Welcome back, Nigerians, from our nine days needless, reckless and funny public holidays. How? Friday, preceding Christmas, was December 23. There was skeletal or virtually no work across Nigeria. Add Saturday, December 24 to Tuesday, December 27 (public holidays), we had five solid days of holiday. Some workers pretended to have worked Wednesday and Thursday (December 28 and 29). You and I know that this is false. Then, we lapsed back into another four days idiotic lengthy holiday from Friday, December 30, to January 2, 2017. Thus, to celebrate Christmas and New Year, Nigeria lost nine whopping working days, a scandalous scenario that would probably make even our Lord Jesus Christ (an otherwise very calm, patient prince of forgiveness and fore-bearance), very disturbed and even angry at the right hand of God, where He presently sits, awaiting the last day when He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I chose this topic on Monday, when I called my accounts officer to transfer some money to me, to take care of my nuclear, extended and communal family of over 45, excluding children, holidaying with me, as counted by me, through half-open eyes (may God forgive me), during our family crossover night prayers, to herald in the New Year. As a village boy and community leader, I had 112 people in my country home last December/New Year holidays! This request was after over one week of unmerited holidays. The manager said, “till tomorrow, sir”. And, I asked, “why not today?” “Today is a public holiday, sir,” he enthused (maybe sneered), with undisguised éclat. I could read triumphalism and boundless jubilation in his voice. God, have we gone totally mad as a country? This is a beleaguered, asphyxiating, haemorrhaging, comatose country, virtually on oxygen life support, whose citizens ought to work sleepless, tireless nights, 24/7. And we are here luxuriating in funny, phoney, ludicrous holidays? Are we cursed? Are we jinxed?
Let us do some calendar algebra here. There are 365 days in a year. Of these, there are 52 Saturdays and 52 Sundays; all non-working, making it a total of 104 days. More bad news: Listen to the following public holidays, most of which yank out, at least, two days each: New Year holidays (January 1 and 2), Good Friday and Easter Monday (April 14 and 17, Christian holidays). We have May 1, which is Worker’s Day (do we still have workers in Nigeria?). May 27 (Children’s Day, celebrated by many states with holidays); May 29, Democracy Day. Really? Because General Abdulsalami Abubakar handed over the elitist relay baton of tyrannical rulership to a fellow military peer, General Obasanjo, on May 29, 1999? June 12 (the real “Democracy Day”, in which, Bashorun “Mr. Farewell to Poverty”, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, was murdered in cold blood and martyred in Aso Villa, with his expensive blood, to water Nigeria’s faltering democracy). Many states, especially in the South West, observe this day as a public holiday. June 26 (Eid el Fitir, Muslim holiday), September 1 (Id el Kabir, Muslim holiday). September 22, Al-Hijirah (Islamic New Year, celebrated by many Muslim states, with public holiday). October 1 (Independence Day, to celebrate our flag liberation from Great Britain’s Imperial Majesty’s “Union Jack”). December 1 (Eid el Maulud, Muslim holiday. December 25 (Christmas holiday, which is Christ’s birthday celebrated by Christians. December 26, Boxing day. Of what significance is a Boxing day, by jove?
Add to this unrestrained national madness and craze for needless holidays, election periods, when some states and the Federal Government declare public holidays, at times for two work days; Edo and Ondo, in recent memory). It does not, therefore, require rocket science to discover that, of the 365 days in a year, Nigerians are lazily holidaying for, at least, 130 days! Wait for more shocker: By the provision of section 63 of the 1999 Constitution, the “Senate and House of Representatives shall each sit for a period of not less than 181 days in a year”. This means that constitutionally speaking, Senators and House of Representatives members collect full salaries, allowances and humongous perquisites of office for working for just half a year! Add the already calculated mandatory public holidays, and you would discover that a Nigerian lawmaker virtually works for less than three months in a year, with full pay!
Is anyone still hallucinating, as to why Nigeria is in a cesspool of doldrums and nadir? The last time I checked, even in madness, there is order. Even amongst armed robbers, there is honour. Can successive Nigerian leaderships, military and civilian, boast of these fine attributes that have become very scarce commodities in our clime?
By the way, where are the Agnosists, Atheists and African traditional religionists? What are they waiting for? Why have they not demanded for their own public holidays, as their share of the “national cake”? Afterall, Nigerians, are renowned for forever sharing, never baking, the national cake of crude oil. God, please, don’t tire in helping us. I have never doubted that you are a Nigerian. Please, Baba, forgive us our uncountable trespasses and deliver us from eternal perdition. Amen.
PMB, Shekau and
The announced routing out of boastful Shekau and his rampaging bacchanalian band of blood-thirsty marauders (Boko Haram), from the much-dreaded Sambisa forest is, perhaps, President Muhammadu Buhari’s finest hour in his rather lacklustre presidency of one year and seven months. Seizing his Quran (it cannot be the real holy Quran), and his irredentist flag of blood- letting and sanguinary credo by the military, completes the total humiliation and denigration of a rabid hoodlum and vandal of despicable pedigree.
How can any sane person mouth “Boko Haram” (book is forbidden), yet paradoxically hug the blazing limelight of video, electronic, print and social media?
To the brave Nigerian Military, who literally fought on empty stomachs and shoeless feet to accomplish this rare feat (this is clear from the soldiers plight as presented by them, which went viral on the Internet), kudos for your uncommon sense of patriotism, sheer gusto bravura and daring bravado. I would have salivated this momentous and auspicious hour of national Risorgimento and recrudescence but for Shekau, who seems to have nine lives like the proverbial cat. As I was about taking a chilled bottle of star beer (which I rarely do, only on very auspicious happy moments), Shekau reappeared, like an invisible apparition and like phoenix from its ashes, taunting and denouncing the much-celebrated recovery by the military, of his flag and holy book after the military’s liberation of Sambisa forest. With grandiose and lavish braggadocio, he enthused in front of klieglights, “we are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere”. So, who do we believe now, knowing that the present government does not suffer any poverty of propaganda and virtuoso swashbuckling? Where exactly is Shekau now? Has Sambisa forest been actually captured, or is it mere make believe? The government needs to urgently clear the air. Until Osama Bin Laden was smoked out by Obama’s tele guided SWAT, the Al Queda was as potent as acid on raw surface. May Nigeria not experience this.
Accord concondiale: The continuous search for
Nigeria’s elusive unity and indivisibility (2)
We had taken a break on this dissertation in the last two weeks to enable us attend to more urgent national issues that unfolded before our very eyes. We shall now pursue our thesis, to show that like other great democracies, Nigeria once boasted of titanic leaders, who led us from the doldrums, onto utopian heights. They made us to dream dreams, and conceptualise visions. Our x-ray of “Zik of Africa” now continues.
ZIK’S active politics
After a successful journalism enterprise, Azikiwe entered active politics, co-founding the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), alongside Herbert Macaulay, in 1944; he became the Secretary-General in 1946.
On July 8, 1945, consequent upon Azikiwe’s support of a general strike in June, 1945, and caustic attacks against the colonial government, further publication of the West African Pilot was suspended by the colonial government. Zik and his papers gave solid support to the striking workers and its leader, Michael Imoudu, accusing the colonial government of exploiting the Nigerian working class. In August 1945, the paper was permitted to return to the newsstand. During the strike of 1945, Zik raised serial alarms about assassination plot against him by unknown persons on behalf of the colonial government. The basis of the story was a wireless message intercepted by a Pilot reporter. After receiving the intercepted message, Zik reacted by fleeing to hide in Onitsha, but not before making a public statement. In his absence, the Pilot wrote editorials to arouse public sympathy for Zik and many Nigerians fully believed the assassination story.
Zik’s popularity soared during this period; new readers bought his newspapers to read about Zik and his politics. However, the allegations also had its Nigerian doubters and some believed they were made up by Zik to increase his profile. Those doubting the allegations were mostly NYM Yoruba politicians, leading to rift between Azikiwe and some Yoruba politicians in NYM and creating a press war between Zik’s Pilot and the “Daily Service”, the media outlet of NYM support.
In 1946, a militant youth movement led by Osita Agwuna, Raji Abdalla, Kolawole Balogun, M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu and Abiodun Aloba, was established to defend Azikiwe’s life, his ideals of self-government and criticism from his political opponents. Inspired by Azikiwe’s writings and Nwafor Orizu’s Zikism philosophy, members of the movement soon began to advocate for positive and militant actions to actualise self-government. Calls for actions included strikes, study of military science courses by Nigerian students overseas and boycott of foreign goods. However, Azikiwe did not come out publicly to defend the actions of the movement and the movement was banned in 1951, after a failed attempt to kill a colonial secretary.
Thought for the week
“The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.” (Napoleon).
“I am thankful to all those who said NO to me, as it’s because of them I did it myself.” (Albert Einstein).
“When you are in the light, everything follows you, … but when you enter into the dark,… even your own shadow leaves you.” (Adolf Hitler).
• Nigerians, watch out for the continuation of Accord Concondiale, next week.