Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letter to Mrs. Eme Ufot Ekaette


Good day Ma’am,

I feel very strongly that it is my constitutional duty to write this letter to you in the light of the recent outrage expressed at the reported marriage of Mr. Sani Ahmed Yerima to a thirteen-year-old Egyptian girl. While other people were impressed that you are standing up for the rights of a minor, and a female at that, I permitted myself a long, sarcastic laugh when I heard about it. My reason for reacting that way is simple.

You, Ma’am are a hypocrite.

The last I checked, you were the sponsor of a Bill that to my knowledge is still under consideration by the House, a Bill seeking to deprive womenfolk of their right to pick and choose what they can wear. That right should be as fundamental as the right to breathe, especially in this very hot climate of ours. By even suggesting that Bill, you Ma’am have shown yourself to be very clearly on the side of those who believe that when a woman is raped, she somehow invited it by ‘dressing provocatively’. For you to be taken seriously in your ‘outrage’ at Mr. Yerima’s marriage, kindly withdraw the nudity bill from the floor of the Senate.

For your information Ma’am, Senator Yerima’s marriage is under Nigerian law quite legal. The relevant part of our Criminal Code, which for clarity is Nigerian Criminal Code Part III, Chapter 27, Section 281, reads, “Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen years is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without caning.”

You see!

continued...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We want justice

Being the text of a letter sent by the second largest group of Juventus fans to the FIGC...

Only four years have passed but for us fans it seems like many more. From 2006 to the present day we have absorbed too many humiliations, now it is time to seriously raise our voices.

The intercepted phone calls that have emerged recently from lawyers Prioreschi and Trofino in the Neapolitan Civil Court demonstrated one simple thing: those who four years ago professed immaculate honesty and walked the streets wearing the white veil of virginity with the “Scudetto of Embarrassment” stitched on top, made calls that were far worse than anything heard in 2006.

• Never was Moggi overheard asking for two linesmen from designator Mazzei, let alone obtaining them.

• Never was Moggi overheard suggesting a new method to assign referees (and request to discontinue the random draw), inserting referees outside of the grid process to increase the probability of obtaining a desired referee.

• Never was Moggi found conversing with referees on the phone, excluding the call Paparesta made to Moggi after he officiated the Reggina-Juventus match, which Moggi terminated with seconds claiming he had nothing to say to him.

• Never was Moggi heard requesting and being granted a referee for a Coppa Italia match (remember that Coppa matches did not adhere to a random draw process but rather straight assigning of referees).

Juventus fans are not stupid.

It is clear as daylight that there were no fixed games in the “incriminated seasons” on behalf of Juventus, Inter, Milan, or any other club (this sentiment is further shared by the very judges who stated as much in the verdicts they wrote in July of 2006).

The only evident “system” was one that the FIGC itself created and promoted whereby team directors were invited and encouraged to maintain dialogue with referee designators for the purposes of communicating feedback be it satisfaction or criticism. There was certainly no mafia style organism governed by two men, who have now suffered the consequences alone while all others continue to walk freely proclaiming their innocence.

It appears as though there are but two possible outcomes:

It is determined that all are innocent: in such a case we demand that the FIGC reassign the 28th and 29th league titles to Juventus, a public apology for the damage that has been caused to the Juventus name along with a demand to Juventus SpA for an economic restitution by the FIGC for the financial losses incurred by the federation’s decisions. These are the MINIMUM acceptable actions that the team’s directors could carry out to finally demonstrate respect towards its fans that have remained loyal even in Serie B.

It is determined that all are guilty: in such a case we demand that the FIGC open a new investigation in their Sporting Tribunal to analyze the new intercepted calls and that the same rules applied four years ago be applied again. This could only be realized by the relegation of certain ”honest” teams.

The behaviour was the same by all team directors, therefore we only ask for fair and equal treatment for all.

Other solutions will NOT be tolerated from the Juventino population; do not think that revoking the 2006 title from Inter will be sufficient to pacify the country’s biggest fan base and bury the hatchet. We want a trial, we want the truth. The time of half truths and power games has come to an end.

Since all our prior requests for clarity regarding this case have fallen on deaf ears, now we are obligated to communicate by threat.

If these demands are not met by Juventus FC or the FIGC, we are prepared to boycott the entire football product, because at that point it will become clear to all that this is not a league based on sport and competition but rather a farce where it is acceptable to make those who spend more win. No season ticket sales, no regular tickets, no magazine or web subscriptions, no pay TV, no merchandise, absolutely nothing.
  • We do not want this type of football.
  • For this type of football you will have to proceed without our money.
  • This type of football Mr. Moratti will have to finance entirely.
We are many, we are awaiting the results of this case and we are infuriated.
Do not call our bluff because we assure you that in such a case we will bring our money elsewhere.

It is our consumer right and no one will take it away."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crux of the matter

So yesterday morning I'm leaving home to go to work. Then I get stopped by this elderly looking dude. Initially, he expects me to come over, but I stand my ground, so he leaves his entourage (three young men and a woman) and comes over. He takes his time walking up to me, then introduces himself as the Baale of the area.

He then proceeds to tell me how things are done around this area. Each building pays a monthly fee of N1000 to him for the security around the area. That means that I have to pay N250 (there are four flats in my building). Do I have the money now?

As respectfully as I can (my blood is boiling), I tell him that I don't have money on me, but that I would speak with my housemates when I return from work, I will speak with them so we can all bring our share.

Fat chance I think. S finally contributed his share for the water pump when both M and myself coincidentally took off for a week at the same time. Because the pump was wired to M's place, S did not have water until M returned. The next day he brought his 'donation'.

Back to the 'Baale'...

I also informed him that I think it would be wrong for me to pay individually since I believe in a united front. He thanks me for my reasonableness and then dismisses me. I go off for my appointment.

This morning as I'm preparing to leave the house, I see M, so I ask him about this Baale fellow. He lets out a long hiss and tells me that such things are the man's stock in trade. The man is apparently a professional con artist who lives off of the people in the area. His specialty is demanding money to get things done. Things that would have gotten done anyway, and this is how M found that out...

One day there was a major rain storm and the power lines got snapped. Unfortunately this storm happened on a Friday night, so there was no power over the weekend. However, by the time the residents returned from work the following Monday, power had been restored. Then on Tuesday before each person could leave for work, this Baale fellow was there (personally) with his entourage collecting N1000 from each individual because according to him, that was what the NEPA officials demanded to get the job done. M knows someone in NEPA, so he made a call, and the NEPA man screamed. They had come to do their work, and did not take a kobo from anyone.

Since that day, M has not given a kobo to the Baale, and all has been well with the world.

Hearing this story, I now know exactly what this is. It is the classical protection racket. "Give us money so you don't get hurt. If you don't give us the money, you might (will) get hurt and we will (might) do nothing about it."

This unfortunately puts me in a sad dilemma.

Because of the nature of my job, I come home late each evening. That exposes me a lot more than it does M, S or P, the other guy in my building. What is the possibility of getting car jacked if I refuse to bow to this obvious attempt at extortion? My first impulse is not to bow, and let me tell you why...

If I pay the N250, where does it stop? The 'Baale' and his people would come with more and more (and increasingly) outrageous demands. That is how protection rackets work, and once you have bent, you would keep bending.

What would you do?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Calciopoli II

From Goal.com

On Tuesday, a hearing in Naples regarding the 2006 football scandal took a twist that could see the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) placed under the microscope again.

Luciano Moggi’s lawyers presented evidence that further discredit claims that the former Juventus director controlled the league prior to 2006. The lawyers examined Col. Attilio Auricchio, who headed the investigation in 2006, and unmasked potential evidence tampering. This revelation could open the door to a retrial.

It should be noted that this trial is occurring in two theatres; criminal charges are being handled in Civil Court while sporting matters will be handled by the FIGC where titles and relegations could be decided.

If evidence tampering is confirmed, criminal charges will no doubt be made against Auricchio. If he were to reveal who he was tampering evidence for, countless individuals in the football and telecommunications world could find themselves in much more compromising courts than sporting tribunals.

The FIGC has also officially opened their books on the situation and yesterday received the evidence from Naples which they will review to determine if a retrial should be undertaken. The confirmation of evidence tampering could prove the relegation and title stripping of Juventus as wrongful and lead the team to seek compensation for the titles and 200-plus million euros lost as a result of the initial verdicts.


The nature of the new wiretaps is also cause for concern. Unlike in 2006, direct conversations between referees and presidents are now being heard (Facchetti-De Santis) along with coach to designator calls (Spalletti-Bergamo). Direct requests for referees and influence over the refereeing grids (random draw for referee assigning) as well as private meetings have also been unveiled.

Yesterday, former referee designator Paolo Bergamo told
Rai Sport that he did in fact dine with Inter's Massimo Moratti and Giacinto Facchetti and that he did receive gifts over the holidays. Bergamo went on to state that Facchetti did request specific referees be placed in the “grids”. Such accusations exceed those heard in 2006 for all clubs and would suggest that Inter could be at risk of relegation along with potential title stripping for the 2006 league title (assigned in court) and the 2005 Coppa Italia/Supercoppa Italiana since calls revolving around Coppa matches have now emerged between Moratti and Bergamo.


The wiretaps of other directors and coaches spanning clubs from Udinese to Cagliari have also been presented, lending credibility to Bergamo’s claim that he spoke to all and that it was even encouraged by the league in order to maintain positive dialogue. Moggi has been quoted as saying “either everyone is innocent or everyone is guilty” as a result, but from a legal standpoint such a claim may be too simplistic.

It appears that everyone did in fact maintain close relations with the referee designators which is in itself a violation (though minor), but the degrees of guilt may vary based on the recent courtroom revelations.

Time will tell now how the proceedings will unfold. The Naples hearings will resume on Tuesday April 20.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tomorrow!

Our Votes Must Count! #enoughisenough

Our Votes Must Count! #enoughisenough

On March 16, young Nigerians stormed Abuja.
On April 13, Lagos, here we come.

#EnoughisEnough Nigeria!
Finally, young Nigerians take charge…

Our Votes Must Count!
Join young professionals, celebrities, media, students and activists…

Take-off: Archbishop Vining Church, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Destination:
Governor’s office, Alausa, Ikeja
Time: 11am prompt

RSVP: OUR PLAN FOR 2011…
Register (R): Empower yourself. Stop complaining and get your vote on!
Select (S): Choose wise, responsible people to support! Good leaders build a good nation.
Vote (V): Take Charge. Exercise your power. Roll with your buddies/clique to the polling booth.
Protect (P): Make your vote count. Don’t walk away from your future.
-
OUR DEMANDS THIS TIME…
(a) Electoral Reform:

We have an electoral system that allows the president appoint an INEC chairman in an election which the president has interests, that allows convicted criminals to contest for public office, amongst other such misnomers. It is appalling that our electoral system remains so warped and this seems to indicate that elections are primed to be rigged. To this end, we demand that the Uwais Panel Report on Electoral Reform be adopted as is, as they present the clearest path towards transparent and corruption-free elections.


(b) Corruption:

There are littered across the country, corruption cases involving key ministries – from power to petroleum – parastatals and those held in cahoots with members of Corporate Nigeria. Even worse, the EFCC has been fingered in some of these scandals. The Acting President already slated the Ministry of Agriculture (where the former minister has been accused of inflating contracts by up to N500million); the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation; and the Millennium Development Programme for probe. There is the National Poverty Eradication Programme, where billions of naira has reportedly been misappropriated. The government must show its seriousness in prosecuting these alleged corrupt practices and showing to Nigerians seriousness in solving the problem of graft.

(c) Security:

Nigerians are not safe. The carnage in Jos continues to be a source of worry for many Nigerians, and it continues to be a source of worry because it is proof that our government and its security agencies cannot protect the lives and properties of Nigerians. This is even more poignant because, even after the initial March crises, the intelligent agencies could not pre-empt and avoid the small pockets of deaths that followed. Add this to repeated kidnappings and assignations that continue to be unresolved and the problem is more acute. We therefore demand a complete overhaul of the country’s security apparatuses and that all the public officials who were responsible for the breakdown should be, as a matter of urgency, removed.

(d) Electricity:

6,000 megawatts will not solve the electricity problems of Nigeria, but they are a good start. And when the federal government promised it, Nigerians welcomed that start. Unfortunately, not only was this promise flagrantly broken, but there has as yet been no plan on how to redeem the process. Nigerians desperately and urgently need power for the industrial and production centers. Without that, it will be difficult for the engine of our economy to run efficiently. Without it, life has become near unbearable. We are extending our ultimatum to the federal government – until the end of April – for it to present this plan to the people. If not, we shall target the ministry of power specifically for protest. This promise is not to be taken lightly.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Law and order

Read the complete article on 234NEXT.com

Acts 9 talks about an experiencethat every human being should have at least once in his lifetime, a ‘Road to Damascus' moment. In such an event, something cataclysmic happens to you, which alters your entire mindset and turns you into an ardent believer in something that you otherwise vehemently opposed.

There are so many ‘Road to Emmaus' moments in Nigeria, but because we have got so used to doing things so wrong, we cannot even tell when such little things occur that show us the folly of our ways.

One of such events happened to me in 2006 while I was still a Master's student in London. I was returning home from class one evening when at the Hendon underpass I saw a man whip out his privates in full view and urinate on a wall. It was a bit of a shock because I had only been in the UK a few months at the time and I had the mistaken belief that British people were neater and more civilised than my Nigerian compatriots. It later occurred to me that the man did what he did because he was in a location where he was not likely to be seen, and as a result, very unlikely to be punished...


...Nigeria has so many problems that it is difficult to categorise which is the worst. But I make bold here to say that our attitudes to law, order and punishment are amongst the biggest contributors to the avarice of public office holders and ordinary citizens, which in turn contribute to our failing (some would say failed) society. As a people we lack discipline. But the question then is this: is discipline a natural human attribute? My answer is no. Discipline can only be enforced when society imposes proper retribution for violations to societal order. The example of the man taking a leak in Hendon bears me out.

Michel Foucault, a French philosopher makes some good points about how Western societies became ‘disciplinary societies'. His thesis is that Western modernity was enabled by the ‘disciplining' of the western body - through schools, hospitals and other institutions (including for the working class, the factory).

You get a strong sense of disciplined bodies in, say, the UK or Germany, people moving quickly with minimal expressiveness and with purpose. Now, contrast this with the ball-scratching, pissing-everywhere Nigerian male. Probably there were very similar collective behaviour formations in pre-industrial Europe.

In Nigeria, once you are out of school, many levels of punishment get removed, and indeed certain people grow above the law. As long as our society fails to punish those who deserve punishment, indeed as long as our society keeps rewarding such people by not punishing them, we will remain backward.

Friday, April 09, 2010

R-S-V-P

When you keep quiet, you will suffer in silence. What is worse, the suffering would increase. One of the reasons that I am a part of the organizing committee for the Enough is Enough rallies is because I learned that the first rule of civic duty is not to shut up when things are going wrong around you, but to take a stand. To quote Gani Fawehinmi (rest his soul), "Stand up for what you believe in even if you stand alone."

We MUST as a people learn to do the right thing at all times, even if sometimes doing the right thing would be a bitter pill for us to swallow.

Lesson 1: Civic duties

We all have our civic duties, and we must develop a mindset that it is actually a crime to ignore those duties. When we see someone pissing along the sidewalk, we should call that person to order. When we see someone driving the wrong way up the road, we should block him and prevent that rubbish. When we see eligible people refusing to register to vote, we must educate them. Their non-participation is an endorsement of bad governance.

We must also be willing to mete out punishment if necessary. With your rights come responsibilities, and if you are irresponsible with those rights, then society has a duty to strip those rights away from you, hence in sane societies there are prisons. If you express your rights irresponsibly, you will be thrown into jail.


Lesson 2: Culture of silence

One of the reasons that our country is as rotten as it is, is because of a statement made by a friend yesterday where he asked me to ignore some lunatic's antics since according to him, "I'm bigger than the lunatic". No my brother, it doesn't get sillier than that.

That was an error consistently made by our fathers' generation. Growing up I more than once heard my father laughing at Jerry Useni because the man is uncouth. In 1991 when Babangida ordered lecturers to pack out of the UNIBEN Staff Quarters, they had a meeting in the Staff Club and I distinctly remember my dad coming home and saying, "we are more intelligent than Babangida, why should we bring ourselves down to his level."

Guess what? Because of that perceived betterness, these people refused to engage civil society and stood by while the country went down in flames. In my generation, with a mentality such as this looking like it is taking hold, we are running that clear risk of going the way of our fathers. All the books held sacred by all religions tell us very clearly that we are all equal in the sight of God. If that were true, then it is our divine duty to preserve that perceived equality. And one sure fire way of doing that is to make sure that no one gets an undue advantage over the other.

On the issue which brought about this particular conversation, someone made some libelous comments that I took exception to. What is worse, the comments were made about someone who has been cleared of any wrong doing. And what is even worse, to repeat allegations that are capable of destroying the man on the principle he holds most dear? And as if it couldn't sink even lower, making those snide remarks without ONE shred of evidence to back up what he is saying? And some people wanted us to simply sit down, debate it, then ask the offender to apologise and let him go? What precedent are we setting for our future, and not just as a forum, but our future within our country? Harsh but true, you have to punish such an offender so he would not repeat it.

A friend once said said, "I am not happy that my son is not growing up among his people, but I cannot bring my son to grow up in Nigeria as Nigeria currently is." A very powerful statement if you look between the lines. That statement is an indictment of how we do things in this country, and there are so many of us who given half a chance would do what my friend has done, cut and run. But the vast majority of us will never get that chance. And speaking as one who used to live outside of the country, I can tell you with all honesty that the vast majority of those living outside want to come home. But to what kind of home? Who will change that home if we don't? And the first step to change is by changing ourselves and disciplining ourselves. There is no way we can do that if we do not mete out punishment when it is due. Punishing offenders is a form of protecting our own rights!

We need to learn from history. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to vote, were gifts from the American founding fathers of the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century they had learned that freedoms come with responsibilities. You cannot, in the name of freedom be slack and thus directly or indirectly impinge on the rights of others. Simple and short, my space starts where your space ends, and if you encroach my space, I have every right to use every means at my disposal to defend that space. THAT IS THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM.

Register-Select-Vote-Protect. It is all about you!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Santo Moggi!


Years later and the truth is slowly beginning to seep out.

Naples court proceedings: a note by the club
In all due respect of the activities regarding the ongoing hearings, Juventus will carefully evaluate together with is legal aides the eventual relevance of the new evidence introduced during the proceedings in Naples in order to guarantee, in every sporting location and not, and as it has always done, the most careful safe-guarding of its history and of its supporters.

Juventus believes that the institutions and the organs of justice will assure the equal treatment for all, as was requested by the club and its defenders during the sports hearings in 2006.


A quick recap though, following the Calciopoli scandal Juventus were unfairly relegated, and although we bounced back to Serie A at first attempt, the club has not been the same. However, Luciano Moggi the man who was fingered in the original scandal has continued fighting to clear his name and now his efforts have been rewarded.

There has been an acceptance that ALL clubs including cry babies Inter Milan were involved in speaking with referee designator Bergamo. Bergamo himself insists that he did nothing wrong. As I always said all those years ago, Juve did not cheat.

We will all be watching closely. All things being equal justice would soon be served and we will get our two scudetti back.

Grazie mi amo Moggi, forza Juve!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Solving the problem

"They say faith without works will lead you no where, the children of Jehovah (Israel) spend less time in idle worship than you folks yet continue to be blessed. You can shout blood of Jesus until you are blue in the face but without works woe is you.

Nigeria is a nation of idle prayer warriors and false prophets who wail loudly in public and sin in private. Virtually every 4-1-9ner I know claims to be a man of God and has close relationship with a leading church pastor. My point is all the time spent in deceitful Christianity and violent Islam has become a source of misguided ideology for the unstable and poorly enlightened folks. It's time to practice practical Christianity and reduce the emphasis on hypocritical worship. No need to keep praying for electricity when the PHCN chairman is a pentecostal adherent who prays and calls on the blood of Jesus in public and loots the treasury once he shuts the office door." ---Dr. Sabinus Okoro


Almost two weeks ago, I told y'all about a fight in my apartment. I'm happy to announce that the issue has been resolved. The resolution though, took my personal intervention. I must also state here that the quarrel between Mrs. M and Mrs. S has not been sorted. As a matter of fact, it seems to have deteriorated.

M is the oldest tenant in the apartment, so naturally, he has to assume responsibility for collecting our contributions towards repairing the water pump. He spent his money and made the necessary calls, got a plumber and electrician in, and they calculated what it would cost us to fix things. Then he divided said amount into four parts, one for each tenant to contribute. Despite my volatile financial situation (remember moving house in Lagos is cash sapping), I came up with my share (thanks Sis). M also came up with his share. However, S and the other fellow (I don't know his name yet) kept procrastinating.

Eventually, I met with M and had a long talk with him. The talk left him angry with me (he thinks I am a rude young man), but the effect was that the pump was fixed.

The question is this: why did M sit on our cash for a week?

One of the things that the electrician listed in his bill was a stabilizer for the pump. That item was actually the costliest part of the bill, a cost that would be offset by S's and the other fellow's contributions. M was waiting for them to bring their cash before getting anything done. His reasoning was that if we did the pump without buying the stabilizer, the other two would not bring any cash (it has turned out that he was right). However, I am not a fan of slitting your nose to spite your face unless I have absolutely nothing to loose, and I told him so. He then went off on a tangent about how Igbo people never contribute anything (S is Igbo). At that point I blew my top and reminded him that first I am Igbo, and second his own wife is Igbo, so what the fuck was he on about? (My exact words). I then proceeded to explain to him that the fact that one person is a cunt was no excuse to paint a group of people with a bad brush as that would make him no different from the idiots killing other human beings in Jos. I then suggested that he had the pump fixed, and then get the electrician to connect it to his personal stabilizer.

To his credit, he listened to my tirade, and by the time I got home from work that evening and turned on the tap, water flowed. Downside though, he pumps water only once every two days. Myself and S share a single reservoir, and they use water like fishes. I never seem to have enough pressure in my flat to get my shower (my one pleasure) running.

In the meanwhile, S (who has not spoken about his contribution), uses water like there is no tomorrow. Very Christian of him. Oh, I must add that Mrs. S invited me to their church for Good Friday service. I decided to shock her a little. I told her that I am an atheist...