Friday, October 23, 2009

Two Score and Nine years Gone…Who shall we SEND?

It was the eve of another God given day, and I think it was just too early for a phone call. Why on earth should this call come in at this time when am seriously engrossed in the words of Martin Luther King Junior, the man who made the historic “I HAVE A DREAM” speech. (His speech expressed the hopes of the civil rights movement in a manner that has enshrined it as one of the most revolutionary speeches of all times.) and I least expected any distraction whatsoever when this call came in.

The voice I heard on the other side of the phone was not just impressive, after a brief discussion, he sounded so disgruntled, irritated, angry, or better put Resentful. “…This Country is finished, I doubt if anything good can ever come out of it, our leaders are sick and wicked that is why the system is sick and hostile, I wish I was not a Nigerian, I wonder why God is punishing me like this?”

These are words from a long time accumulated anger ranging from Governments inability to provide Electricity, Water, Good roads, Jobs, Security of lives and properties, Education, Governments penchant for corruption and outright disregard for the rule of law. Total neglect of the fundamental rights of children. These words come from a victim of this failed system.

The good and interesting point here is that a major problem has been Identified, “Leadership”, which shows that we at least know where our problem lies. According to late Jules Masserman, (An American Psychoanalyst), leaders must fulfill three major objectives ranging from, providing for the well being of the led, provision of a social environment where people will feel secure to ultimately inspiring hope in the belief of a better tomorrow. A little look at the leadership of Nigeria, one will find our leaders wanting in all the above. This shows there is an urgent need for an immediate change in the leadership of our country. Having identified the problem, we cannot continue complaining, the big question is “Who will bell the cat?”

What we need right now are men and women who will lead the new generation of Nigerians just like the Indian nationalist leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, one of the most influential practitioners of nonviolent resistance, used a unique combination of spiritual and political pressure to achieve humanitarian ends. His early efforts, in colonial South Africa, greatly improved the conditions of Indians living there;

Like Rosa Parks took it upon herself to lead the resistance of racial discrimination refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her action led to the Montgomery bus boycott, an organized, citywide protest against segregation that used nonviolent tactics. This act of defiance opened a decisive chapter in the civil rights movement in the United States;

Like Martin Luther King Jnr. who led other black leaders to organize the 1963 March on Washington, a massive protest in Washington, D.C., for jobs and civil rights which is believed to have paved way for the emergence of a black President in the United States;

Like Nelson Mandela, who by the late 1950s, with Oliver Tambo and others, moved the ANC in a more militant direction against the increasingly discriminatory policies of the government which kick started the apartheid struggle;

Like Jerry Rawlings, who led several economic and political revolutions in Ghana that has placed the country as one of Africa’s leading political and socio-economic nations;

like Late Chief Ghani Fawehinmi, (Defender of the Defenseless and Senior Advocate of the Masses) who apart from organizing peaceful rallies targeted at resisting bad government policies, used his own personal resources to utilize the due process of the law to challenge perceived illegalities and unconstitutional policies.

The list of reformers is endless, and like each and every one of them, we are faced with a system that has not been able to meet our expectations, but like the Prophet Isaiah said, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Find “X”!

The death of Edward “Ted” Kennedy really came across to me with a big shock, a rude one like my Jamaican friends would say.

I didn’t really know much about him but I know a little of his political build up. He was ranked as one of America’s most experienced Senators but could not get a shot at the presidency largely due to the Chappaquiddick incident.

In July of 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne's (a former campaign worker for the assassinated U.S Senator, Robert F. Kennedy) body was discovered inside an overturned Oldsmobile belonging to Edward “Ted” Kennedy under water in a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts.

After the body was found, Kennedy gave a statement to police saying that on the previous night he had taken a wrong turn and accidentally driven his car off a bridge into the water. Later, he plead guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury; he received a suspended sentence.

The incident became a national scandal and may have affected the Senator's decision not to run for President of the United States in 1972 against the back drop of his elder brothers thought and belief that he was actually the one blessed with the richest political talent. He is the last of the Kennedy’s to bid us farewell.

This family lived all their lives thinking and being Americans. I remember Teds remark at Robert Kennedy’s burial “My brother should not be Idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; he is to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it” I wish I will have the opportunity of repeating these words by his grave one day as my tribute to the last of the Kennedy’s. I can just imagine the smiles on the faces of the Kennedy’s waiting to welcome their Kid brother and probably have a report on how he handled the Crown.

The Kennedy’s are some of the many Americans who over time built up a legacy that will live centuries after they have gone, I can confidently say that just for bearing that name Kennedy there are certain values expected of you in the United States, these are men who lived there lives adding values to peoples lives and fighting causes that will benefit the unborn and for that reason the world is celebrating their existence and mourning their exit.

No wonder an average American is so proud of himself. I can imagine how proud I would have been if I had a role call of Founding fathers like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jnr., John F. Kennedy etc, men whose existence affected the life of generations, men whose contributions to government, produced a system that delivers to the people, men who answered the call for there existence and left with the hope of having people follow that path.

But then I am not American, so unlike the American who can boast of high ranking founding fathers, I do not have much to boast of, other than the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balwa and a few etc, but an orphan should not deny himself the right of fatherhood, because then his existence shall not be recorded by anyone.
Like the great men of the past, we should be on a quest to find the Mathematical ‘X’ which I consider the reason for our existence. The process of finding the value of ‘X’ has never been a fun filled trip, ranging from nursery to primary through secondary and finally down to the tertiary institution. It is a journey you can not run away from. These men of old at every point in there lives realized that their existence would only make real meaning if and only if they took steps to right the wrongs of human existence, steps to make life easier for the people. The value of our ‘X’ should be the words on the lips of the generation we leave behind, it should be the legacy we leave on the sands of time. Like Naomi Rhode once said, “We can’t all leave a prestigious background or lots of money to visit our children, but we can leave them a legacy of love” and in the words of Benjamin Disraeli, “ The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example”

The final question will be to find ‘X’, to identify what our legacy will be when we are gone, how many lives have we been able to affect knowing that our lives are not just measured in terms of our achievements, Inspirations, Aspirations, Joys or Sorrows but most of all by our contributions to the happiness of our fellow men.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

“Se na so we go de dey?”

“Every generation out of relative obscurity will discover its mission, it either fulfills it or destroys it…” These where the words of frank fanon, the words that kept ringing in my head one faithful night.

It all started while I was lying down in my room after an evening shower, trying to reminisce on how my day had gone at the office and wondering how many hours I had left to continue this rat race the next day.

Quite expectedly, PHCN struck as usual. The quiet environment, previously filled with this heavenly decorum went agog with noise from the most important gadget in most Nigerian homes (The Generator). It was so dark and gradually getting hot, so I had to get my small generator working (I Pass my neighbor). Moreover, I had lots of work to conclude before sleeping.

I was in a very relaxed mood, playing some light music while putting things together when I heard a knock on my door. With a glance at the door, I saw it was my very good friend (guess he knew I needed company). He was holding an audio compact disc in his hand and it happened to be Wande Coal’s album, titled M2M. An album I had so much longed to listen to. Without waste of time, we immediately got the album playing and went into some discussions until this particular track three titled “Se na like this” caught our attention. I was sent into a serious thought as I heard these lines:

“…I no fit wait make things for change…once upon a time them tell us say $1 equals N1, once upon a time people go travel from Lagos to London them no need Visa, once upon a time, you go graduate from school government go give you car, now every thing don dabaru”

What was I thinking? I was actually wondering if these stories he was referring to where myths or stories told at bed time. They where neither myths nor bed time stories, they where stories even our own parents, uncles and aunties told us. We still hear them today. They are stories of the good old times when Nigeria was the giant of Africa, when Nigeria was one of the worlds biggest exporters of Palm products, Cocoa, Coal, Tin etc, when Corruption in which ever form was a sacrilege, when schools where funded and teachers and lecturers did not know the word STRIKE, when students graduated without delay, when jobs where created and electricity was not held by anybody, when lives and properties where fully secured.

At this point, the big question struck me, “Must we remain like this?” Wande Coal said he couldn’t wait to see things change, so do I and I guess, so do all Nigerians. We need to get back to the old popular saying that charity begins at home. In the words of Professor Wole Soyinka, “unless we are singularly shortsighted and confess no further interest in the kind of society that must be raised on the ashes of this one, it is obvious that certain foundations must be raised.” These foundations must be raised by us individually, it must be raised by us collectively, because it behoves on our generation to leave a lasting legacy for the generation yet unborn.
In answering that question, knowing quite well that we won’t continue like this, I did what Nigerians are best known for, I turned to God.

I prayed that God will make my generation know they are the heart beat of this nation, I prayed that God will provide distinguished persons and worthy leaders who will join me to lead my generation (you laugh).

Leaders who will remain true nationalists and just defenders of our common cause of building an egalitarian society. Leaders who will remain unrepentant vanguards of peace and guardians of justice. Leaders who will divorce themselves from irresponsible acts of violence, corruption and vandalism. Leaders who will remain models of professional and academic excellence. Leaders who will have a clear vision for this nation. Leaders who will make a positive change. Leaders who will show us where we are going. Leaders who will assume responsibilities. Leaders whose inspirations of living will lie in the hope that they will leave this world better than they met it. Leaders who will say “Amen” with me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


“Thinking is a human endeavour to capture reality with the use of ideas”
Idea has been defined by many as a thought or conception that potentially exists in the mind as a product of mental activity, some call it an opinion, conviction, or principle, and others say it is a plan, scheme or method. Plato defined it as an archetype of which a corresponding being in phenomenal reality is an imperfect replica. Hegel called it “absolute truth”; the complete and ultimate product of reason.
Definitions apart, ideas that do not see the light of the day can be considered totally null and void, it is of no effect like the lawyers would say. It is a known fact that anything that is vividly imagined, sincerely desired, religiously believed and enthusiastically acted upon must inevitably come to pass. Such is the case of those ideas that actually rule the world. They come to pass.
The kind of thoughts we entertain, greatly influence the people around us positively or negatively. We are constantly surrounded by commercial images that propel us to think. It can influence every aspect of our lives. The power of an idea is one of the most important human qualities. It's free and subject to no rules or law. The power of an idea can make a person believe he is terminally sick or healthy. It does not matter where the ideas come from, and it doesn't matter whether they are right or wrong, once an idea is in your head, it will rule your world (Good ideas are the vaccination against bad decisions). They take us beyond the realm of what is available to us and gradually moves us to a realm beyond belief.
No human advancement has ever occurred, except as a result of ideas of men and women who possess ideas that no one else could. It is these men, in spite of criticism that stood their ground to bring us the incredible. The world’s greatest inventions and history’s greatest revolutions have come from these few people. From thoughts come ideas and from ideas come new inventions and businesses, some of which include: the Crayola brand crayons, started as a need for a child friendly school instrument, Post It Notes, was one of the created "failures" in a series of experiments in trying to create a heavy adhesive. Allen Breed invented the Car Airbags which uses a crash sensor to trigger a rapid expansion to protect you from the impact of an accident (In 1971, The Ford car company built an experimental airbag fleet). Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the airplane, which they preferred to call a "flying machine." Charles Proteus Steinmetz developed theories on alternating current that allowed for the rapid expansion of the electric power industry. Charles Martin Hall discovered the electrolytic method of producing aluminum cheaply and brought the metal into wide commercial use. Danish engineer, Valdemar Poulsen invented the arc transmitter in 1902. The arc transmitter, contrary to all previous types of radio transmitters in history, generated continuous radio waves.Willem Kolff invented both the first artificial heart and the first artificial kidney dialysis machine.

Our ideas are a preview of our hopes and aspirations they are a glimpse of the limitless potentials we possess in a world fraught with limitations. Society places individual boundaries around us within which we are expected to function. Leaving these boundaries fills our environment with a sense of unease as it suddenly looses grip on our limitations.

It is a clear fact that the suggestion of an idea is highly related to individual thoughts generated by the urgent need to make life easier by creating a better world. This is hinged on the belief that an inventive society will breed inventive people who will determine the destiny of the world they leave in.

Ideas may not always be popular, but they invariably rule the world.

Who would quarrel with the idea that ideas themselves are the most powerful currency in the new world of business? The real fight is over who controls them. You or I? The choice is yours.