Friday, December 30, 2016

ET TOUJOURS SHEKAU VIDEO

First, it was that the military said they had to approach "Camp Zero" from the ground and not from the air because Boko Haram insurgents were using their captives as human shield. Then of course, after critics voiced concern about how not even a single shot was fired according to reports, before "Sambisa" was overrun, they kind of recanted stating initially, that several members of the deadly group have surrendered, not to the Nigerian military but Nigérienne in the border town of Diffa. That also didn't sound right, so the claim that several members of Boko Haram, sympathizers and more hostages were rounded up in the takeover of the dreaded group's operational base, by the military came to be the new kite that was flown. And to prove to us that it's no joke, a Qur'an purportedly belonging to Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau and a black flag with the group's insignia, said to be the one in front of which he shoots most of his videos, was put on display by the sector commander, like that was going to make Shekau fall down and die wherever he is.


True to type, as we have repeatedly seen, since the war against this Islamic  Fundamentalist group started, especially since Abubakar Shekau took over the reins of power, a video of him surfaced, in which he (in Hausa and Arabic) denounced claims by the military of the defeat of his group, stating that he and members of his group are safe. Predictably, the military were quick to come out in condemnation of the latest video, calling it propaganda materia in a bid to cast a doubt on the veracity of the tape, especially as regards when it was shot, like they'd ever been proved right when they made assertions like that in the past. Even those who were carried away by news of a possible end to the insurgency with the declaration of victory by the military this Christmas season, are now like those who felt the celebration was hasty from onset, once the video hit the usual social media outlets.


video
SHEKAU DENOUNCING NIGERIAN MILITARY'S CLAIMS IN NEW VIDEO.

I personally feel that the military should've been the ones tempering the populace' eagerness to see an end to the group, even if Shekau had been killed. Somalia's Al-Shabab has severally lost leaders yet the group is far from decimation, even with foreign assistance to the Somali government, talk more a situation where the nomination of another by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS (to whom Boko Haram pledged allegiance) had done nothing to water down Shekau's influence, nor the several attempts at killing him, making the discerning begin to wonder if he's not enjoying some kind of protection from those who have been charged with the responsibility of putting him down.


Another issue which the happenings of the last few days have exhumed is that of the other Chibok girls supposedly still in Boko Haram captivity. There are fears that they may never again be seen, or at least not anymore in that number that made up the more than two hundred often bandied as the number of students abducted two years ago (except that in itself was grossly exaggerated as part of some conspiracy, as is speculated in some quarters). The back and forth concerning them have continued to fuel conspiracies in some certain quarters, of how all these may have been orchestrated by prominent personalities in Nigeria's northern region in a bid to recover power from then President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner and to retain such thereafter, even far beyond a Buhari presidency, for which reason a Shekau alive, or the Boko Haram group or its like remaining formidable despite losses, remain an enticing proposition, as they could easily be activated as and at when needed, regardless of the harm it does to Nigeria's military and intelligence services.


As it is, Shekau and Boko Haram are not indispensable if the same forces (according to conspiracy theorists) are behind the killings in the north-central and southern states of Nigeria, put at the doorstep of militant Fulani herdsmen, which a recent report by an international terror watchdog, claim are one of the deadliest in the world, a claim further substantiated by Kaduna's Governor El-Rufai (a Fulani as well) when he went outside of Nigeria to pay Fulani of neighbouring countries some money so they stop killing Nigerians, as well as incriminating statements by leaders of the group to the effect that their murderous activities akin to genocide, because of its systematic pattern, is due to the penchant of farmers and farming communities in the affected areas of killing cattle which had encroached upon their farmlands. The systematic nature of the attacks in the religious and ethnic composition of those attacked, killed and/or displaced, suggest something far more organized, and possibly with the blessing of those in power or those close to them because of the impunity with which the acts are committed. One wonders what one is to think, when President Buhari said nothing after he was a no-show to events in the Niger Delta severally, to Enugu in the southeast last week, or even to Lagos months back; whose media aide said he needn't make a  statement about killings of Christians and animists in southern Kaduna over the Christmas weekend (having in the past reluctantly made one over the killings in Benue and Enugu states after wide criticisms greeted his silence months back), but on missing a scheduled visit to Bauchi in the northeast due to poor visibility owing to the harmattan haze (to which obsolete equipments, and poor navigational aids at Nigeria's airports had no answer to), he shoot a video, apologizing to the people of Bauchi in Hausa language, something the 5% in the south-south and southeast couldn't get, even in English.


'kovich



VIDEO CREDITS:
- http://www.saharareporters.com (https://youtu.be/6qNPTkzD8H8)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

NIGERIA'S CHRISTMAS BLUES

It was a rather long Christmas weekend and holiday for me, as with typical Nigerian to make up in weekdays the holidays that fall within the weekend. I spent much of the time indoors, before the TV (when "NEPA" permitted) and my phone and I mention this because of the different things that both media focused on, as the days passed and how that influenced how people reacted especially on social media, if you could gauge people's feelings from there as I routinely do. Except in a few spots, celebrations was largely low key, though I cannot say if that accounted for what I hear was the total absent of queues for fuel at the various filling stations in Lagos, a clear departure from what was obtainable in the past, for which the vuvuzelas of the party in power have rushed to declare as part of the change promised, without considering the possibility of a lack of disposable income (with all the trouble associated with collecting money from banks and ATMs that was the face of Nigeria last week), for that state of affairs.


Beside stories associated with Christmas celebrations, nationwide and internationally, one news the media covered in Nigeria was the takeover of the Sambisa forest from the Islamic  fundamentalist group, Boko Haram with the army chief declaring that the area will be turned into a military training base. Like sugar, this news item invited like ants, reactions from various sides and shades of the Nigerian polity. Those by whom the government could never do wrong simply jumped into celebratory mode despite the fact that there wasn't much in terms of video evidence to support the so called capture of "Camp Zero" (more like the operational base of the group) of Sambisa forest (apparently without news of a single shot fired, or arrests of insurgents or release of more Chibok girls abducted more than two years ago), in an age where picture and video is everything. The opposition People's Democratic Party, PDP while congratulating the president and the military for a job well done, was quick to remind all who cared to listen that the foundation for the military success of today was laid back when they were in  government, pointing to the continuous use of military hardware purchased by that government as largely instrumental to the present military gains.

SOLDIERS PULLING DOWN A BOKO HARAM FLAG AT "CAMP ZERO", SAMBISA FOREST, BORNO STATE. 

As if to remind us that the storming of Camp Zero may best be described as merely symbolic, as the group (as most terrorist groups are) remain amorphous, a female suicide bomber detonated her "wares" at the Kasuwan Shanu (cattle market) in Maiduguri, Borno State, while the other whose explosive vest failed to detonate was
THE SECOND SUICIDE BOMBER AT "KASUWAN SHANU" WHOSE EXPLOSIVE VEST FAILED TO DETONATE. 

arrested by security forces, the day after the "fall of Sambisa". Thankfully, no one save the suicide bomber died. Interestingly, news of this victory came just days after pictures of soldiers appeared to hold hostage a crew of a military helicopter that had just brought them supplies, days after a video surfaced of soldiers in the theater of war dying from thirst and starvation, but was roundly denounced by the Nigerian military echelon as fabricated since it was mainly circulated on social media and sources unverifiable. But when you match the so called "truths" by the military, and the All Progressives' Congress, APC-led  government in power, with the reality on ground, from the citizen/soldiers' independent videos on YouTube and interacting with those on ground, coupled with the antecedents of a government that came to power on the strength of lies, propaganda and false promise, it makes you want to question the veracity of the so called takeover of the notorious forest (which in actual fact, is more desert, than forest) by the Nigerian military, which you'd sincerely hope should be true, as the negative consequences of that been a lie could be better imagined especially seeing how in recent times officers as high as lieutenant colonels have lost their lives in ambushes and tales of mutinies hushed, as in the case of the many deaths of the "cat with nine lives", Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.


What the news about the capture of Sambisa's Camp Zero, and the reactions surrounding it couldn't bury, especially on social media, despite intentional repetitions be mainstream media, especially government owned and biased privately owned ones, was the act of genocide that was ongoing, even till Christmas Day, in southern Kaduna populated by mainly Christians and animists compared to the Muslim northern part, with several killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen, despite heavy security deployed in that area by the government led by a Fulani, Governor El-Rufai whose sympathies to the Fulani expansionist cause has been well documented over the years, from the time he said killing a Fulani is a debt that must be repaid, to recently going as far as outside of the country to pay Fulani in the West African region (with state funds) in a bid to persuade them to stop invading Nigeria and particularity his state, seeing that "one of them" is now in power there, and then turning around to blame militants in the Niger Delta of masquerading as Fulani herdsmen to kill the people of southern Kaduna because he couldn't fathom the killings been perpetrated by the "terrorists" he had just paid a huge sum to (in ransom) for the lives of the people of his state.


Not even his visit to the President, another Fulani for increased military presence in the state would stop the killings, as it looked like the curfew imposed on three of the affected local governments in southern Kaduna, was a ploy to keep the people indoors, to make their slaughter by the suspected Fulani herdsmen hitch-free and of maximum effect, as the military were conveniently just nowhere to be seen on the occasions these men with dark hearts stormed the various villages, especially Goska to wreak wanton destruction on lives and property of the people they were constitutionally mandated to serve and protect.
GOSKA, THE MORNING AFTER THE ATTACKS BY SUSPECTED FULANI HERDSMEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY, IN WHICH ELEVEN PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES. 

Unfortunately, going by the tone of the presidential media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina who said there was no need for the presidency to comment on happenings in southern Kaduna (even though the president personally visited Zamfara to launch a military operation against cattle rustlers), since it deemed the governor capable of handling matters in its domain, anyone expecting that there would be a "State of Emergency" declared in Kaduna is dreaming. Unlike in the very "peaceful southeast", where President Buhari's body language to the "five percent" has resurrected secessionist ideals by unarmed protesters, has led to "OPERATION PYTHON DANCE" (Nigeria's military and crazy operation titles though), that did nothing but make life difficult for most easterners that traveled to the homeland for Christmas celebrations. The same president had to hide under a ridiculous excuse not to attend a summit for the southeast held in Enugu, after the pro-Biafran group threatened him, like those in the Niger Delta did months back and he failed to attend the launch of the oil-spill cleanup operation in Ogoniland, making the phrase, Commander-In-Chief of The Armed Forces sound like a joke, except if the truth of the matter is that he doesn't give a hoot about the people of the southeast, and of course the Niger Deltans, except of course their oil and gas.


The posture of the military, like the president also seem to favour cattle, as the military chief recently intimated Nigerians of plans to set up ranches in military formations nationwide, claiming to have sent some officers to Argentina to learn the tricks of the trade, making most discerning Nigerians suspect that it's another ploy by the government in power, pursuing a Fulani herdsmen agenda primarily, to introduce, activate and implement to the latter, bits of the roundly condemned, "grazing (at the heart of herdsmen killing of innocent villagers and destruction of farming communities, from the north-central region of Nigeria to the south) bill" especially in Nigeria's southern region. All of these and more occupied my mind during the holidays, making food and drinks bland, and thoughts of the future of and for Nigeria scary to imagine, despite the not too inspiring Christmas messages by the president and other politicians, as they are wont to do at this time of the year, to applause of the gullible, hangers on, and those who just don't want anything to spoil their celebrations, in spite of genocide happening somewhere else in the country where hopefully they have no relatives residing or affected directly or indirectly. I choose to feel differently.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng
- http://www.nairaland.com

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

Many years ago in a small village in one of the world's most obscure regions, a man named Kush was approached by his friend Gadar (with whom he'd been friends since childhood), for help. The latter was having it rough with making ends meet, as he was hardly ever paid by the man whose land he toils on. The man would either find an excuse, or altogether say nothing to him when the time comes for him to be paid, eventually either not paying him, or paying him a fraction of his wage's due. When he related his ordeal to his friend Kush, the latter felt pity towards him and was determined to help him in any way he could, even though he wasn't a wealthy person himself.


Kush didn't have a land of his own, but he wasn't employed to work on landowner's farms like Gadar. He had an arrangement where he worked people's farms for a share of the proceeds which he then went on to sell at the produce markets. From the much he makes, he had been able to buy donkeys which he gives out to small scale merchants who go ahead to make returns to him over a certain period,  after which they then become owners of the donkeys. Gadar was aware of this but asked Kush for help to set up something similar though on a larger scale, saying he'd studied how the business works and promised greater yield in returns for Kush if only his friend could help him acquire a camel, in order to move goods from one town to the other, even to the farthest recesses of the known world at the time.


Kush's eyes widened with excitement when Gadar presented him with the mouthwatering proposal, he was very excited at the prospect and possibility. He'd always admired the riders of the camels, wondering how much they'd be making their owners. It had been a dream of his to one day progress from owning a few donkeys to owning a camel(s), and he saw that opportunity in providing help for his friend, only that he didn't have the  wherewithal to buy one. Despite his lack of capacity, Kush was undaunted in his task of getting a camel for Gadar, he visited some of his other friends who were better off, for a loan or with an option to be part owners of his new business venture. He got turned down by a few who he thought could help, but felt they either didn't believe in him enough, or thought his idea was ridiculous and farfetched, while some had excuses mostly genuine not to oblige him. He still managed to find other friends who keyed into his dream and helped him make up the much needed to avail Gadar enough to procure a lightly advanced in years camel that had served a few years as a beast of burden.


He surmised that subsequently, with proceeds from that and his other engagements he'd be able to acquire a studier camel, but for now this should do. Because of the condition the camel was in at the time it was redeemed, Gadar took it to the village's animal carer, that will pass as a vet in our time. But Kush didn't hear from Gadar for a while after, even though he was aware that the camel had since left the animal infirmary, as he was the one who paid the animal carer. When he eventually saw Gadar, he was told that the lack of communication had been due to arrangements he was making to put the camel to work and that soon he will begin to meet the end of his bargain.


It turned out that Gadar wasn't making any concrete arrangement, and the bit he tried wasn't successful, such that when Kush heard about it he still took it upon himself to make the necessary connections on behalf of Gadar just to ensure that his friend started up. It was like marrying a wife for a friend, and also helping him fulfill his conjugal obligations. Kush was glad that he could help bring his friend back to his feet, while hoping the latter will generously reciprocate his gesture by fulfilling his end of the bargain, by remitting a part of the proceeds to him, till such a time as they both agreed, that the camel will pass on to Gadar.


Days passed. Weeks passed, and though Kush was aware that Gadar was using the camel for the purpose it was meant, he wasn't getting his due, then much later Gadar started paying but it was far below the agreed sum, the days of excuses far more than the days when something, always short of the agreed sum was actually paid. Within months Kush was beginning to see his investment in the camel as bad business, but he kept up faith in his friend who continued to feed him excuses from the believable to the most ridiculous, just in a bid not to remit him his due, even on one occasion where he accompanied Gadar on his trip, and he saw how much was paid to haul goods, yet he was given nothing once the goods were delivered, nor days after when time was yet again ripe for delivery.


You can imagine how frustrated and angry Kush was, when about six months into the operation, Gadar visited Kush, who was expecting that some good news was about to come his way that evening, only to learn that the camel broke its leg in the last journey and the injury was so bad that it couldn't be moved from that location back to their village. Kush was further infuriated by the fact that Gadar also asked for aid to help him repatriate the camel back to the village like he was entitled to such an aid, and wondered where that was to come from.  At a time his "venture of help" had almost bankrupted him, and he was finding it difficult to meet up with his numerous obligations, also to those through which the now injured camel was acquired. He was too stunned by the turn of events to speak, that he couldn't immediately respond to Gadar's request.


Gadar left a dumbfounded Kush that night for his abode, and avoided him for the weeks following that visit. Kush, not willing to give up even on a bad deal would once a while inquire about the status of the wounded camel and Gadar would offhandedly tell him that he hadn't raised the means to retrieve it from where it was last taken. It took another two months for Gadar to eventually repatriate the camel, only to dump it at the animal infirmary in their village. Seeing that if left to Gadar alone that animal will die, so also so what he'd put in, including the hopes of several others who believed in him, Kush took it upon himself to restore the beast of burden, once again with the help of those who were kind enough to enable it in the first place. He marshaled out a plan to ensure that he avoided the mistakes of the past, as the wounds of the camel was tended to at such great a cost, for which Gadar never showed interest, nor offered any form of apology. That was how Kush learnt in a very hard way that, "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished".



'kovich



PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ART00217/

Sunday, December 25, 2016

IGBO CHILDREN'S INABILITY TO SPEAK THE MOTHER TONGUE

Two weeks ago, I attended the end of year party of my village union in Lagos, and as usual members came with their families, even friends. The party started as in the afternoon with prayers, I came in to meet a member praying the kind of firebrand prayers that you'd often see with Pentecostals, you know, the type that's quite physical and hysterical, with shouting and gesturing, and even though I was seated in front because of my position in the union alongside other members of the executive, I wasn't intimidated by looks from those compliant with prayer directives to put my hand on my head or elsewhere, or raise my hands to make one prayer point or another, in response to this pastor-member who said "finally" more than four times before bringing the prayer session to an end. As if the chairman felt that the prayer may not be received in some parts of heaven, he asked another pastor member to summarize the prayers, who this time with a low voice and calm mien, helped the plane to touch down.


Prayers made by pastors was quickly followed by the breaking of Kola, by the chairman, secretary and another member of the high table, who took turns to pray for the health of all those present, as well as members who couldn't make it, to which we all responded with "Ìseeeeee", on the various occasions. In previous years, we didn't have a compere take charge of the end of year party, so when this young man came up to handle the "mic" while food and drinks made their way to the tables, I joined others present to see what he had up his sleeves. He was totally uninspiring, had dry jokes, made no effort to endear himself to the "strong men" present, even if with the intention to milk some "change" off them by massaging their easy to rouse egos, rather he went about disrespecting them at the slightest opportunity he got. So much so that they turned to the DJ to cut him off, and continue to play just music, and that state of affairs prevailed for a while.


But the MC wasn't going to take that lying low, he picked up the mic again, got the DJ to cut the music, and after the high table people extracted a promise from him to be courteous he was once again allowed to do his job. This time he wanted kids to come play games for prizes which he had packed in a bag. The game was such that the kid who had mastery of Igbo will go home with the prize. I began to sense trouble here, seeing that been born and bred in Lagos I couldn't until a few years back, speak the Igbo language and still not even fluently at that, and I'm edging closer to my fourth decade on earth. I learnt to speak Yoruba and English before Igbo and I know that it's even worse with today's Igbo kids born and bred in Lagos.


The kids of course didn't disappoint, many of them couldn't say their names in a sentence in Igbo language. They were certainly worse than I was at their age. They didn't know the name of their village, neither could the majority make a simple sentence in the Igbo language, the only girl who did, and knew the name of her village amongst other sundry, wasn't even from our village but was on holidays with the family that had brought her to our end of year party. Now, this was the last straw that broke the camel's back for the MC, as he started berating the children who couldn't speak the mother tongue, even directly casting aspersions on their parents. I'd excused myself to go take a leak at a nearby gutter away from the location of the party, in order to relieve my bladder of the stout that was about to burst it, which seemed apart from the semovita and bitter leaf soup, the best things that was happening to me at the party, only to find the MC been hassled out of the venue by some of the men at the gathering on my return. Apparently, the parents must've had enough of his shenanigans and would rather see the back of his head than continue to stomach the shit he was spewing at them.


I couldn't care less, I'd thought he was a mistake right from onset, especially when he failed to use the opportunity provided him to kiss arses and make himself some cool dough, but he went totally in the opposite direction, even to the extreme at that and he deservedly got what was coming to him. So the party continued without him, wining, dining, feasting and dancing. Kids were organized to dance and
each of them got a prize, then the adults danced, drank (so much alcohol), then packed excess food home in takeaway packs afterwards, thus we ended the year on a somewhat happy note, post-the crazy compere.


On my way home however, I reflected on what had happened, and was deeply saddened by the fact that our children couldn't speak our language. I was self taught, which is why I don't speak my exact Igbo dialect but what you might term "Lagos Igbo", the only time I appear to speak a better Igbo is when I read it, and I do write less excellently though, because of my deep understanding of the Yoruba which isn't too different from the Igbo both in reading and writing (I have a good WAEC result in Yoruba, in the days when "expo" or "orijo" wasn't a thing, to back that up). It was painful to see Igbo parents who had better Igbo upbringing than I did, make the same mistakes my parents made in this day and age of identity seeking and promotion. I even noticed some parents expressing their displeasure when the DJ played strictly traditional "Egwu Ékpílí", because they considered it pagan, preferring their children danced to Igbo church music, or the explicit lyrics of "Phyno", the Nigerian hip-hop act that raps in the Igbo language.


The only tribe in Nigeria that seems to be doing very little in promoting the mother tongue, even in the homelands, are the Igbo. When I travel back home, which is almost frequently for several engagements, I see kids there trying to impress me with the English they learnt at "Nt'akala" classes, wanting to be like their Lagos-Igbo counterparts. Unfortunately, I do not know what we should do, besides bringing this to the attention of Igbos, so we begin to think of how to address this anomaly. I hope that when we have our first village meeting next year, that attention will be drawn away from the events surrounding the MC-ing at the end of year party, which I'm sure will be raised, and apportioning blame to whoever thought him a good idea howbeit for the first time in the history of such parties; to looking at the salient issue the MC raised and exposed, though in a rather tactless and uncouth manner, in a bid to redressing the shame. Ìgbò, E Kène Mu Únù!


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.iheanyiigboko.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BUHARI, SO FAR, SO .....?

It is not just enough to simply stave off the growing concern of public spirited Nigerians about the direction the anti-corruption war is going, following recent revelations involving members of President Muhammadu Buhari's sanctum sanctorium, dipping their hands in the national cookie jar, by claiming that it is corruption fighting back. In the past few days, and weeks before that, even those who believe that the senate is on a revenge mission against the presidency, in the recess of their minds wonder how it came to be that the one on whose shoulders rest, the investigation and prosecution of the corrupt, hasn't himself approached to equity with clean hands.
EFCC BOSS, MR. IBRAHIM MAGU, WHOSE CONFIRMATION THE SENATE HALTED FOLLOWING SECURITY REPORTS BROUGHT AGAINST HIM, AND SECRETARY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BABACHIR LAWAL WHO ALLEGEDLY AWARDED CONTRACTS FOR "CLEANING OF INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES" AT IDP CAMPS FOR MILLIONS OF NAIRA, AMONGST OTHER CONTRACTS RELATING TO IDPS TO COMPANIES IN WHICH HE HAD INTEREST.


Even if they choose to close their eyes to it, the picture of the dying malnourished in the various Internally Displaced People's (IDP) camps in the northeast of Nigeria, mainly due to diversion of funds meant to ensure that such an outcome doesn't become today's narrative, by the secretary to the federal government via proxies, from irrefutable evidence not just as presented in the senate, or in the press, from whose eyes the scales appear to be gradually falling as regards their posture to this "saintly"  government, but even from reputable civil society, will make even the ardent supporter (though definitely not the incorrigible zombies, akin to the "walkers" in the walking dead), shudder to the bone.

 MALNOURISHED CHILDREN AT AN IDP CAMP IN BORNO, NORTHEAST NIGERIA.

Hence, the children that supposedly escaped death by the hands of Boko Haram, the funds of which was meant to decimate became frittered away by the past regime, now face death by starvation and malnutrition, after funds grew wings under a "puritanist" government supposedly elected to right the wrongs of the past.


The last straw that they seem to be hanging on, remain the so called incorruptibility of the god-hero, Buhari forgetting that this isn't the first time something like this will happen, seeing that if you consider when he chaired the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, or was military Head of State, or as Petroleum Minister, this is more like deja vu, where he rants like the loan voice "crying in the wilderness" against corruption, yet associates (many of which he  nepotistically enabled into high profile positions) of his with impunity perpetrate the same ills to high heavens, daring anyone to bat an eyelid. Unfortunately, this is one man that never accepts responsibility like Adam in "the fall of man", even when the buck naturally should stop at his desk, not just for present sins, but for past sins against Nigerians and their psyche while in power, in the corridors of power, even in seeking power.


There's no gainsaying that the lopsided anti-corruption war has hit a brick wall, as many of the opposition politicians who hitherto felt the heat as they were rounded off to detention and to the counts have now begun to find the whole exercise amusing, to the extent of posing for selfies while in detention,

REUBEN ABATI, MUSILIU OBANIKORO, FEMI FANI KAYODE AND OTHERS POSE FOR PICTURES WHILE IN EFCC DETENTION FACILITY RECENTLY.

after discovering that the whole process had been what they guessed it to be, a charade, with some of the crafty ones decamping to the ruling party to attain the sainthood that automatically accrues to members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC regardless of whatever type of corruption (and innocent lives that might have been lost by their actions and inactions) they might have committed either at state or national level, in order to have their cases at various levels of prosecution stalled and/or possibly stopped. The only ones not finding it funny, remain those with whom he has personal grouse, or whose people's quest for "self determination" he loathes with a vengeance, who despite courts of competent jurisdiction, locally and continentally, ruling to the effect that such "political prisoners" be granted bail, he continues to turn a "deaf ear" to.

FORMER NSA, IBRAHIM DASUKI AND PRO-BIAFRA LEADER NNAMDI KANU, WHOSE CONTINUED INCARCERATION APPEAR TO BE AT THE PERSONAL BEHEST OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI. 


Now, the renegades in the ruling party, once slated for slaughter, have now become favoured brides of the president and

ONCE VILIFIED SENATE PRESIDENT, NOW THE NEW WINE IN ASO ROCK. 

presidency, whose listening "ear", he's no longer reluctant to lend, as the reality of 2019 dawns, without an attendant waning of and for the allure of power, even if it's just for the sake of bagpiper soldiers rising to almost every occasion at the whims of the handlers of the president,

BAGPIPE PLAYING SOLDIERS, A NEW FEATURE SINCE PRESIDENT BUHARI CAME TO POWER LESS THAN TWO YEARS AGO, AND GROWING TO BECOME A REGULAR FEATURE WHEN THE PRESIDENT LEAVES OR ARRIVES TO THE COUNTRY, AMONGST SEVERAL OTHER SUNDRY OCCASIONS. 

even at times when their melodious presence are totally uncalled for. It doesn't matter if the ministers have performed woefully since assuming office, or availed themselves of the opportunity of a budget presentation to the joint sitting of the National Assembly, by their principal to "sleep",

SOME OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI'S MINISTERS SOMNOLENT AS THEIR PRINCIPAL PRESENTS BUDGET 2017 PROPOSAL TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

or have provided much needed comedy (and embarrassment to the government, and country before the world) with their positions on issues, comments, statements, even turning the English language on its head, to Nigerians at a difficult time as this. The economy can go to hell, even the Naira that's speedily becoming toilet paper before foreign currencies can discover oil for all he cares, retention of power by all means necessary seems to be the byword of his party, with the "Independent" National Electoral Commission, INEC honing it's skills, with smaller but bloody and controversial elections (a reason a Buhari is now the last person Gambia's Yayah Jammeh is willing to listen to, as negotiations to persuade him to hand over power to his victorious opponent in the country's last presidential elections continues) in preparation for the year of the dog and baboon, as he seeks to destroy the ladder by which he ascended to power.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.google.com/amp/www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/sen-wabara-calls-resignation-magu-lawal/amp/
- http://buzznigeria.com/starvation-children-borno-unicef/
- https://www.google.com/amp/punchng.com/top-social-media-photo/amp/
- http://www.post-nigeria.com/buhari-set-to-release-kanu-dasuki-others/
- https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.naij.com/amp/655735-photo-see-president-buhari-senate-president-saraki-today.html
- http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2016/02/buharis-strange-scottish-bagpipers-at-abuja-airport/
- http://www.nigerianmonitor.com/buharis-ministers-caught-sleeping-during-his-2017-budget-presentation/

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

RELIGION À LA NIGERIA

I found myself in a situation last week, when my insomnia kicked in a great deal and I yearned to swipe over qwerty my thoughts, but was in a quandary over what to write, or recycle. To my aid came Philip Ip Lyricx and Snagga Mwangi, of Nigerian and Kenyan descent respectively. Ip wanted my view on how Islam and Christianity came into Nigeria despite protestations from me of not been a student of history, at least of the academic type, as well as what differences are there between the old and new testament, while Snagga advised that I start to run a review of the New Testament alongside the Old, seeing that at the snail speed I was going with the old, I'd be very advanced in age, probably list some cognitive skills by the time I'd get to the new. They both steered me in the direction of religion, and indeed very controversial aspects of it. This will be the first of two posts that will address the issues both of them raised.


Google is anyone's best bet when it comes to history these days, hence I won't even make any attempt to try to compete with the masters on any subject related to history. My intention here is to draw attention to how the past of the advents of these religions have led us to where we are in Nigeria today. While serving (NYSC) in the northwest about a decade ago, my direct boss startled me, when during a discussion, he said the religion of his people had always been Islam, and though he was much older than me, I wondered how much of history he knew to make such an assertion, when it is widely known that Islam came to those parts (not homegrown) from North Africa, even from the Arabs in the middle-east, and to the untiring effort of spreading the religion attributable to the jihad by the revered Sultan, Uthman Dan Fodio, who established a sultanate in Sokoto, from where he installed his kin as Emirs over conquered swathes of northern Nigeria, even as far as some parts of the west.


On the other hand, Christianity made inroads mainly in the south via the sea of European traders, first the Portuguese then much later the British as they traded with the peoples of those regions. By the time they got to the north, there was already a dominant Islamic culture, that could account for the posture which I stated earlier that my former boss took, concerning Islam as being his and his people's religion. The Christian missionaries didn't let that deter them but forayed further inland, and backed by the subtle coercive powers of colonialism much later, planted seeds of Christianity even in the most uttermost Muslim areas in the north, bringing with them schools, hospitals and churches, though not as widespread and vigorously as they did in and with the south, in order not to rock the boat of an institution they met on ground, that helped them keep the north in check and pliant to their overall rule.


The northern oligarchy and the extent of the caliphate in Sokoto was allowed to maintain and keep the power they had over their people and vassals, because that helped the British colonialists by way of reducing efforts channeled into governance seeing that a de facto  government was already in place. The tiny pockets of several governments and rulership and no governments/"republicanness" in many places in the south, meant that the British must intervene directly and forcefully, and their instruments of coercion extended from the mild and subtle in the many churches, schools and hospitals, to the brutal in police stations, prisons and the likes. They succeeded in even making some of the natives in the south forget and turn their backs on their culture, religion and the likes, replacing such with western ideas, where they could.


Today, the dichotomy in the manner in which Islam and Christianity came into Nigeria, appear to continue to determine how both are being propagated, as well as how they go about their business. The European missionaries passed their Christian message across using schools and hospitals as their main tools, especially in the South, these were mainly free (where fees were charged, there was also scholarships by the church, community or government to aid indigent students), while the community in most cases also contributed human and material resources to see to the successes of such institutions situated within their locality. Today schools and hospitals owned by the big Pentecostal as well as orthodox churches charge fees that are far beyond the capabilities of tithe-paying members whose contributions in the first instance enabled the much, if not all that went into the construction of the edifices that house the institutions, in fact in some cases, these offerings in church continue to fund the running of such institutions as going concerns, while the profit would usually go to owners or so called General Overseers of such churches, who live larger than life existences with the humongous proceeds, literally turning from Men of God to "Gods of Men".

GOD OF MEN, PREACH SPIRITUAL SECURITY TO THEIR FOLLOWERS, BUT ENGAGE PHYSICAL SECURITY FOR THEMSELVES. 

On the other side of things, there seem to be a resurgence in Jihadist tendencies amongst certain extremist Sunni Islamic groups in Nigeria's north, with the aim not only of ridding the north of Christians, animists, and most recently of Shiites, but also of not relenting until the Qur'an is dipped into the Atlantic Ocean in the South. While Boko Haram, like Maitatsine before it are the major anti-Nigerian Islamic insurgencies, more profound are the state sponsored, enabled, encouraged most times, activities of intolerance that bares it's fangs in the north, in the name of operation of the Shari'a law (seen in such parts as superior to the Nigerian constitution), attacks and lynchings of Nigerian, mainly non-Muslims accused of blasphemy, abduction and forced marriages to Emirs and Muslims of Christian underaged girls without the consent of their parents, amongst the general intolerance of people of a different opinion either politically or religiously, but have harm even death visited upon them under the guise of religion. Even more dangerous is the lack of will to prosecute and bring to justice perpetrators of hate crimes upon Nigerian citizens in the north because of differences in religious beliefs, coupled with outright genocide currently ongoing in the north-central region, and of late spilling into some parts of the south, which many suspect is in continuance of the agenda to dip the Qur'an in the Atlantic, using the excuse of herdsmen/farmers clashes, when most of the victims were murdered while unarmed in their sleep in their homes, while at work in the farms, or just being about in their location, by marauding so called Fulani herdsmen. Unfortunately, some of the funding of acts of terrorism within Nigeria and out of it, come from simple donations made in mosques even by moderate Muslims who think only to do some acts of piety in the name of Zakat.  A few even make donations on TV, on some Muslim shows that may look peaceful in outlook, till they start talking about the sufferings of Muslim Ummah in places like Somalia, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, even Nigeria, then ask for donations or those willing to help to call certain numbers via which aid can be pledged, when obviously aid organizations working in many of these places are Christian or western, with a sprinkling of Muslim organizations, some of which face investigations by international financial authorities for money laundering, especially on behalf of international terrorist organizations.

RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IS BECOMING RULE RATHER THAN EXCEPTION IN NIGERIA'S NORTH. 

It's how we have found ourselves in a so called secular state that's no more than a religious state in actual fact, at war with itself. Recently I drew the attention of a colleague to how the two weeks of Christmas and New Year will gravely impact our business because of Christmas and New Year falling on consecutive Sundays respectively, and how Christians would insist on at least two working days after the appointed days, especially in a year when the sultanate wrongly predicted the appearance of the moon, which should signal the beginning of a Muslim festival that normally lasts two days in Nigeria, leading to a situation where it now lasted three days. It is that attitude that makes Nigerian Christians the only of their kind worldwide that go on pilgrimage, even when it isn't a stipulated "pillar" of their religion, which brought about an unfortunate situation recently where in the face of the dwindling fortunes of the Naira before the Dollar, yet it was heavily subsidized initially for Christian pilgrims, then much later for their Muslim counterparts, while Nigeria's foremost tomato puree company teetered on the verge of collapse, as the government continually turned a deaf ear to the pleas of its owner for foreign exchange relief to enable him meet his local and international obligations, amongst several such companies which had laid off staff severally, even shut down operations as Nigeria's economic woes deepens.


When I think about religion in the Nigerian context it's only aches and pains at the hurtful things it's done us than the good it's brought our society that readily comes to mind. The so called good is even such as bordering on selfishness and self preservation, "God-be-with-me-while-others-can-go-to-hell" mentality pervades the land. When the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola delivered a speech at the convocation ceremony of the University of Benin last week, he recounted a story about a professor who knew well to separate church/mosque from state in his mind, and in outlook, and how he as well has managed to do likewise, and though you could fault Fashola, a Muslim on many grounds, as former governor and now minister, you cannot deny the fact that his very cerebral personality, and his accompanying work ethic. Unfortunately, the larger population are still in the darkness imposed on us by religion, that's why metropolitan Lagos is littered, not only with churches and mosques, as against edifice and infrastructure that speak to growth and development, but also (especially at the crossroads) with earthen bowls of sacrificial food, fruit and barley offerings to gods and spirits, so strategically placed by some Lagosians, in the thick of night invoking such "powers" to intervene in trivia that the west have learnt to solve with logic, science and technology. The west having become their own gods, to the abandonment of the ones they sold us in their land, have variously converted the worship places of their gods to museums somewhat, or civic centres, some of which they use as voting centres, as I observed in the last presidential elections in the USA. Abeg, I don taya jare!


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.naij.com/1059328-see-number-security-men-follow-pastor-ayo-oritsejafor-wife-around-photos.html 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MY EVENING WITH LAGOS' RADIO STATIONS

Again, the radio takes over by six o'clock in the evening for another two hours, when I close from work and make my way back from Lagos Island to my home on the mainland. I tune in to INSPIRATION 92.3FM for the news that lasts ten minutes, then follow that with the more comprehensive news of Nigeria's first privately owned radio station, RAYPOWER 100.5FM, that has correspondents reporting as you'd find with the dour reportage of most  government owned stations, complete with static in the background. What I miss in the first ten minutes, I will hear again when the news is being recapped. By six-thirty I flip to CLASSIC 97.3FM's fifteen minutes of news, which feels like an elaboration of exactly what I've heard on Inspiration FM already at six (with more sound bites), but hardly as concise as Raypowers'. News on Radio Stations in Lagos is more like the News Agency Of Nigeria, NAN distributing the same content to the different media houses to do with it what they wish. It's so bad sometimes that you'd hear the same news, with the same lettering and wordings from different stations, especially the private ones, without even an attempt at rephrasing it. The next fifteen minutes before seven, and the other fifteen after seven I spend listening to what other stations have to offer, or go back to my soundtrack for the day to get inspired for the night.


I used to listen to SHARING LIFE ISSUES with CHAZ-B, immediately after the six o'clock news on INSPIRATION FM, while he was alive but it was becoming ridiculous, both topics and solutions provided for problems, that I was skipping episodes already weeks before he died. The attempt to keep the program alive in his memory, in my estimation has failed, especially with constant  movement of the program from one station to the other. Presently, I can't even say off my head now, which station is airing it, that's even besides the mediocrity on display with the new hosts and crazy callers to the program who come up with the strangest of problems that are never theirs but of their friends, as if even if that was true, it was right to backbite or gossip about their friends' emotional challenges, especially of a sexual nature and demons on radio.


J-A-J's TOP SEVEN JAMS AT SEVEN, on RHYTHMS 93.7FM used to cut it for me at some point, in fact it used to be where I go to for the latest in hip-hop, and I can't really place my hand on the real reason why I stopped spending thirty minutes listening to that program, even though that part where the host (aka The Mega-Don) inserts his eternal rap skit towards the end of the show, was beginning to get boring. Nowadays, it is only by chance that I fall on the program, just to probably lighten up the evening before I tune-in to KUBANJI DIRECT on RADIO CONTINENTAL 102.3FM, hosted by a CITIZEN JONES (USEN), veteran journalist in memory of the pioneer host, the late Momoh Kubanji (just like what was later attempted with Chaz B to not so much of a success) who died a few years back.

CITIZEN JONES IN THE STUDIO.

Radio Continental, like some other radio stations in Nigeria, is owned by a politician. It isn't surprising therefore that the narrative is usually skewed in favour of the political leanings of the owner of such media houses, hence radio stations like Raypower and Rhythms carry news that favour the People's Democratic Party, PDP while Radio Continental favour the All Progressives' Congress, APC. Nowhere else is the corrupting influence of a politician affecting reportage and even the discuss on radio more prominently than at Radio Continental. It is as if the news is vetted by the Lord owner before it goes on air, in fact in the sister TV station (TV Continental), you can see the eyes of presenters doting behind the cameras like they're receiving reprimands when they seem to stray from the political line issued them for onward projection on screen. The name of that one-hour program with four women, one of them a Muslim woman with hijab on TV-Continental skips me now.


That's how a beautiful program like KUBANJI DIRECT became one sided, shutting it's ears to opposition, now that the party it promotes is in power, unfortunately at the hands of a veteran journalist, who should know better. It is so bad that even as lately as last night, a contributor via Twitter accused the host of his bias, in favour of the ruling APC, just like I did weeks back trouncing the program for lacking intellect backed discourse, and was surprised to

hear my tweet read on the program, of course with the host brushing off my observations with a wave of his hands, and one of his minions rushing to attack and start a Twitter war with me. Interestingly, now that his paymaster appears to be at loggerheads with the echelon of his party, time will tell how long he can continue to back a directionless  government that he and his likes helped foster and continue to goad on, in spite of the truth staring them in the face.


Despite the heavy journalistic misnomer that that program represents, I still listen to it. Yes, with the wide eyed, unrepentant protagonists of the present Human Rights abusing, economy debasing APC, and President Buhari sycophants like Alester Wilcox and Professor Chris Nwokobia guesting most times. Men who can't see anything wrong in a government that's driven the country to the precipice in less than two years. Once a while "Citizen Jones", will bring fair minded Nigerians to contribute and present alternate views, only to continuously shut them down, and even going ahead to express his own views when he shouldn't have one, at least while he sits as umpire in his program. It is with that program that I gauge the thinking of those who sold Nigerians a bad deal in the last elections, standing now to make excuses for a  government that has done nothing but fail to deliver on ALL its election promises, without missing any opportunity to put the blame on previous governments, even for mistakes that every rational human being can see was at the behest of the present government.


So, unfortunately my mornings aren't bettered by my evenings on radio. I wish I could have BBC on FM and not have to listen live with data, as it's embarrassing, except when I'm in the north of Nigeria, to go about with a transistor radio, scanning the shortwave at different times of the day for the signals of the RADIO STATION OF THE WORLD. I might just listen to music, but even the so called "more music, less talk" radio station is fast losing its signature brand with OAPs angling to hear their "fake accented" English most times they come on air, breaking sweet music just to vomit the most mundane of thoughts from the recess in their head. Sometimes, I just give up hope on political discourse on radio on weekdays and look forward to weekends, which again is more of the same when it's about politics, as you shall see when I dissect that also, to give you a peek into how radio goes with me on weekends.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://mobile.twitter.com/RC1023FM/status 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WHAT GOOD CAN COME FROM ZAMFARA STATE?

Unknown attackers on motorcycles struck late on Monday at a goldmine outside Bindin village in northern Zamfara state, Nigeria killing thirty-six people. I have read some other media reports which put the number of dead at forty, while many others were injured. Presently, the security agents haven't been able to identify the particular group responsible for this attack, meaning that the perpetrators like other times will roam free. In times past, it had been cattle rustlers who raid cattle herding villages in Zamfara to dispossess them of their cattle, but this time around it was different, making keen watchers of events there wonder if this group aren't cattle rustlers, or they were but because the gold miners were to be reached before the village, the cattle rustlers decided to make do with gold instead, which is easier to move, while leaving death and destruction in their wake. Among the dead were miners, gold merchants and others around the area at the time of the attack, with the police as usual releasing their vain age-old  statement of leaving no some unturned till the perpetrators are brought to book. Interestingly, just some weeks ago, it was in Zamfara, that the Nigerian military launched an operation to fight cattle rustlers, only for this to happen and they were nowhere to be found, as is norm with operations in Nigeria that have no Intel backing and support.


Zamfara state is hardly in the news for any good in Nigeria, so far as I can recall. If it isn't in the news as the first northern state to politicize Shari'a law, then it's about the amputation of a man for stealing, under an Islamic law superintended by the then child-bride loving governor, who's currently keeping dates with anti-corruption agencies in the courts for misappropriation of public funds while in office, for which not even a strand of his goatie has been singed for. If Zamfara isn't in the news for lynching of students and those who attempted to rescue them for blasphemy against the Prophet in Islam, then it will be in the news for "lead poisoning", as a result of illegal gold extraction with dangerous by-products like lead released to the surroundings, for which some remediation was undertaken some time ago, not by the local, state or federal  government, but foreign aid agencies, like Medecins San Frontiers, MSF concerned for Nigerians more than those that should, besides been saddled with the responsibility to bother about them, so much so that an American friend that was part of a group raising awareness about the issue in the United States confided in me, of her frustration with Nigerian officials looking to have their palms greased before they could be allowed to even come in to review the situation, before planning remediation.

A BOY MINER SHOWS OFF A PIECE OF MERCURY-GOLD AMALGAM AT A PROCESSING SITE, ZAMFARA STATE.


So, you won't blame me when my mindset is set towards another tragedy each time Zamfara is mentioned in the news. Just no good, "meTELLyu" no good. And it is very sad because there indeed should be good news about Zamfara and I will just focus only on one area for instance. Since the President Muhammadu Buhari-led  government came to power last year, all that talk about diversifying the economy has gone the way of other "politics/campaign idealism" that are never brought to realism or life by politicians. It even seems that the president's understanding of diversification is finding crude oil in the north, in the face of dwindling proceeds from sale of crude owing to falling crude oil prices and persistent bombardment of oil exploration facilities, platforms and pipelines by aggrieved Niger Delta militants, despite government's extension of the olive branch to active militant groups via elders from the region in a bid to have them persuade the former to rethink their involvement in economic sabotage.


This search for oil in the North has seen the Nigerian government pump humongous amounts in scarce resources, into the venture that have so far yielded little to nothing, abandoning the booming mining industry in the north, from which Nigeria gets virtually nothing, in the hands of the elite, lords, landowners, even paramount traditional rulers of such areas where mining is being carried out. It's a known secret that so much is made by these men so much so that they've become so strong, enough to scare any minister of mining from peeping into the activities of illegal miners and those who benefit from their activities. That was why, when Nigerians were celebrating the discovery of nickel in commercial quantities in Kaduna, I looked at such Nigerians as poor followers of history, for if not, they'd have known that  government isn't looking to mining as a way of diversifying the economy, as the overlords in the north aren't willing to share mining wealth with Nigeria, even as they look to claim the crude in the south-south as theirs, while never rejecting Value Added Tax, VAT from alcohol, which is not only considered Haram in their domains, but have state governments that set up paramilitary organizations like the Hisbah in Kano for instance, who as part of their terms of reference, have destruction of alcoholic beverages, anywhere they are found in the state, amongst other human right infringing activities that serve the religious inclinations of the northern Nigerian states, while at the same time, contributing virtually nothing to the nations' GDP.

ILLEGAL MINERS IN BAGEGA, ZAMFARA STATE, NIGERIA DIGGING FOR GOLD.


It is my hope that the government will look to Zamfara as a place to bequeath a model for the diversification of Nigeria's economy, using mining as template that will be replicated in other sectors, including agriculture, because the truth is that only a small, a very small number of Nigerians work in the oil sector. Others find occupation elsewhere, in many sectors official and  unofficial, that remain largely untaxed and undeveloped because the lazy governments at the centre and states rely heavily on that single product under the land of Niger Deltans and the South's offshore. Believe it or not, the Nigerian economy is already diversified, it is the revenue generation from the economy that is yet to be diversified, and sometimes when I look at what's happening now with crude I rejoice because it is a blessing in disguise, unfortunately if the  government fails to recognize it, we will continue to have pockets of attacks like the one in Zamfara days back, when we could have Nigerian or foreign companies legally mining gold, under state protection, with Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR that inhabitants of the region can benefit from at the behest of mining companies, besides revenue that will accrue to the state officially, rather than bribes to some big man or Emir somewhere. Unless we begin to think like this, then the search for the so called diversification of Nigeria's economy will remain but a fleeting illusion (a la Bob Marley), amounting to that proverbial (in Professor Chris Nwokobia's popular refrain) "search for Godot".


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.sweetcrudereports.com
- http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

MY DAY WITH LAGOS' RADIO STATIONS

So, on my way to work every morning, when I don't have, or haven't decided on a particular soundtrack to burn the grind time with, I listen to the radio. I do this also on my way back from work, when I take a break from the soundtrack of the day, having been 'pon deh replay all day. The hours specifically are from 7am to 8:45am and from 6pm to 8pm, which I devote to radio stations in Lagos on work days. While the weekends include 8-9am on Saturdays and 2-3pm on Sundays. These times I spend catching up with news and current affairs, while at other times I'm probably trying to listen in on the latest Nigerian and foreign music, or other special programs that have to do with health, entrepreneurship, and the likes on radio.


I wouldn't have been bothered to write this, except for the fact that recently I've begun considering changing that routine as the monotony is becoming dangerously unnerving, especially with news and current affairs interactive programs, following the last general elections last year, after Muhammadu Buhari emerged president with his party's CHANGE mantra, and the accompanying prosecution of an anti-corruption war, that only the blind and deaf can continue to hail as being not selective and vindictive. I don't bother listening to news in the morning on radio, because the morning's news aren't any different from the 6pm news of the day before, so I simply go for newspaper reviews. When I was an early riser and didn't have a deluge of TV series to catch up on, my day usually stated with the Yoruba language "Kókó inú ìwé ìròyìn" program on 92.9FM from 6:20am to 7am, before going on to 97.3 CLASSIC FM's newspaper review with Jimi Disu whose fixation with Buhari is legendary. You'd think that he has a shrine somewhere in his house where he worships and pours libation to him before coming to work in the morning. That's why I haven't gotten myself to follow him to LAGOS TALKS on 91.3FM from 9 to 10am, because of his very biased views and analysis of events, even as much as calling for extra-judicial measures in fighting the war on corruption, even while Nigeria remains a democracy. Unfortunately, he claims that his dead pan biased views and analysis are for the sake of children, who may be mislead by present events without guidance, while he on the other hand is busy stoking the flame that will burn them, should the grow up with the "I-Know-It-All" attitude of intolerance he promotes on air.

JIMI DISU IN THE CLASSIC FM STUDIOS.

It doesn't matter if the headlines are of an earthquake in Nigeria, or that the world is on the brink of extinction by reason of nuclear holocaust after Russia hypothetically struck first, and the Americans retaliating while in the throes of death, or any other apocalyptic scenario your dark mind can fathom, amongst others making the news; the man will simply latch on the one piece of news he may as well be jerking on, like the one this morning about the former Customs' Comptroller General returning a whopping ₦1 Billion to the Economic and  Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Even when subsequent news items about the worsening economic situation is read to him, he still somehow finds a way to come back to the issue of corruption, prodded by zombie followers, many of whom should know better than engaging in media lynching of suspects arrested for financial malfeasance (that are often times thrown out of the courts for lack of evidence, or poor  prosecutorial handling of corruption cases), mainly of the opposition in the last government, while members of the president's party, regardless of the number of times they trend on social media (where the lynching of the others, not in the good book of government take place routinely) for one act of corruption or the other, are allowed to roam free without as much as been invited over by the anti-corruption agencies to respond to allegations of corrupt activities, many of which are so glaring that even the blind can see, leveled against them.


Sports with Deji Omotoyinbo, still on Classic FM spares me "Uncle Jimi Disu's" shenanigans and dry jokes, which after fifteen minutes affords me the chance to listen to what's left of another interactive current affairs program on SMOOTH 98.1FM's "Freshly Pressed", a delight because of the sound analysis by Cheta Nwanze and sometimes Mazino, which is interjected most times by the female OAP, so called Miss Ireti with a fake British accent spewing the most shit on radio, with her half intelligent reviews and responses to text messages and tweets, especially when they are critical of her views. 8am is when I switch to "Daily Guide" on STAR 101.5FM presented by the duo of sisters' Moyo and Mofe Oyatogun, whose late father was a sportscaster of repute. Though in recent times, only Moyo appear to retain the slot anchoring and discussing as dispassionately as she can, politics and related sundry, the way the common man will understand, with guests on either side of Nigeria's politico-socioeconomic divide, though when the jobless Alester "Obama" Wilcox and his Buhari-praise singing, butt-kissing, boot-licking ass comes on air (almost as frequently as he parades radio and TV stations in the Ikeja axis of Lagos, like one looking to be noticed by the  government in power for his relentless effort at whitewashing their sepulchre), I'd brace myself for the most ridiculous of excuses for a largely underperforming government Nigeria has seen since independence. But I also am inspired by the charity work that both sisters have enabled with their program, and the side attractions from frequent callers like "Prince Y. S. from Amuwo Odofin". Sadly, both sister-Oyatoguns lost their beloved mother earlier this week (barely months after they lost their father), for which I, like many of their fans Lagos-wide extend my most sincere condolences.

A FULL STAR-FM STUDIO AS DAILY GUIDE IS PRESENTED WITH MOYO OYATOGUN, THE ONLY FEMALE WITH GUESTS.

When I'm in a good mood, I go back to listen to sports again on SMOOTH FM by 8:15am to 8:45 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, just for "The Tiger" Terga's beautiful voice and her analysis of almost all sports as she guests on a sports panel. Mehn, that chic knows sports, abeg. Even those very alien to Nigeria such as cricket, in fact I developed my love for F1 from her analysis, and then going further to make Lewis Hamilton my hero. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I may make the mistake of listening to showbiz gossip news on the same station, or remain with STAR FM to endure guests like Alester Wilcox or the one that calls himself a Professor, Chris Nwokobia with verbose yet repetitive use of certain vocabulary, in order to prove his learnedness, with submissions that are empty despite hiding them behind much words, as he continues to project a change, which he campaigned for, but jettisoned by those he helped to get to position (like they jettisoned him), stating that unless certain things are done, the search to take Nigeria to paradise will be like "a search for Godot!"


It's people like these I try to avoid by simply deciding on my soundtrack early. Not because they shy from the truth most times, but because they exaggerate facts and fail to balance their analysis, especially when it's politics. That one I certainly can't deal with, particularly when a medium as powerful as radio is involved, where lies can easily become truth because of frequent repetitions and subliminal inundations. But my morning ordeal isn't even as bad as that in the evening with the program I oft-listen to on my way back from work from 7 to 8pm. I could write a book on that one alone, unfortunately much of what I'll have to report is sad and shameful, of what Nigeria's media has become, and why the Nigerian free (private and non- governmental) news and current affairs atmosphere has lost reckoning amongst their peers worldwide, as they wallow in the pit dug for them by mostly politician-owners of the tools with which they ply their trade.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.classic97.net
- http://www.mobiletwitter.com/dailyguide

Monday, October 3, 2016

NEW YEAR 5777 & TRUMPETS

I have written severally about the FEAST OF TRUMPETS (CHAG ROSH HASHANAH in the Hebrew) in:
- THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS | https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/the-feast-of-trumpets/, and
- ROSH HASHANAH AND IT'S CONNOTATIONS | https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/rosh-hashanah-and-what-it-connotes/, also in
- THE  APOCALYPTIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS | http://madukovich.blogspot.com.ng/search/label/Feast%20of%20Trumpet?m=0, and would like to veer off a little into a related subject that many take for granted, but I feel is worthy of consideration to fully understand the import of this feast, as we celebrate the beginning of the Jewish Year 5777, today the 3rd of October, the celebration of which commenced yesterday evening, to end this evening.


We learned in social studies how back in the day communication worked amongst the ancients without as much as uttering a sound. A neighboring village could tell that the other is under attack when they see plumes of smoke, when people heard the sound of the gong or wooden hollow contraption called the "Ekwe" in Igboland (in southeastern Nigeria) they simply walked to the village square understanding that they are been summoned for an important meeting. To bridge the communication gap between the people and their leaders when Israelites were in the wilderness, on their way from Egypt to THE PROMISED LAND, especially in times of emergency, YAHWEH asked Moses to make "... two trumpets of silver,.... for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps" (Numbers 10:2).

SILVER TRUMPETS MUCH LIKE YAHWEH INSTRUCTED MOSES TO MAKE.

Blowing the trumpets in a certain way, meant the people "....will assemble themselves to (Moses) at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" (vs.3).
If only one trumpet is blown, only '... the princes, which are heads of thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves into (Moses)' (vs.4).
"The camps that lie on the east part goes forward", when an alarm is blown and if it's blown a second time the southern camp "... shall take their journey"  (vs 5&6). If you continue down the verses, you'll find that trumpets are to be blown during wars, such that the trumpet blown by levites was at some point used as the only weapon of war in bringing down the walls of Jerico, "... in the day of (y)our gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginning of your months," and indeed over just about anything that you may consider an event.

A JEWISH CHILD BLOWS THE SHOFAR

In essence, the trumpet plays an important role in the life of a Jew, as not just a means of communication amongst fellow Jews, but even between YAHWEH and his people, as you'd find in my other treatises before this where I went as far as mentioning the trumpets that will herald the end of days as vividly elucidated in the visions of John in the Book of Revelations. You may find commemorations of the blowing of the SHOFAR (Ram's horn), the metal trumpets, even the plastic Vuvuzela (popular in South Africa) today, in celebrating the feast and the New Year, but beyond all this is the message that's behind the celebration.

A SOUTH AFRICAN BLOWING THE VUVUZELA 

The feast reminds us to be conscious of our time. To understand our path and role in YAHWEH's great design, that predates us and will eclipse us. Like I was telling a friend recently, that though truly the hour nor the day, no one knows, but for the children of YAHWEH, just like Yahshua predicted, they will not be like the hypocrites who "... can discern the face of the sky" (Matthew 16:3) but can't discern the signs of the times. The discerning mind will understand for instance that though "... ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet" (Matthew 24:6), and will be unperturbed by the din of wars regardless of the destructive nature of the arsenals on display to be deployed. Knowing that only when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3), but will regardless not be complacent knowing that everyone's end is at death, and thereafter  judgment. It's why Yahshua didn't ask his disciples just to pray, but to WATCH AND PRAY, to have  understanding about events around them, so as to know exactly the direction in which to channel their prayer.


The trumpets are sounding today, more frequently than in our past, to herald epoch making events that will shape our future and many will fail to hear it, nay heed the message they bear, but only those with ears attuned to hear them will pick the messages emanating from them, to know when to "assemble or when to move", like how only TVs connected to decoders can receive coded signals from cable TV stations. It is why, when the last trump shall sound, only a section of the dead will rise at the sound of the trump announcing Yahshua's second coming, to eternal bliss (1 Thessalonians 4:16) while the rest will stay behind. It is the ears that have been tuned to hear this trump that while alive will change and the ".... corruptible must put on  incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:53). See how deep a simple trumpet goes to determine our existence, and understand why celebrating a feast devoted to its importance in our life is imperative if we must live holy and acceptable lives to YAHWEH our Creator and Rewarder. Have a fun-filled Rosh Hashanah!


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.biblestudyoutlines.org
- http://www.myinstants.com
- http://www.timesofisrael.com

Thursday, September 15, 2016

'76 AND "93 DAYS"

I am not a fan of Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry). I can't say I was ever a fan even in the days when I was either compelled to see Nigerian movies or see them for just about any other reason I may not be able to explain for now. Indeed, a few of the movies have impressed me, especially those from the stable of MAINFRAME PICTURES, because of the way Tunde Kelani stuck to and with standards as consideration, even over profits. Once a while one movie or the other comes along and you get this feeling that eventually we will get things right, and scripts will be better interpreted and make more sense overall.


I had always hoped that one day, Nigeria's story (not only of rituals, wickedness, negative  spiritualism, churchism, dry comedy, diabolism, of females useful only as sex objects in their scant dressing, cultism etc) nay history will begin to be told on Nollywood. It would be for me a reason to screen them on my phone, laptop or TV. When "HALF OF A YELLOW SUN" by Chimamanda Adichie was adapted for the screen I didn't waste much time before seeing it, even though it was at some point banned by the  government controlled film and video censors board because it dwelt on a very emotive issue (the Nigeria-Biafra civil war of 1967-1970), the ghost of which hasn't relented one bit in haunting Nigeria, seeing that major actors on both sides of the divide are still alive, with Nigeria not moved an inch away from the brink of disintegration, the subject on which the movie is predicated. In the end I was rather disappointed with the movie, which I found rather simplistic amongst other reasons I'd rather not go into now, even though it had foreign professional input, even international stars like Chinwetel Ejiofor who incidentally is of Nigerian descent, and Igbo parentage.


Then recently, I heard about '76 and I was intrigued. I waited for the same film and video censorship board to say something, yet I heard nothing. I felt it must have been a bold move for a Nigerian producer to touch on the subject of the coup of February 13, 1976 in which General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Nigeria's Head of State at the time was assassinated. Nollywood appeared to be telling doubters like me with that strike, that they weren't joking anymore, enough of "Aki and Pawpaw" teaching children bad manners, or producers connecting mishaps in people's lives to the diabolic, and the varying instances of bad research in subjects related to the medical, historical, traditional (for instance as regards how the Igbo "Igwe-In-Council" operates, amongst others) even socioeconomic lifestyles of average Nigerians. I have seen the trailer (which doesn't look any different from most Nigerian movie trailers) but not the movie, though I'd like to give the producers of this one the benefit of the doubt.

POSTER OF THE MOVIE '76


While I was pondering about how to go about seeing '76, "93 DAYS" which I'd followed since it was in the conception stage, immediately after we'd managed to put the EBOLA outbreak behind us, and Danny Glover visited (though not his first having visited severally to attend movie awards, even became an awardee at some point if memory serves me right). When I saw the trailer recently, I was glad that the period between the actual event and the movie depicting it isn't far and wide apart. I feel it's pertinent that for the lessons from the period a few months back, to be imbibed and not easily forgotten, the release of this film at this time is the best that could've been done. This, featuring as usual Hollywood and Nollywood stars and household names looks to me like a must see.

DANNY GLOVER IN "93 DAYS" 

Interestingly, I have found over time that when blockbusters are about to be made, there are names that feature in such movies that you would hardly find in your everyday Nollywood movies, because the caliber of actors and actresses you'd find in such  intercontinental and international collaborations such as "93 DAYS" are such that would never soil their reputation with the crap that Nollywood routinely churns out in the name of home videos. Even the Nigerian cinemas wouldn't touch these movies for a while, till recently when a few stakeholders in the industry started upgrading their acts, enough to begin to tempt perennial critics like me to begin reconsidering seeing Nigerian movies once again as pastime.


These few sparks in the sea of unimpressive performances by Nollywood practitioners, show that they can actually be better than what they currently put out. Even Africa is tired of the poo they'd have to put up with over the years because of lack of alternative from their own film industry and expectations are high for the pacesetting movie industry in Africa to pioneer the new way forward. Apparently, Nollywood must chart this next path, like it did the initial one on its own, as even the best intentioned Nigerian government hasn't done much to help, even when state governments like Cross Rivers incorporated a movie studio in the Tinapa project, it ended up failing because Nollywood had no input hence till date, like many  government projects in Nigeria without input of those meant to benefit, the complex remains, though completed, a white elephant project, hosting only once a while, conferences mainly by the state  government which would either not pay or pay subsidized fees to use the facilities, rendering the complex an unsustainable edifice, and not the legacy project the governor who conceived it meant for it to be.


Sometimes, the blame hardly lies with the government, nor with Nollywood, as with the proposed FILM VILLAGE that was meant to be built in Kano, to help move "Kannywood" (the Hausa-speaking film industry based in northern Nigeria) to Nollywood's level and hopefully beyond, but was thwarted by protests from Muslim clerics, who claimed that the film industry is anti-Islamic and would erode the good character of the youths of the region, even though the movie industry in that region, except for very few instances hardly deviates from what is culturally and religiously acceptable. Not even the fact that the film village was to be named after President Muhammadu Buhari (who apart from been a "son of the soil" is beloved of the people of the north, with a huge cult following, that cuts across all ages), could sway the hard-line stance of these so called policy-shapers and moral police of northern Nigeria, talk more the possibility of such a structure contributing employment and boost revenue generation at least to some extent in the region that's considered by their southern counterparts as consumers of wealth produced in the latters' region, besides engaging more youths in more productive activity than leaving them easy prey to religious opportunists who may engage them in destructive activities associated with terrorists, after becoming radicalized at the hands of Islamic Fundamentalists.


Even if it is true that the present crop of actors and actresses in Kannywood are people of questionable character and prostitutes, shouldn't the idea be to work at reforms, rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water? This is another area where the refusal to delineate between "mosque and state" is stagnating progress in the north of Nigeria. Interestingly, all of the morality of that region has not reduced by any means, the bloodshed, corruption and all the evil as you'd find in any modern society from taking root, even spreading from the region to other parts of Nigeria.


Before I digress (as I am wont to) any further, I want to congratulate those who made these two  aforementioned movies possible. For daring to tell our ancient and modern history via the screen, even when it isn't the easy way to go considering the complexities the Nigerian environment portends for those who dare. I will go ahead and plan to see both movies as soon as possible, especially "93 DAYS" seeing that I was also in the thick of things working in Lagos, with my protective gear daily as we hoped to stem the tide of a hemorrhagic fever that landed our shores from Liberia, and would've easily decimated the population of Lagos, even unto Port Harcourt in Rivers State, had it not been for the heroic efforts of the late Dr. Stella Adadevoh and her team, some of whom also lost their lives, to save us! The recognition the Nigerian government has failed to give these heroines and heroes, they will now get internationally, with the launch of this movie at various film festivals worldwide, screenings at cinemas home and abroad, as Nollywood hits another notch, in spite of its hostile surroundings.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.radiorepublik.com
- http://www.youtube.com