Posts Tagged ‘Whataboutus’

I said on Twitter this morning that there was nothing new to write about Nigeria and our government; it’s the same evil made manifest in loads of different ways. We have a government on the one hand that has exchanged its conscience and morals for oil, and a people who are too short-sighted and too easily distracted to work towards long lasting solutions. In my opinion, and every day I am further convinced that Nigeria’s problems are 50% leadership, and 50% ‘followership’; why else will youths still allow themselves to be used as puppets in protests they have no knowledge about?

The post below was written by a stellar journalist and good friend of mine, Tolu Ogunlesi and I echo every sentiment expressed. It is titled, ‘The Nigerian Government is guilty of crimes against humanity’ and was first published here.

Remember where you were that New Year’s Day afternoon when you first heard—and disbelieved—the news. Initially it was like a terrorist attack no one was willing to claim responsibility for. And then the truth hit home, hard. Our government had successfully stolen the shine from Boko Haram, and exploded a bomb in the pockets and psyches of already longsuffering Nigerians.

In the weeks that followed, Nigeria burned. Armed with lies, intimidation, condescension, and (eventually) soldiers, the government waged relentless war against the Nigerian people“The subsidy has to go. No going back! Nigeria cannot afford this. It is for the good of the people; we’re doing this for your future!”

Never before in the history of Nigeria had so many been condescended to, by so few.

They cooked and threw figures at us; flung promises as loud as they were empty. The President created 370,000 jobs in one speech (a probable world record by any standards), and with a straight face ‘paid’ civil service salaries on the 20th of every month. They also ordered “palliative” buses after the fact – incontrovertible evidence of the fact that their DNA is imprinted with contempt for the people they pretend to lead.

Now, with the release of the fuel subsidy probe report (the credit for which belongs to the Nigerian people, who put unprecedented pressure on a government unfamiliar with the concept of accountability), the chickens have found their way home—shorn of the feathers that long shielded their anuses. This moment in history, if not for the inherent tragedy, would have been a perfect ‘we-told-you-so’ moment.

For me the issue has always been clear, as follows: Under Mr Jonathan’s watch, fuel subsidies rose (at least) three-fold. Instead of looking inwards, finding the reasons for that, taking responsibility, and punishing the implicated criminals, the government chose the easy – and unconscionable – way out: it turned its anger on a hapless people, and blamed them for its sins.

It’s one of the worst things any government can do; in my opinion nothing short of “crimes against humanity.” I have not used that term lightly or thoughtlessly, and by using it I am not in any way trying to equate the January crises with, say, the Rwandan genocide, or the sufferings of Syrians under the brutal Assad. No. Indeed a lone hit-and-run fatality and a survivor-less plane crash can both share the word “tragedy”, without the ‘smaller’ tragedy triggering accusations of seeking to devalue the resonance of the ‘larger’ one, and of the word “tragedy” itself.

I look at what the government did in January, against the backdrop of the revelations from the probe, and find it consistent with the patterns of governments that commit crimes of genocide against their people. A government that could do what it did – all those lies and emotional blackmail – all in a bid to avoid taking responsibility for its failings, will go to any lengths anytime it finds itself on the wrong side of the people’s wishes.

And of course we saw that happen on the day they crushed the protests – they deployed armed troops to the streets of Lagos, and then tried to frame Governor Fashola by saying he requested for the deployment.

It is a simple law of potential & progression: A government that lies against the people with such impunity will turn the military on them without blinking. And a government that turns the military on its people to crush protests against its lies is at any point in time merely a few steps from where Mr Assad currently is. Let’s not forget that people died protesting last January!

Now that the truth is out, and it has emerged that the Nigerian people are not the parasites their government painted them to be (parasites sucking the life out of the Nigerian state through their addiction to ‘cheap’ petrol); now that it’s clear who the real parasites are, and that the aiders and abetters of parasitism are the same ones who were loudest in defence of the subsidy-removal; the least Mr Jonathan, his henchmen and henchwomen can do is tender an unreserved public apology for their countless crimes against the Nigerian people.

I’ve been off Twitter for about a week now. Had a severe bout of the flu. I’m good now.

People who know me know that when I believe in something/someone I’ll run with it/them passionately, giving it/them my all. That’s till I no longer believe in them, till I feel like I’m being taken for granted, or till I get bored and decide to seek amusement some place else (third reason rarely happens).

In my short lifetime I’ve been involved in quite a diverse range of activities/causes; from organising album launches, press conferences, bake sales, even worked on publicity/branding for politicians as some point. Each of these events have one underlying factor that determined whether they were success or failures; whether all the organizers remained buddies or if we can’t bear to even think of each other now.


This is what trust is NOT, and this is the best analogy I could think of (and not because I love beans)

a. We want to eat moimoi. We agree we will eat moimoi.

b. We (say 1000 people) decide (consciously or unconsciously) that Zainab will buy and pick the beans, Kudirat will grind and mix in the spices, and then Ifeoma will watch over the moimoi till it is ready.

c. We all go to the market with Zainab, help her carry the shopping. We all pick the beans, chatting while we work. Then we go with Kudirat to where she grinds the beans, maybe even argue about how much pepper and onions should be ground into it. On the way home, we buy garri and groundnuts we’ll use to eat our moimoi.

d. Ifeoma doesn’t call us, several hours after. In anger, we march to the kitchen to find that the stove’s cold, and Ifeoma’s not there. Our moimoi mixture is as we left it, uncooked. Furious but famished, we put our moimoi to cook. Later we find out that Ifeoma went to the neighbor’s to eat akara.


Does Ifeoma think Zainab, Kudirat, or the 1000 will ever plan a meal with her again? It is for this reason, ladies and gentlemen, that I am heartbroken. Disillusioned. Disenchanted. Disgusted. Maybe even ashamed.

Samuel Johnson said, “the key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be, and when they are not,we cry”.

It is for this same reason I’m wary of the loudest voices since the protests started. ‘Saviors of the people’ have again risen up, denouncing the government (which is a brainless one by the way) in the strongest, vilest language possible. I see we’re also calling for the President’s head (which is justifiable in my book too) but have we taken a close look at the people chanting the loudest?

Let’s start with the individuals. Especially if you’ve been in government or in a position to make a change and you did nothing. You should hide your head in shame because sweet cheeks you are a part of the problem.

Still on individuals, sycophants, lying scoundrels giving wrong counsel to people in power for an extra buck. Shame on you. It just goes to show what you’ll be when you’re there.

Then, the ‘activists’. Once it suits your purpose, your battle cry is the loudest. You want the interviews, the international publicity; the power, maybe the extra follower on Twitter. If however there’s the slimmest chance that your interests might be harmed, you go oon self-proclaimed exile. And in doing so rubbish the credibility of your comrades on the altar of your greed. Shame on you.

The sensationalist. I would love to push this to the media but it is human beings who make that up isn’t it? And in these days of social media making citizen reporters of us all, kinda further widens the scope doesn’t it?  We publish/repost/retweet gore in the name of news, offend the sensibilities of everyone else with news that is as unfounded as it is ridiculous. Especially in times of tension or strife. Where is your conscience? Ok you’ve sold that. Did you sell your common sense too? “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it” — Tennessee Williams. Same thing goes for dishonest writing/retweeting/posting/publishing.

Worst of all are the ones who are silent. Elie Wiesel said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victims. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented”. But perhaps it is this quote by Martin Luther King Jnr that expresses my thoughts the most, ” our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Posterity will judge.

It is for these reasons I am heartbroken.


So it’s been a little while I did a chronicle that wasn’t school and learning related, and that’s due to the fact I’ve gotten to that point where I’m pleading with God for extra hours at the end of the day…. It’s also because there’s too much happening! From Nigeria to Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe to Egypt, to Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Japan, it’s almost impossible to keep up!

Anyways, I’m back, and repeating my promise to give you something to engage with every week, and I’ll keep that promise; at least I’m not promising 50,000 posts in one day!

On to the business of the day; I’ve wanted to run interviews on this blog for a while because despite all the ‘sad’ things around us, there are young people who are doing exceptionally brilliant stuff! Especially the ones that if you’re not told of, you’d likely miss.

The idea for the first interview came about a week ago, when I was researching facts for an article that would show the impact social media has had/is having on politics in Nigeria and I stumbled on ‘Nigerian Constitution App for Blackberry’, developed by a Nigerian, Zubair Abubakar.

Zubair Abubakar, fine boy  abi? Brains too!

I found him on Twitter, asked for an interview, and below is an hour’s worth of our discussion, reproduced as taken off Gtalk!


FGS: hey, good evening!

ZUBAIR: hey!!!

FGS: good evening…… Nice day?

ZUBAIR: good evening ma, yes, I had a nice day. You?

FGS: yes, I’ve had fun, especially since I finished a report I’ve been trying to write since Wednesday

ZUBAIR: ah, great!

FGS: yup! So basically, I wanted to do this interview because as part of my research on Social Media and Nigerian politics I stumbled on @techloy’s site, and I saw your work

ZUBAIR: oh ok…..

FGS: And I believe that it’s a platform for people to get to know you, and the work that you do…and it’ll help our knowledge base so that our arguments and requests from government are backed with a knowledge of what we are entitled to..

ZUBAIR: ok, sure!

FGS: great, thank you. Let’s start with, what is the one thing you hate?

ZUBAIR: WOW, I love so many things, I cant even pick one thing that I hate…but I would say dishonesty from people and people trying to take advantage of others.

FGS: Ok, we’ll pick through your answer but please tell me three things you love, since you said you love ‘so many things’

ZUBAIR: I love to impact in peoples lives

FGS: that’s one…

ZUBAIR: I love reading and learning basically

FGS: that’s 2a and 2b

ZUBAIR: I love God

FGS: three! Ok, back to the things you hate, have you ever felt someone was taking advantage of you? Tell me (us) about it..

ZUBAIR: yea couple of times;well a typical example is the way Nigerian leaders rule over us without caring about be accountable to us(me)

FGS: Isn’t that a function of their knowledge of the fact that we didn’t care? I say ‘didn’t’ because we do now…

ZUBAIR: Well, exactly!

FGS: Why would you say then that they ‘took advantage’ of you, since you agreed with me that they had a reason to?

ZUBAIR: well, in the moral sense, because you have a reason or power to take advantage of someone doesn’t make it okay to do so!

FGS: Agreed…. Forgive my manners, I forgot I didn’t ask who you are, and what you do…

ZUBAIR: LOL, I guess you already know that

FGS: No(insert smiling smiley)

ZUBAIR: I am a web/mobile application developer, a TED fellow, a volunteer amongst other things.I currently work with as a lead developer

FGS: Wow….And your name is? I know your twitter handle is @zubairabubakar

ZUBAIR: you can get more here:,, Zubair Abubakar is my full name

FGS: Have you always been a ‘techie’? By that I mean is it something you’ve always had a flair/skill for, or you studied and acquired it?

ZUBAIR: yes I have always been a techie, but my studies helped a great deal to develop the skills

FGS: What/where was school?

ZUBAIR: I first did a diploma in Information Systems Management at APTECH Computer Education, Lagos,then a BSc. Computer Science at Ashesi University Ghana

FGS: How long have you been building apps?

ZUBAIR: web apps or mobile?

FGS: both

ZUBAIR: since 2003, so that’s roughly about 8yrs!

FGS: Wow….what’s the first app you developed? (web and/or mobile). By the way, I was in first year for the greater part of 2003

ZUBAIR: oh really! Well, it was a web app, a diploma project, where customers can create accounts, deposit(virtually), check their account balance

FGS: neat…Can we digress a bit? How do virtual deposits happen? I can understand online transfers, deposits via ATM’s et al but I don’t really get virtual deposits, and I’ve been too lazy to google it!

ZUBAIR: a simple implementation could be the use of recharge cards


ZUBAIR: so a website may sell the recharge cards and ask users to buy a card of certain value (say N5000) and then load the value of the card into his/her account on the website

FGS: oh ok…

ZUBAIR: then the account reads that he/she has N5000 on the website and can use it to buy stuff or transfer to another user

FGS: Nice….is it in use now? The app?

FGS: Zubair? (he was gone for like 8 minutes)

ZUBAIR: hey sorry for the break in transmission…thanks to NEPA.. lol

FGS: that’s fine; one of the reasons we’re all going out to vote next month abi?

ZUBAIR: exactly! And no, the app is not in use

FGS: Did you register in February ?

ZUBAIR: no; in January, why?

FGS: January I beg your pardon… DO you have your voters card?


FGS: Ok, I would have been very worried if you didn’t! That would have been one less vote…. What was the experience like? Easy, difficult?

ZUBAIR: well ok, could have been way better

FGS: ok, that’s what everyone thinks… What prompted the Nigerian constitution for BB app? And don’t worry, we’ll be talking about things other than work in a bit…

ZUBAIR: lol its ok. Well I was learning how to develop for blackberry phones at the time so I thought about what app I could develop to make an impact and coincidentally, I was lazily reading the constitution then

FGS: ok…

ZUBAIR: and then it occurred to me that Nigerians don’t read or don’t even have access to the constitution; what if I developed an app that would let them read it on their phones……and that was it!

This is what the app looks like, get familiar!!

FGS: neat!!! Now to the stuff that sells papers…how old are you?

ZUBAIR: lol, 27

FGS: ok, back to the app. Has it been successful, how popular is it?

ZUBAIR: well, I would say yes, I has been downloaded 15,000+ times, here you go (that’s the link to download it guys)

FGS: wow…that’s a lot of downloads! @techloy did a little analysis of the amount of money you would have made if you sold the app

ZUBAIR: it has also set a record of most downloaded app in Nigeria within 72hr – 10,000 downloads

FGS: Yes, I am aware of that…kudos!!!

ZUBAIR: yep, I know right! Thanks; a big thanks to social media

FGS: How are you publicizing the app, because there are currently more than 80 million Nigerians using mobile phones; placing this app in the hands of even a tenth of that number would be great.

ZUBAIR: my plan exactly; so far its has been, bb broadcast, facebook posts, twitter, and blog posts

FGS: ok, nice. When you are building apps, what do you do?

ZUBAIR: do you mean when I am NOT building apps?

FGS: yes, excuse me

ZUBAIR: ok, well couple of things, reading, volunteering, sports, hang out with friends

FGS: Any ‘special’ friend?

ZUBAIR: LOL, wife you mean?

FGS: whatever…wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, cat, dog, you choose….

ZUBAIR:LOL, not really, I’m mostly a loner

FGS: are you lending credence to the saying that techies are ‘loners’?

ZUBAIR: yep to some extent :)

FGS:You’re not even trying to deny it! Anyways, my final three questions (and I must thank you for being a sport), what’s your favourite childhood memory?

ZUBAIR: lol, you are welcome

FGS: what’s your favourite childhood memory?

ZUBAIR: I’ve had couple, I think I first time on a plane would be the one

FGS: What’s your favourite meal?

ZUBAIR: tuwo rice with fresh fish stew

FGS: who’s your most favourite person in the world?

ZUBAIR: dead or alive?

FGS: You choose

ZUBAIR: Gandhi

me: thank you very much!!!

And that my dear friends, is Zubair, and the end of the interview (and this chronicle)… Feel free to talk to him on Twitter, he’s an easy, approachable fella, and please download the app, and forward the link! Knowledge of the law will enable us lead more productive lives, and ensure that no one tramples on our rights. Thank me later!

So it’s 2.17am and this daughter of Zion still cannot sleep. It’s amazing how I could almost never stay up beyond 11pm back home but sometimes, up till 4am my eyes will still be ‘shining’ here! And I have tried to help myself, even going as far as stopping my late night mocha but nope, that I’m writing this now is testament to the fact that it hasn’t worked!

I think it’s because I have to make a little trip today, that always happens. I’ve found that whenever I have to make a trip, the night before I won’t be able to sleep, and I always wake up like four minutes before my alarm. All that means that whoever sits beside me on the coach/train/plane would be left wondering if I was drugged because from the minute I buckle my seat belt, that’s it o! I won’t wake up till we get to our destination. Except of course, if it’s a really cute guy (not)…that’s not even enough to keep me awake!!

Away from me and my sleeping habits, I’ve been thinking about Nigeria a lot in the last 48 hours, especially because I can’t wait to be back home, and more especially because of the elections that are closer than we think. There’s been a lot of drama around the aspirants to various positions, especially those vying for the ‘HNIC’ office. There have been accusations, and counter accusations, misrepresentations, and I would assume that tensions are running high at this time.

Flag-map of Nigeria

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a welcome development (without the violence of course), a clear departure from the ‘it’s not my business’ attitude we’ve had during the recent past elections we’ve had. People are actually beginning to ask questions, and our politicians are slowly realizing that they’ve got to do better than just promise to build 300 primary schools in 15 minutes and in the next breath send their nuclear family on a 4year ’round the world’ vacation with tax payers money!

It is in our hands now, a friend of mine would say, ‘you have the yam, you have the knife; if you cut and share, we will eat’. We own the thumbs, we have our voters cards, please people, go out and vote o!! Our votes will count, if not for anything, a vote by us for candidate B is one less vote for candidate A, abi? Imagine if 1000 of us vote candidate B? That’s 1000 fewer votes for candidate A! Who said your vote won’t count? Please o, so that you won’t be a ‘weiste’!

Most importantly, we know that evil triumphs/prospers when good people do nothing, these thugs, kidnappers, robbers, ‘riggers’ are our people, we know people who know them, we know them; for how long will we mortgage the future on the scruffy payments we receive to turn a blind eye? For how long? The money will finish (and quickly too) because there are too many issues to sort with it! Why not install the right people (based on their track records, ideologies, integrity) who will sort out those issues for everyone?

Away from my ‘preaching’, I stumbled across two videos recently, and I loved them so much I had to share, and I promise to go to bed after embedding them!

This is a collaboration by artistes in Abuja for Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebration, and includes heavy weights like Lindsey, Styl Plus, Jeremiah Gyang, Six Foot Plus, Solomon Lange, Naydo, Bem Sar, Pherowshuz, Samsong, Dayo Laniyi Benjamin, and a host of others. Beautiful song….

This next video is a short film that’s pushing the ‘go and vote’ message and features Julius Agwu, Adaora Ukoh, amongst others. I salute all the organizations that have sprung up to educate people on the need to go out and vote, and protect their votes….I’m talking organizations like the Enough is Enough Coalition, Vote or Quench, Cool to Vote, What About Us, and every other organization, keep the flame burning people!!

Bottom line, we’re all better off voting o, and for the right people too!!! I’m off to bed…(praying I wake up on time, I can’t miss my train)!