Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Nigerian look at the Barack Obama's Speech in Cairo, Egypt

Now I can’t recount every word the US president said in his speech in Cairo, but it will make a whole lot of sense if you can listen to it yourself, just incase you have not heard or seen it. It’s easily accessible on Youtube.com

I think all the issues addressed by the US president, in this thought provoking and to me most powerful speech yet, is as much as relevant to the people he was speaking to, as it is equally relevant to the Nigerian nation ,even if we are not the ones being addressed directly in Cairo.

The key issues of US/Western world and the Moslem world relationship, the Israeli, Palestine’s conflict, Democracy and democratic governance, Religious freedom, Women rights, education and empowerment and finally Economic development and opportunity stretches into the Nigerian situation in many ways than one.

Now some of these issues looks like it has nothing to do with the Nigerian situations, however if you are familiar with the Nigeria situation and you have equally listened to president Obama speech, with Nigeria at the back of your mind, then Put that speech in context : I believe every single word and statement can be linked to the Nigerian situation and it hold concrete truths that Nigeria as a nation, its Government and People must embrace as we seek to solve our PROBLEMS!.

There’s no saying, we have gone down the wrong road for way to long, but more painfully and shamefully it seems even in the present era under 10 years democratic structures, however built on almost 49 years of a checkered history , we are still heading down the wrong path for nationhood.

Just a few days ago, I watched again the speech of the former US president Bill Clinton, as he addressed the joint parliamentary session of the Nigerian legislature.

If one could write those words of reinforcement spoken concerning our then tender democracy, line by line, sentence by sentence, and compare with what we have on ground today. It’s like our leaders (with due respect to each and every one of them), all had ear plugs on, as president Clinton spoke, and yet we wonder why president Obama is not visiting Nigeria just yet. Most if not all including the then president, never ran governance with the veracity, or the passion exhibited by Clinton as he gave his speech.

Party Politics, is killing Nigeria, a band and crop of people are riding on the destiny of hundreds of millions.

Let’s Stop, Look and Listen, we can’t go on this way, that’s my call to us Nigerians, our leadership, and its people each and every single one of us.

To close this, let me use some quotes from the US president speech, which speaks to us, particularly our Government and the restive Niger Delta.

“…. Abandon violence, resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed ……”

“….Violence is a dead end; it is a sign neither of courage, nor power….”

“…Suppressing ideas, never succeeds in making them go away...”

“They are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power, once in power they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others…..”

“…So no matter where it takes hold, Government of the people and by the people sets a single a standards for all who will hold power, you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion, you must respect the right of minorities and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise, you must place the interest of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party…”

“… All people yearn for certain things, the ability to speak your mind, and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law, and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent, and doesn’t steal from the people, the freedom to live as you chose….”

God bless Nigeria.

Wilson Kumesine

June 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Questions of the Essence

We live in troubled times, yet for some unexplainable reason I still find it an interesting time. With a financial crisis pounding the global like a high-arcing ballistic trajectory detonated in the western world. A flu viral infection transmitting among people, helping us all understand how connected we all are, after all. Has left me saying, globalization now has one more definition in my books.

For the most part of the 1st hours, days, weeks, and even month in 2009, all we heard was Israel bombing targets in Palestine and Palestinian fighters in Gaza firing rockets into southern Israel. Even then the news of clashes and rumors of impending war never seems to stop. Pakistani military deploying fighter jets and helicopter gunship to flush out Taliban militants, the Sri Lanka's government declaring victory in its war with Tamil Tigers and North Korea defying world powers and carrying out nuclear bomb testing.

One region where a military action is currently raging on, that would have been spared this war news frenzy; if people had just done the right thing at the right time. Would have been the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, and that's the crux of my writing, that's my main concern.I really don't want to go into the politics of long term neglect and marginalization of the Niger Delta, that's way in the past and now part of our history. What concerns me and I believe concerns us the most it the Now! And the Future!Let's not kid our self any longer in Nigeria and the Niger delta, because the time has come that we must ask ourselves the question who's fooling who?


Fighting, flushing out or even killing our so called militant boys and any local community standing in the way and then leaving the political godfather figures that created militancy or are still aiding the militants for personal financial gains. Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”?Can we trust Militant leaders who have fought gang wars amongst themselves, committed atrocities against their own local people, and people from other communities within Niger Delta, yet now claiming to be freedom fighters and vigilante force to achieve total control of resources in the Niger Delta, Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”?Scaring away investors, threatening investment on ground, creating lack of employment and even loss of jobs for people, in a world already plagued by a hard hitting financial crisis.

All in a bid to achieve a goal, which up till now is still incomprehensible due to lack of cohesion and a unified front in this quest for development in the Delta region, Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”?Listening to news about the hard working Governor of Lagos state and his team, as they strive to deal with the challenges of Lagos in the West of Nigeria and contrasting that with the continued justification by the Nigerian federal government and Niger Delta Governors in the South of Nigeria, that Militancy is the reason for lack of development or slow down in the pace of developmental projects. Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”?

With 10 years in Democratic governance, and the federal subventions, oil derivatives funds, Niger delta development commission NDDC, various state development commissions, excess crude account, oil and gas company development project e.g. school blocks, pipe borne water, local community health centers, scholarships etc. And yet we still cannot even say we are getting somewhere with the Niger Delta issue. Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”?

With an estimated 140 million population, 36 states, 774 local governments, 8,810 wards and 375 ethnic groups. Yet just 6 core-states in the South-South Niger-Delta zone (Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers) being the hen that lays the golden egg. Makes me ask “who’s fooling who”? When are we going to utilize the vast resources up north, east and west to also generate foreign revenue? The Educated Nigerian youth, especially a Niger Delta youth that have paid the price of seeking quality education locally or abroad, having their destiny entwined with those who prefer not to invest in any form of personal development, even if it just as a welder or mechanic, but will rather form the vast majority of people carrying guns in the creeks, is an ignominy.

We must tell ourselves the truth, that we must do if not anything, because it's not hidden. The solution to the Niger Delta problem like those of the Nigeria state at large lies with us. Its not going to come from the West, they can help, but we have to solve it.The good the bad and the ugly, that's where we now stand in the Delta, however ours is not a battle of quick draw, ours is a battle of truth, justices, and equity."No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them for they're always there." Norman Vincent Peale

Kumesine Wilson A.
Huddersfiled UK. May 2009.