Saturday, November 25, 2017

BAIL IS FREE

My personal encounter with the Nigerian Police have been very few and far between. The first time was while I was in the university in 2003, when I was nabbed by members of a task force set up by the Lagos State Government to stop pedestrians from crossing very busy roads, especially where there are already pedestrian bridges provided for the purpose. I hadn't used the bridge, and once I made it to the other side, a man walked up to me, and marched me to a waiting "danfo" bus, where I met some others who'd been as unlucky as I have been. Like me, their pleas to our "captors" with promises always to use the pedestrian bridge was like pouring water on a rock, save for the oldest man amongst us, middle aged, who brandishing an inhaler, claimed that his asthmatic condition worsens when he ascends heights, and therefore was let go, especially as he started to tremble and twitch violently, as he pleaded with the members of the task force to let him go on medical grounds.


The rest of us were taken to a Police Station somewhere in Shomolu, from Onipanu where we were arrested, and herded into a crowded cell, where one could only stand, to wait till Monday when the courts open to be charged seeing as it was a Friday afternoon. I had only ₦250 with me, so I couldn't avail myself of the opportunity to call home because the "official" phone lady of that police station charged ₦50 per minute to make a call to relatives or friends for help (those were the days GSM phones had just been launched and still cost an arm and a leg for a poor student like me to own). About an hour after we'd been in detention, towards evening, one of the policemen came by to ask us what we had so he could see if he could help us, to forestall our being in detention through the weekend. When it was my turn I explained to him that I was a student and gave him my wallet that contained my ID Card as well as money. He took the ₦200 and gave me ₦50, opened the cell and let me out. I was the only one that was let out, while the others who had called family and friends had to wait to be bailed. The only good thing that came out of that experience for me, was that while walking a few distance before getting a bus to my sisters' house to ask for money to return to school, I came upon a makeshift structure where registration for National ID Card was ongoing. Seeing that I hadn't been chanced to do that earlier, I used that opportunity to register and went on my way. I doubt I'd have owned one today if I hadn't been arrested on that day, of which I'm grateful considering that stress applicants undergo today to get the same national ID Card, though with advanced features.


My second encounter was months after the first, and my friends and I were returning back to campus after attending a birthday party not so far from school. Yes, it was late and we couldn't get a bus to take us home, so we trekked. All was well till we encountered these policemen a few yards from the gate of our school. Our explanation to them of nothing but the truth about our situation seemed to anger them such that I wasn't sure if one of them in particular was angry with the fact that we looked too young to be medical students, or that we had no right to be happy and attending birthday parties, while they were on the road working, enough for him to threaten to shoot us, and nothing will happen to him. Luckily, we hadn't been too inebriated at the time to try and question their harassment of us, rather the fear of the guns they had on them was the beginning of our wisdom, but I was quite shaken by the way we were verbally harassed and threatened. Interestingly, after they let us go, and we walked into school, then to the hostel area, and to our rooms, we said nothing to each other, and till date I've never asked my co-travelers from Agbe Davies' birthday party, what was going on in their minds while our ordeal lasted.


Yes compared to what Nigerians go through in the hands of the police on a daily, I count myself rather lucky. But I've also seen friends who'd been served the short end of the stick. In one case two years ago, we had to rally round to raise  ₦100,000 to take a friend away from "SARS" detention at Ikeja, where he'd been detained at the instance of his landlord with whom he had a  misunderstanding at the time. The money wasn't even just so he could walk away a free man, but that he could be detained at the normal neighborhood police station, after he began to fear for his life, as the number of detainees (mostly suspected armed robbers and criminals) he was lobbed in with, continued to decrease by the day, not necessarily because they were taken to court, and from thence to prison, but because such disappearances was usually linked with gunshots heard in the vicinity of the detention area in the nights. On yet another occasion involving another friend, who was arrested during "routine raids", in what appeared to be a fundraising activity of the particular police station that conducted the raid, seeing as it was the past Eid El Kabir a few weeks back, each one of the "unfortunates" were made to cough out between ₦20,000 and ₦50,000 after signing an undertaking, stating even things as ridiculous as promising to stop walking about in the night. We paid  ₦20,000 in the case of my friend because we brought the head of the "PCRC" of our area to plead on his behalf, others paid more, and I shook my head as we walked away with him that afternoon of the last Sallah holiday, while the policemen began to gather in their haul for the day, probably to decide with what exactly they'd make a meal of the big ram that was already tied to a tree within the police station's compound.


There are other instances that I will not mention here, but I mustn't stop without adding this one. I'm sure while you're reading this, you'd probably be wondering why we never contacted lawyers in almost all of the cases that my attention was called to. This is because I have found that there are some lawyers that feed off situations like these. They hang around police stations pretending to try to offer help to those in detention, while working in cahoot with the police to fleece the detainees of all they could possibly. More often than not, when those cases go to court, they put up very weak defences, or fail to help protect their "clients" from outrageous bail conditions, that will end up seeing the detainee become a prisoner "awaiting trial" for years in the many gulags scattered allover Nigeria, and not without collecting their charges to the fullest sometimes with threats to abandon the same case they jeopardized right from the onset. The only lawyers that can bring you out of police detention are the top so called SENIOR ADVOCATES, and they can even effect free bail for their clients, unfortunately they aren't usually available for and to the masses, who are usually at the mercies of extortionist members of the Nigerian Police Force and their collaborator lawyers.


When recently the Nigerian Police expressed their disgust to a recent finding that suggested that that outfit ranks the worst in the world, many Nigerians were left wondering in bewilderment. A friend even said it is wrong to even classify Nigerian police amongst the worst in 2017, because they hadn't even arrived here yet, seeing as their crude tactics is still in the seventeenth century. Recently, the police in Rivers State paraded two suspected killers of a staff of Shell Oil Producing company, stating that they were apprehended using DNA and forensic science. Interestingly, it was a case I got to know about from my host when I arrived Port Harcourt hours after the ugly incident had occurred, and I'd written about in one of my blog posts (https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/rivers-state-of-blood/). I learnt later that it was detectives hired by Shell that took saliva sample on the head of the victim to Holland, with which they matched the DNA with some staff of Shell and subsidiaries/oil servicing companies before the culprits were nabbed, because if you'd been to Shell R.A. in Port Harcourt and the company, and seen the security apparatus therein, you'd also agree with the investigating team that the killing of that man was an inside job. Had one of the perpetrators not spat on the head of their victim after their dastardly act, they'd probably would've gotten away with it. Sadly, the police in their statements never mentioned nor acknowledged the contribution of the Shell Police and their local and foreign detectives in their statement.


In fact, it was disbelief at their ability to solve the crime the way they said they did that evoked my desire to find answers. How a police that we saw recently stepping over blood and evidence around a dead bank robber in pictures that went viral following that exchange of fire between gallant policemen and robbers, at a Zenith Bank branch, was beyond my comprehension. A Nigerian police that invited the FBI to help it crack the case of the murder of frontline Lagos politician, Engineer Funsho Williams, only to find fingerprints allover his body,  that may have included that of police personnel, as they flippantly desecrated the crime scene like the civilian family members and sympathizers that thronged the home of the late politician, after news of his gruesome killing spread like wildfire. But I digress, because my focus and all I want to say is that despite so called noise by the police hierarchy that bail is free, the reality on ground is otherwise, and even more notoriously dangerous because innocent Nigerians are losing their lives, or having it truncated temporarily because they cannot afford the huge amounts policemen, on the roads and in the stations are demanding from their "hostages" before they can let them go, boasting that nothing will happen to them even if they shoot and kill their victims, as the hierarchy who are also involved in their own mess (if you consider any of the allegations against the Inspector General of Police by Senator Misau to have some truths in it) at their level, cannot then decree to rank and file what they should do when they haven't come to equity with clean hands.


Despite the very few instances of the Nigerian Police Force rising to check the troubling trend, of cases where hapless Nigerians (mostly adolescents and young people, under the guise of combating cybercrime, with their phones and laptops confiscated, and their online privacy violated all in the bid to dig up incriminating evidence, which in the eye of the uncouth policemen, include legitimate online businesses that many Nigerian youths have turned to, because of the absence of physical jobs to employ them) are arbitrarily rounded up on the flimsiest of reasons, and forced to make withdrawals using their ATM cards, or transfers from their mobile devices, or have families run helter skelter to raise funds, as you'd find with kidnappers demanding ransom. The sad reality is that for every policeman dismissed and tried for these acts of extortion, inflicting of bodily harm and injury on their victims, as well as extrajudicial killing of those who dared to question the authority of the armed policeman to dehumanize him/her, there are multiples of such happening under the radar, so much so that when AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL comes up with figures, Nigerians have come to just read them without any outrage, because of the helplessness and hopelessness of their situation. Even the  Public Relations Department of the Nigerian Police have grown a thick skin, and now hardly responds to new findings, except those that have managed to make it into the international media. When they do respond, they offer some of the lamest of excuses that in no way addresses any of the concerns raised by the bodies that have painstakingly offered testimonies (at the risk of the lives of the victims of police mistreatments) and empirical evidences. Admitting wrong done, talk more apologizing doesn't even come up, and therein lies the motivation for the impunity that continues to stare Nigerians in the face in the name of BAIL IS FREE, when it is absolutely not, at the hands of the police that should protect and serve the people.

'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.nairaland.com
- https://www.onlyinnigeria.wordpress.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

KADUNA STATE, UNQUALIFIED TEACHERS & EDUCATION

It was reported in the news yesterday, that the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Kaduna State had died, just days after returning from hospital where he had been treated for an undisclosed illness and was just about resuming to work after convalescing. Professor Jonathan Andrew Nok was a highly respected, widely acknowledged and decorated biochemist, at home and abroad, for which he was awarded Nigeria's National Merit Award just a few years back for one of his research works. This would've simply passed as just another news, had he not been the commissioner under whose purview the tests, failed by more than twenty thousand primary school teachers was conducted. Not a few Nigerians will be tempted to link the circumstances of his death with the present hullabaloo in the state, occasioned by the desire of the State Governor Nasir El Rufai to sack the so called unqualified teachers and have them replaced with their exact opposites. I wouldn't put it beyond some of these affected teachers and members of the teachers union to hope that this recent unfortunate incident might scare or compel the governor to acquiesce to their demand to reverse his intention of sacking  so called "unqualified teachers".
THE LATE PROFESSOR JONATHAN ANDREW NOK

Till now, I have declined to post updates, comment, or blog about the imbroglio in Kaduna, despite prodding from friends who expected me to say something, or at least react even to their own view of the matter, either in favour of, or against their argument. The truth is that, I haven't been able to totally wrap my head around the situation, while trying really hard to understand the underlying intentions of the governor, who recent history has taught me to query his intentions, considering his unflattering antecedents. However, since it has come to me to write this now, I would simply state my observations, as I see them, and probably you'd also find within it my frustration, which makes it difficult for me to see how this knee-jerk reaction of the state governor is in any way a sustainable approach or way, to turn around the educational fortunes of Kaduna State in particular and northern Nigeria in general.


There's no gainsaying the fact that education in Nigeria is on tenterhooks, if the situation in the south is bad, in the north using the word "worst" will be a gross understatement. Sadly, even in the so called better days of education in Nigeria, the north was still way behind the south. Northern leaders also did not help matters when they felt that the way to make up for the imbalance was to lower the bar for admission into schools for their people at all levels, while ensuring that these same products from such schools compete with their counterparts from the south, in education, government and careers especially in the civil service and in the private establishments in which they have influence (either because of location, ethno-religious or political exigence), with requirements skewed to their advantage. Part of the result is what is evident in the kind of teachers that is produced in the north, to teach the tabula rasa of the "leaders of tomorrow", from that region.


Therefore the problem may not necessarily be the teachers themselves (viewed in isolation), but the kind of system that produced them in the first place, and then the system that found them worthy for recruitment as the shapers and framers of the hearts and minds of young ones in public primary and secondary schools in the north especially. The dirty linen that Governor El-Rufai deemed fit to wash in public wouldn't have been, if standards in the so called EDUCATIONALLY LESS DEVELOPED STATES in the north were not lowered, not only for the students but even for the teachers in contrast to what is obtainable in the EDUCATIONALLY MORE DEVELOPED STATES in the south.


Another issue is that of priority. It is true that there's no state in Nigeria, talk more the federal, where the budgetary allocation to education is the UNICEF's minimum of 26%. Many of them barely make it to 10% and even that is further whittled down by corruption and other  challenges that contribute to low implementation of items in the budget in Nigeria. In the south however, education is a tool of and for political propaganda, and each succeeding government strives to outdo the other in showing off investments in education (Chief Obafemi Awolowo, became a demi-god in the southwest because of his free education policy when he was premier there, while he lived, though present situation in the southwest will cause him to turn in his grave), though largely ignoring the human capital aspect of it for infrastructure mainly (as evident in Osun State where Governor Rauf Aregbesola is building model schools  allover the state, while owing teachers, as well as other civil servants, backlog in salary arrears), but even that goes some way in impacting positively even if minimally, to the education of children there. In the north, the converse is true, as religion is the tool of propaganda, from building of mosques (in some towns and villages, the mosque may be the most  magnificent building therein), to sponsoring pilgrimages to Mecca, amongst others, while education receives far lesser attention, that it should ordinarily and necessarily deserve.


This is why this move by Governor El-Rufai is commendable, but only to some extent. For starters, what he's done isn't novel as same was attempted by former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who eventually had to capitulate and compromise his stand, with labour unions in the state after grandstanding and threatening to sack unqualified teachers. Interestingly, even some of the questions thrown to the teachers to answer, were themselves wrong, though some of those papers shared on twitter by the governor exposed some of the teachers as not exactly brilliant. Another source of concern to be noted, is the fact that even as a layman I could tell that some of those questions didn't follow any particular pattern, that may suggest that some standard or standardized text was employed in coming by the tests.


Because everything in Nigeria is political, even this hasn't escaped political scrutiny, especially by those wary of El-Rufai's shenanigans, such that prominent persons from southern Kaduna now claim that most of those penciled down for sacking are from that part of the state. The teachers union is challenging the power of the chief executive of the state to fire teachers by fiat, while the political opponents of the governor are milking the chaos in the education sector of the state for all that it's worth. The state government on the other hand have put out a paid advertisement in the media, beckoning on qualified teachers regardless of tribe, state of origin, and the likes of all that is usually considered in Nigeria as favourable and unfavorable to job applications and applicants in Nigeria, to apply for vacant primary or basic teacher positions in the state.


In my view, restoring education, public education for that matter, in Nigeria should be more holistic, over just the "hire and fire" kneejerk reaction policies of Governor El-Rufai, and Kayode Fayemi (which cost him his reelection in Ekiti State), as well as Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State before him. All states, including the federal government must raise funding for education to as close as the UNICEF recommended 26% of budgetary allocation. They must then go beyond building physical structures and infrastructure of schools to developing the human capital that is the teachers, and other essential staffs of basic educational institutions in Nigeria. The lowering of standards so that more northerners can go to school, is the wrong way of looking at education, because even if these manage to get to high positions like Judges, Justices of the federation and the likes (for instance), or government jobs like prosecutors, they easily get floored in court by savvy and educationally more developed southerners who end up as defense councils (because they couldn't easily get government jobs), even of the most notorious in the society, and go further to help get them off the hook many times using legalese and technicalities that the not so savvy, government employed prosecutors would easily overlook to their dismay and chagrin (as we have often seen with the now wobbly war against corruption being waged by President Muhammadu Buhari's government presently).


People who have had the academic or education bar lowered for them all of their lives, including recruitment qualifications, cannot all of a sudden be better than those who toiled for every opportunity with sweat and blood in the main. No man was created lesser in ability to learn and assimilate, than others, and if Nigeria's northerners think the converse is true, then it should also apply in terms of available positions for employment. Have we not seen how the private sector employs more southerners than northerners? How have government and civil service positions, dominated by northerners truly fared in comparison to the private sector?


Only and until, the north begins to tell itself the truth, nothing will change. Governor El Rufai can change these teachers now, but what will happen tomorrow? Will the recruitment process be able to screen out undesirables? Will we not be back to square one, even if he succeeds now, but leaves government tomorrow? That is why this must be holistic, and the root cause of educational backwardness in the north of Nigeria, and by extension Nigeria addressed systematically and institutionally, with the view to reversing this ugly trend. Anything short of this, can and will only throw that sector into more jeopardy than it is in presently. I rest my case.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://sunnewsonline.com 

Monday, October 16, 2017

A TALE OF TWO STATUES

Nigeria's webosphere was on fire over the weekend on the issue of the unveiling of statues, though one garnered more attention for its odium, over the other laudable one. I've been to Imo State severally, last time been just last month; and though in the beginning of Governor Rochas Okorocha's administration more than six years ago, when Imo turned into a construction site, I felt it was a good development till further visits exposed the man for the megalomaniac he is. And how every thought of his, concerning the state was all about him, then going on to turn a whole state into his personal property. Even when he demolished markets (his newest pastime), he rushes to put up big billboards with the picture of his head taking up more than fifty percent of the space, while the picture of the proposed replacement so called ultramodern market pales in comparison.


Severally, on Saturday I was catching snippets of the charade organized by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, for South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, especially on AIT (though I was much more interested in seeing Liverpool knock the breath out of Manchester United to no avail on Super Sport, while Tony Elumelu with his Foundation on CHANNELS TV I think, was empowering youths to become entrepreneurs), and some other channel, that bothered to showcase the event, which included a so called Eze Imo (who I suppose should be the head of traditional rulers in the state), dressed like a Zulu chief, and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo walking in tow. I only heard about the unveiling of a statue in honour of Zuma on Sunday via twitter, then saw pictures of him been given a chieftaincy title, and also having a street named after him.


Then I thought to myself, "Zuma?" The South African president who just last week had a court rule against him in a corruption case, for which he's now to refund to the state's coffers, monies diverted from state funds into expanding his estate to accommodate his ever growing harem of wives. This Zuma whose country is notorious for targeting Nigerians, especially Igbo people (including those from Imo State) during  xenophobic attacks on black foreigners, for lynching by civilians, and arbitrary arrests, detention and extrajudicial killings by the police, with little to no response by the Zuma government, which then goes on to reap political capital from it, by not claiming responsibility for the shameful conditions of black South Africans, as long as the people can continue to blame and turn on their African brothers for being responsible for their woes. It is this same Zuma that now has a larger than life size statue in his honour in Owerri, the Imo State capital?

Sadly, from the look of things, there are more statues to be unveiled, erected with funds that could've easily paid workers currently going months without pay, many times over, to the further disgust of Imo people if this last unveiling is anything to go by. As if it wasn't bad enough that nepotism is the official game of government in the state, this man continues to run his pet foundation, while in power, going ahead to sign an MOU with the Zuma Foundation while in office, making you wonder where the EFCC that's disturbing commissioners in Ekiti State because Governor Ayodele Fayose is in opposition are, and further fueling the assertion that the so called anti-corruption war by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is a sham and one-sided.


While Governor Okorocha was embarrassing his people in Imo State like that proverbial king dressed in invisible royal attire, elsewhere in Lagos, another statue was been unveiled, this time of the Music icon and Afrobeat Legend (Social Crusader and National Conscience, whose words remain truism and prophetic for Nigeria and Nigerians, decades after his passing), Fela Anikulapo Kuti,
to mark the end of this year's FELABRATION on Allen Avenue, Ikeja by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, days after goofing with an earlier updated statue (considered by critics to look more a caricature than a work of art, in that the face might not have looked like that of the Great AWO, besides the fact that he was made to wear shoes with laces with Agbada- akin to fashion riot, in a sitting position) of the Yoruba demigod, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Ambode got it right with FELA,  but I won't go further on this subject (especially in trying to understand why the statue is headless, save for the reason that once again the sculptor may have messed up like the  last one did with the recently unveiled Awo statue) in order not to draw away from Okorocha's shame, besides just to mention how in one weekend a statue insulted the psyche of a people, while another further elevated a people respectively.


'kovich


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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

OF SUKUK BONDS & NIGERIA'S CHRISTIANS

I couldn't be bothered by the fear expressed in some quarters of an ongoing Islamization agenda in Nigeria's financial system. SUKUK BONDS and the likes are all reactionary experiments that can be, and have easily been exploited by capitalist tendencies. As long as Nigeria hasn't, and can't shed her reliance from the Bretton Woods' institutions, all of these shenanigans will in no single way impact on the way, and who Nigerians worship. The British know this, hence they allow it in their financial institutions, ever the exploiters that they've always been, developing their land, entertainment and sports with interest-free Arab money, while keeping the financiers at arm's length from their prized possessions.


The scenario won't be so much different in Nigeria, despite the fact that Muslim faithfuls will be particularly drawn to the idea that financial instruments, such as Sukuk, and  Islamic Banking such as practiced by a few banks so licensed to so do, will bring them to the utopia of sharia-compliant Nigeria they've always dreamed of. When it was tried in Osun State a few years back, it was administered by a Christian commissioner for finance, though one can easily adduce that the prompting must've been at the instance of the Muslim and still Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, a Muslim zealot to the kilt.

In my estimation, the greatest undoing of pipe dreams like the Islamization of Nigeria, via the allure of interest-free financial instruments and banking, will not be from, and by antagonist Christians and other Nigerians, rather the elite Muslim Nigerians, who are not going to temper their unquenchable desire for acquiring wealth, seeing as Islamic financing as yet is a lake, compared to the mighty ocean that capitalism, with foundations steeped in Judeo-Christian traditions, swim in, and is where the big players play in. If you doubt me just look at where Alhaji Aliko Dangote turns to, each time he seeks a loan for another investment that interests him.


Christians who berate their leaders for not setting up something akin to what Muslims are doing, forget easily that  what presently obtains is Christian, or better still, as I've already stated, Judeo-Christian and nothing they'd set up will be anything different from what is on ground, and what the mega-churches have already set up in their private capacities. Interestingly, some Christians have even gone along to exploit interest-free loans in the Islamic banks in Nigeria, either by themselves or using proxies who are Muslims, to avoid "scandals".


The schools, churches and other edifices that churches are building today, with the surrounding communities they cultivate around them, with constant electricity and water supply, with other infrastructure the Nigerian government and democracy is finding difficult to provide, will not always be so expensive to access in future. They will be testament to the foresight of these church leaders (with whom I do not always agree with), besides birthing in upcoming ones (pastorpreneurs, Christian religious leaders and Christian entrepreneurs) new and more inclusive ways to do the same things, leaving others (proponents of Sukuk Bonds and Islamic banking) to play catch up.


'kovich

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

OF MARKET DEMOLITIONS IN IMO STATE

My visit to Imo State last weekend left me totally hollowed out with governance in Nigeria, especially as regards social contact between the rulers (because "leaders" isn't a word that should loosely be used to describe any Nigerian in government or power) and the led/ruled. It brought to life the many things I have heard and seen online, and on the very few TV stations like "Channels TV" in Lagos, that's not partisan and unafraid to speak truth to authority, in for instance, shedding more light on the circumstances surrounding the shooting to death of a boy,


allegedly from a stray bullet from random fire by security operatives accompanying the bulldozers set to the work of demolishing one of the markets in Owerri, the Imo State capital.


Away from Owerri, where churches and hotels compete for space with their  magnificent edifices, which was what I did when I visited Amaraku in Isu-Nwangele Local Government Area, and Umuawam, Amauburu also in Imo State, you'd find what seems like an attempt to knock food outta the mouths of already impoverished masses of the people of Imo. I couldn't ignore the hisses and sighs of disgust, a sense of resignation even, amongst the fellow passengers I shared a bus with as we made for the hinterlands of Imo, and passed by one market and the other demolished or under demolition by agents of the state government, with huge billboards hovering over the ruins, with Governor Rochas Okorocha's face taking much of the space in it, intimating those who care to notice, of his intention to put in place of what formerly obtained, an "ultramodern" market.


The kind of ultramodern, my friend MJ once assumed to appear to mean only in terms of "money expended, but not in structure erected" as evidently displayed, not only in Imo State, but allover Nigeria, especially since the return of civil rule in 1999. A return to democracy that seem not to be able to afford massive infrastructural development, as witnessed under military rule, save for the so called "ultramodern" markets, public toilets and flyovers. So what have the the traders done? They simply moved back to the sites of the demolished markets, put up tables with umbrellas and other makeshift apparati, to continue with business as usual in plain site.
TRADERS RESORTING TO MAKESHIFT ARRANGEMENTS ON A SECTION OF THE DEMOLISHED MARKET AT AMARAKU, ISU-NWANGELE LOCAL  GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE. 


Interestingly, touts saddled with the responsibility of collecting levies from the traders, haven't ceased their activity. If anything they appear to be encouraging further encroachment into roads away from the market just so they can multiply their takings exponentially. It is left to be seen if all of these demolished markets will be rebuilt by the time the governor hands over on May 29, 2019. If however one considers that he intends to push a relative or an in-law of his into power after him, that should be enough motivation for him to complete the market projects (with of course the people turning their back on his anointed, if feelers are anything to go by, in the event that their votes count). If not, then these demolished markets may have just been returned to what they used to be pre-independence eastern Nigeria, for no just cause.


'kovich 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

INGLORIOUS POLICING ENCOURAGES JUNGLE JUSTICE IN NIGERIA

A vigilante group arrested one Ifeanyi Dike on his way to dispose of the body of an eight year old girl, he'd raped, killed, and mutilated for ritual purposes, and handed him over to the Police, somewhere in Rivers State.

The culprit who was swiftly paraded by the police (not because of any thorough job they did in apprehending him) earlier, was later reported by the same police to have escaped from detention, stating that a manhunt for the suspect has been initiated, even before many people could come to terms with the story surrounding the murder of the poor girl.


Now you wonder how this will not feed into the arguments of those in support of jungle justice, as once again the Nigerian police proves itself incapable of maintaining the integrity of Nigeria's criminal justice system, at least their own part of the bargain. To add salt to the injury they created, once the police announced the escape of the suspect, they were also quick to deploy men to put down protests by members of the community, who thronged the street yesterday to express their displeasure at the Rivers State police' poor handling of the case, only to be teargassed and forcefully dispersed by the same police that just allowed a criminal walk from their facility, on the pretext that the peaceful protest was infiltrated by thugs?


It's interesting that this happened in a Rivers State where just recently some members of Aluu community were sentenced to death for involvement in the lynching of four undergraduates four years ago (the first time in recent history, perpetrators of jungle justice will be so treated), after they were apprehended by vigilante groups who accused them of armed robbery, then went on, along with others to mete extra-judicial justice on them. Which must have informed the decision if this particular vigilante group to opt to handing the suspect in this case over to the police for prosecution.


Sadly, the police may have inadvertently granted the people who have already lost confidence in their ability to curb crime and criminality, a go ahead to procure and obtain justice by any means they consider necessary, under the shadows, seeing that most of the noise against jungle justice have come because of video evidence and social media.


This incident, amongst several others lends voice to those calling for state police. The Nigerian police as presently constituted, serves the interest of  government, those in power, politicians, the wealthy and elite only, and not the masses. When they are on the roads, it's to extort from motorists and harass the masses, while the job of security have largely been taken up by Nigerians on a personal level in the high fences of our homes, the metal burglary proofs on our doors and windows, including the "Aboki" at our gates (for those who have gates), and communally by the vigilante groups that you find allover the country. And in the occasions when these vigilante groups apprehend disturbers of the peace, they often than not get undermined by the police they trust to move justice to the next level. What a shame!


'kovich

Sunday, August 20, 2017

UNDERMINE THE UNDERMINERS

The best way to deal with blackmailers is to undermine them by releasing what they think they have on you. Literally taking the story from under their control, by taking the initiative to proactively own the narrative, practically taking the wind out of the blackmailer's sails.


David Letterman did it, when an attempt was made to blackmail him over allegations of him having sex with a female staff of his show, intending to extort him, or have the story leaked to the media, and he simply went ahead and told his story himself on his show, apologized to his wife and others who might have been disappointed by his indiscretion, and his blackmailers got zilch.


When hackers threatened to leak the sixth episode in the currently running seventh season of Game Of Thrones, after successfully doing same to episodes before it this season, except some demands of theirs are met, HBO simply leaked it online, rather than yield to the demands of the hackers.



Hence, in the examples cited above, the BOSS way to deal with blackmail and blackmailers, and still come out of it heads held high is to undermine the underminers. There's always this feeling in the minds of close watchers of incidents of blackmail, that there's no smoke without fire, when there's hesitation on the side of the victim to state his/her own side of the story, believable or not, or in resolving to go to court, more so when  both sides now go ahead to settle out of court with "gag" clauses attached to agreements reached.


'kovich

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