September 11: 13 Years on

Note: I am not American. I am Nigerian but I sympathize with the American public more I do with the Nigerian public over the current menace that is Boko Haram. The reason is simple; the American government had the guts and seriousness of mind to go after the people responsible, while the Nigerian government is still setting up committees and squabbling over whether to borrow funds to fight something that they have, intentionally or unintentionally, permitted for so long (5 years and counting).

“I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and
the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
George W. Bush

So in commemorating the 13th year since that day (this is not me famzing), i am posting a poem written by Billy Collins which was dedicated to the lives lost and survivors of the attack.

NAMES by BILLY COLLINS

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name –
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner –
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O’Connor.

When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening — weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds –

Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

“Our enemy is twofold: al Qaeda, a stateless network of terrorists that struck us on 9/11; and a radical ideological movement in the Islamic world, inspired in part by al Qaeda, which has spawned terrorist groups and violence across the globe. The first enemy is weakened, but continues to pose a grave threat. The second enemy is gathering, and will menace Americans and American interests long after Usama bin Laden and his cohorts are killed or captured. Thus, our strategy must match our means to two ends: dismantling the al Qaeda network and prevailing in the longer term over the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism.”
The 9 11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks

NGCONFAB 2014 AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS NEED TO UPLIFT THE WITHERING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

Yesterday, National Conference 2014I got into the office at around the usual 9am-ish that I always

resumed work. I decided to engage my morning ritual of 2 hours radio before I started work for the day. I was listening to a radio show on Smooth FM and the topic of discussion was about the recent proposal made by the delegates at the Nigerian 2014 CONFAB that any Nigerian citizen that wants to contest for the office of the presidency should have a minimum qualification of a First Degree from a university

****Note that this rules out all those who went to polytechnics and Colleges of Education (no pun intended)

Personally, I think that is the dumbest proposal they could have made and if the President of the members of the Senate looked at it objectively, they would shoot it down. Well, I believe they will definitely shoot it down, not because they will be looking at it objectively but, because it is not in their best interests.

I will like to start my personal reasons why I feel that proposal is not wise.

  • The Nigerian educational system is a sham. How many things are being taught that is actually relevant in the outside world. Granted, it is so everywhere in the world. They don’t teach vital skills like financial management, human relations, time management, and so on. But the shamness (is that a real world?) of our own educational system is on an extraterrestrial level. I went through the notion of spending four years in school, writing exams and doing the normal course registration but when the time came to collect my degree, I did not. Simply because, in four years of studying computer science, I was not taught anything remotely relevant in the IT world today (does anybody still program in Pascal?). I was taught data structures, system analysis, algorithms and such but the way I was taught, you would think they were speaking Mayan. It wasn’t until I began learning for my self that I realized how easy they seemed. But it is in Nigeria that they will teach u C++ in one semester and expect you to write a program that grades results during the exam.

What I am trying to say is that the recent batches of graduates being churned out now don’t know anything that they were taught in school. Our educational system doesn’t bring out quality anymore.

  • I saw the recent summary of the West African Examinations Council results (this result is a requirement to get into the University) and majority of the population who wrote this exam failed. This are the people who are going to enter the University soon and four years later be the only people qualified for the Office of the Presidency.
  • How many people actually get into the schools on merit? Majority of the admitted students don’t meet the minimum requirements need to gain an admission and yet, they form the crux of the graduates being churned out.
  • Degree is something that can be bought in this country. People do that all the time. They don’t attend a single lecture or write the exam yet they come out graduates.

Everything I have said all comes down to one point; the Nigerian Educational System is not good enough that it has to be a requirement for anybody aspiring to the office of the presidency.

Just imagine if Abraham Lincoln (had only about a year of formal schooling of any kind) was Nigerian, do you mean to tell me that that makes them unqualified for the office since he didn’t.

I always believed that the National Conference was a waste of time, money. Over N7 billion was budgeted, yet when former President Olusegun Obasanjo proposed a National Reform Conference that would last for three months, he put in a request for N932 million.

Our current administration is a joke. All talk and no decision. It’s appalling.

Well, I do hope I get back to blogging about other things soon because talking about our Government is just tiring.

ON EBOLA AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT’S LETHARGIC RESPONSE

PATRICK  SAWYER.

That name shall forever live on in the minds of Nigerians everywhere.

That dude just had to come to Nigeria and bring a little something extra with him. If you’ve not been reading the news, the arrival of Patrick Sawyer in Nigeria ushered in the disease that is commonly called Ebola.

Patrick Sawyer meme

Quoting Wikipedia in an attempt to define Ebola as a disease,

“Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a disease that affects humans and primates caused by the Ebola virus and three other closely related viruses in the genus (group of related viruses) ebolavirus. It is a hemorrhagic fever, meaning that victims may bleed inside the body or externally (scary)  and it has one of the highest case fatality rates (very scary)  of any disease, killing between 50% and 90% of victims. Symptoms typically start eight to 10 days after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches. Typically nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Hemorrhaging may also begin around this time. There is no specific treatment for the disease (worst news ever).”

A total of 1,848 suspected cases with 1,013 deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization as of 9 August 2014 of which 1,176 cases and 660 deaths have been laboratory confirmed to be Ebola (Please not that this is 141 days after the WHO officially reported the outbreak as the Ebola Virus, although research says the first case was as far back as December, 2013)”

Efforts are ongoing to develop a vaccine (hope); however, none yet exists (maybe not).”

So far 69 people who were thought to have been in close contact/proximity with Patrick Sawyer have been placed under closed observation while 2 cases have been confirmed (one is currently being treated and the other is dead).

However, my rant (or whatever you want to call this) is because of the lethargic response of our government on the issue.

We all know how The Federal Government is when it comes to matters that doesn’t speak money, case in point; the Chibok girls who were, supposedly, kidnapped by the radical sect known as Boko Haram (today marks the 120th day since they’ve been, allegedly, gone) I use the word “Allegedly” and “Supposedly” because I don’t believe that story but I , reluctantly, agree to the truth of the story since almost all Nigerians do. I’m of the opinion that 365 days will come and pass and there will be no good news regarding the search and recovery of those girls, that’s if they are actually gone.

But I digress.

Take at look at the response of our co-west African country, Ghana, to the outbreak. They have banned almost all flights coming into their borders from Liberia, Sierra Leona, Guinea and, most recently, Nigeria. They have also built three Isolation centers even though all the suspected cases of the disease have been negative.

Our dear country had to wait until someone died within its borders before they knew they had to start making plans for the virus. They had not even brought up a budget (which seems to be their specialty) for battling any possible outbreak only recently announcing a 1.9 billion naira approval for the initial battling of the disease.

My only question is; For how long does our government plan on being reactive when other governments are always maintaining a proactive stance on issues that threaten the living of their citizens?