Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Roots Of Political Violence In Nigeria: Rejoinder To Stephen Lampe

The Roots Of Political Violence In Nigeria: Rejoinder To Stephen Lampe

By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
March 07, 2007

I read Stephen Lampe’s write-up with the above title recently with
considerable irritation just to say the least! Stephen Lampe portrayed
Nigeria as a flawed society and a failed state! He indulged himself in
multiple generalizations of the most odious types! He told the world that
Nigerians were ungovernable! That Nigerians were intrinsically and
extrinsically violent, aggressive, combative, and unrefined!

Who indeed, is Stephen Lampe? How did he qualify to Psycho analyze one
hundred and twenty million Nigerians at home and abroad and in one full
swoop? How did Lampe arrive at his garrulous conclusions that Nigerians are
essentially and fundamentally ungovernable? What are his criteria or
parameters for measuring and concluding that Nigerians are all these
unprintable labels that he attached to them in his article?

Who gave Lampe the license to portray Nigerians as sub-humans? Lampe
conclusions are outlandish as they are outrageous! Implicit and explicit in
Lampe’s assessment of Nigerians, is that we are irredeemable! Nigerians must reject Lampe’s fatalism!

I feel unqualified to categorize and characterize Lampe, as I do not know
him, as I have never met him; But he has never met me, he surely does not
know me and he has surely not met or known the other one hundred and twenty
million Nigerians! Yet he felt competent to label me and the other Nigerians as unrefined, violent, combative, aggressive etc? We must reject his labels and we must muster the highest magnitude of vehemence and outrage at being unfairly labeled by Lampe!

What does Lampe or any other Nigerians gain by portraying all Nigerians as
the worst of the human specie? I find Lampe’s assertions tasteless and
offensive! Why do some Nigerians only excel when they deride Nigeria?
Spewing idiotic opinions and uncorroborated personal imagination that will
not withstand any intelligent analysis, has become their vexatious practice;Nigeria this Nigeria that blah blah! blah!

Lampe’s assertions must be challenged! Lampe in his ostentatious
generalizations, wrote off and dismissed Nigerians’ capacity for good,
Nigerians’ resilience, Nigerians’ generosity, Nigerians’ tolerance,
Nigerians’ abilities, Nigerians’ legendary hospitality and Nigerians’
goodness! How many Nigerians has Lampe met? How many Nigerians has Lampe dealt with? Where and what are his empirical data that support his
gratuitous insults?

In assessing Nigerian incidents, many commentators cannot resist the urge
engage in hyperboles, the urge to be intellectually dishonest, a rational
commentator or writer would engage in comparative analysis of situations
under discussion or would engage in the examination of data and do a good
business of producing verifiable facts and accurate figures! But when it
comes to Nigeria, spurious and improbable allegations are spewed by the
laziest of journalists and commentators! Such as 10,000 Nigerians have been
killed in four years in political and religious violence! Where are these

Let count the graves! Or were they cremated? Show the world the
ashes! Certainly, some people have died in political and religious riots
during the past four years, nobody should have died! But certainly no 10,000 people have died in Nigeria in the past four years! These numbers are repeated daily by Reuters, The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, VOA etc Who verified these numbers? They are quick to tell you that there are not reliable statistics about trade, commerce, education, but the case is
different at morgues and mortuaries? Where are the death certificates issued by the Foreign Press?

Lampe has only just fed the public with unsupported and fallacious
descriptions and conclusions; His baseless premise led him to a disastrous

It is gross injustice and a great disservice to Nigerians visited on
Nigerians by Lampe with his suggestions that Nigerians are pathologically
violent, aggressive or combative etc. What the heck is raw aggressiveness?
It must be in our air or food?

Nigerians are passionate, and of course emotive in their participation in
politics, people with political convictions are usually emotive, whether
they are Nigerians, Americans or Lebanese! Nigerians are not from Mars!
Nigerians are like everybody else, we are good, and some times we are not,
again, just like everybody else! Nigeria has good people and not so good
people, but the good people are in the majority! Does Lampe know this?

There is blue sky in Nigeria, and I am sure there are blue skies in the
different parts of the world where Lampe has been or has heard of! If Lampe
is currently resident in Nigeria, I suggest that he moves to Ghana where
people are the way he prefers! Nigerians are not docile! Nigerians do not
owe any apologies for how we are and how we conduct ourselves! Who is Lampe? He says violence is a defining element in Nigerian politics!

Somebody should educate Lampe to the effect that Nigerians, just like other
human beings react to their lives’ circumstances, Nigerians are not
programmed robots!

Recently, there was an explosion in Lagos and many well meaning Nigerians
rushed to help the injured or wounded, provided first -aid and also rushed
the victims to the hospital, however, there were some Nigerians who resorted to looting from the bank where the explosion had occurred, as there were currency scattered in the open, and this led a commentator on the web site known as to typify Nigerians/Africans as having no respect or value for lives and as not having humane reaction to emergency situations; This is completely false, of course!

We are more humane than most, We did not cause the First and Second World Wars, Slavery, Holocaust,Colonialism! Nor did we cause atomic bombs to be dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and if there is a Third World War, it will not be caused by Nigerians/Africans!

My reaction to the commentator at Nigeriaworld was, as my reaction and
answer to Lampe now, is that human beings tend to react to life
individually, based on their circumstances and among humans you find will
find the good, bad and the ugly! And this is not peculiar to Nigeria or

In 1977 when there was interruption in electricity supply in New York, there was massive looting by Americans! In 1991 during the Rodney King police brutality trial acquittals of white-policemen, the race riot that ensued sawa lot of lootings in South Central Los Angeles again by Americans! And just recently, the world witnessed large-scale lootings in Iraq after the American invasion of Iraqi cities!

At times of demonstrations, usually scheduled as peaceful and non-violent, frequently, peaceful protests gets out of hand and the planners and governments or law enforcements are surprised by the sudden turn of events! Even music concerts sometimes produce unexpected consequences or reactions of euphoria leading to harmful stampede or death etc

These types of phenomenon are not peculiar to Nigeria or Africa, these are
normal course of events in human interactions everywhere in the world, that
is why there are police forces everywhere! That is why there are bulletproof glasses in grocery stores in New York, in restaurants, and even in the US Post Offices! Expect the unexpected in human interactions! Human behavior is sometimes unpredictable! This dictum does not only apply to Nigerians!

Between 1989 and 1992 the homicide rate in New York City per year averaged
2,500, this in a city of 8 million people, one major factor was the economy
that was in deep recession, when the economy recovered, coupled with
aggressive policing by Mayor Giuliani, homicide rate and other crime problem were reduced to a minimum; During the same period, the former Soviet Union collapsed into multiple republics, and the city of Moscow witnessed a battered economy and skyrocketing crime wave! There was open drug dealing,public drunkenness and increased rate of mafia type organized crime etc. All these were unknown to the Communist Soviet era in the USSR!

Sociologists, Economists and other social engineers have often stated that,
there is a correlation between poverty, high rate of unemployment and crime
wave, as there is a corollary between the docility of peoples under
draconian, repressive dictatorships and the sudden freedom to protest with
attendant exuberance or boisterousness after years of suppression and
intimidation like the Nigerian experience.

Similarly, The Republic of South Africa after the fall of Apartheid system
of government, there was suddenly an increase in crime rate, a wave of car
jacking and armed robberies etc. It should therefore be clear to any
discerning observer that human beings react to situations and circumstances
of their lives! Nigerians are in the midst and mix of humans!

Despite all the “troubles” between Sinn Fein and others in Dublin, I have
never read an Irish person saying or writing that the Irish are
intrinsically and extrinsically violent and extremely ungovernable! Neither
has the Lebanese or Palestinians nor the Israelis! Why Lampe? Why?

The truth is that the Nigerian populace has been longsuffering, Nigerians
have endured immeasurable hardships and difficulties, and as Professor
Ikhariale recently stated “The ordinary Nigerian voter is peace loving and
could not therefore be indicted indiscriminately (as Lampe did!) When, we
evaluate the failure of the electoral process.

It is not the fault of the ordinary citizen who civilly queues up all day in the sun and rain just to cast his ballot for the candidate of his choice that some elite miscreants would thereafter tamper with the computation of the votes thus cast or unlawfully fail to respect the outcome of the decision so wisely made by the electorate” Nigerians have indeed been routinely betrayed, despite painstaking efforts at democracy and good government and good economy, Nigerians have been betrayed by the leadership repeatedly and yet they still voted on April 12 and voted again on April 19 and beyond, This is Nigerian resilience!

Nigerians have endured so much! And yet, Nigerians do not have the sort of unreasonable automatic violent responses that Lampe foists on them!

Another Nigerian Xervia Esebamen extolled the goodness that is common among
Nigerians, according to his letter to Editors of The Guardian Newspapers, Nigerians are not bad eggs from bad hens! Esebamen gave the example of an honest National Youths
Service Corps Jegede A. Michael, who returned wads of money to the NYSC,
thereby rejecting an overpayment or an erroneous double allowance in Ikare
Akoko in Ondo state in March of 2003, A poor Youth Corper did this! Even
though we are in a tough economy, and a poor Youth Corper could surely use
extra cash!

Esebamen concluded that Nigerians have honesty and trust flowing in their
veins, He said however, Nigerians are not given credit by detractors! And he is absolutely correct!Lampe must get out of his house and cocoon more often! He will meet good Nigerians!

Nigeria’s able Foreign Minister Alhaji Sule Lamido also accentuated the
goodness of the average Nigerian, , when he said the
following last week “the peaceful conduct of the presidential and
governorship elections in the country has shamed prophets of doom who
predicted calamity for the country, God has showed that he loves Nigerians,
Nigerians are peace loving people and people who are enlightened, The
ordinary Nigerian has demonstrated that he believes in Nigerian and loves
Nigeria” No one can say this better! Is Stephen Lampe Listening?

I have previously said the following, which I think is worth repeating for
the benefits of Lampe and others like him “Many Nigerians approached these
elections with trepidation and foreboding, some saw the elections as a test
that would bring in a new dawn and stability followed by development and
prosperity, others saw it as the harbinger and precursor to violence,
anarchy and disintegration; Therefore, the successful conclusion in and of
itself, is an achievement and a relief!

Nigerians demonstrated a discipline of passions, emotions without panic, Nigerians allowed cool heads to prevail in obviously very tense moments, Nigerians maintained all rationality and all Nigerians must be proud of having conducted this monumental elections and fulfilled this momentous national assignment and civic obligations cum responsibility; The heated polity of the last twelve months and the Nigerian political passions and exuberance can overwhelm an outsider, but Nigerians all love peace and prosperity and that is what we will have as well deserved”

Friends and foes of Nigeria have all said that the Nigerian electorate was
very orderly, peaceful and patient, despite the sun, torrential rains and
occasional delays during the elections! Lampe insist that the same
electorate is permeated with violence?

Nigerians have been very patient and not violent! Nigerians have accumulated stress, frustrations and poverty resulting from the economy that has been battered for too long! It is a surprise that our anger level is not uncontrollable! Nigerians deserve every credit but instead, Lampe
obnoxiously characterized these same Nigerians! Why is Lampe casting
aspersions on a hundred and twenty million people? After all that they have

Nigerians have demonstrated confounding magnitude of patience and tolerance,Nigerians have despite their circumstances believe, that on the other side of pains, sufferings and immeasurable hardships, there is love, revival,recovery and rebirth, Nigerians have therefore remained patient and hopeful! And I therefore find Lampe unfair description of Nigerians profoundly ridiculous!

All these statistics and occurrences in other countries that I have referred to above, are consistent with what has been happening in Nigeria, Nigerians have just recovered from the most repressive and draconian of dictatorships,Nigerian economy has been battered for about twenty years of Structural Adjustment Program, there is the attendant high rate of unemployment (idle hands the devil’s workshop?) Throw passionate politicking to the mix!

Nigerians are in the circumstances, are like birds, that have been caged in
the cargo hold of a long-distance flight or in the hull of a ship, at the
end, freedom is sweet, the birds are hungry and they must flutter and run
and fly for dear life and run or fly to fill their empty stomachs! What part of these does Lampe not understand? He should be compelled to read MayaAngelou’s famed “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

The Electioneering campaign is finally over! And how about those who
predicted that the Nigerian sky would fall and civilization in Nigeria would come to an end? Nigeria is still here and we are all still here! All those who predicted doomsday and apocalypse are all forgiven for not appreciating the good sense of responsibility that the electorate and all Nigerians possess; Give Nigerians credit for acting responsibly as they always do and as they did on election dates when it mattered a great deal.

Many people, some Nigerians and others who are yet to learn the magnitude of the sense of responsibility of the average Nigerian, were quick to forecast doomsday scenarios, they used WMD or Weapons of Mass Distraction!

The rest of us Nigerians must get the message out and be adamant at it, thatwe are abundantly good! We should do a better business of letting the world know that Nigerians are better than good!

We are excellent! We are charitable, we hospitable and we are our brothers’ keeper; We should begin to portray ourselves and other Nigerians in the best light, if we do not blow our good trumpets, non-Nigerians would not know that we have trumpets,or they might steal our trumpets or break our trumpets!

The way the world is now, is such that image is everything, and countries and corporations spend huge sums of their resources on image building, on carving reputation and on putting best foot forward.

Some Nigerians like Lampe, tend to excel in using hyperboles in describing
minor incidents and situations that are common in every human society,
Nigerians are not from mars! They excel in exaggerating our benign
imperfections and minor flaws!

Some Nigerians tend to exacerbate innocuous situations by making
inflammatory statements and blowing out of proportions, matters that are
usual occurrence in every human society, are often presented in Nigeria as
outrageous and outlandish happenings in human interrelationships! Some
aspire to present Nigerians wittingly or unwittingly as less than other
human beings, in behavior, actions, attitude and dispositions, but the truth is that Nigerians are like other human beings on earth! And in many aspects and instances of human conduct and frailties, Nigerians demonstrate superior conduct and comportment.

Lampe should drop his elitist grandiloquence and his nonsensical
descriptions of Nigerians, unless these are personal traits of his? I have
to wonder if Lampe described his personal or family traits or tendencies? As it sometimes happens, people tend to project their love or their personal hatred or bitterness unto others, a sort of transference?

Perhaps Lampe himself or his family are inherently violent, combative and
aggressive by nature and he wants to discuss that with the rest of the
world? That is his prerogative; He must however not drag Nigerians with him!In this his unruly manner!

Is Lampe a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Psychoanalyst? Whichever and whatever he is, he must desist from further mass diagnosis of Nigerians that are not his patients, and Nigerians that he has never met! Is what you say of Nigerians, true of yourself?

Nigerians must collectively reject Lampe’s misdiagnosis and description of
the multitudes of Nigerians that are full of overflowing goodness, kindness,hospitality and genuine human qualities and attributes!

Tough Rugged Cowboys Nigeria And America Compared

Tough Rugged Cowboys Nigeria And America Compared

By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
August 27, 2007


Cowboys in Nigeria are probably the hardest working farmers on earth! Nigerian cowboys are the most unsung heroes of the Nigerian food chain! Many Nigerians have not driven from Maiduguri to Lagos, it a long tortuous and arduous journey, it is really a very Looonnnng trip, I have done it many times and I should know. It takes about two days! It is like traveling from New York to Florida by road, it is equally long and tortuous arduous trip!
But never mind Maiduguri to Lagos or New York to Florida driving, NOW, imagine trekking it! Nigerian Cowboys are the hardest working cowboys on earth! These Nigerians, in efforts to make a living, have for decades trekked from Maiduguri and Sokoto to Lagos Malu Road! Just so, that the urban dwellers in Lagos and other major metropolis in Nigeria can have their delicacies and nutrients, from steak to Suya and the other meals Nigerians turn cow and cattle meat into. Too many Nigerians are quick to call our Cowboys cattle “rearers” while the Americans dignify theirs and call them cattle Ranchers and Cowboys!

How much would anyone pay me to trek from Maiduguri or Sokoto to Lagos? Where will by family be while I embark on this biblical trek? Imagine a married Nigerian cowboy with a wife and children, being absent for several months at a time, to trek to and from Lagos, a round trip must take how many months? How would the family left at home cope? And how do these rugged cowboys cope? Many months away from home, while encountering the vagaries of the different Nigerian terrains, inclement weather, or sometimes a not so friendly communities that they may encounter from Maiduguri to Lagos? How do these tough guy keep up with their basic personal hygiene like shower/bath?

Most farmers in Nigeria endure very difficult circumstances and all manners of hardships, but the average Nigerian farmer returns from the farmers daily, and meet with other family members, to socialize and enjoy love and affection of the family and of course are able to take care of their basic daily personal hygiene, not so for the Nigeria cowboy! Away from family and friends for an extended period at a time, usually lasting several months per round trip!

Nigerian cowboys have no insurance coverage for themselves or for their livestock, if they get sick or their livestock are destroyed? Its simply tough luck!

In America, the mention of a traditional cowboy conjures the image of a tough guy, rugged and gentleness mixed with gruff! But if the American think they have cowboys? Tough-Rugged cowboys? Let them go to Nigeria and travel with the world’s best cowboys from Maiduguri or Sokoto to Lagos! The Americans will learn a thing or two from real cowboys! The Nigerian Cowboys that is!

American governments led by examples at its federal level, heavily, as in very heavily subsidize food production and agriculture, the American governments give very liberal loans and financial aid to companies and individual in food production and agriculture, Archer Daniels Midlands, Dole Foods and many others are heavily subsidized, so that their overhead cost or cost of producing food is not passed directly to the average consumer in America, hence, food is cheap and abundant in America, whereas, food is scarce in Nigeria and other African nations that are supposed to be for the most part agrarian!

Nigerian governments need to urgently create the conducive environment and added incentive for agriculture and food production in Nigeria, so that Nigeria has food security!

Any nation that cannot feed the citizenry is surely mortgaging national interests, and its national security

Most Nigerians, especially those in the urban and metropolitan areas, spend the bulk of their income on food, because food is not subsidized, and food production, even though should be considered a national security issue by all levels of governments and leadership in Nigeria, that has hardly been the case!

I am earnestly hoping that food as national security issue, is pursued forcefully and effectively, as has been identified and stated by the current government, and the added benefit of diversification of the economy, with particular emphasis on agriculture, will lead to a national focus on the gaping inadequacies that has existed in the agricultural sector and food production in Nigeria for decades! The current government must re-launch Operation Feed the Nation or OFN (OFN II) The current government must support all Nigerian individuals and companies with adequate incentives to actively encourage food production and effective participation by all.

American farmers have all manners of farm festivals and competitions! Such as who caught the biggest fish! Who harvest the biggest Pumpkins and who raised the biggest or weightiest Turkey bird! These activities are televised, and farmers and non-farmers look forward to the quintessential piece of Americana, and food production has it pride of place and everyone in America is well feed and happy (thanks to government policies and the dedications of the farmers!)

Raging currently is the debate, international debate in connection with genetically modified food, and agricultural subsidies, and it has pitted the Americans against the Europeans who have so far taken a very cautious approach to genetic engineering, with particular reference to food production and biotechnology; There are also the contentious issues of agricultural and food subsidies by the Americans and Europeans which is in perpetual conflict with their half hearted espousal of free trade!

American cowboys like other American farmers benefit from government subsidies and largesse, American farmers and French farmers are very powerful lobby groups! They turn the free trade pretensions of the western world and western governments on its head! As food production and agriculture is heavily subsidized! These governments do not want angry citizens! So they feed the citizens! Ala a hungry person is an angry person?

American cowboys are not as hardworking as Nigerian cowboys! American cowboys do not have to trek the 1, 800 Kilo Meter per trip!

A recent article in The New York Times portrayed American Cowboys heaviest burden as Cowboys, is combing cows for fleas and teaks! While their Nigerian counterparts count themselves lucky, when and if they can afford trailers and trucks to transport themselves and the cow and cattle consignments for more than a thousand miles! Traveling with the cows and cattle in not much better a condition than the herds!

Do you want to meet a real Cowboy? A real Tough and Rugged Cowboy? Go to Nigeria and head North! And the next time that you crave for Suya or other meat and meat products in Nigeria, before you devour, that cow and cattle products? Thank the Nigerian Cowboys and say a prayer for them, for their tremendous efforts that they put into your piece of meat! A thank you and a prayer for the unsung heroes of our protein and nutrient production… Those Tough and Rugged Nigerian Cowboys! God Bless Them!

Quota System or Federal Character In Nigeria And Affirmative Action Policy In America Compared

Quota System or Federal Character In Nigeria And Affirmative Action Policy In America Compared

By: Paul I. Adujie
New York, USA

June 24, 2003

Nigeria and America have so much in common! The more I observe and examine the American society and life around here, the more reinforced my belief is in the similarities or commonalties between America and Nigeria! Both Nigeria and America have wide expansive Ocean shores, America has tropical Florida and California, and deserts like the Mojave in California, deserts in New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, just as Nigeria has deserts in my Borno state, Sokoto state etc. and then our near temperate region climate in Plateau state and Savannah grasslands in Niger state like Texas’ Amarillo!

But my immediate prompt to discuss these commonalties is the United States Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action Program Policies, this policies is upheld by the court and I strongly believe that the court was indeed correct in doing so; The US Supreme Court rendered its decision on Monday June 23rd 2003; Which is being hailed as the most socially relevant and significant legal decision in the past quarter century!

Affirmative Action Program/Policies are laws and rules put in place by the Americans to provide some redress for African Americans who have been denied basic human rights since their forced arrival in this society hundreds of years ago.
Affirmative Action is an attempt to boost opportunities in public endeavors, especially education for African American who have been historically deprived of every opportunities, recently however, there has been stiff oppositions from others, mostly Caucasians/Whites who now complain that the opportunities that are offered to the age-old underdogs (the African Americans) somehow deprives whites of the same opportunities!

It is outrageous that Africans were forced to the Americas hundreds of years ago! And more outrageous, that those whose great grand fathers culturally sanctioned racism that they equally legally enforced, now want to compare their lot the plights and predicaments indignities, oppression and the dehumanization that African Americans have endured for hundreds of years!

The US Supreme Court has historically been on the side of the racists and slave owners, and those familiar with the details of American legal history, including the Supreme court decision in the Dred Scott case would agree, the US Supreme court once decided that a man of African descent amounted to one fifth of a person and therefore does not have equal rights and that he is property to another human being like himself albeit a White person! Talk of historical injustices to African Americans! It used to be against the law in America to teach African Americans to read! You break my legs but you want me to run 440 or Marathon Races?

In 1954 however, the same court reformed itself and started the journey of redeeming itself, when the late Honorable Justice Thurgood Marshall, then a lawyer in private practice took a discrimination against African Americans case to the US Supreme Court on the behalf of the National Association For the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) the Late Thurgood Marshall eventually became a US supreme court Justice himself.

In recent times, the strides made by the Civil Right Movement era agitation for equal rights and fairer treatments for people of African descent in America, has been under barrages of attacks, and the onslaught are usually led by Whites complaints, the recent decision by the US supreme court arose from one such complaint by some white students in the University of Michigan system in the Midwest. The decision by the US Supreme Court was favorable to the continuation of Affirmative Action Programs/Policies, but with some modifications. Diversity must be encouraged!

The Constitutions of Nigeria, (from 1979 to 1999) for decades now, have made provisions for a Quota System and the reflection of a Federal Character in appointment of public office holders, this in my view makes perfect sense, in a diverse country and society as Nigeria, Diversity needs to be actively and purposefully encouraged and legally enforced as provided by Nigeria's Supreme law, the Constitution of Nigeria.

All states, but especially the educationally disadvantaged states, need special provisions and protections in the admission process in Nigeria's educational system, especially in higher education and the professions! All Nigerians and Nigeria will be the beneficiaries of such good policy, that encourages the grooming and nurturing of opportunities for every Nigerian from every communities in Nigeria, and particular effort should be made, in order that Nigeria does not live anyone behind, economically, socially, educationally and developmentally, this is in our national interests, its nothing to jeer or sneer at!

In my view, there is the added urgency in the area of education and specifically in the professions, the educationally disadvantaged states received special grants during the President Shagari’s administration in 1981 or 1982? About 50 million Naira was set aside for this purpose. My rationale is that, producing doctors from every nook and crannies and from every Nigerian communities make prudent investment in education and social mobility, even if Nigerians and Nigeria have to collectively pay more or make some sacrifice, in order to ensure that a doctor is produced from your hometown and from mine! I am fully aware of the so-called merit argument, but it is neither here nor there, and it completely ignores the Big Picture! “Merit” is not the exclusive preserve or monopoly of any particular region of Nigeria, culture and environment and available
opportunities and exposures has a great deal to do with what any human being attains, achieve or accomplish in Nigeria and outside it!

In Northern Nigeria for example, there is clearly high literacy rate, even noticeably higher than the literacy rate in the Southern parts of Nigeria, the fact that the North did not embrace Western World education or Western European definition of education, simply does not change the fact that most persons in the Northern parts of Nigeria can Read and Write in Arabic, and being able to Read and Write is sufficiently accepted definition of being a literate person, unless we are to say the Germans, the Chinese, the French and the Japanese etc. are all illiterates as they conduct their lives not in English?

The majority of the Nigerian citizens of the Northern extraction can Read and Write Arabic, so that, if we were to teach medicine and law in Arabic, these Nigerian citizens will be quite at home (even at age 100) whereas, correspondingly, there is no such high literacy level in the Southern part of Nigeria, and this fact is more pronounced in the older generation citizens of Nigeria of the Southern extraction.

The later day acceptance of Western World education has severely and severally hindered the numbers of the “educated” among peoples of Northern Nigeria, but since we are in the same boat, all Nigerians are in the same boat! Our destiny is and will forever be intertwined, it is therefore wise and good investment to actively and purposefully invest in increasing the numbers of our brothers and sisters the Northern part of Nigeria in higher education and in the professions, we will be doing ourselves a favor, favor not to the recipient, but those who are willing to make the collective investment and sacrifice, to bring about a balanced, equal and fair society which Nigeria deserves, this is our path to greatness

Historically, some Southerners have also been huge beneficiaries of programs and policies similar to what I now advocate, for example, many years ago, I met Southerners who were students in Maiduguri’s BOCOBS aka Borno State School of Basic Studies where they prepared for the General Certificate of Education GCE Ordinary or Advanced Levels and then proceeded to different Nigerian Universities, particularly the University of Maiduguri and I can only imagine the short term and the long term benefits of all these individual Nigerians from the North and the South who benefited, and the short and long term benefit for our entire country!

There were also, many Students, of Southern Nigeria origins, who benefited immensely from the Remedial Education Programs at the University of Maiduguri, even though, the Remedial Programs were specifically targeted at Students of Northern origins from the immediate areas or neighboring states (catchments areas) the direct and indirect benefits are clear to me, or anyone who cares to examine it! The students for whom the programs were intended benefited, students who were outside the targeted group also benefited, the entire Nigerian nation benefits! What could possibly be wrong with that?

Affirmative Action Programs Policies and the Quota System and Federal Character Policies reflect visionary thinking, a wonderful foresight, that should have the force of law, that we should all support and encourage and see that these policies continues to be enforced in Nigeria and America, the Big Picture is that we will all benefit!
The more equipped Nigerians from every community in the nation are, the better we all are! When all Nigerians become equipped with skills, training and professional education in every level or strata, Nigeria will be on the way to our destined greatness! In Sha Allah.

God has always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, even more abundantly!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Patriots And The Anarchists!

The Patriots And The Anarchists!
What should Nigerians do with the “The Patriots” And Their Persistent Unconstitutional Demands? The Patriots Say Dismantle and Decimate The Constitution! How should Nigerians react to these suggestions? The Patriots the Anarchists and Strange Bedfellows Are made? Should Nigerians consider The Patriots and opposition groups as one and the same thing? The Patriots as Anarchists? Who are these people? Is this how “The Patriots” want to be seen and remembered? Working hand-in-hand with the disgruntled elements? These are some of the questions that have been welling-up in my mind a millions times since Friday, when I first learnt of this controversy!

The Patriots have apparently not learned any lessons from their very recent experience? The Patriots admonished Mr. Obasanjo and gratuitously advised him against running for re-election in his pursuance of a second term as president of Nigeria, President Obasanjo, thereafter, exercised his constitutionally entitled and guaranteed right to run for re-election for a second term and the rest, as they say is now history!

The Patriots appears to be saying that the best way to strengthen our constitutional democracy is to dismantle it? Why is it that too many Nigerians, these days seem to be bereft of logic and common sense? Too many Nigerians who are ordinarily intelligent and reasonable individuals, now appear to b all bitten by the bug of illogic and illegality?

I read the latest suggestions emanating from the self-acclaimed group, the so-called ‘The Patriots’ without a minimum of surprise; But nonetheless, it left me however, to wonder whether, logic is failing some of our senior members of the Nigerian Bar?

How else can any lawyer or anyone at all, explain the fact that Barrister F.R.A Williams SAN, who has practiced law before Nigerian political independence, practiced law before many Nigerians were alive and practiced law before I was born! And the very eminent Professor Nwabueze, the formerly erudite and prolific constitutional law writer, are now engaging in very high profile frivolity and exaggerated futility as they toy with matters of national importance to Nigeria? Abrogation of the Nigerian constitution is not a legal remedy to the constitutional disagreement or alleged elections fraud or irregularities!

Why couldn’t Mr. Williams and Mr. Nwabueze convince their successful businessmen counterparts in this exclusive club called The Patriots, that the remedy to constitutional infraction is not a recommendation to disregard, decimate and dismantle the constitution!

Here now however, The Patriots resurfaced like a hydra-headed snake, as they make new and more gratuitous suggestions! To the effect that Nigerians should summarily suspend the constitution and operate outside of it! These suggestions have been rightly described by Mr. Osuntokun of Mr. Obasanjo Campaign Organization as unpatriotic and unconstitutional advice by The Patriots!

APGA and ANPP have been engaging in many shrill shouting marathons, indulging in numerous threats and protests, Buhari and Ojukwu have made the strangest bedfellows in their efforts to blackmail and intimidate the rest of us and now The Patriots have again come with their refrain replete with ill-advised, ill-timed advice with ominous undertones! The Patriots seem to always be saying, “Let us disregard and dismantle the Nigerian constitution!” What sorts of eminent Nigerians citizens are these?!!!!!

President Obasanjo must let APGA, ANPP, Buhari, Ojukwu; all the other prophets of mass action, anarchy, chaos and lawlessness KNOW THAT the rest of us Nigerians know where to find gunpowder! Just because we advocate peace and stability, just because we prefer to be law abiding and respect the constitution of Nigeria, does not confer the monopoly of violence, the monopoly of access to gun powder on Buhari/Ojukwu/Okadigbo APGA and ANPP!

Lest We Forget!
The President and PDP have variously made peace overtures to Buhari/Okadigbo/Ojukwu and others but to no avail!
The president and PDP have been strenuously magnanimous in victory, in efforts to secure peace, some group of Emirs and Elders, Political and religious leaders were involved, but the feelings of the opposition was inflamed instead of assuaged!

But the charlatans have rejected all peace moves! So if according to Adisa, Buhari is stubborn and has legendary capacity to be angry? Who says Obasanjo, other Nigerians cannot cultivate stubbornness and capacity for anger and whatever else? People should not take refinements as weakness!

How long must the president and PDP and all Nigerians continue to accept threats and intimidations from these characters?

And as for those senile so-called Patriots? They should shamefully bow out! This is not the first time that they are offering extra-constitutional measures as solutions to purely constitutional challenges! And coming in less than a week to the inaugurations? Why?

All Nigerians must Decry The Patriots’ Call For Interim Government! All Nigerians should take cues from the comments of well meaning Nigerians featured in The Guardian Newspapers May 25, 2003 article which is quoted below, and it said among other things, “The Patriots’ comments continues to draw sharp criticisms and condemnation from a cross section of Nigerians. It should be stressed that the call was most unpatriotic albeit designed to truncate the country's stride towards full democracy. They advised The Patriots to be conscious of their sensitive positions as elders in the country whose interventions must always be prudent and judicious”

Most Rev. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, the Archbishop of the Province of Lagos of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) said the call was an open invitation to destabilization of the country.

The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), equally made of eminent citizens and elder statesmen, has taken a very critical position over the call The Y.C.E. faulted The Patriots call; and they were alarmed by the call, which is a direct invitation to anarchy. The Patriots’ reasons are aberrant action are very confounding and illogical". The YCE questions the "patriotic credentials of The Patriots" if they could even call for a hurried amendment of the constitution "The Patriots call coming after the aggrieved have heeded the voice of reason and taken their cases to the election tribunal is rather suspicious and sinister. Are The Patriots calling for the dissolution of the tribunals or as eminent jurists, are they declaring loss of confidence in the judiciary, an institution they have served meritoriously for many years?" The Patriots call as suspect and that it could be having a hidden agenda. The source said that the Yoruba elders would call on Nigerians to defend their mandate and to resist any action to abort the country's democracy

The 1986 Nobel laureate for Literature and consistent commentator on the polity, Prof. Wole Soyinka, had described the call as "insidious" and lacking in thorough thinking. Soyinka said it was unbelievable that a group made up of such eminent names in the society would be canvassing a subversion of the constitution and asking for rules of a game to be changed mid-course; just so to satisfy the imperative of an emergency. "We all have a responsibility to ensure that this democracy is sustained".

Alhaji Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos State, also said the call is an invitation to chaos. "I condemn totally the attempt to invite foreign nations into internal matters of this nation", he said adding "Also, there is no basis for interim government in the constitution of Nigeria, either in fact or in law".

In his own reaction, Gen. A. O Aduloju, former Commandant, Command and Staff College, Jaji, said, "before the presidential primaries, our so-called Patriots had taken it upon themselves to pick up our constitution and remodel it, prescribing a five-year political term of office once and for all for a President. They did this with so much impunity to the extent of suggesting that the amendments of the constitution should be binding on the incumbent President. "The Patriot' rendered the same tune during the impeachment debacle between Mr. President and the National Assembly. Now that the nation has successfully had an election and all the world has acclaimed its success, to the extent that all the world powers, and major countries of the western world, the European Union, the eastern bloc, African countries etc, have all acknowledged victory for Mr. President and recognized him as the winner of the April 19th election nationwide, the 'Patriots' now comes up with the same old tune of unpatriotic and retrogressive song, demanding a cancellation of a concluded and successful election that had caused the nation money, property, time, and lives. Aduloju a former presidential aspirant of the defunct Nigerian Republican Convention, continued: "They should note that there is no country in the world where an election exercise was done 100 per cent foolproof", he said while recalling the last US election that produced George W. Bush as American president.

Mr. Alabi is Wondering why the respected elders chose this critical moment in Nigeria's history to align forces with agents of destabilization. Alabi whose CAFI those who are clamoring for the cancellation of the election results are unwittingly inviting chaos and anarchy, which will eventually sweep them away. Alabi also regretted that the elders, who among them are eminent lawyers, have by their recent utterances lost faith in the constitutional provisions regarding election tribunals, where aggrieved politicians are already seeking redress. "Their regrettable position can only undermine the rule of law and precipitate lawlessness", he said.”

My conclusion is that “The Patriots" are bereft of ideas! The Patriots have willed themselves into monumental irrelevance in Nigeria and history!

I flinch and even shudder at the suggestions by some Nigerians that ‘mass actions and other disruptive or violent behavior should be allowed to thwart inaugurations on May 29, 2003! No individuals or group of persons, Nigerian or foreign should be allowed plunge Nigeria into anarchy or chaos, all in the name of having grievance or being aggrieved! No! Illegal behavior as enunciated in numerous public threats must be nipped! Nigerian constitution must be strengthened not decimated, disregarded or dismantled!Enough of the Buhari/Okadigbo/Ojukwu threats and intimidations! Enough already!

God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, even more abundantly!

Some Nigerians Are Waiting To Be Patriotic!

Some Nigerians Are Waiting To Be Patriotic!
I perpetually compare activities that I observe outside Nigeria with the Nigerian equivalent or counterparts, the good events, often leave me to wonder about their replication in Nigeria, these good things that I have seen, or personally experienced whether working, living, or visiting places outside Nigeria in different capacities, in travels as conference attendee in Belgium, England, Holland, Jamaica or here in the United States, I often have this automatic response or reversion to “how will this look in Nigeria?”

This desire to replicate everything good overseas, in Nigeria, from a car wash to an ice cream parlor to the use of the most advanced and most sophisticated Technologies and the replication of a parade of our national colors with flags of different sizes, recurs to me especially during national day parades in New York, parades by different countries whose citizens in New York ensure that the most colorful of their country’s life is portrayed in the best of lights and exhibited conspicuously and ostentatiously!

Living in the so-called “melting-pot” as New York is nicknamed and often called, it is common to come across other nationals, because, New York apart from being the physical home address of the United Nations, the city is literally actually the “United Nations” itself, New York is a conglomerate of all the nations of the world! As one is likely to meet a former Atomic Physicist turned taxi driver from the former Soviet Union’s Russia and Nurses from the Caribbean, a lawyer or doctor from Nigeria, all in ten minutes and on the same street!

There is practically someone from every corner of the earth present in New York, all countries are adequately represented from all the seven continents!

Once, there was a New York City Mayor of African descent, an African American that is, he is first and only till date, the only African American to have held that position all through history and all through about a hundred and twenty Mayors that this city has produced, spanning four year terms and with some re-elected several times, before term limits became popular with the voters.

This Mayor of African American descent, was the first such mayor even though the city has a preponderance of African Americans that have lived in the city for more than 500 years and despite, the presence also, of a good segment of African immigrants that have settled in New York in recent decades, well, this is the way American history is, totally and clearly inexplicable, as it applies to people of African descent.

Mayor David N. Dinkins was elected the 106th Mayor of New York City in 1989 and he was uniquely qualified and suitable, he is mathematician, a lawyer and a retired member of the United States Marines, when he speaks, he bedazzles and mesmerizes the listener, as he demonstrates and display his knack for words, exact expressions and phrases, he once described New York City as the world’s gorgeous mosaic! This he explained was the singular fortune of having everyone from every county on earth in New York.

Almost every nation has an annual parade in New York City, that is like having the average of one parade every other day! It also a means that these various nations here represented, also engage in protests during crises and upheavals in their homelands, it follows therefore, that the citizens of these various lands, engage in activities concerning their countries identifying themselves in their national colors and flags, flags to show solidarity or to protest a condition, flags to indicate support and encouragement, to congratulate home governments policies or to condemn policies of home countries.

Every few weeks, there are also all sorts of parade and carnivals or festivals! Italian San Genero to Indian or Polish Cultural parade to West Indian/Caribbean Carnival which is the most popular and most attended, it is also the most expensive for the participants as they are always expected to be bedecked in expensive costumes which takes months to design with exotic materials that are intricately woven colorfully finished, this must also be lightweight as these costumes are worn for a several mile trek parade! This happens every first Monday of September yearly.

New York City is the quintessential cosmopolitan area of all the world, it is suffused with a plethora of nationalities and their accompanying assets and liabilities, there is a melding of cultures, food, and much more, you will find Nigerian food restaurant, then Chinese, Thai, Russian, India, Bangleshi and Mongolia restaurants all on the same street and the patrons of these different foods are across the spectrum of the dizzying arrays nationalities that comprise New Yorkers

In the midst of this wonderful potpourri of peoples, and culture, there are of course their true national colors that all and sundry are ready and willing to exhibit at the proverbial drop of a hat! National colors and flags are readily exhibited at times of joys or sorrows, at times of celebrations or jubilations or protests, FLAGS and more FLAGS!

Flags of all assortments of colors, flags of all shapes and sizes and multiplicities of designs, grace the city street during these occasions of joys or sorrows, these flags are hoisted, flown or sometimes burned! When the occasions and anger levels rise and demand flag burning.

Which is my favorite flag among all flags of the world? the flag of Nigeria of course! Nigerian flag is the most beautiful flag that you will ever see! It is pure White and Emerald and Hunter Green, it has the beauty of the Prairie flowers in full bloom in Spring Time! It conjures all the nationalism and patriotism in my every bone and veins! The glowing pure Green and White is simply the best sight that anyone can behold and will have ever seen! These two colors are at once bright and deep, the Nigerian flag, hoisted or flown, always glow in its majesty!

But I must say however, that the Nigerian flag is not a very common sight! Not a very common sight in New York or anywhere! But why is this the case? The last experience that I can recall of the Nigerian flag being in sufficient numbers, and available in all sizes and on display, was during the hey-days of the War Against Indiscipline or WAI.

I have always wondered why Nigerian do not as a rule, sufficiently display and take pride in our national colors and flag? Whether in celebration or in protests, whether at times of our joys or at times of unwanted conditions of sorrows?

Here in New York, many nationals, are quick to hoist their flags and national colors at every opportunity, I have therefore pondered the whys and why nots of flag attitude, why not us? Our flag has glow and luster! Our flag and national colors should be shown with pride! (These poor tiny countries, less than the size of my home state in Nigeria) take pride in their national colors and flags, why don’t we Nigerians?

I expected to witness a boom in the display of the Nigerian flag during the electioneering campaigns that just ended, but it did not happen, I am also hoping that the inauguration ceremonies in the federal capital and in all the states of Nigeria witnesses a mammoth display of our national colors and flag on May 29, 2003! Lest we forget, it is all about Nigeria and the flag represent our collective; Politics is about country!

All through the electioneering campaign, I meticulously watched the individual candidates and their supporters, for evidence or proof our true colors and our flag and no much could be seen, Nigerian politicians and their supporters urgently need to embrace the Nigerian flag! Nigerians need to bathe in the flag of Nigeria regularly!

When in the past, Nigeria’s football teams has ascended to Quarter Finals or Semi-Finals or even the very coveted and envy of the world, ultimate in soccer, the FINALS of the World Cup or the Olympics Soccer! I always have desired for the presence of more Nigerian flags in the fields as symbols of us all! The national colors, our flag symbolizes ourselves! Our flag!

But frequently, our flag is in short supply! My enquiries have always led to the same conclusions and repeatedly. The producers and merchants of flags insist that there is no demand or market for the Nigerian flag and other Nigerian memorabilia, hence there is the attendant lack of desire or lack of interests on the part of the manufactures and merchants to make Nigerian flag or other patriotic memorabilia, What does this say about us as Nigerians? Whether we Nigerians at home or abroad?

A further enquiry revealed troubling information and surprise or shocking findings! A flag merchant in New York informed me that a Nigerian he knows does not want to be identified and known as a Nigerian, let alone, hoist a symbol of Nigeria proclaiming his Nigerian-ness!

But the truth is that, citizens from smaller and even poorer nations without Nigeria’s types of human and mineral resources, still take pride in their flags and national symbols anyways, why can’t the Nigerians? Citizens from very repressive governments, countries that have not had ANY elections during the past 50 years! Granted that we have growing pains in our efforts to revive the economy and democracy, Nigeria is even so, still faring better than a lot of nations! And citizens from these other nations still have reasons to identify with their nations, their national symbols and national colors and flags! Even when some of these citizens are actually opposed to their governments! Cubans in New York and New Jersey and Florida are good examples, they are rabidly opposed to President Fidel Castro, but you better not mess with the Cuban flag in the three state in the US just mentioned or you will hear from the Cuban ex-patriots!

Nigerians outside Nigeria should remember that immigrants from other countries emigrated from their homelands, just like us, and emigrated mostly because they like us, were not having a lot of fun, no human being emigrate to live abroad permanently, because so much was going well for him or her in the original home county! Never mind what globalization apologists will tell you to the contrary! Majority of those who emigrate worldwide are economic refugees.

Assuming therefore that the reasons for emigration by all immigrants are similar, why then would Nigerians abroad appear to be waiting to be patriotic, or waiting for all to be well with our home country Nigeria before we can show our flags and our national colors and symbols, waiting to be patriotic is like a young man making a vow not get married until the young man becomes a millionaire! This Youngman may never get married until he dies! Waiting for your country to be perfect before becoming patriotic is like waiting to be a millionaire, it may be desirable, but these events may never occur in one lifetime! Death might occasionally occur first! Nigerians must stop waiting for the conditions in Nigeria to be perfect before we become patriotic, Nigerians must start to put on our patriotic clothes, hats, shoes or old age and death as twin certainties, could deprive us of our chance to show our colors, patriotism and flag! This means, in my opinion, that during regime of Abacha , a Nigerian could have legitimately been opposed to the late head of state, but still fly and hoist the Nigerian flag! As we all know, leadership is ephemeral (they come and go) but nations remain and endures the passage of time.

Why do many Nigerians then appear not to make this distinction between a subsisting leadership and national symbols, flag and country? Is it case of throwing the baby and the dirty bath water? I hold the view that, whoever is the current president in Nigeria, deserves our respect, even if we disagree with his policies, efficiency or effectiveness, this is so, because, he represent all of us, he symbolizes Nigeria, our country, so that demeaning or denigrating him or her to convey our disagreement is inappropriate! The president is Nigeria, he ceases to be an individual during the pendency of his presidency!

It is my earnest fervent belief one can be opposed to a particular government or regime or leadership without being opposed to the national colors and flag, President Mandela was opposed to Apartheid system of government, but not opposed to the existence of South Africa, African Americans were and are still opposed to oppression and racism, but they are very patriotic and are the first to hoist the American flag! This despite almost a thousand years of the African Americans being oppressed in America! If African Americans can have a scintilla or iota of patriotism, perhaps Nigerians have a great deal to learn from our African American brothers and sisters? Nigeria comparatively a young country, we are coming along, after only 42 year of independence from England.

I frequently wonder about our national colors and flag when I watch citizens of other nations proudly display theirs, especially the Americans! They always bathe themselves in their national colors of red blue and white, look at clothing and apparels, you will notice, look their moon landing planting flag, look their sporting events, look at their political campaigns, think of their sands of Iwojima flag planting, I am jealous of how awash the Americans are in their flag! As A Man Thinketh…. The Americans think highly of themselves, and their flag, even perhaps arrogantly so, But Nigerians have a right to feel the same way about our county and national colors, national symbols and the Nigerian flag.

Not every American is rich, not every American believes their country is fair, but they all rally around their national colors, national symbols and flag, at war or at peacetime. In the news, Nigerians should notice that there are now millions of American flags in Iraq! Flag planting was their first order of business; When Nigeria goes to the moon, we must remember to plant our flag first! If we go to the North or South Pole? Nigerian flag! Americans frequently paint their faces and their bodies with red white and blue during sporting events or elections or protests or they appear to find excuse to flag bathe!

It must be repeated that regimes and leaderships are ephemeral and that our country remains and endures, In my mind there is a huge distinction and clear separation between regimes and leadership and country; So that, a bad regime or leadership is not sufficient a reason to reject a national color, a national symbol or national anthem and flag.

On May 29, 2003 all Nigerians at home and abroad, in government or in opposition, should put our differences aside, we should bury the hatchet and rally round our national colors and symbol and flag! Nigeria deserves to celebrate and jubilate joyfully fly and hoist the Nigerian flag!

God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, even more abundantly!

Corporate Good Citizenship Or Responsibility America And Nigeria Compared

Corporate Good Citizenship Or Responsibility America And Nigeria Compared

The admission last week, of wrongdoing and criminal activities in Nigeria by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the petroleum industry services company, has caused major ripples and left millions tongues wagging on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean! The admixture of high power politics and crime, due in part to Vice President Dick Cheney’s strong connections with Halliburton before becoming the vice president of the United States! This tax evasion and bribery raises the high stakes, the potential fallout and the possible consequences, due in another part to the prodigiously scandalous nature of a plethora of companies in the ever increasing numbers of what can now be called “American Corporate Greed Club” in the wake of so many corporate scandals that has recently come to light; Enron, WorldCom etc. And the attendant uproar visited on the Republican Party, the political party of the current American government.

We are all aware of the very recent discoveries that led to bankruptcies and demise of so many American Companies and how the political party in power in America is blamed for being in very cozy relationship with them, because these American Companies are major political campaign contributors and donors to political causes that favors the Republican Party Conservative political agenda.

My particular concern here is beyond all these intrigues, it is instead the sharp contrast between corporate behavior in America, contrasted with the behavior of same corporations in their off-shore business activities, good corporate citizenship and social responsibility or the lack of it and the contradictions inherent in their selective obedience of laws and rules in America and the various criminal conducts, bad corporate citizenship they practice with gross social irresponsibility; These corporation exhibit attitude that are completely different, once their operations are outside American shores.

In America, companies and corporations pay huge taxes, fees and have to obey a great number of laws, rules and regulations! Some American firms actually engage in off-shore operations, in order to skip American rules, you would think that these firms would be too glad to be in Nigeria, where laws and rules are not harsh toward business enterprises.

In many parts of America, towns are practically owned and run by companies! Many Steel Producing Companies have run towns for years, so also are Coal Producing Companies; In the United States, the state of Delaware, the Dupont family group of companies practically owns the land and many things in the state, and every family grow up to work for Dupont, and in my school days, I recall an American Professor of law jokingly, during a lecture, referring to the state of Delaware as the “Dupontitum” (the state as the Dupont Kingdom!) because of the pervasive presence, the dominant role or notorious presence of Dupont activities permeating the state! Dupont is well known to all, to be synonymous with the state of Delaware!

Again, in the cases of several other states like state of Texas, state of Oklahoma, state of Pennsylvania etc, the activities of Atlas Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Getty Oil and Hershey Chocolate are major and these companies predominant players in the economic, social, cultural activities affecting the citizens directly and indirectly, there is a clear partnership between the private sector and the broader public sector, and this is deliberate or even appear choreographed!

American companies can be very consumed and overtaken by greed and avarice, ala Enron, WorldCom, Prudential etc, corporate wrong doing in other forms like the deep throated racism that was practiced by Texaco executives, who made disparaging statements about African American employees, statements of their white racism that was uncovered from corporate tapes!

But it must also quickly be said, that they are always self-redeeming by their commitment or demonstration of a good social conscience, good corporate citizenship and high sense of responsibility to America; For example, in preparations for any schedule Olympic Games? Or other major sporting events, I have closely watched American corporation falling over each other to be part of the coveted logo or label of an “official sponsor” as corporate group tend to sponsor every sports events and tag their advertisements as such! Which is good for these companies and also good for America!

Airlines soon become the “official carrier” Coca Cola soon become the “official drink” and the United States Postal Service USPS soon become “official mail carrier of priority mails” and so on!

Hershey, the world famous chocolate and Sweets maker, has a huge foundation and large endowment with which a wonderfully diverse school is run in the state of Pennsylvania.

In New York, there is a Hall similar to or in the mode of Nigeria’s National Theatre in Igamu Lagos, it is called Carnegie Hall, it is an awe inspiring cultural center, where music performances take place, mostly music of the classical genre including operatic performances, the hall was built by a private citizen, for all to enjoy! The man has since died, but this edifice stands as a monument of his generosity and accomplishments during his eventful life.

Again in New York, there is the Rockefeller family, with towering properties dotting the landscapes of the city and they have had a foundation over the years, a foundation that is generous and public spirited.

Many Nigerians have also probably heard of the Ford Foundation? It awards scholarships and research grants in the pursuit of public interests

In America therefore, there is an admixture of private and public efforts that coalesce for the general well being of all; These worthy efforts serves public good, benefits for all citizens! Rich Nigerian must start to the do the same in Nigeria for Nigerians!

Corporations with tentacles more numerous than the octopus, have in my experience tend to hire the largest law firms in America for their continued protection and litigation when the need, as always arise, these corporations create varying departments like Regulatory Affairs usually with an in-house lawyer, Legislative Liaison, usually a lawyer too, Ethical Standards and also what is called Compliance Officer, Government Affairs Officer and Risk Management Officer etc. all these are in the inordinate efforts to be on the right side of the laws and regulations in America! Companies in Nigeria must start doing the same!

These same American Companies are quick to put on a different hat when they are overseas! Union Carbide is a historical example, as some companies have penchants for ignoring local laws and rules, including, even rudimentary safety rules, the violations that usually results in disastrous and fatal consequences! Pfizer Pharmaceuticals has also been found wanting in its activities in Nigeria..

In Nigeria, most foreign companies and recently, foreign wives too, only want to observe Nigerian laws and regulations in the breach of these laws and regulations! It is as if they are saying, we do not recognize Nigerian laws and regulations! When you or your companies are in our countries, you must obey our laws! But when we are in Nigeria, we do not have to listen to whatever you say! Or obey your laws, rules and regulations! It is audacious and condescending! But is just the way it has been!

In this era of scarce resources for our higher education, especially the universities, seeking funding from the limited federal purse, you would think that the private sector will assume the overdue role of private sector partnership with the government in this crucial area of dire need, an important area and the quintessential engine room for national development; But no such luck! The private sector has so far not risen to this occasion!

Banks in Nigeria, foreign and local, declare huge profits every year, despite the tough economic environment that Nigeria has been for about 20 years, yet these banks do not see it fit, to begin to invest in capacity enhancements, give mortgage loans and college or higher education loans? Everything in Nigeria is still “cash and carry” unlike the “you built, they will come” credit economy that banks and financial institutions in America operates (that is, mortgages are regarded by banks in America as is a banking service product) (students’ or higher education loans are also a banking service product) the banks in America, make profits, giving these types of loans, if banks in Nigeria establish these types of services, customer base will arise and grow/develop rapidly indeed! (hence the build it the will come concept)

If banks and financial institutions create a good service, Nigerians, especially the college educated and middle class will be quick to jump in happy welcome and reception at such meaningful service, it will be quick success, but it will require efforts, instead of the sharp practices of barely clad girls posing as bankers seeking deposits from the rich, enticingly with making their private body parts obvious and conspicuous!

And instead of the all eggs in on basket heavy reliance on profits from foreign exchange manipulations and speculations and price fixing and gouging!

Shell Oil, Mobil, Exxon, Texaco, Schlumberger, Halliburton etc all make billions of dollars of profits yearly from their Nigerian operations, Just imagine if these companies were to devote only one million dollars annually to improve the local communities that is the source of their mammoth corporate wealth? Imagine if these companies act as good corporate citizens and responsible companies and provide local communities with clean water, electricity, schools that even teach petroleum oil technology to the locals, and help maintain the roads and sponsor yearly local cultural festivals? Etc.

These are not new things, these types of things are what these same companies engage in, in America and Europe in order to attain public goodwill, in order to attain good image, in order to catch attention and advertise themselves and their products! Why can’t they do these things in Nigeria? I have witnessed these companies do these things in their home countries without requests, without urgings without agitations!

I strongly believe that these activities enumerated above will help to stem the frequency of disagreements between these companies and the host local communities where they operate, engaging in these activities are certainly cheaper than the cost and efforts expended on resolving riots, hostage takings, kidnappings and all other actions that are usually undertaken by the locals in desperation and after years of frustrations, investment in these communities will also help to make these companies to look good and may actually endear them to the locals! Hence good corporate citizenship and social responsibility, It is a win-win situation for both corporations the local communities!

God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, even more abundantly!

No Apologies For My Views Or Opinions! Rejoinder to Mr. Ihas Idriess

No Apologies For My Views Or Opinions!
Rejoinder to Mr. Ihas Idriess

My Dear Brother Fellow Nigerian Ihas Idriess,

My ONLY motivation for writing about Nigerian issues is Nigeria, and my ONLY tribe is Nigeria and for me therefore, everything is Nigeria, Nigeria, Nigeria and Nigeria!

The salvation of Nigeria, the development of Nigeria, the unity of Nigeria, and the progress of Nigeria are my only concerns, Nigeria is my only tribe and Nigeria is my only motive, for me, a Tribe in Nigeria, is like a stream, whereas, a Nation is like an Ocean, I prefer to swim in the Ocean! I recommend that you and other Nigeria cultivate the habit of preferring swims in the Ocean of Nigeria’s national interests, there is incredibly more room and wider space to swim in the Ocean! Nigerians like big fishes should swim in the national Ocean of our collective interests, instead of wallowing in the mud, instead of swimming in the shallow ravines and dire straits or gutters of ethnic, tribal, religious or such other parochialisms!

I have always strenuously stressed that my commentaries are not about my tribe, religion, ethnicity, state or region and I have therefore intentionally omitted stating my tribe, or ethnicity, state or region, just so, it does not distract my readers from the points that I struggle to make, points that need be made about present day Nigeria and the promised land and glory land Nigeria, that I envision for all of us, though tongue and tribe may differ! Though we may hold different things sacred and worship different Holies!

Mr. Ihas Idriess, I regret that my modest writing efforts has not impressed you or provided you with “guidance and wisdom”, but it is good, to know that you at least, recognize that I have a right to my opinions, especially regarding issues concerning my country, our country! I am tempted to add Ayyyaa sanu fa! Ko? yaukuri ne?

I did not set out to offend or annoy Mr. Idriess or for that matter, anyone who reads my articles, No writer set out to annoy or offend, I write to contribute my analysis and views to the many issues of our time, with the hope that I bring a new idea, a new way of examining these issues, there are many ways that issues can be examined, and bringing a diverse opinion to visit Nigerian issues is good for Nigeria, it broadens our collective horizons and perspectives in efforts at resolving our national issues, Nigeria is a very diverse country, hence, it should be expected and accepted that views and opinions are of necessity diverse! Ba haka ba? Mutumi Mr. Idriess?

I regret that my writings and commentaries disappoint you, intentions are pure and honest! I write from the gut and from the deepness of my heart, I write from the very strong convictions that I have, regarding Nigerian issues, reflecting of course, my opinions and perspectives on Nigeria’s public and current affairs; I am not perfect, no one is, even to the trivial issue of grammar, I sometimes re-read my articles after their publication and I find grammatical errors or misplaced words (and instead of an) or (just instead of justice), you see, in this avocation of writing, in the haste to complete an article or respond to a burning issue, errors happen, mistakes do occur! And as to my opinions on national issues? And my very strong convictions about Nigeria? My apparent adamant and strident tones? I am not perfect in this area either, but I am not bought! You can disagree with everything I have examined and written about, (from my personal perception of course!) But please do not ascribe ancillaries and extraneousness to my strong convictions and commentaries about Nigerian issues, please?

Be assured that I am neither “fanatical, or cut off from the realities” in Nigeria, nor do I harbor “unfounded” beliefs; This brother Nigerian here, follows no one “blindly” as you alleged! No, it is just my analysis or examination and reading of the facts, my interpretation from my perspectives! That is all there is!

I must beg to disagree with you on some of the issues that you raised in your article regarding my opinions
Writing from the comfort of my foreign abode? I did not gladly leave Nigeria when I left, when the “Andrews were checking out” of Nigeria, Mr. Obasanjo was not yet the president of Nigeria then; No reasonable national/person is happy to be compelled to leave his country to live overseas because of dire circumstances at her home country! Every-minute here in the USA? I wish that I were in your hometown or mine! Mr. Idriess, here is some newsflash! East or West? Home is Home, There is no place like home for me!!! I am certain that this is not your first time with this concept?

I came to the US in a Nigeria Airways plane, when I embarked on my outward journey to the USA? I realized the finality of coming to live abroad permanently? I wept like a child! That was almost twenty years ago, Mr. Obasanjo was not the president then!

The choice of living overseas was foisted on many Nigerians and myself before the Obasanjo/Atiku government, which means, unemployment, the failings of NEPA, NIPOST, NITEL etc as you accurately portrayed in your article, the failure of all the infrastructures, roads, schools, hospital, ASUU frequent strikes and all the associated evils and all the failings of systems in Nigeria that we all write about and dwell on, are age-old issues, that, EXISTED for several decades before your brothers Obasanjo/Atiku took over the reigns of government as they INHERITED avalanche and gargantuan challenges! We all want Nigeria to recover and revived from all these mess!

Hence in the past, I wrote in “Unfairness Of Blaming Obasanjo And Atiku For All Of Nigeria's Challenges” “We must not throw the baby and the bath water away because we are impatient, because we are overdue for our journey, because we are late in our national journey and national quests, We must be patient with those we have entrusted with national reconstruction, national rebirth, national revival and Nigeria's Renaissance! Nigeria arrived at the current political, economic and social state of affairs honestly; All rational and intelligent Nigerians saw it all coming, the abandonment, the neglect and the consequent decay of infrastructures did not occur overnight”

The only analogy that I can think of presently, to exemplify this point regarding the Obasanjo/Atiku predicament is this, it is as if someone dumped garbage and rubbish on the market square in your hometown, repeatedly for 25 years, you, a public spirited, generous and kind person, with a good heart, volunteers to clean up the mess thus created by someone else, the police and everybody now arrives, the traders and all, arrive to find you cleaning, you may be slow or be detracted from the cleaning efforts, but is it, fair for the traders, onlookers and everyone to blame you for the huge mess that got onto the market square? It was someone else, who created the mess, no fault of yours! Is this fair and reasonable on their parts to now blame you? Blaming you because you volunteered to clean the public market square, because you undertook and promised to do an excellent cleaning job, to turn the market square into a pristine environment? Is it fair for all and sundry to suddenly or soon forget the original source of the dirt? And now be asking for your head, the heads of your children etc? Or we do not have to be fair to politicians?

How can they forget that you did not create the garbage/rubbish/filth in the first place?!!!!

Obasanjo/Atiku are like you, they promised to clean up the place, they need time, money, other resources, including support, encouragement etc etc To do the job! Not distractions and bad belle from every corner as we have witnessed! This is my Haka ne!

But can reasonable persons expect 25 years of abandonment, decadence and neglect to be changed in 4 years, 4 years imbued with intrigues of impeachment, self-aggrandizement and selfishness of the National Assembly? OK, let us say the entire political class?
It does not appear to matter, whomever the president was, during the past four years, it was simply impossible to transform Nigeria overnight, only children and some dishonest or disingenuous Nigeria can think so and expect so and continue to say so!

Those of us overseas have no idea or clues? As to what is going on in Nigeria? You are not correct in your assumptions! Your conclusions are neither here nor there! It could not be farther from the truth! My “comfortable abode overseas” as you described it, actually enables me and many other Nigerian here to have easy access to all sorts of information, I read what you read! I have access to the same Internet and other Nigeria related Internet sites and much, much more!

The only Nigerians overseas who ignore developments and issues in Nigeria, are those in complete denial! For me, even if I live and die here (God Forbid!) I will always concern myself with Nigerian issues, Nigerian affairs and progress, I do not have a choice! Even if I become the Governor of New York State! I will remind every New Yorker that, I was born, assembled and made as a complete product in NIGERIA!!!!

Please know it therefore, that a great deal of Nigerians overseas, take enormous interests in what is going on in Nigeria, hence you read their reactions on a million websites on the Internet that are very vibrant, including Gamji! We here are concerned with Nigerians issues and affairs, economic, political, cultural etc! Are you kidding?

You should assume that I have the same information that you have, or that I know what you know, My example? Let us say that you live in Lagos? And I live in Maiduguri? We both however, rely on the Internet, the New Nigerians Newspapers, The Guardian Newspapers for the news of what is happening in Abuja, Owerri, Kaduna or Zungeru? How can you or I, have any unique or special insight into what is going on in the various places where we are not resident? Or what is considered newsworthy?

Since you Mr. Idriess, admit being an ardent surfer and an avid reader of news and current affairs, you must admit also, that you and I, rely on the same medium, the same for our news, the same, the same the same! The same Nigerian related Internet sites and Newspapers!

I was the first to congratulate Gamji.comduring the heat of the general elections in Nigeria, this was because, unlike every other Nigerian media, posted elections results in real time! was fast and up-to-date! After the elections? was eventually or subsequently congratulated by all, including a big feature in The Guardian Newspapers coveted opinion page!

I am sure that some people in your hometown and mine, do not have access to the newspapers or the Internet, mostly because, they cannot afford them, and there are yet, some others with means, who even, if they can afford these things, but they however, lack the interests in news or daily political developments; There are Americans and Nigerians here in the USA in these categories, the Internet, Newspapers, CNN, BBC or VOA means nothing to them! They are people just only interested in comedy, or some other entertainment on television, in place of hard news! Due to religion (Jehovah Witnesses for example) or upbringing or tastes or for whatever reasons!

My point here is? I follow the news and development at home very closely, by the minute! I read several Nigerian Newspapers everyday, I visit several Nigeria related Internet websites everyday, I also of course read American Newspapers and watch CNN etc, Why Mr. Idriess? Balanced news! It is better than a heavy reliance on new from the embedded journalists of the foreign press! BBC VOA CNN! Hankali fa! By preference, some men rather watch television for three hours or more! Or play draft or Ludo? Or go beer drinking? Or gossiping? All these are legal, by the way! But I chose to read and write after work.

My preference, everyone has their own! I read and write fast, I balance the information from Nigeria by comparing presentations of same stories by, then the Triumph of Kano that has published some of my articles recently, thank you Triumph! The Guardian rendition of same news item or story, then with ThisDay, then with Vanguard, (The Weekly Trust and Daily Trust that has also been generous enough to publish my articles thank you Trust Newspapers!) Then compare it with the Daily Champion etc I am sure you get the point?
So, I can pretty much, tell the editorial slant of each of the above media houses!

I have also compared your favorite and mine! With my other favorites etc for an in depth and distilled view of what is happening in Nigeria, I do not recommend or suggest that you or anyone need to do this, these are some of my simple pleasures, other people may have more sophisticate tastes, I do not begrudge them!

Your argument and conclusions that Nigerians overseas, including myself are unaware of the harsh realities on the ground in Nigeria come from an absurd premise, hence a necessarily ridiculous conclusion! Nigerians overseas follow the news and talk to families in Nigeria; Additionally, I am sure that you know that there are men in Nigeria and everywhere in the world who are gynecologists? Seasoned and good gynecologist do not have to be women or they do not have to have ovaries or wombs or such other biological capacities to be pregnant, in order to become seasoned gynecologist to take care of pregnancies and childbirth, an excellent gynecologist is one who is! He does not have to be a woman!

Some Nigerians always allude to the International Community about everything in Nigeria, even though the international community remains just that, international, So, how come the international people know about Nigeria more than me? I was born in Nigeria, I have a family there, I also visit, though not as frequently as I do like!

Clean water is universal, so are elections irregularities! Please, I must make a request of you and the other Nigerians, you should get ready to come to America, the Americans have general elections scheduled for November 2004, I am sure TMG, the Catholic Churches in Nigeria and yourself would gladly serve as international monitors and observers of American elections? If not? Why not? Would that be inferiority complex to assume irregularities in America are good but unacceptable in Nigeria? Shouldn’t irregularities in America be monitored by Nigerians and Nigerian based NGOs? But the Americans and Europeans should monitor Nigerian and African elections? President Mbeki of South Africa disagrees with this one-way street traffic of monitoring and observing regimen and I am a having conceptual orgasm knowing that I am not the only one who thinks that election monitoring between America/Europe and Africa should be a two-way street traffic!
I am not an advocate of fraud, criminal behavior or election irregularities! You missed it!

It is an empirical fact that INEC established and managed 120,000 polling stations during the general elections just conducted and conversely, the celebrated American and European Monitors, only had approximately 200 monitors present in Nigeria? How is it then, that some Nigerians are not asking whether it was possible for 200 people to be at 120,000 polling booths or stations, even if they have four eye-balls each?

Even if the polling stations were wired with closed circuit cameras! Could these Americans and Europeans effectively monitor 120,000 polling booths? Did they ever look away from the close-circuits monitors of these cameras? But seriously, the booths or stations were not so wired, and besides, I know the terrains of Nigeria well, from Ravines to the Desert to the Rain Forests and the Savannah grasslands! I have traveled every state of Nigeria, So the long nosed foreigners were in Degema? Burutu? Damaturu? Potiskum? Bama? Umuazare? Oguta? Kafachan? Obudu? Kwale? and Zungeru? They did not just perch at Abuja? Lagos? Kano? In the big cities, coasting with amenities and five star hotels? If so? I am impressed! Do some Nigerians know how arduous and treacherous traveling the nooks and crannies of the ravines can be? Or to remote villages in parts of Nigeria that suffers from desert encroachment and stand storms? Or the foreign elections monitors engaged in random samplings to arrive at their conclusions?

Even in the army, it is not very simple for some two hundred officers to control 120,000 rank and files! Even though there is compulsion in the military! Even if these rank and files were gathered in the same open field, it is difficult for the two hundred officers to make eye contact with each and every rank and file!
Here, the elections did not take place in one huge open field! And the monitors claimed to have made eye contact with 120,000 polling stations and 62 million voters? Hmm OK!

You and others who are desirous of criticizing Nigerians who live abroad, should not do so indiscriminately, and you must not assume that we came here during the past 4 years;
Most Nigerians who now live outside Nigeria did not leave in the last four years, if anything, most Nigerians overseas have been encouraged to come home in the past four years, because the situation is stabilized, I have been living in the United States for almost twenty years! This is certainly not because of Mr. Obasanjo and Mr. Atiku’s administration, NO!

The same can be said for the majority of Nigerians in America, Europe, Asia etc they have been living abroad since the early 1980s when the economy in Nigeria broke, similarly, the infrastructures in Nigeria suffered disrepair, abandonment, neglect and decay, for decades, this again, is not Mr. Obasanjo/Atiku’s fault, Mr. Obasanjo was actually disparaged and then jailed for mentioning the fact that infrastructures in Nigeria were decaying.

Now, to Mr. Obasanjo’s credit, he does not jail people with Decree Two or Decree Four simply because such people criticize him, or abuse him, even when they belittle him and lampoon him! Time a-changing! It is a new Nigeria, a new day in Nigeria! Don’t you agree?

The right to criticize is universal, it applies to the president, you and me, I welcome criticisms, it is an essential component of intellectual exchange, democracy and freedom, I have benefited and learned from your disagreements with me, and perhaps, there is a remote possibility, that there is something useful that can be garnered from what I have been saying in my writings? Let me add that, apart from criticisms, I have also received attacks, then also received commendations, support and encouragement that buoys my modest efforts and I’sha Allah, I play to continue writing!

Furthermore, I am a Nigerian, I was born and raised in Nigeria! Everything that I know, that is worth knowing! I learnt in Nigeria! As I have lived abroad, I have maintained an open mind to other peoples’ cultures, I assimilate some aspects of foreign cultures that I have examined and determined are good for me or compatible with my Nigerian-ness, I certainly do not assimilate garbage cultures, so it is safe to say, that once in a while, I fine- tune the entrenched ways of our good Nigerian culture, But even though so, I still enjoy my tuwo-sinkafa or pounded-yam more, when I use my bare hands! Ni ba bature ba!

How then? As it appears, you do not trust my observations and analysis of the situation in Nigeria, Nigeria where my heart is! Where I have permanent interests, Nigeria to which I have an avowed and unalloyed devotion! But you would trust the Americans and Europeans hook, line and sinker? I believe that your reasons are the same reasons, why some Nigerians would prefer to listen to Oyinbo music instead of Hausa music? Instead of Igbo music? Instead of Yoruba music? Instead of Fufulde or Fulani music? The same reasons why some Nigerians prefer pasteurized Orange Juice from the USA over the better and readily available, fresh squeezed juices from fresh Oranges in Nigeria, that are without chemical and other preservatives?

The above reasons and explanations as I have offered, hopefully answer your queries? The above reasoning is the specific exactitude of the motives for what I write, particularly, about Nigeria, these are my Haka ne, my Beni O and Nodu Ofuma of all my modest writing efforts! Shikena? Nagode!

God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, even more abundantly

The Benefits of Nigerian Unity and The Perils of Disintegration

The Benefits of Nigerian Unity and The Perils of Disintegration
Nigeria is not a perfect society, I have never in my private or public comments stated otherwise, Instead I have often stated that there are no perfect societies anywhere else, hence the discussions about the good and the bad in the context of Nigeria’s situations should be in comparative, must not be in vacuum; And that the challenges that Nigeria is facing should be measured in global or universal human perspectives; I strongly believe that violence, war or disintegration are not the ultimate or desirable solutions to our national challenges, notwithstanding suggestions to the contrary.

In the recent past, critics have called me simplistic, naïve or even worse, is the erroneous accusations and painful charge that I am anti a particular ethnic group or region, despite these painful charges that I am anti any Nigerian, I am still optimistic and enthusiastic about all that is Nigerian and positive about Nigeria, the unfair labels and castigations are therefore distractions from meaningful dialogue which is all that I advocate.

I am saddened by the names that I have been called regarding an ethnic group, Because my comments are motivated by sincere, pure and honest intentions, it is a surprise to have managed to elicit and engender labeling and castigation of my person by some; Being anti any Nigerian represents the exact opposite of what I advocate and stand for in relation Nigeria; Ironically, some of my critics admit that they have not bothered to read the article written by someone else about Nigeria, which I had criticized to warrant their wrath. Give a dog a bad name in order to hang it?

But still, there were these reactions to my criticism of the said article, how can those who are critical of my response honestly do so? Their actions are exactly like reacting to a book critic’s comments about a book that they have not read? My criticism of the author arose from his comments on page 100, but you do not know the contents of the book or particularly issues raised at page 100, It is as if you are saying, I have not read the book, I detest your criticism of the author and the contents of his her book, what logic could explain the interpretations of the unknown?

Nigeria and Nigerians united and prosperous and greater, is all that fills my heart and this belief in one Nigeria remains my motivation in all I write about Nigeria. It is too common these days for some Nigerians to want to impose their views about the so- called sovereign national conference and other sundry matters on everyone else and insist on why disintegration of Nigeria is the only choice that Nigeria and Nigerians have and any disagreements with their ideas or concept is an invitation to be labeled anti East West South North.

Again and again we are told that a sovereign national conference is a panacea or a be all and end all or the magic pill that Nigeria needs or that disintegration will be the next best alternative, I vehemently disagree and must add that in Democracies, Dialogue, Debate and Discourse are key elements for success.

There are so many examples of disintegrated republics that are full of anarchy and lawlessness, Nigerians should take a look at these failed republics and be more cautious in their advocacy for violence, disintegration and war cries, these tattered republics abound in Africa and Europe Somalia, Liberia Sierra Leone the Congo the Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda and Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Chechnya, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Burundi and more recently the Ivory Coast etc shouldn’t the human catastrophes in these failed republics deter warmongers and advocates of disintegration of Nigeria?

Why are some Nigerians so desperate for violence, war or disintegration of sorts? And anyone who disagrees is promptly called anti East anti West anti North? Why can’t the motivations be nationalism and patriotism? Or desire for constructive dialogue and debate and desire for peace?

Why can’t Nigerians negotiate their differences, even if it means Nigerians holding their noses while negotiating, so long as there are some negotiating going on or taking place? Some Nigerians seem hell bent on spilling some blood, but seems to forget that war is not a friendly undertaking or pleasant endeavor; And as is usually the case everywhere in the world, those who usually suffer or die from the vagaries of wars are often not involved in the clamor for war

The Nigerians who are abroad, who like myself, ran away from Nigeria when the economy made life very difficult as it broke, should be the last group of Nigerians asking for disintegration or war, In the event of war, are these warmongers in the Diaspora going to volunteer as foot-soldier if and when the war starts?

Who amongst us can foretell how a war would turn out? Who will be the victor or vanquished? What domestic or foreign intrigues that will surface? Until you punch a person, you never can predict his/her reaction or level of strength.

Who can foretell what the human cost and consequent catastrophe and attendant conflagration may spiral into? Who among Nigerians can foretell whose views and battle-plan in the national dispute will prevail? Who can tell the human cost and how many republics Nigeria will become or end up when all is said and done? According to statements attributed years ago to the retired General Danjuma (the current Defense Minister) ‘No nation fights two civil wars and remain intact” he was quoted as saying so some 25 years ago and that is still relevant and correct today; Warmongers beware, Lets ponder.

In previous public comments, I emphasized repeatedly that the way forward for Nigeria is to improve the economy, nurture our national resources without leaving any group or component part of Nigeria behind; Instead of fighting each other over what we currently have.

Some Nigerians are currently too consumed with mutual disdain and mutual suspicion based on religion, region and state or ethnicity; I am not unaware of the enormous diversity of our nation and the inherent conflicting interests within our republic, but these interests are not mutually exclusive ; Is it now
impractical and impossible to emphasize the positive?

Why are the vocal minority so determined to compel the rest of us to accept that war and disintegration are the only options that all Nigerians have. Why is it that those who are screaming with their screeching tongues, as to how the sky in Nigeria is falling, are the ones with the correct and only opinion?

Yes, we have challenges and we have national issues that needs to be addressed and resolved from meaningful dialogue, negotiations and constructive engagement; In my opinion these are the only reasonable and responsible options; Not resort to more violence, war or disintegration..

These analogies that follows, comes to my mind as I think of Nigeria, they are about rivalry and the decay of valuable properties of some deceased politicians in Nigeria of the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s, these politicians left immense wealth to their Children, this great deal of wealth was allowed by default to rot, because of sibling rivalry and battle royal between widows and the children, these families, instead of sharing the wealth or getting together to manage the wealth or appointing an objective third party manager or company, allowed their rivalry and schism to becloud their best judgments and so for upwards of 40 years, the properties decayed and the wealth deteriorated and disintegrated

The family above allowed pettifogging to get in the way of great opportunity to have great fortune with little efforts at managing them and the properties were in the best parts of Lagos, and with time, became dilapidated and lost significant value

This is similar to the disagreements and squabbles, mutual suspicions and disdain that Nigerians currently have regarding revenue sharing and derivation debate, issues that are now in the way of Nigeria’s singular opportunity, more than ever before, to use and enjoy our national fortune in a democratic setting.

Secondly, a personality that was associated with the June 12 political imbroglio, also had left a huge amount of properties and the surviving children and family are currently engaged in a bitter dispute, and their disagreements has by default caused the properties and businesses to lose value or become bankrupt due the lack of a concerted effort to resolve issues amicably and absence management, of the said wealth or properties he left behind.

These examples are similar to what might happen to Nigeria and Nigerian resources; Because in the event of more violence, war or disintegration, we will suffer and neither the favored parts or the marginalized parts of Nigeria will be able to benefit from the fabled resources from which comes the derivation principles or the, On-shore/off-shore dichotomy; I do not want this to happen to Nigeria; But some Nigerians appear to be unwittingly and stridently working too hard to make war and disintegration become fait accompli for Nigeria, by their utterances and commentaries, and constantly predicting doomsday in Nigeria that they forecast will occur before during or after the 2003 general elections.

Our national quarrels and squabbles over power sharing and the distribution of resources are normal and expected and are not unlike other societies or unlike incidents of other human interactions and interrelations outside Nigeria, but what is unacceptable, is allowing our family quarrels deprive us of collective good judgments, and then head to violence , war and disintegration, so that, Nigeria, like the deceased politicians’ families in my above analogies, will neither have country nor resources to argue or squabble over and none of the current component parts of Nigeria will get to enjoy our country or our prized resources, We should reflect on these, it is very easy to destroy and it takes gargantuan efforts to build or rebuild. anything anywhere in the world.

For those of us, who are far away from home, We should be recommending positive improvements for our country based on our positive experiences and beneficial exposures in our new environments as to how some things are made effective and efficient in the different parts of the world where we now live and how Nigeria can replicate such effectiveness or efficiencies for Nigerians in Nigeria, mind you, not everything I see in America that I want for Nigeria, I do not want Nigeria to ape other models.

Our Nation endures, nationalism and patriotism is not a fleeting experience, whereas, resources can be fleeting, leadership can be fleeting, but the corporate entity Nigeria should not fleet or wither

Remember, “:If they drink the oil, Nigeria go survive” Nigeria namu ne, naka ne, obu ikem, obu ikeghi, Nigeria temi ni, ti iwa ni, so an old Nigerian song goes! Resources may come and Resources may go! Nigeria is yours and mine!

The facts of Nigeria’s past are that, first, there was Groundnut/Peanuts in the North and Cocoa pyramids, Coffee pyramids in the South West and Midwest and then the Coal and Cashew pyramids in the East, Rubber pyramids in the South East and now the current mother of all resources, the black-gold a k a petroleum oil and its derivatives in the Niger Delta.

Nigerian resources that became national income earner at one time or another have been derived from different regions and different states or ethnic grouping locations and in all of these, there has been inequities in distribution and sharing of resources ala unfairness to the chicken that lays the golden eggs

We are all aware also of all the environmental impact, pollution and spillage of fish ponds, farm lands and communities that are ruined in the process oil prospecting and exploration and why these communities have been deserving of adequate compensation from time immemorial, it amounts to preaching to the converted to re-state the worthiness of the case of proponents of derivation; Schools, Hospitals, Roads, Employment and other social amenities are all in order to say the least.

However, all of us Nigerians should learn not to take absolute positions on national issues, including derivation; Life is not comprised of graph of straight lines, there are always variables, such that, sometimes, life goes in spirals and meanders and change is a constant in life, change will come and if we bear this axiom in mind, perhaps Nigerians will then, and should ask, what will happen if geologists find plutonium and uranium and some other precious metals/minerals in my hometown tomorrow? Now, assuming that my state has no oil, and so my hometown is neglected, will I not be vengeful and spiteful with my new found plutonium/uranium/precious metals/minerals wealth when it is discovered in my hometown?

Nigerians should be magnanimous and be their brothers’ keepers or fellow citizens’ keepers in the circumstances, we should not seek to operate like he biblical prodigal son, products fall out of favor, out of fashion, prices fall and more, new technologies emerge. Nigerians should behave like the profound Christians and profound Moslems as everyone often claim.

If Nigeria disintegrates, you will need an import license and visa for the privilege of paying more for cattle from Jigawa and Adamawaa or Cross Rivers and hence the slippery slope argument, everyone will demand more for their products, I charge more Naira for my cattle, you charge more for your oil, Niger Delta deserve adequate compensation for national wealth derived from the
soil in the geographic part of ‘the whole’ which Niger Delta is sub-sect of, meaning Nigeria.

So now, why don’t we have equitable distribution with particular deference to the oil producing states but without minimizing or compromising Nigeria’s national interests which requires all Nigerians to be willing to sacrifice to protect the states that do not currently produce Oil as in the Niger Delta, or produce Cattle as in Obudu, Yola and Damaturu, Groundnut/Peanuts as in Gboko and Kano, Rubber as in Edo, Cocoa as in Okitipupa, Plutonium in Bauchi or Uranium as in Langtang and Diamond as in Jos or Safire and Rubies from Abagana or Umuazare?

Let suppose for a moment that some new sort of resources becomes Nigeria‘s new major
Export or foreign exchange earner or new energy source that relegates oil? This is quite likely and very possible; What if the new resources and products are not what we now know? Produced from different region or states?

In the United States, a special tax or levy is imposed on citizens, so that those American who live in rural areas are provided affordable telephone service, that means, those of us who are residents of major cities in America, subsidized the telephone services of our American brethrens in the rural areas! Otherwise, connecting them with telephone service will not be cost effective or economical for the telephone companies to obtain a fair market price or to make profit, phone service will be so expensive in rural America and rural dwellers could not afford telephone service without the subsidies from us city dwellers! Most rural dweller in America are poor.

Lets look out for each other’s interests in Nigeria. Some of these resources mentioned above and others mentioned above, are all present in Nigeria and are many more likely, there are infinite possibilities for all. Why can’t we get along, We should get along, some people have even said that Nigeria is holding the black race back, Nigeria success it is said, is Africa’s and the black race’s success, Nigerians should focus on what is positively beneficial to Nigeria.

Where are the Nigerians who are superbly enthusiastic about Nigeria? Whose infinitude of patriotism is beyond reproach, whose luminosity of vision is precise and clear, whose sense of appreciating national interest is immense, and unblemished and spotless,

Where are the Nigerians whose love for Nigeria we dare not question, where are the Nigerians whose commitment and passions and dedication are steadfast and unflinching and unwavering in the pursuit of Nigeria’s national interests?

I am for one Nigeria, united, greater, better and more prosperous and occupying our pride of place in the world! God and Allah have always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so even more abundantly.