Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"State of Osun" - Innovation in government appointments?

Otunba Titilayo Laoye- Tomori
Osun State has her commissioner of education also double as deputy governor. What's your take on this? Yay or Nay? Why? Let's discuss.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology - State of Osun

Festus Iyayi - Whodunit...ASUU or Wada?

Prof. Festus Iyayi (1947 - Nov 12, 2013)

Prof. Festus Iyayi, born 66 years ago in Ugbegun, Edo state, died from wounds sustained after a vehicle accident involving a bus he was traveling in and the convoy of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state on November 12, 2013. Recall that Governor Wada was involved in a similar fatal accident last December, which claimed the life of his ADC. While several fatalities happen everyday on Nigerian roads, the Nigerian literary, intellectual and social justice community will forever mourn Prof. Iyayi. For those who don’t know the late Prof. and what he stood and will be remembered for, lets hear Femi Falana (SAN) say a few words on this and the continuing implication for the state of road traffic law enforcement in Nigeria amongst other related issues.  
May his soul rest in peace.

Cry for Nigeria, Not For Festus! - FEMI FALANA SAN

From reports, which have been confirmed, Prof Festus Iyayi was killed by Gov Wada's convoy around Lokoja yesterday. He was travelling to Kano from Benin for the NEC meeting of ASUU to review the varsity strike in view of the offer belatedly made by President Goodluck Jonathan last week. The ASUU welfare officer who was in the same car with Comrade Iyayi was seriously injured and is said be on danger list at the Federal medical centre, Lokoja. I cry for Nigeria, but certainly not for Festus who would have wanted us to mobilize instead of mourning him.

Like all progressive lecturers Festus believed in the total liberation of the people. He dedicated his entire life to the struggle for an egalitarian society. His award winning novels like VIOLENCE and HEROES confirmed his unalloyed commitment to the reconstruction of Nigeria on the platform of justice and fair play. Festus was the ASUU national president when he was illegally sacked the university of Benin in 1987. As the removal could not be justified in law the discredited dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida claimed that he had sacked Festus and other radical lecturers including Professor Itsejuwa Sagay "in the public interest" under the obnoxious Decree No 17 of 1984.

Festus and his colleagues rejected the pressures mounted on them to abandon the struggle. Instead of compromise they demanded for justice. The Late Alao Aka-Bashorun and I were instructed to challenge their illegal removal in court. We did and won from the High Court to the Supreme Court. It was on the basis of such legal victory that they were reinstated in 1993. Under his Presidency of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) from 1994-1995 the human rights body was in the forefront of the struggle against military dictatorship in Nigeria. Festus has consistently fought on the side of the marginalized masses. His death is a painful loss for his family and all our comrades.

However, we must quickly recover from our shock and stop our lamentation by addressing relevant questions to save the lives of other road users including ourselves. Governor Wada was involved in a similar ghastly accident last year. His ADC was killed while the governor was seriously injured. Why has the FRSC exempted governors from the speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour? Why are official drivers allowed by law enforcement agencies to engage in reckless driving in defiance of traffic laws? Up to the early 1980s we used to travel to from the south to the north and vice versa for meetings by train. If the train service had not collapsed Festus would have travelled to Kano by train and not by road. If the FG had honored the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement ASUU would not have embarked on the ongoing industrial action. If the FG had made concrete offer to ASUU before now the strike would not have lasted 5 months.

Gov Wada should bear responsibility for the tragic road accident that claimed the precious life of Professor Iyayi. The FRSC should henceforth monitor Gov Wada's movements to prevent him from killing more people on our bad roads. The speed limit imposed on all drivers should apply to all citizens alike. In particular drivers of governors who commit traffic offences must be brought to book. In this case, Gov Wada is vicariously liable for the criminal negligence of his driver who killed Festus and wounded the ASUU welfare officer who is now on danger list in the hospital. The Kogi state government should be made to pay huge compensation to the injured welfare officer of ASUU and the family of Professor Iyayi. Gov Wada's drivers who killed his ADC last year and Professor Iyayi yesterday should be arrested and prosecuted for manslaughter. Unlike their boss they are not immune from prosecution for criminal offences!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Get Hitched or Die Trying

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Fuvwe Ziregbe, our guest writer. She is out guns blazing and taking no prisoners on the very endemic “marriage-or-nothing” syndrome that a lot of women suffer from. This whole mindset that you are nobody till somebody hooks you has got her riled up…and justifiably too. I have often wondered why many young ladies behave like they’re waiting for a man to “ask” before they can begin to live their lives.  Also, those that got it made early behave like they’re special and the ones still “searching” must have something wrong with their DNA or something.  They quickly forget the past and lord their new found Oga-Madam status over their single friends.
I’ll stop here. Let’s hear it from Fuvwe. I’m with her 100% on this one.
I have decided to re-caption my topic "Insecurities of married women" and post "Petty things young married women do", however this is not unrelated. First of all, I personally think marriage is a beautiful thing that every woman should experience but these days ladies go into marriage for the wrong reasons. I believe every single lady should know herself worth before going into marriage. Some go in due to societal pressures. They have bought the idea that marriage is the ultimate goal women can achieve, which I believe is sexist because men do not come under such pressures. 
As a result many single ladies have been forced into spending their creative energies on that alone at the expense of developing themselves, at the end of the day they get in and find out it’s not utopia. This new army of newly married women (doesn't apply to all) are beginning to get disillusioned because they feel trapped and short changed which leads to bottled frustration, progressive feeling of loss & insecurity and it manifests in a lot of ways- 
*Showboating- It is a good thing to show off the dividends of marriage but when you see a lady going to great extents to display "STUFFS" that should be private ,it just might be 'her' trying to give herself reasons why she is still hooked.
*Pushing the marriage button at every opportunity- Making it a point of duty to constantly pester their unmarried friends with marriage matters. Subconsciously and indirectly, what they mean is: "I 'm better than you because I am married and you are not, so all your fine achievements don't count for much since you are unmarried...I still have the edge". Psychology tells us that superiority complex is an affected form of inferiority complex. Single ladies do not be fazed by such antics. A woman with self earned achievement under her belt will not do such.
*Less attractiveness- A lot of women are scared their husband do not find them attractive anymore. Truth is, if you took out time to find the best match for you, that should not be much of a problem. Note: a man who loves you for your looks would always go with your looks. Security and self worth should come from within you.
*Social media suicide- Lastly, there is this strange condition of social media suicide as well as unannounced "un-friending" amongst some…an attempt to pass home the point that levels have changed perhaps. Given, some social adjustment is justifiable but these radical methods leaves our eyebrows raised. What was it about your single hood you would not want your man to know now?
Sincere advice; be yourself, don’t change yourself, there is a reason he picked you out of the crowd.-
Fuvwe Ziregbe

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Meeting Celebs - Naija Style!

Recently I saw an episode of AY's Crib, and could not help laughing at the drama that ensued when AY's girlfriend was going all gaga when she met Desmond Elliott at a shopping mall. She actually got her fuming boyfriend to take shots of her and Desmond with her phone. It was an ordeal for the poor man’s ego!

Generally we the “normal” Nigerians are kind of arrogant around our showbiz personalities. We give them that "Eh ehn?" "And so?" "Who e be sef?" attitude, rather than fuss over them in an overly affectionate manner like they do in other climes. Once I was at a party in Lagos and there was a Nollywood dude who I knew from shopping at his fashion store. In fact I was there just a few days earlier and we had quite the banter…you know how it is – shop owner trying to tell you the latest trend and you’re having none of it…stubborn subtlety and all. He tried to sell me a long sleeved Chairman Mao jacket! My wife would have shot me for wearing that stuff…anyway, back to the story. So here he comes looking sharp and being ushered into a baby dedication luncheon where I was also a guest. As usual, the groupies were beside themselves trying to go pay respect, pump fists, hug and take social media bound selfies, etc. As a sharp Naija man, I just “boned” in my corner watching. At some point he decides to play the bigger man and walk over to say whatsup. I kind of regretted my unnecessary display of immaturity. Sigh.

I once heard that Ramsey Noah went visiting an old friend in Warri and ended up only leaving the house in the dead of the night, with police escort too. Apparently star gazing fans had milled around the house in throngs waiting to mob their favorite Nollywood hunk. Not funny.

A nephew, who by the way is an aspiring musician, sat next to Common on a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles. Yes, in coach! He told us of how warm and friendly Common was. They had a good chat, with him getting tips on kick starting his musical career and all. Fancy if that had been him and Naeto C on a Lagos-Abuja flight. Maximum boning plus noise cancelling headphones and dark glasses would kill any thoughts of socializing.

One time my wife and I were travelling through an airport and Tuface gets ushered into the VIP section. As usual you straighten your gaze and pretend to read the paper, oblivious to the attention he is getting from airport staff that had shunted you since you got there.
And then my wife says the unthinkable: “Look, there’s Tuface. I think I should go over and say Hi”.
Can you believe that! If she was deluded enough not to get the message from my sharp scowl, I replied for good measure: “if you get up from that seat, just don’t come back!”
Wifey: Go away, you’re boring joor. Can’t you take a simple joke?
Me: You for try am.

So what has been your experience with meeting celebrities?  Have you had any star gazing situation that went well? How about one that resulted in some mild drama? Please kindly share with us by posting a comment.


(No spouse was harassed in making this movie.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12

It’s been 20 years now since the freest and fairest election in Nigeria was truncated by the evil genius, General IBB. We were on the path to great things in this country. Majority of Nigerians along ethnic, geographical and religious lines had lined up behind the figure of Chief MKO Abiola and decided he was the one to set us on the path to greatness after 10 years of military misrule under IBB and his co-travelers in jackboots. How could one forget June 12? I remember queuing at a voting booth at the Ojabugbe-Eyesan intersection in Warri. We had no mobile phones in those days. I cast my vote with an eerie feeling of being part of something important and delicate at the same time. I felt I was about to change our world with my one vote.

While standing in queue my mind kept going back to MKO's debate with Tofa. It was an amazing performance. Till date, no one has shown a greater desire to work for Nigeria or articulated such a simple and clear path forward to solving our problems like MKO did that night. He knew little things like the cost of petrol...this for a multi-millionaire who probably had not bought fuel by himself in ages. By the way, back then most Nigerians did not know the pump price of petrol like we do nowadays, because it was not such an issue.
See Links to the debate in the appendix.

There was no quick way of knowing what was happening in other states or towns, since communication was slow in those days. But we knew there was an air of calmness and oneness of purpose that day in Warri. There were no stories of ballot boxes being stolen. The TV and radio stations had reports of peaceful voting across the country. Prof. Humphrey Nwosu’s option A4 ensured there was transparency even at the polling stations. The votes were counted in front of everyone at our ward's polling booth and MKO got over 98% of the votes there.

MKO's Election campaign poster

The reason why this was a watershed period in our lives was because we did not even care that the SDP ticket was a Moslem/Moslem one with MKO and Babagana Kingibe. From the election results released, they had won a landslide in almost every state announced, polling a total of 8.4 million votes. Alas, the INEC chairman was abruptly prevented from announcing the complete results and the rest is history.

                                                          June 12 results

MKO was hounded into exile, he returned and declared himself president, he was arrested and thrown in jail, and his wife was assassinated by the Abacha killer squad, drank tea with Susan Rice and William Pickering… and met his untimely death.

From the period of the June 12 election annulment till the death of MKO, some Nigerians under different coalition umbrellas fought the government of IBB from home and overseas using international relations and civil disturbance to try to force IBB’s arm into recognizing the election outcome without success. Instead he handed over to Abacha, who proceeded to take Nigeria on his own journey of terror until he succumbed to an Indian apple.

Since then, we have had 3 PDP presidents, including Obasanjo, who was uncharitable enough to declare that Abiola was not the Messiah Nigerians had been waiting for, became a beneficiary of a misplaced move by the Oligarch using their new vehicle, the PDP, to appease the South West. Who told them that June 12 was about the Yorubas? I’d better stop here.

The intent of this is not an attempt to recant common history, but to honor MKO Abiola and the others who died or risked life, limb and livelihood in trying to restore our mandate.
May their souls rest in peace and may the families they left behind gain favor anywhere they go. Amen.

So how was your June 12, 1993? For me it remains one of the best days of my Nigerian existence. A bittersweet memory. Nigeria worked on that day. But…alas!

Links to Abiola vs Tofa debate

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kidnappings in Lagos - Avoiding Being a Victim

(Image courtesy of Vanguard Newspapers)
Before now, we have come to associate kidnappings with the oil producing areas of the country, the south east, and not too long ago, the Northern parts of the country through Boko Haram. These kidnappings have been driven mostly by political leverage and financial gains.  Folks living in Lagos have mostly felt a sense of immunity to this malaise until recently. There has been a spate of kidnappings in the Ikeja, VI and Lekki areas. Victims have been Nigerians and expatriates alike. In the past week there have been reports of four Lebanese and a Briton kidnapped and freed after ransom negotiations. A common modus operandi for kidnapping locals is to block them off in traffic or at the entry gates to their homes, after which they are taken to ATMs and their accounts drained. There have also been stories of situations where, upon discovering a healthy balance in the victim’s account, they are kept for a longer period and their family is contacted to empty same accounts with signed cheques, etc.
Someone told a story of how he was taken one early morning on the Lekki - Epe expressway by VGC roundabout. His jeep was suddenly hit from behind by another vehicle. As expected, both drivers pulled over a short distance away to sort out the issue and the two guys who alighted from the car that hit him suddenly brought out guns and whisked him away after combing his car for his briefcase, phones, etc. Blindfolded, he was taken to a flat somewhere in a compound with other occupants. Because it was very early in the day, it was easy for them to bring him in unnoticed. All day they would play gospel music and greet their neigbours with phrases like "we bless God", "Calvary greetings to you Ma", etc. So they put up the face of good Christian businessmen sharing a flat, whilst unbeknownst to their neigbours, they used the place as a holding pen for their victims. Luckily, he was released unscathed after two days of negotiations and payment.
Release of kidnap victims may sometimes be complicated leading to injuries and loss of lives. 

Here are some prevention tips:

·   Outings in the late hours and very early hours of the day should be curtailed, if possible, completely avoided.
·     Maintain a low profile; do not display large sums of money, jewelry or other apparent evidence of affluence. Be discreet.
·      When out on the road, be alert and take note of unusual happenings like vehicles trailing you, if you have any reason to suspect foul play drive to a safe haven like a police station rather than drive home; if you observe a strange vehicle or persons around your home, discreetly call law enforcement agents for help.
·        As much as possible, avoid lonely routes so you do not become an easy target.
·   Ensure you carry out background check on drivers, house helps, home lesson teachers and other non family members that are likely to have access to your home.
·        In case of an armed attack, remain calm and observe the following precautions;
o   Respond to the assailants’ instructions calmly and promptly, without questions
o   Do not resist, stay calm and avoid direct eye contact with assailant
o   Avoid sudden physical movements, make your hands visible - do not undo seatbelt without permission
o   Do not get caught in the cross fire with police response teams, take reasonable precautionary steps like lying flat on the ground or raising up your hands above your head.
·    Ensure you have your local Nigeria Police emergency numbers saved on your cell phone

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No More Pentecostal Popemobiles

Pope Francis

If you're like me and have been irritated at the trend of pastors and "men of God" living luxurious lives, travelling in exclusive private jets, keeping multi-billion naira bank balances and rubbing it in our faces, this article from J. Lee Grady should strike a chord. It uses the life of the new Pope Francis as a standard of what true Christianity should be about. 
I hope you enjoy and share as widely as possible.

No More Pentecostal Popemobiles 
By J. Lee Grady

I’m not Catholic, and I’ve never completely understood Catholics’ preoccupation with Vatican politics. But I’ve been watching the Vatican closely since last week when Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became the 266th pope and instantly got 2 million followers—and counting—on Twitter.

Why is this man so popular? That’s easy to understand. He’s humble. He cooks for himself. He chose to live in a small apartment in Buenos Aires instead of the archbishop’s palace. When he was the leader of Argentina’s Catholics, he took el micro—the city bus—to get around. He took the bus again after his election last week in Rome.

He even slipped out of the Vatican after his election to go and worship with the regular people—without security guards or the popemobile!

And Bergoglio, who will go by the name Pope Francis, is a staunch advocate of social justice. He reportedly asked his Argentinean colleagues to skip his inauguration in Rome and give the money they would have spent on airfare to the poor.

Have you noticed a contrast between Pope Francis’ simple lifestyle and the sickening excess that is on display among some of our Pentecostal/charismatic leaders?

I’ve pulled a lot of my hair out watching our embarrassing charismatic sideshows over the last few years. I think it is time we draw a line in the sand and say: “NO MORE.”

We have evangelists who send a small squadron of muscular thugs to “scout” the lobby of a hotel before they arrive. This is extremely odd when you realize that most of the people in said lobby have never even heard of the guy! Sorry, but I really don’t trust a man of God who claims he needs a bodyguard in church. Get down on the people’s level if you want to minister to them.

We have traveling preachers who book 10,000-square-ft. hotel rooms with private pools so they can rest on their way home from international trips. Excuse me? We could build an orphanage with the money this man wasted. (P.S. I know a good Hampton Inn where you can get a nice bed for $89 a night—and it includes a hot breakfast.)

We have egomaniac ministers who insist on flying in private jets to speaking engagements, claiming that preachers who fly commercial aircraft have no faith. These same ministers will hand you a fuel bill for $25,000. That is sick, especially when you consider that Jesus rode a donkey when He was presented as the Messiah to Jerusalem. (Note to Rev. Bighead: You are not the president, and you do not need Air Force One.)

We have slimy TV preachers who beg for dollars on Christian television stations, pocket a large amount of the take and then use some of the funds to install marble floors in their four-car garages. That’s worse than when medieval priests sold papal indulgences to get relatives out of purgatory.

I don’t believe ministers have to drive clunker cars. Higher-priced cars usually mean lower repair bills. But we have a problem when a visiting preacher refuses to be picked up at the airport in a church van, or when the pastor of a 100-member church insists he must ride in a neon yellow Ferrari. Get over yourself. Maybe you should learn from Pope Francis—and take the bus until your ego shrinks to a normal size.

Last week in this column I shared a dream in which I saw a tsunami crashing into the Vatican and turning the Catholic system upside down. When the new pope was elected, an Argentinean newspaper called him “Tsunami Bergoglio” because they expect him to reform the stuffy, prideful, bureaucratic Vatican and challenge Catholics to return to a humble focus on Christ.

We need the same drastic reforms on our side of the evangelical/Catholic divide. We need Pentecostal and charismatic leaders who shun the palace, reject lavish excess and get back to the basics of true gospel ministry.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form