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SAPELE BOOK DRIVE (d-xtreme group) November 30, 2012

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Dear Friends,

d-xtreme unit is a social entrepreneurship group based in Sapele, Delta State of Nigeria and has been in existence since July 2004, initiating and deploying projects that educate, motivate and
entertain.

In 2010, we decided to begin a library series; a project which consists of various book projects that will culminate in a literary festival in the near future. So far, in the library series, we have done a physical make-over for the community public library in 2010. This involved clearing of the surroundings, painting of the entire complex and fixing of electrical fittings. In 2011, we continued the series and embarked on a book drive, and raised books for
the public library.

This December, 2012, we have decided to continue the series by embarking on a book drive to seek donation of books which we will be used in setting up libraries in ten secondary (high schools) in Sapele, Delta State. We are also launching the SAPELE BOOK CLUB which will be the vehicle for mentoring/creating a hub of book lovers/writers and capacity development in literature and have access to information on opportunities, scholarships, etc that will be beneficial to the young people.

Schedule:
SAPELE BOOK DRIVE 2012 “3000 Books in 20 days”
December 1-20, 2012

The Book reading/Presentation ceremony with the students and teachers of representative schools present will hold December 22, 2012

Thank you.

Yours Faithfully,
‘yoma Onosemuode
team leader, d-xtreme unit

AFRICA GIVES via @toksyk27 November 28, 2012

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It is with pleaseure that I introduce to you, AFRICA GIVES

Africa Gives

Africa-Gives is an initiative supporting ‘young’ people of African heritage, living outside Africa, to connect and engage with their home continent. The main goal is to enable young diaspora Africans, who want to build a relationship with our ‘homeland’, to mobilise significant resources – money, time and skills – for development in Africa.

The Africa-Gives Steering Committee first two challenges are

· To help raise a minimum of £5000 to develop an online platform that will enable us to connect with and support our peers in Africa, in areas such as business development;

· To invite and encourage ten generous friends to book tickets and join me to celebrate and raise money for a good cause.

We need your help to support an Autumn 2012 Film Fundraiser on 7 December 2012 at The Cinema Museum in Kennington. Africa-Gives will be screening the Hollywood blockbuster Invictus followed by a Q&A session and book signing with John Carlin who wrote Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that made a Nation, the book that would later inspire the film Invictus. On sale during the event will be drinks, canapés, some light bites and raffle tickets See attached promotion for more information.
Here’s how you can help:

· Buy a ticket at http://www.wegottickets.com/event/195174 and then turn up!
. Share this event with friends and family

Yes, that is all you need to do.

Join us for drinks, canapés, light bites and the prospect of some exciting raffle prizes on 7 December. Come prepared to have fun whilst supporting a good cause.

For more information and to book your tickets, please see attached e-flyer or follow the links below:

http://www.afford-uk.org

http://www.africa-gives.org

http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/2012/invictus-afford-johncarlin/

You can also hear a podcast introducing the Africa-Gives and the fundraiser.

http://globalsouthafricans.net/post/35835981122/podcast-with-stella-opoku-owusu-from-afford-on-africa

Please help spread the word by forwarding to your friends and colleagues.

We look forward to your support.

Best wishes,
Tokunbo Koiki

AFFORD – The African Foundation for Development

Rich Mix Building, 35 -47 Bethnal green road, Shoreditch London, E1 6LA | Tel: 0203 326 3750 |

http://www.afford-uk.org

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POPULATION & DEVELOPMENT November 26, 2012

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It is my pleasure to introduce to you the International Conference on Population and Development: Beyond 2014. I am an Official delegate to this conference, alongside other Nigerians. My objective is clear: to help propagate the discussion of 5 key issues through social media and meetups which ultimately lead to the drawing of points and recommendations.

On 3-6 December 2012, over 900 youth leaders from every country will have an unprecedented opportunity to influence global policy.

Recommendations from the Global Youth Forum will be presented by the Secretary General of the United Nations to the General Assembly. Like the watershed International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, the ICPD Beyond 2014 Review will have a profound influence on future policy at national, regional and global levels, keeping human rights at the heart of development.

This event is not unique to Nigeria alone. Around the world, youth leaders will connect locally and electronically to provide a shared response to the social, economic and human rights challenges and opportunities faced by their generation. This is the moment when the 43% take control of our shared future.

From Tuesday, 27th November, 2012; I urge you to join in the conversation as we engage on social media on HEALTH (27th); COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION(28th); TRANSITIONS TO DECENT EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUTH(29th); SEXUALITY, FAMILIES AND RIGHTS(30th); and FULLY INCLUSIVE CIVIC PARTICIPATION(1st Dec).

You and i will use the #icpdyouth hashtag in our discussions and help drive the required recommendations (using Nigeria critically as case study).It is my hope that our voice will find a passage for expression to influence policy around the world and in our nation.

Thank you.

Oluwaseun Fakuade,

ICPD GLOBAL YOUTH FORUM

Official Delegate 2012

RE: MARITAL BLISS OR BS by @Toksyk27 November 25, 2012

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The overwhelming response to the blog piece titled, ‘Marital Bliss or BS’, which highlighted a much played out tale of domestic violence permeating our society, was that women should just up and leave. Yes an abused woman should somehow find the inner strength to leave a relationship in which she has been dealt with far worst than physical blows or assault, a relationship in which she has been mentally and emotionally ‘broken’ to the point in which her nerves become fraught.

She is often completely isolated from her friends and family from having to ‘save face’ whilst attempting to maintain the charade of keeping a happy home with the doting husband and adorable smiling intelligent children. Even if she works, the abused woman is most likely to be completely financial dependent on her husband; after all, domestic abuse is about power and how best to keep a woman under control but to limit and completely remove her the one thing that will enable her independence.

She should leave but this leaves the question…where does she go? Back to her family home when most often the same family have settled numerous ‘fights’ with the advise that she should ‘try harder’ or she should ‘learn not to make him angry’. Aside from the issue of shelter, culturally, children ‘belong’ to their fathers…a notion backed by the judicial system. Many times an abused woman would have heard that if she plans to leave “she should know that the children STAY”.

On the issue of children, many have also condemned the abused woman for staying and letting her children be witnesses to the explosive and abusive nature of their father against their mother. Not realising that often the physical abuse started during pregnancy and that the baby survived is in itself a testament to the strength of the abused woman. They fail to give accolades for the fact that she continues to conjure all the strength in her body, even when she is used as a punching bag, to protect her children the best way she can. An abused woman is re-victimised by blaming her for the trauma children experience as a result of the actions of their father.

Yet you maintain that she should just up and leave after all she should be empowered to understand that she deserves better. This in a society where a woman’s worth is determined by the ‘Mrs’ title preceding her name, one in which in some places widows are thrown out of their marital home which is considered the property of her in-laws following her husband’s death. A society in which single parenthood is not only shunned but a cause for women and children been ostracised within their communities leaving them to burden a shame that is not of their doing.

Many of those voicing loudly and strongly for a woman to leave, fail to take into consideration that the threat to her live doesn’t just stop because she walked away, if it did there wouldn’t be cases of abused women killed AFTER they have fled. This is a country in which dismissive attitudes is shown toward abused women within the police and the criminal justice system with very scant protection against gender–based violence generally. A country that has 2 shelters for survivors of violence started and run by NGOs with no funding or support from the government.

Until this society starts to change its attitude to the rights of a woman and children ensuring that she is treating as an equal and not a second class citizen, then it is not enough to ask the abused woman to shoulder the responsibility of actions caused by her abuser. Instead maybe we should advocate for the abuser to be forced to leave…

“MR PRESIDENT, WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?” @CNN asks GOODLUCK JONATHAN November 23, 2012

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Reflect and think what the President had in mind some months back,(2010) before the Presidential election.

Did Mr President answer the direct questions inquired of him both by CNN spokespersons Isha Sesay and Amanpour? You be the Judge.

ISHA SESAY CNN INTERVIEW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYj9coCZpc8

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUAEBfhzjgM

@ElrufaionFriday: A NIGERIA WITHOUT US, A NIGERIA WITHOUT OIL by @zebbook November 23, 2012

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Nasir El-Rufai on Friday Introducing Young Voices – Mr. Ogunyemi Bukola

Ogunyemi Bukola (@zeebbook on Twitter) is one of those brilliant, detribalised and passionate Nigerian youths that wish for nothing other than a level playing field in a country that works. He is a 25 year old graduate of Biochemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. He has passion for teaching and fondly calls himself ‘a social evangelist’. He is the Editor of omojuwa.com, one of Nigeria’s foremost blogs and a leading voice in the clamour for positive change in Nigeria. Bukola started his literary enterprise as a poet, but has since veered into other genres of literature, putting his abundant talent to use in raising the social consciousness of his generation. He rose into literary stardom on Nigeria’s blogosphere earlier in 2012 when he won the rave-making, tightly contested and widely acclaimed SuperBloggers competition in its second season with an excellent poem, having come second in the first season of the same competition with an equally brilliant piece of poetry.

Bukola is especially adept at writing satires, and one of such written in light of the Farouk-Otedola bribery scandal (The Lootitudes) remains one of the most widely read blogposts of 2012. His works have featured in blogs and newspapers beyond the shores of Nigeria, and to accentuate his emergent international status as a writer he recently became a columnist on the Voice of Liberty Africa (VOLA) Project on AfricanLiberty.org.

I first met his work on Twitter (The Lootitudes), a satire which uses biblical language to throw darts at our dishonest leaders in the wake of the revelations around fuel subsidy in May 2012 and remain hooked. It is my singular honour and privilege to introduce another young person Mr. Ogunyemi Bukola, following in the footsteps of Yemi Adamolekun, Auwal S. Anwar, Elnathan John, Japheth Omojuwa, and Zainab Usman – all youths that give me hope that a future Nigeria will be better than Jonathan’s present dysfunctional excuse. He writes about a Nigerian without oil, something that my sister Oby Ezekwesili recently prayed for.
– Nasir El-Rufai

A Nigeria without Us; A Nigeria without Oil – by Ogunyemi Bukola

A ball of fire in the sky, the sun was on its way home and so was I. While my body sat through the two hour trip, my mind traveled 45 years in time. On a distinctively dispiriting morning a few weeks after my 70th birthday, I sat switching from one news channel to the other, different voices echoing the same news; Nigeria’s oil reserve is exhausted. The goose laying the golden egg is dead. It’s been a long time coming, oil prices crashed two decades earlier, together with demand for Nigeria’s oil at the international market in the face of increasing supplies from other countries.

A rude awakening for the one-time giant of Africa; an economy almost entirely built on oil wealth came crashing. The queue for visas at the Ghanaian Embassy reminds one of what used to be the norm at the American embassy half a century ago. Roads, schools, hospitals and industries in total disrepair or comatose, Nigeria has nothing to show for the tens of trillions of dollars earned from oil exploration spanning over a century. And now the cookie jar is empty!

The twig snaps not except a cause there be; I had earlier in the day read a damning World Bank report which estimates the depletion of Nigeria’s oil reserve in 41 years! What the report did not say is that the emergence of alternative sources of energy and production in newly oil-rich countries such as Ghana and Uganda are likely to crash oil price and create less demand for Nigeria’s oil over the next couple of decades. Throw in the contributions of Nigeria’s $60 million a day oil theft industry, and you have on the canvass a disturbing picture of the future of Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy.

The handwriting is on the wall, in bold letters for all to see, except of course those benefitting from the rot prevalent in the nation’s polity whose conscience have been blinded by greed. One would have thought the alarm bells ringing would wake Nigeria’s sleeping ruling class to the reality of the impending doom, and instruct the President and his economic team to fashion the 2013 budget along the lines of prudency.
What do we get instead?

A cursory look at the 2013 budget proposal presented by President Goodluck Jonathan to the National Assembly reveals atrocious allocations of insanely humongous amounts of money for unjustifiable ventures and desperately unintelligent methods of padding up the overhead costs of ministries and agencies of government. The N2.6 billion budgeted for the President’s trips in 2013 makes a mockery of the promise made by the same government in January 2012 to cut down government expenses including foreign trips. Indeed the Jonathan administration is unenviably successful at making a comedy of itself in ways that would make you worry for Nigeria’s professional stand-up comedians whose means of livelihood are being put on the line.

The N23.6 billion voted for the ‘stipends and allowances’ of 30,000 Niger Delta ex-militants in the 2013 budget proposal translates, averagely, into about N65, 000 per month per ex-militant while the national minimum wage is a meagre N18, 000. The total recurrent expenditure projected for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (N46.6 billion) is almost equal to the Capital Allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (N48.7 billion), and more than the budgets of Mines and Steel Development (N13.5 billion) and Science and Technology put together (N31.8 billion). This coming from a government that vowed to put a man in space by 2015 is laughable.

Indeed the Total Recurrent Expenditure of the Office of the Presidency and that of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation put together, about N69.6 billion, is more than the Capital Allocation for Education (N60.1 billion) and Health (N55.8 billion) and just about equals that of Power (N70 billion). Little wonder then that our schools have become production centres for certified illiterates and members of the ruling class take trips abroad every now and then for medical attention.

Nigeria’s National Assembly is recklessly expensive. It has moved from being an arm of government to being a glutonous mouth, wide-open, hungry and insatiable, eating up all resources on its way. The geometric increase in overheads of the National Assembly from the N23.3 billion figure of 2003 to N104.8 billion in 2008 and N150 billion in 2013 spells doom for the continuity of the entity called Nigeria.

The total annual emolument of a senator as recommended by Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) stands at N12.766 million, per annum which translates to about N1.063 million per month, with slightly less figures for House of Representative members. At this rate, the total annual emolument of all 469 members of the National Assembly amounts to N5.6 billion. The 2013 budget however makes a provision of N150 billion for the National Assembly, with members to earn in a month more than they are entitled to in a year based on the RMAFC recommendation referred to above. And what do Nigerians get in return? A slow process of lawmaking, shallow debates, irrelevant bills, extraneous resolutions and shameful bribery scandals.

An audit conducted by NEITI on Nigeria’s petroleum industry from 1999 – 2008 indicated that the Federal Government earned a total sum of over N40 trillion in revenue. So why do over 100 million Nigerians still wallow in poverty and misery and basic infrastructure lies undeveloped and some in abject disrepair? Neck-deep in huge, unsustainable debts, foreign and domestic, Nigeria shall soon cease to be the marriage between the poor husband from the North and the rich wife from the South many are prone to call it. All six of Nigeria’s impoverished geopolitical zones are married to a prodigal polygamous drunk who calls himself government, feeds on the labour of his wives and lives a lavish life he can’t afford, piling up debt for generations unborn!

Total debt of about N7 trillion, and 9,294 uncompleted Federal Government projects requiring about the same amount for completion suggests that Nigeria cannot afford to continue to satisfy the desires of kleptomaniacs in power. Each of Nigeria’s geopolitical zones must wake up from this oil-windfall induced, dangerous dependence on federal allocation which has killed creativity in revenue generation and develop their human resources and non-oil sectors in preparation for what lies ahead. It is time for states to stop spending recklessly on frivolities and focus on projects that have direct meaningful impacts on the people.

Nigerians should get angry in a way that would make the fuel subsidy protests of January 2012 look like child’s play. Nigerians must begin to say NO to this wanton wastefulness with strong will and loud voice if indeed we care about the future of our fatherland. Years of military dictatorship have instilled in us a sinful and contemptuous docility inimical to the progress of our nation. But we have been in that state of spineless slumber, tremulous silence and cowardly sobriety for too long. Now is the time for Nigerians to arise and reclaim this nation from men whose luck feasts on corruption.

As our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable, so are our responsibilities to see to the proper functioning of governments instituted among us, for the sake of the security of these rights, inextricable. We must understand that the right to alter or abolish any form government that becomes destructive of these ends is not given but claimed, by any means necessary, for the benefactors of a state of dismal depravity and dreary degeneracy would rather have the status quo maintained.

Governments at all levels should take the fight against corruption serious and take drastic, painful steps to reduce overhead costs and make more funds available for the execution of essential capital projects. We should borrow a leaf from Malawi’s Joyce Banda’s salary cut and proposed sale of presidential jet and Senegal’s decision to scrap its Senate and the post of vice President all in a bid to save costs.

Government should fix the perennial problem of power, mechanize agriculture and diversify the nation’s economy and promote non-oil export trade. Industrialization should beget entrepreneurship, and an efficient tax system maintained. Take a cue from East Asia by investing in our human capital without which no meaningful development can arise.

This is hoping for a peaceful and united Nigeria without us, and a prosperous Nigeria without oil, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall someday find its way to our shores.

Ogunyemi Bukola.

GERONTOCRACY by @seunfakze November 21, 2012

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A Nigerian dote for perpetual Nigerian slavery is Nigerian Gerontocracy.

Many articles have been written about Nigeria’s political system: from those who live therein, those who’ve had an encounter with it, and those who even have no idea about it. The 2011 general election was an absolute mind opener for a young political enthusiast like me. I had always canvassed, from University days, for support for any individual (regardless of affiliation or tribe) based on undeniable track records, character, competence and the strength of quality leadership.

Several issues trail the 2011 elections, and truly, visibly, NIGERIA is divided along lines; from beginning till date. I have witnessed and also become excited about the growing prospect of young people getting involved with the political system, albeit superficially. Why: Our engagement is still restricted to the comments, banters and critiques that the social media platforms offer. Simply not enough!

I have interviewed, informally, several of the young in almost every community I find myself. The young are constantly shying away and keeping partisan politics at arms length for diverse reasons; some of these are obviously widespread.

They’ve been told ceaselessly that “Politics is dirty” “it’s ugly” “you’ll be corrupt”. Others cite the violence that comes with it and the purchasing power of money. While growing up, I wondered ceaselessly how “bad people” find themselves in power. Today, the reasons are not far-fetched: those who decide our very daily existence find themselves there (asides other arguable points) because the apathy of the people, poverty level and indifference of young people put them there.

What happens when young people fail to engage in a community, nation’s political system? What happens when they fail to participate in and decide an electoral process? Who represent the youth when they take an onlooking position? Compound these issues with poverty, unemployment, tribalistic sentiments; then apathy. The result is an over-whelming older population obstinately holding on to power.

Nigeria’s democratic system is Gerontocratic mostly. We are to blame. I love my friends on social media, importantly twitter. I laugh (not in any mocking way) when we talk about 2015 and the “impending/inherent” change. Many iconic words are springing up already. Lovely but amusing. What’s amusing: the Change we clamor for won’t come through by-standing viewership or passive onlooking or the radical quotable quotes. It will require active engagement, both with the system and with other fellow citizens!

Many don’t want to join any political party or system because of many party’s non-ideological stance (true), the corruption, the impositions, god-fatherism, etc. sometimes people say “I have a life to live and i want to be safe”. That’s fine by me because it’s a personal decision. However, where is the safety, for instance, when leaders can’t decide the best policy on security, welfare, economy, etc The policies of leaders: dumb or wise have a direct implication on all of our lives, no exceptions!

The constitution of the Nigerian state will remain the greatest impediment for young minds because old men decide what stays therein. There is a bar on young minds below 30 participating in electoral office because some rigid and incredibly backward minds determines it so! Paul Ryan was 28 when he became a congressman. Recently, some Germans were elected into office at 26/27.

My generation can boast of many bright lights already, the challenge is will they join? Maybe they won’t join: there are wide disincentives to keep them away from such roles. The ilk of Doyin Okupe, and other roaring loudspeakers have no job or role in our democracy than offering (if at all) poorly reasoned quotes. Nigeria is better without thieves, opportunists and Gerontocrats!

Study the political life of Bill Clinton. We all are familiar with the political life-saving role he gave President Obama in the last election. Wondering what would have been if good men in America left it to miscreants as we have here! I am annoyed because of all studies I have done of political parties and institutions; hardly do you have Change in the system coming outside of the system.

I admit: we are not yet ready to Bring down the ruling party because young minds who (in my best opinion) are the light of hope and pockets of real positive change for Nigeria remain aloof: unconcerned, indifferent and totally lackluster. Those who control the parties and ultimately localities, states or the Federal governments in Nigeria are composed of old men: Gerontocracy at its best.

WHAT TO DO: The rule of engagement has to change. The roles of young people must assume a new position, our attitudes must improve. Unless our mission is to rant and criticize from now till God-knows-when, one of the way out of failed system is decisive engagement with the people (enlightenment) and the system (joining a political party) or be in a position to influence change in both ways.

Young people can change the face of our nascent democracy; Young people have a choice.

Gerontocracy in Nigeria must fade out!

I am @seunfakze

WHY AFRICAN COUNTRIES IMPLODE (2) by Prof G.N. @ayittey November 20, 2012

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The “POWER EQUATION” lies at the root of Africa’s never-ending cycle of war, political instability and chaos. The “power equation” can be summarized as the centralization of power, the monopolization of power and the exercise of power to benefit certain persons or groups to the total exclusion of other groups. Sustainable development in an African country is not possible without addressing the “power equation.”

Currently, Rwanda is touted as an economic success story. It has reduced poverty by more than 50 percent and attracted billions in foreign investment. But that economic success is not sustainable because President Paul Kagame has not addressed the “power equation.” Neither has President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who in 1986 declared that “No African head of state should be in power for more than 10 years.” In 2012, he is still in power.

Recall that in the late 1980s, Ivory Coast was called an “economic miracle.” What happened? The power equation was not addressed and the country descended into chaos (1991) and civil war (2005 and 2011). The following countries were also described as economic success stories but collapsed into chaos, mayhem and war because they too did not solve the power equation: Zimbabwe (2000), Madagascar (2003), Tunisia (2010) and Egypt (2011).

It is vitally important to recognize that the “power equation” is not a new phenomenon but an ancient one which our so-called “backward and primitive” ancestors had grappled with. They recognized the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of one individual or centralizing power in the hands of the state – that is, the state and the individual heading it is necessarily dangerous or evil. So they crafted two unique ways to deal with this potential threat. The first was to abolish the state altogether and dispense with centralized authority. These societies are called acephalous or stateless societies. Examples are the Ga, the Igbo, the Gikuyu, the Somali, the Tallensi, among others. These tribes have no chiefs or kings. The Igbo expression, “Ezebuilo” (the king is an enemy) says it all. The Somali dismiss government as “waxan” (the thing). Thus, stateless societies solved the “power equation” by eliminating it; it does not exist in their societies. For more on stateless societies, see

The second way was to have states and centralized authority but surround them with councils upon councils to prevent them from abusing their powers. Without the council of elders, for example, the chief was powerless and could not make any law. African kings had no political role; their role was spiritual or supernatural and they were mostly secluded in their palaces to keep their royal fingers out of people’s business. The Yoruba Oona, for example, can only venture out of his palace under the cover of darkness. He can come out of palace at night and bark all the orders he wants but the people would be fast asleep – snoring. Clever people, the Yoruba. In fact, their political system, the Oyo Empire, contained a complex web of checks and balances – in existence in the 17the Century, well before the US was born. For more, see this link: http://bit.ly/IDkJBh

Note that the traditional way that African tribes and clans form a nation is by confederating. The Ghana Empire, Songhai Empire, the Mali Empire, the Oyo Empire and Great Zimbabwe were all confederacies. Even smaller polities, such as the Ga and Ashanti Kingdoms, were confederacies. Confederacies are characterized by great decentralization of power and devolution of authority. Modern day Switzerland, where African bandits stash their loot, is a confederation of 26 cantons.

In traditional Africa, kings have little or no political roles. Theirs was supernatural or spiritual – to maintain perfect harmony among the three cosmological elements: the sky, the world and the earth. Each was represented by a god and the king’s role is to propitiate them and keep them “happy.” The sky god is the supreme among them and if it is “angry,” there will be thunder, floods, etc. If the earth god is angry, there is poor harvest, famine, barren women, etc. if the earth god is angry, there will be conflict, war and devastation and state collapse. Thus, if there was famine or poor harvest, it meant the king had failed to perform his duties and off went his head (regicide).

At the tribal level, there are various centers of power: The royal family, the Queen-Mother, the Chief, the Council of Elders, the Village Assembly and other political pressure groups. The Chief can be removed at any time by any of these groups for dereliction of duty or incompetence.

Decision-making is by consensus at village meetings variously called asetena kese by the Ashanti, ama-ala by the Igbo, guurti by the Somali, dare by the Shona, ndaba by the Zulu or kgotla by the Tswana. Taking decisions by consensus is a different form of democracy where all minority positions are taken into account to reach one acceptable to all. Its downside is the length of time it takes to reach a consensus the larger the number of participants but it precludes dictatorship. It is incompatible with political systems that reach decisions by consensus. The larger polities were confederacies where power and decision-making were decentralized.

The most notable feature of traditional African governance was its inclusiveness. The indigenous political system was such that anybody even slaves could participate in the decisionmaking process. There was representation of slaves, the freeborn and the nobility at the royal court in most African states.

In Ashanti, Oyo and Bornu, slaves held important offices in the bureaucracy, serving as the Alafin’s Ilari in the subject towns of Oyo, as controller of the treasury in Asante, and as Waziri and army commanders in Bornu. AlHajj Umar made a slave emir of Nioro, one of the most important of the emirates of the Tokolor empire, and in the Niger Delta states slaves rose to become heads of Houses, positions next in rank to the king. Jaja, who had once been the lowest kind of slave, became the most respected king in the delta, and was no exception; one of the Alaketus of Ketu, and Rabeh of Bornu, rose from slave to king (Boahen and Webster, 1970; p.69).

There was even foreign representation. The kings and chiefs of Angola and Asante, for example, allowed European merchants to send their representatives to their courts. No one was “locked out” of the decision-making process, to use modern phraseology. “The Dutch dispatched an embassy to the Asantehene’s court as early as 1701” (Boahen, 1986; p.58). In Angola, King Alfonso allowed the Portuguese merchants to send their spokesman, Dom Rodrigo, to his court. Europeans could even be selected chiefs. For example, in 1873, Zulu king Cetshwayo made an English hunter/trader, John Dunn, chief of an isifunda, or district. “Dunn, not content to hover on the periphery of Zulu society, became fully integrated into the social system. He married forty-eight Zulu women, accumulated a large following of clients, and even rose to the rank of isikhulu” (Ballard, 1988; p.55). There are still white chiefs in Ghana today. For example, the Englishman Jimmy Maxen, became the odikro of Anyaisi at Aburi in Ghana in 1968 http://bit.ly/TGmv67 . Africans should be proud of this heritage because it may be argued that it took the US for than two centuries to elect a black as president. Africa’s traditional system of government was open and inclusive.

From the above, it should be crystal clear that centralization of power, the monopolization of power and the practice of politics of exclusion are products of alien systems and cannot be defended or justified upon the basis of African political heritage. Politically, a large polity can be organized along three main lines:

• A unitary system of government, where decision-making is centralized in the capital city. This is the European model, where decisions are taken in London, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, etc.
• A federal system of government, where the constituent states retain some powers but the center is more powerful – as in the American and Canadian models.
• A confederate system of government is one where power is extremely decentralized. The center is weak and the constituent states have more power and can break away if they choose to.

During colonial rule, the Europeans imposed their version of state configuration (unitary state system) and democracy (decision-making by majority vote) on Africa. Historically, the unitary system probably emerged as the most suitable for Europeans because their nations consisted of citizens of single or homogenous ethnic stock. However, centralization of power and decision making process enhances the threat of despotism and thus unsuitable to nations of multiple ethnicity. Even in Europe, the unitary form of government is beginning to rupture. The Scots now have their own parliament. In the Netherlands the Walloons seek independence and the Basque in Spain are battling for separation. In Belgium, there are three linguistic groups – Dutch, Flemish and French-speaking Walloons – who seldom agree. They failed to form a government after parliamentary elections in June, 2010. Catalonia, Spain’s northeastern region, is set to be led by a government demanding greater fiscal autonomy from Madrid. There are many sub-cultures in Europe that are clamoring for autonomy. The European Union (EU) itself, built on a unitary concept and centralization of power in Brussels, appears to be floundering. Britain remains outside the EU; France wants EU powers to be more centralized, while Germany favors more decentralization.

After independence in the 1960s, the incoming nationalist leaders did not dismantle the unitary state system and the majoritarian form of democracy. They retained them and the results are what we continue to see today: The centralization of power, the competition to capture it, its monopolization and use by one buffoon, his family, tribe or race to advance their own interests to the exclusion of all other groups (the politics of exclusion or political apartheid). The cause of these are the alien political structures, first imposed by the European colonialists and then retained by Africa’s nationalist leaders after independence. Politically marginalized and excluded groups will always rise up and rebel against political apartheid, resulting in rebel insurgencies, civil wars, massive destruction, state collapse and economic devastation.

Recall that the development scenario in many African countries can be described like this: Bad driver, bad vehicle, bad roads and angry passengers fed up with lack of progress. Clutching the wheel is a megalomaniac fiend, who insists that the vehicle belongs to him and his family alone and must be the driver for life. So he grooms his sons, wives, cats, dogs and goats to succeed him. Meanwhile, the vehicle is kaput. The tires are flat and the battery is dead. Since the 1960s, we have been changing the driver without fixing the vehicle or the defective statecraft. The defects in that statecraft are centralization of power and the politics of exclusion. Framed this way makes the solution obvious: decentralization of power and the politics of inclusion in consonance with Africa’s own political tradition or a new political dispensation arrived at by consensus. Only a few African countries have sensibly made this effort.

Recall that when a crisis erupted in an African village, the chief and the elders would summon a village meeting. There the issue was debated by the people until a consensus was reached. During the debate, the chief usually made no effort to manipulate the outcome or sway public opinion. Nor were there bazooka-wielding rogues, intimidating or instructing people on what they should say. People expressed their ideas openly and freely without fear of arrest. Those who cared participated in the decision-making process. No one was locked out. Once a decision had been reached by consensus, it was binding on all, including the chief.

In recent years, this indigenous African tradition has been revived by pro-democracy forces in the form of “sovereign national conferences” to chart a new political future in Benin, Cape Verde Islands, Congo, Malawi, Mali, South Africa, and Zambia. Benin’s nine-day “national conference” began on 19 February 1990, with 488 delegates, representing various political, religious, trade union, and other groups encompassing the broad spectrum of Beninois society. The conference, whose chairman was Father Isidore de Souza, held “sovereign power” and its decisions were binding on all, including the government. It stripped President Matthieu Kerekou of power, scheduled multiparty elections that ended 17 years of autocratic Marxist rule.

Congo’s national conference had more delegates (1,500) and lasted longer three months. But when it was over in June 1991, the 12-year old government of General Denis Sassou-Nguesso had been dismantled. The constitution was rewritten and the nation’s first free elections were scheduled for June 1992. Before the conference, Congo was among Africa’s most avowedly Marxist-Leninist states. A Western business executive said, “The remarkable thing is that the revolution occurred without a single shot being fired . . . (and) if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere” (The New York Times, 25 June 1991, A8).

A similar national conference in Niger in 1991 denounced the military dictatorship of Colonel Ali Seibou and stripped him of his power, leaving him with one main task: To organize the transition to civilian rule. “For the first time since the independence of the country in 1960, free and fair elections were held and in March 1993, Mahamane Ousmane became the newcomer in the political arena” (West Africa, Dec 6-12, 1999).

In South Africa, the vehicle used to make that difficult but peaceful transition to a multiracial democratic society was the Convention for a Democratic South Africa . It began deliberations in July 1991, with 228 delegates drawn from about 25 political parties and various anti-apartheid groups. The de Klerk government made no effort to “control” the composition of CODESA. Political parties were not excluded; not even ultra right-wing political groups, although they chose to boycott its deliberations. CODESA strove to reach a “working consensus” on an interim constitution and set a date for the March 1994 elections. It established the composition of an interim or transitional government that would rule until the elections were held. More important, CODESA was “sovereign.” Its decisions were binding on the de Klerk government. De Klerk could not abrogate any decision made by CODESA — just as the African chief could not disregard any decision arrived at the village meeting.

Clearly, the vehicle exists — in Africa itself – to solve the “POWER EQUATION” and make way for peaceful transition to democratic rule or resolution of political crisis – that is, fix the broken statecraft. But the leaders in most African countries either are not interested or seek to control the outcome of such national/constitutional conferences. Ask them to reform their abominable political and economic systems and they will perform the “coconut boogie” – one step forward, three steps back, a jerk to the left and another to the right and then a tumble for a hard landing on a frozen Swiss bank account http://bit.ly/KyBMbu. But without reform, more African countries will implode. Ask Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Muammar Khaddafi of Libya or Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast.

Again, those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it

Follow the author on twitter @ayittey

WHY AFRICAN COUNTRIES IMPLODE by Prof G.N @ayittey November 19, 2012

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
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​​“He who does not understand the cause of the problem cannot solve it.”
– An African Proverb

We have not done well tackling the fundamental or root causes of Africa’s problems. We often apply band-aid solutions to their symptoms and then they flare up again. In 1991, Somalia imploded. Then Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Liberia and others followed. In 2011 – 20 years later – Libya imploded. Why?

To be sure, Western imperialism, colonialism, slave trade, etc. did great harm to Africa and left horrible scars and lingering legacies such as artificial borders. Whole ethnic groups were cut up and parceled off to different countries. The Somali, for example, found themselves in 5 countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. The Hausa fared the worst, finding themselves in 15 countries. Those factors, however, have little or nothing to do with why African countries have been imploding.

One word, “power,” offers a better explanation. In fact, the entire post colonial history of Africa can be written in terms of that one word. The centralization of power, the competition to capture it, its monopolization and use by one buffoon or group (tribal, racial, religious or professional) to advance their own interests by enriching themselves to the exclusion of all other groups (the politics of exclusion or political apartheid) have been the cause of conflicts in Africa and the bane of its development. The richest in Africa are heads of state and ministers and quite often the chief bandit is the head of state himself. It is no accident that the most powerful is often the richest. Power in Africa is used for only three things: To loot the treasury, perpetuate oneself in office and squash all dissent or opposition.

In the quest or struggle for power, over 50 wars have raged across Africa since independence in the 1960s. Year after year, one African country after another has imploded with deafening staccato, scattering refugees in all directions: Sudan (1972), Angola (1975), Mozambique (1975), Ethiopia (1985), Liberia (1992), Somalia (1993), Rwanda (1994), Zaire (1996), Sierra Leone (1997), Congo DRC (1998), Ethiopia/Eritrea (1998), Guinea (1999), Sudan (2003), Ivory Coast (2003), Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), Tunisia (2010), Egypt and Libya (2011), Mali (2012) with more countries on the brink. Some wars never end (Algeria, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, Western Sahara) while others end and restart after brief lulls. At least 10 African nations are currently wracked by conflict and civil strife. Populations have been uprooted, decimated, infrastructure destroyed, and homes of people razed. The economic toll has been horrendous: devastated agriculture, deepening poverty, declining investment, increasing social misery, and a massive refugee population of mostly women and children.

The vast majority of Africa’s conflicts have been intrastate in origin; only 3 were inter-state: Tanzania-Uganda in 1979, Libya-Chad in 1987 and Ethiopia-Eritrea in 1998. All the rest were civil wars started by politically marginalized, excluded or persecuted groups. Secessionist bids for independence have been few: Biafra, 1967-1970 (Nigeria), Cabinda, on-going (Angola), Casamance, on-going (Senegal), Eritrea in 1991 and South Sudan in 2010. The rest were not about driving away colonial infidels, or redrawing colonial boundaries. They are about political POWER, pure and simple. All rebel leaders seek to wrestle power out of the hands of a despicable despot, so they head straight to the capital city because that’s where POWER lies. The wars invariably pit an autocratic “government” on one side against a rebel group, representing a politically excluded group, on the other.

A bitter lesson in the postcolonial era is that no African government has successfully put down a rebel insurgency, which is different from a secessionist bid. The former seeks to overthrow or replace an existing government while the latter is an attempt to break up and set up a separate, independent state — for example, Biafra, Cabinda, etc. Generally, rebel insurgencies start from the countryside, where government troops are thinly spread and virtually non-existent. Fighting is often sporadic and can drag on for years or even decades, leaving much destruction and death in its wake. Demoralized government troops (loyalists in the case of the Ivory Coast), abandon posts or join the rebels (Ethiopia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Zaire). Unemployed and restless youth join the rebels, in hopes of gaining positions or improving the economic livelihood. They use their guns to pillage and plunder. Such has been the life of child soldiers.

A tyrannical regime may succeed temporarily in suppressing a rebel insurgency — as in the Cameroon in the 1960s and Zimbabwe in the 1980s — but it does not crush it, only to erupt again. In most cases, the rebels and government forces fight to a stalemate, with both sides committing horrendous atrocities. Appalled by the gratuitous mayhem, wanton destruction and senseless civil war, the conscience of the international community is stirred to act. Maximum pressure is applied to combatants to reach a cease-fire or peace accord. But they are band-aid solutions.

Over 40 such peace accords have been signed in post colonial Africa since the 1960s and their success record has been abysmal — often shredded like confetti even before the ink on them was dry, amid mutual recriminations of cease-fire violations. In 2006, the UN juggled 9 separate peacekeeping operations across Africa: the Comoros, Congo DR, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Sudan (Darfur). The UN failed twice in Somalia and terribly in Rwanda. Its enduring success is Mozambique’s 1991 peace accord, while shaky pacts held in Angola, Chad, Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone. The most spectacular failures were: Angola (1991 Bicesse Accord, 1994 Lusaka Accord), Burundi (1993 Arusha Accord), DR Congo (July 1999 Lusaka Accord), Rwanda (1993 Arusha Accord), Sierra Leone (1999 Lome Accord), Ivory Coast (2003 Accra Accord), Sudan (2005). Somalia, alone, has held more than 14 peace conferences to help restore peace and stability to country since it imploded in 1991.

Even when peace accords hold, the combatants – government and rebel/opposition forces – are urged to come together and form a “government of national unity” (GNU). Note that GNU is a temporary POWER-SHARING arrangement, which underscores the fact that the original cause of the conflict was monopolization of POWER. But the GNU concept itself is fatally flawed; it is another band-aid solution that does not address the root cause or the fundamental reason why power is monopolized in the first placed. As a result, it has failed miserably in post colonial Africa.

First, the notion of former mortal enemies, who in the past plotted to kill each other, can bury their intense mutual hatred, sit down and work amicably together to govern a country is nutty; it defies logic. Look, not all rebel leaders are “Nelson Mandelas.” Second, a GNU is essentially a formula for joint state-sanctioned plunder of the country. It seeks to bring rebels or opposition leaders into government. Ministerial or government posts are expected to be “shared” equitably. At the 1999 Lome Peace Accord to end the civil war in Sierra Leone, for example, rebel leader Foday Sankoh got Minister of Lands and Mines. At the peace accord struck in January 2003 in Paris to resolve the crisis in Ivory Coast envisioned a power-sharing deal between the government of President Laurent Gbagbo, which controlled the southern half of this country, and the rebel groups, who controlled the north and much of the west. But the formula seldom works.

Quite often, however, bitter squabbles erupt over the distribution of government posts as nobody is satisfied with the eventual distribution. A peace accord is an exercise in “give and take” but each side goes into negotiations believing it is “stronger” and should, therefore, be awarded more powerful ministerial positions. In the case of the Ivory Coast, a peace accord was signed in Ghana in March 2003 to establish a GNU that would include members of the ruling party of President Laurent Gbagbo, the main rebel group (the Côte d’Ivoire Patriotic Movement) and other political parties and rebel forces. But there were “disagreements over the distribution of cabinet posts and the January peace accord was greeted by a week of anti-French and anti-rebel demonstrations in parts of the country ” (Africa Recovery, Vol. 17, No. 1, May 2003; p.3).

Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo bitterly opposed the allocation of two key ministerial positions (interior and defense) to the rebel groups. At the March 7, 2003 peace conference in Ghana, the rebel groups said they will drop their claims to the two pivotal cabinet positions in exchange for “other concessions from Mr. Gbagbo’s government, including an assurance that it would guarantee the safety of their leaders and cede power to the man both sides have agreed would lead the unity government as prime minister, a veteran politician named Seydou Diarra” (The New York Times, March 8, 2003; p.A3). But Mr. Gbagbo was reluctant to spell out the powers he would hand over to Mr. Diarra until France exerted massive pressure. On Sept 23, 2003, the rebels, calling themselves the New Forces, pulled out of the “national reconciliation government” set up in March, claiming they had been denied real power. Indeed, out of the 42 ministries, only 11, all run by President Laurent Gbagbo, had budgets (The Economist, October 4, 2003; p.46). Fighting resumed on September 25 and re-ignited the civil war.

In most other cases, resentment inevitably builds over allocation of posts and the composition of the government of national unity or reconciliation. Squabbling over posts may lead to the resumption of hostilities and conflict again — Angola in 1992, Congo in 1999, Sierra Leone in 2000, and Ivory Coast in 2004. As The New York Times (March 9, 2003) reported, “The ink had not yet dried on another promise for peace in Ivory Coast as fighting broke out in its unruly west overnight, with civilians fleeing their ransacked villages and men firing at French soldiers who were there to enforce a cease-fire” (p.A10). The French had to send in more troops to enforce the cease-fire.

Third, even if a final agreement is reached on the distribution of posts, African despots never honor power-sharing agreements to which they append their signatures. Their promises and signatures are just for show as they lack sincerity or commitment. They may agree to the creation of a post of prime minister but deprive it of power or a budget to enable him to function. Or they may try to kill the prime minister. Such was the case with Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Guillaume Soro. On June 30, 2007, three rockets hit his plane as it was landing at Bouake, killing four people. Mr. Soro escaped death but John Garang, the prime minister in Sudan’s GNU, was not lucky.

For these reasons, a GNU seldom lasts. Angola’s GNU did not last for more than six months in 1992. In South Africa, former president de Klerk pulled out of the GNU after barely one year when apartheid was dismantled in 1994. Congo’s GNU in 2003 created 4 vice-presidents but did not bring peace to eastern Congo, especially the Bunia region. Burundi’s civil war flared up in August 2003 again, despite the establishment of a GNU, brokered by former president Nelson Mandela and Ivory Coast’s GNU established in January 2003 collapsed in less than a year.

Sudan’s GNU, brokered in Kenya in 2005 barely lasted a year. After battling the tyrannical regime of President Omar el Beshir of Sudan, the late Dr. John Garang of the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA), decided to join a GNU. The agreement was supposed to foster peace by melding SPLM with the ruling party, the National Congress Party, in a national unity government that would rule Sudan until multiparty elections in 2009. But within nine months, he had perished in a mysterious helicopter crash. Though the mystery was never solved, his widow blamed the Beshir regime. Six months later, the rebel movement – now called Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) abruptly pulled out of the national unity government on Oct 12, 2007. The former rebels said “the move was intended to press Sudan’s ruling party to live up to the multifaceted agreement, which has been hobbled by disputes over borders, troop movements and sharing Sudan’s oil profits” (The New York Times, Oct 12, 2007; p.A8). In 2010, South Sudan broke away completely to become an independent nation.

Following Kenya’s violent Dec 2007 elections in which 1,200 people perished, a peace deal was reached and GNU created in Feb 2008. But that deal has been floundering. Ominously, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been complaining bitterly that he has been sidelined and excluded from major decision-making. He said President Kibaki has the habit of “embarrassing” him publicly by failing to consult him on important decisions. They made an effort to reconcile in Kilaguni in April, 2009 but the fence mending never got off the ground because the parties couldn’t even agree on an agenda. The bloated government of 44 ministries and 53 assistant ministers achieved little. On April 6, 2009, Justice Minister, Martha Karua, one of Kibaki’s staunchest supporters, resigned, claiming that she could not institute reforms.

Ditto for Zimbabwe’s GNU, signed in 2008. It has been ditched;; in fact, it really never had a chance. For one thing, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF showed no interest in living to the letter of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) reached on Sept 15, 2008. For another, there was squabbling over the distribution of government positions. Article 20 of the GPA stipulated 31 ministers and 15 deputy ministers, with 15 coming from ZANU-PF, 13 MDC-T and 3 MDC-M for a total of 46. The most asinine GPA proposition was the joint control of the Home Affairs ministry by ZANU-PF and MDC-T.

However, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF set out to grab all the key and important ministries. It was originally allocated 15 but seized 22 anyway. A furor erupted and 15 additional ministries were created, bringing the total to 61. Still, Mugabe was still not satisfied and transferred major portfolio powers from Communications Minister Nelson Chamisa of MDC-T to Transport Minister Nicholas Goche of Mugabe’s own ZANU-PF party. A Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee or JOMIC was set up with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and ensure that that Agreement was implemented to the fullest extent possible in letter and spirit. But JOMIC started off without any resources nor funding from the state. It did not even have an office or secretarial staff. Even then, JOMIC had no power of enforcement; only an authority of persuasion.

In short, GNU is a lazy band-aid solution that does not address the root causes of a problem. As long as POWER is centralized and monopolized by one buffoon, who adamantly refuses to relinquish or share it and uses it to enrich himself, his cronies and tribesmen to the exclusion of all others, there will be uprisings, rebellions, rebel insurgencies and more state collapse in Africa. The following African countries are heading nowhere but to an implosion: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe.
There are three reasons for the impending implosion, all related to POWER:

1. Monopolization of power by one person in power for more than 10 years; Angola, Cameroon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe;
2. Military intervention and seizure of power: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Sudan;
3. Reluctance of the political elite to reform: Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo. In the case of Nigeria, the political elites are not serious about reform. They set up committees upon committees to window-dress or pretend they are solving problems.

The cause of conflict and state collapse in post colonial Africa has always been the monopolization of power, its use to advance personal or sectarian interests and the refusal to relinquish or share it. Politically excluded or persecuted groups will always rise up and rebel or secede. Those who do not learn from this history are bound to repeat.

****************************

George B.N. Ayittey, Ph.D.

MARITAL BLISS OR BS? By @seunfakze November 18, 2012

Posted by seunfakze in EDUCATION, MORALITY.
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Broken glasses sounding like clanging cymbals, high pitched cries for help, ultimately armed robbers attack: those were hurried thoughts yesterday night as I hurriedly put off my light, switch off my phone and lock the doors. In retrospect, those first responses were not enough to wade off armed robbers, if they were the ones in my compound. Few people think clearly when emergent situations arise!

Moments later, I herd co-tenant voices so I steeped out. Under the weight of my foot, we’re broken glasses, apparently from the window panes upstairs. Mustered a few words of prayers as I was just in the same spot some minutes earlier. A little delay, those glades would be directly on my head! Some clusters of people already gathered. So what was the noise all about?

My findings turned out to be a something we all know: the usual bashing of a woman by the husband. My sister had successfully rescued the 18months old baby from the father (whilst he returned to his boxing ring). I discovered, as I discussed with other co-tenants, how the man had constantly turned the woman to a practice bag. The wife, in question, had just returned home less than 5 days. She had left home 6 months ago when this same man had almost taken her life, beating her mercilessly.

Why did she get those attacks yesterday: she had picked a call from a male friend who the husband alleged she had sexual relations with. Whatever it is that makes a man bang a woman’s head on the floor, against hard objects, against window panes, pull her by the hairs and other dastardly act is beyond comprehension to me, regardless of the issue! Regardless!

It made me ponder. Made me mad. What a barbarian we all were living with. In repeated flashes, I thought: what can I do? I looked at the young but crying child: what was her crime? I looked at the mother: what if she died? I looked at my co-tenants: we were all at risk living with this dangerous man!

What i have described is a natural scenery for some people. I heard of similar tales yesterday. Yet, that does not justify such rampant battery incidences. It’s savagery to take advantage of the disadvantaged, I concluded. What was more annoying: I found out this couple dated for 10 years before they settled down. Of course, these beatings were part of the relationship. “Nonsense” I retorted!

Amazed to always hear women say “he will change” in marriage when obviously he made no effort in the relationship to. Sometimes, I sincerely do not understand why women have to put up with men with serious characters deformities, or these multiple complex disorder. I do not understand why they stay in abusive relationships or what do they do to deserve such.

I understand the saying “men are scarce” but that shouldn’t be the key to battery or abuse of relationships. I hate it when men treat women like they are lesser or as slaves. The sadistic tendencies of many men turn out to be unfortunately brutal in marriage. That’s what I witnessed yesterday, and I vowed to do what’s necessary to prevent the next (if I am aware)

First, we will sit down and firmly educate this man on the grievous implications of his undeterred actions. Admonish, if we can; if not we proceed to a secondary resolve. I found out he works for Access Bank. I found out too of the Human Rights watch in my community. Those are secondary levels of engagement I hope to embark on. The police too are not left out.

Women have rights, and it should not be trampled. My younger sister cannot be treated in such dehumanizing manner; I will not take it. There is a level of “knowing” in relationships that one gets to which makes one sees the “kind” of man/woman one is ending up with. Do not settle for crap. Relationships takes two individuals committed to improving and accommodating one another’s deficiencies, working to improve it and complementing it.

It’s sad how many women struggle in their union, trying to keep a healthy balance between the children, their man and work. Its unfortunate when they are left unappreciated or worse still abused (sometimes fatal). I am not absolving women of all wrong doings. No! They can be difficult. That I know.

Women can sometimes be very annoying, admitted; but it goes both ways. It’s cowardice and barbaric to turn them into punching bags because of reconcilable issues, moreso when it’s trifling. If you are in an abusive relationship (most importantly when you are not yet married) I beg you: think it through. You are worth more alive than 6 feet under. I know Yoruba’s say “ah, he is the father of my children”. Well, I pray you don’t die in that house. He’ll remarry and live on. Think!

No man, in my humble submission, is worth a woman’s endurance of a repeated vicious cycle of abuse.

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