Sep 10, 2012

Ahmed Musa Reunites with the Grassroots

Ahmed Musa was in town, the suburb of Bukuru in Jos, where he was born, raised and learnt football. He had trained at the muddy pitch of Aminci Football Club, his grassroots club, in the morning and was scheduled to come back for the evening session. We heard this and all gathered, waiting to see the guy that has made the town of Jos very proud with legs that unleash slug. The training was a special one meant to honor him. All players were unusually serious.
He was schedule to come later, when the training was already in progress, a mark of respect. So we waited... three local journalists, kids and unemployed youths who often spend their free time watching free football. I did not notice when a black Range Rover jeep arrived but noticed it when it was about to leave. It was clear that a personage had just arrived. I could see children crowding around an individual and looked critically to see that the star had arrived. He appeared so simple he makes you doubt if he is that guy that used to generate confusion in the goal mouth of opponents. He wore a black T-shirt and Super Eagles green shorts and prevented his aids from driving away children who crowded him.
After exchanging pleasantries, signing autographs and taking photos with fans, it was time for us the journalists. Musa talked about playing in the English Premiership League, saying that it is the dream of every Nigerian footballer to play in the Barclays Premiership League and his own position regarding that isn’t different. He said that he is aware that he is still young. The implication is that he has so many years of active football ahead of him and that playing in Russia is satisfactory but also provides an opportunity to be noticed by bigger clubs, a lot of which are in England. The star said that even though he is a fan of Arsenal, it does not mean that he must necessarily play for Arsenal alone as football these days is also about the money. He is going to wait and pray for the right time and the right club that destiny brings.
Musa referred to playing in the Champions League as a dream come true that also afforded him the chance to meet his favorite player, Christiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid with whom he had a photograph.
Football fans will recall that Ahmed Musa joined the Nigerian Senior National team, The Super Eagles under Coach Samson Siasia who was eventually sacked when we could not make it to the Nations Cup. Siaisa was replaced by former national team captain, Stephen Keshi. Musa told us that his fortunes had remained the same under the different coaches. Siaisa, according to Musa, kept encouraging him, telling him that he’s got what it takes and can play anywhere around the world. With Keshi, it is the same thing, he says. Keshi has continued to encourage him to help him bring out his best.
Musa expressed disappointment with the inability of the Super Eagles to qualify to play in the last Nations Cup. He said that one of his immediate dreams is to play in the Nations Cup and as such he was devastated when the national team failed to qualify for Africa’s premier football tournament. This time, he says, he believes they are going to qualify. Already, he says, they earned a point when they played a 2-2 draw with the Liberian National Team and sees no reason why they will not defeat the Liberians in the return leg in Calabar.
In the past, Nigerian footballers like Julius Aghahowa had frustrating times playing in Russia because of severe low temperatures. Ahmed Musa said that though the weather in Moscow is colder than in Jos where he comes from, it has not posed any treat or frustration to his career over there. As a matter of fact he is enjoying playing in Russia and looks forward to even better days there. 

Sep 5, 2012

Isa El Buba Builds a Skyscraper in Jos

The Edifice that Isa El Buba is Building
Anybody that has been a movie freak in Jos back in the seventies and eighties will definitely remember there used to be a movie theatre by the name of Scalar Cinema along Kashim Ibrahim Street. Changing times let to diminishing interest in movie watching in Nigeria. Consequently, cinema houses started experiencing reverses in their fortunes, leading to the closure of some of them. As a result, former Scalar building was taken over by a church known as Christ for all Nations. Eventually the building itself was demolished. In its place now is a tall building whose construction is ongoing. When I counted the number of floors, there were about ten of them.
In the whole of Jos, it is possible to count the number of towering structures that go beyond seven floors but not higher than eight floors. There is the Standard Building, PIPC building along Murtala Mohammed Way, The Federal Secretariat at Tudun Wada and the Plateau State Ministry of Education building at Joseph Gomwalk Secretariat of the Plateau State Government. If this building along Kashim Ibrahim Road is completed, it would have set a record as the highest building in the city of Jos. In addition, it will be the only such building to be owned by an individual. All the other ones listed are owned by either the Plateau State Government or the Federal Government. This individual is a clergy man that goes by the name of Isa El Buba.
The name Isa El Buba first rang a bell in my mind earlier in the year 2007 when he organized a well publicized evangelical crusade that was attended by the Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang, the year Jang became the Plateau State Governor. People came to know him as a man from Borno State that was formerly a Muslim, a fact that seem to explain the presence of the prefix “el” in his name. It appears El Buba has taken a decision to make Plateau State his home as he has managed to weave himself into the brotherhood of the Plateau people so much that he is said to have written a popular jingle praying for Plateau State and which is played each time the television and radio arms of the Plateau Radio and Television Corporation, PRTVC opens or closes for the day. Some years back, civil servants had to pick up a quarrel with El Buba for sticking his nose where it was not wanted when he dabbled into a labor misunderstanding between the Civil Service and the State Government.
It is rumored that El Buba plans to establish a school of theology and the towering building is meant to house the school. This leaves me wondering. First, the noisy nature of the street along which the structure is been erected makes it unsuitable for learning. Secondly, the conditions of similar buildings in the city are enough to warn Pastor El Buba of the waste it will amount in putting millions into its erection. The top floors of these buildings are virtually uninhabited due to absence of elevators as a result of the difficulty of maintaining them and the unpredictable electric power situations that has made the use of elevators risky in the country as a whole. Secondly, should one decide to sell such a structure, it will be difficult to find buyers for the same reasons. Where someone decides to buy at all, he will under-price it, knowing the top floors will be of no use. On the other hand, the worth of the structure will only appreciate with time, had the floors of the building been spread over a large expanse of land as is expected of a conventional school, just like The Theological College of Northern Nigeria located in the outskirts of the city.
A lot of people however believe that the pastor knows the rational bankruptcy associated with the erection of that kind of edifice and that he is only doing it to serve a more important purpose which is, primarily, to demonstrate to himself and onlookers, what he is capable of achieving.

Jun 30, 2012

Barrister Solomon Dalung’s Bio

Barr. Solomon Dalong
Barrister Solomon Dalong was born on the 26th of September 1964 in the town of Sabon Gida within the then Resettlement Area which was a creation of the colonial masters to resettle and rehabilitate war veterans of World War II. This resettlement area is currently known as Langtang South Local Government Area.

 Dalong has not buried anybody as his parents are still alive and living in Sabon Gida. His father is a retired Director of Health of the Taraba State Civil Service. His great grandfather was a wealthy man of his time. The ancestor was a hunter who once left his village in Langtang to Ibi in the present day Taraba State for a hunting expedition. While in the wild, he came across white Europeans disembarking from their ship at the river bank of the Benue. He knew they were humans and performed the traditional rites of surrender by throwing his weapons and bowing down. The whites where quiet impressed and dressed him as a king by adorning him with beads and bangles with the Union Jack hung on his shoulder. He became an official mediator between the colonial masters and the natives leading to his influence and affluence. This historical event changed the course of history by giving his extended family a stake in the kingdom of Gazum District in Lantang South.

Dalong had his primary school education at LEA Primary School Sabon Gida from 1971 to 1977. He then proceeded to Government College Keffi, currently in Nassarawa State, for his secondary school education.

Against the tradition of joining the military that is common to Langtang people, Dalong chose to join the Nigerian Prisons Service in the early eighties. In 1991 while still in the Prisons Service, he enrolled to study Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Jos. The unpredictable academic calendar that characterized the Nigerian University atmosphere at that period saw him spending a whole nine years before bagging an LLB. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, in Abuja, graduated in 2000 and was called to the Bar in 2001.

After passing out from Law School, he took up a job as Personal Assistant to Chief Solomon Lar when Lar was appointed as Adviser Emeritus to President Olusegun Obasanjo. This job lasted until 2003. In 2004, he took up an appointment with the Faculty of Law of the University of Jos as a lecturer. As a lecturer, he has had the opportunity of attending leadership trainings courtesy international human rights organizations. In 2005, he combined his job as a lecturer and study while pursuing a prost graduate degree in Law. His LLM program successfully ended in 2007 and was appointed the Chairman of Langtang South Local Government Area the same year. As Chairman of Langtang South, he also served as the Plateau State Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON). His tenure as Local Government Chairman ended in May 2008. He then returned to the University of Jos. He made an attempt at representing Langtang North and South at the National Assembly but lost.

Dalong joined the Prisons Service as a Prison Assistant and rose to the rank of Assistant Inspector of Prisons. Following his training as an attorney, he was moved to the legal department of prisons where he served as Legal Officer II in the prisons headquarters prior to retirement.

Dalong’s strong condemnation of the political regime is inherited, as political criticism runs in the family's blood up to his great grandfather. According to Dalong, “governance is a social responsibility and a democratic leader is equivalent to a human god, having the responsibility to determine the destiny of his followers. He did not acquire power by conquest, strength or might but either by charisma, bureaucracy or law. There is an instrument that confers that power on him and is expected to exercise it within the parameter of the enabling authority.” Abusing this power irritates him. This is not just an additional factor that shaped his critical political attitude but the  most dire of these factors. 

In Langtang south Dalong is referred to as “the man who brought colored roofing sheets.”  He is a Christian and is married to his wife whom he fondly refers to as First Lady and is a father to seven children.

Jun 27, 2012

Big Man: Who is He?

The picture of a big man, in the minds of many, is that of a guy who has got plenty of cash. Along this line, if you want to be treated as a big man, you must be able to show that you have the money. Though true, the definition of a big man transcends that realm and is actually a spectrum that includes other categories of people. The definition of a big man revolves around power, the capacity to makes things happen. It is the reason why the man of cash easily comes to mind when you think of a big man. Money gives one power. Since it is what everyone wants, you can pay people in order to get them to do things for you.
Getting people to do things is however not exclusive to rich folks. According to William Shakespeare, some people are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them. There is no doubt that a great man is a big man and all these categories of greatness cannot be tied to money. My impression of a man who is born great is one that was born with some sort of appeal, most notably wisdom or intelligence. Due to his intelligence, he or she gets things done by proffering solutions when people desperately need them. He wins the reverence of people and is a big man as a result. Eventually money will still follow because people will feel that if there is anybody that should be rich, it should be him.
Some people acquire power or the capacity to get things done by virtue of the fact that they are occupying an office that enables them to give orders that must be followed. As a result he is a big man since he has the capacity to get things done. If you are a leader of an organization, you make plans, take decisions and execute the decisions of the organization with the resources of the organization. Though the resources of the organization are not yours, you have control over them and use them to get things done. That makes you a big man. My impression is that this category of people is the one Shakespeare referred to as those to whom greatness is trusted upon them.
The greatness of some people is faith-based. These persons are leaders of some faith and have large followership by people who follow the faith or ideology they preach. Osama Bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist group that intends to propagate Islam to all parts of the world through the use of terror. He had a large followership of people who believe in his course and were willing to play their role towards the actualization of his dream. That made Osama Bin Laden a big guy even without considering his parental background, as his adherents did not do his will because he came from a wealthy background but because he decided to sacrifice the power from the  millions of dollars that his family business generated to live in caves for the sake of actualizing his dream. His greatness or might was thus faith-based.
Prophet Mohammed was born in 570 CE in Mecca in the region today referred to as the Middle-East. Having lost his parents at an early age, he was raised by an uncle. He worked as a merchant and a shepherd. Occasionally, he went to the cave to meditate and pray for several nights. In one such night, he received a revelation from God. Three years after the revelation, he started preaching and proclaiming God as one and to whom there should be total submission. He gained a few followers initially. Today, the faith of Islam which he founded has grown to gain global followership.  
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem in Judea, south of Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. His birth was a fulfillment of a prophecy that a Messiah shall be born to save all mankind from his sins. As a fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, died and rose after three days. He later ascended into Heaven leaving behind his disciples to continue with the good news of salvation that he brought. Today, the faith of Christianity, which he founded, has a global followership.
The founders of these two religions lived very humble lives. They left behind hundreds of millions of followers who believe in their teachings and do their will as a result, thereby making them the most powerful humans ever. These men were or are the ultimate big men.

Jun 12, 2012

The Origin of the Name " Kaduna"

Kaduna City
Kaduna city is the capital city of Kaduna State, one of the thirty-six states in Nigeria. It is located in the North-Western part of the country. The state it administers and which was named after it, Kaduna, was created in 1976. Later in 1987, Katsina State was carved of it.
Most places in Nigeria, as elsewhere, where named based on prominent geographical features present in the locality. Some examples include “Lagos” which means a lagoon in Portuguese, Plateau by virtue of the table nature of the land, Niger and Benue States based on Rivers Niger and Benue respectively.  Others include Cross-Rivers, Rivers, etc.  
In like manner, the city of Kaduna was named due to the presence of a prominent river in the locality. The name ‘Kaduana’ in its modern form is a colonial invention. The colonial administration was constructing the railway line that eventually connected the different parts of the country. While passing through the Zauzzau (Zaria) Emirates, it noticed the appeal of the locality and decided to move the capital of the Northern Protectorate previously at Zungeru in Niger State, to the new land. The white colonial administration sought the permission of the Emir of Zauzzau.  With his approval the capital was moved.
In naming the city, the colonial masters learnt of the presence of ‘rafin kaduna’, which means the river of crocodiles. ‘kada’ is a Hausa word that means "crocodile" while ‘rafi’ means a river. The word ‘kaduna’ is the plural of ‘kada.’ The colonial administration then adopted the word ‘kaduna’ for its new headquarters  The colonial administration however, changed the pronunciation such that one is not reminded of crocodiles when it is pronounced.

A Letter from a Mathematics Teacher to WAEC

Students writing examinations.   As a teacher, I have watched unsavoury trends over time, which have pushed me to the wall and coerced me to...