Tuesday, December 13, 2011


(2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961)

“If you have nothing to die for, you have nothing to live for”

Not sure where I heard it or if those are even the exact words, but the above line is one of the many sayings that live in my head. Many times when I see myself pushing enthusiastically for what I want and making big sacrifices that can have long-term effects, the line comes to my head.

And history has a long list of people who have laid down their lives for what they believe. Stephen around 34AD, Bhai Dhayala in 1675, Maximilian Kolbe in 1941 and on and on. People of ilk. Men of men. Human beings of class and repute. And recently I came across another. Patrice Lumumba.

Lumumba was the first prime minister of the DRC. Like many other African states, the rich nation of the Democratic republic of Congo had been under colonial rule of the Belgian nation. And like so many other colonial authorities, Belgium was not in a hurry to let this country so rich in natural resources out of its grasp.

DRC was under Belgian rule. The indigenes were oppressed. But somehow in 1960, there was an election where Lumumba’s party won control of the parliament. He was appointed prime minister at the age of 34. But did he step up to the plate or what?

Patrice Lumumba

Now let’s get something straight, the country had a vast reserve of natural resources. The colonial powers certainly wouldn’t let him have all the control where they had no say whatsoever in the expending of the reserves. How can a black man rule over his own country without their supervision? No way! How can this young country have control over its own affairs? Lumumba wouldn’t play ball and they wouldn’t let that happen. Or maybe they’ll just wait and see how ‘sensible’ this new kid on the block would be.
Well, any lingering doubts as to whether Patrice would be a puppet were erased at the very celebrations to mark the independence of the country. Some Belgian dude had gone on the podium to give a speech about how magnanimous Belgium had been to the DRC. He had spoken in glowing terms about how the independence was all a part of the grand plan of the Belgian nation. It was all lies of course. Everyone knew he was lying, but they all kept quiet in the name of diplomacy. No one wanted to spoil the celebration. No one except our young prime minister. He walked up to the microphone without being scheduled to and just spoke.  He spoke nothing but the truth. The truth about Belgian oppression. The persecution of the native African indigenes. He spoke of how the independence of the Congolese nation was not a magnanimous act but a struggle. Young Patrice spoke his mind. He spoke the truth and his fate was sealed.

No way would they have this smart, intelligent boy running the show without them. Patrice had to go.

But Lumumba was popular. The people loved him. He was intelligent. He gave rousing speeches and there was no way they could turn the Congolese people against him. So they had to use the Congolese politicians. They had to turn to the greedy ones. The ones who didn’t care what the average person thought.

They instigated a secession movement from the southern part of the country. The Katanga province led by one Moise Tshombe declared a republic. And the whole world watched as Lumumba desperately sought help to put his country back together. At least he was just some black kid who was prime minister over a country a couple of weeks old. Who cared what he thought. There was this particular occasion when he visited the United States and the president wouldn’t even receive him talk less of listening to what he has to say. The only country willing to lend a helping hand was the USSR. And again, Lumumba’s fate was sealed a second time. There was no way the US would let their cold war enemy have such a rich country on the African continent.
The CIA and the Belgians set out to ‘work’. The UN did nothing meaningful to help the poor Lumumba. UN resolutions were carefully grafted, in my opinion with the US pulling the background strings, to frustrate all his efforts.
One thing stands out in my mind. Through it all, the youthful prime minister remained graceful. The western media made him look evil. He was painted as ‘anti-western’ when all he wanted was to have one independent country. With every move made to frustrate his efforts, he never lost the affection of his people.

His government was toppled by his onetime chief of Army staff, Joseph Mobutu (later Sese Seko Mobutu). He was finally captured on the first of December 1960. He was humiliated in front of the world press. He was tied with ropes and made to sit on the floor of an open van. They had him. They had his body, but his soul was unbroken.

Openly Humiliated

Lumumba was killed on the 17th of January the following year. He was shot. His body was exhumed by the Belgians and cut to pieces. Burnt. And dipped in acid. Let me say that again. The illegally deposed prime minister of a country was killed, cut to pieces, burnt and decimated with acid by a foreign power. If that’s not a crime against humanity then the holocaust was nothing more than a civil disturbance!

Lumumba lost his life and on the long run we all know what Mobutu did to the country of Zaire as he later called it.
In the death of Lumumba, Africa lost a hero. We lost someone who could stand up to the powers that be harmed with nothing but the truth and sheer will. We had lost someone who wasn’t going to sit in his revolving chair being fed grapes by pretty girls while his people died and suffered for lack of basic amenities. We had lost someone who saw true and good human values and was going to stick up for them even when it seemed fool hardy. Lumumba’s death marked the end of a life spent showing us we don’t have to lick the feet of those more powerful than ourselves even if they are more threaten us with fire and brimstone.

Patrice is no longer with us but what he stood for lives on!

Well done sir and like you said all those years back when in the dungeons of the evil ogres “Congo has a bright future!” I guess we can look forward to a bright future for our dear green continent. You’ve shown us it’s possible to get to where we want.
In the words of Malcolm X “Lumumba is the greatest black person to ever walk on the African continent!” Maybe some will disagree, but I’m sure no one will disagree Lumumba was some hero and a shining light even in this dark times.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My fatherland..

My fatherland
A land where riches abound
Once full of Glory
Now we lie in penury

One nation bound in peace
Certain the mark, we wouldn’t miss
We were the envy of everyone
Certain all our battles we had won

Africa’s beacon of Light
This couldn’t be more right
The rest looked up to us
The Almighty smiled down on us

Nigerian Map

Then the leaders go greedy
Ignoring the needy
Why exactly, no one knows
Hence the beginning of our woes

The North felt it should lead the way
The East broke away
The west watched from a safety gap
And the South had no one to stand in the gap

The scavengers abroad didn’t care what befell us
They made things worse
Fuelling every fire
Aiding every evil desire

Then we discovered liquid gold
“Oh” we thought “Out with the old”
And invited these scavengers yet again
And what, oh what was our gain?

And in darkness we’ve remained
Our hearts have ever since been blained
Fifty years of pain
Tears and sorrow again and again

And now where do we turn
To whom do we run?
I say we look inward
Go back to the drawing board

And together in unity
Slowly but surely
Working night and day
We’ll be able to say


Friday, June 24, 2011

Soliloquy of an AJ boy.

I hail o! My people. Ma name na Benjamin. My people for area dey hail me Benjo. Na dis side dem born me so. Which time? Wetin concern you? The important tin be say we don dey maintain dis side siiiince and na we be shiaman for dis kaban so. All dem yeye OPC guys dey try form oga once in a while but no show for dem.

Wetin dey my mind to follow all una yarn today na dis church business wey everybody dey do. I dey always hear everybody dey misyarn say dem pastor dem dey runs tins for dem shosh. E be like say kolo dey worry all dem wey dey talk dat kain mis-jaboment. As in who get head wey go see all dat kain money no go shop? See am like dis. All dem pastor shiamen dem , na from area all dem kom. As in shishi, dem papa mama no get to take arrange better life for dem. All dem kon grow, hammer beta, evribodi begin contribute tite abi wetin you dey call am give dem, you say make dem no runs tins, omo I tire o. Who no sabi better? For say na you, you no go runs?

Our side!

Sometimes I dey hear say some of dem bin dey jigijigi church members. Again, I no fit to blame dem. Na dem opeke me I blame. When e be say all dem go dey yarn na man of god dis, man of God dat. Na so so smile like market-place kraze. All dem go dey throw tight tight bend down dey cat waka for pastor front and na dem go first blow alarm say pastor dey rub dem bodi. Dat one na story?

See, my people. Life for area get as e be but we still dey maintain. You fit imajin how e dey vex me reach when one yeye girl go meet punch abi tribune say pastor ‘abuse’ am? Wich kain abuse? Abi the jobless paper boys wey suppose to dey write better tin dey carry news say one prophet chop money? How e take concern you? Dem tief the money? Dem representa-tief wey dey Abuja dey runs tins wit big big belle, una don write about dem finish? All dem gufnor nko? As e be say PHCN dey treat light like disco light, una don fight dat one sef finish? Na dis pastor shiamen una go dey misyarn about.

Make I tell una, me I belief say Chukwu dey and e get some people wey e send. But e get enuf people wey e no send wey dey kanta-fit the tin. But how dis people dey take do their tin, e add price to garri for tejuosho? E change our roads? Na so so, e chop money we dey hear. Na today chest begin dey front? Guys, if your head no complete reach, you decide turn maga, wetin concern us? Free boys abeg and talk beta tin.

Until when I go dey halla una again, I dey hail o!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ACN: Messiah or more of the old.

I personally don’t see myself in any way as a political pundit. At least that’s not one way I would use to describe myself. I am a devoted and patriotic Nigerian. And anything that goes on in my country takes a paramount place in my heart.

Having said that, I am more than sure if the reader knows anything about my beloved country, you can imagine how troubled my heart has been on a couple of things to use the lightest word-weight that can be used.

Stepping back a bit, the 90’s gave us the worst type of governance we thought possible. I mean the Babangida-Abacha-Abubakar axis of government was certainly not our best days. Anything would be better, we thought. Then began the PDP era. “After all” we thought “Its democracy, what could possibly go wrong?” Up until then, I for one would admit, I had never heard the word ‘senator ’ before.

Well, the politicians didn’t keep us waiting for long before they answered our questions. Assassinations became frequent. Public fund embezzlement went to higher levels. Even football, our never-failing success for some reason directly or indirectly tied to poor administration seemed to die a natural death. “PDP has to be the worst thing ever” we all seemed to start screaming again “Give us anything else”. I mean if the justice minister gets killed and there’s no justice. Let me say that again, the JUSTICE minister can’t get JUSTICE even in death, what chance do we others have.

Abacha, Abubakar, Obasanjo: Bad, worse, worst?

Then came the proverbial messiah. Forward came Ahmed Tinubu to rescue us from this our political quagmire. He would rescue power from the PDP, he would bring us a breathe of fresh air. I mean it’s all in the script. Gov. Raji Fashola transformed Lagos and we were promised this was just the beginning. But fellow Nigerians, looks like the actors are not quite following the script.
Alright, I’m very well into my twenties and I like to think I do read political journals and follow the news as closely as I can, never in my life have I heard a political party declare a candidate for any electoral seat just based on the discretion of the leader. I mean Tinubu is not even the party chairman for crying out loud. I read in an article recently a quote from the party chairman, Bisi Akande. Hear him:
If election within our party is what you are trying to describe as internal democracy, then we reject such idea. Can we impose when we are contesting against PDP? Party knows what people want. But we can do something within our party if the leadership of the party feels that that is the best thing. This is because it is the leadership of the party that understands the manifestoes of the party and knows what the people really want. This is not a matter of an individual but the party. Nobody should accuse ACN of imposition because that is our style. Anyone that is not comfortable with that should go and contest in another political party

Bisi Akande: ACN National Chairman.

I’ll tell you what, if I hadn’t seen the above quote on numerous websites, I would not have accepted or believed it. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see from Lenin or Stalin or maybe even Chairman Mao himself. Tinubu also chose his wife as  senatorial candidate, his daughter and his son-in-law were also hand picked without any form of internal elections whatsoever. Folasade Tinubu-Ojo and Oyetunde Ojo got tickets to represent contest Agege constituency on Federal and state levels respectively.
At this point I invite the reader to draw a conclusion for yourself. If a party cannot please its own members by ensuring internal democracy, does anyone mean to tell me they’ll care about what candidate you and I want if God-forbid, they hold presidential authority?

Bola Tinubu: Would present his cat as a candidate if he could.

A pertinent question I ask is, what offence have we committed against God, so bad that he watches these kind of leaders rule over us? The stench of moral decadence in our so called elite fills the air.
Normally, we’ll like things to be better and better. But in the case of our leaders, things just seem to be going from bad to worse as far as the moral integrity of those being saddled with leading is concerned. I for one believe the best of our days are still ahead but for now as far as these leaders are concerned, something has to give. And hopefully, pretty soon as well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Niger Deltans: Unfairly vilified?

Many people think many different things about the seemingly non ending conflict in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The feeling for some is frustration, some hope, some anger directed at the government and some others anger directed at the gun wielding youths. My feeling is just one of sheer injustice. Overwhelming injustice. Massive injustice.

I would have thought it was just common sense. I mean my dad utilizes my talent to feed the whole family, it is just common sense really that at least I will have access to as much toys as the other children, right? Maybe there can be a justified argument against me if I lay claim to the lion’s share of the money being generated, but can there really be any sensible argument against me if all I ask is food, shelter and clothing. Hmm hmm, I don’t think so.

I remember one of my teachers in secondary school breaking down the Ken Saro-Wiwa’s ordeals to me and that of his fellow Ogonis. They were killed by the government for standing up for themselves. Fast forward a decade and the lots of these people are still the same. How can things be normal. They live in shacks while the money they generate provide five-star, nay 15-star accommodation for the pot-bellied he and she devils based in Abuja. They swim or canoe between houses while the oil they produce provides people in other parts of the federation with cars, jets and who knows maybe even teleport-chambers. How can they lie down, fold their arms and not do anything. How is that normal?

Niger Delta Shacks

Nigeria produces about 1.9 million barrels of oil per day and the price of oil as at 2011 is about $65 per barrel. OK, maths is not my favourite subject, but that’s a mind boggling 123.5 million dollars per day!! Say what you like, but why is it that the region that gives us as a people this much income can not at least be able to lay claim to acceptable roads, employment, health care and other basic social amenities at the very least. What the Ogonis get instead is oppression.

Product of black Gold.

I get the lame argument that the squandering of the Niger Delta wealth is a blame that should lie at the feet of the leaders from the region. Maybe, maybe not. But if the federal government and not the state government take the oil directly from the region, shouldn’t they also give back directly to the region and cut out the vultures that re the state and regional powers that be?

I am all for peace, but let me at his point quote Malcolm X in a debate he had once somewhere in England “Extremism in the Defence of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue.” I may not support violence but I most certainly understand where they are coming from.

I think we’ll be relieved if the militants in the Niger Delta region did lay down their weapons but life would really become what it should be if the government chose to do what is right and pay attention to these people. It would only be fair and I for one will not give any round of applause if any subsequent government chooses to finally do what is so blatantly right.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My country.

“There’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed with what’s right about America” is one of Barack’s quotes that has stayed with me over time.

While I know he was referring to America but the truth is the saying applies even more to my home country.
A lot of times, I’m driving down the alley, sitting on a couch or maybe just walking down to get groceries, I can’t help wondering how our problems have become so profound. I mean a country the colonial masters marked for greatness, to the great shining light in Africa, to be a justification for the good deeds they have done on the continent over the centuries has now so fallen from grace almost everyone unites in opinion the state is a failed one. Security, power, transport, economy basically all ramifications of the society is in a pitiful state.

A lot of people take the easy way out of pretending they have nothing to do with it – and who can blame them! I for one can simply not help wishing things were better – and boy, is that painful – and it’s even more painful when you actually have hope that it will!

Not sure I can propose a way out of the quagmire we find ourselves in, but whatever the solution that I don’t know is, I know who the players will be and that’s everyone. The problem of the country has gone beyond having a visionary to come in and clean up the rot that has taken decades to build. It will take the effort – possibly painstaking – of every single one of us. Like the Israelites building the ruins of Jerusalem, everyone will do the bit in front of them and then and only then will we genuinely start the process of marching towards a better tomorrow. In times of tragedy, people pull together. Americans during 9-11, Londoners 7-7, and even Lagosians during the cantonment blasts, believe me compatriots the state of the country now is a disaster! 

You do the bit next to you, I do the bit next to me, with a god-sent leader and the Almighty on our side, we put it together, and only at that point can we dream of having a society we can be proud of.
The good old days were not that good, the best of days lie ahead and the best of our songs are yet to be sung.

Friday, February 4, 2011

If not now, when?

Hello all,

I  see myself as one of the many millions of Nigerian youths living below potential in foreign land. Not like our fate is any different form the fates of our fellows based in our country anyway. 

OK, enough has been said and more than enough promised but why exactly is our beloved country the way it is? 
Have we all seriously given up hope of having better livelihoods? Have you all resigned to leaving things to be the way they are and passing this baton of misery to your children and then theirs and then their children too. 

Let's back up a bit here and look at it like this. We are one of the richest countries on earth in mineral resources. Our human resources seem endless. I personally think only China and the US compete with us in this light. So what exactly makes us one of the least respected countries on earth?

There is  a lot we can say and more than a lot on our minds, but if we don't stand up and require what is ours, 

God will not kill the bad leaders.

Our money WILL not be used for our development.

We WILL continue to live in misery and penury except we sell our souls to the devil and join them in looting our funds.

I think if we want this bad enough, we will stand up now as young people and take what is rightfully ours. 
I read an article recently referring to a youth leader, and he was FIFTY years old! Alright, I don't know what your definition of youth is but if 50 is youth, what is middle age and what the heck is adulthood?

But in my dear country, where the same set of people have been running the place since independence, believe me the man is a youth and maybe John McCain would have been defined as middle age.

Almost every single social amenity is broken down, security is appalling, public infrastructures are non-existent, yet for some reason we seem to take it as 'our lot'. And the time to have a change hasn't yet come.

All I am saying is if the time to rise is not now, then when?