I HOPE TO ALWAYS BE SICK

                            HOW I WISH  …

… TO ALWAYS BE SICK

Walking back home today ‘under’ the scorching heat, with no cash in hand [nor in pocket, nor in the bank], and witnessing a gradual resurrection of my supposedly buried malaria infection, I could not but become philosophical in mood.

I was sick of the level of abject poverty that walks free in my society. Old men without security, struggling to keep a life many without creed would thoughtlessly terminate. Young children who stare at their juniors going to school, and who, rather than go to school too, are forced by their guardians to hawk petty goods for long hours every single day. Fathers [and these days, mothers too] who become speechless or prevaricate whenever their kids ask why they can’t have this or that; why they eat once a day while their neighbours have all they want; why they have to wear the same dress for the same festival, five years in a row, before getting a new sub-standard one. What about the gutters? Rather than prevent flooding; they have become a massive bin system, an abode for flies, tadpoles, and in fact unwanted new-borns.

I was sick of the naivety of our youths. The guys going through any means imaginable to be [not just rich but] filthily and ostentatiously rich, wrongly assuming that’s all there is to life; and then spending all the money, not on education or business ventures, but on drugs and girls. And the girls: thinking so low of themselves and trading their priceless bodily endowment for small, insignificant ephemerons. Both parties trying endlessly to please the other, but doing no more than to ruin their own lives.

I was sick of people dying, dreams quashing and families crumbling; all because some unemployed and confused youths are paid to blow things up for whatever reason. Every year, the frustration keeps increasing. Frustrated youths, both within and without the country, are taken advantage of to frustrate the lives of others. And then, there seems to be no end in sight.

I was sick of the government responsible for all these. Not that it caused it, and neither that it didn’t, but that it failed to arrest them. Politicians who sponsor terrorism just to register fear in the people’s minds and pit them against their opponents. Office holders who steal, in a matter of seconds, what their whole kinsmen and countless progenitors may never exhaust; building mansions in faraway countries, which they may never step in; buying sporty cars as if buying their kids toy cars, and as is they could ride in ten at the same time.

I was sick, and I am still.

Hence, how it is that wish to always be sick.

How I wish my sickness would graduate to become sadness.

How I wish my sadness would graduate to become resentment.

…and that resentment would, in one way or the other, lead to an insurgence…

…be it peaceful, or otherwise… I don’t care, because no patient is patient enough to care HOW he gets treatment, all he wants is THAT he gets it.

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FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

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FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

THE WINNING SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE FINAL ROUND, IN-HOUSE SPEAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, ORGANISED BY THE LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY, FACULTY OF LAW, UI.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Date: 14th Day Of March, 2014.


It is indeed a historic day. A day that has been anticipated for four long years. A day that has generated much dispute and quarrels. A day, the only day, that sovereignty truly belongs to the people. On this day, we see people: male and female, juvenile and senile, children and their parents, the leaders and the led; everybody marching to the same location, harbouring the same intention, to engage in the same action. The day is the 14th day of February, a Saturday, the Election Day. And coincidentally, Valentine’s Day.

Good afternoon friends, brethren, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, and I am here at this event to share my thought on the question: FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015, HOW FEASIBLE?

Let us cast our minds back in history. On June 12, 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in an election that is widely acknowledged as the best in the history of the nation. The elections were properly planned and conducted. There were pre-election debates, making it easy to know the candidate who is truly brilliant and the one who only has a charming smile. People voted and when it was obvious that MKO Abiola would be declared winner, his rival, Bashir Tofa was said to have sent him a congratulatory message, showing a spirit of comradeship. Records have it that has the results were being declared, prices of goods and services were dropping. Some businessmen even refused to be paid because they were glad that hope has finally come to the people. Unfortunately, this memorable election was annulled by the then Military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

Fast-forward to 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are nothing to write home about. It is in Nigeria that politicians tear one another’s posters all because of power. It is in Nigeria that you will see a presidential aspirant being invited for a debate by the people and rather than grace the invitation, he decides to be grooving with a popular musician. Yet, he still wins. It is in Nigeria that you find party loyalists at polling booths offering ₦500 and cups of Garri to voters to ‘buy’ their mandate. It is in Nigeria that thuggery during the electioneering process is a normal thing. When thugs do show up at a polling unit, the voters gladly welcome them asking why they came late. In short, 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are increasingly decreasing in credibility. They are only getting better at getting worse.

Now, 2015 is in the corner. We are still seeing a lot of abnormalities in the system. The recent activities of INEC have brought little or no hope, most especially the November 16, 2013 gubernatorial election in Anambra state which left many in a state of utter confusion. Nigerians have lost confidence in the commission, so much so that we invented a new expression, Jega, meaning ‘the act of stupidly wasting the time of a lot of people whilst keeping them under the sun.’

But then, Professor Attahiru Jega has (has contained in an article of the Sun newspaper published Tuesday, March 11) promised us that new machineries are in place to prevent rigging in the coming elections. It will not be business as usual. Permanent voters’ cards will be distributed without which a person cannot vote. On getting to the polling unit, a machine will be present to verify the voter’s passport and fingerprint, making it impossible for politicians to buy voters’ cards.

That said, I believe that very soon, the story will change. I believe that the 2015 election will not only be free, it will not only be fair; it will be first class. In fact, better than what we saw in 1993. If only we are willing to sacrifice. If only our leaders will do away with thirst for power; if they will be concerned about the welfare of the people and not the well-being of their pockets. If they will be true statesmen and not politricksters, because as James C Freeman aptly said; ‘a politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.’

In conclusion, I would say: Let us be positive thinkers. A positive thinker sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. Let us be positive thinkers, and in essence great achievers, by seeing that freedom and fairness in the 2015 election is much feasible.

God bless Nigeria! God bless you!

Thank you!

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!

THERE WAS A SPIDER…

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THERE WAS A SPIDER

Once upon an era
There was a little spider
Threading with tender
In a safe corner,
It weaves its new quarters
Yarn after yarn
Hook, line and sinker
Day and night, it lumbered
Hour upon hour
It never got tired

Then there came the instant
The work was done and over
It turned out as planned
Perhaps, even better
The little spider’s perfect quarters
Was ready for the Normans
Hurray! It was all proud and relaxed
Many a prey it caught to quench its hunger
No day went by without a good dinner
Its hopes reached the sky, near and yonder
Until a small boy came hither
With a stick, small as Hitler’s whiskers
The insect’s glorious home, he ruined
And the spider itself, he sent to its tomb

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NOTE: IT MIGHT EASILY SEEM THAT THE SMALL BOY IS THE ANTAGONIST WHILE THE SPIDER IS THE TRAGIC HERO, BUT THAT IS NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE.

THIS POEM IS AN ALLUSION TO POLITICIANS OR BIG BUSINESS MOGULS (SPIDER) WHO FEED ON THE ‘PROLES’ (INSECT PREYS) AND BUILD GIGANTIC MANSIONS (SPIDER WEB) FOR THEMSELVES, WITH A SENSE OF PRIDE AND SAFETY. HOWEVER, AS SHOWN HERE, THERE WILL DEFINITELY COME A TIME WHEN THE TIDE WILL TURN AGAINST THEM AND THEIR DOOM WILL ORIGINATE FROM THEIR EVIL PAST AND MENACING PRESENCE.

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.