Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just a letter

"It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment...

...This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquillizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
---Martin Luther-King Jnr.

Sir,

Forgive my language. I sometimes tend to get emotional when I'm writing, and on occasion tend to use some colourful language. If there is any in this letter to you, please overlook it.

By my own admission I don't like Americans. Hell by my own admission I don't like anyone but Nigerians. And even in recent times I'm beginning to find that I don't even like Nigerians that much. However I was privileged to listen to a great speech only a few days ago, made by a certain Barack Obama, and for the first time in a very long time, I found myself nodding to a politician's rhetoric and (o-my-God!) believing that this guy was genuine. Then the geezer had to spoil it all at the end by lacing it with direct references to, and lifting quotes from what is in my humble opinion the second greatest speech ever made by a man since
Eduoard Leon-Scott first put human voice on foil. In any event, for the first time ever I actually wished I was American so that come November 4 I would do my bit to ensure that Obama is voted, even if that bit means going to stuff some ballot boxes, something that some of my peers were able to do for you. But then if wishes were horses...

Then in a stroke of Machiavellian political genius, the likes that have been so lacking in modern politics, the McCain camp announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, and I found myself swaying in the wind once again. She's everything I am (and other conservatives like yourself are) from a political sense: religious, check; woman, check; pro-life, check; opposes gay marriage, check; anti climate change, check; pro guns, check; then she's beautiful to throw into the bargain. Imagine all the leverage that the Americans would gain over the Russians in those testy negotiations by just presenting her. Imagine if she has to negotiate with you? I swear you will spend a lot of time admiring her. What more can they want?

The selection of Palin as McCain's running mate injects something into the McCain camp that his detractors may have (some already had) accused him of lacking, dynamism. There is no way in heaven, earth or hell that McCain could have matched Obama's personal dynamism, and on that score alone the election had already been decided, until yesterday of course. Personal dynamism is something that make no mistakes has always been required in order to be a leader of men. If you were not dynamic and/or charismatic, then men would not follow you. It has always been that simple. For crying out loud, El Cid's personal dynamism was such that even after he died his body was dressed in armour and led his men into battle!

That personal dynamism is something that Gordon Brown in the UK lacks. And it is something that both you my president and your vice utterly do not have.

As I have said before, I am of the strong opinion that you are a good guy, and well intentioned. But it takes something a lot more than being good to lead a country like Nigeria. To make matters even worse, it is evident that you are a sick man, and for that reason alone I am angry. For whatever it's worth, the health of the president of our nation is not a private matter, but a matter of urgent national interest. If our president sneezes, the nation ought to know if he has brucellosis. There should be nothing hidden about it. The cancellation of the state visit to Brazil, a visit that would have been potentially highly beneficial to Nigeria only goes to prove that you are in no state to continue what is in my mind one of the most stressful jobs on God's green earth.

For what it's worth, your predecessor (God punish him!) had the dynamism, strength and health that was needed to lead Nigeria, and in my opinion would eventually be judged by history. Truth of the matter is this, the man's legacy isn't yet set in stone because some things he did were quite frankly good, whilst others were quite frankly terrible. Chxta's personal hatred of the man stems from Bakassi, and from watching the Russians show us exactly how to deal with smaller nations in your backyard. Why did you let that handover to happen? I also blame you as well, but I am willing to let that slide because I want to believe that that particular chalice was already poisoned before being handed to you.

Your predecessor however made one really bad decision, and that decision it seems is going to be the one that comes to bite him in his large arse, the decision of who would succeed him. Placing you there was in my opinion a bad decision.


One by one the people whom your predecessor spent eight years putting at bay are beginning to regain their influence (even the really evil ones), and your predecessor's acolytes are beginning to find themselves having to run for the hills. The problem here is that those people who are coming under attack are the people who in a curious twist I rate very highly. I am most especially referring to Nuhu Ribadu.

For the past few days I've been trying to bring out a rationale behind the demotion of the man, and I simply can't. As far as I am concerned, that fellow did a great job whilst he was in charge of the EFCC, and in my opinion was more than anyone responsible to a large extent for the gradual return of confidence in Nigeria's economy/public sector. Now he is being hounded about almost like a common criminal. What kind of message are you sending across?

For what it's worth, Nigeria is at a very dire crossroads, and your seeming lack of interest, or ill health, or (insert phrase here) is not helping us at all, rather, it is a major hindrance to our quest to make progress. Since you came into office, we have only seen reversals on almost all of your predecessor's policies, even those that were for the good of all, we are yet to see any shifts in a positive direction on those issues that your predecessor evidently got wrong, and more importantly we are yet to see any major policy statements from him!

Things I would have expected to have started seeing some motion on in the last year:
1) Education: if you read my website, you will see that I wrote about this fairly recently, I will be blunt Sir, I am disappointed in how you have handled the education sector. How can we ever hope to make progress as a nation if we can't get that in order? As an academic, I expect that you will sort it out, no excuses whatsoever.
2) NEPA: all the reports available to me indicate that it has actually gotten worse, instead we hear a lot of noise such as Nigeria seeking technical support from Germany and Iran (Iran?!). From where I stand the solution to the NEPA problem is blindingly obvious. Break up the damned company in reality and not just in name. Make each state (or zone at the worst) responsible for its own power needs, and place them in direct competition with one another. I can almost assure that you'd see the difference in a year.
3) Transport: I was impressed when Mrs. Madueke was appointed Minister. Even more impressed when she apologised to the nation for the state of the Benin-Lagos Road. That was a year ago, and since then the dry season has come and gone. It still takes 7 hours to travel between both points, a distance that I used to do in less than three only a few years ago. Why hasn't your government moved to fix our crumbling transport infrastructure? Why have we not started seeing some work on our decayed railways?
4) The Niger Delta: this whole shabazz out there is getting worse by the day, and the fact that MEND has apparently been reduced to a hostage search and rescue organisation only goes to prove what I said all those months ago, that the Niger Delta 'militancy' is all about how much the 'militants' can spirit away to their bank accounts, and not the injustices that their people are suffering. I would have expected firmer action from Abuja on these people, not the kid gloves they are being treated with. Well, fair being fair, a friend of mine in the Army says that the new guys in charge (new service chiefs were appointed only days ago) are no nonsense fellows. Let's see what they do about it...
5) Security: when I was a lad, we used to 'steal' the parents' car(s) to go for night parties. From what I am told, that is no longer possible because the real robbers would get you if you do such, so the cover of returning the car to the garage before the parent(s) wake up is no longer an option because something would have happened to you at night. I have been reliably informed by people still in Benin that the SARS there (Special Anti Robbery Squad) have resorted to shooting young boys off hand. And only a few days ago, a man whom I grew up not too far from (his son and daughter were my classmates) was shot in broad daylight. Like so many murders that occurred in that sadly violent town where I grew up, I doubt that his would ever be solved. But this lack of security is not a Benin City problem, it is a Nigerian problem, and we can't expect to get serious investment in the country if there is insecurity all over the place. Then I hear that your mum was robbed? Do I need to flog this point further?

I would have expected these four issues to be treated with utmost alacrity, but as with everything about this administration, it has been go slow all the way. Anyway, this is a direct appeal to you, President Umaru Yar'Adua. Sir, I was told that you are a man of honour. If you are no longer up to the job of running Nigeria, then please do the honourable thing. Resign.

yours sincerely,
Chxta.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Before we play that game...

...I just want to point out that whatever the outcome of tomorrow's game with the bloody Argies (the rest of the planet and not a few Naijas think that they'll arse invade us), these Olympic games were fucked up at least from a Nigerian point of view. This has got to be our worst performance since that sex scandal ridden contingent that went to Moscow in 1980.

Nigerian sports is at an all time low and a glossy gold in football will not change that, this despite the fact that if we do win the gold one crackpot somewhere would come out to say that this is the father of all gold medals. It is not. The showpiece event of any Olympic games is the track and field. What we must also acknowledge is that the footballers (and their coach Siasia) got to where they are inspite of the incompetent people at the helm of affairs of the NFA and the NOC. Were it left to those buggers we'd be nowhere because all they're interested in is lobbying to travel with the teams and collect as much estacode as they can get their grubby hands on.

On to the game itself, I'll be delighted if we do win tomorrow as that would actually be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Has any of you seen that Argentina team? For crying out loud that is actually Argentina's full squad that we will be playing tomorrow, and they have a point to prove! For me, I don't see Kaita (IMHO the star of our team so far), out-hustling both Mascherano and Gago. Unless hell freezes over before tomorrow of course. But then again maybe hell might just freeze over.

Up Eagles!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Achievements

So the entire media (and my dear friend Uzo) are in raptures about the 'phenomenal' Michael Phelps. Not to take anything away from the man, I do think he is a fantastic athlete, but I simply don't accept the view that he is the greatest Olympian ever. Spare me the media frenzy and feed the bullshit to someone else.

In the Beijing Olympics Phelps has managed a gold medal in each of the following events: 100 m butterfly, 200 m individual medley, 200 m freestyle, 200 m butterfly, 400 m individual medley, 4 x 100 m freestyle relay, 4 x 100 m medley relay, and 4 x 200 m freestyle relay. Great.

But why is no one talking about the fact that three of the medals are across the same distance of 200m? Another two are as part of a 4 x 100m relay! My gripe with swimming at sports meets such as the Olympics is just that. I have never understood the concept of a whole range of medals dedicated to just one kind of stroke, in effect a whole range of medals dedicated to a method of achieving an end!

Back in the day Chxta was an aspiring high jumper (before the truth dawned on Chxta that he could never lift his considerable behind above 3 feet!), and in the High Jump event you had different methods of clearing the pole: Fosbury flop, Western roll, Back flip, etc. If High Jump was as crazy (or is the word stupid?) as swimming, then the gold medalists in the High Jump would be getting medals for High Jump Fosbury Flop, or High Jump Western Roll. That is madness.

From my humble perspective, there have been two standout achievements from the Beijing Olympics so far, Usain Bolt's destruction of the field in the 100m final (and remember that it was only this year he began doing that distance), and one that has largely gone unnoticed by the media (apart from the Brits of course), Rebecca Romero. Four yeas ago in Athens, Romero won the silver for Great Britain in rowing, and she cried after that because she felt that her teammates had let her down. Shortly after those Olympics, she changed discipline to cycling, and this year won the gold medal in that discipline, an entirely different sport from the one she started out from. If that is not a phenomenal athletic feat, I don't know what is. But please spare me the Phelps propaganda.

More madness

So that fat woman that heads the Nigerian Stock Exchange has gone on the rampage again. Not satisfied with raising funds for traitors such as Olu Obasanjo she has decided to go international and display to the world just how voters are coerced in Nigeria into voting for someone who may not be their choice. Can someone explain to her please that Barack Obama owes no loyalty to Nigeria and/or Nigerians, and sees himself first as an American before seeing himself as a blackman?

In her bid to grab headlines she has forgotten that she can't as a matter of law raise funds in an American election, or when did she become a US citizen?

This is another glaring example of the quality (or is it lack of?)of leadership that is afflicting us in Naija. Instead of the foolish woman to face her homeland she's attempting to chuck her mouth into somewhere she isn't wanted, and she doesn't even have the grace to do it as quietly as is possible.

[Politically incorrect]I blame her husband. If he had whoozed her properly when the marriage was young she won't have grown these kind of wings.[/Politically incorrect]

Speaking of dumb tarts...

Is Angela Merkel dumb or is she dumb? What is this lunacy of fast tracking Georgia into NATO? For the sake of clarity, NATO's creed clearly states that an attack on one is an attack on all, and Russia isn't going to sit by idly and let countries within her sphere of influence decamp to a potentially hostile bloc, a decamping which if it is allowed to continue would effectively reduce Russia to a global nonentity. They are not 'obedient boys' like Nigeria, and they would react in whatever way that they can. Jeez! We are all gonna die.

For me, it's back to work...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anyone who didn't watch the 100m final of the Olympics missed something significant. Usain Bolt never got out of second gear in breaking the world record. I'd love to see him when he is actually taking a race seriously. The guy actually slowed down and still broke the world record. You could park a trailer in the gap that existed between him and the Trinidadian in second place. Gaddem!!!

[Politically incorrect mode]Did y'all notice that the field in the 100m final was full of descendants of former slaves? Running from their white masters all those centuries ago provided them some solid genes...[/Politically incorrect mode]

Back to the football. Naija just extended the lead against the Ivory Coast...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Licking elbows

Okay so I'm driving along the M25 listening to LBC when James o'Brien says it is a scientific fact that you can't touch your elbows with your mouth. Instinctively I try to touch my elbow with my mouth a couple of times and fail on all occasions, then notice that the guys in the cars all around me are also trying to touch their elbows with their mouths.

Then the headlines flash before me: LATEST LBC NEWS, HUGE COLLISION ON M25 DUE TO MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS AT ELBOW LICKING...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Do not provoke an animal

Might is right
---Mallam Ilia

Disclaimer: if you're a peace monger, read no further.

I've had some personal issues that have drawn me closer to the Most High. This evening after work, I went to church to light a candle, and I saw something that put all my problems in a new light. Someone had scribbled his prayer intentions:
Dear God,
Please make my life better or just finish me off.


And I think I have problems...

...I'm convinced that Mikhail Saakashvili is an idiot. For years he has been deliberately provoking the Russian bear, and for a long time took their 'restraint' for weakness. Now he's getting a good dose of what happens to people who don't listen to advice.

On the 7th of August, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, a province within Georgia which has since the mid 1990s been acting as an independent nation, albeit unrecognised by the United Nations. According to the Georgians, the Ossetians had attacked them first. The Ossetians denied this. The problem here is that Ossetians are ethnic Russians, or at least consider themselves Russians, and the guys in Moscow gave them Russian passports a decade ago.

Ossetians maintain they all became Russian subjects after the signing of the Kucuk Kaynarca treaty that put an end to the 1768-74 Russo-Turkish war and consecrated Moscow's advance into the Black Sea region and the Caucasus.

Georgians on the other hand say that Ossetia as a territory did not exist at the time. They also say the 1774 treaty makes no mention of Ossetians willingly submitting to Russian rule and, therefore, cannot serve as a legal basis for reunification claims.

The Ossetian people remained undivided until after the 1917 Russian Revolution when the Bolsheviks established control over the Caucasus and gave their southernmost lands to what would become Soviet Georgia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a conflict in that region as the Ossetians and the people of Abkhazia tried to assert their independence. The then leaders of Russia and Georgia, Boris Yeltsin and Eduard Shevardnadze reached a settlement that allowed both Russian and Georgian forces to 'keep the peace' in the region. It was this agreement that the Georgians breached four days ago, and the results are there for all to see.

What are the lessons that can be learned from this conflict by 'giants' such as Nigeria?

1) There are no friends
A lesson that the Georgians are learning to their cost. They'd probably expected that the West would rush to their aid in order to protect 'vital' oil supplies. You see, this region supplies the West with quite a few millions of barrels of oil per day. Unfortunately, Russia is a very large beast, one that the West wouldn't want to confront unnecessarily lest we all get very bloody noses. Anyone remember MAD?

2) Might is right
As a large country, no other nation in your sphere of influence should be allowed to go out of line, regardless of who their 'allies' are. When the chips are down, the 'allies' would consider their own interests first before any other. If it isn't in their immediate interests to upset the bigger boy, they'll only make token noises from the relative safety of the UN building, but the smaller nation would get beaten to a pulp.

3) International borders are not necessarily sacrosanct
Borders have changed throughout history. Yes, there was a time that what is today Gdansk, Poland was indisputably German. There was a time that what is today Dallas was Mexican. When the majority of the population of an area wants to go in one direction, only massive force can keep them from doing that, otherwise they should be free to go...

...and that brings us quite nicely to Bakassi.

300 000 Nigerians have made it quite clear that they wish to remain Nigerian. The Nigerian Senate has made it quite clear that it has not approved such a handover. The Nigerian Army has made it quite clear that it does not support such a handover. A Nigerian High Court has ordered that the handover be stopped. Yet, the 'elected' government of Nigeria insists on obeying a non-binding order from the International Court of Justice that Nigeria hand Bakassi over to Cameroon.

Of all of Yar'Adua's goofs so far, this is the one that really gets my goat. For how long are we going to as a nation allow ourselves to be pushed about by the rest of the world? Naturally we should be the undisputed power of the West-Central region of Africa, and one thing that is common with all powers is that no one in their sphere of influence dares to challenge their authority. Imagine what would happen if tomorrow the Cubans are mad enough to invade Guantanamo Bay. Don't get me started on Obasanjo for his role in this whole fiasco. I think the man should be held up against a wall and shot.

Bakassi should remain Nigerian.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

If loving you is wrong...

One of my favourite songs...

If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
If being right means being without you I'd rather live a wrong doin' life.
Your mama and daddy say it's a shame it's a down right disgrace.
But long as I got you by my side I don't care what your people say.

Your friends tell you it's no future in loving a married man.
If I can't see you when I want I'll see you when I can.
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Am I wrong to fall so deeply in love with you?
Knowing I got a wife and two little children depending on me too.
And am I wrong to hunger for the gentleness of your touch?
Knowing I got someone else at home who needs me just as much.

And are you wrong to give your love to a married man?
And am I wrong for tryin' to hold on to the best thing I ever had?
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Are you wrong to give your love to a married man?
And am I wrong for trying to hold on to the best thing I ever had?
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

I don't wanna be right if it means being without you.
I don't wanna be right if it means sleeping at night.
I don't wanna be right if lovin' you is wrong.

Isaac Hayes died this evening. May he rest in peace.

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Manchester waka


That’s a picture of me tracking Christian Poulsen during Wednesday’s game between Manchester United and Juventus. And credit must be given where it’s due, whoever found him for Juve did an excellent job. That guy is the Gospel!

Work took me to Manchester (Stockport to be accurate), and just as well it took me there at the same time as it was that la Vecchia Signora was coming to town. There was nowhere else to be on Wednesday night but the magnificent Old Trafford…

Just a quick observation, Manchester like all of Northern England is an infinitely cheaper place than London. Cost me £35 to fill me tank whereas in London it costs nothing less than £43, and that is just the start. My favoured meals at my preferred restaurant cost £4.68 while in London it is £5.28 (justifies my decision to cook at home). I was able to park my car outside of the place I stayed in without fear of anybody coming to give me a £120 fine or even worse clamping my car. I have to reconsider where I live seriously. Someone earning my salary but staying in Manchester has a better life than I do, and to make things even sweeter for him, there are no yobs to push little ladies onto rail tracks (the latest news coming outta London).

On to the game, we Juve fans were outnumbered 500-1, and they didn’t even have the courtesy (like Sunderland last year) to give us our own section, so there I was a lonely Juve jersey (like so many others that night) sitting with a million ManScum yobs. On the evidence of what I saw that day, and what I saw on Saturday when we (Juve) beat Arsenal, Arsenal fans are going to do a lot of crying this year. I must give Sir Alex credit. That Vidic fellow is the truth.

The game itself was one very entertaining goalless draw, in my opinion only eclipsed by the excellent dish served out by Arsenal and Madrid two years ago.

You can read a complete match report here, but I’ll give my own little opinions…

I’ve not seen the other contender to the English throne (Chelsea) play yet, but on the evidence of what I’ve seen so far this pre-season, it would be a very tough job for the two pretenders (Arsenal and Liverpool) to overthrow ManU. Extremely tough indeed. Despite the fact that this was a friendly, they took it with such passion that one began to wonder what was at stake. I’m glad that Juve matched them in passion and showed that we are quite ready. My only fear remains that we don’t have the depth that merda Inter for example have. Especially in defence, we are too thin and one or two silly injuries could ruin the season for us…

I loved the way the ManU fans shouted SHOOT each time Paul Scholes touched the ball.

Player ratings:

Gigi is still a god. Anytime any day. There was a point blank header that he saved from Paul Scholes in the first half. Watching him is an orgasmic experience. I only wish I had an Italian speaking daughter to give to him…

Grygera is good. He supports the attack well, and doesn’t neglect his defensive duties.
Mellberg and Legrotaglie did a nice job. Problem with that pairing for me is that their combined age is 61, which doesn’t make for good speed. I don’t know if they’d be able to survive the season intact.


Chiellini is massive. In him we have someone who can play both at left back and in central defence. I pray to the most High that nothing happens to him. He has to watch his temper though, got into a fair bit of a scrap with Tevez once or twice.

Sissoko is good. Needs to work on his concentration a fair bit more though. Sometimes he was caught ball watching. It was rather tragic the way the crowd booed him from the moment of kick off, and it only became once when they were denied a free kick call close to our ‘eighteen’. One yob beside me explained that they were booing him because of his Liverpool past. He was replaced by Albin Ekdal, who despite his age showed a maturity beyond his years. If Sissoko isn’t careful he’d soon be warming the bench more regularly while Ekdal gets to play.

Camoranesi is still a football maestro. Age isn’t on his side anymore though, and it showed before he was brought off. His replacement Marchionni was excellent, and gave us a new dimension when he came on. Until then Evra had had fun going forward. My problem with Marchionni remains that he is made of glass. Since he joined Juve, he’s spent more time on the treatment table than on the field. Let’s hope that ends this season and he begins to justify his salary.

Salimahidzic used to be good, you can’t take that away from him. However, age has come on him, and Wes Brown had a nice time pocketing him. That changed however, when young Fausto Rossi came on. The child bears the name of one of the greatest players ever to wear the black and white, and he has shown a willingness to live up to that name. As soon as he came on, Brown stopped moving forward. Enough said…

Poulsen… I can’t run out of superlatives to describe the performance. I spent half the game following his movements around the field, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with his game. From breaking up attacks to initiating attacks to supporting the defence to providing those passes. Like I said, that guy is the gospel. There was this 50 yard pass that he gave Amauri in the second half. Even Van der Sar was pissed off that Amauri wasted that thing…

Del Piero is still very good. Like Giggs though, age has finally come, and it isn’t leaving at all. Were I Ranieri, I’d start him on the bench and use him as an impact player.

Iaquinta, he hustles. He plays. But there’s something missing from his game, something I can’t put a finger on. Let’s hope he finds that missing element so he can live up to his potential.

Amauri hustles as well, and he is a proven scorer. But he is new…

This season promises to be a good one. Let’s sit back and enjoy…

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Gunchester

First time actually in Manchester, as opposed to passing through Manchester. Now I understand why a Panorama report on gun crime described this place as 'Gunchester'. I keep getting the feeling that I'm on the set of Get Carter...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

IT Support


IT Guy Vs Dumb Employees - Watch more free videos

Having worked in IT Support for some years now, I can confidently say that this kind of thing really happens. Remember this real life example?

Friday, August 01, 2008

D Komin Kasala

My people perish for lack of knowledge
---Hosea 4:6

So the ship is going towards the iceberg, and the First Mate shouts at the Captain, 'Ahoy, iceberg dead ahead! Let me divert course to avoid it.'
'Stay the course,' comes the reply.

A few minutes later, and with the iceberg coming at the ship (or is it the other way round?) more rapidly than Chxta falling out of a bar on a Friday night, the First Mate asks again, 'Let me divert course?'
'Stay the course,' replies the Captain again, 'we have to go the same route as was set down by those who came before us.'

Cue another few minutes, and NNS Nigeria is about to collide with the iceberg, and even then, Captain Yar'Adua insists on doing nothing.

At what point are the ship's crew going to abandon him? Is it mutinous for them to throw a Captain who seems hell-bent on taking them down with him overboard? Why did they accept the imposition of such a Captain on themselves in the first place? Why did he take a job that he didn't covet? What was the matter with the previous Captain that he insisted on placing someone who is not up to the job in position? There are so many questions, and so precious few answers.

One of Chxta's greatest weaknesses in life is that like most Nigerians, Chxta is a very impatient person. Perhaps more so than the average Nigerian animal. However, with this President, Chxta has always preached patience. Let's not judge the man too quickly. Unfortunately however, Chxta's patience is beginning to wear seriously thin, the reason being that we are watching history repeat itself.

Back in 1979, a certain General Olu Obasanjo orchestrated what was then Nigeria's only peaceful handover of power to someone who was good intentioned, but weak. The man was Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Shagari went on to preside over what is generally acknowledged as one of the most corrupt administrations ever to rule (govern please, I hate the word rule in that context) Nigeria. Cue 24 years later, and the same Obasanjo handed over to another good intentioned person, who is apparently weak. The stories I hear from my various Okubenjis about the scale of corruption in Abuja nowadays is heart-rending.

They say history repeats itself.

For me, the final straw is the current primary school teachers' strike. I mean, what the fuck is the matter with the president? And let no one for one second imagine that the strike is over. As far as I can tell, it has been suspended for a period of two weeks. The fact that the president is an academic is all the more disappointing as he more than anyone should realise the value of primary school teachers to the nation's development.

You see, Chxta believes (and believes strongly) that any problem people face in life can be worked out provided the will to work it out is there. However, there are different shades of difficulty in working out problems, and it becomes a lot more difficult to resolve a problem if the foundations on which the structure that is facing the problem is shaky. If we extrapolate that, then we would begin to look at this habit of toying with teachers as something that is a lot more dangerous than toying with food production. I once referenced an article by Kulutempa in which she complained that Nigerians don't read. Is it difficult to see where the problem is when the foundation is very shaky?

In other (more serious) parts of the world, the very best brains are retained by the academia, or at the very least allowed to go into industry but encouraged to contribute to academic work in one way or the other. Glen Mapp, one of my lecturers during my Masters degree lectures in both Cambridge and Middlesex Universities, is the Managing Director of an IT firm, and participated in ground breaking research for Olivetti with respect to VNC, a technology which is so vital in today's IT with respect to 'simple' things such as working from home. My lecturers in UNIBEN on the other hand hardly contributed anything to the body of knowledge as they were too busy chasing contracts in order to keep body and soul together. Who can blame them? A man has to survive. The best graduating student in the set before me at Middlesex University was offered a scholarship to continue on to a PhD, this so that the school, and eventually the country, would benefit from her potential. The best graduating student in my class in UNIBEN works for an oil firm now, making lots of money, but nowhere near achieving his undoubted potential. A guy with a very penetrating intellect, he would have been in a prime position to contribute a lot to the general body of knowledge had UNIBEN been attractive enough to retain him, but it is not. And a lot of it is the fault of our government.

Unarguably the rot in Nigerian universities can be traced back to the first major ASUU strike, 1974 when Jack Gowon held the reigns. The man was the first to use the 'no work, no pay' policy, and it was downhill from then on, slowly at first, then the downward trend accelerated under Babangida, and reached a crescendo under Abacha. It has been stable since then, but as far as Chxta is concerned, there's been precious little upward movement.

Another problem facing the Nigerian university system is the quality of undergraduates coming in. This is where the Primary and Secondary school systems are vital. By the time a child gets to university age, his habits have already been formed. One of the weaknesses of the Nigerian educational sector is that it is restrictive, we don't read anything, or much, outside our chosen fields, and this bad habit is formed in the earlier schools.

Chxta has spoken with First Class degree holders in Science courses that didn't know who Herbert Macaulay was. Disappointing? Not exactly as the people in question are stars in their chosen fields, so Chxta can't begrudge them really, or can Chxta? The grudge Chxta holds in such respect is this: we are loosing, or have lost any pretence of versatility. What a lot of people don't realise is that you can't be technical forever. Chxta for example would be incredibly suicidal if in another five, maximum eight years Chxta is still having to crimp cables and RDC into servers on a daily basis. Heck, Chxta is getting jaded with all that now. But Chxta knows that Chxta is versatile enough to move into another area, and do well. Same as Chxta's colleague, a Brit, who resigned just a few weeks back and has moved into Property development, something totally unrelated to IT. That is the benefit of the well rounded education the guy got, a benefit that many Nigerians in Chxta's generation and afterwards do not have. Something that would confine them to being square pegs in round holes at the very best.

Another one of Nigeria's problems is that we have too many square pegs in round holes, and if we don't fix our educational sector osiso, it would get worse. And worse from where we currently are is something that doesn't even bear thinking.

Hardy Error

For the first time since I made the switch from Windows I have actually questioned my 'blind' (thanks Texazz) faith in Ubuntu. Yes, I think that Ubuntu 8.04 a.k.a Hardy Heron is a step backwards.

The list of bugs is large, and my biggest gripe is with USB devices. You see, when I was using Gutsy Gibbon (Ubuntu 7.04), all I needed to do was to attach any USB device, and the OS would auto-detect it. Now, I have to go into the terminal and start invoking commands in order to get not a few devices working. I finally got pissed off when I was working on Nkem's girl's laptop a few nights back and only my pen-drive was recognised automatically. I went into the terminal and typed $lsusb and there were all the devices. So why didn't the OS mount them automatically? I'd earlier encountered this problem when I was working with Mike's USB dongle. Then I put it down to problems with the beta software. This is not right!

The very first complaint I had was on using the software upgrade channel when I was still makig use of Gutsy. I noticed that the sound left a whole lot to be desired, there was no bass. Why was that? Now for some reason my mic just doesn't work, and each time that happens I have to enter the terminal (again!) and reconfigure the whole thing. Each time this happens I feel terrible.

Again, the big question, how are we ever going to sort out bug one if things like this happen? It looks like the good folk at Canonical took a leaf from Micro$oft's book and sacrificed quality for aesthetics. Not good at all.

O well, there's a 'new' release called 8.04.1 which I would try as soon as I have better bandwidth and time, and if that isn't doesn't address my complaints, I can revert to Gutsy, then wait until October for 8.10. Going back to Windows is not an option.