Archive for March, 2015

By Prince Charles Dickson

Nigeria, we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all are proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.

Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honored,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain.

O God of all creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
And so with peace and plenty
Nigeria may be blessed.—Nigerian National Anthem 1960-1978

So the dreaded Saturday 28th March 2015 has come and indeed gone, the General Elections has been held, and while we await official announcements, below is my admonition to my countrymen, one which I start with a chat with my very good friend Hawwa

So, what happened in Jos, apart from card reader failure she asked me?

I answered with a big smile, “it was largely peaceful.”

We could not exchange notes because we were busy, myself as media personnel and observer, and herself as a dutiful housewife.

I went on to tell her, “Whatever happens I hope we all can see ourselves as victors.”

“Hope so too”, she responded.

A win-win is what I called it.

And then she asked, “So, whom are you rooting for?

To which I answered, “No one…I know this sounds hmmmm, but never believed in them all.”

She retorted, “You cant sit on the fence, it is not a matter of believe in oooo.”

I then told her that, “it was not about fence sitting, just that I do not see either change or transformation, however I know that for example as long as there was no marshal music, that in itself was significant progress.”

I equally explained that with all the shortfalls inherent in this process, whoever wins, there has been a significant charge forward, and regarding rooting for X or Y to win, I was going to keep my non-partisan status.

I strongly maintained that both men have played their part, and for me, I wanted to see the system win.

I want to see the Nigerian people win, I want to see us take a considerable step in our electoral process, first by having a violence free election, then gradually getting to a free and fair stage and finally the credible part of the entire process.

While we await Jega, the INEC boss and umpire to declare the results officially. I would share this story with us.

Who really is the winner?

Who really is the winner?

One Sunday morning, a wealthy man sat in his balcony enjoying sunshine and his coffee when a little ant caught his eye; going from one side to the other side of the balcony carrying a big leaf several times more than its size.

The man watched it for more than an hour. He saw that the ant faced many impediments during its journey, paused, took a diversion and then continued towards destination.

At one point the tiny creature came across a crack in the floor. It paused for a little while, analyzed and then laid the huge leaf over the crack, walked over the leaf, picked the leaf on the other side then continued its journey.

The man was captivated by the cleverness of the ant, one of God’s tiniest creatures.

The incident left the man in awe and forced him to contemplate over the miracle of Creation. It showed the greatness of the Creator.

In front of his eyes there was this tiny creature of God, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to analyze, contemplate, reason, explore, discover and overcome.

Along with all these capabilities, the man also noticed that this tiny creature shared some human shortcomings.

The man saw about an hour later the creature had reached its destination – a tiny hole in the floor, which was entrance to its underground dwelling.

At this point the ant’s shortcoming that it shared with man was revealed.

How could the ant carry the large leaf it carefully managed to its destination into the tiny hole? It simply couldn’t!

So the tiny creature, after all the painstaking and hard work and exercising great skills, overcoming all the difficulties along the way, just left behind the large leaf and went home empty-handed.

The ant had not thought about the end before it began its challenging journey and in the end the large leaf was nothing more than a burden to it.

The creature had no option, but to leave it behind to reach its destination.

The man learned a great lesson that day. Isn’t that the truth about our lives?

For me and I hope a sizable number of Nigerians, I believe that there is hope, with all it’s inherent failure, we have tried the card reader, we have seen the advent of the PVC, all the shortcomings and successes.

However we are far away from really winning if we do not get good governance, if all the hype and excitement does not reward citizenry with a responsive government and leaders that feel the pulse of the governed.

We would be no different from the ant, having done the great, either by continuity or change stuck at the same place—If APC wins would it do things differently from the ANT, and would PDP be credible opposition pushing APC to its limits for the people’s advantage, and indeed if it remains PDP, would it keep behaving like the ANT and the APC fizzle out.

I hope that with the process we have endured, when we hear, those lines, having met the constitutional requirements according to XYZ, the winner of the 2015 General Elections would be the Nigerian people and nation, anything short of that we would have behaved like the ANT…

Not only behave like the ANT but also if we do not harness the positives of the just concluded polls, our tribe and tongue will tear us apart, there will be no nation for us to proudly serve, and the much desired peace will continue to elude us…if we have made a better choice—only time will tell.

Advertisements

By Prince Charles Dickson

The casualties are not only those who are dead;

They are well out of it. –The Casualties by John Pepper Clark

Last week a friend asked me, “sir, what are your thoughts on the March 28th elections” and below are my thoughts.

I would take us into John Pepper Clark’s The Casualties. The poem written in the 60’s was one of those poems we had to learn off heart and recite in literature class then. The poem brings home today’s Nigeria in a sad manner.

The poem Casualties points to 1966, the time of the Nigerian Civil War. Biafra wanted to be free and independent. It affected the common people who were suffering endlessly. The Battle failed and the problem was silenced. The poet asserts that the causalities are not only the ones who are dead, for they are far from the devastating consequences of the war. They are not only those who are wounded though they are well on the route to death. They await burial by installments, as death is the ultimate escapism. It is not only those who have lost their material assets and property, it is also those who have irretrievably lost their near and dear ones.

The casualties are not only those led away by the law at night; there is always the uncertainty about the cell. To some it may be a cruel place, to others it may function as a haven

Furthermore, the casualties are not only those who started a fire and that cannot now extinguish the same. This may be any form of rumour or issue that kindles a controversy or sparks communal violence. The scapegoats are the innocents who had no say in the matter, and they are the victims of the fire. They are also the ones that escape the war, for they reside in the shattered shell of its aftermath. They always experience the walls falling against them. These so-called diplomats remain smug in their rooms smoking. (J.P.Clark was also a diplomat).’Smoking’ apart from its literal meaning also connotes the means of alleviating tension using a short cut.

This stanza refers to the causalities of the war in an ironic and sarcastic stance. These so-called ‘casualties’ exist outside the scene of ravage and wreckage. Rather than being the emissaries of peace, they are the emissaries of rift. They are smug in room smoking. Here the term ‘smoking’ apart from its literal meaning may also connote the meaning of alleviating tension using an easy method. They cannot see the funeral fires consuming the forests or natural vegetation. They fail to have a far-sighted view. They are the wandering minstrels who beating on the drums of the human heart, taking advantage of human-sensitivity to certain issues. These drive humanity to a frenzy that is unfamiliar to its basic nature itself. These drums possess a power that overwhelms even guns.

We are thus caught in chaos of charges and counter-claims.

When not in the niche others have left,

We fall,

All casualties of the war,

The ‘niche’ referred to here is that of being “politically correct’. Only those who are politically correct, and are therefore in a ‘safe corner’. People are caught in the hatred of communities, or a cause that they see only the crowds. In a tumultuous situation nobody can hear each other speak. Nobody sees the innocent individual faces who are unnecessarily made the victims. This is very significant in the contemporary context of terrorism. To know or not know the extent of wrong on all the sides is not a matter of concern for them. ’We are characters now”: we do not have an existence of our own. Though we appear to be the “stay- at- home”, we are unsettled by rumours of inflation, taxation, rumours etc.

By taxes and rumor, the looter for office

And wares, fearful everyday the owners may return,

We are all casualties,

All sagging as are

The case celebrated for kwashiorkor,

The unforeseen camp follower of not just our war.

Kwashiorkor is the unseen camp follower of every war: a huge personification of all the deteriorating and devastating effects of the claustrophobic war. Kwashiorkor is an acute form of childhood protein-energy malnutrition. What the poet means to say that the war is like a disease afflicting a child, or a new generation at its very core. It is the children of today that is the future of tomorrow. Therefore the best way to win a war is to prevent it.

We have exhibited in the last few weeks again that all is not well in this political marriage, which at best is simply co-habitation and it is not mutual, at least amongst the very wild poor and the very rich on top. Again our comments have shown that we are symmetrically antagonistic groups trying hard to find a melting pot other than soccer, corruption and neglect by those we call leaders.

In the face of the current political contestations we continue to sugar coat the truth in the presence of the stark reality. We are cursed with a leadership that has long lost grasp of the issues, whether it is Goodluck Jonathan or Bestluck Buhari.

In the long term, while we head to the polls, there is no clear blueprint to address the developmental and poverty issues in Nigeria – such as security, education, water, health-care, desertification, jobs, housing, etc.

While we go to the polls, again we may be forced to watch helplessly as lives are primed short by senseless orgy of killings because X won, and Y did not.

Baring any miracle, we need to face it, people will be killed, maimed, and deaths that will not be protested, apart from public outcry which will not be loud. The government (whichever it is) will be silent, threatening fire and brimstone delivering none…, we all are casualties and will pay one way or the other, except baring a miracle, will there be any–Only time will tell

By Prince Charles Dickson

When I was a kid, phone calls were a premium commodity; only the very coolest kids had a phone line of their own, and long-distance phone calls were made after eleven, when the rates went down, unless you were flamboyant with your spending. Then phone calls became as cheap as dirt and as constant as rain, and I was on the phone all the time–Susan Orlean

In describing Nigeria recently I was told—“Big nation, Great people, but equally BIG problems”. Many times I would want to blank but clowns called leaders wont allow me blank, busy creating one unnecessary problem after another.

Let me take us back a little, in December 2009, a certain Mallam Tanimu Yakubu, and economic guru lied to an entire nation that the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua called key government officials, including then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, on phone and spoke for five minutes.

We are in March 2015, and after denials and counter denials by officials, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has said he is “highly embarrassed” that his officials said he had spoken to the Moroccan king when he had not.

Earlier last week, Morocco recalled its ambassador over the affair after the Nigerian foreign ministry insisted the two heads of state had spoken by phone.

Let me give us a brief– President Jonathan did confess that he had been trying to speak to various African leaders to seek their support for Nigeria’s candidate for the position of African Development Bank (AfDB) president.

20130810-150759.jpg

The President’s spokesperson Abati released a statement saying President Jonathan was “shocked, surprised and highly embarrassed by the controversy that has erupted” and that he had ordered the foreign affairs minister to find out how it had occurred.

“The regrettable furore that has developed over the matter is due entirely to misinformation as President Jonathan has neither spoken with King Mohammed or told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan monarch,” the statement said.

The Nigerian foreign ministry had said “both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern”.

Mr. Jonathan said he wanted the investigation “to identify all those who were responsible for the unacceptable act of official misinformation which has resulted in an unnecessary diplomatic row with another country and national embarrassment”.

Announcing the withdrawal of its ambassador, Morocco had condemned Nigeria’s “unethical practices” – saying the king had declined to talk to the Nigerian leader as it viewed the request to be part of the “internal electioneering”.

In 2009, the Yardy call was coming after 44 days, of ‘no speech’, ‘video call’ or ‘photograph’ from Jeddah, where the President was hospitalized. It was yet another spin…in a long drawer of plenty spins during that era, including that staged BBC interview too.

In that period we witnessed the mysteriously signed budget, Nigeria on terror list, sackings in the banking sector, fuel crisis and a nation practically on autopilot.

It was in that mood that Tanimu told us that the president called xyz, it was the era, the president could govern from anywhere, when some kitchen cabinet or cabal clerks flew kilometers around the globe to have Yardy sign the supplementary budget.

Then some ‘goons’ just jet in and out to everywhere and anywhere and tell us they just came in from Jeddah. Nobody told us till date, how much Yar’adua’s absence cost Nigerians. Travels, estacode, medical bills and the cost of all the lies.

Hear Yakubu… “He directed me to get the Attorney-General to intensify lobby for the passage of the anti-terrorism bill by the National Assembly which the President forwarded to the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives early October. He said that he would like it to be the first bill he assents to on his return to Nigeria.”

Laughable cock and bull story, in 44 days, “Mr. President also told me that he spoke to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan twice in the last five days,” he said. Errant nonsense, a nation as big as Nigeria, with all the problems, a president and vice has spoken twice in five days.

Yakubu was not specific on the date the President would return, because indeed he does not know, in the end, Yakubu added “In the last week, I have spoken to him on telephone countless number of times. Our conversations every time lasted more than five minutes”. Yar’adua did return, but we know the rest of the story!

Every issue that is raised in respect to moving our nation forward is narrowed down to north south, Christian-Muslim, however when our leaders steal, it has no coloration. My take is that the leaders of the country are only united in looting the state treasury. And then we fight across our naïve idiosyncrasies, while they watch us.

Then it was, Yar’adua needs rest, he is recuperating, he will return soon, but he could sign a supplementary budget, despite his fragile health, he read the document, understood it and signed it.

Today, Jonathan wanted to call the Moroccan king, to do this and do that—and next thing he did not call after all, and then an investigation into nothing has been ordered.

It is a shame, a nation reduced to ridiculous low, if it is not one PDP documentary, it would be one outrageous APC accusation.

Why are we always looking for other countries approval, and acceptance, why are we a timid people, why are we never doing the right things at home.

It’s our failure at home that has made U.S and Europe so relevant to us. We have to send our children there because the universities at home have failed. We have to look for jobs there because there are none at home. Some people even feel inferior to them and will rather live abroad at all cost- in their minds, by doing so, they’ve become superior human beings.

A great nation with wonderful people, some of the best brains in various spheres of life, yet governed by a few bunch of criminals. We keep allowing our leaders make the wrong call, for how long–Only time will tell

By Prince Charles Dickson

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
― Frederick Douglass

From the assassination of John F Kennedy to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. From Roswell, New Mexico, to Nasa’s moon landings. From the bloodline of Christ to the death of Elvis Presley, or The 9/11 Cover-Up, Area 51 and the Aliens, Paul Is Dead, Illuminati and the New World Order, Holocaust Revisionism, the CIA and AIDS and Drug trade, or how they are the brain behind ISIL, Boko Haram.

How about the Reptilian Elite, or the Moscow Bombings, Iran’s Lockerbie connection, Harold Wilson as a spy or Richard Nixon as a traitor? There are conspiracies, tales and stories about the recent missing planes.

In recent times there has been theories on how and what exactly Ebola was|is. Every major event of the last 2,000 years has prompted a conspiracy theory, or story.

Before you get bored, and wonder, what it is about the Nigerian elections and conspiracies–I would share my thoughts in the next few paragraphs.

crossroadd

Few years ago, there was June 12, the battle was between Moshood Abiola and Bashir Tofa, for students of politics, stomach infrastructure actually started in that era, with the “ABIOLA RICE, ABIOLA SALT, ABIOLA SUGAR AND MILK” but nothing stood out like the conspiracy of the holy book–

And I will tell you; the story was that Abiola was responsible for the sinking of several containers full of bible and the ship. Or that many stories of how he sponsored several coups across Africa, and ran deals for the Khaki boys.

No one can say which of these were true, concorted, or outrightly false. However one thing is a testament to fact–Forward to 2015, Nigeria is in an election year and month, and I dare say, an election that would define so many things for its statehood, and the conspiracy theorists are at work.

Did you hear the story of how IBB aka Maradona, helped GEJ in postponing the February love elections–after all there is a connect, when you look at Dasuki, former this and that to IBB and loyalists like Gusau, and the military chiefs.

How about that all the stories of PVCs selling for N10,000.00, my simple question is have you bought or sold one, and off course these are the days of tales of pastors and imams collecting billions.

I watched the Alimosho Local government dude, who was atop a horse, sprinkling blood and taking oath–The part I find really laughable is when he prays his “ancestors” to make EFCC forget and not see or chase him when he steals.

He only reminds me of the governor of one Southeastern state that was captured on Polaroid wearing a ‘Hingis’ panties at Okinja Shrine–He won the elections for the walls of Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

At the heart of the above tale, is did Tunde Bakare sign a pre-resignation letter, and has Osinbajo equally signed one.

How about the theory that my people (The northern nation) are about to be “played” another “Yar’adua” by the South and in this case Tinubu?

I was in a supposedly intelligent gathering and while eavesdropping on the discuss, it was about how Patience has no child, and that those kids you see on the First Family Portrait are kids from Diezani’s sister.

There are theories as the elections draw ever so close, like in Plateau, PDP candidate GNS Pwajok gave the outgoing governor Jonah Jang his kidney, but really who stole, is it Simon Lalong or Dariye, or no kidney missing, no money missing!

Do you know why Tinubu picked Ambode, instead of Sashore, or are you aware that Obasanjo is upset because of the fact that all his men have been relegated and enemies elevated?

How about that Islamization story thing, that Nigeria needs to get out of the OIC or the one about how Jonathan being a christian and his Christian brother from army chief Ihejerika planned and are carrying out the extermination of Northern Muslims.

Let me not bore us, on the NNPC missing monies, that is one conspiracy, true or false we never may know but it is as old as when Buhari was Petroleum Commissioner and those missing 2.something million dollars, and the PTF years–

How about the stories of how Mr. President, drinks a particular kind of brew and is half drunk–Before someone arrests me, I equally am told on one such occasion, Gen Danjuma retired, came visiting and barged in, on a drunk president. Okay that’s not true.

Then it is false too, that Buhari has testicular cancer, Tinubu smokes weed, Amaechi is gay, Atiku is wanted, Sambo is corrupt. Tinubu is controlling, will control Buhari, just as Patience is controlling Jonathan.

Fani-Kayode, Fayose, and Okupe will all need medical attention, while Lai Mohammed, and his crew will be at the left hand side of Yaba.

Professor Wole Soyinka, and Niyi Osundare, myself, you, and Nigerians can lament all we want, but we are moving into a poll where all that may have been discussed are not more than hearsays, rumors, conspiracies and tales by moonlight, at the expense of the real issues.

The politicians have kept us busy, they have equally increased the stakes in political extremism, the issues at the core of governance has been removed from the front burner, and we are left discussing religion, faith, corruption, when the principal discussants are corrupt elites with no faith.

I end with James Morcan, The Ninth Orphan where he states, “Democrats and Republicans were essentially the same party with different faces and that was why, no matter how many promises each leader made, significant change rarely transpired.”

We are all talking at the same time, very little is being said, we are not interrogating the change we want or the transformation we have—except we change, nothing will change, are we ready—Only time will tell

By Prince Charles Dickson

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. Adolph Hitler

Let me start this week’s admonition with this encounter–A young boy enters a barber’s shop where I was getting a haircut. Pointing at the boy, the barber whispers to me, “That is the dumbest kid in the whole world.

Watch while I prove it to you.” Then the Barber puts #200 note in one hand and a #50 note in the other hand. Then he calls the boy and asks him “which of these two do you want son?”

The boy picks the #50 note and leaves. The Barber says to me…”what did I tell you?”….”That kid will never learn!”

Later when I left the shop, I met the same boy coming out of the ice cream shop… “Hey, boy”, I called. “May I ask you a question?” Why did you take the #50 note instead of the #200 note?”

The boy licked his Ice cream, smiled and replied, “Because the day I take the #200 note, the game will end!

Like the boy, our elites and politicians know the game, they know our weakness, and they are winning again. They constitute less than 3% of the population but they are the tiny tin gods we have to obey. They are horse trading, exchanging carrots at our collective expense because they know us. They know most of us only want a measure of salt, rice, few yards of cotton materials with their heads on the fabrics.

They know the day the game will end. They have simply engaged us, as part of the game.

Both the APC and PDP know us, they know we cannot do without them, some of them feel without their heads, or mischievous smile on newspapers no one would buy or on televisions, we wont watch. They know we feel humbled when they tell us they care.

They know we are gullible, we love life and cannot resist their Isi Ewu and bottle of Gulder politics in the East, neither can we go far from the amala and obe ewedu welled laced with assorted beef in Ibadan, and for us up, the more Tuwo Shinkafa the more we nod positively to their lies. They tell us that it is about us, and when they get there would they still know us.

It is not raining now but they have offered their umbrellas when the rain comes, would they not come to collect back because they know us. Just like the brooms we would not see again when we need it most.

Do we know them, I doubt very much, although sadly when events are weighed vis a vis the past it is obvious that we know them, we just refuse to accept the truth.

They know us, so they are caressing us and in our foolishness we praise them to the high heaven. Saint Buhari, Pope Jonathan, they know that our poverty has driven us to the religious edge with churches and mosque everywhere so they target our beliefs and become spokespersons for gods only them see. We are again at the crossroads because we have refused to face reality, we pretend to know when we really do not know, when we know we refuse to talk and all these they know and use against us.

We think they are naive while infact they know we are the hungry ones that are happy rather than angry, they know in the midst of our struggles, problems and hardship when asked how we are, we still say ‘fine’. They know how docile we are, and how we cherish the little luxuries of life pinched to us rather than taking our right in whole.

They simply know way too much, so they manipulate us, make us worship them and make us glorify their stupidity. The Nigerian is peaceful, hospitable and friendly, not easily provoked, infact never provoked except when he is what I call ‘politicoreligionized’.

They know that we do not know, and even when we know we keep silent, so the maze continues, we keep going the vicious circle and still keep searching for what we did not loose. We do not know that we are part of the entire puzzle, we do not know why, but the okada rider would attend PDP rally, attend APC convention, and they know. So they owe us no explanation when they move from party to party because they will always have followership…it is poverty of the mind not just the pocket.

Many of us have in the run up to the March elections, severed relationships, opened sours, planted seeds of bitterness and nurtured discord, all because of a “thieving elite” class.

Many of us have been confused by the elitist slang and byline “CHANGE and TRANSFORMATION” which by the way mean almost the same thing, and we have not till date discussed the real issues.

For most of us, we believe that Jonathan is the best thing after slice bread and for the other divide that believe that Buhari is the messiah, I hate to burst the bubble, that the redemption of Nigeria does not lie in the current crop of cosmetic surgeons called APC and PDP.

We are the one that do not understand that PDP is struggling to keep its 60-year-old promise to hold power, and that APC is a re-congregation of same ilk.

It is the ordinary policeman that is being owed salaries; it is the ordinary Coca-Cola seller that lacks electricity to sell cold drinks.

It is the ordinary Nigerian that is scared of possible outbreak of violence, so he|she moves to the village, where there are no guarantees of safety, while the elite are hanging on the fringes of safety in some far way land.

We do not know our collective worth, we do not see our strength, they know so they exploit our weaknesses and always they win, like they are almost certain to do again. For how long, is there change in the horizon; is there anything to hold on to, are we going to be knowledgeable at least this once to change the course of our destiny? They know us, do we know them…

Let us start from today to see if we can remove the grass from the flowers…the future is bright and ours for the taking but then do we know or we want to leave it to them again—Only time will tell