A Few Weeks’ Silence


Sometimes I wonder if the ancient Chinese prayer that goes thus: “may you live in interesting times” was finally answered in the 21st century with all that is happening around the world at a dizzying pace. Perhaps, it is just that information technology and new media tools have given us access to tons of information we otherwise wouldn’t have had, thereby giving an illusion of a quickening of the pace of events. This is because since my last post on this blog back in the first week of June – when Nigerians were still reeling from the aftermath of the Dana plane crash tragedy and the bomb attacks in Bauchi state – it feels as though a lot has happened within that period.

I haven’t written in a number of weeks mainly because I have been extremely preoccupied, but these days, aren’t we all? In my case, I recently changed jobs, moved houses about 3 times: from a city centre neighbourhood, to a predominantly minorities-dominated neighbourhood, then to a predominantly white neighbourhood; I went through a gruelling and nerve-wracking visa application process; relocated to another country, took up a new job; and I am now settling in and facing another bout of culture shock all over again – never mind that I moved from one part of Europe to another (more on this soon) –   all within a span of 6 weeks. The last one week has been particularly eventful and exhausting but all’s well that ends well…

Despite all these, I have tried to keep up with events happening around the world, particularly in Nigeria. I followed with utter disbelief and total revulsion, the sordid $3 million bribery scandal between billionaire oil tycoon Femi Otedola and chairman of the House of Representatives committee investigating fuel subsidy fraud, Honourable Farouk Lawal and how this scandal unfolded like a mite-infested rug, spewing its insect-ridden contents. Like many, I was initially outraged at the perceived clandestine attempts to tarnish Lawan’s integrity  as an incorruptible member of the Nigerian lower Parliament – the House of Representatives – but shortly after, mellowed down when confronted with the sobering reality that an exchange of some sort did take place between the two. Like many others, I was heartbroken and felt let down by one of the upright few we thought were the incorruptible ones that we could look up to; I felt absolutely disappointed that Lawan did not realize the enormity of the burden of the fuel subsidy probe that hung on his shoulders; I was heartbroken that one of the most important reports unearthing massive corruption and fraud, quite possibly the largest in Nigeria’s history, would most likely be flushed down the toilet because of Lawan’s folly, recklessness, greed or all of the above.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel cheers as Germany scores a goal against Greece. Photo courtesy: AFP

Though not a football or any sort of sports fan, I followed with keen interest the Germany vs. Greece match, popularly dubbed Battle of the Bailout match in the Euro 2012 football league and observed with absolute fascination how in the prelude to, and in the aftermath of the match, the political dynamics of Germany’s bailout of the Greek economy spilled over to the match with all sorts of innuendos reflecting on the relationship between the two countries. I have also been following the events in Egypt –  I’ve always held a deep fascination for that country, and the fact that my masters dissertation was partly on the Egyptian revolution made me more interested in events there. It was with keen interest that I followed the recent elections in Egypt, the continued occupation of Tahrir square by Egyptians who felt they were being taken for a ride by the SCAF, the military caretaker regime, Hosni Mubarak’s deteriorating health – one wonders why these dictators after ruling ruthlessly with an iron grip suddenly become frail after being ousted from power – and most recently, the victory of Mohammed Moursi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate as President-elect in a free and fair democratic contest. Egyptians have fought hard for, with sweat and blood, and rightfully earned their democracy.

Photo from Celeberations in Tahrir square after Mohammed Moursi was declared President-elect

Finally, with great sadness and trepidation, I learnt about the carnage and mayhem that took place last weekend in Nigeria – namely the simultaneous attacks on churches in Zaria and Kaduna, the reprisals and counter reprisals and the bomb attacks and gun fights in Damaturu, Yobe state – with casualty figures running well into the hundreds. It has been a bloody and tense week as my family and friends in Zaria and Kaduna have been grounded at home, under a curfew for the better part of last week. However, normalcy is being restored, albeit at a frighteningly snail pace.

Now that I am a bit more settled here, I would have more time to blog and write. I would also like to use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the concern expressed by all those who sent me emails, Facebook messages and twitter messages asking if I was okay. Your messages are really appreciated.

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