Friday, 23 September 2016

Where Home Is

Enjoy this interesting piece from a co-cerebrate *smiles*. I love Uyo and she does too but she brings it to better light with great descriptives and vivid symbols if you may. 

By IfiokAbasi Okop

My family moved to Uyo when it was the only green pasture in Akwa Ibom State. I watched Uyo grow from a crawling toddler to a young adult in the eight years the new government ruled. It made a change from just being a state capital to a hub of businesses. The new government surprised Uyo, perhaps because it wanted more and opened up for more. It gave up houses and shops for good roads, gave up land for Ibom Tropicana: the cinema, the E-library and the International Stadium.
Uyo smelt new. The feel of a poor man who knew he was going to get rich one day and when he became rich, made everything about him tastefully exquisite.
                                   *  *  *
Uyo's roads reeked of bright headlights and streetlights the first night I returned from Nsukka. I smiled and closed my eyes to bask in the warm welcome. It smelt of home; it was home. The streetlights and headlights shone from the flyover to IBB Avenue. The lights in E-library glowed and I made sure I stared at it for the entire time the keke was going to pass by.
                                    *  *  *
Uyo had major roads which had been there since the early days of the town but Aka Etinan was a growing child with a bright future. It was the road that led to the famous Ibom International Stadium. The road that had the most supermarkets I have ever seen. There were ten of them, or were there twelve? And an important trivia; they were all owned by the Igbos, at least all the ones I have entered.
                                    *  *  *
I looked at Akpan Andem market again and knew I chose the wrong entrance. The other entrance had traders who did not care if you entered their shop; they were doing very well I supposed. But the traders at this other entrance could throng you if that would make you buy from them.
I looked at the ground as I walked into the market, making sure I stepped on neat places because it had rained earlier that day and the ground was muddy with market dirt. Most traders did not call out to me today and I felt denied of my market rights. I walked a long way with the sound of a woman's voice saying 'e dey kill mosquito well well, e dey kill bedbug, e dey kill rat, e dey kill ant; oya come see as e take dey work' ringing in my ears. A woman with Afang leaves asked me to buy from her and I walked away, silently resenting her and her fellow traders. I entered the meat section of the market and heard a man preaching. I wondered which one was louder, the sound of the knives hitting the meats on the wooden tables or the preacher asking the traders to give their lives to Christ. One trader, called out over the noise in the market, 'mbakara, fine girl. Come buy meat, ' I turned and walked to the front of his stall.
As I walked out of the market, I made a mental note to enter the first keke I saw the driver shout 'Aka Etinan' without asking anyone for directions. The day two keke drivers fought over which keke I would enter, I left some foodstuff on the ground.
                                    *  *  *
Uyo once had motorcycles as the cheapest means of transportation until the crime rate increased. Then the government banned motorcycles and introduced the tricycles we proudly call keke. The kekes caused a lot of nuisance and have since been banned from some places like the Wellington Bassey Way and the right axis of Plaza.     
I passed by Ikot Ekpene road one day and I heard a man shout 'plasta, plasta, one chanch!' I turned to look at him and realized he did not care if it really meant 'Plaza, Plaza one chance!'
                                     *  *  *

Ikot Ekpene, the other town in Akwa Ibom that is almost as famous as Uyo never really fascinated me. It was a small unplanned town with a population that seemed to be more than the town could carry. The roads always seemed to have more cars than they were meant for. For one moment, I smiled to myself while wondering how the air got around; I imagined breathing the air used by the person close to me and breathing it out for the next person. The only fascinating thing the town had was the Plaza that young people hung out in. It intrigued me because unlike Uyo's Plaza, nobody sells, takes passports or parks their car there. It is strictly for relaxation. 'The Raffia City', the city's alias is seen in just a small section of the town where almost everything is made with raffia like chairs, purses, slippers and even a lawyer's wig.
My favorite development in Ikot Ekpene apart from the Four Points Sheraton Hotel is the Ikot Ekpene - Abak road which is long, windy and lonely. A ride on it that gives one the feel of being Vin Diesel in the Fast and Furious series.
                                     *  *  *
My family lived in Ikot Ekpene for a while but I was so little all I could remember was the GRA, where we lived. It was the coolest place to live in Ikot Ekpene at that time, but now, it lives in its past glory but still holds the remnants of Ikot Ekpene's early development.
I now love Ikot Ekpene because it has never tried to be like any other town. It has never envied Uyo and has somehow reveled in its history.

Uyo, on the other hand, has reveled in being the major tourist site in Akwa Ibom State. On Instagram, one user wrote a post and asked people the places they would love to live in. I thought about India, Cuba, Paris and London but I realized home is really where love is and that place is Akwa Ibom for me.

The Author, IFIOKABASI OKOP is a student of the University of Nigeeria, Nsukka where she is studying English and Literary Studies. She is from AkwaIbom State and resides there also. She writes poems for and poetfreak

Saturday, 17 September 2016

ON NYSC Passing Out Saga

Good morning guys and hope your weekend is going well.

So sorry your interesting Ibadan Lawyer reads haven't been as frequent as usual. I've been going through countdown exercises and ensuring i dot my Is and cross the Ts. They say first impressions last longer but the last days are most remembered.

In my countdown exercise, some young Nigerians decided to destabilize my calendar by posting some interesting "Memo" from NYSC issued on the 14th of September, 2016 and signed by one A.C. Ani acting on behalf of the Director General. Like the elections of 2015, the social media was the easiest way to pass across this message and have young Nigerians prove their worth.

Permit me to say this and if you don't share my view, you don't have to crucify me. But the following events after the posts went viral proved to me once again that the current Nigerian youths cannot change Nigeria. I prove it with the following:
My CDS Group Putting a Mark @ Agodi
The first reaction to the situation was to be selfish. Every Nigerian is selfish and is so quick to forget that there is a more national effect or rather communal effect to public actions than it affects them. So the typical question on a lot of young people's minds was "Am i Stream 2?" Once that was answered in the negative, the next action would be a grin and "e no concern me Stream 2 go sort themselves out". As long as the actions do not affect them negatively, its fine. Same way the man who does not have a car, does not buy fuel and doesn't have any international transaction be bothered that fuel prices are increasing and the dollar is on the increase.
Second is that hypocrisy that makes me cringe! Upon satisfaction of the above question, the next thing the Nigerian begins to try and form solidarity with the others knowing that if push comes to shove, they can deck out and get going leaving their friends stuck in policies that are wicked. So you hear calls, talks, comments like "it doesn't make sense sha, why would they want to do that? whatever the case God is in control". You see it is this silly resort to religiosity that makes the situation bad and we really need to come out of it.
Thirdly, the authorities have this great silence that can deafen you and even the right thinking youths cannot seem to know what to do about it and so they remain at the mercies of the hypocrites, misinformed and call them positivists. NYSC has a website, they have pages on social media and with the several questions and comments, not the Director General, the PRO, or even any other top official of the NYSC has decided to clear the air or issue a statement to confirm or rebut the position.
Fourthly, the ones affected by the seeming bad position remain quiet, confused, and ultimately take it as their fate. Here is what the society has put in the youths: fear, intimidation, timidity, and neglect. Its a culture the typical 18-25 year old has been built with. from the knowledge of dictators, failing systems, hike in prices, labor strikes and other heinous societal imagery, it is just obvious nothing can be done till we hear the verdict of the BOSSES.


So let me now tell you my take. First off is that I love the NYSC Program really. For me it was a long one year of a break from ACADEMICS (going to school for 6 consecutive years to bag an LLB and BL no be small thing). Apart from the big break it helped me discover a lot about my self spiritually, financially, emotionally and of course socially. I cannot advocate for the program to be scrapped and that is not what this is about. it is just a gist of a better future forged from saner administrative decisions and youth participation. Whether Nigeria would get better or not is a factor of how ready we all are to be collective in thinking and decisions to especially quit hypocrisy and religiosity but be deep in principles, morals and proper information management.
My NYSC posting letter gives me a probable date of release as 28th of September, 2016; my NYSC identity card is valid till 6th of October, 2016 and mind you it was given to me when i relocated to Oyo state and finalised the processes so that was about March this year. Of course i am stream 2 and the question i am asking is how would i be identified for the remaining one month starting october 7th to November 4th?
The reasoning is indeed laudable. We got into camp a month after the stream 1 so we should be made to stay one month later. But whose fault was it that i was mobilized with the second batch? i applied the same day another friend who was mobilized first stream and i was second stream. Meanwhile the trite principle of making administrative decisions commence with the next series of events and not the current one must still stand. If you don't understand i explain, when a law is put in place, it cannot be retrospective. Therefore, this Stream 1 and 2 reasoning can only apply to subsequent batches of Corps Members and not the current.
I should categorically state that i am a happy corps member. of course i am batch B stream 2 and i am sure someone just nodded in confirmation of the need for my bants and rants (i say to you, you are Nigeria's problem). I have serious plans to start a real life immediately after POP on the 6th of October and I am sure that it will so happen. But like the change we are talking about, i am not resigning to "fate" (that silly things Nigerians resort to to hide their mediocrity) i am also being proactive to prepare for the worse. I would make necessary petitions to call it off if it is true but i would also make serious Plan Bs to make sure life is interesting and moving on.
I am the new Nigeria, i ask questions, i am not hypocritical, i think rightly, i am young, energetic and smart, and I respect those in authorities with all my heart.
To the young people shrugging their shoulders saying it wont affect them, wait and see how other administrative decisions, silence of government and other acts condoned with such wave of insolence and convenience locates you. If we don't speak up and stand together, Nigeria remains 100 years behind the world. Youth participation begins from these small things, you don't wait till you are nominated by your Father's brother's inlaw in the Senate to come join them on the panel of "Padders" in purported occupation of the office of the Youth in the Legislature. You only become a figure head like some of our unnamed law makers.
We will succeed!!!!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Open Letter to Mr Kachikwu of the Ministry of Petroleum

Dear Sir,
I currently serve the nation at Ibadan, Oyo state. If not, I would have taken the pain and initiative to walk to the NNPC Towers in Central Area Abuja, to beg you in your good offices to help us make the country work. You may have to forgive me if I make any hasty generalization in this letter. It would only be as a result of the limited information available: some of us don’t have electricity to power our television and radio sets, and money to buy papers have been channeled towards tomato purchase. Please be mindful of the fact that we at the grass root never get the true situation of things as a result, so we rely on some gossip and those little arguments at the newspaper stands.

But I know that this morning, Mr Kachikwu was quoted to have said that the fuel scarcity would end on the 7th of April. I also know that you have stated that the reason for the scarcity is because of the fact that subsidy debt was inherited by this government and independent marketers cannot import fuel because they can’t get letters of credit after the payment. The calculations and the theories of upstream and downstream supplies are really not in the proper knowledge of the taxi driver along Dugbe market road. “The Situation” as we know it here as at 9:42am Nigerian time on the 30th of March 2016 is that petrol (PMS) now sells at 170 naira per liter with heavy queues in Ibadan city. You claimed you monitored depot deliveries in Lagos during the Easter but NNPC has not even been selling fuel. And just this morning that we got hint of possible sales, the queues are about 2 kilometers long, with well meaning Nigerians fighting at the gates. The Situation has made transport prices increase from 50 naira to 100 naira: I know because I squeezed myself this morning into the cab from Iwo Road to Bodija, two junctions apart.

It would not have been so much an issue, after all countries on the West African Coast have higher prices for fuel. I remember when a sitting president told us that we would comfortably buy fuel at 100 naira since we can buy bottle water at the same amount and we all laughed at the impossibility and treachery. Today it is worse. The naira is still trying to regain its lost strength and pride, the climate is not getting any better and electricity has gone scarce with the seeming DISCO-high-tariff party and depleting Mega-Watt generation. I dare say that even a class captain would not watch his class get so noisy without recording the noise makers before it gets out of hand and brings down the whole school.

It is no longer news that the change mantra is becoming a fa├žade in itself. Even Donald Trump who has never set foot in Nigeria can make silly but true allegations on our leadership quality. Every child in schools today know that it’s almost a waste of time reading to pass because the knowledge passed is almost irrelevant to current realities. But let us not veer too much out of The Situation. The reason for the slight veer is to help my appeal. If these several other things are not working, why would there be more hardship on the Nigerian people from the very sector which you man as a technocrat (and not a politician) that knows exactly what he is doing and loves it.

I don’t know if there is a gas station within the Aso Villa, of course the NNPC Chief not having fuel will be like a man with soap in his eyes when he is in a swimming pool. But I am sure you do not feel half of the pain of the Nigerian at the grass root. You can know it because you see the queues except there is a helipad on your office and you use it often. But you can be sure that the same masses that the change brand was sold to and went all out to support the brand are not happy. Support for you is far because you have said that instead of supporting your resignation we should “save our money for fuel”.

As a Youth Corps member, I have imbibed the culture of discipline and respect and that is why I am bringing this to your notice in all humility and patriotism. The 19,800 naira allowance every month used to be very useful to start and live a life but all that has changed since 2016 started. The queues have refused to vanish; we can barely reach our Places of Primary Assignment, the naira is weakening, we can hardly buy food and still undertake projects for community development.

So here is my plea: we know the cause of the scarcity now, but we want availability. If 2 million tonnes will be available from 7th of April, what should happen to us till then? CBN throws heat on us, NNPC gives us a future date for survival, the Presidency remains one long structure of dos and don’ts, soon it would be genocide! Do we wait till we start seeing people drop on the streets out of hunger and despair. Do not be surprised if a new militia is brewing up to strike even as the Change Warriors fight almost successfully the Boko Haram terrorists. So let me recommend that the plan to make our fuel come back be more concrete, sustainable, and real and also delivered faster with a production system to stop future occurrences. The privatisation of the refineries if need be should commence in earnest so that exploration, generation, production and distribution doesn't get postponed to 2020. Let there be a short term and long term measure to stop the queues, reduce the transportation prices and let cars come back to the road. From the streets, the hardship is REAL!

We commend you and the government for the response so far even though as sincere as they have been, they’ve shown contempt in some quarters. Feedback from the grass root is POOR and if this poverty continues, the bull would see the wall and it ALWAYS turns back with all its fury and horns replacing the cowardice and naivety.

Yours in patriotism,

The ReadyWriter

Thursday, 12 November 2015

BVN, SIM Registration et al: Towards an information based Society

It is commendable that the government through some of its agencies decided to get basic information of the most part of the citizenry through some of the most widely used services: communication and banking. Thank God it wasn’t the States’ Water Corporation that attempted to demand registration; at least we know the government can get some things right. What is however not sure are some questions like: what is to be done with this data? How is the data to be managed? How often should it be updated? What legal issues arise from any mismanagement or error of same? Since #change commenced we can ask questions and analyze issues in the light of the letter and spirit of the law, principles and precedents in the name of “keeping tabs with good governance”.

So let us talk about the SIM Registration. To a large extent we can claim that it has been somewhat effective: the registration process that is. We queued, gave our details and got relay messages that said the registration was successful. Impressively, years later, an application “True Caller” was developed using the data. It would track such information and display the name of an unknown number calling, even with its un-functionality sometimes (at least we can manage; we are Nigerians). We have heard in recent times the way the communication service providers have been subpoenaed to give evidence in court by printed records of conversations of registered owners of lines. We have also read of the heavy fines imposed on the pioneer communication service provider, which is currently rocking our boat of FDI attraction (these are issues for another day). The Nigerian Communication Commission had published some of the reasons for the registration. With the key one being security, it wor

ks a great deal in a very little way against the fight on terrorism in the country. Since my registration till now, I have changed address twice. Yet I have not updated with my service provider. Before you judge me as being the major problem of the country as we are quick to doing, we should also not forget that we are a lot to be judged. Without justifying my irresponsibility, I recommend that service providers should do periodic checks on their subscribers to ensure information is up to date instead of raining our phones, running down our batteries and a lot of times distracting our attention with those 5-digit messages and 6 digit line calls to advertise one new product or the other that we are really not interested in.

Most importantly, there should be more awareness as to the utilization of this data, verification of same and connection with other amenities subscribed for by such an individual. I should be able to link my electricity distribution account, or television service with my line and also my water corporation subscription. This way, it would be worth it, doing a police report for an “ordinary” SIM Card that gets missing.

On BVN Registration; it was a sordid experience for so many who had their accounts restricted for having not done the BVN registration or even having done same, had complications. The frustrating part for some is the fact that some of the issues cannot even be resolved by the banks they registered with, because the Central Bank has not given directives on those issues, so they claim. Now let us assess this situation properly. According to basic banking law, one of the undeniable duties of the banker in the banker – customer relationship is the duty to provide the customer his money which he deposited with the banker, whenever he demands for the money provided that such time is within banking hours. Put succinctly the duty to honor customers’ cheque(s). The restriction placed on accounts not duly registered is as to withdrawal, while moneys can still be deposited into the account. The danger is thus for an ignorant customer who hardly withdraws cash and needs cash urgently only to be told his account is restricted, meanwhile he receives text messages regularly on the amounts lodged in. upon demand and subsequent denial, an action may arise. Due diligence on the part of the bank is to ensure that measures are in place to allow and compel the customer to comply with industry regulations. Of course the peculiarity of the Nigerian situation would demand more. If the accounts were restricted from even depositing, it would create a better scenario for the bank to avoid liability. Maybe we can float a class action for breach of banker-customer duty on the banks on this basic principle; at least let us here what the defense would be. If the CBN claims that over 5 million accounts were blocked in a country that claims to have more under-banked population then the effectiveness of the more than one year BVN campaign runs into questioning. Regardless however, the average Nigerian citizen is skeptical about giving information that he is not sure of its security especially with the realities of wikileaks, Boko Haram and Identity theft in our world.

Since the Obasanjo regime, there have been moves, approved budgetary allocations towards the issuance of national identity cards. The National Identity Management Commission got my data since August 2014 and promised to send me a message once my card is ready, and here I am still presenting my University ID Card when I have to cash a cheque. The innovative Lagos state under the leadership of Governor BRF introduced the LASRRA (Lagos State Residents’ Registration Agency. I doubt Lagosians know about this registration.

Whether effective or not effective, we need to know how this data is managed. We need an automated process of registration. Clusters are no longer encouraged in the country with such incidences as the Ebola break out, riots, and other dangerous attacks we are prone to in recent times. ID Cards should be issued with a sensible collection process, not one I have to bribe my way to collect; the already gathered data should be wide spread across agencies and service providers. I should have an identity number that I can provide when booking an online flight, registering a business name, or even applying for admission to a university, that would allow access to my full data as last updated by me. That way, services are faster, customer satisfaction is easier and everyone is happy to have registered. Internet hacking is not new in the world, the agencies in charge should guard properly the information and bear liability in the event of a negligent leak.  

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Meshack’s Drones (5): Posting Wahala

Now before you think this is a vent, or another unnecessary gist about dissatisfaction about national institutions and structures, just relax and be happy as you read my indifferent mindset about an inconsistent system and failures of national institutions. 

During my days at the Nigerian law school, the haze about the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) blew in and everyone was registering like it was rapture about to take place. I couldn’t be bothered because of a number of reasons I would be sharing and you would be a judge to whether I was right or wrong.

The NYSC has an online platform and a tweeter handle from which they disseminate information purported to have come from them. Up until this month, there have been clamors to scrap the institution because of the several security issues and how Corpers in the past have been used as pawns for ethnic struggles, religious fanaticism and maybe family rivalry. At inception, the intention was lofty: to get Nigerians to reintegrate. Inter-tribal marriages were fostered on this platform and a whole lot of other feats have been  achieved. So the argument that its purpose had been fulfilled was not in any way a wrong one. Nigerians have moved on to greater challenges that called for a different agenda and institution to carry it out. As much as I agreed with this, I couldn’t also discard the idea of the short military training, the networking options and inter-ethnic community that the NYSC stands for and has been beneficial to a whole lot of persons known and unknown.

So yes I have always looked forward to wear my Khaki, have a platoon, do endurance treks, meet new people, climb the ropes and snap that picture. But no, I never knew security would become such a problem to make some areas “un-go-able”. When the NYSC through its handle informed us of the new registration and posting process, I was happy. Not just about the fact that I could get to choose where I wanted to go, but also because for once, a national institution could come up with such an innovative idea that would check the concerns raised. The idea was on a first come first serve basis. So when a particular state got full, such state would not show on the prospective Corper’s registration page. This was how I got to choose Oyo, Kwara and Akwa Ibom states. Whilst everyone expressed their paranoia and every to me, I would calm them down with that phrase “we have chosen, they can’t send us to where we didn’t choose”. And when it happened, I was posted to Zamfara.

Fast forward the story to today, you can understand my shock, displeasure and sadness. Sad not just because I would thousands of miles from home, or that I am entering a zone where about 31 people were killed in July by the BH guys, but because once again I was fooled by the ardent belief in working national structures. I am disappointed again because I put in such unwavering faith in the process and hoped for nothing but what I had chosen, my Yola experience didn't teach me nothing. In that sadness comes some more level of expectancy though. I really want to see a changed Nigeria and I feel it is my opportunity to be that change. The first step like I said before is doing something extraordinary, allowing a little self inconvenience for the greater good. One thing is certain, dangers and risks never end and they are everywhere you turn no matter how you try to evade them. What good is it envisaging danger or scarcity or even irrelevance instead of unlocking the several juices and plans of positivity you can in search of a beautiful service year.

So here are somethings you can do when you find a place you are totally not satisfied with:
1.       Smile: do not frown your face, at least not so that anyone can see
2.       Check the date of resumption and know how long you have to make inquiries about the place
3.       Google, ask, and read about the place
4.       Check for hotels, malls, or tourist attractions in the state
5.       Know the cost of living in the state: accommodation, and feeding in choice areas
6.       Check to be sure there is a bible believing church in it, and take the contacts there, call them and introduce yourself and they would pray with you to take away your fears.
7.       Explore the redeployment option on the three available grounds: security, health or marriage.

These are the things I have done, and I think they can work for you! oh yeah and was I wrong to have been so at peace? Be the judge.

Monday, 19 October 2015

To a Friend, Mentor and G! on his Birthday… Oladeinbo Gilbert

Errr, You would have to pardon me, I never get what your exact names are, I am sure it’s the perks of being a Yoruba boy: I know there is Gilbert, Oladeinbo, Tinuke, Benson, the exact order, I don’t know. Not everyone strikes you with that height of wits, playfulness and mixed with a definite sense of purpose. But here is a big hearty cheer to that one person who has all three at first sight and contact; I forgot to add with really good looks. The description of his beauty is more than the down tone but I can’t do more considering the Anti-Gay laws and the fact that I really have no semblance to Bruce.

Dark, slim and average heighted, his gait almost makes him taller than he actually is. He was on the other block, so I never got to see him until this evening. “That’s him” I got a nudge from Peller as he showed me the guru of the campus. He was swift, brisk and sharp, like he had twitches of duties he had just attended to and had more to do. Simply dressed, of course it was evening service how smashing could you look? That was when I realized I knew him all the while. He was in the choir and had this funny look when the lyrics went on. And then it was testimony time and he walked up to thank God for having his 5th 5point GPA from the last semester. He was in 400 Level. Overwhelmed as I was I realized how one could be real, yet smart, humble and touched by divinity.

I began a semester long course of close observation of his lifestyle. It was the best course I ever took in Uni. And I was definitely the better for it. It wasn’t long before I also got a reflection from his mirror of almost perfection! I also joined the choir (not coz of him though! @Ojhordee made that happen); and I became a debater. He taught me my most effective stage fright dispeller. I won’t share it with you. I watched him sing, anchor school programs, debate, argue, fight for the students’ association’s progress, chair electoral committees, and also watched him graduate as best student overall, no one broke the record yet. There I realized how a person could have such a good heart replete with a resolve to be the best and squeeze out the positive energy for those around in great impact.

I didn’t know anything about his emotional life, it didn’t concern me but I know he had a publicly acclaimed bestie. I have one too (shout out to @blessingbaba). But one thing I was sure of was that he succeeded severally to maintain a healthy one because there was no time his head wasn’t giving him the right signals and requisite resources to make the right decisions. I also realized here, that no matter what it is: physical afflictions, high flying performances and work life balance come from supernatural grace and a strong determination to do the right thing.

His countenance was always cheerful; you would wonder where the energy was coming from. His analysis were top notch, you would wonder what wisdom is this. His support was encouraging; you would wonder what you have done to attract such encouragement. He was choosy about his friends, his words, and even location. Efficacy, excellence and amity were just his lifestyle and I am proud, happy and indeed privileged to know you, be your friend (yes I know I am) and interact with you.
People don’t know this, but celebrating stars whilst they yet glimmer shouldn’t be any different from when it glows. Stars are stars: they are magnificent and shiny, it’s only weather conditions, earth spins and galaxy positioning that affects their appearance per time. I celebrate Gilbert Oladeinbo Benson because he is such a star, a great man, a super destiny; yes soon to be Aviation Minister, and so much other things. Some day when you are old, rich, famous, I would be glad to appear to have identified with you and stayed as a friend for that long. I can only pray that your great aspirations keep you zealous and hearty until God’s exact plan for your life unfolds in your reality for family and friends to stay impacted.

God bless you and Happy Birthday Sir!!!

Meshack's Drones (4): Warri Connection

Happy new month from the desk of the ReadyWriter. My long absence has been occasioned by the usual Lagos hustle, plus the travels on the ever on-going constructions of the inter-state highways and of course the tons of words I have to read through and write in recent times. Whatever the case, the hunter is always happy his trap could catch something at the end of the week, it could have been worse. I am sure my ready readers can adapt the proverb to the situation. Today I share some lessons from one of my recent and interesting travel to a beautiful, ancient and small city called Warri.

Its been about 3 years since I last traveled to Warri. It is home for me because of the several extended family members that live there and are fond of me. Uncle and his family nicknamed me "Prof" because of the academic feats i achieved in primary and secondary schools (don't ask which, *i had an F9 in CRK). Maybe that's what influenced my decision to pursue academics and bag my professorship before i am 35. That dream I intend to follow with all passion and intent. As i travel through the annoyingly bad roads, in the initial anger of the delay, I remember my last journey with my brother. It was then when I had gone on holiday from the JSS1 break. Interestingly I wasn't going back to continue JSS2.I was going to continue JSS3 and he had told me the good news of how my school board had sat and made the decision with my mother's final consent. we talked about it all the way as we made our way through the ancient Benin City. By the time we approached the Benin-Ore road, he began to teach me some Advance Agric Science. Err, Agric was not my subject but he had a dream to have one of Africa's largest farms at the time. So i guess I was his first "intern" and right now I am trying to recollect the essence of that lecture. Yes it was some intense gist about green-ness. Way before the green movement began in the world. He explained the reason why the taller trees were greener than the shorter ones- the whole sunlight chemical interaction. My bro and I indeed had some nice growing up moments, and I am sure some of you don't know this green movement nor the reason why some trees are greener than some. Your opportunity to quickly Google and read it up.

Things have really changed. In those days (2002), telephones were not allowed when travelling. the major reason was insecurity. That is why i totally agree BokoHaram did not start yesterday. Transport services would advice everyone to put off their phones for the entirety of the journey which was a standard 5 hours and or more. their reasoning was in order for us passengers not to be the pawns strategizing the envisaged highway robbery. No one could be trusted oh. If you were caught making a call, the suspicion from the other passengers' eyes would make you not eat and that in itself was more suspicion. On my way to Warri i chatted almost all through and had someone on the other side disturb all through. This doesn't mean we have fought the war totally against insecurity in the south. in fact rumors have it that it was the directive to stop Police check points that reduced the highway robberies to the minimum. Whether there is truth in that, I dont know and I would not test. Insecurity is not one apparatus that can go into my research test lab. Lets leave it for the Khaki men to do.

That reminds me of the sweetest part of the journey: the stop-to-eat oh sorry "Stop-Over" at Ore. Those canteens in the area have made a fortune, but I am sure the Yoruba party culture won't make them have much investment *runsaway*. Mummy never bought us food at Ore. we would have snacks and at the most bananas. Yes everyone thinks I should have starred in the Dawn of the Planet Apes Movie because of my love for bananas. If only they knew how much of a life saver my bananas were traveling to and fro Warri growing up. She claimed she never wanted us pressed on the road, she was non-tolerant to travel disturbances- baby cries, frequent toilet stops by passengers, driver misbehavior and such other matters connected thereto. The lesson this taught me growing up is that you can always achieve what you want, get satisfaction out of life without disturbing others from achieving theirs. You might only inconvenience yourself a little but it makes the world a better place. If everyone couldn't wait for everyone or tolerate somethings, then the world would be worse than the jungle. DEEP Right?

Talking passengers disturbed the journey so much. But this time, I talked. No, good talk. I was the hero that led the Bus through the best route that took us from Ikotun all the way to Shangisha, close to Berger, towards the outskirts of Lagos. Hehehe, like Moses, I had my fair share of heavy criticisms, uncertainties, annoyances and outbursts while I led, but the good part is it didn't last 400 years, just thirty minutes was enough for the struggle. You see that is why Nigeria is where it is today. Distrust of everyone for everyone. No one wants to give any one a chance for anything and that is why, the National security agency would rather show on national television new equipments bought in the combat against terrorism, than keep classified info and fight it once and for all. Even an amateur player of Call of Duty seeing those helicopters and ammunitions knows how to counter them upon sight not to talk of the Bros of the North. I would add distrust is not a virtue just as impatience is not. 

It might have seemed draggy, but yes that's how my 6 hour journey went. Full of reminiscing and lessons. A journey that should take not more than 3hours 45 minutes. I saw campaigns this year of the past administration making boast of how the roads have been fully constructed; i laughed as i went on this journey because a tiny part of me really wanted to see what the roads have become and i was disappointed. Please this is not a political rendition, it is all for the love of my Warri. I would share my in-Warri experiences soon... In the mean time remember the lessons in italics.

The Ready Writer