Emmanuel Onwubiko: Tainted nation and her global stars


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A story was told of Suzanne who was an excellent salesperson, regularly exceeding her targets, winning awards, and outselling the competition even when they had arguably superior products. She loved her work, and to a great extent her work was her life-possibly too much so. And she was superstar when it came to selling (“someone who could talk a dog off meat truck”, as one of her Texas-based customers put it).

And so the twist happens in the story when after some fourteen years into her career (all spent with the same employer) things started to go wrong for Suzanne.

Certain bad habits- expressing her annoyance at company policies too vocally and too often and being overly self-disclosing-that she had had for many years began to show themselves to a much greater degree than ever before.

When a new contact tracking system was installed, allowing both managers and other salespeople to easily view critical information via the Internet, Suzanne complained bitterly to her manager, to his manager, all the way up to the vice president for worldwide sales.

She talked too openly, too loudly, and too often about her personal life (whom she was dating, how it was going, where she was considering moving, and how much it was going to cost her), and about her personal feelings about other people (“I love your tie”, “I hate your tie”, That skirt and blouse don’t go together, “The car you just bought has lots of problems,”

“You really should stop smoking,” and so on).

And then an avalanche of warnings from management only made matters worse, further infuriating her.

The after a protracted and bitter struggle she left the company, ostensibly voluntarily but in fact having been managed out. (Story from “The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back by James Waldroop, Ph.d and Timothy Butler, Ph.d”).

The Story of Suzanne you have just read above typically defines the twists and turns, fortunes and misfortunes that encapsulate the storyline called Nigeria which is said to be the largest black nation on Earth. NIGERIA at independence held phenomenal hopes for Mother Africa. This was a nation that literally became politically liberated without any kind of liberation wars unlike some other African nations like South Africa that had to go through intensive warfare between their colonizers before gaining sovereign rule. Few years down the line, due to crass opportunism, gross leadership incompetence, tribalism, religious bigotry, corruption and bad governance, Nigeria sixty years after is a basket case. Reading from page 14 of Francis Fukuyama’s book, THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER, we were told the following shocking story: “Everyone would like to figure out how to transform Somalia, Haiti, Nigeria, Iraq, or Afghanistan into ‘Denmark’, and the international community has a long history of presumed Denmark-like attributes they are trying to have failed states achieved”. This was what the book published in 2011 said about Nigeria. NIGERIA has now being made ungovernable unfortunately by a lot of officials controlling the different levers of governance. NIGERIA is perhaps the only Country in the World that officials of the central government actively conspire with non state actors to undermine the territorial integrity of Nigeria. This much was disclosed by a Court in Dubai which convicted a top official of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for financing Boko haram terrorists. However, in Nigeria, no court or CBN has sanctioned the sponsors of terrorists in Nigeria. This is how low we have reached. The house has fallen as was perjoratively affirmed by an author of the book “This house has fallen: Nigeria in crisis” by name Karl Maier.

As I gained the inspiration to pen down my random thoughts on the few days that marked the emergence of significant global Icons out of Nigeria, the usually unusual Nigerian story of terror attack at a primary school in Birnin Gwarl local council area of the North western state of Kaduna flashed through the global news channels as breaking news.

The invasion of the public primary school is the half a dozen times that terrorists in the North West have successfully invaded schools and abducted students and now they added the teachers to their list of prized captives whom they took away whilst the central government watches like a spectator.

The report shouted that Bandits Storm Primary School in Kaduna, Abduct Teachers, Pupils.

The media then reports that bandits have abducted students and teachers from UBE Primary School in Rama, a village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Members…

Bandits have abducted students and teachers from UBE Primary School in Rama, a village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Members of the community told the media that the incident occurred while pupils where trooping into the school around 9am on Monday.

Abdulsalam Adam, a resident, said the gunmen came on about 12 motorcycles.

“I have been told that three teachers and some pupils have been abducted but we are trying to ascertain the true situation. Right now, our vigilante boys and other volunteers have gone after the bandits,” he said.

“We are in the school right now, what we are trying to do is comb the bushes because some of the children ran into the bush. So, we don’t know how many were abducted at the moment.”

Mai Saje Rama, another resident, said: “There is a particular parent whose name is Halilu. He said he saw them carry his son on a motorcycle. Most of them decided to brave it by going after the bandits. We are in the school and we have sent for security agents but they have not arrived yet.”

Mohammadu Birnin Gwari, a resident of Birnin Gwari, said two of his brothers were among the teachers abducted.

He gave their names as Umar Hassan and Rabiu Salisu Takau.

Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone.

Daily Trust reports that this latest abduction happened 24 hours after security agents thwarted an attempted abduction of 307 students of Government Science Secondary School in Ikara Local Government Area of the state and another attack at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) quarters in Igabi LGA of the state.

On Thursday night, bandits had invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Igabi LGA and abducted 39 students comprising 23 females and 16 males.

Security agents had earlier rescued 180 of the students but the gunmen who made away with 39 students are now demanding for a ransom of N500 million.

What is of special interest to us now in this essay is that inspite of the challenges of poor leadership that we have been afflicted with since the year 2015, this week beginning from Sunday March 14th 2021, will be unforgettable from the positive perspective.

This was the week in the annals of Nigeria since the Independence that many Nigerians working so hard individually in their chosen careers, succeeded in writing the name of Nigeria on the Global Map of Fame.

Although the uunprecedented bad state of security and the near -collapse of governance in Nigeria would have blighted the aforementioned significant global mileages scored by these Nigerians, but every Nigerian alive need to be appreciative of the fact that this week will at least wipe our tears and burnish our global image a little bit away from the usually unusual occurrences of violence and terrorism especially in the North West and North East of Nigeria in such a way that the name Nigeria has become synonymous to terrorism in the international community.

These global stars who made Nigeria proud amidst an avalanche of security threats and blood cuddling violent attacks unleashed on Nigerians by terrorists, are in the field of entertainment and sports.

I will start with sports.

The Sports journalist who reported the good news euphemistically averred that Kelechi Iheanacho wept profusely after registering his first ever Premier League hattrick on a day Leicester cruised to a 5-0 thrashing of Sheffield Utd.

The gulf in class between the two sides was immediately apparent, with Leicester coming close to breaking the deadlock in the early going.

Timothy Castagne found joy down the left operating as a wingback, picking out a superb cross that found Ayoze Perez inside the box.

The Spaniard glanced a header towards the far post, but Aaron Ramsdale reacted quickly to tip the ball onto the post.

The Sheffield Utd goalkeeper was again in the heat of the action moments later, being alled upon to deny Jamie Vardy’s low strike from a tight angle.

Leicester remained patient throughout the half, and were eventually rewarded for their efforts when taking the lead five minutes before half-time.

Vardy broke free down the left before fizzing an accurate ball across the face of goal for strike partner Kelechi Iheanacho to tap in from close range.

The hosts came close to doubling their advantage after the break when Vardy and Iheanacho again combined.

Iheanacho this time turned provider, but Vardy’s effort was expertly headed off the line by Chris Basham. (sun news paper).

Also, Henry Onyekuru scored twice after coming on as a substitute as Galatasaray saw off Kayserispor in a Turkish super league week 29 fixure away from home. Unfortunately, the Nigerian factor is playing out in the selection of Nigeria’s national team to represent the nation in an upcoming match. The Germano-Francophone tactician handling the Super Eagles seems to have being bitten by the terrible bug of Nigerian favouritism by refusing to invite Henry Onyekuru but chose to invite Ahmed Musa who was offloaded by a Saudi Arabian team. Saudi Arabia and Turkey are not in the same rank in professional football because Turkey plays European Cup Championship although the Saudi football League is awash with Dollars and is being built up. Then to the World of Entertainment, Nigeria scored two goals.

The World’s Famous Nigerian superstar, Ayo ‘Wizkid’ Balogun has won his first-ever Grammy Award for his role on ‘Brown Skin Girl’ off the 2019 album, ‘The Lion King’, at the 63rd Grammy Award.

He won the award alongside Beyonce, who owns the song and featured artists, Saint Jhn and Blue Ivy.

The award will also go to Jenn Nkiru who directed the video.

The official Twitter account of Grammy tweeted, “Congrats Best Music Video winner – ‘BROWN SKIN GIRL’ @Beyonce #BlueIvy @wizkidayo”.

Since then, his Nigerian colleagues have flooded his timeline with congratulatory messages.

To cap up a beautiful global week for Nigeria, Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Twice as Tall won the award formerly known as Best World Music Album over Tinariwen, Antibalas, and others

His album Twice as Tall won the award over records by Antibalas (FU Chronicles), Bebel Gilberto (Agora), Anoushka Shankar (Love Letters), and Tinariwen (Amadjar). The win marks Burna Boy’s first Grammy Award after being nominated last year.

Known as Damini Ogulu, he was born in Port Harcourt, where his dad managed a welding Company and his mother worked as a translator. His grandfather Benson Idonije once managed Fela Kuti. His mother would later become Fela’s manager. Ogulu grew up in Lagos whereby he started building a career in music.

On the other hand, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, known as Wizkid in the music industry, is a Lagos State indigene who also rose from grass to stardom.

An undeniable fact is that the duo of Wizkid and Burna boy can be described as some of the most charismatic music makers out of Nigeria. These two like some few others are endowed with special power that make them particularly very influential in their chosen field. Phyno is another of such a musician with tremendous talent.

The story of the two significant Nigerian musicians who have made us proud on the global scene namely Wizkid and Burna boy, did not start from the day they stood on the global Podium in the United States of America to collect some of the finest global awards that the music Industry Captains can bestow on the practitioners who have made tremendous impacts in the genres of their specialization as musicians.

From what is known about most of our successful musicians and Footballers, the story of their successes began right from when they were in their infancy.

As I contemplated on reflecting on this global success of the duo, what flashed through my subconscious was the chapter 1 of the autobiography recently written by Nigeria’s minority whip at the National Assembly’s upper legislative chamber Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe which he titled: “A Child’s Prophecy”.

The book itself is entitled: “Made in Aba.”

This charismatic Politician made revelations in this book which perfectly tell the story of the duo of Wizkid and Burna boy concerning how they prophetically walked through the mine field of trials and errors of the music industry before they individually triumphed.

These are the statements of Senator Abaribe: “When I became Area Manager of SCOA within two years of joining the company in 1987, it broke a record in rapid elevation in the company. Only a couple of years prior, I was just a young struggling lecturer, shuttling between two institutions, respectively lecturing and aiming for a PhD degree. Everyone in the Abaribe family took notice of my rise. The position came with the normal perks of office, including a chauffeur- driven Peugeot 504 car.”

“By way of announcing my posting to Port Harcourt in that capacity, I had my driver take me home to the village, to which, by then, my parents had already retired. The first person that sighted me was my uncle’s wife, Chioma, as she stepped out to her balcony at the sound of my approaching car. Jaw dropping at the unexpected opulence of the brand-new car, she called out to others, including Dee Reggie, her husband, to witness my arrival.

That Enyinnaya was the one sitting in the owner’s corner of the car immediately triggered excitement amongst my people. A hero had returned with the Fleece, it appeared”.

“My mother, on arriving the scene, gleefully announced to all and sundry what she had often reminded me; an utterance I made as a child. According to her. On one of our numerous visit to the village, as was common in those days children would be lined up as if to check in with where headed in life.

As was usual on such occasions, too, most children, when asked would announce: I want to be a doctor I want to be an engineer or I Want to be a lawyer”!

“Typically, after such pronouncements, many Igbo parents would often pray those declarations into their children’s lives. You would hear a young mother chant to her child: Doctor nwvam bia rie nri o, ka ina eto gusie akuwukuo ike O! Which means: My child, the Doctor, come and eat your food so you will be strong and study hard”!

“These declarations were often made in jest, mimicking the children’s zeal at seeing into the future, However, Igbo cosmology teaches that words possess the power to bring thoughts into reality.

So it is with these two ordinary Nigerians who have now grown to become extraordinary global musical and for those of them excelling in sports, they have made us all proud and these were certainly their Childhood dreams and aspirations.

The question is- how come in politics, Nigeria is not governed by the first eleven but by the most incompetent bunch? Is it because of the near infinite capacity of the polity to withstand all these shenanigans and now TERROR attacks by gangsters?

Of course one of those politicians at this time of uncertainfy made the following statement and this tells us that the Nigerian situation has entered a horror season. He said thus: “Nigeria is like the testicle of a ram. It may sway from one side to the other as the ram runs, but will never fall off”- Femi Adesina.

Is this how Nigeria will continue to dangle like the testicle of the running ram?

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.

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