The Fundamentals Of June 12 1993

The fundamentals of June 12 1993 revealed that every region in Nigeria should be allowed to control her own politics and resources just the way it was before the useless coups of the 60s. Regional government must now be allowed to stay and mature.

The Fundamentals of June 12 1993

By Adeola Aderounmu

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June 12 1993 will remain iconic and outstanding in the annals of Nigeria. It is very instructive also to relate recent developments in Nigeria to the significance of June 12 1993.

My blog (Thy Glory O’ Nigeria) is awashed with stories of the historic June 12 1993 election in Nigeria. One statement that l continue to emphasize is that the election was not about the contest between MKO Abiola of the Social Democractic Party(SDP) and Alhaji BashirTofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

These two presidential aspirants were only parts and parcel of a larger significance that the election and the results bore on Nigeria and the history of Nigeria.

To be clear, people have argued about MKO Abiola’s character and antecedents prior to 1993. Let us agree now that election is a process. It is an integral aspect of a democratic dispensation. Election is not a means by which anyone should supress voters’  or human rights. Election should not be a means to disenfranchising the people.

In 1993, the military gangsters headed by one notorious Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida commited the most obvious treasonable felony in Nigeria’s history when they annulled and eventually cancelled the results of the presidential election which held on June 12. It was generally known that MKO Abiola was poised to win.

The political transition that culminated in the botched election had been long and tiring. Nigerians had been patient and long suffering. But it all came to a dead-end when the tropical gangster Ibrahim Babangida willingly acted the script of the cabal and the North in ensuring that power did not transfer by vote to the winner from the South-West, MKO Abiola, despite the obvious facts that the votes had been accumulated across tribal and religious boundaries.

What he, Babangida-one of Nigeria’s most corrupt and shameless tyrant ever-failed to realise was that democracy is about the power of votes and the will of the people. He ignored the principles of human rights and the principles of democracy. He played out the scripts that seemed to have been written in Northern Nigeria.

He was disgraced out of power when he said that he stepped aside but he never faced charges for all the treasons he committed over the years planning coups and deleting election results. He was never prosecuted and lives today in a fortress in Minna. Ibrahim Babangida is one of the shameful symbols of the modern black race, a man who has no respect for life and values.

The discussion on why Nigeria’s corrupt elites and politicians have never faced corruption charges or even imprisonment is another inexplicable aspect of the Nigerian political terrain. That omission will continue to dent the intellectuallity of the black race.

Nigeria is an example of a country notorious for allowing criminals to roam free in the land, staging multiple comebacks to political scene and continuously looting the treausre till they drop dead or pass the shame to their children, accomplices and family members.

The obvious winner of the June 12 1993 election, MKO Abiola was eventually murdered in prison on July 7 1998 as he struggled to achieve the mandate given to him by millions of Nigerian voters. His death and how it happened remained points of discussions as different versions were thrown to the people depending on who was talking about it.

In 1999, Nigeria was eventually returned to civilian rule without the pressure of the June 12 1993 elections dwindling. One of the tropical gangsters in Nigeria, General Abdulsalami, who must definitely have a good knowledge of how Abiola was murdered under his watch eventually handed over to Olusegun Obasanjo, one of their own.

The arrangement perfected by/under Abdulsalami was a military one but it was masked by the hastened election that brought General Obasanjo to power. It was a move that was necessary to appease the South West after the murder of MKO Abiola. The North found a good ally in Obasanjo as he was now a civilian, eternally pro-North and anti-June 12.

Obasanjo was also a former military head of state and a major player in the electoral atrocities and malpractises of the late 1970’s. He handed over power to Shehu Shagari of the NPN. So for the umpteenth time, the Nigerian elites, the gangsters in khaki and the political pretenders refused to solve the political imbroglio that hung over Nigeria since the end of the civil war in 1970.

The fundamental lessons of June 12 are clear. Those who capture Nigeria at the center at any given point in time control everything. They have unlimited power and unlimited immunity. That is not true democracy.

It was the fear of losing that control that shook the North of Nigeria. It was that fear that made them murdered MKO Abiola. Those who sent Abiola to prison are the ones that killed him no matter how the murder was carried out. It was the North even if they had accomplices from other part of the country or from America. The story of Judas is common sense, not spiritual.

The fear of losing power under an authoritarian, unitary arrangement continue to grip the North. The North, over the years became too dependent on economic revenues from Lagos and the oil producing states. In the absence of clear cut agreement on how to sustain itself with the help of these undeserved wages should the structure change suddenly, the North continues to fear losing the center.

The North is always afraid and it continues to spread fear and threats among the other parts of the country as tactics for holding to power. In recent history, 3 key occurences have brought out the fear for all to see very clearly.

One is the annullment of the June 12 elections. If Bashir Tofa had won, the results would have stayed.

Two is the death of Musa Yar Adua and the desperation to prevent the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as his replacement. The disastrous reign of Goodluck Jonathan did not help matters and the manner of his defeat through both [INEC styled] ballots and propaganda remain viable discussions for everyone keen on the progress of Nigeria.

The third is currently playing out. The absence of Mohammed Buhari and all the desperate measures now in place to keep the power in the North no matter the cost.

The crazy and defective ideology of born to rule is however the most significante revelation of the constant fear that grips the North. Unless one is born into a royal family, one is never born to rule. We have seen even how royal bloods continue to fade away globally. Born to rule is false hope.

In June 1993, following the annullment of the best election ever in the history of Nigeria, the message was clear: Votes will never count as long as the unitary system invented by the military persists. Nigerians were told pointblank that those who control the center will always decide the eventual rulers or Nigeria.

June 12 1993 showed us that Nigeria needed to restructure so that such errors and treasonable acts should never be made to reoccur. But the people were cowed and caged. Nigeria is still not restructured. Emergence at the head of the tyrannic unitary system can be well doctored by the electoral commission and the cabal. Past and recent elections under a unitary system justify these anomalies.

It cannot be rocket science. True, every system of governance has its own defects. Regional government had its imperfections and it was never even allowed to mature. Unitary system of government is like tyranny and on planet earth is probably the worst system of government. No matter the faults or defects that led to the coups of the 1960s, that system of government-the regional government- was far better and more productive for Nigeria.

Since the end of the civil war, Nigeria’s problems have become more profound and complicated. All the arms of government are practically useless as criminals hold sway everywhere in government. No matter the scandal or level of corruption today, the unitary system does nothing to address the situation. The system bears almost no difference under the military or civilians as most of the people in power have turned criminals.

Nigerians are living like in a rat race with their destinies out of their hands and control. Attempts to address the anomalies have always been myopic and selfish because rather than take an holistic approach to solve a generic problem nationally, the absence of leadership meant that a few individuals have taken advantage of the situations. They played the ethnic and tribal game so good that Nigeria is going in tatters.

It will be a matter of time to see where we are heading but it could turn out really worse than what we have seen till date. A situation that could have been managed by sensible leadership and patriotism led us to the existence of Biafra having her own currency and declaring her own holidays.

This has been followed by the Kaduna Declaration in which the North bore her minds and feelings about the East. No amount of retraction can obscure the mind of the North as clearly stated in the declaration, sponsored or not.

We got here because rather than applying common sense, rather than using merit, we sought to one useless federal character under a unitary system that promote foolishness, ineptitude, dumbness and corruption.

Nothing is too late in life. The choices are still before us. We knew before June 12 1993 that we were in an unholy alliance since the military struck in 1966. Some said that Nigeria was stitched together for the pleasure of the Queen of England.

Then treachery, suspicious minds and lack of patriotism took sway a long time ago. A long time ago, Nigeria seized to be a federation. She became a treasure to be captured and it remained so when APC outsmart PDP 2 years ago.

The political class realigned and continued the siege and rape of the land. Criminals everywhere, at the presidency, senate and all over.

Unless the system that encourages this type of madness is cut away soon, the violence trailing Boko Haram, Biafra(IPOB), MEND and the coming effects of both the Kaduna and Niger Delta declarations may lead to undesirable outcomes.

The fundamentals of June 12 1993 revealed that every region in Nigeria should be allowed to control her own politics and resources.

The time misspent in the past can be redeemed if common sense is allowed to prevail now. A stitch in time saves nine.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

2016: The Heart-breaking Year 

There are so many things about 2016 that broke my heart into pieces.

In Nigeria today, ordinary common sense, profound reasoning and life changing positive reflections have been thrown into the gutters.

When money is taken out of the ratio, the next most influential factor for getting political appointment in Nigeria today is religion.

2016: The HeartBreaking Year

 

 

By Adeola Aderounmu

”To even imagine what lies ahead in 2016 under the prevailing global crash in oil-prices and other  revolutionary advances in the world is totally heartbreaking”-Adeola Aderounmu, December 2015.

The immediate quote above was how l ended my last essay in 2015. It was titled, Not Another Great Year.

I was among the people who expressed utmost pessimism for what the future (2016 and beyond) had in stock for Nigerians.  Our people in their gullibility prefer to hear such obvious omen from their pastors and imams at worship centers.

2016 wraps up for majority of Nigerians on a very low note. For several millions expectations were dashed and hopes were turned to hopelessness. It’s a cycle too easy to predict.

Way back in one of my end of year messages, probably 2012, l have stated that God will not save Nigeria. That postulation remain intact. In 2017, there will not be a divine or conjured intervention for Nigeria.

It is Nigerians who will decide when they have had enough of irresponsible government and selfish rulership. The fate and future of Nigeria will not be decided by the Church like one of my friends argued with me when l visited Nigeria this summer. If the future of Nigeria will be great, it will not depend on the Mosque either.

For in Nigeria today, ordinary common sense, profound reasoning and life changing positive reflections have been thrown into the gutters. When money is taken out of the ratio, the next most influential factor for getting political appointment in Nigeria today is religion. For the almost monolithic “religious” states, tribe is the decider. Nigerians have lost it, they have descended too low.

The trend had been upcoming and today it is well established. In the monolithic states, there is a system of rotation that ensures that the embezzlement of public funds is rotated among tribes every 4 years. If the public office is at a very local level, then it is different clans that rotate the looting of the local treasury.

Are we stiil wondering why more than 100 m nigerians live in penury, almost exclusively from hand to mouth?

In my local government, the enactment of a church beside the mosque was a reassuring signal that Christians will not be kicked out of the premises soon.

The last time l checked though, the people l met at my local government were complete outsiders. They know nothing about Festac Town and you can tell they are political leeches. They do not know the layouts of Festac and they have no idea how the community came into existence and the dreams we had when we were children.

Lagos state now provides a recipe that is replica of the failed country called Nigeria.

When religion, friendship, tribalism, hypocrisy, ineptitude, arrogance, stupidity, inefficiency, man-know-man and other vices are promoted above service and integrity, there will never be progress. Peace may even become a scare ideology. Rivalry and sometimes war will prevail even with the slightest of provocation. This is where Nigeria is today!

On a more personal note, since the summer months, l have written and called attention to the environmental issues that affect the people of Festac Town. Sadly the governor of Lagos State love the lslands more than the Mainlands, and Festac Town can rot because he does not give a damn. Both the governor of Lagos state and the ignorant sole administrator of Festac Town have pretended that they are deaf.

They don’t care about anything that does not bring returns to their pockets. How do we define political leeches again?

I think the people of Festac should be allowed to run Festac so that the people can know who to turn to when things don’t go right. The council should never be in the hands of complete strangers especially when they have used their religion as a jackpot. This is so sad and the rulers of Lagos have failed too.

Likewise, we continue to clamour that one man cannot rule Nigeria. Nigeria is a failed project under the unitary system. When the government is brought close to the people, it will be relatively easier to know who to hold responsible when projects failed and when infrastructure collapse.

Today in Nigeria, it appears that everything wrong with the country is the fault of Buhari. It is indeed true but it’s just that he is not the origin of the problems. His role has been more as a catalyst in destroying what is left of Nigeria. This is the second time he’s doing so.

The system of government in Nigeria will never work. It is designed to fail. The complain we are making today are the same complains that writers and critics made more than 40 years ago. The system of government is the same. Things got worse.

It is now not known how to convince the people that prayers don’t bring about technological development. It is not known how we can convince the people that religion and vigils do not solve national problems.

I don’t know in how many ways we can try to reach the people and tell them that it is what we do or not that affect the progress of our country. The outcomes of our actions and inactions are independent of prayers. Prayers don’t help a nation to escape poverty, food production does.

Prayers don’t help a nation to become healthy. It is the function of the health policy of the government and the investment in medicine and health care that do.

Theology does not take any country to the moon or mars. Science and research do.

Another year 2017 is here and Nigerians will start it with a crossover at churches and mosques. No matter what the calender says, it is just another day and another rotation of the earth about the sun.  Science says it’s a revolution of the earth around the sun, therefore there’s actually nothing new about rotation and revolution.

It is very hard to know how Nigerians, more than 150 million people can be reached and convinced on the meaning and essence of life. It is pretty hard and frustrating.

Recently some hopeless people gathered in London to celebrate the release of a criminal called Ibori. The likes of Ibori are numerous in Nigeria. They are the ones running the country. They should be happy because they are the lucky bastards. In some countries where corruption is not tolerated, their graves will be unmarked after they must have been summarily executed.

It pains and infact it hurts to see the foolishness of Nigerians on a global scale. People like the supporters of lbori and the praise-singers of other politicians help Nigeria to wash her dirty linens in public. The global shame is indelible and embarassing.

There are so many things about 2016 that broke my heart into pieces.

Many of them are repetitions of the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the governing of Nigeria, the attitudes of Nigerians, the behaviours of Nigerians and the irreconciliable diversity of the notions of the Nigerian state or statelessness.

Let me be clear, Nigeria is being misgoverned. This is not news. The country has been on a roller coast to hell since 1960. Therefore when the APC-Buhari mandate promised changes, Nigerians bought it. But it has been business as usual, and the status-quo after 18 months shows that this government is ideologically clueless. The economy is lying prostrate.

After the crossover ceremonies at the churches and mosques, who will tell Nigerians that the crossover is meaningless without the necessary actions aimed at progress, prosperity and the common good.

We must change the system of government even if we cannot change every other thing. We need to bring back governance to the doorsteps of the people. It won’t matter who we usher to Abuja in 2019 because one man will not rule Nigeria successfully.

Lets fight a common fight now. Let’s write about it, let’s talk about it. Let us enforce it. If we can, let us occupy the streets and the citadel of corruption called Abuja and call for a rapid response to the change in the system of government. It’s the biggest gift we can bestow on the unborn generations.

At the regions, there will be closer monitoring of infrastucture and health provison.  Educational needs will be tailored to local situations. Even housing will be structured based on regional population and peculiarities. Power can be generated using local needs instead of senseless national jargons. These won’t happen overnight, but our grandchildren will be happy we started a journey with their needs and prosperity in minds.

If all we want to leave to our children are our imported religions and ill-acquired wealth, then let’s all brace up for a 2017 filled with pain, anguish, sorrow and disappointments. we are used to them any way.

For as long as we continue to lie and pretend that the unitary system of government will get us somewhere, these outcomes, to different degrees in different homes and communities will remain our common denominators.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

A Cupboard Full of Debts And Skeletons

I am just wondering if Mrs. Jonathan stole more money than tyrants like Babangida and Abdulsalami. President Buhari did not even admit that Abacha was a criminal.

Nigeria does not need to borrow money. Call out all the criminals who looted the treasury and line them up to return the money. The proceeds will dwarf the 30 billion dollars loan request!

A Cupboard Full of Debts And Skeletons

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By Adeola Aderounmu

The government of Nigeria is willing to go borrowing. But Nigeria is not a poor country.

Nigeria will never be a poor country. A country where you can bury a seed in the ground and find it sprouting up after 3 days will never be a poor country.

Sadly, Nigeria is in recession at the moment and the reason for applying to borrow money has been hinged on infrastruture development.

Nigeria already has loads of debt. Some debts were incurred doing ”useles projects”. These are projects that have no heads, yielding nothing in return. Loans have been mismanaged in the past. They have been looted. Even returned and recovered loots are never accounted for in Nigeria.

We know that Nigeria’s debts are already lined for for the next few decades. That means that the debts are already a burden to the upcoming generations. Our rulers are prodigal fathers and mothers.

The fact that the Buhari-APC mandate wants to add more debts on the unborn generation makes it a callous and heartless government.

When it comes to infrastucture development, the truth is that all previous governments in Nigeria are guilty of mismanagement. Almost all retired and serving politicians including military gangsters are guilty. Monies earmarked for infrastucture development were stolen or looted by people in government, their family members and other accomplices.

These individuals and politicians especially, are still serving in government or still having a say on the running of Nigeria from the sidelines. Nigeria is their haven and our hell.

Indeed, in their hands are more funds than what the Buhari-APC mandate wants to go fishing for in foreign lands.

All the funds in the hands of criminal politicians, (both retired and serving) that have not been mentioned by the Buhari-led government must be tracked and taken back. These looted funds should be added to the monies that have been recovered so far.

Together with the incoming loots from criminals like Obanikoro, journalist Abati, and custom-man Dikko, the 30 billion dollars mark will be surpassed too easily.

Nigerians are watching to know how much The Jonathans are going to give back after years of looting Bayelsa and then the federal treasury.

There are more possibilities to explore as a sure bet to developing the infrastructure that Nigerians so much deserved after years of misrule and lawlessness.

For instance, for how long will the APC-Buhari mandate remain afraid of the looters with the APC badge? I listened to the government’s spokesman Mr. Adesina asking people like us (the public) to provide evidence that can be used to prosecute the APC clan. Nonsense talk!

When the APC-Buhari mandate is ready, they will get more funds way beyond the 30 billion US dollars from the Amaechis, the Tinubus, the Obasanjos and even the Atikus.

When the APC-Buhari mandate stops waiting for evidence from people like us, they will beat the 30 billion US dollars mark dead flat when looters like Babangida, David Mark, Abdulsalami and other billionaires who made their wealth from government coffers are quizzed and made to return all the monies that they looted from Nigeria’s treasuries.

When Mr. Buhari is ready, he will join us in acknowledging that Mr. Abacha was indeed a criminal. For, in not acknowledging that Mr. Abacha was a criminal despite all the looted monies that have been returned from his foreign accounts, Mr. Buhari is deceiving himself and ridiculing the black race.

Mr. Buhari told us that his budget was not padded even when the budget padders especially one self-acclaim criminal called Dogaro already admitted to the allegations. In a popular response, he said padding was not a crime. Tomorrow Mr. Buhari can even tell us that custom-man Dikko who returned more than 1 billion naira is not a criminal.

How much money have been stolen by these criminals? What fraction of the money they stole are they returning? How much money can we recover from Buhari’s era as head of the PTF?

I’m just thinking out loud how many criminals, serving and non-serving that Mr. Buhari is shielding. Does he have skeletons in his cupboards. How many skeletons are in Mr. Buhari’s cupboard? How many skeletons are there in the possession of the APC-Buhari mandate?

The essence of all my questions is to indicate that Nigeria does not need to borrow money when so much money is locked in the hands of individuals, some very close to the president himself. Who is fooling who?

It seems Nigeria is running a government of cowards who are using the instruments of governance to chase the opposition and spare the cronies within the APC-Buhari mandate. Friends of the presidency are also saints.

That means the government is weak. It’s chasing down on easy targets like Reuben Abati the disgraced journalist and Mrs. Jonathan the former first lady. Have these two for example, stolen more money than Ibrahim Babangida?

All those who have looted in the past and in the present have disrupted infrastructure development in Nigeria, one way or the other. Small loots and megaloots have the same effects in the retrogression of Nigeria.

It is height of penkelemess to ask us the people to bring out evidence when it comes for the crimes committed by the APC politicians and those who the government considered as untouchables.

Where is the EFCC and the Buhari-APC mandate getting the evidence or proofs that are used in the investigation and prosecution of the PDP politicians?

The APC-Buhari mandate does not have my permission to borrow money. It however has my permission to take back all the looted monies scattered in Nigeria and abroad from all the looters and their families.

Lastly, dear APC-Buhari mandate, when you drop the idea of borrowing money, do not forget that the way forward for Nigeria may lie in adopting a political structure that is tailored to the peculiarities in Nigeria.

It was the number one point on your manifesto but it seems you have gone to bed with the demons of Abuja. So far, your reign has failed and you continue to chase mirage with the nonsense unitary system that enriches you and impoverish the people.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

Aging With (Dis)grace

It is imperative that the government formulates a standard policy that caters for the old people in the population irrespective of their family situations.

 

Aging With Disgrace

By Adeola Aderounmu

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During my last trip to Nigeria, l saw the persistence of the signs of a society that was ailing badly. It is no big surprise when the recession and depression that the people have lived with for several decades was then officially pronounced on the country.

I always fear for the old people in the Nigerian population. You can tell that there are many things in Nigeria that gives one deep thoughts.

One day during my stay in Nigeria, l saw an old woman sitting in front of her apartment. She sat and gazed. It was easy to see through her. She pondered, l am sure, about the life she had lived in the past and just how incapable she had become.

When l went to high school in the 80s, this woman was one of the most active women l knew. At a time she had a stall where she sold prepared food to several families in the neighbourhood. At another time she walked around carrying the food on her head. Things change too quickly in Nigeria!

Today, she is one of the several millions of old people scattered across Nigeria living from hand to mouth. Invariably the Nigerian society still largely believes that the burden of maintaining the old people should rest of the children, the grandchildren or someone within the realm of the extended family.

However, there are a few exceptions to the last sentence above. For example, if you grew old as one of several Nigerian criminal politicians or their spouses, you have already stolen enough money to even take care of your funeral and unborn generations. Another example that is genuine is, if you and your family are doing well in a legitimate business, you probably have a secured old age (if you plan for it).

Those who don’t do well at old ages in Nigeria are the norm. They include several pensioners who laboured at government offices and in the end had their pension looted by some greedy man or woman at the pension’s department.

The Nigerians who age with disgrace include the category of the old woman who now sits and gazed and seemed unaware of her immediate surrouding. She was probably hoping that one of her children will call on the phone or come home to settle some bills and take care of the next few days.

The category of Nigerians aging with disgrace is massive. Widows or widowers who suddenly lost their spouses could age with disgrace. It’s relative and dependent on several factors, some of which are beyond their control. A wealthy man can die suddenly without a will and his widow from that moment could go on aging with disgrace.

Sometimes, even in the presence of a will, the Nigerian widows still suffers because the extended family have no regards for the woman and chose not to respect the will. I am in the process of writing another essay on the status of women in Nigeria and l hope to elaborate more on their sufferings and frustrations.

There is absolutely nothing wrong when children or members of the extended family take care of their aged-ones. It is part of the african culture. But it is not all old people who have children. Likewise, it is not all extended family that are functional. Hence it become imperative that the government has a standard policy that caters for the old people in the population irrespective of their family situations.

How can Nigeria handle the plights of the category of her citizens aging with disgrace?

One method is through education. Every Nigeria needs to be educated about pensions and savings. I was happy when l saw a book written by one of my former students Mr. Babatunde Raimi. The book ”Planning Your Retirement” contains step by step measures that people can take in order to secure their life financially after retirement.

This will be a tough challenge because many Nigerians do not believe in saving money or taking insurance policies. It is not unusual that people are skeptical about savings because life-expectancy is short, unemployment is high and job insecurity is rampant.

The financial institutions have been unreliable. Some banks have declared bankruptcy and people have lost their earnings and savings.The short life-expectancy is a summation of the low standard of living and the general poor conditions of health/medical delivery system.

There are several old people, some illiterates, who ran their own businesses and then folded-up as old age sets in. They need help on how to plan their future irrespective of whether their small businesses will continue or not. Before they get old and become less restricted in their physical movement, they need help to plan their retirement.

We can also think of the people who are illiterates but ran successful small businesses during their productive years. If they cannot read, how can they be reached? How can we help them to plan their retirement?

The population of Nigerians aging with disgrace can be reduced drastically if the Nigerian government can stop the pension thieves once and for all. Pensioners don’t get a lot of money anywhere in the world but in Nigeria it is worse because the value of the Naira is shameful. Added to the high cost of living, a pension that is promptly paid and regular albeit little, still avails much in a place like Nigeria.

It is all too common to read about how pensioners have been robbed by federal ministers or some highly placed civil servants. There cannot be a rational basis why pensioners are unpaid and starved whilst their monies are tucked away in a private account of one criminal supposedly serving the government of Nigeria at the state or federal levels.

Nigerian pensioners live with shame and disgrace at their old ages mostly because the government continues to fail them as senior citizens. Those who steal or cart away pension funds needs to sleep in prison for several years. They don’t deserve plea bargains.

In Nigeria, let us not forget that the problems we faced are numerous and gigantic. I don’t think there is anyone who has all the list of problems documented. My arguments and essays are plain. When everybody starts to do the right thing, everything will fall in place for the good of all. But this message is hard to get across board. Our diversity has become a pain, rather than a blessing.

Finally, it seems clearer now that the political system of government in Nigeria is part of the hindrances to growth and development. Therefore the calls for restructuring, true federalism, regional govenrment and even regional autonomy need to be addressed squarely and the best option adopted so that peace can return to this geographical region presently called Nigeria.

When there is peace, planning becomes easier and progress is certain.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

 

There Are No Drivers In Lagos

…..one of the vehicles that was supposed to be behind my car did the diagonal turning and collided with an oncoming lorry. There was another accident- two commercial buses collided with each other and an okada passenger flew between the 2 vehicles just before they collided. This is Lagos..!

There Are No Drivers In Lagos

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By Adeola Aderounmu

On my recent trip to Nigeria, l could almost not believe what l saw on Lagos roads. I knew that driving in Lagos had always been a hassle and that some people have ignorantly or maybe stupidly concluded many years ago that if you can drive in Lagos, then you can drive anywhere in the world. That notion is not only misleading; it is also very dangerous.

If driving in Lagos on the other hand means that you can drive anywhere in Nigeria, then l can generalize that there are no drivers in Nigeria. I took time to observe driving in my area and on major roads in Lagos. Not one person driving on Lagos roads that l saw passed the simple driving tests that l conducted.

One of the most amazing, yet disturbing discoveries l made was this: not one driver in Lagos knew how to turn left at a junction. In normal driving, on a two-way road, you drive to the end of the road whilst keeping to your lane, then you make a curve (like going around the last quarter of a circle or ring) to turn left. I did not see one driver in Lagos do this turn correctly.

To make left turns, all the drivers in Lagos made diagonals. They don’t even make it from their half of the road. Long before the actual turning point, as they approach the junction, Lagos drivers make long diagonals that put them head to head with the oncoming vehicles.

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The first time l observed this anomaly, l actually thought it was just a silly driver who was impatient.

Later l found out that everybody drives that way. Commercial vehicle drivers and private car drivers, drove the same way. This is the standard for driving in Lagos.

One day, l had a passenger at the back seat in my car. He said he thought l was driving straight-on after he saw that l actually turned left at a junction. He was not used to drivers using the full length of the road to the turning point before making the turn. He said l would get tired of my sane driving, but l never did because l wasn’t trained to drive like an insane person.

Every time l am making my normal left turn, there are other vehicles, between 1 to 3 that make the turn before me while l am at my normal driving. They think they are good drivers or that they are smarter in getting ahead.

In this essay, l cannot include the menace of the motor-cycles as commercial transportation means in Lagos. Let us save the discussion about that pestilence that is unleashed on Lagos for another time.

As a result of foolishness, recklessness and not-knowing-how to drive of almost all Lagos drivers, I was a witness to at least 3 accidents whilst l drove in Lagos.

Another day whilst l was doing my normal omoluabi junction-turning, one of the vehicles that was supposed to be behind my car did the diagonal turning and collided with an oncoming lorry. How many accidents on Lagos road are due to wrong driving?

This dangerous diagonal turning was one of the most obvious indicators of wrong driving by Lagos drivers that l observed and it remains a major cause of head-to-head collision/accidents at road junctions.

There was another accident due mainly to bad driving that was so serious that two commercial buses collided with each other on 23 Road in Festac Town. It was like a movie when an okada passenger flew between the two vehicles before they collided and he somersaulted on the road. The motor cycle and the okada-driver slided long the road like the movie was not about to finish yet.

In fact, the other useless and reckless driving of Lagos drivers are too numerous to elaborate here. But generally, it is a crazy situation on Lagos roads with human and vehicular traffic forming a permanent compound mess.

More of my observations below.

Lagos drivers do not know how to drive on lanes (but they can claim that most roads are not marked with lines and they’ll be right at that). Still, what happens to straight line driving? What l saw was that most of the drivers in Lagos do not even know about driving on a lane.

Once the roads are not marked, they are driving from right to left to center, just anyhow they like. They fill available space on the road and collide too easily with one another.

Lagos drivers do not keep the distance. There should be at least 5 meters between 2 cars on the road. For some vehicles, the distance behind them should be 10 meters if they have risk of rolling backwards or if they vehicles used for deliveries, having haulage facility/equipment trailing behind them.

In one accident, I saw an okada driver fastened to the back of a jeep and he could not detangle his motor cycle. It was so confusing; l did not even understand it even as we drove past the conjoined vehicles.

Lagos drivers do not use or respect the indicator light that shows when you when you change lanes or make a turn. 99.9 % of Lagos drivers do not look out for indicator lights. When you indicate a turn with your light and hoping that someone is using their brain on Lagos road, you have just made yourself a target for an accident and probably an untimely death.

Rather than using your signs, you and your passengers have to bring your heads out of the car and try to have contacts with the reckless drivers on the road and beg them to let you change your lane or to turn right or left.

In general driving on Lagos road is still very much an insane experience. It may not be the biggest problem in Nigeria but it is surely a significant part of public health question and analyses. It is either the people bring madness to the roads or the roads make people mad. Whichever way you view it, it is bad and sad.

On Lagos roads, there are no rooms for respect and courtesy. Everybody looks angry! People are not driving or behaving normally behind the wheels. Everybody is in a hurry and everybody believes that they should not give room to another driver. It’s as if everybody is chasing the same thing or the same thing is chasing everybody.

In all these negative brouhahas, one begins to wonder about the roles of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC. This agency must be really rotten and inefficient. They are not working. How can they explain the acquisition of drivers’ licenses by all the bad drivers in Lagos? Have all these crazy drivers passed through any driving school? Have they been tested theoretically and practically?

In Lagos the dangers and evil on the road are so numerous that coming back home to your house in the evening is considered an everyday miracle.

So what are the ways out of this hydra-headed problem that has grown so big that it is now the norm to be drive anyhow-you-like in Lagos. Where do we start from in this country where everything has fallen apart and into pieces?

One can also question the roles of the bribe-loving police force in all these extreme dramas, thrillers and horrors on Lagos/ Nigerian roads. They are constant on the roads, pointing their guns at ordinary citizens as if there is a war in Lagos. But their primary concern is their filthy pockets.

The police, the FRSC, the people and even the state government  and its other transport agencies are all contributing their own quotas to the madness and complexity on Lagos roads. Everybody is claiming right, everybody is neglecting their duties and obligations and everybody is doing the wrong thing.

When Nigerians return home from Europe and America with their drivers’ licenses that were earned like war trophies, they are insulted and humiliated to the extent that the authorities make many of them to acquire the Nigerian license that are obtainable without undergoing driving tests.

In their ignorance, the men of the FRSC and the police turn down hard-earned foreign driver’s license. I heard they don’t even recognize international driver’s license. Really? Of course, they will accept the bribe that follows the argument on this.

During my stay in Lagos, l spent a substantial time shouting at some motorists and educating them on a few things that l saw them do wrong. Yes, l did that sometimes when l was behind the wheels and sometimes when l took my usual long walks along the streets.

Constantly proving that l was right, l just refuse to leave my lane for the stupid oncoming okada motor-cyclists and other drivers who really do not have any business on the road. I was hardly in a hurry, so that turned out well.

The first lesson in a driving school says: plan for your journey. That particular lesson will cure about 50% of the insanity on Lagos road. Where are people rushing to? They will overtake you with the narrowest of margin beside you or in front of you! What are they chasing?

There are rush hours and heavy traffic in major cities across the world. But the cars keep rolling. In Nigeria, the traffic stands still not only because of bad roads, but also because of bad driving and total absence of knowledge about safe driving.

So if the people plan their journeys, if drunkards are removed from the roads, and if the roads become motorable say 100 years from now because Nigerian roads are still among the most dangerous road in the world today, maybe more than 90% all the accidents on Nigerian roads will become preventable. Lofty goal l guess.

The traditional custodian of Lagos and the governor of Lagos, where do you go from here? Lagos drivers don’t know how to drive. They just move the vehicles. They need help and deliverance. You need help too because right under your watch, Lagos has fallen apart.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

all images taken by Adeola Aderounmu

Reflections

When l was 8 years old, my class teacher Mrs. Nwaoha taught me the importance of merit in attaining positions whilst handing me my first experience of taking responsibilities outside my home. Her approach continues to influence my thinking to this day.

Reflections

By Adeola Aderounmu

Aadeola_March 2016

Usually l write my random reflections annually on July 12 to mark my birthday. In recent weeks l have written sporadically in this column (View from Scandinavian in the Nigeria Village Square).

I have not been able to keep to the schedule of publishing every Sunday.

There are explanations for this.

One is that sometimes one feels the urge to just take it easy during the weekend when the week days have been intensive and tiring.

Second is that sometimes l listen to the news from Nigeria or I read the newspaper and then l found out that what my friend told me is true: the more things change in Nigeria, the more they stay the same.

As a columnist it is becoming more demanding to write about Nigeria in order to keep the content fresh or valid. It is hard to do this.

The problems that Nigerian columnists wrote about in 1980 are still the same problems that we are writing about today.

Nigeria has failed to develop or evolve.

We have not been able to change or raised the standard of our discussions to issues that challenge our growth or development because Nigeria is not growing or developing in comparison to several countries with high standard of living and high life expectation.

We are stagnated on economic issues as the value of the Naira remains a disgrace to the country and the people.

In far away places including America, Nigerians have been placed in strategic positions to help the country remain progressive in various ramifications.

However in Nigeria, for more than 50 years, we convert our economic gurus and scientists to fellow political criminals as soon as they arrive on the political stage.

We don’t move forward.

In politics, at a time that the world is discussing migration politics and politics of job creation, we in Nigeria are still struggling with counting of ballot papers.

Nigeria is a disgrace to Africa when it comes to conducting elections.

Recently it was in Kogi State and last week it was in Rivers State where people in this century and age went about killing fellow human beings just because they were asked to cast their votes.

In 1980 whilst I was in primary 3 my class teacher thought it was time to appoint class representatives who would be good ambassadors of her class. She adopted the merit system.

She based her arguments on performances during classwork and related activities.

It was a peaceful exercise. l emerged as the class captain and Foluso Agboola emerged as the assistant class captain.

It probably wasn’t a democratic process but it is an integral part of democracy, that merit would be considered a factor in producing candidates.

We were rewarded with positions because we deserved it.

Before that process I had seen boys since l was 6 years old or less fighting for place and supremacy and l have no idea how or why they thought they had to fight to claim authority when they have not shown that they are responsible.

Mrs. Nwaoha cleared things in my head forever. Merit first.

In 2016 the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot conduct elections that involve ordinary counting of votes.

The people of Rivers cannot conduct themselves orderly. They went about committing murders and arsons rather then fishing out men of character and integrity like civilised people.

I weep.

In several essays l have written of the times l wept for Nigeria in my private moment and it is not a joke or make believe. Sometimes l had cleaned tear drops from my laptops.

If an x-ray can reveal a bleeding heart, the beam light should come to my chest.

Nigeria makes me sad.

Stories like those associated with the beheading of politicians and the massacres of citizens in River States are devastating to my health status.

I think about where civilisation has brought mankind and what Nigerians are doing to themselves. I’ll been insensitive and inhuman to hold back my tears.

Stories from the north are not news. The traumas of my childhood just became incurable as l wrote in a previous essay.

I don’t think that Boko Haram or terrorists (individuals or government) anywhere in the world represent the true species of humans. I long for a new biological classification of the animal kingdom. The world needs a new Carl Linnaeus.

The fuel scarcity in Nigeria is still unbelievable. Nigeria is naturally endowed with this resource. I have no words to flog the curse of the black oil. Huge disappointment for the black race is an understatement.

Power supply does not trip off in many countries around the world. Nigerians are undoubtedly among the smartest and most creative people under the sun.

Hence, it is hard to find an answer to the question: why do Nigerians have almost no electricity at all in the country?

Femi, my smart friend in Stockholm, gave an insight, it may be an answer.

He said that even if Nigeria decides to provide electricity on 100% supply mode, the infrastructures are not there to sustain it. O dear!

If that be the case, what about spending the next 2-3 years putting the infrastructure in place and constant power supply for ever more? Is that rocket science too?

I called this essay reflection and my intention was to make it short.

One can be hard on self if the issues and problems with Nigerians are taken too hard/harsh.

Whatever, it will always make me sad to see all the possibilities for growth, for development and for making Nigeria a paradise yet that the useless political class and the thieving ruling class have decided that the status quo shall be sustained.

I could definitely go on to reflect or complain. They want us to be tired of doing this. If we get tired, things might even get worse for the voiceless and the downtrodden in Nigeria.

I wish that good roads, good schools, good hospitals and modern infrastructures will be developed in every local government and every state in Nigeria.

I wish that as many people as possible will know and experience quality life style before they bid the world goodbye.

It is sad to see people who have lived all of their lives in extreme poverty whilst the country Nigeria has the potential to be the best place in the world.

The people paid severely for bad governance and mismanagement.

They are still paying and when restructuring the political system and realigning the country regionally or on true federalism are not even mentioned as probable solutions, there is little hope that we will change the lines of discussions soonest.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

What About Us?

When only few people are protecting the rights and interests of the common people, the cleavage in the society becomes deeper. We against them become instinctive and the survival of the fittest mode of existence becomes even more brutal.

What About Us?

Adeola Aderounmu

DSC_1136

In an earlier essay All They Ever Wanted written in July 2012, l explained what the common Nigerian people hoped for.

I stated that the common people will always be there and all they will ever want is the good life.

In today’s Nigeria the ordinary people are fading out of the picture.

The good life in Nigeria today is measured by wealth only. It is a very sad situation.

You have to actually be a very rich person to get some (not even all) of the basic things of life. Most of them you provide for yourself- water, electricity, quality education and so on.

Name it!

In extreme cases, you’ll build or fix some of the roads that lead to your home using your hard-earned income or labour.

There are evidence that point to the quick disappearance of the middle class in Nigeria.

I don’t know if it is a good or mixed news that middle class is also fading away from places like the United States where poverty is also rife.

Globally, the statistics released recently are scary.

What has worsened the plight of the common people in Nigeria is not just the near absence of the basic things of life, but also that very few people are speaking on their behalves.

When we speak or write, we get shut down by those who think they are doing well and that life is a competition rather than an experience.

The advent of the social media, just like the discovery of oil in Nigeria, may become a curse for the common people in Nigeria.

If caution is not taken, the social media will be dominated by mainly heartless souls who probably rake in millions of Naira monthly to represent their paymasters in good light whereas the true plights of the masses are akin to crimes against humanity.

When the hijackers have not been the E-rats, they have been the lucky ones who now belong to the new definition of the Nigerian middle class-at least in their own opinions.

For, the gap between the have and the have-nots and the differences between comfort and the tragedy of poverty in Nigeria are profound.

Last week l stated that the people need to know the difference between civil responsibilities/patriotism and taking sides with the government.

Government have obligations, and not favours to the people and the country. Government should not be praised, but checked.

When only few people are protecting the rights and interests of the common people, the cleavage in the society becomes deeper. We against them become instinctive and the survival of the fittest mode of existence becomes even more brutal.

Worse still, when the people continue to think that their hopes lie in prayers rather than actions and forceful demands; the social disorder appears to be irreversible.

Several factors have contributed to the establishment of Nigeria as a flashy, but failed country.

All the monies that have been looted in Nigeria since time immemorial are enough to make every household in Nigeria a potential multimillionaire family.

Even 500 million dollars returned to Nigeria should have a profound impact on us, the people. It should. But we don’t feel it.

Rather, tax for common things like bank deposits have crept into our existence. What have they done with the taxes for more than 55 years?

But money alone is not the true measure of a good life.

People actually want to work so they can earn decent livings.  People will like to see trust and commitment of government to the common good.

Think about the entire infrastructure that could have been erected.

Think about the jobs that could have been created. Think about the health sector, education, road, environmental policies, power supply and many more things that the government owed the people.

What about the manufacturing industry?

Just think about it.

Please think about it next time you compare what your kinsmen have stolen with what the others have stolen. Why would anyone calibrate crimes against humanity?

Think about it next time you think that those in government today are not as criminally minded as those before them. Did they not participate in the common rape of our common wealth since 1999?

Since 1960?

Where do you want to start from and where do you want to end just to realise that we the ordinary people are out of the equation?

Is it the environmentally-damaged South or the terrorist-infected North?

Think about your foolishness in defending any form of looting or criminality in government.

Think about the consequences of the unity of the Nigerian politicians and military gangsters in misruling Nigeria because of their personal gains/ambitions.

When you speak for them or when you stand on the same side with them it cannot be that you don’t know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

Why are you not on the same side with us, the people?

Why are you right? What makes the rest of us wailers?

I am a common Nigeria. So, what about us?

We put our hope in the Nigerian government in terms of providing better life for us after independence in 1960.

What about us?

Who is going to fight for us now that the value of the dollar has been taken to the sky? Who is going to fight for us when the prices of petrol and gas at the stations are beyond us.

Who will talk for us when we are all called wailing wailers because we have different points of view to your pay masters or families in government?

Is it just enough that you are doing well?

Did you think that we are on planet earth for a race or some sort of competition on who fares better?

What about us?

Our dreams? Our future?

Our aspirations?

What about the place of our ancestors, our homes?

What about our children?

What about us?

aderounmu@gmail.com