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Posts tagged ‘Chike Obi’

A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Tinapa, Elephant In Our Room By Enobong Udoh.


By Enobong Udoh

In Nigeria, we are very familiar with the cliché “white elephant” and use it to refer to grandiose government projects which are oftentimes a drainpipe of scare resources that serve no purpose whatsoever to the welfare of the people. Generally, our interpretation of this cliché is same as its universal literal meaning; as a label for a rare item that is no longer useful to its owner. However, many Nigerians are oblivious that real white elephants ever existed.

The tradition of white elephants originally derives from a story about the birth of Buddha in Asia. As the story goes, Buddha’s mother dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower (a symbol of wisdom and purity), on the eve of her giving birth. In ancient Thailand culture, white elephants were used as a symbol of power by royalties, and one white elephant used to be featured on the flag of Siam (1855-1917). So in fact, possession of a white elephant was a sign of great virtue and wealth.

Kings of Thailand often presented white elephants (colossal gift) as a way to impress rivals while simultaneously imposing financial and physical burdens on the gift-receiver. White elephants were so sacred, that they could not be put to work, and as with all elephants, they were very expensive to care for. Hence, English language interprets a “white elephant” as somewhat of a paradox – being a valuable item but not worth its maintenance costs. Even till today, his majesty the King of Thailand still keeps a few white elephants.

This brings me to the crux of my treatise, an event that was widely reported in the news recently. Like other tabloids, Nigeria Business News of October 27, 2013 had a caption “Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State Endorses Privatization of Tinapa”. Surprisingly, to the uninformed, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) nationalising Tinapa is being confused for privatization. AMCON’s MD/CEO Chike Obi, noted that Tinapa’s asset and debt will first be taken over, made profitable and later privatised. In his words, “The strategy is to find an operator for Tinapa immediately. We will advertise for an operator very soon, inject capital into the facility and allow the operator to run it for some years”.

He continues, “After Tinapa has been made profitable, we will privatise it just like we are doing to the three bridged banks we took over. So it is the same strategy we used for the banks that we are using for Tinapa.” Nevertheless, come to think of it, if the state government could turnaround the fortunes of Tinapa with a private operator, they would have since April 2007 done so with Broll Property Group and Sun Group all of South Africa who were on ground as the facility managers.

Moreover, AMCON shouldn’t be quick to get high on self-delusion, as banks profit making model of borrowing government money at not more than 15% interest rate then turnaround to loan it at 25% prime lending rate and with their round tripping in FOREX, all the cat-in-the-bag tricks which Tinapa cannot afford. Sincerely, I hope to see if the resort will ever be sustainable.

To be candid, diehard skeptics always ask; was Tinapa ever designed to be successful? As some will say the resort looks like a contraption by its promoters to simply CLEAN OUT. But how else can these skepticism be faulted when its economic supporting structure is a façade. Does all the talk about its poor planning and feasibility studies hold water, when the KPMG and Vetiva advisers of this world didn’t hold back their ‘reject decision’ at the initiation stage but all smiled to the bank to get their consultancy fees without looking at the huge burden they were going to put the state as the 3rd most indebted behind Lagos and Bayelsa.

In all, when its promoters go to Dubai don’t they see the Abu Dhabi citizens almost outnumbering the visitors in those malls? Or could it be they simply refused to see beyond their nose? The constant lamentation of Calabar port dredging, the pie in the sky new airport and the pipe dream monorail finally comes to naught.

Furthermore, a deep analysis of the 55 billion Naira project’s opportunity cost to the people and government of Cross River is even more if one factors in the 100 million Naira monthly maintenance cost and its earlier media propaganda that was splashed on satellite TV – true to the nature of a white elephant.

One wonders what AMCON hopes to achieve with the agreement to buy back Tinapa’s debts and futher provide the sum of 26 billion Naira for the revitalization and resuscitation of the Resort. AMCON should tell us if this 26 billion will provide the supporting economic structures or be used to tutor the big cats at Nigeria Customs, that a Free Trade Zone is suppose to be a country inside a country where you don’t make revenue from the importer/sellers but from the buyers going on to show them how to.

Tinapa, Africa’s Dubai in Nigeria recorded many firsts. First prime business/leisure resort, first zero coupon bond issue in Nigeria, Nigeria’s biggest public-private partnership projects ever with 13 banks. At a time the resorts promoters said renowned global supermarket chains, has indicated interest in taking its shopping space. Later on, was the actual confirmation that international labels like Shoprite, Wal-mart, Flamingo and Aspamda have all taken spaces or occupying the emporiums, which meant 10,000 m2 of shop space each at the cost of $75 to $200 per square meter (m2).

So because it costs between $5 and $6 million to rent an emporium, to assist average local retailer especially Cross Riverians the state government claimed to have secured a $3m grant facility to which the state government would add the matching fund of another $3 million to have a $6 million portfolio available for the serious local business persons who want to participate in Tinapa. Back then this was cheerful news, till today no one has stepped foward to tell us how these big local and foriegn shopping outlets missed their Tinapa address or was it a hocus pocus?

Explaining its business model, again there was this talk that the 13 billion Naira directly financed by the state government was not on the company’s balance sheet. The promoters said the money is like a quasi-investment, like a quasi equity as they call it – a soft loan from the government to be payied off over a period of 40 years, after which the state government will finally exit the Tinapa project.

Certainly, that wasn’t all as the Nigerian Stock Exchange was another body that saw the potential of Tinapa as an opportunity to boost market capitalisation and afford investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolio and reap bountiful harvest sliped. It was no surprise to observers, when the promoters were quickly offered an opportunity to list the resort on the Exchange, without allowing it go through the rigorous listing requirements according to reports then.

But don’t weep for Tinapa yet until you hear from its former CEO Sam Anani, “Our plan is to take Tinapa through an IPO and take it to the market early 2008. The justification is that we want Tinapa to trade for almost a year so that people can see revenue streams in order to make the IPO a massive success”. But remember in 2009, when the global financial crash hit the markets, our economic managers had boasted ‘no shaking’, so this couldn’t have deterred Tinapa’s fortunes. To buttress this, by December 2009 Hi Media owners of HiTV even went on to seal a deal with Tinapa Studios. Hi Media’s owner Mr. Subair even boasted, ” Tinapa Studios even makes us ‘Hi er'”. Since the business case is faulty, as we already know all these came to naught and the rest is history.

Though Tinapa is the biggest white elephant gift a state government has given its people in the history of Nigeria, one wonders the likelihood of it not reoccuring in the near future with the type of Houses of Assembly we have that are ever ready to look the other way and do the bidding of their majesty – his excellency.

Tinapa might have achieved the objective of being a beautiful brick and mortar spectacle from the hitherto lush rubber plantation of 250 hectares of rubber trees and sloppy terrain in 2004 but a huge question mark surrounds its sustainability. True lovers of Cross River can only imagine what 55 billion Naira would have yielded even if invested in risk free government assets. Time will tell if AMCON can transform our elephant to a horse.

Enobong Udoh srites from  Calabar

giftsoncaly@yahoo.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Tinapa, Elephant In Our Room By Enobong Udoh.


By Enobong Udoh

In Nigeria, we are very familiar with the cliché “white elephant” and use it to refer to grandiose government projects which are oftentimes a drainpipe of scare resources that serve no purpose whatsoever to the welfare of the people. Generally, our interpretation of this cliché is same as its universal literal meaning; as a label for a rare item that is no longer useful to its owner. However, many Nigerians are oblivious that real white elephants ever existed.

The tradition of white elephants originally derives from a story about the birth of Buddha in Asia. As the story goes, Buddha’s mother dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower (a symbol of wisdom and purity), on the eve of her giving birth. In ancient Thailand culture, white elephants were used as a symbol of power by royalties, and one white elephant used to be featured on the flag of Siam (1855-1917). So in fact, possession of a white elephant was a sign of great virtue and wealth.

Kings of Thailand often presented white elephants (colossal gift) as a way to impress rivals while simultaneously imposing financial and physical burdens on the gift-receiver. White elephants were so sacred, that they could not be put to work, and as with all elephants, they were very expensive to care for. Hence, English language interprets a “white elephant” as somewhat of a paradox – being a valuable item but not worth its maintenance costs. Even till today, his majesty the King of Thailand still keeps a few white elephants.

This brings me to the crux of my treatise, an event that was widely reported in the news recently. Like other tabloids, Nigeria Business News of October 27, 2013 had a caption “Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State Endorses Privatization of Tinapa”. Surprisingly, to the uninformed, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) nationalising Tinapa is being confused for privatization. AMCON’s MD/CEO Chike Obi, noted that Tinapa’s asset and debt will first be taken over, made profitable and later privatised. In his words, “The strategy is to find an operator for Tinapa immediately. We will advertise for an operator very soon, inject capital into the facility and allow the operator to run it for some years”.

He continues, “After Tinapa has been made profitable, we will privatise it just like we are doing to the three bridged banks we took over. So it is the same strategy we used for the banks that we are using for Tinapa.” Nevertheless, come to think of it, if the state government could turnaround the fortunes of Tinapa with a private operator, they would have since April 2007 done so with Broll Property Group and Sun Group all of South Africa who were on ground as the facility managers.

Moreover, AMCON shouldn’t be quick to get high on self-delusion, as banks profit making model of borrowing government money at not more than 15% interest rate then turnaround to loan it at 25% prime lending rate and with their round tripping in FOREX, all the cat-in-the-bag tricks which Tinapa cannot afford. Sincerely, I hope to see if the resort will ever be sustainable.

To be candid, diehard skeptics always ask; was Tinapa ever designed to be successful? As some will say the resort looks like a contraption by its promoters to simply CLEAN OUT. But how else can these skepticism be faulted when its economic supporting structure is a façade. Does all the talk about its poor planning and feasibility studies hold water, when the KPMG and Vetiva advisers of this world didn’t hold back their ‘reject decision’ at the initiation stage but all smiled to the bank to get their consultancy fees without looking at the huge burden they were going to put the state as the 3rd most indebted behind Lagos and Bayelsa.

In all, when its promoters go to Dubai don’t they see the Abu Dhabi citizens almost outnumbering the visitors in those malls? Or could it be they simply refused to see beyond their nose? The constant lamentation of Calabar port dredging, the pie in the sky new airport and the pipe dream monorail finally comes to naught.

Furthermore, a deep analysis of the 55 billion Naira project’s opportunity cost to the people and government of Cross River is even more if one factors in the 100 million Naira monthly maintenance cost and its earlier media propaganda that was splashed on satellite TV – true to the nature of a white elephant.

One wonders what AMCON hopes to achieve with the agreement to buy back Tinapa’s debts and futher provide the sum of 26 billion Naira for the revitalization and resuscitation of the Resort. AMCON should tell us if this 26 billion will provide the supporting economic structures or be used to tutor the big cats at Nigeria Customs, that a Free Trade Zone is suppose to be a country inside a country where you don’t make revenue from the importer/sellers but from the buyers going on to show them how to.

Tinapa, Africa’s Dubai in Nigeria recorded many firsts. First prime business/leisure resort, first zero coupon bond issue in Nigeria, Nigeria’s biggest public-private partnership projects ever with 13 banks. At a time the resorts promoters said renowned global supermarket chains, has indicated interest in taking its shopping space. Later on, was the actual confirmation that international labels like Shoprite, Wal-mart, Flamingo and Aspamda have all taken spaces or occupying the emporiums, which meant 10,000 m2 of shop space each at the cost of $75 to $200 per square meter (m2).

So because it costs between $5 and $6 million to rent an emporium, to assist average local retailer especially Cross Riverians the state government claimed to have secured a $3m grant facility to which the state government would add the matching fund of another $3 million to have a $6 million portfolio available for the serious local business persons who want to participate in Tinapa. Back then this was cheerful news, till today no one has stepped foward to tell us how these big local and foriegn shopping outlets missed their Tinapa address or was it a hocus pocus?

Explaining its business model, again there was this talk that the 13 billion Naira directly financed by the state government was not on the company’s balance sheet. The promoters said the money is like a quasi-investment, like a quasi equity as they call it – a soft loan from the government to be payied off over a period of 40 years, after which the state government will finally exit the Tinapa project.

Certainly, that wasn’t all as the Nigerian Stock Exchange was another body that saw the potential of Tinapa as an opportunity to boost market capitalisation and afford investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolio and reap bountiful harvest sliped. It was no surprise to observers, when the promoters were quickly offered an opportunity to list the resort on the Exchange, without allowing it go through the rigorous listing requirements according to reports then.

But don’t weep for Tinapa yet until you hear from its former CEO Sam Anani, “Our plan is to take Tinapa through an IPO and take it to the market early 2008. The justification is that we want Tinapa to trade for almost a year so that people can see revenue streams in order to make the IPO a massive success”. But remember in 2009, when the global financial crash hit the markets, our economic managers had boasted ‘no shaking’, so this couldn’t have deterred Tinapa’s fortunes. To buttress this, by December 2009 Hi Media owners of HiTV even went on to seal a deal with Tinapa Studios. Hi Media’s owner Mr. Subair even boasted, ” Tinapa Studios even makes us ‘Hi er'”. Since the business case is faulty, as we already know all these came to naught and the rest is history.

Though Tinapa is the biggest white elephant gift a state government has given its people in the history of Nigeria, one wonders the likelihood of it not reoccuring in the near future with the type of Houses of Assembly we have that are ever ready to look the other way and do the bidding of their majesty – his excellency.

Tinapa might have achieved the objective of being a beautiful brick and mortar spectacle from the hitherto lush rubber plantation of 250 hectares of rubber trees and sloppy terrain in 2004 but a huge question mark surrounds its sustainability. True lovers of Cross River can only imagine what 55 billion Naira would have yielded even if invested in risk free government assets. Time will tell if AMCON can transform our elephant to a horse.

Enobong Udoh srites from  Calabar

giftsoncaly@yahoo.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Governor Okorocha and His Free Education.


Free-Education

More than two and half years now since Governor Rochas Okorocha became the Governor of Imo state, what has dominated many discussions within and outside the state is his free education policy to pupils and students of the state’s school system. In as much as we applaud the idea, it is also good to make public the true position of this “Greek gift” to the people.
Yes, greek gift because the so-called free education of Governor Okorocha is not free after all. People had waited patiently to hear Governor Okorocha explain to the people this magic wand of free education gift because, rather than paying or taking responsibility of the financial expenses of these pupils and students, Imo state Government rakes in as much as well over two billion naira ( N2.b) monthly from this smart thought -out policy.
For those who do not know, it is no news that every civil servant in Imo state contributes one percent of his/her basic monthly salary to the much taunted free education of Governor Okorocha.
Perhaps at this point, we shall invite the well known mathematician late Professor Chike Obi to come from the Dead and Imo state to assist us work out how much Imo state government gets monthly from the large civil service workforce of the state including teachers.
However, many of these people who are contributing (paying) for these children do not have their children in these public schools evens as some don’t have any either in the private schools.
That is the irony of the whole thing. And yet nobody has bothered to inform Imolites that some people are actually paying for these students rather than deceive the masses into believing that government is picking the bills.
This is deceit and should be condemned by all well meaning citizens. In as much as we applaud the initiative, it is also important to inform the students that their kind and caring civil servants parents are paying their fees for them.
We believe that by so doing, the students will have more regard and respect for our civil servants in appreciation of this kind gesture.
This will also motivate them to be philanthropic in future in reciprocation of this rare gesture.
But to hide this truth from the public in pretence that Government is doing it all is deceitful, uncharitable and indeed satanic as it is done with bad intentions aimed at defrauding the people.
To say the least, it is high time that our pupils and students are made to understand that the so-called free education of Imo state Government is not free indeed because the civil servants are picking the bills.
Rather, we are bold to demand from Governor Okorocha to make public how much that the state government generates from this exercise monthly from our civil servants and its sum total since his assumption of office.

Indeed, Roche Re-Skews Imo!
For the first time in a very long time I am going to hold brief for our Governor. I have come to defend my Governor, I have come to challenge the theory of those of us who have been severally tagged as loud-mouthed critics of the government. After all, this Governor, like myself is an Ideato son, he is also my Christian brother, I love him more than even his Chief of Staff can ever love him. I had on other articles and write-ups argued that the Governor of Imo State has not lived up to his campaign promises and that is why we are where we are today. But I have taken sometime to really think about this and I wish to apologise to the Governor and all his followers for wrongly accusing him. Let me categorically state here that my Governor, Owelle Roche Okorocha has lived up to his campaign slogan of re-skewing Imo. It is my fault and that of many others like me that we failed to truly understand what the Governor really meant and promised.
If you were like me expecting that this Governor was coming to rescue Imo and you judge him based on that assumption, then you are the one who disappointed yourself, the Governor has never meant that. He said something else and you and I chose to hear and understand something else. I am no longer feeling disappointed ever since I understood what the Governor really promised. If there is no other Governor who has religiously stuck to his campaign agenda, Roche Okorocha has. He has never deviated from his central pledge of re-skewing Imo. Therefore, console yourself and move ahead with your life, our Governor did not lie, he told us the truth, we only chose to believe the lie.
You are the one who has hurt yourself if you were expecting a positive transformation of our educational system, the Governor never had that in mind, in fact he did not ab initio have what it takes to do that. Was he not the one who told us that he was an undergraduate Phd student in cooperate governance at the National Open University of Nigeria or did he say University of Jos? Someone who does not know the difference between an undergraduate and a postgraduate student and yet has gone as far as being a PHD student somewhere, could not really understand what it means to rescue our education. He certainly got his qualifications through skewed means, and will only be ready to re-skew our own education. Or does one offer what he does not have?
Never!
Our roads were in bad state before this man became Governor, we were anxious to elect someone who would rescue our road network, hence our decision to fall for someone who told us from the onset that he was coming to re-skew our roads. He has lived up to his promise, today, our roads have gone from bad to worst. He has destroyed our road network and flood is threatening to wipe away several homes across the State. The last time I travelled to my village, this man had sent his caterpillars to scrap off the little path I usually drive to my house from, Roche has so re-skewed our road that so many Imolites like myself can no longer drive their cars near their houses. Re-skew mission at work.
We are being ruled with a Re-skew Mission Agenda blueprint. And those implementing these agenda are so perfect in implementing it, that no single error has occurred. Our educational sector has been re-skewed, our health sector has been re-skewed, our security set-up has been re-skewed, our road and general infrastructure has been re-skewed, our agricultural sector has been re-skewed, our civil service has been re-skewed. So, I wonder what all the noise is about, this gentleman has actually lived up to his pledge.
IMO MUST BE REALLY RESCUED,
IMO MUST BE FREED FROM THE BONDAGE OF RE-SKEWERS.
IMO MUST BE BETTER!
JOIN THE STRUGGLE, FREE YOUR STATE!

Source: Radio Biafra.

Great Chinua Achebe: O Di Gbere By Qansy Salako.


By Qansy Salako

Professor Chinualumogu Achebe passed on too early at 82. Given how the literary world remains insatiable drinking from his fountain of knowledge, he should have lived to 200. At least.
“Your love has spread all over my body as palm oil does on hot yam.” That was my quintessential line for toasting girls in my high school days. The first time I used the line, the girl looked at me first like I was crazy, then from head to toe like I was nothing, sucked in hot air through her teeth “ptscheww,” accompanied by the typical guttural sound “un hoon,” turned around and walked away. That incident turned out to be the first of uncountable nails I would be hammered by girls. However, on that particular occasion, I felt more bewildered than scorned.

I could not understand why the line didn’t work. It sounded perfectly accurate based on how I was feeling anyway. In those days, I literally memorized all the love dialogues in that Achebe’s novel. What was a Nigerian teenager in the 60s like me to do? Suddenly, I discovered myself with new emotions about girls that I couldn’t understand. No sex education talks by parents, teachers or anyone, and no television help either. All I’ve got was Achebe’s “A Man of the People.” But getting nailed by that girl only made me hone down my Achebe lines even more, and I easily became a reliable dictionary for my friends who came to collect lines for use on their object of lust, one statement at a time. I am talking about equally clueless but more shameless teenage boys who couldn’t hit on girls unless I was in the vicinity.

Yet, “Things Fall Apart” is by far my most cherished novel of all of Achebe’s works. That tells you the realm I am in as his fan. If I didn’t have all my marbles complete and in position, I probably would have grown up to become an Achebe stalker, just because I love his writings.  Achebe wields enormous powers as a writer not only because of the unique quality of his verses and vivid familiarity of his literary characters, but also because the depth of intellection in his verses is bottomless. Reading “Things Fall Apart” for the first time at age 15 or so opened up many windows of awareness in my young brain and gave me spasms of aha moments all through my college years. It opened up a line of understanding for me of whom the “Ibo” are, the nature of their own resistance to European colonization right from when the first white man put his first albino foot on their land, and it made me ponder and search for equivalent Yoruba proverbs that matched many Igbo proverbs that Achebe tireless translated so effortlessly and so admiringly. Even in my young age at the time, I knew that the little novel would reach a near-scripture status in the years to come.

Ultimately, Achebe’s life and death is Nigeria’s loss. Nigeria is a country that has both everything and nothing, all at the same time. It reels in $224 million daily income ($81 billion annual) and GDP of $236 billion/yr putting it in the company of UAE, Denmark and Chile, but with citizen life expectancy of 52 years, child birth mortality better than only 10 countries in the world which includes Chad and Somalia, just over half the population has access to clean water, a third to a toilet and a whopping two-thirds living below the poverty line.  Nigeria mismanages anything and everything of value it possesses. It subjugates sense for nonsense, manages potential national problems with emptiness, reveres mediocrity and attempts to develop without its finest. What Nigeria became today is a testimony to the level of ignorance by which the British ruled the world in their hey days.

If a developing country like Nigeria had assembled citizens of Achebe’s intellectual stature together and establish a whole university around them while still alive, we might have a world class ivy league on our land by now. Regardless of how self-styled Nigeria federalists analyze his citizenship, Achebe was a towering colossus in content and integrity over the feckless cabal who sits boisterously above the law in Nigeria today. I cheered each time Achebe rejected the so called national merit awards offered him by our kleptomaniac governments. After all, you should look at what the person giving you a shirt is wearing himself. Our national merit awards are not worth a cockroach poop anymore. As we now celebrate and reward corruption and incompetence, awardees are now mostly bums and dishonorable citizens. Just how should someone like Achebe value such a honor?

Events have overtaken time in Nigeria. Citizen Chinua Achebe loved his Biafra as much he loved Nigeria, and it showed in how he hurt over both throughout his life. The days of treasonable felony over the singing of Biafra anthem in a public toilet are long gone. Love of one’s own constituent ethnic nationality side-by-side love of Nigeria is a common reality in Nigeria today. Achebe’s retort to the vacuous Nigerian political elites throughout his life, was simple: “if Biafra must not stand, then make Nigeria livable for all and for the pursuit of happiness by all.” Today, practically everyone is making the same demand. Everybody is now clamoring for a sovereign national conference, so that the constituting nationalities may exchange their ideas of what nation they desire and renegotiate the current Nigeria experiment. If we must force ourselves to stay in Nigeria and co-exist with Boko Haram, we may as well make Nigeria work and secure for all. Else, every baby has the right to want to carry its own mother’s breast.

Those who sneered that Achebe died sad because he died abroad are talking from their feet. Such sentimental nonsense. If the world giving standing ovations to Achebe in life and in death implies sad life for Achebe, then I shudder to think what his adversaries would call happy life. Which one is better – live as a auto-accident disabled Nigerian professor in a wheelchair in Nigeria and die in Nigeria or live as a auto-accident disabled world scholar with two US renown colleges competing for your presence and die in their care? Caterwaulers! They probably would prefer the former.

Chinualumogu, o se’le aye re….Chinua, you did good on earth.
Bo d’orun, ko s’orun re….when you get to the land of the dead, do good there too.
Ma j’okun….do not eat the millipede
Ma j’ekolo…do not eat the earthworm
Oun ti won’nje laj’ule orun, ni ko ma ba won je…..eat whatever they eat there.
O di gba, O di gbere…..good bye for aye.
O di arinako, o d’oju ala…..till our encounters in the land of the dream.

Adieu, Great Achebe.
Tell Awojobi, Chike Obi, Olikoye and others that they are missing nothing.
You guys enjoy your deserved rest.
Nigeria will sort itself out, dead or alive.
Adieu, Great One.

kanzi@netzero.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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