Monday, October 29, 2007

The Beauty Of Democracy...!

One of the cherished beauties of democracy in the 'developed' countries is the freedom of expression. This freedom can be expressed in various and diverse ways.
I have watched the British citizens on national television, calling the prime minister foolish, stupid, idiot... and the directors of such programmes don't 'cut-off' the know what I mean! And such people don't get arrested by the police or army or navy, and then beaten up and their entire family memebers don't suffer on account of their sons' misbehaviour...(I hope you understand what I'm saying)

Bottled up emotions can be expressed by the citizens through shouting and name calling of ministers or public figures...and sometimes, the public individual fights back like John Prescott-the former deputy prime-minister in this video...
I think the video says it all: I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS NONSENSE!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wole Soyinka Speaks...

24 hours after Steven Sackur of BBC HARDTALK interviewed Ojo Maduekwe-the Foreign Affair Minister of Nigeria...Steven travelled to Lagos-Nigeria to talk to Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.

As part of a season of programmes examining the question "Why democracy"...and how can Nigeria overcome its endemic corruption..."?

Watch the Interview here

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm UnComfortabe With Marriage Ceremonies...!

I don’t really like wedding ceremonies.-especially the ones organised or celebrated in Nigeria.
However, I found my self attending one two weeks ago- just to ease tension from the political embarrassment happening back home.

Wedding ceremonies are boring and pretentious in most cases. They are marked by an extravagant outward show that do not reflect the sanctity of marriage-rather, these ceremonies ostentatiously, portray the vanity of man.

There I was, like a fish bobbed out of water. I immediately knew I didn’t belong to such showy gathering full of ‘notice me’ people. I had to suffer for three quarter of an hour-punishment I overtly deserve for being the cousin of the bride. It was the most boring three quarter of an hour I have spent in a long time!
I would have preferred watching or reading the unfolding comic drama taking place in the national assembly in Abuja.

What I witness was a carnival of some sort- not a marriage ceremony. How people can participate in a such a show of hypocrisy still beats me. Mark you, I am not anti-marriage. What I despise is the carnival-like splurgy and misplaced ceremonies that follow the so-called union of two people.

Most marriage ceremonies are insufferably outlandish-especially if the couple or one of them is a ‘money miss-road’ fellow. My cousin (the bride in this case) is a lawyer. A budding lawyer for that matter. So, she couldn’t have raised seven hundred and fifty (N750,000) thousand naira (about $6,000) just for the venue for the reception as I gathered.

The groom whom I hardly know and have never met before the wedding day is a business man. His line of business, I can’t tell…yet, there were over five hundred bottles of champagne and all kinds of wines…
Why they would rent or hire two live bands is beyond my comprehension. The ensuing idiotic theme tunes blaring from all spheres made the already humid air intolerable. Meaningful conversation was an impossibility.

I asked an extended relative if she knew the groom well enough. By that I mean the groom’s line of business.
To this I got …’he is very powerful business man…’ I see. May be this chap is the one who got the award for the controversial contract for the renovation of the speaker/deputy speaker’s residents in Abuja. Otherwise, ‘na proper money -mis-road be dis’…

For the better part of forty-five minute, I saw the stupidity and folly of some Nigerians. A man actually stood out in the crowd by spraying hundred($100) dollar bills on the couple and the sycophant musicians-who went on rampage drumming and crooning loudly for attention. The whole scenario was a bedlam of starchy igeles and the overbearing smell of new clothes mixed with cheap and conflicting fragrance of expensive perfumes.

Everyone seems to be happy. To be more appropriate, everyone was pretending to be happy. Or were they really happy?

I guess I was the only sad soul there. I feel so sorry for my cousin. She looked tired and frail too. May be she fasted for forty days and forty nights for the this wedding to actualise . Well, I wish her all the happiness she deserves…and her husband too.
And I hope this stupendous ceremony was not a make -believe…and a reflection of our folly!

Monday, September 03, 2007

NIgerians Cry Too Much...!

Nigerians are the most difficult human-beings to please on the face of the earth.
Why? They are never satisfied. They always grumble about their leaders and about anything under the sun.
Take for example the last elections. Nigerians -mostly populated by drawers of water and hewers of wood cried foul.
What do they know about the conduct of free and fair elections. Who are they to say the elections were rigged when the likes of Obasanjo and most PDP stalwart say it was fairly free.

As if this is not enough, these ignorant and mostly illiterates dare to raise their voices and question the honesty of the ‘elected ‘ president and that of his vice when they both openly declared assets-gotten through long and tedious years of hard work.

These Nigerians also attempted to tarnish the image and reputation of the immediate past president-general Olusegun Obasanjo - accusing him of attempting albeit cunningly to change the constitution to permit a third presidential term and to thwart the efforts of opposing contestants like Atiku.

One thing that annoys or probably baffles the ruling class is that majority of the Nigerian electorates/ followers are naïve, uneducated, gullible or plain stupid.
The ruling class cannot comprehend the naivety of the so-called followers when they cry foul each time they try to make life more comfortable for them through their leadership and examples.

Nigerians would question and cry about just anything done by politicians-especially when it comes to money spending. When the former president-Olusegun Obasanjo came to the conclusion that the fleet of aircrafts attached to the presidency were not befitting enough for a man like him and decided to add a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) 737-800, bought at the cost of about $7.9 million or N1.04 billion, Nigerians went over the top-screaming their lungs out asking-was it necessary? The vintage Obasanjo asked them to shut up.
Do Nigerians expect him to squeeze himself and all his special assistants into one small box? They are not serious!

I will digress a little. If you are a Nigerian and you have (of course you must have!) attended one of the ubiquitous ’owbanbe’ parties in and around the cities of Lagos or Ibadan or Benin-City or Port- Harcourt or Kaduna…then, you must have noticed young men and women and children- who go about with nylon bags collecting leftovers from the tables and floors. Most of them look wrenched, unkempt and emaciated. Some them even scramble and argue over who saw the leftover plate of food first. They may quarrel and sometimes fight over these crumbs.

These wrenched of the earth are not paid to do this job. They actually rely on the leftovers for survival. Most likely, that would be their only meal for the day if they are lucky…

The class of Nigerians whose picture I have painted above are not the ones that cry foul each time billions of naira is spent on frivolities by politicians. This class of Nigerians are too absorbed in the day to day struggle of survival of how to eat and where to sleep to know what is happening in Abuja or Aso-Rock.

The class of Nigerians who have become somewhat like thorns in the flesh of politicians are those who want to know how Patricia Olubunmi Etteh the speaker of the house of representative and her deputy-Babangida Nguroye could allocate and award contracts worth N628 million for the renovation of their official residents including the acquisition of 12 cars…

How on earth would any sane human being living in Nigeria today (let alone a public figure) justify that stupendous amount of money on renovation and cars given the excruciating and harrowing experiences of the poor in their midst…?

N628 million for renovation of houses/cars? Nigerians should note that these houses were refurbished in 2003 and were befitting enough for the speaker(s)/deputies who occupied them. Some stories are just too baffling to comprehend.

Whereas the Federal Government of Nigeria is threatening to cut by half the total number of graduates who are to serve the nation in the NYSC (National Youth Service Corp) because of fund, and whereas most Nigerian university libraries are filled with obsolete books and empty shelves, the Speaker of the House of Representative and her deputy have chosen to walk the path of honour by spending recklessly tax payers money on frivolities and lies…

It is sad and shameful that a country like Nigeria with so many talented and intelligent people would be saddled with some idiots- who call themselves politicians…yet, cannot put their priorities right…somehow they have become a source of embarrassment to the nation and her people…

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When Asset Declaration Becomes Laughable...

When president Yar'Dua Musa declared his (questionable) asset of N856m(eight hundred and fifty-six million naira)and that of his wife at N19m, alot of Nigerians hailed this seemingly transparent act ...most people saw it as setting an exemplary example. I saw it as gimmick...a charade. My major concern then did he (Yar'Dua ) amass so much wealth. And what happens if at the end of his tenure, he is ten times richer...? I asked, what will Nigerians do?

Then I felt I was alone in this trail of thought...but after the Vice President of Nigeria-- Jonathan Goodluck bowed to pressure from the people through journalists by declaring an asset base of N259m(two hundred and fifty nine million naira), read what some Nigerians are saying courtesy of ThisDay newspaper(8/8/2007)

Tunde Amos08.08.2007 23:51
We would only be fooling ourselves to think that this people do not have more than they are declaring. come to think of it there are a sizable number of them who have ensure that such assets are purchased/owned and managed by other people on their behalf. Who is fooling who?

08.08.2007 23:46
Is there a way of getting the taxation people to tell us the amount of tax paid by all these fellows? Let\'s start from there and later we will investigate how they made these monies.

I hope all the ministers and advisers will follow suit

Daniel Elombah
08.08.2007 23:46
I now believe that \'the Lucky one\' has something to hide.
While Yar\'Adua included the assets of all his family, Goodluck excluded the assets of his wife and kids.

2 months after becoming the governor of Bayelsa Assets, The brother to the wife of Goodluck Jonathan, who had just then finished Youth Service, was used to transfer millions of Naira out of Nigeria using one of Nigerian Banks.

It was also widely reported, that the said wife was investigated by both the EFCC and the London Metropolitan Police for international money laundering.

Therefore, \'the lucky one\' is being clever by half. He should declare his whole family assets including his in-laws, the we should compare what he declared juust 2 years ago as a new governor of Bayelsa State.

It should be further noted, that Goodluck was a mere Lecturer just before assuming office as deputy governor in 1999 and served just 2 years as governor from 2006 to 2007.

Assuming without conceding that the declared assets is a true reflection of all he possees, Nigerians should be asking, how he earned more than 200 million naira a teacher, 6 years as a deputy governor, and 2 years as a governor.

If Nigerian Lecturers now earn so much, we all beter head back home.
Talade Kunle
08.08.2007 23:45
Its completely inconceiveable that GoodLuck would be worth this much. HOW UNDER THE HEAVENS DID HE MAKE SO MUCH MONEY. It is not enough to declare, there should be some explanations as well. It is people like GoodLuck that fuel the restiveness in the niger delta by such huge declarations of wealth that clearly suggests LOOTING..... this is very sad, in a country where pensioners are starving & dying, CRY NIGERIA CRY........

08.08.2007 23:45
Most Nigerians seem to mis-place their piority what do we as a people stand to gain from this carefully tailored asset declaration.Instead of us to be asking for good roads,regular power & water supply,free education for our children.We are busy chasing shadows these politicians have perfected the act of stealing.All these assets declared are less from those aquired via proxy.

Ezera Agwu
08.08.2007 23:43
Mr VP, Thank you for showing good example. We in diaspora love your steps. So fellow Nigerians should accept this figure whether you said the truth on not, and repect you and your office for the sake of Nigeria

Udo 08.08.2007 23:31
Obasanjo had N20,000.00 in 1998/1999 but left office a multi-billionaire. Odilli went in with a Nigerian doctor\'s income, if you get my drift, comes out and is buying more planes than Virgin Atlantic. Talking about explanation.

Afolabi Wasiu (USA)
08.08.2007 23:30
Though it is a way to start however declaring asset is nothing if the sources are not decleared, and a thorough review of asset is not done. We all know taxation is a protracted disease in Naija. Levying taxes on their property will not only put money in goverment\'s purse but will also curb those who might declear an exaggerated asset to be filled while in the office.

frank 08.08.2007 23:29
The vp has finally bowed to the yearnings of the people.But little did I wonder why it took him this long after his boss declared his own a long time ago.It definitely shows that he has something to hide.At least now we have something to hold when we start seeing BILLIONS in his accounts.

E. E. I 08.08.2007 23:20
Good news, but I must say that the fight against corruption is nothing but a gimmick when Baba Iyabo is untouchable. The battle is yet to start.

Obinna Alozie
08.08.2007 23:17
No need deceiving people Mr. VP. Since you failed to make it known at first and waited for people to react before you do so. I can\'t believe this figure. And by the way, how did you make this money? Was it your share of the LOOT in Bayelsa under Alameyshia or what?? Stop deceiving yourself. You will somehow, someday be called up by God to repeat this figure you just put out to decieve people. Goodluck.

Afolabi Wasiu
08.08.2007 23:10
Do you need to wait to see what the public opinion will be before you do the right thing?. The President has led the way, why he held back? Well, thanks for following the right path, it is a point to start. It is all about nothing but accountability.

08.08.2007 23:07
Public declaration of assets is not enough. Let them explain also how this wealth was accquired. Let Obasanjo, Atiku and a host of others declare their assets too after leaving office. I believe the code of conduct bureau stipulates that public office holders should declare their assets before and after holding an office.

Jare 08.08.2007 23:05
Thank God VP bowed to pressure. Thank you Nigerian Jurnalists. You jurnalisst have a lot to do by going into archive and find out the true statement on ground on the asset declared.Let Nigerians know where and when these assets were acquired. You can find out from their PRO.
We want to know how a school teacher can become a millonaire in Nigeria. How many companies has he,share and landed property. Please investigate.. We are waiting for you people to build our country on honesty, integrity and good governance.

chris 08.08.2007 23:02
Vp\'s asset declaraation is welcome although I believe it must have been a directive from above. It\'s however difficult to reconcile the asset declared with his legitimate earning both as a lecturer, deputy governor and later governor. Still its a start. If we now find his asset in billions afterwards he will have a lot of explaining to do.

Ifeanyi Uhuegbu
08.08.2007 22:52
Each time a public officer declares his assets, we applaud him for doing what he is statutorily mandated to do. How laughable can this be. Have we bothered to check if those assets exist? After serving, do we cross check the person\'s new assets and how he aquired them? No wonder Ibori\'s aide had the temerity to say that his boss acquired the said frozen London assets before he became governor

Similarly how much tax did those who declared assets pay. Don\'t we have column for property tax. Head Federal iinland revenue, this is an assignment for your organisation.

Ifeanyi Uhuegbu,
Author, African Wisdom,

Emeka Ekwosimba
08.08.2007 22:42
From the goings on, I think Nigeria may just be gradually getting to that democratic latitude that we all pray for. Change in decisions by the government and those at the helms of affairs have been coming in droves once the masses protest. It may soon be uhuru afterall.

Dozie (USA)
08.08.2007 22:39
That could be how much Goodluck acquired for sure. The ultimate winner and hero is Obasanjo! Thanks for carefully choosing governors that were worth under a billion naira. This is poverty compared to the colleagues. The difference between President\'s assets and VP is property inherited from Yaradua dynasty. At least we have an idea of what an average Nigerian leader should own, and what is stupid.

chuks Okoye
08.08.2007 22:37
Good!!............ Now God will get on with what He\'s planned to accomplish in the new Nigeria that will soon evolve.Thank you V.P

Innocent Agbodike
08.08.2007 22:35
Bravo Mr VP you are indeed a good follower.

A good servant follow the master\'s footstep.

Now I believe you are qualified for your post.

Thank you for making Nigerians proud.

08.08.2007 22:32
I find it pretty difficult to believe that the VP legitimately acquired personal assets of over N250million.When and how? He has to explain the sources of this wealth otherwise there is no point waging war against corruption.It takes an entrepreneur in the class of Dangote,Otedola, have that kind of money.Because he is never a business man.It is a pitty corruption has become a way of life.Our children are watching us.

Solomon Joseph
08.08.2007 22:26
I think this is a very good development. I wondered why he (VP) delayed. Now the VP has done his, all other officers should follow, this will help us (Nigerians) to monitor their wealth during their tenure and after. I am looking forward to Mr. President asking all his SAs and ministers to join the queue.

oluyemi Erastus
08.08.2007 22:19
This is wiliwili declaration. This is an extreme example of Gbenga Daniel\'s case. These people should stop assaulting our intelligence.

08.08.2007 22:16
As a Nigerian, you can ask the questions yourself, the press cannot do everything for us. the VP has already started wrongly, he has given an opportunity for doubts on his transparency and integrity. What Bayelsa collects in a monthly allocation, Lagos gets it in 2 or 3 months. We just pray that his new found romance with bowing to people\'s demands continues.

L. U. Emesara
08.08.2007 22:13
The Nigeria constitution (amended) should compel public office holders to declare their assests publicly.Bravo Mr President for setting the pace.

temitope adeyemo
08.08.2007 22:10
This is good, let the \" game\" begin. We need to know how he got all this. Maybe...I say maybe again, a new Nigeria might be on the way soon...God Bless us all.

abimbola kumapayi
08.08.2007 22:07
Mark it, you can\'t enjoy your tenure as you will at all times come under watch.
Why did you consider this latest option?
We thought you have strong-head.

L. U. Emesara
08.08.2007 22:07
It is high time we began to know who our leaders are.The VP should be investigated to asertain the source of his wealth.Leadership in Nigeria should be made uncomfortable for those back yard millinoairs.
Chief Gbenga Oyedele
08.08.2007 22:05
Nigeria a nation with one of the lowest per capital income in the world, a nation that can not supply its citizens with basic infrastructures that they are entitled to, even common constant electric supply , pipe bone water, safety on the streets, that these other shameless politicians and hardened crimanals are declaring all these mind boggling income statements is alarming. How did this man, VP, get N259 million, how did YarAdua get his loot. How did the Governor of Ogun state get his billions? Until a revoliution is started in that country, Nigerians will still languish in the bottom of world good life. EFCC is a tip in the icebag. Ribadu is one good Nigerian. I am sure there are many more like that scattered all over the world looking at their beloveth country in ruins.
Money, wealth and greed.The whole truth is out here. These are all stolen money. Period.
No African heritage is rich enough to command all that money.
Even Abiola we all know how he got his money. What happens to the common man on the streets. What about the down trodding? The powerless? I pity our leaders. They are no good sons of bitches.
No atom of patriotism, decency or nationalism.
Just simple greed.
These says something about the average Nigerian. Not very good. A Nigerian is probably a boot licker who will sell his brother or sister for even food. Remember thats how slave trade started and today millions of American, Canadian and Carabien blacks are livivg proof.
The love for self gratification and money is driving our shameless leaders off the roof. May God have mercy on their poor miserable souls.
I hope they dont one day suffer from a cardiac arrest and by the time they get to their planes to fly to London they collapse are end their miserable greedy existence.

08.08.2007 22:00
Its all in the politics..
For me, the issue here is the responsiveness of the upper echeleon of the Naija political class to varying degrees of pressure from the people, which has to be commended, rather than the actual act of declaration or not.
I believe the time has come for those especially within certain (upper) ranks of the civil service and especially the local government chieftains to be required by law to (publicly) declare their assets.
Hopefully, the EFCC and similar-minded organisations can and will begin to monitor anticipatory declarations of assets to prevent situations where these guys just declare something they dont have and then fill up the void by the usual unashamed roguery...
Well done Messrs Yar\'Adua & Jonathan.

okey muoh
08.08.2007 22:00
All ministers working with the president and the VP must do the same thing too as the oga and deputy have set the pace now.This must include special advisers too.I expect senators too and house of rep memebers to show openess and wisdom in making public theirs with the executive governors ....

We expect probe and checks on all these bogus asset declarations especially OGD of Ogun state and Fashola Pls?

oziengbe joseph
08.08.2007 21:57
It is not enough to declare assets we should find out where and where all these guys have worked before,how much they were making then,if it is business let\'s see their records,payment voucher,contract awards and all of that to set the record straight.Thankyou.

ranni 08.08.2007 21:56
This is a gross understatement of the ill gotten loot by your looting excellency. He deliberately intends to deceive the populsce and conceal his wealth. He is responsible for the crises in Niger delta because he stole the resources that should be used to develop the area.

austine popo
08.08.2007 21:56
False declaration, capital lie, I dont believe it.
08.08.2007 21:55
Nigeria is a country where criminals transform themselves into politicians and wealth can be acquired through various means; through I eat you eat and shutup.
Olaosebikan R
08.08.2007 21:42
This is a good thing for democracy in Nigeria.Mr President has fired the first shot.He is leading by example and Goodluck has eventually bowed to the people\'s request.Let the ministers, Governors,Law makers etc follow Mr President.
This is a new era of transparency and accountability. Whosoever refuses to do this has something to hide. So far so good with Yar Adua. The victory belongs to the people.

08.08.2007 21:25

Omo Oba Olubukun Akinyebo.
08.08.2007 21:17
What can I say? I am not sure whether we have started the journey to transformation of this nation.

Has the VP paid tax on his wealth? And how has he acquired this wealth?

The press should be investigating right now as to his tax records for the past five years, whether he has paid the appropriate rate.

It is time that we start asking our leaders questions

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Remembering Fela Kuti...2

2nd of August every year would be remembered by conscious music lovers and activists the world over as the day that great son of African--Fela Anikulapo-Kuti passed away…
Fela was loved by many--especially the down trodden in our society.
He was seen as the voice of the masses and a thorn in the flesh of those in authority…

Not so many people would agree with the assertion that Fela was the greatest musician to emerge from the soil of Africa…
Some saw him as a pervert who encouraged the youths to smoke cannabis and created a haven for miscreants and layabouts in his kalakuta republic--a place where he acted as a king and demigod…

From whatever standpoint one looks at this enigmatic social activist and crusader, a lot of people would agree that Fela left his footprint in the ‘sound’ of our time…

He was the creator of the genre of music known as Afrobeat--a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles…
It was said that Fela was awakened into this style of music after a meeting with an African-American lady-SANDRA IZSADORE… she was the one responsible for igniting the revolutionary fire latent in him…
You all will know and recognize her powerful captivating voice as the only female vocalist to ever grace a Fela song…”UPSIDE DOWN…

Fela touched so many lives with his brand of music. Today, a lot young people attempt to play Afro beat… some even dress, talk , act and sing like him…but you and I know that there can only be one Fela Anikulapo-Kuti because, he carried death in his pouch…so that his work might live forever.