Grateful and Blessed.
Last week Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai held a town hall meeting and rolled out his plan for an exciting tenure. This I must say is a welcome development and it would help Nigeria return to the path of greatness..
Read from him…….
I welcome you all with humility and gratitude to the very first Town Hall meeting we are hosting as a government. It is not yet one month since we were sworn-in, but to the extent that it has pleased Allah to bestow His grace upon us, we have set about doing the work of change that you mandated us to do.
During the campaign, we promised that we shall be engaging and interacting with the public regularly. We pledged that we will provide you regular updates and listen to your feedback, including criticisms and suggestions. Here we are before you today to do as we pledged. As we have started, so we intend to continue, always striving to get better at achieving results.
Immediately after we were sworn-in on 29 May 2015, we reported for duty with the sense of urgency that you demanded. As we expected, we met a state that is broke, and whose schools, hospitals and roads are in poor shape. We knew that a lot of sacrifice will be required to restore the state to good health. This government’s priority is actually growth and development in a safe and secure environment; because we understand that the things that matter are the public goods of quality schools, decent hospitals and good roads; we know that leaders must pursue the creation of a climate that promotes security, social harmony and is therefore conducive to bringing jobs and economic opportunity. Thus our first step was to announce that the deputy-governor and I will be taking a 50% pay cut.
As we took briefings from the ministries, departments and agencies in our very first week, the depth of the financial problem became clearer to us as well as the impact the decades of impunity have had on the mental attitudes of the institutions that constitute the public service. As one astute observer of the situation commented recently, the public service does not serve the public; rather it considers itself as the public and thus serves only itself. Continue reading
8pm Saturday night, the world…well the football world was all set and ready for the epic final of the UEFA Champions League between FC Barcelona and Juventus. I had for long waited for this and was settled in, the match was spot on….referee decisions were accurate and decisive from the world class referee Cüneyt Çakır .
The match lived up to expectation and as predicted Barca would take it all, the mistake I suppose Juventus made was placing all focus on Messi….(well who won’t) and they lost other players as Suarez sealed his first season in Spain with a goal in the UCL finals.
On the night it ended 3-1 in favour of FC Barcelona with Rakitic, Suarez and Neymar on the score sheet for Barcelona and Alvaro Morata hit the bulls eye for Juventus only goal.
The biggest lesson I learnt that day was there is always a huge stage to celebrate Jesus. Neymar scored the third goal just a few minutes after one of his goal was disallowed. He knelt down after the final whistle and cried I supposed in appreciation to God.
Neymar afterwards tied a head band with a clear inscription 100% JESUS. Now this is a high level of evangelism I’ve seen in a long time. The estimated global audience was put at about N390 million viewers worldwide. Now imagine how many people Neymar ministered to in the last few minutes of the presentation ceremony. The head band was clear and giving all praise to God. It could only be Him, Jesus was responsible for the victory, and he showed the world the secret of his success. Apparently he had done this since his childhood playing career. Imagine 380 million worldwide viewers reading that head band and getting the message. How many of you give it to God on the world stage, that moment when you are receiving ovation and you have a bunch of eyes and ears looking and listening at you…..would you bring God in at that moment?
My prayer, Lord Jesus, at the peak of my life, career and achievements, when the world’s ovation is deafening loud, help me to always remember you my source. I want to give 100% appreciate and submit all to you my leader. I am just your vessel for expression.
Brief on Neymar
“At the age of 19, Neymar won the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year award, after coming third in 2010. He followed this up by winning it again in 2012. In 2011 Neymar received nominations for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, where he came 10th and the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year, which he won. He is known for his acceleration, dribbling skills, finishing and ability with both feet. His playing style has earned him critical acclaim, with fans, media and former players drawing comparison to former Brazil forward Pelé, who has called Neymar “an excellent player”, while Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi have stated “he will be the best in the world”.
Neymar joined Santos in 2003 and, after rising through the ranks, was promoted to their first team squad. He made his debut for Santos in 2009 and was voted the Best Young Player of the 2009 Campeonato Paulista. Further awards followed, with Neymar being voted best player as Santos won the 2010 Campeonato Paulista, and also being top scorer in the 2010 Copa do Brasil with 11 goals. He finished the 2010 season with 42 goals in 60 games, as his club achieved the Double. Neymar was again voted best player of the year in 2011 as Santos retained the state title and also won the 2011 Copa Libertadores in which Neymar scored six goals in 13 appearances. He also played a key role in securing a Continental Double, Santos’ first since 1963. Neymar received the Bronze Ball in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, with Santos reaching the final, where they were defeated 4–0 by Barcelona.”
Once again I say big Congratulations to you on winning the Presidential election, achieving a feat no one has done in Nigeria or maybe Africa at large. I would have trekked all the way to Abuja to personally shake hands with you but the roads are not so safe and my Zulu is pretty young so I have to do this in writing.
However as I write you this letter, my keyboard is almost soaked from the tears dripping down my eyes, yes I write in pain as the task ahead of you seems like the steepest hill in our generation and the point where our country needs a total re-haul. You came in when the debt incurred almost towers the Kilimanjaro, like a sheep set for the slaughter you are taking reigns and like you have constantly reminded Nigerians that you are not a magician, and you do not have magic wands to turn us around in a flash. Despite your victory, it seems a little sour cos . “We can’t afford to do this again,” I said to myself, knowing well the energy and money I had invested in the electoral defeat of the incumbent president (mainly buying data to share my personal opinions on twitter, Facebook and my Blog).
I want to specifically remind you this on the eve of your inauguration that you have promised to CHANGE Nigeria and restore all the years of decay, yes you have inherited a broken country, a divided people and most especially a weak economy and yes we know it is surely going to be tough but please take it easy and from time to time I know you would ask yourself how come you struggled so hard to inherit this trash. Yes you have won, congrats but the only thing that would keep you there is performance and trust me in 2019 it would be easier voting you out if we don’t smell fresh air. I only pity those who also won in their respective states and refuse to move a muscle after 4 years, they would go. They also chanted CHANGE and promised competent governance, we would regularly update their scorecard for them. It would be most difficult for the likes of Akinwunmi Ambode who inherited a brilliant Lagos nurtured by an amazing Governor. Babatunde Fashola lived up to his promises by investing well in infrastructure and human capital; I almost forgot alternative revenue for the state. The reliance on the center was little. Continue reading
It feels good to be back blogging after a few days away, i have been trying to drop my thoughts on the Mayweather/ Pacquioa fight and how i felt, my BBM and Facebook page saw a lot of traffic after my comments on the poor fulfillment of the expectations of the match, but apparently I needed a bit to know on the game of boxing.
My big buddy Akpo’s Adonkie filled me in with this write up, thought I should share it..
I still don’t remember ever staying up all night for a boxing match except for this one. Not even when Mike Tyson was at his ‘baddest’. I was fascinated by two things: the hype surrounding the event with the possibility of the two fighters taking home a pay of about $100m each and the person of Manny Pacquiao. To me, he is quite an interesting character. He is a politician, having been elected to the Phillipines House of Representatives, a basketball player, an actor and a musician. He is the head coach of a basket ball team as well as oldest rookie drafted and the shortest player in the Phillipines Basketball Association. He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserve Army of his country. He is the first and only eight division world champion in boxing. So I rooted for him as I usually do for the ‘under-dog’.
As for Floyd Mayweather, I didn’t think much of him except that he is a ‘showman’ through and through. My heart was with Manny Pacquiao all through the match but there’s no denying the fact that Mayweather won fair and square.
So what are my take-aways from this match and how can we apply it to real life situations? Here we go:
MAKE EACH PUNCH COUNT
Mayweather threw 435 punches to Pacquiao’s 429. Out of these, 148 punches connected for Mayweather while Pacquiao could only connect 81. Implication is that while both fighters threw almost equal amount of punches (Mayweather threw only 6 more punches than Pacquaio), the rate of connection for Mayweather was almost twice that of Pacquaio with the former having a 34% success rate while the latter had 19% success rate. Success in life goes beyond mere efforts. Nobody rewards you for efforts but results. Anyone can throw punches but only the truly successful will connect. The reward never goes to the one who made more efforts. The difference between success and failure can simply be the fact that you throw a bit more punches than competition. Continue reading
A few days ago, there arose a Twitter storm of apocalyptic proportions over news that a young “secular” artiste was invited to sing during a church service. The young artiste is a Christian and the song performed was from his title album, God Win. One must assume that a song titled “God Win” sang in a church setting seemed most appropriate, but these are curious times.
There are many choruses that echo the same sentiment, some using exact same words yet there were a lot of issues raised. The very notion that a non-gospel artiste had been invited to “minister” in church consternated many. And not a few were peeved that the artiste in question performed from the “altar” – a most holy place. And how can an “entertainer” be invited to minister to “the people of God”, some wondered, with righteous and not so righteous indignation. Even the Pastor was not spared. What was his motivation? There was no shortage of opinion, aspersions and castigations. And there was no shortage of exegetes misquoting scriptures. Were Jesus on Earth he would have had to up his signature command of nature to calm the storm. He couldn’t do a reprise. This was no watery issue. But lurking somewhere in the sea was the leviathan of the fundamental challenge as to whether a Christian artiste can even do secular music. It’s not exactly a new issue. The Amy Grants of this world faced that same challenge in the 80s. It’s as if someone somewhere is instigating topical conundrum in generational cycles.
An analytical perusal of the issues however shows a confliction in knowledge on many levels. The idea for example that the “altar” is “sacred” betrays a mix-up in understanding between the concept of the temple in the New Testament and the concept of the temple in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the temple was a building. It was basically partitioned into two parts – the Outer Court and the Tabernacle. The Outer Court contained the Table, Lampstand and Altar of Incense. The congregation could enter here. The Tabernacle was in turn divided into two parts by a heavy hanging curtain – the Holy Place in which only priests from the tribe of Levi could enter; and the Holy of Holies in which resided the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and he did so once a year, on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. The High Priest must make atonement for himself before he entered the Holy of Holies. He would die otherwise. The sacrifice was his life insurance policy. And since no one can enter the Holy of Holies to retrieve his body, tradition says a scarlet rope was tied on his ankle. Small bells were also sewed around the helm of his robe. A priest in the Holy Place tended to the other end of the rope. He would drag him out by the rope in case something went wrong. If the bells stopped jiggling the priest knew something was wrong. You served God with your life as High Priest. Continue reading
This story has been making rounds for days now and typical of Nigerians, we make a joke out of everything, twitter almost went down the day the news broke and since then we have heard all sorts, well i read from Nigerians super writer Chimamanda Adichie and i could not help but share her piece on my blog. The below is her view on the sad comments from the Oba of Lagos.
A few days ago, the Oba of Lagos threatened Igbo leaders. If they did not vote for his governorship candidate in Lagos, he said, they would be thrown into the lagoon. His entire speech was a flagrant performance of disregard. His words said, in effect: I think so little of you that I don’t have to cajole you but will just threaten you and, by the way, your safety in Lagos is not assured, it is negotiable.
There have been condemnations of the Oba’s words. Sadly, many of the condemnations from non-Igbo people have come with the ugly impatience of expressions like ‘move on,’ and ‘don’t be over-emotional’ and ‘calm down.’ These take away the power, even the sincerity, of the condemnations. It is highhanded and offensive to tell an aggrieved person how to feel, or how quickly to forgive, just as an apology becomes a non-apology when it comes with ‘now get over it.’
Other condemnations of the Oba’s words have been couched in dismissive or diminishing language such as ‘The Oba can’t really do anything, he isn’t actually going to kill anyone. He was joking. He was just being a loudmouth.’
Or – the basest yet – ‘we are all prejudiced.’ It is dishonest to respond to a specific act of prejudice by ignoring that act and instead stressing the generic and the general. It is similar to responding to a specific crime by saying ‘we are all capable of crime.’ Indeed we are. But responses such as these are diversionary tactics. They dismiss the specific act, diminish its importance, and ultimately aim at silencing the legitimate fears of people.
We are indeed all prejudiced, but that is not an appropriate response to an issue this serious. The Oba is not an ordinary citizen. He is a traditional ruler in a part of a country where traditional rulers command considerable influence – the reluctance on the part of many to directly chastise the Oba speaks to his power. The Oba’s words matter. He is not a singular voice; he represents traditional authority. The Oba’s words matter because they are enough to incite violence in a political setting already fraught with uncertainty. The Oba’s words matter even more in the event that Ambode loses the governorship election, because it would then be easy to scapegoat Igbo people and hold them punishable.
Nigerians who consider themselves enlightened might dismiss the Oba’s words as illogical. But the scapegoating of groups – which has a long history all over the world – has never been about logic. The Oba’s words matter because they bring worrying echoes of the early 1960s in Nigeria, when Igbo people were scapegoated for political reasons. Chinua Achebe, when he finally accepted that Lagos, the city he called home, was unsafe for him because he was Igbo, saw crowds at the motor park taunting Igbo people as they boarded buses: ‘Go, Igbo, go so that garri will be cheaper in Lagos!’
Of course Igbo people were not responsible for the cost of garri. But they were perceived as people who were responsible for a coup and who were ‘taking over’ and who, consequently, could be held responsible for everything bad.
Any group of people would understandably be troubled by a threat such as the Oba’s, but the Igbo, because of their history in Nigeria, have been particularly troubled. And it is a recent history. There are people alive today who were publicly attacked in cosmopolitan Lagos in the 1960s because they were Igbo. Even people who were merely light-skinned were at risk of violence in Lagos markets, because to be light-skinned was to be mistaken for Igbo.
Almost every Nigerian ethnic group has a grouse of some sort with the Nigerian state. The Nigerian state has, by turns, been violent, unfair, neglectful, of different parts of the country. Almost every ethnic group has derogatory stereotypes attached to it by other ethnic groups.
But it is disingenuous to suggest that the experience of every ethnic group has been the same. Anti-Igbo violence began under the British colonial government, with complex roots and manifestations. But the end result is a certain psychic difference in the relationship of Igbo people to the Nigerian state. To be Igbo in Nigeria is constantly to be suspect; your national patriotism is never taken as the norm, you are continually expected to prove it.
All groups are conditioned by their specific histories. Perhaps another ethnic group would have reacted with less concern to the Oba’s threat, because that ethnic group would not be conditioned by a history of being targets of violence, as the Igbo have been.
Many responses to the Oba’s threat have mentioned the ‘welcoming’ nature of Lagos, and have made comparisons between Lagos and southeastern towns like Onitsha. It is valid to debate the ethnic diversity of different parts of Nigeria, to compare, for example, Ibadan and Enugu, Ado-Ekiti and Aba, and to debate who moves where, and who feels comfortable living where and why that is. But it is odd to pretend that Lagos is like any other city in Nigeria. It is not. The political history of Lagos and its development as the first national capital set it apart. Lagos is Nigeria’s metropolis. There are ethnic Igbo people whose entire lives have been spent in Lagos, who have little or no ties to the southeast, who speak Yoruba better than Igbo. Should they, too, be reminded to be ‘grateful’ each time an election draws near?
No law-abiding Nigerian should be expected to show gratitude for living peacefully in any part of Nigeria. Landlords in Lagos should not, as still happens too often, be able to refuse to rent their property to Igbo people.
The Oba’s words were disturbing, but its context is even more disturbing:
The anti-Igbo rhetoric that has been part of the political discourse since the presidential election results. Accusatory and derogatory language – using words like ‘brainwashed,’ ‘tribalistic voting’ – has been used to describe President Jonathan’s overwhelming win in the southeast. All democracies have regions that vote in large numbers for one side, and even though parts of Northern Nigeria showed voting patterns similar to the Southeast, the opprobrium has been reserved for the Southeast.
But the rhetoric is about more than mere voting. It is really about citizenship. To be so entitled as to question the legitimacy of a people’s choice in a democratic election is not only a sign of disrespect but is also a questioning of the full citizenship of those people.
What does it mean to be a Nigerian citizen?
When Igbo people are urged to be ‘grateful’ for being in Lagos, do they somehow have less of a right as citizens to live where they live? Every Nigerian should be able to live in any part of Nigeria. The only expectation for a Nigerian citizen living in any part of Nigeria is to be law-abiding. Not to be ‘grateful.’ Not to be expected to pay back some sort of unspoken favour by toeing a particular political line. Nigerian citizens can vote for whomever they choose, and should never be expected to justify or apologize for their choice.
Only by feeling a collective sense of ownership of Nigeria can we start to forge a nation. A nation is an idea. Nigeria is still in progress. To make this a nation, we must collectively agree on what citizenship means: all Nigerians must matter equally.