By Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, January 25, 2021)
Music blared. Joy floated. Naira rained. Feet trampled. This is the spectacle of Nigerian lavish parties called owambe, a short-lived rivulet of opulence flowing into the sea of poverty.
Despite the sacred warning that the love of money is the root of all evils, man loves money, still. Money has many monikers; here are a few of them.
Apekanuko bespeaks the high esteem money holds among the Yoruba.
Ego, the Igbo magic word for money, is the fuel of commerce. It is different from ego, the personality framework and double-edged sword of Sigmund Freud that can kill or save.
When you hear the Hausa say kudi, they refer not to the unsung martyr of Nigeria’s modern democracy, Kudirat Abiola. Kudi, in Hausa language, is the password for business, and the stimulant that pumps fists in the air and opens mouth in shouts of rankadede.
“You’re dead without money,” says the English novelist, James, who can Hardley Chase nothing but Beauties, Money and Wine while cruising a BMW.
While money is, unmistakably, the oxygen that invigorates the earth, innovation is the blood coursing through its arteries. So, if money is this intrinsic to man’s wellbeing, common sense suggests that it should be treated with decorum. But this isn’t always so.
Oftentimes, money loses its dignity especially at owambe parties after gallons of alcohol had surged down the gullets to sit in the wells of stomachs and fiddle with the senses.
In a matter of minutes, earnings, salaries, overdrafts, borrowings and savings sprayed by friends, colleagues and relatives cascade from celebrants’ foreheads to the floor in moments of self-delusion.
Consultant Psychiatrist, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, isn’t fooled by such make-belief opulence.
He said, “Spraying of money is purely a materialistic display of power over others. It’s an ego trip rather than a self-transcendent expression of self. You can’t discuss the issue without looking at the fact that our leaders, whether political, academic or business, are stuck at the lowest rung of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which reflects in the primitive display of money as an instrument of power and dominance.
“When folks are self-actualised and their society encourages it, altruistic use of money for charity and helping the underprivileged are the hallmarks. It’s a self problem. It’s not a decent practice but as society matures, the practice may stop.”
Looking at the issue through the prism of royalty, the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Adesimbo Kiladejo, a medical doctor, said, “Spraying of money was a practice that started out as a show of appreciation and honour. It’s historical in Yoruba land.” The first-class monarch, however, called on members of the public to display moderation while spending money at parties.
He added, “The spender and the celebrant are at risk of consequent attack by the men of the underworld. People should obey the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulation outlawing the defacement of the naira.”
From a medical viewpoint, Oba Kiladejo urged Nigerians to desist from close contact at parties, stressing that coronavirus was real.
Giving a historic perspective to the discussion, a Professor of History, Osun State University, Siyan Oyeweso, traced the boom of mouth-gaping money spraying at parties to the 1970s when people danced to Juju music at grand parties.
Oyeweso, who is a Fellow of both the Historical Society of Nigeria and Nigerian Academy of Letters, however, condemned the practice, saying it negated the values of hard work, transparency, integrity and dignity of the Yoruba.
He added, “Fuji artistes later jumped on the bandwagon in the 1980s and the trend has grown by leaps and bounds till date. The practice is not good for the health of the society because it puts pressure on the younger generation, the future leaders, who engage in Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-Plus etc to get rich at all cost. The millionaires of those days made their money through hard work, diligence and integrity. The youths of today want to get rich quick or die trying.”
An Assistant Professor of Culture History, University of Abuja, Ranti Ojo, recalled that to boost their ego or status in the society, kings and aristocrats of yore gave money and clothes out to praise singers. “However, things have changed and the practice has grossly been abused, hence it should be discouraged.
“There are many aspects of our culture that must be stopped, spraying money is one of them because it promotes insecurity, inequality and financial imbalances in the society. Culture should be dynamic. If you need to appreciate the singer or celebrant, it should be done secretly with all modesty,” Ojo said.
An Assistant Vice President of one of the five top banks in the US, Chief Azuka Aghenu, said it was unwise to fritter money that could be used productively. Aghenu, who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, worked with the United Bank for Africa before leaving Nigeria for the US over 35 years ago.
He said, “I’ve seen Nigerians in Nigeria and Nigerians in the US take lines of credit to spray at parties. It’s crazy. Many of those who spray at parties have poverty-stricken family members; some of them haven’t paid their mortgages, house rents, children’s bills etc.”
But Soko music creator, Dayo Kujore, differed. The Juju music star said, “Yes, money spraying is part of our culture, it can’t be stopped. Ironically, spenders dancing on stage even spend more money on ladies than musicians. There was a socialite who spent N100,000 on every lady that was dancing on stage but spent N50,000 on the whole of the band.
“Many of the stage plays you see are discounted because some celebrants would come and begin to beg that they don’t have enough money.”
Yoruba’s most profound panegyric singer, Sulaimon Ayilara aka Ajobiewe, said giving money, clothes and shoes to musicians was the heritage of the Yoruba. The Ila Orangun-born artiste said, “There’s no way the musician would know that the person spending money on stage borrowed the money. And it would be insultive to publicly tell someone spraying you money to stop.”
But Ajobiewe explained that spraying money at parties while household bills were unpaid was foolishness.
Popular highlife star, Jesse King, said his brand of music doesn’t dwell on money spraying. The Buga singer, nevertheless, said moderation should temper the inherited practice. “Excessive spending is a personal issue. According to the Holy Bible, the spender should be careful not to make other people sin. We must also consider the mood of the country; a local government chairman, for instance, would be wrong to attend a party and spend lavishly when the road he took to the party was bumpy.
“People have the right to spend their money but we must be guided by the Omoluabi ethos,” he said.
Leader, Osun-famous Peace Band, Babatunde Taiwo aka Shalom, said the desire of every musician was to make money.
Shalom said, “Thugs, security operatives, the underprivileged, staff of event centres etc all wait for us at the end of each show. I have been sprayed a phone before. It depends on how the eulogy hits the spender. But I hate people trampling on money which is more prevalent among the Igbo.”
Missioner, The Companion, Imam Musa Beekolari, condemned wasteful spending at parties, citing the Holy Quran, Chapter 17: 26-27, which enjoins Muslims to give to the needy but likened the wasteful to brothers of the devils.
Founder, Ark of Life Charismatic Global Mission, Osogbo, Apostle Mark Babayomi, said money spraying had no biblical backing. He, nonetheless, explained that Abraham’s good deeds made God swear to a covenant.
The cleric, who called for moderation, said it was better to package a monetary gift and discretely hand it over to a celebrant rather than spraying.”
Culture is dynamic. I stand with Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho in the bid to change the culture of Fulani murderousness encouraged across Nigeria by the retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led calamitous APC.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Opinion – Buhari: Yoruba can go to blazes by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, September 26, 2022)
Until science unmasked the myth of the jungle and brought the secrets of wildlife home to man via the television, little did the world know the lion wasn’t the king of animals. Yep, the world never fully realised that the lion, when alone, was a potential danger, whose presumed invincibility is magnified by the strength in collective hunting, otherwise known as collective looting in Nigeria’s political circles: Kill and chop.
Partly owing to man’s predilection for royalty and the lack of adequate understanding of the jungle, humans ascribe kingship to the lion because of its crown-like mane, overlooking the biggest, fiercest and most powerful of the cats, the tiger; as well as the biggest of the beasts, the elephant, both of whom can kill the lion – one-on-one.
It’s a lesson in survival tactics when a full-grown lion tactically strays away from the path of the hippopotamus or swishes its tail in respect when a rhinoceros scuttles past.
One-on-one, the lion would be dead meat to the grizzly bear, neither can it single-handedly kill the giraffe, who can kick with the four legs, and would only stand a 50-50 chance in a duel with a silverback gorilla.
When I watched a video, in which a threatening pride of lions was afraid to go near a battle-ready porcupine, I remembered the Yoruba proverb, “kí kéré labẹ́rẹ́ kéré, kìí se mímì fádìyẹ,” and understood the taboo which the needle in the haystack has become for the chicken.
Brimming with muscular pounds of strength, the bull’s physicality is etched in stone. Mentally, however, its head is a vacuous cavity lacking the brain needed to survive jungle predators. The meat of the bull cannot be food for a lone lion except lions hunt in packs to beat starvation.
Predictably, there would be an imbalance in the food chain if bulls were wise enough to collectively repel lions. But bulls won’t attack lions because it’s in their DNA to be docile, to be big-for-nothing and stupid, except for occasional acts of resistance when the hunted turns around to gore the hunter.
We, Nigerians, are bulls. The retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led government is a pride of lions – cowardly bullies devouring ancestral patrimony and trampling on the rights of the timid masses incapable of thinking because that’s the way the governing lions want them to be in the jungle called Nigeria.
If the lineage of lions had not messed up the minds of Nigerians, the masses would have realised the power in their numbers and risen to liberate themselves from insecurity, totally collapsed infrastructure, poverty and starvation. Nobody, except uniformed servants like the members of the Lagos transport union and destined slaves, would be associating with the All Progressives Congress today.
In the nonsensicality of his wisdom, the king of Nigeria’s namby-pamby pride of lions, Buhari, approved for state-owned security corps in Katsina and Borno to bear AK-47 guns but he denied the request of Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, for the Western Nigerian Security Network Agency aka Amotekun security corps to bear arms.
Although I’m not at all sold on the candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and that of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, for both are cut from the worse-for-wear Peoples Democratic Party cloth, the hypocritical actions of Buhari since 2015 are nails long enough to seal the coffin of the APC.
Akeredolu, miffed by the nepotism of the Emir, Northern caliphate, Sheikh Muhammadu ibn Buhari, accused the ex-soldier who was booted out of the Army in August 1985, of deliberately exposing Yoruba lives to marauders and destroying the region’s agricultural sector.
Akeredolu, who is the Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, said, “Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism, which we have been clamouring for. That Katsina was able to arm its state security force with AK-47 means we are pursuing a one-country, two-system solution to the national question.
“If the Katsina situation confers advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.”
Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, and former Secretary General, National Democratic Coalition, Honourable Wale Oshun, also accused Nigeria of double standards in approving arms for Borno State JTF and Katsina State security unit while denying Yoruba states of the same gesture.
In a telephone chat with me on Sunday, Oshun particularly bemoaned the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the South-West, warning that the instability in the system portended grave danger for the entire country.
He asked in the video, “Why should Borno JTF and Katsina State Security Unit have arms approved for them by the unitary government yet Amotekun, in the face of flagrant incursion into Yoruba land by unidentified ethnic terrorists of both local and foreign origins, cannot carry arms, why?
“Afenifere Renewal Group contends that it is this kind of impunity by the unitary government of Nigeria and the subversion of federation principles that brought us to this low levels of flagrant insecurity, collapse of our educational system and the massively impoverished populace in our country.”
Oshun, who commended Akeredolu, said irrespective of the 2023 elections and the pretence that democracy was on course, Nigeria would only survive as a country only when the required constitutional restructuring was carried out.
“No section of the country can hold it (Nigeria) together on the sheer force of arms on a permanent basis. It will only remain together if we, all Nigerians, agree to let it remain together,” he said.
Like a people with bull brains, Nigerians rankadedelise our tormentors, who shut university gates against our children, we live in abject darkness, daily waste five hours of our lives on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and nod to ghastly Emi Lokan rhythm by the minstrel of Bourdillon.
I’ll reiterate for the umpteenth time that none among the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, Atiku and Obi is seeking office to genuinely develop Nigeria; all are seeking office for the power, perks and paraphernalia therein.
I say this because each of the presidential candidates knows that no development can emanate from the continued use of the pro-North 1999 Constitution, which supports the current madness ailing our dear country. But none of them has said the obvious nor explained how to bring about the desired constitutional amendment alias restructuring.
Going by political history and emerging indications from the camps of the APC, PDP and LP, the reading of the political barometer of the APC in the South-West shows a propensity for vote buying, ballot snatching and violence, exactly the same indications on the PDP Northern barometer which has child-voting to boot while the LP barometer on the South-East axis shows divisive comments, ethnicism and cyber bullying.
Conducting the 2023 elections without restructuring, and expecting a change in the fortunes of the country is like fetching water with a basket or heading up North from Abuja and expecting to land in Calabar.
No matter the amount of prayers and well wishes, nothing good will come out of Nigeria except we, Nigerians, lay the foundation for greatness by addressing the inherent injustices in the system.
God has never come down to help any people develop their country. As we lay our bed, we will lie on it.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
OPINION: Queen Elizabeth: Saint or satan? By Tunde Odesola
Opinion: Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi, last man standing, bows out gracefully
By ACM Bisi Kazeem, fsi
When he was appointed as the first internally groomed Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) by former President Goodluck Jonathan on 23rd July 2014, the emergence of Dr Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi was celebrated widely not only among the staff of the Corps, but stakeholders and members of the public who were conscious of development within the Corps. The wide jubilation that heralded his appointment was borne out of the long expectations of the people that a competent officer with full understanding of the vision and mission of the organization got the opportunity to manage the elite Corps that had earlier earned public trust and got certified with the global certificate of standardisation, otherwise referred to as ISO 9001:2008 for sustained improvement.
Prior to his appointment, Oyeyemi who was one of the few founding officers of the Corps had gained wide ranging experiences spanning all the major departments and commands of the Corps, all of which he excelled in managing without blame. With his robust background in operations, motor vehicle administration, training and policy, research and statistics, which he managed with excellence, all eyes were on the Federal Government to give him the opportunity to showcase the leadership skills he had learnt over the years under successive Corps Marshals.
His emergence was, therefore, not surprising to all those interested in the growth and development of the Corps. Interestingly, he did not disappoint the people as he hit the ground running after his swearing in by the former secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim in the conference hall of the SGF office. An advocate of policy continuity, Oyeyemi had no difficulty in recognising the need to uphold and build on the policy direction taken by his predecessor, Chief Osita Chidoka who had earlier been appointed as a minister and member of the Federal Executive Council.
He announced his management ideals during his maiden strategy session with the principal officers of the National Headquarters and Zonal Commanding Officers when he stated that the principles of his management would be anchored on the tripod of Consultation, Reward and Punishment ( CRP) an acronym for the use of carrots and sticks in managing the affairs of the Corps. As a versatile computer user, Oyeyemi not only promoted the digitization policy of the Corps, but took it to the next level thereby widening the scope, usage and accessibility of computers among the generality of the Corps in the last 8 years that he was saddled with the responsibility of leading the organization.
Having successfully spent his two tenures at the topmost office of the Corps and is graciously bowing out, the questions on the lips of many anxious Nigerians are, what did he do differently that he could be remembered for by the coming generations? Here, we must point out first and foremost that the unprecedented levels of recruitment that he secured from the Federal Government within the years has, no doubt, raised the number of qualified personnel available to carryout specialist and general duty assignments that have significantly improved the presence and visibility of the Corps across the nation’s highways. His policy of ensuring effective management of the wide network of road nationwide has led to the Introduction of Corridor Commands and Station Offices which has made the presence of the FRSC in all the nation’s 774 local governments possible for collective ownership of traffic management as envisaged by the Road Safety Strategy initiative.
Concerned with the poor office accomodation and dilapidated nature of most of the structures occupied by the Corps on rent basis across the ststes, Oyeyemi-led Management vigorously pursued the policy of constructing permanent office accomodation most of which have been commissioned across states in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This has created opportunity for modern and permanent office structures owned by the Corps.
Towards ensuring a happier and more productive post service life for staff, the last man standing unveiled project 20,000 staff Housing Scheme to make house ownership easier for all staff of the Corps while we brought into existence FRSC Post-Service Scheme (PSS) to help members of the Corps save for retirement before the retirement benefit/pension are paid.
Furthermore, the aggressive pursuit of the policy of fleet renewal by his Management has led to the procurement of unprecedented number of operational vehicles, tow trucks, ambulances, administration vehicles and other rescue equipment, the largest ever secured by any management in the 34 years of the Coros’ existence.
As an organization built on the ingredients of knowledge, the FRSC Management under Oyeyemi paid special attention to staff capacity development programmes through which opportunities for local and foreign trainings were offered to all cadres of staff. Further to this, the various institutions of learning aimed at developing the intellectual and road traffic management expertise of the Corps were not only established, but some upgraded to make it possible for them to offer advanced knowledge and certification. To this end, the FRSC Academy Udi, Enugu State was upgraded as centre of excellence for study of road safety and affiliated with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri for the award of post-graduate degree programs in transportation Management.
His Management has been able to successfully negotiate and took delivery of an ultra-modern Inspectorate Training School, Owa Alero in Delta State through the benevolence of the government and people of Delta State. 8n addition, he has been able to negotiate and secured the agreement of Plateau State Government to build the Road Marshal Assistant Training School in Shendam, Plateau State, where work is already at an advanced stage. And in his commitment to career development of staff which aligns with the policy of rewarding excellence, the yearly promotion exercise has continued to be observed in the last 8 years of his management thereby creating opportunity for upward movement of the staff in line with available vacancies and strict adherence to the provisions of the federal character principles.
More to the above, Oyeyemi developed transformational initiatives focused on People, Processes and Technology (PPT) that is why today not only does its staff pride as the most disciplined but the Corps stands as the best Information Technology (IT) driven organization in Nigeria with its robust data base and over 95 percentage digitalized administrative and operational procedures.
His administrative ingenuity that led to the deployment of FRSC personnel to Tank Farms has to a large degree, dwindled the rate of crashes associated with articulated vehicles, particularly tankers carrying petroleum products. Through its Safe-to- Load initiative, articulated vehicle have been subjected to checks before they are allowed to load from the various depots across the country with trained personnel of the Corps undertaken routine checks to ensure strict compliance.
Meanwhile, the need for constant education and enlightenment of road users and members of the public on road safety matters as well as conditions of the roads as they move out everyday, led to the establishment of the National Traffic Radio (107.1 FM) Abuja. In the same way, the quest for improved service delivery in the licensing system of the country has led to the establishment of additional Print Farms in the country, while his Management has given impetus to the operational performance of the Corps through the establishment of the operations monitoring and Control Center, procurement and deployment of Body Cameras and establishment of Drivers Proficiency Center at Inspectors Training School, Owa Alero in conjunction with the Delta State Government.
The Corps under his watch, has successfully strengthened inter-agency cooperation with relevant stakeholders such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), all Military and Paramilitary organisations and Banks in Nigeria with evident success in inter agency collaboration and harmonization of data for national development.
Again, it is noteworthy to look at the direction of his leadership’s swift response to the incessant abuse of traffic rules which led to the putting together of the OPERATION COBRA to address certain life-threatening and traffic-related offences. Offenders arrested by the Operation Cobra squad are usually referred to a government health facility for Emotional Stability Test. This step has entrenched compliance and safe road use within the operational areas where the Cobra squad operate.
The subsequent introduction of the body camera by patrol teams will no doubt increase the desire for transparency and evidence based operations that could enhance public trust in the Corps. This will not assist in curbing violence and illegal transaction by personnel while on the highway but will lend credence to the anti-corruption stance of the Corps.
The feat achieved by the FRSC in the last 8 years of Oyeyemi management has led to various local and international recognition and awards that have placed Nigeria’s FRSC as the best example of a road safety lead agency which other governments in developing societies are encouraged to emulate by replicating it in their countries. And with more investments through increased budgetary allocation as well as private sector intervention under the Corps’ partnership initiative and drives, there’s high expectation that the message of road safety will reach great number of people and would impact more on the driving culture of the people towards the envisaged attainment of the goals of safer road environment in the country.
Nigerians that are conscious about the positive developments that have taken place in the Corps in the last 8 years under Oyeyemi-led Management are no doubt convinced that that FRSC has reached a point where its capacity would be able to satisfactorily tackle the challenges of traffic management and safety administration in the country, such that road traffic crashes would not necessarily lead to death.
And as he bows out gracefully after a successful sojourn in the FRSC as the last founding officers that has seen the growth and development of the Corps in the last 34 years 8 out of which he spent as its head, the common refrain is that, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi maybe retiring, but he should not be tired of rendering his services to the nation in whatever areas his expertise could be demanded, even in retirement. By so doing, the nation would stand to continue to derive from his wealth of experience in tackling some of the socioeconomic and security challenges bedvilling this nation and truncating its march to development.
- Assistant Corps Marshal Kazeem is the Corps Public Education Officer of the FRSC.
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