Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jack of All Trade - Master of Non!

While several of my friends knew what their calling way back when we were toddlers - I am yet to find out where I belong. I have always thought this was due to the fact that I am multi talented. But my friend Amalaye Oyakes comments about me on Facebook got me thinking...

By the way, Amalaye settled for exploring the celestial bodies ever since we left secondary school. So when I heard he was one of the big boys at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Huston, I wasnt too surprised. But, why am I so confused? Whats my calling? Why haven't I settled down yet and focused on one career path? Am I a Jack of all trade... and master...? This comment made we think about my diverse interest, and how I came to be where I am.

  • My first love is music - I am a prolific entertainer - I once lead a brass band in my secondary school. I even went as far as playing on the same stage with world renowned Dizzy Gilespie (twice at the Port Harcourt Jazz festivals. Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Eddie Okonta, Gerald Opino, etc. I was given a scholarship to study music by the Nigerian Navy, but my father would have nothing of it. The only thing that kept me away from being a musician was education. I play (well I think I still can) all brass music instruments, from the Beagle, Trumpet, Trombone, to the almighty Tuba. I also play the guitar, and most wind instruments like the Clarinet. I have written several songs, but havent mustered the courage to enter a studio... yet.
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  •  I have always been an artist. I recall attempting my first drawing at five after watching my Dad draw a human head - I guess its in the blood, I picked up a pencil and tried to do just what I saw and the rest as the say is history. I exhibited my first art piece at the tender age of 15 at the United Nations sponsored art exhibition in New York.
  •  Being a science student in secondary school, I applied for Electrical Engineering & Architecture when I left secondary school. I got an offer to study Electrical Engineering at the Federal University of Technology Owerri FUTO. But that was not to be, cos my family thought I could do better to study art and be my own boss - I wish I didn't listen. I went on to study Graphic Arts at University of Nigeria. I recall my name was on the notice board when I resumed - my head of department wanted to meet this "Mad man" - I must have been mad to enroll for Fine & Applied Arts with Physics, Mathematics, English & Arts. I got an A in all with Arts been the lowest score. I guess I must have made an impression as Prof. Chike Aniako, Prof. Obiora Udechukwu and Prof. Ola Oloidi would become life time mentors.
  • Computer Graphics was a budding career path by the time I left University. In advert agencies of the time, studio heads had to depend on the skills of their "glorified" secretaries to bring their art creations into the digital world. As you may have imagined, this practice did not produce the finest results. With my love for computers, an inquisitive mind and a wealth of creative ability, I thrived in Ad Agency work. After a stink at three advert agencies - Dawn Functions, New Generation & Media Plus International, I realized that I felt like I was being used, while the products I churned out (calendars, Annual reports, Desk Diaries, Product advert, etc) were sold for millions, I got stipends. So I wrote a private proposal to Banks who were the major clients in the industry and voila, Afri Bank (now Main Street Bank) & NAL Merchant Bank Plc. (now Sterling Bank) took the bait. That's how I went to work as the in house Graphic Artist for NAL Merchant Bank.
  • One little known secret is that Graphic Artist helped make the internet what it is today. After Sir Tim Bernes Lee created the hyper-text protocol in 1993 (the http:// you find before the www web url) that changed the aparnet (as it used to be known) to what we now call the internet, Graphic artist were the first group of professionals to apply their visual creations... I consider myself one of Nigeria pioneers having built my first website in 1994.I also designed NALs website in the early 1990s when very few Nigerians knew what the internet was.
  • As the internet grew in complexity, I grew with it. My simple HTML pages designed with WYSIWYG applications gave way to more mature web programming languages like, SharePoint, etc. With several web development and other professional certifications under my belt, I gracefully transited to being called a web developer. Even went on to design the nations Central Bank of Nigeria internet, intranet and extranet websites.
  • As you can imagine, web development is not a core function for banking - so the promotions were not coming as fast, and after 10 years of creating the web communications office and administering an army of content managers, one think stuck out like a sore thumb. "But... you are an artist" was becoming a derogatory statement I couldn't bear anymore. and so even-though I really wanted to study Human Computer Interaction HCI to prepare myself to join the now thriving Nollywood movie industry, I was forced to study Information Systems in Manchester University, United Kingdom.
  • On my return from studies, along with my Project Management PM skills and certification, I jumped into the deep end of project management pool. The PM skills was to see me working on the banks Cashless Nigeria initiative. I had reinvented myself once more.
So while I am sitting here thinking I have derailed a million times already - Amalayes comments clearly shows that my electronics and inventing talents has taken a back seat. If the climate was right, I should be an industrialist and inventor.Its always reassuring to hear your friends describe you in ways you never imagined. I recalled Amalaye near fatal electrocution at my house in the late 1980's when he tried to test my Door Zapper! a device I put in place to detar buglars who had hit my room a few weeks prior to his visit. His recent visit to Nigeria last month may have well Zapped me back to life - I should make plans to attend the exhibition, perhaps, this time, I may have finally settled down cos a rolling stone gathers no moss.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Presidents OK should stand for something!

Two days ago, the President of the federal republic asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to stay action on the proposed restructuring of the nations currency - the Naira. While his action may have put to rest, the widespread uproar in the polity fueled by what I can only describe as MIS informed "Ojuolegba" economist. Though I'm not a subject matter expert, I have listened to erudite economist on the same topic. Much so that the Presidents actions angered me... For a knew this policy was aimed at more gain than pain.

Aigboguns article "The Presidents OK should stand for something" caught my eyes in BusinessDay of the 21st Sept. Read on....

This is a very sad day for Nigeria. " President Goodluck Jonathan has collectively made every Nigerian look small by his capitulation. By withdrawing his approval to the Central Bank to introduce the N5000 notes, the president set a very dangerous precedent, regardless of the argument for or against the policy. And by this his singular act, he has unwittingly reduced the office he swore to protect and given the world cause to doubt if they can do business with his government.  

It is not for nothing that the state governors insist on using a red ink pen in their official communication. And it is also not for nothing that the president uses green to write. It is because of their exalted offices. It is because it is expected that the president's approval will stand for something.

Presidents must at all times listen to their people but a leader must also be able to make up his mind and be ready to defend his position. That is the covenant he has with those he has to lead. It will be unthinkable that the president's U-turn should meet with the approval of serious Nigerians.  

What should the world now think of us? That our president cannot sign a bilateral agreement with other leaders of the world and hope to keep the bargain? Who on earth will take Nigeria serious if this were to be the case?  

At the time of their choosing, the people will always have their say, and by the constitution' also have their way at least once every four years. Presumably, this president consults before coming to a decision, and one Just hope that he did just that before consenting to the apex bank's recommendation to proceed with the N5000 note.  

After this, the people can chose to have their say. And the president should not have to play to gallery all the time, especially because economic policies do not always have to be based on popular opinion. And it is why Spain, Greece and even the United Kingdom are all pursuing austerity policies today, to the chagrin of their people.  

This is so because governments and those privileged to lead them do not just have to think about what the people will say today. They must focus more on their place in history because what is public good can sometimes appear blurred in the midst of an unorganized debate. It is in this light that I held a different view on the petroleum subsidy withdrawal debate. Which is that any subsidy on consumption rather than production, any subsidy which exports jobs elsewhere is bad, no matter what it is called by.

It is also for this reason that I took exception to the opposition to the decision by President Obasanjo and Okonjo Iweala to invest $12bn or so in the landmark deal to end Nigeria's excruciating foreign debt. It is for this same reason in the early nineties when I was secretary of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, I sought to get my colleagues to dialogue with leaders of the private sector who were at the time canvassing a government policy permitting entry or participation of the private sector in Nigeria's telecommunications sector. Today editors who virulently opposed that policy are carrying one or two and in some cases three phones in their pockets.  

It is for this reason that I respect my mentor and bene¬factor Professor Pat Utomi who in the heat of that debate had maintained that if the only way to get the private sector in meant allowing Abacha to allocate all the GSM licenses to his family he will vote for it, knowing that as he rightly said, a time will come when Abacha's children or grandchildren will be forced to sell some or all the licenses to other Nigerian investors. It is also for this reason that I yet cannot find common ground with my friend Joe Ajaero who worked with me many years ago at the Vanguard but is now eading the electricity workers union to oppose the privatization of the moribund state ppwer company, PHCN.  

In Nigeria of 160 million people, everyone is a Central Bank Governor and every one seeks to have a view on government policy, regardless of how uninformed he or she might be. The road transport workers union leaders weighed in to be heard on the N5000 note issue. Even the okada riders also wanted to be heard. Unfortunately, many who should know, sought to side track the truth while the debate lasted just to be seen to oppose the policy simply wanted to be heard or because they have become, members of the opposition. Or perhaps as was the case of the legislators, it had to do with Sanusi who had the courage to say they did not have to bleed the national treasury dry by insatiable quest for higher pay in a nation where millions wallow in abject poverty.  

In all of the debate, one thing is clear. There is no respected body of opinion to suggest the view that the introduction of N5000 notes will bring' about the doom some said it was capable of causing. I am led by common sense, which teaches me that it is more cost effective to print one N5000 note instead of printing five NIOOO notes, as is the case today. It will also be cheaper to transport, store and use one N5000 instead of five N1000 notes. And what is more, I do not have to use or carry a N5000 note if it does not serve my purpose.  

Central banks around the world will not get into a debate of what currency notes to issue. They just go on to print it and announce its introduction when it is ready. Sanusi should have done exactly this and it is a pity he did not. After this, one must hope that we all accept that good leaders and those that Nigerians need, are not leaders who just pander to public opinion but those who are capable of reaching out with the clarity of their vision and the power of their thought to that future which the people may not yet see today' .    

Aigbogun is Publisher of BusinessDay and it is his second ever opinion piece submitted to a newspaper since entering journalism in 1982.   That our president cannot sign a bilateral agreement with other leaders of the world and hope to keep the bargain? Who on earth will take Nigeria serious if this were to be the case?  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to Cold Cast a plastic Part in Your Kitchen

Part 1 – Making the Wax Mold

Have you every cried over throwing away a functional device or toy just because you lost or broke one small plastic part? 

I recently visited my mechanic to find out what was wrong with my AC, and in the process, they broke one of the plastic slide for the air vent. The knob is  a one off part, not something one can order a replacement part for – there are only two possible ways to find another – 1) Visit the local junk yard and hope to God that you will find a matching part from an accidented vehicle.  2) Make one. Yes make another one in my kitchen.
I know any wise guy would have chosen the easy way out, but trust me, I rather stay indoors and engage myself in a small DIY project than to venture out doors – with planes falling out of the skies, and Boko Haram incessant bombings, I have made the tough choice of making it myself. I took the one weekend out to make a replacement part for the AC vent and the account below is how I went about it.
What do you need for this project?
  • Candles
  • Paper Box
  • Sticky Tape
  • Large syringe
  • Empty tin can
  • Epoxy

  • Depending on size of the item to be replaced, find an appropriate box that will hold the mold
  • Make sure the box is big enough to hold the item and still leave enough space on the edge. The space will ensure that the wax does not break off. The rule of thumb is making sure that the item will sit in about 50% of the space.
  • Decide the part of to cast. From experience, it is better to cast in two parts – top and bottom, is a way that allows you to remove both molds without breaking the molds as such. It is often easy to make this choice by looking at the lines on the original piece to be cast – most plastic objects bear the tell tail sign of how they were cast – often in two parts. – we will call that line the “Cast Line”.
  • Cut up the candles and put it in the tin can and set the can on low heat on the cooker.
  • The following process might be very messy, so make sure you are wearing gloves and mask off the working area to prevent greasy stains.

  • After the wax melts… pour the wax into the box and allow it to cool off.  From experience, I noticed that the very first time I poured wax into a box, the wax leaked out (of course, it is liquid). I found it quite handy to tape the entire corners of the box with cello tape (sticky tape) to prevent any leakages. 

  • Wait until it is cool enough to leave your finger prints on. Not too hot, not too cold. After a few experiments you will know when the time is right. 
  • With a steady hand push the part into the molten wax to get the first mold. Don’t be tempted to pull it out or jiggle it. Just let it sit deep, allow the wax to rise above the Cast Line where you would like the second mold to start from.
Post picture of the two replicas sitting in the molten wax
  • Wait for the wax to solidify – To speed things up, I placed the mold in the freezer, and then the fridge, but it always resulted in cracks, as the wax cooled too fast. It is best to allow the mold to cool at room temperature.
  • With the original piece still in place and using a sharp blade, carve out the Cast line – make the surface of the mold flat. Enough angle to ensure that the 1st and second molds will meet on a some worth flat surface. Drill out holes to ensure that there will be no air pockets when both molds meet.

  • Set the first mold aside and prepare the box for 2nd mold – follow steps 1 – 4 above.
  • When the second mold has reached the right temperature, slowly lower mold 1 into the second mold, press hard until wax is dripping out of the drilled holes in mold 1

  • Leave it to harden overnight. Don’t be afraid that they will bind together, Wax is actually has its own oils, as long as two drops are not the same temperature, chances are that they will come apart with a minimal effort.
  • Make sure to wait for the wax in the middle of the mold to set before continuing this procedure
  • Make guide marks across the two sides of the mold – this will help you align the two parts properly. From experience, I put a scratch mark on all sides of the mold. Magic marker lines will eventually rub off so avoid them, unless you have already secured a masking tape.
  • Pry the two parts apart, make sure you are gentle and avoid breaking the mold
  • Slowly bring out the original part from the two molds. If the mold breaks, it is just a temporary setback, just cutup the wax and smelt it down again. From experience, some waxy residue remain on the original part after each attempt. Washing it off or cleaning it off did not work – The best way to get rid of the extra wax was dipping the part in Hot water (you risk melting the part if you dip it into Very hot water).
  • Examine the two molds. You should notice every small detail; even part numbers will show up clearly in a good mold.
  • If you successfully get to this part without any problems, Shout Hurray! – you are half way there.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nine ways to for Nigeria - Adaeze Adophy

I read with relish and utter satisfaction an article written by my long time friend Ada Adophy. Without doubt, it was a nice read, but even better was the fact that it was Great news from a great lady who is dying for change in Nigeria. In the midst of hopelessness in every area of our Nationhood, while many have given up all hope and sold their conscience, there are still a few fires burning - gleamers of hope that one day, soon, Nigeria will take her rightful place in the league of nations. Since we can't all die nine times, perhaps we could well die twice and be born again. below are Adophys nine ways to die for Nigeria. -------------------------------------- I have been pondering on the question ‘Who is willing to die for Nigeria?’ since it was posed as a solution to getting Nigeria back on track in a recent discussion. Like the lady summed it up, “unless someone is ready to die for this country, nothing will change”. My initial reaction was to raise the usual arguments that ask “Why who? Why not you?” but somehow a different scenario flashed in my head that got me thinking. So moving away from the obvious argument why should we expect someone or a group of people to exclusively sacrifice to get Nigeria moving forward. My thoughts took on the path to question, must dying for Nigeria be in the physical lifeless death of the body? In my opinion, I think not! We have lost too many lives in this nation to demand or expect that unless ‘someone dies’ for Nigeria we cannot move forward. But I agree that unless we are willing to die for Nigeria, lives will continue to be demanded and wasted.   As much as we are want not to explore the concept of death or dying, events around us are daily being punctuated by death, evidence of death, news of death and rumours of death. Every day, Nigerians continue to give up their lives in diverse violent manners highlighting the collapse and decay in our Nation. With the countless heart wrenching pointless deaths being recorded every day, I found myself exploring the concept “dying for Nigeria” as a solution.   History the world over is filled with accounts and legends of men and women who ‘laid down’ their lives for their country. Not all of them died in the physical sense of the word but it is important to note that they all died in some form or the other; some died to self or died to sacrifice while others died in dedication of themselves, their resources and time for their country etc. So instead of looking from the limiting view (physical death) I began to explore the ways we can choose to die and commit to doing so willingly.   DIE... To Self Dying to self is one sure way to commit to dying effectively. What this means is putting the needs of Nigeria before our own personal gains. Always looking at the bigger picture and asking how our decisions, actions etc will affect the total wellbeing of the Nation. In carrying out our duties or going about our daily lives, we must put away the self centred attitude of thinking how this or that will affect us or whether it will pay us. When we learn not to consult our own ease, comfort, advantage or interest for the greater good of Nigeria, then are we ready to move this Nation forward.   DIE... An Example Set yourself an example of the change you want to see. Remember, you don’t need a title to lead or become a leader. Leadership is the ability to accept responsibility to bring about a desired change or result. Lead and be seen to exemplify by your actions the way things should be done or the proper way to act. Become accountable by your actions, decisions and attitude. Die an example at work, on the road, in your interaction with others. Die an example for a better Nigeria.   DIE... To Serve How can you effectively serve Nigeria? What sector of the economy can you dedicate yourself in good service? Teach and organise workshops to help improve our diverse sectors   Join or set up a targeted pressure/ interest group to monitor/observe within any sector.   DIE... In Accountability There is a need to imbibe the mindset of accountability. We must determine to do things at the right time and in the right ways. In our various areas, we must showcase and expect from ourselves the character to be found accountable. Accountability is not a negative quality. An accountable individual is a person of sterling quality, a trustworthy individual. It is more beneficial to die in accountability than to pass on or conceal a fault.   DIE... In Obedience We are a nation governed by rules and regulations. We must die in obedience upholding our constitution. When we don’t obey the basic laws and rules within our society, we create a chaotic environment for ourselves. Obey traffic rules. Queues are for order; they help get things done quickly. Quit the ‘do you know who I am’ attitude, whoever you are doesn’t exempt you from obedience. Do you demand obedience and respect from others? Then challenge yourself in obedience and respect for your country. Die in obedience to the rule of law.      DIE... To Sacrifice Where can you help? Who can you help? Can you identify a need you can sacrifice to meet outside of yourself? Can you help a family send a child to school? Or feed for a month? How about putting the cost of yet another leisure trip towards empowering someone else?   Instead of buying that designer item in what ways can you put the money towards making a difference to someone’s life? Who can your resources help?   DIE... To Solution What needs to be done? What problems can you solve? Where can you lend your expertise? Do you know someone who can be a solution and needs a door you can open? Do you have the resources to help bring about a solution or solutions? Become known as an effective solution for change.   DIE... Vocal Dying vocal calls on us to speak up! To use our voices and make them heard. Technology has armed us with effective tools of communication. What is the point of a “Blackberry” broadcast coming a day later than it should have gone viral? Why do we keep quiet when we see things going wrong only to cry and moan when we experience the devastating effect of turning a blind eye? What difference it will make if people who see evil learn to speak up against it. Speak up! Send out a broadcast, tweet, tell someone, don’t keep quiet it can come back to bite you in the face. Die vocal based on truth!   DIE... Efficient We must begin to inculcate the spirit of excellence in whatever we do. In our places of work as we carry out our duties, we should strive to die in the place of efficiency. How can you improve your influence areas? In what better ways can you work? Stop cutting corners; it takes away our right to die willingly. Use the right tools; don’t compromise on quality, keep to approved standards. Apply all checks; nothing should be left to chance. Inefficiency is a destructive attitude that erodes the life line of our Nation.     When we choose to die to self, We take on the power to live against Corruption   When we choose to die an example, We take on the power to live with Dignity   When we choose to die to serve, We take on the power to live in Excellence   When we choose to die in accountability We take on the power to live for Posterity   When we choose to die in obedience, We take on the power to live for Greatness   When we choose to die to sacrifice, We take on the power to live against Greed   When we choose to die to solution, We take on the power to live in Prosperity   When we choose to die vocal, We take on the power to live against Oppression   When we choose to die efficient, We take on the power to live in Progress.   We are at a crucial stage in our nation where “dying to save Nigeria” should be the norm, embraced with understanding and commitment, not a concept to be feared, viewed with contempt or treated with cynicism.   When we demand of ourselves to die willingly, We take on our powers to live as citizens of a great Nation.     In Memory of Adobi Thelma Mojekwu (46), Ijeoma Onyiuke (39) and the countless lives needlessly lost as our Nation groans for our manifestation!   Rest In Peace... your memories hold us accountable. SPICY 4Change June 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Luci! Stoned in Port Harcourt!!

I was sad to hear the sad news (or is it stale already) that Luciano was stoned in Port Harcourt. I had to revert to the Oracle - "Holy Google" to point me in the right direction and voila - it was true...  Jamaican Reggae Star- Luciano, Stoned in Port Harcourt

Before I start ranting, let me establish that I am a serious lover of reggae music. I have followed it from the 70's... during the Ska days with early Bands like Justin Hughs & The Domino, The Wailing Wailers, Mighty Diamonds, The Pioneers, Toots & The Maytals, etc. Even when early exponents pushed the envelope and wents solo - Eric Donaldson, Bob Marley, Eddy Grant, Jimmy Cliff, etc. So when my mates were "break dancing" and "electric shocking", I was listening to artiste like Denis Brown, Gregory Issac, Don Carlos, Lovingdeer, Tiger, Tippa, UB40, Third World, Yellow Man, et el... and as reggae music evolved from "drum and Bass" to Ragga, and Lovers rock, I was there. My life was shaped and characterized by these small but mighty bands. By the 1980s ragga had caught on and I was sold. In 1988 after a short spell in the UK, I threw my comb away and turned Natty! I kept my dreadlocks until 1994 when I finally succumbed to societal pressure and cut it.

All along, mot people around me could not understand why I loved this flavor of music - largely because they could not understand a word of what was been said. I lost a lot of girl friends who could not get rid of the "Ilapa lapa" cranking of my stereo. I called it exotic music because it was rare, one had to travel to get the Tapes, besides heavy weights whose hits had broken into main stream, there was no way to buy or hear authentic reggae in Nigeria. So real reggae was only known to a few - I remember my friends thought "House Call" (by Shabba Ranks featuring Maxi Priest) was trash until it became a party anthem.

Reggae has always appealed to me not just because it sounds good but like someone eloquently put it "they s[a]ng conscious tunes - songs that appeals to man's conscience". So much like Jazz, and Soul music it had a certain mood that is hard to explain - even allowing some artist to sing outside the musical scale, exploring the boundaries of their creativity, away from anything other genre could offer - take Papa San's Maddy Maddy Cry for instance. (if you don't laugh at this at some point, you are not normal!).

The Jamaicans had invented a sound that appealed to the conscious man across the world. Considering that they are descendants of slaved Africans, they often look unto Africa as home - Mama Africa's calling, has brought several African/Caribbean/Americans to our shores thinking they are welcome. But their euphoria is often greeted with a surprise... lets go back memory lane.

Jimmy Cliff came how to Nigeria and kissed the tar mark only to be thrown in Jail - on his return he sang a not so popular "Have you heard the news" and the popular "The Harder they come" expressing his disgust with the military government of Nigeria. Third World visited Nigeria in the early 80s and even after recording "Lagos Jump" in Nigeria but they had a rough time during their tour of the country. Brand Nubian came to Nigeria in the early 90's and was booed out of stage... several other musicians have come here only to be disgraced... 50 Cents, Ashanti, etc.

So why all this nonsense you ask? Well I guess it might be that the average Nigerian has a sweet tooth for a unique kind of music, but their promoters have yet to key into it. I don't agree with that notion - even though it took a while for us to enter the scene with our own blend of  music. Our so-called African-Hip-Hop is classified as Dancehall/reggae music (The same music Jamaicans are known for) and Nigerian artiste who are true to themselves like 2Face, Majek, etc will tell you their inspiration is Reggae.(This is not to say that there are no Rap or R&B Naija artiste). 

The big names in Nigeria who play our flavour are not known internationally. In fact CNN recently published a list of top African acts, and only 3 Nigerians made the list... If the hundreds of Nigerian musicians who cater to this flavour are not known internationally, why then do event promoters keep bringing their foreign counterparts here? Our fans do not understand that by  participating at such shows with big names, they are opening doors for the Nigerian artist. Tracy Chapman's fast climb to fame can be traced to her performance as an opening act for Tina Turner.

I hear the Port Harcourt fans wanted the likes of Ras Kimono, Daddy Shokey, and Peter & Paul to play tunes they were used to, They could not understand what Luciano was saying... so they booed Luciano Out. Hear Luciano - Poor Simple 

"I know, l know... and you should know,
 It is better to be poor and simple, and your conscience set you free,
 than to be rich and living in agony,
 It is better to be poor and simple, and your mind is free,
 than to sell your souls for vanity,
 some all they want is silver and gold, diamonds and pearl the things of this world,
 they will do anything, they say anything, just to live the life of a king" - Luciano
 Some will say to be is a crime, but its better to be poor than rich with a filthy mind,
 becos of their crave and lust for vanity, they have no time and love for humanity...
 They are blind and can not see, what is ... when they are face to face with destiny
 but its better to be poor and simple... " - Luciano
Luciano is one of Jamaica greatest, he mellow gospel-reggae genre is not that kind of music Nigerians, let alone the Port Harcourt crowd listen to. Its like calling El Klugh to play at an Ajegunle show. Which Nigerian wants to hear things like that? What morals has this Christifarian got to preach to them on stage. They may be right though, in a society where money is worshiped, and evil and immoral people hold sway, why should they allow someone they paid to entertain them to preach to them - because preaching is what Luciano does. All his songs are gospel ragga. So I put the blame on the promoters and his manager - why should a promoter arrange such a gig and carry it to the masses.

In conclusion, Nigerians have to open up and look towards globalization - always doing things the Naija was does not work out well in the long run. Our ambassadors often disgrace us out there because they feel the world thinks with a "Naija" brain, they often can't communicate because they speak Naija English, we cant eat their food because it has no taste, we cant drive abroad because there is a whole set of International standards we are not aware of. While other nations think about practical ways of solving problems, we rely on gods and deities to rise and tackle our problems. I wrote a two part article about these wrong applications of standards in Nigeria - I titled it Nigeria, Majoring the minor. I believe these problems are all hinged on misconceptions, miscommunication, wrong applications of theories and they all lend their small quota to making Nigeria financially and socially unattractive to the rest of the world.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Government Institutions VS the Cloud

Executive Summary
Cloud computing is the new buzz word on the internet and seen as the key to the future of IT services. Because it is still an emerging trend, its definition is still a bit hazy, however the cloud is simply a virtual data center shared by several organizations. Cloud applications involve multiple customers sharing application, even though they only have access to their own data.

No doubt, there are several business intelligence advantages derivable from operating in the cloud that allows for powerful combination of high-assurance remote serve integrity and cryptographic protocols that are consistent with policies, whether within the enterprise or in the cloud. To the most part, they mostly lend themselves to small and medium scale corporations who want to save money and infrastructure. Yet these advantages do not at this point in the maturity matrix of cloud sourcing, out-weight the inherent dangers of adopting such an emerging trend for public regulatory institutions such as Central Banks.

These inherent dangers underscore the well documented fear of being at the “Bleeding Edge” of technology. Complications experienced by early adopters of emerging trends in IT are well documented. Cloud computing has unique attributes that are fraught with security risks, smart customers should err on the side of caution and reappraise their dream of being on the Cloud.

This paper explains in simple terms, the idea of the Cloud sourcing, the advantages accruable to implementing it, against the backdrop of recent developments and Federal Governments desire to adopt a portal service hosted on the cloud. It also details the pit falls and explains why other public and government institutions have shied away from doing the same.

Cloud computing has unique attributes that require risk assessment in areas such as data integrity, At the forefront of this challenges is that of the security of sensitive data and information stored in countries where we have no legal jurisdiction on how these data is used or managed.

There is no better cautionary statement to set the tone like

“I am nervous to host corporate information on someone else’s server? Yes, even if its Google” – Shukry Tiab. There are several reasons experts’ advice caution in moving to “cloudosphere”. Some identified risks include;
  • Loss of service if your provider has downtime or goes out of business.
  • Regulatory problems when critical data is stored internationally.
  • Security concerns when users lose control of how their data is protected.
  • One-sided service agreements that give clients little redress in the event of a calamity, acquisitions, etc.
  • Lock-in dependency on proprietary cloud applications.
Early on in the evolution of any new technology, there are concern about how it will be used. These concerns are what is termed “Privacy Hump” – they represent a barrier to the acceptance and adoption of a potentially intrusive technology… if the business case for the technology is strong, the hump may fade over time – that time has not come yet for Cloud sourcing and the Government Institutions.

In furtherance of its mandate to provide support to the Board of an apex regulator through the monitoring of the decisions of the Board and assurance of the highest level of oversight for internal and public complaints and managing, (from creation to archival), all their documents. The Department that manages the Board recently launched a portal service for the Board.

This portal designed by messers Digital Board Book Limited is accessible via the internet to all members and accords them the ease of collaborating with other members regardless of where they are in the world.

While these may be laudable objectives, we are of the opinion the regulator may have inadvertently by coerced into approving the deployment of sensitive Board decisions to the Cloud. The paper tries to draw the attention of the regulator to the huge risk associated with the cloud and government sensitive information. More especially as the President of the federation has recently directed that a similar portal be developed for the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the Government.

What is the Cloud?
Ostensibly, most people think the cloud is the same as the internet. The name cloud is inspired by the cloud symbol often used to represent the internet in diagrams and workflow, but that is where the similarity ends… it is more complicated than that.

The definition of the cloud is still hazy, but the Guardian defined it as “a means of putting more of your materials out ‘there’ and the less on you PC or Server” while the US National Institute of Standards and Technology defined it as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction”.

These services are broadly divided into three categories;
  • Infrastructure-As-a-Service (IaaS),
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Early on in the life of any technology, there are concern about how these technologies will be used. These concerns are what is termed “Privacy Hump” – they represent a barrier to the acceptance and adoption of a potentially intrusive technology… if the business case for the technology is strong, the hump may fade over time – that time has not come yet for Cloud sourcing and the Government Institutions.

Who is the Cloud meant for?
It is perhaps too easy to start using a cloud service – that’s exactly how it is designed to be. It is easier to setup a Yahoo, Gmail, or American Online account than installing and running an exchange server. However, while the later is more expensive to maintain, it can be easily controlled to protect sensitive data for an enterprise. – Cloud sourcing easily lends itself to small, medium companies who do not wish to incur, waste or underutilize resources, be it monetary or otherwise.

Presently cloud computing is been embraced by private businesses as a means of saving cost on computer hardware. Cost saving has been identified as the single most important factor for cloud computing services. Most public institutions are slow in embracing the technology as there has to be a strong case of cost savings aligned to security of sensitive data.

What is preventing its early adoption?
Security of sensitive data remains the major concern for public institutions the world over. One myth that cloud computing is sold on is that though it is a shared service, it can be implementation independent. But in reality, due to the “Openness of the Internet” and its inscribed transparency, industry regulatory compliance is another kettle of fish. The following section summarizes the challenges of adopting Cloud sourcing.

Current Concerns
The question is, can multi-tenant services ever be as secure as your own server? Concerns are beginning to grow about just how safe an environment the cloud is for holding sensitive data and information. Analysts warn that the cloud is becoming particularly attractive to cyber crooks. Reformed hacker, Michael Calce agrees that trouble looms ahead if companies fail to apply the right security measures.

Standards & Regulations
There are No Regulations and Standards when using or implementing cloud computing due to lack of long-term experience. This exposes other unique challenges such as follows:-

Privileged User Access.
Sensitive data that is processed outside the enterprise brings with it an inherent risk that it may fall into the “wrong Hands”. The most prominent issue in cloud services is security of user data as the user has no control over its business data files containing valuable information. This is because a proper security model for cloud computing has not yet been developed.

Contractual Obligations
Managing problems with another companies infrastructure is not practical due to a mis-alignment of interests. I cite Amazons “Non-Assertion” terms of reference. Other contractual gaps are:-

  1. Dependency:
    Cloud services make the user totally dependent on the Cloud Service Provider. The user is denied control on quality and maintenance issues and plays no role in back up and disaster recovery activities. They level of dependency is so high that the user existence is tied to the financial health of the cloud service provider. If the CSP goes under, the user’s business goes with it. This lack of control means that if a user decides to terminate his contract with the service provider, there is no way the user will ensure the provider does not retain his data in his database.
  2. Data/Information Location
    Another security issue is that physical location of hardware and software is unknown making site inspections and audits difficult.
  3. Cost and Flexibility:
    There is presently no customization of product as the whole essence is for many businesses to store data within the same environment. There is also the likelihood of hidden cost such as compliancy regulations, backup, restore, disaster recovery and problem solving costs been introduced by the CSP.
  4. Legislation:
    Users of cloud services don't know where their information is held which raises the question of loyalty by the Cloud Service Provider. The danger this poses can be highlighted by considering the America laws such as the US Patriot Act which empowers government and other agencies to access information including that belonging to companies as long as this information is held by companies operating within the United States. A subpoena or legal action can compel a cloud provider to give up sensitive information/data. This is further exuberated by the widespread use of freedom of information acts in the west.

    It also entails that critical information could be moved across boundaries without the knowledge of the user. Legal implications of data and applications being held by a third party are complex and not clearly understood. Potential risk of giving up sensitive data due to transparency.

    Contractual commitments to obey local privacy requirements across international jurisdiction is a burning issue for providers of sensitive information.
  5. Long-term Viability:
    Moose law suggests the fast pace of technological development, with cloud in its infancy, and there are little known information about the requirements and conditions for implementing and managing service level agreements contracts with CSPs. This hands the advantage to CSPs and exposes the user in case of disagreements in SLA. chances are that CSP will increase, small providers maybe bought over by new ones, leaving clients with few options.
  6. Provider Espionage:
    Espionage may not seem like a threat to a public regulatory institution, But it is however expedient that confidentiality and availability of the data and information be assured at all times.
    Data in the cloud is typically in a shared environment with other customers. Enforcing encryption across such a complex terrain is impractical considering that other customer may want avoid it due to its disruptive nature.

    Auditability of a distributed and dynamic application spread all over the globe is not practical and may not satisfy auditors that data is properly isolated and cannot be viewed by the wrong persons. One popular audit guideline is tha SAS 70 – it defines guidelines for the assess internal controls over processing of sensitive information. Other guidelines like the SOX and HIPAA. US government agencies are mandated to follow these guidelines.

    There have been well publicized accounts of cloud outages, down time of critical applications and services. When compared to traditional forms of investigative support, forensics in the cloud face huge difficulties if even possible. The scale of the cloud and the rate at which data is overwritten is of concern due to the logging and data for multiple customers often co-located and spread across an ever changing set of host and data centers.
Suggestions on The way forward:
The Board Book Portal Project has come a long way, a compelling business need that justifies its creation are well noted, however it is clear that the proper project initialization processes have not been followed leading to the unwitty decision to host on a public cloud. It is therefore expedient that a more detailed look is taken at the portal to ensure that sensitive board decisions are protected. This is even more crucial as the Presidency has muted its desire to adopt the same portal service for the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.

We therefore recommend as follows: The legal and IT departments of the regulator conduct a due diligent exercises; Read and fully understand the legislation, reasonability and terms of both providers and users in case of loss of sensitive data.

Create Internal/Private Clouds or utilities:
The quest to use the Cloud is on for several public institutions, Most countries opt for a private cloud with more consistent and controlled governance to mitigate the identified risk enumerated above.

The UK government is setting up its own cloud to make savings of up to £3.2bn – a 20% reduction in costs. The UK government is working to build its own secured cloud called GCloud while the US government is working to build its own cloud called GovCloud. Both governments are avoiding the commercial environments primarily because of security concerns. Both governments have also identified savings of over $3b in computer hardware and software purchases over the next few years.

According to the analyst Gartner – the first step before committing to cloud source is to Seek security assessment from a neutral third party to assess the security risks associated with the present CSP. An external IT audit may signal how secure these cloud providers facilities are, and will no doubt suggest how trivial information should be published on the portal.

Proper project initiation processes be followed for all strategic projects such as this. This will ensure that all stakeholders are carried along and properly enrolled, as it has a significant impact on the quality of the project execution.

Government should determine security and privacy requirements, develop standards, gather data, and benchmark costs and performance against risks and trust.

Cloud computing technologies have not reached maturity. Users are at the mercy of their cloud service providers for the availability and integrity of their data. Presently cloud computing is been used mostly by private firms, while public sector explores creating private Cloudscapes to protect sensitive government information.

In order for government institutions to embrace cloud technology, there is need to determine the business needs and benefits of cloud services and its fit with our policies, processes and legislation.

Thank You.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Harmonization of Salaries in the Federal Civil Service

As I have always maintained. Democracy, as practiced in the world today, is too expensive. Lets join the rest of the progressive world who are seriously trying to apply technology to bring government closer to their people - Direct Governance.

You may recall that on December 20th 2010, on the heels of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central bank revelation that the National Assembly appropriates over 25% of the national budget. I published an article titled Who Let The Dogs Out and Say No to looting of Nigeria. Both articles addressed the gulf between the rich and the poor and reflected on my view on "A Promise is comfort to a fool.." which focused on Labors strike on minimum wage. In those articles, I suggested that labor should go a step further and ask a downward review of the "Maximum Wage".

A lot has happened since then, Nigerians have become increasingly aware of what is going on. In deed, this awareness has had a rob-on-effect on the business as usual in all three arms of Government. A cursory look at news today, tells you of all sorts of public hearing into very elaborate in-your-face corruption. From the NNPC, Central Bank of Nigeria, Security and Exchange Commission, to the Nigerian Police Force. These are all welcomed developments and attest to the fact that we can change if we really want to. As long as prosecution of those found guilty is not swept under the carpet, the slow and sure journey towards state building has begun.

I was therefore happy to read in the dailies that a committee has been setup to review "Downwards" the salaries of public servants. (  The harmonization of salaries in the federal civil service is expected to reduce the strain of recurrent expenditure and produce an acceptable public salary structure. Hopefully the state governments will borrow a leaf and do the same.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What the F*#!# is Kony 2012?

The tweets and pings all over "Social Networkdom" went crazy this week about the Invincible Children's viral video on YouTube (With over 76million views). The on video was about Joseph Kony - a renegade war lord in East Africa and leader of the "Lord Resistance Army" (LRA).

I learned about Kony in a documentary on "Child Soldiers" several years ago and was appalled to learn that something as bad as that was happening in our time.

War is a bad enterprise and history tells us that many a nations were built on prosecuting war. History also tells us that child conscription has always been a tool in the war lords hands - from Hitlers Youths, to LRA child soldiers. Little wonder why the International Court for Criminal Justice was set up to haunt down and prosecute the like of Kony. Ten years on, the ICC has only recently prosecuted its first suspect.

Not wanting to be left behind, I watched the viral video and couldn't help but notice the well scripted dialogue and the powerful effects that surly have helped it attain the status of the most viral video on earth (so far). These are the hallmarks of a well funded program. - As my people say, "Better Soup, na money kill am". There was no doubt in my mind that I had to be part of this cause. That I had to lend my little quota to ensure the success of this dream. Only thing that held me back was the fact that I could not pay with my Nigerian debit card.

A casual research into the Kony 2012 over the internet threw up counter claims on the matter both from within Africa/Uganda (See Kony 2012 is Bullshit ) and in the United States (see KONY 2012 ~ A Powerful SCAM? While it is clear that LRA perpetrated criminal acts in the past by abducting, raping and conscripting children into war, what is not clear is weather it is a scam for the Vincible Children.

Typical of me, I choose not to dwell on the above issue but rather consider other matters relating to it. One interesting thing that is coming out of all this is that this is a ploy for AFRICOM (The African command of the US military) to invade Africa. See Yet another take on it is the discovery of oil in Uganda, and like moth to a flame - US goes where the Oil rigs go. (See The concluding part of the Koni 2012 video bears it all for those who have eyes and ears to see (or hear) - They give you 3 choices, 3 choices that ensure that the money comes to the Invincible Children. The emotional burden to make the right choice is heavy but there you have it, the choice is yours. What do you believe?

What I see clearly is that the instability of erstwhile peaceful countries is fast eroding. From Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, to Nigeria... I see a reoccurring decimile in all these stories coming out of Africa - AFRICOMs and the US governments ploy to gain a foothold is repeating itself in every minor conflict in Africa.

I know that there is no smoke without fire, so does the romour that the US strategy to kick China out of Africa be destabilizing all would-be trade partners hold any water? Is there really a concerted efforts by the western nations to destabilize Africa? Is the present chaotic religious and social upheavals in Nigeria connected in anyway to all of these? Those are the thought on my mind this hour, what are you thinking?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sucker Punch! What a big laugh it would be when...

This is a follow up article from one I started a few days ago and published as “Sucker Punch! What a big laugh it would be if... “ (  Its like everything is now on hyper-drive and I am finding it difficult to keep up with the unfolding events. Only this weekend (13th – 15th January 2012) several accounts of the link between Boko Haram, American involvement and the Oil Subsidy wahala has come to light. But lets start from where I stopped, describing the five conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy Theory No. 1 – Divine Intervention; The invincible hand of God.
Nigerians are a super spiritual society, be it Islam, Christianity or otherwise. We believe the almighty is forever working in our favor even when we are doing wrong. Little wonder why many people will tell you that as far as the oil subsidy is concerned “… all things worketh for good for those who trust God”. For those who think along this line, I say, there-in lies the problem of Old Nigeria, and we will put this to type of thinking to rest. I say Old because, for the first time in living memory, we are not calling for 2 weeks dry fasting and endless, pointless and fruitless prayers for our corrupt leaders.

In support of this theory, I would say that though I am not a man of faith like most, it is very plausible that a divine intervention of some sort is at play, considering the manner through which our leaders have come and gone these few years. Some have stepped aside, mounted, dropped dead or dismounted is peculiar circumstances. To the uninitiated - unfaithful coincidence orchestrated by the hidden hand of the “Cabal” and their foreign Frenemies (Friend + Enemy), but to the average pious Nigerian it is evidence of Gods ultimate plan at work. So when on that faithful Thursday May 6th 2010 when Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was sworn in as president, Nigerians from all works of life saw the ‘Messiah’, the one who would finally set things a right. It must have been a premonition to have named the son of a canoe carver - a boy without shoes “Goodluck”. This leave one wondering why then are we not satisfied with the messiahs approach. The second conspiracy theory clarifies why.

Conspiracy Theory 2 – Honest Truth; The Government is broke.
The second school of thought is the one the executive arm of government wants us to believe. That after groping in the dark and implementing several self-servicing policies, government is now serious and desirous of a better life for the masses. However, they have therefore come up with a strategy to shore up the much needed funds by cutting off an unnecessary burden that has limited government’s efforts to provide basic infrastructure for Nigerians over the years. - The PMS subsidy.

In support of this theory - The subsidy issue must be sincere, little wonder why several attempts by previous administrations have been made to remove it. The Obasanjo administration made several attempts and succeeded in the removal of all tolls on federal roads and a partial removal disguised as a petroleum tax. The Yar’ Adua Administration tightened the noose another notch through further deregulation. This is the reason why the Jonathan administration is hell bent on actualizing it and unwittingly plunging the masses into untold hardship. They tell us it is the only way out. In fact by implication the CBN governor says Nigeria will have no future unless this subsidy is removed. Several countries are already implementing this - Guinea, Chad, and just recently Ghana.

But wait a moment you ask, Who’s idea is all this. Isn’t the IMF behind all this? Is Mrs. Okonjo Iweala doing the bidding of her primary constituency? I just saw an account that says IMF ordered the removal of subsidy. ( …but Lamido Sanusi is his poignant interviews seems to take responsibility for the subsidy removal. “… Subsidies have been paid, but we couldn’t see the money either as product in tank farms or in fuel stations or credit sales. So I became obsessed with trying to understand how the industry operated, the more I looked the more hated it and I started the war against subsidies…” Still another article suggests that Deizani Ordered the subsidy removal ( ). So within movement circles it is quite difficult to understand the true source of this policy. Any observant listener can see and hear this incoherent logic on the face and voices of all the supporters of this policy.  One point worth mentioning is the fact that several countries in the region are presently implementing this policy tells anyone that this directive is coming from one source – IMF.

It is pertinent to state here that the “Cabal” is multi-faceted and made up of nameless, faceless individuals. The Power mongers – those that think the country belongs to them - the king makers. The Economic Monopolists, – those who corner the market to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us. The oil subsidy issue has more to do with the economic monopolist than anyone else, the “Lambs” the stay quiet like hawks with a keen eye on the prize, they control electric power, transportation, commodity market, and oil product importation. They are the forces that control the trajectory of FG policies in these areas. For example, Dangote has always had the special legal reserve to import every item the Government doesn’t want others to. From rice, sugar, salt, to cement. One thing I have not been able to understand is the fact that they claim that they want to deliver better infrastructure and strangle this “Cabal” when on the same token, the so called “Cabal” stands to gain from an increased pump price of fuel. This is the singular reason why the 20 companies licensed to build private refineries have refused to build their private refineries several years after being licensed. While the size of this clandestine outfit may be small, there are several wanna-be members of the Cabal who offer their services for free with a hope that they be counted among the powers that be. For convenience in this article, I will refer to all as the “Cabal”.

Besides what they are telling us, and all the facts that are coming to light, there is no clear evidence that this is clearly a genuine case – that the government means well, especially when you match all these against the back drop that for obvious reasons, no World Bank, IMF initiated policies have work in Nigeria (or elsewhere for that matter). If you are wondering what the original concept of these international financial institutions, I refer you to YouTube.

Conspiracy Theory No. 3 – The Usual Suspects; Politicians want to “Share the money”.
That leave us with the obvious - corruption. The history of Nigeria is fraught with unkept promises from the ruling class – military or civil. So it is no surprise why people are skeptical whenever government makes overtures. Neither the politicians nor their enforcers keep to their promise. Even worse, our brown envelope chasing media, do not manage the issues well by effectively reminding them of what they said in the past. Nigerians are angry because of mismanagement of our commonwealth. The gap between the rich and the poor is so wide. Government is keenly aware of this as Mrs Okonjo Iweala puts it “We want Nigerians to give us a chance. We know there is lack of confidence in government. We need to rebuild the trust. Even those of us in government are tired of complaining. We can’t succeed without you. Give us chance to perform and see if we can make that change”.

Ostensibly, with the increasing number of people speaking up in favor of this one would come away with the idea that this is for real, but from my own observation, most of these people have not facts and have failed to look back at history to prove their point, Leopards don’t change their spots. The Jonathan government is a continuation of the same old people who have robbed this country blind. “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of understanding that created them.” Even more interesting is the fact that some people seem to support the policy because they believe that it makes them look smarter than the next man, no doubt the issues has created more beer parlor discus than one can imagine with everybody trying hard to make sense of the nonsense. Even the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) has hurriedly put up several debates in a bid to drum up support, but the die has already been cast and the increasing numbers at the protest grounds is an indicator that their ploy is not working. So for me, theory No 3 has no basis or yardstick to judge by.

If the government is not sincere, and the politicians are not looking to make fat, What other forces could be at work?

Conspiracy Theory No. 4 – The Bear & the Eagle; Uncle Sam is at it again.
Not too long ago a retired diplomat predicted that the country Nigeria will seize to exist by the year 2015. He was only making public what has been an inside secret, known to only a few before then - among the United States security agencies. If you know anything about western history and how the world affairs have been run since the dawn of time, the ideas behind this theory are not farfetched. Evidence of the activities of countries, and sometimes individuals in the downfall of several third-world nations abound. In 2004 we heard how Margaret Thatcher’s son had orchestrated a bloody coup in our back yard, if he had succeeded, all the lucrative oil deals would go his way while a puppet sits in the presidential villa, with the nod of Washington and Downing Street.

The series of events that preceded this "Occupy Nigeria" all support of the theory.

Love it or hate it, the West is a war mongering society built on the blood of other ‘backward’ societies. What matters most to them is the glory of being victorious at what seemingly many cannot clearly see. Despite the failure, the two gulf wars and present Iraq and Afghan campaign created jobs for teeming American men & women. The payment of war receipts continues to fuel their economy while the host country suffers…and Billions of foreign exchange for the country, all these ensures that the corporate America functions.

One account has it that Boko Haram has become a tool for secret agents who wish to ferment trouble in Nigeria. All its leaders have been carefully eliminated, and remaining field foot soldiers rendered impotent. The UN bombing in August 2011 could well be a deliberate attempt to make the security problem in Nigeria am international one, thus opening up the door for NATO and the United States African Command (AFRICOM). Little wonder why until recently, there have been little or no inroads towards apprehending the culprits. AFRICOM has gained a foothold in Africa. They have already carried out military exercise to test how they would react to the Nigerian disintegration amidst civil war. Their plan is to defend their interest in the south-south with over 20,000 troops. So every wrong move will give them the pretext they need to come in.

The following is an excerpt from the summary of the war games “There is clearly no real interest to control the activities of Boko Haram because of vested interest of certain foreign government in collision with their agents in the present administration and the country.  Most Nigerians are cowards, anyway kill a few Nigerians Christians and make it look like Christianity against Islam to provoke a reaction from Nigerians. If you get no reaction, kill a few more or go after a prime target to grab headlines.”

If this scenario sounds too absurd, then you should read further...( Think about it, they plan ahead, and Nigeria has been targeted for a long time. In such a short time, Nigeria has crept into the guild of terrorist nation where people blow up themselves in the streets. Gradually Nigeria has become a lexicon for extreme religious fundamentalists. Take time out to read the bombshell Bombshell: Nigeria: Targeted for Destruction – (Read Here)  and you understand why everything seems to be skewed towards actualizing 2015. How will they achieve this you ask? Well they have everything at their disposal. The IMF and World Bank (through their Hit ‘Wo’men) to implement a contractor policy that will impoverish the people, A renegade fundamentalist group through which chaos can be created and the religious bodies and their blotted leadership to aggravate hostilities or in the case of the Christian cow them into submission and finally a weak leadership that allows itself to do the bidding of foreign powers. This theory is very plausible. Nigeria may well be the next theater for American warfare.

I would have rested here if I didn’t have this hope that Nigeria will be great again. Something inside me is not quite settled on the account of the President. I have watched with embarrassment how Patience and her husband conduct themselves and wondered why anyone would humiliate themselves in such a manner. Eventually I drew my conclusion and came up with theory no. 5.  

Conspiracy Theory 5 – Sucker Punch! Jonah is no fool after all.
This conspiracy is not so much a conspiracy as it is a prayer. Much like a careful but deliberate act that will take advantage of the whole gamut of issues in the present situation and ensure that theory 1 and 2 come true. What is this theory?

Contrary to what many people think, Jonathan like any right thinking Nigerian knows that unraveling corruption in Nigeria is not a simple matter. The unseen hand of the cabal that pulls the string of the Federal Government stretches from security and law enforcement agencies, through the judiciary and all the way to foreign government. It is not something any single person can tackle; it is not an easy fix.

Secondly, Jonathan is an outsider, and only found himself at the helm due to circumstances plus his docile and unassuming persona. By now he should have also discovered that if he is serious about fighting corruption, the forces he has to destroy are one and the same forces that brought to… or allowed him to ascend to the highest office of the land.

Since he cannot bite the finger(s) that feed him, he has decided that this fight will not be his own, but that of the masses. That is why he has seemingly made all the wrong moves that will ensure that the people are angry enough to come out on the street and assert their right. Accounts have it that he even refuses to attend the meeting whit the NLC. BY so doing, the people will ask for the right thing and the government will have no option but to heed to their call.

Now there is a down side to all this, when will the other parties realize that this is what is going on? And how will they react? If the government does not renege on its stand tonight (as I expect) then we can say that this theory will surely be allowed to play out to its full extent. And we must go out there and demand for all the fixes we have always wanted. From obvious things like investigation and prosecution  of the Cabal to the Sovereign National conference.  Nigerians all over the world are ready to lend thie voice. We will push the envelope further. I am not alone, a few other people also think like this (even if unconsciously) hear Okay Ndibe wrote “We, the people of Nigeria, ought to seize this moment to define the terms of the debate. Let's not waste this opportunity to roll back the organized fraud in Nigeria that enables the president, governors, ministers, legislators, local government chairmen/councilors to live like emperors--at the expense of the rest of us. Labor leaders and workers as well as professional associations ought to insist on removal of the scams called security vote and constituency allowance; that Jonathan sell off the planes in the presidential fleet (bloody hell, Nigerian officials ought to travel commercial!); drastically reduce ministerial portfolios; ban foreign medical trips for Nigerian officials (if they're "transforming" Nigeria, as they claim, they must enjoy the same medical services as other Nigerians); remove the immunity clause that protects criminals in office; institute part time legislatures (where law makers are paid allowances for the days they sit); identify, prosecute and jail the fuel marketers (and their bureaucratic enablers) who have defrauded Nigerians through inflated fuel subsidy claims etc, etc.” (

In support of the theory, this explains why GEJ has acted accordingly… Notice how he waited until the supreme court ruled in his favor for all hell to break loose? Oblivious of the security threats of Boko Haram, and even declaring that they had infiltrated the security ranks. He was silent of the fact that agents of international financial institutions (Iweala, Aganga, Sanusi) have also closed in. So do not be surprised if GEJ does not heed the call of the people, or send out the hounds after them. Do not be surprised that he takes a hard stand. Let us leverage this opportunity to wrestle our freedom out of the hands of a few.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sucker Punch! What a big laugh it would be if...

2012 did not come with the pomp and pageantry that marks every new year. I have been quite for the past few months, but I have watched with keen interest, the gradual but imminent revolution that is seizing my nation – Nigeria. At last we can say for certain that today the 14th January 2012 we stand at the door post of our revolution and history beckons.

It is very important that we stand back and assess what has transpired in the past few weeks.
The Christmas day bombing of a Catholic Church in Madala, Suleja (near Abuja) marked the beginning of a series of events that will shake the foundations of this country leading to a reawaking of the masses to assert their fundamental rights and demand [for the first time in Nigeria’s history] that their leaders be accountable to the Masses, the people. 

I will not bore you with the details of the events that brought us here,  because several  interesting articles of have been writing about them. The national debate on why Nigerians should support governments move to remove the oil subsidy ( The passage of the 2012 fiscal budget.  The Christmas day bombing and subsequent sporadic killings in Northern and Southern Nigeria (  The declaration of a state of emergency in several local government areas in the North East. The “Surprise” removal of Oil Subsidy on the eve of the New Year and its attendant direct effects on the livelihood of common masses. And the subsequent on-going strike action called by the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

As I scroll through the interesting SMS’s, blogs and tweets of friends and family, it is very clear that the masses are tired of the same stories all over again.  From where I seat, the motivations are diverse; whose story are you buying? The governments story; as eloquently expounded by Central Bank Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and IMFs “Economic Hit Woman” and Nigeria's’ Hon. Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? Or, are you on the masses side - with civil society, activists and the labor who demand the subsidy reinstatement? Perhaps there is yet another set of people who do not care about subsidy but would love to see a more concerted effort towards changing the way Nigeria is governed ( Regardless of what group you belong to, we can all agree that what we want is to see progress, for ourselves and for the nation and our children yet unborn.  However, what is not clear is the motivation, why are some on the street, while others declare an electronic crusade in support of the government? I have not yet read any article that clearly sorts out the various schools of thought that abound concerning the situation in the country yet if you read in between the lines of our leaders are doing, one might make an inference and that is exactly what this piece will try to address. 

Being such a paranoid mind, I have decided to briefly examine all these conspiracy theories in a bid to make sense of the situation – Some are clear and straight forward, while others are mere blue sky thinking - I have made sure to take every aspect of our present problem into consideration; The Islamic fundamentalist sect - Boko Haram, Removal of the PMS subsidy, the plight of the Nigerian masses, The existence of the so called “Cabal”, the silence of the lambs, and the passion with which some government officials speak about the issue.

  1.   Conspiracy Theory No. 1 – Divine Intervention; The invincible hand of God.
  2.   Conspiracy Theory 2 – Honest Truth; The Government is broke.
  3.   Conspiracy Theory No. 3 – The Usual Suspects; Politicians want to “Share the money”.
  4.   Conspiracy Theory No. 4 – The Bear & the Eagle; Uncle Sam is at it again.
  5.   Conspiracy Theory 5 – Sucker Punch! Jonah is no fool after all.
... to be  completed tomorrow