As I Shuttle Daily

16/03/2016
05:53 PM

As I shuttle daily
In rickety cabs whose age and use have stolen cushion
Making a metal deathtrap of a poorly maintained means of conveyance
That ought to have been decommissioned

By an immensely corrupt and inefficient tool of state
That turns a deliberate blind eye to the sharp practice of 7 in a mobile room of 5
Groomed into our psyche by years of economic and domestic abuse

On excavation sites of uneven sand and broken tar ignored by thieving pirates cloaked in mere robes of legitimacy
Who have been brainwashed by colonial fiends, force-feeding an adequate system of plundering
Where brotherhood and nation-ship spirit are the least considerations compared to bottomless stomachs

Knowing very well that in a twinkle of an eye, my means of conveyance on a road of perdition
To a place of meagre earnings could very well be my last
A brutal and unwilling journey to the great beyond
Leaving behind the ones, so loved and so dear
In a state of perpetual mourning

Not for the passing of a single soul who’s light was prematurely extinguished
But for the thousands who surely must face the same fate

At the cruel hands of humanity who have become willing doormen to death
Ushering in unsuspecting brethren to ruin

Deliver us from evil.

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Trending Hashtags and Nigeria’s Battered Image

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I have tried to remain silent in the face of the trending and really silly hashtag #IAmANigerianNotACriminal created and spearheaded by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce. While I respect the man – not necessarily as a politician, I think he goofed on this one and of course, unfortunately too, his huge fan base have done him no favours by amplifying the stupidity of it all.

Senate Ben Murray-Bruce

Senate Ben Murray-Bruce

I had to read up as many articles as possible on the issue to see if the furor generated by the hashtag was justified but surprise, surprise, no where in the article did President Buhari label all Nigerians as criminals.

 

President M. Buhari

President M. Buhari

According to the Telegraph, President Buhari said;

“Some Nigerians claim is that life is too difficult back home, but they have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them because of the number of Nigerians in prisons all over the world accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking,” he told The Telegraph.

“I don’t think Nigerians have anybody to blame. They can remain at home, where their services are required to rebuild the country.”

If we can accurately accuse President Buhari of anything, it is his open bluntness with the truth. Are we just hearing that Nigeria and Nigerians have a bad reputation on the international scene for the first time? Have we not heard of the drug cartels in London and South Africa in which many Nigerians are involved in? Have we not heard of Nigerian human traffickers in Italy and other European countries? Have we not at some point, received mails from fraudsters with one bogus story or the other about some Nigerian prince whose deceased father just left a huge sum? How many times have we heard about plans to execute Nigerian fraudsters in Malaysia and other Asian countries?

One of our many problems in this country is our uncanny ability to exist in denial. I could not believe my eyes as i read comments from people who I believed to be exposed denigrating the President for expressing a frank opinion; something we all know to be true.

Of course, we have Nigerians too all across the world countering the negative perception foisted on us by a few bad eggs by excelling in various notable areas but it doesn’t change the sad fact that we are generally viewed as dubious – and the staggering corruption we have witnessed in governance over the years has not helped at all.

In all, President Buhari capped it by admitting that “We (Nigeria) have an image problem abroad and we are on our way to salvage that,” and recent efforts by his administration attests to this.

The honest way to solve a problem is to first admit to the existence of the problem and this is what President Buhari has done. Unfortunately, Ben Murray-Bruce and his minions would prefer to live in denial and drove themselves into a frenzy with the hashtag on Twitter that essentially and unwittingly brought Nigeria’s image problems back to the front burner and it is rather ironical that this is what they accuse the president of.

If we are really serious about laundering Nigeria’s image, trending silly hashtags on social media does not cut it not even by a little. An image change starts with the man in the mirror; refuse to engage in activities that will bring your personality to disrepute whether someone is watching or not. Speak out when you see such as much as possible and encourage others to follow suit and maybe, just maybe, we can become ambassadors of a better Nigeria.

See the original article below.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/12143510/Nigerians-reputation-for-crime-has-made-them-unwelcome-in-Britain-says-countrys-president.html

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

I have tried to remain silent in the face of the trending and really silly hashtag #IAmANigerianNotACriminal created and spearheaded by Senator Ben Bruce. While I respect the man – not necessarily as a politician, I think he goofed on this one and of course, unfortunately too, his huge fan base have done him no favours by amplifying the stupidity of it all.

Senate Ben Murray-Bruce

Senate Ben Murray-Bruce

I had to read up as many articles as possible on the issue to see if the furor generated by the hashtag was justified but surprise, surprise, no where in the article did President Buhari label all Nigerians as criminals.

President-Muhammadu-Buhari2-360x242PNG

According to the Telegraph, President Buhari said;

“Some Nigerians claim is that life is too difficult back home, but they have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them because of the number of Nigerians in prisons all over the world accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking,” he told The Telegraph.

“I don’t think Nigerians have anybody to blame. They can remain at home, where their services are required to rebuild the country.”

If we can accurately accuse President Buhari of anything, it is his open bluntness with the truth. Are we just hearing that Nigeria and Nigerians have a bad reputation on the international scene for the first time? Have we not heard of the drug cartels in London and South Africa in which many Nigerians are involved in? Have we not heard of Nigerian human traffickers in Italy and other European countries? Have we not at some point, received mails from fraudsters with one bogus story or the other about some Nigerian prince whose deceased father just left a huge sum? How many times have we heard about plans to execute Nigerian fraudsters in Malaysia and other Asian countries?

One of our many problems in this country is our uncanny ability to exist in denial. I could not believe my eyes as i read comments from people who I believed to be exposed denigrating the President for expressing a frank opinion; something we all know to be true.

Of course, we have Nigerians too all across the world countering the negative perception foisted on us by a few bad eggs by excelling in various notable areas but it doesn’t change the sad fact that we are generally viewed as dubious – and the staggering corruption we have witnessed in governance over the years has not helped at all.

In all, President Buhari capped it by admitting that “We (Nigeria) have an image problem abroad and we are on our way to salvage that,” and recent efforts by his administration attests to this.

The honest way to solve a problem is to first admit to the existence of the problem and this is what President Buhari has done. Unfortunately, Ben Bruce and his minions would prefer to live in denial and drove themselves into a frenzy with the hashtag on Twitter that essentially and unwittingly brought Nigeria’s image problems back to the front burner and it is rather ironical that this is what they accuse the president of.

If we are really serious about laundering Nigeria’s image, trending silly hashtags on social media does not cut it not even by a little. An image change starts with the man in the mirror; refuse to engage in activities that will bring your personality to disrepute whether someone is watching or not. Speak out when you see such as much as possible and encourage others to follow suit and maybe, just maybe, we can become ambassadors of a better Nigeria.

See the original article below.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/12143510/Nigerians-reputation-for-crime-has-made-them-unwelcome-in-Britain-says-countrys-president.html

#Don’tLetTheDevilUseYou

It was a beautiful day; a beautiful day indeed. Fortune had finally smiled on Edwin Asekame. He had been tired of being assigned dull and non-lucrative postings. Especially now; January was always the worst month of the year for him…in fact, for everybody. The lavish splurge that usually occurred during the festive season at the end of each year was beginning to tell so bad that he had had to conjure up a bullshit story to tell his elder brother with whom he shared a one bedroom apartment to part with N1000 to transport him to work for the week.

It worked and on getting to work, he was informed by his CO that he had been assigned for escort duties; his first ever assignment in that regard. He was so overjoyed at the news that he nearly prostrated before his CO who ignored his joyful exuberance and dismissed him.
It was a common thing among members of the NPF to get assigned on escort duties to “oyinbo expatriates”, politicians or “big men” and if the assignee was lucky, they got assigned to a ‘generous’ man and if they proved their worth, the assignment became a lucrative one. Edwin’s prayer now was to get assigned to a generous man.

He was given munitions for his rifle and the patrol van dropped him off at the rendezvous with his ward; a little private chalet in the highbrow part of town. To his surprise, he was introduced to a Mr. Anwar Ibrahimi, a Pakistani National – not like he knew the difference anyway; a white man was a white man and that meant hard currency. All he had to do now was prove himself.

Mr. Ibrahimi was a short rotund fellow with jowls that would make a fat pig envious. His thinning hairline did not prevent him from keeping his shiny, silky black hair in a ponytail which matched perfectly with his clean goatee. He had a handsome face that became more obvious when his eyes twinkled and laughing came quite easy to him.

“Good morning sa!” Edwin greeted, standing ramrod straight in in salute fashion.

‘Morny, morny my friend. How you today?” Ibrahimi asked in a heavy accented voice, through lips that held a half-gone cigarette with the ash dangling quite carelessly. He handed a hefty brown envelope to Edwin’s chaperone, who smiled and shook hands with him and departed as quietly as he came. Edwin could only imagine what the contents of the envelope was but responded as quickly as he could.

“Fine sa!” He was quite sure that today was going to be a good day.

Ibrahimi was clad in a long gold coloured bathrobe and invited Edwin to the little shade with a circle of four chairs around a small circular table just before the entrance to the chalet. The table had a half full bottle of Hennessey, two empty cans of Coca Cola, three glasses, three packs of Camels of which two were empty and the other nearly half gone.

“Sit, sit, my friend.” Ibrahimi said as he lowered his bulk into one of the chairs and lit another cigarette. He motioned to the chair on the other side to which Edwin gratefully sat as carefully as possible.

“You like drink? Drink up. We have many place to go today. You will protect me with your gun, ok?” He said after a bout of heavy coughing to which Edwin mumbled an apology.

“I’m not supposed to drink while I’m on duty sa.” Edwin said cautiously even though he couldn’t believe that he had just been invited to drink Hennessey with oyinbo man.

“Oh, don’t be shy. Your oga not here. For the next three days, I am your oga and I am very good oga” He said with a grin. He pronounced ‘oga’ as ogre and laughed in a way that made Edwin feel at ease instantly.

“I go shower now. We go out in thirty minutes.” With that, Ibrahimi got up and sauntered into the little chalet. When he opened the door which was just opposite where he just been sitting with his back to the door, Edwin caught a glance of two light-skinned ladies inside the surprisingly spacious and well-furnished sitting room tying towels watching TV. The door was shut quickly before he could see more.

Edwin was struck with awe. Was this the life rich people lived? He pondered on his life for a second but dismissed it to the call of the bottle of expensive bottle of alcohol on the table. He picked up the bottle and examined at the label.

“Hennessey…” He read softly. “I am drinking Hennessey.” With that, the onslaught began.

**************

The trip began two hours later with him riding shot gun. The driver had come shortly after Edwin had emptied the Hennessey bottle of its contents. He had come down from a clean, white, oversized pick-up truck; the biggest Edwin had ever seen. It was a Dodge caravan. The driver had to introduce himself to gain access as Edwin was already in character. The driver – Amayo didn’t seem too impressed with this but was friendly enough. Before the journey began, Edwin had already downloaded sufficient information about his ward.

Mr. Anwar Ibrahimi was a contractor who had been in Nigeria for the past six months and this was his final week. He had separated from his colleagues, determined to enjoy his last few days by seeing as much as he could before he left. Something about the less urban country side appealed to him, much so that he had wished there was something to keep him back. And he was loaded of course!

Their first stop was a Chinese Restaurant. Edwin had never had seen the inside of a Chinese Restaurant, much less of having ever eaten in one. He was stopped at the entrance; he couldn’t go in with his rifle, he was told. When he tried to argue, Ibrahimi who was in the company of the two light-skinned ladies Edwin had earlier glimpsed back at the chalet told him to wait outside. Amayo followed quietly without an expression on his face. Edwin seethed with rage as he realized that the alcohol had actually made matters for his stomach worse and now he was very hungry. He found a place to sit outside and waited.

About an hour later they all came out of the restaurant looking well fed. The light-skinned ladies carried more nylon bags filled with take-away packs. Edwin noticed the glow on their faces with envy but his face lit up with a sudden smile when Amayo handed him one of such nylon bags which he took gratefully.

The rest of the journey was none like Edwin had ever experienced before; that was after they had dropped the light-skinned ladies off. He got to discover that Mr. Ibrahimi was a real chatty fellow. He liked to laugh, talk about women, his fleet of cars, his companies and his cousin who was a big man in government and of course, the bad roads in Nigeria that made driving a nightmare. Only in passing did he mention that he had a wife and two daughters.

It would appear that he never went anywhere without that liquid friend of his. In no time, he pulled out a fresh bottle of Hennessey with two plastic cups one of which he handed over to Edwin who did not argue this time. They talked and laughed as the poor bottle passed hands from front to back and back to front as their voices got louder. Amayo seemed oblivious of them as his focus remained on the road. Only once were they stopped by the police and as soon as they saw Edwin sitting in front with his service rifle, they were waved them on without question. Edwin’s head soared as the bottle’s contents reduced drastically. He could not believe this was what his colleagues who were always on escort duties always enjoyed. He had been missing out.

In about less than an hour, they had arrived at the next town where they happened upon a beautiful shopping mall that seemed like a complete shining anomaly where it stood because it was the most beautiful thing Ibrahimi had seen since he arrived Nigeria’s southern part. Of course, things like this were common place in her western part but then, those places were much more urbanized and industrialized. Ibrahimi began to skip like an excited child. Amayo was instructed to find a way to get inside the mall which he did.

The structure was magnificent, the landscaping was excellent, and the flowerbeds were lovingly manicured. It was like stepping into a different country just a street away; everything was so neat.

“This place cannot be up to a month old.” Amayo said after they stepped out of the car.

“Why you no tell me you have place like this here?” Ibrahimi asked almost accusingly.

“Oga, me sef no know say them don build am finish,” Amayo said, truly astonished at the structure.

“Na for news I hear say them dey build Shoprite for here but that was two years ago.” Edwin chipped in.

“We go inside.” Ibrahimi said authoritatively with a smile. “I buy things for you.”

And it was when Ibrahimi said this that the mall security frisked himself and Amayo but told Edwin to stay outside.

“Why?” Edwin asked aggressively.

“Arms are not allowed into the mall.” The tall uniformed security man said politely.

“Abeg, comot for my road!” He said, pushing at the security man who stood firm and denied him entrance into the mall.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ibrahimi and Amayo turn around and leave him behind. It was then he lost it and cocked his gun and released three shots into the air. It was pandemonium after that. Shoppers who awaited their turn to be frisked for them to enter the mall dove for cover. So did the security men on duty around the area. One of them nearby reached for his walkie talkie and radioed for back-up.

Seeing the panic he caused, he realized he could no longer enter the mall after attracting undue attention. He swaggered away towards the car pack to disguise his fear knowing he had made a great mistake. Why did he fire his rifle? Why did he let the devil use him so? As he strode back to the car, he saw three uniformed officers come towards him, all armed with identical rifles.

They called out to him and he responded. Out of the corner came two naval officers, equally armed. He was still fielding questions from his colleague at arms when one of the naval officers got close and without a word, dispossessed him of his rifle in two swift movements.

It was then it became too damn obvious that he was in deep shit!

THE END.

Note to My Wife…One Month After

Dearest Wife,

The build-up was nerve-racking. The preparations were hectic. The anticipation was delightful as much as it was frightening for we were about to embark on a life-time adventure. The send-off festivities that signified the beginning of the journey, our journey was an absolute success (thanks to your impeccable planning and organization) and one month later, those marvelous qualities have reflected with sparkling clarity as I have witnessed in amazement the speed at which my life has blossomed from what it used to be.

Waking up beside you every day makes me realize the beauty of second chances; that God deemed me worthy to start afresh beside you as your friend, lover and partner is all the evidence I need of that indeed, the man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from God. I get lost watching you sleep because there is a magic to that peaceful expression you always have on your beautiful face that I cannot explain which warms my heart like no hot cup of tea ever can.

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You have been more than a blessing to me; a dutiful wife who has made our home such a magical wonderland that the idea of staying out for whatever reason even for a second has become odious to me. My stomach churns at the thought of eating out because my tongue salivates shamelessly to what new culinary surprise awaits me in our kitchen when I get home. I have become the butt of jokes in my place of work as the testimony of your culinary expertise has become apparent in my expanding physical mass in so short a time.

Your intellect is a source of constant amazement. The trajectory of my decision-making faculty has positively increased because of that uncommon insight you possess that matches mine blow for blow. Nothing is sexier than watching and listening to you talk about things you are passionate about. How lucky I am to have the best of beauty and brains encased in a body like yours! The physical and mental passion you inspire in me is unbelievable and out of this world.

Above all, you are my place of peace, tranquil and sanity away from a world that gets crazier by the day. The light I see in your eyes each time you look at me melts away all my worries and care, reassuring me every day that everything is all right.

Of all the choices and decisions I have made in my life, marrying you has been the most rewarding yielding instantly humongous benefits. I should have married you immediately the day after you agreed to date me; I would have saved us both a lot of time. Lol

As we continue on this journey as two imperfect beings striving hard and continuously for perfection, may our gusto never wane. I promise to remember always why my instinct spoke out in its loudest voice yet that you were THE ONE. I promise to always love and respect you, provide for you with the best of my abilities and talents, and protect you always as you are now my number one priority.

I love you darling. You are my everything. May God bless the day you were born because it was the day He created and blessed my helpmeet to be a blessing to me.

Happy one month anniversary.

Your hubby,

Malcolm

Letter To My Future Wife

Dear Wife-to-be,

In all the fun and craziness I realise I haven’t written you in a while. In fact, I realise I haven’t written anything in a while and I know how much this troubles you because you are my biggest fan.

After deep soul-searching, I realise that I actually haven’t written because of you; my late-blooming talent was the spawn of despair and it was that despair that fueled the ink in my heart. Since we came to be, my soul has known peace and with that peace, the fire to write left.

Don’t despair, dear wife-to-be for I am undergoing a process of reconfiguration where the world we make together soon will be the fire of my inspiration and an inspiration spawned by love is the greatest inspiration of all because it lasts forever.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? A journey that began in the most unlikeliest of places has led us here today; exactly a week from today, we will be making forever vows before God and man. When I look back, I smile without regrets because my experiences, both bad and good helped in shaping me for the you I met when I did.

There is no point to this letter actually. I just wanted to say thank you for riding with me up to this moment; and a thank you in advance for all the riding that remains to be done. I love you – I will strive everyday that I live to be the man you deserve; I will continue to love you and all your beautiful imperfections as you have unconditionally loved mine.

Thank you Lolly Perry…for everything!

Your impatient husband-to-be!

🙂

Melancholy of the Infirm

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Head; heavy, hot, quaking as from a furious party

Of inebriated demons in a drumming session

Unable to effectively coordinate the Sensitive Four

Their weights, once not challenges worth considering

Eyes; blurred, dim sight

Unable to juggle light and dark for good vision

Ears; totally asleep

Sounds hold no meaning nor respite

Nostrils; wheezing, sneezing and blocked

Painless and stress-less air breathing

Become arduous, like drawing liquid from ice through straw

Mouth; instrument of taste and talk

Gummed shut from lack of use

Galled, rendering tasteless all mouthy pleasures

Limbs; lagging, limp and lacking luster

Unfit for purpose at the moment of infirm

Every step an odious effort in trudgery

Quakes and aches from every ball and socket

Mind; drugged and askew from discomfiture

Manured ground for hallucinations

Making the grim reaper seem ever so close

From eyes stinging with hot tears,

Trickling to sleeping ears,

To nose sniffling in close quarters,

Gummed mouths moan in misery, seeking deliverance

From the unjustified proximity to a glimpse of beyond

Such is the sad song of the infirm

The End

The sweat on his brow increased in density and gathered the inevitable momentum and began to roll off the horizontal surface of his forehead. The silent splashy sound it made when it hit the desk was evidence of the dark quiet that surrounded him.

He was lost; so far gone that not even the soft splash or the growing humidity in the office that gradually turned his shiny bald head into a magical sweat plantation was enough to jolt him from the maze inside his head. The ridiculous figures on the sheet he was so focused on stared back at him unrepentantly, daringly even.

“Where the hell I am going to get this money from?”

It was the recurrent question popping from various sections of his brain with lightning streak speed.

A sweaty drop finally found its way, meandering through the contours of his bearded face, to the side of his lips and the saltiness registered almost immediately. It was then that he realized that the power was out as he could no long hear the soft hum of the air-conditioner. The inverter must have kicked in without the usual dimming of the fluorescent light.

The windows were still locked and the atmosphere had changed fast from friendly to unfriendly – a testament to the scorching sun outside. A tear escaped his eyes and merged effortlessly with the sweat that was now pouring and had now formed a travel path from his bald head to his lips. He fought back the tears having realized he had lost it all. The bank took away his car this afternoon and the loan sharks would be out for him before long.
 
His eyes wandered to the tail of the yellow twine that escaped from the door of the store room. The ceiling fan whispered to him and that was all it took.

Nigeria at 55: The Truth About October Firsts

I was born in Nigeria about three decades ago and since that time, I have witnessed many October firsts come and go. It has always been a day where the diversity of culture, religion, political affiliation, opinions and a potpourri of divisive factors  mix to form the perfect shade of green – the green that represents our national colour.

On this day for the past 55 years, we have maintained the illusion of the spirit of unity which honestly is quite infectious; so infectious that most people of different nationalities let go of their prejudices and misgivings against us as a people for this one day and join in on our usually vibrant and vivacious festivities worldwide. I dare say on this day every year for the past 55 years, we have made the world green with envy.

It is a day the Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and other numerous tribes share a singular identity regardless of our peculiarities. It is a day we forget about what divides us and celebrate what binds us. It is a day that you find the most beautiful display of patriotism: politicians make promises to be better leaders and we, the people make promises to be better citizens.

Its all good and green until October 2nd. Life goes back to normal. The Igbo man becomes a citizen of the Igbo nation, the Hausa man becomes a citizen of the Hausa nation, the Yoruba man becomes a citizen of the Yoruba nation as with the rest of the other tribes that make up Nigeria. The Nigerian identity disappears overnight and as it leaves, the feelings of mistrust, nepotism and bias which were lurking nearby – on holiday apparently – return in full force.

Promises on both sides of leadership and followership bend dance into the atmosphere like a thick smoke dispersing with strong winds until it is no more. Once again, we start at each others throats and the result is always the same; 1 step forward, 364 steps backwards and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

It has been said that only a fool does the same thing the same way everytime and expects a different result each time. Its not about painting faces green once every year, or cutting green cakes with different numbers every year, or making empty promises or resolutions every year to be abandoned less than a day later only to return to status quo. It is about divorcing ourselves from the influence of those divisive factors. We all can never raise the bar of Nigerian unity high up while holding tight onto the weighty baggage of ethnicity.

You want to know the sad truth? Nigeria is just 55 days old. Go figure!

In the meantime, while I’m still in the spirit, I wish all Nigerians a happy birthday. In a few hours, the white flag goes down, the truce ends and we will be right back where we started…or not hopefully.

Competence As The Only Yard Stick

The greatest way to stunt and regress development is having incompetent people at the helm of affairs. It is akin to putting a sailor who hasn’t the slightest idea of how to read a compass or comprehend nautical charts, in charge of an ocean liner in the open ocean and expect him to get to the expected destination at the projected time. The chances of a mishap has a higher probability than the possibility of success.

The same goes for any organized unit with set goals and objectives. Sacrificing competence for any other consideration is the antithesis of progress and this no less so in today’s world that is developing at breakneck speed. The threat of becoming stunted, irrelevant and obsolete as well as the hunger for success has pushed organizations world over to evolve, innovate and excel. This in turn has provided a wider range of user-friendly options with the capacity to satisfy varying consumer needs and wants.

This developmental model is one Nigeria sorely needs. The soon-to-be 55 year old nation has faltered in this regard since her independence and have further cemented this by imprinting dubious terms like “federal character” and “zoning” into her consciousness. Being a colonial offspring of the old British Empire who without consultation lumped various culturally different ethnic groups together for administrative convenience, her subsequent ethnic diversity has proved to be a curse in the disguise of a blessing.

This, first of all, is a result of the absence of evidence of a consensus that the diverse ethnic groups agreed to come under one umbrella and to be referred to by one name as is the case with the American Declaration of Independence. This possibly is the major reason that genuine patriotism has constantly remained just a little beyond grasp and sectional interests (tribalism) has taken precedence over national interests (patriotism). The outcome has resulted in the unfortunate relegation of competence and meritocracy which has adversely affected general political considerations and leadership skills which has eaten deep into the fabric of a badly structured national consciousness.

The current administration under President Buhari promised change to all Nigerians and with close to 100 days into his administration, the objective mind cannot help but see that the theme of change is more than a mere mantra but a genuine attempt to redefine leadership and revamp the political terrain for a nation in dire straits as a result of corruption and its associated ills. This could be seen in the lean stature of his administration that aims to cut down the over-bloated cost of governance, an attempt to revive competence with strategic appointments, frontal assault on corruption and insurgency amongst others.

Of peculiar concern to many is the fact that Mr. President’s appointments seems to tilt towards persons of his regional extraction. For a nation as diverse as ours, it is not particularly paranoid to wonder about this but when you consider the rock-solid credentials and proven expertise of the presidential appointees in relation to their deployed offices as against the old order where presidential appointments were no more than gifts to party faithfuls, political sponsors and personal friends of the person of the president.

What may strikes as odd however, is the questioning pattern of the current presidential appointments. In an ideal environment that places a high premium on competence and merit, the appointment pattern would challenge and inspire other ethnic groups to strive for academic and professional excellence in order to form the choicest part of the appointment pool rather than bemoan marginalization. If the pattern is sustained, there no telling how fast development will take place.

That the president has chosen to mainly work with persons of Northern extraction is not bad or unlawful yet considering the there are still quite a lot appointments yet to be made. So long as the essential requirement of competence has not been compromised yet, it would be premature to worry just now. This should send a strong message that for the first time in long while, Nigerians are about to see a rare assemblage of competent technocrats manning sensitive positions critical to Nigeria’s development.

For almost 55 odd years, successive governments have tried or failed to try to improve on the life of the average Nigerian citizen and has met minimal success where it did not fail woefully. In truth, failures of the past is not attributable to failure in governance alone but also the attitude of the governed which is a result of years of abuse. Granted, 16 years of uninterrupted democracy has shown great potential for progress but we have come to a point in our national history where potential must translate to reality.

As the wise saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. The campaign for Change would be meaningless with a reversal to the old ways of doing things. As there has been no serious challenge through the proper channel to the unity of Nigeria since the civil war, it is appropriate to at this point to revive our national consciousness in favour of wholesome development. It is time all ethnic groups that make up the entity called Nigeria embrace and accept one another, if not as brothers by ethnicity, then as brothers by mutual experience. We must learn to accept and appreciate the mantle of competence for what it is regardless of the holder.