Thursday, May 29, 2008


The month of May has three significant dates worth celebrating, especially because it provides Nigerians with opportunity to reflect purposefully on different issues of great importance. The first of such dates is May 1st- Worker’s day that celebrates the Tax payers, I mean workers for their immense contribution to National development. Then we have the heart warming May 27th- children’s day and the resounding historical May 29th -Democracy day that commemorate the return of democracy in Nigeria since 1999. Thus, one can rightly say that the month of May indeed provides a unique opportunity for Nigerians and all who watch our country with keen interest, to deliberate on the past, present and future condition of our society in its entire ramification.
For instance, May 27th is not just a day set aside for Children to party, It is also a day where critical issues affecting the Nigeria child are looked into by key stakeholders, including children, in order to draw an action plan to ameliorate the situation. We seek to find answers to questions like “why are about 10 million Nigerian Children not in school despite the free education provided by the government?”. I do not intend to startle you with any statistics of the current state of an average Nigerian child, which you can find from other sources, however, I’d like to urge you not to stop contributing your quota towards securing a better future for this generation.
Starting with your children (or siblings), neighbor’s, and the almost forgotten street children, simple steps that can be taken to improve their lives includes beings a good role model, having in mind that most children learn by watching; showing more support and love to ensure the rights of these children are not trampled upon and most importantly help create an enabling environment for them to grow and develop into responsible youths willing to sustain the future.
I will like to echo the deep words of Nat Keefe who was featured in an edition of Roots and Shoots newsletter. In the interview with Shawn Sweeney, the guitarist and vocalist of “Hot Buttered Rum (HBR)” band was asked about his hope for future generations and here is his response: I go back and forth being optimistic and pessimistic about the way things are going. There’s no guarantee that humanity is destined for greatness. I’m worried that the clever and cut throat instincts that got humans to where we are will also be our undoing. At the same time, it is amazing how far things have come. Some of the best young minds are going to work towards positive change and people are really getting organized. I’m going to continue to do my little part.
Now lets think deeply, as we celebrate this year’s Children’s Day, about the hope we have for future generations. Happy Children’s day and of course a peaceful Democracy day celebration in advance!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yesterday’s rain is one most Lagosians, especially Ogba Residents will not forget easily. At about 5pm when most workers were preparing to call it a day at their place of duty, and evening traders set out to display their wares in their market stall, the rain came pouring heavily without a warning. I was among those thrown into a state of confusion as we ran helter skelter in search of shelter from the storm. We had just closed from school, thus most of us students were still hanging around the bus stop when the rain started. From the small kiosk where I sort solace from the storm, I watched in awe as some traders who already have their wares in display struggle to pack up but to no avail as they were forced by the magnitude of the rain to run into hiding, thus abandoning their goods. Biscuits, apples, vegetable, tomatoes etc. were some of the goods that were seen floating in the flooded street.
Meanwhile, the now waist-leveled flood hindered pedestrian movement as nobody wanted to risk falling into the gutter that was covered by the flood. The massive downpour which lasted for about 3 hours left most people sighing in disappointment because of the troubles and suffering such heavy downpour brings to commuters. Most roads become a no-go-area; thus most travelers are left stranded at bus stops! Many houses are also flooded during the raining season to mention but a few troubles.
After the rain, most traders counted lose due to business disruption. Commuters were not left out in the negative fallouts of the rain; they were seen making long walks due to lack of vehicles. Most of the vehicles were stuck in the traffic jam caused by impatient drivers, flooded roads etc. Moreover, some of the public buses that would have been plying some routes had to stay off because their vehicles lack the needed parts needed to thrive in such a flooded journey. So like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs, such buses packed along the road waiting for the traffic jam and flood to subside.
Rainfall is a blessing, thus we cannot reject it. As the raining season is just starting; this means we will definitely be seeing so much of river-like floods along most of the Lagos roads. The same breeze which blows to expose the anus of the fowl is one that blows each time rain falls to expose the poor drainage system, poor road construction and of course poor building structures people are forced to live in due to accommodation challenge in this part of the world!


Recently, in an inter-cultural conference, I was approached by someone who said “I hear in Nigeria , the airport officials are very corrupt”. Well, I thought to myself, what can I say? Prior to my flying to the USA , I personally witnessed the corruption of one of the officials. He was entrusted with the responsibility of manning the departure entrance, thus he monitored the kind and number of people entering the airport. He proudly announced to travelers as they entered the airport that only one person was allowed to see-off their family or friend but alas! To my disappointment, on this occasion, I saw him let down his guard and bend this rule after he was offered a bribe by a woman.

Even though the one action of this man doesn’t sum up reasonably that all airport officials are corrupt, however, remembering this scene which was vividly strong in my mind, I responded to the young lady’s quip about corruption in Nigeria airport, but not by creating a white-propaganda about Nigeria this young lady was expecting of me. Instead, I replied “isn’t there corruption everywhere?” and to my surprise, she quickly agreed. For a minute I was tempted to ask why she so strongly agree, was there some going on in her country?

It is all depressing to echo the words of one of the Nigerian leaders who affirmed that 90% of Nigerians are corrupt. Just a few days ago, I was stunned (not really) by a publication in one of the evening newspapers about corruption in the on-going WAEC exam. Exam questions were sold on streets before examination commences, the newspaper announced. This sounded really alarming I must confess, especially since the said exam is a major one for all candidates. The exam fraudsters seem to be getting wiser! What measures are being put in place to tackle this issue? Is our anti-corruption campaign loosing its hold against the so called fraudsters? Even Yahoo-Yahoo network, the cyber fraud youths engage in seems to be birthing new apprentices everyday. But we must not loose hope, a radical action must be take else corruption finally break this country into shred!

Back to the issue of corrupt airport officials, another participant in the same international youth gathering did share with me about her good impression of Nigeria . She has never been to Nigeria , but the closest experience of being in Nigeria was at the Lagos airport where she was stranded after her flight was cancelled, but for the help of a stranger- a Nigerian, she has no idea how she would have coped. Now talk about the 10% incorruptible Nigerians who seems insignificant but who are building the Nation in their own way! My good friend will never forget the kindness of this Nigerian despite the blaze about Nigeria being corrupt. Now I ask, are you among the 90% of corrupt Nigerians? The actions we take everyday counts!

Friday, May 09, 2008


GSM is the 21st century fast pass ticket to communication. By fast pass, I mean a very quick and more exciting way than any other. Lately, I have been wondering what life was like before the emergence of global system of mobile communication. Can you still remember? But for mental laziness, I can not vividly recall how those good old days were like. How did we keep in touch? How were business transacted over a long distance?
It is amazing how everything seems to revolve around technology these days- in politics we have electronic voting, in education we have online examination, in relationship we have online dating, in economy we have online banking and of course the now popular automated teller machine/cash machine (ATM). Everything is now within reach; with just a click you can access anything from any part of the world.
Ironically, this has not made life as simple as its spelling. In fact, things are more complicated. We are constantly buying new brands while on the watch for the latest version for upgrade. Thus we operate on face value, we live in anxiety when our finances runs too low to meet the luxury of stocking the “stuff” or panic over our phone battery run out of power- that important call may be missed!
Our efficiency eludes us when we lack access to these technology- messages are composed and disseminated poorly, the queue in the banks gets longer, we fail to remember the birthday of close friends because our phone reminder didn’t remind us etc.
I wonder what life will be like without phones or internet. Obviously communication will be cheaper. Everyone will be more connected to self and be dependent once again on oral communication for information dissemination. Urgent ones will be sent through snail mail (by post) and like its name imply, such messages will travel as slow as a snail. And of course the rest of us who have so much embraced techno-age will feel very bored and cut out of civilization!
Communication is technology in this glow of 21st century, our world moves in gigabytes and technology is our fast pass ticket to globalization. And what can stop us from the hype of being connected to keep up the pace in our fast track lane?