Mum! The boys made a mess …

baby-and-toddler
Source: Scarymommy.com

Every mom, new or old has gone through the process of answering a high pitched or calmly bemused voice beckoning them to carry out some form of the rescue operation. It often varies from a spouse holding the baby with a biologically armed diaper at arm’s length to an older sibling at the brink of their patience. In each scenario, mom is expected to save the day with little or no trace of the previous impending danger. The scene seems pretty much the same in Great Britain, with Theresa May coming to the rescue. Who knows if she will succeed and at what cost?

The above description is not designed to imply that men haven’t been elected into power in the midst of socio-economic mayhem, however, if history is to be relied on, one could imply that the corridors of power only makes room for female leadership only when hard pressed. Perhaps it is an indication of the female politicians’ physique narrow enough to pass through the camels’ eye or a reflection of her male counterparts’ physique; too robust to withstand a squeeze.

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, taking over from James Callaghan after what is referred to as the winter of discontent. The mandate before her was difficult: to rescue the economy from an ongoing recession, high inflation rates, frequent trade union strikes and a disgruntled public.

Some strike action by sectors of public service included:
• Picket line blockades by nurses and ambulance drivers this resulted in hospitals attending only to emergency patients.
• Railways shut down to the public.
• Disruption of broadcasting services by the electricians’ union towards Christmas in 1978 taking both BBC One and BBC Two off the air, subsequently in August 1979 they switched off ITV for 75 days.
• Picketing of cemeteries by members of the GMWU union in Liverpool and Tameside, this proved very distressing as a factory in Liverpool was converted to a storage space for corpses.
• Equally disturbing was the piling of rubbish in the streets, a health hazard created by the rubbish collectors strike.

The odds were stacked against her, under public evaluation, she was bound to either fail on a monumental scale or succeed on a mediocre scale. This had less to do with her as a person and more to do with the changes needed to pull a society back from the brinks of economic depression. The changing economic climate across the western world, a move away from a labor intense to services/skill intense economy also played a major part in shaping Mrs. Thatcher’s economic reforms. Depending on whom you asked Margaret Thatchers time in office might be considered a blessing or ban on the British population. However certain factors remain true of her regime, and government, they managed to

• Tackle high inflation rates
• Re-position the country economically – it was no longer seen as the sick man of Europe
• Increase privatization leading to more efficiency in service.
• Pull back power from organized labor unions, ensuring they could no longer grind the country to a halt.
• Increased home ownership.
It is true that many of her policies crippled and in cases totally destroyed sectors of the economy (for example the closing down of mines and other industries dependent on state funds), increased social divides and fragments. These outcomes perhaps in hindsight could have been handled better, and impact on society curtailed, that being said it would be a dream for anyone to except positive socio-economic change without feeling the pinch in some way.

Stepping into July 2016, the United Kingdom embraces its second female prime minister after twenty-six years. Once again she is handed a mandate that would give Goliath mental fright, she and her government are required to
• Bridge peace both home and away
• Solicit new economic investors
• Mend fences with formal allies, reassuring them the nation isn’t a fickle friend to have.
• Build new fences with new allies
• And sustain the daily working of the country with austerity in view.

This might seem nothing like the mandate before Margaret Thatcher because it’s not, this time, Theresa May is fighting a battle on two different scenes home (Scotland’s hopes of leaving) and away (EU and all the other issues). Like Margaret, Theresa is bound to excel on certain fronts and doomed to hopefully attain mediocrity in some, we can only hope that she excels in the key areas that in hindsight leaves no doubt about the wisdom of taking such a path. Similar to the mum in the first paragraph, Theresa May will have to deal with a baby with soiled diaper (Brexit), a toddler on the potty (The EU), and a disgruntled but equally amused teenager (Scotland and the rest of the world), let’s hope she’s able to stop the chaos before it smears itself around the house.

One newspaper welcomed in the new year of 1977 with the observation that “Britain is a country that resents being poor, but is not prepared to make the effort to be rich.” It was a sentiment shared by the Sex Pistols’ snarl, “There’s no future, in England’s dreaming.” ‘ This was a sentiment shared in Margret Thatchers time and I sense it is similar to that going around now.

stock-vector-stressed-out-mom-vector-clip-art-illustration-with-simple-gradients-all-in-a-single-layer-119803675
Source google free images

Finally, I can’t help but wonder once more, why these women never made it into Number 10 prior to these moments. Did they not have these ambitions before? Was a calmer political atmosphere not conducive for them? What made it possible at the time and not before? Are they truly the most qualified, scapegoats or willing sacrifices?

Reference sources:

The Telegraph – How Thatcher brought UK back from the wilderness

The Telegraph – Margaret Thatcher: never forget the chaos of life before her

The BBC – Margaret Thatcher: How the economy changed

 

The EU referendum 1975 versus 2016.

For seventeen years Nigel Farage nurtured a dream; an ambition to take Great Britain out of the European Union and on Thursday the 23rd of July, 2016 his dream became reality. A dream founded on the dissimilarities that existed between the present European Union and that of 1975, it had slowly become a political dynasty in Brussels with overreaching effects on the common man without an in-depth understanding of his individual, cultural or national needs. The interference of ECHR (European court of Human rights) on British court rulings and the inability of individual countries to negotiate individual favorable economic deals would suggest that there are elements of truth in Nigel Farage’s arguments. But it could also be seen as an attempt by the EU to maintain the status quo for every member and citizen.

Regardless of these facts, the process of achieving his dream was flawed, a total betrayal of true democracy. The present electorate unlike those during the 1975 referendum was not adequately or honestly informed, they were bamboozled by an array of doomsday forecasts and accused of being unpatriotic should they vote differently. The blame, in my opinion, rests with Nigel Farage, David Cameron, and their respective cohorts, they made costly assumptions on behalf of the electorate. The least they could have done was replicate the 1975 referendum format.

Prior to the 1975 referendum, a seventeen-page pamphlet (document) with detailed information was sent out to the electorate. The document had the single purpose of educating the electorate. Below are some relevant quotes from the pamphlet (italicized by me):

Page 2:

DEAR VOTER

This pamphlet is being sent by the Government to every household in Britain. We hope that it will help you to decide how to cast your vote in the coming Referendum on the European Community (Common Market). Please read it. Please discuss it with your family and your friends.

We do not pretend, and never have pretended, that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.

Page 5:

Aims of the common market:

  • To bring together the peoples of Europe.
  • To raise living standards and improve working conditions.
  • To promote growth and boost world trade.
  • To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.
  • To help maintain peace and freedom.

Page 11 & 12 

Will parliament lose its power?

Since we cannot go it alone in the modern world, Britain has for years been a member of international groupings like the United Nations, NATO and the International Monetary Fund.

Membership of such groupings imposes both rights and duties, but has not deprived us of our national identity, or changed our way of life.

Membership of the Common Market also imposes new rights and duties on Britain, but does not deprive us of our national identity. To say that membership could force Britain to eat Euro-bread or drink Euro-beer is nonsense.

Page 13 :

If we say No:

The Common Market will not go away if we say ‘No’.

The countries of the Common Market would still be our nearest neighbors and our largest customers. Their policies would still be important to us. But Britain would no longer have a close and direct influence on those policies.

Page 14:

If we say Yes:

Whether we are in the Market or not, Common Market policies are going to affect the lives of every family in the country.

Inside the Market, we can play a major part in deciding these policies. 

Outside, we are on our own.

Page 15:

AND NOW – THE TIME FOR YOU TO DECIDE

Your vote will not only affect your life and your neighbors’ lives. It will affect your children’s lives. It will chart – for better or for worse – Britain’s future.

To read the entire document click here.

It is interesting to find that the electorate back in 1975 shared similar fears and concerns regarding the future as those in 2016. The similarities, however, end there as the political class did nothing to elevate those fears if anything they fanned the flames harder, inciting old wounds and hidden prejudice. If an educated choice had been made by a majority of the masses, perhaps the racist attacks and bigotry which has reared its ugly head post-referendum would not be minuscule. If all parties including the European Union had laid aside their egos, gone back to the drawing board and retraced their roots perhaps we would not have found ourselves living the chaos that is Brexit. 

Like the story of the three little pigs, the electorate is waking up to find its house blown away by the big bad wolf called reality.

They are left clutching at straws … by what percentage will immigration be cut?

They are left picking up sticks … Turkey will probably not become an EU member for a long time.

They are left with an unfinished brick house … the amount of money going to the NHS as savings from EU expenses has slowly dwindled from £350 million to £161 million.

The agenda of the 1975 referendum was to empower the people to make a decision in favor of their future, in favor of Great Britain, in favor of democracy. The agenda of the 2016 referendum was to topple a political sect, to embolden an ideology with no informed regard for the future.

Nigel Farage got his dream, but he hypnotized the country into a frightful dream. 

europe-1456246_960_720
Source: Pixabay free images

Brexit; a case for the eldest son.

Slide1

The story of the prodigal son in the bible is a very interesting one, a story laced with many silent lessons. In the story, we find four major characters in play; a wealthy father, two sons and a landlord. For some unknown reason the youngest son suddenly demands to have his share of the inheritance, he leaves home with it and squanders it. When he finds himself broke and destitute he takes up a low paying job as a stall boy for a foreign landlord. On a certain day while working he has an epiphany and decides to go back home with no expectations except to have a home under his father’s roof once more. And on his return home everything goes better than he hoped for with his father, his brother, however, is not so excited to have his disrespectful, disloyal, lazy brother back home. Sensing his eldest sons displeasure, the father goes on to settle his worries, he assures each of his sons of their place in his life and encourages oneness.

Why has this story suddenly come to mind and why does it matter?

The Brexit situation and the wave of opinions tossed about on the internet encouraging Americans to follow suit brings the eldest son in the story to life.18prodigalson

A son who isn’t really aware of all he has, who doesn’t know how best to maximize/manage new opportunities.

A son who felt the way of life was changing too fast to accommodate a brother who dressed and sounded more like a stranger from many years of being away.

A son who felt disenfranchised by the celebration held to welcome a disloyal, arrogant, lazy brother, while no feast had  ever being held in his honor.

A son who thought he would never have to share anything with anyone except he chose to.

A son who didn’t know that his cousins whom he had worked side by side had only stayed because they had not seen a way out before.

A son who at that point desperately needed his father’s reassurance and clear guidance concerning his future.

Sadly unlike the father in the story, we find UK citizens driven into a hurricane of harsh prospects, finger pointing, horror stories and forecasts of greater storms by the politicians’ on both sides of the divide. But since they’re not the founding fathers, merely surrogates on a quest for personal gain one can hardly blame them for misguiding the people, using them to achieve hidden agendas. Or how else do you explain Nigel’s retraction/rephrase of a crucial statement hours after victory or Sturgeons move to take Scotland out once the die was cast (by the way I respect her a lot, she’s playing the game with the same poker face the boys use and I think she does it better.). And let’s not forget the foreign landlord, the EU leaders who underestimated the referendum, perhaps they doubted the stories of the prodigal son, stories of his father’s wealth, stories of a brother who was no longer receptive of their offers. With everyone clamoring for their own rights and demands for immediate actions to initiate the exit process, one wonders if the eldest son made the right choice.

Did he?

In all fairness his demands were not unreasonable, he had put in blood and soul to build that land and so had his ancestors before him. He has a fair idea of how many people the land can care for, how it can be enlarged. He trusts in the safety of his customs and daily rituals, the unseen things that bring comfort on a hot day. So when a visitor comes in with stories of various sorts, makes a home and starts to procreate both in assets and liabilities one can understand the eldest sons need to ensure the scales don’t tip him out of the equation. On this premise, his choice wasn’t wrong, but his forecast of what the future holds as a result of this choice has neither been true or clearly explained.

They said you will have all this, but failed to explain what ‘all’ encompassed.

They said to do this for you and your children but failed to explain that others will seek to protect their own offspring through the same channel (Scotland, Northern Ireland).

They said preserve your culture hold it sacrosanct, forgetting that this action will raise the ghosts of cultures desecrated, borders obliterated and normalcy ruined as their ancestor’s sort to conquer and sometimes misguidedly save the world.Slide2

Have they made the worst choice?

I don’t think so but that depends on who they decide to listen to from here onwards and the way they choose to handle future issues. I know there are many who understand what this was really about (self-preservation) not anti-globalization or xenophobia although the lines sit pretty cozy with self-preservation.  There are those who thought it was simply anti-immigration, that message is one that really needs redressing as the world is really blood thirst these days.

The decision has been made it’s time to discontinue the fear driven forecasts and rhetoric’s; it’s time to forge ahead. As a migrant, I am under no illusion that the days ahead will be easy, but I don’t know if they will be horrendous, thus I have decided to grin and bear whatever comes one day at a time.

“For every step we take to defend ourselves, those who would attack are going to take a step further.” Jonathan James Olivier.

This is by no means a threat, but a reminder that every action gives rise to a reaction from the observer. It is to stress the importance of reinforcing the positive message behind Brexit.

 

Another referendum.

Referendum: a ​vote in which all the ​people in a ​country or an ​area are ​asked to give ​their ​opinion about or ​decide an ​important​political or ​social ​question. Source: Cambridge advanced learners dictionary.

The word referendum had no applicable meaning to me until I moved to the UK. Now it has become a household term, I do applaud the leadership and citizens for having a seeming sense of balance when it comes to deciding who really should control the nation’s future. Having said that, I think the leaders still do what all political leaders do, keep the masses in the dark, while using the media to haunt them into a corner on issues they don’t fully grasp. I haven’t lived here all my life so I can understand the anger of anyone who thinks I have no right to voice an opinion on the issue, but I do love politics and would like to raise a few salient questions and ideas on the issue.

Will Britain become a stronger entity if it leaves or will it be stronger for the elite and weaker for the masses? By stronger I am referring to economic and socio-cultural strength. Can the competitive strength of the British market withstand or negotiate better with the regulatory powers of the EU when it leaves?
Is there a more suitable ‘ally’ out there? I know the UK is a sovereign nation and a strong one too, but I am also aware that the world is slowly shifting towards a global sovereignty and it will have it’s fractions with some more powerful than the other. The choice you make today determines which side of the divide you end up in the bigger picture.european-union-flag_zps6d5d2693
What level of freedom will the EU grant Britain following a Brexit? When Scotland wanted to leave there was a lot of peaceful discuss, but there were also side talks on how to tighten the remaining parties, to strengthen it against such actions in the future. Now mirror that process against the EU and it will be safe to say that the rules after a Brexit will not be coated with sugar or anything nice. It will be harsh and perhaps a tiny bit unfriendly, a move to discourage future dissent.
Is the EU really anti-democratic or is this more a case of wanting to eat the cake and still have it? I went in search of the structure for of the EU’s institutional framework I found the following:

The EU has three political governing institutes: the parliament, the council of ministers and the European commission. Members of the European parliament are elected by European citizens, it is basically a group of member state representatives. The next level is the Council of ministers consisting of a representative from each country’s national government usually a minister. The last arm of the EU is the European Commission which is its executive body. The EC comprises of 28 individuals: 1 president, 7 vice-presidents and 20 commissioners.300px-flag_of_the_united_kingdom-svg

The president is elected by the parliament, who subsequently selects the twenty- seven other candidates based on suggestions from member states. This model I believe is the same as what most European nations operate by way of democracy. It is basically the same politics but on a much larger scale. As with every ‘nation’, every member state will have it’s entitled allocations, some will get preference above others in certain areas but overall each hopes to be treated fairly, equally and prioritized in times of distress. States can negotiate issues as at the point of joining but once in same rules apply to everyone. In my humble understanding, I think the EU has been operating in line with the above.

Through the course of my research, I discovered that the European Union was formed after the second world war as a way to end the constant power tussle and needless bloodshed. It was driven by a quest for unity and a sense of interdependence balancing the scales between the weaker and stronger nations so to speak. In order for the EU to exist each member state must be willing to yield some of its sovereignty, to give and also receive the benefits as well as risks of such a co-dependence.

Some would argue that if Britain wanted more influence over Brussels, perhaps it should spend commensurate effort into asserting the EU’s leadership and Britain’s place in the centre of power rather than demanding it’s own private corner with all the privileges and none of the risks.

These are just my humble thoughts spurred from reading and listening to the news. Would love to hear yours.

‘When we select a prime minister, we give them a short-term lease on power with the right to change our minds after five years. In or Out will be a generational choice about the future of the United Kingdom.’ Andrew Rawnsley

Society taints the beggar.

On my way home from the shop, pushing my daughter in her stroller with my mind on several issues, I was approached by a man in a warm winter jacket, jogger pants and a decent pair of trainers and the following dialogue ensued:

Him: sorry Miss can I get 50p please?

Me: ah, no. Don’t have any on me now.

Him: ta’ love

Source: http://www.clipartlord.com

He proceeded to walk off in the opposite direction towards ASDA. The scene wasn’t new for me but I guess writing a blog makes me take a second look at things these days. The incidence got me thinking about the society and its impact on beggars.

The culture of begging exists globally but every society determines the form it takes. Begging can occur as result of any of these reasons: economic reasons ( unemployment, redundancy, national recessions etc), social reasons (caste systems, religious reasons) and health reasons (impairments/deformities from birth, accidents).

Beggars in Nigeria often have physical impairments, they dressed ratty, looked unkempt, slept rough (on the road, uncompleted buildings) and some were malnourished. A large percentage of said beggars were children and amongst them was a subset of children who had their own kids to carter for as well. I often wondered what sort of man got a destitute child pregnant? Most of them exuded a certain vibe that accepted yet rejected their present reality, an internal turmoil that said “I am happy to be alive and will fight to stay alive, but I don’t see a different tomorrow awaiting me.”

And I can understand were this disillusionment stems from, it comes  from observing the government consistently throw in obstacles in the paths of it’s citizens. There are no infrastructures, system or agenda in place to tackle the issues that the working masses face, much less theirs. They manage their medical needs by homoeopathic means and in dire situations most pass away due to lack of funds to access appropriate treatment. Medical service in Nigeria is very  (government-run or private)  expensive and not in any way free.

Beggars in the UK, however, are very lucky if it were possible to be lucky and begging at the same time. There’s a poem to that effect: if wishes were horses beggars would ride, but I doubt that really reflects the situation so back to the topic. When placed beside their third world counterparts UK beggars could be said to live on the posher side  of life. Food banks, charities, religious organizations, homeless shelters and the NHS endeavour to make the life of beggars bearable. Granted not everyone’s need are met at every given time but a majority are managed under the existing system. This is especially true with regards to government-run health facilities (NHS) which is free, every citizen has access to its services regardless of social status. The government-run benefit system also helps alleviate the harshness of living as a beggar. Beggars living in the UK stand a better chance of improving their lives.

In both countries beggars have been known to use their proceeds for non healthy or economically choices. Though both have the same label beggars their standards of living and expectations are worlds apart. This is simply because basic human rights are upheld in the UK, the government is people centred and the nation reinvests in itself for the future. Plans are drawn and executed with considerations of the bigger picture and longevity in mind. This not the case in Nigeria, in fact it is quiet the exact opposite. Present day UK was created by individuals who recognized that the growth and advancement of the society is better judged by looking at the beggar on the street. If every chain is as strong as its weakest link then every nation is only as strong as it manages its most frail citizens. Incorporate everyone.Sharing at Christmas

Detention centres with no hope.

Welcome to Topical Thursday, today I like to consider the guidelines for detention centres and the story of the Iranian detainee who died on  Christmas Island, Australia.


On the 9th of November 2015 the body of an Iranian refuge detainee Fazel Chegeni was found at the bottom of Christmas island detention centre in Australia. According to reports the detainee attempted to escape from the centre on the 7th of November. A lot has been said about his personality and history, I mourn for his family and share their loss. However, this article hopes to increase information on detention centres and relocations.

People relocate under different circumstances (peaceful/turbulent) all in search of a better/richer life. It would be impossible to plan what direction to take when forced to relocate by a crisis, however, it is still important to formulate some sort of plan when you can.  The last thing you want is to be tossed about or stuck in a detention centre, ask questions, research as much as you possibly can.

Red tape can turn your quest for a better life into a nightmare, with some countries refusing to accept its citizens and the other refusing to grant access people are caught in limbo for days and years. Detention centres are not known for quality personal or health management practices: run by private contractors the placement of profit over quality care individuals /management is not difficult to envision. Regardless the UNHCR guidelines should be enforced. Find below the definition and guidelines concerning detention.

Detention is defined as the deprivation of liberty or confinement in a closed place which an asylum-seeker is not permitted to leave at will, including, though not limited to, prisons or purpose-built detention, closed reception or holding centres or facilities. (UNHCR 2012)

Guidelines
                               © UNHCR 2012 Original version can be found here.

Certain individual should be given further consideration before being detained, they include:

  • Refugees
  • Children
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers
  • Survivors of torture or trauma
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • The elderly or disabled; and Those in need of urgent physical or mental health care, including persons who have suffered violence in transit.

Illegal migrants are not covered by the above guidelines and definitions. I understand countries must safeguard their borders, however, illegal migrants should be treated with respect not harassed on the streets to identify themselves, as documented by border force TV series (UK and Australia). Being in limbo or living ‘underground’ is no way to live, think things through before leaving if you can, don’t live it to chance. I hope better solutions surface regarding immigrations across the world. Please note no human is illegal, but they can be illegal migrants.

What are your thoughts? Click the links to read more.

How feasible is the sustainable development goal number eleven in Nigeria?

factory-800955_1280
          By Skeeze. Source: Pixabay free images

A lot has been said about computer games: how addictive they can be and how they slowing turn into couch potato, a very clingy unsanitary couch potato grudgingly hugging the remote. That might be true under certain circumstances, but for today I want to appreciate the lessons I have learnt from some of them especially the empire building and city planning ones.  Indirectly these games show us how city planning decisions impact on the general ambience and growth of a community. For example building a factory too close to residential premises always gives you low marks and turns the area from a high eco-friendly zone to a medium or low one whilst building parks and planting trees does the opposite. So you see they can be useful in teaching kids/adult players (like me) a thing or two about the importance of maintaining ‘greenhouse economy’ and modern day infrastructure development. Sadly however the unlike the game the impact of knocking down structures either for the improvement of an area or the expansion of a region is never as simple and without life changing consequences as they are in the games.

City planning and reconstruction process are ongoing on a daily bases around the world from back home in Nigeria to the far regions of Antarctica. In Nigeria alone, several cities have undergone some level of reconstruction with the aim of producing better structural flow throughout the city, this includes my home town Enugu. Most of these changes are a welcomed development on paper, but in reality the management and execution is below par. People are often left homeless, caught off from a stream of income and in some instances medically impaired as a result of the governments’ tardiness in dealing with the aftermath of such ‘progressive thoughts’.

Source: http://www.24dash.com Boarded up houses, regeneration area in Anfield Liverpool.

The United Nations sustainable development goal number eleven addresses this issue, it reads: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In accordance with this goal seven areas have been identified as key: housing, transport, planning, natural/cultural heritage, resilience, environment and open space. The approach aims at encouraging governments and town planners to take a holistic and broader perspective to meeting the 21st century the demand for sustainable and liveable human settlements. The UN also acknowledges that there will be challenges which would vary across nations when it comes to achieving this goal. I already foresee three major challenges with respect to this goal in Nigeria including:

  1. A total disregard for the areas that need it most: the tendency of past governments to concentrate developments to areas that need basic facelifts is not new. Often times these projects are desirable, but essentially not needed, concentrated at the city centres or the governors’ personal hometown, they generally are self-serving and ignorant of the masses need. Rural areas and slums which require restructuring and modernisation to easy urban city crowding never make it into the drawing room as areas to be focused on. I have seen parks, zoos demolished only to be replaced by luxury estates owned by the wealthy built for the wealthy. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement one – 1.
  2. A mismanagement of those who get affected: sadly this is a story that resonates from developmental processes in Anfield UK to the streets of New haven Enugu, Nigeria. Deadlines are given to residents of selected sites, but in most cases demolition processes start before the set deadline, leaving people bereft of home and hearth, running from pillar to post. More disturbing, however, is the failure of the authorities to deliver on their compensation plans. Cash, land or alternative living arrangements are promised vocally, but in Nigeria less than half if any of those affected ever receive this alleged compensation. They are tossed and turned by red tape and pure political illusion hogwash, leaving some medically impaired as the weight of starting afresh on an uneven playing field in midlife gets the best of them. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement two – 2.
  3. A multiple increase in abandoned project/discontinuity: lack of continuity is a trademark of the Nigerian government, the only thing they seem able to pass down graciously. It is
             Source: http://www.50report.com Uncompleted airport in Nigeria.

    remarkable how each government never strives to finish off a project within its tenure leaving society littered with half-finished hazards and empty pockets. In most cases where the project is actually completed the possibility of it being substandard is quite high. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement three – 3.

With time running out and a score point of three – zero in favour of the opponent, surely it’s time to pack up shop. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, with regards to Nigeria I have decided that until we own it and change it by us there really isn’t any point holding out hope. The Akwa Ibom and Kaduna government are presently taking on some city development plans; for the sake of hope I pray they put the People and posterity first. As citizens, however, we must accept that the change we seek won’t come easy; tackling the claptrap jobs of past administration will be an uphill climb, surmountable only with careful transparent management and realistic expectation.

Street or man; which shapes the other?

I have heard the saying ‘the street makes the man’ (person): in my mind this translates to the street shaping an individuals personalities. It influences his/her cultural beliefs and ideologies, shaping their outlook to life. However, when I read stories of people who lived decent productive lives despite growing up in slums and social mayhem riddled environments I can’t help wondering if ‘the street really makes the man or if the man makes the street’.

The street were we live, work or simply travel on a frequent bases does have a way of slowly infusing certain values and norms into our lives. This in itself isn’t wrong, it only becomes a problem when our life is a mirror image of the street and we depend on it for a sense of value and a gauge for determining what’s wrong or right. For example, street littering might have become a norm around where you live, no one bats an eyelid when it occurs; this does not make it right or normal. Over time, however new generations will grow up not knowing any different: the street will insidiously shape their understanding of how to treat the environment.

In this scenario, man is faced by an existing conundrum set by past precedents. He either blends in, allowing the trend to grow or he takes conscious tiny steps to live differently and tries to directly or indirectly influence those within his circle to do same. It is important to note that he must first ‘live out’ what he would want others to imitate. The second choice probably accounts for the example in the opening paragraph.

The flip side of the saying becomes true: ‘the man makes the street‘ when we think of people moving into new builds, new estates, or new continents as accounted for in history. If the new residents mistreat the area it will slowly degenerate and with time set faulty precedents for the future.When we look into history numerous examples exist of how man adapted new environment to suit him, sometimes using solutions that outlive him or his generation.

Of course these are simple examples of how the man shapes the street and how the street shapes the man. Unlike the question of which came before the other chicken or egg, I think in this case ‘the man does shape the street‘ and overtime as growth and change occurs ‘the street starts to shape the man‘. Essentially it is the ethos of society that man shapes when he takes on the street, first changing the intangible before the tangible, but sometimes the reverse must occur first especially when history is working against your objectives.

Unfortunately for us in Nigeria we have totally left the future in the hands of the street, we have allowed everything that happens become the norm. For fear of harm we do not challenge the process, for fear of isolation we do not stand for our convictions, this second part I find to be very true and prevalent in the western world. The future will never deliver what we want from it unless we stand up and grasp it in our hands; don’t let the streets shape you, shape the street to suit not just you but also posterity.

No guarantees in love.

The workings of a romantic relationship between a man and a woman will probably remain the most intriguing puzzle of all mankind: throw in marriage and the puzzle morphs into a game of jumanji, making my desire to stay clear of the topic on this blog (except in fiction) more appealing. However, my major purpose in writing a blog would be defeated if I failed to explore the difference between how individuals back home (Nigeria) and individuals here (the UK) approach relationships. Please feel free to correct my assumptions or observations constructively in the comments section:

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A girlfriend for a while, a bride for a day, a wife for a lifetime.

The first striking difference is the disposition of women to relationships/marriage: women in the UK don’t seem in a haste or rather in a race against time to tie the knot, in fact if anything they appear unperturbed by what age they get married. Note: the difference is not in the desire to be in a relationship or married as this in my opinion is the same on both sides. Nigerian women tend to dread being single after a certain age, it’s as though there’s an unseen whistle that goes off at a particular age a countdown to the end of your possibilities.

I believe the difference lies in societies attitude towards  single women/single mothers: in England most people do not bat an eyelid at the single woman/ mother (this has not always been the case). The society carters for the single mother in the same way it treats everyone else. Back home the single woman is considered by society as a burden to her family regardless of financial or economic status. In some circles beyond a certain age she might be seen as a misfit whilst a single man is considered irresponsible.

The second major difference lies in the acceptance of kids outside marriage or within a partnership which isn’t ‘legalized’. Having a child out of wedlock or with anyone other than your spouse is severely frowned upon by the Nigerian society. The case is, however ,different in England: teenage mums and single mums (married or divorced) are not stigmatized neither are their kids. It is not unusual to have couples cohabiting or to have siblings with the same mum, but different dads. This acceptance influences the attitude of women to marriage and aging in England. Women are liberated and not shackled by societies expectation, they call the shots.

The culture and religious atmosphere in Nigeria probably accounts for its outlook on such issues. According to the policy paper written by Hera Cook “No turning back: family forms and sexual mores in modern Britain” the case was much the same in England prior to the 1950s. In those times people especially women, could not enjoy an adult status, heterosexual sexual activity, parenthood or household formation without being married. The unmarried usually could not form their own households and therefore remained under the control of the head of the household where they lived, with limited sexual activity. Single mothers were shamed and reduced to dire poverty. Women and men emerged from a long period of sexual control and repression in the 1960s. The emergence of the pill and subsequent improvements in birth control meant that sex between men and women no longer translated to major economic consequences and thus, the tides turned giving birth to today’s society. It is presently unclear as to whether the Nigeria will follow in the steps of its colonial masters with respects to shaming single individuals into marriage.

Ijeoma me
Excited love for today, enduring love for tomorrow. Still the same love, only one lasts even when the darkness grows.

Having experienced life in both societies, I must say that I find neither approach satisfactory. Both systems are riddled with problems: with one you find the court wide open without any restrictions which in my opinion leads to less enduring and satisfying relationships, split parenting units/families and an attitude that quits on people when they don’t measure up. Whilst the other has propagated the multiplication of “families” which seem normal on the surface, but are severe fractured internally, breeding a desire in people to conform without understanding or guidance. I have learned a valuable lesson from both societies on love and marriage: regardless of the route you take to love or marriage, there are no guarantees except the ones you and your partner are willing to uphold together. I believe this holds through for everyone, so don’t allow pressure make you leap and don’t assume sex, kids or cohabiting is certain to guarantee love, it doesn’t!

“Sexual Revolution and liberation altered our way of life significantly, but it did not change our essential nature; true it makes us feel free, or free-er than our predecessors— free to indulge ourselves, free to sleep around, free to pursue passing feelings like overwhelming love — an emotion which  seldom lasts, and a word, which is meaningless unless its definition includes commitment.” (Source: Dailymail online by A.N WILSON  paraphrased)

Happy Independence day!

Happy independence day, darling Nigeria!

My initial thoughts on independence day has taken a different turn, largely due to an article in The Guardian on the topic of  Britain paying reparation to it’s colonoies for slavery. Prior to reading the article I would probably have responded in the affirmative to the topic, but today I say a resounding NO!.Why? Because the slave trade is in the past and I live in the present, facing a different set of complex issues in an ever evolving world.

Demanding reparation depicts the mentality of someone who isn’t independent, what your asking for is to have fish provided for you a temporal solution and not to teach you to fish empowerment.

Coming from nations which claim to be independent, the notion is tantamount to demands by a grown son to have his aging mother cook him meals and do his laundry. A NO, NO in must cultures, ours even more so. It shows no self respect or desire to truly exploit his abilitites. This has been the same cry over the years, isn’t it time to move on?

Don’t get me wrong the slave trade was dehumanizing and totally abominable: whether it was amongst similar races or different races, no format of a human being subjugating another will ever be deemed acceptable. By demanding reparation we close our eyes to the bigger issues facing us

  • a) Being a different colour still translates to being treated differently.
  • b) Being from a third world country still translates to meaning you live in the dark ages.Slide2
  • c) Having natural resources increases the chances that internal conflicts will escalate and international intervention will be speedy and not directed at the root causes. (Is there a game plan here? I think so)
  • d) The world powers will constantly pull the strings and if you want any sort of respect we must brace up and be ready to stand on our own. Wasn’t that the whole point of independence?

So today I celebrate my fellow compatriots: Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. Men and women who go out each day to eek out an honest living under difficult and often resistant atmosphere. People who choose to do things right even when no ones looking. People who want to learn to fish and not the fish.

The labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain, demanding reparation and not thinking ahead ensures the labour of the heros past and that of the future to come never amounts to much.

Guide our leaders right, help our youth the truth to know: We know the truth, but come elections we alt for the ‘false.’ The leaders will never do right unless the youths stand for the truth and hold them by the balls to it.

Great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign: When we dream big and have the bigger picture in mind, we will strive for peace and justice because without them our dreams will remain just that dreams.

Reparation NO!! Slide1

Equal treatment, help and support devoid of greed and political strings for all mankind, YES!!!