Scripted potpourri

A blend of topnotch writing prowess, significant issues and scintillating stories!

The All-Important Non-Priority Agenda

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The trail of reactions that have followed the suspension of the Nigerian Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, are a reflection of a scenario of misplaced priorities that have seemingly come to characterise the Goodluck Jonathan administration. After making startling revelations about unpaid remittances to the Federation Account by the NNPC, Mr. Sanusi entered into an altercation of sorts with Mr. President. By Thursday last week, this development culminated in Sanusi’s suspension from the leadership of the apex financial institution on grounds of financial recklessness.

For me, the suspension wasn’t half as shocking as it was disturbing; disturbing because it makes mockery of a leadership that touts itself as having an agenda; a “transformation agenda”. This agenda, once highly regarded, now seems, from the facts on ground, to be putting the things which matter most at the mercy of those which matter least; or those that only matter in a fundamentally negative way. For indeed, why would a government so concerned with financial recklessness ignore missing N20 billion, and oust the person who brings our attention to it?

To be sure, the existence of the Jonathan administration’s “non-priority agenda” can be found here and there in his track record, from the brazen granting of state pardon to political god-father, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, to the ill-fated attempt to change the name of the University of Lagos. I find it interesting that President Jonathan, whose country’s North East is still being unfortunately rampaged by Boko Haram, will present the lead paper at Nigeria’s centenary celebration security conference. The paper will focus on how to secure the continent against terrorists. I look forward to the insights he must have to share.

As the facts seem to say, the present administration is paying quite some attention to the clamping-down of dissenters and critics, as well as the pampering of political supporters and endorsers. This can only mar whatever positive policies the administration has effected or is still in the process of effecting. What’s more? Not only was Sanusi’s suspension inopportune, impolitic and ill-prioritized, it was also illegal. But then, what is priority and propriety to a government that exalts vested interests over national interest?

Now, while it is healthy and fashionable to be irate and to point accusing fingers at President Jonathan, it is probably more germane as Nigerian citizens, to discover some important home truths that this matter is weighed down by. To wit, on the one hand, I can safely reckon that many of us either have no idea, or are only remotely aware of what goes on in government. This is sad and unhelpful. It cannot be over-emphasized, the need to take an interest in the manner and calibre of governance in our country, especially with the amount of information available to us and the immense advantages of the social media. We must spice up our political culture and hold government accountable. Little wonder this generation of youths are always the “leaders of tomorrow”, never today. We have been entrapped in a web of ignorance and complacency, while the “leaders of today” have a filled day. Anyway, I have taken the liberty to share two articles on this issue that I found particularly informative and soundly written: Think Africa Press and Tolu Ogunlesi’s

On a related point, this is where I say something about my new favourite pastime—reading articles online. I recently found on Forbes, a rather profound article titled, 11 ways to Create More Time to Think. I did have my reservations about some of the suggestions in the article, but I found that its ultimate idea held a quite a dose of wisdom. From the article, I discovered that if we want to think, or come up with ground-breaking ideas, or contribute advantageously to our environments and society, it is important that we consciously create time to think. This would give us not just more organised lives, but would help us make better prioritized and far-reaching decisions. It is said that a person is free to make his choices but he is not free from the consequences of those choices. As a result, thinking can help a man weigh his options, as well as avoid the tactlessness that comes from getting inebriated by freedom and power and opportunity. I am of the opinion that President Jonathan and his advisers are not savvy with this line of thought, and their inebriation is starting to show. We must learn lessons from their errors.

I should think that President Jonathan would focus on fine-tuning and consolidating the priority items on his transformation agenda. That way, he can ensure at least, to leave a favourable legacy for himself as 2015 approaches.

Long live Nigeria!

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Pa James has a Message from the Maasai

Identity

Identity

It was from Pa James I believe, that I first heard the now cliché joke about describing a person with the most obviously silly depictions. In that episode of the famous Nigerian sitcom “Papa Ajasco”, (I’m a bit foggy on the details now), Pa James describes a man to Papa Ajasco as something like this: “The man tall. E wear shirt and trouser. If him wan sleep, e go close him eye and na mouth e dey use take talk.” I thought it was brilliantly hilarious! I do remember telling everyone about it at every opportunity I got. At that point, when all my appreciation for Pa James’ one-liner was that it was plain smart humour, it never occurred to me that I would “one day” come to realize how much of reality the actor’s words actually mirrored, albeit unwittingly. So here comes “one day”…

One day was sometime last week when I learned about a case of ‘land grabbing’ from an ethnic tribe called the Maasai by the Tanzanian government in order to lease it to a foreign hunting company. It was a much-contested issue because the government denied perpetrating the act. However, this blog post does not concern itself with pointing fingers. What is very striking and of abundant concern rather is that the Maasai people are actually an infinitely threatened people. The modern world has never really been comfortable with them as they have been timelessly harangued by both Kenyan and Tanzanian governments to give up their indigenous cultural ways of life which affords them vast areas of land that these governments would as soon rather convert into lucrative business ventures. The Maasai in response have been resolutely staunch in the preservation of their identity and in the lavish and jealous care of that uniqueness that is Maasai through and through- from their sunset and ocher hued clothing to the brilliant kaleidoscopic bead and craft work that their diligent and meticulous hands can make.

Identity: that’s the word that claws for my attention after my reading contact with the Maasai. It is rare, you must admit, to find any more display of identity in today’s globalized world than that displayed by the Maasai. You see, everybody wears jeans and make-up and hair-extensions and Police bodywear and stilettos and sunshades these days (I am not excluded!). We all use Blackberries and tabs and i-things. We all eat KFC and rice – jollof rice, white rice, Ofada rice, fried rice, coconut rice, Abakaliki rice, Basmati rice, pasta rice! If you ask me, I say we all look alike! But go ahead and ask Pa James to describe you, I bet he’ll say something like this: ‘The man na man. E get jeans for down and police body wear for up.  If e won sleep, na blackberry go tell am and na football e dey use take talk.” Hehehehehe!

Here are my thoughts: we might never be like the Maasai who are physically distinct in their cultural practices but we can definitely find a niche for ourselves in a world that tries to lump us into an indistinct entity, void of variety and verve. Letting that happen to us is as intellectually and unacceptably vague as Pa James’ laughable descriptions. I mean, the last thing you want is to only be known for the obvious and the material: by your celebrity-style hair-do, or your to-die-for abs or those fashionable clothes. You wanna look into the world sometime in the future and find yourself, you know, locate a footprint or milestone that nobody else can lay claim to except you. The French call it “je ne sais quoi” and I love that word like oh-la-la! Loving that word means being willing to give yourself some more credit than to just be a follower of the crowd without letting yourself be the billboard of, and executor of your purpose. It is obvious: this is a matter that goes beyond wearing jeans or eating rice. On the contrary, it is about making a conscious effort to stand out, not necessarily by just being different but by not betraying the “you” that you are on the inside. You see, only you and God know that “you” on the inside.

maasai So pay only scant attention to “Pa James”- just enough for the comical to mutate into  the rational. Remember that he is after all only the bearer of the message of the Maasai. Listen closely rather to the message of the Maasai, which, in the final analysis, is what should stoke the embers of our suppressed identity and purpose. On this note, it’s from the Maasai… with love!

Later!

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Disclaimer: The above post, in its wording and intention does nothing to endorse any culture or regard any one culture as better than the other. It neither lays the blame for the erosion of any culture at the feet of any other culture or authority.

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