Sunday, February 22, 2009

NY Post and the Chimpanzee , John Legend response

Making Obama appear to be a crazed Chimp worthy of shooting is not truly noteworthy from my part even though the NY Post tries to make his an unintended racism issue. What is noteworthy is the intelligence and sophistication with which John Legend responds to this challenge. By the way I am neither a fan of his music or knowledgeable about is character but as a result of this I have become a loyal believer that he is an excellent and eloquent soul. Please read and critique.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Dokita

In 2004 long before the now celebrated speech of President Obama at the DNC in Boston, I was with Dokita (as I call him) in the middle of one of our debate sessions where we take a subject completely apart, boiling it down to the raw essence. As is usual I took a disruptive thought and turned it into my platform, while he built a simple idea into a powerful iconic bridge ( memories are now vague). I do not know how but he raised the prospect of a man called Barack Obama who he had recently met and disagreed with but for whom he saw a great future. As is usual I came away with much more than I brought to our conversation. Dokita is Dr Kayode Fayemi and he had just come back from Sabbatical at NorthWestern University. In his usual unassuming way had opened up a world of possibilities that the rest of the world is now belatedly recognising. In fact in that year he wrote an article about Obama for one of the Nigerian dailies. I wish then his perspective and truly caught on and that is far more true now that it has ever been.

I have had the fortune of working with many people from many different backgrounds and with may different qualities but Dr Kayode Fayemi stands out as a truly cultured, sophisticated and intellectually astute person. As a social entrepreneur he took risks for transformation as he did with the Centre for Democracy and Development from inception through building its institutional capacity to the total transition from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. The higher level risks that he took against the Abacha regime are already a matter of public record whether with Radio Kudirat or his ‘diplomatic mission’. So when he decided to respond positively to the call of political office I initially thought it was one risk too far although I never told him. I worried about his somewhat shy and calm personality and I reasoned that he did not exhibit the common touch that often leads politicians to be all smiles but little substance. In fact I loved him as a ‘policy wonk’, I worried that the tricky nature of our politics would devour a man of integrity and he would suffer greater betrayal than he faced as a community organiser or as a social entrepreneur. He once again surprised me.

Dr Kayode Fayemi at 44 is the possibility that a truly nationalistic Nigerian prays for in the 21st century. A politician who is an independent intellectual, curious , considerate and committed. An eloquent global citizen whose world class capacity is sought across the major capitals in the world not just as a truly accomplished African mind but also as a serious thinker on the issues that affect all human beings. From the challenge of treating citizens with dignity to the focus of providing them with life opportunities, this is a man who has chosen to serve something greater than his appetites. At this time in the history of Nigeria, in this moment of our collective aspiration, in this period of unfulfilled promise Dr Kayode Fayemi stands as one of the few real transformational characters from the post independence generation. Whatever the decision of the Appeal Court in Ilorin on his application for recognition of his election as the Governor of Ekiti State, we must recognise who he is and want he stands for. Kayode Fayemi is an answer to the that which makes us constantly rebrand our country , he is the solution that we seek in the many presentations for Foreign investors, he is the response to the persistent power outage. Dr Kayode Fayemi is a Nigerian citizen at his best, genial to strangers, caring to dependents yet masterfully in the pursuit of excellence. Happy Birthday and Good luck Dokita.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Global Standards indeed

My apologies life has taken over completely from blogging but this is too much to ignore. The global crunch/recession/depression now shows that standards that the West has pushed for years especially during the Structural Adjustment Programme has always been a flag of convenience. These are policies that decimated African industries and Education reduced their societies to playing ground for Multinationals and their governments to beggars for International AID and FDI. In the same token that Human Rights were only universal standards until the War on Terror. The same way that democracy is only fundamental in Zimbabwe but not when conducting a coup against Aristide in Haiti or even recognition of HAMAS or more brazenly in Florida 2000. We now know that when the economies of the West are in danger free market also goes into the toilet and what is left is a mixture of protectionism and nationalisation. Wow! The adage that human beings have infinite capacity to self justify is far more true for Western Nations than anyone else. In a world where knowledge is diffused the trick of making meat disappear by chewing is now in everyones gift. Below is a BBC blog about the British emerging protectionism. I wonder what will happen if Nigerians applied the same principle to their only key export Oil and argued Nigerian jobs for Nigerians instead of seeking revenue derivation. Now that is a revolution that we would televise!

To Parahrase George W Bush; I had to give up principles of capitalism to save the capitalist system ( With no irony)

Ire O