As I write this, the world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that the new President of the United States of America is Donald J. Trump, ‘self-professed’ billionaire and political-outsider sworn in to office less than a week ago. How do I perceive the ascendency of Trump and the future of America under this most unpopular President in America, their America? This is my take. It is not going to be short.
First things first, I should state where I am coming from; the values that have shaped my thinking about what I am going to write about. You know what they say, “…we do not see the world as it is, but as we are!”
I am a middle-aged black man, a Christian of the fervent Pentecostal, Evangelical flavour. I believe in God, in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. I grew up the son of a church elder, who later became a Pastor. My mum is a Deaconess. But do not think that makes me ignorant about things outside the Bible and the stories of Abraham, David, and Goliath. By age 10, I could reel off the list of all American Presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Even now, I can tell you (with no effort at all) the names of all America’s Presidents in the last 120 years, and in the correct order of course. With an advanced degree in International Politics and a keen interest in international affairs spanning more than three decades, I am well grounded in the arguments in that field, especially in International Political Economy.
Song ref: Duncan Mighty’s Port Harcourt First Son (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFDFtSfccWM)
If you know someone whose heart doesn’t beat for his own patch of earth, pity him. If you know anyone that can’t sing with pride his own version of this extremely likeable song “I’m a Port Harcourt Boy eh, e ji kelele eh!” by Duncan Mighty, I have a feeling the person has not started living yet.
And this indescribable love for your own city is not a new thing.
The writer of Psalm 87 gushes about his own love for Jerusalem. In another Psalm, David says “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play musical instruments”, and that is saying a lot. Jay Z and Alicia Keys tell us in “Empire State of Mind”, that in their New York, the streets will make you feel brand new, “the lights will inspire you!” You need to hear MI talk about Jos! Aladuke will tell you about her Ilorin, Elemure will tell you about Ekiti, the Lisabi sisters told us there was nowhere like their Abeokuta, and you don’t even want to get me started about the one and only “Osogbo oroki”.
“What’s God got to do with it? Everything, my brother. Everything!”
“What’s God got to do with it? Absolutely nothing, my guy. This is business!”
When the Western press says that Nigeria has a Muslim North, and a Christian South, we vehemently protest it, letting them know that the lines are not that clean-drawn between the North and the South; and that we indeed have huge populations in the North that are definitely Christian and lots of Muslims in the Southern part as well. I even volunteer the info that my own Dad, who lived all his life in the supposedly (only) “Christian South” was himself a Muslim for most of his youth. What we do not contest though, is that Nigerians love to be either one or the other. It is the rule that we belong to either of the two faiths. God lives in Nigeria, you know. It is a very rare Nigerian indeed that does not have God in his conversations on a daily basis.
Our cars carry the bumper stickers, and our homes have the necessary paraphernalia. Our politicians talk about God at every opportunity. We are not the sort of people that believe our God should be kept at home. By my side, by my side…I have a very big God o.. He’s always by my side… We know the song, don’t we?
And yet the presence, and at the same time, the unbelievable absence of God in the life of the Nigerian is one of the most impossible dichotomies you could ever encounter anywhere in the world. I explain.
My Kenyan friend put it quite succinctly a few days ago as we talked about the politics of Africa in general, and of Kenya in particular – “In Kenya, we’re not racist, you know… We’re ‘tribalist’!”
This assertion is certainly true for most of us in Africa, and it is so subtle that you may not even know that you yourself are biased, in a way. We have an interesting way of making up our minds about someone from our own country, once we hear what tribe affiliation his or her ancestors held. Or even worse, when the only thing we see is the person’s name.
Believe me when I tell you… our prejudices run deep. I am Chukwudi Adepoju; I should know. From the unbelievable reactions I have received in all these decades, especially in Nigeria, I should know.
With both of my parents being of the Yoruba ethnic group, bearing the name Chukwudi (and bearing sounds like an appropriate word here, seeing that the name can be a bit ‘heavy’ sometimes) has led to really “interesting” conversations all through my life.
The year 2015 draws near, an all-important election year for Nigeria.
I have heard the rumours, that if our brothers from Northern Nigeria win the February 2015 general elections, they will make us all muslims within four years. But if I may say so myself, that is very slow thinking. The real people that plan to islamise us are not waiting till 2015. They want to do it now. They want to islamise us RIGHT NOW.
Contrary to what you would expect, these people are not interested in islamising us exactly; not really. What they plan to do is to terrorise us, destabilise us, decimate us, and somehow, it all got lost in translation. So for the purpose of disambiguation, I will once in a while, call it their original intention, which is to “destabilise us”.
When H. D. Lasswell wrote his hugely popular book “Politics: Who Gets What, When, and How” as a young academic in 1936, he probably was not thinking about post-colonial Nigeria where it sounds more appropriate to say Nigeria’s politics is about who “promises us what, when, and why!”.
As the year 2015 draws closer, we fully enter into another season when they (the politic-ians) infringe on our personal space again, and start with their many promises. We start to hear:
“Don’t worry, I will make youth unemployment a thing of the past in this country!”
“Before you know what is happening, the Second Niger Bridge (SNB) will be started, completed and commissioned”
“That Expressway will be completed before December 20…. “
“By December, we should start generating 10,000 Megawatts of electricity”
“I will fight corruption forcefully, and ensure there are no sacred cows”
“No, our party is the one that cares for the masses. We will build world-class infrastructure”
12th May 2014.
My dear Dad,
I have written this letter in my head a number of times; making mental notes of things I need to tell you when I eventually write, so this is me, writing the first one. I hope you get it though. Wait! What’s the post code of Heaven?
Can you believe it’s been 2,854 days already since you passed away from this earth, and went to be with the Heavenly Father? It means that in a little over 3 months, it will be eight years since I last heard your voice, not counting the numerous times I hear you in my head, of course! How time flies!
A lot has happened since 20 July 2006, the day that my cheeky lil’ sister told me in her own way,
- Elder Buraimoh Adepoju and Chukwudi. Aug 1982
“Your daughter’s grandfather has passed on o..”,
My Dear Pastor,
“When in the course of human events…”
It is now quite obvious that apart from those dark days of the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970), Nigeria has never been in as bad a situation as the one in which we find her today.
Every single day, on many fronts, we see a daily annihilation and unbelievable decimation of not only the people of Nigeria but also the dreams of Nigerians.
It came as a rude shock that the same Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Mr. Peter Obi, the Executive Governors of Ondo State and Anambra State respectively, were counted among the proponents of the loser’s faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
You will recall that OluSegun Mimiko was the Secretary to the State Government (SGF) of Ondo State under the Administration of Olusegun Agagu. He was later nominated to the ministerial cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo and he became the Minister of Housing, Urban and Regional Planning. Leading to the 2007 general elections however, Mimiko who is popularly referred to as “Iroko”, decided to contest for the governorship of Ondo State against his principal and benefactor, the incumbent Olusegun Agagu. He was however persuaded first, and then pressured by President Olusegun Obasanjo to rescind the decision. One will easily recall the statement by the former President at a rally for Agagu in Akure that he (Mimiko) was corrupt and EFCC would soon go after him Continue reading
Baba E Wi Hun Hun
By Pius Adesanmi
(Speech delivered at the Nigeria @ 50 symposium jointly convened by the Nigerian High Commission, Ottawa, and the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa on September 30, 2010)
Baba E wi hun hun would be approaching his 100th birthday by now if he was still alive. My Dad, who passed on three years ago in his seventies, used to call him “boda”, a common Yoruba cultural honorific, possibly a domestication of the English, “brother”. Like my Dad, Baba E wi hun hun belongs in that generation of Spartan, colonial, missionary-trained teachers who were the very incarnation of Nigeria’s moral and ethical fabric from the fifties down to the very early eighties.