President Buhari’s Festac In Governor Ambode’s Lagos

By Adeola Aderounmu

(Images By Abiodun Popoola)

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402 Road by 4th Avenue, Festac Town. 

In the month of June 2016, I visited Nigeria. One of the most disgusting views in Lagos where l was resident was in Festac Town, the estate that everyone acknowledged had lost his glory.

In general l was appalled by the state of infrastructure in Festac Town.

It is hard to believe that Festac Town is home to the headquarters of  Amuwo Odofin Local Government. It is hard to believe that there are politicians in Festac Town. It is hard to believe that there is a state governor in Lagos State.

A lot of things are rotting away and Festac Town that used to be the pride of Nigeria and Africa is now a desolate, rotten town.

In truth l dedicated a page on my blog to the lost glory of Festac Town. The original glory of Festac Town may never be regained. Still it does not mean that the things that could still be fixed should be left undone.

 

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402 Road, Festac Town

Recently l wrote an article about the problem of sewage in Festac Town and the significance of the problem as a form of biological weapon against the people of Festac Town.

The article titled Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!  was published on July 25, 2016 both on the Nigeria Village Square and on my blog.

To ensure that the problem gains the attention it needed, l wrote the same article in the National Mirror Newspaper. It appeared on the back page on August 16 2016 under the banner Addressing Festac Town’s sewage menace.

Despite all the awareness that has been brought to the matter, it appears that the government (local, state and federal) did not get the message. A friend of mine visited Festac Town this November and the images that he brought back shows that no effort has been made to solve the problem.

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4th Avenue, By 402 Road

Let me restate that we will continue to highlight this problem for as long as it exists. In as much as we all agree that Festac Town is a federal government estate, we must also never forget that it is situated in Lagos State and there is a governor and there is a local government chairman.

Invariably, the sewage system is bad in many areas in Festac Town. The worst hit area is 402 Road. The residents are flushing their toilets directly to the streets because there are permanent blockages to the original paths created for the flow to flow away.

The residents of 402 Road in Festac Town are breathing unsafe air, they are walking on sewage water/mud to get into their various apartments. The health impacts are huge and children are vulnerable.

The governor of Lagos State is responsible for the welfare of the residents anywhere in Lagos. That insinuation and argument that Festac Town is a federal estate does not hold water. The governor needs to initiate the contact with the appropriate authority and call them out to action.

 

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402 Road, Market Place and Residential Area

Governor Ambode and the people running Lagos must know that Lagos is not Victoria Island and Ikoyi only. They need to look at other places and stop paying lip-service and eye-service to issues concerning maintenance and development.

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402 Road, Festac Town

Photograph/Images By Abiodun Popoola.

 

Footnotes

Again, l repeat that it is possible for the governor of Lagos State to look at this problem and instruct the appropriate authority (federal, state or local) to act.

As it sems right now, the people of Festac are in a dilemma. FHA is not going to come down to make their environment germ free. The Governor does not care if they die of diseases.

As l have stated before, l will continue to write about this particular problem for as long as it exists. I pray for the grace to keep reminding the rulers and conquerors of Nigeria of their negligences and lack of committment to the people and country.

This problem is a struggle and we will keep reminding the conquerors of Lagos/Nigeria that they must serve the people.

 

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Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the illegally built houses and structures that have been used to block the underground sewage channels in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

Governor  Akinwunmi Ambode, Please Clear This Biological Weapon!

By Adeola Aderounmu (Sweden)

One of the most disgusting views in Lagos State is embedded in my local government area. On 4th Avenue, 402 Road in Festac Town is a deep river of sewage flowing like the River Nile.

The sewage accumulating and flowing on the streets is a source of death and therefore represents a biological warfare against the people of 402 Road in Festac Town. Is the Lagos state government or the federal government of Nigeria at war with the people?

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There are a number of theories on why faeces that are flushed from the toilets in this area of Festac now flows directly to the streets on which the people live.

No one can doubt that the plans for Festac Town were destroyed by the Federal Housing Authority when lands reserved for recreations and natural conservation were sold to some useless Nigerian millionaires by some useless government workers on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria.

The consequences and results of the deviation from the original, functional plans of Festac are what we are facing today. There are rivers of sewage scattered around in the estate. In addition, the estate is now over-congested and bastardly disorganised.

Once the pride of Africa, Festac town is now an area filled with shame and filth.

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The sad reality is that it is not only in Festac Town that the citizens of Nigeria sleep and wake up surrounded by sewage. But l’m staying with the Festac problem as that is my constituency.

 

The end of festac

[To watch the video, visit my Youtube channel-Adeola Aderounmu, or my facebook https://www.facebook.com/adeola ]

 

The most obvious danger ahead of the people of 402 Road is that an epidemic is imminent. That is if one is not already in progress because the people have been surrounded by this flowing sewage for several years.

I wish a student from a Department Medical Parasitology of the University of Lagos can understake a medical research project on 402 Road/4th Avenue area of Festac Town. The results will be useful in understanding the statuses of the health of the people in the area.

The probability that the inhabitants of this area are suffering from ill-health and infections like typhoid as a result of this crime committed by government, is high.

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One cannot rule out deaths related to this polluted and heavily stinking environment. Children and the elderly would have been particularlty susceptible.

If the useless government workers who sold land to the useless Nigerian millionaires had not sold the land area adjacent to, and surrounding the 402 Road area, the flow of sewage would not have been disrupted.

The greatest fear is that this river of sewage could be an accumulation of all the faeces flowing from the entire Festac Town estate. My hypothesis is based on my knowledge of the area.

There is a playground nearby which also houses the facility for recyling sewage waste from the estate.

It is the only place in Festac where l have seen the facility. When we played football those days, our football used to fall inside the facility. So we had some catchers whose job was to save the ball from falling into the sewage recycle facility.

I have not fully investigated if the recycling center is functional now but l saw that the area was inaccessible. Why would anyone make a fence around the center? Has someone bought and refilled the sewage recycle facility?

Faecal wastes and sewage are not flowing away from residential areas because the federal government of Nigeria sold the areas/lands where the sewage systems have been chanelled underground.

The foolish people and the useless millionaires who bought the land sealed off the sewage channels.

The challenge before President Buhari and Governor Ambode is to order the immediate demolition of the houses that have been built and used to block the underground sewage channel in Festac Town. That is the only and final solution.

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4th Avenue by 402 Road, Festac Town                  

There are a lot of messes in Festac Town that are now irreversible. But this particular one is reversible no matter how long the houses have stood. They are illegal structures. If those who sold the land on behalf of the federal government can be found alive, they should be rounded up and prosecuted.

There is a report that one colonel in the Nigerian army actually contributed to this problem. Like many people living on the sewage system and blocking the channels, he is alleged to have applied ”cement” on his side of the channels. That was his own permanent solution to the problem. The implication is that for all he cares ”all the people on 402 road can die of diseases”.

On this matter it is very important that the Lagos state government and the federal government do not apply the Nigerian solution. That would be the sucking away of the river of sewage with the full knowledge that the river will overflow again. We don’t want that!

Nigerians are in love with temporary solutions. They love cosmetic solutions. This is because they want the problem to persist so that someone or a contractor can always make money from the contracts of temporary solutions.

Have you ever wondered why Nigerian roads for example are never going to be of international standard? Go figure now.

Anyway, as for this river of sewage in Festac Town, no one should expect that this is the last time they will be reading about this especially if the state and federal government continue to pretend as if this problem does not exist.

This is now one of my struggles.

My intention is to inform the governor of Lagos State and in fact Mr. Buhari the president of Nigeria, about this danger and for them to act without any delay. There is no need for more paper work or talking on this matter. They should get up from their comfort zones and clear this nonsense.

We are citizens of Nigeria and they owe us this responsibility-to clean our environment. The government should stop killing us with biological weapons!

The people living in this area of Festac Town and people visiting them are exposed to diseases that could end their lives prematurely. They can all die of diseases because of the river of sewage. Invariably the government has been at a biological warfare with the people.

Again, if nothing is done soon, l will be reminding governor Akinwunmi Ambode of this problem. If the tenures of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode as Lagos state governor and Mr. Buhari as the president of Nigeria do not succeed in demolishing the houses that are blocking the flow of sewage out of Festac, we will carry the struggle to their respective successors.

Our people must not be left to die of diseases because of the carelessness of goverment workers-those who sold lands that are meant to be reserved and preserved.

It is obvious that the residents have done their best and got tired of writing letters of appeals to the local and state government. I can imagine hundreds of letters to the local government. I can just imagine thousands of letters to the Federal Housing Authority. I can imagine some whispers into the ears of former Governor Fashola about this problem.

My columns and my blog pages will not rest until this matter is solved.  We will remind the state and the federal  government about their wickedness and heartlessness.

How can any government allow her people to live under this condition for even 1 day out of life?

It is unacceptable and as a matter of fact, those who knew about this problem before now and refused to act have committed crimes against humanity.

By international standard, allowing people to die unjustly in the absence/presence of war is a criminal offence and that angle will also be pursued in due time.

I am sure that with time, we will find out those who knew about this problem and did nothing.

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                       402 Road, A Close, Festac Town                            

We are talking about the living conditions of humans here.

I am actually surprise that the people of 402 Road have not made a decision to close down the local govenrment through massive protests. They are faced with a biological warfare and in ignorance have chosen to die because they got tired of writing letters of appeal.

I hope they will find the courage one day to lock down the Amuwo Odofin Local Government so that the sole administrator or the chairman can report to the governor who should tackle the problem head-on or call on the Federal Minsitry of Works and Housing to remove all obstructions in the way of sewage flow in Festac.

We must combine all our efforts and unite in order to rescue ourselves from maladministration.

The people everywhere must move away from the era of writing letters of appeal to actually carrying out demonstrations that will shut down their local councils or even the state government if necessary.

The problems and challenges facing Nigeria are many but we must tarry and remain united in the fight for the good of all.

Evil will continue to rise in the land when all the good people remain silent

Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, please go and clear Festac Town of the lingering biological warfare.

Mr. Mohammadu Buhari, please go and clear the messes left by the federal workers who planted biological warfare in Festac Town.

I stand with the people of 402 Road.

#Istandwith402road

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

 

[Story and All Images by Adeola Aderounmu]

Postcards From Legoland, Denmark

LEGOLAND, Denmark

LEGOLAND, Denmark

By Adeola Aderounmu

Happiness is one of the most important things in life.

When I set out on this holiday trip with my family, I knew my next article would be written in Denmark and I would like to find some inspirations, taking the time off my holiday mood and punching my keyboards. I write from Lanladia-Legoland.

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Lanladia is a small settlement in Billund which is about 265 km from Copenhagen. We took a long road trip all the way from Stockholm. That was the plan.

Before we left Sweden we made quite a number of stops on our way. We spent the first night at a small town called Vetlanda in Småland, in the heart of Sweden. Actually we visited a friend of my wife and her family and spent the night at their country home. It’s situated on a farm area. The children had fun with the kittens and the cows on the farm.

Vetlnda Farm House

Vetlnda Farm House

We also saw a friend of mine Olutayo Adegoke before we arrived at the farm house. It was an impromptu stopover but he was glad to take a short break from his work as we had lunch in a park near his office just outside Nörrköping. It was almost incredible when Tayo told me he would be travelling to Nigeria that night. What a stop we made!

Adeola Aderounmu and Tayo Adegoke

Adeola Aderounmu and Tayo Adegoke

The next day our first stop was Avesta, also a small town in the South of Sweden. There lives Kelechi Udeh, a youg man I knew from Festac Town. We had lunch again in the open and near a car park at the center of the small town. We mingled with Kelechi for about 45 minutes and off we drove. He told me he is very happy to be settled in Avesta and I was marvelled how a Festac Town found happiness in a small town. Variety will remain the spice of life. It will always be in order to bloom where one has been planted.

With Kelechi Udeh in Avesta

With Kelechi Udeh in Avesta

We reached Malmö in the early evening. Tolu Taylor agreed to host us for dinner. We were not going to say no. Tolu, a big brother, was my senior at Festac Grammar School. Adeolu Sunmola who was my junior and my student at the same school joined us. Onyebuchi Echigeme completed the mini reuniuon of the Festac Boys in Malmö when he later joined us for dinner at Tolu’s house. Indeed, Festac Town and the people from Festac are always close to my heart.

With Tolu Taylor and Adeola Sunmola in Malmö City

With Tolu Taylor and Adeolu Sunmola in Malmö City

We spent the night in Malmö and drove off to Denmark the next morning. We left home in Sweden on Tuesday morning and arrived Legoland in Denmark on Thursday shortly after lunch. We have driven close to 1000 km without encountering a single pot hole. I called European (E) roads paradise roads.

with Onyebuchi Echigeme

with Onyebuchi Echigeme

When this essay goes to publication we will probably be on a homeward journey. If our plans work fine, we will make surprise stops at Gothenburg and Örebro to vist more of my friends and incredibly it’s all about the Festac Town connections. They were built connections built from 1977 to 2002. They will last for life. In Copenhagen, we will be lucky if Mary Owolabi is home when we make our journey out of Denmark. She spoke of other plans, but we’ll see what happens.

The children are having a blast. I read one day ago that Denmark is now the home of the happiest people on earth. It’s a good thing to be here when it happened. LEGOs are made or born in Denmark and it is a good experience for the children to see where some of their toys come from and how they come to life in Billund, Denmark. They are old enough never to forget the experience. The adventures have been awesome.

What will be hard for them to know is my heart felt wish or desire for the country where I was born. Unfortunately our experiences together in Nigeria in 2010 were mostly unpleasant. We spent 2½ hours at MMIA before our luggage were complete in our care, ran on generators for 2 weeks, nearly suffocated in heavy and static traffic, had limitations to where we could go and things we could do. The best thing about Nigeria was the warmth of our families and friends.

I have read the news, followed my twitter stream and stayed in touch with global events. I have read so many conspiracy theories on the Malaysia Airline plane that crashed in Ukraine. There are always more sad news than good news or maybe the good things are not always newsworthy. I am mostly worried about the things that are going on in Nigeria, a paradise lost.

Yea, Malala came to town. She was in Abuja to press for the release of the Chibok girls. Then the “bringbackourgirls” campaign group entered a one chance roforofo fight with the corrupt Nigerian presidency. Mr. Jonathan was at the fore front of a “fight” for once in a lazy presidential life time. I learnt he was bitter when he was refused the chance of meeting the Chibok parents.

I know there was an allegation of a missing $20 bn from a government that is now trying to borrow $1bn to fight Boko Haram. Who are the clowns in Aso rock? Everyday several billions of dollars are lost to oil theft only in Nigeria. Everyday too, Nigerian politicians loot several billion of dollars in the executive, legislature, state governments and local governments. That’s the way to explain their sudden riches and capabilities to buy up anything including the former tallest building in Lagos/Africa. They can buy customized private jets anytime they want. How much do they earn legitimately?

The government that steals so much money should be ashamed to even ask for the least borrow-able amount from any creditor. The same government is paying huge sums annually to foreign PR firms and lobbyists to help it repair its battered image and to label Nigerians in such ways as to promote the corrupt government. Only dubious creditors will be willingly to lend money to government that is supposed to be richer than it-the creditor. They call it business when they do.

There is no greater PR than eradicating corruption and serving the people rather than selves. The extremely low level of mentalities of the Nigerian politician leaves one in awe and shock. From the view of the rest of the informed world, it is mockery and easily set Nigeria among the countries ruled by nonentities. The classification, “among the most corrupt” is too easy.

There is at present a wave and fear of impeachment going on in Nigeria only in APC controlled states or in states where a governor brought a PDP-stolen mandate to the APC fold. My bigger expectation is for the Nigerian revolution that will totally impeach, sack and sweep altogether what is probably the most corrupt government in the world with headquarters in Aso Rock, Abuja.

Unless such happens, several million Nigerians will never experience the real meaning and essence of life. The witch-hunting and cosmetic approaches of politicians against politicians who are themselves the major problem with Nigeria are not close to the cleansing solution that Nigeria and Nigerians need. The Promised Land is getting farther.

I knew since 2011 that governance is on a long recess in Nigeria. The trend is common and predictable. Once an election period is over and the new captors of Nigeria settle down to amass, steal, loot and drain the treasuries, the struggle that will sustain or produce the next conquerors of Nigeria quickly goes into motion.

In the last three years, such a condemnable trend has produced the largest number of political prostitutes ever in Nigeria’s history. It is part of the reasons the wave of impeachment became the strongest weapon today, for rather than service to the people and fulfilment of electoral promises it was business as usual and psycho-egocentrism peculiar to the Nigerian political class. It is therefore too easy to line up impeachable offences against those on the other side of the power divide.

Nigeria’s politics is driven by insatiable lust for money and the highest bidders always buy the consciences of the ever-hungry looters called politicians (and sadly the populace too). In all, they are all birds of the same feather and 99.9% of them from Aso rock to Badagry and Sambisa local government areas ought to be spending time in jails by now. But we know that the institutions are dead in Nigeria, the worst hit being the powerless police and the strikingly corrupt judiciary.

The in-thing in Nigeria today is rice politics and stomach infrastructure. Nigerians have short memories and those who are old enough have learnt nothing from history. Even as a boy in primary school I was aware of the consequences of the politics of stomach infrastructure championed by one Shehu Shagari in the late 70s slash early 80s. The NPN was a short-sighted political group that distributed rice, clothes and even apartments to members to ensure that they rig and won the elections back in the days. The rest is history.

That history that includes the extensive reign of tyranny and dictators is what Nigerians have not learnt from. That the PDP, APC or any other party can distribute rice directly or through criminal sponsors is an indication that Lagbaja’s theory of 200 million mumus is a fact. I am short of words or expressions. The situation is not normal; Nigerians are caged, mentally and psychologically!

No matter where I go, no matter what I do. I will always argue for and on behalf of more than 90m Nigerians suffering in silence, disconnected totally from governance and having no idea of the meaning of life, how much more the good life in this temporary passage called earth or world.

I will always argue for social justice, the common good, and a clear understanding of the meaning and essence of life which is not far from the principle of live and let live. I know that illiteracy and total ignorance play huge roles in some parts of the country. I know that the North is a catastrophe based on narrations of friends who went up North.

What I saw in rural Oyo State during my service year in 1995/96 broke my heart. I saw very young and immature people having more children than the number of meals they can have daily. Even most of the adults have no clear scope of what types of life they were living. There is a lot of work to be done across the nations within Nigeria eventually. Education is a top priority now and in the future no matter what becomes of Nigeria or the regions enclosed within it.

My hope for Nigeria and the nations within it is that they will rise again and be on the path they were on the eve of October 1st 1960. The hope includes the rise of functional regional institutions that will usher or return good governance politically, economically and socially. Security of life and property through functional regional security is not the least of priority in a terrorist infected geographical space.

Nigerians are broken almost beyond repair and they need more than a miracle. Nothing short of a revolutionary ideology can save the day, nothing! It must be possible to wipe away corruption, nepotism, tribalism, looting and anything at all that stands in the way of the common happiness. There must be a way forward to build trust and comfort.

Happiness is all that matters in life. The excessive wealth piled up by Nigerian politicians is a reflection of their ill mental statuses, insensitivity to the plights of the deprived and an absolute lack of the understanding of the meaning and essence of life.

There must be a way to knock some senses into the politicians and public office holders that in a transient world, the senseless accumulation of wealth through direct stealing or looting is barbaric, meaningless and inconsistent with expectations of public services directed at humanity. If it takes a revolution of ideology or the over anticipated Saharan revolution, so be it. Silence on the part of a people being oppressed and misruled is not golden.

“Postcards from Denmark” is dedicated to:

1. A friend, Gbenga Akinbisehin (1973- July 16 2014). I heard about your death as a checked in at Malmö, you left too soon, too sudden. You’ll be missed.

2. Every non-corrupt Nigerian working genuinely hard everyday and never having the right to holidays. Your freedom will come.

aderounmu@gmail.com

My Nigerianness Has Expired

By Adeola Aderounmu

One day in December 2006, I sat in my car for more than 4 hours at a gas station in Festac Town, Lagos. We had queued up for petrol because the commodity had been scarce for some time. That morning when I arrived at the gas station at about 6 a.m, I thought I was going to be one of the first people at the station but to my chagrin surprise it appeared that some people slept over at the gas station.

Adeola Aderounmu 2008_2

As I waited and drove at snail speed to the nozzle where all the attention was, I saw how people struggled and fought to procure a commodity that is flowing freely right underneath their feet. For the first time in my life, I cried out loud, profusely with lots of tears flowing from my eyes. I was alone. There was no chance of consolation and my emotions burst without any hindrance. I had returned 2 weeks earlier from a place where I just drive to an unmanned gas station, fill my tank and drive away in no time. MyNigerianness had expired.

One day I wrote to a friend discussing about my paternal leave in 2007. He was shocked as I explained the process to him and that the plan was to be at home with my daughter who was one at the time. In 2011 I repeated the process taking care of our second child. In this piece titled- An argument for parental Leave,http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/adeola-aderounmu/an-argument-for-parental-leave-13.html, published here in the village square and in the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper I shared the experiences and the benefits of parental leave. But I know how far Nigeria and Nigerians are from such idealism. I know that my Nigeriannesss had expired.

When I’d talked to some people at home and abroad about picking up my children from school and making them dinner, I know the type of scorn and other types of reactions that people show (or sometimes fail to show). But if you grew up with my mother of blessed memory, it was imperative that you could cook. It was our next line of training after high school to take over the kitchen tasks while waiting for admission to the University.

During our younger years, we were required to be at home when the food was made so that we can participate in the consumption. If you were away, your reasons must be genuine and understandable. Unfortunately this family value given to boys and the ability to use it at home in the presence of the female members of the family is not generalised in Nigeria. Things fell apart many years ago and some misunderstanding of cultural values tangled with ego and ignorance.

There was one man I’d met regularly in Stockholm in the early 2000s. He was always late to our meetings and there was always one reason or the other while he came late. My replies were blunt; I always told him that I didn’t believe him. His problem was that he did not know how to shed the African time syndrome. I don’t meet this man again. He had since found his way back to Ibadan.

There are other things that remind me of the African time syndrome. One day I was invited to an event that was slated to start at 5pm. By 7pm, they had not even finished preparing the venue, so I left and when I got home I was able to see one of the football games for the evening. About a week later I heard from other people at another event that the New Yam Festival event went on to start around midnight! I was glad for the call I made-to return home before the evening burnt out. My Nigerianness had expired!

Last summer (2013) I started using my bicycle more often. I biked to the train station and then join the communal transport. When I arrived at work, I would have been on the bicycle, the train and the bus. I thought it would be over by the end of summer. No, it didn’t! I went on to bike to the train station over the autumn and then winter. Around 2008, I’d found the idea of people changing the tyres of their bicycle to winter tyres ridiculous but that was just what I did in December 2013 as winter sets in. My Nigerianness is over!

If someone had shown me this vision in 2001 or even in 2005, I would have laughed. Now I know that myNigerianness had totally expired. I no longer see the egoistic statuses that we went about dissipating when I was living in Nigeria. I know I’m never going to be able to give up that Nigerian sense of fashion and beauty. But for cars, they don’t mean the same thing to me as they did in 2001.

In another essay from July 2007 I’d asked a question: Who Planned Our Lives In Nigeria? Life can be easy or easier if we judge it by the simple things that have self-fulfilling effects.  Life can be more meaningful if we don’t live above our incomes and if we stop setting standards just to meet other people’s expectations or their fantasies.

Life is more worth living if we live gracefully. My hope for Nigeria is that the time will come when the majority of the people will stop struggling just to survive but rather that they are presented with the fair opportunities to let them reach their potentials and accomplish happiness built on contentment and selflessness. That time will be freedom time, a freedom that will be fought for.

I’m feeling that my hopes mean that the possibility of reviving my Nigerianness may have been lost forever.

aderounmu@gmail.com