By William Manful
Time changes so do people. Maybe people change that’s why time changes or is it the other way round time rather changes people. Either way the world clearly isn’t the way it was. Consciousness of cultural sensibilities and fear of distressing groups emotionally means that one couches comments or views with care and utmost discretion. Satirists are now having a nightmare, struggling to balance the politically correct with that which is considered or regarded as humorous and funny.
When and how did we become so sensitive? The even bigger question is, is it healthy for society to be so self aware? What will this all mean to freedom of expression which is a cardinal feature of democratic governance? The paradox I see is that the quest to frame society along the lines of tolerance and understanding is becoming a premise for intolerance and discrimination. Views and opinions are now suppressed and stocked underneath diplomatic vocabulary that belie how people are truly feeling. Sentiments are repressed just so that conservatives can fit in, or score political points or appear more modern, trendy, educated, erudite and civilized. Marginalizing a group makes us seem archaic accepting same group accentuates a modern mindset. Meanwhile the anonymity of the internet affords users the chance to be truthful, exhibiting mean comments that emphasize hate, racism, prejudice and ignorance. The vitriol that has been veiled by the veneer of political correctness is unleashed with limitless ferocity demonstrating a backwardness that makes the post modern man look like a caveman. If political correctness is an attempt to enhance the notion of civility amongst men then clearly it is not working.
The world now exists in two as it always has anyway. It is just that the duality has taken a new form; the extreme conservative or the ultra liberal. There is no room for a middle ground. You are one or the other as we continue to develop the penchant to demonize dissent and or disagreement. Is democracy serving us well or is democracy finally proving to be a contradiction in terms? An illusory concept that can never be what it purports to be unless it is wrapped in propaganda.
There is now the risk of building tension by fostering the tenets for freedom which increasingly show that inherent to the democratic political credo are facets of tyranny. The majority may carry the vote but what will that mean to the minority? Conversely the minority may be protected but how is it a democracy when the will of the masses is no longer sacrosanct.
The insanity of modernity is trying to please everyone at once which can only guarantee the outcome of leaving us all dissatisfied for the simple reason that political correctness is a call on humanity to go against its nature. We are better off acknowledging what we truly are by trying to find a balance between the two extremes of correctness. After all the concept of cultural acceptance and propriety are predicated on relativism. The absolute is beyond our range and will forever remain within the province of God.
By Yinka Ogunlana, Crawford University, Nigeria
POLITICS is ubiquitous; yet the question always on my mind is why its practice should be absurd in Nigeria. Over the years, political scientists have observed politics as an authoritative allocation of values in the society. Aside this, we should understand what the great Greek philosopher Aristotle meant when wrote that that man was by nature a political animal. He referred to man as a political animal in the sense that we all need to interact with one another which apparently means the essence of social existence is politics and he who does not need the state is either a god or beast which implies that nature has put man in a political situation.
But then, it is obvious that man has moved from being a political animal to an evil genius. It is a universal phenomenon that politics has to do with power but why should it be obtained by all means? As Jean Montesquieu noted, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In this vein, it is good to note that every man strives for power in Nigeria which shows everyone exercises the spirit of politics and at the same time expresses a competitive spirit towards striving for a good life. But, violent acts, murder, political assassination, corruption and killings do not portray the real nature of politics neither does it show what politics is or should be.
It is my opinion that Nigerians are yet to understand the great joy a country can possess by understanding and embracing what real politics is; a politics that entails healthy competition, free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, an independent electoral commission and a maximum security before, during and after elections, as this will not only promote the image of Nigeria as a country but will also give it a chance to redeem it’s lost glory in the world. The nature of politics should never be misconceived as it is currently been observed in Nigeria. Our leaders, and even we the governed have so misconstrued the nature of politics that many youths today now regard the politics of Nigeria as a ‘dirty game’ due to the bare fact that we live in a seemingly climate of a vague nature of politics rather than the real light of governance; which politics from the ancient Greece connotes.
Majority of people in Nigeria think and practice politics in an evil, aggressive, heartless and wicked manner thereby making Nigeria’s politics so horrible. Ideally, politics should be an activity to keep the county alive and not dead, it should be for the best and competent ones and not for the weak- minded, feeble, ignorant, novice and selfish as real politics concerns itself with setting collective goals in an institutionalised setting .The true nature of politics is a means to that expected end which every good Nigerian aspires. Until we get to realize and understand the real nature of politics, it might be difficult to talk about any meaningful development in 2020 and beyond. Furthermore, it is important to note that politics cannot be eradicated or killed because it is a natural phenomenon and at a higher level, its true nature forms the basis on which every reasonable, responsive and responsible government is built. Now, the question remains: when will politics become a clean game in Nigeria?
I hail from Ikire and I love Dodo Ikire. Beyond the childhood nostalgia and emotional affinity I have with this popular delicacy, I have given some thoughts to the uniqueness of the most famous thing that my ancient town has been identified with for centuries. By the way, Ikire is a university town situated between the two university cities of Ibadan and Ile-Ife in the Southwestern Nigeria. Our people are enterprising, innovative and welcoming. They are also particularly creative if one examines the way and manner they have prepared, packaged and popularized Dodo Ikire for years. The ingenuity of our women is only a part of the story.
In general terms, Dodo is the Yoruba word for ‘fried plantain’, a delicacy which many West Africans love to eat with jollof rice and or beans. The general Dodo is made from ripe plantain, cut into slices. But Dodo Ikire is a unique nibble: it is made from over-ripen, almost decomposed, plantains, (which many farmers might want to throw away for loss of market value). Yet, so unique is Dodo Ikire that Prof. Sidi Osho and many other food technologists and scientists have written well-researched papers on the nutritional and economic values of Dodo Ikire.
Beyond the social, cultural, economic, and, increasingly intellectual importance of Dodo Ikire, (some postgraduate students in social anthropology, economics and history are now researching Dodo Ikire for projects and dissertations), a deeper reflection on this snack shows how ingenious and relevant an almost rotten item (plantain) could turn into a well-cherished and yet rarely rotten and even uniquely tasty thing (Dodo Ikire). This noble nibble from Ikire shows to us that we can always inject life into a dying idea; that a new life is always possible once one is still alive and kicking. Dodo Ikire shows to us that we can always create and re-create our realities; that our ideas will never run out until we stop thinking; that we can turn what may perish into what we can cherish. Dodo Ikire tells us that life is about innovation.
Dr Oseni is a Lecturer at Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria
By Adedokun Boluwatife Loyce
Biologically, parasitism is a kind of relationship between organisms in which one organism benefits at the expense of others; a non- mutually beneficial between the host and parasite. Interestingly, this concept can be aptly be applied to the state of the contemporary Christendom in Nigeria as it had apparently developed over the years with the consistent proliferation of ‘modern churches’ with their attendant observable regularities. Besides spirituality, Christianity should be a medium of social, moralistic, economic and political solace for its acolytes and also the church, as its main institution, should act as the conscience and an informal check of its nation as it had been, until recent, since the antediluvian time; then the relationship between the church and the society can be said to be symbiotic. From the Marxist perspective, the church has abruptly gone capitalistic; capitalism as a mode of production is based on a relationship of interminable economic subordination of the working class (proletariats) by the owners of the capital (bourgeois). Also, it involves the concentration of the means and instrument of production in the hands of the minority at the detriment of the masses, in fact, it is a parasitic relationship. Ironically, the Nigerian ‘Christian proletariat’ does not only provide labour is also the perpetual provider of ‘capital’ but not its owner. ‘Religious capitalism’ is accurately akin to ‘religious parasitism’
It is very evident that the foundational creeds of Christianity are becoming trite and fictitious as they are being continuously overlooked in favour of the ear soothing messages. Doctrines such the Second Coming Of Christ and other creeds that serve as the map of the ‘pilgrim’ such as restitution, holiness, forgiveness, no divorce and remarriage are swiftly losing their prominent positions to prosperity, business expansion, fame and other corporeal things of this world. However, this preceding notion does not infer one as an ‘anti-prosperity’ advocate as even God had already promised wealth and prosperity in abundance; the affluence of the biblical patriarchs like Abraham, Solomon, David, Job et al is an attestation to God’s munificence but a common denominator to these hitherto mentioned patriarchs is that they sought the kingdom of God first before other things of this world were added unto them. As much as it not a crime for one to succeed (even the Bible affirms success) but in our worship in our various churches I do not think the church should lose sight on its focus- The Second Coming Of Christ. Continue reading “Parasitic Capitalism and Contemporary Christianity in Nigeria” »
By Darasimi Oshodi
Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez. Why are superstars falling from grace to grass? Pistorius’ and Hernandez’s cases are still in court so it is subjudice, using the legal parlance, meaning one cannot make any conclusive statement on them, at least not in public. The sports world was shaken earlier this year when Armstrong admitted that he had been using drugs for a very long time despite repeated denials. He admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins. During his confession, which he made to Oprah Winfrey, one of America’s top show hosts, he said, “I view this situation as one big lie I repeated a lot of times. I made those decisions, they were my mistake and I’m here to say sorry.”
One question that probably has been running through the minds of sports followers/lovers is why our revered sports heroes fall from their place of exaltation to great depths of ignominy. Why do people we have come to admire and hero worship turn out to be pretenders, hypocrites and at times criminals or lawbreakers? These individuals were once stars who were famous because of their dazzling sports career but due to crucial errors in judgment and sometimes, persistent ill habits, their names and careers have been tarnished. Check this short list:
Tiger Woods: Top golfer and former champion Tiger Woods was charged with infidelity and extra-marital affair. The scandal cost him his marriage and sponsors. It is believed he had extra-marital affairs with as many as 17 women. Woods accepted that he was a sex-addict and was admitted to re-hab. Only recently has he managed to get a few sponsors back though his form remains shaky on the golf course.
Mike Tyson: A former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion who had the record of knocking down his opponent in the first 91 seconds of the fight. He was arrested for rape and was later sentenced to six years in prison followed by four years of probation. Apart from rape, he has been embroiled in different controversies but his most remembered controversy was when he bit both ears off Evander Holyfield during a match.
Ben Johnson: Johnson tested positive for performance enhancing drugs after winning the 100 metres sprint at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was forced to give up his medal. He later admitted to having used the banned substance the previous year at the World Championship and was stripped of that title as well. He attempted to stage a return but failed another test and was banned for life.
Marion Jones finished with three gold medals and two bronze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a feat that had never been done. But Jones was stripped of her medals after she admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. After the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Jones was accused of taking steroids by her ex-husband, among others. Tests proved nothing but Jones confessed to lying to federal agents about her drug use. She returned the five medals she had won and was also handed a six month prison sentence. She had been accused of using illicit substances from her school days. As if that was not enough, she was also accused of being part of a check-counterfeiting scheme linked to her former coach, Steve Riddick, her sports agent Charles Wells, and her ex-boyfriend, Tim Montgomery.
The stories related above are sad because the characters involved were, at one time, on top of the world but came crashing down and even out of our consciousness. What must have caused this? Simply put, lack of character. All of these sport stars either lacked character or lost their character at a point. They got to the top but could not stay at the top. At different times and fora, I have heard that ability/talent can take you to the top but character will keep you there. This is indeed true of the characters in the aforementioned stories and many other celebrated personalities who have been disgraced. The absence of character has caused many to fall from grace to grass in all spheres of life. The list is endless.
So what is character? Character is much more than just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. People without character live hypocritical lives. The personality they present to people is different from what they are in their closet. And eventually their secrets are exposed bringing them great opprobrium. There is a saying in Yoruba land, where I come from, that character is like smoke and that no matter how hard one tries to hide it, it will eventually be detected
From these stories, I have again learned that character is essential and must be maintained at all times. While we all have our weaknesses, we must ensure to deal with them. Why? The weakness we don’t deal with will deal with us. The vice that we don’t overcome will overcome us and may disgrace us. If we must stay at the top, we must maintain good character. As we enter the year 2014, let’s check ourselves and identify weaknesses that we need to deal with and then go ahead and deal with them.
P.S: I pray that justice will be rightly dispensed in the Oscar Pistorius’ case.
By Darasimi Oshodi
If Nelson Mandela was a Nigerian
Was Nelson Mandela a man from our clime? Was he truly African? He definitely did not think or act like an African. He looked like he came from another world. He exhibited characteristics that you would hardly find in an African leader and that is why he is respected the world over. He was a true statesman, a man of integrity, a man of peace, the father of a nation, a bridge builder, a visionary, a selfless personality, a man who knew how to connect with the people he led, a man who lived for the people and who will continually be in the hearts of people the world over.
This post is a tribute to this extraordinary person. It is my own way of showing how much he was different from the rest of us in Africa and particularly, our politicians in Nigeria. The following, therefore, are my thoughts on how he might have acted if he was a Nigerian.
If Nelson Mandela was a Nigerian:
- He would have spent more than one term in office as president.
- He would have tried (and might have succeeded) to tinker with his country’s constitution to elongate his time in office perpetually.
- He would have found a way to get back at a particular ethnic group for the years he spent in incarceration.
- He would have set up a sham truth and reconciliation commission.
- He would have made himself the life patron of the African National Congress (ANC).
- If he eventually left office, his home would be the venue of different political meetings where fates of election candidates would be determined.
- He would have installed his crony or a puppet in office as his successor.
- He would have spoken against the administration of succeeding presidents.
- He would have denied his health condition or the cause of his son’s death (when he died of AIDS in 2005) but instead would have provided various cover-up stories.
- His children would have been made ministers.
- He would have asked to be flown out of the country for medical treatment.
- An expatriate company would have built a palatial mansion for him as a retirement gift.
- He would never have retired from public life (that’s actually a strange concept to Africans). He would be seeking relevance by all means. Ironically, the great Madiba was relevant till death and still is even in death. He never sought relevance but he could not be ignored. He was venerated. He was loved. He was celebrated.
By Dr. Kwabena Amponsah-Manager
There is a popular saying that ‘garbage in, garbage out’. What this means is that if you receive poorly refined instructions, codes, methodology, you act on it as you receive it. When this is true, it reduces one to the level of a robotic machine or a lower level being.
What makes you a superior being, that is if you think you are, is that you are not at the mercy of the external instructions you receive. You have the capacity to refine and filter out the ‘garbage in’ so that the output is not garbage. This is the reason I do not run chemical reactions that explode and burn my laboratory buildings or develop ‘weapons of mass destruction’ despite the myriad of information available to me on the web and the library.
You are the middleman between the instruction, information and codes you receive and the output they are meant to produce. Whether you receive the bulk mixture from your accountant, PTA, spiritual leader, politician, counselor, etc., your role is to filter out the garbage, retrieve and concentrate the fine code to get required output.
There will always be garbage in, but that does not mean there has to be garbage out if you and I pay our part.
Legal icon and Human Rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana and top Nigerian film maker, Mr. Kunle Afolayan were among eminent Nigerians honoured by Youth Focus Initiative (Y.F.I) on the recognition of distinguished roles they have played individually in motivating several young people in the society.
The historic event tagged “Youth Focus Role Model Awards 2013 and Public Presentation of SOURCES OF SUCCESS” was held on Saturday 19th October 2013 at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference Building, Ikeja Lagos.
In his welcome speech, the Founder of Youth Focus Initiative and President of Upward BAO Consulting, Dr. Tunde Oseni said Y.F.I is a pet project which he started in 2001 at the age of 24. He asserted that since then, the idea has remained to motivate and engage the youths wherever they are. “I am happy to report to you that our strategy is working. We have transformed Y.F.I into the Corporate Social Responsibility and Advocacy of Upward BAO Consulting, a growing Human Capital Development Company’.
The awardees and their categories of awards are: Petroleum Geologist and retired Senior Manager of Chevron, Prince Adekunle Oduborisha (Leadership), Mr. Femi Falana S.A.N (Career Development), Mr. Kunle Afolayan (Entertainment), Founder and C.E.O, Flying Doctors, Dr. Ola Orekunrin (Social Entrepreneurship) while Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan (Chairman, Ejigbo LCDA) and Comrade Ayodele Adewale (Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government) bagged awards on their roles in Grassroots Development. Continue reading “Youth Focus Initiative Honors Falana Afolayan, Others, Report by Ajibola Olarinoye” »