation in all their former colonies but prefer to sit on the fence and mend it. They have people in different places in each of their former colonies who update them.
They set up different organizations and agencies who they make look like they are out to fight or cushion the effects of the absurdities and the abuse of human rights. After all, it is safe to say that slave trade was not evil but purely and strictly business with our forefathers who gave our people in exchange for perishable items.

It is said that, ‘if you say you’re leading and nobody is following then you’re only talking a walk’. John Maxwell also said that everything rises and falls on leadership. In this vein, we are sort of only replicating what our teachers taught previously which cannot be called leadership. The truth is that leadership in this part of the world had been ineffective because of the faulty foundation our teachers laid. Even now, our teachers would always meet with our ‘leaders’ but just to bargain and make sure their vested interest is protected.

In the past, we had a few people who were in the frontline of the crusade for the welfare of the people. Most of these people have had the privilege of being elevated (selected or elected) to take positions of leadership either because of their commitment to the cause of the people or for being ‘garrulous’. Our teachers also were in most cases the forces behind the elevation. The very moment these ‘our people’ got to those positions of leadership, the bridge that once existed between them and their people ceases to exist; the only existing bridge would be the one between them and our teachers. The same people who were championing the cause of their people changes like chameleon; their pronouncements, stance, and policies all of a sudden become elitist. They no longer feel the pulse of the people, then there is no longer a bridge.

Our teachers must have advised our ‘leaders’ on how to appear to be close to the governed. Their advice I guess must have prompted the creation of offices without portfolios. For our ‘leaders’ to be effective or appear to be so they must hire loads of aides. These aides would serve as the bridge that should have existed. What a great idea! No wonder we have senior and junior bridges. The senior bridges should be able to carry or convey what the junior bridges cannot. In every sphere of life, there must be a Special Assistant, then a Senior Special Assistant. All the Assistants (Junior, Senior and Special) must all have their own bridges while they were brought to serve as bridges. So they the Assistants are also entitled to Personal Assistants for smooth and effective coverage of fields of endeavour.

At this juncture, let us ask, why is the teacher silent in the face of all the mistakes and absurdities? The teacher may actually be enjoying sitting on the fence and mending the same. I do not think the advice of the teacher to our ‘leaders’ to construct those bridges was a bad one. But if the revelations from Wikileaks are anything to go by, we would then understand that there is no bridge because our teacher is the bridge having influenced the building, appointment or selection of the bridge.

If there must be meaningful development in the third world countries especially in our part of the world, the bridges must be in places where none existed and reconstructed in other places. A bridge in the real sense should not be an ostrich. Failure in most assignments starts from not understanding the actual role one is called to play.
From all indications, most of the people appointing or selecting the bridges do not understand why they are doing so aside rewarding political loyalty or the seeming loquacious. And the very ones so appointed or selected do not also know what their roles are.

No leader succeeds or governs effectively when there is a disconnect between the leader and the followers. It is obvious that most leaders do not read local newspapers, watch local television stations or listen to local radio stations. How then do they claim to know what happens to their people? Their claim is based on the report of the ‘bridges’ who are no bridges. You are left to wonder whether these bridges actually read the newspapers or have time for television and radio stations and their programmes which they have to relay to their principals.

From all available records, it is clear that most people in this clime live on less than one dollar bill a day. Invariably lack, hunger and abject poverty can be easily perceived. The folks who are so appointed or selected seek to first quench their thirst and hunger before looking behind their shoulders. In order to avoid having their butts kicked they resort to organisation of solidarity visits and praise singers; to tell their principals sweet tales. Every other person or group with divergent opinions is seen as a detractor and anti-progress. There would not be any meaningful change until our ‘leaders’ stop seeing from the distorted lens of these middlemen.

The bridge looks like the missing link based on the aforementioned. If the leaders cannot reach their people because of ‘security protocol’, then the bridges must be bridges and must be seen to be so. The bridges are not these folks who suffer from acute verbal diarrhea and never mindful of the use of words when addressing the people. The bridges are not praise singers; they are actually to feel the pulse of the ‘people’ and report same. They are not the folks who label people with genuine concerns detractors. Certainly, the bridges cannot be the ones who call the governed useless critics, senseless agitators, never do wells and all sort of names. I am sure the bridges are not these ones who speak from both sides of the mouth and who stop at nothing in disparaging concerned citizens.

When there is no bridge … there is no effective communication. When there is no effective communication, visions are misunderstood. When there is no bridge, the pulse of the people is not felt and there cannot be said to be real or meaningful development but impoverishment.

Alinnor Arinze A.
Arinze198@gmail.com
http://www.arinze198.wordpress.com
Tel: 08098001782

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DARKNESS IN THE HEARTLAND

November 8, 2012

DARKNESS IN THE HEARTLAND

Thousands of years ago, Isaiah the son of Amoz saw vision concerning
Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
kings of Judah. In one of his pronouncements he declared, “Behold,
darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness all people”. Isaiah
in this quote may have declared it over Judah and Jerusalem but this
seems to have transcended that generation. It looked like he had the
‘Heartland’ in mind when he was making that pronouncement back in the
days.

The ‘Heartland’ – a creation of the military in 1976 along with
others, was previously part of the East Central State. The area which
is predominantly Christians covers an area of around 5,100sqkm. It is
very rich in natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, lead,
zinc, with economically exploitable flora like the iroko, mahogany,
obeche, bamboo, rubber tree and oil palm. However, with a high
population density and over farming the soil has been degraded and
much of the native vegetation has disappeared.

It is not in doubt that this area produces the largest number of
candidates for any examination in this part of the world. If not in
the spirit of federal character or quota system it can afford to fill
the whole spaces in the number of candidates to enter for both
secondary and tertiary admission in schools. It can therefore boast of
producing sound and educated minds in different fields of endeavour,
or the best around. It can also boast of producing the most highly
travelled sets of people in this part of the world; they are found in
every corner of the earth.

Based on the above mentioned, it is expected that the ‘Heartland’
would be far and above others in terms of exposure and development.
But the contrary is true based on the available indices. If human and
natural resources are anything to go by, it should be spearheading
moves towards the betterment of the wellbeing of the people in this
clime. Instead, it is trailing behind sluggishly and backward in
everything good or meaningful development. What then is the benefit of
education and exposure if the ‘Heartland’ is trailing others behind
while it should be leading the way in positivism?

You must agree with me that the ‘Heartland’ is a ‘dynamic place’, for
‘dynamic people’, and made up of ‘dynamic people’. All who had come to
administer the affairs of the place left it for dead. But for ‘Dede
Onunaka’, all (military and civilian) administrators made sure they
left it worse than they met it. All that could be felt were either
sold or liquidated. The Amaraku power station, The Statesman, Progress
Bank, Ada Palm, Concorde Hotel and many more were either sold or
brought to their knees. And the thick darkness persisted all these
years with not even a torchlight or candlelight anywhere near the
corner.

In the not too distant past, the one popularly known as ‘Onwa’ looked
at the sorry state of things and the myriad of problems that did not
seem to have solutions and arrived at a conclusion. He concluded that
there is a very big ditch in the ‘Heartland’. And this ditch cannot be
filled no matter how much you try with the ‘meager’ resources
available to throw into it. So for eight years the aforementioned
ditch could not be closed up and he did throw up his hands in
surrender. It was then the turn of others to continue the bid to close
this ditch of darkness.

Many are quick to submit that the darkness persisted because the
‘Heartland” became a haven of fraudsters and con-men. It meant that
the ones who administered the affairs of the place were con-men, their
stooges, associates or friends, whether in khaki or ‘akwa ishi agu’.
Some others blamed it on the corrupt civil service who are the ones
always left behind whenever those at the helm of affairs are booted
out. I may be tempted to believe the above mentioned as the likely
agents of this gross darkness but still have to hold my peace.

There is another ‘unique’ side of the ‘Heartland’. Credit must be
given to them that they are very ‘unique’ specie. The highest number
of autonomous communities in the whole of Africa is domiciled in the
‘Heartland’. As the autonomous communities multiply so do traditional
rulers and tussle for traditional stools. What are the qualifications?
You just need to be an ‘enterprising’ young man, have the capacity to
go to China or Dubai to import fake and substandard goods, or
containers of adulterated drugs, acquire one or two cars (fairly used
quite often) build a small house in the village, be bold enough to
cause confusion and division in your town meeting, confront your
traditional ruler ceaselessly (without cause or on infinitesimal
issues), then bolt and apply to have your own autonomous community and
one is guaranteed. It’s that simple only there!

Aside the fact that they have a penchant for investing outside their
home (okamma na ama syndrome), they resist change with all they’ve
got. They are a people not easy to please. Sometimes I wonder whether
they enjoy backwardness and lack of development. They are heavy noise
makers with their ‘big’ names but not impact. If you hear the ‘big’
names, and dare follow them down to their village you will be shocked.
In most cases, you have to transverse valleys, gullies, dusty roads
and inaccessible paths to get to their ‘country homes’. Most prefer
buying SUVs to putting the roads leading to their place in good shape.
They pride in intimidating their people with their coins just to show
off. What a people!

When a people are so used to darkness, it becomes difficult to
appreciate light. It is said that darkness disappears at the emergence
of light but it is almost looking like it is not true in the
‘Heartland’. May be because the darkness is very thick. But they truly
need emancipation from this sorry state. And it would require a
personality who is not homogeneous specie to bring light and liberty.
Many souls have been bestirred to push for emancipation and change but
they have many negative forces to contend with. And it would not come
cheap because of the fact that change would denude several forces
(internal and external forces) of their influence and vested interest.

As much as the roused souls yearn for light, the proponents of
darkness would not want anything to change the status quo. The agents
of darkness are obeying the law of attraction and have found a common
cover under the ‘Big Umbrella’. Under their cover they concoct and
conjure all manner of things to make sure they do not lose their big
enclave. They snipe at any move and anybody that looks like the
harbinger of illumination. But like in every contest, there must be
winners and losers. And the winners must be the ones who want it so
bad, more committed, and resolute in their bid.

About eighteen months ago, the voices and souls craving for change and
the light got divine attention. It was declared, “Arise o Heartland
and shine for your light has come and divine glory is risen upon you”.
Many who heard this divine declaration did not take it with any pinch
of salt because of the densely massed darkness and the ossification of
the machinations of the proponents of darkness. As the saying,
“impossible is nothing” so was the declaration to some optimists. They
hung to it and started navigating in the direction of the said
harbinger of illumination. The enormity of the hurdles on the way to
light never deterred these souls who earnestly desired departure from
the past. So they rolled up their sleeves to confront the nefarious
monster.

This team of determined people’s army nicknamed their operation – The
Rescue Mission. Rescue Mission indeed! They really needed to reclaim
the ‘Heartland’ from the forces of evil, darkness and backwardness.
But they must dislodge the forces that aggregated under the ‘Big’
collapsible shade, the incumbent emperor that can hardly lose grip of
anything in his domain, the ghost workers that milk the system dry,
pot bellied contractors who do nothing but get paid, godfathers,
pseudo ‘elder statesmen’, political traditional rulers, prayer
contractors, and a host of other proponents of darkness. Like in a
very tough football encounter, the team was declared victorious not in
the regulation time, but after extra time and penalties by the heavily
guarded umpire or referee.

The team has gone to work in their bid to salvage all the sectors. But
like the proverbial tortoise that was left in the pit latrine for a
long while until help came, they are now complaining about the stench;
they want emergency exit. Some are complaining again that so much is
going on at the same time and fear they might be abandoned. Others
fault how the change is taking place; expecting business as usual in
the name of due process. They forget too quickly that it is sheer
insanity to keep doing the same thing the same way while expecting
different result. The illumination is gradually but surely spreading
in the Heartland that used to be obscure but the dark forces are not
happy with the latest development. It is expected any way because
denuding them is ‘costly’ as their bankers are not smiling at this
time. But the truth is that darkness must be expunged so that the
‘Heartland’ can distance completely from retrogression and retarded
development. The time to move forward and lead the way is now o
Heartland!

Alinnor Arinze A.
Arinze198@gmail.com
http://www.arinze198.wordpress.com
08098001782