The Nigerian Blogger
Speaking Truth to the change we need

Aug
03

The essence of this blog has always and will continue to be, simplifying constructive arguments to its most minimal base and not clouding your mind with unnecessary jargons that deflect from the real problems we seek to address.

The African continent has been touted by many and rightly so as the next big frontier of the global economic boom. It’s seen as the continent of exponential growth and limitless possibilities. Nigeria and South Africa, the biggest economies on the continent  have attracted massive foreign investments and infusion of cash from China, to Russia, Latina America and offcourse the United States of America, all in a bid to cash in and get their own piece of the ginormous “African Pie”

I wholeheartedly support capitalism in its purest form. The undiluted and unaldurated type. The type that gives everyone  an equal opportunity to succeed through hard work and diligence. But we all know that’s impossible to find these days. African leaders and those in positions of power are getting richer while the middle class and working people hardly see the benefit of any infusion of cash. Corrupt officials hijack the process and the foreign companies grease their palms and acquiese to these shady practices. These are not innuendoes or hearsay reports, in the last decade big companies like Halliburton have been found guilty of corruption in Africa.

On paper Africa is growing at great rate and all is well, but I caution those who are overly optimistic about this. Every nation is as strong as its working force or middle class and the ability to bring in viable, young men and women to continue the growth of that sector. This sectors is what fuels any economy, and it should be continually nurtured, pruned and watered to guarantee the economic engine is well fueled. This is not happening today. All over Europe  young able bodied African migrants risk their lives and family to make it to “greener pastures”, this same boisterous economy touted by economists cannot give them jobs. So they leave the mother land in search of a better life, with the resignation to fate that they may well die on the way to their “promised land”.

This is a big indictment on the leadership of African countries when young and able bodied people flee their countries in droves in search of a better life beyond the shores of the continent. A continent supposedly large enough atleast by economic estimates cannot provide and keep its brightest and future generation.

The best people we have, the ones  that should serve as the foundation for the future, those who should be leading a new wave of economic, literary and scientific juggernauts that will make Africa a top world influencer continue to leave in droves. Instead of building our own dreams we inadvertently export our best and brightest to build the dreams of other nations.

Africa has grown in leaps and bounds over the past decades, and this is by no means a post to belittle all the good things that have happened on the continent, but a failure to retain our best and brightest, who will build on those achievements defeats the whole purpose of growth. Failure to reverse this trend will send us into a downward spiral, one that may just land us in a place far worse off than where we started.

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Jun
21

I have always been an advocate of simplicity when trying to explain and decipher “complex issues “. I say this because I really don’t think problems are complex, I think they are made complex by those who created the problem when they try to explain their inability to fix the problem. The English dictionary has a phrase for this  type of behavior it’s called “utter incompetence”. I know the problems plaguing Nigeria today are easily identifiable and fixable, but the corrupt politicians, selfish Nigerians and money hungy government contractors will want you to believe otherwise. They will tell you it’s such an impossible task, and that no one has answers to fix this nation that is in a state of continuous rot. At the root of the problem is oil revenue, how we mismanage it, and have done for decades and how that problem has multiple prongs spread around all facets of our society.

The resource curse is a phenomenon plaguing Nigeria and a majority of African countries, but I’ll focus on my beloved Nigeria today. Simply put it occurs when a country with a shaky and corrupt government gets a financial windfall because of on their natural resources, but because of a culture of corruption the wealth is stolen, and squandered by corrupt people in positions of power. These countries are likely to experience, war , farmine and civil wars compared to other countries with no such resources and no access to such explosion of national revenue.

It’s been over 60 days since the bring our girls back hashtags flooded the internet and sent hope rising amongst many Nigerians that perhaps these innocent girls will be rescued and reunited with their families. We were wrong, we are more confused about the whereabouts of these innocent girls than we have ever been. We have no regular updates from the nigerian government, business as usual has resumed, the nigerian president is still preoccupied with politics.  I weep for these girls, I pray for them daily. In the fast and furious news cycle we live in, events have overtaken the urgency of finding these girls. ISIS is wrecking havoc in Iraq and that looks like where the world focus is now.

The Nigerian president his cabinet and all those in positions of power have failed these girls dearly . They all took an oath to protect the citizens of this country and they have failed in that basic tenet. I blame them, but not as much as I blame the citizens of Nigeria. The outrage is non existent as they continue to reward this useless government. There is no nationalistic pride or commaradre about building a functioning and equitable nation. They are all selfish and preoccupied with what they can get for themselves. This dog eat dog mentality is what is plaguing our growth.  Income inequality is widening by the day,and the people say nothing . Nigerians listen and listen well, the is fire coming.. We have already seen the anarchy in the north and it will only spread. If you think you are inoculated from the wrath that is about to befall our country you are stupidly mistaken.

I see it moving close than ever. If we as a people don’t examine ourselves, look inward and start to practice honesty, shun corruption and start to build a country for our future children.

Apr
21

Those who call themselves freedom “fighters”/ “terrorists”/ jihadist”, and are willing to die based on an ideology which they wholeheartedly believe in, do it based on that ideology alone for the most part. These beliefs are usually hinged on the concept of freedom, liberation and  justice. However perverted the principles they espouse are to the “rational” person, to them its their truth.

However in Nigeria, there is a new trend, one that is subliminally hidden behind all the talk of jihad and Islamic liberation. This new trend is what i have termed “Money terrorism

Boko haram is a terrorist group based out of the northern part of Nigeria. They have been responsible for multiple killings, bombings and senseless acts of violence against innocent civilians and people.They believe only in the “pure”, “unadulterated” and strict Islamic teachings. Now, this group led by its leader Abubakar Shekau claim these acts of violence are based on turning Nigeria into an Islamic state and nothing more. They claim its a fight based on right and wrong as they perceive it.

I beg to differ. I differ wholeheartedly. These acts are based on a carefully orchestrated and premeditated play book by some people in government, cowardly northern leaders and people with financial interests in the continuation of this violence. We have a president who is highly incompetent and who set a dangerous precedent when he gave amnesty with no proper limitations and stipulations to the touts who masqueraded themselves as freedom fighters in the Niger Delta.  After he granted them amnesty, he started paying a handful of these leaders millions of dollars through fictitious contracts. One notable leader Government Tompolo’s company was awarded a $103.4 million contract to protect the nations waterways, and stop the theft of crude oil. Just in case you were wondering crude oil theft has increased since the contract was awarded.. In addition to that, Niger delta touts Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom and Government Tompolo receive 9million,3.5 million and 22.5 million USD respectively every year from the Nigerian government to keep the peace in the delta. These payment are to keep the militants from destroying  pipelines and reducing oil exports which in turn hurt Nigeria’s oil revenue and bottom line.

So for any proper thinking capitalist this situation is a gold mine, one with a bottomless pit of wealth funded by the rich allure of oil money.There are millions of dollars to be made by being a nuisance and a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian government. Instead of coming down on these criminals, and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law. President Goodluck Jonathan is pretty much appeasing them and rewarding these lawless acts of violence with money, and power and influence.

When certain power brokers and cowards in the northern part of Nigeria who dare not show their faces see this trend they start to fund their own rebellious group in the north. One which disguises as an Islamic jihadist group and starts to wreck havoc. Killing innocent children, abducting innocent girls, blowing up buildings and making propaganda videos.

So here we have it. Boko haram will stop all their acts of violence if they get amnesty without limitations or stipulations like the Niger Delta militants got. They also want a piece of the loot, That ever buoyant federal treasury account stashed with oil money and which is replenished daily when our crude oil is sold on the open international oil market. They want to be appeased to stop their violence, and why not? the precedent has been set ,and they want to get the same treatment the touts in the Delta got.

So don’t be fooled my friends,its hocus pocus! Just like the crooked magician who displays his tricks and you wonder in amazement on how he managed those feats, they want you to focus on one thing while they do another…. They want to keep you distracted while they make millions of dollars for their greedy selves, while simultaneously keeping you engaged in the belief that they fight for Islam and nothing more.

Its all Money Terrorism, the new way to make money off an incompetent and inept government. One that lacks the testicular fortitude to fight corruption head on, and keep the motherland safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug
31

 

International law is vague, it’s very difficult to define and the premise of international law is a challenging phenomenon to any sovereign nation. It’s challenging because as a sovereign nation, your rights to carry out actions without outside interference is at the core of your independence. However, when you as a head of state, president or principal actor in a country take certain actions which dehumanize, kill on a mass scale or carry out illegal and immoral actions with grave humanitarian consequences you trigger that concept of international law, which can challenge your independence and sovereignty. Simply put, international law is triggered by the offending country’s actions which in most cases are repugnant to natural justice, equity and fairness.

With that being said, let’s look at syria’s actions especially in the last week, where the Basha Al Assad led government from very strong evidence has been fingered for using chemical weapons on it’s own people killing hundreds of young children, women and men.

These actions cannot and should not go unpunished. They should not be condoned. I am not a fan of war neither am i advocating war in this instance; But what history has taught us is that we must not sit down, look away and condone evil, evil that we might  regret not addressing in the future. There are plenty examples : the genocides in Rwanda we waited too long, the ethnic cleanings in Serbia we did not act in good time and these are moments we look back at today, and wish we had done more and acted swiftly to prevent the mass killings that followed their aftermath.
 
The UN security council detractors, Russia and china do not want any sort of action on Syria because they want to protect their economic interest and quest for strategic regional dominance. Not once have they condemned the actions of this monster who can use such lethal chemicals with impunity and expect no reaction. Their greed and economic benefits outweigh any illegality the regime may have done, and continues to do. Their moral compass is totally turned off.

We Americans are very reluctant to start another war and with very good reason. The casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan are still rising and even as we draw down on those wars, we want the focus to be on strengthening the American economy and not spending billions on another war. I don’t think this will be a full scale war, the administration is reluctant to engage in a full fledged war.It is  also very aware that it must have incontrovertible evidence of Assad’s guilt before it goes in and launches any sort of action. However, the immorality and criminality of Assad’s actions require us to stand up for what is right as difficult as it may seem. This is a tough decision, but decisions that define how history will judge you are never easy. Everyone agrees something should be done, but no one wants to do anything. We can not turn our backs on this evil, and the only reason we give is that it’s not our business.

 
Syria might appear far away from the lush and green shores of the United states, but evil moves quick , if we do not stand up for the defenseless Syrians it might as well embolden those who want to do evil to America to try to bring it to our shores.

Jul
04

VENUE :USA

When Samsung announced it was collaborating with Jay Z to publicize his much anticipated 4th of July Magna Carter album on its android platform by giving away 1million free downloads people were ecstatic; Not just because we love free stuff , but it was just not any free stuff, it’s a Jay z album. One of the greatest rappers of all time. The countdown was on…

Switch continents to Africa, Lagos, Nigeria to be precise; The most populous country in Africa and one of Samsung’s biggest markets. Since the return of democracy in 1999 the economic airways of Nigeria have become open, and has bustled with foreign investments. Mobile phone companies and operators capitalized on this new flow of money and opportunity from a fertile populace who embraced mobile phone technology like it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Over the past decade, Nigeria has become a big market for top selling mobile phones, it’s a cultural thing, the latest smart phones no matter how much are sought and bought by Nigerians, Most have two or three phones. It’s a way of life.

So when Nigerians who like most of the world have become very smart phone savvy heard about the Samsung free download giveaway, they were eager to get in on the act. It’s Samsung they thought, one of the best selling cell phones in the country there is no reason we should not partake in this give away, after all we buy plenty of their phones. Unbeknownst to them, they were in for a rude awakening. The Magna Carter free downloads were not available in Lagos, not just Lagos but not to any part of Nigeria.

Samsung like most big multinational companies before it, had disregarded the importance of the Nigerian market to it’s African market share and dare I say world . This is something we routinely allow these big multinational companies to get away with because of our corrupt system, inattentive government and non existent consumer advocacy groups. It’s absolutely preposterous that they would exclude Nigeria from accessing the free downloads. Even more insulting is the fact that South Africa was not excluded, so it’s not like all African countries were excluded. South Africa was able to partake but not Nigeria.

A few notes about why this is so insulting, market share and economic power always determine how you treat your customers, it’s the same reason the US can’t confront Saudi Arabia on it’s abysmal human rights record or lack of democracy ; they need Saudi oil, plain and simple and they can’t risk alienating them. Nigeria buys more Samsung phones, more than another brand, but still Samsung excludes the Nigerian market from the free downloads. Why you may ask? Why stick it to one of your biggest markets in your quest for world cellphone dominance??? because they know Nigerians are gullible and have no sense of pride. They know a few kickbacks to some corrupt government officials gives them the license to do whatever they desire. The same way huge multinational oil companies over the years have made billions from the Niger delta while simultaneously decimating the environment and depriving millions of the use of their land, with very little in settlements and actual clean ups of oil spills. The answer is give kickbacks to some corrupt government officials and it’s okay to turn a blind eye.

I think this move by Samsung to exclude the Nigerian market from accessing free Magna carta downloads is very unfortunate. It speaks volumes to how much respect and appreciation they have for the Nigerian market and most especially the Nigerian people. They have not issued any statement explaining the reason for the exclusion, but I doubt will will get any. Why should they? “there is no one to hold their feet to the fire” and seek answers. It’s back to business as usual, but Nigerians should always remember they can remind Samsung of what a dumb idea this is with their wallets and buying power.

Samsung and these companies are not totally at fault here and I do not lay the blame solely at their feet. The corrupt officials and inept government safeguards are equally as guilty, but what I expect from Samsung is to conduct their business with the highest sense of corporate responsibility no matter what part of the world they find themselves, and not reserve their best behavior and corporate ethics for developed countries where scrutiny and watchdogs are more vigilant.

Apr
17

Nigeria has always been known as a bastion of corruption, as much as it hurts me to say this its the truth. Its been well documented, both by our local press and citizenry, and also by the international society. The boldfaced horrors of government looting, corrupt and criminal politicians and abject poverty are interwoven in the most bizarre of ways. But a new dimension in the last decade has been added to our calamity. Terrorism.

Now, i know this term has been used and thrown around pretty frequently especially after the September, 11 2001 attacks on the US world trade center. The term has garnered more frequent  use in our day to day vocabulary as our world constantly changes. Simply put this is what it means : Any act by a person, group of people, government or organization that seeks to cause harm upon any target intended or otherwise with the aim of destabilizing and causing death or injury upon anyone. The defining hallmark is  destabilization, be it economic, political or financial it seeks to throw a wrench in the normal flow of everyday lives.

Boko Haram is terrorist organization operating out of the Northern part of Nigeria. They have killed thousands of innocent people and have caused mayhem to that and other parts of the country. They have even splintered up into different smaller groups some of which pledge allegiance to Al-qaeda. The Nigerian government has not been able to quash this threat and has been nothing short of incompetent in trying to nip this rising wave of violence  in the bud. Simply put its been disastrous, thousands of innocent lives have been lost through senseless acts of terror and nothing of serious impact is being done to put an end to this nonsense.

But true to its previous gestures of appeasement, the Nigerian government led by President Goodluck Jonathan now seeks to grant amnesty to this group, just like it appeased the Niger Delta militants with millions of dollars in compensation to its leaders every month, all in the name of laying down their arms and not disturbing the oil flow in the Delta.. our only cash cow. I think this is a bad idea and a very bad precedent, its like rewarding bad behavior, its just wrong.

Amnesty has worked in some countries, South Africa for example had a successful truth and reconciliation commission in the aftermath of apartheid as it tried to rid itself of the terrible atrocities and memories of that era. But it was successful only because certain conditions precedent were fulfilled. Conditions like perpetrators owning up to their evil acts and vowing to desist from doing them, meeting with their victims, and gradually fostering a spirit of tolerance and forgiveness.

To President Goodluck, if these conditions are not met, granting amnesty will only cover a melting pot simmering with hate and disdain for a short time, that pot will eventually explode with unimaginable acts of violence. Do not be on the wrong side of history sir.

The Conditions I propose are as follows:

1.The innocent Victims of Boko haram should be front and center, they should be properly identified and compensated financially and emotionally.Their grievances should be heard and their present and continuous security should be guaranteed.

2. The Boko Haram leadership and perpetrators of these acts of violence should offer a public apology, and vow to desist from further acts of violence. The apology should also include taking responsibility for specific acts of terror and apologizing to the victims and the nation as a whole.

3.The government should then set up a committee to do a detailed investigation to recover arms and ammunition, single out those members responsible of making the explosives that rocked our country and have them rehabilitated.

4. The Christian and Muslim leaders should have a joint press conferee condemning acts of violence by Boko haram and any other terror group, and affirming that as long as the conditions mentioned above are met honestly and truthfully with full and total disclosure they will support them.

5. The last and most important part of the puzzle. Under no circumstance should money exchange hands, the government should not give the leadership of boko haram any money for appeasement, doing this only goes to show that bad behavior and acts of terror are a profitable venture, so why not do these despicable things if you can get very rich by doing them. It is doing them a favor by granting amnesty in the first place. Money can be earmarked for rehabilitation centers for past members. This money should be administer by a neutral commission probably headed by someone from the east, and at the end if the process a full report and audit of the funds should be issued.

I am not totally swayed neither am i in support of granting amnesty to these terror groups, but maybe in some instances it is the best thing to do to stop the senseless violence and innocent bloodshed that Nigeria has witnessed in recent years. If the Steps above are implemented truthfully and without any equivocation, we might just be on the path to ending this bloodshed and putting this group behind us.

God bless Nigeria, as it tries to find its way to prosperity and an equal opportunity nation for all regardless of ethnicity, gender and religious beliefs.

Mar
18

The Genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, and the Congo are a freighting and chilling reminder of how human intolerance and disdain for cultural, religious and ethnic differences can escalate to unimaginable levels.

These countries will live forever with the memories of these brutal and inhumane killings, even as they struggle with their truth and reconciliation commissions, and try to rebuild their countries. The scars of violence will forever be imbedded in their minds and history.

When history is referenced, its most important element are the lessons learnt from the past. If any lessons should be learnt from these countries, maybe it’s that Broken government, corrupt officials and a frustration of the people can lead to spontaneous acts of violence, which in turn is fueled by hate, and gradually poisons the mind of the weak and gullible to do further acts of violence on a large-scale.

Today the Nigerian government (that’s if we have one) is ignoring the lessons of History. The spontaneous acts of Religious and ethnic violence between Christians and Muslims in the North that started in the 90′s rears its ugly head again in 2010. Thousands of innocent lives have been lost in the past months, but nothing is being done to seek a true and honest solution to this problem.

These acts of Violence are orchestrated by a few sadistic and power-hungry politicians, who prey on the weak and religiously bankrupt. They want to divert attention away from the unavailability of the president by shifting the focus of the national discourse, and changing newspaper headlines.

Thousands of innocent lives have been lost with this latest round of religious violence. Innocent Men, women and children were hacked to death in cold blood all in the name of religion. The government has done nothing to compensate the families of this horrific tragedy, to rebuild their homes or to even take an inventory of exactly how many people died. Rather it is preoccupied with politics of power!

The government is busy with solidifying its power base. They ignore the signs, that show nothing but a disaster waiting to happen. The Jonathan/ Yaradua power struggle continues, all the Abuja elites are interested in is how to steal more money, and how to rig the election coming up next year. Nothing else!

The Niger delta is a good example of how when these signs are ignored, violence and lawlessness will inevitably follow. If the Government had been honest and paid attention to the issues of the Niger delta people maybe these militants will not have any audience today. If proper infrastructure and good leaders were in the Delta, maybe it would have been a daunting task to ask young men who had good jobs and a stable way of life to become mercenaries revolting against the government.

The Nigerian Nation risks being thrown into anarchy. If the Niger Delta thuggery, and spouts of religious violence are not checked.
With the age of the internet where fanatics are quick to inspire idle and jobless minds that violence is the way to go. Where imitation of Terrorist behaviour is on the rise ( weeks after the Christmas day bomber was caught an imitator sought to Bomb churches in Lagos) We risk the future of generations to come, we risk war, and a total breakdown of the law and order if we ignore the writings on the wall.

Feb
11

Mubarak is gone! He stepped down earlier today. The headlines signaling the victory attained by the resilience and sheer will of the Egyptian people; flash and scroll across TV screens around the world. The events of the last 18 days have been seen and heard around the world, so going into an in-depth discussion about how a defiant and freedom thirsty people overthrew perhaps the most entrenched autocrat in recent history might be futile.

The question now is how far will this wave of change sweeping around North Africa go? The desire and determination of the Egyptians will no doubt empower other Islamic countries. It will however stop at those shores and will not in any way get to the shores of my beloved Nigeria or other west African countries, and these are the reasons why.

DETERMINATION : The Egyptian people were determined and were ready to fight till the very end, we heard men and women who had no reason participation in this revolutionary march say they were willing to die for freedom. The Google executive who is in charge of Google’s North African marketing cried in an interview on CNN and said he was willing to die for this cause. This was a reflection of what majority of those Egyptians at Tahir square. For 18 days they camped out and vowed not to leave until their voice was heard. They had one request, genuine democratic reform.

We don’t have this type of spirit and determination in Nigeria, everyone is too cool, everyone is too afraid of change. We lack the conviction and determination and we are not united. Most importantly we don’t love our country enough to die trying to change it, if that is what it takes. Neither do we appreciate what is at stake and how far away we are from good governance.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized how people communicate, and how fast they can organize and mobilize. The access to internet for majority of the people was a plus because it allowed for swift and easy mobilization. Our access to this amenities back in Nigeria are very limited. Yes there are cyber cafes, but most times they don’t even function because electricity is down, or they are too expensive for the average Joe to access. The was no doubt a digital revolution as much at it was a revolution of the people.

LOYALTY AND UNITY: The most important element for any successful revolution is unity and loyalty to the cause. An unmovable and unshakable belief in one thing . When the protests against Mubarak’s regime began one thing was clear. The Egyptians were united for one cause there were no divisions on what tribe you are from or what your religion was. It was all about one thing, democratic change. They had a united front.

We don’t have such unbreakable unity in Nigeria, it’s all about what is in it for me. The yorubas, hausas and igbos will have to figure out who will be president or how it will benefit their region before they will ever consider shaking up the old evil leaders who have ruled us for years and continue to manipulate election results. Yes, we are not technically a dictator nation, but in practice we are. If elections do not reflect the will or the people or are rigged then whoever is president is s a dictator, so lets not be confused we are ruled by dictators and thieves and have been for years.

LOCATION: The strategic location of Egypt was no doubt a plus to their cause. It gave the world a focused gaze on Egypt. The Egyptian border with Israel, the Suez canal which is of world importance to the price of oil was no doubt a source of major concern. Strategically Nigeria is not of such global importance yes we are a major oil producer but the disruption in the Niger delta over the years have adjusted the world reliance on our oil.

THE DNA OF THE AVERAGE ARAB: The average Arab is very defiant and true to their cause, and they will never back down until they achieve what they set out to do. In spite of the many setbacks the protesters had, over 300 people killed, the secret police harassing and kidnapping protesters. It did not deter these people in fact it emboldened them and they pushed back against the odds and won. The average Nigerian’s DNA is not of this sort, in fact by the second day we will have resigned ourselves to fate and say this is how God wants it and returned to our misery . Our religious beliefs most times blinds us into stupidity. The righteous do take it by force!

POVERTY AND EDUCATION: For you to fight for your rights , you must know those rights. Majority of Nigerians are uneducated and unaware of the power they have as a people. One thing key in this victory for Egypt; is that this people were very aware of their rights as a people and were ready to enforced them. They spoke great English and articulated what they wanted in plain terms . They knew the power was with them all they had to do was harness it, and they sure did.  Our public educational system is getting worse by the day and the majority of the youth who will lead Nigeria in the future are a dying species, quickly becoming extinct.

 

I rejoice with the Egyptian people, but for those who think this wave will reach Abuja, Lagos, Jos or any other major city in Nigeria. I say hold your breath and take a deep pause. WE ARE NOT READY FOR CHANGE.

 

 

 

 

 

Jan
31

When Mohamed Bouazizi an unlicensed street Vendor in Tunisia set himself ablaze in protest against the poverty, unemployment and the deplorable state of stagnation in the North African nation;  few knew it would lead to a wave of revolt in Northern Africa which could well spread beyond the shores of the motherland.

Mohamed’s apparent suicidal actions lead to a wave of social, political and economic revolt against the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. It all started as small protest but quickly grew into massive crowds on the streets. It finally led to the ouster of Ben Ali who was rumored to have fled to Saudi Arabia, after recognizing the situation had gotten out of hand and has no option but to relinquish power. Power he has held on to for about 25 years. At the heart of all these protest is Economic prosperity, political reform and social justice.

Mohammed Bouazizi died a few weeks later from his burns. He is considered a Martyr who has inspired plenty copycats.

Enter Egypt, the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has ruled for over 30 years. The country was reeling from economic stagnation, unemployed youths and frustration amongst majority of its population. This was fertile ground for a copycat revolution.

Seeing how effective their Tunisian counterparts had been, the Egyptians flooded the streets of Cairo and Alexandria in  the thousands demanding the ouster of their president and demanding political and economic changes as well. The police and army seem powerless against the protesters who are determined to see this through to the very end. What that is no one has any idea.

Egypt is of major strategic importance to the US and Israel. The muslim brotherhood a group which has been labeled as fundamentalists has been kept quiet by the Egyptian government. Mubarak has quashed them and rendered them almost powerless. He has also been a staunch US ally and is Against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. So he is definitely in the good books of US and Israel.

The big picture is that other Middle eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Yemen, Qatar and other nations who do not have a democratic process are in panic mode right now. They are taking precautions because this wild flames of frustration, revolution and poverty might inspire other Muslim brothers and sisters to start their own demand for change. So many have a stake in seeing Mubarak restore credibility to his government and halt the uprising. Because if this Egyptian government falls like Tunisia did, it will no doubt spark a flame of huge revolution of enormous proportions.

Most of these people have lived in anger from lack of jobs and good livelihood for years and they just seem ready to demand change.

Flash back a few months ago to Iran when Iranians defied the revolutionary guard to lead protests against an election they deemed rigged. The did not achieve the result they wanted- the resignation of their president-, but they have put a dent in the Iranian hierarchical process some even say it is split, a house divided which will crumble in due time.

Its time African leaders server the people, its time they implement transparent and effective electoral processes free of any duress or coercion. In Ivory coast Lauren Gbagbo lost the presidential elections held earlier this year but holds on to power defying the electorate, the African Union and the world leaders calling for him to hand over power to the duly elected leader. In Nigeria, the process has been dominated by electoral fraud and government looting.

Egypt and maybe the World may be at a cross roads right now. No doubt that the crisis will have rippling effects around the world. Prices of Oil may go up because Egypt is a major route for oil barges and ships, It may lead to instability  in the region and nervousness for the US and Israel . But at the end of the day do our interests becloud our values or do we stand up for the universal rights of every human being . The Jury is still out on that one.

Enjoy your day!

O.A.L

Oct
10

I have gone back and forth since the 1st of October when Nigeria turned 50, contemplating whether or not to write this post. I have felt  a mixture of anger, disappointment and hopelessness. Questions of whether we can ever dig ourselves out of this enormous sink hole we find ourselves float around in my head.  Like a child with kwashiorkor our growth is deformed and stunted. Corruption has deprived us of the nutrition we need to grow.

So i have decided that this post will be about Nigeria turning 50. But over the next four weeks i will put up a blog post every Monday about my blueprint for Nigeria’s future path to success.

On the 1st of October 2010 Nigeria turned 50. And in usual Nigerian fashion the festivities and fanfare had begun weeks earlier. The Government has set aside millions to celebrate this monumental event. But was there really anything to celebrate? Or do we need some serious refection on how stagnant we have stood for the better part of 50 years. The thieves who have stolen, the pride,hope, and opportunities of plenty a Nigerian still wander the streets of our country seeking to wreck more havoc and are greeted with thunderous applause for the most part. We have failed miserably as a nation. It sickens me to my stomach, to think of how much we have been blessed by God and how little we have to show for it.

Should we have spent all those millions celebrating this so-called milestone birthday? should head of states from nations around the world have showed up and be entertained and housed at tax payers expense? I say ABSOLUTELY not.

The President should have given a grim and solemn speech about how little we have achieved over the past half century since our destiny was formally transferred into our hands by the British colonial masters. He should have spoken about his future for this country in detail and outlined in specific terms his plans over the next four years if he is elected president. What he wanted to get done, and vow to start the process of turning this country around over the next 50 years, so that when we celebrate 100 years we can look back and be proud.

But in true Nigerian fashion the celebration had to happen at whatever cost, come rain or shine whether we have achieved anything or not the party just had to go on. We had to exhibit our stupidity to the world.

Think of this analogy for a minute. If you had a son who was about to turn 21 ( 21st birthdays are usually a big deal and parents usually have a party for their kids) who was still in kindergarten, when all his peers were already in university would you still throw him that party? Or will you give him a candid talk about how he needs to get his life together and make something of it. I assume that is what a majority of us would do. We would demand success from our child, so why not our government and ourselves.

Our infrastructure is non-existent; the roads, power grids and railways with the exception of a few are all from the colonial era. Over 15 billion dollars has been poured into fixing our power grids, but its impossible to go for a whole week without uninterrupted power and that’s being generous.  Our educational system needs major revamping. Our leaders have become bolder and better thieves. Yet we celebrate. Celebrate what?

The people who have ruled us over the years had no real understanding of the problems of Nigeria, neither did they have the passion to transform the country. Without a meshing of these two elements, disaster beckons. Our leaders constantly use anticipatory terms like “PLANS, HOPES, EXPECTS”. How many times have you read a newspaper headline that said FG plans to fix power supply by 2010? Plenty I assume. Have you ever read FG fixes power supply? No. Every thing promises to get done, but nothing  actually does

We have become sympathetic to looters and thieves, only in Nigeria will you still billions and still show your face because you know nothing will happen. Alamasiega stole millions from Bayelsa state when he was governor, yet the people there clamoured for his release, saying he was their son who was being persecuted. People like this should rot in jail and never see the light of day. This is just one example. There are thousands like him who thrive on thievery. They become emboldened because they know they can get way with clearing the government confines for their personal use

Nigerian leaders and its people have a serious problem.  Kilo se wa? In Yoruba language that means whats wrong with us. Sometimes you have to leave that country to see how rotten it has gotten. It’ a shame. But i have vowed to be part the change that that country needs. We all have to do something. Things must change. I don’t want an amen after you read that phrase. Religion has also made us gullible. God won’t help us if we don’t help ourselves.

Look out every Monday over the next four weeks for my blueprint series. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.  Lets share where we agree and disagree. Have a great week!