Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is real?

Now it has been a little while . It is Lagos quite a demanding mistress, she wants you running around as if she is the only thing that matters in your life. She call and text at all hours demanding money for this, cash for that and attention for the next thing. Her expectations are far beyond her role and capacity even your wife is not remotely that demanding. Lagos is aggressive but full of adventure with ideas above her station . Yes it is Lagos officially the worst place to work according to ORC for Expats. So pray why the heck do they come ? They sit in the upper class section bitching about the country get whisked through the formalities at the airport, get guided through traffic in the face of millions looking for a way at of no way. How is it the Government in Britain is saying British jobs for British people and yet it is exporting its social misfits to lord it over here in Nigeria. This takes all kinds of forms. I was in the Gym on Ozumba drive after all the Bankers and power hustlers had left, something happened that brings to sharp focus this issue. Let me tell the story.

My gym instructor is a regular Nigerian brother on the hustle but kind of laid back with it. We had a session with loose weights and I was rocking Verve remix on the Ipod (as you do) and oblivious to the drama of the Indian woman who claimed she had called him and he had not responded ( the Instructor). She then proceeds to bawl him out without any restrain or respect. I did not notice initially but luckily another fellow steps to the plate to challenge her response. I got in on the act and this woman had obviously expected support in treating this young man like a sub-human. Not surprisingly the first man to step to the plate was a Returnee like me then everyone did the ritual disembowelment of different elements of this behaviour some going as far as racial and national stereotypes of different expatriates and how they treat Nigerians. I had to step to them as well because without them setting this standard of abusive behaviour with their domestic workers, drivers et al, no one will find it acceptable to come to Nigeria and do such.

For those of us who have had to go into the West to make fame and fortune very few of us were welcome in any way. No one gave us accommodation (rarely) , cars and schools for our children. I had to start from the bottom and build up. Been homeless, driven taxis, been a bouncer all after being a Barrister and practicised a little. On the other hand taxi drivers from South East london are met at the airport and whisked through any formalities and provided condos et al.

Now that stinks. Why will they not misbehave.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Emerging green shoots of Transformation

I can never forget where I was when the call of the Ekiti Appeal court judgement came in neither can I forget what I was doing when the verdict came in Ondo State. It says no less of either former Governors Agagu and Oni but says more of the evolutionary power of a nation that perseveres in pursuit of self actualisation. As I walked through the helpless cold of Holborn , onto the Strand onwards towards Euston my thoughts extended to what had become conventional wisdom over the last few years. The assumption that power went with the ruling party , that rigging and money was the only way to get victory, that the judiciary was so compromised that money and safety would lead to the support of the so called party of power. Somehow the judiciary which is perhaps the most conservative element of the Nigerian establishment would grant insurgent opposition candidates the opportunity in spite of time elapsed and the seeming capacity of the PDP to hold its power in the face of a diverse opposition base.

The judiciary in the Appeal court has given the nation a chance of a living constitution that can meet the aspirations and concern of Nigerians. Through its ruling it has given pause for thought in the cynical politics of impunity and disdain for the participation of the citizenry. Surprisingly it has granted the PDP a chance of legitimacy at the very least through the Presidents avowed commitment to Rule of Law . Perhaps quietly the diversity of political coat of arms sets the scene for idealistic people like Dr Fayemi, Mimiko, Mr Oshimole , Mr Fashola to redefine politics towards a new generation. The true test is what happens in Ekiti re-election whether the citizenry grasp the opportunity to view the future with a broad range of possibilities through a Fayemi or leave bravery to courts whilst voting patronage for safety.

The time is now for a stronger union based on variety of thought , the respect for capacity rather than genuflection to age. A time when our ideas should be central to our politics rather than just who the powerful forces are that you can unleash. I never bet against the Nigerian in all of us. The judiciary has shown that it is a wise choice I make.