21st century beggars: a peculiar Lagos experience

Not too long ago, the Lagos state government deported certain beggars to their home states and there was a whole lot of hullabaloo as a result of that.
My intention is not to revisit that sourly event or even the ridiculous apology and politicking that followed, not at all… But I intend to discuss a new form of begging – in a rather civilized and cultural way; beggars who I think no state government can possibly deport.

It would surprise you to know that begging has taken a whole new sophisticated level in recent times, and you would be astounded by the calibre of people that can now be safely regarded to as BEGGARS without any sense of apology to the word.

I tried as much as possible not to write this piece, but I had to succumb following the barrage of encounter I have had with these beggars in the last couple of days.

The begging mentality has successfully ingrained itself into our culture such that it has now become a norm, and consequently it is an anathema not to give in to these beggars.

From the policeman, to the gateman, to virtually anybody who thinks they deserve to get a stipend from you for no obvious reason of course, the list of beggars is endless…

It’s funny how the gateman quickly assumes anyone that drives through the gate is better than him and as such deserves to give him some stipend for the weekend, something for the festivities, etc.

The security guard or porter believes every student is definitely richer than him and must give him something.

The policeman/traffic warden stops in traffic and approaches a Jeep, of course expecting the occupant to part with some stipends for him.

I’m personally bewildered by this beggar mentality that’s now common place in our society. It is a big part of a culture of undue subservience even in corporate settings.

I remember someone sharing with me recently and comparing the nature or attitudes of stewards, security guards and gatemen in corporate settings in Johannesburg and Lagos, having lived in both cities. He was quick to mention the absence of this undue subservience and beggarly attitude among such workers in Johannesburg, and I totally agree with him.

As I conclude, I have not in any way insinuated that giving is bad. I’m only troubled by a mentality that makes our people think they’re inferior and expect hand-me-downs from some more superior persons… As a people, we must put an end to this kind of mentality and begin to embrace one that promotes self dignity and confidence among each and every one of us…
Let’s together say NO to beggar mentality…

Advertisements

21st century beggars: a peculiar Lagos experience

Not too long ago, the Lagos state government deported certain beggars to their home states and their was a whole lot of hullabaloo as a result of that.
My intention is not to revisit that sourly event or even the ridiculous apology and politicking that followed, not at all… But I intend to discuss a new form of begging – in a rather civilized and cultural way; beggars who I think no state government can possibly deport.

It would surprise you to know that begging has taken a whole new sophisticated level in recent times, and you would be astounded by the calibre of people that can now be safely regarded to as BEGGARS without any sense of apology to the word.

I tried as much as possible not to write this piece, but I had to succumb following the barrage of encounter I have had with these beggars in the last couple of days.

The begging mentality has successfully ingrained itself into our culture such that it has now become a norm, and consequently it is an anathema not to give in to these beggars.

From the policeman, to the gateman to virtually anybody who thinks they deserve to get a stipend from for no obvious reason of course, the list of beggars is endless…

It’s funny how the gateman quickly assumes anyone that drives through the gate is better than him and as such deserves to give him some stipend for the weekend, something for the festivities, etc.

The security guard or porter believe every student is definitely richer than him and must give him something.

The policeman/traffic warden stops in traffic and approaches a Jeep, of course expecting the occupant to part with some stipends for him.

I’m personally bewildered by this beggar mentality that’s now common place in our society. It is a big part of a culture of undue subservience even in corporate settings.

I remember someone sharing with me recently and comparing the nature or attitudes of stewards, security guards and gatemen in corporate settings in Johannesburg and Lagos, having lived in both cities. He was quick to mention the absence of this undue subservience and beggarly attitude among such workers in Johannesburg, and I totally agree with him.

As I conclude, I have not in any insinuated that giving is bad. I’m only troubled by a mentality that makes our people think they’re inferior and expect hand-me-downs from some more superior persons… As a people, we must put an end to this kind of mentality and begin to embrace one that promotes self dignity and confidence among each and every one of us…
Let’s together say NO to beggar mentality…

The Death of Reality

I can hear the sounds… Rumbles of a city at the edge of a crumble… The people I hear mumble… Even as darkness fills the air of the evening…
The land of Ile-Eko is not new to rancor; from time immemorial, it’s been one issue or the other… Generally, the people are largely not happy with the ‘Ijoba’… But I won’t want to bore you with the history of our sordid recent past… For your information, Ile-Eko has come a long way! In fact, many members of the Ijoba have been around Ile-Eko for a while and attest that the land has seen better days… No doubt!

Now let’s get to the matter of the day.
There seems to be a somewhat silent uproar within certain circles in the land of Ile-Eko even as the people prepare to meet with the Olori tomorrow…. Yes, the meeting with the Olori: that’s exactly the crux of the matter… Or better put, the Olori wants to meet the people… Now this is even one matter of contention: is it the Olori that wants to meet the people OR was it the ‘Asojus’ that requested that the Olori meet with all the people?!? We hope we find an answer to that soon.!. But trusted sources have informed that it is in fact the Asojus that have demanded of the Olori that she must appear before the people… Okay, let’s not jump the gun. Let’s try and put things in the right perspective!
Without much ado, here goes the iroyin: some agents of the Olori, key members of the Ijoba managing the estate of Ile-Eko recently announced an increase in owo-ile, and this has sparked marked agitations amidst the people of Ile-Eko… The Asojus, led by the Asiwaju have met with Olori on this matter and expressed their displeasure and disapproval of the so called increment in owo-ile; and this they say is because there has been practically no improvements in the state of the estate in the past so many years. The fact that the estate is crowded, or over crowded for want of appropriate word to aptly describe the real state. And many more issues about the estate that words can not adequately articulate… As an aftermath of this, it is understood that the Olori has seen reason with the Asojus and as such granted an audience with every member of Ile-Eko to personally explain to them the state of things and give reasons for the recent developments…
So in this vein, the Asojus decided to call a meeting of the Ojogbons just in time before the generality of the people meet with Olori… And it was in this meeting that the Asiwaju gave a report of the meeting of the Asojus with the Olori… But I must tell you, it was a totally different ball game at the meeting of the Ojogbons… In fact, the town hall was in darkness throughout the duration of the gathering of the Ojogbons, but it would interest you to know that this was not enough to deter the Ojogbons from vociferating their ardently held views on what they think of the estate as well as the recent decisions of the Olori… In fact, I think I hear the cry of battle once again…

But as I sat out the meeting of the Ojogbons, I cannot but lament the death of reality… I tell you, reality is dead!!!

As I sat down there, I heard the Ojogbons give so many suggestions, I could see that they were very belligerent and are ready to throw caution to the wind…
In all sincerity, I think the Ojogbons are misguided… Or rather, unnecessarily unrealistic… In fact, I overheard someone say that two members of the Ojogbons were actually more or less playing politics ahead of the next change of government of the Asojus… And now there goes another witless use of urgent matters to score political points ahead of time… a recurring theme in the land of Ile-Eko in recent times, and this is quite a shame…

Not to digress too much… I really don’t want to say too much but there a few things I think the Ojogbons, and in fact the populace of Ile-Eko should be cognizant of…

So if the people refuse the decision of the Ijoba on the owo-ile for the estate, have they considered that the Ijoba can suggest that domicile in the estate is optional and that only interested indigenes should apply?!? What would the Ojogbons do in such a situation? Also, if the Ojogbons refuse to renew their owo-ile, don’t they think the Ijoba can use any means possible to evacuate them from the estate? I mean, does the estate not actually belong to the Ijoba?!? Can the people of Ile-Eko afford to ply their trade from satellite locations if it gets to that level?
For those that think a disrupt of the activities of the land is the way to go, well that does sound like a good idea among the Ojogbons but they should be fully aware of the consequences of any such actions… Can they take a cue from the fact that calendar of the Ile-Eko is already destabilized? Are they ready to spend X more years to ply their trade in Ile-Eko? The option really lies in the hands of the people of Ile-Eko. Every action has its consequence!
Then again, for those who claim the Ijoba packs them like sardine in the estate… what if the Ijoba decides to provide domicile for only a fraction such that they are not packed like sardine, but however a larger fraction of the indigenes have to ply their trade from satellite locations, would this be applauded as a positive move?!?
Oh! I think I’m raising too many questions already… But according to the Olori herself, it’s a matter of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea… Choices have to be made anyways…
I really cannot fully exhaust my thoughts on this matter arising… Somehow I think I can preempt the answers of the Olori to many of the questions that would be asked her… Except the Ojogbons bring something new to the table… If they go in the might we all saw this evening, the Olori has an answer to all that already, and I won’t be surprised if the Ojogbons are silenced by those answers. In fact, that would actually be a delight to watch!

However, I personally think the Ojogbons and every other person should be well prepared for the approach of the Olori tomorrow…
I would personally appreciate if they can make sensible and reasonable demands of the Olori… And not whimsical vociferations like we all observed at the meeting of the Ojogbon…

I definitely would not say that the Olori should not be questioned… But she must be questioned with relevant facts… I must tell you, she knows her stuff… Truth is all the questions the Ojogbons were raising this evening have already been put forward by the Asojus to the Olori, and I tell you, she dispelled with many of them as wittily as possible… and in my own personal opinion, in all sincerity…

I sincerely wish the Ojogbons a successful deliberation with the Olori tomorrow… while I quietly mourn the death of reality!!! Adieu…

LET’S START NOW

20121002-102153.jpg

Rome they say was not built in a day, but the building started one day, and in fact the conceiving of the idea to build a city started in an instant in the mind of someone somewhere… And today, there is Rome… So in fact, Rome was built in a day…

It is often said that the journey of a thousand years starts with one step!

In the words of the Nigerian national anthem, Arise O compatriots and let’s start now… We have dwelled on our failures past long enough, we have cried about the dearth and gulf between us and the developed world long enough… But when has talking ever solved the problem? No documentation of any such in recent or ancient history… Change only comes about when action is taken!

Looking at our dear nation in comparison to the nations that we envy in terms of advancement an development in every aspect of human existence, one would agree with me that we have a long way to go. Talk of the economy, health care, businesses, technology, to but name a few… It’s just apt to say of Nigeria that there’s much room for improvement. But the purpose of this write up is not to outline the areas where we lag, but rather to charge us all to take the bull by the horn and take action now!!!

You know, personally I’ve always wondered if Nigeria can ever build underground train tunnels or so like we have in most of Europe, the US and even South Africa I guess… There have always been mention of one light rail system or the other, but nothing concrete yet… However, we must not fail to acknowledge the ongoing works in that regard in Lagos and also the ECOWAS project… But the truth is of course we can! All we need do is start! It seems almost impossible, uneasy and so on and so forth… But we can never get there except we start…

Record keeping has been a menace in Nigeria… We say the government has no record of who is who. You can’t even trace anyone to anywhere, unlike you have in say the US where there is a detailed record of almost every individual, their family ties, there address, academic and work history, criminal records, health records, and all the likes… Everyone is more like registered with the government… And yes, we envy this kind of organization and we keep crying why our country can not do same… But what’s wrong with starting now?! What’s wrong with going digital? What happened to the national census as the national ID card scheme that was done a few years ago? Why can’t we just start from those and translate the data collected to a digital database and take it on from there? Why can’t we just start now???
Why can’t we start the process of building a national database that caters for all aspect of the citizen’s life now?!?

And also on the smaller scale, our hospitals for instance especially the government owned hospitals, why can’t we just start keeping an electronic record of our clientele? If we do not start now, when will we ever start? At this age and time, we should be able to access the medical history of any patient by just the click of a mouse and not by searching through some dusty God-forsaken trash of tattered hospital files…

We can go on and on and apply same to every aspect of our national living… But the message is simple, let’s start now!

They say the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, but the next best time is NOW…

Arise O Compatriots, Nigerians let’s start NOW…

20121002-102718.jpg

This piece was written as part of my reflections in celebrating Nigeria’s 52nd independence anniversary!!!
Happy independence Nigeria… Your best days are yet ahead…

20121002-102706.jpg