Category Archives: nigeria

LET US LEGALISE CORRUPTION

Let Us Legalise Corruption

 

Much ado about corruption. Stopping it was almost the entire manifesto of our current president. It has a broad definition which is pretty much the opposite of integrity. In our country it means when a government official embezzles cash or makes decisions that favour them personally and disfavour the nation.

But is corruption really that bad tho? In my discussions with friends, acquaintances and random strangers I have discovered that some people believe corruption helps drive the economy. Some say it helps keep the money in circulation. We like to cite the prosperity of the United States of America as an example of why corruption isn’t that bad. Some people say hey fuck it, we’re corrupt, let’s own it. When a family member is in public office and they don’t enrich themselves they are seen as fools. When a family member is in office and they don’t use the opportunity to employ their family members they’re seen as evil. Even the comedian Basketmouth stated the best model of leadership to be that of “You chop, I chop.”

In this post, I am going to try to give reasons why corruption is bad for the economy. I am going to speak in layman terms too, because one, I’m not an economist by profession, two, I love telling stories and giving analogies and three, I look forward to a lot of outrage in my comments section. Okay, here we go.

As I mentioned in an older post, Nigerians have a warped view of money. The paper ‘Money’ as we know it is really a store of value; it is not valuable in itself. It has to be managed too, that is why the Central Bank can’t just decide to flood the country with naira notes. If they do, there will be inflation. If they don’t supply enough notes, there will also be inflation. There is already inflation. Many people are not aware that it costs us to mint said notes. Which is why it should be an offence to deface naira notes; and why it was distasteful the way we rejected coins, which last longer and are much more cost effective.

The world is global now, and countries interact with themselves like people these days. Ignorance can’t be afforded now because it costs us. Strong economies are built on their volume of trade and income streams. What determines the value of your currency is basically a question of “how useful is your money?” The richest countries in the world are those that provide the most value.

For example, the USA which we try so much to emulate, has so many income streams from so many different parts of the world. Their entertainment sector alone sees a lot of viewers and customers from foreign nations. While the ‘Black Panther’ movie had us making Wakanda signs and adorning native dresses, the producers made $1.4 billion globally from a budget of $200 million. This is just one example from one sector. Hell the website I’m using right now is an American creation. You’re boosting their economy right now just by reading this. The USA has many other products which are exported to our country for cash and other resources. That’s value.

Countries like Saudi Arabia provide value by having a massive store of oil reserves which they provide to other countries. India is making leaps in Medicine and industrialization. China is a country that has seemed to master the Industrialisation complex and is a technology world giant. They provide value by sending us pretty much all the electronics we use.

So the real question becomes what value does Nigeria provide to the outside world?

A knee jerk response would be “hey! crude oil” as even the government has complained that we are operating a mono economy. But that’s where the corruption comes in. Nigeria does not refine her own crude. So what we have now is this weird arrangement where crude oil is exported, refined, then re-imported to us for a fee, costing us employment opportunities, development of our industries and many other big words I’m too pissed to mention right now. As a kid, I read how crude oil is distilled in secondary school chemistry textbooks, but at some point in our history, it became less of a priority for us, I guess.

There are a lot of national advancements I heard of as a kid that seem like folk tales now. I heard Nigeria milled steel at some point in Ajaokuta, I heard $1 was equal to 1 naira in ancient times, I heard the Nigerian football team was once 5th in the FIFA rankings, I heard coal was once mined in Enugu, I heard of a rich culture and tradition, I heard we once used coins as legal tender and they were called kobo, I heard that fuel once sold for 5 naira to a litre, but I can barely remember what a 5 naira note looks like anyways. Nigeria is just 58 years old, but it all seems to have happened so long ago.

Now, we have developed a culture of consumerism to the point that we import what we can easily produce. One reason is we were too late to hop on the technology train. The second is corruption. Our best and brightest brains are exported to foreign countries where their talents are better appreciated, while we wallow in mediocrity. It is because of corruption that the best football players may never see the green of a national team jersey, that is if the funds for the jerseys have not been diverted to private pockets. It is still because of corruption that a Nigerian tailoring company may never be considered to manufacture said jerseys…

Our last Olympic football team was sponsored almost in its entirety by the generous Nigerian soccer legend, John Mikel Obi. Despite the Nigerian team arriving the country 2 hours to the start of their tournament, the nation went on to win bronze. One world cup tournament later, Mikel’s parents were kidnapped and held for ransom during the world’s premiere footballing tournament. Mikel was forced to keep a straight face and play like nothing was wrong while he was dying inside.

mikel-obi-speaks-on-resignation-1

In a corrupt system, the value of money gradually becomes useless. That is evident and we are the evidence. It becomes a game of who can cheat the other the most, and all products and services are watered down to their barest element and drained of quality. Transactions are carried out without trust, which means less reliance on trade, which means less transactions. We have heard many cases of corrupt individuals diverting money overseas, or even digging giant pits in their own homes to store money. This drives currency out of circulation and kills its value, because it’s not in use. It would be much better if it was reinvested in the country, but then the environment isn’t too safe for investment is it? due to, again, corruption. It has even reached a point where borrowed money cannot be accounted for, driving the nation further into debt.

I have no doubt that the Nigerian story will be one for the history books. It reads like a biblical tale of woe. Like a manual of 101 things to avoid when starting your nation. One of the many reminders of the cruelty of humanity. I do hope we get it right one day. Till then, I remain focused on survival and enlightenment.

 

 

PS. My name is OB KeengI’m a Creative Writer and Musician. This is where I share my weird thoughts with the world.

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MONEY IS KILLING NIGERIANS

I credit Henry David Thoreau for the critical structure of this essay

MONEY IS KILLING NIGERIANS

I do not think that I will be alone in saying that I am quite enamored by the concept of money. Whether it’s the printed pieces of paper that seem to dictate the daily lives of the people, or the bank account numbers that seemingly determine self-worth, it is a system of value that nobody really chooses but everyone agrees on.

A “poor” man is seen as a person who does not have money in “adequate” amounts; and this adequacy is defined by how he compares with his peers. In an attempt to garner more money the “poor” man must undertake a series of risky, monotonous or otherwise soul-crushing tasks; tasks which are rarely natural to the human condition in order to survive. Tasks that only result in more tasks, making him/her even more subservient to the circumstances that they had tried to escape in the process.

Ever since the discovery of oil, “urbanization” and subsequent westernization, Nigerians have developed a warped sense of money. Instead of money being a tool to develop and improve life, foster trade and innovation, instead it has become a goal to be attained; and because of this, money that is meant to simplify life has been made to compound it.

The “poor” man that grows his own food and makes his own shelter is now a villager, a relic of an old age and not worthy of any respect. If he cannot escape his circumstance he is seen as spiritually deficient. As he cannot put his experiences to paper he is deemed an illiterate. But the “rich” man is wise. The “rich” man who attains foreign appliances which he cannot produce nor maintain, the “rich” man who has lost all semblance of bodily fitness, who actively spends on products designed to destroy his body and soul.

Money has become a god in itself, and its ways are mysterious indeed. In its poetic beauty it is no respecter of persons. It may choose to bless the short or the tall, the book-smart or the street-smart, the fit or the unfit, the hardworking or the lazy. Money can bless a generation and curse another within the same family. It can strengthen a tribe or it can destroy it. It can motivate a nation or it can demoralize it.

Pray tell, the use of acquiring a multi-million naira vehicle, if there are no roads for it to ply? It would seem that the nation has imported its stock of appliances in excess that there is not enough electricity generated to utilize them… We are an island of consumers. There is little incentive to produce anything of value; even the humble toothpick is imported from overseas, as well as the noble straw. I still find it hard to place where the lack of support for local business stems from. Is it out of hatred for our fellow man? Or the fear that he might rise above us? Could it stem from a lack of trust in his abilities or his intentions? We seem to crave foreign intervention for issues we could handle perfectly ourselves. We seek to “escape” to foreign lands with less natural resources and harsher climates than our own for some semblance of sanity. We go where we are not needed nor wanted to find what we destroyed.

We rejected coins because notes were easier to handle (which is the most logical conclusion from that debacle). When the people don’t like something, they don’t like something. We chose inflation instead. And yet the notes we clung on to we crumple and deface on a daily basis. Where a coin could have lasted a decade, a note can only last a year.

I find it ironic that the learned politician, who fearfully stashes away large sums of money in his sewage pit, cutting it off from circulation and ventilation, thereby driving down its value both literally and economically, is more respected than the internet fraudster; the G man who through ingenuity and skill, plays on the greed of his victims and injects foreign currency into the economy.

Our priorities are long lost.

But why do I write all this? Let it be known, humble reader, that this is no call to pacifism; for there is nothing more dangerous to the human condition. After all, this is the realm of power, and the violent take it by force and whatnot. But if this is our true nature and this is how things are meant to be… why then do the people complain. I do tire of the incessant complaining. The “poor” man complains vehemently about his condition as does the “rich” man. If there is one thing that will unify the nation it is lamentation and apportioning blame to anyone other than ourselves. Gathered around a newspaper stand the herd argue bitterly over the many transgressions of the shepherd, blaming him for all their ills. At political gatherings the shepherd berates the herd for not toiling hard enough in the sun, as he fears for his security and seeks protection with the wolves.

Best not to further dampen your spirits by entertaining fantasies of what could have been. Best to adapt and overcome. Celebrate the scavenger and learn his ways. Give us Barabbas and keep your Messiahs. We refuse to yield.

 

PS. My name is OB KeengI’m a Creative Writer and Musician. This is where I share my weird thoughts with the world.

THE MESSIAH COMPLEX

If you are new to the drama and glamour that is the Nigerian Election just wait till 2019. Oh boy! are you in for a treat. The campaign jingles will be catchy and memorable, The Promises to serve will be grandiose and verbose, People will get arrested, others freed, the Media and Social Media houses will experience a content frenzy. The excitement of the FIFA World cup pales in comparison to the quest for leadership in this Nation. And yet, after the high that the process gives, all we are left with is the crushing disappointment of reality. This is due in part to what I call…

 

THE MESSIAH COMPLEX

 

For some time now the Nigerian people have been fond of searching for “The One”. The Political Saviour who will arrive and completely change the country’s fortunes overnight. The Religious sensibilities of the people will reach a peak every four years. It would seem that every Electoral candidate comes with the promise of performing miracles.

Goodluck-Jonathan

 

I had no shoes” said President Goodluck Jonathan in the battle for 2011. It was a tale of Legend, a young boy whose lack of footwear could not hold him back from pursuing an education. We were intrigued to learn his secret. Four years of the most gruesome allegations of misappropriation later, a new warrior unsheathed his blade…

 

Muhammadu-Buhari-speech

 

“I am going to kill corruption” said President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. We jumped at the opportunity. Finally, a man who killed vices with his bare hands. The change we needed became the change we never expected. The youths were reported to the colonial masters. “They want everything free”. It was an unkind critique of the human condition.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

 

I eagerly anticipate the Miracles that will the claimed by the next set of aspirants, where every campaign banner will be photoshopped to the last hair, with quotes that illustrate a heaven within the reach of the people. If we have learnt one thing from our 58 years of independence, it is that the old ways do not work. Why then, would we continue to use them?

It would seem that the nation is aging in reverse. Personally, I would expect a leader to be the best representative of the people. If I had wanted someone to represent me, I would look for the strongest, the most intelligent, the most well spoken. A leader to me, is not a miracle worker, but one that inspires hope and gives a sense of direction. It is why we Africans idolize the Nelson Mandelas and Martin Luther Kings.

But maybe that’s just me. There is no escaping the conundrum. One must lead for others to follow, otherwise we all ply the roads with no direction. Would you rather drive your car into a ditch knowingly or unknowingly? My major gripe with the Nigerian people is that in the wake of religious and ethic disunity,
we have been so busy searching for answers that we forgot to ask questions. The only solution is inquiry. This time around,

 

ASK QUESTIONS

 

Ask for debates, Ask for town hall meetings, Ask for manifestos. Your candidate, who is he? Who is she? Where are they from? What have they done? What do they wish to do? What qualifies them for public service? How can they help the nation?

Ask and ask again, otherwise your voters card is just a tool for your slavery. For another four years at least.

 

PS. My name is OB KeengI’m a Creative Writer and Musician. This is where I share my weird thoughts with the world.

ORIJIN STORIES

Sometimes I feel like the origin stories of my favorite actors and musicians are made up fairy tales. In fact, sometimes I feel like Wikipedia profiles are absolute crap. I’ll explain.

Take someone like D’Banj for instance– African Music Megastar, Cultural Icon, Gifted Entertainer and World Class Fela Impersonator.

dbanj

Now, according to his internet biography, D’Banj once worked as a security guard in the UK before he became a musician.

Assuming this were to be true, could you just imagine the mannerisms and hilarisms of D’Banj being a security guard? Exactly what kind of organization would hire such a skinny fellow to stand guard at the gate?  Do security uniforms come in sleeveless shirts and bootcut trouser varieties?

Pulse-D-banj-as-Fela

…and how come not a single customer of said institution has ever stepped forward to testify to the fact that D’banj once welcomed them in through the doors. It would seem like a pretty memorable event to have D’Banj usher you into the building..

Customer enters

Security man: “Oshe!! Welcome-to-Customer-Care-Services-UK-Limited-PLC-Im-D’Banj… or-Ski-Banj-like-my-Jamaican-friends-call-me-and-BEFORE-you-enter-the-building-please-permit-me-to-inspect-that-BIG-BIG-BIG-BOOTY”

Customer: ‘Can I go in with my bag?’

Security man: “FIILE!! Don’t touch it. Leave it! We will take-care-of-it for you.”

Customer: ‘Will it be safe?’

Security man: “No long tin. No long tin.”

Customer: ‘Can you direct me to the receptionist’s desk?’

Security man: “Just move that booty to the left of the corridor and you will meet one mamalette with a green blouse. Just ask her “WHY ME OH!” She will direct you to a babylette on the second floor. She will tell you the koko.”

You know what? On second thought—I think he would make an excellent security guard.

Now, DON JAZZY’s origin story is totally unbelievable, not to mention unacceptable.

Don-Jazzy

The story is that he used to sell akara when he was a toddler, but I don’t see how that can be true… he would be giving away akara for free like it was water—

–I mean have you seen this guy’s twitter account? The guy is too generous. He practically gives away a new car every week.

The only way I could really see Don Jazzy as an akara seller was if a customer vexed the guy and got him angry for some reason. Like imagine if a  customer tried to steal some akara from him and he caught them…

Customer: “Is it because of one akara I tried to take from you that you’re frowning like this? This small akara?”

Akara seller: ‘Egbon Customer, If you want the akara, come and take it.’
don jazzy fallout

Are there any origin stories of your favorite celebrities that you think are absolute balderdash? Feel free to comment below…

 

PS. My name is OB KeengI’m a Creative Writer and Musician. This is where I share my weird thoughts with the world.