President Barack Hussein Obama: A sellout and major mistake

I write full of disappointment! Full of anger and distraught towards our supposed role-model, angel of light and perfectionist who has proven to be unworthy of those good qualifications. President Barack Obama rode on the back of the goodwill of good people in the world in 2008, there was massive support for him. After hundreds of years of oppression of black people in the United States of America, all we wanted was a representative on that presidency seat.

As Sal Bommarito succinctly puts it,
“… to elect an African American president was a huge and very inspiring event for the country, I thought. Finally, after 200-plus years of discrimination and repression, a black man became the most powerful person on the planet. African-Americans rejoiced when this man was elected — they had a true role model. Well, the president has disappointed on this front as well.”

Tragedy is when you leave important things to attend to frivolity. President Obama has been spending the rest of his last one year of presidency, meeting with Hollywood celebrities in the White House, showing them around in a relaxed manner. Does this mean United States of America has no more challenges in its coffers? Come on, this is the world’s most powerful country! I don’t think Vladimir Putin is currently dining with celebrities in the Russian state house. We all know Obama rode on the back of these celebrities to office and their support & consequently their fan’s support gave him the needed votes, most especially the black and latino communities who listen most to Jay-Z, Jeezy, Nas et al. But if President Obama feels he needs to show his gratitude to these guys he can’t ignore the plight of millions other miserable Americans who aren’t celebrities.

Under Obama’s presidency, there has been more concerns about the mistreatment of migrants in USA than under any other President in American history. History has been good to Obama but he has not been good to history. He came at the perfect time, but instead of being that man, instead of returning the great favor bestowed on his lowly character he has decided to be a catalyst for repression. When you remain silent in the face of oppression & decide to keep mum then you are on the side of oppression. This president came into office with the impression of being on the common man’s side but he has failed, he’s no friend of the common man after all.

If I had read President Obama’s political book, The Audacity of Hope as at 2008 when it was released, I wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic as I was about his candidacy for president then. In the book, he appeared smart, intelligent & a visionary but then he showed how much of a politician he can be. President Obama is someone who would say whatever you want him to say even though he has his own reservations. He’s just like the rest of the other politicians, he’s not a saint after all.

In the Audacity of Hope, he spoke twice about Nigeria and it was not in good light. This is the biggest & most blessed country in Africa and the supposed “African-American” President Obama has no regards for its people. On page 168 he talks about USA depending on oil coming from Nigeria & other large exporters of crude oil & questioned how America’s $800 million goes into the hands of “the world’s most volatile regimes.” According to President Obama, “it doesn’t matter whether they’re despotic regimes with nuclear intentions or havens for madrassas that plant seeds of terror in young minds – they get our money because we need their oil.” President Obama has shown he cares not about what happens in Africa, millions can die but America will not budge, that’s what he’s saying. He had the temerity to also allege that USA’s dependence on oil from Africa & Asia undermines their national security. I’m an African, a Nigerian and I’m not a terrorist! Nigeria is not a threat to world security. What’s the President really insinuating, is George Zimmerman and his cohorts Africans or aren’t they threats to America’s national safety? Statements like these will always fall from the mouth of an African-American President who doesn’t see himself as an African, who has more sympathies for his white brothers than his true family. That’s why he can’t understand that Africa isn’t America’s problem, it’s the other way round.

He referred to Nigeria again on page 319 of the book, claiming that “countries like, India, Nigeria, and China have developed two legal systems – one for foreigners and elites, and one for the ordinary people trying to get ahead.” If Obama wants to berate African and Asian legal systems, what about the Judge who set George Zimmerman free to roam the streets after murdering young Trayvon Martin based on race prejudice? What of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri recently?

What about all the injustices that goes on in USA daily, human rights encroachments in the supposed citadel of democracy? What about the oppression of black people in America which claimed the lives of great men such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., young men murdered in their prime? What about Tupac Shakur’s political murder in 1996, which was made to resemble a gang or music rivalry but no arrest has been made till now? President Obama’s USA isn’t perfect and its even more imperfect and vulnerable under his regime. Obama is going to leave that seat worse than it has ever been economically since the great depression in 1929. Politically, it is the worst in the history of the country. The country is tensed and the world, consequently is tensed. ISIS is a new phenomenon, the tentacles are worldwide and it is a result of President Obama’s lack of political will.

The page 286 of The Audacity of Hope sees President Obama himself confessing to America’s sins of tolerating and aiding juntas and despotic regimes around the world, just to oust leaders who lean towards communism. USA aided Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo DR and the despot was visited by every single American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, only Jimmy Carter was the exception. What has President Obama done to remedy those ills in the Congo? Congo was in peace before America decided to interfere in their politics. The same problems created by his predecessors, one would have automatically expected an African-American President of the USA to make things right. Isn’t it an open secret that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered C.I.A to kill Congo DR’s first prime minister and one true legitimate leader, Patrice Lumumba due to his romance with the Soviet Union? Didn’t the USA aid Mobutu and Belgium in Lumumba’s eventual cold murder? What about Thomas Sankara, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed…? It’s about time the world puts America where it belongs.

No one really cared to check deeply the character of President Obama when he came in through the back door and took over with his cunning methods. Well, I wish people did as I’m sure most Americans have also seen the grave mistake committed by now. Unscrupulous politics can get you in power but won’t allow you have the best of administrations! Obama is afraid of White America. He’s too passive and lethargic to make any solid impact and I wonder why people didn’t see this on time. The man is such an accomplished con man who has succeeded in hiding his true colors. A president who never admits failure or mistake but claim misunderstanding or blame political opponents is not fit to lead. President Obama should learn to take responsibility for his shortcomings. Some of his “misunderstandings” of the situation has actually allowed the creation & widespread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It’s simply a case of negligence by an irresponsible and passive leader.

Sources:

10 Ways Obama Has Failed as President

http://m.mic.com/articles/61019/8-reasons-why-obama-s-presidency-has-been-a-disappointment#.pvUmfDv9e

These 4 Miscalculations Will Define Obama’s Presidency

http://opportunitylives.com/three-major-problems-with-president-obamas-isis-speech/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr01/3666/2016/en/

I LOST MY BIGGEST FAN (part 1)

Those who read/spy/enjoy my blog would have noticed the long hiatus since Nov. 26 when I last posted. Well, the reason is that just two days after that last post, I lost my mother to the cold hands of death. Ever since, I’ve had what writers popularly call brain-block which made me unable to do things I love most such as reading and writing. All I’ve been able to do is think, think and think. I’ve never been more depressed in my life. At a stage in every man’s life, one or two event will occur that will make you question your own mental strength and religious faith. My mother’s demise has been one of such events in my life which shook me.

Do you know everybody would one day die? We’re all doomed to die someday, whether we like it or not. You ask how I know so? I won’t even use any of the hundreds of passages or verses in the Holy book which points to that fact. Rather, I’d merely use the one logical answer that should appeal to any rational mind. Now, I know everybody is bound or doomed to death simply because if my mother could die, then everybody will! I’ve never met anyone who feared death more than her. She didn’t want to go, she fought the illness for about four years. My mother, even when battling with the terrible sickness that nearly paralyzed her body, was always hopeful. She was always so full of life! She was meant to come to this world when she did and make all the impacts she was able to make in a short time. She died at 55.

Though she had little education, she used to stay up at night with me in those early years while I did my school assignments. I didn’t even know her academic qualifications then as I was too young to understand, but her mere presence always made me calm as I did my work. Few years later when I read something similar on Dr Ben Carson’s autobiography, I simply felt déjà vu. My mum had done the same thing his mother did for him! I have so many fond memories of her. I was able to be the best student in my preparatory and high schools simply because of my mother’s help. As a kid and the last born of my family, she was very fond of me. Whenever she wanted to do her hair, we went together. My barber’s shop was side-by-side with her stylist’s salon. So we used to wait for each other while our hairs were being done. She was my best friend, my one & only ‘woman friend’ and my biggest fan!

My mother would have allowed me if I wanted to be a footballer or musician. She was that understanding with me! She’d simply ask me, “are you sure?” and that would be final once it’s what I really want. My mother bought my elder sister her first piano even though my dad was seriously against anything asides academics for his children. When I was in SS2, my mother ‘gambled’ on me and got me a NECO form (my dad was also against it) which is why I passed O’level before high school graduation & my final year was just a formality! I owe everything to you mother. I can’t possibly write down everything you’ve done for me mum! I just know we’d meet again, soon.

I wouldn’t want to end this article without mentioning how I got my writing grove back. Or didn’t I say earlier that I’ve had a brain-block for 2 months? Well, me being me, I love going out casually and hanging out in those ‘lowkey’ places most of you will probably never visit. I don’t know why I cherish my interaction with ‘everyday people’, probably due to my humble beginning. But one thing I’ve learnt from experience is that some of the best conversations go down in those street (ghetto) corners. Ever since that last November, my hair had remained uncut which had made it very hard, brown and rough. So, today I visited a salon. This was the salon I’ve been using for some years now & this barber friend of mine had never asked specifically after my mum before for once, until today. What a coincidence? That was how I felt when he popped the question. I couldn’t hide it, just had to tell him she’s now late.

Immediately, the barber recalled a particular day two yrs ago when after barbing, I had asked him where I could get a nice air-freshner for my mother’s room. In his own words, he said, “I know you must be very close to your mum as you told me that day you must get her the air-freshner she sent you before going back home.” I was really shocked to see this man recall this. Also these past few weeks, some very close friends have reminded me about a lot of experiences I had even forgotten I had with my mum. An old friend of mine called me on phone by January 2, 2016 after hearing the news and said, “boy, I’m deeply sorry. I would have called you sooner if I knew what happened, because I know you were the most closest to your mum.” Seeing & hearing all these testimonies, I had to dust up my pen and paper & get back to writing. I have a responsibility to chronicle my mother, she really deserves it and more!

***To be continued.

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I bargained with Life… by Jessie B. Rittenhouse

*** This particular poem was quoted in ipsissima verba by Napoleon Hill in his bestselling book, ‘Think and grow rich.’ I, in particular, after poring through the lines continuously, have grown to fall in love with this wonderful poem. May God bless the soul of Jessie Belle Rittenhouse for leaving this great piece behind. I thought of sharing it with my readers, especially those who haven’t read Napoleon Hill’s book or heard of Jessie B. before now.
Enjoy! ***

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

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The wild, wild West

*Dedicated to my childhood neighborhood, sometimes miss the people. Great people.
*Inspired by a NatGeo documentary.

Growing up among the dying breed
My step-brother I miss him
May the Lord forgive him, all he wanted was to live life
Where I grew up, death is a substance of a new life
Childbirth is celebrated like Christmas, death mourned like death
Like the ravens in the wild we fend for ourselves
We break the rules for our loved ones
It’s a place where nature can’t be heard
When one dies another continues to thrive
Chaos, mayhem, mob, marauders…
There’s no street tougher than ours
We reveled in the obstreperous state
The birds chirp and the dogs bark off
I know no better place to be than the West

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The evil the West did to my Continent

*Author’s headnote

I have a small theory, which I’ve been trying to experiment upon with myself as much as I could, without confusing bias with value- isn’t that what Max Weber took most of his time to tell us? My theory is that, the best time to write a critical political article is when you’ve not had breakfast (and lunch together), for the hunger in your stomach brings the right anger you need to write. Hunger + intellectual anger equals to genius, a great piece of artistic creation! Note that the kind of anger I’m working with, not a violent one but the type that stresses your intellectual reservoir and makes you study & work on things you’d normally let slide. This I’ve further proven this morning as I write this article which started as a little chit-chat on the phone with my sister who’s in faraway Abuja. I hope you all feel my pain as you read. Enjoy.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

The West assassinated our brightest intellectuals and left us with despots, kleptocrats, thieves and rogues. Christopher Okigbo died in the war-front while trying to defend his region during the Biafran war (Nigerian Civil war 1967-1970). He was killed in Nsukka, the university town where he first started out as a poet, and which he had vowed to defend with his life. Chrisopher Okigbo is widely regarded as one of the most important African poets to write in English. What was he doing at the war-front? What changed his mindset? These are the questions that baffles the mind. Okigbo rejected the first prize in African poetry awarded to him at the 1965 Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, declaring that there is no such thing as a Negro or black poet. A step some other African poets like Dennis Brutus followed later by also rejecting awards that they felt degraded the idea of pan-africanism and encroached the dignity of mankind.

Dennis Brutus’s book, Sirens, Knuckles and Boots, published in Nigeria while he was in jail received the Mbari Poetry Prize, awarded to a black poet of distinction, but Brutus turned it down on the grounds of its racial exclusivity – similar to what Okigbo had done. What did these intellectuals see that most Africans don’t get to see? They had seen the truth behind the international establishments. In December 2007, Brutus was to be inducted into the South African Sports Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, he publicly turned down his nomination and said; “It is incompatible to have those who championed racist sport alongside its genuine victims. It’s time—indeed long past time—for sports truth, apologies and reconciliation.” Why would Brutus reject South Africa’s biggest honour in sports? It is because he knew he would have sold his birthright by receiving that award. The initiators were trying to, mildly and latently, lure him to their side. Brutus was aware of this and immediately rejected the Honors, something most people would jump at. Miss such an opportunity to be more famous and decorated? No way! Those who offered the award too probably underestimated him & thought he would fall for such miniature temptation of vainglory.

Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) wasn’t so lucky to laugh last over his European enemies. He was murdered in cold blood, he alongside two of his closest allies were gunned down at night by British and Belgian firing squad and his body dissolved with sulphuric acid so his corpse wouldn’t be found! Patrice, a Congolese independence leader, was the first ever democratically elected leader of the country. He was the leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played a pivotal role in campaigning for independence from Belgium. What was the crime of this very young and bright Congolese politician? He was an unrepentant pan-Africanist and wanted to unite Congo. You will feel nothing but contempt due to the brutality of the Belgians policemen and UK forces, including the American CIA who also wanted Lumumba dead. It was alleged that the ‘almighty’ President Dwight D. Eisenhower of USA had ordered Lumumba’s death. In an interview on Belgian television in a program on the assassination of Lumumba in 1999, Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete displayed a bullet and two teeth that he boasted he had saved from Lumumba’s body. The question I keep asking myself is, ‘what were Belgian, British and American forces still doing in Congo, a year after the latter’s independence?’ Was the independence real or was it just a ploy to throw the country into chaos and stay around to kill the greatest citizens of the country? I need answers. Patrice is a national hero. He’s to Congo what Awolowo and Nkrumah are to Nigeria and Ghana!

Same thing happened in Burkina Faso with the young military captain, Thomas Sankara who was murdered at 37 years old in a coup led by the dictator, Blaise Compaoré. Look at the similarity in character with Patrice Lumumba, Sankara was a Pan-Africanist, young and vibrant, revolutionary and charismatic. He renamed Upper Volta to what is now known as Burkina Faso (which means ‘Land of Upright Man’) today. Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of totally eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power. What a vision Sankara had for his nation. He had begun achieving profound results in agriculture, health sector, economy, education, corruption, political stability and security when his life was cut short in a French-backed coup led by Compaoré. Sankara led by example, not as a dictator would compel you normally. Sankara outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions( when last did you see a military dictator who respected women?).

What happened after France backed Blaise Compaoré to assassinate and shatter Sankara’s body with bullets during the coup? Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalization policy of Sankara, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in “desperately needed” funds to restore the “shattered” economy. Compaoré’s dictatorship then remained in power, until it was overthrown by popular protests in 2014 when he attempted to amend the constitution to further extend his 27-year term! As I pointed out from the start, these powerful western powers always spearhead the assassination of every intellectual, visionary African leader then, place an empty-headed imbecile in their stead. Look at the conspiracy and Africans keep playing into their hands. Even today, most youths don’t care to know what happened before their time. If you don’t know, how do you prevent being manipulated further? We cannot afford to make the mistakes our parents made. In Congo, Belgium replaced Lumumba with the Congolese politician they paid to hold the coup, Mobutu Sese Seko who reigned for 32 years of corruption and absurdity! As Edmund Obilo rightfully posits on one of his radio talks on Splash FM 105.5, “sadly, corruption continues to be a state policy in Africa.”

To win the Caine Prize or get well-known international publishers like Bloomsbury to publish your work, one must write slanderous things about his own people, major bad themes about Africa such as maternal mortality, the slave trade e.t.c. Then make sure you look haggard in the book cover picture. In this way, you get published real fast, maybe even get nominated for an international award or two. A little background check on the book cover pictures of Chimamanda Adichie and Buchi Emecheta proves me right. Its the same for any other writer who wants to sell on those international platforms. To win the Booker prize or Caine prize you more or less have to sell-out in some ways to the organizers. Want to know what I mean by selling-out? Go find out whether past winners who are of African origin actually continue to stay in their fatherland. They always leave. Background check on Chimamanda Adichie, Tope Folarin, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta, Okey Ndibe & co. proves me right.

What led to the sudden irritation? Chinua Achebe kept talking about the ills in the political and economic scene in Nigeria, but he refused to stay here. He eventually died overseas. The tragedy of post-imperialism and neo-colonialism is when Africans begin to refer to the hardships in their lives as a result of them being Africans. Humankind face hardships generally, be you Canadian, Asian or African. I see Africans playing to the hands of the imperialists if they feel nothing good can come out of themselves because of their origin. Merely reading Chimamanda’s Americanah brings to fore the racism which still exist in our world today. Who has seen Donald Trump’s comments on Barack Obama lately? We all thought racism died with Martin Luther King Jnr. And Malcolm X but the joke’s on us all because racism didn’t died, it still exist in our world today.

We have to bring the reading culture back quickly. Its direly needed. How do we question these forces if we don’t study our history books? There are still thousands of African heroes like Patrice Lumumba and we rarely hear anything about them because they were killed and buried secretly, even the records and legacies of them are near-dead due to the efforts of subsequent shenanigan governments and these powerful Western forces. Now, if the West killed all of Africa’s best minds, do they have the moral or actual right to turn-around & say Africans are monkeys who can’t think, who can’t rule themselves? What did the West leave Africa after centuries of slavery? The truth is, the West killed our best brains & left us with despots like Mugabe, Charles Taylor, Mobutu Sese Seko e.t.c. Now they’ve established all these ineffective charity organisations to bring aid to Africa, such as USAID, IMF, WHO, UNESCO, ICJ… It’s only because they want us to be in eternal servitude to them. Their plan has always been to subjugate Africa. United Nations officials were present in Congo when Patrice Lumumba was being brutalized, the knew about it but did nothing. Lumumba had personally sent for them at the beginning of the crisis. They never cared. They ruined Africa & now they’re giving us a ‘helping hand?’ UN are currently donating food to war-torn South Sudan. Ask, the war-fares were supplied by who? Who backed the rebel opposition? The same countries with the largest stakes at the UN!!! The aids United Nations claim to be giving Africa now, visionary African leaders like Thomas Sankara made more progress at local generation of these same things before being murdered in coups backed by France, Belgium, USA, Britain & co.

France backed up Blaise Compraore to plan his coup & assassinate Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara was a soldier like no other, he wrote three solid books. He was an intellectual par excellence. The Nigerian civil war was made possible by western powers, USA, Spain, Belgium, France, Russia, Czech, Germany to name a few e.t.c. France was a major supporter of the Biafran secessionists, supplying arms and ammunitions. Funny enough, these same France later sent aid to starving children of the war-torn region. They even came down to train General Ojukwu’s lieutenants. Now, the same countries can’t send their soldiers to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram! Do you smell foul? These powerful western countries could back a region to secede from the rest of Nigeria but won’t send troops to Nigeria to help terminate minor Boko Haram in just about five states in Nigeria. Even South African mercenaries fought for Biafra, where are they now? The West can’t wait to see Africa explode from the gun-powder keg they’ve set and all true Africans must rise up!

Sources:

Priebe, Richard K. “Christopher Okigbo” Microsoft Encarta 2009. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

Wikipedia

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/11555

Kindly follow me on twitter @tom_olas

The evil the West did to my Continent

*Author’s headnote

I have a small theory, which I’ve been trying to experiment upon with myself as much as I could, without confusing bias with value- isn’t that what Max Weber took most of his time to tell us? My theory is that, the best time to write a critical political article is when you’ve not had breakfast (and lunch together), for the hunger in your stomach brings the right anger you need to write. Hunger + intellectual anger equals to genius, a great piece of artistic creation! Note that the kind of anger I’m working with, not a violent one but the type that stresses your intellectual reservoir and makes you study & work on things you’d normally let slide. This I’ve further proven this morning as I write this article which started as a little chit-chat on the phone with my sister who’s in faraway Abuja. I hope you all feel my pain as you read. Enjoy.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

The West assassinated our brightest intellectuals and left us with despots, kleptocrats, thieves and rogues. Christopher Okigbo died in the war-front while trying to defend his region during the Biafran war (Nigerian Civil war 1967-1970). He was killed in Nsukka, the university town where he first started out as a poet, and which he had vowed to defend with his life. Chrisopher Okigbo is widely regarded as one of the most important African poets to write in English. What was he doing at the war-front? What changed his mindset? These are the questions that baffles the mind. Okigbo rejected the first prize in African poetry awarded to him at the 1965 Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, declaring that there is no such thing as a Negro or black poet. A step some other African poets like Dennis Brutus followed later by also rejecting awards that they felt degraded the idea of pan-africanism and encroached the dignity of mankind.

Dennis Brutus’s book, Sirens, Knuckles and Boots, published in Nigeria while he was in jail received the Mbari Poetry Prize, awarded to a black poet of distinction, but Brutus turned it down on the grounds of its racial exclusivity – similar to what Okigbo had done. What did these intellectuals see that most Africans don’t get to see? They had seen the truth behind the international establishments. In December 2007, Brutus was to be inducted into the South African Sports Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, he publicly turned down his nomination and said; “It is incompatible to have those who championed racist sport alongside its genuine victims. It’s time—indeed long past time—for sports truth, apologies and reconciliation.” Why would Brutus reject South Africa’s biggest honour in sports? It is because he knew he would have sold his birthright by receiving that award. The initiators were trying to, mildly and latently, lure him to their side. Brutus was aware of this and immediately rejected the Honors, something most people would jump at. Miss such an opportunity to be more famous and decorated? No way! Those who offered the award too probably underestimated him & thought he would fall for such miniature temptation of vainglory.

Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) wasn’t so lucky to laugh last over his European enemies. He was murdered in cold blood, he alongside two of his closest allies were gunned down at night by British and Belgian firing squad and his body dissolved with sulphuric acid so his corpse wouldn’t be found! Patrice, a Congolese independence leader, was the first ever democratically elected leader of the country. He was the leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played a pivotal role in campaigning for independence from Belgium. What was the crime of this very young and bright Congolese politician? He was an unrepentant pan-Africanist and wanted to unite Congo. You will feel nothing but contempt due to the brutality of the Belgians policemen and UK forces, including the American CIA who also wanted Lumumba dead. It was alleged that the ‘almighty’ President Dwight D. Eisenhower of USA had ordered Lumumba’s death. In an interview on Belgian television in a program on the assassination of Lumumba in 1999, Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete displayed a bullet and two teeth that he boasted he had saved from Lumumba’s body. The question I keep asking myself is, ‘what were Belgian, British and American forces still doing in Congo, a year after the latter’s independence?’ Was the independence real or was it just a ploy to throw the country into chaos and stay around to kill the greatest citizens of the country? I need answers. Patrice is a national hero. He’s to Congo what Awolowo and Nkrumah are to Nigeria and Ghana!

Same thing happened in Burkina Faso with the young military captain, Thomas Sankara who was murdered at 37 years old in a coup led by the dictator, Blaise Compaoré. Look at the similarity in character with Patrice Lumumba, Sankara was a Pan-Africanist, young and vibrant, revolutionary and charismatic. He renamed Upper Volta to what is now known as Burkina Faso (which means ‘Land of Upright Man’) today. Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of totally eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power. What a vision Sankara had for his nation. He had begun achieving profound results in agriculture, health sector, economy, education, corruption, political stability and security when his life was cut short in a French-backed coup led by Compaoré. Sankara led by example, not as a dictator would compel you normally. Sankara outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions( when last did you see a military dictator who respected women?).

What happened after France backed Blaise Compaoré to assassinate and shatter Sankara’s body with bullets during the coup? Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalization policy of Sankara, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in “desperately needed” funds to restore the “shattered” economy. Compaoré’s dictatorship then remained in power, until it was overthrown by popular protests in 2014 when he attempted to amend the constitution to further extend his 27-year term! As I pointed out from the start, these powerful western powers always spearhead the assassination of every intellectual, visionary African leader then, place an empty-headed imbecile in their stead. Look at the conspiracy and Africans keep playing into their hands. Even today, most youths don’t care to know what happened before their time. If you don’t know, how do you prevent being manipulated further? We cannot afford to make the mistakes our parents made. In Congo, Belgium replaced Lumumba with the Congolese politician they paid to hold the coup, Mobutu Sese Seko who reigned for 32 years of corruption and absurdity!

To win the Caine Prize or get well-known international publishers like Bloomsbury to publish your work, one must write slanderous things about his own people, major bad themes about Africa such as maternal mortality, the slave trade e.t.c. Then make sure you look haggard in the book cover picture. In this way, you get published real fast, maybe even get nominated for an international award or two. A little background check on the book cover pictures of Chimamanda Adichie and Buchi Emecheta proves me right. Its the same for any other writer who wants to sell on those international platforms. To win the Booker prize or Caine prize you more or less have to sell-out in some ways to the organizers. Want to know what I mean by selling-out? Go find out whether past winners who are of African origin actually continue to stay in their fatherland. They always leave. Background check on Chimamanda Adichie, Tope Folarin, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta, Okey Ndibe & co. proves me right.

What led to the sudden irritation? Chinua Achebe kept talking about the ills in the political and economic scene in Nigeria, but he refused to stay here. He eventually died overseas. The tragedy of post-imperialism and neo-colonialism is when Africans begin to refer to the hardships in their lives as a result of them being Africans. Humankind face hardships generally, be you Canadian, Asian or African. I see Africans playing to the hands of the imperialists if they feel nothing good can come out of themselves because of their origin. Merely reading Chimamanda’s Americanah brings to fore the racism which still exist in our world today. Who has seen Donald Trump’s comments on Barack Obama lately? We all thought racism died with Martin Luther King Jnr. And Malcolm X but the joke’s on us all because racism didn’t died, it still exist in our world today.

We have to bring the reading culture back quickly. Its direly needed. How do we question these forces if we don’t study our history books? There are still thousands of African heroes like Patrice Lumumba and we rarely hear anything about them because they were killed and buried secretly, even the records and legacies of them are near-dead due to the efforts of subsequent shenanigan governments and these powerful Western forces. Now, if the West killed all of Africa’s best minds, do they have the moral or actual right to turn-around & say Africans are monkeys who can’t think, who can’t rule themselves? What did the West leave Africa after centuries of slavery? The truth is, the West killed our best brains & left us with despots like Mugabe, Charles Taylor, Mobutu Sese Seko e.t.c. Now they’ve established all these ineffective charity organisations to bring aid to Africa, such as USAID, IMF, WHO, UNESCO, ICJ… It’s only because they want us to be in eternal servitude to them. Their plan has always been to subjugate Africa. United Nations officials were present in Congo when Patrice Lumumba was being brutalized, the knew about it but did nothing. Lumumba had personally sent for them at the beginning of the crisis. They never cared. They ruined Africa & now they’re giving us a ‘helping hand?’ UN are currently donating food to war-torn South Sudan. Ask, the war-fares were supplied by who? Who backed the rebel opposition? The same countries with the largest stakes at the UN!!! The aids United Nations claim to be giving Africa now, visionary African leaders like Thomas Sankara made more progress at local generation of these same things before being murdered in coups backed by France, Belgium, USA, Britain & co.

France backed up Blaise Compraore to plan his coup & assassinate Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara was a soldier like no other, he wrote three solid books. He was an intellectual par excellence. The Nigerian civil war was made possible by western powers, USA, Spain, Belgium, France, Russia, Czech, Germany to name a few e.t.c. France was a major supporter of the Biafran secessionists, supplying arms and ammunitions. Funny enough, these same France later sent aid to starving children of the war-torn region. They even came down to train General Ojukwu’s lieutenants. Now, the same countries can’t send their soldiers to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram! Do you smell foul? These powerful western countries could back a region to secede from the rest of Nigeria but won’t send troops to Nigeria to help terminate minor Boko Haram in just about five states in Nigeria. Even South African mercenaries fought for Biafra, where are they now? The West can’t wait to see Africa explode from the gun-powder keg they’ve set and all true Africans must rise up!

Sources:

Priebe, Richard K. “Christopher Okigbo” Microsoft Encarta 2009. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

Wikipedia

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/11555

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When will I be free?

The more money I make, the more I want
The more I increase the more I count
Numbers keep piling, so is my greed
Numbers never end, numbers never lie
Anything in numbers could be uncountable
My love for material things have become insatiable
My lust and thirst, unquenchable
When will man ever rest?
I want my paradise here on earth
When will I be free?
I don’t know what I really want
‘Cos the more I get, the more I still want
When will wars end?
‘Cos it doesn’t look like there’s an end
Even though we have a new president
Yesterday, Boko Haram shot ten in North-end
My pastor said the following in church today;
“I’m here to speak sense to your senses,
that’s the essence of my existence.”
And what did he say thereafter?
Poverty is dangerous, make money
If only he knew what love of money did to men
Men have turned to beasts
No love for their fellow men
The battle I fight within me
It is bigger than those on Chicago streets
I’m weary from these toils
When will I ever be free?

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Africa, it is time!

The Rwandan genocide, South African apartheid, Nigerian Biafran war, Sierra Leone blood diamonds, Kikuyu vs Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, Obote vs Idi Amin in Uganda…there has been way too much bloodshed in Africa. Sometimes I’m moved to tears when I remember our brothers whose bloods have been unnecessarily sacrificed. The peace we now enjoy ( those African countries in relative peace, asides Somalia, Burundi, Libya, Sudan etc) is because some people laid down their lives for our emancipation. But what have we done with the freedom from slavery and imperialism? A staggering 17 African countries got independence in 1960, including my country, Nigeria. Out of the 17, at least 10 would later have civil wars, coup d’ etats, election violence and so on. Most African countries still find it hard to rule its own people and direct the nation in the right path. For those practicing a democratic system of governance, whenever election period comes close, the citizens panic, knowing it means bloodshed. For those still being ruled by the military and or a despotic ruler, human rights regulations means nothing in those countries. Those laws are trampled upon daily.

Bob Marley sang and preached love and freedom till he died. So was Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Nigerian-born world afro beat originator. So was Lucky Dube, the South African raggae king who was brutally murdered (nobody has been on trial for the murder so far, for over 5 years! ). Jesus Christ always preached love as the only key and most important commandment. Prophet Muhammed always preached love. Martin Luther King Jnr and his role model, Mahatma Gandhi both lived and died preaching love and freedom for all mankind. Tata Madiba himself, Mandela lived all his life seeking freedom for his people. He preached love and also showed it in his lifestyle until his death. Is it not the same South Africa that just displayed xenophobia recently, murdering and brutalizing their own African brothers and sisters? When the Afrikaans tortured, murdered and made original South Africans work the mines during the Madiba days, we all condemned the act and named it apartheid. Now, what do we call Africans doing the same to their own kind?

The Biafra war in Nigeria, despite all the reasons given, should never have happened because it was a dead end. Even today, the man who spearheaded that war in the Eastern part of Nigeria, the late General Christopher Dim Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu (rtd), is still being celebrated throughout the Eastern region and Nigeria. But in as much as I respect this man as a man of great courage and personality, I seriously feel it is irresponsible to lead your own people to a war you know you may not win. He couldn’t have been sure Biafra was going to secede easily. It was a dead end, a war instituted for some people’s mere egoistic and selfish economic gains. The result was over two million corpses, fathers, mothers and children. The Rwandan civil war also created over one million dead people.

What about 6th January, 1999, the day the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels set Sierra Leone on fire. The bloody day which heralded the year-long bloodshed and man’s inhumanity to man where hands and legs were chopped off and lives were cut short. Children were separated from their parents, drugged and made to shoot or maim other citizens in broad daylight. Ordinary citizens were made to pay for the crimes they didn’t commit. Everybody was a criminal, innocence was no more found in the land. People suffered as a result of the diamond 95% of them had never even seen before! It was a gory sight to see some of the documentaries on the saga. How can God still smile on Africa for all these brutality we’ve caused ourselves? Definitely, God isn’t a human but a spirit because if human were God, Africa would have been erased from the world map by now.

Let history be taught in our Colleges, High school and elementary schools, young people must know and not forget these mistakes their parents made in the past. It must serve as lessons for a better future. We cannot afford to let go of our heritage and those things left which still makes us original. To do otherwise is to be culturally alienated, forgotten in history and cast away from the rest of the world. The famous historian and scholar, Hugh Trevor Roper delivered a speech at the University of Sussex in October 1963, where he made these derogatory comments about Africa; “Perhaps, in the future, there will be some African history to teach. But at present there is none, or very little: there is only the history of the Europeans in Africa. The rest is largely darkness, like the history of pre-European, pre-Columbian America. And darkness is not a subject for history.” He proclaimed that Africa never had any history until the British and other imperialists came to settle and deal in slaves. Mr Trevor Roper forgot that the fact that, he was too short-sighted to see our history doesn’t mean history isn’t there! The scholar confused himself for some omnipresent who sees everything. Well, if we as. Africans would prove assumptions like that to be wrong, something urgent must be done.

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Bobby Shmurda this, Bobby Shmurda that

In July 2014, when I first saw the video of “Hot Nigga”, the platinum-hit rap single delivered by Bobby Shmurda, my first reaction was that of irritation. Now, my displeasure was not only due to the violent lyrics that kept reverberating but moreso, due to what I saw as basic rap lines. As a youngster in high school, I had penned down lyrics (not carrying violent tones!) of such standard after listening to some DMX album tracks. Who best to judge basic rap lyrics than someone who himself has written them down before? I wanted to be a rapper back then after being inspired listening to DMX, Ja rule and Nas. I wrote down several simple rap lyrics down, copying my mentors in some and original with the rest. Sadly, my older sister got to my rap sheet and tore it, wondering why I’d want to be a hip hop artist. I got discouraged & that was the end of that chapter.

The fact that Bobby Shmurda got that level of fame and whatever achievement (if he had any) was basically due to his place of birth, America. USA is a land of freedom, affluence and prosperity and most of its citizens have learnt to do things ‘the right way’ for the good of their country, unlike any other nation in the world. If anyone is lucky to be born in such a geographical space and possesses even a miniature talent, such is likely to succeed ahead of those with better gifts but unlucky enough to find themselves in politically & economically unstable nations. Bobby Shmurda, real name Ackquille Jean Pollard is of Jamaican descent. He couldn’t have achieved the same level of attention he had garnered even without an EP if he was born in Kingston instead of Miami!

The young Bobby Shmurda was going to “blow off” a crime, violent & gangsterism influenced music career and organized America wasn’t going to let that happen, not from a black man again! They had to stop him. Of course, several other “young black brothas” like Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg etc. had done gangster hip hop before and got away with it for a long time, but not at the level in which Bobby Shmurda conspicuously depicted it. Tupac Shakur was the only act who ever was so ecstatic about it( especially when he created his super-group ‘Outlaw’) and was he not finally murdered in 1996? Maybe Bobby Shmurda should thank God to even be in prison although, his days are numbered. Even Tupac did different times behind the bar before finally taken out of the scene when he refused to change his kind of music. What has America done to unravel the mystery behind Tupac’s death 19 years after? Isn’t it obvious his murder was backed by the state? But Tupac isn’t my topic for today, I want to write just on Shmurda.

Bobby Shmurda, young as he was was a pioneer in his own right. He made popular & maybe even pioneered the rachet-like dance moves which has now been tagged the “shmoney dance” and further popularised on social media when world-acclaimed acts like Rihanna, Chris Brown, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, and Fabulous did it. This is another disadvantage and misuse of the social media. In as much as it has changed some lives positively for life, the social media has the potential to infect the minds of people negatively. A song like ‘hot nigga’ would never be heard outside the recording studio if not for the internet. A song like that wouldn’t have become a hit during the years of the turntable DJs and actual rap battles when you must be highly exceptional to even get a recording contract. Nowadays, labels (Epic records etc.) acquire these rappers like band boys who are just there on the roster for the sake of presence. The world has changed. Much emphasis is now placed on materialism and epicurean values, therefore, ‘rappers’ would say anything to ‘get paid’ & sell a record!

Bobby Shmurda doesn’t appear to me to be the kind of youngster who has the stomach for all the criminal activities he claimed responsibility for in his ‘hot nigga’ lyrics. Some of the other youngsters in the video looked even tougher than he was. Left to me, I’d rehabilitate the boy with a good psychologist and a changed environment. I still believe the bulk of his problem originated from youthful exuberance and bad examples/environment. As I noted earlier, USA is a land of opportunities and this probably makes her citizens heady and crazy, just like the egoistic child of a wealthy tycoon. You dare not release such music Bobby Shmurda was doing if you were in some African countries. This I know. The artist won’t sell a single record and go into obscurity.

Life is based on expression. You have to express yourself whether in writing or by talking. Some people express themselves by drawing pictures. I watched a documentary once of a young boy who was deaf and dumb but this boy was a genius. He could sketch anything out in drawing and painting. Sadly, people like him don’t get to live long but they always leave an indelible mark behind on earth. All life expression is art. Whether you express yourself in talking with any form of language or sign or whether you’re a writer like me. Creative writing, poetry, prose fiction etc. are all artistic endeavors. Apparently, expression is not what really matters as we’ve seen but what is expressed. Everybody always find a way to express themselves, you can’t live life wholly being passive. The dumb use signs and symbols to communicate. Whatever we feel inwardly, think, do, see, experience is what we express outwardly. This brings us to the environment that influenced Bobby Shmurda.

He’s just 21 and he didn’t invent gangsterism, he met it on ground. He isn’t Tookey Williams who founded the Crips gang. He didn’t invent gangster rap, he was influenced by it and decided to tow that line. As I pointed out earlier, I wanted to be like DMX, Ja rule and Nas too. These are gangster/hardcore rappers I was copying so I could have ended up in jail like Bobby Shmurda. Music is so powerful that you could make the mistake of completely following the examples of the artist you idolize irrespective whether he/she is a criminal in real-life. DMX has been to jail severally on different count charges of misdemeanor, assault and battery, felony etc. This was the same guy I was trying to be like? Just because I listened to and love some of his rap songs such as ‘Make a move’, ‘One more road to cross’, both in the 1999 Grammy-nominated album “And then there was…X”. Ja rule has done time in jail too. Now, I’d later become a lawyer because I had a sister who didn’t give a nod to my rap choice. Because she tore my note, I got discouraged and pursued my academics. That was the difference. Between good and evil, its a thin line which could be crossed over very easily. Nobody was born bad although, its not easy to prove if anybody was born good either.

I saw a picture of one of the many Bobby Shmurda court proceedings early in the year and my convictions were further strengthened. The attorney defending him was a young black man, the policeman in the picture was also black American while Shmurda was being docked for several offences ranging from arms possession to intent to commit murder. There were three black men, two chose to uphold the law of the land while one chose to wholly decimate law and order. Life is a choice after-all and your background should never deter you from greatness. Bobby Shmurda could have influenced thousands of teenagers worldwide wrongly if he got away with his public affront. He was going about his business as a budding gangster with all impunity, making gang signs in videos, shooting guns (in Bobby Bitch video) and living recklessly. The state had to stop him.

His record label, Epic records has distanced itself as much as possible from the controversy. Epic records is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment. Well, I’m not suprised to see their interested detachment from Shmurda’s case, knowing fully well the role Sony Entertainment company played in the Michael Jackson saga. Thus, Epic has refused to pay the $2million bail bond to free him. What I’m so surprised about is how Bobby Shmurda, with all the swagger and arrogance, couldn’t come forth with the money & free himself when he had the opportunity. This speaks a lot about the fake life most of these ‘stars’ depict publicly. To get the bail doesn’t look so easy now and as of Monday, he was denied bail for the umpteenth time. He’s looking at a possible 25 years behind bars. Seeing how most people become hardened by their prison terms especially black men in America (see Jeff Fort, Nicky Barnes, Freeway Ricky Ross etc.), we can only hope he comes back a reformed man.

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The wounded beast

Pushing and groaning
Crying and wailing
Running and panting
Amidst confusion and struggling
Amidst frustration and great pain
Unlike the case with T-pain
He tries harder, harder, harder
Deep breaths and sighs going louder
They drum it into his hears everytime
He gasps for breath
The tiny life is out
The large heart sapped out
Hold on, he has died before only to wake up
He would be back

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M.A.P. Jones

***Dedicated to life & a very special lady who became my friend in the most unlikeliest of ways.

Dear M.A.P. Jones
My life is a miracle
Well, come join me at the pinnacle

You’re the Asian cinnamon
A rare spice, blossoming every season
To love you, I need no reason.

Happy to have you as my baby…!
You’re worthy of life milady
Without you there’s no light

My one and only M.A.P Jones
I love you, I chose you
I’d never offer you stones

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The Good Life

Dedicated to all dreamers like me. Thanks for reading.

Tho’ things are currently hard
And life too difficult
I see hope, a bright future
I see the good life
Things will change for good in the nearest future

Tho’ I go to sleep tonight
With no hope or expectation for today
I’d bask in the euphoria of tomorrow
I see the good life
Things will change for good tomorrow

Tho’ everything looks gloomy
As if I should commit suicide
Even my family turning against me
I see the good life
When they can no more stop me

Tho’ my credits are all red
I can’t sleep at night ‘cos my creditors cometh
But being alive means there’s hope
I see that good life
Of glory, there’s hope

I’d go and prepare for my chance cometh
A great man said so
The quintessential Abraham Lincoln
I see the good life
I would still buy that Lincoln

Tho’ man dies broken at night
(For who knows what happens after sleeping at night?)
He wakes up whole in the morning
I see the good life
I wake up with new hope every morning.

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The Hard Life

This is dedicated to everybody around the world facing hard times, most especially in Africa in those dark corners I’ve never been to. I can only imagine…

The jailer condescendingly asked why I did what I did
Does he know what it feels like,
Waking up with no food on one’s table?
With no corn nor yam in the barn
And no time to check your time
You sweat for every nickel and dime
This is the hard life that breeds a dangerous world.

The difficulty in the streets I’ve seen is great
It has changed many destinies
Same hustle that made Wacko Jacko white,
Turned a young whizkid to a DJ Whookid
Shame on our politicians for leading us astray
Several decades after independence
Colonial policies still thrive here

The jailer asked again what I did
Truth is I don’t even know what I did
Never been to trial but jailed anyway
For who is to stand for me, a nobody like me?
The law here is what the sovereign calls it
As Odia Ofiemun rightfully posits,
We’re those who have no grace to fall from.

There was a time when we all flourished
When the ground was cultivated for cash & food crops
How did we get here now?
Our farmlands now barracks and refineries
The funds from oil get to only a few
When grown men can’t live as they like
Then aren’t they imprisoned already?
Such hard life Blue’s dad talked about.

Please follow me on twitter @tom_olas

Please follow me on twitter @tom_olas

Please follow me on twitter @tom_olas

On Writing

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration to come, the rest of us just go to work. – Stephen King, On writing

A new inductee of alpha club and equally medical student, Mr Tolulope Popoola once asked me to put him through on writing & inquired how I get the inspiration to write. We were to be in Lagos state the following morning to induct Patron Femi Adesina and he was trying to write a letter to his H.O.D so he could be allowed to miss classes next day. Seeing that we were both busy, I just gave a little pep talk told him we would talk about it later. Now, my good friend, if you’re reading this it is the final answer to your question.

Every writer has a style(s) and as for me, I simply put down my thoughts which makes it very easy for me. Everything I write is a result of deep thoughts which I could have had previously, even before picking up the pen or typing. Being a thinking being and pondering on almost everything, you can see the plethora of knowledge in front of me to write from. Be it politics, life, science, arts, music, sports, literature, fantasy, realist and idealist philosophy, technology among other fields of knowledge are the things that ‘bother’ me all the time and mostly constitute my thinking. Hence, I’m always writing under those categories.

For me, writing is lifestyle. A writer has to keep it real even while being creative. Also, the level of creativity has to do with the type of write-up. For instance, I don’t expect a writer of articles dilly-dally or to use abstract words other than be straightforward when reporting an incident that occurred. For a poet, he has the automatic license to dance around the subject matters and be as creative as possible. It is allowed. For extremely blessed writers too, one can be highly creative with the diction just as I’ve seen some great writers do before. The writings of Martin Luther King Jnr. are about the most creative use of words I’ve ever seen! My mentor in journalism, Femi Adesina follows closely. Bola Ige, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikwe’s write-ups will always provoke thoughts and are extremely creative too.

To wait until inspiration hits you is to wait forever. Nothing good comes easily, not even good write-ups! You must be in control of your own mind, thoughts and your pen. The way I feel when ideas pop up in my head & I need to write can only be likened to when a woman has to give birth to a child. Its an uncontrollable thing when you’re led to write on something, especially issues that affect people such as politics. You start some write-ups not even knowing how they would end up but you just have your topic in mind & you know you want to prove a point with the whole writing. That happens to writers all the time and it simply doesn’t mean to stop. That’s why a strong urge must exist before grabbing a pen, that’s what keeps you going, even when the brain has blocked.

Writers don’t stop writing because just like every other artistic work, it’s our way of expression. When I’m sad I write, same as when happy. It is a way of life. Inspiration abounds everywhere and we only have to tap into it. For instance, the last poem I wrote, I was in church about 2 weeks ago when the pastor started talking about God’s blessings, money and wealth. I didn’t really have to think much. The result of that was ‘Rich Is Bond’, the poem. If I wasn’t in church that day, I could never have written about that. Would not even give it a thought. So, writers sometimes need something to stimulate their artist nature at times. It could be heartbreak, death of a loved one, sermon, great tragedy, euphoria or just about anything. It’s that ‘crazy’ for blessed writers.

The incidents in the life of Oscar Wilde reflected in his books. Mary Ann Evans (also known as George Elliott) too and thousand others. Ben Carson is always writing autobiographies, he can’t help it. Even when he tries to just motivate & divert, he drifts back into his early life. Writers are the realest people in the world. I could deduce so many things from reading a single paragraph from Buchi Emecheta’s autobiography, Head Above Water. Even where she didn’t explicitly say she had a boyfriend after leaving her husband, she left several loopholes pointing to that fact (and I’m sure it was intentional, she’s smarter than that). She just wanted the truth known in an ‘unclear’ way.

Some of the greatest world changers are and were equally great writers. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton e.t.c. The most notable being Obafemi Awolowo, a man who wrote down all his ideologies so even the unborn could still be inspired to achieve greatness through examples that are so evident. He just simply poured out his soul into his writings so they could achieve eternal significance.

Rich Is Bond!

I must be rich,
You must be rich,
We must be rich.
Why?
Our rich is bond!

The apogee height,
We’d go beyond,
Place we can’t hide.
Why?
Our rich is bond!

The higher we go,
More choosy we’d be,
Not with loved ones tho’.
Why?
Our rich is bond!

All our labors,
(that’s if we labored),
Shall turn to favors.
Why?
Our rich is bond!

You see all sort and all kinds,
Of Well-to-do people,
In company of their kind(s).
Why?
Our rich is bond!

You see poor fellas,
Bonding and moving,
With other poor fellas.
Why?
Our rich is bond!

The People (part 2)

When Mr Tom Joyner mounted the stage to give his acceptance speech at the 2015 BET awards held recently, he made a point that touched me and affirmed everything I’ve ever really stood for. He said, “our purpose on earth is to help others.” What a statement! What a point! That, coming from a man who just won a highly distinguished award as the Humanitarian award is something to really hold dearly. It is also a clarion call and challenge to everybody who has led a selfish life until date.

The purpose of life is love. How can we show love? To whom do we show love? When do we show love? The answers are found in Christ Jesus (see John 21:15-17). Our actions reflect love. You can’t claim to love someone inside and all that comes out is strife. Love is a seed that germinates, if you love people they’d know! Love is to be shown to everyone, every man you come across in life. Imagine the results on the world order when love germinates from the tiny seed sowed by every individual. There would be no more wars! There’s no time-frame on being kind to others. Let love flow ceaselessly like waters from the river. Let’s show love all the time.

As a realist, I don’t blame people who show selfish tendencies towards others. I even try to encourage my friends who I noticed aren’t selfless. The reason is that I noticed humans are naturally selfish. Most people, if trapped in a burning house alongside a friend, would first struggle to save themselves and escape before remembering that someone else is still on fire! It’s not so wrong, just normal life actually. Everybody is born with a strong sense of self-defense mechanism that makes you run instantly when you hear a big boom like a bomb, without being told. I’ve noticed that even those people who complain that life is not fair and enjoy no luxury still want to stay alive! They don’t want to die.

We all love life, even with all the injustices to our persons! Now, that simply shows something. Man is naturally self-centred and it takes the extraordinary man to be selfless. Now, shouldn’t we all strive to be extraordinary? Is that not the higher call? To surpass the ordinary flesh!

The African continent is home to some of the most religious nations in the world. In my own country, Nigeria, there are congregation as much as 50,000 people on a regular Sunday service in some churches. The reason for this mammoth turnout is not because most of these people love God. Most people go for the miracles. The poverty in the continent has made many turn to God out of necessity, not willfully! Most people will join another religion if that offers them bigger hope of good life. I’m very sure, being a practical Christian, that many of the Christian faithfuls worship God so as to gain His kingdom of heaven. Probably if there was no promise of heaven or paradise, maybe many Christians wouldn’t be Christians! A lot of people, though religious, don’t really have the true understanding of God. God is love and He created man to love and worship Him, a part which man should & must play whether there is a promise of ‘goodies’ or not. Serving God for poverty alleviation, in my opinion, is really selfish, parochial & utilitarian in form. But God is the one true judge of us all.

They say ‘life is a teacher’, but how can we claim to have ‘lived’ if we don’t learn lessons from the master itself? Life is the master/teacher, thus, when we face troubles and tribulations we should absorb and try to overcome them so as to be better persons. Back in the days I used to struggle with God. Whenever I had a poor or average result in school, I ponder and think for a very long time. When I lost my step brother in 2009, I was depressed for the next 1 year. The result was dark write-ups that I don’t even open anymore due to the contents. In 2012, I had a long fruitful discussion in my room with my influential friend, Ibikunle Isaac ( former OAU Student Union president). That was the eye-opener. I told him my opinions on life and how I struggled with failure. Then he said to me, “Look, I used to feel like that too but I discovered that my life isn’t really mine but God’s. He knows what he wants for me and I’ve decided to lay down my dreams to Him. If and when I fail, it isn’t me that failed but God!”. I would never forget those words for I’ve been living by that code ever since and I don’t bother when bad things happen to me anymore.

God has given me a gift which, even more importantly, I’ve been privileged to discover. I do well with people. I’m a people person. People like me find it easy to make new friends whether we try or not. Even the people want to come to us and it’s just like magnetic force. In my final year in college, a friend of mine once commented when on the road leading to my hostel, I was greeting (or were they greeting?) people with every step we took from the main road. The young man was wondering when I moved to the area to know so much people and I told him it was just one year. This is a rare feat because I’m an introvert and most of the people greeting me don’t even know my name, just my face. In high school, popularity came for me without stress. My brilliance, composure and special skills endeared me to students and teachers’ hearts. Where others hustled to be seen, I was seen without hustle.

When I met my musician friend, Eazy +( sometimes written as ‘Plus’) in September last year, it was without stress. I was in my friend Tobi’s room when I saw the young man in his ‘Area’ music video on Soundcity. I instantly got impressed by the music and told my friend, ‘I’d bring this guy to school come October.’ I picked up my phone and called the artiste’s manager, didn’t really like him so I chatted Eazy Plus up through twitter. We instantly became friends and he performed at Alpha club’s charity week following month through my recommendation and he came for free. Till today, that still amazes the young man I was watching the music video with.

In 2008, I began writing articles when I discovered I could, through my knack for reading. My dad loves reading newspapers a lot, something I’ve got from him. I became a big fan and avid reader of a weekly Friday column on Daily Sun by Femi Adesina (title same as the writer’s name). The man was just the daily editor of the tabloid then and I started doing my research on him. I got the information I could, part of which is that we were from the same state (Osun), just different towns. Influenced by my love & study of several autobiographies, biographies & memoirs in those formative years 2008-2010, I wrote to my idol one day. I can’t remember the title but I asked him to write his autobiography & encourage people. His writings were inspirations to my soul every week and I thought it would be better if he wrote about himself.

It was a surprise to see him send a reply to that letter and we became friends, as he gave me an offer I just couldn’t turn down. He said, “Tomiwa, anytime you want to publish anything on our daily titles, don’t hesitate to send it to me.” That was opportunity for me to have my political views heard by people that time. My first published article in March 2010 was very long, I wrote on my idol, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was rightfully titled, ‘Awo at 101’. My mum entered my room then and was scared as I read from so many sources to write a single article! Books were scattered everywhere, my bed, floor, tables etc. I felt I owed my idol a duty of care to write well about him years after his physical death. When it was finally in print, my dad said his colleagues at work commented that the writer must be a lawyer due to the ‘knowledge’ in the write-up. Meanwhile, I was yet to get university admission!

My girlfriend that time got inspired by me, started writing and was even more passionate about it than I was, typical of women. She was opportuned to be offered a slot as a columnist for Nigerian Tribune. She got almost half of a page and was writing on marital issues because that was what she loved to do then. People at times don’t realise after getting what they want, never to let go of those who contributed to their success. It boils down to the earlier point that love must be renewed every time and not just sometimes. Sadly, she lost touch with her inspiration along the line and no more writes.

My journalist friend, Mr Femi Adesina later rose to be the Managing director/editor-in-chief of The Sun and we remained in contact, our relationship getting more robust over the years. He became the president, Nigerian Guild of Editors during the time. Last month, he was named the special adviser on media to the newly elected Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari. He was the only man from the south west among all the appointees, an even more special feat.

I’ve seen and met very good family men who belief in taking good care of their wife and children but think it unnecessary to be nice to their neighbour. A lot of Christians do that today. This is totally wrong. It only demonstrates our selfishness and weakness as individuals. A selfish individual is spiritually weak and God loves the strong. The love of our fellow men is the beginning of obedience to God’s commandments. When we do good to others, we’re actually do good to ourselves. Reason being that, whatever happens in the neighborhood that we care so less about will eventually reflect on the family that we care so much about. Everybody will bear the brunt of hatred if we refuse to sow love. God is love.

Look at the golden rule propounded by Jesus Christ, the most righteous man who ever lived. He said, ‘do unto others as you would love others do unto you!’ That’s very simple and straightforward. If we want love, let’s give love. We want peace, let’s make peace. Living by the golden rule alone leads to fair havens, a halcyon shore and a state of serenity.

The People

This write-up was originally meant to be titled “humble beginnings” and was inspired by reminiscence on my university days after writing my final exam (24th April). Now as my colleagues & I await October call-up for the compulsory 1 year Nigerian law school, I’m enjoying an unusual kind of break from school I’ve not had in about 4 years. It feels good to be without the stress of incoming exams again. I also remember those early days in my 1st year when all we wanted was to be seen & acknowledged as important individuals and before final year we achieved just that. We wanted to be like those popular guys on campus but ended up even bigger than those guys we looked up to in those early days.

Tobi Ajibade, my friend of 5 years and an avid reader of my blog posited recently how my write-ups relate and deal with the people in my life on a day to day basis. He opined that its probably why its so hard not to read the posts once published, as “one might just find himself in there and who doesn’t like his name being mentioned?” Everybody loves good compliments and its not sycophancy or ‘ass-kissing’, in so far as the compliments are honest and sincere ones.

I believe experiences are good and we need to go through them everyday to be better people. Therefore I would never deny myself the benefit of any valuable human experience, as there is no other injustice one can do to himself than that. I try as much as possible to relate with everybody as if I’ve known them for a 100 years and that’s one of the secrets of how I enjoy great relationships with people. I love people deeply and genuinely in a way I cannot explain.

I’ve grown a lot through my relationship with the right & wrong people. They all gave me the lessons that made me who I am today. Your life is as bright as the kind of people in it. It’s all about the people, we’re truly the world! Due to my ‘shaky’ background, I started out being aggressive whenever I relate with people. I was always ready for war when dealing with new people, even my family (parents especially). As I grew older, I began to see that one could actually get things easily with a simple smile on the face than with a rough look! My life changed day I discovered that.

Thank you Lord, for you delivered me! That revelation was all the miracle I needed to be who I am truly. People are ready for war, and most people (99.9 %) would deal with you the same way you treat them. I’ve lost count of how many confrontations I’ve seen from a man being rude to another & things could have been entirely different if there was no feeling of disrespect from either party. People cherish respect. We all love to be loved! Even despots do. Idi Amin Dada wanted love deep down in his heart, that’s why he killed whoever betrayed him.

First day I went to The Sun publishing house, the motorcyclist who drove me through that pothole-filled road told me to ensure I appeared on the newspaper following day, as he would look forward to seeing me. From the Mile 2 bridge where he took me down to Coscharis avenue which camps The Sun House, we had an interesting conversation on the political-economic situation of the country. Looking at the man that day, I felt he just gave me a great duty & placed his dreams on my shoulders. I felt in charge of a great responsibility. Although, my write-ups were being published on the tabloid since 2010, I couldn’t fulfill that man’s wish till the year after that fateful acquaintance ( in 2015, this year my picture appeared). I wish I could see the man now to tell him I finally did it, and it was for a good cause!

When a man of the people succeeds, millions of people succeed. When we finally go on to achieve greatness in life and fulfill destiny, a lot of people will automatically tap from that grace and also fulfill their own purposes. If we fail, a lot people have the potential to equally fail. Bill Gates’ story inspired me even though I’ve never met him, and I’m tapping from his grace whether he knows or not. Every individual under the employ of Microsoft today tap from the grace of the visionary who founded the company. That’s an example of a life of substance. Multitudes will benefit from that single source! My studying of Nelson Mandela, Obafemi Awolowo, Martin Luther King has shaped my life & the way I reason forever, even though I can never meet them (not in this world anymore)!

Life.

(To be continued)

The Youth

About three years ago, my sister came back from church one Sunday to gist me concerning one young man who lived close-by & attended same service. The young man had attended church wearing a very big & multi-coloured sneakers, funny haircut & his pants were sagged. Everything was just wrong with that gentleman that & he made it worse by making himself look that conspicuous while wrongly dressed. Immediately I heard that story that day, I tried to do my own research on sagging (also called low-riding).

As Greg Mathis puts it, “sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are sometimes prohibited to prevent prisoners from using them as weapons or committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip-hop artists in the 1990s. It later became a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society.”

Taking these points in order of appearance, why would any right thinking being want to emulate prisoners who may never even leave their maximum security cells as a result of heavy crimes? Why can’t today’s youths listen to good music and pick out vital lyrics to nourish their souls, why be swayed by showbiz? Listen to your favourite artists’ lyrics well, any artist in 2015 not singing or rapping about world peace, love, life, reality, unity, freedom of mankind etc. isn’t doing good music & doesn’t deserve an audience! This isn’t the 90s when rappers just talk about shooting each other. Lastly, I’m a very unorthodox person & revel in being rebellious especially to defend a course I believe in. Yet, I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil just to gain the world. You can’t prove a moral point by being immoral or repugnant to the society. This single point took almost half of Revd. Martin Luther King’s messages while he lived! We have to show good example.

Few weeks ago, I was in a banking hall (of Guaranty Trust bank) as early as 8:30am trying to deposit some cash before travelling. Being a Monday morning, the bank was full of customers & we had to queue. This buxom lady walked in, climbing the staircase to the customer service desk. This young lady, wearing a black top & black leggings had her butt so embarrassingly visible that even ladies couldn’t help but look amazed. She wore no under-pant, everyone know how tight leggings are & this is coupled with her sexy shape. Worst of all was the skimpy black top. Sadly, the culprit cat-walked round the bank so innocently, unabashed, not badgered nor disturbed as she stole the ‘show’ with the public display. Thank God children can’t transact bills.

I believe there are two categories of youths, namely;
1. The ordinary ones
2. The intellectual ones
These two categories consist of young people who God has abundantly blessed like He did to every single one of His creation. Failure to utilise raw talents, widen horizons and develop as a human being is what makes the ordinary youth remain in a ordinary state. Meanwhile, there’s always hope as one could move (when not too late) to the intellectual state. The intellectual youths are the ones who have surpassed the ordinary and have left to consult their brains before making decisions. The intellectual youth is a thinking human being. Before he goes to party, gets drunk or is tempted to make mistakes, he reconsiders. He learns from his past failures.

Young people spend a lot of time these days watching the newest movie series (there is a new one everyday), getting addicted to the newest stimulant drug in town, engaging in frivolities etc. I’m a youth who has been there too and we’d only continue to lie to ourselves if we put the blame on the government or the leaders alone. I’ve seen more youths in the newly-opened cinema at the Shoprite mall (largest in the country) near where I live in Ibadan than I’ve ever seen in any classroom of study! The only classes I’ve seen near what I see in that mall were those philosophy and sociology classes and that’s because about 20 departments and faculties took them. I wonder, every year universities in the country reduce their entrance cut-off marks so as to allow people get in but millions still fail! What is wrong with this generation? In 2014, over 1.5 million wrote U.T.M.E. while only about 312,000 passed. It’s just sad.

I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I actually invested the time I spent drinking lots of alcohol ( then recuperating for nearly half the next day) into something much worthwhile like more reading or research. I’d probably own a billion dollar company right now. If only youths would do things that truly last and reward the soul, not ephemeral things! Since I was a kid, we noticed I was mostly active at night & usually restless when most people wanted to sleep. This made my sister (my dear godmother) tag me as a “nocturnal being.” It could be a medical condition but I really don’t care as it doesn’t affect me. Mother tried to get me to sleep in those early years by giving me sleeping pills but I always took the pills & still be wide awake for most part of the night. As I grew up, I had to learn to channel my insomnia into good courses, such as writing articles, notes & stories all night. I’ve grown to love me. I feel blessed to have a brain that rarely wants to sleep! Life is way too short for anybody to hibernate all year long anyways.

As the founder of Initiative for Ethics and Values Orientation, Alhaji Isiaka Kehinde rightfully posited recently, “there should be a refocus on the youth ethics as it the best practice all over the world. To achieve the change we desire, it follows that youths should first change their attitudes and be ready to join the change train without any delay.” There is need for a refocus on our objectives and values, the ethical values and decisions that we hold most dearly to our hearts.

We need a huge turnaround from a lacklustre system where the first indigenous mobile telecommunications company in the country, Globacom launched the Glo/Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) which provides high speed Wi-Fi at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and neglect provision of such in Nigerian schools! I find it hard understanding why big African corporations have to continue producing for the sake of financial returns alone. If we don’t train our children, they’d grow up to steal & then squander all the money we were busy saving! By now, I expect to see the corporate social responsibility of these corporations being met.

How many primary/elementary or secondary schools in Nigeria even have Desktop computers? How many pupils have operated a PC before or have been taught with such? All these contribute to failure in the education sector and lack of development of Nigeria and Africa at large. What about the war zones in Africa? Places like South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Burundi etc. Some of these countries being among the poorest in the world! I can’t but imagine the mental state of my fellow African youths in those regions. It isn’t their fault to be born there. How can we hope to end wars in the world if a large part are still being uneducated? Isn’t that a chimera already? So far greed & inequality exists, wars will always come.

The current Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza is vying for a 3rd term in office and this has already led to bloody protests and even a coup staged in the country. At least 1000 people have died and over 105,000 fled to neighboring countries. Next thing we saw in the tabloids would be the sight of the same president playing football with his friends. I didn’t believe the news till I confirmed and saw pictures. The president is ‘balling’ while his people kill each other for his own selfish ambitions.

Typical of human beings but not restricted to Africa alone. What of the erstwhile FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter who is 79 years old? A man who has been at the helms of affairs at the apex soccer body since 1998 & still wanted to continue. As if there is not a more qualified & younger person in FIFA again. What is most painful is the corruption that has bedeviled the organisation. When old men are corrupt it has a more destructive power than even when young people are corrupt. You ask why? It’s because by then young people would have lost all confidence in the system, lost every sense of mentor-mentee relationship & ‘gone!’. Meanwhile once a young person who’s still agile decides not to care anymore, the result is always fatal. It’s partly evident in the terrorism trends around the world( ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko haram etc.). The youth are the future of any nation. We all won’t be free and truly liberated till we realise that.

As Nigerians Celebrate

Earlier on Nigeria’s democracy day & few hours to the inauguration ceremony at Eagle’s square, Abuja something symbolic happened. When the heavy rain started by 2AM in Osun state (as it did in so many other states), I knew it was the rain of CHANGE. I just heard the new President’s speech and I have only one word to qualify it- INSPIRING. President Muhammadu Buhari is a man who understands Nigeria like the back of his hand.

The new president is a very passionate man & its obvious in how Nigerian issues have moved him to tears severally in public speeches and even when he lost the presidential elections in April 2011, before eventually winning March 2015. He has made it known that he intends to be in office for a single term of 4 years which I believe was thoughtful of him due to his age. Meanwhile, the foundation he lays within the next 4 years should be enough for any progressive person who gets to the office after him to get Nigeria to the promised land.

As Dele Adesina (SAN) rightfully posited on a Channels TV programme today, “The President must try as much as possible to seperate politics from administration.” Let’s be true to Nigeria for once, and not just to our selfish wants. If all our leaders (not only the President now) do this, change will happen in the polity. I see no reason why President Buhari would not encourage Nigerians in diaspora to come home. Imagine how many Nigerian professors, professionals and scholars lecturing or working abroad, imparting their knowledge in foreign lands. Why not bring these people home to develop their fatherland?

I was really sad when I sighted the outgone President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan smiling at the inauguration, while President Buhari highlighted Nigeria’s problems in his speech. For crying out loud, these issues were there before February 9, 2010 when GEJ became Actg. President after Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s painful demise. They were there before April 2011 when he was formally elected to office for the apogee position of political power in the land. These problems were present in Nigeria in 2007 when GEJ was Vice President of Nigeria!

The same problems still exist in Nigeria after about 8 years of GEJ being in the Presidential Villa whether as Vice-president, Actg. or as President. Some of the problems (corruption especially) were even multiplied during the last administration! Boko Haram, erratic power, bad roads, unemployment, bad policies etc. have become ‘norms’ in Nigeria for several years now. It is a shameful thing that nothing rewarding or concrete has been done in strategic sectors of the federal government till now. Some loyalists (sycophants too) will argue that outgone President tried but I keep saying his best has simply not been enough. If anyone doubts, look at chibok girls and the failure of government to get those poor girls back since over a year (14–15 April 2014).

Today, May 29, 2015 marks a change in the history of Nigeria whether large or small. This change is bound to affect the whole world due to the place of Nigeria in global economy and politics. With her over 170 million citizens, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous country in Africa and 7th most populous country in the world. Nigeria is home to one of the largest populations of youth in the world and the country houses several nations (Yoruba, Hausa & Igbo being dominant among several others).

The President promises to tackle Nigeria’s problems “head on” & perhaps the most inspirational part of his speech was “Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.” I doubt if any Nigerian President in history has ever spoken like that!

It is hard to find many men of President Buhari’s calibre. His courage and dogged determination to succeed sets him apart. How many people would contest to be President a record 4 times? We’ve seen a Pastor Chris Okotie who once said God told him to contest presidential elections and consequently started Fresh Party several years ago but got discouraged after losing twice! Other ‘men of God’ have gotten discouraged like this too, I wonder if God told them to stop trying!

Tomiwa Olasiyan (2015).

The man, Femi Adesina

Last Wednesday 25th March, 2015 saw myself and 11 other members of the great Alpha Club (including the Lord Mayor) travel from the auspices of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, Osun state all the way to Lagos state to induct the MD/editor-in-chief of the Sun Newspapers as Patron of the club. We left Ile-ife around 10am and after so many traffic logjams (which is usual in Lagos), gridlocks and our driver having to negotiate the road with the city hustlers, we got to the Sun Publishing House around 4:30pm.

The Sun Publishing Limited is located idyllically at No. 2, Coscharis Street, Off happyhome avenue, Kirikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos state. Looking at the company from the tall walls surrounding it, you think it has a small space until you enter and see the large expanse of land. At the far left, there’s a 3-storey building which is the administrative building. This is where the Managing Director also has his office. Right in the centre is the building which contains the newsroom, where all the daily news & stories are collated and arranged for publishing. All the rooms are well lit up with air-conditioning systems and this coupled with the serenity in the reception, the leather couches and large LCD television displaying at a corner of the tiled room could almost drive a weary man to sleep.

The members of the great Alpha club were quickly ushered upstairs to the office of the Managing Director/Editor-in-chief, Mr Femi Adesina, for the short induction process to take place. Mr Steve Nwosu, the Executive director of Corporate Services of the company joined us in the office. Mr Femi Adesina gave a short speech of his appreciation of how members of the Alpha club have deemed it fit to bestow upon him the honour of Patron of the club. He made allusion to the statement in the Holy Bible (new testament) that ‘a prophet is not valued in his own country’ but expressed his joy in the fact that Alpha club, an organisation in his own alma matar have recognised him.

After that, His eminence the Lord Mayor of the great Alpha club, Mayor Arigbabu Abayomi stood up to give a brief introduction of the club and expressed the main reason for the courtesy visit. The Deputy Lord Mayor of the club, Alphite Gbenga Odelola rose up to also speak on the achievements and pedigree of the club which has been in existence since 1968 in the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. Thereafter, the induction process took place.

Femi Adesina’s 29-year odyssey in journalism has seen him traversing radio, television and print media, from a Youth Corps member at LTV 8 in 1986, to a Current Affairs Officer, Radio Lagos between 1988 and 1989, and Features Writer, Vanguard Newspaper, 1989 to 1991.

In May 1991, he joined Concord Press as Senior Staff Writer, rose to become Chief Correspondent, and later Deputy Features Editor. By December 1995, he was promoted Features Editor of National Concord. Within the next four years, he became Deputy Editor, and ultimately, Editor, National Concord.

With the demise of Concord Press after the travails and death of the publisher, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, in military detention, Adesina joined the Nigerian Tribune as a visiting member of the Editorial Board between May 2001 and September 2002. He was part of the team that set up The Sun Newspaper in January 2003. He was pioneer editor of Daily Sun between June 2003 and June 2008.

Under Adesina’s editorship, Daily Sun won many reputable media awards, and in 2007, he was named Editor of the Year, by the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). The newspaper also became the nation’s highest circulating daily within a few months of hitting the news stands.

In July 2008, he was promoted Executive Director, Publications, and Deputy Managing Director/ Deputy Editor-in-Chief in January 2010. He became Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief in December 2013.  Adesina was elected President, Nigerian Guild of Editors in March 2013. A 1986 graduate of English Studies from the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife), he has attended various journalism trainings both nationally and internationally, and is also an alumnus of the Lagos Business School.

Five years ago, I was fresh from high school and looking to gain admission to Obafemi Awolowo University to study law. I began to read many books, including newspapers. My father laid the foundation of reading newspaper in my family, as he buys at least two dailies everyday since even before I was born. I remember my dad was using his last penny to buy newspapers at a time when Nigerian judiciary was on strike & they weren’t getting paid their salaries. That was the extent of his love for news (I call it obsession though). He used to buy Nigerian Tribune & Daily Punch, later he added The Nation and then Daily Sun. At times he adds magazines like Encomium or City People. Growing up, I read the now defunct Tell magazine a lot courtesy my dad!

While in high school, I immediately became the best student in government and history and if you needed the name of any Nigerian law-maker, you could be sure I would tell you including his or her traditional title. It was that ridiculous, but its all thanks to my dad for whetting my appetite in that line. So I came across Femi Adesina’s column around early 2007, he was the daily editor of The Sun News then. He was using just a tiny space in the middle of the tabloid for his column. Later he became Executive director for Publications and started using the whole backpage for his Friday weekly column. I kept on reading all those years, I was his biggest fan. Little did I know my two sisters were feeling the column too until one day we all became vocal about the man’s writing prowess.

To me, Femi Adesina is the best columnist in Nigeria today and one of the best ever! I’m saying this objectively as someone who has been an avid reader of Nigerian newspapers for years and has studied many great writers & essayists like Sam Omatseye, Bola Babarinsa, Okey Ndibe, Mike Awoyinfa, late Dimgba Igwe & co. I so much admire all these men too and Nigeria may produce another analytical & research writer in the class of Dimgba Igwe. I miss and love the man!

What struck me in Femi Adesina’s write-ups and style was its similarity with late Rev. Martin Luther King. I had read the autobiography of the man and several notes written by him and here I was reading a Nigerian column that made me remember MLK. Femi Adesina’s anecdotes and wordplay mesmerised my heart. I saw punchlines that could make Nigerian politicians change for the better. I saw a powerful man in the making who could affect people’s mind with his writings. I saw a man who’s one with his pen and above all, I saw a man specially anointed by God to just go and be journalist. Femi would use wordplays like ‘fishes begin to leap for joy, lions begin to roar in happiness and birds begin to fly in the sky’. He was just in control of the style and that was what endeared him to my heart and I’m sure millions of other followers who read his column.

I first sent a mail to him in late 2009. I asked him to write an autobiography. Looking back, I think I made that request because I was reading several memoirs then (My life by Bill Clinton, Tell Freedom by Peter Abraham, Long Walk to Freedom by Madiba) and I felt Femi could also make a larger impact if people knew how he started and how he got inspired too. I could not have expected a reply to the mail in my widest dreams but then, Femi was gracious enough to reply me and said he would consider my request. That day is one of my happiest days ever. From then on, we became pen pals and by 2010, he invited me to his office. I couldn’t go because I had just gotten admission to university then and was just settling down.

I met Femi physically for the first time last year, May 2014. It was another memorable day for me. Later I brought up the idea of inducting him as a patron of the great Alpha club and the house welcomed the idea. That was what led to the events of Wednesday, March 25, 2015. For us in the Alpha club, it is a great pleasure to have such a great man as a member of our family. We give all glory to God!

Thank You All!!!

Last Saturday, March 28, 2015 was my birthday and it was also the day of presidential elections in Nigeria. That day would remain memorable, glorious & special for so many reasons. I remember the birthday party I had in 2014, despite about a month of planning & huge funding going into it I still didn’t draw as much interests like that of Saturday!

At a point, the buzz around the birthday party nearly eclipsed the presidential elections that started since morning & even though I was just ‘lounging’ in my room, I still felt overwhelmed by the support people gave to me. The party held later in the evening & drew together so many sections from my roll of friends. The socialites, the nerds, course mates, the influential etc. It is true you can’t do epic stuff with basic people. The party was even more interesting due to the calibre of people who attended. I must not forget my MC for the day, Timilehin Arokoyo, my fellow law student who rose to the occasion & compered the event like a pro. He’s just like me, in the sense that he does extraordinary things effortlessly. He acts so unserious, but he’s actually very serious! What a disguise! You’re going places bro!

Who says we’re not the future?! That I held a party on election day & still had a large turnout of friends with loads of fun speaks for itself. I’m sure guys were green with envy when I got that lap dance from Miss Opeyemi. MeanwhiIe, I also got some very important posts, messages, & comments on social media. From twitter to Facebook and even blackberry messenger. I would love to share some of the statements that really touched me. Here they are;

:…: :…: :…: :…: :…: :…::…: :…: :…:
:…: :…: :…: :…: :…: :…::…: :…: :…:

I wish you a marvelous birthday!
-Okey Ndibe (Author of Foreign Gods, Inc.)

Happy birthday Barr. Tomiwa Olasiyan,the seemingly unserious walking library…talk about not judging a book by it’s cover. Live long in wealth dear({}) – Sugarcoated Diva

Happy Birthday Rich Hommie Tommy, Great One…let it be known, that today in history, A Great man was born… (y)
– Alphite Bode Davids (Bugle, Alpha club Worldwide)

Happy birthday Tomiwa Olasiyan!!! I wish you the very best…Ife must catch fire! Legendary baller <=-P
-Miss Olanike

Dear Great Tomiwa, I take the honour of this moment to congratulate and celebrate you on this special day. May your new year be filled with happiness. Cheers. – Dayo Ogunyemi Esq.

HBD to a man of keen intellect
-Tolu Smart

I hope you have a wonderful day and that the year ahead is filled with much love, many wonderful surprises and gives you lasting memories that you will cherish in all the days ahead. Happy Birthday. -Pelly Hansome

Happy birthday. Hope your dreams come true.- Maria Mathews

Happy Birthday Barr. Tommy, long life & prosperity my man. It's your day so, cheers!- Ogundoro Oluwasegun

Happy b'dai dearie… WULLLNP…Have fun- Odumuyiwa Tosin

Happy birthday dear friend! I celebrate you. God bless you abundantly. Long live Tommy.- Jide Adedoyin

HBD BRO #YouAreMadeOfReal
-Ibrahim Zaccheus

May this birthday be different from the rest of your birthdays in every good way. May all your fantasies come true. Have a lovely birthday.
-Senator Olatoye Agboola

Happy birthday Tomiwa-
Chudi Nwafo (Presenter, Africa Independent Television)

Join me celebrate my wonderful friend…Olasiyan it is your happy day…Jaeman sing happy birthday.
-Olumide 'Jesus Man' Olatunde (Leader, Dignity Crew musical group)

Happy Birthday to you..Expect a greater year ahead, keep hope and focus alive and you shall soar higher than eagles…Enjoy D̶̲̥̅̊ D̶̲̥̅ay
-Oyerinde Adeola Produkta

Happy birthday darling! May God bless and keep you. Amen! Enjoy.
-Tolulope Dairo

Today, on your birthday, I wish you the warmest love and happiness. May all your dreams become to reality. But even more than that, may it bring you loads of true love and friendship. Have an amazing birthday.
-OLUWAFEMI

:…: :…: :…: :…: :…: :…::…: :…: :…:
:…: :…: :…: :…: :…: :…::…: :…: :…:

I would like to say thank you to all these wonderful people who said a lot of fine things about me online, in front of all their own friends. This is the beauty of life. That I have been able to create this much impression in your hearts makes me blush already. Imagine, Okey Ndibe & I started out as internet antagonists as I once criticised him publicly. Now he's always the first to say happy birthday to me every year. Some of the comments came from people I haven't seen in a long time which means distance doesn't really separate us, its just a temporary break. Much thanks to my beautiful sister too, she said a lot of sweet things about me in her blog of that same day- https://yettyolas.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/its-three-years-already/

Lastly, about the presidential elections that just held, I seriously hope my fellow Nigerians know better than to expect any form of magic from whoever wins. Our country is in too deep a mess that can be cleansed within the constitutional single term tenure of 4 years. It is not a chimera but it would be extremely difficult to do, even in 8 years. Corruption has eaten too deep into every sector of our government! Whatever any of the presidential aspirants might have promised while campaigning, it won't be that easy.

What if…?

I broke up with my girlfriend recently and I’ve been thinking about so many things. I decided to share my thoughts. What if you lose that one thing you loved most? What if we lose someone very dear? What if the world ends or what if it doesn’t? What happens when you suddenly discover you can actually do without someone you felt you couldn’t live without?

What if life doesn’t go the way you projected it? What if things change? What if there isn’t really a way where we thought there was? Thanks to the lady who broke my heart, if not for her, I wouldn’t learn to do better things with my time and hope for the best the future holds for me. I’ve been through hell & back these past two weeks but I’m back home now, all thanks to God. When life sucks, what’s your reaction? Do you sit around and be overwhelmed with sorrow or be proactive?

The truth is that man is not really in control of anything. The grounds could shake anytime. We can’t prevent it but only be proactive when it happens! Tsunami could happen. There could be an earthquake or tremor. What can we do? Life is an occasion, we rise to it. Moreover, time heals everything. Only few days are needed to ease any pain whatsoever. Life is meant to be lived fully, that’s the pride of our creator. But we can’t live a life full of joy if we don’t ourselves up in times of disappointments.

I discovered during my solitary state that nothing should ever weigh us down. There is a way around everything! We should never because of our current state of things neglect where we’re going to. There’s light behind every tunnel. We just find it very hard to see it.

tomiwatoluwani@yahoo.com
twitter.com/tom_Olas
Facebook.com/tomiwaolasiyan

My Life (Volume 4.0)

God bless the great writers who write great stories and keep human history & heritage alive! – Tomiwa Olasiyan (2015)

My biggest inspiration from a book came from one of the very first books I read during my years of rapid development. My years of rapid inspirational development is between 2008-2010. Those 3 years are very important to my growth as an intellectual being. I discovered myself during those years, my knack for reading, researching and writing became clearly known to me.

The book that inspired me the most was ‘Kaduna Boy’, written by Chief Bola Ige, a former governor of old Oyo state (between 1979-1983) and also formerly Minister of justice & attorney general of the Nigerian federation. Chief Bola Ige (or Uncle Bola as he was fondly called by close friends and relatives) is a legend in Nigerian politics, a legal colossus and man of the people who got love and support from both the young and old. I could liken Chief Bola Ige to my greatest role model, Pa Obafemi Awolowo. The only difference being that Awo achieved more in National politics then Uncle Bola.

Kaduna Boy by Bola Ige is a chronicle of the man’s early days, background and growing up in the northern part of Nigeria (in Kaduna) though being a yoruba boy of south western origin. How he moved back to South west to attend high schools in Ibadan and Osun state and his travails as a poor kid in an emerging country like Nigeria. How he rose to prominence from local politics to achieving great success in the legal field and becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Also his politics with Nigeria’s foremost political party, Alliance for Democracy.

Reading Kaduna boy in 2008 after my high school graduation & I was at home seeking uni admission, I was influenced as I saw everything I was passing through in my life in the book. The man had seen it all and survived. More importantly, the man now achieved excellence in the legal field, and I was already trying to study law! He even became a successful politician. Chief Bola was like everything I have been & all I wanted to be! I just saw a reflection of me in that book and that was why it had such effect on me.

I read a lot between 2008-2010. Oh I read so many books I can’t count. They were too many. I would love to credit my elder sister, Nike now for introducing me to reading books. We don’t know what we have when we have intellectual people around us, they’re worth more than any size of gold! My sister lent me the first book I read from her library, titled ‘And the shofar blew…’ by Francine Rivers. Immediately, I fell in love with the act and bought my first two books few weeks later. They were Christian books, titled ‘Miracle of Seed faith’ by and Oral Roberts and ‘Left Behind’ by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Reading the Holy bible from Genesis was all the inspiration I needed to start writing. I remember my first ever long essay was a result of my deep thoughts on Jacob and Esau, the two sons of Isaac. I admired Jacob for defying all odds to achieve greatness and reasoned Esau showed godly maturity too in making up with his brother, even after Jacob cunningly took his blessings. I can’t really remember now the full details of that essay but I feel the main moral was that God’s plans are always the right ones for every man. I found the story of Joseph highly inspiration too.

tomiwatoluwani@yahoo.com
twitter.com/tom_Olas
Facebook.com/tomiwaolasiyan

tomiwatoluwani@yahoo.com
twitter.com/tom_Olas
Facebook.com/tomiwaolasiyan

My life (Volume 3.0)

It takes diligence to set one’s mind straight on intellectual endeavours these days as life keeps getting complicated, with so many needs arising everyday. I have also observed that this trend would not stop, at least for now, but will only get higher as I grow & more responsibilities set in. Above all, I still give thanks for the gift of life every new day I wake up to see the morning light.

So far in the journey of my life, I’ve discovered that time heals everything. What hurts so bad today & you feel is really big would by tomorrow, feel so light that it hurts no more! That’s just life for you. There would hardly be a moment of joy for man if he doesn’t have the great ability to forget some things. Every day, I re-examine my life & I see this as another reason to appreciate God.

Arguably, the greatest of man’s advantage in it all is our ability to forget the past. Imagine if I have to remember, in every second of my existence, all embarrassing moments I’ve had. Imagine when the whole feeling comes back, how moody I’d become. Imagine having to recall your sad moments everytime, how would you feel? That would obviously be a disaster.

Today, I remember losing my step-brother, Wale Olasiyan, in 2009 (April 6). That was an unforgettable day I will remember till I die. He had a motor accident in his new car while heading to the hospital to resume work on the fateful Monday morning, as he was a resident doctor. He died instantly as he suffered fatal injuries to the head.

Meanwhile, I last saw him December 2008 when he came home for a visit. He met me reading in my room and not knowing he had a premonition of his own imminent death, he gave me a parting gift in form of wisdom. Something was unusual about him that day, he was swift to talk & calm at the same time. It was like what’s on the street termed as ‘life on the fast lane!’ I noticed he meant every word, it came out with seriousness & purpose. He said to me, “Tomiwa, anything you do from now onwards don’t procrastinate, do it on time.”

I continue to hold those words very dearly to my heart & I appreciate life more. I appreciate the fact that I was able to see him at least that one time & hear those special words. If you’ve lost someone dear to you before, you’ll appreciate life & friendship more and take every moment you’re with people seriously for it could be the last. It’s a bitter truth, life is inadvertently short.
The oldest people in the world now are a little older than 100 years, that’s still short compared to what it used to be.

The word PROCRASTINATION my brother was talking about has a deeper meaning, and I hope to write on it someday. The word is so deep one cannot fully comprehend it until when in tough situations and swift decisions are needed in the face of few choices. I as well didn’t see the wisdom in Wale’s words till some years later when reality dawned on me.

I’ve been blessed with a great platform and I have to use the opportunities I have for full effect. It recently dawned on me the kind of air I’ve been able to create around myself and the one God gave to me willy-nilly. The polished background, the schools, the family, the friends, the exposure, the connections etc. It’s all overwhelming. To whom much is given, much is expected. Also, NEMO DAT QUOD NON HABET- you cannot give what you don’t have.

Last year, I was in the Abeokuta (Ogun state) residence of one of my mentors, Hon. Justice Shoremi O George and we decided to go to the Abeokuta Sports club within the metropolis for relaxation. On our way, he turned to me & asked “Tomiwa, is there anything easy in life?” I quickly replied with a No. He then added, “nothing is easy in life, even robbery and stealing aren’t easy!” We had a very long conversation from there and he encouraged me to work harder & be diligent, as there is no easy occupation.

Back to where I started, the ability to forget sad stories, move on and overcome them. I’ve used that for full effect since I was a kid. For every extra-ordinary thing I’ve ever accomplished, there has always been someone who told me I couldn’t. Someone always doubted and I take it all up as a challenge. In fact, my mum doubted me once in high school when my junior school result came out late & she felt I must have failed. I was so pained that I ensured I passed external O’ levels by SS2 and was qualified for university education before final year!

Thus, I really enjoy the challenges of life and it’s all great fun to me. I understand the bottomline is to pick ourselves up when we fail & get better. The great sage and former Western Nigeria Premier, Pa Obafemi Awolowo once said, ‘the greatest achievement is not in never falling but in rising each time one had a fall.’ I put these words in my heart every minute of my days!

My life (Volume 2.0)

The story of my life actually cannot be fully contained in just two articles. Being in my early stage of adulthood, it would be impossible to write a memoir of even my childhood experience alone in just a few lines. For this reason, I promise to keep my promise of delivering an autobiography ( yes, I think my life story is that interesting!) in due time. In the next few years I hope to have accomplished my dreams in full and by then it would be auspicious enough to write a full inspiring story.

Meanwhile, my best friend & course mate, Mr Tobi Ajibade read the first write-up on “My Life” and wondered why I would want to commit suicide. He ended by saying he had felt that way too before anyway (I wonder why he then questioned me). He also said jokingly that if eventually I had committed suicide he would have killed himself, come to meet me in whatever after-world I was & ‘beat’ me back to life! Extremely funny innit?

I noticed that the majority of those who read the first write-up picked out just the suicidal part of the story, probably due to our society’s deep frown on that theme & the sacrosanct idea of death. I find that appalling though, as I was trying to bring out other themes in that short piece. I wrote about the idea of parental care, love, knowledge, research, belief in God and religion. So I was expecting critical assessments on those other themes, especially the paragraph on what my mum’s love did to change the story of my life forever. My elder sister read it & immediately pinged me on BBM to talk about the suicide thing.

Nobody has tried to talk about those other themes which to me, are much more important than even death! At least, one writer said the greatest tragedy is not in dying young but in living too large & not for any eternal significance. So, what if I die early but I leave behind some great and important legacies that continue to influence the world even after I’ve gone? I think that’s reasonable enough. I’ve seen septuagenarians who beg for alms in Nigeria! What is the need of such miserable long life? Life is not the most important thing but what you eventually make of it!

Most people have never wondered why God gave man brain and the ability to rationalise, which sets us apart from lower animals. It is so that we can make some decisions without even needing to disturb Him with our ways. Imagine the estimated 7 billion human beings in the world calling on God at the same time, that may be an excruciating task, even for a supernatural being! God wanted us to do some things on our own while he watches. I can liken it to the way a good mother teaches her child to walk & then sit back and watch with pleasure as the child practice what he’s/she’s been taught.

Human life is serious business. Every man has to take charge of his life whether he likes it or not. Even the Gods favour the strong & bold as rightfully posited by King Agamemnon of Mycenae, a kingdom of legendary Greece. Even the Angel in the Old testament book of Genesis 32:22-32 didn’t bless Jacob until he had defeated the Angel who has been pointed out to be God Himself. Therefore, I strongly believe everyone needs to prove themselves to even be worthy of luck! Normally, luck is something you shouldn’t deserve but just fortunate to get but then even to be lucky in so many instances, you must make effort. For instance, to give birth to a boy-child, a woman must at least get pregnant.

Some few years ago, I was present at a large congregation church with my mother & sister. We had attended a monthly all-night prayer meeting and it was the wee hours of the next morning and people were preparing to leave for their homes. Suddenly, armed robbers came with sophisticated guns and people bolted. Obviously, they came for the money as they meant business & threatened to shoot people who try to look them in the eyes. It was a gory sight to behold in a church as those people ransacked the altar of God to check for money. Later, they left & we heard the robbers didn’t get any money. How factual that is I still don’t know as my mum & I had gone to hide behind the toilet.

What continues to baffle me ever since then is why God didn’t do anything in that instance to those armed robbers. At least a church is supposed to be God’s own sanctuary, and a Holy place. I don’t care if something happened to the robbers later, probably got arrested by Police or they got killed. I’m concerned about why they desecrated God’s altar & left scot-free. I’m sad about why they even had the courage & effrontery to even come rob a church in the first place. The whole idea nauseates & makes me boil with anger.

What I’ve been able to take out of that life experience is just that God would not do for man what man can do for himself! God will not come down from heaven to defend even his own property, therefore you see even some pastors perpetrating evil in churches, bedding choir members, siphoning funds & God allows all these to pass. I see the New testament God as a very liberal one.

…to be continued…

My life (Volume 1.0)

My life is a raw testimony to the fact that God is extremely gracious. I’m becoming weary and if and when I die please let this be known to all men living, ”that God truly blesses, cares, uplifts, and glorifies even the lowest and simplest of men, the one who probably doesn’t deserve the attention, but that’s who God still gives it to!”

I’ve seen & witnessed things. I’ve done things too. I bless God for giving me the right exposure since day 1 of my life. For allowing me enjoy and to witness almost every important human experience before I depart this world. I remember a time before I got admission to college, I was in the early stage of teenage life and I was a voracious reader of books. I had read so much of the Holy Bible, studied the book of Genesis alone for about six months (I was fascinated with biblical account of man’s creation & early beginnings) and had read so many philosophy books. I studied Rene Descartes empiricism, Plato’s Republic, Socrates’ philosophy, Bertrand Russell’s argument on the existence of God etc

I became frustrated as everything I read didn’t really answer my deepest questions such as when exactly the world would end, why bad things happen to mostly good people ( in fact I read James Dobson’s book on that subject), why people get away with injustice, with Africa as my case study. I was so frustrated and angry I wanted to end my own life! I needed meaning to my life, my real purpose aside just going to school, getting A’s, being a good son to my parents, worshiping the God of a religion that I grew up to meet as a child, and being a good citizen of my country (that one I didn’t have the choice to choose myself too!).

I locked myself up in the toilet that early Saturday morning, my family started looking everywhere in the house for me. My dad saw me through the window, thought I was just joking and tried to play his usual pranks on me. He saw I meant serious business and raised alarm. Everybody in my immediate family came to the toilet door that day & I didn’t open it. Even my most revered uncle called, I didn’t take the phone. I was crazily mad at the whole world and it had been reflecting in my actions and reactions for a while before then. And don’t be thinking I was high, I was not even smoking. I was just a social drinker too. My mind just developed quite early.

Looking back, I think I changed my mind on killing myself not because anybody or anything talked me out of it, not even the Holy spirit did! I changed my mind when I thought of what would happen to my mum after I was gone, she would have taken her own life too immediately I died. She was already crying and I heard from inside the toilet. Now, what she did, would have done afterwords and how I changed my mind is called LOVE. I found my answer that day. Everything else don’t really matter but the love you share with your loved ones! My quest, ambitions, dreams, future plans don’t really matter, love surpasses them.

I found my purpose through that. I discovered I needed to live not only for myself but for my mum, because I love her. Later on, I got admitted to study Law and the reactions from old friends and colleagues gave me another reason to live. I discovered so many people were looking up to me, worst of it all, I used to look up to some of those people! Some friends came to see me from long distance just to congratulate me on another milestone and to tell me I was a somewhat living hope for them. Some called my phone, people I hadn’t heard from since childhood and high school days found me. They told me what I’d never thought of myself. I began to love life. I wanted to live. I finally found my purpose- to live for others! To all those who truly saved my life, I love you all and I will never let you down! Mind you, you saved my life if I’ve ever crossed path with you before in life. You saved my life if you read this!

…To be continued…

Let General Buhari Do It This Time!

Ever since General Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress(APC), about two weeks ago, a new air of excitement has come into the race for the apogee height of political leadership of the country come 2015. The battle is mainly between Gen. Buhari and the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who contests as the unanimous and undisputed candidate of his ruling party, PDP.
So outright, unarguable and undisputable was Gen. Buhari’s victory at the APC primaries that while he got nearly four thousand votes none of his fellow contestants got even up to a thousand votes though the primary election boasted of political giants of equal weight in person of former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, Kano state governor Rabiu Kwankaso and Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha. All these men, though consummate & seasoned politicians in their own right, what they lacked was the integrity, personality power, solid reputation, intelligence and the kind of love and respect Gen. Buhari commands from Nigerians!
More sardonic was the fact that Governor Rochas Okorocha even tried to appeal to the sentiments, hunches and prejudices of the youthful delegates at the APC convention in Lagos, by pointing out during his speech that he was the youngest of the contestants at 52 and thus, he deserved to be voted for! Well deservedly enough, his remarks were immediately met with jeers of ‘‘Arugbo la fe’’ from the crowd, which means ‘‘we want the old man.’’ Personally, I see no reason why the matter of age should always be brought into critical issues! This has continued to be our bane in Africa for years, the battle about who is older or younger! I’ve seen youthful politicians with all the hype of vibrancy, youthfulness and modern exposure who still performed woefully when given political power! A vital example might be former Imo state governor, Ikedi Ohakim.
I always make a statement within my close circle and I would make it public now. The problem I have with the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, is that despite him having been No. 2 man of this country for 8 years(1999-2007) under Olusegun Obasanjo, he did nothing to ameliorate the condition of ordinary Nigerians, he didn’t try to curb corruption, he was voiceless at a time when we seriously needed a voice to represent our collective national conscience, all he did was engage his boss then in a selfish battle of supremacy. Now, for the past few months he has suddenly become loud & vocal on social networks, especially twitter. This was another move by political hustlers of his coeval to in the die-minute associate with the youthful audience whom they initially sold-out their future while in government! I see this as a desperate move in his bid to become Nigerian President at all cost. But thanks to God, Nigerians are learning from past mistakes and this was seen in the free and fair primaries that saw Gen. Buhari victorious.
What endeared Gen Buhari to the hearts of many Nigerians are his passion and commitment to this great country which makes him still want to be President of this nation at age 72, when he could easily relax, watch tv and enjoy his pension. After all, he had tried to liberate Nigeria as military head of state in 1983 when he was just about 40 but the shenanigans disrupted his works. Gen. Buhari ran though unsuccessfully for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections and persistently enough he is in the bid for the 4th time, a bid which looks like his last move to lead a nation that is the bad mess of corruption, austerity measures, devalued currency, insecurity, erratic power supply, bad roads etc. Like my mentor, Femi Adesina, rightfully posited in his last Friday column on 19th December, 2014, ‘‘We need Buhari more than he needs us!’’
Look at Gen. Buhari’s records from when he was Military Governor of the newly created North-Eastern State during the regime of late Gen. Murtala Mohammed , Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources under then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976, head of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1977 till when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under General Sanni Abacha. His records were sparkling clean just like the white traditional attire he is fond of wearing.
Gen Buhari’s transparency and leadership qualities were top notch even as Military Head of state between 1983 to 1985. He is generally revered for his ability to keep the country afloat by making progress through discipline and sheer economic ingenuity by rejecting the IMF loan and refused to adopt IMF conditionalities to devalue our Naira. His government reduced inflation by refusing to devalue naira thereby, curbing imports of needless goods, curtailing oil theft and using counter trade policy to barter seized illegally bunkered crude oil for needful goods like machineries, enabling it to export above its OPEC quota. Can we compare Gen. Buhari’s government to our current President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that would quickly jump at any foreign aid without hesitating to look at the possible future consequence of such loans enslaving the country?
Gen. Buhari polled 12,214,853 votes to come close at second position to President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections. That he did under a tiny and politically fragile Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) and given the national strength of his current party APC, I see Gen Buhari tripling that figure come 2015. By now I expect the ruling party, PDP to know they are in for serious business against a very focused Buhari and APC and to put more salt to PDP’s open injury, the era of election rigging has gone in Nigeria and the electorates are ready to witness the freest and fairest general elections come next year. What the APC demonstrated at their convention last two weeks was also a sign of great things to come in Nigerian politics, that Nigeria can actually get things such as elections right!

THE ALPHA CLUB’S CHARITY WEEK 2014

BRIEF INTRODUCTION AND PROFILE OF THE ALPHA CLUB
The Alpha Club is a socio-cultural, philanthropic and charitable organisation founded in 1968 in the then University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife with aims and objectives which encompass the breeding of young men into responsible and respectable citizens, acquainting them with charitable works and other activities, which foster peace in our immediate and larger world. Because of her socio-cultural and philanthropic outlook, the club organizes programmes that bring youths together in constructive activities.

OUR PEDIGREE – We pride ourselves as having the best of gentlemen as our Graduate Alphites, patrons and Fellows. Amongst great men that have been rolled out of the stables of Alpha club are: Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the current president/CEO Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc., who was the Lord Mayor of the club in 1975; Prince Oluseyi Lufadeju, the MD Shelter Initiatives who was social scribe in 1968; Senator Mike Ajeigbo, the MD/CEO Minaj Group of Companies and former Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary; Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, the former Auditor General of Ondo State, who was the Exchequer of the club in 1971; Mayor (Professor) Dibu Ojerinde, the current Registrar of Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) who was the Lord Mayor in 1973; Prof. Olu Adediran, Dean, Faculty of Law, OAU who was the scribe in 1974; Mayor Araba Oladokun a former Registrar of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso who was the Lord Mayor in 1971; Mayor George Irechukwu, Commissioner of Finance, Imo State who was the Lord Mayor in 1984. Mr. Seye Kehinde, Publisher City People Magazine; Mr. Dele Oduwale, CEO Desh Petroleum and Chicken Lovers Restaurants; other eminent great men make the row call of fellows and patrons- Chief Gabriel Igbienidion (Esama of Benin Kingdom), Chief The Hon. Sir Alex Akinyele (Elder Stateman, former Chairman National Sports Commmission), King Sunny Ade – An Ace musician, Major David Ejoor, former Chief of Army Staff and former Governor of Mid-Western Region. Fellow Ben Omonua, MD BankPHB Asset Management Chief R.A. Williams, Mr. Ademola Adeyinka, Engr. Obi Anadu – G.M. Land and Waters, Muritala Mohammed International Airport- the list goes on. All these eminent personalities are still in contact with the Club. This list is in-exhaustive and as you traverse the country and indeed the world, you will find Alphites in all facets of life, helping to make the society better than they found it.
We are “gentlemen of distinction” with an unyielding belief in the time tested saying that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness while some have greatness thrust upon them” and in humble pursuit of greatness in honour, our philosophy and outlook, the club organizes programmes that bring youths together in constructive activities. As such, one of her programmes is “The Annual Charity Week”.

THE ALPHA CLUB’S CHARITY WEEK

The Charity Week is an entire week of activities organized by the Alpha Club and dedicated to charitable endeavours, the idea is to create awareness, promote and encourage charitable works amongst the staff, students, residents and visitors in the OAU community and its environs.
The programme is also intended to launch the community project series that the club will be embarking upon which is aimed at improving the state of the OAU community through works of Arts, Technology and encouraging research.

The next edition of this customary event tagged “GOODWILL” will be held in October 2014. It will span a whole week as highlighted above and will include free health services, a social event, material / monetary donation, drug donation and a blood donation exercise that will feature the officials of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Ibadan; Family Health International (FHI), and Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria (GHAIN), one percent, Voluntary Blood Donation initiative (VOBDI) among several others. The event promises to be very exiting and to create an atmosphere where love is shared and the message of charity is sung as morning hymns in the hearts of the citizens.

The events aligned for the charity week are as follows:
Monday- “GOODWILL” talent hunt and raffle draw
Tuesday- Free Bus Ride
Wednesday & Thursday- Blood Donation Exercise
Friday- Jumat service and Visit to a motherless Babies’ Home
Saturday- Alpha Fellowship
Sunday- Thanksgiving at Our lady’s of perpetual light

DETAILS OF EVENTS

MONDAY
“GOODWILL” Talent Hunt and Raffle Draw

The First day of the week is set aside in this year’s charity week for a social event “Talent Hunt and Raffle Draw”. This event is strategically placed so as to publicise the forthcoming blood donation. It is focused on creating a high level of interaction amongst students thereby creating a lasting and enduring awareness in the minds of people for the Blood Donation.
The event will feature a talent hunt whereby registered participants will be allowed to showcase their talents and entertain audience and 3 winners will be picked to given a cash prize of 20,000naira, 15,000naira and 10,000naira for 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
Furthermore, along the line, a raffle draw exercise will take place as interludes at specific times. Participants in the raffle draw would ave purchased a raffle tickets at 100naira only. Lots of prizes like Fridges, microwaves, home theatre systems, goody bags, standing fans will be won during the exercise.

TUESDAY
FREE BUS RIDE
Due to the usual rush which occurs in the early hours of the morning and often after lectures in the afternoon, students often miss out or go late for lectures or end the day in frustration.
During the week, the club would seek to alleviate this problem by providing buses at strategic locations (school gate or halls of residence) to convey students free of charge to and from the school premises for the periods which the rush shall prevail. This also serves publicity purposes for the Charity week as a whole and the blood donation more importantly.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
BLOOD DONATION EXERCISE
This is the hallmark of events of the week because of importance of blood in saving lives as many have come to give testimonies. The Alpha Club has, for over 3 decades been organising blood donation to the O.A.U.T.H.C. Ile-Ife and the National Blood Transfusion Service, with 490 pints donated in the last edition and over 2500 pints of blood donated till date. This year the event would be organised by the Alpha Club in conjunction with experts from the National Blood Transfusion Service. Blood donors are given packages which include haematinics to help replenish the donated blood and other complimentary gifts.
BLOOD DONOR PACKAGE
Haematinics – blood capsules, multivitamins,
Glucose
Beverage
Milk
Eggs
T-shirts
Stickers
Other items to be included by your organization & other sponsors.

FRIDAY
JUMAT SERVICE AND VISIT TO THE MOTHERLESS BABIES’ HOME

We conventionally visit the mosque every friday of the charity week to give thanks to Almighty God for a successful week. After this, we set out for a chosen motherless babies’ home in Osun state to give out materials, food stuffs, clothings, etc, some of which would have been gathered before and during the course of the charity week.

SATURDAY
ALPHA FELLOWSHIP

We believe that after a week long of selfless service to humanity, members of the Alpha Club “Alphites” should also relax at some point. So we organize a mini event with our spouses, where we relax and also rejoice with ourselves on the success we have achieved during the week. We also sometimes involve the public in this, a few of our blood donors might be invited during thid event to celebrate with us.

SUNDAY
THANKSGIVING SERVICE AT THE CHURCH
We also after visiting the mosque, visit the Church to praise and thank God for making our charity week a complete success.

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How African countries can benefit from NEPAD

Introduction

Between the 1960s to 1980s, so many African countries were liberated, but these were also decades that were characterised by political instability, military coups, one-party governments, dictatorships and the heightened influence of Cold War politics in African affairs. Faced with the onset of an economic crisis – huge foreign debts and declines in social development – and the failure of the international financial institutions’ free market policies, African countries tried to reverse these trends by calling for a new international economic order (NIEO) through which they could craft self-reliant, culturally relevant and state-influenced development strategies.
In such a context, African leaders found it necessary to transform the focus of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) from political liberation to economic development. Hence, throughout the 1980s and 1990s African governments went on to design a series of pan-African development approaches which they felt were relevant to the needs of their people. These initiatives included: the Lagos Plan of Action (1980), the Final Act of Lagos (1980), Africa’s Priority Programme for Economic Recovery (1986-1990), the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme (1989), the African (Arusha) Charter for Popular Participation and Development (1990), the Abuja Treaty (1991) and the Cairo Agenda (1994) amongst others.
Faced with the failures of these plans, the ills of the structural adjustment programmes of modernisation and falling growth rates when other regions such as Asia were on the rise, ‘a new breed of African leaders’ entered the 21st century with proclamations of a re-birth for Africa. It is in this regard that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the result of three parallel initiatives. The first is the Millennium Africa Recovery Plan (MAP), led by South African President Thabo Mbeki and unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2001. The second initiative is the Omega Plan, crafted by the President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, and presented to the Summit of Francophone African leaders in Cameroon in January 2001. MAP and the Omega Plan were then combined to give birth to a third initiative the New African Initiative (NAI) that then led to NEPAD in 2001.
All three initiatives shared a common interest in increasing the pace and impact of Africa’s development. While these initiatives share common characteristics, there were also differences reflecting the regional and other priorities of the enactors. Compromises had to be made in order to merge the three proposals into one initiative. NEPAD thus reflects the compromises involved in arriving at a single initiative. The founding member countries of NEPAD included South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Senegal.
NEPAD was adopted by African Heads of State and Government of the OAU in 2001 and was ratified by the African Union (AU) in 2002 to address Africa’s development problems within a new paradigm. NEPAD’s main objectives are to reduce poverty, put Africa on a sustainable development path, halt the marginalization of Africa, and empower women. The initiative was meant to be the mechanism for Africa’s development – today and tomorrow.
Since its initiation, NEPAD has been promoted widely both within Africa and in the industrialised North. NEPAD is now recognised as Africa’s development plan by all the governments of the North, and the international financial institutions, and by many international governance institutions like the United Nations. NEPAD is widely seen as the mechanism through which support to Africa’s development efforts can be best delivered. Thus, the NEPAD process has come to be accepted not only by African countries and RECs but also by Africa’s development partners as the framework mechanism for their development efforts.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the vision and strategic framework adopted by African leaders to address poverty and underdevelopment throughouts the African continent. Its broad approach was initially agreed at the 36th Heads of State and Government Assembly of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Algeria, in 2000. The meeting asked Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa to develop an integrated socio-economic framework for Africa. Subsequently, the 37th Summit of the OAU held in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001 formally endorsed NEPAD as the framework for the continent’s development. In January 2010, the 14th African Union (AU) Summit strengthened the NEPAD programme by endorsing its integration into the AU.
The Secretary-General established the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) to increase international support for NEPAD, to coordinate UN system efforts in support of NEPAD and to report annually to the General Assembly on progress in the implementation of and international support for NEPAD. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the vision and strategic framework adopted by African leaders at the 37th Summit of the OAU held in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2001. The NEPAD strategy document is designed to address the current challenges facing the African continent.
One of the major frameworks for creating NEPAD was for placing African countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development. Halting the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process and increasing the continent’s full and beneficial integration into the global economy. Also, establishing the conditions for sustainable development by ensuring peace and security, democracy and sound political, economic and corporate governance.
Moreso, regional cooperation and integration through policy reforms and increased investment in major large-scale human empowerment sectors like Agriculture. Human resources development with a focus on health, education, science and technology, building and improving infrastructure, promoting diversification of production and exports, especially in agro-industry, manufacturing, mining and mineral processing and tourism, accelerating trade among African countries and improving access for their exports to markets in advanced countries. Also, in the area of environment by mobilizing resources and increasing domestic savings and investment. Improving Africa’s share of global trade and attracting more foreign direct investment as well as increasing capital flows through further debt reduction and enhanced aid.
Meanwhile, for a concise and complete emphasis on the activities of NEPAD to be made, it’s imperative to make mention briefly of both two strong components of NEPAD. That’s the NEPAD Council (NC) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
NEPAD Council (NC) is a non-political and independent non-profit organisation that was founded to support The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which is a strategic framework for pan-African socio-economic development. NEPAD Council aligns its activities towards the original NEPAD six theme areas:
1) Agriculture and Food Security,
2) Climate Change and National Resource Management,
3) Regional Integration and Infrastructure,
4) Human Development,
5) Economic and Corporate Governance,
6) Cross-cutting Issues (e.g. Gender, Capacity Development and ICT).
NEPAD provides an historic opportunity to overcome obstacles to development in Africa. A council was created to aid contribution to the initiati designed to encourage the imaginative effort that underlies the NEPAD and to lay a solid foundation for future cooperation and sustainable development. The case for action is compelling. Despite its great potential and human resources, Africa continues to face some of the world’s greatest challenges. The many initiatives designed to spur Africa’s development have failed to deliver sustained improvements to the lives of women, men and children throughout Africa.
NEPAD Council offers something different. It is, first and foremost, a common vision shared by African professionals to support and promote the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Together, Africa has an unprecedented opportunity to make progress on our common goals of eradicating extreme poverty and achieving sustainable development. NEPAD Council will support African leaders’ efforts to encourage public engagement in the NEPAD and will consult with NEPAD members on how to best assist their efforts. NEPAD Council will be committed to mobilize and energize global action, marshal resources and expertise, and provide impetus in support of NEPAD’s objectives. As NEPAD’s partner, NEPAD Council will undertake mutually reinforcing actions to help Africa accelerate growth and make lasting gains against poverty.
The Agenda of NEPAD Council focuses on a limited number of priority areas where, collectively and individually, we can add value. NEPAD Council focuses particular attention on enhanced-partnership countries. It also works with countries that do not yet meet the standards of NEPAD but which are clearly committed to and working towards such an implementation.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – a key component of NEPAD – is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union (AU) as an African self-monitoring mechanism. The APRM is a bold, unique and innovative approach designed and implemented by Africans for Africa. The APR process entails periodic reviews of the policies and practices of participating countries to ascertain progress being made towards achieving the mutually agreed goals and compliance in the four focus areas, namely Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance, and Socio-Economic Development.
As of June 2010, 29 African countries had voluntarily acceded to APRM: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. Twelve countries had been peer reviewed: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda.
1.
One of the ways through which industrialisation can be boosted in Africa especially in Nigeria, is by exploring the opportunities provided by actualising the rationale for adopting the agenda of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), Dr. Ifediora Amobi, made this submission at a workshop organised by the institution on ‘Strengthening the Effectiveness of NEPAD in Nigeria: The Way Forward’.
Amobi, who bemoaned the state of NEPAD Nigeria since its establishment 12 years ago, noted that the country had been devoting huge financial commitment to the initiative but yet to take advantage of the infrastructural development aspect of it, which could have helped the country overcome its industrial challenges. The AfriHeritage boss averred that the workshop’s greatest achievements would be to utilise the outcome to change public perception about NEPAD in Nigeria. He added that the belief in many quarters is that, after 12 years, the impact of NEPAD is yet to be felt in Nigeria; considering the fact that Nigeria is one of the five founding member countries of NEPAD and one of its highest financial contributors.
On the role the legislature must play to realising the agenda, Amobi called on the national assembly to see the current unemployment in the country as a great challenge that calls for pragmatic actions. He therefore expressed belief that the communiqué to be issued at the workshop would provide the lawmakers the additional impetus for accelerated legislature to drive for the enactment of the ‘Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the NEPAD Commission and Other Related Matters’.
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College, Nigeria, Dr. Okezie Nwankwo, who presented a paper on ‘NEPAD and the Challenges of Economic Development’ said NEPAD Nigeria lacks specific policies and strategies to monitor and achieve its objectives. He added that such policies and strategies would enable it not only to benchmark the MDAs but also to apportion blame where necessary and set concrete and time bound targets.
According to him NEPAD Nigeria is yet to impact positively in the area of infrastructure development especially in the critical sectors of education and health. “Nigeria needs to adhere to the NEPAD policy on the development of education and the health sectors in the area of funding. By so doing, these sectors would be able to produce and sustain a higher skilled workforce which will invariably lead to greater economic development. “NEPAD Nigeria must be geared towards capacity building particularly for government functionaries to enable them promote through their various MDAs a set of concrete and time bound programmes aimed at enhancing the quality of economic and public financial management as well as corporate governance. For each sector, however, the objective is to bridge the existing gap between Nigeria and the developed countries so as to improve the nation’s international competitiveness,” he added.
Dr. Abel Ezeoha, a development economist at the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, who also presented a paper at the workshop on ‘The Thorny Path to NEPAD Implementation in Nigeria’ noted that before the advent of NEPAD, economic reforms and initiatives were more of national issues. Ezeoha added that apart from a number of some sub-regional efforts, there was no strong economic cooperation among African countries, saying this situation informed the adoption of NEPAD at the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Summit in July 2001.
He stressed that Nigeria currently lacks the requisite social and economic competitiveness necessary to actively participate in and benefit from the different NEPAD priority areas. According to him, “Nigerian entrepreneurs in other African countries do not enjoy the kind of support and protections their South African counterparts enjoy and unlike the case of South Africa, Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone West African neighbours that are more inclined to cooperating with their colonial powers than with their neighbours.” He recommended that for Nigeria, the best policy option should be to devise strategies for overcoming the broader challenges facing NEPAD in the continent; and more specifically, for improving its competitiveness in the region by effectively dealing with the background issues of insecurity, threat of rapid urbanisation, weak governance structure, and threats against Nigerian entrepreneurs operating in other countries.
Ezeoha averred that to do this, the Nigerian government needs to take some strategic steps towards, redefining development partnership in the country, redefining Nigerian economic goal in the region, mainstreaming Nigeria in the NEPAD development initiatives, especially in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture and providing institutionalised and strategic support for Nigeria’s private sector investments in Africa. He suggested that government should facilitate the transformation of NEPAD Nigeria into an institutional structure with requisite legal authority and capacity to push Nigeria’s own development agenda in the region.
Meanwhile, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is yet to impact positively on Nigeria’s economy, especially industrial and infrastructure development. This is after 12 years of its existence. Dr. Ifediora Amobi, the Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), disclosed this during the above named workshop. He noted: “Since its establishment 12 years ago, Nigeria is one of the five founding member countries of NEPAD and one of its highest financial contributors without commensurate benefits to its economy.’’
Dr. Okezie Nwankwo, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College, Nigeria, who spoke on “NEPAD and the Challenges of Economic Development,” said NEPAD Nigeria lacks specific policies and strategies to monitor and achieve its objectives. According to him NEPAD Nigeria is yet to impact positively in the area of infrastructure development especially in the critical sectors of education and health. Dr. Abel Ezeoha, a development economist at the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, noted that before the advent of NEPAD, economic reforms and initiatives were more of national issues.
In his paper titled ‘The Thorny Path to NEPAD Implementation in Nigeria,’ he observed that apart from a number of some sub-regional efforts, there was no strong economic cooperation among African countries. He recalled that this situation informed the adoption of NEPAD at the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in July 2001. According to him, Nigerian entrepreneurs in other African countries do not enjoy the kind of support and protections their South African counterparts enjoy and unlike the case of South Africa, Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone West African neighbours that are more inclined to cooperating with their colonial powers than with their neighbours.
He recommended that for Nigeria, the best policy option should be to devise strategies for overcoming the broader challenges facing NEPAD in the continent; and more specifically, for improving its competitiveness in the region by effectively dealing with the background issues of insecurity, threat of rapid urbanization, weak governance structure, and threats against Nigerian entrepreneurs operating in other countries.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency and the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) have signed a memorandum of understanding, aimed at solidifying the relationship between the two organisations. While the NEPAD Agency and the NBF have worked closely since the inception of the NBF in 2004, this agreement marks a new chapter for both organisations, focussing on unlocking the potential for the development of Africa’s private sector. The MOU will enhance business potential within the continent through joint projects by accessing the resources, experience and expertise of both the NEPAD Agency and the NBF. This formal understanding will focus on building the African private sector to facilitate trade, training, skills development, technology and facilitating public private partnerships (PPPs). The latter is one of the most effective ways to undertake infrastructure development in Africa and a number of countries are exploring these vehicles for development.
The continent has demonstrated a high need for infrastructure development to facilitate inter-African trade and to create a conducive environment for international investment. “NEPAD provides unique opportunities for African countries to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together, and to cooperate more effectively with international partners,” says Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency. The NBF and the NEPAD Agency partnership will encourage project implementation and networking of private, public and civil society organisations to accelerate economic development in Africa. In addition, the NEPAD Agency and the NBF will also promote infrastructure development and regional integration while providing input and support to the continental framework of infrastructure requirements. The concept of development corridors throughout Africa is receiving much needed support from African Heads of State, culminating in President Zuma’s promise to champion Infrastructure development in Africa – focussing specifically on the North South corridor which runs between Durban and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania,” adds Lynette Chen, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Business Foundation.
Both NEPAD and the NBF have a vast store of experience, information and expertise in a variety of relevant fields, in collaboration with like-minded institutions and business communities. This agreement seeks to improve the coordinated development of Africa’s business environment. “Through the NEPAD Programme, the NEPAD Agency, as the technical development Agency of the African Union, works to improve the lives of families, communities and countries through a range of wealth creation and poverty eradication initiatives that cut across issues of health, agriculture, infrastructure, ICTs, education and other areas of intervention,” says Dr. Mayaki.
“It is in this regard that we welcome this strengthening of partnership with the NBF through the signing of this MOU. We believe that our joint work with the NBF will help us to bring together all the organisations and partners involved in Africa’s private sector – to help them voice their needs and to co-ordinate their work in support of the NEPAD agenda.” In signing this agreement, both organisations have pledged to continue supporting the development of agriculture and food security in Africa for this sector to become a growth driver for the continent. Jointly the NEPAD Agency and the NBF will work to achieve the agriculture goals as defined by the NEPAD Comprehensive Agriculture Advancement Development Programme (CAADP) _framework, where one of the key issues is to advance mechanisms to integrate smallholder farmers into the commercial value chain and provide access to markets.
“This is an exciting opportunity, as the NBF is currently incubating an innovative project that is developing a model that takes into account the vital role of the small farmer and gaining an understanding of their challenges and constraints and then developing models to create these smallholder farmers into viable entrepreneurial businesses,” says Chen. Another joint focus of both organisations will work towards the enhancement of human capacity and skills through the NEPAD Africa-wide Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF) and through the NBF African Leadership Programme which concentrates on enhancing capacity and leadership potential of African top managers from the public and private sectors as well as NGOs.
On a practical level, both organisations will aim to create an enabling environment for effective public private partnerships, including the preparation of bankable investment projects and promoting Africa as an investment destination for foreign funds. “Our joint efforts are based on the consideration that the private sector in Africa can and should take ownership of the development process in Africa,” said Dr. Mayaki.
The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency acts as the technical body of the African Union, primarily facilitating and coordinating the implementation of Africa’s priority programmes and projects at the regional and continental levels, mobilising partners and resources for the implementation of Africa’s priority programmes/projects, conducting research and knowledge management; monitoring and evaluation of programme/project implementation; and advocating core principles and values of the African Union and the NEPAD Framework. The NBF operates in South Africa with extensive business networks in the Southern African sub-region and the Continent as a whole, driven by the vision to contribute to a vibrant African economy through private sector development, thus positioning the continent as competitive global player. The mission of the NBF is to support the delivery of the NEPAD objectives through the active participation of Africa’s private sector.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a comprehensive integrated sustainable development initiative for the economic and social revival of Africa. One of the major ways in which African countries could benefit from the activities of NEPAD is through the education sector. NEPAD donated books recently to Nyemoni Grammar School in Rivers State. NEPAD(Rivers state) has donated a total of 653 textbooks, 500 NEPAD-branded notebooks and 15 schoolbags to Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. The NEPAD Rivers State team, led by the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Director of NEPAD Rivers State, Mr. Nemi Ibaraye, was received by the French teacher, Miss Patricia Harry, on behalf of the school principal.
Also in the security sector, NEPAD extends a Hand of Friendship to Rivers State Police Command. NEPAD Rivers State paid an advocacy visit to the Rivers State Police Headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, on Monday the 12th of May, 2014. Rivers State Governor and former chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on Rivers people and those doing business to partner with his administration to create a conducive economic environment that would boost wealth creation and reduce poverty in the State. Amaechi spoke at the 2013 Rivers State Summit on Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction, an initiative of NEPAD and the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency with the theme, “Developing an Effective Comprehensive Framework for Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction” in Port Harcourt.
In the health sector, The ECOWAS also signed the Malaria Elimination Agreement with Rivers State. ECOWAS and the Government of Rivers State have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a factory to produce anti-mosquito biolarvicides under the ECOWAS Malaria elimination campaign. The NEPAD Green Initiatives in Rivers State presently has five Green Initiatives aimed to ameliorate the impact of climate change on Rivers State while providing avenues for the management of its natural resources.
Furthermore, NEPAD Rivers State Organized an HIV Awareness Campaign in Rivers state University(RSUST). NEPAD Rivers State organized a one-day HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, tagged “Know Your Status Today.” The campaign was held at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, on Thursday the 12th of December, 2013. Also, NEPAD Rivers State Proposes a development of a Theme Park. The NEPAD Rivers State Tourism Initiative promotes sustainable urban and rural development as a catalyst for wealth creation and employment generation.
For best contribution, it will be important that development initiatives under any component of the NEPAD framework be supportive of or compatible with agriculture, given its fundamental role in economic development in Africa. For example, NEPAD’s activities on good governance, infrastructure, policy reform, human resources development etc., all help to create an enabling environment for farmers to contribute more to Africa’s economic development. In short, agriculture must be the engine for overall economic growth in Africa.
However, there should be no illusion of quick fixes, or miracle paths, towards African self-reliance in food and agriculture. Achievement of a productive and profitable agricultural / agro-industrial sector will require Africa to address a complex set of challenges which includes low internal effective demand due to poverty, poor and un-remunerative external markets (with declining and unstable world commodity prices and severe competition from the subsidised farm products of industrial countries, vagaries of climate and consequent risk that deters investment, limited access to technology and low human capacity to adopt new skills etc.

Sources cited:
http://www.nepad.org,
Thisday life newspaper ( 16 Dec 2013) edition,
Vanguard news (December 18, 2013) edition

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My loud social life and quiet intellectualism

Recently, I attended the birthday party of one of my classmates and I met an old friend, Collins Iheagwara, who also happens to be a friend of the celebrant. Collins himself has been my friend since my first year on campus. In fact, we stayed in the same dormitory & room in my part 1 days as student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He’s an English language student now in his final year.

My relationship with Collins goes beyond roommates or schoolmates relationship, I must point. When I graduate from campus, he’s someone I hope to be able to say was my best ever acquaintance in the higher institute. He understands me, knows so much about me, & should even be able to write a book about me when the time comes (but funnily, he’s a tech devotee and would most likely fancy making an animated film about me instead!) Meanwhile, he’s quite a good writer, he used to show me some of his write-ups for his planned business (tech) start-ups.

I still remember those days in our first year on campus when Collins & I would wake up in the middle of the night, while other roommates were sleeping, to share thoughts on life issues, our academics and everything bothering our minds including our families. We would discuss to the point where we pour our hearts out & tears drop. Collins is indeed a brother, only from a different mother! Any friend who has been through lengths with you & is ready to study and understand you is more than a friend! They become family because even family wouldn’t try to understand you like that at times. It’s been about four years since we first met & I’m blessed to know my longtime friend, Collins.

According to a popular adage, “the most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” Due to changes in hostels & courses, I’ve had to do without my friend for long periods. We took some courses together in part 1 but things changed since pt. 2, as everyone faced his departmental/faculty courses. But whenever we accidentally meet or arrange meetings (as we always do), it’s. always memorable. Such is our friendship.

So as I pointed out earlier, I met my very good friend, Collins, at the birthday party & there he asked me the all-important question that led to this write-up. We were just outside reminiscing early school days as usual when he made mention of my blog and consistency which he claims surprises him at times. About a week earlier, he had seen the link to one of my blog posts on my Facebook account & started wondering how I managed to combine my writings with academic responsibilities coupled with my social commitments and all. My friend wondered how a ‘party goer’ like me could still find the solitude that deep writing requires. Moreover, the institution we both attend prides herself as the best in Africa, especially in terms of academic commitments, hence, students are always put on the pressure.

The answer I gave to my friend was simple. It’s easy to combine everything all together. My academic, social, and humanitarian commitments like activities with my high school alumni association & my membership of the alpha club are nothing but normal ways of life for me. I’ve always been a nerd. I could remember when I was a kid & my teachers used to think I was dumb as I withdrew a lot to myself. I got bullied once or twice by teachers & mates and the only thing that spoke for me was my excellent grades. I made up for my quietness through my academic results.

Hence, I find it easy to find time for intellectual activities even now that I’m more committed socially. Intellectualism is simply my way of life, my parties, sporting & philanthropism are merely a peripheral part of me which came by the way! For me, it has always been about writing, writing and writing till I was satisfied, even if it means nobody would find them. In fact, I have more unpublished writings than anything on my blog or my political articles published in tabloids. Writing was the only way I could express my mind since I was a child.

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TAIWO, MTN PROJECT FAME SEASON 7

Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly present to you, Taiwo Okunola, a contestant in the season 7 of this year’s MTN Project Fame West Africa, taking place in Lagos. Taiwo is a gentleman of distinction, calm-headed and enormously talented. He’s a final year civil engineering student of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso.

I first knew Taiwo Okunola when I swapped elementary schools as a small kid about 15 years ago to attend Julian Nursery & Primary school, Oluyoro, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. I started the sch in class 3 (primary 3) and Taiwo was my sitting partner and best friend till graduation, as we remained close even after parting temporarily in class 4. Meanwhile that’s all a story for another day.

My first discovery of this young man’s knack for music was in that elementary sch., when towards our high school leaving exam, a music teacher was introduced to us who tutored everyone in music ( classical, music notes especially). Very few of us excelled in the exam, I was the only one in the school who scored a 100, missing nothing! Taiwo was among the few of us who excelled too (just about 8 in total). As a result, we had practical music lessons with flutes for some time until graduation from the school.

Here we are today, he’s pursuing a professional career in music while I’m doing likewise in the legal field, as a law student! Ironically, the best music student back then might just never do music! Such is life but my very good friend, Taiwo keeps the fire burning and I appreciate that. I’m very happy for my brother and I pray he excels at the reality tv show and hopefully, go on to win the competition. Ever since he told me of his participation few weeks ago, I’ve been so ecstatic and upbeat about his success. Taiwo is very well capable as, music apart, he’s one of the most brilliant and resourceful persons I’ve met in my life!

Musically, he has given a very good account of himself at the competition so far. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting comments and I’ve seen his performances. Even to make it to the final 15 is no joke, judging by the fact that auditions in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia saw over 350,000 contestants vying to be selected. Therefore, I’m proud of my boy for what he’s accomplished already. Once again, I present to you, Taiwo, a future music superstar!!!

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PARENTAL CARE

The parents should be a child’s number one role model. It’s a proven fact that children who had their parents as their major heroes tend to have better self-esteem, humanly feeling, dignity, sense of leadership, courage and all other great virtues compared to their peers who didn’t see their parents as role models worthy of emulating. A son who’s so much into his father tends to, in future, choose a similar career choice or path as the father while a daughter who feels close to her mother tends to lean towards whatever her mother does and be a modernized version of her. The genesis or foundation of anything a child becomes later in life starts from the home as according to the adage, ‘’charity begins at home.’’

The home is where greatness is built. That’s where leaders are first made, even before they go to school and meet people in the society. A child will first show signs of leadership, ambition, covetousness and so on at home. Unlike the general belief, the home is actually where bullying starts, not school! It’s funny to know that even a bully bullying his classmate or junior in school has once been bullied before. When you’re getting bullied by your elder brother or drunkard father and you know you can do nothing about it, being subjugated becomes your life and it reflects on your personality. I have talked to some girls in school who had previous rape experiences and are so used to it that they feel every other guy is going to rape them. That fear and thought could actually attract more of such experiences into their life as according to the natural Law of attraction.

Moreover, children who have parental care tend to have more compassion and love towards their mates and people they come across in the society compared to bitter children who are unhappy from home. A result of this love and happiness that must be felt from home is what we see in rogues, street thugs, prostitutes, scammers etc. Most of these crooked individuals never felt love from home, they never knew what parental care or motherly love was. I once spoke to an ex-convict before who told me that growing up, he never got a gift from anyone before, not even a pencil! He said he grew up with the believe he had to take everything he possessed by force from people which later led to him being convicted on robbery related charges.

Growing up in the kind of streets and neighbourhood I was raised, I still think the only reason me and my brother were different to the other kids around was the love we got from doting mother and the ever-caring dad. My parents were always afraid back then if we got sick, it was always as if you just won a lotto if u fell ill because you got anything you requested for. We got what we needed on a normal day, but when you’re down with malaria fever for instance, you could just make wishes and saw them granted. My childhood was like that. We had care and love and that reflected outwardly. Maybe that’s the reason why I grew up to be this young man who wants to help everyone in distress or poverty.

Parental care and love is what brings out the best in little children. I still believe that’s the only solution to gang-banging, street crimes, prostitution and all these social menaces that has to do with long-time identity crisis. I was watching the tv recently when a Public relations consultant was given a brief interview and he was asked questions on prostitution in Nigeria and the solutions. He professed to have been PR for some prostitutes and that due to his close works with most of them he has come to discover that every prostitute in the world have a common problem. He called it foundational identity problem. Most of these prostitutes grew up to being bullied by men, their first boy-friends, raped by their trusted uncle, and all. Some were raised by single mothers who gave birth to them as a teenager. Some had drunkard and chain-smoker fathers who came home to batter their mum. The prostitutes grew up to hate themselves and the world and saw no good essence of living carefully in it, hence the care-free life of trading their body for money, even when there is strong possibility of HIV/AIDS and subsequent death. It’s all identity crisis. The PR man gave one insight as his solution to prostitution that day. He suggested we begin to show love and care to the prostitutes, give them what they never had and maybe they will change because in the end, it’s all not just about money.

Parental care is even more important in the life of a boy. I read the Wikipedia page of a Chicago born gangster rapper known popularly as Chief Keef recently and I had more insight on this subject. The rapper, born sometimes in 1995 as Keith Cozart, was raised by a single mother who gave birth to him when she was just 16. He had to leave and stay with his grandmother. At 16 also, this young rapper had his first child and he’s not even paying child support after dumping the mother of his child. Like father, like son you say? This rapper is less than 19 but has been convicted on crime charges ranging from heroin manufacture, misdemeanor, firearm and unlawful possession of weapon, parole violations, DUI to marijuana possession. He’s also being investigated for some murder cases in the Chicago neighbourhood killings. Now, I strongly believe that had he gotten some parental love and care, this very talented young man could have had an opposite lifestyle to this one which sees him to jail cells almost every month. I wonder if he even has time to enjoy his little wealth if he really goes to detention and rehab that much. I’m a big fan of his rap style & music but not of his life.

Meanwhile, I’m not trying to rule out the chances of the less privileged children to succeed in the world. It’s very possible to defy all odds, I’m also a product of that and I’m still developing. Floyd Mayweather, Barack Hussein Obama, including Nigeria’s own Jimoh Ibrahim et al are good examples of regular kids who defied all odds and still became useful to the world. But my contention is, how many people can defy such odds? Will it then not be fairer to create an enabling environment if possible, for every child to grow better? Imagine Serena and Venus Williams without their father, Richard Williams’ influence. Imagine Kendrick Lamar without his mother naming him after the singer, Eddie Kendricks. That probably was the major hand that pointed his destined path to him!

Children who got care have a higher propensity to become meaningful and useful to the society than those who just grew up care-freely. What do you want to expect from an individual who has never been serious all his life? A care-free life of course, with no determination to succeed, no sense of duty, and no confidence to face whatever life brings. Parental care and love brings up all-round, made young men and women who go into the world to conquer it. Why? Because they have been trained in all ways! They have seen good examples in a successful lawyer as father and a courageous nurse as mother for example. These kids do not shiver when they get to school or face a large crowd, they have seen examples at home.

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Poem on Nigeria

It is a land flowing with milk and honey
Where the vegetation is lush and evergreen
All the year round
A land surrounded by oceans
Where calm waves make ripples
Over the surface of the sea
Where peace and harmony holds sway
A landmass inhabited with great people
Right from the seat of authority in Abuja
To the home of solid minerals in nasarawa
Peacefulness permeates the landscape
Passing through the gateway state in Ogun
Known for its craft and industrial nature
To the sunshine state in Ondo
Where the sun shines on all the produce
To produce a bountiful harvest
We finally reach the heartbeat of the nation
Whose capital is the home of crystal and tradition
Where the king is highly revered and honoured
Now to the state that has a big heart in Delta
Where you are fed different delicacies like the oha soup
Warri, where the unique and indigenous waffi
Originated from
What about the liberal state, Kaduna
Where trades in clothes and gold go on
Even the centre of commerce in Kano
Anambra is the home for all
Where you can dwell in ecstasy
Adamawa is the highest peak of the nation
Akwa-Ibom is the land of promise
Yes, a promise of hope
The land is fertile and full of rich promise to the agile
Benue, the food basket of the nation
Where the mango is as big as coconut
Bayelsa is the glory of all lands
Yobe is where the young shall grow

They say you’re still crawling on your feet, Nigeria
They say you’re corrupted among the comity of nations
Yet I look at them for their obvious ignorance
Because they have failed to notice the inherent qualities
In a single entity of your caliber
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That you’re the only nation after independence
That still has your unity intact since independence
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That the rule of law is being upheld
That the wicked and arrogant are being reprimanded
They have forgotten in a jiffy
How you hauled the banking system
And rid it of corrupt officials
They’re comparing you to America
Which started on a shaky ground
Worst in corruption more than you in their hey days
But has now become stabilized 250years after
But, Nigeria you’re only 50
The cynics have forgotten
Even though they hold that magical box called handset
That you have arrived in the world of global communication
What about the oil-rich Niger Delta
That has provided our foreign oil reserves
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That you’re the giant of Africa
They have failed to see
The historic sites nestled amid rivers and rainforests
Even the breathtaking mountain vistas
Even the miles of pristine beaches
The exotic national wildlife reserves
When tomorrow comes
You’ll still take your place
Among the comity of nations
You’ll occupy your glorious position
Our youth shall be proud of her heritage

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South Sudan: will Africa ever learn?

The Genesis:
It has been reported that almost all the buildings in town were destroyed during the 1983-2005 north-south civil war. The fighting obliterated what little (yes, little!) infrastructure there was in South Sudan, and made development all but impossible. At independence, South Sudan was left very weak and extremely fragile. South Sudan was the world’s newest country and maybe even the poorest. The new country had gone through decades of conflicts with Khartoum.

These leads to the fundamental questions; why go to war in the first place? Why not employ other means to freedom aside violence, killings and a massacre? Why not the non-violent resistance? Why not employ civil disobedience? At least, the non-violence resistance worked in India under the able leadership of Gandhi enroute gaining the 1950 independence from the British. The same non-violent resistance/disobedience worked during the black revolution in USA, under the tutelage of Martin Luther King jr. Why does violence seem to be peculiar to Africa? Almost all African countries went through violent means to settle their differences in their pre & post independence periods! From Uganda, Kenya, Libya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda, Angola, Egypt, South Africa, Sudan, Guinea, Tunisia, the list goes on. Up till today, military juntas and acts of civil terrorism are stil perpetrated in nations like Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Central African Republic etc.

It would be difficult to hope wars will ever be eradicated wholly throughout the world as long as there is existence of mankind. Reason is that some useless elements and unscrupulous political class benefit enormously from wars. For instance, the manufacturers of ammunitions and war arsenals would never pray a war ever ends! This is where they make their filthy lucre, through bloodshed of fellow men. Also, for some politicians who see ethnic nepotism and tribal supremacy as virtues, they wouldn’t mind a massacre of any other tribe that stands in the way of their personal interest. These are major reasons why wars may continue in the world, especially in African nations where people are yet to embrace national unity over a minimal communal love.

Ethnic nepotism v. Political foundation:
In Africa as of today, there is a war going on somewhere or almost everywhere. If a white journalist or writer had written this write-up, I probably would have said he has rascist intentions but I’m African, I know what I know. In my own country, Nigeria, which is supposed to be the ‘Giant of Africa’, we still have the Niger-Delta militants in the south and the Boko haram menace in the north. I personally wrote about the Boko Haram menace about 4 yrs ago when the menace first broke out, the article was published by the Daily Sun newspapers then. Today, the sect seems to only grow stronger by the day and government still are yet to overcome them. Thousands of life has gone, several lives ended abruptly due to the northern uprising alone & university students are now scared of being posted to any northern state (not even the few peaceful ones) for the 1 year mandatory national service(NYSC).

Many people are still of the opinion that the little peace now known in the south due to the militants’ acceptance of the amnesty programme is solely because President Goodluck Jonathan is from the region. It is widely believed that should a northern man be president come 2015, we should expect more militancy from the southern youths. That’s the situation in my country too. Now, how will these things not happen when africans are still yet to embrace national peace and unity. When many africans still don’t appreciate brotherhood and togetherness. When africans still judge each other’s actions through the eye of tribal peculiarity, skin color & tongue, but not through the content of character and love. The bitter truth is we’re still not united yet. Nigeria, as a part of Africa, has been described by the political icon & sage, Obafemi Awolowo as a “mere geographical expression.” We’re all more or less like being forced to marry each other.

Once or twice, I’ve witnessed my mum instruct my two elder sisters not to marry anyone aside our tribe, so as not to ‘get lost’. That was the reason, staying together forever with your own kind. But that’s selfish and short-sighted, it lacked vision! I was too young then to question my mum. We are from the yoruba tribe in Nigeria & the country is home to about 200 other tribes aside the four major ones; hausa, igbo, yoruba & fulani. All these uprisings Nigeria witnesses today is as a result of the fact that people still don’t see each other as one! We want to only be with our kinds, shame! These are fundamental issues that I don’t know if man can solve them by himself without God. I’ve chatted with a few intellectual friends who believe ethnic nepotism and tribal supremacy battle is in the nature of man. There is a place in the Bible( book of Exodus)where a part of Israel were claiming a right belonging to their kind. Everyone believes his clan or tribe is better. That was what led to the slave trade! I’m of the opinion that if africans developed ahead of the whites, we actually could have been slave masters ourselves and took whites into slavery because all men are vain & proud like that! That’s for another day & write-up.

At the time of South Sudan’s independence in July of 2011, just free from Sudan and recovering from decades of civil war, hopes were high. I as an African, was happy for South Sudan and thought I could see the progression of a new country, right before my own eyes. As of December 15, several mass graves had been discovered, several thousands dead and tens of thousands have been displaced in South Sudan as a recent outbreak of inter-ethnic violence has Africa’s newest nation on the brink of civil war and possibly genocide. This same scenario was witnessed in another African country, Rwanda, in 1994. I was just 2 yrs old then and I’ve known what I know about the Rwandan genocide through learning history, research, documentaries etc. and I know the sight wasn’t great! But when will Africa learn from her own mistakes? Must every African country butcher their own people before coming to an agreement? This is pure madness!

I’m grown now and Rwanda is still battling with wounds from the genocide. Yet, another african nation, the newest in the world, with all the examples in front of them, take the same step. It’s such a shame. The whole world looks like Africa now like a set of confused people, those who are unable to govern themselves, like beasts of the field who know nothing that brutish life & fierceness. As tensions rise between the South Sudan’s two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and Nuer communities, one cannot help but make hasty comparisons to the events of Rwanda 1994 between the hutus and the tutsis.

In the 100 days since the start of the conflict in South Sudan, the number of displaced people has soared to 700,000, including 380,000 children. Many young people, separated from their parents, have been forced to seek refuge in dangerous places. About 865,000 people have been displaced since violence erupted on 15 December in Juba – 740,000 within South Sudan and more than 123,000 in neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, according to estimates by Ocha and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Donors have pledged approximately $246m so far at a time when crises in Syria, the Philippines and the Central African Republic also require significant support.

Agencies reported that thousands of people have been wounded or killed in the conflict and, despite the ceasefire agreement signed 23 January, there is little sign of people returning home. In towns such as Juba, Bentiu, Bor and Malakal, where the conflict has been intense, displaced people have gathered in UN peacekeeping bases (an estimated 80,000), but many more have sought refuge in community spaces such as churches, hospitals or schools in areas less monitored by international media and agencies. In Awerial county in Lakes state for example, about 84,000 people are reportedly congregating in open areas.

The politics and eventual war:
South Sudan leaders are all formers rebels who together had once fought the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. These former brothers started wars together when in July 2013, President Salva Kiir sacked his cabinet, including Riek Machar who was the Vice. Meanwhile, Machar is from the Nuer tribe while President Kiir is from the Dinka tribe, making the cabinet reshuffle turn into an ethnic war. Riek Machar had split from the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) since 1991.

There is so much corruption and selfish interest in the political class. They have failed the people of South Sudan. A government that fresh from decades of war against her parent country needed a moral and politically sound leader in the frame of Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, MLK jr and others, not corrupt politicians who want nothing but life-presidency! The South Sudanese leaders inherited an awful situation, and have certainly brought about some positive change. Unfortunately, there are signs that they are repeating some of the errors made by the Sudanese leaders against whom they fought so fiercely.

Just as the bulk of Sudan’s resources were concentrated in and around Khartoum, Juba has developed at a rapid pace. In itself, Juba’s growth is no bad thing. “It is beautiful to see!” says Bishop Paride Taban. There has been some growth in the state capitals, too, albeit from a very low base. However, as in the Sudanese model, South Sudan’s 10 states are almost entirely dependent on Juba. The weakness of the governments in South Sudan’s states is structural, and replicates that of the federal government: just as the latter’s revenue comes almost entirely from oil, the states’ come from a transfer of funds from Juba. In any given state capital, the state government tends to hold tight to the money it receives, leaving the other areas under its control with next to nothing. This is another loophole, as the centre is so strong while the subordinate parts of the country are very weak. Any rebel that captures the capital city could as well rule the country automatically.

Conclusion and way forward:
President Kiir says he was trying to ward off a coup in the December 15 incident, but his critics and political analyst beg to differ. I personally think it was a massacre attempt. Each corner was trying to wipe out the other tribe out of frustration and selfish interest. Mr Machar has led rebel forces to capture key towns such as Bor and Bentiu, including oilfields. Meanwhile, peace talks are on-going in Addis Ababa. But we must remember that time is not on our side. The implication of this war on the over 300,000 children affected in this war is enormous.

We left all our property – our home, our goats and chickens. I ran out and this is all that I have,” Nyakuom Tongyik says, pointing to the floral dress and pink scarf she is wearing. The 22-year-old is one of more than 70,000 refugees who have crossed the border into Ethiopia, fleeing fighting and devastation in South Sudan. The war has ruined many families forever already. What would be the meaning of life now for people like Nyakuom Tongyik who has lost almost everything to the war? She deserves better than this! Her husband and father were killed when clashes erupted in their home town of Malakal, she says, sitting in her cramped, hot white tent at Leitchor refugee camp in Gambella, western Ethiopia. She escaped with two of her children, but was separated from the third amid the chaos. During the 20-day walk to the Akobo border, Tongyik’s daughter fell sick. “She died on the way,” she says. “There was no way to get her to the hospital.”

Something drastic needs to be done. The political fractures and conflicts must first be resolved. If possible, the two warring parties should sit on a round-table and reac some form of understanding. The political elites must wake up now! This is not a time to be lethargic but to be strong and proactive. Ideas are needed to move the young nation forward, not firearms to cause more chaos. South Sudan and Africa in general must now see that military battles are not the solution to political issues. If possible, a national reconciliation be arranged to appeal to any angle where there might be discontentment. African need to put their national interest above any ethnic interest, that’s the only way to guarantee lasting peace. Africa must take back its position as leaders in world civilization. We need to wake up from our slumber! Africa, arise!

All Photographs & some comments sourced from: http://www.theguardian.com

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Recognition and appreciation

One common thing about most heroes and heroines is that they’re hardly recognized and well appreciated while around. It is when they are gone that people really think highly of them. I’ve seen and read about many great leaders such as Socrates, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Revd Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Adekunle Ajasin who were never really appreciated while alive. They were frustrated by fellow citizens, evil forces and oppositions. It is quite ironical to learn that the same mouth who spoke bad of these great men while alive began to sing songs of praises about them once they died.

Even Jesus Christ, the son of God was never trusted by the majority when he was still on earth. He was unappreciated, all his preachings, sermons and miracle works tarnished by the Pharisee priests who controlled the mind of worshippers then. In Luke 17:15, Christ healed 10 lepers but only one came back to give thanks! What does that speak of the other nine’s appreciation?!
Therefore, anyone who wishes to be great should not expect appreciation or much recognition from people because when people begin to praise you much, pride may set in and you will be doomed!

While Martin Luther King Jnr was still fighting the freedom struggle, several dynamites were thrown at his house, all in the bid to assassinate him with his family but he was mostly away from home, so he escaped earlier death. If the attempts had been successful, he would have been gone even earlier than he did. Different kinds of intimidation & harassment took place just to make him lose hope. Even Gandhi had to starve for weeks just to have his own people & followers accept the people of lower castes (the untouchables), as their own indian brothers and sisters!

Benazir Bhutto was killed 27th December , 2007 by a bomb planted by her fellow country men. This was one of the most powerful and charismatic leaders Pakistan has ever had, yet they assassinated her. Although they weep not now, but very soon and in the very near future, they will beg to have such a state-woman, even for a day in their midst! The originator of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has succinctly put it as ‘’shuffering and shmiling’’, that is, when people laugh in the midst of sorrow when actually they should begin to cry!

A good distinction must be made of these two terms. It is very easy to achieve recognition so far one does something worthwhile and respectful, but it isn’t as easy to be well appreciated. It is always very evident that some people are heroes and heroines, men just don’t treat them as such until they’re gone.

Reminisces: my childhood days

I grew up in one of the worst ghettos of Ibadan, the largest city in the whole of west Africa and sub-saharan Africa. Mind you, Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo state in Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the whole wide world! I must point out that I’m really proud of all that history and heritage, even if I wasn’t born with a silver-spoon, it feels good at times when I look back and realize how far I’ve come, that’s when I realize how blessed I really am. For like the first 14 years of my life, I had no special dream or aspiration, I just slept, wake up and live life but gradually my life took form, a form nobody but only God could have pre-designed. I surprise myself everyday, mount challenges and achieve greater heights.

I remember those days when I used to gamble with some boys in our neighbourhood. I got introduced to this by my elder brother, Tobi, who I used to follow, did everything he did, and go wherever he went. He’s my only brother, my two older siblings are females, therefore it was only natural for me to feel more comfortable under my brother’s wings. Meanwhile, I’ve always been a ladies’ man and I had the love( or sympathy or sentiments) of my two sisters, but when it came to playing pranks and ‘being a boy’ they just couldn’t offer me the kind of orientation my only brother would offer me.

So, I and my brother would meet with other boys in the hood for our crap game( otherwise known as dice game). I still remember a few first names of some of our cohorts, Abayomi, Hammed, Lukman, Kabir, Kola and others. We usually throw the die and gamble in an uncompleted building near Abayomi’s house. Abayomi and Hammed are brothers from the same family. Their father had two wives, we heard Hammed’s mother just left home one day never to return, leaving only Abayomi’s mother, who was a policewoman. Hammed was the eldest of the two brothers. At times, we used their house as the parents would have gone to work. It was a really big house so that was a special haven for our gambling games.

Usually there is so much uncompleted houses in the kind of ghetto where I grew up, so believe me when I say we always had choices whenever it comes to picking our ground. At times, we go to another uncompleted house far away from the football field, the house belonged to mama Dotun, my mum’s best friend then who is now of blessed memory. The house is a storey building, mama Dotun and her family lived in the lower floor & left the upper floor roofless. I and my cohorts just make use of the roofless upper floor when nobody is around the vicinity to notice us.

Just near Abayomi’s house was a plain field demarcated with bricks and the land was owned by a church. We used to play football on that field after shooting craps( dice gamble) and play football till we could no longer see the ground again. My mum was always worried by the time we got home late in the night and she sometimes reported us to our uncle, her younger brother. Back then, it was almost impossible to report us to dad even if she wanted to because dad was a workaholic police officer who left home very early in the morning and comes home very late in the night. I didn’t really know the kind of man my dad was till he left the police force and we used to be at home together everyday for a year in 2008. I just graduated from high school and was seeking university admission that time. This was the period I really got to meet my father, we had been sleeping in the same house all through my childhood but I must confess I didn’t really ‘’know’’ him! That’s a write-up for another day anyway.

Now back to my gambling friends, we enjoyed our gambles mostly on Sundays, as the weather is always cool & calm on Sundays. Moreover, this was the day our parents would religiously attend churches while muslim parents would use that day to visit friends who they have no time to see on work-days. Our preference of Sunday morning to gamble meant that by the time fellow kids & other future leaders were in the church with their parents praising God, we were busy gambling with dice with our parents money and inside dilapidated buildings! Sadly, we saw nothing wrong in this then! Meanwhile, we were never caught doing this and I couldn’t be more than 10 years old as at then.

A crap game is played by throwing two dice on a bare floor or table. All players (2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) throw the die in turns and the one with the highest number per throw takes the most money down to the last man. Whoever threw the lowest numbers gets no money or less than he contributed and you may go home with nothing if you’re not good! The dice game is a game of luck and the tragedy here is that at such tender age, we were grooming ourselves to begin to depend on luck and not on God, our intellect or hardwork. We weren’t learning the major virtues of life such as benevolence to mankind, patience, contentment etc. Whoever had the most luck among the lot of the gamblers could go home with all the money belonging to us all, without a care in the world what his friends feels like. At times, fights break out when someone thinks he doesn’t deserve to lose or he has plainly been cheated out of his money. Another major ill gambling does to little children is fill them with the love of money at such a tender age.

I went back to my alma matar

Me & the eminent jurist, Justice Soremi

Me & the eminent jurist, Justice Soremi

      Last week wednesday was really special for me, not only because I visited my former high school with other colleagues but also, for getting to share the table with some great minds and role models. I attended Oke ‘badan High School (OBHS), Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria between 2001 to 2007 and it is quite ironical to learn how many successful graduates have finished from this school who never went back to pay their dues. Now, I’m not saying anybody is legally bound by duty or by obligation to revisit the schools they’ve passed out from but I also belief everyone has a moral duty to look after his alma matar and to always keep the school’s fire burning anywhere he finds himself. People represent their clubs, local associations and frats they belong to anywhere they are, not to talk of the school where you learned most of what you know.     Among the accomplished set of people who passed out of the High school before me are several lawyers, politicians, technocrats, scientists, Senators, Professors (yes we have professors in several Universities all over the world), International Footballers etc. To mention but a few, we have Justice G.O. Soremi rtd.( Justice Court of Appeal), Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), Senator Iyiola Omisore (former deputy governor in Osun state), Dr Rauf Ladipo (President-General, Nigerian Sports Supporters’ club), Dr Morgan Salami ( former Nigerian National football team player during the Green Eagles era) among so many other illustrious sons of OBHS.     
 It is however sad & alarming to discover that some people, such as Senator Omisore, maybe due to the historical leanings & background of the school, go about claiming another high school to be their alma mater even when I factually have met members of his set (1966 set) who knew him while in school! I think another reason why people do that is for political reasons. For example, the above named man is a politician from Ile-Ife in Osun state, hence he claims to have attended St John’s Grammar school, Ile-Ife. Politically, this would make the electorate feel he’s been around home since childhood and therefore a worthy son of the town, compared to if he claimed, though rightfully, to have studied in OBHS which is in another city state entirely (Ibadan, Oyo state). 
     To avoid incoherence, I’ll leave stories about the historical and political foundation of my alma matar to another day and write-up. But believe me, this was a really great school with so much proud history. We alumnus (my school is a single-sex sch.) pride ourselves to be “intellectual rascals”, reason being that you can’t pass through this school successfully without developing an independent mind and smartness. Even the dumbest student in my class then had street sense! This is very uncommon with the other neighbouring schools.
   Thus in order to continue to preserve the tradition of this great school, some of us among the young folks came together and invited the older folks to look into how to help contribute our quota to the school, as evidently some buildings have become dilapidated since my set left 7 years ago and the state government is doing nothing to help the situation. Therefore, we invited the first ever Head Boy of the school in 1960, the now retired Justice of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice George O. Soremi, and a few other elders for a meeting and they answered us. Dr Rauf Ladipo talked to us for several minutes on phone, he was with the Nigerian Super Eagles for the CHAN 2014 in South Africa, so he pledged to be with us when next we have a meeting. 
         The outcome of that meeting was nothing other than “how do we contribute something to our school?” Everyone had good stories to tell, this was the school that made us. Therefore, on Wednesday 29th day of January, 2014, we all went to the school. We didn’t go alone, we went with new chairs, books, stationery, art-works which we donated to the school and library. Most teachers who taught me 7 years ago, including the principal, are still in the school. It may sound somehow but it feels good to now get some respect from the same people who caned and disciplined me few years ago! It was indeed a grand occasion. Justice Soremi was the keynote speaker. We had several old students who came in from all over the country, Lagos, Abuja, you could name it. The first school sports captain was present too, Dr Morgan Salami, who went on to play professional football for the Nigerian national team. He lectured the students on the benefits of combining academics with sports. I have attached a few pictures of the day to my write-up, I promise to upload more as I lay my hands on them. 
         I’m also using this medium to appeal to every reader of this post to go back to their roots and add something more positive. Maybe you’re richer than me or you’re poorer than me I don’t know, but one thing is sure in life, we all have something to contribute! We can make the world better for the generations coming. We’re the change we want in the government, in the world! We are the world! When I and my colleagues like Suara Akeem, Oladoyinbo Mayowa et al started to hold meetings 2 years ago on how to help our school, we never knew the old folks would support us. All our plans was to continue in oneness till we become accomplished in our fields. Now the plan has worked ahead of time. This is just the beginning. We plan to change the face of the whole school, and this is on pure philanthropic grounds, nothing political! I just want to contribute my own quota to the development of humanity.

pupils

pupils

school pupils

school pupils

The Nigerian Maritime law (3)

NIWA’s mission statements, among other things, is to make Nigeria the leader in inland water transportation development and management in Africa. To provide regulatory, economical and operational leadership in the nation’s inland waterways system and develop infrastructural facilities for efficient inter-modal transportation system in line with global best practices that is safe, seamless and affordable. To improve and develop the inland waterways for safe navigation. Also, to provide alternative mode of transportation for the evacuation of economic goods and persons and to execute the objectives of national transport policy as they concern inland waterways.

NIWA issue licenses for inland navigation, piers, jetties and dockyard; examine and survey inland watercraft and shipyard operators, grant permit and licenses for sand dredging, pipeline construction, dredging of slot and approve designs and construction of inland river crafts. As part of its transport services, NIWA is equipped with a number of vessels, enabling it to operate ferry services (for economic good and passengers) and run cruise boats (for tourism and leisure). Many of the boats and ferries such as MF Oron, MF Onitsha and W.B. Jebba have been fully refurbished and deployed on their respective routes. With these exercises, NIWA has fulfilled one of its key functions of operating safe and efficient water transportation. NIWA’s wide range of engineering services includes construction of inland river-ports and jetties. NIWA also undertakes capital and maintenance dredging, and engineering, design of river ports etc.
As part of NIWA’s marine services, they remove and receive derelicts, wrecks and other obstructions from inland waterways; clear water hyacinth and other harmful weeds and NIWA has embarked on aggressive clearing of water hyacinth in Epe, Igbokoda and other northern waterways, boat construction, repairs and dockyard services (see the publication by Shehu Abubakar, The Weekly Trust, on Saturday, 24 March, 2012 and that of Weir Centre For Africa on April, 1, 2012). NIWA is responsible for hydrological and hydrographic surveys, river chart production and cartography, river mapping, aerial survey and underwater survey. Come ferry routes such as Calabar-Oron and Lokoja were successfully surveyed. Preliminary survey on River Niger has also been conducted in preparation for the dredging of the river. NIWA provides hydraulic structures for river dams, bed and bank stabilization, barrages, install and maintain lights, buoys and all navigational aids along all water channels and banks.
As general services, NIWA collects river tolls, acquire, lease and hire properties; produce, publish and broadcast navigational materials such as notices, hydrological year books, river charts and river maps; carry out consultancy and contractual services represent the Government of Nigeria at national and international commissions that deal with navigation and inland water transportation and also advise government on all border matters that relate to the inland waters. NIWA pursues an ecologically sound inland water transportation policy. Due consideration is given to the well-being of aquatic life as well as the clearing of water hyacinth and other harmful aquatic weeds. NIWA is also authorized to “carry out environmental impact assessment of navigation and other dredging activities within the inland water and its right of ways.” NIWA handles marine pollution control on the inland waterways and the declared Right of Ways (R.O.W). There is need to strengthen the capacity of the Authority in the area in terms of equipment and manpower.
In the area of port development, Lokoja Port work is in progress. Degema Port- certified awaiting Executive council approval. Onitsha Port- under tendering process. Baro Port- under tendering process. Okrika Port- certified project cost is in due process & awaiting ministry’s presentation to Federal Executive Council (FEC). Oguta Port- certified and awaiting Ministry’s presentation to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for award. Owerrinta Jetty- certified and awaiting Ministry’s presentation to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for award. Since inception in 1988, NIWA has executed the following projects:
• Charting and buoying of Lower River Niger River ( Lokoja-Onitsha);
• Satellite imagery of a section of River Niger;
• Charting and buoying of Upper Niger River (Zamare-Yelwa/Yauri-Nigeria/Benin border);
• Procurement of water weeds control equipment e.g. (“Water master Classic III”);
• Clearing of aquatic weeds/water hyacinth in the inland navigable waterways of Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Borno, Benue, Baga, Yelwa-Yauri and Cross River States;
• Construction of booms at Zamare-Rofia route (Kebbi State) for the control of water hyacinth and other aquatic weeds.

The Authority is currently combating the water hyacinth/ aquatic weeds menace in a number of areas within the country such as: Calabar, Yauri, Igbokoda and Lagos. Mechanical clearing is on at six different zones in the South-East and South-South part of the country. NIWA awaits the delivery of 2 nos AVC 101 swamp devil and 1 no complementary Harvester AH-620-T34 as part of our logistics requirement for clearing of water hyacinth and aquatic weeds nationwide.

On Friday, the 17th day of May, 2013, Hajiya Illa Maryam Ciroma who hails from Biu area of Borno state was appointed the new Managing Director of NIWA. Her name was made public by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation following orders from President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Among the other responsibilities in front of her is the quest to concession Onitsha and other river ports has been on the drawing board for years. In fact, the idea to concession Onitsha river port popped up before its rehabilitation and formal unveiling by President Goodluck Jonathan on August 30, 2012. Since then the processes have been mired in bureaucratic bottlenecks. The lackadaisical attitude of those saddled with the responsibility has not helped matters. The present state of the multi-billion Onitsha River Port Complex, Anambra State is pathetic. This is due to the fact that the river port holds a lot of promise. It was this promise that propelled its conception, construction and formal unveiling. Described as Nigeria’s largest river port, the Onitsha River Port Complex is complete with new facilities, warehouses and equipment such as cranes and forklifts.
Yet, nearly one year after its formal unveiling by President Jonathan in the presence of the high and mighty in the society, the facilities are lying idle at the mouth of River Niger. What a monumental waste of scarce resources! Will the new managing director of the authority change the story of Onitsha river port or will it continue to be business as usual?
The intention to concession Onitsha River Port did not start today. Already, a consultant to midwife the exercise has been appointed to begin work on the outline business case (OBC) otherwise known as feasibility study.
One of the tasks staring the helmsman of NIWA in the face is the maintenance dredging of River Niger, which is crucial to the attainment of the primary goal of embarking on the multibillion naira project in the first place. This is not unconnected with the fact that without maintenance dredging, the billions of naira sunk into the dredging of River Niger will be like water poured inside a basket; an exercise in futility. Another reason why maintenance dredging must be carried out without further delay is siltation of the river bed. When this happens, it will not only impede safe navigation but also make nonsense of the entire dredging project. It is instructive to note that Ciroma has promised to make water transportation more attractive in her tenure.

Nigerian Shipping Policy
The Nigerian Shipping Policy can be defined as the totality of a set of government principles, plans of actions, statements of ideals and strategies proposed or adopted for the promotion and protection of our national interest in the field of shipping. Decree 10 of 1987 tagged “National Shipping Policy Decree” is part of the Nigerian Government’s strategic enactment in pursuance of her shipping interests.
Prior to Decree 10 1987, the main laws affecting shipping were the Constitution which gave the Federal Government responsibility for all matters concerning overseas trade and shipping; the laws of the Federation 1958 which among others adopted the British Carriage of Good by Sea Act 1924; the Ports Acts 1958, the Shipping Navigation Act 1958. After independence the Marina Insurance Act 1961 and the Merchant Shipping Act 1962 were adopted from British laws, while the Ports Act 1958 and Merchant Shipping Act 1962 were amended. Other Acts that were enacted before Decree 10 of 1987 include the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act 1963. In the decade immediately after the Nigeria Civil War, maritime related legislation covered port operations, River Basin Development Authorities and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Decree of 1987. Other legislation before Decree 10 includes:
Carriage of Good by Sea Act 1958
Ports Act 1958
Shipping and Navigation Act 1958 (repealed by MSA 1962)
Ports Amendment Act 1961 (repealed by Decree No. 30 of 1971)
Admiralty Jurisdiction Act 1963
Oil in Navigable Waters Act 1968
Flags of Nigeria Ships Act 1968
Lagos Port Operations (Special Provisions) Act 1971
Merchant Shipping (Amendment) (No.2) Act 1978
Amendment No. 9 Act 1978
Pre-shipment Inspection of Imports Act 1978
Nigerian shipping industry relative to the major shipping nations is often referred to as being in its infant stage. There are two key Parastatals that exercise hegemony over the registration of vessels in Nigeria. These are: The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration of Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Over the years, these two authorities have undergone rigorous, meticulous, painstaking and thorough restricting by successive governments to augment their effectiveness. It expected that having commenced the registration of ships in the early sixties, reasonable growth is expected both in the administration and tonnage of Nigerian flagged vessels. Several factors contribute to the operation of an attractive registry including legislation, acceptability of flag by demand side of shipping, classification societies and P & Is, access to finance, low interest rate on ship finance, access to cargo, elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to providers of shipping services, sophisticated insurance liability regime, political stability and reasonable security.
The Nigerian shipping industry is currently faced with a plethora of problems, the root cause of which stems out of:
Usurpation of powers by maritime agencies.
Clash of authority between maritime regulatory agencies.
The unending struggle for supremacy by these bodies.
Lacunas in the laws relating to shipping matters.
Nepotism and Corruption and host of other encumbrances.
The Nigerian ship registry is poised or is in point of fact, undergoing a major reform as some of the critical success factors have been satisfied while a confrontational approach is being attempted at resolving the other encumbrances. Part of the legislation promulgated by the National Assembly demonstrates the understanding by Government that a firm legislative regime is the substructure on which a competitive ship registry is built.
In this treatise, I shall attempt a brief, succinct, detail, doctored appraisal of the laws setting up NIMASA and NIWA focusing on the registration and licensing of vessels operating in Nigerian Inland Waterways with an aim at establishing if any the existence of a clash of authority between the two bodies and a basis for this occurrence and also attempt at proffering ways by which the jurisdiction of both parastatals can be streamlined.
The development of a sea port in Nigeria commenced in the mid 19th- century in the era of explorers and traders. Although limited initially to opening up the Lagos Lagoon, it however resulted in the opening of ports at Apapa and Port Harcourt. This led eventually to the establishment of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) in the year 1954 to maintain the ports as well as load and discharge cargo. The NPA commenced operation on 1st of April 1992; it made remarkable progress and on the 15th of June, 1992, the Nigeria Port Plc was incorporated. However, in consideration of its full government ownership while recognizing its commercial status, the company in October 1996, reverted to its former name-Nigerian Ports Authority.
The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) today is a wholly Government owned organization under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transport with the responsibility of providing specific ports and harbor services for the country’s maritime industry.
The Statutory duties and major functions of the company of the company are:
Provision and operation of cargo handling and quays facilities.
Pilotage and towage services.
Supply of water and fuel to vessels at anchorage or mooring buoys.
Repairs and maintenance of vessels.
Dredging and contract dredging of waterways.
Navigational lighting of the ports.
Other ancillary services.
In pursuance of government’s efforts to ensure the efficiency of public enterprises, the operations of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) became fully commercialized in May, 1992.
Today, there are eight (8) major ports under the management of the Nigeria Ports Authority:
Apapa Port-Lagos, Lagos State Roro Port-Lagos, Lagos State
Tin Can Island Port-Lagos, Lagos State Container Terminal –Lagos, Lagos State
Port Harcourt Port-Port Harcourt, River State
Delta Ports- Warri, Delta State
Calabar Ports-Calabar, Cross River State
Federal Lighter Terminal, Onne, Delta.
Since 1st April, 1955 when it commenced operation, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has made remarkable progress and presently accounts for about 99.27 per cent by volume and 95 per cent by value of the total import and exports of the country.
Nigerian Ports Authority operates under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation with the responsibility of providing specific ports and habour services for the country’s maritime industry. Today Nigerian Ports Authority controls 8 major ports excluding oil terminals with a cargo handling capacity of 35 million tones per annum.
Consequently upon the vantage location of the country within the West and Central African sub-region, Nigeria offers transit shipment services to her West Coast neighbors and therefore serves as the gateway to her land-locked neighbors.

CLASH OF AUTHORITY BETWEEN NIMASA AND NIWA
On the 31st of July, 2001, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) published in the Daily Sun Newspaper a “Rejoinder” to the effect that there exist conflicts of authority between her the defunct National Maritime Authority which together with JOMALIC is today known as NIMASA.
The notice, which was published to all ship owners/operators within Nigerian Inland and Territorial Waters read thus:
“for the purpose of clarity the functional and statutory responsibility of National Inland Waterways Authority among others as provided under Section 9, (g), (h), (j), (k), (l) of Decree No. 13 of 1997 establishing the Authority is to exclusively approve, registered and control all jetties piers, crafts, barges, boats and ship operators, vessels including the registration and control of ALL VESSELS and other crafts outlined in the publication operating or plying INLAND WATERWAYS IN NIGERIA”.

WATERWAYS IN NIGERIA

The Authority, therefore, consider the notice as contained in the publication as an attempt by NMA to usurp the exclusive statutory powers/functions of the Authority relating to the registration of Vessels, Boats and Crafts plying the INLAND WATERWAYS OF THE DECLARED RIGHT OF WAYS OF THE NIGERIAN WATERWAYS.
By virtue of Decree No. 10 of 1987 establishing NMA under sections 4 and 5, which provides for the functions and special functions, none of the listed vessels, boats and crafts plying INLAND WATERWAYS OF NIGERIA is mentioned as part of their functions. The Authority therefore calls upon the general public especially the stakeholders in the maritime industry to ignore the notice calling for registration and physical inspection of craft, vessels, barges, piers, etc, plying inland waterways by the management of NMA, as such acclaimed powers are not within the specific jurisdiction and statutory responsibility of NMA in direct relationship with Declared Right of Way of the Declared Waterways”.
In addition, a memorandum from the Ministry of Transport, addressed to NIWA, was an attempt by the Ministry to resolve the conflict between the two bodies. The memorandum read thus:
We refer to the Streamlining Circular issued by this office on the 1st of April 2000 regarding the above captioned subject matter.
We note with regret that in spite of the said circular, conflicts still occur between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and National Maritime Authority (NMA) particularly in respect of the imposition and collection of Tariffs, especially as it relates to charges for Dredging, Shoreline Utilization and Land for Spoil Dump along the Right of Way of the declared Waterways, the Creeks and Lagoons.
This conflict has been relied upon by several Companies operating in the respected areas for not honouring the obligations to relevant Government Agencies and the consequence has been the potential loss to Government of billions of naira. Consequently, for the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, I hereby direct that charges for the following activities, that is:
(i).Dredging
(ii).Shoreline Utilization along Creeks and the Right of Way of declared Waterways; and;
(iii).Land for Spoil Dump along the Right of Way of the declared Waterways; shall only be levied and collected by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in accordance with the Tariff of the Authority and approved by this office on the 16th day of March, 1998.
(4).All Companies and persons involved in the activities listed above are hereby notified of this directive, which should be complied with accordingly and immediately. Consequently, all field officers of various Parastatals under the Ministry are hereby directed to refrain from imposing or collecting the charges specified above as same are to be collected only by NIWA in accordance with Section 13 of the National Inland Waterways Authority Decree of 1997.
(5).All Companies operating within the area are hereby advised to pay all outstanding charges imposed on them for the above named activities by NIWA not later than 30th March, 2003.
(6).The Federal Ministry of Transport shall not hesitate to apply the severest sanctions on non-compliance with this directive.
Thus far, it is explicit that there had been conflict between the two agencies. And having examined the statutory provisions establishing them, the following findings are very helpful for the purpose of clarity and direction.
In the first instance, Section 9, (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), and (l) of Decree No. 13 of 1997 states the functional and statutory responsibility thus:
(g).issuing and control licensing for inland navigation, piers, jetties, dockyards;
(h).examining and surveying inland water crafts and shipyard operations;
(i).granting of slots and crossing of waterways by utility lines, waters intake, rock blasting and removal;
(j).granting licenses to private inland waterway operators;
(k).approving designs and construction of inland river crafts;
(l).approving and controlling all-
(i).jetties, dockyards, piers within the inland waterways;
(ii).advertising within the right-of-way of the waterways.
While Section 22 of the NIMASA Act 2007, states the function of NIMASA thus:
(i) The functions and duties of the Agency shall- be to :
(a).pursue the development of shipping and regulate matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers ;
( b). administering the registration and licensing of ships ; .
(c). regulate and administer the certification of seafarers;
(d). established maritime training and safety standards;
(e). regulate the safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation;
(f). provide search and rescue service;
(g). provide directions and ensure compliance with vessel security measures;
(h). carry out air and coastal surveillance;
(i). control and prevent marine pollution;
(j). provide direction on qualification, certification, employment and welfare of maritime labour;
(k). develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate
the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure;
(I). enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003;
(m). perform port and flag state duties;
(n). receive and remove wrecks;
(o). provide National Maritime Search and Rescue Service;
(p). provide Maritime Security; and
(q). establish the procedure for the implementation of conventions of the

22.- (2).Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Agency shall :
(a). inspect ships for the purposes of maritime safety, maritime security,
maritime labour and prevention of maritime pollution;
(b). make enquiries as to shipwrecks or other casualties affecting ships, or as to
charges of incompetence or misconduct on the part of seafarers in relation to such casualties;
(c). administer policy for the development of shipping in general;
(d). provide on request services to the maritime industry on a commercial
basis;
(e). establish and manage maritime institutions for the training of officers of the Agency;
(f). generally to perform any other duty for ensuring maritime safety and
security or do all matters incidental thereto;
(g). provide consultancy and management services relating to any of the
matters referred to in this subsection; and
(h). perform any other prescribed functions relating to or incidental to any of
the matters referred to in this subsection.

ROUNDTABLE ON THE STRENGTHENING NIGERIA’S MARITIME RIGHTS: IMPERATIVES FOR ACHIEVING GLOBAL STANDARDS

Nigeria as a nation is endowed with a vast coastline as well as navigable inland waterways and is strategically placed on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. For it to reap a bountiful reward from its maritime industry in promoting interregional and international trade, its maritime resources have to be properly harnessed. Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the world and also has some world’s most prolific gas reserves which have only been recently exploited. The country is also rich in natural resources and agricultural produce. Most of these products are exported to international markets by sea where they are sold and foreign currency earned to ensure the country’s developmental objectives. A virile and well organized maritime industry is therefore very important to facilitate Nigeria’s international trade.
In view of the foregoing the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, under the auspices of its Olisa Agbakoba Centre for Maritime Law, organized a Roundtable on the Strengthening Nigeria’s Maritime Rights: Imperatives for Achieving Global Standards. Participants and discussants at the roundtable were from the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Customs, the shipping companies, the academia, the Maritime Arbitration Association, lawyers and members of the public. Perspectives for the Roundtable include: Overview of the legal and Institutional Framework of the Nigerian Maritime Industry, the Maritime Industry in Nigeria as a Tool for Economic Development, the Role of the Nigerian Maritime Industry in promoting International Trade, Promoting Domestic and international Arbitration in the Maritime Industry, New and Emerging Developments in International Maritime Regulation and Issues and Current Trends in the Global Shipping Market.
Observations:
The Roundtable made the following observations:
1. At the international level, the regulation of shipping is done through the International Maritime Organization, (IMO), which Nigeria became a member in 1962. In order to achieve its objectives, the IMO has promoted and adopted about 54 Conventions and Protocols, which every ratifying State is obliged to put into effect by making its requirements part of its national law and also put in place proper legislative and administrative machineries to ensure its enforcement.
2. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) , formerly known as the National Maritime Authority (NMA) is the agency of the Federal Government established for the regulation of maritime activities and the implementation of both the international conventions relating to the maritime industry which Nigeria has adopted and the local laws and regulations on maritime activities.
3. With the passage of the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007 (MSA), which repealed and replaced the former Merchant Shipping Act of 1962, most of the International Conventions and Treaties on shipping which have been passed by the IMO and acceded to by Nigeria were incorporated in the new law, thereby making Nigeria’s maritime laws at par with what obtains internationally.
4. The role of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as the administrator of all the ports in Nigeria is critical to the efficient operation of Nigeria’s maritime industry and the promotion of international trade.
5. Over the years, decay in port infrastructure lack of regular dredging of channels and berths, and poor cargo handling facilities have meant Nigerian ports have become uncompetitive internationally and hampers international trade.
6. The recent privatization and concessioning of some of our ports by the government have brought notable reforms such as economic growth, encouragement of foreign direct investment, bountiful financial returns to the Federal Government, better efficiency in Apapa Port cargo handling, etc,. However, several Nigerian ports are still underutilized such as Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt, while the ports in Lagos are over utilized and frequently witness ports congestions.
7. The issue of safety and security of vessel on our territorial waters and ports deserves to be addressed. Nigeria has the second highest record of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the world coming only behind Somalia. This has resulted in increased freight and insurance charges. The problem of kidnapping in Nigeria also negatively affects foreign investment in the country.
8. The proper functioning of the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) depends crucially on a well developed multimodal transport system combining the various modes of transportation of sea, land and rail. The overdependence on road haulage of containers as a result of the collapse of our rail system and the impenetrable inland waterways are undesirable.
9. There are too many bottlenecks characterizing the clearance of goods which can be discouraging to importers and foreign investors.
10. Part of the activities of the Navy is the enforcement of international instruments like the law of the sea, maintaining standards of shipping and navigation in the Nigerian waters, provision of hydrographic maps and constant patrol of the maritime environment. The Navy personnel provide security at the shipping environment, especially because of the problem of kidnapping in the Niger Delta, which has caused most of the industries in the area to relocate.
11.The ports are the gateway for inward and outward movement of goods. The Customs service has a lot to do regarding what happens in the maritime industry. Customs has a role as collector of revenue and also functions in terms of security. The Eastern and Western Marine Unit of the Navy, have the functions of preventing smuggling through the waterways and examining cargo brought in. They have also contributed in the economy by preventing dumping of goods.
12.Nigeria is no longer a ship owning Nation. The Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) has gone into liquidation, and presently, all the vessels that ply our waters, are all foreign vessels. A ship owner or merchant in one country wants to be sure that the same set of laws, rules and regulations which regulate his operations in his country which he is familiar with will equally apply when he sails his ship to another port.
13.The acute dearth of vessels owned, built, and managed by Nigerians has made the implementation of some of the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003, especially on waiver and license, impossible and also resulting in neglect in development of manpower capacity.
14. Maritime arbitration offers the option of privately resolving international maritime disputes outside the national court system. Its advantages include: attraction of foreign direct investment, sustenance of high level of local direct investment, cost effectiveness, timeliness, privacy, confidentiality, etc.

Recommendations:
At the end of the Roundtable, the following recommendations were made:
1. The Federal Government through the appropriate agencies should look into the causes of bottlenecks that characterize clearance of goods inour ports which can be quite discouraging.
2. It is important that security in the maritime environment is given serious attention in order to bring to an end the bad image the country has acquired in the international forum. In addition an immediate solution should be found to abate the incessant kidnappings going on in the country.
3. The problem of incessant congestion of the Lagos Apapa Port, while other ports like Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt remain underutilized requires urgent attention.
4. Conditions for grant of waiver and licence should be made more stringent to discourage the easy grant of same to, at least wholly owned and crewed foreign vessels. There is no need to require Nigerian owned vessels to pay any fees for waivers in respect of manner and place of building.
5. While controversy is raging on the Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) 2009 Bill, the National Assembly should take a quick decision on whether or not to pass the Bill bearing in mind that it is not the name or designation of the agency charged with the responsibility for improving the security of our territorial waters that matters. What matters is how well the body is equipped and empowered to carry out its functions effectively.
6. There is need for a review of the Cabotage Act, 2003 in order to make it practicable. In addition, all the laws affecting maritime in Nigeria should be interfaced and harmonized so as to appropriately complement each other.
7. The National Inland Waterways Authority should be more alive to its statutory duties, and dredge our waterways to allow for large ships to ply them.
8. Government should revamp the entire rail system in Nigeria, so that rail transportation will take its place as the preferred means of transporting bulk cargo to and from the Inland Container Depots (ICDs).
9. To improve on maritime arbitration, the following were recommended:
a. States should repeal the old arbitration laws and enact new laws as was done by Lagos State, which enacted the Lagos State Arbitration Law, 2007 to meet up with international standards.
b. Our courts need to apply the provisions of the New York Convention and also appreciate that time is of essence in arbitration matters.
c. There is need to improve on the perception of corruption in our system which undermines the appointment of Nigerian arbitrators in cases involving foreigners.
d. Our infrastructures like airport facilities, environment, roads, electricity, etc. need to be given appropriate face-lift.

References;
http://www.niwa.gov.ng,
http://www.nimasa.gov.ng, http://www.newswatchngr.com,
National Inland Waterways Act 1997,
Nimasa Act 2007,
Coastal and Inland Shipping(cabotage) Act 2003,
Merchant Shipping Act 2007,
The Nigerian Tribune (Friday May 10, 2013 publication),
Daily Sun, Monday, July 31, 2000,
Thisday Newspaper,
Vanguard Newspaper,
Weircentreforafrica.wordpress.com,
Communique on Roundtable on The Strengthening Nigeria’s Maritime Rights: Imperatives for Achieving Global Standards; By Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos, Nigeria, 13th July, 2010,

Voyage: A Journal of National Maritime Authority, Vol. 3, No. 1 October- December, 2002,
Voyage: In-House Journal of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA), July- September, 2007.

The Nigerian Maritime Law (2)

In the same vein, as indeed is the case with other progressive Registries formerly under British dominion, the South African Ship Registration 1998, also admits as registrable South African-owned ship which “is owned by three or more persons as joint owners of the ship, where the majority of those persons are South African nationals; or is owned by two or more persons as owners in common, where the majority of the shares in the ship are owned by South African nationals”.
NIMASA Act 2007 clearly follows these international standards which every-thing being equal will definitely encourage and attracts more tonnage.

REGISTERS MAINTAINED BY NIGERIAN SHIPPING REGISTRY
Register for Merchant Ships
Register for Ships on Bareboat Charters
Register for Ships under Construction
Register for Fishing Vessels
Register for FPSO and FSO
Register for Licensed Ships below 15 gronn tons
Vessels registered in any the Registers listed above will be entitled to fly the Nigerian flag as Nigerian vessels in the manner specified in the MSA. In some Administrations, the Register for Merchant Ships is further divided into three Registers viz, Register for Ships owned by citizens of the flag country and Register for Vessels jointly owned by flag citizens and foreigners. That system is very good for ease and accurate statistic. Vessels registered under Register for Bareboat Charters would normally have official numbers distinct from official numbers for regular registration.

REGISTRATION OF CABOTAGE VESSELS
Quite apart from the central ship registry which grants flag status to a ship, NIMASA Act and the MSA recognize and require compliance with Cabotage Act and its Registrations. Section 17(3) of MSA and Section 34(4) of the NIMASA Act both expressly acknowledge that vessels registered under the Nigerian flag and intending to operate within the coastal and inland waters of Nigeria must comply with the Cabotage Act and its regulations. Cabotage Act requires mandatory registration of cabotage vessels and the owning companies with NIMASA.
NIMASA Act under S. 34(4) has finally put paid to the debate whether a Nigerian flagged vessel is subject to the Cabotage Act. Put differently, whether a vessel having been registered in the Nigerian Ship Registration Office does have a license to trade both in international waters and Nigerian coastal without complying with requirements of the Cabotage Act. Section 34(4) reproduced hereunder is very clear and requires no elaboration “A ship registered under this section shall comply with the requirements of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 if such ship is to operate in Nigerian coastal and inland waterways”. Similarly, the MSA under S.17(3) states that:
“Notwithstanding the provision of this Act relating to registration and licensing of ships, any vessel intending to operate within the coastal and inland waters of Nigeria shall obtain operational permits from the relevant agencies of Government”.
The Coastal and Inland (Cabotage) Shipping Act 2003 which is the specific legislation on coastal and inland trade requires that “permit” to be in the form of a registration certificate in the Special Register for Cabotage Vessels.
Numerous provisions under the Cabotage Act particularly sections 22 and 29 requires the Registrar of Ships to maintain a Special Register for Cabotage Vessels and Ship owning Companies. The Revised Guidelines on Implementation of Cabotage Act issued in April 2008 emphasis further those vessels whether or not registered under the Nigerian flag the Special Register for Cabotage. The Guidelines further states that the following Cabotage Registers are maintained in the Nigerian Ship Registration Office:
Special Register for Cabotage (Nigerian Wholly Owned Vessel)
Special Register for Cabotage (Bare-boat Chartered Vessel)
Special Register for Cabotage (Joint Venture Owned Vessel)
Special Register for Cabotage (Fully Foreign Owned Vessel) and
Special Register for Cabotage (Exempted Vessels)
The import of this is that the Nigerian Ship Registration Office quite apart of the central register discussed in the preceding paragraphs should have another set of register for cabotage vessels for the relevant category. The categories of Cabotage Registers specified in the Cabotage Guidelines covers the whole spectrum of ownership structure of vessels currently engaged in coastal trading.

CABOTAGE REGISTRATION AND WAIVER APPROVALS
It is pertinent to mention that what makes a vessel or company eligible to carry on cabotage shipping in Nigeria is the Cabotage Registration Certificate and not the Waiver required to be granted by the Minister where necessary. Obtaining a waiver if need be is simply a step towards eligibility for registration of vessels and participation in coastal shipping. The operative language in the Waiver provisions of the Cabotage Act (see sections 9-11) are “duly registered”, a qualification the Senate in their wisdom inserted during consideration of the Cabotage Bill at the Senate marine technical committee stage. The Cabotage Guidelines under the relevant sections on procedure for registration makes this point but for ease of enforcement, all waiver applications must be accompanying documents to the main application for registration of vessels in the Special Cabotage Register. That way a copy would be submitted to the Registrar of Ships who, upon indication from the Cabotage Unit that all eligibility criteria have been satisfied would simply enter the name of the Vessel and its owner into the submit a separate application for registration after obtaining waiver. Waiver approvals should therefore not be submitted to applicants directly but forwarded to the Ship Registration Office for registration of the vessel in the appropriate Cabotage Register. This procedure which was introduced sometimes this year to the Cabotage Unit if instituted will cure the erroneous belief that Waiver by itself without more entities a vessel to trade in the cabotage trade area and the Special Cabotage Register will at the same time have lots of entries.

REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
Applications for the Registration of Nigerian Ships are made to the Registrar of Shipping in Lagos. Nigeria does not operate an open registry and therefore a Nigerian Consul is not permitted to accept registration documents and cannot issue certificates. However, the Registry may temporarily accept facsimile copies of documents supporting an application for registration but it is assumed that the originals will follow shortly thereafter in order for the vessel to be registered.
The Nigerian Registry of Ships makes a distinction between provisional and permanent registration. Provision Registration may be granted to a ship to enable it to sail and operate within territorial waters, pending the issuance of a permanent certificate of registration.

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED TO SUPPORT APPLICATION FOR SHIP REGISTRATION
The under listed documents are required by the Registrar of ships to support an application for Registration.
If it is a corporate applicant:
Its letter of application on its company letter headed paper;
Completed Ministry of Transport Registry Forms;
Certificate of Incorporation;
Memorandum and Article of Association;
Current list of Directors of the Company (Form C07);
Current Tax Certificate of the Company and its directors respectively;
Deletion Certificate from last registry (that is if the ship was previously registered in another country);
Tonnage Measurement Certificate issued by a Nigerian registered surveyor;
Builder’s Certificate if it is a new ship;
Bill of Sale if the ship is purchased second hand;
Application for the allotment of International Code signal in Form Registry 19;
Declaration of the Ship’s name;
Payment of Registration fees (Depending on size of the ship);
Present location of ship and its employment;
Copy of last Radius Safety Certificate, Load Line Certificate and Safety Construction Certificate;
If the application is made by an individual owner he will be required to submit the following documents in addition:
Declaration of an individual owner or transferee;
Particulars of citizenship;
Personal Income Tax Clearance Certificate;
Some maritime practitioners opine that before a ship can be registered in Nigeria it must be classified as a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. Experience suggests that although this can be an advantage, it is certainly not a mandatory requirement.
SHIP REGISTRATION FEES
The fees provided under the MSA are obsolete and therefore are revised from time to time by way of circulars, to reflect current economic indices. The current fees are those recommended by the ministry of Transport in 1995 even though it is projected that a new schedule of fees will come into force before the end of May 2000. Nevertheless the existing fees of 1995 remain effective until further notice. All fees are payable to the Registry and quoted in Nigerian currency.
Existing Fees in Respect of Ship Registry:
Part IX
Fees for Change of Name of a ShipN500.00
For a ship under 600 tonnesN500.00
For a ship 600 tonnes but under 1,600N500.00

For a ship 1,600 tonnes but under 3,000N500.00
For a ship 3,000 tonnes but under 5,000N500.00
For a ship 5,000 tonnes but under 6,000N500.00
For a ship 6,000 but under 10,000N500.00
For a ship 10,000 tonnes but under 20,000N500.00

Nigerian Licensed Fees
For issue of Original LicenceN500.00
For under 50 tonnesN500.00
For a ship 50 tonnes but under 100 tonnesN500.00
For a ship 100 tonnes but up to 200 tonnesN500.00
For every 100 tonnes or a part of 200 tonnesN500.00
For each endorsement on a licenceN500.00

Part X
On the Initial Registry and Transfer of Registry
Ship of 500 GMT and underN1000.00
500 GRT but under 700 GRTN2500.00
700 GRT but under 1,000 GRTN3500.00
1,000 GRT but under 2,000 GRTN5000.00
For every 500 tonnes or part of 500
tonnes in excess of 2,000 tonnesN200.00

BAREBOAT CHARTER REGISTRATION
The Nigerian Registry of Ships grants recognition to Bareboat Charters however before such ships can be registered, a notarized Power of Attorney must be tendered to the Registrar of Ships authenticating the arrangement. In addition the Registrar must be given full proof that during the period of the Charter, the first registration has been suspended as Nigerian law does not patently recognize dual registration. A deletion certificate from the last registry of entry will suffice as evidence of suspension.
However, the Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS) is known to give approval to Chartered-in foreign ships to operate within Nigerian territorial waters and this is renewable yearly. These ships may during the period of their licence, continue to fly the flag of their home registries. It has also been recommended that Nigeria adopt the system known as “PARDON” which was adopted in Mexico; whereby Bareboat chartered vessels may be registered in the Nigerian Register and allowed to enjoy all the privileges of Nigerian Registration i.e. Cargo Reservation, Low Cost Bunker, which all privileges would be lost and the difference in the cost of the Bunker shall be reimbursed. This system would definitely increase Nigeria’s Maritime tonnage without the necessity of going through the initial capital outlay of outright purchases.
The following documentation is required in support of the application:
Vessel Age;
Current Tax Clearance Certificate of the Company and its Directors
Survey Report indicating Condition of Ship
Copies of all Statutory Certificates
Charter Party
Provisional Registration Certification
Certificate of Build for newly Built Ships
Corporate Applicant must submit Memorandum and Articles of Association.
Names and address of the Charterer’s shareholders.

EFFECT OF REGISTRATION ON MARITIME MORTGAGES IN NIGERIA
Maritime mortgages are created in Nigeria by submission of the Mortgage agreement, and letter of consent to Ship registry. Subsequent mortgages can also be created on the same vessel and they must also be registered. Registration of mortgages and liens is paramount because priority is determined by the date of registration, as opposed to the date of creation of the mortgage.
A registered mortgagee of a ship dispose of the ship in respect of which is registered once his power of sale becomes exercisable provided he is first in turn. If there is a prior registered lien or mortgage he can only exercise his power of sale through an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction. In Nigeria, the appropriate Court of jurisdiction vested with maritime and an admiralty matter is the Federal High Court.

LEGAL REGULATORY FRAMEWORK OF NIMASA
Shipping is governed by international rules and regulations that are incorporated ino national laws for such conventions to be enforceable. The present management has recognized the poor status of domestication of IMO conventions by Nigeria and resolved to correct this anomaly from the onset. A legislative advocacy team was set up in the agency to coordinate and ensure that all steps are taken within and outside the agency and the National Assembly to facilitate the enactment of bill establishing the agency and comply with all relevant IMO and other international conventions. The agency has attained the unprecedented record of legislative success since its existence thus: The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Bill have been passed into law by both houses of the National Assembly. International conventions on the Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1999 is now an Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; International conventions on the establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution Damage (IOPC) ’92 is now an Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and International convention for the prevention of pollution from ships as modified by the protocol of 1976 (MARPOL 73/78) has been passed by the National Assembly and are awaiting presidential assent.

NIWA:
NIWA was formerly the Inland Waterways Department (IWD), which was the oldest Operational Department in the Ministry of Transport from 1956 up to late 1997. It is a statutory body and is 100% owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Transport. NIWA was established through Decree No. 13 of 1997 and operations commenced fully in 1998 under the supervision of a Managing Director and four (4) General Mangers. The head office is located at Adankolo New Layout, Lokoja, Kogi State. The Authority is responsible for approximately 3, 000 kilometers of navigable water course in its natural form. With this length, Nigerian inland waterways are considered to be some of the longest in the world, and include the River Niger, the third longest river in Africa, which is about 1,271.3km in length.

The Decree establishing NIWA clearly spells out the objectives, powers, functions and management structure of NIWA. It also has ten (10) Area Offices and a liaison office at Maritime House, Abuja. The Area Offices are: –
• Lokoja Area Office;
• Lagos Area Office;
• Calabar Area Office
• Port-Harcourt Area Office;
• Makurdi Area Office;
• Onitsha Area Office;
• Warri Area Office;
• Yelwa/Yauri Area Office;
• Igbokoda Area Office; and
• Baga Area Office.

The Decree spells out the major business activities of NIWA is to: –
– Improve & develop Inland Waterways for Navigation.
– Provide an alternative mode of transportation for evacuation of economic goods & persons.
– Execute the objectives of the National Transport Policy as they concern NIWA.
– Issue and control licenses for inland navigation, piers, jetties, dockyards etc.
– Operate ferry services within the inland waterways system.
– Finance capital and maintenance dredging.
– Undertake hydrological and hydrographical survey.
– Approve and control all jetties and dockyards.
– Undertake acquisition, leasing and hiring of properties etc.
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was established by Decree No. 13 of 1997 with a clear mandate to manage Nigeria’s vast inland waterway resources. The Decree vests in NIWA the power of exclusive management, direction and control on the Nigerian inland waterways. This power is exercised on Nigeria’s 3000km navigable waterways from the Nigeria/Niger and Nigeria/Cameroon borders to the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is blessed with a river configuration very suitable for North-South movement of people and goods. Toward the development of the Nigerian inland waterways, NIWA encourages private investments on the inland waterways in pursuit of government’s policy of Public Private Programme (PPP).
According to the section 2 of the National Inland Waterways Decree, the objectives of the Authority shall be to; (a)improve and develop inland waterways for navigation, (b)provide an alternative mode of transportation for the evacuation of economic goods and persons, and (c)execute the objectives of the national transport policy as they concern inland waterways. Meanwhile, among the functions of the Authority as enacted in Part II, sections 8 & 9 of the same Decree;
(a)        provide regulations for inland navigation;
(b)        ensure the development of infrastructural facilities for a national inland water
ways network connecting the creeks and the rivers with the economic centres using the river-ports as nodal points for intermodel exchange; and
(c)        ensure the development of indigenous technical and managerial skill to meet the challenges of modern inland waterways transportation.

Other functions and powers of the Authority shall be to:
 
(a)        undertake capital and maintenance dredging;
(b)        undertake hydrological and hydrographic surveys;
(c)        design ferry routes;
(d)        survey, remove, and receive derelicts, wrecks and other obstructions from in land waterways;
(e)        operate ferry services within the inland waterways system;
(f)        undertake installation and maintenance of lights, buoys and all navigational aids along water channels and banks;
(g)        issue and control licences for inland navigation, piers, jellies, dockyards;
(h)        examine and survey inland water crafts and shipyard operators;
(i)         grant permit and licences for sand dredging, pipeline construction, dredging of slots and crossing of waterways by utility lines, water intake, rock blasting and removal;
(j)         grant licences to private inland waterway operators;
(k)        approve designs and construction of inland river crafts;
(l)         approve and control all-
(i)   jetties, dockyards, piers within the inland waterways;
(ii)  advertising within the right-of-way of the waterways:
(m)      reclaim land within the right-of-way;
(n)        undertake the construction, administration and maintenance of inland river-ports and jetties;
(o)        provide hydraulic structures for river and dams, bed and bank stabilisation, barrages, groynes;
(p)        collect river lolls;
(q)        undertake the production, publication and broadcasting of navigational publi
cations, bulletins and notices, hydrological year hooks, river charts and river maps;
(r)         carry out consultancy and contractual services;
(s)        represent the Government of Nigeria at national and international commissions that deal with navigation and inland water transportation;
(t)         subject to the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, carry out environmental impact assessment of navigation and other dredging activi
ties within the inland water and its right-of-ways;
(u)        undertake erection and maintenance of gauges, kilometre boards, horizontal and vertical control marks;
(v)        advise government on all border mailers that relate to the inland waters;
(w)       undertake acquisition, leasing and hiring of properties;
(x)        run cruise boats;
(y)        carry out boat repairs, boat construction and dockyard services; and
(z)        clear water hyacinth and other aquatic weeds.

The Nigerian Maritime Law (1)

Introduction
Maritime Law is the genre of law relating to navigation and commerce on the high seas and on other navigable waters. Ideally, the term refers to the body of customs, legislation, international treaties, and court decisions pertaining to ownership and operation of vessels, transportation of passengers and cargo on them, and rights and obligations of their crews while in transit.
The origins of maritime law go back to antiquity. Because no country has jurisdiction over the high seas, it has been necessary for nations to reach agreements regarding ways of dealing with ships, crews, and cargoes when disputes arise. The earliest agreements were probably based on a study of ancient customs that had developed as practical solutions to common problems. Numerous of these customs became part of Roman civil law. After the fall of the Roman Empire, maritime commerce was disrupted for about 500 years. Thereafter maritime activity resumed in the Middle Ages, various disputes arose and laws were formulated to deal with them. Gradually the laws of the sea were complied; among the best-known collections of early maritime law are the Laws of Oleron and the Black Book of the Admiralty, an English compilation of prepared during 14th and 15th centuries. Special courts to administer sea laws were set up in some countries. In Great Britain, maritime law is administered by courts of the admiralty. The overall impact of maritime law cut across all boarders. Remarkable turnaround was experienced in the area of propagation and eventual abolition of slavery in America.
To start with, maritime law is essentially though not exclusively about shipping and correlated activities. Shipping today remains the highly competitive and thus constantly challenging industry. Innovations in modern shipping practice; it also challenged the law to response to things changing circumstances. It is also important to bear in mind that ships are potentially (Super-Lethal Weapons) in the hands of their owners. They are of vast size and weight as well as of ever increasing sophistication through them sometimes unthinkable damage has been done to the seas, persons and or property. Thus, placing responsibility for making the laws or damage on the owners. It is not surprising therefore that a great part of the shipping law of any maritime nations have enacted as a resulting of the collective signing of some International Conventions aimed at addressing the problems arising from shipping operations.
Maritime laws are laws applied to maritime cases and matters. It is a fact that all fields of human endeavors, laws are necessary to provide them with sanctions, guidance and a framework for the resolution of dispute. We recognize that majority of the Planet Earth is covered with seas and occurs. To get from one part of it to another it has since time immemorial necessary to transverse large bodies of waters.
Through the ages, humans have been compelled to transverse the oceans in vessel of increasing sophistication in pursuit of trade and commerce, acquisition of new territories, exchange of ideas, diplomatic relations sporting relations e.t.c. It is only natural that myriad of problems requiring detail regulation will arise from the seemingly simple interaction of human beings with the waters that covers the Earth. As ships transverse from one country to another they have to ensure that they comply with two set of laws namely: – 1. Those applicable in their State of origin and 2. Those applicable in their State of destination.
Similarly, machinery must exist to facilitate the solution of problems arising between the owners of ships and owners of cargos or between ship of two vessels which collide or indeed between ship owners and those who render assistance to them in times of trouble or difficulty. Marine lives as well as the environment have to be protected from pollution of hazardous or natural substances carried in ship and likely to be discharged into the sea in times of emergency or even deliberately. Hence, the simple process of ships traversing the oceans from one country to another or more often to a succession of country is forthwith potential conflicts and problems especially legal problem. That is what maritime law is all about. We can see from the foregoing that there are two different aspects of maritime law: – The Internal Regulation of each particular State and – Regulation governing the relationship authority of the State and other States.

NIMASA:

The Emergence/Establishment of NIMASA: Matrimony between NMA, JOMALIC
Prior to the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA) through the Act the National Assembly, the two existing maritime regulatory bodies were National Maritime Authority (NMA) and the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC).
While JOMALIC was responsible for the regulation of maritime labour activities, the NMA was in charge of other regulations, including safety and pollution. The country recorded tremendous success in maritime labour regulations because of the caliber of management staff headed by Alhaji Tijani Ramalam, who enjoyed a lot of stability as he remained the agencies only chief execute before it became defunct. The “strange” peace pervaded the maritime labour sector unprecedented throughout Ramalan’s tenure that government because unwilling to change a winning team.
In a bid for the country to realize part of her shipping policy objectives, which is to strengthen the regulatory environment, the National Maritime Authority (NMA) was established by Decree 10 of 1987. This body was later merged with the Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS) and Maritime Inspectorate Division (MID) as a conscious policy strategy with the aim of evolving a strong regulatory framework for the Maritime sector in Nigeria, the body was further merged with the former Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC). Then it became National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the 1st August, 2006.
It was first established administratively and it remained like that until May 2007 before it was legally established to combine the functions of two merged organizations.
The Act spelt out the qualification of anyone that can be appointed as the Director General when it said:
“The President on the recommendation of Minister shall appoint a Director General for the Agency in accordance with the provision of Sections 6 and 7 of this Act, which says: “The President on recommendation of the Minister, shall appoint to the board only persons with relevant experience and capacity applicable to maritime administration, recognized expert knowledge, qualification and security, maritime pollution, nautical sciences and hydrograph, maritime engineering, finance, maritime laws, transport logistics, administration and maritime labour”.
The government has hitherto acted in consonance with the provisions of the Act. The first Director General of the Agency, Mrs. Mfon Usoro, a maritime lawyer, who worked relentlessly to ensure a new beginning and a new foundation for the sector.
She was however removed in the year 2007 to usher in Dr. Shamsudeen Dosunmu, a seasoned administrator and a more humble and amiable gentleman. His appointment also conformed to the provisions of NIMASA Act contrary to speculations from some elements widely considered as mischief-makers. Aftermath was the appointment of Temisan Omatseye as the new Director-General of the body (NIMASA) who assumed office on the 10th July, 2009.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, is committed to the enthronement of global best practices in the provision of maritime services in Nigeria. Their areas of focus include effective Maritime Safety Administration, Maritime Labour Regulation, Marine Pollution Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue, Cabotage enforcement, Shipping Development and Ship Registration, Training and Certification of Seafarers, and Maritime Capacity Development. Using modern tools that guarantee efficiency and effectiveness, NIMASA are determined to develop indigenous capacity and eliminate all hindrance.
The Nigerian Ship Registration Office was established by S. 28 (2) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety agency Act 2007. The office is mandated to enter ships into the Central Ship Registry created by S. 16 (1) of the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and the Special Register for Vessels and Ship-owning Companies engaged in Cabotage established by S. 22 of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003. The office was initially under the office of the Government Inspector of Shipping, a ministerial department under the Nigerian Ministry of Transport until 2002 when the office of the Government Inspector of Shipping was subsumed under the then National Maritime Authority (now the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency).

The Ship Registry registers all types of vessels including fixed/mobile platforms and oil rigs, provided they are owned by persons who are by the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act (See sections 18 and 19) and the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 eligible to own Nigerian vessels. According to S. 18(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act;
Subject to the provisions of subsection (2) of this section and of any rules made or deemed to have been made here-under, a ship shall not be registered in Nigeria under this Act unless the ship is owned wholly by persons of the following descriptions (in this Act referred to as “persons qualified to own a registered Nigerian ship”)
(a) Nigerian citizens; (b) Bodies corporate and partnerships established under and subject to Nigerian laws, having their principal place of business in Nigeria; (c) Such other persons as the Minister may, by regulations prescribed.

The Nigerian certificate of registry has a 5 year validity period. Upon the expiration of this initial period, every ship-owner is required to apply for the renewal of the vessel’s registration. The application is to be supported by the following documents:
Formal letter of application by the registered or authorized representative
Copy Of Certificate of Incorporation
CTC of Memo and Articles of Association
CTC of Form CAC7 (Particulars of Directors)
CTC of Form CAC2 (Allotment of Shares)
Current Tax Clearance Certificate
Completed Declaration of Ownership Form with Passport photograph attached
Return of expired certificate of Registry
Bank statement/reference
Completed application for registration of Form
Condition Survey Report
NIMASA official receipt of payment of registration
Annual Survey report of the preceding 3 years
Meanwhile, under the Merchant Shipping Act 2007, the Registrar may cancel the registration of a ship registered in Nigeria at any time the ship: •    Appears to be registered also in a foreign country
•    Ceases to comply with the requirements for qualification to own Nigerian ships under Merchant Shipping Act 2007
•    Appears to be lost, abandoned or broken up
The owner may also apply for the cancellation of registry of the ship supported with the following documents:   •  Board Resolution authorizing the cancellation
  •  Return of certificate of registry
  •  Evidence of payment of official fees for issuance of certificate of cancellation
It must be further noted that aside all the above specific powers, functions and institutional framework of NIMASA, the Agency still performs some special oversight functions such as their contribution to the education sector, battle against corruption within the Maritime sector, Community and humanitarian services, tourism and the representation of Nigeria’s interest at the International level. In November 7, 2012, it was reported that NIMASA donated cash and relief materials worth 21 million naira to some affected communities in Anambra state. NIMASA is also credited for the Maritime Institute at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Around September last year, some top officials on the management board of the Integrated Oil & Gas Limited were also arrested by the Agency for malpractices. The Agency also, recently in June, formalized an age-long agreement with the International Labour Organization (ILO), further strengthening Nigeria’s relationship with the international community especially in the field of maritime.
Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has concluded plans to commence yearly inspection of port facilities in order to ensure effective implementation of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code. Director-General of the agency, Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi, made this disclosure at a World Press Conference on the progress made so far with the new Designated Authority (DA) for ISPS Code implementation. He said NIMASA immediately set out to institute a fresh implementation programme as soon as it received the DA mandate formally with an official letter issued by the Ministry of Transport on May 21, 2013 adding that the supposed 90-day ultimatum issued by the US government to Nigeria requiring compliance with the ISPS Code was actually issued in April and was prior to NIMASA being appointed the DA.
He informed that the implementation was not being fast tracked for the deadline, but has always been an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirement which NIMASA has been working towards, but coincidentally falls within the window period issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). He further stressed that NIMASA has organized a general stakeholders’ conference to announce the new arrangement and get feelings of the public on the imminent activities and programmes to accompany the new ISPS implementation. He revealed that an action plan has been developed and activated to close reported gaps. These, he said, include dispatching competent Recognised Security Organisations (RSOs) to conduct security surveys and assessments aimed at identifying and correcting deficiencies and other observed vulnerabilities.
‘‘NIMASA has focused not only on Port Facilities (PFs) listed in the United States Coast Guard report, but on the generality of PFs in the nation’s maritime domain. This action plan has been given a nod by the USCG and it has pledged to support the efforts of the DA in ensuring the issues raised are remedied,’’ he said adding that the DA has outlined its implementation framework in the form of a handbook to enable the public understand its agenda with respect to this new implementation regime. The Agency has also inaugurated a committee to help oversee the mandate. The committee members include staff of NIMASA, the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Police, State Security Service (SSS), Customs and Immigrations among others. The committee is also taking a stock of all the nation’s coastal maritime assets in order to establish the number, location and nature of operations of all PFs and jetties in the country. The audit will help the DA capture and catalogue all port/berthing facilities, as well as verifying their ISPS Code compliance status.
NIMASA recently concluded Verification Inspection Exercises (VIE) on all shore-based PFs in the country. The report of the VIE will form the basis for re-certification of the PFs in line with ISPS Code requirements. PFs deemed non-compliant will not be recertified and in extreme cases, attract added punitive action. The DG said talks were at an advanced stage with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the strict monitoring of entry and exit into Nigeria’s port facilities with the aid of Electronic Access Systems (EAS). The Agency said one of its observations after taking over as the DA was lack of understanding of the ISPS Code, its relevance and application by various stakeholders. This was also captured in the US diplomatic note as security personnel were found to be ignorant of the code. To address this, policies and measures are being put in place to ensure that more training and capacity building the security personnel in the maritime sector.
According to the NIMASA Act of 2007, s.22(c), the powers and functions of the agency includes administering the registration and licensing of ships and to regulate and administer the certification of seafarers. The Agency is also empowered to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act of 2003.

SHIP REGISTRY REFORMS UNDER NIMASA ACT
Prior to the enactment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007 and the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) 2007, the Nigerian ship registry operated by NIMASA was governed by the provisions of the old Merchant Shipping Act of 1962. It is well known that the provisions of the old MSA regarding registration of ships were quite restrictive and a detriment to the growth of our flag registry in particular the requirement that only ships wholly owned by “commonwealth citizen/companies” could be registered. Desirous not to be bugged down by the lack of progress on the Merchant Shipping Bill, NIMASA Act drafted in 2006 pursuant to the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (“the Agency”) cleverly sought to fill in the gap by introducing crucial reforms in line with international practice in progressive ships registries.
Section28, of NIMASA Act 2007 establishes the Nigerian Ship Registration Office whose key function is to register ships in accordance with the provisions of the NIMASA Act and MSA and its amendments. The Repeals under Part XIV of NIMASA Act and the Consequential Amendments in the First Schedule of the NIMASA Act contains suitable provisions which would have sufficed to reform the ship registry whether or not a new MSA was enacted.
It is important to note that what is commonly and hitherto officially referred to as Nigerian Ship Registry is now by statute called the “Nigerian Ship Registration Office”. This, I believe must have been informed by the international practice where a Ship Registration Office has almost a quasi-autonomous status, is vested with a lot of powers as is required to run an efficient, competitive and safety conscious registry. To buttress the importance of this office, it is the only office in the Agency apart from the Executive Directors and Board members whose appointment statutory must have Ministerial approval. In order to reduce time and cost to operators, the Act permits the establishment of branch Registry Offices as may be required to further commerce and efficient service delivery.
The office of Deputy Registrars of Ships is another innovation which well implemented will enhance the competitive edge of the Ship Registration Office. The number of Deputy Registrars shall be as determined by the Agency whose decision in this respect should be guided by commercial expediency. The Deputy Registrar is expected to work under the direction of the Registrar and as is the case with the Registrar, appointment is by the Director General but with the approval of the Minister of Transportation. Office of Deputy Registrar is quite important in the sense the Act permits the delegation by the Registrar or the Agency of all the powers and duties of the Registrar to the Deputy Registrar except of course, the power to further delegate to another.
The Act also provide for the appointment of Deputy Registrars. NIMASA Act however goes further to state categorically that the Registrar of Ships and the Deputy Registrars must be appointed “from the staff of the Agency”. The mischief the NIMASA Act seeks to remedy is the practice of allowing extraneous considerations to affect the appointment, deployment and placement of staff and to ensure career progression for NIMASA staff. It is one of the numerous provisions in the Act which aims to promote expertise and professionalism within the Agency.
Maritime administrators and operators who have visited or have interacted with Registrars of Ship in major shipping countries will appreciate this innovation as they would be aware of the enormous responsibility and powers wielded by Registrars of Ships. Registrars of Ships are respected and feared by operators in some jurisdictions more than they do to the Chief Executives of their Agencies. The key role and enhanced powers of the office of the Registrar is emphasized by the mandatory requirements for a seal specifically under the control and use of the Registrar. The seal is to be accorded judicial notice in all judicial proceedings.

SHIP REGISTRY REFORMS UNDER NIMASA ACT 2007 AND MSA 2007
“…prior to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA Act) 2007 and the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) 2007, the Nigerian Ship Registry operated by NIMASA was governed by the provisions of the old Merchant Shipping Act of 1962. Thus, it is observed that the restrictive qualifications regarding the eligibility of vessels for registration in the Nigerian Ship Registration Office as contained in the 1962 MSA had without doubt contributed to the low tonnage and were a disincentive to registration of vessels in Nigeria. However, embracing a more progressive approach, a combination of NIMASA Act 2007 and the new MSA Act 2007 has introduced innovation that puts the Nigerian Ship Registration Office at par with other progressive Registries Worldwide. In order, to make the Registry flexible and in line with what obtains in several other registries, the Act does not require that Nigerian owned ships must be “owned wholly by Nigerian citizen”.
Section 16provides for the registration of ships as follows:
There shall be maintained a Central Ship Registry for the registration and licensing of Registry of Nigerian ships.
The Minister may, from time to time, by notice published in the Gazette appoint other places for the registration of ships and at each such place there may be appointed a fit person to be the Registrar of ships.
No Registrar shall be liable to damages or otherwise for any loss accruing to any person by reason of any act done or default made by him as Registrar, unless the default happened through his neglect or willful default.
For the purposes of this part of this Act, Registrar includes a Deputy Registrar.
For the purposes of this part of this Act, “ship” includes any barge, lighter or like vessel used in navigation in Nigeria and however propelled, so however, that no self-propelled vessel which is less than fifteen (15) gross tons shall be subject to registration.
The Act further affirms the obligation to register ships as follows:
(1).Whenever a ship is owned wholly by persons qualified to own a registered Nigerian ship, the ship shall be registered in Nigeria in the manner provided in this part of this Act or in any other country in accordance with the laws of that country, unless the ship is, pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, exempted from registration under this Act.
(2).The Minister may, if he thinks fit, by notice in the Gazette generally or specially exempt a ship not exceeding fifteen tons employed solely on the coasts or inland waters of Nigeria from registration under this Act.
(3).Any ship, other than a Nigerian licensed ship, which does not comply with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, shall not be recognized as a Nigerian ship.
(4).If the master of any ship which is owned wholly by persons qualified to own a registered Nigerian ship fails on demand to produce a certificate of registration of the ship or such other evidence to satisfy the Minister that the ship complies with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, the ship may be detained until that evidence is produced.
Also, Section 34, NIMASA Act, 2007 provides:
(1).Whenever a change occurs in the registered ownership of a ship registered in Nigeria, the change of ownership shall be endorsed on the certificate of registration by the Registrar at the ship’s port of registry, or by the Registrar or appropriate officer at any port at which the ship arrives after the registration officer is advised of the change by the Registrar at ship’s port of registry.
(2).The master shall, for the purpose of an endorsement of the certificate of registration of the ship by the Registrar at the ship’s port of registry, immediately deliver the certificate to the Registrar after the change, if the change occurs when the ship is at the port of registry but if the change, occurs during the absence of the ship from that port and the endorsement under this section is not made before her return, then upon her first return to that port.
(3).The Registrar at any port of registry, not being the ship’s port of registry, or any appropriate officer required by this section to make an endorsement on the certificate of registration of a ship registered in Nigeria, may require the master to deliver the ship’s certificate of registration to him, as long as the ship is not detained; and the master shall deliver the certificate accordingly.
(4).Where any Registrar, not being Registrar at the ship’s port registry, or any proper officer, makes an endorsement under this section in respect of any ship, he shall forthwith notify the Registrar at the ship’s port of any ship, he shall forthwith notify the Registrar at the ship’s port of registry.
(5).The master of a ship who fails to deliver the ship’s certificate of registration to a Registrar or the appropriate officer when required under this section to do so, commits an offence and on conviction is liable to fine not less than one hundred thousand Naira.
(6).Where the ownership of any ship registered in Nigeria is changed, the Registrar at the ship’s port of registry may, on the application of the owner of the ship, register the ship anew, notwithstanding that a new registration is not required under this part of this Act.
To this end, it is implicit in the various statutory provisions the extent of the statutory authority of the agency relating to the registration of vessels and taking a cue from Mrs. Mfong Ekong Usoro.
Small vessels including shipping vessels wholly owned by Nigerian residents or a joint ownership between Nigerian residents and Nigerian citizens are entitled to be registered under the NIMASA Act 2007. Such small vessels are to be operated solely by Nigerian residents, Nigerian citizens or by both Nigerian citizens and residents respectively. The critical aspect in this category is that the owners of the vessels must have a physical presence in Nigeria. Canoes and primitive boats engaged solely in artisan fishing are exempted. The significance of this innovation is that it provides inter alia the solution to some of the conflicts and duplicity of functions between government transport agencies notably NIMASA and NIWA. Registrations of small crafts/fishing vessels are now without question to be registered in and licensed by NIMASA. The MSA 2007 confirms this position by specifically stating that the function of the ship registry is “registration and licensing of Nigerian ships” and further requires the registrar of Ships to open a “Register for licensed ships below 15 gross tons”. This further underscores by the domestication of IMO Regulations on Non-Convention vessels under the MSA. The MSA categorically identified the Agency for Maritime Safety Administration as the implementing Agency for the Act. Nevertheless, for logistics and practicality considerations, NIMASA as Safety Agency can set the safety standards on small vessels generally because of the need or uniformity of standards while NIWA may be permitted to enforce those standards especially in the inland waterways where NIWA already has a presence.

NIGERIAN OWNED SHIPS
To make the Registry flexible and in line with what obtains in several other registries, the Act does not require that Nigerian owned ships must be “owned wholly by Nigerian citizen”. This flexibility arguably will therefore admit vessels owned by JV ventures registered in Nigeria and vessels owned by companies registered in Nigeria. The Act does not however specially define “Nigerian owned ships”. The term must therefore be constructed in the manner that aids the attainment of the intention of the Act and which does not contradict other sections of the Act i.e. registration of vessels with National Carrier Status discussed below. It is significant that where citizenship requirement was intended in the Act, the expressly uses the words “Nigerian citizens”. A good example is registration of “ships on bareboat charter to Nigerian citizens” as encapsulated in Section 34, NIMASA Act 2007).
Small vessels including shipping vessels wholly owned by Nigerian residents or a joint ownership or between Nigerian residents and Nigerian citizens. Such vessels are to be operated solely by Nigerian residents, Nigerian citizens or by both Nigerian citizens and residents. The critical aspect in this category is that the owners of the vessel must have a physical presence in Nigeria. Canoes and primitive boats engaged solely in artisan fishing are exempted.
The significance of this innovation is that it provides inter alia the solution to some of the conflicts and duplicity of functions between government transport agencies notable NIMASA and NIWA. Registration of small crafts/fishing vessels are now without question to be registered in and licensed by NIMASA. The MSA 2007 also confirms this position by specifically stating that the function of the ship registry is “registration and licensing of Nigerian ships” and further requires the Registrar of Ships to open a “Register for licensed ships below 15 gross tons”. This is further underscored by the domestication of IMO Regulations on Non-Convention vessels under the MSA. The MSA categorically identified the Agency for Maritime Safety Administration as the implementing Agency for the Act. Nevertheless, for logistics and practicality considerations, NIMASA as the Safety Agency can set the safety standards on small vessels generally because of the need for uniformity of standards while NIWA may be permitted to enforce those standards especially in the inland waterways where NIWA already has a presence.

SHIP OWNED BY COMPANIES/PARTNERSHIPS INCORPORATED IN NIGERIA
It is noteworthy that former requirement where only ship owned by commonwealth citizens and companies registered in Commonwealth countries were qualified to own Nigerian ships have been dropped in the new MSA. The MSA it must be pointed out, however retained erroneously the words “owned wholly” which was present in section 290(1) of old MSA thereby introducing a slight inconsistency between it and the provisions in the NIMASA Act with respect to degree of ownership of a registrable vessel. Section 18 of MSA 2007 is an exact reproduction of the old 290(1) in MSA of 1962 except the replacement of “Commonwealth” with “Nigeria”. It should be that the draftspersons(s) may have may have forgotten to delete the words “owned wholly”. It could be erroneous because if the intendment of the Act was to serve the local content principle, this had been adequately provided for in the Cabotage Act and the MSA need not have retained the wholly owned qualification since the aim of the MSA is to make our Registry modern and attractive.
Quite apart from the arguments above, insight as to the correct position could be garnered from the British Merchant Shipping Act and other former British dominion who’s Merchant Shipping Acts generally all follow the British precedence. Our MSA 2007 while introducing some innovation seemed to follow the style and format of the old MSA 1962 which itself was almost an exact replica of the 1984 British MSA. Had the draftspersons(s) studied the progressive innovations of the British registry starting from MSA 1983, 1988, 1993 and MSA 1995 particularly the MSA 1988 which introduced drastic amendments to MSA 1894, the problematic language “owned wholly” would not have been retained in S.18 of our new MSA 2007. The 1988 had amended Section 1 of 1984 MSA on qualification for owing British ship by opening up the category of registrable vessels to include inter alia a ship where “a majority interest in the ship is owned by persons who are qualified to be owners of British ships”. Within the context of the issue in question this meant that the owned wholly principle was repealed. The practice in British since then has been to incrementally remove restrictions on the ownership criteria for registration of vessels. In point of fact the most recent MSA 1995 simply provides that “A ship is entitled to be registered if it is owned, to the prescribed extent, by persons qualified to own British ships and A… registration regulations issued by the Secretary of State shall prescribe the extent of the ownership required for compliance A… and prescribe other requirements designed to secure that, taken in conjunction with the requisite ownership, only ships having a British connection are registered”.

Kinetosis (motion sickness)

Kinetosis or Motion Sickness is the result of your mind perceiving a movement that doesn’t agree with what your sense of balance (handled by your inner ear) is telling you. Many things might lead to kinetosis, including sudden movements such as those in a roller coaster, a car ride on the mountains, a trip on a boat, or an airplane. Motion sickness can also be caused by the perception of movement…

Motion sickness or kinetosis might be avoided by not riding on that roller coaster or rides, by riding in the front of a car instead of the back, by breathing with calm, or by the use of over the counter motion sickness drugs.

Source;
http://kinetosis.com/

I was at Gurara Falls!

​Too much work and no play will eventually make Jack to not only be a dull boy but also, a petty non-entity!

This was the rationale behind how me and few colleagues at the Nigerian Law school, Abuja decided to visit Gurara Falls today for a picnic. Gurara Falls is the foremost tourists’ attraction located in Niger state. 

We had so much fun nobody on this trip would forget in a hurry. It was memorable. I was amazed at the sights. Nigeria is too blessed with natural resources, we don’t even know our own worth. 

Geographically, it is located enroute Suleja and Minna(state capital) road, accommodating a space spanning about 200 meters. Gurara river is a major tributary of the famed River Niger.

Climbing the various mountains and maneuvering through the different rocks is a lot of exercise for the body, and it’s been said to have therapeutic effect.

Such a natural habitat with lots of big trees, leaves, shrubberies, rocks and water is just too pristine and idyllic. It has a special capacity to heal the human body, spirit and soul. I was inspired to write this article while at the Falls, another testament to the kind of special capacity I’m talking about.

However, as perfect as Gurara is, there are still projects the government and corporate bodies could carry out there in order to make the Falls a cynosure of all eyes. 

For example, nothing stops the place from being turned into a full-blown resort. I noticed today that when our provisions finished at a point, we needed to buy water. The sun was much and people were really thirsty but there was no such place designated for such business. 

There should be adequate security within and outside the environment. Anything as good as that deserves to be guarded jealously, especially in this era of terrorist attacks.

Such a major tourist attraction, and in fact, very close to the state capital deserves a 5, if not a 7-star hotel. I sincerely hope the Niger state government would get to work on that.

DOWNLOAD: Rich Homie Tommy x Emtee (re-fix) – Mama (Prod. by Latham)

My readers must have found out by now that I’m a man of many sides. Well, my creative juice flowed even further recently when I recorded a rap song. To God be the glory for making it all seem so easy. It all came very fast, I recognised that moment and knew I had to take advantage of it.

So I sat on my bed on Thursday night of November 3rd (around 8:50pm), while listening to South African rapper, Emtee’s song ‘Mama’ from the multiple award-winning ‘Avery’ album.

I had heard the song before but it came differently to me that fateful night. The melody, the harmony, the keyboard and hook/chorus got me writing down lyrics instantly. I knew I had to drop a verse or two on the beat.

So I called my talented childhood friend, ‘Latham the producer’ on the following day & we recorded the song on Tuesday, 8th November. We knocked it off in about 3 hours. It was magic! The chemistry was too much, the studio harmony was splendid. I don’t think I could have worked with anyone better. This goes out to every upcoming artist, you have to work with a producer who sees your vision and can clearly show you his own vision as well.

I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I buried the potential to do music. Always knew I could do this from day one. I finally put those lessons learned in the juvenile choir to use.

I specially chose to release the song for free downloads today in commemoration of my late mum’s one year remembrance. Recorded under my alter-ego, ‘Rich Homie Tommy’ (#RHT). The song is titled Mama, not departing from the inspiration behind this.

It’s safe now to say watch-out for me! This is most likely the #1stofMany more music to come from me.

Follow the link below to download:

DOWNLOAD: Rich Homie Tommy x Emtee (re-fix) – Mama (Prod. by Latham)

https://www.datafilehost.com/d/81af4c69

Open letter to AKON

Dear Akon,

The recent untimely deaths of two legendary African football coaches, in persons of Stephen Keshi & Shuaibu Amodu, got me thinking in terms of living legends who aren’t being celebrated enough.

That brings me to you, Akon. You deserve one or two lifetime achievement awards for what you’ve accomplished musically. Left to me, I’d organise I special award ceremony in your honour today if I could. I don’t even understand why you’ve not gotten multiple Grammys by now. We don’t want no posthumous awards for someone that great & you surely deserve to be celebrated while energetic.

On your song ‘Ghetto’-
The instrumentals got all the brothers reminiscing about the ghettos, made the ‘shawties’ jump in ecstasy, the fishes leaped in the waters, the lions roared for joy in the wild and thunder strikes appeared from the heavens. ‘Ghetto’ changed the way the world listens to music in 2005. Akon, you forever changed our world with your style of singing!

‘Locked Up’ was the ultimate classic hip hop song. That style has become the prototype for every new artist in that genre ever since- from TeeFLii to Bryson Tiller to Tory Lanez.

‘Belly Dancer’ was just out of this world. Nobody had ever anything like that before.

On ‘Lonely’, It’s safe to say I was swept off my feet by the sweet rendition and video. I still remember how me & my high school mates used to imitate some moves from the video. It is in a class of its own and broke new grounds.

The songs, ‘Show Out’, ‘The Rain’, ‘Clap Again’ and ‘Don’t Matter’, are great timeless classics. You have more than 100 classics, I simply can’t mention all…but I’m probably the biggest Akon fan in the world.

I don’t want to wait for the next 20 or 30 years before I express my mind on a musician who has blessed my world with his musical acumen. I don’t want to be passive with my love when I should be loud & clear about it, just as Akon’s divine vocals are.

Lest I forget, thanks again for your charitable endeavors, bringing power to Africa with ‘Lighting Africa’ in 2014.
God bless.

With Love,

Tomiwa Olasiyan.

The most pious youth ‘on da block.’

The idea of God to me has always been a supreme being who should be known & communed with individually, by every individual. I’ve never really been at home with the idea of putting all my spiritual hopes in a man, such as a pastor, not even a prophet.

Also, the idea of going to church every Sunday in my nicest frocks, looking all prim and proper while obeying every order from the pastor as is usual here in Africa has never been attractive to me. We tend to do convenient things for God and even sometimes oppress our brethren who are poorer than us. While people put up with these calm appearances, a whole lot of politics, schematics and logistics go on behind the scenes of the altar. This also doesn’t appeal to me.

I happened to have attended while growing up, one of these traditional christian churches where the rigid ideals are upheld. So there was this ‘prim gentleman’ in our church back then called Mr Dimeji (surname intentionally withheld to avoid easy identification) who was the youth leader. He would stand on the front porch of the church and call out emphatically (deliberately so the church elders would notice), names of all the youths trying to avoid youth meetings.

My brother and I, immediately after service would have entered the car and be waiting for mum to finish at her own women leaders’ meetings. There were some other youths like us who would be hiding in their parents’ cars after the normal church service. Some would dash home immediately after service.

Now, it wasn’t that we were as stubborn or always uncooperative but these youth meetings were most times too boring and unnecessarily long. To have a long meeting of 1 or 2 hours after a usually long Sunday service is always like eternity to anybody, especially youths. It was torture. Most importantly, some of us had advanced several degrees more academically, morally and even spiritually than this youth leader called Mr Dimeji. Deep down, we were not engaged. He became our head without an election. He was just there naturally, probably because he was among the few oldest bachelors.

This youth leader called Mr Dimeji would most readily run after those youths who were rushing home after service. He didn’t do it in a dignified way. Rather, he would scream their names in front of the whole church, making the parents know their children were avoiding commitments. Sometimes he would spread his assault towards those of us in the cars, even coming to preach to us why we should come to youth meetings. Another bad idea about these meetings was that they were held every week for no tangible reason.

Actually, I attended some of the youth meetings after being talked into it by my mum (who I always respected), but I was soon discouraged as we were not actively engaged. The meetings would drag on for an hour or more and Mr Dimeji would be the only one talking, new sermons that meant nothing to our personal lives. We didn’t need any such schooling. The young man didn’t even have the exposure of most of us present there.

The high point was when we discovered soon enough that this Mr Dimeji impregnated a lady he was yet to marry. The craziest thing was that the lady was alleged to not even be of christian faith. The lady was said to be a muslim. Mr Dimeji stopped attending the church after that saga. Probably, he was too ashamed or he didn’t want to face the people. I noticed everyone had a question or two they wanted to clarify from the horse’s mouth. Everyone was dazed. Oh, what a cracker!

This was a gentleman who taught in the bible school, gave the church sermons on special Sundays, even at the annual youth anniversaries. This was a youth leader who the whole church (the elders I mean, not majority of youths) looked up to. This was the young man who represented the youth movement, even those of us who didn’t fancy the meetings.

After he stopped attending church, I never met or saw him, for several years to come. Till late last year (Dec. 4th, 2015) at my mum’s burial when someone tapped my back. I looked back and it turned out to be Mr Dimeji. Oh, what a cracker again! How he heard about my mum’s incidence, I don’t know for sure. Haven’t seen him again ever since to clarify the question(s).

Many people are like Mr Dimeji. They hide under the cloak of religion albeit, filled with iniquity deep down. The worst part is the amount of people they drag down with themselves. The number of those who wrongly hold them as role models. The innocent ones who sheepishly follow these dirty lots. One or two incidents of youths impregnating each other quickly followed that Mr Dimeji incidence. It was the prototype of a bad example.

What’s worst, people like Mr Dimeji are experts at making better folks feel inferior to them. They talk about hell as if it was made & designed for the listeners/congregation. They make you miserable, make you think you’re so bad, even dangerous to yourself. They’re always quick to remind you of your inadequacies. Watch out for people like Mr Dimeji, they’re everywhere. With their self-righteous mentality, they can drive you to an edge, the edge of extinction, never to be heard or seen again.

Life Is War

Life is war

Life is war. I’m fighting for my life.
So when you call my phone and I don’t answer,
Don’t be vexed because I might be fighting for my life.

When I need your help and you disappoint me,
I quickly understand because just like me,
You’re simply fighting for your life.

We have different wars and battles to fight,
I don’t know what war you’re fighting, you don’t know mine,
But we’re united in the fact that we’re simply fighting for our lives.

Some people live their lives smiling most times, while some cry most times,
Life’s an unbalanced scale, it treats people differently.
When sadness comes, reminisce on the good times.

It is folly for a man to laugh all the time, even when happy,
For how could you know if your neighbour is mourning?
For life is war and we’re all fighting for our lives.

A brush with death (part 2)

It is not life itself that’s so important. It’s about living rightly!
-Anonymous

Today is my anniversary. An unusual anniversary. Today marks one year since I had that life-threatening car accident on the morning of August 13, 2015. It was a bright Thursday morning.

I had a bad feeling that day when I woke up. Even though I had planned since the previous week to travel and drive myself the to school, I woke up & suddenly didn’t feel like making the journey again.

I went back into the house to call my dad’s attention to what I thought was a bad sound from the car engine. He played down my worries & reassured me nothing was wrong with the car. With that in mind, I zoomed off.

I got into the middle of Iwo road and a lot of people looking for free ride to Osun state beckoned me to stop. I carried nobody. I still can’t fathom whether that was the best or worst decision I ever made. For if I had stopped to give a lift, perhaps the danger would pass me by. Or perhaps, by the time I started speeding the passenger would have cautioned me.

On the other hand, if I stopped to pick someone and the accident happened same way, what if I survive and the passenger dies? If I were to decide, I’d want to believe the second option. Going by the suddenness of the accident (it all happened under a slit second), the vehicle motion and impact on the rock inside the roadside bush, it was likely any passenger would have died or broken a leg at least.

Besides, a careless passenger would not have used the seat-belt. I wouldn’t have told my passenger to use the belt. Back then, I merely used it because I was fresh from driving school & my teachers harped on it. It was a thing of instincts, not because I ever thought the safety belts could ever save my life. It was more of following a norm than of careful thought.

I drove with speed. One of my cool friends who was the President of Prima Strata- an educational club in my Faculty, was putting up an induction party that night for inductees. I was a club member so he had called to invite me and asked to use my car for dropping ladies going home late. With all that in mind, I thought more about the late-night party as I drove and less about handling the car in my charge.

I had planned being in school till the next day even though I told my parents I’d be back home same day. (I knew they’d persuade me to be home that day so I simply said what I knew they wanted to hear.)

As I said earlier, I was speeding & had carelessly exceeded the speed limits. Normally I shouldn’t even travel alone or drive such long distance journey being barely 6 months out of a 3-week driving school program. I hope young people who would be opportuned to read this would learn from me & not be as suicidal as I was.

I enjoyed (well, I still do) driving, especially when music from the CD player is blazing through the bass speaker. So for the duration of time which I drove before the accident, I was fixated on a particular song (Takoto) from 9ice’s sophomore album. Ever since, I’ve dreaded the mere sound of that song. The song still sends shivers down my spine anytime I hear it being played, bringing memories I’d rather forget, my brush with death.

Midway through my journey, I was going to overtake an articulated lorry when I suddenly bumped into a pothole. I panicked & hit the brake suddenly with force. Within that split second I had lost control of my car, my vision was blurry due to flames emitting from the engine, the car was somersaulting e.t.c. The experience is indescribable, I wish I could explain every detail but I can’t.

Luckily for me, a Police checkpoint was nearby on the other side of the highway. Those men rushed to my side. I was already climbing out of the car when they got to me. By then I still thought the car would explode so I was rushing to be out.

One of the Police eyewitnesses said my car was practically floating in the air. How I survived such landing, I do not know. But I do know a large rock situated in the bush nearby stopped the car, permanently condemning the rear bumper. The car got damaged beyond recognition.

My use of the seat belt also helped, including the airbags. Perhaps I would have flown out of the car while it tumbled. When I see commuters hiding from the road safety officials, I just pity their ignorance. The Road Safety Corps are basically ‘begging’ you to save your own lives! Fastening the seat belts and having an airbag-enabled car could make a difference in any accident.

Please tell somebody you know to tell somebody they know!!!

The misconceptions about the African male child.

Most of the African poems, novels, novella and short stories I’ve read (and believe me I’ve read a whole lot) always paint the African man as brutish, timid, difficult and even sometimes wicked. While the female counterparts are painted in a beautiful imagery, with supple “breasts & buttocks”, loving mothers, the “talk of the town spinster”, Amope the one-in-town, pretty damsel…

All these adjectives are okay by me so far other men aren’t complaining. But I just wonder why the feminists still yearn for more. Everyday my hears are filled on the radio & tv, from articles claiming women are trampled upon. The African feminists need to ask the Indian women what they face in a country where a woman is raped or brutalized every 2 minutes! Yes, every 2 minutes! Maybe by that comparison, African feminists would learn to appreciate more the African man’s gentle soul & romanticism.

Yes I know the wars that have ravaged Africa over the years brought the bad reputation on the African male. Stories abound of soldiers, even child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia who brutalized, maimed and raped women at will. But these evils are offsprings of war anywhere. It is not so different to what Fidel Castro did in Cuba or what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq or what has been done in Syria, Palestine etc. I once heard an uncorroborated story of how Castro single-handedly had sex with over 10,000 women(adults & children) while at the height of his powers in the Caribbean country. No African man has ever done that, our worst dictators didn’t.

I’ve read of how Idi Amin was a romantic who had a family, he got mad when his youngest & most enterprising wife had an affair with his associate. I’m not supporting how Amin went about the judgment, I’m interested in how he cared enough about his woman for him to get angry. The Burkina Faso military revolutionary Thomas Sankara had only one wife and was a loving husband till his untimely death. The average African man, if given the idyllic environment to flourish like his European counterpart, will automatically be loving, caring and dote on his wife.

The socio-economic and political atmosphere in Africa has been brutish towards all species, hence the resultant reaction towards African women. One day I know the African man would be seen for what he truly is, a responsible, gentle and harmless individual with a strong urge not only to succeed but to cater for everyone around him.

*I wish the ‘spirit’ had led me to write this on World Father’s day, but I hope it would carry full effect all the same.

-To be continued