Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Poetics & Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures

The Poetics & Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures

Hip-hop is understood as a culture that includes many forms of expression: dance, rap music (emceeing and DJing), slam poetry, fashion, film, and graffiti art. Since its beginning in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip-hop has not only become such a ubiquitous cultural expression but also turned out to be a phenomenal cultural force that has influenced and managed to shape local, national, regional, and global issues.
Hip Hop culture has become an all-pervasive key component of contemporary society, culture, and identity, which warrants serious academic inquiry. As early as the late 1980s, scholars have started to pay close attention to the emergence and growing notoriety of hip-hop culture in the United States and abroad. The fact that hip-hop came from the streets, that it was rejected at first by powerful media and was brought up by minorities played and continue to play a major role in understanding the identification of a big part of the world population with hip-hop culture and the human values and themes it represents: appropriation and defense of spaces, mixing of different cultures, migrations, multilingualism, race, class, gender, religions, sexuality, nationality, politics and the economy, and, the search for identity.
Thus, as researchers and educators, our view of hip-hop culture goes beyond the stereotypical gangster and drug cultures to incorporate this expressive medium's relationships and presences across different academic disciplines such as art, music, dance, language/poetry, religion, gender, culture, history, politics, marketing, fashion, sociology, management as well as film, radio, television and performance studies. Besides its commercial clout, hip-hop's role in challenging stereotypes, destabilizing and unsettling the meaning of blackness and bridging cultural divides in the USA and abroad, merits a place in serious academic discussions of how contemporary societies function.

February 7-8, 2013 at the University of Arizona

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

‘Private Varsities Award First Class Degrees as Marketing Strategy'

‘Private Varsities Award First Class Degrees as Marketing Strategy'

The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, has expressed concern over the alleged indiscriminate award of first class degrees to graduating students of private universities in the country.
He described the action as a marketing strategy adopted by private university operators to woo wealthy individuals who are looking for institutions that would make their children first class graduates.
Daramola, who said this while addressing journalists in his office on Thursday, cautioned managements of private universities against commercialization of first class degrees.
Rather, he said, they should award such to brilliant students who will utilize their skills to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country. Daramola said it saddens his heart when private institutions with lesser number of graduating students produce higher number of first class grades while public universities with higher number of students award few first class grades to deserving students who had exhibited excellence in their studies.
He said, “Many employers of labour would not touch these graduates with a long pole because academic standards have been compromised by the authorities of these universities, because of funding. Second class holders in public universities perform better than the so-called first class degrees obtained in the private universities.
“Many private universities are marketing their schools and are capitalizing on gullible parents. All they are doing is to attract parents to send their children to their universities by making them believe their children can come out with first class.
“There was a friend of mine who was working with an insurance company in Lagos. The criterion is having first class before they could employ. First class products of one of the private universities applied, but none of them passed the aptitude test while second class honors from federal universities applied and they passed.”
Daramola, however, said there was nothing the Committee of Vice-Chancellors could do about the grading of certificates by the affected universities because most of the private universities are set up as business ventures.
He added, “Private universities are set up to make profit. The proprietors must make profit. A man who has gone to the bank to borrow money to set up a university, what are you going to tell him that he will listen to? “In the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, we have different orientations. Although most of the VCs of the private universities are from conventional universities, their employers dictate what happens. We have serious governance problem in private universities.
“A VC once told me that the proprietor of his university expelled a student and he was not aware. He said the proprietor just saw the student and said, ‘You, go and pack your load and leave my university.’ Of course, it is his university.” Daramola said that the goal of FUTA was to produce graduates who would become entrepreneurs the moment they graduate, instead of looking for employment in the labour market. This, he said, informed the introduction of a centre for entrepreneurial training by the institution. He also said the university had started short-term training programs for artisans who would want to broaden their skills and learn new techniques in their trade.
Apart from infrastructural development embarked upon by the authorities of FUTA since he assumed office a year ago, Daramola said the institution has also invested in Information Communication Technology, electricity and roads construction.
He said, “The university is moving from analogue teaching to digital, while all the classrooms in the institution have been upgraded with e-learning facilities


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Monday, 22 April 2013

The Place Of Ethics In Governance

The place of ethics in governance

That German friend has spoken again. This time, he argues that because Nigerians exhibit a high degree of religious fervour (even if it is just skin deep) the best way to relocate Nigeria from a mere geographical expression to a well-fused, functional, prosperous nation, is via a faith or religion-based vehicle. Though an atheist, he nonetheless believes (an atheist believes?) that a people must have a set of beliefs common and acceptable to all. From this, they could draw both moral strength and motivation to build their society. You may recall that Nigeria had explored platforms like MAMSER, the Rebranding Project of Prof. Dora Akunyuli and the National Orientation Movement. All have proved abortive in making Nigeria a Great Society. Well, except the sloganeering War Against Indiscipline, enforced by the jack boot horsewhip. There is no doubt that Nigerians still have fond memories of the queue culture of the WAI era, even if it was a reign of fright and terror. But it did demonstrate that Nigerians can take the astonishing leap of faith, if they could believe either the efficacy of the horsewhip or the promise of an orderly society.
Psychologists say that an individual demonstrates belief by holding a proposition or premise to be true. A testimony by Albert Einstein says that beliefs are internalised. So, political and economic beliefs must be internalised before they can become operative in people. And where people show disbelief, it means that some contradictions are extant, and there could be chaos. That doesn’t sound too difficult to agree to. Belief comes from faith. Ordinarily, faith rests on absolute, total belief, trust and reliance. In a more everyday sense, it is often discussed in terms of believing God’s promises, trusting in His faithfulness, and relying on His character. That would explain why those who have faith must trust and act in self-abandonment– no longer relying on their own strengths, but submitting totally to the power and guidance of the unseen God or ideals.
This atheist German insists that he has observed that when Nigerians have faith in something, that something usually works for them. A people’s faith or belief leads them to some form of worship or religious observance to a higher form or for a higher purpose. Religion provides a set of ideas that helps the people handle anxieties, overcome misfortunes and dominate their space. You may need a myth to operationalise your faith, belief or religion. There is a story of a golden coffin, somewhere in Saint Peter’s Basilica, falsely claimed to contain the bones of Apostle Peter, even though some even dispute that his bones are actually buried anywhere in the soil below the Cathedral. However, the Vatican, thinking that people benefit from an imagined contact with Divinity, does not dispel the (wrong?) belief. You know—the placebo effect? People got cured of cancer while taking ordinary aspirin that they thought was a miracle drug. At some point, the animals of George Orwell’s Animal Farm began to accept that though four legs were still good, two legs were better! The myth that all animals were equal was superseded by the one that said that some animals were better than the others.
Now, to an excursion of Marxism and capitalism, the two major politico-economic ideologies and their sundry in-betweens. By the way, an ideology is a comprehensive vision proposed by the dominant class to all members of the society. Ideologies are abstract thoughts applied to public matters, and therefore are usually political in nature. Ideologies must always come with the two dimensions of the goals to be achieved, and the methods by which to achieve them. While the corpus of Marxism and its variants are more compact and coherent, those of capitalism are mere postulations. The Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith, discourages government interventions or restrictions to industry. In fact, Smith forcefully attacked government interference in the economy. He thought that tariffs led to inefficiency and high prices and adversely affected the fortunes of industry. Smith advocated a government that was active in sectors other than the economy. He advocated public education for poor adults, a judiciary, the police, and a standing army—institutions that are not profitable for private industries. He thought that by widening the spread of the market, and adopting the principles of division of labour, industry could be more productive, and the economy more prosperous. He also thought that it was important to deemphasise production of final consumer goods, in favour of capital goods, like plants and machineries — necessary inputs for the next economic reproduction cycle.
On the other hand, Karl Marx, with the collaboration of Fredrick Engels, wrote the Communist Manifesto which insists that the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. And just as the Bible speaks of the glories of a heavenly place, the Communist Manifesto claims that the capitalist society would eventually be replaced by socialism, which would in turn be replaced by communism. Engels was even elected into the Communist League to draw up the treatise that was referred to as the catechism for communism. It was he who suggested the abandonment of the term, and recommended it be called, “The Communist Manifest.” The preamble of the treatise states that, out of fear, the powers of the Old World were uniting in a holy (sic) alliance to exorcise the spectre of communism. Communism advocates abolition of private property in land and inheritance, centralisation of industry, banks, communication and transport. And like capitalism, it advocates free education. And, just the same way Moses, the tame raven, of Animal Farm, describes the Sugar Candy Mountain, communism should ultimately bring about a classless society, without the need for a government. Interesting. For this audacity or heresy, if not threatened insurrection, Marx’s daily newspaper was suppressed and both he and his wife were chased off to exile in London.
Now, some do not like any talk of ideology or even religion. They have concluded that Nigeria’s problems derive, not so much from a lack of ideology or a regeneration of the soul, but of deficiency of character. But they can at least settle for ethics. This has to do with the concepts of right and wrong. It recommends how one should act: resolve the issues of right and wrong, good and evil, virtue and vice. At a recent public lecture of the Solid Life Seminar, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, suggested an interesting idea. She says those who operate in the field of commerce must bring God into their operations. She gave some checklist: People must pay their tax; obey relevant laws and regulations; avoid cheating; be diligent; and adopt the time-worn habit of saving.
If you are one of those who love labels, you could describe this idea as theocracy-in-commerce. And this should not be discounted because it embodies the principles of integrity, persistence, hard work and honesty, all hallmarks of the new buzzword — good corporate governance. Now, if these themes were preached from credible altars, taught in schools, and rewarded by government, it may become the Nigerian ethos. And its efficacy may just make true believers, and honest workers, out of Nigerians. Wanna try?

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Honest Governor

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
---Mark Twain(1835 - 1910)

No doubt, the incumbent Governor of Akwa ibom state, Mr Godswill Obot Akpabio is a controversial political figure. He has been in the public discuss lately for issues ranging from His "benevolent" car gift to a popular Musician to publicly confessing to "rigging" an election to favor one (un)distinguished Senator Aloysuis Etuk; who is currently representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. 

Mr Akpabio made the  reckless "confession" when a delegation of the National Good Governance  Tour(GGT) led my the Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku visited the state on March 9 2013.
During the  ever controversial GGT which recently led to the slamming of two Million Naira fine on the popular  Liberty Radio FM Kaduna, for airing a phone call from someone  who objected to the planned visit of the Minister of Information to the state. The caller suggested that the governor of Kaduna State spend the N150 million it cost to host the Minister’s so-called Good Governance Tour on more meaningful things. 

As is always the case, during the GGT Mr Maku and His host; Mr Akpabio had to prove to Nigerians the essence of the shambles. When Mr Akpabio was confronted with a question of criminal negligence of the  people of Ini and Ikono, especially in the area of roads, schools and other public infrastructure.

He responded thus:

"The people of Ikono and Ini (Local Government Areas) from 1960 have never produced a Senator.

"I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a Senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etuk for you; that's where he comes from."

As a learned fellow who was once a Director, Corporate Affairs/Legal Services of EMIS Telecoms and a political heavyweight; Mr Akpabio was never expected to make such 'confessions' on record.
He probably understood or was hinted on the legal and moral implications of His 'goodwill', then, He sort to 'clean up the mess' by saying:

  "So,  I must say that I thank all of you, including the members of the National Assembly led by Senator Aloysius Etuk. And when I said that I made Aloy(sius Etok) to become a senator in 2007, I need to explain it so that you don't think that I wrote his name and he became a senator.

"During the primaries of  the  PDP, we zoned the Senate seat to his federal constituency. And from the federal constituency, he  came  first in the primaries. That happened in the PDP. So we said since he was the first among the people who came from his federal constituency for the primaries, then he must be the one to become the senator."

As expected, the "I was misunderstood" wand was readily available for Mr Akpabio to use.
During an exclusive interview with Channels TV breakfast progamme; Sunrise Daily, Mr Akpabio stated: “I was misunderstood.”

“What happened was, we had a political meeting before the primaries where the list of people were given to me-possible candidates for the Senate in my senatorial district. And I struck off the name of the person that was recommended to me and I said no that, I will prefer another person because the senatorial seat should be zoned to the minority local government.”

Then He explains further:

“It was a political conglomeration where we converge and discuss the affair of who should contest the Senate within the rank and file of an in-house arrangement before the primaries.”
"we were trying to decide who we should vote for and what area we should vote.”
“And somebody needs to know, this was not a general elction, not even a primary. It was not even an election we were talking about.”

The father of 'uncommon Transformation' even went further to state: “Nigerians do not like to hear the truth”
What TRUTH was Mr Akpabio referring to? It is common knowledge that the electoral system in  this country is fraught with irregularities; where someone plays god over the electorates in His/Her political domain.
But what Nigerians considered insulting was the fact that He had the effrontery to  tell Nigerians and Akwa Ibomites in particular that He "struck off" the name of a popular candidate and single-handedly "produced" Aloysius Etuk.

As usual, a coin will always have two sides, hence, it is left to the reader
 to decide whether or not Mr Akpabio committed a crime against God and humanity by foisting  Mr Aloysius Etuk on us. But I am firmly of the opinion that what Mr Akpabio did was absolutely wrong because His action was against the will of His people. Denying a candidate the chance to run for  re-election simply because you think you know what is best for the people, against their will is not democratic.
So, here is the puzzle: what was the actual  reason(s) behind Mr Akpabio's action? Was it out of love for the minority in the constituency that led to the installment of Mr Etuk; or was Akpabio afraid of the popular candidate? Was He afraid that the popular candidate would grow stronger if allowed to remain in power?

Mr Akpabio, who is currently the chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum has been in a war of words with Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Governor of Rivers state and the current chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum(NGF).Mr Akpabio claimed that Mr Amaechi tried to "reinstall" himself as chairman of the NGF.
What I actually find funny but confusing is the fact that Mr Akpabio has failed to learn from history the most fundamental law: what goes around, comes around.What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Is this simple idiom too complex for Mr Akpabio to understand?

If Mr Akpabio felt He knew what was best for the whole Akwa Ibomites, what makes Him question the ability of Mr Amaechi to determine the collective destiny of the 36 (mis)Governors?
Surely, there is a God in heaven who directs/determines the fate of men! Making sure they reap what they have sown.
The Akpabio-Etuk saga once again brought to the fore what people referred to as 'constructive corruption'.
In the Nigerian context, constructive corruption is a situation where a known corrupt public official loots the treasury, performs some of the social contracts between himself and the electorates and share some portion of the loot to the army of His praise singers.
These praise singers whom He have "affected their lives positively" will be willing to defend Him irrespective of His actions.
They will be fast to admit that "He is corrupt, but He is working".

But is there any such thing as constructive corruption? Stealing from the majority to please and silence the minority who may challenge you is far from being 'constructive' as the future effect is highly precarious.

Enter the myopic ethnic/tribal jinglist. These set of individuals neither benefited directly from the looting public officials nor have a direct access to them. But they desperately need to defend His actions because "he is our own."
 They are quick to remind you that you are not an Akwa Ibomite, that they hail from Akwa Ibom and are satisfied with the status quo ; hence, you are asked why  taking pills for someone else's headache? Finally, you will be asked to go fix your state first before commenting on issues concerning Akwa Ibom.

Both Akpabio and Etuk are not just local politicians, the former is the current chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum while the later is in addition to be being a serving senator, currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.
Hence, Nigerians should be concerned about their actions and utterances.
According to Martin Luther King Jr, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Earlier this week, Mr Akpabio named Aloysius Etuk as his campaign manager for the 2015 senatorial election while Mr Bamangar Tukur, the Chairman of the PDP told us that He  got Presidential order to win 32 states come 2015.
The party's Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih reaffirmed the mandate by saying: "We  will do what we know how to do best"   to sweep the polls.

So, here is the disturbing trend, Mr Aloysuis Ekuk will do anything to repay his godfather for making Him a senator come 2015, Mr Akpabio who is a specialist in the act of "producing" political office holders, the Chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum and a close pal of Mr Jonathan will bring His expertise to work and ensure that  they  do what they knows how to do best - strike out the names of the popular candidates in the 2015 general elections.
But surely, there is a God who determines the fate of men!

Article written by Mazi Joe

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Monday, 15 April 2013

Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread: The fading delicacy of Lagosians

Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread: The fading delicacy of Lagosians

  • There is no way I can write my autobiography without including a delicacy that has saved my life many a times from the claws of hunger,the delicacy that has saved the lives of many children in the poverty stricken streets of bariga and many other rural areas of Lagos state, the delicacy that hits your intestines and gives you the energy to trek miles,gives brick layers strength to work all day and eradicate all thoughts of hunger for hours, please allow me to re introduce the award winning Ewa Agoyin!!! I came across and article online about this delicacy and decided to share ..please continue below

Saying that Ewa Agoyin, a meal of mashed beans, topped with specially prepared palm-oil stew, was one popular meal in which captured virtually every Lagosian’s heart, would not be an exaggeration.
Coined from Ewa, a Yoruba word meaning beans and Agoyin, a name that was used by Nigerians to describe people from Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic, Ewa Agoyin is simply a word used to describe how people from these regions make their beans meal. It is, however, more peculiar to the Togolese and Cotonou people.
Ewa Agoyin was introduced into the Nigerians’ diet by the migrating Agoyin people, who came to Nigeria as early as far back as the sixties. It became more popular in the 80s’, until its fame and craving for it began to dissipate in the mid-nineties.
One of the special things about Ewa Agoin was the way it cut across all the social strata or economic classes in the Lagos metropolis. It is a meal, arguably loved by all, the poor, the middle class and the rich, cheap, but definitely unique; a perfect escape for the boring Nigerian method of preparing beans. According to its lovers, even people, who did not ordinarily like beans professed love for Ewa Agoyin. Some people preferred to combine with yam, others preferred garri sprinkled on it, some others chose dodo (fried plantain), ranging on personal preference.
The most popular combination was, however, with the equally famous Agege bread especially when freshly baked, soft and slightly stretchy (Ewa Agoyin was probably the reason behind the Agege bread’s fame too).
Recounting her love for Ewa Agoyin, United States of America (USA) based Adebisi Shodare said, “the first time I ate Ewa Agoyin was at a cousin’s place at Bariga. I was about six years old then and it always made me want to go to their place every holiday I had. And then, when I was old enough, I would drive all the way down from Ikoyi to Bariga just to buy Ewa Agoyin. Having relocated from Nigeria for a while now, I miss it so much.”
Preferring her Ewa Agoyin with fried plantain, Adebisi added that, “whenever I visit Nigeria, I search everywhere for it and make sure I eat a lot of it before leaving the country again.”
However, the food had, over the years, surprisingly suffered a huge decline not only in popularity but in the savouring taste it offered back then. Mrs Janet Samuel, a Nigeria-based Togolese, who sells Ewa Agoyin at Ebute-Metta, said it was more popular back then because it was usually hawked and the hawkers could easily access the nooks and crannies.
“At some point,” she added, “we began to get arrested for hawking and we had to stop. We still hawk it very early in the mornings or late in the evenings, to avoid getting arrested. It is our major source of survival here in Nigeria, so we take the risk,” she said.
Asked on the recipe for the meal, particularly the sauce, which is the basic uniqueness of Ewa Agoyin, Janet, after a little reluctance shared, “we make the stew with seedlings from red pepper only, it is usually grinded together with ginger. This is then poured into hot boiling palm oil, salt is added, you allow it to fry for a while, when its almost done, already sliced onions are poured into it to for flavour and aroma, stir the stew till well fried and that’s it,” she said.
For the preparation of the beans which is much easier, brown beans is cooked till it gets really soft and then mashed with a pestle, according to Janet. Speaking with Dede, who is from Cotonu, she said that she does not mash the whole beans together in the pot but mashes a portion that is about to be served/sold.
The sauce preparation recipe was, however, same.
Asked if it was peculiar to any part of Togo, she said it was a general meal in her country, just the way rice is eaten here.
Asiata, another Togolese who is based in Nigeria and sells Ewa Agoyin, said that the change or decline in the taste of the food was not because the original makers of the meal were no longer up to the task but that there were a lot of Nigerians who now also make it for sale and were incapable of preparing it as well as the Agoyins will, try as they might.
“A lot of people, especially Yorubas in Nigeria, have also delved into the Ewa Agoyin business and they are not getting it right. We were born into it, they are only trying to imitate but really cannot get it as perfectly as a Togolese would prepare it,” Asiata proudly said.
According to Mrs Titilola Osho, the decline in the popularity of Ewa Agoyin was because of the arrival of more varieties of food over the years, “back then, meals like rice was sort of like a special meal, taken on Sundays or during parties or special occasions,” but now, she added it had become the everyday meal of the average Nigerian on a daily basis.
She added that the popularity it used to enjoy was because it was one of the fastest meals you could get around but that the arrival of the two-minute noodles and several other fast meals also contended with Ewa Agoyin in that regards, generally weakening its hold on the diet of Lagosians.
Seun, a medical doctor’s opinion on the decline of Ewa Agoyin and Agege bread’s popularity could also be attached to the awareness given Nigerians on the dangerous chemical, bromate, put in the bread by bakers to make it puffed, which, according to research could cause blindness.
“Whenever I bought Agege bread back then, the next thing that came to my mind was getting Ewa Agoyin to back it up, but since the bromate awareness in Agege Bread, I stopped buying it, so Ewa Agoyin gradually faded from my mind. But I have to admit that I still miss that combination very much”, he said.
In a lot of ways, this is quite true and there are certainly many people out there who, having diverted from taking the Agege bread, had Ewa Agoyin gradually faded from their minds.
In Babatunde’s opinion, just like almost every other thing being produced in Nigeria which is fast losing value, so has the Ewa Agoyin delicacy, as it is no longer as popular as it used to be back then.
It is worthy of note that the deteriorating Nigerian economy may also be responsible for the gradual fading of the Ewa Agoyin and Agege bread, because, as mentioned earlier, it was a meal for the poor. The Agege bread is now bought at the rate of N40 against what used to sold back then for 20 naira. Those times you could still buy N5 Ewa Agoyin but that is no more, because the least you can get is N20 which is about the same quantity as what used to be sold for N5 or even less.
Ewa Agoyin may no longer be ubiquitous as it used to be and getting it may be more difficult now, but it is one meal that will always remain in the hearts of Lagosians. If you never had the opputunity (or luck) to eat EwaAgoyin and Agege bread, hopefully, Lagosians claim that it won’t go into full extinction and you may be lucky enough to taste it someday.

  • Written by  Solarin Moyosore

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Other Side of President Goodluck Jonathan

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter".
-- George Washington (1732-1799) First President of the USA.

A clear understanding of the above quote underscores the optimal importance of the freedom of speech in the lives of individuals as well as nations.
Constructive criticism is used as a tool to correct and check mate the excesses of any authority and this is widely acceptable in any human society.

Some notable events within the last two weeks have signaled a disturbing trend and is rightly pointing to the direction of things we may expect from this present government under our  clueless president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
This is expected as the Presidency is increasingly becoming frustrated with the turn out of events in the country, thereby making the  president more desperate and willing to employ any means to achieve His goal(contesting/winning the 2015 election), despite the fact that His government is increasingly becoming unpopular.In an event at the Expo Centre of Eko Hotel in Lagos, where Governor Rotimi Amechi of Rivers state  was given the Vanguard Personality of the Year Award, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, who has of late been involved in a war of words with the Presidency said:

“I am becoming more careful, given that we are gradually going back to the era of dictatorship in this country.”

The comment came as a surprise to most Nigerians, but little attention was paid to Amechi as it was not clear if He was speaking out of  patriotism or trying to score a cheap political point.

But three more events in quick succession confirmed Amechi's thesis, namely:

(1) The arrest and detention of four journalists working for the LEADERSHIP Newspaper.

(2) The Ban of a 30-Minute Documentary, Fueling Poverty, by the National Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB. And the purported placing of Producer under Security.

(3) The slamming of 2 Million Niara fine on Liberty Radio FM Kaduna, for airing a phone call Condemning Good Governance Tour.

 Of all these events, the Ban of Fueling Poverty and the fine on Liberty Radio FM Kaduna speaks volume.
According to a report obtained by PREMIUM TIMES , the NFVCB prohibited the distribution and exhibition of the documentary in Nigeria, saying its contents “are highly provocative and likely to incite or encourage public disorder and undermine national security.”
The videos can be seen at http://t.co/4Rcc8Xr4vA. The documentary is factual and a true reflection of our suffering and smiling state in this country(apologies to the great Fela).
So, what is this present government afraid of? The sufferings of the masses is on a geometric increase and the momentum is gathering.Insecurity, hardship, unemployment, insurgency, poor infrastructure and brazen theft and embezzlement, to name  but a few have become the hallmark of this present government.
No one cares about the masses as they are all focused on how much they can steal in preparatory to the 2015 general election. So, the government sees clamping down on the freedom of expression/free speech as a quick fix-it antidote to the brewing anger amongst Nigerians.

On the slamming  of 2 Million Niara fine on Liberty Radio FM Kaduna, one can only imagine the level of desperation within the presidency and its co-travelers.
According to a report on saharareporters.com,
Liberty Radio FM Kaduna  "aired a live comment by a caller who objected to the planned visit of the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, to the state. The caller suggested that the governor of Kaduna State spend the N150 million it cost to host the Minister’s so-called "Good Governance Tour" on more meaningful things. 
In addition to the fine, Liberty Radio FM was also asked to feature the Minister as a guest".
I have always been of the opinion that the Good Governance Tour by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku is an absolute waste of time, resources and money; as you don't need to announce the presence of a new project or an improvement in the existing infrastructure in this 21st century.

If there is any improvement in the power sector which results in a constant power supply to the homes and  offices of Nigerians, you don't need to show us on the NTA network news, as we will notice the improvement almost immediately. Same goes for any improvement in the Health sector, education sector, the Transport sector etc.
Labaran Maku never announced/toured the northern states of Nigeria before we learnt of the Boko Haram insurgents, He never informed us of the high scale of unemployment in this country, he never told us about the 12 police men who lost their lives in Delta state etc.
When Dr Okonjo Iweala secured the Paris club debt relief for Nigeria, she needed no good governance tour to announce it.Same was the case for Dr Dora Akunyili when she headed the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC), She needed no Good Governance Tour to tell Nigerians that her office was working!So, if Jonathan's government is performing the social contract between Himself and Nigerians, HE NEEDS NO MAKU TO SHOW US HIS ACHIEVEMENTS!We are in the 21st Century, the jet age; the world is a global village and information travel almost at the speed of light. Hence, propaganda and lies can hardly survive the test of times nowadays.

The whole assault on the freedom of expression is to keep deceiving the populace about the true state of things in this country while the preparation for the next general election is in full gear.
 President Jonathan and His co-travelers need to understand that the magic wand that worked in 2011 certainly WILL NOT work in 2015 as Nigerians have learnt the bitter lesson: He hardly keep His Promises.
He need to understand that the best way to win the election is to fulfill the numerous promises he made during His presidential  campaign across the length and breadth of the country.Two years is still enough time to achieve some feats and convince the nation that he can be trusted.Governor Amechi praised the country’s media for remaining “the ray of hope in a dark era.” The task of keep hope alive must not be left to the media,activists and civil societies alone.We Nigerians must come together and resist any further attempt by this present government to bastardize the freedom of expression as I sense more affront assault from the presidency as their desperation grows worse as we approach 2015.

Written by Mazi Joe

The General with N300m cash

The General with N300m cash

Mike Ikhariale
Everyone in the country today is talking about how unbridled corruption has ruined the nation. But what I think is actually taking place is a celebration of the same vice at every opportunity. It sounds like an institutional hypocrisy whenever the government makes statements indicating an official disposition to confront the demon of corruption that is ravaging the moral fabrics of the Nigerian society. How do we explain, let alone, justify the phenomenon wherein someone who we all saw in the morning without a dime in his pocket suddenly returns home in the evening a multi-millionaire and the family, the community and the state will not ask him questions about the “miracle” affluence.
Last week, nearly all the mass media in the country reported that a top General was almost swindled the sum of N300m in the supposedly ‘cashless Lagos.’ Typically, they failed to disclose the name of the serving army officer who is so rich that he was almost defrauded of such a stupendous sum. The next question should have been: how did he come about such money?
Let’s assume that the General in question is the real “Oga at the top,” it would still be necessary to ask him of the source(s) of so much money. We all know that it is impossible for a serving military officer (be he a Field Marshal) to have amassed so much cash even if he has never spent a dime of his salaries and other legitimate emoluments since enlistment.
In sane societies, the law enforcement agencies would have since been asking how he came about such money. Of course, the taxman would have been knocking at his door seeking to know how much of the lot (loot?) was paid to the society by way of tax. Because this is a miracle economy where anything goes, nobody is going to ask any question in the face of such a glaring mismatch between possible legitimate income and the wealth-in-hand. That explains, for example, why nobody queried the heartless pension fund thieves as they carted away billions of other people’s naira: Not their banks, not their churches, not their families, not the taxman or the police.
People loot the nation and then go to their churches to give testimonies of “what God has done” and the congregation in apparent endorsement chorus: “Hallelujah!” Traditional rulers call them for chieftaincy conferment; equally, fraudulent awards-distributing agencies, both official and private, enthusiastically join in the fray to ‘recognise’ the new rich men in town while the government gives its own final seal to the whole aberration with national awards.
It is really questionable if the society, taking a cue from the churches and the government, is not actively promoting corruption and its associated criminalities by the way it acquiesces to sudden and unexplained affluence. There are many ways to earn good money. It could be from paid employment, business, inheritance, gift or a lottery haul. Of course, more money could also be made (not earned) by heist, robbery and fraud. While the first set of sources are generally legitimate and therefore encouraged and promoted by all decent societies, the other set of sources are strictly forbidden and punishable. Our economy is unduly distorted by corruption as legitimate incomes are made valueless by illegitimate ones: bad money drives away good money, they say.
Unfortunately, the universal code of good behaviour is ignored in Nigeria by all those whose duty it is to enforce same, including religious institutions and the community at large. It would seem as if the operative code of conduct is that which promotes the belief that the “end justifies the means.” This abominable state of affair is made possible by the massive corrosion of societal values by an unethical elite class that has subverted the socio-political process to gain power and, naturally, brought with them a behavioural trait that suited their otherwise low station in life and since it is natural for people to look up to their “elite”, it became the reality that misfits and ill-prepared individuals became the ruling class which then imposed their base culture on everyone below.
The beginning of this moral slide is generally traceable to the unfortunate intervention of the military in the politics of Nigeria which made it possible for erstwhile bodyguards to kill and replace their masters in office as the new helmsmen. Under the new order, anything was possible: powerless today, very powerful tomorrow; poor today, a rich big man tomorrow all with no questions asked. It was a revolution of sorts.
It was also the era in which prophets and pastors who were ex-communicated from the established churches for sundry sins broke away and dispersed to form their own churches, more like businesses than religion, decorated themselves with high ecumenical titles like archbishops, overseers and other bogus names.
Rather than preach about salvation, they opted to harp on prosperity and affluence to congregations already gripped with acute poverty and misery and, naturally, their message hit its target and the churches proliferated while sins blossomed. These were not the pastors that would preach against corruption because their own doctrines were also based largely on corruption and falsehood. Thieves and murderers rush to their ‘fellowships’ to give offerings and in exchange sought spiritual cover for their sins. Everything but righteousness became acceptable!
Whereas it was the expectation of Aristotle and other men of wisdom that only educated (not necessarily with degrees) and cultured people should lead society under his general pontification of the ‘Philosophy King,’ it however became the case that leadership recruitment in Nigeria for a very long time was restricted to coupists and their cronies. That was why before MKO Abiola of blessed memory won a presidential election in 1993, no previous Nigerian leader was formally educated beyond the ordinary level when Ghana already had an Nkrumah with a solid CV while Leopold Senghor, the philosopher, held sway in Senegal, etc.
It became impossible to tell the people that honesty pays when fraudsters, coupists and other felons constituted the ruling class. By whatever means possible, others also want to get to the top and join in the fray, more so, as they couldn’t beat them, and the easiest route, it turned out, is fraud and criminality and that is what has given character to the Nigeria of today where you dare not ask anyone the source of his wealth

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nigeria ...A Replica Of Hell(Jobless Graduates Want Amnesty Too)

I believe with the current trend this replica of hell called Nigeria is following it is going to lead us to a state of absolute chaos! I got a blackberry broad cast message and facebook update about militants getting paid and boko haram amnesty and the sums mentioned in comparison to youth corp members,civil servants pay  is a huge gap! I mean what kind of insensitive government with no balls do we have ! Read for 4years or more to become a graduate and yet you have little chances of getting a job but if you resort to violence the government pays you to hold your peace. We all know how the illiterate Niger Delta militants are paid monthly just so they don't continue their nefarious activities and now Boko Haram is being offered Amnesty and we can be rest assured the Amnesty package will be juicy. Is this government trying to tell us that if we grab them by the balls that they will succumb to our demands for jobs for the unemployed graduates ? Are they trying to tell us that if we grab some arms and resorting to violence instead of wasting 4years or more in the University will be more lucrative? I can tell you that the idea is very tempting !

Perhaps we can call it Unemployed Graduates Union and use violence to demand for our rights ? Perhaps then will they listen to us and implement some programs to absorb us,but no! One course taught in all Universities is Nigeria Peace and Conflict which taught us to understand and embrace peace so we have and our rights is being trampled upon,please we're tired of hearing the excuse that they're no jobs ! There are jobs!! We know there are but we don't have connections to get them,those in high places of power use such to get jobs for their family and friends,  a lot of our dreams are failing as a result of this, the youths are crying and I pity this country if it gets to the point where intelligent youths turn to  weapons  as means to demand for their rights..it will be chaos, forget what the illiterate Niger Deltans and Boko Haram's are doing , I'm talking about intelligent violence perpetrated by graduates..Nigeria will shake ! It will be total chaos. This is a wake up call to whoever is reading this,please watch the elastic limit to how far we are from chaos.Imagine civil engineers , physicists ,computer scientists,mechanical engineers,biochemist and others carrying arms ..IT WILL  BE CHAOS!!. Create programs to absorb the graduates our Universities keep churning out each year, Mr Aliko Dangote is a man I respect as a huge recruiter of Labour, he absorbed many graduates into his truck driving program and many applied including phd holders, why can't our government do the same or take a cue from him.
Everyone has a limit to what they can tolerate...I know I speak for a lot of people who I'm sure have thought about this because in the end this country is ours and we pray it doesn't get to the point where dangerous factions will rise up and sing the national anthem with ak47 on their left hand while the right hand holds the Nigerian flag drenched in blood at that point will be know we've created a replica of hell

Written by Femi Shine
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Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher...The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher, who died of a stroke Monday at age 87, transformed Britain more thoroughly than any other prime minister of the past half-century.
She was a pathbreaker from the moment she took office in 1979 as Britain’s first, and so far only, female prime minister. And she was the rare conservative leader to come not from the upper echelons of Britain’s class-obsessed society, but a modest apartment above her father’s grocery shop.
But much more than that distinguished the 11 years of Mrs. Thatcher’s government, which followed years of tepid leadership, economic stagnation and high inflation. She tamed the power of Britain’s once powerful labor movement by shutting down inefficient coal mines and privatizing state-owned industries.
She encouraged an entrepreneurial culture that had grown timid and somnolent. With her powerful, plain-spoken approach to issues large (like Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait) and relatively small (the brief war over the Falkland Islands) she reawakened Britain’s taste for military engagement.
In the process, she revived policy debates among political parties grown too comfortable with safe consensus mumbling. As she pushed the conservatives to the right, she pushed the Labour Party to the center. Without Mrs. Thatcher, there probably would have been no Tony Blair.
She had many critics, and her record was not all triumphal. Eventually, Mrs. Thatcher’s relentless negativism on the European Union and bullying style of leadership pushed her own party to drive her from office in 1990. Over the intervening years, much of the glow has faded from Mrs. Thatcher’s economic achievements.
The capitalist revival she sparked did not slow the over-financialization and deindustrialization of the economy, with clear and negative consequences in the 2008 financial crash. Her weakening of the unions also led to a regressively skewed distribution of wealth and, her critics said, a widening gap between rich and poor.
Arguably, Mrs. Thatcher’s popular military successes made it easier for Tony Blair to carelessly and recklessly follow George W. Bush into Iraq. But Mrs. Thatcher knew how to stand up to Ronald Reagan when she needed to, for example, over the ill-considered United States invasion of Grenada. She was one of the first Western leaders to recognize the reformist intentions of Mikhail Gorbachev, showed remarkable foresight on the dangers of climate change, and in general managed Britain’s global role more deftly than her successors.
Mrs. Thatcher was, without a doubt, a divisive political figure in her day. The passage of time has drained much of the old anger and left behind her record of accomplishments.
culled from The New York Times

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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Welcome to NIGERIA!!!

Welcome to NIGERIA!!!
Where sex is free and love is costly,
Where loosing a phone is more painful than virginity,
Where if you don't cheat on your partner you are not smart and sharp,
Where bathrooms have become a photo studio,
Where getting a blackberry phone is greater than achieving a B.Sc Degree.
Where yahoo guys think they have brighter future.
... keep it rolling by adding yours  WonderLand--->NIGERIA!!

The above was a joke I received from a friend yesterday, as funny as it may sound; one undeniable fact is that majority of the costly jokes are  true reflections of what we have in our society these days.
The joke ended by asking me to keep it rolling by adding mine, so I added two:
(1) A land where a known thief/rogue who stole Millions of Naira  is granted presidential pardon while some citizens have spent 10 years in prison AWAITING trial.
(2) A nation where insurgents ACTUALLY determine the collective political faith of the people.Within the past week, the trending and most popular news in the press and social media has been the purported presidential pardon for the members of the Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram. A report in the Punch news paper suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday consulted the National Security Council (NSC) on whether or not to grant amnesty to the group.

But what is actually amnesty?
Wikipedia defines amnesty as:
"A pardon extended by the government to a group or class of persons, usually for a political offense; the act of a sovereign power officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted"
The Merriam Webster dictionary also defines Amnesty as:
"The act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals".One thing is peculiar to both definitions; the fact that there must be a class of "Persons" or a large group of "individuals". The Wikipedia definition also went a step further to clarify that Amnesty is usually for a POLITICAL Offense.

I have listened and read so many arguments for and against the proposed Amnesty for the Islamic sect, so many people have compared the sect to the once dreaded Niger Delta militants. But I find this odd as there are no linkage between their Methodologies, Ideologies and Mode of Operation/Agitation.During the days of the Niger Delta Militants, they were not "ghosts", their Demands were well spelt out and most of them bothered on the welfare of their people. Their mode of operation never infringed on anyone or group's fundamental human rights.
In contrast, the Boko Haram sect has remained a "ghost" group, metamorphosing from some rag tag religious body to a well-oiled Al-Qaeda linked killing machine.Some of their purported demands includes the "islamization" of the entire country, strict enforcement of the sharia law, the resignation of some "elected" governors in the North and above all, the conversion of President Jonathan to Islam.

Most, if not all their demands out rightly infringes on the cardinal points of the human rights. The demands were considered unattainable, hence the prolonged struggle and massacre of innocent citizens.So the question remains, are we actually granting Amnesty to the dreaded islamic sect or are we systematically surrendering?
What are the social, political and security  implication of granting amnesty to the islamic sect?From the Wikipedia definition of Amnesty, it is clear that two conditions must be satisfied for amnesty to be granted to any group of person.First, there must be "a group or class of persons" and the offense must be " a political offense ".Without  the above conditions, most especially, the political offense, then we should forget about amnesty and probably talk about a state or presidential pardon.The offense of the Boko Haram sect was never political, it ranges from massacre to ethnic cleansing. Hence, granting amnesty to a terrorist group is not in the best interest of the country as this will portray the country as being weak, incompetent and compromised.

Politically, some group or persons may resort to this guerrilla tactics as a means of gaining negotiating power, as it is believed in some quarters that the Militants in the Niger Delta was a political machine which got the incumbent president the presidential seat; hence, they see the Boko Haram menace as a replica of the Niger Delta militants.This line of reasoning is highly dangerous considering the fact that they see amnesty as a last resort.So, if insurgency does not get you the needed political office or attention, you can easily call for Amnesty and get paid big time.As we wait anxiously for what the Federal government will offer the sect for their bombs, guns and suicide vests, I am of the opinion that this purported Amnesty is ill advised and should be discarded.

Socially, granting Amnesty to Boko Haram will send the wrong signal to the army of unemployed youths roaming the streets of the country from Onitsha to Kano and Lagos that crimes does not just pay, but it pays Big time.Insurgency will soon replace internet scam as the highest employer of labour for the teeming jobless youths.
Security wise, granting Amnesty to the sect will confirm the already heightened suspicion that our  security forces are weak, compromised, incompetent and easily "bought over" .
How else can we explain the metamorphosis of Boko Haram from a group of religious extremists to a well connected and coordinated terrorist organization who have the power to strike any part of Nigeria including Abuja at will within three years?
What happened to the huge security budgets every year?
How many suspected member of the dreaded sect has been tried and convicted for these heinous crimes?
What happened to Sani Mohammed and Senator Ali Ndume?

What will happen to the families of those who lost their loved ones in the guerrilla warfare? Recently, I saw a relation who lost her husband and the family business in the Kano bombing.Her five kids are between the ages of 12 and 2. What will the Federal government do to compensate her and other numerous victims?How will her children feel when they  grow up and learn that the people who murdered their father was paid some huge amount of money for his guns and bombs?More questions than answers.If the Jonathan government is sincere about dealing with the Boko Haram menace, he should start by thoroughly shaking up his cabinet, the service chiefs and whole security apparatus of the country.The captured commanders of the sect must be sincerely prosecuted in a competent law court without interference from any political, religious or ethnic body.

He must be willing to sacrifice his second term ambition for the better good of the country as he will step on so many toes if he set out to really tackle the problem.But I don't see any of the above suggestions being implemented by this present government as it actually set the first stone rolling when He granted Diepreiye Alamieyeseigha a presidential pardon against all logical reasoning.The purported Amnesty for the sect is nothing but a political tool to appease the North preparatory to the fast approaching 2015 general election, but the long term dangers should be considered as it may also affirm the unpopular quote that "we will make the country ungovernable for Him"!

 Mazi Joe writes from Asaba, Delta state

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