The Decline in Courtship, Celebrating Crooks and Other Thoughts

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

White Elephant Projects: White Elephant projects, sometimes called iconic or mega projects, are projects whose financial costs exceed their utility. In most case, they are expensive to maintain, have limited or non-egalitarian purpose, and are prone to failure or breakdown due to lack of maintenance culture. Such projects are ostentatious and plenteous in most African nations, especially in Nigeria. In Bayelsa State for example, there is not a single high school with first rate science laboratory, has a ghetto-university, no water/sewage treatment plants, and without a viable public or private transportation system, yet the government is thinking of building a seaport, a airport, a five star hotel, and an American- style shopping mall.

What purpose are any of the aforementioned iconic project going to serve in a state were more than 60% of the populace does not have college education? Under such a situation, the most sagacious thing would have been for the government to invest intelligently in elementary and secondary schools and in other types of educational institutions. The government also needs to invest in clinics and hospitals. What great purpose is an airport going to serve? How many Bayelsans travel (by air) within and outside of the state and country? And since the vast majority of the people reside in small villages, good water transportation, along with good road/bridge network is, in my opinion, the most sensible projects to undertake.

Andy Uba versus Okey Ndibe: Every time I meet or see an Andy or Andrew, I think of Andy Uba; and then there are times when I instinctively think of Dr. Andy Uba whenever I read Dr. Ndibe’s essays. I wonder what goes through his mind considering the constant barrage from his main critic. I hear that he (Andy) is a nice and easy-going fellow. I hear he is kind and unpretentious. I hear he is about the best friend anyone can ever ask for. If he is that nice and kind and brilliant and all that, well, I think he should find ways to connect with Okey Ndibe: he should look for ways to be nice and generous to him. If I were Andy Uba, I’d have headache and high blood pressure coupled with nightmares as a result of the constant attacks. How is he able to weather all that Okey throws at him?

In a few days, Okey Ndibe will come at him again (for losing the case at the Nigerian Supreme Court). Okey will throw jabs and uppercuts. Okey will ridicule him; make him look and sound like a nonentity. When did Andy Uba first became aware of Ndibe, and when did Okey Ndibe became aware of Uba. It is too late to separate both of them now. I think it is time Uba comes out swinging at Ndibe. Common, for how long is he going to remain silent? His honor and honesty is being questioned. His sense of self and personal accomplishment is being rubbished. It is even being said that he did not graduate from a mere community college even though he’s been telling people he earned a doctorate degree. The former chief of Anambra and of Aso Rock should hold a world press conference to prove Ndibe wrong. As for me, I am afraid of Ndibe, Andy should be, too.

Awolowo, Buhari, Obasanjo: The vast majority of the Nigerians I know, who are fortunate to have been alive since the days of General Yakubu Gowon, regret the fact that Chief Obafemi Awolowo never got to be the executive president of Nigeria. His failings aside, he is generally considered the greatest Nigerian of his time. There is not a single Nigerians who measures up to him in terms of his vision and leadership capability, integrity and stellar character, and his brilliance of mind. And in fact, one would be hard pressed to find a greater African of his generation. We can only wonder. And then there was the duo of Buhari-Idiagbon. Theirs was a regime for Nigeria at the right time. Once it was sacked, Nigeria embarked on a slippery slope to damnation within 3 years.

The more one thinks about post-1985 Nigeria, the more one long for the Buhari-Idiagbon administration. President Obasanjo was handed Nigeria on a platter of Diamonds. He had the unique opportunity to right some of the wrongs that was ailing the country; but more than that, he had the opportunity to set Nigeria on the right course. At the very least, he could have diversified the economy, resuscitated our educational system, rebuild public infrastructures, and strengthened our institutions. It was also expected that he will stem the tide of corruption. Sadly, under his watch, corruption became a national pastime. The nation’s infrastructures became zones of danger. Our educational system lost its luster. We became more depended on and continue to be a rentier economy. He also conducted elections that are now regarded as the most dissolute in the history of the country.

Celebrating Crooks and the Crooked: Most Nigerians don’t celebrate their heroes. They don’t celebrate their intellectuals. They don’t celebrate their best and brightest. They don’t celebrate the honest and the hardworking. They don’t celebrate the Achebes, the Fawehinmis, and the Umars and very many others. They don’t celebrate the first-rate. Unlike a time that once was the vast majority of Nigerians no longer pay attention and deference to the learned and the philosophers amongst us. Today, it is the Aba traders, the Mushin money-doublers, the Lagos dream merchants, and the political prostitutes in Abuja and all spots in between that have become our national heroes. We doff our hats to these groups of people; we prostrate before them; we kiss the ground they walk on. We hail them and encourage our children and the younger generation to look up to them.

It is as if Nigeria is bereft of honest people. Day after day, all we hear about are corrupt and thieving governors and minister and other high ranking public officials. It is as if you don’t have to be smart to be somebody. Illiteracy pays. Duplicity and mediocrity bears benefits. Lying and cheating and raping and exploitative behaviors are now perfectly acceptable. It is almost as if you don’t have to be anybody to be somebody. Striving for the best and for excellence is almost a crime. I am thankful for the life that I knew in the Nigeria of my youth. I thank all the men and women who had profound influence on my life, i.e. Adebola Sehindemi Adeboye, the late Col. Ibrahim Adetunji Taiwo, and Smart Likolo. But of course, there were others. I remember them all.

The Decline in Courtship: I am beginning to think that time has left me by, otherwise, why does it appear to me as though some people I know are no longer interested in long, eventful and explorative courtship. Somehow, I miss the movie dates, I miss the long walks, I miss the conversations, and I definitely miss getting to know my prospective girl friend. I tell you what else I miss: I miss writing love-notes. It was fun and instructive penning some of those love letters — expressing ones intentions and ones everlasting love and devotion. It was just plain fun having a girl friend to introduce to friends and neighbors. The swagger of having a girl friend is almost gone. The knowing, the journey, the adventure, and the thrill of getting to know a girl is almost gone. It is so bland and uneventful these days. The speed can be blinding. From the first date to consummation can be as little as 24-hours. And in fact the entire relationship may be over in another 72-hours or 27 weeks. How sad. Whatever happened to courtship?

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1 comment

Mide January 30, 2008 - 7:49 am

Sad but true. Welcome to the “microwave” world.


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