Femi Ajayi's Outlook

The year 2003 is the year of destiny for Nigerians both at home and abroad. Majority of Nigerians in Diaspora today are over fourty years of age, a crop of wasted resources for Nigeria. Year 2003 would portray what type of species Nigerians are actually made up.
Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Dr. Femi Ajayi

In Addition to President Obasanjo’s 14-Day fasting

he fear of God is the beginning of wisdom so goes the saying. Whatever we believe in, Olorun, Allah, Ozanobua, Chineke, Orisanla, all that matters is that we all believe in Supreme Being. President Obasanjo in consultation with his God decides to go for a fourteen-day fasting. I like that. That is the way to go. The cooks should make sure that they keep pounded yam, egunsi soup with efo tete, and bush meat away from President Obasanjo for these fourteen days of his fasting. They should serve him with only Akamu (hot pap), Tuwo (made of rice), and Ogboroko (stock fish) to break his fast each day. My additional recipe for his fasting and other Nigerians that would be taking the mantle of leadership in 2003 is what I call "A FREE RICO PIE". On a very serious note, Nigeria needs prayers and fasting in all Synagogues, Churches, Mosques, and all places of worship of individual believes, for God to open our inner eyes to show us whom to elect for leadership positions in 2003.

Very soon the campaign for the sharing of the public allocation by ‘prominent’ Nigerians would be in full gear. All those that have been hiding behind heavy masks would unveil their masks and come to the open as to be part of those that would possibly take us to the Promised Land. They would be out telling us tales as to what they intend to do for Nigerians, and the white elephant projects they are working on for the past three years they have been in the office and those that would claim to be helping the poor people since the beginning of life. Nigerians should not be fooled again. We know what they have been doing for Nigeria since we first knew them, and where Nigeria is today, by their deed we know them, from the President to the Councilor. While we are getting ready for the politicians, we need to remind ourselves of some salient facts about Nigerian leaders so as to have the reliable individuals at the helm of affairs beginning with the local council elections coming up this year, 2002.

Meanwhile, Nigerians should be congratulated for the unanimous Supreme Court judgment against the National Assembly’s extension of the Local Government Council members by one year. In other words, the seven-member Nigerian Supreme Court Justices unanimously, ruled in favor of the provisions of the Constitution to terminate the life of the current elected Local Government officials after three years as stipulated by the Constitution. The Nigerian Supreme Court ruling of Thursday March 28, 2002 that the National Assembly the National Assembly had no power to extend the tenure of local councils is bringing some hope for Nigerians all across the world. I now realize that we can at least, for now, count on the Judiciary arm of the government as the Nigerians last hope. I hope that the election would not be ‘given’ to unqualified candidates by the Nigerian Supreme Court, repeating history of what happened recently with the Florida Presidential votes. This is a landmark judgment and a victory for federation. We are awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on another important subject, the Resource Control, this Friday, April 5, 2002.

Nigerians in Diaspora should forget about their ‘Owambe’ life style and get down into the business of getting involved in the political actualization in Nigeria. If it needs for us to levy ourselves to get the section that deals with Nigerians abroad inability to vote and be voted for, let us do that. I know that Professor Aluko’s is seeking the legal interpretation of the 1999 Constitution regarding dual citizenship. I know Professor Aluko have quite a number of Nigerians, likes my good friend, the hardworking Alhaji Lateef Bisi Amolegbe, in DC, that could jump from the top of the Washington Monument just to make Nigeria better, and a host of other Nigerian Professionals that you could possibly work with him, at all cost.

Another lesson from the Supreme Court’s ruling is that Nigerians could at least be hopeful that their future is not going to be dashed away like tornado. Other Nigerians should take this as a lesson knowing how to seek for a redress instead of taking laws into their hands. I hope that with the new Inspector of Police who has declared total war on the armed robbers, would assist in this dispensation of seeking redress in Nigeria.

We should congratulate all the 36 States Governors for taking the initiative of getting the Supreme Court to do its job. At least for once, we should collectively commend their vision, and civilized approach to correct members of the National Assembly that love to chase shadows instead of the substance. We all know better the history of the Delegates to the Fourth Republic First National Assembly (FRFNA). Members of the FRFNA could take their legislation to the other areas that have tremendous impact on the lives of the people they are supposed to serve, to the common people and stop jostling to be above the law.

The State Governors should approach the verdict with some maturity and not with arrogance. The Governors cannot and should not dissolve the Local Governments until after the election. They remain in office until the inauguration of the newly elected Council officials. As a matter of fact the National Electoral Commission should handle the election through the State Independent Electoral Commission. I do not see the involvement of the State Governors in this exercise. They should allow the Independent body to do its job. They have other important issues to worry about. The Local Government elections should be conducted simultaneously across the country, instead of giving excuses that States are not funded, or for the improper set up of the State Independent Electoral Commission.

As we budge into the year 2003, the destined year for the Nigeria future, Nigerians should exploit on the Supreme Court unanimous ruling, to start thinking of a lot of things before 2003.

After the publication of my last piece on "the Politics of 419." there have been reactions from Nigerians to the extent of publishing names of those Nigerians that send out scam letters. That is the way to go. A website has been set up in collaboration with the Nigerian Government in United Kingdom, for the purpose of fighting the letter scammers. I have little faith in some of the sites set up in the United States and for individuals calling themselves 419 Coordinator. It looks suspicious to me. I need some serious education on the site and the coordinator. I should commend Dr. Joe Igietsime for coming very hard on the bad eggs among Nigerians. I hope others would emulate this so that criminals, among us, would have no place to hide any more. According to Dr. Igietsime on the 419, he stated:

"There is no basis to defend the Nigerian segment of 419 because 419 occurs everywhere. Because there are millions of people who don't care to cut their yards does not absolve me of the guilt of not cutting my yard when it is due. We have a responsibility. I am not saying we should be perfect people, but this embarrassing 419 activity should be arrested for good. Our strategy to keep publishing names of perpetrators is a step in the right direction. Other people may come up with other strategies, and collectively we will get somewhere. Take care.

That was a reaction to his earlier publication of some names that some Nigerians are not happy about. Here is his submission:

"The following people have been sending out 419 letters to Americans and Nigerians in the United States. The members of this e-group {[email protected]} must react by responding in the harshest form to these 419 perpetrators, and sending the names to the FBI or other law enforcement agencies. We must act on things like this to show that we are not just noise-makers who bark but cannot bite. It is the decent thing to do if we want other people to take us seriously. The following is what I have so far. Feel free to add your list and let's keep publishing them. Here we go:
  1. Dr. Frank Obaseki ([email protected])
  2. Dr. Paul Egobia
  3. Scott Ogun ([email protected])
  4. Dr. Chike Jack ([email protected])"

Good enough, Nigerian Government is beginning to evacuate Nigerian inmates abroad for Kuje prison in Abuja. Kuje prison is designed to accommodate Very Important Personality inmates. I totally endorse this arrangement for Nigerian inmates to serve their sentences in Nigeria prison. The Government should take further step, especially those that have tarnished Nigeria image abroad to clean the Abuja gutters, pick up trash at market places, cut grasses around the National Assembly and other public places, clean toilets among other things. That would possibly show Nigerians that Dollars are not found on top of tress or being pickled up on the streets. Those who make their dollars legitimately are very intelligent in the way they spend it when they come to Nigeria on a visit. While they serve their terms in Nigeria prison, they would have a piece of Nigerian breed Mosquito bites in prison.

As we speak, Tuesday April 2, 2002, I received an e-mail from one of my fans that received a letter from someone who called herself Mrs. Atinuke Ige, the wife of the slain Nigeria Attorney General, late Chief Bola Ige, claiming that her husband was given $21 million which she has to transfer to Adeyinka’s account for investment. She would travel out from Nigeria because she is been threatened, and seek asylum in UK or USA to claim this money. What the scammer needs is the fax number, telephone and cell phone number to transact this business. We surely know these people, let us join hands together, and flush them out. After we cleanse ourselves, we can start on our home breed politicians and the rest of them to give us the leadership that Nigeria deserves.

In addition to what Nigerians in Diaspora and other Nigerians at home would be doing to stop letter scammers, Nigerian voters should be reminded of their present situations and what to look for before making their final choice of who should manage the affairs of Nigeria from 2003 – 2007. Before we do that, Federal Government should be cautious of putting a blanket ban on troublemakers in the political process. Such ban should be fairly executed not witch-hunting for credible opponents that could move Nigeria forward. Nigerians in Diaspora could be the engines to educate our people when they go home on holidays. They should have at least 15 minutes audience with our people educating them of their fundamental rights. Talk to them at their Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Market Squares, Traditional Council meetings, Political Rallies, community meetings, and at every available opportunity.

The first step to take is to assess ourselves individually, or as a group to see if we are better off than the year 1999 when the current politicians were sworn in to uphold the Constitution in all its ramifications, and took the mantle of leadership in Nigeria. Are YOU, as an individual better off?

Allow us to think for a moment of how many life were lost during this period, either through religious conflict, ethnic clashes or violence, health related problems, social and mental agonies, or HUNGER in the land of plenty, Road accidents, Fire Disasters, flood, man-made errors, assassinations, armed robberies. Think of how you were affected by all or some of these events.

What about that young man who lived in your boy’s quarters one room that always come to you for pocket money prior to 1999 who now is in the House of Representatives in Abuja, by the grace of blind votes. In the year 2002, he is a Nigerian breed millionaire, with chains of properties in Abuja and across the country, his exotic cars, talk less of his chubby bank account abroad. You would be wondering how he made it so fast, while you are still struggling to complete the top part of your house where the young man used to live.

Remember your soul that you sold in 1999 election for money that you already finished spending. That decision of your then gave him that upper hand above you. You are still struggling to get water supply to your house, and begging NEPA to get you meters for your house with no success. Are you better off?

Think again about that mansion, very close to your thatched hut, where you have to go to the jungle to collect firewood to prepare your formula 0-1-0 meals. Think of walking on your ‘footron’ to pakata market to buy twelve pieces of meat for one-week 6-member family soup. Here you were negotiating with the butcher on the twelve-piece of meat, all of a sudden a well dressed lady just dashed out from FGN Peugeot 505, the door opened by the orderly, to request for the whole meat on the butcher’s table to cook for the guest coming to see her for dinner. Are you able to compete with them in the small market place where you would possibly settle for pieces of bones – ‘asamegun’, combination of meat and bones?

Think about the road that leads to your village. The road that gives you plenty of ‘red powder’, causing you some fever, on your way to see your auntie that lives some kilometers away from you. Whereas our soul ‘survival’, the Honorable, in the village with white lace would walk out from his car without any stain.

Think about the plight of your first child that you labored so hard to train and is now wallowing in Lagos for the past 4 years looking for a job. Remember how you made the money that you used to train him, from begging the Honorable, Oga, Oloye, Alhaji, Ogbuefu, etc. The money you received from where you were abandoned by the Government along Enugu-Onitsha Express, on the camp by Oji River after given your life to defend the country. With only Governor Achike Udenwa at least making yet to be fulfilled promise. What about the rest politicians?

What about your other children that you thought your first child would assist after getting a job after school? Your children have to carry their desks to school so that they can have something to sit on. Those with no desks would have to sit on the floor. What happened to the money allocated to the school equipments compared to how much each Distinguished and Honorable members of the National assembly received to furnish their houses a piece. Do you care to ask your Local Government Chairperson, or your representatives how they spent the money?

Think of the other children of the affluent individuals in your community that show up in the village once or twice in a year during festivities like Christmas, Easter, Sallah, or village festivities. These children are studying outside Nigeria where the cost of educating one child can train all your other three children. Think of the cost of flight tickets alone, accommodation, and overall cost of living, whereas the money to train them is coming out from Nigeria. You are still praying for a messiah to send help to you for your family. Whom are you voting for this time around?

Religion has been used to blind us. We have self-made millionaire Pastors in Nigeria, taking lessons from their Colonial Masters, keep your eyes on the Cross while the pastors get rich against the skeletal looking members of the congregation. The Pastor is looking fresh while the Church members are in abject poverty. The son of God should not go hungry, should not use outdated dresses, and should eat the best food available so that he could have the stamina to preach the Gospel. Whereas some church members have not been able to eat for days, no money to buy food. The Pastor says, fast and pray so that God would answer your prayers. I believe in fasting when you have something to eat, that prayer would be answered. The Pastors turn around to support the politicians who share the loot with them.

What about amputating the hand of the man for stealing a cow, and nothing happened to the Governor who spent up to N1 billion Naira for traveling. On the other hand, a State commissioner that sold the State property and kept the money for his personal use. Remember how of many of them have extra marital affairs with babies and never tried or found guilty so that we can stone him to death for such act. Thank God for sparing the life of Safiya who had a baby outside the wedlock just to make end meets. What happened to the man whom she had the baby with. Does the Federal Government have to wait till this day to declare the Sharia Law as unconstitutional? Instead for the National Assembly to take care of this situation immediately, all they were struggling for is who is going to come out on top list among the richest in Nigeria by the year 2002 ending. Are you sending them back again to continue their acts of deceit?

Sit back and think again of the current set of Honorable coming back to solicit for your support and vote, and support them for the wonderful job they have done for the community since they were elected. Just ask yourself again how much have you benefited from their job.

How many times have you enjoyed uninterrupted power supply, as to the number of times you have been to the farm to make the local candle made of remains from palm kernel, to light up your house, because you cannot afford to have power supply to your house.

Ask yourself how many times you have to trek (walk) with your buckets on your head searching for water to drink. When you do not have enough water for drinking and cooking, how would you have water to wash your clothes, to take bath and do other things? Here you are with tanks of water supply in your neighbors house raised above your house to wash their exotic cars, water the lawns, with very bright outside lights as a substitute for moon.

Imagine sending your children out at night collecting left over foods from the Alhaji house, from Colleges in your town for the family feeding and making them to solicit or beg for money for some household essentials, and all you say is Ranka shi dede, Ki emi ola ogun, God Bless you, Chief, Ogbuefu.

In a minute keep on your thinking cap the number of times you took your sick child to the hospital to receive medical attention and you were passed by the ‘lord baron’ of Nigerian politics who received services within 5 minutes. You might stay in the Hospital for hours without getting the Doctor to examine your dieing child. Remember also when you wanted to have that child and the Nurse could not attend to you because it was after closing hours, a medical facility that supposed to attend to patients twenty-four hours a day. You are dehydrating, your eyes are sinking, and you are ready to give birth to your baby. Here you are again with someone who is responsible for the State’s welfare does not have any agenda for the State. Here is someone that you voted for, to make all basic amenities available to his citizens with all promises to make those services available when he’s elected. The first point of order is to take care of himself and members of his immediate family. Are you ready to sell out again with your vote and conscience? Whereas those money could have been spent to equip the already existing Health Centers or Clinics, as the case may be, to benefit all citizens of that State, instead of erecting another structures, called Cottage Hospitals, to house chickens and goats in the villages.

Think of your husbands that have been working for the Government all his life and could not point out how much he has in the Bank for his future retirement. The family spends the money before being paid anyway. The family lives in debt since he is not getting paid three months late. These people come around and give out millions of Naira to the Community to vote for him. They could even afford to travel outside Nigeria at will for birthday parties, in their Owambe lifestyle. Is he spending his salary or the money that is meant for community projects? Alternatively, is it the campaign money that you donated to them? Are you still going to send your Councilors, Your Governors, members of the House of Assembly, the National Assembly, and even the President back for the next four years? Do you want to stop this daylight robbery, or keep suffering until you die and your children are left with no parents, or your children turning into illegal practices? 2003 is the Year to test Nigerians future, and how well our memory serves us.

Are you better off than where you were three years ago? The year 2003 is the year of destiny for Nigerians both at home and abroad. Majority of Nigerians in Diaspora today are over fourty years of age, a crop of wasted resources for Nigeria. Year 2003 would portray what type of species Nigerians are actually made up. We should all make sure that at this time around, we vote our conscience, we vote the right people to manage the affairs of the country from the Federal level to the local areas.

Nigerian is blessed both human and natural resources. We just do not know what God has done for Nigeria. Nigerians in Diaspora could act as catalysts to this dream of bringing Nigeria back to the glory one more time. This could be done through individuals, their groups, or global contributions, to the country especially for selecting the right individuals for the year 2003. We can educate our people between now and the time for election. Forget about African voting method as experienced in Zimbabwe in line with the Florida vote in the United States. Awareness for our people is necessary in this crusade against the heartless set of politicians in our midst. There was a slogan in those days of Akintola Awolowo’s political drama regarding of how people should vote: "Bi o ri owo mi, o rokan mi, Demo ni mo wa". Literarily interpreted that if you see my face you don’t know what is on my mind, I belong to Democratic Party. As tough as it was then, people still believed that they would vote their conscience. Today Nigerians should take their money and assess their ability to lead, and vote your conscience. We need people with conscience like the Benue State Speaker that just resigned after turning in 14 members of the State House of Assembly for mismanaging some State Assembly funds.

Who are our 2003 candidates for Nigeria?

Before we do that, I would like to congratulate President Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo for been honored with the World Peace Award. The International Federation for World Peace, Nigeria Chapter awarded President Obasanjo with the peace award for his contributions to the struggle for World Peace. More grease to President Obasanjo’s elbow, and if I may add, more powder to his face. With that he would be able to absorb the heat coming from the religious uprisings, ethnic clashes, waves of armed robbers, and chains of assassinations. When these are taking care of Nigeria would know peace and ordinary Nigerian citizens would give President Obasanjo the Award of Excellence.

My recipe for Nigeria’s survival beyond 2003 is A FREE RICO PIE

My first recipe for electing our new leaders is that everyone one of them must have AMBITION, which is the desire to lead the people. If you do not have one, you’ll end up at ground zero of your life. Anyone with an ambition will have a clear vision of a better future for his community. We need those that could articulate their ambition and use it effectively.

Nigeria needs individuals with FORESIGHT, those that can predict and anticipate the future with very strong focus.

Nigerians need individuals at all levels that could deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it would be, with good sense of REALISM. Most of the people we have at the helm of Nigerian affairs today are happy at the perpetual state of abject poverty level of most Nigerians. Whereas thy could afford to send loved ones to Jerusalem, Mecca, China, India and other parts of the world at the expense of tax payers.

One of the most ingredients I am adding to our search for a better future for Nigeria, to lead us out of our challenges are individuals with EMPATHY. Individuals who are sensitive to and aware of needs, feelings, and motivations of Nigerians. Individuals who realize that "it’s never a "one-man-show" as demonstrated by most of our incumbent. They should all realize the importance of Customer Service in their daily responsibilities

We definitely need leaders who are EMOTIONALLY MATURED, those that can control their emotion in the face of crises. In other words those that are calm, cool, and controlled in the face of problems, difficulties and adversity. Such is the quality of a visionary leader, who has a game plan that enable him/her to think and work through inevitable challenges which occasionally block the path toward success.

Nigerians need individuals with RESILIENCE who can bounce back from the inevitable setbacks, disappointments, and temporary failures in obtaining any worthwhile goal. We should realize that it’s okay to occasionally take a step backward, if two steps follow it forward.

Nigeria is in dire need of people of high INTEGRITY, who is honest, truthful, and straight, dealing with every person under all circumstances. Governor Audu, Kogi State is truthful enough to tell us that he has landed properties in both Britain and United States, and the value of his House in US worth $1.7 million US Dollars, regardless how he got the property. Remember another way of defrauding practice in Nigeria to declare non-existing assets anticipating to have it.

In choosing the next crop of leaders in Nigeria as we approach 2003, we need those that that have very convincing COURAGE. The ability to make decisions and act boldly in the face of setback and adversity, and assumes responsibility for those actions.

Nigerians should shop for OPTIMISTIC individuals. People who radiate the confidence that all difficulties can be overcome and all goals can be attained, shown in many ways.

We need individuals that recognize the POWER bestow on them by the Constitution should not be abused, and use such power effectively and positively to the peoples’ needs. They should realize and know how to effectively delegate duties and responsibilities. Not those that would like to be Commissioners for all their ministries, Speakers of the State House while at the same time is the State Governor.

Nigerians should be able to elect those with strong INDEPENDENCE, who know whom they are, what they believe in, and think for themselves, whose "Core Values" are unshakable.

Finally, we need leaders who have that quality of EXCELLENCE that can perform excellently in the business task with continuous improvement, realizing that incremental improvement in skills and efficiency could reap far greater reward than an occasional flash of brilliance.

Does Nigeria have these individuals that have these qualities. I would emphatically state that they are all over the world in all aspects of their profession. They need to come out and retire the deadwoods in the Nigerian public services. The year 2003 has been destined to determine if Nigeria would stand the test of time and remains as a nation, or go into pieces. The choice is definitely left to Nigerians at home and in Diaspora. Nigeria needs individuals with Ambition, Foresight, Realism, Empathy, Emotionally matured, Resilience, Integrity, Courage, Optimistic, Power, Independence, with Excellence that is A FREE RICO PIE to survive beyond 2003. With Prayers and fasting, Nigeria would survive.

Thank you.