Monday, June 29, 2009

Amala-Ewedu, Isi-Ewu, Tuwo-Sinkafa & Pounded-Yam Marketing

Amala-Ewedu, Isi-Ewu, Tuwo-Sinkafa & Pounded-Yam Marketing
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Nigerians, too many, are consumers of every foreign concepts and theories; undiscerning consumers that is!

Do we ever stop to query these foreign concepts, theories and things? Where is our own originality? Are Nigerians mere lazy interlopers and sheepish followers of foreign leaders of thought, products and processes? What have we imposed on the world and what can we impose on the world beyond 419? We have nothing to give the world? We sure have so much to give, only if we care to contemplate and deliberate on what and how much to give the world

Some Nigerians would kill other Nigerians over religions, foreign religions no less! Foreign religions have taken pride of place over African religions and these foreign religions have extremists and fanatics as followers Christianity or Islam etc. Nigerians have not done a good business of exporting African religions. Africans actually had religion before the advent of colonialists and foreign cultures on the African continent. We receive everything, but, what do we send out in return? What is globalization if it is a one way traffic in which we are always the dumping ground for every idea and everything?

A good number of Nigerians, nay a majority of Nigerians are familiar with the cuisines above; I hope! Those Nigerians, who may not have eaten these foods, must at least have heard about them. But why have Nigerians failed collectively to delight the world with all or any of these essential Nigerian cuisines? What “enabling environments” do we need to showcase our foods and our cultures, our way of life to the world?

It is rather easy and simple to invite your friends and colleagues to Nigerian restaurants or homes and have them feast on Nigerian foods as well as simultaneously entertaining the foreign guests with music made by Nigerians. Some Nigerians frequently come across as though promoting the way of life in Nigeria, will have to wait, until every facets of life in Nigeria is perfect.

This will be the equivalent of saying that Nigerians will promote Nigerians foods, until Nigeria holds elections which will be certified by everyone, especially foreigners, as truly free and fair and truly democratic. Nigeria will not promote Nigerian attires, until technology in Nigeria is more advanced than it is in America, Japan and China combined! Shall we be rest assured then, that Nigerians will not promote Tuwo Sinkafa, until Nigeria builds a colony on the moon?

I honestly think that it is every Nigerian’s responsibility to teach the world how we Nigerians live. It should be the preoccupation of every Nigerian to teach the world what Nigerians do, apart from a devotion to democracy, free and fair elections and religious fanaticisms, of Christian and Islamic extremes. What do Nigerians do, outside of war, famine, chaos, disease and all the now “usual” devastated and unsustainable society image of Africans which is so common in the media and on the minds of many, worldwide?

There are births and deaths in Nigeria and all of Africa. We cook and we eat different foods in Nigeria. Whose permission do we need or require to introduce our foods to the world? All the several cuisines which I mentioned above are spectacularly delightful and I have had my very selective, very discriminating gourmet connoisseurship satiated with each and every one of these cuisines. Sadly though, these meals are not universally or globally available. How could there be a lack of demand and supply by items consumed by more than 140 million people and their friends on earth? Why cannot a five star hotel anywhere in the world give me pounded yam and egusi a la carte? Better yet, why cannot five star hotels serve pounded yam, ewedu, amala, isi ewu, tuwo sinkafa and pounded yams before their proud perfection of serving European and transcontinental foods in hotels right on the ground in Nigeria? Nigerian farmers and Nigerians in agriculture and food processing will benefit, if every cabbage, lettuce and burger does not have to be imported!

I am currently unaware of any major hotel, inside or outside of Nigeria which makes and serves Nigerian foods on demand. This is regardless of whether as standard fare, or on demand or upon special requests, by customers and or guests.

How many hotels, restaurants and airlines worldwide prepare and serve these cuisines and why not?

I live in New York City, a mini United Nations of a mega metropolis of a city! You can find pounded yam, but only cooked by Nigerian restaurants. Meanwhile, you can find Chinese foods cooked and sold, served by non-Chinese! And Cuban foods cooked and served by non-Cubans

Talking about the Chinese and Japanese foods! Who gave them “permission” to “compel” Americans and Nigerians too, to eat ethnic Chinese and Japanese foods? Who gave them the audacity, the temerity and boldness of confidence to promote their foods and their culture of Lomein and semi-raw fish to the world?

An urbane Nigerian can eat raw or semi-cooked fish or sushi, to prove his sophistication and assimilation or openness? Or eat escargot and fried frogs; why can’t the world spread the world towards Nigerian foods?

Nigerians do not have to have been part of the past, present or future government of Nigeria to take interest in promoting Nigerian culture, Nigerian foods, Nigerian clothes, in fact, Nigerian way of life, we do not need the permission or authorization from our government or any government for that matter!

Who authorized and consented to the Chinese and Japanese idea of eating with chopsticks instead of the Anglo-Saxon approved and preordained silver spoons?

Who refused to issue same authorizations to Nigerians and Africans? Who summarily decided that African cuisines would not be available at Hilton Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Holiday Inns, the Waldorf Astoria, Wyndham, Hotels and even at Best Westerns and Motel 6?

What are the reasons hotels, restaurants, airlines big and small do not offer Nigerian, nay African foods? Could it be because, Nigerians, and other Africans never ask? I once purchased an electronic yam pounder which was made in Japan, and it cooked and pounded the yams well, like heh lehleh!

I take the view therefore, that some Japanese do know a thing or two about pounded yam or at the very least, the idea of marketing pounded yam processing to us the natives! What if Nigerians return the favor, by teaching the Japanese to eat pounded yam?

I genuinely believe that if Nigerians teach Arabs and Israelis how to eat pounded yam, Amala and Ewedu, Isi Ewu, Tuwo Sinkafa, and then relax as Nigerians do, peace between Arabs and Jews may finally no longer be a far fetched concept, it might actually be attained in our life time!

As a Nigerian, I cannot stomach the thought that world peace is delayed, because Nigerians have not had the confidence to market African foods to the world! And meanwhile, the entire world outside of Nigeria is missing out on the good fortune encapsulated and encrusted in tasting foods from different parts of Nigeria!

There are quite possibly, some Nigerians who believe that Nigerians and African foods are not second nature to non-Africans because of corruption, bad governments, lack of democracy, imperfect elections or because of malaria and Ebola or even AIDS! Not to mention the absence of technology and microwaves!

But when did China become the beacon and model of democratic governance; Elections in China, what elections perfect or imperfect? Or why exactly is the world not gobbling up African foods, especially the ones aforementioned above? What is so democratic about a Falafel? What is free and fair elections about a Gyro, Tacos, Guacamole and Kosher foods and the countries from which they originated?

There is no attempt here to repudiate and pillory democracies or free and fair elections, but instead, to make the point that Nigerians and Nigeria should not have to wait for perfection before introducing things palatable and Nigerian to the entire world, before the human race get used to no having out input or gets tired waiting for us to make the moves.

I can almost hear some people saying eating Nigerian or African foods will require some adjustments on the part of non Nigerians non Africans! But how have Nigerians and other Africans become accustomed to eating intercontinental foods? How many Nigerians asks or cares how sausages are made before they happily chomp it down into their guts?

How have Nigerians and Africans adjusted and adopted or acquired tastes for foods outside of the continental Africa food chain?

Or, better still, what is this thing; which makes it possible for Nigerians and other Africans to be so “adventure-some” regarding other peoples’ languages, foods, clothes, accents, religions and cultures and non Africans are somehow not equally-similarly “adventurous” with African religion, African languages, foods and African cultures?

What are the unstated excuses?

Michael Jackson an Enigmatic American Icon

Michael Jackson an Enigmatic American Icon
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Michael Jackson was brilliant, beloved and enormously talented. He was ironically the title of his music albums; He was a thriller, he was Bad, he was Off the Wall, Dangerous to himself, he was electrifying, he was weird and deeply flawed!

Michael Jackson is said have had an incredible work ethic, he was said to be a perfectionist of an artiste to a fault. Hotel rooms were said were said refitted at Mr. Jackson’s requests for dance practice space, as he always practiced his craft and worked all the time. Sequined right hand-glove was to Michael Jackson as miter is to the Pope.

He was the best at what he did and yet, he was never satisfied. He was so very gingerly lily-fragile.

Michael Jackson most probably died a heart broken man. He faced financial debacles after he had fallen from grace subsequent to child molestation charges for which he was acquitted or cleared.

Michael Jackson was not comfortable in his skin and with his skin literarily; He badgered his nose in too many cosmetic elective surgeries. He scalded his skin to Nordisk pale hue. Michael Jackson clearly had an unusual relationship with his blackness

Despite Michael Jackson’s phenomenal success and world acclaim, riches and fame did not improve his sense of himself it appears. And this makes anyone want to ask, the question, what is it, in America’s social cultural construct which propelled Michael Jackson and others to change and jettison their skin color through bleaching, reduce nose size as did Patti Labelle? Does this sort of skin, hair and nose size fixation reflect a pathology of damaged psyche, ingrained in the minds of our people, as a consequence of hundreds of years of being ridiculed and portrayed as having less desirable skins, hairs, nose, accent etc?

Race, unfortunately, remains a major factor an essential component of how life is lived in America, and in fact, it is how life is lived on earth. In Michael Jackson’s death, race reared its heard in poignant ways.

Many commentators felt the need to compare Mr. Jackson to Elvis Presley and the Beatles. This need to continue to compare an extraordinary artiste such as Michael Jackson to dead white musicians of old, exemplifies how race continues to be a major factor and of its effects as to how all facets of life is live in America as in the selection of firefighters in the state of Connecticut or construction contractors in the state of Colorado.

Jamie Foxx an American movie star, a musician, a great entertainer in his own right and a person of African descent himself, at BET Awards ceremonies on Sunday June 28, 2009 urged a celebration of Michael Jackson, who he called this black man who is ours, who belonged to us, who we shared with the rest of the world, Mr. Foxx extolled MJ’s sound, creativity and talent. Mr. Foxx praised MJ, old nose, new nose or no nose!

Race still creates hurdles in America and around the world. These hurdles are at times visible and invincible hurdles. Michael Jackson apparently took this to heart and too hard. Michael Jackson’s frontal attack on his own skin, nose and hair demonstrated how racial inferiority mindset can become a personal demon, once unleashed, cannot be tamed even by fame, riches or wildest success. Michael Jackson’s unusual relationship with his blackness in this context, make tragic sense.

Michael Jackson became rich and famous and wanted to be a race-neutral, race-free or race-less figure. It is quite likely, that the powerlessness and the checkered history of continental Africans and peoples of African descent moved even a very wildly successful mega super star such as Mr. Jackson, felt the need, as it were, to distance self from such powerlessness and permanent or perpetual ridicules. Michael Jackson was a global entertainer and he may have thought it safer to be a neutral universal persona instead of black? Could he have felt that neutering his hair, skin and nose made him a cross racial universal exchange without the baggage of being a racial symbol?

Michael Jackson sang to the world that it did not matter whether humans were black or white, but incongruously, he focused so much on his black nose, black skin and his black hair, all of which he changed to everything other than what is representative of being black or of African descent. It does not matter to have a bleached self? Being black or white is no issue? So why change your color? I suppose it is difficult to measure the individual’s variable reactions, stamina or tolerance and resistance to vestiges of racism. Perhaps his reaction was to try to blend, which in turn led to the incremental changes to skin, nose and hair? I wish that he could have just been himself and be content with his out-of-this-world fame and fortune.

Michael Jackson started out well, appreciating his heritage and taking pride in his race. On a trip to Senegal with his Jackson Five band, he was said to have danced to Senegalese drummers while publicly stating, and claiming his African heritage, this is where I am from, he reportedly said.

He also was instrumental to the efforts to ameliorate lives of famine victims in Ethiopia through Live Aid fundraising which culminated in the “We Are The World” song in 1984

Those were the good old days of the Michael Jackson with cute face and Afro-hair balloon-shaped or nuclear cloud-shape. Down the road, his public behavior became too weird for serious considerations, such as when he held his nose, as if in complete contempt of people in the Ivory Coast while he visited that country. Michael Jackson was entitled to be married to anyone race, just like Mr. Obama’s father and Tiger Wood and Daryl Strawberry etc, but Michael Jackson’s choice of the mothers of his three children seem to fit his enthusiastic management of his skin color, the size and shape of his nose and new silky hair texture contrasted with his former self. It is doubtful that these are mere coincidences or, very telling and very revealing actions, which were consistent with Michael Jackson’s antecedents concerning his sense of himself and race in America.

Michael Jackson was a genius, a very creative genius! He had a fair share of oddities as genius tends to have. He was a mad scientist of sorts. His public antics with his animals, his kids, mixed with the public’s increasing appetite for the scandalous and voyeur, led American media to label Mr. Jackson a Wacko Jacko with exponential freak factors.

At some point in his storied life, Michael Jackson appeared to have chastised his father and attempted to blame the senior Jackson for working him too hard as a child; this allegedly deprived him of his childhood, to this, Mr. Berry Gordy in response to whether he noticed abuse or neglect of Michael Jackson by his parents when Michael Jackson was young impressionable dotting singer, Mr. Gordy responded that if MJ did not have a childhood, it was probably because he worked hard to become the megastar of all times. Mr. Gordy recalled how the Gordy family played weekly games of baseball against the Jackson family. He recalled how much fun the Jacksons and the Gordys had, and though Gordy is no expert, but he recalled no signs of child abuse.

On the matter of color and race, a 22 years old Caucasian caller to a New York City radio station, WNYC.Org told of how his mother worked very hard to convince him that Michael Jackson was not Caucasian! He said he was freaked-out, as he dug deeper into what Michael Jackson looked like and what he subsequently looked like or became. In Michael Jackson’s life, there is race, culture and confusion. Michael Jackson was certainly no James Brown! James Brown was not perfect, but he did mince words in proclaiming he was Black and Proud! He also had the sense to have played concerts in Nigerian cities, unlike Michael Jackson. I could not quite understand why a Nigerian radio disc jockey broke down and cried on air, and could not continue the radio show!

Michael Jackson nonetheless conquered the world with his physical dexterities in dance and entertainment. He apprenticed in the world famous Motown hit factory created by Mr. Berry Gordy. Michael Jackson fused Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, Rhythm and Blues into break-dancing, he singlehandedly “legalized” and normalized the miscegenation of music and entertainment in America; no longer separate or treated as disparate. Gone are the days when Jazz, an African American art form was described at some point, by some, in the American press as jungle music! But alas! It is now America’s finest cultural export to the whole world!

Michael Jackson put an end to cultivated or willful illiteracy among white Americans regarding music by African Americans the last barrier was lowered against black musicians and entertainers who were institutionally despised despite their incredible creativeness and talents. Music in America because of Michael Jackson is no longer so segregated.

Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson’s father wished that Michael Jackson could see the outpouring of love at his passing and I wish the same thing too. Michael Jackson would have finally realized he did not need to prove anything to anyone on earth or change himself to make the point that he was entertainment greatest person.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Branding, Re-branding, Teleprompting and Managing Nigeria’s Image or Reputation

Branding, Re-branding, Teleprompting and Managing Nigeria’s Image or Reputation
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Branding and re-branding is how goodwill, good image and good reputation is captured, nurtured and maintained by individuals, companies and nations. Branding and re-branding is a necessity in today’s world

Human behavior is more choreographed, orchestrated and more synchronized that ever before in human history, and to this extent, cue cards, are frequently used in public speaking by business people, politicians, television production crews, movie directors and producers. These practices have become common place, all in efforts to make a seemingly flawless presentation of personal message, product presentations, documentary or movie making and in diplomacy and international relations between nations.

Nigerians who think or say otherwise, are completely wrong on this score about human psychology and behavior. Some Nigerians, it appears, seem to underestimate human savvy, sophistication and even utter frivolity.

There is raging debate between Nigerians as to whether or not, Nigeria indeed require branding or re-branding, and if so, whether such effort ought to be Nigeria’s priority or first order of business. I answer in the affirmative. Branding and re-branding is crucial and it is a priority as well. Branding or re-branding is the equivalent of a mission statement for a company or organization and it is similar to a good resume for an individual.

A company, country or an individual can never be too poor to write a mission statement or a resume respectively. A mission statement about a company’s products or services is the foundation of how such company proceed to convince the whole world what it proposes to do and do efficiently, effectively and cheaply, thereby garnering goodwill and reputation, when and if customers are satisfied.

A resume for individual is how the person sets out to convince a prospective employer about her education, skills qualifications, experience and suitability. Nations goodwill, reputation, image is what attract tourist and immigrants, what equally attract trade and investment, respect and admiration etc

To drive this point home, take for instance the fact that Nigerians who enthusiastically exuberant about promoting Nigeria and even those who are too quick in condemning Nigeria, are ironically agreed on one thing, and it is this, the weight of Nigeria’s current image or reputation which is mostly unsavory, whether deserved or justified, is quite entirely debatable; and where you stand on this issue, is determined by where you are sitting, Nigeria wise.

In today’s world, more than ever, image is everything, or at the very least, image and reputation means a great deal. Reputation, image, goodwill and good name is the advertisements and product placements are everywhere you look. It is the reason politicians raise so much money for political campaigns. These are the reasons products wear certain designs, packaging and have particular labels and particular colors etc

Americans presidents have all sorts of handlers, researchers and speech writers. Even after all that research and good writing has put into a speech, the president rehearses the actual delivery, mirrors, teleprompter and all and then, he comes across as a magician to Nigerians. American presidents are air-brushed for pictures and for every public presentation. In participating in political campaigns here in the US, I have come to realize how crucial handling and presentation is to candidates. Instances abound, in which whether a red neck tie presents the candidate as too aggressive too strong, or a blue tie too soft.

A speech about law enforcement or national security or defense a red neck tie is preferred, whereas, matters affecting civil rights or gender issues, a blue neck tie or silver color tie may be preferred. And for the female candidate, project strength and toughness, a red skirt suit and she has an image judged to be too strong, she may wear sky-blue dress or silver colored dress as well and no pant suit in either case. We should manage the image of our leaders because the essentially are our public emblem. I admired former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Ministers Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili for the African attires they wore and glorified, for the former president, I wished that he wore a different sort of eyeglasses!

These are the reasons why Africa continues to conjure the image of Tarzan and Idi Amin, even after several decades of their fables and urban legends.

As for those Nigerians who have and still argue against branding and re-branding in the midst of poverty and competing needs, they must be told that branding and re-branding is a wise investment, especially in the long term. New York City knows this, and it is why she spends billions of dollars annually on advertising New York City as the greatest city in the world! And billions more to market the term, I Love New York in songs and T-shirts etc
New York City ironically, actually started the now world famous I Love New York branding and re-branding, amidst a huge fiscal crises in 1977, when there was fears of New York City filing for bankruptcy, as the financial crises deepened. New York politicians approached the then president of the United States, Gerald Ford, who vowed never to bailout New York City from its economic woes and huge mess, he made an infamous statement that was front page in New York City newspapers “President Ford to New York, Drop Dead!” So, the marketing, branding and re-branding of New York City as place for business for pleasure and vacation became a major effort, among other efforts embarked upon by New York City public officials to resuscitate the city, the effort have been so successful over the years, so much so, that the state of New York has embraced the I Love New York campaign to cover the entire state of New York, beyond the five borough of which the city is comprised.
Nigeria does not have to wait, until utopia is reached before presenting herself to the world as destination for investment, vacation and pleasure, just like New York City, State of New York and everywhere else in the world
Tourism is a major income earner for New York City; last year alone, 47 million tourists visited New York City, a city of 8 million dwellers. And the tourist spent several billion dollars in hotels, on foods and memorabilia and souvenirs. Cab drivers, tour guides, shoe shiners, restaurants, airlines, theater companies and playwright etc all benefit from tourism upsurge to New York City; it has recovered, it took a hit after September 11, 2001 attacks.

About 47 million people visited New York City in 2008. These tourists spent a record $30 billion in New York City 2008 alone. Have Nigerians ever thought about how many of the businesses in Nigeria could be reaping tourist money in Nigeria as is the case in New York City?

Tourism remains a major earner for New York City and most parts of the United States, and different parts of the world. In traveling globally, I have found in my travels, to Britain, Belgium, Bahamas, Canada, Holland, Jamaica to name a few, that travels and tours is how many nations fund a good chunk of their running expenses. In my interactions with local citizens of these places, I found in them, a recognition, and appreciation of, the value tourist add to their economy, and so, the average citizen literally goes out her way to consciously please the tourist, this, at very individual levels.

It is also the case that reputations, images, goodwill and product recognition are too often based on perception, yes, a mere perception! Actual usefulness of a person, or utility of a thing, and real benefits, which is separate and distinct from whether a person, a product or nation, compared with what is actually touted and storied to be.

Why would a medical doctor smoke tobacco in 2009? This even though current science has proven incontrovertibly, cancer causing agents in tobacco, and despite available medical and scientific evidence regarding the harmfulness of smoking tobacco? Cigarette should be seen for what it really is, addiction, disease and death causing products

“The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. ”Branding is the foundation of marketing and is inseparable from business strategy. “

“Re-branding implies that one has to change existing perceptions and shift ideas about an existing brand. Any African government, business, or organization involved in either selling African products, or selling Africa as a business destination, needs a strategy to counteract the Continent’s existing brand in the U.S. main stream media.”


“Africa’s depiction in the American mainstream media has traditionally, centered around images and stories of a continent in crisis, a continent challenged by wars, corruption, disease and chaos”


“Branding is the way in which an organization communicates, differentiates, and promotes itself to its audience.”

“Re-branding - means taking a product or a service and redefining its purpose, it’s content, and its reality.”

“As a journalist and member of the Ghanaian Diaspora, Esther Armah is all too familiar with the portrayal of Africa in the mainstream media. Esther points out that “Africa’s brand was not self-determined; it has been in the hands of an unelected leader, the mainstream media.” She offers her perspectives on Re-branding Africa”

“Devastation” has been Africa’s primary media image for decades. This brand has been powerful, persistent, and without penalty for those who maintain it.”

“It has been destructive for the Continent and the Diaspora economically, culturally, spiritually, and emotionally. It has also been cancerous for trade and development.”

“The media has been the public relations wing of “Brand Devastation” and repetition its tool. A diet of stories featuring the same images of hopelessness and helplessness ensured Western audiences’ loyalty to Brand Devastation.” All these quotes are sourced from The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)

Most people, most companies and nations recognize the importance of image and reputation, real or merely claimed, with a straight-face! That is what diplomacy and public relations mostly about. Selling ice to Eskimos!

Who hasn’t heard of pharmaceutical companies making and selling same tablets with same admixtures of compounds and chemical formula hued and with a different name, while charging for its placebo effect efficacy, to treat the ailment which you never knew you had, until you watched your television? A pharmaceutical company invented affliction!

Who again, hasn’t heard of ghostwritten medical research opinions concocted by employees of pharmaceutical companies, who are all the while pretending to be acting as if they were real medical science trained, and objective reviewers subject to peer review checks and balances? And who hasn’t heard of Merck’s sponsored magazine in which Merck created the appearance, in the magazine formed by it and paid for by it, while reviewing Merck products and avidly recommending them as pseudo professionals in an independent pharmaceutical oriented magazine?
The lives on branding, re-branding, and teleprompting, all aimed at the smooth delivery or presentation of well written speeches, rehearsed, choreographed, orchestrated and synchronized to land like an egg dropped onto velvets an inch close.

In today’s world, it is still important to have full and good grasps of the issues; and to have the passion, good writing, and practiced delivery, teleprompt and all. A moving speech is where preparation meets elegant delivery and dramatic believability.

Coming across as an accomplished polished speaker takes more than mere efforts of old, it now requires more, it combines dramatic acting with multiple variables of a plethora of factors.

Good public speaking therefore is just like marketing or acting, or product placements of today, or public relations, these are never accidental happenstances.

These factors are almost always invariable, whether they are geared at promoting an individual person’s interests or marketing a product for a company, and or, promoting a nation’s strategic national interests.

Wars are won or lost these days, depending on how they are sold and whether public bought into it, as in Wag The Dog.

A prospective employee is hired based on his self-promotion or public relations through his resume and packaging and presentation skills geared at selling self to the interviewer at the interview

Worse than useless products are marketed to gullible public every two seconds of the day! Worse than useless products such as cigarettes are sold every second to satisfied gullible-buyers smokers-consumers!

Some Nigerians must believe that Calvin Klein is daily hunkered over a tailoring machine designing and sewing every pair of denim. These Nigerians are splendidly unaware that price of goods is not often related to cost of production, such that a shoe manufacturer may sue a seller, who sells shoes too cheap below manufacturers recommended prices.

Having read the published opinions of many Nigerians on the futility of branding or re-branding and creating and promoting Nigeria’s image or reputation, I should be forgiven if I now conclude that some Nigerians come across as if they must believe that cigarettes and other tobacco products have good health benefits? Ort hat cigarettes or tobacco enhances longevity, hence the wide market for cigarettes and tobacco in America, Nigeria and worldwide? Nothing could be farther from the truth! It was marketed, branded, re-branded, packaged and presented and, sold!
Branding is crucial and critical for success. This has always been so, it is even more so in today’s world.
The British Pound had sterling qualities, that is a brand, that is a reputation, that brand and reputation was exported through force and sometimes through persuasions and arm-twisting, so that, what in the beginning was a British Pound or Sterling quality which should be limited to England, became a brand, India, Nigeria and America had to accept as colonies of England

BBC and VOA are very popular with Nigerians, Africans and others in the so-called so-labeled Third Word, some Nigerians take whatever is heard on BBC and VOA as gospel or Koranic truth, meanwhile, BBC and VOA are government owned and operated propaganda tools, they have been so, and remain so. The BBC and VOA brands are brands trusted by Nigerians so much, that some Nigerians rely on BBC/VOA with pride, for breaking national Nigerian news. Multitudes of Nigerians trust BBC/VOA, regardless of the fact that these are mere propaganda tools of the UK and US governments! Brand faith, blind faith as well!

And western liberalism and press freedom was put to test recently in the embedment of western journalists in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, President Bush, even against the wishes of Americans and the world
What does being embedded do to freedom of the press? It makes the press freer? Oxymoronic isn’t it?

And yet, the American and European government are quick to criticize press ownership by governments of other nations and the gullible public listens inattentively?

Flags of nations are brands, and have reputation which are admired or loathed, burned or hoisted proudly, depending whether such flag represent peaceful or pariah brand, the average Palestinian or Iraqi may not necessarily see the American flag as a brand which represents an honest impartial peace broker, just as some Nigerians think our beautiful national flag in all its glory, is meaningless to them.

I read Mr. Salisu Suleiman “I am Hungry, Brand Me” and I said aloud, he is right, and yet wrong. Inasmuch as an a hungry man is an angry man, is a truism in every Nigerian, I must add however, that, branding is misunderstood by too many Nigerians! Branding and re-branding , properly channeled and pursued, would leads to economic salvation for Nigerians and Nigeria, case in point, is the wildly successful I Love New York campaign, which resulted in boost and boom to tourism, employment and great wealth creation for New York City and eventually, the entire state of New York borrowed the re-branding idea from New York City!

Branding should be properly understood as a mission statement. It is a sine qua non for progress. It is essential for a person, an institution or an entity or a nation to have a brand plan or mission statement of objectives. Or just forget everything else! Therefore to say, Nigeria is too broke and too bad to have a brand, is the equivalent of say, Nigeria should not have a national flag, or that Nigeria should file for bankruptcy and cease to exist as a nation.

Branding and re-branding Nigeria as such, is the statement and re-statement of purpose and mission statement of our nation, from hereon-out; when and if, such statement of purpose a la mission statement is pursued prodigiously, vigorously and zealously, even the worst pessimists and cynics among Nigerians would have their wildest dream realized.

If Nigeria were a corporation, it will be fair to say, it is currently doing abysmally, making no profits, but instead, losing prized assets. True! But, would anyone be right to suggest a company such as this should not have meetings, special meetings, general meetings, strategy sessions and thereafter, a restatement of the corporate purpose, identity and desire to improve brand, product quality, image and reputation? Of course not! Nigeria, do indeed need branding, re-branding and refocus our national brand, image, reputation in the hot pursuit of our nation’s development and advancement

Hey Nigerians! Let us go and market Nigeria to the world, the world is waiting! And not a moment too soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran Televised Revolution Postponed

Iran Televised Revolution Postponed
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Human behavior is too often illogical and this is extraordinarily so, in international politics.

Recent post elections uproar in Iran witnessed internal and external manipulations. I wholeheartedly supported and still support Iranians who seek a better society and a better country.

However, I will be remiss if I fail to mention the outside hand and outside influence that was so palpable in the entire process. I take the view that the election outcome in Iran, which Iranians want, should engender our support, and election results that suit Lebanon, should be the one we all support. Election results should never be the dictates of what outside powers demand and prefer, over and above the desires of the local electorates. Why I would I want a puppet in Iran that can be manipulated by people outside of Iran?

I believe in democracy, freedom and liberty without pre-conditions. And this is best for all countries, not just Iran. We are entitled to have the same or similar expectations of every country, and in particular, countries in the Middle East or so-called Arab World. Those who pretend otherwise are doing so, for purposes other than in the best interest of the peoples of the countries in question. There is no democracy of any description in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Brunei, Egypt etc Why then is this fixations on Iran?

It does appear as if the focus on Iran is motivated other than by the recent elections. Iran’s nuclear ambitions is written all over the spate of criticisms from the outside.

Why are we in the United States not showing similar concerns for democracy, freedom and liberty in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Egypt etc where there are NO elections at all and none scheduled

Countries where women are still treated like furniture and things? Where women are not allowed to drive.

The current fixation on Iran is informed, not by Iran and Iranians’ best interests, but, rather, an agenda which is driven by the interests of others and outsiders! And why was there this predominance and prevalence of protest signs written in English? Could this be an indication that there is some outsourcing and external engineering, orchestration and choreography in what the world just witnessed in Iran? Why so many posters in English? Whatever happened to Farsi and Arabic? Who were the Iranians talking to? Oh, the international community? I thought this was an internal issues for Iranians?

Why are some showering this disproportionate attention on Iran? If democracy is so good for Iran, it is equally good and desirable in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Brunei, Egypt etc

History is my witness, expediency, as substitute for a sound and fair foreign policy does not work, it is fraught with chickens coming home to roost, as we see in the short sightedness of arming Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the1980s and funding and propping Saddam as proxy warrior against Iran (Iraq versus Iraq war) millions dead and maimed, and Saddam became expendable! No condition is permanent, Saddam.

A consistent foreign policy will actually engender respect for American preachments of ideals of democracy, freedom and liberty etc ; Whereas, a policy which is selective in its application, a haphazard application based on expediency, is hollow and open to ridicule…disdain and is seen for what it is, hypocrisy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Somalia Piracy Is Not A Water Borne Disease!

Somalia Piracy Is Not A Water Borne Disease!
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Piracy in Somalia waters has finally gotten the world’s attention? What took so long? It was, and still is, a phenomenon on the African continent, to which the world is often content to look askance!

I have come to believe, without exceptions, that issues affecting Africa are treated by the world, haphazardly, lopsidedly and near nonchalantly, despite protestations to the contrary.

There is this, which ought to be labeled as breaking news, the fact that in Somalia, piracy is not a water-borne disease. Some might want to treat the symptoms, but is most probably better to address the root.

There are root causes outside and distinct from the outward symptoms which now threatens the world’s commerce and sea-lanes for merchant ships and recreational vessels as well. Piracy on Somalia waters have been going on for quite a while, in fact, a Nigerian vessel, tugboat was held for about a year, and it has just be released as I write these words.

Why is the world concerned now? What took the world so long? The capture of American citizens I suppose. And Mr. Obama got his first chance to exercise America’s military armada, and Africans were Mr. Obama’s first kills, road kill? Mr. Obama would dialogue with North Korea and Iran, but not with those, water-borne-disease African pirates crime gangs? A presidential rite of passage, of defending America militarily, is accomplished, by Mr. Obama through the order to shoot, and kill the Somalia pirates, in order to preserve American lives and demonstrate through that, Mr. Obama’s resolve to employ snuffing-out tactics as tool of policy, especially, as no consequences, political or military would be forthcoming. Good.

Here is the unaddressed long term issue for Somalia, America and the rest of the world. Piracy on Somalia waters lingers, and it is actually widening on the waters of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, around east Africa. American citizens have been rescued, but, the battle has not been addressed. The temporal war was won. And that is surely not good enough as policy, as long-term strategy; for America and the world.

The failure of Somalia as a nation state, the complete disintegration and defluxion of political authority in Mogadishu and all of Somalia have starred the world in the face for more than 15 years!

Somalia, just like any other African nation which is like any nation in Africa afflicted with crises and political fissures from time to time, as it were not long ago in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina etc crises in African nations are allowed to fester, replicate and metastasize (circa Liberia flowed to Sierra Leone and then Ivory Coast) Darfur Sudan replicates similar pattern, flows to Niger etc) Uganda crises, flows to Rwanda and Congo with combatants from many African countries in the region
Piracy is not a water-borne disease; piracy, the Somali blend must not be seen is not another chaos or disease which defy explanations or understanding by those outside of Africa. What has happened in Somalia is one of the symptoms of a failed nation state and the lawlessness which arises as consequences. Nations should not be allowed to fail; the world often views nations in Africa as anything but nations, and there is this attitude or belief that African nations are not capable of stability or sustainable social structures. And as a result, challenges in African nations are often viewed as if they are insurmountable and hence, why bother?

Africa, for most, is synonymous and represents chaos; chaos of wars, AIDS, Ebola, famine, and malaria etc But these problems are not peculiar to Africa, unless anyone was to assume or conclude that the human capacity to do good or so much evil, are unique human traits limited to the African continent. There are those who selectively view challenges faced by all humans, when such challenges are facing Africans.

Africa for some is an inconvenient part of the world to which the wish to wish away.

A great number of people in the world today, some Africans among them, are unwilling to ask the root causes what eventually become these consequences or what others see as chaotic situations with which many are either uninterested and or just plainly impatient!

A cursory examination however, reveals the source of the brigandage on the waters of Somalia, otherwise known as piracy. As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ideological bloc, as was then called. Somalia under Siad Barre was a Marxist/communist nation and at that time, the Soviet Union and the United States struggled for the Somali turf. Barre was overthrown, died of heart attack while exiled in Nigeria

The Berlin Wall came down and the rest of Eastern Europe tumbled down between 1989 and 1991, there was a sea change within and among nations which were until then aligned ideological power blocs of geopolitical schisms. Western powers maintained a sphere of influence with preachment of capitalist ideology and Eastern powers similarly maintained a sphere of influence in accordance with communist-socialist formulas. During the so-called Cold War years, nations of the world were apportioned and piled up along these east-west political divide geopolitical theories.

African nations were, like other nations slapped and splashed along this great divide, a divide that was aggressively ferocious and mutually dedicated to the annihilation of each other. And so, in particular reference to African nations, the split was very pronounced. There were capitalists, mixed economies and there were communists-socialist economy. It meant the tolerance of dictators, tyrants, autocratic leaders, some in uniform as military men who pretended to be politicians and managers of public policies. Democracy, the rule of law and all the fine ideals were expediently ignored.

In battles to align nations with these competing ideologies and sphere of influence were aggressively ferocious and unrelenting; and in the process, persons and countries were completely ruined without a second-thought about consequences. Western and Eastern blocs competed with most brutal of methods and means without a care of consequences.

Somalia as a failed nation state is one such consequence. But who cares? The cold war was fought the great powers, as if with blinders on. Western and Eastern powers needed satellite nations, and puppets on strings-sorts of political leaders in their spheres of influence. Dictators sprouted with winks and nods from the power blocs such satellite state supported. There were stooges, dictators, tyrants and autocrats were set up in a plethora of nations to engage in proxy wars in these satellite nations.
Legitimate constitutionally elected governments were overthrown and supplanted, in their place, anyone willing to do the bidding of particular geopolitical power bloc was good enough. In Africa, and there were so many such post colonial usurpation of power by the west. Mobutu of the Congo came about and Pinochet in Chile came about. Siad Barre was a military man turned politician in Somalia, a country which was once touted as a model for the spread of democracy on the continent of Africa.

Somalia suffered from protracted internecine strife. Clan loyalty replaced patriotism and dedication and commitment to central government. All these were added to the toxic mix of geopolitics and Somalia spiraled out of control. The United Nations mandated a belated intervention, and, the so-called humanitarian intervention by the United States was botched as the factions accused the US of supporting and backing factional efforts, instead of being a neutral and objective peace-broker.

Expediency reigned during the cold war years laid the ground work for imbroglios in Africa. Expediency as policy replaced logic and good sense and long term planning or strategies. The building blocks of political structures were overlooked, neglected or jettisoned outright for expedient chess games power games between the competing super powers for superiority. Democracy, Human Rights etc were ignored, in favor of puppets, and tyrants who would gladly do the biddings of a superpower.

The current financial meltdown and downturn in the global economy, provides an analogy, toxic assets and securitization of mortgages were essentially American and European phenomenon, however, the consequences has reverberated beyond America and Europe.

Additionally, double standard in the rescue implementation, also exacerbated the meltdown. Just as a double standard in policy also produced different results for nations facing disintegration, such as was in the Balkans and in some parts of Africa.

Lehman Brothers was permitted to fail, after the open rescue of Bear Sterns and then, AIG, Somalia was permitted to fail while Bosnia was publicly rescued. There is no difference between the causes of failure for Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers, and there were no difference between social, economic and political fissures Bosnia-Sarajevo faced compared with Somalia. This double standard is also evident in the treatment of say, desperate refugees and asylum seekers from Cuba and Haiti, the Cubans are welcomed with banners and pageantry. The Haitians are returned to Haiti, despite the fact that both asylum seekers are from identical dire economic and political straits, even by American own assessments and admission.

The only difference is the color or race and continents of the victims of wars and social upheavals in our world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blue Eyes Green Eyes Cat Eyes Frivolous and Black?

Blue Eyes Green Eyes Cat Eyes Frivolous and Black?
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Not long ago, I wrote an article titled Hair From Hong Kong and Bleached Skin Favored by Black Men? In it, I wondered publicly why too many continental African women, sundry women of African descent wear false hairs with outlandish and equally outrageous colors which constitute assaults to the senses.
Readers responded with varying cacophonies of indignations. There were those who argued that it was quite okay to color your hair to whatever hues, and be black proud and be Afro-centric all you want. After all they argued, the Massai use a great deal of colors and tones in their hairs and so do other Africans.
There were readers who also pointed out false hairs or wigs are not of African inventions. And that we should not be fixated on mere outward superficial appearance, because individuals are much deeper.
And of course, there were those who were in complete agreement with the concerns which I expressed on the question whether Africans and peoples of African descent have bought into a look, other than an African look? And whether there is a preference for looks, and personas, of people outside our culture, looks, which is held up, as standard of beauty? One such response is the impetus and catalyst for the title of this present discourse. Her comments were gratifyingly succinct and prescient, As a consequence, I sought her permission to mention her name, but, she prefers her anonymity! Rather, she would only allow her expressed opinions on the subject in print, but, without her name appended here.
It is reproduced below in quotes and presented in separate font types:
“Mr. Adujie: Your article is so refreshing!! and is welcomed and applauded. Your sentiments are sentiments that I have long held and discussed in many forums. To be as upfront as I can (and to preserve my credibility!), I do admit to straightening my hair. But it is still just MY hair, which I happen to wear very short (Anita Baker-style, at least during Ms. Baker's earlier years), and I do not wear extensions. I also shun as you referred to "loud" colored hair: blondes, platinum, or even bold reds are not desired by me, and I share your concerns that they are desired by any Black woman. Even as I have friends and 'associates' who would certainly say that they are just being "playful", "experimental" or "exercising all of their options". 
“What bothers me as much if not more, are the contact lenses that Black women choose to wear which are Blue, Green, or some other color far removed from the eye colors that they were born with. Yes, I do see it as a dislike, even a disdain of self. As a people, not only have we straightened hair, but we have colored our hair "loud" unnatural colors, we add hair in unnatural lengths, wear blue, green or other unnatural contact lenses, bleach our skin (exposing ourselves to multiple health risks), and finally one that I did not see mentioned in your article (unless I overlooked it), is that those of us with the financial means, will submit to the knife to make our noses and/or lips thinner! Anyone who would go to such lengths is hard-pressed to maintain that they like themselves and feel good about being Black.” 
“And the saddest part is that so many of us continue to perpetuate this in and to our young people. I have seen very young Black girls with hair extensions, and as I've said, this might be 'ok' if it is clear that the children know and are proud of whom they are without the extensions; my observations are that this is not the case. Children who are outgoing and pleasant with the extensions, suddenly appear withdrawn and insecure without the extensions. Something is very wrong when "hair" (or how light or dark, thin or thick featured you are) can determine how you feel about yourself, at any age, but certainly when you are young. What must the parents be affirming to the young girl who feels she must have hair extensions to feel pretty or confident? And how can we honestly expect that other races and groups around the world, will respect us as Black people, when we don't respect and love ourselves as Black people?” 
“Even some of our 'respected' Black companies and organizations perpetuate 'other' standards of beauty, when they 'come up with' their "most beautiful Black Woman list" and continue to only or primarily include only light-skinned and/or long-haired and/or thin-featured women. What does that say to the little Black girl who has none of those characteristics? “

“Yes, we as a people still have much work to do, and articles like yours help to initiate the dialogue and keep the matter before us, which hopefully, with God's help, will lead to change. Thank you, Mr. Adujie, for the article” 

The response above is from a reader, who I have never met. And yet, her concerns are apt, and identical with mine and in her expressed concerns, I found a stranger as an intellectual soul-mate.
I wish that the world is a race-neutral and color-blind; but sadly, it is not. Hence we must ask why continental Africans and peoples of African descent seem to be making contemplative and deliberative efforts to de-emphasize our own race. Some many questions arise from this seeming collective mindset.
Why, for instance, do continental African and peoples of African descent, men and women, feel the need to wear blue, green and cat-like contact lenses in their eyes? Who exactly, does a continental African with blue eye looks like? What in particular is wrong with our natural color eyes genetically ordained eyes which therefore necessitate substitute for a better one? What sorts of fashion statements are these? And how far must our people go about these farcical frivolities of hair, skin and eyes? What are the costs and health risks in these very vigorous exercises in silliness?
Readers should be reminded that eye colors in question here, are the store sold eye colors and not a reference to eye colors of biracial or multiracial and in between crossbreeds, among continental Africans and peoples of African descent. Rather, my focus and point of reference, is solely on those who ask for colored contact lenses by assortment of colors.
Since Hair From Hong Kong article, I have been confronted by many, who assiduously, have sought to find plausible excuses for fake and false hairs with dramatic colors. But even assuming that some sorts of rationalizations can be made about these maddeningly configured hairs, what then, can possibly be the poor excuse for wearing vibrantly colored contact lenses? How does anyone explain a blue-black person with brand new different color eyes, than the ones such person had always known him to have? Fake breast hair eyes! How far would we go? What is our world turning into?
There was a time when continental Africans and peoples of African descent worried about our self-image and what constitutes standard of beauty for our people. And it was positively determined that Barbie was not the right doll to give our little girls. It gave me relief when chocolate-colored dolls became standard merchandize in toy stores.
But now, what sense do any of those efforts in the past make, when, as it stands now, we are in the presence of continental African woman who wears false hair which is shoulder length, colored blond or platinum and to sweeten the deal of standard of beauty being extolled, this black mother also sports her brand new blue eyes from K-Mart! Why should any of us bother with the otherwise valid argument of ensuring that our daughters are provided with dolls and other playthings which are made in their image and which accentuate their heritage and not be bombarded with dolls and playthings which projects all others but us? Why bother, when and if, our daughters’ everyday roll model, her mother is this caricature African woman or woman of African descent with Hair From Hong Kong and with rainbow colored contact lenses.
What is the logic of having a Black mother with blond hair and store purchased blue eyes contact eyes, who meanwhile, is asking the store clerk at Wall Mart for a black or chocolate doll for her daughter? We all know that children are like blank compact discs, what you put in them is what you are going to get out of them eventually. Our black daughter in all likelihood will dabble in the same standard of beauty with which she saw her mother; her mother with Hair from Hong Kong with riot of colors, Bleached Skin, fake Blue Eyes obtained through purchase of contact lenses.
We should stop running from our own personal self. Appreciate the person in the mirror when you look.
We should be the best possible, we ought to stop spending too much money, risking our health, all, in efforts to become our former selves!
We should stop caricaturing ourselves. Supreme confidence comes from self-confidence and achievements; and not from self-denigration and self-ridicules.
We should be our real selves, treasured and self-assured.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Federal Character And Quota System in Nigeria - A Good Public Policy

Federal Character And Quota System in Nigeria - A Good Public Policy

Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

It is quite interesting that time have recruited some Nigerians to become advocates and supporters of federal character in appointments to federal positions. Disparate groups have joined this worthy discourse!

All Nigerians should in good faith advocate that appointments and how we do business reflect our essential composite make-up as Nigerians, from local government to state and federal levels. All hands should be on deck. All engines for Nigeria’s development should be firing at full-throttle, from our diversities!

I was abused for advocating federal character and quota system in June 2003 when I wrote: “Quota System or Federal Character In Nigeria And Affirmative Action Policy In America Compared” I was pilloried by those with skewed and expedient view of a true Nigeria. It is was and still is a good policy; good public policies should be advocated and advanced, even when it does not benefit us personally, regionally and parochially! Nigerians must practice intellectual honesty, not selectively and not as fair-weather friends.

There is a need to revisit and reissue, for publication, this opinion on federal character, quota system, our affirmative action program; this topic, upon which a substantial portion of this article was first published in June 2003, it is slightly modified for this republication, which is as a consequence of the reignited debate about the importance of true and effective implementation of federal character in public appointments to reflect the multi-variables of a multi-cultural, multilingual, multi-religious Nigeria’s national development.

It is important, particularly, in a plural society such as Nigeria, that all citizens feel a sense of equal voice, equal representation and equal participation. No citizen or group of citizens should feel marginalized.

The Constitutions of Nigeria, ( since 1979 to the present 1999 version) for decades now, have made provisions for a Quota System and the reflection of a Federal Character in appointments 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 even, legally enforced, this should be provided by our laws, at local, state and federal levels and as well made justifiable 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! It is the superiority of nurture over nature.

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!

It is quite interesting that time have recruited some Nigerians to become advocates and supporters of federal character in appointments to federal appointments. I was abused for advocating federal character and quota system in June 2003 when I wrote: “Quota System or Federal Character In Nigeria And Affirmative Action Policy In America Compared” It is was and still is a good policy; good public policies should be advocated and advanced, even when it does not benefit us personally, regionally and parochially! Nigerians must practice intellectual honesty, not selectively and not as fair-weather friends.

Good public policies will lead to progress, development and advancement of Nigeria, for collective our benefit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Those Hausa People! Those Igbo People Those Yoruba People! etc

Those Hausa People! Those Igbo People Those Yoruba People! etc

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

They are the worst people in Nigeria. They are responsible for all of Nigeria’s sundry economic, political and social ills and plethora of malaises! Those people! Not us! None of them from our backyards! None!

Too many Nigerians are liable to making those generalizations such as you read above. The above certainly represent unreasonable sweeping and intellectually lazy generalizations about any ethnic group in Nigeria, whether the Hausas, the Yoruba, Ndi-Igbo and any of the other ethnic and language groups Nigeria is comprised.

Too many Nigerians are too frequently engaging in debates of national issues concerning Nigeria, approached only from the prism of the ethnic hatreds, prejudices and bigotries against one other group or all other ethnic groups in Nigeria, except their own.

When Nigerians discuss corruption, it is now commonplace to have ethnically slanted list of supposedly corrupt Nigerians. I have had the privilege of living in different parts of Nigeria. I have traveled far and wide in Nigeria by land, and by air. And yet, I cannot claim to have interacted with any group of Nigerians or ethnic or language groups, so that I can claim to know how they “act” or likely to act in specific situations. Which Nigerian can actually claim to have interacted with 140 million of the rest of us upon which to claim to know us sufficiently and then pretend to speak to our idiosyncratic exactitudes? Why do we then speak authoritatively about “those people”?

Ninety percent of the time, these ethnic bigots are neither traveled, enlightened nor informed, and so, they do not in any way, know “those people” those Hausa people, those Igbo people and those Yoruba people of the engage in ignorant generalizations! How does any criticize a book which she has not read? How does anyone become an expert about millions of people in an ethnic group with whom he has not interacted? How do you spell stereotype?

A recent discussion of an identity theft case in New York City, led to senseless generalizations against a particular ethnic group. And soon after that, the news regarding the nomination of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, became another opportunity for ethnic bashing and claims and counter claims of ethnic superiority and ethnic flawlessness! There were those who were sure that Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will not make a decent leader of Central Bank of Nigeria as governor, because he is from the North and may have a diploma in Islamic studies! Even despite the fact that Mr. Sanusi has been leader of a premier financial institution in Nigeria, the storied and fabled First Bank. And despite the fact that Mr. Sanusi was on tape speaking as someone with full grasps of all the essential issues in Nigeria, just as he has published opinions.

The fact and truth of the matter is that issues facing Nigeria have no ethnic definitions or solutions; or am I alone in this? I wonder if anyone can help me with this private challenge to resolve a national puzzle, which will eliminate our funk? Is the difference in our ethnic make up a major factor in our underdevelopment? Has ethnicity anything real impact on bad roads, underequipped hospitals and unemployment and general poverty? Or is it poor management of Nigeria’s abundant resources? We have poor managers from all ethnic groups, do we not?

It is the case that Nigerians and non-Nigerian are in perfect alignment in their conclusion that Nigeria is profoundly corrupt; this much is subsumed by persons, institutions and governments both inside and outside Nigeria.

Astonishingly, there is equally a perfect or harmonious agreement regarding the extraordinary and spectacular fervor, of religiosities of Nigerians of differing religious beliefs and practices. Except that these religious fervors have not translated into abundance of goodness on the ground in Nigeria. What is the purpose of religion after all? The purpose of religion is to preach animosities, mutual suspicions and disdains?

It does not take a person loaded or endowed with shards of critical thinking skills to notice the irreconcilable contradictory terms of reference here? How can Nigeria be so loudly religious and so loudly bigoted and loudly corrupt? Does a person have to be an oxymoronically gifted observer to spot admixture of oil and water of being religious and bigoted and corrupt? Which holy book preaches hatred of others with fervor?

How can Nigerians be such good Christians? How can Nigerians be such good Muslims? How can Nigerians be so holy, with Bibles and Korans and be pungently corrupt simultaneously?

How can a Christian governor Orji Kalu, Joshua Dariye be so monstrously corrupt? And how can a Muslim Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha so evilly corrupt? Why are so many who were governors of states recently, Christians and Muslims, be among those hunted and haunted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC? How is it that a governor whose state is known for its prayer warriors, or harsh Shariah laws, is able to so corrupt to the hilt, but presides over death penalty armed robbers and poor citizens bicycle thieves and the prayer-warriors have no dent? OK, then. How is it, that a fervently religious governor, an advocate of Sharia legal systems, which abhor looting and advocates amputations, beheading and stoning for poor citizens goat thieves, is the same governor who is accused of stealing billions of Naira in public money? No beheading for his loot ne?

Why is it that Nigerians who are fervently religious and even fanatical, are the same ones who are more passionate about their state of origin, even when it pertains to other Nigerians of the same religious beliefs, who just happen to be from another state or from another ethnic group? Are Christians from Hausaland, Igboland and Yorubaland any less of bigoted when it comes to North and South ethnic politics of bigotries? Are Muslims from Hausaland, Igboland and Yorubaland any less bigoted when it comes to North and South national gulfs of isolationism politics?

There is also this additional twist or sour flavor. Nigerians abroad are the most divisive of Nigerians. Some old questions must be asked here again and again to make and push these points and reemphasize them anew.

It must be again and again. Why are Nigerians abroad more vigorous in the defense of their ethnic group, home state and religion or region, than they would, when Nigeria is attacked? Why are Nigerians more ferocious when something is said of Hausaland, Igboland, Izonland or Yorubaland? Anyone who follows internet forums and debate about Nigerians and Nigeria would be quick to detect the docility in Nigerians when non-Nigerians attack Nigerians and or Nigeria, with or without justifications; and conversely, see the ballistic response, when and if identical charges were made by non-Nigerians against Igboland, Izonland, Hausaland or Yorubaland!

Again; you would be forgiven if you thought Igbo, Izon, Hausa and Yoruba etc are component parts of the multi ethnicities make up of Nigeria! It is the equivalent of wishing Ammaggeddon on entire human race while somehow wishing no ill or evil to your ethnic group which is an intricate part of the human race! How could you want to detonate atomic nuclear bomb unto the geographic space of Nigeria while hoping that your parochial and myopic goodwill toward your ethnic group, would extricate your ethnic group from the atom-nuclear blast with which you seek to wipe Nigeria off the earth map? How disingenuous or imbecilic-moronic?

Again; the act of serving, protecting and preserving Nigeria, is the beginning of elemental wisdom, for any Nigerian who seeks to preserve his religion, region, state, ethnicity etc. To think and or act otherwise, is simply tantamount to imbecilic infantilism, the act of shooting yourself in your feet or acting at cross-purposes with your best interests in the context of place, consistent with the best interests of the Nigerian nation as an indivisible whole.

Again; how can anyone wish his heart well, while wishing entire body rot and disintegration? How can anyone wish to preserve his kidneys or liver, without a care for the rest of his entire body?

When will Adamu be able to say he is a citizen of and from Anambra state even though his parents and grandparents were originally from Sokoto? When will Bola be able to say he is from Bauchi state, even though her parents and grandparents were originally from Oyo state? When will Chidi be able to say Ondo state even though his parents and grandparents were originally from Abia state? When will Adamu, Bola and Chidi be able to say they are natives of Calabar and no Nigeria bates an eye?

Nigerians should concentrate on how to make Nigeria a better place live, for Nigerians others who chose to live in Nigeria. But instead, some of are constantly redrawing ethnic maps of so-called ethnic nationalities of some anarchy infused separated nation states. There is poverty and disagreements in Oyo and Ekiti states, and you do not have to be of the Yoruba ethnic stock to see this; just as there is poverty and disagreements in Anambra and Abia states and you do not have to be an Igbo man to see this. Then again there is poverty and disagreement in Kano and Plateau states, and you do not have to be a Hausa or Fulani to see this. And in all these cases, the actors and the consequences are local and nothing whatsoever to do with outsiders from other ethnic or language groups.

There are some Nigerians who delude themselves into believing that a separate independent nation of their ethnic group will amount to some sort of utopia, where they are happy ever after. And so, they are variously awaiting the fantastic phantasmagorias Hausawa Republic, Oduduwa Republic and UmuIgbo Republic. All silliness and absolute nonsense when you think of it! I have known Hausas who squint to look at a Fulani or a Tiv, whether they are part of “pure” “core” North politics. I have known Yorubas from Ogun or Oyo who squint to look at Yorubas from Lagos and Ondo or Illorin as to whether they are genuine Yorubas and Oduduwa citizens and I have known Igbos from Imo, who squint as well at Igbos from Anambra, Port Harcourt and Igbos in Delta State as ethnically and linguistically incorrect Igbos, so these fantasies utopia republics of Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba etc would have soon enough have the frictions and tensions in their new republics as we have in Nigeria now, were the republics in these wild imaginations to come true. Why bother with these delusions?

Those clamoring for the much touted Sovereign National Conference and restructuring, as panacea, must brace for thirty six nationals rife and replete with poverty and arguments, and with the added headaches of visa bureaucracies! Nigerians should concentrate on making Nigeria what we want of her, instead of the distraction of pretending that we can create 36 or 37 nations out of the present Nigeria.

East and West reunited to become just Germany; we also see efforts by European Economic Community to have a single trading bloc, as it already has the Euro currency to compete with the US dollar and other currencies and economic spheres of the world. There are other such consolidations of nations and economic power blocs. Why are we late in the day thinking reverse engineering of our nation Nigeria? There are more benefits in our national diversities. I frankly do not see the benefits in disintegration of Nigeria. Just discussing it is wasted energy! Europeans see the advantage in selling ice creams or widgets to all Europeans instead of a limited opportunity available in just one European nation. Nigerians should become more expansive in their market attitudes, instead of parochialisms.

Kwankwanso does not agree with Rimi, they are both of same home state of Kano. Akala does not agree with his predecessor and they are both of the same state Oyo. Obi does not agree with the Ubas and they all of the same state of Anambra, that beleaguered state. All these people in Kano, Oyo and Anambra respectively are of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo same ethnic stock respectively, and they have variously accused one another and each other of corruption and inefficiency, ineffectiveness. So, the ills which Nigeria have confronted and still confronts are surely ills perpetrated by every political leader from every ethnic group. You can correctly say that ineptitude, corruption and plain idiocy is an equal opportunity afflictions suffered by every Nigerian politician from your hometown and my hometown.

Or you can remain blissfully ignorant in your belief that only people from my hometown are corrupt, inept and moronic, quite unlike the very nice people, the very educated merit oriented people from your hometown who never do anything wrong. And yes my people have ruined Nigeria, if your people were in charge of NEPA-PHCN there will be no need for generators in Nigeria causing pollution with noise and fumes. And if your people were in charge, there will be clean pipe-borne water in every home and there will be full employment or poverty would have ended etc. Yeah, delude yourself, dream on!

Blaming and bashing different ethnic group interchangeably, surely does not make any sense. Besides, it gives us all, false comfort. Instead of seeing challenges as national and universal to all of us, and seeing therefore the need and urgency to corral our synergy and wherewithal, to resolve to solve, we tend to hide our heads in ethic bigotry or jingoism. Some Nigerians engage in too much platitudinous accusations of one ethnic group after the other, a worse than useless and energy sapping process.

The challenge facing Nigeria and Nigerians is the creation of wealth and better management of our national resources. The fierce competition for resources breeds animosities and religion, ethnicities and religions are mere facades and camouflages used as candy or sugar coated inserts to deceive the gullible. Nigerians should refuse to be the petri dish for cultivating ethnic hatreds, we should instead learn to operate like the ants do, ants are often busy creating pathways, ants never clog each other, ants never have traffic jams, the ants are unselfish as they navigate individual and community interests. The ants carrying foods follow single inward path, while those going out to hunt follow double outward path, this is recognition by the ants, of the importance of preserving their kill, even as the need by other ant to hunt continues. Even the ants know their common interests for their common good!

How about Nigerians?

In my travels, whenever I meet Nigerians, I sort of light up. I am delighted instantly! But they will as a matter of course proceed to inquire without fail, about the local government of my birth! Why is the fact that I am Nigerian never enough? Why must I be pigeon-holed into a tiny local government or state? Frequently, this is in an effort by some, to be able to tell themselves that I could not possibly share their concerns, because I am not from their “side” of the Nigerian ethnic, religious and regional gulfs and divides.

But I do understand the impact of poverty, bad roads, power failure, lacks of clean water in every part of Nigeria.

I simply prefer a big picture and a bigger pool to swim. We will all do better, dabbling in Nigeria’s big pool of opportunities. I am not an arrogant person, but, I must make the point and it takes what may sound arrogant, to make my point. And here it is! Look, I am a big fish I swim in the giant ocean of Nigerian unity and diversities! I am too big a fish to swim in the shallow and muddy waters of ethnicities, religions, regions etc!

Adamantly then, I insist that I am Nigerian from all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja! I am Nigerian and that is good enough for me! I do not need or seek ethnic, regional or religious definitions or labels. How about you? I wish that I can influence all Nigerians to think, speak and act in the manner expressed in this paragraph. Nigerians should focus on actions which would develop and advance Nigeria’s worthy causes.

Similar articles by the same author can be found through a Google search, below is a partial listing.

1. The Benefits of Nigerian Unity and The Perils of Disintegration - published in April 2003

2. Adherence to The Rule of Law – published in June 2003

3. No Apologies For My Views Or Opinions! Rejoinder to Mr. Ihas Idriess – published in April 2003

4. Why Nigerians Should Forget Clamor For National Conference – published in July 2004

5. Nigerians Have Poverty in Common! (Why the Census Hoopla published in February 2007

6. South’s Poverty Is North's Fault? Nigerian Myth 101 – published in July 2005

7. Yoruba Gang Busted? – published in May 2009

8. Nigerian Citizenship Should be Redefined – published in June 2004

9. Biafra, Dead, Buried and No More – published in September 2005

10. Religion, Politics & Nigeria's National Unity – published in June 2007

Monday, June 8, 2009

Referendums and Metaphors On Nigeria?

Referendums and Metaphors On Nigeria

Written by Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Are Nigerians now paranoid about Nigeria’s future and prospects?

Do a majority of Nigerians feel a sense of being under siege; do we now as a collective suffer from a siege mentality? Why is it that too many Nigerians these days seem to find metaphors, referendums and even hidden messages in every cough, sneezes and even innocuous statements by every foreigner, whether of consequence or of no consequence at all? Why do we worry about every riff raff, but our national issues and national interests?

Why are some Nigerians at some sorts of permanent loggerheads with fellow Nigerians, and yet, these same Nigerians seem to hold on, tenaciously to every whimper about Nigeria by some nitwit foreigner?

Why is it that our public intellectuals are busily hurtling ethnic insults on any Nigerian not from their hometown, and yet, these same Nigerians seem to hold any foreigner’s comment about Nigeria in awe?

Is Nigeria’s national ego ever so fragile these days? Such that Mr. Obama choice to visit Ghana instead of Nigeria becomes a month long debate about how Mr. Obama non-visit to Nigeria is a slap on Nigeria’s face and a roundabout referendum on the state of Nigerian affairs and leadership?

What do Nigerians really seek? An invasion by America or some other foreign government; similar and modeled to fit the invasion and occupation Iraq, a foreign government which will then impose reforms and improve our lives? Could some Nigerians be heard angling to replace Armand Chalabi in fashioning US foreign policy toward Nigeria? These sorts of Nigerians should talk to the Iraqis first to see how great Iraq is doing as a result of the invasion and occupation there.

Anything short of seeking foreign intervention in Nigerian affairs would require that Nigerians at home and abroad, snap out the current delirium in the belief that someone or something, other than ourselves Nigerians will somehow, sort us out of the funk, malaises and challenges which we face as a people.

America’s former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell visited Nigeria recently.

America’s former Secretary of State of General Colin Powell’s visited Nigeria recently, and he was quoted as saying that Nigerians should make efforts to recover from the imperfect 2007 general elections. He expressed my sentiments exactly. After all, the world has not ended. Americans had troubled elections in the past, and particularly so in the year 2000 which ushered in Mr. George W. Bush. A great majority of people in America were displeased by the outcome and then, went through the horrendous policies of Mr. Bush in the subsequent eight years of the year 2000 elections and voila, here comes Mr. Obama!

Why are Nigerians so unyielding and unwilling to move beyond the 2007 elections? It should be clear to anyone and everyone by now, that Mr. Yar’Adua will remain Nigeria’s political leader for the next two years or even may be, for the next six years. Should Nigeria come to a standstill as a result? Of course not and I certainly hope that is not the case!

Every incident that affects Nigeria and Nigerians should not become some sorts of automatic referendum and metaphor on Nigeria. Such that a Nigerian in New York City is involved in fraud is attributed to the way Nigerians innately are; A Nigerian is convicted of narcotic drug peddling in Thailand, or well, it is because of the way Nigerians are, and the way the government in Nigeria is.

There is a debate as to whether nuclear energy is the most effective, efficient and meaningful way to address power outage in Nigeria, which puts Nigeria in the same league as war torn Afghanistan or Iraq, the response from some Nigerians is whether the international community would or should trust Nigeria with nuclear power! And, Mr. Obama visits the Saudi Arabia monarchy, saunters in the King’s ranch, and then visits the only country in Africa in Arabia where only one man, Mr. Hosni Mubarak has been president for more than 30 years! Nigerians think Egypt is more democratic than Nigeria or Nigerians scurry to explain America’s strategic national security interest which Egypt must serve with a president for life?

Mr. Obama has visited Turkey, and goes to Russia soon. And some Nigerians interpret this as ringing endorsements Turkey’s and Russia’s democracy credentials by Mr. Obama? Must we burst an artery over appearance of slights? What if we were to tell the whole world to go to hell, while we define and assert ourselves which ever way we chose? Why are some Nigerians apparently holding their breath over treatments reserve for Nigeria?

I will rather that Nigeria behave like Israel, a country that ought to be beholden to America, but, Israel audaciously refuses to be beholden to anyone! Nigeria on the other hand, has not a reason on earth or in hell, to be beholden to anyone, and yet, we are by default, never mind the government, I am here referring to these Nigerians who seem to believe that Nigeria’s path to progress, development and advancement is to seek the consensus of the world powers! Nothing can be more moronic idiotic such mindset! The world is a metaphoric soccer field in which the players are the nations and every nation play to win. Nigerian peoples and government should always be playing to win, despite and in spite of those opposed to our interests. Seeking no permission from no one, on matters we may determine to be in our national interests.

The last time Nigerians and the government of Nigeria was operated with that understanding, was during Murtala Muhammad and Tunde Idiagbon. I am certainly not looking for a Nigerian government that beats itself into shape to fit into American European approved behaviors.

Why Not Ghana? Why Not Liberia Why Arabia Egypt or Russia

Why the double standard? Some Israelis are former Americans Obama tells us so eloquently, yes we can! As yes we can also say that some Liberians are also former Americans as well! According to The New York Times, last week, the US State Department informed its embassies and consultates that they could now invite officials from Iran to their Fourth of July receptions worldwide, all in keeping with the Obama administration policy of openness to communication, without preconditions, even with former enemies. Iranian diplomats have been off the invite list ever since a certain faux pas, the 1979 seizure by protesters of the American Embassy in Tehran, now finally, according to The Times, representatives of Iranian government are welcome to American annual Independence Day parties worldwide. Nigeria government has never participated or encouraged any entity in Nigeria to hold Americans hostage similar to the 444 days Americans were kept hostage in Iran. Nigeria is not in any current contentious debate over nuclear power as Iran is with the US and the west. How then can Mr. Obama be open to Iran, communicate with Iran, invite Iran to parties, but, shun Nigeria as is being suggested?

I thought it was very fitting to come to the place where Islam began and to seek His Majesty's counsel, and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East," said President Obama."With Abdullah alongside him, Obama told reporters: "I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek his majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East."

This, even though, according to press reports "The stop in Riyadh was a late addition to an itinerary that was originally slated to begin in Cairo with an address to the world's Muslims - a speech Mr. Obama has been promising since last year's presidential campaign."Obama has been criticized for setting the address in Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak has jailed dissidents and clung to power for nearly three decades" compared that to Nigeria!

"The United States and Saudi Arabia have a long history of friendship," Obama said as he visited the monarch's desert horse farm. The U.S. president called Abdullah wise and gracious, adding: "I am confident that working together that the United States and Saudi Arabia can make progress on a whole host of issues of mutual interest."

"In Riyadh, the president was talking to Abdullah about a host of thorny problems, from Arab-Israeli peace efforts to Iran's nuclear program. The surge in oil prices also was on the agenda. And, Obama also was looking for help from Saudi Arabia on what to do with some 100 Yemeni detainees locked up in the Guantanamo Bay prison. The Obama administration has been negotiating with Saudi Arabia and Yemen for months to send them to Saudi terrorist rehabilitation centers." National Public Radio, Voice of American, Reuters etc reported the above news items which are excerpted. Nigeria does not export virulent anything, but Saudi Arabia has been accused of of exporting a strain of Islam that is seen by some as extreme, and harboring or being home of a majority of the 19 hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. Nigeria does not run Mandrassas etc Islam in Nigeria does not forbid women from driving, having education, voting or being voted for!

All these, compared that to Nigeria, no attackers from Nigeria and no citizens of Nigeria has threatened or is threatening American interests. And besides, it is Mr. Obama who has over and over again stated his desire to have unconditional diplomacy, the act and art of engaging in conversations and communication with American adversaries or enemies. Again, Nigeria has never been and Nigeria is still not considered American enemy, so why would Mr. Obama not visit or talk to Nigeria?

Chicagoan Pot Calls Nigerian Kettle Black? Remove the Log in your eyes; before the speck in mine?

On the matter of corruption in Nigeria, two consecutive governors of the state of Illinois, have been indicted, in sequential order and in quick succession in office, Governor Ryan served or is still serving time in prison. And the governor after Ryan, Governor Blagojevich too is facing jail time for corruption for which Chicago is well known and infamously so and notoriously so! Blagojevich is the fourth governor of the state of Illinois to face prison for corruption since 1968, his immediate predecessor jailed, was Republican and Blagojevich, a Democrat like Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama incidentally, is from Chicago! That would make him a Chicago politician ain’t it? The thing is that Mr. Obama has not come out to say, he is visiting Ghana to spite Nigeria or to make some sorts statements. If he had, himself, not through Mrs. Clinton, or anybody else, but himself, I would have been able to say that it is rather too much for any Chicago politicians to lecture Nigeria, or anyone for that matter about corruption and dirty politics!

It is rather oxymoronic! Perhaps prescient in some twisted way; that a Chicago politician with firsthand knowledge and experience about dirty corrupt politicians and politicians, which almost marred his own in Chicago, and even his inauguration as president of the United States, is best suited to lecture others about the ruinations which can laden corrupt politics? Who better to warn the rest of us, than the person with personal knowledge, and so intimate an awareness of corruption and politics as pervasive and prevalent as these things are in Chicago, than Mr. Obama himself? It is Chicago politicians’ DNA?

I am not a social conservative. But, just like some American social conservatives, I am beginning to wonder and reexamine whether the pervading inebriating group-hug, into which Obama’s political ascent has wrought upon us all, has begun to take its toll on the logic of some people?

Better examples of democracies to offer ringing endorsements, and showcase!

Why are so many Nigerians and others, reading meaning, ancillaries and extraneous meanings into Mr. Obama’s seemingly innocuous travel itinerary? Why read all this slights and spiteful meanings into Obama’s preference to visit Ghana and not Nigeria or Liberia for that matter?

Many in Liberia are American ex patriots; besides, Liberia went through more than ten years of internecine war and upheaval of chaos. Then Liberia elected a lady, first in Africa, and a score over America’s continued preference for males as president. Additionally, Obama has had many ladies in his life with remarkable influence, and impact, there was his mother and grandmother, and now, his wife and two daughters, and of course, his former political nemesis, now his employee and secretary of state!

Mr. Obama would have impressed me making Liberia a centerpiece and showcase of his foray into Africa, and especially if he was keen at making some sorts of statements of ringing endorsement quality.

It would have made eminent sense, showcase Liberia’s progress and gender agenda for Africa and the world, and why on earth, would Mr. Obama miss such monumental opportunity?

And some Nigerians and now others, who are adept as expert readers of Mr. Obama’s mindset, would rather us believe that Mr. Obama’s jaunted and sauntered in King Fuad’s ranch, and cavorted with president Hosni Mubarak life president of Egypt, and then, mafia infested Russia, with more dead journalist and dead political opponent outside of comparatively war torn Iraq? America’s national and strategic interests must require Obama to be strange bedfellows with Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Russia etc it is realistic politics, in place of idealism? But the rules are flipped, when it comes to Nigeria and other Africans because Obama loves us more? Spare me! Please?