Friday, 25 December 2009

Living In The Winter Wonderland: A Response To Her Majesty’s 2009 Christmas Message

This year’s Christmas Message of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, by the Grace of God, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Northern Ireland, Her other Realms and Territories and the Head of the Commonwealth is interesting in two aspects. Firstly, she used the medium to formally eulogise the courage of over 13 thousand service men and women from various nations presently serving in Afghanistan. Secondly, she called upon the young people in the member nations of the Commonwealth of Nations to pull their resources together towards making the Commonwealth a practical force for good to be reckoned with in the world of today.

Her Majesty was of the opinion that the Commonwealth with over 1 billion people under the age of 25 could be a very strong force especially in this information and technology age towards realising the dreams and aspirations of the organisation. In making that call, Her Majesty was obviously counting on the powers of the young people and her belief that the young people are the leaders and change agents for a better tomorrow. It is therefore highly commendable that in this age when young people are daily being demonised as the root cause of all evils including armed robbery and murder, the Queen still has faith and hope in them. She has my highest respect for this.

The Commonwealth of Nations often called the Commonwealth is an association of the former colonies of the then British Empire. However in the recent past, the Commonwealth have seen the admission of some countries that had no colonial link with the defunct Empire. Rwanda and Mozambique are two examples. The member states co-operate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration of the organisation. These values and goals include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.

The Commonwealth is made up of 54 countries including one currently suspended member. Of course that is Zimbabwe. Member nations are spread across the six continents. The members have a combined population of about 2.1 billion people, almost a third of the world population, of which 1.17 billion live in India alone while 94% live in Asia and Africa combined. After India the next largest Commonwealth countries by population are Pakistan (176 million), Bangladesh (156 million), the Republic of Nigeria (145 million), the United Kingdom (61 million) and the Republic of South Africa (49 million). Tuvalu is the smallest member with only 12,000 people. Majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth are young people under the age of 25 and these are the people Her Majesty is addressing in this year’s edition of her annual Christmas message.

According to Her Majesty, “It is 60 years since the Commonwealth was created and today, with more than a billion of its members under the age of 25, the organisation remains a strong and practical force for good. Recently, I attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago and heard how important the Commonwealth is to young people. New communication technologies allow them to reach out to the wider world and share their experiences and viewpoints. For many, the practical assistance and networks of the Commonwealth can give skills, lend advice and encourage enterprise. It is inspiring to learn of some of the work being done by these young people, who bring creativity and innovation to the challenges they face”.

As noted at the outset, Her Majesty’s speech is very interesting and part of the reason is simply because of the fact that her speech actually reflected in its entirety the veracity of the fact that she is no more living in this age with all of us and certainly never with the rest of other young people in the Commonwealth. I do not intend to offend Her Majesty but from the colour of her speech, it is apparent that she is no more in touch with what the Commonwealth stands for today and I do not have a doubt that her understanding of the Commonwealth is still at either the colonial or pre-independence level. If Her Majesty had been briefed well and actually taught what the Commonwealth means today for those under the age of 25 he cited as an example, then she should not have included that part of the message in this year’s edition of her message.

The summary of the fact is that the Commonwealth is not fit for purpose. It is no more relevant. It is very archaic in both principles and mission. It is completely out of touch with the aspirations and dreams of billions of young people under the age of 25 years in the organisation. In fact to them and even to me as a young member of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth represents an institution of oppression and elitism and for majority of the young people from the African member states, it is a club for the African leaders and their children to reap the fruit of the Commonwealth, leaving the rest of us as spectators.

Apart from the obvious sports advantage of the Commonwealth, there is no other aspect of the Commonwealth that is of benefit to the common people of the member states. Sports is a different ball game all together in the sense that here talents counts more than who you know and who you are connected to. Though there are some instances where square pegs in round holes are corruptly pushed to be participants in the game, majority of the sportsmen and women are actually selected based on performance, merit and ability. Based on this therefore one could eulogise the Queens’s Speech for eulogising the Commonwealth’s contribution to the well being and happiness of its members.

However, the Queen, as the leader of the Commonwealth maybe shocked that she is presiding over a monumental piece of corruption. This is especially true if she puts into consideration the grievances of the common people and common members of the Commonwealth, including myself. The truth is that majority of these common people do not know about the existence of the Commonwealth. They are complete strangers to the so called benefits of the Commonwealth. Since the establishment of the Commonwealth, these common people have been used by their leaders to actualise theirs and their cohort’s dreams. Member countries of the Commonwealth contribute financially to the upkeep of the organisation but majority of its members especially the common people are left out at the reaping stage of the so called benefits of the commonwealth.

One of the distinct features of the Commonwealth is the Commonwealth Scholarship Programme which affords commonwealth citizens the opportunity to study for free in any commonwealth member nation. Those interested in benefiting from this programme must apply from the Ministry of Education of their various countries and that is where the main problem lies because in the process the talented but poor and unconnected ones are left out because they do not have anybody either in the ministry or in the government to push their file. The result is that at the end of the day square pegs in round holes are fraudulently and corruptly selected and because they are not fit for the scholarship, they end up coming back home with myopic mind and contributing to the already worsened state in their various countries. I am therefore perplexed that the queen was busy in her speech eulogising the commonwealth and never made any statement on this issue.

Similar to the above is the Commonwealth Technical Exchange Programme which affords professionals from various Commonwealth countries the opportunity to use their expertise knowledge to contribute towards the development of a member nation. Just like in the scholarship method, professionals who are obviously talented, knowledgeable and fit for purpose are eventually left out of the selection process for the simple reason that there is no highly connected person to push their file for them. Against this background, one begins to ask if the queen is not in any way aware of the fact that this type of corruption is taking place in her backyard.

I am inclined to believe that the queen is being advised by her government to keep mute over these problems for the fear of offending the sensibility of the commonwealth member nations in question. The queen should begin to look at the Commonwealth from the angle of its common people and not from the angle of its corrupt leaders. She should be happy to please the common people and never their corrupt leaders. For instance, as the leader of the Commonwealth of which the State of Uganda is a member, we expect the queen by now to have made a concrete and strong statement on the ongoing homophobic bill conundrum in Uganda. She, as the leader of the Commonwealth and the Supreme Governor of the Anglican Communion should have been the first to have come out and condemn in clear terms the direction the State of Uganda is taking.

The queen cannot morally continue to praise and advocate the continued existence of the Commonwealth or even continue heading it ceremonially if she is afraid and unwilling to come out openly and condemn what is a clear violation of human rights and democracy principles. For the billions citizens of the commonwealth under the age of 25 she mentioned in her speech, their last hope is an institution like the Commonwealth and for the queen and institutions like the commonwealth therefore to continue keeping mute over human rights violations, is not only immoral but could as well mean that the relevance of the Commonwealth is frankly no more relevant in the 21st century.

The reason we joined the Commonwealth was to reap the fruits of being members of the organisation but because of the selfish interest of the member nations of the 60 year old organisation, the benefits are not being reaped. Citizens of the Commonwealth are required to visit member nations with a visa and that is very ridiculous bearing in mind that it should not have been the case due to the British bond uniting all of us. In fact for us the young members of the Commonwealth, it is absolutely ridiculous that despite this bond uniting all of us, we are still required to enter our member countries with a visa. That is very incomprehensible and politically unacceptable and it is one of the reasons why people like me would be in the forefront in the fight for the dissolution of the Commonwealth of Nations. People are members of the same family for closer ties and interactions, and if that ceases to be the case, then what is the relevance of still being part of the family?

Similar to the above scenario is the ridiculous situation where many commonwealth citizens ended up in the United Kingdom as illegal immigrants. The fact is that the Commonwealth was founded on the understanding that we are one by the virtue of our common heritage of being former colonies of the United Kingdom and subjects of Her Majesty. The understanding also is that wherever we are, we should be proud of that heritage but then the idea of coming to our root which is the United Kingdom not only to be told we are not welcomed but also to be branded as illegal immigrants is very heartbreaking and seems like another example of selfishness and subjugation by once a colonial master. The situation would never have existed if the United Kingdom citizens had ended up in other member states of the commonwealth as illegal immigrants. The United Kingdom would have started lecturing us with a learned lucubration about human rights and this and that and blahblahblah! This situation is therefore unacceptable. The commonwealth should be based on mutual understanding, gain and respect and somebody should please tell the queen this before she recites another message that glorifies injustice against the young people of the commonwealth.

Besides, citizens of the Commonwealth studying in various member nations of the Commonwealth are made to pay international fees as other foreign students and the question is why should they be paying as international students when they are members of the commonwealth? I hope the queen is aware of this? How many common people in the Commonwealth member nations could afford to pay almost 10 thousand pounds a year for graduate studies in the United Kingdom? The answer is virtually none and this lends credence to the fact that the commonwealth tactically supports corrupt leaders who loot public fund to send their children to the UK and elsewhere to study. This is absolutely ridiculous bearing in mind that commonwealth should be there for the masses and not for the elitists.

Against these backdrops, I strongly suggest that the leaders and member nations of the commonwealth should take a stock and consider seriously how much gains they make out of the Commonwealth and the relevance of continued membership and existence of the organisation.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Glorification Of Shame: A Response To The Time Magazine Of October 5, 2009

In reaction to your cover story of the October 5, 2009 edition of the Time Magazine titled 'Heroes of the Environment’, it is very ironical that you allowed the Royal Dutch Shell to take a half centre-spread advert in pages 70 and 71 of the issue. It is very ludicrous bearing in mind the fact that Shell is one of the greatest defaulters when it comes to environmental protection and the salvation of the climate. Shell should not have placed that advertisement there and the Time should not have allowed it. That is a good example of irresponsible journalism and misleading advertisement and it has a close resemblance of what happened sometime ago when the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola was named by the Time as one of the most influential persons of the year despite his support for a controversial bill that was designed to incarcerate the Nigerian homosexuals.

The story of the Shell and the environment is a shameful one. In Nigeria, it has resisted the protection of the Nigerian environment from day one and actually played a complicated role in the hanging of a renowned Nigerian playwright, Ken Saro-Wiwa, 13 years ago by the Junta of the late Nigeria head of state, General Sani Abacha. Ken Saro-Wiwa, an environmentalist who opposed the degradation of the lands in Niger Delta of Nigeria by the Royal Dutch Shell was tried and condemned by a Military Tribunal set up by then Head of State, Sani Abacha after being denied a proper legal representation and appeal and subsequently hanged in November 1995. Shell knew one or two things about the hanging since being one of the main source of Nigerian income, they had the financial power and should have stopped the execution by threatening to walk away if the government go on with it but it remained mysteriously silent apparently because of what they stand to gain from his execution.

It was actually alleged that the Royal Dutch Shell helped in drafting the trumped up charges of murder that led to the execution of Saro-Wiwa and eight others and even helped to fund the military operation of the then Abacha junta which on many occasions brutally suppressed the peaceful protests of the local community. Shell really deserve to bury their head in shame for the level of impunity and lackadaisical attitude they have shown all these while towards the plight of their host, the Niger Delta people and their environment and should not have thought of embarrassing themselves further by placing the advert in the first place. They turned their source of water into oil and rendered their farmland useless. The people are simply poor and frustrated because agriculture and fishing which is their major source of income have been dealt a blow by the Royal Dutch Shell.

The Niger Delta is the main source of the oil and revenue for Nigeria yet majority of its people live below poverty level. The gains of millions of dollars being generated daily from the proceeds of the oil has not trickled down to the people. Their farmland is all turned into a wasteland, their water coated by oil while gas flaring which has been banned for long is still in use by the Royal Dutch Shell. It was these notorious acts that Ken Saro-Wiwa was strongly against and therefore a shame that Time could allow Shell to place the advertisement.

Getting The Facts Straight: A Response To The Nigerian Guardian Editorial

I am surprised that you claimed in your editorial of Friday November 5, 2009 that Nigeria is not ‘exactly afflicted’ by amongst other things ‘victimisation, discrimination and other forms of oppression’ to warrant the exodus of Nigerians to the west for asylum and refuge.

The fact is that the editorial is misleading bearing in mind that there is a strong case against Nigeria of victimisation and discrimination against homosexuals. In fact, lately the Nigeria National Assembly initiated what has been described as the toughest homophobic bill in Africa. Part of the expectations of the bill is to criminalise and punish the "Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations" and "publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise", on penalty of up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Homosexual acts between consenting adults are already illegal in Nigeria. The bill's vague and dangerous prohibition on any public or private show of a "same sex amorous relationship"-which could be construed to cover having dinner with someone of the same sex-would open any known or suspected gay man or lesbian to the threat of arrest at almost any time. This is a clear breach of Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and it is basically because of fear of being victimised by this type of bill or law that a good number of homosexual Nigerians are moving out of the country in large numbers seeking for political protection as a result of their sexuality. It is therefore preposterous, naive and a mark of irresponsible journalism for you to claim otherwise.

This is a serious issue and the fact is that Nigeria has to get one thing right and that is the fact that we have homosexuals in Nigeria and they will continue to be there till thy kingdom come. Most are very intelligent, well educated and experienced and when given asylum abroad use the intelligence to contribute to their host country and never for Nigeria and we lose. Sexual orientation has got nothing to do with culture or religion. In fact it is an issue that is more psychological and biological than religious and cultural and for one to use his religious or cultural convictions to emasculate the right of others could be akin to bigotry and tantamount to intolerance.

Homosexuality maybe deplorable but to the best of our knowledge, it is not as deplorable as corruption ravaging Nigeria today which has led to millions of deaths and thousands of Nigerians seeking refuge here in the UK, Europe and America. It is not as deplorable as stoning a human being created in the image of God to death. It is not as deplorable as murdering a person created by God in the name of God. And by the way, why should what happen between two consenting adults in the bedroom bother us at all and how can we tolerate the fact that people are being stoned, hanged, decapitated, imprisoned, ostracised and tortured only because of their sexual orientation? We cannot continue to remain silent and neutral for silence and neutrality empowers the tormentor and ridicules the victim. Therefore the Nigerian homosexuals seeking for asylum and protection which Nigeria cannot afford to them from foreign government are doing the right thing and should be sympathised with.

Once more, no one can claim to believe in God and yet in the name of same God kill his fellow human being. Any religion that advocates violence including killing in the name of God is not a religion. Most of us who are strongly against the homosexuals are heavily involved in fornication, adultery, abortion, sex before marriage, corruption, stealing, cheating and many others condemned by the same Holy Books being used to condemn homosexuals.

In as much as I commend the editorial for highlighting this problem, I would also suggest that you follow it up with another on open discussion and dialogue on this issue of homosexuality. We cannot continue treating it as no go area. It is there and that is the truth. All parties involved including the homosexuals and religious groups should be allowed to continue making intelligent contributions on this issue without being subjected to opprobrium, intimidation or violence.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Why Tony Blair Is Not Fit To Lead Europe

The news is that the ambition of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to be the first president of Europe has been scuttled. Personally, this is not a glad tiding for me because I am one of the greatest admirers of Tony Blair. He is an intelligent and fine gentleman and possesses all the qualities that could have made him a very good first president of the European Union.

His track records while he was the prime minister is still here to prove what manner of man he is and there is no doubt that British people are not in doubt that he did a lot during his tenure to uplift the image of the Kingdom as well as its standard of living. In the area of human rights he also set a record especially in the field of race issues, gay rights, minimum wage and law and order.

Also on record is the fact that Tony Blair was behind the rebranding of the once moribund Labour Party into the new Labour, reformed the English legal system as well as the House of Lords which resulted in the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in the style of the United States of America. By the time Tony Blair was forced by his own party to relinquish power suddenly, the Labour Party had reached the height of its glory. His exist orchestrated the gradual declining of the party principally because of the loss of confidence of the British voters on the party. This loss of confidence was mainly because of the role it played in the immoral invasion of Iraq. Another reason for the declining of the Labour party is that Tony Blair, born in Scotland was succeeded by another Scottish man Gordon Brown. They are from a place the English are not comfortable with.

Frankly the English are not comfortable with the idea of a Scottish man being their prime minister, hence the stiff opposition facing Gordon Brown and the steady decline of the support of the English towards the Labour Party. Also, the fact that the then Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martins and the Chancellor Alistair Darling are Scottish also complicated the already compounded problem.

It is interesting to note that what Gordon Brown is going through at the moment was what Tony Blair went through before his unceremonious exit from the party. In fact it is alleged that Gordon Brown and his group orchestrated the events that led to this final exit. Gordon Brown did it to fulfil his lifelong ambition of being a prime minister, unfortunately for him it backfired because the English are simply not ready to see a Scottish man prime ministering over them.

As noted earlier, Tony Blair made a good prime minister and actually made a history of giving the Labour Party three consecutive victories in three general elections. However, his greatest undoing was allowing himself to be deceived, brainwashed and used by the then president of the United States of America, George W. Bush, a bigot and a fanatic. This fatal mistake sunk his political ambition and career. In fact the last straw that broke the Carmel's back in his political career was his decision to go to war in Iraq despite numerous oppositions at home and evidences that George W. Bush was cooking up the theory of weapon of mass destruction as a front to invade Iraq to finish an unfinished business. He disobeyed the British electorates and they retaliated by capsizing his ambition. Besides, the messing up of the British Immigration system as well as his romance and eventual conversion to Roman Catholicism hastened the burial of his political ambition.

The English are very proud people and therefore saw his conversion to Roman Catholicism not only as an act of betrayal and treason but as a smack and a deliberate insult to their pride and what they stand for. The Anglican church, the former faith of Tony Blair is the official religion in the United Kingdom bearing in mind that the queen is both the Head of State and the Head of the Church of England and for Tony Blair to engage in any form of romance with the Catholic Church, the archrival of the Church of England is akin to playing with fire. The English may not ever forgive him or the Labour Party for this.

As well as taking the Blair’s conversion to Catholicism very personal and serious, the voters are also angry that Tony Blair and his administration messed up the immigration system. According to them, the Labour open door policy resulted to an influx of immigrants in this country. About 750 thousand of these immigrants ended up as failed asylum seekers, overstayers or illegal entrants and not providing a realistic and practical solution to the plight of these people-having opened the door for them in the first place-deeply infuriated the voters and in response they casted protest votes for other parties especially the minor ones. This action resulted in the election of far right parties to both the Council and European seats.

Tony Blair is aware of this and he knows that the immoral war that has resulted in thousands of deaths of both British soldiers and Iraqi civilians makes no room for reconciliation sooner. It is basically because of the Iraqi war that both the Labour Party and Tony Blair has been an object of criticism, opprobrium and opposition in the UK today. This also led to fierce domestic opposition over his ambition to become the first president of the European Union. The British voters do not see any morality or sense in proposing a man who joined the fanatical George Bush to wage an immoral war in Iraq to become the President of Europe. Not only the British share this sentiment, many Europeans do too.

It is therefore understandable the reason why his ambition to become the EU’s first president was murdered. Also interesting to note is that one of the main groups behind this campaign to destroy him and murder his ambition actually came from the home front. In fact the idea of having a Labour EU president presiding over a Conservative Prime Minister in the United Kingdom is very uncomfortable to the Tories. By the way, the Tories are convinced that they are going to win the next general election, hence the determination and zeal with which they backed the campaign to murder the ambition that would have brought honour to one of their own.

Outside the home front, another formidable opposition to Tony Blair's ambition came from Europe. Europe was strongly coordinated and furious in their opposition. They have reasons for that and they are very cogent. Majority of the British populace are Europhobia. They do not like Europe and do not want to have anything to do with the European Union. In fact they are contented with being on their own and that is the reason why parties like the British National Party and United Kingdom Independent Party are doing strong here. As a matter of fact, the latter popularly known as the UKIP was solely founded to drag the United Kingdom out of the European Union. How the United Kingdom plans to succeed without being part of the European Union is a mystery am yet to decipher. Against that backdrop then, how on earth do we expect Tony Blair to be the foundation president of the European Union when his own people are strongly Europhobia? Things do not work that way and that is the argument of the Europeans. The United Kingdom has to choose between being part of the Union and taking part in sharing the national cake of the union or taking the most honourable part which is leaving the Union and being on their own. But the idea of rejecting the Union and still wanting to head the Union does not make any sense at all. They do not go in pariparsu! It is a sign of superiority complex which is very dangerous in politics.

Moreover, the United Kingdom is not even using the common European currency which is the Euro. Frankly, there is nothing wrong with the pounds but the fact is that, if she wants to play a leading role in the European Union, she has to lead by example. I strongly doubt that any reasonable and sane mind in Europe would buy the idea of the United Kingdom leading the European Union without adopting the common currency. It is impossible and could be akin to seeking the British Citizenship and at the same refusing to pay allegiance to the Queen. That is not possible in the United Kingdom and just as that is impossible in the UK, so it is also impossible for Tony Blair to head the European Union because his home country does not identify with all the elements, beliefs and values of the European Union. He was a prime minister for 10 years and had all the opportunities to introduce Euro but he did not and this suggests that he may after all be a Europhobe too and a Europhobe is not fit to be the president of Europe.

The opposition is not solely centred on the currency issue alone. There is also the question of European visa. The United Kingdom refused vehemently to be part of the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed amongst some member states of the European Union that provided for the removal of systematic border controls between the participating countries. The Amsterdam Treaty incorporated the Schengen Agreements into the mainstream of the European Union law. The United Kingdom opted out of Schengen's border control arrangements. The borderless zone created by the Schengen Agreements, currently consists of twenty-five European countries.

If the United Kingdom opted out of this agreement, how then could she morally stand to be the president of the European Union? That is not morally acceptable. It is completely unacceptable. The United Kingdom cannot eat her cake and have it. If she wants a prominent role in the European Union, then she has to play a model role and that entails living by all the rules, options and protocols of the EU without opting out to suit her own personal and national aggrandisement.

Every country in the European Union has its own national interests and pride to protect but they sacrificed it for the sake of the Union. This is what is called love and patriotism and if the United Kingdom cannot afford to show this love, patriotism and sacrifice, then she should not bother seeking to lead the European Union. It cannot morally lead it because there is no way she could lead an institution she opposes.

Therefore the decision to murder the ambition of Tony Blair to be the first president of the European Union should be welcomed as a moral and good development that is in the interest of commonsense, decency and for the betterment of the general populace of the European Union. The United Kingdom should reflect on her relationship with the European Union and decide to either join the ship or be on her own.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Archbishop Peter Akinola: Devil’s Retarded Advocate!

With the recent election of The Rt. Rev. Nichols Okah, the Bishop of Asaba and the Archbishop of Bendel as the new Primate and Archbishop of Nigeria, the controversial years of Archbishop Peter Akinola is gradually coming to an end. He will formally step down in March, 2010.

If not for anything, Akinola would be remembered in the history of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and worldwide as a controversial figure who devoted much of his primacy dividing instead of building the church of Jesus Christ. In fact his tenure epitomised corruption, bigotry and evil in the name of the church and God as well as the use of the bible to justify these vices.

His eight years as the Primate and Archbishop of Nigeria has been an eight years of divisive ministry, divide and rule theology, wining and dining with the rich and corrupt officials of the state as well as playing a very active and complicated role in supporting the Government of Nigeria in annihilating the rights of the people in the name of defence of culture and theology.

During his tenure, Akinola collaborated and meddled with the conservative Anglican Church of the United States formally known as the Episcopal Church to hit the final nail on the coffin of human rights abuse and violation in Nigeria. Akinola’s ministry is simply very controversial hence the relief with which both the conservative and liberal Anglicans heralded his departure describing it as a good riddance to bad rubbish.

To know the manner of man Akinola is we need to look at his background. Archbishop Peter Akinola was born in 1944 to a Yoruba family in Abeokuta of Nigeria. His father died when he was four and due to financial pressures Akinola had to leave school early. He learned carpentry and at twenty he had a successful furniture business and finished high school by distance education. He studied at a Nigerian Anglican seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Soon after ordination, he pursued further studies at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Returning to Nigeria at the beginning of the 1980s, Akinola was assigned to create an Anglican presence in Abuja the new capital of Nigeria. In 1989 he was ordained bishop of Abuja and in 1997 the archbishop of Province III of the Church of Nigeria, consisting of the northern dioceses of Nigeria. In 2000 he was elected the primate of the Church of Nigeria.

Akinola was given the National Award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in December 2003 by President Olusegun Obasanjo and in 2006 he appeared on TIME magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people in the category of Leaders and Revolutionaries. However, in 2007 TIME suggested that he "has some explaining to do" in relation to his support for legislation criminalising "gay...organizations" and "publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise".

Same year, the ThisDay Newspaper of Nigeria gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award, stating in its citation: "Called a bigot by some in the Anglican Church, his attitudes nonetheless represent a deep-rooted conservative tradition in African Christianity that is flourishing and growing." But he has been criticised by other sections of the international press, including the right-leaning London, United Kingdom-based Daily Telegraph which in an editorial on 23 March 2007 characterised him as one of the "extremists" who "hijacked" conservative Anglicanism, and as "a deeply divisive figure" who has "defended new Nigerian legislation that makes "cancerous" (his word) same-sex activity punishable by up to five years imprisonment."

As a result of this and allegedly due to his increasingly collaboration and collusion with the then government of Nigeria, Akinola was voted out of his position as National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in June 2007, and replaced by a Roman Catholic Archbishop, who polled 72 votes to his 33 votes. Other alleged reasons for losing the election was as a result of criticism of his high handed leadership style and failure to confront Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo as other Christian leaders had. Subsequently, his candidacy as Vice President was also rejected by the General Assembly of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Akinola is a married father of six.

From the above it is now possible to put into perspective the picture of the man called Archbishop Peter Akinola. Archbishop Akinola headed the Anglican Church in a country reputed to be the most corrupt in the world. Nigeria is the second largest producer of oil in Africa and the sixth largest in the world, but about 70 percent of its over 145 million population live in abject poverty. There is a massive decay of infrastructures. There is no motorable road, no potable water and the educational system is very epileptic as a result of incessant industrial actions by the Nigeria Union of Teachers due to the inability of the government to pay them. Crime and violence are rampant in the whole of the country and security of life and property is not assured.

In fact Nigeria is reputed to be one of the most violent countries not only in Africa but also in the world. Armed robbers abound everywhere while internet scam is fast becoming a religion. Healthcare eludes majority of the population while those in the Niger Delta, an area that produces the majority of the wealth of Nigeria lives in a type of poverty that is unprecedented in the history of the world. Their water is polluted and therefore fishing which is one of their main means of livelihood is now a dream. This is also the case with Agriculture in the area. The Niger Deltans cannot farm anymore because the oil drilling and refining activities in the area have polluted both the water and land to the extent that agriculture is no more feasible.

In Nigeria of Akinola, where he is heading the largest Anglican Communion worldwide with about 18 million members, corruption is enthroned and worshipped. Nothing works there except through bribery and corruption. Corruption is so rife in the nation that today those who man the government are just square pegs in round holes. Lazy and half-baked stupid students are given admission to study in the best universities in the country not because they merit it but because their rich parents know somebody they can bribe to get the admission. The end result of this is the production of half-baked graduates and idiots who eventually joins the bandwagon to continue adding to the woe of the country.

This is a nation where hardwork, handiwork, merit and the best are not eulogised and rewarded. It is simply a dog eat dog country where hardwork is overlooked while corruption and corrupt official are elevated, promoted and given both state and church honours for using stolen public wealth to fund local and church projects. In Nigeria, unemployment is a very big problem; however it is only for the poor people. Sons and daughters of the rich and well connected are automatically assured a place in the labour market upon graduation despite the fact that it is glaringly clear that they are square pegs in round holes.

In a nutshell, nothing works in Nigeria. It is a failed state waiting for a burial and the poor masses are bearing the brunt of the whole sleaze. People are dying daily because of hunger and diseases. More than 3.5 million Nigerians live with HIV and AIDS and out of this number less than 250 thousand have access to the government-funded Anti-Retroviral Therapy and most of the lucky ones are the sons and daughters of the rich, the mighty and the well connected. The poor are simply left out to die in bits and pieces. The maternal and infant mortality rate is still very high in the country despite efforts made by other nations poorer than Nigeria to reduce theirs to the barest minimum. Even at that, the healthcare is still not accessible and affordable for the poor to take advantage of. In fact the rich and the well connected have got automatic access to the health care system and do not pay farthing.

This is in a nutshell the picture of Nigeria and that is the place where Archbishop Peter Akinola was until this new election the Primate of the largest Communion in the Anglican Church and was at one time leading the Christian faith. From the above picture, one would begin to wonder and question why despite all these evils and corruption, Archbishop Peter Akinola chose to ignore them and rather focussed all his energy and attention to fighting the homosexuals in Nigeria. Without mincing words, the reason for that is because Archbishop Peter Akinola despite being an ordained Anglican Archbishop is nevertheless of the same stuff and quality with the people he made his friends and surrounded himself with during his tenure as the Primate and Archbishop of Nigeria. Ejusdem generis! These people are the rich, the mighty and the corrupt. His primacy is therefore not for the people he was called to serve, but for the rich and he did his best to be on their side and serve their interests.

These are corrupt people, very corrupt and loathed by Nigerians; but they are the people Akinola chose to surround himself with and minister to and because of this, there is no way Akinola could fight corruption in the country because fighting corruption would mean fighting his own friends, well wishers and constituency. A man does not bite a finger that feeds him. They are corrupt bunch and so is Archbishop Akinola. He is corrupt and an embodiment of corruption and exactly what Nigerians loathe in corrupt people. However, knowing that he is corrupt and being the leader of not only the Nigerian Anglican Church but also the Christian Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Akinola is expected to perform; at least to make his name heard round the world as a performing Archbishop and Primate. Bearing this in mind then, it was therefore natural for him to fight something and make his name heard and the victims naturally became the homosexuals in Nigeria. The gamble gave him the popularity and the fame he wanted by all means. It is therefore because of this that he used all his power and might to fight the homosexuals in Nigeria even to the extent of allegedly conniving with the then President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nigeria Police to have some of them detained illegally.

As I noted earlier, Akinola colluded with a lot of people in the fight, harassment and unlawful detention of some Nigerian homosexuals. Two of the parties he colluded with are very crucial for me to point out here. They are important because they played a very formidable role in the atrocity. The first is the conservative Episcopal Church of the United States who financially gave Akinola the energy he needed to fight and the second is the then President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo who through the abuse of his office as the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria facilitated the persecution and detention of the homosexuals.

Through the non-stop funding from the Episcopal Church of the United States Archbishop Akinola allegedly did ground work well and came up with the notorious Nigerian Same Sex Prohibition Bill. As erroneously thought, the bill never originated from the Nigerian House of Assembly. It was allegedly the brainchild of Archbishop Peter Akinola. He allegedly took donation from the conservative Episcopal Church and therefore must act. He acted by smuggling the bill to the House of Representatives and made it appear as if it originated from the house.

Part of the expectations of the bill was to punish severely whoever is canvassing for same sex marriage, promoting it, sponsoring it or taking part in the marriage either in Nigeria or abroad and to punish severely homosexuals who exhibit their sexuality with punishment of up to five years in the prison. The bill also proposed to criminalise "Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations" and "publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise", on penalty of up to 5 years of imprisonment. The proposed legislation was formally challenged by the United States State Department as a breach of Nigeria's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In a well rehearsed drama the Anglican Church under the Primacy of the ambitious Akinola in September 2006 quickly organised a conference and issued a message after the bill was formally introduced and read in the House. Precisely the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria shamefacedly issued a Message to the Nation on the homosexual issue saying that the: "The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality."

“The idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians?” Does that include mine too? Of course mine is not included because I could not have been so stupid to deny others their rights in the name of God. Nigeria is made up of about 145 million people with a huge number that does not identify with any form of religion, culture or movement. I am therefore surprised how the Anglican bishops came to that conclusion. Akinola and his bishops therefore played on the emotion, weakness and ignorance of the people and that is evil.

The speed with which the bill passed from the House of Representatives to the Upper House, the Senate was unprecedented in the history of Nigerian democracy and part of the reason for that was because of the interest President Olusegun Obasanjo had in it. President Olusegun Obasanjo and Archbishop Peter Akinola came from the same town of Abeokuta in Ogun State of the South West of Nigeria. Therefore both of them saw the bill as a personal issue and there is no way President Olusegun Obasanjo would have denied his request to pass the bill into Law. They are brothers and profess the same protestant faith and therefore that deal must be cut and it was neatly and mafiosily cut hence the quick movement of the bill which unfortunately met a sad fate due to the international pressure from the European Union and the United States who kicked against it on the premise that the passage of the bill into law would violate seriously the rights and freedoms of the homosexuals in Nigeria.

President Obasanjo would also not have said no to the deal because there was an alleged covert agreement by both to keep mute on each other’s affairs and excesses. For instance it was because of this covert agreement that Archbishop Akinola refused to speak out and challenge Obasanjo on the monumental corruption that took place during his tenure as the President of Nigeria. Archbishop Akinola was the Primate, the Archbishop of Nigeria and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria throughout the tenure of Obasanjo. In fact, it is alleged that Obasanjo played a formidable role in these elections as well as the completion of the National Ecumenical Centre of Nigeria which was laying dormant for over sixteen years before the election of both Obasanjo and Akinola. In fact the launching to raise the money for the completion of the project was a listing of ‘Who Is Who’ in the annals of Nigerian corruption circus.

They were all invited and they all honoured the invitation because of the fear of Obasanjo who is notoriously known as a vindictive person. Those invited included heads of multinationals, embassies, media, oil companies etc and they all honoured the invitation. They have no option. Obasanjo takes things like this serious and declining the invitation means opposition to him and that could make you to be out of favour with the government and his juicy contracts.

However, the most interesting part of the whole saga is the choice of President Olusegun Obasanjo by Archbishop Akinola to execute the dirty project. Obasanjo in the first place is a notorious sinner by the Christian standard which Akinola used as a basis to justify the persecution of the Nigerian Homosexuals. Obasanjo is a serial polygamist and is a very weak man when it comes to something under the skirt. I am therefore surprised of this choice by Akinola as the person to John Baptise his evil intentions. Recently there was a widely publicised story of Obasanjo’s son seeking the nullification of his marriage on the ground that Obasanjo allegedly had a carnal knowledge of his wife. Well that is Nigeria for you and Archbishop Akinola is an honourable and holy man of God.

Akinola is known for being notoriously silent when evils are taking place and if he chooses to act, he prefers taking the side of the rich and the evil. For instance Archbishop Akinola is very well connected with the Ibru Family, the owners of both the Oceanic Bank and the Guardian Newspapers of Nigeria. The Ibrus are Anglicans too and actually left the Guardian Newspapers to the disposal of the Anglican Church of Nigeria for the use of propagation of faith and intentions of Archbishop Akinola and his cohorts. Every Sunday the ‘Guardian on Sunday’ has about 6 pullout pages called the ‘Ibru Centre’. The Ibru Centre reports about the activities of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and the actual centre located in the Delta state of Nigeria is a multimillion Ecumenical Centre under the auspices of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The centre’s conference and retreat centres are always and often used by the Nigerian Anglican Bishops for their meetings, retreats and deliberations.

As I pointed out earlier the Ibru family owns the Guardian Newspapers of Nigeria and the Guardian is a modern slave ship of the Nigerian media. Workers are hired and fired at will. In fact they have to be in probation for up to five or six years without pay or benefit before they are either confirmed or dismissed. I was a witness to this. I worked with the Abuja Bureau of the Newspaper and was actually a witness there when two seasoned journalists who have put in over 12 years of hardwork together were just sacked like that. The Ibrus are western educated family, very prominent Anglicans and well connected to Archbishop Peter Akinola. Akinola is aware of this practice because he has an eminent place in the newspaper. In fact Akinola is a de facto member of the Editorial Board of the Guardian Newspapers. When I was covering religion for the Guardian, there is no way under the face of the earth you could write a negative story about Akinola or the Anglican church and what still baffles me today is the reason for Akinola’s silence in the face of all these evils and the reason he chose to fight the homosexuals instead of his corrupt cohorts.

Archbishop Akinola being very close to the Ibru’s family is also very close to the Oceanic Bank of Nigeria. The bank is at the moment in a very distressed position financially. In fact the Managing Director of the Bank Mrs. Cecilia Ibru was recently taken into custody by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria for allegedly mismanaging and swindling the public fund in the bank. I am yet to figure out why Akinola’s friends and cohorts are the corrupt and the rich and why after seeing all these evils he devoted his primacy to fighting people who are going about their business loving instead of being part of the monumental corruption taking place in Nigeria.

In fact, I gathered from a very reliable and an authoritative source that on the alleged instigation of Archbishop Akinola, one of the foremost homosexual rights activist and eight others in the country were unlawfully detained by the police and thoroughly beaten. Archbishop Akinola cannot deny this because the activist in question is a prominent Nigerian Anglican. President Olusegun Obasanjo was also aware of this. One of the victims was so lucky because after his release and on the advice of an agent of the State Security he fled the country. In fact the State Security was actually after him for the second time to deal with him thoroughly before the whistleblower saved his life.

The story of Archbishop Akinola is therefore a complicated one and his primacy of the Church of Nigeria and the Presidency of the Christian Association of Nigeria a disaster which brought humiliation to the Nigerian Christians. He was more of a politician, a dubious and divisive figure than a Christian leader. This was very apparent to other Christian leaders in the country and it was precisely because of this that he lost re-election as the President of Christian Association of Nigeria to Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on June 17, 2007 with a wide margin of 72-33.

Now that Archbishop Akinola is retiring, the question on everybody’s lips is the direction his successor Archbishop Nicholas Okah would follow. In actual fact, the new Archbishop is not going to be different. For the money to keep coming in from the conservative Episcopal Church, he has to take the same stand as Akinola or even a stronger one than him. The stronger the stand that he takes, the more the money that will flow in for him. However the bad news is that he may not be able to bark and shout like Akinola. He lacks what Akinola took for granted; at least he has no kinsman as the President of the nation at the moment and that could be a serious minus on his side. The Muslim president is not interested in what happens in within the Nigerian Christendom. Also the fact that the international community is seriously watching Nigeria is the more reason he may not make no new impact.

But for sure he is definitely taking over from where Archbishop Peter Akinola dropped the baton because Akinola while in office took his time to groom his cohorts not excluding the new Primate. Though the new Archbishop is not of the same ethnic group with Akinola, Akinola who is a notorious tribalist appointed more bishops from his ethnic Yoruba group than from elsewhere. He also created new more dioceses in his ethnic south west than elsewhere. The record is there for consultation and confirmation.

The best part for new primate to follow would be to toe the part of peace, reconciliation, cohesion, tolerance, accommodation and respect and gather all God’s children together so that nobody is left behind because of his sexual orientation.

Friday, 23 October 2009

The BBC Question Time, The BNP And The Rest Of Us

The decision of the British Broadcasting Corporation to give the British National Party the opportunity to appear in its Question Time programme is not a welcomed one. It is deplorable, an act of irresponsible journalism and lack of good editorial judgement and direction. The decision is not in the interest of the public and therefore should be a subject of criticism.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public-funded media house in sharp contrast to other media in the United Kingdom and with what is obtained elsewhere in the world. The meaning of this is that the British public are taxed through what is called the Television Licence in order to keep the BBC up and running. Because of this, it is not allowed to carry commercials to avoid a situation that could jeopardise its integrity.

In the United Kingdom, it is an offence to own a television or any other medium of watching a television programme without first applying and having a TV Licence which is often paid for yearly. Any person who flouts this law is liable to prosecution and the implication is that virtually about 60 million British population who owns or watch the television pays for it personally or through the main income earner in their household. Every household must have one to watch the television.

Bearing this in mind then, one could understand the enormity of the crime committed by the BBC in giving the right to opinion and speech to the BNP through the medium. Majority of the British population do not support the BNP as a result of what they stand for. Until a recent court ruling that forced the BNP to accept non-whites, the BNP is an only white party that does not give membership to other minority ethnic British people.

The BNP is of the view that the United Kingdom should be for the original white British people alone. The meaning is that those who do not have ‘white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes’ and other attributes of the original British race and blood should not be welcomed both into the party and the union. It is a racist and an anti-immigration party and according to its constitution, the BNP is "committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948”.

Recently the leader of the party Nick Griffin suggested that boats carrying illegal immigrants from Africa into Europe should be sunk with open fire to stop them from arriving into Europe and as a deterrent to others. Apart from this, the BNP is historically an anti-Semite, anti-homosexuals and anti-blacks party and of recent has become very pronounced in its opposition to Islam and everything not British.

It is basically because of these types of ideologies and outbursts that the BNP is the public enemy number one in the United Kingdom and a party that is highly loathed from every angle. The hatred for the party is evident in the fact that despite its foundation about three decades ago, it won its first seat not even in the UK Parliament but in London Assembly and European Parliament just this year, thanks to the expenses scandal and recession that swayed the vote to them. However, prior to that, it was holding many Metropolitan Borough Council seats.

Against this backdrop then, one begins to question the sanity and sagacity behind the decision of the public-funded BBC to allow the BNP with this type of obnoxious, detestable and loathsome ideologies to appear in the Question Time. That is tantamount to insulting the public. I do not have anything against giving the media right to speech and opinion to the BNP, but the fact is that even as the BNP has the right to opinion and speech; it has no right to hatred and incitement of racial hatred, insinuation of racial inferiority of other races and their exclusion from the democratic process of this nation.

The right to speech and opinion is a constitutionally protected right but then that right is also limited in the sense that even as you are given the right to air your opinion, you do not enjoy the right to promote hatred. BNP is clearly anti-immigrants and anti-Semite using various forms of evil machinations and hatred and what the BBC just did was to give them the platform to promote that hatred under the full public gaze. That is not journalism. It is being naive, idiotic, stupid and out of touch with the feelings of the tax payers that fund it.

The BBC is supposed to be the fourth estate of the realm and the purveyor of the public opinion. The public opinion at the moment is that the BNP is not in touch with the feelings of the people. It is entirely the opposite of what the majority of the British population want at the moment. They are not one of us. They chose to be isolated with their firebrand archaic views. They do not want dialogue.

The modern British are very comfortable with the presence of immigrants from diverse nationalities and professional backgrounds who work hard to keep this nation alive. The modern British are happy and proud of the level of integration of the immigrants as well as the freedom and love and dedication with which they carry out their civic and day-to-day activities. That is the pulse of the people and the heartbeat of the nation. That is the feeling of the people. That is the voice of the people as well as the voice of God. Vox populi vox dei. It is therefore disgusting that the BBC chose in the name of political correctness and arrogance of an empty barrel to ignore these sentiments.

The BNP does not identify with any of these sentiments and if it does not identify with these sentiments why bordering to address the people they loath and ignore their contributions in this country since 1940s.

It is now over 60 years, since we came out of the worst racial crime of the century, the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazi Germany. Over 6 million Jews were exterminated using various forms of killing including the use of gas chambers by the Nazis. Also victims of this heinous crimes were the gypsies, the homosexuals, the disabled and in fact those that do not belong to the Aryan race. The Nazi began with similar sentiments being espoused by the BNP and won elections under same circumstances like the BNP. The effect of that crime as well as the after-effect of the Second World War is still here with us and it is purely this that agitates the mind on the reason the BBC could be so naive and careless to allow a party like the BNP to appear in that Question Time.

As I have already pointed out, the defence of the right of the speech does not apply here. BNP is a party that promotes racism and hatred and that is against the law, decency, commonsense and peaceful coexistence. The BBC is aware of this and should not have given them the platform to promote their contemptuous political jingoism, tarnish the image of the corporation and make the public an object of opprobrium. The BBC is wrong in allowing this to happen and can never justify their action and if nothing is done, we shall soon see the neo-fascist and neo-Nazis appearing in the public-funded programmes of the BBC in the name of freedom of speech and opinion.

Part of the blame should also go to other panellists who appeared in the same programme with the BNP leader especially the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw who should have taken the lead to distance himself from the BNP and its ideologies. Appearing in the same programme with the BNP leader is not in any way a mark of respect for the viewers but rather a great disrespect as well as tacit and indirect endorsement of what the BNP stands for. He and his other colleagues from the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties should have completely boycotted the programme.

Similarly, ‘The Times’ Newspaper of London should also be reprimanded for its irresponsible article on page 2 of October 22, 2008 edition of the newspaper titled ‘The Right Question’ which tactically justified the appearance of Griffin on the grounds that it afforded us the opportunity to debate with them. The BNP is not a party to debate with at the moment since by its manifesto; it is never open to debate with any other people except white British. How then, can ‘The Times’ justify this atrocity in the name of debate? That is a mark of irresponsible and ‘out-of-touch-with-the-people’ journalism and ‘The Times’, should get the fact straight. We can only debate with the BNP when they refine their manifesto to have a semblance of what is written by humans and not like what appears like ranting of those high in skunk and new wine.

The government is also to be blamed for the calamity especially for not passing an urgent legislation to stop the appearance of a party that by its very nature and modus operandi poses risk and danger to the public peace and to the security of the state.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

House Of Thieves And House Of Illegals: The Odd Case Of A Pot Calling Kettle Black

I have been campaigning in conjunction with others for the legalisation of the illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom. I have been doing this for quite a long time now out of principle and conviction. This campaign began after being confronted with the ugly fact that people still live in an excruciating squalid condition worse than that of animals in the United Kingdom just because they are illegal immigrants. The reason I took up this passionate campaign very dear to my heart is because of my conviction that there is something like common brotherhood of man and universal fatherhood of God. I believe strongly in both. They are not just another phrase.

My belief is borne out of the fact that none of us is happy until all of us are happy. We are interconnected to each other that no matter how far we run away from each other we are still very close to each other. We are so close that things like Swine Flu, HIV and AIDS, Ebola and Polio, even though they are not good for humans, are reminders of how close we are to each other. It can pass from one person to another in a matter of seconds. Consequently, it becomes very imperative that whatever happen to others including their conditions and welfare should be our major concern too. It is because of this reason that am seriously in support of this campaign and would shortly initiate a Facebook campaign on that to be tagged, ‘The 750 Thousand Campaign: An Appeal of Conscience’.

The reason for this campaign is not because I am in support of illegal immigration. No! I have pointed out on numerous occasions that every country has got the right to secure its borders from illegal immigrants so as not to create a problem that would be very difficult for them to manage. Whoever wants to live in any country should follow the due process to do that and the host countries should also not make things very difficult for those who genuinely want to live in their country and contribute to its growths and development. They must have to work out ways for these people to tap the fruit legally and easily.

However looking at it from a very sensible and pragmatic point of view and putting into consideration the present scenario in the United Kingdom, they are things we cannot realistically do when it comes to dealing with the illegal immigrants and one of them is mass deportation of the illegal immigrants back home. Mass deportation could be a very thorny issue and could backfire. Am thinking of what would happen, if we succeed in deporting all of them back home. Their arrival may lead to formulation of policies and sentiments that could jeopardise the interest of the United Kingdom overseas. The possibility of these people picking up arms against those who deported them is also not remote. Though we are not praying for this scenario, it is still a possibility and that is why we are in support of any decision that would not leave them and their children out in the cold.

According to the London School of Economics, there are an estimated 750 thousand illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom with the highest concentration in the London area and going by the policy of the three main parties in the United Kingdom today, all of them would have to be deported back to where they came from. That could be ludicrous and practically impossible and even if it is possible and going by the rate by which illegal immigrants are being removed in this country presently which is about 60,000 a year, it will take about 34 years at the cost of about £11,000 each to remove all of them. At the end of the 34 years it would have cost the nation about £9bn to remove them all. If they are allowed to stay, they could contribute that to the national purse in form of taxes and National Insurance.

In a nutshell, it is impossible and laughable to pursue this line of solution since it is never going to work out and whoever advocates for it should have his sanity questioned. The only solution therefore becomes doing the plausible, reasonable and moral thing and that is legalising those already here while securing the borders from those yet to arrive. This is the simplest thing to do and common sense bears testimony to this.

But the main obstacle to this line of solution is that the leaders of the three main parties in conjunction with the Nazi British National Party are in agreement in rejecting this line of solution and the reason they gave is that if that is done it would tantamount to legalising illegality and encouraging others to come in. I have also on many occasions rubbished this line of argument as simply idiotic and myopic. The fact is that these people made a mistake and that is it and having made that mistake the next line should be a solution and that is why legalising them makes more sense so that they could begin a new life even as the Boarder and Immigration Agency should work towards securing the boarders against those yet to enter illegally.

Morally this is very okay because we are dealing with human beings and not animals. Even pets here in the UK including dogs and cats are treated better than these illegal immigrants and to the sane minds, it becomes completely ironic, cynical and unacceptable that animals are treated better than fellow human beings. I have seen people who left millions of pounds in their will for their cats while others take their dogs to the gym and sauna and treat them like kings. Is it difficult then for us to do same to these people? Even stray dogs are given a sanctuary by the RSPCA, why not these people?

Unfortunately the three party leaders do not see it from this angle. They are persistent in their rejection of the proposal. Gordon Brown of the Labour Party said a capital NO. David Cameron of the Conservative Party said over his dead body while Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats said that if that happens there shall be fire and brimstone in the United Kingdom. They are in one accord and unrepentant about their decisions and according to them, these illegal immigrants did not make any mistake. They wanted to come and stay and therefore should not be encouraged.

Putting into consideration their line of argument, one is not left in limbo that Gordon, David and Nick are all perfect and honourable men who do not make mistakes. To them, things must be done the way they ought to be done. Due process must be followed. But that is not true as three of them are heavily implicated in the findings of Sir Thomas Legg on the MPs expenses claims. They were found to have corruptly inflated their expenses. They crookedly made money out of the taxpayers. I think that is called fraud. They stole from the commonwealth.

Gordon Brown, the leader of the Labour Party and the Prime Minister was found to have defaulted to the tune of £12,415 while David Cameron, the leader of the Opposition Conservative Party must supply paper work relating to a £218 mortgage and Nick Clegg the leader of the Liberal Democrats must repay £910, which he has already agreed to pay back. And these are all honourable and perfect men!

It is ironic that these three leaders who have been on the neck and major obstacle to giving a new life and second chance to over 750 thousand people are still allowed to carry on as the leaders of their various parties. Party leaders are like a tree with many branches, branches being the MPs in the same party with him. If anything goes wrong with the tree then the whole branches are in a very big problem and that is exactly what is wrong with the three major political parties at the moment. The party leaders have eaten a sour grape and the now the teeth of the MPs have been set on edge.

The party leaders are sick and corrupt and therefore the MPs they are leading are also corrupt. Their corruption is unprecedented and lacks any modicum of decency. The Nigeria parliament sounds like a heaven now compared to the UK parliament. This country has been in recession for quite some time now. People are losing their jobs, industries and factories are closing almost on daily basis, private schools are finding it difficult to be on their feet while the purse of the nation is being drained as a result of increasing number of unemployment.

In the face of these scenarios, the three honourable party leaders, threw caution to the wind and had the audacity to corruptly claim more than what they were required to claim. Some sins are bearable but the idea of bearing the ugly fact that despite the hard time we are all going through, these leaders had the gut to rape the purse of the nation is unbearable. This is disgusting and completely unacceptable and the only option, left with them now is to resign honourably and bury their heads in shame.

This is not a mistake. The rules are there and they flagrantly broke the rule and the fact that they made and broke the rule, make the whole matter unforgiving. These leaders do not believe in making mistakes after all they do not believe that the illegal immigrants made mistakes in taking the wrong decision that made them to either overstay their visa here, enter here illegally or failed in their quest for asylum.

Bearing in mind the stand of the three leaders on this issue, they have to resign and handover the mantle of leadership to others in their parties deserving the post. Nick Clegg has got a lot of people to hand over his position to amongst the Liberal Democrats. David Cameroun could hand over to Boris Johnson while Gordon Brown should think of Alan Johnson or David Milliband.

The reason why it is very imperative and urgent that they do this is because they abused the office entrusted into their hands by the people. They have the mandate of the people to lead and that mandate was seriously abused leading the people to lose hope and trust in them. And because the people have lost faith, trust and hope in them, it would be ridiculous for them to stay put and continue carrying on with the business of looting as usual.

The sympathy they failed to show in giving a second chance to these illegals is also the same sympathy they lacked in looting the national purse in the name of expenses claims otherwise how would one justify this type of looting and the amount of money in question.

It is for this reason and for the sake of decency in politics that they should have to go and make way for others more decent and clean-who would capture once again the trust of the people-to come and take over the leadership of the nation. The idea of facing corrupt looters as leaders is heartbreaking and unbearable.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize: A Victory For Civilisation, Dialogue And Respect

The decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is a very welcomed decision and a development that could only be described as giving an honour to whom honour is due. I therefore wish to state that I am proud of the decision and it could not have come at any other time than this.

In less than one year in the office, Barack Obama has surely infected and transformed the world as well as added a new meaning to politics in particular and democracy in general. His popularity in every part of the world attests to the fact that if the whole world were to decide on who clinches this peace prize, he will still win it.

He came with the message of peace, change and hope and right from the time he took the world by surprise at the Democratic National Convention up till the announcement of this prize, every actions of President Obama has borne testimony to the fact that he is a man of peace, a lover of peace and person who is eager to have that peace disseminated to every part of the world.

His style of politics is an inclusive one and he derives joy in carrying everybody along with him despite fierce oppositions from here and there and yonder. His, is not a politics of vengeance or that of smear campaign and tarnishing of images. Even when he was called ‘that one’ by his Republican opponent John McCain during a televised debate, he remained unruffled and still maintained same decorum even when Sarah Pallin accused him of ‘palling with the terrorists’. Or have we quickly forgotten what he went through in the hands of the Clintons in the name of politics, but instead of vengeance and smear campaigns which are the normal thing in today’s politics, he made her his Secretary of State.

What else do we need to look at before giving him this prize? Obama believes in peace and he preached and practised it to the highest level. His concept of peace is intertwined with egalitarianism hence his decision to give all Americans equal access to health care. He does not believe that people should die if they do not have money for healthcare or go bankrupt simply because they want to access the health care. He is a passionate believer in the concept of health not only as particle of peace but a fundamental human right that must be made available to the entire populace for their enjoyment irrespective of status and income.

Despite all these goodwill, he has been a subject of series of attacks and smear campaigns even to the extent of being called a liar openly by a Republican senator. Interestingly, out of all these opportunities that offered him the prospect to go on revenge politics, he exhibited the highest form of maturity by preferring to carry on with the business of governance and taking us out of this financial mess instead of wasting time on his detractors, because to him peace must be allowed to reign supreme.

Obama is a passionate believer in peace and has said time without number that we cannot have peace unless everybody in the world is assured of one. It has been American foreign policy to protect itself from the outside world by all means in the name of security thinking that it is the way to be secured and in peace amongst themselves. Obama reversed it opining that no matter how high America build a wall around itself, it will never have peace till that peace is taken for granted in all parts of the world. Though this seems a feat impossible to achieve, he has been working towards that with all vigour and passion and we are already seeing the impact.

On many occasions, he extended a hand of fellowship to North Korea and Iran, both rebuffed that hand and to the Muslim world, he promised a new beginning and to carry them along if they denounce terrorism and join the train of civilisation and dialogue. He made his administration very open to all and runs an open door policy to the extent that he has taken the initiative to extend hands of fellowship to countries and groups America as a country would not have thought of doing business with including North Korea and Iran. Even his home country of Kenya was not spared. He threatened to place a travel ban and restrictions on top government officials including the government in power and the opposition if the peace accord is falls apart.

On the perennial issue of Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he demonstrated openness to resolve the problem during his term in the office and to have a Palestinian state realised during his tenure too. In a very strong voice, he condemned as completely unacceptable the expanding of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories and diplomatically threatened Israel with ‘you-would-have-to-be-on-your-own’ warning, if they delay or derail the peace process. He sent same message to all the parties in the Middle East that have the intention of being a cog in the wheel of the peace process.

In less than one year in the office, he promised to conclude the US unfinished business in Iraq as soon as possible even as he set security as his top priority in Afghanistan by committing more troops to stabilise the fragile country and ensure that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are kept at bay.

It is against this background that he sent an olive palm to the state of Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah and actually commenced his first foreign trip In Egypt, a muslin country as a sign of his willingness to bring all the Muslims on board in the attempt to forge a new partnership and beginning built on mutual respect, tolerance and accommodation even as he charged the Muslim world to ensure that the unscrupulous elements amongst them are not allowed to tarnish the image of Islam.

On the Nuclear ambition of the world superpowers, Barack Obama who is not only a lawyer but also a professor of law noted that nuclear power would never bring that peace we are anxious to get but would only contribute immensely to the status quo ante. He promised to reduce the stockpile of the United States nuclear war heads and invited Russia with a visit to the country to do same even as he cancelled the decision of the United States to build and install Missile Shield System in Eastern Europe which had the potential of drawing us back to another cold war. This was a decision any other American president would not have reversed out of ego. To Obama, peace must reign and must reign by all means no matter whose Ox is gored hence the scrapping of the system.

President Barack Obama was able to achieve these entire feats in less than one year in the office and that leads me to question his critics who insinuate that the award is too early or that he did not merit it. The fact is that Obama does not need to procrastinate like his predecessors before he could lay a solid foundation for peace especially in the Middle East. The earlier the better because his predecessors were trickishly fond of commending the whole process at the end of their tenure thereby achieving nothing at the end of the day. He reversed the trend by taking a bold step to step into the territory his predecessors were afraid of stepping into as early as possible. A sign of deep-hearted quest and commitment for peace.

What other presidents were not even able to achieve within their whole tenure, he was able to create impact on in less than one year in the office. That should be the more reason he should be given the prize. He closed the Guantanamo bay detention camp, pushed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change which successive American presidents vehemently refused to negotiate, contributed immensely with his stimulus plans to avoid the worst recession in the history of the world, brought peace between the police man and the Harvard professor and many others too numerous to mention here.

The fact is that no other newly elected US president would have been able to achieve so much in so little a time like Obama due to American ego but Obama shattered that ego opining that international peace is more important than American selfishness.

Barack Obama therefore is highly qualified to be the recipient of this year’s edition of the award and the decision of the Nobel Committee to award it to Obama is something to write home about for he changed the meaning of politics and steered the world out of doom in just less than one year in the office.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lily-livered Murdoch And Pusillanimous Sun Newspaper: The Tale Of Two Visionless Birds Of A Feather!

I am still trying to figure out why reasonable and educated people read the Sun Newspaper. In a very simple parlance, it still baffles my imagination that people read the Sun Newspaper at all. I have taken my time to analyse in detail both the editorial policy and the house policy of the Sun Newspaper and it still flummoxes and eludes my imagination why a person would waste his reasonable money to buy a trash called the Sun Newspaper. Whatever is the reason, I am not going to be moved because a reasonable newspaper does not sale for 20p. Am better off spending it on chicken and chips!

A newspaper must have an editorial policy and must stand by it at all times because it is sacrosanct. It is like a bible to the medium. A newspaper that worth its name is judged by its ability to stand by a decision and hold tenaciously to a principle no matter whose ox is gored. A newspaper loses its credibility by saying one thing today and doing another thing tomorrow. It has to be rigid to a reasonable extent but at the same time must be flexible to an extent to reflect the changing and dynamic world.

I am not here to attack the Sun Newspaper and I will never do that. In fact I am one of the strongest believers in the freedom of the press and access to information. I have said it time without number that I am ready to use the last drop of my blood to defend the right of the people and the press to hold and express opinion without fear of intimidation. It is because of this reason that it is pertinent that I point out as soon as possible that my tirade is not against the Sun Newspaper per se but brainless people behind the editorial policies of the paper. This group of people is headed by the owner of the medium Rupert Murdoch.

In journalism two principal pillars guide every media and these pillars are the editorial policy and the house style. Through the former a newspaper is guided to make a definitive stand on issues, toe a particular line of argument, support a political party or even to denounce one. It is this right that the Sun Newspaper exercised few days ago when it publicly shifted its support from the Labour Party to the Conservative Party. I do not have any problem or issue with that. However my problem is that a newspaper just like a political party must be able to stand firmly at all time on what it stands for and must desist from being like a chameleon; always changing colour with events or a water Lilly floating aimlessly and endlessly.

I have taken my time too to look at the history of the brains behind the Sun Newspaper and from my investigation I am not amazed with the result. As a result of this I am therefore not baffled with the decision of the Sun Newspaper to switch allegiance from the Labour to the Conservative Party just like a prostitute switching from one man to another. Rupert Murdoch owns the News International which owns the Sun newspaper and has a notorious history of switching allegiance to a party he thinks is winning or going to win an election.

To be precise, early last year during the climax of the Presidential campaign in the United States of America, Rupert Murdoch in his myopic sense and calculation thought that Barack Obama is going to lose the election and shamelessly appeared on the television to publicly pledge his support for John McCain. The major reason for doing that is because Murdoch did his home work clumsily and came up with that stupid decision. It backfired because Barack did not only win the election, but won it with an overwhelming majority that is unprecedented in the history of American democracy.
It is the same thing that Murdoch has done again by publicly pledging support for the Conservative Party. From his own thinking, Murdoch has already concluded that Labour is going to be a failure and therefore instructed the Sun Newspaper to go public with allegiance and support for the Conservative Party.

Rupert Murdoch is not a gentleman. He is a lily-livered person who floats aimlessly like a water lily. He has been very close to the Labour Party especially during the era of Tony Blair. He wined and dined with them and for him to come at this eleventh hour to denounce them is akin to St. Peter the Apostle denying Jesus Christ, not just once but three times. Why did he suddenly forget the good times with the Labour? I am therefore sick with the attitude of Rupert Murdoch and that makes me want to vomit. Murdoch has never been identified with a particular political party since he arrived in the United Kingdom from his native Australia. His, has been a history of switching allegiance depending on the party he thinks will win the election or the one in power. That is dangerous and a sign of irresponsible and dirty politics. His, is a politics of the end justifies the means and this is one thing we do not want near the modern politics. The era of politics as a dirty game and evil machinery is gone.

During the Margaret Thatcher era, Murdoch and his publications were generally supportive of her and the Conservative Party. He formed a very close alliance with Thatcher and the Sun Newspaper actually credited itself with helping John Major to win an unexpected election victory in the 1992 general election. When Thatcher and later John Major lost the election to the Labour, Murdoch switched his support to the Labour Party and formed a close bond with Tony Blair. The closeness of his relationship with Blair and their secret meetings to discuss national policies became a political issue in Britain.

Against this backdrop, there is no more doubt that Murdoch has a bad habit of dubiously supporting an incumbent party or the one most likely to win an upcoming election in the hope of influencing government decisions that may affect his businesses. I am therefore not flabbergasted with this latest decision to switch to the Conservative side. In fact Murdoch has been planning this for long. In June 2006, the BBC reported that Murdoch and News International, the parent company of the Sun Newspaper were flirting with the idea of backing Conservative leader David Cameron at the next General Election. He would later deny this the following month.

Rupert Murdoch is therefore not a person to trust when it comes to politics. He is neither focused nor principled and cannot say exactly what his dream or focus is all about. This is a legacy he unfortunately and shamelessly passed on to the Sun Newspaper. He switches from here to there and at the end of the day is nowhere. It is a shame that the British parties allowed people like him to tarnish the image of the British politics with his dubious and unsteady attitude.

I think it is high time we told people like him where they belong to. They do not deserve to be anywhere near the corridors of power because they are like virus that could infect and leave untold damage to the fabric of any polity.

Gordon Brown is going through a very difficult time as a result of a global problem he never caused and because of the fact that he is a Scottish man. He is never wanted by the English and therefore those reasonable and sane enough should know better that this is not the right time to abandon him. In fact this is the right time to tell the nation that solving the problems and challenges facing the nation is more important than where a person comes from. It is therefore a sign of political immaturity for the media and the English to want to slaughter Gordon Brown because he is not one of them.