Monday, September 30, 2013

NIGERIA AT 53: IS THERE STILL HOPE?

Five decades and three years have elapsed, but the teething problems of nationhood lingers. For fifty three years, we have lived in the unending optimism that our day of liberation as a nation is lingering around. However, with every bomb that explodes in Borno, we are reminded of the deterioration in our security system. With the universities under lock and key for more than three months, we are brought to a rude reminder that the cankerworms that have feasted on the fabrics of our turf, are yet to have their last bites. For every day we live in darkness and in the quagmire of noise pollution steaming from generators, we are flogged with the harsh reality that hope for the Power sector is like clutching on straws. Yet, with all these avalanche of odds, the only thing that seem to matter to those that we pay to show concern, is the 2015 elections. Whatever was the spell that the forces that be had casted upon us, it surely has complete potency. It’s another independence anniversary, one to usher in the centenary celebration next year. Yet, almost every where one turns to, there are a plethora of challenges to wrestle with. These challenges and nagging problems that have bedevilled us do not require a rehash here. We live with the menace everyday, and hardly anyone will require a reminder. The numerous policemen that will continue to thrive on 20 naira bribe irrespective of the dismissal of their colleague that was caught on camera, enunciates the rot in the system. The bickering between the President (Goodluck Jonathan) and the Rivers state governor (Rotimi Ameachi), tells a lot the crude and “dog eats dog” politics that we are practising. The myriads of public officials that will always treat their duties with sheer negligence no matter whose ox is gored, helps to beg the question: How long do we continue on this path? In more ways than one, so much depends on leadership. Without mincing words, leadership at all levels have failed our nation. At the national level, the shenanigans of those elected to steer the affairs of this nation is legendary. We have the most expensive tiers of government. A fortune of tax payers money, and the spoils of our “oil” goes into the pockets of men and women who don’t know jack about transformation (forget that they sing it as a slogan). These are men and women that don’t give a damn about what happens to the well-being of average Nigerians. They come cap in hand every four years, demanding for our votes. If we don’t give them by refusing their dangling carrot, they take it by a sleight of force that can only be described as broad day light robbery. A majority of these leaders have been around for donkey years; dating back to 1960 when we became a sovereign state. Something keeps telling them that they have a divine mandate to rule this nation forever. They have destroyed their own generation, they are seizing ours, and they are threatening to rule that of our unborn children. At 53, we are still a nation grappling with the basic things of life. Our roads remain in a state of debacle. Portable water is still a luxury. Proper health care remain a distant dream. Adequate power supply is still a mirage for us. Our educational sector continues to take a nose dive. And yet, Jonathan and his array of ministers will have us believe that we are making progress? Unless progress has taken on a new meaning, we are still fighting with our chains. Having said that, what is the way forward? Though the incessant criticisms, punditries, analysis, editorials, tweets and diatribes we see in different platforms about the state of nation helps our democracy, so much is needed to actually make it work. Genuinely concerned Nigerians cannot simply fold their hands and expect that that “lady luck” will someday smile upon our nation. Such scenario only exists in the world of fantasy. It is about time that the citizenry become more involved. This is in no way a call for a revolution in the mould of the Arab spring of 2011. All those that still believe that a bloody revolution is the way out should always remember history. Egypt has not fared any better since the bloody revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. Rather, that revolution has only begets more killings. For Nigeria to cross the Rubicon, we don’t need thousands of Nigerians to lose their lives. The thirty months carnage we witnessed in the 1967 Civil war has left enough miseries that we still grappling with. We don’t need another. Rather, we require a mental purge; a watershed in the resolve of the followership. We need men and women that will stand up for what is right, even if they stand alone. Instead of our youths pitching tents with corrupt politicians, they have to stand up and demand good leadership. It is no gainsaying that though our challenges are daunting, they are not beyond us. However, we must awake from the delusion that change will come searching for us. The passivity of many Nigerians towards national change must be eroded. If our leaders will not steer us in the path we should go, we must hold them to ransom. One of the ways to do this is by ensuring that the election in 2015 does not become the charade almost all previous elections have been. Pen ultimately, it is of utmost important that we keep faith with the Nigerian Dream and the Nigerian project. Giving up on the greatest of this country will not help anyone. We have to hope beyond hope that Nigeria will flourish again. It is with this mindset that we the people, can drive for that lasting change we crave. One last word for our leaders: There is such a thing as posterity, and remember that you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Poetry: You Decorated My Days!

Flashes of thoughts, Whispers of words, Betrayal of emotions, Today, I remember. 18 years absence has not flickered the memory of you. The hustles of the day and the sternous silence of the night have made the memory of you extant; That memory has become our sidekick, An integral part of our existence. Like a bolt in the blue, You only flashed your brillance. Like an actor in his element, You left the stage belated. Like a tale conjured by the gods, Your story was shortlived. Yes, you fought. Your days were hallmarked by warfare. You fought for us, Determined to win a war to make us live. A war that sapped your strength, But despite the bruises, your beauty was never meddled with. You decorated my days, You added radiance to my path, You paved the way upon which I know thread, You taught me the first lessons of this harsh world, Your breasts were the first I knew, Your shoulders were the first i leaned on, Your hands were the first that beheld me, Your laps were the first I cried on. Sadly but surely, It didnt last for long. For every moment I remember, expect me to cry a handful. For every hour the pain pierces me, expect me to have a sedentary spell. Sleep on, my treasure. Till I wake you upon my arrival to join you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

8 Things Unhappy People Refuse To Admit

1. They struggle with self-respect. Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself. Be your own best friend. Trust your inner spirit and follow your instincts. Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit – not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU. Be the person you will be happy to live with for the duration of your life. Don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth. Know that our first and last love is always self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either. 2. They are self-conscious about what others think of them. The minute you stop overwhelming your mind with caring about what everyone else thinks, and start doing what you feel in your heart is right, is the minute you will finally feel freedom and peace of mind. In fact, you can end half your troubles immediately by no longer permitting people to tell you what you want. You have to put your life in your own hands. Others may be able hold your happiness hostage temporarily, but only you can do it permanently. 3. They are holding on to old grudges. You will never find peace until you learn to finally let go of the hatred and hurt that lives in your heart. Life is far too short to be spent in nursing bitterness and registering wrongs. Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, on the other hand, is for those who are confident enough to stand on their own two legs and move on. In order to move on, you must know why you felt the way you did, and why you no longer need to feel that way. It’s about accepting the past, letting it be, and pushing your spirit forward with good intentions. Nothing empowers your ability to heal and grow as much as your love and forgiveness. 4. The routines they follow imprison them. Remember that the way you’ve always done it isn’t the only way. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re 70 is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, or not having bought enough $6 lattes from Starbucks, or not having frequented the same night club for years. But the regret of missing out on opportunities is a real, toxic feeling. The bottom line is that you’ve figured out drinking and going out. You’ve had enough lattes. It’s time to figure something else out. Every corner you turn or street you walk down has a new experience waiting for you. You just have to see the opportunity and be adventurous enough to run with it. 5. There’s a lot they can’t control (even though they try). Life is often unpredictable. Some of the great moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action, and you will. But don’t forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change in an instant – for better or worse. To an extent, the universe has a plan that’s always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings and it starts to rain – it’s a scary thought, but it’s part of life’s cycle. All these little parts of the machine, constantly working – sometimes forcing you to struggle, and sometimes making sure you end up exactly in the right place at the right time. 6. They let their fears numb them from life’s goodness. “Numbing” is any activity that you use to desensitize your feelings so that you don’t experience vulnerability or hurt. But by numbing yourself to vulnerability, you also numb yourself to love, belonging, empathy, creativity, adventure and all of life’s goodness. Remember, every worthwhile venture in life – intimate love, friendship, a new business, etc. – is scary. These things are inherently risky. They are unsafe. These things aren’t for the faint of heart. They take courage. And most importantly, they can’t coexist with fear. When you open up to life’s greatest opportunities and joys it means you’re also giving life the opportunity to break your heart, but trusting that it won’t… that the risk is well worth the reward. 7. They are addicted to avoiding themselves in the present moment. This is something we all struggle with sometimes. It’s also the root cause of nearly all of our unhappiness. One of the hardest challenges we face in life is to simply live in our own skin – to just be right here, right now, regardless of where we are. Too often we needlessly distract ourselves with anything and everything: food, booze, shopping, television, tabloid news, online social networks, video games, cell phones, iPods, etc. – basically anything to keep us from being fully present in the current moment. We use compulsive work, compulsive exercise, compulsive love affairs, and the like, to escape from ourselves and the realities of living. In fact, many of us will go to great lengths to avoid the feeling of being alone in an undistracted environment. So we succumb to hanging-out with just about anybody to avoid the feeling of solitude. For being alone means dealing with our true feelings: fear, anxiety, happiness, anger, joy, resentment, disappointment, anticipation, sadness, excitement, despair, and so on and so forth. And it doesn’t really matter if our feelings are positive or negative – they are overwhelming and exhausting, and so we prefer to numb ourselves to them. The bottom line is that we are all addicted to avoiding ourselves. Acknowledging this addiction is the first step to healing it. So begin today by just noticing with curiosity, and without judgment, all of the ways in which you avoid being in your own skin, right here, right now, in this present moment we call life. 8. The grass isn’t greener anywhere else. If you feel anxious because you constantly feel like you’re missing out on something happening somewhere else, you’re not alone. We all feel this way sometimes – like the grass is greener somewhere else at this very moment. But let me assure you, you could run around trying to do everything, and travel around the world, and always stay connected, and work and party all night long without sleep, but you could never do it all. You will always be missing something, and thus it will always seem like something wonderful might be happening elsewhere. So let it go, and realize you have everything right now. The best in life isn’t somewhere else; it’s right where you are, at this moment. Celebrate the perhaps not so insignificant fact that you are alive right now. This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect. Take a deep breath, smile, and notice the green grass under your own two feet. (MANDG)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PDP: A House Divided Within Itself

It began like a trivial dispute between siblings; however, it has snowballed into a carnage that is threatening to destroy the flawed dynasty that is PDP. It is no longer news that six Northern governors including former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, stormed out of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Special National Convention held on the 31st of August, 2013. There is no need to rehash the reasons for their actions, as more detailed commentaries have allotted enough ink and pages to that. However, what we know as a matter of certainty, is that the PDP and its cohorts are facing probably their most precarious phase as ‘Africa’s’ largest party.
They are known as the new PDP, and make no mistakes about it, they are powerful and influential. This faction of the PDP is led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje. In the capacity of deputy national chairman, is the unwavering Dr. Sam Jaja, and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola serves as the national secretary. It is worth noting that Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, joins the half a dozen governors in this new lease of political life. This entire dynamics is a nightmare for the Bamanga Tukur led PDP. At a time when the newly formed merger party, All Progressives Congress (APC), is gaining grounds and seeming like a formidable opponent, the last thing the PDP wants is a crack within its ranks. But alas, it is here. It is difficult to be sympathetic to the plight of the PDP. This is a party that thrives on sophisticated thuggery, incessant electoral malpractices, untold corruption, and to borrow the words of one of its stalwarts, a ‘do or die’ politicking. With the rot in the PDP, it was always a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost. Without mincing words, the PDP has inflicted more harms than good on the country since 1999. It is a testimony to their wreckage that a man like Olusegun Obasanjo, despite all his sins, is a still a power broker in the affairs of our land. Thanks to the passivity of many Nigerians, the PDP has ruled with autocratic tendencies. The charade they call democracy is a mere fa├žade to perpetrate their evils. For Goodluck Jonathan, it is a shame that he found a home within such quarters. By virtue of his involvement, he joins in the carnage.
PDP is not the solution to the Nigerian dream. Yet, the question should be ‘What are the alternatives?’ Should APC and the new PDP faction join forces, then the PDP’s end is near. Yet, a glance at the brainchild and kingpins in this new opposition deflates the hopes of many. Recycled men like Buhari and Atiku are not men that should tell us what next for this country. They had their moments. Moments to liberate this country, to etch their names in the annals of time, to leave a legacy for true political principles; but they didn’t.
2015 is still a distance from today, but Nigerians had better not be deluded. Change is what we need. And while we agree that a bloody revolution is not the path to take in achieving this, sitting down and just venting our anger on social media is an even more perilous path. We demand more from our leaders, and we should not be blinded by their party affiliations. Power is a dangerous concubine, and we had better ‘look’ before entrusting it to anyone, for many are hopeless flirts. PDP has proven not to be the solution, and only an enemy of Nigeria will think otherwise.