Category: Random

Letter to President Buhari


Mr. President from May 29th.
Mr. President from May 29th.

Dear President Buhari, how have the last few days been? Hope like the rest of the citizenry that you will be ruling for the next 4 years you have felt the discomfort of fuel scarcity & power outages. I hear you are away in England at the moment attending to matters abroad. I do hope for all our sakes that these matters concern the key issues you promised to address while you campaigned extensively across the nation.

At the moment a lot of us cannot wait for the 29th of May any longer, this has become such a concern owing to the near total system shut down by the outgoing administration as evidenced by the inactivity around state house, the lack of directive or statement from the administration regarding the current fuel scarcity and power failure. Mr. President, businesses are shutting down and daily livelihoods are being taken away because of this seemingly two pronged attack on the masses. The masses are truly the ones feeling this pain the most as a result of their meager income and their dependence on fuel and electricity to get them through the day. Not everyone can afford high capacity generators, inverters or solar panels, while efforts to get to our places of work are near impossible due to the increase in transport fare or the lack of enough means of transportation at the moment.

The people have asked questions Mr. President and the answers we have gotten haven’t been pretty. Oil marketers, oil transporters, the NNPC & co have decided to hold the country to ransom for one reason or the other; none payment of certain fees and costs, uncertainty about the incoming administration, sale of NNPC stake in certain assets, etc.  These reasons have not justified how a handful of people and organizations will cause the major nerve centers of this country to come to a near halt.

Banks are now working half days, Media houses can no longer function 24/7, airlines have stopped being fully operational, telecommunication companies have warned of shortages in diesel supply affecting optimal operations. Let’s not now talk about hospitals and industries that need constant power supply to function efficiently. Hospitals require stable power supply to keep certain people alive like babies in incubators and people on life support machines or patients undergoing kidney dialysis.

It is unbelievable how all this can be permitted to happen. In a country that is supposed to aim for constant improvements in processes and systems this is totally unacceptable. It has been accepted for a while that improving power generation in the country is a herculean task and will take a while to get right, this has seen most establishments, organizations, individuals and families rely on alternative power supply in order to get by and all those concerned have managed the situation despite the climbing cost, watching as the cost of living in a developing country goes up without any improvement in the standard of living.

I am not one to point an accusing finger at anyone when things go wrong but in this case I am forced to make an exception. I have for almost a decade watched NNPC conduct itself like an imperial house which most of the time answers to no one. For long periods since the inception of the 4th republic I have often wonder what exactly this parastatal has succeeded in accomplishing over the years; no working refineries, lack of foreign investment, no significant improvement in local content or human capacity, continued gas flaring and unabated oil theft throughout the years. Forget the ones I have just listed, skimming through dailies over the past 5 years will reveal even more incompetence and that is before you decide to cast your eyes on the recently released Price Waterhouse Cooper’s audit on the NNPC. One which wasn’t fully carried out but still showed a most appalling level of ineptitude and corruption. Mr. President, Nigeria has had four refineries for over 2 decades yet all of them have ceased to function for the past 16 years. These refineries are under the care of the NNPC and have gone through over half a dozen Turn Around Maintenance yet we still hear they are not functioning while Nigeria relies heavily on the importation of petroleum products to keep its economy afloat.

In many ways this is heart breaking and gut wrenching, when you read about it while realizing that these issues are still ongoing. The byproduct of these issues has led to the creation of a close knit group of oil marketers who themselves have become so emboldened and empowered that they are significantly responsible for the current situation in the country. Or how else did we start hearing the word Oil marketers if not for the obvious inability of the NNPC to first and foremost properly manage and operate its refineries and then secondly properly handle crude oil lifting processes.

The NNPC’s international counterparts are miles ahead of it in terms of autonomy, the practice of international business practices, brand recognition, foreign investments, efficiency and productivity. Yet the NNPC leadership has no qualms with where it finds itself today; lagging behind and highly compromised. This shows a clear lack of leadership or vision implementation because based on my experience with the NNPC it has a clear plan of where it wants to be in a matter of years though that has come into question considering how poorly it has been run.

During the Obasanjo years the BPE was part of those charged with looking into better ways of making the system which over saw the oil industry much more efficient. An Oil & Gas reform paper was produced which I was fortunate to get my hands because I spent my youth service years working in the Oil and Gas department of the Bureau of Public Enterprises. What I came across was a most interesting document which I prayed would be implemented. Unfortunately that is not the case as several interest groups and self serving individuals have made sure the NNPC stays as it is free of reform because their bread and butter is derived from its present state.

In my honest opinion the NNPC has to go, to be replaced by a semi autonomous Oil Company, one who’s objective will be to create and exploit opportunities for the Nigerian people and will be built on Efficiency, Sustainability, Accountability & Transparency. The wastage must stop.

It will no doubt be a daunting challenge to make this happen seeing as the people who currently benefit from the current status-quo have significant political power and will go to great lengths to ensure things stay the way they are. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Mr. President, it is difficult for me to see you as the Change we have been yearning for owing to the current make up of your political association; people who I consider opportunist and land grabbers populate your current party rank and yet I understand that yours is a marriage of necessity but it still will compromise a lot of your earnest efforts at trying to clean up the system. It still does not mean you shouldn’t do anything. There is significant ground work to be done, ground work that can be helpful to subsequent administrations.

Seeing as oil marketers have decided to hold the country to ransom along with NNPC staff members despite knowing how vital the work they do is to the overall economy of the Country it is imperative the Presidency creates a parallel and unregulated market, purely funded by cooperative and/ or pension funds, one which can begin to exploit available resources such as the stretch of land along the Ondo state coastline or simply personally overseeing a proper Turn Around Maintenance of all refineries and restoring them back to peak performance levels. The challenges in undertaking these tasks are daunting considering the kind of opposition you are certain to face which is why the need for true transparency and accountability cannot be overstated. Once the intention of the task at hand is clear to all and proper information is presented to the public in the right way and at the right time, detractors will be left powerless and without a choice but to fall in line.

The power situation is one which I would love to comment extensively on but not properly versed on to delve into, despite that I know enough to say that there is much work that needs to be done in this sector and the future of our nation depends on how well you do in this regards. I wish you a fruitful and fulfilling 4 years in office sir and hope that challenges will not dampen your spirits for they will surely try to. May you live long Mr. President, Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May the struggles of our heroes past never be in vain. God bless.

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Scribbling


My loneliness is my own and I have chosen to share it with no one. Even if I wanted to I probably wouldn’t find someone to share my truths with, my innermost thoughts and obscure feelings.

Maybe one day I’ll meet some one who gets me to coherently spill my thoughts.

I find my thoughts about loss disturbing. To come to the conclusion that both Father and Mother have left this living world, leaving me at this age of mine, slightly clueless and half world weary, desiring guidance yet not trusting.
What is this world I sometimes ask myself, that we must be faced with tragedy and disappointments, living so that we can be judged and judge others, society formed to place us within confines of ‘deemed acceptability’.

Hope decides. Hope is what gives and takes, it isn’t universally profitable to all except it is shared by all yet hardly do we unanimously share hope. Hope is convenient not universal.

I hope my business is successful but my competitors hope they do as well. Religious people hope they are right about the after life but I honestly don’t give a shit right now. Heaven or hell, at least it’s either eternal damnation or eternal celebration, no deaths or disappointments. The expectations will not rise or fall but rather through time or eternity as has been pronounced will expected to stay the same; burn or bubble.
If you’re interested in reading any of this you probably don’t want to fry. You care terribly about fire but what’s there exactly to burn? If I burn it won’t be my flesh, it would be my soul they said. A soul I’m not sure I care for so much.

Where eternity lies for me is not the concern now, it is this quagmire of life, these endless questions of death and loss, this constant push for the perishable and non-permanent. My eternity matters little when my mind wanders. What haunts me now is this emptiness, this assured emptiness that I have been bestowed with.
My nights no longer promise rest, just questions and more questions. I am weary but stubborn, where that fire rises from I have no idea, it just burns within, one of the many things that urge me on (or is it). I simply know each day I fight, I tell myself maybe it’ll all end with answers but answers won’t bring contentment.

Answers won’t bring missed memories or experiences that would have been. Loved ones who have since left us. Answers won’t bring them back.

Hence I simply exist.

Experienced and Weathered Hands


Hands of age
Hands of age

There used to be a time when I by default disliked every person older than me by 10 years or more. I automatically developed a sense of loathing and distrust for adults who I was obliged to spend more than 5 hours of my day with, yes, it might have stemmed from some undiscovered childhood trauma or experience but that was the way I found myself for a while until the inconvenience became the inevitable. Back then it was all about teachers, nannies and older relations, now its more about Bosses and work colleagues.

I have to say getting accustomed to the whole regime hasn’t been easy but I have adjusted well because I now find the presence of older people reassuring. I gain so much from their experience with life and I appreciate the way they present things. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older myself, I really don’t know. Life is really one short jaunt across a spectacular terrain and I’ve come to see that our unique lives that represent individual pieces of art works would be mundane and inexplicably uninspiring without the touches of the older experienced hands to guide you.

Is it the parent or the Boss? The sometimes overbearing supervisor or the Perfectionist mentor? It could possibly be the imagined voice bringing the words of a great author to life. You never know how these weathered minds can reach us. The fact is they simply do and the sooner we realize it the better for us.

Maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m a bit wiser, I’ll let you make up your own opinion about what I’m saying. I’m still not completely comfortable around old folks but I’m attentive.  Most of the time my thought process almost comes to a halt when I’m around my Boss, probably because I’d rather be paying attention because when I’m by myself, I breakdown key aspects of the briefing and analyse, its like a re-education for me; one which I enjoy.

I guess it all stems from my constant desire to help people learn new things and become more enlightened. Grown ups I fear don’t realize what immense assets they are, a lot of them today have embraced a form of submission and acceptance that worries me, yet they live lives that speak of so much potential you wonder why they seem to communicate such submissiveness. I suspect it comes with a bigger sense of responsibility, one which I am still walking my way towards; getting married, having kids, running a business, etc.

Is that what really happens?

Who’s the grown up you’ve learned the most from apart from your parents?

My Ship/ Your Ship Our RelationShip


We might as well be ships.
We might as well be ships.

There are very few words that define my existence, words that I hold back from leaving my lips from fear of them being true and ever so damning. I raise my head each day with the utmost anticipation of a positive turn of the tide, a break from the near darkness that encroaches at the edges. My will is strong I know, God has made it so, to battle these elements from within the strength too is from within, amplified by my faith. Man’s words are like bayonets but they will never pierce me enough to bring me down. I say this with a firm footing, never wavering I mutter for doubt lingers.

Its all a concoction of words I know, these things I speak of, self doubt holding an unappreciated sway in my minds fortress. A fortress still being built of scars and tales, my tales. Where will my thoughts go next I fear, where will this fleeting ship of conscious pondering berth. Not despair I pray. A Harbor of hope is what I wish these winds would ferry me to. I pray upon the fates.

Where has your pondering taken you dear reader? Have you spied the jagged shore rocks of uncertainty like I have? Do you posses a steady hand to guide your ship. If yes then I have a thing or two to learn from your stewardship.

…..to be continued…..

Very Random.


I really dislike starting a post without any idea whatsoever about what to put up. Been struggling with so many ideas, thoughts and concept but nothing really seems to click.

For minutes I’m sitting still trying to put a fuzzy picture in my head together yet I feel like it isn’t perfect, like if it really was worth thinking, it wouldn’t be so forced.

 

These thoughts come to me at odd and random moments, sometimes when I least expect it or when I probably shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts. Have you ever thought up a serial killer story during morning devotion? or a car or bus jacking scene while trying to get dinner.

Its like left field has decided to perch in my thoughts and doesn’t feel like going anywhere, in fact, its thinking of paying me in advance for the optimum space I have chosen to provide.

Somebody help!

I’ve started doing new routines, just to see if I can jolt something; buying magazines, spending less time on social media, talking to people in person rather than hiding behind an instant messenger.

Will it help my situation? I have no freaking clue, I’m just trying to break away from my comfort zone and see if some sort of epiphany creeps up and hits me in the head.

Did you guys check out Tola’s blog? If you didn’t you can check it out here; http://skilobo.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/volunteers-wanted/

It’s really disturbing to realise the kind of low our educational level has fallen to, worst still is that the people who need to act aren’t because that’s not top of their priority.

I’m not saying it was perfect in my time, but I know for sure that it wasn’t so bad. A 14-year-old can’t spell ‘want’ or ‘Lawyer’? What else can we hope for?

It just goes to show how wide the gap between the haves and have-nots has grown because truly quality education is hardly provided by the government any more.

Considering my line of work child education and most especially readership affects us to a great deal. Kids of today find it hard to pick up a book to read, not even a comic book sparks their curiosity.

I’m looking forward to the program and I hope more people sign up. Especially the Gbagaun detectors, the spelling teachers and Grammar tutors on twitter. Being able to affect an upcoming generation positively starts with a step so lets start with Ebute Meta.

 

That wasn’t what I intended to blog about.

 

Nigeria, Obama and the future.


6:10 AM in the morning and I rollover to the edge of my bed to grab my phone which doubles as my alarm clock. As soon as I slide my thumb over the dismiss prompt it immediately goes to the menu prompt and habitually, I find myself on my status update list. Its ridiculous, folks are already putting up “congratulations Obama” and changing their display pictures to a picture of the re-elected president of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. At that point I felt a ting of irritation.

Getting out of bed and doing my usual morning routine, I got sidetracked  when I picked up my phone one more time as I made my way across the room, I switched to Twitter and the irritation went from code ‘ting’ to ‘utterly’.

Barack Obama

Nigerians had elected an American President or why else would they be putting up congratulatory messages all over the place.

But in actual fact it does make a little sense for us to show some interest in the whole unfolding drama that is the 2012 American election. In a lot of ways, we are inexplicably connected to the Americans through the way we view and observe the western community and a lot of us look forward to finding a deeper connection beyond being able to identify personalities and events via the available diverse forms of media. So it would be only natural that the First Black President of the United States of America will draw such interests from these parts.

Beyond that, the real questions have not been asked; What does another 4 years of Obama mean for Us as a nation?

Well, from the little I know it’s not all smiles and cheers in the long-term sense. Do we know this? not sure a lot of us sending congratulatory messages on Facebook and twitter really do.

First and foremost, in the Economic sense, Obama’s policy stands to hurt us in the long-term, with his vision of American Energy independence from ‘Oil Cartels’. Obama’s administration will go full steam ahead in their attempts to create sustainable, environmentally friendly sources of Energy which will eventually see them rely less and less on foreign imports. Nigeria sits at a lowly 6th in the list of suppliers to the United states and stands to lose financially if these alternatives kick in (that is if our own reserves do not exhaust themselves before then). An alternative for us is to look to another world Super power in the shape of China who seem not to have bought entirely into the whole green house emission claims and is continuously increasing their demands for Oil imports to satisfy their huge population and growing ranks.

In terms of Foreign policy, Obama’s cautious approach in dealing with ally nations as well as perceived hostile regimes does not bode well for us if we hope to seek assistance from the USA in fighting the Boko Haram insurgents. Over the past 3 years, the US mission in Nigeria has primarily restricted itself to simply sounding out warnings to its Citizens of impending attacks in and around populated areas. It is still not too clear if the Nigerian security apparatus obtains some form of technical assistance from the US, but all evidence points to a somewhat frosty relationship between the 2 in that regard.

So I’d rather we reduce the back slapping and solidarity messages to our brothers in the home of the braves. We might be getting the short end of the stick  regarding this historic victory by Barack Obama.

Sorry if I spoiled your party.

Return to the Old City


Its a few minutes past my closing hours on a Monday and the only thing still keeping me at my desk is the remnant adrenalin from an energy filled Monday morning.
Its still the lost writing Mojo story (still haven’t found it), wish it was as easy as saying “my dog ate my homework”. Excuses. Excuses….

The Old City

Relocating has probably been complicit in my mental block but I’m sure there’s a larger part I haven’t completely figured out yet.
Friends have done their best in making it feel a bit like home but it sure isn’t. Not to seem ungrateful but I feel alien despite the many familiar faces.
The Old city has changed, its a bustling animal that never fails to entertain, the context ‘dull’ partially becoming wild imagination.

It’ll only take a while I’m sure, the hustle and bustle, the traffic and the smug. The Old City has obviously moved on without me (as expected) and its left for me to play catch-up.

Now I’m a student in the old City, enthusiastic about learning its many lives as well as its literature, things I’m sure will help me in my continuous growth. Hopefully I’ll share a few stories here, stories that might stand out as markers to how I’m faring, adapting and living.

As for you guys (readers & friends), don’t fail to be my sounding board, up till now you all have been wonderful.

Till I write you all again,

Griffin.