Archive for the ‘Hmmm’ Category

​By Kate Motaung


Does immediate gratification hinder our ability to wait well?

The other night, I went to our local DVD rental store, because yes, I’m old school and I’ve never had Netflix or cable. Try to set that detail aside, and stand with me for a moment in the ancient aisles of my DVD rental store, Family Video.

So I’m perusing movie titles, and a married couple in the aisle next to me has a conundrum. The wife points to a movie and says, “Oh, I really wanted to watch that one – but it’s only available on Blu-Ray.” The husband has a quick solution, as many husbands do: “Well, we could always just run over to Best Buy and use my points to buy a new Blu-Ray player.”

If this interaction had been documented on Twitter, it would’ve merited the hashtag, #firstworldproblems.

SEE ALSO: 7 Practical Ways to be a More Patient Parent

I found myself instinctively looking at my watch. 8:40pm. Were they seriously going to rent the Blu-Ray movie of their choice, drive to Best Buy, and purchase a brand new Blu-Ray player, just so they could watch the movie they wanted to watch? Apparently so.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with shopping at Best Buy or having Best Buy points to spend — I fall into this category, on both counts. But after hearing this couple’s interaction, I did wonder:

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways to Be Patient and Wait on the Lord

Does our culture’s knee-jerk reaction toward immediate gratification cause us to miss the important life lesson of learning patience?

After checking out my DVDs from Family Video, I climbed into my minivan and did a little soul searching. I thought about how quick I am to go out and buy things as I need them, provided the money is available. 

During the ten years I lived in South Africa, I witnessed a different way of life – a culture and community who looked to friends and neighbors for material resources before rushing out to buy a brand new item.

I couldn’t help but wonder – if the Best Buy couple had been in a DVD rental store in South Africa, would the husband have offered a different solution? Would he have suggested that they borrow a friend’s Blu-Ray player for the weekend, rather than go buy a new one for themselves? Or would he have said to his wife, “I’m sorry that we aren’t able to watch that movie tonight, honey. Why don’t we see what else is available on DVD?”

SEE ALSO: The Power of Patience

Patience as more than a virtue

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.” Sure, patience is a noble and desirable trait – but is that all? For the Christian, isn’t patience a necessity? Don’t we define our lives by waiting for Jesus to return, by waiting to meet Him in glory?

Does our ability to satisfy our wants in the moment take away the blessing of learning how to wait well?

If I can’t wait well for things like watching a rented DVD or getting an Oreo McFlurry from McDonald’s, how will I wait well for eternity?

And what does it mean to “wait well,” anyway?

The morning after my visit to Family Video, the Best Buy interaction was still on my mind. I decided to open my Bible and do a little word study on the term, “wait.” Three phrases stuck out to me from the Scriptures: waiting quietly, waiting eagerly, and waiting patiently.

Wait Quietly

Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

What does it mean to wait quietly? Without complaint?

I’m embarrassed to admit that my kids have heard me groan with impatience when the red traffic light doesn’t turn green as soon as I’d like.

What else do I groan and grumble about when I don’t want to wait? The long lines at the McDonald’s drive-thru? The slow teller at the bank?

Am I setting an example of waiting quietly, or do I make sure everybody knows I’m not happy?

Wait Eagerly

I found several verses in the Bible that talk about waiting eagerly.

Hebrews 9:27-28 says, And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Am I one of those? One who is eagerly waiting for Him? Or am I waiting with a begrudging, impatient heart?

According to Romans 8:19 and 23, “… the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God …. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Galatians 5:5 says, “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”

Is my life characterized by an eagerness for my own redemption? Do other people see eagerness in my words, my actions, my facial expressions? Or am I only waiting eagerly for earthly, material things?

Wait Patiently

How does living in a world of instant gratification affect our longing for heaven? According to Romans 8:25, “… if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

In reality, do we really wait for it patiently? Or do we just swing over to Best Buy to pick up a new Blu-Ray player?

Hebrews 6:15 says, “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Abraham waited patiently for God to lead him to the Promised Land – but remember that detour he took regarding the promise of an heir?

In Genesis 15:5, God told Abram his offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. At the time, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

But maybe as the years past, Abram grew tired of waiting. Maybe his patience wore thin. The Bible doesn’t tell us what he was thinking, but when his wife, Sarai, suggested that Abram have a child with their slave, Hagar, Abram agreed (Genesis 16).

If you read on in Genesis, you’ll see it didn’t go so well for Abram when he took things into his own hands rather than waiting for the Lord’s promise to be fulfilled.  

“Be patient, therefore, brothers,until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8).

The One Thing We Shouldn’t Wait For

There are many things worth waiting for, and many things we should learn to be more patient about – but there is one thing we should definitely not postpone for another second. That is acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives.

We have no idea when our time here will come to an end, or when Jesus Christ will return. It could be today. It could be tomorrow.

If you haven’t acknowledged your need for a Savior and declared Jesus as Lord of your life, don’t wait another day. Today is the day of salvation. 

 

Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.

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I Was Wrong About Kissing Before Marriage
 UFUOMAEE

More than a week ago, I shared my counsel with a lady who was in love with a man, who had told her that he couldn’t move forward with the relationship if kissing was off the table.  My counsel to her, based on my understanding, was that I personally believed kissing is okay before marriage, but that she also needs to pray to God about it, and if and when she would engage in it.

When I initially shared my counsel with her over email, I was glad that it was private, because I knew that a lot of people would challenge that belief – but I was sure that they were wrong, and were simply being religious.  I felt prompted by God to share it publicly on my Reader Questions series, and of course the outcome was a lot of opposition.  I argued my point using – and abusing – scripture.  I took Paul’s reference to giving holy kisses out of context, because it was the only reference to legitimate kissing in the Bible.

One of the things that challenged me most was the discussion I had with my friend, Goke, on the matter.  His perspective is that you can’t give a romantic kiss to someone you are not married to without lusting in your heart.  It seems like a no-brainer, but I was of the mind that lust is something only God, who knows the hearts of all men, can judge.  But the bottom line was not about whether intimate kissing between unmarried people was spoken against in the Bible, but whether it was something God would lead you to do.  Is it wise and is it loving?

I wrote a piece a while back that God has used in helping me to get to this point of admitting my error.  The piece is WISDOM BY ANOTHER NAME, and there I talked about illicit love, that is contrary to the wisdom of God.  Also, the piece I wrote yesterday, which also challenges the whole “do not, touch not” legalism that is existent in Christianity, also challenged my basis for defending kissing between the unmarried.  I have always understood sin to be anything that doesn’t please and glorify God, and here I was trying to define sin by commandments.  So, I wasn’t being sincere.

I said I wasn’t justifying myself because I am already married.  But that was a lie.  I was justifying the counsel I had given to the lady, and so I needed to show that kissing in itself was not the issue, but the motives behind it.  But when you get down to it, the motive behind intimate kissing before marriage can’t be to strengthen the other towards abstinence, but to give place to the flesh.  So, while accusing those saying kissing is a sin of being legalistic, I was actually being legalistic, so as to win an argument.

So I confess that I was wrong on this issue, and that my advice was wrong, and my defense was insincere.  I’m sorry to all my readers for this.  I am thankful to everyone who challenged me, and all who choose not to engage me in unnecessary debate on this issue.

Part of the challenge for me getting to this point is because I feel strongly that the Puritanical doctrine is burdensome.  I still disagree that hugging, holding hands or pecking, and other sincere expressions of affection that one would do with his or her siblings is immoral to do with someone who is close to you romantically.  This is because I still believe that pre-marital romance isn’t bad, and is holy between believers.  But I crossed the line by saying that mouth to mouth kissing is permissible.

So, to the lady who I gave bad advice to, I would like to correct my counsel to you.  I’m sorry that I was not able to share with you true godly counsel, because of my own reservations on the matter.

You said that you “would never choose him over God by compromising”, so don’t compromise.  Stand by the standard that you know to be true, which is to abstain from sex before marriage, and don’t do anything that would introduce lust into your relationship.  If he still insists on kissing, then you have to accept that he isn’t the one God meant for you.  I know it is hard because you have such strong feelings for him, but trust God that He will bring someone better, who is worthy of you, and ready and able to lead you in this matter, and in marriage.

To everyone else who still believes that some kissing is permissible in romantic relationships between the unmarried, I would say let Wisdom be your Guide.  What is wise is loving, and what is loving is wise.  Also, don’t act selfishly.  Even if you think you can handle it, maybe they can’t – even if they say they can.  Why put a stumbling block in their way?  And of course, Paul’s advice to flee from sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18-20) is indeed the wisest counsel on this issue.  We all should take heed, both the married and the singles.

Beautiful is she, bountiful she seeks, men want a valuable part of her they can afford.
She brings her mum chicken from different kitchens, and makes her mum eat it the way she’s been eaten.
With series of abortions, she forgets the notion, that even the glutton eats the lion’s meat with caution.
Freely her legs are open to him like hell’s gate, doesn’t care for her soul, yet she calls him soul mate, he no more masturbates or need to wait since he can pay pass the gate,
She smiles as her teeth shines brighter than her dim future, posing close to the vulture, busy taking pictures. Though in his mind she’s not in the big picture.

They both paint pictures the other can’t see, his own has many fishes cos it’s a sea, her own, quite funny, she paints a team, dumb girl, you’re not a part of Chelsea cos you bought a jersey, and that plan you learnt from the movies, the dude has seen a few scenes.
He knows once his broke she’ll hit the road, but like a hoe she doesn’t care to know, mouth wide open like bingo she goes to and fro, though she’s worth more than gold, how long will it take for her to know?
Folks call her b**ch cos she lives in a ditch, she’s not a witch, that’s why I’m trying to preach, slave to the rich, though famous in her street, always quick, not known within the meek, but in the middle of the bridge it ends as a wish, 1, 2, 3, time quickly ticking, she locates the nearest church and then starts sweeping.

The sweet nights in bolingo, dreams of Toronto, pet name choco-milo, all end like sosoliso.
Who am I to judge when I once was dumb, when I once indulged in the sin of lust, but will I act dumb cos I smell of her hug? Hmm!
Forgiven by God so I feel no guilt, the dark past is gone so I can talk to you, if you’re tasted by all, who should marry you?
If you were your mother in-law, would you marry you?
If sex brought wealth why are dogs eaten lefts?
As I drop my pen, never forget what I’ll say next, both to my ex and my next,

‘‘

Success is not sexually transmitted”

And to the bros called vulture, let’s revisit your picture, no, first your future.
As long as you spend time with the carcass you can’t rule the air,
Why stay here when you’re meant for the air?
Why come down like Samson’s hair?
While you wait for weak meat, eagles are soaring high, leave dead meat, no dead thing can give life. 
Now your picture, what a lovely sea, but there’s something you don’t see, Lots of fishes in the sea,
Do whales and sharks live in the sea?
STOP! Or very soon you two will see, and that will be the last scene…

Written by Papasam Obadan
Twitter: @My_Papi101
FB: Papasam Obadan.

My Name Is Abdullahi, I’m an Orphan – by James Ogunjimi

My name is Abdullahi, an SSS2 student. At least that was my status until last week. Now I’m just a cattle-rearer, and I’m in charge of my late father’s 70 heads of cattle. I have to take the cows around and sleep wherever night meets me. But first let me tell you how it all started.

I wasn’t always all alone. I had a father, a mother, two elder brothers and two beautiful younger sisters. We didn’t have much, but we had each other. My father was a devout Muslim man who brought us all up to love and appreciate others around us. At a very tender age, my father hired one of the brothers at the mosque who had completed his senior secondary examinations to teach me arithmetic and English language. I was a bright kid, in no time at all; I was reciting the first 100 numbers and could recite the complete alphabets. My father being a devoted Muslim sent me to the Arabic home with boys of my age group and our Arabic lessons began. At the same time, my father got a big break with his cattle and he used the money to put myself and my two sisters in school. Although I was too old for my class, I went anyway and performed well. I completed my Arabic school and my father killed one of his cows to celebrate my graduation from Arabic school.

I was one of the recipients of the free education programme designed to encourage children to go to school, my father only had to buy my school uniform and notebooks.

It was in my junior secondary school year that I began to sense something was wrong. I was told some people said it was wrong to go to school. I was told they are fellow Muslims, but our Imam said they are not and that they are messengers of Satan who will have no place in paradise. Those people said the Koran forbids school attendance and that Allah has commanded that those who attend school should be destroyed. They also said that if we are to enter paradise, we must kill anybody who is not a Muslim.

That night I was confused. Could they be right? I picked up my Quran in the midnight and turned up the light of our local lantern, I tried to think back to my days at the Arabic class; Alfa Razaq never mentioned anything like that. Could he have forgotten? I thought back to the days when my father would sit us down and tell us about how good it is to co-exist peacefully with others regardless of tribe or religion. Could he be wrong? I remembered that the boy that my father hired to lead his cattle around was a boy from the Catholic Church down the street. If it was wrong to associate with anybody who didn’t practice the same religion as ours, why then did my father do so? I was genuinely confused.

The next day at school, I couldn’t concentrate; I kept on thinking of what to do. For the first time, I looked at Akpan, the Igbo boy who had the seat next to mine with new eyes. He noticed and asked what was wrong; I merely shook my head and told him I was fine. Immediately after school, I didn’t wait for my two friends, Adamu and Sunmonu, I dashed off to my old Arabic teacher’s house. I met Alfa Razaq just concluding his prayers and waited quietly for him to finish. I looked at him; he was now frail and was closer to the grave than he was to us. He smiled at me and simply said, “Abdullahi, you have grown.” I smiled back and told him thank you. He noticed that I was in no mood for small talk and asked me what brought me there.

I thanked him and joined him on the mat. I asked him if during the course of my lessons with him, there was anything he left out. He coughed, gave me a knowing smile and replied, “Abdullahi, you have always been an inquisitive child. It’s one of the reasons why you were my favourite pupil. But don’t talk to me in parables; tell me what’s on your mind.” I told him everything; how I’ve heard that some people said it was wrong to go to school, that it was wrong to associate with people from other religions and how we needed to destroy anybody who wouldn’t accept our religion as our pass into paradise.

When I started my narration, Alfa Razaq merely listened with his face betraying no emotions, but as I neared the end of my narration, I noticed he was clutching tighter at the prayer beads in his hands while his other hand was clenched tightly into a fist; his teeth was grinding together frantically. He was sweating. After I finished talking, we were both silent for some minutes as Alfa sat with his eyes closed. I initially thought he had dozed off, but then his toes twitched, so I sat still waiting for him to talk.

Eventually, he sighed and opened his eyes. He looked at me for a few minutes and asked, “Abdullahi, have I ever lied to you?” I shook my head. “Has your father ever led you astray?” He asked again. I shook my head again. He continued, “See, the world we live in is full of people who act first and then look for justifications for their actions. This Quran you see, if you want to live right, you have your backing. If you also want to do otherwise, you can find your excuse here.” He went on and on telling me that I should not allow myself to be deceived and that there was no honour in killing people because we differ in beliefs. After much talking, I thanked him and left.

Those people who said going to school is forbidden started threatening everybody. They called them Boko Haram. Initially they would meet children coming from school and merely warn them to stop or beat them and tell them not to go again, but they eventually grew tired of just warning and started using some as scapegoats. There was a day we heard a scream in papa Adamu’s house, we were told Adamu and his little sister went to the farm to pick firewood when they were attacked by members of Boko Haram, Adamu was held by two of them and forced to watch while others took turns raping his little sister. Eventually, her frail body couldn’t take it again and she slumped. The attackers tied Adamu to a tree and after giving him a severe beating, they left him staring at the lifeless body of his sister as she bled out. It was then the reality struck me that it was no longer small talk, it was real and they meant business.

After similar attacks like that, families were reluctant to let their children out alone. The government sent some soldiers to protect everybody, and calm returned. But it was only for a while. One day as we were returning from school, I had just greeted the military men parading and was eating kulikuliwith garri when I heard a very loud bang. The bang shook the whole house and the pictures on the wall all fell down. The black and white television that my father put in the sitting room as decoration fell to the ground and cracked. I wondered, could this be the earthquake that our teacher talks so much about, that they said happens in the white man’s land and swallows houses? Will our house be swallowed? As I was still wondering, we saw a huge smoke arise into the sky. The smoke was so thick that I hadn’t seen anything like it before in my life. I tried to step outside, but my father pulled me back and gave me a deafening slap. He asked what I was going to do outside. He dragged me inside, and we all hid under my parents’ wooden bed.

After about fifteen minutes, we started hearing voices. The voices were screams. I heard Mama Kafayat screaming that she couldn’t find her daughter. We came out, and my father stepped out first even though my mother was still begging him not to. Eventually, we all went outside. The first smell that hit me was that of roasted meat. I then started seeing strange sights. I looked down and there at my feet was a hand; a human hand. I choked, and nearly vomited. It was like a scene out of those movies that we occasionally sneaked off to watch at Papa Akpan’s house. I saw the truck belonging to the military men; it was up in flames, while another car was burning beside it. They said it was a bomb and that it was carried in that car to attack the military men. I saw the shoe cobbler that lives in the deserted house behind our mosque; his two legs had been blown off and he was screaming for help. My father herded us back in and locked the door. My two sisters were crying and one was even vomiting.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept on replaying the scene in my head. What if my father was on the road at that time? What if mother was returning from the market then? The next morning, the state governor came, when he got to the scene of the bombing, he shed a few tears; they looked real. He promised to fish out the perpetrators of the act and bring them to book. He also promised that the state would foot the hospital bill of the victims and be responsible for the upkeep of the children who lost their parents. We all clapped for him and sang his praises. He told us that our security was his primary concern and that he felt our pains. He promised to do his best to make the state habitable. He sang a song saying the state is ours and we must protect it since we have nowhere else to go. We all thanked him again and sang his praises. It was later that night that I learnt that the governor doesn’t even live in the state for fear of these people. That night, I knew we were on our own.

The government sent in new military men, this time, they sent six truckloads of military men. These ones were unlike the previous ones who joked and played with us. If you moved too close to these ones, they would whip you with their koboko. They looked at us as if we were their enemies. If you greet them, they wouldn’t even answer and would keep their guns pointed at us staring at our hands frantically until we passed. They started entering houses and searching them. They said some of us kept the Boko Haram members in our house. I wondered why anyone would do that.

Some of our friends who were Christians started avoiding us. The last time I sneaked to Papa Akapn’s house to watch movies as usual, they refused to open the door and acted like no one was inside, but I knew they were inside because I heard the sound of the television, but they quickly switched it off when they heard me knocking. At school, Akpan moved his chair to another place and doesn’t even talk to me again. I became even more confused.

The next week, we heard that the Catholic boy who was in charge of our cattle had stopped coming. He said his parents didn’t want him working for us again. Father decided that he would henceforth start leading his cows around instead of hiring someone else. The day he started, mama cried and begged him. He refused. He went away and sometimes returned home just once in two weeks. I became used to being alone. My two sisters were by now in boarding school at a girls’ school. I was in senior secondary school one.

It was on a cold Saturday morning, at about 6:30 am when someone was banging our door, she was wailing at the same time. When mama opened the door, the person told me to go inside. I went inside but stayed around the corner trying to eavesdrop. Suddenly mama screamed and was shouting my father’s name. I rushed out, but she just sat on the ground shaking vigorously and screaming. I learnt that while papa was leading his cows around, he was attacked by some Fulani herdsmen and was killed. They stole some of his cows and left others scattered in different directions. The youths in our area were infuriated and mobilised with machetes and sticks to try and catch the attackers, but they couldn’t find them. They came back and according to Islamic rites, my father was buried that evening. Mother sent the information to my brothers; one lives in outskirts of Abuja, while the other lives in Yobe. She also sent message to my two sisters in school. Although my brothers couldn’t come home, my sisters came and stayed a while before going back to school for their exams.

The week after that, my brother in Yobe sent a message to us to deliver to Alfa Razaq saying he craved our prayers. He said over there, the military men were feared more than the Boko Haram people themselves. He said they had made themselves judge and jury and that they killed at will. Two weeks after that, I was about leaving for school on a Thursday morning when a military truck stopped in front of our house and about 6 fierce looking military men barged into our house. I greeted them but they merely brushed me aside and asked mother if she was shettima’s mother. Shettima is my brother’s name. Mother answered in the affirmative. The next thing I heard was a thunderous slap. They slapped her around and said her son was a terrorist. After beating her to their heart’s content, they told her to be in the barracks by 5pm to collect her son’s body. She simply lay there; speechless. The pain that was coursing through her was more than the physical pain; it was a pain that defied words. I dropped my school pack and sat on the floor with her, not saying a word; I wouldn’t know what to say anyway. Later that morning, my father’s elder brother and two of our relatives came and simply sat without saying a word. They went with my mother in the evening to collect shettima’s body. They didn’t allow mother to see his body; they simply took him to the bush and buried him there.

After that, mother rarely smiled again. I got used to staying a whole day without talking. I began to think. I also began to read everything I could lay my hands on. Books became my companions. I wondered why anyone would say it’s wrong to read. I tried so hard to understand how they reasoned, but each time I came short.

My sisters were sleeping in their hostel rooms when they were attacked by the Boko Haram people. They took some of the girls with them and set fire on their hostel. Suliat died in the fire while Rashidat was kidnapped along with other girls. They said girls like that became wives of the Boko Haram people. Mother couldn’t take it; she wept every day. Me? I withdrew more into myself; I hardly went out again. I read more and more. I learnt that these people killing everybody are all over the world. Somewhere, some of them are called Al-Quada, in another country, some are called Al Shabbab. They all claim to be Muslims, they all claim to be doing God’s will, and they all claim they are going to paradise. But why should they kill to achieve all these? I devoted myself to reading more books, hoping to find the answers to my questions.

Mother aged very quickly. She had seen too many evils and she could bear no more. She didn’t go out again. She always sat inside singing softly of her little girls. My father’s relatives told me that I had to start taking care of my father’s cows or find someone who would. I told them I was still in school, they told me I must not let my father’s labour just perish like that. I told them I would think about it.

The next morning, I heard there was another bombing in Abuja. Abuja? How did that happen? Our capital? I was told it happened in Nyanya. Ok, that was outskirt of Abuja. Wait!…My brother lives in the outskirt of Abuja. I dashed inside and asked mother for the piece of paper where she writes telephone numbers. I read through and saw my brother’s phone number. I rushed across the street to the call centre where a girl makes phone calls. I gave her the number and she dialled it and gave me when it started ringing. The voice I heard was strange, so I asked, “Boda Ibrahim, Is that you?” But the voice simply said, “I’m sorry sir. My name is Mr Frank. Are you related to the owner of the phone?” I replied impatiently, “Yes, what are you doing with my brother’s phone?” “I’m sorry,” he said, “Your brother was killed in this morning’s bombing.”

I was shocked. I clenched the phone tightly. The man on the phone kept on saying some things but I wasn’t listening again. I gave the phone to the girl and just stood rooted to the ground. The girl told me my money is sixty naira, but I gave her the last two hundred naira with me and didn’t wait for my change. I walked home like a ghost, just quiet, unfeeling. When I got home, a look at my face was all mother needed to know; she broke out laughing. She laughed hysterically and rolled on the ground. She laughed until tears started coming from my eyes. Those outside heard her and rushed inside. I didn’t think anything was wrong until she started plucking at her hair and loosening her wrapper. The neighbours tried to hold her, but she overpowered them. She went into the streets singing and laughing. By the time my father’s relatives came, she couldn’t be found. She had gone far. The next day, after combing the nooks and cranny of our town, we found her. She was there by a river; naked, sleeping peacefully; forever.

She was dead.

As my father’s relatives took her body to be buried. I made up my mind that I wasn’t going back to school. I had had enough of the town, the state and its ills. I would take the remaining 70 cows that my father had and lead them around. If I successfully make it out of this area alive, praise be to the creator. If I don’t, well, I have told my story. So, my books are packed, my radio is packed with my extra batteries. And now, my story is told.

NB: In honour of those who have had it all bad in this country of ours, who have had their homes destroyed and their happiness shattered. To those whose dreams have been turned into nightmares, words cannot convey my sympathy. We will continue to hope that our leaders will awake to their responsibilities and realize the urgency of now. But in the meantime, we will not relent, our voice will not stop talking, our pen will not stop moving, and we will not stop acting and preparing for a system change.

Over time I have come across people who want to know if their relationship is worth taking to the next level. I usually shy away from answering them or even try to evade the question for 3 major reasons. Firstly because I don’t want to be dubbed a Relationship Breaker, Secondly, because, I fear that the answers won’t be welcomed and thirdly, because, my Relationships has not yielded some sensible fruits in the last eighteen months. But if there is anything I realized with the number of huddles I have encountered in life, is that, my experiences are a lesson to many. So basically, I will be using this piece to answer all the doubts you have about your Boyfriend, Fiancé or Spouse (whichever one suits you).
I know the Men won’t be pleased with this but, of what good will it be if the truth about our specie isn’t put out there?
Now here we go,
1. Any guy who cannot delay gratification but wants everything from you even before marriage needs to be watched. He wants early sex, undivided attention and adoration, he is all over you all the time and is extremely jealous, he disrespects your values in life and you opinion does not really count; he wants you to disconnect from your friends and family members and focus only on him. Such guy is a wrong guy!
2. Any guy who finds it difficult to be open up or be transparent to you and avoid talking about his past relationships, failures, financial challenges, emotional problems and is very good at concealing negative things about himself to make a good impression, must be re-assessed before you commit. Relationships cannot grow without transparency.
3. Any man who cannot take responsibility for his life but blames everyone for his challenges except himself is not worth your hand in marriage! He may
also not take responsibility for his marriage!
4. A man, who is a fault-finder and a perfectionist, is difficult to please. In his world, there is no room for mistakes of any magnitude and if you make a mistake, be ready for harsh criticism. On the other hand, if he is good at messing up everything around him, unfortunately he could mess up your life too!
5. Never consider getting married to a lazy man who does not have a realistic vision for his life! A man who is going nowhere will lead his wife nowhere! A man’s responsibility is to provide leadership and direction to his family! On the other hand, when a woman with vision marries a man without vision, she naturally becomes the leader of the home which will eventually lead to conflict or disorder! Believe me; it does not work out well in
marriage!
6. Never marry a man who does not have a relationship with God unless you too do not have one. A man who loves and respect the Lord will love and respect you in obedience to the Lord!
7. Be mindful of a man who is hot tempered, if he flares up because of things that are not significant or at a slightest provocation, it might be dangerous getting married to him unless he changes. Any man with this trait could be aggressive, physically abusive and unpredictable in marriage. A man who cannot control his temper is a time- bomb waiting to happen!
8. A guy, who lives beyond his means; borrows money and does not pay back, is a potential wrong guy. It is different when the debt he owes is a one-off thing and he is making serious effort to pay back but when it is a habit, watch it. There are some men out there who take loan from people or banks for business or investment but end up using it to buy flashy cars, and live in exotic apartments, wear expensive clothes and jewelries, etc. Before you commit to him, research his credit rating or else your wedding party will be glamorous but you would inherit so much debt when you are finally married to him.
9. Never get married to a man who does not respect constituted authority but delights in breaking the law. His actions might land you and your kids in prison one day. A guy who does not have respect for your parents or your relatives may hardly respect you
10. Be weary of a guy who sees you as an alternative to his dream wife! Marry a man who sees you as his number one and not a consolation
for missing another lady out there. – You are fearfully and wonderfully made! – You are loaded with great potential and decked with splendor! – You are the radiance of God’s glory, the apple of His eye! Therefore, let no man take you for granted! Any man that will ask your hand in marriage must meet God’s standards of a REAL MAN
Ok Guys now you can go ahead and kill me.

Pastor Tunde Bakare CPC Vice Presidential Candidate in 2011

Pastor Tunde Bakare CPC Vice Presidential Candidate in 2011

The Running mate to Maj Gen Muhamadu Buhari in the 2011 Presidential election, Pastor Tunde Bakare has opened up on the newly formed All progressive Congress (APC), in an interview. He said that the APC is not a Party to parlee with in the 2015 elections. That the crop of people that make up the party, lack integrity and are looters of public funds.

Here is an Extract from the interview

QUESTION: So, you are not sure if you will participate in the 2015 elections?

BAKARE: With who? The collection of rogues, right, left and central?

QUESTION: Even with the progressives?

BAKARE: Who are the progressives in Nigeria; mention their names? Are you persuaded that they are progressives,
progressive where, taking you where?

QUESTION: The progressives who formed the All Progressive Congress (APC).

BAKARE: If the devil becomes a pastor, Nigerians will attend his church, because they don’t know the true church and they cannot distinguish it from the synagogue of satan. Some of these governors are far richer than their states, because they are looting their states dry. I read in the newspaper that former of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu do not own Oriental Hotel, Shoprite and others. Who is interested in this in a decent society? Something is wrong.

And indeed we at The Freemans Lounge do believe Something is definitely wrong somewhere.

All is not lost, we still possess the remedy – Abdullahi Musa Liman

“All serious countries that have emerged from behind to become leading nations had to frontally deal with the issue of corruption. Lee Kuan Yew’s first act as the leader of Singapore was to tackle corruption. China responds to corruption with execution by firing squad. Jerry Rawlings started the reconstruction of Ghana with the execution of past corrupt leaders by firing squad. And there are usually long and harsh jail terms for corrupt people, no matter how highly placed, in western nations of the United States, Britain, France and others. Remember the most recent story of a chap called Bernie Madoff in the United States? He is virtually serving a life sentence.” – Sam Nda Isaiah

Nigeria is always a case study worldwide in corruption, “special treatment” as they call it. Today it is fair to say that Nigeria has not even commenced its journey to join the rest of the world.

Nigerians are the problem with Nigeria; our adoption and attitude to bigotry (religious and ethnic), complaisant followership builds up to the tragedy of leadership we have.

Muslims and Christians who lived as one now get along in fear and suspicion. Is this rupture not what these mercenaries exploited to divide us? We should make it an obligation on ourselves to teach and share some knowledge of history; especially the history of precedence and foresight. Every criticism now is strung out along ethnic and religious lines. Remember when ethnicity and religion were secondary to being a Nigerian? Remember when we had leaders who were steadfast, leaders who were predisposed to do good to the people and the nation?

That aside, all that the common man in Nigeria wants are opportunities for honest work to meet up to his responsibilities, a market for his farm produce, schools for his children, a hospital when sick, and security of life and property. Is that too much to ask, especially as we are the Africa’s largest oil exporter?

Instead, we leave the venal individuals in power with the notion that they know what is good for us? We allow them get away with their sweet-talks like the famous “I had no shoes”. When will we open our eyes and separate the chaffs from the grains?

Party politics and ethnic sentiments don’t seem to be the answer. Sincerity and commitment is what we should look forward for. Our future is waning by the day. We should strongly oppose money politics, we should chase out those who took advantage of our dark days of hate, of tribulations if they come back with the same old tactics and we should be aware of their new tactics.

Agreed; poverty, unemployment, insecurity prevails in all parts of the country, but we should also give it a reason, as we were not plagued by these maladies before. Thankfully we now know the problem; we should look beyond pinning blames on foreign agents as those behind our misfortune.

We should look into ourselves; a chance to change is fast approaching (2015). I shouldn’t vote for Adamu because he is from the North or a Muslim, like wise I shouldn’t vote for Nnamdi because he is from the East or a Christian. I should rather vote for competency, dedication and patriotism. I should vote for our future and for Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country we have, so regardless of how good or bad a government is, we should be change proxies. Let us set the ball rolling

Abdullahi Musa Liman wrote in from Bauchi.

If you think Men were created to Cheat?
Wrong Dear, I must say, “your man must not cheat on you, and men were not created that way”. Believe me, Dear, if the plan of God was for men to cheat, then God would have created Adam and Eve and maybe 2 or 3 other girls in the Garden of Eden.

If a man cheats on a woman, then the woman should sit down and ask herself this 3 questions:
1. Does this man have the Fear of God?
2. Was I blinded by Love or lust, that I couldn’t see the animal overshadowing him before trusting him with my Heart?
3. What am I doing wron in the Relationship?

Seriously the reasons why men cheat is tucked under the answers to these questions.

For example: A God fearing Man, will not definitely know that Cheating in a relationship is a Sin, and won’t want to be found cheating, not Just because it will hurt his spouse but because it will grief God.

Most people both Men and Women, Usually get into relationships with the assumed Mr/Mrs Perfect because of what they can see, or how much sway, the person has. Well if you were swept off your feet, be ready to stand up with your clothes dirty. Look beyond the physical things, gauge his/her Character and try find the very aspects of their life, they won’t want you to know.

Ask them questions or sooner you will be questioning yourself. And please while asking questions, don’t pre-empt the answers, keep an open mind and expect a sincere answer from your “wanna-be-spouse”. Don’t have the “all guys/gals are the same mindset”, it will precondition your heart to expect untrue answers. With such a mindset, you won’t be able to recognise the truth even if they tell you over and over again. (These happened to me recently, she had a mindset so even my truth was welcomed with “lie-detectors” at the gate of her heart).

When you keep expecting him to do wrong, you will rob yourself off the blessings of God in that Relationship.

This reason in particular has been the very reason for 86% of the failed Relationships you know.

Furthermore, you will have to check, check and re-check to make sure you are doing the right thing in the Relationship, because when someone cheats, in the real sense, they are only seeking for either more Respect, Attention or Happiness that their spouse couldn’t give them. Try being the Perfect Person and your dream Spouse will not have to out to fulfil other peoples’ dreams.

I love you but God loves you More

Ralph Hephzy Freeman.

STOLEN LIVES

“ELHAM MAHDI AL ASSI WAS A YOUNG GIRL WITH GREAT PLANS FOR HER FUTURE. THOSE PLANS CAME TO A CRUEL END WHEN SHE MARRIED A MAN WHO WOULD LATER BECOME HER MURDERER. ONE DAY AFTER HER MARRIAGE, ELHAM WAS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL DUE TO EXCESSIVE BLEEDING. THE DOCTOR WHO EXAMINED HER SAW THAT HER INTERNAL CANAL WAS RIPPED AND ASKED FOR HER TO BE ADMITTED. HER HUSBAND REFUSED TO ADHERE TO THE DOCTOR’S ADVICE AND INSISTED IN TAKING HIS WIFE HOME. TWO DAYS LATER HE BROUGHT A MOTIONLESS ELHAM BACK TO THE DOCTOR IN AN EMERGENCY. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE DOCTOR PRONOUNCED HER DEAD FROM SEVERE HEMORRHAGING RESULTING FROM THE RUPTURE OF INTERNAL ORGANS CAUSED FROM INTIMACY WITH HER HUSBAND… ELHAM MAHDI AL ASSI WAS 12 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME SHE WAS MARRIED OFF AND 12 WHEN SHE DIED.”

“FAWZIYA AMMODI WAS A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL, WHOSE LIFE CAME TO A TORTUROUS END WHEN SHE WAS FORCED INTO MARRIAGE WITH AN ELDERLY MAN. SHE BECAME WITH CHILD ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AND BORE THE COMPLICATIONS PREGNANCY PUT ON HER VERY SMALL FRAME. DURING CHILDBIRTH, FAWZIYA WENT INTO BRUTAL LABOR AND SUFFERED FOR THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. TOGETHER WITH HER BABY, SHE DIED OF SEVERE BLEEDING AND SHOCK. FAWZIYA WAS 11 WHEN SHE WAS GIVEN OUT IN MARRIAGE AND 12 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE DIED.”

“NUJOOD ALI WAS A GIRL WITH THE AMBITION OF ONE DAY BECOMING A DOCTOR. HER DREAMS WERE HALTED ABRUPTLY AND HER TROUBLES STARTED WHEN SHE WAS TAKEN OUT OF SCHOOL AND MARRIED OFF TO A MAN OVER TWICE HER AGE. HER HUSBAND BEAT AND RAPED HER CONTINUOUSLY, BUT A DETERMINATION WITHIN HER PROMPTED HER TO ESCAPE TO A COURT HOUSE, WHERE SHE DEMANDED FOR THE JUDGE TO GIVE HER AN ANNULMENT. NAJOOD WAS 10 WHEN SHE WAS MARRIED OFF AND 10 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE SAID “NO” AND SURVIVED.”

The case of angels like Elham, Fawziya and Nujood are a stark reminder of the increased risks placed on young girls who are married off too early and are clear examples of the justification for limits and enforcement of such limits on the age of marriage.

In several Islamic countries such as Yemen, the trend of very early arranged marriage, where girls as young as 8 and 9 are pawned out to much older men are common. In such societies there is a preference for child brides because they are considered docile, submissive and subservient to a husband. Usually the parents of the girls are agreeable to such union because the marriage of the girls lessens the financial burden on the family. In some instances, the parents insist on an undertaking from the husband that the marriage would not be consummated until the girl gets older and is mature. But from the accounts of the girls, the husbands hardly ever adhere to this arrangement. The high rate of underage marriage is generally attributed to economic reasons and largely takes place in Middle Eastern countries or rural areas of third world countries.

This week’s news that the Nigerian senate reversed a vote that appeared to outlaw underage marriage despite a senate policy that prohibits repeat votes on clauses was not only outrageous but disturbing and injudicious.

The calamity of abject poverty, sheer ignorance, sordid influence, appalling desire and absolute disregard of liberty personifies the atrocious case of the senators or anyone else for that matter, making a case to permit the marriage of minors.

Cases where andropausal men in the midst of their mid life crisis endeavor to purloin the innocence and childhood of a girl young enough to be their granddaughters, all in the name of matrimonial bliss are simply thoughtless, unfair and scandalous. Although the age at which a child assumes majority varies in different countries, depending on the jurisdiction and application, it would be difficult for anyone to make a case that a girl yet to reach the age of 13 has in anyway reached maturity or is any way near the threshold of adulthood, let alone view such a minor as a wife. It really is a contemptible catastrophe and a desecration of common decency for any adult Nigerian in this day and age to openly justify the rationality and humanity of such an unfortunate union. To take a young girl and treat her as if she were a woman is in all definition nothing short of child abuse and pedophilia.

The distaste of the senators who are justifying the concept of child marriages is made even worse by the fact that the senators are senior member of a legislative body that is meant to make laws that protect every citizen of Nigeria, including young girls. What happened in the hallowed chambers last Tuesday is outrageous to the very highest level and a huge embarrassment to the Nigerian Senate. Under the Child Rights Act 2003, the rights of every child are categorically outlined. The statute provides “a child’s best interests shall remain paramount in all considerations” and they shall be given the care and protection that is necessary for their wellbeing. Such laws were made in order to shelter children, especially young girls, from the transgressions of elements in the society. As leaders, one wonders what kind of example the senators justifying underage marriage imagine themselves to be setting, especially in the light of numerous cases of child abuse that the government is fighting.

One wonders where the Nigerian senators place the concept of maternal mortality, which is so much higher in societies that fail to protect prepubescent girls from exposure to the dangers that come with being a child bride and the medical safety of young girls. It is absolutely medically unsafe for a child to be exposed in a way that makes them candidates for Vesico-Vaginal fistula (VVF). When a young girl, whose pelvis is too narrow to give birth, is exposed to carnal acts or carrying and bearing a baby before her body is ready, pressure from the baby’s head blocks the circulation in her anatomy, destroying her tissue and forcing a gape which allows for involuntary urine flow. These and other pregnancy and labour complications are the fatal and painful realities faced by young girls who are forced to marry before or as soon as they reach puberty.

Every child should, at the very least have the right to grow up and every child should, in its most basic form, have the freedom of innocence. Regardless of any opinion, culture or religion, the issues regarding what values represent the right of a child to care, education, protection against violence and so many other basic liberties, are one and the same. This can certainly not be an un religious, western or imperialist viewpoint, but one of humanity.

Elham Mahdi al Assi, Fawziya Ammodi and Nujood Ali were all beautiful young girls, who deserved to have a childhood that prepared them for adulthood, but it was stolen from them. And while Elham and Fawziya didn’t survive their ordeal, Nujood stands as a beacon of hope for all the pre-adolescent child brides who are the unfortunate victims of stolen lives.

As the Nigerian National Assembly resume in voting for the laws that will eventually make up a revised new Nigerian Constitution, they should step up to their responsibility of protecting the rights and freedoms of the young by addressing this issue of such ridiculous early marriages and completely outlawing it.

While they do that, in the interest of all the young girls in Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen and beyond, those who have the opportunity should please ask the senators and those adult men who forage on the innocence of other people’s young daughters, if they truly believe that marrying a small, little, preadolescent girl is a right, positive or fair act. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, they should then ask those same senators and men whether they would be ready to accept such early marriages for their preteen daughters. If the answer to that second question is nothing less than an ecstatic yes, then they have conceded that marrying a girl at such a tender age in these times is not right; it’s taking advantage of a girl and rendering her life… stolen!

Those of us who choose to stand on the side of the girl child and protect her from the dangers she will be exposed to as a child bride must all lend our voices in urging the senate to reconsider its position and resolution on child marriage. We must also pressure the House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly to reject any clause that gives life to underage marriage… And before they cast their votes, I urge the legislators to take a minute to think about their own preadolescent daughters’ best interest…. Because whatever is in the interest of their own prepubescent young daughters is also in the best interest of another person’s preadolescent young daughter.

Written By Hannatu Musawa
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The politicians are too busy planning to capture power to reform the bureaucracy and block opportunities for civil servants, who seems to be the main beneficiary of corruption, to routinely steal hundreds of millions of naira.
051413_2002_ADDRESSBYPR1.jpg

At a meeting in the early 1960s, the leaders of a poor nation just exiting colonial rule gaily informed colleagues visiting from another developing country how well they were doing under self-rule. They had acquired huge palm oil plantations through the state agriculture agencies they controlled. They invited their visitors to a club where party leaders treated themselves to exotic drinks and food and pretty women at night. The visitors, members of a political party obsessed with clean government, slipped away from the merriment, also politely refusing offers to acquire plantations. The visitors built the far more economically successful nation whose per capital income of $60,410, according to IMF 2012 figures, is the 3 highest in the world and which is the 3 largest refiner of crude oil despite not having any oil deposit. The hosts built a country which now has the 56 highest per capital income in the world despite being 460 times larger, 5 times more populous and being a major exporter of rubber, palm oil and petroleum. Singapore is the tiny highly successful economy. The larger country is Malaysia, a relative development laggard, and not Nigeria, a development basket case.

Malaysia, like many other successful emerging economies, is not an epitome of democracy, honest government or social justice. It has being ruled for 56 years by a party which is widely detested for corruption, having used ethnic quotas for public procurement considerably to enrich influential political families. Yet Petronas, the Malaysian state-dominated oil company was 68 in the 2012 Fortune Global 500 ranking of firms in which it also secured the world’s 12 most profitable company position. Its Nigerian counterpart, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, remains mired in corruption and debt. Nigeria has tried and failed to pass the critical legislation to clean up and increase investment in its oil sector for almost ten years. Attributing the cause of Nigeria’s dismal failure to corruption, a problem often mentioned as if it is a genetic ailment, is a severe misdiagnosis. The real ailment is much worse.

State of Emergency (SOE) Politics

The key difference between Nigeria and countries such as Malaysia is that the latter are sufficiently coherent nations. The political leadership is much less prone to fragment disruptively in the quest for power. This is partly because ethnic homogeneity or the dominance of a fairly homogenous historic “state class” (which the Hausa-Fulani would be were Northern Nigeria a sovereign country) severely constricts the opportunity to build up rival bases of political following. These factors also facilitate the extension of hegemony of political parties through national territories. Where there’s ethnic heterogeneity such as post-colonial Nigeria, no matter how well Tafawa Balewa’s party ruled at the Federal level, his rivals would have employed identity-based mobilization (aka ethnic scare mongering) to take the votes of vast numbers of Igbos and Yorubas out of its reach. Conversely, any attempt by the regional leaders to build disciplined or developmental statehood would have been severely undermined by corrupt politics practiced at the Federal level and the option available to regional politicians to cross carpet to the “mainstream”. Hence, in a sense, post-colonial politics were “too” democratic.

Nigerian politicians built contending power bases by actively coaching Nigerians to distrust each other. The constitutional framework which created highly distinct regional administrations and placed regional economies under the full control of regional political parties encouraged and empowered identity politics. A political culture came into being in which the rules of the game of democracy were constantly attacked; elections were rigged, census figures were inflated, state funds diverted into party coffers, losers encouraged military coups etc. It was easy for politicians to incorporate others in perpetuating these infractions because the ostensible purpose was to prevent the emergency of one’s ethnic group being “enslaved” by parties controlled by hateful rivals. This politics of extreme contention between multiple “nations” could not build the sort of cohesive states that promoted development in Singapore or Malaysia. All organs of the state required to initiate development-the Ministry of Education, Housing Corporations, State Economic Enterprises etc- were tools and spoils that were used to fight and reward followers. Contrary to the frequent assertion that the problem of development has been executing policy, Nigerian economic policies historically have been atrocious. Policy has promoted distribution and consumption through subsidies and other forms of administrative allocation (of land, foreign currency etc) rather than long term investment. They facilitate the creation and capture of astronomical rents by elite rackets rather than investment and competition.

Still Chopping at Very High Speeds

Nigeria no longer has ethnic parties controlling big regional governments with which they could plan secession or promote economic development. But politics remains first and foremost a competition to distribute and consume state resources by politicians on the basis of ethnicity. We thus simultaneously suffer both the ills of excessive centralization and excessive decentralization. It is not clear if Nigeria is negotiating ownership of crude oil with the communities in which they are found or if Nigeria, or a section of it, is to tell the communities how the income from oil should be shared. Meanwhile, despite the almost uninterrupted decade-long high oil prices, more than 60% of Nigerians continue to live in absolute poverty, evidence that the billions of dollars injected into national and state budgets have not translated into better education and health care and the physical and bureaucratic infrastructure which drive investment and growth. Extensive weakness of state institutions generates and fosters communal violence, kidnapping, oil theft and terrorism. While direct elite action has been prevented from directly rupturing the nation at the centre through the powerful regions, the actions of people below are tearing the nation apart from many points at the seams. The politicians are too busy planning to capture power to reform the bureaucracy and block opportunities for civil servants, who seems to be the main beneficiary of corruption, to routinely steal hundreds of millions of naira.

Clearly, Nigeria is drifting at a very high speed. While our deep-seated problems cannot be solved in 4 or 8 years, clear measures can be taken to pull the country back from the brink and bolster state capacities, especially its ability to support economic growth, provide security and basic public services to citizens. The most important measure is to diminish the incentives and opportunity for Nigerian politicians to disrupt the rules of the game of democracy through ethnic-based political organization and mobilization. It is clear that modifications to the rules of the game meant to engender respect for them, such as federal character and zoning, have promoted corruption and waste, intensifying the political feeding frenzy and thus, the attacks on the rules. The premature and violent arrival of the 2015 elections is incontrovertible evidence. Attacks on the rules of the game have almost become the very rules of the game. An informal association of Governors seeks to usurp the policy-setting and candidates’ selection prerogatives of the party and it is itself rendered incapable of conducting elections amongst just 36 members.

A new constitutional architecture which creates larger units of sub-federal government and intelligently devolves political power and economic resources based on the widely recognized but informal six geo-political units will have the merit of localizing tensions rather than generating and diffusing them from the centre. There will be more adherence to the rules of the game at the federal centre where the incentive to attack them is diminished and the “regions” will develop varying levels of adherence to the rules, and thus varying capabilities but uniform incentive to promote social and economic development.

The argument is not that the arrangement of First Republic was perfect but that it could be improved. The tragedy is that the structure of Nigerian politics is far more shaped by the pursuit of personal power and profit than principles and programmes related to solving problems. President Jonathan has been extremely conservative, reinforcing the methods and structures of the politics of ethnic-based distribution as the battle between regional cliques to keep or win power in 2015 consumes his party. Rival parties have an equally stunted constitutional imagination, driven as they are by the obsessions of individuals to rule Nigeria without any thought to whether Nigerian can be ruled successfully the way it is constituted. The major parties and political leaders profit too well from the way Nigeria is designed and run to seriously mobilize for, rather than merely mouth, a significant restructuring of Nigeria. Kenyan politicians in 2012 redesigned the country’s constitution, seeking to tame fractious ethnic politics with far-reaching devolution of political power. In another move to address a well-known malaise, the new President, Uhuru Kenyatta, reduced the number of Ministers from 42 to 16, thus swiftly and decisively addressing a source of corruption and public disaffection. There’s nothing to suggest that any of Nigeria’s opposition parties (whose lawmakers are quite happy to receive pharaonic salaries along with their PDP counterparts) will in power take decisive steps to address demands to make Government in Nigeria smaller, less expensive and less centralized.

Constitutional redesign apart, the parties are hardly a fount of ideas on economic policy and effective government. They are not driven by proven technocrats such as Nasir El Rufai and Babatunde Raji Fashola who remain only class captains of Nigerian politics. The principals are individuals who have either acquired enough state resources to build wide networks of agents or politicians who can build a fanatical, chauvinistic ethno-regional following. The proposed opposition merger is the ultimate insult to Nigerians. At a time that the nation needs clear plans for a host of economic policy, administrative and constitutional reforms that the PDP Government has proven incapable of initiating, all that the All Progressives Congress has arrogantly offered are the usual vacuous promises. The intention is to use the party to grab power rather than build a genuine party that invites millions of citizens as members (as opposed to being agents of party barons) with a real say in who gets power and how it is used. It is not even pretending to offer a genuine alternative to dominant political practices. Even on the serious threat of Boko Haram, it seems APC leaders have asked themselves, “how can we profit from this crisis” rather than think about real solutions. Nigeria desperately needs politicians who can imagine and fashion a new nation. It has been sent politicians who are just desperate to acquire power, live in opulence and control people through the same old cynical State-of-Emergency politics.

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Abimbola Agboluaje, a Lagos-based consultant, is a visiting member of the Editorial Board of the Guardian.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.