I had originally put these pictures up on my facebook profile on Christmas day and I’m sure this is no more new news to most people. Anyways a recap can be found here and here
I had found myself in the Gada Biu area on the morning of the 25th as I had to pass through on my way home. The night before I had received a call from family asking about my safety and it was only then I knew I was sadly finally going to get a taste of Jos crises, having by incidents of fate had my previous “residency” between the crises of December 2008 and January 2010.
The story was that on Christmas Eve at about 7.30 pm several bombs had gone off in Angwan Rukuba and Gada Biu areas of Jos, both predominantly Christian areas killing a number of people and injuring many others. Everybody was shocked considering the relative peace of the Jos metropolis in the past 12 months. Equally many people were angry, mainly made up of the natives and resident Igbo settlers who felt the attacks were targeted against them and sadly retaliation started. That was what I witnessed that morning as youths in annoyance burnt a truck filled with washing powder and some other small vehicles, all allegedly being driven by Muslims and battered small supposedly Muslim owned stalls. I even saw a man wearing a kaftan's dead body in the gutter.
I left the area in a hurry and by 1.30pm when I passed through the area again in my bid to spend Christmas at my friends I saw that things had stabilized with security agents everywhere. Sadly though it became a very quiet Christmas in Jos as most people decided to stay indoors. Businesses were locked up and the streets were devoid of cars with most people trekking their way to their various destinations.
Rest in peace to those who lost their lives for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time and I can only hope that things pick up in the coming days and restore itself to the state it was pre the bombings: I had gone for a little shopping at the Terminus market on the evening of the 24th around 5pm and the place was jam packed with everybody gearing up for Christmas day.
I had originally put these pictures up on my facebook profile on Christmas day and I’m sure this is no more new news to most people. Anyways a recap can be found here and here
Songs about Jane, rants about love and marriage. Sort of a time induced sequel to my “Let’s talk about girls, kids and favourite teams” post of May 2006. Social engineering, a recent love interest of mine after pondering the recent Amos Adamu and the slightly older Sarah Palin email hack. So here goes
8] So I’m at the stage of life where my mates are starting to tie the knots one by one or bullshit aside working seriously towards that. And in a couple of cases where both parties work in the same office a party has resigned for the other in order not to fall foul of HR laws. Worse still that party remained jobless after the ceremonies with the income of the union now tied to one source. My opinion: big mistake. Could be really pretty risky especially as in many regards money is the fuel which sustains love. This is backed by test number 12 from “Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships” by Chip Ingram (adapted from “marriage for moderns” by Henry Bowman". Available for download here).
A couple that is genuinely in love and not infatuated do not feel an almost irresistible drive towards haste. Infatuated couples tend to feel an urge towards getting married. Postponement is intolerable to them and they interpret it as deprivation rather than preparation.
When it comes to marriage I’m pro long courtship. I believe it should be about genuinely time tested and trusted best friends wanting to commit together. All other reasons for commitment are not really healthy. Especially in a society like Nigeria where government social support is nonexistent and insurance is bullocks, it’s best to play into the hand of someone that’ll stand by you if shit should ever hit the fan. Stall the wedding date till the other party can fix up another source of income; what will be will be.
9] After reading an article online about a wedding called off due to astronomical student debts owed by the bride, I’ve come to ever more realize that marriage in reality is like a business deal which makes the best sense if it’s mutual benefiting. No one goes into business with the aim of making looses. Everyone wants to enhance his or her portfolio, which in many regards is expressed in monetary terms. One party coming through packing debts or obligations which become overbearing with time should be a big no no. Both parties should endeavour to review their financial positions and possible outlook before doing the do.
10] Coming down home we as Nigerians would be better off if we learnt to treat marriage like we treat our homes; the Inside clean and the outside dirty is the best balance. Nigerians are selfish like that, we go to great deals to pimp up our homes but don’t care much about our collective surroundings. Likewise if we (hint...ladies) cared more about keeping our relationships alive and less about showing off with big weddings and bragging about our marital status we could actually be better off.
11] As above in tune with keeping your marriage as comfortable as possible keep the conceptions down, in line with your income to maintain an above average standard of living. A family holiday every year should not be a pipe dream or something you just watch in movies. The creator put man on earth to conquer and explore not to spend a life time living from hand to mouth.
12] Finally on a parting note I think I’m now seriously pro natural hair and would go to any lengths to support and convince my girl (girl in this case means one of my own race) to carry such. Nappy headz rule!
Social engineering is when an attacker/hacker uses human interaction (manipulation via social skills) to obtain or compromise information about a person, an organization or its computer systems. As earlier mentioned I got researching on this after actively pondering the Amos Adamu and Sarah Palin incidents. In the end I was able to successfully hack two email addresses and got pass the first question of many a friend's Yahoo! Mail Forgot Password feature. This article will bring you up to speed on the technique I used to take advantage of Yahoo’s decision to cut customer service costs associated with attending to password recovery queries. Yes people yet another reason to choose Gmail over Yahoo.
Update!: Please see this post for a follow up on the Yahoo password recovery process as regards to social engineering.
Written for the new gig...
Can you relate with this?
“The tellers and customer service ladies of Bank EW are just plain rude; imagine going to withdraw your own money and being told to wait for hours or to come back tomorrow because the servers are down; I don’t remember them telling me that when I came to open the account!”
“My sister I cried to my creator from the bottom of my heart today. I was made to feel subhuman just because I went to one office to submit my CV”.
“I can only blame myself for taking my own two feet into that place. The reply I got was so cold and unhelpful just for the simplest of enquiries. It was a total waste of time and energy.”
“Why do these ISPs keep employing clueless and dumb people? Can you imagine the guy at the help desk telling me “I was not trained to activate this plan on a phone. I can only activate on PC. Please go and bring your laptop”. Source.
“My people I don’t even know why we waste our time on this the Police is your friend mantra in Nigeria. Do you know that I always have to make sure the money in my pocket is enough before going to the Police station to report a genuine issue? It’s like those guys work on a pay as you go basis.”
If you can relate with all these read on, if not please quit reading.
Colleagues we’re in that shoe now with our present job, we can either prevent people from further experiencing and saying the same or we can tow the status quo. Let’s do away with the “everyone wants to fix humanity; no one wants to fix themselves syndrome. It begins with you, change begins with us.
Just like relationships crumble if one party doesn’t offer to say I’m sorry, or a traffic jam gridlock persist if one driver doesn’t say “I’ll be patient, you may go first”. Things can only be better off if we decide and start to make an effort.
Like the hotel bell boy let’s learn to work like our only form of remuneration was based on tips arising from the level of satisfaction our customers get from our service. Let’s learn to treat our customers like we would treat our mothers
Let the below thoughts and often made statements be things of the past
a) Nkemakonam Ezidinma Ifejika opined on Facebook that for Nigerians anywhere in the world, customer service is a gene extracted at birth. That is to say Nigerians are incapable of being consistently polite and helpful. They are the kings and queens of mood swings.
b) In Nigeria there’s no place for merit. We can’t queue or be patient. Everyone wants to cut corners and get served before others. It’s like a “my family comes first” credo. And that’s why poverty persists because those in top positions don’t allow for the wealth to flow down to the bottom, hence everyone wants to be at the top and so corruption is birthed. We were brought up this way and so bring up our kids in like fashion too. A vicious cycle.
c) There’s a deep rooted rat race or jungle mentality in Nigeria that impedes development and breeds nepotism and tribalism. Like Mark Shuttleworth said: “Tribalism is when one group of people start to think people from another group are “wrong by default”. It’s the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism.
d) Nigerians are only bothered about the self, there’s no sense of concern for maintenance of public/company property. That’s why the civil service is in shambles. That’s also why the white man is brought in to instil discipline; we then fight to go abroad to enjoy the perks of a disciplined society we have denied ourselves.
In line with the above and bringing the matter back home mycustomer advocates the following
1) And end to the “applications are not working please call back” sing along. Especially when we don’t even bother to get them working in the first place, have no idea of their workarounds or can’t even be bothered to remember our passwords. Food for thought: Do you know that telling a customer that the applications are not working please call back is akin to telling a pensioner who invested a lot of energy and money to go back home and come tomorrow because the bank for some flimsy reason or another cannot pay today.
2) It’s good to pick 200 calls a day but it’s even better to pick 150 and deal with them decisively. We’re lucky to have a strong brand and a consequent low elasticity of demand but we should bear in mind that ultimately customer service goes a long way in determining customer retention and business profitability.
3) Stop leaving your mails unread. You stand to keep yourself ignorant (no product knowledge) when you do so consequently manifesting in frequently putting your customers on hold and running around the call center asking questions. You also leave the knowledgeable customer shaking his head on the opposite side lamenting your cluelessness.
4) An end to the “I’ll end call on you”, “I’ll block your line” incidents. Let’s learn to manage our irritations and show compassion to the slow to comprehend and confused. You become a better person, the bigger man when you learn to tolerate customers venting their anger on you yet reply politely to empathise and educate. It shows there’s substance in your character; consequently you’ll see that people will want to look you up for a repeat dealing.
I now hope that upon everyone reading this, this other incidence that some of us regularly experience will decrease: “customers asking for a way to get back to us directly as they are afraid of speaking to others because they have no confidence their queries will be resolved on a random call back.
“Like the hotel bell boy let’s learn to work like our only form of remuneration was based on tips arising from the level of satisfaction our customers get from our service. Let’s learn to treat our customers like we would treat our mothers”
Anyone that really knows me in person should be aware that I like to be on top of things information wise. Like the seeker I take great pride in getting relevant info and go to great lengths to organize that info for effective use (I think I got this quality from my dad). And feeling particularly generous or scholarly today I want to bless you with my “Seven habits of highly effective information managers”; hereby referred to as HEIMs. On a Zain level I’m in a frenzy like one of my previous bank big boss, who was twice flown in from Lagos to lecture us in training school, and on both occasions ended up basing his talk (both talks independent of the other) on Stephen R Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. So let’s get started on capacity building information management wise.
1) HEIMs abhor illiteracy in all its forms because to really appreciate the importance of information management one has to be technologically aware, pragmatic and open minded. HEIMs would probably work in intelligence if they were in the army. For the young ones in secondary school my advice would be not to limit oneself to only reading the Bible, religious books and self help books but to explore the world of contemporary Nigerian fiction. Personally my favourite reads are informative/write ups/novels which come with a heavy dose of humour.
2) We would all the more be HEIMs in Nigeria if we probably had a good database management system in place. All my analysis leads me to the conclusion that if we fixed that we would be on the road to resolving a lot of our national problems. From census and population planning, to voter registration, to crime detection/prevention, to fiscal control and bank loan supervision, to academic records availability and so on and so forth. That’s why it behooves on us to take the issue of record keeping and maintenance seriously in our daily dealings. There are little things in life as sweet as being updated about the past in a jiffy and thus being privileged to make inform choices in the present that will affect your future positively.
3) HEIMs excel in phone bookkeeping and are forever grateful for the miracle that is telecommunication. They understand the beauty of talking the talk and getting thoughts across at the touch of a button. So characteristically they are always reachable by phone, text and call generously as the need arises, excel at colleting contacts of useful people and those they just must deal with on the daily, have a good contact backup culture, have more than one line considering the peculiar unstableness of our telecoms networks, and understanding the importance of networking strive for phone number retention. Some extra tips: for ease of backups you might want to jot down your numbers daily as you collect them and exploit the PC suite and sync function of your phone. Also aim for hand sets with unlimited contact storage. To get ahead 200 SIM memory plus 200 phone memory handsets are not the way to go. Additionally learn to save names in full or with descriptive suffixes for ease of recall.
4) HEIMs understanding the reality that is information overload, trash programming and junk content are constantly trying to stay geeky/nerdy yet work and leisure balanced. By analyzing and sieving what is available before brain consumption they stay on the natural high. Personally I try not to over indulge myself and stay away from things that don’t add anything substantive to my IQ. This means I’m constantly battling procrastination in favour of studying and computer programming. And when it comes to news feed, favouring blogs with original content as against gossip blogs and news recyclers.
5) HEIMs being aware of the power of the world wide web/computers practice the complete use of it as a means to an end. Here’s what you’ll find them doing. They streamline their email addresses as much as possible and harness the powers of Gmail and email clients. You’d be hard press to find them on the loosing end of domain drops because of unread/unreceived renewal reminders. They are on top of password management (at my former job FinnOne, a banking suite software failed partly because of the issue of password forgetfulness). And they embrace the idea of website and company portals as information nests. A case in point: it’s dumb…almost criminal for INEC not to publish the list of qualified candidates/test invitees on its website during it recent recruitment exercise. Also as seen in many companies the issue of sending out important memos/policy updates only via email without repository on the company’s portal for easy long term reference is akin to dishing out instructions and the receivers inundating it from one ear and letting it slip out through the other.
6) HEIMs are by nature effective. In line with this they wholly embrace the use of a diary in their day to day planning. Not being cyborgs people grapple with the issue of forgetfulness but HEIMs keep on top of their schedule and plan accordingly with diary entries and reminders. Be them electronically on phone/computers or in hand in books. A follow up trait of effectiveness is getting things done without having to be prodded and doing so as if the direct gain was for oneself. In other words HEIMs treat with dispatch issues which require their attention. And in doing so they keep it scientific, scientific in the sense that their workings are carried out in a way that on analysis a third party can easily understand what has transpired thus and take relevant follow up action.
7) Lastly but also very importantly HEIMs don’t have an attitude problem. With globalization should come the common sense that nobody’s indispensable and that we all need each other sooner or later and as such we should treat each other with courtesy and respect. On a Majek Fashek-2face Idibia tip, little little patience and cordialness in our conduct now can have big positive implications later. Tolerance, politeness, a thank you here, excuse me or sorry there can in some way get you that information when the need arises that’ll help you break fronts.
The world Cup South Africa 2010 being now 40 days away, the true Super Eagles fan should have these three World cup songs on his/her playlist:
1) Power of Naija. Guinness commissioned World Cup song performed by Omawumi, 2face Idibia and Cobhams
2) Waving flag (Nigerian Version). Coca-Cola commissioned K'naan’s World Cup song performed by Banky W & M.I.
3) Goalaaaso (Inside The Net). Paj featuring Tolumide. From Paj of “Ghana go hear wien (2006)” and “skatta dem (Ghana go hear wien part II 2008)” fame.
What is peace of mind? Peace of mind is what you experience within in a system where there’s accountability. It’s a situation where the supplier strives to satisfy and the customer gets to clear his/her head of all worries in association with the particular service provider. It’s excellent customer service and to ensure it great quick feed back is key.
At my former job we once had a customer walk into the bank and try to create a scene in the banking hall. The issue: he was a debit card holder from another bank and while attempting to withdraw money on our branch’s ATM he was debited but cash was not dispensed. The Issue happened over a month ago and after repeated complaints at his bank in frustration he decided to come over here to see how he could get his money back. Ideally such issues are resolved thus:
-Customer complains at his bank giving ATM officer there all necessary details of the incident
-ATM officer of his bank logs complaint into Interswitch website.
-Interswitch forwards complaint to “erring bank”
-Head Office of other bank liaises with branch (branch ATM officer) responsible for particular ATM
-issue is investigated and if other bank’s claim legitimate entries are reversed and feedback given to Interswitch
-Interswitch in association with customer’s bank makes sure customer is credited (pay back) accordingly
After some questioning it appeared ATM officer of customer’s bank had yet to log in complaint or did so erroneously as though our ATM officer observed the error he hadn’t prior being petitioned about it. Customer in lamenting the situation brought the “do you know who I am” angle, and in response a good number of my colleagues went cold towards him and thought the man was making a mountain out of a mole house (paltry 15 thousand Naira), especially for someone of his calibre. This is where the peace of mind angle comes into play. My money is my money, be it six hundred naira or sixty thousand Naira and I have every right to be extremely cross by its perceived theft. The right way to handle the situation was to empathise with customer (no matter the extent of your own perceived personal problems), explain to him the process flow for resolution and to truly show you understood his plight and to prevent him from continually running from post to post offer to speak on phone to ATM officer of his bank explaining to him your findings.
More often than not we’ve complained about treatment meted out to us by perceived aloof bodies, but on occasions when the tables were flipped we did the same to others. The inspiration to write this arose out of the recent experiences I had with my website in regards to its Registrar and its hosting.
I’ll be forever grateful to Chippla Vandu for taking care of my site’s registrar bills for the first 5 years and Kayode Muyibi for doing same hosting wise. The favour was truly invaluable. But alas we at times sadly fumble in an otherwise smooth long run. To use some economics jargons (hopefully correctly) Kayode went beyond his elasticity and the economics of scale proved counter productive. This is where Nigerian entrepreneurs (a good number of Nigerian web businesses are solely run, or handled by 2-5 hands) must beware, try and expand within your capacity so that you don’t get overwhelmed in providing support to your clients. Else it would be a case of abandoning your solid bowl in place of a porously leaking bucket in your attempt to fill your water drum stationed in your kitchen. The issue of Oluniyi David Ajao (owner of web4africa.net) versus Naira.Kbps (first register of nairabytes.com) is another sore case. It’s truly shameful the way the issue deteriorated. Even if it was against Web4Africa’s policy to refund hosting payment the moral thing to do was to push the domain name ownership to Naira.Kbps, as against the case now where the site’s registration having expired has been acquired by a domain parking shark.
So in conclusion for your peace of mind I strongly recommend Netfirms and Hostgator to Nigerians resident at home when it comes to the business of Domain name registration and hosting respectively. Slightly expensive they might be for some people; the truly informed and knowledgeable know that no price is too expensive to pay for peace of mind. And that it’s better to be a king in the jungle (run your own shit, have full ownership/control) then to be a dog in the city. Props to Sound Sultan.
Domain name registration on Netfirms is presently one of the cheapest on ground. You can easily pay with your Nigerian bank issued VisaCard or MasterCard. But be sure to have a scanned copy of your ID and your card available for confirmation purposes. And you can easily search online for coupons to reduce you bills. Props to Sawyerr Ken for the plenty tips.
Hostgator is undoubtedly one of the most reliably Domain host in existence. Their customer service is second to none. Tickets are replied typically in less than an hour and you can even chat live with a support staff 24-7! Site content transfers can also be done free of charge for new customers, who also get the advantage of price coupon discounts on their first signup. Like on Netfirms payments can easily be made with your Nigerian bank issued VisaCard or MasterCard (this time preferable issued in your own name). And be also sure to have a scanned copy of your ID and your card available for confirmation purposes. In extreme cases and sadly due to the wide spread fame of our 19 boys Nigerian customers have been known to be asked to send in pictures of them holding their ID cards. Cost might be pricey but peace of mind is guaranteed! In this case props to Udegbunam Chukwudi Emmanuel for the plenty tips.
This was originally meant for another platform to be published February 25th, a day after Yar’adua touched down. Alas it now finds its’ final resting place here :-)
In the words of former FCT Minister Nasir El-Rufai
“When we elect our leaders we fully expect that they will be strong-minded and able-bodied to guide us through the most difficult times. We also expect our leaders to address us directly and offer assurances to the fact that crisis situations will be kept under control”.
Unfortunately Nigerians time and time again are often left wondering if their leaders are aware of the concept of accountability. Fresh from a 92 day absence of our President, Umaru Yar'adua in Saudi Arabia, find profiled the noticeable incidents internal and external which have reigned this while, greatly imprinting themselves in the sands of “Nigerian time”.
• In December 2009 just before Christmas the unpopular beliefs and policies of CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido struck a lethal blow as thousands of workers were rendered jobless in mass lay offs carried out by many Nigerian banks; the alleged troubled and sound ones alike. Unemployment rates soured with the risk of rising crimes and many a families had a bitter festive season. Government reaction: business went on as usual while the seemingly endless trial of the nauseatingly rich ex bank top shots carried on at snail speed.
• Nigeria was at the center of international attention when on Christmas Day December 25, 2009 a 23 year old Islamic Nigerian male Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan USA. Seen as a grave act of terror Nigeria was subsequently put on a Terror Blacklist by the US government and young Mutallab charged on six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder of 289 people. He is presently in U.S. custody, awaiting further legal proceedings. Nigerians travelers were thus left to suffer an international backlash while the government more or less barked toothlessly.
• Maryam Babangida wife of former head of state General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) passed away on December 27, 2009 in a US hospital having lost her prolonged battle with ovarian cancer. Many people still love to hate IBB for the alleged unprecedented level of corruption during his regime and the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential elections. Nevertheless Maryam even in death remains celebrated as an icon of beauty, fashion and style", and widely acclaimed as Nigeria's best first lady. Reactions: having spent millions of looted monies on healthcare in the US having neglected our own, the looters of the national treasury and the family alike proceeded to further spend money in consoling and morning their dead.
• Much long before the proclamation of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as acting president the turn of events proved that President Yar'adua was by all indications unable or incapacitated to perform his function and therefore should step aside. This arose as Nigeria's new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Aloysius Katsina-Alu was on 30th December, 2009 sworn in by the out-going Justice Idris Legbo Kutiji in the absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua. This was legal under the Oaths Act.
• On Tuesday, 12 January 2010 the world was left in shock that a catastrophic earthquake had struck in the Caribbean state of Haiti affecting over 3 million people. With thousands dead, thousands more rendered homeless and the socio economic foundation of the nation rocked to its root. Many countries responded to the appeals for humanitarian aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel. Nigeria’s response being an official expression of condolence and a donation of 1 million US dollars
• While the children of the rich continue to enjoy uninterrupted education abroad and politicians in the corridors of power continue to feed fat over the country’s oil money. the educational front back home was dealt a heavy blow as the authorities of the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka in Enugu State on the 16th of January, 2010 shut down the institution, following the vandalization and destruction of property, including the temporary residential quarters of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barth Okolo and some senior staff quarters of the institution by protesting students. The violent protest embarked upon by the university students was to express their displeasure over a new fees regime introduced by the university authorities
• Coming on the heels of a similar incident over a year ago in December 2008 and in what amounted to a total failure of leadership by both the Police, Military and Plateau state government, violence started on the 17th of January 2010 and lasted at least four days in Jos. The disturbances were allegedly religiously-motivated as Muslims and Christians took to arms and proceeded to torch down and destroy houses, churches, mosques and vehicles. At least 200 people were killed. Government reaction, a change of heads at the state police’s top boss office and the setting up of another commission of inquiry.
• Following an advertorial published in the Punch Newspaper of January 28 by a group going by the name "The True Face of Lagos" accusing Lagos Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the Lagos House of Assembly of corrupt activities. The house members had intended to go on with a probe. But after wide public criticism and protest marches things died down considerable over the past week. Owing most notable to an intervention between Governor Babatunde Fashola and his immediate predecessor Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is though to be displeased with some of the actions of the former, and a court order from a Lagos High Court restraining further actions on any purported investigation of allegations of financial impropriety.
• Although things have considerable improved now, the months of December 2009 and January 2010 were hell for motorist in the nation as regards availability of fuel. Long queues sprang up nationwide as Nigerians commercial and private motorist alike were helplessly subjected to hardship in a bid to refill their tanks. Black marketers and those engaged in the up and downstream section of petroleum distribution smiled to the banks as they are want to do perennially. Government reaction: a statement by then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan which was eventually defiled ordering four of his ministers to stay back in Abuja during the Christmas holidays for a series of meetings aimed at finding a lasting solution to the lingering fuel scarcity.
• Following growing disbelief by the general populace about the integrity of members of the Federal Executive Council in relation to the president’s absence and the greater good of the nation, Minister of Information and Communication Prof. Dora Akunyili had on 3rd February 2010 somewhat restored her public image when she presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) titled "if We Fail To Act Now, History Will Not Forgive Us", asking Yar’Adua to present a letter of vacation to the Senate as required by section 145 of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution. Her action had initially drawn the ire of her colleagues most notably former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), prompting a nasty back and forth between them. In the end though swords were sheathed and the objectives were met as Dr Goodluck Jonathan was declared acting president.
• In what was hailed as the best move for the country’s hot bed of politics Anambra State. Governor Peter Obi of the all peoples grand alliance APGA on the 6th of February 2010 defied the history books as he won a keenly contested battle for a second term in office against fellow political gladiators Dr. Chris Ngige of the AC and Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the PDP amongst others. Little pockets of irregularities were observed with more than half of the voters disenfranchised owing to the non availability of their names on the voting list. Encouragingly though the results were more or less accepted by all parties involved without the usual electoral court appeal.
• After much political anger on the seeming power vacuum, exemplified by protest rallies; most notable by a group of concerned Nigerians called “The Save Nigeria Group” both at home and abroad along with many court cases praying President Yar’adua be impeached or his Vice Goodluck Jonathan be empowered. The National Assembly had on February 9th 2010 creatively interpreted one of the clauses of the constitution, in their words in the best interest of the nation and voted to declare Goodluck Jonathan Acting President. This was greeted by much cheers round the world as intent by Nigeria to get a start on the process of nation building at a renewed refreshed pace.
• More failings of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua emerged as Acting President Goodluck Jonathan was on Tuesday February 16, 2010 elected Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by the group's Heads of State and Government thus extending for another year Nigeria’s leadership. President Umaru Musa Yar’adua had steered the ship of the association for a year until he fell ill, a development which had twice forced the postponement of the 37th Summit of the body.
• On the back of an unpopular decision by erstwhile president Mamadou Tandja to extend his mandate beyond December 2009 having already served two terms a coup d'état occurred in Niger, a country sharing boundaries with Nigeria to the north on the 18th of February 2010. Soldiers attacked the presidential palace in Niamey at midday and captured the President who was chairing a government meeting at the time. Later in the day, the rebels announced on television the formation of a ruling junta, the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy to be headed by squadron leader Salou Djibo.
• On the 22nd of February 2010 members of The Edo State House of Assembly abandoned all sense of decorum as lawmakers purportedly impeached the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Zakawanu Garuba. In what appears to be an inter party strife the erstwhile speaker a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party has been replaced by Peter Usman Aliu of the AC. Confusion is still the order as the house has not yet sat since the incidence with both members Rt. Hon. Zakawanu Garuba and Rt. Hon. Peter Usman Aliu presently claiming the title of speaker.
• Finally there were one too many alleged political assassinations, reminiscent of a case of kids turning the house upside down in their parent’s absence. The death toll included ex AIT reporter Efenji Efenji (February 14th) and Action Congress gubernatorial candidate in 2007 general election in Ogun State, Otunba Dipo Dina (January 25th, 2010).
When I think of the phrase “a rush of blood to the head” I get into cold play. I think of split decision making…rash decisions taken at the spur of the moment without thinking through the implications. Things one finds oneself doing when one has one’s back against the wall…future regrets.
About a month ago I got my car impounded by the Police for driving on the wrong side of the lane. Yeah I know I messed up but think fuel scarcity and the NNPC Mega Filling Station in Central Area Abuja. I pleaded endlessly in a bid to wear them out to no avail (this technique has been known to work in the past with varying degrees of success as freeing you to get other fishes to fry appears sensible in the long run). They hit back with the “I no go school, I no sabi speak English, go see my Oga” tirade. I refused to give the bribe more so being very broke at the time and had to take in the intimidation, bullshit and all. In the end we headed to the station, I gave my statement, surrendered my keys and particulars and lost my car for the weekend. On Monday after some wait I got my car back without spending a dime through the Intervention of a senior uniformed officer of a parallel body. The car was released out of mutual respect between the officers.
Lesson learnt: One; Patience is a virtue. Two; runaway and live to fight another day. My annoyance at the rude manner in which I was accosted blinded me to the fact that a quick change of gears to reverse at the cock of their guns would have been all that was needed. Three; respect the wealth of experience rich elders. I had to endure being chided while a man to man talk did the trick.
A week or so after that it was the turn of the FRSC (Federal Road Safety Corps) to funk me up. This time I was not at fault per se. a Lady Road Marshal reproved me for intending to make a wrong turn, as I turned to obey her colleague intimidated me and I fell face flat into the trap. I challenged him aggressively for delaying me when I was just about to do right from wrong; he called for me to be dealt with for having the guts to talk back at him, and my attempt to dash away proved futile as I was chased back, baited and my tyre slightly deflated. A hot argument ensued, me being Mr I-know-my-rights and all. In the end I got slammed the monstrous dangerous driving fine for all my troubles.
Lesson learnt: The FRSC are in most cases cunts looking for a scapegoat. Be careful not to fall into their trap no matter how unprofessionally they try to cower you. Dot your Is, cross your Ts and all should be well with you.
Earlier this week being on the receiving end of an ongoing delay tactic and adjournment move I was at the Wuse High Court to witness a landlord-tenant case for my dad; with the only the thanks i got having to sit through a messy divorce hearing. The process was painfully slow as the cross examination of a witness had to be done at snail speed to allow the judge jot down notes as reference material to make for a better understanding of the issue to facilitate judgement. I might have seen too many movie court scenes courtesy Hollywood thus my high expectations were messed up. Could have sworned we would have done better with a shorthand typist or a computer. Funny still is Nigeria ready for the jury concept? Naturally in tune with boredom and hunger my mind wandered. I remembered the case of a bank debtor we had in Jos who took us to court. His statement spawned together with lots of falsehood and bogus claims. With accusing fingers pointed at me as prime aggressor for using the police to shake him up because of his perceived indifference to repaying his long overdue debt.
Lesson learnt: speaking from experience it’s not a crime to be in debt but it’s a crime not to be open about it. Pick your calls and make yourself accessible. Admit your default, explain your situation to your creditor pleading for time and by all means be proactive with a feasibility plan to come good in the shortest time possible. Challenges will eventually pass you by so there’s no need to soil your good name, or give people reason to question your integrity. Guard them jealousy as it may take a lifetime to get them back. Lastly when in disagreement necessarily put yourself in the other person’s shoes before you act. That way you get a holistic view of things with the way out being all the more clear.