Tuesday, May 30, 2017

BIAFRA: FIFTY YEARS AFTER

I think it's disrespectful not only to the memory of the dead, but also an insult to the living, when the Igbo are asked to simply forget about Biafra, especially because those talking about it, moreso agitating for a sovereign state of Biafra weren't born fifty years ago when more than a million Igbo died from the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War (1967 - 1970). Was it not our literary hero, the late Professor Chinua Achebe (of THINGS FALL APART fame) who admonished that those who do not know where the rain started beating them, won't know where it stopped, which was reechoed by the late Reggae icon, Robert Nester Marley who sang that if one must know his destination, he must know where he's coming from in BUFFALO SOLDIER. How far has the denigration of history taken Nigeria as a nation? Jews worldwide never forget the holocaust, even though the number of those who actually witnessed those sad days continue to dwindle exponentially. No Armenian alive saw what their forebears experienced at the hands of Ottoman Turks, yet they continue to relive the events in literature, arts, music and so on, but in Nigeria, the Igbo must forget Biafra to move on, just fifty years after it was declared, and forty-seven after it became defunct? Just like that? Even if it's for peace to reign in Nigeria, can there really be peace without justice?


Rather than berate the Igbo for not forgetting the horrors of their past, other Nigerians must encourage them, and take a cue from us. I received with joy the news that the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua foundation deemed it fit to hold a Biafra themed forum days back, seeing that years back it was unfathomable that a Northern Nigerian group could mention Biafra, for all it connotes, much less organize a symposium seeking a way forward from that ugly past, when in fact a son of theirs totally unimpressed with anything Biafra is in power. Even if that program wasn't meant to coincide with the anniversary of the declaration of Biafra, as an independent state, the coincidence a few days to the day cannot be overlooked. In a Nigeria where justice is not only delayed, but denied the best victims of state orchestrated violence and impunity, including inactions (and the list is exhaustive) can do is remember, and never forget peradventure a Pharaoh "which knew not Joseph" will come in future and right the wrongs of the past, even if by making a symbolic apology, or something in the likes, far beyond any form of physical rehabilitation of and for the Southeast for instance. Therefore, for me anything that's done to keep memories of Biafra alive works for me, from sitting at home, to organizing symposia and talk shops, to peaceful demonstrations, amongst many other avenues that can be explored to bring the issue to the fore, not just locally but internationally.


When a friend called me some minutes ago, from Obigbo area of Rivers State in the Niger Delta, that she couldn't go to work today because of the sit-at-home instruction by pro-Biafra groups, I was not in the least surprised, because I hadn't figured that there'd be solidarity beyond the core Igbo states, though during several visits to Rivers State in recent times, I'd found that RADIO BIAFRA signals were clearer with more faithful listeners there than even in the heart of Igbo land, regardless of the fact that a few of the listeners aren't Igbo but of any of the tribes in Nigeria's South-Southern region. Prior to today, most Niger Deltans have gone on social media to denounce Biafra, and dissociating themselves from the planned "strike", if I may borrow that word. Pictures that have been streaming in online, as well as from some news outlets, show compliance especially in the Southeastern states, with scant to no traffic on major federal as well as state roads in the region, including of the ever busy Head Bridge connecting the
EMPTY HEAD BRIDGE INTO ONITSHA FROM ASABA, AS A RESULT OF "SIT-AT-HOME" COMPLIED WITH BY IGBOS IN THE SOUTH EAST.

heartland of the Igbo nation with the rest of Nigeria, between Asaba and Onitsha. Even banks, schools and businesses were closed down in those states, while outside of the
OTHER PARTS OF NIGERIA'S SOUTHEAST WHERE COMPLIANCE RECORDED ALMOST A HUNDRED PERCENT TODAY.

states, markets where Igbo traders form the majority were deserted by Igbo traders. That for me is enough, including the fact that despite all of the flexing of muscles, and show of strength exhibited by the security agencies, notorious for mowing down pro-Biafran activists and peaceful demonstrators in the past with impunity, there hasn't been any record yet of any casualty.


As an advocate of a BIAFRA OF THE MIND, I'd made my views clear in https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/biafra/ two years ago, and I do not hold a contrary opinion to those yet, despite all the noise and clamour surrounding Nnamdi Kanu whose incarceration by the Muhammadu Buhari government, against court decisions granting him bail severally, made him a cult hero amongst many a Igbo people, even though much of his views aren't exactly supported by mainstream Igbo. Since his release on bail on health grounds, no day has passed without the social media especially, and other mass media outlets highlighting one activity or the other he'd gotten himself engaged in, some flagrantly flouting his bail conditions, which I think was intentionally set to trap him in the first place, though it seems his prosecutors and government of the day don't seem keen to pursue that matter for now, for obvious reasons that might pertain to unnecessarily heating up of the polity.


What I think the Igbo should do right now is an introspection. It's true that the conditions that led to the civil war hasn't until recently changed so much, maybe there'd have even been no war had some voices been heard in the first place, and people not headily gone into an unwinnable war sake of an injustice they felt couldn't be righted by meaningful dialogue. In recent days, some have even mentioned the fact that there was more pride than commonsense at play in the decision to secede from Nigeria, and by extension go to war, but really who am I to judge, and what do I know. The mistake of taking one man's view only, as sacred should be discountenanced this time around. We are Igbo. We are consensus builders. Today we made a point, that the Biafran issue cannot continue to be ignored, but we must move ahead from there, and if truly the majority of Igbo people want out of this contraption called Nigeria, there are peaceful means of going about it (even the case for a referendum can be politically driven by representatives of the Igbo at Nigeria's National Assembly), as confrontation will only earn us the ire and  non cooperation of our neighbors, whose understanding we need to drive that agenda. However, if the opposite is the case, then we should also be willing to pursue agendas, politically, diplomatically and otherwise, to ensure a better deal for the Igbo, as with other ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian project, but all voices must be heard while we are at it.


'kovich

Saturday, May 13, 2017

LAGOS' "AREA BOYS" MENACE

Just about everywhere you go in Lagos these days, excluding the very posh areas, you will find social miscreants, popularly called AREA BOYS. I have wanted to write about this for sometime now, but somehow I just let it pass, because something I may consider more important happens and then I'll write about that. Even when some weeks back when the Okada rider conveying me through a very busy market was stopped by them, just to ask of me some money, I still didn't feel the urge to write, despite the fact that one of the duo who had stopped my bike man, had said something to the effect that, "we are doing this because you people said we should stop stealing", but I didn't let the shock that these could be robbers (sometime in the past, if not till date) perturb me, or register in my face, while his mate had his eyes glued to my backpack. I sternly but respectfully told him that I was struggling just like them, and as such didn't have extra change besides what I had on me to pay my rider, to give them, and they let us go.


This incident happened right beside a police traffic warden, who stood by watching, and this wasn't the first time it was happening to me. In fact, I could say I've become a veteran in dealing with social miscreants, though my response on each occasion to their antics belly the fact that I can read them like the palm of my hands. About a decade ago, when I returned to Lagos from a year in the north, and another in the Niger Delta, for work, I had this barber on the street where I used to live, always accost me for "change", just because we got to say "hi" to each other having known a mutual friend together. I'd give him something if I had, till someday I told him that he was better than me, seeing he had his business, even a family and I was unmarried and salaried at the time, and in fact I should be the one asking him for some dough, and not the other way round. I went ahead to rummage through his pocket for some money, came up short, and left. He never again bothered me.


I decided to write about this today because of what I witnessed last week. A sewage disposal vehicle had come to do their business in a house adjacent to where I'd gone to rendezvous with a client for some business, and some boys were there haranguing the driver and his mate for money. I know that there are some areas in Lagos, where you can't bring a container into the street, without "boys" been "settled", truck drivers conveying perishable and non-perishable goods are routinely "obtained" by these AREA BOYS, as they enter Lagos, even on their route to, and as they reach their destination markets or warehouses in town, leading to the extra costs of these goods at retail. What I was seeing for the first time, was the collection of "shit" fees by these boys, and I was left mouth agape while the brouhaha lasted, with the driver threatening to kill the boys should any of them stand in his way, after their job is done. If one hadn't heard the Yoruba language before, coming to Lagos for the first time, and not shielded from the common parts of the city, where these boys operate, almost everywhere in their every increasing numbers, you'd think "Owó Dà?" (where's the money?) is some form of greeting. It is the "rent-seeking" madness that is the true face of Lagos, especially amongst the so called indigenes, many of whom have sold their father's houses and estates, and frittered the proceeds away with their excesses, and now live by extortion, especially of those involved in the daily grind to make ends meet legally.  In recent times many of these have joined different cults and put the lives, limbs and property of innocent Lagosians at risk when they make war against each other during STREET FIGHTS in areas like Mushin, Bariga, Oshodi, Ikorodu and the likes.


Unfortunately, the Lagos State Government seem not to have woken up to the nuisance these Area Boys constitute. Their efforts have largely been restricted to the motor park touts (Agbèrò), who have now even
AGBÈRÒ LOOKING TO "OBTAIN" A BUS CONDUCTOR AT OSHODI, LAGOS, NIGERIA. 

resorted to plying their trades on the main roads, contributing to traffic headaches that bedevil motorists as well as pedestrians, in spite of efforts to curb their excesses. Even the law to criminalize the activities of Land Speculators and Grabbers (Omo Onílè) recently signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, remains just where it is on the paper where it is signed, while Omo Onílè continue to run things, so much so that a market was pulled down overnight, in the Sabo area of Ikorodu recently, with the Lagos State Government denying any knowledge or giving approval for the demolition, days after it had forcibly evicted residents of Otodo Gbame into the Atlantic.


The menace of these Area Boys haven't spared Nigeria's booming Nollywood industry too, so much so that there's been recent cases of disruptions of filming in several areas of Lagos by Area Boys, asking to be settled before filming can continue.

One of the actresses even lost her pregnancy after she was manhandled on set by these rent-seeking societal wretches. Till date, it's not a case the police is looking at. Now, Nigerian musicians go to Ghana if they can't afford South Africa to do their videos because unless you're from Ìsàlè Èkó, or streetwise, or willing to part with a substantial amount to these Area Boys, you can't shoot scenic Lagos, especially if you're doing a song that doesn't require the posh areas in the video. One can only imagine what the present situation will metamorphose to should this trend continue without intervention from authorities that ought to be concerned. Maybe, when the posh areas become invaded by these boys, we will begin to see action in that line. For now, as the  government and the elite of Lagos mark 50 years since Lagos became a state officially, I cannot but notice how the Area Boys have become a law to themselves, and a very visible but unpalatable part of the Lagos story.


'kovich 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

LEG OVER (REMIX) BY MR. EAZI

If anyone told me that I'd have playing 'pon deh replay, a song that starts with "Zagadat, Gbim Gbam Gbadi Ten Teh!", I'd laugh the person off like you'd do a stupid fellow, but I guess you wouldn't if it's the LEG OVER remix by Mr. Eazi featuring Wizkid, Eddie Kadi and Maleek Berry you're listening to. I haven't had the best of the last few days, and as is norm when I'm depressed, I turn to music, many times to the Hard Metal Rock, slow Rock, sometimes Rap music for the intensity, and lyrics that I can relate to. African  traditional music also, including those done in languages I don't understand helps take my mind of things a great deal. Nigerian music, especially by the young acts don't feature here because of their shallowness mostly in terms of lyrics, they find space when I'm in celebratory mode.


I'd heard LEG OVER the remix before, but really never paid it any attention, beyond believing that at some point, I would download it for my listening pleasure. It will interest you to know that I haven't heard the original, despite my madness for the remix, and that's for fear of getting disappointed, as it's been with other songs of his that followed immediately after this remix, the day I watched it on YouTube and fell in love with it, as I'm sure many others did going by the volume of covers it has already birthed, as well as videos of imitators of the dance steps on YouTube, with close to a million viewers of the remix video in such a short time since the release of the video online. I'm just content with the fact that the song did for me what I needed it to do for me, which is to distract me from issues bugging me, helping me clear my mind to channel thoughts to more productive things, even when I may not readily act on them.


Now don't look at me like I fell for the lyrics, because that didn't even happen. Though I know what's been talked about in the song, the lyrics formed part of the beats for me, as nothing in it could've helped assuage my situation in the first place. It's slow rhythm must be what drew me to it, and the simple ways the beats waltzes into one another. The intermittent percussion and the ever present string work, as well as the cymbal or shèkèrè-like accompaniments, not forgetting the "ekwe" (dunno what it's called in the English) somewhere in the mix.

You could also feel the influence of the Ghanaian HIP-LIFE sounds within it, with what sounded like Sarkodie's "Whi" chant spotting key junctions in the song. It wasn't difficult hearing Wizkid's voice on autotune during the hook with Mr. Eazi, a surprise for me in finding other listeners online insisting he wasn't in the song at all. Interestingly, not only was he in the audio, he also did a cameo in the video, which in itself wasn't bad. The girls looking to show everything in their dance style, showed very little, such that if you were apprehensive about having kids around while watching it, you might just end up being thankful that you hadn't rushed to jump to conclusion in changing the music channel because of the kids around you.


That was how I managed to distract myself from an awful week, by making this song my soundtrack. I just bopped my head to it, and all the weight simply dropped off, so I simply played it over and over again, until the weight didn't seem too heavy to carry anymore. That's usually what music does to and for me, the unusual thing about this one though, was that I didn't need the lyrics to minister to my soul, as the sound did just quite enough to levitate me from the depth of the sea, till I could float.


'kovich

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BORN TO RULE

I'm no atheist, and I've lived this far humbled at several points of my life by the Almighty, each time I forget my place. Hence you'd find me hardly ever speaking in absolutes not just because of my experiences, but because of the things I've learnt in the lives and experiences of others. I acknowledge the fact that people see Bible Stories as fables these days, and it's a hard sell telling them about events in the Bible or other scripture to drive home a point, even while preaching inside a church with a congregation of devout believers, which is why I make mention of things we are all witnesses to, or the history we agree upon.


Till date, I wonder if the explosion mid air of the Space Shuttle CHALLENGER had nothing to do with it's name. Or the fact that the crack and eventual downfall of the People's Democratic Party, PDP in Nigeria following the pronouncement by a prominent member of the party (who himself was booted out soon after) that it will rule for sixty more years, wasn't divinely instigated. Reminiscent of Babylon's famous King Nebuchadnezzar, whose madness drove him into the bush to live like animals, the very same day he realized his greatness and power, but again that will be drawing a Bible Story into this, something I'd rather wouldn't because of the afore stated.


I remember pleading with those deifying President Muhammadu Buhari during the campaigns to desist, because they weren't doing him a favour, drawing their attention to yet another Bible story, regarding Herod of the times of the apostles, who succeeded in killing James, then went ahead to arrest Peter for execution after a Jewish feast, but found himself worm-eaten alive, just after sycophants from Tyre and Sidon proclaimed him a "God", while Peter simply walked out of jail before that, but again you'd scold me for quoting Bible again.


So, I'll refer you to President George W. Bush, who after that 9/11 attack, was advised to tone down the initial theme of his war on terror, from INFINITE JUSTICE, seeing as he was man and even as a nation, none could be assured of infinite presence, enough to undertake any form of infinite justice, even for a just cause. So when religious, political and traditional elite from Northern Nigeria ascribe to themselves the title BORN TO RULE, and then act in ways to ensure that same subsists, by applying tact to maintain same by all means possible, I sit back and observe how the divine responds to this. Interestingly, in the case of Nigeria, the response has been quite loud, unfortunately not many a northerner, especially the so called "core" northerners, elite and "talakawa" seem to hear or acknowledge it.


Even when the Born To Rule mentality was imposed by coercion, beneficiaries were limited to a few elite from the regions were the mantra holds more than mere words, worse still now that it is via democratic trickery. The marginalized regions self developed, and today the part that was devastated by war has recovered so much so that besides lack of federal infrastructure, you'd probably think that is the side that in actual fact, is born to rule. The opposite is the case for the other which continues to be plagued by the poorest of human indices, interestingly only of the indigenes most times (as it was with the Hebrews in Goshen, spared of the plagues ravaging Egypt of the Exodus lore), while settlers from other parts of Nigeria go there to excel, amongst natives who become to them hewers of wood and fetchers of water, when they are not begging.


Unfortunately, when a member of the northern elite, a highly revered royal one at

that, sought to draw the attention of his peers to the sad picture and reality of their time, they ignored the message and pounced on the messenger, reminding him that whoever must come to equity, must come with clean hands. So, once again, the north has drawn Nigeria back again to her past, because they and their acolytes from the south (without whom, most times they cannot carry through with their Born To Rule agenda), failed to learn from history. Hence in just a few years from the Yar'Adua debacle we have found ourselves saddled with a president who should think more about taking care of himself, over and above a country whose hydra-headed problems he apparently can't fully fathom and comprehend, talk more even begin to scratch at the surface.


Sadly, this man must be propped up by so called Born To Rule cabals, who fear not just a repeat of what happened during the Yar'Adua era, but also anything capable of whittling their power, just about two years since acquiring it. A reason why, in what may seem against sound medical advice, they returned a convalescing President Buhari to Nigeria, and after a few public appearances where he admitted to have been very ill

(against government position of him been hale, hearty and even chatty, a la Vice President Yemi Osinbajo), to the present situation where he hasn't been seen nor heard from directly in days. It hasn't gone unnoticed though, how directives purportedly emanating from him have assumed a rampancy and frequency now that he's incommunicado, compared to when he was available, again reminiscent of those days with the late Yar'Adua, when personalities other than the president were pushing the buttons of state.


Unfortunately, the rest of Nigeria is watching these things with bated breath, and the voices (including that of the incumbent) that shouted their voices hoarse for Yar'Adua to relinquish power less than eight years ago, have today gone quiet, either because they are now in power, and it seems karma has caught up with them, or are afraid of how the Born To Rule propagators will react. Those who subscribe to the latter might not be totally wrong in their assertions, as rather than rationalize the situation, sentiments in the North and amongst many Buhari supporters, is that his illness, as yet undisclosed, is as a result of corruption (which he claims to be fighting) fighting back, and with the Facebook posts of a member of one of Nigeria's security agencies coming to light, where he warned he'd kill two hundred Nigerians of Christian faith and southern origin, should anything happen to his beloved president, one may guage the temperature of the north even if it is in the minority.


This state of affairs hasn't been helped by a president, who can be described as Nigeria's most divisive, who after a very divisive election did nothing to engender unity post elections, starting from the 97%/5%

comment abroad before the foreign press, to actualizing same in his appointments, to turning a blind eye to killings of innocent Nigerians, many in their sleep by his Fulani kinsmen, and while ailing abroad, called only Muslim clerics, as well as governors of core northern states who'd organized prayer sessions for his speedy recovery, while ignoring sections of the Nigerian public who do not fit the same ethnic and religious colouration, regardless of the fact that some of them also organized prayers, fast and vigils on his behalf. Now, we wait as usual for the divine to intervene as it is wont to, in the case of Nigeria, as it had always done when men arrogated to themselves attributes exclusive to the divine.


'kovich

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

OF SEX IN MARRIAGE

Today, I gained some insight into the mind of a woman, who left her marriage because of emotional torture. It is doubtful if she will ever heal and recover from that past. Her experience left her with the inability to ever feel any kind of intimacy with any man, while taking consolation in the product of that very short lived union.

It would appear that men and women sometimes go into marriage with different expectations, especially when it comes to sex. Where men celebrate the end to having to negotiate sex, women celebrate what they see as the beginning of a hard bargain by the man for same, i.e. with the former anticipating more (romps) at every given opportunity, while the later anticipates less, probably with more finesse, cuddling and the likes before copulation.


During that conversation, I was made aware of so many a little thing that a man does in the bedroom, that many a woman, despite the love for her husband, find quite appalling and degrading, which for some reason the woman interestingly managed to accommodate while dating the man, but feels that as her status moved to WIFE, she isn't required to any longer permit, but the man continues to expect such. The reason, amongst many, for which sex between the man and his wife then begins to record as a chore for her, and no longer some form of entertainment.


I left that conversation feeling like the best a man can do, especially the hypersexual, hyperactive, even sexually deviant male, who then find the marriage a form of prison (a confinement from which he cannot fully exert to the fullest his sexual proclivities), is to explore other mutually beneficial relationships of a sexual nature; where he  can exercise those exertions to the optimum, while preparing for those moments when the Queen is ready to receive him, and he's ready to reciprocate with the kind of aplomb she likes.


Of course, the fact that our society is one that is continually limiting the tendency of the male to be  simultaneously polygamous, it follows therefrom that such external liaisons must be conducted in utmost secrecy, to the extent that the man may die with his secret(s), after making necessary arrangements to ensure the financial security or otherwise, of the product or extra family from any of such now unorthodox dalliances. Life is too short for one to endure any kind of unhappiness, just to bring another, even the one s/he loves happiness.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.fapgasm.org

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NIGERIA'S ABSURD GROUP CHAT SPACE

The first CHAT GROUP I was added to was one by coursemates from my Alma Mater. I did decline a few others when I was approached to be included by other groups I belong to. However, I set up the one for my "Village Association"in Lagos, but made others administrators while I remained more like an observer than administering the group, allowing others I made administrators control things there. I have been invited to several others since then but declined, also removing myself from the one set up be former classmates, and leaving only the Village Association one, mainly because I'm a member of the executive, and it isn't a good example to set by staying away from it. This however hasn't stopped me from gleaning experiences from other people who belong to two or more Whatsapp groups to spice mine.


With the school chat group from which I didn't waste time removing myself, it was with the constancy with which the message poured in, putting a strain on my battery's life, at a time I was away from my location for days on end, on a business trip, that caused my angst with the group initially. Even if I had muted their conversations it would also have cost me in data, especially as some members of the group appeared to turn the forum into their family affair, discussing things that they could easily have done privately, in public (space of Whatsapp Chat Group). Feelers since I left, just days after the group was set up point to the fact that I missed nothing hence I hadn't made any mistake removing myself, and would only miss knowing what my peers are presently up to, though I definitely wasn't interested in the unofficial competition amongst group members in showing off their stations in life, and seeing those less fortunate as disappointments or beneath the "CHOSEN" in the way they respond in condescension to comments to those they deem to not have arrived, when they decide not to ignore them.


Like I said earlier on, I couldn't remove myself from the one setup by my village association because of my position, as well as the fact that I set it up for the group. However, my experience has been quite frustrating to say the least. The very day it was set up, some guy who wasn't even at the meeting where it was decided that a Whatsapp Chat Group be set up, inundated us the whole evening after the meeting with pictures of products of his trade, even in to the night till the next morning, after seeing that we had added his name, as with others. It didn't take long before some members of the group started removing themselves. I thought about blocking him, but I wanted others to react, especially the other administrators. Fortunately, the chairman belled the cat by politely asking the offender to stop posting the pics. That temporary relief was soon broken by other nuisances among which included a few guys who would ensure to post at least two pictures just to say GOOD MORNING to
A GOOD MORNING MESSAGE FROM THE INCORRIGIBLE "GOOD MORNING" CREW. 

members of the group. The constancy with which one member in particular posts these pictures every morning, is such that once when he failed to post one for the day, members suspected that something must've happened to him. Luckily, most of the pictures don't take too much data, but they fill the phones' gallery, that I now have an extra chore of having to delete these pictures as often as I enter my phone's gallery to do one thing or the other.


Another source of annoyance is videos, especially from those you know aren't active on social media, posting videos that had gone viral years and months back, like it just happened, but thankfully I simply delete them without even watching because experience has taught me that either I could never be interested in the kinda video that will be posted, or I'd have seen it elsewhere, especially on Facebook. Then the audio messages mostly from clergy of the churches some group members attend, and the many fake news, and long tales, many of which are unverifiable tales, a few of miracles that I simply don't bother to read. So, these days, once I'm going to be away from my phone especially before falling asleep, I simply put off the data service, so that chats hang till I wake to screen them, and respond to those I deem worthy of my time.


The most annoying on instant messaging platforms in Nigeria, or amongst Nigerians for me is the penchant for and rampancy in the distribution of alarmist information. You can never get enough of these from the fearmongering army that's made Whatsapp and other Instant Messaging apps their home, who on a daily basis dish out misinformation and disinformation geared at setting readers and believers of their missives on edge, and in perpetual FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN. The situation has assumed an alarming proportion, such that if what these purveyors of falsehood say about what we eat is true, for instance, then we'd be well off engaging in eternal fast, or live solely on water, which have also come under their microscope for condemnation as not being as pure as we thought, when they murmur about how water contains unseen chemicals capable of reducing our lifespan, even when apart from them not being scientists, present nothing but some flimsy test devoid of evidence of adherence to a strict scientific process, in cases when they intend to present their claims as not just mere hearsay, as proof that their lie is true. These set of Whatsapp users, when they are personal friends I totally ignore, while I warn a few at the risk of blocking them, but when such messages/videos appear on group chats I simply ignore, and allow the purveyors of alarmist news to continue to make a fool of themselves
THIS ONE FROM A FEARMONGERING ALARMIST.

before other members who also know that nothing such people say could be true or deemed as incontrovertible fact. Unfortunately, it must be, that the silent treatment has been interpreted by them to mean that they indeed have an audience, besides the few people who engage them in some conversation to ascertain the  authenticity of their claims. Luckily, there are better people than these on IM spaces that makes the place an ideal setting for the exchange of ideas as well as a nidus for the agglomeration and coalescing of thoughts, the reason why I still remain very active on such platforms, regardless of the nuisance continually posed by those who wish to sacrifice a technology built to further advance human communications and relations on the altar of mediocrity and charlatanry.


'kovich

Monday, March 6, 2017

A LESSON IN SEXUAL RIGHTS BY @BBNAIJA

Honestly, I had thought that I wouldn't have cause to write anything concerning the ongoing Big Brother Nigeria Show on DSTV, besides the regular pieces I put out on social media. To the extent that severally, I have avoided the temptation of airing my views over controversial events, opting rather to read other people's views on those matters, while keenly watching the show, when free at work, and back at home especially when my bout of insomnia strikes, as well as following reactions especially on Twitter.


I was not one of those Nigerians who viewed what was going on in the Big Brother House as "immoral", not because it isn't, but because of the legendary hypocrisy of Nigerians, relating some of the things happening in the House to the likes of what I (as well as many Nigerians) experienced during the one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corp, NYSC programs post graduation from Nigerian universities, of which many who did ignominious acts especially during the three-week camping period, have turned out to be done of Nigeria's most adaptable of individuals, excelling in the various fields of endeavour, including as pastors, and imams. When a popular comedian asked a pastor who had criticized the program and prayed that heaven visit calamity on the organizers of the program, I agreed totally with the former when he asked the pastor to organize a Christian reality show if he was unhappy with @BBNaija, rather than ask heaven to deprive people of their source of livelihood should his prayer come to pass. Besides, he has a choice not to watch in the first place.



I doubt that any adult that's sexually active will be locked up in that house, without having "agro" build up so much that it will take more than divine grace not to look for an outlet to "let off steam". Some, like "Thin Tall Tony" have managed to find in Bisola a receptacle to lodge a quantum of his DNA, on more than a regular basis, that could possibly explain why Nigerians have managed to ensure that eviction eluded them (because of the "SHOW behind the show" they provide when they can),

besides their personal efforts, like getting to become Head Of House and avoid eviction, but some others haven't been that lucky. So when Kemen tried to "finger" an apparently "unwilling" (because she was asleep) and unconsenting (in waking up and turning over in a bid to ward off the wandering fingers of Kemen) TBoss, it didn't feel right at all when I eventually saw it online, not live after learning on Twitter that such had taken place in my absence.

I have heard arguments to the effect that if TBoss didn't want anything to happen, he shouldn't have allowed Kemen to lie beside her seeing that Kemen is no eunuch, but that's much like saying that a half nude lady walking on the street is asking to be sexually harassed, molested or even raped. Rape can even be claimed when there's already sexual intercourse, and the woman says she's had enough. Yea, exactly just that, and it's incumbent on the man to at that stage, pull out! Now, seeing that this happened on foreign soil, South Africa to be precise, with lawyers waiting to lurch at opportunities like this, unlike where this could easily pass had it been Nigeria, the bigger implication is that the organizers of Big Brother Naija may need to have some sort of legal paperwork done, or some insurance to prevent anti-rape groups from accusing them of aiding and abetting rape, which may have influenced the action taken by @BBNaija in disqualifying Kemen, and evicting him from the house with immediate alacrity, once the fact of the act became evident.
KEMEN & TBOSS WHEN THE GOING WAS GOOD.

That is how the BBNaija accused of immorality by a large section of hypocritically "religious" Nigerians, taught the same people a lesson in sexual rights, that they otherwise will simply shove off with a wave of the hand as nothing significant and a non-issue. By this singular act of BBNaija, I will now devote more time to seeing the program live over just the highlights, now that I'm sure that there are legal boundaries that won't be crossed. Interestingly, it's beginning to look like a backlash is building up against TBoss in the house, and outside of it as Nigeria's Twitterati have noticed that every housemate that ever laid on TBoss bed have somehow managed to be evicted. This makes the show all the more interesting, as long as the lessons to be learnt isn't lost on the viewers.


'kovich


VIDEO CREDITS:
- YouTube


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://gbeduonline.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

DANFO IS LAGOS

I must confess that I've been having sleepless nights since news made the rounds that the Lagos State Government plans to introduce new "Combi" buses and phase out the yellow "Danfo" buses that's been one of the images of Lagos for decades.
DANFO BUSES IN ONE OF THE PARKS IN LAGOS, NIGERIA.

My fear wasn't unfounded, because over the years the mode and means of transportation in Lagos have experienced changes, leading to the phasing out of the Molue long buses (much like the American school buses though with rugged appearances, that was largely an eyesore to Lagos, at the time they were phased out) and replaced with BUS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM, BRT buses, which have their
BRT BUS AT A DEDICATED BUS STOP, AND DEDICATED LANE. 

dedicated lanes and corridors on major Trunk B roads, from which other classes of vehicles where banned from plying in the state, without any form of resistance either from the commuters or from the the operators, drivers, or from the umbrella body, the National Union Of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.


The success somewhat, of the BRT buses must've encouraged the Lagos State government to go a step further, to foray into the territory of the small buses, but I doubt that they'll find the exercise as hitch-free as it turned out with the phasing out of the Molue years back, and the reason isn't
MOLUE BACK IN THE DAY, WITH CONDUCTORS AT THE DOORS.

farfetched. The reach and route of the BRT buses are limited and for obvious reasons (size), and the fact that the Danfo competes on those same routes with it, hadn't been much of a problem, seeing that until recently the BRT charged less for the same journey, with less abrupt stops that's synonymous with the Danfo buses, and people had a choice and peace reigned in the land. The recent increase in the BRT bus charges for different locations that took effect today, have meant that commuters must've reviewed their options, especially as the Danfos have largely kept to their old charges, which was once considered more expensive compared to the BRT buses thereby giving it leverage over the small buses before now, leading to situations where commuters didn't mind long queues to go by the BRT bus than struggle at rush hour to board a Danfo bus for more to the same destination.
LAGOS STATE TRANSPORT  MANAGEMENT AGENCY, LASTMA OFFICIAL PHYSICALLY MANHANDLING A DANFO DRIVER (A COMMON SIGHT IN LAGOS)


Though the state government has yesterday denied it intends to phase out the Danfo buses, what it says it plans to do, according to the Commissioner of Transport, hardly looks any different from doing away with Danfo buses, as I can't envisage Danfo buses as presently constituted having free Wi-Fi, being air conditioned and the likes. Unfortunately, even the BRT buses that came air conditioned initially with in-bus entertainment have largely discarded them, with a few of them become reminders of what obtained in the past with the Molue. As recently as two years ago, I was in a BRT bus that was cockroach infested, hence I find it difficult to envisage how the so called buses that the state government will introduce, with all the "effizy" gadgets will remain in that condition for more than a few months without falling to disrepair and damage, due to our poor maintenance culture, especially when  government is in control, or as envisaged in a Public-Private Partnership, PPP arrangement, as has become unfortunately norm with everything Nigerian.


Let me go now to the human capital aspect of things. I have earlier on stated that since this made news, I have had sleepless nights, but this is due to the fact that I'm a stakeholder in the Lagos transport sector, and I see many in my shoes getting knocked off if this plan sees the light of day. The training of graduate drivers already to drive these buses for a fixed salary, already knocks off a large section of the non-graduate driver pool that makes up the majority of drivers in Lagos, besides how people who've lived their lives as they wanted, will now be coerced into living a salaried existence is something I'm waiting to see play out, especially in this situation, without sowing seeds of a future showdown between such drivers and the company that will manage the drivers. I don't even know if it's a ploy to checkmate this policy that informed the decision of the CONDUCTORS UNION (which before now, I didn't know existed) to decree uniforms for their members, but surely this policy will also render many of these "good" men out of jobs, especially if ticketing will follow the pattern of that with BRT buses.


Then the case of the motor park touts, popularly called "Agbèrò", who have also carried their business to the roadsides and middle of highways, becoming a menace to road users, including the miscreants amongst them, whom many Lagosians would not mind missing, comes to mind.
SOME "AGBERO" RESTRAINING A CONDUCTOR THAT RAN MAD IN IKORODU, LAGOS SOME TIME AGO. 

An enforcement of this policy will mean their total disappearance from the streets, roads and highways of Lagos (good riddance to bad rubbish), however imagining what they will now set their hands to once they are forced to relinquish their grip on the roads is a scary thought to ponder. Experience has shown that so far nothing the Lagos State government does for the benefit of the masses, especially those the already impoverished masses have to pay for comes cheap, and I mean that for all the sectors.


What I think should happen now is that the state government must pay attention to enlightening it's public on their intentions for the transport sector in the state, rather than wake up and impose policies on the people at their whim. Maybe there was a public hearing before approval of such was given, but the way it came as a shock to a large section of the Lagos populace, when certain aspects of the plan was made public at an event by the Governor (Akinwunmi Ambode) days back, and the rebuttal (that looked more like the same thing) that followed yesterday, shows that not many people knew about the government's plan.


If you asked me, I'd say the status quo should be maintained, and road transportation left in the hands of private individuals but regulated by government only. What's wrong with having the "Danfo Bus" as the face of Lagos (as seen in the latest installment of CAPTAIN AMERICA - "CIVIL WAR" war),
CAPTAIN AMERICA CRASHING ATOP A DANFO BUS IN "CIVIL WAR".

just like New York's Yellow taxis? The state government should simply stick to completing the intra-state light rail project whose conception, and execution commenced more than a decade ago with the launch date now suffered several postponements, while encouraging Lagosians to travel by the numerous waterways by slashing the cost of commuting by ferries, as well as tackling the safety concerns of that mode of transportation in the state. Any plan in my estimation, that does not carry along the members of the powerful NURTW will fail. As for me, I need to go check my blood pressure, I cannot come and go and kii masef jare!


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.nairaland.com
- http://funmisalomejohnson.blogspot.com
- http://hotnaijanews.com
- http://pulse.ng/movies
- http://naijagists.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

NIGERIA, BUHARI & DEJA VU

It's been more than a month since President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria for what was initially considered a ten day vacation, in which he also planned to his doctors for regular medical checkup. This has since been severally altered to become an indefinite medical vacation going by his letter to the National Assembly, as read by the Senate President earlier this week, with the Presidency insisting that the President has been advised to rest, while he awaits results of tests carried out on him. Between the first and the last fact, had been others ranging from the plausible, to the most ridiculous, like the inability of the president to return at a certain time he was rumoured to soon return, because the presidential jet meant to convey him back to Nigeria was faulty.


The present situation has become a déjà vu of some sorts to Nigerians who only years back witnessed same with the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, who incidentally is from the same state as the incumbent, who had at the time advised his kinsman to do noble and needful by tendering his resignation, even going as far as asking that the late President Yar'Adua be impeached,
an admonition that has now come to haunt him today. One lesson that the government appeared to have learnt from that imbroglio in 2010, was that of transmitting power to the Vice President, which the former failed to do back then (though in hindsight, many have come to believe that Yar'Adua might not have been in the position and state of mind to cause for such a letter to be written to the National Assembly to activate such a clause), leading to the Senate invoking the DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY to make the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Acting President.


Beyond that, nothing much has changed. Just as with Yar'Adua when select members of the National Assembly went to visit the former president in Saudi Arabia, a repeat of that is playing out today, even widened with party leaders from his party also paying him visits, with photoshoots to boot
APC NATIONAL LEADER, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU & APC CHIEFTAIN, CHIEF BISI AKANDE DURING THEIR LATEST VISIT TO BUHARI IN LONDON.

to prove to Nigerians that besides the fact that the president isn't dead (to which Nigeria's cyberspace responded with several photoshop versions of themselves with the president, with or without the
original guests in the picture), he's "Hale, Heart and Chatty", according to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who appears to be saving what's left of this government's credibility by portraying it, simply by gestures only, in ways Nigerians couldn't have imagined of the directionlessness that's become the hallmark of the government since inauguration close to two years now.


Again, as with the time when Goodluck Jonathan was Acting President, Acting President Osinbajo seems to be acting only as a puppet controlled by strings pulled by what was popularly called the "Cabal" in those days. Only the undiscerning will fail to see this, in claiming that Osinbajo is truly in "Acting" capacity as president, evidenced with what happened when America's President Donald Trump called, but spoke with a Nigerian president supposedly on vacation, in flagrant breach and disregard of protocol, seeing that nothing discussed can be considered to be formal and official, yet it was done, probably to prove that the president is alive. If what Abdulmumin Jibrin, the now suspended and self-exiled House of Representatives member tweeted yesterday, alluding that when the Acting President "... Osinbajo gives instruction and you have people running to London to ask PMB if that is what he wants..." is anything to go by, it means there is no end in sight, anytime soon for the unfortunate situation that Nigeria is in all aspects, as important issues of state by so doing will remain either unattended to with the required alacrity, or proceed at snail speed, just because some people feel that a "mere commissioner" is below them?


And that's even a situation where it is suspected that the president is in a position to make those decisions, accent to or decline, as the case may be, leaving a gaping hole for the case where he might not be capable of such, and how Nigeria might just be on autopilot, or ruled by proxy, seeing that the Acting President can't independently decide on key issues and policies of state, in the manner he should be able to, as incumbent on him, proceeding from the dictates of the constitution, which forms the basis for the cautious optimism held by some watchers, of the agility that the presidency has witnessed in the past few days and weeks since Professor Osinbajo slipped into acting capacity on behalf of his principal. Unfortunately, it is the people who got this government into power against all odds that are bearing the brunt of the cluelessness and shame that's become of the presidency, especially regarding the president's yet satisfactorily unexplained absence, with double-digit inflation, skyrocketing costs of doing business, exponential increase in costs of essential commodities, hunger, starvation and death, even at dilapidated health institutions that those in government have neglected, since they can easily fly abroad where the systems work, for the best of healthcare, while calling on Nigerians to put them in prayers, without necessarily admitting that they are ill, talk more of what illness ails them.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.thecable.ng
- http://www.nairaland.com 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

JUSTICE FOR JUSTICE ONNOGHEN

Finally, Honourable Justice Walter S. Nkanu Onnoghen's name has been forwarded by the Presidency to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN just before the expiration of the three months period within which he could remain in acting capacity, due by the tenth of February. Since coming to power, President Muhammadu Buhari hasn't for once hidden his disdain for the judiciary, moving beyond rhetorics to having many judges homes raided by the officials of the secret service (headed by his kinsman) on charges of corruption. Interestingly, like many other forward thinking actions that's so far happened under this President Muhammadu Buhari government since coming to power more than twenty months ago, it happened while he was out of the country, supposedly on "vacation".
JUSTICE W. S. N. ONNOGHEN


The delay in forwarding his name all this while, have unsettled not a few Nigerians who have had it to the neck with the Presidents' nepotistic tendencies in appointments in virtually all areas of government, seeing that the honourable justice will be the first CJN if confirmed from Southern Nigeria in thirty years. Even the observation by certain legal eggheads that the National Judicial Council, NJC which Justice Onnoghen also heads can renominate him to the presidency for confirmation by the senate, should the term in which he can perform in acting capacity elapse, wouldn't douse the doubt in the minds of the many who feel they cannot trust Buhari to do the needful should such a situation arise, without pandering to his parochial interest in naming a successor who would satisfy what will seem to be his condition (being of Hausa, or most importantly, Fulani origin) for anyone occupying such a position of authority while he holds sway. They didn't think, going by his antecedents, that it will matter to him that this same Justice Onnoghen held the only contrary decision in that Supreme Court Judgment that upheld Late President Yar'adua's heavily flawed (do-or-die) election in 2007, in his favour.


Had this not happened this way, and President Buhari had had his way, it would've become one such appointments too many to favour Nigerians of his ethnic group or closest to him in northern Nigeria, and even those who have been supporting him all the while, especially regarding his appointments, stating that as president it is his prerogative, and he could as well choose anyone he wishes to work with from only a part of Nigeria he's comfortable with, as long as they go about government business in the interest of Nigeria (which as we have so far seen is far from the truth and reality), would not find the mouth to explain what would've been the most outrageous decision he would've made as president.


Now that his bluffs have been saved him by Vice President, now Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, and a looming crisis of confidence averted in the now totally browbeaten judicial arm of government, his supporters would most likely jump on that as having been in the works all this while, as thorough work of screening the acting CJN was responsible for the delay in forwarding his name as constitutionally required to the senate for confirmation in the first place; same delay that in the absence of information from the government over the issue, led to rumours about the person of President Buhari when it comes to playing the ethnicity card, that the good Justice was compelled just last week to plead with those making the delay in forwarding his name to the senate by the presidency a political/ethnic issue to henceforth desist. It would appear that powers temporal who resisted this much awaited action on Onnoghen's behalf have been prevailed upon by powers spiritual to do the needful, and this should humble the honourable jurist.


But should we always wait for the president to be out of the country before the ship of state is steered in the forward direction? Once there was, under this same government when Buhari messaged Nigerians only via the foreign press outside the country, even that hasn't happened since his vacation that's now become medical tourism (the sort that has now thrown Nigeria in the same situation it was, a few years back when ailing Late President Yar'adua's health status was kept secret while he was in a hospital in Saudi Arabia), which was extended indefinitely over the weekend leaving Nigeria on auto pilot as the Acting President appears to have limits within which to act, because of the peculiar nature in which power is held and dispensed (at the mercy, even of incapacitated executives like it happened in Taraba State with Danbaba Suntai) in Nigeria, and not necessarily because it's a constitutional mandate. I hope this movement by the Acting President will continue in terms of policies that will alleviate the sufferings of the majority of Nigeria's impoverished, should he develop the cojones and political will to pursue and insist on their implementation in the absence of his principal, by ignoring and calling the bluffs of "invisible" hands currently pulling the strings of the puppet in the presidency.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.punchng.com

Saturday, February 4, 2017

AS TUFACE BACKS DOWN ON HIS PLANNED PROTEST

People who know me enough, know to bet against teams I openly support, hence when it comes to betting I hardly am your best bet in terms of predictions but I guessed something right this time around, unfortunately I didn't stake a claim publicly before it became reality, and so you could feel free to say "Yeah Right" in response to my veiled prediction. Maybe next time, I'd be more forthcoming, but the truth is that since talk about this proposed rally or peaceful protest or demonstration, which later had popular Nigerian artiste, Innocent Idibia aka Tuface aka Tubaba as its face became talk of town, with supporters and antagonists equally matched with daggers drawn, I'd personally spoken or written little about it on social media and outside of it, because somehow, having put several two and twos together, I felt it wouldn't hold. I didn't know however, that Tuface himself (who continues to endure personal attacks verbally thrown at him on all sides since pegging his name to the protests) will via YouTube cancel it, for now, for fear that it might be hijacked by vested interests, not aligned with the spirit of the protests, especially seeing that there are now genuine fears for the lives of protesters by no less, those whose constitutional responsibility it is to protect them (with precedence to boot).
TUFACE CANCELS PLANNED PROTEST.


The truth is that Nigerians are suffering, including those who are still playing ostriches, just because their man President Muhammadu Buhari is in power and they can't support any anything that may end up with power shifting from the north to the south (even with the likelihood slim to non-existent), the reason why he still has massive support in the North; or because they are too proud, like most southwesterners to admit that they fell for a well orchestrated scam in the last presidential election, even with their so called exposure and enlightenment; or because like southeastern politicians just because of a promise of power shift to the Igbo after eight years of Buhari, have now suddenly seen the "light", and in throwing their weight behind the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC by decamping in their droves from the People's Democratic Party, PDP with no thoughts for their brother, Deputy Senate President Ekwerenmadu whose position they've largely jeopardized unless he aligns with them and switch as well to the ruling party.

By dawn, when Nigerians wake to the news, those "Standing With Buhari" will see this as a victory, while those in opposition will lick their wounds, but the discerning will see this as another missed opportunity to demand that those in power be accountable to the people on whose behalf they exercise such powers. I have watched how some commentators in the past few days have missed the point in stating their positions, forgetting that protests are a cardinal part of democracy, more important even than the elections which is like the fuel for the engine that drives democracy, of which the work itself is in the driving, navigating through the bumpy parts and maintaining the vehicle. But they say, if we don't like a government we should simply wait four years to change it (rather than demand a change midstream even of the people in power who promised change, but appear only to have strengthened the old ways of doing things), as if we are all guaranteed to be alive in four years.
NIGERIA'S SHIP OF STATE.


I saw Nigerians, some of whom are leaders of thought, support the gagging of fellow Nigerians because they disagree with their stance on issues. Forgetting that the alternative to protests is something far worse, and that presently it's a slippery slope filled with smoldering embers that we are on, the flames of which this protest originally planned for Monday the 6th of February would've helped to douse. You could feel the anger in Nigerians when they speak on the streets, at newspaper stands,
on call-in programmes in the electronic media, in vox-pop sections of newspapers, to the social media, and some have gone ahead to express their displeasure in the rising rate of crime and criminality because of the hardship that the name Buhari now seems to embody and connote. Yet, when a group thought it wise that people should channel their anger in the orderly manner that a protest avails, as the constitution allows, some of their fellow country men, including the police charged with the responsibility amongst others, to maintain law and order, besides providing adequate security for protesters not only decided to frustrate the move, but at every point warned against holding the "peaceful" protest, even when the "Acting President" declared that Nigerians have every right to protest. Though in retrospect it's difficult to not read between the lines to find that he may not have matched action to his words, going by the manner the Inspector General of Police appeared to still issue a statement after that banning any protest, (in his estimation) for and against the government in power.


I understand that the ruling party will be weary of protests against its policies (that's even if they have any), as they should ordinarily, seeing that their ascendancy to power was on the back of protests such as this a few years ago, and because of extenuating circumstances, feel that this one may be politically motivated, just like they did while in opposition, unfortunately they will leave so very undone the very democracy for which they are beneficiaries today, as more Nigerians continue to bottle up their pent up anger at an aloof president, a veepee with hands tied, a selfish parliament, and weakened judiciary, with an Acting Chief Justice whose confirmation hangs in the balance and may have to quit in days, after holding the reins for just three months, because (according to widespread belief) he doesn't fit the geopolitical requirement for such a high position that he should normally live and have progressed into.


Finally, the greatest shame of all. The police that has yet to reform itself to become the police of the people, like they've become everywhere else in developed democracies, and not just phalanges of the president and people in power. I don't even know the generation of officers who will be committed to help bring Nigeria to the comity of "civilized" nations via exemplary policing amongst the present set of all cadres, starting with management of protests. Even with all of President Donald Trump's hatred for opposition, he didn't order a crackdown on protesters (who exponentially trumped the number of those at his "empty" inauguration) against his "knee-jerk reaction" executive orders. One of the reasons many people gave this
Buhari regime a chance was because of his Vice President 'Yemi Osinbajo, a law professor and former Attorney-General of Lagos State, and for him not to have gone beyond just mouthing support for this protest, definitely not against his party but for the right of Nigerians to do so, and insist on them being allowed as guaranteed by the constitution, injures the soul. In another opportunity where he's left to clear the mess after his boss, who once again is out of the country on "vacation", he forgets easily, the eternal words of the late President John F. Kennedy, that "those who make peaceful revolution (change) impossible, make violent revolution (change) inevitable". Mtcheeeeeew!


'kovich



VIDEO CREDIT:
- https://www.youtube.com


PICTURE CREDIT:
- NIGERIA FIRST STICKERS by RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS OF NIGERIA

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

OF OKADA RIDERS & POLICEMEN IN BARIGA

It was an Okada rider friend of mine that told me about it last week, even before I saw the visuals on Sahara TV. An Okada (moped taxi) rider was riding his customer and child to their destination in Bariga, in Lagos. While she was alighting, the Okada rider sighted a policeman in mufti (as is their nature, especially when they intend to raid unsuspecting members of the public, justly or unjustly), coming towards him with the aim of "arresting" and milking him of his hard earned money, decided to bolt away, thinking the child behind him had alighted with the mother, only for the woman to begin to shout to him to stop so her child could come down from the bike. Unfortunately, this incident happened around Bariga market, with the crowd that could easily become a lynch mob at the slightest provocation. These, thinking that this was yet another case of kidnapping (especially for ritual purposes) successfully stopped the Okada rider and began to descend on him without hearing his side of the story, nor the womans' (whose child had by now been safely returned to her), whose appeal to them to desist from hitting the man was falling on deaf ears.
THE BEATING OF THE OKADAMAN IN BARIGA CAUGHT ON VIDEO. (SOURCE: SAHARA TV)

Interestingly, the policeman and his colleagues (who had by now joined in the melee) who were responsible for the fiasco in the first place, rather than help situate the matter in its right perspective, even if at the end of the day, they'd arrest the Okadaman and deal with him as they wished, allowed the man to be beaten to near comatose level before the woman with the help of others was able to gain access to the pummeling party, to relate the true side of the story, and they helped take the man to the clinic for treatment. That day Okada riders rode free of police intimidation and extortion in Bariga, because the Divisional Police Officer, without accepting responsibility for the actions of his men or apologizing for it, appeared to have prevailed on his men to sheathe their swords at least for that day, because of the seething anger amongst the populace when the truth of what actually happened was made manifest. In fact the Okadaman and the woman she carried were familiar with each other, and this wasn't the first time he'd be carrying her and her child.


Only a few of the inhabitants of Bariga felt that the coming of the new DPO at the Ilaje Police Station in Bariga, will change the extortionist ways and tendencies of the police in that part of Lagos. At the end of their evil stick are Okada and Tricycle (Keke) riders, sometimes the "Danfo" drivers though they have a strong union with connections with politicians and powerful people in the society that unless for serious criminal cases have become untouchable by the Nigerian police, as long as their palms are frequently greased with "shandy", "wazo" or any other pseudonym for any of Nigeria's currencies that the policemen routine collect at various points in Lagos where legally and illegally position themselves daily come rain or shine. Part of the proceeds from their "day's labour" goes into "deliveries" they make to the bosses in the offices, who assign them to "juicy" spots, like the areas around Bariga market in Lagos (for instance), with the heavy flow of traffic there. Some of it goes into the various "esusu" (like cooperatives) they join, to which they deliver huge sums of money daily, weekly or monthly, amounts that sometimes either equal, or more in multiples of their monthly emoluments, of which when collected eventually a few of them have gone on to build estates, even establish businesses.


It's a known fact that a large percentage of the Okada plying the Bariga route are owned by the policemen posted there, and the riders of Okada not owned by any policeman have to "settle" some policemen frequently, for "protection" in the days they have a falling-out with the colleagues of their "protector"; though a few times these have joined their peers in complicating matters, when their help is sought leaving the Okada riders in deeper shit and despair than they were before calling up their chargers for "protective aid". With these policemen in Bariga there's no gain, just losses, severally they'd carry out raids on the neighbourhoods arresting boys for just about any flimsy reason under the sun. Of course, only the Inspector-General of Police know that "BAIL IS FREE", Nigerians know that the contrary is true, and the amount they collect will make you wonder if police stations haven't become revenue generation centers, not for government, but those men in uniform. That police station in Ilaje, at some point had an ATM within its environ before the immediate past Central Bank governor outlawed the siting of ATMs at locations other than around banks. While that ATM was there though, it was difficult for anyone who had "business" to do at that police station, to claim they had no money for bail.


When it comes to the police, President Buhari's "CHANGE" mantra holds no water. Even the state police commissioners who have been regaling the public with rallies of "Change Begins With Me" by policemen and women under them, know that it's just mere lip service and another money making adventure. Nothing in the extortionist behavior of the police have changed, rather the fees payable have astronomically increased owing to the "recession" in the air, and Nigerians have been left none the better for it. When last year, a policeman lost three of his children to a landslide in Lagos, not a few Nigerians and Lagosians were unsympathetic with the man, when it returns to their consciousness that the man is a member of the Nigerian Police Force, many of those unsympathetic Nigerians had a good reason to feel the way they did.


'kovich



VIDEO CREDIT:
- https://youtu.be/3epMcLz_2fY

Thursday, January 19, 2017

NIGERIA'S ENDANGERED IDPS

During the Christmas holidays I saw a documentary on Al-Jazeerah about refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo domiciled in Malawi. It featured one of the Congolese refugees who was formerly a popular rapper in the DRC (before threats to his life forced him to flee and become a refugee), and showcased life at the refugee camp, as well as the rapper's attempt to regain as much as possible every bit of the life he left behind in the Congo. Many things about that refugee camp struck me as out of the ordinary, compared with those in Nigeria. For one, make shift shelters have given way to brick bungalows, raw food was adequately dispensed as and at when due, and I think to some extent quite more for some people, because the rapper in the documentary claims (and it was shown) he gives excess of his to families with more mouths to feed, seeing as he is a bachelor and lives alone. This United Nations administered refugee camp had running water, and was like a small town only that there is a gate that restricts movement, allowing people who had genuine reasons to go outside it to leave for a specified period only, then return. Believe me, except what I saw on that day was stage managed, I could have sworn that most people's existence in that camp was far better than those of most Nigerians who live free, talk more those who have found themselves in Internally Displaced Peoples', IDP camps because of the ongoing war against the dreaded Islamic Fundamentalist group, Boko Haram in the northeast.


I cannot recall at anytime, besides the provision of makeshift shelter, that the IDPs in Nigeria's northeast had any cause to celebrate, though not that anyone in an IDP camp would or should have anything to celebrate, but if one considers the austere situation that brought them to the camps, then little mercies like the one I highlighted with the situation in Malawi would've been enough cause to celebrate, unfortunately this hasn't been the case with the Nigerian IDP, whom I daresay, that save for the inclement weather Syrian refugees have to contend with presently, as well as political issues surrounding their situation in Europe, are far better in terms of welfare and related matters.


To say that the IDPs of Nigeria's northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, have been dealt the wrong hands of fate will be an understatement. These escaped literally with their lives in their hands, onto the protection of  government that provided camps for them. From the very first day they set their foot 'pon those camps, it's been one sad news to the other. At the initial stage when the economy was bouyant under former president Goodluck Jonathan, and even after stealing some of the funds allocated to the welfare of those displaced by Nigeria's "war on terror", the IDPs were not treated like humans. I saw pictures of IDPs been dished bland "jollof" rice using spades and shovels for instance. There were widespread reports of sexual abuse of mostly female IDPs at the hands of those who managed the camps, and personnel of security agencies deployed to those camps.


These cases worsened with the emergence of the President Muhammadu Buhari government with its "lean purse" policy. Now the people in authority, who had a bit to spare for the IDPs after  corruptly enriching themselves with the much in the days of plenty, had little or nothing to spare for the welfare of the IDPs after removing their part, as their cut now became the whole, and that scandal lingered for a while, till it fizzled out of press coverage, not because the situation got better but as with everything Nigerian, noise just simply dies down after a while (especially when government feeds to the press, yet another arrest of an opposition politician for embezzlement while in power, and the gullible get carried away by the frenzy thus created four another while), and the IDPs continued to suffer for no just cause (not that there's even a just cause for them to suffer). Those who escaped death at the hands of Boko Haram, found it at the hands of  government-induced malnutrition and hunger, and the pictures are there for all to see. Of course, the abuse of IDPs continued not only unabated but with impunity and  shamelessly, under a regime flaunting a no-nonsense approach towards corruption as it's credentials, so much so that the secretary to the federal government, awarded a contract for the clearing of weed around IDP camps to a company in which he has interest, and as if that wasn't even bad enough, the company had the temerity not to deliver on its trivial mandate for the millions of naira allocated to it, and yet the man neither resigned from his position, nor the government fired him.


And just as usual with all things Nigerian, when it seems government have become so steeped in its ways over a subject that the people simply just let go, especially at this period when Human Rights Activists have either in the main pitched their lot with the government in power, fearing retribution and silencing that's become the lot of those who felt to continue where they left off with the previous  government, only to hear that a Nigerian Airforce jet bombarded an IDP camp in the Rann (a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon) area of Borno state, on Tuesday. Depending on which media you're listening to, the death toll is between fifty and two hundred, involving personnel of Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF, International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC and several IDPs who according to eye witness accounts, were on a queue to collect humanitarian materials. As usual the  government owned Nigerian Television Authority, NTA has stuck with "accidental incident" at an IDP camp as the body of its news item concerning the unfortunate event, totally withdrawing the naming of the culprit in that dastardly act, except when it involved condemnation by the president and his order to concerned authorities to investigate the matter (with findings that will never be made public even if the order is complied with).
AFTERMATH OF THE BOMBING OF AN IDP CAMP IN RANN, BORNO STATE BY THE NIGERIAN AIRFORCE.

What is most baffling for many an observer of this event is how the Nigerian Airforce, which had in the past claimed that it restrained from bombing Boko Haram insurgents severally because they had people suspected to be innocent civilians (including at some point, the abducted secondary school girls from Chibok) in their midst and may be using same as human shield, yet in this matter opted to bomb civilians on a queue, not once, not twice, but thrice (according to eye witness account)! I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma, already  traumatized IDPs affected by this incident are presently going through, after the dehumanization they had witnessed at the hands of those saddled with the responsibility of their safety and well-being so far, only to now have to suffer this as well. When one of the survivors told the press that the government was out to wipe them out I couldn't but empathize with his situation. Who wouldn't think such, having gone through their many predicaments?


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- https://www.pulse.ng.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

IKORODU: LAND OF HORRORS

In recent times Ikorodu has been appearing on the timelines of my head more often than before. There was a time I didn't even know it was a part of Lagos, okay yea I had a girlfriend who I never visited because she lived there back then in secondary school. But that was just it, the other times it was because I'd use Ikorodu Road to several other destinations besides the place it actually led to, and then again that was it. It wasn't until a colleague at work some years back regaled us with tales of how she would wake up as early as three in the morning, and be on the road by four just to be at work on the island before seven that my consciousness was raised a notch concerning the place. Of course, we also witnessed the many times she was robbed, phones and bags collected severally, besides the physical and psychological trauma she was subjected to by (armed) robbers and hoodlums, as she made her way to work, and the many times she'd had to leave work before closing hours for home, because the people of Ikorodu had one (Orò) festival or the other, bordering on the fetish and diabolical to perform, for which women, sometimes men are required to stay indoors sometimes for days on end. You could tell how evidently she changed once she moved out of Ikorodu, where she didn't have to pay rent because it was her parent's house, to the island where she paid massively, but had rest of mind.


With these at the back of my mind, when I forayed into a bit of real estate, I wasn't keen on Ikorodu, even though it seemed like it was the only place we could afford to buy land in Lagos at the time, before we decided to move outside of Lagos, although it was the issue of land speculators and/or grabbers that topped the list of our disenchantment with that part of Lagos at the time, over and above my personal issues with the place. It also meant that when accommodation became an issue for me sometime last year, Ikorodu wasn't even up for consideration, despite the fact that many of the new apartments on display, mostly online had the kind of space as well as other facilities, for less competitive pricing that you'd find nowhere else on the mainland or on the island, without boring a huge hole in your pocket.


Now, recently a man was caught (while his accomplices managed to escape) in the Majidun area of Ikorodu, said to be planning to blow up the third mainland bridge in Lagos. He was said to be part of the oil bunkering militants, whose stock in trade was to burst oil pipelines in the Arepo and Ikorodu areas of Ogun and Lagos States respectively, fill barges with twenty-five litre kegs containing fuel, and even bigger containers for onward sales to customers in the black market. He and his cohorts, according to the police decided to blow up the bridge because of recent Nigerian army and airforce raids that bombed them out of their hideouts and out of business (at least for now). As usual, and as is commonplace with the Nigerian security services, they overplayed and over-sensationalized that event in the press, ignoring the wider, even more deadlier scenario, that this was just one man (which I doubt would've been able to go through with his plans, with the few dynamites and other explosive paraphernalia on him) out of the horde that have now gotten their hands to other mischief to make "ends" meet, ends that have widened exponentially, based on the amount of money that was formerly available to them in their oil bunkering days. That simply added to my dread of Ikorodu, and I simply noted the event.
ABIODUN AMOS AKA "SENTI" AND HIS GANG, ACCORDING TO THE POLICE, WERE PLANNING TO BLOW UP THE THIRD MAINLAND BRIDGE. 

So, weeks ago, just before Christmas, on the stretch of Ikorodu road of which Majidun (again) is part of, a robbery incident was recorded in which Aisha Alli- Balogun, a TV presenter was shot dead while in traffic and her daughter, a kid was kidnapped (later released to her family, with no news as to whether a ransom was paid or not) during the attack that involved several commuters in traffic on the said night. It was while I was scanning through twitter that it came to light that this wasn't the first time this would be happening there, especially on that part of Ikorodu road, as I began to read of experiences of even passengers in public buses who have lost valuables while they were caught up in traffic, and robbers took advantage of their helpless situation to strike.
THE LATE AISHA ALLI-BALOGUN, GUNNED DOWN IN TRAFFIC ON IKORODU ROAD BY SUSPECTED ARMED ROBBERS. 

In that period, I also noticed that another staff at work who lives close to Ikorodu was now coming later than usual, and I asked her about the situation, only for her to attribute her lateness to her now having to leave home later than usual, till such a time as she could see the light of day because of the nefarious activities of "former oil bunkerers" who have taken to armed robbery and kidnapping, since their oil bunkering activity was halted by the Nigerian military. She stated that on one particular occasion the armed robbers blocked both sides of the traffic at about seven o'clock in the evening around the Ogijo part of the Ikorodu road, and  perpetrated their crime, robbing from vehicle to vehicle for more than an hour without police showing up anywhere to rescue the situation, while it lasted, till the thieves got tired of hauling loot and left. What broke the camel's back for her however, was the recent abduction last week of passengers in a bus still on the Majidun axis of Ikorodu road, who were hailed down by armed men very early in the morning, and transferred from their bus to that of the kidnappers, and driven to an unknown location from where families of those abducted were called to pay varying amounts as ransom to facilitate the release of their wards and family members, then in the care of kidnappers. Since then, this staff, has defied the fear of a query for late coming because of that incident, saying she'd be devastated if something like that happened to her, while still nursing and breastfeeding a baby. Unfortunately, moving to other parts of Lagos is presently out of the question for her seeing as her husband prefers Ikorodu, due to the proximity to his business to their house, and also not wanting his wife to be closer to her people in mainland Lagos, which a move away from Ikorodu, outskirt of Lagos might enable.
KETU ASPECT OF THE IKORODU ROAD DURING RUSH-HOUR TRAFFIC. 

How could I have gotten this far without mentioning the cult problem in Ikorodu. When in discussions last week over the issue with a friend, he attributed the situation to the presence of the Lagos State Polytechnic students there who are members of one cult or the other, but I was quick to inform him that the cultism in that institution, and indeed of tertiary institutions in Nigeria is child's play compared to the horror that cultists, who aren't mainly students, in Ikorodu get up to, as well as visit on the people of Ikorodu, sometimes with active connivance of the police and other security agencies, as well as politicians and the well entrenched traditional society in that part of town. Many times, when the people resort to jungle justice and lynching of a criminal, they say that at other times they resorted to following the law such criminals were released from police custody under controversial circumstances, sometimes by influential chieftaincy title holders and powerful politicians, whom they might have done some favour for, many times the gory ones that the people of Ikorodu wake to see some mornings as headless corpses, with other parts of the body missing, and these include of males and females. Even with rape cases, Ikorodu stands out, with victims at certain times including either the very young, or the very old, then bizarre in that some of the perpetrators then go on to wipe the vaginas of their victims with a white handkerchief, in what many suggest will be used for ritual purposes.
SERIAL RAPIST AND CULTIST, POPULARLY KNOWN AS "BADDO" LYNCHED AFTER HE WAS CAUGHT A SECOND TIME. THE FIRST TIME HE WAS CAUGHT HE WAS HANDED OVER TO THE BAÁLÈ (COMMUNITY CHIEF), WHO HANDED HIM OVER TO THE POLICE, ONLY TO BE RELEASED WITHOUT PROSECUTION. 

It isn't unusual that Ikorodu is getting all these bad vibes now. It's where the middle class have elected in recent times, to build their homes on cheaper to acquire land, though that comes with its own challenges, including as mentioned before, land speculators/grabbers who could make a landowner pay several times for the same land, depending on the number of times different aboriginal families win cases in court to upturn a former so called "original" aboriginal landowner (omo onílè). Ikorodu is like sugar surrounded by a horde of ants. Even an arm of Nigeria's entertainment industry, the Yoruba-speaking film industry, known as the National Association of Nigerian Theater Arts Practitioners, NANTAP, have lots of their members who have homes, businesses like hotels and sundry in Ikorodu, as against their English-speaking Nollywood counterparts who have made Lekki axis on the island their base, as with the very wealthy of Lagos. When the criminals abduct (even primary and secondary school students, some of them while on the assembly ground in the morning), rob or perpetrate crime in Ikorodu, they do these aware that some of their victims are wealthy, or are related to those who are and own houses in Ikorodu, and can afford to pay ransom to secure the release of their wards in their captivity.


What Ikorodu needs is more opening. The expansion and reconstruction of Ikorodu road is a step in the right direction, but that long stretch needs now to be policed, not just by the armored personnel carrier with a few policemen at strategic points on that stretch of road but far more than that, to include frequent patrols. If the fourth mainland bridge, which will link Ikorodu with Lekki, is finally built that will further
PROPOSED FOURTH MAINLAND BRIDGE TO LINK IKORODU WITH LEKKI ON THE ISLAND IN LAGOS, IS EXPECTED TO BE A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP PROJECT, PPP ON A BUILD, OPERATE AND TRANSFER BASIS. 

open up Ikorodu and naturally that sort of openness will bring that part of town under further scrutiny especially of the security agencies, as well as government attention, which because there'll be facilities to protect on that axis, with new markets and economic opportunities, the land will be forced to modernize and hopefully crime will be effectively fought just because of exposure to the outside world, without forgetting the old ways that Ikorodu must shed to move forward, with or without the opening up of the area. It is heartwarming to learn that the Lagos state House of Assembly has passed into law, the anti-kidnapping bill into law, which prescribes life imprisonment for kidnappers, and a death sentence for them, if their captive dies in their custody, as well as forfeiture of the property in which the abducted was held incommunicado, though I don't know how the complicity of the owner of a property can be proven in such a situation, but notwithstanding it is a step in the right direction, if the laws can be implemented. Hopefully, the tales from Ikorodu will turnaround for good, for now it remains a no-go area for me.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://punchng.com
- http://www.stargist.com
- http://www.naijanewsrave.com
- http://scannewsnigeria.com
- http://www.nleworks.com