This Present Darkness by Prof Stephen Ellis

Disturbingly interesting! It goes to reinforce my decision not to break my head or heart over Nigerian problem. My own is to do my own good bit and leave the rest! *THIS PRESENT DARKNESS.* Before he died in 2015, the late Professor Stephen Ellis wrote his last book titled ‘This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime’. Going through this book left me with several thoughts, most of them unpleasant. It is a fascinating read covering, not just organised crime, but the evolution of the Nigerian state (or maybe they are the same thing?). At any rate, I want to share 8 random things I found interesting in the book and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. 1. In 1947, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo wrote that “Corruption is the greatest defect of the Native Court system.” He complained that not only did judges take bribes, people used their connections to enrich themselves and avoid punishment for their crimes. He also wrote that in the north, a new Emir always removed all the people appointed by the previous Emir and replaced them with his own people. He wrote all these as a complaint against the Indirect Rule system favoured by the British. 2. In 1922, the Colonial Secretary in London, one Winston Churchill, wrote to Nigeria’s Governor General at the time, Sir Hugh Clifford, asking him to ban certain types of letters called ‘Charlatanic correspondences’. This was because J.K Macgregor who was Headmaster of Hope Waddell Institute for 36 years, had discovered hundreds of letters written and received by his students ordering all sorts of books, charms and even potions from England, America and India in particular. Most of the charms were nonsense and the students were invariably asked to send more money if they wanted more powerful ones. A total of 2,855 such letters were intercepted by the Posts & Telegraph Department between 1935 and 1938. 3. In 1939, a Nigerian businessman based in Ghana named Prince Eikeneh, wrote to the colonial government in Nigeria complaining about the number of Nigerian girls who were coming to Ghana to work as sex workers. He said the girls were usually taken there by a Warri-based Madam named ‘Alice’ who told the girls they were going to learn a trade or get married. He concluded that the trade was very well-organised and profitable for the ring leaders. 4. In 1950, Abubakar Tafewa Balewa said ‘the twin curses of bribery and corruption pervade every rank and department of government’. At that time, the word ‘awoof’ was already being used to describe how civil servants used their positions to enrich themselves. In 1952, an anti-corruption campaigner named Eyo A. Akak complained that Nigerians were abandoning farming for trade due to materialism and consumerism. He said that every ex-serviceman now wanted to own a Raleigh bicycle before going back to his village while every civil servant wanted to own a car. He even blamed women (partly) for this because all of them only wanted to marry rich men. 5. In 1959, there were 60,000 school graduates in the Western Region. By the following year, the number had increased to 200,000. However, this led to a now familiar problem. By 1963, primary education was turning out 180,000 graduates a year but only 80,000 of them could find jobs, according to the Regional Minister of Finance. The same minister also said he was ‘looking for a method to crackdown on school principals who were collecting money from students for a variety of services’. 6. In 1968, a Polish-British sociologist named Stanislav Andreski coined the term ‘kleptocracy’ to describe the system of government he found in Nigeria. He said ‘Nigeria is the most perfect example of kleptocracy since power itself rests on the ability to bribe’. 7. In 1975, a report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the shortage of petroleum products found that a lot of the petrol being imported into Nigeria (due to the inability of the Port-Harcourt refinery to meet local demand) was being smuggled to Chad and Niger Republic. As soon as NNPC was formed, people swarmed around it and all sorts of people got crude oil lifting contracts. The US Embassy in Paris reported in 1973 that a random American walked into the Embassy and showed them a contract he had to lift 2 million tons of Nigerian crude oil. He told the Embassy that ‘a great deal of under the table payments were taking place in Nigeria to obtain crude oil’. 8.Around 1979, a British bank, Johnson Matthey collaborated with the Central Bank of Nigeria to export huge amounts of forex from Nigeria on behalf of politicians like Alhaji Umaru Dikko in contravention of foreign exchange controls. The bank later collapsed due to unsecured loans to Nigeria and had to be bailed out by the Bank of England with £100m in 1984 – the first time the Bank of England had ever rescued a private bank in British history. It also led to the passing of the Insolvency Act by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1986. One of the directors of the bank, Vasant Advani, ran to Nigeria in 1986 but returned to the UK in 2008 for treatment when he was diagnosed with cancer. In 2011, at the age of 67, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the fraud that brought down that bank. No official on the Nigerian side, to the best of my knowledge, was ever convicted. What do these stories tell us? Is Nigeria hopeless or cursed? Can things ever change? Have we always been this way or is it a recent thing? I have a simple answer to all of these questions – we don’t take our problems seriously enough. None of our challenges can withstand the power of sustained thinking if we really apply ourselves. But we start by misdiagnosing the problems and then naturally applying the wrong treatment. Or run to churches, spiritualists and when idiotic approaches fails we now ascribe it to the Government of the day or family spells. No, we all know the cause of our problems in Nigeria, we are merely pretending all around. As a result, the hand of history remains strong on Nigeria. ****Copied****

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One Nigeria or What?

If you are a Nigerian or a friend of Nigeria, you need to read these exchanges between some friends on a whatsApp group.

Please read on patiently, be informed, learn & enjoy.

‘Morning all…
Sorry guys I know these are way up the thread of posts, but I MUST answer these comments:

“There are a lot of people from areas that would have been considered Northern Nigeria pre 1960 that are culturally, ethnically and religiously closer to people from what would be considered “Southern Nigeria”

‘NORTH & SOUTH ARE GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS NOT CULTURES’

“Core north and south for starters. Let the middle belt states choose where that want to follow.”

‘WHY MUST THEY CHOOSE? SO THAT THEY CAN STUPIDLY SUBSTITUTE ONE DOMINANCE FOR ANOTHER? WHY WILL ANY MINORITY CHOOSE TO BE DOMINATED IN THE NAME OF CULTURAL SIMILARITIES.

‘AT LEAST NOW THEY ARE RELEVANT IN THE SWINGS OF POLITICAL MOODS, BEDDING STRANGE FELLOWS TO GET SOME THINGS. MINORITIES GOT A PRESIDENT IN THIS SETTING. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN IF THEY SUBMIT TO ONE DOMINANT MAJORITY IN A NORTHERN OF SOUTHERN SETTING

‘REMEMBER SOUTH SUDAN PEOPLE!!! EVEN LIBYA!! WHAT HAPPENED IN THESE COUNTRIES IS A BIG WARNING TO COUNTRIES SUCH AS OURS.

‘3 YEARS AFTER APC WON A LANDSLIDE VICTORY WE OVERWHELMING DECIDED & THEN CELEBRATED (GOD KNOWS I WARNED OF THIS) NOW WE WANT TO DIVIDED THE BED IN 2 BECAUSE THE WIFE IS HAVING HER 4 (YEARS) PERIOD.’

“SO WHAT ARE YOU PROPOSING AS A SOLUTION?”

‘Nigeria remains one. For once let us behave like a nation, close ranks & give democracy a long try. It is the only way. The western nations we admire went through this process. It is at the precipice that we bring the best out of ourselves. The literate & logical elements in this country must bond together & make true change happen. It starts with using our votes wisely & teaching others to do same’

“It’s an ideal… Great in concept of logic too, herculean in its practical execution given the complete lack of trust we have for each other.’

“What I don’t understand still from all the conversations around politics in Nigeria is.. the obsession with who occupies the office of president? Please, don’t get me wrong, I believe the office is very critical and important but I also believe that it’s on a lower level of importance wrt to creating broad, impactful and sustainable change that touches everyone.

“Is our obsession with this office to do with a residual military era mindset? Where one single individual is supposed and expected to lead all fronts of our national life.

“The NASS and the characters we vote in there is what I consider most important for our collective survival and progress. When are we going to start discussing these ones with equal vigor as we do the office of president? When are we going to realize that this constitution and current laws, which are a legacy of a military despotism, will not provide the right levers and enablers for a true democracy. When are we going to awaken fully to the fact that the will, spirit, principles and character of the judiciary and legislature is most important to the survival of a truly effective and efficient democracy?

“We have been barking up the wrong branch of this tree for too long. We must refocus on the right things to guarantee a sane and potentially prosperous future for our progeny.

“We need to fight for the edit of our common laws to strengthen the right institutions, so that they in turn can fight for the common man which we all are…

“Done correctly, the current crop of political interlopers and passengers won’t even see us coming.”

Pot calls kettle black…

Remember the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” H&M promo?

Well that’s what some fools did in South Africa in retaliation.

Looks like the idle goons in South Africa have run out of fellow black Africans to bash & have turned on the clothes racists designed for them instead.

Senseless twits!!

Honestly…

You know if anybody else did this, I could be a little less angry. But BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS!!!

Pot calling kettle black…fits the bill here snugly.

One fellow in my whatsApp group sums it up nicely..”Looking at those pictures only gave me one impression… A troop of baboons must have passed through there!”

GERMAN ENGLISH

This is Absolutely Brilliant & you will want to read this to the end.

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi TU understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

And Congratulations, you have learnt German within minutes…“`

I WAS ALMOST KIDNAPPED

I was away in Bauchi for work this weekend & I was almost kidnapped.

Strangest thing

My trip was to inspect a school of health in an area in Bauchi town called Kandahar. They are looking to affiliate with the school I work for.

I got in around 3pm Saturday & insisted I started immediately cos I plan to leave early today. I was done by 6pm & was in my hotel room 15 minutes later. It is a shitty hotel with no cable TV, just central video playing old nollywood films.

Trust me nah. I ventured out to the nearest viewing center to watch the rest of the Chelsea vs Norwich City FA match. I asked & got directions. Seated & sipping my coke, it was already well into the game. About the beginning of the second half two middle aged men arrived & sat either side of me. They greeted & oddly complimented me for my inspection of their neighboring school a few hours earlier. I didn’t recall seeing either of them there but then there were lots of people around, staff members mainly.

Anyways, it turns out that they had only observed from close by & hatched the idea for a quick Buck.

The idea is to grab me for just the night & make my host pay for my release or suffer the consequence. And the idiots thought telling me will make me cooperate.

A pen knife was shown to me & I was to believe that one of them was brandishing a pistol inside the pocket of his kaftan.

I thanked God for my little soja training in military school. I was immediately certain there is no hidden gun & the fools were softies, without a day’s experience in combat.

I readied to spring out of the plastic chair like a cobra & lash out at the guy with the knife first, with an open handed slap. Then kick out at the other guy with my good left foot.

Behold, the men suddenly burst out laughing. It was a prank & they were sent by my host to look me up but learned I had stepped out to watch a game so they joined me. The gun turned out to be a pistol feigned hand and the knife a stainless steel opener.

It was a nice comic relief but it didn’t help my heart pressure

😅😅😅😅

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A NATIONAL ICON

Happy Birthday to a national icon.

GLORIA OFOEGBU

National U17 FIFA world cup player (2wice) Captain

National U20 FIFA world cup player
Silver medalist

Super Falcons capped at left back

FA cup winner 5 times

National league winner 6 times

Wishing you the most ‘Glorious’ years ahead, with lots of good health, prosperity, peace & happiness, amen

God is your strength, your shield & salvation. He will light you a safe passage through life. Have faith & believe your destiny is secured in His graceful watch.

Many Happy Return.
God bless you

HAPPY 2018

All Praise and Glory to the Almighty God for making us all see the end of the 2017. We shall all by His grace enter 2018 in a grand style. All of us and our love ones shall cross over to the new year. In 2018, the favour of God will rest on our endeavours, He will protect and provide all our needs . May we see more Goodness than Badness in 2018. Amen.. Love to you all