Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Memo To A Presidential Candidate

I have an online acquaintance whose e-mails I've been reading for over ten years now, and who's been prepping himself to contest in Nigeria's 2015 Presidential elections. Here's an online memo I wrote to him, telling him what needs to be done in his first 100 days in office.
1) A ban on the wearing of (English-style) white-wigs by judicial officials -- This is a colonial holdover that has absolutely no place in modern Nigeria. Those white wigs look ridiculous on Englishmen, let alone Africans from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Gambia. This madness must stop at once!

(2) A Presidential directive stating that all Nigerians who have received honorary doctorates from dodgy universities will cease to be titled as "Dr" forthwith! -- They can keep their dodgy doctorates in their drawers and stop boring ordinary Nigerians (and other Africans) with their gaudy, unearned titles. Furthermore, all fraudulent PhD holders who style themselves as "Dr" (without having gone through the required academic route), will henceforth have the law of the land brought unto them. This is a pet peeve of mine (and many other Africans, as I've come to realise). A Martian landing on Earth would think that all Nigerians were Doctors!

(3) Presidential Protocol must be followed at all times by the Presidential office-holder -- if the U.S Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs arrives in Abuja, he/she must be met by his/her opposite number in the Nigerian bureaucracy (and not the President himself!). This issue rankles! A visit by a middling,Western bureaucrat often brings African Presidents rushing to the airport (cabinet in tow, sirens blazing!), just to be seen shaking the hands of the (often-bemused) Western official. For example, a visit to Dakar by the Deputy-Mayor of Marseilles will have President Wade dropping whatever he's doing and taking his 86 year old legs to the airport to greet his guest. All boot-licking practices must be stopped pronto! We Africans must maintain our dignity at all times.

(4) Only Nigerian nationals will be appointed to coach the national Football Team, The Super Eagles. In the event that no suitable Nigerian candidate is found, candidates will be sourced from the West African Region or from farther afield on the African Continent -- nothing screams "Inferiority" more than African football teams that parade 3rd rate foreign coaches at the World Cup. I take it that a cultured African such as yourself, Dr Ojo, will never allow this ludicrous situation to continue unabated.

Please note: I was addressing this memo to Dr Valentine Ojo,  a long-standing online acquaintance of mine who had intended to contest the Nigerian elections of 2015, but sadly passed on in Aug of 2014. May his soul forever rest in peace. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ndoda Zibonele

I've been following the tragic tale of the stricken Italian cruise-ship, the Costa Concordia. 11 people perished and a further 21 are still missing, after it ran aground off shallow Mediterranean waters. But what rankles even more is the behaviour of crew-members and the ship's captain itself, Francesco Schettino. Reports say that once disaster hit, crew-members shoved aside old-ladies to get to the life-boats. The captain himself was one of the first to evacuate the ship, and he refused orders from the Italian Coast-Guard to return to his ship. So much for the ideal of captains going down with their ships!

The insane behaviour of the ship-captain captures the Me First Individualism of today's age. Everyone is consumed in his own affairs, in a hamster-like, non-stop hustle for survival. No-one has any time for anyone else. Even amongst my fellow Africans, famed for our communalism, our Ubuntu, the ethos of dog-eat-dog individualism is now deeply entrenched.

The Ndebeles of Zimbabwe say "ndoda zibonele", meaning man will always take care of himself. But in today's age this maxim has now been stretched to its logical conclusion, with each man now, literally, walking over dead bodies to maximise his own utility. I shudder to think where humankind will end up with this insane and unhealthy behaviour.