Monthly Archives: July 2007

How your Fathers Looted and Ruined Nigeria!

Adeola Aderounmu.

Your father was appointed a Minister by the come and chop party. It is not quite easy to discern how he got to this favourable position of knowing the powers that be in the People Destroying People Party. But he had been prominent in using his (up till now) unquestionable financial resources to help the party that came to power. He also got the approval of the Silly Stealing Senate anyway. 

In less than 6 months, your father has become richer that he could now buy a house in North London. He paid cash and didn’t even go for a begging mortgage. Everyone in your family felt so elated. At last! You can now pack away from the Okota Layout where you have lived for the past 10 years. You will no longer just visit London; you now have the privilege to be a resident. 

In no time, you and your siblings have relocated. Your contact address has changed. Since you like to pose, you show your face every 3-6 months in Lagos and Abuja. In your absence, your friends talk about you a lot. Do you know Jide has moved to London? He is living there now with his younger sisters. They all go to school in London now; their father bought a house there. Them don hit! The news that filters into your ears make you feel bloated like an overblown balloon. Your shoulders are high.  

Your tastes for cars have changed in Nigeria and in London. The change is for better and to show class. You like to show yourself more now. In fact, you are getting tired of London and sharing a house with your siblings in the UK is no longer interesting. You ensured that in the next couple of months, your father secured a new apartment for you in Yankee. You have changed school to the US so that you can live near Musa and Gideon. 

Musa’s father, Alhaji Sabo, is a top man in the Finance Ministry. He works closely with the central bank. Gideon’s uncle, Mr. Okoromadu, is in the oil and gas business. He is well known to the president. The president has the Petroleum portfolio under his stinking arm pit. You have something in common with Musa and Gideon and you regularly and mutually rub shoulders at fora made possible by endless minglings of the rogues and thieves in power which the Nigerian system provide for and nourished in fact. 

If your father didn’t become richer during and after his Ministerial service, I am sure that you will disown him as your father. You will tell him to his face to go to hell! You will ask him what he was doing when his mates were making it. You will tell him to pack out of the house that your father built and that he should go to his own father’s house. You will let him know how he blew the chance of a life time: to own bank accounts, houses and cars in Switzerland, the UK and in the US.   

You will tell your father the history of Africa and Nigeria. You will ask him if there is any poor man in the families of Yar’Aduas, Azikwes and Awolowos. You will ask him if he is blind and he cannot see the houses that NPN members built in the 1980s. You will ask him if he was afraid of looting. You will recite names of your heroes, Uba Ahmed, Umaru Dikko, Akinloye, Akinjide, Shagari, Babangida, David Mark and Gbenga Daniels. You will quote that Jakande said that you can “eat” and still let the people enjoy your tenure. You will even tell your dad to visit Obasanjo’s Farm again. At least he was there in 1998. You will mention the names of all these people and much more. The only thing you will not do is to call them by their real name: looters. This is the only name that is resonated in your conscience because your concept of a Nigerian politician is typical. 

So, now you are so happy and contented. Your father has stolen parts our common wealth. He has taken his share of the National Cake that belongs to your family. Your friends and former neighbours are talking big about your family. You are so happy to be settled in the States. Provisions have been made so that you will settled there permanently and your bank accounts are so fat that you can go on for many years or all of your life time without doing so much work. Your father is a wise thief, he now has profitable investments and he is on board of a number of companies. He owns much of the shares in these companies too.  

What is your concern with the unfortunate people? People who cannot position themselves in strategic positions to get good postings in government.  Your father was actually the Minister for Planning and Housing. He has planned very well for you and he has given you houses at home and abroad. Your father is an accomplished man. He is the father of your dreams. 

In your opinion, those who are complaining about corruption in government in Nigeria are people with bad belly. You are almost certain that they will also steal when or if they have the chance to serve the people. So, now that it is the turn of your family; you must excel. You have sat down with your father on my occasions and strategize how you can carry out all his nefarious activities without been detected by the Financial Crime Commission. As the eldest son, your father trusted you and you have helped him to cover all loop holes. 

As a principle, your cycle of friends is very selective and your discussions are very unrevealing. Even as your father settles to life again outside the realm of governance, he still has your trust. You have organized everything for him. Only your mother is living in Nigeria now, the rest of you prefer to live abroad. Soon, she will have no choice. Your father wasn’t bothered about the new government, he had enough: he is made for life. No need to lobby.

Well, this is Nigeria and we have seen these things for more than 45 years: self-enrichment to the detriment of the larger society. Many people have escaped to enjoy their loots. Some are very courageous, they tried to come back and some actually succeeded in their comebacks. You have used David Mark in your example but there are still a lot of them around. Some of them even denounced democracy at the most important point of their life history. But again, as you are well aware, this is Nigeria. We forget easily; we are also very resilient. You can slap us as a country and walk free. We don’t mind how much you steal. Our hope is in God and we know that the oil will never finish. Maybe one day self, EFCC will remember you and your father.   

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon! 

Sharing a bit of me: My birthday Photos

Adeola Aderounmu.

July 12, my 35th birthday celebration.

Selected photos:

Looking up to new challenges:  sta52183.jpg

 Gunnar, Bella and Sola Balogun: sta52176.jpg

Björn, Eniola, David, Karin and Frida: sta52179.jpg

Everybody is Happy: sta52181.jpg

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!

Thanks for viewing my pictures.

(Write to me if you want an invitation to my online album)

Absence of common good:Re-published by Champion Newspaper

Adeola Aderounmu.

A good friend of mine wrote to me this morning to inform me about my published article in the Champion Newspaper. The message is the same. The title was a little bit different though.

 See article again Here: http://geocities.com/nigeriansinsweden/championarticle.htm

The article was also featured on allafrica.com here: http://allafrica.com/stories/200707180916.html

It is still very funny to me because I didn’t write to them. But I am so pleased in my heart. Nice job Champion Newspaper. Please go ahead and use more articles from here.

I am thinking now that the article is a classic because it has been published earlier by the Guardian newspaper on May 21.

See here: http://geocities.com/nigeriansinsweden/article2.htm

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!

Christmas in Hell

Adeola Aderounmu.

In 2006, I decided it was time to visit Lagos again. I have been away for 3 whole years, the longest period of time to be absent from motherland since I relocated to Sweden almost 6 years ago. I have planned for this vacation for more than 6 months and since Nigeria is our country, this was a trip that was really dear to my heart.

My intention was to stay for at least 4 weeks. This will also be the shortest stay ever. My other two previous visits lasted 2 months each. Have you ever been home and stayed so long to hear people gossip that you are now stranded or that your visa has expired? You may not hear this one but some people may have suggested in private that you have been deported. Your glory is that you have bought a return ticket that your family may not even know about.

Anyway sha… we reached Lagos after flying 6 hours on the connecting flight from Frankfurt with my good childhood friend Okechukwu Okafor. I started the journey from Stockholm-Arlanda. Oke joined me at Frankfurt. It is very usual that we go home together except that he goes home annually and has been living in Germany for more than 10 years.

We arrived in Lagos at the near peak of the fuel scarcity on 15th December. It was also during this period that armed robbers intensified their scary activities. Apparently, they have been on the loose for a long time and what I’d read online before embarking on this trip was nothing close to the real situation. To be on ground and witness these things was even more dreadful. There is always something happening on a daily basis: the threat that armed robbers posses will always make you look behind everywhere you go, day or night.

I have read about the raid on the Ladipo area of Mushin that lasted several hours. I was only a few days shy of the robbery at Alaba international market that also lasted several hours. However, I was sitting in a car with a friend, driving along 24 Road, Festac Town when a live phone call informed us that a robbery is on at Flour Mill area of Apapa. The girl that called abandoned her car only to come back to see corpses all around the place. Few days after I left Lagos, one of my very close friends in Festac (Ogbo Chris) woke up in the Hospital after he had been attacked and shot at close range by armed robbers who initially posed as Policemen. He wrote to me from his Hospital Bed in Igbobi.

As I was saying: There was no drop of fuel at the gas stations but the black market opposite TEXACO on 22 Road was selling fast. I will never understand how ordinary teenage boys can have petrol to sell on a street that is just less than 20 meters away from a TEXACO filling station. It is not possible to understand many things in Nigeria. The more you see, the less you understand.

The nights are always dark. Electricity supply was at an all time low. I had been misled by a friend on yahoo chat. Perhaps trying to impress me that things are better with power supply, Foluso gave me a false impression of the situation. Power supply in Festac Town last Christmas cannot be described as epileptic; it was something far worse than that.

There was no way our noisy generator could help us. We didn’t have fuel to run it. The fuel in the car was fast running out too after my double trips to Tejuosho market at Ojuelegba. What if my dad had not given me back the car fully tanked? Anyway, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to the black market concept. It was obvious that I cannot run the car on my bio-urine.

It was also impossible to drive from around 7:30pm. The oncoming cars all had full lights and I get blinded all the time. You can tell that I am not used to Lagos driving because in most places, there are no signs, no road marks, no lanes and no speed limits. It took about 3 days to get in the rough mood of Lagos drivers but still I was scared to my marrows. It was almost useless looking in my mirrors or using signals for change of lanes. Who is looking at your signals? For Lagos!? I thought we were all involved in car racing competition without umpires.

My entire encounters were not palatable. Once I spent 4½ hours on the queue to buy petrol at a gas station. It didn’t help that I woke up at 6am. This was the day that I sat in my car and wept loud like a baby. I wept for Nigeria. I was alone and there was no chance of consolations. I will never forget. I got home later that day and received a phone call from Sweden. My Swedish family wanted to know if I was alright. Unknown to me but very well known to them, there had been a pipeline explosion in Lagos! It was impossible to follow the news since there was no power supply.

That night, as a result of my luck at the gas station (after spending more than 4 hours), we had fuel in the car and in a 10litre keg. So, for the first time in about 10 days, we powered the generator and listened to the news. It was at that point that I saw images from the explosion as shown on CHANNELS Television.

Another thing that struck me last Christmas was the high cost of everything. How do people sustain and maintain with their salaries? It beats my imagination. People now pay more for everything including transport, houses and food.  On the contrary, the standard of living has continued on a sharp decline.

It is also of concern that there are several gathering spots for young cultists or gangs. A lot of young people now smoke and drink dangerously, and openly too. No more hiding. When did this mess become a part of our accepted or acquired culture in Nigeria? I couldn’t believe my eyes with all that I saw. What I saw in Festac Town and Lagos State were eyesores of unimaginable magnitudes. They probably depicted the larger society and how hopelessness has crept into the existence of many. People live now like there is no governance in Nigeria. They have speedily lost faith in the system that should protect and care for them.

Imagine that the pipeline explosion victims are mainly poor people scooping petrol illegally. They are aware that there have been past deadly incidents, they know the risk but they also thought scooping was worth dying for. This is the level that the value of the Nigerian life has depreciated to. Almost nothing!  

There is another question on my mind. In Nigeria, who is taking care of what? In less than 2 weeks, I began to wonder if this is the same place that I’d been educated and lived for 29 years until the end of 2001. Of course, life wasn’t a bed of roses for me. It was very hard to get through school financially. It was not easy either getting food on the table. For me and millions of Nigerians, it has always been a life of hard struggle but I’d never imagined that it will not get better for us as a people and country.

The climax of my worries was when I took ill. I was knocked down by diarrhoea. I cannot tell if it was from the suya that I ate or from the bottled water that I drank or a combination of both. But it was a serious illness and I was leaning fast in a matter of hours. Lepa like me. What luck that there was a pharmacist in the house where I bunked! Sometimes it is good when a house is sublet with different kinds of tenants in all angles of the house. You will end up with different combination of accomplished Nigerians, each in his/her own way. I was in the BQ. The Pharmacist became my friend and he took me round chemists (Nigerian name for medicine stores) that opened during the yuletide.

It was difficult to cope again with the tempo and struggles of life for the yuletide season that I came back to. It took more than 6 months to prepare for this trip to Lagos but it didn’t take long before I knew I wanted to see my family in Sweden again. With a 100 Euro bill, my return trip date was recoiled. I landed in Stockholm again on the early morning of 30th December 2006.

A new chapter had since emerged in the life of Nigeria. Nigerians have placed their new found hope on a government that has serious problem of legitimacy. The resilient people of Nigeria have been made to “do-or-die” with the worst election in human history. They are anxiously waiting for manna from heaven but they need a quick reminder that heaven help those who help themselves.

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!

aderounmu@gmail.com   

Nigeria: What More to Write about you?

Adeola Aderounmu.

Like more than 50 million Nigerians who will probably go to bed tonight without a decent meal or with no food at all, I am sitting up late and looking deeply into the situation in Nigeria. It gives me great concerns. All the members of my Nigerian family still live in Nigeria. Those of them who have travelled abroad have always returned to Nigeria. They love home.

Indeed there is no place like home! However, I know there are millions of Nigerians that would also have loved to leave Nigeria if they have the opportunity. I remember those days on Eleke Crescent at Victoria Island where many of the embassies where located. Many of the embassies have relocated to Abuja now. You could see thousands of Nigeria on a daily basis struggling at the embassy, seeking visas to escape Nigeria. I do not know what the situation is now but I knew then that some are genuine travelers planning to go to school abroad. Some are just going to visit and others are going as tourists.

There is no way I am going to stop thinking about Nigeria. Home is always home and a river that forgets its source will surely dry. “Always remember the son of whom you are”! This is a daily expression that my father sang into my ears in Nigeria while advising me on friends, moral and academic matters. I will not forget the son of whom I am.

As I have refused to forget the son of whom I am, my mind has also not departed from my dear country of birth-Nigeria. In this vein, I have not stopped reading certain Nigerian newspapers online almost as a daily routine. I have read and read about the situation in Nigeria. What I read most are the articles that are contributed by great minds. Recently, I have not only written in a popular Nigerian newspaper, I have also contributed articles to nigeriavillagesquare.com.  

I have been asking many questions in my life and the new one is: what more to write about Nigeria? All the problems in Nigeria have been highlighted and re-highlighted over and over again. People have been writing for many years and some newspapers have been fateful over the years as well.

Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora have added voices and online news to press for the return of sanity in governance in Nigeria. To this moment, what I see in Nigeria government is pure madness. How can a country of more than 140 million people be ruled by an illegitimate government? This is one of the realities in present day Nigeria that I cannot comprehend. It has been explained in many ways but I don’t get it. Something like: you can’t have a vacuum OR sworn in by Chief Justice.  Why should a Chief Justice lend a hand to illegitimacy? I will never understand. Please don’t help me.

Anyway, what problem in Nigeria has not been overflogged? Is it NEPA/PHCN? How it is impossible to have a 24hr uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria.  Is it that probably the worst road in the world is in Nigeria? Is it that the politicians just want to steal and loot? Is it that EFCC is a toothless bulldog? Haven’t we waited endlessly for our past leaders and politicians to return the monies that they stole so that we can start planning for our children? Have we not complained about the recycling of all these corrupt faces in government? What about recovered loots also disappearing? Is it lack of refinery for a country rated as the largest producer of oil in Africa? Are all these the meaning of a sleeping giant?

How many times have we complained about housing, water, unemployment and schools? What about the rise in the cost of living running parallel to low standard of living? Hasn’t it been said and written that the Niger Delta is rich with oil deposits while its inhabitants are among the poorest people globally? What about the pollution problem? Have we not complained about negligence of Agriculture to the detriment of our economy?

Have we not asked for our constitution to be reviewed or rewritten? Haven’t we asked for the jobs to be given to the best person on pure merit and knowhow instead of using National character? Do we not know why our higher institutions are frequently under lock and keys? Haven’t we asked for functional health system? Are we not tired of governors running on two terms and still going abroad to treat headache and stomach ache? Didn’t we tell them to build hospitals in their states?

Is there anything adversely affecting the Nigerian society that we have not discussed openly or in print media? So, when will the job be given to the best people who will start the process that will begin to transform our existence so that we and our children can return home in the nearest future? Doing things the right way will not only bring us back home to motherland, it will also prevent future mass emigration.

The bottom line of all write ups and criticisms of the Nigeria government is that we all want a place to call our home. A place where we can always be appreciated. We want a place where our lives mean something to other people. Some us of criticize only but I have read articles that criticizes and also proffer solutions.

It is difficult to know when or how Nigeria will take that Turning Point back to the Glorious days. Some of us were born after the Glorious days and all of our experiences of living in Nigeria were a life of bad to worse. For example, I still had milk, egg and Bournvita when I was very little. These things became luxury to me in my teens. Sardines, geisha and uncle Bens went away forever!

What more can we write about Nigeria? It seems that things are bound to be the same. Is Concerned Nigerians Worldwide (CNW) the first step forward in many years? Perhaps I am wrong. Are there other individuals, groups or associations that are seeking the common good of Nigeria? Maybe I am impatient (afterall Nigeria is just 47 years!). Time will tell.

One thing I am sure though is that living away from home brought me back to the luxury that evaded me for many years. Just last week in London, my cousin was swearing loud as he fried almost a half crate of egg for us for breakfast.  “God will punish those who made egg a luxury in Nigeria”! He went further: damn with cholesterol! The only reason he was saying all these was because egg is available abroad at a giveaway price, yet something in Nigeria made it a rich man’s food. Or is it just a case of one man’s meat is another man’s poison?

May the glory of Nigeria come, soon!