Spanish Lullabies

The only response he got from the officer he met was a stupid question. Since you moved to this town, have you ever seen a man or woman with a skin colour as yours driving a bus for the traffic department?

Life for a brilliant mind cannot rot in a racist Spain where even a successful footballer like Dani Alves got stoned with bananas while playing for Barcelona.

Spanish Lullabies

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_17 jan

When Kofi left the Gold Coast behind he was certain that the grass was greener on the other side. He was hopeful that his life will be better and that his sojourn in Spain will make his dreams come true.

Kofi had learnt that humans just like the flowers could bloom where they have been planted. Still he hoped for a replanting in another land. The most remarkable thing in his education was when he learnt about the equality of men. All men are created equal.

The day he left his home behind, he wept. It was a mixed feeling indeed and he looked forward to the greener pasture in Spain.

That was more than 10 years ago.

When l met Kofi in Stockholm 2 weeks ago, he had just left one of his jobs and was going home to rest before he would continue to the next job.

He worked during the day and then at night.

He was friendly, jovial and did not hide the anxiety of the new lease of life. He seemed happy.

The first time l met Kofi, we exchanged pleasantries as two strangers would do. during our subsequent meetings our conversations grew longer and he was actually fascinated that l am from Nigeria.

I thought you are from Somalia because l know Nigerians are very open and they like to talk.

These comments from Kofi added one more point to the many ways l have changed and lost my Nigerianness. But l forgive him. I intend to keep my humility.

After living more than 10 years of his life in Spain Kofi had to continue his sojourn which has now taken to Sweden.

During the last holiday season his family visited from Spain, spent 2 weeks and went back.

Kofi needs a little more time to be re-settled. Job, accommodation and stability in a new system always take their time and tolls.

His wife almost suffered a shock, or should we call it a heart attack when she saw Africans driving many of the buses in Stockholm city. Facing her husband and pointing a finger she screamed –have you seen that?

Kofi said, yes. I am used to it. I live here now remember.

In Spain the stories have been different.

Even l remember that in 2007 l wrote about my good friends who are from Spain but in whose land a fellow Nigerian was murdered by the Spanish authorities.

Osamuyia will always be in our hearts. He was one of us. He sought the greener pasture. They made him kissed the dust. Gone too soon!

Kofi told about the stories of other people and that about summed up his experiences in Spain.

There is a young woman. Her name is Joyce and she broke the norm when she was employed at a bank in Spain. She was at the counter and most part of her job would involve attending to customers.

The Spaniards avoided this woman at the counter. They never went to her to transact any business. Invariably Joyce became redundant. She lost her job.

Life for a brilliant mind cannot rot in a racist Spain where even a successful footballer like Dani Alves got stoned with banana while playing for Barcelona.

Joyce went to England. She settled well and continued with her professional job.

Listen, you haven’t heard or seen the worst about Spain. But let me add 2 or 3 more short stories.

Julius thought he had it all when he flashed his driving license and professional certificates that qualify him to be a bus driver in Spain.

He put forward an application and followed it up with a visit to the department of transport.

The only response he got from the officer he met was a stupid question. Since you moved to this town, have you ever seen a man or woman with a skin colour as yours driving a bus for us?

We don’t know what Abdullahi did with his life after this rejection.

There was another African brother who attended the university in Mallorca. He gave his all and showed his gifts. He became the best graduating student in his department when he got his degree.

Sadly, our brother Abdullah was not offered the automatic employment he deserved in line with the principle of the institution. He is a foreigner and cannot be qualified for automatic employment.

There were protests. There were demonstrations. In the end Abdullahi left Mallorca and settled successfully in England, just like our sister Joyce.

There are sad stories of permanent racism emanating from Spain and her sister country Italy. It is sad how these stories (several thousands of them) don’t make the headlines.

The world has come to accept that racism is incurable. It appears that some humans will be born with severe cognitive deficiencies such that they are unable to accept the equality of the human race unified as Homo sapiens.

African people are humble; they don’t press it in about their existence before the emergence of other races. True, Africans, their history and civilisations suffered very serious setbacks that are beyond the scope of this essay.

But bit by bit, and piece by piece, we will reconstruct our history and tell the truth.

We know now that the origin of racism lies in self-denial of one’s true origin. Those who love the truth can do their own research. African will rise again.

Kofi sat with me at lunch time and told me 5 heart breaking stories. I can imagine what he had gone through in more than 10 years of ploughing the greener pasture in Spain.

Even a short visit to Palermo was like a trip to hell. An African man driving an almost empty bus because Italians won’t take a ride in a bus driven by our brother was an experience that added to the loads of burden Kofi had lived with in Spain.

One day when Kofi thought he had seen it all, another incident happened on a bus. A young African man disembarked at his stop and went his way. As a young girl was about to take his place on the bus, she got shouted at by an old woman. You dare not! Can’t you see it was an African man who just left that spot!

You can understand why Kofi’s wife nearly suffered a heart attack when she saw Africans working in Stockholm. She must have seen that Stockholm will be paralysed on a day that the African bus drivers down their tools.

Many institutions and even the health department will collapse in Sweden if people with foreign backgrounds are thrown out of their jobs.

Sweden too, has uncountable stories of racist incidences far beyond the scope of this essay. I mean Sweden is the land of the midnight sun, not the land of the saints.

However there are reasons why the economies of some countries like Greece, Spain and Italy are worse compared to other countries like Sweden and Germany for example.

By almost turning down all foreign useful workforces, the Spaniards have done more harm than good to their economy. Why won’t they go borrowing? It now seems that the entire economy is tied to La Liga, where even racism is a major problem. Ask Dani Alves.

The personal experiences of Kofi (though not outlined in this story) and the others like Joyce, Julius and Abdullahi are reference points for our dear continent Africa.

But no matter how beautiful Africa or any other continent for that matter becomes we cannot stop the migration of the human race.

Our forefathers walked the earth and established it. That fact no one can erase.

It is just imperative that we don’t forget or ignore our ancestral homes as we continue to trace the indelible steps of our ancestors. May their spirits guide us right.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

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Ambiguity And 65 Shades Of Crimes

Majority of Nigerians at home and abroad are good citizens of the world. Mr. Buhari must mind his language and steer clear of ambiguity

Ambiguity And 65 Shades Of Crime

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_Jan 2016

Adeola Aderounmu

I just knew it. I knew that the next time president Buhari was going to talk to Nigerians will be from abroad. I really do not understand why he cannot speak to Nigerians in Nigeria.

In my most recent article-We Can’t Go On Like This– you probably didn’t miss these few lines:

Mr. Buhari will rather address Nigerians from abroad rather from his office in Abuja. For me this is one of the greatest mysteries with Buhari-APC mandate so far. I am now sure that something is wrong somewhere-Adeola Aderounmu, Jan 30 2016.

Since his emergence as the helmsman, it is hard to recollect when president Buhari had been behind a microphone to address issues or gave an impromptu interview to journalists at the Villa or an event within Nigeria.

Again, the organized “meet the press” does not count in this case.

Practise make perfect, we were taught since our primary school days.

Lack of practise means awkwardness and when it is about giving speeches or responding to simple questions, one’s hollowness can be exposed, just like that.

For as long as 100 % of what the presidency intends continues to come from Masters  Adesina and Shehu, president Buhari will not be competent to handle press situations when the need arise.

So it happened in faraway London.

I have read the counter-responses from the lovers of APC. Very predictable!

Let’s talk about the issues.

First, Buhari is wasting tax payers’ money. Why do we have a hospital at the Villa in Abuja? Have they converted the state house hospital to a veterinary center?

It is simply a bad example when the president of more than 150m people visits abroad to meet his doctors. What about us? Where should we go when we get sick?

That is not the change Nigerians were promised. That is business as usual! This government is a scam.

The time the Buhari-APC mandate has spent in office is enough for radical changes that would ensure that the first family does not visit London to buy panadol.

The Nigerian presidency and Nigeria (the sleeping and idle giant of Africa) have what it takes to lure Nigeria’s best doctors in Nigeria and abroad to the hospital in Abuja.

The inability to do that is a voluntary submission to slavery and colonial mentality.

Going back to the comment of president Buhari during his hospital visit/vacation in London, my take is that he probably did not use those words.

However the internet is so strong that the interpretation of gestures and unfinished/unrefined comments are too risky to leave to readers/listeners discretion.

There is no room for ambiguity when you are the spokesman for over 150 m people of diverse ethnicities, mentalities and religions.

In fairness, in every country of the world and among all nationalities, there are always a few people with criminal tendencies. There is no cure for that disease in the human race. The church, the mosque, laws and prisons have failed to deter the existence of criminals in any society.

Genetically it has also been shown that a certain genetic disorder (associated with an extra Y chromosome) predisposes certain males to criminal tendencies. That much l remember from one of Dr. Ayodele Edwards lectures’ from the University of Lagos in 1990.

Majority of Nigerians at home and abroad are good citizens of the world. It is unfortunate that the deeds of the minority of Nigerians with criminal tendencies at home and abroad have marred the contributions of Nigerians to the development of the world in Science, Art, Sport, History, Technology and Medicine.

Mr. Buhari must mind his language. He must be careful to choose his words. He should be talking to Nigerians at home regularly and train-up with charisma and social skills. It is never too late for anyone to learn.

Historically, Mr. Buhari is probably the most distant president in the memoirs of Nigeria.

The Buhari-APC mandate must start to clean up all the messes it had created in the last few months.

To save Nigeria from the type of embarrassment that has emerged in London, majority of Nigerians must also start to act for the good of all.

For too long, people have stayed on different sides of the divide supporting and encouraging crimes based on ethnicity and religion. Nigerians have a tendency to rank their politicians in order of their loots-instead of condemning all sorts of criminalities.

In Nigerian conversations, you hear comments like:

Buhari did not steal as much as Babangida.

Obj stole more that Jonathan.

Shagari stole more than Awolowo.

Tinubu used his loot to create jobs.

Abdulsalami was smart but he stole more than everybody and cleaned his mouth.

Amaechi stole more than Wike.

Fashola worked even if he stole for himself and Tinubu.

PDP politicians stole more than APC politicians. They will change when they come to APC.

I must do politics. Me too must steal my own, abi them get two heads.

Seriously?

For every Nigerian politician that has stolen from the treasury or enriched himself/herself through a few criminal activities, Nigerians have a comparative tale of someone who stole less or more. Then some people are waiting for their own turns to steal.

This is a national tragedy, a fundamental sickness!

For as long as the sun shines on me, l will never understand that aspect of the Nigerian mentality-the placement of criminal politicians on a scale and waiting in line to become a political thief.

That is not the way to go.

In the present government, it is not unknown that many of those ruling side-by-side with the president are alleged to have stolen several billions of dollars under previous administrations. One way to escape the ongoing probe of the Jonathan regime is to pledge allegiance to the APC by cross-carpeting.

The Nigerian government and the Nigerian people need to clean up a lot of messes.

Several issues are urgent and they cannot wait. The dignity attached to labour today is almost zero.

Patriotism got burnt up many years ago and the political system does not seem to bring forth any iota of hope in the days ahead.

In today’s Nigeria one of the greatest acts of criminalities is in the Nigerian National Assembly.  It is probably the biggest scandal because those who are supposed to be making laws are robbers and are facing criminal charges.

But the fact that they still go to the complex every day to represent 150 m other people says a lot about the conclusions from London.

If a criminal is my representative or my mouth piece at the Senate, what am l?

The audacity to conclude based on any ambiguity whatsoever that Nigerians are criminals either directly or indirectly is not far fetch from the fact that the Nigerian government always rank among the most corrupt in the world.

Having a National Assembly run by criminals is a stamp on all other criminal allegations.

The people of Nigeria have an image to portray and protect.

But it is obviously a dilemma because it is the people that also make up the government.  Who will cure who? Who has been fooling who?

Whatever be the case the good people of Nigeria have a history of being disconnected from governance to a great extent.

Some people must be able to lead and question for example the 65 shades of committees in the Senate. The Nigerian judiciary has a reputation for slowness and sometimes miscarriage of justice.

The people need to be outspoken to ensure that all the arms of government are upright, up and running.

It is the people’s power than can ensure that a democratic process is balance and fair.

In the hands of any ruling party alone, democracy is the same as autocracy. It can even transform to tyranny and there are bits of evidence in that direction.

It is not enough to show rage on twitter or Facebook.

A few years ago, l already stated that Nigeria is too big for Facebooking when Jonathan took to the platform to start fooling Nigerians.

There are many corrupt people in Buhari’s government. They, along with a few bad eggs amongst us are the reasons why the country was wrongly tagged a country of criminals.

It is so bad even a dumb and shallow thinker like Donald Trump could use our government in his campaign.

Nigerians, you must know that charity begins at home.

If you do not think that the bulk of the corruption tag now stops on president Buhari’s table, then you are in agreement with the London statement that resulted from his clumsiness.

If you think this-the need to clean the messes-is a distraction or a wailing, then let us continue to live together with the tag that we are all criminals. Be my guests!

In Nigeria, the truth must be said; there are more than 65 shades of criminalities. Ask your senators to go home while you clean the mess.

Yes, we can clean the mess at home and start to export freshness.

Soon, and very soon, let’s hope that Nigeria will get a new president or a repentant one who can talk to them face to face, in Nigeria. What we have now is not it at all !

aderounmu@gmail.com