Malcolm Freeman Godfrey is a man on Facebook I have learnt not to ignore. He is a truth teller in the pure sense and never minces words. Two things are remarkable about his posts. One is he persists in his truth-telling in a post-truth era. The other is he describes Nigeria in extremes. On close reflection, difficult to live, survive or even flourish in Nigeria without being extreme. Living in extremes is the underrated cause of problems in Nigerian society. For society to advance and progress, the balance of power, the Golden Mean (the abhorrence of extremes), fairness, discipline, trustworthiness, honour, and stables preferences are necessary for the rightful allocation and expression of ideas, energies, and stocks available. Introduce an added part of the Human Development Index to measure how unbalanced a society is, Nigeria may win gold without adjustments made.
It is the simplest thing in the world to assume Sub-Saharan Africans were illiterate and uncivilised before the coming of the White man. Such is well-embraced by the African – if you are well educated. Empire Day celebrated throughout the Commonwealth colonies reminded Nigerians that the King or Queen of England liberated them from bondage. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, one of the best-loved works of Western literature describes the African as a savage and languageless, communicating with grunts like apes. The Father of Modern Social Anthropology, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, swore that Africans had no institutions until the White man arrived – Africans had no marriages, kingdoms, trade, hierarchies, architecture, alphabet, medicines etc. of their own. All these facts are false but very rarely challenged by African scholars. Literacy and education did exist in South-Eastern Nigeria, for a millennium before colonisation. Let us talk about Nsibidi.Continue reading
Why should ignorance and illiteracy always take the blame for the failings of the weak democracy in Nigeria? It takes some extremism or disturbing denial to ignore or even use derisory evidence and poor logics to affirm President Muhammadu Buhari’s government since 2015 is either competent or successful. Obstinacy and benefit-seeking are culprits. Under Buhari’s watch, Nigeria finds itself taking a steep dive in the economic, political and social arenas of the country. The economy is in tatters with no recovery in sight. Security and safety are hopeless enough to be the responsibility of God. The tribal rivalries are making the country more unstable than before the civil war and the future of Nigeria uncertain than ever. Buhari’s ascendancy to power was not the outcome of an ignorant or illiterate population. It took the scheming of the best educated and most enlightened Nigerians to achieve that feat.
Riverine Remedy: Yankius, you self, you cannot even ask after me if I don’t call you. Na so your friendship be?
Yankius: O mi Riverine Remedy, have you not heard of 5G and its cover-up story? If not for that, to call you from time to is not hard now.
Riverine Remedy: (Laughing loud and cynically) So, you still believe in that 5G – COVID-19 junk? You are more than that and you know it.
Yankius: If you do not agree with my beliefs it does not give you the privilege to insult me.
Riverine Remedy: Yankius, have you heard the Acting Managing Director of NIger Delta Development Commission fainted while being interrogated for grand corruption by Representatives in the National Assembly? Nigeria’s Big Thieves are growing in numbers geometrically. Continue reading
After reading Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco a few years back, the unusual happened. I developed a keen yearning to rediscover a dormant space in my mind for the appreciation of illustrated stories and cartoons. I remembered the political cartoons of Josey Ajiboye and Omoba (Dotun Gboyega) and the entertainment illustrations of Morak Oguntade and some others. The illustrations of these men were as political and useful as the illustrations of Joe Sacco, hence the yearnings. Josey Ajiboye was a pioneer and grandmaster in the print media industry. The depth and influence of the work of these illustrators are incalculable as was elaborated in The Role of Editorial Cartoons in the Democratisation Process in Nigeria by Ganiyu Jimoh.
There was a time in the ’60s and ’70s when several jazz musicians of repute had to visit Brazil for a new spark of inspiration. It was almost a “rite of passage” for many jazz musicians. Classics like ‘Song for My Father’ by Horace Silver; ‘Brazilian Love Affair’ by George Duke; ‘Jive Samba’ by Cannonball Adderley Sextet; ‘Sidewinder’ by Lee Morgan; ‘Big Band Bossa Nova’ by Quincy Jones were born of rips and sounds of trips to and sounds of Brazil. These are a few of the Jazz Giants that had made their most successful albums through the Brazilian inspiration. Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Bob James, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham and many others also had big lifts in their music by way of the Brazilian inspiration. The most Yoruba-influenced jazz group is apparently the Art Ensemble of Chicago (see picture above).
Formal education is one of the most overrated things in human development people on the African continent can gain, maybe elsewhere too. Education in the formal sense is an “institutional thing,” i.e. the stuff of institutions. It is not just the stuff of classrooms and ivory towers. Institutions rely on education and education has to be meet institutional and societal requirements through governance for it to serve any useful purpose in society. The symbiosis of institutions and education is both valuable and undeniable. In a nation where institutions are unenforceable, we must expect the education curriculum to be inadequate in many senses. Education is not just the acquisition skills but also the awareness of the requirements of civil participation in a just or improving society.
The magic of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has come from his citizens, but nothing of significance he has done as leader of the nation. Blamocracy (blaming past administrations for the impossibility of addressing present troubles) and claimocracy (claiming credit for the achievements of former governments) now have the regard of significant achievements in themselves. Many citizens claim that while the federal government is clean, competent and thriving, the states and local governments make up the rotten parts of Nigerian for governance. Leadership has become excused of responsibility by so-called voters. We take on the challenge to examine this sticky fallacy.
Imagine a baby just a few days or old. He or she has been crying for food endlessly, but nothing is on offer. There is no money for baby food, so the mother has to feed the child with her breast’s milk. How ever, the delay that kept the baby hungry was because she is taking time to inject, swallow or smoke drugs. The baby’s nourishment from the mother’s breast may be laced with varying concentrations of drugs. That is the baby’s meal and survival. We are not even talking about how well-fed the mother is, the child’s immunity, health and treatment if it falls ill, the environment the mother and child lives, hopes of a better life and so forth. One may further ask if the child is the only one, or the second or third or if another one is on the way? Look at the photo above, and you can see a mother simultaneously smoking marijuana and feeding her baby. It is happening in Sapele, Delta State like in many other towns and cities in Nigeria, particularly the slum areas, but the usual denial by many Nigeria is that the photo was taken in South Africa, Gabon or Chad. Drugs are not just destroying a generation of youths; it is already destroying their babies. Continue reading
Dead Speechless: Yankpuzi! How you is? I thought the British were the most civilised people in the world but see how nefariously they treated Julian Assange. Denial of medical treatment, drag-along arrest in the street and a vindictive jail sentence. It was more than barbarous.
Yankius: Lets not talk about Julian Assange. I do not feel like hiding in an embassy at the moment.
Dead Speechless: You are not Julain Assange and you do not run Wikileaks.
Yankius: All the better not to talk about him. Goon! Continue reading
What has happened, Africa? This is the question a bright youth leader on a private forum asked when he learnt the Chinese have set up the 13th Chinese Police Station in South Africa. The answer is Nothing. Whether we base the question on fact, fiction or exaggeration is immaterial. Chinamen are coming and coming big to Africa. Continental tragedy was visible in African people who should have known better in advance, notably the intellectual/educated class, who were unwitting. “Bright lights” keenly supported the decadent misgovernance many of the post-colonial leaders foisted upon their citizens on the continent up to this day. Africans are now living with the harsher realities of such thoughtlessness and misfortune. The Chinese are now exploiting Africa’s naivete. Who will not?
What is Col Sambo Dasuki doing locked up in detention indefinitely without trial at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari? What happened to court trials in Nigeria which are sending other politicians guilty of corruption to jail? Supporters of President Buhari [regardless of party affiliation] would naively (the vast majority) or insincerely (very few) have people believe that Col Dasuki’s detention is evidence of a strong anti-corruption ethos under the present government. The truth is that it is one of the most histrionic acts of corruption of the Buhari Presidency courtesy nepotism. Dasuki is in detention for his very own safety at the fawning kindness of the President. If anyone can accurately evaluate the most likely politician that would be assassinated in Nigeria on any given day of the year, it will be Dasuki by a very wide margin and it is unlikely he would survive unprotected. But why? An informant in military intelligence tells us. Continue reading
“Guilt by community association” (GBCA) is back in Nigeria in fresh form in 2018 not by the actions of a foreign colonialist but those of the local Nigerian auto-colonialists courtesy Fulani herdsmen affairs. In the colonial state of Nigeria under British rule, the main means by which the Nigerian staffed police force secured conformity and order from Nigerians was community arrest and faux crime taxation. If a person dropped dead in Ilesha, Oron, Keffi or Ughelli (or some village), the police would arrest all the heads of family in the area (or village) requiring each to bail themselves at a prohibitive cost; GBCA was born. The people quickly learned that a police matter was a money matter. This was the very first habit the Nigerian police force acquired that ensured that they would become hopelessly corrupt in future. Corrupt initial conditions bred both corrupt post-Independence foundations and institutions, a legacy of empire. Today, Nigerian auto-colonialists carry the blame for GBCA.
“Federalism” and “restructuring” and related terms are all political jargon. It means they are not so easy to understand by non-specialists and are widely appreciated by assumption, not fact. Nigeria is a federal republic that practices federalism on paper but is a unitary state in reality because it lacks the provision of autonomy for subnational or federating units. All advanced nations have undergone several phases of restructuring for political, economic or social reasons at different stages in their existence. Many Nigerians are oblivious to the fact that the creation of Lower Niger protectorate by the British, the amalgamation of North and South Nigeria, the institution of the four colonial constitutions for Nigeria and ultimately Independence in 1960, where all cases of restructuring. Oil appears to be the only reason restructuring, or federalism looks strange to some in Nigeria. I shall now answer the questions raised in response to restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?
“Restructuring”; its meaning is debatable, and for many, it is about oil, resource control. Surprisingly, many see resource control as the receipt of an increased top-up percentage of “derivation” by oil-producing states from oil revenues issued by the federal government (FG) as fiscal allocations. Where is the control in receiving a token part of the revenues from resources mined under your jurisdiction? The practice of derivation no matter the percentage is not reducible to restructuring. A synonymous concept to restructuring is “federalism”, the structural devolution of power from the central government to federating units granting them autonomy within the political structure. If achieved in Nigeria, restructuring will effectively end the unitary system of government introduced by the military government since 1966. Very little is said about the “ownership” of natural resources in the mainstream Nigerian debate on restructuring. Is ownership a taboo word when it comes to oil and federalism?
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. It is not surprising. The literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively. Its significance 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.
There are many able Nigerian analysts, commentators, pundits, academics and journalists who have rightfully earned a say in the Nigerian political arena. Most are insincere, some swing and a few are truthful in their evaluations of the state of political realities and performances of governments and their principals. All performances of governance do need to have standardised or unique benchmarks for their measurements to be valid. Continue reading
There is an insightful article for those interested in governance by Taiwo Makinde titled Problems of Policy Implementation in Developing Nations: The Nigerian Experience. In the paper, the Makinde explains quite persuasively why policy implementation in Nigeria routinely fails with successive governments. He implicates, among other factors, a lack of continuity of policy implementation from a previous government to a succeeding, e.g. from Presidents Babangida to Abacha [or Jonathan to Buhari]. Ego [of the leader] is the reason he provides for this. The logic is simple; it is better for the current president to sabotage the good works of a predecessor and initiate his own that will place his mention high on the lips of posterity. It holds for all forms of organisation in Nigeria. The significant exception is President Muhammad Buhari and for strange reasons; blamocracy [and claimocracy].
I reject the claim the article titled Gowon and Babangida Created Nigeria’s Drug Culture, which I wrote is guilty of appropriating unnecessary blame to Gowon and Babangida wrongfully or misleading readers about the creation of the drug culture in Nigeria. In the first paragraph, I made it clear that some will disagree with the content. There is a big distinction between the “drug culture” and “drug trafficking” in Nigeria; the former is local Nigerian addictive drug use and the latter concerns Nigeria as an “entrepôt” for international drug trafficking. Even if some assume they are the same thing, let us look at the Gowon and Babangida regimes and their impact on drug access more carefully and see where the blame for Nigeria’s drug culture lies. 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 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 back down. With the provision of privilege or means, he could be a future captain of industry, senator, Anglican bishop, colonel, principal or publisher. Who 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?
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? Continue reading
President Buhari like many past Nigerian heads of state is living proof of why slavery flourished along the coast of West Africa a few centuries ago. While the Europeans, Americans and others nurture, support and encourage their youth to build the edifices that have come to symbolise civilisation and world power, many African kings never had any use for their proliferating population of youths. Today is no different. Diaspora is the dreamland of the Nigerian youth. Under Buhari’s administration, the incentive for the Nigerian youth to go overseas for a better life has never been greater because of the lack of opportunities that stare them in the face. If leaders have no respect or value for their youth, who will? Continue reading
Recently, Wole Soyinka has been credited with stating in a speech or article titled “Where Did We Go Wrong?” stating a list of the very youthful ages of the Nigerian leaders and pioneers in the immediate post-colonial era. The wordings then goes on to adore the colonial youth of as men of vision and ability. I very strongly doubt that Wole Soyinka either said such a thing in public or wrote it. If he did, he must have gravely overlooked the realities and context that produced the very youthful leaders and pioneers of Nigeria’s past, which he is one. Nigeria’s youthful leaders, therein hailed, have left the country an insuperable legacy of misgovernance, corruption, polarisation and disaster. What is the fuss about Nigeria’s bungling first leaders? Nigeria produced youthful leaders in Nigeria for regrettable reasons, with truly pitiable consequences.
It is very brazen political lying to equate the refund of stolen funds to the state with political success or successful anti-corruption. Effective correction, detection and prevention are the all-round benchmarks of successful anti-corruption for any given democracy. Only proper correction can make precise detection worthwhile, which in turn makes adequate prevention robust. The recovery of stolen is the supererogatory part of the correction and legal punishment the obligatory part. The successful prosecution and conviction of corrupt persons for corrupt practices without any recovery are also deemed successful anti-corruption. “Big theft, Big punishment” should be the motto of any serious anti-corruption government, not recovery. The recovery of stolen funds without formal legal correction is at best dysfunctional just like a car without wheels is dysfunctional. Recovery may be impressive in a backward country or to liars and the naïve but not in a civilised one or to politically aware people because there is an understanding of the impacts of “structural traumas of corruption “A political lie has started to unravel. Continue reading
Akpunwaism is a cultural reaction to defeat and the subaltern status of an ethnic or regional group within a state. Akpunwaism is unique to the Igbo ethnic group but its manifestation is not exclusive to it. The Japanese and Germans have their unique forms of Akpunwaism as a reaction to their defeat and domination by the Allied Forces during and after World War II. Many wars have produced the same in other parts of the world but with varied approaches and circumstances. Misunderstood, Akpunwaism is often portrayed by other Nigerians as a composite of greed and domination by the Igbo man and woman. To the Igbo people, on the contrary, it is a necessary and peaceful approach to both survival and prosperity. One then wonders what Akpunwaism is after all.
Voting, votes and honest election results are not enough to prevent elected officials from misbehaving or misgoverning once they get into office. Constitutional checks and balances are not usually sufficient enough to check and balance the activities of those in power abuses of power in the form of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Such abuses are hard to detect by the everyday citizens and those in government have no incentive to report them. Those who independently report such incidences quickly become “enemies of the state”. Therefore, other strong pressures and institutions are required to subject those in power to govern well, but they must emerge from the citizens themselves or a significant number of them. Nigeria is no exception. Continue reading
The complete metamorphosis of the butterfly is a thoroughly adequate analogy for civilisation: the gradual progression from egg to slug to pupa to imago [the beautiful butterfly]. In the Nigerian context, it starts with the colonised state to the inexperienced independent nation-state to transitional nation-state to strong state. The furthest stage Nigeria ever go to was the ugly butterfly that never blossomed. However, after the initial euphoria of the return to democracy, it is now evident that Nigerian politicians and clergy are busy reversing the progress of the nation back into the stage of a slug as a consequence of their thefts and misrule; it suits them well. But does it suit the everyday citizens?
Nigeria once [for several years] had constant electricity, reliable tap water supplies, a world-class education, a modestly corrupt civil service, a postal system that could be depended upon, rape was associated with slum areas, robbery was not something that bothered people, people drove their cars to their home towns 100s of miles away by night, educated women did not have to sleep with men to get employment, kidnapping was unheard of, sexual attitudes were responsible, people were not desperate enough to be easily conned by clergymen, major politicians did not serve rice with an apron in the streets to win votes. Most of all people wanted to be something, upwardly social mobility was open access and the moral cost of doing wrong was high. And this is not a glossy nostalgia for something that never happened, we all lived it even better if one is old enough to remember.
Where has it all gone? Continue reading
Nigeria has path-dependently or even habitually allowed bad leaders and kakistocrats to enter positions of power and govern it either by means of coup d’etas or fraudulent ballots with relative ease and the resultant dissatisfaction is left to be managed by even worse leaders. The cycle of bad leader to bad leader to worse leader has thus become a solidly stable equilibrium in the nation, escaping it seems unlikely. Most Nigerians wonder endlessly how this habit can be broken or bad elections ended in order for good leaders to come into power and foster best governance possible in the society. All by itself this is a very mistaken expectation.
Knowing that one is living with oppression is a blessing whenever it decides to come, not knowing is a curse that will forever leave one much worse off. – Guynes
Before attempting to answer a few interesting questions arising from readers of the article Oppression as a Test: A Metaphor for the Nigerian Youth (https://wp.me/p1bOKH-P5), it is important to explain a simple taxonomy of oppression.
A photograph of Hon Evance Ivwurie, Delta State legislator, appeared on Facebook a couple of years ago that uncannily emitted a tangible glimmer of hope out from the groundswell of the intractable political despair that grips Nigeria. The photograph showed Ivwurie vigorously searching for Fulani Herdsmen menacing the area, completely unarmed in the bush of Abraka (Delta State) with the unassailable expression of much physical energy, genuine indignation, utter fearlessness and a hint of finality. This article not another declamation about the terror of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria but grounds for the possibility of a necessary shift in the attitudes of elected officials towards adopting “Toe-to-Toe politics”. Continue reading
In 2012 an Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) operative intimated to me very intensely that the then President Olusegun Obasanjo was a traitor to the Yoruba race citing many things he did as military and civilian head of state as proof. One accusation was the nationalisation of Western region-owned assets to the federal government dominated by the Hausa-Fulani. Another accusation was the initiation of the transfer of the Nigerian capital from Lagos in the South-west to Abuja in the North. There were other accusations mentioned and they were supposed to persuade me and others that Obasanjo was a thoroughgoing agent extraordinaire for Northern hegemony or imperialism. In the 1960s and 1970s, the nationalisation of major industries was a global vogue and blaming Obasanjo as one head of state in a thoroughly global trend is harsh. Continue reading
Natural Injection: O mi Yankius, which ones? I know say you go don dissect the open letter when Obasanjo send to President Buhari. What’s your opinion on the matter?
Yankius: I did not and will never read it.
Natural Injection: Really, why? You normally read everything. Wetin dey pepper you inside?
Yankius: When Obasanjo was president of Nigeria, if anyone voiced criticism of him he simply to them dokuously to “Shut Up!” then head up.
Natural Injection: Okay, that’s true. You read the letter when his own daughter, Iyabo, write take call her Papa hypocrite because of him open letter to Buhari?
Yankius: Yesio, I don dissect the letter with many different styles.You self go like. But na ancient news. Continue reading
People when no dey happy, people when know dey look
– Fela Kuti, Overtake don Overtake
Last week Ibrahim Malu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was delighted to announce that its training college had graduated 183 cadet officers with 331 more to come. It was an expedient statement intended to assure Nigerians that the fight against corruption is intensifying in concrete ways. Many Nigerians reacted with smiles, emotive comments and dancing. Deja vu?
Uncritical support for anti-corruption activities in Nigeria always discounts the over-ruling problem. The entity that created and maintained the culture of wanton corruption in Nigeria is the “Owners of Nigeria Technostrucrure” (ONT), Nigeria’s leading special interest group. Without any iota of blame apportioned to the recent EFCC cadet graduates and their trainers, they are merely analogous to doctors trying to cure cancer with Panadol.
Comment: Over the past six years I have written several articles about the wrongs and decadence of University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGF) (some deleted) with insider knowledge. I more recently even developed two essay series out of them, namely, Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria and The Leadership of a Bad Brother (both which do not names persons or fraternities) with another series in making that does mention names. A major international media house and a documentary filmmaker have even contacted me for my expertise on the matter. However, over a decade before me, Omoleye Sowore (in 2002) had written one of the most important articles on the source problem of cults (UCGF) in Nigeria and its possible remedies. I am sure many readers will agree.
Sowore writes: “It takes a lot of gut to disagree with someone of Professor Soyinka’s standing in the world. In almost every sense he has used his courage, expertise, connections and skills to intervene on behalf of Nigeria to obtain freedom from terror, democracy and respect for human rights, it is common knowledge that he has done very well and I mean excellently well in his capacity as a literary giant, activist, Nobel laureate and Pan Africanist. Continue reading
Many talking points in Nigeria and diaspora are increasingly focused on the undeniable necessity for a ‘proper revolution’ to happen and soon as a singular means to decisively sort out the poly-faceted corruption and misgovernance entrenched in and withering away the country beyond recognition. Talk of revolution is good for expressing various dimensions of despair. Notwithstanding, the realities of revolution are not represented in the everyday chatter of it and appear to be tacitly hiding in many brains. A thoroughgoing political revolution has a very high cost that involves mass coordination, mass murder, mass destruction and mass deception [propaganda]; are Nigerians ready for that? How possible is it? Continue reading
Anti-corruption is not a simple task to handle and it is not always straightforward. There are practical exhaustive steps to fighting corruption if properly executed (even with mistakes) that could certainly lead to massive reductions in the incidence and scale of the phenomenon. Currently, there is nothing of substance either straightforward, indirect or practical about the mission of anti-corruption in Nigeria that swept the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari into power. Corruption has at best become a “spiritual exercise” in the sense that the President and his Anti-Corruption Czar are behaving more like minor biblical prophets sent to warn their people than kings and administrators who ruled people with effective direct instructions. It’s time to pray. Continue reading