Sunday, 3 April 2016

First Ever Online Town Hall Meeting Holds On Facebook.....#PMBIghotago

For the first time in the history of social media participation in Nigeria, an online townhall meeting was convened yesterday 2nd April 2016 on facebook in what most have termed a peaceful online "National Conference".

This noble initiative was organized by Emeka Oparah, a Public Relations Expert and Airtel Nigeria’s Vice President, Corporate Communications & CSR. What sets this epoch making event apart is the fact that it was a convergence of both hailers, wailers and neutrals of the Buhari led administration who for once decided to sheath their swords and peacefully share their concerns, fears and opinions about the current government and also made suggestions as to strategies the government can adopt to create a better Nigeria.

Emeka Oparah

 In Emeka Oparah’s words, “This event serves as a feedback session for people to share their views, opinions and suggestions on the state of the nation. It’s also designed to review President Buhari's leadership one year after he won a hard-fought electoral contest against incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, #PMBIghotago will herald a floodgate of similar town halls in the future with a mandate to encourage constructive criticism of government and generally offer  useful feedback”.

Moderating the event was Taiwo Obe, veteran journalist, essayist and founder of the Journalism Clinic and CEO of Taijowonukabe.

Taiwo Obe
The townhall meeting was spearheaded with the hashtag #PMBIghotago which in Igbo translates to #PMBDoYouUnderstand". It is a question which seeks to know whether you understand the point the person speaking to you is making. Hopefully every opinion shared will filter back to the right quarters and just as the hastag suggests, the President and his Cabinet would read and understand

Find below, excerpts from the meeting.

To read more, click #PMBIghotago

Would you want to be part of the next townhall meeting? sign up on the blog to get notified.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Lonesome Journey Called Widowhood

I remember way back in 2001 when I was gearing to start my final year project, prior to that time I had heard stories of how most students would take the easy way out by lifting projects written by old students who had graduated decades ago so as to avoid the tons of research it would take to write a fresh one and I wasn’t ready to bother writing anything when I could just follow others and take the easy way out.

That’s how I found myself leafing through old projects at the school library trying to find a topic worth dubbing.The rule was to submit three topics from which one would be approved by my supervisor, then I struck gold when I stumbled on “Inheritance In Igboland” and just to spice things up, I left school and travelled all the way to University of Uyo to get two extra topics to make up my list for which I had to part with N1000 with the promise of paying an additional N5000 for the whole work if per chance  any of them was approved (I was such a Mugu back then).

Fast forward back to school, you can imagine my disappointment when all three topics were rejected, I can’t remember what the problem was with the UniUyo topics but I was specifically told that the “Inheritance In Igboland” was too broad and I may not have ample time to do justice to it. What options was I left with? That’s how yours sincerely was left with no other option than to sit her ass down and write a brand new project topic which had never been written in the department before.

After much discussions and with the help of my Supervisor who was a White lady, Irish I believe, I came up with “Inheritance Rights Widows” and ofcourse I used my hometown Abiriba as a casestudy. Thus started my journey and discovery of the world of widowhood, the incessant and hectic trips to my hometown, getting to meet the widows, women and heads of women groups. Learning about my history and cultural trends, the matrilineal structure and its effects on widowhood. Getting to interpret my questionnaire in my dialect so they could understand and transcribe  their responses back to English just to make my study as empirical as possible.

My major focus ofcourse was tracking the distinguishing factors of Age, Ethnicity, Economic and Child bearing Capability and the roles they play in a widow’s ability to inherit from her husband. 

According to my findings:

AGE: A widow’s age does not play a role in inheritance. Women generally do not inherit in Abiriba, a widow is expected to fend for herself at the demise of her husband therefore a younger widow has an advantage of meeting her needs by falling back on a job or skill set or even remarrying while a much older woman has no chances or remarrying and may be too old to engage in economic endeavours. Two options open to her are either relying on her children or her family and siblings if she has no children.

Ethnicity:  Based on the matrilineal structure of the Abiriba people, A non- Abiriba  woman who is married in Abiriba is regarded as not just a man’s wife but also his relative, therefore she becomes part of her husband’s kith and kin and is expected to partake in the inheritance process at the demise of her husband over the Abiriba woman but truth be told when push comes to shove, she is told she is “Onye Mba ” (Outsider) and most times is disinherited. It should be noted that in some cases where a man’s family has some level of conscience, The “ outsider’s” children are given preference unlike an Abiriba woman’s children.

Economic Capability: A widow who is financially stable and capable of meeting her needs and that of her children do not feel the brunt of disinheritance unlike her counterpart who has nothing going for her . Being financially capable though does not make the brunt of disinheritance easier to bear.

Childbearing Capability: Being able to have a child in marriage has little or no significance in inheritance. Just like previous factors, the widow has nothing to gain, in most cases one would expect a childless widow to be shown the door at the demise of her husband but she is left to live peacefully except in cases where she may be sent packing if it was noted she was never at peace with her husband and her inlaws prior to his death.

The Role Of The “ADANNEs” In Marriage and Inheritance

The ADANNEs are usually a man’s female siblings and sometimes female cousins. They wield a lot of influence on a man’s decisions in a bid to safeguard their interests because based on the matrilineal structure  of the Abiriba people, they, combined with their males are the rightful heirs to a man’s estate. They would never blink at making a woman uncomfortable in her matrimonial home just to protect their interests.

My findings were heartbreaking to say the least but one thing I took away from that experience was that women are the beginning and the end of their problems. How you may ask?
A typical Abiriba woman is born into the knowledge to never expect to inherit therefore she must strive towards being independent, strong and able to withstand any adversity, at worst fall back on her own family. The day widows would stop being disinherited would be the day women decide to speak up collectively.

It is worthy of note that over the past decade, there is an emerging crop of men who are educated and are aware of the significance of leaving behind a protected estate for their widows and children in form of IRONCLAD WILLS which relatives would not be able to contest.

In summary, in as much as a culture portrays a people’s way of life which must be adhered to at all times, same time every culture is subject to change and is being eroded on a daily basis, nothing is ever cast in stone. I believe some day we’ll get to that level where a widow would be able to reap from the labour she toiled so hard with her spouse, till then arm your selves through education, jobs, and skill sets.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Dear Parents.......

When you were growing up, your parents didn't have house helps.
You and your siblings did the whole chores.
It was more tedious then, than now.
Waking up as early as 4:00 am to the farm, fetching the first set of water from the stream for drinking, getting the grass for the Animals, etc...
It was hard, but it shaped you to face challenges, made you industrious, and strong...

Here we are in the 21st Century?
We don't want our kids to go through some of pains and stress we went through Why exactly?
We are so quick to employ house helps.
Pay them and also abuse them for not completing a task.
We become slave masters to these house helps.
Forgetting that they are humans and that they are someone Else's child.
Just because we "Pay Them" Really?

Let's talk..
What exactly do your grown up kids do at home?
Eat , play, watch TV, play games, and sleep?
Basically that's what most kids do daily.
Its a routine. We employ House helps to do the cleaning, washing, cooking, errands, and all sorts. Only one person!!!!!!!
We then brag, I pay her/him.
How much? 20, 30,40 thousand naira?
"And what do your kids do exactly?"
We are raising a generation of intelligent but lazy,cocky and mannerless kids.

Yes that's the blunt fact. They do nothing but books.
They don't wash even their school uniforms, talk more of their clothes.
But you did as a kid back then.
You wore "wash and wear" to school, you ironed your clothes with charcoal iron, you washed your socks , you did your assignment, you went to the farm, you helped your mum in the cooking, you swept the house and compound, weeded unnecessary grass around your home.
And you were at top your class and was very brilliant.
You were very strong and agile.

So What's the point exactly in exempting our kids from chores?
Now it's even very easy.
They don't need to fetch water, there is water in the tap.
They don't need to scrub the floor with hard brush kneeling (you did that), there is mop buckets and sticks.
They don't need to wash hard and long, there is washing machine..
So what exactly do your kids do?
A Friend once wrote...
Pay your kids to do the house chores instead, than making them lazy.
Let them earn.

Can't you see the gross laziness?
Even morals and manners have gone to the wind?
My younger ones do house chores, they don't get paid.
They can mop the floor, wash their clothes and plates.
And guess what, they are very intelligent.
If you have the impression that house chores make them lose focus from their academics then I'm sorry you're wrong.
You succeeded back then, even under harsh conditions , why can't they?

Assign each of them, a particular chore.
Let them do it, encourage them, cheer them up.
Pay them, let them start earning, you ain't only teaching them, but imbibing a culture that would help them.
Let them understand what it means to work and get paid.

Relieve your nannies,train your kids.
Let's raise responsible and strong kids.

Emmanuel Iwuchukwu
(Guest Writer)

Emmanuel Iwuchukwu is a brand promoter,writer, blogger and an advocate of Justice.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

What Is The Nigerian Dream?

Can You Articulate And Tell Me What You Think The Nigerian Dream Is Or Should Be Vis-à-Vis The American Dream?

Do We Even Have A Nigerian Dream? A Concept Or Goal That We Can Collectively Aspire Towards?

IF You Don't Know Please Share This Blog Post, Maybe The Next Person Would.

Happy 55th  Independence Nigeria.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Video Of The Day: Fuel Hustlers

(Play Video)
  Mobil Filling Station, Aguda after Oil Marketers called off their Strike.
 Pump Price was N200 a Litre.

What's the situation at your end?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Why Is There No Fuel?

One thing i've noticed with Nigerians on social media is their ability to manufacture reasons for every problem we have in the country whether they are in the know or not. As it stands today, PMS is going for N500-N800 a litre depending on your location, personally i bought 4 litres for N2000 yesterday and i'm not sure i'll be buying more anytime soon because i plan to use a litre a day.

I have read so many variations on why we are in this mess and believe me i do not know what to believe again. Let's look at it from a lay man's angle;

Why is there no fuel?
Who is to blame?
What can be done to rectify this?

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Do Men Really Suffer Domestic Violence In Nigeria?

When ever we hear or read about domestic violence, the mental image we see is a woman cowering in a corner while being abused or pummeled by a man. Often times we hear men insisting a woman isn't the sole victim in domestic violence, that a lot of men are abused mentally and physically in their homes. How true is this assertion? What's the scenario like? Because i sure can't picture one.

A social experiment was carried out in London by Disturb Reality which was aimed at gauging public reactions towards violence towards each gender. I still can't picture this happening in Nigeria, can you?

Click On Disturb Reality To Watch The Experiment.

I was quite astonished when the man's experiment played out, why do you think people reacted differently as against the woman's own?

What's your take?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Embracing Change

Growing up as a child, my mum would regale me with stories of the late 70s especially 1979, stories and antics of political parties in the Second Republic, Parties like NPN, NPP and UPN, how they jostled, campaigned and won their turfs. I was always fascinated and would often wonder what It would have been like witness all that.

Fast forward to 2015, today I am excited and privileged to have witnessed a semblance of all that and more in the just concluded Presidential Elections, it wasn’t easy, we jostled in place behind our Principals, we campaigned and quarreled with friends, family and acquaintances just to prove and give meaning to where we stood. 
It’s been exhilarating and nightmarish with its attendant highs and lows and at the end of the day we have a winner from a battle well fought, I believe every one of us has learnt something, most importantly the power of our collective effort and I pray we utilitize this singular strength to its full potential.

A precedent has been set, we now have faith in our collective strength in the knowledge that we can bring a government to its knees but at the same time, I believe we also have a collective responsibility to help heal wounds and calm frayed nerves.

 Change can be difficult, but Oftentimes, it is for the best. Just as the centre is working out what they consider best for us, we also owe it to ourselves to make necessary personal adjustments, it starts from within.

It’s been a journey to remember, one none of us would forget in a hurry. Like my mum, I too have armed myself with anecdotes and I look forward to sharing them with my children in the nearest future.

Here’s ushering in The People’s General, President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, wishing you a successful era.
President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Power Holding Nigerians

My daily routine is one that you’ll find difficult to gauge which line of action precedes the other, reminds one of the age-long question of which comes first between the chicken and the egg.

Right now, electricity is on as I write, it’s been on since 7.30am without blinking, but I already know almighty PHCN will strike once its 4.30, not to be seen again till 6.30-7-30am tomorrow. Predictable right? Anyway I’ve used the opportunity to fully charge my phones, power-bank, rechargeable lamp and laptop, waiting for the impending dark hours.

By 7.30pm, when I’m sure it’s fully dark, I will as usual push my reading table to the balcony where I’ll sit quietly and write tomorrow’s blog post while enjoying the sweet, cool breeze, meanwhile my charged up batteries are already running low. Once done, I type my notes then watch a little movie on the laptop or do whatever else takes my fancy and by 10-11pm with all batteries spent, I’ll have to go plug my phones and power-bank at my neighbour’s place downstairs to be retrieved in the morning and as usual, the cycle resumes.

The sorry part of this narrative is that I’m no different from the typical Nigerian out there; there are some who are not as “lucky” as I am to have up to 8-9 hours of light a day, lucky in the sense that I’m having this much light because PHCN  will usually do this trick once it’s the end of the month and they are about to send out bills.

However ,  what binds us together is not just the lack of electricity but also the ingenious ways we’ve devised to cope with the situation.  What are these ingenuous ways one may ask? The usual suspects of course being generators, tin lamps made with used beverage tins usually used in the night markets, candles and kerosene lanterns, the last two of-course are slowly becoming extinct thanks to China’s rechargeable lamps. Most popular and inexpensive option still remains sitting out to gist with family and neighbours till you’re ready to retire for the night.

Apart from these, there is the emergence of Inverters  which gives a semblance of electricity without the noise and fumes of generators but we are having to deal with the economic implications of this option knowing it doesn’t come easy financially, how many of us can in actual sense afford it? if you manage to scratch up funds and buy one, owning one itself comes with a whole set of challenges, from batteries with short lifespan and the not so small amount it would need to replace the batteries should it kaput to the fact that you would still need some source of power be it generator or PHCN to charge it should you not have light for a long stretch of time. 

At the end of the day, realistically the task of holding and providing electricity has been entrusted in the hands of the citizens by a system that has failed to meet this basic need not taking into consideration the economic burden on it’s people. 

Believe me, its 5.20pm as I’m rounding up this piece and PHCN just took my light. We sure would make good soothsayers in this country.