The Boys From Festac

By Adeola Aderounmu

When Bimbo Fatokun came to Sweden in 2002 for a football trial at Djurgården the first question he asked me when we met was “Omotayo, which club are you playing for”? I told him I came to Sweden to continue my academic studies. It was not all of my dreams that came true.

Over the years I’d pondered on what happened to some of us, the boys from Festac.

Bimbo left Nigeria back in the 90s to ply his trade abroad. He is very talented, athletic, quick and skilful. He is one of the best strikers/forward I’d ever known in my life. He played for Antwerp for several years and remained settled in Belgium with his wife and children. He didn’t reach the fullest of his potentials but he did his best. We had hoped that Bimbo would play for Nigeria one day but it did not happen. I had a short discussion with him about this in 2002 and I respect his views and will keep them off the web.

Bimbo Fatokun

Bimbo Fatokun

There are quite a number of boys from Festac who reached the national teams of Nigeria (at various levels). Sunday Oliseh, Samuel Ayorinde and Victor Agali are notable examples. I think the Ipayes also have links to Festac Town. Wasiu Ipaye on 401 Road was one of my closest pals before I left Festac Town. A very humble guy, he is. I heard that some younger generation of footballers from Festac Town have represented Nigeria too in recent years. I wouldn’t know them personally.

Agali

Agali

You won’t read about all the boys from Festac in a single essay and some people will probably get upset with me when they find out that their names are missing in this short story about the boys from Festac Town. Yes, it is a bias history. I write only about some of the boys who played with me and a bit after me.

Samuel Ayorinde

Samuel Ayorinde

George Ekeh is the eldest of 3 brothers from Festac Town who are football talents. I remembered the first time I saw George playing football as a boy. He was under the age of 10 at that time. I marvelled at how such a small boy could have so much skills and confidence on the ball.

George Ekeh

George Ekeh

As a young teenage striker, George can hold and guide the ball with extreme mastery. I admire his skills. George probably did not hit the apex of his talents on the big scene but he went on to play in many countries around the world. I like him very much. He’s settled in Sweden.

Emmanuel Ekeh followed in his brother’s steps and he’s the one that still has more time on his hand to proof what he can do with his boots and skills. I watched a few of his clips on YouTube. He has such a pace and he’s got good vision to make precise passes.

Emmanuel Ekeh

Emmanuel Ekeh

Kingsley Ekeh is a well known player in both Portugal and Cyprus. Famously called King he shone like a millions stars during his playing career. He quit in 2012 and became a scout for his former team.

Life can bring many twists. When I watched or played together with George sometimes, I never saw Kingsley on the football field. In fact, all my years in Festac Town, I didn’t see Kingsley kick a ball. He was always talking on the sidelines. To be honest, Kingsley can provoke anybody back in the days and you can’t win over him in an argument. I actually thought it was a joke when I heard that he was a professional footballer. I do hope to see Kingsley soon. When I do, my first question to him will be “come, which time you start to play ball sef”?

Kingsley Ekeh

Kingsley Ekeh

Azubuike Oliseh probably enjoyed the influence of his brother Sunday Oliseh in gaining international prominence. I have to be honest. This guy trained hard to ensure that he carved a name for himself. However, not everybody will agree with my last submission because despite playing for big teams in Europe, it was obvious he didn’t have the skills and fluidity of Sunny his brother.

Azubuike Oliseh

Azubuike Oliseh

The youngest Oliseh that I know, Egutu Oliseh still plies his trade as well. We never played together. I saw him grow up and I saw him at the Sunday services many times along with the rest of the family.

Egutu Oliseh

Egutu Oliseh

To complete this short story about the boys from Festac, I called up Femi Oladele in the middle of it. Femi is an encyclopaedia of Nigerian football. He grew up in Festac and studied Veterinary Medicine at ABU. But today he holds a Phd in sport administration from a German university.

As a result of his passion for football, he abandoned a PhD program along medical line in Sweden. I have convinced Femi to join me in writing the second part of this story. I have to forgive Femi though, he still doesn’t acknowledge my skills and I’m shocked he didn’t see any of my big games in Festac, Ebute Metta, Yaba Tech, Unilag, Mile 2 and in Ibadan.

Bassey of 23 Road did not turn professional. The story of Bassey will be told differently depending on the speaker and how well they know Bassey. In Festac in those days you cannot separate Bassey and George Ekeh. I always find them near mama Ibeji’s shop, chilling and talking for long hours. They are always together in the evening to discuss how they played/trained during the day and they talk a lot about the future. They had the same dream. There was definitely a link between Bassey, George and the Olisehs. I am not in the position to elaborate. I was at the University of Lagos when many water passed under the bridge.

In any case, historically, I was probably one of the first groups of people who played football with Bassey in Festac Town. His family moved into an apartment behind ours. Hardly had they put their belongings in place than Bassey came down to find me and 2 boys playing football. Bassey joined me and we played against the other 2 brothers Dada and Oyinye.

I could say we played for about 1 hour and I almost did not touch the ball again. At that time, we didn’t know his name was Bassey. He was simply called “Ba”. Ba was running round the field with the ball practically fastened to his feet. He was short and very quick. I said to myself, “another footballer has arrived”. Bassey went on to be a household name in Festac football. I learnt he played for some clubs in Nigeria. From afar, I could see that he did not reach his full potentials.

Ubaka is a very close pal of Nigerian International Victor Agali, as I learnt. Obviously, I don’t have my eyes on all our potentials. I missed Agali to the extent that when people talked about him, I’m like….how come I didn’t know him? Well, I don’t think he knows me either!

I remembered playing against Ubaka’s team in one tournament on 71 Road/24 Road. He was a disciplined defender and very well respected as a young player. But when I’d played against him, it had been easy to beat his team silly. With all due respect, I was a fine striker and for being such a quiet striker, I had extremely good qualities and a ball sense that is extraordinary. I did my share of damage to many lines of defence and teams.

Another boy who’s really very close to George and Bassey is Emeka Okpor Anthony. I think he’s career was punctuated by a series of injuries right there in Nigeria. I learnt in particular that he had a recurrent shoulder problem. A great talent and a clever defender, Okpor is a graduate and he also has a coaching qualification from NIS. He is nurturing young talents and looking ahead to becoming a great coach and motivator.

Emeka Okpor and his friend Taiye Taiwo

Emeka Okpor and his friend Taiye Taiwo

There’s abundant joy when you help other people to reach their dreams even if yours suffered a setback. Setbacks are not meant to be permanent hindrances to happiness and contentment in life.

In Festac Town when I was growing up, Ebere was the most composed player on any football field. Ebere continued to tell us that his father preferred his education to his football career. He had dribbling skills that reminds you of a combination of both Maradona and Okocha. He topped those qualities with his eyes for goals. Whilst Bimbo was quick- actually one of the best sprinters in 100m in Lagos State in those days, Ebere was calm but they were both strong and they find the back of the nets in different ways. We have talents in Festac Town.

We had Dapo of 5th Avenue D1 close. He was a player in a world of his own. He combined well with Ebere during their school days at Mile 2 Boys. At that time, Amuwo Odofin Boys Secondary School was a force to reckon with in the Junior Principal Cup. It was Ebere and Dapo who wrecked the defence line-ups across Lagos State.

I remembered playing one-on-one against Dapo one day on my way from school. They had a small park in front of their block of flats then. Today the park is no more. FHA stupidly sold the park and people built houses on them. Anyway, it was like “he tortured me when he had the ball, and I tortured him when I had the ball”. The rule was clear, “don’t lose the ball”. When I read Eden Hazard’s interview and how he became clever at dribbling by playing in the garden with his brother, I remembered what I went through playing alone with Dapo.

One of my best friends through the years Modestus Okechukwu Okafor played for many years in the German Amateur league. He finally settled there and we even spoke over the telephone less than one week ago. Oke as he’s fondly called was the one who tried to tell me more about Victor Agali. He’s still not able to understand how I missed the Agali’s story. Apparently, Oke lived on 22 Road when he was a little boy.

Okechukwu Okafor, Adeola Aderounmu and Samuel Ayorinde

Okechukwu Okafor, Adeola Aderounmu and Samuel Ayorinde

By the way I first met Oke by accident. I was on my way home from school one day. I stopped at a park near CCC, X Close on 5th avenue. I started to play football with the boys whom I met there. Then Okechukwu who went to a primary school on another side of town was also on his way home. He stopped too and joined us. Those days after school, our other occupation was football.

Later on by some stroke of fate Oke and I attended the same secondary school. Then I remembered him immediately. He has a built that is hard to miss. Still, Oke moved from 22 Road to 5th Avenue end that is near to 23 Raod. Since then, we remained very close friends and played on our “stone filed” everyday!

Chinneye Okolo, I almost forgot. What a left footer! He played with sense. Many of us back then didn’t just kick the ball. We were intelligent boys. We did well at school and we transferred that cleverness to the football field. I remembered my school mates like Wasiu Ikharia (a biochemist), Sanya Okanrende (a cardiologist). I mean these are finest amongst footballers!

Afam and Nenye Okolo

Afam and Nenye Okolo

We had Kingsley Nzete who suffered a broken leg and we knew at that time that he’s not going further as a footballer. He got back on his feet again and started playing in between the goal posts. I salute his courage. We have another Bassey on 5th Avenue. I know his eldest brother lived and played in a foreign country but I never followed up on Bassey himself. Another fine player we still have in Asia is Gabriel Obadin.

We had Michael Fatokun, Solomon and Felix Uboh. Afam Okolo, and the Osuji’s of 401 road. If you want to write about the talents in the Osuji Family, you’ll need a whole edition of a sport magazine. The elder Uboh is Kennedy Uboh. He also went to the higher institutions. If he had been discovered, his football career could have earned him a place in Real Madrid’s line up. He was that good.

What about my friend Abideen, my cousin Tilewa Majekodunmi. There is Abega, a boy who loves football with all of his heart. I know Bauna on 721 Road and I remember many boys from the 402 end. We were players on the field!

This story will be incomplete without an analysis of how some of the boys from Festac failed to reach their fullest potentials and how many dreams were punctuated. We lost many boys along the way under different circumstances, many of them relating to health issues. Emotions have been high many times of how we grew up and the dreams we had.

me and some boys on our stone field in 2006

me and some boys on our stone field in 2006

In the meantime as we continue to ponder on what could have happened to the boys who did not reach their full potentials or whose dreams were punctuated, we should be glad for the representations at the national and international levels.

We should be glad for the Olisehs, the Ipayes, the Ayorindes, the Agalis, and the Kingsley Ekehs, they did their best to put Festac Town on the map in the most positive ways. The Amunekes have very strong links to Festac Town and also to many of the boys mentioned in this essay. At some point Emmanuel Amuneke was living on 5th Avenue.

I am glad for Kinglsley Ekeh who reached his full potentials playing in Portugal and Cyprus. I am happy for Bimbo Fatokun, that he found the reasons to continue with his life in Belgium after a playing career punctuated by a few disappointments and unfulfilled promises.

I remembered how my team mates in the Oyo State NYSC in 1995/96 urged me to pursue that line. Niyi-our oyinbo from UI, Jato, Uche and the rest of the pack trusted me on the right flank and in the 6 yard box of our opponents. I hope they are glad for me that I decided to keep my pen and papers.

Today in Festac Town, there is scarcity of football talents. This is relative depending on who the observer is. When we moved to Festac in those days, there were football fields, playgrounds and parks in every corner. I wrote extensively about this here in the Village square (The Rise and Fall Of Festac Town, parts 1 and 2).

All the playgrounds are gone. There are no more football fields. I think only one major field was spared. FHA sold all our playgrounds. They sold all our parks. These are unforgivable acts.

In place of sports, football in particular, our youths have turned to crime and drugs. Festac became notorious globally as the town of 419ers. I also wrote about that in my story titled Festac Town and Its 419 reputation. There were many reasons why things took a turn for the worse in Festac and in Nigeria as a whole.

There is a need for Nigeria to return football to its glorious days. Today we all hail the EPL and in fact we worship the EPL and other European leagues in what appears like a permanent colonial mentality. Nigerian league can be made attractive again through good planning and administration.

The aim should be, “if our talents don’t go abroad, they should be able to live successfully playing football in Nigeria”. One way or the other the Nigerian intelligence needs to surface on the football scene. The market is huge. What are the problems?

Nigeria is very rich as a country and sport facilities should be at every corner of town. Our football stadia should be many, different sizes and world class standard. The training pitches should litter every community.

There are so many things wrong with Nigeria. It is sad that despite their love for the game of football, Nigerians allowed the sport to suffer as well.

I know that for many young talents, the dreams died. I think about many of my friends on the stone field: Suraju, Abbey and many more. How did I forget about Medo Obanya until now? Medo is one of the greatest talents to have emerged from Festac Town. His dribbling and goal scoring skills are extraordinary. His football career simply melted away right in front of our eyes. Who do we blame?

Even Nwike, Medo’s younger brother was a wonder boy on the ball. I didn’t forget Osaze and Richard Omoregie. It’s going to be an unending essay if I write about everybody that I know. Kelechi, all the best in the south of Sweden!

stone field in 2010

stone field in 2010

I’ve spoken to Femi Oladele and he should be the main contributor to write about the implications of what happened to the boys from Festac. I hope he will use his expertise in sport administration and his life experiences to write about how Nigeria can discover, develop and invest in her talents in football. There are many “boys from Festac” scattered around Nigeria. In this country, many talents have been wasted and dreams have been dumped. Some lives were actually shattered due to unfulfilled dreams.

What happened to the boys from Festac Town can be likened to a sliding door. There are many implications to this expression. When the door slides, it separated us. The sliding door also meant that while some hinged their hopes only on football, some of us looked at our options.

I can say a word for the young people coming up. Keep your heads up, live healthy and keep all of your dreams alive. Don’€™t put your eggs in the same basket and don’t count them before they are hatched..!

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Stupid Jokes, Including Mugabe On Nigeria

By Adeola Aderounmu

One day two men from Pakistan told me a joke. I’ll share it.

[Transparency International (TI) was going to rank countries in the world using the so called corruption perception index. Pakistan was going to be rated as the most corrupt country in the world. The Pakistan government got winds of the situation. They (the people in the corrupt Pakistan government) pondered on what to do to avert the situation. In the end they decided to contact Nigeria.

The Pakistan government succeeded in bribing the Nigerian government to accept the first position. This means that in place of Pakistan, Nigeria was named as the most corrupt country in the world, and Pakistan ended up in the second position. The Pakistan government was delighted that it avoided been named as the most corrupt country in the world].

This joke according to them is popular in Pakistan. The two men laughed and I looked at them with indifference.

I was in the middle of a shopping exercise with one of my former colleagues when I was told this joke. Nothing comes between me and my shopping habits, not even a stupid joke. But when I had the time to think and reflect over the joke, I realised the depth.

What I didn’t understand is how they bribed TI into accepting the swapping process.

Beyond that blind spot, I think everybody that is called a Nigerian should do his or her own analysis and weigh the joke. It was told in less than 2 minutes but I think the implications are huge.

I mean, in the league of corrupt countries, Pakistan is Baba nla corrupt country. They made this joke to be popular in their country probably to console themselves that it could have been worse. How they arrived at this crossroad of consolation is their national problem or tragedy. In 2013 they actually remain in the league of the most corrupt country, far worse than Nigeria.

Earlier this month (March 2014) Robert Mugabe allegedly made another stupid joke about Nigeria. He was celebrating his birthday and was probably drunk when he asked his people “are we now like Nigeria where you have to reach your pocket to get anything done”?

I don’t have so many words for the Pakistani guys and their stupid jokes. I don’t even know where they are now. They may be back in their more corrupt country. They may have continued with their sojourn to other climes, as usual.

However, when I followed Zimbabwe in the 2008 election I knew that his people called him “MUGABE IMBAVHA” which means Mugabe you are a thief. This was at the time that Zimbabwe had 80% unemployment rate and probably the world’s highest inflation rate at 165 000%. It was a time when a $10 million Zimbabwean note won’t last you 3 days and a queue for bread was mistaken for a queue at a polling station!

Zimbabwe 10 million dollar

Zimbabwe 10 million dollar

Mugabe is not a king but he has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. I respect the views of the Pan-Africanists who are still in love with Mugabe but I won’t come to terms with how one man will rule one country as if the others in it are fools. I don’t fancy the looters who have ruled and ruined Nigeria and I don’t fancy sit tight rulership. I will also like to separate royal-ship from democracy.

I have no idea what inflation looks like in Zimbabwe today and I don’t know what a queue for bread looks like. It may be as long as a queue for fuel in Nigeria. The only thing I bothered to check revealed that in 2013 Zimbabwe is worse than Nigeria on the corruption index.

The stupid jokes are on Nigeria if a man like Mugabe thinks that he is a yardstick to morality and a reference mark for uprightness.

The Pakistani joke is on Nigeria, a country where 20 billion dollars can disappear without a trace.

The jokes are on Nigeria, a country that made so much money during the gulf war that all the money disappeared, 12 billion out of it ended with one man!

The stupid jokes are still on Nigeria, a country where pension funds disappear and pensioners suffer and die like rats.

Nigerians, the jokes are on you, with all the intellectual pool of people flooding Nigeria and around the world, you cannot manage your political affairs successfully.

The jokes are on Nigeria, a country ruled largely by criminals, ex-convicts and murderers.

The jokes are on Nigeria, a country where Ministers hire or buy private jets with petro-dollars and they walk free.

Nigerian Minister who stole funds to use private jet

Nigerian Minister who stole funds to use private jet

The jokes are on Nigeria, a country where “militants” and terrorists earn more money than professors and teachers.

The stupid jokes are on you, you sent a wasted generation to a national conference while your youth waste at home and abroad.

richard akinjide, one of the NPN members who destroyed and ruined Nigeria at a national conference in 2014

richard akinjide, one of the NPN members who destroyed and ruined Nigeria at a national conference in 2014

The jokes are on Nigeria; you rip money from unemployed people, maim them and even killed some of them.

Nigeria the jokes are on you when Abacha’s loot was re-looted and it now re-disappeared without a trace.

The jokes are on you when your sons whom you made governors are wanted abroad for criminal activities or at home for murder charges and stealing.

Nigeria the jokes are on you when you bring drug barons from America and other places to head political groups in Nigeria.

Nigeria the jokes are on you, you cannot provide stable electricity for yourself in the year 2014 approaching 2015.

The jokes are on you, you earn so much money you cannot provide free education and free transportation for your citizens. Where is all the money going to?

The jokes are on you, you all want to become part of government so you can steal, loot or access the national cake.

The jokes are on you Nigeria, you budget billions annually on roads and public schools, but there are no improvements. Where’s all the money?

One of the highest pregnancy related mortalities in the world! Seriously, the jokes are on you..!

The jokes are on Nigeria where the rulers cannot feed themselves from their wages, they still have to cut out billions of naira out of what is left for the masses.

The jokes are on you; you give money to terrorists and call them militants. You need to equip and train more men and women so that you can extinguish the terrorists in the Sahara and in the north. Or how do you want to define a regional military giant?

The jokes are on you, your pastors fly in jets and you drive rickety cars on dangerous roads. You walk through the valley of the shadows of death and you die actually.

Nigerian Pastors fly in jets and the worshippers go hungry on foot

Nigerian Pastors fly in jets and the worshippers go hungry on foot

The jokes are on you Nigerians, your political rulers also fly in jets and you walk to dead claiming resiliency and living on false hopes imposed on you by diverse religions.

Nigerian ruler who is buying jet after jet as the people continue to suffer

Nigerian ruler who is buying jet after jet as the people continue to suffer


Nigeria, a country full of intelligent people and uncountable resources compared to lesser countries like Pakistan and Zimbabwe, I think you brought these stupid jokes on yourselves because you continue to rob your backside with these lesser countries on the corruption scale.

Nigeria, where is your intelligence and what happened to the giant of Africa claim? Why can’t Nigerians bring themselves up to number 4 or number 3 positions on this corruption scale? One country is on number 1.

All the anomalies that you live with brought the stupid jokes on you, Nigeria. If an elephant falls, all sorts of knives will be used to dissect it, says a Yoruba adage. This is where you are as a country.

You have fallen and the daggers are diverse. You have sent mostly unintelligent and even old people to the conference. It’s a generation tagged “wasted” and they are still fighting for money and food.

Nigeria, where do you go from here? True federation, probity and accountability or maintain the status quo. There are always choices to make and lines to draw.

The stupid jokes are still on you, Nigeria..!

aderounmu@gmail.com

(photo credit: Vanguard newspaper for pastors and jets, information Nigeria for Alison and jet. daily independent for rulership fleet)

Nigerians In South Africa, Victims Or Culprits?

By Adeola Aderounmu

One day in early March 2014 a Nigerian man killed a police officer in South Africa. The tragic incident took place at La Rochelle in Johannesburg. The Nigerian was caught with illegal drugs and he resisted arrest. He killed the police officer that was to arrest him and fled. The South African police force is full of corrupt officials and there was something not right about what transpired between the dead cop and his murderer.

southie street 3

That incident did not occur in isolation. It is part of the larger problems and fate that have befallen several Nigerians who thronged South Africa in search of the Golden Fleece. It is impossible to threat the South African situation in isolation if one sets out to highlight the overall situation or plights of Nigerians abroad. I will not digress though.

The history of violence in South Africa is well documented and reported. The effects of several years of apartheid rule left indelible marks and social consequences beyond the scope of this essay. Unemployment remains a major problem in South Africa too. One can generalised the scarcity of jobs, high crime rate and pastime sex culture already in existence among the local populations.

When apartheid rule ended, the emerging socio-cultural circumstances provided a platform that enable foreigners including Nigerians to thrive in South Africa. What is sad is that some Nigerians went ahead and blended with the South African underworld engaging in drugs, fraud and other types of criminal activities. It is easy to verify this sad turn of events by visiting South African prisons to see the growing number of Nigerians who are locked up.

Now, it must be well stated that there are very good Nigerians living and working permanently or temporarily in South Africa. There is almost no where in the world that is in short supply of Nigerian professionals cut across all areas of human endeavours. South Africa is not a different story or country in this respect. Several Nigerians are successful in their businesses and other endeavours. Some are big entrepreneurs. Some sell things ranging from hairs, to Nigerian food, clothes and general groceries. Many Nigerian women are into hairdressing and ise owo (handiwork).The lures of Nigerians to South Africa include the extended possibility of travelling to Europe. Some made it. But for others, days turn to months and months to years, and frustrations set in. One of the hardest calls to make at this period of time is the “go back home call”. This feeling of living abroad creates a sort of pride or ego that is not easy to let off. Many people find it hard to return to Nigeria because they think they have failed in their sojourns to find a better life abroad. They fear the stigma at home.

The Yorubas have a saying that “if you cannot move forward, you should be able to retrace your steps and go back home”. From experience I know that many Nigerians prefer to stay on and forge ahead. Whilst there have been many success stories from such resiliencies, one cannot ignore the ill luck that befell others as well.

Though some people have tried to point out a certain Nigerian tribe as the major culprits in majority of the crimes committed by Nigerians in South Africa, the people who own the country have no time for such classifications. They put all Nigerians together as one and treat them as such. Some Nigerians are notorious as drug lords in South Africa and some others are credit card fraudsters.

Nigerians have even taken their cult-like activities to South Africa. There are confirmed reports of Nigerians living in Johannesburg who are killing one another. The scenario is ugly because of what appears to be a chain of counter-retaliations.

This adds to the list of the things that led to Nigerians not being respected in South Africa. Drug business is always ugly anyway. These selfish Nigerians who are bent on making money at any price that they can even shoot a policeman in a foreign land deserved to be condemned in the strongest manner possible.

In Johannesburg, it is quite easy to be robbed as the day turns to night. The city harbours many desperate people. Many South African men are described as lazy. Sometimes, it’s just refusing to work and preferring to hide behind some medical reports to justify abstinence from work. Guns are legalized and easy to acquire in South Africa.

Even mad people own guns in countries around the world were guns are legalized. In South Africa you can buy a bullet for N200 and they are readily available. This dangerous mix must have aided the status of Johannesburg as one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

southie street 1_1

No discussion on South Africa can be complete without the sex industry. There, women are described generally as easy. The prostitution trade seems to suit the women from East Africa and neighbouring South African countries. A number of the people I spoke to do not agree that Nigerian women are into this trade. Some, however, insisted that Nigerian women are also involved in the oldest profession in the world.

Anyway, as the month of March draws to a close the South African police closed up on the murderer. The police took to the street in large numbers. Somehow they identified the Nigerian who shot the police. He was arrested and now in custody. At the same time Nigerians also protested what they termed as xenophobia. The South African people especially the family of the slain cop joined the police in the protest. They wore ANC attires and wrote “Nigerians must leave” on their banners and placards. They also warned Nigerian drug lords to be ready for battles.

In South Africa, it appears that the relationship between Nigerians and the locals are getting worse by the day. There was a story that went spiral on the web when a Nigerian was maltreated by the police and the video coverage taken by nearby residents brought the known brutality and senselessness of the South African police to a wider audience across the world.

But what actually transpired? The police were trying to make an arrest in traffic. Someone had done something wrong or maybe the police caught up with a criminal. This Nigerian man was alleged to have interfered or obstructed police work. It’s like the police are probably frustrated with the word “Nigerian” and then you put yourself in their den by disturbing their work. It’s double trouble.

The action of the police as revealed in the video is highly condemnable. It’s inhuman. It is also wrong to try to interfere in police operations. The police officers were dismissed from service. But how that immediate response by the South African authority rids Cape Town of its racist tagged and tendencies are not known.

Just last week in Pretoria, many Nigerians were arrested and they will be deported because they are living in South Africa illegally. It seems the police know where to find them especially at this time of strained co-existence. Those who know the workings of the South African police among the arrested people will bribe their ways off the hook as the South African police are not immune to corruption. They are super corrupt I learnt.

Another possible reason for targeting immigrants especially Nigerians, is that elections are around the corner in South Africa. Some political parties or government around the world like to score political points with immigration matters especially during election season. South African as we now see is not an exception.

Some situations beg for elaborate analyses and some questions for answers. South African companies are growing and dominating certain areas of the Nigerian market/economy. Nigerian citizens in South Africa are not well respected. Classical paradox!

The activities of the Nigerian criminals in South Africa have overshadowed the honesty and positive contributions of the good Nigerians in South Africa. It even devaluates the roles of Nigeria in the apartheid years. How can the situation be tilted in favour of the good Nigerians in South Africa?

In Malaysia and in other countries around the world, the Nigerians who are criminals have continued to taint and deprived the rest of us the respect and accolades we deserved. Even the lazy South African man can pull out a gun and shoot a Nigerian to death in Pretoria because of disagreements over a woman. Women, our precious!

It is highly unwarranted and unjustifiable to turn to drugs and criminal acts due to frustrations. The Nigerian embassy in Johannesburg has some diplomatic work to do. The problems facing Nigerians in South Africa should be raised to a diplomatic row and the solutions must be sought at that level, not on the streets.

The Nigerian embassy must step up its watch over Nigerian citizens in South Africa. The image of Nigeria in that country is very disturbing and it’s a shame if this persists. I’m hoping that the Nigerian representatives in South Africa are career diplomats and not politicians who are short sighted and have no clues on how to deal with citizen rights and bilateral relationships.

Nigerians who are being maltreated due to police brutality and pure hatred require adequate representations from the Nigerian government represented in South Africa by the Nigerian ambassador. Nigerians who are arrested because they are criminals should be allowed to face the law without any street protests. Nigerian Associations and Unions in South Africa must not been seen to support or harbour criminals, drug barons or credit card fraudsters. This should be applicable in Nigerian or tribal associations worldwide.

Where applicable, if there are Nigerians who want to return to Nigeria from South Africa, they should be able to get help from the embassy, without much ado.

In the end, in our hearts, we all know the genesis of these problems. It’s all from downtown Nigeria, our Bongo. As we make our beds, so we lie on them. It’s sadder to think that we try to sanitise our image abroad whilst the Nigerian government across all strata is full of criminals. This is where oxymora overtake our paradoxes and put us in a comatose dilemma as a country.

The funds that could have been used to keep or transform Nigeria back into a paradise have been looted. We are not creating jobs in Nigeria and there is no preparation for the future. A friend wrote “I thought Nigeria was the hell spoken about in the holy books”. That’s the present scenario and that’s what keeps propelling the exodus from Nigeria.

It’s going to be mission impossible to stop our exodus as a people because Nigeria continues to wallow in corruption and serious political misgivings. As we continue to seek greener pastures abroad and irrespective of the socio-cultural circumstances of our host countries the truth is that we have no moral standing or right to export our criminal tendencies. Charity begins at home.

aderounmu@gmail.com

[In writing this article I talked to people that I know who are living in South Africa (Johannesburg and Pretoria). I’ll like to thank them and keep them anonymous]

British Oil Thieves In Nigeria And Fake Oil Refineries

Adeola Aderounmu

It was a week when the Nigerian JTF brought the face of evil to the front pages. 2 Britons who have been involved in crude oil theft in Nigeria were apprehended and arrested. Of course, many other (local) people were arrested along with them.

The syndicate offered N20 million bribe to the authorities, but this time there was no way ahead as the bribes and even more offers of bribes were rejected.

These britons must have been in this business for sometime because they kept saying that they will get out of the mess by offering bribes to the commanders of the JTF.

Britons stealing Nigerian Oil

Britons stealing Nigerian Oil

In any case now that some of the people destroying Nigeria have been arrested, one hopes that they will face the law squarely.

The Niger Delta of Nigeria has been subjected to more than 50 years of spillage and complete mess. No one knows when the clean up will start but we know that it may take about 100 years to clean up the mess. This is a complete tragedy to the people of the Niger Delta. Their own people have failed them, the governments (state and federal) have failed them and the international community does not give a damn about them. They by themselves always support the criminals they have chosen as leaders and that falls under my definition of the Nigerian syndrome. What a dilemma!

Fake refinery REUTERS PHOTO

Fake refinery
REUTERS PHOTO

There are probably thousands of illegal bunkering and even more fake oil refinery in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

Complete tragedy and absolute mess!

aderounmu@gmail.com

That Ibadan Ritual Forest

Adeola Aderounmu

The biggest news in Nigeria this week apart from the unending massacre in Northern Nigeria is the ritual forest discovered in Ibadan.

Those who are not used to the “juju” of Africa will find this difficult to comprehend. But in Africa, well in Nigeria, I can write about the possibility of using “african jazz” in the most negative ways.

This means that some people can use extra ordinary powers to make other people go crazy. It may sound out of this world to those who do not grow up under this type of clime. But we know that some humans in Nigeria possess the witchcraft or evil power to influence the progress and stability of other people.

Some individuals have this ability to place a spell on other people. So what has happened in Ibadan is the exposure of this “generational” or “ancient” power. It is unfortunate that these powers are used to suppress and harm other people.

Often, captured people (preys) are decapacitated and parts of their bodies are used for rituals. In modern Nigeria it is the politicians that usually engaged in patronising these ritualists. Some people who want to be rich at all/any cost also engaged the services of the ritualists. Not least among those who patronise the ritualists are church/mosque owners who want many worshippers in their servvices.

In all, money is the root of all evils.

Africa and Nigeria in particular would have been a glorious paradise if all these negativities are harnessed and used for things that are progressive in nature.

Rather than make rituals in this way, the “powers” of these people can be transformed into scientific and technological know-hows. It is possible through careful investigations and planning.

It is very unfortunate that Nigerians (now the yorubas) are using “juju” to enslave their own people, depriving them of their freedom and suppressing them mentally. In extreme cases many people have been killed in this evil Ibadan forest.

We saw this before in the Okija shrine in the East. We have heard of Clifford Orji and many other stories. It is sad that in the end because of the statuses of the people involved in the patronage, many investigations are swept under the carpets. Another shrine or ritual center soon rear its ugly heads.

One hopes that those who are rescued from the Ibadan shrine will be compensated, treated and re-established into the society. They have the rights to live their lives again. Those behind the Ibadan evil forest should be brought to books under the law.

The state government in Ibadan, in other yoruba and non-yoruba states where people have these “powers” should look for methods and ways to harness the powers in a positive way instead of patronising them for evil things. In our traditions and cultures there are so many things that we can bring to the fore/front that when properly utilised can advance the course of humanity.

What we should stop doing is harming our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. All humans are equal and have the right to freedom and pursuit of happiness.

What Happened To A Pair Of Trousers At N52?

By Adeola Aderounmu

In 1989 when I was at my final year of secondary school at Festac Grammar School in Lagos, I made a “senior uniform” for less than N100. So what has happened to making a pair of trousers for N52?

In February 2008 I asked a similar question: What happened To One Cup Of Rice At 30 Kobo? Six years on, Nigeria continues to sail precariously on stormy waters. Nigerians have never had it so bad and so hopeless. Any iota of hope that anyone kept until last week was vehemently quenched by the NIS recruitment tragedy. The tragedy was not only in the reported deaths but also from the evidential representation of the reality that the lame government and government follow-follow group try to hide or deny time and time again.

Festac Grammar School Prefects, 1989 set. (sitting 2nd from left: Adeola Aderounmu ca 1988)

Festac Grammar School Prefects, 1989 set. (sitting 2nd from left: Adeola Aderounmu ca 1988)

In 1989 I could buy a chinos material for N35 and pay the tailor N17 for workmanship. With N50 it was actually possible to make a pair of trousers cut from other types of materials. So depending on the material of your choice, you could keep a balance that can be used for sundries.

It was not easy even back then to scoop or save up the N50. I was probably one of those who made their uniforms quite late during my senior high. Some students were radicals anyway. They didn’t really care about the pair of trousers. I was not a complete radical in that sense; we just had a dwindling middle-class family situation in Nigeria and some of us had to source some of the funds to get the things we needed.

My time stretch without the senior outfits was made even longer when I accidentally applied a very hot pressing iron on my pair of trousers on the night after I made the collection from the tailor. I could not cry. My mother who was also a tailor cum trader had to apply her creativity. My pair of shiny trousers became an adapted “baggy” short.

Ten years after my struggle to represent as a senior student and 4 years after l first became a university graduate, civilian government returned to Nigeria. The hope that was quenched earlier in 1993 when the military gangsters headed by one notorious General Babangida cancelled Nigeria’s most peaceful, free and fair elections was slightly rekindled when General Obasanjo was bundled into power in 1999.

In 2014 Nigeria’s self-styled democracy has proven to be a sham and an undesirable representation of the intelligence of the black race. Year after year since 1999, or more correctly since 1960 the rulers of Nigeria have systematically plunged Nigeria into crises that have deepened with time.

Under a presidency popular referred to as clueless and headed by Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria nears the brink. After years of neglect and maladministration in Northern Nigeria, terrorism (alleged to be both politically sponsored and religiously motivated) was set off. In general, insecurity in Nigeria has now reached a new frightening level. The dimension is unprecedented. Nigeria wallows in the doldrums. Resiliency is an overused word in Nigeria because an objective measurement of depression level will bend or break the threshold mark.

Nigerian rulers have always failed to fight corruption. They have always failed to lead, they preferred to rule. Under Goodluck Jonathan, corruption was redefined. Even when it is too obvious, this lame administration just failed to act. In different ways and under different manifestations the rulership of Goodluck Jonathan may go down as one of the most corrupt in the history of Africa.

On the surface of earth you will not find a similar act of tolerance to a combination of impunity, corruption and ineptitude. Nigeria remains the most openly corrupt country in the world and an utter disgrace to the dreams of the black race on earth. One week ago, the dreams of some young and old applicants were crushed. People were killed both physically and mentally in broad daylight under the watch of Nigerian rulers. That was a micro representation of the daily but larger pictures hidden across Nigeria.

What do you expect from a pair of trousers that cost N52 in 1989? Despite the declining fortunes of Nigeria at that time, it was still a period of time when workers who earned N2000 are considered “well-paid”. But when political madness goes unabated from a time when a politician or public servant can loot N1 million to this time when it is fine to steal USD 20b or more, it is only imperative that N52 cannot be adequate to buy a decent meal or snacks!

ln 2014 Nigerian politicians have realigned themselves along several blocks. The clear lack of ideology was expanded. You could move from APC to PDP or from PDP to APC depending on if the presidency was on your trail or on your side. It became even more obvious that the interest of the ordinary Nigerian does not exist in the political agenda of these greedy and corrupt lots.

As early as 2013, two clear years before new general elections, Nigeria stood still. Large sums of money continue to disappear from the local, state and federal treasuries as Nigerian politicians continue to loot and pile up funds for the 2015 elections. I have never seen a country so “silly” and so “ridiculously corrupt”.

In Nigeria saints have become devils. You will almost not be able to point at one honest politician or public servant regardless of their track records before they became part of the insane Nigerian method of governance. Once you’re in, your mindset changes and you become part of the people destroying Nigeria. Something is wrong inside of government I am sure.

Federal financial Institutions in Nigeria like the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance for examples have shown executive recklessness and harbour channels or leakages that make ordinary Nigerians impoverished. The misdemeanours of the Ministry of Finance in Nigeria are a disgrace to the whole of Africa. If you extend the scrutiny of official recklessness to NNPC you will be shocked that in Nigeria there is no campaign to arrest, detain and prosecute all the rulers and thieves in public institutions. No greater doom!

Why these public officers are still called politicians, ministers and so on remain another food for thought on the nature of law enforcement in Nigeria. For law and order in Nigeria, I suspect what I’ll define as Hidden Mental Handicap Syndrome (HM-HS). It’s an incapacitation of both the police and the judiciary as federal institutions in a country characterised by absolute systemic failure. It’s pure nonsense that some people are above the law! Why scrap history from the education curriculum in Nigeria? Our laws are not working; let’s scrap both the law schools and police colleges instead! Oh, I forgot, you don’t throw the dead baby and the water at the same time!

I know why I can’t make my pair of trousers for N52 today. It’s the same reason I cannot buy a cup of rice at 30 kobo. It’s the same bloody reason why millions of people in Nigeria are living below the poverty level, struggling to stretch hands to mouths. Some of the world’s poorest people are found in Nigeria. This is more than a shame. It’s a scandal on the intellectual capacity of the Nigerian people.

No single person, ministry or institution in Nigeria will admit that it is responsible for this tragedy of the hopelessness that pervade in Nigeria. It is this hopelessness that led several thousands of applicants across Nigeria to seeking jobs meant for a few hundred positions. In the end it turned out that the recruitment exercise like many things in Nigeria was also a scam.

People were ripped and people were killed, all in the name of executive recklessness. And life goes on as if nothing has happened. When billions of naira or dollars are stolen from the Nigerian treasury, life goes on as well as if nothing had happened! The money that had disappeared in Nigeria in the past few months is large enough to cripple the European economy! It may wipe Greece and Italy off the map of Europe.

The people who misruled and mismanaged Nigeria will not see why I can no longer make a pair of trousers for 52 naira because for some reasons they cannot comprehend the cumulative and negative synergic effects of their combined ineptitude, corruption and sometimes outright stupidity of job neglect.

The domino effect of half a century of misrule is huge. Today it will cost me about N2000 or more to make a pair of trousers of chinos material. The cost of living is high while the quality is extremely low. Nigeria is like a sinking ship, a place where almost no value is placed on human lives. Infrastructure developments are inadequate or non-existent in many places. Electricity remains at an evolutionary dead end in Nigeria. Many roads are bad and public schools have become relics. Security is zero and other vices are on the rampage daily. Such deprivations depict the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians.

In several ways public administration in Nigeria is similar to committing crimes against humanity. Nigerians hear of federal, state and local budgets every year. They know that the monies disappear in private accounts across Nigeria and worldwide. It goes largely unpunished in Nigeria because from the presidency to the local council, criminals hold sway.

In Nigeria you can steal USD 12m and walk free. You can be a murderer and get a presidential pardon. You can steal N225m and smile like a princess. You can buy 12 presidential jets and ask for more. You make Oliver Twist become an unlikely fairy tale hero by redefining greed and in-satiation. You can feed yourself with N1b of tax payers’ money. There is no limit to the extent of recklessness-everything appears lawless.

In Nigeria, you can be terrorist and own houses in Abuja and in other countries. As a clever media-smart writer you can blog or own a twitter account for billions of naira reward from government officials including the presidency. In Nigeria, pardoned and unpardoned ex-convicts and looters are free to roam again to repeat their madness-loot, kille or cart away. They win election and nomination every voting season.

You can even be a both a murderer and a looter today and a self-made saint tomorrow. Myopism is one of Nigeria’s greatest weaknesses. The other sources of weaknesses are of course religion, tribalism and a law enforcement system that is a complete joke. In Nigeria anything is possible to keep the status quo that promote evil and oppress the majority. The law is meaningless and aimed to punish petty thieves and the less privileged in the society.

One constant concern is also the people who want us to forget about highlighting the problems with Nigeria. They want us to proffer the solutions to the problems of Nigeria. Too easy! Just take a peep in the campaign speeches of each and every one of the major politicians in Nigeria. Take Jonathan for example and his “I have no shoes campaign of 2010”. With the exception of establishing true federalism in Nigeria the other solutions to Nigeria’s problems are contained in his campaign speeches. If Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign was his blueprint, Nigeria will be a paradise by now! What we need to take away is the madness that usually overtakes these souls once they get into offices.

Everything that has a beginning must have an end. One day monkey go go market e no go return . Imagine if the NIS recruitment exercise snowballed into a mass revolution. The national conference will be abandoned and a new re-awakening would have emerged in record time. Under such a rebirth there will be hope that through empowerment I will be able to afford a new pair of trousers again.

aderounmu@gmail.com

HM-HS: Hidden Mental Handicap Syndrome

By Adeola Aderounmu

I define here HM-HS.

It’s an incapacitation of the police and the judiciary in a country characterised by absolute systemic failure. This is my definition of the situation in Nigeria where criminals and thieves rule the people.

Since the police and the judiciary cannot question the ruler, they cannot arrest or prosecute the ministers, governors and other criminals in public offices, my definition is an attempt to get rid of the immunity clause.

The immunity clause means that these criminals in the Nigerian presidency and across the political strata of Nigeria are lawless, reckless, corrupt and above the law.

I think the immunity clause is not only archaic, it is also an obscurity for the syndrome that I defined above.

This definition will be included in one of the paragraphs of my next blog titled: what happened to a pair of trousers at N52? I thought I’d share it now.

My hope (against all odds) is that the criminals in Nigerian politics will be arrested by the police and prosecuted under the law. In the absence of such possibilities, HM-MS is the order of the day.