A Birthday: HIStory

He was born in the mid-early eighties as the last of four kids. His brother and two sisters were so proud to have a new lil babe in the house, you know how kids are about babies. :). Things were still good in Naija back then, so he surely had quality baby things. His naming ceremony was well-attended with rice and soup very plenty. Since paternal grandpa wasn’t around, he had gone to the great beyond, he was named by his great-uncle. He tasted the salt, pepper, honey and all. He started life in earnest.

Growing up was fun, as it always is when you had at least someone to grow up with as sibling. Having three was really interesting. He never got to go to nursery school. He started with lessons till he was five then they changed environment. Moving to an estate (not the ‘mind-ur-biz’ kind anyway) brought more excitement and new friends. By the time he started school, he was put in Preparatory Class (a.k.a. Pre-Nursery) at six, with the clause that the first ten pupils will skip to Primary 1. He eventually made the cut and started primary education well-prepped. He came first twice out of three terms but had to change schools again before getting into the next class.

At the new school, his mum asked that he should be tested for Primary 3 instead of 2 and the proprietress obliged. He passed and ended up running the last three classes in his primary education as one of the best students. He actually finished second best overall in his set. In terms of recreation, he played a lot of football. His favorite board game was Scrabble and he loved to spend time reading whatever he can lay hands on. He had very cool friends then both at home and school. They played football, ran around the locality rolling tyre on the streets, played with sand, did some form of gymnastics (splitting and backflips were commonplace), plucked fruits, watched movies and did many more exciting things. He also found his ‘first love’ with a girl who turned out to be his birthmate (same day, month and year). They got close and intimate (when away from prying eyes) and he actually thought, as naïve as he was, that he could spend the rest of his life with her. Such a dream at such a young age set him up to become a romantic at heart.

He started secondary school late, again. After being posted to a public secondary school with no particular care for students, he had to stay home for the first term of J.S.S. 1, while they find him a better option. He resumed at a government college in Epe for the second term. By the end of the third term, he was ill throughout his exams with wounds on his legs but he still managed to turn in a top five performance. Almost everything he brought to the school was either lost or stolen. He had to be moved away from boarding school and he eventually changed to a private school at Ikeja where he finished from.

Secondary school was interesting. From his mini-clique of three at the government college (G.C.K., for those who know) to a bunch of interesting friends at V.G.S., he managed to have some fun. Yeah, he skipped classes, escaped school during the compulsory tutorial period to go play games, continued his football ‘career’ and developed desire for new things. His small stature couldn’t get him any girl during secondary so romance was the last thing on his mind, though he still thought about his first love. He finished secondary in Science Class and cleared his external exams in one sitting (like most of his mates). He was also fortunate to clear his JAMB so he was ready for higher education.

He was at a friend’s place when he saw his name on the Merit List for LASU published in a national daily. He got in and started his 100 level while staying at an uncle’s place. In school, he met a couple of wonderful friends, one of which is one of the closest to him till date. School wasn’t easy as there was little cash to use. He scaled through though, with lots of interesting experiences. His second year through the final were spent at the campus for engineers, so he was back at Epe. He never stayed on campus except for the squatting period early in his second year. Staying in town helped him learn a lot of what life is when you’re truly independent but it also has some sort of negative impact on his academics as he found it easy to skip classes. Anyways, he made his way through school and graduated with his class.

In between studies, he had his first two relationships. Incidentally, both relationships were intertwined, going on almost at the same time. He kept both till after school and they both ended with his foray to the North for his Youth Service were he tried to start another. Right before NYSC, he met this beautiful lady while teaching at a secondary school but she turned out to be nothing more than a very good friend.

NYSC provided some of the most beautiful experiences he ever had. The fact that he had some issues clearing himself for service meant he couldn’t complain when his Call-up read Jigawa. He had to stay with his uncle and cousins in Kano as the only family link he had. Camp was very interesting as he met and stayed with coursemates from school while he also met a couple of new friends. He joined his platoon’s football team (the height of his football ‘career’) and actually got a goal but got knocked out in the semis. He passed out of camp, got posted to a Junior Secondary School and ended up taking an interesting journey through 3 states, along with a friend, before getting to his place of primary assignment.

He had the rest of his service year in a very small town under a local government close to the Nigerien border. He and the other corpers in the town were given a nice lodge, fully equipped with kitchen utensils, TV, DVD player, Cable TV, fridge, sofas and all. He eventually got to have two very close friends with whom he shared the rest of the year. They did a lot of things in common and he learned a lot from both of them. They travelled to other towns together, went for meetings together, travelled to Kano and had the NIM exams together. They made his service year very worthwhile and interesting.

Two major incidents formed some of what he’d never forget in his entire life. First was an accident he had on his way back to Lagos for the Christmas break, along Lokoja Road. The luxury bus he was in actually fell on its side on top speed around 12:30 a.m. and it was a miracle no one died. They had to stay on the roadside till another bus came to pick them at about 10 a.m.. The other was a mob attack during the 2007 elections in which he was almost lynched by the Hausa locals. He was saved by the intervention of a fellow corper, a well-respected doctor who speaks the language fluently, but not before he took a couple of hits to his face and body. With these two major close shaves with death, he returned home with a whole new perspective about life itself.

After service, he tried to start up something for himself online, then later decided to apply for jobs. Four job tests and interviews later, with no final job offers and he laid back a little trying see if he could start something else. Along the line though, he got involved with a group of young guys who were into video gaming. He was the main umpire at their first major competition and has been a member of the team since then. He eventually got a job at one of the popular TV stations as a web manager and has been there for some time now.

Through all that, he started work on his own private plans, registring his own business name, organising a series of seminars and creating a layout for his educational mag. He also started a group for his secondary school classmates and they had a couple of reunions over the years. The group had grown from less than ten to over sixty members with an average of twenty members attending a reunion at a time. He has also gotten involved with helping a few friends through their projects thereby forming potential partnerships.

Since after service, he’s had two relationships that didn’t work out, one he ended because he wasn’t really feeling it and the other ended due to the recurrence of irrelevant issues. He’s also had a few crushes and some ‘interested participants’ which never materialized into anything solid. He now has one of the best relationships he ever dreamed of and he’s hoping this would be final.

The internet, specifically facebook, has also brought lots of wonderful people along his way. Many of them old friends and classmates with some new, highly intelligent friends some of which have turned out to be very reliable and close.

His family has been supportive throughout all that had happened in his life. He has a very close relationship with every member of his family, the tightest being with his immediate elder sis and the not-so-good with his dad. His mum has been very understanding and extremely caring, never doubting his ideas and always urging him when he wants to try new things.

Though he’s yet to be where he wants to be, but he’s sure on his way there. And with so many wonderful people around him, he’s confident everything will turn out right.

This is just to keep you up-to-date on his story. It’s just a brief summary of some of the most important things in his life. It’s his day today so this is a way to express a big THANK YOU to all who have played a big part in his life in their own little ways. To all those who sent in wishes variously on this day, he says THANK YOU!

And thank you for reading through. You guys, my WordPress peeps, have been a very big motivation. Thank you so much. This would be a great year for us all!

Signing Out!!!

birthday things

birthday things


Harsh Reality

Join the Coalition.

Join the Coalition.

After spending about three hours of my very precious time watching the (meaningless???) stakeholders meeting over the fuel subsidy removal issue on Channels TV about two weeks back, I feel really hard done by with the impromptu removal of the same subsidy. I know it hurt most of us (or should I say all the masses) but I’m seriously pained. Looking back at that meeting, I remember telling my friends about the issues I had with it.

First, it exposed our government personnels as people with either extremely low or one-sided (as in the case of Sanusi) intelligence OR dangerously wicked hearts. In fact, it could be a combination of both. The fact that they were allowed so much time to express themselves and they were still unable to convince me (a ‘common man’), much less the highly learned minds that proved points against the plan, says so much. As Sanusi kept ranting about how bad our economy had become and how it was going to fail, backing it up with international facts while also asking agonisingly, “Are you in this world?”, I asked only one question, is the removal of a non-existent ‘subsidy’ the solution? A lot of stories are out there about stolen monies by political thieves, misplaced funds by the government, unnecessary expenses and a lot more that if cut down or retrieved, will save our economy many times over! Now, the ‘intelligent’ Sanusi is crazily hammering on N1.3trl ‘subsidy’ that will crash our economy before we know it. Did these guys ever even try to explain how it is that the ‘subsidy’ grew to that point?

Another issue from the meeting is the brainless comparison with the telecoms sector, I mean, that’s absolute madness!!! Now, I won’t even comment on the obvious rip-off of the populace by these telecoms companies till tomorrow, that’s a topic for another day. If I recall very well, the deregulated telecoms sector was well into its third year before I bought my first SIM card and I got my first phone the following year. I didn’t pay more for food or transportation because I didn’t have a SIM or a phone. Many of us waited out the early expensive phase without any stress with only a privileged few jumping in at the first rush. Comparing that with an essential commodity that, whether we want it to or not, affects our everyday life is absolutely baseless and senseless. And to think that this was the golden point on which there ‘subsidy removal’ plan was hinged actually scares one about the actual intentions of the group behind it. Is this how shallow their thoughts are or do they just assume that we’re idiots??!!

We all are already well educated on the subsidy issue by now so there’d be no need to start stating all the obvious facts. What I’d really like to back up is how wicked these government officials are. During the early days of the ‘subsidy removal’ proposal, a lot of facts started popping up and one that caught my eye was an article on Sahara Reporters by Farooq Kperogi. The link to the full article is here. The article explained how this wicked government negotiated with a rogue Dutch company to refine our oil and send back dirty refined oil (unusable in Europe) which is killing the people and their cars at the same time. The contract was worth $3bn while it would only take $1bn for the repairs of our existing refineries (according to the article.) Now, how and where do we factor in all these to support the removal of ‘fuel subsidy’? It is clear that they were just selling us poison to eat and are now smacking us right in the face while forcing us to pay more! We can’t sit down and take this trash!!!

Sometimes I try to overlook all the obvious issues that prove the non-existence (or illegality) of fuel subsidy, and I think in the direction of accepting the reality of its existence. Then I ask, if fuel subsidy truly exists and the FG is claiming some faceless cabal is getting fat off it, then shouldn’t the government take steps to ensure that the misuse of the subsidy is promptly dealt with? Is it really that difficult to trace accounts and find out how such a huge amount is really being spent? Now, let’s say that’s ‘impossible’ and, inevitably, subsidy had to be cancelled, a government sensitive to its people’s needs would normally create a buffer to take in the resultant effects of the removal (ignoring the repair of our refineries, which will clearly solve our problems.) If the government is so weak that it cannot deal with the fraud in the use of subsidy and, therefore concludes that the only way is to cut off the source to deal with the corrupt forces, then it shouldn’t punish the common man along with the thieving elite. Normally, common sense knows that the pain will be inflicted more on the masses via transportation which will ripple to other everyday necessities thereby killing off the struggling majority. Hence, buffers should have been created (in any way possible, Ben Bruce’s idea is just one out of many) to keep the expenses of the poor at the normal level before they can even think of any removal. But our crazy government decided to give us a New Year surprise, in essence killing off any little faith I might have had (in my softest mode) in the project. It simply shows how untrustworthy this particular plan is, if they can force it on us without any prior warning. And in line with the ‘cabal stories’, the government is, in essence, asking us to keep feeding the cabal ourselves as with or without subsidy, these guys will be making the same amount. I’m yet to understand how the ‘cabal’ is meant to just disappear with the removal of ‘subsidy’. I won’t even bother getting to the issue of how the ‘subsidy gains’ are going to be spent. That’s a non-issue as we’re already being robbed by the cruel masterminds, which means sitting back and watching what they’ll do with the money is not an option!

This post is just meant to add my voice to the already bulging list of awareness campaigns. I know I’m not saying anything new but they need to know that we’re more educated and enlightened than they think. They need to know that we will resist any form of suffering forced down our throats this time around. They need to know this country belongs to us and not to them! I was going to put in the involvement of an international cartel that is actually making all these things happen (including the Boko setup) and possibly why, but that will be a post for another day and, hopefully, with a lot more facts than I presently have. It still looks like one of the many conspiracy theories but as with most of the recent conspiracy theories, there’s enough truth to make one afraid for the future.

Writing this is a necessity at the moment as we plan to take back our country from our barbaric rulers (not leaders), and I will encourage every one of us to do all we can to ensure we see this through. As a wrap-up, I’ll like to explain to those of us who think this will be just ‘one of those struggles’ why this is different and why something will give one day whether we plan it or not. First off, those that will feel the immediate direct impact are low income earners, who are a majority on their own. Imagine a man earning N30,000 (and that’s on the high side in the majority), spending about N600 daily on transport (not considering that he’s married or has kids.) That’s N18,000 a month. Taking out taxes and other inexplicable cuts actually reduces his pay to about N28,000 which means he has N10,000 to spare, which he still tries to get by with. Although, he ends up borrowing to support himself at some point but he still gets by. Now at N141 per litre fuel and, consequently, double transport costs, he is potentially looking at N36,000 a month as a reality which means he can’t even get himself to work successful on his pay (since companies would never pay any salary increase because of subsidy removal.) So, with time, he ends up getting sacked due to inconsistency, not forgetting that he would not even be able to feed himself before that. This is one of the brightest scenarios among the struggling poor. When will frustration not push people out on the streets? The fact is, if we don’t fight now, we will fight later, however disorganized it will be then, because it will boil down to only two options: die quietly in your homes or die fighting to make things right. And even if we endure the first option for a while (as the regular Nigerian mentality says we will), we will wake up to the second sooner or later. The truth is, the earlier we occupy and plan a controlled take-over, the better for us. I will repeat again, this will NOT be the same as our previous struggles, I assure you. So erase the thought from your heads and see that either way we have only one option: OCCUPY & MAKE THINGS RIGHT!!! This is the harsh reality!

I hope as we read this, we are able to see reason to join the struggle and get the political machine to stand still and realise that we’re in control. Let’s make this happen guys! This is our “YES WE CAN”!!! Thank you for taking time out to read.

Signing Out!!!

Let's show 'em who the boss really is!

Let’s show ’em who the boss really is!