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

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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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CHIEF (MRS.) H.I.D AWOLOWO: A WOMAN OF STEEL

TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY ADEDARA ODUGUWA, IN HONOUR OF MAMA’S 99 BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY TODAY 25TH OF NOV., 2014

“Gray hair is a crown of glory;

It is gained in a righteous life.”

 _ Proverbs 16:31

 

First of all; I thank the God Almighty for the privilege bestowed on us to see today as active participant in this memorable celebration of life. I salute Esoe Remo Int’l for the leadership role being played world-wide to make sure Remo youths and Remo indigenes world-wide remain one. Most especially, its founder, Mr. Tokunbo Soluade for his resilient effort in making sure the history of Remo is preserved and advanced. The criterion for chosen me was quite not disenable. Nonetheless, I count myself blessed to be part of the pages of history.

The subject of discourse today is “H.I.D: Honesty, Integrity and Dignity- Our Weapon to create our future and better Nigeria.”  Cautions our rapt attention as a people, youth and Remo indigenes to painstakingly reason together on the same pace. The title in itself is a symbolic acronym, often means Hannah Idowu Dideolu (Awolowo), which for almost a century is a pictogram of honesty, integrity and dignity.

For the purpose of reminiscence, let me quickly draw a background check on a beautiful First Lady of Western Region , born some 99 years ago.

Thursday, 25th of November, 1915 was like every other day, when daily activities were on, market women were planning for the market and farmers sharpening their cutlasses. An act that was dominant in the old Western region. The world witnessed the birth of a female damsel. A baby that would grow up in later years only to be referred to by her husband as “Jewel of Inestimable value”, by the nation as “Our First Lady”, by her race as “Yeye Odua”, by industrialists as “First importer of lace materials”, by the youths as “our mama”, by politicians as “a woman of steel” and by the world as “Dr. Chief Mrs. H.I.D Awolowo.”

She was born into the family of Mr. Moses Odugbemi Adelana and Mrs. Elizabeth Oyewole Adelana of Ikenne, here in Ogun State. Mama started her elementary education at Saint Saviour’s Anglican School, Ikenne in the year 1921. She also attended Saint Peter’s Anglican School in 1932/1933 session. Mama became a pupil teacher at Saint Saviour’s Anglican School between January 1934 and Dec. 1936.

On Dec. 26, 1937, at Saint Saviour’s Anglican Church ,Ikenne Remo, Mama got married to the best president Nigeria never had and a man who would fondly referred to her as “ my precious jewel of inestimable value” Chief Obafemi Awolowo. After which she dived fully into business.

In business, Mama became the first indigenous distributor of lace materials in Nigeria. Chairperson of African Newspaper of Nigeria and African Press Limited among many others. More so, Mama was a successful business magnate that when Papa Awo was leaving for England in 1944, she was able to keep the home front from the proceeds she gathered from her businesses.

Although, Mama H.I.D is biologically mother of 5 children; the events unfolds makes her mother of the nation. A major reason why mushrooms of politicians, students, youth bodies, world leaders and researchers ,almost on every day visits her home which as become the “Nigerian political Jerusalem” to dig deeply and tap from the fountain of knowledge of Chief Awolowo, whose baton of legacy is been kept by Mama. Young Mrs. Awolowo was a woman of steel, pedigree and adroit. A reference point could be drawn when Mr. Mike Akiode asked Papa to describe Mama H.I.D in few words, sometimes in 1979. Chief Awolowo said:

“I do say many years back that my success depended on three things: the grace of God, a good wife and Spartan self-discipline. She means a lot of things to me. She is a very sagacious and cute businesswoman. That, when I went aboard to study law, she was able to keep the home front with four children. I had three already_ Segun, Tola and Wole. Ayo was being awaited. She came in Dec., 3 or 4 months after I left for UK.

Not only once, you see, you are able to appreciate a person’s qualities in time of crisis whether a person is good or bad, whether to see that person in time of peace as well as in time of crisis. My wife stood firm behind me like the rock of Gilbrater. Also, nothing destroys a man’s morale more than the infidelity of a woman. Especially in time of crisis, my wife is absolutely faithful to the vow of her marriage and I did the same thing to myself (Oduguwa, 2012).”

Honesty, Integrity and Dignity are intertwine, often used in similar context but grammatically different. These words to political analysts and historians when absent in any political economy would create problems that can only be solved by themselves and when present will prevent such problems that could have emanated.

According to Mahoney (2012) Honesty is a direct reflection of your inner character. Similarly, Honesty is a key factor in the development of a child’s character (Green et.al, 1998). Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way. Conversely, if you don’t tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people (Woolf, 2014). Nonetheless, I will describe honesty as a state of being trustworthy, morally upright, impartial, unpretentious, respectable, reasonable and patriotic to both God and man. Political honesty is the act of being honest to the oath of office either at local, state or federal level.

However, Longman Dictionary (2012) describes integrity as the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standard. It is living this single life with an absolute sense of decency, righteousness, virtue, sincerity, high moral principle(s) and ethics, nobility and truthfulness (Oduguwa, 2014). Integrity is a personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honour moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles.

According to Hicks (2013) Dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings; everyone is born with it. Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. On the contrary, I don’t agree with Mr. Hicks that dignity is born with everyone but like a Degree or Chieftaincy title, everyone can acquire dignity.Moreover, the literature on the three vital words of the topic of discourse, as expatiated in previous sections proved that the success of one leads to the other. That is, once a man is honest, he will have integrity and that will give birth to dignity in him.

For instant, a principal may demand that his agent should be honest in his doings, when he (agent) is able to achieve this; the principal will sees him as a man of integrity and in returns, earns dignity from him. In other words, when honesty = A, Integrity= B and Dignity =C. A & B are expected from us while C is earned in exchange for A&B.

Dr. Chief Mrs. H.I.D. Awolowo is God sent and well describe in this manner. She is a woman of steel and mother of the nation. Like her husband, she believe in steadfastness and social liberty for all. When Chief Awolowo was Premier of Western Region, Mama, her First Lady, stood firmly beside him, even during the 1962 treasonable felony trial, Mama stood firmly with her husband. And now, 28 years after the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, those legacies, ideological principles and economic foresights are still well kept by Mama, for politicians, researchers, youths and anyone for that matter that wish to learn the true principle of democratic socialism as described by Chief Obafemi Awolowo which gave birth to a series of firsts.

Something must be said about the most popular figure after Oduduwa in the Yoruba race and the best president Nigeria never had Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Chief Awolowo dedicated the entirety of his life to give Nigerians the broad best, yet we deprived ourselves the golden opportunity of been led and served by this noble prince. In his manifestoes issued on the eve of 1960 entitled ‘Democratic Socialism’ he highlighted Action Group 12 cardinal programme for Nigeria. Among which included:

  1. Free education from kindergarten to University.
  2. The raise of peasant classes productivity.
  3. Abolition of Unemployment, that is to say, it will be possible for every able-bodied person to be gainfully employed.
  4. Expansion of health services to enable all persons, whatever their age, to have free medical treatment.
  5. And a scheme for social insurance will be introduced, and specifically old age pension will be paid to persons above certain age, who are willing to accept the benefit, among others.

More so, today we talk about Awo free education programme in the defunct western region. We talk about first TV station in the whole of black Africa, we talk about the Cocoa House, Agricultural Institutes, farm settlements, employment for all and several other Firsts achieved by Chief Awolowo. But we all fail to realise that these goals are only achievable if an only if we have the trio words that formed the acronym H.I.D. This, among minor others are the reason(s) we are presently going through this unwarranted political hullabaloos that is capable of tearing us apart.

Then again, due to the lack of H.I.D in our political economy, our system of government is theoretically called ‘democracy’ but practically ‘Kakistocracy’ (Government by the worst citizens). Consequently, the Nigerian Youths become victims of unsecured future! Youths today are already polluted with uncertainties which are presently abetting illegality. This illegality ranges from armed robbery, terrorism, fraud, ritual killing, prostitution, manslaughter, and many other heinous crimes that will ticket us nowhere. How can the future be secured when the present is already lost? This solely owes to lack of H.I.D in our political economy.

We have learnt so much from Mama, the custodian of Chief Awolowo’s legacies. On Wednesday, January 22, 2013, Mama put it straight to us that H.I.D is all that is needed to make Nigeria great again. In her words:

 “It is now about 27 years since the exit of Chief Awolowo. So, whenever they brought bad policies to us here. We always reject it because; Baba was truthful till the end. He never compromised. During the last election, Baba was optimistic that he was going to win. So, when they started the bad policies and untruthfulness. That was the beginning of rigging and untruthfulness. That was what led us to where we are today. You have to be ‘honest’. That should be first. You have to always fight for the truth. Please be honest! Once you can hold on to that, this country will change for better.” These words are resounding and evocative capable enough to destroy mediocrity in other to rebuild us for better.

It was Abraham Lincoln , the 16th President of the United States of America and mentor, that first defined Democracy in his celebrated Gettysburg Address of November,19,1863 and I quote “…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Gentlemen and ladies, America was built by Americans, China was built by Chinese, Britain was built by the British and Nigeria will also be build by Nigerians. But until we get the H.I.D right, we may not be able to celebrate the birth of a new Nigeria.

I thank you for listening and the hope in H.I.D is already being given birth to in this very lecture room. And with this, a secured and better Nigeria is achievable!

In the words of Nelson Mandela “The past is a rich resource on which we can draw in order to make decisions for the future, but it does not dictate our choices. We should look back at the past and select what is good and leave behind what is bad.”

At 99, I want to believe the nonagenarian as done her own part and almost empty!

Long live Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D Awolowo!

Long live the Awolowos!!

Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

I thank you all!

BBC VS CHIEF OGUNDE ON POLYGAMY

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In 1969, during one of Chief Hubert Ogunde’s Tour to Europe and the Great Britain, A British Commentator was so disturbed by the fact that the Chief was having six of his wives on the tour with him. He queried Chief Ogunde on this and see his response in the below EXTRACT.

Yes, I can remember all this and then, something that I think is funny happened when I took my group on tour of Europe and Britain 1968/69 full year, touring Europe and Britain. Now, around July 1969, my group was chosen to perform at the International Musical Architecture they called it in Wales 1969.So after the performance, I had an interview with the world Press. One BBC Interviewer, the commentator asked me, 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?

Ogunde n wives

Well, I told him that in Africa, this was the exactly the thing I told him ‘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.

And from the second day, I received several telephone calls and messages from women, ladies and even men, telling me ‘Oh Chief Ogunde you are correct, tell us more. You are speaking the truth, we agree with you.”

[ Culled from the Manuscript, Hubert Ogunde: Odyssey of a Renowned Nationalist , By Adedara Oduguwa]

AWO VS ADEOLA ODUTOLA ON EDUCATION LOAN

By Adedara Oduguwa

We are all familiar with the ‘best president Nigeria never had’ and the most celebrated Yoruba figure after Oduduwa (Odumakin, 2012). A man of ideology and words. Although he died many years ago, we cannot stop but continue to mourn his death because; the nation refused growing after decades of his departure.

Chief Adeola Odutola
Chief Odutola , The Industrialist

Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo’s exemplary leadership refuse to depart our memories even as we witness series of serial mediocre occupying leadership positions in our 55year old nation. The problem as often enunciated by some of us is  utterly not corruption, but incompetency and lack of ideological orientation.

This Article tends to remind us about one man, who was so determined from the beginning of his life on what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. I find it very significant today in our political economy that our generation (the abused generation), which was failed by the outgoing generation should learn from such exemplary clues.

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Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Lawyer, Journalist and a Renowned Politician

What is more, I have read this letter over and over in the last five years. And my conclusion is that, being focus is world’s greatest asset. Awo made a loan request of £1,400 from Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola on March 25, 1943 , (the richest Ijebu man in those days) and promised to pay back by 1955.

Chief Odutola refused him of the Loan, Awo could not travel that year. He buckle up his lace and by August 14, 1944 (one year later) he travelled to England, became a Barrister at law and was called to the Bar in November 1946. Amazingly, by 1954 (A year to the time he promised to pay Chief Odutola the Loan ) , Chief Awolowo was already a Premier in the Defunct Western Region and already giving out Scholarship to over 200 undergraduates (First of its kind in Africa).

I find it a great pleasure, to replicate the full version of the Awoistic dedicatory letter, following a stiff request by friends that the Nigerian Youths need to see and digest this memorial document.

THE LETTER

Dear Mr. Odutola,

I think it will be an exceeding saving of time and more business-like if I avoid all sweet preliminaries and go straight into the object of this letter and say that I am writing to ask you to be good enough to lend me a sum of £1,400 (One thousand and four hundred pounds) free of interest for twelve years.

It is a staggering figure! More staggering indeed does it become, when it is realized that I, who am asking for this loan, have nothing in all the world to give as a security for this money, excepting my good faith and my brains which again are of value only so long as I continue to breathe the breath of life!

Nevertheless, I here proceed to outline in brief why i want this big loan from you. And I hope you will be kind enough to sacrifice some time to go through what I have to say, even though , in  the end you might find yourself unable to do me this grand favour.

One great ambition of mine since my boyhood days is to be a lawyer, a politician and a journalist, rolled into one. I cherish politics and journalism as a career. ; and I desire advocacy as a means of livelihood. For you will agree with me that a politician or journalist who has no money with which to support himself and family comfortably ,is like a blade which has no razor.

Now, at one time, I was on the verge of making enough money with which I could proceed to England in order to pursue the object of my ambition; but I suffered a twist in my fortune, and I crashed. Ever since, I have tried without success to recover lost grounds, financially. But spiritually and intellectually, I have made appreciable advance in spite of towering difficulties, all of which have now been surmounted.

As you are aware, I have just passed the intermediate Bachelor of Commerce Examination. Next year, I am taking the final B.Com. Having a degree is not my goal; I hate to be a government or mercantile employee. Otherwise, there are opportunities for me here and there to get a suitable and well paid job under government or one of the mercantile houses. As you know, however, once I become an employee of government or a mercantile establishment that is the end to my career as a politician and journalist. I have therefore resolved that under no circumstances will I take up such employment.

That is just by the way. I am now thirty-four years of age. After careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that if I could raise a loan free of interest sufficient to cover expenses , I should go to England , this year and within three years, I should qualify as a Barrister –at –law, and also obtain with Honours the LL.B Degree of London University. In addition this degrees apart from giving me good backing as a solicitor and Advocate will help me immensely as a politician and journalist.

But where on earth could i get the money? Who in Nigeria today could give £1400 free of interest to help his fellow-man? J.Henry Doherty, Esq., of illustrious memory who did the like to many successful Nigerians is no more. But after meticulous, shifting and weighing, I hit upon you.

 I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that out of the bounty with which providence blesses your grit and efforts as a businessman, you can well easily afford to advance such a sum of money. I have no doubt too that as a young and progressive man you will be quite happy to give the money for the pursuit of the project for which I desire it.

But then, could you take this risk?

That is the question. As I have said before, I have no security for this loan. Moreover, I want it free of interest. So that you stand to gain absolutely NOTHING in the whole transaction ,except the satisfaction that by helping me to achieve my ambition you are indirectly or even directly helping Nigeria or even Africa.

This risk becomes greater when it is borne in mind that I might die in the course of my studies or immediately after , so that, since I have no security or surety, you stand the chance of losing not only the money but also the satisfaction which you may cherish that you are contributing to the uplift of Africa. It is indeed a great risk; the greatest any man ever embarks upon.

But, this is a big BUT, if I live, as I have no doubt I will do, you will not only get your money back in full, but you will , to the end of your days , have cause to rejoice that you have done one of the most outstanding and most philanthropic acts any human being ever does. Among other things, I shall make excellent use of the money while in England by breaking records in my examination. On my return  to Nigeria, I shall strive to be one of the foremost advocates, politicians and writers in West Africa, and while I do all these, I shall make it a point not only to pay your money back in full, but also to repay your kindness and generosity towards me in every way I can.

All the same, it is a big risk! So , Sir, I like you to think seriously about it, and see if you can take it in the interest of a young man who has brains ,industry and determination to back his ambition , but lacks the money. I know we have never been close friends, but I have a shrewd idea that you may take the risk and help me.

On this assumption, therefore, I proceed to the next and last stage of this letter.

I shall not require the whole £1,400 in a lump sum. To start with, you will help me pay a sum of £208-13s-3d to the Inner Temple. I have already received an application form from this Inn of Court; and from the details forwarded, I gather that the sum of £208-13s-3d will cover all the cost of training as a Barrister, examination fees excluded.

When I am ready to sail, you will advance me a sum of £100 to cover passage, provision for my family and any other incidental expenses( NOTE: If i got torpedoed on the way, you would certainly lose this £100 but you will recover the £208-13s-3d).

At the same time you will remit to a London Bank the sum of £491-6s-9d. It is out of this amount that I shall pay the university fees for LL.B course a, and for special courses in political science and journalism, when I land in England. This is to say, the initial advance will total £800.

At the end of the first year, provided I make satisfactory progress in my studies, you will give instruction to the bank to honour all cheques from me drawn on this account. There will be an arrangement to be signed by me on my return.

On my return, I shall require TWO years within which to establish a solid practice and build a good reputation. After these two years, I should commence to pay at least £200 per annum either in monthly, quarterly or annual payments. So that in seven years after the first two years, I should pay back the whole sum of £1,400. That will be TWELVE YEARS from the time you help me to pay this in April or so this year, then I should be due to pay the whole of £1400 by April 1955.

Now, as you yourself will see, this is the farthest limit within which I can pay the money. It may be possible for me to pay the money within THREE to FIVE years of my return. As a matter of fact, the sooner I pay it off, the better. But it is much better to be on the safe side in a matter like this. It is no making promises now which will be difficult to fulfil in future. On the contrary it is better to mention a period of twelve years and pay within SIX or EIGHT years than to mention FIVE YEARS and fail to pay within TEN years. Personally, I prefer that I should fail to get the loan under theses unattractive but sure conditions, rather than succeed in getting it under attractive but precarious conditions.

Now, this is all I have to say. You have my request before you, and the reason why i make the request. It is left to you to decide whether it is worthwhile to take the risk of helping me in the manner outlined above or not.

If you do me the great favour, not only myself and all that are mine, but also God and Africa will be grateful, I shall have no cause whatsoever to grumble or to blame you, FOR THE RISK IS GREAT.

Since this is a very selfish request, I enclose herewith a stamped addressed envelope for a reply to be sent to me under registered cover.

With very kind regards.

Yours sincerely,

(Sgd) Obafemi Awolowo.

(Culled from the book, Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The Political Moses by Adedara Oduguwa, Page 119-123).

Chief (Dr) Adeola Timothy Odutola

Touching and inspiring? Yes, that is the best way to describe it. Many would be amazed that with all the grammars and accolades such requests was turned down, perhaps probably because Chief Odutola couldn’t affords it? Well, far from it.

At a glance, let me introduce Chief Adeola Odutola. Chief Odutola was born in Ijebu-Ode, seven years before the birth of Awo (1902). He was one of the pioneers of modern Nigerian indigenous entrepreneurship (He reigned in Ijebu after D.S.D. Oduguwa of blessed memory who died in 1939). Odutola started as a Court Clerk in the 30s and entered private industry by establishing Damask Stores and Fish Stalls around Western Nigeria (Wikipedia, 2015). He later entered Cocoa and Palm trading business. Odutola later joined Nigerian Youth Movement, transferred his resources gradually into energy, saw milling, gold mining and became major agent to John Holt Nigeria. By 1967 Odutola was already manufacturing Tyres, became first president of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and later President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (Wikipedia,2015).

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The Statue of Chief Awolowo

However, as at the time Awo requested for £1400 education loan from Chief Odutola, The Chief already worths millions of naira. Now the question is why then did he refuse the request? Well, let’s say he was not filled with enough grace to give or God didn’t want to share his glory with him. Because, Awo would have owe everything he achieved in later years to him.

LESSONS

There are lots of lessons that could be learned from this letter:

  1. Definiteness of purpose: Awo knew what he wanted and he shot at it. He wanted to become three things: A lawyer,a journalist and a reputable politician. He was so definite. Many of us don’t know what we want. To be wealthy is not a goal but a feeling. If you worth billions and you don’t stand for anything, then you have achieved nothing. Letter like this is for you.
  2. In life-war, the force of determination is greater than that of bullet: Awo was so determined and focused. He did not allow the Loan request refusal to weighed him down. He had three children already (Segun, Tola and Wole) but yet, he was so determined to become a politician, Solicitor and a Journalist. Today, we refer to him as the best president Nigeria never had (politics), Senior Advocate of Nigeria- SAN (Solicitor) and founder of the Nigerian Tribune (Journalist).
  3. Destiny cannot be changed nor denied but can only be delayed: Awo was so optimistic of travelling abroad and achieving his goals. He planned it for 1943 but failed since Chief Odutola refused to grant him the request for loan. He was not discouraged! Worked harder for the next one year and travelled by 1944. This also explains why the only person that can fail you is YOURSELF. Never blame the third party for your failure. Take the courage to try again.
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Bode Thomas, Awo and Akintola

Chief Odutola , am sure was ever disappointed for not granting that favour because Awo later installed him as the Ogbeni Oja of Ijebu Ode when he was the serving Premier of Western Region.  In addition, “in 1956, however, a  general election was called. Odutola contested on the platform of the Action Group and recorded an overwhelming victory. This was not surprising. He had fully become a man of the people. In 1955, he had been elected Chairman of the Ijebu Provisional Council. In 1956, a vote of confidence was passed on him, in recognition of his good management of the Council. He was also re-elected Chairman of the Council. In 1957, the same process was repeated. Odutola remained Chairman till 1959 (Abati,1995:78) .”

Are you surprised? Never be, the man who requested for education loan now a Premier (equivalent to some 7 states governor today) while the billionaire became one of his many Local Govt. Chairmen. They became so close that Chief Odutola was with Awo in the Action Group political party. What a life!

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Conclusively, Awo did not only end up becoming his dream, he added good name to it. Today he is celebrated and respected around the world. I am a beneficiary of this name. Thus, you can be greater than your greatest admirer if only you have faith in God and determination.

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A Book on Awo after 25 years

 Remember, for every Chief Odutola in your life, gets Awo!

God bless Africa.

IS POLYGAMY A SIN: AGAINST GOD OR MAN?

By Adedara Oduguwa

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Many parts of Africa, Asia and some parts of Europe and America believe marrying more than one wife is heavenly supported as their forebears by hereditary married more than one woman. Generally speaking, the practice of marriage is majorly classified into two – monogamy and polygamy.

Monogamy is a marriage between a man and a woman; while polygamy is a marriage between a man and a few women at any one time. This assertion is unequivocally faulted by Christians but grossly supported by Islam which purported that you can marry more than a woman once you are able to carter for them equally. Moreover, Islamic law stipulates that a man may marry more than one woman but not more than four.

Ironically, many who claim to believe in the assertion may not have full knowledge of what it is to be wife, husband or child of a polygamous oriented yard. While many monogamists believed the weaknesses of their house is control and fear of the unknown by the woman. In polygamy, it may ranges from disunity to jealousy, hatred and lack of adequate parental care for the children.

This paper sets to establish whether polygamy is a sin? And whether this sin is against God or man? Consideration would also be given to direct comparison between a simple nuclear family and a polygamous family using SWOT analysis as an analytical scale. At the end, conclusions would be made on whether a nuclear family is better than a polygamous family.

According to Longman dictionary (2015) polygamy is the custom of having more than one spouse at the same time or a system of multiple mates. It is further sub-divided into polygyny- the act of having multiple wives simultaneously and polyandry – the process of having multiple husbands at the same time.

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Historically, in Islam, polygyny is conditionally legalised which is the basis for which most men marry more than one wife. In Surah an-Nisa’, verse 3, this claim is well established:

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-Which means:

“And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls (when you marry them), then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but, if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (among your wives), then (marry with) only one, or just the slaves that your right hands possess. That is nearer to preventing you from doing injustice.”

Conversely, even though Islam pointed it that polygamy is not abominable or prohibited, It is not a principle in the Islamic law which must (wajib) be done that one will be considered sinful if it is not practised (Al-Bahi, 1988). Polygamy is only neutral and it is a rukhsah (relief) in an emergency situation. According to him, although the language used in the surah above has the elements of an ‘order’, it does not translate to ‘obligatory’. If carefully observed, polygamy may become an haram (prohibition) for the polygamous husband if he is incapable of being fair and causes a potential abuse to the wife he married.

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Islam also identified the conditions under which polygamy (polygyny) is appropriate;

A man must be:

Capable to Provide Nafkah for the Wives i.e physical and sexual, be it for one wife or more. Physical nafkah being referred to here is from the aspects of providing food, clothing, accommodation and medical.

Fair to All Wives i.e fairness refers to being equal towards all wives without having any preference towards any one wife.

Fair in Providing Accommodation i.e a husband must provide a home for the wife to stay be it in a monogamous or polygamous environment. If polygamous, the homes of the wives are best to be separated as initiative to avoid family feud and jealousy from spreading among the wives.

Fair In Taking Turns for Night Stay i.e A husband must (wajib) decide on a fair night stay turns among his wives without being biased towards any of the wives.

Fair In Travelling i.e a husband must (wajib) cast a vote amongst his wives if he wishes one of his wives to accompany him while travelling.

However, going by the Islamic laws above on polygamy, one can simply judge that to keep the laws un-faulted is in itself some huddle. How can a man marries two wives and treats them equally? This is not only impossible but purely unthinkable. By indication, while most supporters of polygamy had argued that the practice was pioneered by Islam as certain Muslim and non-Muslim societies have claimed, the interpretation of the Islamic laws proved to be on the contrary. This gives more room to further research in the other religious camp, Christianity to be precise.

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Polygamy in Christianity

There are several instances in the Bible when we have a man married to more than one woman and the fact that there are several instances when a man has both wives and mistresses is a very strong indication that polygamy was not a taboo for Believers of the old.

According to the Bible which is the guidance of all Christians on earth, polygamy was well accepted and practice by the first settlers in the world. Scripturally and not philosophically, the book of Gen. 4:23 was the first instance where a man married more than one wife. By introduction, Lamech was a descendant of Cain, married Adah and Zillah.

Similarly, Abraham married Sarah but her maid Hangar became his mistress (Gen.16:2) and Abraham fathered a child called Ishmael (Genesis 16:11-12) by her at Sarah’s advice. The aftermath was a great deal of unwarranted stress within the household as things became very difficult for Hagar since she was sent away with her child Ishmael from the house to the Paran wilderness (Gen.21).

The angel of the Lord met Hagar in the wilderness, commanding her to return to Abraham and Sarah. The angel relayed a promise from God: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” (Genesis 16:10). Ishmael, the son of a bondservant, became the father of 12 sons who were called princes.

What about Jacob? Who worked for 7 years for his uncle Laban in order to take his daughter, Rachel in marriage. But Laban had Jacob marry the older sister, Leah instead. Obviously, Jacob was deceived, not knowing she was with Leah until the next day. After marrying and sex with Leah (Laban gave his female servant Zilpha to his daughter Leah to be her servant.-Gen. 29:24), even though he did not realised it, Jacob was stuck with Leah, the older sister of his choice of woman. He had to work for another 7years for Rachel to emerge as wife (Laban also gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.-Gen.29:29). He later married Bilhah and Zilpha on the recommendation of his two wives so as to enable him have more children.

Jacob’s wives gave him twelve sons (namely- Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali) and a daughter (Dinah) his sons later became the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Even though Jacob was a polygamist, God’s grace was upon him and his name shares features with God as his name is frequently associated with God in the Bible: ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis: 25-37, 42, 45-49).’

What about the all holy Moses? He was a former Egyptian prince that later turned to a prophet, lawgiver and religious giver (Wikipedia, 2015). He is also an important prophet to Christianity, Islam and many other faiths. He married Zipporah, daughter of Jethro and Tharbis, a Cushite princess of Kingdom of Kush (Doubleday, 1999).

The story of David is well known to all of us. King David married some eight wives or so. Ruled Israel for over 40years (2 Samuel, 5:4). King David gave birth to some 20 children or so (1 Chronicle 3:1). Nonetheless, with the act of marrying many wives, some forcefully, God still gave this recommendation about him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).

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The case of Solomon, a record breaker and maker is yet to be forgotten in history. Solomon, son of David married over 1000 wives. (700 wives, 300 concubines), Wow! He must be a working machine. Yet, God blessed him with more riches, wisdom and happiness. Although there is no record of whether Solomon was able to satisfy his numerous bed mates sexually. Nevertheless, it is on record that God was with him (1King). He controlled the entire region west of the Euphrates and had peace on his borders. 1King states that he owned 12,000 horses with horsemen and 1,400 chariots.

This last illustration is about the most famous example of polygyny. What is more, it is a fact to conclude that God is not against polygyny but the act is difficult to practice without committing a sin(s). Additionally, this singular reason proved that God may not necessarily be against polygamy (Oduguwa, 2015). More so, according to Olootu Seyi Idris (2015) ‘the act of not believing in polygamy may not be scripturally based, but might be the making of women, because quite a number of places in the old testaments God was not against marrying more than one.’ Or do we now say the Old Testament should be expunged of the bible in order to ascertain this believes that polygamy is an abominable act scripturally?

Scripturally, there is no place in the bible that God was against polygamy (or let me say that I have not seen). But God spoke in many places in the New Testament on one man, one woman. Therefore, to summarize, just because men in the past have had multiple wives does not mean that God approves of polygamy or that polygamy is as valid a life choice as monogamy. And the facts that God did not talk about polygamy does not mean He censures it.

Polygamy as an act would become a sin when a man cannot keep balance among his numerous parasites (wives). The question then is how can a man keep such balance? This is almost if not entirely impossible! This impossibility is in agreement with the Holy Quran and the bible. Now, we may begin to see why many Preachers often preach against Polygyny.

Present realities, globally, polygamy is widely accepted. For instance, according to the Ethnographic Atlas, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had polyandry (Wikipedia, 2015). Most often the acceptance of polygamy varies and uneven in most societies. In Senegal (Africa) about 47% marriages are polygamous (Nafi, 2004).

In most countries, polygamy is illegal by law but can be practice. In Africa, most countries legalized polygamy as a form of marriage recognized by law. In some few parts of the world (majorly Western nations) the practice is fully criminalized, outlawed and abolished.

In Nigeria, the northern states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara recognize polygamous marriages as equivalent to monogamous marriages, as all twelve are governed by Sharia Law (BBC,2014). Although the remaining 24 states and the FCT may not be under Sharia guidance, the practice is not criminalized and the act is common among the aristocrats. This may be owing to the fact that polygamy is allowed or permitted in the Nigerian Customary Law or traditional institutions.

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Culturally, polygyny cripples into Africa as a means of supports for African forebears. Africans in the primitive age were farmers that worked manually without any exposure to modern science and technology that could aid Agricultural production. This made them to seek for more women who will help them in their Agricultural business their means of livelihood. Now civilization as come and most farmers are now into mechanized farming, yet the practice is on the rise-why?

In Nigeria, a lot of factors contribute to the practice of polygamy: cultural, legal, family background, religious, social, political and personal reasons.

Of course, we should know that a man will first be a monogamist before becoming a polygamist. And so, if the man came from a polygamous background, there is tendency that he either marries more wives or hates the act with passion. This is because of his experience as a son from such marriage background. This may not have anything to do with his religious demagogue. But the influence of personal conviction and family background, which can either, be positive or negative.

We have read in previous sections on how some governments in Nigeria and other parts of the world have legalized polygamy. This encourages men of power and affluence in the society to go into the practice than to embrace the doctrine of one man one woman.

The Old Testaments, the Holy Quran and the African Traditional Worshippers also supported the practice. Thus, making many of their followers to so much believe and preach the practice.

Politically, many public officers or politicians in Africa take on second wife immediately they ascend position of leadership. Some may do this as their first wife may be too old to be called their first lady, others believe in taking up a more eloquent lady as wife for proper representation. While some marries daughter of powerful political figures in order to enjoy political supports. This is also in agreement with marrying for social reasons.

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Comparatively, children raise in polygamy have proved to be more successful than the ones raised in nuclear homes. This may be due to the high rate of competition among steps. Similarly, men that married more than one wives are often wealthier than many into monogamy. It is also a fact to know that a monogamous wife most commonly takes their husbands for granted while a polygyny woman respects and care more for her husband. Infidelity is common among husbands and wives in polygamy than in monogamy. The rate at which a woman kills her husband out of jealousy is common in monogamy than in polygamy.

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Generally speaking, life is more difficult for children raised in polygamous homes than those raised in monogamy. There is greater tendency that children raised in polygamy will grow up to be corrupt leaders (such that loots billions, kill without remorse and do everything to get or remain in political power) compared to the children raised under monogamous watch, who might become great stewards but not necessarily leader. Additionally, children raised under monogamy most often grow up to be very caring, emotionally stable and with the fear of God. However, this doesn’t mean that all products of polygamy are bad while all products of monogamy are good-far from it. But on the average, that is a standard.

Average product of a polygamy oriented families are goal-getters and self-determined while it is the other way round in monogamy as they are often slow, sluggish and contented. In Africa, you will be amazed that many of its billionaires are from polygamous oriented families and are also her treasure looters.

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Conclusively, polygamy as a practice is pleasurable but the act of practicing it is absolutely corrupt. While most Preachers had kicked against the practice, on the contrary, I am against the act. In addition, I am also against the claim that the practice is scripturally wrong (based on the Bible and Quran standard it is not) as claimed by many. Don’t be deceived, God is not against polygamy but he is against sin! Hence, Polygamy is not sin but a practice that is too expensive to adopt without delving into sin.

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Do you called me a polygamist? Far from it! I will take for myself only one woman as wife and not two, three or more. Remember, there are many ladies around but very few are mothers. I have experienced polygamy; I need a chance to experience monogamy!

God bless Africa.