Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Home Video

Thunder booms in background, jagged lightning slashes across sky, rapid-fire commentary delivered in "grave" tone, accompanied by video montage almost guaranteed to induce an attack of epilepsy.

Address flashes across screen, listing addresses in Onitsha and Lagos, and leaving viewer to wonder just how many movie companies can occupy not just the same street, but the same address. Screen goes blank...

Mournful song is played containing lyrics telling the entire story of the movie to follow. Ok, you think, since you now know exactly what's going to happen in movie, time to move on. But you've discovered a hidden masochistic streak which glues your butt to the chair. Brain sends message to butt cheeks: "Send all nerve endings into stand-by mode. This is going to be a long one."

Screen slowly brightens, showing village setting. Festival in progress. Flute and drum players take center-stage. "Hey, culture!," you say gleefully, and settle back to watch. Dancers prance on screen, and proceed to gyrate till covered from head to toe in glistening sweat. You check your watch: 30 minutes gone in movie, and still not a word of dialogue. Ok, so it's a musical, you surmise, or perhaps a dance fest. Camera zooms in one scowling figure, one smiling one, and two ovbious love-birds, then pans to dancers, and screen fades to black. Huh? you ask.

Screen brightens again, showing palace, or at least, that's what it looks like. Men gathered in council. Some wearing cotton vests. Er, you ask, wasn't this movie supposedly set in 1403 or something of that nature? Men argue on screen, scowling figure prevalent. You check watch: another 30 minutes have flown by. Screen fades to black.

Screen brightens again. Love-birds shown doing, well, love things. Characters prance around screen, chasing each other, music plays. Screen fades to black. You check watch: another 30 minutes of your life seem to have mysteriously vanished.

Message appears on screen: "To God be the glory" quickly followed by "Watch out for Part 2".

You blink slowly. You try to rise from your seat, but your brain seems unable to restore power to your legs. You sense liquid on your chin, and wipe it away, only to discover it's spittle. You shake your head, wondering where all these damned cobwebs came from. You try to remember your name, and the letters seem to come to you a lot slower than they did a scant 90 minutes ago. Brain gradually reboots, but is sluggish, seems to have been infected by a nasty Trojan.

Congratulations, you have just endured a Nigerian "Home Video"...

(Watch out for Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,...)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

He's an S.O.B, But...

Once upon a time, certain men were engaged in a war with the then Soviet Union. The men claimed they had the right to independence and self-determination, and were superbly backed up by the U.S. of A, who provided them with sophisticated weapons and training.

Eventually, the leaders of these men were received on the White House lawn in a ceremony, and described by then President of the U.S., Ronald Reagan, as the "moral equivalents of America's founding fathers" while the flashbulbs popped.

These men were from a certain Afghanistan, and were the core leadership of a group within the "resistance" called the Taliban...

You see, back then, it was the in-thing to be anti-Communist, and every Communist or Soviet leaning government became a "regime" in the words of White House Press Releases, and in the publications and broadcasts of the Western press. It didn't matter if these governments were democractically elected, which they usually were.

In Latin America, terrified by the prospect of having Communist governments in its backyard, America sponsored several coups-d'etat, assassinations, and so on. They propped up all manner of repressive, murderous regimes in the name of "strategic allies" and so on.

In Africa, the same thing happened. If you wanted freedom to murder as many of your citizens as you could, while looting your treasury, all you had to do was label them "Communists" and America would send you a care package, and stroll off in the other direction while whistling "Dixie". Nelson Mandela, who was fighting for the emancipation of the Black South African, was labelled a Communist and thrown in jail for twenty-seven years. When the Apartheid regime murdered several hundred unarmed students in Soweto, the Americans did not condemn this action, they simply looked the other way. Britain actively supported the activities of the regime in South Africa, which led to British Petroleum in Nigeria becoming African Petroleum after it was nationalised by an enraged Nigerian government.

In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein of Iraq was free to purchase mustard gas and other biological and chemical weapons as long as he served the purpose of keeping Iran quiet. When he turned the mustard gas on the Kurds in northern Iraq, no one said a damn thing.

The list could go on and on. There are countless instances where a government is elected in a free and fair election, but overthrown by an American sponsored coup because the new President wouldn't have played ball.

These days, anti-Communist has been replaced by anti-Terrorist.

You see, at some point, after the Americans had used them to embarrass the Soviet Union and promptly dropped them, the Taliban got angry. The millions of dollars in aid they had been promised to help them rebuild their shattered country never arrived, and they were, naturally, pissed. They realised they had been a one-war stand with the U.S. who never bothered to call or write afterwards, and they planned their revenge, extracting it spectacularly on September 11, 2001.

America howled in pain and rage, went into Afghanistan, and rooted them out. Suddenly, smart dictators all over the world realised that the new way to consolidate their power had arrived, and none jumped on the bandwaggon faster than one Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.

You see, General Musharraf had a serious problem - America wasn't too happy with his military dictatorship status, and was begining to make serious noises about forcing him out of power. For him, therefore, September 11, 2001 was like a gift from God, and he seized it with both hands. Quickly, he made all the right noises, and all the right actions, mounting military campaigns against Al-Qaeda "strongholds" in Pakistan, and by so doing, become America's new best friend. Having consolidated his position as a "strategic ally" he decided the time was right to focus on extending his rule in Pakistan.

At the time the people of Pakistan are demanding elections be held in a free and fair atmosphere, General don't-let-the-safari-suit-fool-ya Musharraf suddenly declared a state of emergency, shut down all private radio and television stations, arrested all "hostile" judges and hounded all notable oppostion figures into hiding or jail. He's made it a point of duty to arrest all persons of learning, especially the lawyers, and toss them all in the clink, thereby depriving the opposition of an intellectual front.

America, has of course, remained resolutely silent, and apart from the usual diplomatic noises, has refused to unequivocally tell the General that his actions are unacceptable, and everyday that passes emboldens Musharraf to abrogate some new freedom of his "subjects".

This is because America's policy with regard to repressive, totalitarian regimes can be summed up in one sentence: "He's an S.O.B, but, by God, he's OUR S.O.B!"

Friday, November 09, 2007

What's Good For The Goose...

Some time ago, Hamas terrorists operating out of Southern Lebanon crossed the border into Israel and abducted four Israeli soldiers who were on patrol. Hamas then demanded the release of some of its members who were languishing in Israeli prisons in exchange for the four soldiers.

Israel declared it would not negotiate with terrorists, then launched a bombing campaign on Hamas held areas in Lebanon. Hamas retaliated by launching missile attacks on Israel. What happened next stunned everyone. Israel, in the name of "cutting off supplies to Hamas" proceeded to bomb every single bridge in Lebanon. When that was done, Israel then proceeded to utterly destroy the Beirut International Airport. When the Lebanese President protested, he was told that the destruction of his country's infrastructure was his punishment for failing to control Hamas.

George W. Bush went on air to say Israel was fully justified in its actions, even when it became clear that the bombing campaign was no longer about four kidnapped soldiers, but rather about (in the words of an Israeli general) "setting Lebanon's infrastructure back twenty years". When the bombing moved to schools and hospitals, Israel said Hamas was hiding it's members in those places. When the bodies of children were brought out of the smoking rubble, Israel naturally maintained a stony silence.

It took months of international pressure to end the bombing. I will never forget the sight of the Lebanese president talking about what Israel was doing to his country, and breaking down in tears on international television. The lesson America and Israel taught the world during that period was quite simple - if some terrorist attacks your country, you make his government pay.

Now, that lesson looks set to return to bite the Americans in the ass. Kurdish terrorists, operating out of Northern Iraq, crossed the border into Turkey, and murdered 17 Turkish soldiers. Turkey has been having problems with the Kurds for a while now, and were probably among those who were sad to see Saddam Hussein go, as he was responsible for keeping the Kurds quiet. Indeed, Turkey denied the U.S. permission to overfly their territory during the invasion of Iraq.

With the attack on its soldiers, Turkey began contemplating military action in Iraq. Syria and Iran, being perrenial trouble-makers, were quick to state they would fully support any military action undertaken by the Turks. There are no prizes for guessing which example was cited by Syria and Iran as their precedent for dealing with the Kurdish terrorists. The Kurds hastily offered a cease-fire which was rejected out of hand by Turkey. The Turkish people took to the streets demanding a response from their government.

Seeing that they would now have to either engage Turkey in military action in violation of their NATO treaty, or step aside and let Turkey destroy their new vacation location for oil executives, America and Britain threw themselves on their knees and begged Turkey not to retaliate.

By Israeli precedent, Turkey could bomb Baghdad back to the Stone Age (whichever parts the Americans have not yet destroyed), they could bomb every road, bridge, and footpath to cut off the Kurds from their supplies, they could bomb the airports, the sea ports, etc., and should the puppet government in Iraq complain, they will be told that it is their punishment for failing to control the Kurds. And when they run out of infrastructure to destroy, they can then face the job of destroying hospitals and schools to make sure no Kurdish terrorists are hiding within.

Turkey may not choose the military option, but it's nice to know that if they do, they'll only be following the example of America and Israel and opening a new chapter in the "War of Terror".

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Burden Of History

Is it just me, or has Baba been sounding more and more like a petulant child of recent? First of all, he whined on and on about being stuck in a Lagos traffic jam for three hours. If I were in his shoes, I would have been overjoyed to have gotten out of the traffic jam without being lynched by irate Nigerians, or falling victim to the numerous armed robbers who treat traffic jams the way lions treat herds of buffalo.

Next, Baba whined that he'd stopped reading Nigerian newspapers because the journalists were always criticising him. This coming from a man who once had (or still has) a sign outside Ota Farm saying, "Women, Dogs, and Journalists Not Welcome"!

Now, Baba has issued perhaps his most famous gaffe yet. He's said that he doesn't listen to those who criticise his tenure because "History" would judge him. I am not 100% certain, but I think the impact of his butt hitting terra firma must have scrambled the old man's brains.

In case his Special Advisers (whose advice he famously declared he didn't have to take, despite having so many of them) forgot to mention it, his tenure officially became historical material on May 29, 2007. Once he handed over to Yar'adua, any detractors of his were free to line up batteries of artillery and take as many shots at his reign as they desired. They can now call him a liar, thief, dictator, corrupt man, etc. for one simple reason - he no longer has the coercive power of the state to crush them. And they will revel in their new found freedom. In any event, whether it's 3 months, 3 years, 3 decades, or even 3 millenia from now, History will remember Baba's tenure for the following events:

1. Incessant fuel price hikes.
2. Inability to reform power sector despite several arrogant boasts, eventually blamed woes on "saboteurs".
3. Inability to restore refineries despite billions of naira spent.
4. Increase in militant activities, crippling foreign investment in Niger-Delta, and leading to the loss of billions of naira.
5. Rampant corruption at all levels of government.
6. Monumentally fraudulent elections in 2003.
7. Astronomically fraudulent elections in 2007.
8. Use of anti-corruption agencies to harrass and intimidate political opponents.
9. Kidnap of a sitting governor with no repercussions for perpetrators.
10. Rampant disregard for court orders.
11. Blatant theft of public parastatals by government officials (including Baba) through "privatisation" fire sales.
12. Introduced and sustained an enabling environment for the continued rape of Nigerians by GSM companies.
13. The Senate President Relay Race.
14. Incessant throat clearing.
15. Attempted and failed to amend constitution to give himself third term as President.

And this is by no means an exhaustive list.

So, in my capacity as an "amateur" historian, I would give Baba a pass mark for his tenure. Why, you wonder? Well, if only for the fact that all his other failures were outweighed by his failure to get a third term. That, at least, brought unbridled joy and happiness to Nigerians, and for giving us all the opportunity to point fingers and laugh (at him) he should be fondly remembered.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Three men walk into view. Each carries a briefcase, and all are well dressed in suits and ties. They walk up to a door which is guarded by a large and powerfully built man, and attempt to walk past him.

Guard: Hold it fellas. Just where do you think you’re going?

1st Man: We’re here to update the security systems of this facility.

Guard: Nice try pal. Step back please.

1st Man: What’s the meaning of this? We built this installation, and we’re here to run a security update.

Guard: Really? Ok, let’s see some ID.

1st Man: This is an outrage. I’ll have your job for this, I promise you.

2nd Man: Just show him the ID.

3rd Man: Yeah.

1st Man: (Flashes Badge) Microsoft Security Systems. Now let us through.

Guard: Sorry, can’t do that.

MSS3: Why the hell not?

Guard: You don’t have clearance.

MSS2: What do you mean “clearance”? We built this joint, we know every loophole in it.

MSS1: As a matter of fact, I’d like to see your ID, and know what the hell you’re doing here.

Guard: (Sighs) Zone Labs Security.

MSS3: Zone Labs? What are you doing here?

(Sudden commotion, man, apparently just the recipient of a rather heavy beating, is frog marched out the door, and thrown unceremoniously into garbage dump)

MSS1: Who the fuck was that?

ZL: That was Mr. Norton. I take it he’s just been fired.

MSS2: Mr. Norton was our liaison here. What happened?

ZL: Apparently he allowed some unauthorized persons into the facility.

MSS3: And for that he got beaten up that badly?

ZL: Well, the Boss took exception to the fact that they were shacked up in his office.

MSS1: I don’t believe it. Mr. Norton is highly trained. He’d never allow something like that.

ZL: Look pal, Norton’s gone, we are now in charge of this facility, and if you want in, you’ll have to get clearance from the boss.

MSS2: So, call him, and let us speak with him.

ZL: Fine. (Dials wearily)

BOSS: What is it?

ZL: Sorry to disturb you sir, but there’s some guys down here asking me to let them in.

BOSS: And who are they?

ZL: Some Microsoft Security people.

BOSS: (Cigar glows suddenly, showing features in hideous mask of rage) Microsoft, eh?

ZL: Yes sir.

BOSS: Has Norton been disposed of?

ZL: Yes sir.

BOSS: Did the Microsoft people see it happen?

ZL: Yes sir. They were right here.

BOSS: Good. Put one of them on the phone.

ZL: Yes sir. (To MSS1) He wants to speak with you.

MSS1: Hello?

BOSS: Microsoft Security?

MSS1: Yes sir. We’re here to…

BOSS: Shut the fuck up.

MSS1: (Stunned gasp)

BOSS: Now, listen to me you worm, and listen good. That prick Norton you stuck me with couldn’t find his own asshole with both hands and a GPS-assisted map.

MSS1: Mr. Norton came with the highest recommend…

BOSS: Didn’t I tell you to shut up?

MSS1: (Swallows)

BOSS: Now, I’ve had to relieve Norton of his duties, and my facilities were naked until a friend recommended the Zone boys. And they do a helluva better job than Norton ever dreamed of.

MSS1: Yes sir.

BOSS: Now, what the fuck do you want?

MSS1: We’re here to run a security check.

BOSS: (Laughs uproariously) Security? Tell me you’re joking.

MSS1: Er, it was in er, the contract you signed, sir.

BOSS: Fine, fine. I’m a law-abiding man, and I’ll honor the contract.

MSS1: That’s good sir.

BOSS: However, the Zone people will accompany you every step of the way, and their permission must be granted for any thing you touch. Is that clear?

MSS1: Sir, that is highly irregular, and I’m not sure I can…

BOSS: Fine. You do it my way, or you don’t do it at all. I won’t have you pricks planting something on me.

MSS1: I must consult my team…

BOSS: While you’re consulting, bear in mind that I’ve got other people begging for your contract, and I find myself leaning their way a bit…

MSS1: (Clearly terrified) Of course, sir. (Hands phone back to ZL)

ZL: Boss?

BOSS: Shadow them all the way. And make sure they don’t leave anything behind.

ZL: Yes sir. (Hangs up, and signals three colleagues)

MSS2: Who are they?

ZL: They will be your escort. And if you so much as breathe funny, you boys will be discussing the contents of the garbage can with your pal Norton. Get me?

MSS1: (Subdued) Yes.

The End.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Substance Abuse

Ed’s Note: The Law has not suddenly become an economist, a macro-economist or any other sort of economic or financial pontificator. The Law, under no coercion, threat, other form of intimidation, hereby willingly admits that he knows sweet fuck-all about economic theory. The Law is merely speaking via the instrument of common sense. Which instrument is (according to The Law’s mother in one of her many pearls of wisdom) not that common…

No, no, boys and girls. This is not a treatise on the dangers of weed, cocaine, alcohol, or amphetamines. This is not about “just saying no.” This is not about resisting peer pressure.

Sometimes, men undertake certain actions which can not simply be explained away, actions which require deeper scrutiny as to the motives behind them. General Custer deciding that Little Big Horn was an excellent place to make camp, Hugh Grant deciding to get a blow job in his car, General Abacha forgetting to read the small pamphlet contained in the box of Viagra, Tricky Dick sending his men to the Watergate Hotel, Bill Clinton forgetting that dried, two-week old semen stains still contain DNA, Adolf Hitler looking at Great Britain, half-crippled and just waiting for the Wermacht to come strolling in, and deciding to invade the Soviet Union instead, and so on.

Given a chance to explain, these men, great, powerful, influential, popular, would probably mumble something about pressures of work, the need to relieve tension, and give the public the sad puppy look while pleading for forgiveness (this worked especially well for Hugh Grant, except his babe was not amused). If you probe a little deeper, you might find that there was one shot of whisky too many involved, or an extra hit off a stick of igbo so strong it shouldn’t even be allowed on the market.

Perhaps this explanation will suffice to explain the recent decision of CBN Governor Soludo to “re-denominate” the Naira.

Suddenly, with Baba gone, Soludo found himself in the cold following the ascension of Umoru to power, and this despite his decision to drop “Charlie” and get back to his roots. Chuks, as he now wants to be known, went into seclusion for a while. This was rather unusual for a man who did his best to stay in the media spotlight every other week during the tenure of Baba. Some disrespectful wags said he was merely taking the route of Old Testament prophets, and going into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights at the conclusion of which he would emerge emaciated, bushy bearded, and, perhaps, bearing a stone tablet or two containing the cure for Nigeria’s economic woes.

So, when Chuks called a press conference, everyone was curious. People wanted to know if he had indeed returned with a stone tablet, and whether God had managed to learn how to write in Igbo sometime in the past 4,000 years or so. A stone tablet would surely not have been as shocking as what Chuks did have to say. His resignation? No such luck. And no stone tablets either. Rather, Chuks announced that as of August 1, 2008, we would be dropping two zeroes from our currency, scrapping the all notes from 50 Naira and above, issuing new notes, and pegging our dollar exchange rate at N1.25 in the new currency. Over the next few days, persons took to the pages of the papers lauding the new direction of the currency policy, rolling out the drums, ticker tape, confetti, balloons and so on. Chuks’ speech was described as “ground-breaking” (indeed, the collective impact of millions of jaws hitting the floor was felt so strongly across the world that a tsunami warning was issued). He was hailed as the best thing to happen to Nigeria since…since…erm…Obasanjo.

This is the same Chuks who told us to spend hundreds of millions printing 1000 Naira notes which he explained as being necessary for “high volume transactions” (read PDP National Convention). Next, he told us to spend billions of naira printing new 50, 20, 10, and 5 Naira notes and minting new coins. Further hundreds of millions were spent on a nationwide publicity campaign to “sensitize” Nigerians to the new notes. Now, barely a year after, Chuks wants us to scrap the 1000 Naira note, (election don pass, abi?), and apparently print new 20 Naira notes to replace the current ones, as well as new 50 kobo, 1, 5, and 10 Naira notes. Naturally, this will run into further billions of Naira.

Now, re-denomination in and of itself is not a bad idea. If your currency is in the toilet, that is. If prices in your currency make as much sense as base jumping without a parachute. Or if your economy is in the midst of a crippling crisis and inflation has sent prices zooming out towards Alpha Centauri at Warp Seven. Indeed, the examples Chuks gave in his “ground-breaking” speech were all uniformly of countries experiencing one of more of the above.

Argentina was in the midst of a series of economic crises so crippling they tried everything short of contacting a babalawo (and I’m not sure they didn’t do that) when they re-denominated their currency several times between 1970 and 1992.

Germany was feeling the effects of an ill-advised attempt to conquer the world, and groaning under the effects of the Treaty of Versailles when they re-denominated the Mark in 1923. And in 1948, after yet another ill-advised attempt to conquer the world, they re-denominated again. Third time’s the charm, anyone?

Buying a bottle of Coca Cola (I could have said coke) in Ghana cost thousands of cedis, prior to their decision to re-denominate. Need I say more?

His other examples of Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, and Uganda (yes, that Uganda) to mention a few, simply aren’t worth puncturing.

Was Chuks, by mentioning these crisis babies, perhaps trying to tell us we would were either experiencing an economic crisis, or would soon be in the middle of one? You’d lean this way if not for the fact that in the same speech, Chuks mentioned the fact that our banking sector was booming, and we would soon have not one, not two, but seven banks with market capitalization exceeding $1 billion. Hardly sounds like an economy in crisis, does it?

He said we would be restoring the Naira to its pre-SAP value by re-denominating. Let’s look at that for a minute. Prior to SAP, in the 80s, the Naira exchanged at close to par with the dollar, and while our economy wasn’t exactly booming like it was in the 60s, it wasn’t dead either. Maradona, in his infinite wisdom, decided to take an IMF loan, but opened the topic to debate by Nigerians. The people told him we didn’t need the IMF and their loans and conditions. Maradona nodded, wisely, announced his intention to abide by the wishes of the overwhelming majority of his countrymen, then took the loan anyway. As part of the IMF’s conditions, he devalued the Naira, and adopted such other economic “measures” as prescribed by the IMF which promptly sent our economy into diarrhea-induced intestinal cramps.

Even so, at the time of the dark-goggled one (of blessed memory), our Naira was exchanging at 85 to a dollar, and stayed that way for a while. When the reform champion, General-who-never-fires-blank, and all-round tough guy, Baba arrived on the scene, the Naira inexplicably nose-dived to 130 to a dollar, and has since hovered between 130 and 127. With the repayment of our foreign debt, and the rising clamor for our Naira to be restored to its pre-Maradona days, Chuks has decided to chop everyone off at the knees. If the Naira-Dollar exchange rate goes to N1.25 in the new regime, it simply means that we are now exchanging our currency at the current rate of N125. The value of the currency would not have improved, and Chuks is banking on the semantics involved to blind everyone to the reality of the situation.

As a friend in the banking sector put it, “If from August 2008, the 500 Naira recharge card goes for 5 Naira, you’ll still have to shed the same blood sweat and tears for the 5 Naira as you currently do for the 500. The value of the currency won’t improve in any way.” This is so true.

The difference between revaluing the currency and re-denominating is therefore stark and bare. If the currency was revalued, the value contained in the Naira would rise accordingly. Re-denominating is having currency of the same value, but without the same name, or as we liked to say back in UNIBEN, I say see neck, you say see throat.

Now that Umoru has “suspended” Chuks’ plans (prior to giving him the boot, it is whispered in some quarters) I hope he doesn’t give in to any flowery explanations or rationalizations, and the plan remains suspended indefinitely.

If Chuks could kindly let us have the number of his weed-man, I'm sure we will then be able to join him on cloud 27, or where ever he was when the crazy idea entered his head.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Diplomatic Impunity

I have no doubt that every morning, the staff of the British High Commission in Nigeria wake up, peruse their newspapers, and heave huge sighs of relief. Another day has passed, and their offices haven't been bombed, burned down, invaded, etc.

They probably exchange "jolly goods" and any other nonsensical expressions when they arrive at work, and settle down for another day of doing what they perhaps enjoy more than anything else - looking for new and innovative ways to scam Nigerians.

For, make no mistake about it, a massive, massive scam is going on at the British High Commission, perpertrated through their UK Visa Applications Center.

Now, perhaps, we Nigerians are partly to blame, what with our apparent burning desire to visit their country and contribute our quota to its development at the expense of our own, and they can perhaps claim that in the mire of thousands of applications that pour in daily, legitimate persons get the bum's rush. But come the fuck on!

Here's how the scam works - you pay your Visa Application fee, and are given a form to fill. The staff of the UK Visa Applications Center are remarkably helpful in letting you know what documents to submit in support of your application, depending on what type it is. You go off, get the required documents, ranging from Sponsors' Letters to Bank Statements, and submit them in support of your application. Then you settle down for a two-week waiting period (officially). At the end of two weeks, assuming you've done all they asked, they should grant your request, right? You'd be sooooooo wrong.

Over the past year, several people I know have applied for varying visas from the UK VAC. All of them have been denied. Perhaps, you say, all these people have wrongly filled in their information, or failed to provide vital documents, but that isn't so.

My good friend, who is now in the UK and contemplating a Ph.D, was denied a student visa on his first application on the ground that although he'd paid his school fees in full, he was not considered to have sufficient funds to pay for his Masters Programme! Huh? He paid the entire fee, submitted evidence of this fact, and yet was told he didn't have the funds to pay for a Masters programme, which he'd already done. It was only on his second application that the Visa was granted. Naturally, he had to pay another Visa Application Fee, and submitted the exact same documents, before he was granted his Visa.

Another friend was denied a student visa on the grounds that the tax clearance certificate submitted by him in support of his application was "fraudulently obtained". Mind, the tax clearance certificate in question wasn't his personally, but belonged to his father's company. In support of his student visa application, he submitted bank statements from 4 banks, each showing a healthy account balance, and corresponding history of high volume transactions. Apparently, not being able to deny him on financial grounds, they came up with "fraudulently obtained tax clearance certificate". The young man has now obtained a letter from the tax clearance comptroller verifying the certificate, and re-applied, paying another Visa Application fee. They'll probably grant this one.

Yet another person was denied a visiting visa on the grounds that he deposited money into his account "suspiciously close" to the time he paid his Visa Application fee. Naturally, they failed to provide a definition of "suspiciously close". So, while he had evidence of funds to finance his trip, he failed to provide evidence of their origin, and could not therefore be given a Visa. Nice, eh? So, if you were to come into a million naira contract after years of sweating it out, and slogging away, you should wait a few years to apply for a UK Visa, so as to avoid applying "suspiciously close" to when you were finally smiled upon by God for your years of hard work.

And finally, my personal favourite, and one that doesn't simply take the cake, but takes the entire fucking pastry industry. A young lady I know wished to visit the UK on holiday. She happens to hold a respectable job at a big bank, and she's worked there for a number of years. In her case, she was told that while she had submitted print outs showing places of interest to visit in the UK, she had failed to provide a "reason" for her trip, and then, the whopper - she was further informed that while she had shown evidence of financial status vis her ability to pay for her trip, the trip would consume her savings and was therefore not feasible!!! Since when did the UK VAC become a financial advice center? And is it not customary for people to save money for vacations? I've heard people give interviews on TV and say stuff like "I always wanted to visit Australia, so I've been saving up for the trip", or something along those lines. The lady has since decided to take a trip within Nigeria for her vacation, somewhere down south.

Now, when a man who was previously dirt poor becomes a Senator or Honorable, decides to take a trip to the UK and submits personal bank statements in support of his application, you'll never hear questions like "origin of funds?" or any other bull shit. They don't want to know whether he had N20,000 in his account a few days ago, and a sudden deposit of N200 million two days to his Application would not be considered "suspiciously close". Fuck no. The Visa would be granted with immediate alacrity so he can go shopping on Bond Street for fine new suits, and spend some of our hard earned currency in their land. Indeed, they'll probably give him directions to the most expensive shops. For such people the normal rules of rejection do not apply.

I say these people are extremely lucky they do not provide these shabby services to people who have short fuses, and I don't believe they would dare run such an ovbious scam even in Ghana!

But this is Nigeria, no? The land where anything goes, and usually does.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dear Chxta,

I know you care a great deal about this fucked up country we call home, and you always have good ideas about what we can do to fix it, but the sad truth of the matter is that things will never improve unless certain persons are sent swimming to the bottom of the ocean. And, sadly, that looks like it ain't never gonna happen.

One prominent businessman, who had his fingers in the attempt to steal Nigeria's refineries, and has over 1000 trailers, would never allow the rail system to work as that would end his business. And, seeing as the said Dangot... *sorry* businessman is heavy into the government, I don't see how he, for one, would allow the improvement of the railway system. Hell, enter Abuja. Their idea of mass transit is to buy hundreds of buses. And they call Abuja a "modern city". I'll bet they always say that tongue in cheek. For, what modern city in the world doesn't have a viable and working inner city rail system? The traffic jams are growing as more and more people pour into Abuja in search of the golden fleece, and the roads are beginning to choke up. I guess the consolation is that every weekend, Abuja becomes a ghost town.

Our Igbo brothers, who have considerable interests in the luxurious bus transport business, vowed never to allow the government construct an airport at Onitsha, and the airport has truly never been built. Never mind that doing so would drastically reduce the number of senseless deaths caused by accidents, armed robberies, etc. on the east-west highway axis. My sole trip to Onitsha to date left a lasting impression on me. It was late evening, and myself, my elder brother and our dad were passing through Onitsha on our way to Port Harcourt. And what did my young and impressionable eyes see? Huge buildings on either side of a road that was no more than a dirt track. A rain-hammered dirt track. The ride through town was a rollercoaster of highs great enough to see glittering jeeps in compounds, and lows deep enough to invoke impressions of Hades. A slalom of lefts and rights, with a bit of freestyle swimming thrown in. If the French hadn't engineered the Peugeot 504 to be the meanest road machine ever built, we'd never have made it out. I wondered how people could live like that and came to the realisation that the jeeps were for the road. So, it was a case of "Nna, if you can't buy ya own jip, go an fix de road." So how, then, could this me-first mentality allow anything that would help others?

Our generator importers have vowed never to allow NEPA/PHCN work as that would end the generator business. In Abuja, the nation's capital, virtually every single traffic warden's box has been donated by a generator company, in demonstration of their prosperity. Naturally, they feel like they're giving back to the community. Never mind that the community would be better off without them. No doubt, closer inspection will show that the people behind these companies are some of the big shots in Naija.

So, therefore, my good man, how the hell is anything in this country supposed to work? How can we fix Nigeria?

Well, we could ask Ghana to borrow us Jerry Rawlings, for starters...

Friday, July 13, 2007


There are those who say that a law, once made by the appropriate authority, is meant to be obeyed strictly. As a result, military decrees, edicts and what not, however odious, must be obeyed. Therefore, no matter how draconian, senseless, or downright stupid a law is, once it has been passed by whoever has the authority to make laws, it must be obeyed. For these people, the edicts of Adolf Hitler had as much legality as Acts of the British Parliament, and therefore, persons who murdered, raped, and plundered under these laws had committed no crime. So the wholesale slaughter of Jews and Russians was, in fact, legal.

A friend of mine recently expressed the view that if something is state policy, he had no choice but to obey. So, I asked him, “What if ‘state policy’ said you should kill your father?”
“That’s too personal,” was his reply. “Make it generic.”
“Ok. If state policy said ‘slap any woman seen on the street’, or ‘get a gun and kill anyone you see smiling’ would you?”
“I’d do it because it is state policy, and by acting under that policy, I have committed no crime.”

Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor with the speed of the Enterprise at Warp 12. I then reminded him that it is now established by law (he’s a lawyer by the way) that a soldier who follows an order he knows to be wrong cannot hide behind ‘orders are orders’, and this was established at the Nuremberg Trials of German War Criminals. He scoffed, and said that the Americans who organized the trials were just as guilty of war crimes for dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and murdering millions of innocent Japanese citizens, but the people who gave those orders were being celebrated today. I couldn’t argue with that because I do in fact believe that the use of those nukes was as criminal as anything the Nazis did, so I told him, war crimes are war crimes, and the fact that no one was brought to trial for nuking Japan doesn’t make that act any less of one. It just so happened that, at the time, the Americans happened to hold the whip hand, and naturally, wouldn’t put themselves on trial.

Others, however, say that on certain occasions, it would be legal to disobey a certain law, if it is in fact odious. It is such men of courage who gave the rest of us hope during the dark years of military dictatorship. That was the time we had activists on our judiciary who looked for any and all means to avoid throwing in the towel to decrees. It is such men who were responsible for ordering Gani Fawehinmi’s release from prison. Gani had been jailed under a military decree, which also ousted the jurisdiction of any court to hear any case brought under it. Gani then decided to seek his freedom by reminding the court of the international obligations of the government with regard to the African Charter on Human Rights, and he was freed. The government’s lawyers argued that Nigerian law should prevail, but the judges refused, stating that it was well known in international law that no state could plead internal policies as a valid ground for failing to observe its internationally recognized and accepted obligations.

For my friend, perhaps those judges were in error, for it was indeed state policy that you could be locked up for no reason, and the courts couldn’t do a damn thing about it because the state policy in question said it couldn’t be questioned by any court. Therefore, any court which looked for means to question the law was in violation of the state policy, and was therefore wrong.

And all this came about because of a trip to the cinema. He informed me that a young boy was told he couldn’t watch Die Hard 4 because he wasn’t accompanied by an ‘adult male’. I asked if an adult female was present, and he said yes, but it would take a man to explain things about war to the lad, hence the policy. I told him that was a lawsuit waiting to happen, and he said no one would challenge it because:

a) This wasn’t America.
b) It was ‘policy’.

If the policy said the boy (a teenager, by the way) must be accompanied by an adult, I’d have no problem, but for them to specify that in order to watch an action movie, he must be accompanied by an adult male, is way beyond dumb. In fact, I’d venture to say that it zips past dumb, hammers its way through colossally stupid, and zooms into the George W. Bush Exclusive Preserve Of Idiocy without so much as a tap on the brakes. But, my friend was not to be swayed. He asked what women knew of war and fighting, and how a woman could be expected to explain to the lad that what he was seeing was not real?! I wondered if he was therefore trying to say women were either too stupid to understand the concept of CGI (admittedly complex) or the far simpler concept of acting, but I didn’t point this out. And, given the fact that my friend is not given to the consumption of kparaga of any kind, cheap or otherwise, or any other consciousness altering substances, I was truly at a loss to explain his reasoning.

Perhaps next time the lad wishes to see a romantic movie (of the PG-13 variety, of course) he’ll require an adult female to explain the concepts of romance and love, an area where adult males lag (admittedly) dreadfully far behind their female counterparts.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gofment Of Nasional Unity

It is no longer news that President Yar'adua has been reaching out to his erstwhile opponents in a bid to mend fences, and create what he called a Government of National Unity.
However, his approach leaves a lot to be desired. He's been extending the proverbial olive branch to people who would sell their grandmothers, their right arms, and their left testicles for an olive leaf. This is Nigeria for crying out loud. Politicians jumping ship is as certain as the sun rising in the morning. If I were in his shoes, I'd offer each scumbag the same thing - my natural black ass, and a bridge to jump off. But, like I said, he appears to be a decent sort. Bah. I fear he wont be any fun, unlike the greatest President Nigeria ever had. You guessed it folks - Baba. When my favourite general was in charge, he mowed down his opponents. He captured elections. Opponents simply shut the hell up and ran for the fookin' hills. He gave me stuff to write about. Not Umoru. Under this limp noodle, we may actually have elections in which votes count! What about Baba's legacy? Why does Umoru appear so determined to bite the hand that fed him until a few short weeks ago?

Umoru has even imported his peculiar brand of politics into the world's greatest party, the PDP. It is known that Baba wanted Chief Onikeke to be the new head honcho of the party, while Mr. Fix-It has been rooting for the treacherous Ken Nnamani, who was instrumental in frustrating the desires of teeming masses of Nigerians that Baba be allowed to continue beyond May 29, 2007, and thereby consolidate on the giant strides the nation took under his capable leadership. Nnamani, perhaps out jealousy or spite, chose to deny Nigerians their wish, and Baba was forced to quit the post he loved so much. Anyway, faced with this clear choice on what he should do, Umoru nominates Chief Onikeke for a ministerial post, thereby removing him from the running, and frustrating Baba's grand design. I fear there are dark days ahead for our former president. Indeed, being trapped in an infernal Lagos traffic jam for more than 3 hours may have only been the begining. Don't worry Baba, I am here for you, if you need a siren to clear the traffic out of your way, all I require is some Guinness Extra Smooth to lubricate my vocal cords. I can guarantee you'll only spend 2 hours 59 minutes in future hold-ups.

Now that you've all had your fun, down to more serious matters. The nomination of Maduekwe does indeed toss him out of the running for PDP Chairman, a post currently filled by Alli-must-go. As for the others, I am yet to lay eyes on the full list, but I have it on good authority that Baba's wishes in regard to the nominees have not been complied with.

This goes to show that Umaru may yet prove to be the Best Idea Baba ever had. And the most paniful to him personally. Who says there's no justice eh?


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Morality & Moral Relativism

It’s become shockingly easy these days for people to simply borrow from the moral codes of others, and toss their own aside. However, this phenomenon isn’t new. It’s been going on for a very long time.

For example, Moses was born in Egypt, and adopted by a member of the Egyptian royal family. No doubt, Moses would have considered himself to be a moral man. He would have observed all the Egyptian religious rituals, prayed to Ra, etc. Moses, however, was not an Egyptian. He was of the tribe of Israel. The Israelites had been living in Egypt for a few hundred years, and, by their own accounts, provided the labour that built the pyramids and other ancient landmarks of Egypt. When Moses discovered his true lineage, he immediately threw off the religion of his adopted family, and became what the world now calls a Jew. Moses proceeded to lead his people out of the slavery in Egypt, and into the Promised Land. Well, not exactly into the Promised Land, because he didn’t actually get there with them owing to some infraction he committed which led to him being informed that he would only see the Promised Land, but would not set foot upon it.

Along their incredible journey, Moses went up a certain mountain, and came down with the 10 Commandments. The Commandments were meant to provide his new nation with a set of laws meant to be strictly obeyed. Or else. Now, whilst living in Egypt, surely the Israelites were governed by some set of laws. I mean, there were no accounts of wide spread looting, thievery, cannibalism, etc. From all accounts, Egypt was the cradle of modern civilization. Heck, they exported it to Europe. So, Egypt was not a lawless, amoral, godless society. Some theories suggest that Moses simply copied what he knew of Egyptian law wholesale. The major addition being that for the first time in the history of written laws, a specific deity was designated for worship, and for the rest of Israel's history, every period of sustained suffering was deemed to be a direct punishment for straying from the correct (ordained) path.

Which brings me to Africa. European historians would have me believe that my ancestors were godless, amoral, and lawless. That we regularly fell upon our neighbours and devoured them, usually accompanied by a savoury soup, and washed down with some fresh palm wine. Well, if that were the case, surely when they arrived they would not have found thriving kingdoms, vast populations, etc. They would have found a collection of huts, belonging to the strongest men who were unable to devour each other.

We did have laws. For instance, and this is a personal favourite of mine, in Benin, any cock which crowed before dawn was subjected to a special punishment to ensure the offence was not repeated – it got eaten. The owner of the cock was also made to pay a small fine, in acknowledgement of the fact that while he couldn’t control his cock’s decision to let one rip, he was liable for the errant bastard’s actions. Vicarious liability, if you will. We also took our religious festivals very seriously. Unfortunately, and this proved to be our downfall, we didn’t pay much attention to science, leaving medicine in the hands of a few “witch doctors”. All of which meant that the Europeans discovered us to be easy prey for their guns, and duly colonised us, and shoved their religion down our throats.

I have a theory, and it says that even within a society of cannibals, they have law and order. One member of the society would not be allowed to kill and eat another member of that society. The priest who carries out human sacrifices definitely believes in the sanctity of human life, just not the lives of those who were not members of his own community, and therefore prisoners of war and other unfortunate strangers were fair game.

The only problem the black man had was that when the chips were down, his technology was inadequate to deal with that of the European aggressor. Unlike the Japanese, who remain the ultimate role model for European handling. The Europeans demonstrated some gun boat diplomacy, and then left rifles with the Japanese to demonstrate their superior technology. Upon their return in about a year, not only were they presented with a few copies of their own rifle, they were also presented with an improved version. As a result, the Europeans were unable to run riot through Japan as they had done in Africa. The result is that the Japanese retain their cultural identity to this day. They do not look askance at someone praying to Buddha, because no one ever had the chance to drum it into their heads that praying to Buddha was “pagan”. If anything, the Japanese absorbed western technology, especially western weaponry, and once they believed they were ready, took on the nearest European superpower in the shape of the Russians. Whom they proceeded to thoroughly thrash in a brief and bloody naval war, leaving the rest of Europe slack jawed in awe and horror.

After their defeat in World War II, it was thought that it would take several decades for Japan to rebuild its economy, during which time America would be free to have its way with her. The speed at which the Japanese rebuilt their nation stunned the world, and again, they owed their success to their ability to assimilate and then improve existing western technology. The fact that American auto makers have been swept aside by the Japanese invasion is proof of that ability.

In Nigeria, what do we do? We take western technology, then do our level best to preserve it in its original state, or simply let it rot. We do not make any attempt to absorb or improve what we’ve been given. Our laws reflect a world that passed at least 5 decades ago, our schools teach theories that have been long abandoned, our police force uses equipment that would have been state of the art in 1878. The list could go on and on.

The Japanese took the technology, and tossed the religion. Look at them now.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Men, Mice, And Cheese

Often in life, there comes a time when a man is expected to stand up and be counted. To prove he is a man and not a mouse, to show some backbone, some steel in his character, and what not. It is true that most men run away from such moments with their tails firmly tucked between their legs. But, every once in a while, one man decides to stand up and bare his teeth in a fierce response to the challenge. Such men are rare, and the act of standing up usually creates legends. Indeed, a man who stands up to be counted usually inspires others around him to do the same. They draw from his courage to feed their own, and thereby he creates a chain reaction. Such men are to be found in times of great adversity for their people, and they usually lead their nations to greatness.

Sadly, we are lacking such men in Nigeria. This is not to say that there are not those among us who display remarkable courage and moral fibre in the snake pit we call our political class. Senate President Ken Nnamani is such a man. During the Third Term brouhaha, Sen. Nnamani displayed courage in ensuring the entire constitutional amendment process was transparent. Those who sought to perpetrate crimes against the Nigerian people under the cover of darkness suddenly found powerful light shone upon their criminal activities. Repeatedly, they pleaded with the Senate President to switch off the light and allow them continue, and he repeatedly reminded them that he had no such power – the Nigerian people wanted to see what was going on, and by God, he was going to make sure they did. With no place to hide, the third term advocates failed woefully to extend Baba's tenure. Naturally, Baba never forgave Nnamani for thwarting him, and resolved to embarrass him should he decide to seek re-election. Nnamani avoided that trap with great skill – he simply declared that he had no intention of running again, thereby denying Baba his pound of flesh.

During the last vote allocation exercise laughably called an election, Nnamani again showed he was on the side of the masses by speaking out against the conduct of the elections, and Baba's henchmen were quick to hurl insults at him for doing so. When Baba sought to extend the emergency rule in Ekiti State, Nnamani immediately reconvened the Senate and blocked that plan. Incandescent with rage, Baba's people began accusing Nnamani of treason. Treason! For doing his constitutional job. Nnamani has taken all this with admirable equanimity. A lesser man would have been quick to exchange words with Squealers like Frank Nweke Jr. Nnamani rather chose the higher path, and Baba's boys are still wondering how to deal with him.

Nnamani has been a true hero of Nigeria's modern history.

Prior to Nnamani, during the 1993 Elections, Henry Nwosu, then Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, also showed his heroic credentials. When he was ordered to stop releasing the results of the Presidential Elections by Maradona, he refused, and continued releasing results until his office was sealed off by soldiers. But for his bravery, M.K.O Abiola would not have known that he won the elections, and he would have had no basis for the fight for his mandate which would eventually cost him his life.

Which brings me to Maurice Iwu. A true rat among mice. He made all the right noises initially, gave some of us cause to hope. He promised to lay down his life to ensure we had credible elections, and Nigerians resolved that if he matched his stated ambitions with action, he would have our unflinching support. Some cynics told us that Iwu was being primed to fail, and no one should place any trust or hope in him. I told myself that that was said about virtually every new government appointee, and joined those who felt Iwu should be given a chance. Besides, aren't some cynics just optimists in disguise? Boy, were we disappointed. I took Chxta's advice about elections seriously – I registered to vote, something I've never bothered to do in the past, and was looking forward to participating in the electoral process, and getting a first-hand view of proceedings. But from that point onwards, it was all downhill. First of all, I never got my voter's card on the same day as advertised, but was told to return the following day. In spite of repeated visits to the registration point, my card didn't turn up. Eventually, I took the matter to a friend at the INEC Office, and was told that “perhaps” my card had ended up somewhere beyond Mararaba. I live and work in Wuse, registered to vote in Wuse, how the hell did my card end up in what is effectively Nassarawa State, with a “perhaps” attached? The bureaucratic process involved in retrieving my card would have made a saint hopping mad. Thus disenfranchised, I duly sat out the elections fuming with anger.

Throughout the gubernatorial elections, I was glued to AIT, and the reports of late arrival of voting materials, non-arrival in several parts of the country, thuggery at polling stations, etc. made me despair. The cynics were being proved right. Then the results began coming in, and I finally gave up. PDP here, PDP there, PDP everywhere. From that point on, I knew I had to accept the painful truth – the cynics were right all along. The most massively unpopular party in Nigeria was being given a clean sweep of seats everywhere. The Delta State results literally numbed the muscles of my jaw. Everyone knew Emmanuel Uduaghan had less than a snowball's chance hell of winning that election, yet he was being declared the winner by such an extravagantly comfortable margin.

It made me wonder about the nature of power and men. Prior to the elections, Maurice Iwu sounded like the man for the job. I hoped he would draw from the courageous examples of those around him, men like Nnamani and Nwosu, but as the elections got closer and closer, Maurice began saying the wrong things, doing the wrong things. He began setting off alarm bells amongst all pro-democracy people in the country. INEC suddenly transformed itself into the mouthpiece of the PDP, and Maurice became an extension of Baba.

Now that he's “delivered”, I have only one question for Professor Iwu – did they pay you in silver or cheese, you rat f***?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Devil's Advocate

Fellow Nigerians, the elections have come and gone, and contrary to what detractors of this great administration would have Nigerians believe, they were a resounding success. The meticulous planning and attention to detail of Prof. Maurice Iwu came to the fore as the venerable Professor oversaw an election that raised the bar for future INEC chairmen very high indeed.

Fellow Nigerians, it is an open secret that from the onset, the commission was plagued with logistics and human resources problems. These problems were met head-on by Prof. Iwu, who displayed all the savvy of a general on the battlefield. The professional government critics among us, instead of proffering solutions, or at least joining hands with INEC to ensure that the elections were successful, chose to go about town proclaiming that INEC was being positioned to deliver a tailor-made result to the ruling PDP. These people have now been put to shame.

Fellow Nigerians, it is no secret that this year's elections were fraught with problems, and indeed, an election in Nigeria would be incomplete without the usual cases of thuggery, attempted ballot box snatching, etc., but what made this year's elections stand out was that Prof. Iwu foresaw and made provisions for handling such recalcitrant individuals. Those who attempted to snatch the peoples' mandate were duly given a taste of the long arm of the law at its very fiercest. As a result, the area boys learned quickly that this was one election where the rule of law would reign supreme.

Fellow Nigerians, INEC sought to prevent a known crook in Vice-President (how it galls me to call him that) Atiku Abubakar from contesting and tarnishing our great electoral process with his presence. The Supreme Court ruled that INEC had no such power to restrain Atiku, and INEC immediately complied with the judgement by making sure that all ballot papers to be used in the Presidential Elections carried Atiku's picture, and the logo of his party. INEC had indeed often stated its readiness to comply with court judgements. As for the Supreme Court ruling, all I can say is that the situation is similar to a police officer arresting a thief red-handed only to be told to release him because he had no power to arrest such a crook. Indeed, the decision of the Court was better in the end for Atiku and his “teeming” supporters, as he was allowed to contest a free and fair election, and was resoundingly trashed at the polls. Nigerians voted, and they said in a loud voice that they did not want Atiku to rule this nation. That the man has been crying foul ever since the results were announced only shows the fundamental flaws in his character. A real man, a man of integrity and honour, such as Atiku has claimed to be, must be one who knows how to lose with dignity.

Fellow Nigerians, the situation in Imo state was also particularly interesting for INEC. The PDP substituted the name of its gubernatorial candidate in Ifeanyi Ararume with that of a person deemed by the party to be better suited for the job. Ararume went to court, and secured a judgement declaring him to be the rightful candidate for the elections. INEC immediately demonstrated its willingness to comply with the judgement, but alas, the PDP decided to expel Ararume, and withdraw from the race. Unforeseeable logistics and human problems however, forced INEC to cancel the elections in Imo state and reschedule them for the 28th of April. Of course, the naysayers are out in force, declaring that the postponement is merely a ploy by the PDP to buy some time to produce a candidate for the elections. This is preposterous in the extreme.

Fellow Nigerians, everywhere people lost in these elections, they have cried foul. This attitude cuts across party lines, and is truly saddening. Why is it that some Nigerian politicians have refused to learn how to take defeat with grace and dignity? I know it hurts to lose, but the endless posturing and shouting is shameful.

Fellow Nigerians, the international observers were greatly impressed with what they saw of the elections and praised Prof. Iwu for his courage, administrative skill, leadership, and organisational ability. To a man they proclaimed these elections as a watershed in the history of electioneering in Africa, and urged other nations to take a page from our book. High praise indeed, especially coming from the same quarters that were so critical of the 2003 elections. Prof. Iwu can bow out with his head held high for he has laid down a foundation to be built upon in future.

Fellow Nigerians, we must now prepare to move forward – we have a President-elect in Umaru Yar'adua, a man of quiet strength, moral integrity and financial probity, who is ready to build on the great work of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and take our great nation to the next level. This is not the time for petty recriminations and blame trading. If we look to the so-called “advanced nations” of the world, we will see that the elections process was not invented perfect. There were flaws, which were worked out over time, and gradually minimised, but not eradicated. The election of President Bush in 2000 showed that even America, the most advanced democracy in the world, still had problems with it's election process.

Fellow Nigerians, I strongly urge that we all join hands to help in moving our nation forward.

Long live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, and God bless you all.

And, by the way, if you actually believe the general thrust of this article, you need help.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Truth Will Ouch

Well, well, well.

The intrigues, visits to the Villa and so on have all floundered finally. Atiku can now hold his head up high and claim he has been vindicated. For the most part anyway. The Senate Panel set up to review the report of the PTDF investigating Committe has tossed, thrown, and discarded the planks on which Obasanjo had built his campaign against Atiku, Adenuga and Fasawe. The Panel has said:

1. The money deposited in ETB had no direct link to any business involving Globacom.
2. The money deposited in TIB had no direct link to any business involving Fasawe or NDTV.
3. And, here's the screamer, even the $20 million dollars was gotten from Atiku by deception.

Atiku was basically, a dope. Of course, he couldn't be allowed to waltz off into the sunset, so they made sure he'd be facing the Code of Conduct Bureau. If I were in Turaki's shoes, I'd be hopping mad with delight. By virtue of these findings, the EFCC Report has been stripped of whatever toga of respectability it claimed, and must now parade naked as what it truly is - a comically inept hatchet job by a vindictive president.

Adenuga can now return home in peace, although, if Ghana is half what people say it is, he might just choose to relocate his family and business there, so he can live without fear of Ribadu sending in a battalion of policemen to kick down his doors and smash his windows.

Fasawe has been vindicated also, for the Panel said there was nothing to link him to PTDF money. Of course, the officials of the bank should face some sanction for repeatedly "loaning" vast sums of money to a man without collateral, all because he was a friend to people in power. This money worshiping attitude of banks needs to be checked.

Now, on to President Olusegun Obasanjo. The General-who-never-fires-blank must have been wondering exactly what kind of ammo he left home with this morning. Who knows, they might have been blanks. For, suddenly, Baba has found himself indicted by the Senate for illegal application of PTDF (public) funds. That shouts corruption louder than anyone could ever try. So, what the Panel has found is the very same thing many have maintained for a long time - Baba is a corrupt man. Of course, Uba Sani has been quick to brand the report a "calculated smear campaign" and accuse the Senators of not taking Baba's "explanations" into account. He also claimed the projects lampooned were within the "broader" scope of the PTDF's mandate.

Abeg, Mallam, explain how incorporating a private company with public funds falls within the PTDF's "broader" mandate. Or the purchase of computers for civil servants, when there are provisions for that within the Federal Budget each year. Or printing photographs for the State House Library. What have these to do with Petroleum Technology?

The fact that Baba had to go and get retroactive approval for these things from his boys at the FEC simply showed there was no public spirit in his actions.

The Senate Panel has finally given Nigerians the truth, and all Baba can say is:


Monday, March 19, 2007

Baba's Election Campaign

When George Bush Sr. decided to run for President of the United States in 1988, he had the full and unconditional support of then President, Ronald Regan. You see, George had been a loyal and capable Vice-President for 8 years, and had stood by his oga throughout the vastly embarassing Iran-Contra mess. He was even responsible for deflecting some of the heat from his boss by saying, "I know we've made mistakes, but let's not throw out the baby with the dishes." (As you can see, it does run in the family.)

So, when he decided to take over from his retiring boss, Ronnie threw his full weight behind him. Regan could be seen at campaign events, holding George's hand up high, and telling America that this was their man. Hell, Regan even appeared on his behalf at events George couldn't go to in person...

Of course, that never happened. The American people would have screamed blue murder if affairs of state were left to suffer in the name of Campaigning. But that's America, and dem too get mout sef.

I know that in Naija, we do our own a bit differently, but from the way Baba has been acting recently, you'd be hard pressed to argue with anyone who said Baba was campaigning for re-election or something. If you pointed out to such a person that Baba was constitutionally barred from running again having already served two terms, the person could easily counter by pointing out that only a man seeking office for himself could campaign so energetically.

NEPA or PHCN is in a state of total collapse, all across the nation, trade in candles and generators has boomed to unprecedented levels, but Baba doesn't care because he's in some place or the other telling people to "vote" for Yar'Adua.

Refineries are not working, but Baba is campaigning, if the Cameroonians invaded today, they'd probably be able to capture Baba because he's somewhere around Bayelsa, campaigning.

When the rumors that Yar'Adua was dead began flying around like hungry mosquitoes, it was Baba who personally debunked the rumors by calling Yar'Adua from Ogun state to enquire about his health, live on TV. Baba was, of course, dressed in the colours of the campaign organisation for the day.

The country is ailing because all Baba cares about now is installing his puppet successor.

P.S. In what Chxta has rightly described as a masterstroke, Baba gave Turaki full and unfettered access to the Presidential Jet to fly abroad for knee surgery. Coming at a time when most Nigerians were still fuming over Umaru's rushing abroad for treatment after "collapsing" at a PDP rally, it gave people a chance to say that Umaru and Turaki are birds of the same feather. It was a move of which Maradona would have been proud. I must doff my cap to Baba for his brilliance.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Politricking and the EPCC

So, some people named by the Uncle Nuhu's organisation the EPCC (Economic and Political Crimes Commission) have been cleared by Baba's new "Administrative Panel of Iniquity". Nuhu has not apologised to those besmirched by his wild accusations however, and continues posturing like a gladiator in the Arena.

If Nuhu were an honorable man, he would since have tendered an unreserved public apology to the innocent men whose reputations he may well have scarred for life. As Chxta pointed out, certain names were conspicuous by their absence, not least those of Lucky and the Sheikh. Perhaps it's because they have wisely decided not to contest any other office, at least for now.

It is, however, a collective backhand on the intelligence of Nigerians (whose faces have perhaps been numbed by the sheer number and velocity of slaps they've recieved down the years) to suggest that there was nothing political about the now infamous list.

Not only did it serve to distract candidates from their campaigns, it also served to cast some doubts as to their credibility to the general public. Of course, most (if not all) will shrug and carry on with their lives as though nothing untoward happened, but I would really love one of them to sue the S.O.B. for defamation of character, slander, etc. (As long as he was one of those cleared, of course.)

We know Baba has declared the elections to be a do-or-die affair, in complete disregard for the climate of live-and-let-live that others have been trying hard to promote, and we know that when Baba sneezes, Nuhu catches Bird Flu. We then have to wonder what comes next. What will Baba pull out now from his formidable bag of tricks? A white elephant, perhaps? Or, failing that, a pig with wings?

On Orji Kalu's interview, my internet connection is pretty useless, so I've been unable to watch it, but if he suffered some man-made grammatical misconceptions in his deployment of the Queen's lingo, we should try to understand that just like Sir Shina Peters said, grammar no bi money.

Abeg, Orji-nwanem, no mind all dis jelos pepol. Meanwhile nna, if you wan sen sometin kom, my akount numba na....

Monday, February 12, 2007

That EFCC List

Hi there folks. Been a while, I know, but I've recently become a statistic and am still trying to come to terms with that. In case you were wondering, the statistic is Unemployed Nigerian Youth. Well, being from the Niger-Delta, I believe we all know what my options are... Ehem.

Anyway, Baba, the great man, wonderful leader, general-who-never-fires-blank, and all-round tough guy, recently ordered Uncle Nuhu to release a list of 137 "corrupt/unfit-for-public-office" individuals and there are no prizes for guessing who tops the list. That's right, Turaki is our numero uno criminal. The fact that the list screams "witchhunt" in 30 metre high letters is no deterrent to Baba and his cronies.

Take Ondo state for example. The man contesting the Senatorial seat with Iyabo, who has never held any public office by the way, is on the EFCC list. When they interviewed Baba's new Fani-Kayode on Channels TV this morning, he said you didn't have to hold public office to be corrupt, and in fact, the list was drawn up based on petitions recieved by the EFCC. Hmmm... Petitions. Not concluded investigations. Petitions. Right. So, if I were to send in a petition about say, Bode George, his name would make the list, no? Wait. EFCC already did investigate and indict Bode George, but strangely he hasn't been arrested. Baba did promise there would be no sacred cows. Perhaps Bode George is a sacred goat then? You never know.

It is also no surprise that Papa Decieve Pikin had the largest number of corrupt individuals on the list, something like 58 names in all. Clearly therefore, Baba's list has shown Nigerians that his party is in fact the most corrupt in Nigeria, and by extension Africa. (PDP is the "largest party in Africa" according to its statisticians.) How this man can then ask Nigerians to vote for PDP with a straight face beggars belief.

While I would dearly love to know just how Turaki made his money, and I also know that he wont be President come May 29, I think we should all be grateful to him for making sure that Baba wont be President beyond May 29.

As for those who say Yar'adua is a weakling and will only do the bidding of Baba, all I have to say is this:

Give a rat eba, and he will ask for a bowl of soup with bushmeat and stockfish, and cold beer to wash it down.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Merry New Year

As I write this, my year of suffering is drawing to its inevitable conclusion - we shall be required to, for the last time, put on our itchy uniforms and stand in the blazing sun while some government assholes harangue us from their comfortable seats and shaded pavilions with hackneyed speeches about how best to serve our nation now that we are no longer compelled to do so. They will then give prizes to the best brown-nosers, boot-lickers, snitches, finks, and ass-kissers. Then we will be ordered to sing the anthem one last time, and merrily tossed to the hungry, droolingly anticipating maws of the Nigerian "job market".

Of course, with my days of being a Federal government pikin coming to a close, my banker takes time out from his busy schedule to send me daily reminders that there shall be no more credit, slack, etc. The last note even mentioned that I should note that I would no longer be allowed to stroll into his office without an appointment. Frankly, the harassment is getting old. I've enjoyed this line of credit for more than 2 decades now, and have provided free services to the man on a personal level for almost as long. Perhaps Uncle Nuhu has been sniffing around his office, and he's getting nervous, but even so the amounts involved are puny. I can only hope to give him solid reasons to keep our arrangement open as it would be extremely difficult to get another "understanding" banker at this point in time.

Over the Christmas/New Year period, I got to understand exactly how soldiers feel when walking in sniper-infested areas. My voice changed several times between December 20th and January 8th or thereabouts as I had to simulate several nasty throat infections, colds, coughs, etc. in order to explain my "shocking" failure to provide Christmas presents for some members of the fairer (but not weaker - and I most solemnly urge all men to abandon that idea) sex who were under the impression that somehow, somewhere, they had been given the title Deed to my wallet.

The catfight/muckraking/mudslinging between Turaki and Baba reached interesting proportions when Turaki arrived the National Assembly and turned the tables so securely on his traducers that all Baba's collective spin doctors could do was mumble something about Turaki lying under oath while looking like snakes trying desperately to swallow several boiled eggs at once.

Funsho Williams' widow won the Lagos State PDP primaries only for her victory to be snatched from her amid statements that a "Lagos man" was needed to give PDP a chance in the elections. (Hilda Williams hails from Rivers State, in case you were wondering.) Once again, the issue raised wasn't whether or not she had a chance to win the state, and I wager she'd have given her opponent a massive fight with the sympathy votes she would have garnered over the as-yet (and probably never-to-be) unresolved murder of her husband, but rather that she wasn't an indigene of the state. I wonder how we are ever going to build one Nigeria with this kind of utter nonsense going on.

Anyways, to those who travelled, I say welcome back, and to those who, like someone-I-will-not-name ended up seeking warmth in the interior of a refrigerator, I say the cold won't last too long.

Have a happy 2007 all, and may it actually bring us happiness.

About Me

My photo
I love my country, enjoy a cold beer once in a while, rabidly support Arsenal FC, but I don't get Diet Coke...