In Remembrance of Olatunbosun Onigbinde

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 King James Music Illustration presented by M.I Abaga

I knew my Daddy in three curves of life – a sinusoidal one. The one I grew up knowing him as the wealthiest man in the world since he took us to beaches, Trans Amusement Park and could afford a costly school in Lagos. I also saw him lose his job, forget everything including “friends,” come to Ibadan seldom, but he never lacked the goodness in him. The final was when he got his job back, and if he did not reach the previous height of perceived wealth I thought he had, he had more than enough at every season.

Here is another remembrance of a very good man, a great father, who left this span of life. These days, remembering my father, Mr. Iyiola Olatunbosun Theophilus Onigbinde comes with more of lessons than grief. The grief does not end because a day like this brings back all that could have been. Like, allow him to sit back in that reclining chair share another rehash of Akintola and Awolowo crisis, and our grandfather’s role in it, his simple luxuries of wristwatches and cars, eat “eko and ekuru” on Saturday evenings and also the final transition to owning a printing press. My father always wanted to have a printing press, a decision he did not make and built a chair/table/canopy rental business – Mercy Rentals died slowly when he could not keep up with new designs. The chairs and tables were picked in the neighborhood for personal houses. Always amused to find his chairs in people’s living rooms.

 

I will take three lessons from his life:

Giving: My father was a giver, and he did it even in abundance and in want. I grew up learning a small sobriquet of the man “Presi, the Chair, Baba gbogbo aiye”. He would arrange the entire street ( I mean the entire street) and wheel us to the beach. I know we did this in Badagry and Eleko beaches. He had no restraint in how much he could give, and I doubt anyone who met him would make a contrary statement. Till he lost his Michelin job, he brought us Christmas cloth with crisp labels, and that was so cherished in our childhood. When he got on his feet back with another job at Milan, he was back to his best, his responsibility. If Baba at 3.55pm tells you to go to the bank, certainly, he will not fail you. Even while I worked in First Bank, I never stopped asking him for money due to my debt-ridden life. He came naturally to him, giving. Seye, my younger brother, when he appears back with 1,000 note will say in smiles, “Baba sure”

Faith: Daddy always had faith in me. Through that aborted Special Gift School dream, going through that tortuous journey to change my course from Petroleum Engineering to Electrical/Electronics Engineering and finally for standing firm with me when I left First Bank for BudgIT. He believed in the whole idea, and it comes with great pain and memory when my mortal self-thinks I could have done more to keep him alive. I could feel the pride in him when I arrived in his office and introduced me to his bosses, the Indians – “that’s my son.”

Duty: I grew up knowing Daddy as someone who cared and gave his all – family, work and every responsibility. It was not just about money, but it was also there. I knew how he traveled almost every weekend to meet his wife, my mother. I remembered how he chided me for not attending the funeral ceremony of his sister, Iya Oyo and I could not even give him a kobo. He just hated people who cared too little, and for him, it is an essential duty of man. He did this knowing that people cared too small about his needs when he was financially down, he was never in want of being a good man.

As a man or husband, he had his flaws, a painstaking reminder of his choices but he was a perfect father. I would not have chosen another. He would have been sixty today, and you can imagine how grand it could have been. I am trying to keep his memory through rehabilitation of a technology workshop in my alma mater and a token to the few persons around him when he left us.

Olatunbosun Iyiola Theophilus Onigbinde

November 4, 1957 – May 14, 2014
My good man, Rest in Peace

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32. Dedication

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In the past few reflections in my birthday posts, I have always stuck on the depth of God’s grace over my life. I mean as years keep racing, I encounter the faithfulness of God which always keeps me wondering, am I so worthy? It was just five years ago when it looked like life cut too little meaning. Now, I live it like a loaded gun, bursting at every opportunity in sight.

This post is for those dedicated to the craft, edging out excellence at every point, blooming where they were planted. Nothing more represents that in my life than to peer into the 35 years of duty of my mother. She retires at the end of this month after a glorious work, teaching primary school students. In fact, the pay is so basic, less than what the domestic servant of the National assembly leadership earn but believe me the work has been glorious. The influence of being a stern teacher robbed on my siblings and I. The least was a cane – always the abundant gift of primary school students -, an automatic reset button. I have to admire her dedication to the family too in the times of want and challenges; her sacrifice stands tall.

A lot of times we don’t seize the present. We wonder too much in the future that’s unknown. Our fixation on the fortune to come robs us of the joy of the present. I have looked into the things I do, and I am so grateful for the present. Though we lost our patriarch years ago, I am glad at how the puzzle of siblings, mother, wife, and daughter is fitting into places. But, I still have multiple questions on my mind.

Education in a competitive way spread across our public spaces is always on my mind and will be a fitting memory to the years of service of my mother. It is always painful to see Nigerians carry banners and sharing heart-wrenching pictures of citizens who desperately need emergency care. How many times will we crowdfund for the sick or ones who need education badly? How many times will ASUU go to strike in our lifetime? Health and Education have always been the bedrock of equalizing a society regarding the right to life and opportunity. We have a political class that cares so little about these issues because of what benefit will it be to them? They will prefer to build inflated roads and railways, backed by expensive public bonds – Nigeria’s biggest wealth transfer and private sector destructive fleece going on.

I share these plans for the future, and I know it is underpinned by the poor governance that we all suffer from. If we can deliver universal health care mostly to the gravely sick amongst us, give quality education to students that allow them to compete globally, open up large skill-up centers that push Nigeria to a global outsourcing hub, that’s a step ahead in fulfillment, but that’s always hard for our political class. It is very possible to park a plane for the President for 130 days but will be impossible to improve the working conditions of doctors.

As seen in technology growth, Nollywood booms, Nigerian viral music, in all, the government has always played catch up. So it is important that I begin, but that’s the future. While I ruminate on the questions, I must seize on the present – BudgIT. The work is still not done, but we stay on the questions, dedicated to the cause that every Nigerian is informed on how public funds are spent and they must take action on such basis.

Like Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I must remain on the question, sow it, watch it sprout and let it bloom. That’s what humanity and living have to be about, and leading BudgIT is just the beginning of the chain. The probe into multiple questions that confounds us and keeps me awake all the time. For now, let be remain dedicated to that I have been committed to do.

God bless you for all your messages and kind prayers.

2017-18 Season: Tactics and Reflections

 

Chelsea-3-4-3-conte-blues-EPL-Defense-1024x722After the UCL win by Chelsea in 2012, I slowed down my interest in club football. I can say it paled in that 2015-2016 season when Chelsea ended up mid-table. The euphoria of last season was so sweet and charges me for another. In this world of work, the Premier League has been a great ally to relieve stress. Maybe this might be the back-up job to BudgIT’s life – a PL manager. Who knows if I try a coaching badge? Am I being Gary Neville here? Fair pundit and woeful manager? Don’t judge me yet. Allow me some reflections on the coming season.

The 3-4-3 formation: It worked and spread like wild fire that Wenger, Mourinho, Pochettino and others tried the new sensation. Interestingly, Conte still bossed them. However, does 3-4-3 always work? I have watched Chelsea’s game against a decent midfield like Spurs and team strugggled with possession. 3-4-3 works for me when the play is against small teams or big teams with shoddy defence – Manchester City on both legs, the tactic comes short . 3-4-3 is a weapon captures the opposing team lacking in relative creativity to rise to the final third.

Conte should pick the lesson that 3-4-3 as midlfield of two persons will be too small to manage a strong opposition – a Dembele/Wanyama/Eriksen or Casemiro/Krooz/Modric.  When the midfield is lost, no matter the defence and its number, it will still crumble. The Juventus-Real Madrid last UCL final is the evidence. This why 4-3-3 works for me.

Memories of a Makalele & Essien as rock and a Lampard, Eriksen, Fabregas, Modric-type magicians left create chances. A 2-man midfield provides a dilemma for Conte. With Fabregas pairing Kante, he is shorting the chances for defensive work and with a Kante/Bakayoko, he is possibly going to “orphan” the attack like Chelsea did against Arsenal in the FA Cup Final. He should try 4-3-3 for big games. That’s a Bakayoko-Fabregas-Kante  midfield. It is the Madrid formation with Casemiro, Modric and Krooz. I like 3-4-3 because of wingbacks runs and the power of attack it unleashes but when it is a strong side, it comes very ugly with the the entire team in defence.

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WingBacks Obsession: Chelsea is looking LWB and the 54 Pounds offer for Sandro is too much. The challenge has been there since the exit of Ashley Cole. Bertrand would have come close but Chelsea FC and its characterisitic impatience. Why not swap Rudiger (at least he costs 32m Pounds) for Azpi and let Azpi return to his role in a left-wing back. This also resolves the “height challenge” between Moses and Azpi on the right side of the defence, the loophole found by Dele Alli to bang two goals last season.

Alonso’s attacking quality is great but his recovery pace is worrisone. Alonso is great fit for 4-3-3 with the runs but it has been proven that his defensive capabiliities are so weak.

 

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Cesc’s back-up is a handicap: It seems every role can be adjusted to but Cesc Fabregas has no back-up. Here is where the main proplem is. I think this is where Chelsea will struggle in the season. A Cesc Fabregas absence proves the team will lack creativity in the midfield. This is why a Barkley as a shadow CB will be good or 25-year Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig who had 21 assists last season. Though Emil ain’t moving this season but not a single link from Chelsea. 

Academy boys: The exit of Chalobah is a very painful stuff. We looked ready to play a huge part but buying Bakayoko showed lack of faith in him. You can’t blame Chelsea for looking out for players with UCL experience. I am up for keeping Christensen and Lewis Baker.  I believe there’s a Dele Alli in Baker if Chelsea is patient to see it. I see folks taking Musonda over Boga but it seems team can only keep one as a backup to Hazard. I will go with Boga and allow Musonda find his flair in a mid-table PL team. He will back as a better player rather than rot on the bench when Hazard is back.

 

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Learning from Mourinho: In the end, Conte will have to raise his tactical awareness in big games. He is known for not winning domestic cup and those games need tactical ingenuity and flexibility that produces results for the day. Mourinho is the king of this and also showed it in the Old Trafford win against Chelsea. The opposing teams have improved squads. Manchester teams with almost £200m in defence spending and Liverpool with Salah (my bet as season’s revelation). It is another battle of managerial excellence. Conte will have to be pragmatic especially in the last stages of UCL to snatch anything tangible.

P.S I am that fan of Lukaku, his raw energy and box presence puts him in the line of Drogba and Costa. I have my fears on Morata but I will wait. This is another £58m striker in a crazy transfer world. Once again, I wait. 

2016 Review Note: The trimuph of the underdog

Muhammad Ali Knocks Out Liston

Source: Getty Images

You might have seen the picture above and  assume this was one of those fantastic nights of Muhammad Ali, who after receiving multiple blows, stung his opponent, like a bee. If we can’t properly imagine the biblical upset when David flung a stone to the Goliath’s forehead, this picture is a close analogy. This is Ali’s major fight after proving himself at the Olympics and no one imagined a loquacious 22-year old would throw out  heavyweight champion on the canvas  in six rounds. The underdog prevailed.

In 2015, Leicester were hinging close to the top, it was dismissed that they would go cold in late winter. Leicester shamed the overpaid ballers, winning the Premier League. If that was not terrifying, right across the Atlantic, Chicago Cubs won the World Series after 108 years. Jonathan Schooling, a school boy fan of Michael Phelps, in eight years, went ahead to beat the same Michael Phelps in an Olympic swimming final. How did that happen?

The double whammy that left the earth nearly losing its tilt have been Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. I was addicted to fivethirtyeight, watching the polls ring the inevitability of a Hillary Clinton Presidency. What a morning, New York Times was predicting a 90% chance of a Trump Presidency. Most of the polls put forward the “Remain” vote but the swing went to those want a pause to the globalized liberal march.

2016

Pollsters final projections – New York Times, 538 & Huffington Post.  

The Nigeria politician has always looked in fit as the unquestionable, treating citizens with irritation. This is how without any restraint or push from their conscience, security funds were tossed into private accounts of politicians. Though without a well known successful prosecution, one can see the Nigerian elite, the powerful, either lost in silence in London or pleading for leniency from gaol. Saraki and Ekweremadu stood in the dock in bowed heads, Patience Jonathan talks of making her sleepless, Tinubu told to keep his cool within his Lagos perimeter and the Almighty PDP splits into factions, losing the brag that formed in its wake. The soiled lordships were not spared as the bench got ramped into the dock after a gestapo drive by dreaded DSS. Oil price was in shambles and gold,  the safe asset, nearly lost its allure as its price spiraled down.

My life amused me this year but a “black and white” world won’t leave one without pauses. It feels so good to be a father to Hannah Wuraola Onigbinde. What a bundle of joy from God through the womb of an amazing wife, Oluwaseun Agbelusi-Onigbinde. After reaping a long list of the high, low, fashionable, classy and beautiful, taking my mother-in-law was a tough one. Nigeria was tough for most people as the economy tipped into the recession and  to survive must be nothing but gratitude. 

BudgIT keeps jamming forward and  I clocked so much flight miles than I could imagine, shopping around the world looking for funding. With support from Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network, the underdog in me fought into the realm that cross a major milestone. Here is our chance to birth new ideas and take new landmarks. 

What will 2017 hold, can the underdog keep dazzling us? With Chelsea in firm control of the Premier League, Donald Trump appointing a billionaire cabinet, Saraki and Buhari are in the bromance, oil subtly  on the rise again, Ibori is out of prison, can we make another guess?  Another high along the sinusoidal curve? Is the establishment  back like it never left? In 2016, life took flight from the strong, strength disappeared from the mighty and wise second-guessed their understanding of the deep. Bookmakers, analysts, data-drunk activists and pollsters lost the plot in 2016. Data as we knew it was humbled and left a lot of introspection. 2017, we assume nothing but fully hopeful of joy.

Awards.

Influence : God

Friend of the Year: Adeniyi Agunloye (he could have given up, top man, always been there)

New Friend of the Year: Baba Agba (a delightful personality, who always finds a chance to share memories)

Book of  the Year : The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma (a very sad book but every page is priceless)

Facebook Friend of the Year:  Victor Asemota (an interesting Senior Man)

Tweep of the Year: @BukkyShonibare (for reminding us everyday that there is no closure when it comes to Chibok)

Person of the Year: Yemi Kale (for your commitment to the craft & strive to be put out the data in  your courage)

Happiest Moment of the Year: April 18, 2016. (Hannah Wuraola Onigbinde appeared in beauty)

Saddest day of the Year: Burying mother-in-law.

Song of the Year:  Mama by Kiss Daniel (His album is a major milestone in music industry)

Bible Verse: Isaiah 14:27

“For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Re: The End of History & The Last Man

Stanford Professor, Francis Fukuyama, who taught me last summer, wrote a seminal book titled “The End of History and the Last Man” in 1992. The West and East (read USSR) have been locked in a battle of ideas for years – Cold War –  and the Berlin Wall and the USSR just crumbled. Francis advanced that we have come to the end of history; Western Liberal government was the only way ahead. This is the end of history. The Last Man is here to distribute the ideals of freedom and globalizations to the world. It was not wrong for a period. Russia moved into democratic systems and China liberalized its trade with the world.

It is clear that we have not seen the end of history, we are actually accepting the “interesting times” that lie ahead. There is a roll-back to nationalism and regional power balancing and we are going to witness another set of “men” opening new chapters of history.

When I thought Brexit was unbelievable, believe me it was the trailer to the epic episode that would become of Donald J. Trump. I have limited Trump’s win to four things and I hope we take the lessons again. Let’s go there:

The “R” word: A lot of people have openly spoken this was just the “white-lash”, I just think this point is just too simplistic. Hilary is also white, why did they not warm up to her? Hillary lost votes not of those in white male but also the white female category. In fact, the places where Obama thrived, – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – Hillary lost such demographics. We might sniff it but the bigger issue lies in the next points.

The Outsider Narrative: I have been studying to the American elections. Who actually gets the elections? Whoever poses himself as the outsider. Start from Jimmy Carter mopping up the Nixon Era as a decent Baptist parishioner, to Reagan sticking it in that “government was the problem”, to even Bill Clinton from a small town in Arkansas. You would have bet that Albert Gore would lead the US after Clinton balanced the books, but enter George W. Bush. Even Obama came from across from that point –a good speech at a US election and a one-term Federal Senator. It was always a question of who could place himself as the anti-establishment. Most Americans feel the “Washington” is broken. People always come forward with the messianic thinking that they could resolve the issues. Sadly, the issue at stake here even in Europe with Brexit and US has been the unrestricted move of migrants. Donald Trump played his card from the blast. He kept saying it – “this is not a campaign, this is a movement”. It was a fight against pluralism and it comes to which candidate whipped that line so hard.

A tide that does not lift all boats: When you look at the Brexit map, the people who mainly voted “no” are just between the London and the Scottish axix. The folks who voted Trump also mainly belong to the middle – The Rust Belt. Most of us assume globalization works for all. We forget that it wrecking a constituency that we are yet to address. The Romanians and Polish in UK, the Hispanics and Africans in US, putting the “natives” in pains. There’s a tide that has not lifted all boats and we think these are shining cities on the hill. The anger has been lashed at the immigrants. This class that has found its voice risen through the ballot, it is the year of rebellion.

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Source: BBC

Hillary was not just perfect: On every moral stand, you will not place Hillary and Trump on the same stand. Never. However, check the momentum for Bernie Sanders movement. Same anti-establishment thinking around US tuition and an economy that works for all. Hillary could not conquer their email issues reinforced with the deletion of emails after been subpoenaed, the speeches to Wall Street that Democratic Party idealist loves to demonize and the quick cast as the establishment candidate. You could Trump weaving his last line as “Drain the Swamp”.

In end, US did not surprise itself. The issue that prevailed was of immigration and Donald Trump promised to bring the jobs from China, talked of how China gamed the entry to WTO, spoke undocumented immigrants, ending the NAFTA and budding TPP bids. Globalization has been stopped in its tracks, the nationalism mast is pushing higher. Everything you could fear in Trump has taken a back seat to make a room for this. The anger of the left-behinds has been fully pushed in the polls. Will Trump fix this? I won’t bet that there are quick solutions. Time will tell but another politician just rode on the message, he will be the 45th US President.

Maybe we can pause and reflect more. I really looked forward to Hillary as President. There are new lessons and insights for today. Only if we pick them.

31. Pressing On

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Pix by @seuncr8vwox (my peperempe)

While trying to keep this tradition of writing a birthday note, I decided to search my name on Google to pull out my WordPress page and in the first list of results, I found a Wikipedia page in my name. The creator (who I am yet to identify) put in my spouse name, recognized that I have a kid and the only mistake made was that I was born in Ibadan. I was actually born in Osogbo, I corrected it. A thing like this, never planned for, keeps unboxing itself. It is life in motion, I am actually doing a catch-up.

Taking a look at last one year is to accept things are moving  fast. Things are happening fast and I am catching my breath. A year ago, I had a would-be mother-in-law and now she is no more.

A year ago, I was not married but now I have a kid who chuckles when I place a warm kiss on her. When I saw her head pop up in the labour room, I was shocked. Look at me, look at life. God actually gave me child, 31 years ago, my parents also felt this. I have seen the joy of holding a daughter, watching her smile in the morning after a warm bath, it is priceless. I have seen the joy of my mother listen to me take on these steps, also priceless.

Still unbelieving it’s a year I basked in my 30th birthday, organized a party and wrote 30 amazing pieces of my experience. It looks like yesterday, that you kept count of my pieces and that’s how life really looks, like yesterday. Till the calendars no longer turn for us, till the old passes away, till the young becomes the old and those once called the future (apologies to David Cameron) becomes the past.

I am happy and grateful again to God who is taking me a step a time. Through the years of impact, of fellowships and awards, of taking on the laptop and striking the “sent” button, of finding a soulmate, of Wuraola. Of being underwhelming,  being overburdened, being happy and sad. It is life with its complex weave and once I can feel my breath in this place, always thankful.

Most times I still can’t believe myself nor believe even the hype. Mostly embarrassed when people hold me firm and pour in adulation. They look up to me, that I inspire them and that comes with a burden. I had the rare chance to speak at The Platform and later saw people run stairs just to shake me or smile and point fingers “BudgIT”.

It has always been a long road and am i really there? Can we get all public revenues put truly be  in public how they have been spent? Can all Nigerians have access to such information, understand and ask questions for results? Can we get every single public kobo be efficiently spent? Those are the existential questions that I find my still underwhelming at. I know the other side, the politicians have their incentive to hog darkness to abound corruption that has shortchanged this country but how do we change that? How does every Nigerian that passes this space feel the hold of dignity. Am I feeling messianic already? Do I need to pause the applause? Where is the exit in all of these? What Nigeria would I have a chance to handover when this work is done? Same Nigeria still seeking structural adjustments after its launched Structural Adjustment Programme three decades ago?

I will take it a step at time. “The days are long, but the years are short.”. I press on.

 

Mrs Alice Agbelusi

A konibugbe kan sihin
Or’aye f’owo ba file ni
B’o fi gbogbo’aye ko Garet
Ese mefa ni busun wa

My translation
Here is not our dwelling place
Tenants take heed in your choices
If you build skyscrapers around the world
The final resting place is six feet in size.

 

My first encounter with my late mother-in-law, as a prospective in-law, was a quick throw of my full stretch to the marble floor in a two-room apartment of my would-be wife and her sister. You should understand how close my chest was to the floor in a time I was seeking favour to marry Oluwaseun Agbelusi.

My best experience was the second time. It was Oluwaseun younger sister’s traditional wedding ceremony in Akure. Meeting her again, I tossed my white kaftan to the red soil, she answered quietly.  “E pele, e ku irin”, admonishing me for our long drive from Lagos to Akure.

As the party kept on, I heard Sean Tizzle “ omo dada lomo yen oh” mixed with Olamide, Davido and Wizkid and others, we kept our feet dancing. I noticed that once we lowered the tune for the interception of “mistress-of-ceremony”  – Alaga Iduro & Alaga Ijoko –, another song came up “Jesu yoo joba, ara aye e yo” – the kind of ecclesiastical classic sound of the brave evangelical that stings your soul to the cross. It became a trend, when you hear Olamide, the next thing is another classic gospel came on. This happened like five times.

“I was like who is “subbing” us in this party, intercepting vain pop tunes with glorious gospel songs?”

I did not know that without telling anyone, mother-in-law had organized her “DJ” to the party and in a separate gathering of MFM faithful and other pilgrims into a corner, enduring the creaky speakers. She was reminding us to pause the fanfare and accept the solemn pull of the gospel.

A tinge of that rebellion, exemplified in forms of laser-minded decisions and steel in my wife, I found in her, dissolving into her Christian faith. I have always believed if anyone takes church matters a notch higher than my mum, he/she has inched it to the extreme. Such was my mother-in-law, and she firmly believed in it, openly pushed her zealotry, dribbling anyone who takes a huge contrarian view,  possibly nailing anyone who dared her rights as an “antagonist” to her spiritual leanings, grossly in contrast to my wife , a temperate Pentecostal.

I have come to love her ways and I don’t hesitate to tell my wife. Once in awhile, she stuffed page of numbered MFM prayers to my hands. “I know your wife won’t accept it but make sure you pray, always pray, plead the blood of Jesus”. I capped it with another full stretch on the ground.

I only had few chances to meet her in the last eighteen months and in those few times, even when her strength was failing, she always hopping between church and the hospital. Truly,  the best account of 65-year old life might not be told in an eighteen-month encounter. But surely, I found her rightly staying on a predictable side, far above other matters of her time. At what point she threw away out her entire inimitable scholarship to accept the Christianity as a full way of life is still unanswered to me. I actually came to know her too late, too short but too well for understanding for her kind.

Not encased in perfection, but there I found my own love for her kind, of people coming as they are and our inability to use empathy to meet them in the middle.

As her flesh gave away, we did our best to keep her among us. When my wife asked her how she was doing in her last days, she said “mo wa ni owo Olorun”, a complete surrender, acknowledging how powerless man actually was in this firmament!

She is now firmly in God’s hands, who took her spirit and soul in His custody, leaving us with sweet memories of a life lived. God has given us as children the Grace to introspect on her vocation, marriage and faith, such a kind favour. 

The Lord came for His zealot, His soldier; the heavenly bass just went a ton of decibels higher.

Madam Alice Agbelusi, aged 65 years, is survived by a husband, two children, two sons-in-law, two grand-daughters, and relatives.

Chief S.L Akintola, 50 years ago 

Political differences should not obviate the truth. – Dr. Akin Onigbinde SAN

  
February 2, 1962 was the day everything spoken in hushed tones across Nigeria’s the streets and its corridors of power morphed into the obvious. Samuel Ladoke (S.L) Akintola, a political heavyweight of the Western Region, was supposed to be in Jos with fellow members of the Action Group at the party’s congress. Power tussles had reached breaking point, overshadowing the congress; Obafemi Awolowo who was at the time Leader of the Opposition and S.L Akintola, the region’s premier, were involved in a personality clash that finally came public.

 

On this auspicious day, Sir Ahmadu Bello was visiting Ibadan, to open the Sultan Bello Hall in the University of Ibadan, named after his grandfather. Akintola decided to stay back to honour the “most powerful man in the country,” holding a state banquet to honour him. Akintola would have no idea of the seismic shift in political terms that was happening, simultaneously, to the North; in Jos. 
There, Chief Awolowo affirmed that the Action Group party (AG) would not be joining the coalition at the center and he would prefer to continue in his role as opposition leader. Awolowo’s assertions were not taken as fact, because there were already secret discussions that the AG was joining the center, controlled by the coalition of Northern Peoples Congress and the National Council of Nigeria & Cameroon. 
Akintola was alerted, and he arrived Jos by airplane, to join the Congress, but the end result was far from amicable. Despite pleas, Akintola stormed out of the meeting with his faithfuls. This time, he was going back to Ibadan via rail. Hordes of his supporters waited for him in anticipation at Dugbe, Ibadan until he arrived, immediately entering a secret session with traditional rulers. 
But the long-sown seeds of discord had already begun to take root: while the Congress continued in Jos, the position of the Deputy Leader which Akintola occupied was abolished; Awolowo was firmly in charge. 

When Akintola succeeded by Awolowo in 1959, there had been a groundswell of ill will rippling in. Akintola was in charge of the treasury of the Western region, which in turn oiled the AG party, via the Nigerian Investment and Property Company. There were anecdotes that: Akintola loathed the Awolowo cap, refusing to wear it; Akintola favoured the use of sirens while Awo didn’t; he raised poll taxes from one pound seventeen shillings and sixpence to two pounds and five shillings; Akintola also made appointments with the Party Leader’s input; it was even said that their wives were not on talking terms. These stories, peddled by fans, kept widening the gulf between both men. 

The tell-tale sign of rising tensions came on Independence Day. The seating arrangement for Nigeria’s leaders saw Awolowo placed at the rear row, while Akintola gleamed with the Prime Minister and dignitaries, a clear testament to the latter’s quiet rise. 
While the cracks were appearing and the North was looking for “a man to do business” with, Akintola, fluent in Hausa, Nupe, English and Yoruba, was extremely willing to hop into bed with the North. This was because he believed for the Yoruba nation to have a fair advantage, they can’t keep camping in opposition. Most of his convictions lay that it is better than Action Group stay in Western Nigeria and if it was interested in the central government, it can’t win by election except through coalitions. 

Akintola’s inclinations towards the North were revealed right from the time he midwifed the negotiations which brought the North back to the table for Nigeria’s independence in 1953, a development which seemed to present him as a man the North could trust. By contrast, Awolowo, the leader of the opposition in the parliamentary house came across as more combative in presentation, a man of deep intellect and conviction. Awolowo also began to push democratic socialism in late 1961, an ideology already gaining interest among young people who were lured; Akintola however found that as lacking in political astuteness.

 

These were the circumstances which preceded the Jos congress. There, it was clear when Akintola arrived, that he was late in actual and political terms; he had lost the party machinery. The many who once envied his clout wanted only one thing – to pass a vote of no confidence in him, which would have cost him his position as Premier but a patched up arrangement barely held the peace. However, in the weeks that followed, from February 1962 onwards, partisan politics took a more active turn in Ejigbo, spilling over into the Oshun Division; a nexus of power which Akintola once belonged to, and controlled. As Chief Awolowo became more assertive in the Oshun Division, the cracks reappeared. With differing ideas in political ideology, and the gradual partitioning of its key players and their backers across varied party lines, it was clear the Action Group was at great risk of imploding. 
By May 1962, at an AG party meeting Chief Awolowo reeled out 24 charges against Akintola, condemning the Premier for flouting party rules, engaging in anti-party activities and taking for granted the same government he served. Akintola accepted the charges, and tendered an apology; a move that was deemed insufficient by his peers. 
Chief Anthony Enahoro moved that since Akintola accepted the charges, it was time he quit the position of Premier. In a surprise move, the standard secret ballot system was jettisoned for an open ballot to cast a vote of confidence. Chief Akintola lost the vote, and most humiliating, in a public vote.

 

Akintola’s next step was to resign, or dissolve the parliament through a Governor’s request. 
By the rules at the time, if parliament is dissolved, everyone was to go to the party to test their popularity with the voters. With the cards decked against him, Akintola wrote to the Governor to constitutionally dissolve the parliament. This was declined. Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife and then Governor of the Western Region, demanded Akintola’s resignation as Premier, naming Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro as his successor. 
The government as the center, led by Tafawa Balewa, sided with Akintola, a development which contributed to the latter fighting to remain Premier. Akintola decided to exploit a legal loophole, stating that he did not lose a popular vote on the floor of the House, and the votes were cast at a mere party meeting. After Akintola’s bid for a second vote of confidence, violence broke out at the Western Region Parliament. The central government pushed for a state of emergency, restricting Akintola to Ogbomoso. 
Akintola grew vengeful, expanding his cache of enemies, he tapped on his legal and political resources to relieve the Ooni of Ife, Adesoji Aderemi, from his post as Governor of the Western Region.
As the intra-party fighting escalated, external forces proved just as unrelenting. On June 20, 1962, a Commission of Inquiry, headed by Justice G.B Coker was instituted to probe five corporations which had direct links to the Action Group. In those days as seen now, campaign finance for political activity was tied to big business. The Coker Commission of Inquiry concluded with an indictment of Awolowo and his aides. Oddly, Akintola, despite the depth of his influence in government, was not indicted. This raised a lot of dust on the credibility of the Coker report, though it established that state corporations provided monetary backing for the AG. 
The year ended with Akintola’s popularity waning in the region. On January 1, 1963, Akintola proceeded to appoint a new Governor, and with the fall in cocoa prices globally, coupled with the dissolution of the Marketing Board after the Coker Inquiry, farmers were paid less. 
Akintola bore the brunt, maligned as having betrayed his leader (Awolowo), who faced the twin crises of the Coker Inquiry indictment, and charges of treasonable felony. 
Stripped of his clout, Akintola embraced the NCNC in the West and other minority parties, forming the National Democratic Party (NNDP). The coalition got bigger in size and influence, with NNDP joining the Northern Peoples Congress to birth the Nigerian National Alliance. 
The Action Group Akintola had left was not idly sitting on its hands; it joined the fray, forming alliances with other parties and creating strain in the Western Region’s once compact politics. 

Alhaji D.S Adegbenro, who was meant to take over as Premier after the Governor, Adesoji Aderemi sacked Akintola won a case at the Privy Council with the Court affirming that the Governor can remove the Premier without a parliament majority. Don’t forget that the Governor acted based on vote in the party meeting not in the parliament. In high octane politics, the judgment was nullified after the Western House of Assembly passed a law and applied a retroactive effect that made Privy Council ruling had no effect.  

Against this backdrop of widening political alliances and the consequent vested interests, elections came in 1965. Unsurprisingly, the proceedings were very fraudulent, with different results read at different radio stations. Both parties claimed victories, and tempers flared, escalating communal violence which peaked with people being bathed in petrol before being burned in an act infamously named “Wetie,” which translates to English as “wet him/her.”
By all accounts, Akintola already knew a coup was in the offing. Less than a day to his death, he flew to Kaduna to meet Sir Ahmadu Bello, arriving around 2pm. The Sardauna met him at the airport with a warm embrace, which would turn out to be the last for both men. Akintola came back to Ibadan and in a few hours, would find himself under attack by coup plotters raining a hail of gunfire on his Iyaganku residence. Captain Nwobosi led the fierce duel from 10pm until around 2am in the wee hours of the morning. With bullets bringing his front door crashing, Akintola remained stoic, bravely defending his family. He wounded a few soldiers in the process, till he stepped out and took a corner down some stairs out of necessity. There, Nwobosi found Akintola and gunned him down. 
Perhaps Akintola should have taken a bow as Premier after the party vote, and left to rebuild his political base. Instead he kept pressing on, despite waning popularity, walking into landmines, sometimes clashing with the federal and regional might in place. 
Akintola was by no means infallible, but he was undoubtedly a man whose legacy has been misjudged in turns. Most of his ideas, sound recordings and speeches were destroyed by zealots, in a bid to eliminate his memory.
 He commissioned and built Cocoa House, inaugurated the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University), Daily Sketch (now Cocoa Mall) and Premier Hotel Ibadan. 

Akintola continued the free education programme instituted by Chief Awolowo but such feats paled in the light of his protracted battle with his leader (Awolowo) and have continued to dim with each passing year, courtesy the continuous campaign to cast his political expediency as symbolic treachery. We are witnesses of recent history that at every turn when a Yoruba person aims to lead Nigeria, it has never happened without a pragmatic alliance with the Northern region. 

Akintola was born into a Baptist family, a founding member Egbe Omo Oduduwa and Action Group, orator, a firm believer in the Yoruba nation, as well as a shrewd mobilizer, lawyer and educationist. He attended the constitutional conferences in London and Lagos, former Minister of Health, Aviation and raised the second motion for Nigeria’s independence, after the initial one by Enahoro ended in crisis. He was married to Faderera and they had five children. 
Akintola was the 13th Are Ona Kankanfo – the Field Marshal of the Oyo Empire. And just like his forebears and his successor, M.K.O Abiola, Akintola died in active battle.


This piece is based on extensive reading on the lives and time of S.L Akintola and open to debate. I also wrote this piece in the memory of my grandfather, tailor to SLA &  my late father who also had kind stories about the Premier.



2015 Review: Trends, data and its foolishness

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Let me tell my stories that puncture the infallibility of data trends in few paragraphs below:

The first day of 2015, if someone predicted I would be married to Oluwaseun,  I would say that’s hugely unpredictable. Nothing factual or data-driven propels that assumption because prior to that date, my would-be wife and I never had a 15-minute frank discussion except the sparse DM(s) and phone calls. We just casually checked on each other till we had that first visit to Wednesday church evening service that left me with butterflies.

I look down the Premier League table and Chelsea sits on the 15th position with all that talent and money. That’s a club that won the league seven months ago. Who would have predicted that slump, that Chelsea will be in the  camp of relegation fighters.

Stephen Curry and his nearly impossible record this season, no one saw that coming.  In fact impressed with Stephen Curry, ESPN commentator,
Jackson reasoned that Curry’s phenomenal shooting ability is actually a detriment to the game of basketball as a whole.” That was a man, a record shooter, led his team to 67 wins and Warriors  to a Championship win since 1975.

The only time I saw Muhammadu Buhari, I was close to tears. It was in 2011. Like “Lord why not now?” “Why will this Philistines win this race again?”. I am one of those who lived all my thoughts in Buhari’s hype. That belief that our last chance of redemption was in 1985 till IBB snatched power and made corruption and official business of government. I just believed in the tall General and thought it will take a bloody revolution to take power from PDP. Buhari won, a man who had tried for 12 years.  Though I am getting impatient with his approach, I thought the chapter was closed after that moving speech that left the hall in tears in 2011. Buhari, in a hail of unpredictable fortune, is President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Who predicts that at an age of 73 will be so much loved and voted for?

Oil prices refused to pick up hitting an eleven-year low at $32 per barrel despite the world not in a slump. Impossible to believe Donald Trump lasting this long as the leading candidate of the Republican Party. Donald Trump in a conservative party is a man who has had three wives, four bankruptcies and deferred draft into the war five times. Shocking.

There are bit of prediction staying firm as the Syria War keeps raging with ISIS showing a brutal angle, global refugees swell with attacks in Paris, Brazil economy keeps tanking  low  after a raft of corruption cases dented its credibility and emerging economies are facing uphill battles especially those dependent on commodity.

 
It is great to be alive but look at lives blown like paper plane this year, from North East Nigeria, Syria, Paris and in those corners of the world, one gets so scared of what the world has passed through in 2015. The Guardian calls it “A year of living dangerously”. I am so thankful that I scaled through in a piece.

It is time to look ahead to bright ideas, discipline, stewardship in Christ fatherhood, responsibility and more introspection. I keep committing myself to that tough goal of being pushing the borders of transparency and accountability.

I always feel I reinvent myself every 3 years, a trend I observed since 2006. I did internship in 2006, started work in 2009, quit banking to face BudgIT in 2012. While I look back to the 2015, it has to be walking down that aisle and putting all that singleness behind. Who says it has to be every three years to observe a trend? 2016 will trash the plot of data and start a new trend.

 

Forward, by His Grace.

Awards. 

Influence : God

Friend of the Year: Oluwaseun Agbelusi-Onigbinde (for loving me inspite of my imperfections and seeing the bright tunnel ahead)

New Friend of the Year: Fola Babalola (not just a friend but an ‘egbon’ who  risked everything to find me, he is family to me)

Book of  the Year : Zero to One (Peter Thiel)

Facebook Friend of the Year: Soni Akoji ( a witty and interesting fellow)

Tweep of the Year: @StateCraft (Selling a man as a dream to Nigeria, upsetting a status quo)

Person of the Year: Ibe Kachikwu (I think he is not perfect but for bringing down the walls of opacity around NNPC, he deserves an applause)

Happiest Moment of the Year: October 24, 2015. #ForeverSeun

Saddest day of the Year: Lives lost in North East with every attack broke my heart.

Song of the Year:  Hello – Adele & the multiple versions

Bible Verse: Deuteronomy 11:10-12

“For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; 11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God arealways on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.”

 

Uber, Matthew Effect and Inequality. 

  

Source: HMInsurance

“Longer than it took a culture to unravel, I suspected. I tried to imagine the Indonesian workers who were now making their way to the sorts of factories that had once sat along the banks of the Calumet River, joining the ranks of wage labor to assemble the radios and sneakers that sold on Michigan Avenue. 

I imagined those same Indonesian workers ten, twenty years from now, when their factories would have closed down, a consequence of new technology or lower wages in some other part of the globe.”

Barack Obama, Dreams of Father, Page 73

My wife hired a driver who takes her around with our single car. Recently, our schedules were clashing so I decided to let her go with the car. Stranded in our far corner in Lekki, I decided the best thing to do is to use the dormant taxi-booking Uber app on my iPhone.
Here we go. It worked like magic. A well kept Hyundai Elantra was infront my apartment and Stanley, the driver, gave me all the courtesies. He had sweets in the car, asked if I wanted Gospel or a specific radio station. It was a cool ride though he did not take me to the final decision as I didn’t know LBS had another campus down the road. So I took another Uber down another journey of 30 mins. Another amazing driver with patience and good sense of humor.

 The next morning, I wished my wife goodbye to office. I reached for my Uber app. Another person was here with a neat Geely car. I was getting addicted to the service. I rated them well for food service. I was about to leave office for an event, I checked Uber again but there no car around in YABA. 

I am thinking of two people – Victor, the driver we hired who I am getting tired of his erratic ways and the yellow public taxis on the road, roaming around for passengers in Lagos. Disruption is gradually happening to them but they don’t know. This is what the taxi unions are fighting in London and are failing to stop.  This is what Shoprite, SPAR and other retail stores are doing to brick-and-mortar retailers who stay in sweltering sun but they don’t see it. The disruption is on and no one opening their eyes to it. My wife told me of her cool rich friend who when bored just becomes an Uber driver just to have fun and meet people.

It is that “Matthew effect” keep me thinking:

Matthew 25:29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

That’s why Thomas Piketty is a recent rockstar economist because the way the world is wired, it keeps expanding the bounds of exclusion for the unlearned and inequality keeps rising as seen in his seminal work. 
Does the developing world benefit from globalization or that it has come to scrape off what we have? Just look at when we thought we could export out Shooting Stars, Rangers and Kano Pillars, we have all sunk in the EPL/La Liga football fest giving DSTV the leash to fix prices as it seems. What happens to our own when it is not up to standard? It crumbles, it keeps failing obeying the Matthew effect. 

That’s why China, the new taskmaster summons Africa and offers loans which is technically an offer of expertise to build bridges, dams, roads where Africa has none. India also did its summit,calls  Africa leaders far away for a historic welcome. It promises loans and grants but in essence just to keep its factories oiled and its population paid.

Open your borders, open your gates, we are coming for you with stash. Are they are to fish or teach us how to fish?  Is Africa rising on its own steam or just another raid that expands the left-behinds?

What are we going to do it as irresponsible greedy  acts of our leaders widen the gap? Is Africa not rising for a few and how do will deal with the fault lines of a more unequal society? 

The answers are not that easy. Like the Chinese took strategic decisions years back to expand its spectrum of knowledge, Africa has to take one too. As long as Africa looks outside to solve its own problems, it keeps holding the short end of the stick, transferring capital to the haves.

Inspiration from Pastor Poju Oyemade and Pius Adesanmi