Tag Archives: Bad government

Dissecting Mrs. Clinton’s Speech

Dissecting Mrs. Clinton’s Speech

By Adeola Aderounmu

Unlike more than 100m Nigerians who are living in compulsory absolute darkness foisted on them by the vigorless and illegal Yar Adua administration, I watched and listened to the short speech delivered by Mrs. Clinton and I followed the Q & A questions that came after. Keen listeners would not have missed when the US Secretary of State stated that the Yar’Adua’s government is illegitimate..!

My conclusion from watching the session is what I’d always known: nothing positive will happen in Nigerian unless we flush out these bad and corrupt rulers and illegal federal government once and for all. The big question is: how can we achieve this objective?

Just like Mr. Obama’s speech in Ghana there was nothing new about what Mrs. Clinton said. Her speech was titled: Nigeria, towards a new future. She reminded us that we produce 2m barrels of oil a day and that we are the 7th largest producer of crude oil. But she was quick to add that the level of poverty in Nigeria has risen from 46% to 70% over the last 30 years.

Mrs. Clinton blamed Nigeria’s woes on failure of governance at all levels, that is, local, state and federal. According to the US Secretary of States, at all levels of governance in Nigeria, there is corruption and mismanagement. She also mentioned the lack of capacity. I don’t know if I agree with that though. I would rather say the presence of untapped capacity because of one useless federal character that has been used to bring all manners of unknown dudes and nonentities into governance.

She went on to quote the World Bank which had stated that Nigeria has lost over 300 million dollars as a result of corruption over the past 3 decades. But we were once told by Mr. Ribadu that the amount is actually several billions of dollars. Abacha alone stole more than $5 billion and most of that money was re-stolen under Iweala-Obasanjo arrangement. It is unclear how Obasanjo and Iweala could have documented that Abacha’s loots were used for projects that pre-date the recovery of the loot. Who can you trust in Nigeria?

Mrs. Clinton posed a simple question to Nigerian politicians,looters and their agents. These include people like Ibori, Aondoakaa, Yar’ Adua, David Mark, Babangida, Anenih, Igbinedion, Tafa Balogun and Obasanjo just to mention a few looters. Do you know what Nigeria would have done with 300 million dollars? She has some answers: Nigeria could have built hospitals, roads, schools, many children would have attended colleges and several women would not have lost their lives during childbirth.

From my own understanding, Mrs. Clinton mentioned that Yar Adua’s government is illegitimate. She said that the lack of transparency has eroded the legitimacy of the government. It took so long and is almost harmless now but it is better late than never that at least someone is thinking along with me that Nigeria has no legitimate government. She supported her statement by reminding us that Yar Adua admitted that he was fraudulently forced into power.

She urged Nigeria and Nigerians to fix the flawed electoral system and to establish an Independent electoral council. This is an argument that many of us have put forward many times. In one of my article published on the web (as an internet warrior), I mentioned that Iwu is a resident evil in the aisle. If Mr. Iwu stays one week more on his notorious job and as a matter of fact if Nigeria’s INEC is not disbanded to give way to a fresh and independent electoral body Mrs. Clinton would have wasted her time, energy and saliva.

Before 2011 we as Nigerians must join hands as members of the civil societies and groups to demand for the total implementation of the recommendation of the Electoral Committee. Before 2011 we must re-organise our political structures and institutions in such a way that debates, healthy discussions and participation will become the backbones of our political life as it was in the 1920s during the days of Herbert Macaulay. This much was mentioned by one member of the selected audience.

Mrs. Clinton told us something that we already knew was necessary for a free and fair election to hold in Nigeria. She said she learnt from the recommendations of the electoral committee that Nigeria has no Nationwide Voters Registration Process. She is right in a way. Votes are not counted in Nigeria and that is why the mischievous Mr. Iwu can decide the outcomes of elections.

Mrs. Clinton echoed the contents of my first article published in the Nigerian Guardian on September 9 2002 titled: why politicians steal. We must replace officials or politicians if they break the law and if they fail to deliver. She agreed with my opinion that looters, thieves and bad politicians must be brought to courts to face prosecution. She mentioned that that will create a deterrent to prevent future wrong doing. However this is impossible in present day Nigeria. Before we can do this, we must have a true anticorruption fighting organisation, a normal police force and a corruption-free judiciary.

Today’s EFCC is controlled by a very corrupt man called Mr. Ibori and Mrs. Farida Waziri is just a puppet. She is also alleged to be corrupt. In addition, if a Nigerian politician loots 20 million dollars, he can pay EFCC 1 million naira and attend court for 2 months. He is free afterwards. It is called plea-bargaining. EFCC is funny abeg !

With the type of Attorney General that we have, we are in a mess in Nigeria. Mr. Aondoakaa is making a mockery of what is supposed to be another strong arm of democracy-the judiciary. With Mr. Aondoakaa, how can we successfully prosecute the likes of Ibori? With all the corrupt faces scattered across the nation and even at the venue of the meeting, how can we, in the words of Mrs. Clinton, have Trust as the Foundation of our Democracy?

The US secretary of state mentioned that democracy is not perfect anywhere in the world and was quick to mention the stupid excuse that corrupt Nigerians are always ready to refer to in recent years-that even the US has problems with elections. This is connected to the Bush-Al Gore election controversy. She said that democracy is not about elections alone. Any student of politics or political science is aware of the points that would come next. Democracy is also about the judiciary. In Nigeria our judiciary is a cash and carry process. The law is upside down and always in favour of the ruling party and the powerful. It has become a ruse of law.

Democracy is also about the rights of the citizens. Nigerian citizens have no rights! They cannot have the basic things that the state owes them. No light, no water, no good roads, no basic health care and the list go on. Democracy is also about strong democratic institutions. How can we imbibe this in Nigeria where godfathers have already decided the results of the 2011 elections? If only Hilary knew that!

The other day I saw how people were boasting in Anambra State that they will “capture this” “capture that”. The big mouthed local government officials were presented with Mini Buses and probably money with which they will campaign (I hope) and “capture” all the political offices in Anambra. I was worried about the use of the word-capture. So Nigerian public offices are up for capture? Which year are we going to start counting the votes?

Democracy is also about the freedom of the press. In Nigeria today, many opportunists have used The Press to capture government positions and some journalists and media people are also looters today. A lot of misinformation is in the air in Nigeria because of the way politics have been used to manipulate the Nigerian Media. Nowadays many columnists in Nigeria are quick to condemn online analysts and bloggers. It is really a shame what democracy has done to the Nigerian press. Brown envelope syndrome and political jobbing has come to stay.

Democracy, according to Mrs. Clinton, is also about good governance. We knew this already but I guess she is trying to tell Nigerian politicians that they are all bad in terms of governance. Mrs Clinton told the nonentities in Aso rock and elsewhere that oil and aid cannot guarantee success but she was gullible to say that the US supports the (evil and unrealistic) 7 points agenda of an idle mind. Yar Adua is a lazy man who will not deliver one thing in his tenure as illegitimate leader. My bet is on that. How can a man swimming in corruption and surrounded by corrupt people achieve anything? Yar’ Adua lied to Hilary (just the way he lied during his inaugural speech) that he will deliver on roads and electricity. Since when did chicken grow teeth?

The Civil society was challenged to make more use of the political system to encourage a type of politics that will be for common good. With the Nigerian Police that I know, this is an optical mirage. Unless something radical occurs, the civil society and genuine pro-democratic groups will continue to be suppressed.

Mrs. Clinton mentioned some positive things about Nigeria. For example the agency responsible for preventing human trafficking has put Nigeria in a comfortable position among the serious nations fighting the menace. But I wonder how many of our sisters are on their way to Italy and Denmark tonight. Nevertheless we must praise the agency in question because many factors in Nigeria are probably not in favour of the struggle against human trafficking.

Mrs. Clinton said that US can partner Nigeria in many ways citing that she met with Mr. Ojo Maduekwe to discuss a certain bi-national commission, technical assistance and supports in various areas. Is this the US visit Maduekwe bragged about? But I hope Maduekwe was listening when Hilary mentioned India and Indonesia as countries that we can learn from. Is it true that Indonesia had a successful election and that democracy there is about 10 years old? What is our excuse when India can organise a successful election?

Obasanjo reminded us in 2007 that we have always had elections with complains and violence since 1959. So I guess he was pleased that he championed the evil that was perpetrated in 1978, 1999, 2003 and 2007. He must be our National Record Holder.

How can Nigeria have free and fair elections in 2011 when we don’t have an Independent Electoral Commission? Mrs. Clinton said the US can work with Nigeria depending on the way we approach the voter registration process (and of course the intra-party politics). I understood that if we want to computerise the process, the US can assist Nigeria to an extent that will even allow disable people to vote. But if we want to persist with our crude methods, then according to her, the future of Nigeria is in the hands of Nigerians.

Mrs. Clinton said she told Yar Adua why Nigeria is not in the G-20. She said it is because of the impact of corruption on our system and economy. She said it was also because in Nigeria, wealth is concentrated at the top. What she meant was that Nigerian politicians are thieves, that they are stealing money instead of spreading wealth and helping to build the nation. She said Nigeria is not in the G20 because we have a system where there is no accountability.

Mrs. Clinton expressed her dismay that Nigeria is not electrified despite her oil wealth. “When you think of Nigeria, the oil and the gas, you think it (Nigeria) will be electrified”. Truly corruption has destroyed this country. In Nigeria today Electric Power Supply is not available. I wonder if Nigeria generates up to 100MW as I write this. NEPA gives you a blink-blink at the end of the month and then brings you a monthly bill. By so doing, NEPA is a looting agent. It is pure robbery to do that!

The most positive thing that came with hope from the session was when Mrs. Clinton said that there are loads of Intelligent and hardworking people in Nigeria who are capable of producing good results. She said for 2011, the opportunities and the responsibilities lie in our hands. For me the task is for the intelligent and hardworking people to accept the new opportunities ahead and to face the challenges that will come with the responsibilities on our shoulders.

The time is now to build good foundations for our democratic institutions. Whether we like it or not we must start to construct and build strong democratic institutions. It is the normal or usual way to eliminate strong men or godfathers who have used violence and force to intimidate and relegate us.

Mrs. Clinton’s speech was good but not perfect. We knew all/most of it before. She probably deliberately avoided the Niger Delta debate and her response to a question on the peace process aka fake amnesty does not come across as convincing. Some commentators have condemned the role of the US in the Niger Delta crisis. It is likely that the US along with the UK, is supporting the illegitimate government in Nigeria through arms deal. It is also a common knowledge that the US is more interested in the oil that goes from the Niger Delta to USA than at the nature of governance in Nigeria.

But in a diplomatic world the US as a super power must appear like a good partner and a global lover of the poor masses even if she is doing nothing about the helpless masses as we have seen in recent events across the world. But the deals with the government behind closed doors usually betray the open speeches. Yet several aspects of what Hilary talked about regarding our politics are unfortunately real and true.

Our politicians are wicked and deaf. They may be mentally deranged considering their insatiable lust for wealth acquisition. The saddest thing is that when they wake up the next day after Hilary’s visit is over; it is back to business as usual. Yar Adua will travel to Saudi Arabia because 8 years as governor and 2 years as illegal president were not enough to build one hospital to tackle his ailments.

Maduekwe will ignore Hilary and throw away the notes he made. Ibori will get a contract to import election machines that will be manipulated and pre-programmed by Iwu. By 2011 all the governors (except Fashola perhaps because he said he doesn’t want a 2nd term) will be in PDP and the looting will continue. Head or tail, the Nigerian masses lose. A revolution might be inevitable to achieve some of the dreams of Hilary. Afterall JFK told us many years ago that “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable”

1960-2008: Nigeria has wasted 2 generations and 48 years

By Adeola Aderounmu.

Not everyone will agree that 2008 was another wasted year but in actual fact, it was wasted. To those who have managed to climb up and away from the poverty zone, it is a year of accomplishment. To those who have succeeded through hardwork and a little bit of luck, it is a wonderful year.

However, more than 90m Nigerians are still below the poverty level. Many of them living desperately on less than 2 USD per day. To be sure, there are some people in Nigeria who do not have any money or material comfort. These people are neither covered by any form of social security nor consoled by the any type of social amenity. They lack the basic things of life: water, food and good accommodation. In general, their standard of living is below acceptable human conditions.

Several millions of Nigerians will start 2009 just the way they started 2008-poor and facing extreme hopelessness. They will start a new year without electricity in their homes. Nigeria is currently generating less than 3000 MW of electricity! Power supply in the last quarter of 2008 is one of the worst in the history of Nigeria. There are many days of absolute power cut and (sometimes) intermittent supply of about 30min in 2 days. Is Nigeria really a country?

Yet Nigerians are addressing Yar Adua as president. What has he successfully presided over since he was illegally bundled into power by Obasanjo and Iwu? Nigerians know that they are being held as captives but they don’t know how to release themselves from the bondage.

No one can deny that the Nigerian masses are being held as captives by a clique of tropical gangsters who have “bought” the country and turned it to their paradise and our hell. It is so unbelievable that these monsters have held swayed for most part of the 48 years of Nigerian independence. It is also remarkable how they re-group and recruit new accomplices in order to ensure that evil and terror are perpetually unleashed on the common man.

For instance Yar Adua’s fake government is oiled by corruption just like the others before it. How long shall we repeat this? Everytime I hear Yar Adua condemning corruption, I get stomach pains. How can you condemn something that you are enmeshed in, something you are doing almost nothing about in the interest of the public even though you have the transient or stolen power to do so?

Can Yar Adua tell Nigerians why Ibori is not facing prosecution? Why did Lucky Igbinedion pay just 3 million naira after looting for 8 years? Why are all the indicted governors and Ministers from 1999 to 2007 free people? Yar Adua should please save us the hypocrisy of his pseudo-leadership. It is not possible to fool all the people all the time.

It is now known to all and sundry that Ibori is the one controlling the EFCC nowadays. This would explain why Farida is his foot mat. Ibori has perfected the act of escaping prosecution. This guy stole Delta State to dryness and he is enjoying a post-governorship immunity simply because he donated more money than anyone else in sponsoring Yar Adua to the global centre of corruption aka Aso Rock.

Among the people who have contributed to the waste and hopelessness in Nigeria, one should never fail to mention Obasanjo. In Nigeria today, NEPA is generating less than 3000MW and the misdeeds of Obasanjo and his co-looters is a principal factor in this debacle. For 8 years, this man deceived all Nigerians and made us believed in vain. Nigerian are invariably in for another ride of deceit-waiting in vain for a declaration of a state of emergency in the power sector.

Maurice Iwu has joined the long list of the men holding Nigerians as captives. All the elections held even after the sham of April 2007 are still condemnable. The worst political comment in the world in 2008 was made by Iwu when he said that the US should learn from Nigeria when it comes to conducting election. The comments of senile Mugabe (“Zimbabwe is mine” and “no cholera in Zimbabwe”) are child’s play compared to Iwu’s venomous utterances. Nigeria is surely condemned when men without defined visions or missions are in control.

Anyone who has been following the proceedings of the Nigerian Senate under the leadership of the mega-looter called David Mark would really feel sorry for Nigeria. There is almost no room for intelligent discussions and Mark is usually way off the mark when he makes his comments. Nigerians have sacrificed intelligence for stupidity and looting games in the Nigerian Senate and House of Assembly.

David Mark has no business in the Senate anyway. After participating in the looting of Nigeria, it is quite easy to understand the negative contributions he brings with him to the senate. The war on corruption, if we had one, should have engulfed his likes.

The reigning gangsters and looters in Nigeria are surely having a jolly ride with a man like Michael Aondoakaa in control of the legal system. He is not only shielding and defending the looters in Nigeria and abroad, his idea of rule of law is very instrumental in the spreading of poverty and deaths in Nigeria.

What these bad leaders don’t understand is that every little misdeed adds up to the misery of Nigerians. Why protect people who stole monies that they cannot spend in 10x their life span? Obviously he is gaining a lot in the process! One day na one day sha!

There is no way Babangida will not be on this parade. More than 12 billion dollars of Nigeria’s money alleged to be in his possession is enough to keep Nigeria in the doldrums for another decade or more. If 12 billion dollars is pumped into Nigeria’s scientific and medical research and development (R&D), almost all Nigerian scholars abroad will be heading home to contribute to the progress of the country.

We don’t need a prophecy to know that Nigerians will continue to suffer because of a few men in possession of the country’s wealth. If there is war on corruption in Nigeria, many of the people parading government houses in Nigeria today should be answering for corruption and crime against humanity.

There is no real anticorruption body in Nigeria and this is why politicians and government officials continue to steal. Obasanjo destroyed the EFCC by using it to crack down on all anti-third term groups and individuals. The rules have changed under Umaru-soft pedal for all and sundry. Slow and steady kill the case was the modification by Farida Waziri-a pure puppet.

If Nigeria has a proper anticorruption agency, it would be independent, open and sincere. The EFCC of today is a shield for the likes of Ibori and all the corrupt governors and politicians that served under Obasanjo. Those who served and lined their pockets before 1999 are not even moved. The only worried groups in Nigeria today are the yahoo-yahoo boys, cybercafé owners and of course the common man. EFCC has even dedicated a drama series to yahoo-yahoo boys on AIT. What a joke of an institution!

Forty-eight years of waste was solidify by the lukewarmness of the Nigerian judiciary. This organ of government has disappointed Nigerians over the years and more recently has produced highly questionable and contestable judgements. The court has made it possible for individuals who did not contest in elections to be winners. Serving convicts and ex-convicts contested and won elections in Nigeria. Imagine how many criminals are occupying political positions in Nigeria. The disposition of the Courts in Nigeria is one of the reasons that the police stations have been turned to firing squads. The Nigerian Police is a sick child on its own: a very sick child! When it mattered most, Nigerian law system usually becomes heavily compromised.

All of these evil acts that have confined Nigeria among the poorest nations in the world is actually the summation of the effects of a group fondly called “the cabal“. The cabal is the reason why sane and intelligent minds get to government houses and become stereotyped looting machines.

Even Nigerians who lived abroad before joining government have not been spared the initiation into the looting game. The cabal preaches a gospel of eat and go and don’t bug yourself with the status quo. This is why many nice people have become “new creatures” once they eat the forbidden fruits. It is because of the cabal that our elections have no values and are unworkable. The cabal is responsible for the annulment of the only free and fair election that took place in 1993.

The sins of the cabal are many but its prime approach is to promote fear and ignorance with the view of controlling the machinery of government forever. The newest approach being utilised by the cabal is the secrecy oath in the illegal presidency which is now being adopted across government institutions nationwide. What is secret about the illegality of the regime in Nigeria? What is the secret about the fact that they are all there to protect their personal interests and steal as much as they can just like the deceivers before them.

The problems in Nigeria are not going to be solved or ameliorated if we don’t take care of the stumbling blocks. Nigerians have been quiet for too long and everybody is after his or her own interests. It shouldn’t be like that. Some people have called for a revolution but Nigeria is a very complicated country and this complication is one of the weak points that the cabal and the corrupt leaders are using to oppress Nigerians more and more. Some people want the biblical call: To thy tent O’ Israel! The Niger Delta crisis, the threats of religious riots, tribal conflicts and secession bids are obvious indicators.

Rather than “every-man-to-himself” Nigerians should start thinking collectively of how rescue the over 90m people living hopelessly across the nation. We should come together and discuss whatever it will entail to capture this country back from the vultures who have been stealing and looting since 1960. If the outcome will send us back to our tents, so be it. Posterity should be the keyword.

After chasing Ghanaians out of Nigeria, they went home and built a formidable country that Nigerians are running to like rats. Ghana is now ranked as one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The actions and leadership of one man changed Ghana forever. The lesson is that one man can make a difference. Enlightened Nigerians have the honour to take up this challenge and start building formidable forces and groups that will challenge the “status quo”.

We must do whatever it will take to break from this yoke. It’s too heavy a burden and one way or the other we all feel the effects. Let’s do what it takes to free our children and grandchildren from this burden.

Happy New Year!

Poor man wey steal Maggi cube..!

By Adeola Aderounmu.

 

It is becoming more obvious that the present illegal regime in Nigeria has nothing to offer the poor masses. That should not come as a surprise to anyone at all. Nigerians never voted for the man now parading the corridor of power aimlessly. When he is not parading himself in that fortress built with the blood and sweat of hardworking tax payers, he is on a flight to a secret place to rest or seeking some talismanic effects. This country don suffer..!

 

 

In this country, we will continue to speculate and anticipate. Yes o! when those who seized power using violent ballots and force have decided that secrecy and cultism is the way forward, then we have the right and freedom to use our imagination and cognitive powers. To quote an insider as your source will be tantamount to breaching security protocols and you may even be accused of sedition and then arrested on arrival. Many of us in this village square are definitely on our way to jail!

 

 

I appreciate Nigerian music a lot and Chinagoro (aka African China) has said it all in few phrases. Poor man wey steal maggi, them go show him face for crime fighter! Rich men (greedy politicians) wey steal money; we no dey see their face for crime fighters.

In Nigeria, you can go to jail for stealing a cube of maggi- a popular kitchen ingredient. That is if you are lucky that a policeman or an idle officer from the EFCC arrested you. If you are unlucky, the angry mob will dispense justice immediately-you are as good as dead. People will blame you if you go to jail or even if you die. Mumu, na maggi e steal sef…!

To avoid the short arm of the law in Nigeria, you gat to steal and steal BIG! You must be like Ibori or Obasanjo or Atiku or even Umoru himself to be above the law. You must steal a lot of money, in raw cash where possible. Load the monies (dollars, pounds, naira ati bee bee lo) inside your fridge, under your bed, inside suit case, inside brief case and inside your closet. Use any other technology available at your disposal to make sure that the money is not traceable to you. Use agents, offshore or recessive family members.

 

Start a business so that even if the money is traced to you, you can tell those fools at EFCC that it is money from your family business. You can even start an estate agency and tell them that you have sold one house and made profit and bought another one and then you now have an estate worth 20 billion dollars. Tell them and those internet junk journalists that you are an entrepreneur before you joined partisan politics. You must play politics like football; your aim is to always win. A draw must be your worst outcome.

 

Moving on-I have not written on the village square for a while now but I have continued to blog regularly. It’s more fun with the blog because you can describe some people as fools, idiots, thieves, looters, satanic, demonic, bad leaders and so on without anyone opposing your views or right to publish what you like! You can be hard on yourself as well and try to do things better. But someone will definitely not like your terms. Some people think it’s godly or angelic to steal, kill and make other people poor while you are merrying.

 

Blogging allows me to be who I am. I am not an apostle of perfection but I detest dishonesty and bad governance- the type that has continued to deprive more than 90m people of decent existence. The government of Nigeria has continued to maintain the ordinary citizens’ livelihood at the rat-race level predominated by competition for limited resources in a kill and go manner.

 

In no small measure, I practically hate all the hypocrites who parade government houses across Nigeria and I regret that I am still not able to do anything practical or physical to change the status quo. I regret that the trust and hope that we continue to build over the years have continued to crumble as well. In my mind, I have only families to return to, not country.

 

Farida and Nuhu do not make any difference in my perspectives of what crime fighting is all about. What I continue to visualize is a gang of thieves or looters changing the characteristics of the sheriff that they’ve appointed in their caucus meeting. Nigeria is not a normal country. The geographical area called Nigeria is managed by suspicious arrangements and oppression of common good. This is why there is still no real democracy in Nigeria.

 

Nuhu fought Obasanjo’s enemies with zeal whereas Obasanjo, his friends and families looted the treasury. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Was I the only one who learnt that in the moral instruction class in 1980? Half bread can only be better than none if the other half is saving another life.

 

You can’t fight financial corruption or embezzlement when the person initiating the fight against the corruption is corrupt. It is the same with other crimes. The situation is peculiar and made worse because the Nigerian Police is full of people of questionable characters (from the boss to the last man standing on the street) who extort money from the other people. A recent report shows that the Nigerian Police is the number one violator of human rights in Nigeria. The EFCC is part of the police and therefore remains incompetent to fight crime or corruption.

 

For example, the EFCC cannot investigate or prosecute Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku and others. The EFCC is seriously programmed like an apoptotic cell. It has its limits and boundaries. This is why the EFCC is specialised in terrorising yahoo yahoo boys and fighting ringworm even though leprosy is deadlier. This is also the reason for the non-performance (apoptosis) of Farida when it comes to fighting the real war. Does anyone for instance expect her to investigate or prosecute the likes of Obasanjo or Babangida? No! That was not in the streotyping. If she dares, she will be sacked with immediate effect!

 

On a fair note, EFCC is not the problem with Nigeria. It is not even the police as a body. The problem is the system. It contains the wrong people (mostly rogues in plain term) in power. This is why they will instruct the police or SSS to arrest you at the airport and detain you in violation of your fundamental human rights! If they have their way, these rogues will kill you one time! The nest of killers (first used by Wole Soyinka) has always been a part of our existence but it materialises in different forms, shapes and sizes.

 

I have argued that being privileged or fortunate to escape poverty or penury in Nigeria has blinded many people to the real situations in Nigeria. A few flashes here and there have also been used to divert our attention from the real calamities: the prevalence of mass poverty in the population (which of course has been treated by several authors).

 

There are options for Nigeria and hopefully I will dwell on one or two of them in another article. We cannot continue like this. As an introduction into what I intend to discuss: there are options along the lines of changing the system totally or changing what the country is all about. The emphasis would be on the nature, composition and effects of a new system so that it becomes a complete deviation from that which sows hate, distrust and poverty. We may be deceiving ourselves especially with the emphasis on one nation. The time has come to look at the existence of this country more critically.

 

We cannot continue to ignore the options available to us. We must look at them and use our senses to come up with a viable road map that will serve the interest of everyone called a Nigerian. This country must stop serving the purpose of a few (who will charge the rest of us with sedition because the status quo was made for them and their likes).

 

The final irrevocable truth is if we don’t define how we want to live and what we want from living now (like some nations did in the last century), we cannot stop the future generation from doing that. One generation will break these curses and disappointments. It will happen!

 

 

Confronting the rot in LUTH By Hope Eghagha

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian August 5 2008

AS we try to define ourselves as a nation, there are certain institutions that ought to stand firmly and serve as centres of excellence. No nation worth its salt ought to toy with the health of the people. One of the institutions I grew up to meet as an excellent health centre is Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi Araba. Its name was a dread, as the final arbiter on health matters. I remember the first time my General physician referred me to LUTH, the question that cropped to my lips was: ‘Am I in such a terrible shape? This was back in the 1990s. I reluctantly went, endured the slow pace, incompetence but eventually went home smiling. Since then I have had cause to go to LUTH on visits on several occasions. My ears had always tingled with stories of gross and criminal inefficiency in that ‘centre of excellence’. I was a distant observer until the events of June 23, 2008.

A husband and his wife, Israel and Viviane Emuophe, vibrant and hopeful in the abundance of life offered by life were knocked down by a drunk driver on Sunday the 22nd of June right in front of a house along Lekki/Ajah road where they had gone visiting. Good Samaritans rushed them to a clinic nearby. The wife, a Youth Corps member serving in Lagos State and eight months pregnant was badly wounded on her lower limb. As for the man, we found out later that he was fractured on both legs. The doctor in the temporary hospital in Ajah advised that the limb be amputated immediately. Instead of referring the patients to LUTH or Igbobi for specialist intervention, he kept them there throughout the night. He was more interested in his hefty fees (over a hundred thousand naira for stabilising them overnight!). Friends and relations on the ground advised against outright amputation. In their view, such a decision should be taken at Igbobi. The patients were moved to Igbobi early the next morning. Igbobi advised that the lady be taken to LUTH. That was where we encountered criminal inefficiency and neglect of the first order.

The lady arrived at LUTH at about 10 in the morning. It took the intervention of a retired Matron in LUTH for the victim to receive minimal attention in the Emergency Unit. We were asked to buy almost everything that was needed to treat an emergency case. We patiently did. The decision was announced that there would be surgery. The patient was moved to the theatre. As at 4p.m., nothing concrete had been done. That was when we decided (Dr. Clement Edokpayi and I) to call up some of our colleagues who work in LUTH. We also called up people in town who had some influence in the health sector to reach people in the management of LUTH. A matron on duty gave a false report to one of our contacts that the lady was already in the theatre. I countered that immediately. We found out that as at that time, there had been no official communication with any of the consultants to handle the job. Our intervention worked. The doctors showed up.

We started the process of getting this and getting that. At about 9.30p.m. when all was set for the surgery, we were told that an x-ray had not been done. She was wheeled back to the x-ray room where I confronted the Professor in charge. His explanation was plausible. Except cases are referred to him, he cannot do an x-ray. Finally, the x-ray was done and at this time we were only interested in saving the life of the lady. Her baby we suspected was gone. Her little cries of ‘I want my life’, made it imperative for some action to take place. Surgery intervention finally took place at about 12 midnight. My little Christian sister lost both her right limb and her eight month pregnancy.

My position is that in LUTH the simple routines and procedures expected have been compromised. Nobody is in charge. No doubt, the consultants and doctors are efficient. In their private clinics, they do very well. LUTH is currently a carcass of itself. This is not the LUTH that the wife of a Head of State patronised when she was going to have her baby in the 1970s. The equipment is obsolete. LUTH is a danger to health care. The entire institution is a mortuary. Death smells around the wards. In the Modular Theatre, referred to as one of the best in the country, surgery could not take place there because there was no back up to power supply. Most of our colleagues we discussed the matter with simply agreed that the place needs to be overhauled. The concept of management currently in place should go. Who will overhaul LUTH?

Indeed LUTH is a victim of the corruption which has steadily crept into the country. The Obasanjo administration announced and launched new equipment for LUTH with fanfare. As we have found out, it was a fluke. None of those items deserves to be called modern. They were second hand, or Tokunboh bought for the purpose of making money for the boys.

LUTH needs to be thoroughly reorganised, re-structured, re-ordered. A new management that can enforce its rules should be put in place. If a patient comes in at 10 a.m. and does not receive attention until 4p.m., somebody should be penalised for it. This should be routine as it is in the medical profession. We do not need to report to SERVICOM for nurses and doctors to do their jobs. Most of the nurses are so indifferent to patients that I wonder where they were trained. During my last visit to the female surgical ward there was a breast cancer patient who kept howling for the duration of my visit. The nurse kept passing her by. I was told that she had been in that condition for three days. Where has the human spirit gone in LUTH?

The Minister of Health or the Federal Executive Council ought to intervene directly in LUTH. Management is practically dead in the place. Most of the consultants are first rate when they have to work outside LUTH. However, they work in an environment that lacks the basic tools. They cannot perform magic. Sadly, the available equipment is not efficiently utilised. This is the crux of the matter. There is too much indifference in the place. Too many patients die from lack of care and attention. Too many people are dissatisfied with working conditions.

It is very easy to give explanations and rationalise our inadequacies. I expect that LUTH would soon issue a rejoinder claming that its facilities are excellent and that staff are doing their best. But the truth is that no one who has the means takes his relation to LUTH. They simply go abroad. Perhaps this is at the core of the problem. The people who are in power do not patronise the hospital. German and American hospitals wait for them. Even our President has no faith in LUTH. But is a turn-around of LUTH not possible that would make the First Citizen of the country patronise it when next he is ill? With the necessary will, it is possible. This is all I ask for so that another young lady or man would not lose precious life or limb or both.

Death of Nigerian immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea (The Nigerian Guardian Editorial)

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Monday 4th August 2008.

THE shocking news of the death of two Nigerian children travelling with their father aboard a boat ferrying immigrants across the Mediterranean sea en-route Italy once again brings to the fore the harrowing experience of many Nigerians who are desperate to escape the hardship in the country. The depressing economic condition in the country is taking a toll on the population. How to address this problem and check the flight of Nigerians from their own country for largely economic reasons remains a major challenge for the country’s leaders.

The two children reportedly died at sea of starvation and were thrown overboard by their father who was travelling along with 74 other illegal migrants before the Italian coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea picked up their boat. The migrants had set off from Libya. This is happening at a time the Italian authorities have declared a state of emergency on illegal immigration.

A fortnight ago also, 14 Nigerians perished in the same Mediterranean Sea off the Spanish coast. A small open boat, presumably not seaworthy, carrying over 37 Nigerians, capsized in rough seas with waves of up to six metres on July 8. A Spanish maritime rescue ship reportedly managed to rescue 23 of the illegal immigrants while 14 were unaccounted for. The dead included two pregnant women.

This is not the first time that Nigerian illegal immigrants have perished in the Mediterranean waters in a bid to enter Europe. The Organisation for Human Rights in Andalusia (APDH-A), a Spanish human rights group says more than 921 illegal immigrants died at sea trying to reach Spain in 2007. Out of this number, 732 perished close to the western coast of North Africa at the start of their journey while another 189 died near the coast of Spain. The majority of the immigrants were from sub-Saharan Africa of which Nigerians constituted the largest percentage.

These incidents should compel a sober reflection on the worsening state of the nation’s economy that has made the country hostile and uncomfortable for many people thereby forcing thousands of citizens to flee the country even at great risk to their lives. The death of these unfortunate Nigerians in search of better opportunities in Europe, even through illegal routes, is a sad comment on the Nigerian situation. It is sadder still that reports of tragedies such as these do not discourage other would-be illegal immigrants.

The embassies are besieged daily by thousands of Nigerians who are seeking visas and hoping to remain abroad illegally. The presumption is that the streets of Western countries are paved with gold and that life outside Nigeria would necessarily be better. Many have lost their lives and hopes in the process.

The harsh economic situation in the country is to blame. There is mass unemployment, social infrastructure is decaying, there is insecurity in the land, poverty stalks the land as virtually every sector of the economy is depressed. The list of woes is unending and nothing could be more scary. Since the 1980s when the economy took a plunge for the worse, large numbers of Nigerians have sought refuge abroad to escape the hardship at home. Many believe that doing odd jobs abroad is better than languishing at home. This is the driving force.

Consequently, thousands of Nigerians queue up daily, at the gates of foreign embassies in the country seeking visas. The embassies have devised stringent conditions to prevent many from obtaining visas. As a result, only a handful of visa applicants succeed. In utter desperation, therefore, those denied visas seek alternative means to accomplish their desire. To worsen the matter, a syndicate of unscrupulous Nigerians has capitalised on the ugly situation to defraud unsuspecting would-be immigrants with promises of visas and jobs abroad on payment of fees running into thousands of dollars.

It is these crooks that organise such hazardous and illegal trips across the Mediterranean Sea after the victims have paid the agreed fees and have, in most cases, been issued fake visas. In the case of immigrants whose destination is Europe, the syndicate would first transport them to any of the North African countries from where they are ferried by rickety boats across the sea. It is in the course of such ill-conceived trips that accidents occur.

This has smeared the image of Nigerians across the globe. Consequently, on arrival at foreign entry points, security operatives subject our citizens to untold harassment and inhuman treatment. Unfortunately, Nigerian government officials at home and in foreign missions have not helped matters. In a way, the maltreatment of Nigerians abroad is a reflection of how Nigerians are treated by their own government.

To discourage more Nigerians from fleeing abroad as illegal immigrants, governments across the federation would have to improve conditions at home, and make the governance process more citizen-friendly