Dazzling stills of actress Mercy Aigbe
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
How much does a country need to keep its busiest international airport from running like an oven? The Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos has to be the hottest airport in the world. It is easily the hottest I have travelled through and I have been through quite a lot of airports. Even the Nairobi airport in Kenya that was engulfed by fire is not as hot as the MMIA. You should not even get started with comparing it with the airport in Cape Town or Johannesburg, South Africa. Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport, Accra may be small but it does not meet you with the repulsiveness the MMIA greets you with. Even the Eyadema airport in Togo has a better atmosphere. The Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal trumps ours by light years. This is speaking of African countries. We dare not try to compare with airports outside Africa. As soon as you descend from the plane to go through the immigration point, the feeling is as though you were being punished for daring to travel to Nigeria – if a foreigner – or you were being punished for daring to leave the country – if a Nigerian. The saddest part of this reality is that money is not the reason why we have an airport that makes us look like we are a people without shame. Or, are we?
There is a chance you are busy during the week. If you find time this Sunday, please pay a visit to the MMIA. Find your way to the Departure Hall. If it does not remind you of the old Oshodi in Lagos, I’d write an apology for everyone who says it doesn’t. Of course, there is a chance they quickly react to this piece to make a few cosmetic changes. If it looks better this Sunday because of this piece, just wait another four weeks; I can bet it will be back to its seamy self. Last Sunday, there were more touts than there were passengers inside the airport. The system is such that even getting your boarding pass to travel is made difficult so an incentive is created for you to engage one of the touts. I was approached to pay N5,000 to get my boarding pass. I wouldn’t pay because I just needed to see if I’d miss my flight despite arriving over three hours earlier. If that had happened, I’d have made sure the airline in question never gets to try it with anyone again. Where else could an anomaly like this happen? If you arrive the airport two hours before your flight, there is a chance you miss your flight not because that is not enough time before your flight but because somehow, someway, bottlenecks have been created to make you need touts to do what you’d do within minutes elsewhere. Nigeria is a nightmare!
If per chance you are wondering why one would dedicate a column to an airport of all the myriad of issues facing Nigeria, please have a rethink. The airport is an essential part of a country’s prestige and perception. Any country with a badly managed airport as ours is likely to be as badly managed as our country. If a country cannot manage its main airport, how can it manage anything else? Travelling through Section D 34 on Sunday and it was as though someone was increasing the heat as we were getting boiled. How much does it cost to make the air-conditioning systems work? What does it cost to make the airport clean enough? Why should we have people in queues for hours just to go through immigration and security checks? Why have more metal detectors if passengers are made to use just one or two on most occasions? Body scanners have been in use since 2007, how much does it cost to have them in our major airports? Why is Nigeria the only country where, to travel, you must have your box opened and ransacked by security men? What is the essence of running these same bags through electronic security? Why in the world can’t we get even the simplest of things right?
The first impression you get about a country upon visiting is its airport. There are people who intentionally run their flight connections through some airports just to make use of their facilities or make purchases. I know people who travel to other parts of the world but make sure to travel through Dubai simply because of the travel experience. I dare not start comparing our airports with Dubai’s because then I’d be comparing two things of different kinds. You will not find a Nigerian who has been outside of this country who is not ashamed of our airports. Of course, this does not include Nigerians who call things that do not exist as though they do; Nigerians who look at the poverty and gross unemployment and proclaim our lives are being transformed. You will not find a Nigerian who has the ability to face the truth who’d not admit shame at looking at our major airports. I was at the Addis Ababa airport last August when a Nigerian started lamenting behind me. She was shocked even Ethiopia could do better than the “giANT” of Africa. Giant ko, dwarf ni. We stay living in a delusion of grandeur that does not exist.
Having said all this, I will never be able to describe the pain and sadness that come with travelling from the MMIA. The only way you won’t feel this sadness is if you’ve gone past caring about this country or you are one of the reasons this country is so messed us as it is. The MMIA was modelled after Amsterdam’s Schipol. Over 40 years later, the MMIA is worse than it looked when the military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo remodelled it. Just look at Schipol airport today. If you dare compare both, tears will fill your eyes before you even get started.
Where then do we start? We can start by doing away with the touts inside the lobby. We can start by ensuring the air-conditioning systems work. We can look to make sure passengers are well-treated on arrival and departure. We always look at problems and immediately assume throwing money at them will solve them. I have since realised half the problems with Nigeria have nothing to do with money. Even with all the money in the world, our airports and our country will not work as long as we do not have people who care about excellence. Caring about excellence means knowing that Nigerians deserve the best all the time. When we reserve the rights citizens of other countries take for granted, upgrade such to privileges for our citizens, we will always miss the point of making things work. Nigerians deserve more but as long as we have people – including the President – dancing on national TV because a road contract has been awarded, we’d always have a situation where mediocrity will remain the norm. Would anyone say the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is the mess it is because of money? Nay. It is what it is because we are who we are. We have become a people accustomed to seeing nothing work.
It’d be great to see someone in authority do something about the mess that is the MMIA for starters. It’s a shame to Nigeria. But does Nigeria even understand what shame is? Does anyone really give a damn about the shame?
-Mr. Omojuwa @gmail.com; twitter: @omojuwa
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Far from the regular tradings of the Philosophy of mind, the concept of Gnoseology as an ambience within scholaric discourse is an offshoot of a synopsis. This synopsis has its root in the marvels that triggered seeming interests on the extent at which the mind bears relevance within human struggle. The mind, yes, the mind is surreal.
There is no gainsaying that, much work has been carried out by scholars in the past. The many works in this area reflects a revolution in psychology that began mid-century, a period marked with radical scienticism and pro-behaviouralism. Before then, largely in reaction to traditional claims about the mind being non-physical a-la- Rene Descartes, many thought that a scientific psychology should avoid talk of ‘private’ mental states. Investigation of such states had seemed to be based on unreliable introspection, and not subject to independent checking. Consequently, psychologists like B.F Skinner and J.B. Watson, and philosophers like W.V Quine and Gilbert Ryle argued that scientific psychology should confine itself to studying publicly observable relations between stimuli and responses. This fact is avid in their works on Behaviourism, Methodological and scientific findings towards Behaviourism on an analytic front.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
The PUNCH gathered on Tuesday evening that a key component of the agreement reached by the parties was that the Federal Government would inject N1.1tn into public universities in the next five years.
A reliable source, who made this known, also hinted that the strike would be called off anytime next week.
He said the government team which was led by President Goodluck Jonathan would release N220bn yearly into the sector beginning from 2014.
The source added, “The meeting should be the longest that we have ever had on this crisis but I can tell you that both parties were frank all through the discussions.
“The parties also showed commitment towards ending the crisis. The President in particular showed that he was serious about ending the strike and that was why he offered to release over N1tn to the universities in the next five years.
“The money will be released on a yearly basis at N220bn per annum beginning from 2014. For the outgoing year, the government will only release N100bn and this has been processed.”
He said that the government, in order to show its commitment to a fresh pact, accepted that “the fund(N1.1tn) should domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria”
“The money will be released on a quarterly basis to the universities. So, there won’t be any problem about funding the deal,” the source said.
The National Universities Commission and the Trade Union Congress, according to him, will be the joint guarantors of the agreement while the Minister of Education will be the implementation officer.
The source also said that the government agreed among other things, to revamp the public universities by ensuring that all those issues that always led to strike were dealt with once and for all.
It was learnt that the negotiating team of ASUU led by Dr. Nassir Faggae met on Tuesday night to further deliberate on the deal.
Though the details of the meeting were not known as of 11.22pm on Tuesday, it was gathered that ASUU might call a National Executive Council meeting on or before Saturday where the deal would be tabled before all its branch executives.
Jonathan had while shaking hands with Fagge after the marathon meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja said, “My President, I hope it (strike) will end today(Tuesday). Our children have suffered enough. We must find a solution.”
All those in attendance responded with a loud “Amen.”
When greeting Omar, he said, “My President with you around, there will be no problem; our agreement is signed, sealed and delivered.”.
Faggae told State House correspondent on his way out of the Villa, that his team would take back a message to varsity teachers before a decision would be taken on the next line of action.
“We had a lengthy meeting with Mr. President, and we looked into how best to address the problem of university education in this country. We now have a message from Mr. President that we are going to take to our members and we are expecting that our members will respond appropriately to his message,” he said.
Fagge added that since the message was meant for members, he would not divulge it to the press.
When asked whether university teachers would be called upon to return to the classrooms, he said that the decision was left for them to take.
When further asked if he was impressed by the President’s message, Faggae cautioned journalists against putting words in his mouth, insisting that only ASUU members would determine that.
The Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, who listened to Faggae’s encounter with journalists, later said progress was made during the discussion.
He said, “We made progress. The President of ASUU told you that they are going back with a message from the Federal Government back to their members and the message is full of high expectation and hope.”
When asked whether ASUU would call off the strike, Wogu said that was why he described the message as full of expectation.
“Our prayer is that they will come back with positive outcome. They might even not come back to meet us. They might take decision there that will meet your expectations “ he said.
He added that the offers made by the government during the meeting were those that were in line with the contentious 2009 agreement.
He said since the issues that led to the strike bordered on the 2009 agreement, the government did not go beyond the pact.
The President was joined at the meeting that started at 2.40pm on Monday by Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike; Wogu among others.
Faggae led the union team which included past presidents such as Prof. Abdulahi Sule-Kano, Prof. Dipo Fashina and Prof. Festus Iyayi.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Abdulawahid Omar and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama, also attended.
Other members of the delegation were Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, Prof. Victor Osodeke, Prof. Suleiman Abdul, Dr. Victor Igbum and Mr. Michael Odunmoraye.
The marathon meeting was the first between ASUU and Jonathan since the strike started. The Presidency took over the negotiations with ASUU on September 19 with Sambo in charge.
Friday, 25 October 2013
Within the parlance of most Satyric thinking, the doer of an action is the protagonist to which the case eventually is inferred from. This is often independent of whether or not, the necessary course of action is as should be or not. That the doer of the action is the igniter of the will, leaves more to answers and better yet, answers that leave so much to be desired. But, within common discuss; the one to which the action is done, is the one with the end result. That, in itself is the conditioning factor, the constant, upon which every consequence is factored.