Thursday, October 2, 2014

NIGERIA AT 54

Nigeria is 54 years old today. Opinions have been split on whether it calls for celebration or not. I’m completely indifferent about birthday’s and celebrations so my opinion is divided on that. However, it is instructive to lay the facts bare.

54 years after, Nigeria remains an unfulfilled potential. Largely dependent on oil, declining educational system, increasing unemployment, neck deep in corruption. Constant electricity remains a dream.
On the other hand, our electioneering has really improved in recent times, railways are gradually being eased back to the society, mortality rate has improved from 47 years to 52 years. We have continued to remain relevant in the world of sports. Our agriculture has improved tremendously and as a result, food importation has reduced significantly. While Nigeria is not at the global level technologically, we are making giant strides, at least in the software development sector. A significant number of government activities have been automated in a bid to end bureaucracy, ensure transparency and curb corruption. One big beneficiary can be found in our ports: the automation has ensured goods are cleared on time and that has translated to a lot more revenue for the government.

I think Nigeria is in a very delicate situation. Leadership, it is said, is a reflection of her followers. So while it is easy to point hands at the leaders as responsible for our failures, it is difficult to see how many followers would have done any better. Nigeria is currently headed in the wrong direction. It is difficult to see us making a U-turn any time soon. I have thought endlessly of concrete steps that can be taken to improve our situation. Major problem has been itemizing and prioritizing them. I will trying doing so over the next 30 days.
For Nigeria to attempt to head in the right direction, our cost of governance must be cut. I would recommend as high as 60%. Money is the attraction of politics in Nigeria and that’s why semi-educated people who have enough money to fund campaigns (and bribe their way through) are in power today. I believe that once that money is taken out the picture, only people with genuine interest in service will step forward.

I find it difficult to take any public office holder serious with the amount of money they earn. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t reconcile their earnings and the fact that they are in office for service.

I belong to the school of thought that all public office holders should have their children school in the country. May I add also, they must get all their medical welfare taken care of right here in Nigeria.

After deep thought, I feel electricity should the first thing any serious thinking government should tackle head-on. It’s a little bewildering that we haven’t been able to get electricity right in this country. The problems electricity will solve in this country are endless: manufacturing, telecoms, small and medium scale enterprises, education, health care. I know you can add more to the list.


What problems do you think electricity could solve in Nigeria? DO you think electricity is not of utmost priority right now? What do you think takes precedence?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I WANT TO START WRITING AGAIN

I want to start writing again. I feel I have the ability to be a good writer. I have continued to procrastinate the issue of resuming my writing for years. Procrastination is evil. I have made excuses. Genuine and flimsy. The nature of my job hasn't given me the freedom to read, and write. I believe reading and writing goes hand in hand. My reading habit has plummeted and as such I'm not surprised that i have found writing tedious.

Thanks to Jeff Goins,  I have taken up a challenge to write everyday for the next 31 days. Considering I have consciously written, say 5 times in the last 3 years makes it a really tall order. 


Challenges drive me however. Goals inspire me. Having some form of physical, mental or emotional rewards in sight fuels my desire. 

I like satire. Unfortunately I take life too seriously to write satire. One of my favourite writers is Steve Nwosu. I enjoy write-ups on this blog a lot. I would like to write like these people for a start. 

For the next 31 days I will be writing on any topic. Based on my interests my write-ups will vary between music, politics, sports, technology. Maybe a little lifestyle if I get into the groove (or I genuinely run out of topics). 

I think I write best when under pressure to deliver or when deadlines approach. I recall my concession speech after I lost the presidential elections of my department. I wrote it in under 15 minutes and it was so well written that my opponents swore I had written it even before the results were out. 

Jeff is about to change all that though. He recommends you have a set time and place where you write regularly. He says over time it becomes a habit. I believe him. I will settle for a time as the 31 days roll along. As for place, I'm not so sure. I am writing this on my Evernote app while making purchases in the market. 

Twitter has exposed me to a lot of sound writers. The intellect on twitter keeps me constantly marvelled. I silently respect some tweeps and look forward to their posts. I also randomly stumble on articles and admire the work put in.

I believe I would get there, with constant practice. 

Jeff expects us to write a minimum of 500 words per day. I think I can conveniently achieve that. It's the consistency I'm a little worried about. I will give it my best shot though.
He says we should not edit too. Just write. I am trying to follow the rules religiously even though I am already tempted to make some structural changes to this piece.

I am currently taking this challenge with Abisola Jegede. She blogs here. You should take a look at her very first piece. Can you guess who she is talking about?

You can sign up too if you are interested. We can share our blog posts with each other.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

LETTER TO NIGERIAN PARENTS - part 1

This was a facebook wall post of Mr Jimoh Odunayo, Finance & Admin Manager at Q&Q Control Services Nig. Limited. I felt compelled to share it with my beloved readers.

Friends,
Let me add the benefit of my time as a student and then resident in the UK - and I live in Lagos now. The first thing that I discovered about UK-born, white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday or weekend job to support themselves - including the children of millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there - regardless how wealthy their parents are. And I soon discovered that virtually all other foreign students did the same - the exception being those of us status-conscious Nigerians.

I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline) speaking on the Biography Channel and, to my amazement; he said that his young children travel in the economy class -even when the parents (he and his wife) are in upper class. Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound Sterling. A quick survey would show you that only children from Nigeria fly business or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign students do this. There is no aircraft attached to the office of the prime minister in the UK - he travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does not have an aircraft for her exclusive use.

These practices simply become the culture which the next generation carries forward. Have you seen the car that Kate Middleton the lass married to Prince William drives? VW Golf or something close to it. But there's one core difference in them and us (generally speaking). They - the billionaires among them work for their money, we steal ours!

If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please let's begin now and teach them to work hard so that they can stand alone and most importantly be content, and not have to "steal". This seems to be the norm these days.

"30 is the new 18", which seems to be the new age for testing out the world in Nigeria now. That seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted mindset among the last 2 generations of parents in Nigeria . At age 18 years, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her parents for the University, chances are, that's the last time those parents will ever play "landlord" to their son or daughter except of course the occasional home visits during the academic year. At 21 years and above or below, the now fully grown and independent minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a job and shares a flat with other young people on a journey into becoming fully fledged adults.

I can hear the echo of parents saying, well, that is because the UK economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere? I beg to differ and I ask that you kindly hear me out. I am UK trained Recruitment Consultant and I have been practicing for the past 10 years in Nigeria . I have a broad range of experience from recruiting graduates to executive director level of large corporations. In addition, I talk from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing.

Driven to school every day, had my clothes washed for me, was barred from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could concentrate on studying for my exams?! BUT, I got the opportunity to live apart from my parents from age 18 and the only time I came back home to stay was for 3 months before I got married!

Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children at age 18? No, not at all, of course, I enjoyed the savings that I made from living on and off at my parent's house in London - indeed that is the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroom flat in London at age 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my parents!

For me, pocket money stopped at age 22, not that it was ever enough for my lifestyle to compete with Paris Hilton's or Victoria Beckham's. Meanwhile today, we have Nigerian children who have never worked for 5 minutes in their lives insisting on flying "only" first or business class, carrying the latest Louis Vuitton ensemble, Victoria 's Secret underwear and wearing Jimmy Choo's, fully paid for by their "loving" parents.




(to be continued)

Monday, April 11, 2011

NINE THINGS WE LEARNT FROM APRIL 9



1.      Jega is set to put his name in the history books
A free, fair and credible election by all standards, Jega, after taking all the stick for the hitches experienced en route the polls, would be showered with a lot of encomiums. He has 2 major hurdles to cross though: the presidential and governorship elections. Success in both and Jega becomes a national hero. Actually, he already is.
2.      Free and fair elections is one which PDP loses
No more no less.
3.      Nigerians crave change
After 50 years of poor governance which includes the last twelve years of imposition, manipulation and politricks, the populace stood up to be counted this time around.
4.      Our votes counted
To you all who said your vote would not be counted, your vote was not counted because of one reason – you did not vote. I expect an impressive turn out come Saturday.
5.      ACN remains a regional party
Yes, they swept the southwest. What happened to the rest of the country? If they are counting on the southwest in the forthcoming polls, they better forget it.
6.      PDP remains a force to be reckoned with
I had tipped PDP to come crumbling like a pack of cards in a free and fair election. How wrong I was. The PDP had a strong showing nationwide. Despite losing most of the southwest, they gave the winners a good run for their money. In the other political regions, they still account for a large number of winners.
7.      It was more about party than persona
My last piece was bordering on what line the electorate would toe in the forthcoming elections. INEC answered my questions at the arrival of ballot papers. Only the party logos were on the ballot papers. I did not know the people I voted for, though I am sure they have a broom. However, It’s going to be a totally different kettle of fish during the presidential polls.
8.      There is only one way to fully overthrow PDP
MERGER. I took a critical view at the result from different constituencies. Statistics show that the total number of votes garnered by the opposition parties put together by far exceeds that of the PDP. These parties should put differences aside and make this political race more interesting. I see PDP having that edge in the presidential polls again.
9.      We are forgetting to thank somebody
Everybody is screaming Jega! Jega! INEC! INEC! But I think there is one person we are forgetting to thank: President Goodluck Jonathan. Truth be told, the president created an enabling environment for Jega to operate. He gave all the support needed and promised Nigerians not only free and fair, but credible polls. The president has delivered. Random question: do you think Jega would have performed this good had …….. been in power? (I did not mention name o.)

PLEASE COME OUT AND VOTE ON SATURDAY, 16TH APRIL 2011. IT’S THE BIG ONE, THE PRESIDENTIAL POLLS. ONE MAN ONE VOTE. DON’T SELL YOUR VOTE. IT’S YOUR VOICE. HISTORY BECKONS.


Twitter: @oseroke
Facebook : facebook.com/oserokeigwubor
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Friday, April 1, 2011

2011 POLLS: PARTY OR PERSONA?


Ever since the political office seekers rolled out the campaign drums, I have been in a quandary as to which line to toe in the forthcoming elections, starting this Saturday. The question on my mind is, and remains, will I (and you) be voting for candidates based on political parties or personal capabilities.
Political parties are not what history told me they used to be. In those days, parties were identified by their manifestoes. The Second Republic readily comes to mind. UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) was known for its free education programme while NPN (National Party of Nigeria) was known all over for its promise of provision of affordable housing. These days political parties have been transformed to political platforms – just look for a party that would give you the ticket to run for whatever post you desire. This is why we have an outrageous 63 parties.
Of the infinite incidents of cross-carpeting, one readily comes to mind – Atiku Abubakar. A vice-president for eight years on the platform of PDP, he decamped to his party’s fiercest rivals to actualize his presidential ambition. He called the ruling party unprintable names and vowed never to have anything to do with them again. Fast forward four years. Atiku was back in the PDP and even posed the greatest challenge to the sitting president in the primaries. Question is: if we have no shame, don’t we have pride?
A school of thought would say that it is the party that makes the candidate. In my opinion, it is pari passu. The Executive Governor of Lagos State comes in handy. There is no gainsaying that BRF has done a marvelous job in Lagos. “Marvelous” is actually taking some credit away from the man. But have you ever assumed he did not win his party’s flag for this election. Are you sure he would have won from another platform? Are you sure?
After twelve years of misrule and inept leadership, it still amazes me that the PDP still stands a chance in this election. Aside the power of incumbency (which, for the records, has never failed in Africa) the candidate they are presenting gives the party a major boost. A major reason, I feel, they had to jettison their zoning policy.  Nobody is actually saying that they are voting for PDP, but I have heard countless people say they are voting for Goodluck Jonathan.
After all said, I would suggest a balance of both party and persona. Left to me, the right man to lead this country is Professor Pat Utomi: his intellect, his charisma, his vision is not rivaled by any other candidate in this presidential poll. A special adviser at age 27, Professor Pat has come a long away and has the ability to rule this nation. In the NEDG debate, he was outstanding and the most convincing. Unfortunately, his platform is so weak that I don’t know the name. he realized this after the debate and has since stepped down. So the candidate I would be voting for is…

Monday, March 21, 2011

AS 2011 APPROACHES


As 2011 approaches
                Yes I know we are already in 2011. Infact the first quarter is almost over, but 2011 in the Nigerian lexicon is synonymous with the forthcoming elections, just as 2010 meant only one thing to the South Africans – the World Cup. I would be overstating the obvious by describing how pivotal 2011 is in the history of our beloved country. After 50 years of misrule and abject poverty, it is time for the Nigerian youth to stand up and be counted.
                Whatever I have to say may sound cliché as you must have come across it both on electronic and print media. Go out, cast your vote, protect it and make sure it counts. The general perception is we don know who go win, no need to waste my time. This was the same comments our parents made that has put us in this precarious situation that we find ourselves now. This time around, we’d have nobody but ourselves to blame should we sit and watch mediocres take charge of our government for the next four years. I have a strong belief in the Jega –led INEC in spite of her shortcomings during the registration exercise. The election would not be perfect but we can contribute our own quota by coming out en masse to vote. We reduce the risk of rigging.
                Their campaigns have been unconvincing to say the least. That must have been discouraging I must confess. The candidates have been unable to tell us, in details, what they would should they get into power. Those in power have been listing empty projects while those seeking to overthrow have been telling the whole world that those in power slept all through the four years. The debates have been too comic to convey any real meaning. I believe, though, that in the few weeks remaining we’d have no difficulty in making our choices.
                I’m not here to root for any candidate. All I want is for the Nigerian youth to come out and vote for whoever he pleases. The plan to close all schools during the elections is another means the ruling party is trying to disenfranchise us and this we must resist. For crying out loud, most students registered in school. If the president did not learn anything from the closure of schools during the registration exercise, then there is a fundamental problem somewhere.
                Our future depends greatly on the outcome of this election. Charlatans must not be made to taste power. Nigerian youths, it’s our time, let’s seize it .

IGWUBOR IN THE STUDIO


No o. Definitely not me. I love music. I love Nigerian music but not as a singer. I’m obsessed with the Choc Boiz but that doesn’t make me a rapper. Good news though. Rap runs in the family!
With great honour and tumultuous excitement, I present to you, 2 Medical doctors-cum-rappers from the University of Benin – XY and RAP RYDER!
I’d be bias a little. I’d talk more about XY – my blood brother!
A 300Level student of medicine, this is XY’s very first time on the mic, and he comes really good on this DJ Khaled beat. Nice metaphors, sick lines. I think we can only expect this dude to improve.
Rap Ryder has romanced the studio before and his delivery showed class also. It’s been ages we listened to such fast lyrics.
One thing that really fascinated me was the chorus. it was very professional and swaggerlicious IMO.
Listen and tell me what you feel. listen here or download from this link
video