STILL ON THE NEXT PRESIDENT
We have spent the last half a century careening from one near catastrophe to another and telling ourselves 'it is well.' We have squeezed our dirty laundry in one huge bag of hypocrisy and selective amnesia but we are not fooling anybody. Things are bad, pretty bad, in fact and right now we need a bail-out. So the next President can't be a joker. He must be one who'd rate governance far above politics. But let's not generalise lest we fall into the trap of just exercising our jaws just for the sake of sounding off.
Corruption is the snake that has given birth to the long thing called unemployment. Poisonous leaders who enjoyed free education, good roads, good food, great health care are the ones who have bitten to death every good thing in our national life. The next President would be inheriting an angry nation, its dying people, frustrated youths and sceptical folks who have written this country off as a failed nation. Anybody who wants to live in Aso Rock must be ready to fix us or he should stay home and be the husband of his wife and father of his children.
This long thing called unemployment has to be fixed once and for all. It's a war that must be fought like the third world war. It is the real do-or-die. Yeah, if we don't win it, we are d-e-a-d. Unemployment is the reason politicians can buy votes and electoral officers. It is the reason daughters of the unemployed man is an A-list prostitute, nicely decorated as an 'aristo big babe doing runs'. It is the reason we have teenage cultists who must 'kill somebody' to pay school fees their parents can't pay. Now, the South East is a free-trade-zone for kidnappers. Kidnapping is lucrative. It is better than staying at home and being a nuisance and child of sorrow (like the Biblical Jabez) to the father who saw you through school with his cooperative society savings and gratuity.
Are you about to tell me crime is crime and it does not pay? Shove it. The season for self-righteous sermons are long gone. There is famine in the land and desperate, terrible things happen in times of famine. Start by telling me what a 29-year-old able-bodied man is supposed to do when he can't find a job and help train his siblings? Tell me your solution to the problem of a young man who is eager to work but can't find a job and his mother is dying, yet he can't afford to take her to a private hospital. The system kept him in school for six years pursuing a four-year course and still can't provide him with a job. He's hungry. His mother is dying. His neighbour rides okada all day. His friend is a glorified political thug.
Two of his classmates are 'Yahoo kingpins'. He graduated with a second class upper in Biochemistry five years ago for chrissakes! Did he sit for JAMB with the hope of becoming a kidnapper? But Nigeria is making more money than ever from oil and we are poorer than ever. Politicians drive brand-new cars and treat their cold and cough abroad. Crime is bad but if 'monkey dey work baboon dey chop' something has to give. So whoever can't fix corruption and unemployment should not come and inflict himself on us. We already are suffering from enough plagues and praying that God kill our Pharaohs.
The next President must see agriculture as not only a route out of our unemployment maze but also as the next cash cow. He must send an executive bill to the National Assembly making it mandatory for the 36 states and the FCT to each have a state farm. Each state should pick a crop and grow it in commercial quantity. Each state must also set up processing plants for whatever they are growing to avoid wastage and encourage exports. States who don't want to grow crops can concentrate on animal husbandry. For instance, Lagos can concentrate on sea foods and have a canning industry to cater for the nation and also export. Another state can breed cows and process same for export and internal consumption. There is an industrious retired banker down my road who breeds rabbits. She sells them live, dressed and barbecued for small chops. Barbecued rabbit is healthier snack than pizza, believe me.
There should in addition to all that be federal farms run sincerely by the federal government, one in each geo-political zone. Bonds should be given for agric and tourism projects only. Do you need a degree in rocket science to do any of these? No. You need a leader who can combine brain with political will. That's all. Try and imagine how many mechanical, electrical engineers and computer science graduates each state will need on those farms. Do we have enough veterinary doctors who'd need to work round the clock to keep those farms? What about accountants, food technologists, microbiologists, biochemists and civil engineers who'd build and help sustain these plants?
Am I rewinding our national life like a depressing old video? My apologies but there are sadder days ahead if the next President employs unscrupulous hackers to work with in 2011. If we swear in a coward next year, we would have sworn in doom. We need a man who can locate men and women who have political will, Nigerians who want to leave a mark, a legacy. A President who'll let expired men tell him how to run his show we don't need. We need a man who'd work so hard, so transparently we'd beg him with a third term ticket. We don't want a man who wants to give speeches and spend three years laying foundation for whatever. We want a man who wants to bake a fresh national cake, not one who wants to eat the remaining crumbs along with the cake pan.
Lagos' 58th LCDA
There is a place called Okota in Lagos state. It is in ……local government area. There is a major road there called Ago Palace Way. It is a long road that stretches from Cele bus stop end to Apple Junction intersection leading to Festac town. There was once a pothole after the only AP Filling station on the road. Some months ago that pothole was manageable. The pedestrians managed one side. The motorcyclists meandered on the other.
The motorists bounced in and out of it. One fateful evening, while trying to manoeuvre, a truck dumped some of its contents on a Toyota Yaris killing the occupants. Thus occurred the first human sacrifice. The pothole must have been encouraged by the sacrifice. It is now an autonomous big trench. As I write this I'm being bounced around in my car as cars, trucks, pedestrians swim through, trying to avoid the not-so-good swimmers who are stuck in the muddy water.
Now, I learnt that there is a local government chairman for this area. I don't think so. They also told me that there is a councillor who was elected in this area. I don't believe them. I think nobody was elected to oversee this part of Okota. I made a few calls and I was told some people were actually sworn in after the last local government election for this area. Awesome. Does that chairman use this route? Does the councillor use a helicopter? How do the two of them feel when they receive their pay every month? Are they waiting for more casualties?
Upon further investigations, I also found out that Madam Chairman is actually eyeing a House of Representatives seat in 2011. Ah. Ok. Does that mean to hell with us? Or is someone planning to tell us this is a state road after riding on our 'state votes' into local government chairman's office? Governor Fashola, please beg 'them' for us. We are not 'prouding' and we don't want to report anybody to the Almighty God again. They can also resign if they think the work is too much. We will understand.