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