MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

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THIS IS A DEBATE PRESENTED AT UCJ’S 2ND FRANCIS EGBOKHARE INTER-PRESS DEBATE COMPETITION

TOPIC: 

MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

 DURATION: 3 MINUTES.

DATE: 31ST OF JANUARY, 2014.

VENUE: GAMALIEL ONOSODE’S SEMINAR  ROOM, MELLANBY HALL, UI.

Joseph Joubert said, ‘it is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.’

Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen. Adebajo Adekunle is my name. And I am here, on this august occasion, as an ambassador of the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation.

I will be speaking in defence of the submission: Multiple Party System Is Better Than Bi-Party System For The Nigerian Political Arena.

So what is my justification for holding this conviction.

First and foremost, the multiple party system does not limit the voters’ choice. Voters are given a wide range of candidates to choose from in line with the ideals of democracy, liberty and justice. As aptly summarised in the words of Thomas Sowell, ‘the most basic function of government is to provide a framework of law and order, within which the people are free to choose.’ Ladies and Gentlemen, do we call it freedom when you are asked to choose between Starcomms and MTN? Do we call it freedom when you are offered admission only at Igbinedon university and University of Maiduguri? Do we call it freedom when you are given scholarship to study either in Syria or Somalia? Do we call it freedom when you can only choose between two political parties? When you are compelled to pick ‘the lesser’ out of two evils? When we can actually choose the best out of many ‘goods’. No we do not call it freedom! Why? Because Pars libertatis est non liberum, partial freedom is no freedom at all.

Secondly and in addendum, the two party system and Autocracy, dictatorship and totalitarianism are sons of the same mother. This assertion has anchorage and is substantially validated in a scenario that played out in the first republic of Ghana, when the late President Kwame Nkrumah used the Preventive Detention Act to arrest and detain members of the Opposition United Party, leading to the gradual dismantling of the opposition, and virtually turning Ghana into a one-party state.

Finally, the multiple party system is natural, legal and recognised by the constitution of this country, which states in Section 40 that: ‘every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.

To conclude, all I am saying, my elite addressees, is that to have just two political parties in a political entity such as this will only, as a matter of certainty and inevitability, cast the political arena of the country into a governmental instability, administrative despondency and electoral melancholy. Nigeria is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-tribal, multi-dimensional, multi-directional, multi-faceted, multi-racial, multi-purpose, multi-vocal, and multitudinous nation. Tell me, what better party system will suit our political arena, if not the multi-party system?

I rest my case!

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WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

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WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

I, A MERE MORTAL MADE OF GRIME

WHO AM I TO EVEN GRUDGE?

CAST STONE ON OTHERS, WHEN THEY DO CRIME

 

I AM BUT A SERVANT OF THE GOD OF ROME

A DEVOUT DISCIPLE OF HIS EMISSARY

I AM BUT A FOLLOWER OF THE HOLY TOME

THOUGH I MAY NOT GRASP IT UTTERLY

 

MY MOTHER SOLD ME OUT IN SLAVERY

TO FOREVER TOIL IN A TERRAIN I KNOW NOT

THOUGH SHE WAS RICHEST IN THE CITY

SIMPLY DEEMED ME A BURDEN TOO MUCH

 

I HAD NEITHER CHOICE NOR SAY

IN WHAT WAS TO AFFECT ME FOREVER

I HATED HER SO MUCH THAT DAY

BUT WHO AM I TO POINT A FINGER?

 

MY BEST FRIEND ONCE SWINDLED ME

BORROWED MY SLIGHT, SMALL, LITTLE PAY

AND THEN SUDDENLY, HE FLEES

NO TIME WAS I EVER AS BETRAYED

 

HE CAME BACK, PLEADED AND I FORGAVE

BUT THEN HE FLED AGAIN, NOW WITH MY WIFE

MY INNERSELF BURNED WITH GREAT RAGE

BUT WHO AM I TO MOAN OR WHINE?

 

 

 

 

DEVOTED IN WORSHIP TO THE MOST-HIGH

I SWIFTLY SOUGHT OUT A NOBLE PRIEST

HE ASSURED ME SUPER-HEAVEN IN THIS LIFE

IF ONLY I SOW ONE-TENTH MY EARNINGS

 

ONE DAY, I SAW MY GOOD PRIEST ON A STEED

TREADING MY PATH, I WAVED THAT HE MAY STOP

ALAS! HE SNUBBED ME, OR SO IT SEEMED

WHO AM I, TO CONDEMN, I AM JUST A SLOB

 

I REMEMBER TOO, ONE POOR, FRAIL GENT

WHO CAME TO MY CABIN TO PRAY

NOT FOR FOOD, BUT MY CONSENT

THAT HE MAY RULE THE WHOLE POPULACE

 

I TRUSTED AND GAVE HIM MY BACKING

THEN, AFTER HE BECAME A REVERED SOVEREIGN

HE LOCKED ME UP FOR STREETBEGGING

BUT HEY, WHO AM I TO COMPLAIN?

 

WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

I, A MERE MORTAL MADE OF GRIME

WHO AM I TO EVEN GRUDGE?

CAST STONE ON OTHERS, WHEN THEY DO CRIME

 

NAY! IN SILENCE I SHALL SPEND MY LIFE

IN LACK, I HAVE BEEN; IN LACK, I WILL EVER BE

PERHAPS, I CAN BLAME FATE FOR MY PLIGHT?

DEFINITELY NOT OTHERS, FOR I AM NOT ‘HE’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHERE ART THOU?

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WHERE ART THOU?

I HAVE LOOKED AND LOOKED
MY EYES ARE WEARY
I HAVE WALKED AND WALKED
MY LIMBS ARE UNSTEADY

I HAVE SEARCHED THE WHOLE NATION
YET FUTILE IS MY EXERTION
THE PRESENT AND FUTURE I HAVE SEEN
STILL NO SIGN OF THEE

I LOOK TO THE HEAD
SAID REPRESENTATION OF ALL
I FIND, IT IS MUCH CROOKED
FULL OF PRETENCE, SECRETS AND FRAUDS

I LOOK TO THE COMMONALITY
AND ALL I CAN SEE IS POVERTY
A MASS OF UNBOUND SLAVES
AN OCEAN OF DILIGENT ILLITERATES

I LOOK TO THE SHEPHERDS
BUT THE WORST OF MEN, I REGARD
AFFLUENT SPEAKERS, UNQUESTIONED TYRANTS
MASTERS IN THE DECEPTIVE ART

I LOOK TO MAN’S LAST SOURCE OF HOPE
OR IS IT HIS LAST SOURCE OF WOE?
HAMMERING HARD ON PETTY OFFENDERS
GOING BLIND, ON SEEING LOADED DEFENDANTS

I LOOK TO THE YOUNG ONES
WITH PROFOUND FAITH AND FERVOR
LEADERS OF TOMORROW, I HEAR YOU SAY?
NO! WHAT GREETS THE EYE IS SURELY NO RAY

NO WHERE IS SAFE
NO THING IS CERTAIN
NOT A PUPIL’S GRADUATION TIME
NOT THE HOURS WE SPEND AS NIGHT

BAD NEWS MEET MY EARS DAILY
UGLY SIGHTS SHAKE MY HEAD REPEATEDLY
LEADERS GIVE NO DAMN ABOUT THEIR FOLLOWERS
THEY, DO NOT CARE ABOUT ONE ANOTHER

ON, I LOOK, BUT I SEE NOT
HARD, I LISTEN, BUT I HEAR NOT
IF YOU SAY STILL, THAT THERE IS HOPE
THEN SHOW ME, WHERE IS ITS ABODE?

MY NIGERIA: WHAT IT MEANS TO ME

MY NIGERIA pdf.pdf - Adobe Reader

On the 24th day of August, 2013; 15-year-old Daniel Ohikhena fled his home in Benin. He did not commit any offence at home; he did not go to see a friend or roam the streets of Edo, neither was it the case that he had suddenly gone bananas. Young Daniel was simply running towards the airport, intending to hide in a plane and therefrom sneak to the USA. Unfortunately however, his plan was thwarted as the plane ended up landing in Lagos airport[1].

Daniel is just one of millions of Nigerians who are, in one way or the other, vexed with the dire state of the economy. There is no sane Nigerian, who falls among the 99% that have to struggle intensely in order to survive, who will not for once query why God made him a Nigerian. He wonders why he was not given birth to in America, Canada, London or any of those developed nations where things are seemingly very easy and paradisiac. He will ask, what has he gained being a Nigerian, what pride does he derive being associated with Nigeria, of what use is the Nigerian citizenship to him? I am one of those Nigerians.

Sometimes, I think that, would it make any difference if I was born somewhere else? Would I be more brilliant, pious and successful if I was created as an American, Briton or South African? Has being a Nigerian contributed positively to who I am today? What does Nigeria mean to me? Just a landmass of 356,667 square miles[2] containing about 170 million individuals[3]? Or is it more than that?

In all honesty, being a Nigerian is one of the few things I cherish about myself. It is an identity I will forever hold on to. Nigeria has many things to be proud of, numerous features enough to give us elation, ample blessings to bring us satisfaction. For instance, our land is exceedingly fertile, with limitless depositions of mineral resources scattered all over the country. Name it; crude oil, gold, iron ore, limestone, salt, bitumen, coal, clay, tin, cotton? We have them all, not to mention hundreds of producible cash and food crops. This is unlike the situation obtainable in many other nations of the world.

In addition, Nigeria has a very rich culture. Various cultural festivals such as the Calabar carnival, Argungu fishing festival, Eyo, Osun, Sharo and New-yam festivals are celebrated up-to-date. In fact, scores of whites troop in just to witness them. Whereas, some others do not have their culture as preserved. A good example are the Celtic inhabitants of England, who were, for centuries, colonised, by the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans[4]. Also are various African nations that had to succumb to the imperialist policy of assimilation.

Apart from these, Nigeria equally harbours various tourist sites including the Obudu mountain resort, Idanre hills, Sukur kingdom, Kano wall, Osun groove, Benin moats, which is the largest earth-work in the world and second largest man-made structure[5] and the Mambilla Plateau[6]. Many of which are enlisted among the UNESCO heritage sites[7].

Moreover, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, and 7th most populated in the world. For every 10 black men, 1 is a Nigerian[8]. Also, Nigeria has a very diverse ethnicity with over 250 ethnic groups[9]. Her youth population is likewise very impressive, as 92.2% of the population are between ages of 0 and 54[10]. This goes to show the level of our potentiality.

Sadly, the state of things today is that despite the fact that Nigeria is big enough for us all, many Nigerians still go abroad to seek for inexistent greener pastures. Those who do not, desperately look for the slightest opportunity to. It is even observed that many Nigerians die horribly in the Sahara desert all because of a ‘go-abroad-or-die-trying’ mentality.

On this show of infidelity, I posit that if a Chelsea fan, though not born with blue blood, can be faithful to his club whether it wins a soccer match or not, why then can’t a Nigerian; born in Nigeria, with a Nigerian parentage, speaking a Nigerian language, bearing a Nigerian name; be faithful to Nigeria both in time of bliss and hardship? Why can’t he stay and contribute his quota towards Nigeria’s development? Verily, a green snake that leaves the green grassland because of an empty stomach will end up satisfying another’s hunger.

An American, who obviously should be proud of his nation, would definitely not like to be associated with the huge external debt or high criminality rate the US is known for. Neither would a South-African say he is from a country where 1 in 10 people is infected with HIV/AIDS[11]. Hence, all countries have their strengths and weaknesses. Every country has a history and, indeed, a reality of corruption. Nigeria is no exception. True, we have made very silly mistakes regarding our choice of leaders and attitude, especially those that involve leniency to corruption and hostility to education. However, those mistakes are not enough reasons for us to wallow in humiliation and anti-patriotism.

Being a Nigerian does not mean I am inferior. It does not mean I cannot speak across borders due to shame. It does not mean I cannot attain great heights through honesty, hardwork and determination. It only means I have a bigger responsibility than folks from other countries. A responsibility to salvage my fatherland from the shackles of corruption, illiteracy and insecurity. A responsibility to facilitate the adequate use of our human and natural wealth. A responsibility to remain hopeful and patriotic despite all odds.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo once said, ‘no matter how tall a tree is, it cannot forget its roots.’ This is similar to the Yoruba saying ‘odo kii gun ko gbagbe orisun’ (a river cannot be so long, that it forgets
its source). Consequently, asking what Nigeria means to me is akin to asking what the sun means to the day, what water means to the fish or what the roots mean to a tree.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1]http://dailyindedpendentning.com. Daniel Ohikhena’s ‘Mission to America’. Published on September 9, 2013.
[2]Webster’s Reference Library, Students’ Companion, New edition, Page 344.
[3] http://indexmundi.com. Nigeria Demographics Profile (July 2012 estimate)
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org. Article titled ‘History of England’.
[5] http://punchng.com. Article, ‘Behold Nigeria’s seven wonder sites, published on 14th September, 2013.
[6]Blue-print: Beyond Rhetoric: Mambilla Plateau and tourism in Nigeria.
[7] http://whc.unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Nigeria.
[8] http://wiki.answers.com. What percentage of people in the world are black?
[9] http://cia.gov. CIA World Factbook, Nigeria.
[10] http://indexmundi.com. Nigeria Demographics Profile (2012 estimate)
[11] http://indexmundi.com. Country comparison>People living with HIV/AIDS>Top 100 and bbc.co.uk. Article name, ‘South Africa: Over 25% of schoolgirls HIV positive@ published on 14 March, 2013.

csotpo2
The basic reason why most humans reason that a government is requisite for the survival and development of the human race and the basic reason why resources are expended frequently to ensure the proper placement, displacement and replacement of persons in power is because we believe the government, in whatever form, is the only machinery which can effectively provide a people’s means of livelihood, ‘welfarism’ and security. For a government then to spring up, as many have done, and execute the absolute reverse is therefore a conventional deviation from the essence and ideality of governance. It is no longer a government; it is a ‘misgovernment’.

PRESENT STATE OF MAN: CIVILITY OR BARBARITY?

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PRESENT STATE OF MAN: CIVILITY OR BARBARITY?

Man invented cars, yet pedestrians are ahead.
Man made clothes, yet he remains undressed.
Man built houses, yet he is never protected.
Man invented internet, yet he remains secluded.
~Adebajo A.F.

The present world is viewed by many as the peak of civilisation which man has ever experienced. Myriad sophisticated technologies and novel discoveries flood the whole planet. Even areas of extreme isolation and underdevelopment have a taste or two of the gigantic transformation taking place in the world of mankind. An attempt to compare ancient empires such as the Sumerians and Babylonians, or even pre-historic man, such as the Australopithecines and Homo habilis who lived millions of years ago, with the present day America or Britain, would leave one ‘flabberwhelmed and overghasted’. We tend to wonder how it is possible that man has achieved so much within such a short span of time.

What has amazed me, however, is the ironical state of affairs man is going through. We claim to be civilised yet we bare striking resemblance to savages who are believed to be near-extinction. We claim we are educated, yet we nurture unfounded theories just to promote our egoistic wishes; and then various illnesses mess around with us. Even the best amongst us are unable to find causes, let alone the cures to numerous medical afflictions. We boast we are much skilled, yet find it difficult to govern ourselves peacefully. All these affirm for me, the assertion that too much of anything is deleterious. It is like the life-span of a man. At a point, you reach the peak of intelligence, beauty and strength. But after this point, what ensues? He starts to depreciate in all these qualities. He becomes, more or less, a child once again. Even more a liability than the child. That is the eternal law of God, or if you like, Nature. It is akin to what happens to the marginal utility curve when supply exceeds the point of equilibrium, or to an elastic band pulled to its limit.

Numerous attitudes, mentalities and activities abound today which are, after critical analysis, no different from what is derived thousands of years ago when man was still struggling to understand his habitat and learn how to survive. These phenomena have resurfaced in more endearing but, even more dangerous shapes. Perhaps, it is true that history has always repeated itself. Year after year, epoch after epoch, civilisations spring up and die, dictators come and go, new inventions are made and before we know it, they pass into oblivion.

One of the things most popular, most attributed to early, uneducated, animalistic man is that he was stark-naked. If you ask any kid or grown-up to draw an image of Ape-man, he will definitely not draw him with suit, a waistcoat or any garment. At best, he will be portrayed with an animal skin across his shoulder. This fashion is considered barbaric by any right-thinking man. We all thank God for civilisation, and being born in the present generation. However, I dare ask that what is the difference between the manner of our dressing this present day and that of our animalistic forefathers? We boast of our great intelligence, yet our attitude towards clothing is no different from that of lower animals. The situation in this civilised age is that in which we ‘dress’, nevertheless we are still bare. I shake my head for the set of ‘human beings’ who even believe that wearing nothing at all is the best. In the words of a great scholar, ‘if civilisation is to be measured by how much of your body is nude, then animals not humans are most civilised specie.’
We have reached a time when you are persecuted, fined and laughed at for covering your body, while others are paid, praised and adored for showing the world what is meant to be, and is actually labelled ‘private’. We have reached a time when lunatics, prostitutes and philanderers are our youths’ role-models. We have reached a when people who honestly religious and self-conscious are loathed and jeered.

And again, anthropologists, most particularly Henry Lewis Morgan, would tell us, when treating the evolution of marriage that man started from having a courtship system characterised by group sex or promiscuity, to being polygamous, and later on subscribing to monogamy. This group-sex courtship system is attributed to the era of pre-historic man, because there is really no empirical evidence for it; but they thought that since man is theorised to have originated from the same source as apes, and apes are known for their uncoordinated sexual drives; therefore man too must have been like that, mating with any of the opposite sex whenever the appetite comes. I would say, however, that we need not search too far for evidence for this type of behaviour in the human race. If we look around us, we will definitely know that group-marriage is still the most widely practiced marriage system. We can continue to deceive ourselves saying ‘one man one wife’ is the way to go, and is the most civilised manner of expressing our sexual urge, but reality keeps telling us the exact opposite. An average monogamous man, religious or not, is, in reality, also a coveter of numerous concubines. That is why I hereby suggest that restricted polygyny remains the best form of marriage. I do not wish to go deep into that as it is not the focus of the moment.

This bit of ‘modernism’ is evidently more prevalent in western cultures, and as gradually diffused to unsuspecting areas of permeable customs. Westerners, who are purportedly the most refined of the human race, are also infamous for having the highest rates of rape, domestic violence and divorce cases. While their backward, underdeveloped counterparts in Asian and African countries can boast of better conditions. I remember once again the words of another great scholar. He was advising an American to marry early as he is already of age, but the reply he got stunned him. The American said; ‘if the reason why we buy cows is for us to get milk, and then milk is available for us in excess quantity; why do we still need to but cows?’ What he is saying in essence is that, if the reason why we marry is to satisfy our sexual cravings. And then we have the opportunity to satisfy ourselves at little or no charge, why then do we still need to marry? That is to tell you how bad our situation has become as a race.

Women are now treated as sex-toys, all in the name of feminism, female liberation and gender balance. You can pounce on any girl you like and use her to your whims and fancy, without getting sanctioned by the society, as long as both parties (i.e. you and victim) gave their consent. Even if the other party does not do it out of volition, it is easier for a blue-whale to enter a needle’s eye than for the guilty individual to get caught, prosecuted and convicted. It is very demoralising that punishments for fornication and adultery, just like sodomy and bestiality, are far becoming obsolete.

Apart from all these, my assertion that the human race has slipped into barbarity yet again without knowing is also based on the fact we are growing more individualistic by the day. If Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s proposition concerning the state of nature in his social contract theory is anything to go by, then man from the beginning of time, or from the start of his existence was few in number and scattered all over the planet. This made communal relationships impossible to take place. Each man was to himself. Each man catered for his own nutrition, shelter and survival. But as he increased in number, he started clustering into families, and from families, communities, from communities, kingdoms and from kingdoms, nations. He started establishing social institutions and promulgating laws to facilitate peaceful co-existence. He began to trust and rely on his neighbour.

Conversely, what is noticeable in this present time is that we have retrogressed back into that original state of ‘each man to himself’. Nobody cares anymore if his next-door neighbour is starving to death as long as he is satisfied; nobody cares if his course mate is on the verge of getting rusticated as long as he is having A’s, nobody cares if his cousin is unable to get a job as long as his robust income is constant. The truth is that nobody cares anymore. The government does not care about its people and neither do the people care about one another. Everybody wants to be independent of the larger society, and be able to make selfish decisions without having to worry about sanction or opprobrium. It has got to the extent that an average man is hesitant of assisting his fellow man due to the fear of being ill-treated. This is the horrendous situation we now find ourselves.

My dear reader, please ask yourself, are you one the barbarians parading the streets as a civilised ‘human person’ or are you truly refined in the ideal sense of the word? … At this point, I would like to say that Rousseau’s proposition that ‘science, art, and social institutions have corrupted humankind and that the natural, or primitive, state is morally superior to the civilized state’ {Encarta} is not absolutely mistaken as it contains elements of veracity.

If truth be told, it is high time we left the shackles of immorality, ignorance and savagery. It is high time the human race sprang up and makes progress which is actually productive and pro-forthcoming-generations. It is high time we pondered on the odd but germane question, what is the present state of man, civility as it is widely believed or barbarity as it seems more likely?

ASCENSUS ARMATI

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ASCENSUS ARMATI
THE RISE OF THE ARMED
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
FROM CAPE TOWN TO TUNISIA
FROM DAKAR TO SOMALIA
IN SHACKLES, WE COUNT OUR DAYS
OUR NEMESIS, OUR COMRADES

GREETINGS TO THE FREE BLACK CLAN
LUCKY IS HE BORN OF AN ABBYSINIAN
FOR HE NOR HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER
TASTED FROM THE WHITEMAN’S DANDER

IN SHACKLES, WE COUNT OUR DAYS
ALAS! SOON THAT PASSED AWAY
NO DOUBT, IT IS WAS NOT WITHOUT
MANY A KINSMAN’S BLACKOUT

NEW TO LIBERTY, WE REJOICED
OUR HOPES FOR THE UNKNOWN, WE VOICED
OUR IGNORANCE DEFENDED OUR REALISING
AS A WAR ENDS, OTHERS BEGIN

ATTENTION!
AFRICANS ARE AT TENSION
AT THE ECHO OF THE TRYING WHISTLE
AT THE SIGHT OF THE UNIFORMS’ METTLE

ATTENTION?
THIS IS AN ABOMINATION
A SHOULD-BE VIOLATION
WARNS THE AGED NATION

CORRUPTION IS EVERYWHERE, THEY SAID
THE ARISTOS ARE SHADY, THEY PLEADED
WE HAD NO CHOICE EXCEPT
ONCE AGAIN, SHACKLES, TO ACCEPT

OUR COMMON WEALTH BECAME THEIRS
THEIR FAMILY GLITCHES, OURS
ONE REGIME GIVES UP TO ANOTHER
AS DOGS DEVOURING ONE ANOTHER

OUR PRECIOUS GOLDS, THEY WITHHOLD
OUR AFFLICTION, EYES CANNOT BEHOLD
OUR STORY COULD NEVER BE TOLD
BY GREEK WRITERS OF DAYS OLD

ONCE IN A COMET COME
ONE WITH EQUITIES AND WORLDY WISDOM
WILL THINK OF THE MULTITUDE
AND GIVE SWAY TO UNBOUND QUIETUDE

GONE ARE THOSE WOEFUL DAYS
NOW ALL WE HAVE ARE TALES
GOOD RIDDANCE TO KHAKICRACY
WELCOME, ADVOCATES OF KLEPTOCRACY

THINKING OUR FUTURE BRIGHT ONCE MORE
WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IS TO COME
THE MILTANTS HAVE SHED THEIR FURS
AS THE WHITE FOLKS, THEY BE SOLIDLY WITH US

‘MY OGA AT THE TOP’: A MESSAGE TO ALL

‘MY OGA AT THE TOP’: A MESSAGE TO ALL

 

Channels TV: what is the website of NSCDC?

Shem: the website of NSC…NSCDC…yes will be made known…I cannot categorically tell you one now…because the one that…

Channels TV: (cuts in) you have multiple websites?

Shem: wait, wait…the one we are going to make use of, I am not the one that is going to create it.

Channels TV: see, the question is what is your website?

Shem: (cuts in) waaait , the one we are going to make use of…is go…is going to remain known by (raising right index finger) my oga at the top. I can’t announce one now and my oga says it’s another one.

Channels TV: you mean NSCDC has multiple websites?

Shem: see, we cannot have multiple websites, but the one that…that…my oga will say

Channels TV: not the one for employment. what is your website now. The one you use normally. Your official website. If you want to know about NSCDC, what website do you go to?

Shem: okay, if you want to know about NSCDC as at now?

Channels TV: exactly.

Shem: okay, ww.nscdc

Channels TV: yes

Shem: yes, so… (Coughs). That’s all.

Channels TV: ww.nscdc? …that’s it?

Shem: yes.

* * * * * * * * * *

A person willing to be acquainted with the leading distraction in Nigeria need not go far before he hears someone shout; ‘you are my oga at the top’, ‘my website is dobiyu dobiyu dot daz all’, ‘lemme first of all ask my oga at the top’ and so on. Or perhaps he might even be fortunate to catch a glimpse of one of the polos and shirts customised to celebrate this act of; shall we say mediocrity, ignominy or spirited witlessness? We can logically conclude that a Nigerian who is unaware about the tale is either among the 71.57% of Nigerians without internet access or one of the 55.3% without access to TV.

The topical hilarious, yet disastrous ‘my oga at the top’ saga is one which, in my sincere opinion, should oblige us to engage in deep introspection on our predicament as a nation.

Some are of the view that Mr Obafaiye Shem, the Lagos state commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the icon in this drama, ought to resign or better still be sacked for committing such a weighty blooper. But then, I think that this should not be the case. The only flaw people who are critical of the man can point out is that which concerns the organisation’s website address; which I frankly deem trivial and negligible. I mean, the man has just recently celebrated 100 days in office and a URL address is one of the things he should not be bothered with, especially giving the office he holds. The only problem I have is his trying to bluff his way out rather than just admitting his unawareness, and then his constant reference to his ‘oga at the top’, whoever that is.

Watching the video again, I could not but laugh at the laughable, unimpressive and preposterous manner in which Mr Shem arrogantly answered the question. He obviously seemed uncomfortable and fidgety. Perchance, he was only caught up with the dilemma principle.

Some also opine that the startling diffusion of the incident is because of the activities of companies who want to divert attention from the content of the interview. However, I beg to disagree. The stuff has gone viral because Nigerian cyber-surfers want it that way. The question we should ask ourselves is why do Nigerians want it that way. My answer: poverty and idleness. Most Nigerians have little or nothing to do. We needed something to while away time, and ‘our oga at the top’ has come to give us just that.

Finally and finally, my message to all and sundry is one, to not just be the best in whatever it is we are doing, but also to have little knowledge on other things as well. Because, seriously speaking, it could have been anybody. Mr Shem, surprisingly has three degrees to his credit, yet he is yet to master the art of speechifying. This makes one wonder how he successfully scaled through his past interviews. Two, we should endeavour to take note of little subtle details because at times they matter more than the glaring ones. Let us not be extremely conservative to the extent of not paying attention to important things such as the format URL addresses take. Three, it never pays not to know a thing, and claim or act as if you know it. If you do this, you will only succeed in making a ridicule of yourself and making your ignorance more apparent. Lastly, we all know that in Nigeria, one needs ‘ogas at the top’ to go places, but never attempt to over-extol them while giving public addresses, most especially on channels TV. 🙂

SHALL WE PARDON THE HEEDLESS PARDONER?

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SHALL WE PARDON THE HEEDLESS PARDONER?
‘’corruption is like a ball of snow, once it sets rolling it must increase’’
Charles C. Colton

The recent show of ineptitude by the Jonathan led administration has earned sundry denigrations from across the nation and beyond. The show I speak of is none other than the presidential pardon granted to Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa state, and some seven others. The reason for the intense criticism received by this outlandish move, most especially from the Anti-corruption network, coalition against corrupt leaders (CACOL) and the United States, is not far-fetched. The minute percentage of public opinion that suggest that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the pardon have as their pretext the ‘facts’ that due process was followed, Alamieyeseigha is a great asset to the nation and presidential pardon is a common practice across the globe.

Eight years back, Alamieyeseigha was accused of accumulating (outside Nigeria) known properties, bank accounts, investments and cash exceeding £10m in worth. His portfolio of foreign assets included accounts with five banks in the UK and further accounts with banks in Cyprus, Denmark and the United states; four London properties acquired for a total of £4.8m; a Cape town harbour penthouse acquired for almost £1m, possible assets in the United states, and almost £1m stored in cash in one of his London properties.

This same individual is also infamous for allegedly jumping bail in London by dressing like a woman, to return to Nigeria. In point of fact, the corrupt activities engaged in by Alamieyeseigha are so titanic that they are still under investigation by the governments of Britain, United States, South Africa, Bahamas and Seychelles as well as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank under the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative.

Hence, indubitably, the past record of Chief Alamieyeseigha is one that is one that flooded with illegality; and to associate with such person, let alone support him, is a pointer to the fact you are no better. A good leader, especially one who claims to be fervently fighting corruption, ought to not only distant himself from such personalities but also publicly show his discontent with their ill actions.

I strongly believe that the action taken by the federal government, on the advice of the National council of state is either ill-judged or externally instigated. I even find it difficult to see the expediency of the so-called National council of state in this regard, as the President will the one to suggest names of to-be-pardoned convicts, and he will also be the one to approve. To free an adjudged criminal is to officially formalise crime and corruption. It is akin to giving the green light to others contemplating on engaging in the same thing, saying to them, ‘worry not, we are firmly behind you’.

The fact that the constitution {in §175} gives room for a presidential prerogative of mercy is not a sufficient rationalization of what the president, in the person of Goodluck Jonathan, did. Legal reinforcement must not be mistaken for moral reinforcement. The pardon was obviously not ‘pro bono publico’, neither is it in line with rational thought. Apart from this, it is my believe that the convention is that presidential pardons are only given to those who commit political but not criminal crimes.

It is now glaring that corruption in Nigeria is not just as a result of the blemish that subsists in the judiciary, it is mostly due to the lack of will of the government to sincerely fight it. We have hundreds, if not thousands of Ibori’s, Bode’s and Alamieyeseigha’s in Nigeria. For us to luckily catch up with one of them should be a source of joy. In essence, revoking such a noteworthy achievement is like the situation of a woman who, after having sought for one for decades, is delivered of a child and then immediately kills it.

In a nutshell, I not only see this appalling and impolitic governmental move ‘as a setback in the fight against corruption’ as suggested by the American government, or as ‘great disservice to upcoming generations’ as averred by Dino Melaye, but as an affront on the machinery of justice and the intelligence of the Nigerians at large.

THE ROLE OF YOUTHS IN TACKLING CORRUPTION

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THE ROLE OF YOUTHS IN TACKLING CORRUPTION

WRITTEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF: A LECTURE ADDRESSED TO 77 STUDENTS FROM ADEOLA ODUTOLA COLLEGE, SENIOR SCHOOL
COURTESY: COWYL NIGERIA
DATE: November 23, 2011.

The word ‘youth’ means young people in general. Since you are young and I am young, then we are the youths.
Corruption is undoubtedly a negative trend that is widespread not only in Nigeria but all-over the world. Corruption is the reason education is not free. Corruption is the reason our schools lack basic amenities. It is the reason commodities such as food and oil are becoming more expensive by the day. Corruption is the reason the government is finding it hard to pay the 18 thousand naira minimum wage. In fact, it is also the reason why groups such as the Niger-Delta militants, MEND and Boko-haram etc. are springing up. Corruption is responsible for poverty, unemployment, social decay, educational backwardness and many other ills in our society.
Corruption is defined in the dictionary as dishonest, illegal or immoral behaviour, especially from someone with power. Therefore, corruption is not only restricted to government offices. Every sector in the country, be it economic, academic, political, social or religious, are affected by this evil called corruption.
However, it is defined by transparency international as behaviour on the part of officials in the public sector, whether politicians or civil servants, in which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves or those close to them by the misuse of public power.
Nigeria is one of the most infamous nations for corruption in the world. It was ranked in 2007, according to the transparency int’l corruption perception index, as the 147th least corrupt country, Ghana ranked number 69 and South Africa, 45.
It is very unfortunate that a whopping 80% of our oil wealth goes to less than 1% of the entire population.
Sanni Abacha is allegedly the 4th most corrupt President for embezzling up to 2-5 billion US dollars.
According to the world bank, between 1960 and 1999 , $400 billion was stolen. That is a staggering amount of money because if you were to put 400 billion dollar bills end-to-end, you could make 75 round trips to the moon . concretely, those 400 billion dollars could have translated into millions of vaccinations for children, thousands of kilometres of roads, hundreds of schools, hospitals and water treatment facilities that never came to be.
Seeing how inimical corruption is to the growth of our economy and success of the youths, then we no doubt will agree that it is important for us to fight it head-on. Fighting corruption should not only be the duty of bodies like EFCC, NDLEA, SSS, ICPC and so on. We the youths also have a role to play in tackling it. So, as youths, what are we expected to do to abate and curb this negative trend?
First and foremost, we need to always do what is right. Mahatma Gandhi, the man that liberated India from the shackles of Imperialism, once said; ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. If you want our leaders to be honest and less corrupt, you also must be honest in all your dealings. It is ridiculous to accuse a person of a crime that you yourself are guilty of. So let us examine ourselves right now. How many of us can proudly beat our chest and say we have never consciously told a lie before? How many can beat their chest and say we have never taken what does not belong to us? How many of us in this gathering can unequivocally claim that we have never engaged in examination mal-practice? The truth is that almost all if not all of us have engaged in one corrupt activity or the other. We need to change our attitude if want our leaders to change theirs, because personal development is a prerequisite to national development. And the incontrovertible fact is that our personality cannot be good if our mentality is wrong. If you are the type that goes about with the mental-mind that corruption is justifiable means to an end, if you are the type that seeks for a public office because of private gains; then you are a liability to this nation
In short, we need to evaluate ourselves and determine the extent of our corruption. After the evaluation, we must endeavour to correct our mentality i.e. it must be at the back of our minds that corruption is wrong and it cannot get you anything that will last-long. It will only cause us shame and embarrassment. After adjusting our mentality, it must show in our personality. We should not be the ones that will be caught in acts such as lying, theft, bribery, favouritism, exam mal-practice, embezzlement etc.
Secondly, in our fight against corruption we should preach what is right. What I mean by this is that you spread the message to your friends, family, relatives and even stranger, whenever you have the chance and by whatever means is at your disposal. It may be through the school magazine, through morning talks on the assembly ground, through the social network, the internet in general etc.
Thirdly and lastly is that you need to demand what is right from others, the leaders and people in power. If it is your class captain/prefect that you find culpable of corrupt practices, call him/her to order. If he/she fails to take to correction, report him/her or take other disciplinary actions against such person. If it is your teacher, do the same. The future does not belong to cowards. Wole Soyinka once wrote, ‘he dies he who keeps silent in the face of tyranny’. Gani Fawhinmi also said, ‘stand on the right thing, even if you are the only one standing’. Any leader that is corrupt is a tyrannical and despotic ruler because he is self-centred and he fails to consider the outcries and interests of his followers. We must note that the best way to demand what is right from people in power without prejudice is if we ourselves do not benefit from their corrupt activities.
In summation, to tackle corruption we should ensure we always think the right way, do the right thing, preach the right thing and demand the right thing. We must say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to corruption if we desire to move forward.