Saturday, December 26, 2009

Obama: Were We All Naïve?

"People will not readily bear pain unless there is hope." — Michael Edwardes

How fast time flies! So, it is already almost a year ago now that the whole world was in a euphoric mood to usher in the 44th president of the world's pre-eminent power, the United States of America: Barack Hussein Obama.

Not since the election of the highly charismatic John F. Kennedy has the world been so enraptured by an American politico.

JFK brought dynamism, beauty, youthful energy, and new paradigms to the governance of his nation. He was well-educated, urbane, sophisticated with movie-star winning looks. And that he was stupendously rich didn't hurt at all. Even though the man suffered from the life-threatening Addison's disease, JFK's handlers (spin doctors in today's parlance) did their best to sell their candidate as the epitome of youthful fitness and vigour. They even went as far as accusing his opponent for the Democratic Party nomination, Lyndon Johnson, as not been healthy enough. JFK won the election.

In JFK, Americans elected a man who brought fresh ideas into traditional American politicking. His election represented the passing of the baton from old tired horses to a new generation of vital leaders with lots of youthful exuberance.

JFK was a leader that any sane society would love to have as its own. He inspired Americans like few other leaders before him. A very brilliant man, he had immense confidence in himself and in his abilities to lead his compatriots to conquer any and all obstacles to reach for the highest heights. When the Soviets blasted their Sputnik into space, thereby bruising America's ego in the race to space, JFK challenged his people to reach for nothing but the ehm, eh, moon.

American scientists and engineers were given a marching order by their president to land a man on the moon and bring him back within a decade. The inspired American engineers beat the deadline in a feat engrossingly captured by Norman Mailer in his Of a Fire on the Moon, which remains one of the best books I've ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Accepting his party's nomination, JFK said, inter alia, "We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier... the choice our nation must make... [is]... between the public interest and private comfort -- between national greatness and national decline..."

JFK brought new dynamism into the American Presidency. He came with an agenda: to make his country better.

A nation's foreign policy is a reflection of its domestic policy. JFK's vigorous and very populist domestic agenda (he termed this the "New Frontier," which is meant to use the federal might to address the social and economic challenges his country faced) was matched by a robust foreign policy.

Of course, he doggedly pursued the imperial national interests of his country, but he didn't forget that America, however powerful, was not an isolated island in the spinning globe we all call home. As he pledged in his inaugural address: "To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

Poor people all over the world remember with fondness the faces of young Americans, members of the Peace Corps, bringing some solace into deprived lives. Although many members of the Peace Corps were thrown out of many countries on charges of espionage, the Peace Corps remains one of the most enduring and endearing legacies of US foreign policy.

The world was not naïve to believe that imperial America had changed its way with the election of JFK and his Peace Corps, but it showed that something good could indeed come out of a nation that has wronged so many neighbors and inflicted so much pain on the rest of the non-white world. If ever there was a time when non-Americans genuinely loved the leader of the imperialist world, it must have been during the JFK interregnum.

And even though Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, and for us in Africa, the planning of sabotage against nascent African nations just emerging from colonial rule, represent the low points of the JFK administration, his domestic and foreign (and space!) policies accomplishments permanently engraved his name in the annals of the world's greatest leaders.

Sadly America, nay the world, lost a great leader when an assassin's bullets cut short the life of the youthful president who had given the world so much hope.

It is difficult to believe that the same country that gave the world a leader like John Kennedy also foisted on us a certified moron like Mr. George Bush Jr.

If the JFK presidency represents the finest period of Pan-Americana, Bush Jr.'s tenure represents the ugliest manifestation of America The Ugly.

The Bush Jr.'s regime was hardly with any redeeming feature. Although he traversed the African continent and made the same time-worn promises to help, it is difficult to have anything good to say about Mr. Bush Jr.

In President Bush Jr. we had a seemingly tongue-tied, intellectually-challenged man apparently high on some brain-enhancing drug. To call Bush an illiterate is inadequate; the man has problem speaking his own [English] language! And what about those jerky walks; those fogged expression like that of a drugged and demented moron. How about those finger waggings like a Biblical patriarch whose children have disobeyed Jehovah!


Mo Ibrahim Africa Leadership Award

The dearth of quality leadership on the African political terrain was recently brought into sharp focus when the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Leadership Award committee said that it could not find a suitable candidate to nominate for this year's award!

No one can accuse Mr. Mo Ibrahim of not trying to do his finest for his fatherland, Africa. In October 2006, the Sudanese mobile communications magnate launched the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The major remit of the Foundation was to promote excellence in leadership in Africa.

Recognizing that lack of quality leadership has robbed his continent of good governance over the years, Mr. Ibrahim endeavors to do his best by trying to improve the quality of leadership on the continent.

With her vast resources -- human and mineral -- patriotic Africans keep on looking in shame and bewilderment as their beloved continent continues to be the world's laughing stock. A graphic example of how an insanely corrupt elite, in cahoots with their Western partners, continue to rob the continent dry, literally as well as figuratively, can be found in the November 2009 edition of the London-based New African magazine.

As people in other regions continue to reveal nature's darkest secrets, pictures of starving Africans continue to adorn the pamphlets of aid organizations. Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders can mobilize their people to fight useless wars over dry patches of land, yet they lack the vision and the wisdom to construct dams and build irrigation systems. Kenyan leaders managed to promote avarice to scientific levels, yet they lack the capacity to plan to stem the drought ravaging their country. Led by their comatose president, the otiose elite misruling Nigeria cannot provide even the most basic of services to their people. Warlords in West Africa were able to chop off their compatriots' limbs, but no one there is clued to find solutions to the perennial problems afflicting the region.

Mr. Ibrahim surveyed these sickening scenes and thought he could do something about it. He set up the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to reward African leaders who are deemed to have given quality leadership to their people. The prize is to be awarded to elected presidents and prime ministers who have left office within the last three years, to encourage African leaders to emulate the way Dr. Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, left office. The prize, the largest individual annual award in the world, consists of $5 million to be paid to the recipient over a period of ten years, and $200,000 yearly for life thereafter. Another sum of $200,000 yearly is also applicable for good causes initiated by the winner, as may be granted by the Foundation during the first 10 years.

The mission of the African Leadership Prize, as stated by the Foundation, is "to stimulate debate on good governance across sub-Saharan Africa and the world, provide objective criteria by which citizens can hold their governments accountable, recognize achievements in African leadership and provide a practical way in which African leaders can build positive legacies."

Mr. Ibrahim laudably set up the award to promote good leadership in a continent where quality leadership is as scarce as chickens' teeth. Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano won the maiden prize in 2007 "for his role in leading Mozambique from conflict to peace and democracy." He was deemed a worthy winner. Festus Gontebanyes Mogae, former president of Botswana, won the 2008 edition to loud applause. Botswana has, over the years, consistently topped Africa developmental indices, and it remains one of the few African countries where official corruption has not been promoted to national ethos. No one quarreled when Nelson Mandela was made an Honorary Laureate in 2007 for his extraordinary leadership qualities and iconic achievements.

But in what is considered a damning indictment on the quality of leadership in Africa, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation decided not to award the 2009 leadership prize. Because of the confidential nature of the committee works, we will never know the reasons why the decision was made not to award this year's prize.

Former president of Botswana Ketumile Masire, speaking for the selection committee, merely said, "The prize committee could not select a winner."

Although Africans held their breath for the announcement of the 2009 winner, there was little surprise when the committee announced that there would be no winner for the year!

Whatever spin one might put on it, this is a very serious indictment on the continent's political class. It speaks volumes that none of the leaders who left the scene in the past three years was deemed qualified for this award. This, however, will not surprise any serious Africa watcher.

Since the euphoria of the 1960s when African nationalists wrested political control of their land from European colonialists, Africa has sorely lacked visionary and patriotic leaders. In the 1960s, Africa could boast of political and intellectual giants like Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, Tanzania's Julius Nyerere, Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda, Senegal's Leopold Senghor, etc. Those were leaders with clear-cut ideas about how to move their nations forward. They were giants among men who were able to totally mobilize their people to greater heights. The results of their efforts are still there for all to see.

Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere were humanists of the highest order; their humanistic philosophy informed all the actions they took as leaders. Senghor was believed to be the best French grammarian of his time and nothing but the best in French was good enough for him. Kwame Nkrumah still remains the most outstanding leader Ghana (nay, Africa) ever produced. He was among the post-independence African leaders in great hurry to make their nation catch up with the rest of the world.


Ghana's Ministers In Trotro

During the first week of October 2009 in Ghana the news waves were saturated with reports that some ministers of government had decided to have a taste of what hoi polloi go through every day in the transportation department.

The ministers abandoned their brand new air-conditioned, four-wheel-drive jeeps -- bought, fueled and maintained at the taxpayers' expense -- and hopped into the contraptions we called Trotro around here, which is the only mode of transport available to the majority of Ghanaians. To those not in the know, Trotro are giant metal cages on wheels, and they are a common sight on many an African road. They are simply utility vehicles meant to transport you from point A to point B, period. Looking for comfort, then forget the Trotro. You should simply count yourself lucky if you emerge from a Trotro without your fabric torn by metal that protrudes from every part of the contraption that forms the major part of African transport system.

Some of the ministers later came on air mouthing such baloney like that they were doing it in solidarity with the common man/woman. Some of them said that it would enable them to get a feel of what the ordinary masses go through every day.

Whatever the reason, the sight was so unbecoming that journalists left their normal beats and rushed to capture it for entranced citizens. The news so captured the imagination of the people that analysts browbeat it to death.

It shows serious disconnect between the governors and the governed when news of governors sharing public transport becomes a big-time news item. In other normal societies, it is normal -- very normal -- for rulers to share in the anguish of their people. But in our part of the world where the rulers continue to behave like colonial overlords, the spectacle of them partaking in what their people go through every day is considered newsworthy.

Several times in these pages, I have provided instances of Dutch politicians, including the prime ministers, riding their own cars or taking public transport. It is considered so normal in the Netherlands that it is not newsworthy when an MP takes a train. High Dutch officials, the Queen included, joyfully ride bicycles. So enamored are the Dutch with their bicycles that they have special lanes for them.

A few years ago, it was reported that the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been fined for riding in a train without a ticket. Her excuse that she was in a hurry to get to her office was not bought by the (gasp!) black train conductor who slapped her with the fine.

In our part of the world, the wife of a District chief executive (equivalent of the head of a County) would not be caught dead in any of our public transport. And god helped the "stupid" policeman foolish enough to harass the wife of an African minister.

Also in my columns, I have railed against the inability (or is it unwillingness?) of the African political class to share in the burden of anguish they imposed on their citizens. It is this capacity of African leaders to set themselves far above their people that, I believe is responsible for much of the worrisome poverty that keeps defacing the face of this beautiful continent. It is this inability of African rulers to have solidarity with their own that informed their exchanging their folks for gin, trinkets, guns, and the other goodies that the slavers used to dazzle them. We see the same pattern today where African leaders accept bribes from Western multinationals and allow the imperialists to loot our resources.

As soon as they get into position of authority, African leaders, whatever their political coloration, easily eased themselves into the Orwellian land of all animals are simply not equal. All over Africa, we have big, opulent presidential palaces constructed in sharp contrast to gigantic slums.

Kenya is a classical case of where the so-called opposition has joined the so-called "government" in high living. Members of the Kenyan parliament, no matter to which political party they belong, eagerly and very enthusiastically voted for pay rises and car allowances. Kenyan ministers of every political persuasion are reluctant, very reluctant to trade their big Mercedes Benzes for smaller cars to save money for the Kenyan treasury. Nigeria's otiose political elites are a class unto themselves; they have transformed the business of looting public treasury into a fine art. So totally shameless are Nigerian politicians that stories of high corruption no longer bother them.


Hypocrisy As Way Of Life!

We refuse to be, what you want us to be
We are what we are, that is the way it is going to be, you don't know
You cannot educate I, for there's no equal opportunity
Talking about my freedom, people freedom and liberty
Yeah, we have been trodden on your wine press much too long, rebel, rebel, (2x)
Babylon system is the vampire,
Sucking the children day by day, yeah
Me say the Babylon system is the vampire
Sucking the blood of the sufferer
Building church and university, oh, yeah
Deceiving the people continually
Me say dem graduating thieves and murderers
Look out now
They sucking the blood of the sufferer
Tell the children the truth (2x)

—Bob Marley, from the album SURVIVAL.

One of the definitions of hypocrisy is "feigned high principles: the false claim to or pretense of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings."

Churchill, whom the English sometime ago voted the greatest Englishman ever, once said: "[The English] are not a young people with an innocent record and a scanty inheritance. We have engrossed to ourselves... an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world. We have got all we want in territory, and our claim to be left in the unmolested enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions, mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force, often seems less reasonable to others than to us."

The effrontery of Westerners to assume the high moral ground is always baffling, at least to yours truly. Take any happening anywhere in the world and you see Western political leaders, intellectuals -- supported by their sycophantic corporate media, spewing absolute nonsense. They are fast, very fast to condemn a so-called repression in China, so-called human rights violations in Iran, and the supposed shortcomings of the rulers of Sudan. Yet, they never see the shortcomings in their own societies.

Just take a look at them: every Western nation is, literally, armed to the teeth. Their leader, Uncle Sam, spends about half its budget on its Pentagon, and it's bristling with every form of weaponry known and unknown to man. Every form of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons is to be found in the arsenals of these Western nations.

Yet, let any non-white nation attempt to invest in some weapon system, and we see Westerners hollering "danger," "danger." They, of course, would deny that their action stinks of rank racism. Maybe they should tell us why the nuclear weapons built by the white rulers of South Africa were withdrawn when power was to be handed over to the black rulers.

It is said that the guillotiner does not like the sight of a machete wielder; how apropos! To the diseased minds of Western leaders/scholars, the rest of the world is waiting for the opportunity to pay the Western man back in his own bad coin. It never occurred to them that all we, in the non-Western world, want is simply to be left alone to manage our own affairs as we deem fit, without interference or molestation from any nosy imperialist.

We have to question what exactly is wrong with the imperialist wolves in the West that made them believe that they have every right to defend themselves, whilst denying others the right to do the same thing. Why do leaders of Britain (I see nothing Great there except duplicitous chicaneries) think that they are entitled to have a so-called independent (major components are supplied by Uncle Sam) nuclear deterrent, whilst the Iranians are to be denied the same? What manner of thinking informed the president of the United States of America to deny the North Koreans the right to nuclear weapons whilst US forces are parading vast quantities of the same weapons?

These are legitimate questions that should excite the mind of any fair-minded person who believes in the equitable application of international law and justice. It certainly will be very heart warming if someone can help out with some answers -- not that I am holding my breath!

Why should I, in my little patch of Africa, be afraid of Iran or North Korea? For crying out loud, Koreans have never colonized my land, they have never aggressed any part of my beloved Africa, and they have never enslaved Africans. Iran has never toppled a government in Africa and installed a puppet to guarantee the continual rape of African resources whilst despoiling the African environment in the process. Neither Iran nor North Korean is sending modern-day missionaries to my land to peddle the gospel of crass materialism, sexual aberrancy, pedophilia, and pederasty. Yet, the heirs of slave-masters and colonialists are telling me that Iran and North Korea present a clear and present danger and they expect me to take them seriously. It is difficult to imagine what the imperialists take us for, really. Do they still believe that we did not read up on our history and know all about the atrocities they have committed (and continue to commit) in our land in the name of "civilisation," "democracy," "human rights," etcetera, etcetera?

The imperialist West remains the only place today where people still arrogate to themselves the right to go around the world raping, killing and destroying human lives. The Chinese are not doing it; neither are the Russians nor the Indians. I shall be grateful if someone can educate me on the last time Iran or North Korea invaded another country. No one else except the champions of human rights in the West goes around the world sending drones to kill innocent people or bombing whole villages to kingdom come. No one else but the sanctimonious West is killing vast numbers of HUMAN BEINGS in the name of an ill-defined, utterly mindless War on Terror.

In any dispute they have with the rest of us, Westerners always arrogate to themselves the right to be the accuser, the prosecutor, the judge, and the enforcer. They accused their former stooge, Saddam Hussein, of every crime known to man. They slapped sanctions that reduced Iraq to pure rubbish. Yet, they were not satisfied until they finally invaded the country, deposed their former quisling, and had their new stooges hang him. Yet, it never occurred to these imperialists with their Ivy League universities, their oxymoronic intelligence outfits, and their numerous think tanks why Iranians are not rolling over to be thrashed and raped like their neighbors in Iraq.


Understanding Amerikkka

What exactly is agitating you guys? Why are you so worked up over the president? The man has spent just nine months in power and he inherited a very big mess and to those of us outside, he's doing a terrific job trying to fix the problems. Why are you guys so against him?

That's the problem with all you lily-livered Bolshevik bastards out there. This is the U S of A. This is America and we do things properly here.

Like calling for the head of your head of state?

Like whatever. Our hallowed Constitution, the best in the world, guaranteed us the right to speak our minds on any subject under the sun and beyond. I guess it is the kind of luxury you Leninist bloc-heads out there are not used to.

We are not exactly Leninists in this part of the world. The high technicalities of Mr. Lenin's and Mr. Marx's propositions are way, way too sophisticated for our peasant minds. We just cannot understand why you people are so furious because your president wants to extend health insurance coverage to the less priviledge in your country. Didn't the Christian Holy Book say that you should help the weak if you're strong? Why should extending help to impecunious citizens be considered high treason?

Because you don't live here, mister. This is the U S of A! Americans do not want government in their lives and certainly not inside their houses. Goddamn it! This is a very simple thing to understand except to hardcore Marxists and Islamo-fascists. The business of health coverage is for each individual to decide. Don't forget this is the greatest country in the world, and our way of life is second to none. That's why we are the envy of the world.

I wonder how you came to that conclusion. I won't agree that the rest of the world finds your particular system that attractive. Let's leave that aside, though. The rest of us out here who believed your president's election slogan of "Change we can believe in" now think that he has sold out to the corporate interests that rule America; but here you are telling us that he is a cross between Malcolm X and Karl Marx. How do you square that?

We do not need to square off anything, mister. We Americans are rugged individuals. Our hallmark is our individualistic spirit to venture and build our own prosperity according to our native abilities. We take exception to an all-knowing president telling us how to organise mundane things like organising insurance and stuff. We are no fools and we are no simpletons. That's what we are trying to tell the world and the usurper at our White House.

What about those who cannot get insurance for themselves simply because they cannot afford it? Should they be allowed to die?

Everyone born into this world shall surely die. You are bound to die whether or not you have health insurance coverage. What I strongly object to is for a president to think that he has the right to use my tax dollars to give insurance to some undocumented aliens.

Aliens as in extraterrestrial?

No, aliens as in non-citizens. Why should I pay to give insurance to some Mexican who lives here illegally?

But the president says that his plan will not cover illegal immigrants.

Since when do you believe what politicians tell you?

So you have no faith in your government?

I have faith in my government as long as no one gives oneself the right to spend my tax dollars without my consent.

But what we outside the USA simply cannot fathom is that your government spent trillions of dollars to bail out insolvent banks without your consent and without much protestation from you. The money was given to rich corporations and individuals who simply went ahead and awarded themselves fantastic bonuses. How come you find it so irksome that the spending of a few billion dollars to give insurance coverage to your poor citizens constitutes an affront to your constitutional rights?


Yar'adua Fiddles While Nigeria Burns

"Nero fiddles while Rome burns," is a popular saying in the English language. Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus was the fifth emperor of the Roman Empire. Believed insane, he had some of his wives and mistresses killed at his whim. His mother (instrumental in making him emperor) suffered the same fate; she was executed for her criticism of his mistress. In the year 67, while Nero was fiddling away in Antium, two-thirds of the city of Rome got burnt.

Nigeria's president Musa Yar'adua is a modern day Nero. On the same day that another Islamic sect launched another assault of the Nigeria state Yar'adua embarked on a state visit to Brazil.

Apologists might say that there's nothing wrong with the chief of state going on scheduled journeys, but they will be missing some very important points, some of which are obvious to watchers of that unfortunate nation and had been pontificated in this very column.

Nigeria is an abnormal state where the machinery of government is dysfunctional at best. Yet Nigerian government officials continue to bury their heads in the sand pretending that all is well. They continue to confuse their personal well being with the state of their nation. That makes eminent sense when we consider the fact that they cannot distinguish between the state's treasury and their personal checking accounts.

The Nigerian minister of information continues to trot the globe trumpeting how sound things are in her utterly stupid "rebranding project." Good people, Great nation. That is the message the minister is carrying around the world. It is difficult to know whom the honorable minister is trying to fool. Okay, okay, large is one of the dictionary meanings of great. But if we choose to use ordinary meanings like powerful, influential or important, no one, apart from the bunch of deadly and insane looters in Abuja, will believe the lie that Nigeria is a GREAT country.

In all honesty, there's absolutely nothing great about a country that ranks seventh on the OPEC list yet cannot supply enough fuel to its citizens. There is nothing great about a country of one hundred and forty (140) million people that cannot generate enough electricity for its domestic and industrial use.

And in all honesty, the presidency of Yar'adua has been an absolute disaster. It is true that Nigeria has never had the good luck to be governed by a ruler with vision, but in sheer ineptness Yar'adua beats the former rulers, with the possible exception of Shehu Shagari, by a long stretch. It is true that Yar'adua's beginning was very inauspicious, but his two and half years in the presidency have revealed a man totally out of his depth.

With considerable fanfare Yar'adua told Nigerians that he was going to pursue a 7-point agenda with speed and vigor. Top among these is the vow to declare a state of emergency in the power sector. The generation and supply of electricity has become a major production in Nigeria with no one clued on how to resolve it. The last government of President Obasanjo claimed to have invested about US$16 billion in the sector in eight years, but like most allocations in the country, it has simply vanished into "money heaven" -- apologies to Mr. Madoff. Almost every Nigerian home now runs its own power-generating plant through generators. The attendant pollution is better left to the imagination. Many Nigerians go through life without tasting pipe-borne water. And corruption is so pervasive that it has simply become a way of life.

The presidency of any nation is supposed to be the moral compass of that nation. It is not an institution to joke about or trivialize. Yet Yar'adua has so utterly bastardised the hallowed institution that no Nigerian believes in the words of the president. Yar'adua has reduced the Nigerian presidency to a total joke that no one takes seriously anymore. Nowadays Nigerians yawn when their president comes to address them. This is sad for any nation, most especially for a country like Nigeria that calls for a firm, dedicated hand to guide it through its turbulent and very complex polity.

Amidst all the squalor all over the country, Nigerian elite, totally removed from reality, continue to beat their chests and give themselves kudos for a job well done. They continue to live and behave like they are in some cuckoo land where people exist in dreamlands. And the president is the leading act in this grotesque spectacle of chest-beating and self-congratulation. Yar'adua continues to operate like a hopeless leader without any idea what it takes to govern a nation, much less a complex one like Nigeria. And he continues to talk less and less sense.

In an interview last year with the prestigious Guardian newspaper of Nigeria, the president gave Nigerians his word that the country will be generating at least 6,000 megawatts before the end of this year. He did not equivocate; he did not qualify his assertion. In any normal country, when the president makes a declaration like that, it's taken as a gospel truth. That is so because the presidency is such an important institution that people believe that its decisions are announced only after the most careful deliberations. This is not the case in Nigeria. Since that declaration, the power generation and supply has grown increasingly worse. A few days ago, the minister in charge of the power sector came to out to inform Nigerians that the target given by the president could not be met. The questions beggared by the minister's announcement are (i) Is the president not serious at all, or (ii) does he not take Nigerians seriously to begin with, or (iii) what informed the president's confident pledge, or (iv) did the president do any homework or did he just conjure up some figures from thin air? No one is clued on how to answer these questions.


Africa And The International Criminal Court Of [In]justice

"Until the philosophy that holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, there will always be war."
—Emperor Haile Sellassie

"The ICC is not a court set up to bring to book prime ministers of the United Kingdom or presidents of the United States."
—Robin Cook, former British Minister.

Angered by the callous disrespect shown it by the UN Security Council (UNSC), the African Union (AU) at its last summit in Sitre, Libya, (July 1-3, 2009) decided to withdraw cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What seems to have made the AU angry was the decision by the ICC to indict Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and issue an arrest warrant against him. The AU had asked the UNSC to suspend the indictment against al-Bashir for a year because it [AU] was involved in very delicate negotiations over the Darfur case, which the AU believed could be derailed by any indictment.

The AU had established a High Level Panel on Darfur chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. The panel is tasked to look comprehensively into the Darfur crisis and make a holistic recommendation on how it could be resolved, taking into recognition the AU position that there is a complementary relationship between peace and justice, and that neither should be pursued at the expense of the other.

The UNSC decided to ignore the pleas of the African leaders. And as though to rub salt to the collective wounds of the African leaders, the ICC decided to issue its warrant a few days before they (African leaders) gathered for their annual summit; hence their fury.

It must have meant a great deal for these leaders to take that significant decision. It looks like this time the ire of Africans has been provoked beyond the threshold of tolerance. Except for NGOs and their local supporters (who know where their bread is buttered), Africans across the length and breadth of the continent are hopping mad. They are angry, very angry. They are indignant.

Having been taken for granted for so long by the West, they are protesting the latest insult from the hypocritical countries. They are angry at the West's latest assault on their collective psyches. They are fuming over the sickening double-standards of the West in dealing with black people. Their anger is well justified when we look closely at the issue at stake.

On March 4, 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. The ICC was created on July 1, 2002, by virtue of the Treaty of Rome to try four categories of crimes: war crimes, crimes of genocide, crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity. One hundred eight of the world's 192 countries are members of the court. The U.S., Russia, India, and China are among the countries that have refused to join. Sudan is also not a member!

As usual, the USA is busy playing the hypocrite. The most-influential country in the world, which refused to recognize the ICC, has suddenly become its most vociferous heavyweight champion. The U.S. is widely believed to have arm-twisted several African countries into signing the Treaty of Rome.

Under heavy pressure from the U.S. and its sidekick, Britain, the Security Council of the UN (minus China) voted to refer charges of indictment against president al-Bashir to the ICC, unlike in previous cases whereby countries have done the referring. This was necessary because Sudan, like the U.S., has not ratified the Rome Statute that founded the ICC. However, Sudan is, like most countries, bound by decisions of the UNSC.

The ICC charges against al-Bashir list five counts of "individual criminal responsibility" for crimes against humanity -- murder, extermination, forcibly transfer, torture, and rape. There are also two additional counts for war crimes. One of the twists in the Sudan drama and the engulfing crises was that in January 2005, Judge Antoni Cassese, the first president of International Criminal Tribunal, headed the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. The commission dismissed genocide charges against the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. Four years later, the UN (albeit its Security Council) yielded to heavy pressure to issue an indictment against a man who had been cleared by a commission of the same UN!

The London-based New African magazine is currently airing views on the ICC-Sudan saga and it is evident that many Africans are clearly angry by the decision to indict. And this should also be understandable when we look closely at the [apparent] racial bias of the ICC.

As Courtenay Griffiths, the lead counsel for former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, pointed out on a Ghana's Joy FM interview: "[...] By October 2007, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo had received 2,889 communications about alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in at least 139 countries, and yet by March 2009, the prosecutor had opened investigations into just four cases: Uganda, DRCongo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan Darfur. All of them in Africa! Thirteen public warrants of arrest have been issued, all against Africans."

From here, Griffiths, a Jamaican-born British Queen's Counsel (QC) went thermo-nuclear: "The spectacle of an African president being led in chains to Europe makes my blood boil with rage!" He thundered. "It is slavery time, all again." He went on to lament the seeming apathy of the African Union and Africans generally to this humiliation. He queried why the AU has not deemed it fit to sort itself out so that Africa can start to solve its own problems. "Why did this trial not take place in Africa? Why has the African Union not established its own court to deal with issues that affect Africans in Africa? If a corporal in the American Army cannot be tried in the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, how come an African president can?"

Among the things that leave Africans fuming about the ICC is the inherent racism involved. To them the international law (as advocated by the West) is just another Western ploy to maintain its hegemony over their lives. Both Tony Blair and George Bush, Jr. committed more heinous crimes than either Taylor or al-Bashir; their non-prosecution by the "international community" smacks of rank racism. To many Africans the so-called international justice is being exercised on racial basis. Both Bush and Blair are clearly indictable under several articles of the Rome Statute. By any definition both men are war criminals (even if unindicted). Their crimes include but are not limited to murder, torture, and forcible transfer of prisoners (rendition). But since both the U.S. and the U.K. enjoy veto power at the UNSC, no one realistically expect either Bush or Blair to be referred anytime soon to the ICC for criminal prosecution. This is what's getting the Africans goat and no amount of rationalization can wish these feelings away.

Another reason has to do with Africans' definition of justice. In the West justice is equated with punishment; this is not so in Africa. The traditional African system always emphasizes harmony over retribution. Africans generally do not confuse justice with vengeance as Westerners do. That explains why former colonialists who had behaved like predatory beasts were allowed to go away scot-free. That was also the only reason why the Bothas and the Ian Smiths of Africa were allowed to keep their heads. We also witness how Rwanda was able to heal the traumas of the recent genocide by employing purely traditional system of justice.

Africans also believe that there can be no peace wherever justice is lacking. We can glean some of the Africans attitude towards the notion of justice by some of the proverbs they use. My Yoruba people say:

i. Omo ale ni iri inu ti ki nbi; omo ale la si nbe ti ko ki ngba. It is only a bastard who does not get angry when provoked; it is equally a bastard who refuses to be appeased.

ii. Ti a ko ba gbagbe oro ana, a ko ni ri eni ba sere. If we do not forget yesterday's quarrel, we will have no one to play with.

We can contrast this with the Western notion of heavily punishing the slightest transgression even as they preach forgiveness when the criminals happen to be white -- like the colonialists in Africa. The duplicitous nature of the West is best revealed in their sending missionaries all over the world to teach the rest of us a so-called Lord's Prayer which says, inter alia: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us."

Where in the wide, wide world have Westerners forgiven those that trespassed against them? Where it has been impossible to hunt down and kill foes -- real or imaginary -- the West has slapped punitive sanctions on those that transgressed against them? Cuba, pre-invasion Iraq, Iran, Zimbabawe, and North Korea are some of the countries that are under one form of sanction or the other for offending the all-powerful West.


The Logic Of Corruption

Oga (Master in the Yoruba language), do you know that I don't understand you self? (A typical Nigerian grammatical construction, ignore the blotch.)

What do you mean, omo iya (my sibling)?

For whose benefit are you writing all those big, big grammar?

What do you mean?

Oga, don't be angry with me, but I always read you and your big grammar complaining about this and that about Nigeria. Don't take offense, but it looks like you've got nothing better to do with your time.

You mean that no one should write about the shortcomings one sees around him? I thought the writer's onerous job is to chronicle the ills he sees in his society.

Absolutely not! Those things you called shortcomings are the spices of life. What you called ills are the same things that make our sweet world goes on its merry rounds in a smooth trajectory. You always sound like a sour grape, and sometimes you really sound like a crybaby. See what happened to all the chroniclers of the Bible. Where did it get them? If you hate our world the way it is and the way we live it, you can easily get off it and go and enjoy your blissful heaven wherever it is. You might even get your seventy virgins to go with it, who knows?

I am not following your logic.

Oh! It's quite simple. If only you'll listen.


Yes. Think of it this way. I once read a piece where you wrote that Nigerians consider laws as mere suggestions.

Yeah, what is wrong with that?

Ah, Oga, can't you see that everything is wrong with that position! Let me, with all due respect, ask you a question.

Okay, go ahead

Laws are made by human beings, right?

Yes, right.

Human-made laws are not some immutable laws of nature or of physics, right?

Quite correct, carry on.

So if now and then I break some laws or bend some rules just a little, who is injured?

Why don't you ask yourself what will happen if everyone decides to bend the rules and break the laws a little? The result will be totally anarchy. Would you like to live in an anarchical society?

You are generalizing there, but let's leave that be. But you're also always sermonizing about corruption, are you saying that you have never been in a situation you've tempted to offer a little "dash" (Nigerian slang for bribe) to someone?

Hell, no. Why should I?

Ah, Oga! I find that hard to belief. Do you have a passport or a driving license?

Of course, I do.

You are not telling me that you got them legitimately, are you?

Of course, I got them legitimately.

Hmm. I find that hard to belief in this country of ours. May I ask you another question?

Go right ahead.

It's a theoretical question, purely academic.

Stop beating around the bush. What's your question?

Oga, supposing, just supposing that you are to go and sign a ten million naira contract, you're in your car driving to meet the appointment. Your adrenaline is pumping and all that. Along the way you ran into one of those hopeless Lagos traffic logjams with your brain frying in the merciless African heat. The person with whom you are going to sign the contract is a renowned no-sense woman who doesn't believe in not keeping prompt appointment. You can kiss the contract goodbye if you are a minute late for the appointed time. Your only option is to take a one-way side road to beat the traffic. But it really was not your day for as soon as you branched a policeman stopped you. And you know our police, now. The officer demanded that you settle him before he'll allow you to continue your journey. He asked you for five thousand naira. The question now is: would you give the policeman five thousand naira he demanded and get on your way or will you tell him off and kiss the ten million naira contract goodbye?


Oga, sorry, but let me land before you bury me (another Nigerian expression). How about this, your beloved wife developed serious complication during childbirth. You know that the conditions in our hospitals are not great. The doctor hinted that both mother and child will die unless you can give him something to arrange some emergency surgery to save their lives. Would you stand on your principle on not giving bribery and allow them to die? Will your conscience be at peace?

That would not be necessary if things are well-ordered and...

Ah, there you are. Well-ordered! Are things well-ordered in this dear country of our death?

But the system will continue to rot if people give bribes. Moreover...

There is no moreover there. The saying is that when you're in Rome do as the Romans do. Take our education system for another example. I am using system here advisedly since there is absolutely no order to the parlous state of affairs at our places of learning in this country. You have this brilliant daughter whose chance of getting a place at the university depends on you giving something to someone who knows someone who might help. Would you let her education suffer because you want to stand on principle?

I will let her compete on her own merit.


Oh, Shut Up, Mrs. Clinton!

"You tear out a man's tongue and then explain that his dumbness is his own fault - the man is tongueless! Imperialists conquer peoples; turn their lands into dungeons; prevent industrialization; shore up all the feudal and native reactionary elements; distort the whole economy by forcing concentration on particular cash crops or strategic minerals; super-exploit the colonial working population; grow sleek and fat on the wealth robbed from the colonies, and then - shame on you non-technical and non-industrial peoples for your 'backwardness!'"
—Herbert Aptheker, Laureates of imperialism, Masses and Mainstream, p.67.

"The object of neo-colonialism is to ensure that power is handed to men who are moderate and easily controlled, political stooges. Everything is done to ensure that accredited heirs of colonial interests capture power... The strategy was to place in power in Kenya those elements that would be favorably inclined to Britain, and would safeguard her economic and military interests."
—Oginga Odinga, Not Yet Uhuru, Hill and Wang. p.256

A month after her boss made his hugely disappointing (at least to Africans) trip to Ghana, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making what is regarded as a whistle-stop trip to seven African trips. It is a trip believed designed to salve the bruised egos of leaders of countries that were miffed by President Obama's failure to see them on his visit. Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are prime examples.

From August 3-14 Hillary Clinton breezed through seven countries in Africa doing what Western politicians do best: lying through their teeth while pasting hypocritical smiles on their faces to hide their devilish intentions towards the non-Western world. And African leaders, for their part, are doing what they do best: playing the vassal chiefs in the presence of their overlord.

Colonialism and imperialism have not paid their score when they withdraw their flags and their police forces from our territories. For centuries the capitalists have behaved in the underdeveloped world like nothing more than war criminals. Deportations, massacres, forced labor and slavery have been the main methods used by capitalism to increase its wealth, its gold or diamond reserves, and to establish its power.
—Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, Grove Press, Inc., New York. p. 101.

Apart from Nelson Mandela, who advised President Bill Clinton to go and drink some sea water when he (Clinton) preached to the old man on how to choose his friends and Zimbabwean President Mugabe (may the ancestors continue to guide and protect him), who continues to vibrate against Western interference, no other African leader has had the courage to tell nosy interfering Western leaders some home truths.

Some of these are that:

i. International relations are not based on sentimentalities, but on strong economic and political considerations.
ii. The 500 or so years of relationship between Africa and Europe has been detrimental to Africa.
iii. Europe has never been a friend of Africa as its scholars and leaders would want us to believe.
iv. The West is in Africa for what it can get from the continent - first it was humans and later the mineral resources.
v. Africa remains the only place where Westerners still come to preach.
vi. Africa does not need any lesson on human rights from Euro-America whose wretched past would shame a nation of the most primitive savages.
vii. It's high cultural philistinism for hosts to insult their guests.

Mrs. Clinton was reported to have said in Angola: "We want to be your partner, not your patron."

God have mercy! When and where did Africans asked to be patronized? What have patriotic Africans been asking for since the dawn of history? The sheer cheek of it all!

It was the editor of the London-based New African magazine, Baffour Ankomah (a former contributor to Swans), who once wondered whether or not Western leaders eat the same food ordinary mortals eat. I guess the good editor was just too frustrated to make sense of the nonsense Western leaders keep spewing at the rest of us.

Mrs. Clinton was also reported to have told Angolans about the need for good governance and strong democratic institutions and also that it was important to be vigilant against corruption.

Look at who is talking. One wonders where the woman has been the past two years when massive greed and monumental corruption sank major US (and Western) banks and companies? Who the heck is Mrs. Clinton to give any lecture on corruption when pervasive corruption has all but wrecked her own country's economy? And who has been doing all the corrupting in Africa if not Western corporations in cahoots with their local compradors?

When the countries of Europe undertook to develop the New World, they were interested primarily in the exploitation of America's natural resources. Labor was, obviously, necessary, and the cheaper the better... Because of their color, Negroes could be easily apprehended. Negroes could be purchased outright and a master's labor supply would not be in a state of constant fluctuation. Negroes, from a pagan land and without exposure to the ethical ideals of Christianity, could be handled with more rigid methods of discipline and could be morally and spiritually degraded for the sake of the stability of the plantation. In the long run, Negro slaves were actually cheaper. In a period when economic considerations were so vital, this was especially important. Negro slavery, then, became a fixed institution, a solution to one of the most difficult problem that arose in the New World. With the supply of Negroes apparently inexhaustible, there would be no more worries about labor. European countries could look back with gratitude to the first of their nationals who explored the coasts of Africa, and brought back gold to Europe. It was the key to the solution of one of America's most pressing problems.
—John Hope Franklin, as quoted in Black Power, pp. 40-41)

A Yoruba proverb says: Iri ti a ba ri oja, la nno. It means that goods are priced the way they are displayed.

Western leaders continue to talk down to Africa because African leaders continue to behave like obedient children that would listen to duplicitous lectures from Western leaders. And five centuries of playing the vassal does not seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of these quislings. Shame on them!

Who is Mevrouw Clinton to come and give me a lecture on human rights? She lives in a country that has done nothing but to kill human beings all across the world since the beginning of its miserable history. She lives in a country where vile racism is still very much alive and where black people continue to be treated with impunity. Senator Clinton was part of the infamous gang of US Senators that drafted the infamous bill that placed sanctions on Zimbabwe -- current vice president Biden is another one of the senators.

These racists were there when Ian Smith and his brigands were massacring Africans; they didn't sanction him. They were probably asleep when the apartheid killing machines were mowing down innocent Africans who were just protesting against the violations of their inalienable rights to be humans. It should be mentioned that American corporations and banks were in deep cahoots with the stiff-necked Afrikaners. These fine senators, most probably in the pay of US corporations, still look on unconcerned as American MNCs continue their rapacious rape of the earth's resources. They were sponsoring the proxy wars that devastated Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia etc. They were there, cheering in the case of Madam Clinton, when American forces marched illegally to occupy Iraq and killed (who is counting?) Iraqis.

I say who the heck is Mevrouw Clinton to come and pontificate to Angolans about human rights and democracy? Where was America when Angolans were groaning under a very bestial colonial rule? Why didn't American officials moralize to the Portuguese about the need to stop treating Africans like the beast of burden? Why didn't the USA help Angola and the other African colonies to regain the independence from colonial rule? The truth of the matter is that not a single colonial state in Africa enjoyed even a token support from Uncle Sam.

The obscene noises President Obama (oh, he's black!), Mrs. Clinton, and other American officials make today about human rights sound very hollow, hypocritical, and sardonic indeed. And let the truth the told, the U.S. has supported and continues to support the most despicable tyrants in the world. Do I need to name Mr. Diem, Somoza, Pinochet, Mobutu, Batista, Stroessner, Marcos, etc.?

Which brings us back to the Yoruba proverb. President Obama was in Cairo, Egypt recently. We didn't see him talk down to Egyptians. If anything, he talks to them like equals will talk to one another. He didn't give them any lecture about good governance and elections even though Hosni Mubarak has being in power for about thirty years. We do not see US officials hectoring European leaders the way they do to African leaders. The U.S. and Europe occasionally have their differences, but we do not see US officials threatening them or using offensive languages against them.

There is another thing Western people just tend to forget: Cultured guests do not insult their hosts. And those errand boys in Africa who continue to sit down and listen to stupid sermons from Euro-American officials will do well to remember that no elf-respecting host will tolerate insults from those sojourning in his house. Frau Clinton will not dare go to Malaysia and tell the people there how to lead their lives; she simply knows that she will get more than she bargained for.


Professor Henry Gates Got His Comeuppance

It's not every day that yours truly reads something on the Internet that brings broad smiles to my handsome face. But the recent arrest of world-renowned Harvard University scholar and anti-African hatchet filmic documentarian, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., made me titter uncontrollably.

Sorry, the spectacle of a bespectacled near-sexagenarian having a fracas with law enforcement officers should evoke emotions of sympathy from us, but Professor Henry Gates is no ordinary mortal and he truly deserved what he got, as I shall soon explain.

Before I delve into that, some things are worth considering first. The arrest and the engulfing scandal is unfathomable to my (feeble) African mind. What type of society is America where neighbors do not know one another sufficiently enough to distinguish between a burglar and a long-resident neighbor?

In Africa, we make it our sacred duty to know our neighbors whether or not they like it. Even though many of my neighbors consider me to be a "hard-hat," we still know each other sufficiently enough to exchange not only pleasantries but also fruits and vegetables and foods on occasions. I have heard stories of how people die in their homes in the West without anyone noticing anything amiss until the odor from the rotten corpse starts assailing neighbors' noses. I pray that I do not live long enough to witness such scenes in my part of the world. Amen, amen!

And what type of society is America where a man like Professor Gates would be called a BLACK MAN? In Eastern Africa, the learned scholar would be greeted with shouts of "Jambo, Bwana!" (Greetings, white man). In Nigeria, children will call him "Oyinbo," and in Ghana, no one will mistake him for anything but "Obroni."

And what type of society is America where the over-hyped ARTICULATOR will speak so stupidly out of tune? In Africa a chief is expected to keep his head when others are losing theirs. That may explain why in many traditional societies of Africa, the chief hardly ever make public proclamations; he speaks through his linguist. President Obama brandishes considerable oratory skill and uncanny calmness. Why then did he so unnecessarily decide to stupidly jump into the dim-witted fray so much so that he committed a faux pas that called for his recant a few hours later?

And again what type of society is America where a young police officer will clamp handcuffs on a near-sexagenarian -- obviously the father and grandfather of someone? It is true that the law is no respecter of anybody, but then... Age, no matter one's station in life, is still very much revered in Africa, thank you very much. Very few police officers in Ghana or even in Nigeria will subject an elderly man to such public ridicule!

But that's American and Western civilization for you!

Back to our story proper.

As the story goes, Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after a neighbor called the police when they saw him and a black taxi driver attempting to force the jammed front door of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An elderly white woman was said to have espied the professor and a taxi driver struggling with the door and had, logically, concluded that a burglary was taking place and had, also very logically and very responsibly, called the police. We do not know whether or not the elderly woman was brought up on diet of racism, but her action was very commonsensical; I'd do the same thing. We live in a dangerous world and Cambridge, I'm informed, is among the most exclusive (read WHITE) of exclusive (read very upper-class WHITE) neighborhoods in America.

What transpired is disputed but after producing identification to show that he was at his own house, a row ensued in which Gates demanded the officer's name and badge number and accused him of racial profiling. The police sergeant then arrested him for disorderly conduct.

Professor Gates cocooned himself in an exclusive patch of white America and believes that it was the reality of modern America. From his elite perch he occasionally lobbed lethal scholarly assaults on fellow scholars, most especially black scholars, who try to point out the inadequacies of the American society. He and other so-called black conservatives specialized in assailing other black scholars, especially black historians. According to Gates and Co. these black scholars are nothing but bunch of ignoramuses who are bent on rewriting history according to their shallow afro-centric view. According to them, black people never contributed anything to human civilization and progress. Gates presented a very silly BBC hatchet of a docudrama that sought to absolve Europe and America from the African Holocaust euphemistically called the Slave Trade (I dealt with this in my article, "ON SLAVERY," - Pardon my shameless plug).

On Monday, July 20, 1992, Professor Gates Jr. wrote an Op Ed in The New York Times titled, "Black Demagogues and Pseudo-Scholars." The article was so vehement in his castigation of fellow black scholars and it irked the late great historian and Egyptologist, Professor Henrik Clarke, so much that he wrote a rebuttal that began like this:

I am raising the following questions: At once, I questioned the title of Professor Gates's article. He should never refer to anyone as a demagogue unless he's ready to call the names of the demagogues, singular or plural, and point out the nature of their demagoguery. He should never refer to any scholar as being pseudo, unless he is ready to name the scholar and prove the pseudo nature of his or her work. To disagree with a scholar does not make the scholar a demagogue.

The spectacle of Professor Henry Gates, an avid black-basher and an unrepentant apologist of white racism, bellowing angrily at the arresting white officer is very hilarious indeed. Gates was said to have yelled to a crowd outside his house as he was handcuffed, "This is what happens to black men in America!" Ouch! When did our erudite professor finally realize this?

It's also funny that Gates was quoted as saying that the arrest made him aware of how minorities are vulnerable "to capricious forces like a rogue policeman."

"I thought the whole idea that America was post-racial and post-black was laughable from the beginning. There is no more important event in the history of black people in America than the election of Barack Obama ... but that does not change the percentage of black men in prison, the percentage of black men harassed by racial profiling," he reportedly told the New America Foundation.

So, the chicken has finally come home to roost. Professor Gates spent the better part of his productive years living an illusion. He spent his industrious years supporting the system and the establishment that consciously sought to keep its minority in ignorance and poverty. It is sad, very sad, that the blinders were finally and very rudely removed from professor Gates's face at the twilight of his years. And that is his greatest tragedy for which he earns zero sympathy from me.

And for the man who was the symbol of black conservative, who was the toast of the establishment and its fawning media, to be reduced to crying that: "There haven't been fundamental structural changes in America. There's been a very important symbolic change and that is the election of Barack Obama. But the only black people who truly live in a post-racial world in America all live in a very nice house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [the White House]," is a tragedy of epic proportions. It is lamentable.


Ghana Politics: It's Our Turn To Eat

For this piece I am borrowing the title of the book by British Journalist, Michela Wrong, It's our turn to eat. The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower.

Seven months into regaining the reins of government, it looks like some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are out to tarnish the image of the president and that of their party.

First was the call by the majority leader of Parliament, Mr. Alban Bagbin, that MPs should be given free car. I know that our elites operate from a different financial space than the rest of us, but I see Mr. Alban Bagbin's call as totally heartless, unconscionable, and very obscene, especially at these trying times when the cost of living is, literally, killing many Ghanaians.

He stated that although the new government had not come up with any clear policy on the issue, "we will this time round insist that MPs are provided with vehicles that will help them to discharge their duties, instead of going in for loans to purchase such vehicles to generate furore from the public."

The twisted argument of the long-serving MP was that MPs perform a lot of services for their communities that the car loan they are given presently should be replaced by an outright gift. I say, how dare you, Mr. Bagbin? Yours is like Oliver Twist who kept asking for more. In many of my writings, I have said time without count that until we Africans can compel our leaders to live on the same poverty level they set for the rest of us, we shall continue to wallow at our current level of underdevelopment.

Sadly, President Mills acceded to the criminal request of our Legislooters (Nigerians parlance for legislators) and granted each MP US$50,000 as a car loan! US$50,000 would go a long way to install bore holes in several communities. It would also put roofs over the shacks under which our children are forced to receive their education. US$50,000 multiplied by the two hundred and thirty MPs represents more than one percent of our nation's total GDP. It's clearly amoral for 0.001 percent of our population to collared one percent of the resources.

Unfortunately, those governing us continue to look at our national treasury as war booty to be plundered with haste. Ghana performs abysmally low on the indices of development, yet we continue to pay fantastic salaries and emoluments to our public officials. All our 230 MPs get, in addition to their salaries, car loans, free lodgings, and other allowances. Yet, they always clamor for more. Our ministers get a long list of freebies, yet that does not appear to have dampened their enthusiasm to loot us blind as evidenced by reports of shenanigans that are being uncovered daily.

What exactly was Mr. Bagbin talking about? How many people in his constituency have a bicycle to their names? How many of them are sleeping rough in roach- and jigger-infested mud houses? How many of them do not have access to health care centers? How many children in his constituency are suffering from kwashiorkor? How many schools in his constituency are holding classes under trees? How many people are drinking untreated, dirty water from brownish streams? How many children in his constituency are scampering around naked and barefooted and how many of the women there are still cladding themselves (including underwear) in throwaways from Europe and America? And the major concern of Mr. Bagbin is a free four-wheel-drive jeep! And Mr. Bagbin is an HONOURABLE man!

Mr. Bagbin would have made better sense had he been seen or heard to be vigorously campaigning to bring his constituency and the rest of Northern Ghana to the 21st century. He would have earned my praise were he to be seen agitating with gusto to bring Ghana to the industrial age whereby we can start producing some of the products on which we are WASTING our hard-earned money to import. I still do not fathom why our leaders do not see anything ironic in their positions. They love all the best luxurious items that money can buy, yet it never enters into their heads to start producing anything. There is virtually no industrial production in the country, yet our elites continue to tool around in the most expensive cars that money can buy.

I often give an example of the kingdom of the Netherlands, which is one of the countries supporting Ghana financially. No Dutch MP collects a car loan from the state and none of them are accommodated at state expense. In Holland, a car loan or mortgage is strictly business between an MP and her bank manager. And unlike here, where everyone wants to tool around in the biggest and baddest four-wheel-drive jeep, many top Dutch politicians, including prime ministers, joyfully ride bicycles.

We were just recovering from the car loan palaver, when the news hit us that the newly-minted minister for sport has been caught dipping his hands into his ministry's tills. I have no idea if the guy just got carried away by youthful exuberance or he just was promoted way, way beyond his level of competence. Among other charges, the minister was accused of saddling his ministry with bills for taking his girlfriend to watch a football match. That was after he had collected US$2,000 as per diem -- aside from flight and hotel bills. Among the items listed was US$1,000 for the services of a Voodoo priest to ensure the success of the national football team! There were also ridiculous items like a huge bill for pampers and an outlandish bill for kebab.

The minister claimed that he was a victim of a mafia that operates within his ministry. I do not know whether or not that's true. What is certain is that he's not a very bright fellow. Any bright person would have done his best to avoid his enemies' trap. And any bright person should have realized the anger currently sizzling among the citizens. Any bright person would have known that it is difficult to continue "business as usual," especially in the corruption department. A bright fellow would have known that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), still licking its wounds, would pounce on any opportunity to embarrass the government. Any bright person with the inclination to steal would have had the patience to wait a little longer. After all, the minister, once confirmed, can stay with the president for the four-year duration.

Why the haste?


The Fountain Of Knowledge - Nigerian Election Fraud, Charms, and Amulets

It was recently announced that Nigeria's film industry (Nollywood) has become the second biggest in the world after India's Bollywood. The reasons shouldn't surprise anyone who has had even the briefest encounter with that unlucky land of my birth. Nigeria is a place where art does not simply imitate life; it's a place where the distinction between the artistic and reality is just indistinguishable.

Nothing about Nigeria makes any sense whatsoever. It's a place where the simplest of life's basics has been turned into major productions. It is a place where citizens believe that laws, rules, and regulations are mere suggestions. Nigerian governments throughout the ages have set up myriad agencies to enforce its laws, all to no avail. In Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, for example, there are four or five agencies set up to ensure the free flow of traffic, but citizens still spend inordinate hours at the famous Lagos gridlocks.

There were lots of sniggers when a few years ago a poll declared Nigerians as the world's happiest people. How on earth could that be, other people wondered. But Nigerians knew better. The late Nigeria's Afro-beat music giant Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, dubbed the Nigerian system "Suffering and Smiling."

It's probably a psychological phenomenon afflicting only the nationals of that unfortunate country. Nigerians are inured to all forms of indignities and sufferings. They don't go out to protest the lack of water in their residences. They dance for joy when the electricity company doles out its pitiable dose of electricity. Armed robbers sometimes lay siege to whole neighborhoods without Nigerians ever thinking of forming neighborhood committees to protect themselves. There is a constant lack of petrol in this OPEC-member nation ranked sixth or seventh among the world's oil producers. Nigerians tend to make light of the most harrowing situation. Nigerians will simply laugh and shrug off circumstances that would send other folks to go nuclear. And Nigerians are people who have absolutely no concept of irony; they're simply beyond it.

A sad parade of military adventurers ruled the country for a long stretch of time. They so thoroughly bastardized the body polity that today the country easily qualifies as a "failed state." Such is the depth of corruption in the Nigerian system that gaining access to public offices has become a do or die affair. So massive is corruption that people today see public office as the safest and fastest avenue to instant wealth.

Yet most Nigerians refuse to see anything wrong with their dysfunctional nation. They continue to wallow in old glories of yesteryears when Nigeria was a continent power with global pretensions. Take this for example: some years back, some smart fellows thought having a state motto was the "inthing." And before long all the thirty-six states of the federal republic of Nigeria were spouting one. Sokoto, the semi-arid state in northwestern Nigeria and home of the powerful Islamic Caliphate, which happens to have produced some of Nigeria's inept leaders, arrogantly boasts in its motto: "Born to Rule."

Lagos, the former political capital and the nation's commercial capital, chose "Center of Excellence." Now, now. Take even a blind, deaf and dumb person to Lagos and let him spend a whole year there. Excellence will never come into the vocabulary he'll use to describe the gigantic unplanned ghetto that remains Nigeria's premier city. There is simply nothing excellent about Lagos unless we are talking about rowdy, uncontrolled mayhem. Lagos is such bedlam that it remains a source of constant bafflement to yours truly how any human being can survive a day there and still retain a semblance of sanity. Although some houses in Lagos are opulent beyond belief, the lackadaisical manner in which they are thrown together totally destroys whatever architectural delights they might possess. Some houses in Lagos have not seen a new coat of paint since the day of independence in 1960. One will still find in Lagos ghettoes of such primitive nature that they would have found a place in a Charles Dickens novel.

Ekiti, one of the thirty-six states, chose "Fountain of Knowledge," as its motto. Okay, given the fact that almost every family from this state, where education is much beloved, has a PhD degree holder, the state rightfully can lay claim to being knowledgeable. But then recent happenings in the electoral department have cast that claim in serious doubt.

For those who have not followed the shenanigans that pass for elections in Nigeria, a little information should come in handy. Since the 1970s, when Nigeria stopped being an agricultural nation, it has relied almost exclusively on easy petro wealth. The oil comes from the southern delta part of the country. Nigeria is a federation of thirty-six states with a very strong federal government that controls the nation's revenue. Controlling the nation's purse gives the central government the power to play Father Christmas. For instance, the federal government determines the formula it uses to allocate resources to the other two tiers of government -- the states and the local governments. Since, as mentioned supra, the bulk of Nigeria's income comes from easy petrol dollars, there's little or no incentive for anyone to be productive. The state governors travel monthly to Abuja (the capital), collect their state's allocation, and proceed to lodge large chunks of it in overseas bank accounts.

It should now begin to make sense why politics remains the most lucrative profession in Nigeria and why control of the federal government is so vital that it has led to a civil war.


Welcome Emperor Obama

Empire: "lands ruled by single authority: a group of nations, territories, or peoples ruled by a single authority, especially an emperor or empress."

Although Americans are loathe to admit it, their country is a classical example of an empire. With US military bases dotted all around the world and with American corporations operating in virtually every nation on earth, the American Empire is probably the largest empire in the history of the world.

Former President Kufuor firmly took Ghana, the birth land of Nkrumah, into the orbit of the American Empire. It was during his rule that the presence of American marines became commonplace in Ghana, especially in the port city of Takoradi. Kufuor was the one that signed the notorious "Non Surrender Agreement" with the U.S. He also gave tacit approval to American militarization of West Africa by signing up to the new American Military Command for Africa, AFRICOM. It was under Kufuor's rule that the U.S. built a gigantic, totally out of place and proportion embassy close to the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces. The edifice is whispered to be the headquarters of the CIA in Africa. Today, Ghana is a vassal state of the American Empire.

With huge hype, President Bill Clinton's visit to Ghana in 2001 was presented as that of a Father Christmas bringing all the goodies that would banish all of Ghana's economic woes. He was presented as the best friend of Africa ever to occupy the White House. A frenzied crowd welcomed him to Accra like a Messiah. It was this friend of Africa who was later to order the bombing of Sudan's only pharmaceutical factory. Clinton revealed his bigoted self during last year's battle for the nomination of the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. In 2007, the imbecilic and brain-challenged George W. Bush also came for a visit. And the press also hyped him to high heavens. He was said to be bringing with him enough money to banish hunger and diseases from our land. Songs were composed and sang in his name. The same baloney is being sold to us by the recent visit of Barack Obama. Are we ever going to learn that American leaders come only to promote American interests?

As our elite jostle for position near the Emperor grinning like village idiots, methinks that they should bury their collective heads in shame. Their lack of vision and ideas is largely responsible for why the vast majority of our people keep looking up to foreigners for salvation. Their ineptitude and total lack of capacity to think is what made Ghanaians believe that a visiting US Emperor is the answer to their problems.

The truth of the matter is that the West needs Africa more than Africa needs the West. The West needs our natural resources but is unwilling to pay fair prices for them. Their industrial plants were designed and built to process Africa's mineral resources. It is the West that has developed an insatiable appetite for our oil, gas, manganese, gold, copper, diamond, uranium, cobalt, and coltan, to name a few of Africa's mineral wealth the West (led by the U.S.) continues to take away from Africa at thieving prices.


Brother Obama's Visit To Ghana - The Nigerian Perspectives

Good people, Great Nation

Good listeners, welcome back to Nigerian Television NewsFile. I am Iyiola Oba, your moderator today. Today's programme will be dominated by the upcoming visit of the president of the United States, Brother Barack Obama, to Africa. The US State Department has released the information that he will be visiting Africa in the month of July in the year of our Lord 2009. Specifically, President, Brother Obama will be going to Ghana. Our neighbor and rival for influence in the West African sub-region. To African watchers, this is regarded as a big snub to Nigeria. Coming a few months after the G20 meeting in which our nation was also excluded, many analysts are of the opinion that the fortunes of Nigeria are waning in the international fora. President Yar'dua expressed his disappointment at the non-invitation of Nigeria to the G20 meeting. The latest diplomatic snub will surely upset the Nigerian government. To help us unravel why our country, the so-called Giant of Africa, is being ignored -- to use a mild phrase -- by the international community, we have two accomplished Nigerians in our studio. First, we have Chief Alhaji Dr. Professor Engineer Deacon Architect Senator Ambassador Bello Akanni. An accomplished diplomat and a very versatile professional, he was our ambassador to the U.S. in the 1980s. We also have Comrade Chuks Anyaoli, a trade unionist and leader of the Nigeria Road Sanitation Technologists (NRST). Comrade Anyaoli is a well travelled Civil Rights and Environmental Activist. Welcome, gentlemen.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Ambassador, if we may begin with you. Why do you think that the international community is ignoring us?

Thank you, Mr. Moderator. First, I must take serious exception to your categorization of our great and highly esteemed nation as the so-called Giant of Africa. We are not so called. We evidently are the giant of Africa. Ordained by God and attested to by the global inference of our unique pre-eminence on the continent. Our superior population figure, the ponderous continental leadership credentials garnered over the years by our nation's totally selfless contribution to the continent. The unstinting help and solace bestowed by our nation on Africa over the years...

Mr. Moderator, can you ask the man to get straight to the point?

Look, young man, such rascality is totally out of place. We are not here discussing how to clean streets and de-silt gutters.

I thought that we were invited to talk about why President Obama refused to come to Nigeria.

Yes, Mr. Ambassador, if you can give us your insight...

I was coming to that before I was so peremptorily, so recklessly, so rudely and so rascally interrupted by a loutish, common, garden-variety of the human specie...

Na me you dey call rascal, you this thick-necked obese son of mammy-water? Barawo bansa! Corrupt man like! You chop government, look at his belly... (Nigerian curse-fest)

Gentlemen, please, let's keep things in order. Please listeners, bear with us. Gentlemen, we are here to discuss the very important issue of our nation's standing in the comity of nations. Comrade Anyaoli, kindly let the ambassador give us his views. You shall have the opportunity to have your say. Senator Ambassador, please.

Thank you. In analyzing the global and continental ramifications of the visit of a US president to any part of the words, we have to be very mindful of some very pertinent geopolitical as well as the geostrategic considerations that informed such visits. We ought also to be mindful of the fact that the U.S. remains the world's only superpower whose decisions, actions, or non-actions consequently directly impact on our lives where ever we are on this earth. It is in light of such superior inter-global thinking that we should posit such visit and our nation's international obligations within the framework of globalization and continental imperatives...

Hmm, thank you Professor Ambassador for those very insightful analyses. But why is the American president going to Ghana instead of coming to Nigeria?

Yes, I was coming to that...

Mr. Moderator, won't you allow me also to talk or is he the only one you invited?

Sorry, Comrade Anyaoli, what is your take on why the American president is not coming to Nigeria?

Mr. Moderator, why should the American president come to this yeye (Nigerian slang for nonsense or rubbish) country? You think sey the Americans dey craze? Master, where do we even begin to talk about this thing? Can his plane land at our airports that lack the most basic of navigational equipment and where there are no lights? Do you want Mr. Obama to come and sleep in darkness or do you expect him to bring his own generators and water treatment plant? Since we have no fuel, do you expect him to bring his own refinery? My brother, don't talk. Do you want him to be waylaid by armed robbers or have his life snuffed out by the trigger-happy brigands we call police around here? Or do you want him to come and be kidnapped for ransom by the Delta militants? Do you want him to come to a country where our famous 419 guys will happily separate him from his hard-earned income? Or do you want him to come and be swindled by the thieves we call legislators at the National Assembly? Or do you think that he should come and waste his time visiting our comatose president? My brother, I will not even advise my dog to visit Nigeria not to mention the whole president of the United States of America. Allah Kiaye (God forbid)!

Thank you, Mr. Anyaoli for giving us your own perspectives. If we may return to you Engineer Senator Ambassador, what do you think of the reasons adduced by Mr. Anyaoli?

Come on, now! You do not expect me to dignify such verbal ejaculations with comments, do you? What arrant nonsense! That type of gutter-snipish verbal diarrhea belongs in side-street ogogoro (Nigerian gin) bar and not in a dignified studio. Be that as it may, as to the question as to why President Obama refuses to include our country on his itinerary, we can surmise and situate it in the global strategic extenuations informed by American national security deliberations and considerations. Since we are not privy to the innards of the Obama administration, we can merely conjecturise the hypothesis that the over-riding and aver-arching global American interests informed the choice of Ghana over Nigeria.


Ghana: The Audacity Of Looting - Update

In "Ghana: The Audacity Of Looting" (Swans, March 9, 2009), I wrote about how Ghanaians were "sufficiently discombobulated when it emerged that, a day before the hand over to the new government on January 7, 2009, a mind-bending and super-extravagant presidential and parliamentarians' retirement package had been approved by the outgoing parliament. The package was so excessive in its generosity that it left Ghanaians totally flabberwhelmed (a contraption of flabbergasted and overwhelmed)."

Thankfully, the hoopla surrounding the mind-bending ex-gratia are gradually simmering down, but it was not without serious confusion. It took about three months of acrimonious debates and angry ripostes, but the new government can now begin to tackle the problem it was elected to do: offer an alternative to the excesses of the past eight years when those in power got totally carried away.

The officials of the former government boasted that theirs was a property-owning democracy and they ensured that they lived up to their slogan. They did not only acquire all acquirables (sic), they decided to sell their official cars and houses to themselves. The poor nation of Ghana must (once again) go around the world with a begging bowl to get money to build new houses for her ministers and also to get them new cars. It's shameful really.

Mercifully, the new president, Professor Atta Mills, suspended the scandalous ex-gratia award and charged a committee to oversee its review. Ghanaians see it for what it is: a bureaucratic ploy to take it out of the public domain to allow simmering emotions to calm down.

In the meantime it has emerged that ex-president John Kuffuor, the man with the boundless ego and insatiable greediness, has taken away eleven of the cars he was using while in office including two BMW cars custom-built for the presidency. This act considerably raised the ire of some powerful people in the new government. National Security Advisor Lt. Col Gbevlo-Lartey (rtd), vowed that the ex-president would not be allowed to keep the cars because they were specifically imported for the protection of the president. The new government gave a deadline for the BMW cars to be returned to the state in exchange for Chryslers. Friends of the ex-president saw persecution and they cried foul.

But Mr. Frank Agyekum, spokesperson for the former president, begged to differ. He considered the government's action unconstitutional because according to him, it amounted to varying the terms of the conditions spelt out in chapter 8, article 68 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr. Agyekum maintained that said cars were part of his boss' fleet while in office and so changing them at this time will be detrimental to his comfort and at variance with the tenets of the Constitution. The Chryslers, with which the government seeks to replace the luxury BMWs, according to Mr. Frank Agyekum, are of a lesser value than the German-made cars.

The saga dragged on for weeks with constitutional lawyers firing salvoes after salvoes of lethal legal projectiles. The whole country was engulfed in the ensuing saga. A totally peeved ex-President Kufuor finally rejected the state's offer of Chryslers as replacements for his beloved BMWs. He, however, made himself scarce when state security operatives went to retrieve the vehicles.

Then a group calling itself the Concerned Friends of Kufuor came out to pledge a brand new, custom-made BMW 7 Series as gift to the former president. The gift, they say, is to put an end to the protracted controversy over state vehicles allocated to the ex-president.

The issues of cars and ex-gratia succeeded in polarizing the country. It also exposed the ethnic fissures in the land. Much so when it emerged that the ex-president has also taken over a state bungalow in Accra to use as his office. This did not go down well with the Gas, the tribe where Accra (the capital of Ghana) is located. They felt cheated that their lands, acquired ostensibly for state use, are been parceled out to individuals. A Ga youth association threatened to forcibly remove the ex-president from the bungalow. This caused a lot of ethnic stir as the Asantes, ex-president Kufuor's ethnic group, believed that he's being unjustly persecuted and vowed to "advise themselves."

It has since emerged that ex-president Kufuor was not the only one with a huge proclivity for grabbing state assets. On vacating his official residence, the former Speaker of Parliament Ebenezer B. Sakyi-Hughes literally and figuratively cleaned the place! He stripped the official residence of the Speaker of Parliament of all furnishings.

What's most baffling about these greedy politicians is that they are rich, very rich by anyone's standards. Before he became Speaker of Parliament, Ebenezer B. Sakyi-Hughes had a successful law practice in Takoradi -- the beautiful and picturesque twin-city capital of the western region of Ghana where he's one of the wealthiest people. He's said to own one of the plushiest houses in town. He has been in law practice since 1966 and was a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court. His family was not starving either, as they own chains of very successful businesses including fuel stations across the land.

No one can remember what Mr. Sakyi-Hughes's greatest contribution was to the parliament. He was a lackluster performer with eyes only for the good things of life. On leaving office, this stupendously rich man stole every damn thing he could carry away from his official residence. From the kitchen, napkins, cutlery, and cooking utensils were carted away. The bedrooms were equally ransacked. The curtains, the bed sheets, the washing machines, the flower pots were not spared. Even the soap dishes were stolen. According to the Majority Leader of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, the stolen items amount to over four billion old cedis -- about US$350,000.

And this is in a poor country groaning under a heavy debt burden and one that relies on "donor support" for more than half its entire budget!

Ghanaians were not amused to learn of this gigantic theft. They continue to be baffled by the propensity of their moneyed leaders to want to steal the little that's left in the national kitty. The ex-speaker refused to speak out but those close to him gave the totally unconvincing explanation that he was under the impression that a proposal before the Parliamentary Service Board (of which he was chairperson) about the speaker's retirement package had been approved and so in his mind everything in the official residence became his when his tenure came to an end.

So in Ghana, we have President Kufuor sitting down with an advisor, Chinery-Hesse, to discuss awarding himself a truly fantabulous ex-gratia package. And we have Speaker of Parliament Sakyi-Hughes sitting down with his pals in a Board to decide how he could loot his official residence.


Rebranding Nigeria: An Exercise In Futility

"DAILY, Nigerians groan under the most inexcusable hardship as the government of President Yar'Adua appears not only unprepared to do something about the grotesque suffering, but more important, also lacks the orientation that confronts social crises. In the context of this, any "rebranding" project will be a total waste of resources by a dull, dour and uninspiring government, lacking not in agenda, but totally deficient in the quality of mind that accomplishes set agenda. It is an embarrassment that such a government would seek this gratuitous wastage of public resources as Akunyili's pet-project."
—Nigerian Tribune, March 11, 2009.

On Tuesday, March 17, 2009, Nigeria's Ministry of Information and Communication unveiled the logo and slogan for a project dubbed "Rebranding Nigeria." A nation-wide competition organized for both the slogan and the logo was won by a 30-year-old engineer with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Chike Obika. The slogan was: "Good People, Great Nation." The great irony here is that PHCN is the behemoth electricity company that cannot generate and distribute enough power for the nation.

Like most things Nigerian, the occasion was full of excessive pomp and pageantry. The president, Yar'Adua, was represented by his deputy who delivered a rousing speech exhorting his compatriots: "There is no doubt that suffocating negative attitudes constitute a grave obstacle to the attainment of our developmental objectives. It is therefore vital that we frontally, and in a structured manner, face up to the challenge of negative attitudes and negative perception to our national regeneration efforts. We need to present an optimistic outlook, renew the national spirit, and reinvigorate our faith in Nigeria and this is the essence of this campaign."

Yar'Adua frowned at those who perceived the "Nigerian Brand" as being synonymous with all things negative, "with the result that some people have come to believe that it is impossible to reverse this mindset. As a people, we cannot, and we must not allow this perception to persist unchecked and un-addressed."

At the end of the event I met and chatted with the director at the Ministry of Information and Communication.

What a flawlessly delivered great speech! And what a nice slogan: "Good people, great nation," very catchy.

Ah, my brother, I'm glad that you liked it. Unlike many of our people who cannot see a good thing even when it hits them in the face.

And the logo, my God! The panel really had good eyes for the best. It was a graphic design triumph!

Yeah, that was part of the totality of the objectives. We have to position the country in a perfectly holistic framework devoid of the extant cynicism and prejudices.

Ummh. Big grammar! Director, you go kill man with these your big, big grammar! [a Nigerian expression]

Seriously, my brother, it's time we Nigerians wean ourselves from all those self-destructive negativisms. We are certainly no angels, but we can hold ourselves against anybody. You see, part of the problem is that our people have become so cynical that they no longer appreciate anything the government is doing for them.

Oh, what has the government been doing for them?

What do you mean? Take this rebranding for example. Why should it be only government that's concerned about the image of the country? It should be the collective responsibility of every Nigerian to defend the integrity of the nation.

Integrity, umh! Is that not too heavy a word to use in the context of Nigeria?

What do you mean?

I mean that the words Nigeria and integrity are not something people will use in the same context. No one I know thinks of Nigeria and thinks integrity.

You see, that exactly is part of the problem. Government is doing its best to refurbish the image of the country and we have killjoys like you pouring scorn on our efforts. Why are you rubbishing something you've just so effusively praised?

Director, I am sorry that you feel that way. I just happen to think that no amount of refurbishing will make a heap of rubbish look attractive...

Are you calling Nigeria a heap of rubbish?


Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb