Showing posts with label Nigeria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria. Show all posts

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Linda Ikeji When Not to Call a Spade a Shovel

Linda Ikeji shows off her wheels. Photo: Linda Ikeji's Blog
Photo: Linda Ikeji's blog
As sad as the whole Linda Ikeji saga is, and I admit it is sad on all fronts, we need to look beyond the sentiments and face some very fundamental facts. And one glaring fact is that Ms Linda Ikeji did take materials from people without attribution, and she made good money in the process. Another truth is that we all talking about this because a Linda Ikeji is involved—this story would not have gotten to Google if it was a Mazi Nwonwu complaining about Intellectual Theft.

I must admit that I am a fan of Linda Ikeji. Her story is a testament of what a motivated person can achieve.

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Nigerians climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Down Syndrome

English: January 15, 1938. Mt. Kilimanjaro: Th...
English: January 15, 1938. Mt. Kilimanjaro: The snow-capped summit containing the nearly perfect crater is flanked by deep furrows of lava flow and glacial erosion. C. 20000 feet. C. 07:00. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Six Nigerian professionals are embarking on a 6-day hike to the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. This is happening as part of a fundraising drive for the Lagos based Down Syndrome Foundation.  The Charity climb tagged Climb for Down syndrome, the brain child of Inspired by Charity, a social enterprise, is scheduled to take place 16th-23rd August, 2014 in Tanzania.

The hiking party hopes to use the climb to raise awareness about Down syndrome and help to raise 10,000,000 naira for the Down Syndrome Foundation (DSF). DSF is a renowned charity that works to provide leadership, support and advocacy in all areas of concern as it relates to persons with Down syndrome in Nigeria.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding Mountain at 5,895m high, attracts over 40,000 people every year who seek to climb the mountain. Of the seven summits, it is the easiest to climb, requiring no ropes, or special mountaineering gears or previous climbing experience.

The Climb for Down Syndrome Party will be climbing through the Machame route, one of the seven routes to Uhuru summit. The choice of the route according to Dotun Eyinade, the convener is to ensure that everyone acclimatizes quickly and to increase the chances of success. “Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro remains a physical and mental challenge and for many of us it will be one of the most physically exacting things we would do in our youth” he added.  Inspired by Charity views the experience as more than an adventure but a purposeful intervention in  support of the Down Syndrome Foundation, as it executes its charitable mandate in providing critical succor to a vulnerable community. Eyinade, a Fellow with Acumen Fund said the team would leverage the media, especially new media platforms to raise awareness about Down syndrome and the Foundation. As socially minded professionals, we consider the hike a transformational experience, one which requires courage, grit and determination; we are excited about the prospect of using the hike to fundraise for Down syndrome foundation and help to place down syndrome on the front burners of public discourse again.

The professionals are drawn from the KPMG, Seven Energy, Generation Enterprise, Acumen Fund amongst others. Accordingly, Climb for Down Syndrome has received the endorsement of the Down Syndrome Foundation.This is a worthy and unique concept which I believe must be the first of its kind in our country. We would love to thank the team for believing in our cause and finding our Foundation worthy to benefit from this unique event,” said Mrs Rose Mordi, President, Down Syndrome Foundation.

Donations in support of the Climb can be made directly to the bank accounts of the Down Syndrome Foundation as well as on, a crowdfunding platform.

The climb is supported by Premium Times, The cable news, Development Diaries and the One Life initiative

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Old Van in a New Bus

Most people who use the danfo or any other yellow bus for commute through the mad dash that is the average Lagos route are not unaware of the fact that the cars served as a goods conveyance van in Europe, this hardly registers. However, even if they don’t know what for sure, they know the tokunbo cars must have served another purpose in its previous incarnation, especially when they contemplate the dress ripping makeshift seats and rough hewn windows that just about serve the purpose they were meant for. They know that the iron-rimmed seats are not standard issue, at least from whence they car came, and that the chance of bodily injury if an accident occurs was amplified by their addition. They know the drivers are largely reckless—early morning shot of paraga and Igbo reckless—and the buses disasters waiting to happen. They know this, but throw their lives into the arms of in-time-of-trouble-and-need-gods as they clamper aboard the buses every morning, afternoon and night. The need to transit overshadowing fear, caution, and whatever sense of impropriety they might feel.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Selective Outrage: Are we guilty of ignoring human suffering?

Cenotaph to Dana air crash victims: pic from Premium Times
Last year, a Dana aircraft travelling from Abuja to Lagos ploughed into a two-storey building in the Iju area of Lagos killing everyone on board and some others on the ground. News of the crash soon spread as social media went abuzz. In ensuing weeks, the fatal incident hogged the headlines on blogs and websites, while many dedicated status updates to mourn the departed, especially those on-board the plane.
As is common with Nigerians, some constituted informal committees to measure how certain people mourned: Did he/she cry enough; show enough concern by taking one week off work? Was the government’s three-day mourning period too short? Did the officials who lost bosses or subordinates in the crash mourn for a respectable enough period?
Questions were asked and people were called out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rape and the Nigerian society

I encountered rape very early in life. I was perhaps 14 when a random visit to the home of a local ruffian presented me with my first glimpse. A girl, lying on the bed, with only a tiny towel to cover a miniscule part of her honour, stared at me from a threadbare mattress, her eyes pleading yet seemingly resigned to her fate. I had been sent to the room to “take kola”. I remember her clothes were in a bucket by the door, a bucket filled with water. Her story was sad. A visitor from the east, she had only asked for directions to her brother’s house in Angwan Kanawa and was lured to the house of Baba Wani’s aged grandmother, where he and his boys took turns on her. I got to the house on the second day. The monsters were clearly done with her and were offering her as kola to any young man that came to the house. I recall crying as I begged them to let her go, I recall the girl saying nothing, defeated I think. I recall she kept her legs parted, tired of fighting, she existed in a state of ‘cooperation’.

They let her go the next day. Fate however, knows how to mete out poetic justice.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Of traffic snarls and the land of the rubber men

It is a hot day.
Another of those days that traffic stretches as far as the eyes can see causing people in cars to share something other than the unity of crawling traffic and sweltering heat: short fused temperament.

This is Lagos, the heat and traffic snarls are constant realities that we have learnt to live with, no matter how hard that is. Nigerians, we are special breeds, rubber men that defy the laws of elasticity—we are yet to find that elastic limit and we continue to adjust to constantly shifting challenges. Nothing seems to shift more constantly than our traffic laws. Perhaps they don’t really shift, change, rather the government finds new way to express them. That way they keep us on our toes, sweating in choking traffic.

We do have constants, those things that remain the same year in year out. The danfo bus, a modified Volkswagen van that perhaps ferried goods from one point to another in the European country that hosted its first incarnation, is one of the things that remain the same. A testament of our dump mentality, the danfo, like millions of other automobiles in Nigeria, comes second-hand: Europe’s discard serving faithfully here, still.
There is little to see in the scrap-like drabness of the danfo bus I boarded in the hope that their street and alley meandering ability would perhaps shorten the time I would otherwise spend in the traffic snarl—a vain hope. The clammy intensity of the heat that comes from within and without did not gift concentration, so Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I will Write About This Place rests in its place in the side pocket of my well-used bag. Yes, I had discovered that the three hours spent in traffic heading to work and the three hours spent on the way back is a good time as any to catch up on reading. Before One Day I Will Write About This Place, one of those Ikeja-under-bridge-paper-backs—a novel by John Varley—occupied the space in the bag. Victor Ehikhamenor’s brand new book Excuse Me!, a testament of where Nigerian literature is headed, will replace Binya’s in a few days.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nigerian girls should be mad!

In the last decade, since the Plantation Boys and Remedies before them began a revival of Nigerian music’s fortunes, Naija music has eclipsed Africa and is presently showing the world that Africa has got some groove. With YouTube views in the millions, brands such as P square, D’banj and Flavour have become household names and veritable representatives of Nigerian popular culture.

If music is the expression of a nation’s popular culture, whether adopted or not, one would expect the visuals that go with it to reflect that culture as well as the people that embody it, however, in Nigeria, this expectation doesn’t hold.

Close your eyes and call to mind popular Nigerian music videos of the moment. If you were true to yourself, you’d admit that these videos are very unfair to the Nigerian woman. Video after video, American copycat artiste name after another, all we see is the depiction of women as playthings, playthings that come with the money, the cars, the dope houses and the choice wines—a property that success acquires.
This disrespect of women jars the nerves and grates like mad. More so because most of the so called Nigerian feminists, ever ready to cuss a Nigerian man out on social media, pretend not to notice this constant demeaning of the sex they purport to represent—I don’t want to believe they are okay with this.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A good year to be a writer!

This is ending as a very good year for me as a writer.
First off, I finally got a publisher to take interest in my collection of short stories. The collection “Footsteps on the Hallway” will be published Jan-Feb 2013 by Melrose books Nigeria.
I was also able to attend the Farafina Trust Writers workshop on the third attempt and learnt so much from superb teachers.
Then there are two of my short stories appearing in two PAN-African anthologies, African Roar and AfroSF in Dec 2012.
I sure have come a long way and perhaps should start feeling like a writer. We’re moving on. J

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aluu 4 and the state of our mind

I want to be numb, but my soul cries too loud for me to ignore. I am supposed to have grown accustomed to pain, but things happen that remind me that I am a man and that in the heart of man, pain has an abode, try as much as you can, you can never escape its grip.

As I type this, the voice of two promising young men cut down in their prime by the kind of unmitigated blood-lust that our country have come to identify with, booms out from my laptop speakers. Like voices from the grave, the young men cry out that there “ain’t no love in the heart of the city”. It is eerie, like prophesies of that kind are, especially when one considers that the boys had pleaded for their lives to flesh and blood men that refused to show them a little love, people that refused to spare their lives.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Achebe and the Igbo narrative: not a single story


“Shege Inyamirin, arne kawai!” the man screamed at me as I sprawled on the red earth, my 20 litre water container, which a few moments ago was balanced on my head as I hurried across the railway track, was not too far away. I looked from the container,  which jerked as it expelled the water I had just fetched from Isa Kaita’s Dutse Close home, to the snarling man that had just pushed me, wondering why my being Igbo merited that much callousness. I looked towards my father’s chemist shop a few metres away, more worried about what he would do if the container was broken than going back to the long queue of people waiting their turn at the tap Alhaji Isa Kaita (CBE) had graciously provided for the public inside His expansive compound. Yes, the man had pushed me, and beyond his expletives that can only be summarised as "Igbo infidel", he offered no explanation and people around did not ask. Surely, why he pushed me, hampered as I was by my large container, was a question that should have been asked, especially as I had not impeded him, or brushed against him. My crime was having tribal marking beside my eyes that identified me to be Igbo, an ethnic group that everyone not Igbo seemed to hate—at least that was what my young mind felt then.

The event above happened about two decades ago in Angwa Shanu, a town in Kaduna North LGA, Kaduna state. It was one of several instances where my siblings and me were singled out and abused because we are Igbo. I recall it here to buttress the point that the Igbo have not had it easy in post war Nigeria and that the hate for the Igbo runs deeper than many care to admit. However, we do not need anyone to admit anything, that we know this fact is what is important, to us that is.

Growing up, I can’t recall my father telling us to be cautious, or to deny our Igboness, but we knew the ability to survive in a society hostile to our kind is our only defence. So, we learnt Hausa, learnt to recite the more common Islamic creeds and learnt to deny our Igboness. To avoid the Igbo stigma, we became Southern Kaduna, Benue, Cross River, Bendel or any other grouping, but never Igbo if we could help it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What you don’t know about me

My earliest memories were of landscapes, or put in a better perspective, hillscapes: beautiful scenery of hills and valleys; the freshest green foliage infused with flowers of diverse make amongst the tallest palm trees imaginable, all swaying gently or violently, as the elements will have it, in a land that could rival any ever seen by man.

Both my maternal home and my father’s hometown are situated in the hills of Anike. While my ancestral home sits atop a windswept plateau, my maternal home was situated in a valley—my use of the word ‘was’ is acceptable here because as a result of the tragic influence of modernity, the people of my maternal homeland have moved en masse to a barren hill a few miles from the land that was their ancestors abode. Their new abode’s only importance is the fact that an asphalt road dissects its white soiled length.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The North burns: can we talk about us?

Once again, like uncountable times in the past, the north is in the throes of ethno-religious crisis. As usual, the security agencies are caught napping and aside from accusations of complicity in the crisis, seem to be all thumbs, with little or no idea of how to handle the situation – besides their age-old ‘shoot on sight’ solution that is.

In a previous article, written some years ago, I dwelled on the nature of the north and after examining the numerous crises I witnessed and luckily escaped while living in the north, concluded that ethno-religious crisis and the north of Nigeria are Siamese twins that may forever remain conjoined, unless the drastic is done.

I warned then that the north would blow up again way before the Boko Haram clash and the first Jos affair. My forecast was not based on any form of prescience, but as a result of a brief study of ethno-religious clashes in the north.

In the north of Nigeria, from Jos and beyond, the truth about Ethno-religious crisis is not if it would occur, but when it will occur, again.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Holding a Nation to Ransom

As has become customary, the murderous Islamist group, Boko Haram, attacked three churches in Kaduna state on Sunday, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Also, in what is becoming a saddening routine, youth affiliated to the Christian faith carried out reprisal attacks on nearby mosques and many innocent Muslims got caught up in the ensuing violence.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Occupy Nigeria: Sustaining the momentum

The fuel subsidy protests have come and gone. The dead have probably been buried, with only the pain, deeply etched on the heart of mothers, siblings and others connected to the deceased, left to mark their passing. Whatever the circumstance of their passing, the sacrifice of those martyrs that fell to the bullets of their own police force is great; greater even, than many may care to know. For upon the blood of these ones, Nigerians laid a foundation for a future that may well be bright.

While death, injury and perhaps permanent handicap to some victims can be said to be prominent among the things that the Occupy Nigeria Movement would be remembered for, they are by no means the only ones.
continue reading here

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Joint Communiqué of the Emergency Meeting of the National Executive Councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) Held on Wednesday 4th January, 2012.

The National Executive Councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) took place today, Wednesday 4th January, 2012.

The NLC and TUC noted that:

The Presidency announced the removal of petroleum subsidy and adjusted upward, the pump price of petrol on 1st January, 2012 even when it claimed it was consulting Nigerians.

Due to this upward review of prices, the pump price for petrol is now selling for between N141 and N200 per litre nation-wide rather than N65. This prohibitive increase in price of PMS once again confirms the position of Labour that deregulation to this government means incessant price increase of a strategic product (petrol) that impact on cost of living, cost of production and the general well-being of increasingly impoverish Nigerians.

The immediate generalized negative impact of this price increase on transport cost, food, drugs, schools fees, rents, indicate that government is totally wrong to underestimate the impact assessment of the so-called  deregulation policy.

Due to the untoward hardship workers and other Nigerians are experiencing based on excessive increase in petrol prices,  there have been sporadic protests by Nigerians in at least 10 cities;

These protests, which are peaceful have witnessed the use of unprecedented force by the Police leading to harassment, intimidation, arrests and the murder of a protester.

There is a subsisting understanding between Congress and the Federal government in 2009 that removal of subsidy will not commence until certain conditions have been met. These include the fixing of all the refineries and building new ones, regular power supply, and provision of other social infrastructure such as railways and repairs of roads as well as eliminating the corruption associated with supply and distribution of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the oil industry;

After exhaustive deliberations and consultations with all sections of the populace, the NLC, TUC and their pro-people allies demand that the Presidency immediately reverses fuel prices to N65.  If the Government fails to do so, they direct that indefinite general strikes, mass rallies and street protests be held across the country with effect from Monday 9th January, 2012.

From that Monday, 9th January 2012 date, all offices, oil production centres, air and sea ports, fuel stations, markets, banks, amongst others will be shut down.

We advise Nigerians to stockpile basic needs especially food and water.

We call on all Nigerians to participate actively in this movement to rescue our country. The emphasis is on peaceful protests, rallies and strikes while refusing to be intimidated.  Labour calls on the police, armed forces and other security agencies to reject orders that they turn their weapons on fellow Nigerians.  We warn that anybody who does so, will be individually brought to justice.

The primary objective of this patriotic call and movement is to revert PMS price to N65, restore normalcy and reclaim Nigeria for Nigerians.

No Retreat!
No Surrender!!
Forward Ever!!!

Abdulwahed I. Omar                    Peter Esele
President, NLC                         President, TUC

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012