When nature strikes, and other things on my mind.

When Nature Strikes

As you should know by now, there is a very famous volcano that has shut down much of Europe for much of the last week. Its name is ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ (no, don’t pronounce that). The ash from its increased volcanic activity has stopped planes from flying, stranding many thousands of people, including Dora Akunyili and some governors (what are they always travelling for anyway?). Let me not digress. When the ash enters the turbines of a plane, it quickly turns into glass in the blades, and makes the plane impossible to control. Based on this, airport authorities across Europe closed down airports since Friday, leading to loss of revenues $200m and above. I can see why such actions would be taken though, because at 35,000 feet a pilot doesn’t have many options if a plane’s turbines don’t work. Life is more important than anything else. The real interest for me is how easy it is for nature to disrupt man’s activities. Despite all our technological advancement, we are still at the mercy of nature. Humans first appeared on earth about 2 million years ago, but the Earth itself has been around for a couple of billion years. We are only passengers. Nature doesn’t need us, we need nature. If the elements turn against us because of our activities that alter the balance of the Earth, nothing we have can withstand its force. It’s a humbling thought for me and it should be a humbling thought for everyone else. We must treat the Earth with respect.

IBB’s 2011 ambition

The declaration of the self-styled ‘Evil Genius’ to seek the Presidency has drawn a lot of interest, mostly negative. He has always been a news-worthy person and this time is no different. Those who oppose say he has a lot to answer for: the annulment of June 12, the Gulf Oil windfall, Dele Giwa’s assassination among so many others. There is an irony about it though: the man who annulled a free and fair election wants to seek election into the highest office in the land. Naiwu Osahon dubbed him the ‘Evil Candidate’ and Pastor Tunde Bakare called for him to be stoned. Simply put, he’s a hate figure among the majority of Nigerians. So why then has he declared his ambition? In his Op-Ed on Sunday, THISDAY Editor Simon Kolawole puts forward a theory that he won’t seek the PDP’s ticket unless he’s ABSOLUTELY sure he will win. IBB picked a nomination form in 2007, but stepped aside when it was clear that Obasanjo had other ideas. Simon thinks that IBB loves the limelight and wants to preserve the myth around his personality. I personally think that we shouldn’t obsess over IBB, because that’s exactly what he wants. The focus should instead be on putting in place a framework for free and fair elections where the people’s votes will count. I am not too concerned about any of his alleged ‘sins’. My main problem is that he’s been there before, yet Nigeria went backward and has been going backward since then. We need change and he can’t deliver that. #Ontothenextone

Jonathan’s coming out party

The Acting President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the guest of the US President last week over nuclear non-proliferation matters. He made a pledge to put in place electoral reforms and make power a top priority. He also gave interviews to the BBC and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. What struck me in those interviews was that he seemed very relaxed throughout. Goodluck also strikes me as someone a citizen would like to ‘have a beer with’ in the mould of Bush 43. He has also been given the nickname ‘Bros J’ by Nigeria’s blogosphere. It was a good outing for him, but the now the hard work begins. There is such a short time to achieve his targets and I’m very sure he knows this. It’s a little early to talk about a possible campaign run, but if he delivers it would be a very real possibility. Time will tell.

Ohakim and jobs

In the news yesterday, I saw an advert by the Imo State Government to recruit 10,000 graduates into its civil service. At first, I thought it was a good move but feedback I got from my Imo friends on Facebook showed they were very skeptical about its success. First of all, applicants are to purchase scratch cards at N2, 000 each. That is a minimum of N 20 million for the Government and could go as high as N 100 million depending on the demand. My guess is that it’s to cover all kind of costs that such an exercise will incur, plus good profit for the stakeholders. This is not my main concern, however. Increasing the size of the Imo State civil service by such a large number will only increase bureaucracy and the number of ghost workers. It’s also a lazy approach to job creation that promotes waste of tax payer’s money. The money can be better used to teach real skills that will help them succeed, and create the environment for industry to thrive. Ikedi Ohakim needs to teach the youths in his state how to fish, instead of giving them fish to eat.


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