There is a keen fascination among young men particularly at leading schools and universities around the world with the “captain-pirate” mode of rebellion or disobedience against the injustices and excesses of the status quo in society. This is not surprising. While the literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively, its meaning in the context of fraternal orders of young men is consanguineous with the metaphor of Robin Hood – stealing from the rich or powerful to give to the poor or weak. The young or seasoned pirate, as he solemnly swears at his initiation, under the direction of his captain is thus necessarily an agent of social justice in society. The evolution of the captain-pirate mode of fraternal organisation has failed in Nigeria to remain relevant, even facing obsolescence and has become no better a than a ship that lost its rudder, ripped its sails and steered by the mercy of the tides and winds of the sea. This is tragic since more and more competent actors and voices are needed to help Nigeria’s struggling democracy mature with the hands of the masses holding it. But how have captain-pirate groups in other parts of the world remained very potent political entities in their democratic societies, whether for good or for bad? Continue reading
It is certain that “access to drugs” policies have been mostly responsible for either a rise or decline in the demography of drug addicts in Nigeria. A controversial thing the Obasanjo military government did in 1976/77 was to progressively ban many goods [including controlled substances] into Nigeria to curb the wanton and wasteful “Import or Die” phenomenon triggered by the unexpected “Oil Boom” years governed by General Gowon. The first experience of a drug culture in Nigeria, though very limited and short, was a creature of the frenzy of Oil Boom importation. Some will argue the ban’s impact on drug use was inadvertent or even nonexistent. Nigerians then did not have to escape reality though; life was good and masses sought conspicuous consumption and luxury. When the ban on imported goods came into effect the drug abuse phenomenon faded like a fad but created smuggling boom in which smugglers found Veblen goods like lace and refined stills far more profitable. It is ironic that the viral drug problem of today’s Nigeria is fuelled by poverty, the demands of socio-economic survival and very harsh realities. The recent ban of codeine-based cough syrup by the Buhari administration after the BBC’s damning expose, Sweet Sweet Codeine will have nothing like the impact of the ban put in place by Obasanjo in 1970s. The present drug problem has now reached a high point after a long surreptitious build up; all presidents since Babangida reportedly created the Nigerian Narcostate have allowed the problem to fester. I will share my witness. Continue reading
Take a very good look at the photograph. In the photograph you can see the portrait of a young teenager in a blue T-shirt (the Boy in blue) attempting to light up a reefer. He is closely surrounded by peers eager for him to do it because if he does they can too. There is some apparent awe for the Boy in blue by his mates; he is their leader by choice or nature. He is definitely not from a privileged background and neither are his peers but they look up to him. Leaders instinctively know their followers expect them to be first movers and hardly backdown. With the provision of privilege or means he could be a future captain of industry, senator, Anglican bishop, colonel, principal or publisher. Who really knows? What will be the use of the Boy in blues’ leadership appearance or qualities in the present and future Nigeria society? Who exactly is the Boy in blue and where can he be found? Continue reading
One must seriously wonder what happened to a once genial and hope-filled town called Sapele. It was a youths’ town and youngsters were filled with promise and bright futures. Well… According to a competent and concerned eyewitness Ejorheya Brighoademo, a governance professional and works in the tourism and entertainment industry in Sapele, the incidence of drug addiction is conservatively 50% of the entire teenage population of the town! That is a whole generation afflicted with a destructive scourge. Incredible! How did Sapele, a major town in Delta State, Nigeria give into the drugs scourge?
A SMALL HISTORY
In the 1970s Sapele had a thriving port, was home to African Timber & Plywood – the largest timber exporting firm in the world, had a large flour mill, a number of good schools, several well-sized employers and the state support services required by a densely populated big town. Everyone tried to shop at Kingsway Stores. Sapele was also home to two notorious slums [Ugwanja and Urban Area] despite the semblance of a prosperous town. The economy of Sapele has since declined, unemployment rates are high and an alarming drug addiction epidemic among the youth of the town threatens to get worse by the day.
Namadi Sambo is yet another victim of Wole Soyinka’s and the Pyrates Confraternity’s mischief. As an ambitious and bright student, in 1974 Sambo as an architecture undergraduate at Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria) chose to join the Pyrates Confraternity. Namadi Sambo later became Governor of Kaduna State and subsequently the 13th Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. It must be noted that Islamic Northern Nigerians particularly of the Hausa-Fulani stock rarely ever join University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGF) since their ethos goes against the plain sensibilities of Islam. Sambo’s (and others) interest as an Hausa-Fulani to join the Pyrates Confraternity seemed like a breakthrough in expanding the network of membership among Northerners. Nigeria is lucky today to have him alive considering the consequences of his initiation into the Pyrates Confraternity.