Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm a shameless liar, UP EAGLES!!!

Back in 2004, the Super Eagles as they were then, qualified second from Group D of the African Nations Cup and were due to face shock, horror, Cameroon in the quarter final of Tunisia '04. Prior to the 8 February, 2004 encounter, a lot of Nigerian journos, knowing the worst would happen, checked out of their hotels and booked flights home, most of those tickets, scheduled for immediately after the encounter. However, on the day, after a particularly painful Sameul Eto'o celebration, the Eagles led by the magnificent Jay-Jay Okocha, clawed their way back into the game, and killed it off with aplomb when John Utaka buried a through ball which Nwankwo Kanu threaded to him with the kind of vision, the likes of which we have not seen from a Nigerian footballer since then.

The point of telling this tale is to congratulate Papa Eagles on qualifying for the quarter final of South Africa '13, and then to advice all the Nigerian journos there to book their flights back home. On Sunday, 3 February 2013, we will be playing, shock, horror, the Ivory Coast. Unlike the Eagles of back in the day, Tony One-Week has not deemed it fit to make a song about this lot. One thing I found interesting was that current Eagles tracksuit, Stephen Keshi, was the commentator on that fateful day, nine years ago now, and he ran a commentary yesterday where he said, "It is going to be a different game against Ivory Coast. It is going to be a different mentality. We will up our game in the quarter-final." My question to Big Boss, "Can a goat suddenly start barking?"

That is a question I would like to extend to Presidential Parrot, Doyin Okukpe. You see, rather than take on Madam Due-Process's point in her now seminal speech from last week, he has only helped prove further that our government officials do not have any sense of argument. He used two words rather liberally, "lied" and "shameless" in his re-joiner to her speech. Other words he used include "outlandish", "reckless" and "stolen". Again, people like Mr. Okukpe keep missing the point. Those four words, in my rather short sighted view, can be used to describe his statement on the same station some months ago, in describing the Benin-Lagos road. I think I should refer my mechanic to him next time I drive along that road. By the way, why did he have to keep shouting into the mic? Yet to leave his motor park days behind him?

Problem with Presidential Parrots in this country is that a lot of them take their "job" way too seriously, and end up doing more harm than good. I could bet that Mr. Okukpe would want us to believe that the economy of this country is just a short way from nirvana. A statement that is already countered by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises. That group's head honcho told us yesterday that 65% of small businesses in this country die within three years of inception. A figure that should scare the bejeezuz out of anyone given that a truly prosperous economy is built on small businesses. As always, the reasons that Nerus Ekezie gave for such failures, include power, bad roads and insecurity. Stuff that Mr. Okukpe has in the past, told us are getting better.

I wonder what he would tell the chaps at the police colleges. Despite the fact that our police colleges and military installations will not be fit to host the next edition of the All Nigeria Prison Games, our government is committing the grand total of $34+5 millions to the Malian war effort. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the war in Mali tobe fought, and won, but I would also want us to clearly outline what Nigeria is going to gain out there. Honestly, the French are only there because the moment Gao fell to the rebels, their uranium supply from neighbouring Niger was threatened. Niger supplies the bulk of French uranium, which the French use for their nuclear plants. Nuclear power constitutes 78.8% of France's electricity supply.

Speaking of power, despite the government telling us that all is well with Manitoba contract, someone way up there at the Canadian firm has told The Guardian that all is not well. Don Priestman, the company's biggest blazer, said that 30 months to the end of the initial contract, the government was yet to issue the Canadian firm its schedule of delegated authority. Expect a Presidential Parrot to call Mr. Priestman a shameless liar in a few months...

Bits and bobs

NCAA afro hair, Harold Demuren's, position is under threat. Some Senators have taken exception to seeing his mane on their televisions. While they are at it, they also want Dana Air's license revoked. Tired of the plebs getting to fly to Abuja, eh?

Embarrassed by the fact that Yakubu Yusuf strolled away, the EFCC have picked him up again and slammed a charge concerning a vanished N300 millions on him. Expect his lawyer to knock this one out in two weeks.

The CD is screaming blue murder. Someone is drinking the flood money. Tune in to Channels TV this evening for Doyin Okukpe's next press conference.

Right of reply

Oby Ezekwesili said in response to Adebiyi Olusolape (from yesterday's newsletter),

Two things:
1. I write my own speeches.
2. GDP #s are 2011 World Bank data which you can also easily find on Goggle.

Chxta responds,

Can anyone send this to Mr. Okukpe? He wanted to know where she got her figures from.

Sope Bolaji said,

Thank God you are a false prophet. Keep predicting doom for our Super Eagles you hear.

Chxta responds,

Buy your Vaseline before Sunday, Elephants will be having Eagles for lunch and it will be brutal.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fighting for God

Nothing gets Nigerians moving more than purported service to God. Yes, the average Nigerian, Christian or Muslim, will do ANYTHING to show his loyalty to God. Thus it was that yesterday, a good friend called to blast me for failing to castigate the former Abuja landlord for a tweet concerning Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. At the point, I had not seen the offending tweet, but that conversation had me reaching for my phone to see what the problem was. And boy, was it not a major offence committed by Uncle Nasir. He re-tweeted a statement from someone who happens to be a Christian by the way, because he found it funny. In 2013, people are getting their knickers twisted, because God happens to be too weak to defend himself. For the records, Mr El-Rufai has moaned an apology, most likely not because he means it, but because it is the politically correct thing to do. God's people have fought the good fight, and have beaten the Devil yet again.

Maybe it is the weakness that we inadvertently ascribe to God that explains why our country remains firmly nestled in the toilet despite the fact that there is a church and or mosque in almost every corner you can think of. It is very likely that this firm reaction over mundane issues is what saps our energy when the real issues sashay past us.

Thus it was that yesterday two men were convicted, and sentenced. In Abuja, Yakubu Yusuf, the man who was once in charge of the police's pensions, and who in the process helped himself to N23.3 billions of our policemen's retirement savings, was asked to pay a grand total of N750k and walk away a free man. Yes, he is to forfeit property valued at N325 millions. In other words, he has walked away a free man after dropping 1.5% of the stash he helped himself to. Meanwhile 275 km away, Obinna John must be wondering why he was so stupid as to not to learn how to use a pen to commit a robbery. He was convicted of robbing Doty Olaniyi of N1,705 and some powdered milk. His sentence, to hang by the neck until he is dead. Our outrage at both sentences has been restricted to social media from the comfort of our homes. May God have mercy on Obinna John's soul.

Meanwhile one of the state governors, one whom I actually like (he is very funny), Rotimi Amaechi, has gone one further to prove that God does have some strength. Unlike the rest of Nigeria (minus the animists), who take up arms on behalf of the erstwhile Almighty, Don Amaechi knows squarely where power originates from. Power comes from God. So to those of you who sit anonymously behind your keyboards and mouth off all sorts of rubbish about Don Amaechi, God will fight you on his behalf. You have been warned.

Meanwhile, it seems that either the warnings, or the promises of riches untold if they accept an amnesty have gotten to a faction of Boko Haram. After thousands of Muslim deaths and a few hundred Christians, a faction of the group has suddenly decided that what they are doing is un-Islamic. Expect to see pictures of seized weapons, and some of them being sent to Sri Lanka to learn underwater drilling.

Bits and Bobs

Despite all of our problems, the Canadians still believe in us.

There wasn't enough meat in the food that Naira Yohanna served her 26 year old nephew in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, so he added her to the food.

The EFCC is fast becoming yet another ministry. Not enough money to do the work, and overheads that will make it an even more lumbering monster than it already is.

Joachim has come up with the almost perfect re-joiner to the national parrot's ad hominem response to Madam Due-Process.

Victor Moses will face a late fitness test as Papa Eagles warm up for this evening's elimination from the Nations Cup. You can catch Ethiopia 1-1 Nigeria on SuperSport from 6 pm.

Right of reply (unedited as usual)

Adebiyi Olusolape said,

Perhaps, Ms. Ezekwesili's speech is peppered with facts and figures in order to inject new vigor into an analysis that is by now as familiar and tired as my old, NYSC boots.

Let us, in spite of our yawns and obvious boredom, pretend to be interested in the facts and figures that are purportedly the (back)bone of Ms. Ezekwesili's arguments. One finds it curious that she seems to have deflated Nigeria's GDP figures by  $8bn and inflated those of Singapore by over $70bn.

Since one has not been provided with her sources, giving one the option of assessing the credibility of the sources on which her stats are based, one finds it very difficult to resist the temptation of concluding that she's simply made up her facts and figures.

One is entitled to one's opinions but not to one's facts or figures, which clearly seems to be Mr. Maku's argument, if one can get past Mr. Maku's style of argumentation. And, it may be an indication of the quality of Ms. Ezekwesili's speech, which one's yet to read in its entirety, that Mr. Maku challenges the verity of a completely different set of figures from the ones identified above.

To cut Ms. Ezekwesili's speech writer some slack, all these simply might be the case of some typos that got away, and that genuinely seems to be the case with the GDP figures provided for Malaysia, but who knows? Perhaps, these errors are the hallmarks of "creative" speech writing.

I suppose, the nitpicking is entirely unnecessary as what's important are not the dubious facts and figures which Ms. Ezekwesili marshals but the comparative trends which she is at pains to show. Perhaps. But that point is a very different one from the one Chxta espouses in the newsletter.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Might is right

Since the fatal shooting of her husband in 2009, Adiza Orjieh has been on a quest for justice. Sadly, she will have to wait until February 19 to find out whether justice will be any closer to her and her children. On Tuesday, 27 October 2009, Friday Orjieh, her husband had gone to his job at a BDC in Ikeja. On that day, as many Nigerians are wont to do, Elizabeth Olubunmi walked into the BDC with armed soldiers to "punish" a colleague of Friday's. While it was acknowledged that the it was definitely not Friday who'd pissed Elizabeth off, the person responsible had high-tailed out of there before the soldiers came, so Friday paid for the offence. With his life.

Perhaps the reason that Private Audu, the soldier who allegedly shot Friday has not been brought to book is simply because he is in the Nigerian military. Historically, our military has a way of dealing with the police. Come on, the score card since 1995 between military units and the police reads 26-0-0 (not dead bodies), almost all have been knock outs. So you can understand the reluctance of our policemen not to ruffle the feathers of those who's uniforms are made of khaki and not baft. Thus it was that the scorecard was updated to read 27-0-0 over the weekend as some naval personnel took exception to the police reminding them that they could not ride their bike against traffic. By the way, it is not only Naval ratings and soldiers that are badly behaved. Hey, even our military pilots are in on the act as Bernard Amaminiye and Passman Golukomor found out on Saturday. My advice to them, go and give your pastor a bag of rice and a young goat. It could have been worse...

But then again, the ratings who decided that might is right have good examples to look up to. You see, when someone presents facts and figures to back up her argument that the government you serve in has been the most profligate in Nigerian history, the best way to react is to go all ad hominem on her. To be honest, having read the entirety of Madam Pre-process's argument, I have come to the conclusion that her statement on the $67 billions was taken a tad out of context. What is more important, are the figures that her entire speech is littered with. Figures which government mouthpiece Maku failed to challenge in his rather weak thesis. More disturbing to me though, is his continued use of the word "collected" when describing sums released to ministries that Madam Due-Process was in charge of. You see, there is power in the spoken word, and when someone constantly prefers to "rule" rather than to "govern", then you know that the country is in trouble. Ergo, when someone in charge of a ministry "collects" money, rather than being "allocated" funds, then we should be checking his/her accounts. Is there something Mr. Maku would like us to know?

To be fair to both Maku and Ezekwesili though, they could have been misquoted. Sadly, our journalists tend to have a penchant for constructing headlines in order to sell papers, or gain hits on their websites as the case may be. Take this as an example, poor Ibrahim Farinloye did not in any way tell residents of Lagos "not to breathe air"!

Bits and bobs

Back to Mr. Maku, and in his rejoiner, he talked about the resuscitation of the Lagos-Kano rail line. I don't consider it progress if it takes four days to make half the distance.

Various groups are up in arms over last week's excursion to visit the ailing Enugu suit. How naive can you guys be? Don't you know that any one of them could be next? They will need all the solidarity they can get.

Following last Friday's blatant robbery, Papa Eagles have arrived in Rustenburg for tomorrow's 1-1 draw with Ethiopia. To be fair to them, for the first time since 2004, the Nigerian senior team is going into the last game of a round-robin without us having to whip out those calculators. All they have to do is to win. Expect Ethiopia to equalise in the 92nd minute after Obi Wan Kenobi has laid a beautiful pass which Emmanuel Emenike will duly convert.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Panem et circenses

"Non curat de plebis libertate velit solum panem et circenses." --- Juvenal*

Hope you enjoyed your holiday. I did mine. It was spent with fellow dreamers talking up ways to make Nigeria better. Maybe some day we will upload our gist to YouTube, or just give up and start quoting vague statistics.

So two nights ago, a lot of people in Nigeria were glued to their television sets watching our President give something to a foreigner that no Nigerian journalist has had yet, a no-holds barred, exclusive interview. Says a lot about all of us, that we'd rather open up to foreigners than to our own, because make no mistakes about it, GEJ is not the first guilty party, neither will he be the last.

In the interview, the Prez told Miss Amanpour that poverty and unemployment were not fuelling the Boko Haram menace. Like almost all of his political enemies, I beg to disagree with that. When people are poor, and when they have no hope for the future, there is a tendency for them to turn to the next person who offers them bread and entertainment. Or something to do, even if that something is to pick a gun and go and shoot some of their fellow men.

As things stand, rather than keep a lid on the people's frustrations by creating jobs so that they can provide themselves with bread and entertainment, Kano has created yet another volatile situation. Various governments in Nigeria, from the Federal to the States tend to be very reactionary in their behaviour. Following the attack last weekend on Pa Bayero, the Kano state government has clamped down on achaba riders (okada for those of you reading from Lagos). What has happened as a result, is that a lot of these young men have started to desert the city looking for pastures in neighbouring states. Problem is, those states already have their own resident achaba riders who in most cases have saturated markets. So expect even greater saturation in those places, and a turf war to follow at some point as the "settlers" battle the "indigenes" for a share of the local market.

Cue Plateau state where yesterday people were dispatched in yet another "settler" v "indigene" bolekaja. The whole fiasco came about as a result of the discovery of the corpse of a young man who had been declared missing a few days prior. Having no faith in the ability of local law enforcement to find the killers, not to talk of bringing them to book, his group decided to take justice into their own hands, and in the ensuing tit for tat, another 19 people will be joining him in the afterlife.

Whether the 20 unfortunates will get the requisite prayers to accompany them on their trip to face the Almighty is another matter as the people who should be praying for them are at the moment, involved in their own bolekaja. At least those of them who profess to follow Jesus Christ...

Truth is, the lack of faith shown in law enforcement is quite justifiable. Why, we live in a country where the rather modest sum of $67 billions can take a hike without law enforcement even taking notice. In my not-so-humble opinion, there has to be a threshold where such profligacy starts to be viewed as criminal negligence, but hey, this is Nigeria, and we lack standards, so I can bet the result of this evening's whipping by the Zambians that a lot more than that announced sum has found its way out of the nation's coffers. Still the law enforcement agents remain in their deep slumber.

But then again, maybe we are being too harsh on the law enforcement agents. You see, as the old saying goes, "to whom much is given, much is expected from", and frankly, those boys in black, have had nothing given to them as we are beginning to discover. Why, following the rather humiliating pictures of the Police College, Ikeja that made their way to Channels TV, the Vanguard has jumped on the bandwagon, and driven 511 kilometres to Oji River. Their opening salvo describes the Police College there as "the worst case of infrastructural decay and total neglect at Oji River Police College in Enugu State". Honestly, I'm glad that they did not present us with a photograph. If there can be a place worse than what we saw at Ikeja, I'd rather not see it. I had a nice breakfast, and have no inclination to have it come back up.

Bits and bobs

The Senate wants to form another committee. This time, the sitting allowances will be distributed in a futile search for the reason the 2012 budget achieved just a 40% performance, well, according to them anyway.

The Petrol ichafo tells us that they have created 30,000 jobs so we should be happy. 30,000! In a country where our National Bureau of Statistics told us that there are 67 million unemployed people**. Oh well, since she's created 30,000 jobs in three years as Madam Fuel, expect her to take another 2232 years to create the 66,970,000 jobs required to fill the gap, especially considering that our country depends almost entirely on her ministry's product.

Papa Eagles have a match this evening. They will be getting dumped out of the ongoing AFCON by the defending champions. I'm certain that the sports ministry's lead tracksuit, Bolaji Abdulahi, a very nice chap, will not be too happy about that, but hey, we can't win them all. Watch Zambia 4-0 Nigeria on SuperSport from 4 this evening. If you don't have DSTv, save yourself the heartache. Go and suck a lemon.

*"The common people rather than caring about their freedom, only want bread and circuses," was written in Juvenal's poem, The Satires, Book IV, a lesson that Roman rulers took to heart, which ultimately led to the fall of their empire.
**The NBS's figures of 67 million unemployed are subject to debate. The Ministry of Youth Development disputed them and came up with a figure of 16 millions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Roads and employment

The ancient Romans were a very interesting people. They knew just how to make peace, which is one of the reasons why the Pax Romana held firm for well over two centuries, the greatest stretch of relative peace in human history. The very first thing that the Romans would set about doing after conquering you, was to employ some of your boys (those that they had not killed anyway) to join in the construction of roads. You see, those ancient masters of engineering had exact standards for their roads. Each via publicae was exactly 23 feet in width, enough to convey four horse drawn carts side by side (two going in either direction), which aided commerce a great deal. Truth is that until the emergence of the American Empire, no other empire has been as rich as Rome in relative terms. Another thing about Roman roads was that in times of war, the roads were good enough to mobilise the army quickly to meet the threat. Another advantage of the perpetual road construction in the Roman Empire was that it provided employment for the teeming youth who would otherwise have joined the MENDs or Boko Harams of their day. All in all, by the time the Roman Empire finally reached its inevitable decline, it had over 400,000 km of paved roads. Which is slightly more than modern day Nigeria's 28,980 km of potholed roads.

It is thus an awesome wonder that despite this obvious means of providing employment for our millions of devil's workshops, some people would rather spend the time coming up with more schemes to make money off of the unemployed. Now, consider that depending on who you listen to, we have somewhere between 16 and 67 millions unemployed in Nigeria, then do the maths if each unemployed person is forced to cough up N400,000 in order to get into our Federal Civil Service. Then consider the other implication: if I pay a hefty sum to get a job (starting salary circa N42,000 per month), what kind of damage will I wreak on the system in order to recover my initial investment?

But then again, another form of employment these days is to take to the creeks. You see, when you do that, a sham amnesty programme will be organised for you, and then you will be feted as royalty. What is the point of borrowing 400k when you can spend 60k to buy a Kalashnikov, stomp up another 10k to get two magazines, then start on the short road to employment by either kidnapping someone, or making demands in front of a government installation? Why, our rather poorly trained, and under-funded, and under-motivated policemen would not resist, seeing as their wives would be kicked out of those slums that house them anyway. Anyways, back to the theme. So, Tamuno buys the Kalashnikov, and shoots his way to a position where he would begin to get government contracts. Is that not a sweet deal? Definitely better than getting in line and waiting for 3.5 million agricultural sector jobs which at the moment still exist solely on paper in a nation that lacks the roads to transport the produce.

By the way, the FG has briefly brought its head out of the sand and admitted that the rate of poverty in Nigeria is not reducing.

Another motivation for going Tamuno's way is that after working for 35 years, when your back is bent and you just want to sit down in the sun and play with your grand children (hi Pa Fix It), you will find that at some point during the 35 year working span, some sharp guy has made away with the pension which was ostensibly kept aside for those twilight years. No wonder certain geriatrics would rather apply for two jobs at the same time in 2013, despite the fact that when they were born, Adolf Hitler was not yet Der Furher in Germany.

The final motivation for going Tamuno's way is this: despite all that is said and done, the people who have done what somehow find time and again that they are above reproach. As a matter of fact, they are celebrated and feted in our society, so much so, they can afford to ignore a summons by the highest law making body in the land. "Aside SURE-P chairman, Dr Christopher Kolade, all other invitees did not inform me or the committee of reasons why they could not appear at the meeting. This is intentional disrespect for parliament and its proceedings," wept House etibo Dakuku Peterside on discovering his impotence. As a further demonstration of that impotence, himself and his committee postponed the hearing until a date that would be convenient for the people with the actual power.

Bits and bobs

In Abeokuta, Wasiu, 37, went visiting. Seeing that his hosts offered no kola, he pounced on their 14-year-old daughter.

Channels TV is doing a good job on chasing up the Police College story. An embarrassed police minister has promised that the place will be looked at. May I suggest that they start from the hole in the fence directly opposite the Unity Junction where recruits scale on Friday nights.

In yet another example of the rich getting away with it, former Intercontinental Bank suit, Erastus Akingbola's trial, three years old, will have to start afresh as a new Judge has been assigned to it.

Akwa Ibom state's head honcho has told us not to wish our leaders evil. He said this from the bedside of this Enugu state counterpart who fell victim to evil wishes for the last 135 days.

Following a few cavity searches, the toothless Senate is wondering why Nigerians abroad are always harassed. I guess I have to go out on a limb and ask some of you readers to subscribe them to this newsletter. That way they will know why.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New states? Not needed

As of 1 October, 1960, there was the Northern Region. Largely self sufficient, with an economy that while not booming, was at the very least capable of self sustenance. Then in 1967, as a result of the crisis that emerged following two coups in 1966, the Northern region was split into six pieces, and we had Benue-Plateau state. This behemoth of a state, was at the time the third largest of the 12 states, and was also self sustaining. Lots of agriculture and solid minerals. Then, and quite sadly, the oil boom happened, and like the rest of Nigeria, the people of Benue-Plateau forgot their farms and their tin, and began to agitate instead to be split from one another. Their pleas were heard and in 1976, they got the split that they craved. Benue and Plateau states were born. This new state held for another two decades, and in 1996 Nasarawa state was born. Bear in mind though, that a part of Benue state was merged with a part of Kwara state in 1991 to form Kogi state. Now let us look at each of these four states, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau. In terms of value to our economy, they are ranked 15th, 23rd, 31st and 20th respectively. Considering that in previous blogs, we have established that Nigeria is a highly unproductive country, one wonders why our Senate President is thinking of creating more banana states rather than focusing on actually passing laws such as the Petroleum Industry Bill and Tax Reform which will actually boost our productivity. As the people of Ezillo and Ezaa in another highly unproductive state (Ebonyi, number 34 in GDP) have shown, being kith and kin will not solve communal problems.

Communal problems, which are quite common in various parts of our country, could be what is responsible for the corpses that were discovered just inside Anambra state on Saturday. As of yesterday, evacuation had started, and autopsies will begin to determine the causes of death. "We have also discovered that there were no gun injuries or machete cuts on their bodies as being speculated and the dead bodies were not up to 30 or 50 as rumoured," clarified Anambra beret, Bala Nassarawa while speaking with DPOs under his command. That is a bit of a relief, but we would still want to request that the police find out precisely what killed all those poor devils, and make sure that the perps are brought to book.

And not just brought to book on the pages of newspapers, as has become the sad habit of the Presidency. Following the rude interruption of Pa Bayero's breakfast on Saturday, officials at Aso Rock have brought out that rather worn out phrase book, turned to page 19, and clarified for us, "the security agencies will do everything possible to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are identified and brought to justice." Cue, the attackers making a beeline to freedom.

Which is something that erstwhile MEND boss Henry Okah will not be tasting for a while. You see, Don Okah had the misfortune of being caught in a serious civilization, one that doesn't mouth "rule of law", but actually respects it. For that little oversight, he will be breaking rocks at Robben Island for the rest of his natural life. Expect him to return to Nigeria in just under three decades, run for President, and unite us as a new rainbow nation.

Bits and bobs

Senate President, David Mark would be of better service to the nation if the Police College scandal is sorted out, not just at committee level, but in actual fact. We need a more credible police force, not a law concerning what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, and definitely not new states.

The curse of oil has spread along the West African coast. On the same day that some Ivorian pirates decided to relieve a Nigerian fuel tanker of its contents and occupants, Ghana has discovered even more oil. My condolences to the Ghananese.

Tired of his officials speaking from different sides of their mouths, Lagos fila, Tunde Fashola has issued a new edict: SHUT THE HELL UP!

Lagos state has recorded fewer okada accidents since its fitness programme began. On my part, I now have a two-pack as the erstwhile stubborn one-pack is finally beginning to see reason. Maybe I will finally fit into my wedding suit.

Or better still play for Nigeria in Brazil in 2014 if we make it. Since Papa Eagles could not even beat a bunch of aesthetically-challenged Stallions, doubts are beginning to emerge as to whether those footballers are fit for purpose. I wonder whether the Mirror will investigate how many pot-bellied Nigerian men were admitted to Igbobi last night after breaking their feet on their television sets...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Too many madmen on the loose

Depending on which twisted philosophy you subscribe to, punishing a woman is meant to be carried out by violating her. In other words, to make a point that she has failed to see, you rape her. At least that is what those idiots in India believed, when they raped that poor 23 year old to death. However, if one decides to, for the sake of argument, ascribe some sense to their belief system, then the case can be made that the victim, who was the person being punished, was the perpetrator of the act which offended the idiots. At least that's what I assume that the person who's mad enough to defend them in court will say. What I will like to hear, will be the defence that will be presented by the person who will defend the three idiots who raped a pregnant woman because of an offence allegedly committed by her husband. In Kebbi state.

At least, the police caught the alleged attackers in this case, quite unlike the case of 14 decomposing bodies discovered floating on the Ezu River. On Saturday morning, some women from the nearby village of Amansea had gone to fetch water for the day's chores when they met the grizzly sight. What I find most worrisome is the almost immediate attempt by the authorities in Anambra to shift the blame/responsibility for investigating this to their neighbours in Enugu state. "It is obvious that these corpses being afloat are from somewhere and I can tell you that we have not seen the last of it or say this is the actual number," sighed Azuka Enemuo, the ichafo in charge of local government affairs in the state, obviously unhappy that her Saturday shindig had been so rudely interrupted.

As was the Saturday shindig of the Emir of Kano. Ado Bayero was attacked on Saturday by yet to be identified gunmen who instead succeeded in dispatching three of his staff and a local government chairman. Following a bit of broken glass in his skin, it has been deemed expedient to charter a jet for the Emir to head to London for a check up. As we all know, our hospitals this way are not good enough to handle such delicate matters as an Emir's skin. His two sons who were injured in the attack also flew with him. Here's wishing them a quick recovery.

A quick recovery is something that is now beyond Kamorudeen Beyioku, who was until the early hours of Saturday, Oyo state's number two agbero. Beyioku had sustained injuries following an attack by unknown gunmen (yes, that phrase again) earlier in the week. Quite sadly, he's not an Emir, so a plane was not chartered to take him to London for proper care, and as if to justify the decision to take Pa Bayero abroad, Beyioku promptly gave up the ghost at UCH in Ibadan at about the same time that 862 kilometres away in Kano, some unknown gunmen were preparing to fire shots at the Emir.

Still on the theme of unknown gunmen, a group of soldiers who were en route deployment to Mali to combat yet another set of madmen came under attack on Saturday. JAMBS, a new terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, thus justifying with stunning finality, the need for Nigeria to take the Mali situation seriously. Meanwhile, on a personal note, I found this rehashed story in Leadership quite offensive. To be honest, I have no doubts about the ability of our soldiers to carry out whatever mission they are assigned in Mali. By the way, the report that the reporter quoted from the UK Guardian appeared in November, not a few days ago as he claimed, and as is common with mischievous reports, it quoted a lot of unnamed sources.

Bits and bobs

Nigeria's next President joined the PDP on Saturday.

The saga of Dim Ojukwu's will has not died yet for those of you who thought it had (Hi Chinua). The Vanguard caught up with the great man's nephew who bared his mind about Bianca and a lot of others.

Following the spate of accidents on our roads involving VIPs, the latest of which involved the Niger Deputy Governor, the House of Reps will be summoning Mr Fix It to explain why the roads were not fixed in his time. Watch as he fixes them.

Annie Macaulay-Idibia is still in a trance. Of course she should be. If Tuface comes and sings "African Queen" to me, I will be risking 14 years. Oh well, enough of the dreams. She spoke about his sexy lyrics in an interview.

And finally, sexy Mikel will be on display this evening in the defeat to Burkina Faso. Watch him stretch his sexy legs on SuperSport from 7pm this evening. By the way, his legs are worth N1,021,148,776.69.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Garbage in, garbage out

To be honest, the Lance Armstrong shindig is the biggest story on the planet at the moment. The biggest lesson I can draw from watching his interview with Oprah Winfrey, is that when everyone is doing it, it ceases to become bad. That the world is so interested in Armstrong when there is carnage going on in Mali, places into context the value of human life.

Human life is worth about as much as the life of a chicken when the conditions are right, which is why the story of poor Umaru Abdulrahaman has passed almost unnoticed. You see, Umaru was not happy that the change given him was incorrect, and he tried to put that right by confronting the sugar-cane seller. A knife in the chest was his reward for his troubles, and only an act of God prevented angry youths in the area from displaying their lack of faith in the police by unleashing mayhem on the town.

Now, faith, is something that most Nigerians do not have in the police. Why only this week, a sitting Comrade Governor told us quite publicly that the professionalism of our police is somewhere below amateur level. Now we understand why. You see, for someone like me who was trained in Computing (right before I lost my way and became a writer), a maxim that has held true is garbage in, garbage out. I will no longer blame policemen in Nigeria for behaving like dog poo. Not after seeing the conditions under which they are raised! Disheartening to say the least, and now there is an explanation as to why we are still looking for who killed Dele Giwa.

Which does not leave much hope for the recovery of the N2.1 billions that walked out of the National Mint a couple of weeks ago. As things are though, it gives the Reps a chance to form yet another committee to look into something, receive a bit of sitting allowances, then produce a report that will not be looked at. While they are at it, another committee will be looking into the police's failure to catch the killers of Comrade Governor's secretary. Talk about "rubbish in, rubbish out".

Sad fact is this, even before the recruits get to start learning in rubbish at the Police College, they are already rubbish. At least that's what the NYSC's top beret would have us believe. "This worrisome development has resulted in a situation whereby members of the public wrongly condemn the NYSC for the poor academic standard displayed by these corps members," Brig-Gen. Okore-Affia whined with regards to the fact that a lot of his new intake seem to have a problem with books. Well, at least they can join the workforce and be made useful.

You see, a youthful workforce is one of the things that accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers is basing its assumptions on. Yesterday, PWC informed us that Nigeria will be the 13th biggest economy on the planet by 2050. Where will I be by 2050? Ah, yes, by 2050, I will be preparing to become the head of the Nigerian Ports Authority. But let's get real for brief moment, why will PWC commission such a study so soon before we re-base our economy? Why will PWC not take into account the fact that by 2050, we would have the 5th largest population on the planet, ergo, our population is growing faster than our economy. And why will PWC not take into account the fact that based on all the indicators we have studied together over the last few months, our youthful population is sadly a population of youthful illiterates? I demand an investigation into the PWC report.

An investigation into the whereabouts of erstwhile Don, Wale Babalakin has been avoided. Bros turned up in court yesterday to stand before a judge. His appearance surprised many who thought he had gone to the nearest hospital for convalescence, and his lawyer promptly asked that he be granted bail on self recognition. The request was granted. Now there's a good example...

Bits and bobs

The number one fila in Lagos (oops! He is number two) has come out with the outrageous claim that of all the states in Nigeria, only this traffic infested cesspool can survive without oil. "If they shut down on oil, this is the only state that can survive. Everything that we have done in the past six years was funded by our taxes," harrumphed Governor Fashola as Shell, Chevron, Mobil, Total and Schlumberger contemplated the benefits of relocating their Lagos offices to Port Harcourt.

The Air Force has sent an F7 and an Alpha jet to bomb the crap out of Islamist insurgents in Mali. Makes sense since the maximum combat range for both aircraft is 610km, and the distance from Makurdi to Bamako is 1890km. For those of you who like trivia, Nigeria has 12 F7s and 24 Alphas.

I have been accused of not being patriotic (hello Layi!) because I always give a lot of stick to Papa Eagles. Well here's my analysis for Africa Is A Country. It was written without the aid of vodka.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Ateke Tom and Boyloaf have made the transition from being hired guns to being the consciences of the nation, or do we say, of their ethnic groups. In email statements most likely sent from the opulence of their homes, both men declared that, "Niger Delta officials in Jonathan’s government have failed." Do we assume that this vast indictment includes the Prez himself? There are others waiting in the wings you know.

You see, that declaration is what has probably opened the door for serial contestant, Muhammadu Buhari to stop prevaricating and declare his interest in the next elections. A month after his 70th birthday, the former military strongman told The Guardian's Ezeocha Nzeh, "As for my  position for 2015, after considering a series of visits and persuasions from both my followers, eminent and concerned Nigerians, members and leadership of our party, I decided to have a rethink of my position in 2011. So I will make myself available to run for the presidency in 2015. But all this will be determined by the decisions of the new party. All we are determined to do is to give Nigerians hope and arrest the PDP maladministration in the country, which has caused a lot of harm to the people. And we all believe that it is no longer an option but it has become very imperative, if the country must move forward." I would suggest to his followers, eminent and concerned Nigerians, members and leadership of his party, to find a younger person and persuade the General to go play with his grandchildren and stay out of the news.

Erstwhile Don, Wale Babalakin is in the news again. Nervous that the star of their latest show trial will not turn up in court today, the EFCC ordered a pre-emptive strike yesterday and declared him wanted. Apparently, he was meant to turn himself in yesterday, but since his make up artist was stuck in traffic, he decided he did not want to appear in the movie looking not-too-good, and declined to turn up. "Babalakin is dark-complexioned and speaks English and Yoruba fluently," wailed EFCC parrot, Wilson Uwujaren, and promptly forgot to mention reward money. I don't expect the other patients at one of the numerous hospitals that dot Lagos to turn Babalakin in then.

What I don't understand though, is why Broda Wale is behaving like a confra boy. Come on, that's not how it's done. It is not a true show of Donhood to be playing hide and seek with law enforcement authorities. Why, he can learn from his ex-friend, the Ogidigbobo of Long Lartin Prison on just how to do it. You know, build a court, get your trial transferred there, and get the judge you want posted there. While at it, he should realise that once he goes that route, he should avoid the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport and the temptations that it brings such as sashaying to Dubai. That will be a quick ticket to Pentonville since the Brits like to keep their guests separately. Alternatively, if the allure of the Burj Khalifa is just too much, he can borrow a leaf from do-you-know-who-my-father-is Aminu, and simply make the judge disappear.

A permanent disappearance is what Emmanuel Tometin will soon be performing. Courtesy of a hangman. The 27 year old was sentenced to death yesterday by the High Court sitting in Ekiti. Back in 2006, at age 21, Tometin had raped 63-year old Mrs. Ikubolaje, and then killed her. After reviewing the facts of the case, Justice Akindayo sentenced Tometin to life in prison for the rape, and to hang by the neck until dead, for the murder. May God have mercy on his soul.

In his own case, Alao Shobowale, allegedly a pastor, will not be meeting the Creator to explain his actions any time soon. While the nature of his job entails that he is meant to work anywhere, and at any time, the 42-year old Pastor Alao took this calling a tad too far and was found "working" in a toilet with a minor at his compound in Epe. He appeared in court yesterday and made bail for 500 grand.

Bits and bobs

Nigeria is digging another hole. Only two days ago, we were informed that it would take us 70 years to repay the sum of US$42 billions. Yet, we are closing in making that sum $43 billions by adding more from the Chinese. The smart chinkos on their part have opened more lines of credit.

I was forced to make 3 calls yesterday to friends of mine in the Army to find out if they were on a plane. None of them was forthcoming with a response. However, I must say that I am in support of Nigeria deploying troops to Mali. Better AQIM is defeated now before they become entrenched.

As if to validate my position, Zambia's coach watched our Papa Eagles struggle against Cape Verde a week ago, and declared himself unimpressed. He probably saw too many sideways passes.

Right of reply

Kalu Aja took the time to educate me yesterday. His response is reproduced unedited below:

The GDP in summary is a measure of what is produced, this is a very simplistic definition. The GDP of Nigeria you correctly quote at $244b is based on a baseline done in 1990.

At this time, 1990 there was no GSM, no Nollywood, no Dangote and Lafarge cement, no ,Shoprite, no PFA, the rebasing of the GDP will take account of the economic activities from 1990 to the 2008 and you should see a huge jump in the figure of the GDP by as much as 40%.

Thus by first quarter of 2013, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics will publish a revised GDP that will put Nigeria just above or at par with South Africa, South Africa is at about $414b.

However this does not fully address your concerns if the GDP growth rate of 6% even 7% can drive the growth of Nigeria, with our huge population, the answer is obviously no. What needs to happen is that Nigeria needs to plug more sectors of our economy into the "grid". The PIB will cause the oil companies to incorporate in Nigeria, the selling of of PHCN power assets will cause the power company outputs to be captured and unleash the productive capacity of the economy.

One must dwell on the agricultural revolution in Nigeria. As at 2011, our GDP is about 40% agriculture, 50% of NIgerians are employed in Agriculture. any well directed investment in this sector will drive growth and incomes and easily push GDP in a positive direction. The much derided Cassava bread could add a few point to the GDP figure when one considers that the local farmers have a new contract to export cassava chips to China. (exports being a key factor in GDP growth)

On a last note, our budgets don't capture our economy, The NNPC and the CBN are not appropriated, neither do MDAs like NAFDAC or NPA remit proceeds to the FAAC which funds the budget.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unrealistic expectations

Yesterday we talked about how puny our national budget really is. A few of the responses that were received sad that GDP would be a better measurement of how well we are doing as a country, and they are probably right. Problem is, even our GDP is not exactly a glorious figure. You see, based on the 2011 figures of that particular measurement, then there are 11 corporations on the planet that are more valuable than Nigeria. This gloomy outlook becomes even worse when you divide US$244,050,000,000 by 170,000,000. But all that is besides the point. The point is how to raise the NGN618.29 each Nigerian earns per day* to a more sustainable figure, because truth be told, my lunch in a few hours will cost more than that.

Our government apparently has a lot of ideas on how to raise this figure, and has set targets for raising it. The question that follows that then becomes how realistic are those figures? Frankly, in my opinion, not very. And apparently, Senegal’s former Finance Minister, Makhtar Diop, who doubles up as a World Bank blazer, told the Prez that yesterday. Let us ask this question, will an 8% growth rate in a country that generates less electrical power than New York City, and has fewer rail-roads than North Korea, have the ability to lift 21.4% of its population out of poverty within the next two years?

But the FG is not the only one with unrealistic goals, Lagos is making an effort at proving that the national palm-wine is not restricted to the PDP. Yesterday, three Lagos filas sat together and informed us that the state government was in the process of concluding plans to take 5 million people away from the city's rather great traffic, and into the city's not-so-great court system. "In the last three years, 300,000 tax defaulters have been caught by LASTMA," hurrahed Ade Ipeye, the Justice fila, evoking strong memories of when LASTMA towed my car and I spent the next three days tracking down my tax clearance. I've been a good driver since then.

However, let us take a cursory look at the LASG's curious assertion. According to yesterday's briefing, there are 8 million souls in Lagos. According to yesterday's briefing, there are only 3 million tax payers in Lagos. Therefore, according to yesterday's briefing, all the other 5 millions must be tax defaulters. When the arrests begin and your kids don't come home from school, go and look for them in the nearest police station. They will be under arrest for not paying tax.

Sadly, in the police stations, such kids might just get corrupted, that is if you aren't doing a good enough job already. As things stand, a lot of schools, probably based on the prompting of eager parents, do a lot to encourage the phenomenon of examination malpractice. No be me talk am o, na Comfort Agwu, one of the big women in WAEC. "Some teachers go as far as writing the answers on the board for candidates in the examination hall while some photocopy answers for them," she moaned while some parents made enquiries as to what special centres would guarantee their kids' success in the next NECO by hook or by crook.

The problem with the whole concept of teaching kids bad things early, is that such habits tend to stay with the kids. Something that Senator Uche Chukwumerije uncovered yesterday when he established the fact that our nation's MDAs take bribes from prospective employees. A revelation that suddenly puts into sharp doubt, the figures that those MDAs submitted to the government about our GDP in the first place...

Bits and bobs

Someone wants to resolve the quarrel between the National Assembly and that fine girl. We probably have to check if all those camels have sashayed through the eyes of all those needles.

Nigeria's most famous pilot will be returning soon according to the Leadership. Boeing have been put on alert as to where to send the next Dreamliner to.

Our number one farmer says that fertilisers are the biggest scam in Nigeria. I guess he has been on another planet since the oil boom began.

In yet another case of stunning unrealism, former Papa Eagles headless chicken, Tj Babangida has pronounced Obi Wan Kenobi as Nigeria's playmaker for the forthcoming defeats to Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia. Expect a lot of sideways and backwards passes from inside our opponents' box eighteens.

*I did not arrive at this figure by magic. Our 2011 GDP is quoted as US$244billion. Divide that by 170 million to arrive at a per capita GDP of US$1435.59. Then divide that per capita by 365 days in a year to arrive at US$3.93, which is what we can then assume that the average Nigerian makes a day. Multiply that by 157.20 (this morning's exchange rate) to arrive at N618.29 as our average daily earning

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What is truth?

"Quid est veritas?" --- Pontious Pilate

For too long a lot of people in the space that constitutes Southern Nigeria have believed that there is a "Northern Agenda for domination", and a plan to "dip the Holy Koran into the Atlantic". However, yesterday, Amirul Mumineen Sultan Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar III did a lot to turn that perception on its head. "Let us sit and talk freely and articulate positions that will bring us out of the quagmire we put ourselves," the Sultan said, before proceeding to speak a lot of truth, something that has sorely been lacking in the Nigerian public space for a very long time. Truth is this, like the rest of Nigeria, the problems of the northern part of our country are largely self inflicted. Truth is this, no one can make Nigeria into a mono-religious country, so it is time we adopt the secularism our Constitution calls for in spirit and in truth. Truth is this, dialogue, truthfully and honestly, amongst ourselves, is what will solve our country's problems. Truth is this, if there is a God up there, yesterday He spoke through the Sultan, and like Pontious Pilate said all those millennia ago, "Ego nullam invenio in eo causam*."

Another, not very palatable truth, is that my country, your country, is a poor country. Yes, we are so poor that apparently it would take us 70 years to repay the sum of US$42 billions. A sum that three human beings, Carlos Slim Helu, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet would each take out of their back pockets and put on the table without feeling too bad. Our national budget for 2013 is roughly the equivalent of US$32 billions! Want another context? The 50th largest company in the world by revenue, is a company called Cardinal Health which employs 30,000 people and in 2010 had a revenue of US$98 billions. Shame on all 170 millions of us.

But then maybe the reason why Nigeria is as messed up as it is is because we have no sense of shame. Thus it is that despite our national squalor, we have somehow found time to become shoppers extraordinaire, gracing Oxford Street with our presence and giving the Chinese who are actually productive, a run for their money, with money that we don't have. Yes, the typical Nigerian habit of living for the moment is in full display here, as well as our national taste for all things foreign. This puts in context the fact that the people whom we drove away from our shores exactly 30 years ago next month now have the fourth most desirable place to visit in 2013.

But then, what is all that to Big Brother Nigeria? Despite all of our own home-grown problems which we've been unable to sort (Boko Haram, Niger Delta youths, OPC and brigands in the East), we are going to export soldiers to Mali to sort their problems for them. "Our technical team are already in Mali. So definitely the Nigeria troops will be in Mali before next week," the Prez told some foreign journalists as an assortment of Nigerian troops reached for their English-French dictionaries to check the translation to the phrase, "Anything for the boys".

"Anything for the boys", the eternal question is what was asked of the NNPC apparently before they high-tailed it into the debt market to sell some of the future oil produce for a period of time we don't know yet. You see, the NNPC had made it a habit to owe oil traders, who tend not to be very nice people. One of the creditors, Acardia, is depending on whom you listen to, silently owned by a certain Uncle Vladimir who nowadays gives his address as Kremlin, Moscow. Of course, if I am owing such a person some money, I will gladly be raising the sum, and interest, in any way I can. What remains interesting about this story is this: if the NNPC, with a record of not honouring its debts, is to borrow US$1.5 billions, at an interest rate of 3.75% for x years, with 15,000 barrels of oil a day as collateral, how soon before the new creditors simply waltz in and seize all of the oil?

Bits and bobs

The First Lady has gone off to Germany again for "a routine check up". We are wondering where the other person who went on vacation will show up. Sullivan, anyi ne che ngi...

It would appear that unlike their brother in Aso Rock, other Bayelsans take the rotation of power very seriously. For failing to honour an agreement to rotate the chairmanship of Korokorosei Community Development Committee, the speaker of the Bayelsa state House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson's mother has been, err, asked to leave her home. She is 78 years old.

Even with the racket about his gift of Nokia 3310s to 10 million farmers, the Minister of Agric has vowed to press on with the scheme. “I will not be distracted. We will rebuild the broken walls of Nigeria’s agriculture and unlock wealth and opportunities for our farmers. For those calling for my crucifixion, let me say that when Jesus was before Pilate, they had accused him falsely," Dr. Adesina screeched  To which Pilate replied, "Ego nullam invenio in eo causam."

*John 18:38 is reproduced in Latin and English: Dicit ei Pilatus: "Quid est veritas?". Et cum hoc dixisset, iterum exivit ad Iudaeos et dicit eis: "Ego nullam invenio in eo causam." ; "What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bad marriage

For those of you who may not know, the countdown has begun to January 1, 2014, a date that would make it exactly a century since the Brits decided to, for administrative convenience, and tax purposes, marry two large groupings of people with little shared history within and without into one and call them a nation. This "geographical expression" has in the last 99 years had its moments. It must be pointed out that there have been more moments of shame than there have been of pride, but truth is that the "geographical expression" has managed to stay together despite all the odds. What I find interesting is that the current leader of the"geographical expression" has now deemed it fit to let us know that though the marriage is bad, it takes a whole new level of madness to get a divorce after being married for 100 years.

Part of a bad marriage, is disgruntled senior wives who not liking the new bride have a way of leaking Oga's performance details to outsiders. For me, when a marriage gets to that point, such a senior wife has to be punished. But sadly, in our "geographical expression", we have a way of letting such senior wives to continue sitting in the National Assembly. How's that for a good marriage?

Ah, the institution of marriage. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes finding a wife is hard, sometimes it is easy. But as the saying goes, "he who finds a wife has found a good thing". Thus it is that serial featured artiste, Brymo has decided that he needs a wife now. May I recommend some prolific match-makers that I know?

Still on the theme of marriage, one of the things that you are not meant to do when you are married is to abandon your spouse no matter how tough things may get. And sometimes things will get tough. So it is probably with great shock that PDP turban is reading today's Punch which gleefully tells us that Nigeria's etibo is about to abandon him. "But I thought this marriage was forever," Grandpa Tukur will probably shriek in connection with the President's u-turn.

But then again, it appears that u-turns are the order of the day. Facing a lot of pressure from online noise-makers, the National Human Rights Commission has joined issues with Covenant University over the expulsion of 200 students for failing to attend a church service in November. Apparently, realising that a contract signed, which from the off already violates the rights of one or more of the signatories, is null and void in a court of law, Covenant University will inform the NHRC that the students were not expelled, rather they were suspended. Indefinitely?

Bits and bobs

Nigeria's Pension Commission is determined to ruffle some feathers. They want to come down on that rather common practice among Nigerian companies of not remitting the pensions of their employees. As a social service, you can contact PenCom either by emailing or by phoning +234-9-4603930.

Former Papa Eagle, Jojo Akpoborie wins the Golden Globe for saying nothing new by declaring that Nigeria is not one of the favourites to win Africa's football jamboree which starts on Saturday.

Ogun state shokoto, Kunle Amosun ran Akpoborie close in the competition. He gave us fresh information which stated that NNPC officials were offering more than just a hand of friendship to pipeline vandals. "This is not good for us as a nation. Every time, they will say that vandals have done this and that, what have they (NNPC) done. Some people will be in Abuja blowing big grammars, very ineffective," Amosun moaned as a few kilometres away, some youths whom are still job hunting were recruited to become pipeline vandals.

As is usual with him, Tunde Bakare has ruffled a few feathers by declaring that his fellow pastors are encouraging corrupt leaders. I got a lot of flak for agreeing with him on a radio show this morning, so in order to lick my wounds, I'm off to buy a jet.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pesky journalists

Journalists are a really annoying lot. I should know, I've worked with quite a few of them in the last three years. They ask too many annoying questions, they correct you all the time, and they have this really annoying tendency of making you look stupid.

So I understand the frustration of Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala when some of these pesky things from whatever publication came calling to ask him really annoying questions about who owns what land and who was an indigene of his village. You see, as journalists are wont to do, they gave Chief Alao-Akala the impression that they wanted to buy some land from him, when what they really wanted to do was to confirm a rumour that the late Olusola Saraki was not from Ilorin. Poverty can be a really blinding disease, and the moment it dawned on Chief Alao-Akala that the journalists were not in his area to buy land, he decided to go for the next valuable thing. Making use of his teeth, he separated the left ear of one of the journalists from the chap's body. You see, human parts are also valuable.

Journalists being what they are, a national newspaper seized on the similarity in name between Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, of Ago-Ika in Abeokuta, Ogun state, and Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala representing the NURTW Constituency of Ibadan, Oyo state. The headline screamed, "Alao Akala Arraigned for Biting Journalist" complete with a picture of the bleached version of Alao-Akala.

While the hapless not-ex-governor was being arraigned in Abeokuta, 68km away in Ibadan, members of the real-ex-governor's constituency were doing what they do best and getting jiggy with it. According to the Tribune, Taiwo Adeagbo, a driver, and as a result a member of the NURTW, was "mortally wounded" in a clash between drivers and traffic enforcers. The journalists then go on to tell us that Mr. Adeagbo "is responding to treatment", not minding the fact that in the very first sentence of the story, they had already killed him. Pesky journalists eh?

If the authorities of NAFDAC and my alma mater, the University of Benin, are to be believed, then pesky journalists were responsible for the mischievous claim that Prof. Ibeh, not-the-Dean of the School of Basic Medical Sciences, had found a cure for HIV/AIDS. What I found interesting from this report where NAFDAC finally made it categorically clear that no cure has as yet been found, is that in the initial report announcing the "cure", Ibeh was represented as the Dean, School of Basic Medical Sciences. That leads me to wonder what Prof. Iyawe's position is in the scheme of things. Was he appointed to the post in the last 48 hours? Is he now Acting Dean? Did Prof. Ibeh lie about his position? Or was it just lazy journalism in which no one bothered to ask any serious questions before rushing to press with "the good news"?

Lazy journalism, as Abdul Mahmud likes to say, is one of the things responsible for casting lazy headlines. And this one from today's Tribune is one glaring example of such. "ANPP, CPC, ACN become one by April"? That sounds so vulgar. Kinda reminds me of that sappy song by the Spice Girls from 1995. {Clears throat} ...cos tonite, is d nite, when 2 become 1...

Bits and bobs

The Act establishing the EFCC should be up for serious review. Three years after the Securency scandal first broke, our anti-corruption body has finally gotten round to picking up former CBN suit, Uncle Charles Soludo.

In contravention of international law, MV Marivia Monrovia left the UK, and came to Nigeria laden with toxic waste. The FG has now ordered it be sent back to its port of origin, but no arrests have been made. Expect the EFCC to begin investigations in three years.

Lagos state shokoto, Tunde Fashola has asked the FG to please relocate the tank farms in Apapa to the only part of Lagos his government really has an interest in, Lekki. "The nation presently does not have the wherewithal to contain any sort of fire incident involving oil installation facilities," Barrister Fashola moaned, while in the distance, some unemployed arsonists tried to figure out which wood market to set fire to next.

On Christmas Eve, in Nasarawa Gwong, Plateau state, Salisu Mohammed, 23, invited his neighbour's 6-year old to play. Then the devil got him to play with her in other ways. Now that his head is clear, he is pleading for leniency since "he is a first-time offender". I say castrate him.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

UNIBEN distances itself from DE CONCOCTION

It is not always 'bad news' of potential academic fraud and confra wars that come out of Nigeria's institutions of higher learning. It must be said that we have a lot of genuinely intelligent academics who if they got the right kind of support will take Nigeria beyond the stars. This is a country that has produced the likes of those three young ladies who modified a generator in a manner that all you would have to do is to piss in it in order to banish NEPA from your memory. The natural follow up question would be why no one has made an effort to sponsor this line of research? In any event, I'd also like to point out to our government functionaries that the next time your kidneys fail to process all that champagne that y'all pop regularly, save that ticket money and take a trip to Kano instead. They do successful kidney transplants there.

Problem is that our government officials would more likely than not raise the spectre of Boko Haram as a reason for not wanting to go to Kano for such a job. You see, truth is that most of them would prefer to shop on Oxford Street. Which is why that silly idea of an Abuja Boulevard that was mooted by one of Nasir El-Rufai's successors as FCT boss may just have some merit. It would be cheaper in the long run to relocate all those doctors from Kano to Abuja, then build the Abuja Boulevard so that we save up on all that estacode. Will this happen? Is Boko Haram really that naughty? Truth is that evidence actually suggests otherwise. Boko Haram according to statistical data available is actually losing steam. Something perhaps for the government to trumpet since it is a deviation from the rather embarrassing news that we get all the time.

In other embarrassing news, red-faced by the fact that one of their professors jumped the gun and announced a cure for HIV/AIDS only two years after beginning something he claims is research, the University of Benin has distanced itself from the purported cure. As a matter of fact, the Prof himself has more or less admitted that he did not test DE CONCOCTION on humans before rushing to the press with the 'good news'. "There are no hospitals willing to cooperate with us, this is a challenge. We need a larger population size for this study," whimpered Ibeh, while at the University's hallowed senate chambers, a debate began as to what kind of naughty step he would be made to sit on.

The naughty step is frankly one form of punishment that I never understood in my years abroad. I remember a colleague of mine back then, a genius known as David Shine, wondering why his kids were going from bad to worse despite his repeated use of the naughty step. While I'm not the most Bible quoting chap around, one day I simply pointed him to Proverbs 13:24, which sadly he never read because he is a Jew. However, I'd like to extend the same advice to Jigawa's head honcho, and I hope that his being a Muslim won't prevent his reading it up. Buy a koboko for Aminu. Fresh from monumentally embarrassing his daddy by being caught with a large stash of cash at the airport, Aminu has apparently killed a man. But for the quick intervention of the police, those of us who love social media causes would have had a hash-tag for the Jigawa state governor's son by now. #StopJungleJustice #RememberAminu

Bits and bobs

Hands on my heart, my favourite ever book is The Passport of Mallam Ilya. In my view, the best three books ever to come out of Nigeria were written by the same man, Cyprian Ekwensi. The Passport of Mallam Ilya, Jagua Nana and An African Night's Entertainment. Why Nollywood has never made a movie from them is beyond me. Auntie Mildred are you reading? Yesterday, the Niger state government honoured this titan of Nigerian literature by naming its new library after him. Sanu da aiki.

Despite the fact that our current universities seem to have more quacks than academics, the contract sharing council appears determined to dilute the pool even more. Birnin Kebbi, Gashua and Gusau will be hosting the next round of confra wars. The next cure for AIDS will come from one of them maybe?

The Russians are trying to turn the screws on Nigeria's government. See, those chaps strayed into our territorial waters with a lot of guns. They should not be released, ever. Imagine if a group of Naija boys sashay into Vladivostok with all sorts of charms. They'd be sent straight to Siberia not to be seen for another quarter century.

Unhappy that the money Chevron paid for them to share did not get into their accounts in time for Christmas, the Delta state government has de-listed Union Bank and Diamond Bank as revenue collectors for the state. Expect both banks to be re-listed after the Easter round of popping champagne.

It might appear as scant consolation to US-based forward Bright Dike, but cheer up brother, being excluded from the Papa Eagles for next week's African Nations Cup disaster will be a good tonic for your soul.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Who wants to take this concoction?

From the perspective of a medical researcher/practitioner, the development of a new drug takes at least a decade of intense research and trials. Each step of the journey would be carefully documented, each mistake taken note of (there MUST be mistakes), and each effect (including long term side effects) would be noted.

This is an unemotional, unbiased and unsentimental job. It is a job geared towards saving human lives, and there can be no short-cuts when conducting it, none whatsoever. So it becomes quite funny when someone announces a "cure" for HIV/AIDS just two years after "beginning research" into this "cure". There are four stages of drug development, we have not seen any results regarding animal testing, we have not seen any results regarding clinical trials, and I have searched Google, with no success in finding a single peer-reviewed entry in a medical journal. Perhaps that is the reason why the authorities at the University of Benin chose to speak with journalists about their "discovery" rather than make the announcement at a scientific forum. You see, in a scientific forum, questions would be asked which the obviously uninformed journalists failed to think of. Questions such as "what is the effect of your drug on viral load?", "what are the patients' CD4 counts before and after drug administration?", "sero-conversion, how does that happen?" The only thing vaguely resembling a scientific term in the entire treatise was a statement about body weight. But then again, Magic Johnson has been HIV-positive for almost 2 decades and has actually gained weight in that period.

Then to think that the proposed name of the "drug" is DE CONCOTION?

A concoction of the alcoholic sort is very likely what either one or both of Timpriye Sylva and Seriake Dickson have had in this saga over the sum of
N4,451 allegedly left in the Bayelsa state coffers by Sylva when he hit the emergency exit button at Government House, Yenagoa about a year ago. "Bayelsa State has never had it so bad. Bayelsa is mourning the Dickson disaster," wept Sylva's parrot, Doifie Ola, while forgetting to tell us exactly how much his boss left in the state's coffers. We are trying to locate the state's accountant for that information, but it appears that he needs Senate approval.

You see, Senate approval is needed nowadays in this country before one can even take a dump. Thus it was that a Senate etibo has promised that the NNPC's admittedly foolish action of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul would be investigated by the upper legislative house. Like they have nothing better to do. Well, they don't, it's not holiday time yet. But it may just behove one to point out that the Decree establishing the NNPC on Fool's Day, thirty-six years ago now did not mandate the corporation to report to the Senate.

I would suggest that the Senate while trying to perform its oversight duties should once in a while learn to look into a mirror. Yesterday, former President, Olu Obasanjo told CNN that the current President's approach to handling the Boko Haram brouhaha is quite faulty. Honestly, like in many statements he has made since he unwillingly obeyed the Constitution and shuffled out of office, I agree with Baba on this one. However, I must point out that not all of it is Jona's fault. Sometimes the Senate offers a form of protection to miscreants within its ranks, which is why a sitting Senator accused of backing a group which is committing treason, still sits in the Senate chambers. Any wonder why Nigeria risks implosion?

Bits and bobs

The collection of geriatrics at the top of the PDP have lent credence to the belief that as men grow older, they become less able to reach compromises. The PDP has failed to get a new shot-caller. Maybe Ahmadu Alli's wife should be called in to sort it all out.

Our Papa Eagles never learn their lessons. Three years after one of them promised us the World Cup trophy since it was on African soil, a former Super Eagle (yes, he was in the last generation of players that deserved to be called "Super") is telling us that the Eagles can rule the continent. They first have to get past Cameroon's new husband, Cape Verde. Follow Cape Verde 2-1 Nigeria on various twitter feeds from 9pm WAT.

The first storey building in Nigeria is a very interesting place. Like Nigeria it has no electricity. Like Nigeria, it harbours bats (think politicians and nocturnal meetings). Like Nigeria, the staircase leading upstairs is in disrepair (think our roads). Like Nigeria, it needs renovation.