Number Of The Day: 53

Today, Nigeria celebrates her 53rd year of independence from British Imperial Colonialism. The journey from 1960 till the present date has been very far from a stroll in the park. The country has had more than her fair share of crises, coups, religious, tribal and civil wars, as well as terrorist attacks. The nation has been blighted with corruption in every sector ever since the oil boom began in the 1970s. Sometimes, I look at the entire situation and wonder if things could have been better if the British colonial masters DID NOT grant Nigeria independence in the first place. Because to me, Nigeria is just like an overgrown baby at 53!

However, I’m not going to remain pessimistic about the state of the nation. Neither am I going to continue lashing out at the country’s flaws. I’m going to hold on to my belief that Nigeria would eventually turn out to be great again. Someone once compared the shape of the African continent to that of a gun pointing downwards. If that is the case, Nigeria is geographically located at the ‘trigger zone’ of Africa. It is my belief that Nigeria would serve as a trigger point to catalyze better positive change in the whole continent. It’s just a matter of time…

In the meantime, I wish Nigeria a happy independence celebrations. I believe the country would enter and fulfil the purpose of God for this endtime.

‘In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion. (Isa. 18:7)’

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As the clocks CHIME away (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Eventually, as the weeks wore on, the man became weaker and weaker and it became apparent that he was more or less like a human marrionette in the hands of those whom he surrounded himself with. The final straw that broke the camel’s back led to pericarditis for the then President. He went to Saudi Arabia for treatments and never came back alive.

I decided to check Governor Sullivan Chime’s story online (with my Java phone, of course) and I was shocked to see so many similarities between his history and that of Yar’adua. In the first place, even before Chime stepped into the Governor’s office, it was an OPEN SECRET that Mr Chime was an individual with poor health. In addition to that, rumours were rampant as to how he indulged himself in nefarious activities, such as heavy smoking and drinkin, as well as sleeping with different girls from the state’s universities. It was even reported that his doctors counselled him and advised him to reduce/totally stop his frivolous activities. He heard them but didn’t listen. Eventually, all these culminated into him falling very ill. He was taken to India for treatments (hopefully, JUST medical treatments) and no one has seen him since then. In the meantime, everything in Enugu State seems to be in place; the deputy Governor is acting as the Governor, Clara Chime is performing the duties of a first lady and no one is asking any questions. The clocks chime away, yet Governor Chime is no where to be found.

I’m not a political columnist but the little I know about politics in Nigeria never ceases to amaze me. It even obfuscates me most times. I always wonder why we aim to pattern our system of government after the Americans. We claim to be practising the American Presidential system and that’s where the similarities end. Have we taken time to see the tolerance level of the American system to corruption? Or even if the ‘normal’ is unattainable and otherworldly to us, how about the build-up to the elections? In America, people contesting for public offices take jogs in the full view of the media and the masses. They do this to show that they are physically and mentally fit to handle whatever the demands of the public offices throw at them. But back here in Naija, the only requirements are having a big round pot-belly, a solid capital base (no one cares whether the money is legitimate or not) and making sure that the godfathers have been appeased. Nobody cares about the man himself, nobody cares about his health status, nobody cares about the nitty-gritties of his personal life.

In my humble opinion, as long as this negligence of significant (usually not prominent!) issues in the health and lifestyles of runners for public offices in Nigeria continues, we would keep on having the deja vu feelings related to the Yar’adua’s (then) and Chime’s (now) administrations.

I wish the Governor of Enugu State a speedy recovery and a speedy return to the helm of affairs at his state. However, the clocks are chiming away on the hour, every hour, it’s high time we learn from the past to create a better future for ourselves and posterity.

CONCLUDED

As the clocks CHIME away (Part 1).

Due to the fact that I picture myself as much more than a Nigerian (I like seeing myself as a global citizen that should be able to fit into any country, culture or continent), I try to be sensitive to the similarities that exist between my native culture and foreign cultures far and wide. I haven’t mastered all the similarities yet and there’s a lot of room for improvement but I’m no novice either.

Right from my elementary school days, I’ve always known that culture is the total way of life of a group of people. Furthermore, I know that the major distinction that stands to differentiate cultures from each other is the element of language. Now, when there are similarities between the sounds, spellings and even words in 2 different languages, you cannot help but start to wonder how this came to be.
For example, I was reading the Bible the other day and I saw the words, ‘TOLA’ and ‘DODO’, which in Yoruba language means, ‘with or for riches, wealth or affluence’ for ‘TOLA’, while ‘DODO’ is a local delicacy made by frying plantain.
Another example is the case of the hourly sounds that are made by the old standing grandfather clocks. These clocks CHIME every hour. The word ‘CHIME’ is also an Igbo name, although in this case, it is pronounced ‘CHEE-MAY’

How about ‘CHIME’?
The clocks chime on the hour, every hour but yet there’s no sign of the erstwhile Governor of Enugu State, Nigeria- Mr Sullivan Chime. This is a sad, unnecessary and totally unfair scenario that is played again in the minds of every Nigerian. I really cannot lay my fingers on the circumstances that led to this highly discomfitting state where the populace of Enugu State are being kept in the dark, regarding the whereabouts of the Numero Uno of their state.

Not many Nigerians would forget in a hurry the late ex-President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, who despite being a man with a fragile health condition, underwent the rigours of a vigourous political campaign from ‘Dan to Beersheba’ of the nation. I can vividly remember when midway through the nationwide campaign, there were rumours of Yar’adua’s death, long before a single vote was cast. Alas, we had forgotten about the element of truth in every rumour. Perhaps, the rumour mongers had seen the poor weak man collapsing out of sheer exhaustion from the campaign, but such news was carefully and efficiently kept away from the media.
Even at that time, the then president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, dismissed rumours of Yar’adua’s death in the most comical manners by calling him (Yar’adua) on phone during one of the open-air campaigns that Yar’adua had missed and using speakers to project to the congregated masses what was being said. Laughs were shared and the issue about Yar’adua’s health were swept under the carpet.

Yar’adua eventually won the election, but day by day, he showed signs of being crushed by the daily pressures of leading Africa’s most populous nation. Yet, the psychophants and ‘yes-men’ that he surrounded himself with (NO DISRESPECT TO THE DEAD) could not give him quality advice since he had to be the president for them to survive. This was getting to be more than a symbiotic relationship, or even commensalism. This was parasitism……………..

TO BE CONTINUED