Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Our Symbols are crying too!

As usual, the media has been buzzing about our 54th Independence Anniversary and advertising several talk shows and analytical programmes to reminisce on our progress so far and the way forward as a nation. 
I couldn't help but think about our symbols of National Identity and how we treat them.
I remember being taught that our Symbols of identity as a nation are sacred and should be honoured as such.  
But that isn't the case today.

The other day, I came across the Nigerian Flag in front of a library and I wondered if the flag was a true reflection of the present day Nigeria. The green 3rd of the flag was hanging on to the middle white portion by just a few strands of material. It seemed like it was struggling to stay united with the greater part of the flag.
The ethnic, tribal and religious rivalry in Nigeria is still very palpable in our society, even after 54 years of coexistence as a people and we appear to be struggling to remain together as a nation.

Fast forward to how we handle the Naira. 
On a typical work day, I couldn't help but comment on the way a bike man squashed and squeezed several naira notes into his pocket and handed me a 50 naira note. It would be an understatement to say that the note was a shadow of itself. 
Maybe i'll start a free wallet campaign with bike men and help them treat the Naira better. 

Our National Anthem and pledge are also victims of our desecration. It wouldn't hurt to stop and spare a few minutes to pay attention to the lyrics of our anthem and words of our pledge whenever it is being sung and recited. constant reflection on these words could help us become better citizens. 

The only symbol that seems to have been shielded from disdain and disregard so far, is our coat of arms and I would love it to remain so. Yet, a few people have come up with a caricature of that too. Its components seemed to have become complacent in their posts and just whiled away time; very similar to what you find in several government owned offices.

As we celebrate our 54th year of Independence, let us honour our symbols of National identity and pay attention to what they represent: strength, dignity, unity, fertility, peace, progress and beauty. 

God bless Nigeria.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

April Fool in September ?

It's no more news that the biggest April fool prank in Nigeria's history was recorded today, howbeit on a Wet Ember month.

I have learnt in the course of the present Boko Haram crisis, to hold with a pinch of salt whatever our Defense headquarters delivers to us as an update on the war against terror; not because I don't trust them, but because my heart has become embellished  with several suture lines and healing wounds following repeated heart breaks caused by the disgraceful state of Nigeria's insecurity.

I was delighted when I heard the rumour, wishing and hoping that it had an element of truth in it. 
But like every Nigerian, I am just so dazed right now that such rumour could have sipped from no grapevine but from the defence headquarters itself.

It came as no surprise as I read on twitter, people's angry comments about the false statement released by the Nigerian military that some of our Chibok girls have been released.
I sniffled a sardonic laugh as I read Brigadier Olukolade's rejoinder that the buses conveyed other girls but not our abducted Chibok sisters.

How can such a delicate statement be released to the media without a personal and detailed verification?
Was it a bid to gain face with the Nigerian public that made this fine gentleman make such a blunder without checking twice? 
I would have imagined that such a news would have been verified and re verified before it is aired. 
Parents of the supposed released girls should have confirmed that these were their daughters that were abducted before the town crier is given the message to spread! 

I mean, what is wrong with us? 
Why won't we do things right?

How can we toy with already frayed emotions? How can we do things that would easily snap an already frail lifeline called hope?

Dear sir, thank you for the information, but that's not what we asked for. All we asked for and are still asking for is the safe return of our Chibok sisters!
We didn't know about the buses until you raised our hopes and told us that our sisters were back!

I expect an elaborate apology to the parents of the missing Girls and every Nigerian by the defence headquarters, delivered and read by Major General OluKolade himself and an accompanying resignation letter.

I believe that no one is above mistakes, but some mistakes are incomprehensible. 
And this is one mistake that I still cannot understand! 

Meanwhile, we will continue praying for our sisters, we will keep the campaign alive, we will keep vigil till today's mistake becomes our reality!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Awake o compatriots!

While I was on my Media Sabbatical break last week, a lot of events must have happened and some of them would have slipped by unnoticed; after all, the world is in a frenzy run and waits for no one. 

So it came as no surprise when I heard for the first time from a friend that another journalist had been killed during the course of the past week. 
Dimgba Igwe was killed by a 'hit and run' driver in his Okota neighbourhood of Lagos state during his routine workout session.

I thought to myself that he has unfortunately joined the list of unsolved murder cases of journalists in Nigeria.
Remember the young journalist that was killed in his home a few months ago? It was all over the news then and the police promised as always to investigate thoroughly.
So it wasn't news as I read that the IGP had promised a special and thorough investigation for this veteran journalist and Pastor. 

While we wait ( hopefully not endlessly) for the outcome of their investigation, I would like to bring to the fore some glaring questions:

1. How come no one got a glimpse of the vehicle , vehicle plate no or the driver responsible for this tragedy? 
I assume that if we had functioning security cameras on our roads and cities, I wouldn't be asking this question. Would I? 

2. Are our roads pedestrian- friendly? Do we have side walks and lanes for joggers and strollers? 
I was in Okota a few weeks back and believe me, asking for a side walk would be like asking for dessert when you haven't even had the proper meal.
I would be mincing words if I described those roads as a hell hole and I know that Okota residents would agree with me.

3. How soon did he get the proper medical  attention? Was he even given first aid at all? Did he get to the hospital?
 We are smacked in the face again with the reality of  an absence or near absence of effective emergency response and ambulance services in our country.

I could go on and on, but there's just one conclusion :
Dimgba Igwe's death like many other Nigerians who have died could have been avoided and prevented in a proper functioning society. 
His death like many others is a result of our failing state as a nation. 

The bitter truth is that only his friends and family would experience  the true  impact of his death.
After the tributes from far and wide,  initial 'Gra Gra' of the media ( which was his community) and empty promises of our men in black ( now men in blue, still MIB), Nigeria will move on and many more preventable and avoidable deaths will continue to occur. 

This sad trend will continue unless we wake up and act right.
One of my favourite musicians , Lagbaja put it rightly in his song '200 million mumu', which he ended by saying:

"Mumu no fit sleep forever, one day mumu go wake up. May the Almighty deliver us from evil".

It's time to wake up from our slumber.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Another Missing aircraft!

Wonders, they say, will never end! Anyone that has paid some form of attention to the Nigerian polity will agree that this statement is a fact; a lifelong fact. But what about "Mysteries will never end"? This too is beginning to become an accepted fact around the world.
Take the missing Malaysian Aircraft MH370 for instance. It's disappearance is a mystery that the experts are still trying to solve. ( I hope they do and then it will stop being a mystery).

A mystery is an unexplainable event, an occurrence that logic can't give meaning to.
The definition of mystery however is relative. What is a mystery today might become unravelled tomorrow thanks to an expansion in insight and depth in knowledge.
Some things we term mystery in Nigeria are definitely not so mysterious in Britain or some other developed country thanks to the availability of technological prowess.

So while I agree that the MH370's disappearance is a mystery, I dare to say that the missing NAF aircraft is far from being a mystery!
It's like claiming that the whereabouts of our Chibok sisters is a mystery.
Nope! It isnt.

What is a mystery is the reason they are still not home after so long ( 150 days if I am not mistaken!)
Another mystery is how, despite the plummeting state of our dear country, some Nigerians still go about cheering the present government claiming "the people behind you are more than those against you"!
Their statisticians have to be mysteriously disoriented in time, place and person!

The fact that some Nigerians clamour for Mr President's 2nd term is a baffling story for another day.
I might have to employ the services of Inspector Gadget to help unravel these Nigerian mysteries.

The missing NAF aircraft didn't mysteriously disappear and I hope that the Media geeks of the FG won't come up with fancy words and claim ignorance of this fact.
This disappearance has BH written all over it and I hope that the DHQ sees it too.
BH has repeatedly looted armouries of our defence institutes and I believe that this might be one of their efforts at improving their offensive attacks.

Alot of things are mysterious on this divide of the world, but our security dilemma is not one of them.
It's funny how 2015 elections seem to be of more importance to us than this threat to our very existence as a nation.
Let it not be mysterious when our children begin to query our intelligence and sincerity when they read about Singapore and it's transformation and wonder what we did to salvage the glory that this great nation once basked in!

God bless Nigeria.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ba! ba! ember months!

As September began yesterday, my phone became flooded with greetings, well-wishes and of course the prayers about the ember months.
What's the big deal about ember months? What makes them more sacred or more hunted than other months?
Yoruba folks would even go a step further and coin prayer points like ' ninu osu ber ber ber, ibi o ni ba le e' and the likes, meaning in the ember months, may evil not befall you. 

As y'all may know, I love to pray, but what's d point of making some months appear more evil than the other?
Unlike what we have been fed with, I doubt extra demons are particularly released from hell starting from September, neither do we have more witches hunting for extra pints of blood.

The simple truth is that September heralds the festive season, the holiday season and the break seasons.
Lots of families plan their vacations towards the end of the year, a lot of public holidays converge during this lunar season and a lot of parties are scheduled for this period.
Village trips, family reunions, office retreats, and spiritual revivals are all clogged in this season: so the roads are over-burdened!

Spirits are high, free alcohol every where, jolly traffic officials and merry sounds all around!
Therefore, more people tend to throw caution in the air and go on sprees!
Of course, that means more accidents and disasters, more lives lost, more dreams shattered and more blame is ascribed to the devil!

Dear folks, I am not against raising prayer points of protection and security, but after praying, don't forget about safety tips and precautionary methods to avoid needless loss of lives and properties!

I particularly love the ember months because they herald the holiday season! I also get a kick in the butt and a wake up slap in the face in case I had been sluggish or drowsy on the way to achieving the goals I penned down at the beginning of the year!

So here's my prayer point about the ember months: may the ember months embarrass us with mind blowing opportunities that will make our goals achievable and results ' embrace-able'
Happy Ember Months guys!