Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who is afraid of the internet?

The internet for many young Nigerians is the place to get news, information and sometimes even knowledge. In a country whose history with the media has not always been too “cordial”, it is sometimes necessary to read news about Nigeria through online sources. Not because online sources are more reliable but sometimes online sources are able to publish stories that many Media houses in Nigeria will not touch with a ten foot pole. They are able to criticize our leaders and give honest opinions in matters concerning our country. They are also free from being “shut down” by the SSS and the Nigerian government.

In the midst of all the different sites and news agencies online, are also blogs. Blogs are online journals published by individuals on the internet. Most blogs are like diaries, with the blogger sharing his or her personal life, ideas and opinions. A blogger can decide to share his views on flowers, children, coffee… basically anything he/she wants. Some blogs focus on politics. They put up news about different political issues and share their opinions on the matter.

The numbers of Nigerian blogs dealing with political issues have slowly increased on the internet over the years. Some blogs publish only news about Nigeria while others might share their opinions or engage in lively discussions. For the young, blogs are where the debates happen. Since Nigerian Television Channels and newspapers often do not pose the hard questions to our leaders, (which is totally understandable when one considers the number of journalists that have been assassinated in this country) normal citizens have taken over and are now asking the questions that Nigerian journalists and correspondents fear to address.

Many bloggers are anonymous but there are also a few that choose to blog without any anonymity whatsoever. Jonathan Elendu is one of the many bloggers who uses his real identity online. He maintains a blog that features news and political articles about Nigeria and of course, does not blog from Nigeria. He has however been arrested or rather “invited” by the SSS on arrival to the country. I think Nigeria is certainly going backwards if the government insists on arresting citizens because of news articles published on the internet. The internet is too huge a place to wage war on.

How many more bloggers do they wish to arrest? There are thousands and thousands of people all over the world that publish stories and news about Nigeria daily. Even for an experienced blog reader, it is impossible to keep up with the number of articles being published about Nigeria. From students to pharmacists, pilots to teachers, it seems everybody has something to say about Nigeria.

For the first time in a very long time, Nigerians are actively participating in discussions about the future of our Nation. People are engaged, committed and ready to help our country in any way they can. It will be a shame if this has to end because of a few articles that the government does not approve of. There are many articles all over the internet that I do not enjoy reading. However, unlike our government, I do not have the ability to arrest anybody just because I disapprove of the kind of stories they publish. I do not have the power and I hope I never do. Power is a dangerous tool and a country that continues to use such a tool against its own citizens is heading for doom.

P.S: If una dey find me, I don enter my canoe go swamp. Tufiakwa! SSS is not my portion! E be like say e dey safer to stay with those militants them, at least I hear say them dey feed their victims well well!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Indecent dancing ke?

My people, if I tell una say I don tire for this country! Haba! Every day, new wahala, as one nonsense finish, another one go begin!

I don’t even know if I can be shocked any more with the kind of issues our government gives priority to these days. After all, let’s not forget that we still have that preposterous “indecent dressing bill” hanging over our heads. Yes, things are as usual, as senseless as it can be, our government just can’t get their priorities right. What is their latest venture you might ask? Well my dear friends, you will be sad to know that our government, with all the serious issues we have in this country, have chosen “dance” as the next art form to attack. The Kano State Censorship Board has recently arrested two artists, Rabilu Musa Danlasan, alias Dan Ibro and co-artist Lawan Kunawa, for indecent dancing! (I know oh, meself, I don laugh tire!).

According to the censorship board, “indecent dancing” is against the Kano State Censorship Law, and therefore, the two artists have to be punished for apparently polluting the citizens of Kano state with their dancing. To say the truth, I am still in shock that there is actually a law in the year 2008 that prohibits any kind of dancing at all. How on earth do they judge if a particular performance is decent or not? Is there a list of the kinds of dance that is permitted in Kano? I can imagine that shaking certain parts of the human body is definitely forbidden, but after that, what else? Okay, don’t shake “this and that”, but what if I dance “the twist”, “running man” or “break dance”? Which ones are permitted and which ones are not? What about Ballet? Is this allowed? Modern, Jazz, Tap dancing? Contemporary, Ball room, Fox trot, Waltz?

As ridiculous as it seems to arrest anybody for dancing, it is even more ridiculous to arrest somebody for dancing in a film made when the so called “censorship law” was nonexistent! Now, think people, does this make sense? Let me break it down for those that do not still get it.Imagine if you have cooked with pepper all your lives. Any pot of soup you made, you put pepper in it. Now one day, you wake up and there is a new law saying you cannot cook with pepper, so you stop putting pepper in your food. Now imagine how shocked you will be if you are suddenly arrested for a pot of soup you made two years ago!If people still do not get what the problem is, then I am afraid our education system has to be re evaluated. It just does not make sense, no matter how you look at the issue.

There have been many assertions as to why these two artists were arrested. However, I feel there is no need to even waste our time speculating “why” in this case. Let us simply tell the truth. The truth is that the Kano state censorship board is pursuing a case that is totally illogical and in my opinion, perhaps one of the most absurd things I have ever heard. In fact, I don’t know which takes the prize, “indecent dressing” or “indecent dancing" ( e be like say we dey obsessed with this “indecent” word!).

P.S: Imagine if we get these kain laws for our side! Chei! Dem for don arrest all our governors finish! Those ones wey sabi dance “indecently” anyhow! Abeg, I no fit laugh again. Meanwhile, if anybody get the films, abeg, make una try send am to me. Me self, I wan see this kain “indecent dancing” wey reach to put person for prison! Haba!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hide and Seek in the workplace

There are many young women in Nigeria today desperate for jobs. A job can mean a roof over their heads or a medical bill for a loved one. A bag of rice for grandparents in the village or school fees for siblings. A job sometimes can be a matter of life or death. This is the situation many young women are faced with and this is the situation that many men have decided to take advantage of.

The offices of many men these days have now become a place to harass and terrorize these young women. Their desks now become the main player in this game. Women run around desks, begging as they make another circle, “please sir”, while the lecherous man says, “Come on, be a big girl”. As ridiculous as this situation sounds, as devoid of dignity as you may think it is, many old men are ready to sprint around a desk with great agility. Men that have not taken a walk in years will become athletes in a matter of seconds. You will be surprised to learn that many of these men have daughters, sisters and mothers. Many are “pillars of the society” and “elders” in churches.

For some reason, even though we see this disgusting behavior, we have chosen to turn a blind eye. Even when these young women report such situations, nobody seems to think that anything “bad” has taken place. What kind of society do we live in? What kind of society allows its daughters to be haunted like animals? What kind of society produces men that hunt like animals?

Our men it seems have become animals with no self control. They now believe that because they are “men”, they somehow now have the exclusive rights to “lack of control”. In many discussions all over Nigeria, men will tell you they are “created” that way. Somehow, while God was giving control and other honorable virtues to human beings all over the world, the Nigerian man was either sleeping or did not get the “memo”. It is time we stop fooling ourselves. The Nigerian man is no different than any other man in the world and unless you can fly or climb skyscrapers, then you are just a normal human being. Therefore, since you are just normal, then I expect you to behave like a normal human being.

Take for example, a man in the office. Your job in the office is to work and act as a professional. Your job is not to chase women around your desk. When did the office become the Nigerian man’s hunting ground? For those still wondering why nothing is being done in our country, now you know. People are playing “hide and seek” instead of working! As we dey talk for Warri, men dey carry woman matter for head pass government work.

I am tired of Nigerian men thinking that they can get away with anything. When you harass a woman in that way, it is called “sexual harassment” and you can be sued. As for the companies that turn a blind eye to this disgusting behavior by their employees, shame on you!

Finally for the men, let me tell you a secret. You can control yourself. Drink a glass of cold water and read your Bible or whatever religious scripture that suits you. If that does not help your situation, then I advise you to call your wife immediately, get on the nearest okada and hurry home. If you do not have a wife, it does not matter, get home and have a cold shower. I am told this always solves the problem.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Independent wishes

I wish all the big men over forty-five in politics would give us a break and just retire. I seriously doubt that they have anything else to contribute in this country.

I wish young people would start taking an interest in politics and do what they can to change the little they can. We cannot expect anybody to do anything if there is actually nobody.

I wish our government would one day get their priorities right instead of putting their time, energy and money into the wrong projects.

I wish people would wake up and be more active and stop pretending they’ve gone blind when they see wastage and irresponsibility.

I wish the government would use people that have the right credentials for a job instead of hiring relatives and every Tom Dick and Harry from their village.

I wish people would stop blaming the government for everything and instead start doing the little they can in their communities. If you think you can do a better job, then stand up and say so.

I wish the government would give people that come with suggestions and alternatives the chance to participate. Even if you do no not want to work, good for you, but how about giving the person that wants to, a chance?

I wish people could spend as much time and energy in their communities as they spend in their churches, mosques or shrines. If we could show just ten percent of the sort of dedication we show in religion, half of our problems would be solved.

I wish the government would solve the Niger-Delta crisis and stop this unnecessary violence and unrest in the region.

I wish the people of the Niger-Delta would do their part and hold their leaders responsible for the state of the region today.

I wish the oil companies would stop exploiting a situation that is infected with corruption, greed and bad leadership.

I wish the people would work in partnership with the oil companies to clean up the polluted regions and allow peace to reign.

I wish the young people could think of something better to do than kidnapping and sabotage.

I wish the government would give the unemployed youth a chance for a better life and future.

I wish people would stand up and protest about the light situation. How long will you continue to live in darkness?

I wish there was a ban on generators so every single citizen in Nigeria suffers the same. Let us see if the situation would not be solved.

I wish we could be more disciplined, learn to stand in queues and stop causing chaos and panic in everyday situations.

I wish the government would enforce discipline in the society and make sure people know the rules that apply in the society. If the people do not know the rules, how do you expect them to follow them?

I wish people would start getting ready for the next elections and think about the change they can bring about in the society by voting for the right people.

I wish the right people would dare to take part next time around so that people would also dare to vote for them.

I wish the government and the people would understand that we cannot come about change in this country if we do not work together. The government cannot do it alone and neither can the people but together, WE can do it.