In Nigeria, Christmas Time Can Be Hell..!

BY Adeola Aderounmu

I wrote Christmas in Hell after my visit to Nigeria in 2006. The story is available in my blog archive.

I guessed some things will never change.

In 2012 Nigeria, the month of december, fuel is scarce and there has been a fire pipeline explosion in Lagos.

These things have become “normal” for Nigerians.

The bottom line is that the Nigerian government as probably the most corrupt government in the world does not care a dime about the welfare and life situations of Nigeria.

Every government, Federal, state and local, is so corrupt that nobody cares if the right things are done or not.

That is why it is possible for stupid and useless things to repeat themselves with accuracy and perfection.

In december 2013 there is a possibility that fuel will be scare all over Nigeria and there will be a pipeline fire in Lagos.

What a country

Bangers, The Fire Brigade Approach And Another Call To Duty

Adeola Aderounmu

In the past and even this year, the Lagos State Government had tried without success to prohibit the use of firecrackers and other fireworks (popularly called knockouts and bangers in Nigeria).

The fire disaster that took place in Lagos this week is another wakeup call on many fronts.

The unfortunate incidents reminded me of one of my earliest articles published both on the Nigeria Village Square and in the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper. The article first published in 2007 is titled: What is Fire Brigade Approach?

In that article, I defined The Fire Brigade Approach as “Nigerians spending last minutes efforts in trying to solve a problem that has been there forever”. That definition borrowed from what I knew of the Fire Brigade while growing up in Nigeria still sadly fit the working approaches of several institutions and agencies in Nigeria today.

No one will likely succeed in stopping the use of fireworks during celebrations or festivities. Some traditions are too strong to kill.

It will require adequate regulations to monitor the safe sale and proper use of these fireworks.

It should not be possible for any businessman or woman to just be able to import or take possession of these dangerous things simply because they are business persons.

The federal and state governments in Nigeria should monitor and approve companies that are fit to undertake such businesses and these should not be based on sentiments or family connections.

Wholesale and retail outlets that distribute these products should have adequate safety procedures to deal with accidents. It is even better to have procedures that will prevent the accidents in the first place.

Considering the fire outbreak in Lagos, it is clear that there are no regulations or they are not followed. Often in Nigeria, the time is not taken to do things meticulously. In many cases no one is ensuring that the regulations are followed especially when bribes can be paid to make rules worthless and inconsequential.

I cannot still imagine that knock-outs as we call them are sold in such a congested area in Lagos. Obviously whether they have done that for several years is not the question, the point is that it has always been a disaster in the making. Then it happened!
With adequate and proper planning, such an accident (if it occurred) should have happened in an industrial area or a shopping area out of town. I mean a building that houses fireworks should either be isolated somewhere or has walls made of fire-resistant materials that will prevent the spread of accidental fire.

On other fronts some of the abnormal things about Nigeria were furthermore exposed by the ugly fire incident which has claimed one life and injured several others. The damage also included a number of houses.

Do we know if there are in-house emergency arrangements in the building where the fireworks are sold? I have not read about fire-extinguishers being used while awaiting the arrival of the fire brigade.

Generally this accident calls for a review of emergency handling situations in Nigeria.

Minor, major, man-made and natural disasters need to be reviewed in Nigeria.

People need to be taught how to deal with minor accidents so that they don’t escalate to major accidents. In certain accidents in Nigeria, stampede has led to more casualties than the original causes of the accidents.

People need to be taught how to prevent domestic and environmental accidents. When they happened they need to know how to deal with the situation immediately and what to do while seeking or waiting for help.

How many Nigerians have been educated that firecrackers are supposed to be mainly outdoor hobbies, something done at some reasonable distance from places of abode? I remembered how people threw bangers at each other in Nigeria and in fact that it was okay to aim them at another man’s flat or compound!

I knew people who held bangers in their hands till they explode and I’d seen at least two boys whose hands were blistered from such experiments.

Sadly too I recall many ugly incidents-including deaths-related to the use of fireworks in Nigeria.

Nigerians are also fond of looking and forming unnecessary crowd at the scene of accidents. Still what kind of crowd gathered in such a way that
it took the fire brigade about an hour to get through?

If the sirens were blowing out loud, does it means that Nigerians have become deaf that they couldn’t hear the siren or could it be that the sounds of sirens have become meaningless considering the misuse/abuse over the years? Where was the Nigerian Police during all these?

One man even took the helmet of a fireman. Was that a joke? The fire brigade and emergency workers can claim in this case that their work have been hindered or hampered by crowd gathering and doing nothing but taking pictures to be posted on social networks. Some heartless people actually visit scenes of accidents to steal or loot.

However, one man was reported to be scooping water with a bucket from a nearby source. Lagos (and Lagos Island in particular) is lineated, permeated and surrounded by water and the fire brigade always runs short of it. The disgust is the same when you see people who don’t have safe water to drink.

In any case, this man-made accident is another wakeup call.

The concerned Lagos State Government agencies or authorities should rise, step up and do that which is necessary to prevent another tragedy of this nature. It is not enough to earn or share money through official titles. It is not wise to wait for the next tragedy before something is done. The jobs must be done now and people need to be educated and informed.

The Lagos State Ministries in charge of Commerce & Trade, Environment, Information, Education, Town Planning and Industrialization should step forward and tell Lagosians the measures that have been or that are now in place to ensure the safety of lives and property. Emergency Management Agencies, the Police and the firemen/women should not be left out of the plans.

Why God Will Not Save Nigeria

By Adeola Aderounmu

In Nigeria God has been used to perpetuate and cover many atrocious acts both inside and outside of worship centers.

When dubious men and cunning women who have stolen Nigeria’s money enter into churches and mosques and ask God or Allah to save Nigeria, then you wish for the God that can answer by fire and consume the guilty flesh in his presence.

The characters of several Nigerian political and public officers call for evaluation of both the ordinary mental states and the anticipated cognitive capabilities in Nigeria.

In my opinion I think it is pure stupidity for a man to neglect his obligations and pray for miracles to achieve the goals of his obligations.

The problems with Nigeria are too complex.

It is also disturbing that since we see things from different perspectives, it appears there is no way forward. Since I have known Nigeria it has become increasingly impossible for the people to find a genuine way to seek the common good.

Increasingly, before and after the days of the songs made popular by “The Mandators” Nigeria deepens as an incomprehensible jungle of rat race.

I have no hope in Nigeria based on the status quo.

Nigerians themselves have acquired the Stockholm syndrome because millions of Nigerians will do anything to defend the nature of Nigeria. They will tell you to stop criticizing the government, that you should proffer solutions to unintelligent rulers and above all some Nigerians will tell you to hope in God who can do all things.

Really?

This veil of God has, in no small measure, contributed to the persistent underdevelopment in Nigeria.

The intellectuality and the creativity of the majority of Nigerian people have been truncated and incapacitated mainly by this mentality hinge on religious belief side-by-side negligence of citizen duties/obligations to country and humanity.

Isn’t it sad that religious rulers have now developed sticky fingers by stealing from tithes and offerings to buy private jets? Nigerian pastors now rank among the richest people in the world. If there is a real hell fire, these men will probably be likely candidates. Apparently they know there is none, so they feed fat on the masses who are scared and are brain-switched by religious indoctrinations.

Even Jesus whom they try fruitlessly to emulate was said to have rode on a donkey. He gave to the poor and needy, he shared with them.

Which God is going to save Nigeria? The one the religious rulers are stealing from or the one the looting politicians are pretentiously calling upon?

I don’t know how one God or several gods will save a people that permit and tolerate the looting of their common treasury. A people so resilient they cannot use the numbers on their side to turn the table in their own favour.

No one knows exactly how much has been stolen from Nigeria. The estimate (still growing by the minutes) runs into several billions of dollars. Several countries in the world would have become extinct if such were stolen from them. The sum stolen from Nigeria so far would have led to a global economic crisis if such amount were to disappear from the European economy.

At this time of the year and at the beginning of a new one, Nigerians will converge at different worship centers not only at home but across the world. They’ll pray for miracles in the New Year and they will pray that God will take control of the Nigerian political and economic situations.

Those who are stealing Nigeria’s money from the presidency to the local government will say the same prayer. Let us imagine a God like that of Elijah in the Holy Bible. Let us imagine a God like that of Moses in the Bible. Let us just imagine how fire and earthquake would have consumed all the hypocrites gathered in the temples, churches and mosques on the last day of the year, or even before then.

That type of God would have saved the helpless masses because by one swoop, 99.9% of Nigerian rulers would be consumed and 99.9% of the pastors and imams would perish.

If this is what Nigerians are waiting for, I am sorry to break the news again that several millions of Nigerians will go through this life without ever experiencing the true meaning and the essence of living. I am fond of calling this situation one the worst but hidden tragedies of modern era.

In recent months, I have pondered over the reasoning of some people that I’d encountered in real life and through other means. It is sad that some Nigerians have confused their personal achievements and survival strategies with the opportunities that the state is supposed to provide to everyone.

When people start to do well through their struggles through thin and thick or via their connections to the strings that fetch wealth from the Nigerian situations, they suddenly forget or neglect the maladministration, the gross incompetence and the severely corrupt nature of the Nigerian government across all strata. They give credits to their gods or to their spiritual fathers.

Some people are still struggling genuinely and some are also struggling with the anticipation or hope that one day, they will get to that point where they will benefit from the corrupt system. You can ask all the people who have been made wealthy by each successive corrupt government in Nigeria. Their testimonies of sudden riches represent the rude shock Nigerians got used to, with bizarre admiration.

All these categories of Nigerians converge in churches and mosques and pray that God will save Nigeria while they forget the roles that the citizens play in nation building. They forget the function of governments at all levels.

The other day I was at a gathering of some Nigerians in the diaspora. One young man was very emphatic about what should be done when you get the opportunity to serve in Nigeria. According to him and in fact, according to many confused and silly minds, “if you can’t beat them, then you join them”.

Majority of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora have unfortunately come to terms with the ill fact or misconception that the primary purpose of politics and public service is to enrich oneself when one gets elected or appointed into an office.

This is part of the sad reality that led me to the conclusion that Nigeria is in a very hopeless situation and that there is no God that will save Nigeria.

If Nigerians want to be saved or rescued they should abandon their churches and mosques and face the reality of everyday citizen roles in nation building. I don’t think they want to be.

The president of Nigeria and his vice are feeding themselves with over N1b annually on record and probably over N2b off record. In which other part of the world can this sort of systematic stealing happen? Since when do people who receive salary feed on government and tax-payers’ money? Nigerians should ask Jonathan about this and the insatiable urge from the presidency to spend all of Nigeria’s money and reserves.

Nigerians should get out of their worship places and ask about the report from each federal minister and every state commissioner about the outgoing year. They should seek answers to the ways their lives have been steered by those who they elected, selected or forced into offices. They should task the governors and lawmakers who are feeding and living on the highest paid political wages in the world-what have they done in the outgoing year to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians?

Nigerians are going to the wrong places every Friday and every Sunday. God owes you nothing! The politicians and public servants owe you everything.

Nigerians, you owe yourselves that boldness to seek probity and accountability.

Take your drive away from places of worship and move towards the various government houses instead. Ask about the future of your children and yours. Ask about the quality of education against the backdrop of global industrialization and technological advancements. Make a request that the children of all politicians be educated in the local government where their fathers and mothers live.

Ask your local, state and federal governments about the state of health provisions when the president, his wife and all your politicians are heading abroad for treatments.

Nigerians, ask the people who rule you about water, roads, electricity and other social amenities that add meaning and values to life.

Ask about your police and the judiciary and how to make them work for you. Ask about jobs, housing, employment opportunities and social or welfare services that exist in the constitution but not in real situations. Ask about anything and everything that affect the way you live and the quality of your life.

Stop asking God. No deity will save Nigeria!

On your own part, you must come to the table with clean hands and pure hearts. In what ways have you contributed to the development of your family, community and region?

Are you looking for ways to impact positively on the people around you and on your community or are you looking for ways to “join them if you can’t beat them”?

Who told you that you cannot beat them? Stop believing in popular fallacies! Your gullible existence is sucking away positive energy from your living. Gandhi told you many years that you should be the change you want to see in the world.

You can pray from now to eternity and your lives and the future of your children will remain stolen and wasted. Your president can knee before men from now to eternity for nothing. Think more about your children and the useless country you are about to bequeath to them-a place where people get away with crimes, lootings and all sorts of atrocities.

You want to leave behind a country where they are not expecting anything from the state but where they have to struggle like it’s a rat race. Some people will do some extra struggle as history has always recorded, no doubt. But such situations that have now replaced normalcy can only be reversed by your positive actions and not by prayers.

God will not save Nigeria. I am sure. What will happen is that your pastors and imams will get richer tapping more from your meager earnings. You will contribute to building more churches and more mosques and no new schools for your children.

Your politicians (that include your fathers, your mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and acquaintances) will steal more money, get richer and sprinkle some crumbs around. They will give loads to churches and mosques, a confirmation that the churches and mosques are ruining your lives.

If you continue to pray without facing the realities, Nigeria will continue to waste away and possibly crumble. We won’t need seers to tell us that insecurity will rise, that the cost of living will continue to climb and that these difficulties will be directly proportional to sub-human standard of living.

Those who have escaped the poverty line should stop confusing their emergence with the real situation that ordinary Nigerians face daily. In 2012 Nigeria is rated among the most corrupt countries in the world and Nigeria is the worst place to deliver a child. These rankings are relative but a lot can be drawn from the statements, including the fact that Nigerian political and religious rulers are gangsters.

At the beginning of 2011, I wrote “My message to Nigerians in 2011, stop saying it’s God”. Since then things have gone even worse.

In 2013 I believe that Nigerians need to demand for as many as possible referendums.

It is very important to redefine the meaning of some words like: Nigeria, Nigerians, Regional Governments, Federal Government, Federal Republic, Federalism and Patriotism.

I read a bit of the Nigerian constitution and I thought it was written either by drunkards or some mad men. No nation will get anywhere with such a constitution. The application of common sense is far better than many of the contents of the Nigerian constitution.

For instance the issue of the federal character is clearly retrogressive and it gave a clear sign that Nigeria is not going to move forward anytime soon. We have subdued intellectualism and replaced it with resounding mediocrity. We have killed the voices of reasoning. I thought about some top employees of the Nigerian Immigration Service who are from Northern Nigeria and who usually ask their colleagues from western Nigerian to help them write letters to their wives and families in the north. My hope now is that they can at least send emails or sms on their mobile phones.

I also thought about some commissioners in Bayelsa State who served under Goodluck Jonathan. They wanted to travel to America with the Nigerian passport even when entry visas have not been sought. They were already asking for travel allowances ahead of visa procurement.

These types of men (and women) abound in Nigeria’s political space and public services due to local and federal character slash politics of thugs. Are we still surprised why the system collapsed in Nigeria?

In the Nigerian constitution, there are sections covering national awards. Over the years political thieves and known criminals who unfortunately are above the laws of the land have been given national awards in Nigeria. That alone, zeros the constitution because it takes a thief to honour a thief. Who is now fooling who?

In Nigeria millions of people are joining the bandwagon, looting, accepting bribes, cutting corners and doing anything it takes to “survive”. “If you can’t beat them, join them” is the national slogan and they keep praying to God. What a joint joke?

Some expectations are driven by absolute foolishness and blind faith. The things Nigerians are asking God to do are the functions of people and governments across the world. How can God fix a country where nearly all the national and state resources and funds are distributed into the private accounts of politicians and public servants? Is God a global magician?

When Nigerians are ready or when the veil of God is removed, they will rise up and claim what is theirs. How they do that is definitely up to them. Nigeria is not going to get better based on religion, prayers or miracles. God will not save Nigeria.

Only Nigerians can rescue and save themselves completely.

Wanted: A New Definition For Breaking News

By Adeola Aderounmu

I think it is time humans define or redefine the true meaning of breaking news.

For example, I don’t see how a bomb blast in some Middles East countries in 2012 or 2013 qualifies as breaking news. I have heard about that for several years.

I don’t see how the crises in the Middle East qualifies for breaking news alert on my windows mobile. I get so annoyed and irritated that I felt like erasing the alert.

How can bomb blast in Northern Nigeria be a breaking news?

How does school shooting in America qualifies for a breaking news when it is going to happen again?

In my opinion, some news and incidents are so stale and human-induced that they should be re-classified under REGULAR NEWS.

Breaking news should be left entirely to new or revolutionary concepts or information. Indeed one may be quick to add that there is nothing new under the sun. Still I feel that some news are received with calm, indifference and insensitivity that they should never make the breaking news headline anymore.

I can’t remember the last time I felt anything about bomb blasts in the Middle East or a gun massacre in America.

Seriosuly, we need to redefine what is breaking about a news material!

Winter Time And Accidents in Stockholm

Adeola Aderounmu

There are no expert or clever drivers when it comes to slippery roads caused by snow fall.

Here are two classical examples of what can happen to you when you drive at the “normal speed” around curve roads on during winter.

When you approach curve roads or unfamiliar roads it is better to reduce your speed to below the usual recommended limits

Car in Ditch

Car in Ditch

This car was either turning right or left into the road but it ended in a ditch because it turned at a high speed. I know because it is a road I drive past almost on a daily basis. The driver ended up in the dicth either due to ignorance of the road or underestimation of the effect of snow on the road. If the driver was cautious and still ended up in the dicth, then he or she probably has summer tyres on.

Akalla Road 275

Akalla Road 275

This second image is total careless driving. It could have ended badly and sadly if the driver had met an oncoming car or vehicle in the opposite direction.

This accident happened on a day we had wet snow. The driver was approaching a curve and kept a speed of 70km/h or more. At the curve, he swerved into adjacent lane meant for opposite traffic. He must have been very lucky not to run directly into an oncoming vehicle and I think I got there 5 or 10 minutes after the accident.

People should be more careful when they drive in the winter. Accidents rate automatically goes up during this time but with more caution, driving can still be safe regardless of the season.

God jul!