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Monthly Archives: April 2016

CROSS RIVER: SAVE THE FOREST, MAKE THE POOR POORER

  
Only heaven knows how those in government think, and if they ever had the people they govern at heart when it comes to policy formulation and implementation. Cross River State comes to my mind.

The incumbent Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade is muting a ban on the use of wood to roof houses in that state to preserve the forest. He has probably forgotten that the largest percentage of that state is very poor and cannot afford using steel for roofing.

Same poor people are still suffering from the same ass-thought policy of his predecessor, Gov. Liyel Imoke. Imoke embraced United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) programme some years back. Loggers, timber traders, farmers, carriers, machine operators, landowners, etc. we’re forced out of their means of livelihood without alternatives in order to perverse the forest.

(Incidentally, same government granted concession to Dangote’s company Dansa Allied Agro on logging activities. Owner communities didn’t get any. It is a case of protecting the rich to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer). 

The state government willingly subscribed to be the pioneer state in Nigeria then. But as wont in this clime, the state failed to think of the many families and communities that would be affected; failed to provide alternatives for their survival and went on immediate implementation without adequate preparation.

Today, the ‘haves’ in those communities have become ‘haves not’. Families disintegrated, and poverty become more pronounced.

Yes, the policy of stemming global warming is in order. What’s wrong is disempowering already poor people to implement the policy. I bet those in governments in the West would not allow the policy — or any policy whatsoever — to impoverish their citizens. We pander to the wishes of the West, irregardless of the repercussions to our own people.

Now that Governor Ayade is pilgrimaging on a similar part of making the poor poorer through UN-REDD+ — a journey that may eventually exacerbate homelessness if undertaken — he should be reminded that government is meant to serve serve the people and alleviate their suffering and not add their their litany of problems.

Any policy that will take away means of livelihood of impoverished people without a buffer is nonsense. If steel roofing is made compulsory, the dreams of many to own houses will evaporate. Not many can afford it.

Femi Olabisi is on Twitter:  @Femiolas

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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Opinion

 

YOUR OPINION, PLEASE!

(THE CULTURAL SPECIFICITY OF LANGUAGE)

Having excised highfalutin pleasantries that preceded the message, below is the transcript of what transpired on WhatsApp between my younger brother and I (he is actually my cousin: the Yoruba and some other ethnic extractions in Nigeria call everybody brother or sister, even when there is no blood – or paternal/maternal – homogeneity). 

Incidentally, my brother has first degree in English (and a serving Corps Member) while my first degree is History/English. (I have since moved on to other areas though).

He wanted to know the English translation for these Yoruba pleasantries:

  • 1. E ku inawo ana o
  • 2. E kaabo ana o 
  • 3. E ku ise ana o

MY RESPONSE (MODIFIED):
First, you need to understand that certain words and/or usage are culture specific and may not have English equivalent. In addition, English has no elaborate greeting system, as is the case with Yoruba and most African cultures and languages.

For the above, there is no one-to-one correspondence in English language system; what we have are mere equivalents.

For instance, “E ku abo ana” will be ‘How was your journey yesterday’. It cannot be *Welcome for (or on) yesterday* which would have been the direct translation. (Even that ‘correct’ answer: ‘How was your journey yesterday’ is semantically incorrect as direct meaning of “E ku abo ana”).

While the patently wrong transliteration (i.e. *Welcome for (or on) yesterday*) looks more correct it is equally wrong because we will just be translation Yoruba language directly to English language.

“E ku ise ana o”, as another example has no direct English equivalent. You can say ‘You did well yesterday’ (if the person actually did well in a particular assignment or task) or ‘How was yesterday’s work?’ (if you are merely asking).

You must have observed that none of the above really captured your Yoruba meaning. That is because the two languages – English and Yoruba – have distinct lexico-semantic structures.

Besides, the Whites do not have elaborate greeting system. You will find this very unusual when you travel to the West.

PS: All are welcomed to add more, correct me if I am wrong or express their opinions on this.

Femi Olabisi is on Twitter:  @Femiolas

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Opinion

 

AND THE TRIAL BEGINS…

  
The daily trial of Sen. Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), as ordered by Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar, is good for the defendant and the prosecutor. 

Alacritous adjudication will allow Nigerians to move to other things. This matter is fast decaying; having spent precious time on the culpability or otherwise of the defendant.

And whatever the outcome, it is going to be a defining step in the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari. Safe Chief Bode George and few other prebendal public office holders – whose soiled kleptomanic hands have found their ways into our commonwealth – and who paid (albeit very minutely) for their crimes – big theives usually go on to enjoy their loot. 

It is also going to tell on the integrity of the judiciary. People have always argued that this essential arm of government is fast becoming decadent. 

(Sanctioning reprehensible injunctions that frustrate justice is a sin that is is very common in our courtrooms. A justice delayed is a justice denied, they say. But that is exactly what operates in our judicial system. Delayed justice is common. Some trials have been on for almost a decade with injunctions upon injunctions. Even this particular case has been frustrated so many times).

Of course, Senator Bukola Saraki is innocent until proven guilty but every big gun is always never found guilty in this clime. Even when a big man is found guilty our judicial system has a way of making them go free with just a slap on the wrist: plea bargaining is one of the ways to create subtle soft landing for them to evade justice. 

Steal big (or commit huge crime) and you’re home free. Steal a mobile phone — or commit burglary — and you could end up spending up to a decade in the gulag. Or have appointment with the guillotine). The system is rigged for the nouveau riche. A nouveau pauvre is doomed. 

One way or the other, the discourse on this trial will reverberate for a very long time.

We all wait as the trial unfolds.

Femi Olabisi is on Twitter:  @Femiolas

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Opinion

 

I WAIL, I HAIL!

 Pedlars of hatred and wailers without a modicum of common-sense will always paint everything black when it comes to affiliations — mostly political. As wont in the PDP fold now.

Some of us are wailers and hailers combined. I may hail President Buhari today and wail against him tomorrow with verbal missiles — depending how I feel about his policies. I did same to President Jonathan.

Truly, Nigerians are suffering. But this is a problem engendered by years of prebendal leadership. While APC (microscopically subsumed in Buhari) should sit up, wailers should also go on rememoration; current myriads of problem were planted years ago by PDP and its visionless leaderships. 

But, APC should also wake up now. Election is over. The hitherto enjoyed honeymoon is getting to its twilight. PDP was voted out because of the messianic promises of APC. PDP is gone. Now is time for APC to do its job.

I only hope this socio-economic quagmires won’t be perpetually long. We need respite. Things are hard.

We need that change NOW!

PS: This post was birthed by a photo post on Ismaila Hussaini Ebbo Dagash Facebook timeline on April 10, 2016. With pictorial evidence, he countered those who reported negatively on Vice President Osinbajo’s visit to Kano.


Femi Olabisi writes from Offa, Nigeria

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Opinion

 

FAYOSE AND THE PRODIGAL TOPE ALUKO 

 Aside from the avalanche of global fraud tsunami generated by the revealing #PanamaPapers – a timely happenstance in which Senate President Bukola Saraki and family were named as players (and which may eventually accelerated Senator Bukola’s march to political wilderness) – the social media has, since yesterday, been inundated with the news of the reunion of Gov. Fayose and Tope Alabi (the EkitiGate whistleblower). 

While some praised the reunion, some were less generous; lambasting the usual Nigeria political prostitution – this time reincarnated in Tope Aluko.

Tope’s shameful about-face and camaraderie with his benefactor – Gov. Fayose – is nothing new.

He is just another repugnant character who was woken from his slumber; a bitter realisation that his fortunes outside the camp of Gov. Fayose, and by extension the PDP, would only deny him of his rights to stomach infrastructure; that APC has nothing to offer him.

He did the needful and went back to his vomit. He is just another prodigal son in political gimmickry.

But Tope’s fortune in Fayose’s political camp may still go south.

Fayose would no longer go to sleep with his eyes closed with Tope Aluko in the same room. The attempt to expose the shady EkitiGate has bruised the smoothness once in play. He can no longer be trusted.

Unlike the Ekiti House of Assembly member, Afolabi Akanni, who spent 18 days in DSS jail and still rebuffed being hoodwinked into betraying Fayose, Tope – without any threat – spilled the beans on his benefactor. He opened the can of worms that characterised Ekiti State gubernatorial election in 2014. 

That Tope Aluko is eventually welcomed back into the stomach infrastructure fold does not mean that he will be trusted again. It will be a case of once beaten twice shy.

His prodigious public disavowal of Fayose could eventually exacerbate his progression into political waterloo. His fellow political jobbers will always be wary of him and watch him like a hawk. At every time.

This piece was written on April 5, 2016. So much has since transpired between the two actors. 


Femi Olabisi writes from Offa, Nigeria.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Opinion

 

A TIME TO PART!

  
The evening of Friday April 9, 2016 till the wee hours of Saturday was typically wine o’clocking and beer o’clocking.

It was the time to Wine Out outgoing Naval Officers at the Nigerian Navy School of Health Sciences Offa. The Officers’s Mess reverberated with fanfare. 

(I wished my partymonger men-at-arm – Babalola Olalekan and Ojo Ayomipo Olakunle – were there. They’re the partying real deal; and that’s no empty fanfaronading). 

I wish the leaving Officers the best onto the next ship. They have been very wonderful.

I will particularly miss Lt. Fredrick Greg Walter. While I lieutenanted as his Deputy Social Secretary of the Navy Officers’ Mess he was always there; he ensured we had very functional mess.

But as there is always a time to meet, so is the time to part. I wish them the best as we part ways. For now. 

Onward Together!

Femi Olabisi, the only civilian executive of the Officers’ Mess lives in Offa.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Opinion

 
 
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