Friday, August 27, 2010

You could be dying on the inside and nobody knows!

"Sometimes all you need is a friend, to just listen and hear your plight, or sometimes all you need is a pen, get your diary sit down and write. Although its hard to pretend that you are fine and everything is alright, it seems that men cant see the darkness inside as long as the outside bright."

have I turned a poet? No, its a reggae tune - by Assassin. How ironic that something so true, so cool can come from such tough guy. Well my love for reggae has grown over the years so much that I know all the militant names ragga artistes adopt are mere reflections of their alter ego - names like Ninja man, Malvo, Spanner, Capt. X, etc are just iconographic tags of a struggling mind. How hard they fight for a space on the Hot Hot Ragga scene.

I turned to music today to quench the sad sad feeling that has come over me lately (me heart a bleed). and Assassin did a good job to soothe my nerves today. His message is so deep, so I thought I should share. Just because most of us can not understand Ragga, I have typed the lyrics out so you can get the message.

They cant guess about your problem and your stress or happiness,
cos they don't know.
They cant even wonder, cant start to punder bout the problem that your under, cos they dont know.
tell you the truth - they wouldn't want know - cos only Jah knows....

No one knows your heart, No man can see your thoughts,
all men see is your outward appearance - your shoes and clothes,
so you could be dying on the inside and know body knows.

Sometimes all you need is a friend, to just listen and hear your plight,
sometimes all you need is a pen, get your diary sit down and write.
Although its hard to pretend that you are fine and everything is alright, it seems that men cant see the darkness inside as long as the outside bright.
From how your a shine your teeth, no one will know say your heart a weep, they wont know say your problems deep, say you no eat and your losing sleep.
But no worry yourself cos God can see,
and he will be your strength when you weak,
I say no worry cos the Shepard no go let nothing happen to him sheep.

- Chorus -
God knows your heart,
He sees your struggle he feels your pain,
and he will lift that struggle, he will heal your pain,
No matter how the storm a blow - whether hurricane,
know say the sun must shine again.

You know sometimes how it wicked and you just cant bear it,
Sometimes all you need is shoulder to lean on someone to share it.
if you know have nobody to talk to, no fear call Jah name he will hear it,
And remember say no matter how the obstacle big. Yes the father can clear it.

Remember say - faith like a mustard seed can move a mountain
alter your way for you,
And no fear - cos if you cant pray, you can always make somebody pray for you.
No feel say you are nothing and nobody no care for you,
but rest assured say the father is always there for you.

sometimes we are look for garden ina the sky, and it dey right before we eyes. Enough time we pray and get a reply, but we are gaze and make the answer pass we by, and nuff time a man feel say everything crisp because you no break down and your cheeks dem dry,
but hear what - no water dey run out a your eyes,
God knows when your heart a cry

- Chorus -

If you like ragga, you can down load it from Jungo - Assassin "God knows your heart"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

...and there was light.

I remember vividly as a toddler, sitting at the back of my Mums Puegot 404 on our way back from a weekend in the village. As we drove into my estate, I noticed how we were suddenly enveloped in darkness as a power failure from the local utility ensued. I realized it did not affect the headlamp of the car and as all inquiring minds, I asked my Dad why. His answer was short - "NEPA!" and everyone in the car broke out in laughter... I thought the joke was on me, I was too young to understand why they were laughing, but almost 3 decades on, recent events have reminded me to laugh. NEPA - What a joke!

The Power Holding company went on strike yesterday (25 Aug 2010) and called it off early this morning! I am sure a lot of Nigerian stand up comedians will have a field day on this one. So they eventually decided to formalize their 5 decade old prank? If an old man like me witnessed frequent power cuts as a toddler and after so many years the problem still persists, then we truly have a problem. The practice has only gotten worse, its a mixed grill as usual. The 'Haves' and 'Have Nots' - Some people have never experienced a power cut at all, I know of an area in Abuja that has 24 hours of steady power supply, yet there are other locations across the nation where you would be lucky to squeeze out 5 hours from the utility company. In Lagos, NEPA truck patrol the town looking for any "Owanbes" that are yet to 'settle'. When I fist moved to Abuja in 2000, I was so used to the every other day power cut in Lagos that I was afraid of losing my electrical equipments to a constant 24 hour service. Who says they don't know what they are doing? Nigerians have leant how to profiteer over every single issue. The lecturers have strangulated the educational institutions, and Government is playing dumb, while private schools smile to the banks every year.

Too many questions come to mind - What is the difference with not being on strike and yet no power? How difficult is this thing? Is it rocket science? Even if it is how are other dwarf African nations doing it? (Sorry, I hear Nigerians are Giant of Africa). If NEPA has been secretly striking for 50 years, shouldn't we round their bosses up and jail them?

As the vice president of my estate care taker committee, l lead an entourage to visit our local PHCN office to familiarize ourselves on their activities, etc. (the real reason was to know who calls the shots) I learned quite a lot in the short time we were there. I had always thought PHCN to be a crude backward company using ancient equipments Mongo Park would recognize, but i was shocked at their state of the art computer room, where they could switch off power for any street they liked. they call it load shedding. A typical process played out in our presence. A walkies-talkie holaed out some "Base Yanky Papa Oscar" bullshit! and then "Drop 2, 5, and 12 - My girlfriend Mama need light on Port Harcourt Street". I was shocked to learn that their bosses and girlfriends could determine whether you sleep in a pool of sweat or went to work with a well ironed shirt the next day. It was then I realized what Nigeria must do if she was to solve this power problem.

We have examples to follow, We solved a similar problem with Nitel and landlines... Competition. Sack all the top management and privatize PHCN. Address the distribution problem by first reverting to evenly phased allocation of houses. Then Lease the distributed network of lines to different companies to run (PHCN can not be a private monopoly).

But there are still issues to be dealt with. like retired police and soldiers took to robbery at the end of the war to make ends meet. retired NEPA staff are responsible for the rewiring that leads to congestion and overload and blown transformers across the country. When the officials take you offline, their former counterparts reinstate you. When the blue phase is down, the entire street unwittingly jump to the red phase, bug it down for a few hours and when it over loads and blows out, everyone jumps on the yellow phase, and the circle continues. Back in the days each house was on one phase (just like here in the west only 2 lines comes into your house). Encourage private distribution to the grid. Allow people who have solar, wind and alternate generation plants to add to the National grip. Okay enough of the dreams - I am aware that a group of those people who want us to continue in our suffering wont allow this. The so called cabal that control the importation and distribution of Generators. Who are these people? How do we know that they truly do not want us to succeed?

Brings me to the role of the press. In any nation that thrives, the press plays an important role of watch dog! If you open the pages of the tabloids, you can easily discern what the focus of the paper is on - the quality of the news material goes along way to form public opinion. The message must persuade, detect, amplify, thematize, and dramatize issues that are pertinent to the survival of that society. Our national dailies continue to focus on personalities rather than issues. The newspapers were full of IBB and Atiku related news instead of issues that affect the people directly. What will a real investigative expose on the power issue be like, not really about how much Government has put into it (we are tired of hearing about that), but reveal the faces of this so called cabal. Yes I am not naive, I know papers will not publish negative stories of their creditors. but Journalism has answer for that too - it is called syndication. Publish your work on other peoples papers, in other countries if need be. Technology has even exaburated the issue by blogs, emails, twit, and Social Networks etc where these information can be sold. That is the only way we can wrestle this thing out of their hands. The same thing has to be done for the transport industry - Nigeria has no flag ship in aviation, no railway... What a joke!

N.E.P.A. stands for Never Expect Power At-alltimes (though they masqueraded themselves as the National Electric Power Authority for a long time) and recently, it was aptly re-branded as P.H.C.N. - Please Hold Candle Now! What a joke.