Saturday, October 11, 2008

One Eye on Politics, One Eye on African Development

It's been a while since I last wrote - months, in fact. That's OK - the biggest mistake bloggers make is writing with no endgame, no value to the reader, no arrival point... you get the picture :-) - this wasn't meant to be a diary, no offence to those who make it such. Which is not to suggest that leaving a blog unattended to is a great idea, either. Needless to say, I'm back.

During my self-imposed hiatus, I spent time thinking about what my long-term life goals were. I've always been interested in issues surrounding politics (and perhaps more precisely, policies) of governments, development of so-called 3rd world economies and other sundry international affairs. It goes without saying that my thought train ran in these areas, so I guess you could say that I am interested in making the oft-quoted (read, cliche) "difference". More on that when my political soliloquy is completed.

A lot has been happening in the political arena since my last blog entry on May 7th.
Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination; had a whirlwind tour of Europe and the Middle East to "boost his international credentials"; got criticized for being a rock star because 200,000 people showed up to hear him speak in Berlin (perhaps we should have asked the Berliners if they had nothing else to do on a Friday night, lol); selected a Washington insider as his running mate of "change"; had a so-so post-Convention bump in the polls; and now seems to be running away with this election as the US (and indeed, global) economy melts. Busy times in the life of the Kenyan-American.
John McCain selected a Hilary Clinton clone as his VP of "change" and has been slipping in the polls as folks come to grips with his senility, inability to formulate coherent ideas and general fogginess. Nothing else, really - which tells you all you need to know about this man, who has parlayed his Vietnam vet experience into more than he deserves.

Frankly folks, if Obama was a white man, his margin of victory in November would exceed even that of Bill Clinton over Bob Dole in 1996, i.e. a clear-cut victory. However, Mr. Obama is a black man (forget the "mixed" tag - that is no longer valid), and as the election winds down, we will begin to see more overt racist tones from any or all of McCain ("that one"), Sarah Palin (the redneck, hockey mom BS has gone too far, lady) and the Republican base. By playing on the fears of so-called mainstream Americans, I firmly believe that McCain and Palin will carry the day (perhaps by as much as 20-25 electoral college votes). Watch this space.

Canada is also going to the polls (on Tuesday, in fact). It's basically a choice between an non-charismatic Conservative Prime Minister; an even more non-charismatic and frankly, timid, Liberal leader who offers no good ideas; a charismatic but slick and salesman-like New Democratic leader, who will likely bankrupt this country with his multi-billion dollar spending plans and his aversion to Big Oil; a separatist Bloc Quebecois leader who should not even be considered as a future Prime Minister (I doubt he wants to be); and the Green Party, whose platform outside of defending the very flawed Kyoto Protocol and other supposedly pro-environmental issues is virtually non-existent.

I will probably vote for the Conservatives for 3 reasons -

1. They share my opposition to same-sex marriage and will probably bring it back to the table to debate and hopefully cancel it, if they get a majority (unlikely now, with the Canadian economy slowing down).

2. I'm in a tax bracket that is already high enough - I support universal education and healthcare, and I'm in favor of assisting those who through circumstances beyond their control, are destitute, BUT I do not support the use of my considerable tax dollars to fund the very wasteful and frankly, disgraceful, welfare program we have in this country where any Tom, Dick and Harry who has wasted the many opportunities this country has afforded him can eat, drink and be sheltered through my efforts and sweat. No Sir. Until our welfare system is reformed, I will never vote for any government that increases its funding.

3. I work for Big Oil. Enough said.

In Nigeria, we (I know, despite my many utterances, Nigeria is still "home") have a President who has no interest in tackling corruption, diversifying our economy or providing the basic amenities the citizenry of every country should have - security, good roads, electricity and running water. In a country of 140 million people where the power production is equivalent to that produced for about a quarter of the city of Toronto (The city of Toronto's population is under 3 million people, for comparison), those who siphoned billions of dollars worth of contracts have not been brought to book. Instead they receive honorary doctorates, commission "white elephant" (i.e. phony) projects and are acclaimed as elder statesmen/women. Some are even holding political office in this dispensation, and by extension, can be said to be investigating themselves!
To compound matters, this President has health issues (something with his liver and/or kidneys) and probably spends 4 months of every year in a hospital bed, or hooked up to a dialysis machine, which is probably not best for political stability, not with the aggrieved (and rightfully so) people of the Niger Delta agitating for resource control and causing disruptions to the country's oil production, although these militants should be asking why the Niger Delta politicians are probably the most corrupt in the country.
The whole situation beggars belief - meanwhile the wealthy 1% get wealthier and the VERY poor 70% get poorer. Well, as the area boys in Lagos would say, God dey.

Which brings me to the thoughts and ideas that have been floating through my mind for a long time. I've often been the first one, when the discussion comes up among friends, to aver that I have no interest in going back to Nigeria to live and "contribute to the development of the country". This is because most of the time, that simply means "go back and join in the game", which as we all know is Corruption (yes, with a capital C). Some of the biggest crooks and malevolents in Nigerian society are folks who were acclaimed technocrats overseas, but who couldn't resist the temptation of the honey pot when they returned to Nigeria. A few exceptions do exist - the current Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, is a prime example of what all foreign-based technocrats should aspire to - but the majority have been bad apples.
As a result, I still hold on to my views about settling down in Nigeria (not ever), and I thank God everyday that he opened the doors for my family to gain international exposure over the years - from Japan (my Dad) to France (my Mom) to Italy to Canada and the USA - so I truly consider myself a global citizen. However, there will always be a soft spot for Nigeria and the 15 years I spent there.

My interest therefore, is to focus my efforts on global development issues, and in particular, sub-Sarahan African development. The ideas are slowly clarifying in my head, but as someone who has always believed that what Africa really needs are people who can come up with feasible, cost-effective blueprints and designs for innovative systems, while utilizing local labor and materials; I've realized that perhaps it is up to me and like-minded people to serve the motherland in this regard. We've been trained at the best schools in the world, we make a living using these abilities and we can harness them in new and different ways. I probably won't ever have a permanent address in Nigeria or anywhere else in Africa, but I truly believe I can serve the African people better with the implementation of technologies and systems that actually improve their lives - even it's from the comfort of an office suite in downtown Toronto.

The corollary is that this blog will be shifting its priorities from time to time to expand on issues not just related to politics, but global (particularly African) issues which beg our audience.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quit Now!

So I've been ignoring the US Democratic Party nomination and all other related issues for a long time now, mostly because it degenerated into a mud-slinging, name-calling vitriolic drive on both sides, but especially from the Hill-Bill machine. Also, at those points, it still looked like the result may have been in doubt and I wanted things to look a lot more definite before I took the time off my busy day to expound on the topic.

I think after last night, we have moved into a different phase in the electioneering campaign, and I fully expect that this race will be over by the end of this month. I'm pretty sure Hilary isn't going to concede the nomination to Barack, but I guess we can hope that the superdelegates exert their powers and by deserting her, help to open her eyes to see the reality of the situation. This space therefore presumes that Barack will be the Democratic nominee come November.

There are a few people/issues that must be covered in the wake of this inevitability:

Barack - Some of the luster definitely wore off in the last few weeks, which believe it or not is a good thing. You'd rather hear those critiques now than later...and you handled them (for the most part) like a champ. As long as you aren't cheating on your wife or taxes, it'll be hard for the smear-mongers to come up with new stuff. Of course, this is politics, so I fully expect that statement to be meaningless in a couple of...days :-)

Word of Advice - Next time you are in church and your pastor starts saying stuff that's mildly controversial, feel free to up and leave. God will forgive me.

Hilary - Well, the ride is almost over. Feels bittersweet, doesn't it? On the one hand, you proved that women have what it takes to be President (of course, the enlightened few of us always knew that), but on the other you showed that being bitchy doesn't pay off. If you had been a nicer, less polarizing person, I do believe you may have been in with a chance.
Ladies everywhere, take note. Guys may "respect" you if you are hard-ass and "bitchy", but when the chips are down, we'll be supporting the "nice" is what it is.

Word of Advice - Make it official. Quit...NOW

Bill - Ha ha. You honestly thought you would have another stab at your private bordello, this time without the extra burden of being Mr. President? Nice try.

Word of Advice - Get a good divorce lawyer. I think Hilary has no more use for you, plus she needs to repay all that cash she's been lending her campaign.

Jeremiah Wright - Your ignorance, arrogance and stupidity know no bounds. I won't waste much more space on you. If you are a pastor, I'm John the Baptist.

Word of Advice - Shut up already.

Blue-collar workers of America - I guess you continually demonstrate your supposed low IQs by fulfilling the billing the media has given you as Hilary's "base". Everytime you vote for her, that's another vote from a demographic that is tagged "unintelligent", "rednecked", "ignorant" and yes, "racist". If these statements don't describe you, do yourselves a collective favor next time you vote and challenge the norms society expects from you.

Word of Advice - She ain't winnin', not now, not ever. Sorry y'all.

In other news,
The nonsensical furor over the Beijing Olympics seems to have died down. Good, let me enjoy my Olympics in (hopefully) peace. We can discuss human rights after that.

Bahamas in June? Sounds like a plan.

Why do black men and black women (especially in North America) have such a dysfunctional relationship with each other? Are we even on the same wavelengths on several issues, especially when it comes to relationships?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tibet, China and the Beijing Olympics

This is not something that "affects black people the world over" as the tagline of my blog so eloquently states, but I do feel like commenting on the recent brouhaha over the Beijing Olympics. The issue at hand is whether the so-called West (I hate the arrogance of that term) should boycott the opening ceremonies, or even the entire event, as a statement against China's human rights record, in particular their Tibet record.

It's no secret that the Dalai Lama is one of the most revered figures in the world, and understandable that the world leaders kowtow to him at the slightest tip (not drop) of a hat. In fact, one can call the devotion to him "servile". Since the only being I serve is God, I don't feel the same way towards the old man of Tibet, but I do respect his perseverance in the face of adversity. That being said, I'm disappointed that he could come out with a statement about boycotting any part of the Olympics, while still parading himself as a world leader. I'm disappointed because this simply shows him to be another in a long line of selfish leaders, who only draw attention to themselves, and fail to see the big picture.

What's the big picture, you ask? Let's examine it through the eyes of stakeholders:

Chinese Government and Tibetan politics
Boycotting the games will have NO impact on the Chinese government or their relations with Tibet. If anything, by forcing the hand of the world, the Tibetans are likely to receive even harsher treatment from China in the coming months and years. The only thing the West can do to force China's hand is the imposition of economic sanctions, and the West won't do that for 2 reasons - 1) it will lead to a worsening of the economic conditions in the West, since the cost of goods and services will increase and 2) will only turn China to focus more on the Russian and North Korean markets, something the US (in particular) is very keen to avoid.
What does this mean - these proposed boycotts are merely a tool that the West can say it used, without achieving any specific objective since they don't affect any of the primary stakeholders (other than the athletes).

The West
Added to reasons listed above about why a boycott won't work is the simple fact that all the big blue-chip companies - Apple, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, IBM, Kodak, etc - have already paid mega-bucks for the sponsorship rights to this event. When corporate America sneezes, so does the rest of the world, and I can assure you that no one in the West wants a cold right now :-)
The West is also complaining (trying to make excuses, more like) about how the event has been poorly managed so far, how pollution is going to bother the athletes, how the workers building facilities for the games were treated like crap, how the quality of the infrastructure leaves much to be desired, and so on. The question that should be asked is this - when the IOC was kissing China's ass in 2001 and overlooking the better bid from Toronto (I had to plug my hometown), where were all these concerns? Give me a break - it's not as if we just discovered that China had pollution or human rights issues.

Symbolism of Olympic Games
To me, this was tarnished from the very moment that the decision was made to go to Beijing for the Olympics in 2008. How the Olympics, which preach "egalite and fraternite" (equality and brotherhood) could be auctioned off to the highest bidder, just so that advertising rights to 1.2 billion people could be harnessed, never ceases to amaze me. Essentially, China's fascist, racist and nepotist regime got a pass from the international community to carry on business as usual - no different from the Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany, really. It is rich, therefore, for this about-face and last-minute questioning of the decision to start.

For those wondering why I called the Dalai Lama selfish, this is it. These athletes are the mostly nameless, poor (forget the very few NBA or track superstars who will be there) folks who have been working hard in obscurity for the better part of 4 years, so that they can display their talents to the world FREE of charge. Are we now to tell them that because China's long-running feud with Tibet cannot be solved, they cannot march out wearing their country's colors? That they cannot step out and show us the stuff they are made of, just so that the West will have some moral jubilation? Perhaps if only the end result of such actions actually resulted in Tibet becoming independent, or in China becoming Martin Luther King-like in their adherence to, and belief in, human rights! Unfortunately, another old saying rings true - if wishes were horses, beggars would ride...nay, beggars would be kings.

This reminds me of the 1980 Moscow Olympics - no I wasn't born by then - when the West decided to boycott the Games over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Other than the damage done to the careers of many of those athletes, it probably wasn't funny to these same athletes when Afghanistan (the 'victim' in this case) sent 11 athletes to the event!
The Olympics are meant to make the world forget about the nonsense that happens on a daily basis. Politics and the games world leaders (including the Dalai Lama) play have no business with it. Let the athletes, many of whom have their one and only chance to shine, have the spotlight (even among the myriad Coca-Cola and JVC signs) and make us forget the world's troubles for once.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Of Zimbabwe and Human-Animal Embryos

Where to begin?
Thankfully, no new news to report from the US Presidential race, which is getting into that stage where it resembles an over-hyped movie that starts out amazingly well, then slips into a few doldrums, before coming up with a fantastic you may have guessed, we are well into the doldrums.

News out of Zimbabwe suggests that Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980 (when Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain), is desperately seeking ways to usurp the election results from last weekend, and foist himself on his people for several more years. In fact, he has told the opposition that until he dies, no one else will be President of the country. Imagine that!
If I were the opposition, I'd begin to figure out the best way to send the old man to meet his's not like he isn't old enough to do so...
Of course, Senile Bob (my new nickname for him) would have been better off taking lessons from his counterpart in Nigeria, who didn't even bother trying to manipulate actual results, but simply recorded his purported voting numbers on the computer and presented them to the world. Who after all, can argue with a computer-generated result in this day and age?

On a more serious note, when will so-called African "freedom fighters" like Senile Bob and others of his ilk, realize that they only do themselves (and their legacy) harm with such despotic and barbaric behaviors? It's the same type of thing that brought down Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Winnie Mandela of South Africa, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Houphet Boigny of the Ivory Coast, Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia and several others. I don't know what it is about our leaders that convinces them that they are indispensable, messianic and all-powerful, but it's got to stop, otherwise we will be no better off than when the colonials were in power. At least then, we knew what we were dealing with.

That being said, I do question the manner in which the Western media has portrayed Senile Bob. It seems the recent Western (and in particular, British) noticing and sub-policing of Zimbabwean events only started when Senile Bob removed the white landowners from their farms and handed them over to the black population. This is a move I agreed with in principle, if not in practice, but ever since then, the Western media has portrayed Mugabe as Hitler's second coming. It's situations like this that prevent one from being sympathetic to a white minority.

In other serious news, researchers in the UK claim to have fused the first human-animal embryo. Apparently, it is for test reasons, but if we needed a clear sign that the world was coming to an end (and soon), I think we just got it....I mean, who THINKS of such a thing??? More on that (and the whole cloning issue) in a future piece.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Was She, or Wasn't She...and matters from/of the heart

If you believed Hillary Clinton before this week, she appeared to have been a miraculous sort of First Lady. You know, the kind that dreams up exotic health care programs, reforms medicare, negotiates free-trade agreements and best of all, goes into a war-torn country and dodges bullets and grenades to get to her car from a helicopter. Sounds like Wonder Woman, doesn't it? Except it isn't true...none of it.

Based on transcripts belatedly released last week, after much pressure from the Obama camp (and strangely, none from the media), it has been shown that she exaggerated her role in several of the so-called policy decisions of the Clinton Presidency. Now, I'm by no means suggesting that First Ladies do not influence the decisions of their husbands, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure no first lady has done any of the things listed above. My issue with this whole matter has been the role of the press, which "appeared" to believe her stories without cross-checking their facts. After all, weren't CNN, Fox etc. on air in the mid to late 90s? Surely, we shouldn't have to rely on her private documents to reveal that this is one demagogue who will say anything to get elected!

It may sound twisted, but I'm actually hoping Hillary wins that Democratic nomination, so that she can go up against McCain in November. That, my friends, promises to be a spectacular event...if you are a Republican, and absolutely catastrophic...if you are a Democrat. If, like me, you want to see the better person and candidate succeed, it will be the perfect result because the Hill-Bill machine shouldn't be let near the White House. Perhaps, now that we know that Hillary wasn't really part of the machine, we should come up with a new name for it.....nope, I like Hill-Bill and Hill-Bill it is. Mostly because it leads into a more appropriate word - hillbillies :-)

In other matters, The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention was held in Orlando last week. It's always a great inspiration to see young black men and women who are excelling in their studies or professional fields, and I wish more mention was made of such positive events, rather than the focus on the negative that seems to stymie the progress of black persons the world over. Think about it, when was the last time you heard about Africa without hearing about wars and conflict, or about black America without hearing about violence and instability, or even about black Canada without hearing about gun crimes and teenage mothers? Yet, over 9,500 black engineers and engineers-to-be gathered in Orlando, and not one peep was heard. Of course, I'm not advocating that every small achievement of black folks be highlighted, because that would ultimately defeat the purpose...but a bit of balanced coverage (or no coverage at all, good or bad) wouldn't hurt.
Just my own 2 cents.

P.S. - The Black Conservative is in love...and the lucky lady doesn't even know who she is! More on that later, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An important speech on race relations

Yes, Sir. I was proud to hear Barack deliver that profoundly refreshing speech last night. It may not win him the election - it may even lose it for him - but I thought to myself, "this is one man of integrity". I disagree with his Pastor's brand of God's message because it strikes me as the overly venegeful, vitriolic type that hasn't moved black people forward and if anything, has only earned the resentment of white people, but I felt Obama struck the right tone in his speech. Even if he loses, he should hold his head high and move on.

For those wondering why he disowned the Pastor's comments, but not the man himself, they should ask themselves this question - when Clinton stood by her husband in 1998 and disowned his actions but not his person, was she accepting adultery as a fact or approving of it? If the answer is no, then neither should Obama's non-distancing be equated with approval and support for Rev. Wright's ill-advised comments. I was also happy to hear Obama speak boldly about his faith, since it seems in this day and age, most Democrats have abandoned God, or only mention Him in passing when canvassing votes in the red states. Then again, there's got to be a proportional relationship between supporting the right to choose and not believing in God.

Dick Cheney, who is Obama's VERY distant cousin, apparently thinks the speech was "important". When a racist old foggy like Dick, who clearly doesn't like blacks yet refuses to criticize his lesbian daughter (I digress), approves of a speech by a progressive black man - cousin or not - it really must be important.

At the end of the day, Obama's speech echoed most of what I've parroted on this space. Affirmative action and other such pro-black moves are only alienating our people from the mainstream. I could care less about how the white man feels, but until African-Americans stop seeing things as black/white and demanding proportional share instead of working for it, they will continue to have to deal with issues of credibility when facing a mixed multitude who believe that everything any black man has achieved is as a result of AA, and so should be grateful to the white majority instead of complaining.
A word is enough for the wise.

We'll keep watching further developments...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Making NON-Sense of the Hillary Apology

There was a song by Jacksoul a few years ago with one particularly poignant line - "I swear the woman was crazy". Obviously Jacksoul, with all his unrequited love, was not talking about the Democratic Party nomination race, but he may well have been. Yes, he may well have been referring to the lady known as Hillary.

Apparently, she met with about 200 African-Americans yesterday, and on a whiteboard posted several notes expressing how sorry she was about her campaign's use of race to define this election. There are several things that bother me about this about-face, and which lead me to question its sincerity.

Firstly, why now? Why not at the time it happened in South Carolina, in Mississippi and in Ohio? If she had those strong, decisive traits she would have us believe she does, why did she wait?

Secondly, why did she have to write several apology notes on the board? Does she think there's a proportionality constant between the number of notes she writes and the sincerity of her apology? If so, she must be well and truly off her rocker, and Americans would be cautioned to take note.

Thirdly, why did it take 2 days for Geraldine Ferraro to resign from the campaign? Why wasn't she let go immediately she made those inflammatory comments by the Hill-Bill machine? In fact, Hillary came out to defend Ferraro's right to free speech.

The whole apology smacks of the same two-bit attitude the Hill-Bill machine has constantly demonstrated towards black voters - assuming them, insulting their intelligence and ultimately providing no real sense of belonging for what remains the most underserved group in the United States. I only hope those people came out, ate Hill-Bill's food, drank Hill-Bill's water and went away convinced more than ever that she should not be their President.

Jacksoul may still find it in his heart to believe in love, but in this particular crazy woman's case, I've lost any shred of respect I had for Hillary.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Politics of Thuggery, Nepotism and Godfatherism in Nigeria

Those who know me well will have wondered when the gaze of my ever-crticizing eye would fall on Nigeria and Nigerian politics. It's fair to say that so many other issues affecting black people, especially in North America have taken precedence over the nefarious activities of the rulers of a country that claims to be the "giant of Africa".

A brief history of politics and corruption in Nigeria will not be brief at all, and most of that information can be found from various sources on the internet. This article is not about that. No, this piece is about the brazen manner in which public officers who have been convicted of crimes (financial, political, moral, etc) still parade themselves about the country with impunity, with the arm of justice sufficiently short and unable to reach them.

This article describes an interaction between 2 Senators and the immediate past Nigerian President - Senator David Mark wants to review the sale of government properties in the federal capital, Abuja, by ex-President Obasanjo, while another Senator, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, wants this review to be halted or "forgotten"! I will explain my reasoning for choosing this article by describing each of these 3 individuals.

Senator Mark (Senate President) - A former military officer who was part of the cabal that robbed Nigeria blind in the 80s and 90s, Mark's election in 2007 was the usual Nigerian tale of stuffed ballot boxes and election thuggery. This election (like countless others) was nullified by the Appeals Court early this year. In any civilized country, once the election of a public officer has been nullified, that officer has to resign immediately, until all appeals have been exhausted and a final solution reached. Yet, this man continues to answer to "Senate President", and presumably is still being paid his salaries and allowances. When the number 3 citizen of a country is above the law, are we surprised at the breakdown and near-anarchy of such a country?
His view on this topic has to be viewed with suspicion. Mark probably wants the sales reviewed, so that he can collect a bribe or two from the guilty customers and "enjoy" his own share of the largesse. Surprised? Don't be...this is Nigeria.

Fmr. President Obasanjo - This is man who came to power talking about all sorts of economic reforms and the stamping out of corruption. The economic reform part was achieved SLIGHTLY, but if anything, the corruption levels in Nigeria attained new heights between 1999 and today. This is a man who used a petroleum trust fund (to be used for schools, hospitals, etc in oil producing areas) as his own slush fund to pay for political gallivanting, private oil blocks, private universities, etc. This is a man who according to his own son, slept with his daughter-in-law in exchange for lucrative oil and finance deals. Despite this abomination, neither Obasanjo nor his daughter-in-law has refuted the claims of the son. This is a man who apparently "spent" $10 - $16 billion on power projects (depending on whom you ask) in a country whose citizens receive power, if they are lucky, for 1 hour a day.
Finally, this is a man who sold properties in the nation's capital, the monies for which have not been accounted for. A man like this should be locked up, yet he continues to insult the country by posing as an 'elder statesman'.

Senator Obasanjo-Bello - As the former President's daughter, perhaps it can be understood that she would support her father - crocodile tears and all - except that she is a Senator of the Federal Republic. Of course, this is Nigeria, where there is no threat of public umbrage at such a crass display of fatherly affection by someone who is a sworn legislator for people whose economic futures have been mortgaged by her father and his policies.
Any shred of sympathy stops once you realize that this is the same Obasanjo-Bello who used her father's stolen wealth to appropriate and corner several of those same 'power projects' that her father siphoned money from. Oh, I should have mentioned that she used a fake name in those transactions, didn't cut her Austrian partners in the deal despite the bribes they paid her (incl a fully loaded Toyota Land Crusier 4WD and cash), and is now being sued by those same Austrian partners both in Nigeria and in Austria.
Again, in any civilized country, the official would have been forced to step aside or resign (witness Elliot Spitzer) till the court case has been settled, and if the person refused to do so, the press would have harangued, editorialized and generally disturbed until they were forced to.
It also begs the question - how did she get elected as a Senator, or even better, if her papa was not in Aso Rock (the Nigerian version of the White House), would she have been elected?

Only in Nigeria can these 3 crooks operate with the impunity and braggado that they have. Only in Nigeria can the common person on the street not react to such high-handed behavior because the common person on the street is waiting for their turn to plunder the wealth of the country. Only in Nigeria will the mainline press refuse to call these people to order, because they are hoping to be made Special Assistants on Media, Media Advisors or Public Relations Secretaries to a politician/public officer in the future.

I make mention of this article and its protagonists, because I'm constantly besieged with calls from extended family, friends, etc wondering whether I plan to return to Nigeria to settle down and "bless" the country with my talent and abilities. The answer is - NOT ON YOUR LIFE!
Call me selfish, call me unforgiving, call me westernized, but never will I give anyone the chance to call me corrupt, or in the absence of that, become another frustrated technocrat because the country of my dreams is falling apart like a deck of cards; and its inhabitants could care less, merely waiting their turn to attain a higher status and join in the looting of the nation, like hyenas at a zebra's carcass.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The (Hypocritical) Democratic Party and Race

Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but the woman has balls. Massive balls. I'm not even kidding...I wouldn't be surprised if she literally had them, which may explain why Bill is never in her bed....
All jokes aside, how someone who is over a hundred delegates behind the front-runner can suggest, not to mention insist, that the party would be best served by having her on top of a Hillary-Obama ticket is unfathomable. Read some views and takes on the story from Jack Cafferty, as well as some inflamed readers, including a few from the Great White North (no, I wasn't responding in disguise) :

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees Hillary for the bitter, greedy old hag she is. I've been preaching it on this blog from Day 1. Hill-Bill will do anything to become President of the United States. Hill because she wants to prove at all costs that she was the brain behind Bill's presidency, and Bill because he wants to prove to his wife that despite his loose morals, he loves her and would do anything for her, including twist a few superdelegate arms and make inflammatory comments. I guess the 'ghosts' of Lewinsky and Paula Jones (and who knows how many other average-looking secretaries) still haunt the Clintons.

In a related issue, wasn't it funny to see a so-called Liberal (and former Democratic Party VP candidate) Geraldine Ferraro play the race card and get all the media flak? Funny because she wasn't the first to do it, despite the media trying to make it seem like she was. Yes, Bill himself - the self-appointed "first black President" - who sees himself as the Messiah of black people was the first person to bring race into this race (pardon the pun).

What is not funny, and what has continually been revealed in this race is the apparent willingness of white folks who claim to be liberal to come out and showing their racist tendencies. This is a group that will go to war for gays, criminals, the so-called right to choose (otherwise known as the right to kill) and other despicable practices/elements of society, yet will continually try to insult and demean the black race. Even when they do something positive for our race, they try to rub it in (a la Clinton) and assume themselves to be our Saviors. They don't mind doing anything for us, as long as we stay perpetually under them.

This is at the heart of the reason why I've never cottoned onto the political left. At least with the right-wing of politics, you know where you stand on issues. Frankly, anyone telling me the Republican Party is more racist than the Democratic Party (or Conservative Party vs Liberal/NDP Parties in Canada) should have their heads examined. The difference between the right and the left is that the left will say anything to win votes, but they are all the same at the end of the day, run by white men and increasingly by white women, who are beginning to show that they are just as vitriolic, racist and "patriarchial"(we'll need to find a new word, because matriarchal is too gentle) as their male counterparts.

I can make a bold declaration - If Obama was a white man, with the same intellect, charisma and ideas, this race would have been over in New Hampshire. The Senator from New York would have been knocked out a long time ago.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Affirmative Action on the way out?

So a dear friend (CC) points out that I haven't been posting for a few days. Finally, a 'fan' who cares (although I'm not sure she agrees with everything I write).

Anyway, speaking on the issue of the US elections, isn't this the meanest-spirited election year ever? And all of it coming from the Democratic Party cabal of Bill-Hill. Americans, do not make that mistake this year. McCain IS a credible alternative if you decide you want experience, not the nonsense that Hillary projects. Of course, at this point, I'm guessing the Bill-Hill machine, while losing the popular vote among delegates, leans into a few super-delegates and forces them (overtly and covertly) to support her and turn the tables against Barack. Then, watch the Republican machine go to work against the Bill-Hill ticket. It'll be an ugly 3 or 4 months, but I'll enjoy every minute of it.

I was also sent an article this morning. Find it linked here:

This is VERY interesting! In principle, I agree with the fellow (of African and Native American ancestry) who is proposing this idea. I don't need to waste any more virtual space, but I think my views were appropriately espoused in my write-ups on Afrocentric schools. In practice, however, I find it a little bit hypocrtical coming from someone who has probably benefited from affirmative action. If Mr. Connerly is willing to rescind all benefits he probably gained from affirmative action, then I'm with him. Of course, it's darn near impossible to gauge what benefits he may have realized...
That being said, the one group to have benefitted the most from affirmative action is the white female group, so perhaps Mr. Connerly is onto something in disguise...
My point is that I expect African-Americans to lay into me when I criticize affirmative action, because it probably has had some benefit to them, or someone close to them. I'm not sure it's the best response to slavery and the lack of opportunities that followed from that, and I would rather that a better solution - perhaps increased funding for inner city schools - had been implemented instead, but since it's here, it should be left alone.
I can criticize it though, because I have never benefitted from it, nor will I ever do (likely). An African-American wanting it banned is an interesting concept, so let's see how it plays out.

CC wanted to know how the afrocentric issue is playing out...what can I say? The proposal has been approved, the Premier of Ontario has voiced his displeasure (although he hasn't exactly come up with a way to solve the problems afrocentric schools claim they will), but in the end, the school will be established. It remains to be seen if there'll be any benefits, but I'm not even counting on anything close to that happening.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Of black leaders and American politics

So, it's been awhile since I wrote. In that time, Hilary Clinton seems to have found her mojo, and may be on the verge of regaining the momentum in the Democratic race. I can't begin to express how disappointed I will be if this happens, but we'll find out for sure tonight when the results from Texas and Ohio roll in...apparently, Vermont and Rhode Island will be voting as well. Like anyone noticed.

Further to my last posting, I've received some vitriol and some praise from friends and foes alike on the subject of Afrocentric schools in Toronto, and my distaste for the concept. In response, I would like to say - "post your comments on the blog page, not in cryptic facebook messages or e-mails" and secondly, "I don't care what you think, that's why it's a blog" :-)
Seriously though, I appreciate the comments, though few and belated, that I have received.

I mentioned that I was going to talk about why black leaders generally try to deflect the blame for any negative issue in the African, African-American or African-Canadian communities onto someone else. I realized this could be a hot-button topic, so I'm still perfecting my research in this area, so that I can present an objective riposte of my ideas. However, I should mention that it is sad that the vast majority of black leaders rarely call out members of the community who are messing up, whether it be parents, teachers, the youth or even other black "leaders". The few who do, like Bill Cosby (although his shady morals smack of hypocrisy) in the US, and Michael Thompson in Toronto are often vilified by their own people for speaking the truth. This is a darn shame, and prevents other people from speaking their minds. It won't stop me though, whether my platform is global, regional or internet-based.

I hope to have a provocative piece in tomorrow, but till then, I will be watching CNN this evening to see whether Mrs. Clinton's negative campaign has paid dividends. I'm betting the house that it has.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Afrocentric Schools in Toronto (Part 2) - The White Media Condescends to the Poor Black Folk

For a collective group (white media and white politicians) that has done all it can to pretend that there is no black/white issue in Toronto over the last several years, it was quite amusing to see them falling over each other in an attempt to clarify, explain away or condemn the issue of Afrocentric schools. After all, it's another chance for the "big, white brother" to show his love and care for the "po' black folk" whose hands need to be held at every turn. Let's examine a cross-section of responses from the 3 largest dailies in Toronto - the Star, the Sun and the infamous Globe and Mail.

Toronto Star
Find a link to a commentary by of all people, the Ontario National Democratic Party (NDP) Leader, Howard Hampton -

As my name suggests, I am a social conservative, so hopefully I can be forgiven for what may be perceived as a biased point of view about (against, really) the left-wing, "support every liberal, but black issue" NDP.
Old Howard starts off with a very gratuitous statement about how hard black parents work and what the impact on family and school life is. I can just imagine the Chinese immigrant father who works two jobs, and his wife who works another 2 or 3, and yet both have kids who come home with A's and B's, while our kids are coming home with D's and F's - or do the Chinese have 2 heads?
Then Howard, whose party hasn't done a single meaningful thing for blacks in Ontario that I can remember - either while they were in power or in the opposition - tries to inform his educated readers that segregation claims are unfounded. That sounds just like the KKK or Aryan Nation telling us that they don't segregate per se, rather they want to keep their race separate to avoid pollution. Howard, please look up the meaning of the word segregation before using it, and don't think that because the left-wing NDP says something isn't segregation, it will be universally accepted.
The compounding of his crime however, is when he compares the opening of an Afrocentric school to a gay-friendly one recently opened. I think it's quite sick and despicable to introduce such gay themes (which I don't approve of, it must be said) into the lives of young kids who don't even know what sex is, all in the name of being inclusive (I digress), and NO ONE should compare blacks and gays, not today and not tomorrow. We were born black, they chose to go the way they did (and yes, most scientific evidence points to that fact, even sociology agrees with that).
Read the full article and marvel at the condescension and half-wit of a man who wants to be Premier someday.

Toronto Sun
Article by Sid Ryan, a Sun columnist -

Sid Ryan chooses to play the role of the sympathetic white man, who isn't really as bad as the black folk think, and who knows his black history. His points are well taken, except when he doesn't explore the reason why black parents are crying out for help. They are doing so because they are looking for a cop out. It's the simple age-old tactic that post-civil rights black folks use - if they can't navigate the system, then the system must be wrong.
Affirmative action in the US didn't increase the number of blacks that graduate from high school - all it ended up doing was increasing the number of white women in the labor force, and increasing the number of blacks who could get into university with a C+, where before a B- or B would have been the minimum. If anything, reports out of the US suggest that the percentage of blacks who fail high school hasn't really changed. Why? Because their failing school has very little to do with lack of opportunities, and more to do with some of the social factors I mentioned yesterday.
It is the same thing here. The Afrocentric school might motivate students who would otherwise have performed at an average level due to lack of motivation or "role models", but it won't make someone who has no interest in learning do well.
Then again, good white boy Sid wouldn't want to say that - he might risk getting black people angry at him, and we wouldn't want that, would we?

Globe and Mail
The Globe took two approaches to this - an article tailored to their black readers (a facetious, yet interesting critique of Afrocentric schools linked below), and a cartoon tailored to their non-black (read: majority) audience - both saying the same thing, however. It was a classic case of two-faced, yet similar, journalism at its best.

I won't bother linking the cartoon, except to say that most black people found it insulting, while other black people, like myself, could care less one way or another. If image has suddenly become a problem with black people, then maybe we should be more active in declaring war against street gangs, eschewing violence among our youth and stop bad parenting habits, as these all do a million times more damage than that cartoon. Besides, if our kids step onto the buses or streetcars, and all people hear them saying is "s'up dawg", etc, why do we complain about other people associating such so-called ebonic terms with us?? Let us stop the hypocrisy, which may have worked for old Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, but is becoming redundant in this day and age.

Back to this article, the Globe makes sense, except for the underlining theme of "let's ignore the issue and make it go away". In this blog, I've tried to outline what I think is at the root of the problem, not just my criticism of the proposed idea, and I would much rather have a flawed solution like the Afrocentric schools than none at all. Sadly, that's all the article offers us no such relief, so to the Globe and Mail editor, please note - critique without a remedy is the last thing the problem of underachieving black youth needs.

Tomorrow, this space will examine why black leaders constantly look for handouts and affirmations of silly ideas, and why they are not interested in the real solutions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Afrocentric Schools in Toronto (Part 1) - A Blight on the "Black" Landscape

This has to be one of the silliest ideas I've ever heard of. Why would educated, supposedly intelligent, black folks decide to insult themselves and their "people" by requesting a return to the dark days of segregation, cloaked under the guise of "equality" and academic progress?

I should preface this by stating that I know the two foremost proponents of Afrocentric schools VERY well. One of them is a Ghanaian-born professor at the University of Toronto, who I've spoken with on several occasions and who I invited to, and had, deliver speeches a few times to the U of T chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in my days there. The other is a brilliant professor at York University, whose son, currently a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering at U of T, mentored me in my early years at U of T Engineering and as a chapter member and later officer of NSBE.
They are clearly role models for upwardly mobile black youth and professionals, a group I like to associate with.
On this topic, however, I firmly disagree with both, and have had the opportunity to let them know.

A full background can be found here:

Basically, their argument is that the only way black youths can excel in high school is by having black teachers teach subjects in a "black" or to use their politically correct term, "afrocentric" way. The very idea that there is an afrocentric way to teach Math and Science offends me, as someone who excelled in those subjects, and never for once had to think about whether I was learning the afrocentric way of doing Math! Does this make me any less black? I spent most of my high school years back in Nigeria, so presumably I was being taught in an "afrocentric" manner. Why didn't I feel any difference when I moved to Canada?
The same argument can be used for Science, whether it was physics, chemistry or biology.

Even in the social sciences, is anything really wrong with a student learning about world civilizations, European history or even American history and literature? Does that take away their ability to think, read and write essays? Why do Asians (Oriental or South Asian) who rarely hear about their own culture, manage to excel in these subjects? Certainly, they aren't any smarter than we are.
I attended a high school in Toronto where a subject called "African Civilization" was offered and taught by an African-Canadian teacher. I never took the subject myself, but is it any surprise that this was the most rowdy, indisciplined class in the entire school? Or that it was mostly populated by students who ended up either not graduating or taking the easy way out by going to college, when a university education was within their grasp? (this is not meant to denigrate community colleges, by the way)

Why don't we face up to the real problems instead of tackling them with such a blunt and crude object? The biggest problems the black youth in Toronto faces are broken-down family structures, lack of leadership, parental apathy and laziness borne out of seeing the "easy way out" through the ostentatious lifestyles of sports stars, entertainers and BET pop culture in general. After all, LeBron James didn't go to university and he's a multimillionaire, so why should they?

Until black parents preach the value of an education to their kids, until my fellow black men stop being selfish by walking out on their families, until my beautiful black women stop getting themselves knocked up before they are ready to bring up a child and until we stop blaming others for our problems, we will continue to regurgitate half-baked measures without ever getting to the solution of the problem.

Tomorrow, this space will examine the response of the white "liberal until it involves a black issue" media, including the infamous Globe and Mail cartoon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Black Conservative for Obama

Things are a bit quiet at work, so I figured I'd ride the blog wave till sometime before my weekly project review meeting with the boss.

Perhaps the easiest way to start is to show my cards on the issue of the U.S. presidential election. I'm not an American, nor do I live in the States, but this is an election that could signal a major shift in overall US policy not just towards my home (Canada) and native land (Africa), but also in terms of voter turnout and (gasp!) making politics "cool" again.
Despite my conservative leanings, I am hoping for an Obama victory in November. This actually has nothing to do with his "blackness", after all I scorned the idea of Al Sharpton running for that office in 2004, and more to do with the repercussions if Hilary "don't call me Rodham" Clinton or John "i'm going slightly senile" McCain became President.

First, let's deal with the NY Senator: Bill Clinton turned the White House into his own private bordello for 8 years, and I see no reason why he should be allowed to return there, especially now that he won't have an official job. I mean, let us contemplate for a few seconds what Bill could get up to while Hilary is on a goodwill mission to Africa, for example...that's what I thought. Now to his wifey - this is the same person who supported Dubya when he went to Iraq, whose husband came up with the crap called NAFTA (which she has waffled on) and whose biggest claim to fame is that she was a first lady. She claims to have a grasp of the issues, but let's be honest, how many presidents actually come up with policies? It's the beaurecrats, dummy.

Twenty years ago, McCain would have made a great president. At 71, this war veteran doesn't seem to be as coherent as the two Democrats, and frankly, seems to have benefitted from what can best be described as a weak Republican candidate pool. Other than the fact that he can't seem to express a sentence without stammering or fumbling for words, the old man is liberal on issues a true conservative shouldn't be, especially when it comes to moral conservatism (my ideal of true conservatism). I'm also a bit concerned about his campaign speech that tries to validate the Iraq war in principle, if not literally. That's not the only issue conservatives want to hear, but then he is weak on those issues. Furthermore, isn't it strange that in a culture where people are forced to retire at age 65, folks want to elect someone who, assuming a 2nd term, could be 80 by the time he's leaving office??

Barack may admittedly be weaker on the issues, mainly from lack of experience, but that didn't stop JFK, Lincoln or even Bill "I have an itch that needs scratching" Clinton from becoming President, and on balance they did OK. Let's give the black man a chance, even if this represents settling of the highest order.
Yes, you heard it here first - in the absence of a true moral conservative in this race, Barack should be elected because the alternative choices are crap.

Sticking to the task

I've often wondered why I would start a blog, and then fade after a few entries. Then I realized that this was a common phenomenon that affected most bloggers. The key is to find a niche area and write the heck out of it, so this is what I'm going to try to do.

Looking at the realms of sports, politics, the environment, etc, the one area that really stood out was politics which is quite encompassing. It's also where I can spout the most amount of interesting-sounding BS and when you talk of black politics, then we are looking at a vertitable minefield. Besides, one can always infuse a bit of sports talk, or anything else really, in politics (case in point - "Is Barry Bonds being targeted for reasons other than mere allegations?"). The reverse is not necessarily true.

We'll see how this latest go-around plays out...hopefully, I get those critical 2 or 3 readers who can keep the page alive.