Friday, April 30, 2010


For many years Babangida became the poster child of Nigeria politics. So many Nigeria politicians had bounced him around left and right to serve their narrow interests; assumed the seat of power without anything to show for it.

IBB, the man, left the seat of power precisely seventeen years ago, and what have we achieved since the memorable ‘step aside’ saga? Nothing in particular. Our roads are not better; they only continue to consume hundreds of prime lives. Our cities don’t look better either, other than occasional edifices of building springing up in shanty enclaves without well constructed access roads, water supply or street lights.

The level of education both in primary, secondary and tertiary schools are in sorry state. Specialized tools, Infrastructures and much needed books are no where to be found. Visit where Nigerian children are being taught and you will be shocked to your bones. Sometimes one wonders what will become of these children when they finish their education. You wonderfully wondered how you expect children taught in these schools not to turn 419(ers), gangsters, drug pushers, assassins and knuckle headed looters of treasury all across the Nation.

When you read that a pastor’s wife is kidnapped, killed and dumped on a haystacks or a pastor is accosted in his office, dragged outside, castrated with one eye plugged out of its socket, you paused and wonder whether people are talking about the country you grew up or another planet across the galaxies.

When an Imam of a Mosque challenges his congregations to go out, draw their daggers and rip open innocent children belly all in the name of Allah or a Pastor of the church preaching revenge and asking for no forgiveness, then, you fall of your knees and thank God that wherever you are the Lord protects His Own.

With accusations galore and without any substantiated evidence that IBB stole millions, Nigerians rushed to publication tarnishing and character assassinating him day in day out. If it were true that he committed so much embezzlement while in office, how come we can not confront him with documents in the Court of Law? Can a man be so smart that no single trail of atrocities can be traced back to him?

The congressman of United States, William Jefferson, couldn’t evade the prying eyes of the FBI; hence he is now cooling his heels in prison. Those who collaborated with him to commit money laundering are now been watched 24/7 and they will not escape their days of Judgment.

It is true that Nigerians are still so mad over June 12th imbroglio, but give me a break; those opportunistic inheritors of aftermath of June 12th are nothing to write home about. Do we all belong to the extreme end of intelligent quotient (I.Q) that we can not see that these people crying foul are the worst within our teaming population of 150 million? If the young and the olds that took over from him for so many years were the saints that Nigerians were looking for, how come the expected transformation of all aspects of our lives are not better than those pre and after IBB’s era.

The man had decided not to spill any more beans since some Nigerians never believed that any human is beyond reproach and above mistakes. As a practical individual, he accepted responsibility for all that were committed during his tenure and said he was sorry in all languages.

Military men were trained to die while defending their country and could never have fair better under the environment of war and hatred. IBB was a military man when he assumed power but he demonstrated very rare democratic ideals of leadership years back. He brought respect to the seat of power and earned Nigeria the respect our Nation deserved. Under him Nigerians realized that certain policies and institutions, if well orchestrated, could serve the good interest of our teaming population.

Everyone who participated privately or publicly in Nigeria politics could not actually fault him for not trying during his tenure. DEFFRIL, MAMSER, the new breed politicians minus those who had turned into con artists and killers, the rural development; i.e. better life for rural women by his late wife were some of the IBB’s creations. Is anyone afraid of what more he can do for Nigeria with his second coming or is it just an outright hatred for those of my generation?

When institution is created or legislated, it becomes the responsibility of everyone to sustain or fine tune it for the betterment of everyone. When narrow interests become the bane of any society, institutions die easily. EFCC can serve Nigerians well if only they can nib corruption in the bud and never wait for China or America to point out the names of corrupt officials.

During IBB presidency, my family invested hard earned millions in agriculture, we asked only for assistance to rehabilitate roads and bridges linking our hectares of farm lands to the main access hub of roads in other that our goods and crops could be delivered or carried to towns and cities without too much hassles. Papa Awolowo popularized rural development during his political life and asked that every nook and cranny of western region be opened up for transportation of kola nuts and cocoa beans to town. IBB picked up this idea, and enforced it through his policies.

As a good strategist and consultant for my family agriculture ventures, I came up with a project write-up, submitted it to Eruwa local council, and through the state, the federal government obliged. With our efforts many along those roads and villages benefitted immensely, hence we all dubbed IBB as ‘Awoist’.

No sooner had the government of Babangida seized to exist than all the laudable policies collapsed. Lack of maintenance culture and continuity of institutions couple with non-challant attitudes of the ‘New Breed’ politicians reversed gains of years of government efforts in Nigeria. Only in Nigeria can you invest your hard earned money on business ventures, infrastructures and at the end of the day becomes frustrated, disappointed and even lost hope in your country.

Perhaps we need to have courage, sieve through those clamoring for our votes and trust; scrutinize everyone and not just play to the galleries of gluttonies. Ask everyone to present to us what they stand for, how they will take care of incessant killings in the name of religions. Without painstakingly recording their promises we will be drown with shouts of kill them all. Create a level playing ground for both olds and young to contest for the higher offices.

The whole world, fortunately, has become a small village and those who refused to be civil in conducting elections will end up loosing innocent lives of the people we are all fighting for. When you push the masses to the edge of the cliff, they will turn around three hundred and sixty degrees and chase you out of your enclaves. For 2011, we should all be vigilant and be vigilantè.

By O.R. Almaroof, DDS
NY, NY, U.S.A.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Nigeria is like a village tucked somewhere in the jungle of ignorance. Imagine a village without contact with any kind of civilization whatsoever. No airplane, no cars, no monetary system, no television, no computer. In this imaginary agrarian village people batter goods and services. The number of wives and children you have determine your social status. The king, called Kabiyesi, Sarduana or Igwe, of course has the most wives and children.

Once below the time, a white stranger from Britain drove a BMW Jeep into the village to the astonishment and bafflement of the villagers. They have never seen anything like that in the whole history of the village. The Jeep looks like a moving house and the driver like a ghost to the villagers. The closest myth they had was that of Oduduwa who came down to earth from heaven with two chicken or was that a hen and a cock. Any way, legend or myth had it that Oduduwa descended on a rope to a shapeless earth for “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” There was water everywhere and no land for him to stand. So, Oduduwa brought some dirt, a hen and a cock with him from heaven. The cock and hen spread the dirt all over the water and the earth as we know it was formed.

There was chaos in the village for about a week while everyone including the King ran helter scatter and sought refuge in the mountains. Finally, Abiku, one of the king’s least favorite daughters summoned up enough courage and went to the stranger to chat or rather, gesticulate their emotions and thoughts.

Let me tell you about Abiku. She is the little-big child who, according to legend, has traversed every nook and corner of hell before she was born. She is the presumed child of Lucifer who, according to legend, rises and withers with the Sun in a blind quest for reincarnation. The night she was born, the moon hung heavily and dangerously in the sky exposing the shameful nakedness of a backward culture.

Over there in that dilapidated cave; the one with hurricane lantern on its roof and painted with the blood of infants sacrificed to propitiate disgruntled gods, Abiku was waiting by her mother’s bed for her birth. Please don’t ask me how; for she was the excruciating pain her mother felt all the way.

The cave where she was to be born was dimly lit by many Atupas – plates made out clay with wicks soaked in palm oil or kerosene. Far at the right was a bed made out of clay. There Abiku’s mother lay in pain surrounded by a crowd of dwarves who are the village doctors. A little to the left, there are many small skulls like those of monkeys found in science fiction movies. According to legend, most of those skulls belong to Abiku.

She didn’t want to be born. Not again. The last time she had tried in vain to hold on to the umbilical cord but it was damn too slippery. The village doctors had dragged her out of her mother’s womb and put her on platter as if she were a dish for the gods. They had gathered around her and knelt before her and worshiped her. Then as if in anger and shame they had stoned her to death or may be crucified her – she really didn’t remember. Oh No, she didn’t want to be born again!

Abiku’s mother had moaned her desire for relief as her eyes tumbled in circle of little storms. Abiku, out of pity for her mother, let her little head – like a Joey’s in a porch – glide out of her mother’s pigeon hole where the King had many times sacrificed Abiku in vain to propitiate Iyemoja the goddess of fertility. She still didn’t want to be born. The village doctors grabbed her by the head and dragged her out of her haven. She didn’t cry. They spanked her little naked behind. She still didn’t cry. They looked deeply into her unblinking eyes and nodded their coconut heads as if in confirmation of some misconception. Then they put her on a platter and spiced her up with honey, kola-nut, bitter-nut, palmoil and salt. They shoved all these in Abiku’s little mouth. She still didn’t cry. Then they took out a knife from the furnace and gently, slowly, painfully carved a passport in her innocent beautiful face in order to discourage her from dying and for the first time in her many lives she cried. No, she screamed. They laughed and cheered at her tears. Then they named her Abiku Kokumo Kashimawo.

So, Abiku told the King to call a village meeting where everyone can meet and perhaps exchange ideas with the white stranger. Many cows, goats, chicken and monkeys were sacrificed for this occasion. The King loved the BMW Jeep so much that he traded Abiku for it. Couple of days later the white stranger left the Jeep with the King - full of gas and key in the ignition- and took Abiku back with him to Britain.

The King then summoned all the village wise men to figure out how to drive the Jeep. After several weeks of brain storming and fumbling they discovered that when the gear is put in neutral they can actually push the Jeep around. They have finally figured out how to drive the Jeep!

The King immediately declared a decree to set up a competition every five years to pick a group of strong men and designated them as the ‘Ati Obas’ otherwise known as the ‘King Pushers.’ They actually made a tradition out of pushing the Jeep around!!
The main duty of these men is to maintain the Jeep by keeping it clean all the time and drive, or should I say push, the King anywhere his majesty desires. They push the Jeep up-hills and down-slopes all the days of their lives. In return, these men have access to unlimited supply of food and women for live. They became the envy of the whole village and every boy wants to be a ‘King Pusher’ when he grows up while every young girl dream of being one of the wives of a ‘King Pusher’.

After many decades, Abiku and her new family came back to the village to settle down and perhaps teach her people all she had learned in Britain and all other western world. She was amazed to find her people pushing the Jeep around. She wondered why and asked them if the Jeep was broken. They told her, boastfully, that they had figured out how to drive the Jeep out of the abundant intelligence of the village wise men. She saw the key still dangling from the ignition and the gas gage showing almost full of gas and she reached for the key in attempt to start the Jeep, but the King slapped her hand and rebuked her from touching the key because it was an abomination.
She tried to show them how to start the Jeep but they accused her of trying to break their traditions. Everybody in the village including the King gathered around her and lectured her on the tradition of the ‘Car Pushers’ and how they will never allow a ‘foreigner’ like her to come and change their good culture. So, they decided to throw her and her family out of the village and send them back to Britain never to return again. That is the parody of my beloved country.