Traumatized Libya

By all means and at all cost, the slave traders of Libya must be found, arrested and prosecuted. Justice must prevail or this will happen again.

Traumatized Libya

By Adeola Aderounmu

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Libyans are today presenting an image that shows that some of them are the most useless humans on earth in 2017. No other country in the world can compete with Libya as the domain of some of the most complete fools, idiots and silly asses that the wold knows today.

The reason for these qualities are not far fetched.

Some Libyans took advantage of the economic migrants in their domain and sold them as slaves. The internet is awashed with the gruesome images and videos of how Africans are sold as slaves in Libya. It was CNN that probably first reported the news.

It sounded as if Libya is not in Africa. Actually that is one issue that still needs to be addressed. How do North Africans view themselves? I have seen some football matches where North African footballers behave unruly to players and officials from sub-Saharan Africa. I get the impression that they think that they are superior to the rest of us. Foolish thinking!

Libyans are traumatized. They are a people so foolish they killed their former ruler. I am sure they never expected that their lives will be turned upside down as it is today.

How could they be so foolish and ignorant of what was to follow the assassination of their ruler? They stupidly connived with the west and eliminated Gadhaffi.

Since then, their lives have been in turmoil and there has been complate breakdown of law and order.

It is really sad that this is the route that our brothers and sisters from sub-Saharan Africa choose in their quests to reach Europé.

Definitely one cannot exonerate the stupid rulers in sub-Saharan Africa. In general, there is failure of leadership in Africa.

Africans, south of the Equator is a place where men and women ought to be living like Kings, Princes and Queens. This is a part of the world that is blessed with abundant resources and human talents.

Sadly the rulers and politicians in that part of the world are totally crazy. They are the ones who are misruling their people and forcing them to become economic migrants. It is the misrule in sub-Saharan Africa that is serving as the source of the men and women sold as slaves in Libya.

The rulers of sub-Saharan Africa need to borrow themselves some senses and start to rethink how they govern their people. They cannot govern their people and threat them like slaves and expect miracles to happen in Libya or even Europé. They have to stop stealing money at some point and start to think about the people and not themselves!

For now the criminals who sold people as slaves in Libya need to be apprehended and served some very long prison terms. By all means and at all cost, they must be found, arrested and prosecuted. Justice must prevail or this will happen again.

The governments all around Africa must begin to rethink governance and meeting the needs of the people in their individual countries and allowing treaties that ensure that human rights are not violated across borders. Those slave-dealers of Libya must be used as examples of the importance of the laws in Africa and globally.

For all the errors of judgment that led to the elimination of Gadhaffi and the lawlessness that now pervade in Libya, the world must wake up and the world must ask for the rebuilding of Libya. Libyans are traumatized and they are transferring their traumas and aggressions to dark-skinned Africans. They do not have the permission or right to do so. Again, those who have committed these crimes must be made to face the music squarely.

The rest of Libya deserve our sympathy. Together, they are all not feeling fine. The behaviour that emerged amongst them, though criminal, must also be deep rooted through psychological rebuilding. The people of Libya may be crazy. Definitely they are inhuman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shame:Nigeria’s New Slave Identity in 2017

From now on, will the government of Nigeria be sending all sick citizens to London for treatment?

 

Nigeria’s New Slave Identity in 2017

By Adeola Aderounmu

Nigerians need to be enraged. Their key politicians are causing a global stir.

In week 7 of 2017, major political rulers in Nigeria gathered in London in what appears to be a re-enactment of both physical and mental slavery.

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We are told that this shameful gathering took place in London. The build up to the gathering started about 4 weeks ago.

Nigeria’s president Mohammadu Buhari left Nigeria to seek medical attention in London.

That action itself is a scandal in several ways. First this man became president promising change from what other politicians and tyrants like him have done in the past. He said he would not be travelling abroad to waste Nigeria’s monies. Sadly, that is exactly what he did when he left Nigeria as a medical tourist in January 2017.

Secondly, if Nigeria is really a sovereign country, the president should not be lying down sick in another country. And for vacation, he could have chosen his hometown as a leader who can lead by good examples.

What he has done is the ultimate betrayal any ruler or leader can show to the followers. For example, where should the people go to when they are sick? Who should they turn to in their time of despair?

From now on, will the government of Nigeria be sending all sick citizens to London for treatment?

In my opinion, l will never be able to align with any line of justification for the neglect of more than 150 m people whilst the rulers can jostle out in the blink of an eye to seek medical services and vacation in other climes.

What if London has been managed the same way these reckless, soulless rulers have managed Nigeria?

People who have clear and clean consciences will stick with their folks through thick and thin. Rulers and leaders who have the interests of their people in their minds would provide services that they and the people can enjoy together.

So when you look at this picture and see Nigeria’s first citizen entertaining the third  and fourth citizens in London, you should be ashame to be a Nigerian. You have no soul if this makes you proud or happy. If you are indifferent, you are wicked!

You must not forget that between them, all 3 have a combined stolen wealth that can turn Africa to a paradise. Yes, Africa, not Nigeria.

You must not forget how millions of dollars have disappeared under the watches of these men. You need to go back in time and calculate the monies that have disappeared under the watch of Mr. Buhari from as far back as 1977.

You need to study the family Saraki and the way that family name has contributed to economic ruins, recession and depression in Nigeria. For the sins of the father are the sins of the son. Then when the sins of the son multiply under a new dispensation, you also wonder what kind of people live in Nigeria allowing criminals to run the politics. Protests and actions ought to be vicious and decisive resulting in the total removal of criminals from public offices. The judiciary is a pure sham.

Then you have a man whom the president loved so much that even when the man said he is a criminal, the president said he is not. The change that Nigerians thought would come was just a status quo as Mr. Dogara, also a former PDP stalwart became the master of those overblowing Nigeria’s budget and siphoning them to private accounts.

As you read, budget padding in Nigeria is still a way of life. Nothing has changed. No one is able to control those padding the budget because they all benefit from it.

Nigerians are crying recession, the lawmakers are among the wealthiest people in the world. So l question myself, are we normal in Nigeria?

Things are done almost exactly the same way, so there is no end in sight for the problems, sadly.

I am just looking at the stupidity of this exercise, gathering in London.

You have to read my other blog essays to understand what we are dealing with here because thieves, criminals, looters are exposed everyday. No one is punished. This is remarkable but not surprising because they are spread from the presidency to the governors’ offices to the local government. The problem is hydra-headed and multi-faceted and seriously systemic. It affects almost all Nigerians and it is alarming!!!

The monies or loots that are even recovered become traceless in the national budget or wherever they vanish to.

The most sensible thing to do to show that monies are actually recovered is to dedicate them to projects that people can see and read on the walls. For example:

  • These houses are built with the monies recovered from Jezebel Diezani.
  • This road was constructed using the monies recovered from criminal and thief Ibori.
  • This hospital was built using the monies (that would be recovered hopefully) from Saraki, Dogara and Andrew.
  • This airport was renovated using the monies recovered from all past presidents and tyrants.

Hopefully one government (federal or state) will revive their health institution and save this country from the shame brought to it by this APC gang of shameless rulers. In the old western Nigerian, many people came from around the world to seek medical help in Western Nigeria.

No matter what we do in Nigeria, we may not get anywhere near the rest of the developed world if we don’t go back to the system of government that was glorious and prosperous.

The change won’t be easy and many gainers of the status quo won’t fancy it, but generations unborn will be thankful. Hopefully too, they will be civilized, less greedy and have functional judiciary. They will enjoy if we make the sacrifices.

It is the unitary system of government that has led us back to being slaves in in our country in 2017. It is the unitary system of government that made our rulers and suspected criminals to fly to London to worship at the feet of the Queen again.

No greater shame! No greater form of lose of human dignity! No greater fall for the black race than our rulers looking stupid, yet laughing in a white man’s world whilst several millions of our people are at home suffering and living hopelessness..!

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

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

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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

No Love Lost  

One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable

NO LOVE LOST

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Lucy lives in Zambezi, until now anyway. This is where she has known all of her life. She was born here and this is where she blooms. She is a very beautiful woman. Some people spoke about her and said maybe she is a goddess. There was an artist in the town and he was convinced the gods took their time to mould her. He meant to say that Lucy was made with perfection.

Ever since she was a little girl there has always been an admiration for her beauty and her personality. People generally agree with Lucy. In her neighbourhood almost everybody she met respected her.

When she left home for the City College at Mongu, she already knew that respect and admiration were not going to be substitutes for love. We all need someone or some people to love us. So when Lucy left college the emptiness in her life began to manifest. Still she continued to pull through with the admiration and respect that folks have towards her. When she is alone she often asks herself: who will satisfy my soul?  Respect is a wonderful quality but it is not love. Even admiration is not love.

Now a working class lady, Lucy almost gave up on love. It was not hard to find a job when she graduated from Zambezi University. She is a brilliant woman and with her kind of beauty, she can open any door. But when it comes to love and satisfaction for her soul, she seemed to be lost. No one knew this but her. She knew that she is not perfect like the artist had insinuated.

One day she was waiting at the bus station. Quite unpredictably the sky turned cloudy that morning and it started to rain heavily. As it rained, Lucy started to cry. The buses were not coming because of the heavy rain. But she was not crying because of the rain or the buses that were not coming. It turned out that the weather gave her a picture of her life. She thought that her life was cloudy inside. She was alone at the bus station, and then she cried even more.

This is not the first time Lucy cried. She has read a lot of novels and she had known about the travails of many characters in tragic literatures and even in some romantic books. She learnt to cry when she is sad because tears wash away sorrows, so she thought. Once she read a book where it was stated that the men who committed suicide are often those who refused to cry because they did not give in to their feelings and pains. When people cry, they feel refreshed and often that gives them the hope that they can carry on.

Lucy was so carried away in her thoughts she almost did not notice the car that had parked right in front of her at the station. Someone had stopped to her help get to work that morning. The man did not know that Lucy had been crying. He thought it had rained over her face. In addition it was too dark to make clear observations. The man recognised Lucy though and that was why he stopped to help her.

That weekend Lucy saw the man again as she took a walk down the street. Thank you Paul, you are kind, she said. It was nothing he replied. But on this occasion Paul noticed something unusual about Lucy. Are you alright he asked? Then Lucy looked at him and started to cry again.

Paul gave her a tissue and she wiped her tears. But Paul was shocked. Until that moment he was one of those who thought that Lucy could have anything she wished for in her life. Lucy did not speak about all of her emptiness but Paul knew from the short conversation they had that the vacuum in her life is enormous.  

Paul was almost thinking out loud. So people can be beautiful, they can have good jobs, they may be admired, well respected and still be sad. Indeed many people often ignore the roles of physical beauty and clothes in covering the darkness and emptiness inside the human body.

In Zambezi there is a man who cannot finish his expressions without the use of proverbs. Paul thought about the day the man had a conversation with him. He remembered one of his sentences: lizards are always lying on their bellies, so we don’t know which among them have stomach problems.

He gave Lucy a hug and they parted ways.

Over several months that followed, Paul was visiting Lucy. There was no attraction between them because Paul had a woman in his life. But with his company, Lucy felt better. They talked about many things, some memories of growing up and now working in this commercial town where the fourth largest river in Africa took its origin.

Lucy also met new friends through Paul. These after-work and weekend companions helped Lucy to forget some of her problems. They filled some gaps in her life. Some of the people who admire her are no longer at a distance.

When she remembered how an unexpected rain facilitated her meeting with Paul, she cherished the moment. Then she decided to buy a car so that she does not have to be at the mercy of another man from the town on another rainy day. She already knew how to drive.

Lucy is happy. She felt she had leaped out of a shell. It was definitely a step in the right direction when people not only admire her but showed her some love through conversations and doing things together. Some people she spoke to talked about their travels and adventures.

Lucy became inspired and she decided that she will also take to travelling. She had always had the opportunities to travel but she never took them. She felt that it was a lot of hassles but now that she had listened to the stories about Paris, Berlin, London and Stockholm, she got motivated.

However she promised herself that she will not travel far. She learnt in geography about the different places and seasons in Africa. I will see my world in Africa before I see the rest of the world she told herself. In her mind she also made a decision to find love and never to let it go.

Lucy spent some of her weekends in Harare and sometimes she is off to Johannesburg. She also travelled to Accra because of the gold at the coast in Ghana. Once she was covering her hair in Cairo. Now she has a handful of pictures, maps and souvenirs from the West, East, North and South of Africa in her study at home.

One day, Paul left a note for Lucy. He wanted to see her again. Lucy did not understand. She just came back from Cape Town where she went on holidays. Zambezi had been warm and she wanted some experience of winter from the bottom of Africa. Lucy is a woman in search of balance and fulfilment. She came home to Zambezi and found the note in her letter box.

Paul’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend had fallen apart. They did not get along as they had dreamt. They had a few problems and they both agreed on one thing only: to end the relationship. It was a sad occurrence but they both felt it was better to do it now rather than trying to make it work at all cost. They have no children yet. He is now 32 and she is 28, so they still have their lives ahead of them.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We all make mistakes and our passions can mislead us. One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. If people stop pretending, maybe they wouldn’t have to run away from their problems. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable.

Lucy met Paul at the coffee shop down the street. She was sorry to hear Paul’s sad story. Paul’s heart was obviously broken. But he cannot blame it on Lucy. Lucy did all she could not to be a distraction. They are close friends, true. Still there was neither attraction nor intimacy between them. Lucy was missing something in her life but her head was clear about what she wanted and desired.

In her mind, she knew that Paul is confused. He has just broken up with someone he had spent a substantial part of his life with. Lucy is quick to draw inspirations from books, stories and her own life. So she said, give it sometime maybe you will find someone new. Your heart will heal and you will go on with your life.

She continued: When I went to Johannesburg in February, I met Vincent. I like him a lot. He adores me. He respects me, but above all he loves me and I love him too. We spent the last two weeks together in Cape Town and he’s planning to find a job in Harare. Apparently 7 months after their first meeting Lucy and Vincent have concluded plans to move to Harare as expatriates.

Paul is not a novice. He too had always known that people must learn to pass through their own troubles, their travails. They must learn to conquer their fears. They may need some time and a little help but they must learn.

The best way to learn is through real experiences.

Goodbye Paul. I must go now. Take care of yourself and we’ll see sometime.

Paul was close to tears but Lucy showed no emotion whatsoever.   

She gave him a tight hug and left.

aderounmu@gmail.com

(c) Adeola Aderounmu 2014

 

 

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.

DSC_0999

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

FAAN Or NAHCO: Who Employed The Criminals Pilfering At MMA?

By Adeola Aderounmu

The theft of valuable and cherished personal belongings from the baggage of passengers arriving at the Murtala International Airport is a big deal.

It is time to call out the management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the directors and management at Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc to answer questions on why travellers’ items continue to grow wings on a daily basis when they arrive at the International Airport, Ikeja.

Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos

Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos

One anonymous Mr. Lagbaja spoke on behalf of NAHCO when Premium Times made enquiries about the pilfering of baggage at Lagos airport. His comment was typical: no passenger had come forward to report the matter to NAHCO!

OK! We are doing so now. I am making a report on behalf of thousands of people who have complained about these criminal activities over the past decade.

The truth of the matter is that there are criminals working at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA) and they are responsible for the theft of items from travellers’ bags daily.

Arik airlines spokesman Ola Adebanji said that missing items from aircraft was commonplace worldwide citing instances from the US. I think it would have been better for this man to keep quiet rather than exposing his ignorance on public relation management.

Then the NAHCO employee continued, our Mr. Lagbaja said that if such incident occurred, the passenger had the right to report the matter to the airline he or she used for the trip. “We advise the victim to formally report the incident either to the airline or the Consumer Protection Unit of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority at the airport”.

Why don’t people report the theft of their personal belongings that occurred before the baggage hits the conveyor belt? The answer is too simple. People don’t believe that reporting the thefts will bring back their belongings. Almost every traveller knows that it is no-brainer to tackle FAAN or NAHCO workers at the Airport on missing items.

The question and answer sessions that will go along with the reporting which may include making a police report can cause a fragile traveller to develop a heart attack. So, indeed nobody will be willing to make any report. No one has the time to drag issues with airport authority on missing items. It is different when the suitcases or baggage do not arrive. Then it’s normal to take up such cases with the concerned airline.

FAAN

FAAN

Somebody or some people at MMA, FAAN or NAHCO should be getting sacked if the seriousness of the matter is to be handled appropriately. The undeniable fact is that criminals open the baggage of travellers and they pick out items that now include hand-held computer tablets. These disgraceful acts take place usually between landing and when the bags hit the conveyor belts.

Some of my friends who visited Nigeria recently (this year 2014) had tales of woes to tell about the items that were stolen from their baggage. I am not talking about one person only; I am talking about a group of people whose items were ransacked between landing and the conveyor belts. Gifts bought for friends, family and even children went missing.

This week, I read how several passengers are also lamenting about their missing shoes, bags, gift items and other accessories that they thought should be saved in their travelling bags. The report was in the Premium Times of June 16 2014. How did criminals get on the employment services at such a sensitive place as the International Airport?

There are so many investigations that need to be done regarding these persistent criminal activities. For example, what is the connection between the length of time it takes for the baggage to hit the conveyor belt and the numbers of items/ goods stolen?

Are the long delays in delivering the baggage to the conveyor belts connected to the fact that these men and women who are off loading the aeroplane need so much time to open and pilfer travellers’ baggage?

NAHCO

NAHCO

Is it part of the employment contract that you must be sticky-or light-fingered to work at that department at the airport? Who takes away all the stolen items? Are the stolen items delivered or remitted to the bosses and directors and shared among all the “criminal” workers?

What is going on at MMA? What is going on at FAAN? What is going on at NAHCO? Who are we going to hold responsible for the missing items? The workers? The Directors? The Board?

When some of us complain about these things, we always hear some people say “noo o!!” that was before! Nobody is stealing again at the airports! We have heard similar stories before at the sea-port; we hear…noo o! No more port rats! Then importers started welding their cars and vehicles like armoured tanks before they hit the international waterways heading to Nigeria!

But the denials on the part of Nigerian airport authority or NAHCO are the usual lies! There are definitely still criminals working at MMA, just the same way the sea-port rats never left.

It is not acceptable when airline or airport officials state that these criminal activities are common around the world. There is a difference between lost and found items or forgotten items and the items that are deliberately removed from travellers’ bags by airport workers. The act of pilfering is not common around the world. In any case there can never be a good reason why criminals should be employed and allowed to remove things from our bags at MMA.

Are there cameras at the terminals to follow the arrival of aeroplanes at the terminals? Are there cameras to follow the progress of baggage until they hit the conveyor belts? At what point exactly do these “airport rats” have the courage to open bags and suitcases and remove items? Who is the head of this organised crime at the airport? Is it something that is approved by the directors of FAAN and NAHCO?

Someone heads the human resources department where these criminals were approved for employment. That person’s integrity is also at stake here. So also are the managers or directors in charge of landing and transportation of baggage from the aircrafts to the arrival hall.

Again, many people are too busy and do not have the time to bring about their cases to the appropriate authorities. This is because once the items are gone, there are no means to trace or find them. People are tired of the way things work in Nigeria. They don’t trust the system and they just “conform” and move on with their lives.

The severity of this painful experience of pilfering cannot be over emphasized. My friends lost so many valuables that they were almost crying when they narrated their stories. This cannot continue and this essay should not be treated as a rant. There is a need for action and I hope that the directors or board members who are tagged in this essay will find a reason to call an emergency meeting to address the embarrassment that the staffs of MMA/FAAN/NAHCO are causing them and their reputations.

Some of us have great difficulties to work out the functions of the various uniform people at the airport. We get totally confused by the several people doing the job meant for one computer or a simple machine!

We need answers (and not denials) from the management of both FAAN and NAHCO.

FAAN is a service organization statutorily charged to manage all commercial airports in Nigeria and to provide service to both passengers and airlines. Its managing director and chief executive at the corporate headquarters in Ikeja Engr Saleh Dunoma must ensure that stealing from passengers’ baggage ends immediately. He cannot claim to be new on the job.

Mr. Wendell Emeka Ogunedo is FAAN’s director of security services. Dear Mr. Ogunedo, how secured are our baggage when they arrived at the airport in Ikeja?

Hajia Salamatu Umar-Eluma is in charge of FAAN’s human resources. Ma, does your office run a background check on those people moving our baggage at the airport in Ikeja? Is it NAHCO’s fault that our things are stolen?

Barrister Ikechi Uko is the director of administration. Can he tell us how security measures will be administered to stop this mess? FAAN must work together with the other agencies at MMA to ensure that they put an immediate end to pilfering at MMA.

NAHCO’s mission is to be the leading service provider in the African market. Unfortunately all the core values of NAHCO are questionable with this permanent trend of stealing from passenger’s baggage. There is no integrity when bags are opened and things stolen from them. There is no respect for individuals when NAHCO workers steal from passengers.

The chairman of NAHCO Mr. Suleiman Yahyah must call his workers to order. Nigerians need to be sure that the stolen items are not ending up on his desks!

The vice-chairman is NAHCO is Mr. Denis Hasdenteufel. How is he working together with the chairman to ensure that criminals are not working for NAHCO AVIANCE?

Altogether there are about 12 directors at NAHCO. Their areas of responsibilities and job descriptions are other areas that would be of interest when some of us look for information on NAHCO’s website. It is clear however that NAHCO is responsible for aircraft handling, amongst other services that it provides at the airport.

An average traveller does not really know the interrelationship between FAAN and NAHCO or their terms of agreement. People just want to be sure that when they travel to Nigeria that their bags are not tampered with. As a people heading to Nigeria we don’t want to develop any panic or heart attack just because some thieves working for NAHCO or FAAN are going to steal our personal belongings or the gift items in our baggage.

Those who manage the Lagos Airport must stop living in denial. They should wake up; smell the coffee and live up to their responsibilities. What is important is for them to educate their workers. NAHCO for example must ensure that its core values do not exist only on papers, but in actions. By all or any means, those whom we entrust with our baggage must stop stealing our personal belongings.

aderounmu@gmail.com