Monday, December 11, 2006

Been Gone to Dance4Life

“At exactly 5.45pm (Nigeria Local Time) on November 25, 2006, about one thousand Nigerian youths gathered at the Fantasyland, Ikoyi, Lagos were connected with their counterparts in Egypt, Tanzania, Russia, Vietnam, UK and other parts of the world via satellite to Dance4Life by performing the Dance4Life drill as a demonstration of their commitment to a combined effort to fight HIV/AIDS”.

This is presenting to my boundless audience ‘sans frontiers’ (meaning ‘without borders’ in French) the project that has taken me far from this lovely blog for the past one month… hold on a minute did I say one, gosh the last post reads Oct. 30. The project is …. Dance4Life.

Well, as you can see from the above words in quote, the project was indeed a success. This marks my first attempt at managing a non-profit project of its magnitude.

I had the distinguished opportunity to work with great people, popular and influential companies, people that I didn’t even think of meeting, men and women I read about in the dailies and see on television. In just these times, I have met with musicians, comedians, television stars just through this one opportunity.

I was introduced into the project through my exceptionally business-conscious and savvy boss (who I intend to do a piece on very soon on this blog). We were to go to Lagos fro a meeting and he just called me and said when we get to the meeting, he would introduce me as the person in charge of the project so that I can continue managing communication with the partner organisation on the project and the international body based in the Netherlands.

The Dance4Life International Team came into the country in July to hold meetings with Reproductive Health based organisation and from there four NGOs based in the project pilot states namely Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Cross River were selected for the project. The project is based on using the power of edutainment to involve young people to be committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Young people that join in this fight get rewarded by being able to attend a global dance event on Nov.25 which holds in all the countries where the project is being implemented and they all perform a universal dance called the ‘drill’

A major highlight during the dance event is that all the countries are connected by satellite and the participants at the event in all the countries can see one another especially when doing the drill.

After the meetings with the International Team, we started work on proposals, budgets, activity plans, worksplans et al… However, the project planning phase dragged on and on and didn’t leave paper level despite the fact that the peak period of the project i.e. Nov. 25 was getting closer by the day.

We looked for funders, tossed budgets here and there scaling down (when I wished it was really up) and refining plans every other time. Even at a point, we were close to calling the project off.
Well, to cut the long story short, after four months, the project got to implementation stage. We started with a Train-the-Trainer for groups of young people from the four states and had 2 South Africans to facilitate the training and guess what, one of them, a Choreographer was the choreography director the choreography of the Whoopi Goldberg starred South African film, Sarafina.

Workshops were held in schools for students in the four states and the project peaked on Nov. 25 when we hosted the Dance4Life event in Nigeria.

Courtesy of this project, I have learnt at the feet of two great bosses, Laolu Sasore (my NGO boss) and Remi Ogunpitan, the Managing Director of Storm Vision (are you thinking what I believe you must be thinking….It is the very Storm Vision, producer of Big Brother Nigeria). I have had the opportunity to gist with Obi Asika and laugh at his jokes and meet the major female executive in Storm, Nkiru Asika (very adorable woman).

I also witnessed Ikechukwu go in to wax a record, shook hands with 2shotz, smiled at Sasha, booed at Basketmouth at very close range, befriended Maureen (BBN), had a discussion with Gideon (BBN), received a ‘I’m sorry’ text message from Francisca (BBN) and got familiar with hardworking and highly talented Guinness Book of World Record Holder, Kaffi and her dance group, Zebra.

I have had a splendid time these past days and months having my hands on Dance4Life and any time you need a project coordinator on social causes particularly for young people,…… you have my email ad.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Silent Years

I have worked with different bosses for the past four years now and over this period of time, I have been privileged to work directly and/or indirectly with a lazy boss, slimy boss, calm boss, overactive boss, thrift boss, extravagant boss, brilliant boss and their characteristic go on and on…However, I have learnt diverse lessons form each one of these bosses

During my working relationship with each of the bosses, I attempt to study their life journey (I think this is partly to satisfy my curious nature) and based on my studies done so far, I have been able to make conscious decisions on some things I have vowed never to do and/or become and I have also committed myself to develop some critical habits that I have experienced in my interaction with these bosses.

In studying these men/women, I pay very careful attention to the successful ones and I adopt a present-to-past approach to carry out the study. In order to feed my curiosity but avoid nosing around unnecessarily, I gather details a little here, a little there from comments, personal conversations held with me, and hmmm, I also turn to my famous detective move by making use of one of the most effective research tool of the 21st century …GOOGLE! I run their names on google to see if can get lucky to know about the schools they attended, their marriage and relatives and past responsibilities.

While studying my bosses’ life journey, I have been consistently hit with one major truth, which is the fact that they have not always been what I, other associates, our contractors, clients and every other person are seeing in the present. They have passed through a phase in their lives where they were obscure and non-desirable in their form at the time and some of them have even been jobless and penniless graduates.

Those were the days when no one knew their names and people were not interested in knowing who they were. I have called this peculiar period of their lives the ‘Silent Years’.

From burying my head in motivational books and listening to preachers and motivational speakers, I have been able to deduce that the silent events in these Silent Years have to a very large extent formed what my successful bosses have become in this present. They held on to their conviction of their business and idea and waited patiently in hope until time and chance happened to them. Just like the saying of one wise man, nothing can stop a great idea whose time has come.

With this faith, I offer myself an encouragement in these silent years of mine, I may not be presently desired or sought by many, I may not have the right amount of money to hold family and friends spellbound, I may not be dining with the high and mighty of the world, but I will keep being consistent, working smarter at achieving my goals and I know that ONE day, time and chance will come my way, I will be ready for it and nothing will be able to stop me nor my ideas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Airport Experience 2

If you have been reading along since the very early days of this blog, then you would have journeyed with me through my different experiences in work and life in general. I have been denied study applications, rejected visas, being dismayed about Nigeria et al.

I have not been able to post anything for over a month now and this is because of my current workload. I am presently coordinating a project, Dance4Life in my office. Dance4Life is a service-learning HIV/AIDS project and is being implemented in like 13 countries among which 5 are African including Nigeria.

I was at my desk in the office on Wednesday, October 5 when I saw a mail alert from my Yahoo messenger. I delayed a while in opening the mail when I realised it was from one of the international guys coordinating the project and concentrated on a proposal I was putting together since I knew the mail would require more than 100% of my attention.

When I opened the mail, I wasn't disappointed cos it was a very long mail with about four attachment documents. I began girding myself for the plenty work ahead and imminent screams of deadlines. I decided to take a step by step approach in solving the challenge on the screen infront of me, so I began by first opening the mail then, I opened each attachment in a new tab so I could download all at once within one window.

After downloading, I settled myself in my seat to read, actually to study the long mail. I studied it line by line and took noted of details of meetings, expected activities over the next three weeks and so many decisions and radical adjustments that needed to be made to initially agreed plans.

On a particular line, I read that in order to finalize plans among the African countries, there would be a pan-African meeting of the country managers and the directors in Nairobi, Kenya. I knew I fell into the category and so it remained who among my bosses (2 of them, one direct and the other, indirect) would be coming. It was agreed that my indirect boss and I would go to attend the meeting.

I packed my bags and left for Lagos on Friday, attended the This Day concert on Sunday so I could meet with my indirect boss as he was kinda involved in organising the show. I resumed in the Lagos office on Monday waiting for my indirect boss and expecting letters of invitation from the organisers in Kenya which was supposed to be sent by courier since they could not get through to Nigeria by fax.

I didn't see any sign of my indirect and his telephone lines were all switched off and I just did not see any courier package in view. After waiting till noon, I called the embassy and I was told they had received the fax for the letters and I could use that for the visa application. I was later told that my indirect boss fell terribly ill and his wife, wanting him to remain alive and kicking seized his phones and would not allow him do any work until he had recovered well enough.

So, I went to the embassy hoping to only go and get information on the process since I didn’t have my boss' passport and other documents, however, the lady at the reception admonished me to drop my own application and wait to get the visa even though it was past their closing time.

I submitted the application and bravo………………got the visa on Monday, was told I had to travel alone by afternoon, bought ticket on Tuesday, packed on Wednesday morning and caught the flight to Nairobi on Wednesday by 12noon.

I arrived at Nairobi airport 7p.m, lodged at the Hilton, attended exhausting meetings all Thursday and Friday, went to a club, the MadHouse Friday night till 2.30a.m. I left for Nairobi airport at 5.30a.m Saturday morning and boarded the flight to Lagos, Nigeria. I arrived at my house in Lagos at 12noon, flew to Abuja on Sunday 5.20p.m.

And now I have been back at my office desk in Abuja since Monday morning, 8a.m.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Airport Experience (Part 1)

I have been doing some journeying over this past week. There are some things that I think you might want to know about me, I don’t like flying because of my fear for heights, I don’t like jumping drenches because of my fear for depths (so my sister calls it and she also says I have fear of length, fear of breadth et al….…… na she sabi.).

An irony to this is that I love airports! I just love going to airports. My colleague expressed a wish that she hoped airports are places you can go to buy pills for specific destinations that will allow you sit calm, close your eyes and within seconds or few minutes you are at your destination. However, she also expressed her fears on its practicality in Nigeria because our Aba boys might manufacture fake pills and you will start seeing yourself in Darfur, Soweto, Rwanda, Kabul, Baghdad ……et al.

Like I said earlier I love airports even though I don’t completely enjoy flying. I love the all obvious scenes and behind the scenes that go on around the whole premise. I love to watch for signs of happy families, angry families, loving couples, displeased couples, excited kids, sad and elated relatives, sleazy airport officials and the exchange of “kola”. I completely love attempting to trace out details from facial expressions, murmured words and body movements out of all the hustle and bustle that go on.

As a young girl, my parents and siblings used to call me the Observer. I was like the little kid you take out who doesn’t play or chat around but just sits quietly, but by the time you return can replay all unnoticed scenes and information. I used to deliver all the behind the scenes gist, detail of conversations and all other juicy stories after we get back home after an outing.

I really think this was as a result of my very observant and sensitive nature coupled with my very sharp sense of hearing.

The same way these days, I go to airports with these attributes, sitting quietly but listening and observing.

I was at the Lagos airport on Tuesday last week on my way back to Abuja when I saw two police officers come in to the waiting area, one of them carried a bag while the other carried nothing. They sat facing one another, one of them sitting on same row of seat as me. After a short while, the one sitting on same row as me, beckons to the other guy to bring the bag. He handed over the bag to the officer and before I could understand what was happening before my eyes, his right hand lifted swiftly to the side of his head, standing stiffly and with the sole of his feet, he titlted himself forward slightly and immediately brought down the hand to his side. With his fist tightly clenched, he made a sharp right turn and walked away………., I went whaooooooo! This happened before over 500 waiting passengers who turned into intent lookers within the period of approximately 10 seconds that it lasted for. Anyway, it ended up being a refreshing scene for all of us after been seated for over two hours waiting for our delayed flights due to bad weather.

After a short while, my flight was called and I had to FLY again……….I went through it successfully sha and landed in Abuja safely and uneventfully….

When we had alighted form the air craft and walking towards the arrivals, I saw a lady run out towards someone behind me, I looked back and it was to the police officer again. The lady curtsied and collected his bag from him. Now, this really interested me and I wanted to speak with the officer, so, paused my walking pace so I could speak with him.

Titilayo: It seems you have people at your beck and call.
Police Officer: (Smiles) Exactly. So how are you doing?
Titilayo: (Puzzled and not sure he had heard me correctly) Very fine. Thank you

He moved ahead from there and I refocused my thoughts on catching a cheap taxi. As I neared the door leading outside, I just saw the security personnel at the door (about three of them) raise their hands to the side of their heads and did a quick salute to…………yeah, you guessed right, the Police Officer.

After the officer had moved on I slowed down my pace and looked into the eyes of the security personnel with an inquiring look asking them in my mind “Where is my Salute?”

None of them noticed me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Mona Lisa People

“Nigerians are one of the happiest people in the world”.

Whenever I am reminded of this saying and realizing that might be what the world thinks of us and the most painful, that the president, members of house of assembly, governors, local government chairmen, councilors and other governmental ruling bodies and individuals think this exactly of the people in their constituencies.

The thought that runs through my mind in these times, I believe are similar to what Leonardo Da Vinci must have been thinking when he painted the illustrious painting of Mona Lisa. She smiles yet she sorrows all within one face.

Nigerians should be credited for what my mentor (Fela Durotoye) calls our resilience. Nigerians have perfected the art of stretching, adapting, managing and above all laughing heartily and attending churches and mosques to praise God for little mercies.

Our leaders have mistakenly misinterpreted our smiles and laughter. They do not now what lies behind the smiling lips and teary eyes and they give a soothing conclusion to themselves, it has to be happiness.

I think we remain happy because of our fears. We do not want war. We are scared we would loose more than a war is worth. Our leaders need to be aware of a fact though, Happiness is not contentment. There are unshed tears in the eyes of many, untold sorrows in the heart of millions, unattended hunger in the bellies of millions of children, death lingers at the doors of millions of families because of the lack of basic things that maintain life in the civilized world which are good roads, medical care, electricity, affordable housing, quality education, and security.

Dear leaders, that is the Heart Cry of the Heart Beat of Africa. We also smile because we hope against hope that one day you would wake up to your right responsibilities to us or leave us and leave the reign of rulership of our land to another and we still wait.

Our desires are not lofty dreams like yours, dear leaders. We are not interested in acquiring the Bentleys, Pajeros, Lexus, not in stacking away unfathomable millions of dollars in bank accounts or flying first class around the world and performing cosmetic surgeries without blinking an eyelid to the stricken poverty of the people. They are simple, we want to enjoy basic and fundamental amenities and provisions due any citizen in a civilized nation.

We hope you yield our gravely humble request or can we conclude dear leaders, that there is a possibility that you are uncivilized and so do not know or understand the needs of civilized citizens. Kindly let us know if this is the case, so we can know how best to direct our efforts in getting attendant ears to our cries because we may appear to laugh and smile, but our hearts wail in deep anguish.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I am reblogging a post from Ready for Life, Dipo Tepede (Tajh)'s blog. I stumbled on the blog which is coincidentally his secondary blog, his primary page is Dipo Tepede.POeT and I ...... begged ( I only asked really) him to allow me reblog the post.

Three days later, I received a call, it was from Tajh and he announced to me that I have the copyright permission to reblog this, so with all jubilation, I hereby present to you this lovely piece which he titled ABORTION 2.

The post kinda perfectly reflects what I am going through, my struggles with God, My Father, and you know the jealous feeling we get when we see our mates who have fancier jobs, drive fancier cars, have the TDH hussie and yellow popo wify.

It's certainly a piece worth reading.

I remembered an intimate situation I found myself 3 weeks ago and I decided to share it with my dear readers on the premise that it might be useful to someone;

I got out of my BMW on this fateful day when a brand new Avensis swept past me to park in front of me in my office garage. I tried to peep into the front car and I was amazed to see my former colleague nodding steadily obviously in tune with music blaring out of his CD. He had just moved from Glo to a bank; immediately he saw me, the glass of the car automatically wound down and an uncontrollable splash of air conditioning breezed through my already frigid skin. He immediately invited me to have a ride in his new car but our conversation was obstructed by my other colleagues who rushed for his attention.

I was immediately jealous and I felt so down that I hurriedly walked away from the scene to my office toilet. On closing the door to the toilet, I could not control the anger I felt as they kept pouring out. I immediately comported myself as the following conversation ensued between God and me;

Me: Why God? I have been praying for a promotion, but you have not done it.
God: Is there anything too hard for me to do?

Me: No, I suppose but you seem to favor some people over me.
God: Those that compare themselves are not wise.
Me: Please, how do I gauge my progress in life? I am not comparing myself, I am praying for something I need.
God: Then what are you doing feeling sorry for yourself. I have given you various opportunities to be promoted but you did not take them.

Me: What?
God: Remember, when I told you about the “automated routing” you were to propose to your boss but you ignored it.

Me: I did not know you were the one speaking to me.
God: You did, but you ignored it because you were afraid of how it will come out.

Me: Yes, I was afraid of being rebuked but I did not know it was you. If I knew, I would have boldly stood up because I could never disobey you.

God: Remember, your undergraduate days when you had a hunch to read some particular part of your physics note and exactly all the things you read came out; that was your first A on the campus. Am I right?
Me: Yes, God. Was that you?
God: Remember, your first day at Student Christian Movement fellowship and you felt at peace with the environment though you were a Moslem.
Me: Yes, were you the one?
God: Remember, when you finally broke up with your first fiancée. Who comforted you?
Me: I was traumatized Lord, that was no comfort.
God: You soul was shattered but your spirit was intact, this was necessary for maturity.
Me: Okay God, you speak in various ways.
God: No, I speak to you in patterns you understand; they may come in various forms but my sheep know my voice.

Me: What am I to do now?
God: I give seed to the sower- meaning anybody that is actively sowing seeds; I don’t give the fruits.
Me: But I pay my tithe and give offerings in church.
God: Giving offerings and paying your tithe is commendable but I am talking about some other forms of seeds. I do not owe any man; when last were u sick? When last did you quarrel? When last did you have an accident?

Me: I am very sorry Lord, but I don’t understand. What can I do to be promoted like my colleague?
God: You do not know what you ask for. Can you drink of the same wine he drinks from or be baptized with baptism he is baptized with?
Me: Yes Lord, I can.
God: That means you are willing to sleep for only 2 hours in a day. You are willing to write various business proposals and see them thrown to the drain by various investors until you can get it right. You are willing to invest your life savings in high risk ventures and lose it various times till you get it right. You are willing to look at your wife in the face, and put her money in places you are not comfortable with.
Me: No God, that’s too much.
God: This is why you should not compare yourself with others but compete with yourself to reach the goals I give to you.
Me: Okay, I understand.
God: I have given you everything that pertains to life and Godliness. You aborted the idea I gave you, if you had obeyed the idea irrespective of your boss compliance, I would have led you to a higher dimension with me. If Abraham had aborted my ideas, there would not have been an Israel. If Jesus had aborted the idea of not dieing, I doubt I will be talking to you today. The light afflictions you are facing now are going to work out for your eternal glory.
Me: Oh God, I am very sorry for aborting the plan you gave me?
God: Do not despise the days of little beginning. Just like I told Moses; the rod he used in tending for his father-in-law sheep is the same rod that he used in delivering the Israelites. The way David looked after his fathers’ sheep conscientiously is the same way I knew he will take care of my people when I make him King. So Dipo, whatever is in your hand, do it with all your heart.
Me: Ok Lord, I will.

God: Do not abort this idea, they are for generations unborn……………...

NOTE: All these conversation with God took place over a period of time.


So, what do you guys think?

Friday, August 04, 2006


Did you notice that this title case is in all caps which I rarely do? I love my Sentence Case so much....Anyways, the case of this heading reflects the state of mind... I am screaming!!!!

I heard this on the news yesterday night on AIT news and I went …ahh!!!! Now my hopes of her sanitizing the embassies in the country and saving us from their bestiality are all dashed.

News are flying around that her resignation is as a result of Baba’s unrepentant brutal system of carrying out appointments, redeployments, demotions, promotions and reappointments at his witty desire.

Any good faith-seeking leader knows that you just don’t move people away from their area of passion where they deliver excellently and are of best use to the organisation or corporation which they serve without a prior briefing and gaining their consent.

Ngozi was the Minister of Finance and the Head of the Economic team that secured the popular debt relief for our country, Nigeria and in addition has been a good ambassador of the Obasanjo administration. This I know because I have listened to some of her press interviews particularly with Richard Quest of CNN.

The reason (view her resignation letter here) given by the adept former minister is that she will like to attend to pressing family needs. However, many Nigerians believe otherwise. Nigerians believe that the reasons are first her removal from the post of the Minister of Finance which happened 44 days ago and most recently been removed as the Head of the Economic Team, an act that finally broke the camel’s back.

Her removal as head of the Economic Management Team occurred on Tuesday this week while away in London, negotiating another debt pardon for Nigeria There are other insinuations milling around about why she resigned from the Obasanjo cabinet which I have painstakingly presented below for your reading pleasure:

SalStep from the Nigeria Village Square says -
I see a bit of bad belly in all this. Could it be that she is refusing Baba Dauda OBJ's advances? This whole thing stinks.

I find it very hard to believe its all political. Baba no fit shine congo, so don dey witchy the poor woman. This might be a good time to relink that photo of BABA adjusting the headgear of Ngozi.

From This Day Newspaper -
THISDAY also gathered that Monday, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman had gone to the President to express concerns that few weeks before the 2006 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Singapore, she was yet to be contacted by the Meetings Secretariat.

She was said to have complained to the President that it seems she is yet to be recognised by the two Bretton Wood institutions as the country’s Finance Minister and that both IMF and World Bank may still be thinking that the Finance Ministry was under Okonjo-Iweala and thus be dealing directly with her and undermining her (Usman) responsibilities.

An angry President Obasanjo was said to have immediately taken the decision that Okonjo-Iweala be relieved of her role as the leader of the Economic Team and that her role as the Foreign Affairs Minister be limited to non-aligned movement so that it would be clear to international financial institutions that Usman is now in charge.

Banko from the Nigeria Village Square alleged this reasons -

The unauthorized $34b withdrawal by OBJ brought before the senator, inflated foreign payment challenged when she was the Ministers of Finance she was never a “YES SIR” follow- follow administrator Baba wanted.

Positubosun from the Nigeria Village Square gave alleged this reasons -

There may be a grand strategy to frustrate the woman so that the 'winding up' regime would be able to carry out its satanic agenda of looting the treasury. There are several precedents to this effect.

Let us remember that we are dealing with a very satanic regime.

From This Day Newspaper -

According to information, another reason why Obasanjo had been looking for an opportunity to slight Okonjo-Iweala was as a result of a publication, about two weeks ago, by the London-based Economist Magazine suggesting that the President removed Okonjo-Iweala from the finance ministry because of a last minute effort at looting the treasury.

THISDAY gathered that “though Mr. President had read same story in the local media, he felt slighted and stabbed in the back that Okonjo-Iweala did not make any attempt to correct that impression to the extent that it was now published in the international media.
“The President felt that even if she did not correct the notion when it was published in the local media, if she meant well, she was supposed to have corrected it when it was now being believed and published in the international media”.

Finally, you can view the acceptance of our dear Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s resignation by the presidency here. And just as mentioned in the president's letter, 'we will miss you' Ngozi. Ciao!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Have You Seen Tunde Babalola?

Life is very funny, the person you dont know they say is only three persons away. I had first seen this caption in my inbox which I received from my secondary school mailgroup. I read it, felt bad, prayed for the family and .........put it behind me.

Only yesterday, I was going through LamikayTy!, Toyin Lamikanra's blog where I got the post below from when I was faced with the fact that the missing person maybe someone I know.

I read from Toyin's blog that missing person's sister is Busola Daodu, and I have a friend named Femi Daodu who attended same secondary school and university and is married to a Busola. I racked my brains to rememebr Busola's maiden name. When I tried Busola seemed like it fitted perfectly.

I was thrown into a brief shock and I immediately sent an offline message to Femi on Yahoo! messenger to ask him about the incident.

This morning as I resumed in the office, booted my laptop and signed in to my Yahoo! messenger, an offline message came up. It was from Femi Daodu, it read
"titi, you are correct, he is Busola's brother."

My worst fears were confirmed. Tunde Babalola is Femi Daodu's brother-in-law. Now, I have to do more than my "feel bad and pray for the family" effort. I am posting the notice on my blog......

Please help in any way you can. You can copy this notice below and forward to your mailgroups, tell your friends about it, tell any influential person yo may have relations with...... Kindly do anything and all you can to help find Tunde Babalola.

The Babalola family has been thrown into anguish and sorrow over their son Tunde, who has been missing since Monday June 19th 2006.

Tunde is the first son of a recently widowed Nigerian mother whose health has been deteriorating as a result of his disappearance. She has been shouldering the responsibility of looking for him without much help from the police, the NYSC and the Enugu state government.

His sister Busola Daodu describes him in these words; "My brother Tunde Babalola is 24 years old, 6 feet tall, light complexioned and slim. He was last seen wearing a black trouser, white shirt and sandals. He has brown eyes and slightly brown hair which he wears in a low cut. He is a Christian and has no facial marks. He goes to cybercafés a lot, and attends the NCCF fellowship and his place of primary assignment -Nkanu East local government - Enugu state, he is a quiet person and doesn't really go out much"

Information available to the family says that Tunde left the NCCF lodge in Emene-Enugu on Monday 19th of June and has not been seen ever since.

In an email conversation over Tunde's disappearance, Tope Ganiyat Fajingbesi who runs the NGO United For Kids Foundation says that "It is sad that Nigeria is at the stage where agencies like the NYSC and the entire government do not realise the enormous responsibility involved with posting citizens on primary assignments, this sort of case should have the Government and NYSC on their feet looking for Tunde because they are responsible for him, since he was in Enugu diligently serving his country, in the light of this lack of responsibility, I beg you, fellow Nigerians, to please help the Babalola family and friends to help find Tunde alive and well", she concluded.

The family though has not given up hope of finding Tunde alive; his passing out parade from the NYSC program is scheduled for next month, and they are holding out hope that their son will come back home, just like other corps members who will be going back to their families after the passing out parade.
The family's major worry is that there is currently no one on ground at Enugu searching for him. Their message is for Nigerians to help spread this news especially to anyone who lives in Enugu state and anyone who can join in the search for this charming young man.

If you have any information as to his whereabouts, please call +234- 8033935720, email or contact All Saints Church Yaba, Lagos or the nearest police station.

culled from

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Friend's Green Passport

Hmm.. here we go again

I don’t specifically know what must be going on in my friend's mind, cos she's putting up a strong face I think..., and I think I believe she would be feeling down but she's saying it's not true.

My friend packed her bags from the beautiful city of Jo'burg, South Africa to come home to Nigeria in order to apply for a visa to attend a meeting in the Netherlands billed to hold from July 11-15 where she is to deliver training on the last day and she also decided to use the opportunity to process her Study Permit extension.

She was homebound to Lagos on Sunday, July 2 via a Virgin Nigeria flight. Forgetting she was coming to Nigeria, she planned to go to the embassy on Monday, do an interview on Tuesday and get visa before the end of the week, travel to the Netherlands on Saturday and return to Jo’burg by the next Sunday. She didn't even plan to play with family for a long time during her stay but was forced to courtesy of the Netherlands embassy, they weren't opening visa shop on Monday because of a reason I can’t remember and that meant their telephone line which is the only means for booking appointments was not going through.

Well, considering that my friend is blessed with the Nigeria's tenacity, she pressed on and kept on calling the line which would enter the switchboard, tell you to press 1 for visa purposes, press another 1 to book appointment and hold on for an answer………(which never came for my friend). As I said, she is a Nigerian, so instead of pressing the first 1, she pressed another number for general information.

And the general information given to her was to visit their website or send an e-mail to an address. She chose to pursue her goal further by sending an email to the address begging the person for an interview appointment. Guess what……, she succeed. She was given an appointment via the internet!

I must tell you, even though she didn’t say it, I’m sure she must have felt it was the hand of God and not man. She got an appointment for Wednesday. She flew to Abuja on Wednesday, stayed with me which I enjoyed very much (since I don’t really have friends in Abuja) and attended her interview on Wednesday. She was told to check back the next day for the status of her application.

The next day, she went to the embassy and she was told that she needed to present more documents which could only be received from her on Tuesday. That meant she was stuck in Abuja. She stayed back with me (we had a lovely time together, though I was working on an important project in the office, but we were able to visit an old friend of ours and another of hers).

She went to present the documents on Tuesday and she was again told to check back the next day, Wednesday. I was particularly optimistic that she would get a visa to attend the meeting.
Well dear all, she went to the Royal Dutch (Netherlands) Embassy on Wednesday and her passport was returned to her STAMPED with no visa and with a letter on Refusal of Visa application written in Dutch!

She went back to Lagos today and will deliver her training remotely from Nigeria with the aid of technology.

When will the reign of embassies come to an End in Nigeria???

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Green Passport

Anyone that works in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector or understands it will know that there are always conferences every now and then and in different parts of the world.

I had expected that my joining a Non-Governmental Organisation will undoubtedly come with all the goodies of the sector, a major one being Globe Trotting. To be truthful, I really looked forward to all the globe trotting experience I could ever get.

True to my expectations, two months into my joining the organisation, we started preparations for about 15 people to attend a conference which was being coordinated by my organisation and luckily, I was one of them.

I was glad that my plan of attempting to travel abroad only through legitimate means was coming to reality. I actually obtained my international passport in 2004 and since then, I had never presented it in any embassy just because I detested the way Nigerians are treated in embassies particularly the U.K and U.S embassies.

Well, we can say my passport has been what we call a Virgin Passport for the past 2 years since I had no engagement in any other country aside from my home country, Nigeria. My former employers only sent me to Port Harcourt, Warri, Abuja and the streets of Lagos and I looked forward to setting my feet on the soil of another country.

Back to my joining an NGO and being selected to attend the conference. The conference was billed to take place in Enschede, Netherlands and that certainly meant we needed to visit the Netherlands embassy which is situated in Abuja.

We made bookings for appointments at the embassy and we spent money on travel insurance, visa application fee (which was approximately 7,000 Nigeria Naira / application). After all the interviews were conducted, different issues started creeping out, first, they told one secondary school teacher that was being sponsored by one of our funders and lived in Minna to bring his marriage certificate. What connection did that have with him wanting to attend a conference?

On the day we were told to check status of the application, they returned all the students’ passports which we later discovered had been stamped the same day they went for the interview and as we continued going to check status for the remaining applications, they returned more stamped and visaless passports.

When we went for the last but one batch of passports comprising of 3 applications, ……….two visas were granted and one refused. That one was mine.

They had deflowered my virgin passport by adulterating it. I was furious and upon all, they still wanted me to sign one paper or so, of course, I declined.

I once again had no choice but to ponder on Nigeria and Nigerians considering the way these embassies milk billions out of poor and powerless Nigerians and the only thing our government does is to ignore it as if it is the globally acceptable way to do things.

I recently read about the new Minister of Foreign Affairs’ claim to treat this important issue and I pray something concrete that will make us smile comes out of it.

Why must Nigerians experience all the humiliation and degrading treatments from these devious embassies? Why have the embassies become our ‘god’ and critical prayer points in the churches, mosques and other religious worship centres?

I will like to know what you think about this issue. Please drop a comment.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On the March Again

Today is June 12 - (You have to bear with me, I started writing this yesterday but didn’t finish it until late at night, and I could not upload it from home. I had to do that this morning on getting to the office. I was about laying my excuse for not completing it on time at the feet of workload, but that isn’t in order with my moral fibre. So, I’ll tell you the truth, it was due to sheer laziness… yeah… I get the lazy feeling sometimes….but I had to shake it off and attend to important matters like this blog..)

Well, this day is being marked as Democracy day in some states of the country in commemoration of the June 12, 1993 elections that many Nigerians acclaim was won by Aare Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and the freest and fairest elections ever held in Nigeria, but was annulled by the ruling military government headed by the Evil Genius himself, our very own Maradona, General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida.

The ordinary Nigerian will never know what went on in the powerhouses of the country and their very reason for denying Nigerians the anticipated ruling era of that one in a million business mogul, Chief Abiola a.k.a MKO.

I remember as a young school girl the Television campaigns that ran on almost all the relevant TV stations in the country. And there was one that was the most popular with a song that goes thus:

On the march again (2x)
Nigeria on the march again
Looking for the man to rule (not too sure of this line)
On the march again
MKO, looking is our man oh (2x)

And now June 12, 2006 we are on the march again, looking for the man to rule this blessed country, endowed north, south, east, and west with everything a country can ever wish and pray to God for. We have vast human, natural and material resources which we have left untendered or mismanaged.

We have several candidates lined up and bidding for our vote, reeling out the same lines we have always heard in inauguration speeches in the days when military governments were toppling existing military and civilian governments and recently, when civilians start to campaign for elections.

We are tired of these same old stories. We have only heard words, and as the words increased, we saw fatter bellies, bigger cars, more houses, more trips abroad, more parties and in many of the instances, more wives and concubines.

I just did another analytical thinking session about the unhidden shameful lifestyles of these politicians and do you know that for every Senator, House of Representatives member, state governor, Local Government Chairman, the President and his political appointees and all their allies that dramatically transform into billionaires and multi-millionaires on assumption of office reflects the billions and millions of naira that are siphoned away from their supposedly primary purpose - providing for social developmental needs of the average Nigerian.

We are on the march again and we have to decide what kind of leaders we want for ourselves as Nigerians this time around. You and I can make an effort at deciding that. Simply cast your vote for the woman/man (did those words flow in your mind? Better let them if they did not or else…….) you would want to commit the fate of 120million Nigerians and that of generations unborn to her/his hands. Please don’t waste your vote on candidates that will bribe you and pay us poverty in return.

Your vote counts!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Femi Fani Kayode: The Guru-Playa

I know that by now, our own efficient, promising, uncanny, adept and scheming Femi Fani Kayode will be most glad and shining his teeth (I think I can remember them being very fine and matching his handsome face .......not falling for them, just trying to be nice actually) all over town now and mostly around the Aso villa just in case those who have not fallen for his charm will get another chance to do just that.

Anyways, I'm now getting very interested in Femi Fani Kayode's professional and/or political ambition. I can remember watching this weekly Television programme where he is interviewed by some presenter and he answers every question in profound praises for the Obasanjo administration like he was paid to do it.

I knew my thoughts of him being paid or expecting to be paid for appearing on TV and opening his mouth praising Obasanjo administration without thinking of the words before speaking them was very correct when I saw his name as a Special Assistance to the President.

And now, when I thought his ‘professional fees’ had been fully paid by Baba, I was completely wrong, Femi Fan Kayode still needs to enjoy more of Nigeria’s national cake for his gallant support of President Obasanjo and guess what his ‘professional fees’ are this time,…….Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

What kind of Minster would Mr. Femi Fani Kayode make, a man that is not sure of where he belongs, one minute he was a resolute Obasanjo critic, the next minute he speaks of Obasanjo as if he is as flawless as God. One thing I know for certain is that he is not a man of his person, he is a sycophant and I am sure this is no alien news to any Nigerian.

I think even the Nigerian Senate agrees with me that he is somewhat of a clown, if not, why would there be laughter in the Senate’s chamber and public gallery when his name was mentioned as a ministerial nominee?

I look forward to his performance as a Minister if he is eventually cleared by the Senate and I am sure he will do well in serving jokes since he must have learnt more than enough of it from Baba.

As for me, I strongly recommend Femi Fani Kayode as a Guru-Player, and I will refer every man or woman interested in playing games with hearts, politics, profession, etc. etc. to the master himself, the GURU-Player, Mr. Femi Fani Kayode.

A brief google search on the name Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode and this was what I dug out from the first search page:

Now, we have Femi Fani-kayode. A relatively unknown lawyer- whose only qualification for the appointment of Special Assistant to the Very Special assistant- who is also assisting another is being the son of a politician and former deputy premier of the old Western region- Remi Fani-kayode. Whether the president has given the Herculean task of cleaning his Augean Stable to Femi Fani-kayode, Nigerians don't know. But, what we do know is that this Femi Fani-kayode, is rude and he is going to destroy whatever image is left of Obasanjo's regime, if he is not remove from assisting the special assistant.

Recently, Femi fani-Kayode added Prof. Wole Soyinka to his list of those who are not qualified to voice out their opinion on national issues or criticise his boss. .........This same Femi fani-kayode five years ago, never saw anything good with Obasanjo's government and he wrote in the Comet Newspaper, March 18, 2001, titled "Obasanjo May End in Utter Disaster and Shame" in which, amongst many things, he derided Obasanjo for his messianic pretensions.


The utterances of Femi Fani Kayode require reflection because they do not seem to come from a person that has received good education and professional training as a government image maker. Furthermore, he lacks sense of democracy that gives citizens the right to self-expression. One will not be surprised because having been recruited by Obasanjo, his assignments must be nasty and devoid of decorum. The venom he spat on Gowon would have been ignored not for the fact that Gowon has to be commended and in doing so reference to Mr. Kayode’s utterances is necessary. His major criticisms of Gowon are that Gowon was not asked for advice on third term bid; that Gowon lacks the right to attack Obasanjo on third term bid because he did not hand over power willingly; and that Obasanjo did not say to any one that he is going for a third term. As an anti-climax, however, he said he respects Gowon because it was him that held Nigeria together!!! These utterances are a reflection of the caliber of people we live within the corridors of power. The statements are simplistic, naïve, idiotic and simply deceitful. No one but his cronies trusts Obasanjo. Thus, the more he swears about a thing, the less it is accepted. This is because of loss of confidence resulting from Obasanjo’s damaged reputation. Currently, Fani Kayode is further compounding the government’s unpopularity.

In fact, Obasanjo as the leader of the members of the institute has carefully picked candidates he is nurturing to further destroy the country. If this is not so, how can one explain the immediate response of unpatriotic and jackass called Femi Fani-Kayode to constructive criticism of Dangiwa?

This was one of the most brilliant of my results

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Femi Fani-Kayode. I am an ass. I am employed by and am at the service of President Olusegun Obasanjo. In many ways, I am like my father. Long before I came to Aso Rock, I was a fierce critic of my boss and have had reasons to abuse him. Heck, I may have done so without good reasons. Still, he gave me my current job. Today, I am in charge of abusing distinguished Nigerians -- spewing invectives at giants like Professors Achebe, Soyinka and their likes. In addition, it is my duty to deride former presidents and heads of state like the amiable Dr. Yakubu Gowon. You see, my oga is feeble-heated and so I say the things he is afraid to say, do the things he is afraid to do. He is a closet-coward, you know. In other words, I am his attack dog -- a rabid dog with rabies.

You can also check out this page which was recommended by Omoruyi Osagiede

I am not a woman of too many words, but you can see or know who Femi fani-Kayode is in Nigerians' minds.............

Monday, May 22, 2006

It Got Over While Away

I heaved a deep sigh of relief as I watched the Senate President, Senator Ken Nmamani pronounce that the constitution amendment bill has failed to scale through for a second reading in the house.

And all these happened while I was away on official assignment and did not have a dedicated system to keep you informed of all the nitty gritty happening in the power houses Senate and House of Representative as the debate ensued and till its final demise.

But then, I'm sure you kept up with the news through other means. Did you hear of the N50Million bribe story for senators? The straight 6-year term suggestion by a senator? The non-debate of ALL the other agendas on the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill?

I also watched President Obasanjo's address his ruling PDP party (PDP.........'share the money!'). Here is an excerpt from the speech which must have been prepared by the eloquent yet garrulous Fani Kayode, a one-time ardent critic of Obasanjo and his government.

Well, for those that might have been missing in action, you can at least catch up by reading this piece from His Excellency, The President of the Federal Rebublic of Nigeria, The Democrat, Nationalist, Statesman and most importantly International Figure, Chief General Olusegun Obasanjo.............. (Applause......)

"When the National Chairman of our party, People's Democratic Party (PDP), decided to call the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), I decided to alter my long-standing programme to be able to address you and, through you, members of our great party and, of course, by extension, the nation.

"The National Assembly as the constitutional and legitimate body for making laws for this country including the supreme law of the land -- the Constitution -- has just concluded as it deemed fit, especially the Senate, the exercise on the amendment to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The outcome is victory for democracy. There is no absolute right and absolute truth except God. And in any argument or debate, there is bound to be an element of right and wrong or truth and untruth on either side. And we must respect each other no matter the human verdict and human foibles. Respect, of course, begets respect.

"At the last NEC meeting, our party took a position as a major stakeholder in the constitution amendment debate, as normal in a democracy. And again, as a democratic party, it did not impose its decision on its members in this respect; no matter what office they hold. Members were allowed to discuss freely and to act or vote according to the dictate of their conscience. That is democracy at work. And it must be hailed in spite of alleged imperfections.

"Many derogatory statements and unfounded allegations have been made about me and my position concerning the so-called third term in the National Assembly and in the media which are false, incorrect and uncalled for. Of course, that is part of burden of leadership in our own type of society. However, I believe that in all situations, decorum must be maintained and different arms of government must perform their functions with mutual respect and dignity.

"Just as the National Assembly and the distinguished and honourable members should be respected, they too must learn to respect others and other institutions. Tolerance is a mark of maturity.

"Throughout the period, I resisted the invitation to be drawn on either side and I maintained studied silence. I was maligned, insulted and wrongly accused but I remained where I am and what I am and I remained focused. However, one thing is clear from the exercise, the constitution has been operated and it stood the test of democracy.

There are some regrettable reports from all accounts that I received, and that is the threat of, or actual use of blackmail, intimidation and violence on both sides. Once debate and discourse are being substituted by intimidation, blackmail, threats and violence, then democracy is in great danger. I have also received allegations of bribery which EFCC is investigating. Apart from these unsavoury allegations, the exercise is another process in the operation of our Constitution. The Constitution should hopefully be strengthened by the process and the exercise that have just been concluded. As a political Party, we should accept the verdict of the National Assembly even though the two Chambers initially concluded differently.
The Constitution must be held hallowed and sacred. And, on the basis of the Constitution in hand, we must start to plan for the next elections.

"I have no doubt in my mind that the acrimony, threats and media excesses that accompanied the constitution amendment exercise, must have created or deepened conflicts and divisions within our Party. As a matter of urgency, Mr. Chairman and members of NEC, I believe that we must embark on fence-mending, soothing of relationships, closing gaps and reconciling and ensuring inclusion wherever possible. Setting up a team of three eminent men and women of great maturity and integrity to carry out the exercise in each zone with the Zonal Vice-Chairman accompanying may be the way to deal with the issues expeditiously within the next two weeks.

"Again, I want to congratulate the proponents and the opponents in our party of the constitution amendment exercise that the National Assembly has just concluded. As a party, we should put the issue behind us, heal the wound of acrimony and together march forward. Once again, it was democracy at work and it was victory for democracy. And all Nigerian democrats are winners.

Personal Notes.

I think we have watched a film, which was no doubt, very interesting and it has by far beaten the standards of most Nollywood movies.

Whoever cooked it up, wrote the scripts, auditioned and chose the actors and actresses, directed, ensured continuity, took care of props, managed lights and sound, transportation and all location assistants, I say KUDOS. It was a job well done.

You have successfully re-directed the attention of all Nigerians away from whatever valuable stories we should have witnessed and kept our focus on 'the third term saga.'

Now the story is ended, NEXT FILM…........

Friday, May 12, 2006

See how it goes: Obasanjo and Third Term

I came into my office this morning making up my mind not to talk about the third term saga anymore. But, on carrying out my morning ritual of reading headlines of Nigerian newspapers with global presence, I had a rethink of my plan.

My first visit was to Guardian newspapers and it had a story on the proceedings of the national assembly debate on the constitutional amendment and it was obvious that the hot topic they were focused on and discussing in all of this was the term elongation (a.k.a Third Term) even though, there are other items being considered for amendment in the constitution.

You know, I had planned to just rap away at another topic today, like write a love poem (since I am love sick at the moment) or write on a new topic that has been on my mind for the past week, The World Bank.

But, after reading from the Guardian Newspaper this morning, I made up my mind to delay all of that heart and world bank talks till maybe, the end of this drama.

I want to be able to fill you in on all of the happenings particularly on the floor of the house (since that is where the action is now) and any other developments that come up.

Well, thanks to my blog host, Blogger, I can do all of the above while still being able to write my love poem and other interesting stuffs by starting a new blog on the third term story. So, today, I will be starting a new blog which I call, “See how it goes: Obasanjo and Third term”.

I think the heading clearly identifies the protagonist in this act. I have great faith in his adept acting skills and I will need to tell you to prepare yourself for a ride you've never been on before, because it promises to be rib-cracking(that's what he loves to do most to make sure Nigerians forget about their lacks) and I think full of suspense.

I am sure you will never be disappointed or short of amusement throughout your period of watching this drama. Make sure you always tune in to to enjoy the show. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Heart Beat of the People

I cleared my desk for the week and prepared to go for the usual Friday evening prayer meeting in church. When I got outside my office, a different idea set into my mind and I found myself contemplating whether to board a vehicle to church (spend approx. N700 for a return journey) or go home free of charge by following a senior colleague.

There was a strong battle between my flesh and spirit. Whaoo... the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, but at the end of the day, The spirit always wins! Shout Halleluyah somebody!

The spirit won and I got on the next cab to attend the church service. At the entrance the flesh set in again, I saw a guy conversing with an usher at the entrance of the church and he was asking series of questions about what was going on inside the church, from the discussion, I discovered that the usual prayer meeting was not holding and the church building was being used as a venue for a special programme.

Oh, oh, I had missed my free ride for a service which was not holding. I stood by till the guy finished with his questioning and with dismay, I asked the usher, can we attend the program? To my amazement he said yes...... but with a but...... I had to register. I was already calculating the remaining money I had in my bag which was what I had left for the weekend, I asked how much it would cost me to register and with a churchly smile, he said.... 'Nothing, just put down your name and address'. I ran to the registration desk, did as was directed and went back to the entrance and the usher ushered me into the church.

I got in and joined in the praise and worship going on, after a while into the service, a man in flowing agbada accompanied by a number of people entered the church from the entrance at the back of the altar. I was able to recognise the man as Prof. Jerry Gana, a member of the Obasanjo cabinet.

Well, the service was fantastic particularly because it was on issues which were of great importance which burns with passion in me – Nigeria. We prayed and prophesied into Nigeria and we had horns to make declarations.

After about three prayer sessions, the main coordinator of the program, Pastor Kure came on and said he would like to introduce someone that was suppose to 'prophetically declare the program open with a message from Mr. President. He called on Prof. Jerry Gana to come up to the pulpit ....few claps and many murmurings from the congregation....

Prof. Gana began his speech, spoke about the guest minister who came in from the U.S and how it was important for us to continue to pray for Nigeria. At a point he mentioned that the President was inviting the guest minister to come to Aso Rock, the presidential villa to attend their monthly prayer meeting, the guest minister stood up and took a bow, reaction from the congregation........

I guess Prof. Gana was astonished at this reaction, he reiterated the message of the president and added that he expected us to rejoice at the mention of Mr. President .......VERY few members of the congregation stood up and clapped....... excluding me.

I looked around the building and saw sullen faces, angry faces, numb looks etc, the atmosphere was COLD. Just with a look, you could decipher what the majority of the people were thinking. Certainly, not good thoughts about Mr. President and most likely not about his acclaimed dividends of democracy either.

I think we got that reaction because we were not a pre-organized crowd and not in a political incited gathering, we were real people, the real Nigerians and we gave the real reaction to what millions of Nigerians think about the impact of our President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on our country.

That was the heart beat of the people of Nigeria.

Mr. President, please take a pause and feel the pulse.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nigerians, Shine your Eyes!

I just needed to put something down today again on my country. Have you heard about the One-Stop shop for foreign company registration in Nigeria and the visit of the President of China (read more about it here)?

If you ponder on the vast difference in the treatment the Nigerian government metes out to Nigerians and the treatment meted out to foreigners on Nigerian soil, it leaves you to only marvel.

For me, I do not only only marvel, I ask myself a question that I do not know who or where to direct it, but my head (which frequently results in aches in the head) and to you, hoping you would find an answer,

"Who does the Nigerian Government owe its ultimate allegiance to? Nigerians or Foreign Investors?

The Government is working tooth and nail to put all required infrastructure and system in place to make the country conducive for foreign investors and for a desirable International image. This ambition has helped the Obasanjo government to clearly define its priorities and this is reflected in the committees and boards that are set-up, executed/executing projects, commitments made, the pattern of expenditure and the system of justice in the country.

This is why the government can think up a one-stop shop when it comes to the issue of foreign investors in order to ease their stress, but will not have the initiative available to develop at least a three-stop shop for company registration by Nigerians and also build a stadium for N60Billion while neglecting school teachers and university lecturers' request to invest in the eductaion of Nigerians.

The foreign investor is given every opportunity to milk as much as he can from the country's resources, but while making sure he 'shares' the politicians and their allies. The system is tilted to favour all of his moves because he has come as our savior which gives him the right to treat employees at his own discretion (be it crude, cruel or cute).

When the foreign investor has enjoyed all due to him by our government, we, common Nigerians are left to build wings, create a sky and fly on our own. We are advised not say to ourselves, we wait on our Government.

We are not surprised though, because it is clear, the government careth not and maybe knoweth not that we sleep under the bridge, go to school under a tree, drink water from the gutter, beg the foreign investor for food and money on the streets, wear clothes that have been worn by the people of the foreign investor, drive on roads that makes it easy to get killed and live on less than $1 of the foreigners currency per day to mention a few.

Hmm... this makes me cringe. I am scared and wondering if we are not on the way to being sold to Civilized Slavery. There are no obvious sign to provide basic social needs for the 1.3Billion Nigerians that live in this country, instead we only see ostentatious plans that will accommodate the foreign investors, politicians and their allies.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in sourcing for foreign investor at all cost, it sure brings with it many benefits for the economic development of the country, but please, not while neglecting your own growing population and their social needs.

Does the government want the Nigerian citizen to remain poor and helpless so we can beg more, work more, earn less and not question their decisions? Why are there no concrete plans and not just plans but projects being executed to empower every, not some Nigerian citizen to become an independent citizen with the capacity to make choices.

I guess this calls for a sober reflection and I'll say to Nigerians, Shine your eyes!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Much Ado about Third Term

I was in a really bitter state yesterday. I don't know if any one saw yesterday's This Day newspaper with adverts on the third term bid filling three pages.

I thought an advertisement must be placed by an identifiable sponsor according to Advertising professionals, but i don't think i saw any name or signature of the person or group that sponsored that advert.

My own summation: The Presidency

I am getting more and more infuriated with Obasanjo (click here to see what he looks like) and his unrepentant sycophants who refuse to open their eyes, ears and minds, but are only interested in their bellies (May God do unto them as they do to the common Nigerian!).

At the onset of the third term drama, I was unsuspecting of baba (President Obasanjo) thinking it was only some group of people wagging their tongues, until several events began to unfold. Topmost of all was the constitution review, then the witch hunting of everyone, group or institution that seemingly was against the third term bid and now, they are extending it to governors and using the avenue of the media to cajole Nigerians into this unjust act.

Now I strongly believe with no aorta of doubt in my mind that our dear Baba Obasanjo has always wanted this, and I would not even be surprised if his real plan is to become a Life President and like Tinubu said in a speech, the government wants to rule Nigerians under a civilian dictatorship.

The claim of the pro-third term (rather, pro-Obasanjo) people from my assessment so far is ONLY to ensure continuity of the economic reforms going on in the country.

Where are we going as Nigerians, do we mean that governmental frameworks will always disintegrate with the emergence of a new government. What is the primary function of returning officers in every executive set-up, is it not to ENSURE THE CONTINUITY OF PROGRAMS? So what exactly are these dump pro-Obasanjo peole saying, if Obasanjo is not there, all positive developmental programs of the country will die or what?

They should please go back to what they were doing before the emergence of their cruel plans to reinstitute Obasanjo for a third (or fourth) presidency term.

At this point, I see Obasanjo as a very sly person, I am sure you are asking if I have been blind all this while. Well, I am a very trusting person and I take people for what they say and appear to be but with the drama so far, whaoo.... I don't even know who is a better dribbler, Babangida or Obasanjo.

The reason I am saying this is because, I even more suspect another ploy to this whole third term episode, I think Obasanjo wants to gain a high level of credibility with the international community. He may not go in for a third term and he will affirm that after much persuasion and even though he had the opportunity and full support of all Nigerians, he CHOSE not to vie for a third term. Hmmm... I think I should become a political strategist, seems like I have the mind of one.

As for him returning a fourth time as Nigeria's president, it is a NO WAY TO GO FOR NIGERIA!!!!! He should please return to his farm after May 29, his chickens are missing him dearly.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gone too Long

The date of my last post was March 28, whaooo! that was just much too long and many waters have passed under the bridge over this time.

I left my place of residence, Abuja on March 29 to travel to Lagos to sit for an examination which was expected to start on March 31 and last for a week and then start some work on my functions in my office like going to offices to introduce the organisation and delivering our letters of introduction.

The funny thing about the exam I was going to write was that I did not have the materials I needed to study for the exam. So on getting to Lagos, the first thing I did was to go to the school where the courses are taught to pick up my materials. I was on my way going when someone accosted me and asked if I knew the exams had been postponed till the next week? I was............ lost for words........, I didn't know what to say, I just muttered I think some curses to the school under my breadth for doing such a thing and without any notice to the students which was a sign of No Respect at all!!

I don't know if this happens to all people that commit themselves to being students just in order to acquire some more knowledge than the basics you get from a first degree. I commit my self to knowledge and I am being made vulnerable to all administration of the institution and even to some riff-raffs that take too much pride and flex too many muscles just because they are (un)fortunate to be employees of the institution.

Anyways, I have had to read, and read and read and sleep only a little and even then with my head spinning around what I have read and that gave me NO time to post anything on this blog. If I had wanted to, I needed to go to a cybercafe which is a 5mins walk away from my house, that meant 10mins of walking and one hour of browsing totalling one hour 10mins of reading time which I could not afford to spare.

Well, I will still keep to my promise of not abandoning this blog.

Dear blog, I stick with you!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Application Result

Sometimes last year, I received a very interesting e-mail indicating an exciting opportunity to participate in a program on Democracy and Development organised by the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law to hold at the Stanford Institute for International Studies.

As soon as I saw it, there was an adrenaline surge in my system particularly when I noticed there was even the possibility of sponsorship. I quickly went to the site, scanned through it, downloaded the application form and printed it out.

I read through it studiously as if I was going to write an examination on it and started providing answers to the questions asked in the form. The application took me two weeks to complete as I was taking my time and applying extra care to make sure I was giving brilliant responses.

The application process required me to provide three references and without any delay, I contacted the people in my life that I thought really fitted into the role of referring me so I can take part in the program.

I completed the whole application process and mailed my application form to the center's email address and then ............. I prayed, wished, hoped and eagerly checked my email every morning hoping to see the reply that will make my dream come true. Days and months passed by and finally, this morning I received this email from the center.

March 23, 2006

Dear Applicant,

We regret to inform you that you were not chosen to participate in the Stanford Summer Fellows on Democracy and Development Program to be held at Stanford University in August 2006.

The pool of applicants was extraordinarily competitive and there were many more deserving candidates than we were able to accept. In total, we received more than 700 applications for 25 spaces in the program. The overwhelming majority of applicants were from individuals with outstanding civic and policymaking records It was extremely difficult to reach admissions decisions and we assure you that your application received careful attention by our selection committee.
Once again, we would like to express our appreciation for your interest in the program. We would welcome your application to our program next year.

We will include your contact information on our mailing list and will send you information about future initiatives of the Summer Fellows Program and its sponsoring institution, the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at the Stanford Institute for International Studies.

We wish you success in the much-needed work that you are doing towards better governance and prosperity in your community and your country.

My heart was very heavy and em.. em.... (I didn't cry sha). When the state of my mind came back to its normal analytical state, I thought to myself that all my anxiety on attending a program outside Nigeria (and in the U.S for that matter) might have been generated from my typical Nigerian spirit of wanting to step outside the shores of the country at all cost.

But, to be sincere, I certainly look forward to stepping outside the shores of this country to visit the developed countries and have a feel of what life is like there.

Having missed the opportunity to be on the Stanford Program, I now quietly, patiently, without undue anxiety and stress and with utmost contentment (not satisfaction) in my country, await that beautiful day when I will jet out of Nigeria to a developed country (to visit only!).

There is no place like home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Census Advocate

Just for once, I made up my mind to be optimistic about our (Nigerians) abilities in planning and preparations. I was all for the Census exercise, so much that I took it upon myself as a self-appointed advocate to answer questions and handle objections from people who had issues with it.

I was very pleased with the efforts of the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Samu’ila Makama when a trial census was conducted between 29th August to 2nd September 2005 to serve as a dress rehearsal for the actual census exercise which was billed to commence March 21 and end March 25, 2006.

So far, I think my hopes in Nigeria are being successfully dashed again with the turns this census exercise is taking since the past weeks till now. First was the rampage by the recruited enumerators, burning properties to protest the non payment of their wages and now, there are more than enough issues that make me, a self-appointed advocate of Census 2006, to be more confused than Chief Makama.

I no longer understand the process of the exercise even though it has been officially flagged off and expected to have started in various states, I can't see any enumerator or NPC vans on the streets and I can't see anybody being counted, not even me, their Advocate.

One of the factors I presume might be responsible for all of these is the lack of clarification of 'where to be' during the period of the census. People like me are not sure whether to stay at home or go to work because in our usual confused state, information was sent, maybe leaked out that there will be a sit-at-home order for the period of the census and I heard this was to be declared by President Obasanjo. Oh, maybe it was still in its proposal stage before Uncle Sege and his media assistants did a bad job of leaking it out, what more do we expect anyway, with people like the loquacious Fani Kayode.

To get full information on how the first day of the census went in most states so you'll know how broken my Advocacy heart was, I leave you to this article from the Guardian Newspapers -

Census in slow start, officials demand pay
By Our Reporters

THE quest for an accurate population figure for Nigeria census began yesterday albeit on a shaky note. And the feeble start was traceable principally, to logistics problems.
Economic and social activities were paralysed in Lagos and Ogun States, where restriction was imposed on human and vehicular movements. But the residents idled away for much of the day because the officials of the National Population Commission (NPC), who were to conduct the exercise, were not noticed until much later in the day.
Up till yesterday evening, census enumerators and supervisors were still bickering with the state NPC officials over the non-payment of their training allowances.
In other states, the census materials arrived late, thereby delaying the deployment of the officers.
It was essentially in the evening, that the officials began to work, giving an indication that the exercise would be smoother today. The headcount ends on Saturday.
In Oshodi/Isolo Local Council of Lagos, counting started late in some Enumeration Areas (EAs) and did not take place in most others.
From as early as 8 a.m. till late in the afternoon, the co-ordinators and supervisors were still collecting the census materials while the enumerators queued for their training allowances.
The co-ordinators and supervisors lamented that the first day of the five-day census exercise was used in the distribution of materials to them. They complained that the distribution ought to have been completed three days before the actual headcount.
While the co-ordinators waited to collect the materials, thousands of enumerators were in long queues to receive their N5,200 training allowance. The payment, which according to some of the enumerators had been going on day and night for the past four days, started about 10 days after the end of the training.
One of the co-ordinators said: "We were supposed to have received the materials three days ago. This is to allow us enough time to distribute the materials to the supervisors, who will then pass them down to the enumerators. The enumerators were also supposed to have concluded the listing of the houses and completed the necessary forms before the actual headcount. Now, they will do the listing with the headcount."
Despite the delay in collecting their allowances, the enumerators had a difficult time finding their supervisors. Most were seen carrying aloft boards inscribed with the names of their supervisors. Others kept reading aloud the names and hoping to run into them.
Decrying the poor logistics, a supervisor at the council said: "This census cannot go on if the enumerators are not paid their allowances. They are the people to do the actual counting, and they are still fighting to collect their allowances on the first day of the census."
It was discovered that some policemen deployed to control the crowd of enumerators opted to benefit from the confusion. They charged the frustrated enumerators between N200 and N500 to enable them jump the queue.
Two days earlier, a pregnant woman on the queue was rushed to the hospital with a threatened abortion. And angry enumerators had also gone on rampage breaking window louvres.
In some places, verification and clearance exercise were still going on till noon for enumerators and supervisors involved in the census. The development made the exercise to take off very late in areas such as Ogba, Agege, Aboru, Surulere, Mushin and Ikorodu areas of the state, where people stayed at home in obedience to the government order.
At Ifako-Ijaiye council area, hundreds of the enumerators were seen milling around as at 1 p.m. yesterday. While some are looking for their supervisors to lead them to their enumeration area, others were seen clutching clearance papers, needed to obtain their identification cards, a requirement for the collection of their training allowance.
One of the enumerators who spoke with The Guardian said many had gone back home frustrated, as they could not get clearance despite having their names on the approved list. He alleged that political parties might have hijacked the exercise as many strange faces that never participated in the training were seen collecting registration materials.
He added that over 40 per cent of officials were yet to collect their training allowance 24 hours after the NPC chairman, Chief Samila Makama's order to the affected banks to effect payment.
But the Lagos State NPC Director, Mr. J. O. Ajayi, told The Guardian that much of the blame for the late take-off of the exercise should be put at the doorstep of the local councils.
According to him: "All materials for the house numbering/household listing, as well as the headcount questionnaires had been dispatched to all local government councils over two weeks ago. What might have got to them today was only the bags, which we collected only yesterday, and started distributing immediately.
He debunked the speculation that the exercise might have been hijacked by political parties, saying that that was absolutely impossible.
Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was delighted yesterday, with the residents' compliance with his stay-at-home-order.
Commercial activities were paralysed throughout the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. period, within which Tinubu insisted that all residents should stay indoor to be counted.
Expectedly, markets, shops, fuel stations, banks and other business outfits were locked while the roads were free of traffic. A trip from Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos to Oshodi took barely 25 minutes, and security operatives were absent on the streets.
While the roads were free of traffic, some stranded passengers were seen at bus stops, apparently praying to be lucky to catch a ride, while a few of them trekked to their destinations.
At the Idimu bus stop however, hoodlums blocked the road, trying to extort money from the few vehicles that were still rushing to get to their destinations before 8 a.m.
The Guardian learnt that counting exercises did not take place in many places in Lagos.
Lack of materials coupled with non-payment of the allowance of enumerators kept the headcount at a low pace in many parts of the Lagos metropolis yesterday. Many residents who were eagerly waiting for the census officials complained that they had not seen the NPC officials.
As at 5 p.m., no official of NPC had shown up in Surulere, Kosofe, Somolu, Mainland and other parts of Lagos.
Tinubu, his wife, Remi, and members of his household were counted at exactly 10 a.m. officially kicking off the exercise in the state.
Apparently determined to ensure the success of the exercise, chairmen of some local governments complemented the efforts of the NPC by paying additional N2,500 for the enumerators. It was after this was done at 5 p.m. that enumerators moved out in droves to different parts of Lagos for the headcount.
Despite the shortcoming of the opening of the exercise, Tinubu and his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, appealed to residents to stay in their house between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the evening so that they could participate in the exercise.
Tinubu said the exercise was important especially for Lagos State, which he claimed had been cheated in terms of the true number of its population. The exercise, if successfully carried out, Tinubu said, would help in planning and distribution of social amenities in the state. He later went round to monitor the exercise.
While thanking the residents for obeying the stay-at-home order, Alake said it was meant to ensure that everybody in the state had the opportunity to be counted.
Alake restated the decision of the state government to sanction any organisation that went against the order and open its organisation for business.
The headcount did not start yesterday at Alagbado, Meiran, Ijaiye and Abule-Egba areas as census officials did not get there.
Citizens who had eagerly awaited their coming were disappointed at the end of the day when no census official was seen as at 3 p.m.
Policemen at the Meiran Division Police Station who had been placed on alert by the DPO, Mr. Bashir Ade-Ifanola, loitered around their station awaiting the officials, who did not come as at 3 p.m.
A visit to the Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Development Centre, an arm of Alimosho Local Council, revealed deserted offices and premises. The policemen there claimed that they were waiting for census officials from Ikotun headquarters of the local government.
At Ikotun, the payment to the officials was still being sorted out as at 11.30 a.m. with most of them still awaiting their pay. Council officials are finding it hard to cope with the payment, which is apparently very clumsy. Alimosho Local Government is the largest council in Lagos State.
Due to non-availability of working materials, the people of Gwarzo council of Kano State were left out of the nationwide head count.
When The Guardian monitored the exercise at Gwarzo yesterday, it was observed that the headcount was put on hold due to the absence of basic working materials like forms MPC 07 and MPC 07M necessary for the numbering and listing of households in the council.
The development forced scores of NPC supervisors and enumerators to idle away at the council's secretariat complex.
The exercise took off yesterday on a shaky note in Ibadan, Oyo State capital and its environs. Inadequate preparations by officials prevented enumerators from conducting the exercise on the first day while some started work late in some local government areas when officials were seen around 2 p.m. going for duty.
Yesterday's exercise was marred by logistics problems following the inability of the officials of the NPC to pay the training allowances of the ad-hoc workers. Some of the workers insisted on collecting their allowances before going out for the exercise.
Yesterday afternoon when The Guardian visited the Port Harcourt City Council several enumerators were seem there demanding enumeration maps for the areas that they had been assigned to cover.
Some of the enumerators attributed their not being on the field as at 1 p.m. to their inability to collect their transport allowance. Hundreds of enumerators had taken to the streets of Port Harcourt and Emohua to protest against the non-payment of their transport allowances last weekend.
The problem, which persisted till yesterday was however averted in places like Bonny, Andoni and Opobo due to the intervention of the Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili. He released money for the payment of enumerators last Sunday following the refusal of banks to pay that day.
The census took off in Ekiti State yesterday on a shaky note.
A visit to Ado-Ekiti, Ikere, Ikole, Gboyin and Ekiti East Local governments by The Guardian revealed that the exercise was just taking off in some parts of the council areas.
Some of the census officials complained of shortage of materials.
The state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Chief Biodun Olujimi, were counted at the Government House at about 11am in the presence of the state Resident Federal Commissioner of NPC, Mohammed Tongo Ahmed.
In Nasarawa State, census officials led by Abdullateef Ejijojo registered the state Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu and his household at noon at the Government House, Lafia.
The governor advised enumerators in the state to simplify questions on the census data forms so as to encourage communication between them and local residents.
The governor made the appeal after he was subjected to various questions about his household and his home.
"You have to find a way of breaking down your questions so that you do not run into problems with the local people. This way, the exercise will go on smoothly. I want to assure you that the state is fully prepared for the exercise", Adamu observed.
Though it took over one hour for the governor alone to complete the registration, he said the stipulated five days was enough to complete the exercise nationwide.
Ebonyi State was calm on the first day of census after the initial confusion that attended the payment of NPC ad hoc staff at Ohaukwu local government area of the state.
Governor Sam Egwu, who declared a two-day public holiday for the census was counted at exactly 10.30 a.m. at his Umuebe country home alongside his wife, Eunice.
Speaking to reporters after the exercise, Egwu, noted that the state was upbeat for a credible headcount, saying that this was the first time the state was getting involved in the population census.
He said: "The exercise is specifically important to our state as we have always relied on estimated population since the creation. We have put all necessary measures in place so as to ensure that all persons in the state get counted".
Meanwhile, most political actors and stakeholders resident in the state capital left for their villages to mobilise their people for the census.
Specifically, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Christopher Omo Isu, in a statement mandated all members of the Assembly to ensure that every member of their constituency was enumerated.
The exercise could not begin yesterday in Kaduna State owing to continued violent demonstrations by enumerators over the non-payment of their N5200 training allowance.
In one instance, the NPC Federal Commissioner for Kaduna State, Dr. Ufot Asibong-Ibe was almost mobbed by angry enumerators protesting in front of the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, the official residence of the state governor.
Asibong-Ibe's convoy of four cars unknowingly ran into the protesters who had blocked the road leading to the Government House despite the presence of a combined team of fully armed security agents.
The protesters carrying leaves and shouting "barayo" (thieves), and "ba' census went wild and pelted stones and other missiles at a convoy of cars conveying the NPC commissioner and other officials.
The NPC however escaped unhurt as drivers of the cars skilfully sped away from the scene of the protest.
In a relaxed atmosphere, officials of the NPC led by the Federal Commissioner, Ondo State, Dr. Timothy Sule, enumerated Governor Olusegun Agagu, and his wife, Olufunke, at the Government House, Akure, yesterday morning.
The governor, spotting a yellow NPC shirt and white fez cap, after performing the civic responsibility, said if the enumerators worked hard based on the number deployed for the exercise, they would accomplish the mission within the time-frame.
Agagu, who urged residents to ensure they were counted, said the reliable data expected at the end of the housing and population census, was important for planning purposes. He said it was necessary so that governments at all levels - federal, states and local governments - could be run in a planned way.
According to him, honest answers to the types of questions asked by the enumerators, will enable the government to know the status of human beings for now and a projected period of time, as this is necessary for their socio-economic growth.
In Abeokuta, apart from late arrival of materials at the co-ordinating centres, the exercise went on without hitches.
The NPC Commissioner in Ogun State, Alhaji Ibrahim Khalil Aliu led a team of enumerators to count the State Governor, Gbenga Daniel and his wife, Olufunke, at the Isale-Igbein Government House. Their children were not around. When the governor was asked his occupation, he replied: "I am the Chief Messenger of Ogun State." When Daniel was again asked whether he was schooling, his answer was: "I am in the school of politics."
In an interview with reporters later, he appealed to the people of the state to stay at home so as to be counted.
"In 1991, the census exercise put the population of our state at 2.3 million. I am hoping that this time around the figure that will be recorded in the state will be acceptable", he said.
Daniel added: "I am hoping that there will not be any controversy over any figure that will be arrived at"
The census kicked off yesterday in Cross River State in a poor note.
As at noon yesterday most of the enumerators in Calabar South and Calabar Municipal were seen in large numbers in different locations without enumeration materials.
In Calabar South, some of the enumerators blocked the streets demanding the payment of their allowances while a set of youths in a blue Kombi bus drove around parts of Calabar saying "no census in Calabar south".
The scene was rowdy as the youths in the Kombi bus encountered the police in a shoot-out at Ekpo Abasi junction near the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH).
However no casualty was recorded.
No major reason was given for the youths calling for no census in Calabar South but sources said this may not be unconnected with the non-payment of enumerators allowances as was the case in Odukpani on Sunday when the Calabar -Itu Highway was blocked and traffic delayed for hours.
By yesterday evening, the exercise was yet to begin in Benue State. NPC officials battled desperately to convince enumerators that their allowances would be paid at the completion of the exercise.
Benue NPC National Commissioner, Mr. Peter Otaigbe told reporters at Makurdi that the delay was due to payment discrepancies which, he claimed, had been sorted out.
He said that top NPC officials from Abuja stormed the state to correct a series of anomalies connected with the authentic enumerators' lists that sparked off protests across the state.