ajagunna

I discuss Nigeria and the world at large because I strongly believe MyOpinionCounts!

Month: April, 2015

AIT’s Ban: A Wrong Step in the Right Direction?!

General Buhari

General Buhari

President-Elect Buhari has since his election taken two false steps; the first being to address a group of mainly Hausa audience in his own native language, which is also Hausa. Ordinarily, this would be no gaffe, but the matter being addressed offered a plausible call for a political dissatisfaction among many Nigerians. To some, speaking Hausa to a Hausa audience about prosecuting oil theft, when it was crystal clear that those who shall be brought before the law shall include Niger Deltans, is high-handed. Many wished the president-elect start seeing himself as who he is, namely Nigeria’s Number One Citizen, thus he must use the lingua franca of the majority at all times no matter the audience.

Hardly had the hulabaloo around this lingua franca controversy died out, came yet another faux step: AIT is barred from Buhari’s compound. Actually, there are many colorations to what happened, words like “ban”, “bar”, “disallow”, “forbid” among many others litter the social media to describe the latest action of The People’s General, what is thus clearly portrayed is unmistaken: Mr. Buhari, citing security grounds, wanted no media outfit that is compromised in his immediate domot.

We need not cover mouth with leaf when talking about AIT; we are well aware the owner Mr. Dokpesi is a thoroughly compromised man through and through. He left nobody in doubt of his romance with late dictator Sani Abacha. Most recently, his media house broadcast terrible lies prior to 2015 General Election, thereby wanting to better the winning chance of the incumbent, President Jonathan, who conceded defeat in a historical election in Nigeria. Once again, Mr. Dokpesi confirmed his allegiance would be unwaivering as long as the highest bidder is the person in power.

Returning to the torrent being generated from both camps, i.e. the pro- and anti-Buhari in response to Buhari’s action, a very close reminder of Mr. Buhari’s dictatorship in the 1980s, the camps could not be more divided than they have always been. A new addition to the divided camps is the division in the pro-Buhari camp itself. There are those who stated in no uncertain terms that Mr. Buhari’s action is condemnable. On the other side within the same camp are those who consider Mr. Buhari should have gone beyond “barring” AIT, they wanted something stronger. Apparently, this group within the pro-Buhari camp are the ultra wing, leaning towards Right elements of any political association. A reasonable opinion would ignore calls from such people.

Considering weighted opinion among supporters of President-Elect Buhari, Mr. Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, pointedly condemned this action by fiat from the media team of the incoming president. Professor Adesanmi went beyond condemning the action, he suggested intelligent ways to “suppress” unfriendly media outfits, which will cause close-to-no uproar from either camps. Hear both of them:

“Buhari bans AIT from covering his programs- I strongly condemn this action on the part of President-Elect’s team. No media platform(s) should be persecuted for refusing to support his candidature for the 2015 election.” Sowore, Publisher Sahara Reporters.

“…No, you cannot ban or prohibit or prevent a media group from covering your activities. In a democracy, the worst you can do is to “freeze out” journalists and media groups making you uncomfortable…” Professor Pius Adesanmi

A government of vendetta is the least desirable for Nigeria starting May 29, 2015. At no time in our history is it more paramount to focus on national building than now, putting in place structures that shall outlive thevincoming government. There is of course nothing that so far suggest President-Elect Buhari would do less than he had promised, it is but pertinent he is reminded by those managing his public statement/personality that he might be in for a rougher presidency if he would not be less careless as to what he says and how he says it. From reactions from all ends, one is safe to conclude that actions like this second misstep is good food for roforofo fighters, so much so that if care is not taken, the presidency is only left with covering up for Buhari’s dictatorial yansh every now and then due to, yeah, well-intended actions/statements, but packaged in wrong words. We must remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Returning to Professor Adesanmi’s injunction to the president-elect and supporters in an attempt to discard overzealous anti-Buhari element who will want to make capital gain from this unfortunate development, they are to ignore the noise in the market, failure to do so would result in distraction. Distraction, one could deduce from his submission, is not good for the atmosphere of the national work on ground. I agree.

In the same spirit, Mr. Buhari need be ready to act statemanly and as democracy demands, ignoring AIT’s irresponsible journalism of recent past as one noise in the bigger Nigerian space would have been a wiser approach. Actions and statements that remind of his dictatorship past must be avoided by all means, and he should remain focused on putting together a formidable team which we patiently await to lead us out of a traumatic (recent) past as a country into a change we voted him to lead.

Editor’s note: I read just now that APC, party of President-Elect Buhari has lifted coverage ban on AIT.

Please talk about it or else…

Pa Ikhide

Americans talk about everything at every opportunity. They talk during meals and sex. I once had an apartment below a young American couple who liked to make love and talk at the same time. Loudly. I was miserable whenever I had to leave the apartment to go to work, so entertaining. Nigerians are simple people; the British taught us to keep mum during sex. That is what the missionary position is for. I don’t know why the British call it the missionary position; they should simply call it the (only) position since well it is the (only) position they know about. Maybe the Americans invented the missionary position. They have names for everything because they talk a lot. The British are famously tight-lipped about everything. The story is told about the British couple enjoying their annual one round of sex in the missionary position when the woman began to squirm…

View original post 697 more words

Open Letter to Prof. ‘Remi Sonaiya by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed

Professor 'Remi Sonaiya was KOWA Party Presidential Candidate in Nigeria's 2015 Presidential election

Professor ‘Remi Sonaiya was KOWA Party Presidential Candidate in Nigeria’s 2015 Presidential election

Dear Prof. Sonaiya,

Five months ago, if I had written this open letter with this same caption, a deluge of questions would have poured in. Who is the addressee of this letter? Why is an open letter addressed to her? What relationship exists between the writer and her? Of what concern is the letter to us, members of the public? Just name it. Any question an inquisitive mind could elicit.

Today, by that singular audacity, you, Prof. Comfort ‘Remi Sonaiya, have saved me the stress of having to proffer answer(s) to satiate the people’s genuine curiosity. This audacity, encapsulated in your eight-word motivational statement, “Ordinary citizens like me can be President too”,  resonated across the length and breadth of our nation. With that epochal electoral participation, Mrs. Sonaiya has etched her name in gold in our History books as a woman Presidential contestant in the male-dominated Nigeria political terrain.

By garnering 13,076 of the total votes cast, which were spread across the 36 states of the federation plus the FCT, the KOWA Party candidate trounced two other male contestants out of the other 13 male hopefuls in the March 28 historic Presidential election. As modest as this may appear, it is definitely no mean feat most especially for a woman and a new comer to the rocky and bumpy  roads to the highest office in the land. Today, Remi Sonaiya, this name of an “ordinary” Nigerian with an “extraordinary” dream rings a bell, from the far north to the near south. From the remote east, to the proximal west. That in itself is a resounding achievement. It offers a rare springboard for a more forceful comeback and a leverage to sweep to victory in the future.

Still about the future, General Buhari’s triumph at the polls was a symbolic defeat and demystification of moneybags politics. The dedollarizaion and denairalization of our political space were a necessary rite of passage which we had to undergo as a people so as to guarantee a level playing field and ensure the enthronement of meritocracy among the political class. Never again will financial inducement of the electorates be so potent as to fetch undue advantage for unpopular and mediocre political desperadoes to lord it over the rest of us. Henceforth, it will be foolhardy and naïve to rely solely on buying votes as a means to get to power.

It was the need to ensure that paradigm shift that made a number of us to pitch our tents with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. We understood that by siding with him, we were supporting a man who possesses and depends solely on the strength of his character and willingness to serve  as a means to get the people’s mandate. We understood that the former Head of State was not the best, but definitely better than those currently misruling us. We understood, like the Yoruba proverb captured it, that trees that fall on each other should be sorted out from top downward. Buhari was therefore a means to an end. And not an end in itself. He offered the tool with which the masses vented their anger and taught our present crop of (mis)leaders the lesson that never again should the people be taken for a ride.

Isiaq 'Deji Hammed. An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. 'Deji came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed.
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. ‘Deji came to us READY-MADE!
He is a giant contributor.

In effect, we were, perhaps inadvertently, paving way for the emergence of “ordinary citizens” like me and you in occupying, why not, the highest office in the land. With the corrupt politicians’ buying dollars put to shame, and with massive rigging drastically checked and reduced, the coast to the Presidency is more than ever clear for the likes of Sonaiya who were hitherto shortchanged for being unable or unwilling, as a matter of personal principle, to go on dollars’ spray. I hope we will consolidate on that paradigm shift.

That is not all. The unwritten north-south power rotation pact as well  as power zoning between the six geopolitical regions is another hurdle we must cross. Moreover, the level of our sociopolitical evolution and sophistication as to embrace the idea of a female President is still subject of contention and cynicism. For a  patriarchal nation like ours with deeply rooted male chauvinistic tendencies, it will at best remain a tall order.

However, none of the hurdles is insurmountable. Like you rightly pointed out in one of your pre-election interviews, serving in the incoming administration may not be out of place. In my estimations, most of the personal principles and sociopolitical norms and values that you hold dear are not anathema to the President-elect. Without you cross-carpeting or compromising on the KOWA Party welfarist ideology, taking a political appointment will afford the opportunity to showcase your leadership prowess and endear you more to the electorates. That will also silence the skeptics who were cynical about your leadership credentials and experience. Hillary Clinton, Oby Ezekwesili, Late Dora Akunyili etc all offer shining examples in this regard.

Alternatively, our dear Professor of French language and Applied linguistics turned politician can focus on building KOWA Party to become stronger and by so doing deepen our democracy while serving as watchdogs and constructive critics of the ruling party. I completely agree with these lines in your post-election statement:

I am also convinced that there is a quiet majority out there who see the truth in our message that only a leader with strong values and an independent mind can give us the change we need. As such, I intend to spend the coming years working with other members to grow KOWA Party and establish it as a solid and attractive platform of excellence for politicians of character and integrity.

The road may seem long, tedious and unending. I dare to think otherwise. The most difficult was having the audacity to embark. That you have done. By mere coincidence or not, General Buhari’s twelve-year journey to Aso Rock Villa started when he was sixty years old. You are also starting at that particular age. How long yours will take still begs for answer. An answer that only Providence has a clue about. In the months and years to come, we can only wish you the best of luck and assure you of  our unwavering belief and unflinching support of your noble dreams for our nation and the common man.

Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed

SundayStarter: Buhari to Kill Corruption! Elrufai to Chaseout Poverty! FOREVER!! Chai!!!

“@OakTVOnline: “I ask you to join me to chase out poverty forever”- Nasir El-Rufai @elrufai #KadunaState #FocusOnElRufai”

So, now that change has come, I can tell you a story. E ma ba mi kalo!

This morning was a reminder why I returned to Dortmund. Till today some friends and family would not stop joking my zealousness and positivity for Nigeria. I would not be told otherwise that Nigeria was not worth it! I was a strong believer in that country! I still am 🙂

Tumi ran up to me, cry-shouting while trying to let me know something was wrong. I could not figure out what could have gone wrong, so I shouted instruction at him. “You talk to me now so I know what is happening here! Talk! Talk!! Talk!!!” I held him in my arms. In my panic I was trying to figure out what could be wrong.

He had swallowed a sweet in error. It was painful and the stonelike sweet might be stuck in his throat or lungs. I left him standing, dashed into my room, grabbed my mobile phone to call the emergency service. I told the officer about my boy. I gave him my address and family name. “Yeah, that’s the name on the doorbell…Yeah…Thank you…See you.” I hung up.

When my babysitter rang, I knew it was not the emergency. I let her and her boyfriend into the appartment. I let them in on the incidence. We all waited together for the emergency to arrive. And they arrived! Less than ten minutes after my call for help. A young woman emergency doctor led the way. They were five in all.

Andre was surprised they came with two ambulance vehicles to attend to my son. He saw the vehicles when we got downstairs, on our way to Essen. I had been about to leave for Essen when the sweet incidence interrupted me at the kitchen-sink. I nodded and and answered a simple yeah to his wonderment.

Three and half year back. In my apartment. In Nigeria. Midnight. I had thought I was the only one who heard the sound of a gun. I refused to shake. Deep down I was scared like shit. Come to think of it, I had barely ten thousand naira in the whole house. A pregnant woman and other people’s children in my care. What would I have done if the thieves we heard came calling in the middle of the night had happened on us?! My worry cum fear knew no end.

When day broke and the pregnant woman in my house told me she heard the gunshot the other night, my worries notched up many inches. I could bear it still that Ibukun was mosquito-bitten. The big bite-wound would heal up soon enough to leave only scars and memories. But how would I deal with a pregnant woman inflicted with potential thief-visit hypertension?!

The last straw that broke my camel’s patience was a ride in a BRT enroute to Sango-Ota.

So, the driver switched on the airconditioner. It was yet to circulate the whole bus. We were lucky to be on this bus. Yes, lucky that the driver deemed us worthy our busfare to turn on the thing. What shall we have done if the thing was bad?

I thought it was a joke when two people began this argument. The other had opened the window, and the other argument-partner wanted him to close the window! Before long, other passengers joined. Some wanted more windows opened so the airconditioner could work better! Others joined the fight of the person who thought it good for us if the windows were closed. After a while, we did not know what the problem was, we were all shouting and cursing this-or-that.

I said “we” not because I was part of the madness. Of course not. The “we” is alone an indication of my presence on the bus. I was beginning to realize I was in the wrong place almost all the time.

I was deep in thought. Only days back I fought in a bank because they would not pay me my money because a friend had paid in the big money the same day. On a bike to work, I tried to make my rider understand why he deserved better than he had. He did not understand. Another woman exchanged harsh words with me because I had insisted on sitting comfortably on a seat I paid for on a bus etc etc.

I ran back to Europe disappointed, broken and broke!

Back home, I was beyond happy. Here I could be who I was: A poor teacher who earned so much I could afford the kind of comfort reserved for the likes of Buhari and the Lion of Bourdillon in Nigeria.

So, you think I am interested in political office or feel better when I shout on social media why no senator deserves a better life than a (homeless) child living in Ijoko-Ota or Igasi-Akoko with a secured future in poverty etc?!

No, I am not. I am fine without one.

I only wanted the wife of my uncle (your uncle too) with ten children or even more to know where to run to when a newphew swallowed a sweet in error. Even if his father has no money!

Yes! And it is not your grandfather’s fault he did not choose to die when he was young! After all, those would-be-grandfathers who did the other time lost their life in the immigration job scam!

Our cultures love old and young people, no matter what their background is. They deserve to live their old and young age in peace on a dignifying pension and secured social system!

After all, Jonathan will too. As of now, he is making plan to return to Otuoke with our stolen wealth. Like all PDP’ers who shall become APC member anytime soon, for loot and convenience sake.

Truth be told, Nigerians who are poor do not deserve the kind of poverty that torment them at present. They need not be this poor to begin with.

So, now that change has come, it must begin with the fulfillment of what El-Rufai promised on twitter yesterday (or at least what oaktv twittered that he said): I ask you to join me to chase out poverty forever! in Kaduna state.

Why wont I just believe the promise?! The forever part?! I don’t know.

Think of change this way: Two years uninterrupted electricity for all in Nigeria, LOYOLA/ABTI-standard schools for all and sundry, hospitals good enough to repair (yes! repair!) Tinubu’s leg and your legs in Nigeria etc etc.

Impossible?! Then, we might be in  for another PDP-arrangement of 16 year-democracy-scam! Achieved by 2019?! That will be kicking out poverty FOREVER and that is change!

WeekendStarter by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed: Buhari’s Presidency is a Dream Come True

General Buhari

General Buhari

As some rightly put it, on the 1st of the Fourth month of the year, Muhammadu Buhari became the Fourth elected President of the Fourth Republic at his Fourth attempt. Mere coincidence!? Certainly this ascension to the highest office in the land by the first Opposition leader since Nigeria’s Independence in 1960  is jinx-breaking. The advent of the Nigerian Abraham Lincoln has forever demystified the Almighty incumbency factor at the central government.  The self-styled Africa’s largest political party, the PDP, taunted to rule for sixty consecutive years has been rebased to the “Africa’s largest opposition party”, albeit after just sixteen years. Perhaps they misheard their Seer’s prophecy and mistook six-teen for six-ty, or the said Seer is simply non-seeing.

One thing is definitely certain. Nigeria just opened a new page in her democratic history. A new dawn has broken. As the President-Elect aptly captured it in his acceptance speech : “You voted for change and now change has come”. And if these heavy-laden words are anything to go by, then Nigerians have just succeeded in replacing a bloody revolution à la Arab Spring with the broom revolution through the ballots.

Talking of averting bloodshed, and that will lead to the President Jonathan’s phone call, concession speech, and the subsequent heroism hoopla that trails them, records must be set straight here.  Indeed there was a pre-presidential election and also a post-presidential election. Concerned citizens counseled  President Jonathan not to thread the Gbagbo’s path and not to yield to unpatriotic pressures from the hawks in his entourage. Mr President hearkened to the warnings. And by that singular show of sportsmanship and display of humility in defeat, President Jonathan doused tension and saved the lives of innocent Nigerians. And if that is not commendable, nothing else should. President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat in 2010 to his rival, President Ouattara. The consequence of which was a full blown post-election violent conflict which sent over 3000 Ivorians to their early graves within the space of four months. If we would condemn him for his obduracy and self-centeredness, and treat him as a villain, then for doing the opposite, Jonathan should be commended. Fairness and not being hypocritical require nothing short of that from us.

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE!
He is a giant contributor.

However, commendation has a limit. There was indeed a Pre-election Jonathan who descended to the lowest of low in his desperation to clinch a reelection. A President who, together with his spouse and their cronies, threw all known decorum, modesty, morality and Presidential restraints to the dustbin. Under no circumstance should President Jonathan become a national hero overnight and through the backdoor. That will amount to a brazen denial of the pre-presidential election and  a sordid insult to our collective memory. Beatifying him as some have taken it thus far is tantamount to a reckless and heinous betrayal of the Chibok girls, the dozens of youths who lost their lives in the immigration job screening sham, the coldblooded murder of the Boni Yadi school boys, the over thirteen thousand massacred Nigerians, several millions others maimed, rendered homeless, hopeless and helpless therefore living as refugees in their own country and elsewhere, the stolen $20 billion and a whole lots of other financial frauds and scams under his nonchalant watch. The list is just endless. Unless we are a people who are so heartless as to forget their recent past, a people condemned to demand so little from those in to whose hands so much is entrusted,  and cursed to celebrate and sing the praise of their underperforming callous rulers to high heaven.

His was a trying time for our nation, second only to our excruciating experience during  the civil war. And we are so eager to turn this painful page of his and usher in a new era in our nation. And Providence, through our well-utilized votes, has confided that onerous task of heralding that national rebirth in to the hands of General Muhammadu Buhari. We believe he will not let us down. His several failed shots at the Presidency and his succeeding at the fourth attempt is a testimony that such a rare determination  can only come from a patriot who has noble dreams and plans for his compatriots. For the first time, Nigeria got a leader who truly wanted to be one and toiled for it.

To succeed where his immediate predecessor failed, Mr. President-Elect only need to be the direct opposite of what Jonathan Presidency was. Our out-going President gave no damn. You, give a damn. His cluelessness went beyond what anybody could have a clue of. Sir, take a clue from that. His was Presidential insensitivity at its peak. General Buhari, be sensitive. He surrounded himself with confused sycophants who in his own words confused him the more. President-Elect, surround yourself with our best hands and our best brains. He was most unfortunately a spendthrift. Muhammadu Buhari, nothing stops you from being our Jose Mujica. He hobnobbed with fugitives, thieves and criminals and kept them within his inner-circle. Sai Baba, we know you can’t be comfortable in the midst of the worsts of us. In short, he was simply incredibly unpresidential. Your Excellency, be Presidential.

We can only imagine how far the legendary Pa Obafemi Awolowo, our first and foremost opposition leader, would have taken our nation if he had the chance that you have today. The same dream Late Chief MKO Abiola had and almost actualized but was denied of unjustly. This is a golden opportunity for General Muhammadu Buhari to become the Father and Architect of Modern Nigeria. A rare come-back and a chance to  become the Nigerian Nelson Mandela and why not a Lee Kuan Yew that will put Nigeria back on the path of stability, growth and unprecedented development.

We have the All Progressive Congress party’s manifestoes and  your various electoral promises held close to our chest. They will either testify for or against you. We will surely judge your performance based on your delivering on them. It did not take us more than 6 months in to the Jonathan Presidency in 2011 before we realized that we have entered “one chance”. He refused to declare his assets publicly and scornfully threw it to our face that he does not give a damn about it. His first derailment was shadow-chasing a self-serving six-year single tenure when the hope of the Nigerian masses who identified with his “shoeless” humble background was at all-time high on him. The rest is history.

One sure way by which you can achieve so much within so little time is forgetting about 2019. Be the President of our national reforms  and renaissance. Bury the idea of a reelection and you will go far. It will make you care less about stepping on big toes, all for the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians collective interest, if the need be. Leave your reelection fate in our hands. Let us beg and implore you to go for it when 2019 comes. For this is because the historic March 28 and the heroic Professor Attahiru Jega have taught us that power indeed belongs to and emanates from us. We give it and we can as well retract it when we so will. And to whom much is given, much should be required.

Jonathan Out! Buhari In! Death-Wisher-Fayose Congratulates President-Elect Buhari

General Buhari

General Buhari

A failure has not many acquaintances. Same is the fate of Nigeria’s incumbent president yesterday when his loss became irreversible. Many strongest supporters disappeared into thin air. Some praised President Jonathan for the display of good sportsmanship in that he had called the winner of the 2015 General Elections even before Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the winner. Nigerians, many of whom favored change, celebrate(d) with the People’s General on the occasion of this well deserved victory. It was a victory not only for General Buhari but for the Nigerian people.

In the same vein, the saying that a successful man is everyone’s friend/relative, found fulfillment yesterday in Governor Fayose’s action. It was gathered that he called General Buhari to congratulate him. He warned the country is greater than any individual, we should not in anyway rock the country.

Going by Governor Fayose’s death wish for the General, which he went as far as publishing in national dailies prior to the election, one could not but wonder his sudden change of heart and call for reconciliation. If anything, Governor Fayose had cried-wished the loudest landslide loss for the People’s General. His U-turn means this: he has a personal interest to protect.

For example, Fayose’s election as Governor is still much controversial. Beyond the leaked tape of election rigging, there is indication that he was not qualified to run for that office because he had once been impeached. He was yet to fulfill the number of years stipulated in the constitution to re-contest.

Worthy of mention is Elder Orubebe’s display of shame when INEC chairman, Professor Jega held a news conference. He accused the chairman of corruption and compromise. He would not be calmed and was consequently escorted out of the building so the collation and announcement of results could continue.

All through the interruption, Professor Jega was calm and coordinated. He commented Orubebe’s action as unbecoming of an elder. According to him, Orubebe was a statesman in his own right, being a former minister of Nigeria, he should watch is public conduct and actions. Orubebe’s disruption has since been updated on Wikipedia, the world’s online encyclopedia.

Nigerian English has since been updated too. New nouns and adjectives ranging from “jega”, “orubebe”, “jegamycin”, “orubebeism”, “jegality”, “orubebvin”, “jegaland”, “jegatrick”, “jegamethod”, “jega-advice” among many others were added. Orubebe’s rude behavior was thus a blessing in disguise for Nigerian English.

The outcome of the presidential election confirms many things. Here is one: power resides only in the electorate. The electorate can give and take it back at wish! This realization is a good development for Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

General Buhari campaigned on change and as an anti-corruption Cesar. Christian Amanpour of CNN yesterday aired an interview in which the General was heard saying that if corruption was not killed in the country, it would kill Nigeria. Nigerians voted for change so that their country will not be killed by this many-headed monster. I congratulate them on this new dawn.

%d bloggers like this: