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Truth needs no Viagra – Dikeogu speaks hard truths!

DEALING WITH COVID19 AS A NIGERIAN – REALITY CHECK

  • Dike Chukwumerije

My country reminds me of Samson, on the morning after Delilah had shaved his hair, being woken up from sleep with the cries of his enemies at the gate and rushing out thinking he was still possessed of his old strength, of his capacity to engage and defeat a determined foe. This is what my country reminds me of – a man suffering a great delusion about his own capacity at a critical time.

Me? My only real consolation in all this is in the number of people who seem able to recover from this virus on their own. Or who it is suspected contract it and remain asymptomatic from start to finish. This is what comforts me, the possibility of some sort of emergent immunity. And all the indications that a treatment or vaccine may soon be found abroad. These are things that give me hope that this is not the wind that will reveal the fowl’s nyash. But it also makes me sad because this particular fowl may afterwards still not understand how near the miss truly was.

I tell you.

Wash your hands regularly? 55 million Nigerians have no access to clean water. Practice Social Distancing? 50% of Nigerians live in slums, bachas, face-me-i-face-yous. Self-isolate for 2 weeks? We are the extreme poverty capital of the world. Over 87 million Nigerians live in it. That is the type of poverty that if you don’t hustle today, you don’t eat today. It is literally death by starvation versus death by infection. Test, test, test for the virus? In the 4 weeks since we had our first case, we’ve been able to do under 200 tests. In the same period, South Africa has done over 15000 tests. If someone abroad does not help us invent a cheap rapid diagnostic test for covid19 sharp and sharp and, very kindly, donate it to us in large numbers sharp sharp, we will continue to test at super snail speed using a process that will be heavily influenced by the routine ‘man know man’.

I tell you.

Treat worst cases in Intensive Care? Which Intensive Care? 16 years ago, WHO told us we had 5 hospital bed spaces (and by this they meant everything from public to private, from outpatient to intensive care) for every 10,000 Nigerians. Since then we have elected PDP, then APC. We have elected Christian then Muslim. We have elected Northerner then Southerner. We have elected Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba. Today? Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital has 4 single beds in Intensive Care – with nothing else apparently in the room. Tell me? How do you ramp up what does not exist?

This degeneration of systemic capacity is what we have consistently voted for for 16 years. This deterioration of collective ability is what our young men and women mobilize themselves into thuggish gangs on election day to defend. Because when you shout ‘vote for capacity and merit’ someone will come and start explaining to you why it is the turn of this clan or this village or this region or this tribe or this religion to chop building material. And now that owu is threatening to blow, we are looking for concrete shelter to hide inside? My people, that concrete shelter does not exist. Because we used the concrete to build stomach infrastructure in by-gone elections.

So, let us for a second stop pretending we can ‘handle this’. The horse bolted out of the stable years ago. In fact, it has reverted back to a wild horse in the bush and has spawned generations of wild horse children who now make an expert living from locating where we store materials for building stable doors and devouring them, so that no horse may ever be domesticated ever again. You understand? That if covid19 does not decimate us in this country it will not be because ‘we took steps’, commendable as those steps are, it would be because the virus itself turned out not to be as lethal as we feared in our worst nightmares.

And I fear that if that fact is not well articulated and understood the opportunity presented by this crisis – to truly change the way we approach politics and governance in this country, to truly realize that these things impact on lives, not in their tens or thousands, but in their millions and billions – will be lost. And we will continue to sow the seeds of tribalism, mediocrity, and nepotism, thinking that when it counts ‘las las’ we will rise to the occasion. Until that fateful day when Samson wakes up and runs outside to fight a truly lethal foe with a shining bald head…Dikeogu. C

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After Years Of Tussle Gov. Ganduje Makes Emir Sunusi Happy For The First Time

http://opr.news/s13b2ec93200226en_ng?country=ng&language=en&client=news

One battle won! Kudos! Opens a new theatre and a fresh battle front though – one touching on the child directly and the other in an indirect manner. The child beggar must be returned to school. Some serious work on mapping – schools and beneficiary mapping is therefore necessary. We need you to write Op-Eds to this end. Set your PhD and Masters students on this. Child centricity is the key. So we have a largely supply side driven primary response that needs to be pushed. Una be agenda pushers naa! We need strong compulsive stories, powerful narratives with all the spin, frame, fact based emotional appeal and advocacy inducement that you can garner and fire.

Next is to call attention to the need for care and attention for adult beggars in the short and medium terms. Remember the SDGs, remember leave no one behind, remember inclusivity! What are the response options? Suggest some – adapted skills training, work for food, public work schemes, social safety net programmes, minimal functional literacy. Dig into your ideas brainstorm! Let us throw out the ideas. Let them say that the ideas are not workable. Unless the beggars are equipped to gain a living in other ways , they will be back on the street and the children with them. Politicians pronounce, policy makers and civil servants pounce to implement without adequate reflection save for considerations of pecuniary gains (prebandalism at its best) and the result is pain and waste. Let us save our country from waste for the sake of our children.

Noel Ihebuzor

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A song on waiting

visionvoiceandviews

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

The evening limps on dragging feet

slowly, the enlarging darkness of night

overruns the day

urging the dying day to bed and rest

the lights die out

as silence enfolds the enveloping darkness

and she waits

 

 

Time crawls on millipede feet

seconds last long like sluggish minutes

sadness and worry rest heavy

heavy on her restless pacing feet

(occasionally stamping feet)

as a damp blanket

 

Between pacing, stamping and sitting,

she stays on, stays up, eyes heavy

soul heavier, spirit drooping

wrestling with the harsh hands

of hurt and reality

that now strangle her dreams

and choke her soul

 

she checks the hum of every passing car

ears straining and acute

hearing the silent footfalls of footless spirits

responding to the call of the night

as they glide to their nocturnal haunts

 

And she wishes she could go forth like them

but she cannot

worry has…

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Challenging dominant voices and Narratives – the death of “the objective” in history? An excerpt – Rx

The problem with writing skewered history is that it equally misinforms its target: Kayode Esho was a great jurist, but Akunne Oputa was the “Socrates” of the Supreme court. Enahoro was a young editor, but Azikiwe made him that young editor with Osita Agwuna as his assistant, at his paper, the Southern Nigerian Defender in Ibadan, where my own father incidentally started as a rookie before shortly abandoning journalism for the stable berth of the civil service. The myth of Awolowo as building the first this and that does not match the documented economic history of the period. Between 1954 and 1964, Eastern Nigeria was described as “the fastest growing economy in the world,” by the Harvard Review; faster than China, faster than Singapore, and all the so-called “Asian Tigers.” Awolowo is often credited with “free education”. But no one yet has pointed out any surviving school buildings of the period built by Awo. But all over the East there were quality schools built by the various communities using the Town Development Unions from 1954, and acessing the matching grants of the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation. And this was the East with the poorest revenue resources of any of the regions. The Mbaise secondary school exists, the National High School Okigwe exists, the Ngwa High school exists, the Enyiogugu Grammar School exists, etc. These were solid schools built all over the East with matching goverment grants. But where are the buildings of the Modern schools in Western Nigeria? They do not exist. They were makeshift. The Catholic church forced the Azikiwe government from its scholarship program, but it is also on record, that the Eastern government was the only government in the world that invested 45% of its revenues in education. The East had the highest number of schools; the highest school enrollment; the broadest penetration of medical services; and the best modern road network in west Africa. Indeed if we look carefully, the only public hospitals and most of the schools still standing in the East today, at various stages of run down are the schools and hospitals built by Azikiwe/Okpara. Every division of the East had a Joint Hospital as part of the Eastern Medical services. So it is often claimed Awo built the first television station; the first sky scraper, and the first Sports stadium, the liberty stadium in Ibadan. Well, these are prestige or white elephant investments. First, the Eastern Outlook, the government paper of Eastern Nigeria was the first newspaper established by any government in Nigeria, and it was of such quality and impact that the literacy level of Easterners, and the depth of public information retailed by Outlook was without compare. This is besides the fact that Western Nigerian Broadcast Services, WNBS-TV founded in 1958 only preceded the ENBC-TV founded in 1959, by only seven months. But Outlook preceded Sketch by about 15 years. Now Azikiwe built the Onitsha Modern market, the first modern mall or trade emporium in West Africa. Onitsha was effectively Dubai before Dubai. People traveled all over Africa, from as far as the Congo and Sudan and Egypt, to come and buy and trade in Onitsha. The economic impact of this was humonguos. So, give me the vast Onitsha modern market over Cocoa House in Ibadan. Azikiwe built the first Nigerian University at Nsukka with the first School of Law, the first School of Engineering, the first Business School; the first school of journalism, and the first school of music and performance, etc. By the time its first graduates took the Nigerian civil service exams in 1963, everybody began to raise the cry of “Igbo domination” starting with Akintola and Ayo Rosiji. Give me UNN over Liberty stadium. Azikiwe began the first modern library system in West Africa. The East had a system of city libraries starting with the very modern Ziks Library in Enugu. I Literally grew up in the Umuahia Divisional Library. These libraries were built all over the East. Schools in the East were built with libraries. Moreover the Eastern Nigerian Library Board had a sysem of rural amd mobile libraries. There was nothing like it anywhere else in Nigeria: kids having library cards and able to borrow or order books from the public library. Give me the the first library over the first TV. I do not by this mean that Awolowo did not make his contributions, but the regular skewering of the facts, and angling of contemporary national narratives often makes it seem these days like the greatest contributor to the founding of Nigeria and its development is Awolowo and the Yoruba, when the actual facts speak differently. The great Ibadan historian, Tekena Tamuno, was unambiguous in stating once at NIPPS, Jos, that “the Igbos are the makers of moderm Nigeria. When they abandoned their project, Nigeria collapsed.” We must remind Nigerians, particularly Igbo children, daily of these fact, to achieve what Achebe called ” a balance of stories.” And that also means we must read beyond the surface of things. Babarinsa’s Guardian essay is angled carefully to maintain a revisionist narrative. And that is to be always challenged, however innocent it might seem. Even today, most Yoruba think that Awolowo founded the Universities of Ibadan and Lagos. No one has reminded them that it took Azikiwe’s pressures for a university for Nigeria, in his meeting with Arthur Richards in 1946, that led to the cobstitution of the Eliot commision and subsequently the founding of the University College, Ibadan. This fact is even clearly conveyed in Michael Crowder’s eponymous book, The Story of Nigeria. Nsukka was Azikiwe’s critique of what he felt to be the conceptual limitations of Ibadan. The University of Lagos was the result of NCNC’s ideological contributions to the federal policy during the ill fated coalition government with the NPC. UNILAG was an NCNC project, shepherded by Aja Wachukwu as minister for education. These facts must be made known and put as forcefully accross as possible. Again, until the lion tells his own story, the story of the hunt will belong to the hunter. Kabissa!