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Monday, March 8, 2010

Random Thoughts on my Country

On Thursday the 13th of August 2009, I read an article by one Akeem Soboyede, which I consider to be absolutely spot-on on the back page of The Punch Newspaper. Akeem Soboyede linked the activities of the infamous Boko Haram sect to that of our so-called rulers. As everyone now know, the boko haram sect was against western education (and by implications, all the fall-out of western education, to wit, civilisation etc). Mr Soboyede argued (and I totally agree) that it is probably because of the boko haram thinking of our rulers that they are trying very hard to obliterate all traces of civilization in Nigeria: traveling back in time to the age of darkness, making sure all roads which have turned bad get worse, ensuring that ASUU does not return to work so that Nigeria will be a largely illiterate society, I’m sure it will not be necessary to list all the other things which were once part of the regular fixture in Nigeria but which are either no longer available or are extremely scarce and therefore expensive (regular pipe-borne water, some measure of security, well-equipped general and teaching hospitals, need I go on?).

Mr Soboyede concluded that whenever we think of boko haram, we should think of the nation-suckling Nigerian rulers and I cannot agree more. And of course like the hypocritical leader of the infamous sect who despite condemning education and its derivatives did not hesitate to take advantage of sophisticated and state of the art communication gadgets for his evil activities, our rulers also take advantage of the good and well-funded schools over there for the education of their children, the ever-improving health facilities for themselves and their families and cronies, the uninterrupted power supply available over there for their holidays etc. And so as suggested by Mr Soboyede, when next you look all around you and see the rot that our dear country is becoming, and you remember the horror of the boko haram, think of the Nigerian rulers who have the chance to make things so much better but rather chose to determinedly destroy the ones they met in place and return Nigeria back to the dark ages, and might I add, all because of their lust for money.

I really do wish somebody will come out with an idea on how ASUU can get the government to answer their demands without resorting to strikes. I have tried (perhaps not hard enough, I admit) but am yet to come up with something. The need for an alternative to strikes really comes up in the face of the fact that by frequent and prolonged strikes, ASUU is unwittingly contributing more to the destruction of public education than they realise. I once attended a forum where someone talking about the immeasurable importance of educating our youths and developing the human materials in any nation said that infrastructures destroyed can be built up within a short period where there is a will, but human capital left to rot over the years can never really be repaired in the same way physical materials can.

I do understand the need for ASUU to make their displeasure known to the government and the need to get something to be done about it… For the first time in our history (hope I’m right o), we have two graduates (former lecturers to boot!) in the top two positions in the country and education is deliberately being allowed to die a fast but nevertheless excruciatingly painful death.

Hmmm, amnesty for the militants in the Niger Delta, I really hope for the sake of everybody and infrastructures in the region, that it works. I have my doubts, but I desperately hope it brings peace and sanity and development to the region. I don’t want to imagine what will become of the whole country if it does not work. So, I’ll let things lie at the stage of my hope (please God!!!!!!!!).

It was really shocking hearing about the sack of the five CEOs of the five troubled banks and their executive directors last week Friday (Aug 21st 2009), I particularly sympathize with Cecilia Ibru (don’t ask me why but I swear it’s not because we share the same gender) even though I think she and the other four must have been very reckless in their risk taking. Even financially un-savvy me knew that the boom at the stock exchange can not last for too long, so how could they (who were supposed to know) have failed to come to the same realisation? And while I’m on that, let me quickly (though it has started happening already) point everyone in the direction of microfinance banks. Has anyone noticed just how fast they are springing up? Do they have any sort of regulation to keep them in check at all? For me, their proliferation is a sure sign that there is fire on the mountain. CBN (or the proper authority) now is the time to act.

Still on the five banks, while I congratulate the CBN governor for having the boldness to act so fast, I am worried by the fact that all what is happening now had been reported by the Vanguard newspaper as far back as March of this year! Even right to the trip (desire, if you like) of the CBN governor abroad to shop for foreign investors to take over the banks! Now can somebody tell me what really is going on here? Could it be a case of doing the right things with the wrong motive? Oh, I give up!

The result or verdict on the Ogun gubernatorial election is out. No surprises there. I really did not expect that the boat will be rocked. What I pray for is that one day, the votes of you and I will count. I pray further for God to give me (and you) the strength to keep going out to cast my (our) vote according to my conscience and to not allow myself to be frustrated by the fact that the votes seem not to count at present.

If ever there is a country that encourages dishonesty in every facet of life, Nigeria is it. Go through vacancies in the dailies and you’ll see request for graduates with two to three years’ experience and who should not be more than 24 years old at their next birthdays! Now whoever told these people that persons over 24, 25 or other older ages cannot learn or work well? Do they ever hear of that kind of inanity in the western countries? Of course needless to say, a lot of people are now being forced to bring their ages down if they must get jobs.

Another really annoying thing now is the request for experience. Now if people who have these experiences had not been given a chance to work by some other organisation, how would they have acquired the experience?

And who says Nigerian graduates are unemployable? Despite ASUU strikes and all, I’m happy to say Nigerian graduates are very employable. I would say it just depends on who he/she is and how willing he/she is to get into the work. The lie was particularly (in my opinion) given to this claim when Bank PHB came up with the maiden edition of The Intern. All the participants with the exception of one were graduates of Nigerian universities and most were from public universities and in my opinion; they all gave very good accounts of themselves. The on-going Zain challenge is another case in point. In spite of the falling standards, Nigerian (public) universities like UNILAG, UI, UNN are acquitting themselves quite well in the competition.

Now, what haven’t I expressed my thoughts about? A lot, I guess, but you know what? The rest can rest (honestly, no pun intended) for now.