Tag Archives: Local

MubaRascal, Egypt and us

I was actually going to blog about something else till news filtered in that Mubarak was “going to step down”. I sat there listening to the old man talk and I couldn’t help but change what I wanted to blog about. I am using the word Rascal again… In this case, it is justified.

30 years in power can sure do damage to one’s brain and thinking. At 82, I would think sitting at home, playing with your grandchildren and great grandchildren (if there are any) and praying for death would be of  importance to any man.

17 days after the protests began in Egypt, it did look like it was going to end. Expectations were high as rumors had it that Hosni Mubarak was finally going to give in to demands and resign. Even the CIA director said so.

Hours after, in a 15 minutes speech, Mubarak hands over some powers to his puppet and Vice President Omar Suleiman. Stunned silence all over Tahrir Square. People who hours ago had been dancing waiting for Mubarak’s announcement suddenly start to chant “Leave! Leave” and some protesters broke away heading to the State Television.

A quick recap of what led to the crisis. December 2010, a young man in Tunisia sets himself ablaze. He was protesting the fact that Tunisian officials shut down his street vending business. His death weeks after set off new protests which eventually led to the ouster of President Zine al-Abidine Ben-Ali. My guy fled the country at the end of it all.

Lack of job opportunities, and corruption were the issues that led to this revolution. And this quickly spread to Egypt and other countries in the Middle East. Egypt takes over the mantle from Tunisia with the youth calling for the President Hosni Mubarak to relinquish power after 30 years. He was planning on going for another term and then hand over power to his son.

While the problem in Egypt is really not the focus here, I would like to say that as little as 8 years in power can do much damage to one’s brain; you become brain dead; nothing new can get into that head any longer. You get to a point where you lose touch with what is happening around you. You can’t think outside the box. When you stay too long in a place, everything becomes a one-way traffic. You can’t think of new ideas and policies and if another does, they are thrown aside. Egoism and dictatorship become the order of the day. It happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and currently happening here at my place of work. With time, people get frustrated and tired. The elastic limit is reached. It then becomes a case of when push comes to shove. People would want to break free even if it costs their lives. That’s the situation we see play out in Egypt as it did in Tunisia.

Coming back home to Nigeria, we see the same issues except the long years of dictatorship all around us. I have always seen Nigerians as passive people. Nobody is ready to risk their lives… not for anything. WE were born to endure. Make all the mouth we can but not take action. Nobody wants problems. As a very religious country, “All is well”, “It is well”, fall out of our mouths with ease. We refuse to ask the right questions and do the right things. Like Fela said, we are “Shuffering and Smiling”. We say to each other “e go better”. But nobody is ready to take action.

As elections drawn near, it is good to see that the average Nigerian youth is gradually reaching his/her breaking point. Like most Egyptians involved in this revolution, we were not alive when things were good. We head stories told by our parents of life in the past. How good it was. And we think, why can’t we go back to those times? Nigerians are getting more and more frustrated and tired. Thanks to President Obama, the slogan “Yes we can” is on the lips of everybody. Check social media and you would see what I am talking about. People genuinely believe we can do something to bring about change. Nigerians are demanding credible elections. Good signs.

My fear is that do we have the courage to take our destiny into our own hands? Can we like the Egyptian youth down tools, march to Aso Rock and demand credible elections? Can we stand up and guard our votes jealously on election day? Can we ensure that in our voting centers, we are not intimidated by those who want to rig? Would we protest until our voices are heard and not just heard but also extract a promise from the government and ensure they fulfill their promise? Or would we turn back after 3 days and complain from the corners of our homes and our offices? Would we ensure that our politicians do right by us? Are we in the first instance planning to vote? Or we have adopted the “my vote wouldn’t count so why bother” posture?

Are we going to “fight” till things change for the better? Do we have the guts, the heart, the liver for such? Are we ready to knock on the door till they hear us and do the right thing? Are we ready to say NO to godfathers; those whose family members are seeking election or re-election?

I fear that we are still not ready for the change we need… though we are coveting that change. We might not get it right this time, but surely, we would get there.

Just pondering.

Btw, what is it with Africa and her dictators?

GEJ and his rascals

This is a day late but I just can’t get over the fact that GEJ referred to some state Governors as RASCALS.

At a recent gathering to flag off his campaign in the South West President Goodluck Jonathan said “The southwest is too important to be left in the hands of rascals. We must take it over from them. The ruling party must take over Lagos. We must also take over Osun and Ekiti states”.

How the President of a country would forget himself at a rally beats me. He seems to forget he is not just a Presidential candidate for a political party but at this moment is also the PRESIDENT of a country; a PHd holder….

I have had cause in times past to be worried about Mr. Jonathan’s utterances take for example his comment about the October 1 bomb blast and the attendant issues with MEND claiming responsibility and GEJ saying it wasn’t MEND. He sure must be giving his PR guys serious issues trying to clean up after him; by the way what is their job if they can’t school him on how to talk in public. I guess in the bid to earn their pay, they allow him talk gibberish so they have work to do. I don’t know much about Public Relations but I would have thought saying the right things to avoid trouble would be part of what PR agents are taught.

Or better still he doesn’t know what the word rascal means; rogue: a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel.

For those who know much about the South West, I guess the word rascal doesn’t apply to the Akalas, Daniels, Agagus, Oyinlolas and Onis of this Nigeria. Maybe the words looters, thugs, murderers would apply to them. People who stole others mandates and ruled for upwards of 3 years, almost 4 years in some states. People who have nothing to show for the years they have been in power/were in power (for those the courts sacked). And I know because I am from Osun State, lived in Oyo State (Ibadan to be precise for over 20 years; till 2008) and schooled in Ogun State for 4 years…. Currently in Lagos State and I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

Still wondering and pondering on what must have been going on in his mind when he made the statement. For the leader of a party whose two remaining Governors in the South West are what Yorubas would call Olori Rascals (Head of Rascals) to call others rascals?, I still don’t get it.

Looking at it from another angle, since we all know who the rascals really are… maybe he is telling us not to re-elect the Akalas and the ensure the Daniels don’t make it.

Just pondering