(YORUBA THINK!)

By Hubert Ogunde

English Translation by Adedara OduguwaOgunde and Chief Awolowo

Once upon a time, during the primordial age, there lived a king in Yoruba land named Fiwajoye. This king was so powerful and popular that the people of his kingdom loved him so much. During his time as king, the Yorubas had wealth and riches. There was money, pedigree, jobs for all and sundry. Crops bear good fruits for harvest and plants’ leafs were green. Pets like goat, ships, hen were in surplus .Traders were making profit. Wealth and power were so much for the Yorubas to the extent that they almost forget God.

There was a Staff in the primordial period called Opa-Ase (Staff of Authority or Staff of Oduduwa). This Staff was a thing of utmost secrecy to the extent that no eyes can see it except Iya-Agba, Yeye-Oloye and few elders. This staff is the secret of power of the Yorubas. Because, it is often used to pray for the king and his subjects (the masses) in Yoruba kingdom for promotion, riches, prosperity, honour and power. Indeed. It was truly a Staff of Authority.

Mass of the people loved Oba Fiwajoye to the extent that Yeye-Oloye brought the Staff of Authority to him so that he can always pray with it.

Then, there was a Chief in the land, who is next in command to Oba Fiwajoye. He is popularly referred to as ‘Ekeji-Oye’ (Second in Command). This Chief was not happy with the peaceful state of affairs enjoyed by the Yorubas. He wants the king to be dethroned and be made his replacement.

According to him “You called me Second in Command! You called me with empty mouth. If they bring yam, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring Corn, it’s the king they will give it to. If they bring money, it’s the king they will give it to. The king is getting fatter, I am getting thinner! I am not contented with this. I will go and dominate over other land.”

And so, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) became an enemy of the Yorubas. He lied and deceived the Yorubas and he succeeded by changing their minds against Oba Fiwajoye. The kingdom turned into disarray and the land was in deep chaos. Not long from this period, Ekeji-Oye trickily took the Staff of Oduduwa from the palace where it was kept.

During the same period, there lived a Queen in a kingdom not far from Yoruba Kingdom. Her name was Yeye-Iloba. This Yeye-Iloba happened to be one of the greatest enemies of the Yorubas. She was so fearless and powerful. She was not happy with the development going on in Yoruba kingdom. Because in Iloba, there was no money, no jobs, no peace and sicknesses and diseases almost reduced the kingdom to nothing.

Yeye-Iloba was looking for means to fight the Yorubas in order to take them captives. But she doesn’t have hint as several efforts were in futility.

Ekeji-Oye went to the kingdom of Yeye-Iloba and told the Queen that if she can give him a huge amount of money, he is going to sell the Yorubas and delivers them to her. This was a great news and deal for Yeye-Iloba.

Consequently, this was how Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) collected a huge amount of money from her and delivered the Staff of Authority or literarily puts ‘ Staff of Oduduwa’ to Yeye-Iloba, so that she can be using it to pray for her kingdom. Thereby selling the Yorubas into the hands of their enemies. If there is no river behind fish, it’s only a river. Without the Staff of Authority, there is no Yoruba Kingdom.

However, not long from this period, Yeye-Iloba waged war against Yoruba people and she gallantly won them since they have previously lost the Staff of Authority to her.

Oba Fiwajoye and a few of his people were whisked off Yoruba land under captive of Yeye-Iloba. They were used, maltreated and beaten as slaves. They were turned into messengers and gardeners in the palace of Yeye-Iloba. They were handcuffed and ruthlessly dealt with. House chores like sweeping, washing and cleaning of the palace was a daily routine for the Yorubas under their new foreman (Oba Fiwajoye) in the palace of Yeye-Iloba.

Oba Fiwajoye and his people were engulfed with sadness and humiliation. It was so shameful, disgraceful and slave-like that the people of Iloba monger their mockery like hawking pepper.

More so, since the king was taken into captive, the land was in disarray and almost completely destroyed. There was no money, no jobs and the once green leafs were now gray and dark. Corn refused to germinates, traders became debtors and the Yorubas were absolutely in a melancholy state while their prosperity diminishes.

The Yorubas were in the state of sadness and hopelessness. They were on the verge of repentance. They called upon themselves in a united front. They became so united to the extent that they forced Yeye-Iloba to free their king and the other captives. This was successfully achieved. Oba Fiwajoye returned to his stool and things changed completely for good as the Staff of Authority was recouped.

Consequently, Ekeji-Oye (Second in Command) was arrested and banished for the act of betrayal. Yorubas also returned to their joyous and peaceful life. Just like what was experienced in the past. Corn starts to grow, traders start to make profit. Wealth, prosperity and power returned to the land and Oba Fiwajoye became wealthier than before.

YORUBA RONU!

YORUBA THINKS!

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MY GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE- AN HAVEN OF VANITY

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By Adedara S. Oduguwa (08/08/2016)

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Painted in gold, tarred in cowries and pillared with diamond.

With mercury bulbs from China to unwind its edifice.

Creating such glare anyone desires to admire.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Built with billions of forbidden funds.

Heavily guarded by 100s of soldiers from Dodan barrack,

Gateman by best brains whose certificates belong only to the gate.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Full of berry & whiskey; cowries & diamond.

With virgin-wives bought to wash grandfather’s feet.

At no cost, our kings agree to work in grandfather’s house,

Just for daily breads, since that is all the state has got.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Charmingly calved with land-mass measuring

100s in hectares. House fanning by hefty men

Who pay allegiance only to generalissimo.

With thousands of horses, camels, peacocks and

Cows house decor in complete state.

Yet, grandfather’s taste-bud remains insatiable!

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Acquired by budget padding and righteous transfers.

Since grandfather’s thumb, sole-signatory to state’s treasury.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Came under uproar. What? Generalissimo is dead!

Whilst our cooks and gardeners wept for their jobs, state-

Illuminates with jubilation. The last tyrant is gone!

Scornfully, grandfather was wrapped in N450 white linen &

Thrown underworld by his best friend –The Chief Imam.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

The fleet-of-cars, helicopters, private-jets, horses, camels, cows

Wives, diamonds, cowries and looted fund were stolen by

Angry assailants, who claimed ownership of –

Grandfather’s Wealth.

 

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity,

Nought was entombed with generalissimo, even his much-adored

Italian handkerchief was seized by his suitcase.

In case you admire my grandfather, first howl his end!

About the Poem

My grandfather’s house- an haven of vanity was written to lampoon greed of the heart. After all, we came empty and would someday leave emptier. The poem is dedicated to all Nigerians. Most importantly, public office holders and wealthy men/women in high places who are carefree about sufferings of the masses.

In addition, the poem is a social satire on how everything we laboured for would be taken from us by death without our permission, especially when we achieve so much through unholy means. Illustrating this, where are yesterday’s billionaires? What memories can we remember of them? Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity! But a good name truly is better than gold and cowries!

HUBERT OGUNDE: Nationalism and Retrospect

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                                                        By Adedara S. Oduguwa (July 10, 2016)

Struggle to free Nigerians and Africans from the hands of foreign profiteers, the gruesome imperialists and suckling economic bourgeoisies left no one out in the colonial regime. The quest for self-government and independence became a common priority for the rich in the West who traded in Cocoa; the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen in the North and Aba women in the East, who believed their husband, must not be taxed. It further became a goal later to be pursued by the well-to-do; poor, illiterates, politicians, artists, writers, lawyers, educationists and clergies. In fact, the area called Nigeria was at its best in terms of unity as a colony than after October 1st, 1960.

Those factors that unified us were unequivocally more than those that divide us. The degree of unity to rise against a common enemy found in the colonial masters cannot but be respected. Moreover, before 1897, there was no country or area called Nigeria until it came into being as a result of an article sponsored by Flora Shaw (later Mrs Lugard) in The Times of January 8, 1897. Who argued that since all the towns and villages or protectorates in this area consists of many ethnic nationalities; the area therefore should be called ‘Nigeria’ (Ajayi, 2009).

Of course, this argument might not represent view of many, but then, that was what was said by Mrs. Luggard, wife of Nigeria’s Chief Administrator in the colonial Nigeria.

“By May 1906, Sire Lugard had become high commissioner in Northern Nigeria. Before this period, Britain had been ruling the three groups or countries (Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo) separately, independently and indirectly through the use of the existing local chiefs who were responsible to the queen of England. However, because of difficulties in administration and the cost of maintaining these protectorates, his wife named the three conglomerates territories ‘Nigeria’… _ (Culled from the book Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The Political Moses by Adedara Oduguwa; 144-145).

But shortly after the amalgam procedures were concluded, Nigeria witnessed massive exploitation in terms of raw-material and manpower under the colonial regime which was only an attempt to milk-Nigeria-dry-alive.   Abuse on Nigerians by foreigners made many Nigerian families to adopt English names like- Johnson, Jones, Anthony, Simpson, George, Thompson, Macaulay, Ebenezer, Clark, Ransome, Thomas, the list is endless. The purpose of adopting these foreign names was to give themselves face in a country owned by their forebears in the hand of ruthless but diplomatic business negotiators.

Crusade for independence became heightened in the mid forties through activities of the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), an offshoot of Lagos Youth Movement (LYM). Apart from the Trade Union, Market Women Association, traditional institutions, politicians, and the Student Unions that added their voices in fighting against this mordant and mercenary regime. There was this man, out of his devotion and commitment to seeing a free Nigeria, echoed ‘freedom’ through the fearless and adroit acts of art. He was Chief (Dr.) Hubert Adedeji Ogunde.

IMG_0056Ogunde was born on Monday, 10th of July, 1916 in a small town of Ososa (Ogun State) to Elder Jeremiah Dehinbo Ogunde and Mrs. Eunice Owotunsan Ogunde. Elder Jeremiah Ogunde was a convert of Baptist church, Ijebu Ife and a strict disciplinarian. At the age of nine, young Ogunde entered Saint John’s Primary School, Ososa for his elementary education and left the school in 1928 for Saint Peter’s Faji School, Lagos State where he was until 1930. Between 1931 and 1932, Ogunde was at Wasimi African School, Ijebu-Ode. His graduation from Wasimi African School actually marked end of his entire formal education. He altogether spent approximately seven years.

Despite few years spent acquiring formal education, Ogunde’s command of English was not only superlative but much better than many university graduates of his time. More so, in Ogunde’s personal submission, his limited formal education might have contributed to his successes as a playwright. According to him: “I thank God today that I didn’t go to that college or University at all. Because, possibly, I could have been exposed to some classical way of life or some classical way of doing drama that I could not have been able to do what I am doing today.”

Ogunde grandfather’s influence was great on him throughout his life time. As a young man, he adopted him by providence as his early mentor. His forebears were committed Ifa worshippers and founders of Ososa Township. According to Chief Ogunde: “My grandfather was an Ifa Priest. My grandmother too was an Idol worshipper and in our house, we have several Idols – the Ifa, Sango and all these. And so, as a result there were ritual ceremonies taken place at every day. So being born into all these, drumming, dancing, incantations and then these rituals ceremonies, I think might have had some influence on me. My father was a Baptist missionary. In fact, he became a pastor. He was a pastor, an organist and a disciplinarian. And so, I think I might have been influenced by both.” (Culled from the manuscript, Hubert Ogunde: Odyssey of Renowned Nationalist by Adedara Oduguwa).

Between the ages of 17 and 25 (1933-1941) young Ogunde was a school teacher at Saint John’s Primary School, Ososa and a dedicated church organist. However, in December 1941, Ogunde joined the Nigeria Police Force in a bid to better serve his mother land.   By March 1945, approximately four years in the Force, Ogunde resigned in order to pay full attention to his passion- acting, since his passion for opera was mind-boggling. His resignation was spurred by reckless and gross misconduct of the colonial regime, which was demonstrated by Ogunde in his much talk about 1945 opera entitled ‘Worse Than Crime.’ The opera was a political satire on the colonial masters which set to establish that ‘Colonialism in any shape or form is worse than crime.’ This earned Ogunde and Mr. G.B. Kuyinu (His co-director) two days in the Police custody.

According to Oxford Dictionary, nationalism can be defined as “patriotic feelings, principles, or efforts; policy of national independence.” Similarly, James Coleman in Nigeria: Background to Nationalism describes nationalism as:

“Broadly, a consciousness of belonging to a nation (existent or in the realm of aspiration) or a nationality and a desire, as manifest in sentiment and activity, to secure or maintain its welfare, prosperity, and integrity and to maximise its political autonomy. Nationalism is directed towards the attainment, maintenance or restoration of its political independence as a nation-state in the international state system.”

However, with my terms of reference, Ogunde is more qualifies to be called a nationalist, having fought rigorously alongside others to secure independence for Nigeria. Ogunde, unlike many other nationalists was a determined dramatist who believed in freedom for all and life more abundance (Awolowo, 1959).  His nationalism struggle originally started in 1944, when Ogunde added his voice to the agitation for Western Nigeria’s self-rule by writing operas that are thought provoking and colonial masters anger infuriating, such as Israel in Egypt (1944), Strike and Hunger (1945), Nebuchadnezzar’s Reign and Belshazzar’s Feast (1945), Worse than Crime (1945), Tigre’s Empire (1945), Bread and Bullet (1950) among many other similar titles (Clark, 1979).

Scan 11However, for these titles, Ogunde was not only arrested, jailed, humiliated or intimidated; he earned himself series of bans for standing for truth and what is right. An act which is extremely rare in modern day Nigeria. A point in reference was in September 24th, 1978 when the veteran Television Presenter, Mr. Mike Akiode asked Chief Ogunde to comment on Strike and Hunger (1945), an opera that led to1945 Workers’ Strike. On this, Ogunde enunciated:

“…Yes, I wrote the Play on the strike of the Workers of 1945. The play was very successful in Lagos here. But then, it was trouble for me in the North. Not only ‘Strike and Hunger.’ I was detained in the Police Cell for one week for writing ‘Worse than Crime.’ And then, another three days again for writing my play ‘the Tigre’s Empire.’ Because I likened the colonial government to a Tigre’s government-the government of Tigers.” _(Culled from the manuscript, Hubert Ogunde: Odyssey of a Renowned Nationalist, by Adedara Oduguwa). 

Moreover, Ogunde was culture and tradition enthusiast, who was ready to die for the preservation of African beliefs. Between 1968 and 1969, he took his group on tour of Europe and Britain for a full year. Then, his group was chosen to perform at the International Musical Architecture they called it ‘Wales 1969’, so after the performance, he had an interview with the world Press. A Briton BBC interviewer asked him questions on polygamy, the extract is below:

“… ‘Chief you have six of your wives in this group performing on this tour and then, I understand you still have another six, making twelve in all. May be you still have more, why is that so? How can you even cope with twelve wives? Do you think it is good for one man to have twelve wives?’ _A BBC Interviewer opined.

Ogunde n wives In response, Chief Ogunde said: ‘In Africa, we don’t pretend to be what we are not. We are faithful people. We are truthful people. When we marry one wife, we say it is one. When it is ten, we say it is ten. When it is twenty, we say it is twenty and people know. But here, you marry one officially for everyone to see and you have ten, probably twenty outside. So, you are hypocrites! We are sincere’.”

While many artists ,musicians, writers, clergies, journalists and social commentators of today are working as mouthpieces of government in power and the economic profiteers, artists of old were majorly into the ‘complementary institution.’ By complementary institution, we refer to the totality of institutions established by God and man to augment efforts and activities of government and the poor masses of any given institution or country (Gagliardi, 2014). These institutions are saddled with singular responsibility of speaking for people and check-balancing abuse of the rule of laws.

 Sadly, that role is today bedevilled by evil of corruption and monetization of the political economy, which has seen complementary institution compromised and forcefully whisked into dungeon of falsification and shadowy of self-induced greed. Thereby becoming a tool of torture for the poor, who themselves look up to be saved by the complementary institution.

Modern complementary institutions do not see when politicians do not want them to see. They do not say when they are not heavily paid to say and they do not write when brown envelop is yet to be given to them. ‘Everything is now for sale’ Said one journalist.  Disappointedly, we do not read the truth any longer than voices and opinions of the ruling class.

On Stage - As Oba FiwajoyeOgunde was an outspoken Hercules and contemporary political commentator, like Caesar, was ready to risk the possible destruction of his Theatre in order to fight for the freedom of his people from alien rule. According to an Editorial in Zik’s West African Pilot Newspaper (1947):

“Ogunde’s preoccupation with projection of the cultural as well as the political identity of his people were enough for the nationalist movement to call him ‘a genius’ who did not seek ‘wealth or fortune’ …nor self inflation or any other artifice of fame, a genius who was once a poor police officer, perhaps one who shared with three others ‘ten by eight’!! A day came when he sat down, racked his brain, composed nature airs and dramatized them and by 1947, had become ‘Nigeria Theatre King’ … It is courage to take risks and determination to forge ahead in spite of manmade handicaps…”

 More so, Ogunde was one of the few African dramatists that worked tirelessly against the colonial dictator in the 40s and 50s. By 1960, he was joined by other radical and prominent political writers and musicians to help stabilised Nigeria’s baby independence. Among which included: Prof. Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Chinua Achebe etc.  Let’s not forget that, Ogunde complemented the Nigeria’s fathers of nationalism found in Sir Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Oba Samuel Akinsanya, Chief S.L Akintola, Ernest Ikoli, Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Sir Anthony Enahoro, Tai Solarin and Chief Adeleke Adedoyin.

2In 1964, there was a political tumult in the then Western Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was incarcerated on treason accusation and Chief Ogunde, wrote the highly controversial account for his indictment entitled it ‘Yoruba Ronu (Yoruba Think!).’ This account put him at loggerhead with Chief S.L Akintola who was at the time Premier of Western Region since the play directly attacked him and his government. For this, Ogunde Theatre was banned for two years (1964-1966). This ban had grave financial effect on him since majority of his audience were in the Yoruba speaking Western Region.

In the words of revered Historian Prof. (Mrs) Ebun Clark, describing Ogunde:

“…for all the Nigerian Playwrights in Yoruba Nigerian Theatre and indeed in English, Ogunde was the most consummate social commentator and satirist, who easily make his views on people and events known through his sketches and characters (Clark, 1979).”

Ironically, Yoruba Ronu was presage of days to come. By January 15 1966, the presage came alive and Akintola’s government was not only ousted out of power, but many had paid with their lives. The military had taken over and on request; the ban on Mr. Ogunde and his company was lifted by Lt. Col. F.A Fajuyi, the newly appointed governor of the Region. Hence, to say that message ‘Yoruba Ronu’ is still valid for present crop of politicians in Yoruba land today is not out of point.

That sincerity, patriotism and sense of obligation as a citizen of this great once united nation is continually lost to greed and ignorance. Somebody says our artists, journalists, musicians, writers, clergies and social commentators are now ‘Pocket pickers’ like Judas, had derailed from the righteous path, dived  into roads once trekked by tyrants. They make hypocritical noises just to get carrot or national honours.

 Today, the name Ogunde is only synonymous with that popular Nigerian Musician and Dramatist of all time. July 10th, 2016 marked 100 years of his posthumous birthday and 26 years in death, tomorrow, what do we say about you?

Adedara S. Oduguwa is social commentator, who writes from Sagamu.

NIGERIA: INSTITUTIONAL COMPLEMENTARITIES THE BAD SAMARITANS

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By Adedara Oduguwa (26/05/2016)

Good morning country people, how is the economy treating you and how are you coping with the new price of tomatoes? Price still stands constant here at #100 for a fresh tomato. Well, that is by the way. This paper attempts to look into actions or inactions of the institutional complementarities (IC) over the years. Although, government remains a significant part of our existence; role(s) of IC is almost if not completely undermined.

What are institutional complementarities?

These are the totality of institutions established by God and man to complement or augment efforts and activities of government and the poor masses of any given institution or country. Similarly, the act connotes interdependence among institutions (Gagliardi, 2014). The IC includes:

  • Religion houses
  • Art/ entertainment sector
  • Trade unions /journalists
  • Political parties
  • Armed forces
  • Human rights bodies

However, when government is on track, it is role of the IC to commend her activities and when it is the other way round; it is still role of the IC to react proportionately in order to get her back on track. The IC act completely as checks and balances for government and just like the judiciary, persistently interprets the laws of the land through seasonal town criers and situational campaigns against abuse of the rule of law. Hence, it is right to say the IC represents the voice of the masses or a watchdog!

Over the years, Nigeria’s institutional complementarities have not only failed to live up to expectations but deliberately exhibit ‘I don’t care attitude’, what I simply refer to as ‘hypocritical tendencies’ which are capable of taking us aback to Egypt.  More so, it is not naysay that our churches, mosques, artists, trade unions, political parties, armed forces and the human rights bodies only parade themselves for personal earnings. They talk only when the Aristocrats ask them to talk, who wear diadem like the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh with the title ‘Never to die never.’

Logically or perhaps reasonably, government cannot do it all alone with arms fold-up by the IC. We cannot continue to blame governments at all levels (local, state and federal) for this messy economic show-of-shame. To do this is not only unjust but acrolein capable of wiping away our institutional existence.

For instance, average offerings and tithes of churches in Nigeria is over 11trillion annually. Enough to assist government in offsetting many if not all of her annual expenditures i.e Power, Housing, Education, Agriculture, health and works etc. Even mosques, with their meagre contributions are capable of generating 30% of the annual revenue of the churches. This looks resounding and unreasonably right?

Evidently and statistically for example, there are over 15million members of the Redeemed Christian Church alone. Let us assume that only 13million of them pay offerings on average of #500 * 13million = 6,500,000,000 every Sundays. This figure * 52 (since there are 52 weeks in a year) =338,000,000,000. This is the minimum that can be realised in offerings yearly by one of the five mega churches (i.e Redeemed, Winners, Christ Embassy, Synagogue and Mountain of Fire). In addition, let us assume that only 12million members are faithful with tithing, and let us put average tithe at 1800 (since minimum wage is 18000* 10% of this figure equals 1800) i.e 1800*12million members =21,600,000,000 * 52 (since there are 52 weeks in a year)=1,123,200,000,000 as total revenue in tithe for a year. Tithe + offering = 1,461,200,000,000 in other words, the minimum amount any of the mega churches makes per year is approximately 1.5 trillion naira.

You will agree with me that this tentative figure is lower than the actual amount since many gives more than 1million as tithe and average offering is also more than #500. Nonetheless, let us continue to work with this figure. Since we know how much one of the five mega churches makes per annum, to arrive at a tentative figure for the five, let’s say 5* 1.5trillion = 7.5trillion all figures in naira. This figure is staggering, more staggering it becomes when we consider that special donations, special services (i.e Holy Ghost Service or Shiloh) or weekly programmes were already excluded from the calculations.

Moreover, we cannot completely ignore smaller and conventional churches (i.e Methodist, Catholic, Deeper Life , The Adventist, Celestial etc) , let us assume the totality of these forms of churches only generated about 50% of this 5 mega churches revenue i.e 50% * 7.5trillion naira = 3.75trillion naira. Summing this up gives 3.75+ 7.5=11.25.

This is the minimum all the churches in Nigeria can generate yearly from offering and tithing. In addition, since we agree that mosques are capable of making at least 30% of this figure through donations i.e 30% * 11.25=3.375trillion, all figure in naira. Therefore, grand total of revenue of churches and mosques per year i.e 11.25+3.375 =14.627 trillion, approximately 15trillion naira annually. Sad! We never look into this direction.

What is this money for? How much is giving back to the church/mosque (people) from this huge amount? How much is spent annually on the most vulnerable members of our society i.e needy, widows, widowers, orphans, unemployed, aged and women in general? What standard are they following? Where do they learn this ‘take away all doctrine’? Was Jesus building earthily empire in His time? These are just few questions that run to mind.

Arguably, assuming the Nigerian religion houses (churches and mosques) come together and contribute only 40% of 15trillion generated annually to offset one or more of government expenditure i.e lets say unemployment, through creating soft loans for SMEs, that is 15*0.40= 6 trillion naira. Wow! This huge amount is capable of creating more jobs than people can do. Nonetheless, do you think everything will still remain at status quo?

Apart from the financial contributions; our religion houses continually refrain from speaking the truth. According to the Old and New Testament of the Bible, not once or twice were preachers seen delivering doom messages to kings and emperors for leading the people astray. How many of such have we seen in Nigeria? None! And if there is any, someone must have paid the bills. Are pastors cautioned by God never to touch the anointed maximum rulers in government? Or are modern clergies not interested in people or what the economy is turning many into? These are just few lines of worries.

Unfortunately, average donors in the mosque or church are men and women whose total capital or earnings are not more than #20,000 per month. Gloomier it becomes when we God opens your eyes to see what these clergies are using our money to buy. Nay wonder the book of Proverbs 22:16 put it thus:

“He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.”

Moreover, many faith universities or institutions were built with the poor masses wealth. It is ridiculous that only children whose parent once worked with Obasanjo, Atiku or Dasuki directly can afford to attend such faith institutions. As if God created the poor for penury and give birth to children that should follow suit. Ah! Without mincing words, this is a wicked world for the poor; probably they will be first to see Jesus!

However, it baffles some of us that religion centres; most especially churches are built almost every week at about 2kilometres, with no funding from the headquarters. Young pastors are laboured to scout for donors who will help to build new offering & tithe bank. It is the same poor masses, who often put in their full energy and their meagre financial resources together to save the lost souls. The new church is built and offering and tithe transferred immediately they are realised to the headquarters.

At the headquarter, most senior pastor announces the church intention toward any project and ask for volunteers to contribute cheerfully towards it. The richest among men would bounce out, to torment and oppress the poor through ill-gotten wealth. Yet, the poor will cheerfully and worriedly drop the little in his/her possession and if pastor peeps from the altar, he/she will joyfully drop his/her children’s school fees with hope and faith in Almighty God for miracle. Wow! It is as if all these sacrifices were only in vain when church’s schools are no- go-area for the same faithful servants!

To worsen the case, clergy’s children are not on a par with average member of the congregation. They live large and enjoy sweat of their parent’s labour. Nonetheless, with this high level of irresponsibility exhibited by our religion houses, it leaves no one in doubt that they should be taxed as declared by the radical governor of Kaduna state (Mallam Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai). For instance, average income of churches and mosques are more than profits made by Dangote Group of companies annually. In 2015, Dangote Group made $3 billion, about 900billion naira (Dangote Group Financial Statement, 2015) this is below the average 1.5 trillion naira annually made by the five mega churches. Yet, the company is heavily taxed.

Most clergies have turned politicians, whose interest is to preach prosperity and not salvation. Well, since we have been greatly cautioned or warned against speaking the truth. Perhaps, ironically, through the teachings of the missionaries. Nevertheless, we must give cheerfully even if we don’t have. ‘It is only wise to give all you have to God’ says one Believer. As if some of us are non-Christians. The bible remains a guide and standard, not pastor or preacher. I can’t fathom this is what true Christianity or Islam is all about. No!!! It is not. I challenged this sentiment. How did we get here? Whose script are we reading? Who brought Christianity to Africa? What were the lessons from them? The Missionaries? Yes!

Historically, the Missionaries came into Nigeria first in the 15th century (1472) and between 1515 and 1842 had established several institutions of learning in Badagry, Benin and Abeokuta (Fafunwa,1975), which were free for everyone. They don’t even have 10% of what is available today to our churches. The education was free and impactful. Many of the great generation (1900-1940) enjoyed this system. Yet, they are great today. What then happened along the way? Where is the conscience of our pastors? Or is there a new standard for salvation apart from truthfulness? It is sad and more sadden it becomes that we cannot but continue to follow blindly. Let me pulse here, I will come back to this later.

In the 40s, 50s and early eve of 1960s, you will hardly find an entertainer that is pro-government, this is not to say they hate government but because they were for the truth. Before independence, works of Chief Adedeji Hubert Ogunde speaks volume. In that primitive eon, Ogunde staged dramas that were thought provoking such as Israelites in Egypt, Kini a o fi kobo Ojumo Se?, The Tigre’s Empire, Nebuchadnezzar and King Solomon and Yoruba Ronu in the wake of 1960s, just to mention a few. The titles and tone of these stage dramas hard-earned him jail and ban on several occasions but he remained resolute.

In addition, activities of early journalists and writers like Herbert Macaulay, Oba Samuel Akinsanya (from Isara Remo), Ernest Ikoli (An Ijaw man), Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (his West African Pilot), Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Daily Times and later The Nigerian Tribune Newspaper), Prof. Wole Soyinka (in his early career), Prof. Chinua Achebe and several others, whose writing prowess shaped and helped our existence immeasurably. Then, those market women and women activists like the powerful Efusetan Aniwura, Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransom Kuti and several women who belong to that generation.

 In the 70s, musicians such as Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Chief Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi and Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, added their voices. Fela’s contribution was second to none, which earned him death of his mother and demolition of Kalakuta Republic (his Estate).

Looking through my feeble diary, one will not forget in jiffy contributions of late Chief Gani Faweyimi whose replica is found in Chief Femi Falana of this world. Today, what happen to our mindsets?

Modern journalists do not see when politicians do not want them to see. They do not say when they are not heavily paid to say and they do not write and publish when brown envelop have not been given to them. ‘Everything is for sale’ Said one journalist.  Disappointedly, we do not read the truth any longer than voices and opinions of the ruling class. Today, a writer writes for Mr. A, tomorrow another writes for Mr. B, all creating confusionist serenity for the vulnerable populace to follow carelessly with rapt attention and inquisitiveness. Little do they wonder why the two opposing parties still dine together at last-night dinners? We have been robbed and fooled.

What about our freedom fighters? Somebody says they are ‘Pocket pickers’ like Judas, they derailed from the righteous cause into roads once trekked by tyrants. They speak only against poor or no payment of suborn. They make hypocritical noises just to get carrot or national honours. Nobody seems to care about the suffering masses whose voices are so faint to make a word.  Today, they are in Oshodi tomorrow at Abuja discussing modalities of how the loots are to be shared. Yet, many still follow them impetuously as if they are the only rope to our hope. Human right activists are now a mockery of our human sense. Until we become wise to know we are wise, our senses will continue live in their prison of deceit.

Modern armed forces can easily be equated to what my friend suffered in India. He was harassed for given a bribe. To say our armed forces are corrupt is litotes. If you walk carelessly with briefcase full of notebooks, the Nigerian Police can mistaken it for money. My dear, should this happen, you are on your own. My personal experience is a confirmation from many others’ story. It is even better to be duped and let go, than to report such case to the police, you might end up spending more, yet, even if the culprits are later found, the Nigerian Police might take the case through Open Market Operation (OMO), where the highest bidder becomes winner of the case. It is disappointing that appointed thief-catchers are themselves thief-savers. Our forces are now law breakers and looted money bankers. The other time, a million dollars was found in a force’s man toilet. Shameful!

I vividly remember the great labour leader, Michael Aikhamen Omnibus Imoudu, who led the 1945 first ever nationwide strike against the colonial regime. He did it with utmost good faith, and earned respect of his colleagues and the people. He was not paid to do this; he felt it was right. What about the gallant Aba women, who led the popular Aba Women Riot of 1922. They demonstrated the strength of mothers by fighting nakedly against a compulsory tax regime levelled against their husband. These were real moments of patriotism.

The political caste had successfully turned us against ourselves; through monies they throw at us during moments of campaigns. This money politics bereft us of speaking the truth. Our logic of reasoning is being polluted as money collected yesterday is capable of buying us 5litres of petrol at 145 naira per litre and our wives can cook stew without tomatoes.

Conversely, The ruling-class our confused propagandists, who come together through unholy amalgams. The opposition today was yesterday dashing out billions just to remain in power, subjective now with the only intention of winning next elections. Empty contributions as running helter-skelter only to be saved from Dasuki’s jail. Yet, the masses with heavy burden and hopeless hearts. Change!!! Everything is changing even what was good yesteryears must be changed except the same heads, who migrated from the prodigal-camp during eve of transition. Where is the role of checks and balances, which the opposition is saddled with? It is a pity that none of these parties shared true ideological politics!

 During last election, the left and right looted the treasury from both directions and meet at a confluence, present economy realities. The convergence of these spending pushed the economy into disarray and emptiness, now that a thief is dealing with another thief, who will deal with the leading thief?

I urge you all not to touch the Lord’s anointed servant. I am carrying God’s anointing, ordained by God and not man, with the mission of speaking the truth always. Enough is enough, now that the country is heading towards famine and a recession greater than that experienced in 1930s, I plead with all the institutional complementarities, most especially the Churches to bail us out! I know by so doing, God will reward you mightily and heaven will rejoice with us. Above all, we will all make heaven. The Holy Bible still remains our standard. Because, I believe there is one Supreme Being called God that sees us all from above.

God bless Nigeria.

Adedara is a born-again Christian & social commentator, who writes from Sagamu.

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: THE SINGAPORE EXPERIENCE

bu                   By Adedara Oduguwa (27th April, 2016)

“Do not worry about Singapore. My colleagues and I are sane, rational people even in our moments of anguish. We will weigh all possible consequences before we make any move on the political chessboard…” Lee, 21 September 1965.

What! 3rd fastest growing world economy as at 2015, now not in the first 15 growing economy in Africa! This was reaction of many yesterday after stumbling on the news from Channels, a multi- award winning TV station.  But then, the doom of today was birthed by boom of yesterday. Today, it is incredible to see how Nigerians are suffering in the midst of plenty. Several opinions launched; why some believe our problem is lack of true leadership many believe it’s a case of corruption and incompetency. Well, whichever way, Nigeria is critically in need of reengineering, repositioning, re-purposing and rebranding.

Historically, Nigeria is one of the most respected British colonies in the 50s. The country is endowed in both human and material resources. In the 50s and early 60s, we do-not have Oil so much as we do today, yet we were true giant of Africa. Education was entirely free in the West, business and commerce was at apex in the East and herdsmen in the North were so peaceful and contributing, that we all had share of their honeyed beef-meat. Our currency was strong that it was not second to dollar and our soil was so fertile that even stone could grow on it.

What about our leaders?

Sir Ahmadu Bello represents a leader of focus. He knew what he wanted for the Hausa/Fulani of Northern Nigeria, and he stood by it with principle. He was bold, strong and full of natural bravery. Held the powerful title of Sardauna. He was only a college graduate, yet was a simple great-leader of purpose. He stayed in the North to the end, maintaining position of Premiership even when he had opportunity of becoming Nigeria’s Prime Minister. He introduced the doctrine of Northernisation (which simply means- the North for the North, Northern jobs should be for the Northerners). He was altogether a leader of purpose!

Dr. Azikiwe, most educated pre-independence Nigerian politician. Born in Zungeru to an Eastern parents who shared in Mr. Macaulay’s believe that ‘Education is a better safeguard to liberty than a standing Army’. At a time, he almost committed suicide due to frustration of not able to pay his bills in the US. He was persistent, focus and energetic that by the age of 33, he already founded a powerful newspaper (West African Pilot). He became one of the most successful and fortunate politicians in Africa! ‘Zik of Africa’ as fondly called knew what he wanted and he pursued it. Formerly, Premier of Eastern Region, later Governor-General and First Executive President of Nigeria. He was a great man and one of the most educated public administrators.

In the West, Chief Obafemi Awolowo needs no further introduction, his ‘Democratic Socialism’– Progressive indoctrination as a political ideology which gave birth to a number of first is well known to us, which included ‘Basic Free Education Programme.’ A programme that withdrew cutlasses and hoes from so many sons/daughters of less-privileges and replaced them with biros and papers thereby producing so many professors and highly successful captains of industry out of them today. Awo! As fondly called introduced Industrial Estates and Agricultural Institutes for the teaming populace of Western Nigeria. He was so prepared for Nigeria but Nigerians were not prepared for him due to ethnic bigotry and political self-deception.

During their reign, everything was so attractive to the European explorers who almost forgot going back home until they were whisked-out by pressure of educated few in the West, activities of newspapers like West African Pilot in the East and baba-go-slow approach of the caliphate, in the North. Nigeria was then a place to stay and not to visit and leave in a dash. We were envied by Arab kings and Asian emperors for our Soil and Oil. As if this reign would never end in our generation. Indians, British, Chinese and Americans were only few of our primary and secondary school teachers. In fact, even in the early 1990s, Ghanaians and Liberians were our cobblers and housemaids. We became laxed! And the rest is history. We started missing it when ethnic bigotry crippled into our existence.

Comparatively, Nigeria and Singapore were 3rd world nations as at 1959. Singapore was also a British colony with no much potential for the future. The country was blessed to be barren. No human and material resources, no- oil, Iron, bitumen, and even water. As at 1959, the population of Singapore was a little above 1.5million people. Per capital income was only US$400. Unemployment was high and how to get drinkable water was a major concern other than buying from Malaysia. “This must stop!” That was Sir Lee Kuan Yew’s comment shortly after he resumed office as Prime Minister (1963). Mr. Lee introduced the practical aspect of transformational leadership. This today helped him to enlist his name in world-history diary of great leaders. In three decades, Singapore was transformed from 3rd world nation to 1st world nation.

What about Nigeria, a 3rd world nation, a little above 44milion people with US$500 per capital income in 1959. Blessed with massive human and material resources, iron, bitumen, crude-oil, water etc all in abundance.  Giant of Africa in poor long-term planning and most wealthy-with impoverished leaders’/followers’ mentality.

However, what we presently need is a leadership of hope and not of ho hum. A leadership of how to move forward and not why we cannot move forward. A leadership of bail-out and not of bewilderment. And then, a true transformational leadership in practice. We are tired of countless excuses. The business of governance is a serious one since many destines are dependent on this political economy. Nigerians are not chess-boards which politicians can direct or redirect at will. The price of PMS is ridiculous even in rural-urban area like Sagamu; electricity supply is in shamble and disgraceful as it is so difficult to even get an handkerchief ironed to work; Just yesterday, NP was looking for only 10000 job seekers , over 700,000 showed interest, civil-servants have not been paid in months and government still dawdling signing 2016 budget. This is hyper-inflation; a N50 pepper is now sold for N200 (400% increment), a bowl of rice now sold for N500 from N250 (100% increment), yet salary remain unpaid and the same.  Enough is enough!

This is not an APC change government. It’s a government that has refused to move. It’s government of Federal republic of Nigeria where APC and PDP are subsets. Unlike few others, I like to talk about our problem and recommend solution(s). On this case, I will proudly introduce you to transformational leadership, citing late Harry Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore as model.

About Lee Kuan Yew

lee Continue reading TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: THE SINGAPORE EXPERIENCE

IN LOVE WITH A goddess

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by Adedara Oduguwa

When you are in love with a goddess.
everything turns around. Kings & mighty
almost immediately begins to admire you.
This is only a case I found in briefcase of love.

When you are in love with a goddess.
You begin to breath anew like a sunset on sunny-day
No matter how young she is, it’s definitely not another eve-
Teasing. Many might think she’s luckier-
But in truth you are luckiest!

When you are in love with a goddess.
The whole world is a word of love
And bata of love is the only beat played by drums
The Earth standsstill to make stir of a woman of steel.

When you are in love with a goddess.
Even the skies walk into you, to lift and brace you up in grace
for greatness. The moon moves more closer to your lead
Just to make no limit of your limit. Then you are of grace.

When you are in love with a goddess.
The sharks in seashore shun the aquatics for your emotional-
veranda. As if it fit to live in. Your home grows into haven-
And many coughs ‘how I wish she’s mine’.

Now that I am in love with a goddess.
My home wearing tidy, breathing peace and glowing-
happiness. My table fulls and stomach emptiness disappeared. Ah! This was what Awo saw’ in his jewel of-
Inestimable value’ more than 70 years ago.

I really do not know how to write or talk. I would have made a
memoir for this day. But for the grace of today- let the cake rolls in rows as you grow in age. Yesterday I celebrated my day, as if today will never come. Dangote, Adebanjo, Adebanke and Adedara are only a few big names I know.

I never-ever wished for more, than a lover, joy, sister, mother
Admirer, propeller, energy, determination, peace and friend found in you. Today, 20th of April is dedicated to celebrate the only woman that unconditionally agrees to marrying me.

Happy birthday Mine…

Your love,
Adedara.

This is a special dedication to my wife: Oluwaseun Oduguwa on her 30th birthday.

BATA OF LOVE

Written by Adedara Oduguwa (26th of March,2016)

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The skies built for birds to fly, walk & talk

So alike fishes occupying sea-shores

Lions for forest and baboons for boughs of trees

And my heart for Mine to mine.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That’s how to play bata of love!

You are not here because you’re pharmacologist

You are not here because you’re presidential stitches

You are not here because you’re tall and radiant.

You are not here because you’re black and beautiful

In truth, you are chosen because you are Mine!

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

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When my mouth was weak for words,

And my mind missing much mettle

Do you know who appeared? Mine!

Angel I mean for much dote.

Wood under my pot of feelings, boiling

Desires for lovebird emotions.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

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Ololufemi, Ayomi, Eyifujowo, Mine!! And Mine Alone!

I don’t know where solo of love lies,

Nor do I know why luck made a lock in you.

What I know is- I’m ready to dance bata of love

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love.

Asake, Abike, Agbeke, Abeni, Ayomi, Alabaromi:

Some footings are built on shell promises

Some bricks are erected on erosion lane

Some words are to fulfill conditional bonds

But this, not another footle!

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

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Let’s meet at garden of love,

Where lea and meadow dominate like Qaddafi.

Let Mine mounts my ribs while

I suck from her nipple.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

I wouldn’t mind to live without cowries!

I wouldn’t mind to live without titles!

I wouldn’t mind to live without work-mates

Then, I mind a life full of riches without Mine.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That’s how to play bata of love!

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Crazy for love is grace without groan.

Prison for love is throne without trial.

My candle of love is on; my carriage of love is fueled,

My cubicle is empty and my bag is full; love!

Let’s embark on emotional trek made of two.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

 

 

 

 

Thine voice I could heed in gloomy recesses of silence.

My soul hungered your rhythm; softness and

Sweetness of thine accent like Greek’s Nightingale.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

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If love is crime,

Let me be locked in your heart.

If love is sedition,

Let me be banished from home.

If love is idiocy,

Let me be chased from friends.

If love is visionless,

Let me be blind and see only you.

For prison for love is freedom,

Banish for love is comfort,

Foolish for love is wisdom and

Blind for love is sight.

I do!!! What I do I don’t know.

That is how to play bata of love!

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Adieu! Ultimate search,

Adieu! Lustful adventures!

 Here I’m! Am going nowhere! Mine is my queen.

Though, death is supremo over life,

Our love is supreme over death.

I can joke with my eyes &

My life not with my love.

In case you wish to dance bata of love

Visit Seun and Dara in their den till then.

We shall be lovers forever!

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