Thursday, 30 March 2017

CLOSE BUT BEYOND REACH (Episode 2)


Life became kaleidoscopic immediately as they had to pass through the needle to reach Wang-liao- the scourging sun, the hunger trip and stings from Androctonus australis- a sahara flat-tailed scorpions. 

The trip from Maradi to Wang-Liao is like a coin of two sides- good and bad, the good thing is that he made it through Wang-Liao and finally to Libya, the bad news being that they lost a fellow, Isah from Mali who decided to take a walk from their makeshift camp in the middle of the desert and couldn’t trace his way back.
“Don’t bother looking for him, Ikoh” said the desert master,
“But why?”, Ikoh blurted,
“Because we can never find him, you see, in this journey, when you lose the track you can’t retrace it", the desert master retorted.

Libya, located in the northern part of Africa, predominantly Muslim and densely Arab speaking.  The city was buzzing with activities, given the fact that the country is just waking up from months old political turmoil that ravaged the country, though the environment still smells of smoke and the citizens wearing stern faces, Ikoh boarded a private transport so as to make it to Tripoli unseen and unseeing and that he achieved.  Tripoli was the most wrecked city with soot in most of the buildings and some stores looks like it has never been opened for God-knows-how-long.
For the. past three days, Ikoh has been impecunious and afraid of going out there in the dreaded streets of Tripoli to find a part time job. On the fifth day, he left the boarding house and went wandering hither tither looking for a job that would put meal on his table and save some money to link up with uncle Josh in Erfurt, finally he got a job that will pay him 15 Dinar per night in a restaurant, Ikoh accepted the Job without any objection simply because most expatriate in Tripoli patronizes the restaurant which means he could find someone that could help him out, and again, he could also live on tips from the customers and save the wages for his travels, so he thought.  Ikoh was amazed by the influx of expats on his first day of work and he seize the opportunity, his tip for the night was triple of his wage for the night, the third day was slow as tensions was high in Tripoli, though it is not unusual given the fact that the country was swept by the Arab spring, it didn’t bug him but diverted his interest- a Maître d’ name Fatia, he made advances to Fatia and promised to come for her when he gets to Germany- a big, fat lie- but she laughed it out and promised to pay him a visit in his boarding house when the birds have gone to their roost because it is haram to have premarital sex in Islam, so she claimed. That night was like a Christmas for him, he went to his friend, Jeff an apothecary to buy a nitrous oxide known popularly as laughing gas so as he can shag Fatia in ecstasy without a flinch of his super ego interfering.

Ikoh woke up the next morning with his door widely open, the bottle of nitrous oxide sealed and his bed still freshly made, Fatia didn’t make it.  The boarding house was quiet and shots from rifles could be heard from earshot, Ikoh leaped from the ground and saw the owner of the boarding house gazing down at him from the door, a tidal wave of emotions ran through his vein, "I think you should leave, Libya is at war again."

To be cont'd...
Written by Ejioffor Ikechukwu alias Lionet

Thursday, 16 March 2017

CLOSE BUT BEYOND REACH


At the dawn of the twenty-sixth day of December, Ikoh summoned his mum and siblings into his late father’s hut to break the current development that has been bothering him.  Ikoh is the first son in a family of five, 23 years old but can be passed for 17 due to his miniature physique and a trace of childish exuberance in his behavior.
“mama, I called yáll here to tell you that I will be traveling out of the country by the first week of next month,” his sibling let out a loud guffaw when he mentioned traveling but Ikoh’s mum was perturbed as to what has gotten into her son’s head, “my son, you said you are traveling, but what about your father’s farm, how about the money or are you going to travel by foot, who do you know there?”
“Ah ah mama! Which one should I answer first? Well I have some money that will take me there, I met Chief Osai and he helped me with some soft loans, I want to link up with Uncle Joshua in Erfurt, Germany, he agreed that I should come stay with him.”

January 6th, 2013, Ikoh, accompanied by his mother and siblings off to the train station in Enugu where he would board a train that will leave for Kaduna in the next hour.  The train arrived in less than the stipulated time and he climbed onto the train, his mother’s whimper can be heard from the waiting room, the train glided and he bade them goodbye with his eyes doused with water.

As a mysophobia, nausea was setting in, the stench from the train was thick, the smell of roasted fish and fufu blanketed the coach.  A man who is believed to be hausa from the robe he was wearing was seating just before him, from the rear was a woman with her two daughters who might be 5 and 8 years old, flanked by a florid man who is around 40-year-old, he smells of sweat in his tattered fabric with a Business magazine clenched in his hand, they chattered over a can of maltina all the way through. Ikoh was marveled by the man’s ubiquitousness in knowing a thing about all parts of Nigeria. 

After spending about seventeen hours in the train they alighted at the Kaduna train station, Ikoh unfolded his atlas and located the next point of destination, Jibiya, Katsina State, a state populated by mostly hausa-fulani tribe with different culture from his.  He went to a local motor park and paid for a ticket to Jibiya.  Jibiya- with a high temperature and low humidity- he gulped almost two sachets of water under five minutes, the environment was welcoming with tarred road and other infrastructures.  He met his first challenge, a trans-national challenge, crossing the border to an unknown country, Niger Republic. 
With no passport he managed to hide himself inside a truck loaded with cattles heading for Tarna, Maradi- a thirty miles journey from Jibiya.  In Tarna, Ikoh met other explorers and travelers who wanted to travel to other countries through the sahara desert. They were ushered into a mud house where they met a desert master who knew all the routes in the desert, the house has only three occupants- the desert master and his two wives, the children as the desert master later explained with gusto, took the step of their father as desert masters too, “it is an old profession”, the desert masters told Ikoh when he became askance.

He haggled over the fare and finally settled on CFA 50,000, they spent two nights in the desert master’s house before they began the laborious journey to Wang-liao on camel’s back with little foods and much water that will sustain them through the journey to Wang-liao, 769 miles away from Maradi.
….To be continued

Written by: Ejioffor Ikechukwu alias Lionet

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Nigeria's worst enemy since independence is: Tribalism

THE NIGERIA'S 56TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY

Following the facade of independence and the euphoria that greeted the new Nigeria in 1960, tribalism is and still is Nigeria's worst enemy.  Tribalism is an aberration to any country that dreams of being among the said 'developed nations' of the world.   Tribalism is a feeling of belonging to a particular tribe.  It determines who gets what, when, how and even why.

It is always important to dive home this proposition with historical backup because in the words of Professor Esedebe "…a man who loses memory of what went before will be a man adrift."

Nigeria before the invasion of the British in the 1860s and the formalization of colonialism in 1900 never knew any atom of differences among its dwellers until they stamped their feet on Nigeria's soil.   What the British colonial rule did in Nigeria through her various policies was to stir up primordial sentiments among the people, where such have not existed before now.  Through the colonial policy of did and rule the British succeeded in sowing seeds of division and hatred within the emerging nation; this colonial policy guided the British in subjugating and balkanizing Nigerians and Nigeria.  Having internalized these differences, the idea of nation building changed as we could only utter "one Nigeria" from the side of our mouth.
Tribalism has resulted in innumerable upheavals that took away the lives of innocuous citizenry.   Tribalism also play a role when it comes to who gets what, when and how. Nigerians today cannot pass a clear-cut judgment on someone without viewing it from tribal perspective, allocation of scarce resources is also base on tribal lines.

It is noteworthy to state clearly without any equivocation nor ambiguity, that the Nigeria constitution has also helped in exacerbating the cankerworm called tribalism.   The Federal character and the principles of quota system in the constitution can be seen as the engravement of tribalism in government agencies and institutions.  Employment, promotion and whatnot in public offices must be done from the angle of where you come from and not who you are, what this connotes is that there is no 'Nigerian' as an individual but rather as a tribal group.  This practice has displaced the weberian principle of meritocracy because the best is not considered but whose turn, this principles had had a dismal effect on performance and productivity of public officials.

As this day marks the 56th independence anniversary of this great country Nigeria, a country still full of hopes and dreams, it is high time we thought of the way forward.

There is need for the adoption of an efficacious integration and sensitization programs that would be geared towards uniting the people of Nigeria, when this is done, it would no longer be a case of favouritism because there is a feeling on brotherhood in the air, only then can we all join our hands and strengths to roll the stumbling stone that has bedevil this country.  This is in line with what Appadorai said, he opined that "the sense of belonging together creates a readiness on the part of the members of a state to subordinate their differences to the common good".  Hence the mantra, society above self.

The principles of Federal character and the quota system need to be jettisoned from the constitution so as to give room for meritocracy, this would ensure that only credible and qualified Nigerians take up the mantle of governance and administration.  Our tertiary institutions would no longer undergo the onerous task of tutoring vegetables and producing unemployable graduates.

When these recommendations are being undertaken by the appropriate authorities, I believe that it would reduce the problem of Nigeria to its ebb, this would quell the incessant uprising of militancy and terrorism, hate and ethnic chauvinism amongst others.

By: Ejioffor Ikechukwu

Nigeria’s worst enemy since independence: Corruption

THE NIGERIA’S 56TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY

By: Ejioffor, Ikechukwu

Corruption in a plane language can be seen as the immoral, deprive and dishonest practice of individuals.  In administrative parlance, it can be seen as using a public office by elected or appointed official to deprive and appropriate public resources, that is to say That, corruption is the use of one’s office to divert what is meant for the general public for selfish gains.
Nigeria got her independence on the first of October, nineteen sixty (1/10/1960) and today is 56th independence anniversary of this great nation. Nigeria has faced many turmoil, civil unrest that even threatens to divide this nation as a result of some lingering problems. Questions have been asked as to the causes of this problem and many scholars, experts, students have come up with their individual answers but like a theory it is just an assumption, partial, indeterminate and inconclusive.
Nevertheless, the Nigeria’s worst enemy since independence is corruption, Any attempt to expunge corruption is like an attempt to erode the society of its  'typical values'. The history of corruption in Nigeria is traceable to the colonial era where our colonial masters inflate the costs of project, their salaries and allowances. All this are in attempt to move this money in their millions to their native land, this went on for decades until the successful ‘transfer’ of power to those they deemed fit- those the French called interlocoteurs valables (negotiators worth talking to) and Karl Marx refer to the  comprador bourgeoisie, these classes of people continue in the perpetration of the activities of their erstwhile masters, a notable figure among them is Francis Okotie-Eboh. Today, corruption is almost inevitable in any institution-be it traditional, religious or formal institutions. Our society today celebrates corrupt officials or personalities more than the pope; for one to be able to have a say in the society one has to be financially buoyant. Just like the Igbo adage says, ‘nwata kwoo aka o soro ogaranya rie nri', a child that washes his hands will eat with the elders, this just shows how materialistic our society is structured.
Having traced the factor that is seen as Nigeria’s worst enemy, is about time we suggested the way forward. Corruption is undoubtedly in every society of the world but the difference is its management. While most countries have been able to manage the rate of corruption to its lowest ebb Nigeria is yet to achieve that feat. There is need for institutionalization of anti-corruption measures in every institution this would deter individuals from engaging in such practice. Also an effect legal framework need to be in place, in Nigeria today, the judiciary is charged with melting out penalties for corrupt officials but their practice has faced many challenges relating to the independence of the judiciary.  With a zero rate of dependency, the judiciary wold be able to execute its functions free from any encumbrances.  Finally, there is need for the adoption of e-governance in carrying out government processes, when the transactionary and processing functions of government agencies are computerized there would be little or no chance for the siphoning of government/public resources.               

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

History of what we know as Calendar



THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR
Ata to the man who made history exciting  and enticing in my secondary school days and till when my toes point up, salute to him who the world still reckon for his ingenuity and painstaking task in introducing the calendar that over 4 billion people in the world still refer to, Pope Gregory XIII.  My quest for in-depth knowledge talked me into this work. Most of us I believe can recite the world historical dates and its antecedents but don’t know how it is easy to do so; here is just a tip of the iceberg.
Calendar, system of measuring time for the needs of civil life, by dividing time into days, weeks, months, and years. Calendar divisions are based on the movements of the earth and the regular appearances of the sun and the moon. The week was derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition requiring rest from labor every seventh day. It is not based on a natural phenomenon. The Romans named the days of the week in honor of the sun, moon, and various planets.
A month was originally calculated by ancient peoples as the time between two full moons, or the number of days required for the moon to circle the earth (29.5 days).
The Gregorian calendar is also called the Christian calendar because it uses the birth of Jesus Christ as a starting date. Dates of the Christian era are often designated ad (Latin anno domini, “in the year of our Lord”) and bc (before Christ). Although the birth of Christ was originally given as December 25, ad 1, modern scholars now place it about 4 bc.  I guess this will bring about argument as to whether to reject or accept the calendar wholeheartedly due to the religious faith, but I tell you what, this was the era of the great Roman Empire Rome was the hub of science, technology, art, trade and whatnot.
The Gregorian calendar, or New Style calendar, was slowly adopted throughout Europe. It is used today throughout most of the Western world and in parts of Asia. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted in Britain in 1752, another correction of an 11-day discrepancy was made; the day after September 2, 1752, became September 14. The British also adopted January 1 as the day when a new year begins. The Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, and Greece adopted it in 1923 for civil purposes, but many countries affiliated with the Greek Church retain the Julian, or Old Style, calendar for the celebration of church feasts.
Though, sometimes I tend to reject the idea of new year- I see it as just a mere change in date because nothing spectacular or unique exist in it but I tell you this, the weather here in Nigeria tends to get extremely cold in the first two weeks of the new year, if you happen to be around Europe and America (North America) you will also observe that it’s more snowy when it come to January.
The Gregorian calendar is the most accurate calendar currently in use in this planet earth after undergoing some rigorous reforms since it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Years of imperfections- Nigeria

54 Years of imperfections

Perfectness is something every citizen of a country dreams of, perfection is a ‘being’ of no harum-scarum, perfection in a country is when there is complete legitimacy, full dividend of democracy and government.  Though all the aforesaid condiments are surreal in any present democratic dispensation, not even in Saudi Arabia or the smallest state within a state, The Vatican, but still a nation can be said to be close to it.
Nigeria got her independent on the 1st of October, 1960 after many years of political struggle by some of our past heroes, among which are: Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Fumi Ransom Kuti et cetera.  On that faithful morning, fire crackers were seen in the sky, illuminating the whole places, women and children were singing songs of victory and home, university lecturers were chattering over some bottles of wine in their respective joints- discussing the prospects of the then youngest state in the world. Little do all these stakeholders know that independent will open fresh wounds, created out of the slipshoddiness of our colonial masters, the Brit..
At the dawn of independent we started experiencing what the press tagged ‘pregnant politicians’ bribery and corruption became rife, smeared by the composition of Nigeria, ethnic violence started surfacing.  All this maladies led to the first military coup in the country masterminded by a young military office, C.K. Nzeogwu, all in the name of seeking perfection.  A year after military supplantment of political affairs of the country, came the civil war- a genocidal war that is still not obliterated in the minds of Nigeria.
Today marks 54 years of her struggle, a 54 years strive for perfection.  The menace to the growth of this nation has multiplied over the years: unemployment- 61% of her workforce is unemployed; electrification- incessant power shortage is crippling the economy causing most industries to relocate to neighboring countries; ethno-religious crisis here and there.
Nigeria, nevertheless has achieved some great feats despite her shortcomings, today Nigeria could boost of a fast growing economy with a tremendous GDP rate, she has produced mentors for the up and coming generations, talk of the likes of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie (world renowned writers), Chike Obi (in Mathematics), Emma Egwali (in ICt), Kanu Nwankwo and Jay Jay Okocha (both in football), Aliko Dangote( the number one business tycoon in Africa) Fela Kuti (in Music) et cetera.  As we all mark the birthday of Nigeria- a country that is full of milk and honey- may our struggle for perfection be a dream comes true, together we can achieve it if we show love for each other.  Amor Vincit Omnia             

Nigeria at 54: The Journey so Far

NIGERIA AT 54: THE JOURNEY SO FAR
          
By: Chiso John
ogbonniachisom@gmail.com

Today, Nigeria turns 54 and celebrations are rife all over the place but to be honest, there is little or nothing worthy of note to be celebrated. As a country, Nigeria is torn between thick lines of ethno-religious differences which has in most cases led to conflicts across the 36 states of the federation and some scholars rightly noted that Nigeria comprises three nations - Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa in a nation/country.
Since the birth of the country in 1960, Nigeria's greatest enemy has been corruption and tribalism as both continue to eat deep into the very fabric of the society.
However, in recent times, the Boko Haram insurgency (more active in the North Eastern part of the country) and the Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) also called the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever has brought about more challenges to the government. On one hand, there has been frantic efforts in recent times by the Nigerian Army to contain the Boko Haram Sect which has yielded positive results in recent weeks, on the other hand, take nothing away from the Federal Government as Nigeria stood strong to contain the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever and the words Surveillance, quarantine, Isolation etc has become commonplace usages on social networks, media houses and amongst Nigerians in general.
The Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever can be likened to corruption in Nigeria. They both are contagious and leave a devastating effect on the society. However, unlike the EVD, corruption has not been contained and neither has it been isolated as time after time more Nigerians dabble in it. Corruption is a threat to our own democracy and value system but nothing tangible is ongoing to contain it as most cases of corrupt practices by public officials and citizens has gone unreported and some other cases celebrated. Nigerians now see public office as a means to quick money or what I call " bogus political rush". Political manifestoes though mellifluous has been described by Professor Ofuebe as "hollow ritual". The term " dividends of democracy" has been completely rebranded due to the chaotic democratic system in practice in Nigeria.
In spite of all the aforementioned, Nigeria as a nation has thrived economically this has however been disputed as  some observers argue that the economic development attained by Nigeria is only viable "on paper".
Though the shadows of our past as a nation haunts us, dwelling on the past would be a quite risky thing to do. Today is not a day to look back on our past mistakes, its one to look forward to the solutions to the problems that impedes this nation from greatness.
Happy Independence day.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.