Saturday, July 31, 2010

Naija - We need a Plan

On 28 July, 2010, the commissioning of a bridge in Ota resulted in a fracas between the Ogun State Governor (Daniels), the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Bankole) and the Minister of Works (Daggash). These are our "leaders", charged with the running of Nigeria Plc - our own particular breed of leaders I should say. This is only the latest in a series of humiliating incidents that the media have been good enough to share with us. Who can forget the fights that broke out in the House of Reps when some tried to move a motion to proble corruption.

So, what to do about this crop of gangsters that pretend to be our government? Well, replace them of course. But how?

Many are understandably wary of the political system due to its immense corruption and perhaps, more importantly, the corruptibility of the system in respect of even well-intentioned people who choose to participate. Whereas, others insist that we must participate in it to be able to change it. But how? With a plan.

To arrive at the type of nation we so desire in our lifetimes (as opposed to some indeterminate time in the distant future where as you know, all things move in a cycle anyway), I'm of the view that there MUST be a plan, it must be credible, there must be a small core no of people to make it happen & act as guardians of the plan. The idea that "good" people should all join rotten political parties and effect slow, incremental changes is not credible. It requires too many good people to behave unselfishly over a long period of time & to do so in an uncoordinated fashion - basically, it relies on the coming together of an unrealistic set of variables for it to be successful. People are conditioned to be super-selfish & to basically not give a shit about anything or anyone else. And those that may be willing to do something are effectively discouraged when they see the "no good deed goes unpunished" syndrome that permeates our public life (examples: suspension from the House of Reps because u want to see theft & corruption probed, see what happened to Ribadu, Akunyili, Soludo & Okonjo-Iweala) etc. We (me, you & others) need to come together as a small group of people & let us be the ones to come up with a 10yr plan to make this revolution happen. The revolution must be sharp & fast & must involve a big bang. People are naturally followers when they see leadership of any sort - whether good or bad leadership, people follow - so I know once we make a big bang, ppl will fall in line & help to actualise the (yes, you got it) PLAN.

If you're interested in establishing something, hit me up.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BBC Documentaries on Lagos/Nigeria

(I have my friend Parakeet to thank for inspiring me to bother to write down my feelings about this...)

The BBC seems to be taking an unlikely interest in Nigeria lately. It has aired two programmes recently titled: "Welcome to Lagos" and "The New Kings of Nigeria". Both were seemingly uninformed, dishonest, misleading and condescending re both titling and content.

The problem with the BBC, CNN, Sky News, UK, the Western world generally is what Chimamanda Adichie referred to as the "single story" which, to my mind, translates into the arrogant and willful reduction of a complex set of events into a single (and often incorrect) notion. Welcome to Lagos was obviously an errorneous and grandiose title for a scripted look at a remote aspect of Lagos life. In fact, a look at the traffic jams in Lagos would have been more representative. There was a scene in this nonsensical programme where the narrator talks about the chronic electricity issues but unfortunately for him the lights were on, so he just faded the picture and switched to the following day!

Similarly, the New Kings of Nigeria was grossly misleading. I wanted to watch the programme because i thought it was going to be about the new, emerging middle class of entrepreneurs, self-made young people and professionals making it happen in Lagos against all the odds but instead got an idiotic portrayal of an insignificant Nigerian.

I don't actually mind the characters/people shown on both can identify or empathize with most of them...its the BBC i have an issue with. You won't find the BBC doing programmes on Soyinka, Gani, Emeagwali or Fashola or even on the atrocities of Shell & Western pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria and other African countries nor on the part that the British establishment continues to play in the intentional underdevelopment of Nigeria and other places on earth! Neither will you find programmes on the ongoing Eko Atlantic City project (see video here) on the BBC!!!

Anyway, the BBC is a state-owned and state-controlled TV channel so can't expect too much from it. We have to tell our own stories and choose/work to improve our collective situation.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

3 Decades of LIFE

As I approached my thirtieth birthday, I must admit to have suffered from some anxiety and a degree of trepidation. You know how the story goes i'm sure...i hadn't achieved all that i dreamt of achieving by this age...and so on...hints of failure here and there...yet, hints of success too.

But now i realise that all things are relative and that one must look at where one has come from and where one finds oneself and opposed to simply thinking in absolutes. But surely, also, one mustn't cease aspiring. Greatness, as is the case with Fortune, favours the brave after all!

Hopes and dreams are useful of course as they continue to drive me forward and hopefully upwards. Plans are even more important as they are a little more grounded in reality i suppose.

So, as I have with Death, I have now also come to terms with ageing and this is the daily as though it might be my last / remain instinctive / less planning and more doing / grab the oppotunities as they manifest / be fearless / maintain physical and mental sharpness / stay young mentally and physically / live wildly and widely and daringly / let go of the fear of failure / enjoy more of the simple things in life / respect all; fear none / live it up alwayz!

So, today, I celebrate 30 years of existence. Having not planned to do anything initially, I will now go out 2nite and have F U N! Abacus Bar in London is where it's at. So, come join me!!

i am



Friday, March 12, 2010

My comments on the FT article "Why America and China will clash"


On 19 January 2010, I read a piece in the FT titled "Why America and China will clash". I was moved into responding by the nonsensical logic spluttered out by the author, Gideon Rachman, on his FT blog.

The article is pasted below, followed by my response on the FT blog!

Gideon Rachman

Google’s clash with China is about much more than the fate of a single, powerful firm. The company’s decision to pull out of China, unless the government there changes its policies on censorship, is a harbinger of increasingly stormy relations between the US and China.

The reason that the Google case is so significant is because it suggests that the assumptions on which US policy to China have been based since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 could be plain wrong. The US has accepted – even welcomed – China’s emergence as a giant economic power because American policymakers convinced themselves that economic opening would lead to political liberalisation in China.

If that assumption changes, American policy towards China could change with it. Welcoming the rise of a giant Asian economy that is also turning into a liberal democracy is one thing. Sponsoring the rise of a Leninist one-party state, that is America’s only plausible geopolitical rival, is a different proposition. Combine this political disillusionment with double-digit unemployment in the US that is widely blamed on Chinese currency manipulation, and you have the formula for an anti-China backlash.

Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush firmly believed that free trade and, in particular, the information age would make political change in China irresistible. On a visit to China in 1998, Mr Clinton proclaimed: “In this global information age, when economic success is built on ideas, personal freedom is essential to the greatness of any nation.” A year later, Mr Bush made a similar point: “Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy ... Trade freely with the Chinese and time is on our side.”

The two presidents were reflecting the conventional wisdom among America’s most influential pundits. Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of best-selling books on globalisation, once proclaimed bluntly: “China’s going to have a free press. Globalisation will drive it.” Robert Wright, one of Mr Clinton’s favourite thinkers, argued that if China chose to block free access to the internet, “the price would be dismal economic failure”.

So far, the facts are refusing to conform to the theory. China has continued to censor new and old media, but this has hardly condemned it to “dismal economic failure”. On the contrary, China is now the world’s second largest economy and its largest exporter, with foreign reserves above $2,000bn. But all this economic growth shows little sign of provoking the political changes anticipated by Bush and Clinton. If anything, the Chinese government seems to be getting more repressive. Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident, was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison for his involvement in the Charter 08 movement that advocates democratic reforms.

Google’s decision to confront the Chinese government is an early sign that the Americans are getting fed up with dealing with Chinese authoritarianism. But the biggest pressures are likely to come from politicians rather than businessmen. Google is an unusual company in an unusually politicised industry. If the Googlers do indeed head for the exits in China, they are unlikely to be crushed by a stampede of other multinationals rushing to follow them. To most big companies the country’s market is too large and tempting to ignore. Despite Google, US business is likely to remain the lobby that argues hardest for continuing engagement with China.

The pressures for disengagement will come from labour activists, security hawks and politicians – particularly in Congress. To date, the Obama administration has based its policy firmly on the assumptions that have governed America’s approach to China for a generation. The president’s recent set-piece speech on Asia was a classic statement of the case for US engagement with China – complete with the ritualistic assertion that America welcomes China’s rise. But, after being censored by Chinese television in Shanghai and harangued by a junior Chinese official at the Copenhagen climate talks, Barack Obama may be feeling less warm towards Beijing. An early sign that the White House is hardening its policy could come in the next few months, with an official decision to label China a “currency manipulator”.

Even if the administration itself does not move, the voices calling for tougher policies against China are likely to get louder in Congress. Google’s decision to highlight the dangers of cyberattack from China will play to growing American security fears about China. The development of Chinese missile systems that threaten US naval dominance in the Pacific are also causing concern in Washington. Impending US arms sales to Taiwan are already provoking a dispute.

Meanwhile, protectionism seems to be becoming intellectually respectable in the US in ways that should worry China.

A trade war between America and China is hardly to be welcomed. It could tip the world back into recession and inject dangerous new tensions into international politics. If it happens, both sides will share the blame. The US has been almost wilfully naive about the connections between free trade and democracy. The Chinese have been provocative over currency and human rights. If they want to head off a damaging clash with America, changes in policy would be well advised.


The rise of China is not predicated on Western theories of economic growth neither is it dependent on acceptance by the US.

Rachman states:

"Welcoming the rise of a giant Asian economy that is also turning into a liberal democracy is one thing. Sponsoring the rise of a Leninist one-party state, that is America’s only plausible geopolitical rival, is a different proposition."

Well, I beg to differ, and on two fronts. First, the US is not, and has never been, the sponsor of Chinese rise to economic prominence. The US trades with China because it is in its own interest to do so and China, love her or hate her, is nothing short of an unavoidable and colossal force of nature. It is China who sponsors the lavishness and false impressions about the true state of the American economy by essentially funding it. Yes, China funds much of America's excesses via its vast holdings of US Treasury Bills.

Second, the impression that the US welcomes the rise of a giant Asian economy in the form of China is misleading. The US doesn't "welcome" it. In fact, the US is theatened by it; afterall, China is one of the very few countries in the world that doesn't jump at the beck and call of Washignton - a country so powerful and so self-assured that it gives the US sleepness nights, what with the States' desire to remain the sole superpower in the world for all of time. As opposed to welcoming China's elevation, the US merely acknowledges the factual state of affairs. To deny China's place in global economics would make any professor look foolish. The US, and the whole world in fact, must come to terms with China's position.

On a separate note, countries other than the US, particularly developing nations, should welcome the emergence of a rival power to that of the US given the enormous, monopolistic oppression that the US has visited on many developing nations over the years with the aid of its economic might. What the world needs right now is not a world polarised into US and China arms (like the USSR and USA) but a series of regional powers, preferably with differing ideologies and a powerful and credible international organisation (unlike the UN) to stand in the middle to balance competing goals and interests. India, Brazil, Iran, Russia and Nigeria are all countries with the potential to step up to the plate. Whether and how they in fact do so, only time will tell.

- Olu Omoyele

Lucky Me

I have travelled across
many seas and many
time zones and I have
seen many peoples and
many cultures but before
I go to bed at night, I
think how lucky I am to
have come from Africa

- Copyright © Olumide Omoyele 2010

Pellets, Unborn

Do I hear
the screams
of an unborn child?

Is that you whistling?
Gushing past under the
guise of wistful wind?

Are you
ashamed of us?
Of the life we keep
ready for you?

Are those your tears that
sprinkle from the skies, and
then vanish suddenly as
though it never had an
intention to rain?

Are you satirising us?
Have we become
just a parody of
faceless stumps?

Do we not pay you
due attention? Is that why
you let down a shower of
frozen water?
Pellets to resemble our bullets?

Do you plan a
much bigger invasion?
Were those merely
but warning shots?

- Copyright © Olumide Omoyele 2010

Sadist Cupid

In my perpetual research of life
I have made a new discovery
It has taken me to uncharted heights
And has taught me so verily
That which breeds so much happiness
Must also stir such unbridled pain
Perfect harmony, giving way, to perfect mess
If love is designed to end, what is there to gain?
I once believed I could fly like a dove
Until I came crashing into the pits
Logically, so, if He be the God of love
Then, Cupid must be a sadist!

- Copyright © Olumide Omoyele 2010

Love = Incredible Happiness + Incredible Sadness

We are told repeatedly that
Love cares and doesn’t judge
That it fills us with unquenchable
Happiness that wouldn’t budge
We are told incessantly that
Love is loyal and dedicated
That it will stand by you always
And face whatever is fated
We are not however told of its
Difficulties and immense shortcomings
That it brings us incredible pain
And leaves our precious hearts burning
We are not told of its incredible sadness
Neither are we warned beforehand
That it rages with incredible madness
Love is a beast that consumes
Even the strongest of hearts
Its gravity pulls you so tightly together
Before it changes course and tears you apart
The only force stronger than that
With which the bond was initially formed
Is the sheer venom and might
With which it is eventually destroyed
Love is incredibly happy
Love is incredibly sad
Love is incredibly lucky
Love is incredibly bad
Love is incredibly funny
Love is incredible, and that’s that!

- Copyright © Olumide Omoyele 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Living In The Moment

Life is simply a collection of moments and so its important to enjoy the ones that blow our live "in" the moment ‘cos once its gone, it has, forever! So please allow yourself to be consumed by moments of joy (and even pain) and open yourself up to the phenomena around you....whether it be talking to one dearly loved, or just watching little children play non-challantly. No good moment can be replicated!

Assume water. Adapt to your surroundings...Try not to regret...look forward instead but live only in the present moment... and in whatever you do, aspire to be the best!



I shall remain different
I shan't follow the stream
Since I won't always be present
I might as well follow my dreams

My mind is racing and pacing
With deep & venomous thoughts
Painful knowledge that I'm chasing
Puts my heart in a torturesome froth

Yet, rise I must
Without fear or shame
Seemingly free of care and remorse
And, inadvertently, perhaps elevate my name

I am a dove
A wandering bird of time
Unconstrained by fables like love
And if loyal to my goals, I'll do just fine

- Copyright © Olumide Omoyele 2010