Month: January 2012

Our own Security


Brethren,
We are gathered here today again, a week after the inhuman acts in Kano and also more than a week since the revelations have been spewing out of the mouths of government officials at the National Assembly Ad hoc committee hearings.

Several sections of Kano were up in flames after the Friday mosque prayers and accounts given say the body count went as high as 300 at the end of Sunday.
It took no time for terrorist group; Boko Haram to claim responsibility for this one as well. If anyone thinks our beloved nation is not on some kind of gloomy precipice then I feel it is too late for me to point out the realities to such a person.
It has never been this dire since the time of the Civil war.
A nation under attack internally makes for a very uncomfortable situation seeing that all efforts are concentrated to prevent further attacks from happening. People are more paranoid and public places are no longer safe.

What puts more fear in the heart of the citizenry is the boldness exhibited by this group; carrying out attacks on military and security establishments in broad daylight without fear of being overrun. oh! what are we saying, these groups have proven time and time again, sighting examples in Abuja, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa that they are always more prepared than our own Federal and state security organizations.

Train and Equip the Police Force properly

This leaves a gaping void in the psyche of the average citizen, a void which is supposed to be filled up with confidence in the apparatus of government.

Meanwhile, Nigerians for or against fuel subsidy removal were entertained to such startling revelations of reckless spending by the NNPC as well as a clear disregard of due process when it came to the importation of PMS.

We were later educated that actual PMS subsidy payments amounted to only N245 billion naira, not the previously bandied around figure of N1.6 trillion naira( the actual/total figure for both kerosene and PMS).
How does one comprehend such figures falling into the hands of a small group of people when you can see the hardship across the street.

Reports say over 20million liters of subsidized PMS finds its way to neighboring countries around us, then you wonder what is really happening. How else will small arms and ordinances used to kill innocent civilians find their way into the country when large moving tanks carrying fuel easily find their way out.
It is a worrying realization to accept but our nation’s security has been largely compromised.
At the moment dialogue is being considered with this terrorist group Boko Haram, meaning this will be the second time in 3 years that our government will succumb to such threats generated internally.
As the great literature Giant Professor Wole Soyinka put it point blank in his piece for the January Edition of Newsweek, our democratic leaders have clung to the habit of appeasement regarding these insurgents and spineless criminals. What then shall our children cling to as pillars of hope and bravery? When no one stands in the forefront against infamy, cowering before your own people and putting out press statements that show nothing but uncertainty and weakness.

The ease with which an alleged Boko Haram sponsor escaped from the custody of the police is still one that leaves everyone utterly baffled. The incident already cost The Inspector General of Police his job. We all hope his replacement brings some much needed relief to the nation’s plight, this is despite the general belief that an entire and complete shake up is required in the Nigerian Police Force.

IG Abubakar. Can he deliver?

Hafiz Ringim probably over stayed his welcome as the head of the Nigerian Police, IG Abubakar surely has little time for comfort if he is to be the one upon whose shoulder the immediate future of the Nigerian Police force lies upon.
My deepest condolences to the families of those lost in the kano and Bauchi attacks. May God comfort you and may He continue to protect the rest of us.

Let us pray.

Taking stock + pressing controversy


On the 16th of January 2012, at about 01:00PM, the NLC and TUC jointly announced in a press briefing that the Nationwide Strike embarked upon on the 9th of January had been suspended.

Within my social circle of colleagues and friends the whispers were unanimous; The NLC/TUC had sold us out. Well, for the benefit of doubt, voices of reason have brought forward arguments stating why the NLC refused to state their demands to the Government after the said Government had reviewed the price of petrol from N141 to N97. I for one expected some form of negotiation to have taken place after GEJ’s announcement of the change during his speech that same morning.

Normalcy has returned to a large extent in the various cities of protest save for Lagos and Kano where there is a strong Military presence. I for one am uncomfortable with this development, especially when reports have surfaced of the escape of an alleged Boko Haram financier from the custody of the Nigerian Police.

This kind of crowd transcends Politics

If there is one positive I have derived from the past week’s protest, it is that Nigeria to a large extent is gradually rising out of the fictitious shadow of religious intolerance that foreign nations and media claim is rampant amongst us. On the other hand, there is an observation of ethnic bias to all this.
As reports of protests rang out across the country from Abuja to Lagos and Kano, barely any word of support or solidarity was heard from the South south/ south-east axis of the country. On the contrary interest groups backing the government decision rose vocally from the zone.

For a while I tried to understand what the reason for this was. Local Tv stations simply stated that the region was observing the Labor Strike yet no protests or rallies were ongoing.

Since the Strike has been called off and as stock taking is ongoing, I choose not to be drawn into the most voiced argument put forward by most people I have asked concerning this issue.
But one thing stands out loud and clear. The road to true unity is a long and hard one.
The South South region for a long time has been our main source of bread and butter in this country and admittedly, it turns out that despite the oil wealth they boast of, they are still one of the most impoverished regions in the country.
The neglect as well as the Ecological disaster are still felt till this day.

I just hope the youth of the south south region realize that their current and past political leaders in this current dispensation are amongst those who have diverted and embezzled funds meant for their development into their personal accounts.
In as much as marginalization has been claimed, people of the south south and south-east need to look at their leaders and ask them to give account of their stewardship while they were and are still are in government and it is these same leaders that are being loyally followed, also, I will not delve into the reasons why this is so prevalent but all I can say is that it is not healthy.

I say this not as someone representing any particular Geo-political zone, I say this as a Nigerian youth who seeks a change in the system. Both administrative and ideological. Yes, I say those two words a lot, but in the broader sense, those are the key angles I feel we can really change this system from.

I felt let down by the lack of support from these zones, but then again it might just be only me.
If change is to come for us in this country, it has to be a concerted effort. One that should involve us all. With out that, then those who are working against this change will see cracks through what ever frail united front the rest of us present.

Even if change doesn’t come as rapid and as revolutionary as I hope, I feel the proper one will still come; one way or another. I just pray that we don’t have to wait for our children to be the ones to do the work for us.

I say again. Let us all present one united front, devoid of political leanings or ethnic bias.

The real Issue


I watched as the paramedics, doctors and nurses tried to resuscitate him, deep down my worst fears had come true,I found myself helpless and angry. Unable to do anything, I looked away. We had already been rejected by three so-called established hospitals  and this was the fourth.

“It couldn’t be the end” , I said to myself. I tried not to imagine the worst. We still needed him… then I saw him move. He flailed his arm helplessly, hitting the oxygen tank and gesturing to his side. He looked at his wife and threw his hands up one more time, almost as if to say; “I’m not going out that easily”. Hope rose from a distant place within me. I ran off to get the doctor.

He is a fighter.

What is the voice of the people saying?

Its been just over a week since the announced fuel subsidy removal and Nigerians have spoken, Protests across the country have been followed up by a national strike, grinding the nation to an abrupt halt. 10 people have been killed by police and the people’s resolve still remains strong. They won’t accept another concoction of lies and false promises. The campaigns and agendas have already filled them up enough.

Government ministers and appointees have made the media rounds, getting their cronies and underlings to assist them in spreading their propaganda. But they have also found some sort of support base. seemingly, some sections have sympathized with their cause and are gradually forging a voice albeit one dictated by the government purse strings.

I still am not sold on simply forcing government’s hand to only reverse the subsidy removal, I feel that a change in  this system is the only solution, but as expected, Nigerians are wary of such a change. The shadow of previous military leaderships and dictatorship still lingers in the back ground and a mere glimpse of it would be unpalatable to a large number of the enlightened masses. Maybe I have grown too uncomfortable with our semblance of democracy, maybe I’m way too idealistic with my postulation and ambitions for us as a nation but I am still convinced that our only solution is a change in the system of governance and administration.

The state of insecurity coupled with the widespread sense of dissatisfaction paints a bleak picture of our future. Boko Haram pushes us from one side while government pronouncements unsettles us from the other. We have no wall to back up against. We as a people are under threat of being pummeled into a state of wrongful submission and fear. It’s unfortunate to realize that this should happen when the world recognizes that we are run by a supposedly democratically elected Leadership. To call it a farce is an understatement.

We have already seen efforts by authorities to stifle our voices of protests. The killing of protesters in Kano, Lagos and Maiduguri coupled with beatings, harassment and intimidation of the #Occupy movements in Abuja and Kano. These highlights might portray discouraging scenes to the average protester who clings to a faint hope that their efforts will force the leadership to yield. I believe it will. I am sure that government will reverse their decision once they have tested the resolve of the people and seen that it is strong.

That will not give me any satisfaction though. A few days ago the scene I painted in my first paragraph happened to someone close to me and when we were out of the worst moments I had time to think. I almost wept for our health system, heavily abandoned and under funded for years on, even Private hospitals were unable to help our plight.

With or without Fuel subsidy massive corruption still exists. Billions of Naira is still siphoned away through over bloated contracts, ghost workers, false claims and ridiculous allowances. Government is an obese structure barely moving but still being over fed.

The recent announcement of the 25% reduction in basic salaries for the executive barely scratches the surface of this matter.

What about the senate and the House of reps who receive jumbo pay offs that are incomprehensible when compared to their constitutional functions. The parallel Parastatals still exists performing the same functions.

Labour will not fight for these changes because by some way they are still part of this government. It is all down to us. Subsidy removal is just a battle in a larger war and we must face up to the facts.

What do we really want?

Its now


Its been several days now. I’ve watched, observed and cringed on the sidelines as Nigerians entered the year 2012 accompanied by more uncertainties. The Boko Haram bomb blasts of Christmas day was still fresh in our minds as people with enough courage or faith gathered in public places to welcome the new year.
Rather than receiving a sympathetic arm from the same government meant to protect and assure us, Nigerians (including Boko Haram members) where greeted with a rude awakening on new year’s day. The price of fuel was more than doubled at the fuel pumps.

The result?

An unimaginable ripple effect across the board affecting transportation, staple foods, cost of medicine and standard of living. meager salaries are just plain insufficient right now; a menial worker who survived on an 18,000 naira salary used to spend 80 naira a day to get into the Abuja city center last year, now, his daily transport expense is 400 naira (considering he lives in Maraba;an outskirt of Abuja)
I just gave you an instance of what some one living on the government approved but not implemented new minimum wage structure is facing.

What about those who earn less, and these men and women constitute a larger percentage of society.

We are only just touching on transportation.
Consider what effect this will definitely have on other aspects of daily living.

Look, enough of my fellow bloggers must have pointed these facts and disturbing figures out so i won’t go into all the details lest i seem repetitive.
what we need is a definite solution, one that not only solves this immediate problem but also sees us safeguarding our future and that of generations unborn.
After 12 years of experiencing our fledgling democracy i boldly say that something drastic needs to be done.
True and absolute democracy needs to be brought to the people, civil service needs to be what it truly stands for; service to the government.
We have all been patient enough to see the level of corruption in the Nigerian society. The rot itself comes from within government. festered and cultured by many years of military rule.
If we choose to stand against government on subsidy alone or even manage to ensure cut backs in government over head spending, we have not won. It will just be a momentary victory, one which i see as short sighted.
This present predicament has succeeded in bringing Nigerians out of our gravely dilapidated comfort zones, we finally truly feel the pinch, therefore i say, rather than stand up for crumbs and pennies why not stand up for what we truly deserve. what is rightly ours.

I seek a total system overhaul, one devoid of recycled faces and political jobbers.
I want us all to march for rebirth, to truly take us on the path to true independence and freedom. Nigeria is truly unique and with that we can create a unique revolution. one that rather than borrows from the Arab spring, shines a light on how a true revolution should take place.
we have had enough of the same system, the same politicians and most importantly enough of the same excuses.
I have watched as people have marched on the streets for the past few days, choosing to keep quiet.

Why?

I have kept quiet because i want to know if we are on the same page, all of us. Do we want the same thing ? or will the simple return of fuel subsidy shut us up?
let us not forget that this country is ours, be you ibo, hausa, yoruba, efik, igala, tiv, kalabari, junkun, kanuri or egun, we have for the past half a century lived as one nation.
The hope i have for us is immense.
If incompetent leaders can bring us this far, imagine what competent ones can do, the great things we can do as a nation.

This is the revolution i want.

If 2012 is the year we all want the change to come then i stand in agreement, with all my effort and commitment.
but let us not get carried away with inspiring words and patriotic zeal.
we must realize that the road is hard.
It might take days, weeks, months, probably years, but once we embark on this new journey we have to keep trudging on no matter what. Some might not be as bold and as persevering as others, some might be bought over by those in power, others might just simply not have the belief in what I want us to stand for. Just as long as the overwhelming majority see the need for change, then there is hope.

Everything needs to change in government; the system, the ideology and the people and we the citizens are the ones who can ensure that. We have seen it happen in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. This is the opportunity we need.

Our Unique Revolution