Jollof Rice Life.

Okay, I really shouldn’t be doing this. Because, Ramadan. But this darling in front of me won’t let a brother be great. But, whatever…

Yup! I’m talking ’bout the mentor of foods. A food all foods aspire to be like. Jollof Rice. Those two words really is life. A food for all seasons.

In the dearth of patriotism, studies have revealed that jollof rice is the resource binding all tribes together.

Light-skin babe, Jackie Chan pon the bed, hourglass body, Spanish accent.. but can you prepare jollof rice?

This darling right here is the forger of friendship and a destroyer of same.

image

Husband Material: 1,000 yards

You don’t expect me to visit you after years and you serve me salad or pizza, after informing you of my visit. No, that’s where our friendship gets terminated.

Maifren, goan get me jollof, will you?!

I know Kenna on Twitter whose mode of celebrating feats is just to prepare jollof. That act itself is a feat.

All men are born equal, but not all men are born to recognise the greatness that is jollof rice – Hakeem, 2015.

Jollof is one food I know where the top and base part of the pot is loved. Some people love the burnt part of the pot. Cures impotency I heard! Ahmean! Nature, in its fairness, has made this food in such a way that it’s available for all societal classes. The poor man has his own version- with ata gigun and tomato paste, you’ll prepare jollof, albeit the inferior one. But at least, you are better than Warren Buffet, who in spite of his billions hasn’t tasted the king of foods.

image

One word: Deluxe.

Of what use are all the billions if your stomach hasn’t been visited by jollof rice. Cruising on the Greek Isles on a private yacht and vacation at the Serengeti got nothing on a meal of jollof rice. Of what use if Einstein’s knowledge (to him) if he didn’t taste jollof rice during his lifetime? Of what importance is the absolute power of Kim Jong-un, if he hasn’t heard of the gospel of jollof rice?

Haters will say jollof rice is overrated. I used to be angry at such opinion and regard it as a treason but experience has told me to sympathize with ’em because life can be hard for the blind.

image

Sacrilege!!

But the holy grail of jollof rice is the party jollof rice. Goddamit! The aroma itself is capable of disorienting one… *shallows saliva*… But what really makes party jollof rice different? I can’t buy asoebi for your wedding and you’ll not serve me jollof rice.

image

I’ll demand a refund. Don’t hate the player, bruh. I didn’t make these rules.

So, have you had a meal of jollof rice recently?

Hakeem.

2015 Elections: Conspiracy or Change?

Less than 3 days to the handover date and long after the inks have dried on the ballot papers, the election result is still generating ripples in the polity. The result was really a first in the country- a civilian handover between different political parties. Some supporters of PDP, the losing party, have opined that Muhammadu Buhari’s victory was a conspiracy against the South. More importantly, one against the minority, South-South. The election was seen as a contest between the North and the South. According to them, a contest between the ‘Born-To-Rule‘ & the ‘Neglected‘.

In reality though, the contest was the closest in recent history. Both contestants had almost equal chances. The incumbent president and a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari were the major candidates during the election. The campaigns were massive and well-planned. Even though, Muhammadu Buhari had contested in the three previous elections, his chances this time around were attractive.

Permutations before the election had placed the two main candidates on a scale that measured the strength of their support. Nigeria is divided into 6 geopolitical zones- North-West, North-East, North-Central, South-East, South-South & South-West .

image

The pre-election permutations have predicted Goodluck Jonathan to win in the South-South and South-East while Buhari’s major support came from the North-West and North-East. Jonathan hails from the South-South while Buhari hails from the North-West. Thus, the battle for votes was predicted to be in the North-Central and South-West. However, the South-West was slightly inclined towards the APC, Buhari’s party. This is because out of the 6 states that make up the region, the party controls 4 states. It is because of this that I am amused when some people say the South-West was a tool used by the North to ‘usurp’ power from Jonathan. The region has mostly been in the opposition and now that the opportunity to be at the centre presented itself, they threw their weight behind the party.
Now, I’ll attempt to analyse the voting patterns of different regions while comparing it with the 2011 elections where the PDP won with a landslide. The analysis of how the geopolitical zones voted for Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammad Buhari will allow us understand the mindset of those regions. Was it a conspiracy against Jonathan or not?

image

From the table, it can be seen that, expectedly, both candidates won convincingly in their regions of strength.

image

Back to the question of conspiracy against Jonathan, it is seen that Buhari did not get up to 90% of votes from regions he controlled, while Jonathan got a minimum 90.6% from the 2 regions he controlled. Moreover, the total percentage of votes Buhari got in the South-South and South-East is less than the percentage of votes Jonathan got in the North-West alone. So is it really a conspiracy? When the issue if conspiracy comes up, I ask if it’s expected that Jonathan wins in the North-West? Even at Jonathan’s peak of goodwill in 2011, he didn’t win any state in that region. In the North-East, however, he won 2 states (Adamawa and Taraba). Even in 2015, he won in Taraba, a state in the North-East. So Taraba has always been on lockdown for Jonathan.

image

2011 Presidential Election Result

On the other hand, in 2011, Buhari lost all the states in the South. In 2015 too, he lost all the states in South-South and South-East states. In fact, he had less than 10% in all the South East states, except for Imo state where he got 19% and less than 10% in all South-South states except for Edo where he got 41.7%. So, who conspired against who? The percentage of people that voted for Jonathan in the North-East (21.69%) eclipses the percentage of those that voted for Buhari in the South-East (7.29%) by 3. And we all know that percentage isn’t determined by the number of votes, right? Yet, these folks believe that the Northerners erred by voting for their man while it’s completely alright for the South-South to do same. I’m not supporting ethnic-coloured choice for national leadership but ‘he who must come with equity must come with clean hands’.

Those folks also accuse the South-West of betrayal by voting against a Southern man. My response to them is that the birthplace of APC is in the South-West. It’s also its stronghold. In fact, some people still believe APC to be a Yoruba party. This shows the extent to which the South-West have influences in the party. So, should it come as a surprise that the region voted along that line? Moreso, Jonathan won all the southwestern states in 2011, save for Osun states. Where were these conspiracy theorists then?

The conspiracy theorists also conveniently overlooked the campaign strategies employed by both parties. While PDP went on a mudslinging spree, it afforded Nigerians the opportunity to know more about the man PDP, the ruling party exerted so much energy to vilify. They also conveniently overlooked the issues on ground- economy, security, corruption, unemployment et al. It was on these basis that APC based their campaigns on. The implosion of PDP also contributed to their loss at the polls. The massive exit of chieftains took a heavy toll on them. I believe the allegation of conspiracy is an insult to millions of Nigerians who went out to vote without coercion. It’s an insult on their choices and decisions. Or how else does one explain the triumph of Buhari in Kogi and Benue states, states currently with PDP leadership and traditionally had always gone with PDP?

So, when next someone alleges conspiracy as a run reason for Jonathan’s loss, I’ll just giggle and walk away.

Hakeem.

Xenophobia & Racism: The Black Man’s Scourge

‘To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’.
                          -Nelson Mandela

Mayday! Mayday! Another brother down! I repeat, another comrade has fallen! He got 8 ‘warning’ shots in the back for a broken taillight. Using a sledgehammer for a fly analogy doesn’t even come close by a million mile. That’s not even the crux. Dude was framed for a crime he didn’t commit- lying lifeless on the ground, he was handcuffed to the back and a taser dropped by his side. Name is Walter Scott. He joined a long list of race-inspired murders in the US. A list that contained Emmet Till (a 14 year old African-American brutally murdered for conversing with a white lady), Trayvoy Martins, Eric Garner (murdered by a cop in a choke hold) & Mike Brown, amongst other unknown persons.

image

The US prides itself as being the free world. I don’t think residents of Ferguson agrees with that though. Here’s a town with a black majority population being policed by a white majority police force. I recall watching Faultlines on AlJazeerah last December, in the heat of the #BlackLivesMatter protests in Ferguson. The experience of the African-Americans there left me wondering if indeed the US was an equal society.
Racism didn’t start last night though. It was preceded by the slavery of Africans in Europe & America. During my visit to the Slave Museum in Marina Resort, Calabar, my horizon was broadened as to the events of that era. The life of Africans was worth a dane gun. Literally. Africans were dehumanized. Even after slavery was abolished, the black man still faced oppression. The Ku Klux Klan made sure of that.

image

Your eyes ain't deceiving you.

Freedom fighters emerged. While the civil rights movement, ‘led‘ by Martin Luther King, jnr focused on integrating the black man into the American society, people like Malcolm X emphasised on Pan Africanism & the need for people of African descent to return home. Decades after the demise of MLK II & Malcolm X, their ideas ain’t where they would have wanted it to be.
Pan Africanism, promoted by legends like Patrice Lumumba and Malcolm X, which emphasises the need for unity amongst Africans worldwide is currently been made a mess of in South Africa. The first time I heard the term, xenophobia was a few years ago when South Africans were maiming non-indigenes. Fast forward to 2015, the scourge has reared its ugly head again. Citizens of African countries are being attacked and killed. This time though, it was due to the speech of the Zulu king urging foreigners to return to their countries. That was the required push for an already sensitive situation. The attacks started in Durban before spreading to Johannesburg. Gory images took over the internet. The reason being that foreigners have taken over all the available jobs.
In a continent already plagued with poverty, illiteracy, wars & other vices, adding xenophobia would thicken the already unpalatable recipe more. Outside, some people see Africa as a country; thus, they’ll be surprised at the persecution ‘countrymen’ are facing from their fellows.
True to Pan-African values, African countries stood with South Africa during their struggle for independence from apartheid. Millions of dollars went into this struggle. Africa wasn’t free if South Africans were still under bondage. Africa was a body system- an discomfort to a part is felt by other parts. Now, the benefactors have become the enemies. The irony of this situation is that during the apartheid period, foreigners were persecuting indigenous South Africans. But the indigenous South Africans are now the one maiming foreigners. Not just any foreigners, but fellow Africans. Something about becoming the monster we tamed? It’s either these South Africans are bad students of history or plain ungrateful.

Is the black race cursed? Abroad we’re not at rest. At home, we’re not at peace with one another. While other races are advancing, we’re still battling with all these vices.

image

Hakeem.

2015 Elections: The Days After.

So, my country has concluded its much anticipated elections- hopefully, there’ll be no rerun. Now, our lives will be restored to default settings. The past few months have seen our radios & TVs taken over by campaign jingles & political talks, the social media was on lockdown for campaign (the effectiveness of the social media in determining the electoral activities should be studied)- hashtags were a normal feature on Twitter. In fact, discussions followed the route of politics. Every action of the government was seen through the prism of currying favour from the electorates. Our national life was conditioned in a particular way.
The campaign period highlighted some factors that were absent in previous electoral campaigns. Even before the elections, the use of card readers and PVCs by the electoral umpire (which was a first actually) had caused the heating up of the polity. Concerns were raised on the feasibility and reliability of its use. Also, the campaigns for this election made optimal use of the social media. With the youth comprising the highest number of voters and many of them on the social media, it was commonsense that discourse on these platforms would be political. Twitter was the hardest hit. Hashtags sought to outdo one another. The election really showed the true colours of some. Some turned erstwhile friends to foes and some bridges were burnt. Also, a factor that contributed to the loss of GEJ at the polls stems from the acts of those whose duty it was to make friends for him making enemies instead *side eye to Omokri, Okupe & FFK*.

image

Swaggu!

Like I discussed here, the campaigns were about mudslinging than issues. A casualty of this campaign was debate. In a society like ours where electoral choices are coloured by emotions, debates could only be of little significance. Interestingly, the candidates who dodge debates have always gone ahead to win the election -2003, 2007, 2011 & 2015. The elections also tested how unified we are as a nation. Many people saw the election as one between the South and North. Some saw it as an election between Christians and Muslims. The First Lady didn’t help matters as she disparaged the Northern part of the country. The Vice President, Namadi Sambo also referred to APC as a christian-dominated-party. The voting patterns also reflected this. Except that of the South West. There are positives though (even from the voting patterns). A christian candidate won in Niger state, a state dominated by Muslims. Also, an Igbo man won a seat in the House of Representatives in Lagos, a Yoruba land. The gubernatorial election in Lagos also caused some ripples.

image

The utterances by the Oba to drown non-indigenes who do not vote for his candidate and the obvious ethnic-based campaign undertaken by the PDP are the major highlights.
Now that the campaign grounds are empty and ballot boxes returned to the stores, the incoming administration has to hit the ground running. There’s plenty of work to be done. The expectations are high; thus, there’s no room for disappointment. This election is a special one in the sense that it’s the first time since our return to civil rule that the incumbent would be defeated at the federal level. APC, a conglomerate of opposition parties, now has the majority seats in the legislature, controls the executive arm and controls the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. Now, this is a kinda holistic approach to governance. The new government need to arrange a team of world-beaters with a sense of duty and patriotism. That’s the first step to a working Nigeria. With a new party at the helm, Nigerians hope to see a different approach to issues. All the campaign promises and party manifesto need to be lived up to. We really need some catching up to do. In the 21st century, there’s no excuse for a developing nation to still be grappling with electricity generation and distribution.

image

Expectations hitting the ceiling.

The issue of electricity is one that cuts across all political, tribal and economic divides. Tackle this and many things will fall in place. It’s like a domino. One issue that contributed to PDP’s loss at the polls is the handling of the nation’s security vis-à-vis insurgency. One of the main goals of government is provision of security. Failure in this will consume the successes recorded in other sectors. People need to feel safe. In fact, it’s second on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Thus, the incoming government should know its importance.
The economy, the other half of the goals of government needs a serious attention. The outgoing government prided on Nigeria being the biggest economy on the continent. The irony is that many citizens disagree with that. The claim is seen as a paper tiger achievement. Only a few benefit from the economy. Thus, the new government has to formulate policies that affect the majority positively.

image

Many people believe that the welfarist inclination of Buhari will ensure this. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Conclusively, the major beneficiary of this election results is the Nigerian people. Many now have a renewed confidence in the power of the ballot. They believe they now have a say in who leads them. Whether change or continuity, elected officials now know they have to earn their position. Though there is still plenty room for improvement, the umpire, INEC, under Prof Attahiru Jega deserve some praise. Except for some skirmishes in some states, the election was adjudged free and credible. If the new government also messes up, the proverbial cane used on the iyale is lying patiently in the ceiling.

Photo credits: TwitterNG

Hakeem.

The Genius, Tinubu

So this morning, the Financial Times ran a headline hailing Tinubu as being the brain behind Jonathan’s loss at the polls. They called him the Nigerian Machiavelli. Also, when General Buhari collected his Certificate of Return from INEC affirming his victory, he mentioned Tinubu during his acknowledgement. So, who is this man? A man the opposition (how tables turn!) fears as much as they do Buhari.

image

He has been hailed as a master strategist. A man whose street cred is on fleek. Not many politician can boast o such- probably his protégé, Aregbesola. This man changed the face of opposition politics in Nigeria. But how did he do it? His emergence as the face of opposition proves that quality thumps quantity.

image

Jagaban Borgu!

Regional politics still plays a huge role in Nigeria’s political affairs. After the 1999 elections, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) controlled the South Western region of the country the All Peoples Party (APP) controlled the Northern region while PDP controlled the federal. During the 2003 elections, AD fell for Obasanjo’s schemes and lost all their states except Lagos controlled by Tinubu. This marked the incursion of PDP into the southwest and subsequent demise of AD. This placed Tinubu and Obasanjo on a collision course. With just one state under his control, Tinubu forged on. In the heat of this, the President suspended the monthly allocation to the state- a move capable of wrecking the state. But that only served as a catalyst for building a self-sustaining Lagos. If Tinubu had fallen for Obasanjo’s antics, there might have been no credible opposition in Nigeria.

image

The state’s IGR went from hundreds million naira to tens of billions of naira. Tinubu held onto Lagos as if his life depended on it- and indeed his political life does. With the demise of AD, the Jagaban formed the Action Congress. It was on this platform that his erstwhile Chief of Staff, Babatunde Fashola, a relatively unknown man won the governorship election. The ascension of ‘Tunde Fashola to the Government House really was a masterstroke. He was hiterto unknown in the political scene but he performed to the extent that he was adjudged to be the best governor in the country and he became a reference point for performance.
During the 2011 elections, the party leveraged on Fashola’s popularity and clawed back the South Western states from the PDP, save for Ondo state. In all these, Tinubu’s handwriting was written on the party’s victory at the polls. Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states became ACN states. With this, the ACN was positioned as the major opposition party in he country. Though the party presented a candidate for the presidential election, it was so obvious that he was going to lose. The priority wasn’t the control of Abuja but taking over states in the region first. That would then serve as a launchpad for ‘assaulting’ the presidency.
Insatiable as ever, the next action is to drop the tag of ‘opposition leader’ & gun for the top. This isn’t going to be an easy task. The ruling party, PDP had been in power since the country’s return to civil rule and thus, has solid and widespread party structures. Heck! They paraded themselves as the biggest party on the continent. To defeat this giant, coalitions has to be formed. There has to be a united front to confront the ruling party. Hence, the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC). A coalition of 3 parties- ACN, CPC and a faction of APGA. CPC was a party formed by General Muhammadu Buhari to advance his presidential ambition. Thus, there wasn’t any solid structure. The party was run basically on Buhari’s goodwill and popularity. The faction of APGA that joined the coalition was the one controlled by the Imo state governor. So, the main party in the coalition was still the ACN, under Tinubu’s tutelage. In fact, ACN’s party symbol was adopted as the new party’s symbol. The party presented Gen Buhari as its presidential candidate. Even though, he had contested and lost 3 times, General Buhari was still the party’s best shot at the presidency. He was a cult figure. Even during his loss in previous elections, there were some states he had under control. States that mattered in elections as they had huge population- Kano, Kaduna and Katsina. I daresay no politician in Nigeria has the appeal of Buhari. With Buhari as a front for the party and Tinubu pulling the strings in the background, the party launched a robust and intimidating campaign. Social media was on lock down, the street was active, the jingles on the radio and television were creative and running. Buhari was packaged as a brand- a movement. The campaign presented Buhari in a way he hadn’t been presented before. The party also capitalised on the ruling party’s misgivings. Even though, the people’s votes determined the ultimate winner, Bola Tinubu provided the platform. And then, on the last day of March, 2015, General Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner.
One fact I find funny is that Tinubu doesn’t hold a defined role in the party. He’s referred to as the national leader or party chieftain, yet his influence dwarfs that of the party chairman. The Lion of Bourdillon, as he’s called, finally became the face of the governing party after more than a decade of being that of the opposition. I don’t think there’s anyone that understands Nigeria’s political workings like him. It’s even believed that he was behind the emergence of a relatively unknown Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the party’s vice presidential candidate. His emergence was really a well planned move as it swayed some undecided voters. Osinbajo was a commissioner during Tinubu’s time the governor. Tinubu is reputed give people opportunities. Fashola, Aregbesola, Osinbajo et al are people that had their first political bite under his tutelage. Loathe him or love him, even his greatest foe can’t deny his political mastery. With just one state under his control, he assiduously won back some states in the region before gunning for and winning the presidency. Even with that one state, he was really a thorn in the Federal Government’s flesh.

Meanwhile, this is my best pic from the celebratory pictures of Buhari’s victory. Her happiness is infections.

image

Hakeem.

2015 Nigeria Elections: Iriri Mi

image

See ehn, if I don’t write about my experience during this election, posterity will not be pleased. I didn’t plan to write this as I had something different on my mind before but the temptation to share my experience was too much to resist. The political atmosphere before the election was already charged but that isn’t even my point. I’m here to talk about the election itself.

THE DAY BEFORE

So, I arrived the INEC office where we were supposed to take off to the RAC on Friday. I got there around 11am. Being a very familiar face there, I quickly got to work. I wasn’t just an ad hoc staff; I knew some workings of the commission. I helped with the postings of electoral officials (and no, I didn’t influence mine) & some other miscellaneous activities. By evening, I helped with announcing the postings. Election materials were still being sorted & corp members were just loitering around. Some voters also came for their PVCs though. The security personnel comprising of the military and the police provided security. Corp members & other electoral officers were asked to pack the non-sensitive materials outside. My SPO told me to stand guard over the sensitive materials. Yup, we were close laidat.

The location of the office is such that one can’t get food to buy nearby. So, majority of us battled with hunger and weariness. In fact, by 9pm, what I had in my stomach was the bread & tea I took before leaving house in the morning. By 11pm, we all left for our RACs. Mine was the town hall which was just less than 5mins from the office. At the RAC, all the materials were allotted to their respective PUs. Sleeping spaces were limited and I had to make do with the seat inside a bus, when I decided to sleep by past 1am.

D-DAY

The noise from the megaphone woke me by 3:16am. My stomach was still complaining. Peeps have started getting up to have their bath. The SPO, with some folks had kept vigil distributing election materials to their respective PUs. I later joined and it was discovered that some materials (non sensitive) had been taken to another RAC. We arrived the PU by 7:23am. A female police officer, female NSCDC and male FRSC officers were assigned to the PU. After settling down, the first challenge was that the Voter Register in our possession belonged to another RAC entirely, while they had ours. A voter volunteered to convey me on his bike to the location.

image

A journey of about 7 mins. After retrieving it, I returned only to discover that the card reader was acting funny- shii wasn’t ready to accept the password. It later stopped the joke and accepted the password. Accreditation that should have started by 8:00am started around 10:00am. The accreditation went on smoothly until sun pursue us comot our location. I had to remove that fishnet they call jacket. Oru n mumi mehn! Did I say that my stomach still hadn’t entertained any food? Everything went as planned until the card reader started its hide and seek again. It resumed after about 15mins though. Accreditation ended around past 3pm when it should have ended by 1pm. Stomach was still grumbling o! At that moment, I just told myself that I was going to have ulcer. No way i was gonna escape it. I’ve gone without food for more than 24 hours. One category of people you see at a PU are those who claim to have been voting since the 19th century; so they try to dictate how to work to he electoral officials. There are also the elderly who despite explaining how the voting should be, in Yoruba, are still at a loss at what to do with the ballot papers. See ehn! If a political party wants to rig, it’s easier done in rural areas where the illiterates and elderly abound. There are some of those elderly who ask electoral officials who to vote for. Because consideration has to be given to the elderly (they aren’t expected to join the queue), those on the queue started grumbling. My job description during the voting was to make sure that ballot papers are dropped in the appropriate boxes. Thus, I was one my feet throughout the period. More ballot papers were brought to complement those available. Boom! The sky thought that the land was dry and decided to make it wet a lil bit. The downpour was frying pan to fire. The arrangement was disrupted. Now, I was battling with fatigue, hunger, shouts from angry voters, elderly voters and ensuring the ballot boxes didn’t leave my sight. After about 45 minutes, the sky in its wisdom, thought the land was wet enough and stopped its supply. What a relief!
‘Oga, ballot papers don finish o!’– came the voice of the APO III. Shet! How come? I called the SPO who promised to bring more. The time was past 6pm and the crowd was already restive. Someone even threatened to beat me because I giggled when he said INEC was conniving with some people to rig the election, hence, the ballot papers allotted was small in number. The dude was already planning with his goons on how to deal with me. Haha! Shey someone cannot giggle in peace again ni? Abi izzit your giggle? The senatorial candidate of APC visited but stayed in his car throughout. Why did you now come abi you wan show us your G-Wagon ni? You cannot even drop something for awon boiz. *rme* Your motor is fine sha. That was how one policeman who followed him told me to leave the place because party agents shouldn’t be near the ballot boxes.

‘Haha! Officer, shey you no see INEC ID card for my neck ni?’

I no talk am o before we hear stories that touch.
When the SPO brought the ballot papers some minutes to 8pm, it was exactly the amount of people who were on the voting queue. See how people swarmed him like Lagosians swarm a bus on a Monday morning at Iyana Oworo. This man hasn’t seen a minute of sleep in the last 30 hours or so. I con dey pity am like a malaria patient in a hospital pities someone who was just rushed in; temporarily forgetting his own predicament. Voting sha resumed and it ended like an hour later. Did I mention that we, the electoral officers didn’t know our names? It was awkward. Calling each other by job title.
Ehen! Another work don begin. Ballot papers have to be sorted before counting. The seals on the ballot boxes were broken. The headlamps of a Hilux van belonging to one of the parties provided illumination for us during the counting. We were now actors on stage with eyes focused on us. Stomach was still complaining though. After sorting (HoR to Senate to Presidential), counting began. All these on our feet o! The dude counting hadn’t also had anything since morning, thus, his voice wasn’t audible enough. Those around still heard to effrontery to ask him to speak louder. Are you guys nuts? After everything sha, the winner was declared. It’s a funny scenario because if a party you support doesn’t win (or wins), you gotta keep a straight face.
Back at the collation centre, all materials had to be returned intact. That one na another task on its own but we sha surmounted them. That was when I got to know the names of those I worked with. Time was already some minutes to 11pm. I had to appease the gods in my stomach mehn! Later found a roadside joint where noodles was sold. If I hadn’t, I might not have seen the following day. When I returned, one parole was already wai…. nvm. Peeps were now finding it difficult to find where to sleep. See corp members just dey dorikodo dey sleep on top plastic chairs. Some even go sleep for bus. I also slept inside a bus the day I arrived. Me, I just spread my blanket jejely on the bare floor. Not everytime mattress, sometimes floor. One girl sha come to share the blanket with me. Because oju lon roju shanu. Eyan le need help any fucking time mehn!
Finally closed my eyes around 2:00am.

Hakeem.

Chess, Politics & War.

Even if I forget everything about Estaport secondary school, my experience with the game of chess can never be forgotten. It was the first time I heard the term, ‘CHESS’ and played the game. Within a few days, I was hooked. Break time were not to remain the same again. Looking back now, armed with life experience & more knowledge, I can say it was worth it while it lasted. And now, comparisons can be made.

image

Checkmate!!

Chess, both in its gameplay & structure, is quite unique (Not every time Call of Duty, sometimes a brain-stimulating game). Inferences can be made to real life situations. Chess playing flourishes on the ability to be one step ahead of your opponent. And boxing him to a corner. Pawns are those pieces which are the least powerful- usually put in the line of fire. Those pieces behind the pawns have more powers. The King is the ultimate piece of the game. The survival of the king is dependent on those pieces who surround him. Ironically, they have more freedom to move than the King. Take them out and the king is a sitting duck. The Queen’s movement is towards all direction and to any length. She is the one whose ability encompasses all others safe for the sly Knight. Take out the queen and the kingdom is weakened. Now, let’s juxtapose between real life situations & the game.

POLITICAL CHESS.
The theory of Social Contract states that man cedes his power to the state. Here, the state makes laws to guide his existence. If Hobbes’ Leviathan is it, then the subjects are tools to achieve a goal. Even without Hobbes’ absolute government, the citizens are still subjected to the whims of the ruling class. Pawns. During crisis, it’s the citizens that bear the brunt of decisions of the ruling class, as IDPs and refugees. Sacrificial lambs they are.
Since the game of chess thrives on thinking ahead, it means that the your opponent is forced to do what he wouldn’t have ordinarily done. Laying a trap. This act was perfected by Talleyrand during the defeat of Napoleon. A former minister of Napoleon, he masterminded the Napoleon’s escape from prison and eventual defeat at Waterloo. Knowing the importance of crushing Napoleon & knowing Napoleon’s ambition, Talleyrand merely baited him into going to war he knew he couldn’t win while he sat behind watching events go as he planned.
Forcing your opponent’s hand is divided into two parts-
-A false sense of control
-Make forced decisions
The first one gives him the impression that he’s in control while in reality, he acting the way you want. This technique was used by Henry Kissinger on Richard Nixon. Knowing Nixon to be insecure, Kissinger would present range of options to him in such a way that the one he favoured always seems the best solution compared to other options. This gave Nixon a false sense of authority.
The second one means making your opponent play on your turf, where you control all options. This was used by John Rockefeller when he created the oil monopoly. Instead of owning oil companies, he took control of what all the oil companies needed to exist- transportation. So, indirectly he forced the oil companies to play according to his dictates.

The emergence of Hafez Al-Assad as Syrian president was pure chess tactics. Hafez was a man who many believed wasn’t as ambitious as his contemporaries; he seemed satisfied being just a team player. Salah Jadid and Muhammad Umran seemed more ambitious. But by biding his time and scheming, Hafez became the president while Jadid was imprisoned and Umran assassinated. Assad did this by keeping his intentions and getting loyalties from key actors. In political scheming, there is generally a sense of mistrust. Everyman has an intention for which he’s in politics for. Selfish most times. This is how Louis Bonaparte came about ruling France. He was considered by Louis-Adolphe Thiers to be a stooge material. As soon as his hand reached the eku-ida, he did away with his proprietor.

WARFARE CHESS.

War is the continuation of politics by other means.

         – Carl von Clausewitz

Advanced politics if you wish. In fact, I have always maintained that for an army general to be successful, he needs to have the knowledge of chess. This is because the game has similarities with warfare. The military, like chess, is mechanical in nature and workings. Roles are assigned. This seeks to ensure effectiveness.
A strategy of chess usually employed by the military is baiting. In chess, a player seeks to bait or sell a dummy to his opponent to make him expose his vulnerability and strike where it hurts most. One act soldiers usually watch out for on the battlefield is ambush. This singular act is capable of decimating a large army and striking fear into generals. Ambush takes the form of booby traps which make use of seemingly harmless objects, thereby making the soldier relax his defence and/or see himself being in control. This was one tactic the Vietnamese used against the American troops during the Vietnam War. Similarly, the Japanese used it against the Russians in 1905. By spreading propaganda against the Russians, the weaker Japanese made the Russians come to them with the objective of wiping out the Japanese with a decisive blow. But this journey made the Russians weak and the inexperienced Japanese took them out. Related to this is the use of dummies by the military during the World War II where the both the Allies and Axis employed the tactic to outwit each other. Military dummies have since become mainstream in military formations today.

Also, a rule of chess is that a pawn will be promoted once it reaches the other end of the board. This is an uphill task as the pawn is the least powerful- thus highly improbable for it to escape the ‘gun fires’ on the chessboard. In the medieval times, a soldier is recognised based on the number of kills he’s had. He transforms from a (probable) peasant to a warrior.

The victory in chess isn’t determined by the movement of the King. Rather, it’s by that of the other pieces. This validates Douglas MacArthur assertion- ‘A General is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him’.

                               ***
I think I need to polish my below average chess performance. You folks need to read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.


Photo credit: Google Images.

PS: Watch this video. It’s packed with meanings concerning how chess is related with war and the politics of war.

Hakeem.

My Hausa Love.

2014 was really a major learning curve for me. It was the year it was destined for me to have my youth service. And indeed I fulfilled an objective of the NYSC. The scheme is such that many people have used to shed their toga of arrogance and ignorance. During my service, I learn more about the Hausas than I had learnt throughout my 20-something years.

image

I had them as friends, neighbours, comrades, students (how I miss Akim Navy Barracks), prayed in mosques where Hausa was used for sermons, ate in a Hausa-run restaurant (for the first time) So, it’s bound for conversations to follow the tribal route some times. And no, I didn’t serve in the north; it was in Calabar. An irony, right?
Being the most conservative of the major tribes in Nigeria, there is a high probability for misconceptions and misrepresentations to be rife. Now, I’m not saying the Hausas are the best thing to have happened since slice bread.
Heck no! Of the major tribes in the country, they are the ones with the lowest rate of getting educated. Does JAMB’s ELDS ring a bell? They are also prone to ethno-religious crises.

But there are some of their qualities I admire; qualities that distinguish them from other people. Cultural qualities. A cultural feature I love about them is their language. This is something he doesn’t joke with. So important it is to him that he feels elated when a non-Hausa understands it. It’s rare for one to encounter two Hausa men conversing in English of even pidgin. In fact, they can discuss in the language for hours without any input from the English language. This one no possible in the south o! A southern man cannot even talk for 5 minutes without him borrowing a word from the English vocabulary. And this quality of the Hausas isn’t limited to those born in the North. Most of my students in the tutorial I held in Akim Navy Barracks mosque were Hausa children who were born and bred in Calabar and there is none of them that can’t communicate in the Hausa language. Back in the south especially in Lagos, many parents don’t speak their language to their wards; it’s always English. Yoruba is seen as a vulgar language, one to be touched with a long pole. Numerous times have I encountered peeps who do not understand Yoruba and I just shake my head. I remember Aliyu , my friend from Sokoto telling me that no matter how educated an Hausa man is, if he sees a fellow Hausa man, their discussion would always be in their language. Down south, 3 Yoruba or Igbo friends would rather speak in English or pidgin. That’s a sign of poshness. Ladies would speak through their nose in one annoying accent.

Another feature of the Hausa is their sense of community. In Calabar, these folks have two major places where they live- Bogobiri and Nassarawa. In these places, you would not even know if you are in the South-South or up north. See ehn, throughout my stay in the peoples’ paradise city, I did not hear of gathering of Yoruba folks. An association of some sort. I don’t think there is a city in Nigeria where there isn’t Sabo. Is there?

The political life of the Hausa man is underrated. Especially with how many view them as illiterates. A popular saying is that no matter how poor an Hausa man is, he go still see money buy radio. In movies, they’re depicted as radio-clutching men. He’s not listening to the latest jam in town or celebrity gossips. Rather, he’s listening to the BBC or VOA.
Also, Charles Erukaa, a Channels TV correspondent, while reporting his experiences on campaign grounds all over Nigeria, said the most enthusiastic people about the election were Northerners. The campaign ground were usually busting at the seams. Even though, people on campaign grounds don’t guarantee victory at the polls, the region also recorded the highest rate of PVC collection.

image

Pre-postponment stat.

Talk of putting your money where your mouth is, right? Even in the insurgency-ridden Maiduguri, the turnout for APC’s presidential campaign was huge. Sometimes ago, I read on a blog whose owner is prolly from the South, how she would not vote even though she has her voter’s card. This she disclosed with pride. Political apathy.

Conclusively, many southern folks see the north as a desert, arid land. A place crawling with cattle herders, with huts dotting the landscape. What a terrible stereotype! Was watching one Hausa movie with someone, when he saw a beautiful storey building & he mocked the north by saying ‘So Hausas sef get beautiful houses’. I just shook my head ni. The internet still can’t take the place of travelling in the scheme of cultural and anthropological knowledge.

Hakeem.

Of Issue-Based Campaigns.

Back in secondary school, one extra curricular activity I was always enthused about is the debate. Though I never participated in them because of my coyness, I was usually in the background providing points to the debaters. Something I learnt then was to always attack issues- the topic at hand. Attacking the personality of a fellow debater was a no-go area.
During the campaign for the 2015 elections, lots of events have occurred.
I watched Channels’ Politics Today on  January 18 & the guest, a member of President Jonathan’s cabinet veered off the topic of discourse and went on a mudslinging spree. Instead of convincing me why I should vote for his principal by enumerating achievements, he was telling me why I shouldn’t vote for their opponent by painting the opponent bad. Without exaggerating, the man spent 85% of the allotted time slandering the opposition.
Some few days before, all the presidential candidates had signed a peace pact in Abuja. A part of the pact talks about engaging in issue-based campaigns. This shouldn’t have been rocket science as the myriad of problems confronting the nation really deserves explanations. The incumbent is supposed to outline its achievements- its successes after 5 years in office. Yet, it’s this incumbent that goes about attacking the opposition. It’s pertinent to note that this current government enjoyed a large dose of goodwill during the last election. How it squandered that goodwill is baffling to me. Or maybe we have different definitions of what an issue-based campaign entails. The campaign organisation of the PDP has been raising dust in the polity by going after irrelevances- from asking Gen Buhari why his wife isn’t seen in public with him, to them saying he doesn’t know his phone number and that he should jog round a stadium to prove his fitness- as if the rigours of campaigning all over the country isn’t enough stress. When Fashola was going for a second term in 2011, I told a friend that he needn’t spend much on his campaign. It was obvious that he was going to win because his first term was a reference point for good governance in other states. If after spending 5 years in office, what you have going for you is mudslinging, it can only mean one thing.

image

PDP’s issue-based campaign?

Another line in the peace pact emphasised the importance of all parties from refraining from inciting speeches capable of causing electoral violence.

image

Proper issue-based campaign.

Yet, while Gen Buhari keeps campaigning, I haven’t heard him or a member of APC giving inciting speeches. Sadly, same can’t be said for the PDP, the ruling party. On January 9, 2015, a PDP governor, Ayo Fayose sponsored a front page ad in a national newspaper where he vilified the North Western part of the country for producing leaders that ‘die in office’. General Buhari is from Katsina state, North Western Nigeria. Some days before, the PDP gubernatorial candidate for Lagos state, Jimi Agbaje had said that if Goodluck Jonathan isn’t reelected, the militants in the Niger Delta would cripple the economy. What Jimi meant is that whether Jonathan deserves a second term or not, he MUST return to Aso Rock so that the militants will be appeased. Such buffoonery! The Vice President, Namadi Sambo took this inciting and divisive acts further when he said in their campaign in Jigawa that the electorate shouldn’t vote for Gen Buhari because his running mate is a pastor. Is a pastor not qualified to contest for elections? Issue-based campaign indeed!

When I watched that, I was thoroughly ashamed to be a Nigerian. Divisive utterances have been the forte of the PDP in these campaigns.

image

Jigawa and Niger states are in the Northern part of Nigeria where majority of the inhabitants are Muslims. Down south, the PDP and their supporters claim that the APC is an Islamic party whose agenda is to islamize Nigeria. Are these folks confused?
When former Central Bank governor, Prof Charles Soludo published an article discussing the state of the nation’s economy under President Jonathan and how the economy had been pummeled, the president’s team chose to attack Soludo than respond to the issues he raised. Femi Fani-Kayode, the spokesman for President Jonathan campaign organisation said Soludo should not be taken serious because he has been associating with the opposition. Meanwhile, in that same article, Soludo had questioned the feasibility of APC’s manifesto. In a sharp contrast from FFK’s submission, the APC, through Dr Kayode Fayemi replied the professor in a courteous manner that the professor had to acknowledge the civility in a rejoinder.
Lastly, I think that while politics is being played during this campaign, decorum should be adhered to. The vituperative PDP-sponsored documentary on AIT about Buhari is capable of distorting history. While at it, the PDP mocked the death of Buhari’s daughter, as if it’s to a father’s joy to lose a child.

Hakeem.

Battling Boko Haram: My Widow’s Mite II

What enables the wise, sovereign and good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men is foreknowledge
Sun Tzu, Art of War.

See ehn, I did not plan to write a sequel to the first. But the Baga incident took me in a thought journey. While the world mourned the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Boko Haram in their usual style went on a massacre spree. Hundreds or thousands died, depending on who you believe between Amnesty International and the Federal Government. That’s not even the issue here. How do these terrorists invade a town, kill the inhabitants & disappear into thin air? In a state that’s under a State of Emergency?
In my first post, I talked about fighting this scourge by tackling the ideology that makes it plausible for youths to join the insurgency. The other front which the government is currently engaged in is a two-edged mission- covert and overt fronts. To defeat an enemy like Boko Haram that employs guerrilla tactics, the covert front is so critical. In fact, the overt actions are molded by the covert ones. Their backbone needs to be broken. And the backbone isn’t even Shekau. Hey! I’m not a security expert but what my intuition tells me is that Shekau is like the group’s spokesman. I might be wrong though. The face of the group. Even if Shekau is killed this minute, there are many more Shekaus in the group. Remember when Abu Qaqa was the one Nigerians knew?
Still haven’t got the drift? Killing hundreds or even thousands of Boko Haram members isn’t going to eradicate the crisis, (they can always raid a town & conscript soldiers). It’s just like swatting mosquitoes, you can only stop those tunes and bites if you attack their source. The crux of this post is that while we have focused on the military op, the intelligence to execute this war isn’t encouraging. I mean we’ve been battling with Boko Haram for over 5 years now and the group seems to be becoming more powerful by the day- like these idiots now attack a military base! The array of weaponry these terrorists parade is something else. They possess antiaircraft guns. For all these years, I don’t think a financier of Boko Haram has been identified. Since the military is already engaged in fighting the soldiers, the intelligence agency should be after those providing support for them. Without the intelligence, those villages in the North East are sitting ducks.

Plot Twist– The sponsors of Boko Haram might even be known as the president once claimed that they were in his government. So it’s either the government wants the insurgency to continue or it lacks the willpower to take out these sponsors. Either way, we just sit here & await the next community to raided! 😥