Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time For Some Action

So the long-awaited verdict has finally come.According to the Presidential elections petition tribunal,Gen. Buhari(rtd) & Atiku had no substantial evidence to support their arguments against President Yar'adua's controversial election.As such,their petitions were flung out by the 4-member panel of judges.While the argument over whether our dear leader actually won the April 06 contest can linger on for years,one thing seems apparent to many.That is,the president had not made significant headway in the journey of transforming our country positively due to his concern about the goings-on at the tribunal.Some argue that since he wasn't 100% sure of his fate,he understandably wasn't as committed on the job.This could also have been a similar worry for his cabinet as well.
Well,if that's the case,i hope he can now get down to real & undistracted action as a result of yesterday's calming verdict.Action on crime,electricity,corruption,healthcare,the economy and so on.Basically,positive leadership by example.These are the things that matter most to a vast majority of citizens.Even though he may not have received their votes last spring,he owes us all sound,purposeful and transparent leadership.To be honest,if the tribunal had overturned the president's election,that would have had a significantly negative impact on the country in general and caused ripple effects in practically every aspect of our human life.
Come May,Mr. President would have spent a year in office already.Yes,time flies.But for the millions of impoverished nigerians out there,it's as slow as a snail.Same with his impact on the nation thus far.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hard,But Not Impossible

The list is seemingly endless. Amy Whinehouse, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, River Phoenix, Eva Mendes, Anna Nicole Smith,James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Heath Ledger and so on. I’m referring to the names of young celebrities who seem to have succumbed to the pressure of fame and fortune. Those who have been linked with various forms of addiction like drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs and generally controversial lifestyles.To be honest, one knows that it’s extremely hard to stay normal when one becomes a rich celebrity.One who has people constantly screaming and taking pictures at the mere sight of you. Let’s not forget all the glitz, glamour, partying, vanity, women, men that comes with the occupation. Till one is faced with such circumstances, it’s tough to categorically say we won’t fall under the same spell and addiction.However, there are many more in showbiz who have not let themselves get caught up with such negativity. An example that regularly comes to my mind is actor/rapper Will Smith. Despite years of success in the both the music & movie industry, along with a $20m a film paycheck, the 39-year old father from Philly has refused to have himself linked with any negative story or scandal. Happily married to fellow actress Jada Pinkett Smith, the ‘Fresh Prince’ has ensured that his private business stayed private and has also impressively abstained from circumstances/temptations that can lead a celebrity to ruins via scandals,drugs, alcohol & prescription drug addictions. As I say in casual conversations I have with people about young Hollywood and its scandals, if a movie star knows that going to a paparazzi-laden popular club in Beverly Hills would lead to several ‘unflattering’ pictures/reports all over the global press the next day, then simply do not go there. Same with patronising drug & groupie-infested hang-outs.That simple.If you choose to, then expect the good & bad things associated with it.
Parents of these young stars also have a key & moral role to play in their children’s lives, especially in their public conduct .However, it seems most are engrossed in their offspring’s wealth and as such lose focus in handling their parenting obligations (some probably out of fear of being sidelined financially by the family’s golden egg).
My biggest worry with people like Britney, Lindsay and Amy is that all this crazy behaviour they’ve become accustomed to could lead to tragic conclusions. By then, it would have been too late (sadly) for those concerned to do anything about it. The fatal consequences that befell the promising, 24-year old James Dean in the 50s and River Phoenix (aged 23) is an unfortunate reminder of how things could potential go if young, enormously talented actors and musicians fail to get an urgent grip(with the help of family & 'true' friends,of course).
Will, how about giving some private tutorials/tips to your peers?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The current U.S. presidential nomination race has generated an unprecedented amount of interest from millions across the world. While the objective is to select the two individuals who would slug it out in the battle to become America’s 44th president come November, this year's event is significantly different. Admittedly,although the fact that an african-american and a female are involved in this contest adds to the fascination, there’s a major reason why people across the globe have been glued to the exciting developments, and a record volume of americans are casting their votes in the on-going primaries. That reason is a man from Texas called George W.Bush,the current occupier of the White House, whom many can’t wait to see leave office next January. America doesn’t seem to have endured tougher times in recent memory. The economy’s almost in a recession, the enormous respect they received from the international community for many years has plummeted to almost rock-bottom levels and they are involved in an unnecessary,expensive & casualty-ridden war in Iraq. Defense analysts estimate the Iraqi occupation to cost the U.S. government about $200,000 per minute. That’s every 60 seconds, folks. Astonishing.
President Bush’s previously impressive approval ratings plunged to about 24% late last year, an all-time low since Nixon’s tenure. Americans are fed up of the mess they’ve endured in the last 7 yrs under the Texas native's leadership. Foreigners are also eager for his departure. His administration has made far more enemies than friends, both home and abroad.
As such, it seems the primary reason for the huge voter turnout experienced since the current nomination process began is this: Many americans feel that their non-chalance/abstinence during the last elections in 2004 gave Bush a victory that they clearly see, with hindsight, was a disaster for their country in almost all aspects .Be it the Economy, international PR, war commitments, Healthcare and so on. A total failure. They also nostalgically remember the impressive legacy of George W. Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton. A presidency where peace reigned, America was loved,respected and 10 million jobs were created in the 8-year reign of the charismatic, Oxford-schooled man from Arkansas. Therefore, American citizens have decided not to let those dark days resurface again by getting actively involved in determining a successor who’ll rescue them from their existing Hell.
One thing’s for sure after next January’s swearing-in-ceremony for Bush’s successor. No matter who wins, everyone would be happy. The Joker from Texas would have been confined to history.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Had No Right

The extremely deep & talented hip-hop/soul duo PM Dawn,popularly known for tracks like ‘I’d Die without You’ and ‘Looking through Patient Eyes’ is the catalyst for this particular piece. As a big fan of theirs, i expectedly happen to like most of their music. One particular song that really does it for me is the incredibly honest (& melodic) song ’I Had No Right’, a beautiful written composition that has the large lead-singer, Prince Be, apologising to his kid for bringing him to this world ‘Knowing what he knows, feeling the way he feels, being so confused…’.Now, while his thoughts in the song seemed directed at global affairs or his shortcomings as a father, I couldn’t help but look at it from a singular perspective. From the angle of a mother directing similar comments/regrets to her infant. As in, from her knowledge of what the world is tragically like today. I guess it could go a bit like this:
I had no right bringing you here…to a world of suffering
….to a world of blatant corruption
…to a world of prejudice and outright racism
…to a world of people blowing themselves up and taking innocent people along with them
….to a world where,sadly,hard work doesn’t always pay
…to a world of treachery, betrayal, wickedness a world where people have short memories and quickly forget where they came from a world where most things don’t work as they should a world where an unelected president can ‘win’ an election and lead 100 million people who don’t seem to care/mind
…to a world where people can be passive to the mess in government despite its obvious impact in every aspect of their own live a world where people would use you, lie to you, cheat you and desert you when things are rough a world where people practically worship worldly items and valuable possessions a world where people would always let you down a world where half of your so-called friends could actually be enemies
…to a world of perpetual eye-service in every aspect of our daily lives . a world where people who are meant to protect us are paid peanuts like they don’t matter.
…to a world where 1 + 1 doesn’t always give you 2
…to a world where some would read this and not think about it for more 2 seconds, despite its honesty.
Personally,I feel the main message parents should tell their kids, i.e. when they reach the mental stage of understanding, is that it’s a cruel world they’ve come into. And that’s it’s anything but a Bed of Roses (No need beating around the bush, people).
PM Dawn’s 1988 album title adequately summarized Prince Be’s similar regrets with a direct message to his young son, Christian. It simply says ‘Dearest Christian, I’m so very sorry for bringing you here.Love,Dad’…Many people probably are as well, Prince Be.

Monday, February 4, 2008

To Those....

It’s really tough being good,kind or morally upright these days. There’s so much hardship,many personal difficulties & an overwhelming temptation to do wrong that one almost understands when people falter. It’s simply based on the aforementioned that I’ve decided to dedicate this piece to people who I feel deserve some recognition. Although they are not famous or influential individuals, they are worthy of being appreciated for the things they’ve done and for what some of them, respectably, haven’t done. So here goes my personal appreciation:
1.To those ladies at the Modupe Cole Memorial Home for the Disabled & Mentally Challenged in Yaba.I constantly think of the day I paid a visit there last year. I could only last for about 45mins.However,most of these female workers have worked with the home's inhabitants for as long as 15 years.15 years of washing their clothes,cooking,cleaning up their mess, playing with them and consistently being there for these unfortunate children who are, quite honestly, difficult to look at. Many of us don’t even feel comfortable letting them touch us. That is a job many wouldn’t even do for $200,000 dollars a year. The Modupe Cole staff are a true gift to humanity.
2.To those young men and women who sell recharge cards & hawk goods in traffic each day. In the burning heat of Lagos, these desperate individuals would rather hustle through life legimately, instead of resort to crime like many have done as a quick fix for their hardship. I can’t imagine how it must feel selling plantain chips, credit, rat poison etc on the road for several hours each day. All the more difficult as they try to market these goods to men and women sitting comfortably in their air-conditioned flashy cars, while they themselves are almost boiling & fagged out from all the trekking. How many items do they successfully sell each day, after all that input? I must confess, that is commendable indeed.
3.Lastly, to those 3 nigerian strangers who helped me out when I had some car trouble many years ago. They worked for 2 hours trying to get the car to start, like their life depended on it.Shockingly, they refused to accept one kobo from me, despite my persistent offer. To the extent I thought they could be dubious people who had planned for their 'hidden' cohorts to waylay me shortly after the car would stop a few minutes later. It was too good to be true.With every attempt i made to convince them,they simply said ‘Don’t worry sir. We are okay’. Up till this minute,I can’t understand why they refused to take my money as a show of gratitude for their hardwork.In this country where nothing goes for nothing,even in some friendships.
To these people and everyone else who regularly does the right thing , I say a huge thank you. Your reward is definitely coming someday.Definitely.
In closing, my main prayer is that we are blessed with many more people like them in our society. Please answer me, dear Lord.