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Gerrout!

This is a story  by Dr Fada Fajuitan that is told from two angles. A rather long but thought provoking read…

“GERROOUT”

A tale of two stories

Story 1

“GERROOUT!”  The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst.

This is not the beginning of the story, neither is it the end. Truth be told, Scarface is not an Italian drug lord. Scarface is a Nigerian, Yoruba sef.

We should start this story from the beginning it’s just a bit difficult to decipher where that should be. Is it the useless bus that broke down kilometres from his bus stop? Or the greedy transporters that charged triple the usual fare from Ojota in Lagos to Iwo-Road in Ibadan. In fact as far as Fresh-Boy was concerned that was the beginning. He reasoned that if he hadn’t been flat out broke, he would have taken a taxi from Iwo-Road rather than the useless bus and therefore would have never met Scarface. So that’s the beginning of his story.

Ojota, Lagos at 8 am on the 31st of December 2014 he was fleeced by greedy transporters. A journey that would usually cost N1000 suddenly cost N3000 overnight.   Now because of the holidays the greedy transporters tripled the fare. Fresh-Boy would have shouted and caused a major commotion but decided against that when he saw other passengers paying the fare without even a hint of unwillingness. This was a fight he wouldn’t win without support and it didn’t look like he was going to get any. Besides as Fresh-Boy, he couldn’t bring down his rep by arguing with those local touts. Hin no dey dia level at all.

So that’s his beginning the 3k, as he would call it. The only snag is that there’s a lot of time between the 3k and most of the story where nothing really happened. In fact only two things of note happened between Ojota and Iwo-Road. The first was the traffic at Berger because of the fallen tanker which is of no concern to us and the second was the MASSIVE road re-construction going on at the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Fresh-Boy took several pictures of the re-constructed parts and posted them on facebook and twitter with the hashtags #GEJTRANSFORMATION, #FOWARDWITHGEJ, #GEJ2015 for the rest of the journey he checked his phone frequently for comments, retweets and mentions. Fellow Jonathanians did not disappoint him and the bad belle Buharists were also buzzing around his posts with their bitterness and spite. Of course he didn’t take pictures of the pot hole ridden parts of the road there is no point giving your enemies the weapons to fight you with.

The reader might wonder what “GERRROOUT!” has to do with #GEJ. Well, that’s why I said it’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the story but be rest assured, they are all parts of the story.

Now, the time between the hashtags and the scream is about 3hrs a lot of time with nothing much happening but one thing. He got to Iwo-Road, discovered that he was too broke to take a taxi and boarded the useless bus from Iwo-Road bus stop to Ashi. The bus never got to Ashi with him as a passenger on that trip.

The useless bus was a Liteace bus. He knew this not because the name Liteace was visible anywhere on the bus but because haven spent the first 18yrs of his life in Ibadan he had to know what a Liteace bus looked like. They were the standard means of mini-van transportation in Ibadan and were all in varying stages of decay. This particular useless one belonged on a scrap heap. It was little more than a metal box with four wheels and a sorry engine.  The ‘little more’ part were the planks of wood for passengers to sit on. Anyway, taking a taxi would have cost at least N500 an amount he definitely didn’t have so the useless bus was his only option.

As with most useless buses in Ibadan it broke down kilometres from its destination.

“Ki lo tun se oko yi” the driver frantically asked no one in particular as he tried to restart the vehicle. Both the driver and conductor jumped down and started reaching under seats for screw drivers and what-nots.

“E jor e ma binu” the driver said this time looking at the passengers, “boya batiri re ni”.

Fresh-Boy was having none of it, “abeg I wan come down” he said to the passenger between him and the door. This was Ibadan passengers don’t pay until they get to their destinations, very much unlike Lagos where passengers have to pay immediately they get into the bus, so there was no way he was paying one naira for this half trip. Hell no.

“Se wa ni san nkankan ni” the hapless driver said eyeing Fresh-Boy.

Fresh-Boy turned to give him a stare so ferocious the driver immediately backed down.

“Oga o” the driver said giving up on any chance of getting some money from this passenger as he watched Fresh-Boy walk away.

So Fresh-Boy a few kilometres from his destination was walking under the scorching sun looking out for another means of transportation, another mini-van or even a bike. He realised that by not paying the driver of the useless bus he had saved N50 from the N100 he was meant to pay for the journey from Iwo-Road and since there was no other means of transportation in sight he decided to use the extra N50 to buy water. There was no point in dying from thirst. He looked down the road and saw provisions store not too far off.

“Abeg u get chilled bottled water” he asked the woman in the store.

“fifty naira” she replied.

Two gulps of chilled water later…… “Ahhhhh” the exhilarating exhale of a man after two gulps of chilled water under the scorching Ibadan sun. This is a feeling second only to finally shitting when having diarrhea and the toilet is far.

That was when he heard it.

“Jonathan is clueless”, this was coming from a man in the corner of the store. On any other day Fresh-Boy would have tackled such a statement straight away and defended the president but with his thirst to quench, politics could wait. He continued taking precious gulps from the bottle of water.

“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” the man continued, “o kan je owo wa lasan ni”.

Fresh-Boy took a closer look at the source of these annoying statements and immediately noticed the tribal marks on the face of the man sitting in the corner reading a newspaper. Scarface must be another Jonathan hater.

“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Scarface continued switching to English.

Scarface finally looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.

“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Fresh-Boy.

Fresh-Boy started getting irritated. It was bad enough that this man was disturbing him with unnecessary chatter but the insults to the president were really annoying him. He wanted to point out the fact that federal troops were pushing the insurgents out of major towns in the north-east but he wasn’t going to. He wouldn’t give Scarface the pleasure of a debate.

Noticing that Fresh-Boy wasn’t giving him the time of the day Scarface decided to throw one last insult at the president before returning to his newspaper. “President of the dead and the dying” he said as he readjusted the newspaper to continue reading.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I am neither dead nor dying sir”, Fresh-Boy shot back. He couldn’t take it anymore.

“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Scarface said folding the newspaper and putting it down. It was obvious he was relishing the possibility of a debate.

Fresh-Boy was up to it. People like Scarface never saw anything good in the president, they were always on the lookout for faults. Such people were all over twitter and facebook and he was used to tackling them there. This was an opportunity to tackle one in real life.

“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country”

“Well his best is not good enough” Scarface replied with a finality that further irritated Fresh-Boy.

“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Fresh-Boy wasn’t too sure that all he was saying was the absolute truth but he knew that on social media these were the points argued in favour of the president. He was spewing them out staccato.

“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years” Fresh-Boy was on a roll. “In Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.” Fresh-Boy was in his elements, he knew most of these things from the PDP twitter overlords on his TL and the information was now proving very useful. Let this Jonathan hater counter his points if he could.

“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Scarface smirked.

Fresh-Boy couldn’t believe his own ears, of all the points he put forward it was this one Scarface decided to pick on? Anyway he had an answer to that.

“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Fresh-Boy shot back.

“That was Ameachi” Scarface replied still smirking. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Scarface continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Scarface adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.

“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Scarface paused staring at Fresh-boy.

Fresh-Boy wasn’t sure the airport was that bad but he had no proof. He hadn’t been there in a year and the place looked pretty bad the last time he was there, but not as bad as Scarface painted it.

Scarface noticed that fresh-Boy was a bit subdued and he decided to charge on with his own arguments.

“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Fresh-Boy had to endure another Scarface pause for effect.

“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?”

“That is Borno State government’s fault o” Fresh-Boy found his voice.

“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Scarface now had that annoying attitude of someone who feels like he knew more than the person he was talking to.

“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Scarface was now obviously gloating.

“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?”

If only this was twitter, he knew people on his TL he could rely on to finish this man. Fresh-Boy really needed to study more on Jonathans’ achievements to be able to campaign for him off social media. He decided to reach for his personal joker.

“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” This one he was very sure of. His own brother had participated in and won during YOUWIN3 and he himself was preparing his business plan for YOUWIN4. No one could tell him YOUWIN was fake. His brother now employed 14 young men and women, 2 of them being graduates. In fact, this was the reason he was spending the New Year holiday in Ibadan rather than in the village with his parents or in Lagos. He wanted to take pictures of his brothers business and post them on facebook and twitter as proof of Jonathans achievements.

While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed the bored woman in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Fresh-Boy she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.

Now the reader is wondering why we suddenly remembered the woman in the store. You see, she happens to be to daughter of Scarface and would play a minor role as the story unfolds. So we have to re-introduce her.

Let’s get back to the arguing men.

“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Scarface said.

Now, the bored woman in the store was not really listening to anything on her phone, she was just trying to block out the conversation. When her father mentioned the immigration interview a look of worry crossed her face. She took off the ear-phones and turned to look at her father.

“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Fresh-Boy retorted

“Unfortunate incident?” Scarface said getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” Scarface was beginning to raise his voice.

“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” if this was going to turn to a shouting match, Fresh-Boy was ready for it.

“You said?” Scarfaces’ voice was suddenly low and icy. His eyes had turned to slits. The woman had gotten up from her seat and now looked very worried.

Fresh-Boy didn’t notice the tension. “I said they were UNRULY”.

That’s when it happened.

“GERROOUT!”  The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst. Suddenly it was like there was a wild beast in the store. Goods were flying in different directions as Scarface charged at Fresh-Boy and he would have mowed him down if his daughter hadn’t held his hand.

“Daddy, please calm down” she begged.

The fiery anger in Scarfaces’ eyes would have destroyed Fresh-Boy if it could be converted to some kind of energy.

“Daddy, e jor e ma binu” the woman continued has she held Scarface.

Dazed and confused Fresh-Boy turned to go out. He couldn’t understand what he could have said that would cause this amount of anger. As far as he was concerned this was even a low point in his argument.

As he made to step out of the store he heard something that made him turn back.

“I’m sorry” this came from Scarface. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”. The anguish on Scarfaces’ face seemed to have suddenly drained him of all his energy. He collapsed into his chair buried his face in his hands and started crying silently. Fresh-Boy wouldn’t have guessed he was crying but for the heaving of his shoulders.

The dramatic turn of events further confused Fresh-Boy.

“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise” the woman in the store said seeing the confusion on Fresh-Boys face. “We haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she continued

“Oh my God” Fresh-Boy could feel the family grief. “I’m so sorry sir” he said.

“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Scarface said. At this time Fresh-Boy didn’t want to call him Scarface anymore. He felt like an evil person with the nickname he had given the man. He decided he wouldn’t leave without at least making some amends.

“I am Nonso sir” he said stretching out his hands to shake the man.

“Mr Kamorudeen” the man replied grasping his hand.

At that moment Nonso looked into Mr Kamorudeens’ eyes and so not a political opponent, not a Jonathan hater but a hurting man. A man who wanted to give his family the best but felt he had betrayed them. He saw a fellow Nigerian in the struggle for a better tomorrow.


 Story 2

Someday before March 16th

“GERROOUT!” Daddy Ibidun was livid. Was this man saying Ibidun was unruly? That she caused her own death? His fury unfortunately wasn’t all directed at the man in front of him. Some of it was directed at himself. He had always felt guilty. That somehow he had caused the death of his daughter. And the man standing in front of him seemed to be pointing fingers at him, accusing him of killing his precious Ibidun. Ibidun was not unruly, she could never be. She was the most focused and organised person he knew. Somehow, he was the unruly one. It was his being unruly that pushed her to her death.

Kemi was beside him trying to tell him something but he couldn’t hear her through his rage. The tears welled up in his eyes and he collapsed into his chair. He buried his face in his hands and started crying.

Now, this story has a definite beginning.

It all started when Ibidun received the text. The text was the messenger of death.

They were all in the sitting room that evening watching TV, or let’s just say they were all in the sitting room and the TV was on. No one was watching it. Mummy Ibidun was calculating the days returns from her shop, kemi was busy with the internet on her phone, Sola was playing a game on his mothers’ phone in the corner, Ibidun who had come home from Lagos for the weekend was loosening her hair and he was reading the days papers.

Ibiduns’ phone vibrated and she paused her hair works to check it.

“Daddy awon immigration ma pe wa fun interview” she said turning to her father.

Though her mother was in the same room, she called Daddy first. It had always been like that. She was daddys’ girl. The bond between her and her father was something her mother and siblings neither understood nor could get in between. When she was a baby, he was the only person that could get her to sleep. It went as far back as that.

He folded the newspaper and put it down to answer his daughter. “Iyen da, that’s good. So ojo wo ni wan fe se?” he asked switching between his native language and English as is common with most Nigerians.

“Daddy you think I should go for the examination” Ibidun asked. She knew her Dad didn’t think much of her present job. She was working with an IT firm and though the pay was just thirty five thousand naira after taxes she loved the job. She had always wanted to work with computers and had even had to stay at home for three years before finally securing admission to study computer science at LAUTECH. Now she loved the job but hated the pay. Thirty five thousand naira is not the kind of salary a graduate should be earning for working from 8 am till 6 pm Monday to Friday in a city like Lagos.

Daddy Ibidun also knew his daughter was considering not going for the examination. “Ibidun, let’s look at it this way” he wanted to sway her to his argument. “If you go for the examination and secure the job it would be a big plus. This is a secure government job with a good salary and I’m sure with your qualifications you would be deployed to their IT department. If you don’t secure the job, you can always go back to your current job. This is a win-win. On the other hand if you don’t go, you might be missing out on a great opportunity to further your career in your chosen field”

He knew he had convinced her, besides he could always make Ibidun see things from his point of view so she was likely to agree with him anyway.

“Daddy, I am tired of applying for these government jobs. You have to know someone to get one” she said in a last ditch effort to avoid going for the examination. They both knew how many times she had rushed off to one government job interview or the other without success. Her graduating grade of second-class lower was also not helping with the corporate world. She had finally settled for the thirty five thousand naira job after years of a futile search for a good job with good pay.

Daddy Ibidun on the other hand wasn’t about to give up. He himself worked at the federal secretariat in Ibadan and as far as he was concerned this was the next best sector after oil and gas. Nowadays, even his friends in the banking sector envied him. He wasn’t doing badly.

“But you can’t continue with that you job na.” he said countering her. “What day is the interview jor” he continued.

“March 16th, it’s going to be nationwide so I can write it in Lagos” she replied.

“No o, o ma better to ba se l’Abuja. I will call Mr Priye, he will help with the processing”. Daddy Ibidun was taking no chances this time. If he had to, he would pull strings to get his daughter this job. Mr Priye was his colleague in Abuja and the man had a lot of contacts in high places.

“In fact let me call him now” he continued.

“Ok sir” Ibidun said. She knew she really had no choice at this point.

 

March 16th

Daddy Ibidun can neither be described as a muslim or a Christian. Sure, he was born into a muslim family but this man hadn’t gone to a mosque in years and at the rate he visited the local bar, he could receive a customer of the year award but he believed in God and occasionally said a prayer when the situation demanded one.

The morning of March 16th was one of such times. His wife, Mummy Ibidun was to undergo surgery for fibroids that day and his daughter Ibidun was to write the immigrations examination that morning also. So he prayed that morning. He sat on the bare floor in a corner of the room and prayed. The last time he prayed was when Kemi ran off with a good for nothing man. His prayers were answered then as she returned contrite. He believed his prayers would be answered now also. The main crux of his prayer was his wife’s surgery but since he was already praying, he might as well throw in a prayer for his daughter also.

On his way to the hospital that morning, he noticed several young men and women in white tee shirts and shorts on the streets. He was shocked at their large number as he knew they were all going to the Ibadan venue of the same examination Ibidun was writing that morning.

Now, the surgery his wife was to undergo that day is not the story here but it is inextricably connected to it. The surgery itself went on without undue incident. Mummy Ibidun was out of the theatre in a few hours and she was wheeled into the recovery room. A few minutes later the doctor called Daddy Ibidun to his consulting room to brief him on the outcome of the surgery.

“Sir we were able to remove 3 large sub-serous and one large sub-mucous fibroids amongst many others” the doctor said.

Daddy Ibidun had no idea what sub-serous or sub-mucous meant and he wasn’t interested in knowing at that point.

“Is my wife going to be alright?” was all he asked

“Definitely sir, she is still drowsy from the anaesthesia but I’m sure that in a short while…………” the doctor didn’t finish his sentence as Daddy Ibidun’s phone started ringing.

“Hello Mr Priye, please can you call me back, I’m a bit busy” Daddy Ibidun said as he picked up the phone. Mr Priye probably called to give him a progress report on Ibiduns immigrations job application. This wasn’t the time to discuss job applications.

“Ehen, doctor you were saying?” he said cutting the call as he was about to cut the call.

“Yes, as I was saying, the surgery went on fine, your wife ………” once again he was cut short by Daddy Ibidun’s ringing phone.

Once again it was Mr Priye. It just might be that he needed to speak with one of Mr Priyes contantcts. That was probably why Mr Priye was insistent on talking to him at that particular time.

“Sorry doctor, please let my answer this call, it’s about my daughter” Daddy Ibidun apologised as he made to pick his phone

“Hello Mr Priye, thanks for all you’re doing for Ibidun o, I’m really grateful. So how is her application processing going?” he said

A few minutes later Daddy Ibidun was being revived in the doctors consulting room. Mr Priye wasn’t calling to give a progress report on Ibiduns application. He was calling to inform her father that he had just identified Ibiduns lifeless body in a morgue. She had died during a stampede at the examination centre.

The centre in his life fell out that day. Daddy Ibidun was never the same person again.

Shortly after the incident the president condoled with the bereaved and announced that siblings of the dead would be given automatic employment. That wouldn’t bring his precious Ibidun back but even that promise was never fulfilled. Neither Kemi nor Sola got a job offer from the government. The government simply forgot about the incident and moved on leaving the bereaved families to mourn their loss. Daddy Ibidun was worst hit. He felt he had sent his own daughter to her death when all he wanted was a better future for her.

December 31st

As with all civil servants, Daddy Ibidun woke up on the 31st of December and prepared to go to work knowing fully well that not much work would be done that day. He wasn’t disappointed. When he got to the office most of his colleagues just came in, signed in, hung around discussing the coming year for a while then took off. By 11 am most of the secretariat was empty and he decided there was not much staying at work. Besides he wasn’t interested in the discussions. The gloom over him following his daughters’ death hadn’t fully lifted and discussing a future without her in it wasn’t something he wanted to do. So he took permission from his boss to close early.

On his way home he bought the days newspaper as usual but decided to make a detour to his wife’s shop rather than go straight home. There wouldn’t be anyone at home anyway.

His wife wasn’t in the shop when he got there as she had gone to deposit some money at the bank before it closed for the holiday so his second daughter Kemi was manning the shop.

“Daddy e k’abo” she said when she saw him “You left work early today”

“Yes, there’s really no work today and most people left early” he replied as he pulled up a chair to sit on. He opened the newspaper he bought to read and as is usual nowadays the headlines were of Boko Haram activities and government corruption.

The major editorial was about the missing girls. The plight of the girls made him remember his own daughters’ death and anger towards the president rose in his heart.

“Jonathan is clueless” he said looking up for approval. That was when he noticed the customer in the shop. He was one of those young men who tried as much as possible to look and sound like all those musicians on dstv. In his mind he automatically christened the young man Hip-Pop.

Hip-Pop was not interested in discussing with him on the presidents’ lack of clues so Daddy Ibidun went back to his reading.

“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” Daddy Ibidun continued to himself. “O kan je owo was lasan ni”

The editorial further described the lack of equipment facing the soldiers on the front while their superiors wine and dine with the president in Abuja and this further infuriated Daddy Ibidun.

“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Daddy Ibidun continued switching to English.

Daddy Ibidun once again looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.

“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Hip-Pop.

Hip-Pop looked like he wasn’t interested in the conversation. Daddy Ibidun felt that was one of the problems with Nigeria. The youth who are the future of the country didn’t seem to be interested in the future of the country. His own children had absolutely no interest in politics despite all his tricks to get them interested. Hip-Pop seemed to be like most other youth.

“President of the dead and the dying” Daddy Ibidun said as he looked down at his newspaper to continue reading.

Hip-Pop answered him this time.

“I am neither dead nor dying sir” Hip-Pop said.

“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Daddy Ibidun said folding the newspaper and putting it down. This youth might still be redeemable from political apathy, he thought.

“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country” Hip-Pop said.

That was another problem, Daddy Ibidun thought. With the general poor performance of politicians it was easy to confuse gullible people especially young people into believing that the president was doing his best. If Jonathan knew he couldn’t manage a local government, why did he contest for the presidency?

“Well, his best is not good enough” Daddy Ibidun said to school the youth.

That was when Hip-Pop proved that he knew about some national issues, albeit just a little.

“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Hip-Pop said with passion.

Daddy Ibidun was impressed a bit. The young man had a few facts wrong but he tried anyway. He was now convinced that Hip-Pop was one of those Jonathan supporters. Maybe his parents were members of the same political party as the president.

Apparently the young man wasn’t done reeling out the miserly achievements of the president.

“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years, in Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.”

Well, this young man was obviously interested in what was going on in his country even if he did make some mistakes. Daddy Ibidun took it upon himself to correct the mistakes in Hip-Pops mind.

 

“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Daddy Ibidun said smiling.

“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Hip-Pop asked.

“That was Ameachi” Daddy Ibidun replied still smiling. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Daddy Ibidun continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Daddy Ibidun adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.

“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Daddy Ibidun paused to ensure Hip-Pop was following him.

“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Daddy Ibidun said before another pause. If the young man didn’t get anything from this encounter at least his confidence in the presidents achievements would be shaken.

“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?”  Daddy Ibidun said, this time referring to the article he read in the newspaper.

“That is Borno State governments fault o” Hip-pop finally found his voice.

“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Daddy Ibidun countered. The young man seemed to desperately want to hold on to his belief in the president and this made Daddy Ibidun smile all the more.

“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Daddy Ibidun continued. The young man was now obviously confused.

“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?”  He was ready to inform the young man that he himself hadn’t been paid his salary since October.

“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” the young man asked in a last ditch effort to hold on to something worthy about the president.

They were presently not talking about YOUWIN but if the young man wanted to talk about Jonathan’s government and its effects on the youth, well he had some lessons to teach the young man.

While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed Kemi who was in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Hip-Pop she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.

“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Daddy Ibidun said.

This time Kemi looked up. She had a worried look on her face as he mentioned the interview. He felt if that was what it would take to get her to realise that the present government had a hand in her sisters’ death then he would talk about it. Maybe it was time to finally discuss the event and confront the hurt it caused their family.

“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Hip-Pop retorted.

That was the same phrase the government had used to describe it. An event that took the life of his first child and other young Nigerians was nothing more than an unfortunate incident to Jonathan and his apologists. This really got on his nerves.

“Unfortunate incident?” Daddy Ibidun asked getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” he continued. The young man and his stubborn support for Jonathan had really begun to annoy him.

“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” Hip-Pop said raising his voice.

Now, Daddy Ibidun was really angry.

“You said?” He asked. Was this American gangsta wannabe saying his own Ibidun was unruly. Was this good for nothing scum of the earth saying his precious daughter caused her own death.

He didn’t notice that Kemi had gotten up from her seat was approaching him to calm him down. His fury was targeted at this sorry excuse for a human standing in front of him. In his mind the young man was the government and all the evil it represented.

“I said they were UNRULY” – Hip-Pop said.

That’s when Daddy Ibidun lost it.

“GERROOUT!”  He screamed.

Kemi quickly rushed to her fathers side to hold him and try to calm him down.

“Daddy, please calm down” she said holding his arm. “Daddy, e jor e ma binu” she continued trying to get her father away from the young man.

Daddy Ibidun collapsed into his chair and buried his face in his hands. It was like the emotional torture of ibiduns death suddenly washed over him and consumed him.

The young man suddenly looked dazed and made to get away as fast as possible.

Daddy Ibidun realised that his anger was misplaced and this young man had no hand in his daughters death. He decided to make amends before the young man left.

“I’m sorry” he said. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”.

Kemi went to the young man and explained her sisters death to him.

“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise, we haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she said sadly.

“Oh my God” Hip-Pop said looking from Kemi to Daddy Ibidun. “I’m so sorry sir”.

“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Daddy Ibidun said. He really shouldn’t have brought up the topic. The pain was still fresh in heart and there was no point stirring it up over again.

“I am Nonso sir” Hip-Pop said stretching out his hands to shake Daddy Ibidun.

“Mr Kamorudeen” Daddy Ibidun replied as he grasped Nonso’s outstretched hand.

At that moment Mr Kamorudeen looked into Nonso eyes and it was like he could see into the young man’s soul. He didn’t see a visionless youth, he didn’t see a stubborn Jonathan defender. He saw hope for the future of Nigeria.


Dr Fada Fajuitan is a writer and medical doctor with a passion for Nigeria. You can follow him on twitter @ireloju.

 

Disclaimer: This story and the opinions expressed are those of the writer alone and do not represent the views of the owner of the blog as this blog maintains its political neutrality. The youth are the future of Nigeria, your vote counts! We pray for a free and fair and most importantly peaceful election this year…MizChutzpah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Urban Culture

 

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1. Where are our children?

1. Where are our children?

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If you don’t live in the North, Boko haram is as real to you as Idi-Amin was to the Americans (catch my drift?) Down South we have regular bad guys, the usual suspects you might say; PHCN not giving power, NNPC hoarding fuel and Fashola creating new taxes. Our lives are pretty mainstream. Death isn’t interested in us, it’s too busy reaping our siblings up-north. Who is Boko Haram? Why are they still faceless? Why do they pick on the poor, the young and the innocent? Taking lives that the government of Nigeria is too busy to account for. We don’t have the resources to wage a full fledged war on Boko Haram they say, yet billions are spent on the Centenary celebrations. Our soldiers shudder at the surprise attacks and timidly march in to do damage control after yet another mishap. Where are our children Nigeria? Where are the young girls abducted from their homes? It’s been weeks and their fate no doubt has already been sealed as their parents go to bed each night with unshed tears. Where are our children Mr President? We created schools to give them hope and not to be abbatoirs for the slaughtering of our young. Why does Boko Haram go free? Why will not a man arise and put an end to this scourge? Boko Haram toys with us, taking from us little by little, avoiding those areas and people deemed sacred so as not to incur the wrath of the powers that be. Nigeria why do we tolerate Boko Haram? Like an open gutter beside one’s house, the stench coming in as intermittent whiffs every time the wind blows North. Where is the unity we sing about in our beloved anthem when every man only watches over his own home and family and interests? Why have we not arisen and driven out this scourge from amongst us? Are we waiting till they come down South or begin to kill the children of the rich and powerful one by one like the angel of death which passed over Egypt killing all of the firstborn sons? Dear Mr President please remember that not even Pharaoh was spared. The whole country mourned. Boko Haram is a group of men, they eat, they sleep, they bleed and they feel. They can be stopped and they can be annihilated. They are not gods, nor superheroes and definitely are not invincible. I have no respect for any group that preys on the young and the innocent. I have no respect for any group that murders a defenseless man. I am a Nigerian and today I reject you. My people reject you, Allah rejects you. You fight alone and will die alone, your blood will be an abomination to your land and an eternal shame to your clan. Boko Haram the God of Nigeria will see to your annihilation and since our president and armed forces are  unable to give us the salvation we desire, one will spring up who will set Nigeria free. A Moses will arise. For him alone will I cast my vote in 2015. Nigerians arise, we need a leader who will kiss Boko Haram, fuel scarcity and power shortages goodbye. Let’s start with the basics and better things will follow. We have a chance at a new beginning next year, do not recycle, shine your eyes Nigerians. You are not better than those who mourn in the North over the constant bloodshed. This is the little you can do. Act right, Vote right! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Have a good night Chutzpah fam, xoxo

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Inspirational, Life

 

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Nigeria Revolts!

Nigerians old and young will always remember January 1st 2012 as the day the sky fell on their heads or how else would one describe the government’s removal of fuel subsidy? The decision shot up the price of petrol from N65 per litre to N141 per litre, a 116.9 percent increase, the highest single jump in the history of fuel price hikes in the country. Government said the decision was taken to free up cash and better our economy, creating more jobs and wealth but Nigerians saw the decision as a cruel and thoughtless gesture which would only worsen the current situation and aggravate the suffering in the land.

It was reported that the United Nations (UN) commended President Jonathan for withdrawing the subsidy on petroleum products, and described the move as “a bold and correct policy”. While this policy might in other circumstances and in a nation other than Nigeria have been a good one geared towards a better future, one must realize that because of the level of corruption in the nation, the freed cash would not alleviate the people’s suffering but would make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

While the cost and standard of living in Nigeria have depreciated over the years and the majority of Nigerians live from hand to mouth, the cost of maintaining those in government has been on the increase, at the expense of national development. In countries like Singapore, leaders have taken serious pay cuts so that more funds can be devoted to developmental issues but in Nigeria, the reverse is the case and the president’s shameful attempt at cutting down on his cabinet’s expenditures when translated to naira barely scratches the surface of their undeserved income.

The billions lavished on the lifestyle of government officials could have been used to get our refineries functioning one hundred percent but heaven forbid this as many of these corrupt officials are rumoured to own refineries outside the country and charge the government to have our crude oil refined and would rather take the last naira from the poor than part with their kitchen allowance! Nigerians were not ready to allow this! Majority of Nigerians were already living on less than one dollar a day. The outcry was nationwide.

A people who had mourned in silence, seemingly powerless when Boko Haram struck, rose up with a vengeance refusing to have the last morsel of their bread taken away from them.
Nigerians had taken a stand and rejected the burden put upon them for it was too heavy to bear. Subsidies had been removed in the past, many Nigerians remembered bitterly how things turned for the worse with the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and the International Monetary Funds (IMF) reforms. The government used these in the past as an opportunity to rob its people of subsidised healthcare, education and a life they could afford and yet all they got in exchange was biting poverty and a bunch of empty promises and now history threatened to repeat itself.

The cost of goods and services following the removal of subsidy has increased by more than a hundred percent. How are we to survive when our incomes have not moved an inch and what’s to happen to those who were already on strike because they had been given a pay cut? How will the common man survive it when in 2011 he could hardly feed his family? The only people not affected were those who don’t know what it is like to work hard for a living and yet be unable to pay bills. These people were mostly in the upper class and were those supposedly entrusted with governance of the country. How does the security guard at my office who earns thirty thousand naira monthly and has two children in school pay his bills when he now spends about ten thousand naira a month on transportation alone to and from his office? How do Nigerians survive with the eighteen thousand naira minimum wage? A removal of subsidy from government’s expenditure on its cabinet would generate the funds needed and not that of the masses.

After failed dialogue with the Federal Government the Labour and civil society groups called a strike which commenced today and Nigerians were encouraged to come out on the streets and protest. The turnout was impressive all over Nigeria. The protests in Abuja were led by the workers Union President Abduwaheed Omar and in Lagos, his deputy Joe Ajaero led the protesters who took off from the Labour union secretariat at Yaba at 8.00am.

Nationwide citizens had staged “Occupy Nigeria” mass demonstrations since the removal of the subsidy, with police responding forcefully in some cases and three confirmed dead and many injured. Only in Nigeria do policemen hold guns and tear gas to fight off peaceful protesters rather than shields and batons with orders from the government. A government whose constitution allows freedom of speech and expression and who swore to protect and serve. After what happened at Tahrir square in Egypt, Nigerians are confident that the power is with the people and the nation can be brought to a halt. The government has remained passive about the goings on in the nation and have decided the siddon look approach is best till Nigerians come to terms with the change but they underestimate the people who voted them into power and the strength of a united nation. Even the Muslims and Christians in the North were admirably prepared to lay aside their differences for a common cause.

Many voted Jonathan into power hoping he would be a breath of fresh air but for some reason his every move has let them down and left us in the arms of despair. When I look at him, I do not see a wicked man, I see a weak man whose lack of character has prevented him from doing the good which he knows he is to do. Maybe the lure of a good life allows him the luxury of casting a blind eye to the sufferings of his people after all as far as he is concerned, he had no shoes as a kid and levels don change now. Maybe he has a grand master plan that will in years from now give the handful of survivors left in Nigeria a chance at a better life but would he kill millions now so that one day the remnants can praise him? Or could it be that his good intentions are thwarted each time by the political godfathers he answers to?

Nigerians do not need a figure head president. We do not need a president who will run off to his little corner of heaven while his people face hell. He has incited his people and he will be made to answer for his negligence and insensitivity. Nigerians will not stop till they have a chance at a life not worse than yesterday’s. May God help our president because it is better to fall into the hand of God than the hands of men for God is merciful. If he knew anything about history and repercussions he would have damned his advisers and done that which is in his heart for I truly believe that deep down he feels for his people but his hands have been tied and allowed to waste away by the powers that be. There are other ways to better the economic situation of Nigeria and 1600 buses is laughable. The ceremony for the buses probably cost more than the buses. Will more buses bring down the cost of food or other living expenses? Nigerians say No!!!

The strike continues…

Nigerians please let it remain a peaceful protest. Please occupy with one voice and without violence so that the government’s folly can be apparent to all.

May the souls of Mustafa Muyideen and Ademola Aderinto rest in perfect peace and may their killers know no peace.

#OccupyNigeria

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Inspirational

 

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The Labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain…

     I always wanted to be a hero like Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X or Ken Sarowiwa, I guess it stemmed from watching Sarafina re-runs as a kid. Those were heroes I believed in, not the fictional ones Marvel and DC comics entertained us with. Though it wouldn’t have hurt to have super-human strength, I didn’t quite fancy having a secret identity;-). I believed that everyone needed someone to believe in, a cause to fight for. That the weak needed a hero and he didn’t have to have a cape or a phone booth just an iron will, a caring heart and the focus and determination needed to effect a change. Heck, he didn’t even need to be a man! 🙂 I spent a great part of primary school social studies learning about Queen Amina, Mary Slessor and Joan of arc; Women could do it too…

Then I became a teenager and got a healthy dose of curiosity mixed with dread. I’d blossomed into adolescence with the curiosity that inherently followed it at a time when the leader of the country had SSS everywhere. If you coughed and his secret service heard his name in the cough, you got jailed and maybe even put away permanently. Freedom of speech was taught in school but holding your tongue was the word on the street. How could I be a hero if I couldn’t even express myself? How could I stand up to injustice if the very people supposed to hear my cry were merely puppets in the hands of a powerful tyrant? I shrank like a violet, afraid to be burnt and buried my head back in my books…

Somewhere in the Niger Delta where I am from, a group of youths were thinking and feeling the same way I was, they didn’t have books to hide behind cos most were uneducated, they didn’t have good food or money or even cartoons. They had never heard of superman or sarafina but it didn’t matter cos they felt something more powerful than a cinema could re-enact, they felt a stubbornness deep within, they felt a rage kindling like a fire as they watched the greedy power moguls smile at the expatriates with their well fed bellies and fat pockets as they plundered their land, polluted their water, killed their fish, ruined their harvest and watched in glee the widespread destruction only seeing crude oil and naira where they should have seen family legacies and means of livelihood. The youth rebelled, they wanted to be heroes. They remembered the stories they had heard as kids, the stories of men enslaved who stood up and fought for pride and honor. They knew nothing about strategy or diplomacy nor did they care to know. They had a wound, a grave injustice had been done and their grievances loomed over their adversaries. They would get back what was theirs and avenge the loss of what they held dear, they were united in a singleness of purpose…and M.E.N.D was born. Alas no one prepared them for the cunning of a deceitful tongue with a hidden agenda, empathizing with them while leading them away from the goals that governed their force…they hurt the innocent, another hero turned vile…He had told them that sometimes innocents had to be sacrificed for the greater good…they must have listened a little too attentively…

My brothers in the North had a fight too. They were born heroes, nomads without fear, serving a God who had given them the will not to back down from a fight and the wisdom to know when to hold their peace. They had stood up against the decadence of the Western civilization, alarmed that the secular education would erase the morals of their precious children, make them forget Allah and embrace a life that would disgrace their lineage. Somebody got fed-up, somebody looked at the infidels on television and swore to end the plague that attacked his people like a deadly virus from a land beyond the seas. Somebody felt that burning desire to impact his surroundings and earn a place in the heavens and Boko Haram was born. No child was meant to die, no innocent was meant to perish, the people were supposed to be forced out of the trance they had entered and focus on all that was holy but somebody didn’t realize that his idea was the perfect loophole for those who sought evil, somebody didn’t anticipate that impressionable youths could be brainwashed to break the laws of the very book they fought to uphold and protect. Somebody didn’t know…He only wanted to be a hero.

Some chose the power of the pen, others the power of the sword, others the power of their voice and yet others the strength of their actions. There’s a hero in us all and a thin line separates hero from villain, it all depends on who you are cheering for and whether or not your cause falls in line with the greater good. Our greater good has always been “One Nation bound in freedom, peace and unity…”

Nigeria is 51 and it is a land of forgotten heroes. Who sings the praises of Sir Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Herbert Macauley and Obafemi Awolowo? Rather than striving to perfect the work that these men gave their lives fighting for, we trample on their memories and spit on their graves. If they lived in these times, would they have been motivated to fight or would they have sat folding hands in despair like most Nigerians do viewing our nation as un-redeemable? Would they weep if they could see our misguided heroes-turned-terrorists or the would-be heroes banished permanently to the back seat of our minds because someone had told us it was better to live a miserable life than fight? For how long would Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe fight alone? For how long would we allow the blood of MKO Abiola, Ken Sarowiwa and Bola Ige be just a couple of senseless killings?
“The Labor of our Heroes past shall never be in vain…”

Every time we sang the National anthem, we glossed over the words like they were the lyrics of a not-so-popular song. Where did the compatriots go? They had still not arisen to obey Nigeria’s call to serve, too busy chasing 1000 naira notes. Gani Fawehinmi had taken that anthem seriously, Tai Solarin had too but were they random oddballs in a sea of bland citizens?
And how about our un-sung heroes? T.Y Bello who chose to lift our spirits and paint a beautiful Nigeria among the negative bandwagon who took delight in flogging a dead horse and spelling out the troubles of a nation already under worldwide public ridicule?
How about the man or woman or child who chose to do right in a country where right hardly paid off? These were our heroes. You could be one too… We cannot build our nation if everyone wants to be the villain. The nation is ripe for salvation, we are 51…Life begins at 40…11years gone and we still long for a hero, a man or woman who will break the status quo, who will fear no man, who will make the world pay attention and create a Nigeria we have only dreamed of. Search within you, we all have a special gift. One day, the God we serve will require of each of us our country Nigeria and while we rattle on about what Nigeria didn’t do for us, He will raise His hand so we pause and ask what we did for Nigeria.

“Make we join hands to make Nigeria better…”

Happy Independence Day Nigerians!!!

…Daddy when I grow up, I wanna be a hero like superman and fly and catch all those bad bad people way dey spoil Nigeria… 😉 Amen

Do not give up on Nigeria…Have a great night peeps…xoxoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Inspirational

 

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The blood of the innocent must be avenged!

    Friday the 26th of August, started out as an ordinary day in Abuja, no one except those behind the attack could have predicted that the city would be thrown into turmoil before noon that day. It was business as usual at the office of the United Nations, a conference was on and about 300 people were gathered to discuss issues geared towards making Nigeria and Africa as a whole, a better place. They were unaware of the car that drove into the premises, they couldn’t hear the commotion outside amidst the applause as the guest speaker climbed up the stage. Human ears would never have detected the timer as it ticked in precision, counting down to the massacre.

We’ll never know what was on the pages of the speech so thoughtfully put together by the guest speaker, we’ll never know if any of the children in the creche would have grown to be the next Nnamdi Azikiwe or Wole Soyinka. We’ll never know if one of those people killed, housed an idea within him that could have changed the world, it’s all gone now. In a cloud of thick smoke. All we see now are rubble and blood. Blood everywhere. Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on objects that could have once been human flesh or a nice suit. All gone. What a waste! Who is the god of terrorism? Definitely not Allah. I may not be a muslim but I know that people would not readily worship a God who encouraged war in the place of peace or death instead of life. Who are the people that belong to Boko Haram? Have they no wives or children? Are they dead men walking amongst us, without feeling nor reasoning? The blood of the innocent cries out! The earth is red, I look to the right and to the left and all I see are death and destruction. From hurricanes to suicide bombers, the human life becomes nothing but a laughable wisp, as man rises up against man, nation against nation and the earth against its inhabitants. A wisp nothing more, that rises up like a cloud to be seen no more.

Once upon a time, terrorism was tied to a man called Osama and to the people whom he led but now it has infiltrated every country and every sect. From the blue eyed Nordic monster that swallowed up the lives of the innocent in a country that long ago won the Nobel Peace prize to the faceless demons called Boko Haram that sign their name in blood wreaking fear in the hearts of every Nigerian, Moslem and Christian alike. Everywhere across the globe we work, we live, we sleep, we play like chickens in a cage, not sure who will be the next sacrifice.

Boko Haram I beseech you, if you have something to say, say it. If you have a grudge against someone, point him out, maybe he will be willing to die to save his people. One man in exchange for the life of many. Why do you continue to make mothers mourn their children? Why do you continue to rob children of their parents? If you had done your homework, you would have realized there were 20 little kids in a creche in the UN building. Did you not care that the blood of these young innocents would speed up the hand of vengeance upon you? Would you visit upon the children, the sins of the fathers? Where is your mercy? You send men out to die, sacrificing their lives and taking many with them to the grave but all to what end?

I weep for my country. I weep for a nation that can barely take care of itself. I weep for a government that seems helpless amidst the chaos. I weep for Nigeria. Begone with the propaganda, begone with the plots, call a spade, a spade. If you need help, ask for help. Let every man turn to His God and cry for mercy. We cannot continue to sweep under the carpet the issues that surround us. We cannot continue life as usual because our little circle remains unharmed. The human race did not survive millions of years by being passive. Sometimes good must stand up and fight. We are a population that is dying out, we need a saviour, we need help. We cannot continue to downplay the death toll or half-heartedly tackle this issue. We cannot continue to react rather than act. Boko Haram is made up of people, every human being, every sect has a weakness, find theirs Mr President before they take away all you hold dear. For they have found your weakness, they have seen the light go out of your eyes every time they take away the life of one of your beloved people.

Nigerians now isn’t the time to criticize. No one gives a rat’s ass anymore whether we should have voted Buhari or GEJ. That is ancient history. Now we must join him and fight terrorism in this country. It is not the president who loses wives, children, husbands, mothers and fathers everyday. It is us the people. Speak up, rise up as one Nigeria, sitting back to criticize while danger draws nigh is a sheer act of stupidity. While you jeer at the man the nation put in charge, our enemies plot their next target. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Adversity tests the character of a man. He needs your support. He needs ideas. He will listen, he will act. And let us as one nation cry unto God to have mercy on Nigeria and indeed the world. We will not be wiped out by brothers who have turned their backs on us. We will not let Boko Haram have the final word in this country. Stand up and fight!

Arise o compatriots, Nigeria calls, obey!

May the souls of those who died in the bomb blast rest in perfect peace… My prayers are with their families.

YOU SHALL BE AVENGED

Nigerians, may those who crave peace indeed have a peaceful week but as for those who seek destruction, there is no rest for the wicked…

xoxo

 
12 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Inspirational

 

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The swearing in of the people!

   Today we witnessed the swearing in of the 14th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So many events culminated into this single moment in history. Remarkably, a greater percentage of Nigerians came out to vote than was recorded in the past. Apparently it had dawned on us that we had to be mad to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. We had for long sat at round table discussions, picking sides, condemning, criticizing and denouncing the woes, the foes and the nuances of the game of politics our leaders played. Even the child on the street could list out all the things wrong with Nigeria. Like the popular song by African china, food no dey, water no dey…From corrupt leaders to poor education to a lack of amenities, poor infrastructure, poor sanitation, unemployment and poverty. Poor was the mantra, our problems well-played out for the world to see. But was it enough to depend on the shoulders of a new government to wipe the slate clean and perform miracles? Would Jonathan and his team be able to fight the ills and give us a future we had only dreamed of if all of us continued to carry on, business as usual?

Jonathan Goodluck is a man like you and I. Through time and chance as well as preparation and strategy he emerged amongst others to take the rudder as captain and steer the ship of Nigeria into calm waters. He has the ills of inflation, debts, poor public image, corruption and poverty already calling for his attention not to mention the weighty expectations of the people who voted him into power as well as the eyes of the world watching closely to make sure he follows the script. Do we actually think he can do it alone? Even if he was armed with the best team and not a combo of miscreants and well-meaning leaders as the case is, his work would still be cut out for him.

Democracy is defined as government of the people, for the people and by the people. The word ‘people’ is mentioned three times in that sentence. We are the people of Nigeria and it cannot be over-emphasized that if democracy is going to be our watch-word, we the people of Nigeria must take a stand. No matter how hard our leaders try, if the people don’t make a decision to change then it would all be futile. The government may provide LAWMA and other sanitation bodies to take care of the trash and clean the streets but if the people didn’t dispose of their refuse properly or clean their immediate surroundings, our land would not get any cleaner. It is such an irony that when Nigerians travel abroad, they act all civilized and carry their litter in their hands till they find a bin, some even remember to recycle. They wanna blend in, don’t wanna be fined for littering or act true to type but back home, they throw off the facade, for they are in a land that is not borrowed, where they can beat their chest and act like Kings. They don’t think twice about creating an eyesore everywhere they tread. How will we truly combat communicable diseases if the vectors are allowed to thrive in an environment only fit for animals? Do we actually think Goodluck Jonathan will solve that problem for us?

We talk about corruption and how bad our leaders are but haven’t we wondered why the most seemingly upright men once they have a taste of power suddenly fall prey to greed and avarice? Only a few men have tasted power and remained un-tainted. Could there be a problem with our foundation? Could this generation be one where morals and values are quietly dying out? Why point fingers at corrupt leaders when in our own smaller circles, honesty and fortitude are associated with being dull or a mugu. The patient dog has being rudely awakened to the fact that he is left to go hungry rather than getting the fattest bone. How many young children can resist the urge to steal candy when no one is looking? How many teenagers can resist the urge to hype their school fees when demanding for money from their parents? How many market women can resist cheating a customer to make just a bit more profit? How many people can resist bribing an officer of the law when they are detained for an offence committed? We call it basic instincts, the only way we can survive in a world that’s cruel and selfish but if we stopped for a moment to think about the effects it had on the next generation who were learning closely from the rest of us then we’d realize our country was headed downhill at top-speed.

Our leaders are a subset of the people of Nigeria. They are representatives of everyday life. Isn’t it sensible to think that a change must occur in the people before it reflects in their leaders?
Egypt has shown us the power of the people. As one voice, with one purpose, a nation is unstoppable. We can make changes and resist changes. I beseech us tonight to return to the old ways. To a time when honesty and hard work were rewarded and celebrated. Yes they say a leopard doesn’t change its spots but our children, the tomorrow of Nigeria are like a white board waiting to be written on. Teach them these values, start from the very beginning and in doing so we may be able to bring hope back into our world and perhaps learn a thing or two. For some of us, the lure of wealth and an easy life plus the necessity of the hustle makes it virtually impossible to live a life that is without deception or dishonesty in varying degrees but we must realize that if someone doesn’t take a stand to suffer some injustice so that justice may be served or to suffer some inconveniences so that the right thing may show forth then who are we to point fingers at the men who rule us? Where are the next generation of heroes? Are they wiped out or extinct? Will we continue to celebrate Tai Solarin, Ken Sarowiwa, Fela, Bimbo Odukoya, Y’aradua and all the dead who contributed to the growth of the nation while their memory fades and their labor is forgotten? As long as the fight against corruption continues to be the sole responsibility of EFCC, the only emotion we are allowed to have is envy! How we would all love to occupy those leadership positions and milk Nigeria dry. After all in our own circles, getting as large a chunk of the national cake as we can is still our unwritten agenda!

A lot of lives were lost to post-election violence and people attributed it to religious and political fanaticism but I agree with the few who believe that a lack of education was the root cause. If those men were properly educated, they would have been able to reason for themselves rather than following orders and doing what a higher power had programmed them to do. Yes education is key. Like pastor Sara said, you can bring out the guns and keep those youths in check but it’s like a calabash you forcefully submerge in water. Once you let go, it rises back to the surface. The soldiers would one day return to the barracks and then what next? These youth are desperate, frustrated and angry. Over 4 million Nigerian children are out of school when they should be in it. Sometimes they cannot afford it, other times there are social reasons why they are not in school. If the average Nigerian earns about one dollar a day then we can see why we are sitting on a time bomb. We could ask the government to provide more schools and free basic education as well as vocational schools but if we as a people didn’t play our part then the educational system would still be an embarrassment to the nation. There are so many graduates who are still semi-literate. They started out their education cheating at common entrance and WAEC, doing JAMB at special centres, bribing their way through university, buying certificates only to end up with a degree they were absolutely clueless about and we live in a country where employment is gotten on a who you know basis, where merit is discredited and where graduating with a first class is not a guarantee for success. What incentive do our youths have to stay in school when a degree can no longer put food on the table? The change must start with us.

We speak of a better Nigeria but I must tell you that Nigeria is its people and we are Nigeria. Our leaders are but a few men. It is up to us to plant the right seeds so that we may enjoy the fruit of our labor in coming times. As the new leaders celebrate their swearing in, we must remember that the people were sworn in today for democracy is government BY the people and our talents, our strengths and our abilities must be geared towards building a nation we can be proud of. I charge every Nigerian to recollect every round table discussion they have had about the ills of the country and brainstorm on ways they can make Nigeria the country of their dreams or at least the Nigeria of ages past. If we aim for the stars, we wouldn’t do too badly if we fell on a cloud with silver lining and all the trimmings. 🙂
Happy Democracy Day peeps and don’t you just love public holidays that fall on mondays? TGIM…xoxoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Inspirational

 

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Place ya hand!

    Today Nigerians took their destiny in their hands. Today is the 16th of April and it didn’t start out as an ordinary day. Let me rewind to last night….
I stayed at work till late trying to beat a self-imposed deadline and being a half day as the place emptied, my thoughts soon began to echo. The security guards longed to drive the workaholics out of the building with kobokos but remembered they’d still need jobs long after the elections were over. Yes the atmosphere was charged.
My friend called that she was downstairs and I was forced out of my l’il office island and thrust into the pre-election frenzy. As I walked towards the stairs, I contemplated the elevator but remembered it had been giving problems and since the building was near empty, this would be the wrongest time to get stuck in the elevator. Note to self, get stuck in the elevator on one of the days there’s a prince charming around to rescue you.
I was snapped out of my reverie by hushed voices coming out of a closed, dim-lit office. I was transported into a scene from an action movie probably eavesdropping on some politicians doing last minute propaganda. I remembered my office was in a government building and scurried out before someone decided to throw a bomb.

My girl A was in town and the three of us oblivious to the impending curfew hit the town looking for some friday night fun.
A and I hadn’t watched the Tourist and K amidst laughter agreed to watch the film with us a second time at Silverbird.
We took the elevator (one I can trust!) and as we approached the ticket stand the woman sighting us hurried through the back door and slammed the door!
Since there was no scary-faced serial killer behind us (I checked) we asked the couple trying hard not to make-out by the ticket stand and the guy managed to offer an answer, eyes fixated on the woman’s boobs. “The cinema’s closed for today cos of the curfew.” We thanked him and I could imagine him blessing the Federal Government for the restricted movement the day after….nine months later they’d testify in church…hopefully!
We settled for ice-cream and meat pies and loads of girly gossip (Rev. Father I have sinned ;-)).
The atmosphere was charged, there were police and SSS everywhere and we had to open our boot for inspection. Guess Charley’s Angels has made it possible for three hot looking women to be fully armed and dangerous and we ain’t talking about our booty!
We spent the night gisting about men and dozed off. I had dreams of a lazy saturday but that was not to be…

Regrettably I did not place my hand under anything today. Not under the umbrella, not under the hot sun…nada! Why? Cos I registered in Lagos ages before I landed the job in Abuja and that singular move made me ineligible.
My friend K was determined to vote though she’d registered miles away from her house where we were having a one of a kind sleepover. I couldn’t imagine breaking the law. The major streets would be crawling with SSS and though we were all doctors, none of us had a valid i.d card. K had one she’d been issued in 2009 which she said along with 3 stethoscopes and doctors’ coats would fly. Now if it was mopo I would have had less palpitations but we were talking SSS and my liver failed me. I begged, I cajoled, I tried to reason with her. I wanted her to vote but she didn’t require 2 non-voting escorts. Prison bars flashed before my eyes. K was adamant. She wasn’t gonna let chick now chicken Anita ruin her plans or worse still allow either of her guests be home alone when NEPA wasn’t playing nice. So off we went…

K flew like the wind, I could’ve sworn she was doing 200km/hr. I pinged ‘him’ telling him what predicament I’d gotten myself into and gave him the numbers of my Abuja kin and backed that up with a prayer.
We got to her voting centre without incident. The armed ferocious looking guard wasn’t allowing people without voters cards enter the premises so A and I sat in the hot car and I imagined all the places I’d rather be.
After accreditation, K returned and informed us that we’d have to go home and return 2hrs later to vote. On our way home just at the city gate, we met our first band of SSS. They were dressed in plain clothes with bullet-proof vests on some of them and guns in plain sight. I closed my eyes and saw prison bars again…

We parked and as K wound down the glass, I mumbled the name of the hospital over and over again lest I forget. Imagine being asked where I work and I stammer and mumble some whimsical name. For Pete’s sake the average adult spends a greater part of the day at his/her job, how can you possibly forget where you work unless you don’t actually work there?
I was sweating like a christmas goat and even my thoughts were stammering. My throat was too dry to even attempt to form words so I stayed put clutching to my stethoscope and doctor’s coat like a medical student on his first day in clinical school. Lucky for me, they directed all their questions to ‘calm K’, checked the boot and sent us on our way.
I should testify in church right? There were cars and people already detained all around and it looked like deep s**t.

After the incidence I chopped liver mehn! We went back to vote, A and I doing supporters’ club and then we went wild. From Citec villa to Airport road to City gate to Gaduwa and then to Apo. Everytime we met the SSS, it was the same routine, we were the untouchables and though we weren’t dressed like doctors, our stethoscopes were real enough.
And as K rightly pointed out, doctors are overworked, under-paid and under-appreciated so if these are the only perks of the job we should enjoy it to the fullest. We had delicious assorted meat peppersoup at Gaduwa, shout out to O and her cutie pie, redwine and asaro at Apo courtesy my guy T and more fun than was legal at the time. Lots of toasts were made as we celebrated Nigeria and a free and fair election.

I really wish I could’ve voted but like millions of Nigerians, I had registered in a place too far away to vote. I did say a prayer for Nigeria and I hope one day it won’t matter where you vote as long as you have registered.
Now the whole of Nigeria waits with bated breaths for an announcement that will surely change our lives. It’s raining in Abuja and I can only imagine they are showers of blessings. Nigeria is truly a blessed nation. I have decided to pass my waiting time at the cinema watching the Tourist and I promise you that I will be holding my breath.

Congrats Nigerians, we’ve done our part, INEC do yours and please JEGA no stories! Have a great evening folks….xoxoxo

*Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a long while, I was too busy sorting out my life but now can we be friends again? 😉

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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