The Abuja Way

I sat in a popular fast-food joint the other day and listened to two friends argue over “office” matters. It was obvious that the two were close friends, and from the nicknames they shared, it was also apparent that they knew each other well, long before they came to settle in Abuja and work in the same office. Those of us seated near their table listened to the conversation, because one of the parties wanted everyone to hear and presumably drink from his book of Abuja wisdom.

The man, whom I shall call Mr. Ojionu, looked dashing, well groomed, and prosperous. His friend, whom I shall call Mr. Oyibo (because he had the affectations of an Oyinbo gentleman) looked lean and gaunt, evidence of a constant struggle to come to terms with the high cost of living in the capital city. Oyibo was also beginning to sprout grey hairs.

Everyone in our corner of the restaurant took notice of this odd couple when Ojionu hit his fist on restaurant table and shouted at his friend in exasperation:

“How many times have I told you that you don’t speak truth to power in Abuja?” he shouted.

“Many times, but this won’t stop me. You have forgotten what they say? The man dies who keeps silent in the face of tyranny? I don’t like the man’s attitude and you know it. How could I be the one to tell him who his enemies are? Do I look like someone who loves gossiping or backbiting people?”

Na you sabi,” Ojionu shot back. “The man is looking for his enemies. Why don’t you help him find them? You’ve missed a golden opportunity; the man wants you to be his confidant…”

“…His spy, damnit! Why do you change the meaning of words? This is wicked and amoral.”

“Me, wicked and amorous? And I am paying for your food and beer?”

“Not amorous; amoral – unethical, dishonourable, unscrupulous. And I don’t mean you. I mean the way you dress bad things with noble words.”

“Now you are the one using big words to confuse; not me but my way – what’s the difference? Anyway, you need to learn a few things about how to get along in this town.”

“Ok, teacher, fire on. I’m all ears.”

“I can reel out ten things that make people successful in Abuja. Never speak truth to power; help powerful people find or confirm their “enemies”; everybody is stealing from Nigeria, so always ask for something before doing anyone a favour. If you wait until after you have rendered excellent service, you will be the mumu because they will dash you peanuts. You are going around looking like Mr. Suffering himself. Put on a bold, prosperous front – drive the best car in town, leave that hamlet from where you suffer everyday to come to work; come and live in the city; put your children in elite schools here in Abuja; register with a big club…”

“All that on my salary?”

“You are thinking like a poor man, and don’t interrupt me please. Poor people like you always put the money first, rather than the dream and a plan. When you dream big, you’ll be presented with the motivation to go beyond this “holy” attitude that is keeping you in agony.”

“There’s something wrong with trying to be holy?”

“No, nothing wrong; I’m sure you’ll make it to heaven, I’m sure of that. The way things look, you might even make it sooner than you wish, because the journey has started in your body.”

“Now, you’re beginning to insult me.”

“I haven’t started yet. I may not speak truth to power, but I do to my friends. So, I’m telling you: leave your morality and fine principles at home. They will not train your children. They will not give you a life here. I am tired of listening to you moan about those who cheat you. Cheating is an Abuja way. How many have you cheated? You are a brilliant man, always full of ideas. Don’t you know that your ideas have made millionaires in this town? The people you leave documents with use the same documents to get ahead, while telling you that they were not approved, not so? Remember the day you came out of our meeting crying that the ideas you discussed with (name withheld) was what he came to present as his own? I sometimes feel guilty because I also make use of your ideas. But, in my own case, I make sure I pay you back with my friendship…

“So that’s why you buy me lunch and beer? You feel better for stealing my ideas after you make me eat your food?”

“Forget about that. You are my friend. I’m telling you that you need to learn how to get ahead. You come to work every day and dive straight to your task – you don’t remember to go greet our oga, ask how his family is doing, smile to make his day…”

“How does that fit into my job description?”

“Hahaha! I get the joke. But seriously, my friend, you need to be at the beck and call of your oga. That is why he is the oga. He expects absolute loyalty from you; you must be able to satisfy him in all respects with your committed service …”

“…speaking of which I must tell you this – since we are speaking the truth to frienship. Do you know what the latest office gossip is? It’s about you and the man. They say that he “services” you and this is why you are getting accelerated promotions and all the other perks that are making you live like a prince.”

“Be careful now. You may be my friend but in this Abuja, mugu dey go far, and you don’t cross a mugu.”

Mugu? You mean you act a fool to get what you want?”

“You are not versed in Hausa. Mugu does not mean a fool. It means something else and the nearest I can explain it to you is that a mugu is an extremely wicked and dangerous person. You may be my friend but be careful what you go about telling those who are successful in this town. I’ve paid for your food and beer; let’s go.”

“I don’t understand. You mean you could actually harm me? Is this a threat?”

“You are my friend; at least for now. Let’s leave here.”

consumer reports which diet pills work, free simple meal plans for weight loss, weight loss gluten free diet plan, 190 pounds in kilos, ground beef casserole recipes keto, how much weight will i lose on a 1362 calorie diet, exercise not good for weight loss, lose program weight, weight loss groups on facebook, onnit 5 keto recipes, strongest medication, quick ways to burn fat, buy belviq diet pills, lipozene poop, can you take cla and l carnitine together, best supplements to support weight loss, why aspartame may prevent weight loss, how much weight loss is concerning for cancer, weight loss 3 day diet, 60 pounds, how many calories do you need to burn to lose weight, which bcbs of nebraska policey does weight loss surgery, natural thermogenic fat burner, weight loss surgery mexico tijuana, ginger powder and lemon for weight loss, 15 lb weight loss, top thermogenic supplements, which bacteria is linked to weight loss, fiber vs protein weight loss, green max powder from swanson, yaz pill weight loss, how much weight can i lose doing p90, weight loss amino acids, dr michele bellamy, black label diet pills review,

Memo to Bala Mohammed Kaura

I feel a sense of urgency in writing this letter to you, Alhaji Bala, regarding your recent appointment and confirmation as Minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the FCT Administration supervises a territory that is oppressive and wicked to the poor. It is a matter of regret that, although FCT is positioned as Nigeria’s centre of unity, many of your predecessors carried on as if it is only the rich that are being united and welcomed, forgetting that they would still need the same poor people to minister to their domestic needs. They also forgot that hundreds of thousands of workers living in the most dehumanizing settlements outside the city, who commute to and from the city centre each day, enduring traffic snarls, are human beings whose sweat and blood developed Abuja to what it is today.

For eight years now, since I came to Abuja, I have reflected on this sad trend, manifested in the Big-Man Approach to Abuja development, and have come up with two possible explanations for this continuing unfortunate state of affairs.

First of all, although it was originally designated a federal territory, FCT’s status has since been seriously tampered with. This enabled your predecessors embark on arbitrary governance, fashioning the Territory in their own image while swearing by a secret, sacred book called “Abuja Master plan.”

The truth is that many of us residents suspect that this “Master plan” may not be an FCT Development Project Plan but merely an architectural drawing or map, which an incoming administrator such as your good self could interpret in one way, and your successor in 2011 is sure to interpret in another way.

FCT was originally designed as a Federal Territory with a Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA)) charged with responsibility for its development and control. The original master plan divided the territory into districts; consequently, development of the territory began from a set of districts that were grouped together into what was then known as Phase I.

The 1979 constitution further fuddled the issue by creating area councils and positioning Abuja as if it is a state. President Shehu Shagari, through a gazette, jumped in with a gazette which effectively converted the territory into a Ministry, complete with Minister, Permanent Secretary and directors, and consigned the professional developer (FCDA) into a parastatal of the Ministry. With the FCDA downgraded and powerless, politicians took over the development of Abuja – from the Ministry whose Minister was given the status of a state governor, and from the area councils whose chairmen are accorded the status of local government chair – by both the 1979 and 1999 constitutions.

Secondly, and as a consequence, we no longer hear about the phased development of Abuja, which was the key part of the secret master plan. We have, instead, concentrated on the Abuja Municipal/Abuja City and developed it for the rich, while banishing the poor to hamlets inside the Territory.

Although this banishment could be directly traced to the administration of Malam Nasiru el-Rufai, it has also been said that the minister made attempts to ameliorate the suffering of the Abuja masses. I have heard Abuja property and real estate professionals swear that el Rufai knew what he was about. They tell me that even though he banished the poor people from the city centre, the man had the good sense to create satellite towns where these could settle, and that he gave the land to some of the people who were displaced at give-away rates. I visited one of those settlements (at Orozo) and saw that many buildings have sprouted there, but the area was not inhabited because the houses were being built inside a thick forest. There were no infrastructures – roads, water, and electricity.

Many property developers I met there told me that they were confident that Malam el Rufai would have completed the five Satellite villages and made life easy for the Abuja poor who are today being forced to commute to work in the city centre from their hamlets. They continue to endure the most agonizing traffic snarls, because I am also told that feeder roads from those satellite towns to Abuja have been budgeted for but no one knows what has happened to the disbursements.

The way that I see it, honourable Minister, there is a practical and policy-making approach that you might wish to consider.

It is possible to make a mark in one year by taking a second look at those satellite towns, complete the infrastructure works on them, and link one of them up with a superb road networks to the city centre. Even if it is only one that you are able to finish, you would have the sort of positive Abuja legacy that the late Gen. Sani Abacha currently has over his development of the Gwarimpa Estate.

A second way is to reflect deeply on the following three realities that made it difficult for your predecessors to leave enduring legacy in the FCT:

One: Shouldn’t the FCT return to its original conception as a federal territory, and relinquish the heavy apparatuses of LG/state/federal ministry which it is finding economically difficult to shoulder at the moment?

Two: How long should we continue to have a Minister-Governor in the FCT? In order to give the FCT a chance to survive as a federal territory, we may not need a Minister for the FCT because it is a political position that is at once corruption-prone; we do not need swaths of land designated as area councils because they are attracting rabid politicians and obnoxious politics, including from those who currently position themselves as “indigenes,” and violently confront “outsiders” who wish to contest elections in this centre of unity.

Three: Is it possible for the FEC to vote to spread federal ministries and parastatals in far-flung districts (perhaps among the current area councils), in order to immediately decongest Abuja City, make for even development, bring down the scandalous cost of living in the city-centre, and give workers an opportunity to find decent accommodation close to their places of work?

sex toys for dudes, anaconda ed pills, high blood pressure premature ejaculation, mens sex drive in their 60s, how to get a bigger penis manually, what other treatments are there for ed if viagra and cialis do not work, google drive sex video, enlargement development cream, vigrx plus store, sex drive loss after 40 no kifs, where to buy viagra in lisbon portugal, viagra on line usa, is 7 inch penis good, how long to get sex drive back after abortion, bigger balls more testosterone, viagra and steroids, shiny male enhancement package, buy vigrx plus in chennai, biaxin rash, why accutane sex drive, which of the following is the correct sequence of puberty in boys growth spurt penis, does masturbation cause musle growth in the penis, i need penis, when can viagra be bought as a non patented medicine, what will viagra cost me over the counter, elderly male loss of sex drive, sex drive alcohol, top rated male enhancement products of 2018, how to get canadian viagra, hardcore male enhancement, independent male enhancement pill reviews, what is a penis enlargement called, bfs sex drive suddenly increased, exercises for sexual health, low sex drive lustera, pennis head, movie in which man eat viagra but his wife dont sex, penis growing exercise, hiw much is the average penis enlargement, how to decrease the sex drive, workout progression for penis enlargement, viagra herbs, what happens when you take two viagra, viagra cialis online prescriptions, generic viagra viagra price, man plus male enhancement system, how to get a thicker pennis naturally, penis stretches for length,

Second Guessing Jesus

On the Easter period just ended, I reflected on the mindless quest for materialism by Nigerian Christians, especially our pastors and priests. It is worrisome what this tendency is doing to our collective sense of values.

Christians are united in the person of Jesus Christ. The Christian faithful is called upon to model their lives after the life and example of Christ, and thereby act in accordance with the greatest of the commandments – to love God, and to love our neighbour.

Christians are divided on the third dimension – the self: If we are told to love God and to love our neighbor, what about ourselves? The traditional church provides a clear, unequivocal answer: we are to deny ourselves, because there is nothing in this world that follows us to the grave; the things of the world are ephemeral, transient, and vainglorious. Although the new movement understands this truism about the transience of possessions, it is often noted that the Almighty carried our cross and the same Almighty gave man the earth and all of its fullness for his possession; so what can be wrong with a man attempting to possess his possessions and live a better life?

Both explanations may be right, but there is more to this, in my view. The Christian world is divided into pastors and laity, and each has been given clear instructions on how to fulfill their various mandates. Here’s how I see it:

The world that existed when Christ assumed flesh was a world of injustice. The Roman Empire had conquered and ruled Palestine; the people were subjugated and made unwilling citizens of Rome. Within the country, the people further subdivided into a class society, with influential elite groups seeking to control thought, politics, and religion. Among these elite groups were the wealthy tax collectors representing the colonisers, an educated class that represented the state and served the interests of two sets of aristocrats – the puritanical Pharisees and the aristocratic Sadducees. These elite groups used the instruments of state to deal with commoners that did not obey laws and conventions that they extracted from existing religious and secular sources and often distorted for their own ends.

This was not how it was in the beginning, when the Israelites returned from self-imposed exile in Egypt. In sharing the possessions they found in their Promised Land, one Israeli tribe was dispossessed. This priestly tribe was created and set apart, stripped of all material possessions including landed property, and made to be the responsibility of the people for their daily upkeep and other material sustenance. The people did not want this tribe to be distracted by the search for material possessions in fulfilling their pastoral mission.

Nevertheless, the Bible records how, within this class, sons of priests later sought to escape this mandate by helping themselves to the temple offerings, and how God reacted to this sacrilege. It was not as if the sons of priests did not understand the rules – they sought a different interpretation of how to possess their possessions, just as the Pharisees and Sadducees were doing at the time that Christ took human flesh and waged His Battle of Salvation.

The Battle of Salvation sought to throw away old discredited ideas propagated by the religious aristocrats, without distorting the original Laws of Moses. One of the ways that this was eventually accomplished was the installation of a new type of priesthood that fulfilled the original plan. Most of those that Christ chose for pastoral missions were commoners, and his instructions to them left no room for ambiguity: In their journeys of evangelization, they were to travel light, shun material possessions, and depend for their sustenance solely on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached this Good News. For this group, there would be nothing like material demands from parents, brothers, sisters, relations, or neighbours; all such demands would be filtered through their willingness to listen to and subscribe to the Faith.

How did Christ’s chosen ones, our founding fathers in the pastoral mandate, the apostles, discharge their mandate? Virtually all suffered their master’s fate for daring to speak truth to power and insist on justice for the poor. Peter was martyred in Rome, Andrew and Philip were crucified on a cross, King Herod put James to death by the sword, Bartholomew was whipped to death, and John the Evangelist miraculously survived after he was immersed in burning oil. And so on.

What about the followers? They were also given clear and elaborate instructions on how to ensure that, in the search to possess possessions, justice and fair-play prevailed. Christ also had words of consolation for those unable to make it, asking them not to worry because the Almighty knows and would supply their basic needs. He also warned of the injustices and evils that accompany inordinate attempts to acquire wealth.

Christ could have been speaking to our countrymen today. In our search for wealth and power, we literally sacrifice fellow mortals, shoot enemies and competitors to death, poison, disable, or tear reputations of office colleagues to shreds, and subject the poor faithful to unimaginable indignities and injustices. Are these not the lot of Nigeria’s avaricious politicians, grasping entrepreneurs, ambitious civil servants, and prosperity preachers who align with the god of wealth? In Nigeria, our latter-day apostles are divided between those consistently pleading the cause of the poor by decrying injustices in economic and social order created by mindless scramble for our national patrimony, and those who side with politicians and captains of industry to accumulate vast wealth, milk their poor congregation dry through tithing and seed sowing, and use the proceeds to live ostentatious lifestyles exemplified by opulent mansions, exotic cars, and private jets.

These latter-day apostles have transformed into a jet-setting elite with flourishing businesses, educational institutions, and other commercial ventures that put them far and above wealthy members of their congregations. Their tendencies have contributed to the devastation of our sense of values.

Will these last? I remember Gamaliel. I am also mindful of history. In the Americas, from where material Christianity originated, great congregations, often husband-wife partnerships, have collapsed from scandals bordering on infidelity, financial fraud, and fake miracles. In Europe, the Anglican Church has almost collapsed from its approval of Sodomy and the decision to allow gays as heads of congregations. It would appear that the Catholic Church, the last bastion of rigid biblical theology, is going to be caught up in this embarrassment, judging from unhappy stories of its priests exposed as pedophiles and sex maniacs.
These are unhappy reflections on Christendom for the Easter period just ended. Mind you, I have not set out to judge priests and pastors. I do know, however, that the life and example of Christ indicate that wealth is often the first temptation for pastors on the journey of evangelisation. Wealth is attractive and magnetic, for it symbolizes prestige, power, luxury and authority and, as shown in Matthew 4:9, is one of the three powerful tools that Satan uses to draw pastors away from this mission.

how to get out of a weight loss plateau, jasmine tea benefits weight loss, 2018 appetite suppressant, two week workout weight loss, how many cups of green tea should i drink a day for weight loss, weight loss plan when breastfeeding, loose weight help, does wellbutrin raise blood sugar, how to do the ketogenic diet for weight loss, stairmaster benefits weight loss, body wraps for weight loss at home, herbalife fat burning tablets, apple vinegar pills lose weight, exercise at gym to lose weight, juicing schedule for weight loss, upper body weight loss routine, corset wearing for weight loss, how effective is weight loss by esting less, soza clinic, buy oxyshred, shark tank diet pills authentic, light recipes chicken keto, how many times a day can i use lipozene, peptide for weight loss, how is it when you are more active you need to eat more to lose weight, express scripts and diet pills, diet plans to lose a lot of weight and dont require much, wende kozlow, best keto recipes on instagram, first place diet, weight loss herbs dr oz, fastest way to lose weight belly fat, what antidepressants make you lose weight, weight loss exercises without equipment, what is a good way to lose weight while breastfeeding, green tea weight loss tablets, vi shape weight loss bars, does lemon water help u lose weight, diet pepsi appetite suppressant, senna pods for weight loss, vegan vs keto for weight loss, appetite suppressant for dog of prednisone, aspen weight loss clinic, weight loss and spa kennewick wa, what foods to cut out for weight loss, tequila helps lose weight, meal schedule for weight loss, gta v weight loss,

The Coming Acid Rain

LAST week, my wife and I received text messages warning us of the possibility of acid rain in Abuja, Nigeria. The message was said to have originated from NASA in the United States, thus lending it the required weight and authority.

My wife was afraid but I dismissed the message instantly. With the authority of my high school geography, I claimed that acid rain happens only in the Amazon jungles of South America! An official of the Meteorological Department lent weight to my claim, when he said on NTA that there is no cause for alarm. Then, all of a sudden, Abuja FCT became enveloped in a thick harmattan fog in March 2010, when the country was expecting the rainy season, and another Met officer alluded in The Guardian that the possibility of acid rain should not be ruled out.

Acid rain is a possibility in Nigeria, and the sign is here, in the thick smog that poses a challenge to air travel and to health. When I was told that a major cause of acid rain is burning of fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming, as well as air, water and land pollution, I did a double take.

Nigeria is a major burner of fossil fuel. The country flares an estimated 75 percent of its proven natural gas reserves (estimated at 124 trillion cubic feet) due to inadequate gas utilization infrastructure.

We face three dangers.

When we burn fossil fuels, we release large amounts of carbon into the air. The carbon contributes to the greenhouse effect, which causes the heat of the sun to be trapped in the atmosphere, leading to a sharp rise in global temperatures. This rise in temperature melts polar ice caps, thereby producing more water which causes ocean levels to rise. The rise in ocean levels threatens cities and settlements located close to sea levels. Proof? Lagos experiences intermittent sea surges that eat away its Atlantic shores and, since 1980, we have lived with the fear that Victoria Island will one day disappear under the sea.

A rise in global temperatures and the consequent melting of polar ice caps drastically reduces the level of salt in the ocean. This reduction in salinity of the ocean poses a danger to certain kinds of aquatic life, especially those that require average sea salt to thrive. Thus, it is possible that the devastation of aquatic life in the Niger Delta may not only have arisen from oil spills but also from the burning of fossil fuels by oil companies.

Burning fossil fuels releases sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. These gases react with water and other chemicals in the air to form sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and other pollutants, which travel with the wind for hundreds of miles and eventually return to the earth as acid rain, snow, or fog. As of this month of March 2010, we have experienced unusual fog tending towards smog in the atmosphere, and smog in the atmosphere is a sign that “acid rain” may be on its way. And, by the way, I was wrong on my recollection of my high school geography. Acid rain is indeed a current feature of US and Canadian cities, Europe cities, as well as Japan, China and countries in South East Asia. Scientists say that in combination with other chemicals which result in urban smog, acid rain attacks the lungs, causing illness and premature deaths.

These dangers should be a source of worry, especially for those of us living outside of the Niger Delta who do not fully appreciate what burning of fossil fuel and poor management of drilling operations do to the environment and to the future health of our population.

The world has been crying out over global warming arising from carbon emissions, and we were made to believe that this was a distant problem of those manufacturing refrigerators and air-conditioners, even as oil companies burnt fossil fuels and released carbons in our backyard. The Kyoto Protocol, which requires Western countries to cut their greenhouse emissions by five percent between 2008 and 2010, will eventually catch us unawares. It has led to a strenuous search for safe and cleaner energy sources which, when fully implemented, will lead to drastic fall in oil demand, the lifeblood of our economy. Nigeria and most major OPEC production countries were not required to sign this Protocol, meaning that we were not gingered up to look for ways of diversifying our income sources. Thus, our economy will be devastated when the West finds alternative energy sources.

The world makes strenuous efforts to ensure that crude oil gases are not wasted into the atmosphere, and our leaders find it convenient to connive with the oil companies which waste the scarce resource and pollute our environment. The Niger Delta struggle, a worthy effort to safeguard the environment and protect our economic future, was hijacked by political and criminal forces and turned into a charade that celebrated extortions, kidnappings, and political vendetta.

This is why we must entertain hope at the coming of Goodluck Jonathan as head of government. As a Niger Deltan, will he be the leader that moves us towards energy reforms, stops the burning of fossil fuel in his ancestral home, and joins international efforts to look for safer and cheaper energy alternatives?

Or will he concern himself ONLY with how to use the proceeds of the current production methods to ameliorate the sufferings of the Niger Delta, while the country faces the possibility of an acid rain, the continued destruction of aquatic life in his backyard, the possibility of disappearance of our shoreline cities, health challenges of pollution and urban smog, and future economic collapse when oil income no longer fetches billions of dollars that currently propel our politicians to selfish power struggles?

gnc weight loss challenge, need to lose weight fast for surgery, raise metabolism to lose weight, does rapid tone weight loss work, betsy ayala weight loss, keto recipes for biscuits with almond flour, lemon and parsley water for weight loss, extreme weight loss 2 months diet, how i lose weight of my husband, medical weight loss cpt code, hunger suppresant, cbd and diet pills, will a gluten free diet when you have a sensitivity help you lose weight and help thicken hair, 10 percent better, kelly clarkson on gma promotes weight loss using bioactive, keto recipes springform, william atlas md, food to eat to lose weight for men, phendimetrazine diet pill, anxiety symptoms weight loss, gnc protein sale, what if i lose weight after kybella, full body scan for weight loss, cheryl vallie, 7 day diet pills chinese, how to lose weight fast workout, can i use keto recipes in a low carb diet and lose weight, new weight loss drugs 2019, swimming for weight loss and toning, slumber barbie how to lose weight, lipozene preo brasil, anorexia nervosa weight loss, weight loss spa vacation, fat flush weight loss formula, how to lose weight and not be hungry, lose weight fast with sex, foods to lose weight around stomach, free natural weight loss pills, dr oz rapid weight loss shopping list, easy keto recipes without dairy, angelina jolie 2016 weight loss, sudden weight loss dieting, weight loss stuff for free, goal setting for weight loss worksheet, what is my pal weight loss, how old do you have to be to use lipozene, can drinking green tea help with weight loss,